Archives for category: Diversity

The Fairy Princess had a good day, thus far – her child has decided to become a “Potty Pirate‘!

Before he is 21 years old!

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Parents of Toddlers will understand this.

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But enough about poop – let’s talk about Mr. Eddie Huang.

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TFP has been an active observer of Mr. Eddie Huang for a long time now – what with his book, his restaurant, and the television show that was inspired by his book.

The American Dream, right?

ABC kid moved from D.C. to Orlando, grows up in abusive household, identifies with Hip Hop music, goes to college,  becomes a Lawyer, stops being a lawyer, opens a restaurant, becomes famous chef, does food based shows, writes a book, book becomes TV show. There is even a clothing line in there somewhere.

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Recently though, Mr. Eddie Huang seems to be in  the midst of self-imploding and TFP is observing that as well.

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with, truth be told, a bit of sadness.

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Mr. Eddie Huang seems bent on becoming the most hated Asian American male in America, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. He hates Fresh Off The Boat on ABC because it does not include Domestic Violence. Well, OK, but Bruthaman, you sold it to ABC as a sitcom on a Family Block Night – most situation comedies do not include beating of the children.

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He talks about Hip Hop Culture and finding within it salvation, but then denigrates Black women who ask for clarification on some of his talking points.

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All in all, he seems to be having a self-admitted crisis, as shown in this article from Papermag:

Huang: Let me ask you this though, how have you dealt with acceptance and success? Because I have only recently been going through it, and I feel like acceptance is kind of the worst shit because you spent your whole life being the underdog.

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As TFP is reading the situation, he wants to be rich and successful, but he does not want to be seen as rich and successful, because being rich and successful means….um…. he can no longer enjoy Hip Hop?

tumblr_mi6bkiOVpc1s5gauno1_500He wants to talk and he wants people to listen to what he says, but then when they listen to what he says and they find it confusing or objectionable he is not responsible for what he said because he was not being a role model, he is an outsider!

HE DOES NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK, WORLD, IF YOU DISAGREE WITH HIM YOU ARE A HATER!

And with “Haters’, one is able to

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However, Mr. Huang is de facto a ‘celebrity’ now, so people pay attention to what is is saying, even while what he is saying is geared, essentially to promote his ‘brand’ of Bad Ass Hip Hop Restauranteur. And when you stay stupid sh*t as a ‘celebrity’, people pay attention.

So, TFP thought perhaps she should say a few things….

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Mr. Eddie Huang, you are not the only API to ever like Hip Hop…

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Love of Hip Hop comes in all forms

In fact before TFP fell in love with Musical Theater, she was ALL about the Hip Hop

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However, loving a music and a culture is no reason to be all

7742074_origTFP knows who you are. She gets your ‘brand’.

 You are a guy who grew up in Orlando with Immigrant Parents who became a lawyer.

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You always liked Hip Hop, and identified with that music.

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You left the law and focused on creating great food.

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That won you awards and attention and some food tv shows…

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After which you wrote a book and sold the book to ABC.

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And whilst on that journey you went from wearing a suit every day to

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Very impressive to be sure – to realize that you could parlay your love and identification with Hip Hop into a branding machine. It’s made you quite a public speaker and a fortune.

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But Mr. Huang, it’s time to stop being a douchebag.

Sometimes SILENCE is a good thing. Let’s role play –

REPORTER: Mr. Huang, how do you really feel?

FICTIONAL ZEN EDDIE HUANG: I feel really good, and…I have no comment.

You see? Easier than making pre-fab Ramen noodles on a hot plate!

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Here’s the problems, as far as TFP can see them:

1. You are trying to sink the first API family show on television in 20 years. Not OK.

2. You are dressing down, in print, the Executives and Writers who believed enough in your story to take a chance on it – even though chances of professional failure were high. Not Ok.

3. You co-opt, in the name of love, a style and a swagger, but then you treat the people whose struggle it comes from with disregard.  Especially the women. Not Ok.

If TFP‘s Korean American Husband acted like that, we would have had a visit from his Momz pretty damn quick.

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TFP is not ok with this laundry you are airing.

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TFP thinks you are struggling with the success of the show – and that is ok, very natural to have ‘Buyer’s Remorse”.

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But save that for therapy.

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TFP is thinking you need a Publicist.

APIs have the HIGHEST disposable income in America today – and you are a man that they have gotten behind.  What happens when the consumers of your brand find it too hard to support you?

No one likes a guy who is rude to women. No one likes a guy that takes what most consider an opportunity for many, and trashes it for personal reasons. TFP remembers when you took on Bill O’Reilly, which is hilarious because in some regards, you are using some of his egregious habits – loudly proclaiming your right to ignore criticism, carrying on about oversensitive people and their reactions to your voice. Who does that sound like?

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One supposes either way you ‘win’, if they show stays on, you get to keep cashing that check (oh yes, Children, he gets paid),  and if it gets taken off the air, while you lose a check, your swagger with the Hip Hop crowd gets even bigger, because you blew up your own ‘haus’.

One question, is the Hip Hop crowd going to step up when all the APIs go away because you took down their first chance to watch an API family on TV in 20 years?

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Are you fully prepared to take down a whole bunch of people with you in the name of your ‘swagger’?

Including three kids that look up to you?

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You keep going this way, not even Olivia Pope could save you. (Her show is based on a real person too!)

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And the rest of us? The APIs? We’ll all be

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So, do YOU, Mr. Eddie Huang, of course DO YOU, no one is telling you NOT to…but Dude, do what you need to to make “doing you’ a bit happier, cuz Homes….you a bit too fortunate to be this angry.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been staying out of the 99 Seat Theater Contract Debates. The reason being that she no longer works those contracts because it is not financially viable to work for a $100 honorarium for several weeks of rehearsal, every night, and pay a babysitter. Or eat. Or buy clothes.

Plus, they usually ask the Actor to donate the $100 back so they can make their budget!

For the record, TFP always said no on that.

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Thus, TFP spends more time on the East Coast where, to be quite honest, she has been much busier and has had the opportunity to work on some very cool developing musicals. Musical workshops where she was paid more for working on it for a WEEK, than she would be paid to ‘run’ a play in LA for six weeks. Or two months if it gets extended for good reviews and response. Repeat, more in 29 hours than in 2 months of rehearsal.

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Now, to those who say TFP knows nothing about running a theater company in LA, they should stop right now – she knows way more about running a theater company than the average actor. She was on the Board for a theater company in New York, she has worked with AEA as a deputy, and her husband was a Co-Artistic Director of an API Theater company in LA for 10 years. Which ran under the 99 Seat Plan.

TFP actually does know about the financial burdens on smaller theater companies in LA and guess what?

THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AS FINANCIAL BURDENS OF ANY SMALL THEATER COMPANY ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

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There is no magical difference between Los Angeles theater and theater anywhere else, except in LA, Actors have managed to convince themselves that their talent and time has no value. Because that is what they have been told by Artistic Directors and Producers. They have been told, over and over, that should Actors get paid, LA Theater would end in a horrible explosion and the death of theater would be on THEIR shoulders.

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Actors have been convinced that they do not need to be paid for doing theater in LA, because they get more than enough money when they do Television and Theater roles…right, because those roles just fall magically from the sky like gumdrops in a Depression era movie starring a curly moppet who tap dances and has a lisp.

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LA Theater is not dying. TFP repeats, it is not dying. There’s life in the Old Girl yet….

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LA Theater has always had consumption on a certain level, and that is because, as is universally acknowledged, Actors in LA journey there to focus on television and film, and theater is something they do to

1. Get discovered

2. “Work on craft’

3. Have something to do

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Loving one’s job does not make it of less value. Loving one’s job is a huge bonus. If one auditions, and is hired, it is a job – a job that is part of a vocation, but a job nonetheless, and in this country, when a Union Member does a job – ANY Union Member in ANY Union, when they perform a task that falls under the title of ‘job’, according to the rules and statues of that Union – they get paid.

tumblr_inline_mf7xxos7T41ry4qimEveryone likes to keep busy. That is and was the reason for the LA 99 Seat Plan to come into being. TFP gets that.

After all, when someone asks you “What are you working on?” this –

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is not a fun answer to give.

But it does not mean that you, as a Union Member, should work for free. We got 99 Seat Plan Problems, don’t you be one…

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Actors Equity finally took a look at this situation and came up with a plan to get the Actors more than $100 total for weeks and weeks of rehearsal and performance.

They want Actors to receive…wait for it – NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR!

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May TFP take this moment to remind everyone that there are people who work in the Fast Food Industry who are marching in cities across the country, for a $15 an hour wage.

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So, one can do an Ibsen play and make LESS than flipping a burger, that is, oh what is the word TFP is searching for?

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 Of course, LA Artistic Directors and Theater Companies responded to AEA’s plan to pay Actors Minimum wage….

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Their stance is that LA Theater companies working under the 99 Seat Plan cannot afford to pay the Actors. The ones that people are ostensibly paying money to see, oh NO…THEY cannot be paid, that would break our theaters!

(Plus they have to pay for the theater rental, rights to the material, staff, designers, and stage management)

(Some companies are all volunteer, one imagines, but TFP has never been to any 99 Seat show where the SM and Designers did not receive some sort of salary for their contributions)

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And the crazy thing is – ONCE AGAIN, the ACTORS BOUGHT INTO IT!

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With what money, one has not a clue, but yet again, the Actors of LA have convinced themselves that the work they do is valueless. That the Union, their Union, which represents ALL Actors, ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, a Union that has been criticized so harshly for allowing this contract to be in place in the first place, a Union that they were SO excited to join…they have decided this Union is launching a war against theater that can only be comparable to those shown with British accents on cable.

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So then Union Actors decided to protest their own Union for lobbying for them to get paid.

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The Union is not trying to kill theater. The Union is trying to protect the rights of all Actors that it represents.

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Since 1972, Actors in Los Angeles have been devaluing their own worth – because that is when Equity Waiver theater started happening. At that time, any Union member could waive their rights at a Union member, and perform for free – completely.

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It was amended and changed in 1987 and called the 99 Seat plan. This provided ‘basic’ rights for the Union Actor participating – rehearsal hours, mandated breaks, and that the Producer should purchase Insurance to protect everyone. It was amended in 2000, and that plan, the 99 Seat Plan, is what we have today.

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TFP quotes from the current 99 Seat Plan, as set forth by AEA:

B) The Plan is based on the premise that Plan Theatres utilize the work and talent of Equity Members without wage or compensation.

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The rest of the agreement is about safety, how to treat costumes, how many times you may be called back (3) without financial compensation, the ‘break’ schedule, the rehearsal schedule and what the duties of the Producer and Stage Manager are. However that line, B which is in the FORWARD section on Page 1 is really all that you need to know.

The Plan is based on the fact that they will not pay you. Everyone can get paid, except the Actors.

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There is nothing wrong with wanting to work for free – as long as you do not call yourself a Professional. If you want to work for free, if you want to work for love only, then you are an Amateur.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING AN AMATEUR.

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The word comes from Amo which is Latin for l love. Amateurs do things because they love it, they just do not love it enough to invest their life in it. Amateurs do not pay Union dues. Amateurs are not concerned about rehearsal breaks, or how costumes are kept, nor do they worry about Producers devaluing their work to keep them broke and grateful for ‘the opportunity’. They are too much in love with what they are doing, and that is called….community theater.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with Community Theater, and there is nothing wrong with being a Non Union Actor – but TFP has never met a Non Union Actor that does not aspire to join the Union, because being a Union member stands for something. LA Actors who are venting against the 99 Seat Plan and being awarded minimum wage, are not standing for anything – they are bending over.

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TFP is not saying that Producers and AD’s do not love Actors, of course they love Actors – just not enough to pay them.

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You see, they want Actors to believe that “Opportunity’ is enough. That if those theaters provide the opportunity for people to ‘be seen’, then of course, the talent should come free.

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The Fairy Princess believes that if tickets are sold, and money is made, then Actors should be paid. If TFP goes to see a show and buys a ticket, she would like to know that the Actors in the show are reaping some benefit from her dollars.

TFP believes that if monetary value is placed on AEA Actors and their time within the 99 Seat Agreement, then their time AND their talent will be valued higher, by both the Actors themselves and the Production Team.

TFP does not feel sorry for any of the theaters moaning about closing – not even the ones run by friends – and here is why:

They have had a ‘free ride’ from the Actors since 1972. It is now 2015. That is 43 years of contributions by Actors.

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It should be a goal of any theater company that wants to grow and expand, to want to pay their talent, and if there are any who are 10, 20, 30 years old who have NOT figured out how to pay the Actors, there is a problem there that is bigger than giving Actors $9 an hour.

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This plan does not go into effect for ONE YEAR beginning in June.

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Quite a lot can happen in a year…a baby can be born, a person can graduate from college, a tree can grow…and…financial plans can be redrawn and steps can be taken to make sure that a theater company can meet it’s goals and pay their Actors.

Will it be easy? No.

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But theater people are tough, and LA Theater Producers are some of the toughest.

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There might have to be more fundraisers.

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There might have to be those hideous Kick-Indie-Go-Go things which are insidiously replacing the old fashioned ‘get a day job you hate and save your money to do your project’….

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They might have to write more Grant proposals, or add people to the Board who can bring in the

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It will just take more work, that is really all it is…it is more work,  TFP knows that LA Theaters can do it

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Yes, many Actors may feel…

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But you should really be feeling more like…

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Remember, AEA Actors…if you feel that you absolutely cannot take minimum wage from a theater company, if you are ‘in the money‘,  you can always donate it back…

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Theater in Los Angeles will not die because AEA Actors will have to be paid, it hasn’t in ANY other City….

