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Ken Choy

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Ken Choy
Occupation(s)Performance artist, actor, writer, author, producer
Years active1984–present

Ken Choy is an American writer of Chinese-Native Hawaiian ethnicity.[1] He also is a performance artist and actor and owns and operates a shopping business in Southern California.[2]

Choy was the subject of a two-part series on KCBS-TV Los Angeles that featured his book "Make Money Shopping," his website, Makemoneyshopping.org,[3] and his shopping and mystery shopping business.[4]

Theatre and activism[edit]

Upon arriving in the Twin Cities, Choy immediately involved himself in the Asian American Renaissance, an Asian American arts organization. He taught classes and hosted AARGH!!, the Asian American Cabaret with poet and performance artist David Mura.[citation needed]

In 1992, Choy toured his one-man show Buzz Off Butterfly nationwide. He also directed and organized the large scale Asian American performance presentation "Miss Appropriated" at the Walker Art Center under the auspices of the performance group he founded, Asian Pacific American Renegades.[5] Choy is discussed in Dorinne K. Kondo's "About Face,"[6][7] Linda Frye Burnham's "High Performance,"[8] David A. Schlossman's "Actors and Activists,"[9][10] and Deborah Wong's "Speak it Louder".[11]

In 1993, Choy and Juliana Pegues staged a protest at the Minnesota Opera performance of Madama Butterfly. They protested inside the theater during the performance and were arrested for disorderly conduct. Although Choy was dressed in women's clothing, inaccurate press reports claimed that he was naked. They were fined $25.[12][13]

In 1994, Choy received $5,000 as part of the Playwright's Center Jerome Fellowship[14] in Minnesota.[15] The program stated that he used the grant "for three months of travel and study in the Hawaiian Islands," researching and interviewing family members and island natives, "focusing on disenfranchisement and the disappearance of island culture due to industrialization, white settlement, tourism and environmental racism."[15]

Choy founded and was co-chair of Pan Asian Voices for Equality (PAVE) and the Miss Saigon Protest Committee with Rita Nakashima Brock.[16]


Choy is the author of the book My Loveable Combustible Asian American Nuclear Family[17] and the creator of the video blog, From Chaos to Love: My Loveable Combustible Asian American Nuclear Family journey.[18]

He is the creator of the journalistic dialectic, "Living with Bill and Rob," an ongoing research project which explores the link between racism and mental illness and how those both are unflinchingly harnessed as a viable excuse for lack of human and community involvement and participation. Choy traversed those manifestations in a roommate situation with the titular subjects.[citation needed]

His screenplay Lazy Susan won first place in the Boulder Asian Film Festival in 2005.[19][citation needed]

Festivals and conventions[edit]

Choy is the producer and founder of Breaking the Bow: The Independent Asian Pacific Islander Performing Artists and Writers Festival. The 1st festival was held October 22–25, 2009. The festival was produced by Mavericks of Asian Pacific Islander Descent (MAPID). Choy founded MAPID.[20][21][22][23]

Choy co-organized ID Film Fest and the Asian American Independent Features Conference with Quentin Lee and Koji Steven Sakai in October 2010 at the Japanese American National Museum. He continued with his Battle of the Pitches competition, in addition to the API TV Pilot Shootout and a Filmmaker's Crash Course.[24]

He has moderated panels at Wondercon and Comic-Con.[25][26]

Notable Theater Works[edit]

  • Charlene Chan in "Me?"
  • Sticky Substances
  • Buzz off Butterfly
  • Miss Appropriated
  • Ken Choy's Theatrical Extravaganza Lazy Susan


  1. ^ widelantern.com/2012/02/diverse-review-from-a-hawaiian-perspective-the-descendants-indictment-and-entitlement/
  2. ^ Kondo, Dorinne K. (1997). About Face: Performing Race in Fashion and Theater. Routledge. pp. 238–240. ISBN 0-415-91141-9.
  3. ^ "BREAKING THE BOW: 1st Annual Independent Asian Pacific Islander Performing Artists and Writers Festival". Makemoneyshopping.org. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ken Choy-Professional Shopper - kenchoyandmapid". sites.google.com. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  5. ^ "WAC | Performing Arts | Past Programs 1973–1994". Walkerart.org. February 13, 2004. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  6. ^ About Face: Performing Race in Fashion and Theater – Page 238-240
  7. ^ Kondo, Dorinne K. (1997). About face: performing race in ... – Google Books. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-91141-2. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  8. ^ High performance – Google Books. January 3, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  9. ^ Actors and Activists: Page 205
  10. ^ Schlossman, David A. (2002). Actors and activists: politics ... – Google Books. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-8153-3268-8. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  11. ^ Wong, Deborah (2004). Speak it louder: Asian Americans ... – Google Books. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-97040-2. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  12. ^ Michael Anothony Minneapolis Star Tribune "2 Face Charges in Opera Disruption."
  13. ^ Anthony, Michael. "Performance Artists Protest Madame Butterfly Theme." Star Tribune. March 23, 1993.
  14. ^ "Jerome Fellowships". Playwrights' Center. May 5, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Past Grantees". The Jerome Foundation. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  16. ^ Schlossman, David A. (2002). Actors and activists: politics ... – Google Books. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-8153-3268-8. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  17. ^ "MyLoveable – 43 – Man – HERMOSA BEACH, California – myspace.com/myloveablecombustible". MySpace. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  18. ^ "Kanaal van myloveablecombustibl". YouTube. April 6, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  19. ^ "Home". coloradotheatreguild.org.
  20. ^ Ken Choy. "Mapid Home Page". Mapid.us. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  21. ^ "Kanaal van BREAKINGTHEBOW". YouTube. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  22. ^ angrylink. "angry asian man". angry asian man. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  23. ^ "The 1st Annual Independent Asian Pacific Islander Performing Artists and Writers Festival". Chicago Artists Resource. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  24. ^ "Which amendment abolished slavery - Questions Aly2um".
  25. ^ YouTube video
  26. ^ Under the Tents Late Edition

External links[edit]