Jacques Sun 「Les Asiatiques de France, de l'indifférence à la politique à l'indifférence en politique」

Posted on June 29, 2015 commentaires
POLITIQUE - Au siècle dernier, différentes générations d'émigrés venues d'Asie ont apporté un dynamisme et une volonté de construire un nouvel avenir en France. Aujourd'hui, la communauté asiatique est estimée à plus de 1 million de personnes réparties dans l'hexagone. Les représentants de notre communauté se sont rapidement approprié les valeurs de la France, que ce soit par l'école ou par le travail. La communauté asiatique de France est aujourd'hui un modèle d'intégration. Son dynamisme économique n'est plus à démontrer et il est un atout majeur pour la France et pour ses relations avec l'Asie.

Pourtant la communauté asiatique est encore trop souvent absente de la vie citoyenne française. De l'inscription sur les listes électorales, à la participation aux différents scrutins en passant par l'intégration de listes et l'élection à des fonctions tant en collectivités qu'à des mandats nationaux, les asiatiques de France sont trop peu présents.

En privilégiant l'intégration économique et sociale, ils ont négligé ce facteur clé de la culture et de l'identité française.

Certes, quelques personnalités symboliques émergent, à l'instar de Fleur Pellerin ou de Jean-Vincent Placé, mais elles cachent mal l'absence de véritables tissus d'élus de proximité engagés dans des sujets de préoccupations quotidiennes de tous les Français tels qu'ont pu en produire d'autres communautés emblématiques.

C'est notamment fort de ce constat, de la nécessité d'impliquer les asiatiques de France dans la vie politique et dans l'ensemble des partis politiques sous le regard indifférent de la Communauté nationale, que nous avons crée le CRAAF.

Le Conseil Représentatif des Associations Asiatiques de France (CRAAF), né avec le support de plusieurs dizaines d'associations asiatiques, il y a maintenant 4 ans a l'ambition de contribuer à l'intégration de nos membres au sein de la communauté nationale et de favoriser leur émergence politique et sociale en dépassant le débat sur la diversité.

À l'approche d'échéances électorales importantes, régionales, puis présidentielles et législatives, les élites asiatiques en France ont aujourd'hui un rôle à jouer pour agir aussi bien dans le domaine social que dans la sphère politique. Au delà des élites, il appartient bien sur à chacun d'apporter sa pierre à l'édifice en votant et en participant. Nous voulons grâce à l'action du CRAAF créer une passerelle entre la Communauté nationale et la Communauté asiatique et encourager ainsi la représentation de nos membres et leur émergence politique et sociale en France.

Cette participation des asiatiques de France, champions de l'intégration par la réussite économique, est peut-être une occasion de réconcilier les élus avec l'économie et par la même tous les Français avec la politique.

Jacques Sun
Président du Conseil Représentatif des Associations Asiatiques de France (CRAAF)

Official Website: http://craaf.info/

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Zak Dychtwald 「This Is What It's Like to Come Out in China」

Posted on June 28, 2015 commentaires
“My sex ed teacher brought up homosexuality once. All he said was that it was a psychological disease.”

Will laughs to himself while he watches the bouncer sift through his backpack, knowing he’ll only find lube and condoms. A thick crowd of Chinese men check each other out in a courtyard removed from the street. The bass from one of Beijing’s most popular gay clubs pulsates. The bouncer ushers us in, saying, “Maybe don’t tell any Westerners about what goes on in here.” The heavy brass doors part, and the club sucks him in.

One week earlier and over 1000 miles West, in Sichuan province, I’d first interviewed Will (not his real name) underneath the dust-filtered glow of a lamp-lit highway overpass. He’d just finished sparring Tai Qi with his master, whose door he had prostrated in front of for 12 hours before being accepted. The three of us – Will, his 60-year-old, chain-smoking, impressively nimble Tai Qi teacher, and me – talked about a sentiment that’s increasingly popular in China these days: an appreciation for the coexistence of the old and the new, tradition and breakthrough. The Tai Qi teacher and I both looked at Will, nodding.

In 2001, when Will was nine, the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed homosexuality and bisexuality from the official list of mental disorders in the Chinese Classification of Medical Disorders. Notably, they cleared Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) but neglected to strike Transgender (T) from the list of psychological diseases.

Today, China is home to what is speculated to be the largest LGBT community in the world. Grindr, with 5 million global users, was heartily beat out by China’s gay geo-social app Blued, now with 15 million users, 12 million within China’s borders. The government, on the other hand, remains quiet on the issue. “They neither condone or condemn us, which is frustrating but livable,” William says.

Will is a 22-year-old Chinese student from Beijing, currently finishing up his undergraduate degree in Chengdu, Sichuan, the so-called “gateway to the West” of China. Will self-identifies as gay, and has taken part in demonstrations in Mainland China and Taiwan. Next year, he’ll study at China’s most prestigious university, Tsinghua, to earn his masters in philosophy.

My sex ed teacher brought up homosexuality once. All he said was that it was a psychological disease.

Will’s goal is to “modernize Chinese thought,” part of which means proving the compatibility of rigid traditional dogma unique to China. Compared with the Christian or Islamic world, Will believes China can be among the most progressive countries on the planet on LGBT issues if awareness is built into the education system.

VICE spoke with Will about coming out in Chinese society, the trickiness of being a gay male heir, and normalizing gay sex.

VICE: Growing up in the 90s in China, when did you first realize you were gay? What was your first exposure to the concept of being gay?

Will: When I first realized there was such a thing as “gay” – when I realized there was such a concept – I was 11. It was often brought up casually in society, movies, the media; they all would mention ‘同性恋,’ tóng xìng lìan, but I didn’t know what that was. No one ever defined it, so I made guesses just by looking at individual characters.

The Chinese word for gay and lesbian is the same: 同性恋,tóng xìng lìan. The first character means “same.” The second character primarily means sex. However, its pronunciation and tone is the same as 姓, xìng, which means family name, as opposed to 性, xìng, which means sex.When first meeting someone in China, it is polite to ask them what is their xìng. You aren’t asking “What is your sex?” but rather, “What is your family name?”

Right, so instead of understanding it as “same sex love” I thought people were talking about “same family name love,” two men of the same ‘性,’ xìng, the same family name. Because they had the same family name, they would date. We would joke around with other male classmates, “Your family name is Wang. My family name is Wang. We are tóng xìng lìan!”

It wasn’t until I was 11 that I wandered across a website called Friend, Don’t Cry. Now the site is ancient, but I think it still exists. It has a lot of small stories and novels, forums, pictures of guys. The forum describes gay lifestyle. I saw those and was like, “Oh, I’ve been gay this whole time.”

You don’t need to hop the Great Firewall to access the site?

Nope. Anyone could access it. I know a lot – a lot, a lot – of young and even older Chinese guys who found this site, or sites like it, and finally realized they weren’t perverts or weirdos.

What did you do when you realized you are gay?

