Sunday, January 3, 2021

Live with Red Dot Diva's First Episode of 2021 Will Feature The Curious Unicorn


It's a new year, and a new season of Live with Red Dot Diva!

One of the best things that happened in 2020 was the decision to launch a monthly Facebook livestream featuring mainly creators and artists based in South-East Asia. During these 1-hour livestreams, Red Dot Diva and her guests participated in lively discussions on a wide range of topics like writing for horror stories, creating modern folk tales, and the current state of genre films in Red Dot Island. These interesting conversations will continue in 2021, and Red Dot Island already have the first few guests lined up for the next few months.

The first guest for 2021 will be The Curious Unicorn a.k.a. Hammy. Hammy is an independent visual development artist, graphic designer and 2D animator who is currently based in Brunei. She used to live in Los Angeles as well as in Red Dot Island. Those of you who wandered around the Singapore Comic Con 2019 Artist Alley may remember her booth selling eye-catching artwork, in an unusual wooden scaffolding setup.



Hammy's unique minimalistic art style stands out amongst the sea of more detailed comic book and manga drawings you tend to see on the internet. The lines in her artwork may seem deceptively simple, but as you admire her art for awhile longer, you will notice that they embody a sense of enigma and mystery. Some of her artwork reminds Red Dot Diva of the style used in Genndy Tartakovsky's animated series, Samurai Jack, but softer and with more surrealism infused in them.

Ever since she was back in Brunei, Hammy has been busy exhibiting in art shows, like the Anime Festival and Impiana #1.0. She is currently working on her own 2D animation project called Thea for this year's festivals, and will also be holding her own solo art exhibition called The Light Within in March 2021.



Red Dot Diva is looking forward to find out more about Hammy's artistic experiences and adventures as they discuss how curiosity of the mind comes to play when creating art. Join us for the first Live with Red Dot Diva session in 2021 on the following date and time:

DATE: 30 January 2021, Saturday

TIME: 1 PM, Singapore Time (GMT +8)

TO RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/865740250908096/

LIVESTREAM: www.facebook.com/reddotdiva/live


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Check out more of The Curious Unicorn's artwork on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thecuriousunicorn/

Catch up on past Live with Red Dot Diva sessions at the Videos section - https://www.facebook.com/reddotdiva/live


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Sonny Liew and Dr. Hsu Li Yang Explains The Science Behind Covid-19


What a discombobulating year this has been.

2020's Covid-19 pandemic threw everyone's lives out of whack, and here we are, on the last day of an unforgettable year.

The Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Red Dot Island more than a week ago, and vaccinations have already begun for frontline healthcare workers yesterday. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it still feels as if we are treading on thin ice, as the virus is still raging on in other parts of the world.

Red Dot Diva thought that that best way to end 2020 would be a cautious yet positive blog piece about a new webcomic entitled THE SCIENCE BEHIND COVID-19 by local Eisner Award-winning writer/ artist Sonny Liew (The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, Dr. Fate, Malinky Robot, Eternity Girl) and Dr. Hsu Li Yang, Vice Dean of Global Health and Programme Leader of Infectious Diseases at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. The comic was published on 28 December in both the printed and digital versions of the local English-language daily, The Straits Times.

Click on this link to read the web comic - https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/the-science-behind-covid-19-1

With the help of anthropomorphic characters, THE SCIENCE BEHIND COVID-19 explains the steps taken to create and test the vaccines, as well as addresses concerns about the effects of vaccination.


Sonny and Dr. Hsu had previously teamed up for a comic book called THE ANTIBIOTIC TALES, which was published by Epigram Books in 2019. In an easy to read format, the book illustrates about how the overuse of antibiotics affects our health, and dispels common misconceptions about the antibacterial medication.

That same style was used for THE SCIENCE BEHIND COVID-19. The webcomic breaks down the scientific concepts about the virus and vaccine, and yet doesn't belittle a layperson's intellectual ability to be able to understand them.

