Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Hi People in the Coffee Shop,

I am that Mom you hate.

My Son, My Niece, & I

My Son, My Niece, & I

You hate me because I have a stroller.

Yeah, I only use one

When I enter, this is what you seem to see…and I only use one at a time Folks

No other reason – just my existence. Just my existence, the fact that I have a child in a stroller, and that I need coffee.


It’s not, seemingly the size of the stroller, or how quickly I get myself, my child, and my drink in and out of line – you simply do not like me because I own a stroller. Actually, I own three. (Which seems totally excessive unless you realize that my child grows and to that end, I enjoy the ability to keep him safe and strapped down when I enter places like a coffee shop.)

I only use one at a time.

I have a stroller that was great when he was an infant, because it reclined all the way – and which, by the way I am giving to friends who are planning to adopt, I have an umbrella stroller that I use ‘day to day’, which is not invasive or particularly large, and I have a sports stroller for when we take him hiking or on a run.

I have, yes, at various times, stopped for coffee with these different strollers, and every time, someone has rolled their eyes at my daring to enter,  unless I get an empty shop.

It is why, yes – oh Artsy Fartsy Coffee Shops – why I rarely patronize your stores, because I get ‘static’ from your staff in the shop as well as the customers. Sadly, I am giving you up.

But the gal with the dog in the bag is totally is the fellow looking at porn on his laptop, got it

But the gal with the dog in the bag is totally fine…as is the fellow looking at porn on his laptop, got it, but how am I supposed to order, pay, & carry my drink while carrying my kid who only likes to run, run, run? I see…that is not your problem….thanks for that.


Some are worried about ‘the death’ of the arty neighborhood coffee shop. I would love to help, I would, but sadly, I am not welcomed. Neither are the other Moms.

In my travels since becoming a Mom, I have found that the ‘Bucks and “The Bean have a more understanding staff, have larger doors and ramps that allow me and my detested stroller to enter with ease. Which is fine for the most part, but sometimes, depending on the area, I have to patronize a small, artsy coffee shop, and that is usually where I can get depressed for just a moment. Because they hate me. They hate me and my stroller.

It goes something like this. I open the door, the bell rings and people glance up, which is when the eye rolling starts.

I take a deep breath and start the following dialogue in my head…

“Oh hello tiny coffee shop and it’s Lord of the Flies clientele. I get it. I totes do. You do not like kids.


I get that you have tiny tables, and hyper expensive muffins, and patrons that resent my existence. It’s fine. You make it pretty clear. You make me feel that  I am ‘too much of a bother’ simply by walking in the door. I am just here for today, for this moment, and I will go as quietly and as quickly as I can. I will be but a ripple in your space time continuem”

And for the most part, that is just a blip in the day, I cannot dwell on it ad nauseum, I do not even know these folks.

However The Fairy Princess wondered if she should say something about this phenomenon. Why?

There may be another Mom, at some point, who will, by mistake, wander into that arty farty coffee shop thinking that she could take just a moment, and rest. Take a moment and return emails on her phone because the kid is sleeping, or take a moment and eat, while her child is sleeping, or it could happen that she just needs a moment to think – while her kid is sleeping. She may be shocked or taken unawares, and really, there is no need for it.


So this post is for that next Mom who will incite your wrath with her Uppa Baby or her Bugaboo or whatever stroller is ‘hot’ at the moment by accidentally darkening your door.

I appreciate that at some point, someone with a carriage perhaps has inconvenienced you and your daily caffeine intake. I can also appreciate that you are concerned some Mom is going to make your beloved arty coffee shop one of her ‘daily’ stops and perhaps invite a friend along who has a child of similar size, and that ‘your’ coffee shop will turn into ‘their’ coffee shop, and BOOM! Down you go on the path of ‘gentrification’. A suburban casualty. This fear, though HIGHLY unlikely will result in ruining your mood, whilst you read your paper, or your tablet, or surf the web.

You will glance up at that Mom, and you will scowl. It may not be a full ON scowl. It could be an eye roll, or an eyebrow raise, or a creased forehead (unless you are in Beverly Hills), but you will have some, noticeable reaction – and you will probably be unaware you are doing it. Or perhaps you are doing it on purpose.

(Do not worry, your Facebook posts about how horrid it is to even see the existence of my child and I at a coffee shop have set me straight. I will stick to the “Bucks or the “Bean.)

I appreciate that you think a child might cry and you will have to acknowledge that we share the planet. You may have to face the terrible, awful fact that you too were once a crying, pooping, sleeping, breast or bottle fed infant yourself – and you like to avoid that reminder as much as you can.

What you are not appreciating is that, we, as a Mothers, need coffee. It might be our one moment during a 24 hour day, where we take a moment to enjoy a beverage.

So yes, we may roll our strollers into ‘your’ coffee shop, and  take an extra moment to pull out the wallet, because our bag is filled with diapers and wipes and sippy cups and an extra change of clothes for him, and heaven knows what else.

We  do not need your eye-roll. We have enough going on.

I realize you have a perfect life that you enjoy just as you are. Good for you.

So do I.

I do not say a word as you prattle on about Proust at the next table in stentorian tones which will wake my kid and possibly bring forth your worst coffee shop nightmares. I usually agree with you that global warming is happening, producers not getting back to you are ‘a nightmare’, and that you absolutely could not get anything done at home because your pet has a small illness.  I realize you may be hungover from hearing a DJ spin all night, or because you were working on an ‘important project’ whose ideals are so lofty,  you believe that I might not even be able to wrap coherent thought around it. (Ahem)

I get that that is your life, and I am on ‘your territory’ when it comes to your beloved coffee shop.

I  just order a soy latte, and I go right back out the door to ‘where I came from’.

However, if I chose to sit, it would not be wrong. Most often if I do, I sit outside, to prevent even the slightest inconvenience to you – because I do acknowledge that small children are not to everyone’s taste. Most Moms that I know, do this as well, we are just parents, not stupid.

So there I sit, at an outside table, hoping he may sleep if he is already doing so, or that if he drops something on the ground, a bird will get it – otherwise I will pick it up and throw it in the trash. I am usually pretty quiet, if he is sleeping. But then, some person who hates children, but loves coffee AND cigarettes will sit right next to me and light up.

In which case, I rise, lickety split, and leave.

Because your lung cancer is your own damn business.


Perhaps you are single, or perhaps you have raised your own perfect children who never, ever gave you a moment of grief so you cannot even bear the sound of a child’s laughter or voice, or perhaps you are of the group that springs fully grown from the head of Medusa – I do not know.

I only know that I am not going to NOT get my coffee because of you. Nor should any other Mom.

I need it. I have a 24 hour a day job taking care of a 30 pound toddler that only knows how to run. He is a joy and a delight, and he is exhausting and fantastic all at the same time.

If I need that coffee to keep up – I am going to get it.

But if we could take the vitriol down, just a notch, I would appreciate it, because I am cranky. My kid is not a weaponized stroller dweller trying to take out your toes and peace of mind, he is a little human that I am trying to keep safe.

That is what is in those strollers you hate so much – little human beings. Those people you roll your eyes at, the ones you resent so much? They are Moms – just like your Mom, so perhaps a tad less disdain? Perhaps understand that this is a lifetime job that we do not go home from, or take a break from, so we might need a beverage? Perhaps you could just slide your feet out of the way, understanding that our line of vision is slightly hampered by the stroller containing a small human?

