Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bangkok Ladyboy

Bangkok Ladyboy Pim - Chris Coles/2007

There 's an intensity in Bangkok ladyboys, a fire burning inside. They are from every region of Thailand, drawn to Bangkok to live invented lives according to how they imagine they are. No matter how wacky they may sometimes seem, they are following their dreams and desires.

Ladyboy Temptation Bar Nana - Chris Coles/2007

No one knows how many ladyboys there are in in Bangkok but there must be at least several hundred thousand. Called Kathoey in Thai, they are everywhere in the world of the Bangkok Night. Sometimes in the overt and flashy ladyboy revues favored by the busloads of Taiwanese and mainland Chinese, dressed up as Las Vegas showgirls, kind of obvious, exaggerated and fun.

Bangkok Ladyboy Pim 2 - Chris Coles/2007

Sometimes they're working in the go-go bars of Nana Plaza and Patpong, both overtly and disguised, aggressive and quiet, muscular and masculine as well as petite, soft and feminine, available for a kinky night out to men and women tourists from Asia, Europe, India, the Arab states and North and South America. They are also in the streets and parks, servicing the lowest and roughest end of the Bangkok Night.

Patpong Ladyboy - Chris Coles/2007

More or less accepted as an in-between or Third Sex by Thais, there is talk of building a special ladyboy prison in order to clear up the confusion as to which prison ladyboy criminals should be sent, depending if they are pre-op or post-op, still equipped or physically altered. The Operation is so common in Bangkok, there are ads with price lists and special discounts in the leading newspapers. Tourists from all over the world who want the Operation come to Bangkok for the expertise of the surgeons as well as the high standard of the hospitals and relatively low price.

Los Angeles Real Estate Lawyer in Bangkok Ladyboy Bar - Chris Coles/2007

But all of that is the iceberg that we see. Beneath the surface, hidden from view, there are ladyboys working in every strata of the Bangkok world, banks, offices, hotels, restaurants, quiet bars and small KTV's, Isan music places, department stores, television, film, music, manufacturing, marketing, fashion and textiles. Some are even married to ordinary Thai men and live mundane suburban lives without their neighbors having a clue.

Two Ladyboys CM2 Club - Chris Coles/2007

The history of ladyboys goes back thousands of years, in every culture and country. Ladyboy gods can be found in India, Ancient Greece, Africa and Asia. The ambiguity of the hermaphrodite being, half-woman, half-man, seems to arouse universal curiosity and interest. Some say that even the Mona Lisa was a ladyboy, one of the many transvestite hookers that Leonardo da Vinci pulled off the streets near his studio to use as models. Perhaps that is the key to her mysterious smile.

Ladyboy at Spasso Bar Bangkok - Chris Coles/2007

Ladyboys have much to teach is about ambiguity and desire, surface appearance and multi-layered realities, the role of illusions and visual signals, the impossibility of certainty and what it is to follow a dream. Trying to paint them is to enter a world full of mirrors, confusing and infinite, sometimes ugly and sometimes full of a strange and poignant beauty.

Bangkok Ladyboy Natalie - Chris Coles/2007

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Bangkok Neon

Rainbow Agogo Bar Nana Plaza - Chris Coles/2006

In the middle of the day, Bangkok is a vast smog-choked metropolis with some of the world’s most horrendous traffic, flat lighting, high humidity, its shoddy infrastructure on full display, sidewalks with gaping holes, streets dug up and paved over way too many times, buildings streaked with rust and mildew, bits of rotting garbage and trash in every direction, thousands of soi dogs wandering, sniffing, pooping and peeing.

Dali Bar Soi 33 Sign - Chris Coles/2006

But as the sun sets, the Bangkok Night comes to life. The air cools, the traffic calms, and Bangkok’s faults disappear into a glossy and seductive darkness. Beautiful girls and stylish guys fill the sidewalks. Music drifts through nighttime breezes scented with jasmine and ten thousand food stalls. And lighting up every boulevard, street and soi, across the entire metropolis, trillions of little fairy lights and millions of signs.

Obession Ladyboy Bar Nana Plaza - Chris Coles/2006

Every kind of sign in every kind of language with every typestyle and color, from gigantic to small, stylish to outlandish, some blinking, some discreet, some ordinary, others wacky. Very few cities anywhere on this planet have the number and variety of signs as are spread across the vastness of the Bangkok Night. With little apparent zoning, control or censorship, the only limit is the imagination and when it comes to applying visual imagination to the business of the Night, Thais are second to no one.

Dollhouse Soi Cowboy - Chris Coles/2006

What follows is a taste of the Bangkok Night’s signs along with some of the mood and feeling they create, enticement, the promise of pleasure, glowing neon colors hissing in Bangkok’s humid air.

The Body Massage Palace Ratchada Bangkok - Chris Coles/2007

Emmanuelle Massage Palace Ratchada Bangkok- Chris Coles/2007

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bangkok Neon Music Video with Thaitanium Soundtrack

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spirit House Japanese KTV Bangkok

Spirit House Japanese Karaoke Bar Bangkok - Chris Coles

.....not really Buddhist, lots of little spirits hidden away in the nooks and crannies, some friendly some evil, a little bit Hindu, maybe a little bit more from the Ancient Times, there are millions of Spirit Houses in Bangkok, keeping everyone safe and happy, the bad guys along with the good............

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

One Night in Bangkok - Soi Cowboy

One Night in Bangkok - Soi Cowboy - Chris Coles/2007

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Gay U.S. Embassy Guy in Bangkok

Gay U.S. Embassy Guy Cruising Around Bangkok - Chris Coles Ivy League graduate, he's been in Bangkok five years, on the staff at the U.S. Embassy. They're about to ship him out, maybe to Rwanda, maybe Iceland.......he'd rather stay in Bangkok, cruising around Silom's gay bars and clubs, weekends in Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui, hanging out with his Thai boyfriends...........Thai food, Thai fun, a penthouse condo, how will he ever give it up........

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Thigh Bar Patpong

Thigh Bar Patpong - Chris Coles

.....Pom, the manager of Thigh Bar at the entrance to Patpong, in the heart of tourist sleaze, surrounded by drunken Expats, desperate bargirls and wandering ladyboys, somehow manages to stay friendly and relaxed...........

.....if you've been there at least once in the last ten years, she'll remember your name and what you ordered to drink, even the name of your girl and where she ended up............

.....if you know enough to show respect, you'll be treated well, only hustled a little.......

.....but if you act like an asshole, it will never be forgotten and you will always be an asshole, from the moment you walk in the door until the day you die..........

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Serbian Drug Dealer in Bangkok

Serbian Drug Dealer in Bangkok - Chris Coles

.........the war in Bosnia and Kosovo's over, no more civilians to round up and kill, but there's plenty more human misery to supply and service, impoverished refugee girls to ship out to the brothels of Bangkok, Macau and Shanghai and a pipeline of drugs to ship back, what karma awaits this man in his next life................

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Bangkok Ladyboy Aree

Bangkok Ladyboy Aree - Chris Coles

......she watches and waits, filtering every available piece of information through a highly-tuned perception, formed from a lifetime immersed in ambiguity, ambivalence and the illusion of desire..........

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bangkok Noir Music Video with Thaitanium soundtrack

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