Archives for category: Diversity

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

Tickets are avail on PurplePass.com and this show benefits THE ACTORS FUND

Tickets are avail on PurplePass.com and this show benefits THE ACTORS FUND

The Fairy Princess has not been blogging much, she’s been paying attention to world events that are too sad to reiterate here, though she has, of course, written at length, sadly,  in the past.

Image by Banksy

Image by Banksy

She hopes she never has to write about the slaughtering of young men again, she is hoping America will figure out how to come together and end senseless violence towards one another.

She hopes. Always, there is hope.

She also noted that two television shows starring Asian Americans were cancelled in the last weeks – SELFIE, starring, of course, the fantastic John Cho…

 

And TBS cancelled Sullivan and Son, with the always hilarious Jodi Long….

 

However….in every cloud there is a silver lining, so the saying goes, and here is one – HULU is going to be broadcasting the rest of the season of SELFIE, which means if you fell in love with John Cho as Henry, you are going to get some manner of resolution. And who knows? If the numbers are fantastic, maybe they will pick it up again – stranger things have happened.

Oh COME ON Rex Lee, The Entourage Movie happened!

Oh COME ON Rex Lee, The Entourage Movie happened!

Also, with Pilot season approaching in January, and perhaps sooner, it is likely that those Actors will book another show, The Fairy Princess is hoping the odds will be ever in their favor.

However, as TFP went about her day, she found a letter addressed to Playbill.com ‘s advice column, aka “Hey Johnny”. Every week “Hey Johnny’ is answered by a different person, so TFP is going to retype the letter here in case you have missed it.

Hey Johnny,

I go to a high school with a really great arts program (we do three shows a year) but I’ve noticed a problem. Our (white) director keeps making slightly racist comments towards the Asian students (during Avenue Q he referred to our Christmas Eve as “that Asian girl”). Even though a good number of Asian students auditioned for our next show, he didn’t even let most of them into the ensemble. We’re planning to do Miss Saigon in the spring and he’s been heavily implying that he’s going to cast white student in the leads, because that’s what they did last time they did it. It’s been like this all four years, and it’s really been making me and the other Asian students feel awful, and we’ve been doubting if we have a future in the theatre. I’ve tried to keep positive for us, but even I’ve fallen into a gloom. Please, what should we do?

Signed,

That Asian Kid

tumblr_mctu7atdxG1rosb88o1_r1_500

Now, whoever answered that letter, that week, did a wonderful job responding to That Asian Kid, but did not seem to be Asian American. Who cares? Totally fine!  The response was thoughtful and caring, and one does not need to share a skin tone to have empathy or give encouragement or wisdom.

However, The Fairy Princess thought that That Asian Kid  and his classmates could use some words from someone who has ALSO been, ahem, That Asian Kid.

tumblr_mszfdbZc691rosb88o1_500

Dear That Asian Kid,

That Director is out of line. The Fairy Princess could use many other words, but if she was in the room with him, this would be the mildest thing she could come up with:

tumblr_inline_n3seih9SZf1rtr2xy

Here is what you are going to do, and you have to be brave. You have to be ok with whatever happens, because you are challenging the status quo and that is always, always difficult. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

Either way, it is ok, the Asian Americans of “The Broadway” have got your back.

The House of Xmas Eves...

The House of Xmas Eves…these are but of a  few of us

 

1. Gather a brief written (typed and signed) statement from any student, but particularly of course, the Asian American students, who have been addressed by only their race, or who have been recipients of racial toned remarks from this Director. I would imagine if he has said things to the Asian students, he has likely said things to the African American and Latino students as well, so ask around.

2. After you have these statements, you are to ask those who wrote them if they are willing to go to the Principal and present them with you. Some will, some won’t. I agree with “Hey Johnny”, that a multicultural group is best, do what you can. I would encourage you to take someone on the Student Council, and if you can, a member of the PTA to present these circumstances to your Principal. This is too big just for the ‘kids’, you need a Parent with some clout to back you up.

3. When you present to the Principal, tell he or she that should this issue not be dealt with in some manner, you are going to present the same statements at a local town government meeting, where minutes are recorded – so that it is on record that your school is choosing to ignore issues of microagression towards Asian Americans and racial bias.

That is what you are dealing with – microagressions from this Director.

You should outline your issues in one ‘master letter’, and you should also present in that letter, your concerns about the casting of the upcoming MISS SAIGON.

That should get the ball rolling…to say the least.

tumblr_me4b5y8myT1qlvwnco1_400

Now, in terms of Casting, what you are dealing with, with this Director is called “White Washing”.

White Washing is very prevalent in our Society, and you are not the first to have suffered from it, and you will not be the last. It sucks. What it means is they take characters or stories that are linked to an ethnic group, and when they Cast the musical or the film or the television show – they cast Caucasian Actors.

