Archived Posts - March 2003


Over the weekend, Bend It Like Beckham expanded to 46 theaters and took in about $611,000—that's a whopping $13,280 per theater. Go see this movie!


Here's an article on the "Boo Matsui" ad from a Canadian sports site: Torre: Jays ads tasteless. Pretty much the same kind of coverage, but what's interesting is the comments posted by readers below the article.


More on US Army Spc. Joseph Hudson, the Filipino American prisoner of war in Iraq.


So I saw last night's premiere of The Black Sash. Nothing remarkable. Plays out pretty campy at times, like a good WB show should. I'll give it a chance. Russell Wong's Tom Chang is a pretty sympathetic character, with the potential for some good development. It's just too bad he has to be the martial arts hero, along with his aging mentor, the stereotypical (but likeable) Master Li, played by Mako. I was okay with most of the show, until they interjected some Chinese gangsters into the mix. I get the feeling we'll be seeing more of them. It would be nice to see more Asians regularly on this show, considering that it's set in San Francisco, but not in the form of gangsters. The adorable Valerie Tian makes an appearance (with no speaking lines) as Tom's daughter... I hope we get to see more of her.

Whatever. I won't be making this priority television, but I guess it could be worse. However, I heard the ratings for the premiere weren't so good, so we may not be seeing much more of The Black Sash anyway.


Today is the tenth anniversary of Brandon Lee's death. He died in a tragic gun prop accident while shooting The Crow.


Hey, I'm rooting for Phat Asian Girl.


In a sorry attempt to fill some seats and divert attention from their sucky performance on the field, the Toronto Blue Jays took out newspaper ads—in English and Japanese—encouraging fans to come out and boo Hideki Matsui when the Yankees came to town. Sure, pick on the Japanese guy. That's racist! Check it out here and here.


The Black Sash, starring Russell Wong, premieres tonight on the WB. Wong stars as Tom Chung, an ex-cop trying to rebuild his life as a martial arts teacher and mentor to a diverse group of teenagers. On the one hand, yay, Asian American male in a lead television series role. On the other hand, crap, another Asian martial arts hero. Helping the kiddies and saving lives through the secrets of Chinese martial arts—complete with the spiritual guidance of an old master. Doesn't sound particularly groundbreaking to me, but I will try to reserve judgment until I actually see the show. The show also features Mako and Valerie Tian (who is fantastic in Mina Shum's Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity).


New magazine: Audrey. An Asian beauty, celebrity, fashion and lifestyle magazine for women. Check it out, ladies.

Speaking of magazines, I noticed a lot of traffic coming to this site from people doing Google searches for "Jaymee Ong in Maxim," so I investigated further... indeed, she is in the April issue feature about the hostesses of Blackbelt TV cable network. Jaymee is pictured here. Yowza.


Long, long, LONG LA Weekly article on Bollywood's "crossover" into wider audiences: Planet Bollywood?


Michelle Kwan wins! She has become only the third American to win five World Figure Skating Championships.


This show is still on? I'm told there are Asians in the cast of Power Rangers: Ninja Storm. Well of course now. It involves ninjas. Anyway, who really cares?


Yo, not Legos too: LEGO Orient Expedition. The exotification of these Legos is a bit disturbing. That's racist! On a side note, I once knew a guy who insisted that Lego people are Asian, because they are yellow and have small eyes. Heh heh. Collect them all.


Here are the lyrics from "The Dirge of Long Duck Dong," the racist song from the Dewey Ballantine annual dinner I mentioned a few weeks ago:


("Hello, Dolly")

So long, Hong Kong,

Ahh! So wrong, Hong Kong.

No one thought your client base was very strong.

We're sending you, Hong Kong,

Down the loo, Hong Kong.

You showed no gain.

Now youíre chow mein,

And you get the gong.

You were the Firm's folly.

And we so solly

To be cutting off your source of livelihood, but

You're bad luck, Hong Kong,

Too bad you ran amuck, Hong Kong,

Not good for the bottom line,

Closed by Dewey Ballantine,

Closed by Dewey Ballatine for good!

"Solly" could be the least favorite word I've ever heard uttered. But then again, it's not a real word, is it? Totally derogatory. Anything that invokes an homage to Long Duck Dong is seriously jacked. That ain't right, Dewey Ballantine. That's racist!


Got an email. It's part of a pseudo-dialogue I've been having with this person. I don't think I'm getting through.

My point was that for someone to be racist, they need to have derogatory
feelings towards that race. The majority of white people still have a
certain amount of prejudice towards black people so any comments made even
in humor are really racist underneath.
It really depends on the person telling the joke. If a Japanese woman made a
Chinese joke it would be racist because there is a certain amount of
prejudice behind it. White people just don't have a superiority complex
about Chinese people like they do about Blacks, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and
Chinese people are admired and if anything, we have an inferiority complex
to both Chinese and Japanese people.
Most white people don't get offended when Black people make jokes about us
because we don't see them as looking down on us.
Of course when Japanese or Chinese people make fun of us by calling us lazy
and stupid, it hurts more because we know down deep that in comparison it's
true and we know we are being look down upon.
Try to look at Chinese jokes from the perspective of the older wiser man
being made fun of by the child.
The child doesn't really think it is superior to the man, and the man
doesn't take the joke to heart.
If the man were to get upset, he lowers himself in the eyes of the child.

What? There's more.

While there are rednecks that hate anyone that isn't a redneck, I don't
think that applies in this discussion. I am talking about the "majority" of
white people. You may only hear the vocal idiots but they do not represent
the whole.

While you think the superiority complex applies to Asians, it does not (well
maybe towards Philippinos and a few smaller countries). Any hostility you
witness is based in an inferiority complex. The educated only feel inferior
to Europeans and Asians while the Rednecks are pretty much inferior to just
about everyone. Of course there are plenty of countries and people we still
feel superior to but the Asian people are not on that list.

