Free First Saturdays: Global Games

In the realm of recreational games, ping pong wears the crown, having inspired a brand of diplomacy, an infamous drinking game (beer pong), and Pong, arguably the first commercially successful videogame. But that doesn't mean there aren't dozens of other unsung games worldwide just as worthy of praise—and playing. The Walker's Free First Saturday: Global Games event just might give ping pong a run for its money by letting visitors play and learn about games from around the world, including kubb, a Swedish lawn game; loteria (from Mexico); Chinese mahjong; and pob zeb, a Hmong numbers game involving rock tossing. As usual, the monthly celebration will also feature gallery activities, story time, and an opportunity to create art. And if you still can't get enough ping pong, catch a viewing of Jessica Yu's Ping Pong Playa (2008). The humorous narrative makes this film quite different from Yu's past documentary works (she won an Oscar for directing Breathing Lessons, about a man living in an iron lung) but it's thought-provoking and fun nonetheless. The film follows a Chinese American "playa" named Christopher "c-dub" Wang. C-dub is forced to give up playing basketball for ping pong, teaching lessons in the sport when his mother is no longer able to. Eventually, he must defend his family's reputation for excelling in the sport, learning why ping pong is more than just a game. (Photo by Gene Pittman)
Sat., May 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 2010
 
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