seriously and the cool table at the roxy

Our man Woody informs me that one of our favorite bands Seriously will be opening for The Cool Table this Thursday, November 5 at the famed Roxy Theatre in Hollywood. This is going to be a really fun show. Here's the event info:
SERIOUSLY @ the Roxy

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 9:30pm
9009 West Sunet Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

YES, we are performing at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday the November 5th!!! We will be opening for an amazing band called The Cool Table where our producer and the musical genius, WOODY PAK, will be killin' it on the bass. For more information on them, check out their website at...


We need to bring in about 100 adoring and loving fans, so please come out and let's make musical history together! We will be performing a lot of our new songs and giving you a taste of what's to come.

***Contact our mananger Spenser @ snoh@chaostheorymusic.net to order presale tickets. Presale tickets will be $10.
Get your presale tickets here. Seriously's been busy putting together some kickass new music. To hear some samplage, head over to their MySpace page and listen to "Immaculate Addiction." Very cool track. For more info on the band and this week's Roxy show, visit recently re-cobbled Seriously website here.

cnn: five rising asian american stars to watch

So, several months back, CNN did a story on Wong Fu Productions, apparently inspired by their spot on my list of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30. I was interviewed on camera for the story, but I guess I didn't make it into the the final cut. No big deal.

But during my interview, I was also asked if I could name five rising Asian American stars to watch in entertainment. I hadn't really thought about it, but off the top of my head, I named a couple of of musicians and actors (including Wong Fu) who I think are doing some pretty good work.

That was four months ago. I completely forgot about it until this week, when this post popped on CNN's Marquee Blog: Five rising Asian-American stars to watch. Better late than never, I suppose. Special thanks to Douglas Hyde of CNN for giving me the opportunity. As for these five rising stars, hopefully, they are indeed people to watch.

hollywood chinese: the arthur dong collection

If you're in Los Angeles, you've got to check out this awesome exhibition currently running at the Chinese American Museum. "Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection" is an exhibition of movie memorabilia collected by director Arthur Dong during the ten-year research for his documentary Hollywood Chinese.

From the filmmaker's archive of over 1,000 items, a selection of posters, lobby cards, stills, scripts, press material, and other artifacts dating from 1916 to present-day offer vivid graphic examples of how the Chinese have been imagined in the movies during the last century.

If you're a fan of film history, and race/representation in the media, I highly recommend watching Hollywood Chinese. It's a great film that brings together some really remarkable footage from across Hollywood's history, as well as interviews with the actors, directors and writers who shaped these images.

For more, check out this discussion on Hollyood Chinese from WGBH: American Masters: Hollywood Chinese. The exhibition is running now through May 30, 2010. To learn more, visit the Chinese American Museum website here. To learn more about documentary, and to buy the DVD, go to the Hollywood Chinese website here.

indian american suspended over nosering

A few weeks back in Salt Lake City, a Indian American junior high student was suspended for wearing a nose ring -- a piercing she received in honor of Diwali, the "Festival of Lights" -- an action her mother suspects was motivated by race: Bountiful student removes nose stud after school suspension.

Though not strictly a religious rite, the piercing was Suzannah Pabla's way of honoring and feeling closer to her Indian heritage. Her father is from India and a practicing Sikh. However, the nose ring -- a small, jeweled stud -- did not go over well at school. She was suspended until she agreed to remove it.

She wasn't doing it to rebel, though I can't imagine the sentiment means much to the school. Her mother kind of lays it down: "It's not just the nose ring. I'm starting to think it's because she's brown" She also says her older son has endured racial slurs at school.

A news account of Suzannah's experience caught the attention of Rajan Zed, a regular contributor to the Washington Post's interfaith blog "On Faith," and chairman of the Indo-American Leadership Confederation. Zed is calling upon the school to amend its dress code, and publicly apologize to Suzannah and her family.

halloween fun: baby bruce

More fun stuff to kick off your Halloween weekend... Saw this photo on The Poop, the San Francisco Chronicle's baby blog, and had to share it. AWESOME. I love the yarn nunchucks. Considering all the crappy costumes out there, it's always fun to see a cool/cute one.

teen sentenced up to 25 years for killing of 69-year-old man

Yesterday, after being convicted of third-degree murder, 19-year-old Marcquis Walker-Harris was sentenced to 12 1/2 years to 25 years in prison for the July 2007 attack that killed 69-year-old Kwok Wai Ho: Teen given up to 25 years for killing of elderly walker.

Walker-Williams testified in his own defense during the trial, calling his actions dumb but saying he never intended to rob or kill Ho. Yesterday, he repeated that assertion and asked for forgiveness in a rambling 10-minute speech to the judge and Ho's family in the courtroom.

According to trial testimony, Walker-Williams was among a group of teens walking down the street on July 10, 2007 when he spotted Ho. As the group passed Ho, Walker-Williams suggested to his friends that they "catch a body" -- jump someone, throw a punch and run.

Walker-Williams said he ran up behind Ho, wrapped his arm around Ho's shoulders, below his neck, and pulled him back so Ho could not defend himself.

At that point, two neighbors began yelling at Walker-Williams to stop and he released his hold and ran. Ho hit the concrete, struck his head on a curb and sustained a mortal injury. Ho died a week later after his family decided to take him off life support.

Walker-Williams told the victim's family, "I'm nervous, I'm scared, I'm lost, because I don't know what may happen to me." Oh, you're scared? Really? After going over what happened to Kwok Wai Ho, I can't seem to muster up any kind of sympathy for this kid.

new web series: manivore

Something creepy to kick off your Halloween weekend. The folks over at Arowana Films have just dropped a new romantic horror webisode series called MANIVORE, directed by Evan Jackson Leong, written and produced by Anson Ho and starring my pal Grace Su. It's about... food, sort of. Well, just watch the teaser above. Gross, Grace. Episode One of three recently went live. Happy Halloween.

miley cyrus is a bad celebrity influence

We're not big fans of Miley Cyrus around here. It's no secret. Sure, the Disney Channel-bred megastar is only 16-years-old, but she's done a few pretty stupid things. So yeah, I don't think too highly of her. But hey, I've never really been part of her targeted fan base, right?

This isn't directly Asian American-related, but it does please me to share the news that according to an online poll, Miley Cyrus has been voted the worst celebrity influence of 2009: Miley Cyrus voted worst celebrity influence of 2009.

Miley took 42 percent of votes in the poll for AOL's JSYK.com website aimed at 9-15 year olds, in a section on the worst celebrity influences of the year. She beat out both Britney Spears and Kanye West! That's bad.

Like I said, it's not a big deal, but I'll admit -- it kind of made me happy. The Reuters article mentions that she hasn't been having a great year, between controversially dating a 20-year-old model, pole dancing on a teen awards show, and of course, the infamous slant-eyed photo. It's official: you're a bad influence, Miley!


los angeles premiere of vincent who?

For those of you in Los Angeles, you are invited to next week's L.A. premiere of Tony Lam and Curtis Chin's Vincent Who?, a documentary looking back at the hate crime murder of Vincent Chin over 25 years ago, the legacy of activism it sparked within the API community, and how far we still need to go.

The 40-minute film screens on Wednesday, November 4 at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo. Here are the details:
Vincent Who? - Los Angeles premiere

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress proudly presents

The L.A. Premiere of
A New Documentary on Asian American Pacific Islander Empowerment

Over 25 years ago, the hate crime murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit galvanized the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. This new 40-minute documentary, winner of the Media Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, looks back at the movement that started from the case and asks how far we have come and how far we still need to go.

