Archives for the month of: July, 2012

What has been on my mind lately is fables. The truly wonderful thing about fables is that they are designed to teach a moral lesson, such as ‘wear red in the woods so hunters don’t shoot you and stay away from pedophiles, little girls’ or ‘lock your doors because some kid that gets high too frequently is going to break into your house and eat your exceptionally filling but essentially bland carbohydrates that are cooling on the table’ or ‘just because someone sleeps with you, doesn’t mean they really like you.’ OK, that last one was from a show I did,

but…puppets are mythical creatures, and that’s a moral lesson too, of sorts. Ask Nene Leakes.

So now I would like to write a fable of my own – I am going to start it with “Once Upon A Time…” because that is where all good stories start, and I am going to set it in the mythical land of…oh, what the heck, Ja Lolla, why Ja Lolla? Because it’s mythical, it does not exist. Ja Lolla is a made up place that you may be able to see yourself in, unless you are an actor who ‘is not appropriate’. Those actors exist, it’s just that sometimes, Children, people like movements instead of authenticity.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a kingdom called Ja Lolla. Ja Lolla was a beautiful place, right by the sea. Ja Lolla was known for many things – it had a large population of seals and surfers,

which is why this is a fable- as any good surfer knows you should not get in the water with seals, as they tend to be a staple food item for Great White Sharks

Only idiots swim with seals, this has been your public service announcement for the day

but Ja Lolla was blessed in this way, the Great Whites had all turned vegan, that’s how magical a place it was, and in this,

the early mythic second thousandth of a year that is yet unnamed, as the rising gasoline prices made the cost of buying fresh fish astronomical and a vegan diet, wait, …I digress. I apologize. Back to our fable.

What else was Ja Lolla known for, children? Dare you ask? Why, music! Yes, Ja Lolla was known for taking adults who never got enough attention as children, and giving them new songs to sing, new dances to dance, and after they put it in the magical music shop and worked on it, these songs and dances entertained people. (Except for Micah McCain, who DOES exist, he just walks out at intermission at everything!)

One day the King of Ja Lolla wanted a new show, so he called his Master of the Stable

er…Fable to get him a show about a king, but it was not to be about him….it was to be about a ‘mythical’ King and it was to be about a bird

That is Florence Nightingale! C’mon!

I said, A BIRD….a bird who sings…Great, now make her ‘mythic’….

I totally need my next headshot done ‘mythic’

And then the King went off to get a latte and relax before his laser facial, well…that’s what they do in Ja Lolla.

The Master of the Fable called upon three of this BEST PEOPLE

and they began creating. When they were done, they had a beautiful show based on someone else’s story, but that someone else was a very pesky person, because he wanted his story set in a real place that he had never visited. (That, my Children, is called imagination.) Now the BEST PEOPLE had not been there either – they had seen photos and met people who had ancestors from there, but…the people whose ancestors were ‘from there’  were inappropriate.

After all, these were very important Best People and no one ever, and I mean never, ever, ever, never in a million years ever, told them what to do. And if they wanted to set a show ‘from there‘ and they didn’t like the look of the people ‘from there’,

why,they did not have to have those people! “Those People” were INAPPROPRIATE, and no one could tell THEM what to do! And no one did. Because no one cared. Because, Children, everyone did that all the time. And, they kept saying it really wasn’t about being ‘from there’ because they were basing it on a movement that was about vases and rugs and not about people at all. Which was confusing, but made sense if you lived at any point in your life, in Titipu

But there was one little bird who wanted to see this show, and this little bird had ancestors from ‘there’, (In Ja Lolla, birds can read and surf the mythical internet and mynas are talking birds anyway). She was very excited about it, because she liked that it was going to be new, and it might have other birds in it that looked like her – after all it was a show about a bird who lived ‘there‘, but then she read that birds with ancestors from ‘there‘ were inappropriate.

She wondered why, oh why, oh why-o, why did they ever leave..I mean, she wondered ‘Why’, this little myna bird – ‘why did those BEST PEOPLE think that she and her fellow singing birds were ‘inappropriate‘? Because they put the show in a real place, not in a land far, far away. After all, she knew that in a land far, far away there were rainbows. This little myna bird loved rainbows, the myna looked for rainbows everywhere because rainbows are beautiful, who doesn’t love a rainbow?

So the myna bird started singing. She sang to other myna birds, and then they started singing, and pretty soon, over 18,000 people heard the song of the myna. Not only was the song heard, but other people wrote songs based on the first song. (The myna finds this very flattering and thanks those birds). The singing grew so loud, that the Master of the Fable heard it, and he had to answer it with a song of his own.

Now, all the Mynas appreciated the Master of the Fable’s song, but they really wanted to hear from the BEST PEOPLE, because they wanted to know why did they not move the setting of the story to a real mythical place, not the place that was real that they decided was mythic, but a real mythic place – like…a land far, far away? They also wanted to know why they were “inappropriate’.

