Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

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.

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.



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.

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.

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, 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.!

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.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Diva Meets Nicholas Buc, Conductor of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Concert (29 - 31 October 2017)


Nicholas Buc has a job that most Star Wars geeks might envy, especially if they love making music as well. A composer, arranger, conductor, violinist and pianist, Nicholas has managed to combine his love for film and music, and is one of the few conductors specializing in such live movie concerts. He also gets to travel around the world doing what he loves!


He has performed several such concerts around the world, like Harry Potter, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek and E.T. From 29 to 31 October at the Esplanade, the audience will get to see him conduct the first-ever Star Wars Symphony Orchestra Concert performed in Singapore

For this concert series, Episode VII - "The Force Awakens" (TFA) will be screened as over 70-musicians in the orchestra play the accompanying John Williams-composed soundtrack live. So, not only do Star Wars fans get to re-watch TFA again, Red Dot Diva bets all her credits that it will also be more unforgettable, communal experience.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Meet Writer/ Artist Max Loh Who Defended Local Flavour with C.B. Cebulski

When Red Dot Diva thinks of food *and* comics, the first name that comes up in her mind is Marvel's VP and talent scout C.B. Cebulski, who is also a foodie and has his own blog called Eataku.

Locally, a well-known food related comic called Dim Sum Warriors by couple Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen, comes to mind. Dim Sum Warriors was were recently adapted into a musical production staged in China.

Others include Red Dot Diva's friend Benjamin Chee of "Charsiew Space", who relished in depicting charming stories surrounding food (yum yum!), as well as Max Loh, who has a self-published book called "About Food". Max recently collaborated with C.B. Cebulski to produce a limited edition superhero food-related postcard entitled "Defend Local Flavour" at this year's STGCC.

Regarding this semi hush-hush collaboration between the two, you might have spotted something shady going on near the Walk of Fame on the first day of STGCC. Somewhat like this:


And if you gave fan love to C.B. Cebulski  at his STGCC Walk of Fame sessions, you should already have received the "Defend Local Flavour" postcard specially signed by him! The postcards were available *only* during STGCC 2017.


Max Loh, the illustrator of the special postcard, is a self-taught artist with a very science-y background. He graduated in Biomedical Science, and has worked as a Research Officer for the past 7 years. You can find his works published in anthology books, "Liquid City Vol 3" (Image) and "Driving Malaysia" (Maple Comics). The later was commissioned by the tech company which owns the popular ride-hailing app.

Max also has a few self-published books like "The Road Not Taken" and "Pointes de Contrôle". Red Dot Diva finds his writing and drawings deeply personal and contemplative, which may help put things into perspective for those who have musings in similar subjects.

Here's a nosy interview with Max regarding his experiences in his journey of being a mostly indie comic book writer/ artist.

Photo by Nicholas Lee
Red Dot Diva: You mentioned that you are a self-taught artist. How did you improve on your craft since you started drawing comics?
Max: Well, I've been to art classes as a kid, so that might not be considered as strictly 'self taught'. However, those were mostly landscapes and posters for school work.

I've learnt the visual language of comics through guidebooks (does anyone still remember the "How To Draw Manga" series of books from the early 2000s?) and emulating things I like from comics I've read. I put out my first self-published comic with friends in 2003, and I think it was only back in 2012 that I started finding my footing in terms of style and the kinds of stories I want to tell.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

STGCC 2017: An Interview with Mirka Andolfo - Female Heroes Can be Sexy Too!


Italian artist Mirka Andolfo has a vast experience working with indie comic book publishers like BOOM!, Dynamite and Zenescope, as well created her own cheeky angel-devil romance title called "Sacro/ Profano". Recently, she worked on DC Comics' series "DC Bombshells" as well as "Wonder Woman".

From her portfolio, it is evident that Mirka Andolfo draws influences heavily from manga, with a penchant for drawing women in cute-sexy poses. What is most eye-catching about her drawings is how she manages to add wonderful facial expression and movement to the figures, with hair or items of clothing flowing in sync with the character's action, as if she manages to catch them in a second's freeze frame.

Mirka Andolfo is a guest at this year's STGCC and this will be her visiting this part of the world. Red Dot Diva managed to catch hold of her for a quick interview before this week's convention.


Red Dot Diva: When you first started out doing art as a career, did you have a mentor, and what important things did you learn from this person?
Mirka: After my graduation, I started attending a comic school in Naples (my hometown). After one year of study, I had the chance to have a little work as colourist for a comic, and then I started a career as colorist, working on international properties like “The Kite Runner” (my first “important” job), then “Mickey Mouse”, “Geronimo Stilton”, “Ice Age”, “Adventure Time”, and some French and American comics.

To be honest I never had a mentor. I was inspired by many great Italian artists, and some of them became friends of mine, and gave me a lot of valuable advice.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

STGCC 2017: Booth Highlight - Get Drawn Into the Surreal Magical World of Jessica Emmett's Art


Pandas, dragons, unicorns and cute meowfaces! Those were the things that attracted Red Dot Diva to Jessica Emmett's art when she first met her at last year's STGCC.

