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11.30.2006

Archived Posts - November 2006



11.30.06

A San Francisco couple, James and Kati Kim, who took a road trip with their two young daughters to spend Thanksgiving in the Pacific Northwest did not return as expected Monday and is now considered missing: SF family missing from Thanksgiving road trip. The family was last seen in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday. A little more information here and here.

11.30.06

Carmen at Racialicious reminds of this weird commercial for V05 styling hair gel/cream: Alberto VO5 hair wax makes you like, totally anti-establishment. Style your hair, run away, and be freeeeee from the shackles of Red Commie oppression!

11.30.06

More Sundance news... The Festival announced its 2006 Premieres, Spectrum, Midnight and New Frontiers Lineups today... among the films screening in the Park City at Midnight program are the latest from Justin Lin and Gregg Araki (who are quickly becoming veterans at this):


Finishing the Game, USA, Director: Justin Lin, Screenwriters: Josh Diamond, Justin Lin

Bruce Lee's shock death left legions of stunned fans and a legacy of 12 minutes from his unfinished Game Of Death. Undeterred, studio executives launched a search for his replacement chronicled here through the eyes of five aspiring thespians who find out what the real game is. World Premiere.

Smiley Face, USA, Director: Gregg Araki; Screenwriter: Dylan Haggerty

Jane F, an unsuccessful slacker actress, inadvertently eats her roommate's pot cupcakes and proceeds to have a very strange day of hijinks and surreal misadventures. World Premiere.


I've been really looking forward to seeing Finishing the Game. Other notable Asian/Asian American films in other programs include The Last Dining Table, directed by Gyeong-Tae Roh; Bugmaster, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo; Dark Matter, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng. Good stuff. I'm seriously thinking about making the trip out to Park City in January. The latest lineup announcement can be viewed here: Sundance Reveals Premieres, Spectrum, Midnight and New Frontiers Lineups: Where Commerce and Art Collide

11.30.06

According to a new UCLA study, minority actors in Hollywood may have legal grounds for challenging studio casting policies: Minorities have legal ground to sue studios. Says Russell Robinson, UCLA acting professor of law: "Casting directors take into account race and sex in a way that would be blatantly illegal in any other industry." Robinson announced the findings Wednesday, citing a 2006 survey of casting announcements from Breakdown Services that found 69% of roles reserved for white actors, 8.5% open to all races, 8.1% open to African Americans, 5.2% for Latinos, 4.3% for Asian Americans, 2.9% for multiracial, 1.7% open to Middle Eastern and 0.5% open to Native Americans. Crazy! Minority actors everywhere are contacting their lawyers...

11.30.06

Kal Penn talks a bit about his starring role in National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj: The Rise of Kal. The movie opens in theaters tomorrow. The movie is called Van Wilder... but there's no Van Wilder? Whatever. Looks like a lot of stupid, goofy frat-boy humor... but I suppose that's to be expected with "National Lampoon's" attached to the title. Kal also talks a little bit about what we might expect in the upcoming Harold and Kumar sequel: Harold & Kumar Meet Brandon Routh? That's right. Superman.

11.30.06

Here's an article in The Star-Ledger about the growing community of Asian immigrants in Parsippany, NJ: WHERE AMERICAN DREAM LIVES. Indians and Chinese now comprise 14 percent of Parsippany's population, compared with 6 percent for Asians statewide.

11.30.06

Next week, the Asian American Writers Workshop presents the 9th Annual Asian American Literary Awards, recognizing excellence in Asian American fiction, poetry, and nonfiction of 2005. Monday, December 4th at the Asian Society in New York. Awards will be presented to Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang, Nonfiction; Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Fiction; Mad Science in Imperial City by Shanxing Wang, Poetry; and surprise announcement of the Members' Choice Award winner. The Members' Choice Award finalists are A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li, Fiction; Real Karaoke People by Ed Bok Lee, Poetry; and
Tetched: A Novel in Fractals by Thaddeus Rutkowski, Fiction. Good times in the Asian American literature. For more information about the event, go here.

11.30.06

The LA Weekly recently ran this lengthy, interesting story about the lives of two Vietnamese brothers—one living in Vietnam, the other in Southern California: Santa Monica or Saigon?

11.30.06

Recently heard from Iris K. Shim, who is currently directing/producing the documentary The House of Suh, a film that examines the family history of Andrew and Catherine Suh, Korean American siblings that were incarcerated for the murder of Robert O'Dubaine. It was a pretty-well publicized case amongst Chicago, national and Korean media outlets during the 1990s. Sounds tailor-made for tabloid TV like A Current Affair or movie-of-the-week exploitation (I'm told the story was apparently dramatized in a Lifetime movie starring Kristy Swanson—!?), but rather than perpetuate the sensationalism of the story, Iris tells me her film aims to focus on the tragic circumstances surrounding the Suh family, "examining how child abuse, cultural mis-assimilation, family loyalty, and legal injustice led to the downfall of Andrew and Catherine." Sounds pretty dark and fascinating. The film is co-produced by Gerry Kim, whose documentary Identifying Asian recently wrapped production (we mentioned it here a while back).

Anyway, The House of Suh is currently in the middle of production, but still needs assistance on multiple fronts, including funding (of course), advisees to the project, and additional crew assistance. If you'd like to get involved, or would like to learn more, contact Iris at iris@thehouseofsuh.com. And for more info on the film, go here.

11.29.06

This just in, from AsianAmericanFilm.com... the Sundance Film Festival has announced its 2007 competition lineup, which includes the following films with Asian American stories or by Asian American directors:


Documentary Competition

Protagonist, Director: Jessica Yu

Protagonist explores the organic relationship between human life and Euripidean dramatic structure by weaving together the stories of four men--a German terrorist, a bank robber, an "ex-gay" evangelist, and a martial arts student. World Premiere.

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Director: Steven Okazaki

White Light/Black Rain offers a visceral, topical and moving portrait of the human cost of atomic warfare. World Premiere.

Dramatic Competition

Never Forever, Director and Screenwriter: Gina Kim

When an American woman and her Asian-American husband discover they are unable to conceive, she begins a clandestine relationship with an attractive stranger in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. World Premiere.


The full lineup is up at indieWIRE: Sundance Unveils Competition Slates: Organizers Highlight Diversity, Innovation and Globalization. More Sundance news to come...

11.29.06

Another article on golf phenom Michelle Wie, who ought to switch some gears after some not-so-great, winless tournament outings: Time for Wie to Change Course

11.29.06

A few weeks ago, I got my hands on Capital Plans, the latest album from Ee, and it's pretty frickin' awesome. It's been in heavy rotation on my iPod. The San Francisco-based Ee is Tobin Mori, Che Chou, Peter Nguyen and Sooyoung Park (former frontman of the pioneering Asian American band Seam). And they rock. I highly recommend this disc, available from Actually, Records. Here's the band's official site, and here's their MySpace.

And while I'm at it, let me plug the band's labelmate XYZR_KX (pronounced "Scissor Kicks"), aka Jon Monteverde, "Chicago-based Chinese-Filipino indie-rock/electro-pop wunderkind." His album Inanomie Op.221 is an amazing, fascinating piece of work. I'm no music critic, but I can only describe it as an experimental, eclectic, indie electronic work of awesomeness. Yeah, kind of hard to describe. But still very cool. Learn more about Jon Monteverde here and here. Good stuff.

11.29.06

Gwen Stefani's on the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly: Holla Back. She discusses (and defends) her Asian-women-as-accessories, the Harajuku Girls, and responds to Margaret Cho, who publicly decried them last year as "a minstrel show." Here's the quote to note:


"She didn't do her research!" spits Stefani, who says she's been a fan of Japan and its mix-and-match fashion sense since first visiting the country with No Doubt in the mid-'90s. "The truth is that I basically was saying how great that culture is. It pisses me off that [Cho] would not do the research and then talk out like that. It's just so embarrassing for her. The Harajuku Girls is an art project. It's fun!'' (Cho told EW via e-mail, "I absolutely agree! I didn't do any research! I realize the Harajuku Girls rule!!! How embarrassing for me!!! I was just jealous that I didn't get to be one-- I dance really good!!!")


The abundance of exclamation points leads me to be that Margaret is being facetious. I, for one, would love to see Cho as a Harajuku Girl. She should incorporate it into her act. As for Stefani's defense—an art project? Fun? Dude, they're like her silent pets. Ridiculous. Somebody, stop this "fun" "art project." That's racist!

11.29.06

CAPE, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, celebrates its 15th anniversary with a swanky awards gala next week. They'll be presenting the CAPE Pioneer Award to George Takei and the CAPE New Horizons Award to Justin Lin, as well as honoring CAPE founders Wenda Fong, Fritz Friedman and Chris Lee. They'll also be presenting the winners of th 2006 CAPE Foundation New Writers Awards. Good times. Monday, December 4th at the Universal Hilton in Universal City. For more information about the event, go here. To learn more about CAPE and what the organization does, go here.

11.29.06

Nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards were announced yesterday, and Little Miss Sunshine and Half Nelson lead the pack with five nominations each. I suppose that's no surprise. But what's great news is that Michael Kang's The Motel and Ramin Bahrani's Man Push Cart are both hanging with the indie darlings, nominated in the Best First Feature category. Ahmad Razvi of Man Push Cart is also nominated for Best Male Lead, and So Yong Kim's In Between Days and Richard Wong's Colma: The Musical are both nominated for the Someone To Watch Award. That's cool! Go here to see the full list of nominees.

11.29.06

The rivalry continues, even in bidding wars for Japanese pitchers... The New York Yankees answered the Boston Red Sox' overwhelming bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka by submitting the highest proposal ($26 million) to talk exclusively with Kei Igawa, a left-hander from the Hanshin Tigers: A.L. East to Far East: Yankees Extend Rivalry. That's just for the rights to negotiate. Unfortunately for the Yankees, you get what you pay for. They're calling Igawa is "the poor man's Matsuzaka": In New Bidding, Price Is Right for the Yankees

11.29.06

Hey movie fans... The original, uncut version of Tears of the Black Tiger, the first Thai film to appear in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, will finally be released in the United States next year from Magnolia Pictures: Tears of the Black Tiger to Finally Come to the US. It's one of those films that was notoriously snapped up by Miramax only to collect dust on the shelf for years, only to see the light of day long after the original buzz is gone and hardcore cinephiles have managed to get their hands on bootlegs. But good for Magnolia for acquiring the rights. I haven't seen it, but I've heard crazy, astounding things about this film. An uncut version will be shown January 12th at the Film Forum in New York, with select cities to follow.

11.29.06

Here's a really interesting article on Rodney Woo, pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church, a diverse, multiracial congregation in Houston: Houston pastor strives for worship diversity. Diversity is a quality that many institutions—particularly churches—claim to value and aim for, but remains a distant reality... this church seems to be one where it's actually happening.

11.29.06

One more shout out for my friends at the IMPAACT (Identifying the Missing Power of Asian Americans in Connecticut) conference, happening this Saturday, December 2nd at the University of Connecticut. Lots of great workshops, speakers and performances (and not just for CT students). The conference's keynote speaker is William Tong, recently elected as the first Asian American to serve in the state's General Assembly. Register by Friday and it's just twenty bucks. For more information, go here.

11.28.06

This is for my people at the University of Southern California... I'll be speaking on campus at an event tomorrow night with Lela Lee, creator of Angry Little Girls. That's right—the two of us in one room. Your head might just explode. Angry Asians: Why Are They So Angry? - A Look at Asian Pacific American stereotypes and image. Wednesday, November 29th, 6:00-8:00pm in THH 101 at USC. Presented by the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly. See you there, my friends.

11.28.06

Yesterday being Bruce Lee's birthday and all, I held off on posting this ridiculous piece of news... Rob Cohen, director of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (he also did The Fast and the Furious, if that indicates anything) has plans for a digital Bruce Lee to star in his next film Rage and Fury. Let me say that again: a digital Bruce Lee, a la Jar Jar Binks. Sad but true: Exclusive: Digital Bruce Lee!. According to Kaiju Shakedown, the story sounds like "a KARATE KID remake with Bruce Lee in the mentor role as a ghost, a la Obi Wan Kenobi in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK." I'm sorry, but that sounds like the plot to No Retreat, No Surrender. Remember that movie? LatinoReview.com has a script review of Rage and Fury, and it just sounds godawful. I can't believe this is happening. In a way, this is just a 21st century version of Game of Death. Can't get Bruce Lee in your movie? Just get next best thing, Digital Bruce Lee.

In other cashing-in-on-Bruce news, more information on that theme park in Shunde: Bruce Lee to get own theme park in China. The park is apparently budgeted at $25.5 million and is expected to be completed in three years. But will there be rides?

