Sunday, November 15, 2015

Upcoming show: Tuesday Tease (as Tony Fo-Hawk)

If you missed Tony Fo-Hawk's debut last month, here's your chance to see him again.  He'll be making an appearance at the next Tuesday Tease, which is feline-themed.  His act will be a little different from what you may expect...

I've also become a member of the Tuesday Tease production team.   Currently I'm focused on the publicity, but I look forward to learning what really goes on behind the scenes and helping the queerlesque community.

Lastly, since I want to thank everyone who bought Ladies of Power mini-prints at the Texas Burlesque Peepshow: Villains and Villainesses show on Halloween.  I wound up stage kittening that night so the table wasn't set up until later.  However, with The Companion's great salesman abilities, we were able to make some money for charity.

My Halloween/stage kitten outfit,
a revamped version of Envy Adams
from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Identity Revisited

"We are rag dolls made out of many ages and skins, changelings who have slept in wood nests or hissed in the uncouth guise of waddling amphibians.  We have played such roles for infinitely longer ages than we have been men.  Our identity is a dream." - Loren Eisley, The Unexpected Universe
Originally I had planned on revisiting my "Identity in Burlesque" post in the context of the racial discussions that have cropped up in burlesque and cosplay, as well as a follow-up to National Coming Out Day.  However, the former has been addressed by many already (please check out those links), and I don't really need to come out again.  Rather I've been turning inward, and so that's what this update will be about.

Repping asexuality and
genderqueerness at the 2014
pride parade
I have been asking myself questions as of late.  Where does Hana Li end and Tony Fo-Hawk begin?  Do I continue developing my O-Ren Ishii act when it doesn't feel "me" yet its message is so important to me?  Can I pull off an asexual pride act?  Does my tagline still work if I'm no longer a lab tech?  Will I have to chance the background of this blog when I stop working with flies?

The last two questions seem frivolous, but they are a part of who I am.  As much as I try to keep my mundane self out of Hana Li, we're still one person at the end of the day.  Through my hamstring injury, which turned out to be a consequence of a lower back problem, I learned that you can't keep your identities completely separate when you share a body.

Likewise I cannot keep my politics apart from my art because my body is political on many levels.  It's just like how burlesque (in its current form) is always sexual.  I've seen that discussion pop up, and I debate whether I should jump in with my own two cents as a grey-asexual.  Just because the art is sexual doesn't mean that the performer is.  I know some of you may struggle with reconciling that, but know that I still struggle with being viewed sexually.

O-Ren Ishii's Chinese side comes out at
A Plumb Askew Revue: Popcorn and Pasties.
By Miracle Bennet
HAMU by Vivienne Vermuth
Further complicating that is how my race often gets sexualized.  I want to be more political in terms of presenting myself as an Asian woman, and that's partly why I still feel dissatisfied with my O-Ren Ishii act.  It's about one's Asian and American identity, and I don't think that's 100% clear.   I also worry about being appropriative as I am not Japanese.  Lastly, the act doesn't feel like it fits with the identity I have developed as Hana Li.

Maybe my inner O-Ren is an aspect of myself I need to further explore, but that brings me to the first question I had asked.  Burlesque was supposed to be a way for me to express my feminine side.  However, I have been unable to ignore my masculine side.  I get my inspiration from male characters, and I'm more a pants type of gal than a glove-and-gown type.  If you've been following my career thus far, you may have noticed that I am getting more androgynous.  That's who I really am inside, and I've figured out how to incorporate my classic training to suit that aesthetic.  I never intended to do drag, but that was inevitable with the way I have been progressing.  Tony can do things that don't work well with Hana.

My next couple of posts are going to return to recapping my performances from the last few months.  Instead of going chronologically though,  I'm going to trace how I've learned to embrace my genderqueerness and how Tony Fo-Hawk came to be.  I’m excited to have you along for the ride.

Tony Fo-Hawk
By Tanya Forno