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TFP stands with AEA on this decision.

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Once tempers cool and reason returns, she hopes that the AEA Actors in LA, who fought against themselves and their own best interests, will realize that this decision is not the end of the world.

There are options – you can leave the Union, you can donate the money back to the theater company of your own volition, you can help the theater company you love raise the money it needs to pay you – what you cannot continue to do is give away your talent for free – because other cities who have Producers who currently pay AEA Actors to perform are ACHING to stop paying their Actors.

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What if Chicago stops paying their AEA Actors? What if Atlanta and Houston follow? What if NY Producers – who are whittling away as fast as they can at Tour salaries and benefits – what if New York, which has The Broadway – what if THEY decided to stop paying Actors?

Setting precedents that Union endorsed non-payment of AEA Talent is acceptable is dangerous. Sometimes things do not trickle down, they fall up.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess on a daily basis gets frustrated with young women in the public eye.

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She says that not because she is angry or unhappy about them being in the public eye, but because so often, they ones that wound up in the public eye at a young age have missed some supplemental education because value is placed on other things – things like singing and dancing and acting.

Don’t go crazy, it is TFP’s opinion based on observation.

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While TFP knows that singing, dancing, and acting does NOT prevent one from ‘thinking the big thinks‘ – if one does not realize the value of them, those ‘big thinks‘, then one can so easily laugh them off – the collective value of the big thinks.

Case in point – FEMINISM

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Now, TFP is of the opinion that every woman in the United States today is a feminist.

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This is a loaded statement – and people will ‘come’ for TFP, but WHY is she saying that?

TFP says that every woman in the United States and a large portion of Western Countries are Feminists because they stand, we stand, on the backs of the women that came before. We, the Women of the World, are, as is said in The Joy Luck Club – like ‘steps through time” – one after the other. We, the Women of the United States, are afforded freedoms and choices because of Feminist principles and activists, who fought for us in the past.

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With each age, women strive to come forward a bit more. Yes, we continually have to ‘prove’ ourselves – that we are smart, that we are useful, that we are good mothers, that we are ‘just as capable‘….yes, it is exhausting. This is not new, but it is a constant battle that we wage, secure in the knowledge that at least some of it, has backing in legislation.

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Women today have choices now that their Grandmothers could not imagine. Some women have choices that, given where their Mother came from and how she grew up, that their MOTHER could not imagine – and that is AWESOME!

DANCE PARTY!

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Which is why TFP was so disheartened to read this quote in the New York Times by Vanessa Hudgens,

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who will be starring in the Broadway Revival of GIGI.

Regarding her own feminism, “I used to be on the fence about it, “she said “Just because I feel like it gets to a certain place where it almost has the reverse effect, where it is so overpowering and so aggressive that it’s like rather than just standing up for female pride and female rights, it becomes, like, “I am the man’.

Out came the giggle, like a lace fan. “But now I feel like there’s this new wave of feminists coming up that are truly about equal rights for women. I mean, Beyonce is, like, killing the game, and I love her.”

You have been ON THE FENCE about Feminism because you think it is aggressive and makes you like a man?

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ON THE FENCE?

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You mean that fence that they used to use to keep women from voting, keeping their wages, deciding how many children to have, deciding to pursue education, and deciding to have the ability to start a business that was not based solely on selling their vagina to the highest bidder?

THAT is the fence you were on, Miss Vanessa?

No, Oprah does not understand...NO.

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Not good enough.

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Look, TFP rarely responds to young actresses speaking about Feminism – Cayley Cuoco gave a doozy of a statement when she told REDBOOK Magazine (when asked was she a Feminist)

“Is it bad if I say no? ….I cook for Ryan five nights a week and it makes me feel like a housewife; I love that”

TFP thought….

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Ms. Cuoco later had to apologize because she is a multi-millionaire who has made her living in one of the most color biased and gender biased businesses in the world, a world she resides in because of an uber amount of privilege and timing…and she made the rounds spouting that age old Publicist ‘cure-all’  – ‘My words were taken out of context.’

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No, they weren’t. Vanessa’s were not either. They were not taken out of context because, as is quite clear – because you have to know what the context IS, to be taken out of it. These young women of privilege and position have NO IDEA what Feminism is, and what it has given them, and so…they are talking out of their ass.

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Yes, TFP said “talking out of their ass’ er…’asses’.

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While TFP generally ignores things that silly women say – ONLY BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HOW MANY BRILLIANT AND SAVVY WOMEN ARE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD – she cannot ignore it when a person of Mixed race says them.

So Vanessa,

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under the bus you go, because Hapas are not allowed to spout this idiocy.

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There are SO FEW of us out there that EVERY time one of us gets an opportunity they have to, by default, be a role model.

Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, it is a pain in the ass. But what is so tragic is that 11 year old Hudson Yang is paying more attention to his words, as one of the stars of ABC’s FRESH OFF THE BOAT,

than you are, as one of the FIRST Hapas to be headlining a Broadway show at 26 years old!

You are a GROWN ASS WOMAN….and you should know better!

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“We”, the Hapas of Broadway have the leads in ALADDIN, and YOU – that’s it.

If Nicole Scherzinger comes in with CATS, that will be FOUR.

Now and in the foreseeable future....

Now and in the foreseeable future….

If we were to add the supporting roles of those in King & I, it would bring it up to SEVEN. (Much respect to Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, and Ashley Park).

SIX lead roles played by people of mixed Asian descent out of 32 shows on Broadway. With a possible 7th coming in.

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So no, Miss Vanessa…when we are only dealing with one out of six, one who has legions of teenage female fans, you do not get a pass when you give a quote that posits only BEYONCE as an ‘acceptable’ Feminist.

BEYONCE!

tumblr_mduldxRPA61qktr4to1_400Beyonce has a great gift with a ‘lick’ and is an amazing performer, but are her songs feminist thought inspiring?

If Ya Liked It then ya Should’a Put a Ring on it?

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Beyonce lives as a Feminist – she owns a business, she has her own money, she gives to charity, she is a mother, she votes , she expresses her opinions and is not mocked for them – all those things are benefits of Feminism. Yes, she lives her life as a Feminist, as all women in this country do –  but her songs-  they usually revolve around a man. She ‘owns’ her own sexuality, and that is a component of Feminism of course, but TFP does not really think of Crazy In Love as a rallying cry for Feminism.

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No tea, no shade, no pink lemonade – it is what it is.

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TFP likes Beyonce and her music – but looking for lessons of Feminism from the lyrics?

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Whitney Houston, now? Madonna? Lady Gaga? Pink? Those would all be yes.

