1.31.2008

eric byler's tre in theaters this friday


UPDATE: I'm giving away five pairs of tickets to see Tre this weekend in West Hollywood or Pasadena. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for details.

If you're in Southern California, here's a very intriguing film you might want to check out... tomorrow's the theatrical premiere of Eric Byler's drama Tre, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2003 film Charlotte Sometimes. If ths one's anything like Charlotte, you know Tre is going to be a very intriguing, challenging film about complex human emotions, relationships, and sex.

It opens Friday, February 1 at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in West Hollywood and Laemmle's One Colorado in Pasadena. View the trailer here. Here are some more details:

dispute over historic remains of chinese workers

We've been following along with this saga in Los Angeles for a little while now... three years ago, workers in Boyle Heights digging a subway tunnel for the Gold Line extension uncovered a large century-old collection of bones and artifacts, believed to be the final resting place of dozens of Chinese workers too poor to have been buried back in China and too little known to merit headstones.

For Chinese American historians, it was like finding buried treasure. Basically, the discovery offered a rare look at a largely ignored facet of Los Angeles' history, the earliest generations of Chinese immigrants who came to California to help build the railroads and perform other menial tasks.

There is now a dispute, however, on what to do with the remains: An emotional custody dispute over history.

eight years later... does mccain still hate "the gooks"?

For some reason my mailbox has been flooded this morning with this San Francisco Chronicle story from eight years ago (dated February 18, 2000) about Senator John McCain's use of the racial slur "gook": McCain Criticized for Slur. He was using it to describe the prison guards who tortured and held him captive during the Vietnam War: "I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live." Yeah. That's racist!

hybrid: hyphen's issue 13 release party



If you're in the Bay Area, this Friday the good people at Hyphen are throwing a party to celebrate their 13th issue out on stands. It's the Hybrid issue! Have some fun, meet some friends, and enjoy the music of Cast of Thousands, Goh Nakamura and Aesthetics Crew. Here are the details:

dudes in the news: stephen chao, michael chang, yul kwon, jin, hok konishi

Controversial former News Corporation executive Stephen Chao has announced plans to launch a quirky new educational how-to video site, WonderHowTo.com, to serve as an educational alternative for YouTube: TV Showman, Once Exiled, Returns With Video Site. From the guy that helped create Cops for Fox.

1.30.2008

the band that won't go away: ching chong song

This article is a few weeks old, but it's worth mentioning... Ching Chong Song is back. It never really went away, I guess. Yes, the band with the obnoxious racist slur of a name recently got profiled in Time Out New York: The Chong show. They're alive and kicking and rocking the same name, and annoyingly unapologetic about it:

filipino nurses face endangerment charges

A group of 10 nurses from the Philippines are under indictment in New York on charges of endangering the welfare of five chronically ill children and one terminally ill man. They are accused of walking off their jobs at the Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Smithtown in April 2006 without providing sufficient notice for the nursing home to replace them on coming shifts: Filipino Nurses, Healers in Trouble.

Okay, that sucks. But that's not the whole story. The nurses were brought to the United States in 2005 after being recruited by an agency closely associated with SenosaCare, a large chain of nursing homes in New York. This, of course, is not uncommon, as there are currently thousands of trained nurses working in the United States from the Philippines. These nurses walked off the job over shabby working conditions and several broken promises made by the recruiters and employers:

barack obama lunar new year party in los angeles

If you're in Southern California this weekend, please join me for a party: The AAPI GOTV Barack Obama Pre-Lunar New Year Party. It's happening Saturday, February 2 at E. 3rd Lounge in Los Angeles:

1.29.2008

the end of azn television

Late last week, Comcast announced that it would be pulling the plug on AZN Television, "The Network for Asian America."

The news broke relatively quietly, without too much publicity or outcry. It's not like the the network had legions of fans at this point. It never did, which was probably a large part of reason why it was so hard to attract advertisers in the first place. Still, the Asian American Journalists Association issued this press release expressing its disappointment with this development: Decision to Shut Down AZN Television a Huge Loss to Asian American Community

hollywood couple sentenced in maid "slave" case

On Monday, James Jackson, a former top Hollywood studio lawyer, and his wife Elizabeth were sentenced by a Los Angeles judge after admitting to mistreating their Filipino maid in a case of "modern-day slavery": Hollywood couple sentenced in maid 'slave' case.

barack obama for president



I'm voting for Barack Obama. I've been meaning to write this post for a while. Call it my official endorsement. I'm not Oprah, nor am I Caroline Kennedy, but I realize that I do have this little website. As long as I have an audience, and what I hope is a modest degree of influence, I want to share with everyone that I'm supporting Barack Obama for President of the United States, and urge others to do the same.

1.28.2008

kaba modern on america's best dance crew



I rarely watch MTV anymore, but the other day I happened to catch the live casting audition for Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew. I was glad I watched it, because I got to see one truly asskicking audition from Kaba Modern, an all-Asian American crew out of Southern California.

man gets one and a half years for killing 3

This is outrageous. Last week in Seattle, Dimitri Sidorchuk faced charges of muder for the deaths of 23-year-old Sovintha Nhem and 20-year-old Sophea Sun, manslaughter for the accidental death of his friend William Shane Belk, and assualt for injuring three other young men in a confrontation in July 2006.

For his crimes, he faced more than 80 years in prison. Instead, he'll serve 26 months—a year and a half, figuring in time already served: Man gets 1 1/2 years for 3 slayings. According to the story:

tad nakamura talks about pilgrimage on cnn

Check this out... my man Tad Nakamura, live and direct from the Sundance Film Festival, got profiled in this CNN segment on "Young People Who Rock," for his award-winning short documentary Pilgrimage: Young filmmakers at Sundance.

It's funny, after a very successful run on the humble Asian American festival circuit, the film makes its way on to Sundance's prestigious schedule. Hell yes.

I know I've talked about this film a lot here, but I can't praise it enough. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend seeking it out—it's an important, moving film about uncovering and reclaiming the past. Learn more about Pilgimage here.

elyse umemoto named runner-up in miss america

This weekend, the nation watched with great awe and admiration as Kirsten Hanglund was crowed Miss America 2008. Ooooh. Okay, not a whole lot of awe and admiration, as I imagine most of you probably don't give a crap. Understandable. However, it's worth noting that the one the pageant's runner-ups was Miss Washington, 23-year-old Elyse Umemoto: Wapato's Elyse Umemoto is runner-up in Miss America competition.

