CHECK OUT COMEDY COMEDY FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND IN LA!
Are you in the LA area this weekend? Yes? Go to Comedy Comedy Festival.
It’s an Asian American comedy festival that’ll feature panels, improv shows, and much more. So many awesome Asian American entertainers are attending this festival this weekend such as Dia Frampton (The Voice, Meg & Dia, Archis), Anna Akana (Youtube, Ant-Man), Randall Park (Fresh Off The Boat), Danny Pudi (Community, Powerless)… the list goes on and on!
So those of you that are keeping up to date with my constant postings of the Dis/orient/ed Comedy showing coming up on Saturday, might be wondering how the heck I am involved with it. I’m not a comedian nor am I an event planner. I’m actually a graduate student at Portland State and both the API panel discussion event and the comedy show are my practicum projects for my graduate program. I KNOW - mind blown right?!
So, funny story, I met one of the co-founders of Dis/orient/ed Comedy through this blog! During the promotion of their Seattle show back in March I saw that good ol’ Angry Asian Man had posted about the show. Me, being the enthusiast of all things Asian Pacific American and especially when it deals with APA women, was extremely excited at the fact that something like this EXISTED. Like most people, my only knowledge of any API female comic is Margaret Cho and yes, I love her and I think she’s amazing but the fact of the matter is, we need more of us out there.
Upon hearing about Dis/orient/ed, I reblogged the event details about the Seattle show here on this blog and was determined to figure out how to attend. Then Jenny messaged me on Tumblr, friended me on Facebook and then let me know that she’d be in Portland before the Seattle show and asked if I wanted to meet up! I forget how it came up exactly, but I told her about how I was trying to get into a better habit of writing and since she was spending her time in PDX for her own writing retreat, I seized the opportunity to meet with her to talk about fine tuning my own skills. Then after that initial meeting and attending the Seattle show with my godmother, the rest is history!
What I have learned so far during this experience combined with my introduction into the research world this summer, is the lack of mentorship that happens in the APA community. The research project I was an RA for looked at local community-based organizations and their work with youth and leadership building. Within the APA groups and participants, the common theme of the lack of mentorship was prevalent in our data. Although the research focused on community-based organizations, this theme can be applied in any sector, whether it’s in the entertainment industry or in politics. This particular trajectory that young APIs have been following has been a never-ending cycle of a dog-eat-dog type of mentality - where building community is not at the forefront of our priorities, and rather, it’s about who gets to the top and can maintain that status. I admit that this is a bit of a blanket statement because it also depends on your location, but regardless whether it’s the lack of mentorship or even worst, complacency, the APA community needs to be strengthened.
Since the Seattle show, Jenny has been kind enough to mentor me in my writing. What I’ve taken from the mentorship so far is the need to be fearless and assertive, not just in writing but in all aspects of my life. Being able to co-produce this show on Saturday has made a BIG impact in my life and has me thinking about the type of person I am and what I aspire to be. It’s been a rollercoaster journey since the start of the planning of this show and I am excited to see how it will all turn out.
What I am most grateful for is the opportunity to be able to assist in producing an event of this nature! I have learned a lot about how sponsorships work, relationship building with sponsors, local organizations and organizers, and finally, how to speak from the heart when what you’re working for is something you’re truly passionate about.
Not only are we celebrating APA women in comedy but we are also raising awareness of reproductive issues, domestic violence and gender justice. These are all areas that are near and dear to my heart, not only because they are extremely important, but also because I am driven to devote my life to raising awareness of these issues, whether it’s in teaching, researching or organizing. The co-presenting organization, APANO, is forming a team in their organization that will specifically focus on gender and reproductive issues. Our beneficiary organization, SAWERA, supports women who are experiencing or who have experienced domestic violence. They support South Asian women specifically, who may encounter other obstacles during an already difficult time, such as language and cultural barriers in seeking help. I am honored to be working with three amazing groups, Dis/orient/ed Comedy, APANO and SAWERA, and knowing that we are putting on a show for a good cause.
By the way, look at the latest flyer update! All of those organizations at the bottom are supporting our show and have been helping us promote it too! Thank you everyone for your support!
Just a reminder that the GETWEIRD pre-sale code will expire at midnight TONIGHT, so if you haven’t done so yet, buy your ticket!
I had the pleasure of chatting with comedian, writer, actress and co-founder for Dis/orient/ed Comedy, Atsuko Okatsuka, for APA Compass’ September program. We talked about the challenges of being an APA woman in the entertainment industry, her experience in filming the movie Little Rock which she co-wrote and starred in, and she offers advice for APA’s that are aspiring to work in entertainment.