Patrick Huang 「Mama Rainbow: Interview with Fan Popo」

Posted on April 30, 2015 commentaires
Image courtesy of Fan Popo

Fan Popo is a prolific film director and activist from mainland China. His latest documentary film 「Mama Rainbow」 (2012) features six mothers, from all over China, who openly and freely talk about their experiences with their gay and lesbian children. They are helping to redefine the Chinese family dynamics in a period where the LGBT community has little space for expression in China. Fan Popo is a rising star in LGBT China and his work has been recognized by international community. In mid April this year, Fan Popo was awarded “Visual Inspiration of the Year” at the Asia LGBT Milestone Award 2015 (ALMA) held in Bangkok.

This is my interview with the winner.

Patrick Huang (PH): Hi Popo, first of all congratulations for the win and we are truly happy to have you here. I already refer to you a little bit in the introduction. But, I’m pretty sure that you have some more things to say.

Fan Popo (FP): Hi Patrick and everyone. I am now a full-time filmmaker and also organize screenings for the LGBT films in China. I have been filming documentaries on LGBT issues since 2007. I am also a committee of Beijing Queer Film Festival and Beijing LGBT center.

PH: Great!!! What does the overall situation about gay communities in China look like? Compared to when you were young, is the situation improving?

FP: In my school years, I was keen on looking for books in the library to really understand my (gay) identity and found that the situation has changed a lot over the years. Since 1997, being a gay person in China is no longer criminalized, and since 2001, being gay is no longer considered a mental illness. The unit of family is important in Chinese culture. Today families are more tolerant to other gay people, but they are still not willing to accept if their own children are gay. There is still very strict censorship on LGBT media too. All of my films are banned for the big theaters. I can only show them in, like, a small café and even for 「Mama Rainbow」. (sigh)

PH: Well, it is not at all unpromising. At least your fans can watch it online, right? What website can your fans go through?

FP: Yes, you can watch through or if you are outside China, you can do it through YouTube. Just search with “Mama Rainbow”. (grin)

PH: Well, is there any film you are shooting now?

FP: ….Well, now I’m spending most of my time on Papa Rainbow. We have to find several fathers (whose children are gay) throughout the entire China. That is really amazing. Besides that, I am also working on a documentary. It is about the same-sex couples who took wedding pictures on street in 2009. Yes, I follow 2 couples and it will be on screen in 2019 approximately. That is also a good time to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, I think. (grin)

PH: Great!, I’m not sure if you can tell us a little bit of how Papa Rainbow will look like. What is the difference and similarity, compared to 「Mama Rainbow」?

FP: Papa Rainbow will be special and different from 「Mama Rainbow」. I don’t want to duplicate to what we did to 「Mama Rainbow」. However, I would like to keep it secret for now. (giggling) But, I can tell that it will be done within this year.

PH: Oh!, I can’t really wait to see it and I hope your fans are looking forward to seeing it too Great!!! Now what do you want to say to your fans?

FP: To my lovely audiences, without your support, I would have not been able to accomplish to such a great extent. To me, film is the most substantial tool of communication. I hope you will continue to follow LGBT issues in China and support the independent films. (smile) Also thank you very much to Patrick for putting this interview together.

PH: Thanks Popo and please let us know when Papa Rainbow is out. (hug)

Patrick Huang is a Thai national who has a passion for cultural studies of Sinophone communities. Professionally he has been and is working as a media analyst, preferably on cinematic medium, and English-language editor. His main research area ascribes to gender and sexuality, as well as its representation, in both social and media dimensions and in both Thai and Chinese contexts. He also published his academic article “Representations of Chinese Masculinities: A Case Study of Jackie Chan” in Asian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society in April 2012. Should you hope for communicating with Patrick Huang, do not hesitate to voice out to

Author: Patrick Huang/Date: April 30, 2015/Source:
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BTS 방탄소년단 「I Need U」

Posted on April 29, 2015 commentaires

BTS 「I Need U」 -from『The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever』released on April 29, 2015.

Une chanson vraiment pas mal pour un clip assez quelconque. On préfère de loin leur performance au M Countdown... en shorts et marinières, ça n'a rien de pervers évidemment !

BTS 「I Need U」 live performance @M Countdown on April 30, 2015.

La version japonaise :

BTS 「I Need U」 (Japanese Ver.) - released on December 08, 2015.

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Towkio 「.WAV Theory」

Posted on April 28, 2015 commentaires

Towkio 「.WAV Theory」 - released on April 28, 2015.

Chicago rapper Towkio, of the Save Money crew, just dropped his new mixtape『.WAV Theory』. It includes 「Heaven Only Knows「, his collaboration with Chance the Rapper, along with team-ups with Vic Mensa and Chance's Social Experiment collaborator Donnie Trumpet, as well as production from Chance, Kaytranda, and the artist himself. [...]

Le beau Preston Oshita

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Justin Chan 「6 Ridiculous Myths We Need to Stop Spreading About Asian Men」

Posted on April 27, 2015 commentaires
When it comes to online dating, Asians might appear to be the most “popular” singles. A survey by revealed that, among all races and genders, Asian women receive the most online dating messages. OkCupid famously plumbed its data and found that Asian women get the most favorable attraction scores from single men of all races.

Yet if you take a closer look, a gender imbalance emerges. OkCupid also found that Asian men got some of the worst ratings from women. Why are they seemingly less attractive prospects?

It’s because a many non-Asian women see Asian men as anything but hot dates. Weak, effeminate, geeky, unsexy – Asian men are subject to a litany of unflattering stereotypes that run counter to society’s masculine ideals. Given these dehumanizing labels, Asian men often feel that they have to take the extra step to prove to potential partners, straight and gay, that they are anything but the stereotypical Asian male.

Here are six myths that we need to let go of.

Myth 1: Asian men are socially awkward geeks.
Steven Yeun for『People』

Asian males have long been depicted as math- or science-loving nerds who would rather spend their time studying than socializing with women. “We’re pretty much seen on the nerdy side,” Andrew Fung of the Fung Bros, a Chinese-American duo best known for discussing Asian-American issues on YouTube, told『Mic』. “Nerds run the world, but it’s kind of unfortunate because they’re seen [in a bad light] by women.”

