Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Gamestart Asia 2018 - Elise Zhang, Overwatch Voice Actor Announced as Guest


Missing your favourite gaming convention in South-East Asia? Then, get ready to gather your friends together for Gamestart Asia!  The show is returning to Suntec City Convention Halls 401, 402 and 403 on 13 and 14 October 2018.

Just announced by the organizers today, Red Dot Diva is delighted to spread the word that The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia will be exhibition at the convention for the first time! Look out for more news on how their involvement will be at this year's show.


This piece of news is going to get Overwatch fans excited. Chinese talent Elise Zhang, voice of Mei in both English and Mandarin versions of the game, will be a guest Gamestart Asia! She also voiced Symmetra in the Mandarin version of Overwatch. Other voice work she has done includes "Power Puff Girls", "We Bare Bears" and "Lego NEXO KNIGHTS".

The other usual content that Gamestart Asia is well known for, will also be featured at the show. These include tabletop gaming, previews of games, e-sports, indie and retro games, as well as cosplay! Check out some of the highlights below:


Monday, September 17, 2018

Illustration Arts Fest is BACK on 22 & 23 September, LASALLE McNally Campus

Colourful, quirky and unabashedly indie, the Illustration Arts Fest (IAF) returns to LASALLE McNally Campus this coming weekend on 22 and 23 September.

The Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC) put the show together for the first time in 2016. This will be the 3rd anniversary of the show, and it is already one of Red Dot Diva's favourite annual art event.


Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Come To This Year's IAF too!

1. Vibrant Artists Market
The Artists Market at Illustration Arts Fest is the best thing ever. It is busy, inventive and vibrant. With over 100 indie artists and illustrators from Red Dot Island and nearby countries taking part, no wonder it's a crowd puller.

Red Dot Diva recommends those who visit IAF to check out the booths by her friends and acquaintances, like Jessica Emmett, Inky Cat Studio, The Rolling Ronins (with Wayne Rée & Rex Regrets), Danger Gene, toy designers Daniel Yu and Ziqi Wu, and not forgetting, the comic creators from COSHStudios.

The art style is wide ranging and eclectic, as the list of artists include the popular Muffinsaurus, artists Billy Yong and Zu Orzu, Fingersmith Letter Press who specializes in illustration and hand lettering, Inez Design with embroidery art and Rakasa Print Studio from Malaysia who does silkscreen art.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

STGCC 2018 Recap - Diva Reviews the Good and The Bad of This Year's Convention


The Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) 2018 wrapped up its 11th year last weekend, and despite Red Dot Diva's misgivings before the show, she did manage to have quite a lot of fun at the show.

It was much more low-key than previous years, and there are a few reasons for that, like late announcement of guests, high ticket prices and a lack of new show ideas, but Red Dot Diva will get to more of that later in this article.

After taking some days getting over the STGCC hangover, and speaking to other geeks about what they thought of the show, here's a general recap of the good, the bad -- and some ideas on a way forward to a more vibrant convention.


THE GOOD:

Movie/ TV presence via Sony Pictures SG and HBO Asia
It seems that Reed is finally getting the idea that fans absolutely LOVE being part of their favourite movies and TV shows. So, having Sony Pictures SG set up a two-booth event promoting their upcoming movies, "Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse" and "Venom" at the showfloor, was a superb idea.

People could watch the trailers, take photos with cosplayers, or with props...



Friday, September 7, 2018

STGCC 2018: An Marvellous Interview with Ryan Meinerding


The media preview for Singapore Toy Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) 2018 was held at the lovely Funan Showsuite yesterday. Together with other invited media, Red Dot Diva got to meet some of the convention's guests, like David Finch and Olivia Mears. However, there was one particular guest whom she really wanted to meet - Ryan Meinerding, Marvel Studios' Head of Visual Development.

For those who love Marvel movies, Ryan Meinerding's concept art has appeared in the films, and is responsible for designing all of Captain America's costumes. Also, remember Coulson's vintage Captain America trading cards? Those images were Ryan's artwork as well!

Being typical Red Dot Islanders, Red Dot Diva and her geek bro Jedd Jong went all out kiasu-mode, and had planned to tag team for this interview a week ahead. They did not want to miss this precious opportunity at all!

When interview sessions opened, they were first to plonk down beside Ryan for their short 15 minutes with him. Cheong, ah!



HIS 10-YEAR JOURNEY WITH MARVEL STUDIOS
Jedd opened the interview by posing a question to Ryan about his 10-year journey working for Marvel Studios. "You know, I was brought on board by Jon Favreau previously, and I got to work on Iron Man I and got work on Mark 1, and did keyframe with Adi Granov on Iron Monger, and we were trying out, sort of the boot test sequence and what he was building in his suit in the garage, and a couple of other things. Then, after that project, Marvel asked me to come back, to stay on board and help them figure out on their next films. So, I got to early passes on Captain America and Thor, after that period of time, we went straight into Iron Man 2 and Thor."

