jaccc & tnkat present 'the party'

Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 18... Tuesday Night Cafe, one of the longest running free public art space and revitalization project of Little Tokyo/Downtown Los Angeles, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a party. And not just any party -- The Party. It's going to be a huge community event, and you're invited:
What is THE PARTY ???

THE PARTY is a...

* Music PARTY - Collaborative performances hourly!!! Find out who at tnkat.org!
* Dance PARTY - Dance all night w/ DJs: +he op+imis+, Phatrick, ANT, Waxstyles, LinoType!
* Community PARTY - check out & connect with awesome organizations and artists!
* Family-Friendly PARTY - Kids 12 & under FREE admission! Art activity for the kids!
* Yummy PARTY - The Park's Finest will be selling their L.A.-famous BBQ!!
* Fundraising PARTY - When it comes down to it, we keep the TNC venue free to all, but your support keeps it going. We'll give you an amazing evening for an amazing price.

THE PARTY - Currently in our 11th season, the "1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Cafe" series is now one of the longest-running FREE public art venues in Little Tokyo/Downtown L.A. And, after 10 years, wouldn’t YOU celebrate?

Tuesday Night Project's 10th Anniversary Fundraising Celebration

$15 presale/student/senior (60+)
$20 at the door
Free for kids 12 and under

This event is co-presented by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.
Tuesday Night Cafe has been going strong for ten years with free arts programming and no government funding. They're practically an L.A. institution. So help them celebrate! To learn more about The Party, go to the TN KAT website here. And stay updated at the Facebook page here.

t-shirt love: jose rizal

"jose rizal"
Available from Archipelago, Inc.

Description: "This design pays tribute to Philippine National hero, Jose Rizal. Quotation beneath image: “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination." In honor of yesterday's post about the proposed street to be renamed for Jose Rizal. And do check out the rest of Archipelago's designs.

project michelle update: not looking good

If you follow the Project Michelle blog, you might have heard that things aren't looking good for her: How Do You Know When to Stop Fighting? To be honest, I don't understand all the numbers and details about blast cells and peripheral blood. It's just clear from the post that Michelle's condition has taken a turn for the worse.

27-year old Michelle Maykin was originally diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, on February 27, 2007. After undergoing 5 rounds of chemotherapy, Michelle reached a state of remission... only to find out a year later that she had relapsed. She is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.

To learn more about Michelle and her fight against this disease, and to get information about how to register to be a bone marrow donor, go to the Project Michelle website here. You could save someone's life.

crossing borders founder on the daily show tonight

Just heard the Mike Kim, author of Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World's Most Repressive Country and founder of Crossing Borders, will be a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight, talking his perspective on the dire plight of refugees who have escaped from North Korea.

Crossing Borders is an organization dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees. This is pretty cool exposure for the organization, and will hopefully lead to more support and awareness for its mission. More here: Mike Kim on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

more racist caricatures for your kitchen

These three little racially caricaturized figures are toothpick holders, part of a larger collection of household items called the OrienTales Monkey & Banana Collection. It's a design collaboration between the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and our old nemesis Alessi, maker of the Mandarin Juicer and the Mr. Chin Kitchen Timer.

It's an entire collection of designs featuring monkey caricatures with slanted eyes. Chinky Monkeys, if you will. Alessi appears to be obsessed with Oriental-ized everday household items passed off as cute, playful design. By the way, one of these toothpick holders will set you back 40 bucks.

For further proof check out the cover of OrienTales, a book conceived and designed by Stefano Giovannoni to showcase this collection and his other similarly themed work. Yes, an entire book of salt shakers and bottle stoppers with chinky eyes. That's racist!

32nd aaiff's full lineup announced

Mark your calendars... Asian CineVision recently announced the full lineup of feature films selected to screen at the 32nd Asian American International Film Festival in New York. The festival will showcase 14 feature films and 50 short films during the weekend of July 23-26, 2009.

Opening Night will kick off with the New York premiere of respected Hong Kong screenwriter Ivy Ho's directorial debut, Claustrophobia.

The festival's Centerpiece Presentation on Saturday, July 25, will showcase a festival circuit favorite, Children of Invention, directed by Tze Chun.

AAIFF will wrap things up on Closing Night with the New York premiere of H.P. Mendoza's musical comedy Fruit Fly. Here's the full lineup of features:
Children of Invention directed by Tze Chun (USA)
When their home is foreclosed on, the Cheng family moves into a unit in an unfinished apartment building, pushing mother and children to look for ways to pull in some extra income.

NYC Premiere of Claustrophobia directed by Ivy Ho (Hong Kong)
A sensitive and deceptively serene portrayal of five office colleagues' relationships marks this intelligently crafted directorial debut by one of Hong Kong's best-known screenwriters.

World Premiere of Formosa Betrayed directed by Adam Kane (USA)
FBI agent Jake Kelly's investigation of a loved professor's murder leads him to Taiwan, where he finds that the killers are part of a terrible web of politics that he only starts to cut through when he finds a friend in a local activist.

NYC Premiere of Fruit Fly directed by H.P. Mendoza (USA)
A naughty, fast-paced, punchy romp of a musical, Fruit Fly follows young performance artist Bethesda on her soul-searching journey to find a place for herself while trying her luck in the art scene.

World Premiere of Hubad directed by Mark Gray and Denisa Reyes (Philippines)
In a conservative community, theater director Andre tries to break new ground with a hyper sexual play. He faces obstacles in funding his project and working with his actors, but passion ignites between the two middle-aged leads as theater and life become intertwined.

NYC Premiere of Karma Calling directed by Sarba Das (USA)
The Raj family is definitely not comprised of stereotypical model minorities living the American Dream. On top of the family's troubled finances, the family hosts a recently widowed relative who is an endless source of comic disasters.

NYC Premiere of Li Tong directed by Nian Liu (China)
A restless young girl loses her bus pass one day after school. Her meandering trip home is the thread of this poignant “day in the life” tale, which wends its way through the various homes, personae and urban landscapes of contemporary Beijing.

East Coast Premiere of Manilatown Is In the Heart directed by Curtis Choy (USA)
A documentary about the Manongs in San Francisco's Manilatown and a look into the life of the late poet Al Robles, Manilatown Is In the Heart is a touching eulogy to an activist/historian who was outlived by the vanishing subject that he strived to preserve.

Paper Heart directed by Nicholas Jasenovec (USA)
Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in fairytale-like romance but can't deny that it may exist for others. With her friend and director, Nick Jasenovec, she sets out to film a documentary about true love.

World Premiere of Pastry directed by Risky Liu (Hong Kong)
The youngest of five daughters traces the story of her life through the weddings of her sisters. As each member of the family comes to terms with her own womanhood, a simple egg tart becomes the anchor of their experiences and emotions.

Tibet in Song directed by Ngawang Choephel (USA)
Ethnomusicologist Ngawang Choephel travels across Tibet to record and study the rich diversity of traditional folk songs but is arrested by the Chinese government for suspected espionage.

East Coast Premiere of Whatever It Takes directed by Christopher Wong (USA)
The first year of the Bronx Center of Science and Mathematics is documented in this film. With a stated mission of patching the cracks in the education system, it's clear that the odds are stacked against it.

NYC Premiere of White on Rice directed by David Boyle (USA)
Hung up over his divorce and sharing a room with his 10 year-old nephew, Jimmy can't even keep a job without help from brother-in-law, Tak. When Jimmy falls for Tak's niece, Ramona, it seems like he may be heading for trouble, but all is not yet lost in this quest for love.

East Coast Premiere of You Don't Know Jack directed by Jeff Adachi (USA)
Way before Harold and Kumar's search for sliders, before we learned about Drifting in Tokyo's parking structures, and before the All-American Girl Margaret Cho's foray into network television, there was Jack Soo.
This year, the festival moves downtown to the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas, where they'll be screening the majority of their feature films. They'll also be screening a limited number of films across the street at the brand new School of Visual Arts Theater, while short films will be screened at the new Museum of Chinese in America building. To learn more about the festival, visit the AAIFF website here.

wonder girls' u.s. debut single "nobody"

Here's the music video for the English version of "Nobody," the debut U.S. single from South Korean pop group Wonder Girls. It's basically the same as the Korean music video for "Nobody," except dubbed in English, silly JYP toilet intro parts and all.

