Kristina Wong Fails at Environmentalism in Going Green the Wong Way
A few years ago, porn-seeking perverts with colonialist ambitions began
stumbling onto the wrong mail-order bride website. Presenting itself as a
"source for meeting a nice, subservient Asian bride,"
BigBadChineseMama.com proceeded to break down sexual politics, racial
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stereotypes, and power structure via pictures of ass-kicking females
above testimonials such as, "I'm learning so much about the Asian
culture ever since you mailed me, Janice. Did you know it is customary
for the man to cook, clean, and sleep on the living room couch?" After
130,000 hits and a slew of angry emails, Kristina Wong was being
summoned for interviews and speaking requests all over the country.
This Thursday at 8 p.m., meet the self-professed "cultural jammer" for her fourth full-length solo comedy show, Going Green the Wong Way, a collaboration with Paul Tei of Miami's irreverent drama company Mad Cat Theatre. Cultist spoke to the satirical comedienne about why going green is goth, how vegetable oil cars can backfire (literally), and whether Miami is anything like that souless L.A.
New Times: How did you come up with idea of Going Green the Wong Way?
Kristina Wong: It started as me doing these slideshows about this car I
ran on vegetable oil in L.A. I bought the car in 2006 right after the
war in Iraq and thought it was a great way to show people how easy it is
to get off our addiction to oil and go green. I unintentionally became
the poster girl for alternative cars in Los Angeles. But the car was a
nightmare to own and run. Eventually it completely died in the most
dramatic of ways.
So then what did you do?
I decided to live car-less in the city. L.A. is like Miami. It's very
difficult to navigate without a vehicle. I lost so much money in that
car that I became terrified of owning things. I wanted to see if I could
get by without carbon emissions.
So you'll be talking about the whole experience?
It's basically a whole history of me trying to do the right thing for
the environment, and it backfiring completely. I mean there's even a
whole story of trying to use a Diva Cup that ended up stuck in my body.
As young as 11, I was an environmental martyr. The performance traces a
lot of my life: coming to understand my sexuality, finding power, being
born outside of a cultural ethnic identity. The environmental movement
was my goth. It was my punk.
But is the aim of the show to demonstrate that going green is hard to do?
It's not meant as discouragement. It's difficult. It is completely
inconvenient. Sometimes it will seem like more work than what is
quantifiable out of it. My aim is to show what adventures can come out
of that inconvenience. It's a funny, kind of crazy show.
What were you doing before this show?
I was performing a comedy show about depression and suicide among Asian-American women.
I think more audience members will hang out and drink afterwards this time.
So why did you choose Miami as the place to debut a show about going
green? As you can see by election results, we are
incredibly progressive and committed to alternative transporation...
I'm so excited to be in a city that has so many parallels to L.A.--the
sprawl, people who love to enjoy life, love convenience. How could
anyone watch anything serious here? The only way to offer the medicine
here is to make it funny. I want the audience to be involved but in an
annoying audience participation kind of way.
See Going Green the Wong Way Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. at
the Ziff Ballet Opera House at Adrienne Arsht Center
(1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets cost $35. Call 305-949-6722, or
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