Thursday, October 30, 2008

on things lovely partner wants me to blog

we do this on a fairly regular basis: one of us says something hilarious/witty/profound and the other immediately says: you should blog that!

here's one of them.

we were discussing the 50 state quarters that have finally all been released by the u.s. mint. and here are our favorites:kt's caption: "breaking news: space shuttles go back in time!"
kt's caption: "breaking news: saarinen design go back in time!"

on obama

i voted yesterday. for obama, of course. it's interesting, i've always thought voting for a presidential election in texas was futile, but recent polls have put texas in the "tossup" column in some cases, which is-like-CRAZY! anyway, as with many folks i know, i've been a presidential news junkie these last few days. time magazine ran a photo story on obama. this photo really made me a little weepy.

maybe part of my sensitivity to this photo has to do with a dream i had last night that involved all the little boys of color in our neighborhood becoming our friends. one of them was a piano prodigy, one of them played violin, but was also a dj. one of them was a poet. the boys in our neighborhood are real. their abilities may just be my imagination. in the dream, i was negotiating with lovely partner on how to make our piano available to the prodigy. and then he came by the house and asked me what i meant on my blog when i said *something i don't remember here.* somehow this pic really spoke to me, tho'.

Friday, October 24, 2008

call for donations

Performance artist (me, kt shorb) seeks donations of material objects associated with cancer:

Hospital wrist bands, printouts of blood test results, x-rays, empty prescription bottles, needle caps, brochures, canes, skull caps, wigs, etc.—these are objects that surround cancer treatment and institutions. They are evidence of the pain, time, anticipation, transformation and rituals that cancer demands of patients and caregivers. To some, these objects are badges of honor—proof of survival; to others, they are reminders of things and people lost; still to others, they are mere refuse, waiting to be disposed.

I am looking for donations of such material objects to serve as inspiration in my upcoming solo performance opera, “Una Corda.”

The Project:
“Una Corda” is a journey through the spiritual affects and effects of cancer. Using textual and musical influences of the Catholic Latin Mass and the Buddhist Heart Sutra, “Una Corda” digs beneath the sentimental and condescending notion of cancer as it exists in the popular imagination and instead explores how cancer effects us as a lived experience—visceral, complex, messy, and unresolved.

“Una Corda” is a deeply personal piece. It is a way through which I explore my own grief and mourning of watching my mother die from cancer. It is also a way to mark the many survivors of cancer. “Una Corda” is a meditation on how cancer creates survivors and tries the soul. At the same time, it is a rigorous aesthetic exploration of what cancer implies, what it destroys, and what it makes.

Use of Objects:
The donated objects will be the physical connection to the experiences surrounding cancer. They will be used in multiple ways: as props, set, images, parts of sculpture, or sources for borrowed text, sound, and imagery. All objects will be treated with respect and reverence.

How to Donate:
If you are interested in donating materials, please contact me at: . If you live in the greater Austin area, we can set up a time for me to pick up the goods. If you live outside of the greater Austin area, we can set up a way for me to send you postage or reimburse you for postage via paypal. International donations are welcome. If you wish to donate postage costs as well, just send the materials to:

kt shorb
“Una Corda”
2906 Glen Rae St
Austin, TX 78702

For all materials, I request the following information.

Your Name:
Your contact information (email, address, phone):
Name of cancer patient(s), if not you:
Current state of cancer patient:
Would you like your name or the name of the cancer patient to be anonymous?
Do you wish to receive information via email regarding “Una Corda?”
If you are comfortable doing so, please share a story or information about this object and the patient:
May I use this story as inspiration for material in the piece?
Your signature acknowledging the below statement and date of donation:

k. terumi shorb solemnly promises to treat all donated materials with respect and reverence. By donating the materials, donator relinquishes rights or materials to k. terumi shorb, to be used in any way shorb sees fit for the purposes of the solo opera, “Una Corda” and any works of art, writing, music, video, performance or promotional materials associated with “Una Corda.” All information will remain strictly private except where donor and cancer patient appear in the thank you section of the opera program. Donors who wish to remain anonymous will not appear in any materials associated with this project.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

on voting

okay, kids. this one should be a no-brainer, but just in case, if you live in the following states, please be sure to vote NO:

Proposition 8 in California
Proposition 2 in Florida
Proposition 102 in Arizona
Unmarried Couple Ban in Arkansas

UPDATE: Question 1 in Connecticut

again, the point is to vote NO. as in: N-dot-O. unless you hate the gays. and if you hate the gays, please go away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

on youtube bombing

hey y'all. um. so i know that a lot of you have looked at my youtube page. and you've told me that you like my shit. so. um. i was just wondering. could you possibly leave comments and ratings? that'd be great. it seems that the only people who have bothered to rate me really have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL MY SHIT IS ABOUT. i mean, if they paid attention, they would realize that they are precisely the people i'm satirizing... but anyway.

check out my youtube channel here.

on writing exercises

"write for 5 minutes. never put your pen down. use only three-word sentences."

the above exercise is one deb margonlin gave us at a writing workshop i attended three years ago. i'm looking for more exercises.

in working on "una corda," i have many ideas, but i'm having trouble putting it down on paper and parsing out the themes and problems. then i thought: hey, maybe my writer friends could help me!

i want to do a series of writing exercises. i know i could google some, or think up my own (i already have). but there is something particularly inspiring about being "set to" an exercise by a teacher, friend, colleague, etc. i sent an email to a bunch of my writerly friends about a week ago asking for writing exercises. some responses were a whole page, some were one line. i invite you to leave writing exercises in the comments of this post. i plan to do every exercise i receive, and the more exercises folks leave, the more there will be for folks to use!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

UPDATE on incompetence

sprint just called me to say they will be refunding me for the crazy international roaming bill. thanks harold! have a good vacation!

why does it take several competent people to fix one person's incompetence?

ah, well. that's $600 bucks i'm happy not to lose!

on why incompetence is the social blight of america

please indulge me. i must vent on the serious incompetence that has plagued me recently in my creative life. they are two tales that converge in the physical location we know as vancouver. but they belie the evilness that a combination of technology and incompetence can manifest on a poor, struggling artist.

the first instance of incompetence happened surrounding my lodging in vancouver. as you know, i ended up staying at a lovely furnished apartment run by a local b&b. it was everything i needed, and i loved the fact that i was supporting a local business woman who says things like, "okee" and "eh." but before i found those lovely grand manor accommodations, i had booked a room at holiday inn north vancouver through i did this because i was on a frequent flier mileage kick, and wanted to accrue miles. the holiday inn was very close to my workshop (walking distance, actually). i had booked the room online, thinking i had just made a reservation. it was way over my budget, though. i thought this was okay because i mistakenly thought that a friend of mine was going to share the room with me. after he clarified that he had made other (much cheaper) arrangements, i set to find cheaper arrangements myself. i noticed that holiday inn had already charged me for my room. which was upsetting. so i called the hotel to ask them about whether i could cancel. the undoubtedly bright-eyed young woman who answered my call said, "our cancellation policy is 24hrs notice." "really?" i said, "but you've already charged me!" "our records don't indicate that," she said. but when i pushed her to look for it, she finally found that info "on another computer screen." okay. so i asked, "is the cancellation policy the same?" and she said, "yes. 24 hrs notice."

cool. so i went about searching for cheaper accommodations. and i found them at the above-mentioned lovely b&b apartment. i paid for the apartment up front knowing that's how local businesses work. then i called back holiday inn. this time, i got a manager. "i'm calling to cancel my reservation," i said. she pulled up my info and then said, "this is a pre-paid reservation. you cannot cancel it."

what transpired after that was a series of phone calls (all on my bill, incidentally) where i was basically yelling at this manager. i told her the situation and she pressed me for details. do i remember who the woman was who i spoke to? no. there is no record that i called in the system. you mean you're expecting someone who is oblivious to policies to follow the one saying that they need to make a note for every phone call made?! the manager was reasonable but firm. finally i had to mention that this event would "permanently affect my impression of holiday inns and very probably discourage me from staying at them ever again." she started to budge. first she tried to charge me for the first night. i said, "no, that was not the arrangement the woman told me. this is a lot of money for me, almost a month's salary."