Ryan Meinerding went on to mention that he got Charlie Wen on board for "Thor", and later on, for The Avengers movie, he expanded his team of artists to include Andy Park, Rodney Fuentebella, Jackson Sze and eventually Anthony Francisco. With a sense of wonder still in his voice, Ryan said, "The fact that the cinematic universe has grown from the singular movie to something that’s 20 movies large and still going strong is really incredible."

He has yet to visit the "Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes" exhibition held at the ArtScience Centre, but said that he wants to find time to see it during his stay here.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Warner TV Escape Room Challenge Is Back at Centrepoint, 3 to 9 September


The Warner TV Escape Room Challenge is back!!!

From 3 to 9 September, the escape room based on the channel's TV series - "The Big Bang Theory", "Gotham" and "Lethal Weapon" is all set for fans to participate and solve. Compared to last year's challenge, the game plays have levelled up as well


Here are different game room levels:

Escape Room 1 - Difficulty Level 1 - The Big Bang Theory
Help Sheldon Cooper locate his missing comic books!

Escape Room 2 - Difficulty Level 2 - Lethal Weapon
Deactivate the bomb before it hurts hundreds of innocent lives in the Central District!

Escape Room 3 - Difficulty Level 3 - Gotham
Escape Gotham City Police Department’s jail cells with your fellow cell mates!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Superfriends in Singapore Comic Art Gallery 2018 features Adi Granov, Mark Brooks, Agnes Garbowska


Next weekend's Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention will please many comic book fans as a talented group of guests from the industry are set to converge at the Marina Sands Expo to appear on panels, or do signings and sketches.

To provide an appetizer for the island's pop-culture event, there is going to be a pop-up comic art exhibition launching a few days before. The "Superfriends" in Singapore comic art show will be held from 4th to 11th September at the Visual Arts Centre near Dhoby Ghaut, 11 AM to 8 PM daily. (Note: The gallery is closed to the public on 7th September.) .

Fan favourite artists Adi Granov, Mark Brooks and Agnes Garbowksa will have their original art featured at the exhibition. These include illustrations of comic book and pop-culture characters like the Avengers, Spider-man, Batman, Teen Titans and My Little Pony, as well as art pieces specially conceived and drawn for the show.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

STGCC 2018: Booth Highlight - Spice Up Your Art Collection with Graphicurry!

Pop-culture icons, well-known personalities and celebrities are transformed into colourful, humourous yet spot-on caricatures in the deft hands of Bangalore-based artist Prasad Bhat. His design studio and company name Graphicurry is as wittily conceived as his art pieces.

With Prasad's special knack of being able to distill the essence of a person's features into impressive and unique Vector artwork, he has amassed a large number of followers and fans spanning across the globe. Red Dot Diva herself is quite a fan of his "Evolution of" graphic series.

This year, Graphicurry will be making an appearance at the Singapore Toy Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) Artist Alley for the very first time. Red Dot Diva managed to ask the company's brainchild Prasad Bhat some nosy questions, before he makes his way to Red Dot Island.



Monday, August 27, 2018

STGCC 2018 - Adi Granov, Stephanie Hans, James C. Mulligan, Simone Legno and Reis O'Brien Announced as Guests

ReedPop sure took their time in announcing the third wave of STGCC 2018 guests, but the list was just released a few hours ago, and many of them are returning guests. These include more comic book guests, namely Adi Granov and Stephanie Hans.

Currently working exclusively for Marvel, Adi Granov is already familiar with fans, as he has been attending STGCC as a guest for a few years now. He is best known for his conceptual and illustrations in the MCU, which include design work for conceptual designer and illustrator on movies such as the "Iron Man" movies 1 to 3, "The Avengers", "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Black Panther".

It is nice to know that Stephanie Hans will be returning to STGCC as well. Her vibrant artwork (with a penchant for the colour red) has graced the covers of comic titles like Image Comics' "The Wicked and the Divine 1831", Dark Horse's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12", and Marvel's "Jessica Jones" and "Ms. Marvel" - just to name a few!

Collage of artwork by James Mulligan

Also meeting the fans again this year's convention is Disney's official artist James C. Mulligan, whose ties with the Mouse has spanned over two decades! His art of well known celebrities and Disney characters are simply gorgeous. He also does very entertaining performances and live drawings on stage, as those who were at last year's STGCC can attest to!

