Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Please come and join us for The Love-Slam Slam, a celebration of love and eros - poetry that stirs the passions. Who is a slave to love, who is your love-slave? Bring your special friends and meet new one in this special edition of the Singapore Poetry Slam™ this Tues, 7.30pm. Full details below.
Slam Host: Ng Yi Sheng
Singer-songwriter Anjana Vasan
The Lady and the Vamp,' A short film by Shaun Koh
Share your poems originals and covers
Chris Mooney Singh, Programme Director
The Love-Slave Slam
Tues 31 July 07
Velvet Underground, Zouk
7,30-10pm, Smart Casual
A Non-Smoking Event
$10, drinks 1+1
(Under 18s must register at the Slam Desk)
Slammers and open mic readers must register at the Slam Desk
Sunday, July 29, 2007
QLRS Special Screening Series: The Willow Tree (PG)
Catch the Singapore premiere of acclaimed Iranian auteur Majid Majidi's latest masterpiece The Willow Tree* at the inaugural QLRS Special Screening Series, supported by the National Museum of Singapore and Festive Films.
The Willow Tree is about a university professor who regains sight and suddenly realises that what he sees now is different from what he "saw" as a blind man. Majidi, feted for classics like Children Of Heaven and Baran, has made a spiritually redemptive and visually stunning film with scenes that stay with you long after. The film opens in Singapore on August 23.
The Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS) is an independent and volunteer-driven effort which has been covering the Singapore literary scene since 2001 in the areas of poetry, prose, drama and literary criticism.
* In Persian with English subtitles, rating PG
Date: Friday, August 3
Venue: National Museum, Stamford Road, Gallery
Admission: Pay as you wish. Seating is on first come,
first serve basis
For more information: Please email email@example.com
Saturday, July 28, 2007
|What kind of shopper are you?|
sales manager - valentine tan (played by adrian pang)www.goneshoppingthemovie.com
Take this quiz!
Sorry lah, figured why not, since the director e-mailed me saying thanks for mentioning the movie on my blog (weird right? who the hell reads this site? I'm not Xiaxue or Alfian or Laozhabor lah...)
But seriously, "Gone Shopping" is worth watching. It ain't perfect (the English segments are kinda stilted), but it's visually delicious and imaginative and moving and strangely evocative of Singapore moments.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Sunday 29 July 5.30pm
PECULIAR INSPIRATIONS: The Muse - Of Sirens And Tyrants
Many of our artists have been greatly influenced by other Singaporean artists. From actual mentors to literary forebears, the creative process often involves a dialogue with the past. But how do we engage with traditions without inheriting its baggage? Do we climb on the shoulders of giants, or find our dwarfed selves obscured by their long shadows?
We round up a group of artists--poets, playwrights and filmmakers, to discuss the book, the play, or the film, that first made then want to embark on their artistic careers.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
All pics at http://web.mac.com/ng.yisheng - click on Body Shots and Body Shots 2 to shuttle between full-body and dismembered view. The .mac link will probably die in 60 days; not sure if I want to pay for it beyond the trial period.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
First, there's "Invisible City" by Tan Pin Pin, a documentary on memory and forgetting in Singapore. It's showing at the Arts House from today onwards. In English, Mandarin and Japanese.
Second, and just as importantly, there's Wee Li Lin's "Gone Shopping", a commercial feature-length piece about ennui and shopping culture, starting this Thursday. In English, Mandarin and Tamil.
Reasons I'm excited about both movies:
1) They cover hidden aspects of Singapore - the erasure of the past and shopping. Yes, we talk about shopping a lot in theory (and in commerce), but we never examine it as a cultural phenomenon. Great to do this and market it to a commercial audience.
2) Both filmmakers are women. I know you may think that's trivial, but my feminist approach to art was somewhat influenced by the Guerrilla Girls, and it's a leetle bit disturbing when you consider how few of Singapore's feature-length films are directed by women - "Eating Air" and "Singapore Dreaming" were amazing, but Jasmine Ng and Woo Yen Yen are always overshadowed by Kelvin Tong and Colin Goh in the publicity. Wee Li Lin's probably the first woman to make a solo feature-length film here aimed at commercial release.
3) Both filmmakers have done really good work in the past. You've probably heard of Tan Pin Pin's "Singapore Gaga" and "Moving House", but Wee Li Lin's less well-known, mostly producing shorts and commercials. Check out her later work on her website, especially "Autograph Book".