Could not common courtesy carry the day? Where we both politely acknowledge that our paths are different, but what unites us is a need for caffeine? That we have, as it were, common interest?

You can disagree with me, of course. But I would ask, oh you ‘perfect, only worrying about yourself‘ People – do me this one favor?

Call your Mother.

Ask her what it was like to be raising you, and if people said anything to her about her stroller – they were BIGGER then you know….


However if common courtesy is beyond you, we can mutually ignore one another and I will be on my way.

But if you come for me with shade – just be aware….

This Mommy was raised by Drag Queens, and Gurl – The Library is OPEN!




The line from A CHORUS LINE is resonating with The Fairy Princess today  – “I knew it when I was in front”


Sheila says it. Shelia, for those who do not know the show is the ‘mature’ dancer in the show. She’s done the most shows, she has the most experience, but she sees the younger ones nipping on her heels. Shelia knows that time is the enemy of a dancer, but she is not going down without a fight.

But going to the back of the line and dancing behind the kids? When she has been in front for years?

Sheila has had it…officially!

DeTox is done, officially, too

DeTox is done, officially, too


The Fairy Princess is done, officially too, I’m going to make this short and sweet.

I understand “Activism”

Activism is looking at working conditions in the garment district and pressing for change in safety regulations.

The Triangle Fires - look it up, wait, here is the link.

The Triangle Fires – look it up, wait, here is the link.


Activism is sending children to school to combat segregation.


Activism is being sent to jail for 28 years because your country needs to be united.



Activism is volunteering at a soup kitchen, raising funds for HIV treatment for those in need, mentoring at an after school program, donating items to a Women’s Shelter, providing free legal help at a community center, entertaining the Troops, visiting the elderly, being a Candy Striper,  running in a marathon, sending care packages – all of that is Activism. Some of it is individual and some of it is part of a larger organization, but it is all Activism. Endowing a scholarship is activism. Providing your talents at fundraisers is activism. Signing petitions is Activism. Being a “Big Brother” or a “Big Sister’ is activism.

Activism is not enabling yourself to ‘speak’ for an entire community just because you can turn on your computer.

Therefore The Fairy Princess is going to say this, just once:



I realize that the Twittersphere could come for me. Oh sure,  they will ‘bring the rain’ and call me all sorts of names because they disagree with me. They will say I’m a disgrace to my race, and then they will tell me that I should not even be allowed to comment on this because I am Hapa, and not ‘really Asian“.

They might pick on my hair or my weight, or my clothes. They might spam me. They might threaten my son. They might threaten my Husband (Which would be really stupid, he is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do).

Chil Kong & Erin Quill


The Internet Coven is ruthless….Hmmm, I should stop giving them suggestions….

(By the way, all of that sounds totes mature, don’t it?) (Totes)

By the way, (btw for the kids), these things have all been said to The Fairy Princess person. 

You see, The Fairy Princess is a person, and we would all do much better if we would remember that behind Facebook Accounts and Twitter Accounts and Instagram Accounts, there are actual people.

We are, yes, a group that can be like-minded on some things, and it is a privilege to belong to the group that has the highest amount of education, the highest amount of disposable income, strong familial ties, etc. etc, etc…..

However constant ‘yelling’, flinging around words with -isms willy nilly, hurts us.


What it means is, when we REALLY need to be heard, when there is a horrible issue that must be dealt with swiftly, no one will listen.

The constant barrage of tweets and blogs and posts on social media will have worn down those who need to listen. Worn down those who would partner up with us and help us enact change. In political terms, we would be alienating ‘our base’ while ensuring that the ‘independents’ would not join us.

We have real issues in the Asian American community – Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, few API Foster Families and a rising amount of API kids in Foster Care, and yes, Racism and Sexism to name just a few – all of which could be the focus of ‘Activism’. But will they? Or will all this static have cost us the platform on which we need to stand to be heard?

You will have made our voices, white noise . (Oh, the irony)

The Fairy Princess knows that this is only her opinion. She has no power to stop different organizations or individuals from expressing their beliefs. But she has the ability to say to those people, that they do not speak for her.

Not now.

Not ever.

If The Fairy Princess wants you to know what she is thinking, she will write it down, herself.


Note: The Fairy Princess does not consider herself ‘an Activist’, although she does volunteer and raise money for charities and do all sorts of things that could fall under that label. The Fairy Princess is simply a person with a point of view who shares it. She does consider herself an ‘Advocate’ for Diversity, LGBT rights, Musical Theater as an art form, and for her child.



The Fairy Princess has been watching a lot of Network TV.


Mainly because she has a toddler, and as most Parents know, once you have a toddler, you do not get to go out as much as you had before.

Therefore I have noticed that some of my favorite non-Asian named but played by Asian American characters have been killed off, rather gruesomely, on Network Television and I can understand why some are getting upset. (Upset being the mildest word to describe what they are feeling)

Let’s break it down for those who cannot understand the fuss –

First to go:

1. Deborah S. Craig, aka Luli Zheng from NBC’s The Blacklist.

Luli Zheng...RIP

Luli Zheng…RIP


Now, Luli was a cool chick. She was. She had an MBA in Economics from Stanford, and was the youngest ever head of a Billion Dollar Hedge fund until, in a spectacular death blow to Tiger Parenting, she was charged twice with wire and securities fraud. However, she survived all of that and went on to manage James Spader’s character ‘Red’ ‘s money and was his lovah….all of which I enjoyed both as an audience member and as a fan of diversity.

And then…dum, dum, dum….Luli had her face blown off and brain matter splattered right there on Network TV in the episode “Anslo Garrick“.

KA-BOOM! Luli we hardly knew ye.

2. Julia Cho (not the playwright) aka Shelby Moss, on ABC’s Scandal

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Poor earnest Shelby Moss, who in her work for the NSA ‘overheard’ the conversation between the “I love my Dead Gay Husband, who I just killed” Vice President played by the formidable Kate Burton and the “I let my live Gay Husband sleep with your Dead Gay Husband to get blackmail photos‘ Cyrus Beene, played by the brilliant Jeffy Perry,  in the Episode “No Sun On The Horizon”.

Poor Shelby, she was only trying to help when she turned the conversation in to Olivia Pope’s Sub-Gladiator Family, headed up by their Don Quixote, David Rosen.

But what did she get?

Bullet to the forehead, no warning, and buried in an unmarked grave by Scott Foley’s Jake, who is now ‘Command”.

Ouch. Not even a double tap.

Single shot. Brutal.

Probably Shelby Moss should have taken the hint when she walked on set, given the way Scandal handled it’s last API Character – ‘member Press Secretary Britta Kagen? 

Played by Keiko Agena.

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live....

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live….


Britta bit it too. Only fatality. Ouch.

To be an Asian American actor on Scandal is the same as being a ‘red-shirt’ on Star Trek.


Damn, they were only following orders, Kirk!

Anyhow, Asian American female characters dropping like flies in some spectacularly gruesome ways, how are the men doing?

Reggie Lee aka Officer Wu on NBC’s GRIMM

Officer Wu-tastic!

Officer Wu-tastic!

was attacked by an Aswang (Filipino monster) and wound up in a mental institution!

