installation and live performance
44 packets of Oriental Flavor ramen noodles in hot bathwater
sesame oil, ginger oil, and sriracha sauce
bathroom installation with research material, chimes, and disposable cameras
Madame Butterfly opera on soundtrack
Last night I debuted a new performance piece, “Oriental Flavor” in which I took a hot bath with 40 packs of ramen noodles and had viewers pour sesame oil on me while confronting them in the intimate space of a bathroom at Anatomy/Gift/Association presents: The Cabaret Cabaret (photo credit: @g_b4g ) #queer #art #performance #asian #orientalism (at Pilsen)
Mulan - One Woman Show
YOU BROUGHT HONOR TO US ALL.
Still the greatest
This is amazing!
Isn’t this the same thing as yellow face you asian sjws complain about? I dont’ see the difference hypocrites
I don’t think you understand what yellowface means. The difference is she’s actually Asian. Also they’re specific characters from the movie, Mulan. But most of all, it’s because she’s Asian that this isn’t yellowface. What we rally against as Asian social justice bloggers is dominant cultures, particularly white people, who turn “being Asian” into a joke, and demean Asian people’s existence as stereotypes. This is quite different on many levels.
Performed a new poem, “Ode to Selfies” tonight at salonathon Presents: GUILTY PLEASURES (at Beauty Bar)
Ode to Selfies
Why do I take selfies?
Because my face is phenomenal.
A Filipino proverb says, the bigger the forehead, the bigger the brain. I must be Einstein then. Or better yet, Jose Rizal, who learned from the Spanish conquerors, and used their tools to dismantle an Empire. They call him the father of the Philippines.
Why do I take selfies?
Because my eyes are pools of mud, made of earth and rain, rivers that nourish, and monsoons that destroy. My eyes are dirt and tears and blood spilled over centuries of warfare.
And my lips? My lips are ripe red fruits you can’t buy at Jewel Osco. Organic, locally grown, fair trade, all that good shit.
Why do I take selfies?
Because I was raised to think that beauty is something unattainable.
Because there was never anyone who looked like me on TV, or magazines, or in movies.
Because when I was 16, my mom told me that Filipinos don’t belong in the spotlight, only backstage. I don’t blame her though. It’s the America she landed on, and the America that still largely exists today.
But I’ve stopped believing in TV, magazines and Hollywood movies. There’s nothing there for me to learn about life, or love, or truth, or the beauty that I seek.
Except for Tyra Banks. As problematic and cuckoo bananas as she is, she did teach me how to smile with my eyes, find my strong angles, and to always catch the light.
I’ve been catching and making my own light since.
Why do I take selfies?
Because I’m still Facebook friends with people I knew while serving in the military and I just looooove to queer their little world.
Why do I take selfies?
Because I’m learning to love myself, while unlearning the social cues I’ve been given all my life.
The cautionary tale of Narcissus warns against falling in love with your own reflection. Well, what can I say? He was white.
I, meanwhile, am going to continue instagramming the hell out of my phenomenal fucking face.
#gpoy #selfies #vanityasselfcare #beauty #imnotamodelijustlovemyself
Orange is the New Black had me wondering what flavor I am, and I’ve decided I’m Mango.
My looks over the last couple weeks. I have other looks coming up, but these were appropriate for the recent events.
Can I take this moment to say how proud I am and how far I’ve come as a brown asian? Sure, we’ve seen Filipino queens like Manila Luzon and Vivienne Pinay, but those girls are of the “fair skin” sort. In addition, they have pointy noses and lovely features. I have none of that - I’m brown and have a flat face. Those girls would be guaranteed to get work in the Philippines because their look is already sellable.
I am brown, tattooed and have flat features, but that doesn’t stop me from ranking right up there with the rest of the pretty girls ;)
Tired of seeing this post on my dash. OP is a photographer who uses yellowface, brownface,and blackface in shoots. They’ve done “chola” themed ones, if you look at their main page they’re in yellow face right there with a rice hat.
I’m surprised you didn’t bring up the fact that I’m a cisgendered male who dresses up like a woman…
BECAUSE THAT’S TOTALLY RELEVANT, RIGHT?
Apparently my birth race is relevant, so why not my birth gender? If you’re going to say I’m wrong for portraying races I’m not, then why not the genders I am not? Where does the intolerance end and where does it begin?