You may not be aware, but the view of Asians has changed over the last 20
years or so. Negative stereotypes have been practically erased in the minds
of those under 40. Anyone that still has a negative view of Asians is
holding some kind of grudge from WWII, Vietnam or Korea. For those of us
under 40, it's as strange as being against the British for the Revolutionary

Initially because of ridiculous stereotypes and propaganda, white America
thought of Asians as buck toothed, sneaky, bespectacled, third world morons.
Today, because of a growing Asian population in the U.S. and the
technologically advanced countries in the far east people have come to see
the Asian people in a positive light.

I know it's confusing that we have gone from a superiority complex to an
inferiority complex in a matter of decades, but this honestly is the case.
These comments do not come from my personal views or who I bear ill will
towards, but from the general feelings of white America at large. I know
your opinion is that I can't possibly know the opinions of all white people,
but there is such a thing as a general opinion or mood of a group that can
be sensed by those in that group.

I think he means well, but I'm sorry, this is ignorance.


MTV is now airing promos for Better Luck Tomorrow. Each character gets their own spot, which sort of gets inside their head. Just saw one a minute ago with Jason Tobin as "Virgil" and Karin Anna Cheung as "Stephanie." Pretty cool. Meanwhile, I also just saw like ten commercials for 2 Fast 2 Furious in a half-hour period.


AsianWeek's profile on a few Asian American independent cartoonists: Beyond Superheroes


Getting ready for some baseball. A few players I'm looking forward to seeing: Hideki Matsui ("Godzilla") of the Yankees and Hee Seop Choi of the Cubs.


"Do you know Bin Laden?" I guess there really is a reason why the FBI is questioning Iraqis in America. They don't know crap about Iraq: FBI nearly done talking to Iraqis; More than 350 interviewed in Bay Area


Controversy over Matt Dillon's directorial debut City Of Ghosts, with its portrayal of Cambodian women. Arizona State University Professor Melinda De Jes˙s says, "We thought it was very racist and problematic. Cambodia is a backdrop here for a story of white masculinity. There are almost no other representations of Cambodian women except as prostitutes in this film." Dillon, who wrote and directed the movie, and also plays a con-man who travels to Cambodia to collect a share of an insurance scam. The professor confronted Dillon at a question-and-answer session following the film, and says, "He completely freaked out. He called me a 'paratrooper of political correctness.' He kept yelling, 'This is the truth about Cambodians!'" Dillon counters, "They saw the film and said they didn't like the way the women were portrayed - the characters who were prostitutes. They offered me some books to read. Women's studies or something. I think they were being a little too politically correct." All Cambodian women are prostitutes? Why do I get the feeling that Matt isn't getting it? That's racist!


Why oh why oh why oh why? We heard about this a while back, when it was still hatching, and hoped it would get killed in development. But the monster has truly begun to hatch: Zhang Ziyi will indeed star with Adam Sandler in Good Cook, Likes Music. The movie centers on a slacker and lovable loser (Sandler) who lives with his mother in a trailer park. One drunken night, he sends away for a mail-order bride (Zhang) who ends up being a musical prodigy, and they change each other's lives. MAIL FREAKIN' ORDER BRIDE. ZZ, please say it ain't so. There are so many things wrong with this equation as it is (Oh how I love Zhang Ziyi, pleaaase no), but now Wayne Wang has officially committed as director of this madness. Can you see it now? I can't see how this will be good. Wang will have to do some major magic, not to offend. Let's see what the hell happens with it: Winning recipe: Wang orders up NL's 'Good Cook'


Just thought I'd talk a little smack about last night's third and final installment of Bill Moyers' Becoming American: The Chinese Experience. I thought the previous parts really gave great historical insight into Chinese American history, and I really liked the first half of part three, giving context to the history of Asian American activism. Helen Zia's story was particularly strong. But then it started getting into this really tired "model minority" kick, which just went on for too long. I understand that the stereotype comes from some kind of reality, but these interviews added little to the dialogue--immigrant sacrifice, dutiful sons and daughters. Perhaps it's because there are those in my generation that are just past this. We don't want to talk about the Joy Luck Club dramas anymore, and we're moving on. It would've been nice to show Chinese Americans who are breaking out of the 'model minority' stereotype, or those who never even fit it in the first place. I give the whole series a thumbs up, minus the last 45 minutes.


Tonight is the premiere of Tremors: The Series on the Sci-Fi Channel, featuring one our favorites, Lela Lee (aka Angry Little Asian Girl) as Jodi Chang.


Joyce tells about a radio show in Dallas playing a spoof called the "Whatever" song. Essentially it's about George W's indifference to anyone else's opinion on the war, to which he responds with a "whatever." It's no big deal, until about 53 seconds into the song: "Mr. President, North Korea's got nukes. Oh? Ting-Tong-Dang-dong~~~~~~" Will this never go away? That's racist!


The official trailer (it's new) for Better Luck Tomorrow is currently available at IFilm.com. Check it out.


Masi Oka (the previously mentioned Franklyn on Scrubs) shows up tonight on the WB's On the Spot, a partially scripted/partially improvised comedy show. Haven't seen it.


MTV News "You Hear It First" interview with Jin.

While we're talking about music, I should mention that Linkin Park dropped their new album, Meteora this week.


Ah, it was Yao vs. Shaq pt. 2 this evening, as the Lakers played the Rockets. Shaq ended up scoring 39 points, helping LA beat Houston 96-93. I wonder if Shaq got to tell Yao what he wanted to tell him all along: 'ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.' And then maybe Yao Ming said, 'Shut up, foo.' But probably not.


I missed the first one, but I was able to catch tonight's installment of Becoming American: The Chinese Experience, "Between Two Worlds," as well as the Personal Journeys interviews with Gish Jen, Samuel Ting and Maya Lin. Absolutely fascinating, with some amazing archival photos and footage of the beginnings of Chinatown and the consequences of exclusion laws. I can't wait for tomorrow night's installment. I can't recommend this program enough.


What is it about US Congressman and their tendency for racial remarks? Seems like they have the need to offend all groups: Bennett - Rain Dance Comment Was Just 'A Joke' Who's next?


Bachelor 3 begins tonight. Who cares? Not me. But one of the contestants, Courtney is Asian. Yay. Girl, if you know what's good for you, you'll get yourself off that show fast.


