Originally self-published in 1935, H.T. Tsiang’s satiric, experimental, proletarian novel The Hanging on Union Square explores leftist politics in Depression-era New York in an ambitious style that combines satirical allegory with snatches of poetry, newspaper quotations, non-sequiturs, and slogans, as well as elements of classical and contemporary Chinese literature. The novel follows a young man throughout a single day that takes him from a worker’s cafeteria to dinner clubs and sexual exploitation in the highest echelons of society, then back again to the streets of NYC, where starving families rub shoulders with the recently evicted. Adventurous and unclassifiable in its combination of avant-garde and proletarian concerns, The Hanging on Union Square is a major rediscovery of a uniquely American voice.
Please join us for a celebration and series of brief readings from the book by Floyd Cheung, Hua Hsu, Soomi Kim, Sunyoung Lee, Nicky Paraiso, and Ken Chen.
Ken Chen is the Executive Director of The Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the 2009 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, the oldest annual literary award in the United States, for his debut poetry collection Juvenilia. He is one of the founders of CultureStrike, a national artist movement on immigration which organized 300 writers to boycott Arizona in the wake of SB1070 and brings writers to the immigration frontlines in this country. In addition to blogging for the avant-garde poetry blog Montevidayo, Ken helped found Arts & Letters Daily, a cultural website described by the New York Times as “required reading for the global intelligentsia” and called the “best website in the world” by the Guardian. His writing has appeared or been recognized in Best American Essays 2006, Best American Essays 2007 (Honorable Mention), the Boston Review, CNN.com, Fence, and Art Asia Pacific. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers conference.
Floyd Cheung is a professor of English literature and of American studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is also a member of the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program, for which he served as the founding chair. Born in Hong Kong, he grew up in Las Vegas, earned his B.A. at Whittier College, and his Ph.D. at Tulane University. Interested in the recovery of early Asian American authors, he has written about H. T. Tsiang, Kathleen Tamagawa, Yung Wing, Yan Phou Lee, and John Okada, among others. With Keith Lawrence, he co-edited Recovered Legacies: Authority and Identity in Early Asian American Literature.
Hua Hsu teaches at Vassar College. He has written for Artforum, the Atlantic, Grantland (where he is a staff writer), the New York Times, and Slate. He is currently completing his first book, A Floating Chinaman, which considers the competing visions for a U.S.-China future that circulated in the popular novels and reportage of the interwar years—as well as the bizarre interpersonal rivalries these competing accounts inspired. He is on the board of The Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
Soomi Kim is a Korean born NYC based actor/performing artist. She creates, performs, and produces her own work as well as performing for other artists and companies, almost always in the collaborative setting. Her original works include: Lee/gendary, Dictee: bells fall a peal to sky, and Chang(e) currently being developed through the HERE Arts Residency Program. She often collaborates with director Suzi Takahashi and composer Jen Shyu. She describes her work as biographically driven narratives presented in a theatrical hybrid format; inspired by Asian American visionaries whose lives were cut short (Bruce Lee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Kathy Change). Artist in Residence at: HERE Arts Center and the Hemispheric Institute (politics in performance). www.soomikim.com
Nicky Paraiso is an actor, musician, writer, performance artist, and curator. He is the Director of Programming at The Club at La MaMa and the Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. Nicky has been a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. He has also worked as an actor/performer with Jeff Weiss & Carlos Ricardo Martinez, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks, Ma-Yi Theater Company, National Asian American Theater Company, among many others. A critically-acclaimed solo performance artist, his one-man shows Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels and House/Boy have been presented at La MaMa ETC, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, and on tour in the US, Europe, and Asia. Paraiso’s awards include a 1987 New York Dance & Performance BESSIE Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, and a 2005 NY Innovative Theater Award for his performance in Theodora Skipitares’ Iphigenia. He is a recipient of the 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award. His autobiographical writing appears in the new anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City.