i’m kristina wong Archive

Dorothy may not be in Kansas anymore. But I am.

April 18th, 2011

Greetings from Emporia, Kansas!  The claim to fame of this small college town two hours South of Kansas City?  It’s the founding city of Veterans Day! Woohoo!  Party!!

Since my last update, I premiered CAT LADY in Houston.  It was exhausting, expensive, though went over extremely well.   Two and half years of hair-pulling and tens of thousands of dollars later culminated in a three day run that went by in a blink.  Yes yes, art is a journey, not a destination… I still felt like I crashed from the world’s most pricey heroin binge after the show closed. After feeling sorry for myself about the ephemeral nature of my work, I thought: Yes.  I did it.  I got it up.  The show got made.  It was to my liking.  And now I don’t have to sit in that never ending creative gestation period.  Hallelujah.  Time to have a private life!


I don’t much to say of the city of Houston because I barely saw it.  Touring hardly ever means getting to be a tourist.  I did meet one of my longtime blog readers who lives in Houston–Chris Lopez and his wife Lily.  They took me out to awesome sushi and even sent me money to make CAT LADY!  Lily was so cute and treated me like I was actually a celebrity, not just a woman who got her 15 minutes by getting dissed by James Franco. Shout out Chrisnlily!

Here’s some press on the show… 8 Asians, Culture Map, Yellow Magazine, and the Houston Entertainicle.  I also did an article for Sexy Voices of Hollywood which I have yet to listen to myself in.

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I went to New Orleans after the show closed. It was my first non-work related vacation in YEARS.  I really must schedule more vacations which is why I dropped five years of airline miles for a seven week trip I’m taking to Southeast Asia in the summer.  My first VISIONQUEST!   I’m excited now that I have six full length shows under my belt, four of which I can still tour.  I finally get to give myself a break and absorb life again.

New Orleans was wonderful.  I didn’t open my laptop once. Ignored most calls.  I just consumed, consumed, consumed.  Stayed at a private house via Airbnb just outside the Quarter and discovered all sorts of music clubs in the neighborhood.  I rode a bike to Lake Ponchartrain and as far out as the Lower Ninth Ward (btw, there’s still a lot of post-Katrina damage in New Orleans, keep them in your thoughts).   I didn’t call any friends in New Orleans.  I didn’t want to have any conversations about art or how my show went.  I just wanted to be an anonymous fat tourist, and I got my dream come true!

The best part about my Houston premiere?  It felt like I had finally taken the trash out on the last 2 1/2 years of my life.  The creative process sometimes stilts the passing of emotional trauma because I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s happening in my life and how to share it with an audience in a viewer friendly way.

Some people mark time by jobs, homes, kids they’ve had.  I mark the Dynasties of Wong Adult Life with my shows and creative projects.  There was the bigbadchinesemama.com Era (2000-2001), Emerging Voices Fellowship/Novel that has yet to get finished Era(2002), Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner-Up/ Flailing around Hollywood Era (2002-2003), Free? Era (2004-2006), and of course, the longest dynasty of them all Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Era (2006-2010, though THAT Era seems to keep leaking into the present).

I sent a lot of ugly to the stage in CAT LADY, found ways to reflect and transform it artfully and so it’s become something else I can manage and understand better.  What’s wrapped up in the Cat Lady era?  My existential crisis, bouts of depression from touring a show about suicide for four years, many empty hook-ups, and several failed relationships that includes a relationship I’ve not talked much about before on my blog…  a really traumatic relationship with a verbal abuser.

And somehow… I made it funny to watch.

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The only show I’ve allowed myself to get addicted to this season is Celebrity Apprentice. (I get addicted to shows quickly, so I choose from hulu carefully.)   I hate the idea of celebrities playing for charity, and how one charity wins per episode, but that’s Hollywood and capitalism and amazing drama.  Anyhow… I started crying when Nene Leakes bursts into tears in the boardroom.  She was the Project Manager and her team was at risk of losing (and they did) and she confesses to The Donald that she wanted her domestic violence charity to win because it’s a cause that hits home.  Nene, Latoya Jackson and Marlee Matlin (who I’m quickly becoming a superfan of and is my pick to win) all admitted to Trump to being a abusive relationships.  (Of course, the following episode Nene goes off on a verbally humiliating tirade on Latoya…  rather ironic considering Nene’s cause…)

Trump’s Obama birth certificate antics aside — I find Celebrity Apprentice a fascinating opportunity for always under-documented social issues to have a bigger presence.  And while I’d rather nobody have had to experience it, felt somewhat comforted that these “celebrities” were so openly admitting their domestic violence experiences because the subject of domestic violence I had considered shameful to share publicly.

