Friday, March 25, 2011

New Hotels in Asia Embrace Their Local Settings

The new Four Seasons in Hangzhou, China aims to underscore local culture using pagoda-stlye architecture and wok- mannig cooks. Towns in Singapore. Japan, Shanghai, and Vietnam are all embracing their local ,ancient heritage.

 In Singapore, the 1926 colonial building Fort Canning served as headquarters for the British military before the Japanese took it during World War II. Now, it is an urban resort, which features two swimming pools, a spa, an Asian and a Mediterranean restaurant plus a tapas bar, all walking distance from the shops on Orchard Road and the restaurants and bars. Still, Singapore’s cultural accents enterprise.  For example, room service meals come in wooden tiffins, which reflect Singapore’s Indian influence.

In Japan, Hotel Kanra Kyoto was inspired by the machiya. There are wooden town houses that extend from a storefront to a central courtyard. The 29-room hotel has rooms that feature four-poster beds opposite poured concrete washbasins and desks with a tatami-mat-covered living space beyond. All rooms include a Japanese-cypress bathtub, nature-inspired original art and artist-made teacups. In the lobby, ceiling panels cycle through images of the sky, evoking a garden.

In Shanghai, the Fairmont Peace Hotel takes a different spin. over run by communists many years ago, it now represents peace. The hotel is the product of new- age technology and modern day luxuries.

In Vietnam, the new Six Senses Con Dao encourages living close to nature. Each of 50 beachfront villas includes canopy beds, ocean-facing walls of sliding glass doors, private plunge pools and bathrooms featuring open-air showers. Inspired by local villages, a craft shop, art gallery and library line a row of wood-frame dwellings. There's a market-style restaurant nearby that has wok-fried noodles as well as a bakery and deli.

Drugs, Jail and the Cycle

Drugs are one of the leading causes of incarceration in the United States. Approximately 108,000 people are in federal prisons, 280,000 people are in state prisons and 31,500 people are in California state prisons for drug-related offenses.  It’s determined that 8 out of 10 inmates- who are incarcerated for drugs- will re-enter prison after being released. To prove how senseless these people are, here’s an interview with a convicted drug dealer and addict.
Mohammed is a convict of the illegal drug persuasion. After serving a five year sentence, he’s already back to ‘work’. Standing an awkward 6’3, athletically built from direct Egyptian decent, Moe’s engulfed in with dozens of prison tattoos. Some are big, some are small, but they’re all mostly scary. Before prison, you didn’t know he was a dealer or an addict. Most people thought him as an average Joe but now those tattoos label him.
Moe was a decent student growing up but no does not have much mental capacity. Because of his past he suffers from a short attention span; the most you can actually speak with him is ten minuets or so. While talking it’s difficult for him to comprehend what you’re saying, just as it’s hard for you to decipher his words through his slurred speech. This is no doubt the result of his major drug use since his friends say he wasn’t like this just seven years ago. Many of his friends compare him to Ozzy Osborne, the musician, because of their striking similarities. They all say his condition got worse in jail. Moe’s a nice guy who doesn’t believe in violence, yet he is in one of the most violent occupations. This is his story:
When did you first do drugs? Why?
             Sixth grade Summer going into seventh grade because it was around me. Everyone did them, even my family so it was like I had to do them anyway so why not just start a.s.a.p.

When did you first sell them?
            About 15 turning 16. It just seemed like easy money and it is. There’s always going to be an addict somewhere but there’s not always going to be an employer. You can’t get fired for selling. You can get killed, but in Jersey that rarely happens.

What made you start to sell them even though you knew it was very dangerous and illegal?
            So I could get hooked up for free. Its business but it’s expensive, so you need to have connections.

Has it negatively affected your life? Why or not?
            I think it has rotted my brain a bit. I’m pretty ditsy and air headed but it hasn’t drastically affected my life negatively. It’s all been pretty positive.

You say that it has positively affected your life, why?
            It makes me happy. I truly believe I couldn’t be happy if I didn’t do them. Things are better all around for me. I didn’t flunk out of school and I’m living an average life. So yeah.

