Here’s a poem for you. Scroll to the end for the reward. All about love. Happy Monday. In the meantime, two shows this week!
This Week TUESDAY, 7:30-9:30PM, Tuesday Night Cafe, Little Tokyo:
I’ll be performing this poem and other such things (if I get my memorizing act together) at this Tuesday’s Tuesday Night Cafe in Little Tokyo! From 7:30-9:30. Awesome, nurturing space for performers and artists. RSVP FB Event Page! Or if you can’t make it in person, you can live stream here!
This Week THURSDAY, 7:00-9:30PM Common Ground, Santa Ana:
Then Thursday I’ll be at Common Ground in Santa Ana. Another multi-disciplinary performing arts space. Spoken word and standup comedy will ensue.
It’s all building up to the Tuesday Night Project’s annual J-Town Summer Sessions fundraiser happening this SATURDAY afternoon! Lots of music, art and vendors! I’ll be there hosting for a portion of the afternoon! Featuring: Andrew Figueroa Chiang and the Blazing Rays of the Sun, Connie Lim, Dawen, Jane Lui, Lindsey Yung, Mista Cookie Jar, Shin Kawasaki, SKIM; Visual Artists: Alex Chiu, A’misa Chiu, Kevin Cheah, Nicanor Evangelista, Yuki Miyazaki, Alex Gardner, Nathaniel Osollo, Yumi Sakugawa; Vendors: Blacklava, bybelinda, Karen Gee Baked Goods, KOKOCANDLES, paper & type, Janie XY, Amigurumi Friends, Branch of Life, Furry Feline, Whimsical Fantasy
no. you go first.
by Jenny Yang
and you a version me?
i cannot agree.
because your jokes
but really inside
is there something you hide?
perhaps a little prize
very few get to see.
you dare to share
and maybe with me?
let’s both open up
on a count of three.
are the words that you speak.
but i cannot believe
i am what you seek.
Episode 5-May Lee-Yang
According to May Lee-Yang, breasts ruined her life. She also insists that she would be a horrible porn star. May has flown in from Minnesota to explain herself through the solo show, Ten Reasons Why I’d Be A Bad Porn Star…
…There will be two performances of the show this week during the Third Annual National Asian American Theater Festival in Los Angeles. It’s not everyday you get a Hmong-American writer, playwright and community activist from the Twin Cities to take you into her quasi-autobiographical world of sexuality, toys, and obsession of British period romances. And apparently, there are parallels between the porn hustle and the artistic hustle.
During this candid conversation from the aspiring romance novel writer, we come to an “It’s weird that I’m telling you this right now” moment. We get politically incorrect and talk about what it takes to write more honestly, why the Midwest is coming up, and how the Chinese just can’t avoid having a superiority complex (Jenny shrugs). Oh. And Jenny’s Mom makes an unexpected cameo.
Episode 5 Community Sponsor: The 3rd National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival. Check out all the amazing shows this week and celebrate the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival in Los Angeles from June 16-26, 2011. The event will be presented by the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) and hosted by Asian American Theaters East West Players and TeAda Productions, both residing in Los Angeles. The theme for this year’s joint conference and festival is NEW DIRECTIONS citing transitional shifts in theater at all levels and an emerging generation of voices rising in the Asian American community.
- March 2011 Asian American Press article about May Lee-Yang
- May Lee-Yang’s Wikipedia page, including her numerous awards and fellowships
- May’s interview with University of Minnesota re: writing
- The Hmong Arts Connection – May is their Executive Director
- Burlee Vang – Hmong American Poet
- Fundraising Tool: Kickstarter.com
- Fundraising Tool: United States Artists
And when you’re done listening to it…leave a comment at the end of this post, or on iTunes. Send me your feedback and comments! What did you like about the interview? What did you learn that you hadn’t thought about before? What was something that you wanted to learn more about the creative process? What question were you DYING for me to ask but I never did!?
