Lodestone Theatre's first musical production revamps 1885's controversial opera, The Mikado, and celebrates Asian American theatre with dose of politics and sweet harmony.
Spring is festival season here in Los Angeles, especially for fans of Asian and Asian American cinema. But rare is the new festival that combines innovative programming with a love for contemporary world cinema.
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The surging popularity of anime in America is attracting more and more avid fans every year as evidenced by the growing crowds at Anime Expo. But the fervor of fans, who dress up and masquerade as their favorite characters, is what sets conventions like the AX and anime apart from more casual entertainments.
AX: It was never for kids (Part 1)
AX: It was never for kids (Part 2)
AX: It was never for kids (Part 3)
AX: It was never for kids (Part 4)
AX: It was never for kids (Part 5)
AX: It was never for kids (Part 6)
Part I: Anime Boy
After dinner, he leaves the hotel Pizza Hut while tucking his wings underneath his arms and his broad silver staff underneath the door. His olive green trench coat and orange-black jumpsuit reek of sweat. The workers in the hotel staffed behind the check-in desk point at him to each other. They chortle. They do not understand the layers underneath this man, for he has taken off several days of working computer tech support to prepare for and flourish in the Anime Expo.
He walks to the nearby ballroom-turned-anime-viewing-movie-room. After indulging in the perspicacious complexities of several episodes of the Night Shift Nurses, he walks back outside. There, he is recognized by some passing otaku, who begin to bleat shrilly for a picture with him. He preens and poses for a good ten minutes. His costume is itching. He has not showered in days. He has a stench that is ineffable, truly unimaginable, but to partake in the luxuries of a hotel room would deprive him of the power to purchase the coveted Masamune sword (replica) from Final Fantasy VII. He has the patchy beard that cannot be sheared. He retires to the seats of the movie room for the night.
He wakes early; the volunteers powerfully command him to leave, averring that the movie-room must be scoured for trash and the homeless at 6 AM. He leaves and gets in line for J-popper Maaya Sakamoto’s concert, donning his headphones and a collection of theme songs from the robot series Gundam Wing. Passer-bys ask him what the line is for. He replies with unmasked disgust. He lives with his parents.
Following the conclusion of the concert, he walks into the exhibition hall, a massive convention center packed with anime-distribution companies promoting new serial and DVD releases and decked-out vendors hawking various merchandise and anime-related paraphernalia, like, say, a hat in the shape of a neon Koi fish. He walks over to one booth that provides a “Naruto”-ninja headband of the Kono-ha clan, worn by seemingly one out of every four attendants. After forking over $26, he applies the headband to his forehead, carefully covering the copious acne and judiciously applied purple makeup. At last, his costume is complete. He is Anime Boy.
Date Posted: 7/21/2005