Hamish Downie’s News Sushi #126: Morsels of News From Japan and Beyond

Hamish keeps serving the best News Sushi!
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Editor Note:It is Friday and that means it is time for the World Famous, soon to be Intergalactic Famous, News Sushi from our very own, Hamish Downie. Hamish brings us a decidedly different slant on Pop Culture as viewed through the lens of a non-native living in Japan.



Thank you (ありがとうございました) Hamish, for your insights.

Hello everyone, how’s your summer/winter going? I myself have spent a lot of time hugging the air-conditioner or eating ice candy. I did do something a bit silly recently, though. You’d think that an adult of sound mind wouldn’t, but I decided to go with my partner to a foot spa on the beach recently:
 


 
Which basically resulted in us burning our feet. It was so hot we could barely get our toes in. And for those of you looking at the other photos – no, I’m not sharing my partner’s face (because he’s choosing not to be on social media), and yes, I did pile on the pandemic pounds. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m basically staying at home, not going to the gym and eating my feelings.
 

via GIPHY


 
How about you?
 

 
So, some good news, my film, “Matcha & Vanilla” is appearing at the Lesflicks LFest Film Festival this week, both in person and online. And as I’m sure you are sick of me talking about my film, I’m going to share a trailer for another film that I loved, which is also playing:

Speaking of “Matcha & Vanilla”, Deron Reynolds will release a new EP of originals songs on the 31st called Halfway to Hipster: Polarized. Here are my thoughts on the set
 

 
HALFWAY TO HIPSTER

This is a very cool indie rock track for summer. I could hear some prog-rock and a touch of psychedelia.

MOVIES

Prog-Rock track about how things are not like they are in the movies.

FLOOD

We are back to the relaxed, nostalgic summer vibes with this track here.

AI INTERPRETED SONG FOR HUMANS

This instrumental is definitely psychedelic. It’s as fun and awesome as you’d imagine. Kind of like something Air might have made.

POLARIZE

Definitely a song for right now, and a song for the ages. Very sparse production, and very heartfelt.

I definitely recommend checking this set out when it’s released, most likely on bandcamp:

https://blueorbproductions.bandcamp.com/music
 

via GIPHY


 
Now for some sad news. My friend’s husband, and a writer for TimeOut Tokyo, David Stormer Chigusa, has passed away. I only got the chance to meet him once, but I remember that they made a great couple. I also remember how they had two weddings, a big traditional wedding in New Zealand with David’s family, and a small wedding on the Amazon river in Brazil, where his husband was from. Now, his husband is organising a special exhibition at the Lucite Gallery in Tokyo to celebrate David’s life, and his art.

You can see the invitation here:
 

 

 

https://lucite-gallery.com/english.html
 
5 MORE QUESTIONS WITH LEE CAMPBELL



TGG: Could you please introduce yourself (again)?

LC: Hi, I’m Lee Campbell, a Londoner who makes experimental films and poetry performance about being gay and working class using barbaric wit and humour. I trained in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London where I received my Masters in Painting in 2007 and received my doctorate in 2016. My work broadly explores (gay male) identity and desire.

My work broadly explores vision, visuality, and the politics of seeing and not seeing and has a long historied body of practice since 2000. As both the writer, director and performer within the experimental films and poetry performances I create, I view my practice as me performing an autoethnography; using these media forms and the chosen themes within their narratives to help me self-reflect and (better) understand myself in relation to acts of looking, seeing and being seen and the difficulty in terms of not seeing/not being seen and my own subjectivity and experiences as British, working class, male, and gay.

Comedy historically comes from a queer identity defence, when it was harder to be gay in public, to be funny like Kenneth Williams who used gay slang known as Polari to communicate with other gay men covertly. Extending these ideas, underpinning my work are the mechanisms of comedy and humour to create a form of autoethnographic storytelling that subverts and challenges through a sophisticated usage of camp, innuendo and double-entendres to speak of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic.

Applied humour as a tactic to subvert and challenge a issues of homosexual identity and representation in relation to themes addressing seeing/not seeing etc, My practice presents a personal archaeology and revolves around my own autobiographical perspective, using the mechanisms of comedy and humour to engage, disarm, and highlight the gay male subcultural milieu which needs critique as it creates such stereotypes.

You can check out my site for more, www.leecampbellartist.blogspot.com and find me @lndnqueerfilmmaker on Instagram and @leejjcampbell on Twitter.

TGG: Could you tell us about your popup exhibition in the US and what inspired it?