Let’s be clear. Although some studies show that Asian students excel in math and science, clearly not all Asians ace both subjects. And even if they did, would that render them incapable of interacting with females? Any person who’s ever dated knows that intelligence and sexiness aren’t mutually exclusive – just ask stylish Korean actor Steven Yeun, who graduated from Kalamazoo College with a degree in psychology and a concentration in neuroscience.

Myth 2: Asian men are weak and effeminate.
Bruce Lee

The cliche of Asian men as scrawny, submissive weaklings is prominently visible in pop culture, from bumbling Mr. Yunioshi in 「Breakfast at Tiffany’s」 to Han from 「2 Broke Girls」, a character “regularly made fun of for his lack of sex appeal, broken English and general uncoolness.” To counter such images, Asian-Americans have needed the likes of Bruce Lee, a Chinese-American and legendary onscreen badass who was later credited as the father of modern mixed martial arts.

Not all Asian men know martial arts, but plenty are as assertive and confident as Lee famously was. “I think if people could just get past that initial hang-up, they’ll see that Asian-American men are just like any other men,” C.N. Le, a sociology professor at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, told『Mic』. “There are [those] that are very charismatic, athletic and have very strong leadership capabilities.”

Myth 3: Asian men aren’t well-endowed.
e.g., Nichkhun’s... but whatever!

Some women dismiss Asian men based on the assumption that Asian males don’t “measure up” to white, black or Hispanic men. “When waves of people believe that a penis is relative to your height, foot size or how big your monster truck is, it’s easy to see a five-foot-five Asian dude and think, ‘He’s not tall, therefore, his penis isn’t that big,’” relationship blogger Ranier Maningding told『Mic』.

Researchers recently put that assumption to rest when they surveyed 15,521 penises from around the world and revealed that most are within the “normal” size range, noting no significant distinctions between nationalities or ethnicities. In fact, only 2.28% of the world’s population has an “abnormally small” penis size. In short, ladies need not worry or jump to conclusions, big or small.

Myth 4: Asian men just aren’t sexy.
Hao Yunxiang by Idris + Tony

The most commonly uttered reservation about Asian men might be this: “I’m just not into Asian guys.” But what we find personally attractive is influenced heavily by societal definitions of beauty, which have long been rooted in limiting Western standards. “When whiteness is considered superior, white people are considered more attractive by definition and, insofar as the appearance of people of other races deviates from that standard, they are considered ugly,” Lisa Wade wrote for the『Society Pages』.

The truth is that when it comes to classic sex appeal, there are few traits Asian men can’t embody like any other men – something Brooklyn-based fashion photography duo Idris + Tony showed in their series for last year. From six-pack abs to rugged good looks, their Asian models checked every “sexy” box.

Myth 5: Asian males treat women poorly.
Daniel Dae Kim

Studies on Asian patriarchy, along with media characterizations like the misogynistic villain Dr. Fu Manchu, have given the impression that Asian males possess a “deviant masculinity” that leads them to treat women worse than non-Asian males. It’s a stereotype that still has sway, even among some Asian women.

In reality, every ethnic group has wannabe alpha males who debase women.

“It’s really weird to me how we’re always seen as these people that are oppressing our women,” Guy Aoki, co-founder of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, told Mic. “There are chauvinistic people in every race. It’s just that the proportion in which we’re portrayed as chauvinistic is just way out of whack.”

Myth 6: Asian men only date Asian women.
Karen Gillan & John Cho in 「Selfie」 (we loved this show!)

“It becomes a vortex of misunderstanding,” JT Tran, who founded ABCs of Attraction, a dating boot camp for Asian men, told『Mic』. “Asian guys presume that white women or black women aren’t interested in them because they don’t try. And white women and black women only see Asian men associating with other Asians and say, ‘Oh, you only date Asians, so I’m not going to try.’”

Sure, there are plenty of Asian men who bond with Asian women over shared cultural similarities. But many date and marry beyond their cultural confines; 28% of all Asian-American newlyweds in 2010 “married out,” according to a Pew Research report.

As the myths persist, it’s important that daters, straight and gay, look beyond the surface and make their own judgments. Asian males, like all men, have a lot to offer. Who knows? The next Asian man you come across might be the one you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Correction: April 28, 2015
A earlier version of this article misattributed a quote. It was from Andrew Fung of the Fung Brothers, not David. Additionally, this article has been updated to clarify language about average penis size.

Justin Chan
Justin is a web producer at American Lawyer Media and a freelance columnist at PolicyMic. He recently graduated from Columbia Journalism School, where he earned a Master’s degree in magazine journalism.
Follow @jchan1109

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Xin Seha 신세하 「Physical Medium」

Posted on April 25, 2015 commentaires

Xin Seha 「Physical Medium」 - from『24Town』released on April 25, 2015.

Directed by N’Ouir

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Jana Borras & Sam Maalouf 「Gay Asians of Toronto」

Posted on April 24, 2015 commentaires

Many community groups and organizations have played important roles in the birth, development and growth of modern LGBT culture. For many LGBT people, groups have been our introduction to queer communities, the places where we made friends, developed our sense of belonging, and organized around important issues.

In many Canadian cities, “gay liberation” organizations were founded in the early 1970s, becoming the nexus for political, social and cultural activities – and as the LGBT communities expanded and evolved, those united groups gave way to expanded networks of groups serving more specialized needs. Yet their importance is frequently overlooked: many such groups have garnered little media coverage, leaving their roles in queer history not well-understood by later generations of LGBT people.

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives maintains vertical files of historical documents from many community groups from Toronto and nationwide, and even some from other countries. Here, we will briefly highlight Gay Asians of Toronto, a group which had an important role in establishing a place in the community for LGBT people of colour whose unique issues and perspectives were too often marginalized.

