EXID 이엑스아이디 「UP&DOWN」

Posted on August 27, 2014 commentaires

EXID 「UP&DOWN」【위아래】- from『AH YEAH』released on August 27, 2014.

Concept sexy pour les EXID : les filles s'amusent à gonfler et dégonfler des ballons en forme de bite boudin (« up and down », ha ha). La choré censurée à la télévision, pour cause de mouvements de reins trop tendancieux, est devenue culte !

Version pour une pub LG :

EXID 「UP&DOWN」【위아래】(LG Uplus Version) - posted on February 16, 2015.

La version chinoise (les filles dansant dans la Cité interdite ont également suscité quelques polémiques !) :

EXID 「UP&DOWN」【上下】(Chinese Version) - released on January 11, 2017.

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Mickey Weems 「Alec Mapa: For The Love Of Zion」

Posted on August 26, 2014 commentaires
Alec Mapa, his husband Jamie Hebert and their son Zion
PUBLISHED IN PRINT JUNE 2014 // Photos courtesy of Alec Mapa + Steven C. De La Cruz Photography
“Daddy and Papa”: this is how one 9-year-old boy knows Alec Mapa and his husband Jamie Hebert. Mapa is “Daddy,” a title that the flamboyant actor says no other person besides his son can say to him with a straight face. A seasoned veteran of television in shows such as 「Ugly Betty」, 「Desperate Housewives」, and 「Heartland」, Mapa stars in 「Baby Daddy」, a film that features his one-man show covering various topics such as hosting gay porn awards and becoming a father.

Hosting porn awards is great comic material. But fantasies of the hard-on are secondary to realities of the heart. Mapa shines when he talks about what he and Hebert went through to bring their son Zion home, and bring him home for good.

Adopting a child involves a series of choices that a future parent must make. It often includes a nerve-wracking time period when a birth parent may call the whole thing off. Mapa and Hebert knew that some choices were more likely to get them a child without fear of the birth parents taking the child back. This means finding someone that was stuck in the system. Many kids never get adopted because of their age and race.

What others did not want, Mapa and Hebert purposely sought with stubborn determination, thus increasing the odds that they would become permanent parents. In doing so, they gave hope to a youngster who had the doors to a permanent family slammed in his face multiple times. The combination of intelligence and compassion shown in their strategy speaks volumes about their integrity. Mapa, however, rejects the “rescuers” label for himself and his husband. ”We wanted to become a family,” he said, “and Zion made that happen. We’re the lucky ones because he’s the kid we wanted.”

When Zion entered their lives, there was no spark in his eyes, recalled Mapa about those early days some four years ago. But after a few weeks, the light returned. Zion’s light now fills the hearts of his fathers. All three of them made an appearance during this year’s Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival for the premiere of 「Baby Daddy」.

Mapa spoke with『eXpression!』about life with Hebert and Zion.

Tell us a bit about you and your husband.

We’ve been together 12 years and married eight. He makes documentary films and I’m an actor and comedian, but he’s the funny one in the relationship. He has what can only be described as a wrong sense of humor. He makes me laugh everyday — I’m starting to think that’s the secret to having a happy marriage.

You mentioned all the hoops you had to go through in order to adopt Zion. What was the toughest one?

Frankly, the hardest part of adopting Zion was waiting for the finalization. We knew he was our kid the minute we met him, but until the judge dropped the gavel and said we were his legal parents now and forever, we lived with the tension that it might not go our way. Luckily, it did.

Conventional wisdom says that being Asian and gay are detriments to getting gigs in show business. Which one is worse: Asian or gay?

I get hired for comedies because I’m funny and I can act. Neither one of those things has anything to do with my sexuality or ethnicity, and everything to do with being useful. It’s simple. There’s gonna be a lot of roles I won’t get because I’m Asian and gay, and lots of others I’ll get because I am. It all comes down to currency. I’ve been an actor for nearly 30 years. Sometimes I work a lot, sometimes I don’t. Last I heard, that was true for everyone else too.

Conventional wisdom also says that the deck is stacked against a black foster child past three years old.

Statistically, the most desirable placement is a Caucasian baby girl, seven times more likely to find a permanent placement than an African American boy over the age of three. I got nothing against little white girls. I’ve been one my entire life. But my husband and I wanted a 5-year-old. We had no objection to any race, and we got Zion. He’s an amazing kid. We hit the jackpot.

In the bureaucratic maze that is the adoption system, how did you find your son?

Our social worker introduced his case to us, told us his story, and informed us that he needed a placement immediately.

You mentioned that as soon as you met Zion, you guys would not give him up without a fight. But you knew that there was always the chance that you might have to let him go if things had gone differently.

Yeah. If the courts didn’t give him to us, it would’ve been pretty bad. I can’t even think about it. He was our kid from the get go. There’s no way I can accurately describe how that felt, but he became a part of me the minute I met him. Taking him away would’ve been like having my arm ripped off.

It sounds like you two spent years preparing for the moment when Zion came into your lives.

Nothing will prepare you. You can read all the books and take all the classes, and you should! But when a living, breathing, thinking human being comes into your life, everything changes. It’s no longer going to be about you. If you’re the type of person where everything has to be about you, I wouldn’t suggest having children. I think parenthood is a calling. Before Zion, both of us were longing to become parents. We could feel it in our bones.

What are the differences in your parenting styles?

I’m Filipino, so I yell a lot. My husband doesn’t yell. I have a much shorter fuse, but if my husband loses his temper, you’re in big trouble. We’re both pretty strict. Being respectful or having good manners doesn’t come naturally to children. You have to teach them that. Go to any supermarket or restaurant. If you see a kid acting like a complete jackass, there’s probably a parent nearby who shouldn’t have had kids in the first place.

