The Fairy Princess has seen a whole lot of tragic stupidity as this last year and a half have rolled by.

She has seen her business come to a standstill.

She has seen friends leave the business completely and move out of New York. Truly talented people called ‘enough’. They have now been ‘lost’ to the business because of actual living space, a regular paycheck, and a change at what life looks like when you do not have to make it to the theater by half hour.

(Half Hour is 7:30pm) (or 1:30pm) (Half hour before the show)

She has seen people in the business die. Horribly, horrible deaths from COVID-19.

HEALTHY PEOPLE DEAD – because someone came to the theater, and passed disease through their breath. They left behind families, who are now broken, all because no one knew it was around at the time.

We KNOW the Delta Variant is here – get the shot. No one cares about your ‘reasons’ for not. Death is on the line.

She has seen leadership, and lack of leadership,and then leadership again – …you know who you are.

Here is what – if you do not have a rule that all Theater Professionals and those who enter the building and those who work in the building MUST be vaccinated and show proof – we are going to experience COVID-19 Groundhog Day, THE MUSICAL!!!

More people will die.

More people will become ill and suffer lifelong weaknesses that will prevent them from living their life as a normal human.

People will get infected and ‘take it home’ to their kids under 12 that are still unable to BE vaccinated, and then THOSE children – who have not yet fallen in love with theater – could develop life long illnesses affecting vital organs.

IF YOU LOVE THEATER, IF YOU WORK IN THEATER AND YOU DO NOT GET VACCINATED – AND THEN WILLFULLY THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA TRY AND CONVINCE OTHERS THAT YOU PERSONALLY KNOW MORE THAN SCIENTISTS AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS…

Your personal beliefs do not matter.

Yes, that is an affront to most Americans – because we are told, over and over again, that we do matter – however…

YOUR BELIEFS are NOT worth OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES.

This DELTA Variant is not plucked from the timeline – it is what happens when the environment in which the original virus is exposed, combines with local factors and becomes EXTRA deadly.

Yeah, this one is EXTRA deadly.

It’s more powerful.

It’s more easily spread.

There is no guarantee that you will not get the COVID-19 DELTA Variant, even if you are fully vaccinated but GUESS WHAT? We already know that from the flu shots.

YES!

WE ALREADY EXPERIENCE VACCINE INSUFFICIENCY from the FLU Shot – but if you have the FLU shot and you get the FLU, you will not die.

IF you have the COVID 19 Vaccination – and you get the Delta – YOU WILL NOT DIE.

You will just get sick.

Guess what? An outdoor performance in Central Park had to be cancelled because someone tested positive for COVID-19!

Outdoors is supposed to be relatively safe – if everyone is vaccinated.

THEY STILL CANCELLED.

Clearly, people who have been vaccinated can get the virus.

Therefore ALL performances must have masked audience members with proof of vaccination.

All “Houses” must require vaccination to work within those walls.

Will some still get sick – YES DAMMIT!

But not 600K in one year.

TFP is calling on the Theatrical Leadership to make hard, fast rules about admission into the audience, the crew, the company, and anyone who enters the buildings – that vaccination proof is required. The Unions must require vaccinations in order to work. All the Unions.

MAKE THE MEMBERS GET THE SHOTS.

This is a note too for the Labor Unions in general – Police, Firepeople, Medical Professionals – if your members do not get vaccinated, they must be put on furlough with no pay, no ability to apply for benefits – until they show proof of immunization.

We cannot screw around any more.

People who on the signed note from a Dr who are unable to be vaccinated, or who did get the shots and are still not able to consider themselves immune from this killer virus – they need the protection, the herd immunity.

We are too smart to go through this bullshit again, aren’t we?

If you ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH to NOT go through the same damn thing – well, sorry Karen, sorry Karl – you don’t get to come to see the show.

You don’t get to work.

That’s it.

You have to think of the larger picture, and not be an asshole.

TFP does not care what kind of politics you have – this is not about politics – this is about SELFISHNESS.

This is about ARROGANCE.

Theater is not a ‘right’ – you have to earn it. You earn it through experience and talent and determination – or you earn the $$$ to buy a ticket.

What you will NOT do is say that your $$$ is worth more than anyone’s life.

What you will NOT do is decide that your fear of a day or two of side effects is worth more than your fellow cast member’s LIFE.

It is not. Ya BIG BABY!

If TFP could wave her wand and impart herd immunity to the world – she would. If it spared even an ounce of suffering – not just for her and hers, but for you and yours – and all she had to do was get jabbed in the arm – she would do it – oh wait a MINUTE….

SHE HAS DONE IT.

SHE HAS BEEN FULLY VAXXED SINCE MAY – AND SHE STILL WEARS A DAMN MASK TO PROTECT OTHERS!

THIS ONE IS NOT ON TFP – it’s on YOU, MF-er!

If you don’t get the vaccination – you don’t have a right to walk around in common areas. That is it.

Polio and Measles are two things that vaccines helped eradicate from our society – and if these moronic anti vaxxers had social media then? We’d still be seeing deaths and crippling repercussions from those two diseases.

If you don’t get vaxxed – stay the hell away from TFP – she fines you a wack of the wand from the 10K Covid Deaths of the past week or so – all non vaccinated people.

Maybe that will knock some sense in your heads!

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess is a member of Actor’s Equity, which is the Union that covers stage managers and performers.

She has written about some things once or twice….

When she first saw the released statement, she will admit she had a hard time wrapping her head around some points, specifically this one point:

“…we are opening Union membership to any Actor or Stage Manager who can demonstrate they have worked professionally (i.e. received compensation) as an Actor or Stage Manger in the United States.”

Which, she has to admit left her feeling like,


Which was of course, a reaction to the implied understanding that there are different ways of being ‘paid professionally’ and what ‘standard’ that did or did not meet, and what effect would that have on what constitutes professional theater?

She took time to read through the information available, and honestly – it is FINE.

“This eligibility will extend for two years, with application and down payment of initiation fee and any applicable re-instatement fees required by May 1, 2023

Stop freaking out – this is FINE.

The applicant has to be evaluated by a committee, they have to submit pay stubs and a resume and while this is more open than it has been in the past, it is not carte blanche for anyone who has ever trod the boards in a local production to waltz in and demand a Union Card.

Experience is still being prized, the only thing that is being examined is the pay grade.

She thought about all the things she has learned as an AEA member over the years – about safety, and health regulations, and self care – and guess what? None of that is going to be affected by opening up. Anyone who calls themselves an Actor or an SM who is going out of town, or pulling insane hours, or doing Summer Stock, not being compensated for overtime – they should be protected from predatory producers.

The Union was formed to PROTECT PEOPLE FROM PREDATORY PRODUCERS – and THAT is what this is about.

It has been the PRODUCERS who decided which actors were able to garner “POINTS’ towards AEA Membership, and it has been PRODUCERS who have negotiated just how many AEA Contracts they will ‘allow” – so what this does is take the power out of the hands of those same PRODUCERS and puts the power of collective bargaining back in the hands of AEA.

Why should we support PRODUCERS determining who they will ‘allow’ into AEA?

If you have the talent to be hired over a season – a summer season, a winter season by one theater, or for a large role by an Off Broadway or Regional Theater – you should be able to be an AEA Member.

After all – if the MAJORITY of Actors are AEA Members, then it is going to be a LOT HARDER to find Actors to fill the slots for a Non Union tour or large regional space. This is not about Broadway at all – this is about losing tours and regional theater to Non Union opportunities. This is to save the protections that AEA Members are entitled to – to prevent people from being abused by a tradition that is, let’s face it, rife with opportunities for “poor sportsmanship”.

Opportunities that will STILL BE THERE for those who do not want to ‘go Union’ just yet – which could be financial or could be experience related – but it will be in the hands of the ACTOR or STAGE MANAGER to determine for themselves what the timeline is.

The only thing that will be of concern is going to Open AEA Calls, with newly minted members who possibly could decide that they deserve their shot (Which they do) and so…you add people to that equation, yes, it may get crowded – but overall- if you have been a member already, this is NOT going to affect you.

It is on the PRODUCERS to add additional casting days. Days they already agreed to.

You are already a member.

You already pay dues.

You are already entitled to support from your Union when you work under a Union contract.

You know that TFP loves writing about the ‘systemic racism’ nature of theater, yes?

Well…NO, she does NOT, but as she is an AAPI Actor, she has seen how lack of opportunity through the years has taken a toll on the careers of very talented people who simply cannot get a job.

TFP herself is an AAPI Ethel Merman – ask yourself how often that combination is called for?

AVENUE Q and the revamped FLOWER DRUM SONG are the only shows that call for an AAPI Ethel Merman type.

TFP has done both those shows

Neither of them are currently running on Broadway.

She is ‘too Asian” for white shows, “too White’ for specific AAPI shows that do not require singing – she is in a pickle that has nothing to do with training or talent, but has everything to do with opportunity she can meet with talent and experience – and that, is systemic.

When TFP joined the Union, it was because she happen to be cast in a Pre-Bway Workshop.

The AEA Rep came to explain membership, as it turned out – only three of us, all AAPI, were Non Union. She sat through a rehearsal, and when the time came, she told us she was just going to let us apply for membership, and as long as we paid the fee within a certain time, we were to consider ourselves AEA Members. She said she was saving herself paperwork for when we were going to join AEA, which she estimated would be in a matter of months.

She just cut out the interim period because she felt our employment in this workshop was indicative of future members.

(Out of the three, two of us went on to have rather long careers, one was male – so he worked quite a bit on Broadway, and the other was TFP, which…yes, there was work, but it was work and long spaces of unemployment. Very typical of being a stage actor. She too eventually made it to Broadway.)

This was NOT a typical way to join, and TFP remembers being told to ‘keep it quiet’ about how they got in, but that was how. Someone showed generosity of spirit.

Which meant that by late September of the year post graduation, TFP was an AEA Member.

Now, this came with it some disadvantages and some advantages.

  1. Though it took several of her friends years and years to become AEA Members, they did a lot of Non Union Work – Work TFP was not able to do. So their resumes were honestly quite full when they came to AEA, and hers was not. Which is absolutely something to consider when deciding to join. Do you have the resume to get those AEA contracts? If you are just beginning, probably not – get some experience. Being Non Union only is a finite time in your life, hopefully – so learn as much as you can, make as many mistakes as you can, learn how to conduct yourself within theater as much as you can.

2. She could sign up for Open AEA Auditions and audition for higher paying contracts and honestly, higher caliber shows than they were able to – they would sit outside in the non Union Lobby – waiting all day to sing for whatever the ‘big’ show was, and she could ‘go in.’

Over time, Casting Directors got to know her quite a bit before she was ever cast – and that was, honestly, kind of okay. When she was ‘ready’, she was cast.

Thus TFP can say that being a member of AEA gave her the mental fortitude to say to herself when days were bad – that ‘at least’ she was a member of a Union. She took pride in paying her dues, because even if she had not worked in a bit, it meant she was still a part of ‘the business’.

Which made the ‘day jobs’ easier to take. At least she was in NYC, at least she was an AEA Member, at LEAST she could go use the bathroom in the AEA Lounge! She had a space in the middle of Manhattan to sit, and wait, and make sure her makeup was ok before venturing forth – something like that, in the middle of Manhattan, is a big deal.

She did not take some of those back breaking, carry the sets and tour on a school bus or mini van and do it six times a day “type’ of shows – because as a member of AEA which has rules, and has standards, she could not. She was not being housed in a closet that doubled as a bedroom in a shack next to the theater, she had to be housed according to AEA standards. She was able to get breaks while working on a new show.

Protections which likely saved her from some experiences that had her friends quitting the business left and right.