We all wish for things to "return to normal" ASAP. But in reality, life doesn't magically change when the clock chimes at midnight on the 1st day of the New Year. However, there's one key thing that Red Dot Diva observed in the various events that occurred in 2020 - that there is a need for more compassion, and that the world can only become a better place if we strive to look after one another.

Red Dot Diva wishes everyone A SAFE AND WISER 2021!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Kanme Studio's Boom Shaka Webcomic Is A Refreshing Read


The realm of webcomics is like an unfiltered pool of digital creativity. Ever since the medium's boom in the 2000's, there has been a growing number of formats and titles published. Readers can decide if they prefer the snappy one panel web comics, or those that are written as an on-going series, like those Hong Kong TV serials you grew up with. Since most webcomics are published independently, there is a wide range of genres out there to cater to a smorgasbord of tastes, especially if you are looking for something really niche.

Kanme Studio is one of those creative collectives who have started publishing webcomics. The studio is founded about 3 years ago by American writer named Yam. The collective's core includes usogami, who mainly takes care of the web-related aspects, and local freelance artist Alan Bay whom Red Dot Diva has gotten to know in recent years. Alan Bay has also done worked in the games industry, and drawn for a number of books including the recently published SACRED GUARDIANS comic (Asiapac Books) and ONCE UPON A SINGAPORE... TRADERS, a finalist for Book of the Year at the Singapore Book Awards 2019.

BOOM SHAKA is the latest web comic published by the Kanme Studio team, and it is off to a promising start. As of now, there is a Prologue, Chapter 1 and a few pages of Chapter 2 available at a very reasonable price on their website, via Gumroad.

The story begins with Kenji Rodgers, a teenager of American and Japanese heritage. Usually, Kenji keeps to himself and desires to be professional beatboxer. On one fateful day, he decided to step in and got into a fight defending his schoolmate Christine from bullies. Kenji was expelled from school and his estranged father put him on a plane back to his mother's homeland - Japan. At the small town of Amagawamachi, Kenji is reunited with his stern older half-sister Mikuya, who did not lose time in getting him initiated to her family's legacy of exorcism, the source of their powers called the Radiance, and a team of young skilled warriors adept at fighting off the forces of evil.

There are a few things that Red Dot Diva really liked BOOM SHAKA. Firstly, the tone of the web comic has a breezy Pan-Asian feel. It is like well-made fusion cuisine, a mix of Asian aesthetics and supernatural beliefs with a dash of Americanised bluntness. The product is a story that has a punchy dialogue and is refreshing to read. The characters introduced so far are easy to like, and Red Dot Diva already has a favourite - Hime, a friendly 350-year-old yokai who loves taking on the form of either a goth Lolita or a white cat. Plus, the webcomic is in full colour that features Alan Bay's trademark colourful drawings. It is a joy to see how he puts a cutesy stamp in the panels with the way he draws anime-style actions and facial expressions.

The only detracting and slightly uncomfortable point about BOOM SHAKA is the evident shift in catering to the male gaze for one character in particular. Maybe it is meant to be an anime/ manga trope. Or maybe, that is how the studio is able to get more attention for the new web comic. In any case, this issue can be easily resolved if there will be equal opportunity, gratuitous buff bods for the female gaze in future chapters. Fair is fair, right?


Up to this point, there is still more secrets and back stories about Amagawamachi, its supernatural background, and the Radiance's powers yet to be revealed. After being introduced in the first few pages of Chapter 2, Red Dot Diva is also eager to find out who and what the new supernatural-fighting team members are like.

The BOOM SHAKA web comic is a perfect palate cleanser if you are tired of the usual superhero stories, and want to expand your comic book reading. It is not costly at all. The first chapter is only USD 1.99 and comes packed with the prologue, interesting character profiles and promo art. So, it could be worth your while to consider supporting the creators, and checking out BOOM SHAKA. Or, you could gift it to your friends who love this type of fun, supernatural action stories!




Sunday, December 13, 2020

Pennyworth Season 2 Premieres on Warner TV Asia on 14 December


Season 2 of the series PENNYWORTH will be back on Warner TV Asia on 14 December, with the first episode premiering at 9 PM Singapore time. This time, there is hardly a delay as Warner TV Asia decides to air the new season on the same day as the U.S. telecast. There will be 10 episodes in this season.

