I am a much lazier blogger than I am a photo uploader. This occasionally causes problems when I upload photos that make no sense. Like this most recent one:
My poor mother has had to think about this picture for more than 24 hours now with no explanation. It's probably time for me to fill in the gaps.
First, those are boobies on my head. 21 boobies, made of inflated condoms covered in pantyhose, tangled up with plastic dress-up necklaces, and stained with tomato sauce but which is probably supposed to represent menstrual blood, or placenta.
What, you're still confused? Geez! Okay, fine. The girl with bloody hands licking the crown-boob is Fangfang. I knew Fangfang only tangentially through the English writing workshop I attended a few times last year, and was aware that she was an artist but not exactly sure what kind of art she did. The best kind, as it turns out: performance art! Which, interestingly, is called behavioral art in Chinese.
Fangfang asked Jon and I to translate the background information for her first solo experimental art show in return for some sort of design (which is now going to be in the form of handmade t-shirts). Jon and I like to think that we pretty much nailed it, and we were proud to see our work printed and distributed to the uber-hip shaggy-haired art-loving crowd at the uber-hip shaggy-haired art-loving Ping Pong Space bar, where Fangfang's piece went down. Watching this show was pretty much the first thing we've done in Guangzhou thus far that might be considered "cool" by other people, so, needless to say, we were excited.
Adorned in the aforementioned latex boobies and accompanied by a black lab, Fangfang spent a half an hour in alternately playful/territorial dog mode, eventually climbing the small stage and eating something that looked like a chicken leg covered in blood, then gradually prancing into glamorous woman mode (mouth still full of tomato blood), finally coughing up a small plastic baby and asking the audience whether it was a boy or girl (it was a girl) and ending with a forlorn aside about Chinese girls and their parents' expectations. It was fucking great. And then we found out it was all improvised (except for the boobies; I think she prepared those beforehand). Chatting afterwards with the artist and her sister, we were (not) surprised to discover that Fangfang's father has been rather unsupportive of his daughter's career path. Which is a bit sad, since after seeing the show it's very hard for me to imagine her working in an office or store or slaving over a hot wok for her husband, but not so difficult to imagine other creative girls who for a thousand financial/cultural reasons never got the chance to get up on a cement block and vomit baby blood for people drinking margaritas and wearing thick black glasses. So I really hope Fangfang can actually make a living out of it somehow or even make it big in the art world. Also because then Jon and I can casually mention that we sort of helped with her first solo performance. And got to touch her [tangled clump of 21 bloody] boobs.
Based on this recent endeavor, Jon and I are also seriously considering starting a two-man translation company. The problem is marketing ourselves to Chinese students/store-owners/artists who may not want to pay Americans to translate something that their son who has taken English off and on for 6 years in the public school system could translate for free or cookies. Plus, everyone knows that Americans can't speak Chinese, so what's the point? But we're going to try it anyway, and right now we're trying to think of a good name for ourselves:
From the Umberto Eco quote. Probably too obscure of a reference.
"Jon and Tate plus Eight (combined years of Chinese experience!)"
As much as this is obviously the greatest name for a company ever, once again, probably no one is going to get the reference.
"Two WHITE Guys From PRINCETON"
But seriously, any suggestions?