Archives for category: Diversity

The Fairy Princess had a phone call yesterday – or rather, her Agency received a phone call from Casting Director Michael Cassara, letting them know that the NAAP Production of SHOW BOAT auditions which had been scheduled for be an “All Asian American” Cast, have been cancelled.

There has yet been no official announcement from NAAP.

Now, some might think that TFP was doing this:

tumblr_n6ee7cdMjw1tcq54io1_400

But she was not.

Let’s be clear – this was never about

tumblr_m8m7mopNVF1qbrivdo1_500

or trying to erase this company in any way.

What this debate was about, for TFP, is what theater debates generally tend to be about nowadays – representation.

There are always consequences for our choices, that goes without saying, but choosing a show (when there are so many others available) where the cornerstone of the entire plot is the subjugation and attempted ‘escape’ from that life of a Mixed Raced African American woman, and the racial divides of the Deep South post Civil War?

Podcast_Apr23_FamesDebbieAllen

It was simply a poor choice.

tumblr_mmsno45A3X1rz2luoo1_250

Which has now been amended.

giphy

TFP realizes that the mission of National Asian Artists Project is a valid and vital one – they provide education, community outreach, and, to put it frankly ‘stage time’, that is necessary for younger Artists to receive in order to move on in their careers.

The Fairy Princess would like to now, publicly, thank NAAP and it’s principal administrators – Baayork Lee, Steven Eng, and Nina Zoie Lam for listening to the concerns of the Asian American Broadway Community and cancelling this particular production.

The Fairy Princess would also like to thank Tommy Tune for being gracious about this decision, and she hopes that this will not deter him from working with the Artists of NAAP, because she does feel that an Artist of his caliber is someone that anyone, regardless of race, would be lucky to work with.

(Where are we on All API Grand Hotel, Mr. Tune? Seriously now…)

TFP cannot say that her decision to write about this particular matter was ‘business, not personal’, because that would be hiding.

TFP does not hide.

That's TFP, Erin Quill

That’s TFP, Erin Quill

She knows that it will be felt, very personally, by the NAAP Executive Staff, and while she gets that they will be upset with her. It is TFP‘s own ‘mission’, if you will, to speak out when she thinks things are wrong, regardless of the skin color of those who she believes are making a wrong choice.

Which is called, equality.

The fact that she has been called…well…

 

is not enough to deter her from speaking up.

In fact, it kinda makes her, well….

giphy

Because POISON is a great song, and she had forgotten about it for a while, but now it is back in it’s ear worm capacity in her head and it is pretty fabulous.

To say that this was “business and not personal‘ would be a lie – this was personal to TFP because she did not want this production to do irreparable damage to the relationships of People of Color in the greater theatrical community. Those relationships, so heavily relied upon, so heavily intertwined, are personal.

People of Color ‘having each other’s back” is personal.

Top L-R: John Tartaglia, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Beverly Jenkins, Producer Robyn Goodman, Erin Quill, Phoebe Kreutz, Producer Kevin McCollum Lower Left Photo: Star of MEMPHIS: J. Bernard Calloway Lower Rt Photo: Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

Top L-R: John Tartaglia, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Beverly Jenkins, Producer Robyn Goodman, Erin Quill, Phoebe Kreutz, Producer Kevin McCollum
Lower Left Photo: Star of MEMPHIS: J. Bernard Calloway
Lower Rt Photo: Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

This was ‘personal‘ for TFP also because she did damage to the relationships that she had with Baayork Lee, Steven Eng, and Nina Zoie Lam, and she knows this. Personally, she was sorry she had to address this situation, but this was a situation that should never have arisen in the first place.

TFP acknowledges all of that – personally, while she cannot regret writing and helping bring about a change, she does know that she did not set out to ‘destroy NAAP“, as has been mentioned, but if that is the way people feel, she cannot change it. She accepts it. This is what happens when she sets out to write her blog, because while she does not write as frequently as others, when she does, it usually means…

photo

The other part of the issue is, actually, business.

Licensing rights for musicals are expensive, and she imagines that while they may have gotten a slight ‘deal’ on those for SHOW BOAT, NAAP may be in a real financial pickle to recover from having to purchase ‘rights’ to another show in time for a production as scheduled.

Now, to TFP and her sense of fair play – this should be a situation where the R&H Organization acknowledges that yes, they are equally at fault here, and they should help NAAP find a show within their canon that will be acceptable to Ms. Lee, Mr. Tune etc, etc. etc. at little to no extra cost.

Duh_duh_duh

That would be the classy thing to do.

tumblr_n5kp9zyT2T1rosb88o1_250

That would be in the spirit of Oscar Hammerstein.

If, however, R&H does not see fit to extend them credit, or just ‘do a swap‘, and they do wish to go with something like…well, GRAND HOTEL, then they will need funds for that.

MAKE IT RAIN

MAKE IT RAIN

TFP found out that GRAND HOTEL is licensed by Music Theatre International - ahem….

This is where TFP is torn because, in one respect, she would like to encourage people to thank NAAP for changing this egregious choice by helping them move on quickly with a donation so that they can get a new show up and running quick.

HOWEVER, some lessons are best learned in the pocketbook, and some choices need to have consequences so that people really think about them, so that they do not have them happen again.

TFP supposes the issue is – who ‘suffers’ here? If there is no show? If there is a missed opportunity for young API Performers to work with a Director the caliber of Tommy Tune?

asian_babies_c_u_t_e_____________by_wildcatxiii-d54pfl9

See? Again, it is personal.

TFP will leave it to you, the reader to decide which road to travel….but she will also remind you  though we love to do Art, there is only one way Art gets done…

its-all-about-the-money-4

If you would like to donate to National Asian Artists Project, here is the link to their donation page.

If you are making a donation, might TFP also encourage you to leave a comment as to why you felt compelled to make a donation…because, after all, they did listen, and….

Nelson-Mandela-South-Africa

 

The Fairy Princess did some “Activist-ing’, she did.

Normally, she writes about productions and they are generally in a different town or somewhere where to get involved in the physical aspects of protesting, she would have to jump a plane.

Sadly though, right here in New York City, the National Asian Artists Project, has decided to do an All Asian American production of Show Boat.

Yes, this Show Boat.

 

At this point, everyone knows which Show Boat we are talking about – the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein classic,  Show Boat, which deals with the divide between the Caucasian and African Americans Post- Civil War in the Deep South.

Duh_duh_duh

Show Boat is a show that, in TFP’s opinion, is not one that can be done by APIs with any sense of dignity or sense of history, or, well…sense.

In fact, if one is to do this show without the Cast as written, based on the novel where these themes – between Caucasian and African American – are not honored, it makes you appear as, well…

images-9

TFP attended this ‘talkback’ given by NAAP, to see what was going to be said.

Some pretty interesting things were said, particularly by Co-Founder Steven Eng.

Co-Founder of NAAP, Steven Eng

Co-Founder of NAAP, Steven Eng

TFP Live Tweeted exactly what was said, but it would be tiresome to replay it all exactly

(although if you wish you can go to her Twitter account @Equill and check them out)

To sum up what was said by NAAP at this ‘open forum”, and share what TFP learned:

1. Baayork Lee is the only reason Big Name Directors will work with Asian American Performers

58251898b6b8b5f4471580313c43e76a

2. If they were to cast African Americans in Show Boat, it would not ‘serve their mission

3. “We are not denying opportunity to Caucasians or African Americans because we were never going to cast them’ – Steven Eng

4. “We are driven by our mission…and Tommy Tune is very aware of that’ – Steven Eng

5. “I am not going to talk about Tommy’s concept (for the show) I don’t think it is fair when it is in development” – Steven Eng

mr-furley-o

6. The Rogers & Hammerstein Organization is the one that did all the intermediary legwork between the Hammerstein and Kern Estates to help approval happen, specifically Ted Chapin.

(Sidebar: If TFP were Ted Chapin, she would be a bit concerned about how often his name came up and his enthusiasm for this project was mentioned and how much he loved it so they did not have to do any of the ‘leg work’ because good Ol’ Ted Chapin was the go-between for them between the estates of Kern and Hammerstein to get this clearance. Methinks Ted Chapin may get an earful from some folks…some folks…somewhere…just sayin’) (Watch your back Ted Chapin)

7. “We will not be changing the show” – Steven Eng

8. “Tommy has been given leeway to change some things‘ – Steven Eng

giphy-1

9. “You have to trust us” – Steven Eng

10. One of the reasons they chose it was ‘to see if Asian Americans could do it’

seriously__by_keni8149-d528i5d

11. Baayork Lee and Tommy Tune chose this show specifically because they felt other shows were ‘too easy’.

(One can only assume they meant ‘too easy to do without offending and erasing an entire people from their actual history’. That kind of ‘too easy’ )

Which made TFP and others kinda feel like:

Slap

Now, observers at home, lest you think that this meeting was unattended – it was not. In fact, prominent Musical Theater Actor, Jose Llana was one of the first to speak of his dismay.

Broadway Performer, Jose Llana

Broadway Performer, Jose Llana

Mr. Llana wanted to know why, specifically why, this particular show was chosen – which was a question that would be asked and remain unanswered repeatedly through the evening.

Hansel Tan asked a question on everyone’s mind as well – how was this going to harm us (API Performers) in the future? Because, as he pointed out, “Nothing here in New York happens in a vacuum”

Actor, Hansel Tan

Actor, Hansel Tan

Cast Member of the Current Broadway Revival of The King & I, Marc Oka stated “It is a visceral feeling, it does not feel right….What some of us would like to tell you is of the danger of this production...’

Broadway Performer, Marc Oka

Broadway Performer, Marc Oka

Co-Artistic Director of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble and member of the LA Ovation Committee, Chil Kong gave a blistering speech asking for the justification of this choice, and requested information that he could bring back to colleagues that are People of Color, to make them understand this, when very few in the room could understand it either.

SuitHeadDownSmall

Noted Tenor, Dillon McCartney,

who sings with The Three Irish Tenors came simply to see, as a fan of the show, what the discussion would be.

So the ‘crowd’ as it were, the crowd demanding answers, was diverse, which was heartening.

