AZN 「AZN 10 YEARS」

Posted on October 30, 2014 commentaires
AZN, c'est fini :-(
Ça faisait un bout de temps qu'il n'y avait plus de soirées, et ce que nous craignions a été confirmé par le message de Jerome Jemo (que nous reproduisons ci-dessous). On est super triste que cette soirée disparaisse, car entre l'ostracisme du milieu gay et le manque de solidarité des asiatiques gays en France, AZN, plus que simple lieu de drague entre « rice », « potato » ou « sticky », était le rendez-vous festif d'une « communauté » en mal de représentation (positive).


C’est aujourd’hui les 10 ans de la soirée, lancée le vendredi 17 septembre 2004 au Twin’s (ancien Scaramouche) rue Vivienne près des Grands Boulevards, coup d’envoi du rendez-vous Gay-Asian-Pop, aux succès et dynamisme que la communauté de Paris a pu connaitre et apprécier durant toutes ces années.

L’occasion de vous annoncer, après quelques mois de silence, qu’AZN ne reprendra pas. Pas jusque nouvel ordre en tous cas et pas en format mensuel, pour diverses raisons.

Le format communautaire et spécialisé de la soirée, limité en tant que minorité de minorité (souvent les mêmes têtes tous les mois) ou le caractère lassant pour le public de certains lieux (trop mixte, pas assez, trop petit, trop vu, trop chaud etc) ont toujours nécessité de rebondir et changer d’air après une ou deux saisons au grand maximum, à l’exception des Bains pendant 4 ans 1/2. Nous pensons avoir fait le tour de notre dernière résidence tenue avec succès pendant 1 an 1/2, se reposer sur ses lauriers ou insister ne sert à rien, nous le savons et aucune autre alternative ne nous semble plausible pour le moment, pour le format et les conditions de la soirée, assez spécifiques.

Il y a une réelle pénurie de résidences décentes pour une petite orga externe dans le centre de Paris (une sono et une clim “supportables”, des consos pas trop chères, des jours de week-end plutôt que semaine ou dimanche, un club avec un petit peu de style ou cachet si possible, sans compter les pouvoirs publics qui tôt ou tard viennent limiter les niveaux sonores pour le voisinage, nous obligeant souvent à tenir des pistes avec des sonos essoufflées ou cloitrées et surchauffées) et il nous semble illusoire de rebondir à tout prix, peut être lassés de devoir maintenir coute que coute la soirée dans des conditions que nous avons trop souvent connues et très rarement choisies et où il faut finir par se surpasser en promo, thèmes et animations pour palier une base logistique et un petit turn-over où il reste difficile de contenter tout le monde.

Je pense également l’avoir trop fait et la motivation n’est forcément plus la même, après 10 ans de mensuelles quasi non-stop contre vents et marées pour absolument mettre un point d’honneur à ce que la soirée existe et qu’elle reste fidèle à sa réputation. On sait qu’on ne fera pas mieux que tout ce qui a déjà pu être proposé, et comme déjà dit plus haut, il y a souvent eu ce besoin d’en donner toujours plus (des grands formats jusqu’à 500 personnes, connections, animations ou contenus divers, défilés de mode, guests prestigieux ou d’autres continents, une com et des flyers pour lesquels on s’est arraché les cheveux pendant des années, pour que ce soit parfait et bandant, sans complexe pour fièrement représenter la communauté face aux grands formats, etc) avec les moyens du bord et comme finalement peu de soirées de petite taille ou aussi spécialisées le font généralement, mais avec “l’ambition d’une grande” pour maintenir le potentiel. Et ça prend une énergie pas possible.

Il n’est pas certain que cà ou là, une date exceptionnelle puisse être proposée, selon occasion, invité ou endroit. Pour le moment ça n’est pas d’actualité et j’avoue ne pas avoir eu le courage de proposer une soirée pour les 10 ans non plus. Je pense être globalement passé à autre chose ou avoir besoin de stopper pour un certain temps. Mais “never say never” :-)
Les réseaux sociaux (Facebook, Twitter) qui relaient actus et évènements sous un angle gay, Asie ou pop culture/communauté, sont maintenus.

