I’ve decided to do the only thing that one can do when everything seems to be slipping out from under you– surf the chaos. Can’t fight it, can’t submit your fear to it. Just surf it, flow through it. And it’s working.
Reading the paper and all its agonizing news has actually become quite normal. And now, comes the task of having fun despite all circumstances.
Look at all the senior citizen things I am doing in this economy to stay busy and happy.
After my 3 hour sushi class at Santa Monica College (which is an excellent thing to do if you have the money or time, btw), I’ve been making sushi at home. And now, just as the teacher says, am never in the mood to go out to eat sushi. It’s not bad when I make them. Though it would probably help if I had a knife that cost more than 99cents because my rolls aren’t very elegant. My friend Bangbay came by this weekend and we rolled up tons of sushi (using raw salmon and tuna!) and ate it all, then wandered around the promenade in a food coma.
You can’t tell there is a recession. Because there is still a line of people buying crap at Anthropologie. I wanted to scream out to the people stocking up on $8 tea towels: “Have none of you heard of the 99 cents store?!”
Next week I’m doing an excerpt of my show in Las Vegas. The pay is absolutely terrible, but I need to get out of town and my friend Greg is coming and will also perform. Bangbay is coming too. We’re looking at it as a workcation. Our hotel room was only $21.80 a night(which includes the tax). I’m feeling generous and will be splurging for the room for the three of us (even if it may be missing a wall or has a chalk outline of a body on the floor).
Greg does this piece called “Spit” where he talks about men who have spit on him during sex and has people spit into a cup and drink it. It’s so gross.
I can’t think of a better travelling partner.
In other news, my friend Candi taught me how to use my sewing machine. And now I’m going to spit out felt dolls like nobody’s business.
By the way, that volcano in Alaska finally erupted. We were scared it would blow when we were there.
“Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Solo artist Kristina Wong unveils a string of imaginative surprises as she supposedly examines the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women. She darts around this grim subject with the kind of meta-theatrical wit that creates one of the funniest shows in town and engenders a level of audience participation that’s enthusiastic without becoming embarrassing. Then she ends with a sobering coda — another kind of surprise after all the laughs. It’s a wild ride, and Wong’s a magnetically energizing artist. TeAda Productions is the host. Miles Playhouse, Santa Monica. (310) 998-8765. http://teada.org. Closes Oct. 5.”— Don Shirley, LA City Beat
Today was kind of depressing. I was supposed to take the day off, but instead I moped around the apartment. Passed out for a few hours and woke up in my own drool contemplating the world’s unreality.
The run is going well. We’ve had audience. We could stand to perhaps have a little more audience, especially in such a big theater. But the ones who’ve come are valuable and have been attentive.
I am grateful for many things about how the run has gone so far.
Lots of people who don’t know me are coming.
The stage with all the lights is beautiful.
There are all these volunteers helping behind the scenes so that I can be an artist.
The reception was unreal… (“All this for me?”)
Things I am hoping for.
That friends who have known me for a while and have never seen my work, or at least have very poor assumptions of what my work looks like… will come to the show.
That the company producing me will be able to break even with their investment in the show.
That I might recuperate at least a small fraction of my financial investment in this show. (Right now, I will not make any money from this run. I’m actually losing money. :< )
That I will actually inspire people to dialogue about depression and suicide.
Last week while chewing gum, part of my tooth broke off in my mouth. It was my molar, third from the back. And now I have a nice little hole for food to collect in. Like a built in holiday feeder in my mouth.
I’ve been calling all sorts of free clinics today to get help. I called the USC dentistry school who work on people but it is a very time consuming process. All the free clinics seem to have had budget cuts (ironically, the government is bailing out the fat cats but can’t help me get a little cement put on this tooth back here.) The last time I had dental insurance three years ago, the guy told me I had to get a root canal and found $1500 in repairs in my mouth the half second I opened my mouth. Sounded like a big sham to me. Dentists have become salesmen. It’s sad that I can’t even trust a dentist these days.
I may break down and call a regular old LA dentist. I called my dentist uncle in San Francisco who I wouldn’t be able to see for another month when I can get up there. But my gums are bleeding and it’s a big mess back there right now because of the broken tooth. I just don’t want to get screwed.
There’s one section of my show about trying to get free mental health services in America. It’s a process of searching that’s liable to make you more crazy than before you started looking for help. It’s not easy to get much of any kind of health services for free here in the “free world.” But god forbid you ever get sick here because it will cost you.