Actor, Orville Mendoza, who did not think that he was going to get up and speak, felt compelled after listening to Mr. Eng circle endlessly around the fact that yes, he knew the show was about race, but would not say why they were choosing to ignore the historical factors race played in the show to explore…well…race...but they were intending to explore race because Show Boat is all about race….

Yes, It was confusing.

Actor, Orville Mendoza

Actor, Orville Mendoza

Anyway, Mr. Mendoza got up and with great respect, did say that he felt that doing a show about race where you are ignoring the race that belongs in that particular show due to historical accuracy was like “putting a hat on a hat, (because) this show already has a message

Many views of those present were variations of thoughts expressed in the book by “Show Boat; Performing Race In An American Musical” by Todd Decker (link to purchase here) for example: “My emphasis on race rests equally on definitions of whiteness and blackness. Magnolia and Ravenal perform their whiteness every bit as much as Joe performs his blackness and any actress playing Julie must perform that character’s mixed-race identity, whatever that has meant in particular times and places.”

Show Boat is a musical where, everyone agreed, race matters and despite repeated and fervent requests from several people, a concept was never explained.

One wonders what noted journalist, Jeff Yang is going to say about this whole situation, as he took copious notes on his laptop in the back of the room. TFP is a big fan of Jeff Yang, so she will be very interested to see if he writes on this debate.

Jeff Yang aka @originalspin

Jeff Yang aka @originalspin

After a while, TFP decided to get up and speak – she had made points before, but she wanted to go on record and reiterate why she is convinced that this production is the wrong thing to do:

1. This is not an Asian American story to tell, in any way. We were not ripped from our homelands and made to serve in the most degrading ways possible, people who believed they were superior to us based on nothing but skin tone.

2. After all the strides that have been made in getting theaters to acknowledge that they should cast APIs in roles where the writing requires an Asian Heritaged Actor, to now decide to look to another Minority group and co-opt their experiences makes us hypocrites, and weakens our advances.

3. TFP is a Person of Color within the Broadway community, being part of that community, and also a student of the Musical Theater, she could never think that her auditioning for the role of “Queenie” (which is the role she was asked to come in for) was ‘right’ in any sense of the word. Not as a student, not as a colleague, and not as an Artist – The Fairy Princess will not be playing Queenie.

4. The final point that TFP made was that the concept is offensive, but then to add insult on top of injury, NAPP has chosen as a Director, he tallest White tap dancer in the world….

x3kUfYn

and THAT was when we finally heard from Baayork Lee, who had sat (after reading a small statement in the beginning) staring blindly ahead in a chair at the front of the room and never speaking,  but that was when we heard from Ms. Lee.

She yelled out “Native American, he is Native American!

TFP apologizes to Mr. Tune for calling him Caucasian, she did not realize it was offensive.

tumblr_m3dok52pEA1qzktbuo2_500

But then TFP was curious about Mr. Tune and his Native American heritage (you may know her Father represented NA Tribes so she knows a bit more about NA issues than an ‘average’ American), and while she does not want to ‘see his tribal card’, she was curious if he had channeled his culture in his work.

Because, when one is a Person of Color…

Director of Show Boat - TOMMY TUNE

their heritage often shows up in their work, and perhaps he felt, as a minority, he could use that to enter the minds of African Americans after the Civil War.

Maybe that was why he chose it?

Anyway, TFP was curious, and you know what it did to the …

6a0133f0b2fdc2970b0191022c2884970c-pi

So she took a walk on the internet and in a book called “The Great White Way: Race and the Broadway Musical” by Warren Hoffman, (Link to purchase here) she found this passage:

“Despite the fact that Tommy Tune himself is part Native American, The Will Rogers Follies was accused of depicting Indians in a poor light. According to a letter sent by representatives from the American Indian Community House in New York,

The life and work of one of the Cherokee Nation’s most famous citizens is currently being butchered and distorted at the Palace Theater in The Will Rogers Follies. The show is replete with racist caricatures and stereotypes; everything from a braided man in buckskin crashing a unicycle to Tommy Tune’s interpretation of Indian dance, which is more suited to an episode of Scooby-Doo than Broadway“.

They took special offense at a piece of choreography that featured an actor costumed as a Native American dancing on a drum and summed up their comments by stating “These antics are applauded and laughed at by an audience who doesn’t know any better and thinks that this Indian version of “Stepin Fetchit’ is totally acceptable…What is most hurtful about this show is that Tune, it’s director as well as it’s choreographer,  is a self identified Choctaw Indian’.

tumblr_nb16gltPDa1shhuxzo1_400

TFP  has many thoughts about this…but let’s get back to the meeting….

Several young NAAP devotees also arose to say these various things,  here is a sampling with TFP’s reaction in green.

1. “I just moved here” (Can the Adults please smoke?)

2. I grew up in Hawaii, and we don’t have a big pool of talent in Hawaii, so everyone just plays everything, and no one cares (Cuz it is Hawaii and you were in high school, we are in NYC)

3. I’m from Japan, and yes, in Japan we do All Asian Casts, but we are not in Japan, we are in New York, and here, this would not be right to do. (Smartest Gal in the Room in her 20’s)

4. NAAP is my home, but I have a problem knowing if I can audition for this (You really don’t, you just wanted us all to look at you in case that helps you get the gig)

This went on for a while, and then a young blonde lady spoke, she seemed in her 20’s as well, and she said that this production would not bother her at all. She felt that this show would not be taking a job from her. She felt that, as an Artist, isn’t the point to be controversial?

tumblr_m8s5mtj1381qffn6mo1_500

After a few of these, “well, I don’t see why we can’t” comments,  a lovely young man named Jonathan Flemings spoke,

Jonathan Flemings @JBlake212

Jonathan Flemings @JBlake212

and he quoted the show, the very first line, as originally written, and asked if Kevin (didn’t catch the last name) would say it. Kevin did not want to respond, so TFP interjected, (after he started listing his various heritages) “Are you going to say the N-word!

Kevin stated that no, he would not use the N-word, and TFP bitchily responded, “Then you can’t do Show Boat”.

1337349754547_2885838

TFP  can definitely be bitchy, but she does not see that as a detriment.

Anyway, by the end of the event, these things were said by Steven Eng:

1. It is too late to change the show (But they have not finished casting, so it is not, actually)

2. They are going forward with the show. (Cuz they paid for the rights & won’t admit it’s a mistake)

3. They ‘may’ talk to Tommy Tune about releasing some of his directorial vision (Which is the closest they are going to come to admitting this is a big mistake)

4. This will not be a traditional treatment of Show Boat. (Cuz APIs will be playing African Americans)

A question was then asked if the Creative Team was going to reach out to the Black Community to perhaps get a “Consultant’ to help them with issues in the script that, well, they would have absolutely no knowledge of as they are not, in fact, African American, and they said “maybe”.

TFP later learned that they approached a gentleman whose face appears on this blog posting to fill this position.

9b8b8c36881ec3ebd618f02c7f96cb36e1c935fd5d00897ca09b2312ab04b50a

TFP has no confidence that this production will go well, despite the best of intentions by the Creative Team. She felt that the lack of real conversation, the refusal to actual listen to the voices of the Asian American Broadway Acting Community, who were present, who asked, repeatedly for them to NOT do this show, is indicative of an actual artistic problem with the vision and execution of this piece as they intend to do it.

She did speak to some of the younger folks present afterwards, who, oddly, said that they were big fans of her blog – which is curious because they still seemed eager to do Show Boat, so she wonders really if they read it, per se.

tumblr_lyui1uLvn51qhh6xjo1_500

Anyway, advice is free, and that is what she gave them in passing, which she will now share here –

If you are set on this course, if you are going to be in NAAP’s Show Boat don’t put your name on the program, and do not list it on your resume. People of the Theater are all connected, in ways you cannot realize yet, and if you proudly display “Queenie” in Show Boat on your resume, people will call you on it.

They may ask how you, as an Actress prepared to be an African American post Civil War in the Deep South – and that is putting it mildly.

So go ahead…but be prepared…

tumblr_mgred5QQIb1rf2tdio1_400

Connie Wong in A CHORUS LINE will probably now be cast as an African American.

tumblr_lvwamje27X1r1izv7o1_500

We can say nothing.

tumblr_inline_n3seih9SZf1rtr2xy

All Latino FLOWER DRUM SONG? Go right ahead. All Caucasian HERE LIES LOVE? Well sure, it’s only based on real people and events….that doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

The King and I - Susan Graham (Anna Leonowens) / Lambert Wilson (The King) © Marie-Noëlle Robert - Théâtre du Châtelet - SEE HOW STUPID THIS LOOKS?

The King and I – Susan Graham (Anna Leonowens) / Lambert Wilson (The King) © Marie-Noëlle Robert – Théâtre du Châtelet – SEE HOW STUPID THIS LOOKS?

Because we are soooooo post-racial.

Production Still: Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan's Production of THE MIKADO

Production Still: Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan’s Production of THE MIKADO

None of us see color anymore, which means of course that we obviously should not be licensed to drive.

tumblr_mmqykm7uiz1ql5yr7o1_400

In other words….back to the…

colorful_socks_in_a_laundry_basket

In Closing, TFP wants to say to the NY African American Acting Community specifically and to the larger community – no API Actor who has been on Broadway or who is currently on Broadway that she has spoken to, texted, or who emailed her in the last few days is in favor of this production.

We all see the danger and the insult in this – and there is nothing we can do. We have tried repeatedly to amend this situation, but we cannot, and we apologize, this is a rude awakening that our Asian American Acting Community as such, does not exist.

You cannot be a Community if no one is listening, can you?

tumblr_n5lge6Bv3l1qac1soo1_500

However, if people would still like to try and change this situation…and why not?

Why not write to the licensing company and share your thoughts?

R&H Theatricals Amateur Theatres
Ph: (800) 400-8160
Fax: (212) 268-1245
e-mail: amtheatre@rnh.com

R&H Theatricals Professional Theatres
Ph: (212) 541-6600
Fax: (212) 568-6155
e-mail: protheatre@rnh.com

Because of course, while this is a super super bad concept to begin with, they were given permission…but you know….maybe someone will think about it and say…

image

In which case they could start working on the “All API Version of Grand Hotel” right away….

