LaoMagination: Bryan Thao Worra & Kaysone Syonesa

In 2020, in collaboration with the Joyce Foundation and the Lao Assistance Center, Bryan Thao Worra and Kaysone Syonsea and 40+ artists will present LAOMAGINATION 45, an interactive, interdisciplinary exhibition presenting multi-generational stories of the Lao community as it marks its 45th anniversary. This is a special preview performance of one of the key storytelling works incorporating poetry, visual and performance art that will be presented during the main exhibit.

Bryan Thao Worra is the Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate, and president of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (est. 1978). Previously representing the nation of Laos during the 2012 Poetry Parnassus of the London Summer Games, he is the first Lao American to hold an NEA Fellowship in Literature (2009) and is a 2019 Joyce Award Fellow.

Kaysone Syonesa is a Lao American playwright, theater artist, poet and storyteller. She has produced multicultural, intergenerational plays with various communities and youth of color throughout Minnesota and has work appearing in Lantern Review, the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, and Little Laos on the Prairie among others.

Nite Yun founded Nyum Bai with one vision: to preserve and share Cambodian culture through food. The idea to start Nyum Bai came to Yun at a small noodle stall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Halfway through her bowl of Kuy Teav Phnom Penh, Yun realized a need to bring the beauty of Cambodia back with her to the States and represent for a culture that’s been tainted by war and genocide. She recreated her mother’s recipes from scratch, put together a menu, and set out to introduce Cambodian street food classics to the Bay Area.

Since 2014, Nyum Bai has grown from catering gigs, to pop ups, to a food counter in the Emeryville Public Market. Nite's team sought to create a space dedicated to the sights, sounds, and tastes of Cambodia’s Golden Era, and in February 2018, opened their first, brick and mortar in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. This is their way of preserving Cambodian culture through food.

Chef Nite will speak briefly during dinner. The experience also features a musical journey guided by DJ Smokestack, an Oakland based funk connoisseur, who along with La Pelanga brings the best of Afro-latinx diasporic music. Smokestack also reps Oakland Street Stylers, who promotes Oakland's growing street soccer culture and the creative space between breakdance, soccer, and community organizing.

On September 27, Chef Nite prepares a dinner that includes:

•Crispy rice crackers
• Prahok Ktiss - Grounded Pork Belly simmered in coconut milk, Khmer paste and fermented fish paste. Served with a variety of seasonal vegetables.
• Ngoum Chicken Salad - Banana blossom, cabbage, mint, sweet basil, bell peppers, cucumber in sweet fish sauce dressing
• Fried tilapia with sweet tomatoes, ginger lime sauce and seasonal veggies

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The dinner program features a musical journey guided by DJ Smokestack, an Oakland based funk connoisseur, who along with La Pelanga has been bringing soulful Afro-Latinx Diasporic music on vinyl for 10 years. Smokestack will share the grooviest highlights from his travels through South Asia, in a slight nod to his 1970’s bollywood funk x breakbeat series, Shitala.


Hari Kondabolu is a comedian, writer & podcaster based in Brooklyn, NY. He has been described by The NY Times as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” In 2018, his Netflix special “Warn Your Relatives” was released and he was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics To Watch. Hari has released two comedy albums two albums, “Waiting for 2042” & “Mainstream American Comic” with the legendary indie rock label Kill Rock Stars. He has performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up Show, @Midnight & has his own half-hour special on Comedy Central.

A former writer & correspondent on the Chris Rock produced FX TV show “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” In 2017, he released his critically acclaimed documentary “The Problem with Apu” on truTV. Hari is a regular on the public radio gameshow “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me," has appeared on such notable radio shows and podcasts as Fresh Air with Terry Gross, WTF with Marc Maron, 2 Dope Queens, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Prairie Home Companion, Wits, Studio 360, and Bullseye, and co-hosted the popular “Politically Reactive” podcast with W. Kamau Bell. He currently co-hosts “The Kondabolu Brothers Podcast” with his brother Ashok on Earwolf.

Hari attended both Bowdoin College and Wesleyan University, graduating from the former institution with a B.A. in Comparative Politics in 2004. A former immigrant rights organizer in Seattle, Hari also earned a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics in 2008. He was the NYU’s APA Institute’s “Artist in Residence” for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. Hari was born and raised in Queens, NY. He went to Townsend Harris High School and the school’s mascot, “Hari the Hawk,” was named after him during his senior year.

Take the sultry vibe of the Latin American Tropics, combine with the rhythm of India ("Taal") and stir into TROPITAAL: a DESI LATINO SOUNDCLASH! Tropitaal where the hottest club sounds from India and Latin America go head to head in an all-night dance-off of epic proportions.

Resident DJs Anjali & The Incredible Kid combine their deep passions and deep crates from across the spectrum of Latin, Indian and Caribbean vibes. (We are not talking Salsa - but Reggaeton, Moombahton, Digital Cumbia, 3Ball Guarachero, Dembow and more.)

Date & Time: September 27 • 7:00PM
Location: Starline Social Club

The complete performance experience is included with each ticket, while the dinner package is limited.