KRAFTY KORNER: Different Strokes




Off-Broadway show Fuerza Bruta celebrates its fourth year as performer Brooke Miyasaki peers down through a suspended water pool with the audience close below. (Courtesy of Gonzalo Brea)

Heading to NYC? Chances are that snagging tix for a hit Broadway show tops the list as well as seeing the 9/11 Memorial and Empire State Building. Foodies rave about the spots to eat the best, the latest food trend, whatever is in.

Off-Broadway shows add a different element for theater-goers. Appealing to the  adventuresome, the inquisitive seek a bit of the unconventional. Different strokes for different folks!

Fuerzabruta (Brute Force): Look Up is one of those rare gems. Holding its own at the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square for four years in October proves its innate ability to attract. Argentine creator Diqui James has seen this show travel to 20 cities worldwide, most recently in Spain.

Our West Coast family was there celebrating daughter Brooke and Liam Lane’s wedding. She’s been a cast member from the get-go.

FB is exciting, energetic, beyond extraordinary! Go to

The mood is set in a dark theater. You stand, pretty much touching elbows with whoever happens to be there. No seats. Time moves swiftly.

Aerialist Brooke Miyasaki defies gravity running and tumbling on a vertical tinfoil-like wall high above the crowd. (Courtesy of Fuerza Bruta)

A foggy mist fills the air, a bright steam of light commands attention as a man appears on a treadmill. He walks, he runs, he smashes through walls, he flies. Afro-Latin street beats stimulate, a resounding shot is heard. Blood drips from his white suit. Robot-like performers, chairs, tables appear, disappear.


In a flash the crowd shuffles, props are in motion. Stagehands quickly execute newly defined areas.

No dialogue needed. Incredibly toned, passionate actors entertain—they stomp, move, groove, flop, jump, fly, yell, glide, smash, pound.

At one point, a transparent Mylar water pool appears above the mass, suspended low enough that you can reach out and touch it. Four amazing gals control the movement of the water as they slip, slide, contort, slam, hover. Sometimes with brute force, other times with a beautiful calmness.

At ground level, when a performer pulls you in, jumping is mandatory. We jumped. It was pure madness, exhilaration, exhaustion!

Getting grungy, wet, as paper shreds fall everywhere, dancing freely — endless possibilities exist here. No boundaries. You’re a part of the experience and simply go with the flow.

Chowhounds do love their finds. Some unique chicken offerings are on the Sunday menu when Kiku Crafts and Food Fair takes over the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center.

Returnees drool over chicken chow mein, made from an old family recipe. Chicken teri gets a good overnight marinating to infuse flavors before it hits the hot grill.

The West Covina Buddhist Temple sponsors this event. More chicken appears in an Asian salad and curry over rice, plus Spam musubi and gyoza.

Dimensional art depicts dueling Japanese warriors framed in a shadowbox from Michiko Miyazaki of Torrance. (Courtesy of 3-D Crafts & Shadowbox)

Take a look-see at the dimensional art prints from 3-D Crafts & Shadowbox. Michiko Miyazaki has a passion for creating special art prints.

Credit her interest with this adapted art form to the drawings of Dutch artist Anton Pieck over 25 years ago. His nostalgic, fairy tale-like works are often replicated in cards and calendars. Miyazaki studied various techniques for dimensionalizing art.

She applies her style to old Japanese prints, postcards, nihon ningyo, even Mickey Mouse and Norman Rockwell pieces. Artists as Hiroshige, Umataro and Hokusai have impacted her work.

A dimensionalized print of Mickey Mouse drawing a Walt Disney caricature will delight the child in you. (Courtesy of 3-D Crafts & Shadowbox)

“I do this because I want to share this art form with everyone, to show them that there is more than one way to see art,” she said.

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 4-6, Nov. 11-13 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Touch of Nature Home/Holiday Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Sunday, Nov. 6 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Kiku Crafts and Food Fair
Sponsored by West Covina Buddhist Temple
E. San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center
1203 W. Puente Ave., West Covina
951-818-8740, Hisako Koga

Saturday, Nov. 12 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Japantown Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
408-888-8798, Gail Sugiura Bush


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