Monday, December 5, 2016

The last day of my first time teaching Introduction to Dance Studies.

Me: *takes final exam*, Have a great holiday!

Student: I just want to say that I really loved this class. And your passion and enthusiasm, it made section so good. You are so commitment to the subject of dance, it was really inspiring. To be honest, I wasn't really into this class at first. I was like, dance, whatever, its just people doing things and moving But then you guys really opened my eyes to seeing the meaning in the dance, and how dance really does change the world, and brings people together. Anyways, thank you for your teaching, it was amazing!

Me: *lives*, Oh thank you! Please keep engaging with dance. I am so happy to hear this. Thank you, it was an honor to be your teacher and TA

Sunday, November 20, 2016

graduate school 11-20-16

To write and read and grade and "budget", while my gay rights are under threat, while my undocu-queer lovers are in danger, while my career may be destroyed, seems so ridiculous, and I am beyond frustrated.
Every time I read another headline about Trump's moves to settle fraud cases, or pick another cabinet member, I wonder how much longer it will be until I am without rights, unions, work, money, homes, loans, or a career. I wonder, even more than before, if my dream of becoming a Professor of Dance is even possible--not only for the lack of employment, but because in the future, Dance may not even be a field. I doubt it, but it is a scary thought as de-funding of the arts is even more possible.
Beyond all of this are my limits. Or, I should say, deep inside myself, away from the politics of the country, is my energy that is constantly near depletion. Between conferences, meetings, classes, teaching, grading, lecturing, writing papers, reading, collaborating, planning, is this very sad thing, of which I am unsure I can afford living as a graduate student. I am following all the tricks and and strategies of my peers, following "the hustle", and for now I am okay--but I am for sure living like an outlaw, juggling legality. I am for sure wondering how long I can keep this up, or what will happen this next coming summer. Without a "home" to really return to, I am constantly scared that if I fail, I will be lost in the streets of the Inland Empire.
Now, I know, yes, there are plenty of peers that will help me out. I will most likely not be forced to live in the stacks of the Rivera Library, but how does that feel? To live in the care of peers because you have nothing else? I do not know, and I do not want to find out.
It is with these thoughts that I look to the strength of my undocu-queer friends and peers. They are the ones taking huge chances towards their survival and education, against deportation. Without sometimes an ability to work, get loans, or get scholarships, how do they make that hustle work? I never really know, but I am grateful when they let me in on their secret lives.
I miss my full time job with benefits. I miss my 3 part times jobs with benefits. I miss making art and never sleeping. And I miss my dad helping me out, and calling me to check up on me. I miss all of those things, and I feel very alone.
In the desert of it all, in the small budget of the winter, I wonder if I will be able to pay back all of my bills, and still get a fucking stupid card for my friends...but I am not sure I will be able to.....
...we shall see...

Saturday, November 12, 2016



Dear Dante, what is realness?

You wanna talk about realness? Let's talk about realness! 

Realness, as a term, comes from the Ballroom Scene, and so I must start there. However, I am not going to use Peggy Phelan's (realness as "just" passing) or Judith Butler's (realness as something that cannot be read) ideas of realness, I am going to use the Ballroom's idea...which is living your truth. 

Now to say that there is a singular truth is to think inside of a western construct of individuality. Instead, I pose to use the perspective of the Black Radical Tradition (from Cedric Robinson), which says we are many, and we share with each other many ideas. We are not individuals, but many individuals in our collective accumulation of experiences. This allows us to know that there are many truths, many realness that we can explore, dance, and become.

To look at realness as an academic-ethnographer, the Ballroom Scene provides us evidence that there is no such thing as "real" or "authentic". Thus, if valuations and qualifications can be simulated, then there is no differentiation between the "real identity" and the "mask/veneer/facade". What this reveals, is that there is a "real identity of the other, known inside ourselves, as ourselves" -- then, realness is the praxis of excavation of those identity performances and dances, and presenting it, performing it, in originality and fierceness.    