The Wonder Girls are the latest Korean pop act to take a stab at cracking the American market. They've begun their strategic takeover of the United States by opening for the Jonas Brothers on tour. Will their cute Korean dance moves and sassy girl-group appeal be enough break through to U.S. audiences? We shall see.

pacquiao, pussycat doll and batista: the movie

Manny Pacquiao! Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls! Starring in a movie together! At first I thought this might be a joke, but I've been looking around, and it's apparently true. Manny has conquered the ring, and now he's taking on the silver screen.

The Filipino boxing superstar will star in Wapakman, an action-comedy in the mold of Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle, alongside Scherzinger and WWE professional wrestler Batista: Pacquiao to film movie "Wapakman" with WWE's Batista and Pussycat Doll.

According to Philippines news outlet GMATV, Pacquiao will play the role of a father with a lot of kids who posesses superpowers. Batista will play Pacquiao's arch-enemy in the story while Scherzinger will star opposite as leading lady.

Any chance they have room in there for Apl from Black Eyed Peas? It's a movie with bursting a healthy dose of Filipino pride, starring a bunch of folks who are famous for stuff other than acting. But it's almost doesn't matter. This is going to highly entertaining and/or really terrible.

The movie starts shooting this July, but won't interfere with Manny's boxing schedule, which picks back up in November. More here: Manny Pacquiao, Batista and Nicole Sherzinger to start filming movie.


trailer for mira nair's amelia

Yahoo! Movies recently ran the trailer for Amelia, an upcoming movie biopic starring Hilary Swank as famed aviator Amelia Earheart. Without having seen the movie, I'd venture a guess there aren't too many Asian faces in it. But it is notably directed by Mira Nair, who also directed The Namesake and Monsoon Wedding. And it looks pretty good. The movie is scheduled to open in theaters on October 23.

rockets could lose yao for entire season (and beyond)

Bad news hanging over Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets... Yao's broken left foot has the team facing a cold, hard truth -- Yao could be out of commission all of next season and beyond: Rockets could lose Yao for season, if not longer

Multiple league execs, officials close to Yao and two doctors with knowledge of the diagnoses are describing a troubling re-fracture of his navicular bone. Three pins were inserted a year ago, but the foot cracked in the playoffs and isn’t healing. Owwwwwch.

Judging from this article, nobody -- particularly Houston's management -- appears to be very positive about the situation. It sounds like he's missing most of next season, if not the entire 82 games. And that's being optimistic.

The quiet truth is that the severity of the injury is probably much worse -- maybe even career threatening. But at this point, the Rockets aren't publicly disclosing anything specific. More here: Yao could miss entire season with foot injury.

t-shirt love: anna may wong

"Anna May Wong Rebel"
Available from 57thirtythree (at Etsy)

Description: "This black American Apparel Tee has a classic image of Anna May Wong with the Chinese characters for "rebel". The 1920's and 30's film legend Anna May Wong was the first notable Chinese actress to appear in Hollywood films. This tee is hand printed with discharge ink, which removes the color from the fabric rather than putting color on to the fabric. The result is an extremely soft tee." There's also a very cool women's shirt.

you could live on jose rizal street

An intriguing debate is brewing in Carson, California over a street name. City councilman Elito Santarina wants to honor Filipino freedom fighter Jose Rizal, who was executed in Manila in 1896, by renaming a local street after him: Officials Want to Rename Street: Jose Rizal Who?

However, the proposal isn't going over very well with the residents of Moneta Avenue, the street that's going to get the new name. You can't really blame them -- a street renaming would require them to change their address, identification and all sorts of other headaches.

But also, while Rizal was a Philippine liberation hero, and certainly worthy of recognition, most folks on the street just don't have any idea who he was. Blame a lack of world history knowledge or whatever, but residents aren't interested in going through all that to honor the hero of another nation.

Personally, I think it would be really cool to live on a street named after Jose Rizal. But hey, I don't live on Moneta Avenue, and it's not my call.

the styrofoam cup king

This is a really cool Orange County Register story from a couple of weeks ago on Cheeming Boey, an artist whose work involves amazing, intricate drawings... on a canvas of foam. Styrofoam cups, that is. Pretty awesome stuff: His foam cup drawings sell for hundreds.

It apparently started as a handy, random spot to doodle, fished out of a trash can. Soon, the art-on-styrofoam obsession became his thing, and he had a collection on his hands. And now they sell for hundreds of dollars! Check out this slideshow of his awesome work.

we saw everything giveaway winners

Thank you to everyone who entered last week's We Saw Everything EP giveaway contest. Lots of good people out there interested in supporting Asian American indie music... and of course, getting free stuff.

You were asked the question: "What is the title of Jienan Yuan's forthcoming full-length album?" The correct answer is Afterglow (not We Saw Everything, as many erroneously submitted). The winners, chosen at random, are:

Toni D. of Philadelphia, PA
Jon L. of Berkeley, CA
Angel L. of Phoenix, AZ
Chris F. of New York, NY
Jason H. of Los Angeles, CA

They have each won a shiny new copy of Jienan Yuan's debut EP We Saw Everything. For the rest of you, better luck next time. The CD is available this week from "Actually, Records." For more information about Jienan Yuan, go to his website here. And purchase We Saw Everything over at CD Baby.

hyphen's summer party - #17 family issue

All right, Bay Area people. Our friends at Hyphen are celebrating the release of issue #17 ("The Family Issue") and throwing a party this Friday, July 3 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. The event will feature performances from iLL-Literacy, Jane Lui, Mandeep Sethi & Povan, and Neko Punch. It's gonna be a fun time, and you're invited. Here's what you need to know:
Celebrate summer in the city and Hyphen magazine's #17 Family issue!

Friday, July 3rd @ 111 Minna, San Francisco

9-2a | 21+

$10 | $20 includes door and 1yr subscription

Jane Lui

Mandeep Sethi & Povan
Neko Punch

Citizen Ten (change the beat, SMT)
DJ Franchise (Know the Ledge)
MaliciousLee (Golden Age)

Be sure to pick up a copy of the Family issue to check out our stories on unconventional families, MSG's bad rap, Fobby chinese moms, iLL-Literacy and much more!
Gonna be another good-ass time, my friends. For more information, go to the Hyphen website here. Oh, and do pick up the issue if you haven't taken a look already. Or better yet, purchase a subscription to Hyphen. Support independent Asian American media. It's good for you.

moca's chinatown film project premiere

Here's news about an extremely cool event happening this week: The Chinatown Film Project, the inaugural film exhibition of the Museum of Chinese in America. Ten of New York's most exciting filmmakers present their unique vision of the mysterious, elusive, vibrant, iconic community known as Chinatown. It's happening Wednesday, July 1 at MoCA. Some details:
MOCA's Chinatown Film Project Premiere

Wed, Jul 1 from 7pm - 9:30pm

Chinatown is an evocative place. It exists in our cities, in our imaginations, on our television screens, and in our memories. It is at once a sprawling, vibrant immigrant community and a forgotten strip mall of buffet restaurants. Chinatown is the ultimate Hollywood metaphor and a space where families still live.

The Chinatown Film Project tackles Chinatown's elusiveness and its stereotyped representations by constructing new images for the viewer. The project starts locally, where we ask ten of New York's most exciting filmmakers to present their unique visions of this global icon.

Featuring ten original short films:
The Guy with the Cigarette - directed by Miguel Arteta
Church Basement Bomb Shelter - directed by Patty Chang
New York Night Scene - directed by Jem Cohen
Kiwi Lotion - directed by Cary Fukunaga
I Can’t Wait - directed by So Yong Kim & Bradley Rust Gray
Fortune Cookie - directed by Amir Naderi
Chinatown: In Their Own Words - directed by Sam Pollard
Five Approaches - directed by Shelly Silver
Sunday at 6 - directed by Rose Troche
Tuesday - directed by Wayne Wang & Richard Wong

Special Opening Trailer directed by Richard Wong

Screening followed by Q&A and reception.

