Kung Fu and Love Hotels…

Craig ReidLast week was this season’s third Active Cultures, our winter series where two experts give short lectures on two topics that don’t necessarily relate to one another and then share the stage for a dynamic conversation with the audience.

Our first guest speaker in January was Dr. Craig D. Reid, a stuntman, fight choreographer, and film historian, who spoke about The Power of 1970s Kung Fu Cinema. He shared personal anecdotes from his involvement in martial arts films, including how early on in his career he provided voiceovers for the versions of Chinese language films dubbed into English. He also gave us a broad history of these films and talked particularly about the accomplishments of Bruce Lee.

Misty KeaslerAfter a quick segue we heard from photographer Misty Keasler, who flew in from Dallas to discuss her study of Love Hotels: The Hidden Fantasy Rooms of Japan. In her quest to photograph these spaces intended for couples to meet in privacy, she found herself navigating aspects of these institutions not open to many, and needing to explain her interest in these extraordinarily lavishly themed rooms to hotel managers. We saw her photographs of rooms with carousel horses, Hello Kitty, and even one made to look like the inside of a subway car!

The conversation then opened up to everyone with Craig and Misty moderating and answering questions. After our formal program ended, participants stayed to have their books signed by Misty and Craig, and to continue the discussion with our speakers and friends over a glass of wine or beer. This was one of our most personal and engaging Active Cultures yet.

Missing out on the conversation? Come to our finale on February 17, 2012, at 7:30 pm, where artist Richard Jackson will speak on the development of the art scene in 1960s and 70s Pasadena and professor Andrew Liang will explore China’s rapid urbanization. Free for members, $10 general admission, and you can even reserve your tickets now on Eventbrite! See you there! ~KS


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