December 1, 2012
When I was about eleven or twelve years old, I had daydreams that I was in a rock band. For a queer Chinese girl living in apartheid Rhodesia, this was a far fetched dream that I knew would never come true. I would spend a lot of time at home drawing album covers for the imaginary band I was in, as a butch type of guitarist. Since that was in the early 1970s, I imagined I had rocker machismo and big hair. In 2011, I was invited by curator / artist Cindy Mochizuki to dream up a performance for a special event called Spatial Poetics, an event for The Powell Street Festival, a longstanding local celebration of Japanese and Asian-Canadian Culture in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. I decided to create a parody spectacle rock cover band, made up of Asian-Canadian lesbians — me, Vanessa Kwan and Eileen Kage (the only one who is a practicing musician). Our names put together formed the band name of LaiWankWanKage — an emphasis on "wankers" as that is something Asian girls and women are never encouraged to do or become. I wanted a representation of Asian Women that is rockin' queer, wacky and fun. We had a few rules, we would not rehearse much, we would learn our parts of the cover songs, and then we would try to mash it up while letting loose. This work was formed during my somatic exploration to recover my childhood body and dreams. This video is from a 2012 fundraiser. Since one of our band mates left, we could no longer call ourselves LaiWankWanKage, so instead we called ourselves AB/CD after AC/DC. Next time maybe we'll call ourselves LaiWANKageLee. Again, with little rehearsal and only Kage, the drummer, the actual musician, we had a lot of fun, and it challenged my introverted self in resonant and long-lasting ways, learning how to take up space as an Asian Queer.
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