mark your calendars: kollaboration 10, march 6

All right, Los Angeles. Mark your calendars, because this is going to be epic. Kollaboration 10 comes to the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday, March 6. That's right, the world-famous Asian American talent competition celebrates its tenth year -- and its biggest show yet. Here are the details:
Empowerment through Entertainment

Date: Saturday, March 6, 2010
Time: 7PM (Doors open at 6PM)
Venue: Shrine Auditorium
665 W Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007-3626

$500 Freestyle Dance & $500 Freestyle Vocal Competition!!


Special Guest Performers:
Rex Navarrete - Comedian
Tony Rock - Comedian
We are Heroes
Pigeon John - Rapper
Vudoo Soul - Singer
Korean Union Dancerz - Hip Hop Dance Group
Just Kidding Films - Guest Appearance
and more!!

Jason Yang
Paul Jisung Kim
Sam Hart
Mike Isberto & Alfa
Will Volume
Bhangra Empire
When it first started in 2000, Kollaboration was just a humble little talent show with lots of doubters. Now it's an international movement, packing thousands into the historic Shrine Auditorium. So get your tickets -- they're going fast.

I haven't even heard of half the competitors in this year's lineup, but that's kind of what Kollaboration is all about. Every year, you get to discover some really amazing untapped Asian American talent. See it all happen live. For more information, visit the Kollaboration website here.

man arrested in mother's gruesome murder

News of another gruesome killing, this time in Solana Beach, California... Last week, San Diego County Sheriff's Department took 28-year-old Bryan Chenhua Chang into custody in connection with the death Sherry Chu Chang -- his mother: Police arrest son for murder of Solana Beach woman.

The victim was found dead in her home with signs of substantial trauma on her body. She was apparently beaten to death, possibly with a hammer, then dismembered. Detectives reportedly found her right arm and parts of her skull in a refrigerator: Gruesome details emerge at son's arraignment.

Prosecutors believe the motive for the attack was money. A concerned co-worker had called authorities to check on Ms. Chang when she didn't show up for work. Deputies found her dead last Monday morning inside a downstairs bathroom of her home. Her son was arrested on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

At Bryan Chang's hearing on Friday, bail was set at $5 million. If convicted, Chang faces a prison sentence of 26 years to life. According to the Deputy District Attorney, the case is still being reviewed and a decision whether to seek the death penalty could be made later.

far east movement featured as "subway fresh buzz" artist

Our friends in Far East Movement were recently featured on MTV.com as Subway's Fresh Buzz artist of the week presented by MTV Iggy, featuring an interview with the guys, an exclusive one-take performance of "Girls on the Dance Floor," and, of course, FM grabbing a delicious lunch at Subway. It's a good glimpse of FM talking about what they do and what they're all about it. Good stuff.

nypd promotes thomas m. chan to assistant chief

Last week, NYPD Deputy Police Chief Thomas M. Chan was promoted to Assistant Chief in a ceremony at police headquarters. With the promotion, Chan has achieved a two-star rank -- the highest held by an Asian American officer in the history of the Department: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly promotes a Hispanic and an Asian to highest rankings in NYPD history.

Chan, who is now in charge of NYPD's school safety division, was appointed to the New York City Police Department in January 1982, and began his career on patrol in the 26 Precinct. He was promoted to Sergeant in November 1985; Lieutenant in May 1989; Captain in July 1993; Deputy Inspector in August 1995; Inspector in November 2000; and Deputy Chief in October 2004.

He has served in the 5, 7 and 26 Precincts, as well as Highway Units 1and 2, the Traffic Division, the Office of the Chief of Department, Patrol Borough Manhattan South; Patrol Borough Staten Island; and Manhattan South Detective Operations.

Before serving as Executive Officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, Chief Chan has also served as the Adjutant of Patrol Borough Manhattan South and Patrol Borouth Staten Island. He has served as the Commanding Officer of the 5 Precinct and Manhattan South Detective Operations, and as Executive Officer of the 5 and 7 Precincts.

Assistant Chief Chan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospital Administration from St. John's University.

alexander shen's my first time ep

Alexander Shen, an illustrator who got his hands on a guitar and wrote some silly, funny songs, has just released his first EP, aptly titled My First Time. I previously posted about Alex and his song "Legacy." This EP is more in the same vein, with track titles like "My Robot Wife," and "Zombie Love Song." Listen to samples and purchase the record here. And to learn more about Alexander, visit his website here.

man awarded $130,000 in racist attack

Some news out of Australia... In Sydney, a man has been ordered by a court to pay more than $130,000 for the brutal, unprovoked, racially-motivated attack on an Asian man four years ago: Defendant must give victim $130,000.

David Chia was sitting in a car with his girlfriend outside his home when they were approached by a group of men who emerged from a nearby property, and then later attacked:
But later that evening, when the men approached in their cars, Mr Chia's foot was struck by one of the vehicles and he was set upon.

He told his girlfriend to drive away as the men began punching him and kicking his head as he lay on the ground.

Mr Wickenden yelled: "You f***ing Asian, I'm going to kill you, you gook," the court heard.

Mr Chia ran past his home, where he knew his parents to be sleeping, as he was afraid the men would follow him there.

He ran down the driveway of a nearby property, where Mr Wickenden caught up with him, striking him on the back and the head with a garden stake he had taken from a neighbouring front yard.
Shuan Wickenden was convicted of the assault and fined $1000, but his co-offenders apparently remain at large. Chia suffered a broken leg partial facial nerve palsy and neck and shoulder injuries. He was on crutches for more than six months and continues to suffer post traumatic stress.

The judge awarded Chia $130,505, including $75,000 in general damages and $40,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages. That's racist!

slackistan trailer

I am intrigued by the trailer for Slackistan, an upcoming indie feature directed by Hammad Khan, about a group of twentysomething friends hanging out in Islamabad. Here's the short synopsis from the website:
A group of twenty-something friends hang out in the rich neighbourhoods of the federal capital city aka 'Isloo.' Hasan flirts with both filmmaking dreams, as well as secret crush Aisha. But a daily routine of cruising around town with his cocky, status-obsessed buddy Sherry could keep Hasan from escaping the existential bubble he is trapped in.
I don't know much about the movie, but it has a great title, and the potential to be a cool, stereotype-busting little indie. Because really, why should only young white Americans have the monopoly on slacker cinema? For more information about the movie, go to the Slackistan website here.

the guy behind "doppelganger week"

Like most Facebook memes, "Doppelganger Week" got tiring pretty quickly. I also found it kind of hard to play along, since there are so few Asian male celebrities, let alone ones that I actually resemble. Yeah, I'm not fun. But Huffington Post has a brief Interview With Bob Patel, Creator of "Doppelganger Week" on Facebook. He apparently is a mustached dead ringer for an Indian Tom Selleck.


brush your teeth!

A fun video to make you smile. This was apparently created to encourage kids to practice good hygiene. Brushing is important, kids! My favorite part is the end, where the kids are gettin' down. Keep an eye on the guy with the C3P0 shirts... He's got moves!

vancouver police beating victim sues the city

Yao Wei Wu, the man who was beaten by police in a case of mistaken identity when they knocked on the wrong door, is now suing the city of Vancouver for damages: Man beaten by Vancouver police sues city.

Honestly, can you blame him? Wu suffered cuts and bruises to his face after two plainclothes officers showed up at his door -- the wrong door-- late last week responding to a domestic violence call.

The Vancouver Police Department has admitted the officers had the wrong residence and has issued an apology to Wu. Police Chief Jim Chu visited the Wu home the night after the attack to apologize to the victim personally.

