by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
On December 19, Pride ASIA with The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Art Museum presented DIM SUM DIALOGUES at Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) that saw more than 100 people attend a night of music, art, dancing, and community building among Queer People of Color and Allies through an API (Asian & Pacific Islander) lens.
Attendees were able to listen and share stories to celebrate and convene Queer Communities of Color.
The event was free and open to all ages and sexual orientations. Held from 7-10 p.m., the event also allowed for people to look at the wonderful art exhibits inside the SAAM, which is located in Seattle's Volunteer Park.
Several performances took place to evoke conversation around the experiences of LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islanders. After each performance, the artist would hold a Q&A with the audience so a better understanding of why they chose the piece that they performed or displayed could be achieved.
Dim Sum Dialogues was hosted by Aleksa Manila, founder of Pride ASIA.
Performers included Kince de Vera, Shanghai Pearl, Alessandra Hunt, Amaya Matro, Atasha Manila, Nic Masangkay, Erika Hatanaka, Jacque Larrainzar and Jade Vogelsang. Music was provided by DJ Bish (Reese Umbaugh), DJ Reverend Dollars (Renee Jarreau Greene), DJ Moist Towelette (Lu Ying) and DJ Legaspi.
Community partners included HEYO at Lifelong, HIV Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit, Gay City Health Project, Neighborcare Health, Seattle Counseling Service, API Chaya, Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) and more.
Dim Sum was provided by Root Table (2213 NW Market St), an Asian fusion restaurant in Ballard, owned by Tanya Rachinee, who has worked with Pride ASIA in the past and other LGBTQ A/PI organizations.
Some of the more memorable performances were thought provoking and vulnerable. They certainly made a connection with the audience and inspired conversation after the performance was over.
Kince de Vera, who will join the board of directors at Pride ASIA in 2016 performed twice during the evening. The first performance of the evening was choreographed by de Vera, who also starred in it as a dancer along with Levi Ryan. The dance piece, 'Coalesce,' was new, said de Vera, and he told the audience that it was a look at same-sex relationship dynamics between Gay Asian males and Gay white males. Both de Vera and Ryan are good dancers and the chemistry that the two had as dance partners sold the idea behind the piece to the audience. There was first attraction, love, power struggle, and in the end a breakup.
Local burlesque legend The Shanghai Pearl performed a piece in which she entered wearing antlers and a gown. During her captivating performance she shed the antlers and stripped down to the sounds of relaxing music that conjured up images of nature. The Shanghai Pearl is a skilled entertainer who always leaves audiences satisfied and her Dim Sum Dialogues performance was no exception. She did a fantastic job.
Nic Masangkay and Erika Hatanaka presented spoken word pieces at the event. For me, the standout performance in their set came when Masangkay talked about gender and racial struggles from a Filipino and Queer point of view. A master storyteller, Masangkay held the audience's attention so much so that every word and syllable were received exactly the way they were intended. Powerful, yet vulnerable and heartwarming at the same time, Masangkay's performance was, for many, the standout of the evening.
Local drag queen Alessandra Hunt, the current reigning Miss Gay Washington, performed as Beyoncé and brought the house down with her dance moves and lip-sync abilities. Full of energy and demanding of the audience's applause, she worked for every cheer she deservedly got.
The event was a total success with many people asking when the next one will be. While there hasn't been another Dim Sum Dialogue planned yet, Aleksa Manilla says that there will be information about future events coming very soon so in the meantime connect with Pride ASIA via social media @prideasiaorg or visit the official website www.PrideAsia.org for updates. Video footage from the event, filmed and edited by Social Outreach Seattle, can be found at https://youtu.be/rFbGK9Zt95M. The event was co-sponsored by the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
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