I hope that clears some things up.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CORD+SDHS Conference Paper

To Learn the Kids:
Dipping into the Genealogy of Voguing’s Pedagogies


Voguing, a primarily improvisational form, requires the dancer to perform in kinesthetic discourse with a Master of Ceremonies (MC) and the surrounding audience at the Ball. Participatory in nature, all people present to voguing (in the Ball) have actions to do in anticipation or reaction to the dancer’s improvisation. This paper investigates how new codifications of voguing techniques are born or regulated, as voguing leaves that Ball space, and is abstracted from its forming community. As non-ball participants learn to dance and teach voguing, fears of an inauthentic practice percolates up for the traditionally Black and Latino queer and transgender dancer-practitioners. The “5 Elements of Voguing”, which mandates a dancer show their skills, at minimum, in doing “Hand Performance, Duckwalk, Catwalk, Spins, and Dips”, provides a code of technique that enacts a level of protection for voguing from its dilution. This required display maintains some sort grounding and control of the combined techniques for improvisation, or new choreographies, that form voguing. This paper finds that though older legendary dancers of voguing teach the children (novice dancers) how to vogue, in turn, the children are the creative force who expand voguing by 1) creating new sub-categories (version of voguing), or by 2) modifying the previous technique formats. If authentic voguing is tied to a technique, which is constantly in evolution, then we must look to the genealogy voguers as a living authenticity. As new generations of queer Black and Latino youth and non-ball dancers vogue, there are new techniques of voguing born. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

her, with the

Have you heard of her 
The woman with the wild hair
and a wild hear
she is made of the dew of sunlight
and the zest of night
with the softest eyes
creates art with every breath
and in every footstep
a bed of kindness
have you see her
the woman with the wild skin 
so pure and brave
only earth could hug her to her soil
only ocean 
could clean her in the salty waves
have you smelled the sand and dust of the rainbow sunset
her scent 
lost in the wind
have you felt her love
have you felt her love 
it is sweet, kind, and delicious
my friend
she dances in the hours of stars 
thriving in their light 
bizarre and sincere 
an intelligent for of love 
for now
for you
have you met her
this lady of everlasting love 
this lady
my friend 
the wild one

lost it

Courage is like a lion
and then
that poem died quickly

Sunday, August 28, 2016

my boyfriend

Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
But there is so much more to him than that.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian, 
But did you know, I fell in love with him because he got be a quesadilla when I was hungry after working 3 shifts non-stop?
Yes my boyfriend is Asian, 
But he's a caring, and strong man. He took me to the hospital after less than a week of dating me, and sat with me all night as I got medical care. When my family wasn't around to help me, he stepped into my life with tender valor and inexhaustible support.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
But I bet you don't know his ethnicity. He was born from beautiful mix of Japanese and Korean heritage--not without its conflict and and share of frustrations. He is American, just as much as I am, and we like to dance in our new discoveries between our naked flesh, under the feathery layers of culture and blankets.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
But I am never quite sure why that is a surprise to you. Should I only date inside my own race, ethnicity? Is dating him somehow an oppression of myself? My possibilities? Of him? Of his liberties? I never know quite what it means to be a bigot, but I know it is based in a fear of learning more about each other, and resisting tasting the deliciousness that all of life has to offer. And something too, about conquering and controlling other people, rather than sharing and making love in all its forms. I can tell you, he and I, are not bigots.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
But I am Native American, Latino, Apache, Aztec, French, Spanish. I am many things, and I am in love with the many things he is, and he loves the many things I am. We are more than our biological historic topographies in our flesh. We are the love we see in each other's eye, hearts, knees, and noses.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
And we are very bad gays together. We failed at being the sexy hunky dudes on floats for Facebook or AT&T. We were not that cute millionaire boyfriends on that new edgy talkshow. He was not the white boy, I was not the white boy, who saved the other from the oppressive family, and we did not go off into the Burning Man cocaine filled bliss of a future. We work in social justice through acaemics. We eat, we dance, we chill. Our queer bodies of color in love do no fit the narrative of gay very well. oh well. dijo del whale.
Yes my boyfriend is Asian,
And I am his Boo
and He is my boo
And we are together
in love