And as the Master of the Fable had scheduled a concert where he could sing to the mynas and they could sing back, the mynas all hoped that the BEST PEOPLE would sing with them.

But the BEST PEOPLE said no. They were writing another show about another Emperor who had nothing to wear, and they were going to play all the parts themselves, they were busy. We will never know why the BEST PEOPLE would not attend the concert. Some thought that the BEST PEOPLE were afraid, but the myna did not think so. The myna felt that the BEST PEOPLE, were nudists – and nudists do not care if they are naked. So be it.

But the moral of the story is, even if you do not get exactly what you want, you keep singing, because you never know…maybe 18,000 will hear you!

Also…if Nudists run around in front of you, you are more likely to note who amongst them are eunuchs. And fyi, you would have found Eunuchs in China…feudal, totally real, non-mythic China.

xxxxx

This post is dedicated to my Father, a brilliant lawyer, Family man, and one hell of an Irishman. He always said I was really a writer, he was the best Daddy around. He passed recently.  I had the good fortune to be at his side. He knew about this blog. He spent his entire career going up against the BEST PEOPLE and winning. He always knew when the Emperor was naked, and he never backed down from telling him.

The One and Only, Himself

R.I.P. Daddy and Thank You for Everything

“Just have her put it on tape”

Were any words more terrifying to the technophobe than the request to not only create some artistic (benefit of the doubt here, Folks) moment, but to edit it, upload, and then send it via the Internet to a Casting Director you have never met, to be judged by some Director that you can hopefully find on IMDB?

I love my iPhone. I enjoy Skyping with relatives overseas, I enjoy a lot that technology has given us, particularly in regards to show business – it makes so much MUCH easier…but trying to master all that technology is driving me up a tree.

I love MGM Musicals, not megabytes. I have no interest in knowing how everything works – I didn’t get the math gene. So while I am eternally grateful that I still get to do what I love to do…I’m a bit homesick for the 40’s. Not that I was there, but it looked cool in the movies – and I love a well placed chapeau with netting. Cold water flat? I could have done that. Stockings with seams? Glam. Only washing your hair once a week because you needed to get it ‘set’ at the beauty parlor? Ok, that one would not have worked, but the other stuff…I would have gladly Broadway Babied.

Gone are the days typified in Stage Door,

where young hopefuls sat in a Producer’s office, waiting for him That gal on the left, not the one with the cankles...(and it was always a him) to deign to notice her shapely ankles, and invite her to be in the chorus of his new Broadway show.

“What was that, Ginger Rogers? Ann Miller was tapping too loud and I missed it”

Gone even are the days where your Agent called you on a real phone that was attached to a wall,

a phone with a cord

and gave you an actual address to a ‘steep and narrow stairway‘, where you would race (hopefully 20 min early) to run through your 16 bars or your sides (which were not emailed or faxed to you ahead of time but had been copied and left at your Agent’s office for you). Nervously you would stand outside the door  with  a few people who resembled you. After your audition, you would then snail mail a thank you to the Casting Director and hope to hear from them within a 2-3 week period during which you could convince yourself that you were being ‘considered’ – after all, if you had not heard, then you really had not NOT gotten it, right?

Now, I get sides sent directly to my phone, which I am able to download. Immediately. I do my best to memorize them, immediately,  so that I can sit in front of my computer, with the camera on, and do a few ‘takes’ which I will drive myself crazy with – trying to judge the merits of this one over that. (Did my eyebrow wiggle convey the character’s inner quest for power? Is an HD camera really the best friend my freckles can have?)

I dump the file into a editing program or…let’s face it, I call my Husband to do it, because I cannot ever seem to get it right – and then upload it. Immediately. Except that once you press ‘send’ to upload, time seems to stand still. Oh wait, there it is, it’s working.

I send the link to my Agent, who will then send it to the Casting Director, who will then not look at it…. for a while. Why do I know this? Because I can see how many times it’s viewed, which will play right into my neuroses. I can see this immediately.

I will or will not hear within 2 days as I ascend up the level to where that Director who hopefully has a few IMDB credits actually looks at what I sent. I will or will not hear until they check with the people they REALLY want to do it. And then, I may get a call. But I will know, relatively immediately, dammit.

Somehow this seems too fast. I need the luxury of lulling myself with hopefulness. After all, if I have not heard yet, then I have not NOT gotten it. All this now, now, now negates the extra minutes you need to recover from creative frenzy and maybe give yourself a pat on the back that you know your craft and you did ‘that’ well.

I find technology terrifying. I probably know less about computers, having used them for a good chunk of time, than my 15 month old niece does right now. After all, when she grabs my phone, she can make apps vanish – screens that I did not even know were ON my phone have been found by my niece. Compared to her,  I am still banging two rocks together to make fire so that I can paint on a cave wall and leave it to be discovered by people who walk upright many moons after I have been left to die on an ice flo. These are things I think about, it’s not right, but it’s ok.

Oh right, I’m trying to upload, or something…what am I…

Usually by this time, I am exhausted – inevitably some part of the equation has gone awry and will add on another hour or so while I figure out the technical glitch.