TFP is now going to tell  you why, YES VANESSA…you ARE a Feminist – in case you are asked again…

1. You get to vote

in 1920 – a mere 95 years ago, via the 19th Amendment, women were allowed to vote in elections in the United States

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2. You are not the property of your Father as an unmarried woman (Women’s History In America)

“During the early history of the United States, a man virtually owned his wife and children as he did his material possessions. If a poor man chose to send his children to the poorhouse, (to repay his debts) the mother was legally defenseless to object. …Equity law had a liberalizing effect upon the rights of women in the United States. For instance, a woman could sue her husband. Mississippi in 1839, followed by New York in  1848 and Massachusetts in 1854, passed laws allowing married women to own property separate from their husbands. In divorce law, however, the divorced husband kept legal control of both children and property.”

As a young woman, not only would you be the ‘property’ of your Father, you would have to turn all monies earned, if you were ‘allowed’ to work by him, you would turn it all over TO him, because your money was NOT your own.

And if your Dad was Tom Cruise…it would have been…..

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3.  You are not the property, should you choose to marry, of your Husband – this was  ‘coverture”.

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Under coverture, you would turn over any and all property to your Husband as soon as you were married – you would have no say in it’s administration or disposal, and had no legal repercussions if he mishandled the funds. Likewise in the case of a divorce, the courts would favor dispersal to the husband with a small ‘jointure’ perhaps given to the wife at the dissolution of the marriage. Maybe.

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You may be familiar with this as the basic plot of DOWNTOWN ABBEY – remember? The Earl has mishandled the funds his wife brought to the marriage which saved Downtown, but cannot be passed on to Lady Mary because….you guessed it – coverture!

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4. You can have a ‘line of credit’ aka “a credit card’ in your own name.

That law happened in 1974 – and it was called the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Yes, Vanessa – 1974 was when women in America could get their own credit card! Do YOU have a credit card? Then you should thank those Feminists, male and female, who worked together before you were born, to make sure you could drop into any store you like and buy whatever you want.

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5. If you do get married, and you suffer spousal rape, it is now a crime. This law was passed in 1993. You may even have been born, Miss Vanessa – prior to that, if your spouse was in the mood and you weren’t, too bad.

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6. You can run in the Boston Marathon…something that women could not do until 1972.

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7. You have access to birth control without being subject to ‘decency laws’ or risk being thrown into jail for lewdness.

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8. You can get a divorce (if you chose to get married) without having to prove anyone was ‘at fault’.

Prior to 1967, it was rather hard to get a divorce in this country because one needed ‘grounds’. Like, for example, if the Husband was beating the wife all day and night, and he didn’t want her to be able to divorce him, he could (through attorneys and the law at the time) deny that there was a ‘reason’ for the marriage to dissolve. The wife could move out of course, but legally, he was still her husband.

However, it was shockingly easy for a Husband to put aside a wife, because grounds like ‘adultery’ can be given – even if none occurred, and the court in general, found ‘for’ the Husband. Because of course, who would want to live with a cheating wife?

No Fault Divorce has many for and against – even Feminists are divided, however the fact is, if a woman or man is ‘trapped’ within an untenable situation and they want to walk away – they can.

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FYI, should you be getting married any time soon whilst on Broadway, it is worth noting that New York State was the last state to ratify No Fault Divorce – in 2010.

9. You do not have to wear a religious or state sanctioned outfit that inhibits your freedom of movement – you have a right to wear whatever you want to wear. You can thank Feminists of the 1960‘s for modern inventions like the miniskirt and so forth.

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10. You have the right to star on Broadway in a show about a young girl of 14 who is sold, by her Great Aunts, to an older man in his at least, late 30’s, who is then sooooo overcome by her youth and zest that he ACTUALLY MARRIES HER!

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Instead of, as was the custom in the era in which the show is set, signing a contract with her Family as to how many dresses, spending money, carriages, what kind of house she was to have, what the care and feeding of any children resulting from their sexual congress would be, and which gave HIM the ability to terminate, at any time, his support of a woman who was for all intents and purposes ‘ruined’ in the eyes of society because she was no longer a virgin. Also in the contract would likely be how many times per week she was to expect to receive his ‘attentions’, and perhaps even the times with which she must wait up till, before she could make the determination that he was not coming, so she could go to bed.

After her Swain was done with her, and the contract was terminated,  she would have to find another ‘protector’, as long as she still had her looks.  If she was lucky, she would receive a ‘settlement’ with which she could invest, if not perhaps she would be able to get enough ‘gifts’ that she would then be able to sell as she aged and became less desirable to wealthy men. This would continue until she succumbed perhaps, to one of a host of venereal diseases while all her former lovers were married to ‘respectable’ women and had long and productive lives. She would be left in ‘genteel’ or abject poverty till her death.

That is what happened to Courtesans – if you do not believe, TFP, go and ask Fantine, she is a few theaters down from you.

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That this current version of GIGI is being produced by women who have updated and changed the ages and have made this Gigi more palatable, (according to your Director, Eric Schaeffer “We had to get the perv factor out of it“), to modern tastes… is a result of Feminism.

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Because….de facto – you have Women in power positions on this production, addressing concerns modern women might have with the show – which is the direct result of people laying down in marches and protests, burning their undergarments, going on hunger strikes, marching, legislating, and in general, trying to assure that you, as a 26 year old woman of today, would never have to go through what women in the past have gone through.

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Do the freedoms given to you by women of the past alleviate your concerns that people might think of you as angry or aggressive?

Are there any that you would like to give back?

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The reason that we are all able to stand up for ourselves and decide for ourselves is because those are rights that were won before we even got here on this planet, by Feminists, also call Suffragettes, also called Interfering Women, also a slew of derogatory names as well as ‘Too smart for their own damn good”.  Not all of them were women, either.

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The women of the past have paid it forward to us, and now it is our job to continue to encourage young women to embrace being Feminists, to embrace thinking, to embrace striving, not to scare them by denying what it actually is – which is equality in all things. It is striving for equality – struggles that still go on today.

If one is going to be in a show about a Prostitute…

(which, don’t get TFP wrong, Musical Theater LOVES us some Prostitutes, they get ALL the best songs!)

….who is fighting for her right to decide her own future – then does it not reason that the star of that show should EMBRACE FULLY AND COMPLETELY THE NOTION OF FEMINISM AS IT STANDS TODAY?

quote-people-call-me-a-feminist-whenever-i-express-sentiments-that-differentiate-me-from-a-doormat-or-a-rebecca-west-196326IS THAT NOT WHAT THIS ‘NEW’ VERSION  OF GIGI IS ABOUT ACCORDING TO HEIDI THOMAS, the writer?

Women making their own choices?

You do know that the French Monks who invented Champagne by accident were actually not thinking of Happy Hookers and their Swains when they invented the bubbly beverage, right? Lerner & Lowe just made that up?

Duh_duh_duhLook let’s not drag this on and on and on because here is the short list:

You are Feminist if you have ever begun, as a woman, a sentence with “Well, I think….”