Asian casting in tonight's episode of Angel: According to TV Guide, "Gwen Raiden (Alexa Davalos) returns to Angel Investigations and asks Gunn for assistance in rescuing a kidnapped girl from a powerful tycoon's high-tech mansion. In other developments, Cordy and Connor reveal their secret to the rest of the gang." Now, I don't know what Cordy and Connor's secret is, nor do I have any idea of what else is going on with this show, but I do know that the episode guest stars Dana Lee and Hope Shin. Asians!


Michelle Yeoh's next movie: Masked Crusader


Connie Chung gets the can! CNN has canceled Connie Chung Live from its lineup, less than a year after its premiere. It's all right. I believe Connie will bounce back. She is, after all, the OG Asian American newswoman: CNN cancels Connie Chung's show


Bill Walton is funny: "I've been staying up all night waiting for the SportsCenter cut-in to report the fact that Hikaru Nakamura of White Plains, N.Y., just became the youngest American to achieve the rank of Chess Grandmaster. He recently surpassed Bobby Fisher's previous record by 100 days. I don't know if I should hold my breath or take a nap. Rook to C3 was brilliant but it was not until Pawn to D4 that the fate of Western Civilization was secure."


RottenTomatoes.com has an interview with Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha.


Interesting article in Time Asia on Cradle 2 the Grave and Hollywood's favorite new casting formula of pairing Asian and Black actors as leads. Here, it comments on the economic, not-so-progressive reality of these decisions:

There's nothing new or particularly progressive in the current casting formula. Minority groups have been in Hollywood B movies since the black infant Allen (Farina) Hoskins joined the silent-screen Our Gang troupe in 1922. And though Asians can be glad they've gained leading-man status after years in the standard martial-arts Yellow Peril rolea kind of Kung Fu Manchuthe studios aren't exhibiting any social enlightenment in pairing them with blacks. Producers are just trying to make films with relatively inexpensive stars that will appeal to disparate markets: half-price actors for, potentially, twice the audience.

Cheap labor, hit formula. Check out the article here: The Tone Is Jet Black


Becoming American: The Chinese Experience, a 3-part Bill Moyers special, premieres tonight on PBS. Looks pretty interesting. Check it out.


I'm told that one of the American POWs, Spc. Joseph Hudson, is of Filipino heritage. Not that it really matters—we pray for a quick resolution to this conflict and for every soldier's safe return.


An article on the Oscars from last week, along the lines of my previous post: Oscars Still Aiming for Racial Diversity


Within hours of the US invasion of Iraq, the FBI began interviewing thousands of Iraqi-born immigrants throughout America hoping to find potential terrorists and spies. This is a direct result of the special registration program announced by the INS back in October, which required that all males 16 or older residing in the United States who are citizens of Iraq and four other nations (Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria) "register" with the agency—which meant showing up in person, being interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed. In subsequent months, the agency added 20 more countries to the list, including North Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Does this registration program remind you anything? Can you see the historical echoes? Read more here: Special Registration Creates Climate of Fear


Check out the official poster for Better Luck Tomorrow.


Where are all the Asians at the freakin' Academy Awards? I love movies, so I watch the Oscar ceremony every year. Sometimes I realize I've been tricked into accepting the status quo—that that's just the way the Academy looks. Man, that's crap. I know last year was a landmark year for African Americans. But it's obviously still a White Hollywood. And you can bet a 'landmark year' for Asian Americans at the Oscars is a long way off (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon doesn't count). That's racist!

Props to Miyoshi Umeki, Sessue Hayakawa, Haing S. Ngor, Pat Morita, Steven Okazaki, Jessica Yu, James Wong Howe, Chris Tashima, M. Night Shyamalan, Ben Kingsley and Freida Lee Mock--some Asian American Oscar nominees/winners of the past.


Academy Awards tonight. Worth noting, Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco's Daughter From Danang, nominated for Best Documentary Feature. It's the story of a Vietnamese mother and her Amerasian daughter who are happily reunited after 22 years--but whose illusions are quickly shattered as the reality of cultural differences and years of separation sets in. Good film, although it's up against Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine, which most people will tell you is a sure thing to win. Also noteworthy is Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. And it deserves to win.


Okay. Better Luck Tomorrow, April 11. You know that. On April 18, it expands to 16 more cities. This info is from the Better Luck Tomorrow people:

When we expand, you can still help us make it happen to SELL OUT EVERY SCREENING on the first weekends in these new markets and EVERY SCREENING in the first 4 markets, still. Please check your local listings as these theaters could change.

If you know any one or have contacts with any organizations in these cities—please spread the word. We now have people and organizations in different cities who are committed to buying out or selling out screenings on their first weekends. This would be phenomenal if we could get more. Our toughest will be those matinees on the first weekends. Please contact your
local theaters to arrange this. We could send you postcards, posters, and other materials to make this even more of an event.

PLEASE EMAIL US AT INFO@BETTERLUCKTOMORROW.COM if you would like the OFFICIAL MTV FILMS flyer image emailed to you to print and distribute and personalize with your own cities information. Also- please take pictures of your TEAM BLT activities in your area, posters in shops, tshirt wearing, for us to post on the site!


Atlanta, GA - Phipps AMC

Boston, MA - Copley Loews

Cambridge, MA - Harvard Square Loews

Toronto - Carlton Loews

Vancouver - Granville Loews

Dallas, TX - Angelika City Cinema

Ft. Worth, TX - Hulen UA

Houston, TX - Studio AMC

Houston, TX - Angelika City Cinema

Miami, FL - Intracoastal ESP

Miami, FL - Sunset AMC

Tempe, AZ - Center Point Alamo

Portland, OR - Fox Regal

San Diego, CA - Madstone Madstone

San Diego, CA - Mission Valley AMC

San Jose, CA - Camera 7 Nybloom

Seattle, WA - Uptown Loews

Seattle, WA - Metro Landmark

Arlington, VA - Shirlington Loews

Washington, DC - Dupont Loews

Just getting the word out.


It goes down today. Good luck, Larry: Beat the Bus


Tonight, the 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards, honoring the art of independent filmmaking. A sort of alternative Oscar show. Among the nominees: Eric Byler's Charlotte Sometimes, for the John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature made for under $500,000), and Jacqueline Kim for Best Supporting Female. Let's see what happens.