Tickets: General Admission $20; MOCA members $15. Please email education@mocanyc.org or call (212)619-4785 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
New York City
That's extremely solid lineup of filmmakers. This is going to be a really interesting evening, so make plans to be there. For more information, visit the MOCA website here. Also watch this cool musical introduction to the Chinatown Film Project, directed by Richard Wong, here. You can also view (and take part in) the Chinatown Film Project over at MOCA's YouTube channel.

k.j. kim, world's smallest food architect?

I recently came across this bizarre marketing campaign for McDonald's Mac Snack Wrap featuring a fictional guy named K.J. Kim, "World's Smallest Food Architect." Huh? It gets weirder...

A gifted graduate (Mini Cum Laude, at age 15) of The Culinary Architect Institute of America, he has a Bachelor of Food Architecture, and is supposed to be, literally, the world's smallest food architect. Like, he's miniature dude -- only a few inches tall. And yes, he is an Asian man.

I don't know what any of this has to do with the Mac Snack Wrap. Hooray, the little Asian man made a gross-ass McDonald's sandwich. Is all this supposed to make me want to buy and eat the damn thing? It's just... weird.

swedish ambassador visits laura ling and euna lee

Last week, the Swedish ambassador met with Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists who have been imprisoned in North Korea since March: Ambassador visits jailed U.S. journalists in North Korea.

It was their first meeting since a North Korean court sentenced the reporters to twelve years of "reform through labor" for their alleged crimes of illegally crossing into the country and unspecified "hostile acts."

Unfortunately, there aren't too many details about what transpired between the ambassador and Euna and Laura. The Swedish ambassador represents U.S. interests in the country because the United States doesn't have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Meanwhile, there was another vigil on behalf of Euna and Laura held in San Francisco: Husbands of jailed reporters speak at SF vigil. Their husbands said that they had received phone calls from them earlier in the week, and that Laura and Euna sounded scared.

Iain Clayton, the husband of Laura Ling, said her medical condition has deteriorated and Lee has developed a medical problem. Ling reportedly suffers from an ulcer. This is extremely disheartening, troubling news. Let's continue to pray for their safe release and return.


t-shirt love: han's tournament

"Han's Tournament"
Available from Last Exit to Nowhere

Description: "We are unique, gentlemen, in that we create ourselves. Through long years of rigorous training, sacrifice, denial, pain, we forge our bodies in the fire of our will. But tonight, let us celebrate. Gentlemen, you have our gratitude."

Words from the nefarious Han, host of the infamous island martial arts tournament in Enter the Dragon. Of course, this unexpectedly happened to be the final year of the tournament... all due to the badassness of a dude named Lee. Consider this shirt a souvenir.


t-shirt love: flying bruce lee

"Flying Bruce Lee"
Available from Urban Outfitters

Description: "Flying through the air with the greatest of Lees." Yes, another Bruce Lee shirt. Can't help it. As much as I try to avoid shopping at Urban Outfitters (nothing really "urban" about that place), this shirt, with an iconic image from The Big Boss, was irresistible. What can I say? Bruce rules, and I will amass as many cool Bruce shirts in my drawer as I can possibly fit.

filipino american psychology: a handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice

Got word of a new book, Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice, by Kevin L. Nadal, Ph.D. The book is supposed to be the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive look at the psyche of the second largest APA population in the United States. Here's the official description:
Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American/ Pacific Islander population in the United States and they are projected to become the largest Asian American population by 2010. With 1.37 million Filipino-born immigrants living in the US, Filipino Americans are the second largest immigrant population in the country.

As descendants of the Philippines, a country that was colonized by Spain for over three centuries and by the US for nearly 50 years, Filipino Americans are an ethnic group with a sociocultural and historical experience that is unlike any other. First, they are the only ethnic group that has been categorized as Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic. However, California state laws require that all personnel surveys or statistical tabulations classify persons of Filipino ancestry as "Filipino" rather than part of any other racial or ethnic group. Additionally, Filipino Americans have often been referred to as the "Forgotten Asian Americans," because their presence has been invisible in psychology, education, humanities, and other social sciences.

Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice offers a comprehensive look at the psyche of Filipino Americans. By examining history, cultural values, influences of colonialism, community dynamics, and intersections with other identities, the reader will have an opportunity to understand essential information about this population. Students will gain knowledge and awareness about Filipino American identity and personality development, while practitioners will learn culturally-competent techniques to become better counselors, clinicians, and educators. This book is the first of its kind and aims to promote visibility of this invisible group, so that 2.4 million Filipino Americans will have their voices heard.
Sounds like a really interesting, much-needed book. Learn more about the book here. And learn about author Kevin Nadal at his website here. He's embarking on a multiple city reading/signing tour to promote the book. To find out more, go here.

jane lui covers "you are not alone"

Wow. Just watched another Michael Jackson tribute... this one's by Jane Lui, doing an absolutely gorgeous cover of "You Are Not Alone" sort of mashed up with "Ave Maria." Beautiful. More from Jane Lui here. And as I mentioned the other day, catch Jane playing a show with Goh Nakamura on Tuesday at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco.

catching up with kina grannis

The Orange County Register has a nice little interview with one of coolest, cutest people on the internet, singer Kina Grannis. She playing a show tomorrow for the free concert series in Lake Forest at Pittsford Park: Super Bowl star to play free concert in Lake Forest.

Kina got her big moment in the spotlight last year when she won the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, getting her video for "Message From Your Heart" shown during the big game broadcast and getting a record deal. It was a career-defining moment for her.

She's currently working on her fourth album and her first official album release with a producer. Can't wait to hear it. To learn more about Kina, go to her website here. Also definitely check out her YouTube channel here.


far east movement at the roxy theatre

It wasn't my intention to post so many mentions of Far East Movement in such a short span... but oh well. Propelled by their hit single "Girls On The Dance Floor," which is tearing up radio charts around the country, the boys of FM have a really big show next week, headlining at the historic Roxy Theatre in Hollywood. It's going down Wednesday, July 1. Details:
Far*East Movement at the Roxy Theater

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
8:30pm - 11:30pm

Roxy Theater
9009 Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA

Performing their hit single, Girls on the Dance Floor, the Far*East Movement Headlining at the historic Roxy Theater.

The mainstream says we can't do it! That we can't fill a venue like the Roxy! Lets show them what the MOVEMENT can do by BLOWING THE ROOF OFF THE ROXY, FM Style!

If you love FM and you want to be a part of the MOVEMENT that blows the roof off the music scene, join us on July 1 in Los Angeles.
It's all ages show, so everyone's invited. Get your tickets here. You've also got the opportunity to win dinner and a movie and just hang out with Far East Movement -- a very cool group of guys. (You have to purchase a ticket to the show to enter.) Find out how: WIN DINNER & A MOVIE WITH FM and ISA TIX? The winner will be announced at the concert. Good luck.

filipino prison inmates will recreate "thriller"

The world-famous Filipino prisoners who wowed the internet with their jailyard version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" will reportedly recreate their dance in tribute to late pop king: Philippine jailbirds reprise Jackson YouTube tribute: TV.

If you've never seen the original video, which generated more than 23 million hits on YouTube, you've got to take a moment to check it out. It's downright surreal. 1,400 inmates in orange jail uniforms dancing in sync to Michael Jackson's biggest hit.

The mass dance performance will be held Saturday inside the provincial jail in Cebu. Hopefully, their "Thriller" moves haven't gotten rusty. Crisanto Niere, a balding, gap-toothed drug dealer who played MJ in the original video, is apparently still an inmate.

t-shirt love: dance like michael jackson

"Dance Like Michael Jackson"
Available from Far East Movement

Description: "The FAR EAST MOVEMENT and WONG FU PRODUCTIONS have teamed up for the Dance Like Michael Jackson music video featuring Quest Dance Crew." Indeed, you can see the shirt being worn in the music video here. In fact, I'm wearing mine right now as I write this, in honor of the King of Pop's untimely passing.

sign the letter of support for lt. dan choi

Lt. Dan Choi is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last month, I named him one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30. He also happens to be gay.

