Tokyo Wrestlingエディターズの編集後記。編集にまつわる裏話や、世界をまたぐTokyo Wrestlingフレンズからのお便りを紹介。
Personal notes from our editors. Also discover postcards from TW friends around the world!
Notes personnelles des editrices. Decouvrez aussi les messages des Tokyo Wrestling friends du monde entier.
Only one day separates us from Friday's All-Night "L" Films & Talk Event featuring "Bound". That's right, tomorrow night starting at 9:30 pm, you can watch lesbian film and TV until dawn at the Cinemart Theater in Shinjuku! In addition, Girlfriend - the notorious women's only event - will be taking place on Saturday the 31st. This will be the first Girlfriend party since it made news in the New Year's broadcast of "Gokujo Jikara (Ultra Strong Girls)", so the scene this weekend should really be hotter than ever!
There are just a few additional notes I'd like to share.
●One episode of The L Word Season 4 is scheduled to be shown at the All-Night "L" Films & Talk Event and, at last, the selection was made: Episode #6. In this episode, the drama's own number one playgirl, Shane, becomes an underwear model and the story follows her as she is invited through work to a film premiere. This should be a fun episode for guests who have not yet seen the drama, as well as for hardcore L Word or Shane McCutcheon fans.Not to mention, how often do you have a chance to see The L Word in a movie theater!! Not to be missed!
●The Taiwanese film, "Spider Lilies" (shown last summer at Cinemart Roppongi) will also be shown at the "L" Films Event.
●Music from the debut album by Leisha Hailey's new band Uh Huh Her will be playing during intermission at the venue. The Japanese release of the CD, "Common Reaction" will also be on sale. If you've been thinking about checking the band out, here's your perfect chance!
Last year, I had the fortune of attending a screening of Éric Rohmer's latest film, "Romance of Astree and Celadon (French: Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon)". It's not a queer film in itself, but it was a very interesting movie with some very queer elements woven in, so I thought I'd introduce it here briefly.
"The Romance of Astrée and Céladon" tells the classic dramatic tale of love between young shepherd Céladon and his sole desire Astrée - beautifully unfolding against the rich, green landscape of 5th century France. The story begins when a twist of fate inspires Astrée to forbid Céladon from ever appearing before her again. A nymph taking pity on the heartbroken man and a druid priest try to help him find ways by which he may see her once again. Ultimately, he sets off, dressed as a woman, to meet the unknowing Astrée - and the two develop a friendship bringing them close once again.
The film is about the love of Céladon, a young man who yearns to be close to his former lover, and the fantastic sequence of events inspired by his decision to don female garb to do so. Astrée, unaware that the young woman is Céladon, finds herself drawn to her new companion. The film masterfully depicts the ambiguity of sexual boundaries and our illusions, as seen through the clear touch of the great French film director Éric Rohmer, known widely as a representative figure of French New Wave cinema. Incidentally, Rohmer turns 88 this year.
The film is adapted from the 17th century novel by Honoré d'Urfé, "L'Astrée", popular in its time among women and in French literary salons. While the novel itself dates back nearly 400 years, it pointedly raises the timeless questions of what gender, sexuality, and love truly are. Fans of French New Wave cinema, or classic literature, would surely be enthralled by Rohmer's latest!
Also, to mark the film's release here in Japan, several talk events (all in Japanese) have been scheduled with guests well known to the queer scene! Such guests include Shogo Kariyazaki, the openly gay flower arrangement artist, and manga author Riyoko Ikeda, best known for her gender-bending work "The Rose of Versailles".
※Astrée and Céladon
★Bonus: Some Queer Background on the Film's Actors!
--Céladon is played by the young actor Andy Gillet, who only just recently appeared in the Korean film "Antique Cakeshop", directed by Gyu-Dong Min, as the gay pastry chef's (Kim Jae Wook) ex-boyfriend. He has long been a gay-friendly actor.
--Astrée is played by Stéphanie Crayencour, a new actress to French film and the great-niece of the renowned French novelist, and out lesbian, Marguerite Yourcenar. Yourcenar is distinguished for being the first woman elected to the Académie française, a prestigious scholarly academy of the French language. Just about everyone in France today knows the name of this eminent novelist. Yourcenar's partner was an American woman named Grace Frick who she stayed with in the United States for 42 years until her death in 1987. Grace oversaw the English translations of Yourcenar's works, which suggests that the two notable figures shared a strong artistically-inspired relationship - not unlike writer Susan Sontag and photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose relationship was covered in part by a documentary released last year. With such a famed great-aunt, it goes without saying that Crayencour herself is gay-friendly.
As you may have seen posted in our Info section, an all-night lesbian film & talk event has been scheduled for Friday, January 30th! I thought I'd like to take the time to explain a little more about it here.