On the local front, Mr Kiasu's creator Johnny Lau will be meeting fans and signing the 10th volume of the beloved comic book series at Action City's booth during the convention.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

STGCC 2018 - Diva Chats with Mark Brooks about Han Solo and Star Wars' Toxic Fans


Artist Mark Brooks' eye-catching and vibrant artwork has graced the covers of many high-profile Marvel comic books like "Deadpool", "Secret Empire", "Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man". He used to work exclusively for Marvel, but recently, he has been lured by DC Comics to be a variant cover artist starting with the iconic Detective Comics issue #982.

Mark Brook's lifelike rendition of the human figure is striking, especially for the female form. His drawings of female superheroes and villains show off their individual beauty and quirks, balancing strength and a kind of glowy softness.


When Red Dot Diva learnt that Mark Brooks was also asked to draw for Marvel's run on Star Wars comics, she thought that this was a brilliant choice, especially when he was asked to collaborate with writer Marjorie Liu to draw interiors for the "Han Solo" series.  

Mark Brooks will be back in town to meet fans at the Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention on 8 and 9 September, Marina Bay Sands Expo. Red Dot Diva got in touch with him to chat about "Han Solo", his recent projects, and his thoughts on Star Wars being a hot bed for toxic fandom.

Red Dot Diva: This will be your 2nd time back in STGCC! Are you looking forward to do anything new in Singapore?
Mark: I’m really excited to be back! The last time I was there was 6 years ago.  I loved the city and the people so it will be great to get reacquainted. Mainly, I’m looking forward to eating the amazing food and do some general exploring. I’ll be coming into town a few days early just to do that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Sentosa Sandsation 2018 presents a MARVEL Edition from 1 to 16 September 2018


This September, not only will you be able to enjoy the warm sun, salty air, and waves splashing at your feet, you will also get to admire 15 larger than life sand sculptures of comic book superheroes.

The Sentosa Sandsation returns with a MARVEL Edition at Silosa Beach from 1 to 16 September, 10 AM to 9 PM daily. The largest sand festival in South-east Asia, Sentosa Sandsation is part of the 3-year collaboration between The Walt Disney SouthEast Asia and Singapore Tourism Board.

Award-winning sand sculptor JOOHeng Tan and his team will be building sculptures of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk - just to name a few.

14 of the world's best sand sculptors will be showing off their skills by taking part in The Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship. The theme of the sculptures will be MARVEL-inspired creations, of course!

It's a great way to enjoy a fun day out with the kids during the school holidays, or hang out with your crew, as there are many other activities to participate in. Here are some of them:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

STGCC 2018: Booth Highlight - Inky Cat Studio Has Art with A Lot of Purrsonality


For the past few years, Red Dot Diva has introduced artists and creators who will be showcasing their artwork at the STGCC (Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention) Artist Alley. This section of the show is where the local and region's creative heart beats, producing all kinds of interesting art, craft and merchandise.

There is something special for cat lovers at this year's Artist Alley. Look out for Inky Cat Studio, whose main subject consists of felines, illustrated in adorably quirky ways and scenarios. If you are not that into cats, Inky Cat Studio is very versatile, and also produces cute images of bears, rabbits, raccoons, as well as more traditional subjects like human portraits.

In this interview, Red Dot Diva talks to Stephanie Hew, the lady behind Inky Cat Studio, about her art style and artistic influences.



Red Dot Diva: Hi Stephanie! Please tell the RDD readers a little about yourself, how you got into the career of illustration and graphic design.
Stephanie: Hi everyone! I’m Stephanie Hew, the illustrator behind Inky Cat Studio :) I’m an Australian living here in Singapore with my husband and 2 cats.

I’ve always been creative and loved technology since I was very young. I started with traditional media like oils and watercolor and then when I got my first computer I discovered the world of digital art and kept on teaching myself the software and techniques. This was all happening on the side while my full time job for many years was in higher education. After a few years in Singapore however, I decided it was time for a change and to take my long time passion seriously and see where it could take me. It was a difficult decision but with the encouragement from family I made the leap and started Inky Cat Studio.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Diva Interviews OKAZU, A Sumi-e Artist & Live Art Performer


Last week's Japan Park SG exhibition was quite the cultural fest on all things Japanese. In particular, Red Dot Diva thought the events held on the Omakaze Stage was very engaging.

The schedule of stage events ran the gamut of talks with cosplayers, wrestler Jushin Thunder Liger, robotist Professor Tomotaka Takahashi, various types of traditional dances, a party with girl band Poppin'Party as well as veteran rockers Sunplaza Nakano Kun & Papala Kawai. However, Red Dot Diva's favourite performance on stage was the live drawing of samurai sumi-e art (Japanese black ink brush painting) by OKAZU, a talented artist who hails from Osaka.

OKAZU is well-known for his sumi-e art on historical samurai and warriors, but he also does fantastic artwork of characters from manga, anime, Western pop-culture, and even comic book superheroes!


