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7.31.2004

Archived Posts - July 2004



07.30.04

One last Harold and Kumar update before the weekend... AMWd's got some good coverage of the film's NYC Press Conference. They've also got a clip of last night's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live here. Enjoy. And have a good weekend...

07.30.04

Here's something we won't see in Hollywood: lots of Asians playing Greeks. The National Asian American Theater Company performs a translation of Sophocles' Antigone: Pity the Thebans, Your Friends and Neighbors

07.30.04

The following message comes from Judge Carl Thibodeaux of Orange County, TX:


I DO NOT APPRICIATE MY E-MAIL BEING FLOODED WITH THE SAME E-MAIL ABOUT JAP LANE. I WILL NOT BE READING ANY NEW E-MAIL ABOUT JAP LANE.

JUDGE THIBODEAUX


I guess he's talking about this email campaign: Please rename Jap Lane!

It appears he doesn't like all the email. You can contact Judge Carl Thibodeaux at cthibodeaux@co.orange.tx.us or 409.882.7070. Tell him just how sorry you are.

07.30.04

So, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle opens in theaters today. You've read the emails, seen the interviews—John Cho and Kal Penn are freakin' everywhere. Everything that needs to be said has been said, but I guess I'll say a few words anyway. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. We've already witnessed the importance of first-weekend box office numbers, with last year's release of the critically-acclaimed indie hit Better Luck Tomorrow. It was a momentous film that put us on the map. But Harold and Kumar is a mainstream, wide-release Hollywood comedy starring two Asian American male leads. A different kind of film, with a different kind of deal. It's opening against some huge competition this week (namely The Manchurian Candidate and The Village). Your box office numbers count!

That said, why not just go see because it's a funny, entertaining movie? Really, it's freakin' hilarious. Yes, it's a stoner movie. But you'll be suprised. A few people have described it as "a smart movie disguised as a stupid movie." That's an accurate assessment. It's already received critical raves from the likes of Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Ebert & Roeper. As I write this, it's rated at a FRESH 77% at RottenTomatoes.com. And I liked it too. Heck, I've seen it twice already.

All right, that's all I'm going to say. For a good time, go see Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

07.30.04

Turns out I spoke too soon about The Village. Obviously taking cues Hitchcock, director M. Night Shyamalan does somehow manage to slip himself a cameo, as with his previous films. Even in the all-white village. Crafty.

07.29.04

FAN, the Filipino American Network of Chicago is now accepting submissions for the 1st Annual FAN-Chicago Filipino-American Film Festival. The deadline is August 15.

07.29.04

It seems the Jap Road saga is not quite over. Few satisfied by new proposal for Jap Road. After all that complaining and insistence that they keep "Jap Road" because its history, turns out they just wanted something that was easy to pronounce. "Boondocks Road"? You gotta wonder what Aaron McGruder has to say about that.

07.29.04

By the way, let's not forget The Village, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, (the most powerful Indian American in Hollywood?) opening in theaters Friday. Looks like it's about a bunch of scared white people in the woods. Somehow, I doubt M. Night is going to sneak a cameo of himself into the movie this time.

Also opening in theaters tomorrow, Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate. However, there appears to be No Manchurians in 'Manchurian Candidate'. If you have the chance, catch the 1962 original, and watch for evil brainwashing Asians!

Bai Ling is in She Hate Me, a Spike Lee Joint.

07.29.04

So I guess it's Harold and Kumar week. Did you catch the duo on The Tonight Show the other night? It was an interesting sight: a Korean American guy and an Indian American guy sitting there on the couch next to lily-white (and gorgeous) Ashley Judd. They talked a little bit about themselves, the movie, and their experiences with racism in Hollywood. I love how Leno tried to empathize. This, after the Tonight Show's history of Asian/dog-eating jokes? Too little, too late. I also love how Ashley Judd was genuinely appalled and apologetic on behalf of all white people. Welcome to our world, lady.

Kal Penn and John Cho are on scheduled to be Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight. Here's an interview with Kal Penn at CHUD.com, and more interviews with the cast and director here: Coming Soon!

Jack Song has been involved with marketing Harold and Kumar to the Asian American community. Despite all the positive buzz, the process hasn't been smooth—kind of frustrating, actually. Read his Xanga to hear about some of the obstacles.

The movie opens in theaters tomorrow.

07.27.04

John Cho and Kal Penn on The Tonight Show tonight. Brace yourselves.

07.27.04

Yo. The Q & A with John Cho and Kal Penn is up and running. The comic duo shares some insights on Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Find out what they REALLY think of White Castle burgers! Just click the obnoxious link on the right.

07.26.04

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Harold and Kumar movie pass giveaway. It was fun, and hopefully I can do something like that again in the near future. The promotion is over, so please don't ask me for any more tickets. If you didn't hear from me, you didn't win. Sorry. By the way, if you ask for a ticket, but don't include your mailing address, I have no way of sending it to you. Thus, you don't get one. Following directions is very important. Here are a few H&K items:

A.O. Scott's review for the New York Times: 'Harold and Kumar': A Dumb Stoner Comedy for a New American Century Some good observations, though I feel like it has a few spoilers.

And a special message from John Cho and Kal Penn, currently being circulated through various channels:


July 24, 2004

Dear Friends, Fans, Haters, Players, and True Money Makers,

Hey! This is Kal Penn (aka Kalpen Modi) and John Cho writing to encourage you to go see our upcoming comedy from New Line Cinema, "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," opening nationwide on July 30th. This film marks the first time a major studio is releasing a project with two Asian American males as the leads. We don't have stereotypical accents, we don't passively tread through the story, we're not asexual or hypersexual, there are no martial arts scenes, one-dimensional cab driver segments. We play a couple of all-American guys who happen to be of Indian and Korean descent. Our characters (Harold and Kumar) are post-collegiate buddies who get the munchies and end up going on the adventure of their lives as they set out to satisfy a spontaneous craving for White Castle burgers. Ebert and Roeper just gave our movie "Two Thumbs Up"! We hope you will too. Read on.