You are a Feminist if you have ever stated, as a woman, “I don’t like that….”

You are a Feminist if you, as a woman, have expressed your option to not have sex with a man who requests it

You are a Feminist if you have, as a woman, encouraged a little girl to dream about her future, and dream big

Those are four VERY SIMPLE examples of how one can be a Feminist.

hAB0D6F77For equating Feminism with trying to be a man, and denying that you yourself are the recipient of the benefits of Feminism – TFP sentences you to 20 whacks with the wand, a wonderful Opening Night, and a reading of The Personal is Political by Carol Hanisch, which you should then talk about with the very brilliant Ms. Thomas with whom you work!

The next time someone asks you – and they will again, TFP would appreciate it, as a person of Mixed Asian descent and as a WOMAN if you would simply reply

“I would not be where I am today without Feminism. Next question.”

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Tell ’em Hillary!

The Fairy Princess is recovering from the joy of seeing that Dallas Summer Musicals has cast the very talented Alan Ariano in the role of The King in their production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King & I. She was also thrilled to see that the Broadway Cast of the same show has wound up in Vogue Magazine, and that Anna Wintour is rumored to be taking over the Red Carpet of the TONY Awards so that everyone stops wearing a dress ripped from The Little Mermaid and puts on a damn eyelash!

These are good things and must be celebrated accordingly.

tumblr_n6ee7cdMjw1tcq54io1_400Then she read this article from Hollywood Deadline which yes, ‘reports’ Insider industry news, but in this case has forgone actual facts and gave us instead, a fearful Zombie Apocolypse “What if“, should projects like EMPIRE continue to decimate all others on the television and cable landscape and leak it’s considerable influence into pilot season.

Apparently the writer at Hollywood Deadline is concerned about all these pesky minority actors getting opportunity.

tumblr_mmqykm7uiz1ql5yr7o1_400In fact, the writer of this, Nellie Andreeva, is so concerned about minorities booking jobs on television shows, she is so fearful of the result this may have on , well, I guess on ‘the children‘, everyone is always worried about ‘the children’ right?, that she has manufactured her own ‘backlash’ with the ridiculous question – has Hollywood in pilot season ‘gone too far‘ in casting minorities during Pilot season?

“The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss.

But replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer. Empire, Black-ish, Jane the Virgin and Fresh Off The Boat have been breakouts because they represent worlds and points of view that were not on TV

Hmmm. So what you are saying is that now that there is Jane The Virgin, the television landscape is full and we no longer have a need for a world with Latinos on our screens?

SlapTFP has one word for you – Univision. (Look it up)

Did anyone else get a little ‘privilege’ in their eye, or was that just The Fairy Princess?

58251898b6b8b5f4471580313c43e76aAnd now you are going to ‘come at me’ because my eyes are a slightly different shape, oh Miss Andreeva?

I don’t think so.

giphyFirst of all, the logic here is faulty – Networks are not casting more creatively because Cookie Lyon needs a friend with a fabulous hat and four inch heels on another network – they are casting that way because the world in which we live, in America, is colorful. As TFP has often said, and which is backed by actual numbers – Diversity equals Dollars!

Producers are not sitting around trying to think “Hey, how can I cast a show that totally will not find an audience and will waste everyone’s time and money” – No, they are not. They are trying to make shows that sell. Television is the one place in the world where ‘trickle down’ theory works (perhaps that is where President Regan got it, when he was President of SAG)  does not work economically, but in showbiz? Yeah, it works.

its-all-about-the-money-4In the long history of Television in America, they have always, always done the exact same thing – they look at what is on television that is finding an audience, pulling in revenue, and entertaining people and then they toddle along and try to do that same thing. That #TGIT is making everyone wake up to the reality that there are strong Actresses of Color who can anchor a show and keep viewers coming back week after week with smart, snappy dialogue, and complex plot lines is a great thing. That this investment in opening minds is the brainchild, essentially, of one woman, Shonda Rhimes, is staggering.

The fact that Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling have two of the most successful and talked about comedies available to watch is mind blowing. That Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon has successfully rewritten the narrative of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to include an expanded possibility of what it means to be seen as a Hero in America, is nothing short of amazing. The Gender Gap that was so prevalent behind the camera in the creation of shows is not fixed, not by a LONG shot, but the successes of it cannot be argued with it. Nanatchka Khan has created a number one network comedy with Fresh Off The Boat – have any of their shows ‘suffered’ by waving the banner of diversity?

No.

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250Looking, Orange Is The New Black, Devious Maids all yes, meet a ‘demographic’ audience, but they surpass what is expected – because when there are multiple actors who can pull from varying life experiences, it gives the writers that much more to work with.

One could even argue that these shows are not waving any banner at all – they just cast wider, they looked further than the ‘status quo’ – they looked to the world.

raceethpewGrey’s Anatomy was successful,

imagesso now we have The Night Shift.

the_night_shift_s2_mainelementNCIS was successful, so now we have one in every damn city except Poughkeepsie…and that is probably coming if Mark Harmon gets a summer house there. The joy in this for ethnic performers is that they can finally have a Pilot Season flush with auditions just like less pigmented friends!

‘You booked a Pilot? Hey wait, ME TOO! – HIGH FIVE!”

Cat-High-Five Actors do not live in a bubble of privilege unless they are a child of celebrities – Actors are out there, seeing plays, supporting friends, making connections – and they get, sorry ‘we’ get, that the world is made up of supremely talented people – people who through career longevity and talent should get that  moment of peace that being on a television show will give them artistically, which will have a ripple effect to their career, and that skin color has nothing to do with talent.

giphy-2Color has only do to with opportunity and perception in Hollywood – and that is a truth most will not admit, but it is a truth nonetheless.

tumblr_n5kp9zyT2T1rosb88o1_250If you are an API Woman you will get called in for a hooker at least once in your career, to a cop show, because they are going to do the classic variant of ‘a brothel in Chinatown’ story that shows up on EVERY cop show. If you are Latino, you are going to be called for a Gang Member at some point in your career – why? Because that same Cop Show has a Latino Gang episode.

ohh-snap-7400_previewYou may meet the API Hooker in the hallway of the audition and you kind of give each other a ‘Hey, what’s up” – because you both know why you are there – you are there to up the ‘Diversity Numbers’ for that particular show so that the Producers do not have to have ‘a conversation’ about Diversity on their show set in a major city with no Ethnic Main characters, even though the city in which the show is set, has large ethnic populations.

Or that is the way it has been.

However it seems that THIS pilot season…things are changing!

VeTSjsRThere is a clause in the SAG Contract that the Producers sign about this very issue – it is worded that the Producers, in getting the permission from SAG/AFTRA to produce this show, that THEY agree to ‘reflect the American scene’, which is what they are finally doing!