On stage during the Japan Park SG show, in less than 30 minutes, OKAZU created striking warring samurai images that seem almost alive, as if they are to jump through the white canvases. Accompanied by a cinematic soundtrack, his live performances were both elegant and visually powerful.



Red Dot Diva had a chance to interview OKAZU at the Samurai Room on the 2nd day of the show, and learned more about his motivations and inspirations.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Japan Park Singapore, 4 & 5 August 2018 - Experience the Delights of 47 Prefectures of Japan!


Just for this weekend, you do not need to fly to Japan in order to experience the traditions, and gather insights on the lifestyle and culture of the country. You just need to head to Japan Park Singapore exhibition at Suntec Convention Centre!

The show is a one-stop destination for a taste of all 47 prefectures in Japan. It is an ambitious feat that was pulled off by the show organizer Amuse Entertainment Singapore, together with partners Bushiroad, OJ Partners and WAttention, and support from SOZO (the creators of Anime Festival Asia), Japan Creative Centre (JCC), JNTO Singapore Office and JETRO Singapore.


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Based on the media preview of Japan Park Singapore, here are some of the Wonderful Things to Experience at Japan Park SG:


WA-SHIOK GOURMET FESTA
When it comes to priorities, good food is pretty much at the top of the list for most locals. In the WA-SHIOK Gourmet Festa area, one will find much delectable yum yums to choose from!

During the media preview, Red Dot Diva had a taste of the sausage from Teppei Syokudo booth. The juicy meat had a flavourful crunch to it. Don't miss getting one of these!

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Returning Guests for STGCC 2018 and Lego Area for the Harry Potter & Voltron Fans!

The Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) must be rather lucrative for comic book artists. Their booths are usually swarmed with fans from Red Dot Island as well as those who check in from countries around the region, where it is difficult to meet well-known comic creators face to face.

Coming back to this year's convention are last year's guests Frank Cho, Arthur Adams and Joyce Chin, as well as Agnes Garbowska! Fans who missed meeting them in previous shows, can have another chance to get their comics signed or request for commissions and sketches.

It was in 2015 when fan favourite Agnes Garbowska was a guest at the convetion. Her whimsical, uber-cute drawings were a hit, especially with the younger folks, and the lines at her booth were mostly 20 people deep most of the time! Her style of art shines in titles like "DC Super Hero Girls" (DC Comics), "My Little Pony" (IDW Publishing) and "Grumpy Cat" (Dynamite).

When we last met Frank Cho, he had just kicked off a new fantasy series called "Skybourne" with BOOM! Studios. The 5-issue comic series wrapped up in February this year. He is currently working on several other creator-owned projects, including "Guns & Dinos" with Image Comics and "War Witch" with novelist Tom Sniegoski for Big Wow Publications.

Veteran comic book artist Arthur Adams will be meeting fans again, bringing with him his knowledge of the industry and art that spans across various publishing houses, like Marvel, DC Comics, Image and Dark Horse. He also founded a creator-owned comics imprint called Legend together with Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, John Byrne. The imprint was published through Dark Horse Comics before it ceased in 1998. His creator-owned "Monkeyman and O'Brien" from the Legend days still exists in various crossovers.

Joyce Chin is like a senpai to aspiring women artists who want to enter into the field of comic book art. She has been drawing for comics since 1995 and has worked for several titles like DC Comics, Marvel, Top Cow and Dynamite, like Vampirella, Red Sonja, Spider-man, Witchblade and Wynonna Earp, which is based on the supernatural Western horror TV series.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Welcome Comic Book Artists David Finch and Mark Brooks to STGCC 2018!


STGCC 2018 announced their first round of guests was well as opened online ticketing for the event yesterday.

Comic book artists David Finch and Mark Brooks will be meeting fans at the pop-culture event, held on 8 and 9 September at the Marina Bay Sands Expo!

David Finch started out in Top Cow Productions' "Cyberforce", working closely with creator and studio founder Marc Silvestri. After the run for "Cyberforce" ended, he created the titles "Ascension" with writer Matt "Batt" Banning, and "Aphrodite IX" with David Wohl.

In 2003, David returned to comics collaborating with Brian Michael Bendis on Marvel's "Ultimate X-Men" and "Avengers", as well as the relaunch of the superhero team called "The New Avengers". Sometime in 2010, David switched to DC Comics, providing covers for "Brightest Day" by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi. He also wrote and drew for 18 issues of the "Batman: The Dark Knight" series, before moving on to "Justice League of America" and "Forever Evil".

As for comic book artist Mark Brooks, this is not his first time visiting Singapore. Mark, who has worked on various of Marvel's popular titles, like "Deadpool", "Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Secret Wars", made an appearance as a guest hosted by the now-defunct Invasion! Toys, back in STGCC 2012.