On Tuesday, he'll face a panel of colonels who will decide whether or not to discharge him from the military for "moral and professional dereliction" under the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

141,262 people signed Lt. Choi's letter to President Obama a few weeks ago. Now he needs your help again. You can sign the personal letter of support and add your own personal message. Here's the letter:
To Members of the Board:

We, the undersigned, urge you not to discharge Lt. Daniel Choi from the Army National Guard.

Lt. Dan Choi, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran, is a capable soldier and leader who can continue to play a vital role in this time of war.

As a member of the military who is fluent in Arabic, Lt. Choi's skills are especially needed at this critical time in our nation's history. America's national security is dependent on the service of soldiers like Lt. Choi, who is ready to deploy again if his country calls on him.

Lt. Choi's dedication to West Point and the Army brings credit to the military. His fighting spirit on behalf of his country -- and on behalf of supporting the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to serve -- demonstrates the values of honor and duty so vital to our nation's military.

Please do not discharge Lt. Choi and deprive him of the right to serve his country.

To sign it, go here. Lt. Choi is upstanding, experienced and qualified soldier. Now, he might be fired from the military for refusing to lie about who he is and who is loves. Don't you think that's ridiculous?

Randall Park in Ikea Heights

My man Randall Park stars in yet another web series on Channel 101, an "IKEA furniture store melodrama" called IKEA Heights. If IKEA knows what's best for them they'll hire these guys to make commercials for them.

Basically, the whole thing was shot guerilla-style at an actual IKEA store in Burbank, California using a still camera video and wireless lav microphones (presumably during open store hours). I love that you can hear the ambient shopping noise in the background:

using twitter on the job will get you fired

For those using Twitter while on the job, here's a cautionary tale... The D.C. Department of Employment Services fired a contractor, David Le, who was working with youths in the city's summer jobs program after officials became aware of an excess of Twitter messages while he was working: D.C. Summer Jobs Contractor Fired for Posts on Twitter.

Le, who was working as a participant service specialist, was terminated yesterday. It wasn't just the large number of Tweets. It was the stupid, lame and offensive messages he was posting while he was apparently supposed to be working; messages about lame work was, how little he was working, and how "ghetto" the area he was working in was. Some of his greatest hits:
davidle630: "thank goodness my boss is making things easy, he told me to pretend to do work so he can mark me down for hours...

davidle630: "one of the schools I am in charge of is Anacostia HS. If you are from here, you know ANACOSTIA... about 100+ murders in one year..."

davidle630: "They decided to just pay us for 40 hours a week bc we are too lazy to sign in and out..."

davidle630: "In americas ghetto anacostia... If i get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me."

davidle630: This 40 year old woman pulled up next to me and said 'Ayyy yo can i ride wit chu?'"
Not too smart. The firing came a day after The Washington Post showed a spokesperson for the Mayor's office a month-long string of tweets from Le's page. Yes, David. This might come as a shock, but what you post on the internet can be seen everyone. More here: Lazy, Racist Twitter Slob Fired From D.C. Summer Jobs.

coming soon: park chan-wook's thirst

I'm really getting hyped for Thirst, the new vampire thriller from award-winning South Korea auteur Park Chan-wook. Recently awarded the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival, Thirst will be released in select U.S. theaters July 31 from Focus Features. It looks insane.

Top Korean star Song Kang-ho stars as Sang-hyun, a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes the priest, and a blood transfusion is urgently ordered up for him. The blood he receives is infected, so Sang-hyun lives -- but now exists as a vampire.

Struggling with his newfound carnal desire for blood, Sang-hyun's faith is further strained when a childhood friend's wife comes to him asking for his help in escaping her life. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins.

I'm both thrilled and kind of scared of seeing what kind of twisted, horrifying film Park has cooked up this time. The early buzz from Cannes is good, but it all indicates it's another serious gut punch. Can't wait. For more info on the film, and to watch the trailer, go to the website here.

6th annual 72 hour film shootout kicks off tonight

This year's 72 Hour Film Shootout theme is: "TIME'S UP"

All right, filmmakers. Gather 'round. It's time for the 6th Annual 72 Hour Film Shootout. The Shootout is a nationwide competition where filmmaking teams have 72 hours to complete short films up to five minutes in length. Teams compete for cash and prizes, the chance to have their films screened at film festivals, and ultimate glory.

Oh, it is on. Are you ready? Got your teams together? The 72 Hour Film Shootout officially kicks off tonight, Friday, June 26 when the competition theme is announced at 8:00pm EDT at the New York City launch party:

White Rabbit Lounge
145 East Houston Street (Btwn Forsyth & Eldridge)
(F or V train to 2nd Ave)
New York NY 10002

The theme will also be simultaneously posted online at AAFilmLab.org and the 72 Hour Film Shootout website. And hey, even if you're not competing, come out the launch party and socialize. Singer/songwriter Cynthia Lin will be performing live.

And if you want to take part in the Shootout, but don't have a team yet, it's not too late to register! For interested folks in the NYC area, head to the White Rabbit to find a team or find that missing link! For those in other cities, post your info on the Asian American Film Lab Facebook group wall.

It's going to be another awesome Shootout! There are nearly 50 teams competing from around the country. For more information on the 72 Hour Film Shootout, including prizes, rules, registration details and previous winning films, with the Shootout website here.

olivia munn in playboy

Olivia Munn. In Playboy. Is there really much else to say about this? This post was inspired by Disgrasian: Great News for Your Boner. Thanks, ladies.

it's official: lori phanachone is not an english language learner

Here's probably what is the final update in the saga of Lori Phanachone and the Storm Lake School District... Lori is the Lao American high school student who refused to take her school's required English-language assessment, calling it racist and demeaning.

Lori, who was born and raised in the United States, indicated that had indicated that English was not the primary language spoken at home, the school erroneously classfied her as an English Language Learner.

Under threat of suspension, expulsion and other penalties, Lori boycotted the exam, and received national attention (and big props from Asian Americans everywhere). The school ultimately agreed that she didn't have to take the exam.

In the aftermath of her standoff with Storm Lake, the district has created a comprehensive new ELL classification policy, which sets forth clear steps for identification and classification of ELL students as well as parental notice. Here's the press release from AALDEF:

New York, NY - Addressing criticism from the misclassification of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) client Lori Phanachone as an English Language Learner (ELL), Storm Lake School District has created a comprehensive new ELL classification policy. Storm Lake will retroactively apply this new policy, which sets forth clear steps for identification and classification of ELL students as well as parental notice, to the approximately 1,000 ELLs currently enrolled in Storm Lake public schools.

Khin Mai Aung, the AALDEF staff attorney representing Ms. Phanachone, said: "We are heartened by Storm Lake's willingness to improve its ELL classification policy. Moving forward, we will monitor how Storm Lake applies this new policy to current students who - like Lori Phanachone - may have been misclassified as ELLs."

Storm Lake erroneously classified Ms. Phanachone, a Lao American student with a 3.98 GPA, as an ELL without assessing her actual English ability. This spring, the honors student protested Storm Lake's faulty classification by boycotting a yearly ELL test, resulting in a 3 day suspension, revocation of her National Honor Society membership and extracurricular privileges, as well as a threat of further discipline. After AALDEF's intervention, Storm Lake agreed to reclassify Ms. Phanachone as English proficient, lift all disciplinary consequences from her record, and restore her National Honors Society membership.