Casting is an art – if it is done well, as most Directors can tell you, they do not have to do much ‘heavy lifting’ at all. Some of the most successful shows on television right now – ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat, Fox’s Empire, CBS’s Elementary demonstrate that bringing Casts together of different experiences and backgrounds enhances the ability to tell compelling stories. Also, according to Scientific American, Diversity makes you smarter!

But you do not have to take TFP’s word for it, we can look at what people ON TV RIGHT NOW IN HIT SHOWS are saying:

For example, Constance Wu, when interviewed by TIME said:

It’s important to see Asians in those leading roles because it changes what I’m calling the anglo-heteronormative status of TV. [Imagine] that a producer says, “Guy and girl meet-cute at an ice skating rink. They fall in love, but then she has to move away.” If you say that to anyone, including an Asian person, you picture a white person because that’s what’s become normative to us.

She seems pretty smart…and if you do not think so, may TFP ask you when the last time you used the word “Anglo-heteronormative’?

Duh_duh_duhThere are of course, shows that exist ‘within a world’ that is, for all intents and purposes, Caucasian – AMC’s MAD MEN for example, but MAD MEN is wrestling with specific time period and the inclusion of women in the workplace and the change in America at the time. There are many, MANY more shows that exist within a Caucasian world than there are within the America we all actually live in – so to write

“ABC’s medical drama pilot The Advocate was based on the story of former CAA agent Byrdie Lifson-Pompan and Dr. Valerie Ulene, who launched a healthcare consulting company. While the real-life inspiration for the two central character are both Caucasian, the show cast them with one white actress, Kim Raver, and one black, Joy Bryant’

is ridiculous.

Oh, it’s not?

You want to get into a discussion about WHITEWASHING ETHNIC PEOPLE OUT OF ROLES BY HOLLYWOOD NOW

MS. ANDREEVA?

noperaja-1Where to begin? Where to begin?

You see, not even John Wayne can pull off Yellowface

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You want TFP to keep going or should we just let the Spirit of Bruce Lee smack you in the head, Ms. Andreeva?

giphyTFP is gonna lay some truth down now, Ms. Adreeva, so get ready:

There is NO WAY that out of the HUNDREDS of pilots being shot, the casting of a small percentage of minority actors IN ANY WAY imperiles the status quo of white privilege in this country we know as America. Casting some people of color and gender and sexual preference on one or two televisions pilots that may or may not be picked up for broadcast will IN NO WAY harm Caucasian people in this country looking to turn on the television and see reflections of themselves.

tumblr_m8s5mtj1381qffn6mo1_500You know why the pendulum will never, ever swing ‘too far‘ to prevent Caucasians from seeing themselves on television?

Because television is run by Caucasian people!

See all the Presidents…look close, can ya see what TFP is talking about?

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They don’t look like they are leaving anytime soon, now, do they?

(Also, Gentlemen and Lady, thank you, sincerely, for shaking up your Pilot seasons and diversifying, congratulations on that)

Which you should know, because DEADLINE actually published the UCLA Diversity Report ! A report that shows among other things:

1. Minority actors are underrepresented in film by a percentage of 3:1

2. Women are underrepresented  in lead roles in a film by a factor of 2:1

3. More than 1/2 of the films had 10% OR LESS casting of Minority Actors

4. Minorities amongst Film Directors are underrepresented 3:1

5. Minorities are underrepresented among Writers by 5:1

6. In Television, Minorities in LEAD Roles are underrepresented 7:1

7. In Television, Minorities are, 7:1 more likely to be leads on REALITY SHOWS than Network shows (thanks Top Chef)

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8. Minorities are underrepresented by a factor of 9:1 in creating Broadcast Comedies and Dramas

9. Women are underrepresented by a factor of 2:1 in creating Broadcast Comedies and Dramas, and are ‘less likely’ to be creators on Cable

10. Dominant Talent Agencies contribute little to Broadcast Television Diversity

So you can relax, Ms. Andreeva…’Mount HollywoodLand”  is for the most part safe from these pesky hordes of creative people whose skin shade is not alabaster, who have feelings and talent and ambition and the will to use them – for the most part….in the grander scale of things…white television is safe, and will be for a long, long time.

TFP is sure you will sleep better at night, on your lvory pillow, wrapped in a blanket of Caucasian condescension within the fortress of solitude that the internet firewalls provide, so you do not have to interact with the peasants and dream on, Ms. Andreeva….

photoWe‘ of the minorities are not ‘coming for your TV“, we would just like to expand the meaning of what it means to see and be seen, and ‘we’ would like to book a pilot because for an Actor, it can be life changing. It can provide a bit of financial security, health insurance, and opportunity to continue on in a life of creation.

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It has nothing to do with which way your pendulum swings….we have a broad definition of inclusiveness, in that we, of the minorities (which include people of age, sexual preference, color, women, differing physical abilities) would like to be seen in this country, and television is the best way to do that.

tumblr_inline_n3seih9SZf1rtr2xyFor stirring up racial panic in the midst of what looks to be a good Pilot season for Minorities, TFP fines you 35 whacks of the wand – you invoked racial fear to write a column that had no statistics to back it up, just a general sense of warning to show runners not to get ‘carried away’ with this pesky “People of Color” thing – and that is wrong. Flat out wrong. TFP read your article and was not going to say anything, because it was so poorly substantiated, but then she thought “what if someone actually takes you seriously?” and then she thought

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Not only is it wrong, it is disheartening when there is good news, to have someone who has a national platform to discuss these issues, choose to come down to “Boogie Man’ threats that get in the way of progress.

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You should be ashamed of yourself.

TFP is thrilled that Pilot Season is getting with the program of inclusion – it makes us all better – what you did, was to try and make it worse.

Also, KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!

Originally posted on fairyprincessdiaries:

The Fairy Princess does not often write on this blog about her Family – probably because they do not share her devotion to Musical Theater, and let’s face it – that is not so different from the general population, no matter how many movie musicals Meryl Streep is going to appear in.

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On a day to day basis, her Family is not the subject of her blog, nor do they read it. Her family will cheerfully tell you that they have no idea what TFP writes about but it is ‘nice’ she is expressing herself.

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However, TFP‘s sister, Shauna Quill and the organization she runs, The New York Youth Symphonyhas been in the news this last week, and frankly, TFP is getting tired of reading rants about ‘creative freedom‘ on the social media, so she is going to share her own opinion on this situation.

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Please…

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The Fairy Princess does not often write on this blog about her Family – probably because they do not share her devotion to Musical Theater, and let’s face it – that is not so different from the general population, no matter how many movie musicals Meryl Streep is going to appear in.

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On a day to day basis, her Family is not the subject of her blog, nor do they read it. Her family will cheerfully tell you that they have no idea what TFP writes about but it is ‘nice’ she is expressing herself.

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However, TFP‘s sister, Shauna Quill and the organization she runs, The New York Youth Symphony has been in the news this last week, and frankly, TFP is getting tired of reading rants about ‘creative freedom‘ on the social media, so she is going to share her own opinion on this situation.

