Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Big Number

30 is a big number, well, I have always thought of it as a rather big number, age-wise that is. The pressure of throwing a big 30 bday bash was rather large but in the end I opted for dinner and a little street party RMA* style where I celebrated turning 30 with good friends and loads of food and alco. It was definitely the combination of P Ing's sweet and addictive pineapple mojito, P'Oun's porksticks, Bo of Bo.lan's salads, noodles from P'Oh's fave noodle spot, Sai Oua northern sausage that P'Joei and Teem hooked me up with that made for such an enjoyable night.

Bday portraits. . . .

Other highlights were homemade cupcakes by Jelly Jan, all 31 of them with separate candles (extra one for good luck), my second cake which was Pette's victoria sponge and third which was Pim's peanut butter cheesecake! 3 cakes, that really should last a whole month.

As the month of March draws to a close, I look back and think, maybe it is just a number but a really great excuse to celebrate (and on a more serious note, grow up).

*RMA Institute is Piyatat Hemmatat's (P'Oh) space, it is sort of like my second home. It is here that P'Oh has an office - secluded and calm oasis of dim light, great sound system and a wonderful record collection that he passionately adds to with the help of Amazon. It is also home to a wonderful free space where artists can show work, performance artists can perform and filmmakers can screen movies with the wonderful projector. Outside is the garden cafe where Bo and Dylan of Bo.lan throw together fresh ingredients for brunch and lunch everyday except Mondays. I am addicted to their truffled poached eggs and their mega creative salads. Bo made this amazing fennel and orange salad for my bday. Last but not least, let's not forget Dukdik, the resident Princess, a true Cinderella of a Thai pup. Love her.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Hong Kong Hero

Uncle Boonmee (though he is no longer with us) was the first person Apichatpong Weerasethakul thanked as he accepted the Best Film Award for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, at the 5th Annual Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong last Monday night.

P'Joei has been globetrotting around the world with very little time to rest for the success of Uncle Boonmee has been just phenomenal and as he said on Monday night, for such a small film, it has come so far and he is very proud. A hero in HK with his small film against big budget Chinese ones, this should give us some hope. I believe that it does.

There were some especially memorable moments that night with the speeches made for Japan, in the light of earthquake, tsunami,and nuclear catastrophe. It is always seen as somewhat decadent when a natural disaster hits or political turmoil is rife for entertainment awards to go on, in this case, the Japanese contingency showed their resilience and strength by being there. I found the speech by Thomas Yoda, the director of the Tokyo International Film Festival to be sincere and most touching. The Chinese blockbuster Aftershock which was about the aftershock of a huge earthquake in China was a tale about the human spirit and the human will to survive, this was somewhat appropriate and relevant that night.

I went along to the Award Ceremony and was very lucky to have been taken care of by Norman Wang and his friend Helen so I had a pretty good seat and could see all the action pretty up close. Apart from P'Joei's win which was certainly the best monment of the night for me there was an awesome performance by an Indian band called Indian Ocean, sensational, so fun and a bit of exoticism to what would otherwise have been a rather grand, quite formal Chinese affair . The band won best score for an Indian film called Peepli Live. I did like how these big blockbusters sat alongside small indie productions and both were recognised. Rather refreshing. It was nice to have a brief catch up with Harvey Weinstein, in a rather jolly mood, I would be too though if I had the victories he had for his recent films, The King's Speech and not to mention The Fighter and the reception Blue Valentine has had. I will forever agree with VF that Harvey is probably one of the last cinema impresarios, love or hate him, I find him rather inspiring.

The AFA after party was quite fun, especially as dinner was served (the award ceremony took HOURS and we were famished)and in true Asian style, the big sponsor, Audi was in full display with a vehicle placed in the centre of the room. Nonetheless, I did enjoy seeing P'Joei congratulated and applauded as he did the rounds at the party:)

Me and P'Joei

Lee and I

The AFA was a highlight though I was actually in HK for Filmart which is this humongous film market that is part of Hong Kong's annual entertainment expo. It was my first time, not so different from Art Fairs and I suppose Fashion Salons but this was a whole different ball game, films were being bought and sold. I saw a brilliant documentary about Sir Norman Foster called "How Much Does Your Building Weigh Mr Foster?" and the short films commissioned by the HKIFF Society. The Malaysian short was great, cheeky, funny but still quite dark and I liked Apichatpong's M Hotel for its imagery and mood, again, dreamy but this time a bit grittier. At first I was a little confused and after some time it just sort of sucks you in.

