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Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall will close out its celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with 'Crazy Talented Asians & Friends' - an evening of live comedy and animated shorts - streaming live online, Saturday, May 30.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and in celebration of its neighborhood’s thriving and diverse population, Flushing Town Hall will close the month with a special livestream presentation of artists on Saturday, May 30. 

This fun evening of live comedy and animation shorts will be streamed on Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page as part of its new series of virtual programming, Flushing Town Hall at Home. 

“Crazy Talented Asians and Friends” will begin at 6 p.m. with an hour of animated short films and a live panel discussion with seasoned professional animators and filmmakers. An hour of live stand-up and sketch comedy will follow at 8:30 p.m. with some of New York City’s premier Asian-American talent. 

“Flushing Town Hall has been a strong advocate of arts equity since 1979. We support local, immigrant, national and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts in supporting the global arts community,” said Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s executive and artistic director. It is even more critical in this unprecedented global pandemic for the community to come together.”

The event’s first hour will feature exceptional animation shorts curated from the top 4 percent of several hundred submitted films, many from New York-based, college animation programs. 

They were selected for their superb art direction, storytelling, animation, production and sound design. The moving stories include a mother and son’s struggle to express their love, two painters battling over space to paint in their own style, and another on the ever-present stress of urban living. 

The selection committee was led by the event’s animation lead adviser, Hsiang Chin Moe, BFA animation chair at the School of Visual Arts. Moe is an active member of the global animation community, working with animation executives, recruiters and artists to foster talents all over the world. 

Hsiang Chin Moe, BFA animation chair at the School of Visual Arts (Photo by Nir Arieli)

“It is my extreme honor to celebrate APA Heritage Month with an amazing selection of animated films. Special thanks to all the filmmakers for sharing their stories with our audience and inviting us on a journey of imagination,” Moe said. “Their talent is a true representation of how unique and creative Asian-American filmmakers are, and the celebration is expanded to all the Asian creators in the world.”

Aside from organizing and moderating an annual talent panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Moe has made her own documentary, short and animated films that have screened in the United States and abroad, including Japan, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand. 

The live comedy hour will be hosted by Otter Lee, an actor, playwright, comedian and voiceover artist born and raised in New York City. He produced and co-organized New York City’s First Asian Comedy Festival at the PIT in January 2020. 

Otter Lee, actor, playwright, comedian and voiceover artist. (Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall)

His sketch, standup and improv have appeared at such venues as the Upright Citizens Brigade, Face-Off Unlimited, Caveat, Union Hall, The Magnet, The Asian American Writer’s Workshop and Buzzfeed. 

Lee is the co-founder of Overstep Comedy, which has performed sketches to sold-out venues in Manhattan. Their live performances cover a broad array of relatable Asian-American experiences. 

In partnership with the nonprofit Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, which has provided comprehensive primary medical care since 1971 with over 300,000 annual service visits, Overstep Comedy will perform a sketch on mental health to help de-stigmatize this important topic in Asian-American communities, an even more pressing issue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This show highlights a bunch of super funny and super talented Asian-American comedians while celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and highlighting the importance of mental health. A two-for-one! Come see for yourself just how many talented and diverse voices are out there,” said Andy Shartzer, a member of the Overstep Comedy Group.

The live comedy hour will feature hilarious New York City-based comedians and comedy groups, including Michael Cruz Kayne, Dylan Adler, Nadia Iqbal, Srilatha Rajamani, Angel Yau, and Overstep Comedy comedians Aarushi Agni, Jatin Chhugani, Jonathan Lu, Christian Luu, Andy Shartze, Helen Shih and Migina Tsai.

Flushing Town Hall’s facilities are temporarily closed to the public in accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations. The latest information on Flushing Town Hall  pertaining to COVID-19 can be found here.

For more information, visit flushingtownhall.org, or call 718-463-7700 ext. 222.

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