Alec Mapas Renzo on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth was accused of leaking Lea Thompson’s first draft manuscript!

"I was supposed to have done WHAT?"

“I was supposed to have done WHAT?”


Hmmm, the men, not so good. I mean, good that they are getting so much screen time, but they are dealing with a lot of stuff too.

Which is great!

Because that means more airtime, and that means that APIs are becoming part of the American Television landscape in a larger way, and that means, we are finally getting ‘our due’ as integral cast members! Bad stuff happens to Cast Members, because that is what a dramatic show is all about.

So if Reggie Lee has to go crazy, or if Alec Mapa has to defend himself, or if our Hawaii 5.0 bruddahs and sistahs have to enjoy huge character arcs, in the name of propelling their show’s drama,  all the better.

However one can see where Asian American audience members were perhaps having a rough viewing Network TV season, and then came…Beverly Katz.

Miss Katz regrets, she's unable to lunch today....

Miss Katz regrets, she’s unable to lunch today….


3. Hettiene Park, aka Beverly Katz, NBC’s Hannibal

Everyone likes Beverly Katz – maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the no nonsense approach she has to science. Perhaps it is because Beverly Katz was indeed a breakthrough character in many ways, right from casting.

Hannibal Creator, Bryan Fuller first saw Hetienne in a play on Broadway called “Seminar”, and that may be where our public attachment started.

First off, as everyone knows, (but if they do not they can read this AAPAC study on the dearth of APIs on Broadway) Asian Americans on Broadway in seasons where Miss Saigon or King & I are not playing are low to non-existent. To be an Asian American on Broadway is to defy incredible odds. To then be able to propel it into a television role is exceedingly rare, so of course Asian America would embrace Beverly Katz, er…Hettiene Park, er…Beverly Katz. (because you see, she’s a character, ahem)

Here’s glam, but understated, Beverly going head to sewn-on head (onto another body, you have to watch the show), with monster Hannibal Lector, who has planted evidence to frame the mentally nimble but unsteady, Will Graham. Beverly is the only one, using reason and logic and science, who finally comes to the realization that Will is telling the truth.

So she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house. Alone.

Repeat that last part, she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house alone. Would YOU go alone to someone’s house if you thought they were a mass murderer who eats his victims?

Probably not, but it makes for good television.

Good television, good storytelling, good craftsmanship is why people watch the show. Any show.

Unless you watch reality tv exclusively.

The one, the only Honey Boo Boo

Honey Boo Boo, Ladies & Gentlemen, Honey Boo Boo


Now, there are many, many reasons that fans attach to a character and a show. Asian Americans in particular have been so long ignored on the TV landscape that we attach rather strongly – so there was a resulting uproar when poor Beverly Katz turned around and saw Hannibal seeing her, in his basement, pawing through his stuff.

Characters die for all sorts of  reasons on television. Sometimes it’s a production decision, sometimes it’s an actor’s decision, sometimes it is a combination. A non-meeting of the minds. Or it is a decision based on, oh, what is that thing we all tune in for?

Oh right, the story.

You can be sad when your favorite characters die on a television show, for example…

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey


Josh Charles as Will Gardner on The Good Wife….


But let’s not get hysterical.

There are really good things coming for Asian Americans who like seeing Asian Americans on television or in films –

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando - Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando – Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

And there are some really good things already up and running:

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

The Cast of TBS's Sullivan and Son

The Cast of TBS’s Sullivan and Son

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

So we are not NON Existent on Network TV, get that out of your head. We’re there. Not everywhere, but we are there.

Of course you are allowed to be sad about poor ol’ Beverly Katz, who likely will ‘get served’ on this evening’s Hannibal.

panch'an) refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

panch’an -small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.


However you must remember….your favorite characters dying on one show means that soon – they will be on another show playing someone else you can grow to love just as much. Or perhaps they can go and do a play or a musical on Broadway and you can see them live, up close and in person.

Being on a Network Television show in a role that recurs opens many doors, it is the gateway to a career that can be challenging, as a minority, to get noticed in. When Hannibal started, no one outside Broadway knew of the range and talent of Hettiene Park.  Now, as of the numbers last week show, 2.5-2.7 million people have seen Ms. Park and what she can bring to a role. She will be just fine. She will live on – not as Beverly Katz, but as someone equally cool. Same goes for Deborah S. Craig and Julia Cho and Keiko Agena….they will all be fine.

You can be angry – but be angry at Beverly Katz, who was stupid/confident enough to walk into a psychopath’s house alone without backup. While you are at it, be mad at Cousin Matthew for driving too fast, and be mad at Will Gardner for taking on an unstable client.

That anger will be equally as useful.

Flipping out to flip out is not going to get you more Asian Americans on television. Flipping out to flip out, means you become, forgive the color inclusion but it’s the term, white noise.

No one will listen.

The Fairy Princess is not down for that, nope, not at all. You cannot cry racism or institutional racism or any other isms ad nauseum. Activism is useful when it is active. Not when it’s all about yelling. I know this, because my Family has, for generations, been activists in this country.

Beverly Katz is dead. RIP Beverly Katz – your passing will enhance the opportunities for actress Hettiene Park, and the storyline of Hannibal, and for those of us who watch it, we are grateful for your sacrifice.

And remember….


And if you cannot…..(I don’t know why, maybe you are a vegetarian, as am I) then it really may be as Elementary as…

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary



After the Panel: Stop talking. Start doing.

by Erin Quill

in Diversity & Inclusion

Post image for After the Panel: Stop talking. Start doing.

(Ed. note: The following interview series builds on Seema Sueko’s report on the Diversity: Through the Director’s Eye panel, “Jump into the Gaps.” Diversity & Inclusion online curator Jacqueline E. Lawton shared a series of questions with attendees of the panel to expand and continue the conversation.) 

JACQUELINE LAWTON: First, tell me about the work you do as a theatre artist or administrator.

ERIN QUILL: Primarily I am a Performer – I hold a BFA from Carnegie Mellon in Vocal Performance. I was in the Original Broadway Company of Avenue Q, the 50th Anniversary production of Flower Drum Song, toured as Lady Thiang in King & I, your general musical theater resume… On Los Angeles stages, I am known for my work with Lodestone Theatre Ensemble’s productions of The Mikado Project and Closer Than Ever. I have been a sketch comedy performer in New York and in LA, and have studied quite a lot of improv. I have had recurring roles on two television shows that shoot in NY – Damages and NYC 22, and appeared in the film, Man on a Ledge.

As a writer, I have a blog that I started right before my son was born, called where I write about Diversity in theater and anything else that tickles my fancy. In 18 months, I have over 50,000 views from all across the globe.

I have produced, worked in casting, written screenplays turn into features – I have done just about everything I could do to maintain life as a theater artist. As Sondheim wrote – Art isn’t easy…

JL: In a conversation about Diversity, identity and representation is important. How do you identify? How has this identity influenced the work that you do?

EQ: Ethnically, I am Chinese, Irish & Welsh, and am a dual citizen of the United States and Australia. My Parents strived to make sure that I understood both the joys and the burdens that being multiracial encompassed – we celebrated Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day with equal fervor. I studied the histories of my diverse heritages, as well as the fairy tales, the music, things that were cultural touchstones.

