Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On Being A Sissy: Part 2 - The College Sissy

In college it was a lot easier to be a sissy. Unlike during high school, there were open and out homosexuals all around me. The confidence in which some of these guys embraced their “feminine” gestures made my level of being a sissy pale in comparison.

Gay jokes didn’t exist in my group of friends. In my fraternity there were always at least a couple gay guys who would make self-deprecating gay jokes but none of the straight members ever made a gay joke to them or to any of the straight members of the fraternity.

This doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some comments that were said. I was asked if I was gay a handful of times. One of my close female friends told me when she first met me that she wasn’t sure if I was straight, and others commented on gestures or the way I did things. There wasn’t any meanness connected with these comments but they still made me take pause and think about the way that I carried myself.

When something happens in life that reminds you about a characteristic that you don’t hold as a central part of your identity, it’s annoying. When someone makes an Asian joke, I’m reminded that I’m Asian. I’m not ashamed of this fact, but it’s not something that I think about all of the time. When someone makes a comment that I’m more feminine than they think I should be, it reminds me that in their mind I don’t fit what it means to be masculine.

Of course it doesn’t matter what they think as long as I’m proud of whom I am. That’s true, but it’s still annoying to hear these kinds of comments. But not being reminded of this in college as often as in high school gave me time to become comfortable with myself.

In the same way that my parents embraced my interests which were not stereotypically “straight,” I found other guys like me who also loved boy bands who were straight and girls who thought it was awesome that I could play songs from Rent on the piano. Somewhere within all of that, I came to accept the “sissy” parts of myself that my parents did all those years ago.

Monday, July 29, 2013

On Being A Sissy: Part 1 - What It Meant To Be Called (And Call Others) "Gay"

Late last year I was a member of a wedding party. They had decided to rent a limo and take us around downtown Chicago to take pictures. Being in a wedding party is a unique experience when people who know the bride and groom and sometimes don’t know each other, put their lives aside to honor the bride and groom by doing everything possible to make the day go smoothly.

Part of this is making a concerted effort to get a long with the other people in the wedding party regardless of what they say or do. That’s why I didn’t really respond when one the bridesmaids commented to me “you have very feminine hand gestures with the way that your wrist moves when you talk."

I’ve heard these comments all my life. Last school year a third grader commented to me “men, don’t cross their legs, why are you sitting that way?” In college someone asked if I was gay and then in high school there was the constant gay jokes that were directed at me that I also directed at other people.

Recently I heard an episode of This American Life titled “Sissies.” This episode took the perspective of different people dealing with the issues of being a sissy and the ways that they felt about this issue. It really made me think about my own life and how much I really was a sissy and also how I’m okay with that part of myself, now more than ever.

When I’m talking in front of my students, I don’t try to hide the way that I sit, which is often with crossed legs or with one leg folded under me or the way that my hands move when I talk. It’s not uncommon for me to make a “feminine,” gesture with my hands. And I do have remnants from a speech impediment that I grew up with that doesn’t exactly contribute to my manliness.

I feel it’s so important that I’m myself in front of my students and genuine, so I let myself be me, and let my voice modulate to higher pitches if it’s what comes natural. I do this because it feels natural and also because I want the “sissies” in my class to not feel afraid or ashamed to be themselves.

We’re not talking about homosexuality here. I’ve never doubted my attraction to woman. We are talking about the small things that people do that do not conform to our definitions of masculinity. For many people it’s not the homosexuality itself that makes people uncomfortable but the fact that many homosexual exhibit mannerism that don’t conform to gender stereotypes.

When The Little Mermaid came out I was visiting my cousins in New York. I remember going to a bookstore after watching the movie and being excited to see a The Little Mermaid songbook on a display. This was the last copy of this book that the store had and it was beaten up. My mom does not like to buy products that are not pristine in stores but after some arguing, I convinced my mom to buy this book.

For the next three months, I studied this book, memorized the lyrics and sang the songs to my hearts delight. Through all of this time my mom or dad didn’t stop me or discourage me from singing these songs and act out being a red-haired mermaid.

They didn’t stop me when I became obsessed with The Phantom Of The Opera and I got on a Broadway kick. My parents even encouraged this obsession by buying me Broadway CDs and taking me to see musicals.

