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January 2003

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January 2003
January 31- Five more shows
Ok ok. Soon the Boyle Heights performances will be over and I will stop talking about it every blog. Today, for the school shows today, two of the performers, Kathy and Paula could only stay for the first show. So five minutes before the show started, I was added to the lineup, since I was there anyways. We have 5 more shows over the next 2 days. Then, we'll be finalizing the budget, sending thank yous, compiling the audience evaluations, writing grant reports, etc. Then, back to getting GL back into shape, and focusing back on my life. Just uploaded my last column, "Boyle Heights - A State of Mind, which I wrote publicizing the show. So, 8 shows down, 5 to go. Whoo hoo!

January 29 - Fully Booked!

The great news is that we have completely sold out the Boyle Heights performances! It means we really did our job! Just this afternoon, we added a new show, because we were having to turn away so many people since all the shows were completely full. So if you'd like to come, email to RSVP for Saturday, Feb. 1 at 12:00 noon ASAP, as we expect to fill this show as well. So Saturday will be a busy day as we have 3 performances.

Tonight, Tony & I took Glen and my auntie to the Clippers game. The first half was pretty pathetic... 17-24 Bulls after the first quarter, 30-37 at halftime (yes math majors, that's only 13 points each in the 2nd quarter, no baskets for almost 4 minutes). The second half picked up, and they won it in the final minute 77-75. It was pretty exciting. The funnest part was watching all the fans crazy dance up on the big screen. Probably funner than the actual game itself. It was fun to do something different for a change. Ran into Danny (dated once) and Joe from APAN this afternoon at Senor Fish, and Ken from The Bridge, and Jennifer (?) from CSUN at the Clippers game tonight. Small world to see people I knew 10-15 years ago when I was quite another person.

January 28- State of the Union?
Excuse me, Mr. Bush, but what the hell? Are you kidding me? Do you really expect us to believe that you want anything else but control of oil from Iraq? Umm, who has the most weapons of mass destruction in the world? Gimme a break. Who loses out when you open the checkbook for more war and killing? Americans, you say? How about creating meaningul jobs that build community, feeding the poor, providing a living wage, supporting the arts, decent healthcare, defending civil rights and civil liberties... oh how I could go on. I see a brighter vision in Detroit than in DC.

January 26- Calming Down
Things are finally calming down in my life. We did the first 3 performances this weekend. It was great! All 3 shows were at full capacity. People really responded to the personal flavor of the stories and love for Boyle Heights. My friend Kaz flew down from the Bay Area for the show. What a surprise! Today's show was even better than yesterday's. The thing that took a lot of pressure off me was the decision that some of us could read our pieces, instead of by memory. Dan said a good reading is better than a bad performance, and it's the stories that are important. I was so busy with jury duty (finished my 8th day Friday!), rehearsals, meetings, prep for the show, continuing to revise my piece, designing the program til 3 am the night before the opening, I wasn't sleeping. Anyways we have 9 more performances over the next week. Still have tons of things to do, but not all the prep-craziness of the past few weeks. I feel like I've hardly been in the office this month.

January 23- Out of Control
I'm a bit of a wreck. After 2 weeks of jury duty, I will be finished tomorrow. Just in time, because tomorrow night is the dress rehearsal and Saturday the show goes up. Several of the shows are SOLD OUT. At rehearsal tonight I was tongue tied, stagefright, exhausted, weepy and embarrassed. I'm the one who's usually under control and in control, taking care of details and people. So when I say that I am stepping out of my arts administrator comfort zone, you don't even know. After, during and before jury duty, I've been working 7-13 hours a day, on my cell phone in Taco Bell, during lunch breaks, in the mornings, at night after rehearsal. Believe it or not, I'm still trying to breathe and do yoga. Sorry this blog is duplicative (see Jan. 15 and 21) and self-indulgent, but it does feel good to vent. Ok, be calm Jenni. It's all going to be good. I got to keep going towards the good energy and the good vibes in order to make it through the next few weeks.
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January 21- B. Heights-A State of Mind
So, I've been mentioning the Boyle Heights show for months. We open in 4 days. Being in a GL show for the first time adds another layer of stress that I've never had before. On top of that, I am still not finished with jury duty. I basically worked all weekend (till 10pm Sunday) and wrote a column publicizing the show yesterday, worked on my script and went to rehearsal. So, if you want info on the show, here it is. Let me know if you want 2 for 1 tickets.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Boyle Heights: The Power of Place,
Great Leap and the Japanese American National Museum present
"To All Relations: Memories of Boyle Heights
a poetic fusion of stories, music and dance drawn from the lives of the people of Boyle Heights