 

TFP out….

giphy-2

 

Originally posted on fairyprincessdiaries:

The Fairy Princess was doing just fine and recovering from a wicked cold – she was just fine -until she was asked to audition for this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 5.53.35 PM

An “All Asian American Version of Show Boat”?

58251898b6b8b5f4471580313c43e76a

You mean…thisShow Boat?

You mean…thisShow Boat?

Seriously, this Show Boat?

Do you mean to tell us that during BLACK HISTORY MONTH, an Asian American Theater company has chosen to do SHOW BOAT, the quintessential musical about the racial divides in this country post Civil War in the Deep South, and they want to remove African Americans from the show, even though this show reflects their story within America?

During BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

jaw-drop-o

TFP was asked to audition for the part of Queenie. If you look in that second video, you will note that the part of Queenie is supposed to be played by an African American woman…

View original 1,555 more words

The Fairy Princess was doing just fine and recovering from a wicked cold – she was just fine -until she was asked to audition for this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 5.53.35 PM

An “All Asian American Version of Show Boat”?

58251898b6b8b5f4471580313c43e76a

You mean…this Show Boat?

 

You mean…this Show Boat?

 

Seriously, this Show Boat?

Do you mean to tell us that during BLACK HISTORY MONTH, an Asian American Theater company has chosen to do SHOW BOAT, the quintessential musical about the racial divides in this country post Civil War in the Deep South, and they want to remove African Americans from the show, even though this show reflects their story within America?

During BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

jaw-drop-o

TFP was asked to audition for the part of Queenie. If you look in that second video, you will note that the part of Queenie is supposed to be played by an African American woman, in the video and in the Broadway revival by Hal Prince, it was played by Gretha Boston.

Who won a TONY.

Congratulations Ms. Boston.

TFP turned down the audition to play Queenie, because TFP does not believe that it would be right for an Asian American woman to play an African American one.

She believes doing that is more like…well….

Screen+shot+2012-02-28+at+10.27.23+AM

In fact, after a quick poll of her Broadway friends, she cannot find one – Asian American or African American who thinks that this is a ‘good’ idea – and she has had to charge her phone three times since this was announced, she has had so many texts and emails about it.

phone-ringing-clipart-RTA6kAbTL

The only people who seem to think that this is a good idea are the Director:

Director of Show Boat - TOMMY TUNE

Director of Show Boat – TOMMY TUNE

The Executive Artistic Director….

Baayork Lee, Executive Artistic Director of NAAP (National Asian Artists Project)

Baayork Lee, Executive Artistic Director of NAAP (National Asian Artists Project)

And the Casting Director

Casting Director Michael Cassara

Casting Director Michael Cassara

Those are the only ones who seem to be ‘down’ with this All Asian American Show Boat.

The idea of which makes TFP want to do THIS:

 

Now, to be perfectly honest, when TFP first saw this announcement, and then when her Agent called with an appointment for it, she was sick to her stomach – because National Asian American Project does do good work. They are active in the community, they promote Asian American composers, performers, and education, and community outreach to children. They are known for doing All Asian American versions of shows, musicals, specifically, and those do need to be done.

Here is why – the dearth of Asian Americans on stage in the New York Theater community and elsewhere does limit the amount of stage time necessary to work on ones craft, and if Asian American performers are to maintain their skills at the highest level, it is necessary to perform in all kinds of shows, and “All API” productions do give performers that stage time that they may not get elsewhere.

Actor/Producer Pun Bandhu at the RepresentAsian Conference

Actor/Producer Pun Bandhu at the RepresentAsian Conference

One should not be always limited to performing roles in the few shows that are ‘designated’ Asian American (aka: King and I, Flower Drum Song, Miss Saigon, Pacific Overtures). Of course APIs should sing Sondheim and Kern, and Jason Robert Brown, and Tom Kitt, and any other composer in the Musical Theater canon.

 TFP understands that this mission of access and showcasing Asian American performers that NAAP and other organizations do is necessary, and is a huge ‘lift’ to the community. In the past they have chosen all sorts of shows that can be done as “All Asian American’ where race is, truly, not a factor – Oliver!, Hello Dolly! Carousel…. the list goes on.

However, this time, TFP thinks that they have not chosen wisely and it made her…

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

and she would ask them, nay, beg them, to change their (Tommy) tune, and pick another show for a few reasons.

1. This show is a show about the great racial divides within the Deep South – divides that are, without question, Black and White.

It does not matter that Asian Americans were in the United States at this time, we were not ‘toting that barge‘ or ‘lifting that bale‘. Asian Americans were not recovering from being ripped from their homeland and bound in chains due to the color of their skin.

It is not ‘our’ story to tell. Ever. Nor is Ragtime, or Hairspray, or Memphis, or The Color Purple and so forth and so on.

Why?

BECAUSE IT IS NOT!

SHOW BOAT has historical context. It was written that way as a novel, and it was written that way as a musical.

2. AAPAC, and TFP and individuals, have spent the last several years, arguing to the greater theatrical community, that when they are casting stories that have historical context where APIs would be intrinsically necessary, to please cast Asian American Performers.

This show will undo all the work that everyone has put forward in raising the ability of people to see that yes, Asians should play Asian. Because, they will say, “Well, if APIs think they can play Black – why can’t we play Asian? Why can’t anyone play Asian?

Which will be the correct response.

And then away will go Asians playing Asians….it will take us years and years to rebuild our platform, if it is ever able to be rebuilt.

3. This is co-option of the Black Experience.

We freak out when there is a Caucasian playing The King – what do you think African Americans are going to think when every role that is designated as a person of Black ancestry is eliminated from a show that is written about their struggle?

4. Non- Traditional Casting is not to take Minority Actors and have them play other minority experiences.  Non-Traditional Casting is supposed to open the door to talent that has previously not been heard from and give them a chance to play roles where race does not matter.

RACE MATTERS IN SHOW BOAT.

SHOW BOAT IS A SHOW THAT IS DEFINED BY RACE.

SHOW BOAT IS A SHOW WHERE RACE IS THE REASON THE ACTION MOVES FORWARD.

TFP did not want to write this piece.

ef69c23418388f7fb0ee085eff66d1f7d6d2040b2fe48cc08aac5d695995f678

She respects the work of NAAP and all that they have been working for. She respects Ms. Baayork Lee, Steven Eng, and Zoie Lam, and yes, Tommy Tune – but she believes this show will do a grave injustice to Asian American performers.

She had to write this piece because….she has held other theater companies accountable for doing the exact same thing.

33d6ff70-16dc-478c-88bb-e69a5d47c23c

She thought long and hard about not writing this piece, but she felt to do that, simply because she is a member of the group who is making a mistake, would be wrong. It would be unjust.

There should be equality in blogging about Diversity.

No one is ‘off limits’.

tumblr_n5lge6Bv3l1qac1soo1_500

She has worked diligently to raise the profile of Asian Americans in theater and give people a sense of the absurd, so that they too, would question why The King in King and I would be Caucasian, when it could so easily and beautifully look like this:

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

But she must equally question an “All Asian American Show Boat’, when, so beautifully, NAAP could do another show that would perhaps, utilize the talents of Tommy Tune to greater advantage.

Why not an API Grand Hotel?

 

Why not an API My One And Only?

tumblr_n5kp9zyT2T1rosb88o1_250

Why not:

Closer Than Ever, Last Five Years, Lady In the Dark, Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Anyone Can Whistle, Barnum, Grease, Bells Are Ringing, Bye Bye Birdie, Call Me Madam, Children of Eden, Company, Crazy for You, Follies, The Full Monty, Godspell, Grey Gardens, Gypsy, High Society, Kiss Me Kate, La Cage Aux Folles, A Light In The Piazza, Next To Normal, RENT, Man of La Mancha, Into The Woods, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Producers, Rock Of Ages, The Secret Garden, Sweet Charity, Tick Tick Boom!, Threepenny Opera, Urinetown, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pajama Game…

TFP could go on…and on…and on….oh hey – why not BABY?

 

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

Why not ANYTHING but SHOW BOAT?

What do you think, RuPaul, about no African Americans in a show that is about African Americans and their experiences in this country to be announced during BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

34griwx

Look, TFP is writing this and it could be heard like this by NAAP –

tumblr_ljm5p9NZk31qanb21o1_500

But she hopes it’s not.

What she hopes is, upon the reading of this, you will take the time to send NAAP an email at: info@NAAProject.org and let them know what YOU think of Asian Americans playing roles that represent a journey of African Americans which has historical context.

She wants you, if you are reading this – and not only if you are Asian American, but if you are concerned about Co-opting African American history and erasing African Americans from it, to SAY SOMETHING.

She thinks that if we all SAY SOMETHING, that things will change.

PLEASE go to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NAAProject.org

Or write them a letter expressing your feelings at:

National Asian Artists Project

10 West 66th street, 23C

New York, NY 10023

TFP’s hope is that greater minds than hers will come together, realize that this is a mistake, and choose another show which will not divide our Theatrical Community, and announce that they have decided to make a change.

She also realizes that she is taking a step here that may not be forgiven, it is ok.

under-the-bus-o

Stuff happens.

tumblr_n30jj0ecAN1qltkyyo1_500

We do not all have to like one another.

But we do have to listen to one another and build together.

For choosing to do a show which co-opts the African American experience in a grossly misguided way, ignoring historic racial divides which was included in both the original novel and the musical as written, The Fairy Princess sentences NAAP to 50 whacks with the wand.

Come on, Folks –

seriously__by_keni8149-d528i5d

CHANGE. THE. SHOW.

Because…

The-time-is-always-right-to-do-what-is-right.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

 

 

The Fairy Princess had a great week last week, for two reasons – she was able to go out twice…at night.

hAB0D6F77

If you have a toddler, you understand that sentiment.

First, she went to a friend’s viewing party to see him Guest Star on a giant TV show that spans new branches like a giant oak,

scott-bakula-russell-wong-and-bd-wong_photo-by-lia-chang-93

Scott Bakula, Russell Wong, and B.D. Wong on NCIS New Orleans

and the very next night was the Uber Awesome, Fresh Off The Boat Viewing Party in Manhattan, where TFP was delighted to sit on one of the two panels that evening.