I was never told at home that something I did was “girly” or that I shouldn’t make a certain gesture. They loved me for whom I was and never shamed me for what came naturally.

School was a different story. Some boys in elementary school thought it was weird that I didn’t play sports and that I played violin, but things didn’t really get mean until middle school.

Now, I wasn’t made fun of to the point of tears or bullied to the point that I was truly hurt. Part of the reason I dealt so well with the gay jokes was the fact that I could spit them back right out to other people with just as much venom.

I’m not proud of this fact but it got me through those times. In high school, the comments continued but I didn’t really care as I made similar comments about other people.

While these insults sometimes went beyond implying sexual activity to sometimes explicitly telling someone they did something to another person or family member, it wasn’t really about homosexual sex. These comments were more in reactions to being a sissy, to not being a true “man.”

My friends and I didn’t really care so much about the sexual activity or interests people had, we just knew that if someone acted even slightly feminine, they deserved scorn.

As I was mocked for defending my love of the Backstreet Boys, I started building a chip on my shoulder. While I could play the gay insult game, I knew deep inside that what my peers were saying about me was true and that was scary. They saw a part of me that I didn’t necessarily want them to know but that I couldn’t hide.

I couldn’t name any players on the Seattle Mariners except for Ken Griffey Jr., but I could name every member of ‘N Sync. I loved reading; singing music, Broadway musicals, and the idea of playing football in the mud appalled me. They were right, I was a sissy, but I refused to feel bad about this fact. I told myself that I was better than them for being who I was and this thought process continues to unfairly put a shadow over the way I view many of my high school peers.

Not everyone in high school made me feel bad for being a sissy. There was the various female friends who accepted and loved me for my interests and insights (that’s another thing that made me a sissy, I had many female friends who weren’t girlfriends.).

As much as I wish that I didn’t contribute to the gay jokes, I did, and I’m appalled at some of the comments I made in high school. In some ways I’m still paying penance for the people that I aimed to hurt so that I could look cool and not be the focus of attention. I wish I was brave enough as a high school student to take the punishment and not redirect it at others. I am strong enough now to take the comments and that’s something I’m proud of as much as I’m ashamed for my past transgressions.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Parenthood: Week 9 – The Conversation

It wasn’t that it was the first time that Ollie talked to me, it was the fact that Ollie initiated the conversation that brought tears to my eyes.

Along with smiling, Ollie has started “talking” to us. When we smile and say hello to Ollie, he will often smile and respond with as soft but deliberate “ahh.” He is so proud of himself when he can make this sound in response to us. This conversation can go back and forth almost ten times before Ollie gets tired or disinterested.

Certain moments with your child don’t affect you in the way you expect. The first time I saw Ollie didn’t fill me with emotions, but the first time I saw Diana holding Ollie it was overwhelmed me with feeling of love. The first time I heard Ollie’s voice didn’t really do much for me, but that night last week when he started a conversation with me is a moment I’ll never forget.

Parents have different things that they value and hope that their kid develops. One of things that is important to Diana and I is that Ollie has a voice. We want Ollie to feel empowered by his words and use them as a way to express himself. I believe that children are best when they are seen and heard and that cultivating a love of articulate and respectful discourse is one of the most important things that parents can help nurture.

While it has been amazing to have conversations with Ollie, it’s been one-sided in the sense that I am the one initiate the conversation. I’m trying to get to know Ollie and I want to interact with him. This is important for him to know and feel but it only goes one direction.

A couple nights ago I was settling Ollie down to go to sleep. I was standing in my office in the dark cradling him in my arms gently walking around the room. I was conscious to not talk to him or give him eye contact so that he didn’t see this time as “play time.”

A couple times I glanced down and saw his eyes open staring off to space, which told me that there was more walking to be done, so I continued around the room.

Then I heard him talk.

It was an excited “ahh,” from Ollie. When I looked down I saw him smiling up at me as he continued to talk to me.  The whole not give too much stimulus thing left me as I smiled and engaged in a nighttime conversation with my son.

All of these milestones are exciting but it's how they build relationships that is truly touching.  By reaching out to me, I felt that Ollie want to get to know me.  This may not be the case, but it's how it feels from my perspective as a parent.  To feel that connection is real and genuine because beyond the biology and  instincts, there's something more between us. 