You were imprisoned for drugs, and still you say that it has positively affected your life?
            It wasn’t bad, prison; it was sort of like school… kind of like a boarding school. I sort of had fun and I didn’t care that I was in prison. So, why should I? I was fine. I’d go back.

Can you describe your life in prison?
            It was pretty simple. I had no responsibilities. You didn't have to work to get money for food. Life was like daycare. It wasn't bad.

What about the people you served your time with, can you describe them?
            They were just people. Like you and me. They weren't special.

Did you have a cell mate? If so, what was he in for?
            Yes. His name was Chris. He was also in for drugs. My whole cell block was a big wing for us drug people. There was a lot of us. Chris has been there two times before, he always bragged about it.

Do you plan to go back to prison?
            Why not? It’s a joke when they say it’s a punishment. Everything’s easy there. And you can get whatever fix you need from anybody for no fee sometimes.

Will you ever stop your illegal actions?        

            Because it’s my lifestyle. It comes naturally to me. And it’s all I have. I love it

Even if your life depended on it?
            I wouldn’t be in that situation anyway but I definitely would find a way around it anyway.

The mentality of those individuals in jail is that of a toddler. Many of these convicted inmates come from similar backgrounds and once they get thrown in jail they loose all sense of caring. It was their decisions to use drugs in the first place, but it was flaunted around them, most of them for all their lives. They’re put in jail as a punishment, not to help them get clean; but is that the problem? Many of the inmates loose their mental capacity and are spoon-fed those same drugs they were arrested for. The addiction continues, their psychological well being depletes and once they’re released; they’re give five dollars and drug dealers lined up to take it from them. They get stuck in the cycle and no one’s there to help them. Why?

*The above interview was much longer but due to Moe’s condition it had to be altered. All questions had to be re-written more simply using only basic grammar, and most of them had to be dropped.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teira Gosciniak: Interview with Mike Joy- journalist, columnist and die hard horror fan- from and

Mike Joy left and Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn) right
Out of all the genres of movies, why horror?

The reasons probably date back to my childhood sitting in front of the television watching Creature Double Feature. I’ve always had a unique relationship with horror movies. As a boy, I used to love all of those old black& white Universal Studios monster moves, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Dracula. You know that, I’m still that same person today.

What makes it appeal to you more than all the rest?

I like to be scared. Any great movie can give you that feeling. You know the feeling; it’s that inpatient feeling while you’re sitting on the last inch of your seat and you’re so sucked into the storyline that it’s becoming real to you. It’s the ultimate escapism. What’s your pleasure? Do you want to laugh? Do you want to cry? Do you want to be angry? The cinema has it all, but for my money, I like to be scared.

What would you say is your favorite horror movie?

John Carpenter’s Halloween


It’s quite simply the perfect horror movie. It’s not about the individual moments of the movie, but it’s about the collective. John Carpenter takes his audience on a voyeuristic journey and makes them feel what it’s like to be a babysitter alone in a house being stalked by evil. It’s a formula that has been copied many times over, but you can only capture the lightning once. It was the right music, the right actors, the right mask and it was more simply put as the right place and time.

A lot of people believe horror movies are becoming more and more grotesque. What do you think about all of the gore?

I’m not a gore guy, but there are times when it makes sense to use it. A great example of this would be in the movie Alien, when the creature pops out of Kane’s chest. The effect the gore gave was necessary for that scene to work. In recent year, there have been some high profile gore flicks such as Saw and Hostile. If there’s an audience for it, someone will make it.

Thinking about the past decade, what horror movie do you believe is the best of its time?

I’m a huge fan of horror movies that came out in the 1970’s. I think Rob Zombie did an outstanding job paying homage to that decade with The Devil’s Rejects. Other movies that I’ve enjoyed from this past decade include Saw, and the remakes of The Ring, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Dawn of the Dead.

A lot of horror movies are bitting off of older ones. When you look back at recent movies, they all follow the same storyline. Why do you think this happens?

If something works and makes money, then you’re going to see people trying to duplicate it. It’s greed winning out over creativity. Saw sparked the popularity of the torture horror sub-genre, and more recently Paranormal Activity made an impact that has since spawned a sequel and several imitation movies. It’s supply and demand.