His career has grown in leaps and bounds since then, with his art gracing the covers and interiors of several Star Wars comics, like "Han Solo" which was published in 2016. The limited series garnered favourable reviews and earned Mark Brooks and writer Marjorie Liu an Eisner Award nomination in 2017. Not only that, his pencil work caught the eye of Star Wars creator George Lucas, and he had requested to buy every page of the original art from the first two issues of "Han Solo"! Wowzas, right?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Diva's Interview with Tomotaka Takahashi, Inventor of Robi the Interactive DIY Robot


Mention the word "robot", and most geeks would immediately think of the Terminator, or Robocop, the heroic Iron Giant, Wall-E, or R2-D2 from the "Star Wars" movies.

In real life on the commercial level, other than your Roomba, there is 34-cm tall Robi - a cute, portable robot that dances, speaks (yes, there's a Singlish option!) and walks. The robot comes in parts via subscription to the Robi Weekly Magazine, so there is also the satisfaction of building your very own Robi.

The humanoid boy robot is designed by Associate Professor Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO and founder of Robo Garage. Takahashi has invented several robots other than Robi. One of these is the tiny but sturdy Evolta, powered by Panasonic batteries. Back in 2011, Evolta completed the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii!

The roboticist is one of the special guests at the Japan Park Singapore event held on 4 and 5 August 2018 at Suntec Convention Centre, and Red Dot Diva manage to snag a short interview with him.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

ArtScience Museum's Marvel Studios: 10 Years of Heroes Exhibition Needs More Punch


The Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes exhibition, which celebrates the 19 Marvel superhero movies in the last 10 years, opened to the public at ArtScience Museum on 9 June 2018. From now till 30 September, fans will be able to relive their favourite Marvel superhero movie moments at the show.

The project is part of a three-year collaboration between Singapore Tourism Board and The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia. For the exhibition, Taiwan-based toy company Beast Kingdom worked with Walt Disney for the concept and displays.



Within the exhibit hall, there are 10 different galleries featuring places from the movies - for example, Stark Industries, Aasgard, and Wakanda. Each of these areas have life-sized statues, static displays, or interactive areas for fans to get their superhero fix.

Red Dot Diva was at the special preview for bloggers to take in the signs and sounds of the exhibition, and here are some of the things you can expect.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series: Rachel Xin's Unmistakably Fluid and Dynamic Art Style

OK, OK. Red Dot Diva has to confess.

She cannot get enough of Reylo.

For the uninitiated, that's the ship name for Rey and Kylo Ren - the two characters from the latest Star Wars trilogy who represent the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force. Their fateful bond and intertwining destinies have spurred the imagination of fans who dare (or dare not) hope for their romantic relationship to succeed. Who else other than Rey is able call Kylo by his real name Ben, without having him visibly scowl and flinch?

Thanks to Rian Johnson, Reylo fans were given more soul food in "The Last Jedi". After much debate, Reylo has now become canon. The sexual tension during their ForceTime together was undeniable. And ooh, those few seconds of shirtless Kylo. *fans self* Mmmm...

A deluge of Reylo fanart has been flooding social media since then, and many of them have been either tragically angsty, gleefully humourous, or simply beautifully rendered.

To keep the flame of Reylo going, Red Dot Diva will be putting up a blog series on selected artists who have produced some of the popular Reylo fan art in social media. The first in the series is an interview with USC animation department graduate, Rachel Xin.

Rachel hails from China, and before studying in USC, she was a graduate of Beijing Film Academy, majoring in Animation. She has also recently finished a freelance job at Warner Bros as a character designer. Her passion is drawing (obviously!), and she enjoys watching movies and travelling.

One just needs to take a peek at Rachel's website and social media timeline to see that her fluid, almost Chinese brush-like artistic style is obviously East Asian. Other hints include the posture and facial expression of the characters in her art.

These translate so well in her Reylo art, as Chinese love stories are usually quite tragic, and Rachel skillfully infuses that sentiment with Western pop-culture with nuanced details that are familiar to Asian fans.

It is amazing how Rachel is able to conceptualize and make these static images stick in one's visual memory. Judging by her artwork and content, Red Dot Diva is sure Rachel will go far. So, she got in touch with Rachel to find out more about her art style, her thoughts on Reylo, and her aspirations.

Red Dot Diva: How did you get into art/ illustration and animation? 
Rachel: I have been fond of drawing since I was a kid. The white wall in my house was painted to a mess by me. The good thing was that my parents never blamed me for that. Instead, they sent me to various interest classes, like piano, dancing, calligraphy and drawing. 