As my Mother is Chinese Australian, we spent a great deal of time traveling back and forth to Australia in order to maintain family relationships – so I would say that I feel I am a world citizen.

Everywhere I travel, I try to visit a museum and grab a sense of where I am in that city’s timeline. I read histories, biographies, I hang at the ‘local’s’ spot – I look for differences and similarities no matter where I go.

I think that travel and study open your mind, and in terms of being an actor, to be exposed to various accents and ways of viewing the world – it all helps. In my writing, I pull from my world view, which is perhaps the reason my blog has hit such a nerve in the international scene.

JL: Why was it important for you to attend the Diversity: Through the Director’s Eye panel discussion?

EQ: I wanted to attend the Diversity Panel, because I was the first one to write about what was going on at La Jolla Playhouse and it’s production of The Nightingale. I wrote a blog post called “Moises Kaufman can Kiss my Ass and here’s why“, and within a few weeks, it was at 25,000 views. And the resulting ‘fallout’ from that blog post caused quite a stir, and a rush to have panels to discuss diversity – none of which I was invited to. People, many many people gave interviews, based on the fervor surrounding that post, but no one asked me to speak on it, or why I wrote it – so…I wanted to attend the Diversity Panel because I wanted to see where the chips had fallen, so to speak, a year later. Did my work have any influence? Were people willing to ‘get it’ in regards to casting Asian Americans on theatrical stages?

JL: Can you share one or two moments of discovery that happened for you during the panel discussion?

EQ: The first is that East West Players theater, and its Artistic Director, Tim Dang, are ahead of the crowd. They really are – here is an ‘ethnic’ theater that decided to broaden its horizons with a multi-racial cast and do the musical, CHESS. They took a leap and the audience was there for it. They are thinking outside of their comfort zone, they are creating space for the next wave of theater goers to feel welcome. Which means, thankfully, that East West Players is going to be here for many years to come, which makes me happy.

The second is that out of the four Caucasian men on the panel – there are two that are actively embracing Diversity, one who seemed to be shamed into having Diversity, and one who does not, absolutely does not give a damn about Diversity. I think we, of the “Diversity’ camp have to look at is as a win – we have 2 out of 4 for sure, perhaps 3 – and let’s face it – you cannot win them all. 2 out of 4 is progress. They know who they are.

JL: What is your biggest take away from the panel discussion?

EQ: My biggest ‘take away’ from the panel was that people who are concerned with Diversity and with building their audience are going to practice Diversity. And then there are those that seem innately satisfied that having a’ liberal upbringing’ and proclaiming it loudly on a panel negates them from any obligation of serving the Diverse community of Los Angeles. You cannot force a horse to drink, and you cannot force people to open their minds when they have been quite comfortable with the status quo.

My biggest question coming away from the panel is ‘Why?’. WHY are we continuing to have panels? Why hasn’t everyone ‘gotten it’ yet? Because they do not want to. They do not SEE Diversity. They will NOT see Diversity and we cannot MAKE them.

How could we sit for 90 or so minutes and hear NY’s Public Theater lauded for Diversity and Art and choose not to see what makes The Public Theater so great? It is the theater of New York City – and it reflects New York City. In Los Angeles, it is equally, if not MORE Diverse than New York – and yet, when we look on our stages, you would think it was 1950′s America. It’s embarrassing. No wonder Los Angeles does not have a National reputation for theater – how can we? We do not reflect the Nation.

Do you know what happened after the panel?

A Director in the crowd, who sat through an entire 90 minutes of talking about diversity approached Chil Kong, and demanded that he give her the ‘go ahead’ to do a show about Chinese history. She was very angry – which both I and Terence McFarland can vouch for – were ‘we’ (and by that I assume she meant ‘we Asians”) going to stand in the way of the play she was intent on producing just because it was a play about China that was going to be performed entirely by Caucasians in Chinese dress and manner?

Because you see, as she told it, this play is ‘allowed’ to be performed by Caucasians in Chinese dress, because this play she is doing, was written by a Caucasian man who adopted his daughter from China and wrote it for her – to help his Chinese born daughter learn the history of China. As performed by Caucasians in Los Angeles.

We had JUST exited the Diversity panel. We were at the reception. In the courtyard of The Pasadena Playhouse!

So my ‘take away’ is that Diversity is only going to happen when Artistic Directors ‘get it’ – it is not going to happen otherwise – what will happen, is that there will be a division of theater in Los Angeles – there will be the ‘white’ houses that will only play to Caucasian audiences, and there will be “ethnic theater’ which will appeal to everyone else. And eventually, one type will die out – and we will then, and ONLY then, know the winner.

May the odds be ever in our favor.

JL: What areas still need to be addressed in your community? What conversations still need to be hand?

EQ: There have been enough conversations to sink a battleship. There needs to be less conversation. There needs to be action – who cares if people are talking if they are not doing? Actions, as every actor knows, speak louder than words.

JL: What practical action steps would you recommend to local, regional and national theatre companies to address issues of Diversity and Inclusion?

EQ: Begin with your Boards – Diversify your Board of Trustees. Those are the people that raise money for your theater. Oddly, money tends to influence what shows are produced – if your Board is diverse, the theater company tends to incorporate Diversity.

Theater Staff – if your staff is multi-racial, they are going to think in a different way – they are going to suggest different types of plays – because their background will make them open to different kinds of playwrights, directors, actors. Listen to your staff.

If you have a larger theater, then you have to start your own casting files – have ‘meet and greet’ auditions or open calls specifically targeting one group at a time. Look at your season – look at where the play is set, which city, which time period – who would be there? Then go out AHEAD of time and LOOK for those people. Call companies known for having Diversity and ask for recommendations – both for Actors and Directors. Share. Grow. Act.

If you are an Artistic Director, then plot the direction you want your company to travel in. You cannot sit back and say “I’m the AD, the Director I hired is in full charge of this play” – you, as the AD are ultimately responsible for your theater company and every show that you produce. If you, as the AD are not helping guide your guest Director, as to the whys and wherefores of your company – then you are not an AD, you are Human Resources.

Finally – stop being lazy. You know why your company is not Diverse in it’s material or staff or board or casting? Because of laziness. It takes effort to change. You have to want it – you have to want it just as much as when you wanted to be an Artistic Director, or an Actor, or a Set Designer, or a Choreographer. If you want something, you act upon it. If you want change, you make it happen.

Stop “having conversations about diversity every day” – just practice it. Stop talking. Start doing.

If you don’t do anything, I know you are not serious – don’t waste my time. Excuses are so 2013.

ERIN QUILL holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon. She was on Broadway in the Original Company of AVENUE Q, as Madame Rita Liang in the 50th Anniversary Production of FLOWER DRUM SONG at AMTSJ, toured opposite Debby Boone as Lady Thiang in KING & I, other productions include THE MIKADO PROJECT, CLOSER THAN EVER, ANYTHING GOES and so on. TV Credits: Damages, NYC 22, NYPD Blue, Movie Club w/John Ridley, Bravo pilot DISHIN’, Screening Party, Feature films: Man on a Ledge, The Mikado Project. Her blog has had over 50,000 views since it’s ‘birth’ 18 months ago – she has spoken about Diversity at LA Stage Day, on Speak UP with Jimmy, appeared in Network Diversity showcases, and most recently, was a Finalist in the Writer’s Program at NBC for the Diversity Showcase. She has written 2 screenplays that went to feature production, and is exhausted about talking about Diversity. She also has a sense of humor and a toddler.

Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener fellow. Her plays include Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: Love Brothers Serenade, Mad Breed and Our Man Beverly Snow. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theater, Discovery Theater, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. A 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color, she has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She resides in Washington DC and is a member of Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena.

The Fairy Princess does not generally watch a ton of videos – they are a time suck, and I really do not care about kittens and the darndest places they get into. (I am a dog person).

Growing up, I had a Cocker Spaniel just like this one named Linda (My sister named her, I got to pick her out)

Growing up, I had a Cocker Spaniel just like this one named Linda (My sister named her, I got to pick her out)


However there have been some videos that have come up, which I enjoyed and I wanted to share them.

Top of the list – Alec Mapa’s Acceptance Speech from the OUTFest Fusion Awards:


Lenny Henry’s Speech at the BAFTA Television Lecture – it’s long, but it is totally worth it!


The Fairy Princess could totally identify with this speech, because in a way, it reminded her of when she had to give this one at LA Stage Day:


And building on that last one, I wanted to throw a nod to British East Asian Artist Daniel York and this piece that he put together, which explains so much about what lack of representation can do to one’s self esteem and artistic journey – or rather, the artistic journey that they are ‘allowed’ to have, when people are not as in charge as they would like to be:



The Fairy Princess has had an interesting few days since St. Patrick’s.




Several long Facebook discussions that were completely and totally agitating – all on race, casting, perception, and the words we use to describe one another. It’s been exhausting. However there was one today, and I feel it is worth sharing where The Fairy Princess stands on this ‘line in the sand’.

Today there is a piece in The Advocate about a word often used on TV, and by different folks within the LGBT Community, and that word is (I’m just going to type it, I don’t use it myself in conversation or well, ever) –


Trans people have explained it again and again why they do not want the word used, but again and again, people who have ‘grown up’ in the LGBT community and who are, tis true, of a certain age group or community status, feel that they can use the word, and are accustomed to using the word, to describe transvestites.

Dame Edna - perhaps the most Internationally famous man in a dress

Dame Edna – perhaps the most Internationally famous man in a dress

When I first heard the word years ago and when it was first described to me, I will agree – it meant transvestite.

It never occurred to us then to use it to describe transgender, because truth to tell – we did not talk much about Transgendered back in ye olden days because…well…there was not the same awareness that there is today.

Chaz Bono, who identifies as Trans

Chaz Bono, who identifies as Trans

Words and meanings evolve. Who would have thought that a pile of sticks used to burn heretics at the stake would evolve into a Gay Slur? Probably no one at the time. But it has, which is the point.

The point is, it is ok to say Well, I did not realize, sorry, duly noted, will not use it again.” which should be followed with “Thank you for letting me know.”

Gabourey Sidibe had to apologize, and honestly, The Fairy Princess does believe that she did not know it was offensive, and congratulates her for taking the initiative to apologize and learn a new way to speak

Gabourey Sidibe apologized, Thanks Precious!

It is true that this is a relatively (RELATIVELY) new issue, not NEW NEW, just…it’s been around but a lot of people seem to not be paying attention – on purpose.

The Fairy Princess gets that people  have differing opinions on this word, but this is her only question:

If it hurts someone else, and you KNOW it hurts someone else, why are you still using it?



Isn’t this an easy fix?

Yeah, it is – and that is truly, the point. Not whether you think someone is being too sensitive or unable to take a joke – that is the not the point. The point is – are you the type of person who knows you are hurting someone and will continue to do it?

Duck Dynasty anyone? Is it really that different?

It’s all words right?

Yes, it’s words – and how they are used, and how they are heard.


The Fairy Princess has a secret – she is a baker.

Well, she’s a singer and a baker. A Singer who bakes! (my Irish music)


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day –  I am going to give you my super secret Irish Soda Bread recipe. Originally it was, yes, from my Irish Grandmother, onto my Mother, but there have been a few modifications since then.

While you are getting everything ready, we’ll give you something to listen to – one of my Dad’s favorite songs & one of his favorite people to work with – Irish Balladeer, Paddy Reilly. (I love the man myself, he’s a class act)

Things to know – I do not put in salt in this recipe.  I do not think you need it and  I was used to making it for Dad, and he had to watch his salt intake. Also, caraway seeds (shudder) not necessary – many people nowadays cannot eat seeds, so in my opinion, if you are going to serve a group or give it as a gift – without seeds is better.

However, you can certainly throw in salt and caraway seeds if you so desire.

I only make Irish Soda Bread once a year, and I make A LOT of it – so be prepared, this is a recipe that you are going to get several loaves out of, and here we go:

Rule of thumb - More Raisins, More Raisins, More Raisins!

Rule of thumb – More Raisins, More Raisins, More Raisins!

5 Cups Flour

1/2 Cup Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder (they are different)

2 Eggs

2 Cups Buttermilk

4 Cups of Raisins (2 Gold, 2 Brown)

1/2 Cup Sour Cream


3 1/4 Cups Flour

3 Tablespoons Butter

1/3 Cup of Sugar

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

2 Eggs

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

1/4 Cup Sour Cream

2 Cups Raisins (1 Golden, 1 Regular)

Sift the dry ingredients together, rubbing in the butter as you go till it looks like cornmeal. Then add the Buttermilk and Eggs (beat the eggs before adding them) and mix VERY well. The Batter is going to be bulky and a bit hard to handle.

(If you think it is too dry for some reason, you can add another egg and some Buttermilk, sometimes in large batches, dryness can be a problem with the batter.  If you do not want to add another egg – stick with adding Buttermilk or some extra sour cream.)

Fold in the raisins, try and make sure your batter is evenly imbued with raisins

Grease the bottom and sides of the pans being used, and flour them as well, so that the loaves pop out easily when cooled.

Bake at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for approx 40-45 minutes, depending on the pan.

Whilst ye are baking, you could have a ‘sing song’ with my old Touring mate – Brian “Red” Hurley. This is his Danny Boy Trilogy, it always brought the house down, as the saying goes. And he always said ‘Let’s have a Sing Song’ at some point in the show.

The loaves are done when you can insert a knife into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean. Just watch it though, because a crumb or two on the knife is ok – you can really screw up Irish Soda Bread and make it too dry.

A few things – Irish Soda Bread can be plentiful around St. Patrick’s Day, My Soda Bread is a bit more cake-like – not so much bread. I put in way more raisins than most people and I put in both golden and ‘regular’ raisins because IT IS DELICIOUS to do so. The Golden Raisins add some kind of pop that is hard to describe, but it is much tastier with the Golden Raisins.

Also, not everyone uses Sour Cream, so if you cannot do Sour Cream, you can use the amount that is supposed to be Sour Cream and change it to Buttermilk.

I have baked it in small loaf pans, I have baked it in giant bundt pans, I have baked it in regular loaf pans – somehow it always seems to take at least 40 minutes to bake, regardless of the pan size. The smaller loaf pans I do check on beginning at 25 minutes, and then guess-timate from there.