Invisible City opens at The Arts House on 22 July-12 August 2007. Call 6332 6919 for tickets now. Tickets at $8 (Adults) and $6 (Students with ID). Pin Pin will be present to take Q&A on 22-24 July.
The three screenings are at different venues and open to public. Tickets are free by registration.
The World Premiere: Thurs, 19 July 2007, 8pm, University Cultural Centre Theatre.
To register for tickets for this screening, email your full name and mobile no. to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 6516 4229.
Friday, 20 July 2007, 8pm, Theatreworks 72-13.
To register for tickets, email email@example.com or contact 6737 7213 (pay-as-you-wish, proceeds go to 72-13)
Saturday, 21 July 2007, 8pm, The Substation.
To register for tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 6337 7800 (pay-as-you-wish, all proceeds go to Substation)
Thurs, 26 July, 7pm, Theatreworks 72-13.
Pin Pin will be giving a ‘making-of’ Invisible City talk. No registration required.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
"Frostbite", the suicidal 10-minute play I wrote in college and submitted for Short and Sweet, is going up at the Arts House next Sunday. It's directed by Andrew Lua, as part of an event organised by Singapore Drama Educators' Association - further details of the lineup here.
Sunday 29 July @ 5pm, Arts House
*ACJC - Bang Bang You're Dead by William Mastrosimone ( Produced with licensed permission from the author)
Bang Bang You're Dead is a thoughtful and provocative examination of the inner world of a young killer in the wake of a horrific school shooting. The motivations are twisted and obfuscated and the intent behind the deed remains shrouded by ego as well as despair. ACSian theatre invites the audience to unravel the mystery of teenage angst and malcontent and why it erupts into murderous rampage and soul destroying alienation. Bang Bang Your'e Dead was written in 1999 in memorial to the various teenage dead of school killings in the United States. It remains a painfully relevant piece of work in the light of the death at Virginia Tech, USA, in 2007.
*Two ten-minuters: Fat and Frostbite
Fat, written by Dew M. Chaiyanara, was first performed at Short & Sweet Festival 2007 in its Top 20 category. The play won the hearts of the audience with its honest yet funny tale of a girl’s struggle with being fat in a “perfectly thin” society. Meanwhile, Frostbite, also shown at the Short & Sweet Festival Top 20 category, takes a dark and ironic look at those seemingly unstoppable voices in our heads. What happens when these voices become too much to endure? Can we turn them off, distract them by conjuring tricks and chastise them with our screams? How do we make them stop? Frostbite is written by Ng Yi-Sheng. His plays Hungry and Serve were staged in Celebrate Drama 2005 and 2006 respectively
Friday, July 20, 2007
(He's the one in a striped Gap-like shirt with blue jeans and pale blue quasi-Croc shoes that bring out his cornflower eyes).
Most of you will know he's in Singapore on the first leg of the Royal Shakespeare Company's tour of "King Lear" and "The Seagull" (and very lucky we are too to have him; we're the only Asian city graced with his presence and we're meeting him before Melbourne and Wellington and New York and Minneapolis and San Francisco and bloody London). It's thanks to the initiative of Gaurav Kripalani at the Singapore Repertory Theatre, and while I do think their ticket prices are a bit insane, I do believe them when they say they're doing this at a net loss.
Anyway, I get invited to the press conference via Flying Inkpot, because editor Kenneth Kwok (who is a biiiig fan) has a day job, like most people. And I'm rather jetlagged from Australia, since I only touched down from Townsville the day before. And I've been informed via e-mail that Fridae will be doing a story too, they'll just want me to write the introductory blurb, thank you very much; everything else will be handled through a clinical e-mail interview.
But lo and behold, when I raise my arm to ask a simple question ("What's your proudest achievement in gay activism?") McKellen's so intrigued and insistent on making his case known about gay rights that he says he'll see me in an unscheduled one-on-one interview after the conference.
The resulting interview (which is much less thorough than an e-mail interview would have been, because I was on a tight deadline and had no recording devices) is posted here on Fridae.
