asian american pastors and the culture gap

Here's an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times on some of the issues and challenges facing the many second-generation, English-speaking Asian American pastors in Asian churches all across the United States: Asian American pastors often minister across culture gap. For many ministers, it can mean having to navigate a host of cultural and generational differences within between them and their congregations and church leadership. It's an interesting read on the state of Asian American churches in the United States, which also led to the website of Rev. DJ Chuang, who's quoted in the article and has some interesting stuff to say. Check it out.

korean singer to collaborate with outkast

It was recently announced that Korean singer Lim Jeong-hee will collaborate with hip hop duo Outkast for her U.S. album debut: Singer Lim Teams With Outkast. JYP Entertainment CEO Park Jin-young (who was profiled in the Village Voice a few months back) is the mastermind behind the deal. Lim apparently spent time in New York last year to receive vocal training and tune up her English, so she's getting ready to attempt that elusive crack at U.S. audiences. Now, I don't really know much about popular Korean music, so I did some poking around YouTube and came across some videos of her performing. She's got some decent vocal chops, and sort of sounds a bit (okay, a lot) like a Korean Alicia Keys. I'm curious to see what how this Outkast collaboration will sound, if and when it eventually happens...

blame the designers, not china

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that baby supply company Kolcraft Enterprises Inc. is recalling more than 425,000 play yards after a 10-month old boy was strangled. The boy was inside the "Sesame Beginnings Travel Play Yard" and the restraint strap from the elevated changing table hung down into the main play area and strangled him. The company is now recalling a dozen different types of play yards with changing table attachments and a similar type of strap.

This is terrible and tragic, and the products definitely need to be recalled for the safety of children everywhere. So why exactly does this article go out of its way to mention that the play yards were manufactured in China? It's just a sentence conveniently stuck in there, for your information. Funny, because the CPSC specifically points out that strangulation hazard is posed by a serious design flaw. What does that have to do with where the product is manufactured? Look, Chinese manufacturers make their fair share of crappy stuff, but this time the fault lies clearly in the design. I guess these days, everybody is trying to trace all defective and dangerous products to China in some way. Because I'm willing to bet if those play yards were manufactured in Iowa or something, they wouldn't have bothered to mention it at all.

journey from the fall coming to dvd october 30

Heads up. After a small but moderately successful indie theatrical run, Ham Tran's amazing Vietnamese American epic film Journey From the Fall will be released on DVD on October 30. The folks at ImaginAsian Pictures are really trying to initiate community involvement to get the word out about the movie, because it truly deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. They're currently trying to find volunteers who might want to help promote the movie in their own communities and help share the legacy of Vietnam's refugees. If you're interested in getting involved, email Jamie Quiroz at JQuiroz@Iatv.tv, and he'll help you set up initiatives in your community. And if you're just plain interesting in picking up Journey From the Fall for your DVD collection, pre-order it here.

harrassment of asian canadian fishermen continues

A follow-up to the "nippertipping" situation in Canada, in which local fishermen—many of them Asian—are being harassed and assaulted around the small town of Sutton on Lake Simcoe. The practice, which has apparently been going on for years, involves young adults who drive around in the middle of the night seeking out Asian fisherman standing near piers and bridges, then push them into the water and sometimes steal or damage their fishing gear.

The police are somehow finding it difficult to believe that Asians are specifically being targeted. Are you kidding me? I have to agree with Avvy Go, a lawyer with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, who said, "I don't know how much clearer it can be when people are describing this as 'nippertipping.'" There's a pretty obvious race connection. That's racist!

Hey, police. It's time for you to do your freaking job: 'Hate crimes' label sought for assaults. These are hate crimes, plain and simple.

And the situation is getting worse. On Friday night, another fisherman was reportedly threatened with an axe at a Kingston-area bridge: Fishing trip to Westport turns violent. Jixin Wang were fishing with some buddies when a white pickup truck slowed on the bridge and a woman told the group to "go away."
Less than 10 minutes later, they said they heard someone swearing loudly.

Wang phonetically describes it: "F---er, go home. No fishing, go home."

There were four men and two dogs, he recalls. They carried axes and baseball bats. Wang said one stepped up to him and swung the axe within an inch of his face.

"That person is so ...," says Wang at a loss of words. "You don't want to look at him. To me, if we didn't go, I knew we would be attacked."

So, without a word, they said they walked to the car while the men made loud chopping noises on the bridge while "swearing, shouting and yelling" at them.
Being protective of your local fishing spots, that's one thing. But there's a hell of a lot more to it when almost all the reported incidents seem to involve Asian fishermen. These people in the pickup truck were carrying axes and bats, in an area where there is a reported negative sentiment against "foreigners" (that means non-white, bud). While no one got hurt here, who knows what could've happened? And if the police don't intervene, something much worse will eventually happen. How long will they continue to deny that Asians are being targeted? That's racist!


the making of finishing the game

All right, check out this great mini-documentary by Anson Ho on the making of Justin Lin's Finishing the Game. Basically, Justin and Co. let Anson have full access to film during production and beyond, as well as all the old footage from the BLT run, and the result is BUILDING A JOURNEY: FROM BETTER LUCK TOMORROW TO FINISHING THE GAME. It's about 20 minutes long, but totally worth watching, because it really does convey the story of making this film, and the driving sense of community behind it. View it here, split up into three parts (the player will automatically go the next segment):

Be sure to check out all the other FTG-related clips in the playlist too. Finishing the Game opens October 5th exclusively at the IFC Center in New York, and expands to other cities in the weeks after that, on a city-by-city basis. And in a really cool distribution move, aside from the traditional theatrical release, on October 5th the film will also be simultaneously available ON DEMAND in 42 million homes in the United States through every cable and satellite carrier. That means if Finishing the Game never makes it to your town (or you just can't wait), you can just order it to your television. How cool is that? It brings the film to your home, but also counts you as a viewer, like a ticketholder. To learn more about Finishing the Game, go here.

world conference on japanese military sexual slavery

Heads up. Next week, the World Conference on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery will be held at UCLA from October 4-7—the first global gathering of influential scholars, non-governmental organizations, human rights activists, attorneys, artists, and most importantly, survivors, to honor the bravery and struggle of the aging victims of Japan's military sexual slavery during World War II. The goal is to create a global coalition for reparations from the Japanese government and to address violence against women and sexual trafficking around the world today. The conference, which is free of charge and open to the public, will take place at the UCLA Northwest Auditorium and UCLA School of Law, and a peace vigil is scheduled on October 7th in downtown Los Angeles. It looks like it's going to be a powerful, eye-opening event. For full schedule information, and the list of speakers and participants, visit jmss.info.

