Archives for posts with tag: fairy princess

The Fairy Princess was sitting, all snug in her bed, while visions of Equality dancing in her head…when from across the Pond, there arose such a clatter, she sprang from invitations to Conferences to see what was the matter….

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….

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This is Gregory Doran, and he is British. He is not ONLY British, he is ‘veddy, veddy’ British, and has been acting and directing with the esteemed Royal Shakespeare Company since 1987.

He is more British than Downtown Abbey, he is more British than Dames Maggie, Judi, and Peggy ! (Though he is in fact Nothing Like a Dame.) What he IS, is a conqueror.

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Whoops, that is William the Conqueror!

In the great tradition of the sun never setting on the British Empire, he has helped make England once again an Invading nation! Not just of hemlines and great butts….

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…but of theater, no wait, I have to spell it their way – Theatre!

Gregory Doran, the Lord Dudley of Dialogue, the Wolsingham of Words, the Essex of Iambic Pentameter, he has DONE IT!

He has conquered CHINA!

Not even MYTHIC China, but actual, true, Yuan period China!

Just to catch you up,  the Yuan period  was founded by the great Kublai Khan, (who was the Grandson of a little guy with an attitude problem called Ghengis. Yes, Ghengis Khan. Who was Mongolian. Which, is Asian.).

This is John Wayne as Ghengis Khan
Maybe he can get a job in The Orphan of Zhao?

Right after Khan decided ‘if you like it better stick a flag in it‘ – which was in the 13th Century, there came a playwright –  Ji Junxiang.  He wrote, they believe 6 plays, but this, The Orphan of Zhao has survived the ravages of time AND was the first zaju (Chinese “Mixed Drama or Play) to be translated into a Western Language! Go Ji Junxiang! Author, Author!

OK, so it’s translated. Now what do we do with it?

If I was looking for a British company to take a new spin on a  Chinese classic, which many give the same weight to as a little forget me not called HAMLET, I would likely pick The Royal Shakespeare Company.

And not just because I have dual citizenship with Australia and am therefore under the realm of

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And not just because my Mum happens to be an Advanced Teacher in the British Royal Ballet System and was the youngest to ever achieve that, and then they raised the age limit and it will never, ever be done again. (My Mom kicks ass and takes names en pointe!)

No, I would pick RSC because they are known for great work, and a play that has stood the test of time like The Orphan of Zhao, deserves that. Who would do a better job at a centuries old play with a new translation?

Why NO ONE! No one could do a great play better than the Royal Shakespeare Company – they have swords, they have training, they have accents, and they have cheeky bits they throw in for the commoners. They even went to China – real, actual, modern China, to find the right look for the show. All of which I applaud.

Research is a key ingredient to theatrical success, and after doing all that research, they decided upon this image to promote the show:

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Look at that PUNIM!

Ah, but does it look like THIS punim?

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Yeah…uh…not so much…..

If you have read me before, you know from past posts how much I love it when they put Emperors of China into plays and guess what – there IS an Emperor of China in this play! I wasn’t sure what an Emperor of China from this period was going to look like, but not to worry, not to worry –Gregory Doran knows, because when he wrote about going to China for research, he used this picture of an Emperor of China on his blog:

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So of course, when casting his play he went with this guy:

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Steven Ventura, Emperor of China

Because that just  made sense.

Oh ALSO in this show is a Chinese Princess! Perhaps they are going to try harder with this one, because the Princess is a pivotal character and kills herself and all that kind of stuff. This time I am going to find my OWN image of a Chinese Princess – I mean, I cannot keep relying on Gregory Doran, he’s busy!

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So…how did I do, Mr. Doran? Am I close?

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Lucy Briggs Owen, Princess of China

Apparently not.

Let’s throw it to Lady Grantham

In fact, there are 17 Actors in this show, The Orphan of Zhao, and  out of those 17….3 are of Asian Heritage. Which explains this Cast Photo:

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And this one:

A rehearsal for the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Orphan of Zhao. Photograph: Kwame Lestrade

Out of the three Asian heritaged actors 2 of them play dogs, and one plays a maid.