According to the story, she's got a pretty interesting ethnic background—one-quarter American Indian (Yakama), as well as German, Hispanic and Japanese. If she had won, she would have been the first Miss Washington to become Miss America. She would also have been the first Native American to wear the crown. And the first Hispanic American. As well as the second Asian American (the first was Angela Perez Baraquio in 2001). Alas, she was just a runner-up. More here (with video): Miss Washington comes close

aaldef's asian american election protection project

AALDEF, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, recently announced the details for its Asian American Election Protection Project for the 2008 Presidential Primary Elections. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover a hundred poll sites in four states where Asian language voter assistance is provided and where Asian Americans reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.

They'll be monitoring elections in New York and New Jersey on Super Tuesday, February 5, and in Virginia and Maryland on February 12 for language assistance (ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials) and non-discriminatory implementation of voter identification requirements.

Volunteers speaking Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other obstacles. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF's toll-free hotline at 800.966.5946, or by e-mail to votingcomplaints@aaldef.org. One-hour training sessions for volunteers will take place at the following locations:

hollywood's asian horror remakes


The Eye, starring Jessica Alba, hits theaters on Friday. It's Hollywood's latest effort (in a long string of many) to remake an Asian horror movie. Hell, this will already be the second Asian horror remake this year—One Missed Call opened in theaters the first week of January. Here's a New York Times story on The Eye and where it falls in with Hollywood's current fascination with the Asian horor trend: Screams in Asia Echo in Hollywood

As I've said in a previous entry, if you must see this Jessica Alba movie, do yourself a favor and make sure you first see the original movie, directed by Danny and Oxide Pang. You'll thank me. It's a great, creepy little flick that deserves to be seen spook-out fans. Who knows? Maybe this new one will be good. But I wouldn't count on it.

mirai nagasu wins u.s. figure skating championships

On Saturday, 14-year-old Mirai Nagasu wowed the crowd and won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, becoming the second-youngest woman to win the U.S. title: Nagasu wins U.S. title, gives skating newest star.

Though she won the junior title as a complete unknown last year, the 4-foot-11 skater definitely wasn't the favorite to win this weekend... but kicked some serious ass on the ice. And to think, the girl is just starting out.

Looks like she's got a heck of a future ahead of her in this sport. She will not, however, be competing at the world championships in March because she's too young. Skaters now must be 15 by the previous July 1, and Mirai doesn’t turn 15 until April. Next year, it's all hers.

brazilian model gets surgery for "asian slant"


This truly disgusts me. A Brazilian model plans to have nylon wires implanted in her eyes to give them an "Asian slant." No joke: Brazil carnival star eyes surgery record.

obama's got the cute vote



Okay, this is possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. He might be several years away from being eligible to fill out a ballot, but this kid is ready to rock the vote for Obama. Read all about it here: AAPI Babies for Obama!!! (Thanks, Oi-yan.)

1.26.2008

last chance to vote for kina



Today and tomorrow are your last chance to vote for Kina Grannis, who is currently engaged in an online battle among three finalists to win a record deal with Interscope and have her video aired during the Super Bowl.

To learn more about Kina and the contest, go here. Follow along with her video musings here. Watch the Super Bowl video here. And most importantly, vote for Kina here.

1.25.2008

kumar's class at u. penn

Remember all that hoopla last year when it was announced that actor Kal Penn would be teaching a class at the Unviersity of Pennsylvania? Well, class is in session, and Kumar's got your syllabus right here. For this semester only, Kal Penn is an adjunct professor in the Asian American Studies Department, teaching ASAM 109: Asian Americans in the Media: Prof. Kumar calls class into session

How cool is that? In addition to all the usual assigned reading, I imagine he'll be teaching a great deal from his own experience as an actor of color in Hollywood. He'll also be bringing in guest speakers like Margaret Cho, studio executives, and writer/director Jon Hurwitz, one of the guys behind Harold and Kumar. My only question is, will John Cho be invited too? You know those kids want to see a White Castle reunion.

friday photos: sundance portraits

Here's a little something fun and different... As I've mentioned, the Sundance Film Festival started last week and is now winding down. As an end-of-the-week treat, since people seem to like pictures, I thought I'd post some of the photos taken of actors and filmmakers at the portrait studio they have set up in Park City. Don't ask me where I got them. Most of the people in these photos will not be gracing the pages of People and Entertainment Weekly, so I figured it would be nice to highlight them here:

who will play kid rain?

EDIT: I've been asked by the casting agent to take down this post. It was apparently "not supposed to get the word out into the community so well," whatever that means. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of this Rain Ninja Movie.

r.i.p. azn (for real this time)

It seems to be the end of the line for AZN Television, going out with a whimper. After several years of limping along as a network programmed for Asian Americans, Comcast is shutting the channel down. The network will cease broadcasting on April 9: Comcast Pulling Plug on AZN Television

When it was launched a few years back, AZN was touted as a cable destination with the promise of original and imported program for Asian Americans. I remember going to a big fancy kickoff luncheon where they were saying it was the next big thing. It didn't take too long for the wheels to fall off though, with news of a major restructuring that laid off most of the network's staff, gutted original programming, and pretty much reduced the channel to recycled anime and dramas from Asia. Booooring.

It's been hanging in there for a while, even managing to put together a televised awards show—the sort-of-lame-but-what-else-have-we-got Asian Excellence Awards. But with all the trouble securing advertising, I guess it was time to pull the plug. I think most folks probably forgot that the network was around anyway. So be it. It was fun while it lasted, AZN.

killing, the rambo way



Well, today's the day. Rambo opens in theaters nationwide. Sylvester Stallone returns to one of his most iconic roles, the Reagan-era one-man army we know and love, John Rambo. We've been following the progress of this movie for a while now, ever since an early script review hit the web, and then the first bit of really violent footage came out. Basically, it was Rambo in the jungles of Burma, killing lots of nameless, faceless Asian military men, in every manner possible. Yeah. Not very encouraging.

north koreans rally for freedom

This week in downtown Los Angeles, a small group of North Korean refugees staged a rally to appeal for public support in their quest for political asylum: North Koreans sing for a chance at freedom.

Accompanied by more than two dozen Korean American supporters, the group sang "We Shall Overcome" and "God Bless America" to bring attention to their plight.

The refugees risked their lives to escape North Korea, but will have nowhere to go if the United States rejects their asylum appeal. God knows what will happen to them if they're not allowed to stay. North Korea is no joke.

nyc's shrinking cambodian community

This is an interesting story on New York's shrinking community of Cambodian Americans, who are moving elsewhere in the country for better opportunities and services: Little Cambodia, Growing Still Littler.

Data from the 2000 census shows that the city's Cambodian population decreased by 31 percent from 1990 to 2000. According to a census analysis by the Hmong Studies Internet Resource Center, the decline occurred while nearly all the country's other Cambodian communities were expanding.

