A Life in the Arts, a Man on the Run

One of the most personal essays I have ever written is...not on Bamboo Nation! "What?!" I hear you cry. "Why?! Where is it?! Give it to me! I beg you! I am on my knees, and my mouth is open!"

Okay, stop begging. Stand up, would you? You're humiliating yourself.

Asia Pacific Arts, an online entertainment magazine published by the UCLA Asia Institute, just posted a piece of mine that will be of interest to anyone working in the arts or anyone interested in people who do or anyone interested in me in general—so that means pretty much everybody. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into this, so savor every word I agonized over. Here's the abstract:

The Other Closet
By Prince Gomolvilas

Most Asian-American parents panic when their kids choose a life in the arts. Writer/performer Prince Gomolvilas shows you how a healthy dose of secrets and lies has helped him deal with his family.

Click here to read the essay.


  1. I am a child of Asian Americans -- my parents trump all.

    Nicely said, Prince! I so relate... and I don't make NEARLY as much money at it as you do!

    Fortunately, Dad just can sticks to email, Yahoo news and forwarding Filipino jokes and Catholic chain prayers, while Mom gets a break from Dad while he's online. My brothers though are 'net savvy Silicon Valley computer engineers (now there's an Asian American stereotype for ya) but they don't use it as a "social network" -- except to check up on me! And to make sure I keep them and their kin out of my stories, especially the plays. But I've been sneaking them in there anyway... our families are the BEST fodder there is and are at least always a starting point for me...

    I just hope someday I have something to show for this broke, artistic life I've chosen (and I did the other shameful thing: remain unmarried and have no progeny -- ACK!).

    All kidding aside -- you've long been an inspiration to me that The Artistic Closet needs to be slammed wide open. And I know that although it may not profitable at the outset, it can even be fun and sexy in the process (especially lately ;)

    What else is there?

  2. Madley, ah, now there's an extra layer of guilt and pressure that they can throw onto you: "I did the other shameful thing: remain unmarried and have no progeny." Makes you wanna just go out and adopt a Chinese baby to make them shut up, I'm sure.

    As to your statement, "I just hope someday I have something to show for this broke, artistic life I've chosen": the more you recognize your gifts now and the more you're able to identify all the things--tangible and intangible--that you indeed do have to show for the life you chosen, then the faster you can get to that place of comfort that you long to be in.

    As to you rhetorical question, "What else is there?": Ay, there's the rub.

    ...Anyway, I'm glad you liked the essay. Keep at it.

  3. beautifully written and bittersweet

  4. Hi, Amy, thanks for saying so. Keep rockin'.

  5. Dear Prince,
    This was such a well written and moving article. My parents eventually came around. Out of five children, three of us became professional artists, two musicians, and myself, actor/writer/director/instructor.

    I am so happy my dad came down for the reading of our play. He had a good time and he recognized himself in the play. He was fine with it. He really related to the themes from his own immediate family as well as the family he raised.

    Thank you for all of your support of us writers in your rewriting workshop! I am so touched that you offer us so much support and you are so generous with your expertise while still remaining in the artisitc closet regarding your family. We look forward to supporting your endeavors too!

    With much gratitude!

  6. Thanks, Leslie, you have a very supportive dad. Hang on to him! :)