The opening weekend for any film is extremely important.† Studio executives (the people who make big decisions about movies) track the numbers from that first weekend's ticket sales and make all kinds of decisions based on that data. They decide if they will add more screens to show a film, if they will spend more money in promoting it, if they will start investing in a sequel... but most importantly, they decide if elements of the film work and whether they should do it again. In our case, that means they will be asking, "Will a strong script and story succeed or fail with 2 Asian American guys in non-stereotypical roles?". We personally think it will succeed, but we need your help! This film is our chance to prove that realistic, nonstereotypical depictions can make an audience have a blast, and take in enough money to make this happen in the future.

By buying a ticket to "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle," you aren't just gonna get to see a really funny movie with two dudes who look like you. Nope. You're also going to be saying to media outlets, "I support accurate representation of Asian Americans and would like to see more." You have the power to change things simply by buying a ticket to a film that we believe you'll have fun watching anyway!

Please go to the theaters on the weekend of July 30th, and watch "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". We look at this awesome opportunity like we do voting in an election. Every movie ticket someone buys is a VOTE, and the cool part is, you're allowed to vote as many times as you want. With your support of the film, we will show decision-makers in Hollywood that supporting movies like these is not only the right thing to do, but is also good business. We'll also show YOU
what it's like to ride a cheetah, hang glide off a cliff, pick up a hitchhiking Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser), tell off a bunch of ignorant punks, get love interests, and sing Wilson Phillips at the top of our lungs.

So just hold on for one more... week, and check out the website at www.HaroldandKumar.com. This film opens the weekend of July 30th! Send this email to all of your friends. Throw parties. Order food. Make a night (or weekend) out of it and go see "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle"! This is a landmark opportunity for the Asian American community, and we are proud to be the faces involved. With your support and the success of this film, we hope that it's only the beginning of many more Asian Americans on screen...

Enjoy the movie,

Kal Penn and John Cho

"Kumar" and "Harold"

New Line Cinema's "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"


If you don't know, now you know. Oh, check back tomorrow for my Q & A with John Cho and Kal Penn.

07.26.04

First, read Dave Kehr's uninformed review of Flavors for the New York Times: Bollywood Discovers New Jersey's Subplots. Then read filmmaker Wes Kim's letter to the editor, written in response to the review:


To the Editor:

We were dismayed by Dave Kehr's review of the Indian American film "Flavors." While generally favorable, Mr. Kehr persistently viewed the film as a product of Bollywood, apparently unaware that it was produced by two Indian American filmmakers hailing from Texas.

To praise "Flavors" as being "blissfully short" compared to many Bollywood films while knocking its lack of "wonderfully demented musical numbers" unfairly imposes a sort of minstrelsy on Asian American filmmakers. Was the film "Better Luck Tomorrow" similarly deficient for not featuring wire-assisted martial arts?

How ironic that the decidedly low-brow "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" should be so much more sensitive to the reality of the Asian American experience than the Arts & Leisure section of the Times. It's telling, however, that a movie screen filled with brown faces can still fail to be recognized as a wholly American image.

Wes Kim, Director, Northwest Asian American Film Festival

Tad Doyle, Programmer, DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival

Camille Ramani, Co-director, 3rd I South Asian Independent Film


I know it's not Hollywood. But it ain't Bollywood either, fool.

07.26.04

Yo, don't forget to vote for The Black Eyed Peas' "The Apl Song" on TRL. Check this article out: Tagalog Invades MTV

07.26.04

And in other overreacting-in-the-name-of-homeland-security news: Homeland Security officer charged in tourist beating. A Chinese tourist is in the wrong place at the wrong time. According to witnesses, the officer "sprayed her with pepper spray, threw her against a wall, kneed her in the head as she knelt on the ground and struck her head on the ground while holding her hair." Granted, the woman shouldn't have ran, or resisted. But she didn't deserve a beating. Yeah, I think he overreacted.

07.26.04

More evidence that Annie Jacobsen is just a crazy white lady on an airplane: AIR MARSHALS SAY PASSENGER OVERREACTED (Scroll down past a few articles). Even Snopes.com, the web's foremost authority on urban legends/rumors, has taken on Jacobsen's claims: Terror In The Skies - False. Sorry, Annie. Sometimes fourteen Syrian musicians on a plane are just fourteen Syrian musicians on a plane.

Seriously, next time these guys roll into town, I'm going to the show.

07.23.04

Blame it on the Whoopi effect. Margaret Cho has been "uninvited" to perform at Human Rights Campaign event next week: Gay Group Says No to Cho. Another one bites the dust.

07.23.04

Some good letters in response to Patrick Smith's "Hysterical Skies" article in Salon.com: Letters. Written, of course, in response to crazy Annie Jacobsen's now-infamous, crappy-excuse-for-journalism Terror in the Skies article.

That'll make you think twice about getting up to use the bathroom!

Personally, I think this is the best publicity a 14-piece Syrian band could ever get here in the States. Someone offer them a record deal.

07.23.04

Oh, those crazy Korean dramas: Korean soaps lure unlikely audience

07.23.04

I kinda just like the title of this article: JapJapJapJapJapJapJap

Not sure how recent this Frank Wu article is, but it's a good perspective, given all the recent headaches and controversies: Asian Americans Don't Know What to Do About Racial Discrimination

07.23.04

Oscar-winning documentarian Jessica Yu will delve into directing her first narrative feature with The Cake Eaters.

07.23.04

A new trend in the world of adoption... Fix up your house to accomodate your foreign child: Close Encounters With a Home Barely Known

07.23.04

Okay, so Jap Road is out. But there's still Jap Lane in Orange County (Texas). That's racist! As usual, the AMWd people are on it with an email campaign: Please Rename Jap Lane!

07.23.04

Came across this casting call for a role in an upcoming episode of Alias:


KAZU TAMAZAKI - Male, 20s, Japanese. Rogue gang leader. Any swordplay or martial arts experience/skills a strong plus...GUEST STAR


Greeaaat. Another Asian martial arts gangster guy. We just can't seem to get enough of 'em. That's racist!

