Featuring A Conversation with An Artist, Tatsu Aoki, Founder, Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival; Executive and Artistic Director, Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW), Tsukasa Taiko and Adjunct Full Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
A Conversation with Actress, Director, Producer and Educator Ginger M. Leopoldo, Founding Member, Pintig Cultural Group and Founding Artistic Director, Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA)
With Commentary By Karen C. Uchima, Feng Shui Consultant, Psychic and Writer
Directed and Hosted by Rieny G. Cualoping
ENERI Communications proudly presents the premiere of The ENERI Access Series Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 Edition: “Hear Me, What I Want to Say,” on May 1, 2021 (6 a.m. CST / 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT) on the #ENERIcom YouTube Channel. The show will run worldwide throughout the month of May on YouTube. (Note: Search “ENERIcom” to access the playlist of several episodes.)
The series features two prolific artists and educators who have worked tirelessly to champion change in the Asian Pacific American Community – in Chicago, nationally and internationally: Tatsu Aoki and Ginger M. Leopoldo. Commentary is provided by lifelong Chicago resident, psychic, feng shui consultant and writer Karen C. Uchima.
The show spans several episodes. It showcases not just the achievements and current projects of Tatsu Aoki and Ginger Leopoldo, but also examines current times; creating arts in the pandemic and what was learned from those experiences; and hopes, dreams and plans for the future.
All episodes in the series are directed, produced and hosted by Rieny G. Cualoping. Original music by Tatsu Aoki and The Miyumi Project is used in the show, as well as original music by Kioto Aoki, Eigen Aoki and Miyumi Aoki.
Prolific international artist Tatsu Aoki is Founder of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival; Executive and Artistic Director of Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW), and of Tsukasa Taiko; and Adjunct Full Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a composer, a performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator.
Born into the Toyoakimoto artisan family in Japan, he was performing by the age of four. In the early 1960s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement with experimental arts and music. He left Tokyo in the late 70s and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen and taiko, contributing to more than 100 recording projects and touring internationally over the last 35 years.
He is currently starting work on a large-scale Asian American Cultural Legacy Project. A five-figure grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is helping seed this project.
AIRMW (Asian Improv aRts Midwest) is a not for profit organization for presenting Asian American performing arts. (www.airmw.org) In 2020, AIRMW received a major grant from DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) to create a digital history archive of Chicago’s Asian American Creative Music, Performing Arts and related historic events. AIRMW is collecting historical records of Asian American contributions to the creative arts ecology of Chicago. This web-based archive will include interviews, reviews, photographs, performances of music, dance and other arts as well as academic essays and analyses. Similar to other oral history projects, this project will record the artists’ reactions, experiences and memories. Format for the archive is currently being developed.
Tatsu Aoki is also leading efforts to raise money for a capital campaign for an Asian Pacific American performing artist space in Chicago. More information here: Dojo Campaign https://airmw.org/campaign/
GINGER M. LEOPOLDO
Multi-talented actress, director, producer and educator Ginger M. Leopoldo is a Founding Member of Pintig Cultural Group and Founding Artistic Director of the Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA). She currently teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) to students in China and is an adjunct lecturer with the ESL program at the University of the Potomac.
In 2020, Leopoldo led CIRCA Pintig to adjust to global virtual events and creating productions for the community. The group is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. https://www.circapintig.org
Leopoldo is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational and educational leadership.
KAREN C. UCHIMA
Karen C. Uchima is a Feng Shui and Psychic Consultant who has been a guest on national TV and radio shows and a subject of newspaper and magazine articles. A lifelong resident of Chicago, Illinois, she is currently working on a graphic novel based on her unusual life and childhood.
Uchima was the Chicago Director of The Psi Squad, which worked on murders in Atlanta and New York. She did a lecture in Oxford, England about how psychics are called in on unsolved murders when all leads are exhausted.
Karen Uchima was also editor of the Lincoln Park Economist and studied writing with Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Carroll and Harry Bouras.
Uchima served in The Peace Corps (Vista). She also worked with The Coalition, which supplied food to the hungry in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago and Horse Branch, Kentucky.
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