The series is an alternate universe about ex British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) set in a more violent version of 60's London. In the show, Alfred, or Alfie as he is affectionately known, is not yet the famous DC comics butler of the Wayne household whom we are familiar with. When we meet him in Season 1, he worked as a bouncer at a nightclub and then started a security company, together with his SAS pals, “Bazza” (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and “Daveboy” (Ryan Fletcher), of which, their contract work includes working for Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge).

The first episode begins with a one-year time jump from the last season's finale when Alfie had to shoot his father to literally Save The Queen. The power hungry Lord Harwood has led neo-fascist Raven Union in a bid to control England, and the country is deep in a civil war.

In the West End Neutral Zone, Alfie now runs a black-market Soho club called The Delaney, with “Bazza” and “Daveboy”. Everyone is welcome at this "no guns, no violence" club, regardless of their politics. However, as the conflict in London gets bloodier, the trio tries to find a way out, and America is looking to be their top choice.

A few new characters have been added to help raise the stakes in this season's PENNYWORTH. There is Alfie's charismatic but brutish former SAS Captain Captain Gulliver Troy (James Purefoy), a calculating killer in the guise of an obedient civil servant named Colonel Salt (Edward Hogg), as well as an idealistic and defiant art student Katie Browning (Jessye Romeo), whose life has been uprooted by the civil war.

Other characters return as well, including Martha Kane (Emma Paetz), Lord James Harwood (Jason Flemyng) and Mary Pennyworth (Dorothy Atkins). Oh, and Alfie is canoodling again with his on-and-off love interest Sandra Oslow (Harriet Slater), an ambitious resident singer at the Delaney nightclub.

Best of all, Red Dot Diva's favourite character - the kooky, unpredictable sociopath Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) is back to create chaos. Doing his best to contain that chaos is Season 1's charming and sardonic Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) of the London Police Force. (By the way, Ramon Tikaram was born in Red Dot Island, but due to his Fijian father being a soldier in the British Army, the family had led a largely nomadic lifestyle.)


There is lots of questions to resolve after what happened in the previous season of PENNYWORTH. Who shot Thomas Wayne? How will Alfie handle is act of patricide? Will Season 2 get us closer to the Gotham we know from the comics?

To find out the answers, watch PENNYWORTH on Warner TV via Starhub Channel 515 or Singtel Channel 306.







Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Cartoons Underground Returns With An Online Edition from 9 to 13 December 2020


So what if COVID-19 a.k.a. the Big Bad of 2020 is still lurking in the corners of Red Dot Island, and has prevented festivals and events from taking place? Cartoons Underground 2020, the island's very own animation festival, has in fact expanded from a 1-day evening festival to an exciting 5-day online event from 9 to 13 December 2020.

Of course, the festival, which is also South-East Asia's largest, will not be happening in their usual physical venue. Instead, attendees will step into an interactive and vibrant 360° virtual world created by CG lead Enrique Caballero.

Love is in the air


Within this immersive neon-lit cyberpunk 'hood, festival goers will be able to hunt for easter eggs, view films and behind the scene footages, and attend Q&A sessions with directors. Red Dot Diva had a sneak peek of the 360° world, which had tributes to Lady & The Tramp as well as the chef couple from the movie, Ratatouille. According to Enrique Caballero, he felt that during this difficult year, we all needed more love. Since the locals love shopping online, there will also be an art market where you can buy unique items for your own collection or as presents.

While the pandemic continues to rage on in several parts of the world, live action TV and movie productions have either halted or have been delayed. But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Seemingly pandemic-proof, the animation industry is set to boom in the next 5 years due to market demand, and for the practical reason that most of the work can be performed remotely.

Red Dot Diva welcomes the rise of animation movies. They are not just for kids and children. There are the cookie-cutter Disneys, Pixars, Dreamworks and well-loved Studio Ghibli films, and then there are so many others that fall in between or out of those familiar lines that are as beautiful and moving.