Panelists Greg Pak, Jeff Yang, and TFP - photo by Lia Chang

Panelists Greg Pak, Jeff Yang, and TFP – Photo by Lia Chang

It was a great night and absolutely everyone who was in New York City, who could make it, were there to support.

From Orange Is The New Black, Actress Lori Tan Chinn, Standup Comic and Actor, Phil Nee, Actress, Karen Lee

From Orange Is The New Black, Actress Lori Tan Chinn, Standup Comic and Actor, Phil Nee, Actress, Karen Lee

Cast Members and some of the Creative Team behind the show were also in attendance…

L-R: Eddie Huang, Hudson Yang, Randall Park and Exec. Producer Melvin Mar answer question from Jeff Yang

L-R: Eddie Huang, Hudson Yang, Randall Park and Exec. Producer Melvin Mar answer question from Jeff Yang

To TFP, who was in the crowd as well as being on a panel later, the show seemed all inclusive, while of course, highlighting a specific experience of a Taiwanese American Family who moved to Orlando. To TFP, it was a chance for everyone to laugh with everyone else. The press that was there, loved it.

For those who were unable to attend the NY launch, there was an LA launch and of course, there was promotion via commercials and reaching out to popular bloggers in hopes that they might write something about the project and influence people to watch it at home, and it worked – in that night, Fresh Off the Boat did well ratings-wise.

In fact, Fresh Off The Boat beat what regularly airs in that time slot, The Goldbergs.

tumblr_nb16gltPDa1shhuxzo1_400

Yes, really!

Happy Dance!

giphy

In fact, there is only one group that (well, aside from ‘the haters’, but who the Taylor Swift cares about them?) was not invited to participate in this Fresh Off The Boat celebration in a way in which they could bring more numbers to the Nielsens and it was, oddly, Asian American Mommy Bloggers.

tumblr_n30jj0ecAN1qltkyyo1_500

This does not mean that Mommy Bloggers did not receive outreach, they did.

Just not the API ones.

3owbta

No one can really give a straight answer about why this happened, but let’s look at the situation as a learning opportunity,  because, frankly, TFP did not grasp the pull of the “Mommy Blogger”, when she learned of this situation.

Here are some facts:

1. There are about 4.2 Million Mommy Bloggers

Easy there Tom Cruise, we know, it's a big number

Easy there Tom Cruise, we know, it’s a big number

2. Of those 4.2, there are 500 that are consideredinfluential‘, because 18.3 Million Moms across America read blogs EVERY DAY.

tumblr_mctu7atdxG1rosb88o1_r1_500

3. Mothers control $2 TRILLION Dollars of spending in the United States.

with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility-4

4. Women who normally do not respond to Brand Advertising, respond to endorsements from “Other Moms” aka “Mommy Bloggers”. You want to sell a baby carrier that won’t chafe? Tap into the right “Mommy Blogger” and…

MAKE IT RAIN

MAKE IT RAIN

Because there is so much money to be had from an endorsement from a Mommy Blogger, Studios and Networks (and Theme Parks and Publishers and People who produce products for children) often pursue ‘Mommy Bloggers‘ of certain Internet pull – they invite them to Press Junkets specifically designed for them, to introduce them to new shows or films, this is not surprising.

There was a ‘slight’ hiccup in inviting the Bloggers to the Fresh Off The Boat junket though, no one who was invited to see and blog happened to be Asian American Mommy Bloggers like Hapamama or I’mNotTheNanny  or even at HeyMona.

seriously__by_keni8149-d528i5d

Nor were these Asian American Mommy Bloggers asked to participate in the “Web Buzz” or whatever it’s called around the feature film, “Big Hero 6“, a film which featured the story of 2 Eurasian or Hapa Brothers as the main characters – something that to TFP’s knowledge, has never been done before in an American big budget Animated Feature. For APIs who have Hapa kids, this was a HUGE deal, and it should have been allowed to be acknowledged as such.

The two at the top, the upside down ones? Those are the Brothers

The two at the top, the upside down ones? Those are the Brothers

TFP loved that Russell in UP was API,

2014-05-28-5555up_2009_1280x717_796346

but Russell did not seem to be of Mixed heritage. Also, some might think Russell is not Asian American per se, but based on this photo of his Mom,

45632

TFP kinda thinks that Russell was Asian American – thanks Pixar!

We have also had Mulan by Disney featuring a Chinese Story, voiced by Asian Americans, which was a great gift, but it did not, of course being set in China, feature children of mixed race, a large growing demographic in the United States.

mulan-vcd

However,  let’s return to the main issue – which is that in two cases, where the ‘subjects’ of the pieces were Asian American, and where other POC Mommy Bloggers were invited to view the project early and take a fun bus together and explore and ask questions, Asian Americans who blog in the same field, were not.

Now, TFP feels that there was a PR disconnect, and that the Studio didn’t know what the Production Companies were doing and the Network didn’t know what the Studio was doing and there was a guy somewhere who screwed this up, but just kept drinking his $6 latte and figuring he could just ignore it and it would go away….

Yeah, but that is how Studios and Networks work sometimes, like a Hydra

Yeah, but that is how Studios and Networks work sometimes, like a Hydra

API Mommy Bloggers were upset, and they wrote about it. Which is what Bloggers do, they write about what is going on with them personally. If a Blogger is upset, they are more inclined to write, however as any API kid can tell you, you do not want an API Mom upset.

 

Now, as these API Mommy Bloggers have addressed this situation and are taking pains to fix it, and improve their network of contacts, and as the Network and Studios are learning from their snafus, and are aware that they made a HUGE blunder….

big-mistake-huge-1

TFP was going to let this one go, she was.

BUT then she learned that one of the repercussions of the API Mommy Bloggers posting about missing this Blogger Bus Trip, was that they were being attacked by some of the people who were on that junket, who felt that, by dint of being ethnic themselves or by one or two of them having Hapa kids, that Asian American voices were not missed on this junket and nor were they needed.

At all.

mr-furley-o

Mr. Furley just CANNOT!

And neither can The Fairy Princess.

So she wanted to take a stand for those API Mommy Bloggers, because while she is not a “Mommy Blogger” per se, she is a Mom who blogs. A Mom who blogs on Diversity. Whilst blogging on Diversity is a great social tool and has engendered change that is tangible (particularly seeing the difference in American theater), TFP is unlikely to ever be invited on junket or sent an advanced copy, or offered cool free stuff.

Because if you blog on Diversity and people do not want to hear it, the last thing they want to do is send you stuff. Well, not stuff that one would want.

-1

This is what she wants to say to those ‘other’ Mommy Bloggers who so vigorously believe that they can speak for Asian Americans while not actually being Asian American themselves…

tumblr_lo3cejAKUW1qfbwhio1_500_zps13b67a07

You can’t.

jaw-drop-o

This may come as a surprise to you, but you cannot speak for Asian Americans, even if you have children of mixed Asian heritage – because….you are not Asian American. You personally, cannot speak for another group of people for whom you share no kinship.

Asian by Injection” doesn’t count.

surprise-01

You can speak to being a Parent of a mixed race child, you can speak to being a Person of Color, but the Asian American experience is unique and manifold. It is like saying one can go and speak Portuguese in Columbia – it does not work. There may be a thing here or there that is able to be understood, but gaps will be missing. TFP has been to Brasil, she knows this.

People of Color are expected to band together in times of ‘crisis’. Women, in this case “Mommy Bloggers’ are asked to unite as Women and Moms for different reasons – death, cancer, illness, birth, sharing – but in this case, all those API Mommys wanted was support. They had given it to you in the past, and they wanted it returned.

boomerang2-1

All they wanted was for you to say “We get it. We see you. We too, have been underrepresented, and we hear you, you should be on the bus. You should be on the bus with us, because as women raising the next generation, we have to set an example.’

We have to set an example – we, as Mothers.

My Son, My Niece, & I

My Son, My Niece, & I

Here is why TFP writes about Diversity so strongly, because she has a son. She has a son who is a minority in this Country, and his life will have challenges based solely on the shape of his eyes and the color of his skin. These API Mommy Bloggers have similar concerns, all People of Color, or People of Under representation, have these same concerns.

How do we NOT teach separatism? How do we NOT teach distaste for someone not of ‘our’ particular group?

We include them. We give our children the rainbow, in all it’s colors, in all it’s shapes, in all it’s sizes, in all the ways people can love one another. We make room for one another.

James Herbert, Zion, and Alec Mapa

James Herbert, Zion, and Alec Mapa

The way we ‘include’ is by telling Networks, telling Studios, that we need more Diversity on screen, behind the scenes, in the stories told, in the opportunities given. We do this, because we do not want our kids to get involved in the pettiness that this whole situation has sunk to. Our goal should be to help our kids be better than that.

Here are some more facts:

1. Asian American Population has risen by 33% in all states except Hawaii, where it was already large

2. Asian Americans outspend every other race in the USA with an emphasis on luxury goods

3. Asian American income has risen 97% from 2000 – 2014

4. Asian Americans as a whole spend more time on the Internet than any other group (70%)

5. Asian American population in 2050 is estimated as being 41 Million

Let’s go back – how much spending do Mom’s control? Currently?

2 Trillion.

So the question to ask is, with API income advancing so rapidly and the population growing, how much money do you think Asian American Moms will control by 2050?

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

With API Internet purchases higher than any other group – how much more will be purchased because of what API Mommy Bloggers are going to be writing about?

With the way API’s use the Internet, who do you think, in the next 20 years, will have some of the most influential Mommy Blogs?

Don’t you think the Networks and Studios and Publishers and all the Givers of Free Stuff are going to realize that? Probably sooner than you think.

So isn’t it time now, to make friends? Isn’t it time to teach ourselves to share?

C’mon can’t we show our solidarity as Moms who Blog, and get off that hubris train of “well I can represent anyone I like” and realize that acknowledging that one does not know or see everything the same way is far more powerful than any amount of SWAG given out in a environmentally reusable bag with a logo?

