October Virtual ConFest Features Native and Indigenous People

October Virtual ConFest Hosted by CAATA ConFest Co-Chair Leilani Chan

October Virtual ConFest CelebratesMonday, October 5, 2020 (New York, NY): Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) announces its roster of speakers and performers for the third episode of its ongoing monthly ConFest Virtual Series, “Artists on the Frontlines: Creativity & Change During COVID-19” on Monday, October 12, 2020 at 1PM HST, 3PM AKDT, 4PM PDT, 5PM MDT, 6PM CDT, and 7PM EDT.
In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the episode “Artists on the Frontlines: Creativity & Change During COVID-19” will feature performance actions by Indigenous and Asian American women and queer artists creating and responding during this unprecedented time of multiple national and world crises.
The online event will include appearances by
  • Kiki & Cocoa (Kiki Rivera and Sami L.A. Akuna a.k.a. Cocoa Chandelier, both of Honolulu, HI) with a performance based on their work Sipping & Stirring the Tea;
  • Kristina Wong of Los Angeles, creator of the acclaimed performance work Kristina Wong for Public Office (Featured Show, ConFest 2021), with the celebrated volunteer mask sewing group the L.A.-based Auntie Sewing Squad;
  • and an excerpt of the play Don’t Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant! by Indigenous artist activist Murielle Borst-Tarrant, Artistic Director of Safe Harbors NYC in New York, NY.
October Virtual ConFest will also feature a conversation with Innocenta Sound-Kikku, founder of the intergenerational youth program “Pacific Voices” at Kokua Kalihi Valley Medical Clinic, and Vice-Chair of the Micronesian Health Advisory Committee and Theresa Hatathlie-Delmar of Yee Ha’ólníi Doo/Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief. The October Virtual ConFest will be hosted by CAATA board member and ConFest Co-Chair Leilani Chan (Founding Artistic Director, TeAda Productions; Los Angeles, CA).
“Artists on the Frontlines: Creativity & Change During Covid-19” is the third episode of CAATA ConFest’s Virtual Series exploring the theme of the upcoming 7th Biennial Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi in May 2021.
The in-person ConFest will center the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, and feature the thriving theater community of Hawaiʻi, where Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander faces on stage are the norm, not the exception.
“Ku‘u ‘Āina, Ku‘u Piko, Ku‘u Kahua – Return to the Source” is a call to all theatre artists to reconnect with their foundations and their sources of knowledge: their land, their family, their center. The online series and its presentation of the wide diaspora of Pan Asian/Pacific Islander/MENA/Native/Indigenous American stories will be a vehicle through which both the audience and artists can ground themselves in their cultural knowledge and the many identities that we bring to our communities.
“Future episodes of the series will feature artists from across the country who represent some of the most groundbreaking work in American theatre, and includes stories from across the breadth of the Pan Asian/Pacific Islander/MENA/Native/Indigenous American diaspora, including Hawaiʻi, Egypt, Vietnam, and more,” said Chan and Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa).
They added, “This series is not meant to be a replacement for the conference and festival, but is an offering to begin discussions around artists, topics and themes proposed by the field that we hope will culminate in celebration when we are able to gather in person again next year. Our goal is to also continue dialogue with other BIPOC networks of color and connect artists with current BIPOC movements.”
The ConFest Virtual Series is being produced in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons in Boston, MA, a nonprofit organization that operates as part of Emerson Collegeʻs Office of the Arts.
HowlRound provides a free and open platform for theatre-makers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners. The series will be presented on HowlRound TV, HowlRoundʻs global, commons-based peer produced, open access live streaming and video archive project.
Maximiliano Urruzmendi-Mele will be the series Technical Director, and CAATA staff member Ariel Estrada will be the series Line Producer. A full schedule of broadcast dates for the ConFest Virtual Series can be found on CAATAʻs website at https://caata.net/monthly-confest-virtual-series/

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