They're moving to places like Long Beach, CA, Lowell, MA, and Minneapolis, where Cambodian cultural, religious and community centers are expanding and flourishing. And it's more than just donut shops.

figure skating's next generation

Here's a brief profile on America's new generation of figure skaters, the young ladies who have the potential to be the next Michelle Kwans of the sport: Figure Skating's Next Ones Are Closing in on Their Moment.

The new young challengers include 14-year-old Mirai Nagasu of Arcadia, CA, who made an impressive senior-level debut yesterday at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and gave defending champion Kimmie Meissner a run for her money: 'Wow' effort from Nagasu.

There's also 14-year-old Caroline Zhang of Brea, CA, who has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Kwan, but did not do quite as well yesterday, landing at seventh. The road to the 2010 Winter Olympics has begun...

1.24.2008

undoing and the air I breathe opening this weekend



Making plans for the weekend? Here are a couple of movies to check out... Chris Chan Lee's indie noir drama Undoing is making its final U.S. theatrical run at The ImaginAsian Center in Los Angeles, starting tomorrow, January 25.

Cast and crew will be present at select screenings throughout the weekend for Q&A sessions, including Russell Wong, Leonardo Nam, Tom Bower, Julia Ling, Jose Zuniga, Mary Mara, Rain Chung and director Chris Chan Lee. Here's some information about this weekend's events:

there is nothing wrong with your television set



What in the world... can this really be? Lucy Liu's character on Cashmere Mafia, Mia, romantically involved with an Asian man? A real, flesh-and-blood Asian American man? That's Lucy Liu and Jack Yang as Jason Chun, who appeared on Wednesday night's episode.

Before you get all excited, here's a little story background. Their parents on the show apparently set them up on a blind date. Jason says he's not really into Chinese girls, and Mia admits she's only dated two Chinese guys before—back in junior high. But Mia decides to use him to make her ex (white guy) jealous. Somehow, the two end up actually digging each other. And kiss.

reminder: enter sfiaaff's "i luv film" contest



Just wanted to remind everyone again about this awesome opportunity to attend the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. SFIAAFF presents the Southwest Airline I LUV FILM Contest.

You could win a flight out and hotel stay in San Francisco, and an All-Access Pass to all the festival's films, events, performances and parties. It's a pretty awesome prize, and a hell of a way to experience the festival. But first you have to submit a 26-second video to enter for you chance to win... Here are the details:

larry kwong, first asian in the nhl



This is a great story on the very first hockey player of Asian descent in the NHL, a Canadian guy named Larry Kwong who played for about a minute in a game for the New York Rangers in 1948: First NHL player of Asian descent beat long odds.

do you know an outstanding asian american woman?

ASPIRE is a Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Asian American high school and college girls with career development and leadership skills through shared experience and mentoring.

They recently announced the first annual ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year Award, celebrating outstanding Asian American women making a difference in their communities. The winner will be recognized at the 2008 Asian American Women in Leadership Conference on April 26 in Boston.

vietnamese immigrants could face deportation

According to a new agreement reached this week between the United States and Vietnam, Vietnamese who entered the U.S. illegally after 1995 could now be forced to return to Vietnam: Illegal Vietnamese Face US Deportation.

The deal has apparently been under negotiation for ten years. Vietnam had previously been reluctant to accept citizens back, and many immigrants in the U.S. have been living with deportation orders for years.

Now, this new repatriation agreement has sparked quite a bit of worry among Vietnamese immmigrant communities. For many, the United States has been home for a very long time—they've laid down roots, and have little connection now to their country of birth. This could end up being a sticky situation for a lot of families... Here's a story on reaction from the Vietnamese American community: A jolt in new Vietnam pact

1.23.2008

vote for steve byrne in the stand-up showdown


Check it out. Funny man Steve Byrne is competing in Comedy Central's Stand-Up Showdown 2008. You can vote for him once a day this week until Saturday. Then Comedy Central will air the top 20 comedians' Comedy Central Presents special in the order you voted most popular, all day this Sunday, January 27th, starting at noon. Let's make my man Steve number one! Vote for him here. Just don't let Chelsea Handler win.

Looking ahead, Steve's got his very own one-hour special, Steve Byrne's Happy Hour, airing on Comedy Central in late March. It will be funny. Learn more about Steve Byrne at his official website, and visit his MySpace page. Lots of funny clips and stuff there.

poll monitoring volunteers needed

This is for folks in the Bay Area... I recently heard from Christen Lee, Vice President of Political Affairs at the Korean American Coalition of San Francisco (KACSF), an all-volunteer organization committed to incrasing civic and political participation among the Bay Area Korean American Community.

On Febrary 5 (Election Day), KACSF will conduct a poll-monitoring project in Santa Clara County. The purpose of the project is to monitor and ensure polling stations' complicance with the Voting Rights Act. And they need some of you, good readers, to volunteer as poll monitors. Here's the info:

seung-hyun kang, ford supermodel of the world


Forget America's Next Top Model. Now in its 28th year, the Ford Supermodel of the World competition recently gathered fifty finalists in New York from around the world to compete for a $250,000 contract with Ford Models. After a big runway show with fancy walking and all that, the judges named Korea's Seung-hyun Kang the grand winner: Ford Names New Supermodel of the W. Well, all right. Take that, Tyra.

scandal in the chess world

Last week, a majority on the executive board of the United States Chess Federation formally asked a member to resign amid allegations that he posted fake messages under other people's names on internet bulletin boards to get elected to the board: Member of U.S. Chess Federation’s Board Is Asked to Resign in Dispute Over an Election.

Four of the board's seven members called for Paul Truong's resignation, prompted by a lawsuit filed last year by a former board member, Samuel H. Sloan. The suit claims that Truong and his wife, Susan Polgar, another board member, posted comments about candidates in the name of Sloan and others. Many of the comments were sexual in nature. That's right. Chess geeks play dirty. (Thanks, Brendan)

people stories: obama's sister, yul kwon, norm chow, yellowman clothing, american gladiator, joaquin lim


He's got her vote for sure. The New York Times has a few questions for Maya Soetoro-Ng, half-sister of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: All in the Family. She and Obama share the same mother, but her father is from Indonesia. Yes, my friends. She is one of us.

1.22.2008

oscar nomination... for norbit?!



Nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. View the complete list of nominees here. Not much to get excited about. In fact, one very big thing to get angry about. So, no work by Asian Americans nominated. No big deal, that happens almost every year. Left out again. But to add insult to injury, we get Norbit scoring a nomination. For Best Makeup!

63-year-old sikh man attacked

What does this incident just seem all too familiar? Last week in Jamaica, New York, Baljeet Singh, a 63-year-old Sikh man suffered serious injuries during an unprovoked attack: Sikh Seriously Injured after Unprovoked Assault Outside NY Gurdwara.

David C. Wood, a next-door neighbor to the gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), attacked Singh after he parked his car on the opposite side of the street. Wood began screaming at Singh incomprehensibly, swearing at him and calling him an "Arab," then punched him to the ground.

