Saint Jack in Playboy 1978

Not long ago I wrote about the excellent film Saint Jack, shot on location in Singapore in the late 1970s, for my Opium Traces column at You can read that here.

One of the sources for my work is Ben Slater’s 2006 book on the film (link in the article), and one of Slater’s sources is an article about the film in the December 1978 issue of Playboy magazine. The article features some racy pictures (pretty but tame by today’s standards, but NSFW even still) as well as a long interview with the director Peter Bogdanovich…because, you know, people read Playboy for the interviews…

Out of the goodness of my heart, I’ve bought the issue and scanned the article and posted it here…click to enlarge and enjoy!



Hard-boiled Malaya Trilogy at Kinokunia

Spotted on the shelf…buy all three and experience the trilogy as it was meant to be read!

Check out the link at Monsoon Books:

WOW! South China Morning Post reviews APDP

Check out the glowing review in the South China Morning Post of In the Land of Pagodas, our translation of Alfred Raquez’s first book Au Pays des Pagodes, published recently by NIAS Press.


“Gibson and Bruthiaux have renovated Au Pays des Pagodes with detailed then-and-now research and addictive footnotes that often outshine the author’s original text.”

“As the co-editors dissect the “Raquez” text, they turn his readable fin-de-siècle memoir into In the Land of Pagodas – a fascinating steampunk travel blog that reveals much about the French community in China, and how Raquez reinvented himself in it.”

In the Land of Pagodas is an impressive academic update and required reading for anyone with a connection to China.”

Flowers of Shanghai – New Opium Traces column at PopMatters

Hey hey hey just in time to be timely, my latest Opium Traces column has been posted on PopMatters…a meditation on Han Bang Qing’s 1890s novel The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai and Hou Hsiao Hsien’s 1998 film adpation Flowers of Shanghai.

Check out the full article here:

Great review of In the Land of Pagodas! has given our translation of Alfred Raquez’s book In the Land of Pagodas a stirling review (this same reviewer also gave us our first review on Amazon which got us 5 stars)!

We are very pleased that Raquez’s travels through China at the turn of the century are gaining a wider audience thanks to our efforts.

Check it out the review here:

Buy our book here:

Butler’s Law comes to Popmatters…

…and Popmatters needs your help!

Background: Joe Butler was one of my favorite profs during my undergrad years at SDSU (two decades ago). He had a maxim he called Butler’s Law which reads: “Things will always get more chickenshit.” It’s a hallmark of post-modernity.

Now Butler’s Law has come to internet advertising which is rapidly falling prey, like all media, to the corportization of everything. So while a company like Disney Inc earns a trillion (yes with a T) dollars a year churning out formulaic drek for the masses, smart and small web-based companies like Popmatters have to go begging just to buy new computers.

This isn’t the internet we were promised back in 2000 but it’s the internet we’re getting. Try to turn the tide a little by giving some of your precious ducats to Popmatters.

Here’s their spiel with a link at the end so you can send your cash-based love:

“PopMatters readers have come to this magazine for its smart and entertaining articles of cultural criticism since October 1999. Our 17-plus years of quality online publishing have earned us respect and loyalty from our educated and savvy readers. We continue to work hard to bring you an intelligent, cool reprieve from all the hype and blather that crowds the Internet these days. We always will.

We remain committed to the essay and longform writing, in other words, we publish smart writing for intelligent readers, not SEOed clickbait for search engines.

We urgently need help from our readers to fund an upgrade of the technology that powers PopMatters, help cover our increasing hosting costs, as well as some modest funds to help pay editors. 

We come from humble economic backgrounds, and we have, for 17 years, run a lean, reputable, hardworking operation. PopMatters is a wholly independent small company owned and run by women with no outside investment.

The economic and business challenges of online publishing are rarely understood outside of the industry. Briefly, among other things: there is a huge economic disparity between print and online advertising; businesses are increasingly solidifying their advertising through agencies that take as much as 60 percent of ad revenue and; although we attract 1.5 million monthly visitors with our high caliber content, the advertising monies we earn do not even begin to cover expenses anymore. Furthermore, with the advent of adblocking and low-priced programmatic advertising, our primary source of revenue is endangered.

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay vital — and grow — through these changing and challenging times.

We can’t do this without you. Thank you for your support.”

Kebayoran Baru in Jakarta with roving mind Tariq Khalil

My pal Tariq Khalil continues his awesome series on mid-century Jakarta architecture in Indonesia Design magazine with an engaging write-up on Kebayoran Baru. Once a satellite town of old Batavia, but now lost in the chaotic sprawl of modern Jakarta, Kebayoran Baru boasts some of the best kept mid-century domestic architecture in town. Long underappreciated, the post-war architecture of Indonesia is due for a revival: unique, dynamic, beautiful…

Check it out here:


Being Part of Our Great History...

Forgotten Films

A look at the movies forgotten by time


Give her food and she will conquer the world

Wonderful Cinema

Short reviews on high quality films. No spoilers.


An annual review of prose, poetry, and artwork, published in affiliation with San Diego State University



Street Talk

Word on the street is...