when she finally agreed to give me all my money back. yay! i thought. when i checked later, i found that holiday inn had refunded me twice and was now trying to get a hold of me. i also noticed that due to the ups and downs of the canadian dollar, my refund (both of them) was actually roughly $50 less in u.s. dollars than the original charge. after holiday inn recharged me for the second refund--guess what?! the u.s. dollar was weaker on that day, too!--i was in the hole close to $100 bucks just because of exchange rates. i've considered tracking down holiday inn for those charges as well as the roughly $10 worth of international phone calls i've been making. but i am just plain too tired. $110 in the hole is better than $1700, right?

the second instance of incompetence finally reached my door today.

before i went to vancouver, i called up sprint to inquire about phone coverage and policies for me while i was in canada. the woman i talked to said, "well, that would be in a roaming area, but your phone plan includes roaming." i was surprised. i said, "so i can make calls in vancouver just the same as everywhere else?" "yep."

so i was stoked. i called kim every night for an hour or so, thinking it was just like using my regular minutes. nervous, i logged into my sprint account while i was away and it didn't show any extra charges.

or so i thought. my $650 phone bill that arrived this morning proved that i was right to be surprised at the customer service woman's claim. she must not have known that canada is actually another country and therefore part of "international roaming" that charges a hefty $0.59/minute. had i known that would be the charge, kim and i would have probably only used about 30 roaming minutes and communicated the rest of the time on facebook instant messaging. i mean. i'm not that stupid!

so i called customer service today. the first person i talked to said, "lemme check your record. if there is no note on it, i can't refund the money." again. people who seem to want to rely on misinformed people to suddenly do everything by the book! i told her, "are you telling me that if this person didn't write something on the account, you can't refund me? don't you record these conversations for quality assurance?" she sighed and put me on hold several times. then she said, "i have to transfer you to international roaming." i stopped her, said, "what's your name?" "amy." "so, if i get cut off and call back again asking for amy, i can talk to you again?" "no." "well, i don't want to have to keep calling back over and over saying the same story over and over." she sighed again and then agreed to stay on the line in a conference call until i got the right person. she did. and of course, she first transferred me to the wrong department, which i totally wouldn't have known if she didn't stay on the line. when i finally did get to international roaming, she unceremoniously hung up without letting me know. i was lucky that the person i got next was very sympathetic. he looked up all the records and saw that someone had put a roaming note on my account. but then he said, "this is way higher than i'm authorized to refund you. i have to send a memo to the finance department." and then he told me he was about to go on vacation until 10/2. i got all of his information and the number of the memo. and he seemed to be putting every single thing about the case into this memo. he said that he would keep an eye out for my case today, but if he can't contact me "someone" will contact me within the next couple days. i'm nervous, but that's the best i can do for now.

i looked at my phone when i hung up and saw that i spent 50 minutes on that call.

let's say that they refund me for the roaming charges. let's hope and pray that justice exists in the world. even then, i'm still in the hole.

for my day job, tutoring, i charge $40/hour, when i tutor through an agency, i make $26/hr. i've spent 50 minutes on the phone with sprint and probably roughly the same on the phone with holiday inn. that's 100 minutes. let's call it 90 minutes for easy math.

$110 for the exchange rate discrepancy and international phone calls+$60 for my time=$170.

all thanks to incompetence!

what would i have to do to make that money back?
1. tutor for 5 -7 hours
2. sell roughly 30 used books on
3. write an application for any myriad of grants that expect you to spend hours just to get piddly.
4. produce a performance at the off center, charge $15/seat and get at least 50 audience members, and not pay the actors (but i would have to pay to rent a lighting board, pay a lighting designer, and pay a board operator--these are things that rarely come for free)

what could i have bought with that money instead?
1. website hosting and domain name for four years
2. use of the off center for one night
3. a very nice evening of food at conversation the dai due supper club (not including wine).
4. a months worth of health insurance premium (on the cheap end. no i'm not currently insured).
5. Mac OS 10.5, leopard for my household

those would have been nice things to have. but instead, i have relinquished my precious resources to the incompetence demons.


Monday, September 22, 2008

on a poll

please go to this poll. right now, more than half the country seems to think that sarah palin is qualified to run the country. how? how i say?!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

on money again

now that i've finished out the year of playing the lotto, i'm thinking differently about money.

specifically, i've been thinking about all the things i wanted when i though i might score a wad of cash, and how i can get them regardless. it's been humbling.

because if i've learned one thing by working in higher education for seven years, it's that money can be found, you just need to learn where to scratch. now the question is really about how much i need for what. i keep returning to this question every morning.

more later.

on alases and other things

i just got word from creative capital that i'm not moving on to the next round. alas! but i'm glad i made it this far. i kinda knew based on the MAP feedback that if i want to be more competitive at a national level, i'm gonna have to generate more recent work samples that show my growth and masterfulness-ness. that's what this year is all about.

other things--
i just got word that i've been cast in a short video by hybrid vigor productions. i don't know much about the script, but i do know i'm playing a laid-back ftm/butch. i was pleased when i went to audition that there were three people there to see me instead of one--generally a good sign with film/video projects. it indicates a certain degree of people power behind a project. also, the name of the production company is not lost on me, though i did not talk with bug (davidson, the director) about what kind of hybrid vigor s/he is talking about.

also, we have decided to enter HUSH into this year's fronterra fest. right now our biggest worries are raising the $500 to enter (which covers four performances, lights, sound, and people to run both--a pretty good deal, but $500 bucks just the same) and revising the script. but it's more work and more things to think about including in my work samples for future grants.

i've begun working on una corda in earnest now. i'm back doing morning pages and pretty much every morning i begin with the idea of "what can i do with this opera now?" i'm looking at the world through the lens of the opera.

i'm finally cleaning out my office/studio. i've had a heap of lumber on the floor for over a year now. it's taken me this long to acknowledge that i'm not going to create all that pomo furniture. at least not at this point in my life. i posted "free hardwood lumber scraps" on craigslist and got over 15 replies. hopefully the heap of lumber will be gone by the end of the weekend.

a clean workspace reflects a clear creative mind. and i'm working toward that. i've also been working on my body a little. not too hard-core, but trying to walk or ride the bike or swim or do a little something (3 minutes of stomping?) almost every day. i've given up caring about my weight or my looks or whether or not i "feel good." although those are fine concerns, you know, abstractly. what motivates my attention to my body is more about 1. building up stamina, because an evening-length show of singing, acting and movement all by my lonesome will require it; 2. being conscious of my physical presence and 3. carbon footprint (surprisingly).

more later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

on anne bogart, part I

i am reading anne bogarts' and then you act.

here are some lines from the book that i have found very relevant to where i am right now:

"The frustrations of living do not need to make you ill; rather, they can be transformed into the energy necessary to articulate well." (pg 20)

"Fundraising is action. Consider the pursuit of support and raising money as a part of your artistic process." (pg 27)

"If you have an idea for a project, by the time that you have described it to forty people it will be a better idea." (pg 28)

"There is really no need to come up with anything new. Redescribing what you have inherited will engender all the novelty and originality you crave." (pg 28)

"If you do not commit fully to the people with you now, like-minded others will never show up." (pg 31)

more soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

on two more things to brag about

1. publication
this happened while i was in vancouver, and i just wasn't organized enough to tell folks about it. i was just updating my CV and realized i haven't yet bragged about it.

eileen tabios's new anthology, The Blind Chatelaine's Keys: Her Autobiography Through Your Poetics which features two of my essays/blog posts is now out. pick up/order your copy now!

