Heeeeellllllloooo mummy's little possums! Happy FUCKING Friday! I hope that your bank accounts are in the black, the kids are tucked away in bed, and your boss is still scraping his tongue because you peed in the coffee pot at work. Haha fuck you Mr. Furley! WE AIN'T PAYIN THE RENT! ATTICA! ATTICA! ALTAMONT! CHICANO POWER!
Your rollicking wet nurse is here with tales of scandal and fuckery! So pick out your favorite Russell Stover chocolate piece from the box and lets get this mothafucka cranked!
|America's First Family circa 1981|
So where did we leave off in the Red Series? Oh yes, I had just arrived in Shanghai. Too.
After surviving the taxi ride and quickly checking into my hotel room, I had about 10 minutes to meet the group for our first official engagement--
*You know as I type this, I realize many of you haven't a clue as to how I ended up in China. If you're thinking I was scoping out cities for my inevitable ex-pat future, OR planning to take Basketball Wives to China starring me and Yao Ming--then you are correct. I can say in all honesty, that I would live in Shanghai in a heartbeat. I felt like Grace Jones. I was tall, exotic and spoke with an accent. Tu.
Oh that doesn't make sense to you? Well YOU try to tryping a blog entry while playing a drinking game.
International Theatre Institute (ITI) is a World Organization for the Performing Arts. It was created during the Cold War by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) An agency of the United Nations established in 1945 to promote the exchange of information, ideas, and culture. The congress convenes once every two years and it's a big whoop de do! There are about 64 participating countries from around the globe with delegates. I was invited to perform by NPG---okay look I know we're all drunk and stoned and I'm throwing a shit load of acyrnoyms your way, but I promise not to give you blue balls. It'll pay off.
So NPG (New Project Group) is under the umbrella of ITI--and I was invited to perform with 13 other artists from around the world. I was representing the United States of America. *Fuck Yah.*
I almost can't believe it as I type. 1 artist from each nation, and I was there reppin the US--sort of like the Olympics. Hey baby, do me a solid? The next time I bitch and wine about "not working as an actor" slap me square in the cervix okay? Mkay.
So that's why I was in China. Official business. An international theatre congress--I was there to work as an artist. An American artist *smiles brightly, drinks congratulatory vodka.
Back to my arrival. I quickly checked into my room at the Xindonfang Hotel, took a quick ho bath and ran back to the lobby to meet the lady who would escort me to the restaurant. I was still loopy from the flight and the car ride, but I have to say I was in a pretty good mood. Its sort of like when you get totally shit faced and you're just happy that you don't need sobriety because you're not driving. That's how the jet lag felt.
Why is she calling me by my last name like I'm on the track team?
"Hi...uh I mean Nee How! Actually you can call me Nic"-
"You are late. The others have gone. My name is Lisa. I will take you to them. Go now."
This was my interpreter. Her chosen American name was Lisa. Her real name is Xie Jingying. She was statuesque but tiny, and always wore an ankle length skirt with a large back pack. Coming from LA, I immeditately thought "She's such a pretty girl, why doesn't she let her hair down? And damn, why she gotta point out that I'm late? Its not like I drove here from Mongolia, I flew here from the other side of the world. Anthony Kiedis says California is the edge of western civilization--and that's pretty fucking accurate geography. So, relax lady!"
"We will take taxi." Lisa was no nonsense.
While we waited for the taxi, I tried to think of how to say: Baby girl, I'm Negroid. And Californian so-- dude, cheer down. So what we late. They ain't going nowhere. What they gone do, recite Shakespeare's sonnets without me? Talk about Chekovian women's influence on Noh theatre? Of course not. They'll wait."
But then I remembered I was in China.
The Chinese are very efficient. That's why everything has the label "Made in China." Because they get shit done, and the Chinese don't play. And if I was late to meet the group, it may have reflected poorly on her--oh no, what if Chairman Mao would have given the command from his grave for her to Hari Kari herself? I know that's Japanese, but I was scared and jet lagged! Then I thought Bruce Lee's spirit would have round house kicked me in the spleen! It's not my fault I was late--my flight got in--wait...Oh my god. I'm in China. Fucking China. It's communist here. And every body is good in math! Except me. Oh shit. I knew all those "Ancient Chinese secret" jokes would come back to haunt me.
The taxi arrived and Lisa took the front seat. I took the back. And on cue, the driver took off like a fucking maniac. But I knew what to expect this time, so l just closed my eyes and took a deep breath. You'd be surprised at how quickly one can recite the Lords Prayer when you have a Chinese cab driver. I'm telling you, it scares the tampon right out of the shaft.
But you wanna know what I didn't expect? A beautiful city. Bustling with all kinds of people. Stunning architecture, and a night sky that wasn't quite dark. The sky was filled with lights and pollution. As the city passed before my eyes in the back of the cab a familiar feeling came over my soul. That feeling you get when you're at a concert and your favorite artist is about to take the stage. That feeling you get with the lights lower in the theatre and you silently wish the actors luck. It's a feeling of love and contentment. I didn't expect that from her. She's a beguiling mistress, that Shanghai. And before I knew it, I was ambushed by beauty.
"Okay, we are here. But we have to walk 2 minutes to the place. It is a one way street."
"Where are we?" said the misconfused American.
"We are in the French Consession."
The French Consession."Damn, the Frenchies took over here too?" I thought.
It looked and felt like SoHo in New York. Or Abbot Kinney in Los Angeles. Armitage in Chicago. Any tiny street in Nice. A beautiful winding road filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries. It was very sleek and fused with European contrivances.
"That is where you will work."
We passed a building with large pillars and shiny glass & golden doors. The building was Grecian, yet unmistakably Chinese. It was beautiful.The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. Holy shit. I am in China. I am performing in China.*Que the Alexander O'Neal & Sharelle. Does the whop, and the snake.
"We go in here. Up the stairs."
We entered the restaurant, a few doors down from the Dramatic Arts Centre--which was actually an art gallery, a winery and cafe. We walked 4 flights up to the roof, and once again She dared me to take a deep breath and inhale her beauty. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Shanghai, you bitch. I'm totally in love with you. The sky to some may have appeared gray, and filled with light pollution. But to me, it was filled with clouds of unknowing.
The roof top was reserved for us, the citizens of the world. My mentor Emilyia Cachapero, a fellow American and top dog in theatre chimed "Hi Nicky! Welcome to Shanghai! Here are your fellows:
BANGLADESH: A.K. Azad
BELGIUM: Laurence Moletta
CAMEROON: Andre Takou Sa
CHINA: Wang Yin, Li Mengze, Ma Qing Li, Xu Zidong
CYPRESS: Elena Agathokleous
GERMANY: Lukas Anton
LUXEMBOURG: Anne Mareike Hess
MEXICO: Adriana Resendiz
RUSSIA: Lisa Martinez Cardenas
SPAIN: Pau Palacios
SUDAN: Tarig Ali Mohmad Saad
SWEDEN: Amelie Thoron
and yours truly USA: J. Nicole Brooks
I can't wait to introduce you to my darling friends! These people became my family. I gained so much in China. Including terrible skin. I know it's vain, but PLEASE excuse the Nestle Crunch like skin I have. The pollution in China, invaded my poor pores and had me looking like I was 17 again. Which isn't a bad thing. Because at 17, I felt that anything was possible. I had that same feeling in China....
thank god for clouds of unknowing.
Clouds can change your plans.
I like this.