An intriguing and evocative new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes [video]

We are delighted to unveil this new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir, Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes. It features photos from the book as well as some from Yang-May’s personal photo albums which we hope evokes the mood and themes of this powerful family memoir.

 

 

Yang-May writes:

Writing a memoir isn’t an ego thing for me. Rather, it was a way to look back at my life – and also the lives of the women who came before me in my family – and to make sense of the challenges and heartache as well as remembering the joy and human connections that have made me the creative artist I am today.  I write my own story to transform the personal into the universal.  My hope is that readers will be inspired by the stories in Bound Feet Blues to look back at their own lives and find the moments, stories and people who can inspire *them* going forward.

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You can buy a copy of Bound Feet Blues from:

Amazon

or the publishers website at Urbane Publications

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Doing the Unimaginable – Bound Feet Blues at the Oxford Literary Festival

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi will be featured at the Oxford Literary Festival in a solo event as part of the St Hilda’s Writers Day on Saturday 09 April. Yang-May will perform an extract from Bound Feet Blues and talk about Doing the Unimaginable – how and why women in China practiced the brutal process of footbinding on their daughters for a thousand years.

Yang-May writes:

I’m delighted to have been invited back to Oxford by my old college St Hilda’s as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Bound Feet Blues opens in Oxford as I stroll across Magdalen Bridge from St Hilda’s to a summer ball with a gang of my friends in our ball gowns with our boyfriends in black tie. So it feels just perfect to be heading back to Oxford to talk about my show and the accompanying book of the same name.

Here’s some blurb:

The brutal practice of footbinding is unimaginable to us today but was the norm for women in ancient China. In her one woman show Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, inspired by her great-grandmother who had bound feet, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi explores what led those women to do the unimaginable in breaking and binding their daughters’ feet for the sake of beauty – and why footbinding is still relevant in modern times. In this talk for St Hilda’s Writers Day, she draws from the themes of love and courage in her theatre piece to discuss what it means to do the unimaginable as mothers, daughters and creative artists today. Yang-May will also be performing a short extract from the show.

There’ll also be the chance to buy a copy of the book – and I’ll of course be around to sign your personal copy.

Bound Feet Blues performance photo: Yang-May uses her hands on stage to demonstrate footbinding

If you’re in the Oxford area on Saturday 09 April, it would be lovely to see you at this one hour event. If you’d like to say hello afterwards, please do drop me a line and I’ll keep an eye out for you – or just come up and say “hi”.

If you know anyone in the Oxford area who might be interested to come along, please do tell them about the event. It would be great to see some warm and friendly faces in the crowd.

EVENT DETAILS:

Bound Feet Blues: Doing the Unimaginable – Yang-May Ooi

When: Saturday 09 April 2016, 12pm (1 hour)

Where: Jesus College, Oxford – Lecture Theatre

Tickets: £12

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

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If you can’t make it you can still Continue reading

Bound feet and what it means to be a woman – The Women’s Institute, East Dulwich 03 February 2016

Writer/ performer of Bound Feet Blues, Yang-May Ooi, will be speaking about bound feet and what it means to be a woman at the WI (Women’s Institute) East Dulwich SE22 on Wednesday 03 February 2016.

eastdulwichwi

Yang-May writes:

I’m delighted to have been invited to speak at the WI at the Literary Evening with Local Authors. Here’s the line up for the evening;

Lloyd Shepherd is an author of three historical thrillers, The English Monster, The Polished Island and Savage Magic.  He will be speaking to us about his latest book, Savage Magic.

Yang-May Ooi will be presenting on her newest book, Bound Feet Blues which is a story told through the shoes she has worn in her life. Yang-May is also author of the best selling novel, the Flame Tree.

Rebecca Mackenzie will be reading an excerpt from her debut novel, In a Land of Paper Gods.

Harry from Dulwich Books will also be joining us with the above mentioned authors books as well as a selection of their top picks.

I’ll be talking about why bound feet are still relevant to us today as modern women in the West and how feet and shoes can invite us to think about what it means to be a woman.

bound foot in chinese slipper

 

normal foot in high heels

 

I’m also looking forward to meeting the WI members and hearing the other authors talk about their books. It’s going to be a fascinating evening.

It’s a private WI event – if you’rea member it would be lovely to see you there. If not, you can enquire Continue reading

How Yang-May Ooi’s great grandmother with bound feet inspired Bound Feet Blues [video]

In the  video below, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi tells the story of her great-grandmother that inspired her to write Bound Feet Blues.

Yang-May writes:

The show was only one hour long so I made certain artistic choices in portraying my great-grandmother in the theatre performance. Her story is incomplete in the show because I wanted the audience to stay with the moment of transformation rather than seeing how her story ends.

