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Comedian, performance artist Kristina Wong's 'Wong Street Journal' comes to ASU Gammage

Wong held community dialogue 'What's a Performance Artist to Do When a Political Reality is Weirder than Art?' on Jan. 16


Kristina Wong participated in a community dialogue at the AE England Building on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus on Jan. 16.

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January 17, 2018

It was a very full house at Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus this past Tuesday when Kristina Wong hosted a community dialogue titled “What's a Performance Artist to Do When a Political Reality is Weirder than Art?” to discuss how arts are adjusting to the new political climate.

Wong, a comedian and performance artist, will perform her full show, “The Wong Street Journal,” Jan. 20 at ASU Gammage.

The discussion was hosted in partnership with ASU Gammage, Barrett, The Honors College and the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. The discussion was moderated by Mathew Sandoval, faculty fellow in the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and Barrett, The Honors College.

“Your presence tonight is a testament to the importance of these kinds of conversations we’re having,” Sandoval said to the audience of community members, students and faculty.

Sandoval has previously crossed paths with Wong in the performance world. He said that this collaboration at ASU has been a long time coming. He thanked ASU Gammage’s cultural participation program manager, Desiree Ong, for helping to organize the event and ASU Gammage’s Beyond series for bringing culturally enriching performances to the community.

With lively, witty humor, Wong touched on various topics throughout the night including race, politics and the different platforms for her art. 

“I wanted to jump off my building, but the line was too long,” Wong said when asked about her reaction to the results of the most recent presidential election. She explained how, after she got over the initial grief, she used her comedy and art to cope with the changing climate in America.

She was eventually blocked by Trump, his family and members of his administration on Twitter. 

“I gained quite the angry mob following,” Wong said about her Twitter presence of more than 50,000 followers. “I was trolling, but I was being trolled by his supporters.”

Wong also discussed how she has been inspired to run for office in her community.

“Right now, we’re watching a spectacle and I make spectacles for a living,” Wong joked. She noted that she has been inspired by the media coverage and the election to get more actively involved in government.

Wong also spoke a lot about how race has influenced her art and her life. Her show "The Wong Street Journal" talks about her time in Uganda and what dynamic a third-generation Chinese-American has in relation to the people of Uganda. The comedic show features Wong’s signature bright personality, her handmade props and music from her Ugandan rap album. 

“This is truly one of the greatest works of theater that I’ve ever seen,” Sandoval said about "The Wong Street Journal" as he closed out the talk. He encouraged the audience to purchase tickets to Wong’s show at ASU Gammage 

Wong will perform “The Wong Street Journal” at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at ASU Gammage. Tickets are available at www.asugammage.com or at the ASU Gammage Box Office. Students may purchase tickets at the box office for a discounted price.

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