The best way to serve ‘my’ Irish Soda Bread is with some butter and your favorite jam on top, accompanying a cup of tea. If you want to go ‘full tilt’ Irish – in honor of the day, there is Barry’s Tea (very popular)


Or I suppose you go could with another old standard….

When I worked in an Irish pub in NYC, this was the stout that was served - Murphy's

When I worked in an Irish pub in NYC, this was the stout that was served – Murphy’s

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all because….



And when ye have a bit of the melancholia at the end of the day, because it will be another year till St. Patrick’s Day rears it’s head – here’s a song fer ya from The High Kings….

The Fairy Princess has had a remarkable Saturday that she was not expecting. First, as previously mentioned, she was on the Home Page of, for the interview she did with “Speak Up With Jimmy“. That was lovely, because she does indeed, have life long friendships with many people of the LGBT community.

Second, she was mentioned in Jeff Yang’s  blog for the Wall Street Journal, and when someone who makes their living singing and dancing winds up with a mention in the WSJ, it’s…well, it’s a cool feeling. Therefore I just wanted to take a moment and thank Mr. Yang for reading my blog and thinking it made a point or two.

And now, The Fairy Princess has to address something that has bothered her for a tremendous amount of time, and it will be uncomfortable, and it will upset some people, and it will make it highly likely that a portion of her extended Family will not talk to her for a while, but before that….

I am Irish.


Yes, hard to believe if you read this blog (although it has been mentioned a time or two), but The Fairy Princess is Irish, Chinese, and Welsh  – which makes me fairly Celtic/Gaelic. There have even been articles on the fact that I am Irish, which…let’s face it, is pretty amazing.

I grew up with songs like this playing in the car:


I have an Irish name – both first and last, and middle too, actually. I have toured with Irish musicians as a singer (some fairly fancy ones, actually) for three years, and I have an Irish music CD that is available on iTunes.

I have some famous Irish relatives who helped shape New York City

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

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

and, you know Unions in general in this country….

Mike Quill with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. shake hands at the 1961 TWU Convention

Mike Quill and  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. shake hands at the 1961 TWU Convention

I grew up going to Irish festivals, and hearing stories about ‘The Old Country”, and as Dad represented a few Irish performers, I have seen quite a bit of some of the more famous musicians up close and personal. Sung with one or two at a pub and such.  Actually, I would say that if it was Irish themed and made it to America, I have probably seen it.

However, I have also seen this:


This is Irish Drag Queen, Panti Bliss, who was recently sued in Ireland, by a group who wound up on a chat show with her. They made homophobic statements, and Panti Bliss called them ‘homophobic’ and under the slander laws in Ireland, that is litigious. And that, to quote Panti herself, ‘feels oppressive’.

(For the Drag Knowledge Amateurs – if a Drag Queen is in makeup, it is polite to use a female descriptive, if a Drag Queen is out of makeup, then, of course, it would be polite to refer to the person as a male)

Which, to Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte  in Ireland, seemed wrong. So there is now a move to change the Broadcasting Act  in Ireland, which allows people to sue Broadcasters willy nilly. This is a step forward.

(No, Willy Nilly is not a Drag Name. Or, well, it’s not mine.)

Which means that Ireland, ‘the Mother Ship’ as it were, is trying to change.

The question I have is why are we, in America, holding on to a rather antiquated set of rules that oppress people?

In Ireland, LGBT people have been marching in Parades on St. Patrick’s Day for approximately the last decade. In fact, the The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin, said recently, “Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted. God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Is there still oppression there, yes. Are there still hate crimes there? Of course. But look who is ‘coming out’, as it were, in support of LGBT people – The Archbishop of Dublin!

I mean, WHO is more Catholic and Irish than the Archbishop of Dublin?

He wins. So let’s not hide behind religion anymore, eh?

This got The Fairy Princess to thinking about the way we, in America, have handled our St. Patrick’s Day Parades. That way could only be describe as…well, I would say the Parades are very organized and fun if you like Parades, but we have a huge, festering, open sore on our Parades, and that sore is called ‘exclusion’.

We have not allowed LGBT people to march in the Parades in declared groups.

I suppose LGBT Irish Heritaged people have marched in the Parades –  (percentages have the LGBT population of America as 3.5%, which would be around 8 million people – so odds are, yes, there have been LGBT people marching in the Parades) but under different groups and banners and they had to hide.

They may have been in the Parades, but they could not acknowledge publicly that they were Gay and that they were Irish.

Honestly now...who knows or cares who this guy sleeps with? He's going FULL TILT LEPRACHAUN PEOPLE!

Honestly now…who knows or cares who this guy sleeps with? He’s going FULL TILT LEPRECHAUN, PEOPLE!

Which made The Fairy Princess think of the stories she had been told as a child – not just about The Banshee.

If you hear the cry of the Banshee, someone is going to die. The Banshee is some SERIOUS business, she's going to come in a horseless carriage and take you to the Afterworld.

If you hear the cry of the Banshee, someone is going to die. The Banshee is some SERIOUS business, she’s going to come in a horseless carriage and take you to the Afterworld.

(Thanks to my Cousin Dinny, The Fairy Princess was scared sh*tless every time the wind blew till she was ten.)

No, The Fairy Princess heard other stories when she was growing up, stories that, as Panti Bliss would say, “feel oppressive.”

Now, when my Grandparents stepped off the boat from Ireland, they saw/heard/felt more than their share of this:

Irish_Need_Not_ApplyWhich means that if one were, say, to get off the boat from Ireland, and look for a job – to find gold on the streets as they said at the time, you were probably going to have a hard time.

You could do a few things – you could work on your accent and try and hide that you were Irish. You could take a job for far less salary, in often dangerous conditions, just because of where you came from and what you sounded like. You could stay in an area that was strictly Irish immigrants and hope that you could stay with your ‘own’ people and not have to face ridicule and oppression, low wages, abuse and all sorts of other things – things that would be visited upon you simply because of who you were.

One of the reasons you were going to have a hard time, was because America was steeped in Anti-Irish sentiment like this:

douglas20 1 CARTOON

Nice going Knickerbocker America.

Well, obviously things changed…

What he said...

What he said…

But now it needs to change again, and we, Irish Americans, we need to change it.

I mean, there are BEER COMPANIES pulling OUT (ahem) of St. Patrick’s Day Parades because we are not allowing LGBT People to show that they are proud of being Irish! BEER COMPANIES! C’mon! You know Beer Companies look forward to St. Patrick’s Day like a starving man looks at food. Longingly. Salivating. They are going to take a huge hit, just to stand up – and that is a great thing – it should put us on alert.

When the Irish first came here, it was almost a crime to say that one was Irish – yet we do this  same thing to LGBT peoples.

During the Great Famine, when there was plentiful grain and cows and so on being exported from Ireland,  the Irish starved because there was a blight on potatoes. Potatoes were the only things that the Irish were ‘allowed’ to eat and so they starved – even as Ireland was exporting grain and cattle and could have fully supported it’s own population, it was a crime to speak up against this policy. And we have made it a crime to speak up and say who you love. On a day that is supposed to celebrate love. A Saint’s Day.



Cannot we, Irish Americans, drive out these ‘metaphorical snakes’ that interfere with our ability to embrace so many of our people?

OUR People.

Irish American people, who want to celebrate being Irish Americans on a day that we have set aside specifically to do that.

The Fairy Princess believes that Irish America can change.