It did not ‘save’ her from having to get temp jobs or work in a catering house, or be in production jobs – it did not ‘save’ her from looking in Backstage and seeing she was clearly unwanted within theater – all of that was glaringly apparent.

Years could go by without a ‘call’ for anyone vaguely resembling TFP. Forget about Producers wanting to ‘take a chance’ on casting AAPIs when it was not specifically written in the script – that work was few and far between. Unless it happened to require an additional special skill that only that one AAPI performer had in their wheelhouse.

Not to mention which, the companies that did tend to be AAPI focused did not hire TFP because they considered that hiring her was a ‘watering-down’ of their message – which, does have to be stated. She was told she was not ‘submissive enough’ for jobs, she was “too American”, she was asked “who do you think you are” – all the hideous things that being a member of AEA cannot protect you from – that all happened.

But NOT in rehearsal.

Never under a AEA Contract.

TFP thought she was ‘a belter’.

The world thought she was ‘an Asian”.

That kind of stuff, AEA cannot protect you from.

THAT is systemic.

TFP is not at all worried about these potential new members. If they have been working, they can pay their dues and fees, and if it has been – as has been said by AEA – discriminatory Casting practices that has kept people from obtaining Union membership up until now, then that should be rectified by allowing them to have protections and opportunity to rise.

If the AAPAC Visibility Report proves nothing else, it has shown that Caucasian performers are OVERLY represented on our stages and are not representative of the population at large. Which means that, prior to – Producers were awarding contracts and points to White performers over PGM performers simply because of the glut of roles for those types of performers, and because well, they wanted to.

It took much longer as a Person of the Global Majority to get your AEA Card – TFP’s experience is an exception.

We were all in a Pixar movie, over and over and over.

Yeah, hideous.

New rules means we get the opportunity to ‘welcome back’ people who have talent who could not get cast and use their AEA membership, for whatever reason – perhaps they moved to a ‘right to work’ state. Perhaps there is not a large regional theater that has enough AEA contracts to support them? They already ‘earned it’, they just could not sustain it through no fault of their own.

The point is – we should not lose AEA Members to geography. Or Disability or LGBTQIA status. Or any of it. If they have chosen ‘this life’, and all it entails- let them have the shot. Their shot has nothing to do with you and your shot.

We should not be ‘afraid’ of people coming and auditioning from other countries – that is ludicrous. Who is to say that someone from Australia or Nigeria cannot belt their face off? Not TFP, and not AEA either, btw.

It is not upon the members or the officials to judge the talent of a potential Union member based on point of origin. If the US Government let them in, and allows them to work, they auditioned and are offered a contract – who is AEA to stand in the way?

If this new policy does not work, they have until May 2023 to revise it – so let’s just wait and see.

TFP thinks it is going to be ok – not that there will not be bumps, however this is not ‘a thing’ unless current AEA Members make it “a thing”.

Don’t make it ‘a thing’ or TFP will have to smack you in the head with her wand.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess had hoped that – magically – that pandemic would have really changed people. That all the diversity statements that occurred when people were murdered or attacked would affect genuine change – but that is not the case in theater, and frankly, though TFP was ‘hopeful’, she knew that POC who are not in charge of much, were going to return to our ‘designated‘ spots once theater opened back up again – and she has been proven absolutely whi….er…right.

TFP is correct. She doesn’t want to be, but that’s the way it is kids, that’s the way it is.

Strides have, of course, been made – a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a greater force. There are some who were ‘in motion’ prior to the pandemic and used the pandemic for the personal reset that it has turned out to be for many. If you were one of the people who were ‘in motion’ and you formed a coalition and made strides – awesome for you!

TFP happened to be extremely busy (yes, unusual) during the pandemic, and she is grateful because if writing this blog has taught her nothing else, it is that, bad stuff happens, but you carry on. She wants to applaud some of the good stuff, and then we shall get to what she is going to write about that will, once again, stall her career, because that is what truth telling seems to do…anyway, here is some good stuff:

TFP was featured on the podcast – Mama’s Talkin Loud with Hosts, Cara Cooper & Jessica Rush – here is the link: https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/mamas-talkin-loud/

Ms. Cooper and Ms. Rush have talked with several AAPI Parents – TONY Winner, Ruthie Ann Miles, Raymond J. Lee, Pearl Sun – so make sure you check them out where you get your podcasts.

TFP hosted a panel with the Cast and Creatives of SOFT POWER for BroadwayCon, and you can check that out here on YouTube or on their Facebook Page:

TFP also spoke with Actor, Jeffrey Omura who is running for NYC’s City Council – and if elected to serve, he will be the only Japanese American to be elected to office in New York State, and the only Openly LGBTQIA Candidate to serve in his District.

The election is June 22, New Yorkers – so if you can vote – please do, and let’s help things change for the better!

Now, Broadway is set to reopen September 14, 2021 at full capacity.

Take that in for a minute- FULL CAPACITY.

Which means, your butt will not be socially distanced from anyone else’s butt. Likely proof of vacination will have to be shown, and masks possibly worn – but TFP does not have the mental wherewithal to take in that, as of the 14th – full capacity will be ‘a thing’.

TFP just gonna self medicate…

The tickets selling the best are for – hold please while she gathers herself – for The Music Man revival that producer, Scott Rudin excommunicated himself from so that he could still make money and badger people over the phone.

He just cannot be in the office to throw it at them.

Ultimately, what it does prove is that Broadway success is a self fulfilling prophecy – he stated he wanted Broadway back to it’s “Golden Age”, aka no People of Color. He proceeded to cast the show without People of Color (according to the last announced cast), and people are buying them up like hotcakes because well, a lot of folks like Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, and they would like to go back to a ‘less complicated time’ where no one has to worry about other people and their feelings and being held accountable.

They do not want to acknowledge any privilege. They do not want to hear the word ‘systemic’, they just want to go forth, comforted in the fact that they will not be able to confront their own prejudices, and instead have an ‘enjoyable night out’ watching performers that should just ‘sing and dance and keep their mouths shut’.

Broadway crowds have so far, proven Mr. Rudin right.

All of this ‘accountability’ is not holding anyone accountable. Sexual predators are still working. Problematic Producers are still producing. Costume Designers who have several accusations against them over time…still sewing.

Heck, Garth Drabinsky is back! He was not held accountable by Broadway, but by the Federal Government, but again, back he comes.

Maybe it will be ok, TFP loves RAGTIME.

Tell TFP now about ‘cancel culture”.

In fact, while there is NO POSSIBLE REASON to invest in an All White Creative Team on Broadway – that is precisely what Producers are funding – with the odd exception being, well, THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN written by Playwright Keenan Scott II.

That play will open with an entirely Black Cast and a minority led Creative Team, and is written by a Black Playwright. It will be in one of the Schubert theaters – so at least the Schuberts seem to be acknowledging some progressimovement.

But that’s pretty much it.

Unless SOFT POWER transfers to Broadway, which would be amazing as very few of the shows that are returning have an AAPI in a lead role – with the exception of HADESTOWN, HAMILTON, DEAR EVAN HANSON (on occasion), (possibly) ALADDIN and SIX – so…it would be nice to see.

BTW, when they do – they usually have ‘just the one’.

Ahem.

However, as referenced by the above video – when you have POC Creators, you have POC visible. When you do not have any POC behind the table, the show tries to wedge them in when the can, but not really. Or they are there in a super supportive role that facilitates the lead character who does not share their background.

Nothing has changed. Off Broadway & Regional Theater is possibly more ‘open’ to change than Broadway, but it is apparent, Broadway is not changing any time soon – after all, who holds rich Producers accountable?

No one.

Thus far two revivals announced for the next season and their Creative Teams are decidedly without POC. The Music Man, directed by Jerry Zaks, has a female lighting designer – Natasha Katz, a white British Choreographer, and an Italian American, Santo Loquasto, as lead designer- the Creative Team are almost exclusively past TONY Winners- and they are not People of the Global Majority.

Leaving TFP like, “What happened to all those inclusion statements?”

Then there is DANCIN” the Bob Fosse musical that is a tribute to the works of…well, Bob Fosse, is also coming around again, directed by Wayne Cilento who was in the Original Company.

 “We plan on delivering a Dancin’ that is every bit as eclectic and uplifting as the original, full of all its inherent edginess, but is also relevant to our current era,” he says. “Every creative decision will be made through that lens to meet this moment.”

Except on the announced Creative Team.

They are not going to be wearing lenses that are naturally tinted – they are going to be ahem, clear glass. Those are the lenses.

If ONLY there were some POC who intimately knew the work of Bob Fosse, who had been, perhaps, taught it by Gwen Verdon and there was proof of that expertise on the internet…

Anyway – while his statement promises, on the stage visible to the audience, at least – a sense of People of Color and their contributions to dance, which will be great to see – what is missing on Broadway – consistently – is the presence of People of Color BEHIND THE TABLE.

DANCIN’ is not the only show that is guilty of this – it is an ongoing issue. Lack of Diversity behind the table happens in almost every show on Broadway. The problem is no one seems to be doing anything about it- even given that we have had an entire year off to figure it out.

Yes, yes, every single corporation has put out perfectly vetted statements of intent in terms of diversity – but unlike the Networks, there has been no announcements that TFP is aware of, of – for example – funded internships for People of the Global Majority in the theatrical world; or if there are, and they have ‘just’ been announced and are looking for viable candidates.

Internships are great, actual JOBS are better- and there cannot be only one Person of Color in your Office- it is not HIGHLANDER.

Changing and expanding hiring practices is all well and good, it is twenty years too late, and they will take years to become effective. START ANYWAY.

If you meant those diversity statements of support – TFP is going to need receipts.

Show us your staff.

Be as brave as those at Tara Rubin Casting when they sent out to the world, a photographic representation of their staff, right after showing a very supportive image of Mr. George Floyd.

This photo tells us that they have learned very little from the debacle at La Jolla with The Nightingale, which they also cast, but they are ‘excited to get back to work.’

We cannot tell, but they are smiling behind those masks.

Which is why they had to issue the following when people responded to their Instagram post and freaked out:

While this blog post is not specifically about TRC, what is interesting to TFP is that when the workshop for Farewell My Concubine was being cast – which is a new musical – Tara Rubin Casting was able to find an AAPI Casting Director, but TFP does not see her in that photo.

Guess it is a case by case hire….

At least we know now.

What the photo really means is, the more things change – or swear they will change – the less change actually happens. There are statements and memes and gifs, but in the end, no white person is going to step aside for a Person of Color.

They aren’t. Particularly in a field as competitive as theater and entertainment at large. The Folks in charge are fine with the status quo – they call us when they ‘need’ us, and unless someone sets the dogs on them, they do not budge. Which is not TFP calling all and sundry the ‘r’ word- it is saying people who benefit from ‘the system’ are not going to actively try and change the system unless they have unbelievable moral fiber.

Honestly if they are good at their job, and provide opportunities to help show business become more equitable, that is fine. However make yourself a personal pledge to change the status quo. Get some more ‘fiber’ in your life- it is good for you!

Mentor people. Actively look to diversify your office!

TFP is not attacking you for the color of your skin – she does not do that with anyone.

Pointing out what needs to change, is not an attack.

Change needs to be across the board – Producers, Casting Directors, Directors, Choreographers – you ALL have to do ‘the work’.

TFP knows doing ‘the work’ kinda stinks. She knows it is annoying to confront ones own biases – but it has to be done – we are all learning, but let’s be honest – you could see this coming from miles away, and you waited to be called out on it.

SOME people are doing it – MAESTRA, MUSE – but it could and should be so much more.

