Hey White People, Don’t You Know There’s ‘No Escape’ When It Comes to Southeast Asia

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In the new Owen Wilson/Lake Bell-starring film No Escape, we once again see your average white American family coming to Thailand a random Southeast Asian country only to find themselves in great danger—in this case when a rebellion breaks out that threatens any white people unfortunate to be hanging around.

Critics haven’t been too kind to the film and have pointed out its racist tendencies like in this review from the Wrap: “it’s fair to say that this new movie combines genuine filmmaking skill and effective action editing with a queasily racist subtext, one in which a bloody revolution in Asia only matters insofar as some white people might get killed.”

But while it’s not surprising that Hollywood movies set in Asia would star white folks often at the expense of actual Asians, it’s also become abundantly clear that if you are a white person traveling to Southeast Asia for any reason in an American movie, you will most likely get fucked up.

In Box Exhibition – Artists Working in a Confined Space – Curated by Audrey Kawasaki

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In Box, an exhibition curated by Audrey Kawasaki features 18 artists, including Amy Sol, Andrea Wan, Andrew Hem, Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, Kelsey Beckett, Ken Garduno, Kristina Collantes, Mari Inukai, May Ann Licudine, Mika Nitta, Nomi Chi, Rebecca Green, Sean Chao, Stella Im Hultberg, Tran Nguyen, Wayne Johnson, and Yoskay Yamamoto. Everyone’s objective is to create work inside of a 12″x12″ wooden box. For some, it’s layers of subject matter to tell a story. For others, it’s a single central image that powers the box. Some chose to paint on the outside while many left it natural. The rules were flexible and the results are thus far, amazing. This is the first curatorial project by Kawasaki who chose both artists familiar and unfamiliar, therefore creating a collection of artists that speak to her tastes. 

YOMYOMF Rewatch: The Yakuza (1974)

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FILM: The Yakuza (1974)
DIRECTOR: Sydney Pollack
PLOT LOGLINE: An ex-American GI returns to Japan to help his friend whose daughter has been kidnapped by the Yakuza. In order to rescue the girl, he must seek out the brother of his ex-lover who himself was the head of a Yakuza clan.

The idea for this movie came from co-writer Leonard Schrader who had lived in Japan and become fascinated with the Yakuza. Schrader originally planned to write a non-fiction book on the subject, but his brother Paul convinced him that they should collaborate on a screenplay instead. Their script sold for $325,000, which at the time, was the highest amount that any studio had paid for a screenplay. Famed writer Robert Towne (Chinatown) came on board to do some re-writes and Paul Schrader, himself, went on to write or co-write such classics as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

Plates of Makoto Kagoshima

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Woody stems lead to primitive flowers with inscribed details. Birds are regal, nearing religiousness and the occasional fish appear in mid glide. These examples are the works of Japanese artist, Makoto Kagoshima. The details are seldom minimal on the plates, bowls, and dishes. His work is primal and cute at the same time, and each piece has the perfect balance between color and negative space which gives each detail it’s own weight. I’m told that the edges are ribbed by the pressing of sea shells which are plentiful in his home area of Fukuoka, Japan.

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YOMYOMF Rewatch: A Majority of One (1961)

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FILM: A Majority of One (1961)
DIRECTOR: Mervyn LeRoy
PLOT LOGLINE: An elderly Jewish widow meets a Japanese widower on a steamboat to Japan and the two fall in love despite their differences. But complications arise that puts their relationship to the test.

Leonard Spigelgass adapted his own hit Broadway play for the silver screen with Mister Roberts director Mervyn LeRoy at the helm. The film opens in the small Brooklyn apartment of Bertha Jacoby (Rosalind Russell), a recently widowed Jewish matriarch, who is awaiting a visit from her daughter Alice (Madlyn Rhue) and diplomat son-in-law Jerry (Ray Danton). Keeping Mrs. Jacoby company is her friend and neighbor, Essie Rubin (Mae Questal).

Alice and Jerry arrive, only to immediately get in an argument with Mrs. Rubin when she explains that she is considering moving out of Brooklyn because “that element is moving in” meaning “the colored and Puerto Ricans”. The young couple are shocked by Mrs. Rubin’s casual racism to which she replies, “It’s not a question of prejudice. I just don’t like to live with them.”

