Producers wanted to give 'The Farewell' a white boyfriend

What the bad alternate universe version of Lulu Wang's film might look like.

Writer/director Lulu Wang's feature The Farewell is based on real events from the filmmaker's own life, when her grandmother in China was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, but went on unaware after the family decided to shield her from the news. Instead, the family orchestrated a fake wedding so that loved ones could say goodbye.

The film has received rave reviews and opened to stellar box office numbers. But audiences might have seen an entirely different movie if some producers had their way. Wang shares that when she first started pitching the film in 2014, producers suggested a decidedly different take on the film's fake wedding premise.

"As I was pitching to producers, they were like, 'It's obvious -- if you’re going to make a wedding movie, then the main character has to be the bride,'" Wang tells The Washington Post. "And she doesn't get along with her boyfriend anymore. And he's American. He's a white guy. But somehow she convinces him, and they come and they force this wedding. And they end up falling in love again.'"

If you were wondering what the bad alternate universe version of The Farewell might look like.

More here: Lulu Wang nearly compromised with 'The Farewell.' Then she stayed true to her story.


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When a Lie Becomes Your Breakout Film
With The Farewell, released in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, writer-director Lulu Wang has made a bittersweet drama about her family's choice to deceive one of their own.

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'The Farewell's' Lulu Wang and Awkwafina want you to cry, then call your grandma
"My goal is to leave people talking about the film, or talking about their own lives and their own family, or calling their grandma. That's my gift to the world. We should all call our grandmas more."

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Crazy Rich Asians Kicked Down the Door. Now Asian Americans Are Fighting To Stay in the Room
"Increasingly, it’s up to the Asian-American power players working behind the scenes to ensure that their community, so long ignored or tokenized, isn't treated as a fad—and that they become integral to the worlds of film and TV."

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How magazines made Asian America
A brief history of Asian American magazines, and how their circulation sparked and shaped national conversations about identity and politics.

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Politicians often overlook Asian American voters. They shouldn’t, especially in 2020.
Asian Americans are often relegated to, at best, a footnote in conversations about national politics. Thanks to changes to the 2020 Democratic primary calendar that give Asian American voters more influence, this could change. Smart politicians would be wise to figure out how to win them over.

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A Woman's Place is in Space: Meet Eight Asian American Women Reaching for the Stars
For every person and vehicle that NASA has launched beyond Earth's atmosphere, there have been numerous Asian American women who made those journeys possible.

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When a Dating Dare Leads to Months of Soul Searching
It had been a glorious first date for Andrew and Sarah, but for her there was a problem: They were both of Asian descent.

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George Takei on the Return of Concentration Camps in America
A Q&A with actor and activist George Takei on his experience in the U.S. concentration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, and the U.S. border situation today.

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Cinematographer on the Rise Finds Connection in Urban Oasis
Quyen Tran, DP for HBO's Camping and Netflix's Unbelievable, transformed her life and career after a brush with terror and tragedy.

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Jamie Yancovitz & Kristen Cabildo Are Redefining The Practice Of Filipino Martial Arts For Women
Two women are working to create a safe space for women, especially Filipinas, to learn self-defense and cultural heritage through Filipino Martial Arts.

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Utah's 'Tandoori Taqueria' Brings Unexpected Indian Spice To Cowboy Country
Five years ago, Ripple Desai opened the Tandoori Taqueria in rural Utah, serving up a fusion of traditional Indian dishes with that beloved Mexican staple -- tacos. She uses naan bread as the tortilla.

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Dan the Automator follows his own lane to food, movies, 'Always Be My Maybe'
San Francisco producer and artist Dan the Automator spent years in the rap and indie music worlds. Now, he's scoring movies, including Always Be My Maybe and the recent Booksmart.


Angry Reader of the Week: Thuc Nguyen

"Things that make me angry aren't tough fixes. They take awareness."

What's good, internet friends? It is time, once again, to meet the 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 Thuc Nguyen.


Swords! Arrows! Horses! Mulan! Live-Action! Trailer!

Disney drops the first teaser trailer for the live-action remake of 'Mulan.'

This is a proper teaser trailer. Disney has dropped the first look at its upcoming live-action remake of Mulan, based on the tale of China's legendary woman warrior. Let me just say, if you want to get me excited about this Mulan movie I've been a little skeptical about up to now, this is how you do it. Sign me up.

The film tells the story of Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, who steps in to take the place of her ailing father when the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. The epic journey will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation... and a proud father.

The trailer reveals familiar beats of the animated film, while offering the scale and scope of a period war epic. You've got our heroine expected to be a dutiful daughter and marry her match, juxtaposed against scenes of Mulan riding a horse, wielding a sword, doing gung fu flippity flips, scaling rooftops and shooting off a shitload of arrows. All while maintaining the glorious curls in her hair.