November 4, 2009, Wednesday
6:00-7:30 pm reception with cast and crew - Far Bar (347 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)
7:45 -8:45 p.m. screening - Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy
(next door at 111 N. Central Ave. across from the Japanese American National Museum)

Host Committee (in formation)
Grace Chee, Jennifer Chung, MIke Fong, Vivien Hao, Preeti Kulkarni, Val LiHang Jacobo, Steve Kwon, Lawrence Joe, Say Park, Smita Satiani, Karin Wang, Elizabeth Yang)

Host Committee (in formation)
Grace Chee, Vivien Hao, Preeti Kulkarni, Val LiHang Jacobo,
Steve Kwon, Lawrence Joe, Say Park, Smita Satiani, Elizabeth Yang

$20 for the pre-screening reception and priority seating http://bit.ly/wI8G7
$5 for screening only http://bit.ly/UTeix
All tickets must be paid for in advance, either online or at the Far Bar just before the screening

Please RSVP to: curtis@apaforprogress.org by Nov. 2, 2009
A limited number of V.CHIN t-shirts will be sold at the pre-screening reception. Note: all tickets must be paid in advance, either online or at the pre-reception at Far Bar. For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, go here, and view the Facebook event page here.

grocer faces criminal charges for catching thief

So get this. In Toronto, a Chinatown grocer tackled, bound and held a man stealing from his store still stand... and is now facing criminal charges himself: Toronto grocer charged for catching thief faces further wait.

Wang Chen and two of his employees are facing charges of assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement and concealment of a weapon after they apprehended a man who had stolen from Mr. Chen's Lucky Moose market earlier the same day.

Anthony Bennett pleaded guilty to two charges of theft in August -- one in relation to Mr. Chen's store, and another for stealing from a plant shop on King Street West. Ironically, he got a lighter sentence for agreeing to testify as a witness in the case against Mr. Chen, the store owner who caught him.

Does this case make any sense? I'm not a huge fan of vigilante justice, but this is rather ridiculous. Kidnapping? For catching the guy who was stealing from you? The Chinatown community is apparently rallying around Mr. Chen, with many saying that Bennett has been stealing from their stores going back for years.

t-shirt love: my ninja x ninja assassin

At this point, I'm not too excited by the upcoming Ninja Assassin, starring Korean pop star Rain, (who knows, by some crazy chance, it might end up being awesome) but I do like the crazy poster art.

Even better when the key art is integrated into a t-shirt design. Specifically, this limited edition tee, coming soon from our friends at My Ninja!: PREVIEW: My Ninja! x Ninja Assassin Limited Edition Tee. That's a pretty kickass design. For more from My Ninja!, visit the website here.

northwestern u. fires cop who filed disrimination complaint

Freddie Lee, the Northwestern University Police Department officer who filed a discrimination claim against the university, has been fired. At a recent community forum, Lee's wife revealed that the officer received a letter from the university last Wednesday informing him of the firing: Wife of NUPD officer says he was fired.
The forum, hosted by the Asian Pacific American Coalition, a student organization, aimed to raise awareness about discrimination in the workplace. Freddie Lee did not attend the forum on the advice of his lawyer. Marie Claire Tran, a local attorney, and Diana Lin, an attorney and adjunct lecturer of Asian-American Studies, spoke about the legal protections against discrimination on a panel with Jenny Lee. Lin says that it is too early to, "comment on the strength of (Lee's) case," and instead spoke about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects workers from discrimination in the workplace.

Freddie Lee was placed on paid administrative leave on September 10. He was not allowed to collect his belongings from the police station, including items in his personal locker. Jenny Lee said that after approximately a month of failed attempts to gather the belongings, they were finally delivered last week. His items, including a laptop, clothes and CDs, were packaged in bags normally used for bagging evidence.
It seems that after speaking out against discrimination directed at him on the job, Officer Lee was essentially ostracized, alienated, and ultimately forced out with little notice. True, who would really want to work in an environment like that? But still, the guy deserves justice. Not cool, Northwestern.

austin asian american film festival, november 12-15

Heads up. The Austin Asian American Film Festival is going down in exactly two weeks, November 12-15 at the Alamo Drafthouse South. This four-day festival features over 40 films from around the globe, free outdoor film screenings, Bollywood Dance Party, and more. Highlights include:
Thursday: Opening night party @ KTV Silhouette Lounge
Friday: Bollywood Blowout party @ Malverde
Saturday: Free outdoor screening of Persepolis (Cannes Festival winner and Academy Award nominee) @ the Mexican-American Cultural Center 6pm
Saturday: JenRO Live (West Coast hip-hop rapper, featured on MTV and VH-1) @ The Music Gym 10pm
The 2009 Festival kicks off Thursday, November 12th with the Opening Night screening of local filmmaker Ed Radtke's award-winning drama, Speed of Life, followed by the opening night party at KTV Silhouette Lounge. Some other fun film highlights include:
  • White on Rice (Dave Boyle, 2009), a sleeper hit romantic comedy with lead actress Lynn Chen (Saving Face) in attendance
  • Ramchand Pakistani (Mehreen Jabbar, 2008), a moving story of a young Pakistani boy imprisoned for accidentally crossing the India-Pakistan border
  • Fruit Fly (H.P. Mendoza, 2009), the exuberant and wildly creative musical, which will also be accompanied by a "surprise" viewing
  • Old Partner (Lee Chung-Ryoul, 2008), South Korea's highest grossing independent film of all-time, the heartbreaking and charming tale of an elderly man and his beloved ox
  • Persepolis - A bonus screening - AAAFF is bringing this Oscar nominated and Cannes Festival winner for a one-time outdoor screening on Town Lake! This captivating animated film about an Iranian girl's journey from young punk rebel to outspoken political dissident will be accompanied by the delicious cuisines of three Austin favorites (Sushi-A-Go-Go, Satay Thai, and Get Sum Dim Sum), and will be preceded by the phenomenal Iranian band Tehranosaurus.
  • Tickets for all the films are on all sale now here. Want free tickets? Take the AAAFF Challenge! To fully experience the festival, I suggest purchasing an All Access Badge, which gives you admission to all screenings and events, guaranteed seating and a VIP goodie bag.

    If you're headed to the festival, I do want to mention that I'll be there participating in a free panel discussion, Are You Angry Yet? with Dr. Nhi Lieu, professor of American Studies at UT Austin. It's happening on Thursday, November 12, 2:30pm at the University of Texas, Student Union Bldg, Santa Rita Suite.

    taser first, questions later

    In Oregon, an investigation is under way to determine whether a Eugene police officer overreacted when he used a Taser stun gun to subdue a Chinese student who the officer mistakenly believed was trespassing in an apartment: Another Tasering probed.

    The student, a Chinese citizen who began attending language training classes last month at the University of Oregon, was confronted September 22 inside his rental townhouse by police officers who thought he and his roommate were trespassing.

    A prospective tenant of the apartment saw a man sleeping inside and reported it to police. The apartment complex has apparently had problems with transients before, and the landlord told police he believed the unit should have been vacant.

    So the cops went in to take a look. And at some point, they busted out the Taser, and used it to subdue the student, who does not speak English.

    It was right about then that the landlord realized that the two Asian men inside the apartment had picked up keys for the unit from his office about three hours earlier. Oops. The cops just stunned these dudes for being in their own apartment.

    The officers -- who apparently could not communicate verbally with the Chinese men -- initially detained the students. They were released at the scene after the landlord realized that they were the apartment's rightful occupants.

    A city investigation is under way to determine whether the officer who fired the Taser into the student broke police department rules. Meanwhile, the student has reportedly contacted attorneys to represent him: Tasered student seeks legal aid.

    far east movement is looking for dance crews

    Calling all dancers! Far East Movement is looking for kickass dance crews around the United States to dance with them onstage while they perform their hit single "Girls On The Dance Floor" on the Party Rock Tour with with LMFAO, Paradiso Girls, Shwayze and Space Cowboy.