2. funding
the city of austin just awarded me $4250 for Una Corda. Woo! In case you forget what Una Corda is, here are my previous posts where I wrote on it.

the money is awesome. now i can actually begin working on the piece in earnest. i try not to let it plague me that in order to touch the money i need to match it (i.e. raise at least another $4250). i'm just trying to bask in the recognition. though, if anyone has any suggestions for where i might find $4250 lying around, you have my attention.

as of this award, i have officially earned roughly $8000 through my art this year. i know, i know, i've spent it all before i even used it. and that money prolly comes out to less than $3/hour of arts work. but whatever! if i go by the "double yer money" policy per annum, i'll be a millionare in less than 10 years! yes. um. i know. it's very difficult to double one's money. but gotta stay positive!

Monday, September 8, 2008

what have you eaten? meme

from curate:

What have you eaten?Link


From the food blog Chocolate and Zucchini:

1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

via forwhenifeellikesharing: (via grayandgreen) Chocolate and Zucchini

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Sunday, September 7, 2008

on why i take the presidential elections personally, or, three reasons why not to vote for mccain

so i'm back in the u.s. of a. now and right away i became engrossed in the presidential election. not surprisingly to people who know me, i already know who i'm voting for. no, he is not the messiah as he is being touted. and yes, i have beef with many of his platforms. i think his healthcare platform is weak and his foreign policy is not the best. and, there is no way he won't let us down. come on! he really is too good to be true.

that said, i have been looking at the mccain/palin ticket. with palin on board, many moderates are actually entertaining the idea of voting for mccain/palin. if you are one of those people, i'm including a few reasons why voting for mccain/palin would offend me personally. if you do vote for them, seriously, don't tell me.

1. the arts
obama supports the nea. big woop, right? well, the last 8 years have consisted of arts funding being slashed and burned, including complete elimination of arts education in public schools. obama has promised increased funding to the nea. he also has recognized the positive influence arts education has on raising general scholastic aptitude and has sat on arts boards. his platform also promotes arts-based cultural diplomacy (something most first world countries invest pretty heavily in), deeper tax breaks for artist, and health care for artists (which is included in the national healthcare plan. i don't believe he has singled out artists as a special group that will get healthcare or anything).

mccain has not published an arts policy, but has a record of voting for cutting nea funding. he is on record stating that he is against government subsidies of the arts, stating that tax payers shouldn't have to pay for "obscene" projects. he has stated that he supports giving money to states so that they can fund arts education programs (not necessarily in schools, however), but that's it.

nader, mckinney, baldwin, and barr do not seem to have any platforms on the arts.

2. the gays
if you know me, hell, even if you don't, you prolly know i identify as queer. i am legally female and have been with a female partner for over seven years. i have mixed feelings about marriage. if it were up to me, i would do away with the institution on a governmental level and leave it to individual religious institutions to sanctify monogamous relationships. instead, i would want the government to recognize domestic partnerships, which could include: "gay" partnerships, "straight" partnerships, sibling partnerships (where siblings live together and share household responsibilities/childcare, etc.), inter-generational partnerships (i.e. grand parents live with a parent and all adults care for a child or children--one of the most common forms on "non-traditional parenting"), non-blood partnerships (two friends live together for a long time and share bank accounts, parenting, etc.) and multi-party partnerships (polyamorous family units where three or more people share household responsibilities). these domestic partnerships would enable any parties involved to receive tax breaks, inheritance rights, citizenship/green card preferential treatment, visitation rights, and common-law privileges. but alas, only the leftest of the left queeroids are thinking of such institutions.

none of the candidates comes even close to thinking about this. however, i should say right here that i plan to marry my partner of seven years. we will most likely go to canada to do it. in canada, if either of us gets a job, the other will receive health care, be eligible for permanent residence, have visitation rights, etc. even if we don't get lawfully married! (i KNOW!)

the thing is, so-called "gay marriage" is a civil rights issue. it's about saying, "hey, you love that person and you want to profess to god or whoever that you plan to be with them until you die? well alright, then. here's a goodie bag full of privileges that we've given other people who have said the same!" if straight married people can get shit-loads of resources (shared healthcare plans, spousal hires, free usage of spouse's facilities), money (tax breaks and non-taxed inheritance rights), and recognition (visitation rights, and just plain empathy and love), then FUCK YEAH, I WANT THOSE THINGS, TOO! even if i have qualms about the institution. straight people who don't think gay marriage is an issue, or who think it is wrong, or who don't understand it are basically saying: love between people of the same sex is inherently inferior. this to me says: queer people are inherently inferior to straight people. ergo: queers are subhuman.

i don't like that.

obama says he supports civil unions. yes, it's kinda like the whole "separate but equal" thing. not nearly enough. that said, the mccain/palin ticket supports introducing a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE. now and forever more. did i say that loud enough? according to my pristine logic outlined above, that means mccain/palin supporters are saying: queers are subhuman. incidentally, sarah palin's church minister believes prayer can "un-gay" people. yes, i know she has not said that (publicly) herself. and we've already gone down a dark road of slandering people because of their pastors. i'm not sayin'... i'm just sayin'...

nader supports gay marriage. mckinney says its "an important issue." baldwin is anti anything giving rights to queers. barr was a sponsor of the clinton era DOMA act and sees same-sex marriage as a state issue.

3. the gooks
let's not forget that mccain refers to asian people as "gooks," both in his head and in public. as a member of the racial group of "gooks," i find it really difficult to not get angry. it's true he said it long ago (in 2000), and he apologized for it since. but really. REALLY. think if someone said the "n" word in an interview. i'd take that personally, too.

so. really. mccain/palin makes me mad. particularly palin scares me. for a while i had some respect for mccain, thought that of the republicans, he had the most integrity. however. with the choice of palin as running mate, he lost that. considering that according to life insurance calculations, he has a one in three chance of dying during his presidency, voting for mccain as president is a one-third vote for palin as president. and really, i want to scream: they hate queers! they hate immigrants! they hate people of color! they hate artists! they want to kill us all!

i have other reasons why mccain/palin makes my skin crawl. but those are merely ideological. i don't take them personally. but really they go against what i do (art) and what i am (queer/asian american). and that's why i take a vote for them personally. really. if i have to emotionally blackmail you to not vote for mccain/palin, i will. vote for nader, vote for mckinney. hell, write-in hillary, if you want. just please, please, please: don't vote for mccain/palin.

thanks. us queer asian/asian american artists thank you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

on endings and beginnings

so, as one might have surmised, i couldn't even bare to blog on thursday and friday because i was just that tired. oof, i say!

but now it's saturday. i'm preparing to meet with an old friend of lovely partner's to see some more sights and eat some more food. woo-hoo to seeing more of vancouver!

i'm in a bitter-sweet place about ending the workshop. my body was so obviously beginning to break down. i got a sharp pain just above my knee-cap on thursday morning, and on friday during our suzuki training, my ankle started acting wonky. but that said, i was actually very sad to be ending this week.

i feel like it's only just begun. spending 7 hours a day working on physical theater with a small group of people really clarified what i need to continue working on. and my mind wanders to all the possibilities. do i want to go to australia to train with zen zen zo? do i want to apply to train with SITI next summer? do i try to find some other venue to do another intensive? do i try to partner up with an austin group to bring someone to train us to austin? it's all craziness in some ways, but also intensely necessary. it's been a long time since i've taken to a training method so quickly and fully. i remember running in a circle yesterday, doing a version of the 12/6/4 viewpoints exercise (where the group running in a circle somehow magically decides to change direction, jump, or stop simultaneously 12, 6, and 4 times respectively) and thinking, "hey, i could do this all day long, for a long time!" even the suzuki, which is designed to make you twitch and grimace (but you resist this urge) had a certain quality that hailed my deepest level of concentration.

on saying our last impressions of the week yesterday, one of the women in the group said, "i realized i don't want to rehearse anymore, i just want to perform." she was talking about how you can make "rehearsals" into performances, bringing the same amount of intent and energy to the rehearsal space. it was a wise thing to say and one that i plan to bring back to stamplab rehearsals.

having finished out this week, i'm still trying to figure out how to continue. i found myself walking down the hallway of my rental apartment as slowly as i could, heel to toe, upper body not moving.

i am transfixed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

on bodily fatigue, creative vigor

maybe it's being in a strange place, or me not being used to sleeping alone, but the past two days i haven't been able to sleep until 1. and waking at 7. it's not a lot of sleep for me. but for some reason, i've managed to make it through two 7-hour workshops. i'm so tired right now, though, i'll be really surprised if i make it much longer. still have to journal about today and go over some more macbeth and dante.

today we stomped twice. i can't really go into what stomping is right now, but just know that it is very physically demanding. there is always a moment of fear midway through the exercise where i actually think i'm going to die from pain and exhaustion. this is usually the time when simon (the australian instructor) says, "relax your faces and shoulders" and i can feel my face try to unsquint. i think, i'm gonna die! but i continue stomping. and it ends. and i wipe my thoroughly wet brow and realize that i can actually get through it. it's a very powerful realization.

god, i wanna write more, but my eyes are so droopy. i don't know how i thought i would be able to watch theater in addition to doing this crazy work. but i'm gonna try tomorrow night. a whole bunch of folks from the workshop are going to see eric bogosian's "suburbia." i'm gonna try to tag along.