And of course I had to wait about an hour for Reuters and everyone important to get through him, and then I had to hurry up or else I'd exhaust him before his tech, and there was some unhappiness because I'd wanted my friend Julianne from AFP to be able to sit in but SRT felt it might be best to keep the gay news exclusive to the gay rags and keep their image clean in front of the mainstream media. (It must be very trying for them to have as big a star as McKellen with them; he goes on live interviews on CNA and 95 FM and he does not stick to the script... see below:)
But my greatest joy was probably getting to tell Ian (lemme pretend we're on first name basis) that "King Lear" has a history of interpretation here: he was terribly interested in my description of Theatreworks's "Lear" in 1999 while a little confused by my hurried attempt to encapsulate Ho Tzu Nyen and Fran Borgia's "King Lear: The Avoidance of Love" in two sentences. I also let him know that "Happy Endings: Asian Boys Volume 3" was playing, in case he has any time to take in other shows.
Gaurav was very, very charitable in allowing me to keep him back and talk cock about other theatre companies like that - he even let Ian know about my musical "Georgette", though he gracefully forebore from mentioning whether it was any good. Ian was also wonderfully tickled by the fact that when great British actor John Gielgud came here in 1945 to play Hamlet for the Brits, ingaporeans were only allowed to watch if they were ushers.
Anyhow, I've promised him a copy of "SQ21" to be left at reception. (Ian said he'd try and get me comps, but I doubt it's possible - those are pretty damn expensive tickets - and anyway, with my persistent cough, I'd ruin the whole performance.)
And whaddayaknow; I'm not the only fagtivist jumping on him in these parts:
I could have asked for a photograph together with him, but it felt like that would have been too, too unprofessional. After all, I'll always have the journalistic document as proof of contact.
P.S. Kudos to Hong Xinyi of The Straits Times Life! for being the first to ask him about 377A.
P.P.S. My Indonesian maid Yuli saw him in the papers yesterday, in the costume and make-up of Sorin from "The Seagull". She laughed and said he looked like Saddam Hussein. WTF???
UPDATE: Ohmigod. He actually got me those comps. Two tickets. Good ones. For King Lear on Saturday night. The bad news was that I waited at the wrong exit for him and couldn't take him to Alfian's birthday party afterwards.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
For a truly psychedelic experience, try playing both simultaneously. :) (P.S. That's Allen Ginsberg as a rabbi in the background of the original!)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Both kids are definitely worth looking out for: Cheryl writes rhythmic stream-of-consciousness poetic drama (cf. her play "Size00") while Laremy leans toward the absurdist comedy of bureaucracy (cf. his play "Radio Silence").
More tidbits forthcoming. :) And what the hell; here's another group shot:
The bricklayer Sartre and baseball champion Baudrillard wait at the nearby gas station “Ixion”. A black car pulls up, belching thick clouds of smog in its wake. Sartre runs his tongue along the inside of his mouth, spitting the taste of grease onto the dirty floor. “Is that him?” Sartre asks.
Baudrillard doesn't answer, just turns around and walks towards the diner. “Is that him?” Sartre repeats. The car door opens just a crack, and a figure dressed all in black spreads out of and separates from the car, his coat the exact same shade of dark. Sartre starts, turns around, but Baudrillard has already reached the door of the diner and is disappearing inside, seemingly heedless of what is going on behind him.
Sartre feels the old rage building in his temples, and feels for the semiautomatic hidden inside his coat. He gropes the gun with lust and unbridled pleasure.
He aims the machine gun at Baudrillard.
“This is for what you did to Simone de Beauvoir!” he bellows.
The bullets spurt out out of the muzzle like sperm from a firehose.
“This is for the gentrification of Montparnasse! And the failure of the 1968 Student Riots! And the future rise of Lepenistes! This is for the divorce of Segolene fucking Royale!”
Baudrillard clutches his heart and staggers to the ground.
“But it was only a simulation...” he meekly mumbles.
“It was a simulacra, salaud. There was no original. You oughta know. You wrote the mere-foutrant book!”
And as Baudrillard breathes his last gasp, he speaks the cursed words...
“Jean-Paul... I am your father...”
-written by Ng Yi-Sheng, Sime Knezevic and Jerome Chua in a workshop by Olivia Allen.
Monday, July 09, 2007
1. I am too nice for my own good.
2. I am also, strangely, an angry young man.
3. I have an eccentric sense of the epic that is unusual in young writing.
4. I should not attempt to climb stone walls by leaping at their corners, chin-first.
5. A lot of world drama does not translate effectively into English.
6. A lot of Australia, especially Queensland, is still amazingly racist.
7. I am extremely privileged to live in a country where the theatre scene is multicultural, commercial and experimental, yet which still offers opportunities for young people.
8. I am extremely privileged to live in a country where I do not grow up with a nonchalant hatred for merchant races, such as Jews or Indians.