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Wind and the Mountain

I am the wind.
Hail and ice.
Water and daggers of obsidian. 
I speak my mind, and cut with shade.
I bless the earth with my wet dance, and flowers to bloom.
Healing mist of a morning due.
Deathly hollow screams in the night.
Cool breeze on a sunny day.
And there you stand, mountain.
The one who does not fear or tremble or bend to my push.
Unyielding in your admiration of my chest and thrust.
You see me.
You smile.
And you stand there.
Absorbing my dew.
In your valleys I rest my head.
Hugged by your minerals and metals.
Enriched is the soil of our love.
Beautiful is the sunset against the clouds of our heaven.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The boy

There is a boy who lives at the edge of the water
By the ocean 
Beside the forest 
There he stands, nude, I said, but saw nothing 
His skin milky soft 
Honey down his cheeks 
Thighs so thick, he can lift the sky 
A mind so sharp, the sun fears his cuts of shade 
Eyes of almond tears 
And hair as black as coal 

A boy lives by the ocean 
He is to be followed 
Wind cool of mist, and weary of the heat 

My embrace thirsts for his kisses

Dear bird on the tree
Why do I fear so much 
No! She said to me
You melt to him 

Ocean, I want more! 
She said yes
Ocean, what do I do 
Go to him, and left him go? 
Yes, she said yes. 
The Mother Earth is soft 
And speaks only through supporting you 
She tells me and gives me a path
To him 
But what is this in my way? 
Naked sexy boys 
The boy has no fear
Ocean, will you heal me? 
No! Rain will heal you
In the curve of your back, you will have power
Die everyday 
And live 

To know, the boy is with you through earth.

Monday, February 15, 2016

my interest in dance

I am interested in dance that cries. 
I am interested in dances that scream. 
I am interested in war dances.
I am interested in dances that heal.
I am interested in dances that are obsessed with not being obsessed with themselves. 
I am interested in dances that enact ethnography.
I am interested in dances that play with equations of dark matter.
I am interested in the estranged dancer.
I am interested in the uncommon dancing body.
I am interested in the decaying dancing body.
I am interested in the most interesting thing about the dancer, which is how they live their life.
I am interested in the training and sacrifice of dancers.
I am interested in the hunger of dancers, and its suppression.
I am interested in HIV postive dancers.
I am interested in dancers with diabetes.
I am interested in dances that comfort me with ideas of revolution.
I am interested in dances that compel me to become the dancer, and the dancers then viewers of me.
I am interested in dances that walk backwards.
I am interested in dancer who do not face the audience.
I am interested in the back dancer in the corp, instead of the principal.
I am interested in the expendability of dance, and thus the expendability of dancers.
I am interested in the ephemeral aspects of dance, and thus the ephemeral aspects of dancers, and their economy.
I am interested in how unsustainable dance moments are sustained in dance companies, in unsustainable ways, for capitalist progress.
I am interested in dances who don't seek audiences, but who draw audiences in without escape.
I am interested in dances who are alive, and remain so.
I am interested in dancers who die, and are resurrected.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stay Sass-y by Thong Nguyen

I love collecting these shorts of post, because they inspire me to think about all sorts of questions, such as:
-What does it mean to be sassy?
-How does San Jose, as an epicenter of tech and males play into gay fantasy?
-What does it mean or matter for gay asian men to self-identify as sassy? If the gay asian male is "supposed" to be "quiet and passive", how does sass subvert our expectations of asian males? And how does it challenge our perspectives of gay asian males? And further, how does sass disrupt our expectations for masculinity?
-How does sass add and trouble the discursive gay identity or schema?
-Can sass be danced? How? Can this dance be materialized? Could this photograph be an artifact of sassy choreography?
-Is sass gendered? Can sass exist outside of gender? Can sass be a gender itself?
-How can, and how is, sass deployed as a strategy for survival in the heteronormative hegemonic society?

Stay Sass-y 
by Thong Nguyen 
Source: facebook