Check it out:


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'The Little Mermaid' Star Halle Bailey Gets Advice From 1st Nonwhite Actress to Play Ariel
Halle Bailey won't be the first nonwhite actress to play Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid. And Diana Huey, a Japanese American who played the red-headed mermaid in a national touring production of the Broadway hit, has plenty of advice for her big-screen successor in dealing with the pressure of reimagining an iconic role.

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Lulu Wang Spots the Lie
The director of the Sundance sensation The Farewell has made the kind of movie Hollywood never makes.

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For my Father, Every Time is War Time
"A part of me, the part trained to put my father first, thought I should allow him into my home, regardless of his threats."

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In action-comedy 'Stuber,' Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista shoot down toxic masculinity
In Stuber, a police detective (Bautista) enlists the help of his Uber driver, Stu (Nanjiani) to help him track down a deadly criminal.

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What One Actor's Career Tells Us About Asian Representation in Hollywood
Actor James Saito said the way his role was written in “Always Be My Maybe allowed the character to be “a real man as we know an Asian American man to be.

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'Sesame Street' stars Sonia Manzano and Alan Muraoka reflect on 50 years of hit children's show
To celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street Sonia Manzano, who played Maria, and Alan Muraoka, the current owner of Hooper's Store, shared their favorite guest stars and what it has meant to teach kids about how to live happy and healthy lives.

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Yakult, ramen or Asian pears: What does your H Mart purchase say about you?
The Korean grocery chain H Mart offers a variety of food items. What do the ones you choose say about you?

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Every Dish You HAVE To Try At 15-Year-Old Actor Hudson Yang's Restaurant
Actor Hudson Yang, who portrays a younger version of chef Eddie Huang in the ABC hit series Fresh Off The Boat, is just 15 years old. But he's already getting his feet wet in the restaurant business, much like the culinary icon he portrays.

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Cute. Dangerous. Asian American. "Gremlins" @35
A piece on the 1984 horror-comedy movie Gremlins, cuteness, and white ambivalence about Asian Americans as the supposed model minority.


Building the Asian American Movement: Then and Now

Friday, July 12 at the Japanese American National Museum.

If you're in Los Angeles, check out this cool panel discussion, Building the Asian American Movement: Then and Now happening next week in Little Tokyo, co-presented by Visual Communications and the Japanese American National Museum...

Take a cross-generational look at the challenges and opportunities Asian American communities face as they continue to grow and engage in political action. Hear from a panel of Asian American activists who span the 1970s to the present. Learn about what motivated them to become politically charged and find what out what they believe it means to be an activist in today’s world and what issues continue to spur activism. The panelists have deep experience in student organizing, anti-gentrification campaigns, immigrant worker organizing, and other political campaigns.

Speakers include Sophia Cheng, immigrant workers organizer and lecturer at UCLA Asian American Studies Program; Tiffany Do, education and housing advocate; Frances Hyunh, tenant organizer with Chinatown Community for Equitable Development; Florante Ibanez, veteran organizer in the Filipino American community and lecturer in Asian American Studies at Pasadena City College; Miya Iwataki, veteran organizer in the Japanese American community around health care and redress/reparations and women’s issues; Sandy Maeshiro, veteran organizer with The Storefront in Seinan/Crenshaw and educational advocate; Jonathan Paik, Executive Director of the Korean Resource Center in Orange County and political empowerment organizer.

It's happening Friday, July 12 at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum. For further information, and to RSVP, go here.

Angry Reader of the Week: Cindy Lin

"You get to scream at the top of your lungs and hit people with sticks."

Greetings, good people of the internet. It is time, once again, to meet the 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 Cindy Lin.


Episode 69: They Call Us Kulap Vilaysack

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.

What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. (Almost) each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, we welcome actress/comedian/writer Kulap Vilaysack to talk about her deeply personal feature documentary Origin Story. They discuss unearthing family secrets, making art from trauma, and The Good, The Bad and The WTF of airing out your dirty laundry.


Read These Blogs

Sneaking Out for a Burger With My Indian Dad
For children of immigrants, our experiences of America are intertwined with the presence of another culture and its expectations. Shaila Kapoor writes about sharing a simple American moment with her father.

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Why Asian Immigrants Are Uniquely Vulnerable To Trump's Looming ICE Raids
Trump has a plan to deploy Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to raid homes of undocumented immigrants in several cities. This will have a deep impact on Asian immigrant communities.

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How I've Learned That Being a Bisexual Chinese American Woman Doesn't Make Me "Leftover"
Traci Lee explores how cultural expectations have shaped her identity as a bisexual, Asian American woman.

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How a rural Oklahoma truck stop became a destination for Sikh Punjabis crossing America
Today, as the number of Sikh truckers has grown, dozens of no-frill highway stops selling food from India's Punjab region have sprung up along U.S. interstates. Truck Stop 40, on the outskirts of Sayre, Oklahoma, population 4,625, is among the oldest, biggest and best known.