Shows, Plays, and Festivals, Oh My!: June Performing Arts Roundup
June is barely halfway over and I can’t fit in enough of the awesome shows I’ve seen or will be seeing. I’ll also be doing special coverage of the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival coming next week. A special “Extrasode” will be here for the podcast. And I’ll be interviewing one of the Festival performers too. And now, here’s the breakdown of all the awesome-osity.
#1. Greg Watanabe in “Extraordinary Chambers” at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood
This is a beautiful play about culture clashes, memory and loss. And my friend Greg Watanabe is exquisite in it. He plays a Cambodian man with haunting stories to tell about his past (LA Times Article on Greg). Well-paced, tightly-focused writing and top shelf acting. I was moved to tears and laughter throughout this very intimate show. The run goes all the way until the beginning of July so be sure to catch it.
EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBERS Online Friends/Family Discount Code (ECFF20):
∙ $20 per ticket ($18 + $2 fee)
∙ Discount available for ALL performances
∙ To redeem please visit www.geffenplayhouse.com (offer available online only) and enter promo code: ECFF20 upon checkout.
#2. Lawrence Kao from America’s Best Dance Crew Stars in “Krunk Fu Battle Battle” the Musical at East West Players in Little Tokyo
Wow. They’ve got rapping, spoken word and musical theater singing ALL interspersed with breaking and hip hop dance-poetics? Yes, please. And all the lyrics are penned by Beau Sia. Even better. I’ve never seen something like this…where young Asian Americans can represent in a hip hop love story. I was highly entertained…and really wanted them to krunk fu battle battle MORE. Energetic and fun! Their run ends June 26th so get tickets now.
It’s the 3rd Annual convening of all things Asian Americans and theater! Isn’t that exciting? If I told my little Jenny self in the 9th grade that there was such a thing, it would have blown my college-bound, political science majoring mind. My favorite Los Angeles buddies will be featured in the conference and in shows during the festival: Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Kennedy Kabasares, Leslie Ito, D’Lo and Alison De La Cruz, and Kristina Wong and Helen Ota. I’m also excited to meet folks like Beau Sia, Gayle Isa (another Swarthmore College alum!), and May Lee-Yang (Another “Yang” female comedian with a show “Ten Reasons I’d Be A Bad Porn Star”!). I’ll be covering this Conference & Festival so be on the lookout for a couple of fun podcast episodes featuring folks from this event!
#4. I Heart Hamas a one-woman show with Jennifer Jajeh at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
My podcast episode #3 guest Jennifer Jajeh is STILL going strong with her one-woman show, I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. She’s been touring this for over three years and this leg of her Los Angeles run will be fun. She talks about being a twenty-something Palestinian-American dealing with all the unsolicited questions and confusion from Americans about her identity and what it’s like trying to find where the party was at when she was living in Palestine. I’m seeing this one next week and I’m excited to see her snappy, sassiness in this critically-acclaimed show. Be sure to catch it before it ends June 25th.
#5. Evolution of a Kiss with Cynthia Brinkman at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
Cynthia Brinkman has a natural comedic sensibility and confident stage-presence in this beautiful story of three generations of first kisses in her family. It was thirty minutes well-spent. Kept me smiling well after the show. June 23rd is the last show so get your tickets now! Her show summary describes it best:
“This triumphant solo comedy chronicles three generations of Latinas as they experience their first kiss.
“What would you do if, after years of keeping your own journal, you discovered the journals of your mother and grandmother as teenage girls? You’d compare everyone’s first kiss of course! In this hysterical and painstakingly honest comedy, we get to join three young women as they navigate the choppy waters of passion, desire, and teenage dorkiness from 1930s Mexico to modern day San Diego. Cynthia Brinkman brings these girls – and the hilarious characters that fill their worlds – to life in vivid color as we see a first kiss evolve through time and across cultural and sexual borders. Based on the first-hand accounts found in journals and oral recordings, it just goes to show that nothing is funnier than the honest truth.”