TFP is sick to death of having to reiterate that People of the Global Majority belong in Entertainment and beyond, and yet – here she is saying it once again.

Look at that photo – while TFP does not know who are interns or Associate CDs she does know there is an absence of Color for all of us to see. Mirror, mirror.

Gleefully posted. They want to get back to work – we all want to find the joy that comes from working and yet, to TFP, the door to that office is resoundingly shut, and she is likely not the only one feeling that way. They hire us when they ‘have’ to- when the story requires us to be there- on occasion it does not- so we are hired to prove a point – but if we are never behind the table…contributing to overall change? Nothing will change.

Casting Offices should look like New York – TFP knows at least one that absolutely does, and are actively bringing POC along to succeed, and she believes that should be instituted in every Casting Office around the country.

Immediately – from local networks, to major streamers, to theater – a diversity statement means nothing if you do not show us you are serious.

People of the Global Majority need to start putting our money where our power should be. We also need to do it TOGETHER.

We need all our glorious alphabet to pull this off – and we must be careful about building alliances and supporting one another. Row together. Diversity equals dollars.

If nothing else, lean into the fact that AAPAC will soon be dropping it’s study for the previous season – and what it tells us, is that POC are not repped behind the table. Almost at all.

If you do not believe TFP, you can believe TONY Winner, Clint Ramos – who is fired up, and honestly it is a joy to see.

Just sit with that information a moment – 153 Design Contracts available on Broadway.

13 People of Color hired. Out of 153 possibilities. You cannot explain that away – you cannot reason that it is equitable or fair or in any way inclusive.

We are eating ***t sandwiches every day and we are always telling ourselves to be ‘grateful to be there’.

TFP does not think you need to be grateful for a ***T sandwich.

Stop attacking one another -start attacking the issues at hand, which are not having any agency in the stories told of us – stories that we are hired to tell, but cannot contribute to.

We have stories. We have agents. There have been lists after lists of available talent, glorious in all it’s technicolor and stereophonic sound, and yet we are relegated to fighting for scraps, and being told to be grateful to be there at all.

It’s enough. TFP is tired. This has to change – and if you are reading it and thinking ‘Well, I don’t do that‘ –

YOU DO! You DO.

If you have no one to call on in your immediate professional circle who you can include behind the table, who has a different skin tone from yourself…either in stage management, design, or the producers office, or in casting – YOU DO, DO THAT.

If you are seriously bewildered by the need to ‘do that’ – then YES, you are contributing to the issue.

Make it a mission. Provide opportunity. Don’t hire your nephew. Don’t hire your neighbor’s kid – hire someone who is dying to be there. Hire someone who is motivated for change – and then LISTEN TO THEM.

TFP also wants to say…there are allies and there are places that can be lifted up and held as examples.

She was brought in during the pandemic via Zoom by more than one office to talk about representation and how things can be better. It is not even hard, that is the kicker. It is literally sticking your head out of the door, looking at the street and what it looks like, and then trying to make that world come to life in your production.

As a matter of fact, one of the companies that has instituted a new policy that she is in love with, which she has nothing to do with in the slightest – is ADVENTURE THEATER in the DMV area – and what she was told is that they have a company policy – no Person of Color shall be the ONLY Person of Color in a Creative Space.

Yes, their AD is a Person of the Global Majority – but he does not count as one of the ‘two’.

Imagine the thrill and the support you would feel by not being ‘the only’. When you contribute to the discussion in a Creative way, you are backed up and do not feel undermined.

That, in itself, would alleviate so many things we, as minorities, feel when we go into spaces that are deemed ‘safe spaces’ but are, in fact, white spaces, where we are gaslite and made to feel our presence is conditional, and can be taken away at any time.

If nothing else will convince you – please read this article about what Actress, Jean Yoon, from Kim’s Convenience had to say about her experience about working on the show after Creator, Ins Choi, de facto left.

TFP has rarely felt as angry as she did when reading Ms. Yoon’s words about cultural misunderstanding and the undermining of the Cast, which was left to fester given that they had no Korean Canadians nor Women in the Writer’s Room, and which eventually led to the cancellation of the show.

You all proclaimed so loudly that the world should change and thanked people for pointing it out – so the ball is in your court.

We are tired of volleying for serve.

It is damn exhausting.

Just do what you SAID you intended to do.

Or TFP is going cabbage shopping.

Got it?

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been informed that it is May – Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – and so, while she would like to focus on some fun stories –

she is fully aware that the White Supremacists and those who enable their thinking are really, but REALLY ‘stepping it up’ with their attacks on our people. More shootings, more killings, more brutal attacks to elderly people when they are walking about – it is not enough to be horrified when reading about it – if you have kids, talk about it – talk about how wrong it is. If you are a community leader, speak on it. If you are a pastor, preach about it – all attacks on AAPIs do is pit ‘us’ vs ‘others’ – and the truth is – if we are divided, we fall.

If we unite – we can change the world.

Here is one way to ‘get into’ the month – take a look at this panel TFP put together just for YOU, yes she did.

It is frank, it is bold, and it is honestly ( if you can ignore TFP‘s very old headshot, which frankly, she does not use and has not used in several years) – you can get a lot of joy from the panel. It feels cathartic.

Talking to these people made TFP think that things are changing – not just because of the vaccines, but because the thought process behind what makes theater is changing.

TFP has two more interviews coming for BwayCon in May – one with Alec Mapa, and one with Jeffrey Omura who is running for NY City Council.

Second, there is a new book TFP wants you to be aware of –

RISE :A Pop History of Asian America from the 90’s to Now – by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, and Philip Wang

You can order this book from your various websites, or may TFP suggest your local Indie Bookstore?

The book promises to be fun and informative, and for areas where they were not as versed, the writers reached out to friends – who maybe also have blogs that have expertise on these areas – so it is not ‘just’ a book by three men. It is a love letter to AAPIs from AAPIs of all kinds.

Buy it. You’ll like it. Pinky swear.

South Asian Americans should rejoice – everyone should, but in particular, biracial South Asians – because BHANGIN’ IT – the winner of the Richard Rogers Award, and the new musical from the team of Rehana Lew Mirza, Mike Lew, with Music and Lyrics by Sam Willmott is premiering at La Jolla Playhouse in March of 2022.

Yes, La Jolla Playhouse – (where they did The Nightingale, which started this whole thing off) – anyway, look how far they have come!

This musical revolves around a biracial college student who wants to join her college’s Bhangra team – for those unfamilar, it is a dance style unique that has evolved from traditional Punjabi folk dances – however she is told she is ‘not Indian enough’ to be on the team. She and her roommate decide to form their own team – but will it be good enough in time to win Nationals?

TFP saw a past reading, she really, really enjoyed herself – and frankly, the inclusion of the issues faced by multi-racial people was a surprise to her, she did not know about it going in – and she felt – though it is not ‘her’ particular culture – very ‘seen’.

Congratulations to the Creative Team – which includes now, her very good friend Vishal Vaidya as Associate Choreographer – and you can see/hear both Playwright Rehana Lew Mirza and Vishal speak on past BwayCon Panels hosted by TFP if you go to the Official Erin Quill FB Page.

TFP wants to thank you all for making MORTAL KOMBAT the film the number one in streams etc etc etc. Well done folks, appreciate it. If you have not seen MORTAL KOMBAT and you have HBO or a theater you think is ‘safe’ – give it a looks see – if you are squeamish about video game-esque violence – take a TUMS.

For those needing more Family friendly entertainment – you can breathe a sigh of relief – YOUNG ROCK – the story of a biracial AAPI child in the world of Professional Wrestling, based on the life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has been renewed. Many congratulations to the Cast and Crew and Creatives of that show.

Very Exciting for All.

Nice one, Jeff Bader and NBC.

Let’s hope more of the Networks and Cable Channels follow your example.

It is official – many of you likely know, but it is worth repeating – WARRIOR got a Season 3 Order, and TFP finds that glorious!

She’s very excited, and moved – and one of the best things she has seen in the last week, is a friend who posted about how much he and his wife were enjoying the show – and asked the question how was everyone on the show so talented and good lookin’ – and they WERE NOT EVEN AAPI!

To which TFP had all the emotions- cuz guess what – they gave it a whirl because of the blog, she felt…

Now, they are hooked – and again, if you have HBO Max and you have not watched it, you really, really should check it out.

It is bloody – but so is history – take a TUMS.

One of the things that makes TFP so very, very – very, very happy is seeing her Actor pals succeed, but it is extra special of course, seeing when their children succeed – knowing how very hard this business is, and how much inner strength is needed to continue in it.

So please allow TFP to introduce you all to Ms. Ayana Manji of the HOUSE of MANJI!!!! singing on Miram Royal Detective – where she is voicing the recurring character of Sadia Khan, as is her brother, Aariq, who plays Amir Khan on the show.

Congratulations to all!

Finally, there is a Marvel super hero fast approaching, and the name of course is…SHANG CHI – here is the trailer.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton based on a screenplay by David Callaham and Andrew Lanaham – yes, oh AAPI Bigots, Cretton and Callaham, they are biracial – cool the purity jets.

This film looks to follow in the MARVEL Tradition just fine, comes out this coming SEPTEMBER, but you of course, can use May to purchase the MERCH.

So there you go – some things to be excited about – not all doom and gloom – HOWEVER, stay vigilant, stay prepared, do your stretching daily – you may be called upon to help or be a witness – and if that day comes, sadly – you pull on YOUR inner Dragon, and you sail forth with pride – you hear TFP?

PRIDE.

You got this!

HAPPY MAY!

Today, The Fairy Princess was trying to take a break from the hate crimes against AAPI’s. She started wondering why people had so many notions about AAPI men – and of course, she circled back to the Entertainment industry. She wanted to take a break from writing about hate crimes and write about AAPI males, who are doing their best to shatter any pre-existing notions of what they can be.

Then she read the following tweet from Actor and Martial Artist, Lewis Tan and she had some thoughts. First, go ahead and read:

and then he wrote:

Mr. Tan is absolutely correct, his film, MORTAL KOMBAT, which is coming out soon – deserves our support.

OURS – We of the AAPI diaspora.

YES, we have been busy advocating for our Elders to be able to walk the streets safely, but one thing does not make the other go away – we can do BOTH.

We need to do BOTH.

BOTH are needed.

Here is the trailer, if you dare watch it: (You have to do so on YouTube, it’s restricted by age)

It premieres on April 23rd in theaters AND on HBO Max and for the record – Actors should not have to go on Twitter and ask communities that they are a part of to support their film.

We should do it automatically.

EVERY TIME THEY APPEAR IT IS A WIN!

We ARE so vastly under-represented that every single time someone appears in a major budget film, we must SHOW UP and SHOW OUT.

Especially in the AAPI Community, when every ‘advocate’ has been railing against the Entertainment industry for perpetuating meek and mild depictions of our males!

Which has literally put a target on our Elders.

Here is a guy who is an action star, on his way up – and he is asking on social media for support – when ‘we’ have freely given it, to the point of hiring out theaters, giving away tickets and writing endless articles for other projects, but yet, not for this one?

He is absolutely right, with the film premiering on April 23rd, and today being April 9th – where is the support?

TFP has some theories on why this is…but if we are going to change the conversation about AAPI men in this country and from others within Asia – we need to include Lewis Tan in the discussion. The guy has been kicking literal ass in projects for a few years now, he is a solid actor in the action genre – and he has TFP’s full support.

Also – he is not the ONLY Asian actor in this film – so please take any latent internal racism bs about mixed race people not ‘really’ being Asian and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

TFP does not have the time for that, Mr. Johnson?

