A Princess Dream Come True

Our court from 1991. I am second from left on the bottom row. This was taken about a month before our Nisei Week Pageant and Queen selection.

Over two decades ago, my first seemingly dreamy and unattainable goal was to be involved in a yearly Japanese-American festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week, which was established back in 1934.  Aside from a period of seven years between 1942 and 1948, during which World War II raged and carried a solid and jarring impact on the Japanese-American community, the Nisei Week festival has continued to run throughout the decades.

As a child, I remember seeing the Nisei Week Queen and court each year, and it became a dream of mine to be selected as a court member when I got older. However, I got sidetracked by life and didn’t bother to enter the  competition for the local queen selection until the year I turned 25.  I was stunned when I was chosen as the Queen of my community center (the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, or SFVJACC) for that year.

Once I was selected, I spent the next three months in regular meetings with the queens from the other eight participating communities, meetings in which we would practice all the routines for the beauty pageant which would mark the beginning of that year’s Nisei Week. We competed in that pageant for over 1,000 audience members in a 3 hour event, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was happy with being a Nisei Week Princess. We rode on floats, visited businesses, and fostered good will throughout the Japanese-American community.

August 16, 2015: Nisei Week Queen and Court on the float of Nisei Week Japanese Festival Parade at Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles.

When we were on stage, on parade floats, and on visitations, we would wear our sashes, a definite marker which identified us all as queen and court.  On some occasions, we would wear our crowns, and were either clad in matching dresses, or in kimono.

Queen?  Princess?  I guess so, at least in pageant terms!

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“Fitness California Style” Is Available Through Amazon Prime!

I’m honored to be a part of this fantastic project which is now available through Amazon Prime Video! Best yet, Season 1 is available to watch for FREE to Amazon Prime members. Hosted by CSCS, IFBB Pro, martial artist and actor Ian Lauer.

Click on the link below to access all 13 episodes in Season 1!

https://www.amazon.com/Full-Workout-Dumbells-Bench-Babaganoush/dp/B07FVMN3FS/ref=sr_1_2?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1532898241&sr=1-2&keywords=ian+lauer

No Olympia For Me This Year

Fun times from Olympia 2011 with Anca and Farinaz

For the past seven years, I have attended Olympia every year and have always enjoyed the whole experience. This year, however, I will not be attending since the main sports supplement company I work with, SWAT Fuel, will not have a presence there this time around. What is strange for me is that I am not bothered by the fact that I won’t be rubbing elbows with the fitness and bodybuilding icons I have come to know over the years. In some sense I am actually relieved that I will get a break this year, since I have been traveling more this year and could use a staycation.

For those of you who are wondering what event I will be at next, please come by and say hi at the Ferrigno Legacy on November 18th and 19th. I will be at the Flexpo, handing out samples of SWAT Fuel’s 9mm+P, which is a combination preworkout/endurance/thermogenic formula unlike anything else on the market!

For more information and tickets to the Ferrigno Legacy, please visit: https://www.ferrignolegacy.com/

Watch Gaston, Wolverine And Robin Hood Compete In An Epic Sing-Off While Drinking

This video link shows Luke Evans (Gaston from Beauty and the Beast), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), and Taron Egerton (Robin Hood) on the Jonathan Ross Show, having a fantastic sing-off! This is wonderful stuff!

http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1637710/watch-gaston-wolverine-and-robin-hood-compete-in-an-epic-sing-off-while-drinking

Beauty And The Beast

I will freely admit that I am a Beauty and the Beast fanatic, and waited with baited breath for the 2017 live action remake of the 1991 Disney animated classic to hit theaters this past March. In true fan fashion, I saw the new film twice during the week it was released, once in 3-D, and once on a regular screen.

The nostalgia of the 1991 release is nicely preserved in the remake, and the story line is followed relatively faithfully, while still expanding on the original version and creating a lush environment which could only be created through live action and CGI. The 2017 version visually dazzles in a way that the animated version never could, and that was indeed a thrill for me.

The live action film was cast quite nicely, and characters who were already quite interesting and colorful in their own right became even more amusing and multi-dimensional, thanks to the actors’ portrayals. I especially loved Kevin Kline’s portrayal of Maurice. Overall, I loved the 2017 film, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the 1991 animated classic.

Here’s where I mince things apart a bit. Despite the fact that Audra McDonald (who plays Madame Garderobe) is a six-time Tony winner, her voice grated on my nerves like nobody’s business, with its shrillness, its over-the-top trillings. It was enough to make me squirm in my seat each time she sang. I’m not big on musicals, especially when a lyric soprano musically rants like a mad bird (sorry, just my opinion).

Dan Stevens is rather convincing as the Beast, and does a nice job of conveying the myriad of emotions which the Beast experiences (rage, grief, frustration, shame, love). But like the prince in the animated version, the prince restored from the lifted curse was incredibly bland and unexciting. It was like eating a zesty, delicious meal (the Beast), and then getting a bowl of day-old porridge for the final course (the prince). I found Luke Evans as Gaston much more enticing, not only because his face naturally has more character, but also because he so convincingly played the narcissist vying for Belle’s affections that he was just more believable.