Monday, August 25, 2008

on canadia/sur le canada, part two/deuxième partie

okay. i have to memorize some macbeth and some dante's inferno by tomorrow, and i need a good night's sleep, so here are the highlights since my last entry:

kintaro ramen on denman: very good, hand-made noodles. the ramen guy had a rhythm and precision that was awesome to watch in mouth-watering anticipation. it was also cute how he kept squinting to read the orders because he's too vain to get glasses. i got the rich (read fatty) broth with moist (read fatty) pork in shoyu flavor. mmm.

don't underestimate vancouver theatre. just because you go to a show on sunday night in the middle of an industrial district doesn't mean it won't be sold out. this isn't austin where people beg you to come see their show.

abdominal breathing + an intent/present listener/audience = an intensely intimate and vulnerable dramatic experience.

the suzuki acting method will make your thighs explode. and then you have to collect your thigh bits, piece them together, and get up and do more.

viewpoints is like montessori for adults. but with intention. and if you don't share, everyone looks bad. don't let the egalitarian, consensus-like, oberlin-esque ethos of viewpoints fool you: slacking off and cheating show. lack of generosity shows. it's not for the physically or emotionally timid.

note to self: canada is really a different place. it's not just the pretty money and the funny accents. you may, in fact, really like it here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

on canadia, on performance

i'm in vancouver right now. i had resolved that i would resume blogging while here.

what i've been doing for the last two months:
once i got back from japan, my time was consumed by artspark. i believe i was spending nearly 30 hrs per week on the production, going to scriptshops and rehearsals at 6, getting home around 11. writing lines, learning lines, editing lines, trying not to fight, watching people fight, etc. and then.... we won! yeah, baby! you can see pictures of "hush" (the production) and stamp lab (our theater collective) at the stamp lab website.

so yeah. did you get the part where we WON the ARTSPARK FESTIVAL COMPETITION? yes. it's been a while since i've won stuff. i even sent a short email to pretty much everyone in my address book, bragging. (if you know me and didn't get the message, it's likely i don't have your current email address. leave a comment and we'll figure out a way to exchange the emails.) i had to do it. i just had to. we won. and... and.... and... wow!

so that's a very short note on artspark. in the meantime, our director was hospitalized, three of our performers threw their backs/necks out, i got stung by wasps, one performer got bronchitis, several peoples' cars broke down, two of us lost our central AC (which is deemed an emergency in 100+ degree central texas weather), lovely partner made a huge, wonderful, exciting and challenging life decision, and we had to put down our older dog of seven years--a companion who has seen us through many, many trials.

it's been a crazy, crazy, crazy summer.

the reason i'm in vancouver is for the vancouver stomp intensive. i mentioned it earlier here and here. we will be training in vocal techniques, the suzuki performance technique and viewpoints (another performance technique developed at SITI theater with ann bogart). i just got back from the meet and greet. most of the folks there are younger than me. most participants seem to be local and/or college students. it's small. the main instructor talks in australian and the organizer talks in canadian. i'm excited. i hope my body holds up.

this is really my first time in canada as an adult. vancouver has been really cool over the past couple days. some college friends came up from seattle and we spent yesterday tromping around, talking, and comparing our american selves with the canadian folks. people who think canada is really america-lite just haven't been paying attention. my friends left to return to seattle this morning.

this trip marks a moment in my life. i'm not sure exactly what that moment is, but i'm figuring it out. i realize as i write this that it has been almost exactly one year since i started the lotto project, writing all of you about being an artist, trying to make ends meet, and thinking through my identity as a creative person. this pilgrimage of performance training and this trip to a new city by myself is like the capstone seminar in my last 18 months of personal study. i raised money to come here. i will be spending my time immersed in performance training, seeing theater, and having conversations with myself. everything is new and awkward, but oddly pointing right toward the center of my soul. i am expectant, open, curious, and afraid.

it's where i'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

on rejection

so, here i am in japan, waiting to meet with my dad and bro to go to my mother`s memorial ceremony, and i got my feedback from MAP on my rejected proposal. it's generally encouraging. sigh. i realize that the creative capital app i just sent in will prolly get the same critique. but, ah well. i won't have a more recent performance example until late august...

here it is:

Technically, the proposal was well put together. The project description was both personal and lucid in its thinking. It painted a clear picture of the proposed work (with the exception of how artist will work with collaborators — see below). The budget was sound, and you made nice use of the Artist Statement section (often overlooked, but can be a really important piece of the proposal). Evaluators were intrigued by the idea and impressed with the thoughtfulness of the concept. They felt the samples were uneven — showing a lot of promise, but not yet “landing.” One suggested that submitting a more recent work as a sample might have strengthened the overall proposal. Evaluators felt that the musical element was particularly strong.Based on evaluators response, the proposal moved on to the panel. Panelists loved the idea of this artist working within allgo, and remarked on the organization’s general success at combining art practices with its mission. Panel felt this project would push this artist, perhaps even taking her into a new and exciting direction. Strong enthusiasm for the Latin Mass aspect of the concept. Panel felt more could have been said about how the collaborators will work together. Since the driving artist is so strong, it would have strengthened the proposal to hear how she will integrate the ideas of the other artists involved. And, more important, why she is choosing to work with these collaborators in particular. If the collaborators are not co-conceivers of the work, but rather supporting the Ms. Shorb’s vision, it might have been stronger to leave them off the proposal as lead artists.

Monday, June 30, 2008

privilege meme

meme: privilege

Bold the things that apply.

If your father went to college; If your father finished college; If your mother went to college; If your mother finished college; If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor; If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers; If you had a computer at home; If you had your own computer at home; If you had more than 50 books at home; If you had more than 500 books at home; If you were read children’s books by a parent; If you ever had lessons of any kind; If you had more than two kinds of lessons; If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively; If you had a credit card with your name on it; If you have less than $5000 in student loans; If you have no student loans; If you went to a private high school; If you went to summer camp; If you had a private tutor; If you have been to Europe; If your family vacations involved staying at hotels; If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall; If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them; If there was original art in your house; If you had a phone in your room; If you lived in a single family house; If your parent owned their own house or apartment; If you had your own room; If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course; If you had your own cell phone in high school (note: I’m too old for this one); If you had your own TV in your room in high school; If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college; If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline; If you ever went on a cruise with your family; If your parents took you to museums and art galleries; If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

from here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

on round two

just got word that i've been invited to submit an application to creative capital! woohoo! out of over 2000 applicants, 687 have been invited to submit. it's a big deal. i'm chuffed. really chuffed. some creative capital alums include: kristina wong, daniel alexander jones, and the rude mechanicals. i'm just really honored to make the first cut. i'm hoping to make it through the next. i'm trying to just stay listening to the voice saying, "good job, kt!" and telling that other voice that says, "yeah, but look at all the work you have to do now" to just shut up for a little bit.

good job, kt!

