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
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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