    America's Best Dance Crew season three champs Quest Crew will be teaming up with FM for the Los Angeles show at the Hollywood Palladium on November 7th. But they'd love for other crews to rock with them when they come to your city. Here's what they're looking for:
    3-6 members in a crew (2 girls and 2 guys in a crew are preferablee - but exceptions can be made if yall are the truth!)
    - Fresh/Flashy Clothing
    - Freestyle dance skills and a routine to "Girls On The Dance Floor"
    If they're performing a track called "Girls On The Dance Floor," I suppose it makes a lot of sense to have some actual girls dancing up there. If you think you've got what it takes, submit the the following info to info@fareastmovement.com:
    Email Subject: "Dance Crew Submission for: Date, City, State"
    - Photo of the crew
    - Link to crew's website or myspace
    - YouTube link of a dance routine or routine to "Girls On the Dance Floor'
    - List of members of the crew - name and gender

    For a better idea of what the guys are looking for, check out this awesome "Girls" routine from America's Best Dance Crew. If you're serious about this, be sure to make your crew's submission 5 days before the show you'd like to dance in. Here's a list of the tour cities:

    11/05/09 Reno, NV @ Pearl at Grand Sierra
    11/06/09 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
    11/07/09 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium - QUEST CREW
    11/09/09 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
    11/10/09 Vancouver, Canada @ Gossip
    11/12/09 Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
    11/14/09 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
    11/17/09 Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
    11/18/09 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
    11/19/09 Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
    11/20/09 St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
    11/21/09 Party Rock Tour @ The Rave
    11/22/09 Chicago, IL @ Congress Theatre
    11/24/09 Des Moines, IA @ People's Court
    11/27/09 Pontiac, MI @ Clutch Cargos
    11/28/09 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
    11/29/09 Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel
    11/30/09 State College, PA @ The Cell Block
    12/01/09 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of the Living Arts
    12/03/09 New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
    12/04/09 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
    12/06/09 Farmingdale, NY @ Crazy Donkey
    12/08/09 Richmond, VA @ The National
    12/09/09 Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
    12/10/09 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
    12/11/09 Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
    12/14/09 Orlando, FL @ Firestone
    12/17/09 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
    12/18/09 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
    12/19/09 San Antonio, TX @ The White Rabbit
    12/20/09 McAllen, TX @ Las Palmas Event Center
    So get your crews together, get the video camera, and dance your ass off. You might just get to perform onstage along with Far East Movement. For more information, go to the FM website here LOOKING FOR DANCE CREWS! And for more information about the Party Rock Tour, go here.

    "asian boobs" iphone app

    Getting really tired of these damn things. Remember the pervy Cute Asian Girls iPhone app? And the pervy Puff! app? If those aren't enough, and you still have the need sickening need to get your Asian fetish on, here's another one: App Store Hypocrisy Update: "Asian Boobs" Fine, Top Seller. Satirical App, Banned.

    Yes, Asian boobs. As in breasts. Of Asian women. Thousands of such photos for your iPhone. And surprise, surprise, it's apparently a top seller at the Apple App store. Great job, pervs. Here is the salacious description:
    Photos of sexy asian girls with BIG BOOBS, 100+ galleries and 2500+ photos, updated regularly. Japanese girls, Korean girls, Chinese girls, Taiwanese girls, models, stewardesses, nurses, school girls, teachers, bikini girls, sexy girls and more.
    All this, for just $0.99. Asian boob shots, ass shots, crotch shots... for your pocket! Perfect for guys like Kevinwww, who coments, "awsome. i luv that asian hotties." And starchild5477, who informs fellow App Store users that "I have always loved Asian woman and with big boob r a true plus!" Ridiculous


    fra presents halloween bash 2009

    Our friends at FRA are throwing a party! Halloween Bash 2009 is a fundraiser show for flood relief in the Philippines. It's happening this Friday, October 30 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, and performers including Macy Gray, Kaba Modern, David Choi, Danny Cho, David Yang, The Rockaz, and host C.S. Lee, along with a whole bunch of celebrity guests. Check it out:
    Halloween Bash 2009
    Philippines Disaster Relief Fundraiser

    Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009
    Time: 10:00pm - 2:00am
    Location: Club Nokia in LA Live Center
    800 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    Macy Gray - DJ Nemesis Jaxson on the 1s & 2s
    Kaba Modern - MTV America's Best Dance Crew
    David Choi - YouTube Singer / Songwriter
    Danny Cho - MadTV, Comedian
    Jason Yang - YouTube Electric Violin Virtuoso

    Special Guests:
    Team Pacquiao - Freddy Roach
    C.S Lee - Dexter
    Leonardo Nam - The Perfect Score, The Fast and the Furious-Tokyo Drift, Vantage Point, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2
    Aaron Yoo - Disturbia, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
    Justin Chon - Twilight, Just Jordan
    James Kyson Lee - NBC's Heroes
    and much, much more (trust us on this!)
    Sounds like it's going to be a pretty awesome show, with some great performers, for a great cause. And look, Kaba Modern wants to see you there. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the Future Rockstars of America here.

    hawaii volleyball coach dave shoji celebrates 1,000th win

    Last week, Dave Shoji celebrated his 1,000th victory as coach of the women's volleyball coach at the University of Hawaii, becoming just the second coach in the history of Division I women's volleyball to reach that milestone: Shoji cements success with 1,000th win

    With four national championships, eight trips to the Final Four and 13 consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles, the University of Hawaii is one of the most celebrated teams in college women's vollyeball -- largely thanks to Shoji's 35-year tenure as coach.

    The Rainbow Wahine defeated New Mexico State in four sets last last Saturday, earning Shoji career win number 1,000 in front of a crowd of 9,293 fans at Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center. More here: UH coach Dave Shoji wins 1,000th volleyball match.

    The historic victory was supposed to have happen a week before, but poor weather kept Louisiana Tech from traveling to the islands. So the milestone victory turned out to be even more significant because NMSU is the primary threat to Hawaii's dominance in the Western Athletic Conference.

    Shoji has coached 24 AVCA All-Americans who have a total of 46 awards. Ten of those players have earned first-team honors at least twice, including 2008 Olympian Robyn Ah Mow-Santos. Shoji joins UCLA's Andy Banachowski in the elite group of 1,000-win coaches.

    the return of jin

    These clips are sort of self-explanatory, but here's the situation. This first video is Dizaster throwing down the gauntlet and issuing a nasty challenge to Jin. It's not safe for work, and is full of offensive Asian jokes, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to battle rhyming. Cheap shots, all around. [UPDATE: "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."]

    Don't worry. I'm sure Jin has heard a lot worse in his illustrious freestyle career. But it was apparently enough to bring him back to the battle. Here's video of Jin responding and accepting the challenge, almost immediately from halfway around the world. He also calls out Illmaculate, who's thrown a dis rhyme or two at Jin recently.

    Welcome back, Jin. This is big. They'll face off sometime next month in Los Angeles, and you bet your ass Jin is going to bring it. Can't wait to see how it all goes down.

    reminder: advancing justice conference, october 29-30

    Just wanted to throw out a reminder about the Advancing Justice Conference, an inaugural national civil rights and social justice conference happening this week, October 29-30, at The Center at Cathedral Plaza in Los Angeles.

    The conference aims to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in one place to address a broad range of issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It serves as a unique forum where researchers, advocates, direct service providers and other leaders can meet face-to-face, talk about their common challenges and find ways to work collaboratively. Here's the basic info:

    The 2009 Advancing Justice Conference: “Asian American and Pacific Islanders Building New Foundations for Civil Rights” is an inaugural national civil rights and social justice conference expected to draw hundreds of community and government leaders and legal professionals from across the country. The Conference will be the largest gathering of advocates and community leaders from the AAPI community to share, network, mentor and address the major policy issues facing our nation today. For a full conference agenda and registration information, please visit: www.AdvancingJustice.org.

