My deep thanks to Kulap Vilaysack and all of her friends and colleagues in the amazing Laos Angeles network as I arrived into California on the next leg of my Laodyssey to ostensibly get the last of my gear from the Inland Empire and head back to Minnesota for the foreseeable future. While the “get your stuff” part of the plan went hilariously pear-shaped, her hospitality was rejuvenating and energizing.
It was a significant moment in Lao American history I feel to go over not only what has happened but where we might go in the years ahead. Laos Angeles is quickly proving to be a highly energized network of immense potential, and if any Lao are interested in relocating to Los Angeles to seek their destiny, this is an essential group to connect with.
It was fascinating to me to see how they grew out of the Lao American Writers Summit in many ways, and other parts of the Lao American diaspora. As I think of the communities I feel the strongest affinity for stretched across the US I appreciate the distinct voice and model they’re creating and look forward to what’s yet ahead for them.
It was a good opportunity to reconnect with many of the original members of the Lao network in Los Angeles that I’ve known such as TeAda Productions with Ova Saopeng, Leilani Chan and Lidet Viravong. I also ran into Sydney Viengluang again, and what a difference a year makes in our lives, but that’s a whole different story in itself.
During this visit to Laos Angeles I had the chance to see a new Lao horror movie in production thanks to the vision and ambition of Phet Mahathongdy O’Donnell. It’s looking great as a short film, and I’m very excited about what this can mean for our community. I’ll see what we can do to bring it up to Minneapolis in 2019!
I went to one of the community’s Friendsgivings and a Laos Angeles Potluck, although on account of some very naughty doggies I was pupsitting, I couldn’t stay as long as I wanted. Overall, it was an eye-opening experience and I learned a great deal that I look forward to discussing at length another time.
Interestingly enough I also got treated to a chance to train with Kulap Vilaysack’s kickboxing coach, and it was a hilariously memorable experience that went as well as one might expect, but I appreciate her patience and encouragement. And also warn anyone not to mess with Kulap because she drop you like a bad sack of beans if she has to. But more to follow!