Back in July, Audrey told you all about Plate by Plate in Los Angeles and in August, we previewed the annual tasting benefit in San Francisco. The time has come and passed, and this year’s event by the Bay fulfilled its promise of bringing together a terrific crowd to enjoy the company of each other, support the community, and of course, devour plenty of delicious tiny dishes!
The 3rd Annual Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit organized by the San Francisco chapter of Project by Project took place on September 22 at the spacious and gorgeous Bently Reserve near the Embarcadero Center. The evening attracted some hundred of finely dressed attendees to socialize and enjoy three rooms of food samples, desserts, and liquor. Actual Rafiq, Redstickman, Speakeasy Ray, and Big Sloppy of The Ambient Mafia provided the sounds for the event, and a silent auction for some fun items was also in place.
Last weekend in San Francisco was a busy one with Outside Lands, baseball, and preseason football going on, but there was one other big event that brought more hustle and bustle to the city: The 19th Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens was also the only event where you could hear good music and watch a live sport at the same time, plus find the rare entertainment in watching people eat ice cream and duck eggs. Pistahan—which ran for two days on August 11th and 12th—is the largest street celebration of Filipino culture in San Francisco, and this year’s event broke some new ground as well as kept up with beloved traditions.
Rakenrol. Say it out loud and all it is is the Filipino spelling of the music that continues to influence generations. For the protagonists in Quark Henares’ film of that title, it’s their reason for living, loving, and dreaming. And yes, anti-fairy tales of bands coming together, struggling, and inevitably breaking up seem to be an easy way out in coming up with a hip and youthful plot for a movie or TV show. But you have yet to see such a sentimental ode to Filipino rock music over the years in a film, until you’ve seen Rakenrol. Filled with an eccentric mix of characters, celebrity appearances, all types of humor, love stories, and of course, an awesome soundtrack, Rakenrol is a different kind of modern musical dramedy.
Filmmaking is emerging as a dominant form of art and expression in the Philippines, and Bay Area audiences will soon have a first-hand opportunity to see for themselves just how strong and diverse it is. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents New Filipino Cinema, from June 7-10 and June 17. The comprehensive showcase will feature 29 films—narratives, documentaries, and experiential shorts—many of them as U.S. premieres.
“There’s an incredible resurgence of talent and energy in independent cinema in the Philippines right now that is not really known internationally,” said Joel Shepard, YBCA’s Film/Video Curator. Shepard co-curated the program with Philbert Ortiz Dy, the film critic for Clickthecity.com and writer-at-large for Esquire Philippines. “It’s an amazing renaissance that I really wanted to celebrate and bring to the U.S.” Shepard took four trips to the country in the past two years to meet with filmmakers, critics, and production staff and watched over a hundred films in preparation for this program before narrowing it down to the final titles.
With food trucks, cooking demos, a festive parade, two stages of live entertainment, a landmark health awareness presentation, lots of booths to buy both authentic and offbeat Asian-themed merchandise, and much more (Did we mention lots of food?), there was no better place to be for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month than at the Eighth Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. Held on May 19th in San Francisco’s Civic Center and Little Saigon districts and produced by AsianWeek Foundation, the city’s largest APAHM celebration was a festive and extremely well-rounded event to bring together Asian Pacific American communities and spotlight Asian cultures. Aside from the festival’s yearly offerings of music, dance, culinary delights, arts and crafts, the Faces of Asia cultural procession, and community networking, the 2012 festival broke new ground in bringing cooking demos by celebrity chefs to foodies and in launching the first-ever National Hepatitis Testing Day.
Taj Campton Place and Asian Art Museum
ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Anna M. Park
If you can’t get to India, do the next best thing. The historic Taj Campton Place in San Francisco’s bustling Union Square is offering guests the chance to experience the life of India’s great Maharajas with the modern hospitality of a Taj hotel. The Royal Retreat package includes a deluxe room, daily breakfast for two, and VIP passes to the Asian Art Museum exhibit “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts.” The Maharajas of India were some of the wealthiest rulers in the world and their “toys” prove it. From gold thrones and silver carriages, to Man Ray photographs and jewels galore, the Indian royals lived in luxury from the 1700s to the 1940s.
Once you’ve satiated the senses with earthly treasures, return to the Taj to feast on delicacies from Indian chef Sri Gopinathan, who helms the one-star Michelin ranked Campton Place restaurant. Details Through April 8, 415-781-5555, <a href=”http://camptonplace.com”>camptonplace.com</a>.
As I was walking up the stairs to the Dumpling Wars event, the scent of fresh dumplings and savory Asian cuisine had surrounded me and my mouth started watering. With a huge appetite and grumbling tummies, my photographer Erilou and I were ready to chow down on all the fresh dumplings. Held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Kearny Street Workshop presented one their first-ever dumpling contest, Dumpling Wars. Six teams of amateur chefs came together to compete at creating the best dumpling. With well renowned chefs as judges, there was no doubt that these contestants had to bring it on. For this event, there were two winners. Not only do the judges place their vote, but the dumpling enthusiasts AKA the entire audience got to place their vote on their favorite dumpling. Read more on Audrey’s coverage at Dumpling Wars.