ed jew gets the boot

This week, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom filed misconduct charges against Supervisor Ed Jew, automotically suspending him from his seat on the Board of Supervisors: Mayor suspends Ed Jew from board, opening doors to political fight. And when they suspended him, they really gave him the boot. According to the story:
Just hours after Jew was served with a seven-page outline of the charges as he worked in his Chinatown flower shop, his name had been scraped off his City Hall office door, the locks had been changed, his photo had been removed from the city's Web site, and his legislative aide had been escorted out of City Hall by sheriff's deputies.
Talk about thorough. Good riddance, I guess. The Mayor replaced him with Carmen Chu, a 29-year-old deputy director in his office of policy and finance, who is largely considered a political novice. This is just the latest of legal woes in the saga of Ed Jew, who is under investigation for trying to extort up to $80,000 in cash from Chinese immigrant business owners in his district. He has also been charged with federal mail fraud for allegedly shaking down tapioca-drink business owners who needed new city permits. And he also faces criminal charges for allegedly lying about his residence when he ran for supervisor. Your shady dealings are now catching up with you, Ed.

murder suspect caught in minneapolis

The ex-boyfriend wanted in connection with killing Liya "Jessie" Lu and hiding her body in a trash can was found yesterday in Minneapolis and taken into custody: Boyfriend Of Slain San Gabriel Woman Arrested In Minneapolis. After being pursued by detectives for nearly two weeks, 32-year-old Isaac Campbell was apprehended following a short foot pursuit by Minneapolis Police Department's Violent Apprehension Team. Gotcha, sucka. More here: Suspect in slaying captured. You can run all the way from San Gabriel to Minnesota, but your ass is caught. And you know what you did, you sicko.


shanghai kiss screening in nyc

For those of you in New York, here's an opportunity to check out a special screening of Kern Konwiser and David Ren's Shanghai Kiss, presented by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and co-sponsored by Fallout Central, ImaginAsian Entertainment, Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and Asian CineVision. Monday, October 1st, 7:30pm at the Imaginasian Theater. Here's the story:
Liam Liu ( Ken Leung, HBO's THE SOPRANOS) is a likeable, struggling L.A. actor who inadvertently finds himself as the object of affection for a pretty Beverly Hills teen (Hayden Panettiere, NBC's HEROES). When Liam inherits his grandmother’s home in Shanghai, his visit to China and introduction to Micky (Kelly Hu, THE SCORPION KING, XMEN 2)--a woman who captures his imagination like no other—force him to reconsider his Chinese roots. Caught between two worlds (and two women), Liam must now sort out the complicated desires of his heart, and find out who he really is.
View the trailer here. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with writer/co-director David Ren. All tickets are $10. To purchase tickets go here, or call the ImaginAsian Theater box office at 212-371-6682. For all of you who can't make the screening, don't fret. The movie will soon be available on DVD (with pretty blonde Hayden P. prominently featured on the cover, of course). Look for it starting October 9.

mattel apologizes to china

In case you missed it, amidst all the news about defective and dangerous Chinese-made products... Mattel Inc. recently apologized to China (the entire country!) for its high-profile recall this summer involving more than 21 million Chinese-made toys, which blamed certain Chinese vendors for using lead paint and unsafe magnets. The company now acknowledges that the "vast majority of those products that were recalled were the result of a design flaw in Mattel's design, not through a manufacturing flaw in China's manufacturers": Mattel apologizes to China over recalls. Oops. Mattel has been on the damage control trail, sending a top executive to personally apologize to China's product safety chief Li Changjiang. Considering how invested the company is in Chinese manufacturers, apologizing like crazy is probably a good start. But you know what? The damage has been done.

julia roberts in dennis lee's fireflies in the garden

I recently heard about Korean American director Dennis Lee's Fireflies in the Garden, a small, quiet family drama boasting one really big star: Korean-American Snares Julia Roberts for Debut Film. Ms. Erin Brockovich herself. The Oscar-winning star agreed to be in the film after being deeply moved by Lee's screenplay, a fictionalized account of his own life. Not bad, for his first feature film. The cast also includes Willem Dafoe, Carrie-Anne Moss, Ryan Reynolds, Emily Watson, Hayden Panettiere and Ioan Gruffudd. Lee previously won the silver medal at the Student Academy Awards in 2003 for his student film Jesus H. Christ. My only question is, if this is a semi-autobiographical film based on Dennis Lee's life, which character is based on him? And can we expect to see any Asians in the movie?

missing woman's body found in trash can

This is just tragic and ugly... in Southern California, the body of Liya "Jessie" Lu was found in a trash can, over a month after she went missing. Police are now searching for the prime suspect, the victim's ex-boyfriend, 32-year-old Isaac Campbell: Desperate Search for Ex-Boyfriend of Dead Woman. He apparently stuck around when they were looking for Jessie, but is now nowhere to be found. According to authorities, Lu was breaking off the relationship when she went missing on August 11th. During the search for her, Campbell apparently showed up at a friend's house with a large sealed trash container, asking the friend to store it for him. When the friend heard news of Lu's disappearance, curiosity got the best of him, and he opened the container... where he found the body in a trash bag. Disgusting. They need to find this bastard now.

who will play caine?

Remember that movie remake of the 1970s TV series Kung Fu that was announced a little while back? The production has hired a director: Max Makowski Directing Kung Fu. We're doomed.

Okay, I don't know anything about this Makowski guy. It's just that the thought of a Kung Fu movie gives me bad vibes. Never forget! White man David Carradine starred in the role that originally created by and meant for Bruce Lee. Yes, we still haven't let that one go. Meanwhile, a new casting call has gone out looking for the lead role:

winner and still champion

Forgot to mention that earlier this month, Ochi "Dainoji" Yousuke of Japan destroyed all competitors, receiving the highest score from a panel of judges to win the Air Guitar World Championships for the second straight year: Japanese Man Remains Air Guitar Champion. The competition, held every year in Oulu, Finland, is an epic international showdown of air guitarists vying for supreme greatness—airness. Check out video of his victorious performance here. Ridiculous, I know. Here's the funny thing. Asians have inexplicably dominated this competition for several years. The last two years it's been Dainoji. Miri "Sonyk-Rok" Park of USA took it in 2004. There's my favorite, David "C-Diddy" Jung of USA, who was the champ in 2003. And Fatima "The Rockness Monster" Hoang, who was US Champ in 2005. Forget the piano lessons. These folks are living proof that Asians can excel at doing absolutely nothing.

Speaking of air guitar, be sure to watch the excellent and highly entertaining documentary Air Guitar Nation, which was recently released on DVD. The film chronicles the journey of 2004 US Champ David "C-Diddy" Jung, air-rocking his way to greatness at the World Championships. C-Diddy is a fun, engaging personality, and a just a cool guy to hang with. You root for him all the way to the top. It's a crowd-pleaser, so check it out.


racist assaults on asian canadian fishermen

Some disturbing news out of Canada, somewhat similar to the shoving/drowning death in Chicago earlier this month... Since April, there have been three cases of assault, mischief and theft against fisherman—who are mostly Asian Canadian—in Sutton area: Bizarre assaults hit quiet town.