Since then, they have kept in touch on Facebook, and Jessica's charming and colourful visual ideas were exactly Red Dot Diva needed for the RDD blog's rebranding project.

Jessica has a knack of infusing the familiar and the strange, especially when she decides to let her imagination fly with drawings of monsters and creatures from the fantasy realm. While Jessica was very busy preparing for STGCC 2017, Red Dot Diva asked her a long list of nosy questions!

Red Dot Diva: Please introduce yourself, and tell us how you got into the career of illustration and graphic design.

Jessica: I’m Jessica Emmett, a freelance illustrator and artist from the UK who’s now living and working in Singapore.

I’ve been creating and making from as far back as I could hold a pencil. I grew up being very dyslexic, so it’s no surprise I gravitated to visuals in high school. On my art foundation I found a passion for photography and ended up doing a Photography degree and a Media Arts masters in Manchester. I was accepted onto a PhD to study how adoption is represented in art and media, given I am a transracial adoptee myself who had worked with many East Asian adoption communities. But life threw me a curveball in the form of the financial crisis which affected me and my husband as a young married couple. I had to withdraw from the program a week before my start date. Devastating, but also an amazing opportunity to re-evaluate what I really wanted to do with my life.

I asked myself what I always wanted to do. As much as I loved photography, I never stopped loving to draw. I also always wanted to do an online comic. Despite my lack of formal illustration training, I created and collaborated on Adopted the Comic that ran for a few years. It continues to be an important resource for the adoption community. Even though I thought I was terrible at drawing I was shocked that people started to make requests for me to do illustration commissions. It led to illustrating an education book, Learn Thai, and on completion of the first book I was hooked! I decided to dedicate myself to illustration.

Alongside my illustration, I’d also picked up sculpting again. It is only recently I’ve started to take 3D work more seriously.
Red Dot Diva: That's quite a journey you've been through!

Friday, August 25, 2017

STGCC 2017: Booth Highlight - Treat Yourself with a Dose of Callous Comics!

Dr. Carlo Jose San Juan is a great example of how one can be scientific and artistic at the same time. He also proves that with determination and passion, one can have a busy professional day job as well as achieve success from your own creative ideas.

His comic strip "Callous", which chronicles the life of Dr. Rianne Nicah and Cal Duck (yes, he's a talking duck who guides her through good times and bad), has been on-going for over 20 years. It is also published in the Manila Bulletin.

Red Dot Diva knows that there may be many aspiring creators out there who already have their own webtoons, self-published stories or zines who find a challenge getting their work to more people out there. Perhaps, you might like to learn something from Dr Carlo's personal experience!

Red Dot Diva: Hi there! Please introduce yourself to the comic book/ cartoon readers here, and how you got into sequential art.
Dr Carlo: Hello! I'm Dr. Carlo Jose San Juan from the Philippines and I'm a practicing physician, cartoonist, comic book writer, and voice actor. Watching a lot of cartoons and reading a lot of comics when I was younger inspired me to pursue sequential art as a profession in the hopes of replicating the positive effect these media had on me on other people.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

STGCC 2017: An Interview with Controversial Artist-Writer Frank Cho (Outrage!)

A couple of years ago, comic book artist and creator Frank Cho was flung headlong into controversy when a segment of fans went nuclear over his Milo Manara spoof sketch cover of Spider-Gwen. A discussion about misogyny and "appropriate depictions" of female characters in the comic book industry, exploded all over the internet. It seemed like everyone and anyone had something to say about Frank Cho's art choices.

The intense backlash has not hurt Frank Cho's career, and he probably has not stopped trolling his haters ever since. Many may find his sense of humour and cheesecake art offensive, but Frank Cho is also a wonderful writer, and recently, he has been concentrating on his own creative works.

With "Skybourne", a five-issue series published by BOOM! Studios, Frank Cho puts his own spin to the Arthurian legend, and propels it to the modern times. "Skybourne" is his first creator-own publication since popular comic strip "Liberty Meadows", and the fantasy-adventure tale has been very well received by readers and critics.

Other projects include "Guns & Dinos" at Image Comics, and "World of Payne" with novelist Tom Sniegoski for Flesk Publications. He is also the cover artist for DC Comics' "Harley Quinn".

Frank Cho has been announced as a guest for this year's STGCC, and Agent W and Red Dot Diva decided to team up (with a healthy dose of Outrage!) to get some dibs prior to his trip here.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Diva Chats with the Organisers of the local Memorial for Linkin Park's Chester Bennington

On 20th July 2017, Red Dot Diva received the news of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington's passing, while she was at work. It was terrible news, but since she had to put on her game face at the office, she was unable to outwardly grieve for the loss of this talented musician who had touched her soul with his beautiful voice and music.

"Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora" were released during a time of self-reflection and monumental changes during Red Dot Diva's life, and Linkin Park's angsty anthems which featured an alternate wave of Chester Bennington's trademark raging screams and soothing vocals helped her made sense of things.

She finally got to watch Linkin Park live in concert at the Padang back in 2004. It was one of the most perfect concerts by the band, and she will never forget the experience. She was also a few hundred metres away from Chester himself, when a few of the band members attended the MTV Asia Music Awards held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium around the same time.

