Sunday, August 17, 2008

Body and Seoul

I love airport buildings like in Seoul that look like gargantuan metallic sci-fi whales.

The Seoul Tower lit up at night in a fiery display. My host Jin Park and I walked all the way to the top of the hill, which was exhausting.

In an old section of Seoul, the Starbucks is forced to surrender its cultural imperialism and feature its sign in Korean. Yay!

Remember when gay fan dancers used to haunt the Toronto Yonge Street gay bars in the seventies and early eighties? At the time I though it was tragically kitsch; in retrospect it was exotically outre. Ban gay marriage; bring back fan dancers.

Nearby is the old school style of architecture.

Here are a couple of monstrous buildings in dowtown Seoul. I like them because they are futuristic ugly.

This is what much of Seoul looks like. It's very modern ugly by day, but glamorous by night, like Tokyo.

Here I am with Jin Park, my hostess with the mostest, as we bridge the gap between East and West in a magnanimous gesture of international friendship.

Here I am in a thoughtful mood waiting for the bus for downtown.

This is what the Puchon area looks like, where Pifan was held. It was the rainy season, so it pissed rain from morning til night during most of the festival, which was good because everyone went to see the movies where it was nice and dry.

This is what one corner of my living room looks like.

This is the great hydroelectric monster of Seoul.

I like the names of the gay bars in the Itaewon area, aka Homo Hills. This is the gay area for Koreans who are into westerners, so it's full of obnoxious ex-pats, including some hot American soldiers. I preferred the Nagwon Dong gay district, which is more rice on rice. My gracious host, Jin Park, of Pifan, took me there and we had a blast.

Nothing says "party" like the Mona Lisa.

Hey, I though this was supposed to be in Nashville.

Here I am with Rodrigo and Marco from Toronto's own Rue Morgue magazine. They were also at Pifan, the Puchon Fantasy Film Festival, and in fact their film, Facts in the Case of Mr. Hollow, won the best short prize. The fellow on the left is Nacho Vigalondo, the director of the Spanish time travel sci fi movie Timecrimes. He was a charming fellow.

The Korean soldiers at the train station were only mildy annoyed when tourists asked to pose for photos with them.

This was another real Korean soldier at the train station. Pretty cute.

This is my favourite. I call it "Two Nude Men Sharing Log Head with Brain and Flowers."

This is some of the bizarre imagery at Dorasan Station, a train station between the two Koreas. Outside we were told only to take photos toward the station, not in the other direction. It was very Orwellian.

This is a diagram of the tunnel we went down into, the tunnel that the North Koreans tried to burrow underground to Seoul in the sixties and seventies. They were planning on invading Seoul with about 30,000 soldiers, but the South Koreans detected the tunnel and put a stop to it. It was fun, sort of like going under Niagara Falls, but without the Falls.

This was our South Korean tour guide. She was hardcore. She chewed me out a little after I snapped my surreptitious photo. But she forgave me later when I gave her a tip. She was a little on edge because a few weeks earlier a South Korean tourist had been shot and killed by North Koreans when she strayed out of the designated area, so relations between North and South were a little frosty at this time.

This building is camouflaged so you may not be able to see it.

Here's the cute soldier again. After the camera incident he told me I was a bad boy!

This was a real Korean soldier at the DMZ. A real cute one. Behind him lies North Korea. You weren't supposed to take pictures of it, but I took one anyway just to see what would happen. One of the soldiers (not the cute one, unfortunately) ran over and demanded to see all the digital photos I had on my camera. Fortunately the one I snapped of North Korea turned out blank so I wasn't executed.

I recently travelled to Seoul, South Korea to show my zombie movie Otto; or, Up with Dead People at Pifan, the Puchon International Fantasy Film Festival. I took a day trip to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It was kind of tourist-y, but disturbing, political tourist-y. I hadn't had so much fun since Auschwitz. This is a fake Korean soldier in one of the DMZ museums.


NAT said...

this is your real blog? or a im comment to a fan?

i love your work.
my english sucks, sorry.



Jin said...

Hey B, it's Jin, your forever hostess in Korea~ I found your blog accidently and I laughed out off my ass while I was reading it! It's the GREATEST journal of trip in Korea, EVER!

How are you? I happened to skip TIFF this year and heading to Sitges, where OTTO is invited, too. Coming, or too busy in your new project?

Thank you for this post, reminding me of a hellish time in happiness!!! xoxoxo