11.28.06

Here's a story on Blong Xiong, who won election to the Fresno City Council a few weeks ago, becoming the first Hmong American in California to win a city council seat: Xiong wins City Council seat. He'll also be the first Asian American to sit on the Fresno City Council. This last election was definitely historic for Asian American political power at every level...

11.28.06

ComingSoon.net has an interview with Lucy Liu on her latest role in the transcontinental multi-story drama about the HIV pandemic, 3 Needles: Lucy Liu on Thom Fitzgerald's 3 Needles. In the movie she plays Ping, a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini epidemic in a rural Chinese village. Sort of a departure from Liu's kung fu kickin' dragon lady roles. (But wait—Codename: The Cleaner is out in January!) Sandra Oh is also in the film playing a nun in Africa. Here's 3 Needles' official site. The movie opens Friday, December 1st in select cities.

11.28.06

The discussion/debate over Asian American students and college admissions continues to be a hot topic... like this op-ed piece from the Harvard Crimson: Convenient Elitism. In California, ten years after the passage of Prop 209, the state initiative that banned using racial preferences in public university admissions and state hiring and contracting, many continue to debate the measures merits and its effects: UC ethnic shift revives Proposition 209 debate. Also, check out the Addicted to Race podcast's interview last week with Daniel Golden, author of The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates. It's pretty interesting stuff.

11.27.06

Happy birthday, Bruce Lee: The Greatest Martial Artist of All Time

11.27.06

After a bumpy start, the Koreatown Security Patrol made their debut on Saturday night, with the hopes of curbing the increasing rate of crime in the community: Volunteers hit streets to keep Koreatown safe. Hopefully, it'll lower the number of incidents involving drunk fools getting into fights outside karaoke establishments.

11.27.06

This article on the unexpected popularity of Heroes ran as the cover story of the Austin-American Statesman TV Guide this week, accompanied by a large, prominent photo of Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura: 'Heroes' flexes its muscles. Hiro almost almost got that kiss tonight. So close. Better luck next time, Asian man.

11.27.06

Heads up. Some cool stuff going down this weekend...

Kevin So is busy completing his upcoming album A Brighter Day, and ready to share it with the world... so this weekend, check out An Evening with Kevin So & Friends—Kevin's biggest show yet. With special guests Vienna Teng, Johanna, and Bryan Dunn. Saturday, December 2nd at the Makor in NYC. Looks like it's going to be a fun night. Historic!

On the other side of the country, in San Diego... the showcase returns: LumpiaPalooza 3, the annual Filipino American concert series. Featuring the Basco Brothers, female turntablist and community activist DJ Kuttin Kandi, rock band Invid, Las Vegas-based Earthtones, vocalist Janice Aranas, the youth group Those Kids, hip-hop talent Power Struggle, local R&B artist Dane, and the San Diego dance crew Select Few. That's a hell of a lineup. Friday evening, December 1st at Montezuma Hall in the Aztec Center at San Diego State University. For more information, go here and here. Good times!

And in Los Angeles, it's the annual Asian Hip Hop Summit, a benefit for Normandie Teen Club, featuring a fat schedule of performers and events, including Aceyalone, Skim, Lyra Flip, Soulspeak, Nocando, and a truckload of other acts that I've never heard of, but I'm sure know how to rock the mic something good. Friday, December 1st and Saturday, December 2nd at Normandie Park in Los Angeles' Koreatown. For more information, go here.

11.27.06

TVGuide.com has a brief interview with George Takei: George Takei Takes on Star Trek's Sulu, Howard Stern and Other Heroes. He's as busy as ever with his upcoming performance of Yankee Dawg You Die, playing Hiro Nakamura's father on Heroes, and appearing in a fan-produced internet episode of Star Trek. Oh, and Star Trek The Animated Series was just released on DVD. You're the man, Sulu.

11.27.06

The New York Times has a profile on newly-elected Connecticut legislator William Tong, representing the 147th District: Legislature Gains an Asian-American Face. He has the distinction of being the first Asian American to serve in the state's General Assembly.

11.27.06

Sidney Kosasa, founder of the ABC Store chain in Hawaii, died earlier this month. He was 86: Sidney Kosasa, 86; founder of Hawaii's ubiquitous ABC Stores. If you've ever been to Hawaii, you know those stores are everywhere, catering to all manner or tourists. Mr. Kosasa was one of the many Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during World War II. I guess you can thank him for putting ABC on every other block in Waikiki.

11.27.06

Here's a really interesting Houston Chronicle blog entry about continued unwarranted bias and criticism (let's call it what it is—hatin') of Yao Ming: Yao bashing. The writer points out that Yao is "a good guy, humble, hard working, pretty funny," and not to mention a valuable player for the Rockets. He just doesn't get the props he deserves.

11.27.06

"Obbah! You're so freaky sexy!" ...Words I never thought I'd ever read in a Washington Post article, but there it is, in this story about Korean Americans who become pop stars in Korea and are now being exported to international audiences beyond: Riding the Seoul Train

11.27.06

Mandarin—it's all the rage in American classrooms: Mandarin speaks to a growing audience. Gotta keep up with China's looming global economic power, you know? That's what they, at least.

11.27.06

Hey, this is the last day of this special, so act fast: Blacklava, my favorite conscious apparel peddler, is doing free shipping (on orders $30 and above) through today, November 27th. Been eyeing that "Justice" hoodie? Maybe you've wanted to get one of those "I Will Not Love You Long Time" shirts. Or maybe it's finally time you plunked down your money and get yourself a Nobody Loves An Angry Asian Man t-shirt. Perfect for holiday giving. So, to recap: free shipping at Blacklava, on orders $30 and above, through today, November 27th. Dig it?

11.27.06

Another article on Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, the companion World War II film to Flags of Our Fathers told from the Japanese perspective of the Iwo Jima battle: War is hell for the enemy too. It sounds pretty fascinating. Whether or not you're a fan of Eastwood's work, you have to hand it to him for having the conscience to tell both sides of this story, when Japanese combatants are usually portrayed as the faceless, silent enemy. War is war, and it sucks for everyone.

11.27.06

Joseph James Melcher, who was charged with murdering two people last month in San Francisco's Japantown has been accused of committing another killing two months earlier. The possible connection between his victims? They're all Asian American: Suspect linked to 3rd death. Police are investigating whether he had been targeting Asian American victims at random, or possible evidence that his motive included an "antipathy to Asians." That's racist!

11.27.06

Here's a great story about Tongan American football players at a high school in Texas sharing their cultural traditions with the community: A Tongan War Dance Enlivens Football In Euless, Texas

11.27.06

Yet another article on Asians flocking to casinos during the holiday season, and how the casinos are finding ways to cater to them more and more: For Many Asians, an Atlantic City Pilgrimage. Forget turkey—gambling Atlantic City, an Asian American Thanksgiving tradition?

11.27.06

When you think of call centers, these days you usually think of India, but according to this article, the Philippines is quickly gaining a share of the customer-service call center business: Filipinos Are Taking More Calls in Outsourcing Boom

11.27.06

Just heard about this movie, Nina's Heavenly Delights. As this site describes it: "A movie about a lesbian of Indian descent who falls in love with another woman, and doesnít attempt suicide, set something on fire, or go crazy? And it has a happy ending?" And everybody in the movie has Scottish accents. Fun. Here's the movie's official site and MySpace. And here's Variety's review of the film. Don't know if there are plans to release the film in the States any time soon, but according to Twitch, the DVD will be out in the U.K. in January.

11.23.06

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm out for the long weekend. Have yourself a big fat awesome holiday, and I'll see you next week. Stay Angry.



(Thanks to Racialicious.)

11.22.06

I almost missed this... Last week, winners of the National Book Awards were announced at a fancy ceremony: 'Echo Maker' Wins National Book Award for Fiction. It's been described as the Oscars of the literary world. Alas, the first graphic novel ever nominated for the award, Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese, did not win. The award for young people's literature went to M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I. The winning author did, however, offer some very nice words of praise for Yang's book in his acceptance speech. I can't say it enough: American Born Chinese is an incredible work. Read it!

11.22.06

Here's an NPR segment on editors Gary Okihiro and Linda Gordon's new book, Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment: Newly Released Photos Tell Story of Internment. The link includes a slideshow of photos from the book.

11.22.06

The San Francisco Chronicle has a nice story on Danny Chan, head football coach for Lowell High School in San Francisco: Lowell tackles stereotypes. Asians? Playing football? Hell yes. Like the story says, Lowell's program is changing certain perceptions of football players within, as well as outside, the Asian American community.

11.22.06

This has been in the news in Southern California... The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has released sketches of a man and woman, suspected in a series of violent home invasion robberies in Norwalk and Rowland heights. Investigators say the suspects have been targeting elderly Asian women. Take a look at the sketches here: LAPD: Violent Home Invasion Robbers Target Asian Women. Be on the lookout, and stay aware.

UPDATE: Pair posing as government workers prey on Asian women

11.22.06

More on the Mohegan Sun casino's efforts to cater to its Asian American clientele, who apparently comprise 20% of the casino's business: A Bow To Asian American Players. I, for one, think we should be concerned with such aggressive efforts—by this casino, and others—to target Asian Americans, especially when problem gambling is a significant issue within our community...

11.22.06

It's that time of year again... Kollaboration 7, the annual big-ass Korean American community talent show in Los Angeles. Saturday, November 25th at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. This year's theme is "Koreatown and Little Tokyo: Honoring Our History and Working Together." It's going to be a big ol' fun time, with bands, singers, emcees and dancers competing, as wells as appearances by guest comedians (Kevin Shea, Paul Ogata, Randall Park, K.T. Tatara, Walter Hong, Nancy Lee) and performers (Far East Movement, Lil' Jordan, Terry Matsuoka). I had the privilege of serving as a judge at least year's event, and had a blast. It's the place to be this Saturday night! For more information, go here.

11.22.06

This news out of Grand Rapids, MI... 34-year old Hai Vo is in a coma after an argument in a bar escalated into a fight that left him critically injured: Man in coma after fight outside the B.O.B.. Vo's family says he was with a group of family members inside the bar when a group of men started making racial comments to the women in the group. Vo's sister, was one of them:


"All I heard was that Asian women cost five dollars and they had money in their hands and they hold a bunch of money in their hands," Trucgiang Vo said.


That's racist! Vo, of course, wasn't going to let it happen. Vo's family says they argued with the group and were all kicked out of the bar. The argument continued outside. Details are sketchy on what happened after that... but Vo is now in a coma. Police are still investigating.

11.22.06

Seems like this coming several months after the song/video was all the rage, but here's a good story in the Los Angeles Times about the Black Eyed Peas' multi-generational Filipino pride anthem "Bebot": Filipinos' hip-hop anthem. Oh, and if you want to see full versions of both videos, go here. Props to my man David Pierson, who wrote the story.

11.22.06

Sexy Jeff Yang's latest sexy "Asian Pop" column should be of particular sexy interest to all you sexy readers out there: Do you think we're sexy?. It's all about sexy Asian men, in honor of People's annual "Sexiest Men Alive" issue (which includes profiles of guys like Survivor's Yul Kwon, Harold and Kumar' John Cho, Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, Hong Kong pop idol Edison Chen and Heroes' Masi Oka). Sexy.

Masi? Sexy? Sure. But everyone has their humble beginnings... Here's TIME's infamous "Asian American Whiz Kids" cover from 1987, with none other than young Masi Oka (on the left, in the blue shirt):



You've come a long way, baby. My question is, who are the other kids, and where are they now, almost twenty years later? Anybody know? (Thanks, Dave)

UPDATE: Here's a link to the original cover story, dated August 31, 1987: The New Whiz Kids. This passage immediately leaps out, if only because it dates the article so wonderfully:


No matter what their route, young Asian Americans, largely those with Chinese, Korean and Indochinese backgrounds, are setting the educational pace for the rest of America and cutting a dazzling figure at the country's finest schools. Consider some of this fall's freshman classes: at Brown it will be 9% Asian American, at Harvard nearly 14%, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 20%, the California Institute of Technology 21% and the University of California, Berkeley an astonishing 25%.


My, how far we've come. Actually, what's truly astonishing is reading the article and realizing how little things have actually changed. The numbers may be different, but the issues, stereotypes and struggles still remain. Hell, twenty years later, they're still writing stories on this same topic, only they're not calling us "Whiz Kids," anymore—we're just a plain old academic threat. Blast from the past, bay. Again, I'm curious to know where/how all these cover kids ended up. Whiz Kids, please step forward!

11.22.06

Another story about how awesome Yao Ming is playing this season: Yao, Having Best Year, Still Looks to Improve. And another one: The time is Yao. People are calling him the best center in the NBA. But not so fast... we all do have our bad moments: 7 Foot 6 Yao Ming Rejected by 5 Foot 9 Nate Robinson. Ouch.