Just when I think I couldn't love my son anymore. . . 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trayvon’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” by Bruce Springsteen

When Bruce Springsteen first performed “American Skin” he was widely criticized for performing a song about the shooting death of Amadou Diallo. On February 9th, 1999,Four police officers shot at him 41 times, (19 that actually hit Amadou) as he reached into his pocket to take out his wallet. The police offices were acquitted of any crimes as discussions of racial profiling and police brutality spread across America partially due to Springsteen bringing attention to this event.



Days after George Zimmerman was acquitted of in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Springsteen performed “American Skin,” dedicating it to Trayvon, “We’ll send this letter back home for justice for Trayvon Martin.”

While the deaths of Diallo and Martin are different in many ways "American Skin" remind us of the underlying reality for both of these men that as Springsteen sings “You can get killed for living in your American skin.”

As President Obama so eloquently reflected, there is a tension between the statistics about black males and our racist reactions.



More than ever we need to work to understand the context of what our different skins mean and how they define for each of us what it means to be American. Events in our culture stick to us differently. For me the Japanese internment camps during World War II are probably more forward in my thoughts about America than for other people, which has to do with the fact that I’m Asian.

Obama’s explanation of the context of people’s reactions is critical for us to consider because as much as we have one unified American experience, what sticks with us, what shapes our perspective has to do with how we form our identity as much as how society views us.

On one side we have outrage and disappointment that a country that seems so progressive has failed to bring justice. On the other side are arguments that Trayvon was a “punk,” that the justice system followed it’s own terms (which somehow makes this verdict okay), and that Zimmerman’s reactions were somehow justified.

We shamefully can’t even bring up gun control with this case. No police officer would have used their gun the way that Zimmerman did on Trayvon because of their training. This gross misuse of a gun puts into question the validity of having a hand gun as a self-defense tool, the training that must be required before owning a gun and the people in our society refuses to stand up against the gun companies and to each other to do what is right.

Summer weekends bring death to the streets of Chicago, mostly on the Southwest side of the city. It makes the local news but doesn’t make national headlines. I’m sure if one person was shot that looked like my wife, it would. “American Skin” will continue to echo as we struggle to deal with issues of racism in our society. 

There is this idea that we can't slide back to the racism of the past, that racial harmony is a trajectory that America will inevitably reach.  This assumption is dangerous.  Ignorance, scapegoating, racism and inequality are not things of the past.  We must not only celebrate the progress our country has made but also acknowledge that this progress came from very hard work that we need to continue.

Obama is right.  The younger generations are much better at being open and accepting than the older generations.  So it on us to not pass on the worst of ourselves and to let the younger generations challenge our assumptions and our views of the world.  We can do better, we must do better so that the American skin that each of us wear is not a curse but a blessing. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Parenthood: Week 8 – Make Me Smile

Remember in past post when I talked about the fact that Ollie doesn’t even smile at us? This changed this last week.

If you catch Ollie in a good mood, hit the right pitch with your voice, give him direct eye contact, he will give you the cutest smile you have ever seen.

Many people have been trying to get Ollie to smile far before he could actually make a smile . It’s interesting to watch people try to get a reaction out of him when he has no idea what they want. I find the furrowed brow and confused look almost as cute as his smiles so while other people didn’t get what they wanted out of Ollie, I was still entertained.

Smiling is such an important part of humanity, even more so as Americans. One common observation by foreigners is that American smile at everyone even they aren’t happy. It’s a social thing to smile, it’s a connection that you are making to another person and with a baby it’s one of the first signs of social interaction.

