A Childhood Story

The friendship begins at the kitchen table, when young Tian Tian observes the snowy rabbit with cautious wonder, offering a finger through the bars of its cramped cage, only to have her parents puncture the nascent connection a moment later. They remind her, not unkindly, that this rabbit is to be served as part of her late grandfather’s memorial service the next day. It is then time for lunch (chicken wings) and the rabbit is whisked away. In just over eight minutes, with this small tragedy at its center, A Childhood Story probes the emotional corners of Tian Tian’s affection for her lapin companion and her own lost innocence. Tianyi Lu, who wrote, directed, and edited this coming-of-age short submitted to the D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival, rightly avoids a binary narrative that pits an idealistic heroine against villainous elders yoked to tradition, while Emre Okten (cinematographer) and Matthew Wilder (production designer and colorist) suffuse each frame with evocative hues and golden light. What’s revealed is an ethereal tableau of empathy, culture, and loss. The film is available at apafilm.org. Free. —Amy Guay

#txtshow (on the internet)

Brian Feldman has never been one to shy away from a challenge. He spent 140 hours squeezing oranges, once married a stranger to protest same-sex marriage bans, and famously held Shabbat dinners in multiple Wawas. Now, he’s rising to meet a new challenge as COVID-19 seriously disrupts the art world—though, thankfully for a performance artist, Feldman’s been using digital communication in his work for years. Although he’s many miles away from Adelaide, Australia, he’s participating in that city’s fringe festival from his D.C. apartment, reworking his #txtshow for a virtual audience. The show, now titled #txtshow (on the internet), dates back to 2009 and has inspired its own subgenre of performance art. His character “txt,” pronounced “text,” solicits and receives anonymous messages from the audience. Essentially, the audience writes the show, as Feldman maintains there’s no script. It’s interactive and highly unpredictable. With that in mind, the artist flags the potential for profane language, mature themes, and sexual content—it’s all up to the audience. Feldman has used various platforms in the past, like Jitsi Meet and brand-new Twitter accounts, but he’s going with increasingly popular Zoom for the Adelaide shows. Participants will receive a link to the performance, and then a prompt to set their screen name to “anonymous.” From there, anything goes. Tickets are available at adelaidefringe.com.au. $8 AUD. —Sarah Smith