To Be Real

“To Be Real” zine is a collaboration between Tori Hong and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay. It is inspired by stories of Frogtown, Vietnam, immigration, war, family, generosity, and joy that Mr. Winston Tuan Nguyen shared with us over McDonald’s and phở.

Hong and Vongsay co-created the concepts for the zine. Hong illustrated and designed the zine. Vongsay wrote the poem.

This zine was a part of a performance — also titled “To Be Real” — that Vongsay and Hong wrote and performed together on 9/1/18 as a part of the 2018 Our Space Is Spoken For Fellowship. The zine was put inside lucky red envelopes with $2 bills and passed out to vendors and customers at the Sun Foods Farmers’ Market in Saint Paul. The performance also incorporated movement and invitation to take off ones’ shoes and come home.


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This piece is my 할아버지 (grandpa) and me holding hands, visiting my 할머니’s (grandma’s) ashes for the first time. My grandpa has since passed. I wanted to create this piece to honor the both of them.


© 2017 Tori Hong. All rights reserved.