The book of Bound Feet Blues takes great-grandma’s story and extends and deepens it at the more leisurely pace that a long read can offer. So for those of you who Continue reading

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi demonstrates footbinding on stage in Bound Feet Blues

Bound Feet Blues explores the psychological impact of the ancient Chinese practice of footbinding – and uses it as a metaphor to explore our psyche as modern women in search of feminine desirability and empowerment.

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi demonstrates the brutal process of footbinding on stage in a horrifying sequence that has the whole audience holding their breath in utter silence – using no more than her hands and the audience’s imagination.

This week is your last chance to catch this mesmerising solo show so don’t miss out ….

** Bound Feet Blues is NOW ON  at the Tristan Bates Theatre until Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

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BUY TICKETS

**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 12 Dec, Tue – Sat at 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 / £12 concessions.
Q&As post-show, 27 Nov & 4 Dec.

**BUY ONLINE via: bit.ly/bfbtickets **

Yang-May Ooi talks toes, feet – and bras! – with Jo Good on BBC London #BoundFeetBlues

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi returned to the BBC London Studio again to talk with Jo Good, one year on from her previous appearance on Jo’s show. Their conversation takes in Yang-May’s versatile toes, bras and the psychology behind the brutal practice of footbinding as depicted in Bound Feet Blues.

** Bound Feet Blues is NOW ON  at the Tristan Bates Theatre until Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

You can listen again by clicking on the image below:

jogoodcomposite

OR via this link

Yang-May Ooi with Jo Good, BBC London 27 Nov 2015

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BUY TICKETS

**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 12 Dec, Tue – Sat at 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 / £12 concessions.
Q&As post-show, 27 Nov & 4 Dec.

**BUY ONLINE via: bit.ly/bfbtickets **

 

“This was not the life I was meant to have…” – Bound Feet Blues Performance Photo

In Bound Feet Blues, writer/ performer tells the story of her great-grandmother in China who had bound feet. This performance photo from the showcase night in Oct last year, shows Yang-May enacting a scene of this bound foot woman from her family’s history: “This was not the life I was meant to have…!”

** Bound Feet Blues is NOW ON  at the Tristan Bates Theatre until Sat 12 December 2015. Don’t miss this “mesmerising” and “powerful” show – buy tickets below or via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

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BUY TICKETS

**You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets **

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre Continue reading

One week to the opening night of Bound Feet Blues! Have you got your ticket yet?

Yang-May Ooi’s astonishing one woman show Bound Feet Blues will open in one week’s time on Tuesday 24 November 2015 at Tristan Bates Theatre. Have you got your ticket yet?

Not yet? Don’t miss this extra-ordinary tour de force solo performance. You can still buy tickets via bit.ly/bfbtickets

Bound Feet Blues takes us back to ancient China to the inner chamber of a mother with bound feet as she describes and demonstrates the brutal practice of footbinding on her daughter. We may judge this in our modern times as cruel but if we were women living in that time, would we do the same out of love for our little girl?

We also see Yang-May as a tomboy aged 10 and as Continue reading

Introducing the landscape of Bound Feet Blues: The Inner Chamber of a Bound Foot Mother

In Bound Feet Blues, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi takes us to a a diverse range of settings and times – from Oxford in England to the Australian Outback, and also the landscape of ancient China. We are giving you a glimpse into these different places here on this blog over the next few weeks.

In a central scene in Bound Feet Blues, Yang-May demonstrates on stage the gruelling process of footbinding on a little girl.  So, today, we introduce you to the inner chamber of a mother with bound feet where such a process would have most likely taken place.

The home was a woman’s domain in ancient China. Within that was the inner chamber, a private space for the women of the household only. There the women would sew and read and tell stories. And  also probably carry out the ritual of footbinding on the daughters of the family.

Women at home – thanks http://depts.washington.edu/

Woman, Qing Dynasty – thanks to http://www.elegantstory.com/, via Pinterest

Women with bound feet via Pinterest

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You can buy tickets for Bound Feet Blues via bit.ly/bfbtickets

DETAILS

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 12 Dec, Tue – Sat at 7.30pm.
Tickets £16 / £12 concessions.
Q&As post-show, 27 Nov & 4 Dec.

 

Historical figurine of bound feet woman making love

This tiny ivory couple shows a Chinese man and woman making love. You can see the man on top, with his bare feet. Under him is the woman with her legs wrapped around him. You can just about see her breasts and if you look very closely, you will see her tiny bound feet.

 

ivory

 

The original carving can be seen at the Institute of Sexology exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation, which is on till Sept 2015.

Continue reading