For a 4-year-old, these classes were pretty heavy, so I found all kinds of excuses to skip the classes. I pretended to be sick to avoid practicing piano, but I never gave up on art! From that time I knew I probably would draw for the rest of my life! I love drawing manga, watching animation and movies. I love telling stories. My parents had always been supporting me with the attitude of “do what you like”, so naturally, I chose a high school which specializes in fine arts. I went to the best film school in China to learn animation, and after that I chose to further my study in the U.S.!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Singapore Repertory Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar - A Fascinating, Modern Take on an Old Tale


The weather was sticky and muggy last Sunday evening, but Red Dot Diva felt happy to be back in Fort Canning Park for an evening of theatre accompanied by a enjoyable picnic on the lawn. She was there to indulge in one of the biggest Shakespeare in the Park productions in the region - Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT)'s adaptation of Julius Caesar. The production also part of SRT's 25th Anniversary celebrations.

In 2017, SRT called off the beloved annual Shakespeare in the Park due to funding issues, as they saw large sponsors depart and production costs rise. However, with backing from loyal corporate sponsors as well as support and crowdfunding from an ardent group of theatre lovers, the outdoor production is back in its usual venue, with a huge impressive set!

Right after entering Fort Canning's Gothic Gates, attendees were invited to climb up the stairs from backstage and to walk around the modern, "concrete-and-glass" looking Roman Piazza set. A semi-circular structure held an audio-visual display, and flags of the seven "nations" of the R.O.M.E. alliance marked the stage where the Shakespearean tragedy will later unfold. Standing up on stage with ushers who were dressed the part as government officials, Red Dot Diva felt as if she has already become part of the story.




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Diva's Interview with Albin Johnson and R2-KT, guests of May the 4th Festival 2018


Two wonderful special guests will be celebrating Star Wars Day aka May the 4th Celebrations 2018 with the local Star Wars community in Red Dot Island next weekend. They are Albin Johnson, the founder of the international costuming group the 501st legion, and R2-KT, a compassionate yet spunky pink astromech droid who is also known as the pink beacon of hope.

Both Albin and R2-KT have made appearances in countless events through the years, especially focusing on bringing hope to seriously and terminally ill children at hospitals around the U.S.A. This time, the duo will be entering into hyperspace to visit the Red Dot Island, with a mission to bring more joy and hope to the fans and children here.

In fact, R2-KT has arrived a week early and is already on the island. She got her new power cells, oil baths, fancy polishes... basically, getting all prettied and prepped up for Star Wars Day.

Here she is, chillin' out before she charms everyone's feet off.

R2-KT holidaying in Red Dot Island (pic by Hansen Khoo)
Before it gets too wild at the May the 4th Festival next weekend, Red Dot Diva caught hold of both of them (via an efficient protocol droid through a secured channel, of course!) for a quick interview.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

SRT's Shakespeare in the Park : Julius Caesar - Diva's Interview with Director, Guy Unsworth


Freelance director Guy Unsworth is currently back here working on another Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) production - the upcoming performance of Shakespeare in the Park : Julius Caesar.

Last year, he directed the dark comedy SRTs "Hand of God", which scored positive reviews from critics and audiences. His recent works include an acclaimed UK tour of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and his own adaptation of "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".

Even though he is busy getting the play ready for the 2 May launch date, Red Dot Diva managed to grab a few minutes of his time for an interview:

Red Dot Diva: How did you get involved with SRT's Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar? 
Guy Unsworth: I was introduced to Gaurav Kripalani and Juliet Chia back in 2016 and since then we’ve been talking about the exciting potential of Julius Caesar. I came to Singapore last year to stage Hand to God, and since then have been working solidly on this production.

RDD: What is it like adapting the play for Singapore audiences?
Guy: It’s a fun challenge. I was very keen to find a contemporary equivalent that would work in the international community of Singapore. There’s a lot of talk about Rome and Romans in the play, but specifically the honour, history and responsibility that that identity carries. The big question for me to answer therefore was ‘What is the equivalent of Rome today?’. More than just a literal place, 'Rome' is an identity, it’s a community, and a title which binds these people together. It then struck me that intergovernmental organisations like NATO, the UN, G7, G20 etc. carry stakes on a much more global scale. They require their members to work as a team, but inevitably alliances form and factions are made. And where better to have lots of different nationalities coming together than Singapore? So it seemed a perfect fit to set this at a R.O.M.E. summit.

I was also excited by the age range of the Singapore audiences and I want the show to reach out to younger audience members. When I was a teenager I found Shakespeare very difficult to get my head into, so whenever I direct it, I'm very keen to bear my younger self in mind. It's going to be pretty fast and furious, and there are lots of theatrical surprises along the way. I want to make something which my teenage self would have enjoyed.