LC: SEE ME: (An almost) autobiography – Performance Poetry Films by Lee Campbell is my first solo exhibition in North America and is taking place between July 26–31, 2022. Fountain Street Gallery, Boston

It is collection of short poetry films which as a collection presents a journey through different relationships including those as a teenager to my dad (e.g. in Let Rip: The Beautiful Game), grandparents (e.g. in See Shells), teachers, school peers, work colleagues (e.g. in Covert Operations and Head Boy) then adult relationship to gay community (SEE ME: A Walk through London’s Gay Soho …), alter ego (e.g. in Camp-Belle), my partner (e.g. in Nice Cup of Tea, Rufus) and spaces of queer imagination (e.g. in The Tale of Benny Harris, Cottage and The Perfect Crime: A Doggy Whodunnit). The collection also addresses a range of complex and tricky issues including body shaming and bitchiness within the gay community. Self-worth, doing things to ‘fit in’. Unrequited love, unobtainable love, unsatisfying relationships, fear of being left ‘on the shelf’ (e.g. in Spinach and Eggs), as well as internalised homophobia and confidence (e.g. in Reclaiming My Voice) and my concerns with LGBT ‘allyship’ (in Camp). You can view all of these works (and more) here:
https://filmfreeway.com/LeeCampbell

TGG: What did you learn while mounting this exhibition?

LC: It was a tough job deciding on the final selection of poetry films that I’ve made over the last two years but the one I settled upon, I hope, shows a lot of diversity and appeal to different audiences. All of the films contain aspects of humour through the poetry and speak about issues that have affected me throughout my life. Some of the films are more direct and explicit in how I feel about some of these issues, for example about body shaming in ‘Spinach and Eggs’, whilst some are more subtle and gentle in tone but nonetheless point out experiences in my life, for example finding love in ’Nice Cup of Tea’. I think the collection gives both light and shade in terms of gay male working class life whilst not highlighting some of the complexities and issues as a gay man I have faced.

TGG: Could you tell us about your zoom poetry performances? What’s the biggest difference for you between in person and on zoom?

LC: My Zoom performances consist of me adding the visual imagery of my poetry films into the Add Video function into the Background preferences on Zoom. Green screen effect employed with a constant repetitive video being played ‘projected’ onto my body gives the impression of text and imagery superimposed over my body, that I am wearing text/imagery like a garment, that of a body that has been layered with fragments of text/images/ history. Sounds that can be heard throughout the performances are textured, glitchy and uncomfortable deliberately to give a sense of layer.
I have so far created two live Zoom performances, ‘Clever at Seeing without Being Seen’ which has been in many festivals and events in the UK and further afield, and ‘Peer’ which got its world premiere as part of Brazil’s Festival ECRÃ. You can watch recordings of these performances online here:

(Clever)
 

 
+ (Peer)
 

 
The biggest difference between the Zoom and the in person performance is that there is nothing better than seeing the audience’s visible reactions and hearing them laugh at certain points in my poems which is simply not the same when performing on Zoom. However with Zoom, I love the immersive effects I create with the imagery appearing presented on my body as part of the green screen effect plus the glitching etc that is part and parcel of Zoom actually adds to the performance experience in the content of what I am saying in the poetry.

TGG: How can we best support you? And where can we go to your exhibition?

Details of the exhibition in Boston are here:
https://www.fsfaboston.com/see-me

For those of you in Los Angeles, my film ‘Bears with Bananas and Bubbles In Their Boxers’ is screening at Failed Films at PS Kaufman Gallery on September 3rd
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/failed-films-2022-tickets-354403308837

You can read more about my work here:
Interview with Jane Glennie, Moving Poems Magazine July 2022
https://discussion.movingpoems.com/2022/07/interview-lee-campbell-filmmaker-poet-performer/?fbclid=IwAR32LSyQa1H6lPX1Dt1IaAGfaEuc_aAcaqp4c1pycluV8P3xQxAeCAMOoQA

See Me: Windows to the Self of the Performer-Autoethnographer, The Autoethnographer by Lee Campbell

https://theautoethnographer.com/see-me-windows-to-the-self-of-the-performer-autoethnographer/


 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lndnqueerfilmmaker/
 
NEWS SHORTS

Could this be Tokyo’s Best Ramen?
 


 
Speaking of “Matcha & Vanilla” again, BIG JOHN 3 (singer of “Write” from the OST) has a new concert coming up:

“Got another shindig folks!!! Use the QR code to make reservations! It will be a marvelous party!”

His voice is one of the most beautiful I’ve heard, so please do check this concert out.


 
HOT LINK OF THE WEEK

Thank you everyone for joining me again, and I’ll be back next week with my August movie playlist!


 
こんにちは!Which means “Hello”!

「またきんようびね!」


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