17 Things Wonderfully Wong in the Rapture of 2017!

January 3rd, 2018

It was the longest fucking year ever.  I’ve never seen a rapture drag out like 2017.  As is my yearly tradition, I sum all the good things I can remember between ripping my hair out with every news push notification.  I make this list mostly because my fragile ego needs all the public witnesses it can get.

1.  I was the star of my own television pilot!  (But… It didn’t get picked up.)

The big secret of 2016 was that I got a deal with Lionsgate and TruTv to make a pilot presentation!  Yes girl really.  It took over a year, and a lot of meetings and running around to make happen.  I was the star and co-creator.  I had a team of people supporting me.  I navigated a lot of network politics.  And I shot a fantastic freaking pilot.  When I got the call that the network passed on it, I briefly went into the woods with Hillary Clinton.  But the whole year of anticipation for what my life might look like if it did get picked up made me really appreciate what I’ve already built for myself as an artist.  The depression was momentary, and I found myself returning to my work with more joy (though goddamn that network money would have been nice).

2.  I wrote a play for a hotel room in New York City.

 

I was asked to be the artist-in-residence at the Washington Square Hotel By Design firm CMYK.  I wrote a play called “Kristina Wong’s Discharges from American History”.  Basically, I had a company of “historic re-enactors” re-enact all the American political scandals that have gone down in hotel rooms.  It was invigorating to have this deadline.  I spent weekends at cafes reading Anthony Weiner’s texts and then putting them in play format.  It was an immersive play for 8 audience members at a time but a cast of 14 actors (all honors students from Arizona State!)!  We enacted the Trump Russian Golden Shower scandal as the finale.

 

3.  I went to the motherland for the first time– Hong Kong and CHINA!

My Fannie Wong, Former Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner Up performance was invited to be part of an exhibition of international artists at the Parasite gallery in Hong Kong.  Read an article about it here!  I visited the approximate areas where my grandparents were from (didn’t have much to go on), sweated my ass off, saw a lot of China in a matter of weeks and almost fought a family of four at Shanghai Disney (for good reason, nobody knows how to stand in line in China).

Big takeaway? China is not a relaxing vacation.  It’s an interesting trip.

4. I did a run of The Wong Street Journal in Los Angeles!

When I came back from China, reality set in.  Whoops, I really didn’t get that TV show did I?  I’ve learned from years of excitement and disappointment that the key to jumping past a depressing meltdown is to get super busy.  So I finally did a final run of Wong Street Journal in Los Angeles for all the stragglers who missed it the first time.  Thank you Bootleg Theater!!!

5. I became a Twitter superstar!

I would really rather have not gotten to know the bowels of twitter the way that I did.  But post-election depression had me tweeting so much that I made is to this list of the “Top Ten Trump Twitter Trolls”.  I gained about 20K new followers just from tweeting back at Trump and his cronies every time he tweeted.  Because Journalism has devolved to quoting tweets, my tweets got quoted in dozens of tweet round-ups.  I was a thing.

6. I also got blocked by Trump, his three kids from his first wife, Anthony Scaramucci, Sebatian Gorka….

About halfway through the year, Cheetolini couldn’t take it anymore and blocked me.  And with that went my brief stint as a twitter star.  The death threats also began to die down as soon as I was blocked.

7. I was the Artist-in-Residence of the UCLA Labor Center!

I facilitated a workshop which incorporated the curriculum of the Labor’s Center  #YoungWorker project.  I took the data that specifically affects young workers in Los Angeles and made it a community theater curriculum!  Half of our participants had never performed in public before!   I have a submitted an application to do a similar project in 2018 or 2019 with the Dream Resource Center for undocumented immigrants.  Excited!

8.  I did a performance for my largest indoor audience yet– 8000 incoming UCLA students!

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Nothing will help you make peace with your past like sharing your deepest darkest secret in a stadium full of people.  I felt like I really validated a lot of people’s experiences in the room with mental health. 

9.  I booked two national commercials in two months!

After a complete dearth in Hollywood bookings, I got two biggies back to back.  The real money will come if they air, but now I can be less cynical about not having a face that can sell corporate blah blah to America.

10. I gave a speech for my largest outdoor audience yet– The Los Angeles Tax March!

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Being a twitter warrior comes with celeb perks such as getting to be funny at an outdoor march.

11. A lot of great residencies and shows around the country!

Lewis and Clark in Portland!   Harvard!  Wellesley! Virginia Tech!  The Milton Academy outside of Boston, MA!  Did I miss something?  In LA, I hosted the celebration of SIX DECADES of dance at my alma mater, UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department.