Singh suffered a broken nose and a fractured jaw. All this happened very quickly and without provocation. That's racist! Wood was subsequently arrested and charged with four counts of assault, two of which are classified as hate crimes, and an additional charge of aggravated harassment.

6th annual asian hip hop summit



Awwww yeah. It's that time of year again. For all you hip hop fans in Los Angeles this weekend, it's the 6th Annual Asian Hip Hop Summit, a two-day event featuring some of the most exciting up-and-coming hip hop acts from the community. Friday and Saturday, January 25-26. Six years strong and growing, with festivals expanded to numerous cities nationwide. This one's the original.

this ain't no shawshank

Yet another edition of Asians Behaving Badly... prison break edition. In Illinois, McHenry County jail authorities caught an inmate, 46-year-old Inhak Cho, trying to chip his way through the 18-inch concrete wall in his cell with a pair of self-made metal chisels: Cops: Algonguin man tried to chisel way out of McHenry County jail.

Not quite Andy Dufresne, Cho had been working on his little escape plan for one or two weeks, and had managed to make a hole about an inch deep and 18 inches wide, while concealing his work with toothpaste. Authorities discovered the hole thanks to a tip from a confidential informant.

Cho has been serving a six-year sentence for aggravated domestic battery and firearms offenses, and is also awaiting trial on kidnapping charges, which could get him 30 years. This stunt just earned him a new set of felony charges, including possession of a weapon in a penal institution and criminal damage of state supported property. That's another 15 years!

More than enough time to devise a new escape plan.

1.20.2008

ronald and christina in the the amazing race finale


I forgot to mention that father-and-daughter team Ronald & Christina made it to the finale of CBS' The Amazing Race, which aired tonight: Tacoma duo reaches "Amazing Race" finals.

Though I never got a chance to watch the show, I'm told the pair were a couple of go-getters who scrapped their way to the very end, despite a rocky start. Unfortunately, they did not win, losing to a couple named Rachel and T.K. Oh, so close.

Another two people enter the pantheon of Asian American reality TV stars...

the worst name for a korean restaurant.... ever

So I've been hearing a lot about this new "Korean-themed" restaurant opening up in Times Square. Unfortunately, the restaurant's name is.... wait for it.... Chop Suey. No joke. After the fakest "Chinese" dish to hit American shores.

Who's stupid idea was this? You can blame Zak Pelaccio: Is Chop Suey the Worst Name Ever for a Korean Restaurant?

Okay, so Chop Suey's reps claim that the name is supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to blended Asian cuisines. But come on. It's just about the most uncreative name for a new restaurant you could think of. What does that say about the food? I don't think I'd eat at this place just on principle alone.

man throws toddler onto freeway

Crazy news out of Hawaii.... Last week, a man was arrested in connection with the death of a toddler who was tossed on to the H-1 Freeway. According to witnesses, 23-year-old Matthew Higa threw the child of a pedestrian overpass to his death, then calmly walked away and smoked a cigarette: Suspect babysat toddler thrown onto H-1.

Police took Higa, who has four outstanding misdemeanor warrants, into custody after finding him hiding in some bushes on a nearby street. He was charged with the second-degree murder of 23-month-old Cyrus Belt, who he lived in the same apartment building with: Grief drapes over Hawaii highway

There are, of course, questions of what would drive someone to such a gruesome act, and whether or not Higa has a history of violence or mental problems. Though, here's some video of Higa yelling at a news crew that leads me to believe the guy definitely has some issues.

vegas, baby

Been busy as hell lately. Did you know there's a presidential race happening? Yesterday, Senator Hillary Clinton won the vote in the Nevada Demcratic caucuses, giving her a second consecutive victory in what looks like will be a lengthy, drawn-out race for the Presidency: Vote of Women Propels Clinton in Nevada Caucus

I bring this up because for weeks now, I've been getting invitations from a bunch of Asian American folks who headed out to Nevada in support of Obama. "Vegas, baby!" they urged me. I couldn't make it out, but I was really interested to see what's going on with this movement...

Last week, over thirty Asian American artists, filmmakers and activists converged in Las Vegas to promote Asian Pacific American participation in the Nevada Caucus. Pretty interesting, because this community of activists mobilized itself primarily through networks like YouTube and Facebook:

1.18.2008

exit clov's "mk ultra"



Check out the brand new video for Exit Clov's "MK ULTRA." It involves an X-Files-like conspiracy, creepy guys in haz-mat suits, and paranormal twin girls.

No, those aren't clever camera tricks you're seeing. That's Emily and Susan Hsu, the twin sisters who front Exit Clov. Strange ones, they are, but they've got a great sound. The song comes off their 2006 EP Respond Respond.

To learn more about Exit Clov, go here, and visit their MySpace page here.

burglars target korean business owners

In Dallas, a rash of robberies and burglaries seem to be targeting owners of Korean businesses. Victims were robbed in their homes or their homes were burglarized, and in some cases, the victims and their family members were bound and threatened with a knife or gun: Korean business owners targets of crime.

A significant number of the victims—more than fifteen in December—own businesses in the same shopping plaza, leading many to believe the suspects are familiar with the intended victims' daily routines. Dallas police are investigating. Catch those thievin' suckas!

the story of the fortune cookie

So... everybody knows that fortune cookies are not really an authentic part of Chinese cuisine. We know this. You won't really find fortune cookies anywhere in China. The crackly wisdom-filled novelty actually came to prominence in the United States. But here's something to confuse you a little more: did you know that the fortune cookie actually originates from Japan?

korean in space!

In space, Korea will be united. Scientist Ko San will soon become South Korea's first astronaut, riding along on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station where he will conduct experiments: First Korean astronaut to take soil into space.

He was selected from among 36,000 applicants to represent his country his space. At press conference this week, Ko said he plans to bring soil from each side of the divided Korean peninsula and mix them together in space during his flight. One Korea, my friends. I don't think the soil-mixing is part of the planned experiments, but hey, it's a nice gesture.

1.17.2008

renaldo lapuz, american idol pimp


Well, a new season of American Idol has begun. A fresh start for television audiences everywhere to find a new Asian face to mock and ridicule. Will we see the next William Hung? Let us pray for mercy. But here's a contender: Renaldo Lapuz. Deep sadness fills my heart.

virginia tech student's cry for help

Here's another story on Daniel Kim, the 21-year-old senior at Virginia Tech who committed suicide last month, shooting himself in the head while he sat in his car in a Target parking lot: At Va. Tech, Near Silence For a Student's Anguished Cry.