    The Advancing Justice Conference is a joint project by the Asian American Institute (Chicago), Asian American Justice Center (Washington, DC), Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (Los Angeles).

    October 29-30, 2009

    The Center at Cathedral Plaza
    555 W. Temple Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012-2707
    The sonference will cover a variety of issues including: immigration reform and enforcement, immigrant integration, human rights, civil rights and national security, health care, Census 2010, redistricting, low-wage workers' rights, hate crimes, and LGBT rights. It also includes presentations on fundraising, community organizing, board and commission participation, capacity building and intergroup collaboration.

    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will make welcome remarks on Thursday, October 29. In addition, Tom Perez, the newly confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, will serve as the lunch keynote speaker on Friday, October 30, 2009.

    I'll be participating in the panel Don't be Left Behind: Get the Buzz on Integrating New Media Techniques into Your Work, along with Jen Wang of Disgrasian, Keith Kamisugi of the Equal Justice Society, Ted Fang of AsianWeek, and moderator Peter Swing of the Asian Law Caucus. It's this Thursday at 2:15. Hope to see you there. And for more information about the conference go to the Advancing Justice website here.

    2009 hawaii international film festival recap

    I have dreams about this view. Thought I'd share a little bit about my little excursion to the Aloha State last week for the Hawaii International Film Festival. I know, be jealous. It was fun. I got to catch a few films, hang with friends, enjoy the sunshine, and take a much-needed break from the regular mainland grind.

    First of all, here are the festival's award winners, including yet another trophy for one of my favorites, Children of Invention, directed by our friend Tze Chun, who walked away with the Puma Emerging Filmmaker Award. Haven't seen it yet? You can buy it on DVD here. Here's the rundown of the awards and recipients:
    -HALEKULANI GOLDEN ORCHID AWARD for Narrative Feature was awarded to EMPIRE OF SILVER, directed by Yao Shuhua.

    -Also the HALEKULANI GOLDEN ORCHID AWARD for Documentary feature was presented to PETITION, directed by Zhao Liang. Feature and documentary feature winners were chosen for best expressing artistic and technical excellence and for promoting cross-cultural understanding.

    -NETPAC AWARD was awarded to CASTAWAY ON THE MOON, directed by Hey-jun Lee, which was a participant in HIFF's Halekulani Golden Orchid Award showcase. The prestigious NETPAC AWARD is given at select international film festivals to promote Asian cinema by spotlighting exceptional works and discovering new talent.

    -PUMA EMERGING FILMMAKER AWARD was presented by PUMA to CHILDREN OF INVENTION, directed by Tze Chun.

    -VIDEO-ON-DEMAND VIEWERS CHOICE AWARD POWERED BY OCEANIC TIME WARNER CABLE and presented by Central Pacific Bank went to AJUMMA! ARE YOU KRAZY?, directed by Brent Anbe.
    This year's film jurors at HIFF represent various careers and talent within the film industry. Jurors for the documentary competition were: Karin Chien, producer; Martin Wong, editor, Giant Robot magazine; and Leanne Ferrer, programs manager, Pacific Islanders in Communications.

    Jurors for the narrative competition were: Toa Fraser, filmmaker; Peter Britos, Chair, Department of Communications and Multimedia Program, Hawaii Pacific University; and Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim.

    Speaking of DDK, I had the chance to hang out and grab a drink with Daniel, who had actually just returned from New York after shooting The Adjust Bureau with Matt Damon. I forgot to snap a photo of our meetup, so here's a screencap of Daniel in the HIFF trailer, which played in front of every screening at the festival.

    Here's the thing about HIFF. Year to year, it has one of the best programs of any film festival out there, a stacked schedule of movies for everyone. But dude, it's Hawaii. So you've got to balance sitting in a darkened theater watching cool movies with the overwhelming urge to run out of there and hit the beach. Here's a brief rundown of some of the films I did manage to catch...

    The Legend Is Alive, directed by Luu Huynh Luu. It stars Dustin Nguyen, who I'll watch in pretty much anything, playing a mentally challenged young man who happens to excel in asskicking, and must save a young woman from a human trafficking gang. As the festival catalog described it:
    "What follows for the next hour is Dustin Nguyen breaking every dirtbag face, back and flower pot that stands in the way of saving his one and only friend in the world."
    That's really what got me into the theater. Plus, the movie features a loving tribute to Bruce Lee. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to make The Legend Is Alive very watchable. It's a shame -- I really wanted to like it, and Dustin's a cool guy, but the movie just has way too many problems.

    9500 Liberty, directed by Annabel Park and Eric Byler. I already mentioned this excellent documentary about the immigration debate the other day, but I can't stress enough how important and timely it is. It's just starting its festival run, so if you get the chance to watch it, seek it out.

    Youth in Revolt, directed by Miguel Arteta. I went in to see this fun little comedy, starring Michael Cera, not really thinking there'd be an APA angle to work into this post. But lo and behold, young Adhir Kalyan pops up in the movie as Nick Twisp's sidekick of sorts, and while his part is brief, it's pretty funny. So there you go.

    Hey, what's this? A movie set? Are they filming Lost?! Nope. I had the opportunity to drive out to the North Shore and check out the set of Michael Kang's latest indie film, Knots, which happened to be shooting at the Turtle Bay resort. It's about a local mom and her three daughters who own a wedding planning business.

    It was apparently a whirlwind, 10-day shoot, but Mike told me that while the pace was kind of crazy, things were going pretty smoothly. Here are the film's stars, who were all very nice. I watched them shoot this scene like ten times.

    Here's Mike doing director stuff and going over the scene with the movie's star/producer/writer Kimberly-Rose Wolter.

    And here's Mike chillin' for a moment with star Sung Kang, who showed up on set with no shirt on. Barefoot too. (This is Hawaii, after all.) He looked like he was having a pretty good time on this shoot. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

    All right, that's enough Hawaii talk. If you're a film lover, and planning a trip to Hawaii, I would highly recommend timing your vacation to coincide with the Hawaii International Film Festival. Many thanks to the staff at HIFF, particularly my man Anderson Le, for showing this blogger a good time. I shall return.

    possible hate crime murder in ventura

    Here's news of a possible hate crime in Southern California... Investigators are looking into an assault on 44-year-old Glenn Hanamoto that occurred hours before he was found dead in his motor home early last week: Ventura police investigate fight that preceded man's death.

    According to authorities, Hanamoto had bruises on his lower legs, arms, chest and a shoulder, but an autopsy showed that none of the bruises were fatal. The autopsy found he had numerous medical conditions, including infections.

    Hanamoto worked as a hot dog salesman. On the night of the assault, he went into a bar to let patrons know that hot dogs were available from his cart outside. According to witnesses, at some point in the evening, a group of skinheads picked up Hanamoto and threw him hard.

    When his girlfriend woke up the next morning, she found Hanamoto dead.

    His family is hoping the police do a thorough investigation into the circumstances behind Hanamoto's death, including whether his ethnicity played a role in the assault. The guy was just trying to sell some hot dogs. Damn.

    a racist jack o'lantern?

    Lori sends in this photo from Seattle, where all the businesses in the Madison Park neighborhood have been outfitted with paper jack o'lantern pumpkins to celebrate Halloween. The dentist's office has one, as well as the salon, the pharmacy, etc. But take a look at the pumpkin they happened to give to the sushi restaurant, Nishino's. What is up with that? (Thanks, Lori.)