12. I got picked for a City of Los Angeles Master Artist Fellowship and also other big big things.

With fellow YBCA 100 Honoree– Jill Soloway!

I was named as one of the YBCA 100– celebrating the innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders from all over the world who are using their platform to create cultural movement.
I was honored by Kearny Street Workshop FOCUS Award– for my work as an artist!
I also got picked to be next year’s Artist-in-Residence at the San Diego Airport!

13. I put out my web series… finally!

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After sitting on the footage for this as long as we were, we finally premiered to the world a few months ago.

It seems that you get all of 10 seconds to go viral in 2017.   We got big coverage from Cosmo, Huff Po, AJ+ and others.  And just as quick, the internet forgot us the following week.  But I was getting recognized in public and that’s all that matters.

14. I got freaking PUBLISHED yo.

The Wong Street Journal is published in the Contemporary Plays by Women of Color, the second edition!  I bought the first edition when I was in COLLEGE.  Now I’m in the thing.

15. Shot at amazing video game-changing project with young Asian American girls!

Just this week we shot a video with Asian girls ages 7-10 called “Radical Cram School.”  They weren’t actors. It was a chance to see if it was possible to get Asian girls that young to think about racism and sexism and how to dismantle it.  We shot a companion music video called “Asian Girl Blues”.   After we finished, one of the producers texted me, “Do you think this is actually a tv pilot that could be something bigger?”  I think YES.

16. I cleared my home of crap then filled it back up.

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I got into a really weird and not-profitable hobby that is selling old clothes on Poshmark.  Way back in the early days when I was out of school trying to supplement my income, I sold crap on ebay.  So I told myself I wouldn’t go back to junking.  The truth is, I will always make more as a performance artist.   It started as me just clearing old costumes and clothes from my home. But something was incredibly soothing about finding something that someone might like, posting it online, getting a sale and then shipping away something forever for all of a tiny profit. It was so soothing that I began to obsessively fill my house with things to post online to sell.  Now I have a few hundred things I need to post and my bedroom is a temporarily storage port for crap headed around the world.  I justify this as entrepreneurial hoarding.

17.  I declared my intent to run for Public Office before the year 2030!

Because nothing matters anymore and art has had to get secular and reasonable to compete with the absurdist climate of the world, I think the only way I can out-shock the state of this country is to just run for public office.  I have a short list of things I might run for.  The process will likely use the same skill set I have as a performance artist

Do I have new years resolutions?  I only resolve to work even harder and smarter than I did in 2016.

 

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Category: Blog

16 Great things in the 2016 Cesspool: For me at Least.

December 24th, 2016


From “Sorority” curated by Gina Young at the Hammer Museum earlier this month.

2016 is the year that I wish I could take to the back of the barn and shoot dead.  If I were to even begin to catalog the misery, I’d have to attach a suicide net to the side of my blog to catch you all.  No joke, 2016 made George Orwell look like a journalist.  But I’m going to do a rare thing and cheer you up with my annual CIRCLE JERK OF ONE!

Behold!  16 Victories in this thoroughly shitty year!

 

1.  I took over the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco!

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A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I love installation performance art.  When I got out of college, I imagined myself a performance artist who would live in a gallery space for hours eating butter and crawling around while moaning about colonialism.  Because of the economics involved with being a working artist (namely, performance art is a very hard way to make a living),  I opted for the slightly more sustainable artist’s career that is a writing shows that can be performed again and again.

But my secret desire to make unreplicable performance art was unleashed when The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco asked me to TAKEOVER for one night.  The museum is a multi-million dollar property with a collection worth millions of bucks!  After my first idea was vetoed by museum security, I decided to restage the most “famous/infamous” works of performance art with artists of color from the Bay Area.  It was a ton of work devising and coordinating artists (and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi) to perform but the night was really successful.  We broke a museum attendance record!  People left really impressed!

 

2. I met Bernie Sanders!

While on tour in Minneapolis in March, I got a call from the Bernie Sanders campaign that he was meeting with API leaders in Chicago in two days.  I bought a same day in/ out flight to Chicago so I could fly back to MN and do the second show I was contracted to.  It was insanely risky and super expensive (those $27 campaign contributions don’t fly people like me to meet him).  It was a short meeting but so surreal to be in the same room as him.  And when we took this pic, his hand on my back was HOT.  I felt the Bern!!!

