West Liang and Feodor Chin. Photo by Michael C. Palma.
I met Michael Golamco five years ago at the Asian American Theater Conference when we were on panel that had a faux-provocative title, "What Happened to Our Funny Bone?," a kind of thrown gauntlet that challenged us to prove that we were hilarious Asian Americans. I don't remember much more than that, but, if that panel were held today, I would turn to Michael and say, "I just saw your play, Cowboy Versus Samurai, and your funny bone is definitely intact"—before punching him in the face because I can't stand to be reminded that I have not cornered the market on Asian-American comedies.

Produced by Artists at Play and running until October 20, 2013, Cowboy Versus Samurai is a modern-day re-imagining of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (or Steve Martin's Roxanne, depending on whom you ask). In Golamco's charming and unexpectedly moving comedy set in Wyoming, Korean-American high school teacher Travis writes love letters on behalf of Caucasian gym teacher/country bumpkin Del who's trying to woo new-to-town Korean-American Veronica, who happens to only date white guys. Cyrano's unsightly nose (and his obstacle to romance) is replaced here by that pesky little thing called race.


Three Neo-New Kids on the Block Songs That Are Actually Pretty Good

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Friday, September 27, 2013

The first job I ever had was working in the men's underwear department at JCPenney. I rang up packages of tighty-whiteys and replenished shelves of wife-beaters. It was during high school, and I never would've imagined that I would eventually stumble into writing reviews of men's underwear on The Bilerico Project. (Jokingly, of course. Jokingly!)

My department was adjacent to the young men's section, where there was a display of three stacked television sets that would play videotapes of music videos that were brought in by employees. Clearly, this was the best part of the job.

So I would spend hours at home, taping my favorite pop songs off MTV (you know, when they still showed music videos?). I provided eclectic playlists, but made sure there was plenty of New Kids on the Block. You see, rearranging boxer shorts over and over again went by a lot faster with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "Hangin' Tough" in the background—but I never would've imagined that I would still be thinking about the New Kids on the Block today.

Tips for Actors: Stop Hitting Yourself! Stop Hitting Yourself! Stop Hitting Yourself!

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Sunday, September 22, 2013

This blog post is for all the actors I know, as well as all the actors who have never had the pleasure of listening to me reprimand them. In other words, this blog post is for every actor in existence and all those to come in the future until the end of time. That means you too, Meryl Streep!

As you may know, I've seen a lot of stage plays in my lifetime, and I've worked on a number of plays as well. As you may also know, I love and respect you, actors. You bring my characters (and other playwrights' characters) to life, and you tend to be good company, even as I fight you to be the center of attention. But there's one thing that I've seen you do that happens to be my greatest actor pet peeve. And you have to stop it. Now. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself! STOP HITTING YOURSELF!

Five Thai Commercials That Will Make You Cry Like a Baby Who's Just Emerged from the Womb

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Friday, September 20, 2013

For some reason, acts of kindnessparticularly acts of givingmove me deeply. That's why on any given night you might find me on my couch watching Secret Millionaire and weepingabsolutely weepinginto my green Ikea Polarvide Blanket. This reality show, in which rich people go undercover in struggling neighborhoods and pretend to be poor for a week, makes me feel a bit icky insidebut I can't help but have an emotional breakdown when the secret millionaires reveal their true identities at the end of each episode and start giving away money.

This is probably why the following Thai commercial made me cry. A Thai commercial, I might add, for a goddamn telecommunications company. But wait! I'm not the only one! Apparently, this three-minute video, which is based on the Thai urban legend of Dr. Prajak Arunthong, has gone viral, and it's making people all over the world sob! I've long wondered how I would ever melt your heart of coal. And now I have a solution. Watch this!:

I Gave a TEDx Talk. Here Is the Video.

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Monday, June 17, 2013

Sometimes Young Artists Write to Me. Sometimes I Reply. Sometimes I Am Woman.