She is going to watch on the premier night – theaters in her area still not being open – but she is very excited. TFP wants you and you and you and YOU and YOU – to start Tweeting and Instagramming about how excited YOU are to watch the ten Asian descended diaspora kick some ass!

Plus Mr. Tan – 11!

Joe Taslim, Matilda Kimber, Tadanobu Asano, Hirouyuki Sanada, Chin Han, Ludi Lin, Max Huang, Mel Jarnson, Yukiko Shinohara, and Ren Miyagawa are all in there – names grabbed off IMDB.

Early reviews from Dubai are great – so WHY are we not talking about this?

Talk about it. Talk about it on Social Media. Get it the audience. Representation matters.

Speaking of mixed race performers who could use a boost – Daniel York Loh in the UK, had a performance of his new play streamed today. He was asked to write this piece for the International students at the University he was a student of, which is a huge honor.

Posting the photo above of two of his cast members, he wrote:

“This is Xiaonan Wang and Jun Kim in my play, Asian Exclusion Act, which I created for the East 15 MFA International students. Two fantastic young actors in a cast of fantastic young actors, the rest – Anne Tyler Morgan, Alexander Osborne, Brittany Escobedo, Maayan Amiran and Sean Verdu.It’s streaming live from an almost empty theatre (tiny student audience is all we’re allowed)

APRIL 9TH TWO PERFORMANCES.

https://www.east15.ac.uk/productions-london-loughton…

If you missed it because the USA is a few hours behind the UK – apparently it will be up on YouTube, just keep checking back.

Now we must talk about WARRIOR and it’s potential Season 3.

If you have not seen WARRIOR – you are not alone. It was produced by Cinemax, and ran on that channel, then Cinemax chose to not produce original content any longer, and the show was moved to HBO. Which is great – far more people have HBO than Cinemax.

Here is the issue – they only have two complete seasons filmed. They have the scripts for a third, but HBO has not stated that they plan on producing it.

While TFP does not know if petitions work – let her explain why you should sign it.

WARRIOR is the brainchild of BRUCE LEE, and it was never produced in his lifetime. His daughter, Shannon Lee, who is the Executive Producer managed by sheer will, to get it into production. They have an all diaspora cast of sexy, fully capable of ass kicking, all aged AAPI males.

This is set in America, and it is the origin of origin stories. It is a Western told by people whose origins lay elsewhere, but whose descendants are now here. It is Peaky Blinders in America, and just as Peaky Blinders is in it’s sixth season filming, WARRIOR should have as long a run.

The acting is on par. The action is on par.

All things being equal (as if they were), then WARRIOR should, especially right now – REPRESENT!

Here is the petition: https://www.change.org/p/netflix-save-warrior-and-get-season-3-confirmed

Finally, not all AAPI males have to grab a machete to make a point.

A huge shout out must be given to Bowen Yang, who on SNL made it a point to use comedy as his weapon of choice.

He and TFP are as one on the same point – if you are into beating up Asian Grandmas, and TFP and Bowen have Asian Grandma’s, then there is no discussion to be had.

None.

If you are feeling helpless, like you would not know what to do:

TAKE. BYSTANDER. TRAINING.

People fight in all kinds of ways. Comedy sometimes hits the hardest.

Because when you laugh with someone, you share a moment – and if you share it – they see you.

Which is what we all need right now, to see one another.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess did not sleep well, because yesterday, a white 21 year old male, entered 3 establishments, including The Gold Spa, screaming he would “Kill All the Asians!”.

While he did not kill ‘all’, he killed 8 people.

Six of them were Asian women.

Why he did it, is not, frankly, something one has to consider when dealing with a hate crime. No one cares that he had, as local police who apprehended him without harm to him, ‘a bad day’.

His day was not as bad as the Asian Americans that he killed.

His day was not as bad as the non Asian American woman he killed, or the non Asian man that he killed.

They had a truly bad day. They just woke up and got dressed and went to work, and now they will never come home. Their families will not see them. They will not be able to laugh or cry or prepare food with them.

When TFP told you, years ago now, that ‘representation’ on our screens and stages was important, not because of the careers of the few AAPI actors who were struggling, but because of the very real danger of our humanity being erased – there was not a lot of listening.

When TFP told you, that overly sexual roles, usually set in brothels once a season on a cop show, was an ‘issue’ – because that was the only time the ‘public’ saw ‘us’ and therefore contributed to our lack of humanity – there was not a lot of listening.

When AAPI Hollywood told you that we needed Diversity initiatives, and those were enacted and we rejoiced, but they had the effect of a drip of water running down the Hoover Dam, it did not change things. Perhaps over the last 20 years, we can point to a few ‘breakout’ stars – they would have had an Agent or a Manager or a Showrunner that was in their corner, and we can glory in their success, yes of course.

However for the majority of AAPI actors, we remained the ‘also rans‘, the “quirky sidekicks’, the ‘Tiger Moms”, the “Dads with no feelings“, and all that has trained this country to believe that we have no emotions, we are automatons, we exist to serve a narrative that we are a group – and yes, none of you have tried to tell us apart, so don’t start now – we are a GROUP that can be used primarily as background for a narrative where we are the enemy. Or, for sex. Sex without feelings, commitment, sex that can be violent and deviant and even end our lives without reprisals for the enactor of the violence.

We have phrases that denigrate us and they come from films.

We have tropes that harm us, and they come from film and television and stages.

We have seen White faces try and ‘play’ us to great Hollywood acclaim, tape their eyes, change their skin tone, and the result is, while many laud us for having privilege due to ‘proximity to whiteness’ – it is that very proximity that lets us be gunned down or mocked or asked if we are available for purchase – and that all, all of it, can be lain at the doors of our American stages, televisions, and films.

We see ‘our’ narratives sung by people who wear us like a costume, but within that costume, rob us of our humanity and our dignity- leaving behind only outlandish behaviors. Shuffling. Tittering. Bowing. Submissive. Accepting. Asexual with the men and hypersexual with the women.

We have all seen this over and over.

It must be said that FOX News, President Trump, Breitbart – they are all complicit as well. They took what there was from Hollywood – and they ran with it. They stoked the flames of hatred, pointed it at uneducated minds, and let loose – and these shootings, 3 of them, by one man – is the result.

American Show Business has taught the world – not just America –the world – that we are either a monolithic superpower intent on submission, or sweating in a hole in the ground just for the opportunity to rise up and slaughter Americans, or we are there to serve whatever sexual pleasure is wanted. That we are faceless. That it does not matter what our names are, or how to pronounce them, because we’ll be dead in the project in the next few minutes – our deaths inspiring the white hero to drink herbs, become adept at our fighting styles, and keep love for us in our hearts while he goes off with the hot girl.

We have this year, two Asian males nominated for Best Actor by the Academy Awards. First time ever. One is American, one is British. That is diaspora.

We have animated films nominated which were created and contributed to by AAPIs from all over the globe – and that too, is diaspora.

We have Directors who were born elsewhere and are nominated here in America, and that is again, diaspora.

Change is upon us, change is happening – it is not all doom and gloom, but it has been exhausting to get here.

We have now Production deals, and writers, and Stars, and things are slowly changing – but they did not change fast enough for those six women in Atlanta.

They did not change enough for the two non Asians killed in Atlanta.

They did not change enough for a 21 year old man having a ‘bad day’ – and a reminder, not an excuse – at 21, the human brain is not fully formed yet. That does not happen till 25. So we have an immature thug whose made a bad decision based on his emotion, because he has been taught that his emotions are more important than Asian lives for his entire 21 years. He had access to a rifle, and he used it.

He had access to a firearm, and he had bad decisions in his brain, and he had hatred in his heart – and he used them to go to a place where he knew there were Asian women, and he killed them. The media wants us to believe he is a good church going boy who made a mistake.

It is a mistake to buy into that rhetoric. Churches do not preach mowing down people with a weapon – at least not the mainstream ones.

He killed them because they were Asian.

TFP has seen some people trying to distance themselves from this issue – some Pacific Islanders saying “Well, that is an Asian thing, not a Pacific Islander thing.”

No. It is an ‘all of us’ thing. All of us – because this guy killed indiscriminately – and he killed people who were not Chinese. He did not know enough – because American culture has not insured that Americans know the difference between us – so we all must mourn, collectively.

We all must rage against this injustice.

We must take all the horror and enact change and that involves gun laws, that involves restrictions on hate speech, and education, conversations that will be difficult. He chose to do this because those women he felt were beneath him, whose very existence tempted him, they were at the lower socioeconomic end of society- the people we, as a society- have been told are ‘disposable’ people, so he could kill them without punishment. That is what he has observed in his 21 years.

He chose to do this because he thought that his entitlement to them, and their lives, were more important than their actual lives.

Who taught him that?

American Entertainment.

TFP is so very angry. She cannot even tell you the tidal waves of sadness that are washing over her right now. That she did not sleep. That she is still in her pajamas at 12:45 pm. That she is disgusted and heartsick and feels that she would go through the three verbal attacks she had happen, by three different people, AGAIN during this pandemic if those 8 people could live.

If the seniors being randomly killed for no reason other than being Asian while walking, could live. She would take the abuse, the uneasiness of feelings, if it would make any cosmic difference to that man’s decision to share his ‘bad day’.

She would take it all.

She would take it, because no one should have to die because they look like where their families originated from. She would take it all if her son was not told that ‘the Chinese gave us Coronavirus’ so he did not get a high five from a fellow camp goer.

She would take it.

Even though, she is ‘only’ half.

That is the thing about being Asian – you do it for the Family. Right now, our collective ‘Family’ is under attack – and she needs us all to pull together – all of us, not just Asians – and right this wrong.

Call it a hate crime.

Then look around and see where he got the hate.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has watched the rise of violence against Asian American Pacific Islanders with abject horror and she knows she is not alone.

Each video shown makes her wonder if that could be her Mum, her Auntie or Uncle, her In Laws or her Neighbors, should they try to walk down the street or simply run to get something from the shop.

The thing about Violence is – the victims of the violence are not the ones who can stop it – though many are trying by offering rewards or walking our seniors as they get their groceries, or joining patrols in heavily AAPI lived areas – there is nothing ‘we’ can do about it. Nothing at all.

For the violence is not what ‘we’ have chosen. It isn’t. This is violence enacted upon us. It comes up unexpectedly and it uses opportune moments with gleeful abandon – choosing people because they did not like the way their eyes met as they walked down the street, or because they think that they represent something weak, or because they themselves have felt and been the victims of societal racism – the perpetrators feel it is ‘ok’ to enact violence.

These perpetrators have many supporters – TFP has seen them. On Tik Tok. On Twitter. On the comments sections for articles about violence against AAPIs – there is a lot of ‘what about isms’ going on. Blatant campaigning against AAPIs from people of other communities of color as well as white creators.

Again, like the random attacks – there is little one can do against them.

Any objection you raise will be covered in a ‘what about racist Asians”?

TFP wants to address some of those “what about isms’…

  1. There are, of course, AAPIs who have prejudice. They have prejudice because they were taught it as a child, and society has reinforced their prejudices, so they take them as fact. This is wrong Of COURSE it is. Prejudice that leads to any sort of violence is wrong. Does not give anyone leave to attack an elderly lady with kicks to the head as she waits for public transport. Or push a man so hard, his head cracks on the curb and he dies. Or stab someone who meets your eyes in the street.

2. AAPIs are weak. We’re not – but we realize that though there was an attack on an AAPI Service Member in KTown in LA, that was the rare instance where the victim of the attack was young.

It took 3 of them to beat him down, and his friend was also trying to fight them off. Not a fair fight by any means – mostly these attacks are on seniors who have no defense.

These are the acts of cowardly people who wish to feel powerful – and escalation only means that more patrols – vigilante patrols – will roam those areas.