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'I almost got killed': the Hmong refugees who call the US home
As Trump attempts to dismantle the United States' refugee resettlement program, the city of Wausau, Wisconsin is a microcosm of the challenges and opportunities that come from welcoming refugees.

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Philly’s AOC? How Helen Gym became the city’s most progressive Council member.

Assembling large groups of people to fight for what they think is right -- in schools, housing, immigration policies -- is what Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym has been doing for three decades.

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How Chinese Food Fueled the Rise of California Punk
In the late 1970s, Chinatown restaurants started booking some unlikely dinner entertainment: the rowdy young bands of the nascent West Coast punk scene.

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Here Is One of the Most Honest Sentences in Food Writing I Have Read
As Chef Edward Lee sees the culinary landscape shifting from Eurocentric restaurants in the United States, he notes that food writing still needs to catch up.

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Criticism of BTS Is Often Just Xenophobia in Disguise
Even if you're not a BTS fan, you can still talk about the superstar K-pop group in a way that doesn't revert to western-centric tropes and perspectives.

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'Legion' Newcomer Lauren Tsai on Rewriting History as FX Drama's New Time-Traveling Mutant
In the few short years since breaking out as a fan favorite on the massively popular Japanese reality series Terrace House, Lauren Tsai has leveraged her impressively broad skillset to rewrite what audiences may have come to expect of a post-reality TV career.


Angry Reader of the Week: Ally Maki

"I'll always be the girl doing voices and writing little short stories in her Sanrio diaries."

Hey, everybody! It is time, once again, to meet the 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 Ally Maki.


When Harry Met Sally... starring Asian Americans!

Film Independent presents a live read of the classic romantic comedy, directed by Randall Park.

Steven Yeun and Maya Erskine (Photo: Getty Images/Film Independent)

The origins of the Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, starring Randall Park and Ali Wong, can be directly and indirectly traced to When Harry Met Sally... Park, who also co-wrote and produced Always Be My Maybe, has cited the 1989 Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan rom-com classic as his favorite film.

More directly, in a 2016 New Yorker profile of Wong, the Baby Cobra comedian mentioned that she and Park had always wanted to make a romantic comedy together -- "our version of When Harry Met Sally..." Overhwelming fan reaction to that single line, near the end of a 4000+ word piece, is apparently what got the wheels turning to get Always Be My Maybe written, produced, and dropped into your Netflix queue.

The influence of When Harry Met Sally can be seen all over the blueprints of Always Be My Maybe and dozens of other films in the genre -- a genre that, let's face it, has been traditionally very very white. But what if When Harry Met Sally... had actually starred Asians? What if Harry and Sally, rom-com icons, had been played by Asian American actors? On Sunday, we got a glimpse of what that might look like, and it was amazing.


#NeverAgainIsNow: Fort Sill

A Little Tokyo protest to end all family separation and detention centers.

If you're in Los Angeles, join concerned community members in Little Tokyo this Thursday evening to protest the White House's plans to use Fort Sill in Oklahoma as a detention center for immigrant children and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention practices in general.

Organizers are demanding an end to the inhumane conditions at ICE facilities, an end to family separation policies, and for compassion and humanitarianism toward all people. All who share concern about these issues are invited to participate.

It's happening June 27 at 7:00pm on the plaza of the Japanese American National Museum.


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Pioneering Filmmaker Esther Eng Made Movies in the '30s and '40s on Her Own Terms
"Esther Eng broke all the rules. In the 1930s and '40s, it was remarkable for a Cantonese American woman to be a producer and director. Even more impressive: She was always upfront about being a lesbian."

* * *

Jeremy Lin, 'Reppin' Asians With Everything I Have,' Is Bigger Than an N.B.A. Title
Toronto Raptors guard Jeremy Lin became the first Asian American to win an NBA championship, but the moment meant more than the sport or its trophy. Lin always has.

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The Bittersweet Joy of Being Professionally Eclipsed by Your 9-Year-Old
When Jeff Yang's son became a prime-time TV star, 'Hudson Yang's dad' became his most prominent title.

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Americans Just Want Immigrants for the Food
Psst, you're doing "humanizing the other" wrong.

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Where Did the All-Too-Familiar Chinese Zodiac Placemat Come From?
Chances are if you've been to a Chinese restaurant in America, you've seen one of these.

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Jon M. Chu: Young Filmmakers Don't Have the Baggage of Self-Hatred
Speaking to the New York Times on the future of movies, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu says he's mostly hopeful that diversity will take hold, but still realistic.

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Kumail Nanjiani: It's Harder for Smaller Movies to Succeed
Actor/writer/comedian Kumail Nanjiani wonders if small and midsize films will still have a shot in theaters.

