SMC Associates

Spring 2021 Events


Spring 2021 Lecture Series

Free Admission to All Events

You are invited to join us for intriguing and engaging discussions.

Asian American and Pacific Islander HeritageAsian American and Pacific Islander Heritage 

Dan Matthews - "aka DAN": Korean Adoptee Documentary

Film Screening & Q&A
Dan Matthews, better known as alternative Hip Hop artist DANakaDAN, presents a screening and Q&A about aka DAN: A Korean Adoption Documentary Story, which chronicles his experience as a Korean adoptee who travels to Korea to find his biological family. He is the lead content creator and producer with ISAtv (International Secret Agents), a YouTube network founded by Far East Movement + Wong Fu Productions.

Tuesday, May 11  |  11:15 a.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom Registration for May 11

Aastha Gaur

UX Director at Google
Aastha Gaur, who has designed solutions at boutique design studios and big corporations, is a User Experience (UX) Director at Google. She will talk about her work designing for consumers and enterprise, and the importance of leading with mindfulness, intuition, creativity, and compassion.

Thursday, May 13  |  11:15 a.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom Registration for May 13 at 11:15 a.m.

Transforming AAPI Hate into Strength and Resilience

Clinical Psychologist and SMC Psychology Professor
Dorothy Chin, Ph.D., is an SMC psychology professor and a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma, culture, discrimination, and mental health.  This event focuses on coping with hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and what it means to be Asian in today's climate. APIDA students are encouraged to attend.

Thursday, May 13  |  1 - 2:15 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom Registration for May 13 at 1 p.m.

Rhiana Yazzie

New Native Theatre – Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific Workshop
Based in the Twin Cities, New Native Theatre (NNT) is a new way of looking at, thinking about, and staging Native American stories. Created in 2009 by playwright Rhiana Yazzie, NNT produces, commissions, and devises authentic Native American stories for the stage, making NNT’s artists intricately connected to the concerns and voices of their communities. 

Thursday, May 20  |  11:15 a.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom Registration for May 20

APIDA Resources

Black History MonthBlack History Month

Jerome Dixon

Justice for Minors in California 
Join us for an online talk by social reform advocate Jerome Dixon on protecting the rights of minors taken into custody for an alleged crime, and the California law that makes sure they talk with an attorney before waiving their Miranda rights. As a high school junior, Dixon was arrested as a suspect in a murder, interrogated for 25 hours without parental notification, coerced into signing an incriminating statement used against him, and sent to a California prison. In 2011 — 21 years later — the California Prison Parole Board had difficulty comprehending his incarceration, acknowledged his innocence, and released him from custody.

Tuesday, February 23  |  7:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom Password: 081300

Communication Media & DesignCommunication, Media & Design

Patrick Smith

Independent Animation Filmmaking with Patrick Smith
Join us for two informative online talks by installation artist, animator, and independent filmmaker Patrick Smith. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he will talk about his work over the past 20 years, including how he came to animation, his early work as storyboard artist with Disney, and his move into creating his own independent films and commissioned work. Smith, who has made award-winning animated films for PBS and has a Youtube channel with more than 200,000 subscribers, is a fellow of the New York Foundation of the Arts and a curator for multiple international film and animation festivals.

Part 1: Thursday, February 4  |  2 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Part 2: Wednesday, May 3  |  7 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom


Jordan Demetrius Lloyd

Interacting with Phrase Work
Brooklyn, NY, dance artist Jordan Demetrius Lloyd will lead an online class that focuses on the embodiment of set phrase work. The class, which will break down the mechanics of highly calculated movement phrases, encourages personal truths and perspectives while focusing on formal movement ideas such as line, force, and clarity of shape. Lloyd currently teaches at Rutgers University and was formerly on the faculty at Mark Morris Dance Center. His work has been produced by New York Live Arts, BRIC, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, ISSUE Project Room, The Center for Performance Research, and Brooklyn Studios for Dance.

Thursday, March 11  |  12:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Jason Aryeh

Kpanlogo Traditional Dance Form
Jason Aryeh, a dancer and historian from the coastal area of Accra-Ghana, will teach a class in Kpanlogo, a sassy, fun recreational dance and music style from Ghana. First performed by the Ga ethnic group in the early 1960s and influenced by American rock and roll, the style gave the younger Ga a point of distinction from their elders, and is something strictly considered to be youth culture. Aryeh has toured worldwide and is the Founder and Artistic Director of Africa Alive Dance Company in Accra, and was the lead Dancer and Choreographer for the Performing Arts Workshop (PAWS), a resident performance dance company affiliated with the University of Ghana.

Wednesday, March 31  |  2:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Dana Wilson

Jazz Plus
Choreographer, performer, movement director, and coach Dana Wilson introduces her distinct dance style, Jazz Plus, which draws from many disciplines, is always funky, and unforgettably imaginative. Depending on the day, it could be Jazz plus Locking, or Jazz plus House, or even Jazz plus mime. Wilson, who has been teaching for over 15 years, was associate choreographer on the screen adaptation of “In the Heights,” and movement coach to the actor portraying Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic. She has also performed on world tours with Justin Timberlake, and was featured in Dance Magazine’s “Anything But A Backup Dancer.”

