traci according to R. Scott Okamoto:
traci is easily one of the most recognizable and accomplished artists and educators in the API community in Los Angeles and beyond, but as anyone who knows her will point out, she is so much more than her accomplishments. Friends and colleagues would describe her as a visionary, a teacher, a bridge, a mentor, an activist, an organizer, an encourager, a muse, and an artist in every sense of the word. She is certainly all these things, and she has created a community that brings people together as learners, as audiences, and participants. Being a part of traci’s community is being connected to virtually every part of the Asian American experience. As a nerdy English professor at a ridiculously conservative university, I am connected, through traci, to musicians, poets, actors, and queer hip hop artists in the API community here in Los Angeles. I attend poetry, music and art nights on Tuesdays and spoken word shows throughout the year, all because traci makes them happen. Knowing traci, even knowing about traci, is being connected to the heart of the API community in Los Angeles.
Any one of her endeavors would make for a legacy to be proud of. As a founding member of the spoken word supergroup, Zero3, traci is a stunning writer and performer. As the director/creator of Tuesday Nights at the Café, traci is the brains, the organization, and the heart and soul of Los Angeles’ premier space for API artistic expression. As an educator working in the university setting as Artist-in-Residence for Pomona College’s Asian American Resource Center, or in the community working with middle school and high school students, traci is a muse, facilitating the creative process to people at all levels of development. And as a writer for many Asian American publications, a producer and actor for theater groups, or a blue wig-wearing performance artist at a Chinatown jam session, traci continually pushes the boundaries of art, expression, and identity. For everyone in the community, whether close friend or fan of her work, traci inspires us, challenges us, and brings us together with her art and her projects which are simply too numerous to list in this space.
And so we arrive at this latest project, which seems so intuitively right for traci: A collection of poems. In truth, all of traci’s work has poetry as its foundation. A keen eye for truth, nuance, the sublime, and the natural marks everything she does. And while the artist is never far removed from her art, here we have traci’s most personal work to date. The community which Traci has fostered and nurtured for so long, will now get an intimate glimpse into her life. I could not be happier for us all.
R. Scott Okamoto
Assistant Professor of English
Azusa Pacific University