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'The Killer' at 30: John Woo Explains How He Shot His Action Classic Without a Script
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of John Woo's action classic The Killer, the famed director recently revealed how he staged some of its unforgettable scenes with no script.


Angry Reader of the Week: Jeff Chan

"I flunked my Chinese classes growing up and am a disgrace to my family."

All right, internet friends. You know what time it is. It's time to meet the 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 Jeff Chan.


Music Video Premiere: "dec17" by fuvk

"Maybe later on this week we'll take back the words we speak."

Engineers by day, musicians by night! fuvk is the Austin-based bedroom indie pop project (or termed "audio journal") of Shirley Zhu. Started in 2016, the band features Zhu on vocals/guitar, Jiyoung Min on violin and Kevin Javier on cello -- all graduates of the University of Texas with STEM degrees, now working full-time day jobs (Zhu is an analyst at EA, and Min is a software developer at vrbo).

We're proud to present the premiere of their new music video for "dec17" from their EP Golden Girl, directed by award-winning filmmaker Huay-Bing Law.


Read These Blogs

The U.S. Is Purging Chinese Cancer Researchers From Top Institutions
The NIH and the FBI are targeting ethnic Chinese scientists, including U.S. citizens, searching for a cancer cure. Here’s the first account of what happened to Xifeng Wu.

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'Amphibia' creator wants kids to feel seen with his Thai American heroine
Disney Channel's new animated series Amphibia stars a 13-year-old Thai American heroine named Anne Boonchuy, one of the very few lead characters of Southeast Asian descent on American television.

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So Much for Worshipping Meritocracy
Meritocracy was always the myth at the heart of Amy Chua's "tiger mother" brand. So how does Amy Chua's support for Brett Kavanaugh, and helping her daughter become a clerk for him, dispel this myth?

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal: The Story of My Abortion
Congresswoman Primila Jayapal talks about her deeply personal decision to make a reproductive choice.

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Wang: How To Grieve In Front Of Millions Of People
Last year, Shirley Wang shared the incredible story of her late father's friendship with Charles Barkley. Since that time, she's learned about collective grief and support.

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This PA Native Was Addicted to Heroin and Pills. Now He’s Running His Own Yoga Studio.
David Hem endured a 15-year struggle with drug addiction. Now, though, he's running his own yoga studio, the Healing Fields Philly.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander youth face bullying, lack visibility, report finds
"We need these narratives to be uplifted so that policymakers understand that there are Asian communities in need of support."

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'No-No Boy' went from unknown book to classic thanks to UW Press and Asian American writers. Now, it’s at the center of a controversy.
No-No Boy is widely recognized as a classic of Asian American literature; taught in countless classes, it's a crucial, artful record of a chapter in history many would like to forget. But lately, it's been at the center of a publishing controversy.

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Asian Americans are throwing stereotypes about their food in your face
"These films have given audiences an immersion into the way these themes weave across all of our diverse Asian American experiences. And they've done so, perhaps unsurprisingly, in part by using one of the most universal and accessible languages of all: food."

* * *

Randall Park on That Ali Wong Sex Scene, Keanu Reeves and His Commercial for Chinese Liver Pills
Randall Park's first acting gig was a commercial for liver pills, which aired on the local Chinese station in Los Angeles. It was entirely in Mandarin, and to this day, he still doesn't exactly know what the commercial was saying. He got paid $200.


Angry Reader of the Week: Yuh-Line Niou

"I'm angry about why we don't love each other enough to be angry for each other."

Hello, internet friends. It is time meet the 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 Yuh-Line Niou.

Of course the Trump Administration is holding migrant children at a former Japanese American incarceration site

Fort Sill has been selected "as a temporary emergency influx shelter" to detain 1,400 children.

History repeats itself. After running out of room at government shelters, the Trump Administration has opted to use an Army base in Oklahoma to hold growing numbers of immigrant children in its custody -- at the same site where innocent Japanese American citizens were detained during World War II.

Fort Sill, an 150-year-old installation once used as an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, has been selected "as a temporary emergency influx shelter" to detain 1,400 children until they can be given to an adult relative, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More here: Trump Administration to Hold Migrant Children at Base That Served as WWII Japanese Internment Camp


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How Ali Wong And Randall Park's New Rom-Com 'Always Be My Maybe' Came To Be
I had a blast talking to Randall Park and Ali Wong about their Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe for the upcoming summer issue of Character Media.

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Dispute Arises Over 'No-No Boy,' a Classic of Asian-American Literature With a Complex History
John Okada's 1957 novel about a Japanese American draft resister has been republished by Penguin Classics, but a copyright claim raises questions over its ownership.

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"In their attractive, polished faces, I saw that Stonehenge was as familiar to them as having a gun held to my face was to me." Min Jin Lee on writing and cultural referents.

