Acting Up & Acting Out: The Wondrous Work of Kristina Wong

kristina-wong-cats
Kristina Wong. And cats.

Kristina Wong (@mskristinawong) has dedicated her life to holding up a mirror to Asian America’s politics, pride and foibles through her work as our community’s foremost contemporary performance artist. Wong has influenced generations of Asian American activists with the range of her work tackling such weighty issues as mental health (in her one-woman show “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“) and celebrity obsession (in her ongoing performance piece wherein she appears at public events with hopes of marrying Jeremy Lin).

Wong’s latest show “Wong Street Journal” has its world premiere this week June 17-June 21 in San Francisco as part of the United States of Asian America Festival (link contains full schedule of festival events) hosted by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC): tickets are still available here

As someone who tries and fails to be even a fraction as funny as Kristina, I’m always in awe of her work, which is simultaneously hilarious and deeply thought-provoking. I had a chance last week to interview Kristina and learn a little bit about what it takes to “act up” and “act out” from one of my long-standing Asian American feminist sheroes. 

When’s the wedding to Jeremy Lin and am I invited?

It takes money to marry money.  And sadly: Right now, I have not been able to raise the money to get his attention.

Last summer, I tried to raise $5400 on Kickstarter for courtside tickets where I’d show up in a wedding dress, and he would propose on the spot (because how could he resist?). I came up $394 short after a grueling month of cyber beggary and still have no wedding date.

Continue reading “Acting Up & Acting Out: The Wondrous Work of Kristina Wong”

Jeremy Lin talks about being targeted as the Asian American kid who can ball

After rising to superstardom with the Knicks, Jeremy Lin suffered a few lacklustre games under a new coach before leaving the team to become a free agent and ultimately signing a deal with the Houston Rockets.

In a recent interview on his break-up with the Knicks and subsequent signing with the Rockets, Jeremy Lin opined on what it’s like being an Asian American basketball sensation. In it, he talks about the backlash from both Knicks fans and NBA peers that he suffered through following his of signing a $25 million deal with the Houston Rockets, and contemplates how his race likely influenced the public outcry:

Everything changed for Lin’s reality, and maybe nothing at all. The Knicks never matched the offer sheet in restricted free agency, and some NBA players lined up to do something that that almost never happens to a peer in public: They ridiculed his $25 million deal.

Several days before that air ball in the final moments of a narrow loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night, before everyone started to ask again about his worthiness, Lin spoke of an NBA culture that will demand that he not only justify his contract, but his heritage.

Of the open criticism on his free-agent windfall, Lin told Y! Sports: “I was a little surprised, but I wasn’t shocked. I honestly feel it’s part of the underlying issue of race in American society … of being an Asian-American.

“I haven’t figured it out. I haven’t wrapped my head around it. But it’s something I’m thinking about.”

James Harden has come to the Rockets and unburdened Lin of the impossibility of him successfully playing the part of the franchise player. If people wanted to make Lin that in Houston, the organization and player never did. Together, they understood, but the cultural and global phenomenon surrounding Lin’s magnificent run with the Knicks skewed expectations.

If the move out of New York has softened the glow on Lin’s celebrity, it hasn’t softened the ferocity with which the sport comes for him. From the playground to the Ivy League to the NBA, the eyes on America’s breakout Asian-American basketball player felt the same.

“I’ve always been a target,” Lin says. “Everyone looks me and says, ‘I’m not going to let that Asian kid embarrass me. I’m going to go at him.’ That’s how it’s been my whole life. This has been different, though. Now, I was on the scouting report. People started to pay attention to what I could and couldn’t do.

“But a target? I was used to that. I’m not saying I get everyone’s best shot, but I would say people don’t want to be embarrassed by me because of my skin color.”

Read the full article here.