According to his attorney, Wu will seek damages for assault. Meanwhile, one of the two officers involved has been reassigned to administrative duties while the incident is investigated. More here: Delta Police to probe mistaken assault.

a movie recommendation from denea

Saw this here, liked it. Forget Netflix user reviews -- these are reviews of the real people! You're at the video store, looking for a good Friday night flick... Hey, what's Sucker Free City? Is it any good? Oh wait, there's a note... Oh, hell yes. We're renting this. You're damn right, Denea. It's HELLA good. (Seriously, it is.)

man charged with stalking and killing neighbor

Some shocking, gruesome news out of Queens... This week, police arrested 47-year-old Huang Chen for the stabbing death of his neighbor Qian Wu. But as medical examiner's office revealed, she wasn't just stabbed -- her heart and lungs had been ripped from her body: Neighbor Charged With Stalking and Killing Woman.

The murder was apparently the culmination of years of harrassment by the suspect, who lives two doors away from the victim. Wu ran an employment agency with her husband, and had tried unsuccessfully to help him find employment. He apparently made romantic advances toward her, which she rebuffed. Then Chen turned stalker:
In 2006, Mr. Chen spent 30 days in jail for choking her and punching her in the face, and since then Ms. Wu had received at least five orders of protection against him. The Queens district attorney’s office charged Mr. Chen with second-degree murder, as well as with stalking, possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence. A woman was also arrested, charged with helping dispose of the murder weapons — which the authorities said were a hammer and a utility knife. The police said they did not know the whereabouts of Ms. Wu's lungs and heart, and were searching for them.
Detectives at the hospital became suspicious when Chen showed up at the hospital with cuts on his legs and arms, saying that he had been assaulted by a robber. Although he had blood on his shoes, his clothes were clean. Security cameras revealed Chen going into his apartment building covered in blood, then later leaving with a woman carrying a bag.

Caught, you killer. But why the hell did he have to remove her heart and lungs? More here: Accused Queens killer Huang Chen ripped out victim Qian Wu's heart and lungs, cops say.

[spoiler] the first four minutes of lost season six

All right, dudes. If you're going crazy waiting for the return of Lost, and can't wait four days for the season premiere, the first four minutes of the episode have found their way online. Spoiler warning blah blah blah.

Granted, the first half of the clip is from the very end of last season, but the other half is... intriguing, and seems to confirm a lot of speculation about this season. Just a taste. Anyway, watch the clip before it gets taken down. Or if you can resist, catch the season premiere on Tuesday, February 2.

aapis, you are needed on california's redestricting committee!

Calling all AAPIs in California... The Asian Pacific American Legal Center and other AAPI organizations are encouraging qualified individuals to apply for the new redistricting commission established by Proposition 11. The 14-person citizens commission will draw new maps for state legislative and Board of Equalization districts in 2011. How the new maps are drawn will determine whether AAPI communities are kept together or split unfairly.

As of yesterday (January 28, 2010), 548 of the 10716 applicants (5.1%) are Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). However, AAPIs represent nearly 15% of the state's total population. Although the percentage of AAPI applicants has increased in the past two weeks, the deadline to apply is coming up fast. Unless additional people of color including AAPIs apply, there is significant risk that the commission will not reflect California's diversity. Up-to-date statistics can be found here.

If you're interested in being part of the commission, you must fill out an online form to apply for the commission. The form can be found at here and is due by February 12. APALC is working with eight partner organizations to conduct application workshops for interested individuals, happening throughout the state. Here are some details:
Contra Costa County Workshop
Wednesday, February 3, 2010, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Host: East Bay Asian Voter Education Consortium
Location: Orinda Library - Garden Room
26 Orinda Way
Orinda, CA 94563
To RSVP: Emily Chang, chang.emily@sbcglobal.net or (925) 997-8164
or Jenn Pae, jennpae@gmail.com

San Francisco County Workshop
Thursday, February 4, 2010, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Host: Asian Law Caucus
Location: Chinese for Affirmative Action, Community Room
The Kuo Building
17 Walter U. Lum Place
San Francisco, CA 94108
To RSVP: Carlo de la Cruz, carlod@asianlawcaucus.org or (415) 896-1701

Orange County Workshop
Saturday, February 6, 2010, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Host: Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)
Location: OCAPICA Office
12900 Garden Grove Blvd, Suite 214A
Garden Grove, CA 92843
To RSVP: Asma Men, amen@ocapica.org or (714) 636-9095 ext. 203

Alameda County Workshop
Saturday, February 6, 2010, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Host: East Bay Asian Voter Education Consortium
Location: East Bay Area Youth Center
2025 E. 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94601
To RSVP: Jenn Pae, jennpae@gmail.com

Los Angeles County Workshop
Wednesday, February 10, 2010, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Host: Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON)
Location: Asian Pacific American Legal Center
1145 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
To RSVP: Mark Masaoka, mark.a3pcon@live.com or (213) 239-0300

Santa Clara County Workshop
Wednesday, February 10, 2010, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Host: Asian Law Alliance
Location: Asian Law Alliance
184 E. Jackson St.
San Jose, CA 95112
To RSVP: Jacquelyn Maruhashi, alacensus@aol.com or (408) 287-9710
Additional workshops will be held in San Diego and Fresno. The schedule of workshops will be updated here. For more information about the commission or the workshops, please contact APALC at redistricting@apalc.org or visit the CAPAFR Facebook page here.

Here's also a good San Francisco Chronicle article on the lack of diversity in the redestricting panel's current applicant pool: Critics say redistricting panel needs diversity.

angry reader of the week: helen gym

It's time, once again, to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is community organizer Helen Gym.

the big zhang on campus

At UC Berkeley, Max Zhang is literally the big man on campus. The 7-foot-3 sophomore, who plays center for Cal's basketball team, has been putting up solid numbers for the Bears this season. Here's a recent San Francisco Chronicle profile on the tallest Chinese dude at Cal: Cal's Zhang is one big man on campus.

Zhang, who hails from China, came to Berkeley as "a tall Chinese kid that had a chance," according to coaches:
Dick Marquis, a coach in China, came with Zhang and arranged a campus visit with his old friend, then-San Diego coach Brad Holland.

"When Dick first called me, he said he had a tall Chinese kid that had a chance," Holland said. "Max really liked his campus visit, we thought he was a great kid and had potential, and we were all set."

Until Holland abruptly was fired in March 2007. Ben Braun, then coaching at Cal, learned there was a 7-3 kid without a school playing in AAU games in Los Angeles, and the rest is history.

Holland, now an assistant coach at UCSB, had the opportunity to coach against Zhang when the Gauchos visited Haas Pavilion last month.

"He's much improved in a variety of ways," Holland said. "He's got more strength and moved very well. It was neat to see his growth and how the Cal fans responded to him. It made me feel great."
Since starting with Cal, he's definitely gained a fan following. However, being instantly recognizable has its drawbacks. Apparently, everywhere the guy goes, some fool has to yell, "Hey, Yao Ming!" What, every tall-ass Asian guy is Yao Ming now? That's stupid.

"how to spot a jap"

How about some racist fun for your Friday? Saw this over at You Offend Me You Offend My Family: How to Spot a Jap. This is from an actual pamphlet distributed to American soldiers during World War II.
I've seen this before, but I've never seen a hi-res scan this good before:
Alfredo's post reminded me of a cartoon I came across which was actually used during WWII in a U.S. Army pamphlet distributed to soldiers in a Pocket Guide to China. The section called "How to Spot a Jap" instructed military men on how to distinguish between Japanese and Chinese Americans. I think the bit about how Chinese smile more often because the Japanese expect to be shot "and are unhappy about the whole thing" is particularly hilarious.
Hilarious and kind of scary. It's frightening to think that actual United States Army personnel were seriously referring to this pamphlet to tell the difference between a friendly Chinese person and the evil Japanese enemy. View the comic strip in its entirely here.

another american detained in north korea

Aw man, what? Not again. The North Korean government reports that it has detained yet another U.S. citizen for illegally entering its territory across the border from China: US man 'detained' in North Korea.