Experimented. I had the information – I knew what a blowjob was – but [I didn’t have] education on the emotional side of relationships. I was only 12. Next came anal sex. He was older than me by ten years. It was consensual. Actually, it was me who seduced him. Now it is probably illegal. He probably shouldn’t have done that. I was 13.

It wasn’t good. I was not emotionally mature enough. I was lacking a good understanding of the emotional side of sex. I lacked a sex education altogether. There was no moralizing sex between men like [there is] with women, no “no sex before marriage” or “first time should be about love” type of stuff. If you’re only looking at the websites or the book, you wouldn’t think that sex with a man is a taboo concept, you wouldn’t think that we should wait until later to try it. There was no need to think twice.

What was sex ed like in China? Did your teacher bring up homosexuality?

In elementary school, we had a class called “Pubescence Education.” It was with our school doctor. He was also the biology teacher. He just made us watch a movie called The World of the Human Body. At that time, he brought up homosexuality once. All he said was that it was a psychological disease.

Have you come out to your family?

For the average Chinese gay guy, the hardest part is always going to be coming out to your parents, but not for the same reasons as you guys in the West. Chinese people really emphasize 孝道, xìao dào, [most often translated as filial piety]. Opposition to homosexuality is mainly based on 不孝, so not being filial, not being a good son.

This concept is Confucian, right? Can you explain the connection between being a good son and having children?

Confucianism isn’t religion in the Western sense, but it is the bedrock of Chinese tradition. It creates a moral system.

China’s issue with gays goes like this: sleeping with a guy makes it impossible to have offspring. The guy part isn’t necessarily bad, but the no offspring is 不孝, not filial. There is a line central to Confucianism engraved on the hearts of most Chinese people, either consciously or socially coded: “不孝有三,无后为大.” It means, “There are three main ways of being unfilial, the worst of which is not providing descendants.”

So the issue with being gay in China isn’t about being somehow “unnatural” or somehow sinful, as it is out West. The problem is logistical: how to have a son.

Exactly. There are other issues in terms of family structure, but at the core of the issue is that line. More or less, the worst moral transgression is to not be a good son, and not having a child of your own is the worst way to commit that transgression.

How did your parents react when you came out?

My dad didn’t say anything, just leaned back and kept looking at the ceiling. My mom said, “If you’re sure, we can only accept this.” Three days later, my dad and I sat down to talk about the important details.

Why not your mom?

It wasn’t related to her. It was my dad’s and my issue.

What kind of details did you discuss?

I have a pretty heavy role in the family. I am my dad’s only son. Frankly, with the One Child Policy, he’s lucky he had a son. His brothers only have daughters. The passage of the family name needs a son, and it is my duty.

There are a lot of modern options that sort of skirt the male/female aspect of having a son. In vitro fertilization, for instance, is a way to pass on the bloodline without marrying a girl. Making a type of agreement with a lesbian is a thing that is happening more in China, too, which I know might not be received well back West. All consensual, obviously.

Does traditional Chinese thought have anything to say about homosexuality specifically?

Ancient China looks at homosexuality as a type of personal hobby. By that I mean, you could marry your wife, have your son, and also get down with another beautiful guy. There are some literary works and songs that extoll gay virtues, and there are also some that make fun of this sort of gay tomfoolery, but all in all there is no serious or deep discussion of homosexuality.

Now, though, homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, is a major topic in Chinese media. How have attitudes changed toward homosexuality since you were a kid?

Now there are a lot of popular jokes involving gays. There are gay characters in TV shows, even if they don’t come out and say it. There are viral Chinese gay videos made by Zank. Sometimes it is negative, sometimes it is positive, mostly it just includes it.

In a way, it is like being seen. We exist now. Jokes or not, it can make young people’s attitude warm up to the idea of homosexuality.

More and more people are realizing homosexuality is genetic, which has of course not been proven definitively, but still it shifts blame toward [genetics] instead of the child or his upbringing. People also understand the maxim, “We should respect homosexual lifestyle choices.”

Still, prejudice exists everywhere. Gays sometimes are portrayed under the rigid stereotype of “thirsty,” always looking for opportunities to have anal sex.

Who is the biggest gay role model in China right now?

Bizarrely, Tim Cooke. His coming out did a lot for people’s perceptions with the craze around Apple products. If people say gays are gross online or anything, people will reply, “Are you using an iPhone to write this?”

More intense even is when people online comment about gay people, people will fire back, “What are you using to comment right now?” Alan Turing was gay. No gays, no computer.

What do you think is the most important issue for the LGBT community here in China?

Without a doubt, sex ed. Marriage is a later consideration. Right now, [many] people don’t understand the basics of being gay.

Most importantly, beyond the physical safety aspect, is the psychological aspect. Being homosexual in this society, how should you protect yourself? How do you handle your sexuality? Who should you tell, who shouldn’t you tell? How much should you tell who? If you have feelings toward a straight boy, how should you handle that? Because no one ever told me any of this, I went down a lot of dark and sometimes dangerous paths before things cleared up for me.

Follow Zak on Twitter.

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Megan Boyanton 「Powerful video campaign aims to tackle taboo on LGBT issues in Asian families」

Posted on June 26, 2015 commentaires
A group has released a series of powerful ads that attempt to tackle the stigma around LGBT issues in the Asian community.

For the month of June, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance joined with the Asian Pride Project for, to release encouraging videos of parents and their LGBT children as Public Service Announcements throughout the US.

Featured on both Asian TV stations and YouTube, a total of nine videos – narrated and subtitled in varying languages and dialects – have been promoted for LGBT Pride Month.

From India, Vinay Chaudhry spoke in English on behalf of his genderqueer child, accompanied by Hindi subtitles.

The diverse range of ads features families from across the Asian continent, with both parents and children.

Focusing on the parents with their individual daughters and sons, they explain, “Family is still family and love is still love.”

Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director of the NQAPIA, told the Windy City Times: “Our campaign not only empowers immigrant parents, but also LGBT youth struggling to come out to their families. We are raising the visibility of supportive Asian parents and family members so they can act as catalysts for acceptance within their communities.”

The ads targeted families of a number of different ethnic groups, including Chinese, South Asian, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian and Filipino. It is expected to reach an audience of more than 13.9 million.

The message is simple: “Too often our children are shunned, ostracised and discriminated against in our community. I am proud of my child. I have always been proud of my child. It is time to take a stand to really support your children, my children, our children. Share your story of love and acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.”

Published in 19 different languages, “fact sheets” were also created for mothers and fathers with LGBT children to help eliminate misunderstandings about different sexualities.

So far, the videos released are as follows:

Mandarin with English subtitles – Deanna Cheng, a Chinese mother of a gay son

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「家人還是家人」 [Family Is Still Family (Mandarin with English subtitles)] - posted on May 12, 2016.

Cantonese with English subtitles – Rosetta Lai, a Chinese mother of a lesbian daughter

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「家人還是家人」 [Family Is Still Family (Cantonese with English subtitles)] - posted on May 12, 2016.