The suicide came after at least one and possibly two students at other colleges had contacted Virginia Tech to say their friend had bought a gun and was talking about killing himself:

asian american issues conference at stanford

For those of you in the Bay Area, here's some information on a very cool upcoming conference at Stanford... the Asian American Students' Association and the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee invite you to attend the 12th Annual Asian American Issues Conference, Listen to the Silence 2008 on Saturday, January 26:

who is the 'filipino monkey'?

So get this. World War III might have been set off last week in the Strait of Hormuz, thanks to the work of a local heckler known as the "Filipino Monkey": 'Iran threats' may have been work of a heckler.

The Pentagon released a video on Friday showing an incident between Iranian patrol boats and U.S. Navy warships, which was prompted by an unidentified transmission threatening to destroy the ships. An accented voice reportedly said over the radio, "I am coming to you... You will explode in a few minutes."

1.16.2008

yul kwon for congress



Can this be true? Is my hero, Survivor: Cook Islands winner Yul Kwon, considering a run for Congress? He apparently isn't ready to make a public statement, but he has told friends, colleagues and several elected officials he is strongly considering running: 'Survivor' considers run for Lantos' seat.

"emily, I" by scrabbel



This video for "Emily, I" by Scrabbel is absolutely awesome. It's got cardboard cars, skateboarding fingers, a xylophone, a dancing hot dog, and Totoro on drums. No other music video can boast such awesomeness.

Scrabbel is a San Francisco-based band founded by Dan Lee, and they make super-great music. "Emily, I" is the first single from the upcoming album. Learn more about Scrabbel at their official website, and on the band's MySpace profile.

fed ex worker steals packages

On another edition of Asians Behaving Badly... In Hicksville, New York, Jin Hui Wu, a 20-year-old Fed Ex Worker, is accused of rerouting packages containing 10 laptops, valued at $10,000, to his Long Island home: Fed Ex worker accused of stealing packages.

He was charged with one count of grand larceny and one count of fraud. Idiot. According to authorities, Fed Ex officials realized during an audit of non-delivered packages that Wu stole at least nine customer packages by sending them to his home address over the course of a month.

Yup, Asian dude steals computers. Just another nerdy (and criminal) way to reinforce a stereotype...

bobby jindal sworn in as louisiana governor

This week in Baton Rouge, Bobby Jindal was sworn in as governor of Louisiana to become the first Indian American elected head of a U.S. state: Indian-American sworn in as Louisiana governor.

He's also the state's first non-white governor since Reconstruction in the 1870s. At the swearing-in ceremony at the state capitol on Monday, Jindal vowed in a speech to clean up Louisiana's notorious political corruption and to speed up the state's recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

He's got a lot of work ahead of him. Good luck, Governor.

veronica ruiz's body found

Really, really tragic news. That body found Sunday on Mount Tamalpais is indeed Veronica Ruiz, who had been missing since last month: Body found on Mount Tamalpais is that of missing IRS agent.

According to an autopsy conducted by the Marin County Coroner's Office, Ruiz died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Her IRS-service weapon was found by her side and her U.S. Treasury Department photo I.D. card was found in her purse near her body. Dental records further confirmed the identification.

Is anyone else surprised to learn that IRS agents carry firearms?

It's incredibly sad news. It's a small comfort knowing that Veronica's loved ones can now have some closure. Except now, of course, the questions remain about what drove her to take her own life—questions that will never have a satisfactory answer. My deepest condolences to her family for their loss.

1.15.2008

titans fire norm chow



Aw man. The Tennessee Titans have fired offensive coordinator Norm Chow after three years with the team: Titans fire offensive coordinator Chow after three seasons

The day after the Tennessee lost an AFC wild-card game to San Diego, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said that improving offense was his top priority this offseason. I guess that meant the first order of business was cutting Norm loose.

ruby yang, documentary filmmaker

Here's an interesting article on Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang, whose work examines some of China's most serious and controversial domestic issues -- HIV/AIDS, tobacco and the ravages of smoking, homosexuality and the environment: Filmmaker exposes gay life, pollution in China.

found body could be veronica ruiz

In Marin County, CA, authorities are trying to determine whether a body found Sunday on Mount Tamalpais is that of Veronica Ruiz, an IRS agent that went missing on December 3: Body on Mt. Tam may be missing IRS agent - death called suspicious.

A search and rescue team found the body in a ravine, covered by trees and shrubbery about 30 or 40 yards from a trail. The Sheriff's Department is characterizing it as a suspicious death:

apa film experience at sundance/slamdance


This week, all eyes of the indie film world turn towards Park City, Utah, as hordes of filmmakers, cinephiles and industry types descend upon the otherwise sleepy ski town for the Sundance Film Festival, running January 17-27, and the not-so-slick, lesser-touted rival festival, Slamdance.

For your information, here's a long list of Asian and Asian Pacific American-related films, from shorts to features, screening at Park City this year:

1.14.2008

meanest mom and disobedient asian son



I wasn't planning on writing about this one, but after receiving a ton of email about it last week, I realize that a lot of people really love this story: 'Meanest mom on planet' sells son's car.

Here's what happened. Mom buys her teenage son his first car, setting forth two simple rules: No booze, and always keep it locked. Not too long after that, she gets a little snoopy (moms are like that), and finds booze under the front seat of the unlocked car. Busted.

ed lin's this is a bust



Ed Lin has a new book! I had no idea. This Is a Bust, the second novel from award-winning author Ed Lin, is now out. His first book was Waylaid, about the horny 12-year-old son of Taiwanese immigrant parents who own a rundown motel on the New Jersey coast (an inspiration for Michael Kang's awesome movie The Motel). It's a great book, and I've been looking forward to more work from Ed Lin, but I had no idea the follow-up was published back in the fall.

asian american voters face discrimination

According to a report from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian American voters could face discrimination at polling stations in this November's presidential election, if things go like they did in the 2006 elections: Asian Americans voters face discrimination: report.

AALDEF cited numerous examples of Asian Americans experiencing gross violations from poll workers when it came to providing language and other voter assistance required by law.

the good asian drivers tour



I recently heard from Boston-based folk/rock singer-songwriter/filmmaker Melissa Li, who informs me that she's teaming up with transgendered slam poet Kit Yan to embark on 12-week cross-country road tour they've lovingly named The Good Asian Drivers Tour. The name alone gets me on board.

1.11.2008

sfiaaff's "I luv film" contest



This is for all you film festival lovers and junkies. Here's something fun—a great way to experience one of the biggest and best Asian American film festivals in the country. The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival presents the Southwest Airliens I LUV FILM Contest.

You could win an All-Access Pass to all the festival's films, events, performances and parties. But first you have to submit a 26-second video to enter for you chance to win... Here are the details:

tilghman suspended over "lynching" remark

The Golf Channel has suspended announcer Kelly Tilghman for two weeks for her "lynching" remark regarding Tiger Woods: Golf Channel anchor suspended for remark.