The fact that you’re a cisgendered male who dresses up like a woman is already accounted for by the fact that you do drag (which admittedly has its own set of problematics). That’s the convention of the art form - men who dress like women. But the yellowface, brownface, and redface portrayed in some of your photo series is harder to account for, and I don’t believe you’ve done a good job explaining your intention beyond the requisite comments of “paying tribute” to those cultures, or saying “this is my theater and I can be whoever I want to be.” I think there needs to be a more involved critical discussion about your use of appropriating other cultures. Just because you are a marginalized body does not mean you automatically have a free pass to appropriate other marginalized cultures.
As someone who is also a brown Asian with flat features and who does similar work about gender ambiguity and racial dynamics, I think about these issues a lot, and am constantly shifting my own views and explanations for my burlesque, queer drag acts, or performance art as Jerry Blossom. As artists, that’s part of our job, to continue engaging in dialogue. As socially-conscious humans, it’s also important to own up to our own mis-steps, and I have not seen any self-critique about your yellowface/brownface/redface work.
On your page you say "leave your opinions at the door" of your theater. Unfortunately, the work you make has a larger reach than yourself. And it makes it not only about your desire to be anyone, but also about the people that you are portraying and stereotyping. This is what angers people, and makes other artists and viewers uncomfortable, the lack of self-accountability. Because the work has reached a mass appeal, it’s obviously not just about you anymore, and I think that’s a responsibility you’ll have to handle with care. Dismissing critique as people hating on you is not productive for anyone besides your ego. And if this is all about your ego, then maybe just say so.
Next Generation curated by Yuna Baek is a group exhibition featuring works by artists exploring the future of Asian American art in a digital age of flexible and hybrid cultural identity asking, “What is the face of the next generation of Asian American artists? It might as well be an avatar, as the globalizing force of the Internet continues to build a cultural landscape that transcends location, ethnicity, gender, and language. The next generation of artists can log into any culture with a click of a mouse, and their personal identities (be it singular or multiple) are shaped by the limitless possibilities of the web. They build bridges between different cultures and communities, creating flexible and hybrid identities that define the Next Generation. “
Featuring Kalani Largusa, Wang Frank Yefeng, Eunie Kim, Cathy Kim, Snow Yunxue Fu, Hiba Ali, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Sua Yoo, Heelim Hwang, Arjuna Capulong, and Greyson Hong.
If you’re in the Chicago area, come by the opening reception this Friday!
It feels extremely taxing to constantly create work about the “self” - in image, in politics, in gender, race, and history. We are all complete beings with our own narratives with varying amounts of intersecting oppressions and privileges. I don’t ever want to be perceived as saying that my story is any more worthy or interesting than anyone else’s. But with the fact of my practice, as a performative artist, these issues are always brought to the forefront. As a performer, I am always subjecting my self to fetishization, and therefore, also everything my body and history symbolizes.
I want to take a bit of a break and just make pretty things that people enjoy. And get back into my personal yoga practice, because I think I really need that right now.
I could use a good hug too.
LEX·IC·A - Jerry Blossom & Mister Junior - January 2013
Jerry Blossom & Mister Junior
Kiam Marcelo Junio a.k.a. Jerry Blossom is a familiar face to Salonathon. I first encountered Kiam via a submission to Chicago IRL and soon after experienced a plethora of inventive and vividly sharp performances discussing their Philippine heritage, naval career through the shifting lens of gender and class. Kiam continues debuting new works and series with exponential fervor. Kiam was also just awarded Chance Dances Critical Fierceness Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant. Find out more about Kiam during my recent interview with them: soundcloud.com/joevarisco/kiam-marcelo-junio-interview-a
Mister Junior is one of those forces of life that passes through a social climate and leaves it altered and renewed. Their spirit of collaboration and engagement is in a constant state of forward movement. Recently Mister Junior began an expanded tour around the country jumping in and out of Chicago in time to audition for America’s Got Talent. Details of airdate on their site soon.
LEX·IC·A is a celebration of the ways in which we communicate with one another and the knowledge we share in this process. It seeks to explore the myriad of complex and beautiful ways we share, play, love, suffer and honor one another through performance work and strive to cultivate community. LEX·IC·A is an inclusive event for anyone interested in procuring dialogue and discourse through performance. Take risks, challenge norms, resist and thrive!