Hindi with English subtitles – Kamlesh and Harcharan Bagga, Indian parents of a gay son

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「Family Is Still Family」 [Hindi w/ English Subtitles] - posted on May 12, 2016.

English with Hindi subtitles – Vinay Chaudhry, an Indian father of a genderqueer child

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「Family Is Still Family」 [English w/ Hindi Subtitles] - posted on May 12, 2016.

English with Japanese subtitles – Marsha and Tad Aizumi, Japanese parents of a transgender son

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「家族は家族だし」 [Family Is Still Family (English with Japanese subtitles)] - posted on May 12, 2016.

Vietnamese with English subtitles – Ha Nguyen, a Vietnamese mother of a gay son

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「Gia đình vẫn là gia đình」 [Family Is Still Family (Vietnamese with English subtitles)] - posted on May 12, 2016.

English with Lao subtitles – Phanida Phivilay, a Lao mother of a lesbian daughter

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance 「ຄອບຄົວກໍ່ຈະຕອ້ງເປັນຄອບຄົວເໝືອນ ເດີມ」 [Family Is Still Family (English with Lao subtitles)] - posted on May 12, 2016.

NQAPIA - National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
Official Website: http://www.nqapia.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NQAPIA/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NQAPIA
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/nqapia

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Faël Isthar 「Yi Tin Chen : Le vendeur de Tofu le plus Sexy de Taïwan」

Posted on June 25, 2015 commentaires

J’imagine que la plupart d’entre vous, mesdames, n’aurez pas envie de manger que du Tofu à la fin de cet article. Depuis qu’il s’est lancé dans la vente de desserts de Tofus sucrés : les « Dou Hua », Yi Tin Chen est devenu la nouvelle attraction de Taipei (Taïwan). Pourquoi donc ? Car Yu Tin Chen, top modèle à ses heures perdues, est beau, musclé et incroyablement sexy. Notamment lorsque, accablé par la chaleur infernale, celui-ci enlève brusquement son débardeur et se balade torse nu dans la petite échoppe de tofu.

Laquelle est depuis inondée de cliente avides de manger du tofu tout en admirant les « six packs » de Yi Tin Chen. Fils du tenancier, Yi Tin Chen déclare modestement « je ne fais que vendre du tofu ! Je ne comprends pas tous ces regards sur moi... *contracte son biceps et s’essuie le front avec son débardeur* ». En attendant, il semblerait que ses plus jolies clientes s’empressent, la nuit tombée, d’engloutir son gros pack... de tofu.

Author: Faël Isthar/Date: June 25, 2015/Source: https://yzgeneration.com/yi-tin-chen-le-vendeur-de-tofu-le-plus-sexy-de-taiwan/

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Hayley Kiyoko 「Girls Like Girls」

Posted on June 24, 2015 commentaires

Hayley Kiyoko 「Girls Like Girls」 - released on June 24, 2015.

P'tite chanson un peu indé qui parle d'amour lesbien, c'est beau, c'est jeune, c'est sympa, c'est cool. Petit bonus, dans ce clip au filtre Instagram, réalisé par Hayley Kiyoko elle-même, on remarquera l'actrice sino-américaine Kelsey Chow.

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Alison Lynch 「Everyone’s losing it over ‘Taiwan’s hottest bean curd seller’」

Posted on June 23, 2015 commentaires

This guy’s bean curds are bringing all the girls (and boys) to the yard.

He’s been dubbed ‘Taiwan’s hottest bean curd seller’ and he’s been doing amazing things for sales at Chuan Tong Zhi Zui Dou Hua Tang – a bean curd (tofu) shop in Taiwan.

In the last few days, the shirtless street vendor has been drawing crowds to the shop, according to Taiwanese blog Pixnet.

The queues are snaking around the block for this little shop’s bean curds (Picture: Cloud Dad/ Pixnet)

Thirsty customers have been queuing around the block for a chance to sample his wears.

Pictures of him hard at work have also been doing the rounds on social media site Weibo.

After serious investigative work by ‘interested parties’ online, the handsome street vendor has been found on Facebook.

Yi Tin Chen is a 26-year-old living in Taipei.

And, yes, as well as being a part-time bean curd seller (according to rumours, he *might* be the son of the bean curd shop owner) and apparently working for Mercedes-Benz, he’s also a model.

Some conspiracy theorists have suggested this might all be a scheme dreamt up to get publicity for the bean curd shop. But, according to a Chinese newspaper, the claims have been denied by Chen’s modelling agency.

Either way, he’s clearly good for business.

Anyone else suddenly got a hankering for some tofu?

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Darren Wong 「A Day with Howard」

Posted on June 22, 2015 commentaires

『iFitness』speaks with go-go dancer Howard Chang to understand what it takes to perfect the craft of go-go dancing

When did you start out as a go-go dancer?

It was about four years ago when I first attended a concert party called 「Nude」 in Osaka, Japan, where I performed as a go-go dancer.

How is go-go dance different from other types of dance?

In my opinion, go-go dancing is about the atmosphere and the interaction with the crowd, and at the same time creating fun and exciting moments with them. The dance movements flow with these moments, and the body grooves along with the music to express a kind of sexiness. I think it’s a little different from other kinds of dance.

How popular is go-go dance?

It is quite popular. Besides Thailand, many Asian and western countries are also trending the go-go dance, simply because it is the different experiences it can bring to the guests in a party. That is also why organisers are always looking for refreshing and interesting ideas to justify the prices of the go-go dance tickets.

Is there a stereotype to this genre of dance?

I’m not sure what others think about this genre of dance, but regardless of that, what a performer truly wants is to excite the audience and create moments of joy.

To read more, download your copy of『iFitness』Vol.19 here!

Author: Darren Wong/Date: June 22, 2015/Source: http://www.ifitnessmag.com/a-day-with-howard/

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Rina Sawayama 「Tunnel Vision」

Posted on June 18, 2015 commentaires

Rina Sawayama 「Tunnel Vision」 - June 18, 2015.

Directed by Arvida Byström (http://arvidabystrom.se/)
「Tunnel Vision」 written by Rina Sawayama.
Produced by Hoost (https://soundcloud.com/hoostuk)

Makeup by Wilma Stigson Lundin (www.wilmamakeup.com)

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Jim Halterman 「Conrad Ricamora On The King And I And How To Get Away With Murder: “I’m Living The Professional Dream”」

Posted on June 15, 2015 commentaires

Conrad Ricamora first grabbed our attention last fall as Oliver, the computer-tech plaything for crafty gay law student Connor (Jack Falahee) on ABC’s 「How To Get Away With Murder」.

Their unlikely romance culminated in the season finale, when Oliver tells Connor that he’s been diagnosed HIV-positive.

But Ricamora, 36, didn’t have time to bask in the glow of that Hollywood success: He’s now taken on the role of Lun Tha in the Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 「The King And I」, which brought home the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical last weekend, as well as acting awards for co-stars Kelli O’Hara and Ruthie Ann Miles, and the award for Best Costume Design for a Musical.

NewNowNext sat down with Ricamora to talk about his role in 「The King And I」, the HIV storyline on Murder and his own journey out of the closet.

