Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, defends its decision to invite Nick Griffin onto Question Time with the argument that it is the broadcaster's duty to allow the public 'to hear the full range of political perspectives' and that to succumb to political pressures and rescind its invitation to Nick Griffin is to breach its 'central principle of impartiality'. I couldn't agree more. The exclusion of a group like the BNP, no matter how vile and ignorant and completely regressive I may find them, is tantamount to censorship and such an act threatens what is precious and magnificent about a pluralist society like contemporary Great Britain - freedom of speech and expression. Yes, people like the BNP and Nick Griffin will test the boundaries of one's conviction for such types of freedom but alas, this kind of complexity is a part of living in a truly democratic society, one with enough sophisticated and educated people who can decide for themselves what ideas they can be exposed to and more importantly, how they will process such ideas.
Is it entirely possible that the BBC is generating this controversy for some sort of superficial gain, e.g. media interest and higher ratings? Of course, it is. Then, again, being the sole publicly-funded broadcaster in the UK, it's not like the BBC could be accused of drumming up media attention and publicity in order to gain new sponsors and advertisers.
Having said all that, I cannot wait to witness the bloodbath that will take place tonight. The other members of the panels are the Conservative peer, Lady Warsi, who is of Pakistani descent and a lawyer by trade so I am sure she won't be at lost for words in her encounter with Griffin, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman and Bonnie Greer, a black American playwright and critic who lives in Britain. Nick Griffin might see this as an opportunity to take on 'the enemy' but I see this as an opportunity for an educated man (believe it or not, the man graduated from Cambridge University...albeit, with a 2:2) to be exposed for the fool that he is. In The Guardian, where I read about this story, I was particularly compelled by what Ben Bradshaw, the culture secretary, had to say:
'I have always thought we have to take the BNP on. I have always thought they condemn themselves as soon as they open their mouths. In a democracy where they have elected representatives not just at European level but at local level it is very difficult for a broadcaster to exclude them … We should not give these people the opportunity to claim they are being gagged'.
In other words, by giving them this platform, the BBC may have just given the BNP the pistol with which it may shoot itself in the foot. Here's hoping.
Monday, 12 October 2009
On a side note, it has been widely reported that the currently shooting sequel to 2008's "Sex and the City: The Movie", starring the fabulous Cynthia Nixon herself (along with three other broads who should have been taking part in this march if they cared at all about reciprocating the goodwill that the gay community has given them over the years!) will feature a same sex wedding (I won't give away the parties involved in this union but true fans won't have any trouble speculating!).
I am also posting a video of Lady GaGa speaking at the same rally. It's good to see the hottest singer in pop right now put her money where her mouth is! I love how she actually put on clothes to punctuate how serious a cause this is to her! We love you for doing your part, GaGa...cherry, cherry, boom, boom, indeed! Meanwhile, where the hell was Madonna? Madonna, I will always love you but show your gay fans, the ones who supported you through two divorces, that Pepsi controversy, your Sex book backlash and even, The Next Best Thing, the same love and loyalty that they have always given you!
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
My lil cousin, Jun Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, recently moved from Cambridge, United Kingdom to Bangkok, Thailand to launch a media/performing career and he's doing pretty well, having already landed a pictorial spread in a local lifestyle/fashion magazine. Yes, that's him in the picture above...can't you see the family resemblance? He's just a decade younger and a foot taller than me but other than that, we're practically identical. Okay, well, maybe not exactly identical. He's currently taking part in a male beauty contest (isn't it funny how we have to say 'male beauty', as if women hold the patent on beauty...bitch, puh-leaze!) in Thailand and we need your help so please vote for Jun, M5...which sounds like I'm campaigning for a motorway in the UK.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
We all have mobiles/cellphones/handphones so it's not like none of us can't appreciate how awkward or embarassing it is when it goes off at an inopportune time but c'mon, people, when you go to see a play, turn off your damn phones! Have some respect for the theatre! One such unfortunate incident of a ringing phone spoiling the sacred communal experience of the theatre occurred last week on Broadway, as captured by a secret recording that was shown on tmz.com, at a preview performance of A Steady Rain, starring Wolverine and Jams Bond. I applaud Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig for being so restrained in their response to the offending phone and its owner, who was clearly too embarassed to pull out their ringing phone and turn off the damn thing! What a douchebag whoever this person was. I would have jumped into the audience and knocked some manners into them!