Monday, April 23, 2018

SRT's Shakespeare in the Park : Julius Caesar - Diva's Interview with Actor, Julie Wee

In Shakespeare's historical and political thriller "Julius Caesar", one could argue that the senator Caius Cassius is more of a baddie than the titular character. After all, the politician was the main instigator of the plot to kill Caesar.

Starting 2 May 2018 at Fort Canning Park, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) will be presenting Shakespeare in the Park -"Julius Caesar", set in modern times. Two key characters in the play has been cast as females. Well-known actress Jo Kukathas takes up the lead role of Caesar, while Julie Wee - a familiar face for local viewers, having been on Mediacorp 5 TV series like "Moulmein High" and "Light Years" - will be playing the manipulative and politically savvy Cassius.

Julie is no stranger to SRT's Shakespeare in the Park productions either. She has acted as Portia in "The Merchant of Venice", Miranda in "The Tempest", Hero in "Much Ado About Nothing" and Bianca in "Othello". "Julius Caesar" will be her 5th Shakespeare in the Park role!

To get some dibs about Julie's role in "Julius Caesar", Red Dot Diva got in touch with her for a mini interview.

Red Dot Diva: Hi, Julie! It’s just a couple of weeks away from the first day of SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar. How excited are you to be finally on stage with a live audience? 
Julie Wee: Very excited! The audience is the missing character in rehearsals, so it's always such a relief to finally have them with us to share the story.

Monday, April 16, 2018

ArtScience Museum's "Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes" Exhibition Begins 9 June 2018


"Avengers: Infinity War" is set to have an epic showdown of Thanos versus almost everyone's favourite Marvel superheros. The film, plugged as the biggest movie event of the year, premieres in Red Dot Island on 26 April 2018. It is going to be longest Marvel movie, with a runtime of 2 hours 36 minutes. So, do plan your toilet breaks accordingly!

After watching the "Avengers: Infinity War" movie, Marvel fans can indulge with even more superheroes fun at a special interactive exhibition called "Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes", which will be held at ArtSci Museum. Curating from Marvel's decade of movies (which consists of 19 films in total), the exhibition will present the superheroes, like Iron-Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Starlord and more, via cutting-edge AV and media technology.

Fans will be transported into these Marvel cinematic worlds, with interactive exhibits that include segments from the recent international hit "Black Panther", "Thor: Ragnorak", "Avengers: Infinity War" and the upcoming "Ant_man & the Wasp".

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Drowning In Kawaii-ness at the Tokidoki x Kumoya Cafe


Kumoya Cafe has collaborated with lifestyle brand Tokidoki for a pop-up cafe. The entire set up is filled with wildly colourful Tokidoki characters, making it an Instagrammer's dream come true!

This is the world's first Tokidoki cafe, and it is open till the end of June 2018.


LAUNCH OF CAFE ON 29 MARCH

Red Dot Diva went to the official launch two weeks ago. Simone Legno, co-founder of Tokidoki, was back in Red Dot Island for the opening as well as meet and greet for 30 fans at a first-come, first-served basis.


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When she arrived, there was already a long line of hardcore Tokidoki fans waiting to meet Simone. Luckily, she managed to score the last ticket for the meet and greet.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Meet Albin Johnson & R2-KT at Star Wars Day's May the 4th Festival 2018 in Singapore

Albin Johnson, R2-KT and some members of 501st Legion

May the 4th - the Star Wars-iest event of the year - is back. The festival is organized by Esprimo and a group of local Star Wars fans, with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board, and will be held at the F1 Pit Building on May 4th & May 5th 

Last year's May the 4th extravaganza was held at the Gardens by the Bay, which featured Disney Park's Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, as well as a scintillating Star Wars-themed light show at the Supertree Grove. If you missed the party last year, come join the fan community for a weekend of nerdy fun and camaraderie.

In fact, you might get to meet an actual movie star! The pink astromech droid R2-KT will be in Red Dot Island just for the festivities. She is already on her way here!





Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pop-culture Convention Watch: ComicCon Asia, Manila - Was It Worth Attending?

Last year, Red Dot Diva and her Geek Blogger Alliance pals spotted a dodgy looking promo video of a new pop-culture convention called ComicCon Asia held at SMX Convention Center, Metro Manila, on 24th & 25th March 2018. They wondered if the convention was for real, especially since Asia-Pop Comic Con (APCC) has managed to garner solid fan and vendor support in the last couple of years. Are these newbies ready to take on the competition? That initial promo video and their newly launched website did not inspire much confidence.

The organizers, PSL Entertainment (who had more experience with beauty pageants) and Nam Entertainment Group, had touted that the convention was supported by Manny Pacquiao as the Philippines’ tourism ambassador. This was one of their biggest mistakes. The controversial, religiously conservative sportsman, was known to have called gay people ‘worse than animals’.