Let’s face it,  I’m not a You Tube sensation smacking myself in the head repeatedly with a hammer to attract a demographic of 10-14 year olds who think physical violence is hilarious. I’m old school. I mean, I went to school for this – for the singing and acting part, not the YouTube part.

I have written movies,

The Mikado Project – Avail on DVD on Amazon.com

I have done Broadway, TV, Film, I’ve sung in nightclubs, but all I can think, when I get frustrated by what I am now supposed to have mastered just so I can be in consideration for a role that I am only going to get if everyone else is busy  is…

BETTE DAVIS DID NOT HAVE  TO USE FINAL CUT, DAMMIT!

(However if you are that Director with a few IMDB credits, it is no problem whatsoever, my reel is avail by emailing my Agent,  she’ll get it to you immediately)

The Fairy Princess would like to talk a moment about Diversity in Casting.

Yes, it seems odd, given that this blog tends to be about Women who love Gay Men who love them back just as much, but one must have outside interests, and I did state at the beginning, that I would perhaps sound off on this issue.

To give a brief background on my particular tiara and wings, my heritage is Chinese, Irish, and Welsh and I am a dual citizen of the United States and Australia. I am married to a (straight) man who was born in Korea and came to the USA when he was 8 years old. I have traveled to countries that include Turkey, Greece, Australia, Ireland, Canada, China, Japan and I plan to add Europe in general when my son is a bit older. My point is, I’m well aware of what the world looks like – would that Musical Theater looked the same. Broadway is not where one goes to find much diversity in casting. For example, I, (see me, I’m posting a photo of me as well as a little performance done for the 50th Anniversary of Flower Drum Song )

This is me, Erin Quill

This is me, Erin Quill

am not going to be called in for a lead in some of these shows currently on Broadway, shows like Once, Memphis, War Horse, Book of Mormon, Clybourne Park, End of the Rainbow, Evita, Fela, Porgy & Bess, Ghost the Musical, Harvey, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Nice Work If You Can Get It, One Man Two Guvnors, Streetcar Named Desire, Peter & the Starcatcher…I would make a fierce Elphaba, and who would know what I look like, but to my knowledge there has never been an Asian American Elphaba, and it was only recently they had the first African American Elphaba, Saycon Sengbloh, so…I’m not holding my breath. I could go into Sister Act as a Nun, but it is closing, and I have not been asked…I could go into Mamma Mia as Rosie, but that part is currently being played by Lauren Cohn

That’s Lauren Cohn…on the right…doesn’t look like me, does it?

So with all the opportunities currently available to Asian Americans on Broadway, ahem, imagine how excited I was when I learned that La Jolla Playhouse is going to produce a new musical by Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater, creators of the hit show, Spring Awakening! What? It is going to be directed by acclaimed New York director, Moises Kaufman, who helped create The Laramie Project. Awesome!  It is called The Nightingale, and it is based on a Hans Christian Anderson fable about AN EMPEROR IN CHINA WHO IS CONFINED WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY AND THE BIRD THAT CHANGES HIS LIFE.

CHINA!!!! Well, I happen to be CHINESE! Which would mean, in a perfect world, that I should get a call…or other Asian American Musical Theater friends should get a call – because it’s set in China.

Please read that last sentence again –  China. In Feudal China. The play is set in Feudal China. Guess who is playing The Emperor?  Not living legend  Chinese American Actor Extraordinaire, Alvin Ing, the man who holds the record for the MOST Flower Drum Song appearances, EVER. Nope. They went with  This guy:

Jonathan Hammond, The Emperor of China

Now, this story has a Young Emperor, he’s the one who falls in thrall with the Nightingale, and let’s face it, I’m Eurasian, my Daddy is white, so let’s give them a second shot at correctly representing those who might actually rule Feudal China….

Bobby Steggart, Young Emperor of China

Oh…my…ok, WELL…let’s take a look at the casting notice from Tara Rubin’s office. Aha! There is an EMPRESS DOWAGER! Which means that is the ruling Emperor of China’s Mom. What do they look like? Let’s find one – oh HERE’s one…Imperial Empress Dowager, aka Dowager Empress Cixi…

Imperial Dowager Empress Cixi

If I were to think of who might be fabulous as the Empress Dowager, I might call in Jodi Long who was on Broadway as Madame Liang in Flower Drum Song

Jodi Long, Extraordinary Actress

OR perhaps Amy Hill

Amy Hill, Amazing Actress

OR Christine Toy Johnson, who is not LA Based, but who did the National Tour of Flower Drum Song and is a longtime NYC Stage Actress

Christine Toy Johnson, NY Actress and active AEA Committee member

…….but here’s who they went with for the Empress Dowager of China:

Charlayne Woodard, Dowager Empress of China

You are probably sensing my frustration…and if you are not, your name is probably Moises Kaufman. Now, I have read that La Jolla Playhouse is calling the casting of this show “A Rainbow”. Here’s the funny thing about rainbows – the color yellow is rarely in that rainbow when it falls on other shows. Also, diversity has a time and a place – it’s usually an unnamed place in the future, in a multi-racial world, or set in modern times – it’s not in Feudal China. Let’s get one thing straight about Feudal China – diversity was never an issue.