Friday, May 30, 2008

on youtube even more

i've been so busy, my head is about to explode. firstly, i was accepted to the vancouver stomp, which i mentioned earlier. thanks to the city of austin, half of the expenses accrued visiting vancouver will be paid-for.

secondly, i started meeting and working on the artspark festival. when we interviewed, they all told us it would be hectic and crazy, but even then, i think i underestimated! gotta work work work!

thirdly, i'm in a performance art piece next week about the death penalty. i'm still trying to rake together all the details, but it will involve going around austin in a van and conducting various "happenings." yeah. i'll post more as it comes.

and then i've been editing some video y'all. here are two videos that have existed on the internets prior to now, but i've re-uploaded them to youtube. i still have about five more of these babies, so keep on the lookout. if you want, you can subscribe to my channel. it *should* alert you when i upload new stuff.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

on the ball? (knock wood)

1. just was awarded $1500 from the city of austin to attend a workshop (now i just need to get into the workshop!)
2. was invited to be in a performance art piece about the death penalty in texas (for pay!)
3. finished a draft of a book review
4. am revising my story
5. am redesigning my website, will post update here once uploaded

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

on youtube part quatre

this is a video of "dean," a semi-autobiographical tranny boy who thinks about performance and gender.

on youtube part trois

this video is of "norman," the uber-masculine rice rocket boy who i based on my impression of certain asian american college students.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

on disaster

just a note about all the crazy disasters happening in the world. first myanmar, then the tornadoes through the U.S. midwest, then the earthquake in western china.

i posted briefly before about being in japan when the earthquake happened in kobe. i watched the city burn and resolved to organize my high school to send aid. we raised several thousand dollars and sent a dozen volunteers to help rebuild over spring break.

something sinister is happening in the world. i can't help but feel like the earth is taking out her anger on humans for fucking with her for so long. the fucked up thing is, it seems the disasters hit the people who aren't really to blame: poor folks, rural folks, people of color, children, people of the third world.

as first world citizens, it's times like these that it's really important to at least attempt to account for our role in chaos. i don't know how possible it is to be completely accountable. when oe kenzaburo wrote about okinawa and post WWII, he talked about how it was a type of sacrificial lamb. about how japan was trying to use it as a perpetual indulgence, rather than grin and bear a full-on confession in search of absolution.

somewhere between absolution and perpetual indulgence lies charitable donations.

the first and easiest thing we can do as first world citizens is provide capital. and so, in line with kristina wong's post, i am requesting you readers to please donate. kristina follows the l.a. times in donating to unicef. i am following suit. unicef seems most strategically placed to provide for aid in myanmar. but now that there's so many disasters, the red cross and doctors without borders would lend tremendous help, too. funds are tight in my life right now, but i have a home and food and my health. i'm asking you to at least match kristina's donation of $20, as i just did.

bloggers, please re-blog kristina's call for matching donations. as individuals, many of us don't have the funds to give what we would like, but as a collective, we can raise a substantial amount in micro donations. let's do this, y'all!

Monday, May 12, 2008

on training

so. in the many weeks that i was absent from this blog, something happened.

i went to see the rude mechs perform "the method gun." it was a crazy production. but it was stunning. it's the play that won the rudes both a creative capital and a MAP grant. the city of austin produced it in their newly finished long center. it was a crown jewel. it had all the elements: acrobatics, stage crying, scripted improv, swinging lanterns, guns, a monologuing tiger, actors acting "actors" who are acting theatrical methods, and, of course, "a streetcar named desire."

i, of course, saw it a week before my own play went up. i was in that mode where i could see the stage and the performance from a new angle with a different focus and a clear lens. something about seeing the "method gun" and then being a part of a production with an awesome script clarified everything i've been ruminating over for the past year: i want to perform. and i want to perform forever.

of course, this realization didn't come to me so clearly at first. i just saw the show and immediately thought, "i wonder if i could become a company member of the rudes." having rehearsed weekly at the off center on my solo show a few years back made it seem really, well, doable. so i stopped by the off center and talked to folks there. i was looking for madge, the person who directed my solo show. but in the mean time, i talked with other folks. and they gave me vague answers. "if ya hang out a while, we start to get the feeling you wanna be a company member, and then we vote." or "get us drunk, then we'll spill the beans."

finally, i tracked down madge and we met over coffee. i asked her. and suddenly things got pretty awkward. because madge knows my limitations. madge knows the demands of local theater and the rude mechanicals. and madge doesn't bullshit. which is why i loved her as a director and why i knew she would be the one to talk to. we talked about what the process would entail. logistics. and finally she said, point blank: "well, how serious are you about this?" i hemmed and hawed for a second. and then i said, "i don't think i can help it, madge. i want to some capacity... for... ever." she smiled. and then frowned. "i just wanted to know whether or not you were, you know, dabbling." that madge is astute. so i said, "i think i'm addicted." and she said, "yeah. sorry. it's an affliction." and then she said, "well, kt. if that's how you feel about it. i think you need more training." and then she proceeded to tell me all the different ways the company members had been trained. where i would wanna go, etc. it's because of that conversation that i applied for this week-long intensive in vancouver.


it's a tough word. i've undergone a lot of training. i've been trained as a musician since i was five. i was trained as an academic in grad school. i was trained to be an administrator at UT.

but i still can't shake that feeling. that i'm a dilettante. and i suppose i am. and i enjoy my broad knowledge. but when madge told me i needed more training, i though i would feel discouraged. but quite the opposite. i felt inspired. i felt like i could actually undergo much discomfort to train as a performer.

and i like that i don't have to go back to school, necessarily, to train. there are many intensives offered throughout the year all over the world.

this weekend, wonderful partner and i went to a birthday party for the child of a former colleague of mine. the crowd were mostly older than me, mostly with children. all of whom were professors or other professionals. before, i could just blend in, say "i'm a lecturer at UT." and that was the end of it. but this time, I felt challenged. they would say, "so what do you do?" and i would almost apologetically say, "i'm an artist." to which they would reply, "what kind of art?" and i would say, "oh. (sigh) many things." in the past, i would go on some long, convoluted thing about multi-disciplinary stuff, etc. etc. but this was the first time i came out decisively and explained, "my main focus is performance and writing. i'm working on a solo show for myself and i was recently in a play."

it's a big step. to focus. people still don't get it, unless they are artists themselves or are really into art. but i'm slowly amassing things to show for my past year.

and something keeps telling me that there's another thing, just around the corner. you know those little clicks you hear, just before a bell tower chimes the hour? i feel like i'm hearing those clicks. and the chime is only a little bit away.

i'm excited. and this time, i think the excitement actually eclipses the fear.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

on, damn, y'all, i been working!

what i done did:
1. submitted a CORE grant application with the city of austin for "una corda" (last week)
2. submitted an auxiliary grant application with the city of austin for attending the "vancouver stomp" (monday)
3. submitted the application for "vancouver stomp" (today)
4. shot a cooking video *in japanese* for demand video (who post to expertvillage)
5. was invited/solicited by eileen tabios to include this blog post and this review in tabios's next book manuscript--and accepted! (today)
6. applied for six job jobs at UT (over the past ten days)
7. worked at alma for six hours, finishing apps for the lmcc residency and the out on the edge fest (today)

many more things to do (like send off the shit i finished), but for now, i'm just gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

on kt

(photo credit: michael sullivan)
just some updates from kt. as the image above shows, the play, "why koreans don't hug" went off without a hitch. in fact, one night, we damn near knocked it outta the little lab theater. this is the photo of me playing a 65-year-old (male) korean reverend kissing on a 19-year-old girl. but seriously, it was an awesome production. my fellow actors were great. and the script was brilliant! ima actor y'all!

in other related news, the theater collective i'm in was accepted to this year's artspark festival. my theater collective (which was formed to apply for this festival) consists of myself, ana-maurine lara, cheryl coward, and florinda bryant. wheee!!!!!!!! i'm super psyched. oh, and the collective name? stamp lab: a theatre group

hee hee hee.