Holy Nanking, Batman!

So lemme get this straight – this is a Chinese play, the setting is China, they went to China to get the technical aspects right, but what they did not bring back from China was the notion that there are CHINESE PEOPLE IN CHINA!

What? They went and saw La Jolla’s Nightingale and thought “Oh, the Colonies, they always get it wrong, I know exactly how to fix this!”

This is not a male Swan Lake,

this is not a Sondheim musical where people sing and dance during patter songs while playing a tuba

– this is a play SET IN CHINA!

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How many times do we have to talk about Diversity in China during the 13th Century?

I repeat, there WAS NO DIVERSITY AMONG THE EMPERORS IN 13th CENTURY CHINA!!!!

WHY?

BECAUSE IT IS GD CHINA, WHITE PEOPLE!

If you set a show in Africa, Mr. Doran, would you cast the Emperor of Africa as a Caucasian Man?

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I’m thinking, probably not.

I will state, for the record – I have NO, count it zippo, nada, nunca, no problem with Diversity. I LOVE DIVERSITY. But here’s the thing, translate the play – go ahead, fine, Bravi for doing it, but do not set it in CHINA! Put it somewhere ELSE. Or, here’s a thought…crazy but it might work – CAST ASIAN ACTORS IN A PLAY SET IN ASIA.

Because to Chinese people, the title of EMPEROR OF CHINA, or PRINCESS OF CHINA means something. For heavens sake, would you cast Joan Chen as Princess Diana? Could she play it? OF COURSE – would British people believe it? No. This is not just bursting through The Great Fourth Wall, this is using dynamite and boiling pitch so the fire can be seen from space!

Here is the kicker RSC, and bloody hell is it ballsy- you take a CHINESE play, take OUT the Chinese people, and then you  have a link to order the tickets & get play information IN CHINESE- IN CASE CHINESE HERITAGED PEOPLE WANT TO GO? Hooker say what?

I’ll tell you what I would say: cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài (肏你祖宗十八代) = screw your ancestors to the eighteenth generation!

Actually, RSC, you are quite behind, here in the Colonies we went through this months ago. There was a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s fable, The Nightingale, the leads were Caucasian, and of the two APIs in it, one was a BIRD (sound familiar?) and the other was a spoiled Princess.

Which offended my eye, so I plucked it out and wrote about it.

Then you see, over 25,000 people across the globe read my blog post about The Nightingale, and it set off a giant ruckus. Which led to a ‘talkback’ with the Asian American Theatrical Community at La Jolla Playhouse. The next time their AD was directing a show, Glengarry Glen Ross he did THIS:

Diversity, in an appropriate way, did great things for that show – it had fantastic reviews, because Diversity is how the world looks today. Everyone won. The Fairy Princess has no problem with Diversity. The Fairy Princess has no problem, personally, with the Actors cast in The Orphan of Zhao – I am sure they are amazing, they are after all, with the Royal Shakespeare Company!

The Fairy Princess has a problem with the Artistic Decisions made in Casting this show. Because Asian Actors are completely and totally underrepresented in commercial and public theater. Therefore the ‘argument’ that you are making the cast Diverse by casting Caucasians as Asians is like saying you are starting an All Girls School that will only be attended by the Men of Manchester United. It doesn’t make sense.

And no, crazy Interweb nutjobs -don’t yell at me about once upon a time  ‘there was one black actor in a Shakespeare show, or the second spear holder past Caesar’s epaulets could have maybe been Asian.’

That’s not an excuse to white wash CHINA.

Now, likely, yes, I am not going to work in England, regardless of my passport, because of this post. And likely, Gregory Doran is going to view me as an Upstart Yank who doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Mr. Doran, I want to let you know, that I happen to be Irish, Welsh, and Chinese – with dual citizenship from the USA and Australia. My Family, on both sides, has been under British rule for centuries, so when it comes to Imperialism, the family has had it’s fair share. Why are you hearing from me? Way over here across the pond?

I am pissed off for my fellow British Asian Actors.

This is WORSE than The Nightingale!

