THE CHINESE LADY at the Magic Theatre

Come check out my next project, THE CHINESE LADY, at the Magic Theatre! Playing October 9 through November 3 in San Francisco.

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It’s Showtime!

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AND WE’RE OPEN! Come check out KING OF THE YEES at San Francisco Playhouse now through March 2!

KING OF THE YEES at San Francisco Playhouse

So excited to begin performances next week for my first show in the Bay Area in four years! Come through if you’re in town:

KING OF THE YEES by Lauren Yee, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody
Where: San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA
When: January 22 through March 2
Starring: Francis Jue, Krystle Piamonte, Jomar Tagatac, Rinabeth Apostol, Will Dao
For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush. But when her father goes missing, Lauren must plunge into the rabbit hole of San Francisco Chinatown and confront a world both foreign and familiar. At once bitingly hilarious and heartbreakingly honest, King of the Yees is an epic joyride across cultural, national, and familial borders that explores what it truly means to be a Yee.
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Father

My birthday falls on or around Father’s Day every year so it can be difficult celebrating life when you’re also thinking about loss. I’ve lived more years without him than with him in this realm.

All my memories of us are paused at age 15:
He walking me home from school and my friend calling him handsome;
He clutching my mom’s hands over my heart as I snuggled between them at night;
He buying me a wholesale box of candies of my choosing at Jetro;
He holding court at our family banquets in Chinatown;
He singing and sounding like a banshee;
He in the driver’s seat of our Oldsmobile (he was not a good driver);
He that had a mole on his cheek with a hair that I’d always want to pull out;
He ordering two hotdogs for us after my doctor’s appointments that’d we’d eat on the M15;
He accompanying me to visit private schools with his spotty English;
He taking time off to attend my elementary school graduation;
He proud of the new house he saved and worked so hard for;
He in his pajamas which would become his uniform after his stroke;
He without use of half his body;
He walking laps in the house as part of his physical therapy;
He on a low-sodium diet, but devouring an entire tray of a cake for which I accidentally used salt instead of sugar;
He, my father, my caretaker, the strongest man I knew, needing me to do his laundry, or empty his bed pan, or refill his water cup or check his blood pressure or hold his arm as he started walking outside again;
He the last day I saw him when we got into another fight about who-knows-what and I didn’t kiss him goodbye because I was so angry;
He in the hospital, silent, unmoving, cold, gone;
He resting peacefully as guest after guest at the funeral reminded me of what a good man he was.

He in pictures and dreams.

He whom I wish were by my side to experience every major life milestone.
He is.

He I am.

If You Think I Called You…

… and you Googled my number and ended up here, it wasn’t me!

Some sketchy telemarketing company is masking their identity by getting my phone number to appear on your Caller ID.

Sorry this is happening. I’ve called my phone provider. They’re not helpful. Hopefully there will be a resolution.

To Innocence

Years ago I was on the subway when a mom and her son got on my car. She quickly ushered him to an empty seat and told him to sit down. He was maybe three or four years old with curly black hair and the most pinchable cheeks. He wore a puffy jacket that was swallowing him. The train started to move and he was having a blast trying to balance himself as he waddled towards the seat.

“Sit down,” the mom repeated. Her voice wasn’t strict or demanding. It was an option with a strong opinion.

He continued to stand. His small hands grasped the vertical poll in a death grip as the train rocked his tiny body in all directions. He looked like he had just learned how to walk yesterday, so the sensation of movement must have been invigorating.

I understood the thrill: Standing on the train is the closest to surfing most of us New Yorkers ever got. You’re not a real straphanger until you’re able to balance on the train with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other without actually touching the “straps.” You learn to use a wider stance in a slight plié position for stability. You learn how to sway ever-slightly back and forth as the train’s momentum shifts. Short folks like me pick up this skill quickly. The grab bars were always slightly out of reach and the stanchions were hot real estate especially during rush hour. Plus, do you know how many germs are on those things? Ew.

Turn, bump, brake, rumble, screech. Who needs the ocean when you have metal on tracks? Standing was more fun than necessity at this point for the toddler. Each time the train threatened to overpower him, his mom reached out to protect him from falling. He had a seat available to him, but the little man was determined.

“Enjoy your childhood while you can. You won’t always have a seat,” his mother said to him after a couple more stops. She sat down, holding out one arm to catch him, the other clutching his folded up stroller. “You’ll have a lifetime ahead to stand.”

A new wave of passengers boarded and formed a semi-circle around where he stood. He looked at them, then his mom with his big, innocent eyes.

“I don’t understand why kids want to grow up so quickly these days.”

Smiles of recognition formed on the faces of strangers who heard this. We all looked at the little guy. He took his hands off the pole and put them on her lap. She lifted him up and placed him in the seat next to her. He buried his face into the side of her coat, then quickly sat back up. He stared out the window at the blurry images as the train sped ahead.

2018

I haven’t posted in more than a year, but checking in to say I’m still alive and thank you for subscribing/reading.

This blog used to be called “The Dirty Thirties” — a way to document my transition into for-real adulthood. I still have a couple of great years left in this decade, but I’ve come to realize that “age” is so limiting. Life is defined more so by experiences than a number.

How many of us have told ourselves, “I am not where I should be at this age.” Milestones — graduations, marriages, births, deaths, performances, travel, love, heartbreak, promotions, etc. — can occur at any moment. We should not be bound by societal expectations pressed upon us since birth ESPECIALLY ARTISTS. You do you, bro. (<— thanks, Kevin K.)

There’s too much to recap for the second half of 2016 through now, so I’ll just tell you what IS happening:
– I am back home in San Francisco and starting the new year cooking, exercising, reading, and creating more.
– I will be returning to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in May to begin rehearsals for the American premiere of SNOW IN MIDSUMMER (click here for more info).
– Speaking of milestones, I’m planning to put a ring on it later this year! Feel free to share your planning advice and your secrets to a long, loving marriage.

2018’s looking pretty eventful. Let’ do this!