Saturday, 26 September 2009
I don't know what they are gonna do with the original characters when a whole new story is being written...I mean, it's kinda stretching credibility way too thin to put these poor (albeit, fictional) souls through more hell...still, I'm curious to see what Mr. Williamson will come up with. More than anything, I am thrilled that Neve Campbell is back. I was not a fan of Ms. Campbell when she was on Party of Five and The Craft. It was only after the original Scream trilogy finished that I became a huge fan of hers, when I saw her in Robert Altman's The Company, in 2003...but back to Scream. Let's hope Mr. Craven signs on to direct because it won't be the same without his expert touch! Boy, that's when you know you're getting old....when the period when you were in high school gets a nostalgic revival!
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
It was a good night for Tony-winning Broadway stars, with both Kristin Chenoweth and Cherry Jones taking home Emmys for their supporting roles on Pushing Daisies and 24, respectively. I particularly enjoyed Kristin Chenoweth's category, where each of the nominees donned funny glasses when their names were announced...except for the diva that is Vanessa Williams...I wonder if that was because she genuinely did not want to participate or if her non-participation was her 'bit'.
The sublime Alec Baldwin won his second consecutive Emmy for his work on 30 Rock.
Jessica Lange beat out her costar, Drew Barrymore, to the best actress in a movie made for television or mini-series award for her role as Big Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens and she seemed more thrilled to win this Emmy than when she won her best actress Oscar for Blue Sky fourteen years ago. It was quite poignant when she said that 'this part was a gift and they don't come around that often for me anymore'. I was also really happy to see the elegant Shohreh Aghdashloo win the best supporting actress in a movie made for television or mini-series for her role in House of Saddam. I have been a fan of the Iranian-born actress ever since she was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar for her mesmerizing work in House of Sand and Fog. What a joy and a great inspiration to me to see someone like Shohreh, who comes from a culture so marginally represented in the western media and who came to Hollywood late in life, win one of America's highest-profile honors in mainstream entertainment.
I have been in Singapore for eight days now and I just want to share a few pictures of my current home. I'm living in a part of town that is known as the red light district of Singapore but what people want to do with themselves is their business and I couldn't care less. The condo is known as 'The Waterina' and it is in Geylang. In addition to the centre piece swimming pool, there are other facilities, including an ass-scaldingly hot jacuzzi and a basic but functional gym, where I can do my 5km run without being hindered by the heat and the humidity that comes with living so close to the equator!
This is the bedroom...those of you who know me well might recognize my teddybear on the right and for those of you who don't me that well, yes, I am a 29 year old man who still owns a teddybear!
The apartment itself is on the top floor and it's a fairly spacious pad as far as one-bedroom apartments go but the thing that makes it truly special is the walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom, what the locals call a 'bunker'...I feel so glamma-US whenever I step in there to decide which pair of Calvin Kleins or 2(x)ists to wear...like a classy trophy wife!
The final shot is the view from the apartment...the swimming pool is lit up at night...yes, in the immortal words of Ja Rule, I'm livin' it up!
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Anyway, the new single is a nice update of a classic rock ballad, with plenty of high-pitch squealing that only hardcore Mariah fans will enjoy (like me!). It's a reverent cover...perhaps, a bit too reverent. Considering that Chris 'Tricky' Stewart is one of the co-producers of this track, I would have expected something more radical and more contemporary. After all, Tricky was one of the co-producers on 'Touch My Body', undoubtedly one of Mariah's most sonically innovative songs...EVAH!
I wonder if this will be a hit for Mariah. She has had her fair share of successful cover singles, including Badfinger's 'Without You' (her rendition being so iconic that even 2008 Music Idol Bulgaria auditionee, Valentina Hasan, attributed her cover of 'Ken Lee' to Mariah), The Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There' and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' duet, 'Endless Love' (to those of you who were wondering, no, I didn't forget about her cover of Phil Collins' 'Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)'...the omission was intentional) but the thing that all of these singles have in common is that it was a different pop chart landscape when they all came out, which was the 90s, when Mariah could do no wrong. The only way this version will blow up the charts is if mainstream radio picks it up but I fear that it may just end up being relegated to adult contemporary and easy listening stations, instead. Oh well, there's always the third (or is that 'second'?) single!
For those of you who wanna hear Mariah's song, here it is.