11.22.06

There are a lot of scholarships out there for Asian American students, but I found this one kind of noteworthy... The Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Foundation is offering a scholarship of $1,000 for the 2006-2007 academic year, to students currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants must have worked in an Asian restaurant or have at least one parent having worked in an Asian restaurant. The scholarship is in honor of Shui Kuen and Allen Chin, co-owners and operators of Chung's, a well-known Chinese restaurant in the greater Detroit area, who were able to put six kids through college. On October 11, 2005, Allen Chin was killed in a car accident. In his honor, the family set up the Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Foundation. That's pretty cool. For more information, and for application guidelines, go here.

11.22.06

So, have you seen the latest video from Gwen Stefani? The Harajuku Girls, her little troupe of silent Japanese accessories, are back for another round: Gwen Stefani - Wind It Up. I thought L.A.M.B. was a just a gimmick for her last record, that hopefully she'd just drop and move on... But it looks like she's brought them out of their cage for another round—this time sporting blonde wigs to add to the confusion. It's time to start up the campaign again: Free the Gwenihana Four!

11.21.06

This is for my people in the Bay Area... Tickets are now on sale for Asian American Theater Company and Contemporary
Asian Theatre Scene's presentation of Philip Kan Gotanda's Yankee Dawg You Die, running February 8-24 at Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose. Here's the story:


Bradley Yamashita (Greg Watanabe, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors) is
one of the new breed of Asian American actors. Highly politiical
and outspoken, he will only take on acting roles that are dignified
and unstereotypic. He has recently starred in a small independent
film and he arrives in Hollywood.

Vincent Chang (George Takei, Star Trek) is a survivor. He cut his
teeth on the old "Chop Suey" circuit as a hoofer and went on to star
in feature films, even garnering an Oscar nomination in the 1950s.
Now Vincent is forced into taking often stereotypic and undignified
roles.

This quick moving play follows the two men as they meet, form a
friendship and together do battle admist the humorous and ruthless
backdrop of the Hollywood film world.


It's a brilliant, poignantly comic play. Gotanda is an icon of Asian American theater. And come on, it's George Takei! For more info, and to buy tickets, go here.

11.21.06

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief Heather Fong walked the streets of Chinatown for a publicity event to garner support from the city's Asian Americans: Fong walks Chinatown, gets a boost. Fong has recently been under criticism from some members of the Board of Supervisors and the head of the police union, who call her leadership style "too reserved and indecisive." Newsom counters that her leadership style wouldn't be an issue if she wasn't an Asian American woman. Don't let the haters get you down!

11.21.06

Last week, I posted a Sacramento Police Department sketch of the rapist that's been at large and targeting Asian women in Northern California for the last fifteen years. The most recent victim of the "Nor Cal rapist" came forward yesterday to tell others of the crime and plead for the capture of her assailant: Rape victim speaks out about horrors of attack. Again, the man is described as white, 37 to 40 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, and 200 to 250 pounds. He was seen driving a limited edition white Toyota 4-Runner with a silver stripe along the bottom and tinted rear windows. I hope they catch this raping piece of filth, and when they do, someone gives him a swift kick in the crotch.

11.21.06

Recently spotted on eBay: "Fantasy Goddess of Asia" Barbie. I don't think there's really anything more to say.

11.21.06

There's been a hell of a lot of talk about Asian Americans and college admissions lately. Hot topic. Here's another opinion chiming in, a staff editorial from The Harvard Crimson: On Asian-American Admissions (be sure to read the comments below as well). And here's a follow-up: Asian-Americans and college admissions

On a related note, according to an analysis conducted by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the UC Asian
American and Pacific Islander Policy Initiative, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Pacific Islanders have fallen way behind and current admissions patterns (only 6—not 6%—Pacific Islanders were admitted to this year's freshman class at UCLA): Pacific Islanders Lagging Behind in Higher Educational Attainment. Major finding include:


Among those 25 years and older, single-race Pacific Islanders are only about half as likely as non-Hispanic whites to have at least a bachelor's degree (15% versus 30%). The gap is even wider when compared to Asians (49% with a bachelor's or more advanced degree).

* Pacific Islander levels of educational attainment (15%) are similar to African Americans, in which 17% have at least a bachelor's or more advanced degree.

* Pacific Islanders in Hawai'i have lower educational attainment than those in the other 49 states.

* Among Pacific Islanders, Samoans, Tongans, and Fijians have the lowest percentages with a college degree.

* Prospects for future educational attainment are bleak. Slightly less than a third (29%) of Pacific Islanders between the ages of 18 and 24 are enrolled in a college or university, a rate comparable to African Americans (29%). In contrast, the college enrollment figures are 39% for non-Hispanic whites and 57% for Asians.

* Public schools are failing to prepare Pacific Islander students for high school and college levels. The lack of culturally-appropriate programs and a hostile educational environment contribute to social alienation and a high dropout rate among Pacific Islander youths.


Download the full nine-page report here.

11.21.06

According to this article, while egg donation has surged in the last twenty years, the supply of ethnic minority donors, especially Asians, hasn't kept up with demand: In Competitive Marketplace, Asian Egg Donors in Demand. Because of "complex cultural attitudes about fertility and basic marketing principles," Asian eggs are pretty hard to find. It's apparently really important for Asian and Middle Eastern couples to find egg donors of their own ethnicity.

11.20.06



Sexy.

11.20.06

Here's a story about two Korean American adoptee twin sisters in Minnesota who started the Korean Adoptee Student Organization, a place for adoptees to share their experiences: South Korean adoptees start group. Minnesota apparently has one of the largest population of Korean adoptees in the world.

11.20.06

Last week, police in Mumbai received a complaint that British security guards for an Angelina Jolie film shoot manhandled and racially insulted students and parents at an Indian Islamic school, calling them "bloody Indians" as they tried to enter the school to collect their children. Jolie is in India shooting A Mighty Heart, based on the life and death of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Good ol' Brad Pitt, of course, denied the allegations: Pitt defends bodyguards after racist abuse row

11.20.06

There's been a recent controversy at the University of Michigan about membership in a skull-and-bones-type senior society formerly known as Michigamua. I first read about this over at Sepia Mutiny. United Asian American Organizations, a congress of 37 Asian/Pacific Islander student groups, passed a resolution last month insisting that the senior society meet five demands by the beginning of winter semester: UAAO demands society be more open. Essentially, steps to make the secret society—"a racist establishment"—less secret. If it doesn't meet these demands, UAAO promised to oust two member groups, the South Asian Awareness Network (SAAN) and the Indian American Student Association (IASA). It was recently revealed that IASA president Gopal Pai and SAAN co-chair Ashish Shah are members of the society. This is a pretty interesting conflict, but I have to wonder... if they manage to make the secret society more transparent, how will they be sure? Because, you know, it's secret.

11.20.06

Here's an interesting story on auteur Wong Kar-Wai's English-language debut film My Blueberry Nights, starring Norah Jones in her acting debut: The Master of Time: Wong Kar-wai in America. WKW fans will also be intrigued to know that this is the director's first time in fifteen years working without cinematographer Christopher Doyle, as well as a his first time with a screenwriting partner, crime novelist Lawrence Block. Like every previous Wong Kar-Wai project, I'm really interested in seeing this...

11.20.06

Rainn Wilson, who plays "Dwight" on The Office is making his screenwriting debut on a project in which he will star "as a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity": "Office" fascist Dwight dons ninja suit for film. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to for some faux Asian chopsocky imagery, don't ya think? Keep an eye on this one.

11.20.06

Some interesting bits of Heroes information... If you're a fan of Scrubs, you know that before he played Hiro, Masi Oka had a recurring role on the show as Franklyn, the lab tech guy. The episode where he mistakenly thinks J.D. is racist towards Asians is hilarious. Anyway, according to Kristin at E! Online, Scrubs producers want to bring Masi as Franklyn back this season, but with his powers from Heroes intact. How funny would that be?

Also, it appears that George Takei has signed on to play Hiro's father: Heroes Recruits Captain Sulu. It's perfect. Hiro is already a Star Trek fan. What's going to happen when Sulu plays his father? Geeks' heads everywhere will explode.

Finally, the cast of Heroes has made the list of People's "Sexiest Newcomers" in their annual man-candy issue: The Men of "Heroes" are People's Sexiest Newcomers

UPDATE: Masi Oka was on the Today show this morning And also on The View. And on Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight.

UPDATE: And another story on him here: 'Heroes' star Masi Oka living the dream. And here: How a 'geek' became a Hero. That is a lot of Hiro for one day.

11.20.06

Check this out... Apple.com is sponsoring the Insomnia Film Festival, where contestants have a mere 24 hours to complete a 3-minute short film. Hoai Vuong of the Lapu the Coyote that Cares Theatre Co. at UCLA tells me that his team's film, Countdown is part of the competition (shot with an entirely Asian American cast and crew). Check it out and vote for the film here.

11.20.06

I kept hearing about this whack Herbal Essences commercial and finally saw it last night. It's absolutely ridiculous. I'd describe it, but guest contributor Nina over at Racialicious does a pretty good job of breaking it down: Herbal Essences: Asian women canít be blonde or Swedish? So far, I can't find video of the commercial online anywhere. If anybody's got it, send me a link. And here's the actress in the commercial, Sheena, responding to some of the criticism she's received about it: My Official Statement Regarding the Herbal Essences Commercial. I don't really blame her—blame the fool who thought up that idiotic commercial.

11.20.06

Vickie Chang has written a follow-up to her "Yellow Fever" piece that ran in the OC Weekly a few weeks back, about creepy Asiaphile dudes who are "in to" Asian women: Your Fetish, My Life. She apparently received a great deal of feedback (I even get a mention in there), which I suppose had to be expected. You raise a topic like this, and people always get crazy. Props to you Vickie.

11.20.06

Warner Bros. and DreamWorks have moved up the release of Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's companion World War II film to Flags of Our Fathers told from the Japanese perspective of the conflict: Warners Tries to Revive Flagging Eastwood Buzz. Originally slated for February, it'll now open in the select cities on December 20th to qualify for awards consideration. I suppose Flags didn't generate the kind of buzz they were hoping for, so I guess the studios now trying to maximize their chances for possible Oscars.

11.20.06

Community members in Los Angeles' Koreatown held a celebration on Saturday in honor of the inaugural Koreatown security patrol, a volunteer effort to keep to patrol the neighborhood and stem a recent increase in crime. Unfortunately, the patrols were postponed last-minute: Koreatown celebration premature. I guess the streets of K-Town will be a little less safe for another weekend...

11.19.06

Putting a little bit of color in your sexy! Actor John Cho has made People's annual list of The Sexiest Men Alive, amidst the likes of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and others... John? Really? Catch him next year in the NBC sitcom The Singles Table, as well as Michael Kang's upcoming gangster film West 32nd and the sequel to Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

11.19.06

Hey Bay Area... this week, everybody's favorite public broadcasting station KQED premieres Immigrant Voices ñ American Stories, an original 30-minute documentary examining the growing political awareness and power of eight immigrants living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Friday, November 24 at 7:30 pm on KQED. The film will also be available for viewing at www.kqed.org/immigrationinfocus. Some of individuals whose personal stories are profiled in the program are Vince Gutierrez from Manila, Philippines; Talat Hasan from West Bengal, India; Mary Hayashi from Seoul, South Korea; and Jade Wu from Toishan, China. Sounds like a pretty interesting program, so check it out.

11.19.06

A new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research last week links consumption of soy during childhood and early adolescence with lower risk of breast cancer in Asian American women: New Links Detailed Between Diet, Cancer Risk. This new study is important because it is the first to examine how childhood intake impacts breast cancer risk later on in life. Women who reported eating the most soy foods such as tofu and miso between ages 5 and 11 had a 58 percent lower risk for breast cancer than women who ate the least. The power of tofu!

11.19.06

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against two Garden Grove apartment building owners, asserting that they tricked Hispanic tenants to move out of their units so they could rent to Vietnamese tenants: U.S. suit alleges Garden Grove landlords discriminated. Federal lawyers said Gary Luke and Mary Ngo sent out letters to Hispanic tenants telling them their units were going to be renovated and that they had 60 days to get out of their apartments. When the Hispanic tenants tried to move back into the updated units, they were either told they could not return or they were promised rental applications that they never received. The remodeled units were later rented out to Vietnamese tenants. That, my friends, is housing discrimination. More here: Housing discrimination is alleged

11.19.06

20-year-old Jang Ho Kim, a member of the Army's 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, died last week from injuries suffered when a homemade bomb exploded near his vehicle during a combat operation in Baghdad: Local soldier killed in Iraq. More here: Lost soldier 'still a baby'. Look at the photo in the story—the guy was just a kid.