Directed by: Nobuko Miyamoto and Dan Kwong. Created and performed by: Aurora Cerda, Bambi and Roland Chow, Debra Cortez, Tomas Delgado, Ruben Guevara, Maceo Hernandez, Dan Kwong, Jennifer Kuida, Jo Anna Ley, Kathy Masaoka, Stella Matsuda, Nobuko Miyamoto, and Paula Neustadt

Click image for link
These performances culminate Great Leap’s “To All Relations” residency project, which began in October 2002 with free community workshops. Participants have been hard at work during weekly sessions with Great Leap artists to craft their personal stories into short performance pieces that capture the spirit and energy of LA’s oldest multicultural neighborhood.  

Where:     Japanese American National Museum, 369 East First Street in Little Tokyo
When:      Saturday, January 25th at 2 pm and 4 pm (SOLD OUT)
               Sunday, January 26th at 2 pm (SOLD OUT)
               Thursday, January 30th at 7:30 pm (SOLD OUT)
               February 1st at 2 pm and 4 pm (SOLD OUT)
February 2nd at 2 pm and 4 pm (SOLD OUT)

Admission:  Free with museum entry ($6 Adults, $5 Seniors, $3 Students and Children ages 6-17, Museum Members and Children 5 and under are Free). To RSVP, please call Great Leap at 213.250.8800 or email.

January 19 - My Favorite Things
1. Red juicy plump tomatoes from my organic garden... no bugs, great shape and size.
2. Brown gold - watching old leaves, grass clippings and veggie scraps turn into beautiful organic compost.
3. When the weather is nice enough for me to hang laundry in the backyard and it doesn't feel like a chore.
4. Listening to recently discovered Classic Rock Radio 93.1 - music I can sing to... Journey, Styx, Kansas, etc.
5. Marking off another day completed in my yoga journal. When I do it regular, aches and pains disappear.
6. Days where I ate healthy, organic, meatfree and drank enough water to make my pee clear.
7. Guilty Pleasures... Cheese puffs. Kettle corn. Red Vines. Cream cheese. Sour cream. Anything with cheese.
8. Staying home an entire weekend day, working on my yard, cleaning the house. Almost never happens.
9. Serving the community. Serving the people.
10. Being in charge of successful events, ie., Manzanar Committee, Great Leap, Aloha Mural, a friend's wedding, etc.

11. Reading blogs, updating our website, receiving guestbook entries. Lots of hits.
12. Visiting friends in Detroit like Grace, Shea, Emily, Scott, Angela, Kibibi, Roxy, Zola, Jim, etc. 5 trips since 2000.
13. Spending time with nephews and niece, Kieth, Kyle, Danika and Chonie.
14. Going to small restaurants and stores where people know your name, or at least recognize you on sight.
15. Tony Osumi. Tony Osumi. Tony Osumi. My favorite thing. Definitely.

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January 16 - Friends and Surfers

Who are you? Do we know you? Are you friends, or did you just google onto the site? I know some bloggers who have 70,000 hits, or friends like bigbadchinesemama who get dozens of flaming guestbook entries every day. For kuidaosumi, we get maybe 10-15 people a day who click onto our humble little site. We're getting about one or two guestbook entries a month. And that is AMAZING to me. I also know there are a whole bunch of bloggers that I have bookmarked and follow regularly, but they have no idea who I am. Some people like Mike ask, "where's Tony's voice in the website? Is it kuidaosumi, or just kuida?" Well, that's a good question. He definitely doesn't want to keep a journal (worried about tmi). He keeps saying he wants to learn, and he often has content he wants me to put up. So even though you don't hear from him in the first person, some of the changes you might see are because he's standing behind me saying, "Baby, get rid of the black background. Make the text bigger." Or "We should have a Photo of the Week." (I thought Photo of the Month was more doable. Hey, I'm a busy woman.) Anyways, I'm always aware that my audience is friends, family and people who've just happened on the site who visit occasionally, and people who come back daily looking for blog updates, so I'm trying to keep a balance. But I don't think this will ever be a daily blog because of my life (see January 15th blog below.)
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January 15 - Doing My Duty
Oh noooo!!! Gotta vent! I just got assigned to a jury trial that is supposed to last at least another week! This is not a good time for me or Great Leap! But when is it? As you might know, we have 13 performances starting next week! This is the culmination of grants I wrote over 2 years ago. Running a small nonprofit means I am overseeing the entire project by cell phone. I have rehearsals, I am writing my piece (still), I am freaking out about performing (dancing). I am laying out the printed program, got to write another PR column, and supervising the bookings. I am finishing up yearend financials, doing annual tax forms. I just don't have a 9 to 5 job where I can put in my jury time and go home. So for the next few days, I write and exercise in the mornings, go to jury duty from 10:30-3:30, run to the office for a few hours to get a little work done and then run over to the museum for technical meetings, rehearsals and come home and make revisions to my piece, catch up on blogs, and spend time with my honey. Something's got to give, but I have barely gotten over being sick and I don't want it to be sleep. I have to stay positive, keep breathin, and do my best in each moment as I swing through life's craziness.