North Korea's official news agency KCNA says the man was arrested on Monday and is now being questioned. It did not identify the man by name or provide any other details. More here: NKorea says American man detained at China border.

This is the second arrest of a U.S. citizen reported in North Korea in the past several weeks. A man, widely believed to be American missionary Robert Park, was detained for illegally entering through the North Korea-China border. According to South Korean activists, he cross over to raise the issue of human rights.

However, the same South Korean activist connected to Park says he has no knowledge of the second American detainee. The State Department, as well as the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Seoul have had no comment thus far.

So who the heck is this guy? And what is he doing over there?


why torture is wrong, and the people who love them

For theater fans in Los Angeles, check out Why Torture Is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, a new comedy by Christopher Durang, presented by The Blank Theatre Company and making its west coast premiere at the The Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. The play features our friend Sunil Malhotra and Alec Mapa, who I'm told have pretty prominent roles. Here are details:

by Christopher Durang

Directed by Daniel Henning

West Coast Premiere - LIMITED ENGAGEMENT!

6773 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

January 30 - March 14, 2010

Our "Poet Laureate of the Absurd," Christopher Durang turns political humor upside down with this raucous and provocative satire about America's growing homeland "insecurity." A young woman is suddenly in crisis: Is her new husband, whom she married when drunk, a terrorist? Or just crazy? Or both? Is her father's hobby of butterfly collecting really a cover for his involvement in a shadow government? Why does her mother enjoy going to the theatre so much? Does she seek mental escape, or is she insane? Honing in on our private terrors both at home and abroad, Durang oddly relieves our fears in this black comedy for an era of yellow, orange and red alerts. Don't miss the West Coast Premiere of this hilarious and sometimes disturbing new work which recently extended with rave reviews at the Public Theater in New York.
This sounds like a crazy-ass play, and I like it. The title alone should intrigue you. The production officially opens on February 6, but previews start this weekend, on January 30. For more information about the play, including ticket info, go to the The Blank Theatre Company here.

where the mountain meets the moon wins newbery honor

Cool news. Last week, Grace Lin's children's book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was awarded a Newbery Honor by the American Library Association. This is one of the highest honors given to American literature for children. Congratulations!

I previously mentioned Where the Mountain Meets the Moon last month as part of my Angry Holiday Gift Guide. Did you pick it up?

The book is described as a fantastical adventure fable in the tradition of The Wizard of Oz, inspired by the author's love of traditional Chinese folk tales. To learn more about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, visit Grace Lin's website here. Also check out her blog here.

trailer for sanjit and ranju majumdar's determinism

Here's the trailer for Determinism, directed by twin brothers Sanjit and Ranju Majumdar. It's an indie crime thriller set in a fictional Pennsylvania college town "where students and drug dealers are often one and the same." Here's an excerpt from the synopsis:
Alec, the film's anti-hero, is an alienated South Asian. He's always been an outsider, and he certainly doesn't fit in here. New York is his Mecca. Tristan, his former best friend and a reformed cokehead, is a white guy, living with Alec's ex-girlfriend, the beautiful, black Lynn. Tristan thinks he's got it made.

Broke and cut off from his family after he flunks out of school, Alec sets off to free himself from the stereotypical role of “South Asian Geek” imposed upon him from birth. So opposed to typecasting that he can barely use a computer, he is determined to transcend Determinism — by any means necessary.

Guns and gangstas have an allure that Alec can almost taste. Taking on the gangsta mantel, Alec convinces Tristan to be his lookout when he robs a local drug dealer. The winnings are Alec's ticket to New York, where he can start afresh and live in a world where color is no barrier.

What seems like a simple heist inadvertently turns into a spiraling bloodbath — and way more than Alec had bargained for. But Alec's manic obsession keeps him in the game. No matter what goes down, he's not leaving town without his money
To be honest, I'm not super impressed with the trailer. It's certainly gritty. And decidedly low-budget. But then again, I've seen underwhelming trailers that turned out to be pretty damn good movies. Not sure when you'll have the chance to see this film, but for more information, check the Determinism website.

kenneth chou: former taiwanese pop star / med student / test prep pirate

Asian behaving badly... test prep piracy edition! This is the tale of 30-year-old SUNY Upstate Medical University student Kenneth Chou, who paid his way through med school by copying Kaplan lecture DVDs from his school's library and reselling them online: Med Student Turns to Test-Prep Piracy.

Kaplan claims Chou infringed at least 17 copyrighted works and made between $100,000 and $200,000 from selling pirated test prep data. Selling the material through eBay and other sites, Chou charged between $1,000 and $2,000 for a course set that included 70 DVDs.

This is a pretty lame scheme, but what's kind of amusing is the fact that Chou is apparently a former Taiwanese boy-band member. If I'm not mistaken, test prep pirate Kenneth Chou is Kenny, aka Zhou Yi Ming of Machi.
Chou was born in Ohio and grew up in California. He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Irvine in 2005, but at one point went to Taiwan to cut two rock albums with a boy band called Machi. The albums sold very well in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, according to a deposition Chou gave in the case.
Hey, medical school can get pretty expensive. And I guess with his Taiwanese pop star days behind him, the Machi music royalties weren't really paying the bills. But with all the time and energy that probably went into ripping off Kaplan and running this scam, perhaps medical school never should've been this guy's calling in the first place.

grant imahara blows things up for a living

Pacific Citizen has a great profile on Grant Imahara, cast member of Discovery Channel's hit blow-stuff-up show Mythbusters: He's Bringing Geeky Back.

I only recently became a fan of the show (thanks to a kickass Mythbusters marathon over the holidays) but I have concluded that Grant, who has a background in engineering, robotics and movie special effects, has the greatest job in the world.

Season 8 of Mythbusters began filming last week, and new episodes are set to air March, when they will surely blow more stuff up. In the meantime, you can be one of the many who follow Grant Imahara on Twitter.

aaldef summer legal internship program 2010

Founded in 1974, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all. And they're looking for summer legal interns:

Internships for the summer of 2010 are available in the following program areas:

* Anti-Trafficking Initiative - legal research on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as outreach, community education, and advocacy on the rights of women and youth trafficking survivors.
* Community Health Care Initiative - legal research, community education and outreach in the areas of immigration, government benefits, language rights, and health care access;
* Economic Justice for Workers - litigation on behalf of garment, restaurant, and other low wage workers;
* New Jersey - Asian American Legal Project - community outreach, education, and organizing with Asian immigrant workers in New Jersey; performing client intake and legal interpretation; managing workers' claims with government agencies; conducting legal research and writing, and administering community surveys with workers.
* Educational Equity and Youth Rights - legal services, policy work, community education, research and litigation concerning educational equity, juvenile justice, affirmative action and post 9-11 hate violence and racial targeting;
* Housing Justice Project - community outreach/education, community planning, research, and litigation on housing and land use issues affecting low-income Asian immigrant communities;
* Immigrant Access to Justice - litigation, legal services, and organizing/outreach with communities impacted by 9-11, including special interest detainees, special registration, racial profiling, voluntary FBI interviews, and local and state enforcement of immigration laws.
* Voting Rights - legal research and fact development under the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause challenging anti-Asian voter discrimination, advocacy on bilingual ballots, and state and local election reform; produce reports and organize public forums.
* Census 2010 - legal research on the confidentiality of census information and enforcement of civil rights law, conduct client intake to protect the anonymity of undocumented immigrants, conduct outreach and legal trainings.