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Please note – the NYYS does not know that TFP is going to write this piece, they would not endorse it even if they did know – which, again, they do NOT, and they probably would be horrified by the Drag Queen Memes if they did – but NO ONE IS TAKING AWAY TFP’S DRAG QUEENS!

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So…this is what happened this last week – my Sister and her Staff were informed that a Composer who had won a contest (by winning that contest he won the opportunity to have the NYYS premiere his work) by the name of  Jonas Tarm had inserted into his piece, wait for it – the Nazi Anthem.

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Did TFP just say “Nazi Anthem“?

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Why yes, she did.

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Now TFP has never heard the Horst Wessel Lied aka Nazi Anthem, and many of her generation have not…and in fact, it has been banned in other countries, but anyway, here it is with subtitles.

 

TFP does not know which part of the Horst Wessel Lied spoke most to Mr. Tarm because she has not heard his piece…maybe it was the the part where they sing “Millions are looking on the swastika full of hope“, or that bit about “Soon Hitler’s banners will fly all over the streets”?

We may never know.

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The artistic process is difficult to understand in some individuals.

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Perhaps he did try and think of something else, but as we all know -it is hard, once a melody gets into ones head, to change it to something else.

And then there are the times, you know, when a song has a meaning attached to it for you, and then, well….then you can NEVER get it out of your head, right? No matter how hard you try.

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Like if, for example, you had heard a song over and over again when you were being persecuted and watching your family being slaughtered around you….like someone who survived The Holocaust?

German Jewish Children in a Concentration Camp

German Jewish Children in a Concentration Camp

It might be a really hard to get a song like that out of your head.

In fact, the Horst Wessel song itself was used as part of what is called “Sonic Torture” – playing music over and over again to break the spirit of those who were in concentration camps.

A description of the "Sonic Torture" of the Prisoners at the Dachau Concentration Camp from the website "Music and the Holocaust'

A description of the “Sonic Torture” of the Prisoners at the Dachau Concentration Camp from the website “Music and the Holocaust’

Thus one can imagine the instant recognition that an unsuspecting survivor of the Holocaust might have had when seated to enjoy a Symphony Concert… given by children….upon hearing that melody played.

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The fact that that survivor did not jump up and run instantly up to the Conductor and start beating him with a heavy object is a lesson in dignity we can all learn from. Instead, this person waited until the concert had ended, and wrote a letter to the New York Youth Symphony informing them that they were playing the Nazi Anthem.

Which, TFP is fairly certain, made those running the NYYS resemble a very famous painting…

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

Because you see, NYYS had not been informed by Mr. Tarm that he was referencing that piece in his work. Nor did he tell them that not only was he including the Nazi Athem, he was also throwing in the anthem of the U.S.S.R.!

In fact, he gave them no program notes, no explanations, just this quote from famed Anti-Semite, Poet T.S. Elliott:

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the shadow

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Not only did he insert the Nazi Anthem, he hid the fact that this was a part of his composition when he was initially given a chance to share it with the Orchestra, who range in age from 12-22.

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TFP only knows this because she did an interweb search on Mr. Tarm and she found this post written by a student of the orchestra.

For those who do not want to click the link, here is an excerpt from that Reddit post:

We started rehearsing Tarm’s piece a few months ago. A few weeks after we started, he showed up to a rehearsal. Our conductor asked Tarm to introduce the piece; this is a rather standard procedure. Past composers, such as Cindy Giron and Conrad Winslow (a wonderful composer!), have discussed their pieces with the orchestra. Sometimes composers say much; other times, little.

Tarm, given this opportunity, chose the latter. He told us that the piece could be about absolutely anything, as long as it was meaningful to us. Pokemon and eastern philosophy were then cited as examples.

Please wrap your mind around this: the work cited music from the USSR and Nazis, music that foreshadowed the deaths of millions… yet he cited POKEMON?!?!? In retrospect, this was absolutely absurd of Tarm. How deeply irresponsible of him to fail to provide any context.

That was the entirety of what we heard from Tarm on the content of his piece. We continued working (quite hard, I might add) on Tarm’s piece. Many of us began to love the piece – it’s very well written. My personal favorite part was the eerie bassoon solo, heard over a cello solo similar to the opening of the Lutoskawski concerto. As it would turn out, the bassoon solo quoted Horst-Wessel.

The bottom line is that Tarm was not candid with us regarding the contents of the piece. Sure, he might claim that the music should speak for itself, but not when using the Horst Wessel anthem! No one in the orchestra (or administration, for that matter) advocates censorship… but young musicians should not be forced to play a Nazi anthem without prior explanation. Forget explanation – Tarm should have at least acknowledged the citation from the very start!

POKEMON?

 

(Now, interestingly enough, this vocalist is a friend of TFP‘s, his name is Jason Paige and he is incredibly talented, and, in point of fact, Jewish. Thus TFP is fairly certain that he would be a bit put out to think that his wonderful vocals on a video game would be used as an example of what to think of when the Nazi Anthem was being played by 12 -22 year olds, just making a guess.)

Back to the New York Youth Symphony – now, they are a pretty prestigious organization and they take great pride in commissioning works by young composers. They have commissioned 137 works by young composers and they have never had an issue like this, because, as that student pointed out (and TFP suggests you go to that Redditt site and read the comments back and forth because this student is pretty damn brilliant) most of the composers come and talk to the kids, and they also provide program notes.

We, in the biz like to call that ‘context’.

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Because just about any kind of artistic work can be done, provided you give the audience and the players information that they need to make an informed decision about what is going to happen during a piece that they paid for.

Whips and Chains? Making millions at the box office because it is a ‘love story’.  That’s America – we can wrap our heads around just about anything as long as we are given context.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

Look, he had two terms…just sayin’

Now, upon receipt of the letter sent by the Holocaust Survivor, NYYS did not immediately cancel his Carnegie Hall premiere. They did not. They have worked with composers and artists for a long time, and they knew, as Educators, that things that some find distasteful can be ‘learning moments’, and they have always stood by their Artists before, what they wanted was clarity and an explanation.

Mr. Tarm was called by different staff members of the NYYS and he repeatedly refused to give context.

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He did not deny that he had lifted music from another composer without giving credit.  He just said that the work spoke for itself.

The work that was not all his work that he submitted as his work? Yeah, that work.

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What is that ‘thing’ when you claim to write something that someone else has written and you do not cite them?

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It’s that word that begins with a “P” and that people can be sued for?

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That thing you can totally get kicked out of Oprah’s book club for?

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In the opinion of The Fairy Princess, and this is truly the opinion of The Fairy Princess, no employee, student or fan of NYYS has said this to her, but in her opinion?

In her opinion, as someone who educates and teaches on the University level (oh yeah, TFP doesn’t just blog) if you do not cite your sources, and you take credit for another person’s work – it’s plagiarism.

“Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author‘s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

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TFP does not give merit to arguments about “artistic freedom’ when it is based on a lie. The lie being that this was an original composition. Music – classical and pop – is littered with ‘odes’ and ‘variations‘, ‘tributes‘ and ‘inspired by‘s ”  – and as long as it is cited, everyone is good. Citing gives context.

Not citing? Deliberately refusing to provide background on a piece that you are expecting 12 year old musicians to play at Carnegie Hall? That is not ‘artistic license’, that is someone trying to ‘pull one over’ on the NYYS, in TFP‘s opinion.

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Or are we forgetting that Robin Thicke is in court over this very same issue? Did not Sam Smith just agree to hand over royalties to Tom Petty over this exact same situation? Yeah, he did. Because musicians are not supposed to steal from one another.

In TFP‘s opinion, NYYS could not present a work at Carnegie Hall that had elements of plagiarism, it seems that simple to her.

In TFP‘s opinion, she does not know what the big issue is, because, Mr. Tarm did win a world premiere from the New York Youth Symphony, they just chose not to play it at Carnegie Hall. It had already been premiered.

Just because one commissions a work does not mean it has to be played – that is like saying just because one purchases a gym membership, one is going to exercise. It’s like buying a painting and then deciding it does not work with your decor, so you put it in the closet. It is like saying just because one pays for a dinner, one is entitled to have sex with the person who shared the meal.

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TFP does not see that Mr. Tarm’s civil rights have been violated – nor does she believe his Artistic ability to express himself has been tampered with – if it had, he would not have been able to give this interview, or to talk to The Wall St. Journal, or to The New York Times.

If anything, the internet is ‘abuzz’ with Jonas Tarm, which makes TFP wonder if that was the actual point of including the Nazi and U.S.S.R. anthems in his piece?

Because had anyone heard of him prior to this controversy?

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Look, this is an organization that is run by TFP‘s Sister, and it would be silly not to acknowledge that  – but the issue for TFP is the stealing..and the lying. And the lying that you stole. Stealing someone else’s composition, even for 45 seconds, is not acceptable.

All he had to do was give program notes and provide context – that was it.

But he would not do that, he would prefer that 12+ year old children stand on stage, on one of New York City’s premiere stages, and smile and bow after unknowingly playing the Nazi Anthem – and that is, as an Educator, and as a Parent, to TFP, completely unacceptable.

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The people in this scholarship orchestra are kids under the age of 23, who are trying to do exciting things, premiering works that no one has heard before -they are trying to live their lives with classical music as a large part of it and Mr. Tarm set them up for ridicule and censorship by his actions.

Would they have played it if they had had more information about his intentions and the source material? Very likely – but don’t take TFP’s word for it:

NYYS Statement on Removal of Commissioned Orchestral Work

The New York Youth Symphony’s decision to remove a commissioned work from Sunday’s performance was not a decision taken lightly. It was a highly unusual step for us—one which was taken thoughtfully, but firmly, as soon as we learned the piece incorporated significant portions of music written by others that we determined were problematic for a student orchestra such as ours to be asked to perform without prior knowledge or discussion.

The first time the composer revealed the source of his music was on March 2, in response to our inquiry. We were told that of the three sources that he used, one is the Horst-Wessel-Lied, the anthem of the Nazi Party from 1930-1945, which is illegal in Germany and Austria. When asked to explain the context and meaning of the piece, which would justify his use of this source, he refused.

This was his obligation to our orchestra as a commissioned artist and particularly important given the fact he was working with students, ages 12-22. Had the composer revealed the sources of his piece and the context under which they were used upon submission of the final commission in September 2014, the piece and the notes could have served as an important teaching moment for our students.  However, without this information, and given the lack of transparency and lack of parental consent to engage with this music, we could not continue to feature his work on the program.

Again, if the composer had been forthright with us from the start, this situation would not have transpired. He was chosen last spring for the commission from among a strong group of candidates by an impartial panel of seven composers and music educators. The new piece he created in response to receiving the commission received its first hearing when it was given to the orchestra to rehearse in December.

We believe deeply in a free creative process. But along with freedom comes responsibility, even more so when young people are involved.   We continue to be committed to champion new young composers through our ground-breaking First Music composition program, which has commissioned over 137 composers since 1984. We are proud that First Music commission winners have been recognized by the Rome Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and Guggenheim Fellowship.

Our mission at the NYYS is to educate and inspire young musicians, composers, and conductors. We also encourage creativity within a culture of mutual respect and honesty. This situation, while unfortunate in so many ways, has taught us to remain true to our values as we serve the best interests of all our students.

All of us at the NYYS are deeply disappointed that this decision was necessary knowing how much time and effort the students put into preparing the piece for performance. We thank them for their wonderful contributions to making the NYYS such a special place, and we appreciate the ongoing interest in the success of our performers and the NYYS from all of our alumni, supporters, and the wider music community.

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Finally, TFP wants to address some issues she had seen raised on Social Media that she has opinions about:

1. It does not matter that members and staff of NYYS did not know of this work prior to this incident, because Mr. Tarm knew all along. His advisor at New England Conservatory had cautioned him against using it – he knew what he was doing, and he made sure NYYS did not. Faulting someone for not knowing a piece of music created before they were born, that is never played in repertoire in the United States is absurd.

2. The NYYS did not ‘cave’ or ‘fold’ to pressure – there was no pressure. There were no outside groups or community activists lobbying for this piece to be removed. They made a decision as Educators, they made a decision as people who had commissioned work to not play the work.

3. This was not an instant decision, nor was it made by one person.

4. No famous composer would be ‘rolling in his grave’ over this incident, because if a famous composer’s music was stolen and they were not credited, they would be pissed off – not angry on the behalf of the one who swiped the music.

5. Mr. Tarm has not suffered by this, he is now famous.

Congratulations, Mr. Tarm, you have entered the CHEERS Bar of young classical composers.

Honestly, do any of you think that this guy…

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did not know exactly what he was doing?

POKEMON?

On the 70th Anniversary of the release of the prisoners from Auchwitz someone lies to get the Nazi Anthem played at Carnegie Hall?

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Thought you could pull one over on the kids and you got outed by a Senior Citizen?

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Hilarious….

TFP, out.

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:

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But she was not.

Let’s be clear – this was never about

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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?

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It was simply a poor choice.

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Which has now been amended.

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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….

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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…

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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.

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That would be the classy thing to do.

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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?

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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…

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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….

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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.

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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…

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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

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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

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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

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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’

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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:

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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 …

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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’.

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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?

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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

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We can say nothing.

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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.

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In other words….back to the…

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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?

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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
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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…

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

 

TFP out….

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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:

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An “All Asian American Version of Show Boat”?

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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?

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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?

 

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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?

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

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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.

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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 –

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CHANGE. THE. SHOW.

Because…

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

 

 

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