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Filmmaker H.P. Mendoza: Sights & Sounds


Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Filmmaker H.P. Mendoza told KALW’s Jen Chien about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this week.

Credit CAAMFest

On the cusp of its 30th anniversary, master filmmaker Wayne Wang’s Eat A Bowl Of Tea continues to charm audiences with humor and soul. Based on the classic Asian American novel, the movie transports the audience to the 1940s and introduces us to a group of charismatic Chinese bachelors in New York City’s Chinatown. Wah Gay, played by legendary actor Victor Wong, pushes his son Ben Loy (Russell Wong) to find a wife and have a child. Things don’t go as planned as Loy’s life becomes too much managing a restaurant, battling parental pressures and working through marital conflicts. In a breakout performance, Russell Wong perfectly portrays the harsh realities of early Asian American immigrants with a sense of whimsy and style. In this rare director’s cut, Wang’s landmark Asian American feature is as relevant as it’s ever been.

"Eat A Bowl Of Tea, despite being about the Chinese Exclusion Act and the G.I. bill during World War II, it's a lighter movie! It's cheery and charming."

Credit Incarcerated 6x9

Exploring the hopes, delusions and the ultimate will to survive in the loneliest, most bitter place on the planet, Incarcerated 6×9 is inspired by the real-life accounts of young Pinoy and Asian Americans incarcerated between 1966 and 2008. The immersive hourlong dance-media performance is the latest work by Alleluia Panis, who was named the first ever San Francisco Legacy Artist by the San Francisco Arts Commission. The bold, physically and emotionally layered work of creative nonfiction located in the year 2048 highlights the state of humanity in the United States 150 years after the U.S. bid for global power began. With abstract simulations of a jail cell’s six-by-nine dimensions, giving audience members a visceral glimpse into life behind bars. The story is told through the lives of three inmates and their struggles to endure the American judicial system. Incarcerated 6×9 is performed by a cast of ten dancers from May 4-13, and runs at Bindlestiff Studio’s intimate black box theater, located in the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District.

"To witness this and just watching these beautiful bodies just gyrating up there and making you feel for the last 50 years of incarceration of Filipino-Americans, there's something profound about that."


Art Explosion Studios, the Mission's largest artist's collective, is holding its annual Spring Open Studios 5/11-13. Come see over 100 artists as they open their studios to exhibit their work. Painters, sculptures, photographers, fashion designers and jewelers will be showing so there will be something for every type of art connoisseur. The free opening reception gala will be on 5/11 from 7-11 p.m. Meet the artists in their studios and get a personal showing of their art. In addition to artists opening their studios our galleries will be filled with hundreds of art works to peruse. The event is free.

"I remember going to an open studio in New York that just made me feel like, oh! ... I wish this actually existed in San Francisco. And when I came back to San Francisco in 2006, finding out it had existed, I realized how arrogant of me to assume it didn't exist because I hadn't heard of it!"

H.P.'s newest movie Bitter Melon is premiering at CAAMFest 2018 between 5/12-5/23 at multiple venues.