That Asian Kid, this is Mickey Rooney as Mr. Miyagi in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's - awful, ain't it?

Jonathan Pryce, The Engineer from the Original Bway Cast of MISS SAIGON

Jonathan Pryce, The Engineer from the Original Bway Cast of MISS SAIGON

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

 

However, casting a Caucasian Actress as Kim in MISS SAIGON would be a serious breach of theatrical ethics, as well as horribly bad historical rewriting. The part of Kim is, as everyone knows,  a young woman coming of age in Vietnam.

 

lea-salonga

Even though Cameron MacIntosh did allow Mr. Pryce to play the Engineer (a character that is written as a Eurasian man), he drew the line at casting a Caucasian woman to play the part of Kim. Which gave us our only female Asian TONY Winner, in point of fact. Casting a non-Asian Kim is not acceptable – ever. And over time, casting a Non-Asian Performer as The Engineer has become a theatrical no-no, which is wonderful progress.

Which brings us to “Yellowface“, which is what will happen in your school if Kim is cast as a Caucasian.

rupaul1

Yellowface is not acceptable in our mainstream and certainly not in a high school production. If your Principal does not understand this, explain to her/him that to Asian Americans, it is the same as blackface.

Yeah, this is totally offensive and I hate posting it, but if you have never seen it, you need a visual. An awful and offensive visual. Apologies.

This is totally offensive  but if you have never seen it, you need a visual. An awful and offensive visual. Apologies.

(The Fairy Princess is choosing not to comment on why a high school would be doing MISS SAIGON, but…

tumblr_lyui1uLvn51qhh6xjo1_500

she has some thoughts about the appropriateness of it.)

The simple truth is that this Director should not even have suggested MISS SAIGON if he felt that he would be unable to cast Kim or The Engineer with Asian American students. Not in this day and age, and if that has been his intention, then he should be released from his duties as an Educator.

Would he cast DREAMGIRLS with a non-African American cast? No. He likely would not dare, and it would be the same thing.

photo

Meaning that even if you truly love a show, you cannot take an ethnic based story and erase the ethnic faces from that story. It is illogical and ignorant. A point which, btw, you should make both to your Principal and that Director.

Whatever happens with that, TFP wishes you much luck with it, and hopes you have success. You may not, because it is high school, and because no one likes to rock the boat, and they will call you ‘oversensitive’ or accuse you of ‘making it up’ – those things can happen.

But….TFP thinks you may prevail if you all come at it with purpose. (Which is that little thing that lights a fire under your ass)

Finally, That Asian Kid, TFP wants to let you know that you are not the only Asian Kid that has ever had a dream of being on the stage and perhaps eventually, Broadway.

For example, this guy:

BD Wong, TONY Winner

BD Wong, TONY Winner

And this guy:

R.I.P. Kevin Gray

R.I.P. Kevin Gray

And not only did they make it to Broadway, some sang in Six Languages….

Drama Desk Winner, Deborah S. Graig

Drama Desk Winner, Deborah S. Graig

Or became renown solo entertainers and do copious amounts of television roles….

America's Gaysian Sweetheart, Alec Mapa

America’s Gaysian Sweetheart, Alec Mapa

Or work, work, work in every medium….

OBIE Winner and Drama Desk Nominee, Francis Jue

OBIE Winner and Drama Desk Nominee, Francis Jue

Some go from one show to the next…..

Mr & Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos as played by Jose Llana & Ruthie Ann Miles - Ruthie Ann is the new Lady Thiang in the King and I revival starring Ken Watanabe

Mr & Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos as played by Jose Llana & Ruthie Ann Miles – Ruthie Ann is the new Lady Thiang in the King and I revival starring Ken Watanabe

Some were the headliners in their show and went West to try out Hollywoodland

Manu Narayan, star of Bombay Dreams, pictured in award winning production of Glengarry Glenn Ross

Manu Narayan, star of Bombay Dreams, pictured in award winning production of Glengarry Glenn Ross

Some have not been to Broadway yet, but are on their way…

Actress Vanessa Hudgens is currently starring in GIGI, the musical, which has announced it's intention to go to Broadway

Actress Vanessa Hudgens is currently starring in GIGI, the musical, which has announced it’s intention to go to Broadway

Or working on new musicals they hope will head to Broadway

The Cast of Allegiance from The Old Globe - they had hella nominations, y'all

The Cast of Allegiance from The Old Globe – they had hella nominations, y’all

Or got started in musicals and made it to Portland….