And last week Marine Lance Corporal Minhee Kim—also 20—died fighting in the Anbar province of Iraq: 5th Michigan Marine in 2 weeks killed in Iraq fighting. Friends and family gathered in Michigan to mourn last week: Family, friends mourn A2 soldier slain in Iraq

These are just two guys... there are quite a few Asian faces amongst the Washinton Post's Faces of the Fallen. And for every face, a family.

11.19.06

I think we first mentioned this several months ago... Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa has announced that he will resign as head of the MIT neuroscience center, two weeks after a university investigation found that he acted inappropriately when he discouraged a young neuroscientist from accepting a job at MIT because she would be competing with him: MIT neuroscience center head quits. Alla Karpova, the prospective hire, eventually ended up declining the offer. It seems that he's trying to put the controversy to rest. Ah, the awesome world of academic politics.

11.19.06

An Irvine couple claim that they were forced to shell out expensive jewelry and designer goods to get proper care for their severely autistic son: O.C. couple say they paid tens of thousands for 'free education'. According to the legal claim they filed earlier this month, Thomas and Liya Lin say they were forced to shower employees at their son's elementary school with diamond jewelry, Coach bags, Chanel perfume and other lavish gifts worth a total of $100,000. That is an expensive education.

11.19.06

Here's an AP story on San Francisco's Chinatown, a neighborhood still highly populated by old and young generations of Chinese Americans: SF Chinatown still home to young and old

11.17.06

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS RAPIST SICKO?



There's a serial rapist out there targeting Asian women in Northern California. Investigators say they believe at least nine rapes and one attempted rape over the past 15 years in the area are linked to one man. They say he struck again last month, raping two women: Northern California serial rapist sought. He is described as white, 37 to 40 years old, 5 foot 8 inches to 6 feet tall, 200 to 250 pounds with a protruding stomach. He's been seen driving a white Toyota 4-Runner with tinted rear windows. All of his victims since 1996 have been Asian women. More here: Nine rapes tied to masked stalker. Spread the word and be aware, my sisters.

11.17.06

This is a television-centric entry. For those who care, Emmitt Smith was crowned the ballroom dancing champion on the latest season of Dancing With The Stars. Why is this significant? Because of his fabulous partner, Filipino American professional dancer Cheryl Burke, who led partner Drew Lachey to victory last season. Coincidence? I think not.

While Lost is a on three month break, ABC just premiered their new show Day Break starring Taye Diggs, about a dude who keeps waking up over and over on the same day. The cast includes Moon Bloodgood as his girlfriend Rita Shelten. The pilot also featured Ian Anthony Dale as Detective Choi. The show is available for viewing on ABC's website.

On Prison Break, this season there's been this badass Asian American character, Agent Bill Kim, played by Reggie Lee. He's one of the bad guys pulling the strings, and from what I've seen, he's pretty awesome in the role.

Also, been seeing an Asian dude on the promos for the upcoming ABC mid-season comedy Big Day. The show is about all the craziness surrounding one couple's wedding day... Terry Chen plays Johnny, the bride's (slightly still obsessed) college boyfriend. The show premieres on November 28th.

And if you're still keeping score (I'll admit, I'm still following along), Becky and Yul are still in the running on Survivor: Cook Islands. That kooky Cai Boi got voted off a while ago, Brad got voted off last week, and Jenny was booted off last night in a surprise vote. I am rooting for Yul!

11.17.06

Bowing Japanese businessman, backed by faux Asian music, are showing up at your doorstep to demonstrate the new Nintendo Wii: Experience a new way to play. Wii from Nintendo. It looks like there's a lot of chopping involved.

11.17.06

Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the country is seeing a new generation of Agent Orange victims—children physically scarred and deformed by the toxic effects of the U.S.-made herbicide—and the United States government is finally making moves to address the obviously harmful environmental effects: In Vietnam, Old Foes Take Aim at War's Toxic Legacy

11.17.06

Some disturbing news out of the UK... A 15-year-old Sikh boy had his hair cut and was kicked and punched to the ground in an attack by four white teenagers in Scotland: 15-year-old boy 'humiliated' in racist outrage. More here: Hair of Sikh teenager cut off in racist attack. Why can't a kid just walk through a park without getting harrassed and assaulted by a racist gang? That's racist!

11.17.06

Hey New York! Ten Shimoyama's Shinobi is playing at The ImaginAsian for one week only. Here's the NYT review: In Ancient Japan, Lover Divided by a Tragic Twist of Fate. Best of all, the movie has ninjas.

11.17.06

This week, Tatsuo Nakata, chief of staff for a Seattle councilman, died after he was hit by a car on his way to work. He was just 29: Tatsuo Nakata, Seattle councilman's chief of staff, dies at age 29

11.17.06

Here's a profile on Frank Chong, the first Asian American president of Laney College in Oakland, of the East Bay's largest community colleges: Laney College's leader denotes face of change. He sounds like a pretty cool guy.

11.16.06

The Los Angeles Times has a story on "Telemongol," the giant sketch comedy collaboration by Lodestone, Cold Tofu, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and OPM: Theyíre doing it for the laughs. It's kind of like in comic books, when all the superhero teams get together for a big ass fight against the badguys. Oh, and best of all, the article says they make fun of Bai Ling. I'm so there. The show runs through December 17th at GTC Burbank. For more information, go here.

11.16.06

Here's a brief story on Leland Yee, who became the first Chinese-American elected to the California Senate last week: Senator embraces chance to be role model. He won in a landslide, getting nearly 78 percent of the vote in his district.

11.16.06

Chances are, you've probably seen this already... An incident of possible excessive use of force by police was caught on tape (camera phone, actually) at UCLA earlier this week. I first read about it over at Is 9-1-1 a joke in my town? They have a pretty good rundown of what happened, but basically it involved officers using a taser gun multiple times on an Iranian American student in the library: Student shot with Taser by UCPD officers. This is actually the third in a recent spate of cellphone videos documenting questionable arrest tactics by police in Los Angeles: A third incident, a new video. The video has been posted to YouTube. There's a lot of yelling, and you can't exactly see what's happening, but the audio is what's really disturbing. It's pretty damn crazy.

UPDATE: The student, who is Iranian American, believes he was targeted because of his appearance: Tasered student claims racial profiling

11.16.06

The Harvard Crimson has a lengthy article about Asian American students trying to break out of the usual mold of model minority stereotypes: Fighting for Depth. We're not all "quiet/shy, science/math oriented, and hard workers" like many apparently perceive us to be. I, for one, have always hated and sucked at math and science.

11.16.06

Mohegan Sun, already one of the largest casino resorts in the country, unveiled plans to spend $740 million on a major expansion of its complex in southeastern Connecticut: Mohegan Sun Plans New Hotel and Casino Among the plans, "an Asian gambling hall":


And in a nod to the busloads of visitors from Chinatowns in New York, Boston and beyond, Mohegan Sun will open an Asian gambling hall, a special bus arrivals lobby and a Hong Kong food court.


Apparently about one-fifth of Mohegan Sun's revenue comes from spending by Asian-Americans. Greaaaat. Preying on our community's addictions!

11.16.06

Here's an op-ed piece by David Kuo, former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction: Putting Faith Before Politics. He's calling for evangelicals to re-examine their political priorities.

11.16.06

Saw this the other day on Mike's Xanga and laughed my ass off... It's a Mad TV sketch with Bobby Lee and Sung Kang doing a very special take on a beloved television genre: Korean Drama. Okay, I'm guessing this will only be funny to those who are actually familiar with Korean dramas. To the rest of you, believe me—it's pretty damn funny.

11.16.06

As I mentioned before, MySpace is running a standup comedy contest, Stand Up or Sit Down. Well, Steve Byrne has made the cut to the final five and will perform on the finale, to be aired this Friday night, November 17th on TBS. Tune in and watch Steve battle it out for $50,000. Immediately after the show, log on to MySpace and vote for Steve. (Do not vote for Sarah Colonna, who made that idiotic joke about Asian men.) As a token of his gratitude, Steve is offering his CD, Little By Little, available as a free download. The whole freakin' album! Just go to his MySpace page and download the damn thing.

11.16.06

Nicholas Cage has signed on to star in the big-screen adaptation of The Sadhu comic book series, "which tells the story of a soldier in colonial India who becomes a spiritual warrior": Nicolas Cage to star in Indian comic-book epic. According to the article, Cage will play the lead character James Jeson. Lemme guess—he turns into an Indian super dude... who saves India from colonization?

11.16.06

Cuc Foshee is free! We've been following her case for a little while... She spent over a year in prison, accused of terrorism by the Vietnamese government, but has now been unexpectedly released early and returned to the United States this week: Orlando woman freed in Vietnam. And of course, she still denies being a terrorist in any way: Deported from Vietnam, American woman disputes she's terrorist

11.16.06

This is a story about math: As Math Scores Lag, a New Push for the Basics. Note that the accompanying photo is a picture of an Asian kid. Math = Asians. But wait! It's actually a story about America's declining math scores. Ah, but the kid is at one of those Kumon Centers—it's extracurricular math! And the article makes note that the math skills of children in the United States do not measure up to students from "Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere," thus making another strong connection with math and Asian-ness. Hey, all I know is, it's a story about math, and there's a photo of an Asian kid.

11.16.06

Hey, Los Angeles. Cornerstone Theater Company presents Farewell to Manzanar, a stage adaptation of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston's award-winning book describing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II: Overlooked story takes the stage. It opens tonight at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo and runs through December 3rd. For more information, visit the JANM website. And while you're at it, visit the Museum's latest exhibit, Ansel Adams at Manzanar, a collection of the acclaimed photographer's prints capturing the lives of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II.

11.16.06

Major League Baseball finally announced the Red Sox as the highest bidders for the rights to negotiate with red-hot Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, and it's creating a whole lot of buzz: Top Bid for Matsuzaka Gives Boston a Jolt of Life. Boston apparently plunked down $51.1 million, shattering the record $13.125 million posting price the Seattle Mariners paid to negotiate with Ichiro Suzuki in 2000: Boston bid size surprises Japan, MLB. Wow, the guy better be worth it.

UPDATE: Asian American Red Sox fans react to the possiblity of seeing Matsuzaka taking the mound in Boston: An Asian corner of Sox nation all abuzz

11.16.06

A little tip to political candidates in Orange Country... do not underestimate the power of the Vietnamese American vote: A maturing Little Saigon now gives candidates a longer look

11.16.06

Yao Ming, making one hell of case last week to be called the most dominant player in the NBA: Race to the MVP. According to the article: "Yao is finally living up to the expectations that have followed him since he was taken with the No. 1 pick of the 2002 NBA Draft." Well that's certainly good to hear. Do it Yao!

11.15.06

Our friends at Hyphen are throwing a party to celebrate their newest issue (#10 - The Music Issue) on stands now. It'll be a night of movement, magazines and music, featuring Native Guns, marQue, Mud, Lovelikefire, and a special DJ set by Kero One. Friday, November 17th at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. For more information, head over here.

11.15.06

Here's a good piece from Washington Post Magazine by Kevin Sintumuang: The Curly Cue. He's 100% Asian American, but his curly hair, of all things, has had people questioning his identity his entire life. We live in a culture where everybody always just needs to know—what are you? On a side note, I think I used to work with this guy's sister.

11.15.06

I caught an early screening of the latest James Bond flick Casino Royale last night. Spotted Tsai Chin briefly in the movie as "Madame Wu." When I say brief, I mean no lines and about a minute of total screen time. But she's there at the poker table. Along with Tom So as "Fukutu" (ha ha ha... stupid). Because, you know, Asians like to gamble.

11.15.06

Earlier this week, striker Brian Ching (that's soccer) scored a decisive goal, then a penalty kick, helping the Houston Dynamo beat the New England Revolution to win the MLS Cup: Dynamo Beat Revolution for M.L.S. Cup . He was named MVP.

11.15.06



Saw this over at Boing Boing... so you've probably heard of the Zune media player, Microsoft's answer to the iPod. So this guy got his hands on a Zune a few days early, and took some photos. What's puzzling is the screenshot (above) of the "Installation error" message. Who is this Asian girl? And what is this image meant to represent? I have no idea what is going on there, but it doesn't look pleasant. Or does it?

11.15.06

The New York Times has a review on a recent wave of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals out on DVD, including Universal's Flower Drum Song, released last week: New DVDs: Rodgers and Hammerstein

11.15.06

I mentioned Dr. Miracles a few months back—Randall Park's disgusting and hilarious short about a physician with a very unique gift. I had no idea that Dr. Miracles had grown into a full-fledged web series, garnering a great deal of acclaim and notoriety on Channel 102. The fourth and final episode of the show is now up and running. View it here. (Warning: it's pretty crass.)