Description of Summer Internship Program:
The summer program is ten weeks, from approximately June 7 through August 13. Interns work full-time and are supervised by attorneys in specific program areas. Interns will work on litigation, particularly legal research and writing, legal and policy advocacy, community outreach and education, and client intakes. Each program area differs in emphasis. Summer interns attend weekly brown bag lectures on a range of public interest legal topics along with interns from other legal defense funds and civil rights groups. AALDEF also provides trainings in housing law, naturalization procedures, and immigration law. The position is unpaid. However, in previous years many AALDEF interns have been successful at securing independent funding. Academic credit can be arranged.

To Apply:
Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to be received by AALDEF on or before Friday, February 8, 2010 at the address below. Please indicate the top three program areas on which you would be interested in focusing. Only law students qualify for AALDEF's legal internships. Fax or email applications are acceptable.

Any bilingual ability should be stated in the application. Bilingual ability is helpful but not required. Gujarati, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, and Urdu-speaking applicants are especially urged to apply.

Applications will be reviewed upon receipt until the February 8, 2010 deadline. Interviewing will take place in February and early March, however, some interviews may be conducted on a rolling basis prior to that time. Please note that only applicants who have been granted interviews will be notified of their advancement in the application process.

Summer Internship Search (Legal)
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor
New York, New York 10013-2815
Fax: 212-966-4303 Email: info@aaldef.org
More details at the AALDEF website. I know a lot of law students are reading this -- maybe this opportunity is for you. AALDEF could use your help. For further information, contact Bethany Li at 212-966-5932 x213 or bli@aaldef.org, or Alex Saingchin at 888-406-1555 x1 or asaingchin@aaldef.org. Please do not email applications to these addresses.

america's best dance crew season five premieres tonight

Awwww yeah. The fifth season of America's Best Dance Crew premieres tonight. It completely snuck up on me -- I almost forgot. I don't really watch a lot of MTV outside of Dance Crew (I will never forgive myself for watching an episode of Jersey Shore -- that's one hour I can never get back.)

This season of ABDC kicks off with three regional casting specials, where five crews will go head-to-head to be the top three in their respective region. Then the top nine crews will compete week-to-week as usual.

Check out this promo for the show, featuring last seasons champs, We Are Heroes: New Heroes Will Rise Promo. Pretty cheesy, but it fits their style.

All new season, all new crews. So far, Asian representation (and the west coast, for that matter) have completely dominated this competition. Can they do it again? Here are the bios for the crews that will compete tonight. Interesting looking bunch. How do I know who to root for? We'll find out. Tune in tonight, 10/9c.

now casting: the new hawaii five-o

Last year, word got out that they're making a new version of Hawaii Five-O.

I'll admit, I'm a little too young to remember the old show, which ran 1968-80, but I know Jack Lord starred as Steve McGarrett, the head of a special Hawaii State Police unit fighting the underworld in the island state. And of course, everybody knows that theme song. Lord was the star, but the regular cast included Kam Fong as Det. Chin Ho Kelly, and a handful of other Asian actors over the years.

Anyway, they're making a new one, from the executive producer of Criminal Minds. From the looks of the casting call, the classic characters are back. I'm assuming they want a white dude to play McGarrett, because you know, this is American television. But there are a couple of Asian American characters:
Location: Hawaii

Storyline: When his father is taken hostage and killed by a notorious human trafficker and criminal kingpin, Naval Lt. Commander STEVE McGARRETT is determined to bring the killers to justice. And his best bet to do so is becoming the head of a special federal task force in Hawaii. Not only will McGarrett and his hand-picked team stand as the first line of defense against crime, drugs and terrorism in a strategically vital region, but McGarrett will also use his special powers to solve the baffling mystery that emerges after his father's murder...


Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett 34-39 Mid to late 30s. This craggy, tenacious Navy commander is a former Navy SEAL whose illustrious resume includes stints as a special investigator and a tenure with Naval Intelligence. McGarrett has been tracking the notorious Hesse brothers for years, but when his father is taken hostage and slain during his perilous investigation, he's determined to have justice. To that end, he accepts Hawaiian governor Pat Jameson's offer to run a federal task force centered in Hawaii, and imbued with latitude and special rights not granted to the police rank and file. McGarrett hand-picks an elite crew for his team, which stands as the first line of defense against encroaching terrorists and criminals in a strategically vital region. But in the meanwhile, he's determined to trace the baffling clues his murdered father left behind -- evidence that points to an unsolved mystery stretching all the way back to his mother's death, years previously... SERIES REGULAR (1)

Detective Danny "Danno" Williams Male 30-39
A veteran cop from the Baltimore P.D., he has recently undergone an acrimonious divorce and has transferred to Hawaii to be near his 7 year old daughter. A real "working man in paradise," he's the "only guy on the island without a tan and always looks like he slept in his clothes." Gruff and driven, with plenty of raw courage and a 24/7 work ethic, Danno has already alienated the laid-back native Hawaiians in his department, and when McGarrett swoops in and takes over his present murder investigation, he's resentful, to say the least. Forced to partner with McGarrett, Danno is initially leery of their association -- but as he grows more familiar with his maverick new boss, he begins to appreciate the opportunity to work with McGarrett. And indeed, he quickly becomes an indispensable member of McGarrett's elite team, not to mention McGarrett's trusted associate and friend... SERIES REGULAR (15)

Chin Ho Kelly Male 50-59
A tough, capable Asian man in his 50s, he's a 20 year veteran of the Honolulu police force who was a close friend of McGarrett's cop dad. However, Chin was recently drummed out of the department for accepting payoffs, even though he was completely innocent of all charges. Now a security officer in Pearl Harbor, he's grateful to McGarrett for offering him the chance to clear his name and get back into active duty. A savvy guy with a lot of connections on the island, Chin also becomes a crucial member of McGarrett's federal task force... SERIES REGULAR (14)

Kono Kalakaua
Chin's niece, age 23-27, she's a spectacular Asian/Hawaiian beauty who is a champion surfer, with the smarts to match her amazing physical prowess. However, Kono's sole interest is getting her badge and becoming a cop. She's about to graduate from the police academy when McGarrett recruits her to join his team. Amped and ready for action, Kono goes undercover as a downtrodden immigrant girl looking for help from a notorious human trafficker -- a perilous assignment that takes a disastrous turn... SERIES REGULAR (40)

Governor Pat Jameson Female 41-44
A bright, beautiful woman in her early 40s, she's the Governor of Hawaii, a "local Hawaiian with a Washingtonian's backgone" who is that rarest of creatures -- a completely honest politician. Sincerely sorry to hear of McGarrett's loss, she offers him the unique opportunity to run a task force imbued with special federal powers beyond the run-of-the-mill police department. Her sincerity impresses McGarrett deeply, and bodes well for their future association... SERIES REGULAR - 10/13 (11)

Mary Ann McGarrett Female 25-30
McGarrett's younger sister, she's a punked-out young woman with a checkered past, including stints in rehab and several brushes with the law. Mary has been acting out ever since her mother's early death, at which point she felt effectively abandoned by her father -- an apparent betrayal she's still trying to work through. When she shows up high at their father's funeral, McGarrett is enraged -- but under his anger, he has a deep and loving bond with his sister, although that has been stretched to the breaking point in recent years. However, Mary's realization that her father's apparent neglect may have actually been his attempt to protect her from a mysterious menace just may inspire Mary to turn her chaotic life around... RECURRING / POSSIBLE SERIES REGULAR (16)
Coming soon to network TV: the new Hawaii Five-O! Starring a white dude. But I guess you can always make room for a wise, old Asian dude and a hot Asian babe. Is it too much to hope for a small semblance of reality where we get to see a Hawaii that reflects the actual Asian population? With real Asian people... walking around in the background at least? You know -- the Hawaii that Sarah Palin is scared of. (Thanks, Camille.)

what exactly does "asian experience" taste like?

