NOW Live from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

George Takei: A Star Treks to the Smithsonian

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There are few people in today’s public forum that have made cultural and political impact like that of George Takei. From his iconic role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, to his deep involvement in obtaining a redress of Japanese Americans who were forced into relocation during World War II, to his fervent fight for LGBT rights, George has proven himself to be a force to reckon with. Plus, his cat memes are awesome!!! georgetakei-cat Last Thursday, George and Brad Takei graced us with their presence at the DC Film Premiere of To Be Takei, a new documentary starring the couple. We also found some time to show him some powerful pieces from the Smithsonian collection (thanks to National Museum of American History curators Noriko Sanefuji and Katherine Ott!) and hung with him backstage. Join our play-by-play! 14220415211_4315e6b839_o The evening kicked off with a special reception to honor our friends and supporters. As you can see, Brad Takei thoroughly enjoyed the regal wallpaper at the VIP room. DSC_0039 14037268619_c09b92332f_b The WB Theater was packed for To Be Takei! DSC_0076 Our director Konrad Ng, along with Daphne Kwok – AARP Vice President of Multicultural Markets & Engagement for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience – introduced George, and then the man of the hour came out to introduce the film. DSC_0115 While the film played, we took George and Brad upstairs to view some items selected by NMAH curators, including the Congressional Gold Medal for Nisei World War II veterans. DSC_0139 14037132770_474163c91e_b Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council, Daphne Kwok, and Floyd Mori, President of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies joined them while Noriko and Katherine led a conversation around pieces from Japanese American families who were forced to relocate during World War II, as well as items from the National Museum of American History’s LGBT collection. DSC_0199 14223581844_2690d14479_b Powerful pieces included artifacts from Rohwer Confinement Site, where George was incarcerated as a boy before his family was sent to Tule Lake. 14037187699_3051e269ca_b Backstage, George sat down with Adriel Luis, our Curator of Digital and Emerging Media, to talk about how his career has been driven by a range of influences – from old Samurai films to African American civil rights leaders. 14243958873_12e14dd261_b Senator Mazie Hirono stopped by to say “Hello.” DSC_0011 After the film, George and Brad went back to the auditorium to participate in a Q&A moderated by Gautam Raghavan, Public Engagement Advisor for the White House. 14037114548_920ced67ec_b

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We had a spectacular time with George and Brad! Check out a trailer of his film below, and stay tuned for more amazing events!

14243972763_d58253e552_b See more photos from the event on Flickr.

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