But here – take a look at the article from Broadwayworld. It’s a little perturbing to see that only Kimiko Glenn has been cast in a show set in China, Feudal China – and for those who may not have picked up on it, Kimiko is  a Japanese name – I don’t care, happy she is working, I’m just using it to point out – there are NO CHINESE PEOPLE IN A SHOW SET IN CHINA.

This is not, Folks, like the time a Texas Children’s theater did an All Caucasian Production of HAIRSPRAY and you can claim, as they did, that they had no African Americans around to cast – this is a professional theater with a budget and access to any and every Asian American Actor in the country. It also boasts a Director of International Fame (a New York City based Director) and a Writing Team that have won TONY Awards – all they had to do was say, “Hey, this show is set in China, let’s cast some Asians up in here .”

OR, if you are simply going to use the concept of the fairy tale, just do not set it in China, Feudal China!

Let me be clear – I do not have any thoughts on the talents of the Actors hired, I have worked with some of them and they are ALL great – ALL! Actors have no power in terms of Casting, they are brought in, they sing, and they wait. This Diversity Debacle I lay directly at the door of the Creative Team – at ANY point, someone in the process could have stated the obvious, that if no Asian Americans were to be Cast, perhaps the setting should change from China, Feudal China.

So five spanks with the wand to Moises Kaufman, he is the Director, the buck stops with him and…looking at his past castings, doesn’t look like he would ever hire me anyway, as I AM MY OWN ASIAN AMERICAN!

And Moises can Kiss my Fan Tan Fannie!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

UPDATE: I posted this in comments, but there are a lot of comments, and so I will post it here as well, as not everyone wants to scroll all the way through:

Hi All,

As you know, the initial objection that I had and wrote about on this blog – this post – stirred a lot of people and as the objections grew and were written about, La Jolla Playhouse decided to have a talk back to discuss the casting. Over 19,000 people have read this post, for which I thank them.

There were many articles written on what started as my own annoyance, and I am going to post the links here, in case you want to read them.

I would hope that the people who wrote anonymously and bitterly of the notion that Asian Americans would and should speak up, would pay particular attention to the fact that both the Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse and the Director of the play itself, Moises Kaufman, apologized. Also in the audience but not on the panel was the writer, Steven Sater, and the Composer, Duncan Sheik.

I also ask you to consider this – just because you may be a member of your own minority group, it does not give you a co-op experience and permission to use your own minority status to devalue or denigrate this issue. Your experiences are yours, and mine are mine. It does no good and a great deal of harm to decide that because you are a particular ‘kind’ of man/woman that you have the right to decide when and where Asian Americans belong. I take issue with that. Many of the more objectionable comments were prefaced with “Well, as a ____ man, I think…”

It is not cool to use your status to keep ours where it is now, which is barely visible. We are only doing what scores of people have done before us. When my Grandparents, my IRISH Grandparents came here, they were faced with signs that said “Irish Need Not Apply” – this is much the same thing. And Bravo to Moises Kaufman for his comments in Part 2.

Here are 2 small videos from You Tube – it is supposed to be 1-7, but I have only found 1 and 2. In 2, we have ‘our’ apologies:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/NN3ilkvnZ7I
Part 2: http://youtu.be/uz6-uODcSKU

And here is a video I was sent by Pun Bandhu which is the whole talk: http://vimeo.com/46243248

Article from Playbill.com
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/168285-Facing-Criticism-for-Lack-of-Asian-Artists-in-Musical-La-Jolla-Playhouse-Hosts-Panel-Discussion

Article from Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/nightingale-asian-american-actors_n_1686270.html

Article from International Business Times, I am quoted twice, not by name, and called a ranting blogger (which struck me as odd, but…the writer apologized for that when I called him on it)
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/363035/20120714/la-jolla-playhouse-asian-actors-sterotypes-colorblind.htm

Article on Talkback from U-T San Diego:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/22/forum-on-plays-cast-evokes-harsh-criticism

Article from LA Times on the Talk Back at La Jolla:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-heated-exchanges-at-la-jolla-playhouse-over-nightingale-casting-20120722,0,6438118.story

Article from LA Times hearing from Prominent APIs in Theater:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-asian-american-nightingale-la-jolla-playhouse-20120718,0,7027101.story

Article from LA Times on Controversy
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-la-jolla-playhouse-asian-casting-nightingale-20120717,0,2686930.story

Article from LA Times’ Critic’s Notebook, which I emailed a response to, and I will post the response I sent: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-critics-notebook-la-jolla-playhouse-nightingale-20120723,0,4429707.story