For starters, the scintillatingly-hot and super-cool lesbian pairing of Corky and Violet from the cult film "Bound" Tokyo Wrestling have made the pages of Tokyo Wrestling in the past. In fact, only recently, Corky scored top ranking at Number 3 in TW's Hot List B: Hottest Lesbian Characters in Film and TV.
The film may not be a "lesbian movie" per se, but "Bound" has long been a hit among queer women for its unique story told squarely from the perspective of a couple of very styling lesbian characters.
"Bound" is the highly-acclaimed debut release from the directors The Wachowski Brothers, known for their stunning international hit "Matrix". Even with their first film, the impeccable quality of the story, script and visuals blew away audiences and film-lovers across the board. The amazing performances by the film's actors are also not to be missed. It's hard to ever get enough of this wildly suspenseful, visually breath-taking, and bitingly humorous masterpiece. This film is one of my own personal favorites!
Unless you've been able to catch it in the theater, until recently "Bound" was only available on VHS. However, "Bound" is scheduled to be newly released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 28th. Finally, a medium for keepers!
To commemorate the occasion, a special women's-only all-night event featuring a screening of "Bound" and other "L" delights has been set for Friday, January 30th. I'll report more on the all specific showings later, but for now I'd like to let you know that the event starts at 9:30 and, other than "Bound", there will be films such as "Mulholland Drive".
Most of us have only seen "Bound" on video - that includes me. From what I hear, seeing it on the big screen is something that you would not want to miss. The theater adds a lot to its impact.
"Mulholland Drive" is also not a "lesbian film" in itself - it's a suspense film directed by visionary wizard David Lynch, and selected for this showing due to its popularity with movie-goers. Much like "Bound", this film is a masterful work that incorporates lesbian elements, which leads me to suspect the film event as a whole will be a lot of fun for queer girls and film-lovers alike.
For the talk event portion of the evening, film commentator LiLiCo from the TV show "King's Brunch" and I will be discussing "Bound" and the allure of lesbian flicks.
I'm absolutely honored to be at the event alongside Lilico - I've long been a fan of hers for her strong presence and frank personality. Her talent for articulation has won her a considerable following among lesbians, and I'd recommend coming to hear her speak. I know it's getting colder, and that's not inspiring when you want to go out - but the all night screening on the 30th will definitely add a little heat to your winter season. Hope to see you there!
※All guests at the event are free to come and go as they like. Guests unable to stay all night are free to leave after just "Bound" or at any other point.
※Only women will be able to attend this event.
●Girls only All-Night! at Cinemart Shinjuku
●Date/2009. 1. 30 (fri) 9：30 pm-6：30 am
●Entrance/ 1000 yen (With one drink, unlimited re-entry)
●For more information:email@example.com
【All-Night Lesbian Films: Line Up】
Mulholland Drive The L Word (Season 4 episode)
【 STORY 】
After starting a dangerous affair, Corky (Gina Gershon) and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) scheme to escape with mafia money in this crime suspense flick.
★To return to Tokyo Wrestling's homepage, follow the link here.
I wanted to let you know about dynamic artistic duo that had just made their way to Japan from Switzerland for a brief stay.
Meet film + music makers Florence Bujard (aka Flo) and Joelle Bacchetta. The duo are in fact a couple and have for the past two years managed their own independent artistic unit, Koïlab, established as a vehicle for their film/video and DJ projects.
※The artistic unit Koïlab: Florence Bujard (left) and Joelle Bacchetta.
Some TW readers may recall Flo's name from somewhere... as a matter of fact, she covered TW's Queer Spots in Belgium back in October 2008.
Each of the two has been to Japan repeatedly - part of their Japanophile creds. This time around, they've come to film a portrait of lesbians in Japan - a project which they are producing out of their own personal interest. They've been interviewing women and girls active in the Tokyo "L" scene, as well as ones they've just run into! We'll post more information on that later.
On New Year's, at the stylish girls only bar Motel, Flo took up the DJ table just after the strike of midnight - from 12:30 to 4:30 am - and set the floor on fire with her mixes. Her sets are laden with electronic and 80's New Wave beats and her selection added a playful, queer European vibe to the room.
※Flo mixing at the stylish girls only bar Motel.
Flo's sound was a perfect match for the MOTEL interior - and it was enough to make you feel like you'd been transported into one of Europe's own super-cool queer events.
And there were two songs that were so nostalgic and made me particularly happy to hear, that I'd like to introduce them here!
One is the tune "Le Troisieme Sexe" by the 1980s French New Wave band Indochine. (The colossal French DJ miss kittin's remix of it, that is.) This tune is, just as the title suggests, a queer delight for its especially alluring take on the mysterious androgynous beauty of "masculine girls and feminine boys".