Michelle Wie's on the cover of ESPN Magazine.


AsianWeek revisits the Shaq/Yao Ming 'ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh' ordeal. By Irwin Tang, the guy who started it all: Inside the Shaquille O'Neal Taunt Controversy


Census Bureau Statistics... Not-so-surprising news. Educational gaps between men and women and whites and blacks have narrowed in recent years, but here's the bottom line: A highly educated white man still makes much more money than anyone else. Almost half of Asians 25 and older have graduated from college—nearly twice the rate of whites. But Asians earned about 8 percent less than whites. Why? That's racist!


Indie film: Cats & Mice. Website doesn't offer much info about the film, and the trailer doesn't help much either. However, one very big positive is the presence of Jaymee Ong in the cast... I was wondering where she went.


Funny "Asian" joke on Scrubs last night. J.D. helps out the Janitor with a crossword puzzle answer: "Chink." (Showing vulnerability; a ____ in one's armor). Of course, he says this rather loudly, and right in front of the Asian dude, Franklyn (Masi Oka, in a semi-recurring role). Despite JD's pleas of innocence, Franklyn is shocked and offended ("I always suspected.") Now he's got all the Asians in the hospital mad at him. They give him dirty looks. Haha. Pretty funny.


This afternoon I noticed MTV was playing some semi-patriotic videos. Youki Kudoh is in the video for "Goodbye" by Jagged Edge. She plays wife to Barry Pepper, army guy about to be shipped off for war, presumably. And they've got this cute little hapa kid. It was just sort of random to flip on the TV and see. View a video clip here.


Did you know that Yao Ming has an online journal?


I can't believe it: Big Trouble in Little China Action Figures


I know a lot less about wine that I'd like to... This month, Alpana Singh, the 26-year-old sommelier at Everest (in Chicago) became the youngest American woman ever to earn the title of Master Sommelier. There are only 57 Masters in the US right now. Pretty cool.


I am against the war. Just thought I'd state my position on the matter, situation being what it is. I am opposed to the war, and I am frustrated with the Bush administration's decision to pursue this course of action. We've seen this coming since September 11, 2001. And this is going to affect all of us in ways we haven't begun to realize.

Speaking of war mentality, why we don't we bring up Rep. Coble again? Republicans, you need to speak up on the matter: Activists Call Upon President, Republican Leadership to Denounce Congressman Coble


Tonight's scheduled rerun of Law & Order: Chinese officials, Falun Gong movement, and murder. Just another day for Asian people on TV. Guest starring the hardest workin' Asian guest star on network television, Tzi Ma. Also featuring Grant Chang, Ken Leung, Liana Pai, Kate Rigg.


Girlfight director Karyn Kusama is in talks to direct a live-action feature film adaptation of Aeon Flux. Very cool.


More Asians in stand-up comedy! Like New Jersey's John Shin: Korean comic headed to 'Showtime at the Apollo'


And it don't stop. Some more new to make you angry, and you can thank the law firm of Dewey Ballantine. From the New York Law Journal:

Dewey Ballantine's Hong Kong Office Closes With Controversy

By Anthony Lin

New York Law Journal

As Dewey Ballantine proceeds with plans to close its Hong Kong office by the end of the month, bitter feelings have surfaced over how the firm reached its decision to shutter the seven-lawyer office and the racially insensitive way the firm parodied that decision at a firmwide annual dinner.

By longstanding tradition, Dewey's annual dinner offers associates an opportunity to poke fun at the firm's partners and policy, usually in the form of song. At this year's dinner, held Jan. 31 at the Plaza Hotel, the closing of the Hong Kong office was lampooned to the tune of "Hello Dolly."

Retitled "The Dirge of Long Duck Dong" in apparent reference to the stereotypical Chinese exchange student in the movie "Sixteen Candles," Dewey's parody accused the Hong Kong office of having a weak client base and said the office was now "chow mein" and was getting "the gong."

"You were the firm's folly," the song continued, "and now we so solly to be cutting off your source of livelihood."
An associate in the firm's Hong Kong office, who was not at the dinner, said Hong Kong managing partner John Otoshi returned to Hong Kong livid about the parody. He told lawyers there he walked out during its singing.

Otoshi, who has the option of returning to New York as a partner, did not return a call seeking comment. A Dewey associate who attended the dinner said the parody was " very distasteful and very crude," and derogatory to the firm's Asian lawyers.

"I'm terribly offended," she said. Dewey Chairman Everett Jassy agreed that the song parody may have been in bad taste, particularly its mocking of Asian accents.

"I don't like that 'solly,'" he said. "That shouldn't have been there." However, Jassy said no one had expressed any offense to him at the time. He said he did not recall Otoshi leaving, but added the two had spoken since the dinner and the song had not come up.

Jassy said the song had to be understood in the context of the sophomoric humor typical of the firm's annual dinner. The associates who write the songs, he said, are permitted to remain anonymous and partners generally do not see the lyrics until the dinner, where they are presented in the dinner program.

Another dinner attendee also said the song seemed to raise no fuss at the time. "We'd probably all had four or five drinks by then," he said. The associate who said she was offended said many associates were afraid to raise the issue, given the current economic environment. The firm had large-scale associate layoffs in 2001, she noted, and other associates had been asked to leave since then.

For the Hong Kong associates, that fear has already come to pass though, and the parody just seemed like salt rubbed in their wounds.

That's racist! (Thanks Jun)


Check this out. Steve tells me about something he recently saw March 5th, on CNN.com... In the Travel section, there was a headline that read: War May Nip Cherry Blossom Festival. WHAT THE-!? They could've used any other word to describe "cut short" but they had to use "nip." I can't believe they'd use that word in reference to a Japanese tradition. It's just in bad taste. That's racist! However, the headline has since been changed and now reads: Winter, war may prune Cherry Blossom Festival. I wonder at what point did they realize their blunder...