Évoquer des difficultés ou une lassitude, conditions de cet arrêt jusqu’à nouvel ordre, ne doit pas non plus noircir un tableau dont je suis finalement fier et satisfait. Il n’y a pas de quoi se plaindre en évoquant ces 10 années passées... Un grand merci à toutes les personnes qui ont pu participer à ce qu’AZN est devenu au fil des ans, clubs, partenaires et la petite équipe de base. Et évidemment le public communautaire qui a toujours répondu présent jusque récemment.

À bientôt ;-)

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George Nozuka 「Talk To Me」

Posted on October 24, 2014 commentaires

George Nozuka 「Talk To Me」 - from『Believe』released on October 24, 2014.


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Elaine Teng 「Talking to the Director of the Year's Best Gay Bilingual Film」

Posted on October 16, 2014 commentaires

This fall, 「Lilting」, a haunting movie about grief and loss, opened in theaters across the country (and opens in D.C. this week). Starring Ben Whishaw (“The Hour,” 「Skyfall」) and Cheng Pei-Pei (a 1960s martial arts star known to American audiences for 「Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon」), the film follows two characters divided by language but united in heartbreak over the death of the same man – a son for one, a lover for the other.

「Lilting」 – funded by a Film London program which gives aspiring filmmakers £150,000 to shoot a full-length feature – opened Sundance and won the Best Cinematography Award and a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize. It's the first full-length film for writer-director Hong Khaou – after a string of critically acclaimed short films – a native Cambodian who emigrated to the U.K. at age eight. On the phone with『The New Republic』, Khaou discussed language barriers, what it’s like to be an Asian director in the West, and the universal difficulty of coming out.

Elaine Teng: Where did the idea for the movie come from?

Hong Khaou: It came from a personal place. A lot of the themes in the movie are themes that I’m very close to. We’re an immigrant family, the film’s bilingual, and it’s about a mother who hasn’t assimilated to the Western way of life. I wouldn’t say it’s autobiographical, but it comes from a place that’s very close to me, and I wanted to reimagine it and make it work in the context of the film, to dramatize it.

ET: What was it like working with Ben Whishaw?

HK: It was amazing! He was so generous and incredibly… normal. He really cares about the craft and the arc of the story. I’ve always admired him from seeing so many of his films, and then to watch his process of getting to where a character is – it was really amazing.

The character of Richard [the lover of the deceased] is a really difficult character to play because he has to be so vulnerable and at the same time have a certain strength. I knew from day one that we don’t have anything to hide behind. It’s not a genre script. It’s a performance-led film. If the actors don’t get it right, you’ll miss out on all the nuance and detail that makes the story resonate. I’d seen him in so many films and he’s such an incredible actor. He has such an incredible truth when he plays anything, regardless of what you think of the film.

ET: Why did you decide to tell the story in two languages? How did you navigate two main characters who can’t speak directly to each other?

HK: That was what was fascinating about it. It presents such a complicated challenge, and, as a writer and filmmaker, I relish that. The whole premise is communication. We know communication brings about understanding and bridges cultural differences, but equally it can highlight differences so strongly in some of us that you can have conflict emerging out of it.

ET: I speak Chinese, and I was watching clips of the two characters going back and forth from Chinese to English through a translator, and it was great to see the process happening.

HK: Yeah, I know. It feels very real. I do that with my mother a lot because she doesn’t speak English.

ET: There aren’t many Asian directors working in the U.K. and the U.S. Do you feel like you should tell more Asian stories, or is it just you telling what you know?

HK: That’s a good question. It’s such a weighty thing. I wouldn’t say I’m obligated, but because I am East Asian and I have a particular outlook, it informs what I do. It’s the story that comes up. When it’s a story that I’ve written, inevitably I hope to have an Asian character in there because it’s where I come from, and I want to show that in film because I don’t see it that often. At the same time, I get given scripts as well [to direct], so I hope I can find a balance.

I know it’s really tough in the industry to tell those kinds of stories. Because 「Lilting」 comes from a scheme and it’s low budget, we didn’t have the commercial pressures or constraints that it has to be this way or that way. It really celebrated the artistic voice of the script. So I hope to, but I don’t want to come across as a bearer of change or whatever.

ET: We hear more about South Asian and African immigrant communities in Britain, but not so much about East Asian. What is it like generally to be East Asian in Britain?