I mentioned some steps on how to get Ollie to smile but they are worth going deeper into as I have observed many people do some weird and ineffective ways to get babies to smile.
  1. Speak in a high pitch: I mean REALLY high. To be technical we are talking about the A above middle C (guys for us that’s the A above the staff is falsetto). A good thing to say is “ah-goo.” This is one of the first sounds babies can make, so they are more likely to respond when they hear something they can imitate. If you are shy about making high-pitched baby talk, get over it. Any embarrassment you may feel is worth it when the baby smiles at you. 
  2. Eye-contact: Babies don’t have great vision so get close in a babies face, like four of five inches away. Make solid eye contact and smile yourself as you may squeaky sounds to him or her. Smiling and talking takes a lot of coordination and one of the ways babies figure this out is through observing other faces around them. Babies love eye contact, so making good eye contact engages the baby and makes them more excited.
  3. Be happy: If you are excited to see the baby, great. Now show your excitement through big smiles and happy voices. Don’t fake it, be genuine and with enough positive vibes, that the baby can sense at this young age, he or she will crack a smile.
  4. Give the baby space: I don’t know if it overwhelms a baby to have four or five people come up and try to get the baby to smile at the same time. Sometimes this seems more aggressive than friendly. If the baby is already being barraged with people trying to get him or her to smile, back off.  Come back when the baby is relaxed in a quiet space.
I love it when Ollie smiles, but I also love it when he is at peace, when he looks confused, when he looks thoughtful and when he looks concerned. There’s an amazing spectrum of expressions in his face that are so much fun to observe.  The world is unfolding for Ollie slowly and it warms my hear to know that for Ollie's world is filled with smiles, high-pitched voices and people who simply want him to be happy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Camp: The Hamster With Cancer

I barely knew this girl, but she talked to me about some of her most personal feelings.

As the musical director of the musical theater summer camp, my job was to turn the kid’s lyrics into songs and then to teach them the songs for their performance. I spent two weeks working with them. At first for an hour, four times a week and then longer during for the week of the show.

I didn’t really have time to hang out with the kids and the time I worked with the kids was really directed and focused. This was a 4th grade-6th grade workshop and I did this as part of the summer camp work I talked about in this previous post.

I’ve had a lot of kids open up to me about things in their persona lives. Sometimes they do this because they feel that they know you, so they trust you. Other times they don’t feel like they have anyone else to turn to so they talk to you because you are available.

What happed with Mary, a 4th grader, was something different. While we worked on the songs, she worked hard but didn’t really stand out. Mary didn’t laugh at my jokes like the other students and didn’t really hang around me during breaks.

On the day before the performance during a break she came up to me and handed me a picture of a hamster. It was worn on the sides from being in her pocket. She began to tell me about her hamster.

Her hamster had breast cancer and was dying. Through tears she told me about this hamster’s life, the baby hamsters that were a result of this hamster being in the same cage as another hamster and the medicine they were giving to try to make this hamster with cancer more comfortable before the inevitable.

Even though this 4th grader was crying she was very articulate as she explained the fact that her hamster was going to die and the reality of the situation. I didn’t really have a lot to say to her besides asking some follow-up questions.

When it was announced that break time was over, she wiped off her face, sniffed her nose and skipped off to join the rest of the campers.

I’m not sure why Mary felt like sharing with me what was going on with her hamster. Maybe I seemed approachable or maybe it had to do with the fact that she knew that after this week she would probably never see again. I could theorize something about childhood social development, but that those would just be speculations.

More likely than not it was just one of those things that happens at summer camp.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Parenthood: Week 7 – The Joys of Parenting a Newborn

I love being the parent of a newborn.

I initially didn't think that I would enjoy this stage of my Ollie's life as much as I do.

The most difficult part about a newborn is the fact that he can't tell you what's going on. Ollie could have a headache, his foot might hurt or he might have a stomachache. This forces you as parent to rely on other cues, the sound of his cries, the tempo of his breathes and his movement.

Frustration stems from a lack of understanding and there's a lot that is difficult to understand when it come to a newborn. There's so much you don't know so you have to figure out a way to move past the lack of understanding and through the frustration.

This is really difficult, because you don't have a choice. Ollie is doing the best he can. He doesn't know how tired we are or what other stuff we have going on in our lives. So when I have no idea why Ollie is crying its not fair to get frustrated with him so we have to dig deep.

What this forces you to do is look beyond the moment and your own feelings and make a connection to what your baby is experiencing. It's hard but it's rewarding at the same time. Ollie's doesn't know how to tell me what he is going through and I don't feel like I know what I'm doing, but we are together working it out together.

There will be a time when Ollie may have to "cry things out" or need  a time outs but for right now I feel I can't over parent and I can helicopter as much as I want. Of course I don't. Diana and I are conscientious to give him his own time to sleep and let him calm himself down, which he often does when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Even with that, I don't fee restricted.

