Jul 27, 2013

Casual Racism: "It was a joke!"

I was watching a new Bravo reality show the other night called Chef Roble and Co. It's another "celebrity chef" show about Roble who owns a restaurant in Brooklyn somewhere. He's Black American and is very charming and video-genetic. Obviously he's a good fit for a new culinary show in a landscape of predominantly Caucasian celebrity chefs. I was kinda diggin' his show cause it's such a racially diverse cast. The episode I was watching there was a quasi-girlfriend figure involved. They were sitting by the river and it looked like it was chilly. She's gorgeous, naturally. You can't put a fresh face in a new show and bill him as the new hot exotic chef without a beautiful accessory on his arm. He comments on how cold she seems to be (She's wearing shorts with tights, tall boots, a jacket and sunglasses - appears to be late autumn in NYC when this was filmed), and he suggests they leave the riverside. She quips, "Yeah, I'm dressed like a character from Harry Potter." And he replies, "You are dressed like a Chinese hooker." Then ha, ha. And fade out. End of episode.

I was really upset by that comment. Why not just a hooker but a CHINESE hooker? I was shocked that Bravo ran that, well maybe that's the whole "point" of a reality show. But seriously? That is what I call casual racism. And this includes stupid jokes about Asian women having horizontal vaginas that people have "joked" to me (YES!) and then when I express my annoyance and tell them it's racist, their response? "It was a joke!" It's not like Chef Roble is Steel Panther singing "Asian Hooker" which is a consistent fit in the faux-hair metal band's repertoire of ironic songs about the 80s such as strippers, cocaine, the Sunset Strip, and hookers.

It was a joke. Was it really? Was I laughing? If it's a joke about something like MY heritage then I better be motherfucking laughing if you are gonna be telling me that I have a horizontal vagina! No one intentionally tries to be racist (if they were, they would be in the KKK!), because "it was a joke!" It is always a joke. But the truth is - its casual racism.  Those who are committing racist expressions have a privileged point of view. That is what it means to have privilege. One simply does not see how that expression is hurtful or offensive to another because "it's never crossed my mind". Well, it's never crossed their mind because they've never had to think about it. The worst though is the absolutely HORRIBLE pacifying response that I hear way too much, "it was a joke," as if I'M uptight for having to deflect or explain why "Chinese hooker" or horizontal vagina jokes are not funny.

Hearing that casual remark that Roble made on his show is just an example to me of how pervasive casual racism is. It made me wince when I heard it and has been bothering me ever since then.

Jul 23, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Calamity Chang Burlesque in "Harlem Nocturne"

Jul 8, 2013

New Hotel Photos & Web Site Updates

Here one new photo from my Hotel Series taken recently at Mondrian Hotel, Los Angeles. You can see more from this set on my newly organized and smartphone-friendly web site at http://www.calamitychang.com

I used the wonderfully easy and fun Wix.com to build my site. I am SO happy with their service, I can't stop fiddling with the interface! Not sure how many of you know that my "other" career during the sun hours is a designer. Yup. I work in advertising. Have been in the field for over 10 years! I totally dated myself haha. I am actually in the "Associate Creative Director" position but since I have been freelancing for over a decade (I am a commitment-phobe), I do taken on Senior Art Director roles too. So, speaking as a visual designer, Wix is amazing!! I am really impressed with the templates they offer. The majority of them are really well-designed. I can tell they spent time and money on hiring good designers to create these templates. It's also so fun adding and dropping stuff. Who needs to hire an agency to design web sites for them anymore?? Haha. Seriously. This is perfect for small businesses (yes, ecomm shopping cart available for the premium package), artists, photographers, and BURLESQUE PERFORMERS! It is critical nowadays to make sure your site is smartphone friendly. Flash is pretty much obselte nowadays unless you are making banner ads. And think about it, most of our burlesque sites are viewed on someone's phone since our content is NSFW.

The beauty of using Wix is that I didn't have to code anything. I am old-skool. Yes, I used to handcode all HTML. But no more! Now I have more time to go make pretty things OFFLINE!

Photo by Mike Webb Photography

Jul 5, 2013

Idées Reçues - Episode III - Le burlesque avec Louise de Ville

French speakers, here's an interview with Louise de Ville, producer of Pretty Propaganda, a weekly show in Paris where I performed at in April. There's not a big scene in Paris, contrary to what we Americans think here or at least in New York. Given the rich history and culture of France, we would think that burlesque is quite the norm there but it is actually the opposite. For instance, here in NYC, one can go see a burlesque show pretty much every night of the week. But there, the weekly shows are rare. Louise's "Pretty Propaganda" is one of the weekly shows (Wednesdays at La Manufacture Rock Bar).

Jul 4, 2013

Downtown Meets Uptown on Wednesday, July 24 at Cafe Tallulah!

I'm excited to announce a new burlesque and cocktail event in the Upper West Side! 
Join me, Nikki LeVillain, and Rosie Rose for burlesque and cocktails at Cafe Tallulah's inaugural kick off event starting at 8pm with a cocktail class led by Head Bartender Nesha followed by burlesque at 9pm. 
The Class costs $25, and is being offered to the first 20 people who sign up. To reserve a spot, please email Kelly@CafeTallulah.com
The burlesque show will start at 9pm and is free of charge.
This will be the most fun evening on the Upper West Side this Summer.