funky lil digest

god school, KPOP postcript, music fatigue

Soundtrack to this letter. I don’t have a pile of writing to share, but instead, this? A newsletter?

going to god school

I wanted to write a length about how I’m a seminarian now and how it relates to my politics and v Carrie Bradshaw questions about having/wanting it all, but I have other shit to do. I’m starting the MA in Theology and the Arts at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities as a distance student still in grand ol’ Florida, so no worries about my time zone changing. It’s a UCC seminary I found because of Eleazar S. Fernandez who wrote Toward a Theology of Struggle, which inspires all of my Filipino shit. As much as I call Jesuits my frat, no Catholic instiution would have an entire class on liberation theology.

Back when a lot of you showed up here I was throwing a lot more textual thoughts about Heroes of the Fourth Turning into a followup letter that I may still publish for paying subscribers, but basically I’m choosing the religious front of the culture war. I thought about being weird and coy about my beliefs to freak you out, but I might as well just clarify that I’m an atheist, or like a secular humanist who celebrates religious plurality, practices astrology and is a state-weary Filipino nationalist. I just think caring about the global poor means understanding their faiths, and conceding religion to the right is lazy, coward shit that disdains and abandons the majority of humanity. Lenin wrote against state atheism in 1905: “Unity in this really revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class for the creation of a paradise on earth is more important to us than unity of proletarian opinion on paradise in heaven.”

I’m obviously into postcolonial Christianities in Asia, state atheism, religious nationalism, and Marxist hermeneutics, etc., so if any of that tickles your pickle, lmk.

why are we doing in-person theater, a global consideration

I manifested nothing and wished this production no ill certainly in part because I count Asian-American musical theater actors my friends, but the cancellation of KPOP’s pre-Broadway tryout at Signature Theatre came days after five sevenths of the boy band ENHYPHEN tested positive for COVID-19, and closer to home, a few weeks after my mother sat down in front of an 16-minute YouTube video listing Filipino singers who’ve died since 2001 and was shocked by every single one until about the last minute of all deaths from COVID and COVID complications.

There is just some irony—and maybe a question of what is the point of representation in the imperial core—to taking our precautions of vaccine passports and negative tests with the wide-eyed hope of getting back onstage when the real-life subjects of this American musical are unvaccinated.

South Korea’s vaccine rollout has been incremental quite seriously because Moderna is edging them along while in this country anti-vaxxer counties let doses go to waste. Immunization appointments for South Koreans under 60 opened in July, with eligibility opening up by five-year age increments. Because of the part of the Internet I occupy, I saw paparazzi photos of Hallyu actors in their 30s getting the their first vaccine doses in August. K-pop idols and trainees from teens to early 20s, like ENHYPHEN? Who fucking knows. The government projects 50% of their population will be fully vaccinated by end of September.

This is not about a lack of money on South Korea’s part, or its size, or any sort of misamanagement of the pandemic. It’s American drug companies and American empire and a denial of sovereignty. Better late than never caution from KPOP’s producers here, to cancel out of concern for stateside variants, but demonstrate the slightest interest in or empathy for the people you’re hoping to capitalize on, maybe?

lately i…

listen to

  • [&] – LOONA

  • Home Video – Lucy Dacus

  • Jubilee – Japanese Breakfast

  • Windy – Jeon Soyeon

  • “Boring” – Lil Mariko


professional news

  • My diaspora dysphoria play with music NON SO PIU will be read virtually with Artists at Play in LA October 9, directed by Sarah Shin. It’s about U.S. and Japanese imperialism, Western classical music as Asian cultural capital, Rivers Cuomo, and overqualified Midwestern music ministers. It is free and you can get your ticket here.

  • I am in the COOP’s Clusterf**ck with my ride-or-die Kaela. The new thing I’m working on involves war, whole hog barbecue, and Elvis. You get my vibe by now. I hope it is fun if not producable, but if anyone knows four Southeast Asian actresses over 55, lmk.

  • While I am in school I am, as ever, a consulting astrologer and dramaturg.