Tell us about your character in 「The King And I」?

CR: I play Lun Tha, who brings brings Tuptim as a gift for the King from the King of Burm, — but they are secretly in love with each other.

Lun Tha and Tuptim figure out a way to try to meet with each other throughout the year that Anna is in the palace. Anna starts helping them and then eventually my character is sent away. I come up with this plan for her to come with me.

You’re part of a hit show on TV and a Tony-winning musical. How have you handled all that attention?

CR: I sing two beautiful songs in 「The King And I」 but my total stage time is only about 12 minutes. Which is nice, because I just finished a show, 「Here Lies Love」 down at The Public Theater, that was so exhausting. It was 90 minutes nonstop on stage — all the time singing and dancing. So this is a little bit of a break. My body was so beat up after Love, this has been really great.

Honestly, I’m living the professional dream life right now — having an amazing TV job and an amazing theater job as well. They complement each other and enhance each other in ways I never expected. That was the coolest thing.

What are you learning from 「The King And I」?

CR: I’m learning a huge amount from singing classical musical theater. The last show I did was a rock musical by David Byrne from The Talking Heads. It was amazing but such a different skill set... I’m learning a lot being a part of this amazing company.

Kelli knows how to move around on a huge stage better than anyone I’ve seen because she’s done it for so long. She’s amazing. Ken [Watanabe] is also just really, really great to watch.

How were the Tonys for you?

CR: I was getting dirty looks from people in the auditorium during the Tonys because I was screaming so loudly when Ruthie Ann Miles won [for playing Lady Thiang].

You have to understand, she was literally one of the first people I met there years ago when I moved to NYC to start the workshop of 「Here Lies Love」, and we’ve been together ever since.

Kelli is simply the most generous actor. She leads this company with a warm spirit that is everything but most importantly she is inclusive. It was so great to see her win on Sunday [and] with such a great sense of humor! I loved her jig at the end of her speech!

I’m just so happy to be a part of such a gorgeous show and story that we get to tell every night. After all of the great celebrating we did [after the Tonys], the best joy was actually getting to come back to Lincoln Center and tell this story again and sing these songs.

The audience this Tuesday went absolutely bonkers during the curtain call. They were all so happy for Ruthie, Kelli and all of us.

Getting back to 「How to Get Away With Murder」. Your character learns he’s HIV-positive—how did that inform your performance and Oliver’s relationship with Connor?

CR: Jack [Falahee] was the person that told me: I was in the makeup trailer and we were shooting the episode before the finale. He was like, “Did you hear? Did you read?” I was like, “No. What?” He was like, “You have HIV.”

I just stood there and it took me the rest of that day to come out of this funk. I realized I’d become so close to this character that I’m playing. I care so much about him that it really did hurt to find out he had HIV. So that was my first reaction.

Then we shot the scene three days later. I kept thinking, if this is what the story is going to be then how would you feel? What would it be like?

I mean as a gay man I’ve gone and got tested every year. Anyone that has done it can tell you what it’s like sitting in the waiting room, no matter how sure you are about anything, just being terrified.

I sat with what it would be like to come back positive and then stayed with that for about a day. The day before we shot it I stayed in that [mindset] the whole day and then the next morning I came on set and just wore a hoodie and had headphones because I knew that that’s where it had to live to be honest.

That was what I wanted to do was have the honest portrayal of what it would be like to have this diagnosis and then to share it with someone for the first time. I’m happy, too, that it’s being brought back into the mainstream because I feel like ignorance is not bliss in this case.

Why do you think Oliver is so drawn to Connor? I’m guessing it’s not just the good sex.

CR: I think that’s a huge part of why many people stay together. I think he’s excited by him. I think that there is something about all of the illegal things he’s doing by helping that is really exciting to him.

I imagine that the job he has in IT is a very run-of-the-mill, fix-your-server problems. There’s a little bit of James Bond in Oliver and this is how it comes out. He likes that side of it.

I think he falls for [Connor] because he’s extremely good-looking and charming, and he’s real. Oliver knows that Connor is being real with him when he’s not with other people. That he’s actually very real — besides the obvious huge secrets that are there.

But I feel like Connor can be himself around Oliver in ordinary, everyday ways — like the ways that he carries himself, his posture. He runs over to my house a sweaty mess and he doesn’t care what he looks like. I think there’s that ultimate level of comfortability with the person you fall in love with.

How has it been working with Jack Falahee? Since you have to have such an intimate relationship, do you get a lot of time to talk about your characters together?

CR: He’s the best guy — so great. There’s very, very little [rehearsal time] because I was doing a show here and flying back and forth when we were shooting [Murder]. I didn’t have days to be like “Do you want to hang out and talk about what we’re doing with what could be a long-term arc of these two characters together?”

So we’ve never actually been able to do that or have a lot of face to face time. We just seem to naturally have a great rapport with each other. It seems to work without overthinking it too much.

During the course of shooting the pilot, did you always know you were coming back for more episodes?

CR: No, I didn’t know — I thought I was just going to be in for the pilot and then they kept bringing me back. Then as the storyline started opening up there never seemed to be an end to it. So I was like “I guess I’m kind of a part of the show now” I was in nine episodes out of 15.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

CR: I’m obsessed with coffee shops. I think the best ones are the greatest places on Earth. I opened one when I was in undergrad, a student-run coffeehouse and we came up with a business plan.

I remember when Ellen had her sitcom she ran a bookstore-coffeehouse called Buy The Book.

CR: I remember being in the closet in high school and when [Ellen] first came out. I wasn’t scared for her but I was for myself — that somehow now people were going to be able to know.

When did you actually come out?

CR: I came out my senior year in college. That’s when I was like “What is the world and who am I?” As opposed to just being reflected back from who my parents saw me as or wanted me to be or whatever.

Being out doesn’t seem to have pigeonholed you.

CR: No, I think that’s something that’s huge that’s changing with actors is that Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight man on television for years and years and years. I think people just don’t care.

「The King and I」 continues at Lincoln Center. 「How To Get Away With Murder」 Season Two debuts September 24 on ABC.

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GENER8ION + M.I.A. 「The New International Sound Pt. II」


GENER8ION + M.I.A. 「The New International Sound Pt. II」 - released on June 15, 2015.

GENER8ION is a new multi-disciplinary project by Surkin.

Directed by Inigo Westmeier and featuring the 36 000 students of Shaolin Tagou, the biggest fighting school for kids in China.

Directed by Inigo Westmeier
Edited by Walter Mauriot
Creative direction by Ben Surkin
Produced by Bromance Records
Executive production by Romain Gavras and Iconoclast
Adapted From 「Dragon Girls」 produced by Open Window Film & Gap Films
Identity by David Rudnick

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Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj 「Bitch I'm Madonna」


Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj 「Bitch I'm Madonna」 - from『Rebel Heart』released on June 15, 2015.

