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Diana Michèle Yap

Writer and Editor

Location icon United States

Washington, DC

Portfolio

Arts

Washington City Paper
07/06/2021
In the End, We're Gonna Die Is Full of Jubilance Amid Grief

Walking the pain side of the line more than the comic, playwright Young Jean Lee’s decade-old musical We’re Gonna Die is a future cult classic. Concluding Round House Theatre’s 2020-2021 virtual season, this new streaming production is a high-spirited, cathartic hour of monologues and original pop songs based on traumatic scenarios common to the human condition in all their absurd particulars, and its true stories are awfully timeless.

Washington City Paper
06/22/2021
Raya Bodnarchuk Painted Every Day for Years. All 1,926 Paintings Are Now on Display.

Some people start thinking that they want to do major work but have no place to do it, no materials, no money to get them. Bodnarchuk has advice: “Clear a path to make something because you did it every day, not because you knew what it would look like,” she says. “Even if it’s teensy, clear the path to make it easy for yourself to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”

Washington City Paper
08/20/2020
Mike Birbiglia's Working It Out

This evolves into Birbiglia explaining that a touch of unwarranted self-belief is part of getting on stage: “Hands down, I don’t know a single comedian for whom this isn’t true. You will bomb a lot of times. And when you’re bombing, you basically have to tell yourself: No, this is going pretty well.”

Washington City Paper
11/26/2019
Daniel Kitson Offers Profane Communion in Keep.

“It’s impossible for me to tell you the truth,” he says. Then he explains that a slice of pizza is 100 percent pizza—but a slice of pizza is not 100 percent of the pizza. As his audience puzzles out that you can never really know all of anyone, I see him smile.

Washington City Paper
06/28/2019
Ranjani Shettar's Earth Songs for a Night Sky Enchants with Assorted Materials at the Phillips...

Displayed in two rooms and the staircase of the museum’s Phillips House building, this delightfully felt, stubbornly lovely exhibition is musically composed of three parts. Carved teak wood sculptures exist at eye height, hung from the ceiling or attached to walls. A multi-piece work made of stainless steel, muslin fabric, tamarind seed glue, and indigo pigment wraps around the wall dividing the two rooms. And a sherbet-colored thread-wax installation stretches like a web across one corner of...

Books

The Washington Post
09/02/2019
Review | Keah Brown is trying to change how disabled people are viewed. Listen to her.

Brown is emotionally honest — sometimes devastatingly so — but knows to put readers at ease first with relatable-girlfriend charm and playful, fizzy humor. She makes the opening essay, “Can We Sit for a Sec?,” a half-joking paean to seats where she can rest: “My longest relationship has been with chairs,” she begins. “We are very happy together, committed and strong, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”

The Washington Post
05/19/2019
Review | He named his band the Slants to reclaim a slur. Not everyone approved.

His compelling memoir, “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court,” is about keeping true to his punk-rock heart and making history through an eight-year fight to get a trademark registration from the government for his all-Asian American band’s name, the Slants. “Nobody starts a band thinking that they’re going to go to the Supreme Court,” he writes.

Washington City Paper
04/27/2018
Sheila Heti's novel Motherhood

Heti has achieved a mystic’s appreciation for the basics of being alive, a place that many equally ambitious writers never reach. Unspooling the raw details of random chance, her romantic relationship, her maternal ancestors, her friends, her soul, and most importantly, her art, the novel deepens in feeling until the very last page.

News

Washington City Paper
09/25/2019
Places, Everyone

It wasn’t about Meiwah’s glory days of being a feeder of U.S. presidents and media types, memorialized in the signed portraits of famous smiles and handshakes decorating the wood-paneled walls. Rather, it had to do with small kindnesses from the unheralded women behind the counter working fast in a cramped space, taking orders, taking credit cards, and stapling paper bags, far from their childhood homes.

Washington City Paper
09/19/2019
D.C.'s Water Treatment Plant Makes Strides When It Comes to Preparing for Climate Change

At the same time, she thinks of all the other places in D.C. along the same waterfront, such as Reagan National Airport, that should be preparing for climate change, but need to get funding—a lot of it coming from the federal government. “And it’s just not been there because of the priorities that are being set,” she says.

Washington City Paper
12/13/2018
A Day in the Life at D.C.'s Crisis Line

Confronted with suffering like this, the average person in our culture doesn’t understand. It’s a reflex to turn away in discomfort from the plight of others. It’s common human nature to ignore the unsettling aspects of our messy human existence, or carelessly make fun of someone in pain. It’s easier, sometimes, to live like meaning resides on the shiny surfaces of society.

Essays

The Washington Post
05/29/2012
After a month in a nursing home, a woman finds beauty in the everyday world

My favorite time of day was right before falling asleep, when memories could come back to me. I lived for my dreams, because they were colorful and in them I could have adventures. I tried to find beauty in the way a facial tissue unfolded from the top of the box, like a paper fountain, or in how, when I ventured out of the nursing home on a gently sunny day with my mother pushing the wheelchair, a leaf lay on the asphalt. The leaf was red-tinged: singular.

The New York Times
12/28/2008
A Failure of Nerve, and a New Beginning

In my dreams, I can walk. Awake, I lie in bed because I have to — on my back, or on my side. I shift positions. I’ve learned I’m lucky I can do that. Sometimes I’m so tired that simply lying in bed is not restful enough. Can I be any more horizontal? Can my atrophied limbs sink any lower into the sheets, the mattress that molds to my form? I imagine falling through the mattress, but realize it would probably hurt when I hit the floor. I never get bored, lying there. Just sad.

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