You've probably heard of the "Original Kings of Comedy," but have you heard of the Original Kims of Comedy? Haha. The name alone is hilarous: Asian comics get to have the last laugh


Ooh. More Asians on TV. The latest episode of JAG: "Turner and Harm investigate a decorated Marine and Vietnam War veteran (Dustin Nguyen), who may have been smuggling Vietnamese girls into a sweatshop in Baltimore." Of course. Vietnamese dudes and sweatshop ladies. We should've known. Putting those Asians to good use. Diversify! Dustin Nguyen, Linda Tran, Catherine Ai and Kathlyne Pham are the lucky guest stars.


Again, absolute racist idiots at Maxim: Wanky Panky. Broken English, offensive sexual stereotypes. You'd think people would get tired of this kind of crap. That's racist!


There's some commercial with Yao Ming doing tai chi. Aw come on, man. How about more commercials with Yao Ming simply playing some basketball. Anyway, here's an article about the dude who taught Yao Ming tai chi: Putting the moves on Yao Ming


I've never seen Veritas: The Quest, but there will be a whole mess of Asians on the latest episode, "The Wheel of Dharma"... According to the ABC website, "Vincent leads the Veritas team on an expedition to the Tibetan village where he grew up to recover the "Wheel of Dharma," a sacred relic believed to be carved by Buddha. But when Nikko is captured by the Chinese army and held in exchange for the wheel, Solomon has to choose between saving a village or saving Nikko's life." Well hooray for that. You better save that village, Solomon.! Chinese army gonna get you, sucka. Anyway, Robert Chan, Aki Aleong, Henry Chan, Henry Li, Alan Tang, Daniel Park, James Kim, Karis Han, Oscar Hsu are all in the episode.


I've never seen Veritas: The Quest, but there will be a whole mess of Asians on the latest episode, "The Wheel of Dharma"... According to the ABC website, "Vincent leads the Veritas team on an expedition to the Tibetan village where he grew up to recover the "Wheel of Dharma," a sacred relic believed to be carved by Buddha. But when Nikko is captured by the Chinese army and held in exchange for the wheel, Solomon has to choose between saving a village or saving Nikko's life." Well hooray for that. You better save that village, Solomon.! Chinese army gonna get you, sucka. Anyway, Robert Chan, Aki Aleong, Henry Chan, Henry Li, Alan Tang, Daniel Park, James Kim, Karis Han, Oscar Hsu are all in the episode.


After ten days, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival has wrapped! It was a great run. This evening, I wrapped it up by watching Where's the Party Yaar?, a funny, lively Desi identity comedy. Not entirely perfect, but it's a nice try, and it's a lot of fun. Good stuff. And I'm told it'll be going for theatrical distribution around summertime... Well, festival's over. Now I can get back to my normal life.


Here are the theatres that Better Luck Tomorrow will be playing in its opening weekend, April 11:

New York:

Angelika Film Center

18 West Houston at Mercer Street

New York, NY 10012

(212)777-FILM 531

AMC Empire 25

234 West 42nd Street at 8th Ave


Clearview Chelsea

260 W. 23rd St, or 333 W. 23rd St

New York, NY 10011



Loews Cineplex Theatres - Esquire Theater

58 E. Oak St., Chicago IL

(312) 280-0101

Century 12 Evanston and Century Cinearts 6

1715 Maple Ave., Evanston IL

(847) 492-0126

San Francisco:

AMC 1000 Van Ness

1000 Van Ness Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94109

(415) 922-4AMC


Shattuck Cinemas

2230 Shattuck Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94704


Los Angeles:

AMC Century City 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd.,

Los Angeles, CA - 90067


Pacific Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90028

(323) 464-4226

Orange County

AMC 30 at the Block

20 City Boulevard West

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 769-4262

Check your local listings for correct times and theater changes. See you there. Your support counts!


Last night, saw Mina Shum's Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity again. Definitely more enjoyable this second time around, most likely because I saw it on the big screen. It really accentuated the great cinematography and the nuances of the acting. Really great cast, excellent performances --especially Sandra Oh and newcomer Valerie Tian, who are freakin' great. And it's great to see someone like Ric Young sink his teeth into a role with some depth, because you usually see him playing a crazy goon on crap like The Transporter. So check this movie out... hopefully coming soon, to an art-house near you.


Some interesting statistics: Interracial marriage gender gap grows


So did we forget about Rep. Howard Coble? What the heck is going on with that foo? So last week, three minority congressional caucuses asked House leaders Wednesday to denounce Coble's remarks defending the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Read on... Caucuses Demand House Repudiation of Coble

Meanwhile... Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., was forced out of his party leadership post Friday after drawing sharp criticism over his remarks about the role of American Jews in a possible war with Iraq. (More here: Moran steps down from leadership post) In some ways, the controversy has been likened to Trent Lott's remarks regarding segregation.

Now, Moran stepped down as regional whip, and Lott got ousted as Senate majority leader, while Coble gets... what? A slap on the wrist? A verbal warning? Not even. That ain't right. That's racist!


Had the chance to meet Robot Stories director Greg Pak last night. Very cool, personable guy. If you haven't checked out Robot Stories, I suggest seeking it out on the festival circuit. Interesting perspectives on life, love, death, sex and the human condition, all told through stories about robots... and the cast just happens to be mostly Asian American. Greg also runs the websites AsianAmericanFilm.com and FilmHelp.com. Props.


Today at 5:55pm EST MTV News will talk about the release of Better Luck Tomorrow. Also, director Justin Lin will be participating in a USA Today Online Chat tomorrow, Friday, March 14th, between 1 and 1:30 EST.


Asian men, you are needed for Tim Burton's next movie...in Alabama. According to Ain't It Cool News, they are still in need of 300+ Asian extras... Here is the original casting call, from alabamafilm.org:

Extras Needed for "Big Fish"

January 10, 2003

From: www.WSFA.COM

There's still a chance for those of you who'd like to
be part of movie history. The cast and crew are
already in the area to film the movie 'Big Fish', but
they don't have all the extras they need to complete
all the scenes.