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this a couple of years ago, but it has landed in my mailbox again. And it must be shared. Above, you will see two cans of Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt. Yes, that Steven Seagal. And yes, an energy drink that bears his name. "A natural energy drink packed with vitamins and exotic botanicals." Signed, Steven Seagal.

You're wondering the same thing I am, right? You're wondering what exactly "Asian Experience" flavor tastes like. Lotus root? Dim sum grease? Fermented sweat of washed up aikido instructor? I will never know, because I refuse to drink anything from a can with Steven Seagal's face on it, just on principle. Drink at your own risk. (Thanks, Lisa.)

reshma saujani challenging incumbent for house seat

Reshman Saujani, a 34-year-old hedge fund lawyer, is getting a lot of attention for her bold bid to unseat Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, With some prominent Democratic donors now back her, it's a challenge that is turning heads on the Upper East Side of Manhattan: Pro-Wall Street Democrat Takes On a House Veteran.

Saujani is apparently the first Indian American woman to run for Congress, and she is counting on South Asians to support her in droves. But what's even more intriguing is her goal of becoming an advocate for the financial industry in the Capitol. She says she's running on her Wall Street record, "not from it."
Ms. Saujani, in an interview, said she was "running on my Wall Street record, not from it." She called Ms. Maloney "asleep at the wheel" for saying the economy was improving, and accused her and the entire New York Congressional delegation of failing to do enough to aid business. She said her hedge fund work was great preparation for representing the district, home to many of the financial industry's players, and she chided Ms. Maloney for bashing banks and calling for a 100 percent tax on some bonuses.

"Instead of browbeating Wall Street, I want to invite them to help create jobs," Ms. Saujani said, talking up an idea to connect investment houses with technology start-ups.

"If you go to Texas, you'll never hear a Congressional member speak poorly of the oil industry," she added. "In Michigan, you'll never hear a Congressional member speak poorly of the auto industry. This is our bread and butter."
It's a gutsy line to run on, considering Wall Street's battered reputation as of late. Saujani's campaign has also rankled many high-profile feminists who have loyally supported Maloney for her work on mammograms, equal pay, reproductive rights and violence against women. A former state president of the National Organization for Women apparently even emailed Saujani asking her not to challenge Maloney.

Some Democrats just see Saujani as a young upstart with little experience trying to throw a wrench in the way things are done by refusing to "get in line." Win or lose, you've got to admit, she's pretty bold. I'm intrigued. This is definitely a race to keep an eye on. More here: Former Davis Polk Associate Dreams of Making U.S. Political History.


4c the power presents project love

This Saturday, 4C the Power presents Project LOVE, a benefit concert with AJ Rafael, Passion, Jennifer Chung, Jesse Barrera and others to raise funds for AJ Rafael's upcoming missions excursion with the Mahal Foundation to the Philppines, and Ying Vang, a young woman who has been diagnosed with liver cancer. Some details:
4C the Power presents Project LOVE!

Please join 4C the Power and hosts AJ Rafael, Tom Ngo and the Chi Alpha Delta Sorority of UCLA as they present Project LOVE with performances by AJ Rafael, Passion, Jennifer Chung, Jesse Barrera and other surprise artists.

AJ Rafael joins with the Mahal Foundation in a missions excursion to the Philippines from February 1-8. This will be 7 days of serving the poor and the needy, learning about the filipino culture, and helping victims of the recent typhoon ondoy. They will also be helping impoverished school children to read and find joy in music. AJ and the Mahal foundation have a great passion to end poverty in the Philippines.

This event will also raise funds for Ying Vang a Chi Alpha Delta Alumni who has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hacienda Center
1695 S. Azusa Ave
Hacienda Heights, CA

8:00 pm

$15 presale
$20 at the door
If you're in the Southern California this weekend, check out some good music for some good causes. For more information about the event, and to purchase tickets, go to the 4C the Power website here. You can also take a look at Project LOVE's Facebook event page here.

saalt regional conference: empowering south asians in new jersey

This weekend in New Jersey, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) presents its first regional conference, "Empowering South Asians in New Jersey," bringing together community members, activists and allies to learn about key issues affecting South Asians in the region. Some more information:
Announcing First SAALT Regional Conference: "Empowering South Asians in New Jersey"

WHAT: A statewide conference in New Jersey bringing together community members, activists and allies to learn about key issues affecting South Asians in the region, develop leadership skills and identify strategies to strengthen the community. The conference will feature plenaries, skills-building workshops, informational panels, professional development session and networking opportunities as well as an awards reception.

WHERE: Montclair State University Student Center in Montclair, NJ

WHEN: January 30 - 31, 2010

WHY: The South Asian community in New Jersey is very diverse and has been growing over the past few decades. This conference offers community members, activists and allies the opportunity to connect, network, learn, share and strategize to build a strong, active and engaged community in the state and the region.
Sounds like it should be a really eventful, informative and empowering weekend. To learn more about the conference, contact Qudsia Raja, SAALT's New Jersey Outreach Coordinator, at qudsia@saalt.org. To view the full conference schedule, visit the SAALT website here.

new seriously single: "been so long"

The cool kids in Seriously have released their new single, "Been So Long," now available for download exclusively at Allkpop. Starting February 1, it'll be available on Seriously's website, then worldwide on February 23 at most digital outlets.

The track is the second single in Seriously's On Your Mark release campaign -- one song a month, for nine months. So far, so good. For a preview, check out a brief teaser for the song here. To learn more about Seriously and their music, visit the band's website here.

state of the union address tonight

As you know, President Obama's "Year One" State of the Union address is tonight -- in a couple of hours, actually. I already mentioned that Houston high school student Li Boynton will be there as a guest of Michelle Obama. That's pretty cool.

The guest list for the First Lady's box also includes Ping Fu, co-founder of the technology company Geomagic. Here are the official bios for Li Boynton and Ping Fu, according to the guest list provided by the White House Press Secretary:
Li Boynton (Bellaire, TX)
Li is a 18-year-old senior from Bellaire, Texas whose passion for science and global health has led her to new and potentially ground-breaking methods for testing the quality of drinking water. Almost one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 3.5 million people die each year from water-related diseases. Observing the limitations and significant expense of conventional chemical-specific tests, Boynton saw a need for a broader, more efficient assay for testing – and developed a bacteria bio-sensor. Li’s work, which has the potential to be significant in improving public health worldwide, received the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair award for 2009.

Ping Fu (Chapel Hill, NC)
Ping Fu co-founded Geomagic, a company which pioneers technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed, engineered and manufactured around the world from automobiles to medical devices. Geomagic, under her leadership, has been an active participant in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Fu has led Geomagic to deliver broad-based economic impact to the US economy with tangible results – the company tripled its customer base and employment while achieving high growth and profitability. As such, the NSF awarded Geomagic the prestigious Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the very best in SBIR.

Fu has more than 25 years of software industry experience in database, internet technology, and visual computing. Before Geomagic, she was the Director of Visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and is also, actively involved in promoting entrepreneurship and women in mathematics and sciences.
By the way, our friend Jeff Yang will be liveblogging tonight's State of the Union Address for Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, starting at 8:45pm ET. You can follow along with his observations as Obama (hopefully) covers the key issues. For more information, go to the Asian Pacific Americans for Progress blog here.

trailer for bong joon-ho's mother

Apple's got the trailer for Mother, the latest thriller from director Bong Joon-Ho, the guy behind The Host and Memories of Murder (which are both awesome movies). The film has picked up acclaim at a number of international film festivals, and is getting a U.S. theatrical release this spring from Magnolia Pictures.