07.23.04

Police have arrested a guy in connection with the death of 16-year-old Bang Mai, killed in brawl three weeks ago in Boston: Youth arrested in teen's slaying. Now what happens? You would hope that the death of a kid would sober up both sides, but is that asking for too much? And you just wait with halfhearted anticipation... will his family really get justice?

I have to quote O-Dub on this one: "I have to say - and this completely ignorant to suggest - but part of wishes the shit would just jump-off, and for once, someone besides us could feel scared and intimidated but of course, in these kind of situations, people of color are always the ones who get fucked up in the end. It's just that inner rage begs for release at times." Daaamn right.

07.22.04

Now, what did I say earlier this week about voting? Last week, John Kerry launched $3 million worth of campaign ads targeting Hispanics and African Americans to shore up the minority vote in the presidential race. So what about us Asian folk? Don't you want our votes? There are some concerns: Asian media rip Kerry strategy

07.22.04

More troubles at Los Alamos National Labs: Los Alamos Puts 19 on Leave After Security Breach. Misshandling of classified material blah blah blah. What are the chances that these fools get the Wen Ho Lee treatment?

07.22.04

Chink's Steaks is still around. Still battlin' with activists for a name change. However, Chink's Barber Shop in West Philadelphia has officially changed its name, in order to avoid controversy: Naming Rights

07.22.04

That ain't news, man. From BusinessWeek, yet another 'Japan is Cool' article: Is Japanese Style Taking Over The World? Yes, and it's coming to get you.

07.22.04

Up-and-coming Filipino American filmmakers at the 27th AIFF in New York: NY Scene: Fil-Am Filmmakers on the Rise

07.22.04

Out of Canada, some resolution to the tragic Cecilia Zhang kidnap/murder case: Chinese student charged with murder in Cecilia Zhang case. Curious, why is it necessary for these headlines to explicitly identify the suspect as a Chinese guy: Chinese national charged in death of Cecilia Zhang

07.22.04

Sequel to the Annie Jacobsen article: Part II: Terror in the Skies, Again?. Please, woman. You need to get over yourself.

07.22.04

Hey! It's the 9th Annual LA Tofu Festival. All the tofu you could ever want, this weekend, July 24th and 25th.

07.22.04

Fans of Jenny Hyun (fka Jaley) are probably aware of the ongoing mangagement/label troubles she's had in getting her music career up and running. It's regrettable she's had to face so many obstacles, because she's a talented performer who deserves to be heard. For those unacquainted with the situation, Jenny gives you the lowdown on her website and xanga. Read up, and take her advice: in matters of bidness, always get yourself a lawyer.

07.22.04

Two articles from the Beaumont Enterprise, reporting the "Jap Road" name change:

End of Jap Road

What will it be?

07.22.04

So lookee here. Urban Outfitters' latest line of t-shirt exploitation: Everybody loves an Asian boy. Don't feel too special. They've got a whole mess of similarly loving shirts for nerdy boys, fat boys, rich boys, frat boys, German boys, Buddhist boys, Puerto Rican boys, Blue Collar boys, Agnostic boys, Southern boys, Canadian boys, Irish boys, Latin boys, Jewish boys, and Italian boys. Such love. Lame.

Sorry, I still dig my design better: Nobody Loves An Angry Asian Man

07.21.04

Check out this Salon article: The hysterical skies. It's in response to this ridiculous, racist article by Annie Jacobsen, chronicling her "account" of boarding a cross-country flight with fourteen musicians who happened to be of Syrian descent: Terror in the Skies, Again? A harrowing experience! She details their "suspicious" appearance and behavior. They are of Arab descent! They are sitting next to each other, talking and glancing! They are getting up to go the bathroom! They must be terrorists.

You've got to be kidding me. Xenophobia at its worst. Just stick me an internment camp, will ya? That's racist!

07.21.04

Ack. Watching the new F/X drama, Rescue Me, about NYC firefighters. Denis Leary's character is talking to a psychotherapist about who's qualified to be a firefighter, that it doesn't matter if it's a man or woman, just as along as they're cut out for the job. Then he says something to the effect of "You got a martian, or a cyborg or a Chinaman? Bring them on.." The shrink asks, "Are there any Chinese fire fighters?" He answers back, "Probably... somewhere... in China."

That's just great. A throwaway "Chinaman" line. Makes for a good joke. That's racist!

07.21.04

Budget cuts, fewer resources, harder times for Hmong refugees. An NPR report: Resource Shortage Could Hamper Hmong Resettlement

07.21.04

Been hearing about another crappy Fox reality show, Trading Spouses, in which moms and dads trade places in families from different walks of life. This week's show featured an affluent Japanese American family and a working-class Black family. Here's an article: Local mommies swap families for Fox reality show (registration required)

07.21.04

Chops has a new mixtape out, with original-production remixes: By Hook or By Crook. His take on G Unit, mixed by DJ Lt. Dan. Give it a listen.

07.21.04

Like most people who use email, I am regularly plagued by spam. Usually, it gets trashed, sight unseen. But I got fooled, and opened this one because of its subject line:


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TO: "angryminsoo"

SUBJECT: chinaman

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Weird, man. What does 'chinaman' have anything to do with my mortgage? Well, I guess it got me to open the email. Got me. It worked.

07.21.04

APIAVote.org invites you to register to vote. Register, get involved, tell your friends, then VOTE. You can get started here: Your Vote Matters

07.20.04

According to this article, Zhang Ziyi has been cast in the Spielberg/Marshall movie adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha: Spielberg role for Ziyi?. Also reported here: Zhang Lands Spielberg Lead. Though, it doesn't seem as though American press has picked up on this yet. Is this for real? Either way, I can't say I'm a big fan of this idea. Bad.