Gay Asians of Toronto was an organization encouraging political advocacy and social support for gay Asian individuals living in Toronto. Formed in 1980, the organization strived to provide a nurturing environment where gay Asians could find support through shared personal experiences and exchange of information. The group lasted from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

The group had its genesis after artist Richard Fung attended the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, inspiring him to launch an organization that would create a sense of inclusivity and belonging for the Asian Canadians in Toronto. When Fung got back from the conference, he contacted Gerald Chan, an activist who had published 「Out of the Shadows」, an article on being gay and Chinese, in the Toronto-based magazine『Asianadian』. They were soon joined by Nito Marquez, Tony Souza and Tony Chung.

After posting ads around Toronto, the organization began meeting at the 519 Church Street community centre as a peer discussion group every other Saturday. As an organization, GAT aimed to promote unity and mutual support among gay Asians by organizing social, cultural and educational activities for their members. In addition, the organization wanted to provide culturally sensitive social and support services, as well as to advocate on issues relevant to their community’s concerns. GAT’s main political goal was to create a collective gay Asian community as a source of empowerment.

In 1982, Gay Asians of Toronto were chosen to lead Toronto’s Pride parade. The Toronto Pride Committee approached GAT to lead the parade after wanting to host the event in Grange Park; because of its proximity to Chinatown, there was much disapproval among the Chinese Canadian community. Alan Li, a prominent group member, was the host speaker, and explained in his speech that “as an Asian I have additional battle in the fight for my own liberation and for the liberation of the Asian community. As gays, we have to fight for our rights in the straight society, but Asian gays, like black gays, Jewish gays, sexual minorities, and the handicapped among us and every other minority within the minority have other battles to face as well.”

In 1983, Gay Asians of Toronto launched the quarterly magazine『Celebrasian』. By 1990, 18 issues had been released.『Celebrasian』served as a forum for organizational communication, and was provided in English and Chinese translations. The magazine usually consisted of local and international community news, personal stories, poems, interviews of Asian-Canadians and ads seeking for partners.

In 1985, Gay Asians of Toronto hosted the Seventh International Gay Association Conference, with the theme of 「Smashing Borders and Opening Spaces: General Oppression of Gay and Lesbian People」. The conference was attended by at least 500 delegates from different countries. Most of the discussion revolved around political organization, and confronting cultural identity and the racial politics of the gay community. In 1986, Fung produced the video 「Orientations」, a documentary film in which 14 gay and lesbian Asians telling their personal stories about coming out and finding their place in the community.

In 1990, Gay Asians of Toronto established an AIDS service organization to deal with the unique needs of LGBT Asians. The group provided support and education around AIDS, and addressed the homophobia gay Asians may experience. On World AIDS Day in December 1994, the organization’s AIDS project merged with Southeast Asian Service Centre’s Vietnamese AIDS project and the Toronto Chinese Health Education to form a new alliance organization called Asian Community AIDS Services.

The group dissolved in the 2000s.

Original written by Jana Borras with Sam Maalouf for Prof. Elspeth Brown’s seminar on Queer Theory in the Fall of 2015 at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. The original was designed for wikipedia. This version edited by CLGA volunteer Craig Schiller for the CLGA Blog putting the intersection of Asian identity and sexuality on the map from the 1970s to 2000s

© Copyright 2016 Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

Author: Jana Borras & Sam Maalouf/Date: 2015/Source:

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Marc Snetiker 「Conrad Ricamora on breaking down barriers in How to Get Away with Murder and The King and I」

Posted on April 23, 2015 commentaires

A lot can change in a year. You could be facing unemployment one New Year’s Eve — and a pair of golden tickets to both Broadway and Shondaland the next.

By now, Conrad Ricamora has settled into something of a new life after having one hell of a 2014  — with a juicy supporting role as shy IT guy Oliver on fall’s runaway hit 「How to Get Away with Murder」, a breakout stage performance in the Public Theater’s beloved Off Broadway disco musical 「Here Lies Love」, and a Broadway debut in the Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of 「The King and I」, which opened to raves on April 16.

They’re the three projects that have put the 36-year-old actor on the map—and as an Air Force brat, Ricamora is more than familiar with how geography can change a person. After living in Florida, Iceland, California, and Colorado, he spent most of his childhood in the South, even attending Charlotte’s Queens University on a tennis scholarship. Post-graduation, he remained in North Carolina to pursue professional tennis — but soon traded in his racket for raconteuring as he worked at a coffee house and conquered Charlotte’s theatre scene.

“As is turns out, I kind of hit the ceiling with what you could do theatre-wise in Charlotte,” says Ricamora with a laugh. After community gigs and “godawful” local commercials, Ricamora worked as an actor in Philadelphia for four years, then headed back to the South for three years of grad school. “The mistake people that want to be actors make is to move to New York or LA right away. But it’s like... go act somewhere first,” he advises. “Be an actor. A story is a story and an audience is an audience, no matter where you’re doing it.”

That could be the key to why the actor’s current digs at Lincoln Center haven’t sent him whirling into a Rodgers & Hammerstein-style breakdown solo. There’s a certain pressure that accompanies a Broadway debut in one of the most talked-about classic revivals of the year — particularly one that looks to be a Tony lure for star Kelli O’Hara and director Bart Sher. But for Ricamora, the show outweighs the buzz around it.

“I’ve strangely never been nervous doing this show,” he says at a coffee shop just down the block from 「The King and I」’s Lincoln Center home. “I love Bart’s vision for the show. Growing up as an Asian-American, people tend to exoticize the Far East, and this orientalism, mysticism bullshit that you kind of grow up with. We’re not doing that production.”

Given Ricamora’s Southern, semi-nomadic youth, finding his identity was always a challenge. “It’s been really good for me to be around this many Asian people, which I’ve never actually experienced in my entire life. But while it’s been nice to represent what seems like an underrepresented population [in 「The King and I」], I’d actually say it’s even more so on 「How to Get Away with Murder」. To be a part of that show, looking like I do, on national television seems like that’s more a breaking down of barriers.”