Lori Phanachone said: "I'm glad my taking a stand has led Storm Lake to improve its ELL classification policy. Now, other students who were misclassified under the old policy will have a chance to be reclassified as English proficient."
Like I've said before, this issue really struck a nerve with me, and I was so impressed with Lori's determination and conviction to see it through. To be honest, if it was me in the same situation, and I was back in high school, I'm not so sure I would've stuck to my guns. Can you see why I named Lori one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30?


goh nakamura and jane lui at cafe du nord

If you're in the Bay Area, here's a show you don't want to miss next week... Critically hailed Bay Area fave singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura will be playing a show with the totally super-rad Jane Lui on Tuesday, June 30 at Cafe du Nord. Some details from Goh:
Goh Nakamura & Jane Lui

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Cafe Du Nord
2174 Market Street
San Francisco, CA

I've been meaning to play a show with Jane Lui for awhile- you might remember seeing her sing "Surrogate Valentine" with me at my birthday show @ cafe dunord in January... or

at one of the Kollaboration contests, where she won the first place prize in the Acoustic, and 1st runner-up in the finals... or in one of her awesome YouTube vids!

We'd love for you to join us for a beautiful night of music, banter, and guitar sacrifice. (ok, mebbe not the last one)

This is an all ages, seated show! You can buy tickets in advance here: http://tiny.cc/WXWu0

or at the door for $10

Please help spread the word!
Basically, if you like good music, then you want to be at this show. More details on the Facebook event page here. To learn more about Goh's music, visit his website here. For more about Jane Lui, visit her website here. And watch Goh and Jane duet here: Surrogate Valentine.

farewell to the king of pop

The King of Pop is gone. Say what you will about his weirdo ways -- Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer that ever lived. I thought about posting the Filipino prison "Thriller" video, but instead I'll post Far East Movement's tribute to the gloved one, "Dance Like Michael Jackson," produced by Wong Fu Productions and featuring Quest Crew (borrowing MJ's moves), with Brian Tee and Amber Nimedez. MJ, you will be missed.

senate confirms harold hongju koh

Finally, after a long, contentious debate (and a lot of bitter talk from the opposition), former Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh was confirmed this afternoon for the position of legal adviser to the State Department: SENATE APPROVES KOH NOMINATION. Here is a message he sent to supporters:
My dear friends:

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm my nomination as Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Starting tomorrow, I will assume that position, and begin a public service leave from my Yale professorship. I cannot tell you how much your countless acts of friendship and support have meant to me and my family during this confirmation process. So many of you went far above and beyond the call to stand up for me. We will never forget it. Nor could I feel more lucky or grateful.

One former Legal Adviser once described his job as "speaking law to power." I pledge to repay your friendship by doing my very best to serve our country in facing its global challenges.

With more thanks than I could ever express,
The Senate voted 62 to 35 in favor of Koh's nomination, ending a heated three-month confirmation battle in which some Republicans alleged Koh would subvert American sovereignty in favor of international law in his new position. Not surprisingly, the vote was pretty much split along party lines.

Much of the criticism aimed at Koh centered on comments he allegedly made at a 2007 Yale alumni dinner indicating his support of the use of Shariah law in U.S. courts. This, of course, set off a crazy deluge of criticism from conservatives.

To quote Senator John Kerry: "... some of the accusations and insinuations against Dean Koh have simply gone over any line of reasonableness or decency..." I can't help but wonder if Koh would have been scrutinized so intensely if he was Asian American. Come on, you have to wonder.

Whatever. None of that matters now. He's been confirmed, and he has a new job at the State Department. More here: Koh: 'I feel like I am setting sail on a thrilling new adventure.'

t-shirt love: hyphenbot

Available from Blacklava

Description: In honor of that big, loud Transformers sequel currently making a truckload of box office cash, here's Hyphen's fashionably old-school take on the original robots in disguise. Because, you know, we Asian Americans are more than meets the eye. Sorry.

indie film sf stories looking for music

SF Stories, written and directed by Raul Jocson, is an independent feature film about the lives and adventures of "losers" living in San Francisco. Their stories are told through a series of nine short films that shift focus among various supporting characters while presenting the developing relationship of the two lead characters throughout.

The film is currently in post-production, and they're looking for bands and musicians to contribute to the movie's soundtrack. Specifically, Asian American musicians, or at least musicians from the Bay Area. So they're putting the call out. According to the movie's website:
Update. Chong's working on the edit, and I'm searching for music for the soundtrack. I've already got a couple of awesome leads, but we'll definitely need more. What I'd really like is a great collection of music that can stand alone as a listening album in its own right and that somehow embodies San Francisco or Asian-Americans or both. Basically, I just want cool music.

What I want to stay away from are the typical indie cliches such as

1) Moody atmospheric instrumental music. Often performed by a single saturnine synthesizer pondering the lengths of its existence.

2) Punchy guitar-strummed indie folk music whose bright-eyed rhythms give hipsters a raison d'etre to face yet another day.

3) John Mayer

Well, John Mayer isn't an indie movie cliche. But I don't like his music.

So if y'all have any leads on music, email me an email at sfstories@rjwriter.com.
So if you're an Asian American musician who does not play "moody atmospheric instrumentals" or "punchy guitar-strummed indie folk," and you're not, um, John Mayer, maybe your music is the right fit for the SF Stories soundtrack. To learn more about the film, go here.

video for "sleep" by deep foundation feat. jay legaspi

Check it out! It's the brand-new video for "Sleep" by Deep Foundation featuring Jay Legaspi, directed by Choz Belen. It's a very cool, stylized piece of animation that definitely goes well with the track. Good stuff. To learn more about Deep Foundation, go to their MySpace page here. For more about Jay Legaspi, go here.

a hasty replacement for the late judge sandra otaka

A few weeks back, I wrote about the passing of Judge Sandra Otaka, the first Asian American to be elected a judge in Cook County, Illinois.

Now, it usually takes the Illinois Supreme Court about four months, on average, to name a replacement judge, but it apparently took only six days to replace Judge Otaka. What's up with that? Why the hasty replacement?

Judge Otaka was the only Asian American full circuit court judge in Cook County. There are now zero Asian Pacific Americans out of 381 Cook County full Circuit Court judges. The community is not pleased:
Nearly three-dozen groups protest lack of transparency in appointment process

Local Asian American leaders are outraged, dismayed, and disappointed by the hasty action of the llinois Supreme Court to fill a seat left vacant by the recent death of Circuit Co urt Judge Sandra Otaka.

Otaka, who died on Saturday, June 5th, was the first and only Asian American elected to serve as a circuit court judge in Cook County. Her successor was appointed just five days after her death -- before the judge had even been laid to rest.

"The circumstances surrounding the appointment of Judge Otaka's successor suggests that the decision was made without regard to the changing demographics of the comm unity she served," said Diana Lin, president of the Asian American Institute (AAI).

Otaka, first elected judge in 2002, was retained last November in the 9th Judicial Subcircuit District -- home to Cook County's largest concentration of Asian Americans (about 300,000 residents).

The public outcry from community leaders came after they learned that the Illinois Supreme Court had appointed, as Otaka's successor, someone with no ties, or familiarity, with the county's Asian American community.

Nearly three-dozen Asian American groups (see attached list) are demanding more transparency in the appointment process and pushing for diversity on the bench with qualified candidates. The Asian American Bar Association, which expected to be consulted for recommendations of qualified candidates, had not even been notified that the process to select Otaka's successor was already ongoing.

"There are Asian American lawyers qualified to merit consideration for Judge Otaka's vacancy," says Anne I. Shaw, immediate past president of20the Asian American Bar Association (AABA). "Given the historic significance of Judge Otaka's election and her stature as a beloved icon for Asian Americans, we had hoped that the Illinois Supreme Court would have exercised some sensitivity to Cook County's Asian American community by giving strong consideration to the prospect of appointing an Asian American, appointing someone with ties to our community or, at least, alerting Asian American community leaders."

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing minority group within the legal profession, yet continue to be grossly underrepresented in the judiciary. Otaka championed the effort to increase diversity in the Cook County court system. Her death leaves only six judges of Asian ancestry in the county. However, all six are associate judges -- not full circuit court judges like Otaka.