07.20.04

Just a reminder... fans of Black Eyed Peas' "Apl Song" can vote for the video to be on MTV's TRL. The goal is for the video to be number one on July 26. Read more on this effort here: The Black Eyed Peas "The Apl Song"

Why July 26? Watch the video for a better understanding of the underlying issue. July 26 will be the 63rd year anniversary of the induction of the Filipino military organizations to fight in WWII under the U.S. flag. On July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt issued an Executive Order calling members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army into the service of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East. Under this order, Filipinos were entitled to full veterans' benefits. More than 100,000 Filipinos volunteered for the Philippine Commonwealth Army and fought alongside the United States armed forces. Today, some of these veterans have yet to be acknowledged and yet to receive their full benefits. That ain't right. For more information, visit www.fullequitynow.com

Voting for the video is a small gesture to bring attention to a greater cause...

07.20.04

No more Jap Road. After hours of often heated testimony, local officials in Beaumont, Texas voted yesterday to change the name: 'Jap Road' in Texas to Get Name Change

07.20.04

Angelo de la Cruz is alive and free: Filipino Hostage Freed in Iraq After Troops Withdraw

07.20.04

Spotted Terry Chen on the USA Network's miniseries The 4400, as "Colin Chen," a Department of Homeland Security researcher. You might've also seen him over the weekend in I, Robot. Man, most sci-fi movies are crap. I mean, shouldn't there be more Asians in the future?

07.20.04

Recently seen on newsstands: Nhà Magazine, "the premier lifestyle, culture, and identity magazine focusing on Vietnamese Americans."

07.19.04

Going along with the article on political clout, some statistics: Number of Asian Residents in Each State

07.19.04

NEWS FLASH! The sky is blue, and TV is still a white male realm. Shocking.

07.19.04

According to a survey in the UK, Very few white Britons have ethnic minority friends. I'd be curious to see what the statistics look like in the U.S.

07.19.04

Ah yes. A non-Korean entity (the CIA) insists it knows how to spell Korean names better than a Korean person (the President of Korea): Roh wants CIA's 'No' to go. To paraphrase a friend, it's the butchered romanization of Asian names. A fine tradition.

07.19.04

A few months back, I think I mentioned that Asian Women United was working on an update to the documentary Slaying the Dragon. In conducting research for the project, they released a survey gathering opinions about Asian women in U.S. media. Well, the results are in, with some interesting selected survey quotes.

07.19.04

Robot Stories continues to screen in select theaters through the summer. Meanwhile, Greg Pak is writing the new Warlock comic book for Marvel. Check out a few preview pages, and an interview with Greg Pak.

07.19.04

This is important. Asian Americans are the country's second fastest-growing minority... yet we have virtually no national political clout. Are you hearing me? This is obviously problematic, and trickles down on many levels. Read this article, then do something: Asian Population Lacks Political Clout

What, you watched Fahrenheit 9/11, now you think you've done your civic duty? No, dude. Let me put this as delicately as possible: Get off your ass and vote. This November. And encourage others to do the same.

07.19.04

Semi-rave, slightly gross-out review of Harold and Kumar on Ain't It Cool News. I did NOT have to read the last paragraph. Too much information, Harry.

Here's a good H&K article from my hometown paper: 2 Revolutionary Dudes

And an interview with Kal Penn ("Kumar"), with a funny headline: Harold And Kumar is gross, yet sweet

07.19.04

It was inevitable. Yao Ming and Michelle Kwan are going to be on The Simpsons. The two star athletes, along with LeBron James, will lend their voices to an upcoming episode. According to this article, Yao will apparently hire Homer to teach him some victory dances: Yao Ming to star in "The Simpsons". The episode will broadcast after next year's Super Bowl.

07.19.04

This is kind of fun... AsianWeek names The 25 Most Influential APA Hollywood Pioneers. Interesting, though I could've sworn a list like this came out not too long ago. Anyway. This week's feature lists numbers 25 through 11. Next week, the top 10. Who will be number one??

07.18.04

New trailer for Jet Li's new film: Danny the Dog. I'll admit, I'm pretty intrigued.

07.18.04

Worth reading, if only for these great quotes. A few choice opinions from the citizens of Beaumont, Texas, regarding the ongoing "Jap Road" controversy:


"I hear 'Jap' cars and 'Jap' bikes all the time... Why not Jap Road?"

Buddy Derouen, 69

"If it's offensive to someone, they should either move or stay away from here."

L.J. Bergeron, 62

"We're not here to bash the Japanese... How can I be considered a bigot and a racist when I got a Puerto Rican son-in-law?"

Wayne Wright


You gotta love it. All from this New York Times article: Texas Community in Grip of a Kind of Road Rage

07.18.04

Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi D\donors are urgently needed to help Pia Awal, a 29 year-old educator. Pia has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and is in immediate need of a stem cell blood, or bone marrow, transplant. Learn everything you need to know here: A Match for Pia

07.18.04

This is from ESPN.com's Page 2: Mail Call, Jimmy. Bill Simmons answer actual emails, most of which have nothing to do with sports. For instance:


Q: Why has "The Real World" refused to cast an Asian male at any time throughout the show's 10-plus year history? We've seen every possible permutation of humanity imaginable (gay Latino male, straight black female, constant stream of Asian women, lesbians galore, etc.) except for the Asian man. Does anyone else notice this? As the years go by, this fact simply cannot be ignored.

-- Michael Son, Santa Monica, Calif.


Bill Simmons: Hey, you're preaching to the choir -- I'm the guy who let out an audible groan when I found out that William Hung wasn't going to be in the "Surreal Life 3" house.

Jimmy Kimmel: Asian males aren't allowed on MTV. Outrageous, I know —but Viacom policy is Viacom policy.


It's a good question. Of course, it gets the easy William Hung quip response. Ironic, because I'd probably give the same sarcastic answer Kimmel gives.

07.18.04

I've been hearing about something that went down last week on KFBK 1530 AM radio (in Sacramento)... On Wednesday night, radio host Mark Williams closed the show by giving an "award" to the Philippines for pulling out of Iraq. The piece
included backgrounds sounds of crowing chickens and spoken words to the effect of calling Filipinos monkeys. That's racist!

