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9.18.2010

guest post: five reasons why I need you to be a "pawn-of-the-man" button pushing automaton through the month of september


I'm on vacation! Taking a much-needed break. But don't worry. While I'm away, I've enlisted some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's Kristina Wong on clicking for cash.

Disclaimer: My opinions absolutely do not represent those of the conference/ festival organizers. I am however, an artist who has been presented the last three years by this organization and I want to see their event succeed.

I want you to do something very stupid and simple through the month of September for the sake of a very smart idea. I want you to click on a voting button on the Pepsi Refresh Everything website, let a corporate logo seep into the back of your subconscious on a daily basis, so that possibly, hopefully, the Consortium of Asian American Theatre Artists can fully realize their vision for hosting the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival in 2011 in Los Angeles.

Yes, this plea is all to further the world of Asian American theater. Theater, the ultimate in analog and a vital tool for Asian Pacific America's hundreds of cultures that are little or mis-understood to find a voice in public dialogue. This convening strives to embrace these cultures, share their rich contributions to US history & support the many voices of APA performing arts now and in the future.

It's a convening that will cost some beaucoup bucks to put on. Specifically, 250k which they don't have but Pepsi does. And if enough people click on Pepsi's annoying website, if CAATA can pull ahead of 67 other ideas (as of the writing of my post now), then Los Angeles shall have the greatest Asian American Theater conference and festival ever seen!!!

Here are five goals/reasons for this theater convening that make it worth supporting:

1. Host a dynamic conference & theatre festival in Los Angeles (June 2011)
2. Engage 180+ artists, arts leaders & educators from across the US
3. Expand "Asian Pacific American" to include often underserved cultures
4. Present new works to show the many faces of APA's across the nation
5. Embrace all people in celebration of culture, history & performing art

And yes, I cut and paste those five reasons of the CAATA site.

Here's the reality about the grant world: It's shrinking faster than a penis in cold water. (Believe me honey, I know.) Having access to unrestricted funds (funds not earmarked for specific expenses) from this Pepsi Challenge thing opens a lot of room for this conference to be put on properly, to bring in the best personnel, artists, and archivists to be part of it.

This conference/festival also means that Asian American theater artists can have the space to share ideas, dialogue critically, and advance the impact of their work in the world.

Clicking on a corporate logo for 30 (yes, 30) days so that this idea can leap frog over dozens of other ideas that won't get funding may sound tedious, annoying, perhaps downright evil enough to make Naomi Klein faint. Yes, it is all that. But believe it or not, this rounding up of the masses is not too different than the grant writing process which asks that dozens, if not, hundreds of non-profits pour weeks of energy into writing, budgeting, and pleading in a grant application for the chance to trample the other hungry peasants for a little bit of porridge…. Only to go home empty handed.

My eyes roll that this is what it must come to for non-profit/ social justice/ arts endeavors to survive. But I'm not hopeless about this "Pepsi is our savior" endeavor. These are the times we live in. We survive how we can. We subvert where we must. And if we can pull this off and get Pepsi to pay for the 2011 National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival, I say it's the ultimate subversion.

Click Click Click Away!

So is this Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge a time consuming process that may cause generous people to burn out? YES. Is this a clear example of a corporation dangling a carrot in front of social cause desperate to be realized? YEP. Taking advantage of the audience base and limited time resources of non-profits to proliferate their corporate image? ABSOLUTELY.

Is it the only hope CAATA has to get this festival and conference put on properly, at its most badass capacity and with the right budget? Sadly, YES YES YES.

Is having the opportunity to have Asian American Theater proliferate in the world worth all this mindless clicking? YES.

If anything, just vote for this idea so that the people who run this conference don't have to do illegal things to fundraise.

Join me! Vote now! (and the next day, and the next day, and the next…..) And when this is all over, we can celebrate the broken system that has forced good ideas to play the fundraising lottery by drinking Coke.

Kristina Wong is a solo performer and writer who wants you to click and vote every day in September so that she doesn't have to turn tricks or sell smack to participate in the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival in 2011.