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!
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”
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
”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.
At the risk of sounding like a cornball client testimonial for an overpriced life coach, I can finally say that after swimming upstream for fifteen years, I’m finally living with full faith that everything is going to work out ok. The world is still a mess but I finally feel like I’m in a position where I can do something about it. I can speak up and create from a space where I’m not so panicked about my own livelihood that I can actually just make really good art that people will respond to. I can create creative community and spaces where people can find liberation in small doses. And I feel like there is an audience that really gets what I’m saying.
Will I save the world? Nah. But I will put a few good dents in the system.
The lesson? Don’t ever give up. Just keep finding new ways to crack the code. And the way to do that is you owning what you do the best. And stop waiting to be rescued. And take every opportunity that comes as a big deal because everything is an opportunity. And work your ass off. And pick yourself up after multiple nervous breakdowns. And give up alcohol. And read lots of self help books. And stop dating losers.
But mostly, don’t ever give up.
12 hours after I got back to LAX from the Philippines, I got an invite to be on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show”. This involved getting on a red eye flight after already having had traveled 40 hours by plane. But their make up artist cleaned me up real good and I got a few meme-able moments during the panel.
Then I got back to the West Coast where I celebrated another trip around the sun (my birthday). But first, earlier in the day, I did this interview with Halo Halo TV in Los Angeles!
Then headed to San Francisco for the WORLD PREMIERE of The Wong Street Journal. It was a homecoming of epic proportions. All FIVE SHOWS SOLD OUT the Monday of show week. We added a SIXTH show– that SOLD OUT in 24 hours. I got a commendation from San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. And the audiences seemed to get what the heck it was that I was laying down.
This may have been the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve done a lot of stupid.
I scheduled a vacation BEFORE my World Premiere of the Wong Street Journal, rather than after. A world premiere is a lot of work and while I haven’t had a real vacation in a couple of years, I am hoping I am not pacing around the beach trying to find wifi to promote my show.
At the time when I spotted the $400 RT tix to Manila (except it flies from NYC, adding more $$ to the trip), it seemed like a good idea. But now I’m like running and running and running out the door to get everything done.
THE GUILT IS KILLING ME!! I CAN’T STOP WORKING!!!!
Ever since my infamous blog post for xoJane about white dudes with Asian fetishes I’ve pretty much been running around non-stop. Even in Gulu, Uganda, the locals remarked how I never slowed down. I actually hate slowing down. I kind of love the adrenaline. So I’m not sure how well I’ll do in a situation where my job is to RELAX.
I’m typing fast that’s how unable to slow down I’ve been.
2. Marched for 4.5 hours, across 10.5 miles because #BlackLivesMatter
So much of the last two years have had me re-evaluating my work and relationships with the Black community (both in America and Uganda), considering what privilege I have even as someone who is of a marginalized identity here, and what privilege I can cede to recenter the most silenced of voices within the Black community. I’ve been thinking how my own work and humor (which is drawn so much out of my own life and politics) contributes (or hinders) the liberation and re-centering of black lives consistently left behind by the progress of social justice movements.
3. Got a lot of writing done at Montalvo Arts Center!
I spent most of this summer in the middle of the woods (in Silicon Valley) in a gorgeous studio, writing down everything I remembered from my trip to Uganda and creating the spine for my new solo show. I ended up with 250 pages that looked like one hell of a memoir. From those pages, I pulled the best stuff to turn into this play I’m making now… The Wong Street Journal.
4. Made a second reality tv show that’s ACTUALLY family friendly.
Check out this really ridiculous episode of MYX TV’s Eat Your Words where I make sushi with character actor Rodney Kageyama.
5. Gave the Commencement Speech at UCLA (again!).
If you ever wanted to see me dressed like Harry Potter crying like a big baby, here is your chance. Colorlines picked up on the speech which gave it a nice boost, but their scintillating pull quote had Asian men screaming at me online. (Yay, what’s new?)
6. Wrote some real badass essays. Some of which my academic friends say they’ll teach in their classes!
My cat Octavia is the second cat I’ve had to get a mention in the LA Times!
9. Gave a lot of Keynote speeches. Stanford, Duke, UC Berkeley and DeAnza College. What a freaking honor. Here I am at UC Berkeley’s QACON…
10. I might be the only comedian to ever have sewn the New York Stock Exchange out of felt and then performed with said set at the Comedy Central Stage.
Post conflict Uganda? Microloans? Rap? An end to poverty? Chinese people who turn white once in Africa? This new show is the most complicated thing I’ve undertaken since that funny show I made about depression.
11. Continued to build partnerships with my friends in Uganda.
Some people called it “the creepiest Kickstarter ever.” I called it the truest manifestation of love. When I heard Jeremy Lin would be moving to LA to play for the Lakers, I immediately registered our wedding on The Knot and I tried to raise $5400 to buy two courtside tickets to woo his love. After a hellish 30 days of insufferable cyber-begging, I fell just $304 short of my goal. Sure I was devastated, but that did not stop me from raising our children….
AND JUST SO YOU KNOW… Internet lists are LEGIT SOURCES OF NON-SUBJECTIVE NEWS.
15. I hosted Mr. Hyphen 2014!!!
It was like the sketch comedy absurdo spirit from high school was with me! Here are some highlights from the greatest community beauty pageant of all time…
Introducing Jeremy Lins.
Introducing George Takeis.
2015 will have a lot of good stuff to look forward to… The Wong Street Journal is previewing all over the country and has its WORLD PREMIERE in June! I just booked a ticket to the Philippines in May (found a RT ticket for under $400!). I ‘m really really close to some super big things that I will announce soon!
This is where my life was always supposed to be. I just had to kill the critics in my head. Happy New Year!
I had a (hilarious) nervous breakdown on Reality TV trying to prove to Sensei Yuji Matsumoto of Kabuki Restaurants that I could make sushi better than them.
Me and 657 year-old character actor Rodney Kageyama were challenged to make sushi on MyxTV’s “Eat Your Words.” We are judged by Master Sommelier of Kabuki Restaurants, Sensei Yuji Matsumoto. Did my one day sushi making class at Santa Monica Community College put me on par with master sushi chefs? Find out in the Episode BELOW!
Please tweet me @mskristinawong and #eatyourwords so I know you are watching!
I originally started as a judge on the show but because I was so harsh, Eat Your Words told me I had to really prove myself as a cook.
Here I am on Episode 3 as a Judge… If you ever wanted to see food described like bowel movements, this is the episode to watch!!