Mother is about a single mom who sets out to find a killer when her asocial loser son is accused of murdering a young girl. I haven't been able to catch it, but I've heard nothing but good things. To watch the trailer, go here. To learn more about the film, go here. Mother opens in limited release on March 12.

cheering for "our own kind"

Jeff Yang's latest "Asian Pop" column is all about basketball: A league of their own. As Harvard's Jeremy Lin continues to turn heads and leads the Crimson toward victory -- giving Asian American hoops fans a reason to believe -- Jeff tangles with the light and dark side of cheering for "your people" to succeed.

Meanwhile, an Atlanta sports promoter, Don "Moose" Lewis, recently made the announcement that he's starting a new pro basketball league called the All-American Basketball Alliance -- which would distinguish itself from the NBA by only allowing players who are "natural-born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race." Jeff interviews Lewis, then thankfully calls out underlying racism behind his notion of "genuine American entertainment":
Of course, much of Lewis's language is, bluntly speaking, a screen for the most insidious type of racism imaginable -- the type that denies itself while simultaneously claiming injury from a historically victimized population. When he uses the term "our kind," it echoes the bristling, preemptively hateful phrase "your kind" -- as in, "We don't like 'your kind' 'round here." When he says that the NBA is full of uncouth, showboating brawlers ("Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands?"), he's putting family-friendly context around a subtext that's rooted in white fear of a black planet.
But what's the difference between when White-Only Basketball League guy says he wants to "root for our own kind," and your average Asian American basketball fan goes crazy over players like Jeremy Lin, or even Yao Ming? Are we not, in fact, cheering for the guy who looks like us? I'll admit, I do it here all the time -- not just in sports, but in almost every other arena. But reading the article, I think difference is fairly obvious.

To write the piece, Jeff called on a big group of some of the most passionate Asian American sports fans he knows, and got a really interesting conversation going about race and sports. He couldn't fit the entire "virtual roundtable" into his column, but he's posted up the transcript in its entirety on his blog. Check it out part one: Ballers of Another Color: An Asian American Roundtable on Race and Sports. Then read part two.

manzanar barracks groundbreaking, february 13

Next month, the National Park Service, Friends of Manzanar and the Manzanar History Association invite the public to attend a barracks groundbreaking event at the Manzanar Historic Site. When completed, the project will reconstruct barracks to accurately represent what baracks life was like for Japanese American internees.

While in operation during World War II, Manzanar War Relocation Center confined more than 10,000 Japanese Americans in 36 blocks. Each block included 14 barracks buildings, a mess hall, a recreation building, latrines, and laundry and ironing rooms. After the war, the buildings were sold for scrap lumber or relocated.

In 1997, in consultation with the Manzanar Advisory Commission, former internees, historians and others, the National Park Service approved the development of Block 14 as a "demonstration block" to interpret daily life in the camp. Last year, Congress approved funding for reconstructing Barracks 1 and 8 on Block 14.

Barracks 1 will appear as it would have when Japanese Americans first arrived at Manzanar in 1942. Barracks 8 will be reconstructed to represent barracks life in 1945. A restored World War II mess hall moved to the site from Bishop Airport in 2002 will be open to visitors later this year.

The groundbreaking event will take place Saturday, February 14 at 1:00pm. For more information, take a look at the press release: Manzanar Barracks Groundbreaking Set For February 13, 2010. And to learn more about the Manzanar National Historic Site, go here.

police looking for leads in dallas donut shop murder

In Dallas, homicide detectives are still looking for the two masked men who shot and killed Kee-Sun Chung while trying to rob his doughnut shop on December 21: Police seek leads on doughnut shop owner's killers.
Video surveillance showed two men rushing into the store at 337 E. Ledbetter Drive at 7:03 a.m. A masked man, wearing dark bluejeans and a leather jacket, ran in first with a chrome-colored revolver in his right hand. A second masked man came in behind him, wearing a camouflage jacket and a dark-colored hat with an unidentified red inscription.

The first man confronted Chung and pointed the gun at him. Chung put his hands up, apparently begging the man not to shoot him. The second man then tried to open the cash register.

The two men were in the store for 17 seconds before they shot Chung and fled.
Police are hoping that someone will come forward with information about the suspects, who remain at large. A $20,000 reward is being offered, but they're also just hoping someone listens to the Chung family's pleas for justice.

Anyone with information can contact the homicide unit at 214-671-3661 or Crime Stoppers at 214-670-TIPS. More here: Family renews plea for tips in Dallas donut shop murder case.

the 50 most racist movies (you didn't think were racist)

Complex is generally a pretty awful magazine, and not really known for its sensitivity. That's why this list they've put together, The 50 Most Racist Movies (You Didn't Think Were Racist) is really surprising... and totally spot-on.

It's pretty damn comprehensive, with all the films we love to hate around here, including 45. You Only Live Twice, 32. Dragonball Evolution, 26. The Last Samurai, 5. Sixteen Candles, and my personal favorite, 8. Every Rob Schneider Movie.

And to what film does Complex bestow the honor of the number 1 Most Racist Movie? None other than Breakfast at Tiffany's, citing Mickey Rooney's inexplicable yellowface as the bucktoothed Mr. Yunioshi. Complex, we agree -- that's racist! (Thanks, Jason.)

four men (including an asian!) arrested in phone tap plot

Asians behaving badly... dirty political sneakery edition! Yesterday, federal officials charged four men with plotting to illegally access and manipulate the telephone system in the New Orleans office of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu: 4 Arrested in Phone Tampering at Landrieu Office.

The men -- James O'Keefe, Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan and Stan Dai -- were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 12.

The arrest is getting a lot of attention because one of the men, O'Keefe, is the conservative activist who gained fame last year by secretly recording members of the community group Acorn giving him (disguised as a pimp) advice on how to set up a brothel. The video damaged Acorn's reputation and prompted Congress to cut off some of its federal money.

But let's turn our attention to the Asian dude in the sneaky wiretap crew, 24-year-old Stan Dai. Media Matters has compiled some details about the mysterious Mr. Dai, who is based in the D.C. area and has frequently been involved in conservative causes: O'Keefe's three alleged accomplices: Conservative activists Dai, Basel and Flanagan.

More details about him here. Interestingly, it seems that Dai is not only a sneaky political conspirator, but also a literary satirist, having penned a work called -- I kid you not -- The Penis Monologues, with awesome passages like "My Angry Penis" and "The Giant Coochie Snorcher That Could." Sounds like a masterpiece -- definitely the work of a man who would attempt to bug a senator's office.

It's not exactly clear what the men were trying to do in Landrieu's office, or what kind of information they were trying to gather. But the guys posed as telephone repairmen, dressed in "blue denim pants, blue work shirts, light green fluorescent vests, tool belts, and construction-style hard hats." Worst disguises ever. More here: 4 charged in U.S. Senate office infiltration in New Orleans.


go!style 2010 concert, february 5

Bay Area! Here's an opportunity to see some very cool APA talent... Arts organizations RAMA and viveSF present GO!STYLE, a variety concert featuring the liks of comedians Ali Wong and Sheng Wang, musicians Magnetic North and Goh Nakamura and more. It's happening Friday, February 5 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco. Here are some details:

Friday, February 5th

Palace of Fine Arts Theater
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA

$40 General Admission
Purchase 5 tix together, get 10% off

Ali Wong
Sheng Wang

Magnetic North
Goh Nakamura
The Odds Dance Crew (from Funkbrella Dance Company)
Michelle Martinez
Loa Niumeitolu
Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu
Sounds like fun. GO!STYLE is all about creating a new APA arts culture in the Bay Area. To learn more, and to see the full artist lineup and bios, go to the GO!STYLE website here, or the Facebook event page here. To purchase tickets, go here.