On Murder, Ricamora plays a gay IT expert who assists the show’s bad-boy man-eater, Connor Walsh (played by breakout Jack Falahee). “He thinks there’s something sexy and dangerous and James Bond-ish about collaborating with the guy that he’s in love with,” Ricamora says of Oliver’s questionable tendency to help Connor, well, get away with murder. But between the couple’s copious, steamy sex scenes and the season finale reveal that [SPOILER!] Oliver is HIV positive, Ricamora’s fan-favorite character has grown from a throwaway role in the pilot to a crucial ingredient in one of TV’s most refreshingly diverse LGBT-friendly series.

“The finale was broken up into two episodes, and I only got the script for the first episode where Oliver and Connor go to get tested for STDs. I thought, ‘oh, awesome, [HTGAWM creator] Pete [Nowalk] is doing a solid to bring awareness to getting tested after all of these sexual scenarios, and that’ll be it and we’ll get the results back and then have make-up sex for the first time. And that’ll be a sweet finale,’” he recalls. “I went to shoot, and Jack said, ‘Did you hear? You... you have HIV.’ And I stood there, as if it was a real revelation. I was spaced out for a while, and I just... I actually got depressed for a little bit. I’m glad we’re telling the truth of this story, though.”

Of course, he’s since fully embraced the storyline — a juicy narrative like that guarantees his character’s return to Murder this fall — as well as his newfound place in Shondaland. “Nobody tells you about how you’re going to involuntarily react to feeling like you’re being watched outside of what you do for a living,” Ricamora says with a laugh. “Or that you’re going to be made into a GIF.”

There’s also the unexpected thrill of being a part of a popularly shipped couple. In his case, he’s one half of what fans call Coliver. “I’m a huge sucker for romantic comedies, so this was definitely on my vision board. You learn more about yourself in intimate relationships than any other endeavor. I can go do King and I and sing out in front of 1,000-plus people, but trying to open up about something that’s bothering me with somebody that I’m in a relationship with? That’s the scariest thing,” Ricamora says. (Another fun link between Broadway and Murder: Both his love interests, Falahee and King and I co-star Ashley Park, went to the same high sc.)

Until the phone rings urging a return to Los Angeles for season 2, Ricamora isn’t itching to rush through his Broadway debut. After so much movement, he’s relishing the chance to sit down for a bit, both in the theater and in New York — where he’s just furnished his very first apartment of his own. An open run will do him good.

“I’ve been pounding the pavement so hard, so long, that I’m enjoying spreading my wings a little bit,” the actor says, proudly holding up a bag of new purchases for the apartment. “I remember, when the show first premiered, these women recognized me at a bar and even paid for my meal. I was grateful, but I’m also like, ‘Hey, I can actually pay for things now.’ I needed this a long time ago, when I was starving!”

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Son Lux 「Lost It To Trying」

Posted on April 22, 2015 commentaires

Son Lux 「Lost It To Trying」 from『Bones』released on June 23, 2015.

Founded by producer-composer Ryan Lott in 2007, Son Lux “works at the nexus of several rarely-overlapping Venn Diagrams” (Pitchfork). With the recent additions to the band of guitarist-composer Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang, Son Lux is now a ferocious trio both live and on record.『Bones』(June 23, 2015) is the first album documenting this new formation, and it draws from the three members’ unique and omnivorous musical vernaculars. Few bands have built a more impressive and varied array of collaborators: Lorde, Beyoncé producer Boots, Sufjan Stevens, Matthew Dear, Busdriver, Vijay Iyer, Nico Muhly and Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw.

Ian Chang, Ryan Lott & Rafiq Bhatia

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Xin Seha 신세하 「내일이 매일」

Posted on April 21, 2015 commentaires

Xin Seha 「내일이 매일」 - from『24Town』released on April 21, 2015.

Director: Woogie Kim
Dancer: (Jinsoo Cho), Me.j (Taejin Kim)

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Lily Kittisrikangwan 「Interview with Pangina Heals, Bangkok's most fabulous drag queen」


After a three-month break from the nightlife scene, Bangkok’s favorite drag MC and “waack” dancer, Pangina Heels (aka Pan Pan Narkprasert), has finally returned to entertain the crowds. Here, BK has a little chat with the fabulous drag queen and recent winner of Maya Channel’s reality show 「T Battle」.

What were you doing before you discovered your waack dance?

I was an underground parking lot hip-hop dancer. I learned waacking from Princess Lockeroo on 「So You Think You Can Dance?」 I fell in love with it because there’s no restraint or construct. You’re never “too gay,” “too feminine” or too anything.

What would a typical night out with you involve?

Shots, conversations, ass grabbing, more shots, dancing on the verge of dehydration and waking up to the thought, “who the hell are you?”

What’s your favorite club in town?

Maggie Choo’s. The cocktails are amazing, the music is pure 70s’ disco and the boys are yummy-licious. Which means even more fun after I get out of drag!

What bugs you most about Bangkok nightlife?

The Top 40 f***ing music. No More. Club-goers need more soul and depth to their nightlife experience. Bangkok clubs should stop treating us like we are stupid music listeners. No more Pitbull, Maroon 5 and David Guetta every night.

What has been your worst experience as a performer?

When I accidentally swallowed a 10 baht coin onstage, a few weeks ago during a lip-synching performance. Don’t ask me how, but I went to the E.R., and it was gone! Lesson learned: never put things in your mouth that you cannot swallow.

What’s the wildest place in Bangkok?

Lumphini Park. There are Godzilla babies roaming the place while you row your boat with a date around the beautiful pond. Then night time comes, and it’s the place men pick up “working women” by the trees outside. I love this beautiful contrast.

How was the experience of being on 「T Battle」 and what are your plans now?

We lip-synched, danced and sang for our lives, similar to 「RuPaul’s Drag Race」. And now the possibilities are endless! I’m enjoying my life as a drag MC entertainer and traveling the world; teaching dance and judging competitions as a waacking drag queen.

Where can people catch your shows?

You can catch me at Tuesdays’ Theatre of Oddities night and Sunday gay nights [The Importance of Being Earnest], both at Maggie Choo’s. I’m also involved with G-Spot entertainment – we throw the most fabulous gay parties twice every month: TGIF every last Friday of the month [Apr 24, themed “Nudity”] at Hilton Sukhumvit, and Splash Out Pool Party every first Saturday of the month [May 2] at DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit.