Sometimes I don't know why I bother. Right-wing talk radio pulls this kind of stuff all the time. They thrive on it. But here's a place to direct your anger: KFBK Business Office - 916.929.5325

07.17.04

The 4 Star theater in San Francisco, the only theater left in the United States that shows first-run Hong Kong movies, is in danger of closing: The owner and movie theater fans are tussling with a church over the Richmond's beloved 4 Star. An online campaign has begun: www.save4star.net

07.16.04

Guilty. "There's no doubt this was a hate crime, motivated by racial prejudice." A San Francisco judge ruled Wednesday that a white teenager had committed felonious and misdemeanor assault in a hate crime against Asian American teenagers last summer. This article includes a detailed account of the attack: Hate crime trial nears end. And here's the article on Wednesday's verdict: Teen convicted of hate crime in assault.

Sentencing for the teenager is scheduled for August 25. Punishment could include probation, community service, a fine or detention. You deserve to go to jail, you punk ass racist.

07.16.04

This New York Daily News article follows filmmaker Steve Chu and his crew's frenetic 2-day, 16-hour production of 17 Down, their entry into the 64 Hour Film Shoot Out: 64 hrs. packed with 'Action!'

07.16.04

Just learned about Team America: World Police, a new movie in production from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the guys responsible for South Park. It's an all-puppet action/adventure/comedy (a la Thunderbirds) about an elite squad of government freedom fighters. Sounds twisted and hilarious... but then I found out the movie's main villain is none other than Kim Jong Il. Red flags. Sure, our favorite North Korean dictator is certifiably nuts, and ripe for lampooning, but one fears they'll pull out the usual racist crap that goes along with it. To top it off, the screenplay is by Pam Brady, the co-creator of Mr. Wong. That's bad news. So you see the cause for concern...

07.16.04

Jenny Choi is back to kick some ass with another edition of the AIR Tour. Her band Sanawon ("fierce" in Korean) and Mike Park headline the 2004 Asians in Rock (AIR) Tour, joined by the likes of Dame Fate, Metropolitan, Cursor, Beatnik Termites, Clarendon Hills, and many more along the way. Just for fun, check out my Q & A with Jenny Choi, in support of last year's AIR Tour. I'm telling you, she's an asskicker.

07.16.04

Just reminder... the 27th Asian American International Film Festival in New York kicks off tonight, and runs through August 1. Lots and lots of Asian American films/seminars/parties for everybody. Plus, the winners of the 64 Hour Film Shoot Out! Here's an IndieWIRE article: Asian-American International Fest Kicks Off 27th Year

07.16.04

Been hearing a lot of buzz about Saw, an indie horror film co-written and directed by James Wan. Research reveals that Ken Leung is in the cast too. Looks like one scary-ass movie. The trailer is so creepy, I'm actually sort of regretting that I watched it. Here's an interview with James Wan. The movie hits theaters in September.

07.15.04

Spotted Byron Mann ever-so-briefly in a trailer for Catwoman. I saw this movie before. It starred Brandon Lee, and it was called The Crow.

07.15.04

This guy's got the right idea: Far East, far out of mainstream Hollywood. We've been griping about this for years. From the article: "Why doesn't anyone know how to engineer the successful transition of the finest Asian film exports? Though a few scattered blockbusters make their way to the fore, Hollywood still hasn't been able to truly use the amazing palette of potential talents like Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, John Woo, Jackie Chan and their ilk." Daaaamn right.

07.15.04

We've hit the halfway mark in the baseball season. AsianAthlete.com has posted midseason report on Asian players in the Major League: 2004 mid-Season Major League Baseball Stats

07.15.04

Out of the UK... In a BBC undercover documentary, British National Party activists have confessed to racially motivated crimes including an assault on an Asian man during a 2001 riot: BNP activists admit to race crime. That's racist! More background on the documentary here: Going undercover in the BNP

07.15.04

Joe Kim XploitAsian Flix is making a documentary, The "C" Word, on the Chink's Steaks controversy. View a clip here, in which a white dude debates and defends the establishment's name ("I just blew your argument out of the water.") He really believes the movement is simply about harrassing a good man. It's equal parts intriguing and infuriating.

07.15.04

LA sneak screening of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Wednesday, July 28.

07.14.04

Spotted Karl Yune in the trailer for Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid. I'm taking bets to see how long he makes it in the movie before the giant snake eats him.

07.14.04

I take joy in the knowledge that sales are slumping for everyone's favorite clothing company: Abercrombie & Fitch May Be Cool. But Cool Only Goes So Far. People, they do not need your money.

07.14.04

I mentioned this controversy back in December (12.03.04), but it seems to be making the rounds again: Public Hearing To Discuss Jap Road. It's been going on for a while. Basically, activists are trying to get Jefferson County in southeast Texas to change the name of "Jap Road." It's an actual three-mile stretch of road in Fannett, TX that has been around for about 100 years. Believe it or not, it was named to honor a Japanese family who moved to the area and helped introduce the region to rice farming. Obviously, over time the meaning of "Jap" has changed to become a racial slur, and street's name has some problematic implications. It shares sort of the same issues with the ongoing "Chink's Steaks" controversy in Philadelphia.

Anyway, Jefferson County Commissioners will decide whether to take action on the issue after a public hearing July 19th. Meanwhile, there's an online petition circulating: NO Jap Road

07.14.04

Another DVD release: Tequila. Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Jonathan Lim. To be honest, I don't think I ever even heard of this film 'till today. One of those low-budget, indie deals. But the website is kind of neat. Purchase the DVD here.

And yet another DVD relase: Masters of the Pillow, James Hou's documentary on Professor Darrell Hamamoto's contorversial "Yellow Porn Movement." You know you like to watch. Coming to DVD soon, apparently.

