Samantha Culp

Rockers & Romancers

Just a little sonic something for Valentine’s Day: “Rockers & Romancers,” a mix of luscious, vintage Jamaican rocksteady and soul. Lovingly collected by L.A. musician Spencer Dunham (of The Allah-lahs, another great recent discovery) when he was working the discount reggae bins at Amoeba Records, these tracks are a subdued tropical caress to a fevered or broken heart. Extra reverb makes them extra dreamy. Preview Tony Gregory’s stunning “Human” here – which at first sounds like it could be a rework of “Moon River” or “Sleepwalk” but then turns into something beautiful and new:

Human – Tony Gregory

Download the compilation here: Rockers & Romancers

Two bonus tidbits:

“The Bus Driver’s Face” – a short, mysterious Valentine’s Day story in translation from Jing Xianghai (鯨向海), Taiwanese poet, essayist and psychiatrist (via Asymptote Journal)

– A campy cover of The Cure’s classic “Lovesong,” as performed in a Bangkok bathtub by the effortlessly-fabulous Gene Kasidit (formerly of Bangkok’s defunct electro sensation Futon)

Wisut Ponnimit on drawing manga in Japan

Thai comic/animation artist Wisut Ponnimit has become known for his love of Japan as much as his charming, deceptively simple drawing style. After gaining recognition for his surreal “hesheit” series begun in 1998, heavily influenced by 1970s manga, he eventually moved to Kobe to get closer to the source of his inspiration. It’s no surprise he was prominently featured in the 2008 Bangkok exhibition “Tomyam Pladib” (my Artforum review here), titled after an imaginary fusion of spicy soup and sushi, which showcased the intersection of Thai and Japanese creativity.

His recent solo exhibition “Time Lap Exhibition of Blanco” just closed in Shibuya, but Japan’s Hitspaper blog interviews him about the show and his current work here (Japanese-only). While wishing there was an English translation (as the blog did for their interview with John Woo here), it’s a quick introduction to his style, his thoughts on Thai creativity (with a mention for Uncle Boonmee), and he even recommends one of our favorite Bangkok bars, Shades of Retro.

Learn more about Wisut’s work on his website, follow his Twitter, check out his series of animated “short stories” for Audiotechnica here and see two of his great cartoons below – “Love Elevator” and “Tribute to Haruomi Hosono” (the great musician and founder of YMO)


Meaw Meaw

Kitsch Cat Collage

My article on Bangkok’s Kitsch Cat is in the newest issue of Theme Magazine.

Read article online at Theme or in the vault.


BKK Notes 004: Found Photos (& Sticker)

Dont_Be_Selfish Elephant_Festival Mod_Chick_2 Mod_Chick_1 Student_Abroad Brise_Soleil Bangkok_Beauty

Some incredible ’60s photos I found in Chatuchak Market… plus sticker from About Cafe. Full set here.

BKK Notes 02: Creepiness

One of the first days of my trip, my friend Connelly sent me a link to a Bangkok Post story about how the “head of a foreigner” had been found dangling from the Rama VIII bridge. Out of this gruesome tragedy, the line that struck me as somehow blackly funny was: “Investigators do not believe he took his own life.”


I later realized that on a trip in 2007, I had hung out for an entire afternoon under this same bridge while some friends were filming. It was lovely – fried fish from the barbecue stand, little dogs and teen skateboarders zigzagging past each other, and at 6pm sharp, the requisite group aerobics. (more…)

BKK Notes 01: Leopard Medical Brand “Brown Mixture” (aka “Leopard 5-Star”)

This cough syrup is sold over the counter in every 7-11 and Family Mart in Bangkok.


Bangkok Days (From the Snow to the Sweat)

When I lived in Hong Kong, the flight to Don Muang (and then Suvarnabhumi) was a frequent and familiar one… but since moving up north, far less easy to wrangle. Luckily I got to head back for a bit recently. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.

Beijing was still covered in snow when I left, and grey when I returned. Just like “The Wizard of Oz,” BKK remains the Technicolor in the middle.

Full photo set here.

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From Vientiane to Beijing in Theme Magazine

As my last spurt of journalistic productivity before going on my present “sabbatical,” I have two pieces in the current issue of Theme Magazine (NYC). One is on Beijing band “Ourself Beside Me” (also known as “Ourselves Beside Me”; there is no definitive right spelling and I suspect the girls prefer it that way); the other on Thai television show “Dreamchaser.”

Profile: Ourself Beside Me, Theme Magazine, Issue 17, Nov/Dec/Jan 2008/2009 Eureka!

Theme: Dreamchaser, Theme Magazine, Issue 17, Nov/Dec/Jan 2008/2009 Eureka!