Aya & Bambi Sato poursuivent leur conquête du monde en dansant pour Madonna ! Bien qu'elles n'apparaissent que quelques secondes, et malgré un morceau tout pourri, elles déchirent grave ! Ah et on aperçoit vite fait Alexander Wang aussi.

Tenez, on les voit plus lors d'un live chez Ellen ou aux Brit Awards (celui où Madonna se casse la gueule, mais faut pas se moquer, elle a au moins 60 ans !). Alors non, la chanson est pas mieux, et oui, Madonna est ridicule lorsqu'elle tente de suivre le voguing d'Aya et Bambi, mais faut pas se moquer ! Elle a au moins 60 ans !

Madonna 「Living For Love」 (Live at The Ellen Show) - posted on March 18, 2015.

Madonna 「Living For Love」 (Live at The BRIT Awards 2015) - posted on March 03, 2015.

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Daniel Kilkelly 「‘Neighbours’ newcomer Remy Hii talks Hudson role, Chris plot」

Posted on June 13, 2015 commentaires
「Neighbours」’ new recruit Remy Hii chats to Digital Spy.

Remy Hii & James Mason in 「Neighbours」

Last week, we brought you the news that Remy Hii had joined the cast of 「Neighbours」 as Hudson Walsh, an elite swimmer who crosses paths with Josh Willis (Harley Bonner) and becomes a new love interest for Chris Pappas (James Mason).

The young actor’s Ramsay Street role follows his lead part in Australian miniseries 「Better Man」, which is due to air next month.

Keen to hear more about what we can expect from Hudson, Digital Spy caught up with Remy this week for his first interview about the role, which sees him reveal some early gossip on what’s in store.

How are you finding your time at 「Neighbours」 so far?

“It’s great and I’m loving it. It’s a lot of fun, and honestly everyone here is just awesome to work with. It’s a great family to be inducted into. And as a young actor just out of drama school, it’s a fantastic place to really hone your skills. The opportunity to work with so many different directors is invaluable.”

How did the role come about?

“I was unemployed at the time and although my home base is Sydney, I was actually in Melbourne by chance, so I was able to drop in to the 「Neighbours」 studio and do an audition rather than record myself in my lounge room. It was on a Friday and I was on my way out of Melbourne for a camping weekend, so I dropped by the studio, put down a tape and I found out on the Monday I had the role.”

Were you nervous on your first day?

“I wasn’t nervous, I was excited. I guess there is always nervous excitement when you’re meeting new people and people who have been doing this for a long time. But truly, everyone has been so welcoming, so I was able to settle into the show pretty quickly.”

How would you describe the character of Hudson?

“Hudson is a sensitive guy who is just starting to find himself. He has been incredibly focused all his life. He has had tunnel vision on this one goal, which is to be a champion swimmer, but since moving to Erinsborough he is starting to discover there is more out there for him.”

We know that Hudson will get to know Josh at the local Olympic pool. Will they be friends or enemies?

“They are both elite sportspeople at the top of their game and they’re after the same medal, so they are bound to clash at some stage. However, I guess the difference with them is they know what each other is going through, which helps them understand each other.”

How does Hudson compare to Josh in terms of his skill in the pool?

“I think Hudson was probably born with a natural talent and his parents picked up on that very quickly, so while he was always very, very fast and quick in the pool, his natural talent has carried him across the line more, so he may not be as competitive as Josh for that reason. I think he has the confidence over Josh because he has this natural ability.”

We know that Hudson will be a love interest for Chris, so can you tell us what fans can expect from their relationship?

“Obviously Chris has just come out of a relationship, and he enters into this relationship with Hudson not with hesitation but more caution. Chris is trying to keep his cards close to his chest, but by the same token, Hudson is also a new guy to this neighbourhood and isn’t quite sure who he can be open to and show his true colours to. So I think what viewers can expect from this relationship is two people trying to find a way to open up to each other and show their real colours.”

Did you know Hudson was gay when you took on the role?

“Yes and I thought he was a great character with an interesting story and lots of layers to his personality.”

We know that you’ve been filming for a little while, so can you tell us a bit more about what fans can expect from Hudson’s story arc?

“I think what fans can look forward to is that competition or rivalry between Hudson and Josh, how that will play out and what happens when the pressure builds so much to achieve. Will he break or will he succeed?”

Would you be interested in a more long-term stay with the show if it was offered?

“I’m thrilled with the way the role has unfolded into a recurring guest role and I’ve just heard I’m required back next month to film, which is great.”

What have James Mason and Harley Bonner been like to work with?

“They have been absolute legends. They are two incredibly fun blokes, and they knew each other before Harley joined 「Neighbours」 so there is a great rapport between them.”

Who will Hudson be sharing a lot of screen time with?

“Obviously it’s his main rival Josh and his love interest with Chris, but there is also a lot with Kip Gamblin playing Brad Willis. And there is a story with Terese, Josh’s mother, and down the track he comes in contact with a lot of the younger characters.”

You’ve been acting for a few years. What can you tell us about your previous work?

“I started off in theatre on stage with the Queensland Theatre Company before picking up small guest roles in television, and it was about that time that I decided to make this my career and living, so I decided to study at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) in Sydney for three years. I graduated in 2011 and was extremely lucky to pick up the lead role in 「Better Man」.”

Sachin Joab, who played Ajay in 「Neighbours」, was also in 「Better Man」. Did you share any screen time with him in that?

“Yes, I did, virtually an entire episode. Sachin is one of the most incredibly talented and generous actors I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

「Neighbours」 airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 in the UK, and weekdays at 6.30pm on Eleven in Australia.

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C. Winter Han 「How Drag Queens Saved Us」


*Excerpted from『Geisha of a Different Kind: Race and Sexuality in Gaysian America』by C. Winter Han. (New York University Press: 2015).

By the time the club lights come back on, the drag queens who have just competed for a crown have already changed into their post-competition outfits and have begun mingling in the crowd. The atmosphere in the room is noticeably more relaxed, as audience members and performers socialize casually and easily. As little pieces of paper, each containing a vote for a queen, are handed to pageant officials, there’s no campaigning or grand-standing. There’s no cattiness or show-boating. Instead, the queens are genuine in their affection for each other and for the people who have come to cheer them on.

Catching up with the winner, I congratulate her. “I’m glad you won,” I tell her. “Me too,” she says to me, “because I’ve got something bigger planned.” That “something bigger,” would come a few years later as she would go on to be one of the founders of the Mister and Miss Asian Pacific Islander American pageant. It would be easy, right now, in this moment inside the now well-lite nightclub, to assume that all she would do is to go on and establish yet another drag pageant in a city that already has more than its share. But that assumption would be missing the point. Tonight, the winner on stage may be easily mistaken for being just a “pretty girl,” wearing a crown. But in the next few years, she would become one of a number of gay Asian American drag queens who use their wins in drag pageants to turn racialized, sexualized, and gendered assumptions on their heads. Using the popularity and notoriety they gain by winning drag pageants, they will interrogate what it means to be gay in the Asian American community and to be Asian in the gay community. In the process, they will challenge the hierarchy of race and gender in the gay community by troubling the taken-for-granted assumptions about the desirability of masculinity and whiteness and the hierarchy of sexuality in the Asian American community by disrupting the taken-for-granted heterosexuality that has come to define the “Asian American” experience. Using the platform they earn, gay Asian American drag queens will force gay men to confront what it means to be racially desirable and disrupt the gender hierarchy that attempts to position masculinity as “better” than femininity, while simultaneously forcing Asian Americans to confront what it means to be members of a racialized community. And by doing so, gay Asian American drag queens will save us all.