Perception that the show was being a poor copycat of the internationally reknown San Diego Comic-Con was also evident in its choice of name and the similarity in the logo design.

In comparison to APCC, tickets for the ComicCon Asia were more expensive. A 2-day ticket cost PHP1,300 (SGD33) compared to APCC's 2017 ticket prices of PHP1,100 (SGD27) for a 3-day access. To be fair, considering that they did invite Marvel's "Generalissimo" Stan Lee, the photo and autograph opportunities for the fans would have been worth the ticket price. However, any pop-culture fan would know that Stan Lee is already 96 years old, and has been of poor health lately. Would you fly more than 24 hours to another country to attend a convention at that age? It was not a surprise then, due to another bout of pneumonia, Stan Lee's appearance was cancelled a week before the convention. Also, a week's notice was late for those who had already made travel arrangements, even though Cavaet Emptor.

That was not the end of ComicCon Asia's list of boo-boos. Here are some of them:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch in Singapore for "Avengers: Infinity War" Fan Event on 16 April 2018

It's going to be red carpet (phew, it's not blue carpet!) time again at Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

On April 16, mega stars of Marvel's superhero action movie "Avengers: Infinity War", Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark/ Iron Man) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange/ Doctor Strange), will meet fans at a special fan event as part of the film's publicity. YEAAAAASSSS, Team Rich Guys!!

Karen Gillan (Nebula) and director Joe Russo will join them for the occasion as well.

The fan event is free and open to the public, but there is a registration process this time round. Places are limited, and ticketing will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Details about time, venue and registration process will be revealed at MBS' website on 2 April, noon. So keep an eye on that page!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Enjoy Hanami at Garden By The Bay's First Sakura Matsuri - 16 March to 8 April 2018


Gardens by the Bay is hosting its first Sakura Matsuri from 16 March to 8 April. Red Dot Diva was invited for a preview of the event, and based on just the sakura show at the Flower Dome, it is a beautiful feast for the eyes!!


A post shared by Red Dot Diva (@reddotdiva) on


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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Are You War Ready for "Pacific Rim Uprising"?

Kaijus going head to head with Jaegers. Or in non-geek speak - Monsters vs Super Machines. That was the main crux of "Pacific Rim", the otaku-pleasing, Guillermo del Toro-directed monster film that became an international hit back in 2013.

The movie had thrilling action sequences, a great chemistry between the two leads Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi, a wonderful Asian female character, fun witty repartee, and the guiltiest pleasure of all -- Idris Elba. Since then, fans (including Red Dot Diva) have been clamouring for more Pacific Rim.

In the years that followed, Guillermo del Toro tried his best to get a sequel off the ground. He had a script ready, however due to conflicts between Legendary and distributor Universal Pictures, production was put to halt. Finally, in early 2016, Legendary announced that the sequel called "Pacific Rim Uprising", will go ahead with a new director and script, with Guillermo del Toro staying on as a producer.

The new director is Stephen S. DeKnight, who is best known as the creator and writer of Starz's "Spartacus" series, is also the showrunner for the first season of Marvel's "Daredevil" TV series.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gamestart Asia and Anime Festival Asia Form Alliance To Build More Awesome Content in Asia

Fans who enjoy gaming and anime are in for a treat this year and beyond.

SOZO, the organizer of Anime Festival Asia (AFA), Red Dot Island's largest Japanese pop-culture event, has joined hands with Eliphant, the owners of Gamestart Asia. The two companies intend to use their newly formed alliance to power up on more gaming, anime and cosplay content in both of their shows held within the region. They have even moved to a new office premise together in order to consolidate their efforts.

As previously reported, Gamestart will be expanding their show to Indonesia this year. Dates have not yet been announced for the new show.

As for AFA, there will be plans to add more gaming activities and content in their events. 2018 is also AFA's 10th anniversary for the Red Dot Island show, so there is definitely are going to be a host of celebratory activities happeing at the convention!

Southeast Asia emerges as one of the fastest growing markets for gaming and content, we recognised that both AFA and GameStart audiences have diverse interests in both gaming and anime. With our partnership, we hope to work closely to bring even more exhilarating content and holistic experiences to both fanbases across the regions,” said Shawn Chin, Managing Director of SOZO and founder of Anime Festival Asia.

We are extremely excited to be able to bring our event to various regions, with the support of our partners. We are determined to support the regional gaming industry, especially in esports and game development. We are positive that our partnership will provide more events and enable us to bring awesome content to both gamers and anime fans,” said Elicia Lee, founder of GameStart Asia and CEO of Eliphant Pte Ltd.

It is not too early to start working on your cosplays, and saving money to attend both Gamestart Asia and AFA later this year. Also, remember to keep a look out for more exciting announcements about their calendar of events on both events' official channels in the coming weeks!


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