    Speaking of Halloween, our good blogger friend Carmen Van Kerckhove of Racialicious was a recent guest on NPR's Tell Me More, talking about those culturally insensitive Halloween costumes (like these) that seem to pop up every year: When Halloween Costumes Become Offensive.

    job interview tip: spell check your fake offer letter

    Oh, this is funny. I am no expert at the cover letter-resume-interview game. I've done okay, but I've had my share of job application fails. However, I do know it's not a good idea to drop big-ass lies on your potential Wall Street employers. One guy did it, and it came back to burn him: Jeffrey Chiang Will Be Receiving No New Offers Of Employment.
    Tip one: don't lie about having received an offer from one firm while you're interviewing with another. Tip one-A: if you're going to lie about said fake offer, impersonate someone and forge a little evidence: easy on the typos. Spelling Bank of America without 'c' is going to be a red flag. Jeffrey Chiang knows what we're talking about.

    Chiang apparently interviewed at Bank of America, where he was asked if he had any offers from other firms. Jeffrey claimed that he was in his second round of interviews with Morgan Stanley. An associate at BofA then contacted his friend at Morgan about Jeffrey's prospects. The Morgan guy said that contrary to popular belief, JC had only had a phone interview, at which time he claimed to have gotten a full-out offer from BofA. As proof, JC provided a fabricated email allegedly from a recruiting woman at Bank of America, who would probably be surprised to be informed she'd offered Chiang a job (and that she didn't know how to spell "America"). The Morgan people forwarded the faux letter of employment back to the people at Bank of America who were doing recon and from there it was forwarded to the entire free world.
    It wasn't the typo alone that did it, but that's one hell of a red flag. Spell check, fool. That said, if it wasn't the fake email that did it, it sounds like something else would've eventually taken him down. The guy sounds like an ass. To read his fabricated, tragically unconvincing offer letter, as well as the email exchange that busted him, go here.

    Foolish Jeffrey has apparently been "blacklisted" by employees at a long list of firms. I'm guessing he will have to set his career goals a little lower now.


    panel discussion with nonprofit leaders at ucla

    Cool panel discussion happening at UCLA tomorrow night, involving several key API community leaders from the nonprofit sector, representing the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the National Korean American Service & Education Cosortium, Little Tokyo Service Center, and the Asian Pacific Policy Planning Council. Here are the event details (in case you can't read the flyer above):

    KNOW the issues. MEET the people. MAKE a difference.

    Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
    Time: 7:00-9:00pm
    Place: UCLA, Kerckhoff Grand Salon
    **Free food will be provided

    Calling all AAPI student leaders! Are you concerned about the local and national issues facing your community, such as education, housing, immigration rights, health care, social justice, etc? Come hear what local leaders in the Asian Pacific American community are doing to address the most pressing issues in our community today, and what you can do to make a difference!


    Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director
    National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
    (National CAPACD)

    HyunJoo Lee, National Organizing Director
    National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

    Bill Watanabe, Executive Director
    Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC)

    Mark Masaoka, Policy Coordinator
    Asian Pacific Policy, Planning Council (AP3CON)
    This sounds like a really great event for anyone interested in getting involved in nonprofit community work, or just hearing from API leaders who are making a difference. The event is sponsored by the APA-UCLA Alumni Association and Critical Asian Pacific Students for Action. For more information please contact Brian Chiu at brianchiu@ucla.edu.

    new reports highlight growing clout of asian american voters

    Today, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center released two new reports showing that get-out-the-vote campaigns conducted during the 2008 General Election contributed to a record number of Asian American voters in Los Angeles County: NEW REPORTS HIGHLIGHT GROWING CLOUT OF ASIAN AMERICAN VOTERS (PDF).

    Record numbers of Asian Americans countywide (293,000) voted in the 2008 General Election. The number of Asian Americans casting ballots in 2008 jumped 39% from the 2000 General Election, almost double the rate of growth in the number of all voters.

    APALC's get-out-the-vote campaigns in 2006 and 2008 provide first-of-its-kind evidence that Asian Americans respond to conventional voter outreach methods.

    Bilingual phone calls placed before the 2008 General Election increased turnout by almost 6 percentage points among Asian American voters contacted. Similarly, phone calls placed before the June 2008 Primary Election increased turnout by 17 percentage points among voters contacted.

    Here are some selected highlights from Asian Americans at the Ballot Box: The 2008 General Election in Los Angeles County:
    Voter Registration and Turnout: Los Angeles County

  • Over 412,000 Asian Americans were registered to vote and 293,000 Asian Americans cast ballots in the 2008 General Election.
  • Asian Americans made up 10% of registered voters and 9% of voters countywide.
  • Between the 2000 and 2008 General Elections, the number of Asian American voters grew 39%. In contrast, the number of all voters countywide grew only 22% over the same period.
  • 71% of Asian Americans registered to vote cast ballots.
  • 75% of Asian Indian, 56% of Cambodian, 69% of Chinese, 76% of Filipino, 83% of Japanese, 67% of Korean, and 66% of Vietnamese American registered voters cast ballots.

    Voter Behavior and Attitudes: Los Angeles County

  • 63% of Asian American voters supported Barack Obama for President, including 86% of Asian Indians, 69% of Chinese, 57% of Filipinos, 60% of Koreans, and 51% of Vietnamese Americans.
  • 90% of Asian American voters expressed support for universal healthcare, including 90% of Asian Indians, 87% of Chinese, 89% of Filipinos, 90% of Koreans, and 96% of Vietnamese Americans.


    Information on Asian American voter registration and turnout was drawn from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters Office's Los Angeles County Voter File, while information on how Asian Americans voted was drawn from the 2008 Southern California Voter Survey. The Voter Survey was an exit poll conducted on Election Day during the 2008 General Election that surveyed nearly 3,300 voters in Los Angeles County, including almost 1,000 Asian Americans.
  • Here are some selected highlights of Getting Out the Asian American Vote: Achieving Double Digit Increases in Turnout During the 2006 and 2008 Elections:
    Campaign Summary and Methodology

  • APALC volunteers made bilingual phone calls to “low-propensity” Asian American voters, generally defined as individuals who are registered to vote, but have infrequent voting patterns. These calls were placed during the weeks leading up to four elections (June 2006, November 2006, June 2008, November 2008).
  • APALC conducted its get-out-the-vote efforts as “field experiments” in which voters were divided into two groups - a treatment group that received phone calls from APALC volunteers, and a control group that received no phone calls from APALC. A statistical analysis was conducted to estimate the increase in turnout generated by the calls.

    Increases in Voter Turnout Generated by Phone Calls: Los Angeles County

  • June 2006 Primary Election (low overall turnout): While voters not targeted by APALC for phone calls voted at a rate of 8.4%, voters successfully contacted by APALC volunteers voted at a rate of 10.9%. This represents an increase of 2.5 percentage points attributable to the calls - or a significant 30% relative gain in votes compared to voters not targeted.
  • November 2006 General Election (moderate overall turnout): While voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 27.4%, voters successfully contacted by APALC voted at a rate of 31.1%. This represents an increase of 3.7 percentage points attributable to the calls.
  • June 2008 Primary Election (low overall turnout): Phone calls increased turnout by 4.0 percentage points among voters contacted by APALC volunteers, and reminder phone calls placed just prior to Election Day increased turnout by an additional 13.2 percentage points among contacted voters. This represents a total 17.2 point increase in turnout. In other words, voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 11.2%, whereas voters contacted twice by APALC voted at a rate of 28.4% - more than double the rate of voters not targeted for phone calls. Notably, Asian American low-propensity voters contacted by APALC actually surpassed the turnout rate of all voters countywide (20.0%).
  • November 2008 Primary Election (high overall turnout): Phone calls, coupled with reminder calls placed just prior to Election Day, increased turnout by 5.7 percentage points among voters contacted by APALC volunteers. Voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 65.3%, whereas low-propensity Asian Americans contacted by APALC voted at a rate of 71.0% - the same rate as all Asian Americans countywide.
  • The two reports, Asian Americans at the Ballot Box: The 2008 General Election in Los Angeles County and Getting Out the Asian American Vote: Achieving Double Digit Increases in Turnout During the 2006 and 2008 Elections, can be found online at the APALC website here.

    music video: "american pie" by vox merger

    Director Patricio Ginelsa tells me about his latest music video, "American Pie" by Vox Merger. Cool track, and another cool video from Kid Heroes Productions. And yes, Patricio, I'm certainly old enough to get the Superman homage. To learn more about the making of the music video, go here. And for more from Vox Merger, go here.

    stuff you already knew: film/tv diversity sucks

    According to new casting stats released by the Screen Actors Guild, minorities, seniors and female actors have achieved few gains in recent years in the number of film and TV roles they receive: SAG stats: Diversity lags.