HK: I find it odd that there aren’t many stories about the East Asian community in England. We get typecast heavily in mainstream media, in British TV, and in the kinds of films that get released here or in America. It’s still really reductive, and I think instead of waiting for someone to tell our story, we need more people to write their stories, to come from that community, to want to be writers, filmmakers, actors, and storytellers.

ET: So many Asian families have very traditional views on homosexuality. How much does the film deal with that, and how did you approach that?

HK: It wasn’t about how difficult it is to come out to a Chinese mother. It was more about how difficult it is to come out, full stop. Of course culture and religion all bring their specific nuances, but coming out is a universally hard thing to do. I don’t think this is the experience is any more difficult because you’re from an East Asian family. My experience coming out with my mother was fine; she didn’t have a problem with that. But what I really wanted to say was just how difficult it is to have to say that. It carries such a stigma still. We have to tell our parents. It’s a hard thing to have to do, and it carries the fear of disappointing them and the guilt and the shame that have historically been attached to it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


Author: Elaine Teng/Date: October 16, 2014/Source: https://newrepublic.com/article/119837/interview-lilting-director-hong-khaou


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Gail Sullivan 「John Cho of Selfie: ‘I experienced racism’」

Posted on October 09, 2014 commentaires

If his new ABC show 「Selfie」 stays on the air long enough, John Cho may make history as television’s first Asian romantic lead.

Actually, even if it gets canceled — as some are predicting — he already has, just by being cast in the role.

“I would call this revolutionary,” he told the Toronto Star earlier this year. “It’s certainly a personal revolution for me.”

You may recognize Cho as Captain Hikaru Sulu in the 2009 and 2013 「Star Trek」 films — and as Harold, half of the eponymous duo whose adventures are chronicled in the stoner comedy 「Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle」 and two subsequent films.

As 「Selfie」 battles not-so-great ratings and some poor reviews, Cho sat for an “Ask Me Anything” interview with the Web site Reddit. Here are some highlights:

On being Asian in Hollywood: “I experienced racism, and in my professional life, I try to take roles (and have always tried to take roles) that don’t fall within the parameters of any Asian stereotype,” Cho wrote. “And so to me, hopefully, that’s a positive thing I can put into popular culture and so maybe in some bizarrely tiny way that helps people not think of Asians in one particular way.”

On that time he wouldn’t do the accent: When Cho was asked to do an accent for 「Big Fat Liar」, he said he turned it down. “I don’t want to do this role in a kid’s comedy, with an accent, because I don’t want young people laughing at an accent inadvertently,” he wrote. But the director was willing to work with him to develop the character, a Hong Kong movie director. “I bumped into [director Shawn Levy] recently, and for him he says it was his first feature, and it was really awesome from HIS perspective that it was a good reminder that actors need to feel invested and the importance of collaboration, but for ME it was important that someone understood where I was coming from politically as far as representation of Asian-Americans.”

He wants to be Batman: “Ben Affleck’s doing it next right?” Cho wrote. “After Ben retires, I call next. A serious Asian tech billionaire maybe? Who moonlights as a caped crusader? I’ll buy it!”

Someone once threatened to kill him: “I was working at an ice cream / coffee / sandwich shop in college,” Cho wrote, “and there was a car alarm right outside that was SO loud, and i put a note on the car – I don’t know why, I was feeling sassy, it was just bothering me going for like 45 minutes – I put a note ‘You gotta come out and put out the alarm when you hear it!’ I was like 19 or 20. And it belonged to a very angry employee at the movie theater next door, and he said ‘Who wrote this note?’ and I said ‘I did’ and he said ‘I’m gonna go home, get my gun, and then I’m going to come back here, and shoot you.’ He did not keep his promise, thank god. I did believe him! Strangely enough, I finished out my shift.”

On the original Sulu, George Takei: “As an Asian kid in America,” Cho wrote, it was “unfailingly thrilling” to see George Takei on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. He added: “I also find it amazing that he has moved past being an actor and has become an American cultural icon. It’s pretty crazy. But people who’ve never seen 「Star Trek」 know who George Takei is, and if you say ‘Oh, my’ you know it’s the dude from 「Star Trek」.”

