On March 8th-9th , Lambda Phi Epsilon brought 3 special guests to their 2nd iteration of IDX, Identity Xpression, a two-day event celebrating the diversity and arts in media and entertainment filled with workshops, a panel discussion, and showcase to end the event.
This year, we brought Anthony Lee from KINJAZ, who hopes to “promote positivity and inspire and encourage others through dance and entertainment”, and Bart & Joe from JustKidding Films, a comedic duo known to tackle social, contemporary, and cultural issues, while capturing and playing to universal sentiments through their short films on Youtube.
This article is to share what was experienced and learned from these 2 awe-inspiring days.
Day 1 : Anthony Lee Workshops at Roble 52
Vinh Bui picked up Anthony Lee, Bart Kwan, and Joe Jo from SFO at 11 AM. With help from the Stanford Dance Departments, the brothers set up the stage at Roble 52 for the series of dance workshops taught by Anthony Lee. From two to six, Lee singlehandedly taught four back-to-back workshops showing the Stanford community how he pops and locks. The students who entered the studio were from varying years, all with unique and very different backgrounds in dance. Because of his careful instruction, his patience, and his attentiveness to his students different experience levels, he was able to articulate and teach his methods and choreography. By the end of the day, 150 students walked out of his workshops with more insights on how to express themselves creatively.
Day 2: JKF Workshops, Panel Discussion with Professor Murphy Shigematsu, and The Final Showcase
By 2 PM, the atmosphere was more intimate. Bart and Joe lead the daywith their set of improvisational workshops at Cypress Hall. From the classic sound ball to the rhyming game, the comedic duo knew how to keep the energy level up in the room. Students were able to be up close and personal with the duo as everyone were on the same levels. Some highlights include Bart and Joe inquiring Anthony Dao and Anthony Lee as they realized they were interviewing for a cow milking job. Laughter continued from start to finish in this workshop because of the duo’s ability to keep the participants and audience constantly engaged.
By 3:30 PM, Professor Murphy-Shigematsu, consulting professor of the Asian American Studies Department and Stanford School of Medicine, came to help moderate the discussion the guests. Throughout this hour long discussion, Murphy-Shigematsu asked how they approached their art, their backgrounds influenced their cultivation of their art, and how Asian American identity affected their art. Some key takeaways were that while these Anthony and Bart & Joe were friends, they all decided to commit to their passion full-time. They saw Youtube as a platform to share their expression without any censorship. What originally was for their friends now became a way for them to reclaim their identity as Asian Americans, as individuals. Anthony Lee was no longer a generic Asian, 6’0” dancer who was auditioning for a pop artist’s music video. Youtube gave them their names back and allowed them to express their ideas freely and share them directly to the fans who appreciate their work.
The showcase capped off the day of events. Performances from HD, Common Origins, Alliance, Dv8, and Stanford BBoys illustrated the diversity of dancers and styles that the Stanford University had to offer. This was also accompanied with Everyday People, an acapella group who mixes soul and R&B. We then capped it with a solo with Anthony Lee who got the crowds asking for more. Lastly, Just Kidding Films capped off the show by providing the audience with an opportunity to see their work including new footage and the diversity of expression. Watching Youtube videos was typically a private activity; however, being able to publicly laugh at the stages of Dinkelspiel showed that people, some who were not even familiar with their work enjoyed the same moments and quirks as me.
Some Takeaway Thoughts
Reflecting upon the work that I saw today, the students of Stanford and I got a chance to truly see JustKiddingFilms and Anthony Lee in action. They even stayed an additional day as their flight got cancelled. As the brothers and I took them a tour around campus, we went through all the Stanford landmarks from the Cantor Arts Museum to Palm Drive. As we got a chance to reflect, I am continuously awe struck by the perfidy of amazing people at Stanford. Identity Xpression was an opportunity for students to engage with the arts and be inspired to pursue their passions. I am grateful for the opportunity to be in the presence of these amazing people and I hope that we can perpetuate the relationships we have with them. This would not have been possible without the assistance and advice of various organizations including ResEd, ResArts, ASSU, AASA, BSU, PASU, and Asian American Studies.