Sunday, May 1, 2016

Younger Korean’s Focus on the Chemical Body

Behind the plastic surgery boom in South Korea

So Many Japanese are Dying That the Country is Creating Corpse Hotels for It’s Funeral Refugees


Tucked away in a quiet residential street in Kawasaki city in Japan is a refurbished workshop with a plain silver exterior and black draped windows that residents describe as creepy.

The business inside, Sousou, is one of Japan's latest so-called corpse hotels, a camouflaged morgue used to store some of Japan’s mounting pile of bodies waiting for a spot in one of the nation's overworked crematoriums.

“Crematories need to be built, but there isn’t any space to do so and that is creating funeral refugees," said Hisao Takegishi, who opened the business in 2014.

Unlike other such morgues-in-disguise, which try to blend in by looking like hotels, Sousou doesn’t refrigerate corpses, relying on air conditioned rooms instead.

As Japan ages its people are dying off at a faster pace. About 20,000 more people per year are expiring with the death rate expected to peak at about 1.7 million a year by around 2040.

By then, barring any major influx of immigrants, Japan will have 20 million fewer people.

Yoko Masuzawa, 50, who, lives behind Sousou, demanded it put air ventilation grills above ground level, a request that she says it ignored.

"It was built so close, less than a meter away in some places," she said.

Sousou's customers, however, are grateful for a place to keep their deceased relatives.

Takegishi, who used to help organize weddings, is looking to tap growing demand, with plans to bring corpse hotels to other cities.

Thanks, Akito for this story.

Paramedia I

Zappa vs. Zappa

Dweezil, Frank, Moon. Photo: Geoffrey Croft/Retna

The New York Times

For a decade, Dweezil Zappa, a son of the rock star Frank Zappa and a noted guitarist in his own right, has been paying tribute to his father’s music under the name Zappa Plays Zappa.

The project, which features exacting performances of Frank Zappa’s famously complex music, has toured the world and won a Grammy.

But when Dweezil Zappa takes the project on the road this summer, it will be with a far less catchy name: Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa.

“It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue,” he said in an interview, “but this is being done under duress.”

The name change is the most visible sign of a rift that has grown within one of the rock world’s most famous families since the death last year of Gail Zappa, the widow of Frank Zappa, who had managed her husband’s musical legacy with a firm hand since his death in 1993.

This month, the Zappa Family Trust, which owns the rights to Mr. Zappa’s music, informed Dweezil that he did not have permission to tour as Zappa Plays Zappa — the name is a trademark owned by the trust — and that he risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission. Continue reading at The New York Times

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What ‘Youth’?

What ‘Youth’?

Part 1
Part 2
26 April 2016

Perfect Babies | A Precursor to Closing the Womb

D Magazine

As you traverse the Dallas North Tollway near Oak Lawn Avenue, you may spot a billboard advertising “perfect babies.”

The perfect babies being promoted in the advertisement are part of an art installation by artist Rachel Lee Hovnanian called the Perfect Baby Showroom, a “laboratory meets shopping mall” for parents to construct their perfect child.

Our perfect babies work hard and play even harder. A Perfect Baby is the ultimate reward. We guarantee parental experience will be without compare. Each Perfect Baby is meticulously bio-engineered. Advanced bio-science harmonizes with the personal needs of individual parents. Our service offers the best start to achieve the pinnacle of modern day parenting.

Traits + Appearance = Perfect Baby. A natural choice... enjoy the journey.

Inside plastic open-topped boxes are hyper-realistic dolls, where bags of colorful, conventional cereals—another product of genetic modification—act as pillows. A sign on the wall above the babies resembles a fast food menu, with close-up images of the babies’ faces labeled with names such as The Morgan, The Jordan, and The Joey. Hovnanian says that this year’s exhibition features babies that have been “upgraded to 2016 models.” Floor-to-ceiling wall outlets allow the babies to be plugged in and warm to the touch.

The dolls in Hovnanian’s exhibit are a real, marketed product called Reborn baby dolls, which the artist discovered (and ordered) on the Internet. The dolls are “adopted” online — Hovnanian adopted all the babies on display — and can be crafted with whatever physical attributes the owner pleases. “They’re better than the real thing,” Hovnanian says.

Hovnanian makes interaction with the babies pretty easy, upon entering the exhibit, viewers are instructed to use hand sanitizer, put on a lab coat, and take pictures to post on Instagram. Guests are even encouraged to pick up and handle the babies before making a selection.

A photo posted by Karen Bookatz (@kbookatz) on

A photo posted by Andrew O'Hearn (@androoohearn) on

A photo posted by Snapchat: NatalieLovesArt (@natalielovesart) on

The perfect babies even have resumes, which spell out what they will each achieve in life.