I'm pleased to report that the great delay in posting after the fabulous Asian American shirtlessness of "Charles Francis Chan" this fall was entirely due to the process of creating more Asian American male shirtlessness for this winter. Not only did I manage to create another opportunity for a lucky Asian American actor to take off his shirt on the usually white white New York stage, but I even found a way to get in on the action myself! Voila, I give you my own first time of being featured on the blog!
I hope my gentle readers will enjoy this promotional photo for my current Off-Broadway play "Washer/Dryer," running through February 20th at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row. I certainly enjoyed taking it! I'm also enjoying doing something else for the first time, playing a romantic lead along with my buff leading man, Johnny Wu, who is also popping his romantic lead cherry on the show. Given the positive response by the audience, one has to ask oneself why so few opportunities exist for Asian Americans to look sexy and take off their shirts? If we take off our shirts, are we not shirtless? Just as there is a desire for more male shirtlessness, I'm convinced that there is a strong desire for sexy Asian characters out there too. IMS to the rescue, one play at a time!
I must share that almost every Asian American actor who auditioned for the role of Michael mentioned how rare it was to audition for a romantic lead. While Asian American females are often portrayed as sexual fetishes for white men in modern media, Asian American males are undoubtedly emasculated by it. This is why it was important for me that both leads be of Asian descent, so that the chemistry looked like connection rather than exoticism in proximity to whiteness. In my play, we only need each other to be turned on. I purposefully strove to create characters who, like the leads in other traditional rom-coms, cared deeply about connecting with their partner, rather than about expressing feelings about their Asian American heritage. Also, I wanted to create a situation in which a woman could ask for and receive sex without being labelled as damaged in any way. Much has been said about the stereotyping of Asian characters, but very little about how damaging it is for an entire community to be excluded from any discussion of love, romance, and sexuality.
Photo by Hunter Canning
The result of all this striving and trying is my play! The New York premiere of "Washer/Dryer" has been playing to packed houses for the last two weeks and a rave review on NY1. Since shirtlessness is best experienced live, I suggest you click here for tickets to see the Asian American sexiness for yourself. You might also witness the President of IMS herself get to say "Take off your shirt!" Until then, I continue to be...
Yours in shirtlessness,
President of IMS