THE HEAT IS Really ON IN SAIGON This Time
"Missed Sigh Gone" Part I
Parody Directed by Jane Jung
Engineer/Ellen...Sung Yun Lee
"Little Brown Fucking Machines"
Written by Hanalei Ramos
Performed by Jessie Tran
"Lyrics vs Reality"
by Giles Li
THUY AND KIM
("Missed Sigh Gone" Part II)
"She Said No"
Written by Shailja Patel
Performed by Son-Ca Lam
"Why God Why?"
Rewritten by Ching-In Chen, Jane Jung, David Kong, Giles Li
Arranged by David Kong
Performed by The VariAsians
"The Personal Ads (Bui Doi: The Revenge)"
By Giles Li
by Ky-Phong Tran
Lena Sim (Interviewer).......Angie Hu
Lyle Bui (Writer)..........Jason Fong
Conscious Pilot (Producer)...Ash Hsie
"Mother's A Prisoner"
Written & Performed by Proper Speaks
ROOM 317: THE REMIX
("Missed Sigh Gone" Part III)
"Missed Sigh Gone"
Written by Bao Phi
Performed by Vinh Hua
Written and Performed by Vudoo Soul
"Missed Sigh Gone" was an evening of protest pastiche, including rap-songs, rap-poetry, wall-art, projections, recitations, songs, and scenes parodying "Miss Saigon" --- the central focus for the evening. As with any such mixed bag, performances were uneven, but everything served to energize an enthusiastic, perceptive audience that saw and applauded intent in everything. Even the excellent parody-PLAYBILL served to stamp an outraged Asian-American fist on the now-classic Broadway musical (itself an update of "Madame Butterfly") that symbolized the trivialization and exploitation of South Asian culture for those involved.
Central to the theme was a parody t-v interview show in which two Asians outlined their intention to create a Hip-Hop musical ("Miss Auschwitz!") featuring a death-camp beauty pageant, starring a Brooklyn girl (discovered after a world-wide talent search) of Syrian parentage playing a Hassidic Jew. The musical's producer ("Conscious Pilot") of course cited Cameron MacIntosh as his idol and his aim: to spread awareness of the holocaust --- while making big bucks.
During singing of the song "Bui Doi" from the target-show a montage of black-and-white photos of ageing white-guys flashed on a screen, ending with the injunction "We must love White Dudes --- they're Our Children too!"
In my inappropriately round-eyed opinion highlights of the evening were the a-capella music by the group The VariAsians, Bao Phi's poem (called "Missed Sigh Gone") performed expertly by Vinh Hua, the parody interview, and a hauntingly beautiful final song called "Deeper" written and performed by VietNamese singer Vudoo Soul (who won two falls out of three with his recalcitrant Yamaha electric piano).
Obviusly, opinions may vary.
The message, though, was sound: SouthAsian-Americans would prefer, from now on, to reflect their own cultures and heritages through their own beautiful, perceptive, slightly slanted eyes rather than accepting the stereotypes dominant non-Asians have imposed upon them.
And they insist this is only the first salvo in their attempt to take back their artistic souls.
Watch This Space!