Dear Mr. McNulty,
It was with great interest that I read your article about the controversy at La Jolla.It was because I am the person who wrote the original blog that started all this hubbub
It struck enough of a nerve that as of this writing, my blog has has over 19,000 views and it is only 2.5 weeks old.My name is Erin Quill, I was an Original Bway Cast Member of Avenue Q and I have been reviewed in the LA Times for my work in the play, The Mikado Project
http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/27/entertainment/et-stage27
, also for my work in the musical, Closer Than Ever,
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/08/theater-review-closer-than-ever-at-gtc-burbank.html which was produced by Lodestone Theater Ensemble.I am a Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. I am also one of the screenwriters for the feature film, The Mikado Project, avail now on DVD, which was reviewed in The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-heymont/the-mikado-project-troubl_b_851865.html

I only mention this because I am trying to show that I am a legitimate stage Actress whose work has been covered BY the Times and yet, when it was time to cast a show that could have API performers, my phone did not ring. And, should you watch the video of the talk back, you will see that the CD will say that this show did not have a proper audition process, they made calls and offers. My friends who are API performers did not have their phones ring either.

While I would never deign to tell a Director or Creative Team who to hire, I will (and did) point out the ridiculousness of their casting choices. Not because the Actors were not fabulous – I fully believe in the talent of the Cast, but because they set the show in China.

China is not a mythical place. China is a real place with a real people. Our history looks a specific way. The titles Emperor and Dowager Empress mean something when said in China.

It is not for other minority groups (I only say that because you brought up your own status) to decide for other groups what is their ‘place’, what they are allowed to comment on. Moises Kaufman himself pointed out that usually in debates of this kind dealing with underrepresentation, that he is the one clamoring, and during the controversy he realized that he was doing the same thing that had been done to the GLBT community to Asian American Performers. He said we were right to protest, and he apologized.

The debate for us was not multi-racial casting. It was not to infringe on a Creative Team’s right to choose the cast they want, but the costumes, the sets, and the names of the characters were all Chinese. That we were asked, that all the audience was asked to please accept 2 Caucasian Emperors of China. Not a ‘mythic land’, it was CHINA.

If this was Porgy and Bess, and the leads were Caucasian, you would not think to write
“underserved communities need to recognize the right of artists to establish their own conventions of representation”

You would be scared to, even with your own minority status that you established.
You would know that using your own status and including the above quoted sentence to African American Artists would be looked upon with dismay, distrust, and anger.Yet you have used them to the Asian American Acting Community.I ask you why. It is met with just as much dismay, distrust and anger as if you said it to someone African American or Latino. Asian Americans are angry. We are angry with the co-opting of our heritage and then being told that while our heritage is useful, our talents are not wanted.We have a right to be heard, and we have a right to not receive a ‘scolding’ from a Critic who is held in high regard.We do not need someone to tell us how to listen to the excuses of why we are not asked to be a part of a world set in OUR world.

In that audience, there was Drama Desk Winner, Deborah S. Craig, there was API Theater Luminary and the man who holds the record for most Flower Drum Songs ever, Alvin Ing. There was Tim Dang, Artistic Director of East West Players – a theater that always ‘somehow’ manages to cast with Asian Americans. Cindy Cheung who was on the panel has been in several Feature Films and Christine Toy Johnson is a staple NY Theater Actress.

There were many more with just as nice a resume and yet a Caucasian lady stood and asked if there was an Asian American Acting Talent Pool. There are API Drama Grads from Yale, CMU, Julliard, NYU, Northwestern – some of the top programs in the country, and yet here is this Caucasian Lady telling us that she ‘doesn’t see color’ and asking why we are complaining that the Emperor of China is Caucasian.

It is because when there IS debate, there is always someone, such as yourself – held in high regard, that expresses the opinion that we should ‘listen‘ or ‘stop making hubbub’. And by doing that, you are ensuring that people who are uncomfortable with APIs protesting have an excuse to dismiss WHAT we are saying – that we want to look onstage, at a production where the setting IS CHINA, and see Asian American faces.

The Nightingale is a fable, and thus, children are being taken to see it – what does it say to Asian American Children when they see that it is acceptable to make the Emperor of China a white man? It tells them they do not count.
I am a long time supporter of the GLBT Community, with fundraising efforts for The Matthew Shepard Foundation, BC/EFA, Desert AIDS Project, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, The Trevor Project, I sing regularly at Musical Mondays in WeHo…I live and work in the GLBT Community, and yet I would never say “well, I know what it’s like to be a Gay Man”. Because I cannot. Do I know TONS of Gay men? Yes. They are my closest and dearest friends. And Always Will Be– but I cannot know what it IS to be a Gay Man. Just as you cannotknow what it is to be an Asian American Performer.I thank you for your coverage of this issue, but I was dismayed by the end of your article. Truly. And, do I think that there will be more API’s when this show continues? No, I do not. I think they will just move the setting from China and then still cast exactly the way they want.Which is totally fine. Because in a mythic land of Far, Far Away, it can be as multi- cultural as they want it to be – but they cannot have China without Chinese people. They cannot portray China without Asian Americans.