Reggie Lee from NBC's GRIMM, who has also been in a ton of feature films

Reggie Lee from NBC’s GRIMM, who has also been in a ton of feature films

Or started on Broadway and then got eaten by Hannibal

Hettienne Park was 'discovered' by Creator of Hannibal, Bryan Fuller, in a play on Broadway

Hettienne Park was ‘discovered’ by Creator of Hannibal, Bryan Fuller, in a play on Broadway

Some are singing their tushes off in the Broadway show IF/Then

IF/Then Cast Members Marc DelaCruz, Pearl Sun, and Charles Hagerty

IF/Then Cast Members Marc DelaCruz, Pearl Sun, and Charles Hagerty

Some have had long, extensive Broadway careers like Joseph Anthony Foronda….

Joseph Anthony Foronda as The Engineer , Ken Shim as Tam, and Jacqueline Nguyen in MISS SAIGON at La Mirada

Joseph Anthony Foronda as The Engineer , Ken Shim as Tam, and Jacqueline Nguyen in MISS SAIGON at La Mirada

And Alvin Ing…

 

Like Lainie Sakakura, who also choreographs….

 

And of course, you would know this guy from GLEE…

 

Some are in new Broadway Shows like Raymond J. Lee….

The Flying Elvises from HONEYMOON IN VEGAS

The Flying Elvises from HONEYMOON IN VEGAS

Or cool shows that have ‘buzz’

That is Orville Mendoza with the cast of FOUND

That is Orville Mendoza with the cast of FOUND

The Fairy Princess’s point is, oh dear That Asian Kid, is that we have all felt, at one point or another, just as you are feeling now, frustrated, indignant, and powerless because someone somewhere has referred to us only by ethnicity, or categorized us only by ethnicity, or tried to limit what we could do because of our ethnicity – and, That Asian Kid….they failed.

We are ok.

Yes, there could and should be more of us working, particularly in television which is supposed to ‘reflect the American scene’, but there has been progress, and we are OK.

Asian Americans are not being silent about casting and representation.

We protest when things are wrong –

Yes, that is Tamlyn Tomita rallying at East West Players

Yes, that is Tamlyn Tomita rallying at East West Players

We are voices of change.

Cindy Cheung & Christine Toy Johnson at La Jolla's talkback...they look so pissed off I feel like I need to go practice piano and bring home an A plus.  TIGER ACTRESSES! RRROOOOWWRRR

Cindy Cheung & Christine Toy Johnson
at La Jolla’s talkback…

We give speeches…

 

Those of us who are ‘coming before you’ are working on a lot of stuff.

Actor/Producer Pun Bandhu at the RepresentAsian Conference

Actor/Producer Pun Bandhu at the RepresentAsian Conference

So you worry about school.

We got this.

tumblr_n5w917chna1s4jfn9o1_500

Do NOT give up because of this Director, That Asian Kid,  he is ONE guy and eventually, high school ends, and you graduate. You get to leave. And when you go to college, you can study whatever you want.

Happy Dance!

tumblr_msz5emsTI61rosb88o1_500

Finally, as someone who was in AVENUE Q, to clarify – the point of  “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” is not to identify everyone by their ethnicity, it’s really to show that whatever prejudices we have, we are all the same underneath.

SM Beverly Jenkins, our Original Mistress of the Puppets - Singer/Songwriter Phoebe Kreutz, John Tartaglia, Erin Quill, and Carmen Ruby Floyd - all part of the Original Broadway Company

SM Beverly Jenkins, our Original Mistress of the Puppets – Singer/Songwriter Phoebe Kreutz, John Tartaglia, Erin Quill, and Carmen Ruby Floyd – all part of the Original Broadway Company

The point of the show is ‘when you help others, you are really helping yourself”, whether it is opening a school for Monsters, or speaking up when something is as far out of line as this situation seems to be from your letter.

The Fairy Princess wishes you and your fellow students much luck in surviving the rest of high school, she was not particularly fond of high school when she went through it herself, but as we say at the Q…

229600_10151497536266859_959904664_n

Break a leg, That Asian Kid – and if he still gives you a problem, tell him to

KISS YOUR FAN TAN FANNIE…

 

The Fairy Princess is shaking her head – and Taylor Swift is not even playing. She is shaking her head because the CEO of The Ordway Theater in St. Paul, MN has caved to a small group of protestors and agreed, publicly, to never produce MISS SAIGON, the musical, again during her tenure.

Sorry, what?

Ok here is the backstory -( this is what The Fairy Princess wrote at the time)  a year ago, (this is what Playbill.com wrote) a small group of protesters formed a group and decided they did not like MISS SAIGON the musical because they did not like the depiction of Asian women in the show. Admittedly, most of them had not seen it – they just did not like the idea of it.

The idea.

