BEGIN:VCALENDAR VERSION:2.0 PRODID:-//PYVOBJECT//NONSGML Version 1//EN BEGIN:VEVENT UID:events.uid.938@www.discovernikkei.org DTSTART:20051007T000000Z DTEND:20051022T000000Z DESCRIPTION:Press Enterprise (Riverside\, CA)\n\nOctober 7\, 2005\, Friday\ n\nSECTION: THE GUIDE\; Pg. AA19\n\nLENGTH: 685 words\n\nHEADLINE: THE ART S\;\nON STAGE\;\nNew play explores artist's response to internment\n\nBYLI NE: PAT O'BRIEN\; THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE\n\nBODY:\n\n War and prejudice de posited Min Okubo in an internment camp but her art\nlanded her on the wor ld stage.\n An unusual play has been written about Okubo by Riverside au thor Mary\nCurtin and is being performed at EdgeFest\, an annual showcase of new and\nexperimental plays for Los Angeles-based theater artists.\n "This is a play that's born in Riverside\," said Curtin\, who met Okubo\nb efore she died in 2001 and was dumbfounded by her life story.\n Okubo wa s born in 1912 in Riverside and graduated from Poly High School\nand River side Junior College (now Community). Her mother was a noted\ncalligrapher\ , and her father was a scholar in Japan who became a gardener in\nRiversid e. \n After earning a master's degree from UC Berkeley\, Okubo won a fel lowship\nin 1938 to study art in France and Italy.\n "She came back on t he last passenger ship before war was declared in\nEurope\," Curtin said.\ n Broke on her return\, she found work doing public art projects through the\nfederal WPA in the San Francisco area.\n "She was working on a mur al on an army base when Japan bombed Pearl\nHarbor\," Curtin said.\n Lik e other Japanese Americans who were suddenly considered enemies\nbecause o f their ancestry\, Okubo and a brother were taken to an internment\ncenter where they slept in a stable.\n The internees were given numbers\, rath er than names\, for identity.\n Later\, Okubo would write and illustrate a book about the camps\, "Citizen\n13660." It was first published in 1946 and had its sixth printing in 2001.\n She and her brother were transfer red after six months at the first camp\nto another in Utah.\n Okubo did pen and ink drawings of what she saw. She taught art to\nchildren there. E ventually she entered a magazine contest with a drawing of\na camp guard.\ n Fortune Magazine\, discovering her talent\, offered her a job in New Y ork\nthat led to her release from the camp. Okubo shipped a crate of her\n belongings straight to the magazine's offices\, and someone found her a\nG reenwich Village apartment where she would live for the next 50 years\,\nb ecoming part of the New York art scene and creating paintings and other\na rtworks that would be exhibited from Boston to Tokyo.\n "Min\, A Name fo r Herself" is presented as if audience members are\nvisitors to that apart ment.\n "We set it up as a performance salon. This is something Min did in New\nYork City\," said director Theresa Larkin\, a theater professor at Cal State\nLA and one of the founders of The Artists Collective\, a nonpr ofit group that\nis presenting the play.\n The audience will be able to move around. There will be dance and\noriginal music.\n "It's kind of br eaking a lot of conventions\," said Larkin\, who has been\ninvolved in dev eloping the project since Curtin first told her about Okubo.\n "When she started telling me about this\, I said 'it sounds like a\nperformance pie ce'\," Larkin said.\n But Larkin insists that the real gift of the piece is Okubo herself.\n "She was an incredible\, an interesting\, a self-po ssessed woman who never\ngave up her dignity or ideals despite the camp\," \nLarkin said. "She took all of the hardships life brought her and respond ed\nevery single time artistically. I think it's a message for all of us." \n Actress Ren Hanmi who portrays Okubo says she keeps having little\nep iphanies as she reacts to the material.\n "I grew up not knowing anythin g about my heritage. I have always\, as an\nartist\, struggled with my ide ntity. I am American.\nI was born in Los Angeles and raised in Orange Coun ty\," she said. "The\nexperience of portraying her life is enlightening an d is very fulfilling and\nenriching."\n There is a plan to bring the pla y to Riverside in February 2006.\n* * *\n'MIN\, A NAME FOR HERSELF '\n Where: Theatre One\, Los Angeles Theatre Center\, 514 S. Spring St.\ , Los\nAngeles\n When: 11:15 p.m. today\, Saturday and Oct. 14-15\, Oct. 21-22\n Tickets: $ 25 (with food)\, $ 15 (no food)\n Information: (86 6) 811-4111\n On the Web: <a href="http://www.edgeoftheworld.org/">www.e dgeoftheworld.org</a> SUMMARY:"Mine A Name for Herself" : A Mine Okubo Play URL:/en/events/2005/10/07/mine-a-name-for-herself--a-mine-okubo-play/ END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR