A Provocative Sensasian
Looking out over the intimate audience in the New College Theatre Studio this Saturday, Slanty Eyed Mama headliner Kate Rigg opened her act with a sarcastic nod to the plethora of Harvard organizations hosting the music duo. “Our hosts just mentioned how excited you guys are to come together,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing, and you’ll learn how to do it more in college.” Her sexual pun was referring to the nine student organizations ranging from the Harvard Queer Students Associaton to the Asian American Association, who collaborated to bring the Asian-American female spoken word duo to campus.
Rigg, wearing a single red satin arm warmer and a self-identified “narci-sexual,” provided the spoken word poetry and stand-up comedy for the pair, who specialize in tackling racial, sexual, and cultural issues in irreverent half-rapped songs. Her counterpart, Lyris Hung, strummed the electric violin like a guitar and sported a Chinese silk embroidered vest and tattooed arms. Much of the performance was an excerpt from their traveling show, “Birth of A nAsian,” which most recently appeared at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
Many different races and sexualities were represented in the audience, but some event organizers were excited to see more women in attendance than at other Harvard QSA events. Harvard QSA co-chair Marco Chan ’11 observed, “People are interested in seeing representations of more queer women, especially when you see so many more gay males dominating the scene.”
Slanty-Eyed Mama’s repertoire delivers a provocative agenda, with slam-poetry songs addressing issues like Naughty Asian Schoolgirls, Mulan, and medical school. At one point, Rigg asked for a show of hands of Asian audience members. Then she asked for a show of hands of Asian pre-meds, which yielded much lower results.
“Looks like we have a bad case of PTAMD going on here,” she said. “Post-Traumatic-Asian-Mom Disorder.”
All joking aside, Rigg did get serious on some issues.
“Especially given the intense tragedy of the LGBT community recently, events that explore intersectionality are especially important,” said Chan. “Besides, can you remember the last time you saw a gay Asian-American female do anything?”