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Going Home With Ocean Vuong He's best known as an award-winning young poet, and he's now getting attention for his novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. But Kat Chow first knew him as a talented writer a couple of years ahead of her in high school.

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When being Asian American means bacon and eggs and hamburgers
An ode to the Bay Area’s Asian American-owned diners, burger joints and sandwich shops.

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The Bookstore That Tells the Stories of Asian American Activism Florence Makita Hongo founded and manages the Asian American Curriculum Project in San Mateo.

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For the Original K-Pop Stars, Survival Depended on Making it in America The Kim Sisters' success in Las Vegas allowed their family in war-torn Korea to eat.

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Shannon Lee Talks 'Warrior' And How Hollywood Honors And Exploits Her Father's Legacy Shannon Lee is the executive producer of Cinemax's Warrior and daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

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Ali Wong And Randall Park On Rapping, Rom-Com Tropes And (Keanu) Reeves
Ali Wong and Randall Park talk to NPR about their version of When Harry Met Sally.

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The Lyrics to Always Be My Maybe's 'I Punched Keanu Reeves' Rap, Annotated by Randall Park
The lyrics to Always Be My Maybe's signature track, annotated by star/writer/emcee Randall Park.


They Call Us Bruce - Episode 68: They Call Us Soleil Ho

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.

What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. (Almost) each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, recorded live at NCORE 2019 in Portland, we welcome back Soleil Ho, restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. We talk race, culture, politics, identity and, of course, food.

They could save their brother's life... if the U.S. would let them in the country.

Tu Le needs a bone marrow donor. His brothers in Vietnam are perfect matches, but their visas were denied.

Two Vietnamese brothers who petitioned to travel to the United States to donate bone marrow to their dying brother in San Jose were denied temporary visas by the U.S. government.

Tu Le is suffering form Myelodysplastic syndrome, an aggressive form of blood cancer. He is dying. Le is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to survive. His brothers are both matches. A perfect 100% genetic match. But they have been denied temporary visas by the U.S. government.

Le's brothers, Lam Le and Hiep Nguyen, applied for B-2 tourist visas at the end of May, citing a medical emergency. According the family, they were denied entry on June 3. These men have what is necessary to save their brother's life, and the United States government is like... nope.

More here: Vietnamese men denied visas for life-saving transplant for brother in San Jose


These Are Some Badass Bruce Shoes

Bruce Lee Converse All-Star Sneakers by Milton Wong

This dope new pair of Bruce Lee Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars features art by Hong Kong illustrator Milton Wong, depicting Bruce in his iconic yellow jumpsuit from Game of Death. Custom made-to-order, these shoes are exclusive to the Bruce Lee Family Store and available in both High Top and Low Top styles.

Here are some more images:


Do not watch this show on an empty stomach.

YOMYOMF's unscripted series 'Family Style' offers a lively look at Asian food.

Family Style is a 12-episode unscripted food and travel series that offers a lively look at not just Asian food, but the traditions, culture and backstory of the food and the dish that's brought to the table. Shot in Vietnam, China and the Philippines as well as Hawaii and Los Angeles, the series is produced by Stage 13 and YOMYOMF.

The series is led by the Foodie Fam -- eight talented friends bound together by their knowledge and love for culture, cuisine and sharing family moments around the table. The cast includes Stacy Fan, Lana McKissack, Gilbert Galon, Arvin Lee, Anthony Ma, Oates Wu and Sujata Day.

Highlights of the first season include a visit to the Night Markets of Saigon, Singapore and the San Gabriel Valley; how to make Kare Kare, the Philippines' revered hearty stew; the legend of the Pork Highway in Oahu; Sri Lankan, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Burmese cuisine and more.

Check out the trailer:

They Call Us Bruce - Episode 67: They Call Us Always Be My Maybe

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.

What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. (Almost) each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, we offer our honest takes on The Good, The Bad and The WTF of thew new Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, starring Randall Park and Ali Wong. Spoiler warnings all around.


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'Always Be My Maybe': Here's the Story Behind That 'Stay Angry' T-Shirt
You may have spotted the limited edition 2017 "Stay Angry" Subscriber Drive shirt in the new Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe. Here's the story behind the shirt and its placement in the movie.

* * *

'Always Be My Maybe's' Ali Wong and Randall Park are doing it for the Asians
"What Wong and Park are helping to change with their new Netflix rom-com is the landscape of what entertainment looks like: Who gets to play the lead in movies. Who gets to fall in love in rom-coms."

* * *

Randall Park's Small-Town L.A.
The star of Fresh Off the Boat has made Always Be My Maybe, a rom-com inspired by his own life.

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Q&A with Los Angeles star chef Niki Nakayama, who taught Ali Wong how to 'kaiseki it out'
To prepare for her role as a woman returning home to open a restaurant, Always Be My Maybe star Ali Wong hired L.A. chef Niki Nakayama to serve as a culinary consultant.