Eventually , there will be an event from which we cannot return. That is TFP’s fear.

3. One or two or even a dozen prejudiced people does not give you permission to attack people. Not even if you had an incident in your childhood. Not even if your feelings were hurt. It doesn’t give you leave to name call or attack – because the world is filled with grown ups who can do what? Control themselves.

4. Communities of Color have to start talking to one another. Leaders must speak up. You have to confront the issues within a community that leads to violence against people who they live alongside, and in many cases, have done so for quite a while.

5. We do not really expect that anyone who is not AAPI will go out of their way to defend us or to fix this situation – because America has never, ever fixed any of the violence enacted upon AAPIs. Because no matter where anyone else has heritage from…”We” are the foreigners, and ‘we’ do not belong here.

Hurt people, hurt people.

However you can only maintain these ‘status quos’ of these attacks if regular people, good people, strong people, allow it.

It will continue as long as people allow it to.

It is time to band together and decide that this is not the kind of world you want for your families, for your friends, for strangers who walk the same streets you do. It is not in humanity’s best interest to allow this kind of violence to continue.

People afraid to leave their homes, afraid to go to school, afraid to go shopping, or purchase food – this is no way to live.

Perhaps, if you are reading this and you are vocally against AAPIs, you think this is a great solution – then you of course must stop eating our foods, enjoying things we created like martial arts and anime and calligraphy and art, stop watching basketball, and ice skating, and speed skating, and..frankly, Keanu Reeves – because well… that’s fair.

If you are a white supremacist, or an anti-Asian non white person – TFP cannot stop you from being so. There is nothing she can say to you to make you consider that she is human, that her friends and family are also, humans – nor can she beg or plead her way to understanding.

However she would like to leave you with a story, showing you the demonstration of a universal decision of “enough is enough’ that she was a part of.

Once upon a time, there was a late train. TFP and her husband had just seen ONCE on Broadway.

Everyone piled on, and TFP and her husband had the end seat which was directly facing an inebriated couple. The male of this couple saw them and instantly started mumbling about ‘stealing our jobs’ while looking at TFP’s husband, who is of Korean descent.

The train pulled out. The couple got louder. TFP wanted to move, but her husband, who is a black belt, thought it was ‘funny’ and actually, he is very tall – so he knew that if it got to a point – he could ‘handle it’. He has a weird sense of humor.

What wound up happening was a LGBTQ Hairdresser of mixed AAPI heritage told the guy to stop it. Because he said, that was how people had talked to his Mom when he was a kid, and he swore it would never happen in front of him. The drunken man then threatened to come and beat this gentleman, which is when TFP jumped up and told the drunk guy not to touch him.

Who stood behind her?

An over six foot tall African American man. He backed her up. He backed up a 8.5 month pregnant, yelling right back at these asswipes on public transport, woman – because it was the right thing to do. They did not know one another, and frankly, TFP did not understand why the drunk guy did not come for HER, till she looked over her shoulder and saw the man standing there. He said, which she remembers clearly, “I got you’.

Then he gave her the ‘nod’.

The drunk guy sat down.

Then every person in that train car started yelling at this drunk man – backing us up – the Hairdresser, the Tall Guy, and TFP. When the conductor came by – he asked what was going on – and then he threw those people off the train at the next stop. Not at Jamaica, where everyone can transfer to where they had to go, as it is a hub, he made them get out at Forrest Hills. Which made everyone applaud.

After which, there was a party atmosphere on the train. People made appointments with the Hairdresser, people talked to their neighbors, the sound of the car became one of congeniality and the guy who backed her up, gave TFP a fist bump.

We all need the country to come together and back one another up. TFP needs her fist bumps back. Her nods. Her check ins.

We have been through four years of hell – and this last one has been horrid. It has been filled with anger, and vitriol, and blame. However four years is enough of this.

We all have to decide that four years is all the ‘space’ we are going to give this mold, which is festering under the cracks of our society unseen. We have to tear up the concrete evidence of racism and prejudice of these attacks and let the sunlight in.

Let’s not give this kind of violence any more room to grow.

Let’s end it – together.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has a lot to discuss – a LOT, but first…the United States is about to have a new President and Vice President and the first thing they are going to do is cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline – and this. is. EPIC!

Huge win for the Native Americans and the rest of us that live on stolen land, but would also like to have clean water to drink.

Don’t talk to TFP about jobs or anything else – you cannot un-pollute land and water – it’s not possible – so protection of our natural resources is literally the only thing that matters.

All the snaps to Joe and Kamala as they start off with the most diverse cabinet held by a President in the history of the United States.

Oooh TFP just wants to hug everyone!

(Unless you stormed the Capital Building on January 6th, and then she would like to jail your ass.)

The SAG/AFTRA Awards are coming up – the nominations will be announced February 4, 2021.

Here is what needs to happen – and TFP is not just talking to the AAPI SAG/AFTRA Nominating Committee Voters because…we do not have the numbers, and the nominating committee is, of course, secret.

TFP knows this because a few years ago she was ON the nominating committee for the television category. While she was absolutely chuffed to spend hours and hours staring at each and every qualified project she was sent and/or emailed a link to watch – and she watched every single one, yes she did – when her ‘picks’ were made, she realized that the majority of SAG/AFTRA does not vote with inclusion in mind.

They don’t.

The majority of voters would like very famous actors that they feel if not for a unkind twist of fate, they would be, to attend the award ceremony. Or they like the performances – anyway, it doesn’t matter, the majority of the voters do not have the time to watch every single entry and so they vote for the one that they know will have the most buzz, get the celebs to attend etc. etc. etc.

Here is what TFP would like the SAG/AFTRA Award Nomination Committee to do – she wants you to SEE us.

That’s it.

She wants you to see us, the AAPI Community and all our varied forms, shapes, sizes, multi-culti, breathtaking breadth – and vote to nominate:

YELLOW ROSE and MINARI and SOUND OF METAL

For YELLOW ROSE, TFP would like you to nominate:

Eva Maria Noblezada – LEAD ACTRESS

Bernadette Field – BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Lea Salonga – BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

YELLOW ROSE – BEST ENSEMBLE

Here is the trailer:

YELLOW ROSE is a film about immigration, familial love, and country music – all principals which should echo with everyone – they are universal themes, and it deserves nominations.

The films TFP is asking you to support do not have to win -but they do have to be nominated. Nominations mean that people see them, and that shows support. Support from audiences across the spectrum of how we identify and what we have inherited from our families is vital to have funders back these projects. If the success of one can be ‘pointed to’ as an example, then more people will have a chance to succeed.

That is what TFP is asking for for these films – give them a chance to reach the wider audience.

The Golden Globe Awards, which is the Foreign Press Awards, chose to put MINARI in the Foreign Film category for the United States because a large part of the film is spoken in the Korean language, despite it being an American lead, an American Production Company, and filmed in the Heartland of America, telling an American story.

Why?

Racism.

They did not have any issues with LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL or THE GODFATHER or INGLORIOUS BASTARDS – they are only showing their innate European bias to the film that captures the American experience in an language that has no European roots.

They do it because they can. They will still be invited to cover all the junkets they did previously. They will not be ‘shut out’ of interviewing stars. They did it last year with THE FAREWELL, as a lot of it was in Mandarin. They also did it because well, misogyny – Lulu Wang is a female director – while they did nothing to Bong Ho – in fact, they nominated him for Best Director for PARASITE.

Hmmmmm…..

Which is why SAG/AFTRA and their Nominating Committee has to take a stand.

You must vote to include MINARI in the following categories:

Steven Yuen – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE

Han Yi-re – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE

Young Yuh-Jun – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Alan S. Kim – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

and of course – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

Show the Foreign Press Awards that SAG/AFTRA members will not stand for racism and exclusion. Being American has nothing to do with being able to speak another language.

Finally – do not sleep on nominating Riz Ahmed for his performance in SOUND OF METAL

Playing a musician that is losing his hearing, you can catch it on Amazon Prime right now – remember, when you see the variety of the performances, remember that they are people who are not being seen by the larger audience, and nominations are one way of changing that.

Riz Ahmed – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR

TFP wants to congratulate DANIEL DAE KIM, who, after 31 years and numerous television shows, after being paid LESS to be on Hawaii 5.0 than the white guys, and who left to form his own production company and create, among other things, THE GOOD DOCTOR, on getting his FIRST LEAD on a television series. First time he is the focus of the show. First time he will be in every episode.

After 31 years.

In the business.

Many are surprised by this. They think, “I have seen him on television for years and he always delivers.”

Yes, he always does.

He has an MFA from NYU and began working in 1991 in American Shaolin. He had the ‘most experience’ going in to H50, and where the lead of the show had only been known for doing the lead in television mini series...in Australia.

DDK has hundreds of episodes of experience, is an outrageously solid actor, also happens to be one of the most gorgeous men on the planet, and until THIS year, he had to play second fiddle.

Why, oh reader, do you think that is?

DDK will play one of the two lead roles in THE HOT ZONE, ANTHRAX. His character is Matthew Ryker, an FBI agent with a specialty in microbiological weapons. This is a limited series for NatGeo in their scientific thriller anthology series, and TFP could not be happier for him – this is tremendous.

The new series, DOOGIE KAMEĀLOHA has just announced that they have cast in the title role, 16 year old actress and former star of the Disney Channel show, ANDI MACK – Ms. Peyton Elizabeth Lee.

The new Doogie is set to premiere on Disney +. Remember that, it’s important.

This show is created by Kortney Kang, who is right out of the ABC Family – and frankly the Carnegie Mellon Family – who is mixed race and from Hawaii.

The show is about a medical genius who is also mixed race. Kameāloha means is “the beloved one‘. The character’s first name is “Lahela’ which is the Hawaiian form of the Hebrew name, Rachel.

TFP has seen some backlash.

All that has been announced is the casting of one actor. The show description is about a ‘mixed race girl’ growing up in Hawaii who is also a medical genius. The actress cast is mixed race, as is the creator, who again…grew up in Hawaii.

What TFP has seen being said around the trash barrel that is the world wide web said is that the casting means erasure of Pacific Islanders.

No one wants Pacific Islanders erased – not Disney who approved the concept, not Ms. Kang who write it, and certainly not anyone who will appear in the show. It is just not something that is in any way rational to assume. Stop repeating that – it is not true, and it just stirs the turd.

Has anyone read the pilot? TFP hasn’t – but based on the breakdown in DEADLINE, these are her thoughts.

First thing everyone seems to get upset about, is that if the actress playing the role is not Native Hawaiian what about the name of the character?

The character’s name is Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha.

Lahela is the Hawaiian form of the Hebrew name, Rachel. It’s origin is not, in fact, Native Hawaiian. It came from intermixing cultures. Just like Bette Midler is from Hawaii. Born and raised. Though, by heritage – Jewish.

They could change the character’s name to Rachel and solve that lickety split. They could change the surname to Howser and it is still about a mixed race kid- just a mixed race kid living in Hawaii named Rachel Howser. You could have Neil Patrick Harris play her 2nd cousin or something and guest star.

Is that what any of us want? Think about it.

Here is a screenshot from the Deadline article announcing the casting:

Pilots are funny things – they are the ‘ideal’ of what the writer wants.

TFP thinks that Ms. Kang wanted to include Hawaiian culture in the show – and that, by the way, is still there. Still being shot in Hawaii, there are Pacific Islanders that are intended to be in the main storyline, according to Deadline. Her father is being described as a ‘local boy’ with Native Hawaiian heritage, though of course, no percentages are given, because people are not percentages.