His connection to North Korea: “My father was born in what is now North Korea,” Cho wrote. ” … There are people who are risking their lives to smuggle in DVDS with Western pop culture movies and TV shows … it is considered a way to fight the regime by spreading images of Western Pop culture to show that what they’ve been saying about the West is untrue. It would be really amazing if they were aware of a person of Korean descent who was part of that popular culture and output.”

On 「Better Luck Tomorrow」: Cho felt that the 2002 crime drama, with a largely Asian-American cast, “was part and parcel of a great movement in independent cinema that came out of the 1990s. it came out of this great fervor,” he wrote. “It felt like we were pushing against a membrane and never really broke through, but I was really proud to be a part of the pushing. And maybe nothing really similar has come along, partially because the business has changed to be less about independent cinema and more about television, that’s where the interesting content is going.”

On 「American Pie」: “It could have been a forgettable gross out movie, but what carried the day was its earnestness and its characters,” Cho wrote of one of his first films. “Even though admittedly there’s a sexual pie, a man has sex with a pie, but I think there’s a lot of imitators and they were never able to quite capture the spirit of that movie, because what that movie did was effectively capture and remember what it felt like to be that age.”

Correction: this story previously said 「Better Luck Tomorrow」 was released in 1992.

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Anita Dolce Vita 「‘Hey Queer’ Photo Project Documents Asian Dapper Queer Style, Builds Community」

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Last week when we posted our roundup of 15 Instagram accounts that are doing masculine gender queer style right, we were thrilled to include photographer Sinru Ku’s Insta feed on the list. But, after further investigation and reader tips, we found that Sinru’s account was actually also serving as an adjunct to the 「Hey Queer」 photo project, a visual catalog of dapper queer Asians that aims to document diversity and build community. We caught up with the creative visionaries behind the project, Sinru Ku and Wen Liu, to learn more about their mission, inspiration, and personal style. (All photos courtesy 「Hey Queer」.)

Wen (left) and Sinru (right). Photo by TY Chang


dapperQ: Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Wen: I grew up in Taiwan and lived in Seattle for 8 years before moving to New York 5 years ago. I am currently 27 years old and a doctoral student in Social Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. I am also a writer and have published two novels in Taiwan, regarding queer desire and diasporic queer communities that I have been involved in since moving to the US. I am the co-founder, editor, and one of the models at 「Hey Queer」.

Sinru: I am a native of Taiwan and lived in North Carolina for 10 years before moving to Brooklyn 2 years ago. Currently, I am a freelance photographer and a marketing intern at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn. I graduated from University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.A. in Dance and minor in Studio Arts. I am 25 years old now. I am the photographer and also a co-founder at 「Hey Queer」.

dapperQ: What is the mission of 「Hey Queer」?

Hey Queer: We hope to bring out queer Asians’ diverse personalities through documenting their fashion styles. The way we think about style is not how well one mimics a fashion icon or a particular trend, but how one expresses their characteristics freely and originally. So, unlike most fashion blogs that focus on trends or brands, we try to capture one’s individuality by hanging out with the model and getting to know them in a friendly setting before the photo shoot. We hope to change the stereotypical representations of queer Asian in the mainstream, or the complete lack thereof, through this project.

dapperQ: Can you tell me a bit about the history and evolution of 「Hey Queer」? What motivated you to start the project?

Wen: I started a writing project called 「Hey Stranger」 about my daily queer encounters last summer. Since Sinru and I hung out quite often, she causally mentioned the idea of taking pictures of my daily outfits as a summer photographic project. We didn’t expect it, but the project actually started to get some traction on different social media sites; that was a wonderful surprise. We then decided to incorporate our other dapper queer Asian friends in the project since we hang out and drink and talk about clothes all the time!

dapperQ: Some see fashion as being superficial and consumerist. But, it means so much more, particularly in the queer community. How does 「Hey Queer」 use style to empower viewers or to convey the project’s message?

Hey Queer: Truthfully, fashion is not the sole purpose of the project. We think what is more important is building a queer community where people feel comfortable with expressing their styles and individuality. Especially for female-bodied queer Asians, there is not as much public space in the LGBTQ communities. So we hope to demonstrate that queer Asians can have fun and be confident, while looking sharp.

dapperQ: How do you define your style?

