April Showers and Splendid News

April Showers and Splendid News

Check out what’s happening with Silk Screen!


Event Updates

2016 festival logoWe’re kicking into advanced planning mode here at Silk Screen and we want to share with you scoop on upcoming events! Tickets for both of the following events will be available in June, so keep your eye on our social media as we get closer.  It’s relatively far in advance, but we’re excited and couldn’t wait!

First up is our 2nd Annual Festival Launch Party, which will be held on Wednesday, August 31 Wigle_Whiskey_logofrom 5-7pm at the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse. The tickets are $25, and food is included in the ticket price! Like last year, there will be raffles and we will show trailers from the festival films to get you properly excited! If you are familiar with Wigle, then you know that this event is sure to be a blast!

The Red Carpet Gala this year will be Thursday, September 15 at the Omni William Penn. Entertainment bookings are currently underway, but we can confirm that Sally Wiggin of WTAE will once again be our emcee extraordinaire. We will be offering a special discounted Gala ticket price at the launch party, so make sure you’re in attendance at the launch party to take advantage of such awesomeness.


Film Submission Deadline—Extended!

For all you aspiring filmmakers, there is still time to submit your work for our 2016 Festival. We have decided to extend the submission deadline until May 1. If you are interested, follow the click the link below to review submission details and instructions. If you have any questions, direct them to Alex at alex@silkscreenfestival.org. Best of luck!

Submissions: http://www.silkscreenfestival.org/film/film-festival/submit-a-film/


Silk Screen Recommends…

Kano_posterMovie – Kano, directed by Umin Boya

In the year 1931, Taiwan is still a colony under Japanese rule. An underdog baseball team from southern Taiwan defeats the northern champions and gains the opportunity to represent the colony in the empire’s tournament. The film captures the struggles that the team faces with its ethnically diverse players as they work tirelessly to prove themselves in the elite league. Based on true events, this underrated film from writer/producer Wei Te Sheng is a wonderful film to watch with the family, guaranteed to entertain and inspire.

The film is available for rent or purchase from Amazon.


Book – The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das

diff goodIn this 2010 book, Gurcharan Das explores what it means to be good and the methods involved therein using the teachings of the 2,000 year old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. The poem under review here is an exploration of Dharma – essentially the art of doing the right thing – and Das applies the ancient perspectives on moral and ethical dilemmas to many modern, well-known individuals. The book was a bestseller all over the world upon its release six years ago, but is perhaps especially topical today considering the current political climate gripping our nation.

Available for purchase from Amazon.


Music – Todi, Ahir Lalit, Panchamkauns by Z. M. Dagar

zmdagar1Peaceful and relaxing pieces played by the rudra vina, an instrument that dates back to before the sitar. Dagar plays in the style called Drupad, which is a traditional, classic style that is native to Northern Indian music. There are no vocals here, just beautiful melodies and rhythms guaranteed to turn any bad day around.

Available for purchase from Amazon.


Travel Spotlight: Songkran – Thailand

One of the most anticipated and exciting events in Thailand and an absolute must for any fun-loving adventurer in Songkran, the Thai New Year. As the celebration has recently finished, we wanted to give you the rundown so you can start planning your Thai vacation as soon as possible!

“Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word samkranti, which literally means “astrological passage.” The actual holiday falls on April 13 every year but the celebration typically lasts an extra two to four days as locals and travellers alike take to the streets for MASSIVE-SCALE WATER FIGHTS! It’s exactly as fun as it sounds. Many streets are closed to traffic leaving swaths of big cities for guerilla water-warfare. Be careful on the streets that are open though because there’s an excellent chance that you and your motorbike will be doused from a huge bucket of water on the truck in front of you!

The origin of the water wildness stems from an iconic ritual called “water pouring,” whereby people pour water over Bhudda statues to represent purification and washing away of sins and bad luck. There is a wholesome part to the holiday as well. The day usually begins with merit-making, the practice of visiting temples and offering food to Buddhist monks. After that, it’s nearly impossible to stay dry.

Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand, but it is universally acknowledged that Chiang Mai, one of Thailand’s most exciting and culturally rich cities, is by far the best celebration.  Click here to read some accounts of the wild time that is Songkran or here to hear a
more measured take on the holiday.


Featured image courtesy of andrewtaylor.photoshelter.com

March into Spring (Hopefully) with Silk Screen!!

March into Spring (Hopefully) with Silk Screen!!

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Chinese New Year at Children’s Museum

Another year, another memorable Chinese New Year celebration at the Children’s Museum! February rang in the Year of the Monkey, and to mark the occasion, Silk Screen teamed up with the wonderful staff of the Children’s Museum for an afternoon of lively performances and art. The Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team performed an amazing Lion Dance, complete with a parade through the museum. Each year, the team seems to get better! Long time Silk Screen friend and collaborator Mimi Jong and her Chinese ensemble Purple Bamboo performed an entrancing set followed by an interactive discussion with the children. Along with Mimi on the Erhu, Ai-Lin Chen on the Guzheng and Kai Liu on the Chinese flute rounded out the trio. Finally, a talented calligrapher and brush painter was on hand to teach the kids about the ancient art and techniques! All around a lovely afternoon at the museum!


Harish Gives TedxYouth TalkP1110767

On December 5, Silk Screen Executive Director Harish Saluja spoke at TEDxYouth in Shadyside about how he began his professional life with a degree in engineering and wound the founder of Silk Screen. Harish first realized his love for art after watching a film that greatly moved him, and left him hoping that he could one day tell stories that would move people in a similar way.

Learn about the journey to Silk Screen by viewing Harish’s full speech here.


a misty memoryYanlai Performance

On March 5 the Yanlai Dance Academy will be performing “A Misty Memory” at Carson Middle School Auditorium to celebrate its 12th anniversary inception. This performance is a perfect showcase for the art of traditional Chinese dance. Because of China’s size, there is a great deal of diversity in the many traditional ethnic dances. Throughout the performance, you will also see the ethnic clothing from different Chinese regions.

For more information on the event, as well as ticket prices, visit yanlaidanceacademy.com


Festival of Nationsfestival of nations

The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center will present 8th Annual Festival of Nations on Saturday, March 19 from 11AM to 4PM. Admission is free to the public and will be held at the Weirton Millsop Community Center at 3420 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia.

The first Festival of Nations was held in 2009 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of town of Weirton. Dances and music from various nationalities will be accompanied by ethnic foods and displays representing different countries and organizations. The Festival hopes to promote “Unity in Diversity” amongst the many different ethnic groups that call this area and this country home.

If you would like to help support the Festival, there are several different ways to donate and sponsor. For participation and questions, please contact Juginder Luthra, Chairman of the Festival committee at dolgin1968@gmail.com


Silk Screen Recommends:

when breathe becomes airBook: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win…You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”

When Indian-American neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with lung cancer at 36, he was forced to make an uneasy transition from doctor to patient. In his memoir, Kalanithi does not aim to inspire or force readers to want to live better, rather he pragmatically explores the philosophical implications of his impending death: When should he stop working? Should he have a child? “It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring” (Washington Post). Kalanithi died before he was able to finish, so even the end of the memoir mirrors his cut-short life. His wife Lucy pieced together an ending and added a poignant epilogue to Paul’s story. Entertainment Weekly summed it up, saying “It’s only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks


Film: Poetry (2010) directed by Lee Chang-Dong, Koreapoetry


Poetry follows Mija, who lives with her morose teenage grandson and cares for an elderly man to make ends meet. After she is diagnosed with Alzheimers, Mija enrolls in a poetry class while simultaneously her life cecomes tragically connected with a young girl who committed suicide after having been raped. Variety prasied the film, saying, “What’s notable here is the lack of sentimentality…At no point does Poetry devolve into a terminal illness melodrama or a tale of intergenerational bonding.” Poetry won the Best Sceenplay at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and lead actress Yoon Jeong-hee won acting awards at both the Asia Pacific Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.