For those who don't, enjoy the magnificently stout Valentina Hasan's 'Ken Lee'.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
On Sept. 10th, shops in NYC (all five boroughs!) will open until 11pm and this is being done to benefit the Sept. 11th memorial fund so you can shop without a guilty conscience! Hey, times are tough and even an industry that's predicated on fantasies and unrealistic ideals have to face reality that we are in a recession...people are gonna need more persuading to part with their hard-earned cash!
Below is the awesome PSA promoting this special event featuring many of the world's most respected designers (including, Diane von Fürstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Issac Mizrahi and....Diddy?), the hottest young design talents (such as cutie-pie Alexander Wang, Zac Posen and the boys behind Proenza Schouler...although poor Jack McCollough looks so uncomfortable...maybe he's afraid Jack Bauer was going to jump out from behind the camera and headbutt him again....I just remembered that I once met Jack Mack through a friend from acting school when we crossed paths with him one night in Meatpacking District, as he was walking his dog, over three years ago...yes, I remember everything...elephants never forget), boring-assed models (couldn't they get an old-school supermodel like Naomi or Kate or Christy...better yet, who has RuPaul on speedial?), contemporary fashion icons (the fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker and...one of those annoying Olsen girls) and even the Queen of fashion herself, Anna Wintour, makes an appearance, eschewing Prada for a 'Fashion's Night Out' tee!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Watch a short clip of Senator Edward Kennedy's iconic speech at the 1980 Democratic Party Convention.
Monday, 24 August 2009
'I Look to You' is released in the US on August 31st and in the UK on October 19th.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
While he doesn't actually come out and say it, the gist of what is spelt out by Mr. Mackey is that the American people do not have an 'intrinsic right to health care'. It's a polarizing topic so to take one side or the other in this debate is a no-win situation...either way, you'll be sure to piss people off. Of course, it's critical for every American to be engaged in this process because health care reforms affect every single one of them. However, now that Whole Foods has gone and mixed commerce with politics, there have been protests against the chain outside several branches, including in Washington DC and New York. What's noteworthy about these protests is that they're being staged by former loyal customers of the company; consumers who have long endured the higher prices at Whole Foods because they viewed the company's corporate values to be aligned with their own (e.g. liberals who assuaged their environmental guilt by purchasing biodegradable detergents and organically-grown produce...myself included, back when I used to lived in NY, the above Whole Foods store on W24th and 7th was my local haunt!). It is a place where high-minded liberals (i.e. people who are for universal health care and the proposed reforms) go to shop and thus, it is not surprising that a great segment of this demographic might feel betrayed by John Mackey's stance.
Considering that Wholes Foods has long promoted and distinguished itself as a grocery chain with a social conscience, I respect Mr. Mackey for taking a position so publicly. He co-founded Wholes Foods on his principles and convictions and look at how much they have grown since the first store opened in 1980. With 276 locations and approximately $7.9 billion USD in revenue in 2008, John Mackey is putting his money where his mouth is...and even his critics can't argue with some of his logic, as illustrated in the essay:
'Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices'.
As a dear friend of mine living in NY (a person without any health insurance, mind you) tells me, why should they have to pay for the careless choices of other people when they themselves have consciously made lifestyle choices to minimize the need for health care. Of course, eating well and exercising and not smoking or drinking all contribute to your wellbeing but these lifestyle choices cannot account for those who require medical attention, whether it's short-term or long-term, due to accidents, assault or impairing conditions due to genetics. Without more comprehensive universal health care, individuals or households that, for whatever reason, do not have health insurance will be left behind in a two-tier system. What it boils down to is how comfortable a society is with the concept of 'survival of the fittest', or, in this case, 'survival of the richest'.
Which brings us back to Mr. Mackey. Will Whole Foods survive through this controversy? Without a doubt. The question is will its core of socially-conscious and principled customers be able to feel as good about themselves when they fork over $9 for buffalo mozzarella when they know that the man at the top of this 'food chain' doesn't want his tax dollars to go towards providing health care for those who need it the most?
Read John Mackey's WSJ op-ed piece for yourselves.
Since The X Factor airs in the UK on a Saturday evening, I rarely ever see it on its first airing and I have to play catch-up later on YouTube. I already read about the highlights from this first audition episode of the new season so I knew about who did a good job and who...well, didn't. I think that many of us like to indulge that childish side of us that take pleasure in the humiliation of others...hell, I'm as guilty as anyone else...however, at the very least, you gotta respect them for having the gall to go through with their fantasy, as foolhardy as it may seem to some, to be brave enough to share your aspiration with the world.