Describe life with Zion.

He’s finishing up the third grade so life is busy. Weekdays he’s in school, but after school, he’s in little league baseball and aikido. Our lives are pretty much about how much can we get done before we have to pick him up and drive him to the next thing. Mornings are spent getting him ready, and evenings are spent doing homework and having dinner.
We’re just like any other American family. As parents we want the same things for our kids that straight people do. The only difference is we’re gay, so we want nicer things.

Has your fabulosity rubbed off on him?

Yes. We knew Zion was our kid when we were on a flight and he asked the flight attendant for a Pellegrino. With lime.

Your son will eventually become a teenager. Are you prepared for this?

Is anybody? Being gay uniquely qualifies me to be a parent because I’m not interested in being liked. I’ll probably make a lot of unpopular decisions when he’s a teen, but too bad. I’m not your friend, I’m your parent.

What advice would you have for LGBT couples looking to adopt?

My advice is educate yourself, think long and hard about your decision, and enjoy the time off now.

Author: Mickey Weems/Date: August 26, 2014/Source: http://www.expression808.com/home/2014/8/26/alec-mapa-for-the-love-of-zion.html

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Angry Homosexual 「The Asian vs White Grindr experiment: Why it’s great to be White!」

Posted on August 22, 2014 commentaires
Who doesn’t like being a hot white guy? You’re pretty much a Greek god in the gay community and there really isn’t anybody you can’t get. For others, you often find “no asians, no blacks” in dating profiles, which shows how racist and white-centric gay dating can be.

You see, there’s a totem pole of races in the gay community, with white people at the very top. It sorta goes like this: White, Latino (honorary whites), Mixed, Asian, Black, Indian, etc. This hierarchy is responsible for all kinds of phenomena in the gay world. Take, for example, the fact that Asian-White couples often consist of an older white guy with a younger Asian. Or at the very least, an Asian who’s substantially more attractive than his white counterpart. It’s never the other way around.

The bias extends to pop culture. When was the last time you saw an Asian Abercrombie model? All of the main characters on Queer as Folk were white. Heck, all the main characters in the latest HBO gay drama 「Looking」 are white even though the show is set in San Francisco where a third of gays are Asian. And of course, how can we forget about gay porn?

And so I wanted to find out for myself what every gay Asian knows – no matter how hot or young you are, you’ll suffer the inevitable Asian “discount” that’s applied when you hit the dating/hookup market. What better way than on the most shameless, unapologetic, and narcissistic venue: Grindr.

The Asian vs. White Grindr Experiment
Who’s hotter?

I whipped out two phones, loaded Grindr, and put two similar looking jocks to the test: 28, 5’10”, 170lbs, muscular, 8”uc. What’s not to like? Their profiles were exactly the same except one was Asian and the other white. I carried around the two phones for a week to different cities and here’s what happened.

Raw uncut data
So being Asian my whole life, I finally know how it feels to be a hot white guy for a week. The white guy comfortably gets 1.5 – 2x more messages than the Asian. There’s no other conclusion than it’s great to be white. You’ve got twice as many guys lined up ready to suck you off or get pounded by you.

Another thing you notice is that there are many hot guys who are simply off limits to Asians. Here’s one guy I tried to message as the Asian and it didn’t get very far. Gays love to use the “not my type” excuse as cover for any number of prejudicial preferences. When I message the same dude as the white guy, and I instantly get cockshots, details on how much he wants to pound my ass, and whether I can host.

As a hot white guy, you can expect a near 100% reply rate. In fact, you wind up with the problem that more guys are messaging you in a day than you can realistically sleep with in a month. This explains why as a white guy you can get away with being a complete douchebag. Why would you waste your time with anyone other than the cream of the crop? And why settle down when you can have an endless stream of orgies?

As an Asian, you can only hope to be so lucky to get the pleasure of a response. Just for fun, I sent a fellow Asian a message as the white guy. He thought it was some kind of joke, like I was a white guy coming to the back of the bus.

If you’re a hot white guy, keep on doing what you do best – being white. You’ve got it made until your skin starts to sag. But not to worry, you’ll still have younger Asians flocking to you.

If you’re not white, the only real solution to this problem is to pray to god that you’re born white next time. There’s an inherent bias against us and you need to know for all intents and purposes, you have no realistic chance of dating a hot white guy your own age. Changing the mentality of a whole community doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly won’t happen in your generation.

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Justin Chan 「Where Are All the Asian Americans in Hollywood?」

Posted on August 20, 2014 commentaires
In the 2003 sci-fi film 「The Matrix Revolutions」, Keanu Reeves’ character Neo reassures his love interest Trinity that the two will reach Machine City to finally end the war between the machines and humans. “If you tell me we’ll make it, I’ll believe you,” Trinity says, as a small army of machines pursue their ship. Neo hesitates for a moment and replies, “We’ll make it. We have to.”

In some ways, the brief exchange between the two applies to a harsh reality that many Asian-American actors face. Audiences are all-too-familiar with Reeves, who has Chinese and Hawaiian ancestry. But as more Asian Americans aspire for the bright lights, many of them have struggled to land blockbuster roles. A recent study by children’s book publisher Lee & Low Books reveals that just eight of the top 100 best-selling sci-fi and fantasy films from Hollywood had a protagonist of color. Worse, only two minority actors landed lead roles: Will Smith, who alone played six of those characters, and Reeves. Both actors have starred in major films since the 1990s.

“We wanted to highlight the lack of diversity in that particular industry, but we also wanted to show that [it] is not an isolated incident,” said Hannah Ehrlich, Lee & Low’s director of marketing. “It repeats itself over and over in a huge number of places.”

