Monthly Archives: January 2015

That Was Different.

Burlesque

My wife and I saw a burlesque show with a friend over the weekend.  It was my first time seeing a burlesque show. I was never really keen to the idea since I really never understood the attraction. We have modern establishments now. We also have the Internet. What need is this fulfilling other than the curiosity for what burlesque is? I am familiar with the likes of Loie Fuller and how she was a pioneer back then. But we have long moved on, and I’m not sure modern burlesque acts are breaking any new grounds.

Then again, what do I know? I’ve only seen one show. Perhaps I’m only basing things on my caveman biases (though I challenge any caveman on their knowledge of Loie Fuller!).

The women that night were amateurs and had “real” bodies.  It wasn’t anything like Spearmint Rhino; otherwise my wife wouldn’t have been with us. It was quite artsy and not raunchy. I don’t think the acts were meant to be titillating at all. I’m not saying that as an offense to the performers, I just don’t believe that that was the goal.

It was a very interesting experience as a whole, something a little different to watch during drinks; however, I don’t understand what the women performers get out of it. I know people come to see it out of curiosity. Some locals might even think it’s a proper strip show since North American style strip shows are illegal here in South Korea. There was a group of guys out on a bachelor party that night, so maybe they were thinking that way. What an odd and artsy choice for a bachelor party!

But again, what about the women? What do they get out of it? It’s certainly not the money because there weren’t that many people watching. And I don’t imagine these women getting rich off of the act, otherwise they would be playing more regularly or have a better financial scheme. It could just be they’re showcasing their dancing skills because some of the acts were genuinely impressive. But some of the dances weren’t even that technical. Maybe it was some feminist, meta-empowerment thing… a sort of reclaiming of their sexuality of sorts, I don’t know.

Or maybe they’re just true artists. Maybe they’re performing because of the love for it. In a way, that makes them a little better than me because sometimes I hate drawing.

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Gooble Gobble

Thyroid

This is as close as I’ve ever come to a self portrait. It’s not anatomically correct, and no, I don’t have tentacles sticking out of me, but my goodness am I worried about my thyroid.

I’ve never done a self-portrait before, especially in the style of drawing that I do. A part of it is that I’m not really a big fan of my face. I find it narcissistic. And I don’t think so much of myself to the extent that I couldn’t afford narcissism. Another part is that a lot of what I write in my works is more personal and probably says more than a portrait would. A picture does not tell a thousand words. Pictures lie. Diaries however, while they may not be 100% truth, they show that particular person’s truth.

And speaking of my fears.

cancer

What a difference an article makes.

 

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A Year of Health Scare

buds

Last year, around the same time today, I got diagnosed with an enlarged thyroid. The doctors don’t quite know what to make of it and they said they would just put me under observation. “Come back in a year.” It’s been a year. I’ll see what’s going on this afternoon, fingers crossed.

After my diagnosis last year, I learned a couple of things. One is that my family has a history of it. My sister has an enlarged thyroid and she’s managing it with drugs. My mom had issues with her thyroid as well. I forgot all about it, but I do remember worrying about her having goiter when I was younger. In any case, according to test results, my hormone levels are fine so there’s really not much cause for concern for now.

The other thing I learned is that there’s a tendency for some Korean doctors to exaggerate the need for surgery when it comes to thyroid problems. Patients end up getting their thyroids removed, using drugs to manage their hormone levels, and harming themselves more in the long run. I guess it leads to more business for surgeons, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals. So yeah, as immoral as it may seem, I have to exercise a bit of caveat emptor when it comes to medical diagnoses in this country.

It will be my mom’s birthday in a couple of days. Last year was horrible for me. It was started by the news regarding my health, and it just went downhill from there, one thing after another. God, I hope this year would be better.

Update: More tests, more bills. Despite the doctor’s reassurances, I feel more grim. Paying hospital bills hurts, but the waiting just adds more to the pain.

 

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Missing Shirow

squid

One of my favorite artists is Masamune Shirow. This is the artist/writer who inspired what arguably are the best parts of The Matrix. Not only is his art amazing, but he’s also a very thoughtful writer. I first discovered him back in the 90s. I wasn’t very familiar with manga at the time. Manga wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. At the time, I was very much into titles from DC, Marvel, and Image Comics. I remember picking up Ghost in the Shell on a lark and was immediately hooked. Not only was the story interesting, I found Shirow’s side commentaries just as interesting. From Ghost in the Shell, I moved on to Orion, my favorite book of his. In it, he crafted an interesting world of technology and Eastern mythology, but unfortunately, it’s a world he never went back to. Most of his works have a futuristic theme and explored with humanity living with the ever-encroaching forces of technology. He seems fascinated with and yet wary of it. (Apparently, his fear of flying keeps him pretty much living like a hermit.) Most people would know him from Ghost in the Shell, the inspiration to The Matrix. And what’s an amazing testament to his genius is that Ghost in the Shell still holds up to this day. I couldn’t say the same for The Matrix.

This was an artist who drew what he loved, and it showed in his writings. He was interested in guns, robots, arachnids, philosophy, technology, and yes, beautiful women. Unfortunately, I think that’s all he’s been doing lately.

I miss his stories. I miss the world he crafted. I would gladly pay good money for the next Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Dominion, or Orion. But lately, all he’s been releasing are art books. Granted, they are very beautiful, albeit erotic, art books, showing what an accomplished artist he is. But what I miss is Masamune Shirow the storyteller.

ghost_in_the_shell

I want more of this. ^

shirow

This is fine. ^  There’s a time and a place for this. But could we have more intelligent stories and less cartoon sex?

 

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