Last weekend, I attended
the second ever Asian-American ComiCon at LA’s Japanese-American National
Museum. It was a much-needed break from routine, and an opportunity to meet George
Takei, who was being honored that evening (as a gay Asian trekkie, this was
exciting on many, many levels).
Although I missed the
diversity/LGBT panel, the other discussions were plenty engaging, with writers,
actors, producers, and all the people that make entertainment happen sharing
their thoughts and life experiences.
The last event of the day
was a live recording of the They Call Us Bruce podcast with George. Near the
end, they asked him what he would say to encourage people to engage in the process
necessary to build a more representative future.
George said to
about it. I mean even just on a minimal level of going to the theater. Because
we call it theatre arts, but it’s also show business. And the ones that do good
business are the ones that get produced.
New York, I go to see an August Wilson play, an African-American writer, and
when I’m sitting, I like to kind of check out the audience, you know? And
there’s a dominant African-American presence.
to see a David Henry Hwang play, a Tony award-winning playwright, talking about
Chinese or Chinese-American subjects, with Chinese or Asian-American actors on
stage. And I look at the audience.
Philip Gotanda’s play The Wash in New York and here at the
Mark Taper Forum. I look out into the audience from between the curtain, and
it’s the same thing.
And a company like the Mark Taper Forum is a nonprofit, but nevertheless it has
to make money. And they know that with an African-American play, they know that
will attract an audience. A Latino play will attract an audience. But with
Asian-Americans, it’s kinda chancy, so let’s put on an African-American play
So even on the minimal level of being there with your bum on
the seat, playing for a ticket – that makes a difference.”
was an important reminder that sometimes, you don’t have to be in front of an
audience, or the loudest voice in a crowd, to stand out. You can be the lone minority everyone else remembers at an fundraiser, or the 100th ticket
that helps the production break even. By doing your own thing and being part of
the backdrop – part of someone else’s everyday – you can do good in the world.
They Call Us Bruce – Episode 16: They Call Us George Takei