Wen: I like the classic dapper style of suit blazers, vests, and button-down shirts. I also like to incorporate some vintage pieces such as oxford dress shoes, ankle boots, and leather accessories.

Sinru: I usually wear something casual, mix-and-and match, and colorful outfits. I like button-down shirts and oversize denim and/or bomber jackets. Good pairs of socks in quirky patterns are also important!

dapperQ: Has it been a journey defining your look?

Wen: It has been a long journey, indeed. When I first came out, I wore more baggy clothes because I wanted to look masculine. However, it really didn’t suit me well since I have a very petite frame. When I started to teach in colleges, I was looking for more formal outfit to look more professional and since then I have been drawn to dapper attire with a tailored, slim fit.

Sinru: I’ve never really try to identify what my look or style would be like, but I tend to wear clothes that make me feel comfortable with being myself. I also like to incorporate colorful mix-and-match patterns in my outfit. Previously, I’ve tried to dress like Wen’s dapper style, but for my personality, I just don’t really fit anything that makes me too serious. I’m less formal compared to Wen’s style.

dapperQ: Have you experienced any challenges when it comes to dressing dapperQ?

Wen: I think besides the obvious challenge of how the overall dapper clothing industry targets cis-male customers with a certain body size, being an Asian female-bodied person with a small body frame restricts my options. Unlike some with larger frames who can find their sizes in men’s department, I usually have to tailor my clothes whether they are from men’s or women’s department.

dapperQ: What has most influenced your style?

Wen: Wong Kar Wai’s films and American period dramas situated in 1950s and 1960s.

Sinru: I’m inspired by the natural bright colors surrounding me especially in the fall season. The mixture of colors suit my personality and it’s fun to mix them together.

dapperQ: Who are your fashion icons?

Wen: I don’t follow any particular fashion icons, but I pay attention to everyday people in the streets of New York City. I think people here are full of creative styles even if they are just casually going out for brunch over the weekend mornings.

Sinru: I don’t follow any particular fashion icons as well. However, I do love people watching and seeing how others dress for themselves in the street of New York and Brooklyn.

dapperQ: Where do you shop for masculine attire?

Wen: I shop at European brands such as Topman and River Island for the small sizes in men’s clothing. I also shop when I go back to Taiwan where the men’s clothes are just more androgynous and smaller in size in general.

Sinru: I usually shop at Uniqlo for men’s clothing and sometimes I likes to go thrift shopping at 10 Ft Single by Stella.

dapperQ: What is the one article of clothing you cannot live without?

Wen: A good pair of tight black jeans, actually.

Sinru: A mix-and-match patterns sweater, ha!

dapperQ: What can we expect next from 「Hey Queer」?

Hey Queer: Hopefully we can expand the project by recruiting more contributors! So please contact us at sinru@sinruku.com if you are a dapper queer Asian in NYC.

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N.O.M 엔오엠 「N.O.M (Nature Of Man)」

Posted on October 08, 2014 commentaires

N.O.M 「N.O.M (Nature Of Man)」 - released on October 08, 2014.


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Angry Homosexual 「5 Signs a Gay White Man is a Rice Queen」

Posted on October 07, 2014 commentaires
A typical rice queen has many bowls of rice vying for his attention

A rice queen is both a friend and a foe for the gay Asian man. On one hand he represents the opportunity to be with a white man, something so many gay Asians crave. On the other hand, due to the fundamental imbalance in the Asian-White dating market, a relationship is unlikely to last.

A rice queen is a gay white man who primarily or exclusively dates gay Asian men.

Every gay Asian man needs to be on high alert for rice queens. Either you’ll end up with an ugly one that nobody else wants, or you’ll constantly be fighting to keep him because there are umpteen other attractive gay Asians jostling for his attention.

It’s rare that a rice queen will admit to being one, but with a little bit of common sense and detective work, you’ll soon be a rice queen identifying expert.


Five signs a gay white man is a rice queen

1. He messaged you first
If a gay white man messages an Asian first, he’s probably a rice queen.

Most gay white men don’t date Asians. But a small number of them, usually the most open-minded ones, have their first Asian experience. Then they become hooked to the Asian’s boyish, youthful looks and smooth, hairless body.