Should we not be able to say “Yeah, if it were a film or show about my particular group and none of the Mommy Bloggers of that group were included, I would hate it.

The Fairy Princess thinks so.

For refusing to acknowledge that API Mommy Bloggers should be seen and heard on PR Junkets specifically designed for Mommy Bloggers, particularly in cases where API Actors and Story lines are featured – TFP awards 20 whacks of the wand to the PR Depts who screwed this up initially, and those Bloggers who so vigorously defended their exclusion.

Also, you can KISS OUR FAN TAN FANNIE

The Fairy Princess was sitting around this morning, a weekend morning, kind of relaxing, and then she read about an email that was sent by Mary Cheney.

Mary Cheney

Mary Cheney

Mary is of the Richard (insanely evil Vice President of the United States who got us into a War over WMDs that did not exist and then sold the war to Halliburton, authorized torture and rich people not paying taxes and left us in billions of debt) aka “Dick” Cheney clan, and in that email, she compared “Blackface”

TFP hates this photo with a passion, but it is Al Jolson, who was famous for his Blackface performances, apologies

TFP hates this photo with a passion, but it is Al Jolson, who was famous for his Blackface performances, apologies

To Drag:

tumblr_mszfdbZc691rosb88o1_500

What say you my Queens?

tumblr_n2z7azDC6j1qcluu2o1_250

Mary Cheney posted her queries on her private Facebook page, a page which, of course, is meant to be just that – private. The first order of business, Ms. Cheney, would be, in TFP‘s opinion, is shut down your Facebook page – cuz you do NOT have a private Facebook page, or indeed any ‘safe’ place to write this:

“Why is it socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for men to put on dresses, makeup and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc) – but it is not socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment  – for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans” – Mary Cheney

jaw-drop-o

Usually, TFP stays out of politics, per se. She blogs about representation and visibility – however, she also blogs about LGBT issues as a huge supporter of the LGBT community, and she, in point of fact, was ‘raised’ as an adult by the LGBT community and so she is going to respond to this, and hope that Ms. Cheney, (who lives a life of exceeding white privilege while also being an “Out” Lesbian who has given birth to two children), was perhaps, just perhaps, was really asking.

It is totally possible.

tumblr_nb16gltPDa1shhuxzo1_400

Yes, really.

She could ‘really’ not know, because perhaps, in the circle she runs with, there is a decided lack of empathy and knowledge about what Drag Queens mean to the LGBT community, and about the LGBT community in general – take a look:

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENT HOLDS SIGN IN PROTEST OUTSIDE STATEHOUSE

Mary Cheney is a Republican, after all.

fecdcc4230ecb6720cee95d44c205635dfd28a3228c378e2e4164582156b9f46

Ms. Cheney could have equally less knowledge about what constitutes “Blackface’ because, as a practice, it was generally ended in this country two decades ago, and to TFP’s knowledge, has only been used again once in a main stage, Broadway production, and that was The Scottsboro Boys.

 

A show, Ms. Cheney, which was about racism. In 1931.  A show about racism towards black teenagers who are unjustly accused of a crime and most of them wound up dead.

Image by Banksy

Image by Banksy

But anyway, that show takes place in 1931. Ms. Cheney probably did not go see it.

So now, Ms. Cheney, TFP is going to ‘school’ you in what makes “Blackface” different from “Drag” and in one sentence it is this:

Blackface was used to denigrate, and Drag is used to celebrate.

tumblr_n5lge6Bv3l1qac1soo1_500

Blackface, Ms. Cheney, was a socio-political tool wrapped in popular songs and comedy sketches that was used to justify white supremacy – it implied that Black Americans were slow, dull witted, unable in some sketches to read, and all in all, they were ‘creatures’ (not humans) to be laughed at.

AL-G-Fields-Minstrels-New-York-Blackface-Jump-Jim-Crow-TD-Rice-1828

If you never see someone as an actual person, it is much easier to dismiss their contributions, their humanity, and their worth as people, and as an Entertainer, TFP is horrified that performers had anything to do with it, let alone made money off of it, but they did.

640px-Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit

And it was wrong.

Because those sketches and songs, and pseudo-co-ooption of Black American songs and imitations of Black Americans justified Jim Crow laws and people putting up signs like this:

9342_tn

It began in the early 1800’s in this country and it lasted, in popular performance until – wait for it – 1981. Yes, people, Blackface was ON TELEVISION in the UK until 1978 in The Black and White Minstrel Show.

Eventually it (mostly) died away in America with the Civil Rights Movement, as white performers began refusing to do it, both as a means to survive as a performer and because of personal ethics. Better late than never.

The-time-is-always-right-to-do-what-is-right.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

So that, Ms. Cheney, is “Blackface” – a degrading mockery of a proud people, whose long history with this Country has certainly had much sorrow and violence, in part because “blackface‘ performers allowed African Americans to be viewed as ‘less than’.

Let’s go on to Drag….

tumblr_msz5emsTI61rosb88o1_500

Drag is not just what you see on RuPaul’s Drag Race, there are varying forms.

 

What TFP likes about Drag and Drag Queens, is that Drag celebrates the many amazing facets about being a woman – the vulnerability to express feelings in public, the use of makeup to enhance nice features or hide self-perceived flaws, the art of sequins, the glamor of good fake hair, and of course, the fabulousness of a curvy body.

Drag says ‘be proud of who you are, no matter who you are’.

And of course:

bc623b0e4f07149059126f88ddfa660bfa84fc5ba985f0c79e7dcb7eaf97eb0e

The TFP has learned many things from Drag Queens over the years, and she is grateful for those lessons.

In general, Drag pays tribute to the women most women would like to be – beautiful and outrageous with an ability to charm and enthrall a crowd while delivering a message.

 

Not every Queen is ‘traditionally’ beautiful,

802364ac4164bd39dbad2dc33b9e8a70

but they deliver ‘realness’,

Jackie Beat - sometimes her 'realness' is intimidating and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE OR SHE WILL HURT YOU

Jackie Beat – sometimes her ‘realness’ is intimidating and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE OR SHE WILL HURT YOU

the vulnerability of being a woman,

The Lady Bunny, the filthiest Lady around

The Lady Bunny, the filthiest Lady around

even if their drag is not “Pageant”.

tumblr_n30jj0ecAN1qltkyyo1_500

Not every Drag happens on the stage in a nightclub, or on your television set, America has lived with Drag as a tradition for as long as Entertainment has been around.

 

There have been some amazing Actors who have given performances in Drag.

cE8L2hx

Take a look:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have those performances compelled you, Ms. Cheney, to take to your Social Media page in outrage?

No.

So, it’s not really Drag that upsets you, is it?

rupaul1

TFP thinks what you are ‘suffering’ from is something else entirely, she thinks it is Sissyphobia”.

TFP believes that when you see Drag Queens ‘camp it up” on television, and call one another “Bitch” or “Girl”, you are not really seeing them ‘degrade women’ –  there are no women there to degrade, in point of fact.

(Let’s be honest, if you have never used the terms ‘bitch, dumb, catty, and slutty‘ to describe ANYONE, you are better person than TFP.)

(TFP can also ‘vouch’ for that intense eye makeup appearing on ‘real’ women, she grew up, in part, on Lawn Guyland, also, she watches MOB WIVES)

tumblr_lyui1uLvn51qhh6xjo1_500

What you seem to be having a reaction to is men who are acting effeminate both in and out of Drag, and  you have a problem with it.

Or at least that is how TFP sees it. You do not seem to be a woman with a lot of humor.

 

Ms. Cheney,  though our Society uses the label ‘sissy’ as a weakness, in the Drag Community it is a sought after illusion.

keep-calm-and-sissy-that-walk

As someone who is a ‘Proud, Out, Lesbian with a married spouse and two children’, who enjoys remarkable privilege given by birthright, skin color, and education, as well as limitless capitol, you may feel that you do not want anyone to ‘confuse’ your kind of LGBT with a Drag Queen persona. You do not want to be seen as a ‘sissy’, aka ‘weak’ and so you are wary of effeminate performers. You think RuPaul’s Drag Race is ‘holding you down’ as a woman.

You think Drag Queens are weak. Drag Queens are the strongest there are.

IF IT WERE NOT FOR DRAG QUEENS THERE WOULD BE NO LGBT “MOVEMENT” WHICH EVENTUALLY LED TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY, AND IN POINT OF FACT YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM THAT, AS YOU ARE LEGALLY MARRIED TO A WOMAN.

18858030_SA

Or maybe you should just do an Internet search on the word, STONEWALL

Image from Stonewall Riots

Image from Stonewall

Some people, even LGBT people, even Cis-gendered people, would prefer that LGBT people act ONE way only – and that is ‘straight’.

tumblr_n2o2orTcAI1se6czao3_500

But, Ms. Cheney, there is no such thing as ‘straight acting’.

There is only ‘being’.

There are ‘only’ humans.

People of all shapes, colors, sizes, (as long as they do not hurt children or animals) have the right to live as out and as proud as possible – even if they are not Republicans.

Does TFP think that Drag is degrading to women?

9b8b8c36881ec3ebd618f02c7f96cb36e1c935fd5d00897ca09b2312ab04b50a

NO!

(Though she does wish they would stop using the word “Fish”  – which means, for those non Drag afficianados, aka “My Drag is so much like a woman that I smell like female parts” – shudder)

TFP thinks that Drag lifts you up, makes you laugh, makes you think, makes you feel ‘all the feelings‘, and allows people to be human, with all the flaws and missteps that we have. You can be any shape, any color, any ethnicity, any religion…

latrice

…and you would be welcome at a Drag Show.

Look, Ms. Cheney, we know your world is a bit…

 

1222883.large

But you should know the difference between Blackface and Drag – because NOT to know the difference is ignorant.

However, ignorance can be fixed – so now…..YOU ARE HEALED!

hAB0D6F77

Mary Cheney – for confusing debilitating racism  aka “Blackface” – which btw helped bestow upon you the privilege that your family continues to live with,

d82fdcdce60e16d6b8e489dede247881

with men in glittery dresses who lip synch show tunes and embrace everyone,

tumblr_inline_n3seih9SZf1rtr2xy

TFP fines you 10 smacks of the wand and a month long education session with your local LGBT center, and honestly, volunteering at a Homeless Gay Youth Center would not hurt you either.