The other tune is "Voyage Voyage", one of the greatest released by the attention-grabbing French vocalist, Desireless, in the late 80s. She was known for her androgynous look and for refusing to reveal her sex, causing her to be known as "the singer without a sex, cloaked in a secret".
Now, I'm not sure how many of you were able to catch the program, but lesbian coverage made the small screen on January 1st! The program, a late-night special called "Gokujo Jikara (Ultra Power Girls)", was broadcast for the New Year. I thought I'd share some thoughts about the show.
First of all, when Tokyo Wrestling was first approached and asked to help with the project, we were very cautious. Up to the present, Japanese programs tended to indulge sensational depictions of lesbians with typically sleazy old titles like "Shinjuku's Nichome in the Middle of the Night: Forbidden Homosexual Paradise". It's hard to ever expect any better.
So, after talking to the director, I agreed to an interview but only on the condition that she would promise me that nowhere in the program would they use words like, "forbidden", "lezzie", "scandalous", or other lurid terms and phrases that stir up the same-old stereotypes.
The director was a very open young woman who showed great sensitivity to the lesbians she worked with. I saw her sincerity reflected in the upbeat (a la The L Word) image of lesbians that shone through the program, one closer to the increasingly positive image currently making its way into the world. Also, I was personally very happy to see that the program featured a couple made up of two beautiful career women who were proud of their relationship - and not depicted as feeling weighed down by their sexuality.
In addition, the commentary given by Japanese actress YOU (who appeared following the segment) was so on the mark that she reminded once again why she's known as the queen of straight talk - and a lovable, modern woman to boot.
It was fun to watch scenes of the women's only event Girlfriend, the girls only bar Motel, and conversation among lesbians, all filmed for the program. I'm also pretty thrilled that at last the mainstream media has produced a stylish Japanese image of lesbian life, similar to what we've seen in programs from other countries.
I'm hoping that lesbian and bisexual women who saw this program were inspired. Other than its special segment on lesbians, the program also included some material relating to "Sex & the City". I get the feeling that a new era for women is just starting in Japan. I can't wait to see more mainstream programming portray lesbians with the same bold flair and optimism!
★Here are the results for TW's Lesbians' Choice for Japan's Hottest Women, as aired on the program!
1. Juri Ueno
2. Anna Tsuchiya
3. Meisa Kuroki
4. Tomomi Nishimoto
5. Chiharu Icho
★To return to Tokyo Wrestling's homepage, follow the link here.
Little in recent history has made such an indelible impression on the collective memory of Japanese lesbians as when Katherine Moennig, better known as "Shane" from the stylish lesbian drama The L Word, came to Japan in June 2008. Over 1000 women flocked to Narita Airport to greet her upon her arrival and the media spent days busily reporting on her every move and openly naming her "the woman that women want most".
Even here at TW we felt the spreading heat. When we sent word out to TW readers about the Premium Fan Conference, there was no end to the impassioned messages sent back our way!
I think the Top Phrase would have to be "Shane - the woman that women want". Katherine Moennig's arrival in Japan stirred up something close to a social phenomenon! Her visit was covered in depth by the mainstream media, and this should be appreciated for the fact that, in many ways, it contributed to banishing the "underground" image that lesbians have had.
I think the Premium Fan Conference held during Kate Moennig's visit was a historic event. Bringing a lesbian icon together with actual lesbians at an event arranged by lesbians is a tremendous achievement and very meaningful in my eyes.
●TW Special Awards
1. Last Friends
Last Friends may not have been a program about a lesbian, but it was a highly-rated drama centering on a character, Ruka, that identified as a sexual minority. Both Ruka and the program itself became a much-loved topic of conversation among lesbians in Japan, and blogs also endlessly followed every twist and turn in the drama during its broadcast season.
Here at TW, we've noticed that our interview with Last Friends' screenwriter Taeko Asano has been accessed by Japanese readers more then any of our other articles (many times more!). There is clearly no denying that Last Friends has lesbians in Japan excited, and the number of people who have shown their interest, in ratings and otherwise, is just astounding.
2. The Olympics
The much ballyhooed Beijing Olympics were held in August of this year. Among participating athletes from around the world, 10 of them were out lesbian and bisexual women. Though, when compared to the number of lesbians in the world, the number 10 is still small and, unfortunately, none of the out athletes were from Japan, the fact that out bisexual and lesbian women did succeed in winning medals is worth celebrating!
Norway's women's handball team won the gold! Nothing made me happier than being able to see the cute couple Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg play on the court!
★To return to Tokyo Wrestling's homepage, follow the link here.