Look Mae, they're talking about us.
"Among the colors, haunting memories of 'Secret War'... the exhibit is a visceral lesson in how America's war in Vietnam crept into neighboring Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia."
"Turning our attention to the dazzling mural by Boon Vong at the center of the show, we are introduced to the clothing of Lao traditional dance. Theatrical dance is a staple of Southeast Asian culture, with dramatic stage performances playing out historical legends through movement, song and ornate costumes. This larger-than-life figure shows a young woman dressed in Kinnaly attire against a bright, sky blue field. Seen at such large proportions, the details are all the more visible, the bisected dancer's outfit unfurling beneath her raised arm. Capturing the style and poise of these classical Lao forms, this artwork is all but a teaser for a full-fledged production of this kind, and it surely leaves visitors wanting more."
"A parade with seven princesses and a king's severed head. It's not Game of Thrones, it's Lao New Year."
"It is not necessarily so that the biggest communities are where the biggest voices come from," Bryan Thao Worra said. "It's precisely the smaller communities where we have seen the best work emerge, asking the classic questions: Who am I? Where am I from? How did I get here?"
As a poet and spoken word artist, Vilayphonh, 31, aims to create a feeling of identity among Lao Americans in Philly and explain the mass exodus from Laos through a writing, performing and filmmaking workshop, entitled “Laos in the House.” She fears that if an intergenerational exchange doesn’t happen soon, aspects of Laotian culture will be lost forever.
"The dinner, in all of its splendor and celebratory spirit, is, really, a de facto component of the Laos in the House Project too... Food, embedded in daily life and customs, is as defining as any part of culture - as the Songkran dinner will undoubtedly evoke food memories about a time and place, back in Laos where folks smelled the same smells, tasted the same flavors, when village life thrived, and when normalcy, seeming like an alien force once the bombs began to fall, still ruled. Or, maybe, food, like a life force, was something that made living bearable and grounded it to a routine that buffered the suffering that followed."
There aren’t any symbolic foods or traditions that usher in wealth and good luck, nor are there sound-alike ingredients for gold and long life. A practical people, Laotians eat everyday foods to ring in the new year. “There’s no one thing that we must eat,” says Catzie. “We’ll just eat everything that we like.”
"Everybodyyyy! Laos in the House! It's just fun to say."