Asian Take – QNS.com

Asian Take

By Scott Sieber

An honorary Asian, a few phallic props and the “Flying Fists of Funny” are coming to Flushing this weekend as part of an Asian arts festival designed to give stereotypes a quick slap on the knee.Entitled “Main St.'s Next Generation: Asian American Art and Culture Festival,” the series of three-day performances will consist of world-traveling stand-up comics, provocative experimental theater and gut-busting films that explore differences in humor between Asian and American societies.Jami Gong, the producer of the comedy troupe Take Out Comedy, said though the show is primarily a mix of second-generation Asians, it does not cater to any particular ethnic group.There is, after all, a Brooklyn Jew named Josh Kaufman performing with him.”We call him our honorary Asian,” said Gong.Gong, who works as a Chinatown tour guide and carried the Olympic Torch across the Brooklyn Bridge in June 2004, said this will be the group's premiere in Queens.Take Out Comedy, he said, consists of four New York City-born 20-somethings who came together in response to the devastation suffered by Chinatown after Sept. 11. The group took on a life of its own and takes regular trips to Hong Kong, where it enjoys wild success.”They love us over there,” he said. “There is a real buzz.”On Saturday, the experimental theater group called Slant will perhaps shock audiences with “Big Dicks Asian Men,” what performer Perry Yung described as an “in-your-face, post-modern vaudeville that is actually a musical comedy, believe it or not.””The show looks at how sexual stereotypes affect people in a humorous way,” Yung said while cautioning that people should not be dissuaded by the title. “We've performed at senior centers and junior high school audiences. We've had to edit some things, but everyone left laughing.”As an experimental piece, Yung said the group will utilize a confluence of puppetry, guitars, drums, voice, bamboo flutes, and, of course, “a ballet scene with these huge muppet penises.””We're influenced by a lot of different media performances, so when we got together to make this show, we just wanted to have a lot of fun,” Yung said.Sunday's events will be a series of humorous films entitled the “Color of Funny: Screen Comedy, Asian-American Style.”Director Jeff Yang, who also writes a column called “Asian Pop” for the San Francisco Chronicle said many of the humorous films shown will examine Asian American comedic directors.Because many of the pieces focus on humor in cultural differences, he said they strike a chord with current events, like the recent cartoon riots.”It shows how one man's joke is another man's insult,” he said. “It plays up the need for us to sit down sometimes and assess what we have to take seriously and what we have to take with a grain of salt.”Showcases will include films from a group of South Asian comedians ranging from the traditional college experience to the adolescent experience of a young boy growing up in a sleazy motel run by his family.”The bottom line is it's going to be universally funny,” said Yang.Take Out Comedy will perform on Friday at 8 p.m. Slant will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. and the Color of Funny will begin at 2 p.m. with a panel discussion between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.To order tickets, call the Flushing Town Hall box office at 463-7700, ext. 222, or visit the Web site at www.flushingtownhall.org.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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