Alvin Eng on Our Laundry, Our Town

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Manage episode 328228127 series 2413465
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(5/11/2022) Our Laundry, Our Town decodes and processes the fractured urban oracle bones of Alvin Eng's upbringing in Flushing, Queens in the 1970s. Back then, his family was one of the few immigrant Chinese families in a far-flung neighborhood in New York City. His parents had an arranged marriage and ran a Chinese Hand Laundry. From behind the counter of his parent’s laundry and within the confines of a household, rooted in a different century and culture, he sought to reconcile this insular home life with the turbulent yet inspiring street life that was all around them––from the faux martial arts of tv’s Kung Fu to the burgeoning underworld of the punk rock scene. Finding his way in the downtown theater and performance world of Manhattan, he discovered the under-chronicled Chinese influence on Thornton Wilder’s foundational Americana drama, Our Town. This discovery became the unlikely catalyst for a psyche-healing pilgrimage to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China—his ancestral home in southern China—that led to writing and performing his successful autobiographical monologue, The Last Emperor of Flushing. Join us as we re-examine the parameters of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the author of Our Laundry, Our Town - Alvin Eng, on this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large.

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