Admittedly, Red Dot Diva was a little numbed by the loss of Chester as life's day to day practicalities had to be dealt with. It was only the next evening that she was in an emotional space strong enough to deal with her grief. So, she holed herself in her study and played through Linkin Park's songs and videos for an hour or so, listening to Chester's voice and messages while saying goodbye to this amazing, talented individual.

A candle virgil for Chester Bennington

On 30th July 2017, local fans got their chance to say their own goodbyes to Chester Bennington, at a specially planned memorial called "Remembering Chester". It threatened to rain at first but the skies cleared up in time for people to converge at the event, which was held under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. Red Dot Diva was unable to attend because she was not feeling well. She followed the event online, watching the Facebook live videos, and pics of emotional fans singing songs and lighting candles. More than 60 people attended the event throughout the evening, and many stayed through till the end. The fans shared their tears, laughter, and personal stories about what Chester and Linkin Park's music meant to them. It was a means of catharsis for so many who needed someone to share their grief with.

The "Remembering Chester" Memorial was organised by a cohort of dedicated fans, with many others who chipped in neared the date. Red Dot Diva managed to speak to the main organisers - Vanessa, Kyra, Cain, Aisyah and Jaslyn:

Friday, August 4, 2017

STGCC 2017: Diva's Interview with Hunky Professional Cosplayer, Leon Chiro

When professional cosplayer Leon Chiro was announced as a guest of STGCC 2017, a collective wave of squeals and happy sighs rippled through the local geek and cosplay communities.

Who can blame them? After all, the Italian cosplayer does realistic performances of gaming and pop-culture characters, is absolutely shredded (Yum!), interacts constantly with his fans, and has a cheeky sense of humour to boot!

Leon Chiro's detailed and convincing cosplays have caught the eyes of many AAA gaming companies, and they have hired him as official cosplayers for their promotional activities and events. These companies include Ubisoft ("Assassin's Creed" / "Watch Dogs"), Square Enix ("Gladiolus - Final Fantasy XV" - a huge fan favourite!), Capcom (honorary mention for his Dante) and many more.

For the "Assassin's Creed" movie, Leon go to put on the mantel of Aguilar de Nerha and worked with 20th Century Fox on the film's promotional campaign, stunt work and official European launch events.



What attracted Red Dot Diva to Leon's cosplays were his confident, very true-to-life takes on characters, like Gaston from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and his playful spins to existing personas, for instance, Baywatch Gladio. He even does a spot-on Leon version of Saltbae!

Leon Chiro is so popular in the gaming and cosplaying community that he gets invited to attend several conventions around the world - about 3 to 4 shows a month! In many of these events, he is asked to judge cosplay competitions as well, and at STGCC, Leon will be one of the judges for the Championship of Cosplay 2017!

Before he steps foot on our sunny island, Red Dot Diva got hold (mmm mmm) of Leon to ask him some nosy questions:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

SRT's "Forbidden City: Portrait of An Empress" 2017: Diva's Interview with Dick Lee and Cheryl Tan


Step into the world of Cixi, the last Empress Dowager of China, at the re-staging of the musical "Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress". The Singapore Repertory Theatre production, starring local performer Kit Chan as the grown up Cixi, on 8 August 2017 at the Esplanade.

Set in China over a century ago, the lavishly stunning musical production will also include Broadway and West End star Earl Carpenter ("Les Misérables"), local actor Benjamin Chow ("RENT", "The LKY Musical"), Cheryl Tan ("Romeo & Juliet", "Beauty World") as the young concubine Yehenara, and Broadway actress Stephanie Leigh (Mary Poppins).

Cultural Medallion recipient Dick Lee provides the music for "Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress", and Red Dot Diva managed to get hold of the veteran performer/ songwriter for a snappy Q&A. She also got to interview singer-actress Cheryl Tan.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SRT's "Forbidden City: Portrait of An Empress" 2017: Diva's Interview with Costume Designer Yang DeRong


A musical extravaganza about the life of Empress Dowager Cixi, "Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress" will return to the stage for the 4th time at the Esplanade beginning 8 August 2017.

The SRT production, developed by Stephen Clark, Dick Lee and Steve Dexter, was first staged in 2002 as part of the Esplanade's opening. Since then, the play has another two sold out shows in 2003 and 2006. The star of the show, Kit Chan, will return in the main role of Cixi for the 2017 production.

With an epic spanning over decades, "Forbidden City" is a large set with several period costumes hailing from the last dynasty in China. This is a huge undertaking for any costume designer, and that's where talented local designer Yang DeRong comes in to the picture.

Veteran fashion designer Yang DeRong spent several years abroad working with names like Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and fashion group Esprit. He is now back home and has been involved in many high profile international and government projects, including being SG50 NDP Art Director and Costume Designer.

Yang loves the theatre, and his craft has been seen in productions like Theatreworks "The Elephant Man" (1987), SRT's "The Dresser", NUS Cultural Centre's "Man of Letters" and "Beauty World" (2016) by Singapore Street Festival.

He was also designer for SRT's previous run of "Forbidden City" in 2003, and will return to work on this year's production.

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