Audra McDonald….drop that mic and take us home…

 

 

The Fairy Princess likes change.

SCIENCE! IT WORKS!

SCIENCE! IT WORKS!

Although the current New York weather, aka The Great Blizzard of 2015, is potentially going to be a nightmare of frigid proportions

tumblr_lo3cejAKUW1qfbwhio1_500_zps13b67a07

TFP still enjoys change.

Also, she like s people who can hear about something, acknowledge that there is a problem, and change their mindset so that the problem can be solved. It does not even have to have a name this problem, but if you like, go ahead and name it…

ef69c23418388f7fb0ee085eff66d1f7d6d2040b2fe48cc08aac5d695995f678

Nevermind, the problem TFP was concerned with already has a name, we call it “Yellowface”.

And, occasionally it looks like this:

mikado3_c29dc589b9fe9ed6c94e6d09824a58e8.nbcnews-ux-600-440

Or this:

Actor Lambert Wilson as The King of Siam in a French Production of King & I

Actor Lambert Wilson as The King of Siam in a French Production of King & I

Or this:

Jered McLenigan as Anthony - Photo by Mark Garvin

Jered McLenigan as Anthony – Photo by Mark Garvin

Seriously, TFP could post photo after photo of this kind of thing and what it is IS (for those not in the know), is a Caucasian Actor donning makeup and clothes to portray an Asian person, and in this day and age in 2015, it is not cool.

TFP honestly gets no joy in writing about this phenomenon again and again, it’s like riding a rocking horse so fast you get motion sickness, and no matter HOW many times you write about it and no matter how many people acknowledge that it seems in poor taste,  it happens again, and you are back on that damn rocking horse and you feel a bit like…well….

tumblr_ljm5p9NZk31qanb21o1_500

Like no one is hearing you.

Such was the case when TFP wrote this post about a production of The King and I that was happening at Dallas Summer Musicals this summer, when they announced the casting of a Caucasian King.

TFP was pretty annoyed…images

She wrote her blog and said what she had to say, as she does from time to time, and quite a lot of people read it, thanks to the internet thingy and a very fired up Orville Mendoza

 AAPAC, (Asian American Performers Action Coalition) also wrote a letter.

And guess what?

We had a response from Mr. Michael Jenkins!

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

He read many of the emails sent about this issue, was no doubt told of the strenuous objections posted on the Facebook wall of his organization, and here was his response:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.06.49 PM

TFP was delighted to hear that Dallas Summer Musicals will re-cast their King!

tumblr_msz5emsTI61rosb88o1_500

And now, here is her ‘charge’ to the API denizens of the Dallas/Ft.Worth area – GO TO THIS SHOW AND…..

MAKE IT RAIN

MAKE IT RAIN

That’s right, TFP wants You, Asian America, to PROVE that you will stand with those who will represent you and your stories and BUY A TICKET.

Be prepared, you may have to PAY FULL PRICE!

tumblr_nb16gltPDa1shhuxzo1_400

Yes, really.

Because what you are paying for, is a top notch production on a world class stage full of Asian Americans who will be singing and dancing their hearts out and they NEEDS TA GIT PAID!

Why?

Because APIs buying tickets and supporting the hiring of APIs onstage leads to great things for our community – more visibility.

Right now, we, the API Community are in a wonderful, starting off place, we have shows on television where we are represented – Karen David in GALAVANT, Reggie Lee in GRIMM, Maggie Q in STALKER, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Masi Oka in H50, Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennet on AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mindy Kaling in THE MINDY SHOW, Lucy Liu on ELEMENTARY…and we have these charming kids ready to premiere on Feb. 4 on ABC….

fresh

But we are not on everything. We are not at the Oscars. We are not at the Golden Globes. We are not at The Tonys in a discernible way.  We are not at the big award shows on the podium winning awards, you know, the shows that ‘everyone’ watches and grows up dreaming about being on. There is a path to that, and we are still at the beginning.

Look, in order to get more of us on television, we have to ‘prove’ we are bankable, and that proof starts at the ground level. If we were to steal a phrase from a popular tv show, APIs in show business, we need you, the (much more sensible) APIs not in show business, we need you to be ‘our person’.

original

If you are an Asian Pacific Islander living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, even if you do not like musicals, even if you have never seen a musical, if you can afford the ticket price, buy one and go – show them that Asians on the stage means Asian butts in the seats.

Because all the theater wants is a full house, and they do not care what color the people sitting in them are, as long as they are S.R.O. (Sold Right Out)

Yes, they made a misstep in the casting in the first place – but the show was not up yet, TFP and Orville Mendoza ‘caught’ it in time to make a difference, but we cannot do it alone. We have to have the support of the general API Community to show that our faces on the stage matter!

Yes, Mr. Jenkins may not be aware that Yul Brynner’s Russian heritage included Mongolian and that Lou Diamond Philips has Filipino heritage, which makes them both men OF Asian heritage, which means they were perfectly suited to play The King, yes – yes we know.

Yes, they have cast many APIs before in various shows, and really did not understand what the message they were sending was…(maybe they thought it was like Weight Watcher points and they get to spend them when they want to splurge or something, and btw, casting APIs is not like WW points at all)

BUT NOW THEY DO.

tumblr_me4b5y8myT1qlvwnco1_400

LESSON LEARNED.

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

MOVE ON.

tumblr_mctu7atdxG1rosb88o1_r1_500

BUY A TICKET.

where-and-how-to-buy-tickets-online

Or you will have wasted all TFP’s time and outrage, and many others. We, the Actors, cannot do this alone. We cannot fight for all of ‘our’ representation by ourselves, we need your support!

BUY A TICKET.

Tickets

SELL IT OUT.

new-event-ticketing-site-applies-priceline-model-to-buying-tickets-invites--10d6bdfc75

CAN YOU DO IT?

tumblr_n5lge6Bv3l1qac1soo1_500

MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THIS:

giphy

That is all.

Finally, Mr. Jenkins, Dallas Summer Musicals, and Glenn Casale, The Fairy Princess thanks you for taking the time and conversation amongst yourselves to make a change in your thinking. She appreciates the big step you took in acknowledging that a mistake was made, and she thanks you for taking the time and effort and financial cost to fix it.

She also wishes Mr. Jenkins a healthy recovery and a great summer season with which to enjoy it.

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King JUST AS AN EXAMPLE

Remember, APIs of Texas, we can help you from afar with changing things, but you have to stand WITH us in this ‘battle’ and buy a ticket.

6a0133f0b2fdc2970b0191022c2884970c-pi

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was in a good mood. She totes was. After all we are, what…three days into the new annus (no, not what you are thinking, it’s Latin)  and she had obtained a much desired ticket to say farewell to the Freaks on what will be their last day as Freaks…aka closing performance of Sideshow on Broadway.

Farewell to the Freak Show...may it one day rise again

Farewell to the Freak Show…may it one day rise again

That’s right THREE ‘effin days into the New Year and guess what she was sent?

This ad for performers from Playbill.com for Dallas Summer Musicals.

Screenshot of an EPA Announcement for Casting of King and I at Dallas Summer Musicals

Screenshot of an EPA Announcement for Casting of King and I at Dallas Summer Musicals

Read that last line please….The King and Mrs. Anna are already cast.

Rachel York and Paul Schoeffler.

Here is Rachel York in a past performance with Mel Sagrado Maghuyop as The King…

At the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia

At the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia

This time, however, she is performing the role at Dallas Summer Musicals and they have chosen to go a different way entirely with The King….

Official Headshot of Paul Schoeffler

Official Headshot of Paul Schoeffler

Now, The Fairy Princess wants to be clear, again, that the Actor hired to portray The King of Siam (ahem) is not responsible for his own hiring. Mr. Schoeffler was hired on the basis of having worked several times previously with Director, Glenn Casale, and on his extensive resume which includes Broadway and Regional Theater. The Fairy Princess would also like the disclose that Mr. Schoeffler and she attended the same university, Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh, and that she has no doubt that he is an abled and thrilling performer.

However, he is not of Asian heritage (and yes, TFP checked, because he originally hails from Canada and there is a large amount of Eurasians in Canada) – according to Mr. Schoeffler himself, he is not, in point of fact, Asian or Asian heritaged.

Nope.

Not at all.

Emailed him directly.

He graciously answered.

TFP thanks him for that. This is not his issue.

Now for the folks who should be…

Yeah, TFP picked a BIG one, and yeah, it's a SCHOOL BUS because it seems SOME have to go back there....

Yeah, TFP picked a BIG one, and yeah, it’s a SCHOOL BUS because it seems SOME have to go back there….

First, TFP wants you to meet the head of Dallas Summer Musicals…

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

This is Mr. Michael Jenkins, and he is ultimately responsible for “Bringing the Best of Broadway To Ft. Worth/Dallas” as the President and Managing Director.

Now, to be fair, the shows that DSM has lined up to come in, Kinky Boots, Cinderella, Dirty Dancing, and Pippin, are all shows that have diverse casts, so it is puzzling to TFP why he would approve of a King of Siam that is not of Asian descent.

Because you see, Mr. Jenkins, just as TFP is aware that this ‘famous’ Asian American hails from Texas…

Tila Tequila...raised in Houston, TX

Tila Tequila…raised in Houston, TX

The Fairy Princess is also aware that The King of Siam, who is supposedly portrayed in this musical, was an actual and real person, and he looked like this:

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหามงกุฎ พระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851–1868. He was one of the most revered monarchs of the country.

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851–1868. He was one of the most revered monarchs of the country.

Then again, TFP knows quite a bit about Asian Americans who live their lives ‘out loud’ as it were, but even if she does not know an enormous amount about a particular individual, or where they come from, if she is curious, she can go to the world wide internet thingy and find out where they hail from…ah Siam is now Thailand, you say?

A Thai Dancer

A Thai Dancer

Whatever could it look like? Wherever could it be?

