Anna met Yang jiang at a speaker series called “The New Narrative”, where a range of people from all walks of life share their stories and visions for the future. She learned that Yang’s future narrative remains subject to some twists and turns.
Yang is taking a PhD in Leadership at The University of San Diego as she explores her options in performance and art. Anna conceived a photoshoot for Yang to put her at the centre of a creative experience, variously situating her as model, performance artist and artwork.
While the first two photos showcase Yang’s innate modelling skills and photogenic features, the last one gives her the opportunity to interact with other piece of art (a painting also by Anna Rebek) to construct a mixed media performance piece.
Indeed, at one point, Yang captures the essential qualities of the faces in the painting so acutely that she appears to be disappearing into it. Her pose of strength and defiance seems to turn the camera on itself. It’s a full 360-degree reversal of her objectification.
Anna’s photoshoot is not simply Yang’s induction into a career in performance and visual art. It is also an expression of the evolution of her soul as an artist and thinker:
“I am beginning to feel that the small part of me is but a very surface part of me-- beyond that is a depth that is infinite and connected to the Source, the original place of endless divine power and love, and it is this that I now begin to place my deepest trust in and pull from.”
Anna recently performed the role of Hennie Berger in Clifford Odets’ Awake & Sing at New Village Arts. This was the San Diego professional premiere of an 82 year-old play about a depression-era working-class Jewish family from the Bronx, which achieves an unwelcome currency in our own troubled American times.
Daughter Hennie’s aspirations for a better life are cut short by unwanted pregnancy and a loveless marriage to Russian immigrant Sam, who is ensnared in mother Bessie’s act of nuptial subterfuge, before her cynic-in-arms ex-lover Moe offers a way out.
Anna felt the burden of feminist representation in portraying a woman of strength and independence who is nonetheless trapped by social conventions of “respectable” families in the era. She challenged herself to strike a balance between historical accuracy and staying true to the character’s feisty nature, a hard sell for the audience, given that her most defiant act is one of child abandonment!
None of this was lost on the San Diego theatre community. James Hebert of The San Diego Union-Tribune remarked “there is such depth of apprehension and resignation, leavened by the slightest bit of hope, in the eyes of Rebek”. David Coddon of San Diego City Beat praised Anna’s “affecting” performance of a woman “yearning to breathe free”. San Diego Jewish World noted how “witty and acerbic” her performance was.
But the last words go to Anna herself: “Playing Hennie has helped me appreciate my sass, my freedom, and my chance to fight for the life I want!”
It’s finally happening! A big congratulations to my wonderful collaborators and our fantastic cast. I’m super proud of the boys and all their hard work, and grateful for the time we spent working together. Now, we share it with the world!
Katie is the definition of a one woman show. Writes her own stuff, directs her own stuff, produces her own stuff. She sources her work from the community and brings it to life, all while being a total hottie. What can I say: I’ve got a thing for ladies who run the show!
Snapped this shot of her workin’ it during a Creative Action Workshop back in December. Her theater company’s already got another one lined up for March. Can’t wait!
Carla Nell is a force of nature. She acts, directs, produces, and even runs her own dang theater company – InnerMission Productions. Actually, I can now say award winning theater company. I'm not surprised, though. She’s the kind of person who sets her mind on something, and then goes out and makes it happen. As I watch her theater company take off, I am humbled and proud to know her and be a part of it all.
Oh, Riley Thomas. Together we travelled Europe. We tossed wish coins into the Trevi Fountain. We saw the curled figures preserved in Pompeii and I explained igneous rocks to you. You have inspired me in many ways, but mostly in your unflinching optimism. You continue to see the best in me even after you've observed my worst. You inspire me to read books, keep painting and to see the world. Thank you Riley, you're also gorgeous.
This is the stunning Tiffany Tang. She is the author of Creepy Little Death Poems, a gifted actress, an inspiration to many. You are also a supportive and authentic friend, T. I was so grateful you were willing to model for me for my birthday gift, and that you trusted me to capture you're specific light.
Sometimes a woman needs to take charge of building her own self-esteem, as a gesture of self-care. This shoot did the trick. I went for a gypsy caravan sultriness, a got the boost I was looking for.
Here's my latest self-portrait. I used a limited color palette obviously, and did no primping before hand. For the hair and the lips I carved into wet paint using a small brush I hadn't ever cleaned from previous use. It's bristles were stuck into a furry spike, and I like the texture it added. Some reactions to this painting include - "whoa, you look pissed" and "is that supposed to be your mother?" (from someone who has never met my mother), and "it looks like you're saying 'whaddya want NOW?'". I see some truth in all of these :). I think I look brave, or that's what I see. And I think brave is what I'm "going for" this year, now that I'm 34.