(But I bet La Jolla Playhouse will be sending you a muffin basket of thanks)

You have a trailer with accents! Starring a Caucasian baby! Who comes next on the screen?  A Caucasian man in a peasant hat that you likely bought IN CHINA…when you were doing research for this Chinese play you chose to do! You haven’t even tried to ‘escape’ the issue by calling it something stupid like “Mythic China” (Steven Sater, I’m talking to you). You are setting the show in real, actual CHINA!

I am just…I cannot….words have escaped….you are the ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY!

Act Royal!

Fie on you, Sir – FIE! I lay the bulk of responsibility for this fiasco of international relations at the door of Artistic Director Doran – because he is Directing, and wrote a blog about all the research he was doing,  but how could anyone who wrote/adapted a play about China allow this to happen?

JAMES FENTON – wherfore art thou?

Veddy, veddy bad form and five swipes of the wand to you, I beseech thee, m’Lords

Kiss my Fan Tan Fannie!

Oh and PS – MOISES KAUFMAN APOLOGIZED!

Which means I scored a HIT – a VERY PALPABLE HIT! (Ahem)

PRIDE TIPS

  1. Wear shoes you can walk in all day – try and stay away from flip flops,

comfy can also be “hot”
be “hot” and comfy at PRIDE

(a)   they are not sanitary, Fairy Princesses should not have dirty heels.

(b)  they have no arch support, which you need for a long day on your feet

(c)    Leather Daddies can break your toes if they accidentally stand on your foot with their boots, those boots   are made for toe stompin’

(d)  flip flops do not go that easily from street fair to dance club or bar.

   MORE TIPS

  1. Charge your phone, and make sure your Best Gays are wearing some sort of pants where they can button their phone into the pocket. There is a lot of celebrating at Pride, people can get sloppy, so make sure the keys and the cell phone are buttoned in there, so they don’t fall out.
  2. Put an ‘emergency’ $20 in your bra. Because things happen. Say it: “ER $20!”
  3. If you have a huge ring of keys, pare it down for PRIDE, carying around that big ring all day is annoying. Just have your car key, and your front door key.
  4. If you are going to drive there together, make sure if you are going to cut out early that there is public transport or that you have a number for a cab company with you. I prefer to drive myself, because then I can always leave when I’m ready. Nothing worse than wanting to end the night, only to turn around and find your Best Gay in mid-flirt and unwilling to leave. Yes, he knows it’s 4a.m.: he doesn’t care. He could get laid.
  5. Do not bring your dog unless you are reasonably able to hydrate the dog, and you can take the dog home after an hour or two. Big crowds and dogs are not a great idea. Some open areas now don’t allow them because of the whole ‘pooping’ aspect, so it’s best to call the dog walker, and not stress out your pet.
  6. In wallet: cash, ID, Health Insurance card, ATM and 1 Credit Card
  7. Put your address on a small piece of paper that you can hand to a cab driver in case you do the elementary Fairy Princess move and wind up ‘overserved’ and unable to figure out where you live. This is a rookie move, but I know most of my friends have done it at least once. No – I have not, but I did come back so late to a parking garage that they had locked it and I had to cab it home, and then back there the next day. Grrrr. This is where ER $20 comes in.
  8. Check the weather. This sounds so easy but not many people do it.
  9. Bring a purse you can wear easily – if you need it a bit larger so you can put purchases in it, fine, but remember, you are going to carry it around ALL DAY, possibly into the night, so keep that in mind.

Be safe. Have fun. Live, live, live!

A Fairy Princess should wave a wand of kindness as much as she can – yes, occasionally you must smack someone with the pointy end, but that is rare, so for the most part; be kind. Kind goes a long way and is reciprocated.

Be conscious that many of the Drag Queens there may be working, in that they are going to Host something, so if you ask for a photo and they say no, likely it’s because they are running late – or they’re a bitch, either way…keep it in mind.

Pride is many times, a Family Affair – so you will see plenty of straight people there, supporting their children, parents, uncles, aunties; so keep in mind that there may be some kids around, watch the potty mouth. Fairy Princesses don’t have to curse like a truck driver; that’s what Jackie Beat is for. As there are so many straight people mingling at Pride, it is perfectly ok to ask your Best Gay to keep a look out for your next Boyfriend, on the off-chance you are single. Kinda “Festivus for the Rest of Us” thing.