Thank you for your time,

Erin Quill

Silver Fox – Anderson Cooper

Oh Anderson….Anderson, Anderson, Anderson – this Fairy Princess congratulates you on your exit out of the closet – not that we all didn’t know, but perhaps some didn’t – people in Nebraska maybe. They obviously have never seen you in Hell’s Kitchen eating at 5 Napkin Burger just one table away with your Main Man, whereas this Fairy Princess is omnipresent and always on the lookout for a big Gay reveal. Let me break it down for you, Folks:

My Gaydar could bring down Sputnik – if Sputnik was a Drag Queen from Moscow who came over during the Cold War.

That being said, in a “Perfect World” it would be exactly as Mr. Cooper himself stated, that simply because you lead a public life there are things you are able to keep private. Lest we forget, he is a journalist who travels to places where being Gay is punishable by death, keeping his sexual preferences private is a safety issue – not just for Mr. Cooper, but also for people he travels with.

He came out because he felt he could no longer be content with NOT coming out, given the rise of bullying facing the Gay Youth of today. That is a great reason to come out – not because of gossip rag taunting, nor because of trying to ‘control the situation”, or because he touches massage therapists inappropriately and they sue – he came out because he thought it was the right thing to do. He came out to help kids who may take this information and hang on one more day, who may look at his face and find that bit of inspiration that changes their lives internally enough so that they are one day able to change it externally as well.

(Anderson Cooper Laughing Fit VIDEO!)

And let’s face it, his Mom is Gloria Vanderbilt…like Gloria Vanderbilt probably didn’t tell him he was Gay when she caught him watching Poor Little Rich Girl over and over on Betamax!

For allowing his personal life to possibly inspire and save kids, Anderson Cooper…I grant you 5 waves with the wand, and send you many good wishes. (Although if we had met in college, I probably would have thrown you out of that Lion, Witch & Wardrobe...not, as I have stated before, that I advocate that. Fairy Princesses EVOLVE People, we EVOLVE!)

Five Wands Up Mister Cooper – I would hang with you any time!

Wigs, Weaves and Whatever….

Many women wear wigs, either because of illness, or fashion or they watch too much Bravo and they ordered a Kim Z special at a weak moment.

Some women think you just jam a wig on your head and off you go. FAIL. You need a ‘wig cap’ underneath – even if you are bald. Your head sweats and you do not want to sweat in your wig, because they it smells and you need to wash it, it’s a pain in the ass.

I have worn tons of wigs because I have been in period musicals and they needed my hair to look sort of like Imelda Marcos in 1975, and I didn’t have enough hair or energy for that. Who does?

A wig cap is a small piece of stocking like material, they sell it at wig stores – it looks like someone cut the foot off of panty hose (some people do use panty hose as a wig cap). You need a wig cap and pins. Bobby pins AND Hair Pins.

  1. If you have hair that is going under the wig cap, you need to pin curl your hair, depending on the length. What this is, is taking small sections of hair and twirling it so it becomes a spiral and goes close to your head, where you then pin it with bobby pins.
  2. After your head is entirely pin curled, place the wig cap on, pining it securely to your hair underneath – if your wig cap goes, so goes your wig – it’s like France in WW2.
  3. When your wig cap is secure, place your wig on top – you want to go and duck your head, carefully putting the back part on first, get your head really in there, and then adjust the front.
  4. You will then use HAIR PINS – not bobby pins, HAIR PINS that they sell at the drug store, to secure your wig. You pin the wig to your HAIR, through the wig cap. Get it – through the wig cap to your head. Do not skimp on the hair pins. Once it’s on, shake your head, HARD – if it doesn’t come off or move, you are good to go – get your Harajuku Girl on.
  5. Falls and Fake pony tails do not usually require a wig cap, but they do require hair pins and pulling your real hair back and putting on the fake ponytail OVER your own. Falls are the same, they go OVER your own hair so that you look like a Kardashian.

Extensions come in various lengths and styles, and it’s only in the last couple of years that Caucasian women have really started investing in good extensions, African American women are waaay ahead on the art of fake hair. In general, Asian and South Asian women aren’t that big into extensions simply because – it’s our hair they are using for the extensions! In general, if Asian women want full heads of hair, they can grow their own.

There are two kinds of extensions that I will discuss, because I am not a Hair Stylist, and because they are always advancing – clip ins, and sewn in. My friends that have had them done with glue, generally have had a problem. I know that there are always exceptions to this rule, your Stylist may be great with a  glue gun, but I am of the opinion that ‘crafting’ and hair are two completely different situations and should be treated as such. Glue on your scalp is a huge no no, and can be very damaging.

If you purchased a celebrity clip in extension, you should totally be able to handle it – and they are fun for the weekend,  or a show – and that is about it – I call those your “Party Hair”. They can be really cheap, or really pricey. What makes the difference is the quality of hair – is it real hair, or synthetic? I say, you pay what you feel comfortable with – and no one really looks that closely.

