Last Tuesday (17) was the first reading for Tha Chink-Mart. The cast absolutely killed it and we had a few standing ovations, mostly from the POCs in the audience. However, the development continues and I have some rewrites that need to be put in place to really fine tune this baby.
Going through the play so many times, I am reminded of the various influences/inspirations from other artists that I see in my own work. One of them being rapper G Yamazawa, who I had the pleasure of meeting on Friday at The Barnes Foundation as part of an artists showcase. Artists from various disciplines each had a 20 minute set with G closing it out. Afterwards, the DJ kept spinning and the museum turned into a club but that's a different story...
If you haven't listened to G, I highly suggest you do. He's lyrically very proficient but what really sets him apart are his pointed perspectives regarding racial politics. He's very astute on issues regarding appropriation, ethnic coalitions, and racial identity. Rap has always been a big influence on my writing but I feel a kinship with his experience as a fellow Japanese American growing up with parents who had to struggle in a foreign land.
Another influence is the great screenwriter, Shinobu Hashimoto, who passed away on Friday at the grand age of 100. It seems almost poetic to leave this world on such a solidly (literally) round and epic number. He has collaborated with Akira Kurosawa multiple times and has written my two favorite films of all time: Seven Samurai and Seppuku. His ability to craft brilliantly structured narratives while probing a larger theme (usually something regarding class/hierarchy) is something I've always aspired to. The man is a legend. RIP.
Also, I had Ethiopian food for the first time. Incredible!