As we mentioned here earlier this week, Tilghman joked during a broadcast that young golfers who wanted to challenge Woods as the sport's No. 1 player should "lynch him in a back alley."

Honestly, what compels people to say thing like this, even in jest? Personally, I think she should've been fired. But it looks like she'll be back in two weeks, and everything will resume as normal, and everybody will act like nothing happened, and all will likely be forgotten. Until the next time around when yet again some idiot says something racist...

the host 2 will be a prequel



If you didn't get a chance to catch the brilliant Korean monster movie The Host, I suggest you pick it up or put it in your Netflix queue immediately. You rarely get a film that is all at once creepy, hilarious, suspenseful and politically subversive. Treat yourself.

Then, after you've seen it, you might be interested in this bit of news about the next installment: The Host 2 Hungry for More Monsters!.

It's being reported that The Host 2 will be a prequel, and the producers are promising that it'll involve "multiple monsters" wreaking havoc on the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul. According to SciFi Japan:

enter the chamber... of commerce

This week in Los Angeles, Asian American business owners representing tens of thousands of mostly immigrant entrepreneurs in Southern California launched a collective chamber of commerce, with aims to increase their collective political clout and economic opportunities: Asian Americans form chamber of commerce.

1.10.2008

little scratchers



Once again, the Koreans take it to the next level. Saw this today over at MetroDad. Holy smokes! It's these little Korean kids rocking the turntables and gettin' down. It's super cute and scary at the same time. I had the same haircut as that kid when I was young... but definitely not the same skillz on the ones and twos. Daaaaaaang. I bet they get invited to all the cool birthday parties.

CORRECTION: I'm told that the little scratchers are NOT Korean, and actually Japanese. The youngsters are DJ Sara and DJ Ryusei. See here. (Thanks, Eric)

blogging is hazardous to your health

Just read this short New York Times story on this blogger, Om Malik, who runs a fairly popular blog about the technology industry. As a blogger, he's worked hard and put a lot of time in to build up a brand name for himself and his company. It's hard work, but pretty rewarding.

Except for the heart attacks: Some Brand-Name Bloggers Say Stress of Posting Is a Hazard to Their Health. A few weeks ago, 41-year-old Mr. Malik suffered a heart attack, apparently succumbing to stress (as well as a variety of really bad health habits).

To be honest, I can kind of relate. I certainly know what it's like to dedicate a lot of time and effort to a blog, perhaps at times at the expense of my well-being. No heart attacks yet, but I am no stranger to stress. Could this be me? Here's hoping I don't end up like this guy...

karyn kusama directing jennifer's body

It's being reported that Karyn Kusama, director of the 2000 indie hit Girlfight, has a job lined up as the director of Jennifer's Body, "a darkly comedic tale of a popular teenage girl who suddenly transforms into a cannibalistic killer." Shooting begins in early March: DIABLO CODY'S BODY GETS DIRECTION

The project is screenwriter Diablo Cody's follow-up to the surprise hit Juno (which is, by and large, awesome). This doesn't sound like a movie that'll have quite the same crossover appeal as Juno, but since Cody is red-hot right now (and a shoe-in for an Oscar nom/win), people will be eager to see what's next... so it's a pretty high-profile project for Kusama.

Megan Fox, aka the hot girl from Transformers, has already been cast as the lead. Kusama also directed that craptastic live-action Aeon Flux movie a few years back. Hopefully Jennifer's Body will be more of her kind of film.

andrea jung appointed to apple's board of directors

This week, computer giant Apple announced that Andrea Jung, chairman and chief executive officer of Avon Products, was elected to Apple's board of directors: Apple Names Avon Chair, CEO Andrea Jung to board.

I guess it's worth noting that Jung, one of the top women in corporate America, is the first female director for Apple since 1997, and now the only woman on what was an all-male board: Apple appoints woman to all-male board.

She also serves on the board of directors of the General Electric Company and is a member of the New York Presbyterian Hospital board of trustees and the Catalyst board of directors. Here's the official press release on Jung's appointment from Apple: Andrea Jung Joins Apple's Board of Directors.

asian pop's look back

Jeff Yang's latest "Asian Pop" column is another look back at the ups and downs of 2007, written in the form of letter to his unborn son: Dear Son.

It's a round up of the past year's distinctive Asian and Asian American happenings, a lot of which we talked about here. Like the custody case over Anna Mae He; the Dutch couple that ditched their adopted Korean daughter; the godawful rap of Singapore's MDA; the controversy over the Martin Luther King memorial's Chinese sculptor.

Jeff also compiles a list of notable Asian and Asian American personalities who passed away in 2007, including:

1.09.2008

father throws children off bridge

This is absolutely insane. In Alabama, a man confessed to authorities that he threw his four young children off an 80-foot-high bridge to their deaths: Dad threw 4 tots off bridge for revenge, police say.

Lam Luong, a 37-year-old shrimp fisherman, was charged with four counts of capital murder, as divers searched the bodies of the children, who ranged in age from a few months to 3 years.

asian american students and school stereotypes

Check out this piece by education columnist Jay Mathews in the Washington Post, examining a study by a student at Harvard on academics, ambition and Asian American identity formation: Asian American Students and School Stereotypes:

kina makes the top three


Singer/songwriter Kina Grannis, who I mentioned here a few weeks ago, needs your help. She has been competing in an online contest called Crash the Superbowl and has fought her way into the Top 3.

The winner will get a record deal with Interscope and their music video aired during the Superbowl. How cool is that? If you want to hear some of her work, check out this YouTube video of her singing "Message From Your Heart," the song that made me a fan. She's quite a talent, and I'd love to see her win. So vote for her here, once a day, every day, for three weeks.

I should also note that Nivla feat. P. Oberoi, a South Asian hip hop group, are also in the Top 3 of the contest, and I'm really digging them too. Their song "Be Easy" is pretty damn good with a kickass sound. Listen to it here. My vote is still for Kina, but hey, it's a free country, so vote for your favorite. Just beat this Landon Austin guy, I guess.

tiger attacks brothers

You probably heard about that crazy tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas day. However, as much as I find crazy tiger attack stories interesting, I didn't really follow along or pay much attention to it. Only recently did it come to my attention that the guys who survived the attack are two Indian American brothers, Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal. (Thanks, JC.)

An escaped 350-pound Siberian tiger sent them to the hospital with severe bit and claw wounds. Their friend, Carlos Sousa Jr., was killed in the attack. The brothers attend his funeral yesterday: Survivors attend funeral for friend killed in S.F. Zoo tiger attack.