At PRIDE you will find speeches, rallies, and show stopping performances, many of which run adjacent to the street fair. There, depending on who is running the entertainment, will be a cavalcade of entertainers – singers, dance acts. Poetry, Drag Queens, Authors, and of course some celebrity that has a big Gay following. Yes, like Cher, or Deborah Gibson, or Tiffany, or RuPaul, or the cast of GLEE – you never know who needed their fix of unqualified love and support the day they were invited to sing.

People wander in and out of that part all day. I’ve done it, it’s fun – but not every act is going to be your taste, so it’s ok to cop a squat when you have some food, listen to the show, and then decide to wander again if you feel like it.

PRIDE generally spills into the local restaurants, and the whole area gets a festive feel – it’s one of my favorite things, oh look at that, I’m Maria Von Trapp…just when you think you have it under control…I digress. Sorry. Where was I? Liasons? No, oh yes, restaurants.

While I don’t believe in going to the Circuit Parties, partying with your Best Gays at their favorite watering hole is something I love doing, and I would cry copious buckets of sparkly tears if someone were to take it away. Do go out and eat and drink and have a mah-veh-lous time, and if you can, say marvelous like Marlene Dietrich. You can stay at some of those places all night and have a simply wonderful time flitting about, spreading glitter and sass in your wake. Sometimes the restaurants have a dance floor, and so it gets way ‘clubby’ at a certain time, and that is super fun.

The Marlene Dietrich says “Mah-vel-lous”

Dance Parties are also an aspect of PRIDE – look, it’s kind of Circuit-y – I generally wave my Best Gays who are off to the evening’s big theme party a ‘buh-bye’, and I continue on with those not going to that. Fairy Princesses can choose their own schedule. If you go to the Dance Party, no one will want to sleep with you, no one will really want to even talk to you – they will be busy getting sweaty and trying to get their groove on, you will be in the way. Even if your Best Gay tells you to come, say no – he’s not asking you sincerely.

Fairy Princesses do not have to poke their tiaras into all their Best Gay’s business.

Gay Dance Clubs during PRIDE, are different – as long as it’s not tied directly to Pride with anything other than a theme cocktail, in the Gay Dance Club it’s going to be business as usual and they’ll be all the fun aspects that you generally enjoy. Go ahead, sweat your ass off, why not?

Now, in other parts of the world, there are parades and are more tied to Pride and one of my favorite of those is, the Sydney Mardi Gras. You can find out more about this event at www.mardigras.org.au

They always have Divas and Drag Queens and lively events that Fairy Princesses are welcome at, and if not – go see the Blue Mountains, or the Opera House, or any of the hundreds of things Sydney and Australia in general, has to offer. You don’t have to feel like a ‘plus one’ in Australia, as there are tons of tourists and you can wend your way together or separately. Going to Australia for the Gay Mardi Gras is something that a Fairy Princess and her Best Gays should certainly do – at least once in their lifetimes.

(to be continued…)

As strongly as I feel about Fairy Princesses NOT going to Circuit Parties, I feel just as strongly that the Fairy Princesses MUST go to their local Gay Pride Celebration – at least for one full day. Generally Pride Events extend over either a week or a weekend, so while you do not have to go every day – you should go and see what is going on. Look cute, wear shoes you can walk in – it’s a street fair type atmosphere during the day, but your makeup is ON, your hair is DONE, and you look great! It’s PRIDE Dammit, be equally as proud of who YOU are. You can look up your city’s PRIDE on the internet, as many of them piggy back so people can go to one after another and city hop (this site www.gaycityusa.com/pride.htm and Wikipedia has the complete list of all Pride in the US).

There are many aspects to Pride – there’s usually a street fair of some kind where you can stock up on free condoms, well, ok, let’s start at the very beginning. The street fair part is always the same as any other street fair – in that there are booths to wander through and enjoy yourself.  There’s photo booths, health booths, food, temporary tattoos, and…dum da dum…the ‘specialty’ booths that cater to…very special tastes.

