By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Writer-performer-comic Kristina Wong riffs on her beloved green movement in her solo satire Going Green the Wong Way, extended at Bootleg before an Edinburgh run in August. Her gallery of stereotypes, from the stoner who sold her a 25-year-old car adapted to burn vegetable oil, to herself as an 11-year-old performance artist confronting her audience on the glory of green at Herbert Hoover Elementary in San Francisco, aims to ensnare the nuttiness of bucking the system while maintaining the higher calling to buck the system.
As directed by Paul Tei, amidst the detritus of garbage and other clutter, Wong opens a droll account of her attempt to live off the grid by driving a veggie oil–propelled car in L.A. that ended up costing her a fortune in repair bills and eventually self-immolating on the 405. The visuals of fire trucks hosing down the wreckage teeters between farce and heartbreak.
She then careens head-on into farce, plugging recyclable menstrual pads, demonstrating the art of wearing them and proffering their benefits also to men suffering from incontinence. Why take a break from a hot date when you can pee into your pad and change it later?
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This is the same performer who set up a mock online service for Asian mail-order brides, and there's not a word from her lips that doesn't contain a twist of mockery. She rolls through a faux promo for public transportation in L.A. that's so dense and boggling, you'd have thought it was written by the city's planning or transportation departments. Perhaps it was.
Her description of the virtues of bus riding makes you want to run for your life from any bus stop, and yet she still doesn't drive, she says, throwing herself sometimes on the mercy of friends and Facebook friends.
She's a very funny lone warrior, losing a war of her own making but winning battles of conscience, plucking small victories where she can — such as the money saved by not owning a car, which helps produce shows like this.
Though her performance lags in a couple of places, it's a smart, brazen and raunchy parody of political correctness.
Mother Earth hangs suspended over the stage and gets her own light. Her voice-over is that of a gruff New Yorker, sounding quite male. Wong aims to please Mother. She gazes up plaintively. And Mother turns out to be quite supportive of Wong's efforts, even when they're patently ludicrous. That's what Mother is for. Wong loves and respects Mother, and is trying to do her bidding. It's just so difficult so much of the time, with bus seats soaked in urine and expensive commuter trains that stop running after sundown. Mother says that's OK, just keep trying. Her life and ours depend on it.
GOING GREEN THE WONG WAY | Written and performed by Kristina Wong | Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. | Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through July 22 | (213) 389-3856 | bootlegtheater.org