    Raise your hand if this comes as a surprise. Anyone? Didn't think so. The latest statistics, released Friday, showed minority performers reached a high mark in 2007, with 29.3% of total roles, and then declined last year to 27.5%.

    The breakdown of film and TV roles for 2008 was 72.5% Caucasian, 13.3% African-American, 6.4% Latino-Hispanic, 3.8% Asian-Pacific Islander, 0.3% Native American and 3.8% other-unknown.

    SAG noted in its report that U.S. Census data from 2000 showed that the nation's population was 73.4% Caucasian, 11.5% African-American, 10.6% Latino-Hispanic, 3.7% Asian-Pacific Islander and 0.8% Native American.

    Interesting. Simply comparing the number of roles to U.S. population, APA actors are actually evenly represented. But these census numbers are nearly a decade old, and the report doesn't say anything about the quality of the roles in question.

    SAG specifically notes that APA actors were the only minority group to gain from 2007 to 2008, increasing from 3.4% to 3.8%, thanks to gains in television. Feature films, I'm guessing, is another issue entirely.

    It's true -- as an average TV watcher, there's definitely been an improvement in the number of roles played by Asian Americans. That said, I still think we have some ways to go before we see a bona fide Asian American movie star.

    9500 liberty screening in san francisco

    Saw a handful of films last week at the Hawaii International Film Festival, but my favorite was clearly the documentary 9500 Liberty, directed by Annabel Park and Eric Byler. It's a fascinating, powerful examination of how a heated national issue -- immigration reform -- unfolds in a specific local community, with Eric and Annabel in the thick of it, cameras rolling. Here's the official synopsis:
    Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America's explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have "probable cause" to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.

    9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government.

    The devastating social and economic impact of the "Immigration Resolution"
    is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.
    This is a remarkable, important film, and will only resonate more as our nation continues to grapple with its changing understanding of what it means to be American -- a definition some find under assault, while others choose to re-define. This film shows what happens when those two sides collide on a very real level.

    For those of you in the Bay Area, there will be a premiere screening this Thursday, October 29 at the Sundance Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco -- one night only. Here are the details:
    9500 Liberty to Premiere in the Bay Area

    The event begins with a cocktail reception at the theatre to raise funds for the completion of the film with VIPs and the filmmakers in attendance. This will be followed by the San Francisco premiere screening. Markos Moulitsas, Founder of Daily Kos, will introduce the film. President of SF Board of Supervisors David Chiu, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, and District 9 Supervisor David Campos will also be in attendance.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009
    6pm-7pm Cocktail Reception with VIPs & the Filmmakers
    7pm-9pm Screening followed by Q&A

    Sundance Kabuki Theatre
    1881 Post St.
    San Francisco, CA

    Reception & Screening - $25
    Screening only - $10
    The screening is hosted by Citizen Hope, NDN and Netroots Nation. I highly recommend checking out this film if you get the chance. For more information about the film and this week's San Francisco premiere, visit the 9500 Liberty website here. And be sure to watch the new trailer here. And spread the word.

    miss saigon movie adaptation in the works

    Oh, blech. They're making a Miss Saigon movie. According to Variety, former United Artists studio head Paula Wagner is putting together a screen version of the hit Broadway musical, to be helmed by Precious director Lee Daniels: Wagner heads to 'Saigon' with Daniels.

    I suppose it was inevitable. While movie adaptations of big musicals are tough to pull off, they're definitely making a comeback. But there's always been a bit of bad blood between Asian Americans and this musical, and I really don't want see it.

    A contemporary adaptation of Puccini's Madame Butterfly opera, Miss Saigon is the tragic love story of a Vietnamese bar girl and an American soldier before the fall of Saigon in 1975. The musical, which opened on the West End in 1989 and played on Broadway for nearly 10 years, has been performed in 25 countries.

    A screenwriter is reportedly about to be hired, and financing discussions are under way with hopes of getting the film into production next year for a 2011 release.

    photo of the president and asians in the oval office

    Another cool photo from the Official White House Photostream, just because. This is President Obama holding a briefing a few weeks ago in the Oval Office, prior to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative Executive Order signing, and Diwali festival of lights ceremony at the White House.

    Asians in the Oval Office! That's Tina Tchen, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, on the right. Of course, you know Kalpen Modi, aka Kal Penn, who works in the Office of Public Liaison. And I believe that's Eugene Kang, Special Assistant to the President, in the back. (Thanks, Ed.)

    chinese food delivery woman shot and robbed

    A Chinese food delivery attack, this time a woman who was shot and critically wounded while delivering dinner Monday night in DeKalb County, Georgeia: Chinese food delivery woman shot in DeKalb.

    The woman was delivering dinner from the Magic Wok to the Highland Run East apartments. According to police, sometime after 8:00pm, as she waited in the parking lot, someone came to the car and and tapped on the window.

    When she rolled her window down, the person shot her in her torso.

    Here's the part that's crazy to me. Police say she then "fled the scene and went back to her job" two miles away. With a gunshot wound to the torso! From there she was taken to an area hospital where she is listed in critical condition.

    Investigators haven't identified a suspect, but the woman was victim of an armed robbery. Yet another Chinese food delivery worker falls -- this time, a woman. I feel like we hear about these way too often, and they're getting worse.


    "fil-i-am" benefit showcase at pitzer college

    Check it out... if you're anywhere near around Pitzer College (named one of the Best Colleges for AAPI Students) this Thursday, the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS), the Pilipino Club and the Asian Pacific American Coalition have organized a benefit show for typhoon relief in the Philippines, featuring the Quest Crew, Paul Dateh and others. Here are some details
    "FIL-I-AM: Benefit Showcase" for Typhoon Relief

    Thursday, October 29, 2009
    7:30 PM
    Pellisier Mall (Mounds) Pitzer College, Claremont, CA

    Live performances by:
    Quest Crew
    Paul Dateh
    Filipino Warrior Arts Exhibition by Legacy Marital Arts Studio
    UCLA Samahang Modern Dance
    Claremont College 5C Dance Team

    In response to the tragedy Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have brought to the Philippines, the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS), the Pilipino Club and the Asian Pacific American Coalition invites the community to its "Fil-I-Am" benefit showcase on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 7:30pm at Pitzer College. The event is open to the community with a suggested donation of $5-10. This is an outdoor, alcohol free event. Parking is free.
    Affected areas in the Philippines are still recovering from Typhoon Ondoy and Super Typhoon Pepeng, which brought the most devastating floods in the last 40 years. In one week, the typhoons caused over 750 deaths, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and resulted in $7 million in damages. This is just one way people are trying to help. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.

    teen girls arrested in celebrity home burglaries

    Asian behaving badly... celebrity home burglary edition! 19-year-old Rachel J. Lee, arrested along with several other women last week in a sting operation, is believed to be the mastermind behind recent break-ins at the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge and Orlando Bloom: Fashion-Obsessed Woman Behind Paris and Lindsay Break-Ins.