January 13 - Weekend Update
Wow it was a busy weekend. Tony & I went to the "No War Against Iraq" March and Rally on Saturday (see photos). It was pretty amazing. Counts varied from 15,000 - 30,000 depending on who was reporting it. People say it was pretty big for a war that is still gearing up. It was like a big happy lefty parade, very diverse people of all colors and ages. I have to say that I was most surprised at just how strong Anti-Bush sentiment is. Picket signs ranging from "Peace and Love are not just words" to "Bush War Monger." Anyways, it was nice to see a lot of folks there that I knew. The thing that bothered me most was the lack of Asians speaking at the rally. Jackson Browne, Dolores Huerta, Martin Sheen (acting President of the US), Michel Shehadeh, Ron Kovic and others spoke, but no Asians. Glenn Omatsu said, "Asians have a lot of work to do."

Other weekend notables: Worked on my outline for my Boyle Heights piece, had dinner at Hop Li with a bunch of friends. Afterwards we went with Mike & Laura to a new store at The Grove, called Organized Living (disappointing) and had chocolate chip cheesecake from Canter's Deli (omigosh). I was pretty wiped out after the long day. So Sunday was another whirlwind, wrote and surfed the web in the morning, went to work for a few hours, went to Boyle Heights to 2nd Sunday, then shopping in Northridge with Gayle, Darin, Saori and baby Kyle for Sao's birthday. Bought a bunch of clothes at Old Navy (first time there). Came home, saw The Surreal Life (lame), wrote some more. Today, I ran 9 (yes 9) errands and took flowers to the Evergreen Cemetery to visit my grandmas and went out to the Valley for dinner with my family for mom's birthday. Nephew Kieth was very entertaining. Tomorrow is my first and hopefully only day of jury duty.
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January 10 - Great Peace March
Tomorrow Tony & I are going to the big "Stop the War on Iraq" Peace March and Rally in downtown Los Angeles. I wrote about it in my latest column "Lil Tokyo's Call for Peace." From what I hear it's going to be a big one. Martin Sheen and Jackson Browne are supposed to be speakers. I have never been to any of the big marches in LA, so I am really looking forward to it. I've only participated in small marches and pickets in Koreatown, Chinatown and Little Tokyo. I'll report back and maybe take some photos. Jury duty next week - snooze. I am too busy for this, but it's something I gotta go do. We're in high production mode for Boyle Heights, the show goes up in 15 days. Hope I can have jury duty taken care of on Monday and be done with it.
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January 8 - Reflections on GL
Today was the 4th month of a 6th month intensive Arts Leadership Executive Learning Group I'm going through. It's been such an interesting process. Of the 8 people in the group, I am the only Asian, only woman of color and possibly (sometimes it's hard to tell) the youngest. I am learning a lot about different leadership styles, nonprofit board dysfunction, commiserating with other founders or arts administrators of small/mid-sized arts organizations. Many of the people in the group were at one time the only full-time person in the organization and now manage a growing staff (like me), or founded organizations and are wondering how/if/when there will be a transition (like Nob). People have different experiences and ways of handling similar situations, so it is great to hear other people's experiences. This afternoon we talked about personal limitations and boundaries and how our personal goals affect or limit our organizations. Since most everyone is so closely tied to the mission and passion of their organizations, it's not an easy subject for us. So I'm feeling the need to be more reflective and honest about my role at GL, what I offer it, and how I hinder it. I also feel like we do so much by the seat of our pants and am feeling the need for more planning and clarifying of vision and direction. It's all going hand in hand with the evaluation of our programs, visioning and strategic planning that we've been going through.