This is what a map of Thailand looks like:

data=Ay5GWBeob_WIPLDYoIWcfVXxvZu9XwJ55OX7Ag,dzjuXDkMbmeDywe5GZKnCV35XpvDNIf8R9aTl779Spusel9ZCWBGCRwmZm3YCg3K9zXfhZS93VrdwTy3b_0

See where it is? Right next to China and India? Not outrageously far either from South Korea or Japan? So odds are, if there was a King of Siam, now Thailand to be had, they would likely resemble an Asian or Asian Americans.

Lincoln Center is gonna go with this guy, Ken Watanabe....on Broadway...just sayin'

Lincoln Center is gonna go with this guy, Ken Watanabe….on Broadway…just sayin’

Or, let me put it to you another way – because you are a Managing Director, and those folks have to deal with numbers…you have chosen to portray a story that deals with an Asian history. You want an audience. Did you know that according to the 2010 Census, Asian and Asian American population in Dallas (which is where your theater lives) has risen by 35% to around 120,000 in Dallas County?

120,000 is a lot of potential ticket buyers.

make-it-rain

Seems to The Fairy Princess that you would not want to insult the intelligence of those potential theater goers by showing them a Casting that they will, quite literally, not buy. As in, they will not purchase tickets.

Now, you may say, “that group does not purchase many tickets anyway’, but here is the thing – you have to cultivate an audience.

If you need tips, you could read this article outlining what Seema Sueko and the folks at The Pasadena Playhouse are doing, or you could read this article from TCG on Diversity and Inclusion or if you are unaware, ahem, take a look at this speech that TFP gave at the first LA Stage Day which deals with the issue of representation of Asian Americans on our stages:

 

You say right now you may not have many Asian American theater ticket buyers? Yet there is a pool of 120,000 that you could tap into? Come on Mr. Jenkins, You have to invite them by advertising to them. You have to show them that you are being sensitive, that you are embracing the new era of Broadway and the diversity of America, indeed, the diversity of Dallas County in particular.

But that is not what you did here. There is a name for what you did here, we call it “Yellowface”, and it looks, oftimes, like this:

You see, not even John Wayne can pull off Yellowface

You see, not even John Wayne can pull off Yellowface

Given the casting of an Non- Asian King in this musical, The Fairy Princess would venture to guess that you will not be getting much of the revenue from that 120,000 strong group.

In fact, they may go the other way entirely, and picket the production. Who knows? TFP has only ever been in the Dallas Airport, so she does not have her finger on the pulse there, but someone may decide that…

3owbta

and then you might get some static.

The Fairy Princess does not know if this blog will reach you, but she knows that emails will, so if any of her readers would like to share their thoughts on Diversity in Casting with Mr. Jenkins, he can be reached at mjenkins@dallassummermusicals.org – an email that is publicly listed on their website and the sharing of which is in no way a violation of personal privacy.

What was that, Heather?

under-the-bus-o

On to Mr. Casale…

Director Glenn Casale

Director Glenn Casale

Oh Sir, The Fairy Princess is perhaps most disappointed in you, in this scenario.

Perhaps it is because she attended a rather swanky party around the Holidays and met a (recently) TONY Nominated Director who shall remain nameless at this point, but who also directed The King and I regionally to great acclaim, and TFP and this Director spoke…at length. At friendly length. (Actually, that was particularly suprising to TFP given the strife she causes upon occasion)

Now, upon doing their research, that Director happened to come across this post by TFP, and between reading it, and the uproar over The Nightingale at La Jolla Playhouse, decided if they were to do The King and I, it had to be as close to authentic in the casting as possible – right down to the children.

Thus, that Director, when told by the local Casting folk that no API kids came in to audition, replied with “There is a Thai restaurant across the street from the theater, go in there and get the word out!”

The leads were cast out of New York City. The Asian American leads were found in New York City and then flown to the large regional theater in question. Imagine!

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

That Director was particularly happy with the Cast that they wound up with – it had Asian American faces in roles that were supposed to have Asian faces. It told a story that was set in an Asian country, about an Asian King, about, in fact, this King:

King Mongkut of Siam, now Thailand

King Mongkut of Siam, now Thailand

Perhaps that is not a big deal to you, after all….you are best known for your Broadway Production of Peter Pan, and Peter Pan has that troublesome role of Tiger Lily and…wait….who did you go with for Tiger Lily….

Dana Solimando played Tiger Lily in the Broadway Production of PETER PAN directed by Glenn Casale

Dana Solimando played Tiger Lily in the Broadway Production of PETER PAN directed by Glenn Casale

Hmph.

Well, that was years ago…things are different now…or at least the internet makes it a bit harder to get away with that kind of thing…unless you are working for Dallas Summer Musicals, apparently.

Mr. Casale, you may get annoyed or mad, even, or feel like…

tumblr_nb16gltPDa1shhuxzo1_400

but here’s the thing – what you are doing, by casting a Caucasian of European heritage as the King of Siam is called YELLOWFACE and it is by NO stretch of ANY imagination, ok to do.

Also, it looks stupid.

The King and I - Susan Graham (Anna Leonowens) / Lambert Wilson (The King) © Marie-Noëlle Robert - Théâtre du Châtelet - SEE HOW STUPID THIS LOOKS?

The King and I – Susan Graham (Anna Leonowens) / Lambert Wilson (The King) © Marie-Noëlle Robert – Théâtre du Châtelet – SEE HOW STUPID THIS LOOKS?

TFP realizes that you have worked with your friend, Paul Schoeffler, before, in fact, several times and you like working with him. That is great! Seriously, that kind of relationship is a beautiful thing. Working with friends when we are able is one of the great gifts of theater, it makes things easier, it makes the experience fun. TFP understands and appreciates wanting to work with friends, especially when the rehearsal schedule is down and dirty and the show runs a month.

However, working with friends just so you can sacrifice authenticity on the altar of Yellowface, held up by pillars of racism and white privilege, while burning candles of laziness and indifference, is not what theater is about.

Ever.

c8447dbbc26434b8d631f4d5c9440c4d8624f5deec103dddfc56bdaaa24e9499

Perhaps you were unaware of this.

OH BUDDHA, GIVE ME THE AID OF YOUR STRENGTH AND WISDOM...and a stick to whack everyone with...OHMMMMMM

OH BUDDHA, GIVE ME THE AID OF YOUR STRENGTH AND WISDOM…and a stick to whack everyone with…OHMMMMMM

TFP realizes that her point of view, and the growing view of Diversity on our stages is one that not everyone shares, but you have, unfortunately, put yourself in this situation, and what we want you to consider is that you have an obligation to the legacy of R&H to try and get this ‘right’.

Like this –

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

Not this:

anna_and_the_king_of_siam

Mr. Casale, would it be too much to ask you to broaden your scope and try and represent the story as intended by Hammerstein, a story that depicts not only racism, and privilege, and sexism, but also one of expanding one’s notions of what it is that they ‘absolutely know’, oh?

Perhaps you do not have a friend who is a a brilliant performer who also happens to be Asian American that would be right in the role, to you

tumblr_lyui1uLvn51qhh6xjo1_500

But if that is the case, perhaps you could remember one of the lessons of the show, which is there is pleasure in meeting new people…

 

Or you could just….you know…audition people in New York City. There are well over 780 AEA members who self identify as Asian American, according to Union numbers, surely within that number there is someone available who would be thrilled, in fact, journey to Texas for about 2 months.

The Cast of Fresh Off The Boat may be a bit young for The King, but who doesn't love a road trip?

The Cast of Fresh Off The Boat may be a bit young for The King, but who doesn’t love a road trip?

Just a thought.

It is hard, in this day of hyper awareness via internet, that ‘we’ are able to comment on upcoming productions and call people out, to a certain degree, on what some would call ‘micro-aggressions’, but to us are examples of

d82fdcdce60e16d6b8e489dede247881

But come on, this is not a little thing –

tumblr_n2z7azDC6j1qcluu2o1_250

So under the bus…

under-the-bus-o

ya go Mr. Casale.

Cuz if you wouldn’t cast a white guy as the King of Africa….don’t cast one as the King of Siam.

And…

tumblr_n2ys9zbBY31qlvwnco1_500

For the casting of a Caucasian Actor as an Asian Male, The Fairy Princess awards 30 wacks of the wand to be distributed equally between Dallas Summer Musicals and Director, Glenn Casale.

The buck stops with y’all.

Your decision is wrong, and you totally wrecked my groove for Sideshow tomorrow…

9b8b8c36881ec3ebd618f02c7f96cb36e1c935fd5d00897ca09b2312ab04b50a

Three DAYS into the NEW YEAR

The Fairy Princess has only ONE last thing to say….

 KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE…Y’all!

The Fairy Princess has been that kind of holiday busy where everything is a whirl of everything else but she was getting many ‘requests’ for comments – which she thought would kind of die down, but have only been increasing, so she is going to just share thoughts about a specific viral video…

Most recently, NBC’s Saturday Night Live aka SNL put forth this comedy sketch - Asian American Doll.

 

People have asked, via email and social media, what The Fairy Princess thought, in an ‘official’ kind of capacity, so…

tumblr_lo3cejAKUW1qfbwhio1_500_zps13b67a07

She thinks it’s funny.

It is a funny video.

mr-furley-o

Here is why – it’s making fun of Corporate America.

003MRD_Hugo_Weaving_008

Making fun of Corporate America is fair comedic game.

TFP also believes that SNL is making fun of it’s own LACK of diversity amongst its writers and cast – and as they are willing to address it, TFP has to believe that NBC is on their case about it, and is working hard to ‘fix’ this issue.

What this video is showing us is the fear Corporate America has of getting ‘it’ wrong. Everything  Corporate America tries so hard to sell us and to brand us is brought to us via focus groups and demographics. Creativity starts with one person thinking differently. This video is skewering the concept of cultural co-option by committee, and TFP will laugh at and with that every time.

Because WHO runs Corporate America, Folks?

Think hard.

Yes, they all are, but who really RUNS Corporate America?

Yes, they all are, but who really RUNS Corporate America?