My first year of college, I fell off my bunk bed. More remarkable, I wasn’t even drunk. I limped around campus for a good week, moaning, howling in pain, moving at the third of the speed of a senior citizen. I had no idea if I had a simple sprain or had actually broken a bone. I had insurance then but was cautioned by my mother many times that using insurance would just drive up my rates. So even in the most pain of pain, I didn’t think to use it…. even though it was getting impossible to function.
My roommates at the time, couldn’t stand the howling any more and called the SHAs (student health advocates– basically pre-med students) to come check on me. Seeing as they weren’t really doctors, they just called the campus hospital for me. And I wailed with those EMTs screaming, “I don’t care if this is broken! I can’t pay for it! If the insurance co-pay doesn hurt me, my mother will kill me!”
But in some dramatic lift off, they wheeled me out of the dorm on a gurney, through a busy lobby of students. For some reason I chose to wear this Holly Hobbit dress that day and looked Britney Spears a la early 2008 as I was pulled out of there.
As it turns out nothing was broken. They bandaged me up. It still cost $100.
TV on Christmas Day is so weird. There are two channels with a burning log. Maury Povich has taken a one day break from paternity tests to show off “outrageously talented” people. And everything is so clean and wholesome and family oriented.
But come tomorrow, the trashy life we are accustomed to will come back to us. In the meantime, here are some videos to enjoy on this sacred day.
I’m in the San Diego area now. It’s just past midnight and I’m doing a presentation at Cal State San Marcos tomorrow morning at the ass crack of dawn. Professor Judy Bauerlein has invited me to speak to her Theater 101 Class about my work.
I was telling her about the “Two Girls One Cup” phenom and caught her reaction to it…
Here’s Judy’s surprisingly calm reaction to 2girls1cup.
There are so many things that intrigue me about “2girls1cup”– not the video itself (there are other words I have besides “intrigue” to describe how I feel about it.)
What is so interesting about this 2girls1cup phenom is this whole culture of people recording their reactions to such a disgusting video and people forcing their friends and family members to watch other people eat poop. It’s become a community of shared shock and reaction that I feel a part of. That I am in on some sort of secret, some collective experience.
2girls1cup is a community of shared trauma. We laugh because we are all in on it. We are horrified together. We share and enjoy watching each others reactions because we know what it is they saw too. There are so many parallels to the 2girls1cup community and how people came together after 9/11 or after any shared trauma in our history.
My questions are:
* Is that where we are as a culture. That it takes two girls eating poop to get us to be horrified? Is what is happening in the world already not horrific or interesting enough to react to?
* Now that so many people have witnessed poop eating, what is the next “2girls1cup”– what’s the next even more horrific thing for us to really react to?
* What collective trauma in our national history will it take for Americans to be horrified? What will shock us in 10 years? What will shock us next week?
* Are we so bored that we turn to “2girls1cup”? Or is this part of our healing? To distract ourselves with something that seems like a roller coaster ride? Like celebrity gossip, do we get involved so much with it because it’s a roller coaster we can get off? Because it’s like someone else’s fiction– it’s low stakes to us?
What I think is interesting is: * How people are attempting to outdo each other in these reactions. The ones that get the most hits are when the viewer barfs, when the mother or father (people you typically would not want to share these videos with) are asked to watch. The reactions themselves have to be shocking for people to want to see them.
* The reactions are residual mirrors of the original which cannot be shown on Youtube. The reaction is only as good as the original. If the reaction isn’t good, then it perhaps reflects the original’s ability to create emotional impact.
* The reaction will never be as “good” or as “real” the second time around. The viewer has come to expect what they see. They have “rehearsed” the emotions. And slowly it becomes normal or anticipated. Much like what has happened in our world.
So here it goes. A series of videos Judy and I made tonight. We aren’t trying to “perform” but capture our real reactions of watching other stimulus, stories, and moments.
Yes, they are boring. Very boring. But unfortunately, we were already familiar with these stories already. No surprises.
Here we are reacting to the Writer’s Strike. I guess if the writers would eat some poop, we’d be more interesting to watch.
Here is a reaction video of us watching a news item on Dick Cheney’s heart condition. Surprisingly, Darth Cheney’s face alone isn’t enough to make us puke.
Here is a reaction video of us watching a amateur video taken of the twin towers going down on 9/11.
A reaction video of us watching archival footage from 2003 of the opening day of bombing (Shock and Awe) in Iraq as covered by CNN.