Groups protesting the recent action of the Illinois Supreme Court include:

Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago
Apna Ghar
Asian American Coalition of Chicago
Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE)
Asian American Action Fund Greater Chicago
Asian American Institute
Asian Chronicle USA
Asian Health Coalition of Illinois
Asian Pacific Americans for Progress-Chicago
Chinese American Bar Association
Chinese American Service League
Chinese Mutual Aid Association
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago
Filipino American Network
Hanul Family Alliance
Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services
Indo-American Democratic Organization
Indian American Bar Association
Japanese American Citizens League
Korean American Association of Chicago
Korean American Bar Association of Chicago
Korean American Community Services
Korean American Resource and Cultural Center
Korean American Women in Need
Muslim Women’s Resource Center
National Association of Asian American Professionals- Chicago
National Association of Asian Pacific American Educators – Illinois Chapter
Organization of Chinese Americans- Greater Chicago Chapter
Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago
Pui Tak Center
Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago
South Asian American Policy and Research Institute
South Asian Progressive Action Collective
Southeast Asia Center
Sikh American Heritage Organization
Yes, that's right. Judge Otaka's successor -- someone with apparently no ties or familiarity with Cook County's Asian American community -- was appointed just five days after her death, before the judge had even been laid to rest.

The replacement doesn't necessarily have to be Asian American (that would be nice), but the appointment process should be more transparent, and you just can't understate the importance of diversity on the bench. Cook County deserves better.

that's neaat! hay qua mini-fest this saturday

I posted something about this a few weeks back, but I thought I'd throw out a reminder that "Hay Qua!" Mini-Fest is happening this Saturday, June 27 at The Bitter End in New York, with an impressive roster of passionate creative thinkers/performers.

The event is a mini-fest of inspirational talks, works, and performances from the nation's most innovative Vietnamese Americans. A room full of up and coming fashion designers, chefs, architects, photographers, bloggers, and film directors, among others.

And if that's not enough to get in the door, maybe a Vietnamese sandwich will do it. The Hay Qua organizers recently announced that some of New York's top banh mi creators will be on hand for you to sample their tasty masterpieces. Yes, you want this:
"Hay Qua!" Mini-Fest

Saturday, June 27th / 10-4PM
The Bitter End (147 Bleecker St)
Register: www.thatsneaat.com

A sampling of imaginative minds at "Hay Qua!":

Alex Nguyen, Trumpet Player // www.alexnguyenmusic.com
Ali Wong, "Best Comedian 2009" by SF Weekly // www.aliwong.com
An Xuan Nguyen, Owner of 'BEP' // www.beprestaurant.blogspot.com
Bao Nguyen, Photographer // www.baonguyenphotography.com
Doan Hoang, Director of 'Oh Saigon' // www.ohsaigon.com
Ina Adele Ray, Director of 'El Paso, Vietnam' // www.adeleray.com
Jared Rehberg, 'Operation Babylift' // www.thebabylift.com
Kim Spurlock, Director of 'Buoi Chieu' // www.kimspurlock.com
Phong Bui, Publisher of 'The Brooklyn Rail' // www.brooklynrail.org
Tam Ngo, Reviewer for 'Serious Eats' // www.seriouseats.com
Thu Tran, TV Host of IFC's Food Party // www.thutranthutran.com
Tracy Nguyen, Publicist for Estelle // www.iprmktg.com
Tuan Bui, Owner of 'An Choi' // www.anchoinyc.com
Vinh Hua, Spoken Word Artist // www.vinh-hua.com
Yen Ha, Partner at FRONT STUDIOS Architects // www.frontstudio.com

But hurry, folks. The "Hay Qua!" + Kollaboration Combo Tickets are now $50 and are only available until 6/22, or until it's SOLD OUT - whichever comes first! Join others from as far as Canada, California, Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana, DC and and as close as Philly and Connecticut. And if you're in a group, email thatsneaat@gmail.com for the group discount and accommodation help!
Like I said before, this is promising to be one of those cool events you'll regret missing. For more information, including the full lineup of programs and special guests, and to purchase tickets (they're going fast!), go to the Hay Qua website here.

because you're worth it. well, maybe not you.

In France, cosmetics giant L'Oreal has been found guilty of racial discrimination for considering black, Arab and Asian women unworthy of selling its shampoo. The company apparently sought an all-white team of sales staff to promote Garnier Fructis Style: French cosmetics giant L'Oreal guilty of racial discrimination.

The word went out that Garnier's hostesses should BBR -- "bleu, blanc, rouge" -- the colors of the French flag. This is apparently widely recognized in the French recruitment world as a code for white French people born to white French parents, in effect excluding the four million or so members of ethnic minorities in France.

France's high court ruled that the policy was illegal under French employment law, upholding a ruling given by the Paris Appeal Court in 2007. Perhaps L'Oreal should partner up with Abercrombie & Fitch to develop a whole new super-white inter-company beauty philosophy. That's racist!

the secretary of saving the planet

"Chu is an unabashed crusader for the renewable future, a man whose most basic assumption about energy is that the age of fossil fuels is coming to a close."

Rolling Stone has a really interesting profile on Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winner with a extremely important burden on his shoulder: making sure the entire planet doesn't destroy itself. The article isn't available online, but there's a PDF version available here.

Chu is not only one of President Obama's most trusted advisers on global warming -- by far the most pressing issue facing human civilization -- he is also responsible for doling out $38 billion from Obama's stimulus bill and creating a new economy founded on green energy.

It's a fascinating, in-depth look at Chu, his background -- both personal and professional -- and his unique scientist-as-politician approach to tackling the massive, seemingly insurmountable challenge that lies ahead. Definitely worth reading. (Thanks, Peter.)

school forced hindu kid to eat beef?

This story is from a few weeks back... The U.S. Justice Department is investigating an allegation that staff at the Academy of World Languages, a public magnet school in Evanston, Ohio, fed a Hindu man's son a beef taco despite knowing his strict religious prohibition against beef: Taco incident under investigation.

The Father, Ashish Gandhi, is calling it an "intentional act of religious bigotry." The school clerk apparently took Gandhi's son to the cafeteria and force-fed him the taco. he incident occurred in the midst of a long-running dispute between Gandhi and the school over his son's education and discipline.

Cincinnati Public Schools admits the 5-year-old ate the taco, but denies violating religious discrimination laws. They say the boy chose the taco himself, and the clerk was unaware of his dietary restrictions.

Gandhi has also filed a separate complaint with the Justice Department, alleging that the school system has refused to offer his son, who lived in India until moving to Cincinnati in 2007, services for non-English speaking students. That's also under investigation.

Now, it's one thing to accidentally serve beef to a 5-year-old Hindu kid, unknowingly violating his religious dietary restrictions. That's just ignorance. It's another thing entirely to force feed that kid a beef taco on purpose.

I have no doubt that this probably revolves around a history of cross lines and religious misunderstanding, malevolent or not, between Gandhi and the school. My guess is though, they won't ever be able to get to the bottom of what really happened -- it's probably the kid's word against the clerk's.


free outdoor screening of astro boy/gigantor/voltron!

If you're in Los Angeles, here's a really fun way to spend a summer evening. Wanna watch some cartoons? This weekend, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and Visual Communications present a trio of classic Japanese anime films under the stars at the JACCC's Noguchi Plaza -- Astro Boy, Gigantor and the original Japanese unedited version of Voltron!

As if that wasn't cool enough, the Voltron episodes will have their soundtracks remixed live by a trio of DJs. Heck, bring the whole family. Admission is totally free to the public and there will be concession stands. Feel free to bring your own beach chairs, blankets and beach balls. Details:
The JACCC and Visual Communications present:

Defending the universe for the last half a century: A triple screening of our favorite robots Astro Boy, Gigantor and Voltron!

June 26, 2009, 7:30pm

FREE Outdoor screening on the JACCC Plaza!

DJ's Rani D, Akaider, and Refine!

Door prizes! Bring a blanket!
- Franken's Vegan Hot Dogs
- All American Softy | Coffee & Pretzels
- Sushi Poppers

ASTRO BOY (1963)
English version

The mother Japanese animation, Astro Boy was the first anime series to be broadcast on TV in Japan. The story follows the adventures of a heroic robot named Astro Boy which originated from the manga of the same name, created by legendary Tezuka Osamu.