07.14.04

Another Chinese basketball player to join the NBA: Chinese guard Liu Wei to try out for NBA Sacramento Kings

07.13.04

Darryl Fong's martial arts spoof Kung Phooey! comes to DVD/VHS next week, July 20th. It'll be available at Blockbuster, Netflix and the usual online retailers. NOT to be confused with that Kung Pow garbage, this movie's some hilarious good stuff. It's got the usual kung fu gags, but also throws in some sly (and not-so-sly) commentary on skewed Asian representation in the movies. It's an indie labor of love, stir-fried in the Bay Area, and cooked with MSG. Worth taking a look.

Support independent Asian American film.

07.13.04

A man walking down the street gets brutally beaten for wearing a turban: Arrest Made In Connection With Beating Of Sikh Man In Queens. This is America. That's racist!

And an update on that bloody brawl in Boston I mentioned yesterday... The incident was apparently sparked by the use of a racial slur. Two weeks ago, a teenage girl called several Asians visiting Veterans Park to play basketball "chinks," according to witnesses on both sides.

An Asian boy in the group responded by hitting the girl, touching off a series of confrontations that ended Sunday with the death of Bang Mai, 16. Police said he died from trauma and a stab wound: Blood feud: Asians blame Southie kids in fatal brawl. And this article: Two assaults led to brawl, say teenagers

It's sobering. Could any of this have been prevented?

07.13.04

Meet Jeff, cast member on MTV's new show The Assistant. Another one of those reality shows where they treat the contestants like crap. But even worse, it stars Andy Dick.

07.13.04

Two white dudes from New Jersey wanted to make a stoner movie about the Korean and Indian friends they knew in high school. Here's an article on the screenwriters of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle: A movie with Jersey written all over it

07.13.04

Something else to do this weekend: Flavors opens in select theaters nationwide. It's an indie South Asian comedy by first-time filmmakers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK. And starring a whole mess of people.

07.13.04

If you're in LA, something to do on a Thursday night: Chop Rock. An Asian American music showcase, brought to you by the fine folks of Chop Block. Lots of Asians, lots of music. So come on down.

07.12.04

An update regarding the San Francisco hate crime trial that began last month (Juvenile goes on trial in hate-crime case). Both the prosecution and defense have begun presenting their closing statements, and will continue on Wednesday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m. The court is expected to issue a verdict on Wednesday shortly after the closing statements are completed. The trial is open to the public.

DATE: Wednesday, July 14 (verdict expected in the afternoon)

TIME: 1:30pm - 4:30pm

PLACE: Center Courthouse

400 McAllister St., Dept. 306

For More Information, call Malcolm Yeung, at (415) 896-1701, ext. 120 or email malcolmy@asianlawcaucus.org. For full coverage on the case, visit asianlawcaucus.org

07.12.04

Outta Boston... this is just insane. A 16-year-old Vietnamese boy was beaten to death in a South Boston brawl where, according to police and witnesses, up to 50 teens wielded baseball bats, knives and at least one ax: Southie rumble turns bloody. Baseball bats, knives and an ax?

A freakin' ax?

07.12.04

Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz, kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq, is still alive: Philippines Says Iraq Troops to Be Pulled

07.12.04

As a follow-up to the previous big-ass post... Some important tips for writing to your Senator/Representative. Got this email, from someone who knows what they're talking about:


I just wanted to pass on some tips to your readers for more effective letter/e-
mail/fax writing to one's Senator or Representative. I currently work on
Capitol Hill, so I've learned how Congress sorts mail.

1. Only write your own Senator and Representative - they throw away any letter
with an out of state or out of district address. (Unless you're a big
organization or association that represents a lot of people or an important
point of view.)

2. Don't use internet forms or a form letter provided by groups. If they see
more than one letter that use identical language, they throw them away. Any
form letter that comes on a group's letterhead is also thrown away. They want
letters that show time and effort, not something that you cut and pasted, or
just signed and sent off. I know a lot of groups use the form letter, but it's
so common that nobody on the Hill respects the letters anymore - it's become
too easy to point and click. Write an original letter - you don't need to be
eloquent or amazingly persuasive - we just want to know your opinion and that
you cared enough to put at least five minutes into the act.

(AMW - this means that you should give your readers an example letter with the
relevant facts, but tell them to please write it in their own words. Trust me,
this works - we still get plenty of letter-writing campagins, but the ones we
keep are the ones where the group tells people to write their own version.)

3. Put your name and return address on the letter itself. It makes things a
lot easier for us.

4. If the relevant bill or hearing is coming up soon, fax or e-mail instead of
writing the letter. Since the anthrax attacks, all mail is carefully screened
and thus can take considerable time to reach our office.

5. Please refer with as much specificity as possible to the issue, bill,
hearing - give the date, reference number, etc. and be specific about what you
want. Vague demands for action on some broad issue will be answered, but won't
have too much impact on how your Senator or Representative thinks about the
issue.

6. We get a lot of letters AGAINST stuff, but very little FOR stuff, so if
there is an issue you care a lot about, even if there's nothing specifically
threatening it, feel free to periodically write in expressing your support. For
example, we almost never get letters supporting immigrants, saying civil rights
is a good thing, or commending us for a good policy.

Remember, we get a LOT of mail - easily several hundred letters a day,
sometimes even more, so following these tips will make it MUCH more likely that
the very limited and swamped staff will pay attention to your letter.


It's good advice, for the Nielsen issue, and other future campaigns (and there will be future campaigns).

07.12.04

We all know the state of television is pretty much jacked when it comes to Asian Americans and minority representation in general. It's about get even more jacked: Don't Count Us Out!

All right. It's Monday, and I'm tired. But here's the deal. Nielsen Media Research measures what Americans watch on television. Nielsen sells these ratings to broadcasters, advertising agencies help clients like Coca-Cola, Ford and Walmart place ads on television. A broadcaster makes money by selling ads based on these ratings. And it's BIG money. If a show has low ratings and the broadcaster can't sell ads at a good price, then the show gets the axe. Cancelled. Nielsen is a monopoly and the only company that sets the television ratings. (Remember, C.R.E.A.M.)

What America watches directly impacts what we see on television. If a minority-themed program has good ratings, then it will continue to air on television. If not, the program will be cancelled. Poor ratings means cancellation—it's a simple equation. Since Nielsen determines the ratings, the methods and means they use to determine these ratings directly impacts what gets aired on television.

For a number of years, minority advocacy groups have called for an examination of the methods Nielsen uses to measure minority households in the U.S. Nielsen has ignored these calls. Recently, Nielsen announced plans to launch a new method to measure households in the major metropolitan areas called Local People Meters (LPMs). According to Nielsen's own research, African American and Latino viewers using LPM technology may be undercounted by as much as 25%. When it comes to Asian Americans, they weren't counting at all. ZERO.

In addition to this problem, the Media Ratings Council, an independent group consisting of television industry representatives, declined to accredit the new system until Nielsen addresses "noncompliance and performance issues" that turned up in an audit by Ernst & Young. Once again, Nielsen ignored these groups and has committed to rollout the LPM in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

So, how will Local People Meter ratings impact minority communities? Low ratings lead to the premature cancellation of minority-themed shows. Fewer minority-themed shows means that fewer minority writers, actors, directors and producers are employed. Television executives are more reluctant to invest in minority-themed programming and programs that matter to the minority community. Undercounting means that the voice of the minority community is not being heard.

Considering just how few Asian Americans there are on television in the first place, this new system is really bad news. If Nielsen doesn't count Asian Americans, shows with any kind of Asian presence don't get backed up with any kind of ratings info about community support. This predicament will lead to fewer future opportunities for Asian American actors. And it's bad enough as it is.

Don't Count Us Out is a community coalition formed to fight these changes in the Nielsen ratings system, and includes a letter-writing campaign. Asian Media Watchdog officially endorses this movement.

Also, Asian Media Watchdog has started a letter writing campaign to Neilson executives that more specifically addresses the concerns of Asian Americans: Don't push a flawed system that doesn't count APAs

And here's some additional contact info:

Susan Whiting, President and CEO

Nielsen Media Research

770 Broadway

New York, NY† 10003

Phone (646)654-8300

Federal Comminucations Commission

1-888-CALL-FCC (225-5322)

Federal Trade Commission

1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

Furthermore, the Senate Communications Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 am on Thursday, July 15 on the Nielsen
Local People Meter (LPM) system. You can contact the Subcommittee immediately at webmaster@commerce.senate.gov and urge them to demand reforms to the LPM so that it fairly and accurately counts minority household.

If you're a resident of AK, CA, FL, HI, IL, KS, LA, MA, ME, MS,
MT, ND, NH, NV, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA, or WV, at least one of your
senators is a member of this subcommittee. So write to them! This form will save you some time: Please demand reforms to the Nielsen LPM! This letter will go to all Senate Commerce Committee members.

Okay, that's a lot to chew on. Bottom line, Neilsen LPM... That's racist!

07.11.04

Marking his first public appearance since claims of espionage against him were dropped, Army Capt. James Yee thanked members of the Asian Pacific American community for their support at a benefit dinner held in his honor in New York City's Chinatown: James Yee Speaks Publicly for First Time After End of Guantanamo Bay Scandal

07.09.04

NYC, catch a special advanced screening of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. July 18, 7:00pm at the ImaginAsian Theater. Q & A with John Cho and Kal Penn to follow.

The ImaginAsian Theater, New York's newest venue for Asian cinema, opens next week: A celluloid tiger gets its own showcase

And in Chicago: Harold and Kumar Live!

07.09.04

There are sooooo many things wrong with this article: What is it about Korean Women that Western Men Like?. I will let it speak for itself. That's racist!

07.08.04

Because they needed some actual Hawaiians on the show: 'Idol' Finalist Trias Comes Home to 'North Shore'. Well, of course.

07.08.04

Heads up: Asian CineVision's Asian American International Film Festival runs July 16-24 in NYC and July 30-August 1 in Huntington, Long Island. It's the big, O.G. on the east side. Dig it? Support Asian American film!

07.08.04

According to the Democratic National Convention Committee, nearly 40 percent of its delegates are of a minority background, including record numbers of blacks, Asians, American Indians and Hispanics: Almost Half Dem Delegates Are Minorities

07.08.04

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has released a report outlining reforms needed to ensure Asian Americans aren't faced with discrimination at New York City voting booths this November. The report, "Asian American Access to Democracy in the 2003 Elections in NYC," chronicles some of the issues observers noted during the 2003 elections, including hostile poll workers, inadequate signage and workers uninformed about federal law requiring language access for non-English speaking voters. Report: More interpreters, training needed at polling places to ensure fair treatment of Asian American voters

07.07.04

You gotta love it. Established, educated musicians from China have converged on New York, performing daily for the city's subway riders: Asian Music, Accompanied by the A Train

07.07.04

The results are in... The fans have voted, and New York Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui is the 32nd and last player on the American League's All-Star Team: Hideki Matsui wins "Final Vote," added to A.L. All-Star Team

07.07.04

Time for the 75th All-Star game, to be played July 13 at Minute Maid Park in Houston: Ichiro Suzuki & Danny Graves make 2004 Major League All-Star Team. Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has been elected to his fourth straight All-Star game, finishing third in American League balloting with 1,891,136 fan votes. For the National League, Cincinnati Reds closer Danny Graves is among eight reserves and eight pitchers named to the All-Star Team as a result of the Player Ballot, cast by Major League players, coaches and managers.

Meanwhile, fans have a final chance to vote another player on the team, and New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui is one of the five players under consideration. You can vote for Matsui here.

07.07.04

We've talked about this before: Hawai'i on TV lacks state's racial diversity. Television shows set in Hawaii but where are all the Asians? Few and far between. That's racist! The article cites Fox's North Shore and NBC's upcoming cop drama Hawaii.

07.07.04

New York Times article on Giant Robot: Asian-American Trendsetting on a Shoestring

07.06.04

Don't forget, The Workshop: Asian American Film Collaborative's 64-Hour Film Shoot-Out kicks off on Friday, July 9. There's still time for last-minute registration... To all competing filmmakers, Shoot-Out judge Mike Kang offers a few words of advice.

