“What? No Ping-Pong Balls,” On Stage At Highways Space This Weekend

Friday, 14 Jun 2013, 8:58:00 AM

Mitch James

“What? No Ping-Pong Balls,” which is written, created, and performed by Dan Kwong.
Courtesy image
“What? No Ping-Pong Balls,” which is written, created, and performed by Dan Kwong.

Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica this weekend

presents the show “What? No Ping-Pong Balls,” which is written, created, and

performed by Dan Kwong.

Shows will be held today and Saturday at 8:30 pm and

Sunday at 7:30 pm.

As a solo multimedia performance artist, Kwong

collaborates with renowned taiko drummer Kenny Endo to celebrate the life of

Kwong’s late mother, Momo Nagano, an eccentric Japanese-American artist who

prevailed over sexism and racism as a single parent during the period of social

upheaval in America beginning in the early 1960s.

“What? No Ping-Pong Balls?” (from the cryptic title of

Nagano’s autobiography) traces her journey from all-American childhood in Los

Angeles to WWII internment camp; defiant marriage with a Chinese immigrant to

divorcee with four young kids; urban housewife to Venice Beach hippie artist.

Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of hippie

counter-culture and the birth of modern feminism, Nagano’s story is one of

courageous border-crossing, continual self-invention and fierce motherly


In researching the topic of single motherhood in the

U.S., Kwong was shocked to find virtually nothing written, researched, or

documented about Asian Americans.

Like so much of the Asian American experience, it is an

invisible story.

Through video interviews with other Asian American

single moms from the ‘60s through today, Kwong weaves the multiplicities of

their experiences into his performance.

Along with his trademark comical props and compelling

monologues, Kwong utilizes a multimedia arsenal of home movies, documentary

footage, archival family photos and period television clips.

An exhibition of several of Nagano’s major weavings will

be featured in the Highways Lobby Gallery through June 30.

Highways is located at 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica in

the 18th Street Arts Center.

General tickets are $20, members/seniors/students are


For more information, call 310.315.1649 or visit www.highwaysperformance.org.

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