It’s hard to argue her claim. Asians made up just 4.4 percent of speaking characters across last year’s top 100 grossing movies, according to a University of Southern California study. The figure is slightly lower than the total percentage of Asians in the country, which is just over five percent. The difference may not be much, but the numbers belie the difficulty of becoming an Asian-American Hollywood star. Although Asian Americans are now the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, their presence in films has gotten visibly smaller since 2008.

To some critics, this sort of underrepresentation is an all-too-familiar story. “American history is pretty racist and sexist, and Hollywood is a reflection of our culture,” RaceBending’s Marissa Lee wrote in an email. “Hollywood doesn't put minorities in lead roles because our society rarely lets minorities take the lead.”

In fact, the number of lead roles offered to Asian Americans has dwindled over the years. In 1959, the late Japanese-American actor James Shigeta landed a groundbreaking role as a detective in the crime drama 「The Crimson Kimono」. With his slicked-back hair and clean suit, he challenged the notion of Asian men as scrawny and alien. Seven years later, his better-known Chinese-American counterpart Bruce Lee almost single-handedly redefined that image as Kato in the 1966 TV series 「The Green Hornet」. Boasting nearly impeccable abs, the high-flying martial artist-turned-actor eventually starred in his own films and appeared to pave the way for other Asian Americans. But the subsequent decades following Shigeta’s and Lee’s success saw few, if any, play lead or supporting roles.

In some cases, directors and producers ignored them and completely whitewashed films based on Asian-American lives or Asian culture. In 2008, for instance, Columbia Pictures released 「21」, a drama inspired by a group of mostly Asian-American students who formed a team to beat casinos at blackjack. The main cast featured just two Asian-American actors, both of whom played supporting roles. Two years later, M. Night Shyamalan fended off a hail of criticism for failing to cast more Asian Americans in 「The Last Airbender」, a fantasy film based on a Nickelodeon cartoon series influenced by East and South Asian cultures.

Not much has changed since, according to actress Christine Toy Johnson.

“I think that [people’s] perception of who we are, what we can do, or where we come from is what’s at issue,” Johnson says. “If someone perceives us as being foreign or being ‘other,’ they are not going to see us as part of Broadway or [Hollywood].”

The noticeable absence of Asian Americans in film has irked some observers, who say that TV networks have done more to recruit actors of color. ABC, for example, recently announced that it had picked up two shows with Asian-American leads: 「Fresh Off the Boat」, a series based on Taiwanese-American restaurateur Eddie Huang’s memoir, and 「Selfie」, a comedy starring 「Harold & Kumar」’s John Cho. “In a way, it’s not so much diversity as it is authenticity,” explained the network’s president Paul Lee, during a press tour last month.

It’s also a savvy business move. As the national audience becomes more racially diverse, the TV industry has placed its bets on shows that people can culturally appreciate. Today, most of these consumers are blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans, whose buying power "has increased markedly over the past 20 years, out-pacing the total U.S. growth rate," according to a UCLA study. But Hollywood has yet to adapt to this trend.

“I just don’t think there’s enough exposure for us,” says independent film producer Erik Lu. “In order for us to pop up on the Hollywood scene, we need to make sure that people who are writing Asian-American parts are coming through.”

Some artists have taken that matter into their own hands. In 2003, college buddies Philip Wang, Wesley Chan, and Ted Fu started Wong Fu Productions, an independent film production company whose videos have since garnered over 200 million YouTube views and more than two million subscribers. The trio casts mostly Asian Americans but often tells stories that are not unique to their identity, in an effort to prove that Asian Americans are marketable and share universal experiences. Many skits playfully and seriously deal with relationships. 「The Last」, for example, focuses on a man who reflects on his exes, while 「The Best Third Wheel in the World」 humorously describes the perks of tagging along on a date.

“It’s important to show that we’re going to build up our star power on our own so that Hollywood can’t ignore that we have millions of followers,” Wang says.

The company’s dedication has paid off. Wong Fu has worked with several prominent Asian-American actors, including 「Veep」’s Randall Park and 「Glee」’s Harry Shum Jr., and it continues to raise the profile of countless others. They're working on their first feature film, a romantic dramedy backed by more than $350,000 it raised by way of crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The movie is just one of its many works that will shed light on Asian-American talent.

“We’re committed to portraying Asian Americans in a positive light,” Chan says. “It’s important to represent the community as best as we can.”

Now, it’s Hollywood’s turn.

Justin Chan is a writer living in New York City. You can tweet him here.

Author: Justin Chan/Date: August 20, 2014/Source: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/08/asian-americans-in-hollywood

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Daniel D'Addario 「“I was going to gay bars, having affairs”: George Takei on the torments of life in the closet

Posted on August 19, 2014 commentaires
The actor, who plays himself in a new documentary, on the coming-out process, 「Star Trek」 and feuding with Shatner

George Takei (Credit: AP/Victoria Will)

Who’d have thought Mr. Sulu would be the member of the 「Star Trek」 cast who’d be with us the longest?

Start looking for actor George Takei in the culture and you’ll see him everywhere — a pop culture staple by virtue of his inexhaustibility. He’s on Twitter, where he’s amassed over a million followers; on TV and radio talk shows, where he’s game for practically anything; online, where a video he made mocking the homophobia of basketball star Tim Hardaway went viral; and now on movie screens. A documentary, 「To Be Takei」, opens in select cities and on VOD and iTunes Aug. 22.

The film is a low-key depiction of Takei’s domestic life with husband Brad Altman, as well as his fairly packed schedule — between 「Star Trek」 conventions and press interviews, Takei, who began his career on the stage, is at this point more than just an actor. He’s at once a symbol of pop culture’s love of nostalgia and its relentless desire for novelty. We spoke to Takei as he promoted the documentary.