By the time he messages you, you’re not his first and definitely won’t be his last gay Asian adventure.

2. He has a lot of Asian friends
Asians are everywhere and it’s nice to see interracial friendships blossoming. But if a disproportionate number of his friends are Asians, there’s something more than random selection going on.

Further, if his profile picture features him as the only white guy among two or more Asians, you’ve got a smoking gun on your hands.

He’s probably slept with many of these “friends” in the past. If you get involved, chances are you’ll become part of his vast trophy collection. “Yup, had him.”

3. His profile picture was taken in Asia

The Great Wall? Taipei 101? The Tokyo subway?

Asia is a rice queen’s mecca. From the moment he steps off the plane and switches on Jack’d, his phone is on the brink of exploding with welcomes and invitations from gay Asians barely old enough to drive. No matter how old or ugly a rice queen is, he’s a movie star in Asia.

Visiting Asia is a rite of passage for rice queens. Those with the means will generally return at least once a year. Rice queens who frequently travel to Asia are the most dangerous type, as they’re gleefully aware of how replaceable you are.

4. He has Chinese characters in his profile
He might have a Chinese name or slip a few Chinese movie or book titles in his interests. In extreme cases whole sections of his profile may be in Chinese characters, which you may not even be able to read. These rice queens are among the most sophisticated out there. He probably speaks Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese etc. better than you.

Run... don’t walk away. Here’s a rice queen who’s so experienced at his art he’s learned to do it in your language.
5. He’s a lot older than you
A rice queen could be around your age, but chances are he’ll be at least 10 years older than you. Since his desirability only drops slightly with age, a rice queen can, even at fairly advanced ages, land himself a Grade A gay Asian.

You’ve been warned

Now get out there and have fun. Just don’t complain to me when your Asian youth has worn off and you’ve been cast into the rust heap section of the bar where no white man will touch you with a ten foot dildo. I told you so. :)
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E. Alex Jung 「An In-Depth Cultural Analysis of Asian Male TV Characters Getting Some Action」

Posted on October 03, 2014 commentaires
This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Not so long ago, a friend and I would scream “Asian!” whenever we saw an Asian actor, anywhere, on TV. I have a distinct memory of freezing the screen the first time I saw Harry Shum Jr. on 「Glee」. Back then, he wasn’t Mike Chang or even “other Asian,” but just a glorified extra who swayed like a tree in the background. Still, I remember noticing him and thinking, Whoa. He is such a babe. Those were heady times, 2009.

The television landscape has changed a bit since then. For the very first time ever, an Asian-American male is headlining a comedy, courtesy of John Cho and 「Selfie」. Cho is acutely aware of how big of a deal this is, saying, “I would call this revolutionary. It’s certainly revolutionary for me.” His role as a Henry Higgins–type to Karen Gillan’s modern-day Eliza Doolittle comes out of a long, unfunny history of stereotyping the Asian male as a tongue-tied, conniving eunuch. The enduring yellowface of 「2 Broke Girls」’ Han Lee is a constant reminder of a legacy that extends back to Long Duk Dong in 「Sixteen Candles」 and Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in 「Breakfast at Tiffany’s」. Even as martial arts stars, Asian men have been famously asexual. (JET LI NEVER KISSED AALIYAH. Never forget.)

I had to ask: What does it take for an Asian male to get some action on TV? While there have been trailblazing Asian male actors, such as George Takei on 「Star Trek」 and B.D. Wong on 「Law & Order: SVU」, few of them have played characters who have had romantic relationships (yes, Takei’s Sulu felt up Uhura in that one episode, but there was no kiss, and he was playing an evil version of himself). The guidelines I gave myself to compile a list of Asian male characters who’ve gotten some were simple and fairly generous: He must be an established character on a TV show (so, no nameless randos, but I also cataloged some of those in the odds and ends below) who has had a real, onscreen kiss with someone, not just an implied sexual connection. I found that Asian males on television tend to be characterized by sexuality in six different ways, and I’ve categorized those below.* The hope here is that by making the list, it will one day make itself obsolete.