Cartoons Underground 2020 continues to offer an astounding range of adult-friendly animation films for fans to enjoy. There will be 150 minutes of animated short films to watch, with all of them starting to screen LIVE from 8PM Singapore Time on 9 December. If you sign up for a festival ticket, you can take part in Q&A sessions with the film directors. In addition, there will also be a conversation between Hollywood director, Kyle Balda (Director of the Minions & Despicable Me 2 & 3) and prolific award-winning short film director, Patrick Smith (Director of MTV Daria, Oscar Member).

Moist by Lee Chao Ming (Taiwan)

This year, the festival received over 1,321 entries submitted from a whopping 88 countries. 17 films have been selected, consisting of directors from Taiwan, France, Japan and Singapore. A number from Europe and America will be making is premiere during the festival as well. The Singapore programme includes a first submission from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, with an entry entitled “Watermelon Please” by Lim Jia Ying.

foto time by Renne Chua (Singapore)


And then there is the Golden Durian Awards which will be streamed LIVE on 13 December at 8 PM Singapore Time. Awards for Best Animation, Best SG Student Animation, Audience Choice and Special Mention are up for grabs. The notable local films vying for the awards are “foto time” by Renne Chua, “It grows on you” by Mok Yuin Peng, and “Women in Rage” by young fine artists, Chen Yanyun and Sara Chong. The last animation short envisions how mythical female monsters like the Pontianak and Medusa, battle prejudices and injustices, and that they are angry. Very very angry.

Cartoons Underground is not just a festival for screening animation shorts. It also aims to help new graduates find their place in the industry. With a partnership with *SCAPE and LASALLE University, the festival has added a special spotlight on the best of National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) animation as well as a 2-day animation workshop. Shortlisted teams will get to attend a masterclass in storyboarding and pitching with award-winning local directors, Jerrold Chong (FindingPictures), Zhuang Brothers and American award-winning director, Sean Buckelew.

It's going to be a visual feast next weekend at Cartoons Underground 2020. Don't miss it. Just get your tickets via Eventbrite. It's free, with one ticket for all 5 days, but do consider donating to show your support to the artists and the organisers. This will help ensure that one of the most colourful media festivals will continue to grow in the many years to come!

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Website: www.cartoonsunderground.com

RSVP at Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/698954164384909


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Diva's Interview with Actor Benjamin Chow about SRT's Tuesdays With Morrie


Actor Benjamin Chow has landed roles in several local theatre productions like “Forbidden City: Portrait of an Emperor”, “RENT” the musical and “Peter and the Starcatcher”, but the one that really caught Red Dot Diva's eye was his take as Lim Chin Siong in “The LKY Musical”. His performance of the leftwing politician was fiery, powerful and as charismatic as the actual man himself. Benjamin has received Best Supporting Actor at the Life! Theatre Awards twice - one for “The LKY Musical” and the other as Prince Tun in “Forbidden City: Portrait of an Emperor”.

He is currently performing as Mitch Albom in SRT's production of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, a play that marks the theatre company's return to live audience performances after several months of closure due to COVID-19. Remesh Panicker takes on the role as Morrie Schwartz in this two-man play.

It was nice to be able to grab a few minutes of Benjamin's time to ask how he had coped during Circuit Breaker and discuss a little bit more about his role in TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE.

Red Dot Diva: Hi Benjamin. I have been a fan of your work and have enjoyed your performances in several theatre productions. This year has been really tough for so many of us, with the arts community being heavily impacted by the curb on most social interactions. In both good and bad ways, the pandemic exposed a lot of underlying issues within ourselves, with our family members, in the workplace, and revealed socio-economic issues amongst several other things. How did you fare during these unprecedented times, especially during the Circuit Breaker?
Benjamin: I’m sure all of us feel like we’ve lost the year! My personal struggle was mostly over how to pay rent. When lockdown started to take effect, I lost pretty much all my shows, so I went to work at Fairprice for most of the middle of the year. I figured why not lean into what was undoubtedly an essential service! I’m just grateful that we as a country have been able to handle this crisis considerably well, so much so that I’m now able to find work in the arts once again! It’s really a blessing and a privilege.

