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September 2002: After several months of research and planning, I drove to Wyoming to look at Chinese restaurants. Donna Keiko Ozawa came along to shoot digital video and stills of our trip. We were on the road for two weeks and saw over thirty restaurants.
Click on the images to see them bigger:
We asked the woman at Wonderful House if we could take pictures. It took a couple tries before we were sure she understood us, and then she was flabbergasted, dumbfounded, tonguetied. She giggled, paused, giggled again, and then managed to squeeze out Nobody ever asked that before! She stammered and giggled some more, as if perhaps she wanted to say no but was afraid of being impolite. Finally we suggested, Well, how about if we just take pictures outside? She said that was fine. So we went back outside and took several shots of the restaurant and its enormous sign from various angles. After that we crossed the street to the Corral West store and tried on Wrangler jeans, because, when in Rome.... I didnt look any good in em though; I guess Im not really cut out for cowgirlhood.
You can also see the complete list of restaurants we saw on that trip.
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May 2003: The Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota invited me for a residency to work on the project. I cased out the three Chinese restaurants in Red Wing, and after the residency Irene Chan joined me for six restaurant-packed days driving through Wisconsin. You can read my report from the road in the Stretcher.org archives.
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Memorial Day weekend, 2004: With my cousin's wedding in Atlanta providing an excuse for a trip, Donna & I did a cursory but productive jaunt through pieces of Tennessee & northern Georgia. We hit about a dozen restaurants during this warm-up for the "real" Southern trip, which will be three whole weeks in the fall, thanks to seriously generous support from the Creative Work Fund! The Chinese Historical Society of America is collaborating with me on the Southern leg of the project, working the historical research angle & activating their excellent network to put me in touch with helpful folks in the South. Donna will be coming along on the trip to continue work on the video. Keep an eye on the blog for more info!