Oh, and you are encouraged to come out to the GO!STYLE Launch party, happening this Friday, January 29 at Horizon Restaurant and Lounge, featuring a live show by Tim Be Told. Details on Facebook here. Bay Area Rise Up!

vote for 8asians in the 2010 bloggies

Some love for our friends over at fellow Asian American blog 8Asians, which has been nominated -- for the second year in a row -- for Best Group Blog in the 10th Annual Weblog Awards (aka the Bloggies). Congratulations!

Considering how much space we've carved for ourselves on the internet, it's nice to see some Asian American blogs getting some recognition. They're actually one of the few Asian American blogs that have ever been nominated.

How cool would it be to see them win, up against blogs like The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Serious Eats and Momversation? You can vote for them this week over at 2010.bloggies.com. Voting closes Sunday, January 31st at 10 PM, EST.

the john park movement has begun

It seems that American Idol contestant John Park's memorable audition left a big impression on a lot of people. EW.com has made a list of its top 20 singers from season 9's first two weeks, and guess who they'e ranked #1?
1. John Park (New this week; pictured, left): The rich, buttery baritone he displayed on Blood Sweat & Tears' "I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know" was perhaps the tastiest treat to come out of the first four audition episodes of season 9. Plus, his lips, teeth, and bottom end have Shania Twain's stamp of approval. How can you not get behind the guy?
Wow. Just two weeks into this season's auditions, he's emerged as one of the early fan favorites. I believe it. This guy's got the stuff that could take him all the way, and I'm looking forward to seeing him compete in Hollywood. In the meantime, I just heard from Don and Laura Chin, who have launched a John Park fansite.

annie le murder suspect pleads not guilty

Raymond Clark III, the animal research technician charged with killing Yale graduate student Annie Le, appeared in New Haven Superior Court today and pleaded not guilty to murder and an added charge of felony murder: Yale lab tech pleads not guilty in student killing.

Clark is accused of stranging Le in September, five days before her planned wedding. In court, he waived his right to a probable cause hearing, where he could have challenged whether prosectors had enough evidence to try him.

Prosecutors revealed that they were adding the felony murder count. Felony murder is alleged when someone dies during the commission of a felony, such as robbery, burglary, kidnapping and sexual assault, or an attempted felony. Under Connecticut's felony murder law, prosecutors don't have to prove that a killing was intentional.

Murder and felony murder each carry a sentence of 25 to 60 years in prison. Details of the new charge, including what the alleged felony was, weren't released. There are a lot of facts about this case that remain unclear, including a motive, but the investigation is still apparently ongoing. More here: Clark pleads not guilty.

stupid radio shack commercial with asian "master"

Ack. Why do people keep making commercials like this? How many times must we see the ancient Asian martial arts master, in ads for instant chow mein or Hot Pockets ...and cell phones. This one for Radio Shack, apparently entitled "Sensei" and starring Arnold Chon, features a lot of yelling, kicking, and little sense. Fifteen seconds of a lot of nonsense. (Thanks, Jo Anna.)

houston teen will be hanging with the first lady

At tomorrow night's State of the Union address, 18-year-old Li Boynton of Houston will have one of the best seats in the house. She was invited by the White House to attend the address... and she'll be sitting in the box with none other than First Lady Michelle Obama: Teen scientist gets high honor from Obamas.

She'll also find out Wednesday whether she has advanced to the finals of Intel's Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious high school science honor. Did I also mention she's been accepted to Yale? So yeah, she's smart.

The paper for the competition, "The Use of Bioluminescent Bacteria to Detect Environmental Contaminants," details how living organisms that give off light can be used as sensors to detect contaminants in water. Boynton actually developed a sensor made from bioluminescent bacteria. Did I mention this girl is smart?

The White House released a statement this week on why Boynton was selected to sit with the First Lady:
"The President has repeatedly stated that he is counting on today's students to meet the Grand Challenges of the 21st century -- challenges such as developing new domestic energy sources that will fuel the economy while reducing dependence on foreign oil and protecting the climate, and delivering better health care for Americans at lower cost. The White House sees in Li Boynton's early achievements inspiring evidence that she is among the Nation's next generation of leaders who will meet these challenges. Her work developing a novel method of detecting contaminants in water -- a problem that haunts one billion people around the world today--reflected a great confluence of scientific insight and caring for others. We hope other students will look at what she has done and will be inspired to immerse themselves in science, engineering and math and do their part for the nation and the world."
Boynton is one of 300 semifinalists for the award. If she's selected as one of the 40 finalists, she'll travel to Washington, D.C. in March to participate in final judging. The top award is $100,000. But first things first -- Li will be hanging Wednesday night with the First Lady. More here: Bellaire teen invited to State of the Union.

what I'm listening to: big phony's kicking punching bags

Kicking Punching Bags, the new album from Big Phony, officially drops today. I've actually had a copy for a couple of months, and I love it. I guess you could describe it as sensitive-guy-with-guitar kind of stuff, with heavy Elliot Smith influences. This is really great record, and I highly recommend checking it out. Here's some info about the new album, in his own words:
"Kicking Punching Bags" was produced by Jason Hiller at Walden Recordings in Beverly Hills, CA. We started recording back in December of 2008 and it took us just a few months to track the album, so we've been waiting quite some time to get this out there. I’d say it’s a pretty nice and laid back piece of work. For all of the songs we only laid down a few takes and used no click tracks. Personally I think it made the album sound more natural and less cookie cutter or contrived. Downside is, it makes it harder to add techno beats for Big Phony dance remixes. Oh well, hope you guys enjoy it!
You can listen to some of the tracks at Big Phony's MySpace page here. Not only is the album great, but having gotten to know Big Phony, aka Bobby Choy, he's a pretty cool guy, and I'd love to see more people get tuned into his music.

There's an album release party next month, February 11, at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, but rumor has it, it's already completely sold out (a limited number of tickets may be available at the door). You can download Kicking Punching Bags from iTunesicon or get it from the Big Phony Store. And spread the word!

2010 nea literature fellowships

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced its 2010 Literature Fellows. This year the fellowships are awarded to creative writers working in prose. Notable Asian American writers selected this year include Frances Hwang, author of Transparency, Padma Viswanathan, author of Toss of a Lemon, and Aimee Phan, author of We Should Never Meet.

Over 25,000 pages were reviewed from 993 eligible applicants. In all, the NEA chose 42 writers from across the United States, and awarded $25,000 to support writing and additional projects necessary for the writers' artistic growth.

To apply, writers submit a sample of their best work. Prose writers submit 30 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction. Poets submit 10 pages of poems. These are judged blindly by anonymous manuscript and sent to a panel of distinguished American writers who spend five months evaluating them, so it's a very intensive process.

Applications for the NEA's Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry are due this year and winners will be announced in December. (Thanks, Bryan.)

lost: one week to season six

We are one week away from the sixth and final season premiere of Lost. As you all know, I am a Lost freak, and if you're not, none of this post is going to make any kind of sense. But oh well. ABC finally released a new season six promo... with some crazy brief flashes of new footage -- including a shot of a gun-toting, badass looking Claire. What the hell does it mean? Is Claire the new Rousseau? We'll find out.

There have also been a bunch of artsy-cool international promos for the show. Like this one from Israel. No new footage, just cool imagery.

This one from Spain (Perdidos) evokes eyeball closeups and some damn cool chess board visuals, and of course, rocks a spiffy Radiohead tune.

And finally, here's an excellent video created by a resourceful fan, who pieced together the entire Oceanic 815 crash, from different perspectives, in real time -- a la 24. It's totally nerdy, but really nicely done. One week away!

conspiracy theories revived in haing s. ngor's murder

A couple of days ago, someone asked me incredulously, "Hey, did you know that an Asian actor won an Academy Award? Like, in the eighties." Yes! That man was Haing S. Ngor, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1985 for his role in The Killing Fields. (He was actually one of three actors of Asian descent who have won an Academy Award for acting.)