Because theater is not supposed to deal with ideas? Ideas that make you think? Ideas that make you uncomfortable?

Not, apparently in St. Paul.

They do not like to be uncomfortable there, they do not like to think. You see, the “Protestors‘, such as they are, are a rag taggle group of Artists – some visual (none from musical theater), and regular folks, who have very high standards. In fact, they admitted in several interviews that many of them had not even gone to see MISS SAIGON, because their standards ARE so high and even though they were invited by the Producers to see it and have a talk back with the Artistic Staff, they refused.

The Fairy Princess supposes, they were afraid that their brain would grow two sizes too big.

Oh wait, that is a heart - well, the protestors do not seem to have that either

Oh wait, that is a heart – well, the protestors do not seem to have that either

The Fairy Princess supposes, they were concerned that once they saw it, they might…well…like it.

Let’s face it, some of those tunes are catchy.

They might have enjoyed how an entire stage filled with singing and dancing Asian Americans – Asian Americans who are on the forefront of representing Asian Americans because they spend their lives on the stage – would make them feel.

They might have felt….proud.

They might have felt….humbled.

They might have felt….inspired.

And if one is an “Artist’, one cannot feel any of those things? If you are an “Artist’ protesting a show that you have refused to see, or saw a different production of twenty years ago when, yes, the depiction by a Caucasian man OF an Eurasian man sent many of us reeling, of COURSE you do not want to see growth or advancement.

That would be expanding your mind….and what Artist wants to do that.

You just want to get your name in the papers and harass people into proclaiming, in print, that you have a voice.

7742074_orig

Ok. You have a voice. And you managed to harass one white lady until she caved.

Well, The Fairy Princess has seen many things, but she has never seen a CEO of a large Arts House become a coward.

Until now.

Patricia Mitchell, CEO of The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Patricia Mitchell, CEO of The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

The Fairy Princess thought they were made of sterner stuff out there in St. Paul.

Wait, it could not be all about the Protestors…because the Ordway dealt with them before, so what other factor could have led to this ‘agreement’?

A third party.

It seems that this  ‘agreement’ came from commissioning a dance piece with an Annaya Dance Company for the opening of their concert hall in March.

This seems so odd – a dance group makes it a condition to never have other dancers in the space owned by the Company? Was it prompted by competition? It seems odd.

Because dancers usually have a sense of community – and it seems in this case, these dancers used their power to take away options from other dancers because they did not like the dancing they were doing.

 

 

Perhaps you should take up a discussion on dance with Lainie Sakakura, Broadway Dancer extraordinare about Musical Theater dancing, she’s the professional. She knew Gwen Verdon. If one wanted to have a cultural exchange amongst dancers, Lainie is the first person that TFP would recommend talking to.

But it seems the talking is done and the Annaya Dance Theater has spoken.

Since Musical Theater dance is not your area, what hat is it you do again?

Ah – The Annaya Dance Theater is, to quote it’s website, the leading creator of contemporary Indian dance”.

The Fairy Princess is confused.

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

MISS SAIGON does not depict a war in India, nor India bar girls, nor a love story between an Indian Mom and her half Indian child.

It depicts a war in Vietnam. While, yes, there have been many South Asian Americans in MISS SAIGON -

That is Manu Narayan leading the cast of LES MISERABLES at The MUNY, he has also appeared as Thuy in MISS SAIGON earlier in his career

That is Manu Narayan leading the cast of LES MISERABLES at The MUNY, he has also appeared as Thuy in MISS SAIGON earlier in his career

It does not, in fact, depict an Indian story.

So what the Annaya Dance Theater is saying, is that though they are ‘expert’ in one area, and represent proudly one area of dance that has South Asian heritage, they are going to leapfrog and become the clearing house for all Asian Americans who dance, and we now have to run it by them.

Ah.

The Annaya Dance Theater also says that they ‘invoke the work and dreams of women of color, and reframe the ground on which we dance…”

Oh, they are going to ‘reframe the ground’, which means they are going to ban certain works from being performed. How did they do that? Because that is censorship, and here in America, we have laws banning censorship.

How did they do it?  Hold please, The Fairy Princess needs to go back and check their website….

Bluegape-Jai-Shree-Ganesh-Glass-SDL491284962-1-7ca96

Oh, they played the ‘Women of Color” card.

They played it well, actually. They got what they wanted.

So let me get this straight – an Indian dance company (it does not, btw, say Indian American or even South East Asian dance company, it says Indian)  who choreographs – now this is all in response to their website statements – they choreograph in response to global issues to spark chemistry, has decided that what they can throw their weight and activism behind is…taking jobs from other Asian American dancers?