They likely auditioned several actresses for this role – while TFP will not say ‘hundreds’, because she does not think that would be correct, she would still bet that it was more than a few.

TFP is taking a wait and see approach to this casting – because many people have played relatives to other actors and have not been ‘the right’ heritage, as written.

Casting is entirely different from writing a pilot. To shoot this pilot – and indeed even to pay Ms. Kang to write the pilot, involves huge amounts of money. Sometimes the Network or studio is willing to go with an unknown entity and sometimes it is not. Look at the facts – they needed a young mixed race actress who has starred in a television show or film before – the list of people who are appropriate are few. A known quantity.

In fact, there are a few – they include Miranda Cosgrove, who is now 27. Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), who is 20. Everyone else does not fall into the ‘held up a show as the lead character’. Keisha Castle Hughes from Whale Rider is 30, so stop pulling names from the sky.

There is Isabella Russo – she starred in Kang’s last pilot – TFP has known her since she was…2? Ms. Russo has been seen on Broadway as the star of SCHOOL OF ROCK since the age of 11. She is now 17.

Sienna Agudong? Yes, TFP agrees, she would have been a great choice as well. She is 16, she is from Hawaii and has been lead in the Nickelodeon series, STAR FALLS, her first lead role in was in a NETFLIX film, NO GOOD NICK, and she was the lead in Disney Channel film, UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC.

She is Hawaiian, Filipina, and European. In 2020, she was attached to star in a sci-fi feature film, LET US IN.

Was she approached?

TFP would say definitely. Could she do it? Seems like she has a lot on her plate for this upcoming year. Pilots may not be seen, they may not get the green light to go to series – most actors would keep their focus on feature films if they have an option.

Again, the list is short.

Peyton Lee is 16. She has been on a Disney show previously. She has been a series lead. She is a really solid actress. She is not a cute ‘kid star’, she is more like a Jodie Foster style of child actor. She is of mixed heritage and could reasonably be believed to portray a person of many heritages.

Disney would never have approved an newbie actor for a role of this size.

They just would not have.

They want a ‘proven’ entity and they want someone ‘known’ because that person brings with them a fan base. The ANDI MACK fan base is growing up, they were loyal for three seasons previously though – and they will follow Ms. Lee to her new show, to see more of her struggles as a teenager. As a really bright, precocious medical superstar teenager. Disney has invested a lot of money in Ms. Lee. Also in Ms. Kang.

So there can be changes, and as TFP sees it, here are the options:

  • they can change the Dad from a ‘local boy’ – and make her extended family Pacific Islander
  • They can ignore it
  • They can run Ms. Lee’s DNA and see if she has any Pacific Islander because both the Chinese and Pacific Islanders were seafaring people because now, apparently that is what Actors have to do. (WTF)

TFP can personally attest to having Pacific Islander heritage (thanks to Ancestry.com) that she was previously unaware of – which is apparently, the way the Gatekeepers both keep her out and then miraculously include her when she fits the narrative.

However if you had asked her prior to the DNA test she would have replied that while she did not believe so, she has always felt ‘something’ when seeing people do the Haka that she could not explain. Now, she can explain it. She thought she was ‘just’ Chinese. She’s not. Mind blown.

TFP considers people of mixed race to be one family – no matter what the mix is, no matter who they love, or how they identify – if you are mixed race of Asian Pacific Islander descent – we are a family.

TFP may not even like you, but she loves you. (Hey, just the truth)

She reacts VERY strongly to being told what she is allowed to do. She reacts very strongly to people telling mixed race people what they are allowed to do, what space they may occupy, and what roles they are allowed to be seen in.

Especially by those who are not mixed.

You are not enough X to represent X.

Even if Ms. Lee herself is not of Pacific Islander descent, this hiring means the show goes forward and more Pacific Islanders will get hired – not just in the cast, in the crew, writing staff, in the office, in the catering, in the security – it benefits the film industry in Hawaii, which has been decimated by COVID-19.

The benefits of the show going forward outweighs any one role. Particularly because pilots are just ideas – they are like buying off the rack, and then having to take it to a tailor once you know who is going to be ‘wearing’ it.

The world is not perfect. Sometimes the people you would want are busy, sometimes the people you would want have conflicts, or no interest in doing what you would like them to do. Rarely is anything without compromise, and in entertainment, that should be stitched on every pillow in town, as a reminder.

Remember all the nonsense over Randall Park not being Taiwanese when they did FRESH OFF THE BOAT? Everyone went crazy “oh he’s not Chinese” – well, no – but he is funny as hell, and he’s going to change the future of television with his production company, so have several seats.

He was cast ‘within the realm of belief”.

All the wringing of hands because Henry Golding is mixed race and was in CRAZY RICH ASIANS repping Singapore? He did a great job – the world still revolves.

Show Business is not always going to get things absolutely right – there is still an element of ‘magic’ that has to be made – absolutes negate magic. Actors connect or they do not connect with a role – it is what it is.

Grace Park played Officer Kono Kalakaua on H50, and she is from Canada- no one seemed to talk about erasure then – or is that just something we yell about when the actor in question is a teenager?

Within the ‘realm of belief‘ is the way that casting has always worked.

Perhaps things will change in the future. Perhaps everything will be perfect. Perhaps we can all stop swiping at one another and let the show get up and shot before tearing it to pieces.

C.S. Lee is Korean American – TFP just watched him be a badass tavern owner from China on WARRIOR. Did it bother her? No.

That is Andrew Koji on the right side of the photo – Japanese/White English descent from the U.K. btw. Andrew plays one of the main characters in WARRIOR, who is supposed to be from China. Now showing on HBO Max. He is awesome. Is TFP bothered? Nope.

(TFP has been watching a lot of WARRIOR.)

Did Dustin Ngyuen playing an insane Tong leader also on WARRIOR bother her? NO.

Does she know that he is Vietnamese American…um..yeah. So what?

Realm of possibility. Excellent Actor. Amazing combat skills. Breathtaking performance.

(TFP told you, she has been watching A LOT of WARRIOR)

Does Cliff Curtis playing Samoan with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – they were brothers – did that upset TFP? The Rock is mixed Samoan, Mr. Curtis is not.

Did TFP freak out that Mr. Curtis is not Samoan?

No.

Does she know that Maori and Samoan are two different groups: YES she DOES.

She also knows it is pronounced SAH- mo- ahnnnn and there are two different groups – American Samoa and Samoa but that both are Pacific Islanders and they are both considered Samoan. She also knows that the Maori and the Samoans all fall under the Pacific Islander grouping.

(Are you kidding, she has cousins who are of Fijian descent!)

Likewise with Manu Bennett, Temuera Morrison, Taika Wattitti – Taika played HITLER (very on the nose nowadays, huh?) and did she jump up and down and say he could NOT play German because he was not German?

Hell no. Because movies are not documentaries. Television shows are not documentaries.

Show business is money and casting and complicated and we should all welcome one another UNDER the umbrella, ella, ella that is API. We know what it is like to not be seen. We also know, as people go ‘up”, they take us all with them. We do not succeed when we tear one another down, a point that seems to be understood except when it comes to mixed race projects.

TFP mentioning that this is a ‘mixed race issue’ was met with sharp chastising – WHY would TFP say that?

Well, because it is.

Then j’accuse TFP for pointing out the bias when, in fact, she is of mixed Asian Pacific Islander descent.

Isn’t that interesting?

The Mixed race population is currently at 13% of the total US Population, and growing. You can go on platforms like Tik Tok and see how the non-acceptance of multi-racial people is doing real and consistent emotional harm to individuals who straddle those spaces where the gatekeepers dwell.

The pilot is the pilot and can be amended and rewritten.

“We” are the only group that does this to one another.

TFP says if Ms. Lee won the part, then that is who won the part, and everything else can be figured out later. She is the only actor who has been announced. The overwhelming lesson here is that the people will always find something to bemoan when it comes to mixed race stories and portrayals.

Always.

Because, honestly, they do not like that we exist – and that is the hardest lesson to have to learn over and over and over and every time…EVERY TIME..it is exhausting.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess wishes you all a good riddance to 2020…

Look at Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris starting to put that ish out…they can make any outfit look good.

TFP is sure they have Ted Liu and Mazie Hirono, Joe Biden, Mayor Pete, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren ready to add some non racist equality foam- laced with health care and a relief package for all on standby. (Cuz you douse chemical fires w foam, & can you think of anything more toxic than the GOP right now, cuz TFP can’t!)

This past year has been fairly hideous, the USA under the mismanagement of the Toupee’d Orange has had 341,199 deaths since this pandemic started – and if you have lost a loved one, or a few, if you have lost a beloved friend, or a co-worker, or you work in health care, or you are food insecure, or about to get kicked out of your dwelling – TFP sees you, she is heartsick for you, and she wants you to hang in there. We have a new President coming (and honestly, does she think Joe is going to be a one termer…no, she doesn’t – he seems fired UP) and there are two vaccines to help the country survive.

If you take it.

Listen, there are objections out there- given the speed of the approval, but when you realize HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING, you understand why they were working around the clock – however – if you have ordered food or drink prepared by someone else, if you have danced in a college fraternity and fallen into the ooze that is on the floor and gotten up to laugh about it, if you have partied in a club, or attended a house party where they served large amounts of alcohol out of a trash can lined with a plastic bag filled with Hawaiian punch and Everclear…do not worry about this vaccine being lethal.

You did not care then what you were putting in your body, so please, spare us the narrative that you are highly aware of every single thing that goes into your toothpaste, deodorant, household cleaning supplies, daily meds, the fruits and veges you consume…

You survived all that. You can get through this with medical science.

Take the shot.

First, some good news – TFP‘s very good pal, J. Bernard Calloway has a show that has been picked up by BET+ The Ms. Pat Show, so make sure you tune into that! They are just going down to Atlanta to go film, and TFP wishes them the magic number of 5 seasons and beyond.

Now we get to ‘the stuff’ aka, ‘why the heck did TFP start writing again, TODAY” – and there are a few reasons, bear with her – this is a new year, and we have new stuff to talk about, which mirrors the old stuff, but there you go….

Some old business, remember the kerfuffle with the Rob Guest Endowment in Australia? Where a musical theater competition came to the semi-finalist round and then all the contestants competing realized that there were no BIPOC people in the 31 member group?

Well, that prompted, among others – TFP‘s buddy, international Musical Theater superstar, Hayden Tee, who is of Maori heritage, to raise up the challenge to the MT community in OZ, and start a mentor program to change the dynamic over there. Nothing happens overnight – but TFP has been on a few Zooms, and is mentoring a few people, so…let’s keep positive thoughts.

SAG/AFTRA and AEA came to an agreement, which, oddly enough, looks very similar to the agreement that TFP wrote out a few blogs ago and told them to take to their attorneys. Anyway, it is settled, there is no Hollywood without Broadway, and there are no TONY Awards for film stars without Broadway.

PAAL, the Parent Artist Advocacy League started by Rachel Spencer Hewitt, is giving out emergency grants for Artists with Families. During this time, parents in the Arts are facing the financial and emotional toll of no work, but with little people who depend on them for everything – it’s a scary place. If you can give, or you need to apply, please go to www.PAALtheatre.com.

Now, we need to talk about how people talk about diversity. Everyone is kvelling over BRIDGERTON, and rightly so – beautiful cast, well acted, nice to see variation there in casting – but it is not a home run. TFP should be using cricket terminology, shouldn’t she? Ah well, the production company is American, and she loathes cricket…so…

The show is beautiful, and TFP has watched it. She had high hopes for it, frankly, because in one of the first scenes when the virgins, sorry debutantes are being presented, there is an East Asian Lady in Waiting furiously fanning the Queen. She was hopeful that this character would speak. Alas she does not, she holds a small dog. That is the extent of it.

