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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Paean to L.A., from its Least Tan Resident

Paean to L.A., from its Least Tan Resident

2011-era Katy Perry peddled “Cali” as a place you drive to and “get drunk on the beach“ or get a motel and “buil[d] a fort out of sheets.” Per the mission statement track of that particular album, “California Gurls” are “toned, tan, fit and ready.”

You're welcome, Katy.
You’re welcome, Katy.
Representative footage from Katy performing "California Gurls" in concert. (Because Deepak and I saw her do it ... twice!)
Representative image from Katy performing “California Gurls” in concert. (Because Deepak and I saw her do it … twice!)
Confetti cannon accompanied the confectionery canon.
A confetti cannon accompanied her confectionery canon.
Stars: They're Just Like Us -- They levitate on a marabou-lined platform high above the Staples Center!
Stars: They’re Just Like Us — They levitate on a marabou-lined platform high above the Staples Center!
California Gurl Rule #1: Wear hibiscus-colored frippery to a concert. Burnt sienna shall do in a pinch.
California Gurl Rule #1: Wear hibiscus-colored frippery to a Katy Perry concert. Burnt sienna shall do in a pinch.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! I was with all of aforementioned CA characterizations, every single one, until Snoop [Current Animal Here] mentioned “tan.” Is melanin — like indifference about earthquakes and a predilection for fruit sprinkled with Mexican chili powder – a legal requirement of living in the state? Well, that’s not good.

Flowers need sunlight to grow. This Violet needs sunlight to stay away. Ultraviolet light is invisible to the naked eye. This Violet wants a skin tone with those same characteristics. In short: This Violet needs no ultra.

This poster, from the 1992 towering achievement in cinema, was on my bedroom wall growing up.
This poster, from the 1992 towering achievement in cinema, was on my bedroom wall growing up.

My mom picked up the one-sheet at a closeout sale at the local video rental place. Though it was a little racy for an elementary schooler, I like to think she was instilling an appreciation in me for camp, Corman’s filmography, and the electromagnetic wavelengths that share my namesake.

Later, of course, there was this. It's more relatable (dark hair, light skin!), but surely lacks the bold cheese of Esai Morales' effort.
Later, of course, there was this. It’s more relatable (dark hair, light skin!), but surely lacks the bold cheese of Esai Morales’ effort.


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