English version

Set in the "future" year of 2000, Gigantor is the story of a young boy named Jimmy Sparks who lives with his uncle Dr. Bob Brilliant on a remote island. With the help of a huge remote controlled robot named Gigantor, Jimmy fights crime around the world. Gigantor is the American adaptation of the Japanese anime and manga series Tetsujin 28-go by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.

Appearance by Fred Ladd (original producer and writer for Astro Boy and Gigantor [U.S. Versions])

Original unedited Japanese version, with live soundtrack by DJ's Rani D and Akaider.

A team of five young pilots command five robot lions, which when combined form Voltron. In this undefined future era, the Voltron Force was in charge of protecting the planet Arus (ruled by Princess Allura) from the evil King Zarkon (from planet Doom), his son Lotor, and the witch Haggar, who would create huge Robeasts to terrorize the people of Arus.
"And I'll form the head!" Come on, it sounds like a damn good time, right? For some, it'll be a blast from the past, for younger folks, it'll be an introduction to some true animation classics. The DJ soundtrack remix thing alone should be reason enough to come out. For more information about the screening visit the JACCC website here.

do you know an outstanding asian american woman?

ASPIRE (Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence) is now accepting nominations for the 2009 ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year, recognizing young Asian American women in high school and college who are leaders and role models in their communities. Do you know a worthy young woman?

ASPIRE wants to acknowledge the wonderful work young Asian American women do to positively affect the lives of those around them. The 2009 ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year will be presented at the 2009 Asian American Women in Leadership Conference on October 3, 2009 in Boston. Some details:

ASPIRE is pleased to present the 2nd Annual ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year Award, recognizing young Asian American women in high school and college who are leaders and role models in their communities.

Do you know someone who is:

  • A female high school or college student of Asian American descent.

  • A proven leader, with intiative and determination to make a change in her community.

  • A role model for young Asian American women, committed to ASPIRE's mission of empowerment.

  • Who is the ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year?

  • A female high school or college student of Asian American descent

  • She is a proven leader, with the initiative and determination to make a change in her community

  • She is a role model for young Asian American women, and committed to ASPIRE’s mission of empowerment

  • Who can nominate the ASPIRE Outstanding Woman of the Year?

    We welcome any person, regardless of age or gender, to submit nominations for any Asian American girl or woman he or she thinks should be a candidate for this award.

    Timeline (key dates)

  • July 31, 2009 - Nomination submission deadline

  • September 12, 2009 - Winner is notified

  • October 17, 2009 - Award presentation on Conference day
  • The 2008 Grand Prize Winner was Mihiri Tillakaratne, the founder and executive director of Empower a Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving rural communities to Sri Lanka. Read more about her here.

    Chances are, you know an Outstanding Asian American woman who is worthy of this award. Recognize them! To nominate someone, and for full details, prizes, rules and restrictions, go to the ASPIRE website here.

    divided families film fundraising benefit

    I recently learned about Divided Families, a documentary film that chronicles families that were divided against their will after the Korean War. The producers are currently in pre-production, and are trying to raise support for the film. They're holding a fundraising benefit auction event tomorrow night, Thursday, June 25 at Circle Nightclub in New York.

    Your tax-deductible admission ticket will include an open bar, live and silent auction, music, and an introduction to the Divided Families Film. The auction features exciting items including a dress by renowned designer Doo-Ri Chung, spa and salon certificates at some of New York's top establishments, jewelry from local boutiques, custom painted sneakers, and much more. Details:
    NYC Benefit

    Event Program:
    Open Bar, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
    Live Auction, 8:00 - 9:00 pm
    Divided Families Presentation, 9:00 - 9:30 pm
    Silent Auction bids close at 10:00 pm

    Advance tickets on sale for $25 ($30 at the door).

    About the film


    There are an estimated 100,000 first generation Korean Americans with immediate family members in North Korea. During the division of Korea and the Korean War, hundreds of thousands of families have been left divided for over half a century. Every day that passes, more divided family members pass away without the reunion for which they yearn. In the next 10-15 years, the stories of the divided family members will be lost forever. Therefore, this project has a threefold goal:

    1. Document the story of first generation divided family members.
    2. Raise awareness in our communities.
    3. Mobilize support for formal mechanisms of family reunions between Korean Americans and North Koreans.

    We need your help to preserve this history, raise awareness, and give hope to these divided family members.
    Fundraising ain't easy. This sounds like a pretty cool way to make some movie cash, as well as spread awareness about the film. If you can't make it to the event, but you're still interested in supporting Divided Families, donations can be made here. To learn more about the documentary, visit thed Divided Families website here.

    t-shirt love: good asian driver

    "Good Asian Driver"
    Available from Good Asian Drivers

    Description: "Don't listen to what they say. Defeat negative stereotypes and wear your good asian driver shirt proudly!" Following up on yesterday's post about Good Asian Drivers, this shirt is appropriate whether you're a fan or simply just want to declare to the world that you are indeed a good Asian driver.

    dodgers sign korean high school player

    Last week, one Korean baseball player's Major League dreams took one step closer to becoming reality. 18-year-old infielder Tae-hyeok Nam became the first Korean high school player signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodgers sign Korean high school player.

    Nam, a corner infielder, is still playing at Seoul's Jemulpo High School, where he has 22 home runs and 43 RBIs in 65 games, along with a .314 average.

    Nam's Minor League contract with Los Angeles comes 15 years after the Dodgers' signing of pitcher Chan Ho Park, who in the same 1994 became the first Korean native to play in the Major Leagues.

    cosmetic surgeon accused of inappropriately touching patients

    Asians Behaving Badly... inappropriate touching edition! Last week in Stockton, Calfornia, a criminal grand jury handed down a 67-count indictment, all felonies, against former cosmetic surgeon Peter Chi, who is accused of inappropriately touching dozens of his patients, many while unconscious: Indictment accuses Tracy cosmetic surgeon of 67 felony counts.

    Chi is accused of 51 counts of sexual battery by fraud, 15 counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object while the victim was unconscious, and one count of lewd act upon a child.

    According to the indictment, he inappropriately touched 36 women -- including a 15 year old -- between May 2007 and January 2008. Chi has been under investigation since September 2007, after one patient reported being abused, but there wasn't enough evidence to proceed in that case.

    He originally was charged with seven counts of sexual battery by fraud, one count of sexual battery and three counts of rape with a foreign object on eight victims in a complaint filed in February. The number quickly swelled to 36 after word of the accusations surfaced.

    Guess what? Your cosmetic surgeon might be a perv. If eventually convicted, Chi apparently could face 87 years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

    win jienan yuan's we saw everything ep

    Anybody want some free stuff? We Saw Everything, the debut EP from Jienan Yuan, will be released next week from "Actually, Records."

    Five songs of bittersweet, melancholic melodies and lyrics, with a very cool, atmospheric indie-pop sound. I've only had the chance to give it a few listens, but I'm hearing something new with each spin, and I like it. Here's Giant Robot's review blurb:
    "Yuan's melancholy pop makes rainy days, messy breakups, and shitty jobs beautiful. "Glint" and "No Lands Man" have soft vocals and delicate guitars that channel the spirit of Bread. "Because SK" and "Walking Between The Lines" are pure atmosphere, with straight-up piano and synthesizer, respectively. Both songs are cinematic, but nothing compared to "Magdalena Avenue." The final track starts off as a field recording of footsteps, muffled voices, and distant cars, but Yuan's piano hints at a narrative. The effect is haunting and awesome."
    Guest appearances on We Saw Everything include contributions from Ted Flynn (Hope in Ghosts), Jarrod Whittington (The Red Wheelbarrow, Captain Exploder), Carly Oishi (Oishi), and Jon Monteverde (XYZR_KX).

    Some behind the scenes info: The record was actually supposed to be released a while back, but was delayed because Jienan's wife gave birth to twin girls. So understandably, he had a lot going on, and plans got delayed.

    Also, the EP includes the track "Walking Between the Lines," which originally appeared the Apple Inc/Cherry Sky Films short film of the same name, directed by my old high school buddy Vincent Tsu. The disc's cover art is actually a still from the film.