Authorities and zoo official are still unsure why the tiger jumped out of its enclosure and attacked, though some witnesses claim they might've seen the young men actually taunting the tiger. The Dhaliwals have since hired high-profile celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos to represent them. SFGate.com has extensive coverage of the tiger attack saga as it unfolds: San Francisco Zoo Tiger Attack

cribmates in china, best friends in brooklyn

This is an interesting New York Times story on Annabelle Laserson, Hazel Parker-Myers and Leah Potoff, aka "Dong Dong," "Ping Ping" and "Qiang Qiang," three girls adopted from China to three families in New York—cribmates in the orphanage, and now best friends in Brooklyn: Fortune's Sisters.

It's a story about the unique bond that developed from their adoptions, both for the girls and their mothers. It's a relationship that sort of reflects the larger, ever-growing culture and population of adopted Chinese girls in New York.

The article notes that there is no exact count of the number of Chinese adoptees in the city, there have been nearly 70,000 children adopted to the U.S. from China since 1992. Heck, even Charlotte from Sex and the City has an adopted daughter from China.

1.08.2008

call for entries: slant: bold asian american images

Filmmakers! Another one for you. Slant: Bold Asian American Images, an annual short film festival at the Aurora Picture Show in Houston, is looking for the latest and greatest works by Asian American filmmakers. Maybe you. Here's the nity gritty:

cosmetics guru shu uemura dies

Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura, who won acclaim in Hollywood and built an international cosmetics brand under his name, has died. He was 79: Cosmetics Guru Shu Uemura Dead at 79.

Uemura first gained acclaim for his work with Shirley MacLaine's makeup on the 1962 film My Geisha (boooo), which catapulted him to renown within the U.S. show business community and made him a favorite among Hollywood's top actresses.

He later launched a successful international cosmetics brand. I'm told that Shu Ueumura makes a kickass eyelash curler, if such a thing can exist. For that, I tip my hat. Rest in peace.

announcer says young golfers should "lynch tiger woods"

From the world of golf... what the hell was this woman thinking? Last week during a telecast of the Mercedes-Benz Championship on the Golf Channel, announcer Kelly Tilghman said that golf's young players should "lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley." Yeah. I don't know the exact context in which she said it (I'm not sure context would really help), but she did indeed say it: Golf Channel Anchor Kelly Tilghman Says Young Golfers Should 'Lynch Tiger Woods'.

beware the "ninja bandit"

Police in New York have been searching for a costumed crook known as the "Ninja Bandit," a black-clad, masked thief said to be responsible for at least 19 home burglaries since May: Another score for NYC's 'Ninja Bandit'?

The latest burglary happened last week at a home in the Castleton Corners area. According to news reports, the thief entered the home through a sliding door and left with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. Beware, because he's even got ninja weapons:

we want bruce (at the university of washington)



Here's another story from a few weeks back on that student group at the University of Washington that's pushing for a campus memorial of Bruce Lee, arguably the school's most famous former student: They're hoping Bruce Lee can bust on through.

asia pacific arts' "best of 2007"

The latest edition of the UCLA Asia Institute's Asia Pacific Arts is their annual "Best of" issue, looking back at the best of the year's Asian and Asian American arts and entertainment. I look forward to this issue every year, and once again, they've delivered some really good lists. They've got features on the best of 2007's Asian Films, Asian American Films, Performers, Music, Cringe-worthy Moments (two words: Tila Tequila), Behind the Scenes, Wordsmiths, and YouTube Clips. There's a lot of good reading there, so check it out.

police arrest queens man for "arsenal"

Holy moly, look at all the weapons! Last week, police in New York seized a cache of weapons and ammuntion from the Queens apartment of 36-year-old of Suwei Chuang after a girlfriend reported him to authorities: Cops seize Army vet's weapons arsenal.

1.07.2008

Goonies Never Say Die



Oh my goodness. My collection will soon be complete. These are toys I have been waiting for all my life, and I didn't even know it. Yes, my friends. The Goonies action figures.

Mezco Toyz and Warner Brothers Consumer Products present action figures from the classic 1985 adventure movie. The set includes Mikey, Chunk, Mouth, Sloth, and of course, our man Data. I've got to have one. But does it come with retractable Pinchers of Peril?

man kills family in apartment fire

This is a crazy story from last week out of Oak Forest, Illinois... According to prosecutors, a man set a fire that killed his pregnant daughter, son-in-law and young grandson because he was upset over his daughter's marriage: Family dispute at heart of Oak Forest apartment fire, prosecutors say.

yau-man back in survivor: micronesia

TV Squad reports that the upcoming new season of Surivivor is a hybrid "all-stars" version pitting fan favorites from previous seasons with super-fans of the show: Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites.

The cast list is out, and reveals that one of our recent favorite contestants, Yau-Man Chan from Survivor: Fiji will be among the returning "all-stars."

He was an immensely popular player during his stint on Survivor, and probably would've gone all the way if he didn't get voted out when he did. He was easily the oldest guy there, but managed to hold his own both as a strategist and a physical competitor. It will be great to see him back in the mix.

The new season of Survivor premieres February 7 on CBS.

norman hsu sentenced to three years

Norman Hsu, everybody's favorite scandalized political donor, was sentenced Friday to three years in prison after a judge refused to throw out his 1992 no-contest plea to fraud: Hsu Headed to Prison.

If you recall, Hsu had been wanted by the law for like, 16 years, but had been walking around out in the open as a power player at various political fundraisers—apparently unbeknownst to authorities.

Hsu's lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss his 16-year-old plea, arguing that Hsu's right to speedy justice was violated because authorities were not actively pursuing him during his years as a fugitive. Nice try, but no way, said the judge.

I hoped he really lived it up for those sixteen years, becuase he's going to be spending the next three in a jail cell, plus probably more on top of that for federal fraud charges in New York. See ya, Norman.

1.06.2008

it's all connected



Tonight's the premiere of the fifth and final season of the greatest show in the history of television, HBO's The Wire.

I'll admit, I was a latecomer to this show, having watched the entirety of the previous seasons on DVD over the last three months. To hardcore fans, it may seem like I'm jumping on the bandwagon. But dammit, I am now obsessed.

1.05.2008

grek pak, amadeus cho, and incredible hercules



This is for fellow comic book geeks out there... Filmmaker-turned-comics scribe Greg Pak wrote in to tell me what he's been up to lately.

The big news is that Amadeus Cho, the Korean American teen genius character Greg created for Marvel, has hit the big time as the co-star of the new Incredible Hercules comic book.

thao nguyen's we brave bee stings and all


NPR recently profiled singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen's "Beat (Health, Life and Fire)" for its Song of the Day: Thao Nguyen's Broad Stroke of Brooding Honesty. They call it a tune that suits the "boozy, out-of-tune swagger of her voice." Awesome. I'm in love.

