Buy Original Art from the Set of Radical Cram School!

July 12th, 2018

You need socially progressive art for your collection and we need to finish this edit on our “Radical Cram School” web series featuring the young Asian American girls (above)!  

Let’s make this happen!

All art items were actually used on our set and are the ONLY items like them in existence.  Because they have been used on a set there may be characteristic flaws, fingerprints, or dings. But they are all in great and in display-worthy condition.

Suggested Donation prices include US shipping!

*International buyers please contact me for shipping rates.

Make the contribution here and send me your address in the notes so I can mail.  If the item is not marked “SOLD” below, it’s still available!

 

Yuri Kochiyama Poster
Art by Kirby Araullo and Yee Xiong
Dimensions: 37” x 24”
Mounted on Foam Core
Suggested Donation Price: $250/ shipped anywhere in the US

Grace Lee Boggs Poster
Art by Alex Chiu
Dimensions:  32” x 24”
Mounted on Foam Core
Suggested Donation Price: $250/ shipped anywhere in the US

“Resistance Auntie” Poster
Art by Shing Yin Khor
Dimensions: 29” x 24”
Mounted on Foam Core
Suggested Donation Price: $250/ shipped anywhere in the US

“MICROAGGRESSION” Felt Flashcard
Designed by Kristina Wong
Sewn by our Art Department
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 7”x 30”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US


“FEMINISM” Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 6” x 25”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US


“MISOGYNY” Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 6.5” x 23”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US

“INTERSECTIONALITY” Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 5.5” x 28.5”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US

“STRUCTURAL RACISM Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 9” x 20.5”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US

“GENDER NON-BINARY” Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 10” x 19”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US


“OPPRESSION” Felt flashcard
Designed and Sewn by Kristina Wong
Materials:  Felt, thread, Cardboard inside
Dimensions: 7” x 28”
Suggested Donation Price: $200/ shipped anywhere in the US

→ Leave a comment

Category: Blog

Man did I have a crazy last 30 days of life.

March 29th, 2018

In the last month I’ve been scrubbed down in public baths in Istanbul and Koreatown, made my debut on Nigerian TV, filmed music videos in Uganda, gave a out Gold Record award in a rural village in Uganda, then performed in the mountains of Wyoming before running around with drag queens for a 24 hour show in Los Angeles.

Now I’m in the first slow week since I’ve returned and pretty freaking depressed.   I’m currently wrapped in a blanket at home trying to understand what life is and how to continue the frenzy of the last month.  My colleagues say I should use the time to “rest and reflect” and to that I say HELL NO!  I want to continue a crazy schedule that prevents me from thinking about the agony of life!

One month ago, I left Los Angeles for Nigeria. I was representing America in the Lagos Theater Festival.  That’s right.  I, Kristina Wong, was REPRESENTING AMERICA in Africa.  The day before I left, I debated a dog in my first mock debate… you see, I’m running for Public Office next year and as part of my preparation, I am working on my mock debate skills.

I won by a vote of 24 to 6.

And this was perhaps the most mundane thing that happened in the last month.

 

The first stop before Nigeria was in Istanbul for a 20 hour layover.  I was traveling with Molly, my technician who ran the show in Portland.  Any Asian American will tell you that traveling to non-Asian countries abroad usually means having China! Japan! Korea! screamed at you ad nauseum.  My last trip to Istanbul was characterized by a lot of verbal harassment in the streets.  In a few situations, men would actually follow me or sit next to me when I was trying to get a moment alone.  But this time around, the experience was the opposite.  Nobody screamed at me in the street.  People were very friendly.  I think traveling with a white person in the tourist off season had to do with it.

It was only inside the Turkish bath that I got separated from Molly and lumped in with a group of tourists from China.  The Turkish women working there who don’t know any English would call to me “China!” to tell me it was my time to get scrubbed.  But it was kind of funny.

 Highlights from Nigeria:

  1. I was on Nigeria’s version of “The Daily Show”!  THE OTHER NEWS.

YouTube Preview Image

This New Yorker article about Nigeria’s first news satire show had come out before I arrived in Nigeria.  I had no idea that I’d be a guest on the show with only a day’s notice.  I was happy just to meet the team that puts the show together.  The staff writers were so cool.