Drag queens in the gay community
In recent years, mainstream media outlets have portrayed drag queens as champions of the gay community. Movies such as 「To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything」, 「Julie Newmar」, 「The Birdcage」, and 「Connie and Carla」 as well as television shows like 「RuPaul’s Drag Race」 have portrayed drag queens at the forefront of gay life and on the cutting edge of gay culture. However, these portrayals largely fail to capture the complexity of drag queens in the gay community. Rather than universally celebrated and revered, drag queens are often stigmatized within the gay community where many perceive them as failed men who embody the stereotypes of the effeminate gay male. One successful Asian drag queen told me, “I won’t really tell people that I’m a drag queen when I first start dating them because when you come down to it, there is a lot of prejudice against drag queens.”

Despite their stigmatized status within the larger gay community, there are some significant rewards for successful drag queens. Many drag queens wield considerable influence in the gay community, gain social status, and amass situational power. But the ability to gain social status and situational power within the gay community depends strongly on the drag queen’s ability to perform successfully, often measured by the queens’ ability to win various drag titles and crowns through various drag pageants. But what constitutes a successful drag queen and what factors are important in a drag queen’s ability to win various titles and crowns? For gay Asian American men to be successful as drag queens, they need to be intimately aware of how they are perceived in the gay community and the implications those perceptions have for the type of gender performances expected of them.

The nature of gay racial stigma towards Asian men
For gay Asian American men, gay racial stigma is intimately tied to how they are feminized in the gay community. Within the hypermasculinized gay culture, aversion to qualities deemed feminine stigmatizes gay Asian American men who are routinely perceived as more feminine than gay white men. Reflecting on the way Asian men are stereotyped in the gay community, one Asian drag queen explained how he capitalizes on those very stereotypes during his drag performances. According to him, “Well, being Asian, how can I be anything else? I mean, whatever I do, I’m going to be seen as exotic and femme. So yeah, I use that, I use that because it’s what they expect.” Gay Asian American drag queens understand that, as Asian men, there is an expectation that they would take on the drag queen role that requires them to perform emphasized femininity rather than allows them to use other drag forms that would challenge gender norms and constructs.

In his book『Disidentifications』, José Muñoz argues that queer people of color don’t create radically new narratives about themselves, but rather use existing narratives and re-launches them from their minoritized spaces. Members of subaltern groups do not live in isolation from the larger society. Instead, they are also a part and parcel of that community and are impacted by the various images and constructions found within that community. But the act of disidentification is not simply one of accepting the dominant discourse imposed on them, but a way of turning that discourse on its head, using it for entirely different purposes, and re-packing them for political purposes. Simply put, gay people of color have to work with what is already there in order to confront racism and homophobia.

Gay Asian drag queens were certainly aware of the stereotypes about Asian men. As Asian men, they understood that their range was limited. That is, they did not have the option to be campy or butch. At the same time, they understood that they could use the stereotypes about Asian men to their advantage at winning drag pageants that required more realness or feminine beauty. Winning drag titles gave them social capital in the gay community in that they became recognizable and well-known among gay men. Certainly, it provided them entry into social circles and leadership positions in the gay community that may not have been open to them in the absence of this notoriety. This notoriety provided them a public platform from which to challenge racism and homophobia.

But more important than personal rewards, successful gay Asian American drag queens were able to translate their personal gains into community gains. For many of them, having experienced and witnessed racism in the gay community and homophobia in the Asian American community, winning drag titles was not a means to personal rewards and entry into gay social circles, but a stepping stone to more active community involvement in both the gay and Asian American communities. For example, one of the most successful drag queens in Seattle, Asian or otherwise, has been the host of the Karaoke Contest at Seattle’s International District Summer Festival, the largest Asian American celebration in the Pacific Northwest, since 2005. In addition, she has also taken numerous leadership roles during Seattle’s Gay Pride Festival. Also, several well-known Asian American drag queens founded the Pride ASIA event. The annual event, first celebrated in 2012, was timed to coincide with other Gay Pride events in Seattle but held at Hing Hay Park, the symbolic heart of Seattle’s International District. Like the decision to hold the Mister and Miss Asian Pacific American Pageant at the historic Nippon Kan Theatre, also located in the International District, the decision to hold the event at Hing Hay Park was a conscious decision.

The decision to hold the main event at Hing Hay Park demonstrates a strategic use of public space by gay Asian American men and accomplishes two goals. First, it recognizes gay Asian American men as distinct from the larger gay community and the Asian American community, but embedded in both. It allowed them to utilize both the Asian public space and the gay public space defines gay Asian Americans as both gay and Asian, and helps them identify with both their race and sexuality. More importantly, it leads non-gay Asian Americans to recognize gay Asian Americans as an integral part of the Asian community while simultaneously bringing non-Asian gays and lesbians outside of the gayborhood in order to see the ways that “gay” can be constructed beyond the boundaries of whiteness. By troubling the taken-for-granted assumptions about where “gay” people should be and where “Asian” people should be, Pride Asia and the Mister and Miss Asian Pacific Islander Pageant forces non-gay Asian Americans to reconsider what it means to be gay and what it means to be Asian, troubling the borders of both gay America and Asian America. More importantly, the strategic use of space allows gay Asian American men to locate themselves firmly within gay America and Asian America, rather than be defined outside of both.

Through their community activism and intervention in both the gay and Asian communities, many of the gay Asian American drag queens in Seattle have translated their personal successes as “successful drag queens” into larger social gains for all gay Asian American men by raising the visibility of gay Asian men in both the gay and Asian American communities and demanding inclusion in both, not simply as “gay” men in the Asian American community or “Asian” men in the gay community, but as gay Asian American men.

C. Winter Han is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Middlebury College. Prior to becoming an academic, he was an award winning journalist and served for three years as the editor-in-chief of the International Examiner, the longest continuously publishing pan-Asian Pacific American newspaper in the United States.『Geisha of a Different Kind: Race and Sexuality in Gaysian America』, is his first book. It can be published directly from NYU Press, on Amazon, or anywhere fine books are sold.

About the author: C. Winter Han
C. Winter Han is an assistant professor of Sociology in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Middlebury College.

Author: C. Winter Han/Date: June 13, 2015/Source: http://www.iexaminer.org/2015/06/how-drag-queens-saved-us/
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ANDA 안다 「Touch」

Posted on June 04, 2015 commentaires

ANDA 「Touch」 - released on June 4, 2015.

