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In high school I wore a pirate costume every Friday and I had one-and-a-half friends. When I wasn’t wearing a pirate costume I was wearing a Goodwill golf polo over a girdle I found in mother’s dresser after eating seven quesadillas in a row while watching LOST on an overheated DIY desktop computer which beeps like an emergency vehicle if you don’t put a fan directly in front of the monitor. There was the floor-length tie dye skirt and the felt shark jacket and the top hat that had sunflowers growing out of it. There were the shapeless sacks I wore so I could binge away every feeling I couldn’t swallow. There was the hat like an exclamation point out of my head. There was the baby school girl prostitute ensemble I wore the year I got skinny on speed and opioids. There was the latex catsuit B. ripped apart in the narrow staircase which reeked of rancid Bud Light Lime. There was my mother’s silk shirt which she wore when she was my age, an ocean away from here, when her life was full of possibility, before the Cultural Revolution, before she had me, before every person in her life let her down by dying or not dying or failing to protect her or love her or be who she needed or wanted them to be, before she learned to use men for their money, before she covered the windows in sticky notes and installed double-bolts on the doors, back when love was like an open window two feet off the ground that let in the sounds of sparrows and cicadas and a young man clandestinely playing a banned violin. I wore that shirt until the buttons fell off and the armpits were permanently stained.
A poet, performance artist, painter and experimenter, Ashley Yang-Thompson questions stereotypes with humor and irreverence. In the past year, her videos were selected for The Museum of Moving Image’s Changing the Picture series, which highlights artists of color who are bringing diverse voices to the screen. Her video art, in conjunction with her zines and letters, is also currently being exhibited in the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s After Hope: Videos of Resistance exhibition. In January of 2020, she was part of two person show at Gund Gallery museum, where she displayed her zines and letters alongside Axis Mundo, the first historical examination of queer Chicanx artists. She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Equity Fellowship and Mass MoCA’s Assets for Artists grant. Her chapbook, How to be the worst laziest fattest most incontinent piece-of-shit in the world EVER, is being published by Bateau Press this summer.