As part of ICA’s Gather series, Laos in the House and poet Catzie Vilayphonh (Yellow Rage) present #BLESSED, a Lao New Year Pop-up Dinner on the outdoor terrace at ICA on Saturday, May 6. The event will focus on Lao New Year traditions, including Lao cuisine and sharing stories of Lao refugees.
This event is free and open to the public; register here. Dinner tickets will be released at ICA on a first-come, first-served basis the evening of the program.
The Lao Heritage Foundation will help start the evening off with a Baci/Su Kwon ceremony, complete with a pa kwon blessing tree and maw pon chanting prayers. Guests will learn about the elements of New Year’s blessing and proper gestures and learn how to give each other thread blessings.
Catering will be provided by Vientiane Cafe, with traditional Lao dishes being served to guests sitting on the floor. Chef proprietor Sunny Panthavong will recount her family’s humble beginnings selling BBQ in their backyard before becoming Philly’s first Lao restaurant. Ammala Douangsyvanh from T.O. NAM Sausage, Inc. will share her mother’s story of starting a Lao foods company in Providence, RI.
Vegetarian dishes will be served, however because of the focus on traditional Lao recipes, fish sauce will be used in most dishes.
Critically-acclaimed and NEA award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra will read his works, reflecting on his background as an adoptee from a country mired in a secret war and his 30-year search across the globe for a long-lost family.
The dinner will feature a soundtrack comprised of Lao karaoke videos and classic songs performed by the Lao Heritage Foundation Youth Orchestra. Lastly, a Lumvong dance circle will end the night with a Salavan demo inviting guests to dancefloor.