A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival: Day One

A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival: Day One

A-Squared Theatre, Hope Kim, Dan Lin, Wai Yim, Jeff Chan, Suwan Choi, "Mai Ougi", Yoshinojo Fujima, Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble

Thu, November 9, 2017

7:00 pm

Links Hall

Chicago, IL

$15 - $20

Co-presented by A-Squared Theatre, Asian Improv Arts Midwest, and Links Hall, the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival features four evenings of contemporary dance, music, performance art, sound art, and theatre by American artists descended from the Asian diaspora.

On the first day of the Festival you will see works by A-Squared Theatre Workshop, Jeff Chan & Suwan Choi, and Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) with Tatsu Aoki.

A-Squared Festival
Co-presented by A-Squared Theatre, Asian Improv Arts Midwest, and Links Hall, the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival features four evenings of contemporary dance, music, performance art, sound art, and theatre by American artists descended from the Asian diaspora.
This year’s artists include Jeff Chan & Suwan Choi, Taka Yamamoto, Lu Yim, Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) with Tatsu Aoki, Hugh Sato & M Wu, and A-Squared Theatre.
A-Squared Theatre
A-Squared Theatre
A-­Squared Theatre

As an Asian American theatre company, A-Squared Theatre was founded in December 2006 by a collective of Asian American theatre artists based in Chicago. Noting that many important Asian and Asian American plays, both new and old, have never been produced in Chicago, these artists united for the common goal of bringing these stories to the Chicago stage. In doing so, the founders pledged to showcase the talents of Asian American directors, designers, writers, and actors who they believe were underutilized, underrepresented, and misrepresented in Chicago theatre.

This year A-Squared Theatre presents Piano by Hope Kim, directed by Way Yim and performed by Hope Kim and Dan Lin.
Hope Kim
Hope Kim
Hope Kim is a company member and board member of A-Squared Theatre for which she has performed in all three incarnations of the My Asian Mom series, including Piano, her one-person short play. She also co-curated the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival (co-presented with Links Hall) and produced Cowboy vs. Samurai, Ching Chong Chinaman, and the three editions of My Asian Mom. Hope also runs a playwriting workshop for Asian American writers based in Chicago. She thanks God for all the wonderful, exciting, and challenging opportunities to create art and also thanks her husband for the endless support and understanding of the late nights and meetings.
Excited to be able to co-curate the second year of A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival.
Dan Lin
Dan Lin
DAN LIN​​​​ is happy to be working with both old friends and new at the A Squared Festival. He holds a BFA in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Chicago credits include King of the Yees, Support Group for Men, The White Snake, The World of Extreme Happiness (Goodman), United Flight 232 (The House Theatre), Chimerica (Timeline), Saint Joan (Writers), Miss Saigon (Paramount), and Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) Regional credits include The White Snake (The Old Globe). Film and TV credits include Flora (where he also served as Ex. Producer) and Chicago PD.
Wai Yim
Wai Yim
A proud member of Actors' Equity, his Chicago credit includes: Postnation, King of the Yees, The King of Hell's Palace (Goodman Theatre), Chimerica (TimeLine Theatre). Regional credit includes: The White Snake directed by Mary Zimmerman (Goodman Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, McCarter Theatre, WuZhen Theatre Festival in China), The Oldest Boy (Unicorn Theatre), Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Antony and Cleopatra (Nebraska Shakespeare Festival), A Christmas Carol (Nebraska Theatre Caravan). His TV credit includes: Patriot (Amazon) and The Chi (Showtime). He is the Artistic Director of ætherplough, a performance arts group in Omaha.
Jeff Chan
Jeff Chan
Chicago saxophonist/composer Jeff Chan is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the Asian American experience through music. He has worked with many of the leaders of the Asian American creative music movement, including saxophonist Francis Wong and bassist Tatsu Aoki as well as some of the top figures in the Chicago music scene such as saxophonists Jimmy Ellis, Ari Brown, Mwata Bowden and Edward Wilkerson Jr., trumpeter Ameen Muhammad, drummer Avreeayl Ra and pianist/vocalist/bandleader Yoko Noge. As a composer, Chan has created works for varied and diverse ensembles, from solo instruments to large ensembles, including a musical score for modern dance company Facing East Dance & Music.

Chan has received awards from Meet The Composer, the Zellerbach Family Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Illinois Arts Council and has performed across the country and in Europe as a leader and guest artist. A native of the California Bay Area, Chan made the move to Chicago in order to be a part of the city’s rich musical culture. Critics have said that Chan is “… a voice to be reckoned with… (Brian Gilmore, JazzTimes)” and that his work is “music of uncommon majesty, spirituality and emotional depth (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune).”
Suwan Choi
Suwan Choi
Suwan Choi is a dynamic musician and performer of traditional Korean drumming, or pungmul. He currently serves as Artist in Residence with Global Pungmul Institute, metropolitan Chicago’s leading organization dedicated to the education and presentation of pungmul. Suwan maintains an active schedule, performing across the Midwest in both traditional contexts as well as presentations of his original works that combine multiple musical forms, unified through the architecture of traditional Korean drumming practice.

Suwan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Korean Traditional Performing Arts. He has served as the Performance Director of Korean Traditional Performing Arts Troupe NanJang & Pan and won First Place at the 19th World Samulnori Competition
"Mai Ougi"
"Mai Ougi"
Yoshinojo Fujima with Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble

The dance fan represents the soul of the dancer. It is an interdisciplinary performance mixing the traditional with experimental, the past and the present. A courtesan dancer must go and perform in the camp of the enemy warlord general so that she might have one more glimpse of her lover, captured and imprisoned as the general of the opposing side. Inspired by this classical Japanese Dance piece, Mai Ougi provides the audience with eastern and western musical exposition and the clash between expected societal constructs with the expression of human emotion. Yoshinojo Fujima joins the creative forces of experimental and classical musicians, Japanese and Classical instruments, and Neo-classical with Nihon Buyo dance to create a new stratum of experience that proclaims its stance for Asian American Artists with the woman as a focal point.