As brazen as I seem to be about sharing my personal life with strangers, I’m pretty guarded about speaking openly about private experiences I’ve had with violence.  And I’m especially private about talking about my relationships, I usually just hide under the persona of the tough talk funny perpetually single cat lady.

But I’m feeling more and more compelled to share with strangers that I survived and escaped a verbally abusive relationship not too long ago.  I want to “come out” about this because domestic violence is unfortunately not that uncommon.  And domestic violence victims are rich, poor, educated, not educated and come in all colors.    I am hearing that many of my friends have been in abusive relationships. One friend’s experience was so extreme that she had things thrown at her while pregnant and had to run into hiding with her son.

I never knew what it meant to be in an abusive relationship or even thought that I could be in one.  My friends work for social justice non-profits and so I’m constantly educated on equity, I’ve read a million and a half books on self empowerment (I’m married to myself for Christsakes), and this verbal abuser was someone I was introduced to through friends who (I thought) had my best interests in mind.

What I thought was a runaway romance quickly became a Lifetime Made for TV movie.  He’d keep me up in the middle of the night, screaming at me, berating me, picking fights with me as I tried to sleep.   He’d yell constantly at me, sometimes in public– yelling was his volume of choice.  He’d control parts of my life  and my behaviors by constantly correcting me.  I was terrified what would happen if I didn’t follow his demands carefully, and found myself lying to friends to avoid situations where I’d incorrectly perform his directives.   My secrets, my family members, my shows– were all the subjects of his cruel put-downs.   I knew something wasn’t right when I began to compile a list of who I could call to rescue me if he ever got out of hand.  It got to the point that he was called me every derogatory word imaginable as he almost drove me off the road  and then threw a can of soda at me– that’s when it was clear I had to get out of the relationship.

As it turns out, the person who introduced us knew he was unstable and had a history of psychological meltdowns (one that actually got him fired by the same person who introduced us… a minor detail that would have been nice to know earlier). I actually hung out as long as I did (eight months) because I thought:  “We’re of the same community of friends, so this is supposed to work, I’m supposed to endure this.  This yelling is just him being passionate.  My friends would not put me in a dangerous situation right?”  He would call me names until I cried.  It was his way of making sure I was still emotionally invested in him– if I could take his anger and still come back to him, then he had control and my love.  Sick sick sick.  And so characteristic of verbal abusers.

I’ve read that violent unstable people prey on people like me who do live ambitiously and pursue our joys– artists and activists. I think this verbal abuser thought I’d fix his miserable life– he was not in a profession that made him happy.  Nor was he courageous enough to travel, let alone, clean his room in over five years.   But I couldn’t fix the fundamental misery of his life.  In general, nobody comes into your life to fix things.  I have learned that when you enter a relationship, you need to COME CORRECT not broken like my last partner.  A good relationship is one that inspires, not compromises.  And I was not inspired. I was scared.

As I finally move past that chapter in my life, I am becoming more vocal of sharing with audiences and friends that I am a survivor of domestic violence, specifically verbal abuse.  And it’s been a very long and heartbreaking road to recovery.  Over a year out of that relationship, and I’m just learning I’m not this piece of crap person who does everything wrong. That I am actually quite an amazing person.  And yes, that I do deserve to be loved by someone who is brave enough to love without cruelty.  And yes, that I need to screen these candidates WAY better.  And yes, there are actually nice people in the world who know how to be generous and act without anger.

We live in a world where the angry customer gets their way (though now, selfish corporations trump them).  Where democracy can only be achieved by violent upheaval of the government.  Where cat fights don’t get the ratings that fist tossing bar room brawls do.  Violence is embedded in our personal and global histories.  It’s how change is incited.

Even in the Asian American community, domestic violence is commonplace.  Unfortunately, it’s shameful to talk about it and so women are suffering silently rather than reporting it.  Some (not all) Asian men think that it’s ok to yell at women.  That girlfriends and wives are “property.”