Casting coordinators say more than 6,000 people have
already applied to be an extra, but a few specific
types of people are still needed. Extras casting
coordinator, Maryellen Roberts says "We're still
missing a few elements. We're doing a USO scene and we
need Asian men age 18 - 60. We need period cars..
50's, 60's, 70's cars... and trucks.. And we need men.
We didn't have enough men respond like we would have
like to."

If you'd like to apply, send a picture and a separate
card with your name, height, weight, age, current
address and phone numbers to Maryellen Roberts,
Casting Coordinator 1125 East Fairview Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36106.

Good luck.


Miramax has acquired the film rights for Laurence Yep's young adult book trilogy The Tiger's Apprentice. It's sort of like a Chinese American Harry Potter... Read more here: Miramax Grabs 'Tiger's Apprentice' Trilogy


Tonight's Closing Night presentation of SFIAAFF will be Greg Pak's Robot Stories. I'll be there. After tonight, the festival moves down to San Jose for three days. If you're in the Bay Area, and you haven't checked out any films, come out this weekend and support the festival.


George tells me that rappers Smilez & Southstar were on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Southstar gave mad props to all the Asians. He was standing behind Smilez when Jimmy finally turns to him after talking to Smilez for awhile and says, "You don't see too many Asians in Hip-Hop do you?" and Southstar replies, "No you don't, but we're coming up, the Asians are coming up in hip hop," to tons of applause from the audience. Then Kimmel says something stupid sarcastically like, "Yes that's my goal this year to make sure that Asians are coming up in hip hop." Whatever, fool. Props to Southstar.

George also tells me about something he saw last month on TV... On February 18th, 2003, local LA news broadcaster Sharon Tay was a guest on a talk show, Ask Rita. They were apparently talking about driving or something, and when someone asked Tay (who is Asian) her opinion, she said: "Being Asian, I would never teach someone else how to drive" to much laughter and applause from the audience. WHAT? It's bad enough when non-Asians make these kinds of jokes, but that just painful when one of our "own" do it. I know all about self-effacing humor, but this seems like she was making a dig for a presumably mostly-white audience (who ate it up). Ironically, her bio on the KTLA website says she's "a role model in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of Southern California." Gaaaah. That's racist! (Thanks, George)


Here's that Boost Mobile commercial I was talking about. Cracks me up. (Thanks, Al)


Got some info about the Better Luck Tomorrow spots that'll soon be airing on MTV... Each character from the film gets his/her own commercial spot overlayed with a CG effect into the mind of that character--probably very MTV/WB-ized and slick. They should be running in heavy rotation on MTV after 9pm by March 28th, and probably along with the trailer as well. Sounds like it'll be a pretty cool campaign... You don't normally see a movie campaign where each of the individual characters are promoted. Are you ready, America?

BLT in VIBE I picked up the most recent issue of Vibe -- the "Hip Hop Hollywood" issue. Now, though I'm a hip hop fan, I've never bought this magazine before. But check out BLT cast members featured in the "Camera Ready" fashion spread. Straight pimpin'.

I should also mention that model/actress Devon Aoki shows up in the spread, though I'd it just barely qualifies as fashion, because all she's wearing is a bracelet and a large yellow snake. Elsewhere in the magazine they've got a brief article on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam (with Beau Sia), and an article on music video directors (featuring perennial favorite Joseph Kahn).


Got an email from a guy at Fox Searchlight ("Bend It Like Beckham") informing me about a short film their Searchlab program just produced, Kid Bang by Kiran Ramchandran. Described as a sort of "Moulin Rouge meets 8 Mile with a splash of old school electric boogaloo." Very cool, kinda weird. And they've just signed him to turn the short into a full length feature film... Check it out here: Kid Bang (Quicktime, 16 minutes, 84 MB).


Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham opens today in select Toronto, New York, Chicago and LA theaters. This is a great, fun film! It's already an international smash hit, and has scored itself some rave reviews across the board. The movie will be rolling out nationwide over the next few weeks... Here's a full release schedule. Check it out. It has the potential to be the kind of word-of-mouth, runaway movie that Greek Wedding movie became --and believe me, your dollars speak volumes to studio execs.


I just saw this laugh-my-ass-off commercial for Boost Mobile. This old Asian man is going off, talking about the crazy specs and modifications on his rice rocket. But suddenly the cops show up. He yells "5-0! 5-0!" And the entire crowd of senior citizens scatter from the street racing scene. You have to see it for yourself...


Jet Li is the star of a new video game, Rise to Honor. I suppose I could complain about yet another kung fu hero, but come on, it's Jet Li. It's what he does, and he's good at it. Kinda weird seeing his face as a video game graphic...


I met Charlotte Sometimes writer/director Eric Byler yesterday... His next project will be a film adaptation of the novel American Knees by Shawn Wong.


Maxim is being run by a bunch of ignorant idiots: How We GotäJackie Chan. Need I say it? That's racist!


Watched the premiere of Dai Sil Kim-Gibson's Wet Sand: Voices From L.A. Ten Years After, the follow-up to her landmark documentary Sa-I-Gu. I felt it was a bit unfocused, with almost too many interviewees and perspectives, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do, I guess--it made me angry. The documentary returns to Los Angeles, ten years after the Uprising, and examines how various communities have changed and struggled in the aftermath. How much has changed in ten years? The answer is predictably bleak: there are no easy answers. And the film is spare on optimism. It's quietly furious, almost inciting, about racial/political/economic disparity in Los Angeles, and in America. To be angry, see this film.


ABC has a new show called All-American Girl. Remember when that once meant Margaret Cho? Oh the memories...


Check out this opinion in AsianWeek... Some words of truth from an Angry Indian sister (and my friend and co-worker) Shilpa Mankikar: The Crucial Importance of Independent Media. After that, read AW's coverage of SFIAAFF Closing Night. And after that, go support independent Asian American media, and become a NAATA Member.


Aieee. Just saw a promo for the new show The Black Sash, starring none other than Russell Wong. It premieres March 30 on the WB. Hooray, another Asian martial arts hero. (That's racist!) "One man will show the path of honor to many troubled teens." Can't say I'm too excited about this show, but I'll give it a chance. At least there's an Asian male in the lead role... I'm just dismayed he has to be a kung fu ass kicker, as usual. I will cross my fingers, and try hard to reserve judgment till I actually see the show. Oh, and among the show's producers are Carlton Cuse (Martial Law, Nash Bridges) and Robert Kamen (The Karate Kid, Kiss of the Dragon). Not the most reassuring list of credits...