Here is a video of me recounting what happened:

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I flew back that same day to perform in Minneapolis and I was so exhausted.  I do not recommend flying out of state round trip the day of your one person show. But I am a fan of the Bern!  He got me thinking if I should run for local office! (I know right?)

And to be fair:  This was the group photo that I cropped everyone out of super fast to make it look like me and Bernie had a private moment. Note Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on the far right!

 

3. I did a huge tour of many cities!

Miami! Minneapolis! San Francisco! Philadelphia! Canada!  Oregon Shakespeare Festival! Portland! LA! LA! LA!

I played for THOUSANDS of people this year all over North America.  And I taught a ton of workshops and visited a lot of classrooms.  Hell yeah it was exhausting!  I’m really lucky that I get to meet so many people and share my work with them.  I was not very good at touring when I first started out, but now, I sit back and think, “Wow, how many other people can say they pull life off like this?”

I also did a show at FACEBOOK HEADQUARTERS and was on a panel with KRISTI YAMAGUCHI HOLY SHIT. 

And yes, I tried to stuff my pockets with as much free shit as possible while at Facebook,  but the employee escorts follow you around, so all I got was a few markers and some cookies.  But yo, if you are a sucker for free stuff, go work for Facebook.


Sabaa Tahir was also on the panel fangirling Kristi.

 

 

4.  Hella Hella microloans going to Uganda!

In every city I tour Wong Street Journal to we collect donations and sell merchandise to benefit the microloans going to VAC-NET in Northern Uganda.  This was an amazing year where thanks to my amazing audience members at Wong Street Journal we were able to send $3300 over to them!  This is pretty significant considering that the average microloan is $57!  Dozens of women are NOW off the waiting list for microloans and can start business!

 

5. I lost the Pulitzer Prize to Hamilton (and a few other plays)!

In a performance that can only be remembered as “The World’s Longest Inside Joke Dragged Out Between me and Brian Feldman” I was proud to be the most country’s most notorious Pulitzer Prize contender this year.  And before you congratulate me, just remember that “contender” and “nominee” are different things.  I happened to be in New York when they announced the winner and scored a Press pass from NBC to write about my fight to become the most notorious loser of the most coveted literary prize in America.

You can watch the video of me delivering my concession/ acceptance speech and read the transcripts of the speeches HERE.
And here is the piece I wrote for NBC Asian America about what crashing my own awards ceremony and losing.

 

6. I birthed a new show!

I was lucky to be one of the playwrights in residence at Ojai Playwrights Festival. I lived on a fancy ranch for two weeks, was in the company of fantastic playwrights and dramaturgs, I met the coolest theater patrons in the world, and cried my way into a new play manuscript called “Attention Please”.

I wrote it because I was struck about what the point of performance art (my genre) was in a world so increasingly surreal that any artfully manufactured spectacle is TRUMPED by reality.

After I wrote it, I  thought, “There will be no market for this play once Hillary is elected and the threat of our country becoming a giant reality TV show is no longer.”

Oh young naive Kristina.

 

7. I officiated a wedding!

My friends Minna and Ken have been fans of my shows and floored me when they asked me to OFFICIATE THEIR WEDDING. They have been dating for nine years, so this was a big deal.  They embrace feminism and nerd culture, and so I wrote an officiant speech worthy of a nerdy feminist couple.  This meant a lot of reading reddit to learn what nerds like to talk about.

After contemplating all officiating outfit possibilities, I decided to make my own Pope outfit.  I was going for a subtle Eye of Sauron effect with the Pope hat.  It totally does not look like a vagina right?  I took it off during the serious part of the ceremony to reveal a series of smaller but identical hats.  And I sewed my gay bible cover and prayer shawl too!  Yay sewing!

 

8. I was in a movie! 

My dear friend Adelina Anthony who was my solo performance idol for many years made that elusive transition to film and invited me to audition for her movie “Bruising for Besos.”

You guys, I cried watching that movie.  AND I AM IN IT.  It’s that good!   I’m going to be in more movies… just you watch baby.

9. I made some web goodness.

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There’s a live action Mulan movie coming out and here I am on the streets talking about it…


I was also a few big panels this year.  Here’s one that was live streamed for Zocalo Public Square.

 

10. I  have two continents left!

I went to Australia for the first time in June!  I also tried Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reef!   It was a two week trip that included Hawaii thanks to a $604 ticket my friend found online!  I will say… after doing Uganda in 2013 and making a rap album, every trip abroad kinda pales in comparison.  I’m spoiled like that.

No trips planned for 2017 yet, but I plan to hit a new country!

