Eugene Weekly : Arts Shorts : 4.24.08

Films for Thought

If the change from sun to hail to snow has you feeling a little disoriented, then the only thing to do is embrace the feeling and attend the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival.

West 32nd

The Bijou will be showing films ranging in topic from New York’s Korean underworld in West 32nd to the dreams of an underweight sumo wrestler in Big Dreams, Little Tokyo.

On Sunday, the final screening day, the film fest’s sponsors teamed up with Basic Rights Oregon to show the “Arranged Family Secrets” series. The collection includes both narrative and documentary shorts, all produced by Asian American GLBTQ directors. Films include “Summer,” directed by Hong Khaou of the U.K., which explores the journey two young boys take as they discover their sexual identities, and director Jay Esguerra’s “Can You Keep a Secret?” which presents how a queer Asian comes to terms with his sexual and religious identity with help from a dessert. (A fetish for sweets always comes in handy at some point … )

The festival concludes on Sunday with what is sure to be an incisive look at the relationship between the culture of a young boy’s family and that of his peers in Ping Pong Playa, by Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu. The film follows Christopher, a.k.a. C-Dub, as he attempts to preserve his family’s honor by giving up hip hop and basketball to teach his mother’s ping pong students after she suffers a serious wrist injury. In Christopher’s family, with his older brother the reigning champ, there is nothing more important than ping pong.

From films that deal with homosexuality in sometimes unforgiving cultures to the kill or be killed world of ping pong, there’s something disorienting for everyone. You can catch the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival at the Bijou from April 24-27. The schedule is up at and tix, including a VIP pass option, are available at the Bijou. — Megan Udow


National Dance Week

Performers are an oddly superstitious bunch: They say “merde” to bless the creative process, they tell you to “break a leg” before the curtain rises and they know better than to utter the name of that Scottish Play, lest some terrible travails curse their production. Another performance maxim, “Never go onstage with children or animals,” goes unheeded at the LCC Spring Dance Concert when faculty member Sarah Nemecek invites women and their very young children up onstage for a piece about metamorphosis. Along with new works by Aaron Draper, Sarah Franco, Eric Handman, Bonnie Simoa, in collaboration with video artist Ian Coronado and composer Christian Cherry, new mommy Nemecek’s piece features moms and their little ones, ranging in age from three weeks to six years. Developmentally, the desire to choreograph seems to blossom in toddlers like Hugh Brinkley and Sylvan Polhemus. See what these youngsters bring to the boards at 8 pm Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26, in the Performance Hall on the main campus. Tix ($8-$10) at the door. — Rachael Carnes