Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh man

I am sucking at this daily thing.

It all started off as usual in a sleep deprived haze and from there it was one thing after another.
Manipulating images when all you have at your disposal is powerpoint sucks ass. What I wouldn't give for a copy of Photoshop and Illustrator.

I sat in on the most neato meeting ever. And I wish I was in a position to do more, to call the shots, to make things happen right now because the people at this meeting were just so ... cool. Working with them would be just so ... cool.

Met up with JJP and went to the "geometric shape" show (gss). Things have changed a lot since last I went to one. I was curious to see whether it would bring back memories. The format of the show was diffferent. Instead of being musical variety and comedy it was a proper musical with a proper plot and whatnot. One thing that hasn't changed is getting humor out of asians and asian stereotypes. It's not big news. It's actually nice to be a part of the funny as opposed to invisible. We have come a long way from Long Duck Dong and Mr. Unioshi to Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan. I will let you decide if that's really a very long way. And the asian fella in question was pretty talented. But what was lacking in this case was a certain edginess. The asian stereotypes were brought out *ha ha ha* but that was all. Totally soft pedalled.

Overall I think the show was lacking in edginess. Then again musical theater and acapella group singing tend to be pretty counter-revolutionary when you get down to it. When's the last time you heard a barbershop quartet in cite people to protest with a really neato arrangement of "We Shall Overcome." There are exceptions, of course. Sweet Honey in the Rock being an excellent one.

Bobby Lee gets a lot of mileage out of blowing the asian stereotype but there's something so over the top about it. He is asian, he knows what assumptions you make about him and his kind and he is so going to take it a millions miles further that you would ever dare to - hear him roar.

There is a skit he did in which he and another asian guy are supposed to be doing a point / counterpoint segment about the relations between North and South Korea. They start calling each other a Pa-boh which escalates into a slapfight and well I dunno. I found it hilarious. Though I must confess that I don't know what a Pa-boh is. As a kid I always had the impression that a Pa-Boh was someone who was bringing public shame on themselves but in a little kid crying cause you wet your pants way. Like a Pa-Boh was a crybaby or a whiney pathetic loser or something. At least that's how it always seemed to be used in the context of me. My parents would try to cajole me out of some weepy/whiney fit by saying, "Hey, don't be a Pa-boh."

We will have to wait for RFTHMP! who knows everything to confirm/deny/correct me on this one.

And way back in the day the gss did a song called "I'm a Chinese Jewish Cowboy." It was controversial. In that way that makes you kind of uncomfortable while making its point yet being kind of clever and funny. It was also a pretty nice tune with very clever lyrics. And I can kind of identify as an Asian American chick who has performed in rock bands. Inevitably there is someone who will express surprise at seeing an "Oriental do that kind of thing."

'Cause y'know I'm supposed to play the violin in a string quartet when I'm not practicing medicine, running a dry cleaning business, selling produce, practicing my martial arts and ninja skills, driving poorly, or doing particle physics. Seriously, I think Asian kids in america are in serious need of some rebelling against their parents and society. I kinda wish that I had. This filial piety thing is putting a cramp on our ability to participate in the national cultural dialogue. To have James Iha, and Yoko Ono be the highest profile pacific asian rock people in American culture is ... insufficient. Jump out of the toolbox, divest yourself of your material drives, get disowned, smoke more pot, start a band, damn you! Take one for the team.

And every time my ethnicity comes in the the conversation as a relevant piece of information to my performance, it's a let down. Because ... if you heard me on the radio you would not have given it a second thought and in rip and snort mode, I keep up. I can hold my own if I have to.

Two moments made me feel some connection to this gss and my past. The first is a number they did called "Don't tell mom I'm building a bomb" and thrillingly catchy, clever, and adorable number about a troup of girl scouts who are building a bomb to be used to break into a vault of money. It was pretty brilliant and brilliantly executed as well and in keeping with the stuff I remember.

I actually hatched an idea a skit featuring the Brownies and if I should ever get it together everyone will now think I stole the idea from this gss. Alas. They did get out there first.

The other moment was the kick line at the end. Classic and in keeping with tradition.

If you don't know what the hell I am talking about here, it's all good. This post came out a little salty-er than I intended.
*sorry* I might re-edit later.


Kat E said...

"'Cause y'know I'm supposed to play the violin in a string quartet when I'm not practicing medicine, running a dry cleaning business, selling produce, practicing my martial arts and ninja skills, driving poorly, or doing particle physics."

LMFAO! (You forgot "selling knock-off purses while wearing a black puffy coat" and "giggling girlishly while entertaining a group of businessmen")

ergo said...

kat e: *in reverent tones*
Oh. You are good. So good.

snowcrush said...

You know, I still think it was cool that the guy at customs in heathrow thought we were sisters! I really don't think he was kidding, doesn't matter what we look like when we act all silly:-)

ergo said...

snowc: what? you mean we're not related? Aw man!

Anonymous said...

"Chinese Jewish Cowboy" was a number from the Princeton Triangle Club's 1990 Spring show, /Easy Street/. Who is gss?

ergo said...

Yes, indeed it was. I'm class of '92. I got to see it. Who are you?