What makes a good drag MC?

I’m very blessed to be a gay man as it makes me understand what gay men want in a party. So I try to deliver that cherry on top of their sundaes whenever I’m hired. I am crazy, loud, and I love making fun of people. But at the end of the day, it’s all out of love and a celebration of life.

Author: Lily Kittisrikangwan/Date: April 21, 2015/Source:

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MOVEment 「Chalayan × AyaBambi & Ryan Heffington」

Posted on April 20, 2015 commentaires

MOVEment 「Chalayan × AyaBambi & Ryan Heffington」 - posted on April 20, 2015.

Chalayan dresses AyaBambi in a film by Jacob Sutton, choreographed by Aya Sato & Ryan Heffington, for MOVEment AnOther's innovative exploration of dance and fashion through film.

Find AnOther on:


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Amelia Abraham 「Gregg Araki fait des films pour les parias」

Posted on April 02, 2015 commentaires
Gregg Araki

Les films de Gregg Araki constituent des plaisirs coupables pour lesquels personne ne devrait jamais se sentir coupable. Ils synthétisent à peu près tout ce que l’on attend d’un teen movie – de beaux acteurs, des dialogues creux, et une bande originale post-punk imprégnée d’angoisse existentielle – mais sans hétérosexualité et sans happy ending prévisible. À la place, le réalisateur préfère des personnages nihilistes et isolés (qui sont du coup encore plus attirants) et une approche résolument différente. L’un de ses films les plus célèbres, 「Mysterious Skin」, raconte l’histoire d’un prostitué d’une petite ville qui tombe amoureux d’un homme qui a abusé de lui alors qu’il avait 8 ans.

Araki s’est d’abord fait un nom en tant que réalisateur dans les années 1990, émergeant du mouvement New Queer Cinema quand son troisième film 「The Living End」 – l’histoire de deux amants porteurs du sida – a été présenté à Sundance en 1992. Il formait un groupe avec Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin et Rose Troche – des cinéastes qui partageaient sa volonté de dresser un portrait plus juste des personnages gays sur grand écran.

« C’était une petite scène, pas plus grande qu’une classe de lycée », se rappelle Araki. Aujourd’hui, le réalisateur doit avoir la cinquantaine, mais il parle comme une Valley Girl et on ne lui donnerait pas plus de 35 ans. « Rick Linklater est un autre type de cinéaste – mais nous avons une manière de travailler très similaire ». Il se compare aussi à Gus Van Sant – un autre cinéaste d’auteur pour la génération X maudite. « Nous sommes unis dans le fait que nous ayons tous notre propre voix. »

Après les années 1990, les films d’Araki sont devenus moins politiques. Sa dernière œuvre, le polar 「White Bird」, marque une rupture encore plus avancée avec le début de sa carrière, une approche révoltée de la narration et une esthétique cheap et trash. Shailene Woodley y interprète Kat Conners, une banlieusarde de 17 ans qui est une sorte de version moins égocentrique d’Angela Chase. Un après-midi, la mère de Kat – jouée par Eva Green – disparaît sans laisser de trace. Le spectateur suit Kat alors qu’elle essaye de comprendre ce qu’il s’est passé.

« Le scénario est basé sur un roman de Laura Kasischke », m’a expliqué Araki. Il décrit le livre comme « poétique », « lyrique » et « cinématographique », mais il a aussi pris pas mal de libertés. « J’ai changé la fin – et tout le troisième acte du film ». Il a aussi légèrement changé l’endroit et la période de l’histoire. « Je pense que le livre se déroule en 1985 ou 1986. Je l’ai avancé de quelques années, en 1988, tout comme j’ai remplacé l’Ohio par la Californie afin que cela soit plus proche de ma propre expérience. »

Ayant grandi dans ce qu’il décrit comme « une période excitante en ce qui concernait le punk rock et le post-punk », Araki estime qu’il se sentait obligé de faire en sorte que Kat et ses amis expérimentent la culture alternative qu’il a découverte au lycée – « un peu avant que les Sex Pistols ne s’exportent en Amérique. »

« Dans le livre, Kat rencontre Phil et ils commencent leur amourette en dansant sur Journey, ou un truc horrible comme ça. Mais dans le film, j’ai replacé la fête du lycée dans un club gothique qui passe du Siouxsie and the Banshees. Cela correspond beaucoup plus au monde dans lequel j’ai évolué, ce qui m’a permis de m’identifier encore plus aux personnages. »

À ce stade de notre conversation, Araki a tenu à préciser que son travail n’appartenait à aucun genre particulier. Par exemple, il n’aime pas que l’on dise qu’il réalise des films sur le passage à l’âge adulte.

« Les seuls films qui font partie de cette catégorie sont 「Mysterious Skin」 et 「White Bird」, et les deux sont des adaptations de livre – des histoires que je n’ai pas écrites. Je ne dirais pas que 「Doom Generation」, 「Kaboom」 ou 「Smiley Face」 sont des films sur le passage à l’âge adulte. Mes films sont très différents les uns des autres. Il y a certains réalisateurs – que je ne nommerais pas – qui font le même putain de film, année après année. »

En revanche, tous ses films portent sur des outsiders. Je lui ai demandé si la volonté de faire des films gays lui était venue naturellement – sachant qu’il est lui-même homosexuel –, ou s’il mesurait juste l’importance de mettre en scène des personnages gays. « C’était très important pour moi personnellement. Je ressens de la gratitude quand les gens me disent “Tes films ont toujours beaucoup compté pour moi” ou encore “Ils m’ont beaucoup aidé pendant que je faisais mon coming out.” »