Friday, April 18, 2008

on youtube part deux

this is the monologue, "karl." he's a crowd pleaser. i based his character on research i conducted on representations of asian american men in gay porn. one of my friends, who happens to be a fag prof says he has a crush on karl. do you?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

on youtube

at the behest of my p.r. person (her name is felice, isn't that auspicious!), i am in the process of putting my solo show up on youtube. it's taking a while (sometimes it takes over an hour just to change video formats!), but here is one of the clips. i will post them here as i upload them.

my solo show is called "of chicks, dicks, and chinks." i wrote and performed it as part of my graduate work in radio-tv-film. it's about masculinity, race, asians and asian americans, and queerness. enjoy.

this monologue is called "the doctor." i based him off my research of masculinity and franz fanon.

you can find out more on the show or see nice photo stills of the show on my website here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

on employment

dearest readers,
please help me find a job. if you know of a job that you think i might be able to do, please send it to me. part time is good. full time is good. stuff i can do from home is good. stuff that requires a certain creativity or reflexivity is good. stuff that requires a masters is good. kt needs to start bringin' home the bacon. please help me.
(you can email me at ktshorb(at)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

on money, that's right, money

i came to a realization last week; i am working under the assumption that i will:
1. get a MAP grant
2. get a creative capital grant
3. win the lotto

i told ana this, and having read my proposal for MAP, she said very sweetly, "that's a fair assumption." i told kelly this, and she said, "it's a possibility. and staying positive can only invite more positive." linda, a cast mate from my play said, "this is excellent. you should live the way you want to live and the money will follow you!"

okay. that's all good and all. but it really is a faulty assumption. really. i don't know how my brain keeps doing this to me. the likelihood of getting either the MAP or CC is very low. i have a pretty thin resume. and, as much as i think my project proposal is pretty damn good, there will be at least 100 others just as good. it helps that i've included really awesome collaborators in one of the proposals, i'm sure. but still.

yet, i can't shake it. i'm full of anticipation of that next windfall.

to tell you the truth, my life has consisted of windfalls. i grew up solidly middle class, in a town that was too wealthy for my family. we were always running out of money, yet my folks insisted on living where we did and on sending all of us to private high schools and colleges. when i lived in wellesley, i was acutely aware that my family could not afford the clothes or stuff that my peers had. but i had a violin. and a piano.

when i was 15 or so, my grandparents started doling out their excess money. they were making twice as much being retired as they did working. and they were paying too much taxes for money they didn't need. they gave money to my father and aunts and then smaller sums to me, my brothers and my cousins in the form of mutual funds.

i didn't touch the money until college. i used a fair sum of it to pay for tuition. and even then, i still took out loans and my parents took out loans. oberlin was expensive. i am still paying for it. but there was something very special about having that chunk of change.

after college, i took a very low-paying job at oberlin. 16k a year working at least 50-60hrs a week. i used more of that windfall money from my grandparents to put a down payment on my car. but i mostly just got by with that 16k.

after my mom died, i received an inheritance. one from her insurance and one from my father downsizing his living quarters. i used that windfall to pay off about 10% of my student loans, put a down payment on our house, and try my hand at buying and selling stocks.

i've always been ambivalent about this money. on the one hand, i haven't forgotten what it's like to always be around people who were richer than me. on the other, i realized at oberlin just how lucky i had it. you know, befriending other workers in the dining hall, learning about "class" in class, someone "calling me out" as a "wellesley snob," those endless "privilege" workshops and whatnot.

money is power is responsibility. i had capital and i think i've used it relatively well. i used it for education, "stability," and family. i even gave a few friends some chunks of startup money or rent money with it.

but now, it's running out. wonderful partner finally confronted me about it earlier this week. she has noted that she wants a little more stability in our life. that's one thing that these past 14 months have not been: stable. i agreed that i would begin applying for jobs. as in, job jobs. full-time with benefits jobs.

so i bit my lip and combed through jobs at UT. there are four that i'm qualified for. at least one of them i would enjoy doing. if pushed to the limit of my earning potential, 50k would not be out of the question. but i have to start applying now. i can't wait for the money to run out and then scramble around, waiting to see if i can get something.

stability: she deserves as much. i deserve as much, too. but i'm torn. i spent my 20s domestically stable, though losing a parent and working through grad school was hardly emotionally stable. part of me feels like i missed out on the "finding yerself" part of the 20s.

now, i feel like i'm just on the cusp of figuring something out, about my art, about my life. but i also feel like i know how to keep working for myself even if i pick up a "day job." and then, i'm racked with guilt: i squandered away this past year. i squandered away my money. what, exactly, have i accomplished in this time? am i just a bum?

and then that thought--that assumption about two of the biggest grants someone at this stage in an art career can get--crosses my mind. maybe, it whispers, we WILL get it. maybe, it says, we DESERVE it. maybe, it cries, we're due for a windfall any day now. every tuesday and friday evening, i open up the lotto site with that taste of anticipation. maybe, just maybe....

the question is: am i naive? is my life charmed? or am i just a whiney middle-class brat who has nothing better to care about? fuck if i know. i suppose the next six months will tell.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

on return

fuckitall. i've been sick for the past five days, literally spewing my guts from every orifice, appreciating just how disgusting and amazing the human body can be in one fell swoop. i spent one night cradling a bucket while cleaning my own waste off my bathroom floor. then crying while i puked and exclaiming: oh god, how gross! i feel so much better!

again and again and again.

of course, being an artist with a certain liking for the absurd and scatalogical humor, there was one moment as i moaned and knelt on all fours over that bucket that i thought, "jesus. this is so painful and humiliating! this is so fucking hilarious!"

and, shit, it really was. i mean, c'mon! bucket? rolling around on the floor in your skivvies! running from your car to the bathroom sweating so hard because you're afraid you'll shit your pants? things can't get much funnier than shit and puke.

except when you're in it. even then.

i'm finally feeling better now. today is the first day in four that everything that should be solid is firmly solid, and everything that should be liquid lightly flows. a functioning vessel is really such a gift.

so, despite my bought with diarrhea, topics on this blog are stopped up. gonna have to play catch up. so please be patient. i've been having certain epiphanies in my delirious hazes and other revelations that have come to me through conscious conversations: with wonderful partner, with other artists, with my pasts, with my self.

so this is just one of those place holders: you know, like how they always show five seconds of studio 8h during a really long commercial break on snl, and you're all like: what? and then you're like: aw, whatever. this is that five seconds. a little long, tho'. more soon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

on kissing

so. i had written in the blog of my former production about kissing on stage. but i deleted it when i left that show. so. for those of you who read that post, here's a recap.

in the last show, "nighthawks (nh)," i was in at least two kiss scenes. and it became a huge drama in my head. i obsessed over it. i tried to choreograph it. man. it was hard. most of the reason why it was so hard is that ever since wonderful partner and i came together, she was the only one i kissed for over six years. that's a big deal, i think. and here, i was going to kiss another.

in addition, maybe you might know this about me, but i don't usually like being touched. especially by strangers. touch is actually really really important to me, so while i give it out to those i love, i'm pretty stingy about it to those i don't. i also have a sordid past that involved kissing way too many people--sometimes literally within seconds of each other--and it all becoming a hot mess. i had a "reputation" in college. i broke hearts, yeah. but my heart was broken many many times, too. i learned to pay attention to my physical intent. to be responsible. to care and be cared for. this led me to monogamy. with wonderful partner.

so kissing became huge. like HUGE! and i had a little private nervous breakdown that included me crushing on my kissee and then acting funny and awkward at strange times. and when we finally did kiss, it was the most awkward, awful thing. yeah. so awkward, we had to be "coached." which is even more awkward. and this kiss was supposed to be, like, HOT, so we had to really talk and process and stuff. my kissee was/is a great person, who was patient with my freakouts and respectful of my need for boundaries and my sacred monogamous relationship.

and then, as you know, it never came to fruition. so my freakouts were for naught.

or so i thought.