11. I made this Halloween Costume for $4. Then made Elle Magazine!

If you know my work well, you will recognize the pink gown from my wedding officiant outfit and the cats from my play CAT LADY.  Only took $4 in safety pins to put it all together.

Getting into the UberPool that night was no easy feat, but I was the costume hit of Rodney’s 75th birthday (above), the Weho Halloween parade and I made #2 on this Elle Magazine list of women with “Grab Her By the Pussy” costumes!

12.  I failed at voter suppression.

I attempted a few videos where I came out as a Trump supporter and urged people to vote for Trump on SUPER WEDNESDAY November 9.  It worked because he came in with 2.5 million fewer votes.  Except that old relic from slavery, the Electoral College (a college more stupid than Trump University) made this current horror show possible.

 

 13. I didn’t marry anybody.  

Certainly not Jeremy Lin.  I did date fewer losers.  Which meant I wasn’t dating much at all.

 

14. Breaking ground on this new play.

Unrelated to this highlight, I was in John Sinner’s “Invasion of Decency” as a holy roller this year (see above). 

A play I started two summers ago about Vermont and China is getting a dust-off next month when I’m Artist-in-Residence at Lewis and Clark University in Portland.  It was initially a silly play with deeper ruminations on “homeland” and cultural nostalgia.  The current political climate has me thinking about the bigger stakes of the play.  What does it mean to flee for America, and what does it mean to flee back for China?

 

15.  I started learning Chinese… AGAIN.


There are so many goddamn tones in Cantonese that teachers tell you to just learn six of them.  And I had to make this chart above using stills I screencapped from a Youtube Video so I could keep track of them.

 

Imagine that.  The election results have kicked my ass to expand my linguistic horizons/ possible new countries I can live in.  I could learn Mandarin which is more popular in China and spoken all over Taiwan, but why not go super old school real and learn the mother mother tongue tongue?  So I went straight to Cantonese.  AGAIN.  And I can’t be too hard on myself that so little Cantonese from elementary school stuck, nor can I get mad that my attempts to learn Mandarin in college barely took… because that SHIT IS HARD.

I am using this app I found online to learn.  And I am really surprising myself.  I’m picking it up!  And I practice every day.  And rather than feel overwhelmed, I love the liberation of learning at my own pace and by myself.  I think a trip to Hong Kong is definitely in my future! Maybe even to my grandfather’s village that he left as a boy!

 

16. A big crazy career thing happened TBA in 2017.

I know, I always allude to “some big thing is going to happen in the future” and don’t always deliver.  But yo, something totally big is happening and I can’t say what.  But basically, everything I’ve ever wanted my whole life is very close to happening.  And hopefully I won’t be carted off to the camps before it happens… but homies, this one is HUGE.  Stay tuned!

 

Anyway, as much of a nuclear holocaust as this year has snowballed into, I am grateful that I still make a living as a performance artist.  My last part time job was in 2005.  That means I’ve been a full time artist for 12 years.  WOW.  And as far as this goes, you’re going to have to pry this crazy career from my cold dead hands…..

 

 

 

 

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Category: Blog

Eight Observations of my TAKEOVER: KRISTINA WONG of the ASIAN ART MUSEUM

November 3rd, 2016

I’m back from my monster tour of Oregon and giving a long overdue wrap-up on my successful TAKEOVER of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco last month, September 8.  I previewed the show in August in this blog for Angry Asian Man!

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Here is a video with highlights of that epic night. 

The idea was simple:  Troll the art world by re-staging famous (infamous?) works of art with people of color.  Would the results be more hilarious?  More profound?  A good way to kill three hours?

Once people got over the initial anxiety that my TAKEOVER was a durational performance art show (not a linear stand-up comedy performance), they relaxed into the idea that they were free to explore this big ass museum animated by simultaneous performances.

But man was it stressing me out to have Chinese aunties coming up to me asking, “When are you doing your act Kristina?” (Auntie, THIS IS MY ACT.)

HERE ARE EIGHT OBSERVATIONS FROM MY TAKEOVER OF THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM

1.  People have no idea who I actually am.  But whoever they showed up for, they helped me break an attendance record!

Between the old couple who claimed to know my father from his fraternity days (“Sorry, wrong Chinese frat boy”) and another couple who complimented me on my Netflix special (hint: Different comedian, same last name),  I began to wonder if people knew who the fuck they even came to see.  But no matter! 1007 people showed up!  Breaking a five year attendance record at the Asian Art Museum!  I will take them how I can get them!