    Want to win a copy of We Saw Everything? I'm giving away the EP to five lucky readers. All you have to do is email me with your name, mailing address, and the answer to this simple question: What is the title of Jienan Yuan's forthcoming full-length album? Be sure to include WE SAW EVERYTHING in the subject line. I'll accept entries until the end of Friday, June 26, then randomly draw five winners. Cool?

    If you're not interested in trying your luck in the giveaway, you can order the EP now from CD Baby. To learn more about We Saw Everything and Jienan Yuan's music, go to the website here.

    store clerk shot to death... and customers keep shopping

    This is a sad, ridiculous story out of Indiana. Sad, because it involves a man getting shot to death. Ridiculous, because bystanders saw the whole thing and didn't do a damn thing: Store Clerk Murdered; Customers Keep Shopping.

    According to Gary Police, surveillance cameras caught one of four suspects bursting into a convenience store booth and shooting 26-year-old clerk Gurjeet Singh in the neck, killing him.

    But the cameras also caught several bystanders milling around near the door almost the whole time. According to police, there were several customers walking around the store after the crime, but only one actually called for help.

    There's a guy laying there, bleeding to death, and everyone in the mini-mart basically ignores him. People apparently just walked in and out of the store and didn't call police. It didn't occur to anyone to dial 911 or even check to see if he was okay. Or maybe they just didn't care.

    winner of the fu manchu (and dumbass hat) award

    The World Beard and Moustache Championships 2009 were recently held in Anchorage, Alaska. The guy pictured above is Ted Stedman, winner of the "Fu Manchu" category. Yes, I know what you're thinking. There is an actual World Beard and Moustache Championships. And yes, there is actually a Fu Manchu category. Nasty.

    Now, I understand that "Fu Manchu" is what the style is commonly referred as, for better or for worse. But did Mr. Stedman really have to dress up in that silly costume, and that butt-ass ugly fake queue? And did the outfit help him win? Perhaps he charmed the judges with a mock Chinese accent. At least he didn't tape his eyes back. (Thanks, Eric.)

    register now for the first-ever asian american comicon

    Some more details are coming together for the first ever Asian American Comicon, happening Saturday, July 11 at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. Please excuse my fanboy geekiness, but it's going to be freaking awesome. And you, good readers, can register at a discount rate.
    WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    (Invitation-only VIP reception begins at 6 p.m.)

    WHERE: The new Museum of Chinese in America
    215 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan

    VIP Pass*: $75 $65
    Adults: $25 $20
    Student (age 11 to 18), Senior (65 and over), MOCA or AAWW Member: $15
    Child (age 10 and under): Free with Adult
    But space is limited, so register now. This unique one-day event will be a gathering of the biggest Asian American creators in manga, mainstream and indie comics, and will feature interactive workshops, interviews, and hands-on opportunities to learn from the top talents in the trade.

    Meet and mingle, get autographs, and just bask in the presence of fellow comic book geeks. And take part in provocative panels like:
    • Nerdpop: The rise of the nerds, and why geek chic is changing the game

    • Every Comic Is Asian American: An all-star lineup of novelists and poets reimagine their favorite comic book characters as Asian American

    • Pop Goes East: How the Asianification of American pop culture has reshaped the graphic novel

    • The New Villains: Muslim insurgents, North Korean dictators, and Chinese spies, oh my!

    • Writers' Bloc: Leading comics writers discuss the craft of writing in panels, and show how graphical narratives allow for stories impossible to tell in any other medium

    • Visual Storytelling--The Master Class: Top comics creators show off their individual approaches to telling stories with pictures

    • Can Comics Pay the Rent?: Is there a future for the comics industry? And do you belong in it?

    • Similar Differences: A one-on-one interview with alt-comics wunderkind DEREK KIRK KIM

    • Asians in Boxes--From Chop-Chop to Silver Samurai: A guided tour with science fiction legend William F. Wu, as he shares samples from his collection of thousands of comics depicting Asian images...good, bad, and definitely ugly

    • Hama Time!: A spotlight interview with comics pioneer Larry Hama, creator of the G.I. Joe universe and winner of this year's KIYAMA AWARD celebrating the achievements of Asians in comics!
    There will be a special keynote and award presentation honoring comics superstar and G.I. Joe mythology creator Larry Hama. Science fiction legend William Wu will also get the spotlight, talking comics and sharing his vast collection of comic books depicting the history of the Asian image in cartoons--from the good, to the bad, to the very, very ugly.

    Other featured guests will include Bernard Chang, Cliff Chiang, Sean Chen, Christina Strain, Fred Chao, Derek Kirk Kim, Christine Norrie, Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, Tak Toyoshima, Misako Rocks!, Kuo-Yu Liang, Sharad Devarajan, and of course, the Secret Identities editors. Like I said, it's going to be awesome. For more information, including full program details, go to the Asian American Comicon website here.


    good asian drivers' drive away home release party

    Kit Yan and Melissa Li, aka Good Asian Drivers, inform me that they recently completed their debut joint studio album Drive Away Home. Get yours here at a special discounted price, along with a free download card of the complete album.
    Self-produced and independently released, Drive Away Home marks Li and Yan's first collaborative record since the beginning of their partnership in November 2007. Capturing the spirit of their previous summer tour, the collection of songs and poems reflects stories heard and told on the road. The album features the talents of Mara Levi and veteran drummer Ashley Baier, who will be joining the Good Asian Drivers on tour this summer.
    I just got my copy in the mail, so I haven't given it a good listen yet, but based on the samples at their website it's groovy folk/rock/pop stuff with a poetic punch. They also have one of the best names for a band. Ever.

    To celebrate the release of Drive Away Home, they're throwing a release party this Thursday, June 25 at New York City's legendary Stonewall Inn. Some info for ya:
    Good Asian Drivers CD Release Party

    Thursday, June 25, 2009
    The Stonewall Inn
    53 Christopher St
    New York, NY

    Join the Good Asian Drivers at the famous Stonewall Inn for the release of their new album, Drive Away Home.

    Serving as an unofficial "pre-pride" party, the event also marks the beginning of GAD's nationwide summer tour, which includes dates at Toronto Pride transAction stage and the San Francisco Pride Main Stage.

    Mara Levi opens the show.
    Good Asian Drivers to follow.
    DJ Libr8 spins.
    For more information, visit the Facebook event page here. The show kicks off the Good Asian Drivers' national summer tour, which lasts for 10 weeks with notable performances at Toronto Pride and the San Francisco Pride Main Stage. To learn more about Good Asian Drivers, and see their full tour schedule, visit the band's website here.

    california should apologize to chinese immigrants

    In California, Assemblyman Paul Fong is promoting legislation that would lead to the first-ever government apology to Chinese Americans for historical persecution, abuse, and discrimination: California should apologize for persecution of Chinese immigrants, legislator says.

    You could say that a large party of early California was built on the backs of Chinese Americans -- farm fields, mines, the transcontinental railroad. For their efforts, they were rewarded with special taxes, forced out of towns and denied rights to own property, marry whites and attend public schools.

    Fong, the grandson of a Chinese immigrant who was interned at Angel Island, says his goal is to eventually convince the federal government to also issue an apology, and then legislate redress for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which specifically barred Chinese immigrants from the U.S.

    The resolution, ACR 42, states: The "Legislature deeply regrets the enactment of past discriminatory laws and constitutional provisions which resulted in the persecution of Chinese living in California, which forced them to live in fear of unjust prosecutions on baseless charges, and which unfairly prevented from earning a living."

    If he gets the state apology, Fong will seek federal redress for the people interned in camps that operated from 1910 to 1942 at Angel Island. More here: Calif. lawmaker seeks apology for Chinese.

    It should be noted that redress movements are rarely successful. Efforts for redress for the enslavement of African Americans, and the massacre and displacement of Native Americans, have been in circulation for years.

    But at this point, it isn't really about the money -- it's symbolic. An official apology from the government would mean acknowledgement and recognition for the injustices endured by early Chinese immigrants. It would mean public education, and not allowing that history to go buried. It would mean justice.

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