100202_p15_saigon

They have decided, this one group of dancers, that they can choreograph and speak for all Women of Color, and that because they are sparking ‘chemistry’ with their dancing, we should all go along with it.

We, the Women of Color of America and the World. Well, the Women of Color and one Caucasian lady who has been bullied in St. Paul.

There are no other global issues they could throw their attention to? Like for example...honor killings, rape, education? Things that, as an Indian Dance Company would, it seems, be more important than banning a production that once every few years, arrives in St. Paul?

No, they are worried about a musical.

A MUSICAL THAT IS NOT NOR NEVER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A FACTUAL DEPICTION OF VIETNAM.

So they pushed and yelled and coerced and bullied and they got their way.

Yes, The Fairy Princess said bullied – because that is what coercion is. Bullying is what small, mean people do. Bullying is manipulation, and yelling, and saying “I know better than you, I will always know better than you because I represent all Women of Color.”

Well, The Fairy Princess also happens to be a “Woman of Color”

Look at that, a color photo of a Eurasian Dual Citizen! Defacto - a woman of color

Look at that, a color photo of a Eurasian Dual Citizen! Defacto – a woman of color

 

She has an opinion about MISS SAIGON, and it is different than theirs – but hers does not count, is that the takeaway?

She now to understand that this Indian Dance Company, is now…ummmm, “the boss of us”?

The “Boss” of her?

 

Ruh- Roh

Ruh- Roh

 

No.

The Fairy Princess says no.

The Annaya Dance Theater does not, and will never, get to decide for her, what she can and cannot do as an Artist in America.

Never.

Because that is the anti-thesis of what BEING an Artist is supposed to be.

Joseph Anthony Foronda as The Engineer , Ken Shim as Tam, and Jacqueline Nguyen in MISS SAIGON at La Mirada

Joseph Anthony Foronda as The Engineer , Ken Shim as Tam, and Jacqueline Nguyen as Kim

Yes, we can ‘agree to disagree’ and decide not to go see a show, we can decide to not read an article, or decide that we do not like musicals, or that we do not like musicals where there are prostitutes – which, honestly would take out half the Musical Theater canon and most of the best songs – but WE do not have one mind.

lea-salonga

WE do not get to decide what is/is not allowed.

WE live in the United States, and even though this Mid-term election will, yes, slow any progress that is being attempted, it will not stop it.

Because WE do not have one mind  – not as Artists, not people of Asian heritage, and NOT as Americans.

 

youre-not-the-boss-of-me

You know what, Ordway and Annaya and Protestors….The Fairy Princess thinks you are missing the point of MISS SAIGON. You are all swept away in the bikinis and depictions of prostitutes and you are missing what is one of the most devastating songs in the musical theater canon - Bui Doi.

Orville Mendoza as The Engineer

Orville Mendoza as The Engineer

A song that deals with America taking responsibility for it’s Eurasian children, children that should be American citizens – or French or wherever their Fathers were from – children that should have had all the rights and freedoms and privileges of growing up in America, but they were denied that.

The point of MISS SAIGON is this:

 

“They are the living reminder of all the good we failed to do, we can’t forget, never forget, that they are all our children too”

(That is Ramin Karimloo, Stephen Rahman-Huges & Lee Mead in concert in Glasgow in 2012)

Look, if you want to look at MISS SAIGON and see evil, you are going to see evil – but ultimately, it is a love story about a Mother and her son, and what she will do to give him a better life.

It’s not evil – and neither are the women and men who so brilliantly perform the show.

You cannot call yourself an Artist or a Producer of Art if you limit people’s ability to decide for themselves – not only as performers, but audience as well. If you are an Artist – create Art – do not ban others because you do not like their Art. If you are a Producer – produce it and let the audience decide – they vote with tickets.

In other words – have open dialogue, but no way is one group or one theater to be Judge and Jury for what we, as Asian American performers are ‘allowed’ to do.

Let me quote an earlier blog in case you are missing the point:

Let me tell you something- and this is as straight as I can say it – Asian American Actors can take ANY part they choose. Period. The End. Asian American Actors are under NO obligation to make Asian America ‘comfortable’ with their personal choices. We do not stand over your shoulder at your job and tell you that you cannot do it, merely because it is our opinion that it should not be done.

Re-read that sentence, it’s accurate, but it’s kind of insane.

We are Actors.  First and FOREMOST we are Actors and WE tell stories. We do not have a group check in to get Asian American Community approval, and we do not have to have it. Because this is AMERICA.

Asian American Actors can use accents. Asian American Actors can play Pimps, Doctors, Prostitutes, Deli Owners, Thieves, Kings, and whatever else there is out there. We audition and people hire us. And if we can perform, on Broadway, or on a Television show, or in a Feature film, where it is so competitive even to get a a callback – then YOU, Mr. Joe Protestor, are not allowed to rob us of our right to do it to the highest possible level we can.

