Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Jeffrey Katzenberg Among 12 to Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts

Author Maxine Hong Kingston at Berkeley Rep after the opening night performance of 'The Women Warrior' in 1994. Photo by Lia Chang

Author Maxine Hong Kingston at Berkeley Rep after the opening night performance of ‘The Women Warrior’ in 1994. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, July 28, 2014, “The Women Warrior” author Maxine Hong Kingston, architects Billie Tsien and her partner Tod Williams, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, singer Linda Ronstadt, Cabaret composer John Kander, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Director and CEO of DreamWorks, will be among 12 recipients presented with the 2013 National Medal of Arts by President Obama, who will also hand out the 2013 National Humanities Awards, in the East Room of the White House. The First Lady will also attend. Click here to live stream the ceremony on July 28, 2014, at 3:00 pm ET.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Maxine Hong Kingston was born and raised in Stockton, California. Kingston, a poet, memoirist, fiction writer, a senior lecturer for creative writing and a professor emeritus at her alma mater, the University of California–Berkeley, resides in Oakland, California.

Kingston is the author of the book-length poem I Love a Broad Margin to My Life(2011). Kingston’s numerous nonfiction books include The Fifth Book of Peace (2003), To Be the Poet (2002), National Book Award–winner China Men (1980), and National Book Critics Circle Award–winner The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1976). She is also the author of the novel Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book(1989) and Hawai’i One Summer. She edited the anthology Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (2006), compiled from the work of participants in the therapeutic poetry workshops she has led for more than 500 veterans of war.

In a statement released by the White House, Kingston is being honored for “her contributions as a writer. Her novels and non-fiction have examined how the past influences our present, and her voice has strengthened our understanding of Asian American identity, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender, and race.”

Kingston adds her 2013 National Medal of Arts Award to an impressive list of honors including including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the PEN West Award for Fiction, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a National Humanities Medal (presented by former President Bill Clinton, as well as the title of “Living Treasure of Hawai’i.”

Architects Billie Tsien and Tod Williams are being honored for “their contributions to architecture and arts education. Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were established by the Congress in 1965 as independent agencies of the Federal Government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with State arts agencies, local leaders, other Federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. The National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the Nation. The Endowment brings high-quality historical and cultural experiences to large and diverse audiences in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five territories.

Below is the complete list of 2013 National of Arts Recipients and 2013 National Humanities Medal Recipients.

Official Citations for 2013 National Medal of Arts Recipients:

Julia Alvarez for her extraordinary storytelling. In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.

Brooklyn Academy of Music for innovative contributions to the performing and visual arts. For over 150 years, BAM has showcased the works of both established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.

Joan Harris for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.

Bill T. Jones for his contributions as a dancer and choreographer. Renowned for provocative performances that blend an eclectic mix of modern and traditional dance, Mr. Jones creates works that challenge us to confront tough subjects and inspire us to greater heights.

John Kander for his contributions as a composer. For more than half a century, Mr. Kander has enlivened Broadway, television, and film through songs that evoke romanticism and wonder and capture moral dilemmas that persist across generations.

Jeffrey Katzenberg for lighting up our screens and opening our hearts through animation and cinema. Mr. Katzenberg has embraced new technology to develop the art of storytelling and transform the way we experience film.

Maxine Hong Kingston for her contributions as a writer. Her novels and non-fiction have examined how the past influences our present, and her voice has strengthened our understanding of Asian American identity, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender, and race.

Albert Maysles for rethinking and remaking documentary film in America. One of the pioneers of direct cinema, he has offered authentic depictions of people and communities across the globe for nearly 60 years. By capturing raw emotions and representations, his work reflects the unfiltered truths of our shared humanity.

Linda Ronstadt for her one-of-a-kind voice and her decades of remarkable music. Drawing from a broad range of influences, Ms. Ronstadt defied expectations to conquer American radio waves and help pave the way for generations of women artists.

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams for their contributions to architecture and arts education. Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.

James Turrell for his groundbreaking visual art. Capturing the powers of light and space, Mr. Turrell builds experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us.

Official Citations for 2013 National Humanities Medal Recipients:

M. H. Abrams, literary critic, for expanding our perceptions of the Romantic tradition and broadening the study of literature. As a professor, writer, and critic, Dr. Abrams has traced the modern concept of artistic self-expression in Western culture, and his work has influenced generations of students.

David Brion Davis, historian, for reshaping our understanding of history. A World War II veteran, Dr. Davis has shed light on the contradiction of a free Nation built by forced labor, and his examinations of slavery and abolitionism drive us to keep making moral progress in our time.

Darlene Clark Hine, historian, for enriching our understanding of the African American experience. Through prolific scholarship and leadership, Dr. Hine has examined race, class, and gender and shown how the struggles and successes of African American women shaped the Nation we share today.

Anne Firor Scott, historian, for pioneering the study of southern women. Through groundbreaking research spanning ideology, race, and class, Dr. Scott’s uncharted exploration into the lives of southern women has established women’s history as vital to our understanding of the American South.

William Theodore De Bary, East Asian Studies scholar, for broadening our understanding of the world. Dr. de Bary’s efforts to foster a global conversation have underscored how the common values and experiences shared by Eastern and Western cultures can be used to bridge our differences and build trust.

Johnpaul Jones, architect, for honoring the natural world and indigenous traditions in architecture. A force behind diverse and cherished institutions, Mr. Jones has fostered awareness through design and created spaces worthy of the cultures they reflect, the communities they serve, and the environments they inhabit.

Stanley Nelson, producer and director, for documenting the story of African Americans through film. By turning a camera on both the well-known and unknown narratives of African Americans, Mr. Nelson has exposed injustice and triumph while revealing new depths of our Nation’s history.

Diane Rehm, radio host, for illuminating the people and stories behind the headlines. In probing interviews with pundits, poets, and Presidents, Ms. Rehm’s incisive, confident, and curious voice has deepened our understanding of our communities and our culture.

Krista Tippett, radio host and author, for thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith, and every background to join the conversation.

American Antiquarian Society, historical organization, for safeguarding the American story. Through more than two centuries, the Society has amassed an unparalleled collection of historic American documents, served as a research center to scholars and students alike, and connected generations of Americans to their cultural heritage.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
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Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
June 23: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon, Clifton Davis, Norm Lewis, Chapman Roberts and More Set for The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
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Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
June 22 – July 27: Blair Underwood, Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Lead the Cast of The Old Globe’s Othello, helmed by Barry Edelstein 
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Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014
Fred Korematsu, American Hero and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 86 July 31-Aug. 3: Drama Desk Nominee Joel de la Fuente stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at ACT, Helmed by Lisa Rothe
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners Photos: André Braugher, Ami Brabson, Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke at Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty at the Paradise Factory
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Crafting a Career Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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