You’re someone with strong opinions about political issues — everything from marriage equality to honoring Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. But you also can go on 「Watch What Happens Live」 or 「Howard Stern」 and be, frankly, goofy. Do you feel conflicted that to get attention for your causes, you have to be so outlandish?

Some of the social issues are, to use your word, goofy. It’s silly. The best way to treat silliness is to laugh at that silliness. When Tim Hardaway, the basketball player, came out bald-faced and said, “I’m homophobic, I hate gay people,” that was so outrageous that the only thing you could do was make a mockery of him. Because, I mean, I as a gay man, I like athletes, sweaty athletes, particularly because he’s bald-headed and black. His head is chocolately, smooth, sweaty. And those calf muscles. And that’s the natural reaction of gay people to someone with that kind of physique … When you least expect it, I will have sex with you! And I burst out and guffaw. [When I made the video], that was shared by everybody! And Tim Hardaway’s become an ally.

You were in the closet — perhaps a glass closet — for most of your career, simply because being an openly gay actor would have been impossible. Was the trade-off worth it?

When I was young, I was just passionately, head-over-heels in love with theater acting. That was my passion, and I knew I could not get hired if I were gay. There were gay producers, writers and directors in Hollywood, but they weren’t out, because they wanted their careers. So I couldn’t be out. And yet at the same time I was an activist — supporting political candidates and various other issues, like the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, an apology for unconstitutional incarceration — and the most organic thing to me, the closest thing to me, I was silent about. Which causes a sense of betraying myself by not addressing that.

That benchmark year, 1969, when Stonewall happened, was an inspiring thing. Every gay bar across the nation knew about it. I was inspired by that. But 1969 was also the year that 「Star Trek」 got canceled. I’ve got to get cast in another series. The timing of those two things … The reason why I wanted the career even more was that, well, as a teenager everyone wants to be an actor. But I was lucky. I was getting one gig after another. I was a theater student at UCLA in a student production that a casting director for Warner Bros. saw, and was plucked out of that for my first feature film [「Ice Palace」] starring Richard Burton and Robert Ryan. A week on location in Alaska, two months back at the studio. And Warner Bros. liked what I did and they had a whole slew of TV series, so they’d plunk me into TV series. So I was working!

You were a well-known, recognizable actor during and after 「Star Trek」. Did you go to gay bars — was that even possible for you?

I was going to gay bars. That adds to the stress, too. I was having affairs, and that adds to the stress. When I was a teenager, there was a Greek god of a movie star, Tab Hunter. Gorgeous, blond. But then one of the scandal sheets exposed him as gay and he stopped working. He disappeared. He had been in almost every other movie as a leading man. So that taught me a lesson. But still you have your juices inside you. But I’d think … that guy could betray me. Somebody who sees me at a gay bar could talk. So you’re always … you have your guard up. There’s that fear of exposure. So you’re living with that kind of tension all the time. If there’s a party where the press is going to be, you take a female friend — a beard.

Did your female friends know the purpose they were serving?

I did not let them know. They were friends! And I’d say, “I’m going to a fun party, would you like to come? You get to dress up.” And they were friends and we’d have fun! Then later in the night, I’m at a gay bar! [laughs]

But there was all that hypocrisy there. And I was completely aware of that.

Is your past hypocrisy, as you call it, part of why you’re so outspoken now?

Exactly. Because I paid such a high price when I was young, virile, crazy and daring. If someone had wanted to destroy me, they could have. And I was opening myself up to that.

It’s amazing that didn’t happen.

Other people have their fears. They may be working as a schoolteacher or an insurance salesman. If they expose me, they’re exposing themselves as well. It’s that social climate that kept people from coming forward … Although there were people that got exposed, if maybe a little money was exchanged.

On another note, I was interested in the film’s depiction of your relationship, or lack thereof, with your 「Star Trek」 costar William Shatner, who sits for an interview with the crew.

That always comes up.

Does it bother you that it comes up? It has been years since you were on-screen together, and yet you both seem to have a lot to say, still.

The last film we did together was in 1991. And we still do 「Star Trek」 conventions. And we cross paths. Every one of the cast members, and especially Leonard [Nimoy], has had run-ins with Bill. Leonard especially, because they were the two in competition. Jimmy Doohan, who played Scotty, was the most outspoken one at 「Star Trek」 conventions. He used to rail on about Bill’s stealing scenes, or stealing lines, or stealing close-ups. And I was — everybody else, Nichelle [Nichols] and Walter [Koenig], in their autobiographies, talk about Bill being very difficult to work with.

In the documentary, you’re responding to questions about Shatner. Had it been your choice, would you have touched on the subject at all?

Well, you know, one of the gifts from 「Star Trek」 is that my professional, work colleagues have become lifelong friends. When Brad and I got married, we asked Walter to be our best man and I asked Nichelle to be our matron of honor. She said, “I am not a matron! If Walter can be the best man, why can’t I be best lady?” And we said, “You’re absolutely right.”

So, because we had them, we didn’t want to be exclusive. We sent invitations to everyone, including Bill. If Bill wanted to come — well, there could have been a mixup in the mail. But we sent the invitations to everybody; before the wedding, we were interviewed by the AP and told them we’d invited everyone. And everyone had RSVP’d except Bill. I said we weren’t surprised, because he’s never been part of anything we did socially. We weren’t surprised.

We were surprised when two months after the wedding, he went on YouTube to rant and rave about it. If you wanted to come that badly, call us before the wedding! And now he’s claiming he doesn’t know me — so why did he want to go to the wedding so badly that he’d complain about it on YouTube? Over the years, we’ve become a 「Star Trek」 family. We have dinner at each other’s houses, or together when we’re at 「Star Trek」 conventions out of town. We’re a family. And I use that as a metaphor — most families have that eccentric, crazy uncle who shows up at Thanksgiving dinner or family reunions. And Bill is that eccentric, crazy uncle, and he’s there with us.

Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

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Daniel Reynolds 「Filmmaker Fan Popo Screens Hope for LGBTs in China」


The Fighters: Meet Fan Popo, an activist filmmaker and director of the Beijing Queer Film Festival, an underground film event that is pushing for LGBT equality in China.

In China, positive media depictions of LGBT characters are against the law, which means a film like 「Brokeback Mountain」 — the story of a clandestine romance between two men in the American West — would never be screened legally in the world’s most populous country. The government has a complex security apparatus designed to censor any content that could be considered subversive, a term that applies to LGBT people, their leaders, and their movement for equality.

For a new generation of activists like Fan Popo who are savvy in social media and word-of-mouth rallying, the solution is to go underground. Defying ongoing censorship and other obstacles from police and government officials, activists are beginning to form a network reminiscent of the U.S. pre-Stonewall era that has succeeded in moving the needle toward acceptance within the past few years. Film and its positive depictions of LGBT characters may be at the heart of this movement.

“Film can change people’s minds,” says the 20-something filmmaker, who learned the art of moviemaking at the Beijing Film Academy and is also the author of 「Happy Together: Complete Record of 100 Queer Films」, which has drawn comparisons to Vito Russo’s LGBT cinema manifesto, 「The Celluloid Closet」. To date, Fan has created several documentaries that have advocated for LGBT rights in China, including 「The Chinese Closet」, which tells young people’s stories of coming out to their parents, and 「Only Love」, which examines the lives of transgender people in southern China.

In addition to being a filmmaker, Fan is the director of the Beijing Queer Film Festival. The festival, established in 2001, is the longest-running in China. In the last 13 years it has evolved through six editions, held screenings in countless locations, and been handled by many organizers. It has been subject to police raids, arrests, warnings, and government spies, with many attempts to permanently end this display of LGBT pride. Its venues have ranged from gay bars to foreign embassies to an ally’s basement, where a white sheet served as a screen.

The festival was originally conceived by students at Peking University, who christened it the Tongzhi Film Festival. In Chinese, “tongzhi” translates to “comrade” in the Communist sense, which is how the students gained approval from the university to host the event. However, “tongzhi” is also a slang word for people who identify as LGBT, which served as an insider advertisement for its intended audience. The festival went on largely as planned but was shut down during its last day, when school officials discovered the ruse.

For several years, the festival remained dormant, due to the students’ fear of more serious repercussions. After a second attempt to stage the festival at Peking University failed, organizers moved the location to 798 Art Zone, an artistic community in the Chaoyang District of Beijing that is populated with former military factories — large buildings perfect for art galleries and, with the right equipment, movie screenings.

The festival survived at 798 for two years, at which point Fan, who was first an audience member, volunteered to become an organizer. He made an impact immediately. After police scrutiny of the festival heightened, Fan helped move the event to a rural location nearly two hours from Beijing. This remote venue helped protect the festival, since surveillance of LGBT organizations and events is greatest in urban areas. But even in this secluded place, police discovered the location in 2011, which forced Fan to once again transplant the festival back to Beijing. Throughout the years, he’s learned how to “play the game of cat and mouse,” staying one step ahead of authorities while orchestrating an ever-changing and underground festival that is hosted in secret venues throughout the city. As actress Lucille Ball once said, “A moving target is hard to hit.”

Last year the five-day festival screened 28 films from nine countries, including Fan’s documentary 「Mama Rainbow」, which follows six mothers (“one for each color of the rainbow flag,” he says) as they forge relationships with their gay and lesbian children. The moving documentary, which illustrates a growing PFLAG-style movement across China, was shown in a bus as it rolled across the streets of Beijing.

“I travel a lot,” Fan says, with a gleam in his eye. “I watched a film on a flight and I had this idea, ‘Oh, well, we can’t rent a plane, but we can rent a bus.’”

In addition to being a moving picture show, the bus also served as a tour for initiates, stopping at various locations that have housed the festival throughout its history. The experience is an eye-opener for first-time audience members, who are accustomed to a lifetime of media censorship regarding LGBT issues. One of Fan’s many duties is fundraising, and he uses part of these funds to host an annual lottery that will pay for transportation and lodging for 25 lucky winners from more rural areas of China who will then be able to travel to Beijing and experience LGBT films — many for the first time.

And for many, the festival is about more than just film. Fan recalls meeting one former audience member who fell in love with her partner during the festival. Afterward, she was inspired to pursue a degree in gender studies at the University of Hong Kong, where she examines a cultural practice called “form” marriage, a common practice in China in which a gay man and a lesbian will marry each other in order to appease their families.

“This film festival is a home for us,” she told Fan.

Read the full story of Popo Fan and the Beijing Queer Film Festival here.

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Taemin 태민 「Danger」

Posted on August 15, 2014 commentaires

Taemin 「Danger」【괴도】- from『ACE』released on August 15, 2014.

Si le premier single solo de Taemin ne se détache pas de ce que fait SHINee et n'a rien d'exceptionnel, la promo qui l'accompagne vaut le coup d’œil ! On apprécie particulièrement la série dans les buissons, hy—per sexy !

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Carmen Gray 「Hong Khaou goes in deep with evocative debut film Lilting」

Posted on August 08, 2014 commentaires
Entretien avec le réalisateur Hong Khaou publié sur le site deDazed & Confusedà propos de son film 「Lilting」. À la vue de la bande annonce, on a déjà envie de chouiner ! Et bonne nouvelle : le film devrait sortir en France le 15 octobre prochain (selon AlloCiné) !