I had the chance to attend the premiere of Spencer Nakasako's documentary, Refugee. And it's amazing. Probably my favorite film at the festival thus far. It's sort of a male answer to last year's Daughter From Danang--three young Cambodian American men go back to Cambodia to reconnect with long lost family... It's a powerful and moving travelogue/diary of identity and self-discovery. I actually walked out of the theater shaking, holding back tears (sort of). Infinitely better than anything reality TV would ever have to offer. If you get the chance, go see this film.


Check out Kung Fu Chaos for the XBox. Ugh. I don't own an XBox, and I don't even play video games... But I recommend staying away from Kung Fu Chaos. The premise: a famous martial arts film director, "Shao Ting" (get it?) is getting actors together for his crazy new film... Characters include "Xui Tan Sour," "Ninja Fu Hiya" and "Master Sho Yu" (groan). Homage or exploitation? It's definitely the latter. Look at these friggin' characters! Was this game really necessary? We just can't seem to get away from crap like this. That's racist! And anything that advertises itself with the song "Kung Fu Fighting" is automatically suspect in my book. (Try not to stay on the site too long--the song gets stuck in your head).


Asian dude exchange loving looks with his girl in the video for Counting Crows' cover of "Big Yellow Taxi."


The initial release date for Better Luck Tomorrow seems to have been moved a week to April 11th in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. I was able to catch the new trailer, and it's pretty slick. Get ready, America. Also, BLT gets spotlighted ("Camera Ready") in the April issue of Vibe. Very cool... I'm planning to organize some kind of mass viewing effort on opening weekend. So if you're down, we can all watch it together. Check back for details in the next few weeks.


Yesterday at SFIAAFF, I saw the premiere of Searching For Asian America, the first NAATA-produced television series. It included three different Asian American profiles with unique stories: Martin Bautista and Jeffrey Lim, Filipino doctors living and working in prominently-Caucasian Guymon, Oklahoma; Comic strip artist/actress Lela Lee, aka Angry Little Asian Girl; and Seattle Governor Gary Locke, the first Asian American governor in the continental United States. Really interesting perspectives. The series will hopefully be coming to public television later this year.


The Legacy Codes by Cherlyne Lee, a play inspired by the story of persecuted scientist Wen Ho Lee, is currently playing at the Lucie Stern Theatre through April 6. Pretty interesting... I'm going to have to check it out. Here's another article: A legacy to explore


Hung out some more at the festival this evening. Caught a hilarious shorts program entitled Crouching Asian, Hidden Cheese. It's exactly what you'd expect, with a title like that. I am a fan of such humor. When it comes to martial arts, I have this crazy, conflicted sentiment. I hate having to bear the stereotype of the kung fu hero, yet I love the fact that martial arts kick so much ass. And it belongs to us Asians. I guess it's why I liked this shorts program so much... empowerment through the subversion of stereotypes. I put my thang down flip it and reverse it! (Yeah, I know that was lame.)


Opening Night turned out great. Bend It Like Beckham is a ton of fun. A real crowd pleaser. Gotta recommend it, for you, your friends, and yo momma. Director Gurinder Chadha was in attendance at the screening... Cool lady. She says her next project will be a Bollywood adpatation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice! Friggin' awesome.

More films tonight...


Eric Byler's Charlotte Sometimes and Gurinder Chadha's What's Cooking? will be among the films featured at Roger Ebert's 5th annual Overlooked Film Festival.


Here's an article about what seems like a pretty interesting short film out of Australia, Fish Sauce Breath by Thao Nguyen: Facing the fish sauce test of cross-cultural love


Mob guys beatin' up on Chinese American ladies. That ain't right: Nab mob-linked lawyer
in cafe bias attack
. That's racist!


The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival begins today! Things will busy for me over the next ten days. Hopefully, time permitting, I'll be able to write a little bit about the festival. The Opening Night film is Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham... See you there!


Check out this pop up ad from MSN Today. It's for a feature, "Soul mates: Do they really exist?" and is accompanied by a picture of a couple looking longingly into each other's eyes. And the dude is Asian! Interesting...


Oh, how The Onion cracks me up: White History Year Resumes


Jade Magazine names their Top Ten Influential Asian American Women. Agree? Disagree? You can vote.


Who is truly American? ModelMinority.com revisits a Congressman's racially charged gaffe from 1993. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD) said that people with surnames of Asian and East Indian derivation do not have "American names," adding that they do not "represent the normal American." It's the reflection of an attitude that many Asian Americans in the U.S. still have to face. How much has really changed in ten years?


Today NPR's Fresh Air will interview Dan Gordon and Nick Bonner, the filmmakers behind The Game of Their Lives, a documentary on the 1966 North Korean World Cup soccer team who shocked the world when they beat Italy in an infamous underdog upset. Great film.


Interview with Robot Stories filmmaker Greg Pak at AsianConnections.com. Robot Stories is the Closing Night film, March 13, at SFIAAFF 2003.


Really interesting perspective by Peggy Orenstein in the LA Times: The 'Other' Within: Racist speech hits a mother-to-be right in the belly. Actually, here's the full text right here:

The 'Other' Within

Racist speech hits a mother-to-be right in the belly.

By Peggy Orenstein, Peggy Orenstein is the author of "Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap" (Anchor Books).

BERKELEY -- A week ago, I stopped by my local bookstore to pick up the novel of the moment, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." If you don't run in "tween" girl circles, you might not have felt the heat of this book, which is in its 15th printing and has been optioned by Warner Bros. Having written extensively on adolescent girls myself, I was itching to get hold of it. I knew that the plot centered on four girls who separate for the summer. Each is challenged by a character-building obstacle that she overcomes with the help of a pair of magical, universally flattering jeans that represent the quartet's friendship. It all sounded very empowering, very Ya-Ya.