Available for purchase or streaming from Amazon.



Music: Always (2007) by Big Bang

alwaysSay what you will about K-pop, but love or hate it, there’s no denying that it is everywhere in modern Asian culture. Big Bang, a hip hop boy band from Korea, is one of the most popular K-pop bands around. Just last year, the Hollywood Reporter called them “the biggest boy band in the world.” Often referred to as the “Kings of K-pop,” Big Bang made its biggest bang in 2007 with the release of Always. The new album saw them experiment with electronic dance music and take tight creative control of their recordings. The single “Lies” from the album topped Korean music charts for a record-smashing seven consecutive weeks.

Available from Amazon.


Travel Spotlight: Horseback riding in Mongolia    

Photo courtesy hiddentrails.com

Photo courtesy hiddentrails.com

Mongolia, while not famous for landmarks, architecture or any significant historical “sights,” is rich in culture, stunning scenery and wildlife. One of the best and most unique ways to see and experience the beautiful country is on horseback. You can immerse yourself in centuries-old nomadic traditions while experiencing the rural lifestyle of the Mongolian people.

Photo courtesy hiddentrails.com

Photo courtesy hiddentrails.com


During a 14-day trek, you’ll trace the path of Genghis Kahn, pass through nomadic encampments and face the awe-inspiring beauty of Mongolia’s landscape.   Be careful when planning your trip though! While summers in Mongolia are pleasant, winters can be brutally freezing and much of the year, the steppe can reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit during day and then dip below freezing at night!

Visit www.hiddentrails.com  or Wild Frontiers to see available treks and plan one of the coolest vacations you’ll ever take!


Harish Saluja speaks at TEDxYouth@Shadyside

Harish Saluja speaks at TEDxYouth@Shadyside

This past December, Silk Screen Executive Director Harish Saluja was a featured speaker at TEDxYouth in Shadyside.  He spoke about how he began his professional life with a degree in engineering and wound up the founder of a film festival.

Harish mentions that he first realized his love for art after watching a film that greatly moved him. The film left him hoping that he could one day tell stories that would move people in a similar way. And so, The Journey was created. Harish’s independent film received critical praise and appeared in showcases around the world.

The film helped to spark the idea of providing Asian cultures with more representation in the Pittsburgh area.  This led to Harish founding Silk Screen as well as the Asian fusion jazz band, Silk Sound. Over the past 10 years, Silk Screen has grown exponentially and Silk Sound has gone on to produce an album that was recently nominated as one of the ten best jazz albums in America.

Click here to check out Harish’s full speech!

TEDx Talks are independently organized TED events in which the focus is placed on bringing the community together to spark deep and important conversations. To learn more about TEDx and TEDxYouth@Shadyside, visit their site at http://tedxyouthshadyside.com/

February Fun

February Fun

Chinese New Year at the Children’s Museum

Once again, Silk Screen will be celebrating the Chinese New Year at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! Join us Sunday, February 7 to celebrate the Year of the Monkey! Silk Screen favorite Mimi Jong will be there with some of her talented musical friends to perform traditional instruments and engage the children in lively discussions about music, as will our buddies from the talented Steel Dragon Lion Dance team. Children in attendance are invited to join the dance team as they parade through the museum! While you’re at the museum, remember to take a beat to check out the stellar Voyage to Vietnam exhibit, which Silk Screen interns Lillie and Yahui memorably profiled in November!

Click here for more info.


Wendelin Grey Essay Contest

wendelin_fnSilk Screen friend and author Wendelin Grey is directing a book club-like reading guide for the Literati Corner selection The Tale of Genji, a doorstop of a novel by Murasaki Shikibu. She’s divided the book into sections that she’ll review as people read along. Following the conclusion of the story, Grey is holding an essay contest on themes explored in the book. The contest is open to everyone and the winner will be published on Grey’s blog. In addition, the winner will receive a signed copy of her horror novel The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak and a set of the Four Treasures, a significant milestone in Chinese culture. Entries should be no longer than 25 pages and submitted to icepinepalace@yahoo.com by August 31.