TFP continued watching, she saw a South Asian male actor chat with one of the Bridgertons, and an East Asian playing the violin, and finally, a South Asian female spoke under 5 lines as the ‘beard’ of one of the series only LGBTQ characters.

TFP looked harder than Simon at a garden path at Vauxhall Gardens…she did not find any.

The triumph is, in fact, a binary one. People seem to think that this show ‘solves’ everything. Or they tell ‘us’ to wait our turn, or ‘eventually it will change’ – well, TFP has been writing this blog since 2012, and Asians are still waiting for true acceptance and inclusion.

East, Southeast, South, Middle – we are waiting.

Which is odd, because as TFP has pointed out in past work – the first Chinese male arrived in England in 1684 and was a friend of King James II, and in fact, King James II had his portrait painted and hung in his bedroom to mark the friendship. Presenting to the court and beyond, “Michael” Shen Fu Tsung. Read more about him here.

BRIDGERTON takes place beginning 1813, which leaves 200 years of actual intermingling with people ‘outside’ the binary to provide basis for a narrative to fictionally interact with, and yet there is nothing.

All this is proof that Chinese have been intermingling on a Royal Court level, while not consistently of course, but still it was there – since the 1680’s – which would play into the re-imagining of British society that BRIDGERTON is supposed to represent.

Likewise the British first went to India and established the British East India company in the year 1600 – and in doing so, began an entire mixed race population of what they called at the time, Anglo Indian, which brought us people like…Ben Kingsley, Merle Oberon, and Joanna Lumley to name a few.

While yes, BRIDGERTON is embracing inclusion, it is also including only certain people – and it is in fact, very specifically excluding quite a lot of people that would have been in England at the time.

All TFP is saying – and of course she will watch the second season – is that…she noticed.

Now, let’s turn our attention to WARRIOR – a truly fascinating show that, honestly, has been handed both a tremendous opportunity, and yet, the keys to it’s demise.

Originally based on the journey of Chinese Americans to this country – via an idea by Bruce Lee – yes, THAT Bruce Lee – it was filmed on location in South Africa. Two seasons. Produced by Cinemax, so TFP did not get to see a lot of the episodes, however NOW it has moved to HBO Plus!

She is gonna watch the heck outta that show now!

Which is wonderful = however…the show has the scripts and the arc to extend for a third season and beyond, but because Cinemax was dumping all of it’s producing efforts, a third season was never filmed. They need to be filmed.

Not because TFP says so – but because America was inviting it in to it’s living rooms – and that needs to continue to happen. It is a part of laying down the foundation for conversations on race in America, and the Asian diaspora. The longer WARRIOR is on, actors on the show have a real shot at maintaining their careers – which to some, goes into the “Why do I need to care about Actors?”

Well because, when you start asking questions like “Why is Emma Stone playing a mixed Asian and Hawaiian gal?” and demanding that Matt Damon no longer be allowed on The Great Wall – you need tangible people to sub in there as alternatives. You need people that Hollywood recognizes as having done ‘the work”, and who are ‘ready’ for the next big step.

Not just the actors – the writers, the producers – do you know who is one of the executive producers? Justin Lin – who directed BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. Who diversified the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise. He is changing the conversation every day, and he cannot do it alone. He has to grab a sandwich or something.

Which is where YOU come in, oh reader – oh martial arts loving, history of America, possibly Asian reader – here is what needs to happen – you need to blow out those numbers on HBO Plus. You have to watch WARRIOR, seasons 1 and 2 (which, by the way, are not hard to do, the characters are complicated and the storyline is gripping) and then…you need to go to Twitter, to Instagram, to Snapchat and discuss HOW MUCH YOU LIKE THE SHOW AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT A THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH SEASON.

Listen, it worked for a bunch of white shows, numbers have no color. Invite all your people. All kinds of people.

If you are a martial arts fan, if you are period drama fan, if you are an action/sex fan, if you are just bored with there only being one narrative in the history of America – you can expand your thinking, expand the circle of this show. Every time you watch something different, it is noted. Every time you tweet or own your social media space with hashtags and opinions, it is noted.

This show, should be noted. San Francisco at this time period was a whirl of politics, racism, sexism, bartering – honestly is America different now?

No.

Give it a watch – and tell HBO you want a third season – because #RepresentationMatters and so do all of you.

Finally – there has been a bit of a late coming uproar over Actor, Rizwan Manji – not because he has not been representing 24/7 for the past 15 years at least on American Television – but because he has used an accent on occasion. He dared to talk about it, and it set off a firestorm.

Did you get this upset when Meryl Streep did it? No? Then sit down.

Mr. Manji is a first generation Canadian whose parents were immigrants. His accent work is one of the tools of his trade – and the accent is never one of the jokes. The jokes in regards to Mr. Manji’s work, arise from cultural misunderstandings – not because they were said with the accent.

The accent may clue you in that something may go awry – but to pooh pooh Asian actors because of accent work – especially in regards to shows that hail from Canada – you would also have to throw out KIM’S CONVENIENCE. If you are are playing someone who hails originally from another country, or is playing a scene in another country – they would have an accent.

Or have you never met an Australian? An Irishperson? Why are the only acceptable accents that people do not fuss over, why are they only European?

In COBRA KAITamlyn Tomita and Yugi Okumoto used Japanese accents, specifically Okinawan. Because the show in that episode takes place in Okinawa. It was shot in Atlanta, folks.

Likewise another actor in the scenes in Japan, Miki Yamashita uses an accent.

TFP knows all three of those actors – they have American accents on the daily. Being familiar with the setting of a scene and trying to be as authentic as they can, they chose to use an accent. They were – all three – just great.

Mr. Manji – who TFP also knows personally – does not have an accent other than your run of the mill Canadian when he blows around LA, but he is the child of immigrants, he is familiar with it, and he is allowed to use it – he cannot say about btw, which is the only reason TFP knew he was from Canada when they met.

TFP can do an Aussie “Fair Dinkum” or a “Sydney-side” accent, a “Irish from Kerry’ accent, a Chinese “From NY Chinatown” accent, and frankly a “Mother in Law from Busan” Korean accent – because those are things she hears within her family.

Accent work is not shameful. It is not a let down. Why do y’all only get crazy when it is a minority doing an accent but you don’t yell about Streep doing them?

Cuz it is YOU that have the issue. Not the actors, who are using the tools of their trade to make you believe that you are in another world entirely – and doing a great job.

So stop.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess is a member of BOTH Performing Unions, Screen Actor’s Guild/AFTRA and Actor’s Equity Association.

In fact, she just had an email from AEA about celebrating her DECADES in AEA, and no – she is not sharing the length of time, but wow….

That aside, the two Unions are fighting like siblings – and if you have ever fought with a sibling, you know that it can be intense, and here is what they are fighting about for those reading along at home.

Since the pandemic, and it’s mishandling by the Trump administration – Broadway has been closed. Production on Film, Commercial and Television sets were put on pause, AND both Union’s Trustees have jacked up their Health Insurance requirements to the point where, most of the members will not be able to make their ‘minimum’ to get coverage. We are all quickly moving to the the elimination of the working class actor, which is incredibly sad.

Now, AEA’s health insurance is measured in weeks – how many weeks of work you have (minimum 11 per calendar year) gets you 6 months of Health Insurance. If you work 19 weeks per year or more (Broadway Contract), you have a year’s worth of Health Insurance.

By the way – please note that even if you are a Broadway performer, once you have ‘worked’ your 19 weeks – you do not get ‘extra credits’ towards your health insurance for the next year – your extra weeks and the money they still take without qualm from Producers, goes to supporting those members who have worked less but still qualify for insurance.

SAG/AFTRA’s health insurance is based on money earned per quarter, per year.

The Health Care plans are primarily what this fight is about because…people need to be covered. Particularly given that we are in a pandemic and healthcare costs – which have always operated well above what should be allowed – are skyrocketing.

Therefore, to be covered by SAG/AFTRA, your wage earnings must meet $25,950 or 100 days of work.

In addition, SAG/AFTRA wants you to pay a premium per month of $125 if you are single. Your premium per month goes up if you have dependents.

So for working actors who are members of SAG, you likely need to book at least 1 if not 3 National Commercials and hope that they are not kidding you and it changes to Cable or Internet usage, a few Guest Star roles, or get bumped up to Recurring on a long running show where the writers like you, or…be Brad Pitt.

Good luck with that!

For ‘working actors’ of AEA, you need, very likely, a Broadway contract, or an Off Broadway Contract for short runs at prestigious theaters, or solid Regional theater work – like being in a production of “Christmas Carol” that starts in September somewhere out of town.

Otherwise, as a Stage Actor – you are not going to get insurance. As a Stage Manager, you chances of making your insurance minimum is better – and as Stage Managers really are the glue of theater, their employment record is ‘better’ than actors. It is entirely possible to make a good living as an SM.

SAG/AFTRA has more members, and because of that, they do have more money and more clout and…with the Pandemic, as producers are turning to ‘filmed’ stage shows – and THAT, oh AEA, is where we kind of ‘showed our ass’.

Because AEA has for years, talking decades now – made it so impossible to film live stage shows in New York, that Producers have flown entire companies to OTHER COUNTRIES – Canada, U.K. – to film a ‘live’ stage show for broadcast.

SPONGE BOB – you loved it on Nickelodeon, filmed in the U.K.

AMERICAN IN PARIS – you loved it on Great Performances – filmed in the U.K.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR was filmed in Brooklyn, by a Television Network – so that is different. It was filmed live for television. By theater people, yes – they did not do it under AEA.

They did it under SAG/AFTRA.

So did HAMILTON for Disney+, DIANA for Netflix, the TONY Awards, and the MACY’S THANKSGIVING PARADE.

AEA members are concerned – and should be – about not ‘making their weeks’ to get coverage. AEA wants to film live stage shows make it ‘easier’ for their members to keep contributing to their weeks- and so ‘Bigger, Sister Union, SAG/AFTRA” offered them a ‘waiver’ which AEA has rejected.

According to AEA – SAG/AFTRA has gone to the vendors (aka Producers, Production Companies) and negotiated rates and contracts to allow their members to continue working or resume working – and neatly substituted themselves into the realm of The Broadway.

Where they already were, because…filming.

Something AEA has long been against.

Even the library at Lincoln Center has had to jump through hoops to film, for their archives, Broadway shows – and then, they had to agree to almost an AREA 51 Clearance to put it in the library at Lincoln Center and maintain a stranglehold on who gets to see those filmed shows.

This is when being a purist comes back to bite you in the butt. Because now that AEA needs filming to prop up it’s Pension and Health & Welfare Funds, they need SAG/AFTRA to play nice.

This is like watching that scene in Stagedoor between Terry and Jean – one wants to go to Hollywood and live under a contract with the film studios and one wants to possibly be poor all her life and do ‘art’. The disdain with which each views the other’s choice is blatant and clear – and has parallels here.

SAG/AFTRA sent over a waiver, that they – apparently out of the goodness of their hearts and not after long months of negotiating – ahem- that they feel is a good offer to get AEA through this crisis.

AEA has NO MEANS AVAILABLE to do what they normally do – which is cover Stage Managers and Actors who engage in live performance. AEA needs this deal, and they are not in the primary position, because the jurisdiction is clear – filming is under SAG/AFTRA.

The Waiver (See the actual verbiage here) that AEA rejected says, in a nutshell that because of the Pandemic SAG/AFTRA will allow shows to be filmed to be streamed or broadcast if they were originally theater productions.

