The AKA-SF Ten-Year Celebration and Korean Adoptee Artists Showcase last Friday in Oakland was an amazing and rewarding experience, and I send my most heartfelt thanks to the Board of AKA-SF for organizing such a wonderful event. It was an honor to read at the event. In particular, Hyun Jin was instrumental, I think, and everyone involved---Amie, Zack, Nick, Jessica, Young Hee, Michael, Hilary, Heather, everybody (sorry if I'm forgetting someone)---I know everyone contributed. Looking back, I would say it is one of the more memorable events I've been a part of.
When you are on the same bill as Deann Borshay Liem and Amy Anderson, and vocalist Katie Tupper, you are in great company, that's for sure. Deann showed a trailer for her forthcoming documetary, Precious Objects of Desire, and introduced her co-producer. I can't wait for the film to come out. Katie sang beautifully with nice accompaniment, and Amy is simply hilarious. Amy also emceed the event, where I read for about fifteen minutes (I read four poems and then spoke a bit during the Q and A). There were over one-hundred people, I think. Beer, wine, and an incredible feast of Korean food by Ohgane Korean Restaurant on Broadway Ave. in Oakland. The food was amazing!
It was great to see the adoptee crew out in force---Elleen, Don (who won a copy of my book in the raffle), the nice couple from San Leandro, the new folks I knew but had not met until Friday, including Lisa Marie Rollins of A Birth Project and Susan Ito of Reading, Writing, Living. So awesome to finally meet them! It was also a great honor to meet the visiting Korean scholars and writers-in-residence at UC Berkeley, including the renowned Korean poet Kim Ki-Taek. There were also some journalists there---one from Korea Daily and a nice student journalist named Jane, who took great interest in the event. All of these good spirits made the event one to remember, as you can imagine.
After the event, a group of us went for a drink and talked into the night. We talked at Zack's place and heard Michael's powerful story about going on KBS television. On Saturday I got to hang out some more and had a great conversation with Amie in SF, and on Saturday morning after the event I spent an incredible five hours with poets Barbara Jane Reyes and Oscar Bermeo. I won't bore with you all the details, but I'll say that they're some cool folks. Barbara, Oscar and I had an awesome breakfast, then visited Eastwind Books in Berkeley (where I bought Cheers to Muses, Waylaid by Ed Lin, and a few other books), and then had awesome desserts at a bakery by the lake. Can you say, great conversation?
I usually don't post after each reading (that would get quite difficult)---and I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to share---but I just wanted to send some positive vibes into the world about the good work from AKA-SF and the amazing talents of Katie Tupper, Deann Borshay Liem, and Amy Anderson. Thank you to the kind folks who bought a copy of my book, too. I donated a small portion of the proceeds to the fundraising effort to support Deann's film, which you can still do as well.
I'm probably going off the grid for a little while (a minor hiatus) as I play catch up on some projects---writing, working, cleaning---before I'm off to read in Modesto this Saturday and Berkeley on Sunday. I am still on a high from the great weekend in the Bay Area---but I'll come down soon enough.
I hope you have a good week with the good things going on where you are.