Friday, September 12, 2014
Today turned out to be a rather Ultra-day in some unexpected ways. For a couple of weeks, I had planned to attend the birthday concert of Maria Theresa Gow at the jazz club JZ Brat in the Hotel Cerulean Tower Tokyu in Shibuya. Although I've corresponded with Gow-san several times, I'd never met her in person before tonight.
American fans may recognize Maria Theresa Gow as Georgie Leland from Ultraman Gaia (1998-99). She also was an extra in Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002). I was looking forward to attending the concert and having the opportunity to meet her in person, and I came away from the experience quite happy!
The concert itself was very enjoyable, with many familiar American songs ("Proud Mary," "Material Girl," "Let It Go," among others) being among the set. Since it's also Gow-san's birthday, she was presented with a cake onstage (along with flowers), which drew rounds of applause and cheers from the audience. Gow-san was extremely friendly, and I could easily see why she was so beloved by everyone in attendance.
But that's not all! Earlier in the day I went to Keiko Nishi's cafe in Ginza and got the chance to catch up with her again. Readers of this blog know that Nishi-san was one of the stars of Ultraman Ace (1972-73), one of my favorite Ultra-series.
A big thanks to Gow-san and Nishi-san for their kindness and hospitality!
The recent interview with King Kong Escapes star Linda Miller in G-FAN #106 has drawn a lot of attention from Godzilla fandom, but it has also drawn the attention of local media! Laura McFarland has a lengthy article in Powhatan Today that not only details Linda Miller's time in Japan but also chronicles how the G-FAN interview was able to take place. Both Linda and I are quoted in the article, and (if I may say so myself), the story is a great companion piece to our interview.
You can read the story here. Many thanks to Laura McFarland for an excellent job and (of course) to Linda Miller for sharing her story with us!
UPDATE: The article was just picked up by the Richmond Times-Dispatch!
Saturday, September 6, 2014
The restauarant Asian Taipei, located in Chofu, Tokyo, hosted an impressive Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) reunion that attracted several notable tokusatsu figures as attendees. The guests at the reunion were Yuriko Hishimi (who plays the karate-kicking Tomoko Tomoe), Hiroshi Ishikawa (who stars as cartoonist Gengo Kotaka), legendary suit actor Haruo Nakajima (who plays Godzilla), and SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano.
The event brought a few notable names who would otherwise be featured guests at such a signing, but they simply came as fans themselves. Millennium series director Masaaki Tezuka (Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla against Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) was among the attendees.
Also on hand were expert model maker Hiroshi Sagae (the Heisei Gamera series) and former child actor Sojiro Uchino (Ultra Q, Ultraman, Kaiju Booska, and Gamera vs. Viras).
Haruo Nakajima was revered by the audience and spoke about his many kaiju memories. Speaking of Nakajima-san, many prizes were given away to attendees. The last such prize was a signed paperback copy of Nakajima-san's autobiography. As it turned out, I was the lucky winner! Interestingly, I had held off on buying a copy of Nakajima-san's book, feeling I'd eventually be able to get a signed copy in such a situation. Luckily, my waiting paid off in the end.
It was quite a treat to see actors Hishimi-san and Ishikawa-san reunited and interacting with each other. They seemed to get along very well, and I have to wonder if this pairing will be featured at future events in Tokyo. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Teruyoshi Nakano lent his SFX expertise to the proceedings, and he discussed the more technical side of the film. He and Nakajima-san had great chemistry together and spoke about the old days very fondly.
I just had to get a photo of this: Gengo helping Godzilla speak to the crowd!
As you can see, it was a night of fun and friends. Not only did I leave with a signed copy of Nakajima-san's autobiography, but I also got a Blu-ray of Godzilla vs. Gigan signed by all four guests, as well as a shikishi board signed by all four. Not a bad haul!
On to the next events!
Actor Yosuke Natsuki peruses G-FAN #107, which features his lengthy interview with yours truly. Photo by Brett Homenick.
On the afternoon of September 5, I was privileged to have lunch with Yosuke Natsuki at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo. Having received a few copies of the latest G-FAN, the lunch was an opportunity to present Natsuki-san with a couple of the magazines. But that's not all!
Among the other goodies I brought, I gave Natsuki-san a poster for the Shacho series comedy Salaryman Chushingura (1960), in which he co-stars with Toho heavyweights like Akira Takarada, Keiju Kobayashi, Hisaya Morishige, and others. In return, Natsuki-san gave me a few DVD copies of some of his rarer films.
Asako Kato (who very ably translated the interview) and I enjoyed our meal, and afterward we visited Natsuki-san's office to continue the conversation.
As Natsuki-san spoke on the phone with a fellow Toho alumnus, I snapped some photos. Some of them turned out quite well! I'm finally getting the hang of this new camera.
It was a great afternoon, spent in the company of a wonderful gentleman. I always enjoy our meetings, and I hope many more will be coming in the near future.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The latest issue of G-FAN has been completed and should be arriving at a mailbox near you very soon! The issue contains a number of features, such as a G-FEST pictorial, J.D.'s editorial tribute to the late John Fasano, and many others, but readers of this blog should take note of two new interviews in particular.
My lengthy career retrospective interview with Toho star Yosuke Natsuki is published in the new issue. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I'm sure you will be, too! Natsuki-san is a lively storyteller who has many memories of Toho Studios from the 1950s, '60s, and beyond.
The current issue also contains my interview with Goro Mutsumi, who appeared in numerous Toho SFX films during the 1970s. This interview is much longer and more in-depth than our previous one (conducted via correspondence about five years ago) and covers his career in detail. Fans of '70s Toho tokusatsu will not want to miss out on Mutsumi-san's recollections!
Go to G-FAN.com right now and buy, buy, buy!
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Earlier this evening I had a chance to visit actor-singer Mickey Curtis at a party being held in Daikanyama, Tokyo. It had been about a year since we last saw each other, so it was enjoyable to catch up with him again, particularly about a recent NHK program he filmed with Kumi Mizuno and Yoshio Tsuchiya in Hiroshima.
I also finally had an opportunity to present Mickey with a couple of copies of the interview we did a while back, which appear in G-FAN #104. He thumbed through the magazine several times and was fascinated by its contents.
Mickey just completed work on four different movies, as well as additional TV work. More acting roles are on the way, so he is always busy. And none of this takes into account his musical performances! It's amazing Mickey can find the time to do anything these days!
Mickey Curtis has appeared in numerous Japanese films, such as: Outlaw Outpost (1959), Fires on the Plain (1959), Big Shots Die at Dawn (1961), Gunhed (1989), Kamikaze Taxi (1995), and Robo-G (2012). If you haven't read his interview yet, go to G-FAN.com and get your copy today!
Saturday, August 23, 2014
As readers of this blog will remember, Toho star Yosuke Natsuki had to cancel his Skype interview at G-FEST for health reasons. However, I'm happy to report that Natsuki-san is on the mend; in fact, he's almost back to being 100%!
On Friday, I had an appointment to stop by Natsuki-san's office for a visit. We exchanged DVDs, and I told him about G-FEST. We spent a good while chatting about his experiences at Toho. It was a fun afternoon, and I couldn't think of a better way to spend it.
An interview with Natsuki-san will be published in G-FAN #107, which is in the mail now. Even though he couldn't do the Skype interview, you can still read all about his days at Toho and beyond! Order your copy at G-FAN.com today!