When you get extensions ‘sewn in’ to your hair, you want to get ‘real human hair’ and you need to go to a high quality place to have them done. I have not heard of a high end extension job costing under $500 in a major city. You want to spend the money on the high end for a few reasons:

  1. lasts longer – at least six months
  2. with your very experienced stylists, you will have less permanent follicle damage’ because they will know how to do it without ruining your scalp.
  3. there will not be telltale ‘bumps’ where your extensions are attached
  4. your color will probably be better matched than with synthetic, and possibly, if you are going uber-fancy and the color does not match, they can dye it to match if it’s real hair.
  5. Your hair always looks like what you paid for it, always. You can’t get around it, much as certain shampoos and companies say you can. They lie. It’s advertising.

There you go, a few lessons from you to me, Pinky Lee…wasn’t GREASE a crazy movie? I mean, now we have 50 year old teenagers on every television show, but THAT movie set the bar! Ah…BLESS…

Hiding Yo’ Junk, Punk!

(a)   Drag Queens know the power of the second pair of panty hose. Yes, you heard me, hose over hose will keep you tucked in better than almost anything. If you wear Spanx or other kinds of cantilevered underwear – and we all do – try one pair under the Spanx and one over. Yeah, you’re going to sweat like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News, but sometimes those Spanx ride up on the thigh, so the hose give the rubber on the Spanx something to grip. Or, you can do the two pairs over the Spanx – see what works best for you, since you are not tucking, either way should be bearable.

Whichever way you do it, remember, the hose smoothes it all out – no VPLs (Visible Panty Lines) for Fairy Princesses, EVER. It offends me.

(b)  Nothing is off limits if you have an area you want to disguise, you need corsets, body stockings, and steel girders under your clothes – ALL GOOD GIRL, ALL GOOD!  Do NOT be ashamed to go into a store and ask for what you need. (Actually, don’t be afraid of that in any aspect of your life) In my experience, if you ask the more experienced Sales People in a department store, they will know EXACTLY where to find what you need, they know their territory – yes, Virginia, just like in MUSIC MAN and if you are VERY lucky – your Salesperson highlights as a Drag Queen. But Grrl, do not forget that second pair of hose!

(c)   If you wear fish net stockings – wear nude or black stockings under them – it will save you from looking like a mermaid who got stuck ashore when you go to take them off, and it will keep the fishnets where they are suppose to be – on top of the leg, creating illusion, not sinking into your skin creating train tracks.

(d)  Petals – if you are wearing something that does not allow for a bra, go get yourself some stick on petals to hide your necessaries. Petals are basically band aids shaped like a flower that you place over your nipple to prevent yourself from becoming Janet Jackson, they are self adhesive.  Believe me, if your boob pops out, if there is a petal over the nipple, it is not half so embarrassing. Ask Tara Reid, she knows. All of that could have been avoided with a good petal!

These Boots Were Made for Drag Queens

(a)   Oh sure, you think Tyra and all the Vicky Secret Brazillians just woke up walking fiercely? No, Girl, they walk so strong because they learned from Drag Queens. So many women do not take the time to learn how to walk in heels, and they klump and frump along looking like a raccoon in roller skates. Tragic. You don’t just glide along in heels on the day you turn 13 and sing “How Lovely To Be A Woman”, it takes WORK, and practice!

(b)  Draw a straight line on the floor, don’t look down, now slowly start walking in your heels. DO NOT LOOK DOWN! If you can get a dance studio to practice in, so you can walk towards the mirror and see yourself placing your feet without looking down, that is best.

Place one foot in front of the other so that you are putting the descending foot on the OPPOSITE side of the line from where it started. Now repeat. Now, do it a bit faster and make your stride longer. Then add the ‘stomp’ of the attitude – and THAT, my Darling, is how you start to walk in heels with power.

Think Posture, Rhythm & Timing, Attitude, just like they teach at Ford Modeling Agency.

You may want to start in lower heeled shoes, and then in THOSE shoes – If you can place a mirror at the end of the line, to help you figure out where/how to look, that would be good too. And play music.

Throwing Shade

The best defense, in my experience,  is a sense of humor – and no one has a quicker comeback than a man in a dress and a 4 foot wig. If you ever want to catch an example of throwing shade, turn on any reality show with judges and watch the commentary, or do what I do –  go to Gay Bingo, and see what they come up with, it’s usually hilarious.

The secret to ‘shade’ is to be smarter, faster, funnier – get to the ‘pain’ of the insult as quickly as you can – not unlike when you bake a cake and you put a knife into the center to see if it’s done? If the knife comes out clean, no batter on it, cake is ready – shade is the same, you don’t want crumbs when you pull out. (That is true for so MANY things in life, N’cest Pas?)

Hey Girl!

Everything is better with fake eyelashes,

Elphaba gives good lash – just kidding…kinda

but not everyone puts them on correctly. Which is why they fall off halfway through the night leaving you looking like your Gays turned on you before you picked your Red Carpet outfit.

