Tokyo Dolores

Tokyo DoloresAt some point of Far East Film Festival 2012, whoever you met among staff members or simple acquaintances would have asked you about Tokyo Dolores in a particular way. “Where are the girls?” has been the reoccurring question for days, especially after their departure for another destination, for another show. That was awesome for us - who suggested them as guest artists at the festival in Udine - if we just think about the soft undertone the Italian term “ragazze” (i.e. girls) can hide, the familiar tone carrying some affection, not expressible in another language. That’s enough for Asian Feast staff to say that the days spent with Tokyo Dolores assisting their show have been really amazing.

Tokyo Dolores were born some years ago from the mind of Izumi Cay. Actress, dancer, occasionally illustrator, she decided to combine everything in this art project to tie together her passion for the acrobatic dance and the pop culture of her country: From gothic to kawaii, from samurai to geisha, Tokyo Dolores are a unique mix of innocence and malice as only in Japan is possible. It’s a project carried out without interruption through perseverance and determination, and it gave Cay the opportunity to tour around the world: North America, Asia and Europe with a certain predilection for our country. The successful show at Lucca Comics & Games in 2011 certainly opened the doors to their comeback this year. On that occasion we were lucky to be there as the official staff for the girls to take pictures and  to shoot a video.

Our journey begins on Saturday (April 21st) with a show scheduled at Minnamoro disco club for the first of FEFF nights. For technical reasons there isn't a screen to project the video Cay prepared. This is a fundamental element of Tokyo Dolores performance which often takes place with the support of multimedia material. Moreover Bionic Trigger is a show directly inspired by the Japanese Scifi we love so much and part of the story is told on the screen by some of Cay's drawings. The three girls play as heroines coming to save our country from the alien invasion of Blue Worms: a story which would be a dream coming true for many tokusatsu's fans if adapted for cinema. During the show there is also place for the interaction with the audience, thanks to some volunteers trained to play as the enemies, including one of them acting as a big and dangerous final boss.

Technical issues are promptly destroyed by the professionalism of the group. Cay flies high on her pole fighting against gravity with her enviable technique. Even though she’s still so young, Cay dominates some parts of the show as an experienced leader should, with the right balance of charm and elegance. Then comes the extraordinary Aloe. It’s hard to believe all her strength lives in such a tiny body full of grace. Jill completes the trio: blonde, cute, funny as hell, and with a smile designed for the cameras of our photographers. It really seems like they made a character study: a dark and resolute leader with killer black eyes, a small and tender presence to balance, and the third one to complete every empty space thanks to her spontaneous nature. The girls really define a new dimension for pole dance - so distant from the idea we have of this kind of performance art in western countries - filling their exhibition with grace and art.

At the end of the show, despite the tiredness, everybody climb to the mezzanine of Minnamoro. Many guests of the Festival are present. There is Takeuchi Hideki, director of Thermae Romae, Koo Ja-hong, director of Dangerously excited, Mark Schilling, columnist for Variety and Japantimes, and many others who made FEFF2012. A wild party goes on for the rest of the night and the girls naturally attract attention. And that’s the nice part, as you can see the fun comes first for them. After some toasts and many pictures, it’s time also for AF crew to go back and get some rest hoping that the rain won’t ruin the following day.

On April 22nd a performance is scheduled in the central squareof Udine right after the Far East Cosplay & Gothic Lolita Gathering, but it seems like the fate has different plans. It rains as hell for most of the morning and the cosplay contest is moved under the porch of the town hall. There’s no place to set the poles and the only solution is a 5 minutes show. Cay, Aloe and Jill wear the traditional kimonos and for a moment it seems like we are sent back in time to the wonderful show we saw in Lucca. Luckily the pictures and video that you can see in this article do justice to their beauty that day.

With Cay’s permission we publish these words she wrote us once arrived home:

FEFF! We loved it. Everyone we met among staff or people during this festival was so professional or friendly. And the party after the show was so fun and stimulating for us. This festival was such a good experience that we would really like to perform there again in the future. This was our second visit to Italy and Udine was the second city where we performed. In your country everybody is so educated about art, as a gentleman should, and above all, they enjoy and welcome Arts from their hearts. We can feel such enthusiasm on the stage. Italy is like this for us.

So it’s really impossible not to love the girls if you try to recollect the festival images. Consider for example this scene: Aloe and Jill singing "Sukiyaki" at Johnnie To’s birthday party. It’s probably the funniest scene we’ve seen during those days. That’s why we decided to embed the clip in this article as a gift for the readers. Let’s hope they’ll come back soon in our country. Maybe for the next edition of Far East Film Festival to whom all our thanks go for making it happen. Hopefully the next time there will be more luck with weather to make everything even better. We strongly believed in Tokyo Dolores’ talent and insisted to host their show in Udine and we’re fucking proud of it.

Asian Feast made two different photo-shoots for the events. The first one powered by Senesi Michele Man Chi: you can see it in the right column or in high definition in our flickr folder. The second one by Samuele Bianchi depicts the show shot by shot. It’s at the end of the article or in high definition in our flickr. The video directed and edited by Lino Palena is also available on his vimeo channel, as well as you can see other precious moments on the backstage video.

Special thanks to all the people who made everything so great. They are too much to be named, but they surely know who they are.