* * *

Queer Muslims Are Still Rare on TV. One Writer Wants to Change That.
A recent episode of the CBS drama "The Red Line" featured a gay romance involving a Muslim character. Fawzia Mirza, the episode's writer, discusses how it came to be.

* * *

How Indian Americans came to dominate the National Spelling Bee
Indian Americans have won every Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2008, a reign that is the result of a confluence of factors.

* * *

The Scripps Spelling Bee Is Broken. Please Don't Fix It.
Too many winners is not always a bad thing.

* * *

5 Korean American Creatives Share Their Writing Habits
Writers Nicole Chung, Andrew Ahn, R.O. Kwon, Don Lee, and Karen Chee reveal their creative processes.

* * *

Asian American Chefs Are Embracing Spam. But How Did It Make Its Way Into Their Cultures?
How did a product of American industrialization make its way into Asian and Pacific Islander cuisines?

* * *

An American life: He's 38, an undocumented immigrant and a school is being named for him
A school district in Northern California is naming a campus for Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who disclosed in a magazine story his status as an undocumented immigrant.

* * *

I Make a Podcast about Stories in the Philippine Diaspora. Here's What I've Learned So Far.
Paolo Mardo is the host and producer of Long Distance, a podcast showcasing stories in the Philippine diaspora. She shares a couple of things she's learned while making the show's first season.

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Japanese Breakfast, a.k.a. Michelle Zauner, Talks with Noah Cho About Food, Family, and Grief
""I found myself dwelling on these parts of Korean culture as a way to reconnect with my identity and also the memory of my mom."

* * *

Kishi Bashi Uses The History Of Japanese Internment To Explore America Today
Musician Kishi Bashi talks to NPR about the World War II incarceration camps that inspired his latest album Omoiyari, reckoning with his identity as a Japanese American and more.


Angry Reader of the Week: Crystal Duan

"Alas, overthinking feels more like a permanent residence."

Hello, my friends. You know what time it is. It is time, once again, to meet the 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 Crystal Duan.

They Call Us Bruce - Episode 66: They Call Us Randall Park & Michael Golamco

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.

What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. (Almost) each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, we welcome actor Randall Park and writer Michael Golamco to talk about Always Be My Maybe, their new Netflix romantic comedy with Ali Wong. They discuss The Good, The Bad and The WTF of making an awesome Asian American movie with your friends.


Making a Scene: How Claudia Kishi Helped Me and My YA Heroine Find Our Voices

Guest Post by Sarah Kuhn

I love Claudia Kishi. Ever since she first emerged on the pages of The Baby-Sitters Club books -- that touchstone series about enterprising tweens who start their own small business and become embroiled in the world of Kid Kits, cruises, and mysteries that involve things like ghost cats -- I've been obsessed with her every move. I related to her creativity, her inability to master math, and her whole Japanese American girl living in the white suburbs thing. I coveted her in-room phone line, her hollowed out books full of candy, and of course... her clothes.

Oh, her clothes. So many bright colors. So many "clashing" patterns. So many bedazzled ankle boots. The endless pages that lovingly describe her outfits (often characterized as "wild") are the most worn and dog-eared in my BSC collection. I wanted every single piece of her wardrobe so very badly.

But I also found myself caught in a classic tweenager-y paradox. I thought I wanted to stand out like Claudia, but I also knew in my heart of hearts that it would probably be better for my whole middle school experience if I did not stand out at all. At least, not any more than I already did, thanks to that "Japanese American girl living in the white suburbs" thing.

I sometimes found myself trying to incorporate a Claudia-esque piece into my look -- oversized men's shirts, scrunchy socks in a Technicolor rainbow of colors, barrettes shaped like animals. But I always ended up feeling self-conscious, the bravado I'd felt when clipping that sparkly giraffe into my hair melting as soon as one of the popular white girls sent me one of those disdainful looks that just seemed to say: really?


'Always Be My Maybe' is best enjoyed in a big loud theater

Ali Wong and Randall Park's romantic comedy is now playing in select theater before hitting Netflix on May 31.

At long last! The romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, starring Randall Park and Ali Wong, hits select theaters in ten cities today, May 29, before dropping on Netflix everywhere this Friday, May 31.

Directed by Nahnatchka Khan, and co-written by Park, Wong and Michael Golamco, Always Be My Maybe centers on Sasha and Marcus, childhood best friends who have a falling out. Reuniting fifteen years later, Sasha is now a successful celebrity chef opening a restaurant in San Francisco while Marcus is a happily struggling musician still living at home with his dad. The old sparks are still there but can they adapt to each other's world?

Here's the trailer again:


Security guards still don't believe Jeremy Lin is in the NBA

Jeremy Lin was recently stopped from boarding the player bus in Milwaukee.