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Saturday, June 15, 2013
Christmas Island Frigatebird

Young artists, particularly Asian-American ones, occasional write to me for career advice. And I typically ignore them because I don't have time to be a life coach! I'm busy thinking about other things, like war and famine and Channing Tatum! But I eventually cave in and write back because I start to feel guilty for not being a humanitarian. You see, I personally know people who actually go to homeless shelters and feed the hungry. Seriously! And I've told them, "I'd like to drive with you guys to the homeless shelter one day...and drop you off and pick you up when you're done!" I am reminded of that line from John Knowles's A Separate Peace: "When you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love." That is, I don't have a natural affinity for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. I am not a statue, of liberty or otherwise.

However, I'd like to demonstrate that I have at least some humanitarian tendencies by publicly sharing one of those young-artist e-mails and my response to her—because this exchange is pretty representative of the online conversations I have and this post can act as a handy preemptive reply to future e-mails and this would be like killing a dozen Christmas Island Frigatebirds with one stone. (Forgive the environmentally inappropriate simile.) (Please Note: This is likely the first use of phrase "environmentally inappropriate simile" in recorded history.)
When I wrote "Romanian Cinema Is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen to the Romanian Tourism Industry" a couple years ago, I never thought that post would become the Internet phenomenon that it's become, still driving a healthy amount of traffic to this blog and still compelling people to leave remarks in what has become the longest comments thread here—a lot of it fueled by a blend of national pride, anger, and a severe misreading of my text. That post—which dared to ask, jokingly, if Romania is the shithole that Romanian cinema makes it out to be—was not so much a criticism of Romania or even Romanian cinema; it was, rather, a criticism of an industry, an international system, that only allows certain types of movies from places like Eastern Europe to cross over to the United States. Festival programmers and film distributors, you see, seem to like their Eastern European movies served up bleak, with a side of depression. That's why the only Romanian film that the average moviegoer has maybe heard of in the last few years is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which I also affectionately call "that Romanian abortion movie" in order to drive home my point.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by the Director and Founder of the South East European Film Festival, which screens movies annually in Los Angeles. She stumbled upon me via the Internet—when you Google "Romanian cinema," my blog appears on the first page of results. Seriously. So, surely, this woman—who hails from the former Yugoslavia and who is a champion of films from South East Europe—wanted to tear into me like so many Romanian commenters have on my blog, right?

Violent Video Games, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Me

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Tuesday, January 31, 2012
In the following video, I tell a story about my fight with video games and my video games with fighting. Sound mysterious and perhaps inscrutable? Well, of course it is! This performance is from the 2011 National Asian American Theater Festival, where I performed alongside singer/songwriter Brandon Patton as part of JUKEBOX STORIES—our storytelling, song-singing, bingo-playing, theatrical extravaganza. Watch:

[Crossposted on The Bilerico Project]
People say that you should try to learn something new every day. Well, I for one will never forget the day that I learned about the "vajazzle." I was watching the first episode of The Only Way Is Essex, a reality show that has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon in the U.K. (and that's currently only available on Hulu in the U.S.). A significant portion of that first episode is dedicated to discussing and demonstrating the practice of women who decorate their nether regions with the same kinds of bedazzling jewels that teen girls use to pretty-up their cellphones. Believe me when I say the whole ordeal is absolutely mesmerizing—and it's stuff like this that has gotten me hooked on The Only Way Is Essex.

On My Playlist: "White Van" by David Fridlund; or: Further Down the Swedish Rabbit Hole

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Speaking of English-language Swedish indie rock, my other big discovery is David Fridlund, who's now navigating the music scene in Austin, which means he's close enough to almost touch. And I don't mean that in a stalker-ish sort of way. (Well, okay, I do, but he doesn't know that.)

My favorite song of his at the moment is the infectious "White Van," which prompted me to leave embarrassingly gushing messages on his Facebook wall. Here's the cool music video:


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