« La nouvelle vague queer n’est absolument pas comparable à la nouvelle vague française, a-t-il enchaîné. Ces réalisateurs se sont assis dans une pièce avec l’envie de créer un nouveau type de cinéma. Pour nous, pour chacun d’entre nous – et je connaissais presque tous ces réalisateurs parce que nous nous étions tous rencontrés à Sundance et Berlin – ça n’a jamais été un « mouvement » au sens propre. Nous étions juste une bande de réalisateurs ayant à peu près le même âge, tous passionnés par le cinéma indépendant. »

Les films d’Araki sont également connus pour avoir créé un instantané de leur époque. « À cause du sida et de ce qui se passait dans les hautes sphères politiques, on avait l’impression d’évoluer en zone de guerre. C’était une période très sombre, où les gens étaient à cran. D’ailleurs, c’était impossible de ne pas l’être. Les jeunes de 20-30 ans étaient constamment cernés par la mort. Ton temps était très limité, simplement parce que tu étais gay. C’était une période très intense et je pense que mes films reflètent cet état d'esprit. »

Comme Gus Van Sant et Todd Haynes, les films d’Araki se sont éloignés de sujets purement LGBT : « Nous faisions juste nos propres trucs de cinéastes en ce temps-là, ce qui explique pourquoi nous avons tous fait différent types de films. » 「White Bird」 a quoi qu’il en soit une grande scène gay, et une certaine sensibilité qui réside dans la performance incroyablement maniérée d’Eva Green.

« J’ai toujours aimé Eva Green, s’est exclamé Araki. Je l’aime depuis 「The Dreamers」. Il n’a jamais été aussi animé depuis le début de notre interview. « Elle est unique, il n’y a absolument personne comme elle, j’étais ravi de bosser avec elle. Je l’aime en tant que personne, c’est une artiste incroyable. Mais sur le plateau, on dirait Greta Garbo, elle dégage une sorte d’aura magique. »

Selon moi, Eva Green a un look à la Jackie O dans le film, bien que sa performance rappelle plutôt Joan Crawford. Araki est plutôt d’accord : « Eva et moi avons eu de nombreuses discussions sur le personnage d’Eve, dans le sens ou je ne voulais pas qu’elle soit une méchante unidimensionnelle, de type marâtre. Je voyais vraiment Eve comme une figure tragique. On voulait qu’Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie O, Joan Crawford et toutes les icônes de cette période soient les modèles de ce personnage – des femmes avec des cheveux parfaits, un maquillage impeccable et de belles tenues. C’est comme si le personnage d’Eva était une femme qui jouait un personnage. Comme si on lui avait dit : “Voilà ce que tu es.” »

À la fin du film, il s’avère que le personnage d’Eve n’est pas exactement celui que nous pensions, et ensuite arrive un twist spectaculaire, qui fait passer le film de moyen à pas mal. 「White Bird」 n’a pas l’insécurité de ses films liés au sida comme 「The Living End」 (« Pourquoi est ce qu’on ne va pas à Washington pour exploser la cervelle de Bush ! ») et 「Totally Fucked Up」 (« C’était un génocide sponsorisé par le gouvernement ! »), mais nous pouvons nous réjouir de voir que le climat dans lequel ces films ont vu le jour a changé.

Alors que notre interview touchait à sa fin, je lui ai demandé pourquoi il se sentait obligé de faire des films. Il compare son travail à celui du groupe écossais The Cocteau Twins, dont il a souvent exploité la musique. « Aux États-Unis, ils n’ont jamais été très populaires – je connais Robin parce qu’il a fait la musique pour 「White Bird」, 「Kaboom」 et 「Mysterious Skin」 – et ils étaient probablement considérés comme des échecs commerciaux. Mais leur musique signifiait beaucoup pour leurs fans. C’était quelque chose qui allait au-delà de la musique – c’était très important pour les gens qui comprenaient ça. »

« C’est une chose qui m’a toujours inspiré pour mes films : ils ne sont pas pour tout le monde et certains sont polémiques – j’ai mes fans et mes détracteurs – mais les gens qui comprennent mes films les comprennent vraiment. C’est tout ce que je peux demander en tant qu’artiste. »

Author: Amelia Abraham/Date: April 02, 2015/Source:

Shiloh Fernandez dans 「White Bird In A Blizzard」, you're welcome ;)

Amelia Abraham 「Films for Outsiders: An Interview with Gregg Araki」

Gregg Araki’s films are the kind of guilty pleasures you don’t actually have to feel guilty about. They tend to offer everything you’d want from a teen film — good-looking actors, shallow dialogue, angsty post-punk soundtracks — but without all the heterosexuality and clichéd endings. Instead, the director opts for nihilistic, disenfranchised characters (so much more relatable) and a resolutely queer approach. His most famous film, for example, is 「Mysterious Skin」: the story of a small-town rent boy who first fell in love with a man who abused him at the age of eight.

Araki first made his name as a filmmaker in the 90s, emerging as part of the new queer cinema movement when his third feature, 「The Living End」 — the story of two HIV-positive fugitives — debuted at Sundance, in ’92. He was banded together with Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin, and Rose Troche — filmmakers who shared his dedication to putting a more accurate portrayal of gay characters on cinema screens.

“It was very small, like a high school class,” he remembers. Araki’s in his 50s now, but he talks like a Valley Girl and doesn’t look a day over 35. “Rick Linklater is another filmmaker — we have a very similar method of working, doing our own thing.” He compares himself to Gus Van Sant, too — another art-house auteur for doomed Gen X. “We’re similar in that we all have our own voice.”

Since the 90s, Gregg’s films have grown less pointedly political, though, and his latest, 「White Bird In A Blizzard」, marks a further break from what was usually, in the early days, an indignant approach to narrative filmmaking and a consistently trashy, low-budget aesthetic. It’s also a murder mystery. Shailene Woodley plays suburban 17-year-old Kat Conners, who’s like a slightly less self-involved version of Angela Chase from 「My So-Called Life」. One afternoon, Kat’s mother — over-acted by Eva Green — disappears without a trace. We follow Kat as she tries to unravel it all.

The script’s based on a novel by Laura Kasischke, says Araki. He describes the book as “poetic,” “lyrical,” and “cinematic,” but also made a load of changes to it. “I changed the ending,” he says, “the whole third act of the movie.” He also moved the location and the period slightly. “The book, I think, is set in ’85 or ’86. I moved it a couple of years later, to 1988, as well as moving the location from Ohio to California, so it would be a little closer to my own experience.”