We caught up with the director set to blow up as his tale of grief and gulfs of understanding hits UK screens this week

The buzz around Hong Khaou’s dreamy debut feature 「Lilting」 has been growing since its premiere at Sundance, where it netted a cinematography award for its evocative look. Ben Whishaw plays Richard, a guy grieving over the recent death of his boyfriend Kai (Andrew Leung). He tries to connect with Kai’s Mandarin-speaking mother Junn (Cheng Pei-pei), despite their lack of a common language and her obliviousness to the fact they were lovers. With 「Lilting」 out in the UK this Friday, we spoke to its Cambodia-born, London-based director about shooting in two languages, and merging retro with now.

Hong Khaou 「Lilting trailer - posted on June 11, 2014.

I love the idea of the retirement home’s decor in 「Lilting」, which harks back to other decades to remind its inhabitants of when they were young. Where did that idea come from?

Hong Khaou: I’d seen the idea in a documentary. It’s a legit theory they were trialling to help the elderly fit into a rest home, a really smart idea that I thought could fit into 「Lilting」 because it’s about the memory, it’s inter-generational and of course it allows the film to look beautiful. At the beginning you think you’re watching a retro period film, but then you should start noticing things like the Nivea cream and the pill box are modern. I wanted it to be hard to tell between past and present. Miren Maranon did the set design wonderfully on such a small budget. She got all the ’50s wallpaper from Belgium, and the hydrangeas from Amsterdam. I was very influenced by the languid quality of Wong Kar-wai’s 「In the Mood for Love」. I also referenced 「Martha Marcy May Marlene」 with my DOP a lot – its floating, dreamlike quality.

Gaps in language and communication are central to the film, as well as other gulfs in understanding...

Hong Khaou: I’ve always wanted to talk about communication. I’m bilingual and from an immigrant background. My parents are Cambodian-Chinese. We were displaced by Pol Pot to Vietnam, then moved over to England when I was eight. Communication brings about understanding and bridges cultural differences, but at the same time it can highlight differences so strong, and there are conflicts right now because of that. I wanted to comment on the two sides to that coin. I did think about whether to subtitle it, but if you use a translator right it can enhance all those things you want to talk about, be it awkwardness or becoming part of a secret you don’t want to be involved in. And it sounds so cheesy, but we can read emotion – it’s a language we can understand without it needing to be vocalised.

How did you come to cast martial arts film star Cheng Pei-pei?

Hong Khaou: I wanted someone legendary, and Pei-pei I’ve known of since I was a child. She was so radical at that time – you just didn’t get woman kung fu fighters normally. I’d seen her in another film from New Zealand, and it totally demonstrated that she could do drama. She often doesn’t get such meaty roles, and I figured if she had the opportunity we might have a good chance that she would engage with it. And Ben i’ve been a fan of since Perfume. The whole film is performance really, if I’d gotten the wrong actors the writing would’ve just felt really clunky or even like kitchen-sink drama. It really needed phenomenal actors to get those nuances.

How did you get into filmmaking?

Hong Khaou: I did a two-year foundation course, and tried out all the art forms from graphic illustration to fine art. I initially wanted to be a fine artist but i didn’t like it. When you’re young you find the medium of film really playful, because it’s such a populist medium, running around with a camera. I don’t think I had this kind of epiphany or anything but film felt right, I was comfortable in it, so that’s what I did my degree in.

You developed 「Lilting」 through the Microwave scheme, right?

Hong Khaou: Yes, it’s a scheme for first-time feature filmmakers. I was introduced to producer Dom [Buchanan, who also produced 「Gimme the Loot」] through that and really liked his ambition. That word has a negative connotation but i don’t mean it like that, I mean he has done a lot for himself on his own, really grafted and worked to get where he is. We just decided to go for it.

What’s next for you?

Hong Khaou: My latest script was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. I’ve just been through that and am off to Vietnam to write another draft. It’s a present-day film about the repercussions of the Vietnam War to this day. It features three adults who are products of that war but didn’t experience it directly – an American man whose father fought in it, a Vietnamese man whose family was displaced by it, and a Vietnamese girl who idolises the west and wants to leave Vietnam.

What advice would you give to young filmmakers looking to start out?

Hong Khaou: I don’t know if I’m in a position to give advice to be honest as I’m still learning myself. Maybe – just stick at it.

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Dami Im 「Gladiator」


Dami Im 「Gladiator」 - from『Heart Beats』released on August 08, 2014.

Oui, on dirait une chanteuse de l'Eurovision ! Elle aura d'ailleurs beaucoup de partisans pour représenter l'Australie au concours de 2015 !

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Mila Zuo 「‘A Leading Man’ Explores The Struggles of Asian American Actors in Hollywood

Posted on August 07, 2014 commentaires

Leader of the Snakeheads gang. Gay boyfriend. Doctor. Lab technician. Another gangster. Chinese consulate guy. Another gangster. Such were the types of roles actor Jack Yang has assumed over his 15-year acting career in Hollywood. Then, Steven J. Kung, a young, up-and-coming director, finally saw what was there all along in the handsome, 6-foot-tall Yang: a leading man. And both Kung and Yang got to play around with this idea of the coveted role that has long evaded Asian American actors in a new indie film, appropriately titled 「A Leading Man」.

Yang plays GQ Chi, a talented actor who is fired after he takes a stand on the set of a racist television show, and then sets out to salvage his career in some eyebrow-raising ways. Circulating throughout several international film festivals in the past year, the movie has sparked conversations about the struggles of Asian American actors in Hollywood. It has also been steadily collecting a number of honors, including best lead actor and best director nods from the Asians on Film Festival, in addition to the Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The acknowledgement has been especially satisfying for Kung, for whom 「A Leading Man」 is a very personal project.