THAT is what Equality means TO US. That our choices are unlimited.

This is just sad, really, and so misguided, and hate filled – The Fairy Princess is disgusted both with the decision, The Ordway, The Aanaya Dance Theater and of course, the protestors.

10 Wacks with the Wand for all of you, and frankly, and she has rarely meant this more –

KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE

The Fairy Princess is not a Halloween fan. Not because she does not enjoy a good costume, she enjoys a good costume as much as the next person and she does not look down on anyone who dresses up their kid as a zombie or a princess or a butterfly, or any of the myriad of ridiculously cute costume choices available out there.

Some are amazing.

This is my friend's daughter...they WIN! The Russo Family wins the Internet!

This is my friend’s daughter…they WIN! The Russo Family wins the Internet!

 

Some are heartfelt.

178482-halloween-2011-fever-adorable-halloween-costumes-for-hot-dogs-and-tail

Some are completely inappropriate in a really fun way.

The Studs of the People's Couch - Blake as Capt. America, Scott as Elaine Stritch, and Emerson as 'The Bible Belt"

The Studs of the People’s Couch – Blake as Capt. America, Scott as Elaine Stritch, and Emerson as ‘The Bible Belt”

 

Some are culturally insensitive and donned by people who should know better. Which is why Halloween tends to not be TFP’s favorite holiday, when, honestly, it used to be.

She doesn’t like it that much anymore because of what some people choose to wear, because, well…they choose to wear Asian folks…like a coat. As someone who cannot ‘pick up, put down’ her skin and heritage anymore than a certain little girl in a certain film filled with joy and luck could pick up/put down chess, Halloween has, on occassion, become a rough holiday.

 

Yes, there are culturally offensive costumes, and they get worn every Halloween, by all sorts of people.

Like Debbie Allen.

Ms. Debbie Allen

Ms. Debbie Allen

NO! Not Debbie Allen!

Yes. Debbie Allen.

DAMMIT!

Yeah, the one who told us about ‘pain and sweat’ on the FAME teaser and who made us all want to be better versions of ourselves. Perhaps even, to be performers? That Debbie Allen?

Maybe there is another one?

Nope.

THIS DEBBIE ALLEN:

 

 

For that work on Fame, and A Different World, Motown 25, Amistad, the Debbie Allen Special and The Academy Awards, Ms. Allen was the recipient of 10 Image Awards from the NAACP.

Image Awards are given to those who are outstanding in her field – and make no doubt, Ms. Allen is outstanding in her field as a choreographer, an actor, a producer, a director….but The Fairy Princess is finding her choice of costume less than stellar.

The Fairy Princess could have done without this image.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.01.52 PM

Of course, dressing as a person of a different culture is always dicey to begin with, but the issue The Fairy Princess has is not only is this a dated image, it is inaccurate.

The mask Ms. Allen is wearing is ostensibly a Thai face and headpiece,  but she is in Chinese pajamas, and flip flops! (One supposes from Bal’i Hai or some other place that people not of Asian heritage imagine Asian people are from.) Or maybe they are Manolos, who knows?

So that is the first issue – Ms. Allen, if you are going to attempt to represent an Asian person, pick one.

A Thai Dancer - not wearing Chinese PJs now, is she?

A Thai Dancer – not wearing Chinese PJs now, is she?

Just one.

Because if you do not, it falls under that ‘all look same‘ category in my book, and The Fairy Princess takes a very dim view of culturally smashing all of the Asian groups together with little to no regard as to what makes us so very unique and different.

As you are a wonderful dancer and choreographer, had you gone ‘full tilt Thai Dancer‘ – the costume, without the mask, The Fairy Princess would have given you a pass. Because costumes are ok – The Fairy Princess appreciates if you take the time to try and be honorable and authentic.

However you did not do that. Which, is, well…it’s lazy.

Which is a word that The Fairy Princess has never, EVER associated with Debbie Allen. Never.

The OTHER issue The Fairy Princess is having with this costume is -you are wearing it ON THE SET OF GREY’S ANATOMY!

A SHOW WHICH CURRENTLY SHOWCASES NO ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT AS SERIES REGULARS ON A SHOW SET IN SEATTLE IN A HOSPITAL.

Seattle has an Asian American population that has grown 8.1 % between 2010 and 2012 – and while looking at the numbers, you might think “Hey, 7.5% of a population of a city is not that much…”, you would be wrong.