What excites me more are the auditions that take our collective breath away...the ones that confound us by exceeding our expectations and then, putting us in the rather uncomfortable position of having to question ourselves over how we came to form such negative notions about perfect strangers in the first place...honestly, did we learn nothing from the marvellous Susan Boyle? By the way, this year, the producers of The X Factor decided to adopt a live audience structure for the first audition process, à la Britain's Got Talent (not surprising since Simon Cowell is responsible for both shows), and while I think that the change is for the better, I couldn't help but think that by doing so, the show just made Britain's Got Talent that much more redundant.
Joseph McElderry is a cute 18-year old boy who sang 'Dance with My Father' by Luther Vandross...it's kinda made me cringe, though, when certain members of the judging panel commented on how 'the girls' are gonna love him...as if gay men don't even exist...even more ironic hearing it from the mouth of dubious closet case, Louis Walsh. I couldn't find a full clip of his audition to embed on here so you'll just have to go on YouTube and search for this young man yourselves.
A 19-year-old single mother from Dagenham, Stacey Solomon made a similarly smart and mature song choice, singing Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World'.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Oh, meanwhile, one of the trailers that I saw tonight was some new adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes. The movie looks dreadful (but who knows, right?) but it seems that it, at least, has one trump card in the form of young Mr. Barnes, who's portraying the eponymous character. I just had a thought...let me pitch this just right...how about a new period piece, let's say, Victorian era, Ben can play an aristocratic playboy who falls for the handsome new valet, played by Freddie...it'll be just like Maurice...only hotter...a gay Wings of the Dove, if you will...if anyone out there steals my idea, I will come after you!!!
Friday, 21 August 2009
While it's always a joy to return to NY (it'll always feel like going home), the main event of this trip was a gay wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
As an out and proud gay man, the issue of same-sex marriage equality is very important to me. Having carefully followed the progress that had been made in America since the hateful passing of Proposition 8 in California last November, it was with great joy and poignancy that I got to witness another gay couple being afforded the same dignity and generosity of spirit that would be given to a straight couple celebrating their love and commitment to each other.
Every couple's love is special and a gift but unfortunately, not every gay couple are as lucky as my friends are - to be able to proclaim their love to the world and make their union a legal entity. With six states affording the same-sex couple the right to marriage, the rest of America better wake up soon and realize how important love is to the progress of society, whether it's between straight or gay couple.
I have been flirting with the idea of blogging for so long now that I can't even tell you precisely when the seed of this idea was planted in my distracted mind. Thanks to my dear friends, G-Dawg and Nellie, I am finally getting my act together. I needed that push like a child who's learning how to ride a bicycle. My friends have been telling me that I should blog about personal anecdotes and my take on movies, pop culture phenomena, global human interest stories, etc. While I'm inclined to believe that another voice in the blogosphere is akin to a tear drop in the ocean, I guess the whole point for me to doing this is to have a forum for organizing my thoughts on an array of subjects, to make personal discoveries about myself and to reflect on the direction of my life and where it's heading.
It's Friday afternoon and it has been a day since I arrived back in London from New York City so the most exciting thing to happen since my arrival was going to the cinema to see Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglorious Basterds'. It was a thrill to watch and behold from start to finish. The two and a half hours running time flew by. I am not one of those people who have been obsessed with Mr. Tarantion's film since 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction' but I gotta tell you that I haven't responded to a movie like I did to this one in a very long time. It was a fantastically irreverent, poetically visceral piece of historical revisionism and I say, why the fuck not?
On a separate note, before the movie began, we were treated to some shockingly awful previews, the one that left the biggest impression being 'Case 39', a horror film starring Renée Zellweger. I remember seeing stills from this movie on IMDB since 2007 so I have a feeling this one has been on the shelf for a few years now...not a good sign. Combined this with the failure of her early 2009 release, 'New in Town', and the upcoming 'My One and Only', I gotta take to task those responsible for her career: her agents, her manager (if she has one) and, of course, Miss Zellweger herself. Having been a fan since she won Jerry Maguire's heart and ours in 1996, I know that this lovely actress deserves better material than what she's been getting offered and accepting. C'mon, Hollywood...DO BETTER!