    According to Los Angeles police detectives, the group studied television shows, celebrity magazines and websites picking out clothing and jewelry they wanted. Then they figured out where the celebrities lived and, after casing the homes, broke in and took what they wanted. More dirt here: Lindsanity/Audrina Burglar Update! The Real Thieving Master Mind Identified!

    The alleged burglars would apparently focus on one star at a time, learning about his or her movements and routines by searching the Internet for paparazzi photos and news about schedules. The suspects were selective about what they took: usually thousands of dollars in jewelry, designer clothing and accessories.

    Among those arrested last week were Courtney Ames, 18, Diana Tamayo, 19, and Alexis Neirs, 18. Ames and Neirs have since been released on $50,000 bail. Both Lee and Tamayo were previously arrested July 29 for shoplifting at a Sephora beauty store in the San Fernando Valley. More here: Teen girls arrested in break-ins at homes of Lohan, Hilton and other young celebrities.

    Something about this whole situation strikes me as extremely sad. It's one thing to observe the "celebrity" lifestyle and be obsessed with it. But being so obsessed that you're willing to literally steal from said celebrities? Kind of pathetic.

    the bruce lee brand

    This is an interesting Wall Street Journal article on recent increased efforts by Bruce Lee's estate -- led by his daughter Shannon Lee -- to raise the profile, market and license the late martial arts star's image into a lucrative global brand: Battling to Make Bruce Lee a Lucrative Brand.

    Last year, Ms. Lee bought back the rights to his image from General Electric Co.'s Universal Studios, which had held them since the late 1980s. She has since formed Bruce Lee Enterprises, a licensing company, and LeeWay Media Group, a production company, and re-launched BruceLee.com. From the press release:
    BruceLee.com will be the beacon of all things Bruce Lee on the Internet,” said Shannon Lee. "The site will include everything from facts about Bruce Lee to digital content to merchandise. I’ll also be writing a blog. My father’s fans have been asking for a place to find information and communicate with each other. This site will be a meeting place for our community."

    LeeWay Media Group, the television and film production company, is actively coordinating a slate of film and television productions. Projects in development include a Chinese language biopic directed by noted Hong Kong director Andrew Lau, an animation project with Waddell Media and Ireland-based Flickerpix, a CG action film, and a Broadway musical from veterans David Henry Hwang (M Butterfly), Stuart Oken (Lion King), Director Bartlett Sher (South Pacific), and David Yazbek (The Full Monty).

    Recently completed projects include a 50-part television biography of Bruce Lee that aired in China on CCTV and How Bruce Lee Changed the World, which aired on the History Channel.

    Bruce Lee Enterprises (BLE), the licensing company, has been focused on a slate of merchandising and advertising deals that include Pepsi Cola, Nokia, Lucky Brand Jeans and Charter Communications. "The ethos of Bruce Lee - action, power, grace and style - provides a broad base appeal that we are just beginning to realize," says Alex Stephens, VP of Licensing at BLE. "Bruce smashed racial, gender and generational barriers during his lifetime and our partners understand that his image enables them to market products to a broad and attractive demographic.
    You know I'm a huge Bruce Lee fan. Call it blatant commercialism, but I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for Bruce Lee stuff. I own like ten different Bruce t-shirts, both bootleg and official. Put some kind of cool Bruce Lee thing in front of me, and I'll probably buy it. He's just that kind of larger-than-life icon. But is there such a thing as taking the merchandising too far? I suppose you'll know when you see it.

    traffic agent confrontation caught on camera

    This confrontation, between a NYPD traffic agent and a car owner in New York's Chinatown, was caught camera earlier this month. According to witnesses, the agent allegedly struck, cursed at, and made racist comments against Qiang Nian Zhu, who says he was just trying to explain that he was parked legally. However, it was Zhu who ended up behind bars: Traffic Agent Confrontation in Chinatown.

    man convicted of manslaughter for drowning death

    Remember Du Doan? He's the 62-year-old Vietnamese who was shoved into Lake Michigan and drowned to death in Chicago two years ago. Last week, a Cook County jury convicted 33-year-old John Haley of involuntary manslaughter for Doan's death: Manslaugter conviction for pushing fisherman into lake.

    That's it? Manslaughter? During closing arguments, prosecutors implored jurors to convict Haley of murder, saying they shouldn't buy his excuse that when he pushed Doan into the water, he did it for a joke and didn't know the man could not swim.

    The jury late Friday came back with a guilty verdict for involuntary manslaughter.

    I certainly don't buy Haley's defense it was just a careless, drunken night of messing around. For a moment, back in September 2007, police were looking into whether or not the drowning could be a possible hate crime, but for some reason, later backed off that idea.

    This was a violent crime that took a life. But to the jury, that's still just involuntary manslaughter. Haley faces a sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison, though the range could be extended to up to 10 years because he has a previous drug conviction. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 19.

    more oriental hooker-y for halloween

    As you know, there are many trashy and exploitative Asian-themed costumes out there. It's a tradition I dread every year. Here's yet another one: Shanghai Girl Costume. Perfect for anyone who wants to do the sexy, seductive Asian thing for Halloween, but lack that, um, Asian-ness:
    Explore the wonders of the Orient in a seductive Asian-inspired mini. Includes floral hairpiece and fan. Polyester/spandex. Imported.
    Imported from where? Surely not Shanghai. And yes, I understand that it is from Frederick's of Hollywood, which means it's actually supposed to be extra trashy. So ladies, you can be a sexy cop, a foxy flapper... or a Shanghai Girl. It's also available in Shanghai Girl Plus, so nobody feels left out of the Oriental exploitation. Hooray. (Thanks, Cathy.)

    Oh, and to see many more ridiculously inappropriate Halloween costumes (get your own KKK robe!), go here: Politically Incorrect Halloween Costumes.

    balloon boy's mother admitted it was a hoax

    The truth behind the Balloon Boy fiasco continues to unravel in every way possible.

    According to court documents released Friday, Mayumi Heene, the mother of the 6-year-old boy everyone feared missing inside a runaway helium balloon, was the one who admitted to authorities that the whole saga was a hoax: Affidavit: Mom told deputies balloon saga was hoax.

    Heene told sheriff's deputies that she and her husband Richard "knew all along that Falcon was hiding in the residence," according to an affidavit used to get a search warrant for the home. She allegedly told investigators the incident was a hoax, devised about two weeks earlier, to make them more marketable to the media.

    Yes, in the immortal words of Falcon Heene, "We did this for the show."

    The Larimer County Sheriff has said he will recommend charges against the Heenes including conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities, and attempting to influence a public servant. The most serious charges are felonies and carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

    Richard Heene previously denied it was a hoax. My guess is, knowing what we now know about this crazy couple and this family, things are not good in the Heene household. But hey, they got wanted they wanted -- they made it on TV!

    sen. inouye is the third-longest-serving u.s. senator

    Last week, Senator Daniel Inouye became the third-longest-serving senator in U.S. history, a landmark for the powerful lawmaker who has held a seat in Congress for as long as Hawaii has been a state: Hawaii Sen. Inouye moves up in seniority.

    That's 47 years -- a career that has included being a member of the Watergate investigative committee in the 1970s, chairman of the Iran-Contra probe in the 1980s, and current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Inouye is the first Japanese American to serve in both the Senate and House of Representatives. He was Hawaii's first full member in the House of Representatives when he took office the same day the islands became a state 50 years ago, on August 21, 1959. Three years later, he was elected to the Senate.

    With 17,095 days in the Senate, Inouye trails only West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd and the late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in career longevity. Inouye will catch up with Thurmond in eight months, and he's still about four years behind the 91-year-old Byrd. More here: Clinton Hearts Inouye, on Senate Floor.

    It's a huge milestone for a political icon who has served the United States, with many amazing, historic accomplishments. But wait. There's recently been an issue that's getting Senator Inouye some negative attention...