Graphic from Seattle Times showing ethnic makeup of Seattle

Graphic from Seattle Times showing ethnic makeup of Seattle

Because it’s not really just that 7.5%, you see that green triangle? 3.7% - more than one race. Which means, Eurasians. Not that all who identify as two races are Eurasian, but having spent quite a lot of time in Seattle, The Fairy Princess can tell you there are a LOT of Eurasian children running around there. So there are a few more than 7.5%.

It’s a lot for one group – one group that keeps growing.

Population-growth-2010-20121

Also, among all 50 states, Washington State has the 5th HIGHEST population of Asian Americans, according to both the US Census and this article from The Seattle Times.

So let me spell it out for you –

1. No Asian Americans as Series Regulars on the show set in Seattle.

2. Seattle has 5th highest API population in the Country.

3. APIs are dominant in the medical profession in all areas, including research, nursing, and physicians

4. You came as an amalgam of Asian parts on Halloween, mocking the people who are least represented on that show, a show that is supposed to represent a city where APIs are a large part of the population.

In fact, one would be hard pressed to walk into a hospital in any major city and not find API Medical professionals….

Except in Seattle Grace.

On Grey’s Anatomy.

A show which you appear on as an Actress and also, every so often, direct.

A show where you chose to wear this to the set:

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.01.52 PM

Now, you may be getting all upset about being called out on this, but here is a quick question for you:

Would you have worn that if Dr. Yang was still making the rounds as a top Cardio surgeon?

 

3067641_f1e30735-7eb1-4876-9ca8-f9ece0af0a1a-christina-yang

The Fairy Princess thinks not.

Let’s face it, you did not come as a composite Latino, could it be because Sara Ramirez is on the show?

Just wondering….

grey-s-anatomy-10321628smlrj_2006

RuPaul? Thoughts?

 

34griwx

The Fairy Princess agrees with RuPaul – you would have thought twice about wearing this costume when Dr. Yang was racing around being Meredith’s “Person”.

original

Because you would have considered that the actress playing one of the lead characters for ten seasons on the show might have some thoughts and feelings about you coming dressed to work as a cornucopia of Asian people

You see, this is the danger of non-representation, something which, Ms. Allen, I know you have spoken about in your career.

 

 

There are no Asian Americans currently on Grey’s Anatomy as series regulars. Which means that there is no one of the group you are mocking, that you perhaps see every day as a peer, that would make you think twice before showing up to work and tweeting that photo.

A photo which The Fairy Princess, a true fan of yours, was very hurt to see. She was so hurt, she checked several times to make sure that it came from your account, and that it was you. Because she did not want to see it.

What one person thinks is harmless, can be harmful. However on ‘your’ show there are no Asian Americans around to make you think about that.

So when you needed to play ‘dress up’, you picked on a group that has minimal representation on the culture of that show, and you came as ‘them’.

Asian people are not a costume. They are not a costume any more than African Americans are a costume. They are not a costume any more than Native Americans are a costume.

Costumes are clothing, and they can be fun, and enjoyable. But putting on the face of another race?

That is not acceptable. Positioning your hands in what can be described as a stereotypical stance? Not acceptable. Not a costume.

The Fairy Princess’s tiara is tilting sadly, as she tells you this, Ms. Allen, she hopes you feel just a bit of pain and sweat as you read this and…  KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!

 

The Fairy Princess likes to…you know…keep up with what’s happening in the world – yesterday it was the British East Asians and their remarkable video rebuttal to The Royal Shakespeare Company entitled The Orphan of Zhao Redux and today….she had an email from Sandra Oh.

Yes, that Sandra Oh…

Sandra-Oh

And let’s face it, if she sends you an email, you are going to open it.

The Fairy Princess should add here, that yes, she does know Ms. Oh, and they have corresponded before, but they do not, say, down shots of tequila and dance on bars together or get mad and eat cookie dough raw or anything like that….although, let’s face it, TFP totes would do that if asked.

(She’s done worse)

Thus, full disclaimer in place – she does, yes, know Ms. Oh, and finds her to be one of the coolest and most talented actors on the planet.

So there, do what you will with that.

Anyway, this is somewhat of a breaking story….

Sandra Oh has decided to produce an animated film – here is the description:

 WINDOW HORSES: THE POETIC PERSIAN EPIPHANY OF ROSIE MING.
In this coming-of-age story, Rosie Ming, a young Canadian poet, is invited to perform at a Poetry Festival in Shiraz, Iran, but she’d rather be in Paris.  She lives at home with her over-protective Chinese grandparents and has never been anywhere by herself. Once in Iran, she finds herself in the company of poets and Persians, all who tell her stories that force her to confront her past; the Iranian father she assumed abandoned her and the nature of Poetry itself.  Rosie goes on an unwitting journey of forgiveness, reconciliation, and perhaps above all, understanding, through learning about her father’s past, her own complicated cultural identity, and her responsibility to it.  It’s about building bridges across generations and cultures  through the magic of Poetry.  
We hope this film will contribute a little more peace, love and understanding to our increasingly complex and conflicted world through art, poetry, history and culture.