Check out the information and guidelines here.


Silk Screen Recommendations


BOOK: Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion  by Madhu Bazaz Wangu

chance_fnFrom Amazon: “In this eloquent collection of stories, twelve different people from different walks of life discover how one chance meeting with a stranger can change a person forever. Drawing from her own Indian-American heritage, Madhu Bazaz Wangu examines the lives of ordinary people facing challenging circumstances—cruelty, prejudiced minds, twisted family relationships, unhappy marriages—and demonstrates how these situations transcend ethnicity and background as interactions with strangers force each character to look deep within themselves, often acknowledging painful truths and long-held secrets, in order to seize control of their own destinies and forge their own paths to independence and happiness.”

Available from Amazon.


FILM: Theeb  directed by Naji Abu Nowar (Jordan/Qatar/UAE)

theeb_fnIf you’re familiar with the title, that’s because Theeb was the opening film of the 2015 Silk Screen Festival. But we’re celebrating it again now because it was just nominated for an Academy Award! Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced January 14 and Theeb snagged a nom for Best Foreign Language Film, making history as the first ever Jordanian Oscar nomination!

For a quick refresher, here’s the description from our 2015 Program Book: “Theeb and his older brother Hussein are members of a Bedouin tribe in the Arabian Desert. It is 1916 and the world around them is in drastic upheaval. For the Bedouins though, life remains largely unchanged. That is until they encounter a British soldier in need of guides to lead him to a strategic destination. Bedouin customs inform Hussein’s decision to help the soldier and Theeb decides to tag along for an adventure. During their voyage, Theeb and fellow travelers face much peril, both natural and man-made. For Theeb, what begins as an adventure quickly turns into a lesson in survival. He is forced to grow up quickly or be at the mercy of the Arabian Desert. This classic adventure tale is at once inventive and engaging. Director Naji Abu Nowar’s multi-award winner evokes both the terrifying elegance of the desert and the slow-growing menace brought about as worlds inevitably collide.”

Available from Amazon.


MUSIC: Heartbeat by G.E.M.

gem_fnThrowing a curve ball here, you should check out Hong Kong singer-songwriter G.E.M’s fifth studio album, Heartbeat. The 24-year-old, born Gloria Tang Tsz-kei, is part Taylor Swift, part Katy Perry, part her own unique blend of Asian pop frothiness. The music isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a fun listen—upbeat and full of passionate lyrics. The title track melody borrows slightly from modern EDM and boasts an interesting east-west pop fusion. G.E.M. is an acronym for “Everybody Get Moving,” and who can argue with that?

Available for purchase from Amazon and streaming on iTunes.


Travel Spotlight: Tower Running, Taipei 101

Have you conquered the art of marathon running, scaled K2, completed an open water swim, and taipei_fnnow you’re looking for a new challenge? Or are you just a bit of a fitness lunatic who will try most anything? Then the sport of Tower Running is for you! Perhaps its not as much of an extreme sport as I’ve just assumed, but it seems like something that I would view more as punishment and less as fun. To each his own though. If you’re looking for an Asian vacation with a grueling interlude, then carry on my friend.

Tower Running is as simple as it sounds: Competitors literally run up the internal staircases of some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Prizes are pretty lucrative, usually several thousand dollars and there’s even a “World Cup” event for the best competitors. Taipei 101 in Taiwan, is the world’s most difficult tower running challenge with an ascent of 91 stories, a vertical height of 390 meters and a total of 2046 steps. Current record holders for the race up the Taipei 101 are Paul Crake of Australia with a time of 10 minutes, 29 seconds, and Andrea Mayr of Austria with a time of 12 minutes, 38 seconds. Time to start training if you think you’ve got the grit and quad strength to beat them!


(Image via)




2015: The Home Stretch!

2015: The Home Stretch!