What is your opinion of remakes?

In general, I do not like remakes. I think the horror industry is especially plagued with remakes. Hollywood is remaking everything. It’s just lazy filmmaking and the people in charge being afraid to put out money behind new ideas. It’s one thing to want to remake something and take it in a new direction with your own spin on it, but it’s an entirely different thing to just remake something because the movie is a franchise.

Is there any instance where you believe a remake is better than the original?

Definitely. John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing in the 1980’s was much better than the 1950’s original. That is probably the best example I have of a remake being better than the original. I think some movies come really close tough. It’s a matter of opinion, but some might say that David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly is better than the classic version that featured Vincent Price.

Many movies are being derived from books; the most popular one is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. What is you opinion of books being turned into movies?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with books being adapted into screenplays. I think as long as the integrity of the story is kept in tact, then it can be looked as a tribute to the author’s work.

Because of that, do you believe that shows the lack of skill and creativity of today’s directors?

I have great respect for the directors who both write and direct their own material. I think that’s why my favorite director is Quentin Tarantino. He’s an outstanding writer. Now I realize that some directors are just better behind the camera and are not skilled writers. That doesn’t make them any les creative, but maybe just a little less talented.

The horror genre seems to be the only genre there’s always multiple sequels to the original. Movies like Friday the 13th and Halloween pulled it off expertly, while movies like Saw are just dragging it out. Saw’s ratings have decreased since the third one; where do you believe they went wrong?

Well, I don’t think that Friday the 13th pulled it off. When you start making movies titled, Jason in Space, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. People don’t seem to understand that when a story runs its course you move on to the next one. In the case of Saw and its sequels, they just don’t see beyond the paycheck. They couldn’t even stop at a trilogy. They overplayed their hand and overstayed their welcome.

It can be speculated that a lot of today’s brutal murders are brought to life from what people see in the movies. Do you personally believe this to be true?

No. you can’t blame movies or television. If someone has the capability to do something evil, they don’t need a movie to tell them how to do it. It’s the people who think like that who want to censor everything. If you banned the movie, then they’ll find it in music. If you banned music, then they’d find in a book. There will always be something or someone to blame. If you start censoring cinema then you’ll end up censoring the Bible.

Not only are you a fanatic, but it’s said you’ve starred in and directed horror movie. Which ones?

In 1999, I was fortunate enough to work on the set of a low-budget horror movie titled, A Poison Tree. It was directed by Kyle Warren. The movie got a lot of local publicity and was covered by the Courier Post. It brought my interest in filmmaking and the horror genre to another level. I’ve dabbed in some experimental horror projects after that but nothing was ever released to the public. is a website you write for, so you know what it’s like to interview someone. What would you say is the hardest part for the interviewer and the interviewee?

Yes, I started writing for in 2008 when the site was created. Our site, while still young has grown tremendously over the last couple of years. I am one of the original three members and our site now has a staff of over 50 employees. We currently get 5,000 visitors a day which is double from where we were one year ago. I am part of the site’s public relations team as well as its senior interviewer. I’ve also done book and movie reviews and covered news topics.

If I record a phone interview, the hardest part is afterwards when I actually have to transcribe it into written words. It’s a real pain. The interview itself is a piece of cake. Now, if you’re talking about trying to get an interview with someone in specific, the most frustrating part can be the waiting game involved. I have a n interview on April 3rd with former Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura about his new conspiracy theories book. I’ve been trying to get this interview with Governor Ventura for over a year. Being the interviewee is easy.

Not only do you interview actors and directors but you’ve interviewed bands and writers as well. Out of them all, which have neen your favorites?

I’m just breaking into getting interviews from music artists like A Skylit Drive. I’m on a waiting list to interview Slash from Guns & Roses about his new horror production company, Slasher Films. It’s hard to pick a favorite but I’ll pick one from each category: actor, director, and writer. These men have been extremely open and welcome to any question that I asked them, Courtney Gains (actor in Children of the Corn), Tom Holland ( director of Child’s Play), and Tom Malloy ( writer of The Alphabet killer).