She said her toddler chose it, and by ‘toddler’ she meant “Twink who picks up my laundry for his showbiz internship’

(We always say that, when we see a bad RC…Her Gays Turned on Her!)

Tilda is wearing “The Snow Queen Cometh’ inspired by her Dynasty loving Gays who lied and told her Joan Collins is still a trendsetter, and Rose “Bridesmaids’ Byrne is a bit ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Oy VEY” when she was told everyone was coming as their favorite Studio 54 flashback

Pick up the lash carefully and place a very thin line of eyelash glue on it, THIN Girl – if it’s too think, it’s going to move around. Now, after you put the glue on, you have to WAIT – don’t try and stick that on right away, it will run like a Republican caught in a men’s room with a glory hole while the press is outside.

The longer the lash, the closer to DIVA!

One trick is to put on your eye shadow FIRST, and then glue the lashes OVER it, that usually gives the glue enough time to get tacky without getting rubbery. You have to leave a small, non eye makeup lash sized line where the lash goes, in order to get the glue to stick to the lid if you put the eyeshadow on first.

These look like lashes that would go with Cher’s Half-Breed Ensemble

Why wait till the rest of your eye makeup is on? You don’t want your lashes to look ‘dusty’, leave enough room for the lash to be applied, put on your eye makeup, and THEN apply lashes – DUSTY LASHES ARE BUSTED, GIRL!

He’s always been Divine, but Girl, these lashes are BUSTED

If you cannot get the hang of putting eyelashes on last, then do put them on first, but take a piece of paper and place it over the added lash when you do apply the eyeshadow, again, so it doesn’t get ‘dusty’. If you get eyeshadow on your lashes they sort of ‘fade’ in their effectiveness, the pop is not so great if they are more a grey color from your contrast color than the diva black that was intended.

Here’s a tip a lot of women do NOT use – CUT the lashes. Yes Girl, you can cut the lashes if they don’t fit your eyes, which makes it glam and not like you have been rooting around in your Momma’s old Mary Kay tackle box.

Don’t hate the lipstick, love the lashes!

Yes, I know you went full tilt boogie for Halloween and bought the expensive ones from the MAC store with the feathers – I still say, CUT THEM so they fit your lid. Be smart about it, not in half – you just hold it up to your eye, without glue and see if the edge of the lash comes more than a 1/4 inch past where your lid ends. If it does, unless you are doing a stage show, you cut them. (And here’s a shout out to my Asian sistas – Girl, it is a momentary slip from being a sexy vamp out for a night on the town, to being thought of as a ‘Lady-Boy”, so watch the lashes and that base that doesn’t match your skin tone. Talking to you, K-Town, you heard me! And while we are at it, STOP dying your hair red! Do brown highlights for heaven’s sake, your hair is black!)

You want the longer lashes at the end of your eye, which will open it up and make it dramatic. To be honest, I have been having a lot of success with individual lashes, but they are harder to put on, you need a tweezer and double the time. However, if you have an extra half hour or more to kill, putting on individual lashes will make your look pop but in a more natural way.

OK, I digress, the glue is tacky enough now to apply the lashes -you should look straight ahead and apply them if you can, not pull your lid down and put them on, because they will have the wrong angle. Don’t close your eyes, press them on your lid and pray – this ain’t church. You gots ta LOOK at what you are doing! EYES OPEN! LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD INTO THE MIRROR! NOW PRESS THEM ON! HOLD AT LEAST 30 SECS!

What I like about this is, it’s subtle….

How’d you do? Well, it takes practice, just like Carnegie Hall. Make sure you don’t wait till the big night to practice putting on those lashes, get a few cheap pairs from the drug store and drill them like they are scales and you are Lang Lang.

Practice, practice, practice

Fairy Princesses Don’t Show their Junk

Drag Queens are men, and so their junk is a penis, which they tuck out of the way – many times they pull it through their legs and tape it into place with duct tape so the front is flat. The idea is that no one sees it. Same with women, you wear a short skirt, we don’t want to see your “Queen Victoria”.

It’s a euphemism….think about it

Getting out of a Car Without Flashing…

If you are getting out of a limo, you remain seated, swing your legs out FIRST and place your feet on the ground, then have someone assist you in getting out of the car, so that we do not all get a flash of your ‘bidness’.

If you are driving, it’s the same thing – put both feet on the ground before you get out, then slowly stand. Just think of the scandals that Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton

I see London, I see (Paris) France….

could have avoided if they had hung around more drag queens that knew how to hide their private areas?

If you are sitting, wearing a short skirt, do not cross your legs at the thighs– cross the ankles and swing your legs a bit to the side, so that if your legs uncross, we do not see up your skirt. Some people who have very long legs can cross theirs and it looks all glam and fab and swoonworthy, but for the rest of us – keep the ankles crossed, it’s more comfortable, and that’s the strategy the Queen of England uses, so it must work.

All Hail, now THAT is a Queen

The impression you do not want to leave people with is Sharon Stone.