First of all, THANKYOU to everyone who attended the panel discussion last Sunday. I was honored by the company I kept with AAPAC's Christine Toy Johnson, and Cindy Cheung, as well as my more local allies Seema Sueko, Lee Ann Kim, Bennet Peji, Greg Watanabe and Larry Baza. And despite the LA times reporting attendance of only 150, I cannot express the feeling of seeing the 400+ seat Potiker Theatre filled to capacity. I saw many old friends from throughout our national community, make a real impact just through their presence! I also thank the artists who have been involved in the Nightingale who reached out to me privately and personally! I cannot fathom the difficult position you have been placed in!
All that said, if you missed the panel, you may view it here:
I also encourage you to seek out some wonderful responses such as Jennifer Chang's Here: http://wp.me/p1OQ5j-F
or this passionate spoken word video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd4X8r2bIdc
Its been interesting to watch everything unfold. Many people are
watching the video of the panel and reacting for the first time.
New posts, new blogs, new letters are being generated each day. The
thing I keep thinking is, there is potential momentum to be gained
here. Yes we're all angry, with new people getting angry each
day. So how can we channel this anger towards something
actionable... and I dont mean just in regards to La Jolla Playhouse
or the Nightingale itself. The fact is that this instance is a
symptom of a larger issue. Our culture and society has perpetuated
a perception that enabled some individuals to make an erroneous
choice, without a thought for the real impact of this choice.
At the heart of this all, I keep feeling that there is a flaw in our
society's constructed perceptions, that allowed his production to
develop over 10 years without being questioned until it came to La
Jolla. I feel this flaw is the same that has allowed the film
industry to Erase asian americans from lead roles in films like 21,
the Last Airbender, Dragon Ball Z, Akira, and many more. It is the
same flaw that allowed the US Government to go 40 years before
making reparations for Japanese Internment. It is the same flaw that
led to the death of Vincent Chin. It is the same flaw that had
Scientist Wen Ho Lee wrongfully on trial for espionage. It is the
same flaw that lies at the heart of the suicides of Private Danny
Chen, and Lance Corporal Harry Lew, and the thousands of other Asian
Americans who have been reported to be the most bullied of all
ethnic groups (according to AAPI Nexus). Our culture
characteristically dismisses Asians and Asian Americans. But with
this public apology, a NEW PRECENDENT HAS BEEN SET!
Now it is to US to build upon that public acceptance of
responsibility, so that we as a national community can build a
foundation to incite action!
So I ask, what can we do, as a community with reinvigorated purpose,
that can affect real change? Is it something that we can propose to
the La Jolla Playhouse? is it something we propose to the Theatre
Communications Group with help from the Consortium of Asian American
Theatres & Artists? Is it something that engages other
resources, or mediums, like say the success of APIA entertainers on
youtube, or support from elected officials, or other political
Lets think "Blue-Sky" (that is to say "without limitations") what
are some actionable ideas that we can engage in to change the face
of American Theatre, film, television that can have an impact on the
social constructions of our culture. Lets use this momentum that
something truly positive, and groundbreaking can come of this.
Please share your ideas and impressions on this survey,
I will also be adding entered email addresses into a Google Group in
order to continue our discussion!
Thanks, and feel free to pass this along!