this new play i'm in, "why koreans don't hug (wkdh)" also has a kiss scene in it. when i found that out, i had a mini freakout, but it subsided quickly. i realized, i've done this now, so good.

today i show up at rehearsal and we're set to do the kiss scene. and i was ready. i was trying to reassure my kissee and tried to make it comfortable.

the thing is, unlike in nh, when the kiss is all sex-positive and celebratory, the wkdh kiss is super fraught. actually, without giving too much away (since i want y'all to come see it) it's just plain creepy. so that made it very difficult. the acting for this character is super hard. trying to find intention while being extremely conscious of the character's dubious nature is hard. and then throwing a kiss and a charged embrace into the mix--wow. but i persevered. and i thought i did okay. but this kissee (who is a first year undergrad, 18 yo and straight) suddenly ripped herself away from me just as i was trying to act it out. i saw fear and confusion on her face and i felt sorry for her. and then i felt gross.

which is hard. here i think i've overcome my fear of stage/screen kissing, and i get kinda rejected. i know i *play* a dirty old man in the production, but that moment made me, kt, feel like a dirty old man. even though, i wasn't.

it's so difficult. because on the one hand, actors are an insecure, vain bunch. i want to build up the other actors, let them know they are pretty or beautiful or attractive. but on the other hand, i don't want to come across as wanting more than i actually do. i really don't care about whether i kiss this person or not. but the script says i do. and i want to convey to her that, you know, she's not gross or anything. but it's so weird. it's like a dance that's un-choreographed, but everyone knows when you misstep.

sigh. i've been playing around with this idea in my head of shooting a short video called "kt learns to kiss." basically, it starts with a confession of me talking about how i freak out when it comes to stage/screen kisses, and then the rest of the video is just me kissing a bunch of people. some would see it as ulterior motive to kiss a bunch of people. yes, i was once a "mouth whore." but i'm not anymore. i really believe that i would be happy, content satisfied kissing only wonderful partner for the rest of my life. the thing is, i hate being so scared of kissing that i want to overcome this fear. and it's a skill: kissing on demand and making it convincing. that is what this video would be about. i don't know if it will ever happen.

so i post this now. i feel like my soul is raw and vulnerable. that's probably why this post reads like a high school kid's journal. i just want to curl up with wonderful partner and spoon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

on: seriously folks, there are REAL predators out there

so, wonderful partner read to me this story about how the fbi has been planting links in message boards to try to catch down-loaders of child porn.

the main reason she read it to me in the first place was she had only today told me about the phenomenon of rickrolling, that basically means putting a link on something (email, blog, IM, website) saying that the link is "x" (a kitty, a cool site, something...) and then it actually being a link to a youtube video of "never gonna give you up." yeah, i'm late to the scene, people.

so, the thing is, it seems that people have been (inadvertently or not) duck/rickrolling childporn links into some of their messages and thereby trapping unsuspecting link clickers in fbi snares.

sigh. i was gonna rickroll all y'all (yes, that IS the plural of y'all). but now i'm determined not to rickroll you or duckroll you in any way. because i don't want no errant child porn to somehow find itself in your cache, thereby subjecting you to unfettered fbi molesting. (not that i even have the slightest idea nor do i want to know how to find child porn.)

so, this story is pretty sad. wonderful partner and i just became speechless and agreed: why would they spend so much time and energy and money on these cases when there are REAL children being molested and put into porn? i just hate it. really.

real people. real children. our "justice" system can just get things all wrong. too often.

on my horoscope for this week

scary? smart? i don't know who the good-looking monster could be...

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
This is one of those rare times when your empathy could undo you unless you adhere to the following guidelines. 1. Squelch any attraction you might have to fascinating ruins, sexy decay, or appalling beauty. 2. If you have been sucked into the sphere of a good-looking monster or seductive tyrant, yank yourself free. 3. Break your gaze the instant you sense you're falling under the sway of a flaming narcissist. 4. Suppress the temptation to think this thought: "I'm bored with my hell; I want to hang out in your hell for a change."

Friday, March 21, 2008

on being someone to "perv" on

time has been a strange thing for me lately. it feels like what doctor who (ten) said about it being not so much linear, but like a big tangle of a ball. anyway, beside the point.

i'm just late in posting (bragging) about sugarbutch posting pix of me. i was flattered when she said she would. she's been working on a semi-loose archive of "butch" pix--aka "eye candy." although i sometimes have trouble with the moniker of "butch" per se, i feel totally cool and okay being called as such by SB. some time, maybe, i'll talk about my gender identity in relation to my art as well as money and the lotto. that would be a huge, multi-part post! (perhaps this whole blog is about that anyway...)

so, the link to the post is here. thanks, katerina for "perving" on me. to see it written down does, uh, stroke... my ego.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on apologies long overdue

when i was in college, i had a roller coaster ride of a time. politically, emotionally, socially. i started off as a good little mixed girl from japan, just trying to write music and learn biology. i ended up as a necktie-wearing, semi-militant, protest march attending, rip-roarin' radical queer of color.

at oberlin, this narrative arc isn't as rare as one would expect. in fact, it's really a rite of passage for all those who attend with some idea of moral and social justice. but man, what a ride.

so, during my third year of college, after my *race epiphany,* i became uber confrontational and sometimes mean. i made white women cry and wore it as a badge. i lost friends who i deemed to be "fucked up." and i made new enemies with people who were equally as outspoken as i was, but "wrong."

with one "enemy," i don't remember the circumstances too well. i think i've blocked it out of my memory. but i know it involved me confronting a white friend of mine about violating "safe space" for people of color; a huge campus-wide skirmish over the whole thing; and said "enemy" (being a close friend of my white friend who then became a non-friend) yelling "cunt" at me in the hallway of the conservatory. i think that made me cry.

i've hated him ever since.

but this morning, i received an apology from him in my inbox. i was shocked. floored, really. it seemed that he was starting to understand things that i never thought it was possible for him to understand. and he told me as much. i was so shocked, i thought someone sent me the message as a joke, posing as him. really, it was that shocking.

and i was moved. i don't see myself as becoming buddies with him or anything, but his change was moving. it also showed me that i've changed as well. i'm not as hard as i once was. and i like to think i'm not as stubborn. and i now know (all too well) that i am not always right.

this hasn't been the first email i have received from a college friend or acquaintance trying to reconcile about a burnt bridge. but this is the first one i've responded to with forgiveness, or mutual reconciliation.

maybe i'm more open now. or maybe i have a certain hunch that this message is part of the "making amends" step in a recovery program--and i've become so much more empathetic to recovering addicts. i've only recently written out a whole list of "amends" i want to make with people myself.

i wish i knew. but it's got me pondering a lot of things. here, after only four hours of sleep, under a dark, cloudy sky not unlike the one i lived under for seven years at oberlin.

Monday, March 17, 2008

story? done?

okay. just a note. that story i've been writing? is done--at least this draft is. revisions, here we come!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

kt gets cast!

this time, laughter of joy, happiness, excitement!

i've been cast y'all! i'll be playing the korean reverend in soo-jin lee's new play, why koreans don't hug. this will be part of this year's UT New Theatre.

heee heee!

for more info on the show and the showcase it's in, go here.

here's to breaking legs!

pictures! pictures! pictures!

okay, so wura told me she likes looking at my pictures. so, w, this post is for you.

for a while lately, whenever i look at my art supplies (of which i have many, since i inherited all my mother's old oils, watercolors, and pastels...), i get drawn toward my japanese calligraphy brushes and inks. so i set it all up. the thing about japanese calligraphy is you don't usually redo a stroke. so it's all about practice, practice, practice and then you decide to finally do one on "real" paper and hope it goes well. for last night's session, i just used scrap paper. i started with characters. then i moved onto figures. here are my attempts at making whippets:

the bottom one is my favorite. i think i tried to do about a dozen whippets and these were the best ones.this was a short study of color gradients using water mixed with ink. it was HARD. it looks so easy when the masters do it...
the main exercise all master calligraphers do first is to write "ichi"--"one." this is one of the "ones" i did last night. it was out of several. this is my favorite.

then i saw i had lots of ink. and when you make the ink, you wanna use it, because it's actually pretty labor intensive to rub that ink stick in the ink stone. so i thought, hey, i've never done self portraits in ink! so here are some i did:

self portrait 1: pretty simple.
self portrait 2.
self portrait 3: as a dyke, i have many many many many drawings of my own hand. this is the first time i've tried it with a brush. it looks pudgy, but the pudginess is pretty idiomatic.
self portrait 4: a surprisingly accurate version of my body. the head, well. sometimes i get heavy-handed. yes. this is really close to what my body actually looks like. (i'm a hairy boy.)
self-portrait 5: this is one of those japanese school children drills where i drew my face using hiragana characters. it's called "henohenomoheji." they say that one always tends to draw "henohenomoheji" to look like oneself. how'd i do?