Tuesday, April 20  |  12:30 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Distinguished ScientistsDistinguished Scientists

Peter Galie

Vascularization of Self-assembled Peptide Scaffolds for Spinal Cord Injury Repair
SMC’s Distinguished Scientists Lecture Series continues this spring with Peter Galie, associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University and a former postdoctoral researcher in the Physiology department at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary area of expertise is the fabrication of three-dimensional vascular models that both investigate the contribution of hemodynamic factors to pathology, and form the basis of vascularized scaffolds for regenerative applications. Currently, his work is supported by the American Heart Association and the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, April 8  |  11 a.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Green Screen Film SeriesGreen Screen Film Series

Fantastic Fungi

Screening with Director Louie Schwartzberg, Narrated by Brie Larson

Imagine an organism that feeds you, heals you, reveals secrets of the universe, and could help save the planet. Fantastic Fungi is a revelatory time-lapse journey into the magical, mysterious, and medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth that began 3.5 billion years ago.

Monday, April 5  |  3 p.m.  |  Free  |  Fantastic Fungi Zoom Link  |  Passcode: green

Kiss the Ground

Screening with Producer Bill Benenson and Patrick Latting, Directed by Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell, Narrated by Woody Harrelson

Kiss the Ground covers a revolutionary group of activists, scientists, farmers, and politicians who band together in a global movement of “Regenerative Agriculture” that could balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world.

Monday, April 26  |  3 p.m.  |  Free  |  Kiss the Ground Zoom Link  |  Passcode: green


Screening followed by talk with Director Sanjay Rawal

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement among Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Monday, May 10  |  3 p.m.  |  Free  |  Gather Zoom Link  |  Passcode: green

Literary Talks & ReadingsLiterary Talks & Readings

Natashia Deón

An Afternoon with Natashia Deón
Natashia Deón is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Grace (Counterpoint Press) —awarded the 2017 First Novel Prize by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus (BCALA), and named a Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016 and a New York Times Top Book 2016. She is a practicing attorney, law professor, and UCLA creative writing professor, and an advocate of abolition of the prison industrial complex. She also launched Redeem, a nonprofit hub of services and relief for those who have been convicted or incarcerated. Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship and a number of fellowships and residencies. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, Buzzfeed, LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, and other places.

Tuesday, February 23  |  11:15 a.m.  Free  |  Zoom

Mario Padilla

Blue Plums Among the Weeds: Poems from Mario Padilla – with Q&A
Mario René Padilla, of Italian and Mexican descent, grew up a typical “midwestern” kid, so multiculturalism and cultural identity are central themes in his work. His poetry and stories have appeared in North American Review, The Antioch Review, New Letters, Alligator Juniper, The Ledge, INKWELL Magazine, Americas Review, Tulip Tree Review, Westwind, Chiron Review, Atlanta Review, among others. He is a winner of a Fulbright Award for his dissertation, Jorge Luis Borges: Young Poet of Prose (1919-1925). Padilla’s first collection of poems, Reaching Back for the Neverendings, appeared in 1994. His second collection of poems, Blue Plums and Weeds, was a finalist for several literary prizes, and published in December 2020 by PSPoets in Los Angeles. Two of his stories — “La Château Possonniere” and “Scales” — won first prize in TulipTree Publishing’s story contest, Stories That Need to Be Told, 2017 and 2020. Padilla teaches English, Creative Writing, and Latin-American Literature full-time at Santa Monica College. 

Thursday, March 11  |  11:15 a.m. Free  |  Zoom

The Sun and Her Stars Reading and Discussion with Donna Rifkind

From Berlin to Santa Monica: Salka Viertel and Hollywood’s Fight Against Fascism
Donna Rifkind reads from The Sun and Her Stars, and discusses the little-known story of screenwriter Salka Viertel, whose salons in 1930s and 40s Hollywood created a refuge for a multitude of famous figures who had escaped the horrors of World War ll. Rifkind’s reviews appear frequently in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Book Review. She has also been a contributor to The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, The American Scholar, and many other publications. In 2006, she was a finalist for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle.

Tuesday, April 6  |  11 a.m. | Free  |  Zoom

Sara Borjas

Poems from the Cliff: A Reading by Sara Borjas
Sara Borjas, a Xicanx pocha, is a Fresno poet who now lives in Los Angeles. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff, was published by Noemi Press in 2019 as part of the Akrilica series, and received a 2020 American Book Award. Borjas was named one of Poets & Writers 2019 Debut Poets, is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow, and is the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Ploughshares, The Rumpus, Poem-a-Day by The Academy of American Poets, and The Offing, among others. She is a lecturer in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

Tuesday, May 4  |  2 p.m. | Free  |  Zoom

Special EventSpecial Event

Professional Skateboarders Oscar Meza & Fabian Alomar

Skating Beyond the Fire
Find out what it takes to become a pro skateboarder and join Team Mexico for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Oscar Meza, a professional skateboarder from Los Angeles training in Mexico City, has a passion and a goal to show the world that a Latino can achieve success. He is often on the cover of skating magazines such as Thrasher and The Boardr Skateboarding, and has received sponsorship from Vans, SkateLibreSkateboards, Yoyo Wheels, and BonesSwiss Bearings. He has also been in commercials for Apple, Microsoft, and Honda. Fabian Alomar is a Los Angeleno and a former professional skateboarder who traveled the world and was sponsored by Menace skateboards. Also an accomplished actor with nationally recognized shows and movies, Alomar has become an influencer as a Youtuber on “Cholos Try,” empowering youth to embrace skateboarding.

Tuesday, March 9  |  5 p.m.  |  Free  |  Zoom

Santa Monica College Associates