Asian Americans picketed an actors' union yesterday to protest what they call a "secret agreement" with the producer of "Miss Saigon" that will allow the hit London musical to open on Broadway.
Chanting "The Great White Only Way" and "Equity Sold Out," some 50 demonstrators marched peacefully in a circle outside the offices of Actors Equity in the heart of the theater district.
Equity yesterday issued a statement saying it was "aware of the frustration, anger and outrage that has been engendered by the events surrounding 'Miss Saigon' " and that union officials would meet with minority members next week.
"Actors' Equity does not regard this faction of its membership in the same way as it regards its white membership," said actor B.D. Wong, who took part in the New York demonstration. "We're fighting to play our own stereotypes."
Wong said Asian Americans find the agreement between "Miss Saigon" producer Cameron Mackintosh and Equity, which earlier rescinded its decision barring Caucasian actor Jonathan Pryce from reprising his role as a Eurasian pimp, "destructive, offensive and insulting."
Atwater at White House
Lee Atwater had breakfast at the White House yesterday in an outing a Republican National Committee spokeswoman said reflected his recent "bursts of energy."
Atwater spent nearly three hours at the White House, including a leisurely breakfast with President Bush and a spirited discussion with Bush and White House officials on political races in California, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts, said RNC spokeswoman Leslie Goodman. Atwater also met with Vice President Dan Quayle, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.
It was Atwater's first trip to the White House since shortly after he collapsed during a speech last March and was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumor.
"Lee's doing a lot better," said White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk, although the RNC chairman's condition is still very serious.
Atwater waved at photographers from the rear seat of his limousine as he was driven onto the White House grounds for the breakfast.
Himmelfarb to Be Jefferson Lecturer
The National Endowment for the Humanities announced yesterday the 1991 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities would be given by Gertrude Himmelfarb, history professor at the City University of New York graduate school. Her books include "Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians" and works on English naturalist Charles Darwin and English historian Lord Acton.
Himmelfarb, wife of editor and commentator Irving Kristol, will deliver the lecture here on May 1. The lectureship, which carries a $10,000 stipend, is the highest federal award for distinguished achievement in the humanities.
Lee Filming Harassed
Yesterday's New York Daily News reported that a florist who is renting a vacant Brooklyn storefront to filmmaker Spike Lee has had his own nearby shop windows and the windows of his van smashed, apparently because of his dealings with the controversial black filmmaker. The florist, James Longo, who is white, reported the incidents to the police last week after receiving anonymous threatening phone calls. As a precaution, the police movie unit has assigned extra officers to Lee and his production crew as they film his latest project, "Jungle Fever," two blocks from the flower shop.
The newspaper quotes Lee saying "How can you comment on something like that?" and adding, "All I'm trying to do is make a movie in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn. I'm going to continue to shoot the film." Inquiries yesterday brought a firm "no comment" from both Longo and Lee, while Lee's publicist said that the Daily News made too much of the incident.
Allies for AIDSWALK
The rivals for the mayor's chair will be out walking in the park together tomorrow morning for the fourth annual AIDSWALK. Democratic candidate Sharon Pratt Dixon and Republican nominee Maurice Turner are scheduled to take the stroll, which will begin at Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park.
Surgeon General Antonia Novello is listed among the participants, as are Ginger and Shanta Sullivan, the wife and daughter of HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan. They will walk the 10 kilometer course through the park to raise an estimated $600,000 for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Grandma's House and other AIDS service organizations.
Cast members from "Les Miserables" and other performers will entertain along the length of the trail.