TYPE 1: THE JOHN CHOS

John Cho and Gabrielle Union on 「FlashForward」


Probably more than any other Asian actor, Cho has gotten the most action on TV. His first major role came in 2001 when he played Chau Presley on the WB’s 「Off Centre」. In a flashback episode, he remembers his first time with another Asian-American girl. After becoming John Cho famous, he returned to television opposite the ageless Gabrielle Union in the short-lived 「FlashForward」. The general rule of thumb here, though, is that if you’re an established actor or you’re on a hit TV show, you tend to get more equitable treatment, i.e., you rise above racial typecasting.

Other instances:

TYPE 2: THE HUMOROUS HOOKUPS

While the wonderful Ken Jeong may be satirizing stereotypes as Ben Chang on 「Community」, his sexuality is still a punch line on the show. Chang and Shirley hook up in the bathroom during the zombie Halloween episode when he’s dressed up as Peggy Fleming and she’s Glenda the Good Witch. For a while there, Danny Pudi’s Abed becomes sexual only when he plays a character like Han Solo. Even in a show of nerdy beta males, it’s fair to say that Kunal Nayyar’s Raj on 「Big Bang Theory」 is the ultimate. He becomes mute around women even though he desperately wants to get with them. Even when Kaley Cuoco’s Penny wakes up naked next to him, he tells her that they never consummated because he got prematurely excited.

Other instances:

TYPE 3: THE COLOR-BLINDS

Big, “color-blind” ensembles have been more in vogue post-「Lost」. From Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford on 「Parks and Recreation」 to Raza Jaffrey on 「Smash」, casting with no mind to race has meant ignoring specificities. During the Comedy Central roast of James Franco, Ansari joked, “We’re straight up snatching roles from white actors: My last three roles were Randy, Chet, and Tom!” He was saying this as evidence of how far we’ve come, but wouldn’t it be even greater if they could be named Aziz, too?

Other instances:

TYPE 4: THE ASIANS FROM ASIA

Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim in 「Lost」


This is a variant of the former in that it’s a celebration of diversity, but not quite the same thing. It’s not color-blind casting so much as creating a little United Nations. Often, they’re Asian from Asia rather than Asian-American characters, like Daniel Dae Kim on 「Lost」. Part of this allows “culture clashes” to be at the forefront, and always marks Asian-ness as “foreign.” (Never mind that the actors are usually Asian-American.)

Other instances:
  • Masi Oka, 「Heroes
  • James Kyson, 「Heroes」
  • Naveen Andrews, 「Lost」
  • Sendhil Ramamurthy, 「Heroes」, 「Beauty and the Beast

TYPE 5: THE STEALTH ASIANS

Darren Criss and Chris Colfer in 「Glee」


Fun fact: Dean Cain, who played superhero hunk Superman in 「Lois & Clark」 opposite Teri Hatcher, is actually named Dean George Tanaka — his surname coming from his Japanese paternal grandfather. Although Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on 「Glee」, is half-Filipino, the character is assumed to be white (although Rachel does make an oblique reference that they would make “vaguely Eurasian” babies). Television, generally unable to deal with racial difference more complex than the black-white binary, has no idea what to do with mixed-race Asians. Basically, if you pass as white, it’s a don’t ask, don’t tell type of situation. It’s worth noting that the only show that really deals with mixed-Asian identity is Steve Byrne’s 「Sullivan & Son」 on TBS.

Other instances:

TYPE 6: THE NORMALS
Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun in 「The Walking Dead」


My Korean-American roommate told me that watching Glenn and Maggie hook up on 「The Walking Dead」 was a high-five for Asian dudes everywhere. Glenn is an uncommon sight on television: the Asian guy who plays the romantic center of a drama (a post-apocalyptic thriller, no less). And what’s even more refreshing is that he isn’t hot in a super-obvious, abs-forward kind of way, but as a sweet, accessible guy who is dependable and kick-ass in times of crisis. I feel like I’ve actually met Glenn at a bar (and maybe awkwardly hit on him).

