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Melanie Castillo-Cullather
IU Asian Culture Center

Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008

IU celebration of diverse Asian cultures, history and peoples begins March 28

March 20, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An "American Idol" semi-finalist and the author of The Chopsticks-Fork Principle, A Memoir and Manual will highlight Indiana University's annual early observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which honors the rich history and presence of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Festivities will begin on Friday, March 28, with an opening lunch reception at the Indiana Memorial Union, where winners of an essay contest co-sponsored by IU's Creative Writing Program will be announced. P. Sarita Soni, IU vice provost for research, will be the featured speaker.

Later that day, Paul Kim, a semi-finalist during season six of "American Idol," will perform at the Asian American Association's 15th Annual Taste of Asia at the IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St. Kim, a native of Saratoga, Calif., wanted to alter the stereotypical Asian image that William Hung gave during "American Idol's" first season. He continues to perform throughout the central California coast area.

Taste Of Asia will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature samples of Asian cuisine from various restaurants in Bloomington as well as a talent show. The event also will include displays set up by Asian and Asian American interest groups on and off campus that reflect the cultural diversity within these communities. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail

Cathy Bao Bean

Cathy Bao Bean

Print-Quality Photo

Cathy Bao Bean, an educator and author of The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: A Memoir and Manual (We Press, 2002), will present the APAHM Keynote Speech at 5 p.m. on April 4 in the School of Journalism Auditorium in Ernie Pyle Hall, 940 E. Seventh St.

The title of Bao Bean's talk is "Living and Laughing, The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: A Course in Diversity." She will focus on multiculturalism and will encourage those in attendance to analyze and enjoy how they all are bi-cultural in some way. She uses the story of her own immigrant experience to explain how to reconcile the expectations of families and society at large. In her book, she also explains how to raise a child in a respectful context while also choosing the "path less traveled."

Born in Kweilin, China, Bao Bean came to the United States with her father in 1946, when he represented the Republic of China on official business for the Taiwan Sugar Corp. When Mao's "bamboo curtain" fell in 1949, she, her parents and a sister remained here (her youngest sister joined them in 1962).

Bao Bean has a bachelor of arts degree from Tufts University and a master of arts degree from Claremont Graduate College. She has taught philosophy at Montclair State College and East Stroudsburg University. She is a board member of the Claremont Graduate University School of the Arts and Humanities, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the Society for Values in Higher Education.

The Asian Culture Center coordinates many of the events at IU Bloomington, which will include ethnic festivals, gatherings and lectures reflecting immigrant history and cultures and diasporic experience. There will be performances of both traditional and modern music, a film showing, art exhibits, cooking demonstrations and an Asian knowledge bowl contest.

The ACC's Web site at will provide updates and further details about APAHM events. Following are the month's other events (major events are listed first), which also are free and open to the public:

  • "Funk Reading," a program that is part of the Writers at the Waldron Series, will feature music by Mother Truckin' DJs and DJ Festus and will begin at 7 p.m. on April 2 at the John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St. It will feature nationally known poets and authors, including:

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of At the Drive-In Volcano and Miracle Fruit ( both Tupelo Press) and winner of the Tupelo Press Judge's Prize;

Aracelis Girmay, a Cave Canem fellow and member of Acentos, whose book of poems, Teeth (Curbstone Press) was published last year;

Patrick Rosal, author of two full-length poetry collections, Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, winner of the Members' Choice Award from the Asian American Writers' Workshop , and My American Kundiman, which won the Global Filipino Literary Award and the 2006 Book Award for Poetry from the Association of Asian American Studies;

Tyehimba Jess, whose first book, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess received a 2006 Whiting Award, a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004 and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center.

Ross Gay, an IU assistant professor of English, whose poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Atlanta Review, among other journals. His first book, Against Which, was published by CavanKerry Press in 2006.

The event is sponsored by: Indiana Review, the IU Creative Writing MFA Program, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the Asian American Studies Program, Asian Culture Center, Bloomington Area Arts Council and WFHB Community Radio. For more information, visit or call 812-855-9539 and 812-855-3439.

  • "Global Village 2008: An International Cultural Showcase," from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 5 in Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose Ave. Sponsored by AIESEC, the event will include ethnic food, dances, fashion shows, games and music.
  • Asian Fest, which will be from 10 a.m. to noon on April 26 at the Showers City Hall Atrium and Outdoor Stage area at Eighth and Morton streets (in conjunction with the Farmer's Market), will feature Asian cooking demonstrations, musical and dance performances by Asian artists and educational and craft activities for the whole family. It is being presented by the ACC in cooperation with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department and the Safe and Civil City Program.
  • "An Evening of Japanese Art and Music -- Tradition and Crossover," from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 10 at the IU Art Museum, 1133 E. Seventh St.

Baisho Matsumoto, a master of Japanese music, will play a string instrument called a shamisen and a bamboo flute called a shakuhachi and sing in a variety of styles at the "Evening of Japanese Art and Music." In the first half of the concert, Baisho will be joined by Yoshimi Fujimoto from Japan and Molly Jeon from Bloomington, who each won folk-song singing contests in Japan. They will perform traditional Japanese music, which ranges from chic to soulful to agitating. In the second half of the concert, Baisho will be joined by Bloomington's Yoshi Kitagawa and other local musicians from Western music tradition. They will perform in a jazz-style jam session filled with improvisations.

There also will be an exhibition of Japanese artworks featuring music in the regular Asian collection section. The concert is the finale of a series of local workshops and is financially supported by a grant from the College Arts and Humanities Institute and the East Asian Studies Center. Other supporting organizations include: Department of Linguistics, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Asian Culture Center and IU Art Museum. For more information, contact Yoshi Kitagawa at

  • The Asian Knowledge Bowl, on April 16, is a competition among student groups that tests their knowledge of Asian American history and culture. Winning teams will receive a $250 prize deposited into their student organization account and the second place team will receive $100. The competition is open to all registered undergraduate student organizations. The competition will be from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Kelley School of Business. The event is co-sponsored by Herman B Wells Library's Multicultural Outreach Program.
  • Cultural Conversations: A Parent/Teacher Workshop at Bloomington High School South, from 9 a.m. to noon on April 19. The program, which is supported by the Monroe County Community School Corp., the Asian Culture Center and the Felix Chen Memorial Fund, will focus on practical strategies to facilitate communications between teachers and parents from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Japan Student Association's "Japan Night" from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 29 in the Flame Room at McNutt Residence Center.
  • Korean Student Association's "Korean Night" at 6 p.m. on Apri 4 at McNutt Residence Center.
  • "Thai Night" at 6 p.m. on April 6 at McNutt Residence Center. Thai cuisine and refreshments will be served. There also will be informational booths and performances by local Thai students.
  • The Mr. & Ms. Asia contest will begin at 6 p.m. on April 13 at the IU Auditorium.
  • The annual IU Go Game Competition will begin at 4 p.m. on April 11 at the ACC. Wei-Chi, as it is known in China, or Baduk, as it is known in Korea, or Go in Japan is considered by many game experts as the world's greatest strategic skill game, surpassing chess in complexity and scope. Registration is required for competitors and can be done via e-mail to Prizes will include T-shirts and gift certificates.
  • The IU Asian Alumni Association Student Scholarship Co-ed Volleyball Tournament, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 6 at the field house of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The first 16 teams that register will be eligible to participate. For more informaiton, contact
  • The annual Student Recognition Banquet, hosted by the Asian Alumni Association, Asian Culture Center and Asian Student Union, on April 25 at the Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, 1000 E. 17th St.