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Knoxville — The Office of Multicultural Student Life is kickstarting 2012 with DISoriented, an evening of cultural indigestion, color-blindness, and inter-ethnic vertigo.

DISoriented features three Asian American women as they present dynamic, solo performances on how they are working to “DISorient” themselves from external stereotypes and internal expectations. Comic sketches, contemporary dance, and audience improv games will punctuate each performance.

The first, “All Atheists Are Muslim,” is written and performed by Zahra Noorbakhsh. As an Iranian Muslim, Zahra must explain to her father that she is moving in with her white, atheist, American boyfriend. This comedic piece explores the complex issues of religion, race, and inter-generational conflict.

The second piece, “Soft Tissue: Secret Agent Bucket,” is written and performed by Colleen “Coke” Nakamoto. On her journey to womanhood, Coke, an Okinawan-Japanese American, suffers shame and guilt as she learns about her body. She is released from her guilt upon realizing she is not alone in the world. “Soft Tissue” explores issues of sexuality, loneliness, sexism, and racism.

Last but not least, “Fortunate Daughter” is written and performed by Thao P. Nguyen. Thao, born of one country but bred in another, grapples with living in America and being raised Vietnamese. Her inner tension culminates in a trip home to meet her grandmother. This touching performance examines the impact of war and formation of sexual identity.

DISoriented will be performed on January 19, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. in the Carolyn P. Brown University Center Auditorium. Admission is free.

DISoriented is sponsored by OMSL, the Cultural Attractions Committee, the Women’s Coordinating Council, and the Asian American Association. For more information, visit


Pa Nhia Yang (Email:, Phone: 865-974-6861)