The Good News: Jeremy Lin and the Toronto Raptors are headed to the NBA Championship Finals for the first time. The Bad News: Jeremy Lin still gets stopped by security personnel who don't recognize him as a player.

Lin has been candid about this. It happens to him fairly regularly. The latest incident occurred earlier this month in Milwaukee after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. A security guard stopped Jeremy from boarding the Raptors' team bus at Fiserv Forum, demanding to see his credentials.

"After game two in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee Arena just screams at me," Lin recently shared on the Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network. "He's like, 'Where do you think you’re going?!' And I'm like, 'Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.' He’s like, 'What? Where's your pass?'"

"'I don't know what you’re taking about,'" Lin recalls saying. "'I don't have a pass.'"

He talks about it at around the 10:20 mark:


Read These Blogs

How Keanu Reeves Ended Up in Ali Wong, Randall Park's Romantic Comedy 'Always Be My Maybe'
“I made Netflix spend all this money on this movie just so that, as a 37-year-old mother of two, I could kiss Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves." Ali Wong really is a genius!

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Breaking My Own Silence
Pachinko novelist Min Jin Lee found the power speak for herself.

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At a Historic Moment for Asian-American Candidates, Andrew Yang Leans In
Andrew Yang, a businessman from New York, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His focus on preventing mass unemployment caused by the automation of jobs has made him popular online, but will it be enough to propel him to the White House?

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Asian Americans could be the group most affected by the census citizenship question
As the fastest growing racial demographic in America, even among undocumented arrival, the census citizenship question would have a huge impact on Asian Americans.

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How One Woman's Story Led to the Creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jeanie Jew, a former Capitol Hill staffer, sought to turn her own family's history into a way to spread public awareness of Asian Pacific American contributions.

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A student in Boston wrote 'I am from Hong Kong.’ An onslaught of Chinese anger followed.
Emerson College student Frances Hui penned a column titled "I am from Hong Kong, not China," which generated backlash from Chinese students -- a backlash that reflects wider questions over identity amid the rapid erosion of the territory's autonomy and promised "one country, two systems" relationship.

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An Artist Who Channels Her Anger Into Pie Charts
Christine Sun Kim on her experimental, sensory-rich process -- and her favorite shoes to wear in the studio.

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The Psychiatrist in My Writing Class and His 'Gift' of Hate
Rani Neutill recalls a literary workshop in which a white man critiqued her ability to write in "proper" English.

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She used to ignore her mother's stories about Vietnam. A professor's class helped change that.
In her valedictory speech to the University of Southern California's Class of 2019, Ivana Giang, the child of Vietnamese immigrants, challenged the school on its diversity.

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Eavesdropping on Ocean Vuong's New Book
The award-winning poet makes his fiction debut with On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous.

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Who Was the First Asian American Author You Read?
Twenty Asian American writers discuss the first time they saw themselves reflected in literature.

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6 Lovely Children's Books About Asian American Culture
A few children's books that talk about Asian American culture.

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How Claudia Kishi Inspired A Generation Of Asian American Writers
The Babysitters Club cast of fictional teens included Claudia, a Japanese American teen known for her bold outfits and love for art. How this character influenced a generation of Asian American writers.

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Chloe Kim on Asian American representation and the pressures of success
Snowboarding wunderkind and Olympic medalist Chloe Kim talks about attending Princeton, navigating the world on her own terms, and ice cream.

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What's It Like to Feel Keanu Reeves's Energy Against Your Leg? John Wick 3's Mark Dacascos Explains.
Best known for playing the Chairman on Iron Chef America, Mark Dacascos talks about his role in John Wick 3.


Taika Waititi is officially directing the live-action 'Akira'

Warner Bros. has set the release date for May 21, 2021.

The live-action adaptation of Akira has been drowning in a special kind of Hollywood hell for years, with many different directors, many false starts, and many white actors attached to star. If you ask most fans of the famed cult manga and animated feature, it was probably best for everyone to just let this one die.

Taika Waititi's 'Akira' Will Take Off In Summer 2021

But Akira is not dead. It lives. Warner Bros. has announced that Taika Waititi is directing Akira. Officially. Finally. Seriously, the rumors started like two years ago. And hey, the script is co-written by Michael Golamco, who co-wrote the upcoming Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe with Randall Park and Ali Wong.

These are all very positive developments.

Karen Chee's Guide for Celebrating Heritage Month

'Late Night with Seth Meyers' writer offers some helpful DOs and DON'Ts for white people.

As you may know, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To celebrate the occasion properly, Late Night with Seth Meyers recently invited writer Karen Chee to share a short list of helpful Dos and Don'ts for white people who would like to join in on the Heritage Month fun.