A doctor by training, Ngor survived imprisonment and torture in Cambodia under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, moved to the United States as a refugee, and was chosen as an unknown to play photographer Dith Pran in The Killing Fields.

Sadly, Ngor was found shot to death in the garage of his Los Angeles apartment building in 1996. Relatives and friends in the Cambodian community immediately speculated that the killing was revenge hit, ordered by Pol Pot or a member of the Khmer Rouge, for his outspoken opposition to the dictator.

The Los Angeles Police Department launched an international investigation, only to conclude that Ngor was killed by three members of an Asian American gang, part of a random street robbery gone wrong. Two years later, the suspects were convicted and the case appeared to be closed.

But over the last few months, Ngor's death has again captivated the Cambodian community, sparked by the U.N. tribunal testimony of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kang Kek Ieu, who claims that "Ngor was killed because he appeared in the film The Killing Fields."

Needless to say, the claim stoked new theories about Ngor's murder: Revisiting Haing Ngor's murder: 'Killing Fields' theory won't die. Fourteen years later, many remain convinced of a conspiracy -- a political hit -- despite the insistence of authorities that it was a random street crime with no ties to Cambodia. More here: THE KILLING FIELDS - ACTOR'S FAMILY CALL FOR DEATH INVESTIGATION TO BE REOPENED.


refugee nation performance at ucla

If you're in the Los Angeles area, the Laotian American Organization at UCLA invites you to a special event, Refugee Nation, written and performed by Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng, based on the stories of Laotian refugee and their descendants. It's next Monday, February 1 in the Ackerman Grand Ballroom at UCLA. Here's the info:
The Laotian American Organization at UCLA proudly presents


Written and performed by Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng
Based on the stories of Laotian refugees and their descendants.

Monday, February 1, 2010
7:30-10:00 PM
(Doors open at 7:00 PM)
Ackerman Grand Ballroom
2nd Floor, Ackerman Union
UCLA Campus

A mother lives in the darkness of a South Los Angeles apartment. An Army General struggles to forget a lost war. A son battles in the streets of urban America. Refugee Nation is about a young generation struggling to understand their history and the silence of an elder generation still healing from the traumas of the U.S. waged Secret War in Laos during the Vietnam War era.

More than just a telling of Laotian American history, the two-person performance eloquently touches upon crucial issues relating to the refugee experience, assimilation, generation gap, and mental health by interweaving drama, film, music, and audience interaction. The result is a product that not only brings to light the hidden stories of Laotian Americans around the U.S., but one that is able to unite people from all types of backgrounds, ethnicities, and histories by relaying the ideas of change, loss, struggle, healing, and the unrelenting strength of the human spirit.

As we welcome a new decade, the Refugee Nation continues to grow. With the certainty of new refugee arrivals coming from the Middle East, what can we learn from the wounds of a war 30 years ago that are still yet to be healed?

The event is free and open to the public. The show will run for 60 minutes and will be followed by a 30-minute Question and Answer session with the artists.
This sounds like a really fantastic event. The show has toured everywhere from New York to Alaska, but this will actually be the show's first performance in its hometown of Los Angeles. And best of all, the show is absolutely free.

For more information about the event (including parking details), go to the Facebook event page here. For more information on Refugee Nation, visit their website here.

asia pacific arts' best of 2009

Okay, we're a couple of weeks into 2010, but we can still do a little bit of looking back... My friends at Asia Pacific Arts, one of my favorite online magazines, have been quietly unveiling their annual Best of 2009 edition, looking back and selecting some of their favorite Asian and Asian American films, performers, behind-the-scenes artists, video games, lifestyle media gurus and more.

It's an issue I look forward to every year -- particularly the Best Asian American Film feature. It's a solid list. Take a look at the entire Best of 2009 issue here.

projekt newspeak seeking staff and screenplay submissions

I recently joined the board of Project NewSpeak, an Asian American production company with some pretty big ideas. They've got a lot of energy and some really exciting things going on this year. I'm pleased to be a part of its vision.

The goal: "to break and change stereotypes and images of Asian Americans in the mainstream media through the development, organization and promotion of innovative and thought-provoking art that speaks to the minds and hearts of all people." But in order to do this, they need your help.

Projekt NewSpeak is looking a second generation staff to take charge of the organization. Do you want to work in production, filmmaking, event planning? Do you want to work with positive people that want to change the image and stereotypes of Asian Americans in Hollywood? Then join Projekt Newspeak. Take a look at the flyer above for more info. To apply, please contact: info@projektnewspeak.com

They are also actively looking for material to produce. If you have a compelling story/screenplay (any genre: drama, comedy, action, etc.), and are interesting in getting it produced by NewSpeak, submit your finished work to info@projektnewspeak.com by February 15. And for more information, visit the Projekt NewSpeak website here.

college student charged with killing father

Whoa. In Virginia, 19-year-old Alan Yuan Chang, a first-year student at the University of Virginia, appeared at a preliminary hearing last week on first-degree murder charges in the death his father, 47-year-old Jian Zhang: Hearing set for Henrico man, 19, accused of murdering father.

new last airbender posters

Paramount just released two new teaser posters for this summer's live-action big screen adaptation of The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. That's Dev Patel as Zuko and Noah Ringer as Aang.

You know, the more I see from this movie, the more ridiculous it becomes. If you haven't heard by now, the Asian-inspired heroes of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon have been magically transformed into white people for the movie version.

Meanwhile, the good folks at Racebending continue their efforts to create awareness about The Last Airbender's casting debacle. They recently created a pretty informative and educational video series, The Last Airbender Film: How to Talk About It .

Basically, it gives people helpful pointers for talking about The Last Airbender, explaining why this casting is so problematic, and why fans are so passionate about this issue. For more informatio, go to the Racebending website here.

not always right: "real chinese restaurant"

We've all suffered through bad customer service. It's pretty annoying. But the reverse is true too -- working a retail or service job sucks, and idiot customers don't make it any better. Not Always Right is a blog that chronicles the joys of dealing with stupid/annoying/pain-in-the-ass customers. Here's a recent exchange that stuck out:
Doesn't Know Their A(merican)B(orn)C(hinese)'s
Restaurant | Greenville, SC, USA

Me: "Thank you for calling [Chinese restaurant], how can I help you?"

Customer: "Yes, I'd like an order for delivery."

Me: "Okay, if you'll just give me your-"

Customer: *cutting me off* "Is this a real Chinese restaurant?"

Me: "Yes, ma'am."

Customer: "I've just never heard any one talk like you at a Chinese restaurant. I'm just making sure Americans aren't cooking my Chinese food!"
Sad but true. Because everyone knows that authentic, "real" Chinese food can only be prepared by the same people who take your order -- people with really thick, non-"American" Chinese accents. That's the Ancient Chinese Secret.

the sweet hurt sings "where would you go?"

Oh, man. I love this song. Here's The Sweet Hurt, aka Wendy Wang, doing a live performance of "Where Would You Go?" Not only do I love the song, but I like that she's wearing her hood, and it looks windy and cold. Yeah, I'm weird.

I met Wendy a few months back, then heard her doing a little singing and playing with Priscilla Ahn and Big Phony. Curious about her own stuff, I check out her MySpace. All had to hear was "Where Would You Go?" and I downloaded her whole In the Shade of Dreams EP (legally, of course). Really nice stuff.

Anyway, another great video, courtesy of The Mighty Fifty. For more information about The Sweet Hurt, visit her website here and her MySpace page here.

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