“The reason I made the film was because, when I grew up, I was tired of seeing Asian Americans on television in bit parts that were sort of degrading and demeaning,” said Kung, who has worked as an assistant to Matthew Weiner on the TV series 「Mad Men」.

“So, when I went to film school, my entrance essay was about putting Asian Americans in front of a camera, particularly men, and making sure that they weren’t sexless or emasculated, showing that they were three-dimensional characters and they had all the complexity that white characters do. And so, it was important to me that my first film be about that, just that issue.”

Kung said he purposely made 「A Leading Man」 a fictional narrative because he thought there were already plenty of documentaries exploring the topic, and even satires -- but not a fictional drama.

“When you make a fictional drama, it sort of addresses the audience and engages the audience in a different way,” he explained. “And the way they suspend disbelief for a drama, they’re willing to accept the world and the rules of the world, and the rules of this world are the same rules in your life, which is that, if you’re an Asian American, you’re going to go out for crappier parts and you’ll have fewer opportunities. So I feel that people, once they watch this, they’re more easily educated and will realize what’s going on in real life.”

And, unfortunately, real life can sometimes be more offensive than fiction, the Taiwanese American director learned. In the film, there’s a fictional TV show called 「PuPu Platter」, which lampoons the racist tendencies of comedies, and Kung actually wrote some pretty offensive jokes for the scene. “It’s funny,” Kung said. “After I shot the movie, there was a show on Fox called 「Dads」, and the first episode was more offensive than any of the stuff I’d put in the script. I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I wasn’t offensive enough!’”

Notably, while 「A Leading Man」 succeeds in examining Hollywood’s discriminatory practices against Asian males, it does so without martyring the film’s so-called hero. The film’s novelty, in fact, lies in its nuanced depiction of amorally ambiguous Asian American leading man, who goes so far as seducing women to his professional advantage.

“For me when I read [the script], it just rang so true,” said Yang. “It’s not a perfect world. He’s not a perfect character, and it’s not a perfect situation. You know a lot of times when you tell a story in Hollywood, it’s about, ‘Oh, here’s this wonderful thing and we’re trying to root for this guy because he’s so great, and he’s going to get the girl.’ It’s not always so cut and dry.”

Yang, who has tasted the struggle of Asian American actors in the business firsthand, said this project immediately spoke to him. “All the movies I grew up watching that I loved, I went back and watched them, and there wasn’t a single Asian person in any of them,” said the Canadian-born Taiwanese American actor. “Now they’re finally writing roles for just people and you can insert the character of whoever they want. That’s great. But 10 years ago, 15 years ago, definitely not. It was almost impossible, but because of that, it made me want to do it even more.”

Kung said even today, amid the many strides Asian Americans have made in the media, he believes there’s still a need to alter popular perceptions about the Asian American man. “There’s this [Nigerian] writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who says that very dark women have a hard time in the media, and the other group [that does too,] is Asian men,” he said. “I think it’s true because we’re not seen as sex symbols. We’re seen as sexless.”

That’s why he said he wanted to make sure that, in the film, his lead Asian American character did all the things a leading man would do, and that included doing a sex scene. “At first the lead actress (Heather Mazur) is like, ‘Do I have to do this?’” noted Kung. “I’m like, if this is going to be about making an Asian leading man, he has to be the romantic, he has to get the girl, and he has to have sex. And when I explained that to her, she’s like, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ She understood, absolutely. I want to show a full range of emotions. I want to show him very happy. I want to show him triumphant. I want to show him down. I want to show him sad and depressed. I want to show him angry. So, I put all of those elements in the film to justify that he was a true leading man.”

Check out the trailer:

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Jeremy Helligar 「‘Sorry, I Don’t Do Asians’: The Dangers of Racial Discrimination in Dating」

“I don’t find Asian men attractive.”

I didn’t say it. He did: Nolan*, the guy from Amsterdam who had been living in Bangkok for 10 years. For some reason, he wanted to know if I was attracted to Asian men (my answer: when I found them attractive), and although some things would have been better left unsaid, he felt the need to tell me that he is not.

My first instinct was to ask why he would live in a country where he wasn't attracted to the people, but I’d already met his longtime partner, so I figured that hooking up with the locals wasn’t a priority.

My second instinct was to ask him what exactly he found attractive, then. His boyfriend? If I had lined up every man in the room and arranged them from the ones I found most attractive down to the least, starting at the bar, his boyfriend might have ended up somewhere near the bathroom. It wasn’t the nicest thought that ran through my head that evening, but that was just my taste.

This was exactly Nolan’s response when I suggested that his attitude reeked of racism. Like so many men with the no-Asians dating and hooking-up policies, Nolan hid behind the old  “That’s just my preference” excuse. He compared his not being attracted to Asians to his preferring men over women. I let that one slide because it was such a ridiculous argument. It was as misguided as equating it to digging brunettes over blondes. Both rationalizations were irrelevant. All sexual preferences are not created equal, and for Nolan to so glibly simplify human sexuality just for the sake of his weak defense against my charge of racism just made him seem deluded times two.

But if we are going to assign labels to what Nolan considered to be preferences, regardless of what determines a person’s sexuality (nature vs. nurture), there is already a term in use for guys who prefer men to women — a word as objectionable for many as being called  “racist.” And if there were a catchy term to describe blond-chasers, I would have coined it.  “Racist” is the operative word to describe someone who would exclude someone from housing, from jobs, from sex, from love, based on ethnicity. Furthermore, no matter how people want to spin it, rejection for being of a certain race stings so much more than being overlooked because of your hair or eye color, or even your gender.