White people.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

And those darn Caucasians are so hilarious, how can you help but laugh at…er…with them?

tumblr_n5kp9zyT2T1rosb88o1_250

Now for APIs who are flipping out about this, here is what – you are exactly who they made this video for. The people who get annoyed when we are mentioned, but then who flip out every time we are not – you wanted to be included right? Well, there you are…

Enjoy it.

tumblr_mgred5QQIb1rf2tdio1_400

All that hashtag activism that has been done so much better by Australians (#IllRideWithYou), our  API watchdog groups and bloggers (TFP included), is both necessary and absurd. We can laugh at the fact that blogs like this one, and media watchdog groups have to exist.

We can laugh at it because it is absurd in this day and age to have to remind people that…

photo

In this day and age to have to do this is…well…laughable. Infuriating and absurd and frustrating all at the same time. So ‘we’ will continue to go on writing and hashtagging – etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

For the record, ‘we’ exist because of things like this:

125859

But that is NOT what the SNL sketch is Folks, not at all.

We are included in the joke here, we are not the butt of it. This video, to TFP says that ‘we’ are being heard.

It is the same premise that vaudeville existed under – if they are including you in the joke, that means you are breaking through. This video says to TFP, “We SEE you, we HEAR you, we have NOT gotten this ‘right’ yet, but we are working on it.

And…it’s funny.

So thanks SNL, you made TFP laugh, and that is just what her wings need, every now and then.

man_bowing_-_thank_you

Oh dear, TFP just realized that her power cord is in the room where her kid is sleeping…ok, so that is all for now, will go “Into The White’ later on…

 

 

The Fairy Princess is having media overload – the rest of the country is suffering from it as well. There have been countless examples of inequality based on skin tone, which have been met with many articles, forums, news conferences, and marches.

All of this discussion is good. Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when the facts are hideous to face, it is good to have to talk about them. It is good to look underneath our society at the ‘mold’ that grows insidiously while unchecked.

However, all of it is having a toll – 0n everyone. On the men whose lives have been cut short and then dishonored by the lack of justice, on their grieving families, and on the population of our country.

The Fairy Princess blogs consistently on the issue of representation, and what it means for the world.

Entertainment is sometimes the first place that people who live in a homogeneous area get to see people who look different. It may be the first place that they ‘fall in love’ with a character who would walk a different path than they do, and it may help bridge that gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’.

The reason to need more diversity on television and on stage and on film is to share the thought that #alllivesmatter by showing us windows into people who may not look like us, but who share humanity as we all do.

The Fairy Princess wanted to share a story that happened to her – it is a personal story – but it has been on her mind over and over again, in the last few weeks, because it is a story of ‘us’, and she likes to think it shows the possibility of humanity.

Two and a half years ago, in late May, The Fairy Princess was exceptionally pregnant. She was ‘due’ at any minute, and thus, her husband decided to take her to see a Broadway show. We saw “Once”, with the original company, it was in previews at the time, and it was absolutely fabulous.

The Fairy Princess and her husband boarded a commuter train and they sat in the end seat. The end seats are for groups, so they have front and rear facing seats for conversation. Late evening trains are not generally crowded, so using TFP’s big preggers belly as a plus one, we were three in the seats.

The Fairy Princess‘s husband is a six foot tall Korean American who holds a black belt with multiple stripes in Tae Kwon Do and who used to play football in high school. (This becomes relevant later).

SuitHeadDownSmall

Two Caucasian individuals, male and female, entered the train and sat directly facing us. They were inebriated. They were in their 20’s. The female was definitely worse for the drink, and was muttering under her breath while staring directly at TFP’s and her husband.

She muttered things about ‘those people‘ and ‘stealing our jobs‘, and such, and TFP suggested to her husband that we move seats, because…well….

rupaul1

And if one is about to give birth, one really does not ‘have time for that’.

However, TFP’s husband has this stubborn streak, and he knew that when this couple entered the car, he was already seated, so they had no idea that he, if he rose, would actually tower over them by a few inches, and of course…if one holds a black belt, one takes very little notice of drunk people. Also, he has this sense of humor that is not easily defined, and he said “I want to see how this goes”.

TFP kind of hates when his sense of humor makes her sit opposite people who are drunken muttering, but when one is pregnant, it is kind of daunting to get up and down out of seats, so she thought….

 

tumblr_n5w917chna1s4jfn9o1_500

The rest of the passengers boarded and the train pulled out.

Now, this train was, obviously, in New York, and was coming from New York City. New York City is, de facto, a diverse place – people of all colors, genders, and sexual preferences. The average New Yorker walking around or taking the subway sees so much diversity, that no one seems to blink an eye at sharing space with someone who does not resemble them exactly.

Except this drunk young woman.

1222883.large

Who loudly started to proclaim whilst staring at TFP‘s husband that he ‘should go back where he came from” (That would be Virginia, my dear), and that he and his kind ‘came over here to take our f**king jobs” (Actually, as we do not recognize you and he works in the Performing Arts, rest assured, your job is safe from him, good lady), and TFP was getting ready to say something. TFP was “getting her Irish up‘, as they say in her family, and it was not going to be pretty. (Plus, let’s been honest, she had just seen “Once’, so her “Irish” was pretty close to the forefront of her being that night)

However, another voice spoke up.

A gentleman from the seat across from us, also looking directly at this young woman’s face. He said “You should shut your mouth.” To which, of course, she responded. He said “You should shut your mouth. You have no idea where they came from, and you have no idea if they took your job or not, you are just being racist.”

jaw-drop-o

He continued with some other pointed barbs – not using profanity – and as TFP looked over, she did think that perhaps he was one of her ‘tribe’, but some Eurasians are hard to pin down, but TFP knew one thing – he was one of her “Menz”.

The person sticking up for her husband, was Gay. He was a Gay man who saw, to him, what appeared to be a drunk Caucasian insulting an Asian man (he didn’t know about TFP’s husband’s sense of humor), and he said something.

At this point, the argument was getting loud, but everyone remained seated.

Until the drunk girl’s companion called that lovely man seated opposite us, “a Faggot“.

Which was NOT ok.

c8447dbbc26434b8d631f4d5c9440c4d8624f5deec103dddfc56bdaaa24e9499

He also stood, this drunk man and threatened him with physical harm.

Which was when The Fairy Princess grabbed her giant belly and jumped in the aisle and told him to ‘sit the f*ck down”.

tumblr_mmqykm7uiz1ql5yr7o1_400

Then this drunk Caucasian man started yelling about Unions and jobs and all, and this was his giant mistake (other than being an admirer of this female he was traveling with), because if you have read this blog before, then you may know that TFP’s relative, Mike Quill, started the TWU (The Transit Workers Union).

“The judge can drop dead in his black robes, and we would not call off the strike.  Personally, I don’t care if I rot in jail!” - Mike Quill

“The judge can drop dead in his black robes, and we would not call off the strike. Personally, I don’t care if I rot in jail!” – Mike Quill

TFP gave this drunk man a giant lecture on what Unions are supposed to stand for, and that he would not even have a Union except for her relation, and furthermore, non-discrimination on the basis of race or sexual preference is a tenant of Union by-laws!

Jujubee-library-reading-to-filth

The Fairy Princess knows a lot about Unions.

Upon which, this drunk man threatened to come over and punch her.

Whereupon, TFP told him that she would knock him into next week if he came anywhere near  and gestured to her husband to stand.

However her husband had a big smile on his face, and pointed behind TFP and she glanced behind her where, unbeknownst to her, a GIANT African American Man was standing behind her, backing her up. He gave her the ‘go ahead‘ nod, so she knew it was going to be ok.

TFP looked, and half the car of passengers, who had been watching to see what was going to happen, many of whom were people of color, stood up.

They stood up, and they told this guy to sit down.

At which point there was a lot of yelling, and then the Conductor came through the car.

The Conductor was Caucasian.

He wanted to know what was going on.

tumblr_n2z7azDC6j1qcluu2o1_250

The Conductor looked around, asked a few questions, and then told these two drunks who were harassing everyone to get off his train, and as we were pulling into a stop (which was nowhere near where they wanted to go), he threw them off, telling them to sober up, mind their manners, and learn how to behave because that stuff that they were doing was not going to fly on his train.

Upon which, the car burst into spontaneous applause, and The Conductor took a bow.

man_bowing_-_thank_you

Then we all had a good laugh, and it turned out that one of the women in the car’s hair was all messed up because she had been to a club dancing, and the fellow who first responded to these people was a stylist and he offered to fix it for her if she came into his salon in the morning. She made an appointment with him immediately.

Everyone started laughing and chatting.

giphy

It turned out the reason he had said something was because his Mom was Hawaiian Japanese and his Dad was Caucasian, and he had seen people talk badly to his Mother when he was a kid, and he could not do anything about it. However now, he speaks up all the time, because he is an adult.

That is what happened that day on the train – we, the adults,  all stood for one another.

We all had eachother’s back.

We united against something that on the surface seems trivial, but pulled back and exposed seems ugly and sordid.

tumblr_m52l0eyEQG1rqnccjo1_400

TFP asked her husband later, why he did not jump up earlier, and he told her “You didn’t need me, you didn’t see it, but everyone was there for you. You didn’t even look around to see, but they all had your back, so I just watched the show.

TFP may have mentioned that she does not always appreciate her husband’s humor.

3owbta

He did follow with “I would have jumped up and clocked him if I had to, but you know if I hit someone…they are not getting up.”

Which, upon reflection, it was probably for the best that he had not had to get up.

Tae-Kwon-DoThe Fairy Princess would like to believe that America can be like that train car.  That we can come together, regardless of experience or skin tone, regardless of politics, regardless of privilege.

The Fairy Princess was feeling media exhausted this morning, because she read about another school shooting. The Fairy Princess read about rape, and incest, and sexism, and political badgering, and environmental destruction, and captive orcas and deaths caused by lack of empathy for people whose skin color is different, and that was all before 9 A.M.

She was very, very sad.

But then she remembered this story, and she felt slightly better. She remembered that nod from that guy, that ‘go ahead, I’m here” nod that said she would be ok no matter what happened – and that, my friends, gives her hope.

Sometimes that is what you have to cling to, to get through the day.

Let’s all work towards that, shall we?

 

6a0133f0b2fdc2970b0191022c2884970c-pi

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers