5.31.2003

Archived Posts - May 2003



05.30.03

Hey, go pick up the first issue of Hyphen, a new Asian American news/culture magazine. Or better yet, subscribe. I gotta go get me a copy. And I might be at the San Francisco Launch Party next week, June 7. Aw yeah.

05.29.03

"P-O-C-O-C-U-R-A-N-T-E." Congratulations to Sai Gunturi of Dallas, TX. The 13-year-old eighth-grader correctly spelled "pococurante" to win the 76th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Nice.

Which reminds me, I still really want to see Spellbound.

05.29.03

Linda Mabalot's obituary from the LA Times: Linda Mabalot, 49; Nurtured Asian American Filmmakers

05.29.03

"With an incubation period of about 10 days, that would be three chinks a month in the chain, so that's how we come up with the 15," describing the way the virus was transmitted." This is from that Associated Press article from a few days back (05.24.03). After being confronted by community groups that the quote had derogatory implications, AP did an investigation and issued the following correction:


In an early version of a May 22 story about the SARS virus, The
Associated Press quoted World Health Organization official Dr. David
Heymann as using the phrase "three chinks a month in the chain" in
describing the way the virus was transmitted.

Heymann said he used the phrase "three links."


Miscommunication? Freudian slip? In any case, it's Heyman and/or AP covering their asses, because it should never have been used in the first place. At some point in the process, someone should have realized the gross insensitivity in using the word "chink" in this context. Or maybe that's just asking too much. Or maybe it was never negligence at all, and it's someone's sly, malevolent attempt at bigoted editorial subversion. That's racist!

05.28.03

Jet Li's next project: Labor Day. Chinese gangster hostage crime lord blah blah blah.

05.28.03

More on TIME's semi-controversial (see 05.20.03) cover photo on SARS, depicted by a blond-haired, blue-eyed white female wearing a surgical mask. Tom Huang writes an interesting perspective on the cover girl, whom he affectionately calls My Little SARS Queen.

And while we're at it, here's another worthwhile article by Tom Huang: Making Minorities Multi-Dimensional. Hey, Asians are everyday people too.

05.28.03

More on Bend It Like Beckham's Parminder Nagra joining the cast of ER: 'Bend It' star finds 'ER' has a hectic pace. I'm pleased.

05.28.03

It's official: The Black Sash won't be back next season.

05.28.03

Imagine having this guy's job. Roy Lee watches various movies from Asia, then brokers deals with American studios for the remake rights. An eyebrow-raising profile article: Remake Man. Definitely more than a few shady elements, but it's an interesting self-made-man story.

The Asian remake is a pretty hot phenomenon in Hollywood right now, with the success of The Ring as a prime example, and plenty more remakes like Infernal Affairs and The Eye on the way. This is not really a surprise, seeing as how Asian movies regularly rip off American movie premises, but I question how some of these films will effectively make the transition to American screens. There's just a certain culturally specific flava that make some of these movies so beloved. I just keep wondering how in the world they're going to remake My Sassy Girl with the same energy. And I know it just ain't going to be the same.

05.27.03

"What do we really know about these people?"

Plans to name a Cupertino, CA city building after a Chinese American donor has become a racially charged controversy, after Vice Mayor Sandra James questioned, "What do we really know about these people?" Read about it here: Public debate turns bitter. And for more information on Sandra James, look here.

This hits home for me, in a lot of ways. The ensuing controversy surrounding the remark is indicative of a lot of the building tensions and growing pains experienced in a community where the Asian American community has really flourished and gained strength. The older, established community feels threatened and invaded by the new face of their neighbors, and resist changes that seem, to them, wholly un-American. Sure, they can allow the Chinese community to build a supermarket, but name a city building after Fred Chan—ludicrous. Well guess what, your neighborhood is changing. But it isn't being invaded by Chinese people, nor is it becoming less American. The face of America is simply changing, and it will not stay 'white' forever. So get used to it.

05.27.03

Time for the third chapter of Charlie's Angels: Animated Adventures. Lucy Liu runs around in a maid outfit(!) and gets in some trouble. Can you dig it?

05.27.03

This feature at AsianGuy.com cracks me up: Asian Legends In Entertainment: The Commemorative Collection. I love it. Collect them all!

05.27.03

Hey Harry Potter fans. Cho Chang will not appear in the third movie installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. She shows up briefly in the third book, but has a much more prominent role in the fourth. We'll just have to wait for the adaptation of Goblet of Fire—and she better be Asian.

05.27.03

Hope y'all had a grand Memorial Day. Now it's back to business... Back in November, Lisa Ling left her co-host position on The View to become the host of National Geographic Ultimate Explorer. In the premiere episode (Sunday, June 1, at 8pm ET), Ling interviews the one and only Yao Ming: Basketball Diplomacy: From Mao to Yao. And check out that picture of Yao and Lisa.

05.25.03

The end of a tennis era, in a way: Chang bids adieu to tennis career

05.25.03

Misguided, offensive, and completely unoriginal (not to mention, just plain scary). SARS brings out the worst—and I'm not talking about health. Check out this company, which boasts a "SARS-free website since 1997" and a frightening image of an Asian woman in a surgical mask. Cheap shot. This, from a company that seemingly prides itself on innovation. That's racist!

05.24.03

This is just plain tactless and ignorant. It's yet another article on SARS, but check out some of the wording about halfway through the article:


With an incubation period of about 10 days, that would be three chinks a month in the chain, so that1s how we come up with the 15,2 he said. 3The hypothesis still remains that this all came from one person, so it has passed through many, many people on it1s way out through the world.2

I'm well aware of the intended meaning of the expression "chink," but when it comes to discussing SARS, which seems to have originated from China, this is an extremely poor, inappropriate choice of words. Given the fact that many have died from this affliction, and considering the growing stigmatization of Asians because of it, it's just insensitive reporting. I mean, come on. CHINK? There are other ways to convey the same idea. That's racist!

05.24.03

I can't even think of anything to say about this: NBA Houston Rockets Yao Ming Celebriduck. What?

05.23.03

Here's something kind of interesting. A group of psychologists have come up with an online collection of Implicit Association Tests to measure unconcscious bias. I don't know how accurate it is, but the testing methods are pretty intriguing. And they've come up with some interesting results. There are several different tests, measuring different ideas of racial/gender/age bias and American identity... Check it out: Test Yourself For Hidden Bias

05.23.03

May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month... Writer Tracy Quan suggests perhaps it needs a name change: Time to Celebrate Asian Diaspora Month

05.23.03

Responses to Iris Chang's opinion piece on SARS from a few days back: Prejudice or Prudence on SARS?. In many cases, prejudice, I say.

05.23.03

Yep, that's BLT's Parry Shen on that Circuit City commercial you've been seeing. He actually shot it on April 10, the day before BLT opened in theaters. So in the commercial, since you can't hear his dialogue, he's basically saying, "I have a film out tomorrow that you folks should see called Better Luck Tomorrow. It'll be in 4 cities on the first weekend, and roll wider...etc etc." That's a hard working man.

05.23.03

Grace Lee's short film, Barrier Device—a big favorite of mine—will be screening on the Sundance Channel, May 25-30 and June 29. It's a juicy little film starring Sandra Oh and Suzy Nakamura, in which a psychologist conducting a study on female condom usage unexpectedly confronts her ex-fiance's perky new girlfriend. Hilarity/drama ensues. I highly recommend tuning in if you can. Some showtimes:


Sunday 05.25.2003
8:00PM ET


Tuesday 05.27.2003
4:30PM ET


Tuesday 05.27.2003
10:30PM ET


Wednesday 05.28.2003
5:30AM ET


Thursday 05.29.2003
4:30PM ET


Friday 05.30.2003
2:00AM ET


Sunday 06.29.2003
9:00AM ET


Sunday 06.29.2003
8:00PM ET



And for more info, check out www.gracelee.net.

05.23.03

The Asian American movement in art, activism, and academia has, to this point, largely been defined by
the East and the West coasts. Here's a call for submissions for all you Midwestern Asian Americans: SmackDab!—an anthology exploring the Midwestern Asian American experience. The deadline for submissions says May 1, but it's actually been extended to July y. Check it out, submit.

05.22.03

"They did not care about the lives in Asia...It was racial discrimination."
The New York Times reports that a division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs—medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS—to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West. Basically, they were trying to avoid being stuck with large stockpiles of an unmarketable product in the United States and Europe. Read all about it here: 2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier Type Went Overseas. That's racist! (Thanks, Gary)

05.22.03

Harris Khan, a victim of FWA (Flying While Arab) in the wake of Sept. 11, gets a settlement from the fine folks at Northwest Airlines: Airline, barred rider settle. He removed from a plane because he "looked suspicious." That's racist!

05.22.03

Everyone, please stop writing in to tell me that Marcus Chong is the adopted son of Tommy Chong (who is half Chinese). I know. I know. I know. I read up on it myself... the internet is a wonderful invention. Still, no one can tell me quite for sure if he truly is of Asian descent. Adding to the confusion, I recall he played a hapa gangster guy back on the old Vanishing Son series. Oh well, I say.

05.22.03

Meet Christina, the half-Korean, cocktail waitress/UNLV criminal justice graduate on MTV's upcoming Real World: Paris.

05.21.03

An Arab American woman comes to court to contest a parking ticket. How is it at all appropriate that a judge calls her a terrorist, even in jest? That's not appropriate, in any context. Woman collapses after judge asks if she's a terrorist. That's racist!

05.21.03

I haven't mentioned much about Ivan Shaw and Lynn Chen since they started appearing on All My Children a little while back. There was this huge interest regarding a love triangle between their characters, Henry and Regina, and Maggie (who is white). Apparently things have been heating up... Why, today, Regina admitted to Henry that she has feelings for him! Keep in mind, I have never actually seen an episode of this show—this has all been reported to me by various fans. One particularly fanatical viewer tells me there have been rumors circulating that Henry might be written off the show... This is not a good thing—we want him around, and we want him to be romantic figure. Fans, let your voice be heard. Here is a list of the powers that be. Don't you want non-stereotypical Asians on your soaps? I thought so.

05.21.03

How about this: The very first Official Bruce Lee Convention. July 12-13 in Burbank, CA. Sounds crazy. Exploitative? Oh yes, definitely. But man, look at that lineup! Makes me want to attend, just to see what the heck happens. I can't believe David Carradine is going to be there. David freakin' Carradine.

05.21.03

So you and your momma watched The Matrix Reloaded, and wondered hey, where's Tank, that other dude from the Nebuchadnezzar who survived the first movie? Somewhere along the way, Marcus Chong (yes, he is, um, of Asian descent, sort of, it's not quite clear) got dropped by the franchise, and is nowhere to be seen. Turns out there is this whole other crazy kind of drama behind his absence, detailed by various fansites like the Marcus Chong As Tank Coalition (MCAT). Pretty crazy. Now, it seems Chong has gone ahead and filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros., AOL Time Warner and the film's producers. Sorry Tank, they had to let you go.

05.21.03

The Sporting News names Yao Ming their Rookie of the Year.

05.21.03

Another NYT article on SARS, and a historical perspective on the anti-Chinese culture of fear in America: Fear of SARS, Fear of Strangers, by Iris Chang, author of of The Rape of Nanking and, most recently, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History.

05.21.03

I'm told that last night on the Tonight Show, while talking about SARS in some form or another, guest Albert Brooks shouted out (apparently to all of Asia), "Stop eating dogs!" Of course the audience went crazy for it and gave it a good laugh. And I'm sure the producers didn't give it a second thought. Is this not the second time this month I've mentioned the freakin' racist crap on late night television? It's like the breeding ground for ignorant thought. Who is their target audience? The large section of white, middle America that pretty much doesn't give a rat's ass about what's being fed to them. They just heartily laugh along with jokes made at the expense of minorities. And as long as they don't care, the show (and network) certainly doesn't care —they'll keep on doing it. That's racist! If this makes you angry... how about sending a little sumthin' of your mind to:

Viewer Relations

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

TheTonightShow@nbc.com

Better yet, here is the info for Albert Brooks' agent:

Toni Howard

Intl Creative Mgmt Inc.†(ICM)

8942 Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly HIlls, CA†90211

(310) 550-4000

Albert Brooks appears in The In-Laws and Finding Nemo this month.

05.21.03

Eddie Shin, one of our favorite guys, made an appearance on NYPD Blue this week. Causin' trouble, giving the detectives some attitude.

05.21.03

I've already mentioned the evils of the newly revived, upcoming Banzai! TV show, which I guarantee will suck in every way imaginable. Well, our man Wyn writes in with evidence, and about 53 reasons why this show needs to die:


A small Los Angeles group of mostly Asian-Americans (including myself) were exposed to a pilot episode of "Banzai", for potential airing by FOX TV.

I'll cut to the chase - IT SUCKS as well as being socially inappropriate.

Though originally produced overseas for a British audience (not that this alleviates the offense), FOX acquired it for their network to be re-packaged a la "Power Rangers" style. Billed by FOX executives as an Asian "Jackass" with similar gag stunts and pranks, a staff of non-American Asian hosts will attempt stunts such as experimenting with how many helium balloons are needed to carry a chicken into the air. Audiences at home are then encouraged to place bets amongst themselves over how many balloons it will take.

Other gags are pranks where a non-English speaking host will deceptively shake hands with actor Kelsey Grammer (approached at a public charity event) without ever letting go of his hand. The audience then places bets on how many seconds it takes before Grammer will assert the releasing of his hand. (The gag being that Grammer is unknowingly humiliated by his own politeness towards a zealous foreign Asian man.)

Sounds harmless right? Well . . . you must also endure a questionably "Asian accented" narrator ("Long Duck Dong" style) that was dubbed into the show by FOX!

Other abominations are gags such as whether or not a "one-legged" man can kick a soccer ball pass a "one-armed" goalie. I can only imagine that this show would appeal only to groups of people who are not sharing in the social stigma afflicted upon those being exploited for their "freak show" value. It also tells them that it's okay to laught "at" other groups.

For the Asian-American community, BANZAI will likely affirm an offensive image of us as the "foreign 2nd class". Face it, most Americans are not appreciative nor educated about Asian & Asian-American culture to any extensive level beyond
the tourist zeal for Kung Fu and Sweet N' Sour Pork. So a crappy show like this will only summarize a xenophobic image against people who are not "apple pie".

The audience at the preview screening openly shouted "BOO" at the show. I have to really wonder how an executive at FOX gets hired there. In light of acheivements within Asian-American media (BETTER LUCK TOMORROW), this is one of those annoying "2 steps forward - 1 step back" pains in the ass.

I'm struggling not to be consumed by my anger. It's a fight that never seems to end. It's at a point that have to almost never watch TV or films in this country again. So beware that this show may end up on the air - at the IRRESPONSIBLE hands of the folks at FOX.

-Wyn


That's racist! Sounds more like twenty steps back. Yes, Banzai is crap that needs to die.

05.20.03

TIME Magazine received some criticism for its May 5 cover story on SARS. The cover image depicted a blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian woman with a protective facemask. The reaction was pretty strong, illustrated by these letter. There are two ways to look at this: you could see it as an inaccurate representation of the primary demographic and geography suffering from the disease (Asia), invoking a white phobia of the "Asian plague." On the other hand, the decision could be seen as an attempt to avoid stigmatizing Asians (TIME's explanation), which has become a genuine concern not only in this country, but worldwide. I also recall that Newsweek ran an almost virtually identical cover image that same week...

05.20.03

Coble, we're coming to get you. The California Assembly called for Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., to resign as chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism because of his comments about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Kind of ridiculous that it's taken this long, and Coble still sits in his current post. He made his remarks way back in February... Yet we're still waiting: California lawmakers ask Coble to resign over internment remarks

05.20.03

Interesting New York Times feature on the nature of media villainy and ethnic stereotypes: Casting Calls. Worth noting is the sidebar Timeline: Ethnic Bad Guys, which mentions infamous characters like "Fu Manchu" and "Oddjob" from 007. Also check out this interview with Jack G. Shaheen, considered to be an expert on Arab media stereotypes.

05.20.03

I have to mention the passing of a very influential member of the Asian American film community. Linda Mabalot, executive director of Visual Communications (VC) in Los Angeles, passed away on Monday, May 19 after a short battle with cancer at the age of 49.††She will be sorely missed by all artists, filmmakers, and media makers, as she was a light of encouragement and source of inspiration for many Asian American filmmakers.††Condolences can be sent to her family c/o Visual Communications, 120 Judge John Aiso St., LA, CA 90012.

05.20.03

When Asian parents attack: Parents storm Ackerman's office; Anger over S.F. school enrollment. Goodness. When it comes to Asian parents and their kids' school placement, don't mess.

05.20.03

Came across this news bit from the BBC:


Asian actors in Britain have expressed outrage at the decision by producers of the long-running soap EastEnders to cast veteran Bollywood star Dalip Tahil in a recurring role. In an interview with the London trade publication The Stage, Albert Moses said, "British Asian actors have been fighting for the last five years to persuade the BBC to bring an Asian family into EastEnders and when at last it happens it goes to Bollywood. It is a disgrace and an insult to British Asian actors. This is a terrible thing for the BBC to do. It should be ashamed." A similar complaint was voiced by Renu Setna, who noted that there are "excellent Asian actors" in Britain who could have played the role. Tahil responded in today's (Tuesday) Guardian newspaper, noting that British Asian actors have been able to pursue a career in Bollywood. "One I know couldn't even speak Hindi," he observed.

If you think about it, it's a lot like the plight of Asian American actors in the United States. There are scores of talented Asian American peformers, trying their best to get noticed, grab a role in Hollywood. The roles are scarce enough as it is. But in recent years, the major-high profile starring roles for Asians have gone to imports like Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat, doing their usual action thing. Respectable guys in their own right, but definitely not representative of the Asian population in America. Ah, you've heard me say this all before, of course.

05.20.03

Trailer for the US release of The Legend of Suriyothai. Looks HUGE.

05.19.03

It's the second installment of Charlie's Angels Animated Adventures: Chapter Two: Viva Las Angels. That pesky evil Asian military guy keeps popping up everywhere, doesn't he? Luckily, Lucy Liu is there to kick his animated ass.

05.19.03

Destroy All Monsters lists the Top Ten Asian Superheroes (and Supervillains). Good to know.

05.19.03

Being the Bruce Lee nut that I am, I could make a joke. But this is rather serious: Deputy Killed. The memorial service was held today.

05.19.03

Must mention Diane Mizota, host of the new Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls, which premiered this weekend. And everyone knows I'm a "fan" of Trading Spaces. Hooray—an Asian American host. However, I must mention that Mizota loses big points for her role in Austin Powers in Goldmember as Fook Mi. Booooo.

05.19.03

We've got a first glimpse of the new cast of MTV's Real World. This time they're doin' it in the city of Paris. One of the participants, Christina, 24, is half-Korean. Check it out: Say 'Bonjour' to 'The Real World: Paris' Cast

05.18.03

Coming to television this fall: The Ortegas, Sundays, 8:30 on Fox. The show is based on an award-winning British series The Kumars at No. 42, about a zany British Indian family. The show was adapted and developed for US television by NBC, but they eventually passed on it, and its been picked up by Fox. Of course, the Indian family has become suburban-LA Latino somewhere along the way... I guess that's the way it goes. The show is a combination of sitcom and reality; a talk show, where real guests will visit every week, while the scripted part deals with a huge cast of neighborhood characters.

05.18.03

Bend It Like Beckham continues to rock at the box office. Word of mouth is propelling this movie in a big way. At this rate, it could reach fat Greek wedding proportions. It stayed in the box office top ten this weekend, even in the wake of that Matrix thing... Pretty impressive. Oh, and I love Parminder Nagra.

I am looking forward to seeing Spellbound, a documentary about eight finalists in the National Spelling Bee. It's already opened and received great response in select cities... Some of the students profiled are Asian American. Looks like a good film. I once competed in a district spelling bee in the sixth grade. I got eliminated with the word "choreography." I spelled it right! I just spelled it a little too fast, stumbled over the letters. I guess I just got cocky.

05.18.03

At least three US universities have requested that family members from Asian nations dealing with the SARS epidemic refrain from attending commencement ceremonies for their loved ones. According to the Chronicle of Education, Case Western University in Cleveland, University of Rochester, and Washington University in St. Louis have put forward the idea. School officials did stress that family members who still choose to come will not be banned from the ceremonies. Any family member who does come and shows signs of the disease will be evaluated at that time. All three schools will broadcast their graduation festivities on the internet.

Why don't they just say, "Asians, don't show up." Then there would be no mistake, and they just wouldn't have to worry.

05.17.03

Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat will be teaming up again in the Chinese historial epic Hua Mulan. Yes, that Mulan: CROUCHING TIGER Stars Reunite. And there are no talking dragons anywhere to be seen.

05.16.03

Great AsianWeek article on Asian American film pioneer, Anna May Wong: Rediscovering APA Film Firsts

05.16.03

Washington Post article on Andrea Walekar, the daughter of one of the victims of last year's DC-area sniper attack... She graduates from college tomorrow: Sniper Attack Stole One Life, Gave Focus to Another

05.15.03

Lucy Liu and a flame weapon. It's a poster one-sheet for Charlie Angels 2: Full Throttle. That cracks me up.

05.15.03

Trailer for The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise. I'm not too excited about this one. I'm a fan of director Ed Zwick and even a sometimes fan of Cruise, but the 'white-hero-in-Asia' stuff in this trailer doesn't quite sit well with me... By the way, in case anyone was wondering, Tom Cruise is not supposed to be 'the last samurai.' The word is used plurally, 'cause I guess you can't say 'samurais.' Think Kurosawa. Anyway, here is something of a plot summary:


Set in Japan during the 1870s, "The Last Samurai" tells the story of Capt. Nathan Algren (Cruise), an American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country's first army in the art of modern warfare. As the government attempts to eradicate the ancient Samurai warrior class in preparation for more Westernized and trade-friendly policies, Algren finds himself unexpectedly affected by his encounters with the Samurai, which places him at the center of a struggle between two eras and two worlds, with only his own sense of honor to guide him.

I will reserve judgment till I see the actual film.

05.15.03

Trailer for the U.S. release of Shaolin Soccer. A great, fun Hong Kong action comedy going through the creaky, painful motions of breaking into the American market. At least the trailer is infinitely better than previous versions I've seen. The major thing is that the dubbing has changed. The last trailer I saw had the characters running around dubbed in English with Asian accents. I heard that Stephen Chow even dubbed his own voice. Small consolation—the whole deal sounded awful. But it looks as though that may have changed, and for the better. And thank goodness they removed the "Kung Fu Fighting" song from the trailer. As a general rule, one should never trust anything that uses that song to market itself. Unfortunately, they kept the "Kick some grass" tagline at the end. Ugh.

05.14.03

Just saw The Matrix Reloaded. Keanu aside, there are several Asian characters in the film. Unfortunately, I felt like they pretty much drew from the same old stereotypes... Colin Chou shows up as kung fu master/Oracle protector Seraph, complete within the trappings of a generic Matrix Chinatown. Randall Duk Kim plays The Keymaker, a quirky, mysterious old man who speaks sage Matrix wisdoms. However, I found both of these characters pretty likeable. There's also a few random Asian thugs strewn about. I did particularly enjoy Anthony Wong as Ghost, part of Niobe's crew. His part here is brief, but he plays a pretty prominent role in Enter the Matrix —the video game. And let's not forget Yuen Wo Ping and Co. who worked hard to help make everyone look like an asskicker.

As for the movie itself? Intense.

05.14.03

Interviews with All My Children's Ivan Shaw and Lynn Chen.

05.14.03

WKLT has been sending this email out:


The WKLT morning show did not intentionally mean to offend any individual or
race. We began recieving emails expressing concerns over the "Wang Chung"
character on Monday 5/12, the following morning, Tuesday 5/13, Mr. Rowe and
Mr. Ellis went on the air and made a public apology and vowed to never
repeat the skit again. WKLT cares about each and every member of the
community and rectified the situation as soon as it came to light. We hope
that you will accept our apology. WKLT wishes you Health, Happiness, and
Lots of Love.

Sincerely,

Terri Ray

Program Director

WKLT/WKLZ


05.14.03

Trailer for Freddy vs. Jason. Directed by Ronny Yu.

Trailer for the remake of Freaky Friday. Why should you care? Check out the scene in the trailer that brings on "the switch." Magic Chinese fortune coookie! Puh-lease.

The U.S. release of Johnnie To's Fulltime Killer.

05.14.03

Man, what the hell is it with radio shows and offensive Asian stereotypes? DJ Tom Rowe, of the Michigan station WKLT, currently portrays a fictitious character he calls "Wang Chung"—complete with a mock accent and jokes about eating cats. You might say, hey come on, he makes fun of everyone! People always tell me that. That's not good enough for me... They've used some random photo of a Chinese dude to portray "Wang Chung" on the website. Clicking on the photo will get you sound clip. That's racist!

If you ain't down with this, you can write Station Manager Terri Ray at terri@wklt.com and let them know what you think.

05.14.03

A few things about X2. Did you know co-writer Michael Dougherty is of Asian descent? He is half-Vietnamese. He's part of the screenwriting team penning the Charlie Chan remake I mentioned a few weeks back.

Kelly Hu, who plays Deathstrike in X2, has signed to play another comic book character, Jade, which she describes as "a 1,000-year-old vampire who knows martial arts. She has a cool side-kick who is a goblin." Yay. Doesn't sound particularly appealing, but it would be nice to see Kelly Hu is a starring role. Too bad it will require martial arts. Again.

SPOILER. If you haven't seen X2 yet, don't read the rest of this paragraph. It looks like there's a possibility Kelly Hu could return as Deathstrike in a third X-Men movie. Her contract was for two films. Yes, her character bites it in a particularly messy liquid admantium death at the end of X2, but who knows? Maybe they'll concoct a way to bring her back...

05.12.03

Charlie's Angels Animated Adventures. Yes, that's supposed to be Lucy Liu. No, I don't know what's going on. And yeah, it's kinda weak.

Okay, I shouldn't knock it too much... After talking with the executive producer at Media Revolution involved with the project, I know that the animation can suffer from timeline/budget issues. And I should support the Asian American talent involved with the production, particularly character designer Bernard Chang.

Still, I definitely don't approve of the evil Asian military character in the short. But let it be known that I am a fan of Lucy Liu, animated and otherwise. Here's hoping that subsequent installments will be more impressive.


05.12.03

Tsai Chin shows up on The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer tonight on ABC.

05.12.03

For some reason, several people have wrote in the last two days to tell me about Audrey Magazine. I thought it had been around for a few months... I wonder where the sudden surge of interest came from. Anyway, Audrey is a new publication appealing to the tastes of Asian American women. Looks good so far. I guess I should probably also mention Jade Magazine, also geared for the Asian American sisters... And how about Noodle, for that gay Asian and Pacific Islander man perspective. And while I'm at it, I should also give a plug for Hyphen, an Asian American news and culture magazine set to launch in June. Check it all out.

05.12.03

Various sports related items... Yao Ming recently hosted a telethon in China to raise money for SARS research: Yao implores everyone to join in battling SARS. Worth noting is that Shaquille O'Neal took part in the telethon, appearing in videotaped message urging viewers to give. "I love you, xie xie, peace," said O'Neal, using the Chinese word for thank you. That's a far cry from "ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh," Shaq.

Skating magazine's Skater of the Year award has been renamed the Michelle Kwan Trophy. Because she's already won the darn thing seven times.

Here are some MLS (Major League Soccer) players of Asian descent: Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Mark Chung (Colorado Rapids), Ryan Futagaki (Chicago Fire), and Hong Myung-Bo (Los Angeles Galaxy). Yaaay!

05.11.03

Don't really follow hockey, but check it out: it's the Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs. the Minnesota Wild in the playoffs —with the two of the few Asian players in the league, Paul Kariya and Richard Park, respectively. The Ducks took Game One, 1-0.

05.10.03

Hold it now: UC Berkeley eases ban on students from SARS-affected countries

05.10.03

Tonight on the season finale of The Agency. RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES:


"Our Man in Korea"

When the CIA's contact in North Korea is murdered after learning that the country could be in the process of stealing a missile guidance system from the Russians, Stiles and Terri infiltrate a shipping company to try to track the whereabouts of the system. Realizing that the North Koreans have been watching their every move, Gage acknowledges that there must be a leak inside the agency. Although Terri suspects who it is, she meets with him privately and is stunned to learn that her suspicions are correct. Upon leaving their meeting, Terri is kidnapped by a mysterious Asian-American couple before she has
a chance to relay her new-found information to Gage. With: Byron Chung, Ryun Yu, Leo Lee, Tamlyn Tomita

There are spies among us! Aw man. And part two airs next week:


"Our Man in Washington"

The spy drama's second season goes out in dramatic style as the two-part finale concludes with a startling development and a cliffhanger. Terri is taken captive by North Korean sympathizers (Tamlyn Tomita, Leo Lee) after they learn she's uncovered Joshua's double life. Anguished that he's the cause of her peril, Joshua pleads with his contact, Jin-Gui Kim (Francois Chau), to keep Terri alive. He also tries not to unravel as he goes about his business at the agency, where everyone, especially Stiles, desperately works to find their colleague. But her rescue is made even more difficult when Haisley brings his findings about Joshua to Quinn, who drops a bombshell that complicates the mission. With: Francois Chau, Leo Lee, Tamlyn Tomita

Those evil North Koreans! Good thing we can always count on TV tellin' it like it is.

05.09.03

Some news on director Gurinder Chadha's next project: 'Beckham' Director Scores with Miramax

05.09.03

Your priorities this weekend (in alphabetical order): Bend It Like Beckham, Better Luck Tomorrow, Charlotte Sometimes.

Bend It Like Beckham is already kicking ass at the office, having earned over $10 million and placing in the top 10 last weekend. But if you haven't seen it yet, you should. Doesn't matter if you don't like soccer, doesn't matter if you don't know who David Beckham is. It's a feel-good crowd-pleasin' winner. And it's waaay better than that fat Greek movie. Take your momma to see it!

Better Luck Tomorrow has made a mighty $3 million, which is decent for a small film. People have made a great effort to mobilize, promote and watch this film. But I honestly don't think that the people who need to see this movie have seen it. There is an audience for this movie beyond just the Asian American community. Right now, it needs numbers, ticket sales to stay in theaters, especially with the coming onslaught of studio-marketing-powered summer blockbusters. If you've already seen it, but you're headed to the multiplex this weekend (hey, I even saw X2), why not buy a ticket for BLT, and then just go watch your movie? It's not like X2 really needs any more of your dollars, right?

Charlotte Sometimes is now playing in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. Sexy, subtle, engaging. And a ton of critical acclaim. However, this is a tiny little film with tiny little marketing resources. It needs big help from audiences like you. I'll be at the 7:20 showing at the Towne 3 in San Jose. See you there.

05.09.03

Interview with that Charlotte Sometimes cutie Eugenia Yuan at GiantRobot.com.

05.09.03

Last night on ER, a Buddhist monk came to the hospital to die. She is joined by her Buddhist monk crew, including Patti Yasutake (she's the only one I recognized).

05.09.03

A lot of people have written in expressing their disgust for the Asian Male Prostitute jokes on Late Night. You can write to the show at LateNight@nbc.com. Tell them what you think. You can also write letter letters to NBC at:

Viewer Relations

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

05.08.03

Got some more info about that school in New Jersey that wouldn't let Chinese American artists come to school because of fears about SARS. This comes directly from Amy Chin at the New York Chinese Cultural Center. It happened this past Monday, May 5th at the Landis Intermediate School in Vineland, NJ. The five NYCCC artists were going to start teaching a weeklong series of dance and art workshops at that school and at a neighboring school, the D'Ippolito Intermediate School. According to Chin, "The artists were so hurt and humiliated. What was most sad is the fact that we are not strangers to the school. We have been doing this weeklong workshop series every year for the past two years there." That is pretty sad. And racist! Here's a Newsday.com article on the incident: SARS Fears Cancel NJ Workshops

The NYCCC has asked the school to send a formal apology to each of the artists and have made it clear that they are to be paid for the entire week of cancelled workshops. They've also asked that they take steps to educate their community about the wrongfulness (= stupidity) of their actions. As of yet, they haven't received a response. That's racist!

Like Margaret Cho says... SARS really stands for Severe Anti-Asian Racism Syndrome. (Thanks Thomas)

05.08.03

Katrina Leung was charged in a five-count indictment of obtaining, copying and retaining documents connected with U.S. national defense without authorization, but does not face an espionage charge: Alleged Chinese double agent indicted

05.08.03

It's getting worse. I got this email forwarded to me about some really misinformed fears about SARS:


Subject: SARS backlash on Asian American communities

This morning five of NYCCC's artists arrived at a New Jersey middle school to teach a scheduled weeklong series of art and dance workshops. On arrival, they were whisked to the principal's office and informed that the entire week's program would be cancelled and then were directed to go the District Superintendent's office in another part of town where they were told this was due to fears about SARS. We were quite stunned. None of the artists have travelled to Toronto or Asia within the past two years or more nor have they been in close contact with anyone who recently has. They are U.S. residents of Asian descent. But, the school didn't even ask about these details. Parents at the school simply had threatened to keep their children home if the Chinese artists were teaching in the school. Have you or any of your organizations experienced this type of situation? And is there a focused effort in the Asian American community to educate the public about this type of 'racial profiling'? I am really astounded by this.

Amy Chin

Executive Director

New York Chinese Cultural Center

Chinese Folk Dance Company

390 Broadway, 2nd Flr

New York,NY 10013

(212)334-3764

fax (212)334-3768

www.chinesedance.org


I'm still trying to find out more about this incident. But what a great way for your school to celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month! Anti-Asian SARS hysteria! That's racist!

And here's a New York Times article along a similar vein: A Virus of Fear

05.08.03

Anyone who has been watching Late Night with Conan O'Brien regularly in the last year is familiar with the running "Asian Male Prostitute" joke, a gag they've gone to the well for far too many times. Obviously, the problem with the joke is that it reduces Asian-ness to an offensive novelty. Because you know the writers would definitely think twice about using this joke depicting any other race or ethnicity. As it is, it really doesn't seem to bother Conan or the producers of the show, and they just keep on using it.

Like on last night's show. O'Brien did his "4 picture joke" (a bit where he shows a sequence of pics, then explains how they're related):† "Soy Peanut Butter. Buddhism. SARS. A picture of a middle-aged white man without pants, crossing his legs." The answer: "THINGS MOST LIKELY TO BE SPREAD BY ASIAN MEN."

Asian men, reduced to another punch line. That's racist! And they had to throw in SARS too, to add to the hysteria. I feel as though late night talk shows are the breeding ground for ignorance. In American society, it gives the green light to offend, and opens doors for much worse rhetoric. If Leno and Conan make fun of Asians, well it must be okay. And they do a lot.

05.07.03

A federal grand jury indicted James J. Smith, a retired FBI agent on charges of gross negligence and wire fraud for his role in the case of alleged Chinese double agent Katrina Leung: Jury Indicts Ex-FBI Agent in Spy Case

05.07.03

Writer Iris Chang (Rape of Nanking) will be featured on the second hour of NPR's Talk of the Nation today to discuss her most recent work, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History.

05.07.03

Check out AsianGuy.com's interview with Charlotte Sometimes writer/director Eric Byler.

05.06.03

Test your knowledge of Asian Pacific American history and culture at PoliticalCircus.com. I scored a lousy 5/11. Ouch.

05.06.03

Another thing about video games... I don't play, and I don't really follow what's out there, but I hear about stuff that comes my way. Like that freakin' racist game Kung Fu Chaos I mentioned a few months back. Pav informs me about True Crime: Streets of LA, a John Woo movie-esque game. The main character, Nick Kang, is voiced by none other than Russell Wong. He's a badass guy who fights Russian and Chinese organized crime. Yay.

05.06.03

They're making a PlayStation 2 game based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

05.06.03

It's happening: Cal bans students from areas hit by SARS. This is going to get crazier. Like I've said before, I fear that this is going to fuel a growing sentiment of anti-Asian hysteria in the U.S. Call it the Summer of SARS.

05.06.03

Check out PBS' adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth.

05.05.03

As expected, X2 cleaned up humongously at the box office this weekend. No surprise. But what's definitely worth noting is Bend It Like Beckham's stealthy entrance into the top ten. In its eighth week of release, it placed at 9th and earned about $1.5 million. The movie just has massive word-of-mouth appeal, and is still moving with a lot steam (My Big Fat Greek Wedding comparisons are apt).

So how did Better Luck Tomorrow fare this weekend? According to this list, it placed at 18th, and has made a little over a total of $3 million. It made about half of what it did last weekend, in the same number of theaters. Not good. All right, I admit I've been slacking a bit. I'm going to make a renewed effort to promote the hell out of BLT before the Matrix comes at us with a steamroll next week. You do the same.