Red Dot Diva: Going digital has been the new normal this year, with virtual meeting software being the in thing. How different was it to be on camera / in the limelight on stage compared to being on camera in a Zoom call?
Benjamin: Well I’ve had to host a few events and even do a zoom audition for a show - but honestly nothing beats the real thing! As we all know! Such a joy to be sharing energy with a live audience again after so long!

Red Dot Diva: What were your first thoughts when you know of SRT's decision to re-open again with the play Tuesdays with Morrie? Have you read the book?
Benjamin: Yes I have, and I thought the decision was incredibly wise and appropriate. The tone feels right. For a year that’s been so sobering - a gentle, quiet portrait of a young man and an old man being there for each other and finding honesty in the face of death feels like just the right thing to put out into the world right now.

Red Dot Diva: How did you prepare for the role of Mitch?
Benjamin: Well there’s no lack of source material! There are interviews and columns written by him, and videos on youtube. But mostly my preparation was psychological, finding the journey for him as a character who starts the play incredibly guarded and somewhat callous, and turning him into someone softer, finding empathy.



Red Dot Diva: How have rehearsals been, with theatre veteran Remesh Panicker as a scene partner?
Benjamin: Remesh is a riot! Ever the joker, he truly embodies Morrie in a lovely, unique way, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with him again. We worked together once before in Romeo and Juliet!

Red Dot Diva: Tuesdays with Morrie is about learning life's important lessons. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Benjamin: “Forgive everyone, everything. Now, forgive yourself.”

Red Dot Diva: What do you think audiences will love about SRT's adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie?
Benjamin: I think it’s a deeply human show, on a topic that none of us can escape from. Our mortality, and what really matters while we’re here. I think many people will find meaning in it, and I’m truly honoured to be given the chance to share this story with people, live in theatres, once again.


TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE which is currently playing at SRT's KC Arts Centre has extended its run till 11 December. Grab those tickets from SISTIC now if you want to catch the play!

Also, if you want to play your part in supporting the arts community locally, do consider buying a set of SRT's stylo-mylo face masks for SGD 25. The resusable face masks are designed by artists Theseus Chan and Dawn Than, and would be great as Christmas pressies!





Saturday, November 14, 2020

Red Dot Diva Kicks Off The Very Small Geek Fest 2020 - 5 & 6 December 2020


Red Dot Diva is excited to launch THE VERY SMALL GEEK FEST, an inaugural virtual pop-culture fan festival that will take place on 5 and 6 December 2020 (Sat / Sun) at the Red Dot Diva Facebook Page.

This is the same weekend that Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) would have been held. Sadly, SGCC 2020 has been cancelled due to safety measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is definitely not the same as lining up to meet your favourite artists, or discovering creative gems at the artist alley, but THE VERY SMALL GEEK FEST aims to keep the pop-culture geek spirit alive until we can all safely together for a large-scale event once more.

The virtual event may be “very small” - with just 3 Facebook livestreams held on each day - but the programming will pack a punch for those who enjoy comics and pop-culture.

Here are the list of the confirmed guests, who are based in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines:

* ROD ESPINOSA - Eisner Award-nominated comic book creator, writer, artist
* KELVIN CHAN - Art Director at Kinetiquettes, artist, comic book creator 
* KASIMIR POH CIESLAK - Actor, stunt performer
* PEPS GOH - Actor, fight coordinator
* SHIAN WEN - Videographer, editor, producer
* SAMARASKETCH - Illustrator, comic book artist, entrepreneur
* ILI ISA - Game concept artist, illustrator, cosplayer
* ATTY - Blogger, gamer, pop-culture geek

In addition, local movie reviewer JEDD JONG and author WAYNE RÉE will be take on the role as moderator for a couple of sessions.

More details on THE VERY SMALL GEEK FEST's event schedule, guests' profiles, and giveaways, will roll out on the Red Dot Diva Facebook Page or Twitter feed. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks, and save the dates so you can join us for a rush of endorphins on 5 and 6 December.


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Facebook Event Page - https://www.facebook.com/events/1597131070493927