New American Festival Adds Padma Lakshmi, Hasan Minhaj, Dr. Ruth And More To Lineup

New American Festival Adds Padma Lakshmi, Hasan Minhaj, Dr. Ruth And More To Lineup

Today, ticket sales go live for New American Economy (NAE)'s inaugural New American Festival, a groundbreaking event celebrating immigrant contributions to American art, food, film, comedy, fashion, and more (September 14-15). The festival will feature a keynote address from New York Times best-selling author, host, and executive producer Padma Lakshmi (Love, Loss and What We Ate, The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs, Top Chef) and conversations with sex therapist, radio and television show host, and author Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and award-winning host, comedian, writer, and producer Hasan Minhaj (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Homecoming King).

The festival will take place at NeueHouse (Madison Square - 110 East 25th Street) in New York City, the immigrant capital of the world. Following its debut in New York, NAE will bring the New American Festival to cities across the U.S., including Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Kansas City, Nashville, Houston, and Oakland, among others.

Musical headliners, curated by music community and incubator Treble, represent a cross-section of genres and bold styles, including:

  • Ruth B., Canadian singer-songwriter
  • Japanese Breakfast, the indie rock solo project of Korean-American Michelle Zauner
  • Baby Yors, Argentinian pop singer
  • Nic Hanson, Brazilian R&B singer
  • Mannywellz, Nigerian DACA recipient and Grammy Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter
  • Bohan Phoenix, Chinese-American bilingual rapper and hip-hop artist
  • Rotem Sivan, Israeli guitarist and musician
  • Y3LDA, German-born Afghan community builder and DJ

Ballet Hispánico, America's leading Latino dance organization, will also perform. Led by Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro, Ballet Hispánico brings communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance training, and community engagement.

Comedy Central is the official partner for the festival's comedy programming, bringing to the celebration a panel discussion with Arturo Castro (whose sketch comedy series, Comedy Central's Alternatino with Arturo Castro, premiered to acclaim on the network in June) and Comedy Central executives, moderated by NAE Executive Director Jeremy Robbins. They will also screen a reel of sketches featuring immigrant artists or relating to the themes of the festival.NAE will also host a stand-up hour featuring:

  • Ronny Chieng (senior correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah)
  • Aparna Nancherla (Comedy Central's Corporate, Netflix's The Standups, Bojack Horseman)
  • Negin Farsad (HBO's High Maintenance, Earwolf's Fake The Nation)
  • Vladimir Caamaño (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Marvel's Runaways, Jimmy Kimmel Live)
  • Wil Sylvince (HBO's Def Comedy Jam, Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show, and Damon Wayans' The Underground)
  • Jess Salomon (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Baroness Von Sketch, The El-Salomons)

BoJack Horseman writer, everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too author, and illustrator of Lin-Manuel Miranda's New York Times best-seller Gmorning, Gnight! Jonny Sun will bring an interactive multimedia piece to NeueHouse with collaborating artist Hannah Davis. Titled The Laughing Room, this work brings participants into an artificially intelligent room emulating a sitcom set, where a laugh track is triggered whenever someone says something the room's algorithm deems laughter-worthy.

Author Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper series, Bone Street Rumba series) will join previously announced headliners-author Min Jin Lee (Pachinko, Free Food for Millionaires) and Big Friendship co-author and Call Your Girlfriend podcaster Aminatou Sow- for a literary panel. Headliners from the world of cuisine include chef, restaurateur, and author Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus B&P), and author, broadcaster and cook Yasmin Khan (Zaitoun, The Saffron Tales).

Smorgasburg, the largest weekly open-air food market in America and the official food partner for the festival, will offer cuisines representing a variety of nationalities and ethnicities. For Freedoms, an artist-run platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists, will serve as the official art partner. They will host a town hall that explores the notion of Freedom from Fear through the topic of immigration.

"The festival's programming celebrates the visionary contributions that immigrants make to the fields of art and culture," said New American Economy's Katherine Steinberg. "Immigrants have revolutionized cuisine, and altered our perceptions through convention-breaking comedy, music, literature, and performance. The New American Festival highlights how our cultural diversity is our national strength across each of these fields."

Festival partners include Artadia-a national non-profit organization that identifies innovative visual artists and supports them with unrestricted, merit-based financial awards and connections to a network of opportunities-and Lingua Franca, who make sustainably-sourced, fair trade luxury cashmere sweaters, all hand-stitched by women in NYC.

According to NAE's recent analysis of the 2017 American Community Survey, more than 400,000 immigrants are working in creative or artistic occupations, helping support the nearly $1 trillion creative industry sector in the United States. There are more than 25,000 immigrant actors, producers, and directors; nearly 23,000 immigrant musicians; more than 17,400 immigrant photographers; and more than 16,000 immigrant writers and authors nationwide.

Tickets for individual events are $25-45. A limited number of all-access day passes are available for $125. Interested attendees can get tickets to the New American Festival at

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