If The Fairy Princess can learn to eat and love Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread it just goes to show – even things steeped in tradition – can be embraced. And you know what – she does not MISS the Gluten!

Which means – you will NOT miss the hate.

You won’t. I promise. It will make the day lighter. It will make the argument go away. It will embrace Irish Americans, all of them, equally – and there will be one less stupid, horrible thing to argue over in this country.

Who would not want that?

I mean, for heaven’s sake – who did you think was  going to be at the rainbow when you got to the end?




The song says


It’s doesn’t say ‘If you’re Irish… and Straight, come into the Parlor“, it says “If you’re IRISH”

Sure and they are descended from Brian Boru, and the High Kings, and Boudica, and sure they have heard the stories of the Harp that once through Tara’s Halls, and probably seen a step dance or two – right? So what’s the problem – change these policies!

There was an ‘All Inclusive” St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 2nd, which Panti Bliss attended.

Panti Bliss at the All Inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade in Sunnyside, Queens, NY

Panti Bliss at the All Inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Sunnyside, Queens, NY

My hope is that next year, Panti Bliss will be an invited guest at the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Heck, maybe they could have her as The Grand Marshal?

The Fairy Princess would totally be an Aide to that particular Grand Marshal.

Just as my Father and Uncle were once upon a time when they marched in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It was, I can say with complete certainty, one of the proudest days in my Dad’s life – being able to march down 5th Avenue in his top hat and morning coat, with a sash across his chest, showing the world where he came from.

Doesn’t everyone deserve that chance?


Because EVERY Parade is better with Drag Queens, my doves. Every. Single. One.


WHO is more fun that these girls? Ummmm...NO ONE!

WHO is more fun that these girls? Ummmm…NO ONE!

The Fairy Princess woke up today to find that her interview on friendships between Straight Women and Gay Men from the Chat show, “Speak Up With Jimmy” is featured on the home page of!


She is pretty thrilled.


And, I guess...reflective – get it, get it?

Also, yes, I kinda hate the shirt I am wearing in the interview AND I needed a haircut AND I should have sat up straighter. (I am pre-empting my Mother’s comments)

But anyway – here ya go!

Thank you so much to Jimmy Nguyen for having me on ‘Speak Up With Jimmy’ – I always enjoy being on the show.

The Fairy Princess just wanted to have a peaceful Thursday.

She wanted to watch Scandal, and see if anyone ate their arm off to escape twenty years of incarceration, and perhaps sip a hot chocolate while doing so.

There were some excellent things that occurred this last week, and while she generally sticks to commenting on theater, attention must be paid to Hollywood who has made some cool decisions this week.

To begin with, Reggie Lee– aka Sgt. Wu on NBC’s GRIMM got his own mythical creature of horror to love and rear and name Aswang.

Obviously, the Aswang is on the right....

Obviously, the Aswang is on the right….

The Aswang is so completely a creature that Filipino parents would use to scare children, that I cackled with laughter when I saw it. An Aswang sneaks into a pregnant woman’s bed and eats her unborn child. (I mean, of course, that is really, really bad, but that is definitely an Asian fairy tale – because most of them lead to someone having bodily harm, dying, or getting stuck in a mountain for millions of years – all designed to make us behave and continue to practice piano as we study to be a doctor while doing math problems in our heads.)

The ratings  were FANTASTIC – so yay for Diversity, for Reggie Lee, and for Grimm fans who, let’s face it, might like to not always have to look to a Teutonic dictionary to figure out what is going on every week. Yes, I watch the show, and yes I love the show, but change is good too.

Alec Mapa, currently seen on the ABC Family show, Switched At Birth, as Lea Thompson’s new Gay “Bestie”….

This photo screams subtle, nuanced drama...or maybe that's just my take

This photo screams subtle, nuanced drama…or maybe that’s just my take

is getting an award this coming Saturday in Hollywood – The Fusion Achievement Award from OUTFEST’s Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival – which is the only multi-cultural film festival of it’s kind – dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting LGBT Media. Oh – and, speaking of OH – Sandra Oh is going to be on hand to present him with his award, and therefore I give you THIS little gem to enjoy….

Although they probably will not talk about that kind of stuff when she’s presenting him with his fancy award, which coincides with the World Premiere of his new Concert film, Baby Daddy. The Fairy Princess has seen Baby Daddy several times live, and gives it a hearty recommendation – especially if you are a Parent.

Finally, a THIRD good thing announced this week, was the completion of the Casting of Far East Orlando, formerly known as Fresh Off The Boat. The pilot stars Randall Park as the Father, Constance Wu as the Mom, Ian Chen (Gary), Hudson Yang (Eddie), and Forrest Wheeler (Freddy). It is based on the memoir by Celebrity Chef, Eddie Huang – and if it gets ‘the order’, it will give us the first funny Asian American Family on a major network since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl. 

Photo by Jeff Yang

Photo by Jeff Yang

If it gets a ‘order’ and runs at least 4-5 seasons, these small children will be able to buy and sell us all, so finger’s are crossed for you, Kids!

So everything was going good, yes? Seems like Hollywood was doing way better than Theater (Particularly theater in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, ahem). Until I read about Rooney Mara being Cast as Tiger Lily in the new big screen film being directed by Joe Wright.

Just so we are all on the same page – there is a play and a novel – called  Peter Pan, Or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and it was written by J.M. Barrie  – who was Scottish. He wrote the play in 1904, and the novel later in 1911.

Author, J.M. Barrie

Author, J.M. Barrie

Scholars believe that the character of Peter is based  in part on Barrie’s brother, David, who died in an accident at age 14. His Mother, Margaret had a hard time with David’s passing, as he was her favorite, and the way she coped was by enjoying a fantasy that David would never grow up, and therefore never leave her. He also based Peter on his friendships with the 5 young sons of Arthur  & Sylvia Llewelyn Davies – to whom, after their parents passed, he became Guardian. The boys were named George, John, Peter, Michael, and Nicholas. He made up the “Peter Pan’ stories to keep the boys amused – but of course, he needed to create a world in which the characters lived, and so he decided upon “Neverland”.

Neverland is not a real place, of course, it is a dream. But, as with all dreams – and as even, with the character of Peter himself, Barrie based them on what was happening around him – he even named most of the characters for people that he knew. Peter, Wendy, John – all people he knew.

Though he may have known someone who was Native American, upon whom Tiger Lily was based, the odds are that she is simply a ‘made up’ character because he, as had most of the UK at the time, would have grown up hearing about stories of the American West and the British wars with the Native Populations of America, playing ‘Cowboys and Indians”.

Or, it could have been a fun story device – whatever the reason, he made up a name of a Tribe – the Piccaninny, which he based on Native American tribes, and made Tiger Lily their Princess and to a certain extent, a rival for Peter’s affections for Wendy Darling.

The description of Tiger Lily is, according to Wikipedia:

  • Tiger Lily is the proud, beautiful princess of the Piccaninny Tribe. In the book, the Indians of Neverland were portrayed in a nature that is now regarded as stereotypical.[9] Barrie portrayed them as primitive, warlike savages who spoke with guttural voice tones.[9] She is apparently old enough to be married, but she refuses any suitors because she desires Peter over all. She is jealous of Wendy and Tinker Bell. Tiger Lily is nearly killed by Captain Hook when she is seen boarding the Jolly Roger with a knife in her mouth, but Peter saves her.

