Sep 10, 2013

I'm in p3culiar's "Menea" Music Video Debut on!

Burlesque performers are approached very, very often by budding photographers, aspiring filmmakers, clothing designers etc to collaborate on projects. When I first started in this wonderful world of striptease I jumped at every opportunity that came my way hoping to get new photos or to get new opportunities. Most of the time, nothing really comes out of the project or the end product is disappointing, exhibited in the wrong context, or gets minimal exposure, and certainly nothing that  "opened doors".

Over time I've learned to be selective about who I work with and which emails to respond to.  Sometimes you hit gold as in my case working with Steve McQueen on his 2011 film Shame and sitting for a portrait for Van Sarki's Burlesque Compere.

The most recent project that I worked on is a music video for "Menea" (feat. Cakes the Killa) a project out of the entity known as P3culiar self described as "odd music by Marcelo C. Baez." Marcelo is a bit of an unique character himself. First thing I did was google him. Thin, sharp angular facial features. Piercing blue eyes. He has a regal air about him like the prince of Latin hipsters or an ultra cool bon vivant. And that he is also very photogenic and a bit of a celebrity. He has been written up and interviewed by several night life and music magazines for the dance parties he throwns known as "Nacotheque".
Marcelo on the right
What makes his music different is the Latin influence mixed in with electro clash. Oh and he also writes (A Love Letter to Tijuana, ABC News). He grew up in California and in Mexico so I felt like I connected with his words (read the blog post here) because I also grew up multi-culturally. Having Spanish as my second language (English is my third and Mandarin Chinese is my first) and having grown up in Bolivia, South America then Texas where Mexican culture was a prominent influence, I immediately liked what he was all about. Then, one hot sweaty afternoon, I met with the director Angelita Mendoza (Vidi Vici Films along with Victor Capiz) on the rooftop cafeteria garden of the building where Nickelodeon and a bunch of other TV networks are in. I haven't totally committed to the project and needed to get a vibe of their vision, idea, and really, is this a music video that's not going to see the light of day? I was asked to commit an entire weekend to the shoot, for approximately 8-10 hours a day. I HAD to make sure my time was going to be well spent.

Angie described her vision of the video which is inspired by the "Mexploitation" films of the 1970s (also known as "sexycomedias" or "cine de ficheras"). She knew her references and had the storyboards. I play myself as Calamity Chang but my character in the video is inspired by the famous & VERY vavavoom Mexican burlesque dancer of Chinese heritage Lyn May! I was like WHAT?!? Sign me up! This was to me a sign. I'm Chinese but I feel a strong affinity to Mexican culture, and now she was telling me about Lyn May who I've never heard of. How serendipitous! And I really liked Angie's energy. She was articulate, smart, and laughed (I don't trust people who don't laugh). I was on board!

I loved working with Angie and her crew. It was so fun to spend the weekend with them portraying an unhappy Mexican-Chinese housewife who indulges in a cabaret party fantasy. We shot at Fontana's in the Lower East Side/Chinatown. I had the opportunity to see the video before the international debut on air and I think it's very fun and very funny to see me dubbed over in English in a faux-cine de ficheras). I also love the song Menea (which means "to gyrate" technically but I think in this context perhaps "to grind" is more fitting!)  

I hope you enjoy the music video! It debuted today on (Telemundo's MTV).There are two versions. The first one is "starred" and you can hear the VJ introducing the video. The second one is not censored!

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