The history of Asians and Asian Americans in American popular culture has been a topic long neglected. Opening her family history, Jodi Long(right) documents the show business careers of her parents, Lawrence and Kimiye Long, who adopted the stage names Larry and Trudie Leung and were vaudeville performers in the 1940s and 50s. Although long time acquaintances, Christine and Jodi came to collaborate on this project through a chance meeting at a nightclub downtown..Jodi asked Christine if she was still making films and would she be interested in putting together hours and hours of unedited film into a cohesive documentary. The result is Long Story Short. Christine Choy(left) is the Chair of the Graduate Film and Television Department at New York University and is definitely someone you want to know if you are an aspiring filmmaker. Interesting piece of information: One of their film friends from the “old days” is John Woo. We have a great interview coming up of Jodi Long.
Long recounts memories of her parents’ stage lives through photographs, pictures, their special appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1950, and the performance of her personal monologues on growing up as the child of performers. She details her mother’s experience in Japanese internment camps during World War II and her resolve to transcend the injustices brought upon her; her mother’s decision to quit the industry in order to maintain the family and to raise Jodi; her father’s roles in various productions of the popular musical Flower Drum Song; the pressures of the industry that lead to her parents’ separation; and her parents’ influence on her own decision to follow in their footsteps.
Long narrates the story about her family’s struggles as not only Asian Americans but also as Asian American performers. She touches on what it means to perform racial identity and what it means to be an Asian American performer today as she follows in her father’s footsteps and decides to take a role in a new and updated musical adaptation of Flower Drum Song reinterpreted by award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.
LONG STORY SHORT is more than just a portrait of an Asian American family, but also an insightful commentary on media, representation, and race.