Asian Arts Festival

Asian ‘magic’ has been on full force in celebration of the Asian Pacific American Heritage month. Following Norman Ng’s amazing show was the Asian Arts Festival on Saturday. Food Festival In the GW mailroom, bridges of red and gold balloons led to tables full of food from different parts of Asia, from India to Burma to China. Among these tables were also educational stands set up for learning origami, playing traditional games and writing names in different languages. After only ten minutes, the food bazaar swarmed with students, families and faculty, all eager to try as many dishes as they could. Some recipes were in such high demand that the food stands were crowded all the time that the food was never visible except on other people’s plates. “I didn’t get to eat or look around much because our stand was so busy!” says Kiara Valdez ’12, who helped out for Andover Japanese Connection. All around people were stuffing egg tarts, onigiri, fried bananas and Burmese soup, while bills and coins stacked up behind the tables. As usual the Korean galbi and Chinese dumplings disappeared even before anyone had the chance to smell their aromas, proving again to be the most popular dishes. But they had to watch out for competition from the Japanese green tea ice cream and Thai iced tea, which sold out just as quickly. “I have to say that this year my favorite dishes were two I had never sampled before – a spicy Korean grilled pork dish and the Thai sticky rice and ice cream – delicious!” said Ayata Murata, Advisor to Asian American Students. “But I also loved everything I ate!” Some diners took their delicious, assorted meals outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, while others stayed inside to make sure they could get more food before it ran out. For many, the food bazaar was their highlight of the day. “I got to try a lot of food I have never tried before, and the atmosphere was very nice,” said Jean Kim ’12. Even students who spent their day making the food enjoyed it. Marie Liu ’12 said, “I don’t usually cook too often, but I had so much fun helping out this time, especially because I learned how to cook another country’s dish.” Towards the end, the chant “What do we eat? What do we eat? Bubble tea! Bubble tea!” echoed through the room as CTSA advertised their remaining drinks. Many other clubs were also selling the rest of their food for half the price. Eventually, in the rush to begin the Talent and Fashion Show in Kemper, clubs gave out food for free, lucky for any latecomers. Talent & Fashion Show Kemper was packed with people eager to see the multicultural talent…or maybe it was just that people had too much to eat at the Bazaar. The show started off full of laughter with Jack You ’10 and Julie Xie ’10, the show’s MC’s, in comical conversation. They smoothly introduced the first musical performance, Jennifer Chew ’10 on piano and Stephanie Liu ’11 on violin playing “Butterfly Lover’s Concerto,” a classical Chinese piece. It was absolutely flawless and set a high standard for the rest of the performances. The next act was a completely different style from the first. A catchy Korean pop tune filled the room as Sheya Jabouin ’11, Nneka Anunkor ’11, Orie Idah ’11, Amber Quinones and EJ Ejiogu ’11 strode onto the stage to show off their incredible dancing skills. Though there were only six dancers on stage, the shadows casted in the background created an edgy effect, making it seem like there were twenty dancers all perfectly in sync. The trend continued as Mandisa Mjamba ’10 stunned the audience with a voice solo, singing another Korean pop song. Xie and You once again sent laughs across the room when Jack got down on one knee and asked Julie to prom. “Jack was so awkward, it was funny!” said Angela Kim ’12. “It was definitely the best part.” With this introduction, Jennifer Zhou ’11 and Hector Kilgoe ’11 performed “Part-time Lovers,” a contemporary dance set to a Chinese song. Even though they had performed this earlier this term, they still managed to impress the audience when Kilgoe lifted and spinned Zhou effortlessly again and again. Mary Wu ’10 and Jonathan Liu ’10 then took the stage with a Chinese yo-yo performance, showing all of students all the remarkable tricks that can be done on the Chinese yo-yo. At the climax of the performance, Wu threw her yo-yo to Liu, and Liu caught it on his yo-yo string easily. Following this were two Japanese pop songs. First up were Mandisa Mjamba ’10 and Chelsea Quezergue ’10 singing “First Love,” with Paul Noh ’12 accompanying them on the piano. Then Project Asia strutted onto the stage singing a song by DBSK. Though both songs were relatively mellow, the audience roared with cheers and applauses, boosting the excitement to the next level. Next, Indopak’s “Bhangra Medley” put the show in full swing. All around, people wriggled along in their seats, unable to resist joining the six brightly-dressed dancers. Lastly, Ryan Hong ’10 and Michael Yoon ’10 stepped onto the stage with huge smiles on their faces as they rapped “Wannabe”, a Korean hip-hop song. “The rapping was absolutely insane!” said Mari Walsh ’11. This last performance topped off the talent show perfectly, and the room buzzed with cheery chattering and excitement. Moving swiftly to the fashion show organized by Seyoung Lee ’12, models paraded down the aisles, showing off vivid and unique traditional clothing from all around Asia. Each pose at the end of the catwalk received thunderous cheers from the audience. “The atmosphere was great. The audience could be a part of the show, and that’s what made it so fun,” said Gina Sawaya ’13. Though the show pulled through nicely, backstage was completely hectic, with models running around trying to figure out how to put their dresses on and whom they wanted to walk with. But throughout all the craziness they had an unforgettable time. “I loved my outfit and I learned a respectable Chinese pose!” said Maya Odei ’12, a model in the show. Jack You ’10, the main organizer of the festival, expressed his relief at the overall success of the shows and food bazaar this year. “I’m really happy with how [the festival] went…Everyone worked so hard, it’s impossible to count how many hours we put in, but I really thought it all went great.” Ms. Murata explained that the purpose of the Asian Arts Festival was “to share the many rich and varied cultures and experiences of our Asian, Asian American and mixed-heritage Asian students with the greater PA community.” Asian Society had set up a bulletin board in the library and put up facts around campus long before the weekend of the festival. While the festival was a huge accomplishment, organizers felt that they could certainly improve the educational aspect of the festival in order to raise awareness of some of the challenges that Asian Americans face today.