For instance, the first one on her list is a microagression classic: "Don't ask me where I'm really from!" Unfortunately, people still need to hear this one. "Because when I say I'm from a suburb of San Francisco, I can tell you're disappointed," Chee says. "Asian American people are descendants of many different countries, which is just a polite way of saying number two. Don't say 'Ni Hao' to me."

Ah, the ni hao. Check out the full segment:

USC knew campus gynecologist was preying on Asian patients

Dr. George Tyndall is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students over several decades.

A former campus gynecologist at the University of Southern California is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students. Records show that after decades of complaints about Dr. George Tyndall, university administrators hired a team of medical experts to evaluate him. They came back with a disturbing report: Tyndall showed signs of "psychopathy" and preyed on vulnerable Asian students.

Despite these findings, the school did nothing.

Well, that's not entirely true. USC did not fire Dr. George Tyndall and failed to notify the Medical Board of California. But the university's lawyers did arrange a secret deal with the doctor that allowed him to resign with a substantial financial payout and a clean professional record.


They Call Us Bruce - Episode 65: They Call Us Vibrant Asians

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.

What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. (Almost) each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, we talk food, authenticity and appropriation with London journalist Angela Hui, the only East Asian person in attendance at a recent preview event for Gordon Ramsay's "vibrant Asian eating house" Lucky Cat. Her take: "It was an actual kitchen nightmare."


Atsuko's Birthday Album Recording

Sunday, May 26 at Dynasty Typewriter

If you're in Los Angeles and looking for something laughs, we have just the thing for you.

Our friend, acclaimed comedian Atsuko Okatsuka, is celebrating her birthday and recording her new comedy album, and needs some bodies in the audience. The evening will feature Daniel Franzese and Baron Vaughn, and proceeds will go to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Best of all, her grandma will be serving up dumplings before the show. I mean, how can you say no to that? You can't.

It's happening this Sunday, May 26 at Dynasty Typewriter. For more info, and to purchase tickets, go here.


At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America

May 25 - October 20, 2019 at the Japanese American National Museum.

If you're in Los Angeles, check out this exhibit opening this weekend at the Japanese American National Museum. At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America is a multi-media exhibition that explores and celebrates the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity.

The exhibition chronicles the transformation of the un-American categorization of “Oriental” to the political identity of "Asian Pacific American" that rejected racist stereotypes, stood up for human rights, recovered lost histories, and created new cultural expressions. The exhibition draws from hundreds of thousands of photographs and more than 100 videos in the collections of VC, the first Asian Pacific American media organization in the country, which formed in Los Angeles in 1970 to capture and cultivate the newfound unity that was Asian Pacific America. In the present-day climate of xenophobia and racial profiling, At First Light seeks to strengthen current resistance and resolve by evoking the legacy of Asian Pacific American activism.

At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America opens on Saturday, May 25 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. For further information about the exhibition, go here.


Read These Blogs

Introducing the 'New Agents of Atlas'
Greg Pak's new Marvel Comics series The War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas introduces an all-new Asian superhero squad featuring the likes of Luna Snow, Silk, Shang-Chi, Amadeus Cho, and more.

* * *

Chinese Railroad Workers Were Almost Written Out of History. Now They're Getting Their Due.
It's been 150 years since two railroads were joined together to form the first Transcontinental Railroad. At a ceremony in Utah, Chinese railroad workers were recognized for the pivotal role they played in its construction.

* * *

In Constance Wu, Asian Americans Finally Have a Diva to Call Our Own
At last, Asian America has an ambassador in the halls of divadom.

* * *

Why The Asian American Food Movement Complicates What We Think About Authenticity
"But is it authentic?" On the fraught term and the way the Asian American food movement complicates it.

* * *

The Colonial Roots of Cheese Pimiento
An illustrated story about a Filipina American discovering that her favorite snack has a bloody origin story.

* * *

How Vietnamese Americans Took Over The Nails Business: A Documentary
If you've had a manicure lately, chances are you probably had it done at a nail salon run by people of Vietnamese heritage -- in nearly every city, state and strip mall across the United States. So how did Vietnamese entrepreneurs come to dominate the multi-billion dollar nail economy?

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California's future depends on Asian American philanthropy
In order to keep California communities and neighborhoods vibrant, Asian Americans must be meaningfully engaged and active contributors.

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How Venice Boulevard keeps South Asian culture alive in Los Angeles
About 12,000 South Asians live in the surrounding neighborhoods along Venice and Washington Boulevard near Culver City, California, and there are up to 40 South Asian-owned businesses in the area.

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'Origin Story' Filmmaker Kulap Vilaysack Brings Lao Culture to Hollywood Hills

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Nico Santos writes about his personal connection to the Superstore season 4 finale
In the season finale of Superstore, something happens that impacts Mateo's life in the United States -- something familiar to actor Nico Santos, who writes about the personal impact of the episode.

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Actor/writer/musician Charlyne Yi talks about her recent album release Open Your Heart.

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