07.06.04

Spotted in San Francisco: Giant Naked Asian Men. At Main and Folsom outside the building where they host the HotOrNot website. I presume shameless Jim and James here are the guys who started up the site. (Thanks, Stephen)

07.05.04

Two Asians completely rock it in the world of Competitive Eating. Yes, this is a sport. Sonya Thomas easily out-eats 300-400-pound men: 100-Lb. Woman No. 2 in World for Eating. But nobody beats No. 1, Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi. In his fourth victory in a row, Kobayashi retained his hot-dog-eating title this weekend by eating 53.5 of the wieners in 12 minutes at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest: 'Tsunami' scoffs hot dog title.

You see, this is a talent I can live without.

07.04.04

It's Independence Day. But today also marks the five-year anniversary fo white supremacist Benjamin Smith's three-day hate crime shooting spree through Illinois/Indiana, which left seven people injured and two dead, including 26-year-old Won-Joon Yoon, shot while standing in front of his church: Bloomington remembers Yoon. This tragedy also claimed the life of Ricky Birdsong, former head basketball coach of Northwestern University. Smith of was a member of white supremacist hate group World Church of the Creator. Racist.

07.03.04

Everybody's talkin' about Michelle Wie: U.S.G.A. Reaps Benefits From Wie's Popularity

07.03.04

Request the Black Eyed Peas "Apl Song" on MTV TRL July 26! The video for "Apl Song" was produced and directed by the Lumpia crew. Although the music video has been well-received in the Philippines with countless airplay, it has yet to debut in the U.S. Since the song's chorus is sung in Tagalog, the chances of seeing the video on American television are somewhat slim. However, a movement is growing to change this. The goal: on Monday, July 26, the number one video on MTV's Total Request Live will be "The Apl Song." How? Read about it all here: here.

07.03.04

But who will play Daisy Duke? Jay Chandrasekhar Directing Dukes of Hazard

07.02.04

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. It was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, after a record two-month filibuster by Southern senators. The act's key provisions banned segregation in any facility offering public services and outlawed discrimination in hiring: Civil Rights Act Hailed 40 Years Later. A hugely important, landmark moment in American history. But let's face it—we still have a long way to go.

07.02.04

Looking for a job? How about as a park ranger? The National Park Service has opening for Park Ranger at the Manzanar National Historic Site.

07.02.04

An article on the growing population of Hmong Americans in the US: New Wave of Hmong Immigrants Head to Minn.. 15,000 refugees from Thailand are expected to arrive over the next six months.

Elsewhere, Zong Khang Yang, a Hmong refugee from communist controlled Laos, plans to walk more than 1000 miles from St. Paul, MN to Washington, DC, in order to bring to America and the attention of the international community the genocide-like crisis taking place in Laos: Trek Across America to Stress Plight of America's Forgotten Hmong Allies

07.02.04

Okay, this is wacky: enter the "Harold and Kumar Look Alike Contest." Yeah, you read that right. YOU can join in the nationwide search for Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) lookalikes.††Two lucky clones will each win their very own private screening of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle for themselves and 50 of their closest friends. For all the rules and info, check out one of the Harold and Kumar blog sites at www.xanga.com/HaroldLee or www.xanga.com/docKumar.

Like I said, wacky. The weird thing to me, is that it's such a race-specific promotion. Right? . . .Heeeeey. So what are they saying—all Asians look alike? That's racist! I'm kidding. All in good fun.

You know, my buddy Chethan kind of resembles Kumar...

07.02.04

Film version of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha will begin filming this September in Los Angeles and Japan, directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago). Memoirs of a Geisha is the story of Sayuri, a beautiful girl from a tiny fishing village in Japan who must learn to be a geisha in order to survive. The producers are holding an open casting call next week for Asian girls aged 8-18 to play the young Sayuri, her teenage sister Satsu and her young friend Pumpkin: The Call for a Geisha

Great. I was just thinking, we don't get to see enough movies out there that present a White Man's Vision of Japan.

07.02.04

I watched Spider-Man 2 the other day, and I have to note that not only does it kick much ass, it gets props for portraying a truly multi-cultural New York City. I already mentioned that Daniel Dae Kim has a small role, as well as several Asian faces sprinkled in roles throughout the film. But even aside from this, you really get the sense that Spider-Man lives/works/battles villains in a city of diversity. Sure, this is still an NYC straight out of the comic books (subway cars never really look that clean), but I can say with confidence that Friends never looked this colorful. Big props to director Sam Raimi and co.

07.01.04

Cal State-Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki, coming off an awesome college season, has been received another distinction: Kurt Suzuki Wins Johnny Bench Award. By the way, Suzuki was drafted by the Oakland A's as a second round pick.

07.01.04

KCRW's Elvis Mitchell interviews Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, publishers of Giant Robot: The Treatment. Aired last week on Wednesday, June 23.

07.01.04

If you're in Austin, TX next weekend, check out the Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle World Premiere and Road Rally. Believe it or not, there will be FREE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT White Castle burgers for all in attendance. Yum.

07.01.04

Hyphen celebrates its one-year anniversary. I believe they're throwing a party...

07.01.04

So the big hot thing these days is Korean cinema. With films like Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy tearing it up at film festivals (it took the prestigious Grand Prize at Cannes), South Korea has established itself as a unique voice in international film. So, will be seeing these films in America any time soon? The good news is, sort of. The bad news is, not really. The ugly news is, they'll be remakes. That sucks. Here's a long, interesting article: Korean Movies, Hold The Koreans. It's a good read. One interesting note: the article reports that BLT's Justin Lin is set to direct the American remake of Oldboy. A consolation, I suppose. However, I do recommend seeking out Oldboy (it's an asskicker) and other Korean movies on DVD. Don't wait for the remake!

07.01.04

Part of the Nation, the long-awaited debut LP from Snacky Chan, drops officially on August 24. Been looking forward to this one for a while... The title track should get you sufficiently angry. Sample it here.