As an artist,  I was not seeking an abusive relationship.  But I was broken.  I was depleted from touring a show about suicide and needed comfort.  I needed someone to be my rock.  I was tired of dating broke people that I was always underwriting.  I saw in this verbal abuser someone who might be my rock in my continued pursuit of a financially tricky and emotionally draining profession.  Instead, I was bait and switched, pummeled with words, and knocked way off my horse until I was forced to figure out who I was again.

He did not take me away though.  And I am learning that it is possible to be brave and love again.  First myself.  Then someone else.  Someone who comes correct and has earned the privilege of my love.

It is actually possible to be in a relationship where loving communication does not happen with screaming, verbal humiliation, threatening gestures, throwing things, hitting, intimidation, forced sex or hurting. It might take a few tries to find a partner brave enough to act with kindness (or to even find it within yourself), but it’s possible. Love can suck, but it is not supposed to hurt.

(Wow, quite a lot of revelation for having been in Kansas for just one day!)

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Category: a shot at love with kristina wong, artist life., balance, Blog, cat lady, empowerment, i'm kristina wong, New Orleans, vision

You wanna go down?!

July 25th, 2010

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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.

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Category: art talk, Blog, hollywood wong, i'm kristina wong, winnings

The Wong San Wheels Chronicle #15: “Oh my god, being carless in LA is like having your legs cut off!”

August 19th, 2009


My friend Marc Norberg took these pictures of me in Minneapolis before I left in May.

Last Friday I did a performance… an homage to one year of being broken up with car ownership. I held a picture of Harold up to the crowd and like a jilted ex-girlfriend choked through fake tears about how much I tried to make it work with him, but he was such an old mess (at 27) he just let me down time and time again. He was also a money pit and a girl like me deserves better than having to give so much of my hard earned money to a useless piece of shit. I want to fall in love with a car again (maybe a nice Japanese model, from a good factory) but am scared of getting hurt.

This Friday I do another performance with slides on an old Kodak carousel where I’ll tell more stories of well intended green living that blew up (literally!) in my face.

There’s one thing the carless thing has really been showing me about this city– it’s really big and really spread out and there’s a whole lotta stuff in it. This morning, I caught a ride (via Facebook update) to an audition with the editor of my concert film, Tina. I caught a ride back with this guy from Craigslist (nah, don’t worry, I sussed it out, it was safe) who I bought a new laptop from. I’m enjoying these free rides about town which come as fast as texting “Need a ride from Silverlake to Weho, call me if you’re going that way”) on my phone. Finally, I put my 1400+ Facebook friends to use as a private car service!

What I’m really seeing is a glimpse of people’s lives. On their routes of life, I am a fly on the wall (or passenger in their car).

I finally got to meet my friend Rena’s two daughters when she beckoned my facebook call and drove me to the beach. she put down the back seat of her SUV up for me and I sat behind her kids. I’m thinking now, that the friends I always say I want to catch up with, I may only be able to catch up with IN TRANSIT!

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Category: i'm kristina wong, The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles

The Great Purge: The 100 item challenge!

November 24th, 2008

I am trying to reduce the contents of my apartment by one-half. It’s supposed to be good feng shui, especially for attracting a partner into your life. It also helps align your life for the next great moment. And I need this. I’m not purging to attract a partner though, I’m purging to clean this freaking place up! Yikes! Seven years in West LA yields a lot of crap! I sure have a knack for accumulation.

I am also trying to liquidate assets I do not need. My goal is to come up with $1000 for liquidating my existing assets, and invest that money directly into my friend’s restaurant. Her lenders get an excellent return rate (8% !) and that is much more stable than the stock market.

I signed up for Scottrade a few weeks back. I’ve already lost $70. Screw that crap. Now I know how the Baby Boomers feel, the stock market is unnecessarily emotional. I much prefer investing in something I understand (my friend’s restaurant) than these nameless faceless companies.

So purging and money making. So far… I’ve made $222. It was kind of sad to say good bye to my rollerskates, my dancer pole, and other things that have been unused fixtures in my closets. But if they found their way into my home once, they will find their way in again (when I want them to come in). And I am really loving how the place feels with less crap in it. And yes, it’s actually a lot of work for very little money, but it reminds me how hard it is to make a buck from selling your old crap.