9. It is very easy, if you are proud of your achievements or your culture, to stop listening, to stop learning.
10. I look good in long sleeves and stubble.
Enough with the posturing. Some photos:
Me and my roommate, Richard Stratton, the only playwright from Brisbane and also the only other out gay man (as far as we know) among the delegates. No nooky though; roomcest (i.e. room-incest) is risky. But look! We're both wearing DJ-monkey T-shirts!
This is my base-group: a group of six young playwrights and three tutors. Pictured are Suzanne Heathcote of London, Ola Animashawn of London (tutor), Adam Mitchell of Perth (tutor), Martin Kordic of Hildesheim and Anna Barnes of Melbourne. Not pictured is the handsome Ivor Martinic of Splitz, Croatia. We can only see the brim of San Francisco/New Yorker Krista Knight.
Our third tutor, Assoc Prof Dr Hassan Erkek of Ankara, is also a hottie. He's met the Finger Players via videoconferencing!
James Cook canteen food leaves something to be desired.
Cultural exchange: here's Hamidah from Lambung talking to Ajtony of Budapest.
There's a volleyball court outside the canteen/dorm area though. It's also plenty warm in the afternoon so we play matches at times.
One more group shot.
(Y is a middle-aged woman. Z is a middle-aged man)
Y: Too much.
Z: It's worth it.
Y: How many more times?
Z: You're a very, very bad -
Y: Shut the fuck up. You don't live with her. You don't have to listen to her insult your children and your -
Z: You don't love your own mother.
Y: I feed her. I wash her.
Z: You've never loved her.
Y: I carry her body when she wants to use the toilet.
Z: You've always resented her love for me.
Y: I wipe her backside when she shits.
Z: Because I'm the son. I never asked for this love. I'll pay what I can for the operation -
Y: You couldn't pay half of the bill last month. I paid for the hospital, the wheelchair, the physiotherapy -
D: Family of Madam Oh Guan Chin?
Y and Z: Yes?
D: We're very sorry.
Z: What happened? Is she dead? Is she -
D: No no no no, she's still conscious. But for how long -
Y: We came too late.
D: For how long we don't know. We need to know. Will you sign these papers approving -
Y: How much?
D: Organ donation is becoming more and more important as a means of saving people's lives -
Z: Fuck no!
Y: Ziqiang! Give me the papers.
Z: Give me the papers!
Y: Our mother is dying. You don't even have the money to keep her in your own home. Now you want to keep even her organs?
Z: She wouldn't want it that way.
Y: I lived with her all these years.
Z: She wouldn't want it that way.
Y: I think I know what she would and wouldn't -
Z: Give me the papers.
D: She's still conscious.
Z: Let me see her.
Y: Let me see her. Of course. (laughs) You only visit her when she's in pain. You're her guardian angel. Her little god. You come along when she needs her son to rescue her.
D: Madam Oh has asked to see her son.
Y: Okay! You take over from here. (backing away) You tell her she's dying. You tell her she has to keep her organs.
Z: Yiling –
D: Sign here and here.
Z: My last payment hasn't come in.
Y: Ziqiang. You are too much!
II. Rewrite the Scene in a Non-Naturalistic Genre.
(Y is a middle-aged woman. Z is a middle-aged man)
Y: Fie, 'tis overmuch!
Z: Nay, but 'tis worth it.
Y: Worth what? To live another petty year,
To feel the cutlass of a different surgeon
And die a second death?
Z: I had not thought.
Thou art an evil daughter then, Ysolde.
A venom-hearted devil, spawned of Eve.
Y: You say this sir, who hath not housed this woman.
This daft besom, who crieth the abuse
Of my own lord and kin -
Z: I had not thought
That child might walk that loveth not her mother.
Y: I feed her, Zechariah, bathe her limbs,
I aid her bowels in yon garderobe -
Z: Thou hateth her but for her blessed love,
That love dispens'd on I, her son alone.
Y: What son art thou who canst not guard thy mother?
Who oft doth rob the banks to feed thy debtors,
Who oft doth make excuses for they loans?
I paid for all her ointments, pills and tinctures.
I paid my life for hers, for want of love.
Y: What news?
Z: Quick, hence! The sum.
C: My lord and lady -
Z: Not death! Fie, sound the alarum and knell!
C: She breathes, sir, but be warn'd: death waits in distance;
She lingers on but for a last farewell.
I have a contract.
Z: Still a bill! I'll sign.
