Friday, February 22, 2008

The Lights Dim for Edison

I admit Edison Chen is the last person I ever thought I would write about on this blog, but I also know that writing will lead you into some very different universes. If I had to describe this one, I'd say it smelled of oppressively scented flowers, where everything is made of chrome and silver and the strains of baroque music play in the background. A world where things melt in the face of bad thoughts, and you can't be sure if anything will be the same from moment to moment. Edison was never much of a favorite while I was living in Korea, but as a fellow hyphenated Asian (he's Chinese-Canadian)I was proud to see one of my own also doing well in the land of his ancestry. To be sure, he's accomplished quite a lot, as an actor, singer, producer and fashion designer. I had to check wikipedia to make sure he's still only 27. After this photo scandal, he's going to be a lot older. Part of me thinks that there are so many other people I should be empathizing with than a rich entertainer. Another part recognizes that Edison, like many others, got caught up in the lifestyle. The fun. The drugs. The sex. The hype. But no one deserves to have his private life smeared all over the Internet. I read Edison has succumbed to depression. Unable to eat. To show himself in public. The daylights knocked out. I remember those sensations all too well when I was first dealing with my HIV. I feel terrible all over again, but this time for Edison and for all the women whose lives were exposed in those photos. I never thought I would, or could, feel sympathy for Edison Chen. But I'm glad that I do. It means I'm keeping my virus at bay, that there's still something human left inside.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There's Too Much Love

Here's one of my favorite songs from the Scottish group Belle & Sebastian.

I could hang about and burn my fingers
I've been hanging out here waiting for something to start
You think I'm faultless to a 'T'
My manner set impeccably
But underneath I am the same as you
I could dance all night like I'm a soul boy
But you know I'd rather drag myself across the dance floor
I feel like dancing on my own
Where no one knows me, and where I
Can cause offense just by the way I look

And when I come to blows, when I am numbering my foes
Just hope that you are on my side, my dear
But it's best to finish as it started
With my face head down just staring at the brown formica
It's safer not to look around
I can't hide my feelings from you now
There's too much love to go around these days
You say I've got another face
That's not a fault of mine these days
I'm brutal, honest and afraid of you
It's safer not to look around
There's no hidin' my feelings from you now
There's too much love to go around these days

Saturday, February 16, 2008

See You in the Hall of Fame

I have always loved Monica Seles, so it was particularly sad to read on Valentine's Day that she decided to hang up her rackets. Monica was the original power player in the early 90s, using two hands to come over the ball on both the backhand and forehand sides. Along with those fierce strokes were the even fiercer grunts that exploded each time the ball got whacked. After HIV turned my life inside out and upside down, I began to comprehend how Monica must have felt after she was stabbed on a tennis court by a deranged man in Germany in April 1993. In one instant, she went from being the top player in the world to a physically and emotionally devastated human being. For 27 months, she stayed out of the game. And though she had family, friends and fans supporting her, it was surely a time of withdrawal into an impenetrable vault. Monica eventually found the courage to come back to tennis, and incredibly won the Australian Open in 1996. But that was to be the last of her 9 Grand Slams. She was never quite able to recover her early top form, and the sporting world was cheated out of witnessing what could have been the greatest female tennis player in history. Without question Monica will find her way into the Hall of Fame. But for many years, I think she's already been in a place where no one could touch her.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Heart Jake Shimabukuro

Today I got my tickets to go see Jake Shimabukuro, the insanely, wildly talented ukulele player from Hawaii. He is finally coming here to New York City to do a show at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea on February 18. For those of you who have no idea who Jake is, I will just give you the link to one of his videos on YouTube. Nothing I say can do justice to the sounds that he gets out of those four strings. My friend in Hawaii says that Jake is rarely seen on the islands because he's touring the world so much, and he has in fact played with Jimmy Buffett of Margaritaville fame on a number of occasions. Check Jake out! I hope you like as much as I do!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

That's the Look I Was Going For...

I wasn't there, but Eileen Ford was and that's all that matters in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest, the granddaddy of all modeling contests. Though it was held in Manhattan, I only heard about it through friends in Asia who were all congratulating me that this year's winner of the $250,000 first prize was a 20 year-old Korean girl, Seung-hyun Kang. I immediately looked her up on the net, and was pleasantly surprised. Here was a Korean girl who hadn't done a thing to change her natural features--small eyes, low set nose, tiny mouth--and yet, the complete package was killer. She even goes by her Korean nickname, Hyoni. It didn't hurt that she's also 5'10 and the owner of a terribly fierce walk that leads with the shoulders. (Check her out at 1:07 and 2:44.) My entire life I've been ridiculed by both Asians and Westerners for my small eyes. I just feel so vindicated by Hyoni's win, the first Asian to emerge victorious in the contest's 28-year history. So, you go girl, and own the runway and get your picture taken for Vogue. My small eyes today are shining large and bright.