Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

May 22: Transcending- The Wat Misaka Story to Screen in South Pasadena Public Library Community Room

a_filmWMisaka1Transcending-The Wat Misaka Story, an award-winning documentary by co-directors Bruce Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson, will be screened in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on May 22, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street, South Pasadena, CA. The free screening is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

Wat Misaka, the first draft pick of the New York Knicks in 1947, was honored by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 2009. He is flanked by filmmakers Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson. Photo by Lia Chang

Wat Misaka, the first draft pick of the New York Knicks in 1947, was honored by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 2009. He is flanked by filmmakers Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson. Photo by Lia Chang

Transcending-The Wat Misaka Story tells the story of Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA. A Nisei who was born and raised in Utah where he still lives, Wat was the very first draft pick of the New York Knicks in 1947. Overcoming the national political climate during World War II, Wat was a star player for the University of Utah in the 1944 NCAA and 1947 NIT basketball championship teams, taking 2 years off in between to serve in the U.S. Army. Wat’s perseverance and loyalty to his teammates, other Nisei friends (including those interned at Topaz), and his family are a testament to the unflappable Japanese American spirit.
a_filmWMisaka2
This film includes in-depth interviews with Wat and his family, teammates from his championship teams (including All-American star Arnie Ferrin of the Minneapolis Lakers), sports authorities, and many others who continue to look up to Wat as a personal hero. The inspiring film also features video clips from his 1944 and 1947 college games, rare footage from a visit to the Topaz Internment Camp, and countless photos from his triumphant career.

Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson (Photo by Lia Chang)

Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson (Photo by Lia Chang)

Featuring an original score by Scot Stafford, this film won the “Gold Kahuna Award” from the Honolulu International Film Festival (2009), was selected as the centerpiece film of Rights Fest (2012), and was chosen an official selection of the Chicago Asian Showcase (2010), San Diego Asian Film Festival (2009), and Carmel Art and Film (2009).

This screening will be the West Coast premiere of the new director-narrated version of the film. Award-winning co-directors Bruce Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson will be present to discuss the making of the movie and its exciting journey.

The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. The free screening is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
May 1-30: Eating Cultures, A Multidisciplinary Art Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center, Features Christine Toy Johnson, Cathy Lu, Genevieve Erin O’Brien, Kate Hers Rhee and More
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: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series 
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong Leads Cast of A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Leads 2014 Tony Award Nominations; Bryan Cranston, LaTanya Richardson, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Rylance, Audra McDonald, Leigh Silverman among nominees
Signature Theatre to Be Honored with the 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award
Photos: Late Night with Holy Land’s Jojo Gonzalez
Miss Saigon’s Francis Jue Receives Elliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor
Kerry Butler, Edward James Hyland, Matt Walton, Megan Sikora and More in Previews of Off-Broadway Production of Under My Skin at The Little Shubert Theatre
Photos: The George Gee Swing Orchestra at SWING46; Launches Indiegogo Campaign for New CD, Swing Makes You Happy
Photos: Bryan Cranston, Peter Jay Fernandez, Roslyn Ruff, Tamara Tunie, Leslie Uggams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Celebrate All The Way Opening Night
Apr. 22 – May 18: Working Theater Presents The off-Broadway Premiere of James McManus’ CHERRY SMOKE at Urban Stages
André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Among 4 Elliot Norton Award Nominations for Huntington’s World Premiere of The Jungle Book, a co-production with The Goodman
Photos: AALDEF Honors Mari Matsuda, Aasif Mandvi, and John Chou in 2014 at 40th Anniversary Celebration
Jun. 22 – July 27: Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Set for Old Globe Debut in OTHELLO
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
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
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.

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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