Ollie sometimes gets ambushed by kisses or has to pay "group hug" tolls to get through certain parts of our house. I'm enjoying the whole idea that I can hug or kiss my boy whenever I want to and I don't have to restrain my affection. 

Ollie is my special little guy. I can hold him in one arm, if the right combination of digestive circumstances and facial muscles align, he smiles at me and Ollie makes the cutest squeaks and squeals. All of this will change soon so I'm doing the best I can to enjoy these moments while they last.

More that anything, there's this feeling that Ollie needs Diana and I. Sometimes this need is exhausting because this almost constant supervision makes everyday tasks a challenge, but it feels really special.

As he gets older, Ollie will need us less and Diana and I are going to have to learn to let go, which is a journey we have already started in small steps. But for right now, we are newborn parents, there is no need to push through this transition. So we are going to enjoy the little hand grabbing on our shirts, the cuddles and the feeling that when I hold Ollie, I'm holding everything.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Piano Man by Billy Joel

All iconic artists have a signature song.  Elton John has “Your Song,” Springsteen has “Born To Run,” and Billy Joel has “Piano Man.”

One of the things that many American, and some artists whoa re not American have done with a their music is to define the American experience. Billy Joel does this in a similar way that Springsteen does with working-class characters and deep nostalgia from times that came before while also acknowledging the flaws of the past, like Joel sings in “Keeping The Faith,” “the good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”



Joel’s music has always had a harsher edge and a more cynical almost punk rock aesthetic. “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me,” sounds bitter and “She’s Always A Woman,” has a strange almost sarcastic feeling to it (which I wrote about in this earlier post).

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Joel’s signature song has a similar feel. “Piano Man,” is a song about dreams unfulfilled. It’s about people dealing with regret and trying to escape their the reality of their lives. When described this way, “Piano Man,” seems like a bleak and joyless song, but when you listen to it, you realize that it is something very different.

I’ve never been to a bar that had a piano man like Joel playing at it, but he paints such a vivid picture of the bar that you feel like you are part of that world. There’s depth in all of the descriptions of his characters that help you imagine deeper stories like in a good fantasy story.

The whole song swirls and rallies around the song itself. The chorus is the chorus of the people in the song and as we sing along to this song we become one more person sitting in that bar, with all of our own worries and fears, simply wanting to be lost in a song.

In many ways this is what Joel has done his entire career.  When I watched him perform in Wrigley Field last summer, I could feel how much he wanted his music to be a participatory event and how much that he wanted to take the audience away.

Joel is much more of a realist and his bitterness and anger reflects the “angry young man” in all of us in ways that pop music from previous generations did not. He worked through the pessimism of the 1970s and the cynicism of the 1980s with a song in his heart.

We demand the piano man to sing for us, because we need him to forget about life a while. He put into song the desire we all have for escape and provides that escape at the same time. “Piano Man” is the definition of great pop song. It’s specific enough to relate to our own lives but ambiguous enough to appeal to mass audiences. It melds styles of music together in subtle and unexpected ways and as good as it feels to listen to, it reaches a higher level of meaning when you let go and sing along.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Parenthood: Week 6 – The Puppy And The Baby

Last night, instead of leaving when Ollie started crying, Buffy followed him into the nursery as Diana prepared to nurse Ollie in the middle of the night.

This was a big change from the way Buffy reacted to Ollie weeks earlier.

After Ollie came home, Buffy didn't seem interested in Ollie. She went over to sniff him in his car seat when we set it down on the floor but that was it. Diana's mom brought home one of Ollie's little hospital hats for Buffy to sniff a couple days earlier. She was interested in that but when it came to finally meeting Ollie, there wasn't much of a response.

Buffy has been around babies and kids all her life. One of the things we love about is that she is very tolerant of small humans. She doesn't act like a crazy puppy around sleeping babies and she lets little kids carry her around her as if she was a doll. But it's a different thing to visit a kid than having one become part of your everyday life.

You know that type of dog that jumps on your bed in the morning to wake you up? Buffy isn't that kind of dog. Usually I have to get her up in the morning for her walk.  Also, if you get up in the middle of the night and you will probably hear Buffy groan at you as you disturb her sleep.