The most recent incident has left a 23-year-old fisherman in a coma, with damage to his ribs, lungs, limbs and brain, when he was thrown from a car during a pursuit.

The local youth apparently call it "nippertipping," when they drive around in the middle of the night looking for cars parked near the water, then creep up behind fishermen and shove them into the lake. Here's an account of what's been happening in the area lately:
That was until two Sundays ago. Late that night, a few local 20-somethings approached a group of Toronto friends fishing near Mossington Bridge.

There are two versions of what happened next. One is that the 20-somethings pushed one of the fishermen--of Asian descent--into the water. A white fisherman was shoved in as well.

The other is that the fishermen started the fight, leaving one of the town kids bloodied and bruised.

Whichever happened, police say a bigger confrontation then broke out between the two groups.

Four of the fishermen sped from the scene in their Honda Civic. One of the town kids got in his truck and pursued the Civic, police say. The pursuit continued for two kilometres along narrow, winding lakefront roads, until the truck driver drove the car off the road, according to police. Two of the fishermen, including Berwick, were thrown from the car and taken to hospital.

The truck driver was jailed. Trevor Middleton of Sutton was released on $20,000 bail last Thursday, charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Since then, talk of the assaults is running through the town of 5,000. Three incidents reported this year involved people of Asian descent:

On April 27, a 13-year-old white boy was thrown in the lake late at night. He had been near a 72-year-old Asian-Canadian, whose fishing gear was damaged. It's not known whether they knew each other.

On July 22, a middle-aged couple of Asian descent suffered a minor assault; their car windshield was smashed and a baseball cap stolen.

On Aug. 6, an adult male was pushed in the water. No one was hurt. Scott MacEachern, 19, of Sutton, was charged after the Asian-Canadian held him at the scene.
Believe it or not, the police are saying that the assaults are not racially motivated. You've got to be kidding me. They insist that the attacks are random, and could happen to anybody. Give me a break. It's called "nippertipping." You think that's a freaking coincidence? The word indeed is derived from the derogatory word for Japanese, used in this context for anyone of Asian descent (because, you know, we all look alike).

And it's apparently been happening for a long time. In the story, one 20-year-old local man admits that there is an anti-foreigner sentiment amongst people in the area. "Everybody talks about doing it --'Oh, I went down to the docks the other night and roughed up some Asians.' I guess they think it sounds cool. But it doesn't happen often at all." But it does happen, is happening more frequently and is a fueled by real sentiment. That's racist! Fishermen, watch your backs, stay alert, and be prepared. They're out there.

columbia student racially targeted by police?

Heard about this recent incident at Columbia University, in which NYPD apparently racially targeted an Asian American student and used excessive force for a simple infraction... According to witnesses, Garam Sohn was holding an open beer can when he was stopped by police. When he failed to produce identification, police handcuffed Sohn, threw him to the ground, and put him into the back of a police car: Police, Students In Confrontation Over Arrest. A witness says Sohn wasn't physically resisting or acting in a violent manner. Another witness noted that while police were questioning Sohn, two white students walked by carrying 40s. The officers instructed the students to cover their drinks with brown paper bags, but didn't detain them. Where's the ID check there? What's up with that?

As the incident progressed, a crowd gathered and the officers called for backup. One of the officers apparently said to crowd—of mostly Asian students—"Have you had too much sake tonight?" And when a student asked an officer why Sohn was being detained, the cop responded, "Do you understand English?" Yes, these are officers of the law who are allegedly sworn to protect us. That's racist! Here's a public statement released last week by Columbia's Asian American Alliance::
We, the Columbia University Asian American Alliance (AAA), acknowledge that on Friday, September 14th an incident occurred on 114th street and Broadway between officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and an Asian American student. Many accounts – including Monday's Columbia Spectator article – point to evidence of excessive force and racial bias among the officers of the NYPD against the student.

If the details concerning the police's racial overtones and the excessive use of force are true, we condemn this abuse of authority by the NYPD officers present.

Furthermore, if racial discrimination was indeed committed by those officers, AAA will take the necessary steps to move towards dialogue and action that will make these issues clear to the student body and general public.

Finally, we acknowledge that this incident may represent a larger problem within the NYPD and its treatment of people of color in New York City. In response to this, AAA would like to mobilize with other groups in the NYC area and student organizations on campus to take measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

AAA recognizes that the student involved in this incident clearly violated New York State's zero-tolerance policy of drinking in public. However, AAA believes that regardless of the crime, the NYPD should not under any circumstances practice racial bias or excessive use of force.
Not sure what further action has been taken, if any, by anyone involved. The Asian American Alliance posted a few updates on its blog last week, though information on the incident has sort of been overshadowed by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Columbia (understandably). Hopefully we'll see some follow-up...

kqed cancels pacific time

Rather sad (and angry) about this... San Francisco's KQED has canceled Pacific Time, the only nationally syndicated public radio program about Asian American affairs: Citing finances, KQED cancels 'Pacific Time'. The last installment of the program, which reached about 160,000 listeners weekly on 19 stations nationwide, is set to air October 11. Like many considerations in public broadcasting, the cancellation was a financial decision. They just couldn't come up with the production costs for the upcoming year. Like I said, this is sad news. I can't say I always tuned in, nor was I always riveted by the show, but it was always nice to know that it was there, and adding something a little different to the airwaves. Public broadcasting, I love you, but you could always use a little more color.


finishing the game is coming

All right, friends. Finishing the Game is coming, and it's coming soon in a big, big way. Justin Lin's indie mockumentary about the search for a replacement Bruce Lee makes its world theatrical premiere next week, October 5th, exclusively at the IFC Center in New York. Watch the awesome trailer here. The people that brought you Better Luck Tomorrow are back and at it again, trying to get the word out about this film and send a message to Hollywood that there is indeed a genuine audience for Asian American films. The "BLT/Finishing the Game Family" has embarked on a grassroots campaign to spread the word, and they need your help. Consider yourself informed. This is the first of many announcements to come. Yes, I'm joining the hype train. For now, get yourself up to speed with all the news, video, photos and info on Finishing the Game over at the official site, You Offend Me You Offend My Family. Also check out the movie's MySpace page and Facebook group. Start spreading the word!

killer husband hiding out in southern california

This is a crazy case that stretches from New Zealand to Australia to Southern California... Nai Yin Xue, a 55-year-old New Zealand citizen, is suspected of killing his wife on September 13, then allegedly abandoning his 3-year-old daughter at an airport in Australia, and is now believed to be hiding out in the Los Angeles area: Search For Fugitive Accused In Wife's Death Leads To LA:
Xue became the subject of an international manhunt when the body of his wife, Anan Liu, 27, was found in his car's trunk, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. The case has been attracting a lot of interest from the New Zealand news media because Xue's wife tried to leave him, and he lured her back. During the period in which he lured her back, he discovered she had an affair with another man.
The last reported sighting of Xue was when he landed in Los Angeles on Saturday and caught a shuttle van to LA's Chinatown. More here: Pumpkin's dad sighted in US. It gets crazier. A mystery Los Angeles woman has been named as one of the keys to tracking him down: Mystery LA woman 'key to tracking Xue'.