Musicians: Tatsu Aoki, Jamie Kempkers, KIOTO, and Lori Ashikawa
Koken (Stage Assistants): Joan Ambo, Erin Ikeuchi
Kimono Costuming: Grandmaster Sunoco Fujima

Supported by Asian Improv aRts Midwest and the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago and are supported in part by the Illinois Arts Council, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, Corbett, Duncan & Hubly pc, JCCC Foundation, CityArts and The Joyce Foundation.

Special Thanks to Grandmaster Shunojo Fujima and Kay Kawaguchi
Yoshinojo Fujima
Yoshinojo Fujima
Chicago-area native, Yoshinojo Fujima (a.k.a Rika Lin) is an interdiscplinary performing artist, based as a Japanese classical dancer/choreographer. She received her professional name in 2006 as a member of the Fujima Ryu Japanese Classical Dance School in Japan, and attained her grandmastership last year, which certifies her with a shihan (teaching license). She has performed as an active performing member of Toyoaki Shamisen, as well as in collaborations with Asian Improv aRts MidWest, Tsukasa Taiko, Tatsu Aoki’s the Miyumi Project and was featured in the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival at the J. Pritzker Pavillion. In 2016 she was awarded the Links Hall Artistic Associate Curatorial Residency for the 2017 season, for her “Beyond the Box” presentation/series. Currently she is beginning her research for "Asobi - Playing within Time" project as a 2017 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist.
Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble
Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble
Tatsu Aoki

Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. Born in Tokyo, 1957 into the Toyoakimoto artisan family, a traditional house for training and booking agents for geisha. Aoki was part of his family's performance crew from the age of four. In the late 1960s, he shifted his energies from the traditional to American pop and experimental music. By the early 1970s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement as a member of Gintenkai, an experimental ensemble that combined traditional music and new Western forms.
In 1977, Aoki left Tokyo and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring internationally during the last thirty-five years. Aoki is Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which celebrated its twentieth year in 2015.

Aoki was named one of 2001’s "Chicagoans of the year" by Chicago Tribune for his music for his cross cultural music and has performed with masters such as Roscoe Mitchell, Don Moye, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and the late Chicago legend Fred Anderson. Aoki's suite ROOTED: Origins of Now, a four-movement suite for big band, premiered in 2001 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, and was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at MCA Stage as part of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Additional notable releases include Basser Live (1999) and Basser Live II (2005), recorded live at MCA Stage; The MIYUMI Project (2000), Symphony of Two Cities (2002), and Posture of Reality with Wu Man (2003). The Asian American Institute awarded Aoki the Milestone Award in 2007 for his contribution to Chicago-area arts. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award as well as a 3Arts Artist Award. He received the “Living in our Culture” award by the Japanese American Service Committee in 2014 and the Jazz Heroes’ Award by the National Jazz Journalist Association in 2015. In 2016, his Miyumi Project ensemble was the official musical presenter for the unveiling of Yoko Ono's "SKYLANDING" installation in Chicago's own Jackson Park; which also resulted in the group recording the "SKYLANDING" album produced by Yoko Ono. In 2017 this year, the group contributed their unique vibe to the soundtrack of the film documentary addressing the Japanese American Incarceration, "And Then They Came for Us". Additional accolades include Aoki's own film "LIGHT", which he directed, awarded the Best Experimental Film in the 2017 Canada International Film Festival. And most recently, he was selected by the Asian American Advisory Council of Illinois and received the Community Service Award from the Illinois Secretary of State; and he also received the prestigious Commendation for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Foreign Ministry in Japan, which is given to individuals with outstanding achievements in international fields, and acknowledges the recipients’ contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries.

Jaime Kempkers

An experimental cellist, Jaime Kempkers was a former student of classical cello repertoire who finds creative fulfillment in improvisation and compositional experimentation in collaborative and solo work.

He studied cello with Dr. Robert Ritsema and recording with John Erskine at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He has been living in Chicago, playing improvised and/or experimental music since 2001. Past and current collaborators include, Tatsu Aoki, Jonathan Chen, Grandmaster Yoshinojo Fujima, and Dawei Wang.

Lori Ashikawa

Lori Ashikawa is a violinist with the Joffrey Ballet orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, and Chicago Opera Theater and has performed with Music of the Baroque, Chicago Symphony, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and Goodman and Steppenwolf Theaters. Lori specializes in early music performance on the baroque violin, and was a member of the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra and the Chicago period ensemble Baroque Band for 9 years. She currently plays baroque violin with the Haymarket Opera Company. Lori is a shamisen student of Tatsu Aoki and lives in Chicago with a husband, two cats, and a garden full of scorpion peppers.

KIOTO

Kioto Aoki is a taiko artist and core member of Tsukasa Taiko, a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest. She has been playing taiko since the age of 7 and often shares the stage with AACM members Avreeayl Ra, Mwata Bowden and Ed Wilkerson Jr. At professional venues in Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Harris Theater, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, as well as Elastic Arts and Constellation. Kioto is a recipient of the Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program from the Illinois Arts Council and recent projects include Yoko Ono’s Skylanding Project in Jackson Park.
Venue Information:
Links Hall
3111 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60618
http://www.linkshall.org/