Holiday Sale
Don’t forget to shop our Holiday Sale for some last minute gifts! We still have some amazing items in stock including the gorgeous miniature paintings and fun t-shirts. The sale ends December 15 so hurry up and get shopping!

Festival of Nations

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 12.15.11 PMIt’s never too early to start making plans for spring! As we gear up for a long, cold winter (unless
current temperature trends hold, that is!), it’s nice to think about making plans for the spring. Next March is the 8th Annual Festival of Nations at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center. The festival is a celebration of unity and diversity, bringing together many nationalities with food, dance and music. The event is brought together with some serious hard work by Silk Screen friends Juginder and Dolly Luthra. Juginder and Dolly frequently travel the hour to Pittsburgh for Silk Screen events, so let’s return the favor and head out to Weirton for a day of cultural fun! If you are interested in attending, please email Juginder Luthra at dolgin1968@gmail.com.

What:              8th Annual Festival of Nations

When:             Saturday March 19, 2016

Where:           Weirton Milsop Community Center

Time:              11AM—4PM


Silk Screen Recommends…

benjamin field trilogyBook: Benjamin’s Field Trilogy by J.J. Knights

The Benjamin’s Field trilogy follows a rural farm family over the course of sixty years through war, peace, triumph, tragedy, heartbreak and finally happiness. This emotional and heartwarming story with an unexpected ending examines the role of family loyalty versus individual need, personal liberty and how it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another.

The publication “Reader’s Favorite” recently awarded a 5-star review to the first book of the trilogy, Benjamin’s Field: Rescue.

Available for purchase from Amazon.

Visit http://jknights.com to learn more about the author, who is a long time Silk Screen friend and supporter!
tibetan singing bowlsMusic: Tibetan Singing Bowls: Journey Through the 7 Chakras

By Music for Deep Meditation

The holidays are fast approaching and we here at Silk Screen know how hectic and stressful this time of year can be so for this month’s music recommendation, we thought we would share with you something to help break through your astronomical levels of stress and allow you to find some zen, even if it’s just for the length of the album. Music for Deep Meditation has a number of albums to keep you chilled out, but we thought this one was particularly special. Tibetan singing bowls have long been believed to hold special healing powers due to the meditative trance it inspires in its listeners. Take a moment for YOU.   Unwind and relax with this meditative music!

Available from iTunes and Amazon.


Movie: Infernal Affairs (2002) directed by Andrew Lau & Alan MakInfernal Affairs

You are probably familiar with the 2006 film The Departed with Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, perhaps best known for being THE film to finally score legendary director Martin Scorsese his first elusive directing Oscar, but what you may not know was that the film was actually adapted from the Hong Kong Film Infernal Affairs which tells pretty much the same story, substituting a Chinese triad for the Boston Mob. The thriller follows a young police officer sent undercover into the triad while simultaneously the triad has sent a member of its own to be a mole in the police. If you love The Departed (and let’s be serious, who doesn’t?!), you’ll absolutely want to see the original version of the film!

Available from Netflix and Amazon.


skiing japanTravel Spotlight

I don’t know about you, but when I think of stellar skiing destinations, Japan has never been on my list. I think of Whistler, Innsbruck and Telluride—maybe St. Anton in Austria or Meribel in france. Possibly I’ve been living under a rock, or possibly Japan’s ski resorts are the best-kept secret in all of winter sports.

Thanks in part to being the host of the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Japan’s skiing profile has only grown. The country boasts some of the best back-country, deep powder skiing in the world. Hakuba is a resort with some of the steepest runs in the country, but there are so many others with just as much to offer.

Also thanks to the Nagano Olympics, Japan’s ski resorts have quite nice infrastructure and tourist facilities…not to mention buzzing nightlife! Here’s the best part: you don’t even have to plan yourself! Inside Japan has a selection of winter sports travel packages ranging from fully structured and guided to self-guided ski adventures.

Visit www.insidejapantours.com to plan your next great ski excursion!!


Happy Holidays from everyone at Silk Screen!!