(the scrap paper i used was actually old scripts from that play i was in. [insert silly emoticon here])

Saturday, March 15, 2008

on auditions, on requests

i'm auditioning for a part tomorrow. it's for a 60-ish, korean male minister part. this makes me smile. i'm nervous (i always get nervous before auditions), but if i get cast for this, i'm super excited. because how much will my chops get honed?! old? korean? minister? i've done male before, but this is a very particular masculinity that i'm very interested in embodying.

uncomfortable, here we come! woo-hoo! i love it!

(wish me luck, or rather, to break a leg.)

in other news, i actually saw, in person, some of you lovely readers yesterday. which was wonderful. it really means a lot that what i write here connects with people i love and respect. one of you mentioned that you like looking at the pictures. so. i'm gonna try to get back to more drawings. and maybe photos. yes. that's a promise.

Friday, March 14, 2008

on creative buddies

i have a writing buddy. i met her a couple years ago. she curates a salon for artists of color. a while back, she sent out a call for people wanting to present at the salon. i wrote back something like, "i have a short story or two that i would love to present, but i'm shy." i ended up not presenting at the salon for many reasons, but she said, "i'd love to look at your writing, tho." and thus began our relationship as writing buddies.

i've been very flattered that she is my writing buddy. i feel like she's way ahead of me. she's pretty well published. and in a lot of ways, she is more serious about being a "writer" than i am. and she could easily choose someone else as a writing buddy. (actually, i'm pretty sure she does. i think she has multiple writing buddies. which is okay, since we are in a non-monogamous writing buddy relationship.) every time i meet with her, i feel rather lucky. she's picked over my writing many times, to the point that she has corrected my GRAMMAR and even hand-written suggestions for rephrasing. all this from a lambda-nominated novelist. but the feelings seem mutual. at the end of our meetings, we thank each other profusely: "wow! you've given me so much to think about!"

and i'm realizing i need more of that. after writing my post of "wants" i have thought long about my ideas of failure. i realize, i need to push the crap more. and i need more eyes and ears. to me, this means, i must write more, and i absolutely MUST start putting on in-progress performances. i need feedback. which is always hard. i have memories of some in-progress shows that still make my ears ring out of humiliation. but i think humility is in order.

i've started asking more and more people to look at my work. i try to take a large swath, for three reasons: 1. i want to see how my writing "reads" to different demographics of people; 2. i want as many suggestions as possible; and 3. if i get really harsh feedback from one person, it will be put in perspective--kinda, sorta.

so here is the thing. i'm asking you, my readers, to become my creative buddies.

i'm not going to post in-progress writing or work here, per se. that's a bit too vulnerable for me. instead, i ask that if you would like to read my work (some of it finished-ish, some of it in-progress), please leave a comment or email me. i will then send my work to you via email. in return, i would be willing to read/look at any of your work and will give my best constructive criticism. if you are not an active artist, i can offer you a hug, or a song, or an acknowledgment in any possible future publications.

credentials (you know, so that you can know i would be worth your time and that my critiques might be helpful) : i write music, performance art scores (sometimes referred to as "scripts" or "plays") and fiction. most of my fiction takes place in japan. most of my music is minimalist or experimental. i've also been called a filmmaker and have screened works, but my lack in the video camera ownership department has hindered this particular medium for three years.

so, here goes. i'm taking a big breath about this post. it could be really awesome, or kinda dramatic, or disappointing, or just... anticlimactic. well. we'll see!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

on genderqueers and those who love us

sugarbutch posted an entry on a craigslist personal by someone who basically derides all butches, non-op trannies, genderqueers, "bois," etc. it hit a note with me, so i'm linking to it here.

if you're not so interested in gender, gender performance, queerness, etc. then it prolly won't be interesting to you. then again, if you're not even the slightest bit interested in the above, why are you here again?

oh yeah, 'cause you want me to win the lotto, right.

until then, tho'. mosey on over to what SB has to say.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

please sign this

please consider signing this petition supporting u of mich giving andrea smith tenure. if you want more info on the case, go here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

i want, or, erotica for myself

big wants:
1. i want to experience life as nam june paik described. with all 10 holes. ("Male human body has nine holes. Female body has ten. When all holes are filled, you have satisfaction. Purpose of inter-media art is to plug all holes as fast and efficiently as you can." though, he really miscounted. we technically have 12 functioning holes. bio-men, sorry, you still only have 9.)

2. i want my hands to be the source of the world. to build, to destroy, to love.

3. i want to sift and cull and eliminate: bullshit, boredom, and all things that tell me i should not exist in this world.

4. i want to fail miserably, in front of many people, with my heart and soul distended and raw. i want to pick up those pieces, reassemble them, and make anew. i want my successes borne of failure. exquisite, perfect, disastrous failure.

5. i want slow fucks. i want fast fucks. i want mind fucks and heart fucks. i want to fuck and be fucked. i want to fuck until i cry. i want to fuck until i laugh. i want to fuck alone. i want to fuck the world. fuck fuck fuck. don't stop.

6. i want to defy death but pass peacefully. i want to end war but never stop fighting. i want to conquer disease but never stop healing.

7. i want to know my fears. i want to live with them. i want to talk to them and learn about them. i want to wallow in my fears and learn to be brave.

8. i want to learn to live in my body. i want to know every inch of it and what it can and cannot do. i want to love its limitations and push its potential.

little wants (specifics):
1. i want to be working in my body with the opera by april. i want yvan to show me how to do that.

2. i want to finish this short story by next week.

3. i want to spend at least an hour every week by myself with my thoughts. no people, no dogs, just myself.

4. i want to show my work, my unfinished crap-ass work, to many people and listen to what they say.

5. i want to go to a show, reading, gallery, movie, at least every week.

6. i want momoko to visit me in my dreams and tell me why she became what she did.

7. i want to hit a home run every game. i want to sink 10 free throws in a row. i want to climb five flights of stairs and still breath easy.

8. i want creative capital to to invite me to apply. i want to write the best application i know how--specific, clear, persuasive. i want creative capital to award me a grant.

9. i want to book a space, advertise, and perform an in-progress show of my opera music. before the peaches in my yard become ripe.

10. i want to know who you are.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


this is what my horoscope says according to two sources:

free will astrology:
In his book Starbucked, Taylor Clark claims there is a woman who goes into a Seattle Starbucks every day during the morning rush and orders a "decaf single grandé extra vanilla two-percent extra caramel 185-degrees with whipped cream caramel macchiato." Maybe her request seems overly fussy and demanding, but in the next 12 days I encourage you to be equally as exacting in asking for what you want. You have a poetic license to be extremely specific as you go about your quest for fulfillment.
Apparently unsolvable issues can slow you down at home today. But when you realize that you really do have choices now, things can move along. You may not be thrilled with the possibilities, but any decision is better than none, for it's crucial to bring forward movement into your life. Even if you're unsure about your new direction, change will do you good.

this tells me two things: i should figure out what i want, and be specific; i should pursue that desire and go, go, go!

i'm blogged out for today, what with the memes and such. but tomorrow? it's all about what kt wants. yeah.