Her second album, We Brave Bee Stings and All, with stage band The Get Down Stay Down, is due out on January 29. Can't wait to get my hands on this one. To learn more about Thao, go here, and visit her MySpace page here. Pre-order the album here.

five years behind bars... for nothing

Here's a Village Voice story from last month on Narinder Singh, a man who spent more than five years locked up by the federal government in an immigration detention cell, though he was never accused of committing a crime: Holding Pattern.

1.04.2008

"nature of water" at nucleus



This looks like one baaaaaadass art show. Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA presents Nature of Water (An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee).

If the title doesn't make it obvious, this art show will feature the work of over 40 artists paying homage and drawing inspiration from the legacy and teachings of Bruce Lee. The show runs January 5-22.

questions over police shooting death

Been hearing from a lot of people about this one... Here is the situation, as I understand it. On Monday, December 31st, 25-year-old Mike Cho was shot and killed by police officers outside a convenience store in La Habra, California: La Habra police-shooting victim identified.

"tokyo rose" movie in the works



It looks like the story of Iva Toguri D'Aquino, aka "Tokyo Rose," is going to be made into a movie, from screenwriter Christopher Hampton and director Frank Darabont: DARABONT PICKS A TOKYO ROSE.

I admit, I don't know more than the general facts about this case, but it would definitely make a great movie.

last christmas in prospect heights

Here's a follow-up on that Korean American church in Prospect Heights, Illinois that's suing another church for racial discrimination: Church that filed bias suit celebrating its last Christmas in Prospect Heights.

ramen rules

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting profile on Rickmond Wong (if that's not a true Chinese American name, I don't know what is), aka the Rameniac, a popular food blogger on all things ramen: He's the rock star of ramen.

1.03.2008

the long, tumultuous journey of anna mae he



Once again, we revisit the tumultuous journey of Anna Mae He. After a seven-year custody battle, 8-year-old Anna Mae rejoined her parents Shaoqiang and Qin Luo He in July, under orders from the Tennessee Supreme Court. She had lived with an American couple, the Bakers, who took her in as an infant to help her financially struggling parents, and then refused to give her back.

what's so great about iowa?

Today, the entire country's attention turned to the great state of Iowa to get a glimpse of who might be our future President... but other than the Caucus, what's Iowa got going for it? Here's nice litle op-ed piece by Lan Samantha Chang, director of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop: ... And Iowa Now

new harold and kumar theatrical trailer



The new, "approved-for-all-ages" theatrical trailer for Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is now up and running on the official site. Safe for all eyes, though probably not for all sensibilities. View it here. The movie opens April 25th, 2008.

the amazing charice pempengco



Seems like every other day I get an email from someone telling me about Charice Pempengco, this crazy talented 14-year-old singer from the Philippines. All right, already. Here's your entry on Charice, people.

This young talent apparently started getting a lot of attention when her rendition of "I Will Always Love You" hit the web. She was so good, a lot of people thought she was lip-syncing.

I first heard about Charice when I saw this clip of her on Korean television singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". As they say in that country, "Whoooooooo." The above clip is from Charice's first visit to the United States, for a recent guest appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

You've got the dancing Cebu Prison inmates. You've got Arnel Pineda, the new lead singer of Journey. And now teen phenom Charice Pempengco. All this great talent coming from the Philippines! And all "discovered" on YouTube.

yi named nba's rookie of the month



Milwaukee forward Yi Jianlian of China, along with Kevin Durant, were named this week as December's top NBA rookies: China's Yi takes NBA rookie honour.

cop admits thwarting brothel's rivals

Last week in New York, Dennis Kim, a former city police officer admitted that he took favors and money from a Queens brothel as part of a protection scheme that helped shut down its competitors. That's right, baby. Brothel Wars: Officer Admits He Helped Thwart a Brothel's Rivals.

Kim pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Brooklyn to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit extortion in his capacity as a police officer. He and a partner accepted money from the owners of the brothel, who supplied information that was then used in raids that closed their rivals. He also received sexual services from the brothel's prostitute for his role in the scheme. And now, he is busted.

1.02.2008

coming soon: the resistance



Don Le writes in to tell me about The Resistance, an upcoming action-drama webisode series he's working on. The story revolves around "an epic revenge tale set in a dying land called Aurordeca."

Like every good sci-fi action tale, there's a ruthless tyrannical government, and a resistance trying to overthrow it. There are a couple of teaser spots over on YouTube, and while I have no idea what's going on, they've got a cool look to them. So far I'm pretty intrigued.

I'm told the first episode will premiere in about a month or so. To learn more, and to join The Resistance mailing list, go here.

community outcry against police investigation

Back in November, I wrote about the shooting death of 15-year-old Ichinkhorloo "Iko" Bayarsaikhan in Alameda, CA. She was killed after being shot in the back while hanging out with friends in a park: "a community's worst nightmare."

A 16-year-old boy from Oakland was eventually arrested in connection with the shooting. Since then, however, members of the lu Mien and larger Asian American communities have voiced their anger at how the police and media have handled the case. Some Southeast Asian youth and families say they were unfairly targeted and harrassed during the investigation, with house raids and wrongful arrests: Alameda cops fail to justify 'witch hunt,' critics claim.

What? The police, jumping the gun and relying on bad information? Shocking.

discrimination at roxy night club in orlando

Heard about this over the weekend, about some Asian guys who were racially profiled, discriminated against, and eventually arrested when they tried to enter Roxy Night Club in Orlando. Their experience is detailed at length at this Facebook group: Boycott Roxy Night Club.

Basically, the bouncer and management wouldn't let these guys in, while other groups got in without a problem (the club has apparently had trouble with Asian gang members). They eventually got arrested and beat up by the police. It all sounds pretty messed up.

Here's a local news report on the incident: Roxy Night Club Orlando FL. Hopefully we'll have more updates on in this case as it develops... That's racist!

the return of american gladiators

Well, it's the show nobody was clamoring for... but it's back. By now you've probably seen the commercials for the NBC's revival of American Gladiators, in which contestants battle out in physical challenges against ridiculously buff dudes and dudettes with names like "Siren," "Venom," and "Wolf."

I was perusing the show's website, and amongst the bios of contestants I came across two Asian faces: Christine Kim, a mortgage broker from Redondo Beach, CA, Molivann Duy, a daycare teacher/student from Lakewood, CA, and Son Nguyen, a fireman from Huntington Beach, CA.

Among the show's "Gladiators," there's Tanoai Reed, aka "Toa," who's seriously rocking the Pacific Islander warrior vibe. Yay. Can't say I'll be tuning in, but there you go.

obesity rates growing among asian american youth

According to research from the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, Asian Americans have the fastest growing rate of overweight and obese children: Obesity rates among Asian-American youths growing.

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