Also, how much are you loving my outfit?  For the first time in my fancy life, I sought the skills of a professional stylist.  I figure if the cast of Love and Hip Hop can get stylists for their reunion episode, I can also treat myself!  I gave stylist Kiki Stash a few adjectives (“crazy museum patron lady”) and viola she produced this vintage jumpsuit and Jackie Collins turban.

2. Hands down– Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is so much better when it’s just Short Round!

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My father asked me: “Is that actually the actor who played Short Round?”

That’s how good Jeffrey Lei was at this role!!!

Jeffrey Lei is one of the Bay Area’s most under-appreciated actors.  I met him a million years ago when I was a young drunk of a performance artist.  I had seen his odd mockumentary (“Dick Ho, Asian Male Porn Star“) and immediately thought he’d be perfect to memorize and perform all of Short Round’s lines from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as a single monologue.

Jeffrey jumped at the task, transcribed the lines within days and was memorized by the end of the week.  He even made his costume.  And Matt Abaya who put the video together dressed up like Indiana Jones.  Jeffrey was scheduled to perform the nine minute monologue just six times that night, but bust it out more than twice that.  I’m not sure if the audience appreciated the connection between the artifacts in the gallery and the stolen artifacts that Indiana Jones is always trying to recover, but I think I’m brilliant for making that connection.

3. The best Pokemon gyms are socialist!

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The most difficult performance to “capture” (literally) was the roaming performance of Socialist Pokemon (or as I like to think of it “WOKE-emon”).  I am including this live raw video clip above because very little documentation exists of Takeo Rivera and Jai Lei Yee  roaming the museum as socialist mash-ups of Pokemon (“PikaChé,” Ho Chi Mander,” “MaoTwo,” “ArtiCastro” and “MarxChamp”).  People would spot them, chant a socialist phrase, and they would be rewarded one of five stickers for their Little Red Pokedex (though, there was no reward… just being shamed for bourgeois aspirational desires).

Apparently Takeo and Jai were getting stalked by hardcore Pikache hunters!

 Check the Little Red Pokedex game card we handed out!

 

4. Dead stuff in the museum is not as fun as the LIVE STUFF!

The placard that was propped by live Dhaya in exhibition.

In the spirit of Tilda Swinton sleeping on display in at the MOMA (to echo the snooze-worthy reviews of her performance from critics?), we put comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan on display as a “Live Indian Artifact”.  Her museum placard was priceless as was the commentary from docent comedian Justin Luc.  They got a really good crowd and the banter was super ridiculous.

What was my mom’s favorite joke?  “This museum is so full of dead things. Dhaya went to MIT and is now a comedian, so she’s practically dead to her parents.”  Ha!

And what enterprising live exhibition would be complete without a list of special activities! Apparently they cleaned the audience out of $36 giving out new Indian names and mantras!  See below…

5.  Move over Marina Abramovic! We got deeper in 3 hours as you did in 736!

Ok, so I’ll never know if the emotional impact of our three hour recreation could match Marina Abramovic’s “Artist is Present” because I never put on the adult diaper and sat in line overnight at MOMA to look into her eyes.  But shit got deep up in here!

I’m so proud of Faiza Farah who performed “The Black Woman is Present”  and connected this performative action to the history of solidarity between Black and Asian activists.

Faiza was the only performer of the night who did everything as scheduled for all three hours (most performances that attempted to adhere to a “schedule” fell way off it).  My friend’s six year old sat in front of her and then said “I’m bored” then got up to leave.  It’s pretty intense to engage people for so long!

 

6.  Yoko Ono would be proud

Drag Legend Khmera Rouge offered up her gorgeous “Final Walk  Gown” for the snipping.  It was stunning and easily the most photographed performance of the night.  Khmera had to get on a flight and could only sit for two hours and there was so much fabric in that dress that we never got it down to the last threads.  But man, was she great at keeping a straight and serious face!  And people were transfixed!!!  I really felt like we brought Yoko Ono (with a drag twist) into 2016.

 

7.  That Jeff Adachi guy does not sit still.

When I proposed to San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi that he do a three hour reiteration of Shia LeBeouf’s “All My Movies,” I thought I had hit the performance art jackpot.  A real politician doing performance art!  I imagined pain, regret, thoughtful reflective smiles as Jeff Adachi watched three hours of footage of himself (campaign speeches, keynotes, public statements) that I had tediously culled from all corners of the internet.

This would be Jeff Adachi not sitting in his chair and NOT watching himself for three hours.