ANDA Provides Sexy, LGBT-Friendly 「Touch」

We just realized that it’s actually rare for us to review soloists here. Weird. So, we’re looking at ANDA’s 「Touch」 for a soloist review. The MV is different, semi-erotic, and hints heavily at lesbian romance, a bold move for an artist making a career in a conservative country!

Song and Lyrics
On the surface, the lyrics for 「Touch」 are fairly simple. The verses don’t have a lot to them, and there’s a lot of repetition. However, ANDA delivers the song in such a way that it doesn’t sound repetitive. This is a major reason why 「Touch」 is successfully performed because it sounds a bit more complex than the lyrics suggest.

Of course, the lyrics contain more than what’s on the surface. Based on the MV and the lyrical arrangement, it’s clear the 「Touch」 refers to foreplay while the “clap” is actual intercourse. The rhythm of the chorus matches along with the stereotypical image and movement sex with the rocking of hips. Combined, everything points to 「Touch」 being about sex.

The sexual encounter is meant to be discrete. “don’t ask anyone No/don’t inform anyone No.” She also wants her lover to help her feel ready for the sexual encounter. “You gotta show me I’m all ready.” The lyrics convey a sense of urgency and a fast abandoning of all inhibition. She wants to forget everything about her unhappy life and just have sex.

As mentioned, delivery is important. The song itself could have been bland, but the music kicked it up a few notches. Pair this with ANDA’s monotone, nearly-emotionless face in the MV, we have a song that says “let’s do this” in beat; lyrics that suggest secret romance and unsureness; and ANDA who looks used to it and mink-like. Combined, this is an explosive act that should make people talk.

ANDA fuses sex appeal, weirdness, and lesbianism into one MV... in Korea. This is another one of those exciting MVs that pushes boundaries and could generate a lot of controversy.

The MV takes place late at night (being kept in the dark, so to say), giving it both a sexy and intimate feel. ANDA is sensual and sexual in a believable way that most other idols struggle to depict (sorry HyunA). Besides nighttime being a time for sex, it also makes ANDA seem more isolated from the cares of the outside world and focused on her sexual experiences.

The editing of the MV creates subtly weird moments that prevent the MV from ever becoming boring. ANDA can’t seem to get naked because the camera editing makes her appear like she has an endless number of layers of clothes. This allows the viewer to watch erotic disrobing moments over and over again. Also, the fact that ANDA just can’t get naked (even in the bathtub) could be a symbol of how she wants to explore lesbianism, but has a hard time quite getting there because of cultural expectations. But as it gets later at night, anything becomes possible. But there is never a point in the MV where she seems conflicted about her sexual urges, so she is willing to gently push societal expectations to the side.

The MV isn’t romantic at all, which is another way that it is revolutionary for a K-Pop MV. it is entirely about sex and ANDA’s own pleasure. She appears to have an endless number of sexual partners and doesn’t seem to care about which one she is with. The spinning bottle is a game in which the one spinning the bottle kisses whomever the bottle lands on. This demonstrates how indifferent ANDA is to whom she is with.

Both ANDA’s dance and the jumpy, guerrilla style filming and editing gives the MV a thrusting feeling that mimics sexual intercourse, just like as described in the lyrics. While some parts of the video loop, other parts seem to be in real time, especially ANDA’s face. This is a type of rebellion against logic and convention that is synchronous with the rebellion against heteronormativity.

The other women either move in slow motion or are completely still. Their faces are either not shown or are difficult to see and emotionless. This is because they are not meant to be actual people, but are instead meant to represent her own sexual interests, which mostly include oral sex.

The dance isn’t as sexy as some other K-Pop dances, but it’s effective. The dance is meant to be highly seductive because it symbolizes her attempts to seduce her lover.

Besides the blatant imagery of female-on-female action, there are different symbols throughout, especially in the beginning, of which viewers should pay attention.

Michael Korda『The Immortals』: There is a brief glimpse of Korda’s book『The Immortals』. The story is a fictionalized telling of Marilyn Monroe’s affairs with John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy while she is married to New York Yankees great Joe DiMaggio. The book covers Monroe’s affairs, sexual escapades, and eventual downfall due to drugs, booze, and sex. While told from the perspective of an outside narrator through most of the book, it’s easy to feel the sin and plight of one woman who was one Hollywood’s biggest stars and two of politics biggest celebrities in the Kennedy brothers. When paired with the MV, the affairs are what people should notice from the book. The MV features a lot of scandalous action from hinted at orgies and threesomes and same-sex sexual contact. Some consider multiple sex partners – even at the same time – cheating. Plus, ANDA is covering a topic that is gaining acceptance in other countries, so she is becoming an immortal in some circles for showing acceptance for same-sex relations.

The Lily: In Japanese, “Yuri” means lily, and it’s used for “girl love” in Japanese anime and manga. The lily is a prominent theme through the MV, appearing in almost all the scenes. So lily equals Yuri equals not-so-subtle hints at lesbianism. The flowers can be seen blooming in a vase and in ANDA’s hand at key points, like when she’s singing between another woman’s legs, possibly suggesting that oral sex may have occurred or will occur eventually.

The Apple: The apple appears at the beginning of the MV and is shown in the mouths of two women. The apple connects to Adam and Eve and original sin.『The Bible』states homosexuality is a sin. By taking a bite of the apple, the women are committing two sins according to『The Bible』: Eating the forbidden fruit and engaging in the forbidden fruit of same-sex relations.

The Nightgown: The nightgown covers all of ANDA. As she tries to remove it, it remains. This is a symbol of conservatism and how anything sexy or seemingly promiscuous is frowned upon in society.

Jenga: Conservative infrastructure. The tower is weakened as there are pieces missing. These pieces could represent how some artists are getting away with sexier themes and dances and how certain things are becoming more acceptable. There’s still one piece that needs removed to send the tower down, but that piece keeps growing back. This is the remaining bit of censorship that’s not going away anytime soon.

Bubble Wand: Clitoris. It’s a small nub of a wand. The bursting bubble represents orgasming or “popping the cherry” when one loses her virginity.

Removal of Underwear: As ANDA removes her undergarments, she is still clothed. This suggests it’s okay to be sexy and sexual, just don’t do it in public and don’t do it in an unacceptable way. This scene also features two women making out on touching on the couch while a third lies nearby. This is a reminder of sin.

Blue: The color blue appears a lot in the MV. Blue symbolizes immortality and depth. The blue in this case connects to the book The Immortals and becoming a legend. ANDA is often in blue. In the scenes where blue is viewed, there’s something going on in the background, so there is always more than meets the eye (depth). Blue is also the color of hope, so there is also hope for equality and acceptance.

「Touch」 is one of the more unique MVs in recent months because it does push the envelope of what is considered “acceptable” in some cultures. It’s playful, flirty, and sexy and the hints at the deeper meaning aren’t subtle. This is a video that should create a dialogue, so we’ll see what happens with it, but it is one that should be watched more than once because it does push the envelope. We’re actually surprised it hasn’t been dragged out in negative conversations because it actually is more sexual than MVs like Stellar’s 「Marionette」 or 4L’s 「Move」, the latter of which did cover lesbianism and was bashed heavily due to the dance. Of course, teasers and marketing probably didn’t help 4L or Stellar because of the ever-ready and always vocals Netizens, and ANDA is from a smaller company and didn’t have many teasers indicating a comeback. Perhaps she just slipped under the radar enough to escape ire. Either way, we applaud her boldness.