Growing up in what he describes as “an exciting time as far as punk-rock music and post-punk were concerned,” Araki says he felt compelled to make Kat and her friends part of the same kind of alternative music culture that he experienced in high school — a little earlier, he says, around the time the Sex Pistols broke America.

“In the book Kat meets Phil and they begin their puppy love affair dancing to Journey, or something terrible like that, but in the movie I relocated it from a high school dance to a goth club and had Siouxsie and the Banshees playing. That’s the look and the world that I was in — it allowed me to relate so much more to the characters.”

When conversation moves onto the topic of genre, Araki is quick to defend his work as genre-less. The phrase “coming-of-age film” doesn’t go down well.

“The two movies to me that are coming-of-age movies are probably 「Mysterious Skin」 and this movie,” he says, “and they’re both based on books — stories that I did not write. I wouldn’t call 「Doom Generation」, or 「Kaboom」, or even 「Smiley Face」 a ‘coming of age’ movie. One of the things I’m really happy with about my work is that it’s kind of all over the place. My movies are very different from each other. There are certain filmmakers, who I will not name, who just make the same fucking movie over and over again.”

The cohesive thread, he can agree, is stories about outsiders. This is what’s earned him a legion of cult fans — gay, straight, or queer. I ask him whether the impetus to make queer films came naturally, since he is gay himself, or whether he consciously thought it important to put gay characters in front of the camera. “It was very important to me personally. I always feel very gratified when people say, ‘Oh, your films always meant so much to me,’ or, ‘They helped me when I was coming out.’”

“The Queer New Wave wasn’t truly a new wave in the sense of the French New Wave,” he continues. “Those filmmakers sat in a room and came up with this idea that they were going to create a certain type of cinema. For us, for all of us — and I know almost all of those [queer] filmmakers because we all met at, like, Sundance, and Berlin — it was never truly a ‘movement’ in that sense. It was just a bunch of us who were all approximately the same age and very passionate about independent cinema.”

A defining characteristic of Araki’s film has been creating a true snapshot of time and place. “Because of the AIDs crisis and what was going on politically, it was very much like a war zone. Young people don’t understand what that was like, but it was similar to the kind of world in 「The Normal Heart」, that HBO thing that was just on — a very dark time, a very angry time and a time when people were agitated. It was impossible not to be agitated because, as a young person in your twenties or thirties, you were just surrounded by constant death. Your time was very limited because of the simple fact that you were gay. It was a very intense period to live through and I think the films really reflect that.”

Like the work of Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes, Araki’s films have now moved on from purely LGBT subject matter: “We were also just doing our own thing as filmmakers back then, which is why we’ve all made other kinds of movies now.” 「White Bird」, however, still has a big gay moment (can’t tell you what it is) and more than a semblance of the gay sensibility in terms of how incredibly camp Eva Green’s performance is.

“Eva, I’ve loved Eva Green forever,” Araki gushes. “I’ve loved her since 「The Dreamers」.” He is the most animated he’s been our entire interview. “She’s so unique, there’s really nobody like her, I was just so thrilled to work with her. Another thing about Eva is that she — I mean, I love her as a person, she is just a great person, a great artist — but on set she is like Greta Garbo, she has this sort of magical aura about her.”

I suggest that her look in the film is quite Jackie O and her performance is quite Joan Crawford (i.e. so gay). Araki loves this. “Well, Eva and I had a lot of discussions about the Eve character in the sense that I really wanted that her not to be a one-dimensional, stepmother-type villain. I really saw Eve as a tragic figure. Tough women — Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie O, Joan Crawford — all of those icons of that period, we decided these were the character’s role models, the people she would have grown up watching as the feminine ideal, women with the perfect hair and outfits and make-up. It’s almost like Eva’s character is a woman playing a character,” he says. “Like she’s sort of been told, ‘This is who you are.’”

At the end of the film it turns out that Eva’s part — Kat’s mother — isn’t quite who we thought she was, and there arrives a spectacular twist, which resuscitates the film from average to enjoyable. 「White Bird」 lacks the insurgency of his AIDS-related films like 「The Living End」 (“Why don’t we go to Washington and blow Bush’s brains out!”) and 「Totally Fucked Up」 (“It was government-sponsored genocide!”) but we can be glad the climate in which those films were made has changed, that Araki doesn’t have so much to be angry about today.

As our interview draws to a close, I ask him why he feels compelled to makes films. He compares his work to that of Scottish band The Cocteau Twins, whose music he has often featured on his soundtracks. “In America in particular, they were never super-popular — I know Robin because he’s done the music now for 「White Bird」 and 「Kaboom」 and 「Mysterious Skin」 — and they were probably considered a commercial failure. But their music meant so much to so many people. It was something that was beyond music — it was really, really important to the people that got it.

“That’s what I’ve always aspired to with my films: they’re not for everybody and some are polarizing — I definitely have my fans and my detractors — but the people that do get my movies really get them. For me as an artist that’s, like, the most I could ever ask for.”

Follow Amelia on Twitter.

Eva Green dans 「White Bird In A Blizzard」

Author: Amelia Abraham/Date: March 20, 2015/Source:
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Adam McRoberts 「Out in the World: a glimpse of the Seoul Gay Scene」


A prominent Seoulite has made headlines on the Seattle gay scene website for his candid demonstrations in the streets of Seoul. For weeks Heezy Yang has been daringly playing the role of a young man thrown out with the rubbish by his family for being gay – a story he has heard from many other young gay men in Korea.

Adam McRoberts from Seattle Gay Scene tells the story.

My most recent trip took me to South Korea where I met some amazing people and got a first hand look at gay life in Seoul. South Korea is a conservative country!

I didn’t fully understand this at first, but think of the prejudice and stigma of the Reagan years in which many HIV+ gay men were ignored until they died, and you’ll get an idea of how it is there now.