Alas, you can turn the politician into a performance artist, but you can never get him to stop being a politician.  I went to check on him throughout the night and he was networking, shaking hands with his beloved constituents and completely ignoring the footage of him that we were screening.  He also gave away copies of his Documentary You Don’t Know Jack. And the audience had brought him drink after drink.  I almost needed to make an announcement to the museum, “Please stop buying the Public Defender cocktails.  Thanks.”

But there was something kind of cool about putting a Public Defender on display in the museum.  Was his networking non stop hamming it up for his fans, actually a performance art piece?

 

8. That Philip Huang guy does not keep his clothes on (and neither do his audiences).

 

Berkeley based performance artist Philip Huang has been on my crawl for years.  More than one person had introduced him to me and told me he was my kindred freak spirit.  And so I gave him all my trust in jeopardizing my relationship with major art institutions and possibly jerking off in front of people (but under a blanket), in the spirit of Vito Acconci’s “Seedbed”.

I went upstairs to the China Tomb room, expecting to see a sticky blanket with a body writhing under, instead, I was greeted by five half naked audience members and Philip conspiring to parade them through the museum.

I yelled, “You are supposed to be masturbating under a blanket Philip!  What are you doing?”

“Oh you know how it is, performance just evolves.”

After failing to corral Jeff Adachi to stay in his seat for more than ten minutes watching himself, he said, “Kristina, I need to piss and I want to see the other performances.”

I took Jeff upstairs to where Philip was performing. And there were even more butt naked guys dancing in a circle. Who knew Philip had the power to get so many audience members naked?

I assumed Jeff Adachi would explode in anger and scream How could you include me in such a lewd performance Kristina?  I’m an elected official!

 

Instead, Jeff put his arms around the guys and said, “Somebody take our picture.  This will be my Christmas card photo.”

God bless Jeff Adachi, Performance Art, and San Francisco.

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Category: Blog

I LOST THE FREAKING PULITZER PRIZE TO HAMILTON.

April 19th, 2016

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While I may have lost the Pulitzer Prize to Hamilton, I should probably get an award for “Longest Dragging Out of an Inside Joke Between me and Performance Artist Brian Feldman Whilst Misleading the Internet About The Quality of My Work”

Here are the transcripts of the three speeches I prepared to give.  Because I was neither a winner or nominee, the only speech I could deliver was the “concession speech”.

Pulitzer Prize Concession Speech

“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

This is a quote on losing from Donald Trump.  A man who I will not be voting for in the upcoming Presidential primaries, or ever. In fact, I completely dislike him.  But I think it’s a good quote on losing.

I lost this battle today.  Specifically, I lost an opportunity for my mother to have ultimate bragging rights that her daughter was a Pulitzer Prize winner, thus redeeming all the grief I have caused her all these years by choosing art as my profession. I lost an opportunity to be the first Asian American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in the prize’s 100 year history.  Most significantly, I lost an opportunity to stand out as the only Pulitzer Prize winner on Tinder.

My sincerest congratulations to Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton.  I have no idea if your Broadway Musical Hamilton is more worthy of a Pulitzer Prize than The Wong Street Journal.  I don’t say this as a slight to your work, I say it as someone who cannot sell enough blood and organs to buy Hamilton tickets that are already sold out through the end of this year.  But I am sure Hamilton is amazing even though, you didn’t sew your set or become a rap star in Northern Uganda.  And Lin-Manuel.  I congratulate you on this well deserved honor.

I appreciate so many people for supporting me on the road to be a Pulitzer Prize contender.   To my friend, the conceptual performance artist Brian Feldman whose play Dishwasher was in direct competition with mine for this award.  I thank you Brian for daring me to send my hard earned $50 to apply for the Pulitzer and for not once acting out in ways that were competitive. That we were able to stay friends on this long road to the Pulitzer is a testament to our friendship.  To my director Emily Mendelsohn, you share this loss with me, but I believe we are victorious in other ways.  To my commissioners, thank you for your support.  I hope the fact, that I did not win this honor, does not stop you from giving me lots and lots of money down the road.

I lost the battle today. But I did not lose the war.   I will continue to write my stories and the stories of marginalized people into existence.  I will continue to perform.  I will continue to talk about my genitals  and bowel movements on social media and it will be profound.  It will be meaningful to humanity more than humanity itself.

Thank you.

 

Pulitzer Prize Acceptance Speech

Wow.  This is an incredible surprise. My life has been marked by a series of failures and near misses.  Brushes with greatness.  And intense falls from Grace.  I’ve not won a lot in my life. And I credit my mother’s intense gift for guilting me, into what has kept me going.  All we can do, prize or not, is keep going.

