At traditional lunch, Palace Grounds

LES BLANK  is a prize winning independfe3nt filmmakert, best known for a series of poetic films that John Rockwell, wiring in the New York Times, said, "Blank is a documentarian of folk cultures who transforms anthropology into art."

Born in 1935 in Tampa, Florida, Les Blank attended Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1967 he began his first independent films, on Texas blues singer Lightnin' Hopkins (The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins) which began a series of intimate glimpses into the lives and music of passionate people who live at the periphery of American society.

Major retrospectives of Les Blank's films have been mounted in Los Angeles at FILMEX in 1977; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1978 and 1984; New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1979; the National Film Theatre, London, 1982; In 1986, National Public Radio aired a half-hour special on Les Blank's work and in 1991 CNN aired a special on him worldwide.  In 1990, Les Blank received the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award for outstanding lifetime achievement as an independent filmmaker.

Between 1973 and 1994 Blank toured extensively with the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency, screening his films and discussing them with audiences throughout Latin America, China, Europe, East Europe, and Egypt.

In 2000 Somi organized a retrospective of Blank’s films that was the curatorial focus of 2 film conferences in Jakarta and Yogyajakarta.


YOSHIKO CHUMA , a native of Japan, moved to the United States in 1976. She has created more than 40 full-length performance works for both theatres and site-specific venues. 

Chuma is the recipient of several fellowships and awards for choreography and career work from:  John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, New York Foundation for Artists, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission, Philip Morris New Works. 

Chuma has led workshops and master classes in East and West Europe, Asia, Russia and the U.S.   She received a 1984 BESSIE award for choreography and creation. 

Since 1980, she has been Artistic Director of The School of Hard Knocks based in New York, and served as Artistic Director of the Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick, Ireland from 2000-2003. 

A selection of recent works include: Game/Play (2004), 7 x 7 x 7 (2004), YELLOW ROOM (2003), Tunnel (2002); Agitprops: The Recycling Project (2002); 10,000 Steps (2002);  PI = 3.14 (2002), Solos with a Phonograph (2001), In-Gear (2001), Reverse Psychology (2000-2), Footprints of War (1999-00), The Living Room Project (1996-   ), Unfinished Symphony (1998), Crash Orchestra (1995), Three Stories (1995), and Jo Ha Kyu (1993).

Artists who have collaborated with Yoshiko Chuma include: Christian Marclay (Five Car Pile-Up), Alex Katz (Eager Witness), Elizabeth Murray (A boy, a beer, and a blonde), Yvonne Jacquette and Nona Hendryx (The Big Picture), Lenny Pickett (Human Voice), Tan Dun (Nine Songs, Jo Ha Kyu), Mark Bennett, Robert Een, Aska Kaneko (Unfinished Symphony) and (Nagoya Suite) (in Japan).

"The School of Hard Knocks" was the title of the company's first production, a collaboration between Yoshiko Chuma (dance), Jacob Burckhardt (film) and Alvin Curran (music) presented at the 1980 Venice Biennale.

ZETTE EMMONS  is the Manager of Traveling Exhibitions at the Newark Museum in New Jersey, just outside New York City, which is known for its collection of Tibetan and South Asian art.

She was the Project Coordinator for Golden Eye: An International Tribute to the Artisans of India at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design for the Festival of India in 1985. She has also worked at the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center. 

She worked in collaboration with L. Somi Roy on numerous film programs in the 1990s, including a traveling program of films on Tibet which circulated around the U.S. in 1992.

Zette first went to India on a grant from the University of California, Berkeley, where she documented ephemeral folk art under the auspices of the All India Handicrafts Board as part of a thesis project.

ERIN MEE e is a scholar and theatre director. In New York she has directed at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, The Ontological at St. Mark's, and HERE.Ê Regionally, she has directed at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.

In India she has directed two plays with Sopanam, one of the country's leading theatre companies. Ms. Mee has traveled to India many times, and in 1993 she received a Fulbright grant to study "Ritual Performance and Classical Dance-Drama with Respect to Modern Theatre in Kerala." Ms. Mee had just completed her dissertation, titled "De-Colonizing Modern Indian Theatre: The Theatre of Roots as a Nationalist Movement."

She teaches at Swarthmore College where she is organizing a Study Abroad program in India


MURIEL PETERS  is a producer for cinema, television and theater. She has a long association with India, having lived six years in Bombay and Delhi in the 1960's, and three years at Oxford University completing a thesis on the cave temples of Elephanta.

She has made two films in India, as executive producer of "Manifestations of Shiva", a documentary concerning the worship of Shiva; and as associate producer of "The Guru", a Merchant Ivory Production.

As Director of the Film and Broadcasting Dept. of the Asia Society, Ms. Peters was responsible for the first major, comprehensive presentation of Indian films outside India. She was also the founder of the Media Advisory Committee of the Indo-US Subcomission on Education and Culture, which (during its 20 year-existence) organized countless programs in India and the United States and contributed much to mutual understanding between what she thinks of as her two countries. 

Ms. Peters is currently serving as Chair of Women in Film and Television International, an association of some 40 chapters and over 10,000 members worldwide.

SOMI ROY  is the Project Director of the Manipur Field Trip. He is a New York based film and media curator and a native of Manipur. 

Somi has curated many Asian, Asian American, non-fiction and new media exhibitions, including the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar on non-fiction film, and Digital Flaherty, an interactive conference on digital media art forms. While at The Asia Society, he developed a year-round program of films exhibitions, including the first US film programs on Vietnam, popular Hong Kong, Iran and Taiwan cinema. As an independent curator Somi organized exhibitions that have been traveled to most major museums in the US.

He is currently developing region-to-region transnational media projects for Appalshop, the Appalachian arts collective in eastern Kentucky.

Somi has taught at NYU and Manhattan Marymount College, lectured extensively at venues such as National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution and Columbia University. His writings have been published in Artforum, Wide Angle and The Drama Review. Somi is currently finishing a film about love and romance.


BONNIE SUE STEIN is the Executive Director and Producer of GOH Productions (Seven Loaves, Inc.) and is full time to the organization.

Stein was previously Program Associate of Performing Arts at the Asia Society and an independent director and choreographer in New York, Japan and Eastern Europe. 

Stein is a writer and contributes articles on dance and performing arts to Dance Magazine, The Village Voice,, among others. She wrote an essay on Japanese butoh pioneer, Kazuo Ohno for the 1999 book, Fifty Contemporary Choreographers (published in the UK), another for a book published by Wesleyan Press, and has lectured on the performing arts of Japan in universities, art centers and festivals in the U.S. and Europe. 

For GOH she produced three documentary films, Faust on a String (1992) about Czech marionettes; Moon Pulse (1995) directed by Estonian choreographer Marika Blossfeldt, and The Ivye Project (1999) directed by Tamar Rogoff. 

Stein is the managing director for Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks, and manages dance and dance/drama projects worldwide, as well as consulting on international exchange and performing arts projects.