03: Unapologetic Queering.
Cultural Identity and Drag.
In this episode, host Minah Lee prompts conversations among an all Asian drag family, the House of Rice. Three members from the house, Shay Dior, Kendell Yan/ Maiden China, Romi Kim/Skim talk about representation, racism, and redressing of their identities, through their relationships and performances as chosen family members sharing their meals. As they cook up responses to the dialogue prompts in their unique ways, their shared experiences as second-generation Asian QTPOC artists bring out a bold taste – a mouthful of secrets that keep these colourful individuals together.
Shay Dior, also known as Mother of the House of Rice, is a Vietnamese genderfluid drag artist who has led an incredible drag career, while strongly advocating for queer Asian representation. The House of Rice is an all Asian drag family that Shay Dior founded to showcase the beauty, talent, and strength in being a QTBIPOC individual. Since the formation of the house, they have been teaching strong family values while mentoring these growing performers, who all share a common goal of working toward a bright future for the queer Asian community.
To further build the queer Asian community and increase visibility, Shay Dior also created and, now, co-produces various events that showcase the amazing talent of local and international queer Asian entertainers. Whether it’s a dance party or a drag dim sum, Ricecake has become a safe haven for many within the Vancouver LGBTQ community, and the team behind these events will always aim to create a safe space where the Queer and Asian communities can celebrate the intersectionality of their identities.
Instagram: @thatshaydior | @houseofriceofficial | @ricecakeyvr
甄念菻 / Kendell Yan (she/they)
甄念菻 / Kendell Yan (she/they) is a second generation Chinese, trans-femme, non-binary artist living on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. Her practice is primarily centered around her drag identity, Maiden China. Through this lens she explores themes like vulnerability, queer ritual, the concept of the “hyphen”, and liminal experience, by incorporating elements of classical Chinese opera, glamour, punk, and intimate contact performance art. They perform regularly as a member of the House of Rice, Vancouver’s only all-Asian drag family, and they are also a member of The Darlings, a non-binary drag performance collective whose self produced “Quarantine” film series garnered international recognition for digital ingenuity during pandemic lockdown across 2020/2021. In addition to drag, Kendell also co-owns and operates Queer Based Media, a QTPOC multimedia production company that provides videography, photography, projection installation, and design work for queer creators.
김새로미, Romi Kim or Skim in drag
김새로미, Romi Kim or Skim in drag, is a queer, genderfluid, second-generation Korean. They use these words as verbs rather than nouns or adjectives—constantly in action, and in flux. Kim is based on the unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations where they have a collaborative practice as part of the House of Rice, an all-Asian drag house and a solo one. They work in an interdisciplinary approach within video, performance, installation and everyday objects. Kim’s practice thinks about the minoritarian body in private and public spaces, pedagogy of languages and rituals of care. Kim has shown works in Ani-seed and Space 55 (South Korea), Queer Asia (United Kingdom) The Works Art and Design (Edmonton) and the Polygon (Vancouver). They have performed in South Korea, Vietnam, online internationally, San Francisco and in Vancouver (the Cultch, Upintheair theatre).
An interview with Shay Dior – CBC Canada’s a Drag: Episode 8: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/canadas-a-drag/s03e08
A short documentary following the story of “Maiden China” – Yellow Peril: Queer Destiny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4LvRXTtrq4
House of Rice: In Rice-olation: https://www.upintheairtheatre.com/house-of-rice-inriceolation
This episode is lead produced by Minah Lee with support from Yun-Jou Chang and Rebecca Wang 王晨釔. Theme music and audio engineering by Leiwa.
In Tanglement is a six-episode series on art, culture and race in today’s world. Through intimate conversations with artists, filmmakers, and community organizers, we explore current experiences and perspectives from the Asian diaspora.