We finished at 4pm today, so I was able to go to the bank, get gas, change the oil in my car and get home by 6pm, something I never do. That was nice. On another note, we've just about finished the leftovers from Oshogatsu and are cooking at home. Tony & I made tofu enchiladas last night. I made lentils and Chile Cheese Rollups (appetizers I never made on NY Day) the night before. Tony's still riding his bike daily and I'm still doing the yoga thing.
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January 6 - Mirror, Mirror

Working at home today. Trying to get rid of this phlegm and wheezing. Got a lot done on my BH piece today and I'll be meeting with Nobuko and Dan later this week.

So have you heard about The Mirror Project website? It's a pretty cool website where people upload photos taken by themselves in a mirror or reflective surface. I took these a few days ago. What do you think? Should I submit them to the website? Are they any good? I think they're kinda funny. Brings up that age old question about what is art? Is it me in my bathroom taking pictures of myself in the mirror? Click

January 5 - Last Day Off

It's Sunday. Time to get back to work tomorrow. I'm bummed that I didn't get done all the things I planned to get done during these days off. We did drop off a bunch of donations for the Asian Pacific Women's Shelter and the Boys & Girls Club, stuff we collected while cleaning the house the last few days, and I made an awesome guacamole dip. January is going to be such a busy month. I have jury duty, yech. We have 13 performances for the Boyle Heights project starting on January 25th. I tried to write my piece on Friday nite. I will probably tell a 3-5 minute story about going to my grandma's house/church every 2nd Sunday in Boyle Heights, playing with my cousins. I will probably talk about Raul, who I wrote a Rafu column about years ago. Tony's off for another week and is in that vacation mode of surfing ebay all nite, going to bed at 9am and sleeping all day. Yesterday he slept till 2pm. Still trying to get rid of this darn cold. That's it folks. Not too terribly exciting.

January 3, 2003 -
Friday Five
1. Do you wear any jewelry? What kind?
Wedding ring and matching earrings.
2. How often do you wear it? I never take the ring off except to clean, maybe once a month or less. Earrings come off every night. Every now and then I'll wear different earrings.
3. Do you have any piercings? If so, where? Double in each ear from back in college, but the top ones were never quite right and have been semi-closed for at least a decade. Every now and then I can shove an earring in the top ones, but it kind of hurts.
4. Do you have any tattoos? If so, where?
5. What are your plans for the weekend?
Balance my checkbook, finish cross stitch for nephew (born October!), filing papers, grant paperwork for Manzanar, write piece for Boyle Heights performance in January, put furniture back into place, look for replacement furniture, new drapes, return a few Xmas gifts, make guacamole with ripe avocados, surfing (blogs), ie., not too much. Monday is back to work.

January 2 - HNY and Resolutions

It's 2003. Whew! We had 44 people come for Oshogatsu yesterday. A nice mixture of friends and family. Lots of good food, including the traditional Japanese ossechi plate. Mike and Laura came and helped get things going. Will post the photos and list of foods served shortly.
Click image for more photos

After everyone left, Mike came back to hang out. The toilet overflowed. Tony went to fix it and the plunger broke! They went to Ralph's to get a new plunger. They came back, and Tony fixed it. He then put all the towels he used to mop the floor in the washer, forgetting that the tub that the washing machine water drains into still had ice and drinks in it. We didn't realize this until the washer overflowed/flooded into the kitchen almost to the living room. Yikes! So Mike & Tony swept out all the water and mopped it up. Half hour later I was back to doing dishes. I was walking and talking to Mike & Tony when my slipper slipped on some water, my ankle twisted under and I landed on my ass! Tony called it a comedy of errors. We were happy it didn't happen when we had a house full of people!

Since I've been sick, I decided to take today and tomorrow off to recuperate, even though I had planned to go back to work today. Just as well, Tony & I slept until noon today. Today, we cleaned all day. Tony did laundry room maintenance and I did dishes (platters) for several hours last night and just about all afternoon.

Tony's resolution is to ride his bike 365 days in 2003. I suggested he put x's on the calendar for every day he does it or doesn't do it. He said he was going to do it every day, so what was the point. (Umm, we have some rusty exercise equipment on the patio that we paid $350 a few years ago!) Anyhow, I like to keep lists and logs of things, like my yoga journal so I can track my accomplishments. For example I did yoga 28 out of 31 days this month, so next month I will shoot for improvement. Anyways, he did his second day of bike riding tonight. I still have to do my yoga, even though I didn't make a resolution. I just want to keep trying my best to do it as often as I can.

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Last update: 5/3/03