It’s on Facebook, so it’s official now.
The Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant Winner:
Kiam Marcelo Junio is a multidisciplinary artist living in Chicago, IL. He works in multiple media including photography, video, printmaking, installation, burlesque, and performance art. His research and art work centers around queer identities, the Filipino American diaspora, and post-colonialist Asian American tropes and stereotypes, and military and civilian power dynamics.
Jerry Blossom is Kiam’s alter-ego, a genderqueer Filipino male bodied femme-presenting persona, obsessed with assimilating into Western culture and beauty standards.
Kiam served seven years in the US Navy. He was born in the Philippines and has lived in the US, Japan, and Spain. He is also a registered Yoga teacher.
Congratulations also to the Critical Fierceness Grantees, Rami George and Betsy Odom!
Come join us this Saturday at Chances at the Hideout to celebrate!
The Hideout Inn, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago
**THIS SATURDAY NIGHT THE MARK AGUHAR MEMORIAL GRANT AND CRITICAL FIERCENESS GRANT WINNERS FOR WINTER 2012 WILL BE ANNOUNCED**
HOSTED BY VAJAQUEQUE BROWN
FEATURING DJS SWAGUERILLA AND LADY MISS NAVY PIER
*DOORS FOR CHANCES AT MIDNIGHT*
On Diversity in Media Representations, the Chicago Queer Performance Scene, Tonight’s LEX-I-CA, and Why I Think We Do What We Do.
Did you know that Toni Braxton played Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway in 1998? Why does this now seem like a strange and wonderful dream?
The diversity in the entertainment industry in the 1990’s was truly promising. I remember many TV shows about colored people, friends, and families - Living Single, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bell Air, In the House, Martin, House of Buggin’, Malcolm & Eddie, The Hughleys, All American Girl, The Single Guy, Sister Sister, Smart Guy, Moesha, the Parkers, and so many others, like that amazing multicultural Cinderella TV movie with Brandy, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, and Paolo Montalban (a Filipino actor) as Prince Charming.
As a child of the 90’s, and coming right from the Philippines, it seemed to me that people of color were quickly breaking down barriers, that the stage was being set for people like me to dream big and achieve those dreams, to see ourselves in flashing lights, to experience that overdue equality. But something happened on the way to the 2010’s during which those barriers built right back up without our noticing. I think this happened around 9/11 and the terrorism hysteria, after which anything outside of the typical suburban, white nuclear family became threatening. This is the frame of mind that we have been in for the past decade, but I think and hope that things are finally beginning to change again.
In the queer Chicago scene, a lot of performers are young people of color (many of whom grew up in the 90’s watching these shows, listening to the music and absorbing a more diverse art and pop culture). A friend asked me recently why I think this is, and why now. I believe we’ve gotten tired of waiting for representation in mass media. The promise of the 90’s told us that we can be anything we want to be. When we stopped seeing, or fell short of seeing, our selves reflected on screen, we began to voice our dissatisfactions and take matters into our own hands. We are now in the process of creating our own micro-media, our own platforms.
Which is why social justice blogs are so important right now. This is a movement of people of various races, gender presentations, and identities, who are creating our own representation, because the larger society has failed on its promise. And this is also why, more than ever, is it important, not to police, but to see how we are being represented, and by whom. This is also why so much light is being shed on cultural appropriation. Why we are saying, STOP STEALING OUR CULTURE. We are taking back our stories, we want to tell it ourselves. We want our voice.
Tonight’s Salonathon presents: LEX-I-CA is a manifestation of this. Looking at the line-up of my fellow performers, I see the beautiful faces of the talented beings who are ready to speak, to sing, to dance, to tell it like it is. Who analyze how gendered and racialized bodies are gazed upon, and what fantasies of exotification and other-ness still apply and need deconstructing. We need this time. We need this space to speak. Despite the oppressions we’ve faced and continue to face, having a voice is very much worth celebrating.
See you all tonight.
Kiam Marcelo Junio / Jerry Blossom
Why do people insist on holding chopsticks all the way at the tip like this? You have absolutely no control when it’s this close to the food, you may as well just use your fingers.
Chopsticks are thicker at the ends for a reason, that’s where the weight and control is, which is why I try to have as much distance between my fingers and the food - it’s so much easier.