Yes, there will be opportunities perhaps to buy some items you would not want your Mother to find under your pillow – but channel your inner Auntie Mame and live a little.

Bring cash, a good attitude, and a recycled bottle full of water so you stay hydrated.

The main point of Pride is to celebrate – celebrate Gay Rights getting ever closer to equality, celebrate the freedom that you have to live and choose your own path – something still not available in many parts of the world, and for you, my Princess – celebrate the Gay Culture with your Best Gays. They love you, and you love them right back!

After Erin’s “No on H8TE” segment of her Cabaret with Ian and Ray

You will see the gamut of the Gay Culture – Twinks, Bears, Leather Daddies, Gay Republicans, Drag Queens, Regular Queens, Celebrities on the Down Low…it’s going to be fun. Try not to stare unless you get that the person on the receiving end likes it. For example, if you are passing a man who is covered in piercings and tattoos, and you sort of lock eyes, it is ok to smile and say, “I love that Dragon tail that’s wrapping around your throat.” More than likely, he’ll smile back, say thank you, and off you go.  I have found that in the Gay Community, the fiercer people look on the outside, the more vulnerable they are on the inside. Think of all that ‘look’ as their armor – remember, just because you are a kindred spirit, perhaps the rest of the world has not always been so.

(to be continued…)

This past weekend marked the start of New York City’s Gay Pride – and what better way to celebrate Drag Queens bitchslapping the Popo, than with the start of my new blog – The Fairy Princess Diaries!

Ian Paget, Erin Quill, Raymond J. Lee (from Left to Right)

What, you may ask, is this blog going to be about? Well, likely it is going to address things that tick me off – and most everything does these days because I recently gave birth, which makes you irritable, but what irks me MOST is the unschooled-ness of the new Fairy Princesses running around WeHo or Chelsea, who are giving Fag Hags a bad name.

Of course, me being me, I will likely sound off on things that I am also somewhat of an ‘expert’ on  – Musical Theater, Pop Culture, and People Who Parent Badly in Public, but mostly, it will be me being me, which means I’m going to teach you how to be a better Fag Hag aka Fairy Princess aka Fruit Fly.

What, you may ask, is a Fag Hag? Well, in old school parlance, a Fag Hag was used to denote an unattractive somewhat clingy woman who only hung around with Gay Men who seemed to be under the delusion that if she stuck it long enough, one would see the error of his ways, and fall madly in love with her, “Just as you are….”. But then Bridget Jones started singing Adele songs and a new world order was born.

I have been called a Fag Hag since, probably…well at least to my FACE (NOT THE FACE, YES, the FACE)…I would say college – and I both embraced it and resented it – and here’s why….
1. I never thought my Gay friends would give up the sexual member of both our choices and fall madly in love with me
2. I never hung out ONLY with Gay Men, although yes, the majority of my time was spent with Gay Men, it was likely because I was majoring in Musical Theater Vocal Performance…as in Real Estate, it’s ‘Location, location, location”
3. I had female friends – Straight ones, Gay ones, even Republican ones…& I like my Gal Pals
4. I felt that the term “Fruit Fly’ was more apt for me, because I kind of buzzed in and out and around the scene and I always dressed cute and wore makeup.

I think I was focusing too much on the “hag” part of the title…it just screamed “Witchy Poo” to me, come to think of it, she was always chasing after better looking unattainable mates she could not have…(OMG, I just outed Witchy Poo as a Fag Hag….God will get me for that, Stanley….)

