Open Access

Christy Chan

The Long Distance Call: Performance & Conversation

Friday, January 27, 2017, 7PM

Free for Montalvo members: Call 408-961-5849 or email Chris Wilcox to RSVP.

VENUE: Lucas Artists Program Commons

Service fees may apply and are non-refundable.
Montalvo donor discounts are offered on select events; donors, please Log In to access special ticket prices.
This event is presented as part of Montalvo Arts Center’s program series, Open Access—your opportunity to connect with Artists Fellows and Guest Artists at the Lucas Artists Program. This program is designed to offer audiences a behind the scenes view into how artists generate ideas, as well as showcase works in process and fully realized new work. Open Access offerings include conversations, performances, screenings, and culinary events. It also has a virtual presence as an online blog and archive. Find out more at

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Join us for the first Open Access event of 2017! 

Lucas Artists Program Fellow Christy Chan and actors Gail Jones and Catherine Lerza present a live performance of Chan’s The Long Distance Call. A Q&A with Chan will follow the performance. In addition, Lucas Artists Program visiting artist Simón Adinia Hanukai, a theater maker, and Co-Artistic Director of Kaimera Productions, will discuss his new work informed by questions and concerns about data mining and Lucas Artist Program Visual Arts Fellow Kim Beck will present her past work and projects she intends to explore while in residence.


Chan is an interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland and working primarily in video, installation, performance, and oral storytelling. She is currently at work on a film entitled Pen Pals, which has been featured on NPR’s Snap Judgement and The New York Times. It tells the story of Shelly, an 8-year-old girl who writes idealistic letters to the Ku Klux Klan after the Klan targets her family. Based on real-life events, Pen Pals draws on Chan's experience growing up in a Southern town with a white nativism movement, an experience that continues to inform her ongoing artistic explorations of race, power, and what it means to be an American. 

The Long Distance Call is a live re-enactment of phone calls between the artist and Miss Anne, a KKK seamstress in Alabama. During the telephone calls, Chan convinced Miss Anne to provide her with an authentic, custom-made Klan robe for her video work Who's Coming to Save You? Their unsettling yet banal phone calls tell the story of an unexpected interaction between two women, from trust gained to the eventual abrupt end of their communication.


Our new theme for Open Access in 2017: filmmakers, performance artists, composers, visual artists, and writers will probe wide-ranging creative change-making strategies, and share art works that serve as platforms for critical reflection, advocacy, collaboration, public dialogue, democratic action, and the development of alternative social models and imaginaries.