The media has also been reporting that Xue is apparently a self-proclaimed "martial arts expert." A kung fu guy violently kills his wife then abandons his daughter, and is now hiding out in "California's vast Chinese community," shacking up with a mystery lady. Told you this story was crazy.

custom cleaners closes

Roy Pearson may not have been able to squeeze that $67 million out of the dry cleaners that allegedly lost his pants, but it appears that his ridiculous obsession has finally taken its toll. Last week, the Chungs announced that they were closing Custom Cleaners due to the emotional and financial strains of two long years of litigation: Dry Cleaning Shop to Close. While news of the lawsuit pretty much made Pearson the laughingstock of a nation, a lot of people didn't really consider the kind of hardship it created for the Chungs. Mrs. Chung apparently dropped four dress sizes from the stress of the whole ordeal. A family's financial and emotional stability ruined, all because Pearson, a sad, sad excuse for a human being, wasn't "satisfied" with his service. And he continues to pursue his appeal of the trial court verdict in favor of the Chungs. Outrageous. More here: Pants Update: The Dry Cleaners Shuts Down. The Chungs will now concentrate on running their original business, Happy Cleaners on Seventh Street NW in Washington DC. If you're in the area, why not patronize their shop?

vote for ken oak band's "summer's kiss"

Check it out. The Ken Oak Band's song "Summer's Kiss" has made it into the top 10 in the $10,000 Star Lounge Song Contest, sponsored by Star 98.7 FM in Los Angeles. If the contest name didn't give it away, the winner will get $10,000, in addition to getting their song on the upcoming Star Lounge CD. So help the guys out and vote for "Summer's Kiss" now through tomorrow, September 26. You get one vote per email address. I should also note that Shaheen and Larissa Lam, whose music I'm not familiar with, are also finalists in the top ten. Vote away.



I have returned from my vacation. While far from relaxing, my travels were fun, interesting and eye-opening. During my stop in Hong Kong, I paid my respects at the big statue of Bruce Lee, above. Thank you to all who wished me good and safe travels. I drank the water, ate the food, and have returned more or less in the same shape. And now... jet lag. It's kicking my ass, hitting me like of a ton of bricks. Please excuse me as I take a moment to recover before getting back into action.


exclusive secret identities sneak preview

View the exclusive Secret Identities SNEAK PREVIEW.

Greetings. I know I said I'd be taking a short hiatus, and I am. But I wanted to leave you with one last post announcing a very special project... Being a big comic book geek, I post a lot of stuff about comic books and graphic novels around here, because there are a significant number of talented Asian Americans working in the industry. But you ever wonder what an Asian American superhero story would look like? Or an entire anthology of such stories? Well, wonder no more.

For the past six months, bestselling author Jeff Yang, comics education specialist Keith Chow, actor Parry Shen, and independent comic creator Jerry Ma have been developing an anthology project called Secret Identities, "the first-ever graphic novel collection of original stories exploring the universe of masked marvels and caped crusaders from the perspective of the nation's fastest-growing and most dynamic emerging community." That means us. The anthology has been officially picked up by by the leading independent publishing house The New Press for release in fall 2008.

Here's the cool part. I've partnered up with the creators of Secret Identities to give you the exclusive first look at the anthology's special SNEAK PREVIEW issue. It's sort of the project's requisite "origin" issue. View it here. It's really great stuff.

Although top talents from the mainstream comic industry have already agreed to contribute stories to Secret Identities--including writers Greg Pak (World War Hulk) and J. Torres (Batman Strikes) and artists Sean Chen (Iron Man, Nova) and Cliff Chiang (Human Target), among others, the collection is actively seeking Asian American creators both within and outside the comics industry who are interested in contributing one- to six-page stories. For more information on getting involved, visit www.secretidentities.org. Also visit Secret Identities' MySpace page.


taking a break

All right, good friends and readers. Starting right now, I'll be taking a break from posting anything new for the next two weeks. I'll be traveling in China on a much-needed vacation. Please, no jokes about cardboard-filled buns, or contaminated toothpaste, or lead paint. I'll be careful. And no, I'm not going to compete in Survivor. Just some quality time spent away from the grind (and away from the computer). Can you dig it? While I'm away, I'd appreciate it if people could hold back on writing in with links and stories and stuff—my email tends to get clogged up pretty quickly, and I won't be checking very regularly. Thank you for your cooperation. See you back here in two weeks. Stay Angry.


thinking inside the box: asian americans in the comic book and graphic novel world

Here's a good event going on next weekend in New York for all you comic book geeks (like me)... Continuing its kickass speaker series, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas presents Thinking Inside the Box: Asian Americans in the Comic Book and Graphic Novel World, a roundtable discussion featuring several influential Asian Americans from the industry. Saturday, September 15th, 7:00pm at the Museum. Panelists include:

Jann Jones is Senior Coordinating Editor for DC Comics who has worked on adding three new titles: Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, Tiny Titans, and Super Friends to the DC Comics line.

Jae Lee rose to prominence for his work on Marvel's Namor the Sub-Mariner and Inhumans (for which he won an Eisner Award), as well as his character Hellshock. He is currently working with Stephen King on the Dark Tower series for Marvel Comics.

Gene Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese was named a 2006 finalist for the National Book Award in the young people's literature category. This was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award.

Christine Norrie has worked extensively as an artist and comic illustrator since 2000. Her most noted works include her original graphic novel Cheat, the Oni Press series Hopeless Savages, and the newly released graphic novel Breaking Up.

Larry Hama is a writer/cartoonist/illustrator who works in comics, television, and film. He is best known as the writer of Marvel's G.I. Joe and Wolverine comic book series. He is currently working on Storm Shadow for Devils Due.

Moderated by DC Comics editor Pornsak Pichetshote.

Man, I think I'd go just to sit in the same room as Larry Hama. The guy is downright legendary in my book, responsible for writing Marvel's epic G.I. Joe comic book back in the day. The image above is from "Silent Interlude"—one of my favorite issues (#21). Remember the top secret personnel cards that were included on the back of all the old action figures? Larry Hama wrote the majority of them. I've always thought it was so cool that someone's job was to make up biographies for all the G.I. Joe characters. How cool is that? Yeah, I'm a nerd. And this is pretty damn sweet way to spend a Saturday night. For more information go to the MoCA website.

vote: dc apa film festival trailer contest

The DC APA Film Festival has selected three finalists for its 2007 Trailer Contest—Eunice Choi's "Everyone Has a Story," Paul Moore's "Film Ramen," and Farah Sattar's "Eight." View the the finalists here, then vote on your favorite through September 18th. The winner will walk away with the $1000 grand prize, and supreme bragging rights (at least for the duration of the festival). The DC APA 8th Annual Film Festival runs September 27th through October 6th. It looks like the full festival site isn't up yet, but you can view the schedule of films here.

john woo presents stranglehold

I'm not much of a gamer, but one video game I've been looking forward to for a long time has been Stranglehold. We've been hearing about it for years, and it's finally out this week from Midway Games for Xbox 360. The game is pseudo-sequel to John Woo's Hong Kong action classic Hard Boiled, continuing the story of maverick cop Inspector Tequila, played by Chow Yun-Fat. Like I said, I'm not even much of a video game guy, but this looks pretty damn awesome. It'll be also be available later this month for PC and PlayStation 3. The PS3 collector's edition will feature the game and a full-length version of Hard Boiled. So you can actually watch the movie, then get into the action yourself, I guess.

In honor of the Stranglehold's release, Midway recently ran the True to John Woo short film contest, where filmmakers produced their own short film tribute to John Woo's trademark action. The winner, chosen by John Woo himself, was Return by Charles Yi. Very nicely done. Recognized a few faces in there as well. View it here.

sold: hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Jamie Ford writes in to tell me that he just sold his first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, at auction to Ballantine Books. That's a pretty big deal. Here's the blurb from Publishers Weekly:
Agent Kristin Nelson just concluded an auction for a debut novel by Jamie Ford titled Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet; Jane von Mehren at Ballantine won North American rights in this six-figure deal. The story is set in Seattle and told in alternating time periods--when a Chinese boy falls in love with a Japanese girl during the Japanese internment in 1942, and later in 1986 when the belongings of Japanese families are discovered in the basement of a condemned hotel and he must confront the choices he made years ago.
Sounds like a pretty interesting story. Heck, it sounds like it would even make a great movie. But one thing at a time. I'm looking forward to checking this out, whenever it eventually gets published. Congratulations, Jamie.

100-year anniversary of bellingham's "hindu" riots

This week marked the 100-year anniversary of Bellingham, Washington's "Hindu" riots, when a mob rounded up the city's East Indian mill workers and ordered them out of town: 1907 Bellingham mob forced East Indian workers from town. On September 4th, 1907, roving gangs of thugs walked from mill to mill, and boarding house to boarding house, hauling out "Hindus" (a common label for all East Indians at the time) roughing them up and ordering to get out of town. This feature is a detailed look back at the area's largely forgotten racist past, part of a larger campaign to get rid of Asians West Coast during the turn of the century. Here's the follow-up article: 1907 Bellingham riot sparked other actions against immigrants. And here's an article on the area's Sikh community today: New Sikh arrivals feel welcomed.

adrian tomine's shortcomings

Here's a book review of Adrian Tomine's latest graphic novel Shortcomings, a full-length work that collects his latest run on Optic Nerve: 'Shortcomings' by Adrian Tomine. It sounds really cool, dealing with some very interesting issues familiar to the Asian American community:
After a career of composing the comics equivalent of short stories, Tomine has produced, in "Shortcomings," his first full-length graphic novel. It was serialized in issues of "Optic Nerve." Ben Tanaka, the novel's 29-year-old Japanese American protagonist, is, like many Tomine characters, cynical and petulant -- a pill. In the opening scene, he grumps his way through an Asian American film festival screening that his girlfriend, Miko, has helped to organize. (Tomine is a gentle but unerring satirist; each chapter opens with the skewering of some fashionable art form, including performance art and the American Apparel chain's advertising photography.) Sometime later, at home in Berkeley, Miko finds DVDs of white "all-girl action" porn in Ben's desk. "It's like you're obsessed with the typical Western media beauty ideal, but you're settling for me," she tells him accusingly. Their relationship frays further when Miko leaves California for a four-month internship in New York and Ben becomes distracted by Autumn, a cute young blond he's hired at the movie theater he manages.
While there he's had Asian American characters before, Shortcomings is actually the first of Adrian Tomine's comics to address race. I often wonder what kind personal issues of his own he's expressing through his comics. Having been a fan of Optic Nerve for quite some time now, and I can't wait to pick this book up. It'll be out on October 2nd from Drawn and Quarterly.

the google guy

Who is Tan Chade-Meng? At Google's headquarters in Mountain View, CA, there's a wall of photos featuring this geeky Asian dude and all sorts of famous luminaries who have visited the company—Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali and Jane Fonda: Hey, Who's He? With Gwyneth? The Google Guy. No celebrity can go through Google without a Meng photo op. It's apparently become sort of a big deal now to be added to Meng's growing gallery. I guess that's how you know you've really made it big—a photo with Tan Chade-Meng. The man, the myth, the legend.

immigrant families and mental health

This is an interesting article in the Washington Post on the many cultural barriers and obstacles facing immigrant families in dealing with mental illness: Explaining Away Mental Illness. There's quite a bit of focus on the Korean American community, no doubt because of Seung Hui Cho and the Virginia Tech shootings. If any good can come out of that tragedy, let's hope that it can shine a light on mental health issues in the Asian American community, which are too often ignored or silenced out of shame and stigma.

parry shen in hatchet

This is for all you horror fans out there... my man Parry Shen is in the indie horror movie Hatchet, which opens in select theaters nationwide today. (That's him on the right in the photo above, looking scared.) It's an old school-styled slasher flick, and I've been hearing good things about it for quite a while now. Hell, I'm not even much of a horror fan, and I'm kind of pumped to see it. Sure, Asian horror is cool, but after a while you get tired of the creepy kids with long black hair, and you wanna see the old fashioned American stuff. It's about a group of tourists who go on a haunted swamp tour and find out that one of the horrific local legends happens to be true. Lots of running and killing ensues.

From what I hear Parry plays a really funny stereotype-bending character... though my guess is, being a horror movie, he probably meets a grisly end. He's got a good entry about his role in the movie over at his Xanga. There's some pretty good behind-the-scenes info. And if you're interested in checking out the movie, he's got a big list of all the theaters it's playing at across the country here. This weekend, go see Parry Shen running for his life.

just say no to bootleg cosmetic surgery

Something about this is just freaky and gross to me... A couple in San Jose have been arrested for performing illegal and disfiguring cosmetic surgeries in their filthy home, filled with drugs and syringes: Illegal Front Room Plastic Surgery Clinic Busted. Ha Nguyen and Zbigniew Makowski were arrested on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license and child endangerment. Nguyen's botched cosmetic surgeries apparently left "patients" with huge scars on their faces and bodies. All the victims were Vietnamese, according to medical board investigators. Here's a tip: don't mess with bootleg cosmetic surgery. If they're performing the surgery in their own home, chances are, they really don't know what they're doing. Is the desire for cosmetic surgery so great that people are resorting to these nasty, illegal home procedures? It's not worth it, people.

76-year-old man thrown out of hospital

A family in Brampton, Ontario has lodged a complaint with Peel Memorial Hospital, claiming their 76-year-old father, Jagir Singh Sandhu, was evicted from the hospital, then handcuffed and assaulted by two security officers: Hospital 'kicks out' senior. If you read the article, what happened doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sandhu, a cancer patient, was apparently at the hospital for several hours overnight awaiting test results, then suddenly told to leave. Just moments after his family had been called to pick him up, security personnel grabbed him and forcibly dragged him out of the hospital. They sent him home in cab, bloody and bruised. So what the hell happaned here? How did two security guards find it necessary to manhandle and assault a 76-year-old man? Details are still sketchy, but it sounds to like someone was waaaay too overzealous with their job...

survivor goes to china

By now, Survivor fans have probably heard that the latest season of the reality/adventure series will take place in China. That's right! Every season, a group of contestants are stranded in a remote region of the world, and this time around, they've dropped them in the most exotic, foreign place they could think of: Survivor: China. The commercials boast that it's the first time ever a major American television program has gone to "the most mysterious place on Earth." Oh yes, expect lots of gongs and wind flutes. And maybe a panda or two. Greeaaat.

They recently announced this season's cast, and after two really diverse, interesting seasons, it looks like they've reverted to a mostly-white cast with a handful minorities. Among the sixteen contestants, we've got Frosti, a 20-year-old parkour athlete (and the show's youngest contestant ever), and Peih-Gee, a 29-year-old jeweler (and former music video dancer). She's also the only actual Chinese person this season. Will it give her an edge? Probably not. I highly doubt being Chinese will help her climb a bamboo stalk faster, or whatever other crazy-ass challenge they're going to make them do. Once again, I've got a bad feeling about this season... and yet I'll probably find myself watching. I shake my fist at you, CBS. The new season premieres on September 20.

I've also been hearing about this new CBS reality show Kid Nation, in which 40 kids from different walks of life create a working pioneer town all by themselves (with no parents or teachers). It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it's got people talking. Among the contestants, we've got Anjay, age 12, from Pearland, Texas; and Kelsey, age 11, from Furlong, Pennsylvania. The chaos begins on September 19.

gotcha, norman

Everybody's favorite disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was arrested in Colorado yesterday after being rushed to a hospital for an undisclosed condition: Disgraced Dem Donor Arrested in Colorado. He apparently boarded an Amtrak train in Emeryville, CA, headed for Denver, but got sick and then promptly nabbed when he got to the hospital. He was arrested on federal charged of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. This guy reaaally did not want to go to prison. There will be no more running now, Norman.

actually records presents functional displacement

This for my people in Chicago... Later this month, our friends at indie label Actually Records present Functional Displacement, a three-day music event benefiting the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media. It'll be a showcase of the best of new indie rock, experimental, electro-pop, post-metal, and other genres, including performances by Kite Operations, Jack Tung, XYZR_KX, among many others. September 21-23 at Links Hall on 3435 N. Sheffield. They've got a pretty cool scene going on over there, and this is for a good cause, so mark your calendars. For more information about the event, go here.

apeyes los angeles mural project

Scott tells me about a cool project he's been working on through LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics)... He and his fellow interns have created a pamphlet and website documenting the hard work and community empowerment put into AAPI murals in the Los Angeles area, and their role as a part of the community's history, culture and identity. There are literally hundreds of murals in the Los Angeles, each holding a special significance to their respective communities. So where are the murals that reflect the API community experience? This project aims to increase awareness, visibility and knowledge of existing API murals in Southern California: APeyes: Catching A Glimpse of API Murals in Los Angeles. And you can continue the community dialogue on murals at this blog: apeyes.blogspot.com. Very cool stuff, and very good work.


future rockstars of america

Check it out. My man Daniel Park and his artist/musician associates recently launched a new lifestyle brand/webzine, Future Rockstars of America. It's a nice-looking site with lots of great articles and features on music, art, clothing, and beyond. Not necessarily Asian American-specific, but it's Daniel, so they are certainly sympathetic. Among other things, they've currently got an interview with the guys of the Far East Movement. It's good stuff, so bookmark the site and show FR*A some love. Oh, and check out their sweet limited edition t-shirt.

goh nakamura on feast of love soundtrack

Bay Area musician Goh Nakamura, whose music I have taken quite a liking to, informs me that one of his songs has been featured on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Feast of Love, out in stores now. It's a solid tracklisting, and he's among some pretty cool names. Kind of sounds like those Zach Braff-compiled soundtracks that have been kind of popular lately. If anything, it's great exposure for Goh. Preview the soundtrack here, and listen to more of Goh's music here.

suspects identified in brutal attack

Here's news on another possible hate crime that happened last week in Delaware: Suspects Sought in Brutal Beating. Police have identified several men who attacked a 21-year-old man of Indian descent while he was pumping gas at a 7-Eleven. He was kicked, punched, and beaten with a baseball bat for no apparent reason, putting him in the hospital with serious injuries. Two of the men have been identified as Lewis Johns, 27, and his brother Cody Johns, 17. They're both charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault, second-degree conspiracy and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. They're also looking for a third assailant, "Ronny," who participated in the assault: Two men identified in vicious beating. So what happened? Random attack? Just plain robbery? (They took $5 from the guy.) Hate crime?

norman hsu, where are you?

Norman Hsu is a wanted man again after failing to show up for a court date yesterday. A judge issued a new warrant for his arrest: Democratic donor a no show at hearing. He was scheduled to ask the judge to reduce the $2 million bail he posted last week. I guess after fifteen years on the run from a felony theft conviction, everybody's favorite shady campaign fundraiser is still not quite ready to face prison time. Maybe he feels he has more fundraising to do. If he's arrested again, he'll be jailed without bail this time.


miyoshi umeki dies at 78

Miyoshi Umeki, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the 1957 film Sayonara, has died of cancer. She was 78: Oscar Winner Miyoshi Umeki Dies at 78.

She also starred as Mei Li in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1961 all-Asian American musical Flower Drum Song, and later as Mrs. Livingston in the 1969 television sitcom The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

I've often wondered what happened to her, but she retired from show business in the early 1970s, moved out of the public eye and settled in a small town in Missouri.

She was a talented, charming actress. I've never been a fan of Sayonara, but I'll always remember her wonderful performance in Flower Drum Song. In fact, I think I rewatch it tonight in her honor. Rest in peace, Miyoshi Umeki.

more idiotic comments on the view

Man, what is it with The View and people talking out of their asses? On her first day as co-host on the troubled daytime talk show, Whoopi Goldberg tried to rationalize the recent trouble over Michael Vick's dogfighting ring, explaining that dogfighting was "part of his cultural upbringing." Basically, she suggested that Vick might not have known that what he was doing was wrong or unusual, due to his "background" and Southern upbringing: Who Is the Latest Michael Vick Defender??. Greaaaaat. And then, to drive home this totally awesome point, she likened Vick and his relationship to dogs to Chinese people eating cats. "It's like the Chinese. They're a different relationship to cats. And you and I would be really pissed if someone ate kitty." Again, with the cat-eating jokes! On national television, no less. That's racist! There's a video clip of remarks over at TMZ.com.

drowning death not a hate crime?

In Chicago, 31-year-old John J. Haley has been charged with first-degree murder in the drowning death of a Vietnamese man who was pushed into Lake Michigan while fishing at Montrose Harbor: Suspect is charged in harbor drowning.

Yesterday, it was thought that Doan Du's death might have been the result of a hate crime. Police are now saying the assault was not a hate crime, but simply a random violent outburst. And the other guy this group picked a fight with that same morning just happened to also be Asian? I'm supposed to believe this was a random attack? Something about this is just plain foul.

It gets really weird when we start learning a little bit about Haley's background. He apparently identifies himself as part of a movement known as SHARP, or Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, which sounds ridiculous. I guess we can assume that SHARP is not necessarily against violence towards old Asian men who are minding their own damn business.

Haley claims he simply "bumped" Du, but didn't push him. More here: Suspect In Drowning Speaks Out After Release. I'm not buying any of this. Hell, I'll say it anyway: That's racist! Yeah, that's right.

only the brave dvd release screening

For Asian American film fans in Los Angeles, here's something to do this weekend... Check out a special DVD release screening of Lane Nishikawa's Only the Brave, a feature film about the 442nd, the heroic all-Nisei regiment that fought for the United States during World War II. This Saturday, September 8th at the Aratani Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. See it on the big screen, then purchase the DVD. There will be several actors from the movie attending the screening, so there's a good chance you can get your copy signed by someone special. Surely, Greg Watanabe will sign your DVD. For more information about the film and screening, go here.

sports stories

Here's an interesting article on the Boston Red Sox's other Japanese pitcher, 31-year-old rookie reliever Hideki Okajima: Boston's Other Japanese Pitcher. While he hasn't received quite as much fanfare and notoriety as Daisuke Matsuzaka, Okajima has quietly proven himself this season to be one of Boston's most valuable players.

It seems we're one step closer to a Chinese player in the NFL... last month, Chinese kicker Li Chaoran spent nine days at a training camp with the Oakland Raiders: Chinese Returns from NFL Training Camp. He didn't play, but attended practice, observed meetings, took part in a fan day and watched the Raiders' preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Man, if the NFL can get a foothold in China... big money.

Meanwhile, in other football news... On Labor Day, Hawaii's Timmy Chang, who is now playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, became the first person of Asian heritage to begin a game at quarterback at the pro level: Historic start for Chang. Chang signed with Hamilton this year after attending NFL training camps with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles over the past two years, but being released by all three. While it would've been pretty awesome to see an Asian American quarterback in the NFl, this is still pretty historic. (EDIT: Roman Gabriel, who played in the NFL in the 1960s and 70s, was the first Asian American to start as a professional quarterback.)

Yao Ming and Steve Nash have partnered up and coordinated an effort to help Chinese orphans: Steve Nash and Yao Ming, Making Something Happen. On September 14 in Beijing, Nash and fellow NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Greg Oden, Bonzi Wells, Derek Fisher, Baron Davis, Chuck Hayes, and Leandro Barbosa will play in a charity game against Yao Ming and the Chinese National team, with the hope of raising a million dollars to be distributed to several charities: Chi Heng, a privately funded non-profit that works with children with AIDS; the Special Olympics (with World Summer Games next month in Shanghai); and the China Youth Development Foundation.

And finally, this is an interesting story in the Los Angeles Times on the significant number of Chinese men currently coaching world-class gymnasts in the United States: When East meets Midwest. Two of the seven U.S. gymnasts at the world championships were coached by Chinese-born men, and a third by a Chinese American man. Here's a profile on one of the gymnasts, 14-year-old Ivana Hong: Balance of Power. She may be young, but she's tough.


full equity now

Check out this important service announcement by Patricio Ginelsa (the guy behind the "Bebot" video), created on behalf of the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity to draw attention to the Filipino Veterans Equity Act, not awaiting crucial floor votes in Congress: FULL EQUITY NOW. This is important legislation that will benefit the brave Filipino soldiers who fought on behalf of the United States during World War II, but have been waiting sixty years for their rightful claim to U.S. veterans status and recognition for the bravery, service and sacrifice. View the PSA here. Learn more about the Filipino Veterans Equity Act and what you can do to help it get passed at the NAFVE website.

possible string of hate crimes in chicago

In Chicago, police are investigating a series of incidents which could be a possible string of hate crimes... The drowning of a Vietnamese man who was shoved into the water at Montrose Harbor on Saturday morning was the third incident since late July in which fisherman who appeared to be Asian were targeted in the area: Hate-crime angle considered.

62-year-old Du Doan was finishing alone when five individuals dressed in "black gothic clothing" walked passed him, and one of them shoved him into the water.

Shortly before this incident, another fisherman of Asian descent was confronted by the same group, but he stood his ground, and the group left him alone after spitting at his feet. And about a month before, another man who had what police described as "Asian features" was thrown into the water by a group matching the description. Note, you can get assaulted now for just looking Asian.

The suspects are described as a white male, about 5-foot-6, brown hair in a "buzz cut," wearing a dark jacket; a white male, about 6-foot-1, slim, large ears, wearing a white T-shirt and a jacket; white male, 18 to 19 years old; black male, bald, wearing a red shirt; white female, 18 to 19 years old.

What the hell is going on here? Are Asians (and "Asian-looking" people) being targeted? Hell, sure sounds like it. I guess we're not allowed to just stand there, fishing like normal people, without fear of getting harassed by racist punks. That's racist! And now one guy is dead. Somebody, please catch these assholes and make them pay.

new airport screening policy for turbans

A new federal airport screening policy for turbans and other headwear has Sikh American groups concerned that they are being unfairly targeted: Turban screening measures questioned. The new policy, which went into effect last month, subjects travelers to secondary screening at security checkpoints if they're wearing head coverings, such as cowboy hats, berets or turbans. The screenings could include a pat-down search of the head covering if the screener finds it necessary. For many Sikhs, this measure could be a serious violation of privacy and religious freedom. Is this racial/religious profiling? Somehow, I've got this feeling that the blond white dude with a cowboy hat is not going to receive the same kind of security scrutiny the South Asian-looking dude with a turban is going to get at the airport. But that's just me.

asian americans featured on wedding planner show

I'm pretty sure some of you out there will be interested in this... and you know who you are. I recently heard from Ada Chan of Fresh Events Company, who tells me she and her business partner Amanda Ma were featured on the show Wedding Central: Wedding Planners on the Women's Entertainment Network. The show is about the behind-the-scenes lives and careers of wedding planners. They basically followed them around during the month of June while they coordinated and designed two weddings, which anyone who is familiar with the process knows, can be kind of maddening. Anyway, there are a lot of wedding shows out there on cable, and sometimes you'll see them feature Asian American weddings, but I'm told it's actually pretty rare to see Asian American wedding planners profiled. For those of you who are interested, the episode airs again on Wednesday night, September 5th at 10pm PST.

greenlit: the other end of the line

Variety reports a that Hyde Park Entertainment has greenlit The Other End of the Line, a cross-cultural romantic comedy about an "Indian call-center operative who travels to San Francisco to be with a man she has only met over the phone." And I'm guessing then a lot of funny things happen: Hyde Park greenlights MGM's 'Line'. While the plot doesn't sound too enthralling, and I won't be standing in line for this one, the project looks like it might be an interesting cross-cultural venture, from an industry standpoint. But then again, maybe not.

auto body shop settles harrassment suit

Last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that an auto body shop in San Jose will pay $45,000 to settle a sexual and racial harrassment lawsuit: San Jose auto body shop to pay $45,000 in harassment case. According to the suit against Monterey Collision Frame and Auto Body, a technician of Chinese and Italian ancestry was subjected to repeated racial and sexual harassment while he worked at the shop, "including mimicking martial arts movements and mockingly calling him 'Bruce Lee.'" More here: San Jose auto body shop owner says EEOC violated pact.

Man, what Asian guy in America can't relate to being called Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan or some other kind of martial arts nonsense (and not in a good way) during some point in their lives? And not just on the job, or at school, but while just walking down the street minding your own damn business. You know, some dude yelling "Bruce Leeeeeeee!" out of a passing car? Or some idiot making kung fu noises while you're waiting in line at Burger King? That's right, it happens. And it happens waaaay too often. That's racist!

james wan's death sentence

Forgot to mention that Death Sentence opened in theaters on Friday. It's directed by James Wan, one of the guys responsible for the ridiculously successful Saw horror franchise. The movie stars Kevin Bacon, and to me, looks like a remake of Death Wish... It's been getting pretty abysmal reviews, though dammit, I'll admit I'm a sucker for revenge movies. I can see myself catching it on cable someday on a Saturday afternoon.

exiled/the host giveaway winners

Thank you to everyone who entered last week's Exiled giveaway, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Everyone who answered the question correctly was entered into a drawing to win an Exiled poster and DVD copy of the South Korean monster movie The Host. The question was: "Exiled is the pseudo-sequel to what 1999 Johnnie To film?" For your information, the correct answer is The Mission. And our winners are (along with their professed favorite gangster movie):

Brad S. of San Mateo, CA (Hard Boiled)
Van D. of Royersford, PA (Goodfellas)
Clara I. of Bellevue, WA (Infernal Affairs 2)
Allen C. of Edison, NJ (Infernal Affairs)
Eddy C. of Chicago, IL (Hard Boiled)

The rest of you, don't feel sad. It was a good effort. You can go buy/rent The Host on DVD, available in stores everywhere. And then go catch Johnnie To's Exiled, playing right now in select theaters nationwide.


jessica yu's ping pong playa at toronto

I've been perusing the schedule for the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, which starts this week, September 6th and runs through the 15th. One of the films I'm particularly interested in is Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jessica Yu's first foray into narrative feature, Ping Pong Playa, starring Jimmy Tsai, Smith Cho and Roger Fan. It's actually a sports comedy—not the kind of film I expected from her, which makes it that much more intriguing. A ping pong movie? I'd rather see this than Balls of Fury any day, all day. Here's the movie's official site. Looking forward to eventually checking this one out. I'm also interested in seeing veteran director Wayne Wang's latest, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, which looks like a return to the kind of films he does best.

Some of the other noteworthy Asian/Asian American films include Arthur Dong's documentary Hollywood Chinese, Im Kwon-taek's Beyond the Years, Wang Bing's Fengming, A Chinese Memoir, Takeshi Kitano's Glory to the Filmmaker!, Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy, Naomi Kawase's The Mourning Forest, Lee Chang-Dong's Secret Sunshine, Ang Lee's highly anticipated Lust, Caution (fresh from its premiere at the Venice Film Festival), Hur Jin-ho's Happiness, Shinji Aoyama's Sad Vacation, Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Four Women, Lee Myung-se's M, Buddhadeb Dasgupta's The Voyeurs, Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear, Sori's animated Vexille, Lav Diaz's Death in the Land of Encantos, Santosh Sivan's Before the Rains, Pantham Thongsan and Somkiat Vithuranich's Mid Road Gang, Lee Kang-sheng's Help Me Eros, Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises, Takashi Miike's SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, Pang Ho-cheung's The Exodus, Jia Zhang-ke's Useless, Johnnie To's Mad Detective, Lee Isaac Chung's Munyurangabo, Alexi Tan's Blood Brothers, Shivajee Chandrabhushan's Frozen, Richie Mehta's Amal, Gregg Araki's Smiley Face, Wilson Yip's Flash Point, Auraeus Solito's Philippine Science, and Hou Hsia-hsien's Le Voyage du ballon rouge. There's also Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Dude, that's a long, amazing list of films. So if you're in Toronto, this is your chance to treat yourself to some quality cinema.


the mysterious, inscrutable norman hsu

Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, a fugitive from the law for the last fifteen years, was taken into custody on Friday on fraud charges: Fugitive donor surrenders as Clinton camp ponders how. His name started popping up all over the news last week when it came to light that one of the Democratic candidates' biggest financial contributors actually had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Now the Clinton camp is wondering how this guy got in among its list of high-profile donors. Here's some more background on Norman Hsu: Wealth, mystery surround donor Hsu. Ooh, the mysterious, inscrutable angle. Personally, I think every political campaign needs a shady Asian donor. It just keeps things interesting.

angry archive