Tuesday, May 3, 2016

#Randomosities: The "Your (Yellow) Face is Problematic" Edition

(via)
I know.  It's been a while since I've done one of these, and in the intervening time since the last one (whoa, has it been THAT long?!), a lot has happened.  Seasons have once again changed -- the snow has thawed, given away to lots of rainy days (and, er, Mondays); the flowers and trees have bloomed (my favorite being the myriad cherry blossom trees lining sidewalks and parks, which reminds me -- did anyone go to Sakura Matsuri this weekend?)

Y'know the drill.  Here's a lil' digest of linkity-links and doodly-doos (I don't really what doodly-doos are, but just humor me for a second, internet) for your clicking pleasure:

♡ PULITZER PRIZES, 2016.  It seems that two of my FAVES won Pulitzers this year!  (I only idolize smartypants geniuses, apparently.)  One them happens to be a favorite writer of mine, The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum, won a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.  Here's a compendium of her work for the publication, as well as my personal favorite: a write-up she did on Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."  Just as the people at the Pulitzer described, her writing is done so "with an affection that never blunts the shrewdness of her analysis," and is certainly an example of what I aspire to, not only a discerning critic but as a writer in general.

Oh, and the other winner?  None other than our lord and savior Lin-Manuel Miranda, of course!  (He won the Prize for Drama, of course.  So, it should be no surprise that this happened as a result.)

♡ ANYWAY, SPEAKING OF WRITING... My cousin Faith wrote a beautiful piece over at Thought Catalog, musing on the idea of Past Selves titled, "A Letter from the Ghost of You."  (And, if you're familiar with my writing, you'll know how much I'm into Past Selves.)  It's a lovely, soul-stirring read that'll make you want to re-visit old journal entries.

HAMILTON.  Ah, yes.  When do I ever not blog about this show?  (I think we all know the answer.  Duh.)  Lately, it's been keeping its snug position in the headlines: aside from the Pulitzer, there was also the recently successful launch of its #EduHam program a few weeks ago; the publication of Hamilton: The Revolution, the official book companion to the show (a.k.a. #Hamiltome); as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda featured in TIME Magazine's annual 100 Most Influential issue!  It perhaps is far from an exaggeration to say that LMM & Hamilton are having a VERY good year -- and all this before the Tony Awards® nominations were even out yet!

(Just this morning, the nominations were announced -- and yes, #yayhamlet broke those records, too.)

#TONYNOMNOMNOMZ, OR: DIVERSITY, PART I.  We all know how controversial a year it's been so far, re: diversity in the arts (oh, hello there, #OscarsSoWhite), so it's no surprise that diversity would be a hot topic not only in film circles but in theatre, as well.  And upon this morning's Tony Awards® nominations, many took to Twitter to hash out some thoughts.

Here, a noteworthy comment from The Washington Post's Peter Marks (@petermarksdrama):


This has been just the tip of the enormous iceberg of dialogue that has occurred within the past month or so, starting with Diep Tran's keynote speech at this year's American Theatre Critics Association conference (#ATCA2016), held in Philadelphia.  The speech, titled "Perspectives in Criticism," declared a call to action for not only more inclusion regarding future generations of critics, but also for older generations to help guide and nurture upcoming talent:

We need to find a way to ensure that newer critics are being trained and encouraged to write, and we need to find a way to pay them. My boss Rob Weinert-Kendt has been talking about creating a fellowship for theater critics of color. I don’t see why ATCA can’t do the same, or partner with American Theatre to help fund theater criticism as the traditional outlets are shutting them down. If we want diversity, we need to be intentional about it. 
I recently read articles on Buzzfeed and Poynter that said this: It said that journalists tend to mentor people who remind them of themselves. And since most editors are white and male, it all but ensures that this exclusive club of journalists remains homogenous.
Tran, a woman of Vietnamese descent who currently writes for American Theatre Magazine, further directed her frustrations towards the content we see onstage, attributing the ongoing "one-sided conversation" to irresponsible assumptions.  She alluded to a previous article she wrote for American Theatre, titled "4 Ways Theatre Critics Can Be Less Racist", wherein she posited the following four points:

Point 1: Don’t ask the playwright of color questions that you would not ask a white playwright. 
Point 2: Avoid stereotypical adjectives when describing different ethnicities. 
Point 3: Call out problematic representations when you see them. 
Point 4: Own your mistakes. 
Each of these certainly great guidelines for writers out there who are not of color, and each worth remembering even if one is a writer of color.  LET'S LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, GUYS.

DIVERSITY, PART II.  The dialogue continued last night with #BeyondOrientalism/#MyYellowFaceStory, a forum held at Fordham University in conjunction with The Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Performers' Action Coalition (AAPAC), Theatre Communications Group and the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts.  Here, the full livestream of the panel discussion:




I'm just about to catch up and watch it, myself -- but judging from the Twitter feed alone, it seems like we're starting to delve into some interesting stuff.  This definitely won't be the last of this discussion.

No comments:

Post a Comment