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Encore Series: No-No Boy | Asian society

Asia Society Texas’ Encore Series brings you the best of our in-person programs, in bite-size form. Revisit highlights from events you’ve enjoyed live or sample exciting new performances, all from the comfort of your own home.


No-no boy (a.k.a Julien Saporiti) combine original folk songs, tales and archival footage to create an immersive experience exploring Asian American and Trans-Pacific histories, with music drawing inspiration from wildly diverse traditions: jazz musicians in internment camps, teenagers Saigon rock ‘n’ roll, Filipino cruise ships, punk rockers and church choirs in Chinatown. Addressing the present as much as the past, his work also touches on Saporiti’s own research in Texas and on the southern border of the United States.

In this Encore Series clip from his concert at the Asia Society Texas Center in March 2022, Saporiti performs “Boat People” from No-No Boy’s debut album 1942. This stripped down acoustic version emphasizes the beauty of the lyrics, telling the story of a Vietnamese refugee in Canada and the refugee experience of the narrator’s mother. Saporiti performs in front of a slowly zoomed-out projection of a monumental photograph of a Vietnamese refugee camp in Malaysia. The image, like its music, captures the scope of the story and the individual humanity within it all at once.

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About No-No Boy

Julien Saporiti aka No-No Boy is a Vietnamese and Italian-American songwriter and scholar. His multimedia work “No-No Boy” transformed his doctoral research on Asian American history into concerts, albums and films that reached a wide and diverse audience. Using art to delve into hotly contested issues such as race, refugees and immigration, Saporiti aims to allow audience members to sit in complication as the music and visuals open doors to difficult stories. Saporiti is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, the University of Wyoming and Brown University and has worked with cultural institutions such as Lincoln Center, LA Philharmonic, National Parks and Carnegie Hall.

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The Asia Society Texas performing arts and culture programs are presented by Syamal and Susmita Poddar. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment and The Brown Foundation Inc. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Anchorage Foundation of Texas , The Clayton Fund, and the Miller Theater Advisory Board. Additional support provided by the Wortham Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, United Airlines, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to providing programming and exceptional exhibitions at Asia Society Center texan.

Performing Arts and Culture Presenting Sponsors

Syamal and Susmita Poddar

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Performing Arts and Culture Program Sponsors

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About Asia Society Texas

Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diversity of perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating Asia’s vibrant diversity, inspiring empathy, and fostering a deeper understanding of our interconnected world. Covering the fields of arts, business, culture, education and politics, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community – trusting in the power of art, dialogue and ideas to fight prejudice and build a more inclusive society.