 

There were so many people who encouraged me to this moment.  My friend, the great performance artist Brian Feldman who encouraged me to drop the $50 to apply for this award.  Brian’s conceptual performance “Dishwasher” was in direct competition with “The Wong Street Journal” for this prize, and sadly the Pulitzer Committee could not announce a tie. I hope there are no hard feelings Brian.  To Emily Mendelsohn, who directed this play.  Who knew, we’d find ourselves, on the top of the world today? To my commissioners, I share this honor with you. And to my mother.  Finally, the gods have answered your prayers to the gods and you no longer have to hang your head in shame when asked what your daughter does for a living.  You are now the mother of a Pulitzer Prize winner.   Now go forth Mommy, and start texting your friends.  Because my success is all you have.  And my success today, is everything.

 

It’s an honor to be the first Asian American woman to be the  Pulitzer Prize winner in Drama in its 100 year history. We have always existed.  Our labor has always existed.  Our stories have always existed.  We stand on the backs of mothers and grandmothers who sacrificed everything so that we could live in full expression of our lives.  And from this point forward, the world will recognize that we aren’t going out quietly.  Ever.

 

To Lin-Manuel Miranda whose play Hamilton is sold out on Broadway until the end of the year, I am stunned that the committee picked The Wong Street Journal over your masterpiece of Hamilton. This is an upset that you nor I could have anticipated.  But, I guess it’s clear who the winner is.  Suck it Lin-Manuel!  My play is cheaper and better than yours.  You never heard of me before!  You heard of me now sucka! Who’s the Ham 4 Ham now, biatch?!

Thank you.

 

Pulitzer Prize Nominee Acceptance Speech

The great 90s actor, and former ex husband of Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton once said…

“Getting the nomination is like gravy. Winning would be like whatever is better than gravy.”

Today’s nomination is not only gravy, it is what is better than gravy.  Gravy that drips across the mashed potatoes of my 15 year professional career as a performance artist.  It is a gravy that is moist, flavorful and incredibly validating. And today, finally, I lick that gravy.  I swallow that gravy.  I let that gravy drip down my chest like at the end of a video I downloaded on Pornhub.

My mother was never content with me being in second place.  I know this because she had told me this my entire life and I was constantly reminded that 2nd place was like the B-average of life.  And when I explained to her a few months ago what Hamilton was, she reluctantly relented that being named a nominee to Hamilton would be a sufficient honor.  Today, I am so honored, to be sufficient.  To be a Pulitzer Prize nominee.  To be able to sit in the waiting room of an audition for Geico, and tell my fellow actors, “Hey, I’m a Pulitzer Prize Nominee.  Now I’m going to try to book this commercial for insurance”.

I share this honor of this nomination with the conceptual performance artist Brian Feldman, who encouraged me over Italian food last year to spend $50 to apply for his award.   I thank my mother for praying to the gods for this.  I share this with my director Emily Mendelsohn and with my commissioners.

I share this nomination for all the Asian American women in this country who so often pass through life anonymous, our work unseen, or strife unheard.  This is for you and for all the marginalized women in the world who deserve to be named, to be acknowledged by history, to be nominated in the game of life.

Thank you.

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Category: Blog

15 Things that happened to the WONG in 2015

December 17th, 2015

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It’s that end-of-year blog where I pat myself on the back and I make you watch.

1.  SOLD OUT SHOWS of WONG STREET JOURNAL!

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My newest show is the best one yet.  I sold out previews in Orange County and Burlington, VT.  Then sold out all five shows (and the 6th add-on show) before the San Francisco World Premiere run started.  In Los Angeles, I sold out three shows at the REDCAT.  This show is a hilarious hit and 2016 will have me all over the country with it!

 

2. Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show”
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Check my new media reel.  So fancy.

So this was awesome.  Twelve hours after being in flight and travel for 40 hours, I got on a red-eye headed back in the direction I just flew from to talk about yellowface casting in Aloha (a movie disaster that not even Bradley Cooper could save).

 

3. Wong DaFunkee Professor at Cal Arts!

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My first time being on an institutional payroll in TEN YEARS.  I was asked to teach a class at Cal Arts in the MFA Creative Writing Program.  I named the course Cake or Death: Making Performance in Post Post Post Post Post Post Post Post Modern Times.  My students made site specific performances and invented fake twitter profiles and were assigned a lot of reading (much of which got skimmed over… ahem).   Yo, I tip my hat to teachers everywhere because managing a classroom is a lot of work!