Imagine my surprise, then, upon reading the first two paragraphs, which breezily compare the dungarees to a beloved dog that one would give away if one were moving to someplace like Korea, where people eat dogs.

Here was a book selling sisterhood -- it's in the title, for heaven's sake -- reducing an entire group of girls to an ugly cultural stereotype, making them sound like savages just for a laugh. I couldn't imagine the author getting away with a similar crack about cheap Jews or African cannibals.

To be honest, at another time in my life I might not have noticed. But these days, such casual insensitivity hits me right in the belly. That's because, if all goes well, I'll give birth to a baby girl this summer, a child who will be "half" Asian.

I've often said there is nothing that makes a man a feminist faster than becoming the father of a daughter. Now, it seems that, as this baby grows inside me, her blond, blue-eyed mother-to-be is turning Japanese.

Suddenly, I find myself grumbling that although there are plenty of Asian American doctors and lawyers, Ming-Na of "ER" is their lone representative on prime-time TV dramas (and even she can't seem to get a decent plot line).

Meanwhile, on "Survivor: Thailand," Shii Ann Huang was roundly shunned for eating a chicken neck, while on "E!" fashion forecaster Steven Cojocaru recently cooed that "Madonna has worn so many kimonos she's practically Chinese." (And I'm so fond of lederhosen that people mistake me for being French!)

Then, of course, there's Shaquille O'Neal. When asked about his rookie rival on the Houston Rockets, Chinese-born Yao Ming, the veteran champ sneered, "Tell Yao Ming, 'Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.' " This from an African American who had recently been honored with a Young Leaders Award by the NAACP.

The media rushed to Shaq's defense. Tony Bruno, who played the taunt repeatedly on his national FOX Sports radio call-in show, declared it "not racist," then invited listeners to call in with their own Chinese "jokes". Which, of course, they did. Later, during the ESPN broadcast of the game, former NBA player Tom Tolbert insisted the comment, "Wasn't meant to be derogatory." Would they have been so tolerant if Yao had been the one to, say, launch into a Stepin Fetchit routine? Ask Jimmy "The Greek."

Those sportscasters, like many people today, dismissed any objections as "politically correct," a phrase that has become almost mythic in its power: Originally used to mock excess (though I doubt that anyone ever seriously called a short person "vertically challenged") it's now a weapon, wielded by those who resent having to care, to excuse their authentically racist, sexist or homophobic remarks.

But what gives those guys the right to decide what's offensive to another group? Who are they to say what hurts someone else's community, someone else's family, what wounds someone else's child? What would I do if my little girl came home crying because some Shaq-worshipping kid on the playground -- as a joke -- pulled up his eyes at her and chanted, "Ching-chong Chinaman?"

"You still don't get it," my husband, Steven, said. "The thing is, she wouldn't tell you. She'd just absorb it and it would eat away a little piece her soul."

What I wasn't understanding, he explained, was that it's not the egregious instances of racism that are so corrosive. "It's the everyday ignorance that seems designed to keep you in your place. It's being constantly made to feel like the 'other.' "

Like a few weeks ago, when we hiked to the top of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. A park ranger asked Steven where he was from. "Berkeley," he answered. "No, I mean where are your parents from," the ranger responded, frustrated. "Los Angeles," Steven said, less amiably this time. The ranger acted as if Steven were simply being willful. "OK, so you don't want to tell me." Steven stared at him a moment. "I did tell you," he said, then walked away.

To him, that's part of daily life. For me, it's a continual shock. But white parents of children of color are on the rise. As many as half of Asian Americans "out-marry," and international adoption adds to those numbers. I suspect, like me, these Caucasian moms and dads have thinner skin regarding racial slurs, fewer coping mechanisms than those who've endured them all their lives. I also imagine they feel more entitled to express their outrage. They certainly have better access to forums in which to do so.

Last year, for instance, when ABC aired a tasteless episode of the sitcom, "My Adventures in Television," focusing on a Hollywood executive's adoption of a Chinese baby (which included the line, "you break her, you bought her"), the response by white parents was instantaneous. They pressured the show's main sponsor, Kodak, into pulling its advertising. One of the show's stars, Ed Begley Jr., publicly apologized. The sitcom was not renewed.

When asked about the hurtful passage in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," Ann Brashares, the author, was caught off guard. She explained that, if I'd read further, I'd see that the comment was in the shoot-from-the-hip spirit of the introduction's narrator. "I don't wish to offend anyone," she said. "I don't like the thought of driving away my Asian American readers."

If she really means that, perhaps she'll retool her novel's opening before it's released in paperback. Maybe she could reference Lewis and Clark, who did, in fact, eat their sled dogs (although I've never heard an American of British ancestry called "dog eater").

As for me, I came home from the bookstore and called a Korean American girlfriend who is the mother of two biracial children, a daughter and a son. She had already seen "Traveling Pants." "It turned my stomach," she told me. "But don't worry. I have a fabulous collection of children's books with faces that look like our kids'. Let me know when you're ready."

I told her to send them along. My daughter won't be able to read them for years, but she has 10 cousins -- Asian and white, male and female -- who need them right now.

No really, where are you from?


Cartooniest Ed Shih wrote in to inform me of his online comic strip RiceGuyz, which he describes as a sort of Peanuts meets Boondocks, except with Asian kids. Looking through some of it, I perceive it as a confused mix of Asian pride and self-deprecating humor. It's a good effort, but I'm reluctant to mention it here--not because I find it offensive (I understand what it's trying to do), but I feel like I'm not quite down with it... Like today's strip --I sort of understand what's going on, but at the same time I'm like, am I missing something? See and decide for yourself.


Asian girl poplockin' in the a Jolly Rancher commercial. Looks like she and her crew are having fun, eating candy and dancing on the street. Not quite sure what Jolly Ranchers have to do with breakdancing, but okay.


Saw Chicago last night. Lucy Liu has a brief role as a murderous lover. And she kicks some guy in the nuts.


Briefly saw a bit of the sitcom Grounded For Life on the WB. There was this whole deal about the daughter wanting to pass her drivers license test. In order to insure a passing score, the uncle took her to take the test at the DMV in Chinatown, where obviously they have lower standards. What's up with that? That's racist!