On Saturday, June 19th, Wat Misaka, the first non-Caucasian basketball player in the NBA, and my friend, Dr. Leroy Chiao, the first Asian American Commander of the International Space Station, will be presented with 2010 Pioneer Awards when the OCA Convention culminates with the Gala Awards Dinner and the presentation of awards recognizing individuals for their exceptional contributions to the Asian Pacific American community at The Westin Galleria, 5060 W. Alabama in Houston, TX.
Dr. Chiao was selected by NASA to become an astronaut in 1990. In 2004, Dr. Chiao became the first Asian Pacific American commander of the International Space Station. Since then, Dr. Chiao has been involved in four space flights and has logged 229 days, 7 hours, 38 minutes and 5 seconds in space. In December of 2005, Dr. Chiao retired from NASA following a 15 year career with the agency. Currently, Dr. Chiao is the Chairman of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute User Panel and the Executive VP and Director of Excalibur Almaz, a private manned spaceflight company.
Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA, by the 1947 Knicks, is the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story”, by Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson.
A Nisei who was born, raised and is still living in Utah, he was the very first collegiate draft pick, and the first draft pick ever of the New York Knicks. Overcoming the national political climate during World War II, Wat was a star player for the University of Utah 1944 and 1947 championship teams, taking 2 years off in between to serve in the U.S. Army. To purchase DVDs of “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story”, click here. ($25 plus shipping and handling.)
For more information on the OCA Convention, click here.
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As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.
Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.
Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.
Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Juicy Buns at Ollie’s
A night out with Gordana Rashovich, Flora Goforth in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
André De Shields Set for World Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Indiana Rep, 3/22-4/10
Photos: A.B. Cruz III and Lillian Kimura Receive 2011 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards
Photos of Lion Dancers in Los Angeles Chinatown
Photos: Chinese New Year Festival at The Huntington in San Marino
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
My Empire State Building at Dusk on view in HHC’s “Art and Healing-Healthy for the Holidays” Art Exhibit
STORIES FROM CHINESE AMERICA: The Arthur Dong Collection, Vol. 2 as 4 disc DVD Box Set
<Lunch at The Modern, A Stroll Through The Conservatory Garden in Central Park
Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias, Tulips and Narcissus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Spring in New York is a Veritable Color Riot
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.