When I carefully considered Nolan’s words, though, I had to give him a little credit. He hadn’t said,  “I would never date or sleep with an Asian guy” (though I’m sure he would have, had I probed). He’d simply made a blanket statement regarding sexual attraction based on race, which was in the same neighborhood but on a different street. Nolan seemed like a smart, decent person, and I gave him extra credit for getting the reference when I mentioned Nolan Ross from 「Revenge」. I certainly hadn’t meant to offend him when I called his attitude racist any more than he’d meant to annoy me when he expressed said attitude, but the battle lines had been drawn.

He wasn’t entirely unsuccessful in his attempt to defend himself. He did make me think that perhaps I should cut him and all the others who had made similar comments over the previous few months some slack. Though I wasn’t going to back down from my accusations of racism, I didn’t really see them as the enemy, not the way I had my two redneck classmates at Denn John Middle School in Kissimmee, Florida, who used to chant,  “I smell nigger,” every time they passed by me.

I didn’t know enough about Nolan to measure the degree of his personal prejudice on a scale from one to ten, but I knew he was walking through life — and DJ Station — seeing groups and types rather than individuals. In his outright dismissal of Asian men, he was forming a sexual hierarchy based on race, while basically saying that all Asian men are created physically equal with little variation:  “A few undesirable physical qualities fit all. I’ll put the entire Asian population in a box and remove them from my dating and sexing pool.”

Never mind that eye shape aside, there’s actually little physical similarity among the men of, say, Thailand, China and the Philippines, and even less among those of Israel, Lebanon, India and Anatolian Turkey (all of which are part of the Asian continent, making their natives just as Asian as the ones to whom Nolan was referring). Shoving them into one box of physical attributes and labeling it  “Do not touch" is tantamount to saying that all black people look alike. Sure, we have no control over what we’re attracted to, but we can control whether we see people as individuals or merely as belonging to groups that are determined by ethnicity and race. And does rigid adherence in your head to a supposed  “preference” (which, as expressed, often sounds more like a rule:  “I don’t date [insert ethnicity, race or nationality here]”) become almost self-fulfilling in practice, to the point of exclusion?

Can an employer who will only hire white employees because he or she prefers to work with them, or a landlord who will only rent to white tenants because he or she prefers to live with them, use  “preference” as a loophole to sidestep charges of racism? Of course not. Why, then, do people think the rules of racism don’t apply to them when they’re eliminating entire continents from their romantic prospects based entirely on ethnicity and race? Because they can’t face legal charges of discrimination for their preference?

The highly evolved modern man thinks outside boxes and beyond ethnicities, not limiting himself to what he prefers. There’s a difference between liking one thing more than another and dismissing either of them out of hand.  “I am not attracted to Asian men," like  “I don’t like broccoli," is less a statement of preference than one of taste. People’s tastes, like their preferences, aren’t necessarily static, as anyone who grew up hating ice cream (or broccoli) but likes it as an adult knows. Isn’t that the whole point behind an  “acquired taste?”

If you can’t, or won’t, think outside boxes and beyond ethnicities, at least be courageous enough to face the uncomfortable implications of your color vision.  “Jeremy, I think I might be racist: I’m just not attracted to Asian men," a German friend in Berlin once confided in me, earning my respect, if not a free pass.  “Sorry, I just don’t find them attractive," with no interest in self-reflection to determine why, is a cop-out. P.S. This applies equally to so-called  “chocolate queens" and  “rice queens" and  “whatever queens” who shun white men. Racism isn’t just about rejecting minority groups or persecuted ones.

Before I met Nolan, I would have imagined that someone who had been living in Asia for a decade would have realized that the contents of the Asian box are as varied as those of the white, black or Latino ones. But Nolan and people just like him were too busy using their  “preferences” as an excuse to exclude an entire continent of people from the list of guys they would consider dating to see the variety among Asian men.

I’d become accustomed to that attitude in Australia, where the Manhunt profiles of guys who approached me would sometimes include the words  “No Asians" or  “Whites only” (the latter of which was once explained to me as a response to an inordinate number of Asian suitors). I’d anticipated more enlightenment when I first came to Southeast Asia on an extended holiday after four months living in Melbourne, but it was actually worse, with Asian-on-Asian racism being as rampant as black-on-black racism in the United States (and European/white Argentine vs. South American/brown Argentine racism in Buenos Aires) and highlighting the social ill in bright, shocking pink. I told Nolan that I found comments like his particularly offensive because as a gay black man, I’d spent much of my life hearing similar sentiments in the United States, only they were usually aimed at people like me there.

This form of non-gender-related sexual discrimination against the locals in Asia felt equally inappropriate, perhaps more so: They were being insulted by visitors in their own home. I couldn’t condone  “Whites only” in Australia, but I understood that some of it came from a territorial place. It was partly the manifestation of resentment of a minority that was growing larger every year. But there is no excuse for relocating to a country to benefit from it economically (or for whatever personal reason), descending upon the gay scene, and then basically saying you don’t like the way the locals there look.

En masse, it sometimes felt like small-scale colonialism, with the European male in the position of sexual power — everybody wanted him. As I watched the division of ethnicities at DJ Station (Asians on the ground floor, Europeans on top) and listened to people like Nolan constantly voicing the racial limits of their attraction, I wondered what the future might hold in an increasingly mobile, diverse and app-obsessed gay world. With Grindr and Scruff and other online meat markets overtaking bars and clubs in boy-meets-boy preeminence, would virtual  “walls” of segregation and apartheid (Edit Filter) one day replace velvet ropes as the number-one way to keep out the undesired?

Hadn’t history taught us anything?

This is an excerpt adapted from my forthcoming memoir, 「Is It True What They Say About Black Men? Tales of Love, Lust and Language Barriers on the Other Side of the World」. A document of my life after New York City as an expat in South America, Australia, Asia and, finally, Africa, the book will be available this fall.

Follow Jeremy Helligar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Theme4Gr8Cities

* Not his real name.

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