Bollywood Ken’s Queer, South Asian Burlesque

Bollywood Ken’s Queer, South Asian Burlesque:

Whenever you’re one of the few, or the only person from a certain ethnic/social group in a particular scene, you inadvertently become the representative for the entire culture — which is a very tough position to be in, but I’m owning it — that’s why I’m the King of Bollywood Burlesque!

My hope is that I won’t always be one of the very few South Asian performers in the burlesque community or in the drag community etc…that more people of color will be inspired to perform.  If anything this whole experience has opened my eyes.

After my burlesque debut was such a success, I had to do more research to perfect my act.  So I started taking Bhangra and Bollywood dance classes and getting more involved in the South Asian community in New York. I’ve made so many new friends and have finally realized how lucky I am to be a part of it. It’s always amazing to learn about and discover a new culture and even more rewarding when that culture is your own. Doing so has even allowed me to become ever so slightly closer to my family, because now I can talk to my parents about Bollywood & Bhangra music. Of course, they’re not happy about me being a burlesque dancer but that’s another issue.

Leslie Cheung: Asia’s gay icon lives on 15 years after his death

Leslie Cheung: Asia’s gay icon lives on 15 years after his death:

[Content note: homophobia, suicide]

Born in 1956, Leslie Cheung was one of Hong Kong’s most famous stars during the golden era of Cantopop in the 1980s. He was dashing, stylish and fitted the public idea of a perfect heterosexual male lover. But in reality, he was in a long-term relationship with his childhood friend, Daffy Tong.

It was not an easy time to be gay. At that time, homosexuality was still viewed by many as an illness and abnormality in Hong Kong, especially after the emergence of the first local case of Aids in 1984. It was not until 1991 that adult gay sex was decriminalised in the territory.

“The LGBT movement in Hong Kong took off in the 1990s, when the community finally became visible to the public,” Travis Kong, an associate professor of sociology researching gay culture at The University of Hong Kong, told BBC Chinese. And it was at this point that Cheung became more daring in his work.

Invisible Footprints Brings Queer Asian History to Life Through Art, Clay, and Community Dialogue

Invisible Footprints Brings Queer Asian History to Life Through Art, Clay, and Community Dialogue:

Last year, Invisible Footprints curated an exhibition at the Ontario College of Art and Design that featured seven contemporary queer and trans Asian artists’ reflections on the theme of queer Asian history. This year, the group is embarking upon an even more multifaceted project for the Gardiner Museum’s Community Arts Space that comprises both an exhibition as well as a series of workshops where Asian-identified members of the LGBTQ community are invited to join in clay-making and dialogue on themes selected by the featured artists.

“This [year’s exhibition] is interpreting the word ‘archival’ differently,” says Khanh Tudo, a filmmaker and installation artist whose theme for the Invisible Footprints show this year is pleasure and comfort. Her part of the exhibition, she tells me, will include a giant, interactive durian sculpture that viewers can climb into: “[I’m] more so looking at it as not so much big accomplishments that you can hold physically but rather emotional archiving, archiving how our bodies experience feeling and memory.”