11.15.06

Here's an early, not-so-great review of Zhang Yimou's latest costumed martial arts epic Curse of the Golden Flower: "Curse of Golden Flower" a disappointing misfire. The movie opens in limited release on December 22nd. From what I've seen, it looks like one hell of a spectacle. And I know I haven't been nice to her this year, but DAAAMN, Gong Li looks gorgeous in it.

11.15.06

Choreographer Kota Yamazaki brings African dance and Butoh to "Rise:Rose," at Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea, developed from a residency in Senegal: The Twain Do Meet in a Busy Imagination

11.14.06

NOOOOOOOO. According to this Lost spoiler site, Bai Ling will be making an appearance on the show, presumably as the "mysterious, sensual artist" that casting call described a few weeks back. That pretty much means the character will be everything I was hoping it wouldn't be. Of all the people... Bai freaking Ling.

11.14.06

An Asian American student group at University of Texas at Austin is trying to get a statue of Mahatma Gandhi built on campus, in addition to statues of Barbara Jordan and Cesar Chavez already in the works by the administration: Student group wants Gandhi statue. Hey, if Bosnia can have a Bruce Lee statue, let UT students have a statue of Gandhi.

11.14.06

Ah, karaoke. Everybody likes a good night of noraebang. Unfortunately, as the night wears on, it usually results in some fools drinking too much, getting stupid out on the street, and beating the crap out of each other: The Singing May Be Dubious, but Thatís Not the Complaint. You know what I'm talking about. Can't we all just sing together and get along?

11.14.06

The Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz is a struggling Filipino church in New York's Chinatown trying to get some people in the pews, without much luck so far: Celebrating Mass Without the Masses

11.14.06

Here's a piece from the Washington Post by the guy who is arguably responsible—inadvertently and indirectly, at least—for changing the face of the U.S. Senate, Mr. S.R. Sidarth, aka "Macaca": I Am Macaca. Indeed.

11.14.06

Over the weekend, South Korean Yang Yong-eun put an end to Tiger Woods' six-win streak with a two-stroke victory over Woods at the HSBC Champions tournament: Yang wins HSBC Champions title, ends Tiger's streak. Yang won $833,000.

11.13.06

For folks in Los Angeles, this weekend, Kiyoshi Graves celebrates the release of his debut full-length album Chase on jd8 Records. The release party's going down Saturday, November 18th at Molly Malone's Irish Pub in Los Angeles. I've met Kiyoshi on several occasions, and he's a cool guy who's always supported Asian American events and the community. I'm told his sound is "a combination of Classic Rock, Modern Rock and Americana." Check out his website here, or go to his MySpace. You can get the album at the usual online retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc... See you at the show.

11.13.06

Check this out... Jian Li, a freshman at Yale, has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Princeton for rejecting his application for admission, claiming the University discriminated against him because he is Asian: Rejected applicant alleges bias against Asians. The case was first reported by the Wall Street Journal this weekend, in a story that raises a very interesting question: Is Admissions Bar Higher for Asians At Elite Schools?

UPDATE: Here's Nightline story on the case that ran a few weeks ago: College For Sale? And here's the accompanying story on the ABC News website: The Privilege of Education

11.13.06

Here's an interesting ESPN Page 2 story on New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, a white guy who was pretty much raised Japanese American (adopted by a Japanese American father and a white mother): A linebacker with a conscience. There's quite a bit about Fujita's family history, and how he has embraced his family's struggle—his grandparents were among the Japanese Americans interned during World War II. His grandfather served in the 442nd. His father was born in an internment camp. Probably not your typical linebacker's story...

11.13.06

Hooray for this person: Singaporean Is World's Fastest Text Messager. Sixteen-year-old Ang Chuang Yang typed the message, "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human," in 41.52 seconds, breaking the previous Guinness World Record of 42.22 seconds. I guess we all need something to be good at.

11.13.06

Japanese actor Ken Watanabe talks a bit about Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, told from the perspective of the Japanese side of the conflict: Watanabe Reflects on Acting for Eastwood. The movie opens in Japan on December 9th, and will open here in the States early next year.

11.13.06

"The Art of Gaman" is an exhibition of furniture, jewelry, drawings and other objects made by prisoners of Japanese American Internment Camps, currently running at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco: Art and crafts from the WWII internment camps a testament to the spirit of Japanese Americans. For more information about the exhibition, visit the museum's website.

11.13.06

Here's the San Francisco Chronicle's obituary for Theodore 'Ted' Ohashi -- Cal basketball player, YMCA coach

11.12.06

In honor of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secetary of Defense, let us revisit The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, Set to Music by San Francisco-based pianist Bryant Kong, as reported by NPR back in 2004. Funny stuff...

11.12.06

The Weinstein Company has picked up acclaimed Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai's English-language romantic comedy My Blueberry Nights, starring Norah Jones, for American distribution: Norah Jones movie debut set for U.S. release. Can't wait to see it, though the thought of the Weinsteins handling the film makes me nervous...

11.21.06

Figure skater Michelle Kwan has been appointed America's newest good-will ambassador to the world: Figure Skater Is New Envoy of Good Will Overseas. Her first trip will likely be next year, to Beijing.

11.12.06

In the aftermath of last week's elections, some stuff... The CAUSE Report has The Results of Notable Races. AsiansVote has a much more partisan look at the results: So how did we do?

Some very interesting results from AALDEF's nonpartisan, multilingual exit poll of over 4,600 Asian American voters: AALDEF Exit Poll of 4,600 Asian American Voters Reveals Robust Support for Democratic Candidates in Key Congressional and State Races


Virginia Senate: After maintaining a slim lead, Democratic candidate Jim Webb was declared the winner by 0.3% of the total vote (49.6%) beating Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen (49.3%), best known among Asian Americans for his derogatory ìmacacaî remark to a South Asian campaign worker. According to AALDEFís exit poll of more than 250 Asian American voters, 76% voted for Jim Webb, 21% voted for Sen. Allen, and 3% voted for Glenda Parker.

New Jersey Senate: In this heated Senate race, among more than 370 Asian Americans polled, 77% voted for incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez, while 20% voted for Republican challenger Thomas Kean Jr.óa 57-point margin. 4% of Asian Americans polled voted for other candidates. Among all New Jersey voters, Menendez held his seat by an 8-point margin (53% to 45%).

Maryland Senate: In Maryland 's open Senate seat, among over 200 Asian American voters polled, 73% chose Democrat Ben Cardin, with 24% for Republican Michael Steele, and 3% for Green Party candidate Kevin Zeese. Among the general electorate, 55% voted for Cardin, 44% for Steele, and 2% for Zeese.

Pennsylvania Senate: Among more than 200 Asian American voters polled in Philadelphia , 71% voted for Democratic candidate Bob Casey, while 29% voted for Republican incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum. Among all voters, 59% voted for Casey and 41% voted for Santorum.

Massachusetts Governor: Democratic candidate Deval Patrick, who became the nation's second African American elected governor, received support from 75% of more than 350 Asian American voters polled in Boston, Dorchester, Lowell and Quincy, with Kerry Healey receiving 21%. Statewide, 56% voted for Patrick, and 35% voted for Healey.

Michigan Proposal 2: Rejecting claims that Asian Americans are hurt by affirmative action programs, three in four Asian American voters voted No to Proposal 2, which seeks to end race- and gender-based affirmative action programs in education, hiring, contracting, and health initiatives. More than 300 Asian American votersóincluding Arab Americansóparticipated in AALDEFís exit poll survey in Michigan . Proposal 2 passed by a wide margin, 58% to 42%.

Illinois Governor: Democratic incumbent Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich defeated his Republican opponent Judy Baar Topinka with a 10-point lead, 50% to 40%. In contrast, 99% of the 170 Asian Americans polled in Chicago voted for Blagojevich, with 1% for Topinka.

New York Attorney General: Of over 2,300 Asian American voters polled in New York City , 82% voted for Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo. Republican contender Jeanine Pirro received 14% of the Asian American vote, with 4% voting for other candidates. Cuomo led Pirro 58% to 40% among all voters statewide.


In California, more than two dozen Asian Americans ran for state office. Nineteen candidates won, giving Asian Americans a record representation in Californian public office with a total of 20 elected officials: Asian American voters flex muscles

Big changes in Orange County's demographics had an effect in some campaign outcomes, but not others: Prickly ethnic issues color O.C. elections. For your information, Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez was re-elected, trouncing Tan Nguyen, whose campaign had mailed letters to Latino voters warning immigrants not to vote.

In Illinois, highly touted Democratic Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth lost narrowly to Republican Peter Roskam: Duckworth keeps it in perspective. "Losing a campaign is no fun, but it's not like losing a limb." That's a definitely a way to keep things in perspective.

And for those who are counting (the Chosunilbo is), 14 of the 17 Korean American candidates won their races: 14 Candidates of Korean Background Win in U.S. Midterms

11.12.06

Last week, kicker Jeremy Ito's 28-yard game-winning field goal over Louisville put Rutgers atop the Big East Conference: A Coming-Out Party for Rutgers. The win, and the school's 9-0 record, has people unexpectedly talking about the national championship...

11.12.06

AsianWeek has a story on a new comic strip, Single Asian Female by Ethan Lee: New Comic Strip Seeks Single Asian Female Perspective. Its main character is Jennie Low, a 21-year-old junior at UC Berkeley who apparently gets approached by a lot of "dorky white guys" with Asian fetishes. Sounds kind of funny. Check out the strip here: SAF Comic

11.12.06

Japanese retailer Uniqlo (cashmere sweaters for $99 or less!) just opened up a flagship store in New York—the first of many stores apparantly planned for the United States: Basic Chic From Japan. But Will It Sell?

11.12.06

Just came across the official website for Codename: The Cleaner, starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu. Looks pretty awful. It opens in theaters in January. Liu is also in 3 Needles, a multi-story drama spanning three continents about the HIV pandemic. She plays Ping, "a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini epidemic in a rural village" in China. Sandra Oh is also in the film as a nun in Africa. The film opens in select cities in December.

11.10.06

Hey, it's Tyson Mao, super whiz of the Rubik's Cube: Pastimes: Astrophysicist says Rubik's Cubes are easy. You may remember him from that reality show Beauty and the Geek, as a "Geek" who actually made a strong showing (and was quite likeable). Well, he's still rocking the Cube.

11.10.06

Here's a brief New York Times review of the documentary The Last Atomic Bomb, the story of Sakue Shimohira, a Nagasaki survivor whose life mission is to rid the world of nuclear weapons: From a Survivor of Nagasaki, Insight on the Nuclear Future. I caught the film last month at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and it's pretty powerful. The movie opens this week in Manhattan.

11.10.06

Dr. Margaret Chan has been nominated to be the World Health Organization's new director general: Chinese Doctor Nominated to Run the WHO. She would be the first Chinese national to head a major United Nations body, possibly a sign that China hopes to play a larger role in the U.N.

UPDATE: Chan has been elected: Chinese Physician Elected Head of WHO

11.10.06

This week, the Sundance Institute announced that it is joining forces with the GSM Association to create the Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project, a project intended to showcase independent short films to mobile users worldwide: Robert Redford Announces Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project for Mobile. The organizers have commissioned six independent filmmakers to create five short films, crafted exclusively for mobile distribution... among them, Justin Lin of Better Luck Tomorrow fame.

11.10.06

Been meaning to do a big book-centric for some time now. Well, here goes...

First of all, I finally got a chance to read Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese, and it's incredible. It's this great blend of nostalgia, identity and mythology, and it resonates in ways I never expected. The book was recently nominated for the 2006 National Book Award in the category of Young People's Literature—the first graphic novel nominated in the award's fifty-seven year history. Here's a San Francisco Chronicle profile on Yang from last month: National Book Award finalist fills in the blanks with identity-driven graphic novel. And here's Jeff Yang's recent "Asian Pop" column on American Born Chinese, looking at some of the industrial aspects of getting it published: See you in the funny pages. Really interesting stuff. I can't recommend this book enough. Order it here today.

A recently published book, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction by David Kuo is a tell-all account from the former second-in-command of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, who essentially charges that Bush is just using Christians for political gains. It was all over the blogs about a month or so ago (I've been dragging my feet). Kuo is an evangelical Christian and card-carrying member of the religious right, who says that Christians have been manipulated for political gain: A Loss Of Faith. More on the book here: 'Seduction of Christians'. Here's a review of Tempting Faith from Christianity Today: Faith in Politics. And here's an interview with Kuo: Blinded by Bush? Sounds like a fascinating insider's perspective.

In his new book, War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror, author John Yoo, the controversial architect of United States antiterrorism policy, makes the case for "unfettered executive power in wartime." Here's the New York Times review: What Torture Is and Isn't: A Hard-Liner's Argument. And here's a review from The Huffington Post. And one from the Washington Post: Taking Liberties. Torture, surveillance, detention... all in a day's work. No thank you.

Just heard about this book, Hollywood Asian: Philip Ahn and the Politics of Cross-Ethnic Performance, about pioneer Asian American actor Philip Ahn. (Remember Kung Fu? He was Master Kan.) The first Korean American actor in Hollywood and son of a celebrated Korean nationalist An Ch'ang-ho, he lived an incredible life. Looks like a pretty interesing book.

Finally, last but not least, my dear friend Kathy Khang recent co-authored a book, More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership And Faith, with Nikki A. Toyama, Tracey Gee, Christie Heller de Leon and Asifa Dean, about/for Asian American Christian women. It's pretty new, so I haven't read it, but I'm told by sources close to me that it's pretty inspiring. The authors will be at book release party this weekend, Saturday, November 11th, 7:30pm at the Axis Cafe in San Francisco. Good times.

Whoo. That's my big fat book post.

11.10.06

Been hearing about The Papdits, a weird "docu-comedy" TV pilot currently showing on CBS' website about a fictional Indian family driving around the United States in an RV and getting into funny situations. It's being advertised that it's brought to you by "the writer of the Borat movie and Da Ali G Show," no doubt to cash in on Borat's current wave of popularity at the box office. Intriguing premise, with potential for comedy gold... so is it any good? I don't know, if it was any good, wouldn't it be playing on regular TV alongside, um, Two and a Half Men or something? Sepia Mutiny did not have good things to say: A Complete Load of Pap(dits). I didn't watch much, but I was rather underwhelmed myself.

11.10.06

This week, UK radio personality Edith Bowman issued a formal apology for repeating a racist expression that referred to Japanese people as "nasty Nips": Radio 1's 'girl next door' apologises for race gaffe


Discussing newspaper articles about modern slang, Bowman read out an e-mail from a listener saying: "When the weather is a little cold, we say that it's a bit Pearl Harbor, meaning that there's a nasty Nip in the air."


Suffice to say, that's in poor taste, and Bowman never should've let that on the air. And however wrote that original email, you suck. That's racist!

11.09.06

Received a lot of mail over this incident that happened on election night: Matthews on Hillary: Good point, then a weird point. MSNBC's Chris Matthews was commenting on a video of Senator Hillary Clinton at her victory rally. He was going off, and I guess he had a point... and then it got weird. Watching Clinton clap rhythmically with the crowd as she approached the microphone, Matthews ranted, "And that clapping. I just don't get it. It's not appealing. It's Chinese or something. I mean, what is this applauding yourself thing all about? I don't get it." The obvious connotation is that Chinese equals uneappealing. Right? I obviously have to echo Salon's question: what's so unappealing about being Chinese, Chris? That's racist! There's video of the comment here: "It's Chinese or something"

11.09.06

Who would've thunk it? Election Day ushered in some very interesting changes for this country. I'm sure you've heard by now, but Jim Webb has won Virginia's pivotal Senate race, unseating Republican George Allen and giving the Democrats total control of Congress for the first time in 12 years: Webb Wins Pivotal Senate Race in Va. To quote Junichi over at Poplicks, "I can't believe party control of the Senate all comes down to Macaca." More here: Democrats take control of the Senate

11.09.06



Close to 800 new images of Japanese American internment camps by the photographer Dorothea Lange have been unearthed in the National Archives: Photographs of an Episode That Lives in Infamy. The photos have apparently been sitting in a basement or something, hidden and neglected for a half-century after having been impounded by the government. They're collected in a new book, Impounded, edited by Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro.

11.09.06

Opening this weekend: TeleMongol, a historic sketch comedy collaboration between Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, Cold Tofu, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and OPM. Yeah, dudes. It's big. They've all joined forces to create a sketch comedy show that tells the story of AHOLE-TV (Asia Home of Language Entertainment), a fictional Asian American cable network with a mission to create programming by and for the Asian Pacific American community. It runs November 11th through December 17th at GTC Burbank, with low-priced previews tonight and Friday. For more information go here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

11.09.06

A few months ago I mentioned author Vincent Lam, whose collection of short stories Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most respected literary honor for fiction. Well, he won: T.O. doctor wins Giller. Surely this means the book will be published down here in the States... Right?

11.09.06

Short notice, but for those of you in Southern California, check out this event going on tonight... Rock the Silence, a benefit concert presented by LiNK (Liberty in North Korea), featuring the likes of Far East Movement, Sue Jin, Leftover, Lani Trock, and Second. It's happening tonight, Thursday, November 9th at Vision Art Hall in Los Angeles. For more information, go here. Rock out for a good cause.

11.09.06

The NYPD is welcoming its first fraternal organization in more than a quarter century: The Desi Society, representing South Asian members (Indians, Pakistanis, Guyanese-Indians, Trinidadian-Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Surinamese) on the police force: New Finest fraternity.

11.09.06

Another film festival! Almost forgot about this one... the Austin Asian Film Festival started yesterday and runs through November 12th. Just took a look at their schedule, and it's got a lot of this year's American festival favorites, like The Slanted Screen and Asian Stories (Book 3, as well as some really intriguing international works. Get yourself to the theater this weekend, Austin.

11.09.06

Here's a story on 27-year-old up-and-coming boxer Noriko Kariya: For This Kariya, a Bantamweight, the Only Ice Is in Her Veins. Her brother happens to be NHL All-Star Paul Kariya.

11.08.06

Today, UCLA Law Critical Race Studies, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the UCLA Department of Education will be sponsoring an event on Asian American college admissions and affirmative action: Caught in the Crossfire: Asian Pacific Americans & University Admissions, a discussion on how Asian Pacific Americans are affected by the elimination of race-conscious admissions practices. What's up with Prop 209, ten years later? The panel will include William Kidder, Senior Policy Analyst, UC Davis; Mitchell Chang, Associate Professor of Education, UCLA; Jerry Kang, Professor of Law, UCLA; Margaret Shih, Associate Professor of Psychology, U. Michigan; and my pal Oiyan Poon, filling in for Professor Don Nakanishi, who was apparently called out of town. The event takes place today, 2:00pm-4:00pm in the UCLA School of Law, Room 1347... but you can actually view it via webcast. Just follow the link here. Ah, the internet is amazing.

11.08.06

Attention filmmakers! Visual Communications in Los Angeles is looking for the next generation Asian Pacific Amerian media artists, and accepting applications for the Armed With A Camera Fellowship 2007. They'll award up to ten fellows $500 to complete, within a four-month span of time, a five-minute digital video to be showcased at VC Filmfest 2007. I've seen the work of the last two years of Fellows, and the output is really amazing. It's a great program. The deadline to apply is December 1st. For more information and application guidelines, go here.

11.08.06

A little while ago, Jeff Yang dedicated an "Asian Pop" column to the recent rise of Asian American heroes in comic books. Near the end of the piece, he mentioned how cool it would be to put together "an anthology about the concept of the superhero--and why it has special meaning to Asian American boys as they grow up." Well, it's still in the planning stages, but it looks like that project is coming together as a collaboration between Jeff, comics industry dude Keith Chow and indie comics artist Jerry Ma. Cool, huh? Hey, I wanna be a superhero too. For more information and further updates check out: www.myspace.com/secretidentities

11.08.06

It looks like NBC has cut down its order for the sitcom The Singles Table, starring John Cho, from 13 episodes to six: NBC orders smaller serving of The Singles Table. The show is about a group of people who always end up at the 'singles table' together at their friends' weddings. I thought the pilot episode was pretty good. The network is probably waiting to see if the show is a hit before committing to the full order of episodes. The show will premiere sometime early next year.

11.08.06

Various bits of movies news... Wayne Wang is directing the drama A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, now in production in Spokane, Washington: Wang saying his 'Prayers'. It's an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Yiyun Li that sketches out a series of stories about contemporary lives of Asians in America. The movie is actually Wang's first Asian or Asian American-themed film since 1997.

Zhang Ziyi has been cast to star opposite Dennis Quaid in the horror thriller The Horsemen: Dennis Quaid Set to HORSE Around with Ziyi Zhang. The movie's about "a detective still grieving the recent death of his wife, who then discovers connections between himself and murder suspects, who are also linked to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." It doesn't really say who or what Zhang will be playing.

UPDATE: Some more information on Zhang's role, according to Screen Daily: "Zang plays a dangerous and manipulative woman who may hold the key to the killings." Yay.

Jun Ji-hyun, star of the South Korean smash hit comedy My Sassy Girl, is set to star in Hong Kong director Ronny Yu's live-action, English-language adaptation of the Japanese animated film Blood: The Last Vampire. This ought to be pretty interesting...

11.08.06

More on the long-living old Asian ladies of Bergen County, New Jersey who, according to a recent federally funded study, have the highest life expectancy (age 91) of any group in the nation: Prepared for death, they flourish for many years. What is their secret?

11.08.06

In a very short period of time, South Korea has quickly become one of the world's hottest film centers, churning out box-office hits and critical favorites that have studio executives and agents scrambling for remake rights, distribution deals and talent relationships: Coming attractions

11.08.06

Couple of casting notices that reveal a little something somthing about the plot of the Harold and Kumar sequel:


[Vanessa] Caucasian, beautiful female 20-29 years old to play mid-20's, love interest of Kumar.


And they're looking for a Thai guy for an upcoming episode of Lost:

UPDATE: Bit of a spoiler, but these photos of an upcoming episode are floating around out there... Jack getting beat up by a bunch of Thai dudes: Jack flashback photos. I don't like the looks of where this particular storyline is going. Guess we'll find out in 4 months or so...


[Chet] Mid 30's, protective brother from Thailand. Should speak Thai.


I'm thinking this has something to do with the "mysterious, sensual artist" that appears in episode 9 we mentioned last month. For more information about auditions, go here.

11.08.06

Here's an informational video produced for the Asian American Journalists Association, for folks who might be interested in a career in broadcast journalism: More Than A Job--Broadcast Journalism. It's kind of goofy, but it has some interviews and footage that may inspire some of you young folks out there to get into the field.

11.07.06

So what I am excited about, besides voting? Today, Universal releases the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song on DVD. I wrote a bit about this last week. All I can say is, it's about time.

But oh hell yes, fanboys. Equally exciting for me is the release of the 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD of Transformers: The Movie, one of my favorite movies of all time. Just plain freaking awesome. The movie was directed by Korean animation veteran Nelson Shin. Remastered and loaded with special features, I've been waiting for this piece of cinema gold to take a place on my shelf for a long, long time.

Unfortunately, when I went to my local retailer this afternoon, they didn't have either of these titles in stock. The dude working there didn't even know what I was talking about. Sucka. I walked away empty handed and deeply dismayed.

11.07.06

Election Day. Please make it to the polls and vote! This is your time as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to stand up and make political voices heard. According to this article, given the growth in numbers and empowerment across the APA community, our voters are poised to play a critical role in determining elections across the nation: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Have the Potential to Swing Races Arcoss the Country

In honor of Election Day, for the first time AsiansVote.com will be opening up comments for an open thread about people's Election Day experiences and musings. Contribute to the dialogue here.

11.07.06

Just saw this over at Asian American Film... According to Variety, sales agent Arclight Films has picked up Kern Konwiser and David Ren's Shanghai Kiss, starring Ken Leung, about "an Asian-American actor living in Los Angeles who's forced to reconsider his roots after suddenly inheriting a house in Shanghai." The company has also picked up sales duties on Berengar Pfahl's Shanghai Baby, "a tale of sexual liberation in modern China based on the bestselling novel by banned novelist Zhou Wei Hui." And starring my favorite crazy, Bai Ling (I can already tell you how much I do not want to see this). More info on the deals here: Arclight's after 'Shanghai' boon

11.07.06

Shout outs to everyone I met over the weekend at NAASCon at Northwestern. It was a great conference, and meeting students is alaways a blast, so thank you to the conference organizers who invited me. Double thanks to everyone who attended my workshop on Saturday morning—I enjoyed seeing your smiley faces. I hope you got something worthwhile out of your time. Stay Angry.

Meanwhile at UT Austin, Launch, another Asian American student conference was also happening this weekend: Asian conference held at campus. Sounds like it went pretty well.

And this week, more student conferences... SEERCAAL, the 3rd annual South East Regional Conference for Asian American Leaders will be happening on Thursday, November 9th and Friday, November 10th at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. South East, represent!

And out west, the Stanford Asian American Students' Association presents Listen to the Silence: One World, One Struggle, the 11th Annual Asian American Issues Conference. Saturday, November 11th at Stanford University. The event will bring together hundreds of high school and college students from around the nation, as well as community activists throughout California. Get involved, get some knowledge.

11.07.06

MANAA, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans will be having their 10th annual Achievement Awards dinner this week, honoring those who have supported diversity in the media in 2006. Thursday, November 9th at USC's Town and Gown. It's the organization's biggest event and fundraiser of the year. Honorees will include the creators of Lost, King of the Hill and Grey's Anatomy. For more information about the event (and MANAA in general) go here.

11.07.06

The bidding for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has begun, and it's expected to go pretty high, with the Mets and Yankees still serious contenders: In Bidding for Ace, the Cards Are Held Close to the Vest. Another story here: Coming to America

UPDATE: Another article on Asians in the Major League here: Asians Give Major Leagues More Options to Consider

11.07.06

Prosecutors in Vietnam say they intend to charge three US citizens and four others with terrorism, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government: US citizens face Vietnam charges. I've mentioned this case a couple of times before. The US embassy in Hanoi has confirmed that the three US citizens—Nguyen Thuong Cuc, alias Cuc Foshee; Huynh Bich Lien, alias Linda Linh; and Le Van Binh—may be facing terrorism charges. They're all Vietnamese Americans, residents of California and Florida.

11.06.06

Hoping for last-minute support from an increasingly influential Asian American electorate in and around Silicon Valley, California state Treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides vowed last week "never to cut education" if elected: Angelides promises support for education, cuts in tuition. And we all know Asians are crazy about education.

11.06.06

Oh hells no. Saw this over at Sepia Mutiny, one of the most blatantly xenophobic political atatck ads I've ever seen, paid for by the campaign of Bob Flider (D), who is running against Dick Cain (R) in the 101st Illinois House District: Attack ad against Dick cain. It's downright dirty. Basically, in no uncertain terms, it preys on your fears that evil, nerdy Indians and Chinese are out to steal your job. And apparently both candidates have lowered themselves to such tactics. That's racist!

11.06.06

Celebrated architect Maya Lin is tasked with redesigning the new building for the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in New York. She recently unveiled her vision of the new museum at a benefit dinner: Ancient Echoes in a Modern Space. The museum's new space, which is part of a six-story building on Centre Street near Grand Street, is scheduled to open at the end of 2007.

Speaking of MoCA, they've got a cool event going on later this month... Throwing Down the Gauntlet: What Does it Mean to be Chinese in America Today?, a dialogue/forum moderated by "Asian Pop" columnist Jeff Yang, featuring several high-profile participants from the Chinese American community:

Karin Chien, Producer, The Motel

Melissa Chiu, Director, Asia Society Museum

Kip Fulbeck, Author of Part Asian, 100% Hapa

Shii Ann Huang, CBS Survivor All Star

Peter Kwong, Author of Chinese America

David Ren, Filmmaker, Shanghai Kiss

Beau Sia, Poet

Jack Tchen, Director, NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute (TBC)

According to the website, it will aim to be a politically incorrect, "no-holds-barred conversation." Saturday, November 18th at Museum of Chinese in the Americas. For details, go here (scroll down to Nov. 18th).

11.06.06

Here's a Washington Post profile on Hong Le Webb, wife of Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb: Webb's Wife Steps Into Onstage Role, Denouncing Criticism of Va. Candidate. And here's a mini-documentary produced by Real Virginians For Webb featuring Mrs. Webb talking about her husband, their marriage, and his candidacy: Hong Le Webb Video Portrait

11.06.06

Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, a 19-year-old, 7-foot rising star believed by many to be the next Yao Ming, has received permission from his club to enter the 2007 NBA draft: Is Yi NBA's next big thing from China? I guess we'll have to see. More here: China's Yi Jianlian to follow Yao to US

11.06.06

The Pasadena Weekly has an interesting cover story on Investigator Joyce Kato of Los Angeles coroner's office. It's her job to find and notify estranged family members of the unclaimed bodies: Lost Souls. I'd hate to have the job, but according to the story, she apparently likes it.

11.06.06



Well, here it is. The trailer for Balls of Fury, starring Christopher Walken. It's about a washed-up ping pong player who is recruited by the government to infiltrate a secret underground ping pong tournament run by an evil crime lord, Feng (Walken). You'll recall it's been making a few waves here over the last year, with various casting notices indicating that this would be a very Asian-centric movie, and not in a good way. Well, judging from the trailer, it looks pretty much like everything we've feared. The cast features James Hong, Maggie Q, Cary Tagawa and Jason Scott Lee, among others...(Why? Why?) Man, I am dreading this one. Above, that's Christopher Walken in a nasty faux-Asian costume, and Maggie Q looking a bit like a Chinese Wonder Woman. It'll be in theaters next year from Rogue Pictures.

11.06.06

Jackie Chan says that his English dialogue scenes drive him crazy: Chan: Delivering English Lines Is Tough. To tell you the truth, Jackie Chan's English dialogue scenes drive me crazy too.

11.06.06

Check out this story on Tony Nam, who plays Chinese Elvis in the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's production of Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis: How to Impersonate an Elvis Impersonator. The comedy is now running in Washington DC through December 10th. For more information, visit the Woolly Mammoth's website here.

11.06.06

The New York Times has a really interesting story on the Kaps, a Cambodian American family living and surviving in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Anthony Kap is a 5'5" 140-pound linebacker at South Plaquemines High, which was opened after Hurricane Katrina to educate students from the devastated communities of Port Sulphur, Buras and Boothville-Venice. His team, aptly nicknamed the Hurricanes, just finished off its regular season: Mother Helps Her Son Find a Safe Harbor in Football

11.06.06

Here's a profile on successful fashion designer Richard Chai, who counts the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Oprah Winfrey among his fans: Korean-American Designer Goes Out on a Limb

11.05.06

For my people in Los Angeles, here's something cool going on next weekend... The launch party/premiere of Tad Nakamura's new film Pilgramage, a documentary that "tells the inspiring story of how an abandoned WWII concentration camp has been transformed into a current-day symbol of restrospection and solidarity in the aftermath of 9/11." Saturday, November 11th at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. There will be a free reception following the film screening including food, drinks and live musical performances by Native Guns and Ill Again. Seating is limited, so RSVP to 213.625.0414. I'm told that the 7:00pm screening has already filled up, so they added another one at 8:00pm, which is also filling up fast... they might even add a third screening, if there's a demand for it For more information, contact Tad at: tadillac@onebox.com.

11.05.06

Sanjay Kumar was sentenced to 12 years in prison and issued an $8 million fine for a huge accounting fraud at the software company Computer Associates: Ex-Leader of Computer Associates Gets 12-Year Sentence and Fine. See kids? Crime doesn't pay.

11.03.06

Just wanted to throw one last plug for NAASCon 2006, the National Asian American Student Conference, kicking off today running through the weekend at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. APA students from around the country will be gathering to strategize, network, get some knowledge, and get active. I'll be leading a workshop in the Arts, Technology, & Media For Social Change track on Saturday. Come on by and we'll have some fun. Hope to see you at NAAScon!

11.03.06

For folks in San Francisco, here's something kind of cool happening this weekend... the Chinese Historical Society of American presents Flower Drum Song Revisited. Composer/pianist Jon Jang, musician/storyteller Charlie Chin, and poet/performer Genny Lim will discuss the representation of Chinese Americans and Chinese American artists in this lecture and performance on Flower Drum Song. Focusing on the release of the film in 1961, the three artists will perform their own work and provide commentary, and dialogue about the pursuit of Chinese American identity through the arts. Sunday, November 5th, 2:00pm at the Asian Art Museum. For more info, go here.

This event no doubt coincides with next week's long-awaited DVD release of the film. That's right, the Flower Drum Song Special Edition DVD can finally be part of your home video library. For a DVD collector like myself, this is a big geeky treat. According to Universal's press release, the release contains a bunch of neat bonus features:


A Classic Evolves: From Print to Stage to Screen -- Follow Flower Drum Songís journey as it goes from best-selling novel to smashing success as a Broadway musical and critically acclaimed film.

Faces of the East: Casting Flower Drum Song -- One of the first Hollywood films to feature a nearly all-Asian cast and depict strong Chinese characters succeeding in America, Flower Drum Song gave its stars an unprecedented opportunity to shine.

The Songs of Flower Drum Song -- Discover the genesis of "A Hundred Million Miracles," "I Enjoy Being a Girlî ìChop Suey" and other musical numbers from the film that have gone on to become standards of American popular music.

All-Access Pass to the Sets and Costumes of Flower Drum Song -- Step into the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical with a tour of the film's Oscar? and Golden Globe-nominated sets and wardrobe department. See how Flower Drum Songís talented designers seamlessly blended traditional, revered Chinese customs with American culture to forge a visually arresting, uniquely beautiful style.

The Legacy of Rodgers and HammersteinÆ: Film historians and members of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization remember one of the most talented teams ever to grace a Broadway theater.

Exclusive Feature Commentary from Flower Drum Song star Nancy Kwan and film historian Nick Redman.


Unfortunately, there's no audio commentary doesn't include star James Shigeta. Nevertheless, I'm still pretty excited about this release. While Flower Drumg Song was sort of once regarded as cheesy, stereotypical Asian fluff, it has definitely found a second life as cool piece of Asian American cinematic nostalgia, as well as a classic that a new generation can discover. I'm looking forward to picking this up.

11.03.06

Whoa. Check out this article in the OC Weekly: YELLOW FEVER. It's pretty much what the title suggests—an interesting, lengthy profile of non-Asians who "prefer" Asians (self-professed "Asiaphiles") and the Asians who have to deal with it. You know the deal.

11.03.06

Hey, there's an Asian guy prominently featured in the video for TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me," which involves something about a girl who turns into a wolf or something weird like that, with some really low-tech special effects. Anybody know who the actor is? I couldn't really get a good look at him. Anyway, what an awesome song.

11.03.06

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story on Danny Seo, the guy they call the Martha Stewart of eco-friendly living: The next Martha Stewart is young, green and a guy. He's a really accomplished young guy... and his empire is growing.

11.03.06

The latest in the saga of champion competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi, aka "the Japanese hot dog guy": Japanese champ eats 97 burgers in 8 minutes. That is just disgusting.

11.03.06

MySpace is running a contest, Stand Up or Sit Down, where visitors can watch videos and vote for their favorite standup comedian. One of the comics, Sarah Colonna has a stupid bit about Asian men in her act:


This Asian guy asked me out recently and I said no. And immediately panicked, because [I thought] he's gonna think I said no because he's Asian... maybe because I said no because he's Asian. So I panicked and was like, 'No, it's nothing personal. I'm just allergic."


The audience ate it up. That's whack. Always baggin' on the Asian man! That's racist! On the other hand, Korean American comic Steve Byrne is also in the competition, and still in the running. Check it out here. The ones that aren't Xed out will be performing this week at the Improv. Those performances will be posted next week for voting, and the top five comedians will be invited to perform on TBS later this month. So vote for Steve. He's a funny man.

11.03.06

Some upcoming theater events you should know about.... This weekend, the Rising Circle Theater Collective will be presenting a reading of Pulling The Lever, an acclaimed play drawn from interviews conducted around the time of the 2004 election. Sunday, November 5th at the Joyce and Seward Johnson Theater at Theater for a New City in New York. The play is based on real interviews with a diverse, cross-section of Americans including an Ecuadorian restaurant worker, a white Republican single mom, an African-American actor obsessed with politics, a young South Asian activist, a successful Jewish entrepreneur and a Tunisian college professor, among others, who openly speak out about the 2004 election and the state of affairs in the world. For more information, go here (scroll down to the bottom).

In the Bay Area, Asian American Theater Company presents a 15th Anniversary Theatrical Production of Jeannie Barroga's Walls, which depicts the stories of soldiers in of the Vietnam Era and their loved ones preceding the unveiling of Maya Lin's Vietnam War Memorial. It runs through November 19th at the Buriel Clay Theater in San Francisco. Get tickets here. I'm told that Friday nights are "angry asian man nights," so you, my dear readers, get discounted seats. When
purchasing tickets online, just enter the password: angry. Support the arts, my friends.

And up in Seattle, Asian American sketch comedy troupe Pork Filled Players are currently in the middle of their latest show Go East, Young Ham! Lots of fun and hilarity, guaranteed:


Seattle's second oldest sketch comedy group jumps into the stand-off between East and West with all guns blazing. Who will triumph in the epic battle, Geisha versus Truck Stop Waitress? Will the sinister Occidental mastermind defeat his nemesis, the pragmatic Oriental spy? Plus! When will everyone's favorite cuddly dictator, Kim Jung Il, finally discover that a boyís best friend is his mother?


It runs through November 17th, late night at the Richard Hugo House following SIS Production's Cowboy versus Samurai. Come see my old pal Maggie Lee do funny things onstage.

11.03.06

Not surprisingly, the remake rights for the South Korean hit monster film The Host have to sold to a Hollywood studio: "The Host" Remake Rights Sold. It was only a matter of time. The original flim is currently playing at AFI Fest, and will open in select U.S. theaters from Magnolia Pictures early next year. Can't wait...

11.03.06

Recently heard about the band My American Heart. Hailing from San Diego, the band members include vocalist Larry Soliman, guitarist/vocalist Jesse Barrera, and drummer Steven Oira, who all sport that annoying emo haircut the kids wearing these days. However, from what I've seen/heard, these guys kick much rock ass, and are making waves on the scene. They recently released their debut album The Meaning in Makeup. Oh, and of course, here's their MySpace.

11.03.06

James Na writes some interesting observations about moving from Seattle, where Asian Americans are well integrated into the city's mainstream life, to Washington DC, where Asian American seemingly play a smaller role: An Asian American in D.C.: adjustment and assimilation

11.02.06

Wataaah! DDK gives Senator Allen the smackdown... Here's that PSA I was talking about, directed by Eric Byler and featuring Daniel Dae Kim—a response from the Asian American community to George Allen's "Macaca" remarks, and an endorsement of Jim Webb, Allen's opponent:



Daniel and Eric wrote, shot, and edited this message for Virginia's Asian American voters in about 48 hours. That's passion at work. Please share and proliferate. And vote!

11.02.06

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles is seeking volunteers to get involved with a Get Out The Vote effort, poll monitoring and exit polling in LA and Orange County next week on Election Day. Read on for more details on how you can help out:


We are currently phone banking for the Asian American Voter Project and we
would love to have the assistance of anyone interested in encouraging 12,500
infrequent API voters to vote on Nov. 7th. Weekday shifts are from 5:00pm -
9:00pm and weekends from 1:00pm - 5:00pm and the phone bank will last until
Monday, November 6th. It helps if volunteers are bilingual in an Asian
language, but it's not necessary. Volunteers receive $7.50/hour. Contact:
Marchela Iahdjian (213-241-0232 or marchela@apalc.org) Here is the link to
the flyer:

http://www.apalc.org/events/Phone%20Bank%20Flyer%20for%20Website.pdf

We also need poll monitors (independent election day watchdogs) to ensure
that the API community and other minorities can cast their ballots free of
intimidation or other problems on November 7th. APALC will train and deploy
poll monitors in L.A. and Orange counties from 7:30-9:00am on November 7th.
Trainings are currently going on, so volunteers should contact us soon.
Each poll monitor will receive a stipend. Contact: Cindy Sangalang
(213-241-0310 or csangalang@apalc.org) Here's the link to the flyer:

http://www.apalc.org/events/Poll%20Monitor%20Flyer%20for%20Website.pdf

And finally, APALC will be conducting exit polling in hundreds of poll sites
all over LA and Orange counties. Exit pollers will survey voters who are
leaving the poll sites on Election Day to collect data that helps us better
understand the issues APIs care about and the barriers they still face to
becoming fully politically active. Exit polling is a 4-hour commitment on
November 7th, either from 8am-12pm or from 4pm-8pm. Food is provided and
volunteers receive $7.50/hour. Trainings are currently going on, so
volunteers should contact us soon. Contact: Vanessa Tui'one (213-241-0272
or vanessa.tuione@gmail.com) Here's the link to the flyer:

http://www.apalc.org/events/Exit%20Poll%20Flyer%20for%20Website.pdf


I'm told it's the possibly the largest API volunteer mobilization effort in Southern California history. They need over 500 volunteers to make these three projects happen, so make it happen and get involved!

11.02.06

Remember Amadeus Cho? Greg Pak's comic book re-envisioning of Mastermind Excello made its debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 about a year ago. The boy genius character reappears this week in 12-page back up story in the giant-sized Incredible Hulk #100. Go here and scroll down to the bottom to see a preview. Also, in X-Men: Phoneix - Warsong #3, one of the supporting players is Asian American S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jake Oh, who was introduced in the previous issue. Click here for a glimpse of Agent Oh. That's two Asian American characters by Greg in a week: Asian American heroes in two different Greg Pak comics on November 1. Good stuff. Pick them up at your local comic book store.

11.02.06

Here's a story on Mindy Kaling, writer/producer on The Office: Happy Diwali From 'The Office'. She also plays the ditzy Dunder Mifflin employee Kelly. Tonight's episode centers around the Hindu festival of Diwali. Of course, mix in the Office crew and hilarity ensues. Kaling apparently had to Google some of the Diwali details to get the research right. There's a big ol' party scene, and it's like, the most Indians gathered in one place on network television ever.

11.02.06

Tonight, November 2nd, a group of Virginia's Asian American political and community leaders will gather to express strong support for Jim Webb, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. The speakers will announce a grassroots Get-Out-The-Vote plan for turning out Asian Americans in one of the nation's most closely watched races. If you recall, Webb's opponent is Senator George Allen, now infamous for his "macaca" comment (among other shady attributes). Read more about the event here. 7:00pm at Cafe Asia in Arlington. Be there, get involved.

Filmmaker Eric Byler, who grew up in Virginia, has been heavily involved in recruiting APA voters for Webb. He directed the videos here and here. Eric also shot a PSA with Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim, who apparently wanted to get involved after he read about the whole "macaca" incident on this very website. How cool is that?

11.02.06

Some more details on the upcoming, much-hyped untitled Jackie Chan/Jet Li project: Jackie Chan & Jet Li Movie Moving Forward. It's written by John Fusco (Hidalgo), and directed by Robert Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little), with fight choreography by Yuen Woo-Ping (of course). The story is based on the mythology of the Monkey King and his quest to achieve immortality. Li is set to play two roles, the monkey king and the silent monk. Chan will play the monk T'sa-Ho. While I like Jet and Jackie, and thought of them working together is cool, something about this project just does not excite me...

In other movie news, Variety reports that directors Allen and Albert Hughes (Menace II Society, From Hell) will take on the big screen adaptation of the 1970s show Kung Fu. Yeah. Kung Fu. It's set to begin production next year. So the big question is, who will play Kwai Chang Caine? And will David Carradine be involved at all? You know, if this movie truly intends to be true to the spirit of the old show, maybe they should just cast a white dude as Caine! Yeah, Bruce Lee is probably rolling over in his grave.

And finally, there's apparently a new live-action Street Fighter movie in the works: Street Fighter Coming Back to the Big Screen. They're hoping to complete the movie by 2008, the twentieth anniversary of the movie. Not too many details on the story (just a guess: there will be fighting), but Variety says that the film will focus on the game's most popular female fighter, Chun Li. Many of you might recall the so-bad-it's-good 1994 Street Fighter movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Ming Na played Chun Li in easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Another noteworthy entry in the long line of crappy movies adapted from video games.

11.02.06

Attention, all able hands in Southern California... Elections officials have put out a call for 700 more people to serve as poll workers in next Tuesday's general election. Officials are especially interested in recruiting more bilingual poll workers, saying they have a particular need for those who speak Vietnamese or Korean. Poll workers, who must be available from 6 am to 9 pm on election day, will be paid $80, and will receive an additional $25 for attending a training session. For more info, go here: Bilingual poll workers are needed for election

11.02.06

Somaly Mam, a Cambodian human rights activist who has dedicated her life to rescuing women and girls from sexual slavery, was honored this week as one of Glamour magazine's women of the year: Campaigner Against Sex Trade Honored. Hopefully the award will draw further attention to her cause.

11.02.06

Here's an interesting story on the thriving community/scene of expatriates living in Busan, South Korea: Expats in Asia. It focuses a bit Wonsuk Chin's upcoming film Expats, a crime/caper/thriller about the city's expatriate subculture. I believe I mentioned the project here over a year ago. The movie's IMDb page says the film's in preproduction. Hopefully we'll see it soon, because it sounds pretty interesting...

11.02.06

Family troubles for Rocky Aoki, the jheri-curled founder of the Benihana faux-Japanese restaurant chain: Rocky's Family Horror Show. He's suing four of his six children to regain control of his restaurant empire. The two children he's not suing: Steve Aoki, aka DJ Kid Millionaire, and model/actress Devon Aoki (yes, that's his daughter). Anyway, the New Yorker article makes Rocky sound like quite a crazy dude.

11.02.06

Increasing crime in Los Angeles' Koreatown is putting residents on edge, fearing for their safety after dark, as well as concerns for its adverse economic effects: Anxiety builds as crime increases in Koreatown

11.02.06

Seven years after she was suspended for allegedly disclosing classified material to a suspected Chinese spy, former FBI agent Denise K. Woo was sentenced this week to probation and a $1,000 fine for improperly sharing confidential information, a misdemeanor: Ex-FBI agent is sentenced in plea agreement. Hey FBI, maybe she's not a spy after all.

11.01.06

Here's a really heartbreaking story from last weekend's Los Angeles Times magazine about Bin Na Kim, the surviving daughter of the Korean American father who shot his entire family before killing himself last spring: The Daughter

11.01.06

Writer Quang X. Pham says disgraced Orange County congressional candidate Tan Nguyen has little chance of beating incumbent opponent Loretta Sanchez: The Orange Grove: Maverick Nguyen no threat to Sanchez

11.01.06

Well, we've been hearing about it in the works for a while, but now it's official... there will indeed be a sequel to Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, set to begin production early next year: Second Harold & Kumar Starts in January. John Cho and Kal Penn will reprise their roles their titular roles and begin filming in Shreveport, Louisiana in late January.


In Harold & Kumar 2, the cross-country adventure follows the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun the authorities after being suspected as terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board a flight to Amsterdam.


The screenplay is by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who wrote the first movie, and will co-direct the sequel. I actually got a glimpse of the script a couple of months ago (I will not reveal my sources) and it's pretty funny—more of the same juvenile stoner hijinks, if that's funny to you. If anything, it'll be fun to see the pair back together on screen.

Speaking of Kal Penn, here's a glimpse of the poster for his upcoming movie Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj: First Look at The Rise of Taj Poster! Ah, subtle. I think it's a pretty clear indicator of what kind of movie you'll bet getting yourself into.

And speaking of John Cho, I recently watched the pilot for his upcoming NBC midseason sitcom The Singles Table, about a group of friends who meet when they're relegated to the "singles table" at a wedding reception. I gotta say, I really liked it, and I hope it does well. John Cho is clearly the breakout star of the show, and he does a great job. I'm assuming it'll start airing sometime in early 2007.

11.01.06

NPR has a story on Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock and her new film Wrestling with Angels, about acclaimed playwright Tony Kushner: Freida Lee Mock, Wrestling with Kushner. The film premiere this Friday at the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles, and runs November 3-9. Here's the official site for the film, and here's an audio Q&A with Tony Kushner and Freida Lee Mock, recorded by the Film Forum in New York.

11.01.06

This is for my people in Vancouver. The 10th annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival kicks off tonight, opening with a special presentation by filmmaker Mina Shum (Double Happiness; Drive, She Said; Long Life, Happiness And Prosperity). The festival is celebrating 10 years, with a great array of features, shorts, documentaries and guest panelists. It runs November 1-5 at the Cinemark Tinseltown Theaters. For more information, go here.

Speaking of film festivals... the AFI Fest 2006 starts today in Los Angeles and runs through the 12th. They've got a really great schedule, and APA First Weekend Film Club has compiled a large list of films with Asian directors and Asian stars in them: ASIAN FILMS AT AFI FEST 2006 - THIS WEEK IN LOS ANGELES. Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower is the festival's Closing Night Gala Presentation, at a steep ticket price of $75. Or you could just wait till it hits theaters in December.

11.01.06

This commercial for Amp'd Mobile cracks me up. I don't know why, but when I saw this I thought of my friend Beans. That's Aaron Takahashi, trying to get to you and that booty.

11.01.06

America, it's time for a change. Got this email last week, and I'm all in (fans of Heroes and Ugly Betty will get it):




Join the campaign for cuteness!

Are you tired of partisan bickering and negativity in US politics? Now's the time to make your voice heard -- by voting cute in 2008! Eligibility be damned -- with your help, Hiro Nakamura and Betty Suarez are going all way to the White House!

What can you do? Spread the word any way you can -- blogs, t-shirts, posters, campaign ads -- whatever you can muster. Take our cause to the streets -- the time has come bring back decency, space/time continuum-bending, and an adorable fashion sense to Washington!
Stay tuned to www.myspace.com/hirobetty2008 for campaign updates. Vote cute in 2008!


Visit the official home of the 2008 US presidential campaign for Hiro Nakamura and Betty Suarez here. Vote cute in 2008!