Oh. My. Gawd. It's true... Leann Chin is, in fact, a minor force of nature.

Woops, I might be bending my own rules against naming names out there in the heartland. Well, I haven't been to Leeann's & I haven't eaten there, & I won't divulge my opinions once I do, so it's all good. You haven't heard a peep out of me about Yan Can or PF Chang's , have you? Let me reiterate: this is not a restaurant review project! I'm an equal opportunity researcher: yummy, mediocre, & scary restaurants are all interesting to me. Mini-chains, franchises, obscure mom & pop operations alike are all fair game. Just cause I mention a place doesn't mean I'm saying you should go there, or not go there.

But I do give props to my personal local favorites because I don't see how it could possibly hurt my project.

Now I'm going to look at Wisconsin....


I've been doing my homework on Minnesota. (Aren't I a good girl?) I want to know who Leeann Chin is! Sister has like a million restaurants all over Minnesota. Clearly she is a force to be reckoned with! On the other hand, I'm also pretty curious about Danielson's Chinese Restaurant in Mapleton; not your usual Panda this or Golden that. Who are the Danielsons and why did they open a Chinese restaurant in Mapleton? White folks? Chinese folks with an Anglo last name? Black folks? Oh, the mysteries....


Good news! The Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota called & invited me for a residency! Red Wing has 17 Chinese American residents (according to the Census) and 2 Chinese restaurants, although there is a rumor that one of them might be closing soon... we shall see... I'm looking forward to being the 18th Chinese person in town, for a couple weeks in May, anyway.


So. Many people have asked me... what exactly do I plan to do with all these menus, survey responses, photos, roadtrips, just the whole project, anyway? Well, I do appreciate the curiosity, but as a rule I don't like to talk about something until it's actually done. On the art-process side of things, the work needs that kind of privacy in order to evolve freely; stating "how it's going to be" discourages change. On the publicity side of things, it can kinda suck if you've been telling everyone the fine details of Plan A, only to end up six months "late" with Plan Q; then people get confused, wonder if they've missed something or, in the worst case, decide you don't know what the hell you're doing. Trust me, I do know what the hell I'm doing, even if the specifics do keep wiggling around. Such is the nature of this long-term, multi-tentacled art project. I hope when you finally see Plan X, Y or Z you'll forgive me for playing my cards so dang close to the vest.

Meanwhile, I'm willing to tell you everything you want to know about my current show! This is a big ol' sculptural piece that I made back when the Chinese restaurant project was barely a twinkle in my eye. Although it is somewhat related. Anyway I think it's looking pretty good, if I do say so myself, so come on down! Oh... & there'll be fortune cookies at Friday's opening, too! (wink)


Happy Year of the Goat! Gloria said that it's mostly Vietnamese folks who call it Goat, & Chinese folks tend to say Sheep or Ram, but hey, I like goats! Sheep are cool too, of course. I mean, where would Wallace & Gromit be without sheep? Ram, I do have issues with; why make the year a gendered thing? Year of the Ewe, anybody? But I digress.... Of course we ate ourselves silly over the weekend. Peking duck is one of the greatest things ever. (Lots of joking all around the table about the buns looking like shoulder pads.) Two friends who had never had it before ranted about how duck would never be the same again; they pictured themselves in a fancy French restaurant, discontentedly asking, "Uh, could we have some hoisin sauce with that?"