They will grant AEA jurisdiction on that, but there are a few rules –

  1. The waiver would cover anything that falls within the realm of live theater. Readings, staged readings, live streamed performances etc.
  2. It has to look like theater – so no quick editing jumps, no zoom ins, etc
  3. When it is up for sale, people have to be able to purchase it on a restricted platform – they cannot sell it to Netflix or Apple Plus or that kind of thing
  4. You can only film as many works as you own theater spaces simultaneously, because it has to approximate live theater. You cannot go into a theater and see WICKED and then go into a back room in the same theater and see HAMILTON. One show per ‘venue’.
  5. You cannot sell more tickets than you have theater seats in your theater, doubled. So if SIX is in a theater with 890 seats, then you sell those – and double it, but that is it. That is the limit of seats they can sell digitally. You can also not sell them more than the existing 8 shows per week.

As we have seen from HAMILTON – this is restrictive. Because to film a play or a musical effectively – as fully professional production to which you CAN sell tickets- you need to be able to edit it and use closeups. Who is to say what is ‘excessive’ editing. How many ‘cuts’ per scene? Is sound mixing considered editing under this agreement? Where do the musicians unions come in on this issue – is it a recording? Is it a pit orchestra?

So on first glance, it seems like SAG/AFTRA is being somewhat reasonable until you understand they want to it look bad, and they want, in turn, to be able to pull the plug on this the minute they feel like it. They also want to have an Executive Oversight committee to meet regularly and discuss all the ways in which to pull blood from theater’s stone.

So already they are starting in a bad spot, which, honestly – they don’t care.

It is like your older sister allowing you to play with her Barbie Doll and then, in the middle of your play, she swoops in and grabs it back saying it is HERS, it has always been HERS and how DARE you play with it!?!?!

It is the same kind of fighting- it does not help solve anything- and this is a situation that needs solving. Yes, AEA has always had an issue with filming and yes, it is kind of hypocritical to say ‘Well now WE need it, it is ok’- but this is the first pandemic since THE BLACK PLAGUE that has shut the theater- so forgive them if they require wiggle room to adjust.

It is what it is.

So, there is the issue of jurisdiction- clearly SAG/AFTRa is the big dog in the fight. The other issue is that AEA is alleging is that SAG/AFTRA is going around them to deal with Vendors aka Theater Owners and Producers, giving them all sorts of ‘deals’ to keep the productions under the ageis of SAG/AFTRA and not allow AEA a shot at a production deal.

Who does this affect? The Stage Managers.

Which is a HUGE. ASS. DEAL.

Because SM’s are the ‘regular and reliables’ of our Union.

In the theater, once the Creative Teams have ‘left the building’ – aka once the show is “Up”, everything is dependent on the Stage Manager. Stage Managers do a variety of very skilled tasks that include keeping the Actors in tip top order, negotiating with the various departments and making sure things get done, resolving disputes, dealing with injuries, replacement cast members, rehearsals, auditions, dealing with the management company – in short, they are the most important people in the theater.

Without them it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

However once a production goes under SAG/AFTRA, the SM’s are cut out – there are different Unions and Departments all those duties go under – and this is a huge issue.

AEA has also stated, in a letter by Mary McColl (which you can read in it’s entirety via the link, but here is an important snippet) that SAG/AFTRA is deliberately undercutting the SM’s.

So now we are getting to the crux of the matter, as AEA states it – SAG/AFTRA is undercutting the members of AEA and the Union’s ability to negotiate, and that there has been no contributions to AEA’s pension and health which decreases a member’s chance of making their weeks – which, if true, is a crap thing to do.

Because once theater does come back – and no, we do not know what it will look like or when it will actually be – the SM’s are the ONLY ones who are going to know everything needed to get the show up and running. They are the keepers of the “Book” in which every cross, every cue, every everything is written down so that the show can never get it wrong.

They are the difference between ‘winging it’ and saying “Wow, looks like they never left!” as we wait for it all to reopen. Stage Managers are the OG bosses of the theater, and if you do not believe TFP, she will fight you.

So if SAG/AFTRA cuts out the SM’s, but covers the Actors, who are under their jurisdiction and paid for filming at SAG rates, who loses here?

AEA and Stage Managers, that’s who.

The Actors who get to film under the SAG/AFTRA contract are actually ok – they are working and contributing to the SAG/AFTRA health and pension funds, and their rate of pay is higher than AEA’s, and they get residuals.

No work + no health care + no bailout for theatrical professionals of all kinds = people permanently leaving the industry.

However SAG/AFTRA says this is NOT true.

So who to believe?

It does not matter, it just needs to be fixed. That is the truth.

TFP knows both the Unions and the People running them, she considers many of them friends as well as colleagues. She knows that this is a stressful time and money has been extremely hard to come by – and she also knows that Entertainment people are essential workers.

Essential workers for the human spirit, and ‘we’ are necessary because ‘we’ create magic.

Magic helps people escape their circumstances if only for a little while- and when you are trapped in the house unable to escape physically- you rely on Entertainment to keep you sane. This includes all the craftspeople who create what we wear, how we look, the writers, the directors, the producers who fund ‘the dream’- we are ALL Essential Workers!

This has not been acknowledged during this crisis, but what would people have done if they could not stream a favorite show or watch a film? Or Video Games with Professional Actors voicing characters? Or Books on Audio?

They would have gone crazier than a rat in a coffee can, that’s what.

However Entertainment largely relies on the way it makes people ‘feel’ – which is ephemeral. It is hard to quantify.

The ability – whether on the stage or on the screen – to make the general public laugh or cry is one that is shared by both AEA and SAG/AFTRA members.

We specialize in the imagination and bringing things both unimaginable and within reality’s realm, to life. It is not, ‘I am more talented!’ Or ‘I am more beautiful!’ Or ‘Mine requires more actual skill!’ – it is the SAME ART FORM! The exact same one.

The infighting has to stop.

She does believe that AEA is having it’s members undercut – although she does not think it is SAG/AFTRA that is doing it. Are they entirely free of guilt by association? No. The need to undercut production usually is not a Union grown idea, because it does not benefit them.

Likely, it is the Producers themselves. Because it is always, always, always the one whose money is being spent on the production, who is in charge.

The producers are the ones in the best position right now – although it may not seem it. They are the ones with the money – and money right now, is tight. People are willing to negotiate, that cannot be denied. They do not want to lose any more money, so they are lowballing to try and make up for being closed the past few months.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

They are probably, basing it on past difficulties with shooting through AEA, approaching SAG/AFTRA and saying “Hey, I want to do it – but….BUT…I only have this much money and so now I need the Indie Film Contract to do it. I mean, we are FILMING right? Which falls under YOUR jurisdiction, doesn’t it?”

It is pretty much the same tactic that Producers used to say, keep the 99 Seat LA Theater Contract going for umpteen years, and the Off Broadway Wages at like, $300 per week for over a decade, Oh, we can’t afford an increase” “Theater will die if you make us pay the actor’s living wages”

So dramatic.

Remember?

Did theater die? No.

What does that tell you?

SAG/AFTRA has all kinds of budgets within it that allow for filming at almost every level. TFP knows this because she has been an Indie Assoc Producer on SAG/AFTRA projects, and because she knows how tenuous the grip SAG/AFTRA has on actual projects. They do not have have a lot of power here – the only thing they ‘own’ in this situation, is the jurisdiction.

Undercutting the production itself does not help SAG/AFTRA in the long run – because as they are a bigger union, they have bigger bills. They would be working against their own self interests to take away residuals and pension contributions.

They want to keep production in the United States, and they want to encourage creatives with dreams, so TFP can see how they would allow people to operate – during this most hideous of times – under contracts that, frankly, are not appropriate for the situation.

She also thinks that they likely did not try and hash this out with AEA because they too, had no idea how things were going to proceed, and when you have 4x the members and have just announced that – like a**holes, you are going to throw most of them off their health care during a pandemic – they might have had a few things going on.

She does not think that they would knowingly try and take away a living from Stage Managers, but if a Producer contracts under an Indie Film budget, then that producer is likely pawning off what would be considered Production Assistant wages to Stage Managers under the assumption that the SM’s do know, that SM’s are not ‘required’ under SAG/AFTRA contracts. That the SM’s would take the job because they need ‘something’ coming in, and they will suck it up.

Which is why everyone needs to come together and stop throwing mud.

We are in a sh*t situation.

Get that? A sh*t situation.

TFP wants to help.

She does not disbelieve anyone, she also does not believe everything.

TFP is going to write a waiver and the Unions can check it over with their legal departments and stop fighting and start getting past this situation. Then they are going to agree to it, because this has to end – put it in fancier language, but this way, people get to work.

SAG/AFTRA is going to be fine because filming in LA and elsewhere on television shows etc, has already begun. Wages and dues are coming in, along with their contributions to Health and Pension – and since they have all but thrown everyone – including by the way, Hillary Swank, who is now suing them for not covering her health issues – she is only a Academy Award Winner, wtf OFF the health care plan, they will eventually have a surplus – but AEA is NOT going to be fine.

As long as live performance is ended and there is no vaccine, it is for all intents and purposes, dead.

Dead Unions do not help this country. Dead Unions are how the billionaires relegate us all to serfs.

Here is TFP’s suggestion.

The following waiver is extended by SAG/AFTRA to it’s sister union, AEA, for the next six months, and will be examined and renewed at the end of the six months due to extenuating circumstances surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic. Should, prior to six months, this national crisis change, a re-examination will occur, as overseen by an agreed upon committee.

This offer is extended in good faith and seeks to alleviate the suffering of AEA members, many of whom are also SAG/AFTRA members.

  1. That any performance based on a stage production, including live streams, be allowed. We waive our jurisdiction. The contracts issued will be under AEA, in order that they maintain their Union, their Health Fund, and their need to protect their members.
  2. That the need to edit, and provide optimal appearance of professionalism at the highest level in order to facilitate ticket sales, is understood, and SAG/AFTRA does not limit the amounts of edits or sound design allowed a production.
  3. That tickets sales to these events, not be sold to a platform such as Netflix etc, however the limit of tickets sold to these live streamed events be allowed to be 4x the number of seats in the venue. With the understanding that the third time the tickets of the venue are sold, the Producers agrees to make a contribution to AEA’s Pension and Health fund of half the ticket sales, and the 4th time the ticket sales are split between the the Producer and the Actors in lieu of residuals – AEA does not have the right to mandate residuals, as that remains under the SAG/AFTRA jurisdiction.
  4. That the Producers agree to only show these filmed events in accordance to the number of venues that they currently rent or own.
  5. The Producers may not show events more than the current Broadway schedule allows, meaning 8 shows a week is the maximum.
  6. That SAG/AFTRA will not allow high caliber productions to be filmed under Low Budget film contracts, and in order to maintain the high standards of the Broadway production worked, that a Broadway Stage Manager is required to be on set, and be paid the rate that they would be paid per week as per AEA wage structure in order to insure continuity and safety for AEA members.

TFP has read the letters, she has seen the back and forth claims and counter claims – at the end of the day, the Unions have to work this out. Stage actors and SM’s need a Union. Film, Tv, Radio Performers need a Union.

“We” need one another or we are not going to make it. If AEA goes down, they have a blueprint about how to take out SAG/AFTRA – everyone will be hired as an independent contractor and there will be no benefits, no pensions – that is where we are.

Artists can afford one another some dignity. We can choose to show clemency. We can not sweat the small stuff – because at the end of the day – none of these streamed performances are going to take the place of live theater. Not one.

If SAG/AFTRA has AEA’s back – then it will all circle around again, back to normal.

If not, TFP does not know what is going to happen – but the Producers will win – they always do – this is a known thing.

Two Performance Unions are better than one.

TFP out.