Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOVIES Director, actor take viewers to 'Spa Night'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In the new movie Spa Night, the life of main character David revolves around his Korean family, being trapped in the closet, and a mens spa. It is set in Koreatown in Los Angeles and stars Joe Seo as David.

Director Andrew Ahn graduated from Brown University and received a masters of fine arts in film directing from the California Institute of Arts. He took that knowledge to make a short film called Andy and then one called Dol ( First Birthday ). He edited the documentaries I Am Divine, Vito and Tab Hunter Confidential. Spa Night is his first feature film, and was funded through Kickstarter and a Sundance Institute Cinereach Feature Film Fellow grant.

Actor Esteban Andres Cruz plays a spa visitor in Spa Night. He has appeared in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas and Puerto Vallarta Squeeze as well as television's Chicago Fire.

The two had a screening of Spa Night at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and met with Windy City Times to talk about the project.

Windy City Times: You are from LA?

Andrew Ahn: Yes.

Esteban Andres Cruz: I am from here but moved to LA for acting. I was born in Berwyn and grew up in Cicero. I have done theater in Chicago most of my life.

WCT: Did you both meet through this movie?

AA: We knew each other before because we have mutual friends. Two of our producers are good friends with Esteban. This was a script that came to me from another producer who trusted my sensibilities. I thought it was not gay enough, so I sent it back with notes. I wrote a role for Esteban where he is naked all the time!

EAC: Naked and I get paid? That was a done deal!

WCT: You also cast David Pevsner, and he loves being naked.

AA: I met him through a photographer that had done a nude photoshoot with him. He is super comfortable with his body.

That is Korean spa culture where people are just naked.

WCT: Did you do undercover research in bathhouses?

AA: [Laughs] That is the interesting thing with Korean spas versus gay bathhouses, Korean spas are not supposed to be for gay cruising. That is what made it risky and more dangerous. That was a distinction that I wanted to play with and make clear.

WCT: Spa Night did seem more about family and Korean culture, as opposed to a gay movie.

AA: I wanted to show a complete portrait of a human being. That meant his family and cultural identity, his sexuality, all existed in one person. They often intersect and complicate things.

I wanted to show many different facets of this character.

WCT: I read you came out to your family by making a movie, Andrew.

AA: It was a whole production and I put pressure on myself to make a film good enough to come out to my family. That was not only hard as a filmmaker but as a person. It was the only way I could do it at the time. I couldn't use the words "I'm gay" so I used the film to express myself.

WCT: Have you always been out as an actor, Esteban?

EAC: I came out when I was 15. I was an anchor at my high school news at Morton East High School. I said, "In other news, I'm gay…back to you, Juanita." That was it. I didn't have much of a problem because my brothers were tough when people messed with me. I would fight sometimes and bullies would back down, Cicero!

WCT: Do you try out specifically for gay roles?

EAC: At Steppenwolf, I was playing a woman in Domesticated last Feb.. I then went to LA and played a trans woman in Charm, a Phil Dawkins play that won a Jeff Award this year. I was worried about being pigeonholed but it is good to also be type cast as something because then you have a type to play against. I liked the work and it was good to have.

I love doing work like this movie that is humanizing and creates empathy in the world. I don't shy away from the gay roles if it is an opportunity to make things better.

AA: One thing I like about gay media is that the people behind the scenes are often gay too. It a community of people that are nice to work with, much like a family.

WCT: There are probably not a lot of gay Korean filmmakers, right?

AA: There are not a lot of queer Korean stories. I am really excited to make these films.

WCT: I have met a few Korean mothers and the one in the film was portrayed well by Haerry Kim.

AA: Korean families are very patriarchal in a sense, but the women are the actual bosses.

WCT: Was making the film using Kickstarter rewarding?

AA: It was exhausting. We raised just over $60,000 and we put that much effort into it. I was drained from it. It was also awesome because we gained 592 fans of the film. You start your marketing early and it inspired me to keep going, to really follow through.

WCT: What were they drinking at that party scene?

AA: It was Soju. It is a Korean rice wine. It is like the Korean version of sake.

EAC: Do you shoot it with lime juice?

AA: You can drink it on its own. The trendy thing is there is a yogurt version.

WCT: Referring to karaoke scene, what is your favorite go-to song?

AA: I like "My Girl," by The Temptations. It's a crowd-pleaser.

EAC: "He's Mine," by The Platters.

WCT: No Justin Bieber? You are a couple of old souls.

AA: You have to sing songs that they will sing along with.

WCT: What are your future plans?

EAC: I am doing a play in Chicago in the spring in Berwyn. It has not been announced yet.

I have a film coming out in 2017 that I can talk about. Alexandra Billings is in it and the first role in film where she plays a born female character. It is about a paleontologist and meth addict called Valley of Bones. I play an assassin.

AA: With Spa Night, we are finishing up a few screenings around the country. It is available on iTunes, Vimeo and DVD just in time for the holidays.

EAC: Stuff your stocking with Spa Night!

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Reeling LGBTQ film festival announces Sept. 21-28 lineup 2017-08-18 - ( CHICAGO, IL - August 17, 2017 ) Reeling, the second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world, celebrates its 35th anniversary with an ...

Gay News

George Takei in Chicago on Sept. 7 2017-08-16 - In conjunction with its first original exhibition "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil ...

Gay News

BLACK ALPHABET FILM FESTIVAL Jewel Thais-Williams and nightclub subject of documentary 2017-08-16 - Jewel Thais-Williams is more than the owner of the popular "Jewel's Catch One" night club, in Los Angeles; rather, she is trailblazer, as ...

Gay News

Ken Burns to discuss 'Vietnam War' Sept. 7 2017-08-16 - Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will preview their new 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War, with an exclusive screening and discussion at the Auditorium ...

Gay News

Reeling film festival returns Sept. 21-28 2017-08-16 - The 35th edition of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will run Sept. 21-28. The first Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film ...

Gay News

MOVIES Actress raps about performing hip-hop in 'Patti Cake$' 2017-08-16 - Watch out, world: There's a new rapper in town, and her name is Patti Cake$. A plus-sized white girl from New Jersey named ...

Gay News

Manolo Blahnik film out Sept. 22 2017-08-16 - Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards—an in-depth portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik—will premiere locally at the Music Box Theatre, ...

Gay News

MOVIES Filmmakers discuss documentary about Ferguson uprising 2017-08-09 - Whose Streets? is a powerful documentary about the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising, as told by activists of the movement. An unarmed teenager named Michael ...

Gay News

Showbiz news: Lady Gaga, Patti LaBelle, 'The L Word,' Louis Tomlinson 2017-08-08 - In the middle of her first show on her world tour in Vancouver, Lady Gaga called security—to procure a gay-pride flag, USA Today ...

Gay News

Ken Burns here to screen The Vietnam War Sept. 7 2017-08-05 - CHICAGO — August 2, 2017 — Tickets are available now for an exclusive screening and discussion with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick to ...


Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.