Now though, I embrace it – it’s who I am and I would be lost, lost, LOST, without my Gays. I would have no one to complain to about how awful the TONY Broadcast was…again (WHAT is up with the sound issues? It is Radio Damn City Music Hall and no one can get through without subbing in a hand held mic? WTF!), no one would stage an ‘eyebrow intervention” (“You are coming to my apartment every three days until that mess is FIXED and there is no debate about it, Quill!”), no one would offer to beat someone up after a particularly bad date (“Give me his address…now), and I would have a rainbow shaped hole in my heart. They have been ‘there’ for me in every aspect of my life, including most recently, the delivery room, where, during a particularly bad 26 hour labor, my friend John, the nurse, talked me down while I was semi-hysterical because I could not feel my legs for several hours. They walked my Sister & Mother down the aisle at my wedding, they helped my Husband with the wedding proposal, they have given me love, support, and a career….I would be adrift without them. My friend Dennis once said to me, “We lose most of our Girls when they get married, but you’re still here”, to which I replied, “What’s the saying? You dance with the one what brought you?” Yeah, it’s like that.

Yes, Virginia – Fag Hags can get married!

I think, what it really comes down to, is that people like to tell me things, and I listen. I have had more Gay Men come out to me than an Open Call at an Ice Capades Audition. I used to joke that Fag Hags in WeHo should have special parking priviledges, and when asked why my cell phone was pink, I would respond ‘Because every time it rings, it’s a Gay Emergency.” In my younger days, I admit, I may have helped shove one or two out of their Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe (I do not advocate that now), but I have been the recipient of much love along the way. I am constantly amazed at the things I get told, why, today I was at the diner with my Husband, and the waitress wound up telling me how she had terrible Post Partum Depression. I turned to him after she left and said, “What was that?” and he replied, “It’s you. It’s just you, this is why you should blog, people just tell you stuff.” so if you don’t like it, blame Chil. No really, he’s on Twitter – @ChilKong send him stuff, he can take it, he’s tall. I’m on the Twittah as well – @EQuill – I do not have a separate twitter for this blog yet, and to ask me to double tweet when I have a newborn is redonkulous, I won’t do it – you are not the Boss of me….

My point, and I do have one, is that  I respond a proud YES when asked if I am a Fag Hag, or a Fruit Fly, OR a Fairy Princess – it’s all a YES – I like Princess best, because let’s face it, I’m not Kate Middleton and every girl wants a crown once in a while – whether or not you are willing to stroll through a Gay Mardi Gras to get it, is up to you.

They say to ‘write what you know’, well THIS is what I know – and before you make some crazy judgements based on what is previously written, I’ll let you know a few things that may surprise you:

1. I’m married, to a straight man (though he did coach Beauty Pageant Contestants  once upon a time)
2. I sing Show Tunes for a living, and my dresses are as glittery as any drag queen would want them to be.I was an Original Broadway Cast Member of the musical, Avenue Q, I was in the 50th Anniversary Production of Flower Drum Song, I have been in front of the camera and behind – having written 2 screenplays that became films (The Mikado Project avail on DVD on Amazon.com & QWERTY which is in ‘post’). I have worked in Casting, Commercial Production, as a Director’s Rep, written on Diversity issues, and…before people “Watched What Happens Live” 5 nights a week, I did a talk show Pilot for Bravo with Andy Cohen, which you must admit, ups my Fairy Princess Street Cred quite a bit. I also have friends who are very fancy and they run Broadway and Hollywood, no, I mean really, they REALLY run Broadway and Hollywood – so….I might have a few insights along the way that you might appreciate.
3. I have a kid, he’s a newborn, but he counts…ok, he doesn’t actually count or even talk yet, but his very existence means I am writing this at bitch in the morning in between feedings
4. I am ‘thanked’ in 5 Gay Books in the credits, what can I say? I’m a Muse – yes, JUST like Sharon Stone – however I am very fond of Filipinos, particularly Alec Mapa 🙂
5. I advocate and support the GLBT community and this blog is all in fun with a grain of truth – I’ve helped raise $$$ for Broadway Cares/EFA, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Desert AIDS Project, The LA GLBT Center, The Trevor Project, and so on and so on…
6. I am writing this because I have noticed as I get older that…well, them young’ens do not seem to have been taught Gay Community ettiquette – and there is just NOT enough of me, or some of my equally strong minded Fairy Princesses to go around..we’re busy, we have lives, so this is, if you will, a road map on how to be a good friend – a good friend who probably has only one or two straight men in her phone. (I have 7, straight men in my phone…none on speed dial except the Husband).

AND SO IT BEGINS…..