05.04.03

Several people have written to me about a brief article in today's Parade magazine (which can be found in the Sunday edition of most major newspapers). The article, entitled "Are Americans Anti-Asian?" and briefly talked about a survey that was conducted by a group called the Yankelovich Partners. According to this survey, one in four respondents expressed "strong negative attitudes" towards Chinese Americans; 24% wouldn't want a family member to marry an Asian American; and 32% thought Chinese Americans were more loyal to China than to the U.S. The article goes on to say that The Committee of 100, a group of distinguished Chinese Americans who address the concerns of their community, blames decades of negative stereotyping by the media and even school textbooks. Interesting results, but really surprising? I know I often let my cynicism get the best of me, but these sentiments are pretty much what I'd expect of average America. And that's racist!

Upon further research on this survey, I found out these findings were actually published in 2001. Here are the results from the Committee of 100. Two years old, but then again, I can cite plenty of evidence from recent news that inddicate things probably haven't changed much in two years.

One other thing: for some reason, I can't find this article in my paper's edition of Parade. I've scoured the May 4 issue cover to cover, and it's not there. But three separate people wrote in to tell me about it today, so what's up? Is it a regional thing? Did some markets distribute the magazine without the article?

05.04.03

Interesting article in the New York Times: Writing as a Block for Asians. Personally, I studied quite a bit of linguistics in college, so I find all this particularly fascinating. Basically, there is a language theorist who claims that because East Asian writing systems lack the abstract features of alphabets, they hamper the kind of analytical and abstract thought necessary for scientific creativity. Of course, this theory has ruffled the feathers of some linguistic academics... Read the article for more info.

05.04.03

Cubs first baseman Hee Seop Choi, who hit five home runs and recorded 14 RBIs, has been voted National League Pepsi Rookie of the Month for April.

05.03.03

Here is what someone has to say:


FROM: Calvin Y.

DATE: Sat, 3 May 2003 12:52:23 -0700 (PDT)

TO: angryminsoo@angryasianman.com

SUBJECT: where is michelle kwan?


you let michelles white boyfriend worry about where she is and stop sticking up for whitewashed sluts.


Something tells me ths person has a lot of other issues going on here.

05.03.03

An Indian restaurant admits that it regularly turns away Asian diners because they are too much "hassle" and are liable to complain that the food is not spicy enough: Racist? No, we just don't serve Asian customers, says Indian restaurant. That's racist! ...But against your own kind? That just sucks.

05.03.03

AsianWeek article on Asian American standup comedians: APA Comedians Stand Up for Themselves

05.03.03

Sports Illustrated names the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports. Tiger Woods, Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, Se Ri Park and several other Asians made the list. But where is Michelle Kwan?

05.02.03

So I went to the supermarket specifically to find the latest issue of People, the annual "50 Most Beautiful People." I don't really care about who's beautiful, but I was curious to see if any Asian folks made the list... You gotta figure they'll throw in the token 2-3.5 or so. Among the 50 most beautiful people: classical musicians The Ahn Trio (Maria, Lucia, Angella), ABC News correspondent Liz Cho, and singer/songwriter/Grammy-hoarder Norah Jones. Where are all the men? Agh. Once again, the Asian men don't make the grade. We just ain't beautiful enough. That's racist!

05.02.03

Forging a Feature: The Journey of BLT, Evan Leong's great documentary on the making of Better Luck Tomorrow airs tonight on KQED (Channel 9) in the Bay Area, and throughout this month on various local PBS stations around the country. For a full schedule of all APA Heritage Month public television broadcasts, check out NAATA's Heritage Month website.

05.02.03

See? There are people looking out for those animals in Korea: Korean Animal Protection Society

05.02.03

X2: X-Men United opens in theater everywhere today. Starring, among others, our favorite, Ms. Kelly Hu. The woman is everywhere! And here is a nerdy interview with her.

Oh yes, and Kea Wong shows up as Jubilee.

05.02.03

Okay, it's like the fourth weekend of Better Luck Tomorrow's release. Looking at last week's numbers, not everyone who needs to see this movie has seen it—meaning the entire rest of America. Continue to spread the word about this film. It needs to do well these next two weeks to stay in theaters and keep the momentum going. If you've already seen it, and you're at the multiplex watching some other this weekend, consider buying a ticket for BLT, then watching your movie. Every little bit helps. Do it!

05.01.03

Eric Byler's Charlotte Sometimes opens in Chicago tomorrow, May 2. It also opens in San Francisco on May 9. You should go see this film. Why? Greg Pak tells you why: Charlotte NOW: Three reasons to buy tickets to "Charlotte Sometimes" this Friday. Check back in a few days for my official endorsement, when I get my stuff together...

05.01.03

Asian Americans, you're not invited to the party: Asian Americans receive invites mistakenly. That's racist!

In other news, the year is 2003. So tell me why they're having a segregated prom: Georgians Plan Whites-Only Prom Party. That's racist!

05.01.03

Hey Los Angeles! VC Film Fest 2003 begins today, and runs through May 8. Some great films, so check it out. I'll give Kristina Sheryl Wong's Beat the Bus a little extra pluggin', because she has recently become my buddy.

05.01.03

It's May! Everyone, May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Check out NAATA's nifty Heritage Month website. And here is President George W's proclamation.

PoliticalCircus.com has got some great Heritage Month stuff as well. Check out Ten Good Things To Do for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Also, for the entire month of May, they'll be profiling 31 different Asian Pacific Americans.