Buffy usually sleeps in our bedroom on her bed on the floor. Initially, she didn't take very well to her new roommate. As Ollie cried and got up multiple times through the night those first couple weeks, Buffy would groan at the disturbance. Usually, after the first crying fit, she would leave our bedroom and sleep in the living room or the bathroom.

As the weeks passed it seemed that Buffy was satisfied to settling down for the night in a room other than our bedroom. At first this made me and Diana a little sad. We love our puppy and having her sleep in our room provides a sense of family and companionship. So we would put her to bed in her bed in our room but would inevitably find her somewhere else in the house by the next morning.

I don't know if Buffy is getting used to the crying or is more willing to stay in the bedroom because Ollie is sleeping for longer periods, but now we are finding Buffy in our bedroom in the mornings.

Last night, this puppy that I have to literally drag out of bed followed Diana out of our bedroom as sounds of Ollie's cries filled our house. When I got up to check on Ollie and Diana, I expected that Buffy had found a quiet spot in some corner of the house, but instead Buffy was in the nursery sitting in the corner watching Ollie and Diana.

Many people have asked me how Buffy is doing with her new little brother. She is not running up and licking him with excited greetings nor she's cuddling with him. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because Buffy is doing exactly what we she need her to. She's not up in Ollie's face and she gives him space. Ollie doesn't seem interested in her, so Buffy, as she usually does with people, is matching Ollie's interest and energy.

Buffy and Ollie's relationship is going to continue to evolve displayed by little gestures and cute moments. You don't know what a dog is thinking but I think that Buffy is growing used to Ollie. She's feeling what we are feeling and wants to  be with us through it all. There's power in her presence and her choice to stay with us and not turn away from Ollie's cries is a reminder from our puppy what it means to be a family.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Camp: Week 1 – Mr. Kingsley

So why am I working at a summer camp? Well, the money is nice and also because as much as I enjoy not working during the summer, I do love kids and teaching is something that I really do enjoy.

I proposed to my school to do a summer music camp but it didn’t run because not enough people signed up. While I was working up proposals for this camp and hoping that people would sign-up, I was also talking to one of my friends about working at the camp at the school that she worked at during the school year.

This other school is also an independent private school that embraces the progressive teaching philosophy. When my friend connected me with the summer camp coordinator they were really excited about the school that I taught at and got me in to teach two forty-five minute morning sessions Monday through Thursday.

These sessions would have a variety of ages from students entering second grade to students entering sixth grade. This last week I taught as session of second graders as well as mixed group of fifth and sixth graders.

Now I’ve actually never taught summer camp, been a camp counselor or gone to camp. The closest I ever got to camp was going to band camp at college. I have plenty experiences as a teacher so I figured I’d be fine. All I’d have to do is extenuate the Barney and Friends part of what I do and I’d be set.

While the week went well, there was a lot of adjustments that I had to make. These were kids that I was only working with one week so it wasn’t possible for me to really get to know them well. I did some name stuff but moved on from that  quickly since I had so little time to spend with them.

Classroom rules: I was sillier about them but I tried to make a point. The one rule was “don’t be a poo,” which did  them laugh but also drove home the point about being nice to each other.

I ended up doing a lot of screaming. Not angry, aggressive screaming, more jokingly frustrated screaming. It shook some kids up but they understood quickly that I was partially joking and being silly as part of the shtick that I was creating.

I wasn’t Mr. Tang their music teacher. I introduced myself as Mr. Kingsley, their musical guide as we had fun with music.

We started each session with a camp song, and did activities that I regularly do with my kids but simplified them for the context and didn’t explain learning connections. I also wasn’t as concerned with teaching them long-term organization skills and how to behave in a classroom. We are in camp. While I needed order, the last thing I wanted was for my kids to feel like we were in a music class.

With the silly camp songs, screaming, random youtube.com clips and my manic energy, we had a lot of fun. Some kids left thinking I was really weird, which was fine since most of the kids left with smiles.

I got summer a full of camp coming up, so its going to be an interesting ride. Next week it’s a short week, but then I’m starting to work with the musical theater camp. 

This is going to be interesting.