A-Squared Festival 2018

Co-presented by A-Squared Theatre, Asian Improv aRts Midwest, and Links Hall, the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival 2018 features three evenings of the art of contemporary performance by American artists descended from the Asian diaspora, including contemporary and traditional dance, jazz, improv comedy, performance art, and theatre at Links Hall. Plus, “Borders” the annual sight, sound, and taste installation will feature a fusion of delectable cuisines from the Asian continent at The Hungry Brain.

Thanks to the generosity of Asian Improv aRts Midwest, Chicago is in the lucky position of having the third annual A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival at Links Hall coincide with the 23rd Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival 2018 (CAAJF) at Elastic Arts.

From November 8 – 17, 2018 audiences have the chance to join us in celebrating some of the outstanding Asian American artists who call Chicago home.

Two Festivals | Two Weeks

Get a FESTS PASS for just $25 and see all the shows at Links Hall and Elastic Arts!

A-Squared Festival @ Links Hall

CAAJF Festival @ Elastic Arts

Jonathan Chen
Tatsu Aoki
Special Guest Lou Mallozzi
Featuring
KIKÙ

Francis Wong
Mai Sugimoto Quartet

From A-Squared Festival Co-Curator Cary Shoda…

Co-curating the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival, now in its third year, continues to be the most eye-opening, mind-blowing, and personally rewarding achievement of my 11-year tenure as a founding member of A-Squared Theatre.

Much of my excitement stems from the fact that this festival represents many “firsts” for different facets of my identity. As a born and bred Chicagoan, it is the first of Chicago’s many festivals to bring together Asian American contemporary artists from multiple performative disciplines into one weekend-long event. As a practicing theatre artist, this conglomeration of performative forms marks the first time that I have truly broadened my perspective on what performance can be and how the conventions of theatre can be stretched, compressed, twisted, and shattered. As an Asian American, it represents the first time, in my experience, that contemporary Asian American artists of various ethnic and performance backgrounds and their audiences have been interwoven into a single community of artists and art appreciators.

For these three days of the year, Asian American artists and audiences will move, watch, direct, listen, dance, write, play, speak, cry, choreograph, laugh, improvise, and feel as one collective during this three-day festival. I expect that this year’s festival will be truly magical in this regard.

This year’s community of artists will include Irene Hsiao’s dance response to a Tang Chang painting recently exhibited at The Smart Museum of Art; improv and sketch comedy from the long-running Stir-Friday Night!; high-energy jazz from reedist Mai Sugimoto; a short play from A-Squared Theatre that discusses Dr. Seuss’s racist political cartoons; performance art by Helen Lee which examines home, family, identity, immigration, and displacement; Indian dance from the acclaimed Natya Dance Theatre; and Borders, a pop-up dinner installation featuring a blend of Southeast Asian food samplings curated by Giau Minh Truong.

The A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival would not be possible without partnerships with organizations and individuals who are also part of our community of artmaking. Special thanks to Links Hall for being such wonderful partners and gracious hosts of the festival once again, Asian Improv aRts Midwest for providing steadfast support over the years, and Hope Kim for being such a dedicated co-curator in putting this festival together for year three.

The A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival would not be possible without partnerships with organizations and individuals who are also part of our community of artmaking. Special thanks to Links Hall for being such wonderful partners and gracious hosts of the festival once again, Asian Improv aRts Midwest for providing steadfast support over the years, The Hungry Brain for hosting this year’s Borders Pop-Up, and Hope Kim for being such a dedicated co-curator in putting this festival together for year three.

Cary Shoda

Co-curator
A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival

Curators and Partners

Hope Kim is a company member and board member of A-Squared Theatre for which she has performed in all three incarnations of theMy Asian Momseries, includingPiano, her one-person short play. She has co-curated the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival (co-presented with Links Hall) since 2016 and producedCowboy vs. Samurai,Ching Chong Chinaman, and the three editions ofMy Asian Mom. Hope also runs a playwriting workshop for Asian American writers based in Chicago. She thanks God for all the wonderful, exciting, and challenging opportunities to create art and also thanks her husband for the endless support and understanding of the late nights and meetings.

Cary Shodais a co-founder and the current artistic director of A-Squared Theatre, for which he has co-curated the annual A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival since 2016, producedAmerican Hwangap,Ching Chong Chinaman,The Other Shore(co-produced with CIRCA Pintig), andThe Wind Cries Mary. He acted inCowboy vs. SamuraiandTrial By Water, and directedMy Asian Mom 2014. For Halcyon Theatre, he performed inThe Emperor of the MoonandTwo Dead Guysand a Banjo: A Story of Mourning. He has also collaborated with the following theatre companies in various capacities: Chicago Dramatists, CIRCA Pintig, American Blues Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Teatro Vista, James Downing Theatre Company, the side project, and others. Cary is also a graphic designer with a portfolio that includes work for McKinsey & Company, Northern Trust, Spencer Stuart, Rand McNally, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

A-Squared Theatrewas founded in December 2006 by a collective of Asian American theatre artists based in Chicago. Noting that many important Asian and Asian American plays, both new and old, have never been produced in Chicago, these artists united for the common goal of bringing these stories to the Chicago stage. In doing so, the founders pledged to showcase the talents of Asian American theatre artists who they believe were underrepresented and misrepresented in Chicago theatre. A-Squared’s productions and readings also educate the general public on issues relevant to the Asian American community, such as family, immigration, assimilation, social justice, sexuality, mental health, and other pertinent themes. By addressing these important issues, A-Squared creates theatre that reflects the diversity of Asian cultures present in the Chicago area.

https://www.asquaredtheatre.org/

Asian Improv aRts Midwest’smission is to build a vital, self-empowered Asian American community in the Chicago area by advancing the understanding and profile of Asian and Asian American cultures through the traditional and contemporary cultural arts. AIRMW is dedicated to creating productive relationships with artists, community and institutions in order to produce high quality arts programs that accurately reflect the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic reality of Chicago and the nation.

https://www.asianimprovartsmw.org/

The Hungry Brain located at 2319 West Belmont Avenue is a music venue and bar that has been a hub for Chicago’s jazz community since 1997.

http://www.hungrybrainchicago.com