  1. I met famous freaking Nigerians at a reception that the US Consulate held for me.

    When the US Consulate in Lagos asks local celebrities to show up for a reception… oh man, do they show up.  I met female comedians who do a show called “Ladies of Laughter.”  I met famous music artists like Tuface and Korede Bello.  I met famous comedians like BasketMouth and Ali Baba.  I also have a ton of pics with famous Nigerians, some of them I’m not even sure who they are. 

  2. I was taken around in an armored vehicle.  Sometimes with an armed guard with a bigass gun!

    In Los Angeles, I walk around vulnerable.  Just yesterday a block from my home I got one of the longest catcalls from a moving car in recent memory.  It was like this guy was reading a half page description of my butt to me from his car.  But in Nigeria, because I was a guest of the US Consulate, Molly and I were ushered at all times in an armored vehicle. We had staff at the consulate escort us everywhere.  We didn’t have walk more than a block as the car had to drop us off directly in front of where we needed to go at all times.  We were literally moving in a bubble of privilege.

    In fact the only time we attempted to travel alone was when we cross the street from our hotel to see if this souvenir stand was open (it was closed).  Victoria Island really isn’t much of a walking culture.  Most of the architecture was like fortress after security armed fortress.  If we were driving to an area outside of the “Green Zone” then a guard with a giant rifle would travel with us.  This sounds crazier and more dangerous than it actually was out there.  It’s this weird thing that being a guest of the US Consulate makes you a target, and yet only the US Consulate can provide this insanely high level of security.

  1. I did the sweatiest most difficult show in my life.  I got through it.

    The entire country of Nigeria runs on half the electricity of North Korea.  This means that me doing the kind of heavy tech video show that I do requires a space to have generators that power all the lights, sound, and air conditioning of a space.  That means tech can get sweaty. This means shows are sweatier.  And sometimes, during tech, we would be sitting in the dark waiting for the power to be turned on.

    Also, Nigerian audiences watch theater differently than my audiences at home.  They get up in the middle of the show, talk to someone else, take photos, text— it’s hella distracting.  And yet after, they all asked to take pics with me.  Weird.

  2. I met amazing inspiring women and young girls.

    One event that the consulate had me do was a discussion at “Lady Labs”– a space where young girls are learning how to code. But also at that meeting were women who had started organizations to raise awareness around gender based violence.  It took all of two seconds upon my arrival to realize that I had nothing to teach them, and instead, opted to facilitate a conversation between these women (many who live in the same city but have never met before) to discuss what resources they have to share and what work it is that they are doing.  My jaw dropped at how well spoken the 13 year old girls were.  One girl was describing an app she was creating to end genital mutilation.

  3. I was on the My Africa podcast.

    I was on one of the best podcasts coming out of Nigeria.  I talked a lot about the similarities between Chinese Americans and Nigerians. Osagie who interviewed me, did better research than most Americans who interview me.
    LISTEN TO IT HERE.

  1. I was a little riot on late night TV in Nigeria.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Ali Baba is Nigeria’s FIRST stand-up comedian.  He started doing stand-up when there were no venues for it.  He studied American comics on VHS.  And now younger comics LITERALLY bow to him.  Not only did Ali Baba come to my comedy workshop, he had me on his late night comedy show.  We were a hoot.

    Here is Ali Baba in my comedy workshop held at the City Hall building in Lagos.

  2. I really got to meet the locals at the New Africa Shrine.

    Check this out.  The US Consulate has so much pull in Lagos, that they actually got Femi Kuti (son of Fela Kuti) to perform early for us.  Femi Kuti is such a legend that when they tell you that you aren’t allowed to film, people actually adhere to the rule (unlike my shows in Lagos which were totally being filmed without my permission).  Also, Femi Kuti touched my finger!!!

    So the guy in the above picture literally was holding a joint and waved us over to sit with him.  I think his girlfriend was at the table too, but he was like “she’s just my friend”.  I don’t think so.  She just looked into the distance when we sat down and ignored us.  I’m pretty sure she pissed that he invited us to disrupt their date.

  3. A college literally stopped classes for a day to put a show on for us.Check out the image they have projected:  “US Embassy Stand-up Comedy Workshop with Kristina Wong.”  Because it’s so difficult to explain WTF it is I actually do, the wonderful PEFTI Film Institute billed me as a premiere American stand-up comedian and announced that I was hosting “stand-up comedy tryouts.”

    I felt like a low rent Margaret Thatcher as I sat in a front row easy chair next to Molly and we were treated to performances of African pop songs.  They take American ambassadors super seriously!!  They also played the American national anthem.  And everything about their rendition pretty much sums up how I feel about 2018….