 

OMIGOODNESS THAT SOUNDS GREAT!
Now, here is the thing – this is an animated feature about a mixed race girl in Canada. Now, while The Fairy Princess did not grow up in Canada, she has….let’s face it, a bit of knowledge about being a mixed raced little girl.
My Father and I

My Father and I

When she was a kid, she would have loved to have seen a story such as this – it would have spoken to her in a way that, perhaps, was different from other stories. She rarely envisioned herself as a protagonist because, well….there were none in the books she read, or was read to, or in the television she saw, or in the movies – she was too young for Bruce Lee and she would have looked terrible in a yellow track suit.

As a person of mixed race who is raising another one, this made The Fairy Princess very interested in this project – interested enough to provide the link so if you would like to contribute to this project, which is being produced in conjunction with the Canadian Film Centre, you can.

The other, super awesome thing about this – for fans of American Cinema, is that the belle of Flower Drum Song, the feature film, Ms. Nancy Kwan, will voice one of the characters – Gloria, the overprotective Grandmother of Rosie.

Film Star, Nancy Kwan, from World of Suzie Wong & Flower Drum Song fame

Film Star, Nancy Kwan, from World of Suzie Wong & Flower Drum Song fame

Wrap your Fan Tan Fannies around that little tidbit!

Nancy Kwan!

(Full disclosureno – have never done shots or cookie dough with Ms. Kwan)

(Yes, have met her, yes, have a photo)

The thought of that is terrifyingThe Fairy Princess would embarrass herself.

Because, when she was a bit older than in that photo, she viewed Flower Drum Song on television, and her Mother told her, “That lady is Eurasian, like you.”

Well…it was the first time that The Fairy Princess ever considered that a person ‘like her’ could do something as amazing as a musical.

Which makes the whole thing, just a bit more special, don’t you think?

ANYWAY – HERE IS THE LINK!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/window-horses-an-animated-feature

They need to raise $230, 050 Canadian, and thus far, they have almost $5,000.

You can contribute from $5 and up – and let’s be frank, if you are a person of mixed race, who grew up being asked ‘what are you?” or any of the myriad of questions we are asked, you may want to contribute simply to see more stories in which you and your experiences are reflected.

Just sayin….

In closing – Congrats to Ms. Oh and her partner in this venture, Ann Marie Fleming, who has been making award winning films for over 25 years that deal with family, history, memory and issues of identity. This is a story that comes out of a combination of her own personal experiences as a mixed race Canadian.

The Fairy Princess very much looks forward to seeing this film and sending a few bucks your way!

Break a leg with it!

The Fairy Princess once twittered that if Producers wanted to keep her from blogging, they should just keep her employed – and that is what has been happening. That, and, of course, a toddler who likes to break at least one major item a day and does not want to nap – ever. Apologies.

However, in the midst of this oddly timed employment, for which she is quite grateful, she did happen to catch the British East Asian’s answer to The Royal Shakespeare Company’s elimination of Asian faces in their production of The Orphan Of Zhao – done successfully here in the States with an Asian American Cast, in a joint production from A.C.T. in San Francisco, and La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. (I still have my eye on you, La Jolla….)

To borrow some of the British parlance, The Fairy Princess found their video answer to this casting debacle, absolutely smashing, and hopes that Gregory Doran and the rest of the RSC will see it and be absolutely gobsmacked at the British East Asian talent that is RIGHT THERE in his own backyard.

And thus she wanted to share this wonderful video entitled “The Orphan of Zhao Redux” and give you all a chance to see the marvelous work that happens when creative minds attack a problem and try to open eyes and minds.

Mind, it is nine minutes – but it is absolutely worth it, and if you get a minute, perhaps you will Tweet to the RSC (@TheRSC) that you have seen it, and that you wished that they would host more productions where they feature the astonishing talent of the British East Asians…particularly when the show in question is set in CHINA...or any other local where one would expect to find Asian faces.

Or even…wait for it…put them in shows where they are not defined by their race, but by their acting!

Just a thought…mull that one over.

Congratulations to my fellow Actors, and all who put this together, you were all ‘in it to win it‘, and you certainly have.

In a world where people throw things willy nilly up on the internet, with no production value or thought, The Fairy Princess was moved to see how this video speaks to the issues raised by the Casting of The Orphan of Zhao at the RSC.

She also was thrilled to meet some of the brilliant people behind this video on a recent trip to London, and hopes to get over there more, and check in with everyone – the energy of this group is fantastic.

Well Done!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers