big in japan

Here's a story on Japanese actor Kazunari Ninomiya, who stars in Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima: The story is written on this actor's face. He plays Saigo, "an apolitical baker conscripted into the doomed defense of the island." From what I hear, his story is particularly heartbreaking. Virtually unknown to general American audiences, he's actually a huge all-out mega-star in Japan. He looks like a kid. Go, kid, go.

caught! your photoshop sucks.

Oh, this is funny. And really really sad. The campaign of an Orange County supervisorial candidate Trung Nguyen has been caught doctoring a photo so that it looks like he's standing next to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governator. That's classy: O.C. candidate has serious image problem.

The doctored photo appeared over the weekend in two Vietnamese-language daily newspapers, and was discovered by a campaign worker for Trung's opponent, Garden Grove Councilwoman Janet Nguyen (no relation). Of course, Nguyen's campaign, whose slogan is "Honesty, Integrity and Leadership," has blamed the alteration on an advertising company and/or a volunteer. Caught, sucka! Caught doing a really poor Photoshop job.

help harrison find a donor

The latest edition of SFGate's "Pinoy Pod" is trying to get the word out about Harrison Leonardo, a 2-year-old boy from San Leandro, CA who is battling Acute Myloid Leukemia: No easy match for biracial Fil-Am toddler in dire need of bone marrow donor.

Like the headline says, the kid is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant, but the search for a donor hasn't been easy because of his mixed heritage. Harrison is half Filipino and half white and his donor will most likely share the same heritage. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, of the 6 million people now registered as donors, only 34,000 are Pinoy, and even fewer are biracial.

The podcast has an interview with Harrison's parents, who are trying to raise awareness about the lack of biracial donors on the national bone marrow registry. Listen to it here, and go here for more information: Help Harrison

pauline chen's final exam

Here's an interesting story in the Washington Post on surgeon-turned-writer Pauline Chen: Cutting to the Core. Her new book, Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality is "a series of thoughtful, moving essays on the troubled relationship between modern medical practice and the emotional events surrounding death," and it's receiving favorable acclaim.

Here's an NPR interview with Chen: Surgeon Writes of Death, Dying in 'Final Exam'. Amazon.com is also hosting a blog by the author. Sounds like a really interesting book. It's like a serious Grey's Anatomy, without all the sleeping around and stuff.

why not just call her "ching chong"?

Have you been watching the latest season of American Idol? Every year, I swear to myself that I'm not going to watch the damn show, and every year I somehow get sucked in. It's like a black hole of television. For poor suckers. Like me. Anyway, careful watchers might've caught an offhand remark that asshead Simon Cowell made last week during the New York auditions. This blogger took notice:
The judges were snippy, but almost managed to keep from going over the top. Simon seemed to take a page from the Rosie O'Donnell book of political incorrectness when, after failing to understand that an Asian woman's name was "Fong," called her "ping-pong, or whatever your name is."
Why not just go all the way and call her "ching chong"? I know Cowell's supposed to be the jerk on the show, but how purposefully ignorant can you get? Like "Fong" is that hard to pronounce. I don't care how bad the wannabe singer was. That's just being an ass for the hell of it. (Thanks, Ling)

table tennis prodigy

Meet Chinese American table tennis prodigy and Olympic hopeful Han Xiao, sixth-ranked player in the United States: The Golden Child. There are no big table tennis superstars in the America (the best American player doesn't even make the top 100 in the world rankings), but Xiao is apparently a serious contender to win a place on the U.S. Olympic team.

get your telemongol tickets

For all my people in the Bay Area, it's time to get your tickets for the sketch comedy extravaganza TeleMongol. Asian American Theater Company and Contemporary Asian Theater Scene present the celebrated collaborative sketch comedy show that combines the forces of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble and three of the nation's most renowned Asian American comedy troupes, Cold Tofu, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, and OPM. The show runs February 9-18 at Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose. Can you dig it? And remember, for you, readers of the website, discounted tickets! When you purchase you tickets at Brown Paper Tickets, enter the password "tmangryasian" and get yourself a few bucks off the ticket price. We could all use a few extra bucks, right? So buy your tickets, go see the show, have a few laughs. More info on the show, go here.

four dudes... just watch

This can only be described as really really cool:

A very mesmerizing four minutes...

eric byler looks back at virginia's historic senate race

Check it out... here are a couple of preview clips from a documentary Eric Byler is making about last fall's APA uprising/mobilization during Virginia's Senate race: 2006 VA Senate Race: Looking Back at Role of Asian Americans. And here: Annabel Park in Virginia: Korean American Town Hall. Pretty interesting stuff, with a look at what turned out to be a historic turn of events. Hell yes, you can make change!

video for jin's "abc"

This week, MTV Chi world premiered the video for Jin's debut Chinese single, "ABC," performed almost entirely in Cantonese: MTV Chi music video premiere of ABC by Jin. Fortunately with subtitles, for those of us with limited Cantonese skillz. Lots of photos of a little Jin, and shots of Los Angeles' Chinatown. The new album drops in February.

the asian iron man

Former UCLA decathlon star and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, C.K. Yang (Yang Chuan-kwang), passed away in Los Angeles on Saturday after complications from a massive stroke. He was 74 years old: Former Bruin and Sportsman of the Year, C.K. Yang, Passes Away. They called him the "Asian Iron Man."

hmong history in schools?

Last week, state lawmakers in Wisconsin proposed requiring schools to teach about the history Hmong people, saying suspicion and racial tensions could be eased by an understanding of the Hmong's past as U.S. allies in the Vietnam War: Hmong teachings in schools pitched. This could be one step towards addressing recent racial tensions rekindled by the homicide a Hmong hunter this month. Education and knowledge used to defeat ignorance and fear? It is indeed possible, and worth the effort...

jian li's uphill battle

The furor over Jian Li's civil rights complaint over Princeton's admissions policies continues to make headlines and rage on: Asian bias fight grows. There's an online petition here, calling Princeton to release average test scores and admission rates on its applicants by ethnic group: End Discrimination in Admissions Policies. Is it me, or does it seem like this movement is having some trouble garnering support? I can sort of see why. The poor guy got rejected from Princeton... so he went to Yale instead. Still, I agree that there does need to be a more transparent admissions process.

first chinese national killed in iraq war

Earlier this month, Army Pfc. Ming Sun of Cathedral City, CA was killed on patrol in Iraq, less than 10 months after he enlisted: Army Pfc. Ming Sun, 20, Cathedral City; killed while on patrol in Iraq. He is believed to be the first Chinese national to be killed in the Iraq war. At this funeral, an Army representative presented his parents with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and documents granting him U.S. citizenship.

this is america, and in america we drive american cars

One thing is clear. NASCAR team owner Jack Roush really doesn't like Toyota. And all things Japanese, for that matter: Sorry Jack, war metaphors don't fly here. I'm guessing the guy doesn't think a hell of a lot of globalization. Hey, come join the 21st century, Roush.

year of the fish review

Here's a brief review of Year of the Fish, a film that made its premiere at Sundance last week: Sundance, day nine: fish stories. It screened after my brief trip to Park City, so I didn't get a chance to catch it, but it sounded interesting... at the very least. It's a Cinderella story based on a Chinese folktale, set in New York with Chinese immigrants and massage parlors and all that. It's also pseudo-animated with a rotoscope effect, a la A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life, and has a pretty decent cast. Here's a brief interview with the director: David Kaplan, Year of the Fish. And here's film's website.


the motel dvd winners... and another chance to win

We have a winner! Five winners, actually. Thank you to everyone who sent in an entry for last week's Motel DVD/poster giveaway, courtesy of Palm Pictures. Our five lucky winners are:

Stephen H. of Powell, OH
Nina W. of Philadelphia, PA
Koji S. of San Marino, CA
Brian W. of San Francisco, CA
Davina W. of New York, NY

They're walking away with a shiny new copy of the Motel DVD, as well as an autographed poster. It pays to play! Everyone else who sent in an address will be receiving a funny Motel doorhanger. Hey, it's better than nothing. Michael Kang appreciates the support. But if you're feeling kind of bummed about losing, and still feeling pretty lucky...

...Write a funny story about your mom or dad for another chance to win! In conjunction with the release of both The Motel and Georgia Lee's Red Doors out on DVD today, Asian American mom and dad blogs Kimchi Mamas and Rice Daddies have teamed up for a special giveaway. Basically, you have to tell a funny story about your mom or dad for a chance to win. For details, go here and here. Good luck!

If you're not feeling that lucky, you can always go out and just buy your own copy of The Motel and/or Red Doors... Finally, you can see what all the fuss is about, add a few titles to your collection. Palm is also doing a fun YouTube group to promote the release: Puberty Sucks!, where people can share their stories about puberty. Check out the intro video by star Jeffrey Chyau himself (the kid has grown!). You know you wanna share one.

I also came across an online review of the Motel DVD here: DVD Features Asian-American Adolescent Coming-of-Age Adventure. And here: In 'Motel,' growing up is darkly funny. DVD Talk also has informative reviews for The Motel and Red Doors DVDs. At the very least, stick these films in your Netflix queue for a night in of the latest in Asian American cinema. All right? Enough.

vote for native guns

Check it out... API hip hop group Native Guns is one of the five finalists for MP3.com's Get Exposed contest, where users get to vote for their favorite artist. The top two acts chosen will win an online concert performance to be broadcast live on MP3.com. If you're not familiar with Native Guns, they're a great group of conscious emcees who have also shown a commitment to community. So show some support and vote for Native Guns! (The only catch is, you have to register with MP3.com.) To learn more about the group, go to their website or MySpace.

more on finishing the game

Here's a really really short interview of Justin Lin talking about Finishing Game, including a brief clip from the movie: Justin Lin on Finishing the Game. And here's an behind-the-scenes interesting article on some of the digital intermediate effects they used to achieved the "70s grind-house look" of the film: Finishing the (DI) Game. The article includes a short clip, though I think it's a bit of a spoiler...

sulu on heroes

George Takei made his debut on Heroes last night, showing his face and looking very Sulu-like at the end of the episode. He plays Hiro's father, "a powerful Japanese industrialist." TV Guide has an interview with him here: Star Trek's George Takei Teases a "Tantalizing" Heroes Visit. I can't believe he actually had to audition for the role.

mallard fillmore: unfunniest comic strip. ever.

This is a Mallard Fillmore strip from last week...

Again, with the dog-eating jokes! I don't think I've ever actually read this comic strip before, but perusing the archives, I've come to the conclusion that it's highly unfunny and unoriginal.

skin tone affects earnings

Some things never change... According to a researcher, light-skinned immigrants in the United States make more money on average than those with darker complexions, and the main reason appears to be discrimination: Study Says Skin Tone Affects Earnings. A law and economics professor at Vanderbilt University looked at a government survey of 2,084 legal immigrants to the United States from around the world and found that those with the lightest skin earned an average of 8 percent to 15 percent more than similar immigrants with much darker skin. That's racist!

m. night needs a hit

We previously mentioned that M. Night Shyamalan had signed on to adapt a big screen version of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender... presumably an attempt to rebuild some credibility after the critical beating he took over Lady in the Water. Variety now reports that he's also penned an original script with the working title The Green Effect, about "a large-scale, cataclysmic environmental crisis that turns into a struggle by mankind to overcome nature": Shyamalan Reworking The Green Effect. Let's hope it's a return to what he's good at...


the sign says it all

Spotted in Utah, at the Winger's restaurant right near Route 224 and Route 80:

That's racist! (Thanks, Benjamin)

missing graduate student found dead

Last week, a 23-year-old Stanford grad student, Mengyao "May" Zhou, was reported missing: Grad student, 23, missing after leaving residence. After five days, on Thursday she was found dead in the trunk of her compact car in Santa Rosa, possibly a suicide: Stanford student's body found. More here: Missing graduate student found dead

top ten cinema stereotypes

From Speedy Gonzalez to the Magical Negro, this article attempts to name the top ten stereotypes in cinema history: From Borat to Mammy. Making the list are some of our favorites, including Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles and Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. They've also got Pagoda from The Royal Tenenbaums. Makes me want to go back and watch all these movies again! Hollywood, you're awesome. (Thanks, Jim.)

too many trips to the nail salon

I've been getting emails left and right telling me about this video making the YouTube rounds... this comedian Anjelah Johnson does an impression of a Vietnamese nail salon in her routine: Anjelah Johnson - Nail Salon.

I don't quite know what to make of it, mainly because I've got people telling me, "I'm Vietnamese, and I think this is so racist!" but also an equal number of people telling me, "I'm Vietnamese and I think this is dead-on hilarious!"

Personally, I give her props for doing her homework, but I'm never really fan of non-Asians doing stupid Asian accents in their acts, no matter how "dead-on" they think they may or may not be. And come on, the nail salon thing has been done to death.

state of the apia community

While the President gave his State of the Union address last week, Congressman Mike Honda, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus provided the State of APIA Community," highlighting APIA community needs in healthcare, education, immigration, and military: CHAIR OF CONGRESSIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN CAUCUS

the real rock journalist

Here's a great piece by one of the original gangstas of rock journalism Ben Fong-Torres, offering his take on the crop of wannabe-writer contestants on the new MTV reality show I'm From Rolling Stone: He was from Rolling Stone -- he can tell you what it's really like. By the way, Khrishtine DeLeon, the Pinay contestant reppin' for the Bay Area on the show, has apparently got into a bit of a scuffle with the internet haters: Reality stars hate on the haters online

revisionist nanking movie in the works

I've mentioned a couple of Nanking-related films in the works over the last year... the documentary Nanking premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this month. There's also a narrative feature in development based on Iris Chang's book The Rape of Nanking. On the other side of things, a Japanese director has announced plans to shoot a revisionist spin on the Nanking Massacre in which he claims the massacre of Chinese by the Japanese Imperial Army is nothing more than political propaganda: Filmmaker to paint Nanjing slaughter as just myth. The historical claim to "memory" over this story, seventy years later, still causes so much pain and controversy. And it doesn't look like it's going away any time soon.


you know you want it

Just a reminder... I'm still accepting entries for the The Motel DVD giveaway. You can win a copy of the The Motel DVD (out in stores January 30th from Palm Pictures) as well as an autographed theatrical poster signed by cast and crew. All you have to do is email me with your name and mailing address, along with "MOTEL DVD" clearly written in the subject line by the end of Sunday, January 28th (I've extended the deadline). I'll throw all the entries in a bucket and choose five winners. Everyone who enters and submits their address will receive a funny Motel doorhanger. By the way, duplicate entries will be tossed out. Entries that don't include a mailing address will be tossed out. Fools who can't follow simple instruction will be tossed out. So get your entries in for a chance to win.

lt. ehren watada on fresh air

Yesterday on NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the first American officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that he thinks the war is illegal: Officer Refused to Deploy to Iraq. She also interviews one of Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz. Watada is now being court-martialed for his refusal, and for statements he made opposing the war and the Bush administration's leadership. This guy is NOT a coward. If anything, to me, he's extraordinarily brave to follow his conscience and convictions about the war. Unfortunately, his decision now comes with a price.

james kyson lee in tv guide

TV Guide has a good interview with James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando on Heroes: Heroes Preview: Is Ando More Than Just a Trusty Sidekick?. He's sort of C3P0 to Hiro's R2D2. He and Masi Oka have really great chemistry, but I do hope they give Ando more to do and develop his character a little better. As one of the few "power-less" characters on the show, they'll eventually need something more to keep him interesting...

disturbing attack at guilford college

This is just appalling... Three football players at Guilford College, a school with a Quaker background, face assault and ethnic intimidation charges after an attack on three Palestinian students last weekend: Palestinians Beaten at Guilford College. The victims were beaten with fists, feet and brass knuckles early Saturday by attackers who called them "terrorists" and used racial slurs. More here: Violence strikes campus

steve kang named chancellor of uc merced

Steve Kang, who served as the engineering dean at UC Santa Cruz for six years, was named as chancellor of UC Merced last week: First Korean to Become Chancellor of Four-Year University in US. He's the first Korean to head a four-year university in the United States.

the fake maui

I've been hearing about this new MTV reality show, Maui Fever, which is causing a bit of controversy among real Maui residents who say the show's "sexual content and all-white cast gives viewers a skewed impression of their island": Locals object to MTV's new 'Maui Fever'. The show's seven main stars—two women and five men—are all Caucasian. That's funny, because according to the 2000 census, Maui County is 31 percent Asian, 10 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 22 percent mixed race. And whites are just 33 percent. But hey, this is MTV, where "reality" is just a funny word. Some folks have started an online petition protesting the show: Cancel Maui Fever

a matter of supply-and-demand?

Does anyone else find it a bit disturbing that this op-ed piece discusses adoption from China so blatantly in terms of supply-and-demand? It's like China's supposed to be some kind of baby factory: The Mystery of the Chinese Baby Shortage


another award for american born chinese

More accolades for Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese. The acclaimed graphic novel just won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for "excellence in literature written for young adults": Winners named for children's book prizes. More here: Gene Luen Yang wins 2007 Printz Award. And here's an interview with Yang over at Comic Book Resources: YANG TALKS NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEE "AMERICAN BORN CHINESE". I know I've said this many times before, but I love this book, and I can't recommend it enough.

composer woody pak

iaLink has an interview with composer Woody Pak: Making Music Out of Chaos. He has as provided the sountrack for several Asian American films like The Grace Lee Project, Miss Monday, and most recently Grace Lee's American Zombie, which premiered at Slamdance last week. He just released an album, Mood Spheres, an interesting collection of his compositions. I haven't picked it up, but I've liked the snippets I've heard here and there. Learn more and hear samples over at his MySpace or at Chaos Theory Music.

the dangers of chinese food

Here's a story in the New York Times on the Happy House Chinese takeout restaurant in Brooklyn, violently robbed (twice!) recently for the first time in seven years of business: An Unthinkable Crime, Until Someone Finally Thought of It. The Wongs seem like your typical Chinese American family, trying to make an honest living... unfortunately, the threat of violence now comes along with it.

"i don't need a hero. i need my son."

Army Sgt. Jae Moon of Levittown, PA, died in Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated near his patrol unit on Christmas Day. NPR's Morning Edition ran a story on him this week: Pennsylvania Family Struggles with Soldier's Death

jessica hagedorn's dogeaters

Southern California theater-goers.... Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters has been adapted for the stage by Center Theatre Group is currently playing through February 11th at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City:
A tragi-comic look at the Philippines during the reign of Marcos, and the conflicts experienced by Asian immigrants caught between cultures.

Brought to life through a diversity of characters including a soft-porn movie star, a Jesuit priest, a Filipino-American Californian, a hustler and deejay, a movie usherette and Imelda Marcos herself, the world of Dogeaters is beautiful, lush, and always volatile – a wondrous bundle of contradictions where mundane reality, the supernatural, the spiritual and the carnal collide and coexist.
They've got an interview with playwright Hagedorn here: Capturing the Soul of the Philippines

my life the video game

This is so nerdy I think my head my explode. This dude Mark Leung made a series of videos on YouTube called College Saga. It's a basically a live-action parody of role playing video games like Final Fantasy and Zelda, among others. It's geeky as hell, and kind of clever, especially if you're familiar with the genre. I didn't finish watching the whole thing... I think I lost patience, which is probably why I never got into these video games in the first place. But maybe you'll like it. View it here, here, here and here.

sundance wrap

All right, a few days late (I needed some time to recover)... but let me tell you about the rest of my Sundance experience, as promised. On Sunday afternoon, I had the privelege of attending the world premiere screening of Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a documentary that tells the stories of the survivors of the atomic bomb. Sobering, powerful, and totally mesmerizing, the film doesn't pull refuses to pull any punches and explores the catastrophic results of atomic weapons from those who experienced it firsthand. I saw numerous members of the audience wiping away tears during the course of the film. Afterwards, it received not one, but two standing ovations. In addition to cast and crew, one of the survivors profiled in the film was present for the Q&A, and shared some powerful words. When the survivor of an atomic bombing has something to say, you listen.

Rather than politicizing or laying blame for the bombings, more than anything, the film drives home the necessity of making these stories are known and heard by all, before this generation of survivors is lost and forgotten. They are living proof of the futile suffering caused by nuclear war—an even greater reality today, considering that the world's nations now possess the power to literally destroy the earth and everyone on it. Big props to Okazaki and crew for this moving, important work. I'm told that White Light/Black Rain's will probably have a pretty limited festival run, and then you'll definitely see it on HBO by the end of the year. Heck, I think it has a good chance at making Oscar's short list next year. Seek it out if you can.

Also on Sunday afternoon, I attended the annual APA "Meet the Filmmakers" Reception at China Panda, the only Chinese restaurant in Park City. They throw this party every year, and I'm told this one was the biggest yet. It felt like the biggest yet... because there were like, three thousand people in the room, wall to wall. Okay, more like 300? Crowded and hot as hell. With food that reminded me of the old college days, when the dorm dining hall would attempt to make "Asian food." Still, the reception was a great to place to connect with Asian American folks at Sundance, both old friends and new. I spotted my hero Yul Kwon, winner of Survivor, across the room, but it was so damn crowded I never got the chance to meet him. I just wanted to shake his hand, man. Sad. You rule, Yul.

At midnight, I was one of the fortunate few who attended the world premiere of Justin Lin's Finishing the Game, a mockumentary about the fictional search to find a replacement for Bruce Lee after his sudden death only halfway through filming Game of Death. As a big Bruce fan, and an even bigger fan of the mythology surrounding his films, I'd been looking forward to seeing this for months. But first, I had to go through a minor ordeal to get a ticket to the screening. At Sundance, if you're not one of the mighty elite with advance tickets, or couldn't get your hands on the scarce few tickets that went on sale in the morning, your only feasible option is to wait in the rush line. Two hours prior to the screening, you're supposed to line up so they can give you a number. You come back half an hour before the screening, line up in order, and they let in as many as they can. Sometimes a few, sometimes a lot. Simple, right? Problem is, film fans are crazy about their Sundance screenings, so people seem to line up earlier and earlier. Determined to get into this screening, I show up to get in the rush line extra early, only to find that there is already a line, about thirty people deep. Actually, it isn't so much a line, but it's an unofficial wait list organized by none other than Roger Fan.

Are you on the list? For the sake of order and organization, he literally started a numbered list for folks wanting to see Finishing the Game. The rush line for the previous screening hadn't even gone in yet.

So we eventually get in line, and it's like a big ol' party. Thankfully, we're in this weird dark tunnel, shielded from the 4-degree weather outside. All this for a movie. That's director Justin Lin, above, waiting in the rush line to get extra tickets for his own movie. I was holding number 23—a pretty good spot in line—but big big thanks to Justin, Julie and Roger, who also did everything they could to make sure I got in. Hell yes. I got in.

The screening was a ton of fun. Seemed like half the audience had some kind of connection to the movie (actor, crew, friend of), so everybody was hooting and hollering and being crazy (in a good way) during the entire screening. So, I know you're wondering... is the movie any good? Overall, Finishing the Game is just big goofy fun. Justin and Co. have assembled a clever, slick, well-produced mockumentary with some brilliant moments, and you can tell they had a blast making it. I won't say the movie's perfect. It definitely isn't consistent, and more than a few jokes fall flat... but there are also plenty of shining moments, with some sly commentary on Hollywood and race thrown in. Justin has proven that he straddle a career with both low-budget indie and big-budget studio projects with his credibility intact, and he's brought along all the friends he's met along the way. Familiar faces and cameos populate the film all over the place. Roger Fan and Sung Kang put in some great performances as wannabe Bruce Lee replacements. Also look for guys like Dustin Nguyen, Leonardo Nam, Parry Shen, Brian Tee (almost unrecognizable) and even MC Hammer making appearances. And man, I loved the look and feel of the film, from the fake kung fu movie footage right down to the costuming and bad 1970s hair. I even caught a glimpse of myself, having spent a day on the set as an extra over the summer. Good times.

All in all, it was a great way to end my stay at the Sundance Film Festival. I was on a plane home just hours later. I'm sure Finishing the Game will be making the festival rounds this year, but hopefully it'll get picked up for theatrical distribution, and we'll all be seeing Bruce Lee wannabes on a big screen near you.

Here's a bit of coverage from Sundance on the Hyphen blog: Sundance Scoop. And here's a review of Finishing the Game over at Cinematical: Sundance Review: Finishing the Game. Here's a brief but interesting piece on Monday's APA panel discussion: Asian-American filmmakers panel: Industry can't see past race. And here's an interview with filmmaker Jessica Yu on her latest documentary Protagonist.


the damage has been done

Long time readers of this site know that we've been following along with the Anna Mae He case for several years... Shaoqiang and Qin Luo He lost custody of their baby daughter after putting her in what they said was temporary foster care with an American family, the Bakers. Yesterday, they won their seven year legal battle to get her back. In a unanimous decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court said a Memphis judge wrongly took away the Chinese couple's parental rights: Chinese parents win back their daughter. Anna Mae He turns eight this month. I've been astounded by the Bakers' stubborn, blind refusal to recognize the parental rights of the Hes, but more than anything, I've always maintained that the person who's going to suffer most from this situation is Anna Mae herself. She will now eventually be reunited with her rightful parents, but separated from the only parents she's ever known. Traumatic, to say the least.


academy award nominations announced

Academy Award nominations were announced this morning: 'Dreamgirls' Picks Up Most Oscar Nods. I was actually up at 5:30am PST to watch the announcment. Some thoughts... Dreamgirls, surprisingly, was shut out of the Best Picture category after being considered a strong potential frontrunner. Could Martin Scorsese finally pick up that elusive Oscar trophy for The Departed, his remake of Hong Kong cop thriller Infernal Affairs? And it looks like moving Letters From Iwo Jima's release date to December was a good idea for Warner Brothers, because the film was nominated for several awards, including Best Picture, Clint Eastwood for Best Director, and Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis (boo) for Best Original Screenplay. Other nominees of interest include Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi for Best Supporting Actress in Babel and Deep Mehta's Water for Best Foreign Language Film. Also, Ruby Yang's The Blood of Yingzhou District was nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject). I've seen this film, and it's extremely well done, but also extremely depressing. I guess you can't really make a feel-good movie about children in China who have lost their parents to AIDS. Anyway, read the full list of Oscar nominations here.

nwaaff, discount tickets, and the pfp

Hey Seattle! The 2007 Northwest Asian American Film Festival, Washington State's largest showcase for Asian American films and videos, is happening this week, January 25-28 in Seattle. They've got a fantastic schedule of Asian American cinema, and this is your chance to check it out. NWAAFF would like to invite you, the angry Asian readers of this website, to be a part of the festivities. So you guys get the group rate. This means that you can attend evening screenings for $7 (normally $10) and afternoon screenings for $5 (normally $7). Anyone who mentions "Angry Asian Man" at the box office will automatically receive the discount. Also, anyone who wants to buy tickets in advance online can select the group rate rather than the general admission. Cool, right? So get angry, and support some Asian American cinema. Here's an article on the festival: A five-day festival of films and fun. And here: Lights, camera... Asians. Go here for more info.

Oh yeah... my pal Maggie (we go way back) implores me to tell you that the Pork Filled Players, Seattle's own Asian American sketch comedy group, will be performing before the screening of Sung H. Kim's Mighty Warriors of Comedy, a documentary about the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. Now you know. Check out the film, see some comedy, have a few laughs.

the motel dvd/poster giveaway

As I've mentioned before, Michael Kang's indie feature film The Motel will be released on DVD next week, January 30th. Pre-order it here or here. To celebrate the release, we're partnering up with the good folks at Palm Pictures for a kickass giveaway. Five lucky readers will receive a copy of The Motel DVD and a autographed theatrical poster signed by the cast (Jeffrey Chyau, Samantha Futerman, Sung Kang, Alexis Chang, Jade Wu) and director Mike Kang. How cool is that? You know you want it. To enter, just send an email with your name and mailing address, along with "MOTEL DVD" clearly written in the subject line by the end of Friday, January 26th. I'll throw all the entries into a bucket and pick five winners. Easy. To top it off, everyone who enters and submits their address will receive a funny Motel doorhanger, pictured here front and back:

Don't you want one of these hanging on your bedroom doorknob? Get your entries in, and it's yours. And maybe even the DVD and poster! But like Lotto, you gotta be in it to win it...

more on "lian ji" and racist joking

The controversy over that ridiculous "Lian Ji" joke piece from the Daily Princetonian has caught the attention of mainstream news: Princeton newspaper stirs controversy. See here too: At Princeton, a Parody Raises Questions of Bias. Congratulations, you've hit the big time. Jeff Yang has a great response to the response to the response to the piece over at Racialiciuos: The Daily Princeton’s Rosie Carolla defense of Lian Ji op-ed. Meanwhile, someone's also got an opinion on the matter over at Harvard: The Campus That Cried 'Wolf'

mira nair to direct johnny depp

According to Variety, Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) has signed on to direct the big-budget drama Shantaram starring Johnny Depp: Mira Nair to Direct Depp's Shantaram. Production is likely to begin this fall.

chinese american class divide

Here's an interesting article from the New York Times on the large growing divide between the city's Chinese American wealth and the unmet needs of the new immigrant Chinese American poor: Class Divide in Chinese-Americans' Charity


excuse me now as I pass out...

Back from Sundance. It was one hell of a trip, a whirlwind, and my final day/night there was the most eventful... I'm tired as hell, so I need to crash. But proper updates will come later, including some words about the world premieres of Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain and Justin Lin's Finishing the Game. Promise.

jeff chang's total chaos

Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip Hop, Jeff Chang's follow-up companion book to Can't Stop Won't Stop, will be out in stores in February. It's an anthology of hip-hop artists talking in their own words about the art and aesthetics of hip-hop. Pre-order it here.

scary scary korean monster

Here's the new trailer for the U.S. release of the South Korean monster movie blockbuster The Host: Second US Trailer For Bong Joon-Ho's The Host. The movie opens in theaters on March 9th from Magnolia Pictures. The official site's here.

kevin so's a brighter day

Hey now. Soulful crooner Kevin So's long-anticipated new CD A Brighter Day will be available in stores on February 14th. It's also available now on iTunes. Learn more about the album here.

chicago reader on the house of suh

The Chicago Reader has a story on Iris Shim's The House of Suh, her documentary about the case of Andrew Suh, the good Korean American son who murdered his sister's boyfriend in 1993: The Good Son. They're having a benefit to raise funds for the film on February 9th at Martyr's in Chicago. Find out more at the House of Suh website here.


sundance, day... 2? 3? what is it?

Snow and cinema. That's what it's all about right now in Park City. Yesterday, I had the chance to attend the world premiere screening of Grace Lee's American Zombie at the Slamdance Film Festival (sort of the low-rent Sundance happening simultaneously). It's an entertaining, nicely produced mockumentary about a community of the living dead living and working among us. Zombies. It's a solid work in both the mockumentary and zombie genre tradition, with a great cast that includes Suzy Nakamura and even Grace Lee as herself. Despite less-than-ideal screening conditions (there were several projection/sound complications and the theater was hot as hell), the Slamdance audience seemed to have a good time. Grace as well as several members of cast and crew were on hand to answer questions afterwards. All in all, a very clever, inventive and creepy follow-up to The Grace Lee Project.

Woke up crazy-ass early this morning to line up at the box office in the freezing cold. Sundance sells a limited number of day-of tickets, and I wanted to get my hands on tickets for Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain and Justin Lin's Finishing the Game. The box office opens at 8:00, so Michael Chen from SDAFF and I were in line around 6:15. Madness. The things you do for the love of cinema. I managed to get tickets for White Light, but Finishing the Game was gone gone gone. Completely sold out, dammit. The saddest part was, we ran into Roger Fan, one of the stars of Finishing the Game, who was way, way behind us in line also to get tickets... to his own movie. Looks like I'll be setting up camp in the rush line tonight... wish me luck.

The annual Meet the Filmmakers Reception is this afternoon at the China Panda Restaurant—the one and only Chinese restaurant in Park City. More updates later...

nfl wants china. bad.

Another story on the NFL trying to get a foothold on the massive Chinese sports market: The Year of the Pigskin. Who is the next Yao Ming of football?

the little book of hindu deities

Here's a really interesting article on Pixar animator Sanjay Patel, who recently published the book The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow, a collection of humorous but reverent biographical profiles of 50 divinities, each paired with Patel's illustration of the god or goddess in question: FINDING MY RELIGION

shilpa shetty withdraws racist bullying accusation

Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty has withdrawn her accusation that she was the victim of racist bullying on Britain's Big Brother: Indian star withdraws racism charge in TV row. Her comments sparked a diplomatic incident, with effigies being burnt on the streets of India—and now she withraws her accusation? Man, and things were just getting interesting... Meanwhile, Jade Goody, the housemate behind the racist taunting, has been facing the consequences of her actions: British bully of Bollywood queen battered by backlash


greetings from the cold

Sundance! I've made it to frosty Park City. So far I've spotted Bradley Whitford, Crispin Glover, Kevin Bacon, Juliette Lewis and the history's largest gathering of women wearing UGG boots. More updates from the festival coming soon...

vote for steve byrne

There's less than one week left to vote for comedian Steve Byrne in Comedy Central's Stand-Up Showdown. They'll take the top 20 vote-getters and air their shows all day in order of popularity on January 28th. Steve's currently holding it down in the top ten, and you can keep him there (you can vote once a day). All the way, baby.

a tribute to the master of ramen

Jeff Yang's "Asian Pop" column is dedicated to the Master of Ramen Noodles, the late Momofuku Ando: Forever and Ever, Ramen. Let's face it—this man changed the world.

police officer's son in racist attack

This week, Kevin Brown, a police officer's son who beat up two Chinese American men in a racist attack in Queens last August pleaded guilty to assault as a hate crime: Cop's son pleads guilty to hate attack on Qns. men


destination: park city, utah

All right, good people. I'm off to spend the weekend in Park City, Utah. That's right—the Sundance Film Festival (and Slamdance too) is going on right now, and I'm joining in on the fun. It looks to be a good time of films, friends, parties and cold cold cold weather. This year, Asian American are representin' in full force: Asian Pacific Film Experience in Park City 2007. There are a number of events planned for the festival, including the annual Filmmakers Reception, the Asian Pacific American Filmmakers Lounge, and a panel discussion featuring Sung Kang (Finishing the Game), Yul Kwon (Survivor: Cook Islands), Grace Lee (American Zombie), Justin Lin (Finishing the Game), Suzy Nakamura (American Zombie), Dustin Nguyen (Finishing the Game), Janet Yang (Dark Matter, Year of the Fish). If you're planning on being at the festival (maybe you're already there), go here for more information. Here's a full list of films by Asian/APA filmmakers:

Sadik Ahmed - Tanju Miah
Marjan Alizadeh - Men Understand Each Other Better
Gregg Araki - Smiley Face
Paul Chan - 1st Light
Shu Lea Cheang - Mobiopera
Chen Shi-Zheng - Dark Matter
Tze Chun - Windowbreaker
Guo Xiaolu - How is Your Fish Today? (Jin Tian de Yu Zen Me Yang?)
Gina Kim - Never Forever
Kim Tai-Sik - Driving with My Wife's Lover (Ane-Eui Aein-Eul Mannada)
Lee Jong Yoon - A Day Out
Justin Lin - Finishing the Game
Helen Mendoza - The Bible Tells Me So
Shirin Neshat - Zarin
Steven Okazaki - White Light/Black Rain: The Desstruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Otomo Katsuhiro - Bugmaster (Mushishi)
Park Yong-Jin - Duct Tape and Cover
Ian Iqbal Rashid - How She Move
Roh Gyeong-Tae - The Last Dining Table
Auraeus Solito - Circumcision (Tuli)
Anocha Suwichakornpong - Graceland
Taika Waititi - Eagle Vs Shark
Janet Yang - Dark Matter/ Year of the Fish
Paul Yi - Crossing the Line
Jessica Yu - Protagonist

Jenova Chen - flow
Yann Demange - Alan and Samir
Murata Katsura - Zekuu
Shon Kim - Latent Sorrow
Grace Lee - American Zombie
Lee Min Joo - Song of Haenyo
Gavin Lim - Hello
John Nijhawan - A Hooker & Dirt Road End
Gitanjali Rao - Printed Rainbow
Pragya Tomar - Mandir
Tami Yeager - Dream in Doubt

I'll only be around through the weekend, but some of the features I'm hoping to check out are Grace Lee's American Zombie, Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain, Justin Lin's Finishing the Game and Gina Kim's Never Forever... that is, if I can get tickets. I will try to blog updates from the festival. See you in the cold!

daily princetonian responds

The Daily Princetonian has a story about the controversy sparked by its own "Lian Ji" joke column the other day: Joke op-ed sparks ire, controversy. Here's their official response to emailers, with the usual "we did not intend to offend" excuse:
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Since publishing Wednesday's joke issue, we have learned that some of our
readers were offended by a column satirizing Asian stereotypes. This
response surprised us: We did not seek to offend, and we sincerely regret
having upset some of our readers.

Many criticisms of the column, however, do not recognize its purpose. Using
hyperbole and an unbelievable string of stereotypes, we hoped to lampoon
racism by showing it at its most outrageous. We embraced racist language in
order to strangle it. At its worst, the column was a bad joke; at its best,
it provoked serious thought about issues of race, fairness and diversity.

The column in question was penned by a diverse group of students - including
several Asians on our senior editorial staff - who had no malicious intent.
Given our purpose, we are deeply troubled by and reject the allegation of

We welcome debate about our column, especially in the pages of this
newspaper. We hope our readers will see the column for what it is and that
the opportunity for constructive discussion about race and race-related
issues will not be lost.


Chanakya Sethi, Editor-in-chief

Christian Burset, Neir Eshel, Anna Huang, Nancy Khov, Alex Maugeri, Tom Senn
and Ellen Young

Editors, 130th Managing Board, The Daily Princetonian
Meanwhile, an online petition has started regarding to Princeton's admissions policies: End Discrimination in Admissions Policies

new sunshine trailer

The new trailer for Danny Boyle's Sunshine is up and running over at Sunshine. The film stars Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong and Cliff Curtis, among others. It looks awesome. (Did I just see Michelle Yeoh on fire?) The movie opens this spring from Fox Searchlight.

congressman david wu: trekkie

Congressman David Wu tells it like it is. Well, not really. But he gives one hell of a geeky Star Trek metaphor while talking about the war in Iraq: "THERE ARE KLINGONS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!" REP. DAVID WU
Now, this President has listened to some people, the so-called Vulcans in the White House, the ideologues. But unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek, who made the decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. These aren't Vulcans. There are Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own. Don't let faux Klingons send real Americans to war. It is wrong.
Actual words spoken on the floor of the United States Congress.

koreans making the leap to hollywood

Here's an article on from the KOFIC website about a number of Korean actors who are making the leap over to roles in American films: Korean Stars in Hollywood. It mentions Park Joong-hoon, who will be starring in the comedy Bibimbap opposite My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos. As reported here earlier this year, Jeon Ji-hyun will be starring in the Hollywood remake of the Japanese anime film Blood: The Last Vampire. And of course, Jeong Jun-ho will soon be seen in Mike Kang's gangster film West 32nd. Good stuff. That's a lot of Koreans coming to a theater near you...

Speaking of Korea, Kaiju Shakedown recently posted some photos leaked from the set of the Hollywood remake of My Sassy Girls: COMPARE AND CONTRAST: NEW VS. OLD SASSY GIRL. More photos here. I'm sorry, but Elisha Cuthbert is no Jeon Ji-hyun.

imaginasian still bringing it

USA Today ran a story yesterday on ImaginAsian's increasing efforts to bring Asian content to the masses: ImaginAsian tries to capture imagination of many groups. I've actually got a quote in the article, though don't quite remember saying that. But I suppose it was something to that effect. In the crowded world of all the upstart wannabe Asian American media companies, ImaginAsian seems to be doing a really good job of diversifying its efforts, expanding to radio broadcasting and film distribution in addition to the cable channel. But as Jeff Yang says, it's still anybody's game. Who will come out on top?

news from china

This entry is dedicated to news from China. According to this article, a billboard in Shenzhen, China advertising the services of "a marriage consultancy specializing in alliances between Chinese women and foreign men" is being criticized by male pedestrians as "humiliating" towards Chinese men: Ad Accused of Humiliating Chinese Men.

On sort of a related note, acording to this article, China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting in part from the country's tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced: China facing major gender imbalance.

And on a related note to that, according to this article, pregnant women from mainland China who are near their due date will be turned away at Hong Kong borders if they cannot prove they have appointments in the city's hospitals: Hong Kong limits pregnant Chinese women. Many women from the mainland come to Hong Kong in order to evade China's one-child policy, take advantage of higher quality health care or earn Hong Kong residency rights for their babies. And that's the news from China.


racist "joke" in the daily princetonian

This article, by "Lian Ji," ran yesterday in the "joke edition" of the Daily Princetonian. I'm not laughing: Princeton University is racist against me, I mean, non-whites. The piece is obviously meant to mock rejected applicant Jian Li, who is reportedly suing the university for discrimination... but also manages to offend the sensibilities of Asian Americans on multiple levels:
Then she have nerve to say my outside activities were "not all that outstanding." What do you mean not outstanding? I make record for number of science fairs entered. I stay after school with Mu Alpha Theta eight hours everyday after school to memorize the 2,309,482,039,482,309 digits of pi. I play yo-yo. I memorize William Hung dance for college application video (See www.youtube.com for my peformance. Aleksey Vayner's dance scene almost as good as mine. Almost.). I play in New Jersey Youth Orchestra five years in row. Violin, piano, viola, clarinet and cello. All at same time. Not oustanding? Ai yah.
And that's just one paragraph. That's racist! Joke or not, the writer takes way too much pleasure in recalling every offensive Asian stereotype possible for the piece. Contact the editors and let them know what you think, and spread the word. Don't let them hide behind their "joke issue."

still no head coaching job for norm chow

Another good article on not-celebrated-enough football coach Norm Chow: Chow Sees His Chances of Stepping Up Fading. After all his success, and everything he's been through, a head coaching job still eludes him. Chow interviewed earlier this month for the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, but the job went to some other dude. He turns 61 in May. Will he ever get that shot at being the first Asian American head coach?

mvhs' all-asian starting lineup

The San Jose Mercury News has a story on Monta Vista High School's basketball, a rarity in boys high school basketball—a team with an all-Asian American starting lineup: The changing face of basketball. Meet Kevin Lang, Eric Lee, Luke Liu, Jon Ou, Marcus Woo and Sean Brar. It's certainly reflective of the changing demographics of the Santa Clara Valley, especially Cupertino. So... are they any good?

controversy over bamboo grove

I've been hearing a lot of controversy surrounding this book, So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, which is used as a set text in middle school classrooms around the United States: U.S. School Text Homes In on Japanese 'Victims' in Korea. The book depicts the time when the Japanese colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula ended in 1945 from the perspective of 11-year old Yoko, who has to flee Korea with her family:
In the story, reportedly based on the real-life experiences of the writer, young Yoko witnesses Koreans' ruthless attacks and rape of the fleeing Japanese and the ensuing hunger, agony and death while she escapes from Nanam in today’s North Korea through Seoul and Busan to Japan.

The book was translated and published here in 2005, despite the fact that it was banned in both Japan and China.
The obvious problem is the book's vicious portrayal of the era's Koreans as villains, while remaining astonishingly silent about the many documented Japanese atrocities during Korea's 40-year occupation. The Boston Globe reports that a number of local Korean American parents and students have complained about the book, going so far as recommending that the book be banned. However, the Dover-Sherborn Regional School Committee voted to continue teaching the book, but to revamp the accompanying lesson: 'Bamboo' lesson plan to be revised. To me, it demonstrates that a lot of people are still really ignorant and insensitive (and apathetic) to the painful history of inter-Asian conflict. I've never read the book, but from the limited history I know, the events it depicts sound hugely lopsided (not to mention historically inaccurate, I'm told). It's obvious that these educators didn't fully realize the deep implications of adopting a book like into their curriculum. Well, at the very least, it has people talking now... I'm not a fan of banning anything, but I do hope this school tries hard, real hard, to expand and balance out their lessons...

margaret cho on 'til death

Margaret Cho guest stars tonight on the Fox comedy 'Til Death. She plays Joy's "fight friend," whatever that means. See here for video and stuff of Margaret on the set. I've never seen a single minute of this show. And you know, as much as I like her, an appearance by Margaret Cho is still not going to get me to tune in. Someone tell me how it goes.

bai ling on lost

I know I really shouldn't give this woman the attention she craves and whores, but she's invading one of my favorite television shows, and it's bugging the hell out of me: Q&A: Bai Ling Dishes About Her Lost Love! (Spoilers). Ugh. The "Thailand episode" is looking and sounding more and more like everything I've been dreading... In other Lost news, according to a recent TV Guide column, Daniel Dae Kim will start speaking more English on the show. I'm sure he's thrilled.


christmas eve hate crime in new york

I was forwarded this email the other day, describing a vicious hate crime that occurred on Christmas Eve in New York:

From: Madhu R. Goel [madhu.goel@gmail.com]
Date: Jan 12, 2007 12:35 PM
Subject: A Horrible Crime

Dear Friends:

I am in complete shock.

This past Christmas Eve, a very good friend and an upstanding
individual, Ashwani Nagpal, was ruthlessly beaten by 10 to 11 rich,
connection happy, Caucasian kids (all between 23-24) to the point of
near death at his restaurant (Leela Lounge) for over 25 minutes before
the police arrived.

Ashwani was hosting a Desi Holiday party when at around 2:30am he shut
down the bar. Around 2:45 am a few of the people at the party started
to get rowdy and demand more liquor. Ashwani asked one of the kids,
who damaged and vandalized the restaurant, to please take care and to
act respectfully while he remained there.

This set the kid off and he, along with this friends, went into a
flying (racially charged) rage. They punched and kicked him
repeatedly, all the while yelling racial epithets.

Once Ashwani became unconscious, they picked up his body and slammed
him against the stone bar. The bartender was screaming and yelling
and begging the perpetrators to let Ashwani go because she was sure
Ashwani was dead, but they kept on beating him. Ashwani's co-worker
who tried to help was paid in kind and hospitalized for broken bones.

Although the kids had a limo parked outside to make their getaway,
they were apprehended by the police and they spent one night in jail.
However, with a few quick calls from their parents, they were

Ashwani has contacted the D.A's office. They are "looking into" the
matter. He has been following up with them weekly, but no action has
been taken, no charges have been brought.

Ashwani has reached out to me to make sense of what happened to him.
We call upon you to assist in making people aware that this crime
occurred and figuring out a way to make these kids and their parents
understand that they cannot and should not be able to get away with
this grave of a hate crime.

*The 5 defendants have been charged with Gang Assault which has a
maximum penalty of 15 years. A conviction under as a hate crime would
not add to a greater possible sentence, however, it could play a role
in influencing the Judge to give a greater penalty at sentencing.

*Because an indictment has not yet been issued, you have a greater
chance of influencing the DA's office.

Show your support by:

1) writing letters, or making calls to:
Robert M. Morgenthau
Manhattan District Attorney

2) attend the rally on February 20, 2007
at 9:30 AM
at Manhattan Criminal Court,
100 Centre Street, Part F (a courtroom)

It is important that people, groups, organizations from as many
different backgrounds and races to pack the Courthouse to send a clear
and powerful message to the Judge, the DA and to the Defendants that
this is something that is not going to be forgotten or swept under the

Madhu Goel
That's racist! A quick Google search didn't turn up any other news about this incident, but I'm told that Councilman John Liu has gotten involved and is working with a coalition of people. For inquiries or offers to help, contact John Choe in Councilman Liu's office at john.choe@council.nyc.ny.us. The court date is February 20th. Consider contacting the Manhattan DA's office, encouraging others to attend the court date, or just spreading awareness.

hunter charged in murder of cha vang

James Nichols was charged yesterday with murdering Hmong hunter Cha Vang: Wisconsin hunter charged in slaying. Nichols shot and stabbed Vang, whose body was found January 6th in a wildlife refuge near Green Bay where both were hunting squirrels. The district attorney gave no motive for the killing, but Vang's family insists that it appears to be racially motivated—throwing more fuel on the fire of rising racial tensions in the local community.

racist bullying on big brother

Heard about this happening on the UK's Channel 4... Broadcasting regulators have received thousands complaints of alleged racism in Celebrity Big Brother against Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty: Anger over Big Brother 'racism'. Three of her housemates have been seen making fun her accent, as well as derogatory comments about her cleanliness:
On Monday night's episode, Jo reportedly suggested that Indians were thin because they are always ill as a result of undercooking their food.

The trio also complained that Shilpa had touched other housemates' food with her hands.

Danielle said: "You don't know where those hands have been."

Jade Goody's mother, Jackiey Budden, repeatedly referred to Shilpa as "the Indian" while she was featured on the show and was unable to pronounce her name.
It's racist bullying and abuse. Mind you, these are grown men and women, but I guess that doesn't mean much on a show like Big Brother. More here: Anger over 'racist bullying' of Bollywood queen on British TV. And here: Big Brother row reaches Commons. That's racist!


did she just say "internal affairs"?

The Golden Globe Awards were last night... Masi Oka did not win in his category, but as much as I hoped, I didn't really think he would. Letters From Iwo Jima, however, walked away with Best Foreign Language Film: "Letters" wins Golden Globe for foreign film. Martin Scorsese won Best Director for The Departed, with a nice acknowledgement of director Andrew Lau and Infernal Affairs during his acceptance speech. (Cameron Diaz called it "Internal Affairs" - ugh.) And Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel walked away with the big prize, Best Drama. Next up: the Oscars. Academy Award nominations will be announced the morning of the 24th.

third thursdays: how i helped save the world

Hey Bay Area... The monthly APA community issues dinner series Third Thursdays kicks off the new year with its latest panel, "How I Helped Save the World." The point, hopefully, is to inspire people to get involved with the social causes that they care about, featuring speakers who have done just that: Le Tim Ly (liberationink.com), Alice Ng (www.animalsasia.org) and Villy Wang (baycat.org). This Thursday, January 18th at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center in San Francisco. For more information about the event, go here: How I Helped Save the World

the secrets revealed: from one asiaphile to another

Oh, you're gonna love this... there seems to be no scarcity of books like this. The title says it all: How to Date an Asian Woman. Described as "a 75 page ebook that tells you everything you need to find, attract and seduce an exotic female from the Far East." The website is pretty sickening, with all sorts of ridiculous claims and provacative photos of Asian girls... and lots of fun quotes like this one:
"Is it TRUE what they say about Asian Women?" Is sex better with an Asian partner or is that just a myth? In this book we provide the ethnographic study and scientific evidence that shows you why some men "never go back" after having sex just ONCE with an Asian female.
Yeah, I just threw up a little. All this B.S. can be yours for the low price of $29.99. Sadly, there are people out there who will actually buy this. Like Don here, age 39:
"Before I read this book I was really pathetic. I was addicted to Asian porn and I never asked any girl out because I thought they were somehow “above me.” The info in this book taught me that I was the problem and that all I had to do was get the message out there that I was available and make a few changes about how I presented myself. I enrolled on a dating site and now I have so many beautiful women responding to my emails I can hardly believe that is real. The great thing is they treat me like I am James Bond." - Don Age 39 Landscaper
Don, you're still pathetic, if not more so. The book didn't change a damn thing. I guess as long as there is a sad, sad legion of Asiaphiles out there, people will try to cash in. Not to be confused, of course, with this book. Or this book. Like I said, sad.

big ass ceramic sculptures

The New York Times has a story on artist Jun Kaneko, who makes some of the largest ceramic sculptures ever seen... in a Kansas sewer-pipe plant: Giants of the Heartland

nhl's first japanese player

Called up last minute, Los Angeles Kings goalie Yutaka Fukufuji became the first Japanese player to play in the NHL on Saturday, starting in the third period against the St. Louis Blues: Fukufuji becomes league's first Japanese player. He faced five shots on his debut and conceded a powerplay goal by Dennis Wideman. The Kings lost 6-5.

the greatest martial arts moments?