    YouTube Preview Image

    10.  I got a peek at Chinatown in Lagos:

    YouTube Preview Image

Chinese people in Africa.  Yeah, I’m not the only one!  And a lot are coming from China to Nigeria because of the oil economy.  I had heard that there was a Chinatown in Lagos and wanted to see exactly how that all works.  There were actually very few Chinese people.  They speak a different dialect than the one I barely have a grasp of.  But I did get a peek of how one restaurant owner works with her Nigerian staff despite not knowing English.  It was super fascinating.  And yes… I have spy video….

YouTube Preview Image

 

From Uganda….

 11. I got to see Nerio Badman after five years!

After five years of telling audiences all over the world about this producer dude I met one night, and how both our lives changed forever when we recorded a rap album together, I got to see him again.  And this time we went to visit his family’s village.  The family welcomed me, fed me, milked their cow and gave me the milk within minutes of the extraction.  It made me realize that both me and Nerio have roots in farm towns (I just visited my grandfather’s birth village last year and it was po’dunk!) and now pursue big city dreams.

12. I visited Nerio’s home village and presented him with a Gold Record Award!
YouTube Preview Image

My friend Andy at Gold LP.com hooked up the greatest gift ever– a CUSTOMIZED GOLD RECORD AWARD!  Andy is the only American manufacturer of gold records and makes them for all the big music people.

13. I rode on the back of a motorcycle!  In a music video!!

YouTube Preview Image

Here is a behind the scenes video from “Mzungu Price”. 

As part of the business relationship I share with Nerio, I set aside a royalty each time I perform The Wong Street Journal.  It took a while to figure out the best way to continue a supportive relationship after I left Uganda.  But looking at microloans as an example of how to invest in self determination of people, I realized that it made more sense to have working relationships with people in the “developing” world versus charitable ones where I just give out money outright. Specifically, I used the royalties he was owed on the shows to pick up equipment that he can’t access in Uganda.

We shot three music videos while in Gulu using the new equipment I brought them with their royalties.

14. I got to be the hot girl in the music video.  Check the world premiere of BOSS LADY.

YouTube Preview Image

All I can say is, it’s never too late to be anything.

15.  I got to see the progress of my friends at VACNET!

If you’ve been to The Wong Street Journal in the last few years, you may have noticed that I sell items for the microloan organization that I volunteered with during my first trip to Uganda.  I’m proud to say that the show has helped raise THOUSANDS of dollars for microloans.  And now, dozens of women have been taken off the waiting list.  VACNET has expanded to a a second solar powered building that does computer literacy training and also provides meeting space for womens groups.  I’m incredibly proud of Bukenya Muusa for his work and so happy to support his vision.

16.  We recorded another hit song.  In Nerio’s new studio… Empire Records Uganda.

YouTube Preview Image
I haven’t released it yet. But the first night back in Gulu, we recorded a hit single called “Nigerian Prince.”  It’s inspired by all the hot dudes I met in Nigeria, but it’s a funny song about an American woman who falls in love with an email scammer who identifies himself as a Nigerian Prince.

17.  Home cooked Ugandan food!


I’m not a big fan of Ugandan food, especially out of the Northern region of Gulu.  It’s not awful. It’s just nothing I crave. But I will say that Nerio’s family made me food and it was delicious!  The starch called “kalor” is really tasty when mixed with the protein.  In this case, fresh fish.  There is a dry fish I’ve had in Gulu which I have a very difficult time getting any flesh off of.  It was really cool that his family pulled out all the stops, down to chopping the wood for the fire to cook this welcoming meal for me.

 And then I came speeding back in LA to be in Taylor Mac’s show…

And between show weeks, I went to Wyoming to do an excerpt of The Wong Street Journal….

Wyoming has only 570,000 people and one four year university sponsored by the state.  So it was amazing that I got the invitation to perform.  I bought a skunk pelt.

Ok, I’m tired of blogging and will add to this later.

 

 

→ Leave a comment

Category: Blog

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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.

YouTube Preview Image

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.

 

→ Leave a comment

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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:

YouTube Preview Image

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.

YouTube Preview Image

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…..

 

 

 

 

→ 2 Comments

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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.

→ Leave a comment

Category: Blog

Page 1 of 103123...102030...Last »