Lastly, while Emma Watson is a capable singer, and delivers a decent portrayal of the independent, bibliophile Belle, she wasn’t what I pictured when imagining Belle as a real person. By no means is Watson “gorgeous” like Gaston’s line in the song “Little Town” suggests. The line goes: “Right from the moment when I met her, saw her, I said ‘she’s gorgeous’ and I fell.” Yeah, right. I can see that in the 1991 animated film, but Watson is NOT gorgeous. She may be cute, or as a friend mentioned, handsome, but gorgeous? No. Beautiful? No. Even when Watson donned the yellow ball gown for the ever so famous dancing scene, there was nothing about her which could be regarded as breathtaking.

Nevertheless, I would watch the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast again and again. I truly did love the film and plan to purchase the DVD to add to my collection of favorite films.

Love Scenes

Depending on the typecasting which exists for an actor, kissing scenes or sex scenes may be a regular part of the mix. This can throw a wrench in relationships, and in some cases, result in their demise.

Performance kissing and lovemaking (or straight up nasty fucking, excuse the expression) has to look convincing and appealing. Many actors have stated that kissing and sex scenes for the film camera, television camera, or stage are rather different from regular intimate interactions. However, the intimate acts which actors must perform are still exactly that, intimate. It’s important for actors to build up some sort of relationship with their fellow actors prior to such scenes. And though the intimate act (be it a kiss, a fondle, or a full-on sexual act) must be performed in front of the entire crew, it’s still a shared moment which would make most people blush and squirm from the awkwardness.

I am also aware of the fact that actors might not be attracted to the other actor (s) in the scene, and that they might not even be the gender to which the actor finds him or herself attracted. Yet, as the saying goes, the show must go on. Then again, they may indeed be physically attracted to their co-stars. I have heard actors admit that they get an enjoyment, a charge, out of performing an intimate scene, because there is an exchange of energy between the actors, and the artistic process is in full force.

In addition, the actors must make the scene believable, which means the passion, the lust, the hunger, must all be generated from the actors’ past experiences. It’s all part of getting into character. So in that sense, the feelings are genuine. The question I have, though, is how fair is it to say that the character is the one in the midst of the embrace, and not the actor who is performing it? To me, that sounds like a cop-out. As someone who has had to endure a partner performing such scenes, I cannot accept the rationale that the actor is not the one engaged in the activity, and that because it’s acting, it’s perfectly acceptable. Call me a prude, call me narrow-minded, but the thought of my man swapping spit, grabbing an actress by the breast or ass, or grinding up against another human in the act of feigned copulation, quite frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

Actors will often offer this rebuttal: “It’s ACTING, it’s my job. It’s what I have to do. It’s my normal.”

It’s just work? Yeah, so is stripping. And porn. And prostitution.

And what about the feelings of insecurity and jealousy which I believe would and should naturally spark in an actor’s mate? If a partner cannot seem to adjust or accept the intimate performances which an actor may be called on to perform, is that partner being unfair? What about how the actor approaches his or her partner with the news that a liplock, a bump and grind, or nudity will be required for a scene? Does an actor have the right to wave the flag of “creative license” in the face of his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse?

I’ll tell you this much: the idea of my man’s lips, tongue, hands, body on another actor bugs me to no end. Such activities are private, intimate interactions, and my strong belief is that they should NOT be shared with anyone else, even during an acting scene which is supposedly an artistic expression and completely make-believe. Pheromones are released during a romantic kiss, and can’t be avoided. And quite frankly, there have been enough stories about actors hooking up off the set because they discovered that there was a sexual or romantic connection, one that might be worth jeopardizing an existing relationship for.

The only other industries which require intimate encounters between humans are stripping, porn and prostitution. Perhaps the actions don’t have the same meaning as they do when the working individual is with his or her real-life love interest, but the activities are still very much occurring. Yes, I know those of you who are actors want to debate this, especially since you only feign sexual encounters. However, no other industry besides the ones I have previously mentioned even approaches the compromising positions and intimate encounters which acting does. For actors to be called upon to kiss, fondle and grind up against others, and to expect their mates to be completely okay with it just seems like the ultimate double standard, and I am not afraid to say that I find the whole thing rather unreasonable.

Here are a few admissions from actors which I found online:

“And when I kiss a woman, in my head, I WANT HER. I committed to whatever I was playing fully. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t professional and respectful, but as a young man making out with a young women (sic), I was thinking, THIS IS AWESOME!”

“Most of the answers here are very much along the lines of ‘it’s just a job’
However, I am what is often described as a method actress. I will look at my scene partner and think about what it would be like to kiss him, touch him, what he would look like naked, what he would do to me if we were alone, those sorts of sexy things. And also if we are working together for more than a day or so, I do tend to get a bit of a crush on my scene partner for a while. It goes away and I’ve never acted on those feelings.”

“It’s like running in the rain. There’s a certain point when you go, ‘[Expletive] it, I’m already wet. I’m not going to get any less wet, so I might as well just enjoy how this feels.’ I mean, sure, there’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. I am not a small human being. I weigh at least 200 pounds and I’m six-foot-two. And Wiig is a twig; she’s a skinny little thing. It’s weird and uncomfortable at first, but then all the awkwardness melts away and you think, All right, we’re doing this, so let’s have fun with it. You know what I mean? You’re in that moment and it’s happening and it’s not going to get any better, so you might as well enjoy it.” — Jon Hamm, on Bridesmaids

For more interesting quotes from celebrities regarding filming sex scenes, you can click on the link here:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a31833/celebrity-quotes-about-filming-sex-scenes/