Y: How much? We are not keepers of a fortune.
C: I have a contract that will share her vitals,
Her liver, heart and spleen for ailing folk.
Z: Fie, nay!
Y: Good sir, the papers.
Z: Hand them hence,
I'll rip these rags to shreds to greet the winds!
Y: Thou miserable dog. She meets her end,
Thou wouldst begrudge the poor of their desserts?
Z: She would not wish it so. I am her son.
Y: With me she long hath dwelt!
Z: I am her son.
Y: Then see her. Tell her heaven doth approach.
You are her only son. Pay for her death.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I'm at an Internet cafe in the city with Ajtony, a beautiful Hungarian 19 year-old Buddhist in rastas. (Probably straight, but we make beautiful conversation.) Will upload photos and stories when possible.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Next month may be even fewer, since I'll be busy with World Interplay. :) Illiteracy, here I come.
Also, despite having read books from Italy, India, Ireland, Singapore, Nigeria, Japan, Egypt, Colombia and France/Cote D'Ivoire this month, it still feels like I've had an unhealthy focus on books from the USA. Have also realised I never read any books from Australia. Well, that will change.
Tiruvalluvar's "The Kural"
+Mary Oliver's "The Leaf and the Cloud"
+“Selected Poems of William Carlos Williams” (ed. Robert Pinsky)
+Allen Ginsberg’s ”Kaddish and Other Poems”
Denise Levertov’s “Evening Train”
Soseki Natsumi's "The 210th Day"
+Nancy Kress's "Beggars in Spain”
+Rabindranath Tagore’s “Two Sisters”
+Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Changing Planes”
+Don Delillo’s “Cosmopolis”
+Woody Allen’s “Complete Prose”
+Lenin El-Ramly's "In Plain Arabic"
Stella Kon's "Butterflies Don't Cry"
Wole Soyinka’s “The Jero Plays”
+J.M. Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World”
+Martin Sherman's “Bent”
+Stanley Cavell's "The Avoidance of Love"
+Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"
+Gabriel García Márquez's “The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor”
+Stewart Home's ”Mind Invaders: A Reader in Psychic Warfare, Cultural Sabotage and Semiotic Terrorism”
Neill Strauss and Bernard Chang's "How to Make Money Like a Porn Star!"
+Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s “Aya”
+The online archives of the “New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest”
Inc. Cosmic Debris Etc's “Emily the Strange: Seeing is Deceiving”
Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli's “Creatures of the the Night”
+Igort's “5 Is the Perfect Number”
+Theatreworks's “The Book of Longing”
+Mark Chan's "Dreaming of Kuan Yin, Meeting Madonna"
+Shaun Parker's "Blue Love"
+Tang Fu Kuen's "Forward Moves"
+Checkpoint Theatre's "Cogito"
+Sylvie Guillem and the Akram Khan Company's "Sacred Monsters"
+Musical Theatre Ltd's "Georgette"
Raffles Junior College Theatre Studies Department's "Toys R Us", +"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "Behind the Curtain"
The Finger Players's "Wong Kar Wai Dreams"
Cake Theatrical Productions’s “A Thousand Little Things”
Peter Sau and +Li Xie’s “Full Frontal”
Mabou Mines’s “DollHouse”
+People’s Association’s “Gentarasa 2007: Titisan Cacamerba”
Cho-In Theatre’s “The Train”
Auraeus Solito's "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros"
Kelvin Tong's "Men in White"
David Fincher's "Zodiac"
+George Sidney's "Annie Get Your Gun"
+“Experimental Films by Maya Deren”
Matthew Barney’s +”Cremaster 3”, “Cremaster 4”, “Cremaster 5” and “Drawing Restraint 9”
+Andrew Fleming's ”Nancy Drew”
+Mamoru Hosoda’s “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”
+Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s “Hot Fuzz”
+Donna Ong's "Project Eden"
Genevieve Chua's "As Brutal As"
+Craig Walsh and Shaun Gladwell's "Streetworks: Inside Outside
Venice Architecture Biennale Singapore Pavilion's "Singapore: Built and Unbuilt"
Lee Sik Khoon's "Bodies and Relationships"
+Simryn Gill and Tino Djumini's "Picturing Relations"
+NUS Museum's "Highlights of Southeast Asian Collection"
+Erica Lai, Genevieve Chua and Jennifer Koh’s “extra ordinary”
PKW’s “The 9th Emerging Artists’ Show”
+John Clang's "A White Book"