    An amendment that would prevent the government from working with contractors who denied victims of assault the right to bring their case to court is in danger of being watered down or stripped entirely from a larger defense appropriations bill... by Senator Dan Inouye: Franken's Anti-Rape Amendment May Be Stripped By Senior Dem, Sources Say.

    Inouye is reportedly considering removing or altering the provision, which was offered by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and passed by the Senate several weeks ago. According to multiple sources, Inouye's office has been lobbied by defense contractors adamant that the language of the Franken amendment would leave them overly exposed to lawsuits and at constant risk of having contracts dry up.

    The Senate is considering taking out a provision known as the Title VII claim, which (if removed) would allow victims of assault or rape to bring suit against the individual perpetrator but not the contractor who employed him or her. More here: Franken's anti-rape amendment in trouble?

    Could this really happen? Could massive lobbying from defense contractors really derail this amendment, which seems like a no-brainer? Senator Inouye, are we really going to prioritize defense contracts over the rights of sexual assault victims?


    matcha: thai river festival

    Hey, San Francisco! MATCHA, the Asian Art Museum's bi-monthly after-hours art/music mixer, returns with this Thursday with a Loi Krathong celebration Thai River Festival. Here's the info blurb:
    MATCHA: Thai River Festival
    Thursday, Oct 29, 5:00-9:00 pm
    Asian Art Museum
    ONLY $10 (includes admission to Emerald Cities)

    Loi Krathong -- Thailand's annual river festival of lights -- includes the ethereal practice of floating offerings along waterways, usually performed on a full moon night. A banana-leaf cup drifting down the stream carries away ill-fortune and honors the River Goddess.

    Join us at MATCHA for our own Loi Krathong celebration! See classical dance and live ensemble music by the Thai Cultural Center, enjoy a rare puppet performance by the Mandalay Marionettes Theatre (from Burma), create a river offering (in Thailand they're floated down waterways), learn about the mythical Thai Bird people, sample the vibrant flavors of Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, engage in docent conversations, stroll the galleries, sip cocktails from the cash bar, mingle with friends, and step into Emerald Cities -- a luminous exhibition of stunning artworks from 19th-century Siam and Burma.
    Bring some friends, sip a cocktail and experience some cool art. It's happening this Thursday, October 29 at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. For more information about MATCHA, go here. And to larn more about the Asan Art Museum's Emeral Cities exhibit, go here.

    twitter tip: don't call your coach a racial slur

    Be careful what you Tweet. I don't know what's more stupid: the fact that a college football player would refer to one of his coaches with a racial slur, or that he didn't think he'd get in trouble for writing the message on Twitter.

    UCLA freshman Randall Carroll tweeted a message to a top high school recruit where he referred to Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow with a racial epithet: Tweet from UCLA player's account uses racial epithet for Norm Chow.

    The post, from the account of OCiAM, dated October 22, referred to the Bruins' last three games before Saturday and read:
    "man oregon, stanford and cal should have been easy wins ,, but [expletive] thys [racial slur] norm chow dnt be trustin us ,, so it is what it is."
    Take a wild guess and fill in the blank with your own racial slur -- it's probably what you're thinking. Carroll directed the tweet to the attention of La Canada St. Francis High running back Dietrch Riley. And oh yeah, it could be seen by the public.

    Regarding the remark, Carroll tried to justify the tweet by saying:
    "I was frustrated, tired of losing, I wasn't trying disrespect Norm Chow in any way. . . . He was one of the reasons I came here. I was just saying I didn't feel like he trusted us, because we are such a young bunch. I wasn't downgrading his coaching."
    Seriously? Not trying to disrespect him? Criticizing the coaching is one thing -- I get it, he's a young player and he has a few things to learn -- but using the racial slur, no matter who you're talking about... that, by definition, is disrespect. That's racist!

    Ridiculous. Carroll's Twitter account was apparently deactivated on Saturday. And it looks like Chow and Carroll had a conversation about using derogatory words. My guess is, that was a pretty long flight back to Los Angeles.

    UPDATE: The actual text of Carroll's Tweet reveals that the racial slur in question doesn't actually refer at all to Norm Chow's Chinese heritage: Re. Randall Carroll's Tweet Directing At Norm Chow. Doesn't make what he said any less idiotic, but there it is.

    video captures police beating of student

    In San Jose, a cell phone video that shows San police officers repeatedly hitting an unarmed university student with batons and a Taser gun has prompted a criminal investigation into the officers' conduct: San Jose police officers caught on video using baton, Taser gun on suspect.

    The video, posted on the San Jose Mercury News website, shows one officer hitting 20-year-old Vietnamese student Phuong Ho with a metal baton more than ten times, including once on the head. Another officer is seen using his Taser gun on Ho. The final baton strike appears to take place after handcuffs have been attached to Ho's wrists.

    Officers arrested Ho on suspicion of assaulting one of his roommates, after argument and scuffle in which Ho picked up a steak knife. He was not armed when police arrived and he told the newspaper he didn't resist arrest:
    The incident occurred after a Sept. 3 encounter between Ho and roommate Jeremy Suftin that began when Suftin slopped soap on Ho's dinner steak. The two scuffled, and Ho picked up a steak knife, saying that in Vietnam, "I would kill you for this." At least some roommates laughed at the comment, as shown on a videotape of that portion of the incident. But Suftin said he took it seriously, and the police were called. At least four officers responded.

    According to police reports obtained by the Mercury News, officer Kenneth Siegel could not understand Ho's accent when he confronted him in a hallway and asked his name. Ho then ignored a command to stand still after officers entered his room to check his wallet for identification.

    When Ho tried to follow Siegel into his room, officer Steven Payne Jr. attempted to handcuff Ho. According to his report, Payne pushed Ho into a wall and then forced him to the hallway floor when Ho resisted being handcuffed. Ho said his glasses fell off then, and as he attempted to pick them up, the officers struck him.
    Ho, who has no criminal record, told the Mercury News last week that he was not resisting arrest that September night, but that he was desperately looking for his thick, high-prescription glasses, which flew off as police shoved him. He said he was then stunned by the blows that followed.

    The video, made by one of the Ho's roommates without the knowledge of police, shows that force was used even though the suspect was on the ground, and apparently offering no physical threat to the officers. Several experts in police force said the video appears to document excessive -- and possibly illegal -- force by the officers. A police spokesman said the department had opened a criminal investigation of the officers.

    Some people are already likening the situation to the Rodney King incident. Experts do caution that the grainy, shaky video is difficult to view clearly, and may not depict everything that happened. Personally, I see little that could justify such a violent, brutal police response. Outside experts note some key concerns about the video:
    Ho remains on the ground, moaning and crying, as he is repeatedly struck. He does not appear to offer significant resistance, suggesting
    the high level of force is not necessary.

    The officer most visible in the sequence stands for much of the time in a casual posture, at one point with his legs crossed. He seems to show no concern that the situation is potentially dangerous - raising additional questions about why force was being used.

    The final baton strike appears to occur after the handcuffs can be heard snapping onto Ho's wrists. That particularly troubled several outside experts.
    Ho's roommate Dmitri Masouris, and his son Nicolas, were both eyewitnesses to the incident. Both said it appeared to them that the police used excessive force, including striking Ho after he was handcuffed. Masouris said he falsely told police at the time that the force appeared warranted, because he feared the result if they thought "that I was against them."

    At the hospital, Ho was treated for a Taser burn and received staples to close several wounds, including the blow to his head. He also strained his right wrist during the incident.

    But get this: After he spent most of the night in jail, Ho was released, then limped home. It took him two hours. And when he got home, he cleaned up and walked to his morning finance class. You know, if you get your ass beat by police, spend the night in jail, and walk two hours home, I think you're entitled to a day off. That's a dedicated student. More here: Video shows Calif. police beating of student.

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