SAN FRANCISCO – Blending live music, talk story, and video images, iconic social activist and groundbreaking performer Nobuko Miyamoto brings her acclaimed concert to the Presidio Theatre Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 2 p.m. in San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio, as part of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California’s milestone 50th Anniversary: Celebrating Generations.
The roots for Miyamoto’s “120,000 Stories” is a reminder of the 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, as was Miyamoto herself. The show is a multi-generational, multi-cultural experience that traces her life beginning with her Japanese immigrant grandparents, her own incarceration during World War II as an infant, and her pioneering appearances on Broadway and in Hollywood in “West Side Story” and “Flower Drum Song.”
Realizing there were not many who looked like her in the entertainment industry catalyzed her own social awakening in the 1960s and ’70s as part of the Asian American movement and the singing duo Chris and Joanne. With Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin, she
co-created the seminal album “A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggles by Asians in America,” which is celebrating its own 50th anniversary this year.
Miyamoto’s personal journey includes raising her own Afro-Asian son and her work as founder and artistic director of Great Leap, a Los Angeles-based arts organization that uses music, dance, theater and traditional arts to tell the Asian American story, bridge cultures, and raise awareness of environmental challenges.
“120,000 Stories” is a compilation of more than 80 years of life experience reflecting struggle, empowerment, and joy. Joining Miyamoto as part of her musical team are:
Derek Nakamoto, a veteran musician and composer who has worked with the band Hiroshima and artists such as Keiko Matsui, Teddy Pendergrass, Whitney Houston and Michael Bolton;
Abe Lagrimas, Jr., a gifted drummer who won grand prize at an international competition at the age of 13 and is one of Hawaii’s elite musicians.
Special Bay Area guest artists include saxophonist Francis Wong and San Jose Taiko’s PJ Hirabayashi. Additional performers are bass player Juan Perez and vocalists Lynn Fiddimont, Valerie Pinkston, and Fred White.
With this eclectic team of musicians playing to a backdrop of captivating imagery, Miyamoto takes the audience on an immersive journey through time that will resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/nobuko2023 through the Presidio Theatre box office and range from $30 to $250. Tickets to the post-show VIP reception are also available for those who would like to meet Miyamoto and the performers.
The Presidio Theatre is located at 99 Moraga Ave. in the Presidio of San Francisco. Envisioned by the Japanese American community, the JCCCNC will be an everlasting foundation of Japanese American ancestry, cultural heritage, histories, and traditions. The Center strives to meet the Japanese American community’s evolving needs through programs, affordable services, and facility usage. The JCCCNC is a nonprofit community center based in San Francisco’s Japantown. www.jcccnc.org