Downtown Saint Paul is rarely accused of being exotic. But hidden right in its midst is a thriving, bustling microcosm of the great wide world. I’m talking about Seventh Place. Only one block long, Seventh Place is Saint Paul’s answer to European pedestrian-only city centers. From the golden entry archway facing St. Peter Street to the frequent bustle of the Wabasha pedestrian crossing, the patterned brick underfoot lifts its denizens out of the workaday world and transports them to an old city square in Nordic Europe, or on days when the farmers’ market is in session, to Southeast Asia.Print This Post
My wedding day began at 1 a.m., when I got up for work as anchor and producer of Sunrise 7, the morning show on WSAU-TV, based in Wausau, Wisconsin. After my shift ended at 9 a.m., I met up with my fiancé, Noah, to say goodbye until our wedding night, then headed for my mother’s home in Saint Paul. Born and raised in the United States, Noah and I are what you could call a typical American couple. But we also treasure our Hmong heritage and wanted to honor our families by following the tradition that has spanned many generations. Although we’ve been engaged for a year, we can’t get married until our families give their official approval and agree on a dowry. There is no guarantee this will happen.Print This Post
Event curator, Tou SaiKo Lee believes in building an influential movement within the Hmong community through the arts. He is a spoken word artist, mentor and hip hop activist. A mentor for youth at schools and community centers across the country, he speaks about issues that include human rights, diversity, racism, gang violence and arts for social change. Tou SaiKo Lee is the co-founder of “The H Project” a compilation music CD inspired by the human right violations of Hmong people in the jungles of Laos. Spoken word performers at the Feb 21st Lowertown Reading Jam include Ed Bok Lee, Juliana Pegues, Bao Phi, Saymoukda Vongsay, Kevin Yang, Chanmany Sysengchanh, David Vulocity, Chilli Lor, Laurine Chang and Gaoiaong Vang.Print This Post
I search the concourse for the family,
a family whose people
were swept away by a river red with blood.
Swept when a secret war ended.
Swept from the mountains of Laos,
Swept in one day from the steamy jungle
to Minnesota’s pre-dawn dark.
I am a Hmong boy who lives to eat rice.
I wonder how much rice can feed the world.
I hear the sound of Mama packing the rice from the “vab”
I see the steam from the freshly cooked rice that makes my mouth water...
The Saint Paul Almanac continues its year-round literary celebration of the capital city with an entertaining and thought-provoking schedule of free author events throughout February. The events kick off with the Monday, February 1, Lowertown Reading Jam from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Cafe, 308 Prince Street, by the Farmers' Market in Saint Paul's Lowertown. Hosted and produced by Tou SaiKo Lee, this month's Reading Jam features the voices of more than a dozen local Hmong men.Print This Post
Nov 2nd, 2009 Lowertown Reading Jam: May Lee-Yang presents fresh voices, new works by Hmong Women and Girls
If you're interested in hearing fresh new voices by emerging Hmong American writers and new works-in-progress by more established Hmong American writers, check out the Lowertown Reading Jam at the Black Dog this Monday November 2, 7-8:30 p.m! The featured readers include Gaoiaong Vang, Mai Yang Xiong, Linda Hawj, Mai Neng Moua, and May Lee-Yang. [...]Print This Post