On Tuesday March 1, the Asian Students Association finally held their annual culture show. The show was originally scheduled for Friday January 22, but surprise Snowstorm Jonas forced it to be postponed. Themed “Lost & Found,” ASA aimed to explore Asian/Asian American issues of race, culture, and reinvented identity through a variety of empowering performances.
This was the first time the culture show took place in Goodhart Hall, instead of Thomas Great Hall. It was time for the Asian /Asian American performing arts to get the presence it deserved on the grandest stage at Bryn Mawr College. Goodhart is notoriously difficult to book for student productions because theater and the Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series take priority, so ASA had to settle for a Tuesday night show the week before break — and during midterms. Nonetheless, the show went on with an intimate audience of around 90 people. I was pleasantly surprised to even see some Swarthmore and Haverford students make the trek to see the show.
The two guest performers were Yellow Rage, a Philly-based Asian American female spoken word duo Michelle Myers & Catzie Vilayphonh, and Sung Lee, Beatboxer, LiveLooper, Vocal Extraordinaire. Student performers included Choom Boom, the Bi-College Asian Pop Dance Club, Vietnamese Students Association, Ann Tran ’18, Joy Chan ’17, Felix Qiang ’17 and Mariam Haider ’18, and many students participated in the Fashion Show.
I had actually suggested inviting Yellow Rage and Sung Lee to the culture show. I had heard of Yellow Rage last year at another ASA meeting where we watched “Listen Asshole.” Their angst and power as Asian American female spoken word artists blew me away. I was even happier to find that they were from Philly, so they wouldn’t have to travel so far to come to Bryn Mawr.
I had heard of Sung Lee two summers ago interning at the Asian American International Film Festival. The McDonald’s B-Boy Royale competition dropped off postcards to hand out at our film festival in exchange for 5 free tickets to the B-Boy competition at NYU Skirball. I went to watch, and Sung Lee was one of the opening artists (Dumbfoundead, a rapper I also like, emceed). I saw Sung Lee perform a year later at the ECAASU Holiday Benefit Concert.
The Culture Show Committee made it possible to bring these artists to Bryn Mawr by offering honorariums and contracts through Student Activities. Special Events and the Goodhart Technical Theater staff also played an integral role in making the culture show happen.
I had the honor of being on the Culture Show Committee once again this year as their print publicity designer (I designed the posters and social media graphics). I also performed with Choom Boom. The Culture Show Committee had been planning this show for months, so by showtime, we were all pretty close friends as well. ASA has been a central part of my Bryn Mawr experience, having joined my first year and serving two years on the executive board as Publicity Chair and Co-President. I am already looking forward to next year’s culture show. Hopefully, next year we’ll get a prime weekend showtime.