I decided today to post 100 items online between Craigslist and Amazon.com. (And yes, sadly, I have even more items to shed). And each time something sells, I will find something else to sell. So that at all times I am poised to move 100 items out of this place at a time. It took forever. But once I started to post items up, I was hooked.

By the way, now Craigslist is a lot easier to use because you have to have an account to sell. And reposting a listing is easier.

Now whether or not people would buy any of the things I’ve posted remains to be seen…

Join me in the great purge! Find 100 things in your home that you would be willing to give up.

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Category: artist life., buy nothing year, i'm kristina wong, marriage grown up crap, The New Tweens

Gesbian Pride

October 31st, 2008

My awesome trans friend Riku commented that this has been the gayest week of my life. And more awesome than that, he said that I may have actually “out-gayed” our gay as hell friend D’lo this week.

It really has. I was out campaigning for “No on Prop 8″ on Wednesday. It had been a while since I stood out on the street with a sign rallying. And yesterday, I coordinated “Kristina’s Lesbian Jamboree.” It was a gathering of lesbians and their friends in West Hollywood. It was about getting the married lesbians out of the house. Introducing my lesbian friends to each other. And also building some awareness around “No on Prop 8.”

And oddly enough, for a gathering of Lesbians, it was not that dramatic.

I still struggle with pinning my “orientation” down to any one word. And though many speculated that I may have definitely been bi- or bi-curious when I rode my bicycle with the “Dykes on Bikes” at Pride a couple years back, I was still mums about how it is I identify myself.

But I’ve decided this week to come out of the closet.

Ladies and Germs, I am a loud and proud Gesbian.

I know this may come to a surprise to all of you. Particularly, this may be hard on my family who like my friends, are still trying to figure out what a “Gesbian” is. (I want my family to know that I love them and that I would never do this to hurt them.) I’m sure my family and friends are worried about me– getting “Gesbian bashed,” being discriminated against for being a “Gezzie,” and will I have the right to marry another Gesbian? Could I have kids with another Gezzie?

I’m ready for the scorn, the discrimination, the Gesbiphobia. Because this is who I am. And I refuse to be someone else. I’ve hidden it for so long. But at my core, I’m a GESBIAN.

Last night my two good girlfriends who are partnered and are absolutely meant for each other sent a late night email that they are getting married today at City Hall. I think if they had the choice they would have waited to plan their wedding more at their pace. But right now, they don’t know if they will have the choice after November 4. So they are rushing to do this.

I cry now as I re-read their words and the passion behind them.

“those of you who are closest to us know how much we care for and love one another and most of you understand the commitment we continue to make in our “practice” of lifelong love. it is not a magical something that just appears, even when it feels magical. it is the practice of committing and trying and learning that makes our life together strong and lasting. homophobia and heterosexism do not always give us the best options when it comes to this practice.

“we are hoping that in the awful event that proposition 8 passes, our marriage will not be retroactively nullified. and therefore, affording us all the rights and benefits that married couples have in the state of california.

“we would love to share this moment with all of you, so please keep us in your thoughts tomorrow as we marry. please keep us in your thoughts when you vote on Tuesday. the best you can do for us is to vote NO on Proposition 8.”

I think it is remarkable….

That they believe in their love this much that they will stand up against the ignorance of homophobia and heterosexism to have that love.

That consenting adults still have to fight for the right to love who they love. And that other entities will spend so much money and energy to stop other consenting adults they do not know from marrying each other.

That their marriage ceremony does not have the luxury of being planned with the time that a straight couple has to plan, and that it still risks being nullified if something as archaic as Prop 8 passes.


I am not getting married anytime soon to neither a man nor a woman. In fact, if you remember, I am married to myself and would love the government to recognize my marriage as a real legal binding contract. And on top of that, I am a pioneer in the fight for Gesbian rights and visibility.

I am working on the “No on 8″ campaign because it affects my friends. It’s about equality and that’s something that we all should be concerned about. I am encouraging you to vote “No on 8″ because discrimination should not be written into the constitution. (Leave that shit for reality TV!)

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Category: a shot at love with kristina wong, empowerment, feminist research, i'm kristina wong, Obama is hot, oh my god, sex is unnecessary when you have yarn.

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