Horror conventions are not a common occurrence for most people; can you describe what goes on there?

It’s a meeting ground for horror fans to converge and talk, see, and buy everything horror related. It’s sometimes a place to see screenings of rare horror classics or brand new never before seen movies. In most of our daily live, we don’t usually bump into the entertainers that we see up on the silver screen. At conventions, it creates the opportunity for anyone to meet and greet with some of their favorite actors and directors.

If attending do you have plans to interview anyone in particular?

Yes, I plan to attend the next Monstermania Con in Cherri Hill NJ. I’m going to be meeting up with Bill Apter, who is best known for his works as a journalist and photographer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Bill not only has wrestling connections but also entertainment ties. It’s all about networking. I don’t have any other interviews scheduled, but I am making inquiries.

Your popularity as a horror journalist is rising. You have a fan base, your own website and currently a column you write – Unexplained Confidential. Tell me a little about that and where you got the name?

Unexplained Confidential is my paranormal column. I do a lot of interviews with different paranormal research groups across the country. I’ve also talked to The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) regarding UFO news and sightings, as well as some well known authors on the subject of extraterrestrials. I’ve always had a deep interest in supernatural events, and this column provides a definite outlet. I try to keep the focus more reality based and less on the entertainment side of the paranormal subject matter. You asked how I came up with the name. I put so many combinations of words together trying to find something that fit and Unexplained Confidential just really worked for me.

If you could interview one person, who would it be?

Quentin Tarantino


The answer is easy. He’s my favorite director. I would appreciate the opportunity to sit down and talk with him about his creative process. He is responsible for a good number of my favorite non- horror movies. Pulp Fiction is a groundbreaking masterpiece and probably the best movie to come out in the last 20 years. In the Kill Bill series, he takes old school martial arts movies to a modern cutting edge stage. I have a long list of who, how, what, where, and why? My questions are endless.

What other websites do you write for?

At the moment, I am only writing for but have written for other websites in the past. I wrote a horror related column titled, “Joy of Horror” for the UK based movie website

You used to wrestle in your younger days, can you tell me a little about that?

I’ve had several friends that broke into the professional wrestling business. I’ve always enjoyed the physicality of the sport. I have ten years of aikido training under my belt, along with Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu training. I never made the leap into professional wrestling, but I have wrestled with The Blue Meanie & Mikey Whipwreck from ECW, and Twiggy H. Ramirez & Madonna Wayne Gacy (the wrestlers) form NWA.

It’s surprising that you’re not a wrestling journalist, why is that?

In the early 90’s, I started two separate wrestling newsletters. The first was titled, The Shooting Star Press. It was named after a move the Japanese Wrestler, Jushin Liger made famous. I also started an audio format newsletter titled, Audio Wrestling Report. This newsletter was recorded and sent out on cassette tapes, and focused on the local, independent wrestling scene. I haven’t covered professional wrestling in close to 20 years.

Any plans to start?

I don’t know, it’s a thought. I have recently interviewed a number of personalities from the professional wrestling industry for I interviewed former ECW and NWA World Champion, Raven about his movie role in Sleeper. I also interviewed George “The Animal” Steele about Ed Wood, and Ox Baker about Escape from New York. I interviewed legendary wrestling manager, Sir Oliver Humperdink. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be meeting with Bill Apter in a couple of weeks. We’ll have to see where that interview will take me.

So what’s next for you, any exciting interviews lined up?

There is a lot of buzz right now about turning my Unexplained Confidential Column into a podcast. It would be a live show on BlogTalkRadio that would focus on everything paranormal from UFO’s to Ghost Hunters. Right now, it’s about me just finding the time to do a podcast as it will obviously take some serious dedication to make it work.

There’s rumors of you being on the Art Bell Show soon, is this true?

Yes. Art Bell or George Noory. It’s only true if I decide to move forward with the Unexplained Confidential podcast. At that point, wants to book me on Coast to Coast to really push the website and our paranormal podcast. It’s up in the air at the moment. I’ll make an official announcement on in the next month or two about those plans.