Taking the bus in Vegas... well... more like WAITING for the bus in Vegas.
Greetings from NYC! I sit in the Starbucks in Harlem trying to figure out how to rewrite this CAT LADY play. It’s changed so much since I first made it for the REDCAT two years ago. And it needs so much work. It’s such a different process for me. Can I tell you how weird it is to be in rehearsals with three other actors and write lines for them and they say them?
We had a CAT LADY rehearsal last week and my cast pointed out that I tend to talk TO the audience a lot, like I’m lecturing them. Oh, old solo performer habits die hard. The plan now is to do three free readings in LA over the next four months and just keep figuring out what the story is. With free beer! You can find the info on those readings in my calendar.
(I'm learning that if you don't have standards, dating is easy.)
Since you last heard from me I did a show in Las Vegas where I learned that not only is the city running out of water but they don’t really recycle. Casino Apocalypse! I stayed in a $30/ night hotel in Downtown Vegas. The bedspread of my bed was so filthy that I swear I took a nap in that bed and woke up pregnant.
Check out my bedspread in Vegas!
I was just in Philadelphia doing an event for the Pew last week where I had the exact opposite experience. I was put up in a $700/night hotel in Center City! Wowsas.
Next week I’m in Miami where I’ll premiere “Going Green the Wong Way”! I play the week after Jerry Seinfeld leaves. Sometimes this work has it’s perks.
PBS ran a news piece about suicide and depression among Asian American women and as a result, Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has gotten some interest again. I wasn’t crazy about the article initially. I have huge issues with being portrayed as “depressed Kristina Wong.” I also think it’s misleading when descriptions of my work as an artist or show imply that its MAIN GOAL aims to “help Asian women who are depressed.” Those portrayals are ironic because much of what I critique on this issue is that people who have experienced depression or suicidal thoughts are shilled down to one-dimensional “victims” and that it’s the “saviors” who are probably more at risk of depression and suicide than anyone else.
But after the last few weeks of devastating gay teen suicides, I found myself just happy to see PBS address the issue, even if the article seemed to focus on me being “a depressed person” more than this awesome show I made. I got flooded with emails after the PBS article ran from schools who want me to come to their campuses. It reminded me that sometimes just an article that scratches the surface of what I’m doing can still have an impact.
Even hot women get scared.
But alas, I find myself here in Harlem, some time to rewrite my new CAT LADY play, scratching my head. Blogging. Avoiding what I’m meant to do. Which is making a new work. I hate being scared of my own work. Worried about how to be as “important” or “successful” as my last show. This creative limbo space can really suck.
Finally!!! After hundreds of hours of working with Mike Closson at his editing studio by the sea, we’ve finished my first concert film. No longer do I answer that question “Sorry, I missed the show, did you tape it?” with the agitated answer: “It’s not the same thing!!! Go away!”
Now the answer is, “Yes, yes, I do have a DVD of my work. Buy it.”
The DVD is not for sale for private home use yet. But if you are a student, professor or librarian, you can buy a copy for your institution. Info is here.
I take a break from the nauseating task of trying to buy a home in LA, to share with you the latest brilliant project of my friend Brian Feldman. You may remember him from an earlier blog post. He is indeed, Orlando’s broker, balder and more brilliant version of David Blaine.
Brian is doing this week what a lot of my friends had joked about doing in the wake of same sex marriage rights being completely written out of state constitutions. Brian is exercising his power, no, HIS RIGHT, to marry a total stranger. And by stranger, I mean… a woman stranger…because you know, the law and all…
Brian agreed to marry any woman who showed up at the Orlando Courthouse at 3pm yesterday. Three women showed up. One woman with a baby strapped to her. So Brian picked his wife in the most sincere way possible, by spinning a water bottle. Then the lucky lady proceeded to fill out a marriage license with him. On Friday, Brian Feldman marries Hannah Miller. I don’t know who she is and nor does he. Though apparently, she has a very understanding boyfriend.
If I had the time to fly to Florida and wasn’t so desperately trying to preserve my FICO score in the wake of trying to buy a house here… I would have gotten myself hitched to that nice Jewish boy myself. Brian Feldman and I could have showed the world: Marriage is for fags.
But instead, I enjoy this nonsense from a distance. And so can you.
For those of you who wonder how my shows come together, here’s how ADD turns into streamlined action from last Friday’s rehearsal at UCLA where I’m an artist-in-residence at the HOTHOUSE residency for artists. I’m turning CAT LADY into a full length show!
Basically, I jam on a bunch of ideas, images, emotions and themes. I improvise scenes with trusted collaborators (this last week it’s been with aerialist/ actor Kennedy Kabasares). I have props available for use in the improv. Write each idea or scene down separately on a card, even scenes that aren’t written.
Next, I see if I can see a movement that the story might follow (this one for Cat Lady broke down into five convenient acts). Then organize all the cards in some kind of order along this act structure.