It is customary to have a press junket for the best film winner the next day and I had the chance to sit in to watch P'Joei answer many questions in the most fluent and thought provoking way. In the background was a poster of Ananda Everingham, this too was part of what was being unveiled that morning. His new project, a film that he will be producing, Lee Chatametikool's film, the name has been changed from Past Love to Concrete Clouds and will be starring Ananda and Jane, the film will also be produced by iconic filmmaker Sylvia Chang, Thai producer Soros Sukhum and Electric Eel. Lee is P'Joei's frequent editor (also award winning editor having won best editor at the AFA twice) but this will be his directorial debut. I am bit excited (an understatement really, very excited). The movie will be set in 1985 and 1997, the earlier years as flashbacks and the present in 1997, the height of the economic meltdown in Thailand where a tragedy brings back the hero from NYC to deal with "home", and what he left. Lee is particularly poignant when speaking about monuments which are what these characters search for, monuments of their youth which might or might not be there anymore. All the while he searches and goes back to find that the monuments are faded and like the big empty abandonded skeletons of bangkok, they are empty. This echoes the writer/director's own experience as he returned home to these stark lonely buildings resembling concrete clouds. The hero's story is mimicked by his younger brother, 18 years old and discovering things for himself, building his own monuments. I do like the title, it captures the slow heart break as well as the physical and economic reality of that time, these concrete clouds.

P'Joei and Lee with legendarly filmmaker Yonfan

Film festivals, fashion weeks and art fairs have in common many elements, hard work being one but there are also the parties to lok forward to. The Japan party was sweet but my favourite was the Hollywood Reporter dinner at a stall on the street just off Stanley. Street food a la Hollywood. So cute.

Kay, P'Juke, Yuni and friend

It was also fun that Jane decided to join us (she will be co-starring in Concrete Clouds), straight off the plane with her giant silver Rimowa case that the lucky chap she was with wheeled up and down the hill. It was HK after all.

Jane and I
Jane, Lee and I

We went to Lily and Bloom for Penicillen cocktails and corn bread and a surprise meeting with Ivan Pun whom I seem to bump into everywhere. HK works well like that, surprise encounters, all very transient, always fun. My last night was about intoxication vs my first, a catch up with Dee Poon who took me to Kiku where I had a special Kiku roll that knocked the socks off Honmono in Bkk (and tripled my cholesterol leval for sure, it was all uni, toro and egg) and then to get my ears candled. Strange strange way to spend a Sunday night but after all it is HK and for such a straight place, it always has its way of surprising, in a good way.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Island Love

The final installment of the beginning of a new Act in a beautiful love story, the marriage of Waan and Eric. This time on the beach, at the Amanpuri.

A day of fun in the sun, Lynn then stressing over her speech for Waan as the best man P'Kamthon had since September to prepare his speech, and Lynn, since our arrival in Phuket, that morning.

Pasri and Nagara

The Amanpuri is still the epitomy of elegance, Ed Tuttle's design is timeless. The wedding started by Cocktails on the private deck . . . familiar faces, as P'Puoi puts it, deja vu to Bali perhaps, we then descended upon the beach.

Me (in homemade "Chomwan"), P'Opas, Waan (in gorgeous vintage Halston)
The way that Freddy, the manager, and his beautiful wife Lisa set up the "tent" and the entire evening, art directed by the ravishing Pasri Bunnag (Eric's mum) was spectacular. Subtle yet perfectly done. One is greeted by a sea of soft light, hundreds of candles on the beach then strands of orchids blowing in the wind, attached of to a frame but it was dark so it looked like strands of fresh orchids softly lit in orange swaying in the wind and floating in darkness.

Harry and I
The speeches were brilliant. . . Lynn's sweet and touching as the bride's friend and P Kam's speech as best man, witty and very funny. My favourite line was, "Men are like floor tiles, if you lay them right the first time around, you can walk all over them". Whether or not that is true, you tell me. . .

Lynn and Waan post-speech
Pasri and Bill Booth
Khun Yai Pasri and P'Puoi

Fireworks went off in the distance as the speeches finished, almost as if they were planned especially for Eric and Waan. It is bizarre that this occasionally happens and so timely.
Me and Pasri
The crew of Mahapetra with the bride and groom

Drinks and dancing under stars on the beach, gossiping with the parents listening to them recount old stories until they ushered us upstairs for more celebrations.
Pasri and Jean Michel walking away to sleep
The "procession" where we lined up to toss flowers to the bride and groom was so sweet and the throwing of the bouquet.

Then as the party moved elsewhere on the property, we went to send off the bride and groom to the dingy to get on the MahaPetra, Khun Yai Pasri's and Jean Michel's wooden boat where the couple would sail into the sunrise. It felt very Armani/Calvin Klein to me, champagne, linen shorts and long flowing dresses, straight out of a Peter Lindeburg shoot, romantic and gorgeous. Old fashioned romance.

Next day recovery, I had to have the customary club sandwich (as I do when I stay at a hotel), there is no disputing that the food at the Aman rocks (the wedding banquet testament to this), especially with their healthy touch. The Club was off the menu, very good, very fresh and manages to be elegant of sorts though it's really the gazpacho that rocks my world.

black pool

I decided to decamp to Phuket town to stay in one of those little boutique spots that I have so long wanted to experience. It was not a disappointment as I loved the little Casa 104 . . .

Casa 104
A morning breakfeast of more yellow curry (after the night before's feast at raya) then onwards to the sea once more, this time to Yao Noi.
Me and Corto sombrero (last images as hat is gone - sobs)

A little taste of island love . . .Phuket island love . . .

What memories. I think this is what people mean when they say memories are made of these. . . LOVE.