Other instances:
  • Jordan Rodrigues, 「The Fosters
  • B.D. Wong, 「All-American Girl」
  • Clyde Kusatsu, 「All-American Girl」
  • Steve Byrne, 「Sullivan & Son」
  • Harry Shum Jr., 「Glee」

Odds and Ends
  • In a mea culpa for the walking stereotype that is Han Lee on 「2 Broke Girls」, showrunner Michael Patrick King cast the hunky Tim Chiou (you’re welcome) to make out with Beth Behrs. Sure, he played a computer guy, but hey, baby steps, right?
  • One of the few gay Asian male characters on TV was also an egregious instance of minstrelsy. On 「Queer As Folk」, Emmett Honeycutt shows off his new Japanese boyfriend/sex worker Katsuo, played by Korean-Canadian actor Sean Baek. Katsuo doesn’t speak a word of English, which provides plenty of opportunities for puns (“he gives new meaning to Pacific Rim!”).
  • The other instance occurs in the first two episodes of 「How to Get Away With Murder」, when Jack Falahee’s Connor Walsh seduces a bespectacled IT guy named Oliver to get him to do work for him. While in the premiere Oliver “turns over” for him, in the second episode he says, “Tonight, I do you.” Then there’s a bunch of shirtless making out. It’s kind of hot.
  • This hasn’t happened yet, but Elyes Gabel, who plays the protagonist Walter O’Brien on CBS’s 「Scorpion」, has a love interest played by Katharine McPhee. From the glimpse of his origin story in the premiere, it looks like the actor’s South Asian roots have been entirely whitewashed by the show.
  • Jack Yang appeared on an episode of 「Cashmere Mafia」 and kissed Lucy Liu’s character.
  • Margaret Cho kisses Garrett Wang on 「All-American Girl」 in the episode “Submission Impossible.”

What’s our lesson here? More fully realized, three-dimensional characters that convey the Asian-American experience! Less racism!

*There is some overlap in the categories. That said, that we can even attempt a fairly comprehensive list of every Asian male to have had an onscreen kiss demonstrates that there is a serious problem of racial inequity here. Try doing it with white actors in one season and your brain will explode.

See also: 2 Broke Girls Still Not Interested in Avoiding Asian Stereotypes


E. Alex Jung
Twitter: https://twitter.com/e_alexjung

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Angry Homosexual 「Gay Asians Should Boycott HBO’s Looking」

Posted on October 02, 2014 commentaires
As a gay Asian man I’m outraged at HBO’s 「Looking」 and I’m calling for a boycott of the show by all self-respecting gay Asian men.

No Gay Asian main characters in HBO’s 「Looking」

Where is 「Looking」 set? San Francisco.

What percentage of San Francisco is Asian? 33.3%

And how many of 「Looking」’s main characters are Asian? Zero.

I can forgive 「Looking」’s creators for lot of things – the contrived dialogue or the way they make San Francisco’s MUNI look like the New York Subway. I mean, you have to take a few liberties to make a show interesting.

But did they honestly think no one would notice that their characters don’t look like San Francisco gay men? That maybe they left out an ethnic group that practically saturates whole areas of the city?

You might argue that 「Queer as Folk」, the groundbreaking gay drama that HBO debuted in 2000 left out Asians in addition to Latinos, Blacks and even dark haired whites. But America has changed drastically since then, and this is San Francisco, not Pittsburgh where Queer as Folk was set.

The fact is, gay Asians are an integral part of San Francisco’s LGBT fabric. We’re everywhere. So why don’t we deserve a main character? It would weave the whole rice queen-potato queen dynamic into the storyline which would make the show eight times more interesting.

HBO is doing the whole world a disfavor by leaving us out. For better or worse, the world looks to American culture to lead on a number of things, and gay culture is no exception. They could have used this as an opportunity to portray an Asian (or black) gay man struggling with his identity, covert racism, and eeking out a place for himself in the gay hierarchy. You know, like gay minority men do in real life. And it could have been inspirational to young gay minority men who struggle not only with their sexuality but how it clashes with their culture and puts their physical and mental health at risk.

We’re still at a point where gay isn’t quite 100% normal, and a show like 「Looking」 HBO makes waves far beyond our shores. HBO, you’ve disappointed me. I know it’s complicated to portray different races together and you’re just making an entertaining show that hopefully makes you money. But while you’re at it, please don’t leave out 33% of gay men in San Francisco and pretend like we don’t exist. We’re a part of this city and without us, you aren’t showing anything resembling gay life in San Francisco.

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