I HATE It When My Favorite Bands Are Dismissed As “One Hit Wonders”

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Here and there, on VH1, say, or the web, I’ll come across a “Greatest One Hit Wonders” type show and chuckle along affectionately when the videos to “Safety Dance” or “Walking On Sunshine” or “In My House” are shown – yes, I grew up in the 80′s – but when Devo’s “Whip It” or Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” or the Go Go’s “We Got The Beat” are included, my eyes bulge, I start to foam at the mouth, capillaries burst, and anyone within earshot is forced to hear me rant about “incompetent list makers,” “musical know-nothings,” “unheralded bodies of fine work,” “short sightedness,” “band wagonneering,” “complete lack of vision,” “underrated genius,” “the cold and vindicating eye of history,” and reams of unprintable vitriol.

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The Novel About a Female Half-Chinese Gender-Bending Ghost Whisperer Fighting a Mythical Monster Set in the American Old West is Finally Here

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And that novel, released earlier this year, is Vermilion by Molly Tanzer. It’s true that the description of the book, which I feel I’ve captured fairly well in my headline above, should’ve been enough to pique my interest in reading Tanzer’s latest, but it was something the author said in an interview that really won me over. Tanzer said she set out to write a novel that took place “in the past of Big Trouble in Little China.”

For those not familiar with it, Big Trouble in Little China is the 1986 John Carpenter cult film starring Kurt Russell and Dennis Dun set in a mythical San Francisco Chinatown filled with magic, monsters and women with green eyes. It’s also a fun and subversive movie that takes a lot of the tropes of martial arts flicks and “Oriental” mysticism and turns them on their head. The idea that Tanzer was writing a story set in that same world—an unofficial prequel of sorts taking place some one hundred years before the events of Carpenter’s film–was intriguing.

All Musical Numbers Should Be As Awesome As This One From a 1980s Indian Film

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The good folks at Happy Place dug up the obscure gem you will feast your eyes and ears on below: a musical number from the 1985 Tollywood film Adavi Donga. Tollywood refers to a subset of Indian cinema originating in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

I haven’t watched the film myself but the description sounds pretty damn awesome:

When her husband is attacked by the goons, Sharada hides baby Chiranjeevi in a bush and runs away to escape the goons. He was found by an elephant who raises him as his own child in the forest along with other animals. Sharada is shocked when she found out her baby is missing and her husband is wrongly convicted and send to jail much to her dismay.

COMIC-CON 2015: ThorHulkCritic’s Unofficial Marvel Panel in Hall THC

Since there was no official Marvel panel at this year’s Comic-Con, guest-alter-ego ThorHulkCritic will provide a wrap-up of this year’s events at Nerd Prom, in the form of a Q & A session at Virtual Hall THC. The back of the line is at, roughly, Escondido.

HULK: HULK HAVE TIME FOR JUST A FEW PUNY QUESTIONS.

Q: Do you still think Comic-Con will save the world?

EOTEXTThor: Comic-Con is still the mightiest event on Midgard, wherein worthy crowds gather to celebrate a shared love with pageantry, retail therapy, and mutual acceptance. The people are pleasant and the San Diego sun reigns o’er all. That said, there is more douchebag behavior there than in years past.

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Comic-Con The Final Thoughts

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… and just like that, Comic-Con is over. The days blew by and blended together. During the day, we’ve had great crowds come by to check out our gear. Some stopped by to thank me for the hard work on Giant Robot magazine and to say how much they loved it. Our old friends are a year older and the happy hellos that we share spawn into ideas of meeting up outside of Comic-Con. It never happens and the cycle starts again. We see each other one more year later and perhaps that’s the extent of our relationship-I’m on one side of the table and they’re on the other.

Comic-Con Set Up and Preview Night

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Giant Robot is still at Booth 1729 and the days are already flying by. The toughest part is the set up and Preview Night. The simple booth is actually quite engineered. The poles which hold up the signs is a huge part of the booth. Without it, the booth would be merely a set of tables and us standing behind it. It’s the window dressing to make the booth look whole. The banners, the colors, and the items hanging from it, all lead people’s eyes in.

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Comic-Con Preparation and Giant Robot Exclusives

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You’d think that being a vendor at Comic-Con for our 21st year means that it’s easy, but it continues to be difficult. Even though it’s a couple of days away, the preparation began long ago. From renting the booth, a place to stay, parking, extra tables, gathering the items we’re selling, to the “exclusives,” the job is never done. I’ll begin with the latter. Exclusives are one of the most important aspects of a booth. Without them, you’ll turn into a regular shop or booth without anything special to offer and promote. You’ll have goods that can be purchased anywhere and what’s the point of having them at Comic-Con San Diego?