Authors: Ellie/Date: June 09, 2015/Source: http://www.whatthehallyu.com/2015/06/09/anda-sexual-exploits/

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Philip Mak 「What The Rise Of Asian Male Models Means For The Fashion Industry」

I always buy myself a magazine for the flight between Toronto and Ottawa. I make the 40-minute trip multiple times a year and I’m usually barely through my first article before the captain announces our descent. Blame it on a compulsion to support a dying industry or self-indulgent nostalgia if you will, but there are certainly worse habits.

On my most recent jaunt, I was flipping through this season’s British『GQ Style』and noticed some of the models were a little a different. Lean with high cheekbones and straight, black hair cut bluntly across the forehead. In ads for Kenzo, DKNY, Bottega Veneta… were those Asian male models?

You’ll have to forgive my (facetious) feigned shock, but as an Asian male who grew up in North America, I don’t often see people who look like me in the media. However, given that “diversity” is such a buzzword at the moment, it’s no surprise fashion marketing and editorials are reflecting it.

A small but growing group of Asian male models are becoming increasingly familiar across editorial spreads. Led by Canadian-Taiwanese superstar Godfrey Gao (who『the Guardian』called “the first Asian male supermodel”) and South Korea’s Sang Woo Kim, it appears as though the market niche is gathering steam.

Godfrey Gao Sang Woo Kim

While still suffering from slight tokenism (i.e. three white models and one Asian in the DKNY ad), it speaks to a cultural shift. But then we have to ask the question: Why has it taken fashion so long to value Asian male models?

It can be partially attributed to changing global economics. While slower now, the past decade has seen Asia come to widely outspend America and Europe in the luxury goods market. China in particular is the perfect storm for high-end retail, with an exploding middle class and a culture obsessed with outward symbols of wealth — and it’s men who are doing the shopping. Chinese males account for 55 per cent of luxury purchases, compared to a global average of 40 per cent. Naturally, Asian consumers want to see models who look like themselves in fashion marketing.

Further explanations for the rise in Asian male models include globalization and the Internet. The digital age has helped Western culture redefine its scope of beauty and desire, opening our minds to the vast world beyond blue eyes and blond hair. The popularity and fearless style of K-Pop stars has also primed North American consumers to a more Asian aesthetic.

Danyl Geneciran, editor-in-chief of『TOM*』Magazine, tells us, “There have been huge efforts in fashion to be more inclusionary of Asian male models, and this has to do with everyone’s access to social media.”

Social media has essentially erased national borders, connecting fashionistas across the globe and creating an expectation of diversity. Print fashion magazines, in an attempt to stay relevant, have started to reflect this shift with more inclusive model choices.

But does the increased visibility of Asian male models speak to an even larger cultural narrative?

Well, yes. Fashion and Western media have long been constructed around a singularity of attraction; namely, you have to be a buff white guy to be hot. This can still be seen across fashion editorial and ad spaces, where the majority of models are Caucasian. Why? Because we have built it up as the norm against which all other races are compared to and measured against.

“There is no question that Asian masculinity has, historically and still to this day, been feminized — often in the service of shoring up the virility and hyper-heterosexuality of white men. We see this in everything from mainstream film to television through to contemporary advertising,” says Marc Lafrance, associate professor of sociology at Concordia University.

However, with globalization and social media, things are changing for the better. Lafrance continues, “It is certainly conceivable that, because the definition of masculinity is opening up and becoming more fluid in some contexts, Asian models and the masculine personas that tend to be attributed to them are now seen as more acceptable and, indeed, more desirable to the general public.”

Models are reflections of our ideals and attractions, and Asian male models are a positive sign that instead of constantly talking about valuing diversity we’re actually moving in the right direction.

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Author: Philip Mak/Date: June 04, 2015/Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/06/04/asian-male-models_n_7495442.html
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Randall 「Asian American Mom Struggles to Understand Gay Son in ‘Eat With Me’」

Posted on June 02, 2015 commentaires

The Asian American family comedy 「Eat With Me」 is now available on DVD for the first time.

Released by Wolfe Video, 「Eat With Me」 is the story of unconditional love between a son and his mother as she adjusts to the reality of having a gay son.

It stars Sharon Omi as mom Emma, Teddy Chen Culver as her son Elliot , Aidan Bristow as Elliot’s boyfriend Ian, Nicole Sullivan, who many will remember from the show 「The King Of Queens」, as Elliot’s neighbor Emma, and includes a special appearance by George Takei as himself.

“The arc of Emma’s journey in the film begins with her having a hard time communicating her feelings to people around her,’ said writer/director David Au to AsAmNews via email. “That’s why her way of dealing with uncomfortable issues like her son’s sexuality is more internal than external. That way, she doesn’t have to come face to face with the issues as she hopes that they will go away somehow. However, the reality is that actually worsens the situation and causes more friction with her son. I find that struggle absolutely fascinating and it gives the character arc the depth that it needs.”

Throughout the film, Emma struggles with her thoughts and feelings. She never verbalizes them, but the tension can be seen in her facial expressions and body language. The film opens in the bedroom when Emma is awaken by her husband who is clearly unhappy. Emma knows something isn’t right, but chooses to stay silent.

The pattern continues when Emma surprises her son by visiting him at his restaurant.

“There are just some things everyone would rather not talk about,” said Omi about her character. “So we just ignore the problems until they begin to poison our relationships and then we still try to ignore them. Things are blowing up right and left and we keep trying to pretend that everything is all right. You’ve been buttoned down for so long that it is difficult to know your own feelings and you become afraid to confront your truths. Emma is a character trying to maintain a calm exterior under REALLY trying conditions. She’s a time bomb.”

Emma meets next door neighbor Maureen and the two strike a friendship despite a big difference in their age. One of Omi’s favorite scenes in the film is when Maureen accidentally gives Emma the drug ecstasy.

“Even though Maureen is her opposite, Emma is drawn to her generosity and her openness,” said Omi. “Maureen has the kind of life that Emma fantasizes about – a life where there are no limits or inhibitions. I also think that Emma is lonely and Maureen is the one person who offers her friendship and a place to hang – sometimes that’s all it takes!”

Au describes his film as “an Asian American woman’s journey of discovering who she is as an individual at a later stage in her life.” He also says 「Eat With Me」 is affirmation that “the coming out process doesn’t end when one comes out to their love ones.”

As with so much in Asian culture, food becomes the bond that eases the tension between Emma and Elliot. Eat With Me is available at major retailers and through Wolfe On Demand, iTunes and Vimeo On Demand.

David Au 「Eat With Me」 Movie Trailer - posted on August 07, 2014.

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