Having studied literature at the University of Edinburgh,  Barrie would have been most familiar with the British image of the ‘noble savage, which became very popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. J.M. Barrie was born in 1860, so when he created the character of Tiger Lily and her tribe in Peter Pan, the images he may have seen of “Noble Savages’ might have been something like this:

Description: Portrait of a Native American woman, half-length directed to right, wearing feather headdress and holding a quiver with arrows Etching on thin paper Dimensions: Height: 97 millimetres (trimmed), Width: 71 millimetres Inscriptions: Lettered in top left corner: "Rembrandt f. / 1632". Print made by: Rembrandt (Follower of) Date: 1650-1750 (c.) Curator's comments: Possibly a later pas

Description: Portrait of a Native American woman, half-length directed to right, wearing feather headdress and holding a quiver with arrows
Etching on thin paper
Inscriptions: Lettered in top left corner: “Rembrandt f. / 1632”.
Print made by: Rembrandt (Follower of)
Date: 1650-1750 (c.) 

as this etching is in a collection in the British Museum.

He may have walked past this Ashinaabe outfit collected by Lieutenant Andrew Foster during his military service in North America circa 1780, also in the British Museum.


However even if J. M. Barrie was not patrolling the Native American collection at The British Museum in the name of researching a character called Tiger Lily, there were dozens of images of young Native American women around, because there was this lovely invention called photography – so let’s see if The Fairy Princess can find images of NA Women from say, the 1800’s and up, upon who he could base images of his ‘Tiger Lily’ –

Portrait of Marcia Pascal, a young Cherokee Woman, taken 1880 (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology)

Portrait of Marcia Pascal, a young Cherokee Woman, taken 1880 (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology)

Isabelle Perico Enjady, a Jicarilla Apache Girl

Isabelle Perico Enjady, a Jicarilla Apache Girl

Portrait of Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache, in 1899 by F.A. Rhinehart

Portrait of Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache, in 1899 by F.A. Rhinehart

Ah, so there were images of young Native American women on whom J.M. Barrie could have based the character of Tiger Lily floating around. Now, in 1904 – it would have been HIGHLY unlikely that J.M. Barrie or anyone else was looking to cast for ‘authenticity’ when casting Tiger Lilly, but here is the interesting thing, when they made the 1924 film of Peter Pan, they cast Anna May Wong as Tiger Lilly.

Anna May Wong in the 1924 film, Peter Pan

Anna May Wong in the 1924 film, Peter Pan

As most people know now, it is believed that an land bridge  of some kind existed, and that people crossed over from Asia into what is now known as North America.

DNA Migration Pattern detailing the now widely accepted 'Land Bridge" theory of migration, which indicates that 'the ancestors of the First Americans came from an East Asian Homeland"

DNA Migration Pattern detailing the now widely accepted ‘Land Bridge” theory of migration, which indicates that ‘the ancestors of the First Americans came from an East Asian Homeland”

Ah, science says that Asian peoples and Native American peoples share some DNA, and are somewhat, super distantly, related! This is not a stretch to believe, after all, we have some shared traits in eye shape and hair, the difference in skin tones would have been because of growing up in different climates and exposures.

Anna May Wong was Chinese American, and our first Asian American film goddess.

Wasn't she gorgeous?

Wasn’t she gorgeous?

Which means that the casting of Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily in 1924 was much closer to the mark than the casting of Rooney Mara in 2014!

Before she had a Dragon Tatoo...

Before she had a Dragon Tattoo…

No one denies that Rooney Mara is a talented actress, or that she is fully capable of investing into a role. But while it is perfectly fine for an actress to dye her hair, or lose weight, or gain weight to play a part, or allow herself to wrinkle, or present herself as a total mess in the film, but totally glamorous on the red carpet promoting the film – in 2014, this casting strikes a bad note. The mildest description would be ‘insensitive’.

Or you could read this article on The Huffington Post, they have a few words for it.

Now, on the off-chance that Ms. Mara was going to claim some percentage of Native American heritage, a la Johnny Depp, in order to divert attention from the fact that in today’s world, this casting is in poor taste, I looked her up. Her Dad’s Family owns the New York Giants football team and they hail from County Down in Ireland. Her Mother’s Family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they are Irish and Italian.

My Father, who was 100 per cent Irish American, was a lawyer. His people were from Kerry. He passed away in 2012.

The One and Only, Himself

The One and Only, Himself

In the course of his practice, he represented two Native American tribes who were fighting for State and Federal recognition. My Dad did not get paid as the tribes did not have the money to hire an attorney such as himself, because they had all sorts of internal issues.

When I asked him once about why he chose to do this – because it was hours and hours on the phone talking to the Chiefs, and so on, he told me that America could never make up to the Native Americans for all the crimes that were done to them. He told me that America had been very good to the Irish people, that they had done very well in this country, and that Irish people and Native Americans should stick together – because the English had treated the Irish almost as badly as the Americans had treated the Native Americans – almost.

It struck me, as I was reading about Rooney Mara’s casting that my Father, who was made “Tribal Judge’ for one of the tribes, would not approve of the casting of an Irish American, whose family had done particularly well in America, to be portraying a Native American.

Even if it is a mythical tribe in Neverland, which is based on an idea, but which does not truly exist. The Piccaninnys may not exist, but they are based on people who do.


But you know – no Actress casts herself, she is offered the part. So while we can question Ms. Mara’s decision to accept it, it’s perfectly within her rights to do so.

I have read some quotes from the director that this is a ‘re-imagining‘ and it is going to be a multi-cultural cast but I will say this again – and again, and again, and I will keep saying it until people who are trying to justify their insensitive casting decisions get it:

Multi-racial is not an excuse for when you want to culturally ‘skin’ a minority & wear us like a coat

Multi-cultural is not supposed to take away from people whose representation is already marginalized.

Multi-cultural is not supposed to be a buzz word defense for being ‘called’ on casting choices that amount to appropriation.

Also, as The Fairy Princess looks to see who has been announced as the Cast of this film – Rooney Mara, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund – she does not see a lot of ‘diversity’.

Maybe she’s being silly. Maybe Director Joe Wright is one of those guys who claims he ‘doesn’t see color’ –


Here’s the thing, Joe – may I call you Joe?

If you don’t see color,  how do you drive?

Ten smacks of the wand to Director Joe Wright – because you could have helped move everyone forward, and you chose not to. It’s not a ‘creative’ decision you made there, Joe – may I call you Joe? It is a decision steeped in a  ‘world view’ that does not view the world at all.

You could have done a remarkable thing and cast the first Native American as Tiger Lily on screen since, ummm, well, EVER!
(Apologies to Anna May Wong). But YOU chose not to, and that makes The Fairy Princess’s wings do a ‘sad flap’- because once again, the white guy refuses to ‘see’ people of color.

Which means that as in days past, the White Man is trying to erase Native Americans from the cultural landscape.

Man, The Fairy Princess just hates when people do not ‘get it’! You would think people were tired of being stupid and lazy, but apparently not. Frightening.

I guess, Mr. Wright, you can join the ever growing list of cultural arbiters with little progressive vision and…

Kiss My Fan, Tan Fannie!