REFLECTIONS/REFRACTIONS—Ten Works Inspired by At First Light

At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America. May 25 - October 20, 2019


An ad man coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” in the 1920s to emphasize the power of graphics to compel the viewer to adopt an idea or buy a product. But a picture can also be the springboard for new interpretations and the reimagination of the physical object, people, or places depicted. In that spirit, we reached out to ten literary arts practitioners to visit the At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America exhibition and select one still or moving image sequence on display that resonates with them and sparks their creative juices. They were then asked to compose an original five-minute performance piece based on that image.

Musicians Dom Magwili and Tajii Miyagawa will provide the opening and closing for this special evening where the power of words, images, and performance meld into an experience of invention, reflection, and inspiration.

ARTISTS (to date): Teresa Mei Chuc, Naomi Hirahara, Miya Iwataki, traci kato-kiriyama, Kenji Liu, Koji Steven Sakai, Irene Soriano, Amy Uyematsu, Eric Wat, and Stan Yogi.

This program is presented in conjunction with At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America. It is free, but RSVPs are recommended. For program updates and info, please visit

Photo: Members of UCLA’s Nikkei Student Union sing to demand tenure for the school’s sociology professor Don T. Nakanishi during a May 1988 rally at the front steps of historic Campbell Hall, near the exact location where Black Panther Party members and UCLA honors students “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins were gunned down in January 1969. (Abraham Ferrer/Visual Communications Photographic Archive)

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Long Beach Comic Con

I’ll be speaking on a panel at the Long Beach Comic Con on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM.

“Legendary Superheroes in Asian Folklore” is a free panel at Long Beach Comicon to inspire a new generation of Asian-Americans to learn from their folklore! In this panel, creators Tram Le (UCI Professor, and author of VIETNAMESE FOLK TALES FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS), Koji Steven Sakai (author, “442”), Daric Loo (Creator and Director of PHOENIX RISING and AWAKEN) and Quentin Lee (Director and Creator of CAMPUS GHOST STORY, WHITE FROG, THE PEOPLE I’VE SLEPT WITH, COMEDY INVASIAN) discuss their work and how they and others pass on the tales of legendary heroes of the past in modern-day comic books and graphic novels. RINGO LE (Director of SAIGON LOVE STORY and BIG GAY LOVE) is the organizer and will be moderating.

Zombie Run Review (This one is good) :)

Zombie Run got a great review over at Horror Bound.

“Perkins and Sakai offer up a truly original concept, in that life goes on even when everyone around you has perished or views you as a tasty treat – even if that life involves shuffling around, emotionless and going through the motions for lack of something better to do. Zombie Run does well to highlight the fact that all of us are slaves – or zombies – to our modern lives, and suddenly having no heart beat doesn’t change that fact. We find comfort in our routines and safety in that with which we are familiar, undead or not.”

“(Zombie Run) is ultimately an exciting and unique zombie tale that entertains throughout, addressing issues like human-zombie sex, being able to call yourself by any name you choose, and the reality of surviving on a diet of cow brains. Perkins and Sakai are very adept at character development, adding layers to their characters that serve to hook the reader completely, evoking sadness, laughter (which is no surprise, given Perkins’ work as a stand-up comedian), hope and excitement until the very end. For any fan of the zombie genre, Zombie Run is a must-read and comes in at 4/5 stars from this reviewer.”

To read the rest of the review go to:

Episode 111 of Slanted View w/ Kim Noonan

Slanted View Podcast

Episode 111 “Filmmaker Kim Noonan on His Complicated Racial Identity” (Stream Free / Download MP3)

Check out the latest episodes of “Slanted View,” a CHOPSO presents podcast hosted by the CHOPSO Team — including Koji Steven Sakai, Quentin Lee, and Sue Limsukonth — and each offers their take on all things Asian. Each week we chat with an Asian American artist about their work and being Asian.

Subscribe to Slanted View on all podcast players:

Google Play

442 @Japanese American National Musem

442 graphic novel book cover

Saturday, July 27, 2019 2:00 PM—4:00 PM Art, Culture & Identity

442 Graphic Novel Talk and Drawing Workshop with Rob Sato


Enjoy a talk between the authors of 442, a graphic novel by Koji Steven Sakai and Phinneas Kiyomura, who, along with artist Rob Sato, will discuss their collaboration process. Following the discussion, we invite you to participate in a drawing workshop for all skill levels; materials will be provided.

442 follows Hiro, a young man incarcerated at the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II who volunteers for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and joins the battle to rescue the “Lost Battalion.” The 442nd RCT was a segregated unit of Japanese Americans who became the most highly decorated military unit for their size and duration of service.

This program is free, but seating is limited. RSVPs are strongly recommended using the link below.

Casting: Last Girl

Casting a mumblecore feature film about a woman who survives a mass murder at her work retreat, only to experience the same things happening to her again 6 months after the incident.

Here is a bit more about the character of Nate:
Nate: 30s, very attractive and charismatic, but totally full of himself. Veronica’s long term boyfriend. He is a terrible psychotherapist, totality by the book never tries to understand emotions, always assumes he is great at empathy. He is head over heels about Veronica, but had not been loyal because Veronica refuses to have sex with him. He is clueless most of the time.

For the first round, please self tape the following:

Improvise a scene where you are in room with a group of people that are trying to find the killer where:

A girl whom you hooked up with in the past is blaming you for being the killer
The love of your life, your long time girl friend is among the group and she doesn’t know you hooked up with her co-worker, the girl.
You are a psychotherapist, so you are trying to manipulate emotions and claims, though you are failing.
You are very self confident.
You don’t think anyone in the room is the killer.

A few notes:
Send your self-tapes as soon as possible
Don’t worry about the quality of the video, however, make sure we can see and hear you.
This is a mumblecore movie, which means that the whole movie is improvised. We have a few of the major beats thought out but everything else is up to the actors, YOU. If you aren’t comfortable with this, let us know now.
This is a super super super low budget production, so we’re going to be shooting this quick. Be prepared to work hard and fast.
This is a nonunion production, so if you’re union and you want to participate, that’s up to you.
Please note that we will not pay for travel.