4. Led a mind blowing comedy workshop on Skid Row!

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Thanks to an Artist-in-Residence award I received last year, I learned a lot about working in this very special community.  We made performances about the issues of police brutality, systemic racism, and the poverty they are up against daily.  I feel so honored to have new talented colleagues, some who are also hard working community organizers.

5. What the Frack Jerry Brown videos!

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Fracking is like eating a bunch of toxic waste and then taking a dump in your drinking water, then drinking that drinking water.  I was so glad my friends at Movement Generation invited me up to Bakersfield to meet people whose live right by fracking sites and make these commercials with them that will hopefully lead to a ban on fracking in CA.  These spots aired during the commercial breaks of The Daily show in Sacramento last month.

6. I went to the Philippines

I found a $400 flight leaving from NYC and flying the wrong way around the world to the Philippines and one a crazy whim, I bought it.

Here is a blog by famous travel blogger Anton Diaz about my first day in Manila.

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Here I am eating balut.

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Here I am playing referee at a “midget” boxing match.

7.  Buttload of awesome press

The Guardian “Kristina Wong:  Pushing the Envelope on Race, Rights and America”

KQED Radio

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I was on this panel with Frangela and women from SNL!

8. I didn’t get a single grant or fellowship I applied for but so what?

2015 was an exceptional year in bureaucratic rejection.  I applied for a a ton of stuff only to get a ton of rejection letters back, thereby ending a long multi-year streak of grant success.   It didn’t stop me from being an artist and I still managed to turn out one of the highest gro$$ing years of my career.  The hustle my friends.  Always, the hustle.

9.  Shot a new web series that rolls out in 2016!
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Without revealing too much detail, my new web series is going to be HILARIOUS and we shot several episodes worth of content in two long days.  I got a bunch of all-stars too like Asa Akira, Amy Hill and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons to be in it!

 

10.  Helped raise about $2600+ in (documented) donations to support microloans in Uganda!

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 Bukenya at his KPFK interview.

I decided a long time ago that as a working artist I would not forever sit on the “taking/begging/asking” end of the economic equation.  I wanted to be able to give to artists and organizations I care about.  I wanted to be able to mobilize my resources to support other organizations.  When Bukenya Muusa, who I worked under in Uganda came to Los Angeles,  I introduced him to my community, got him on the airwaves, and coordinated $2600 in cash donations and sales of merchandise made by women in Uganda!  Thank you friends! All of it will go to support the self determination of Ugandan women.

11.  Broke Ground on a New Play
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I started writing a new play about Vermont and China at New York Theater Workshop’s theater residency in New Hampshire. (That’s a lot of places to engage in this play about place!) Right now it’s looking like a musical.

12.  Three Queer Weddings in One Month!

September was the month of #LoveWins.  After having one completely traumatizing hetero wedding experience early this year, my chosen queer family reminded me that weddings could be awesome and need only be guided by love love love and not pomp and circumstance to be awesome.

13.  Funeral for the White Man’s Penis at MOCA!

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My comedy and visual art got some play at the Museum of Contemporary Art this year.

14.  Hella Tours all over the country!

This year my art had me racking up airline miles.   Artist life brought me to Chicago, Burlington, VT, New Hampshire, Baltimore, NYC, Sacramento, Dallas, San Francisco, Indiana, Poughkeepsie and Portland (where I write you now!).

15.  Wrote some amazing essays

This essay for San Francisco Magazine broke their publication record for most read/shared non-gentrification essay.  It actually found its way to my mother before I sent it to her– that’s my way of testing to see if something has really gone viral.

My Comedy Central appearance went by faster than I thought imaginable. I wrote “How I Failed to Save all People of Color from Oppression in My Six Minutes on The Nightly Show” to decompress about how high pressure it is to be on those panel shows, esp as the only woman of color.

 ”Sew Privileged” my essay about crafting my set for The Wong Street Journal appears as part of the RACECRAFT online exhibit.

 

Sad stuff that happened:  Jeremy Lin still has not proposed to me.  I had to put my cat Octavia to sleep last week ($$$ and tears). I never cleaned my house the way I swore I would.  Other stuff.

 Stuff I’m looking forward to next year: Now that The Wong Street Journal is up and running and not in that pregnancy phase, I look forward to touring the whole country/ world with it and getting rolling on other madness.

 

Thanks for hanging in with me.  It trips me out when I realize how long I’ve been at this and I finally have realized that I’m not quitting ever.

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