Maxim Online presents The Greatest Martial Arts Moments. It has some great films, but the list is far from comprehensive. Rather obvious, actually. Still, it includes a few fun clips.

the dream lives on...

Hope you all had a good Martin Luther King holiday. Here's a thoughtful piece on the civil rights leader (with an Asian American perspective) by Jonathan Chang in The Michigan Daily: Jonathan Chang: I am America's brother. We've come a long way. But we've still got a long way to go. The dream still lives on...


the japanese soldier, a casualty of war films

Clint Eastwood's World War II epic Letters From Iwo Jima has been lauded for depecting the humanity of the Japanese soldiers—a rarity in Hollywood. Here's a really interesting article from the Washington Post on Hollywood's history of portraying the enemy: The Japanese Soldier, a Casualty of War Films. By the writer's count, of the more than 600 English-language World War II movies made since 1940, only four have even acknowledged the humanity of the Japanese soldiers.

exit clov: "violent berries" video

Check out the video for "Violent Berries," from Exit Clov's Respond Respond: Violent Berries. Seems like a pretty standard, average music video, and the girls are sure cute... until the end when things just go insane, and Emily stabs Susan to death (or does Susan stab Emily?). Disturbing!

toshiko akiyoshi is a jazz master

Last week, jazz bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi was among the six musicians honored with the NEA Jazz Master Award, the nation's highest honor in jazz: Lewis, Akiyoshi honored as Jazz Masters. She's the first Asian American who's ever been honored in the award's twenty-five year history.

who is china's next big ... football player?

Taking cues from the NBA, the National Football League is trying to get in on China's sports market by searching for the next Yao Ming of football, whoever he may be: NFL hopes familiar face sells 'olive ball' in China. As Yao has proved, there's big money to be made among China's 1.3 billion consumers, so the NFL has embarked on a nationwide search to find a promising Chinese athlete who might be able to play in the NFL. The big challenge is, at the moment, nobody in China really gives a crap about football...

chop suey specs... again

Over the last several years, people notified me about this racist novelty item multiple times: Chop Suey Specs. I first mentioned them back in 2003, when they were being sold by another retailer. The damn things are still out there, and just not going away. In fact, they've been around since the 1960s. ("Fool your friends this Oriental disguise!")

For some people, I guess this joke will never get old. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to deal with the same old racist comments and slant-eyed gestures. Isn't it great how the pain and annoyance of racial mockery can be someone else's Halloween novelty?

jessi malay: next big thing?

Just heard about Jessi Malay, "an up-and-coming Filipino-American urban pop singer from LA" (according to her publicity people). She's signed to a major record label. Listen to some her stuff over at her MySpace page, including to her single "Gimme" with L'il Scrappy. (As a rule, I try to avoid all artists that have "L'il" in their name.) It's an okay track. So does she have crossover appeal? Certainly no denying she's an attractive lady. But it seems like there are quite a few hot, talented Asian American singers pop/R&B/urban/whatever singers out there trying to make in the mainstream, but few manage to stand out and hit it big. Will Jessi Malay distinguish herself from the pack? I guess we'll see... Her debut solo album drops in the spring.


asian pacific arts' "best of 2006"

Asia Pacific Arts just launched its annual "Best of" edition, and I like it. The issue features a look back at the year in Asian American cinema, including a top ten list of Asian American films. That's a big deal—in previous years, there just haven't been enough Asian American films to round out a top ten list. You can definitely say it was a landmark year for Asian American cinema. The issue also looks back at the year's Best Female Performers, Best Male Performers, Best Style Makers, Best in Television, and even Best of YouTube clips. Tons of great stuff, so check it out here.

carol lam resigns

The Bush administration has quietly asked San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, best known for her high-profile prosecutions of politicians and corporate executives, to resign her post: Lam is asked to step down. She was apparently targeted because of job performance issues—in particular that she failed to make smuggling and gun cases a top priority. I guess when you focus on public corruption and white collar crime, you're going to upset some of the higher-ups...


asians on survivor... again!

CBS has announced the cast for Survivor: Fiji, and it looks like last season wasn't a fluke—it's just as racially diverse as Cook Islands. I guess the corporate heads realized, hey, it looks like America will actually watch people of color on television! Well, what do you know? There are five Asian American contestants among the new castaways:

Michelle Yi - 23, Cincinnati, OH, Student

Mookie Lee - 25, Wheeling, IL, Loan Manager

Stacy Kimball - 27, Boulder, CO, Interactive Internet Producer

Sylvia Kwan - 52, Ross, CA, Achitect

Yau-Man Chan - 54, Martinez, CA, Computer Engineer

Question is, will I tune in? To tell the truth, I was glad when the last one ended. Not only because Yul won, but because frankly, I didn't want to watch the damn show anymore—it had me hooked like freaking junkie, and I wanted out. But now we have this new season... It premieres on February 8th.

rinko kikuchi interview

ComingSoon.net has an interview with Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, star of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's acclaimed film Babel: Exclusive: Babel's Rinko Kikuchi. She's nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

should've listened to the general

Come on, George W. Troop increases in Iraq? General Eric K. Shinseki was all over that like four years ago: New Strategy Vindicates Ex-Army Chief Shinseki. Bush told the nation on Wednesday that he was ordering a rapid increase of American forces in Iraq, with the explicit acknowledgment that not enough troops had been sent to Iraq to establish control in the first place—something General Shinseki publicly told Congress back in 2003. Not only did they refuse to listen, but he was criticized and rebuked by the administration. Vindicated!

henry ong day

The city of Phoenix is declaring January 16th "Henry Ong Day," honoring decorated World War II veteran and Phoenix native Henry Ong: Jan. 16 to be Henry Ong Day in Phoenix. Good times! Phoenix, you guys have all the fun.

yul kwon interview

Here's an interview with our favorite Survivor contestant (and winner), over at BuddyTV: Exclusive Interview: Yul Kwon, Winner of Survivor: Cook Islands. He says he wants to be a positive role model for people in his community... and so far, I think he's doing a pretty good job.

spotted: asian guy in disturbia trailer

Spotted Aaron Yoo hanging with Even Stevens in the new trailer for Disturbia. I don't know, dude... the movie looks an awful lot like Rear Window.

tears of the black tiger in limited release

The trippy, larger-than-life Thai western Tears of the Black Tiger opens in limited U.S. release today from Magnolia Pictures. I believe it's playing at the Film Forum in New York. I haven't seen it, but the trailer looks downright crazy, like something out of the past. Here's the New York Times review: Gun-Slinging Cowboys in Colorful Thailand

mike north's chinaman "joke"

The controversy over Mike North's "chinaman" comment from last year continues... A North Side school is asking its local alderman to decide whether to name its softball field after a controversial radio host: Controversy over proposal to name school's ball field for talk show host
"We adamantly oppose dedicating the ball field in the name of Mike North. Some may say, 'Well, he apologized, that should be enough.' It isn't that simple," said William Yoshino, Japanese American Citizens League.

"I'm not a racist; I'm an entertainer. People cannot take jokes," North said. "I understand there are groups out there that have to watch out for things. I've never shied away from any kind of challenge," said North.
Wait, I thought North apologized, and said he had no idea it was a racial slur... but now he's going back to saying it was "a joke"? And that people need to learn how to take said joke? Right. The guy should get together with Rosie O'Donnell and share "jokes."

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