Until very recently, being LGBT in Seoul meant not existing, as the government and society in general opted to simply ignore and pretend LGBT people didn’t exist.

The government refused to acknowledge the LGBT population in any legislation or regulation and the vast majority of people, if asked, would say there were no LGBT people in Korea.

While this seems unbelievably naive, it is very similar to attitudes in the United States until recently.

Pretending things do not exist seems to be the way conservative minded people handle anything that runs contrary to their narrow frame of view. It is easier to ignore and deny the unfamiliar than accept it, and easier still if everybody ignores it together.

Further compounding the stigma against being LGBT is the notion of perfection as this ideal is highly valued in Korean culture and nearly always queer people don’t meet the criteria for that level of perfection.

This attitude affects those in the LGBT community hardest. Coming out is a rarity, with most fearing family shame and disapproval. Those who do step out into the gay community often do so with face masks, makeup, or other disguises to prevent an accidental public outing.

In recent years, a handful of organizations and people have emerged to fight back against this complacency and demand that their country acknowledge them. This started with the first Pride Parade in 2000, where 50 people attended, and leading to the 2014 Pride Parade and Festival with over 20,000 attendees, hearts and minds are starting to change.

Similar to Seattle’s 2014 Pride Parade, Seoul was also bombarded with Christian protesters during their parade. In Seattle, the local police coordinated with Pride staff to ensure the disruption was minimal, with the quick and peaceful dispersal of the protesters.

The protests in Seoul were handled much differently, with the government endorsing the protesters and withdrawing the permit for the Pride Parade thereby leaving the LGBT community alone to face the crowds. The Seoul protests disrupted the Pride Parade for over 4 hours before they were allowed to pass.

I had the honor to meet with one of Seoul’s most progressive and openly gay activists, Heezy Yang, who as an artist, has worked tirelessly at changing the country’s stance on LGBT rights.

His highest profile project was a one-man demonstration, called “Unjustifiable”, where he would put himself in a box on street corners along with various “throw-away” toys, each tossed out for their various defects, including Heezy, because he is gay. He holds a sign saying simply, “Unjustifiable” which caught the attention of many passersby and the local Seoul media outlets.

“I started this project because I felt like this was something only I could do in the given situation,” Heezy said.

“Korea being a very conservative society where LGBT people and also people in general can not express themselves because being different is never acceptable. Therefore I had to do it for the sake of others who are suffering but aren’t able to express it. I was especially inspired and encouraged by people who worked so hard to make the first LGBT shelter in Korea happen.”

While homelessness is not as widespread in Korea as it is in the United States, a disproportionate number of the homeless in Korea are LGBT youth.

To shame one’s family is unacceptable in Korean culture, and it is not uncommon for a family to verbally, emotionally and physically abuse or even disown an LGBT family member.

With resources scarce in Seoul, these kids are left with few options if they are kicked out of the family home or flee due to abuse.

At this time, only one organization has formed to counsel, mentor, and assist the LGBT youth in Korea.

Rainbow Teen Safe Space strives to connect with the street youth offering a “multi-dimensional support system by providing crisis intervention, counselling teens for socio-psychological pain and trauma, and restoring relationships between queer teens and their parents/peers.”

They have created a Safe Space where queer teens can feel accepted and affirmed. Their ultimate goal is to establish a self-sustaining, long-term shelter for LGBT youth with established programs to help these young adults move into jobs and housing that is accepting of their lifestyle.

With no government funding, Rainbow Teen Safe Space relies entirely upon individual donations to keeps their programs alive. You can read more about Rainbow Teen Safe Space and donate here:

Every dollar helps – so send some love to the youth of Seoul!

Even though Seoul has a long road to travel to achieve the kind of equality we enjoy in Seattle, not all is bad in the Seoul Gay Scene and things are changing quickly.

The emergence of a “gayborhood” and some other neighborhood gay bars, hangouts, and dance clubs bring out the crowds, especially on the weekends.

“Homo Hill” in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood is a small but flourishing section of gay, lesbian, trans, and queer centric bars and clubs that offer up a wild mix of music, DJs, live entertainment and even drag shows!

I stopped with Heezy at Club Soho, on Homo Hill, to check out his latest art exhibition, The Colorful Side of Heezy Yang.

Heezy’s art is a reflection of the queer scene in Seoul and uses deeply personal experience and thoughts to portray a vision of gay life in Seoul. The photo above portrays four of Seoul’s hottest drag queens, Hurricane Kimchi, Kuciia Diamant, Winnie and Be’Yonca Fierceness, who in reality play an important role in developing Seoul’s new gay scene.

Drag shows are becoming more popular here with these ladies leading the charge.

To give light to the darker side of LGBT reality in Korea, Heezy created a visually violent series called “Boy and His Sexual Needs”.

After researching sexual crimes committed against LGBT people both in Korea and abroad, Heezy combined the horrific tapestry of those experiences with his own thoughts and feelings to capture a frightening and eye-opening presentation that displays the severity of violence that has affects the LGBT community in Korea and all over the world.


These photos are brutal and are not for the faint of heart! Born and raised in Seoul, Heezy’s own coming out and decision to live openly gay was a years long process, carefully orchestrated in an effort to maintain his family ties while being a beacon of hope for others still closeted.

Artists and activists like Heezy are forcing the general public in Korea to take notice of the LGBT population. As places like “Homo Hill” emerge and flourish, they stand to serve real proof that art can instigate societal change toward acceptance of LGBT people. They are in the final planning stages for 2015 Seoul Pride and expect the largest attendance yet. Heezy will open this year’s festivities with a live performance and the community will come together to celebrate another year of being out. Heezy and his allies will continue to advocate for LGBT rights and protections in Korea. Through his dedication and bravery, Heezy’s efforts are making a difference to LGBT people throughout Korea, and the world.

Heezy keeps busy with his activism, art, graphic novels in addition to producing events throughout Seoul. Check out all of Heezy Yang’s work at:

For the original article or get involved in the LGBT scene is Seattle please follow this link:

Author: Adam McRoberts/Date: April 02, 2015/Source:

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