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12.31.2005

Archived Posts - December 2005



12.31.05

Happy New Year, everyone. Thank you for your readership and support in 2005. It was an interesting, eventful year. Here's looking forward to great things in 2006. Stay Angry.


12.29.05

Great interview with Naveen Andrews, who plays Sayid on Lost, in the Honolulu Advertiser: Actor in the zeitgeist. He doesn't pull any punches, calling the Hollywood studio system "inherently racist." I would agree.


12.29.05

No frickin' way. CBS has ordered a script for a primetime soap opera based on Georgia Lee's independent film, Red Doors, a drama about a suburban Chinese American family with three daughters: CBS enters 'Red Doors' for primetime soap. Steve Tao is producing. The film played several film festivals this year, with moderate success and acclaim. Frankly, I wasn't crazy about the film, and I have hard time envisioning it as a compelling primetime soap. But who knows? I have been surprised before. I guess we'll see where this goes...


12.29.05

Fake! Earlier this month, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth claimed that agents from the Department of Homeland Security had visited him simply because he had tried to borrow Mao's Little Red Book. The story blazed across the internets. Big Brother is watching! Turns out the claim was a big fat hoax: Student's tall tale revealed. That still doesn't mean they're not watching...


12.29.05

Two archaeologists are challenging what many experts consider to be the basic assumption of human migration—that humankind arose in Africa and spread over the globe from there. They propose an alternative explanation for human origins: arising in and spreading out of Asia. Did Early Humans First Arise in Asia, Not Africa? Asia, baby. Where it all began.


12.29.05

Missed this news last month... Soben Huon, an Asian American student at BYU, was crowned Miss Utah USA in early November: BYU student wins crown. She'll be competing in the Miss USA pageant in April.


12.29.05

A short, interesting article on a Korean church's Christmas celebration in the community of Flushing, NJ: Praise the Lord and Raise the Curtain. It touches upon a few larger trends in churchgoing within the Korean American community.


12.29.05

Hope everybody's holidays are going well. Did you eat at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day? I did. Tasty Kitchen! Apparently, a lot of people did the same: Chinese Food Popular During the Holidays.

12.27.05

For those of you missed this last week... Johnny Damon rocked the baseball world (and broke every Red Sox fan's heart) by signing with the New York Yankees: Idiot Is Not the Only Role Damon Knows How to Play He defects to the Yankees and cuts his hair; Jesus has left you, Boston: What Did Johnny Damon Do? A Nation Is in Shock


12.27.05

Ten things Asia Pacific Arts hates about Memoirs of a Geisha: Geishas Gone Wild. That's all I need to know. I don't even have to see the movie now.


12.27.05

A profile of John C. Yoo, one of the chief architects of America's controversial post-9/11 legal policy: A Junior Aide Had a Big Role in Terror Policy. You can thank him for the Patriot Act. Yeah. He is not a popular man.


12.27.05

A sad, ugly reality: Leers and loathing in Vegas -- why am I mistaken as an Asian sex import?


12.27.05

A few months back, I mentioned this exceptionally crappy-looking film, Koreatown. Believe it or not, a short while later, I was contacted by the movie's producer inviting me to the film's premiere. I found this humorous, but honestly, I was mildly curious. Watching the movie could be pretty interesting, in that awesomely-bad train-wreck sort of way. No doubt, readers might appreciate a full-fledged informed review. The premiere is apparently in February, so I guess we'll see.


Meanwhile, word about the film is getting around, and some people are not happy. Check out this Craigslist posting from yesterday:



Koreatown the movie needs protesters


Reply to: gigs-120530673@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-12-26, 10:28AM PST


This movie must be stopped. We will pay you $10.00 to
show up and protest at David E. Baker entertainment,
(please bring a sign) on orange grove and san fernando
which is down by the theatres in burbank.


Any professional organizers are welcome as well.
Anyone who wants to document the event with a video
camera is also welcome.


If interested, shoot me an email. We're looking to
start on Wedensday.


thank you for your support,

Sharon


And some follow-up postings here, here, here, here and here. Frankly, I think this is a bad idea. No doubt, this movie is bound to offend a few sensibilities, but is it worth raising this big of a stink? Fact is, this isn't Paramount or Dreamworks—this is David E. Baker Entertainment. That's right: who the hell is David E. Baker? Nobody gave a real damn about this film... until now. Is it worth calling such attention (and publicity) to a film that nobody would've ever heard of in the first place? And can it really be an effective protest if you're offering to pay protesters ten bucks each? In no way am I defending this film—I don't even have to see it to know there's probably plenty to be angry about. I'm simply pointing out that it seems foolish to raise this kind fuss over a movie that will probably go straight to video, eventually to be watched by a total of twelve people who found it in the bargain bin at Tower Records.


12.23.05

Everybody always asks me if I know anything more about a Harold and Kumar sequel. People are crazy about that Harold and Kumar. Dude, when I know you'll know. At this point, discussions are underway, and it's still a go: More Harold and Kumar


12.23.05

According to TV gossip out there on the internets, Desperate Housewives will be getting a new Chinese character next month. It's here, and it doesn't sound good:



...there's gonna be a new lady on Wisteria Lane beginning in late January, early February. She's the young Chinese maid of one of our housewives. I'm hearing her name is Chin-Chi, she speaks a little English, and she'll stick around for quite some time. I guess she's part of a storyline that's scheduled to play out in season three.


Chin-Chi? Yay, a Chinese maid who speaks little English. Can this possibly be good? But as we all know, nothing is as it seems on Wisteria Lane. Ooga booga! I wonder if this new character and storyline has something to do with the show's newest international audience: 'Desperate Housewives' to air in China


12.21.05

Hey! The Grace Lee Project is still running at the Film Forum in New York. I think I've said all I can about it... just go see it, enjoy it, support it. I know the transit strike is wreaking havoc with getting around in the city, but try and make the extra effort. You'll dig it. And do check out the Q & A with Grace Lee if you haven't already.


12.21.05

An article on Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who has a part in Memoirs of a Geisha: Actor sees promise for Asians in 'Geisha'. Stereotypes or not, the guy has been playing the Asian badass in Hollywood for yeeeaaaaars.


12.21.05

The U.S. Congress has designated Jan. 13 as "Korean-American Day." Senator George Allen, (Virginia-R), and Senator Richard Durbin (Illinois-D), sponsored the resolution, which was approved on Saturday: U.S. names Jan. 13 Korean-American Day. Woo! A whole day.


12.21.05

Stop the presses! Asian woman are undergoing surgery to change the shape of their eyes! But you and I already knew that. It ain't nothing new—they've been doing it for years. But CNN.com has a video report on the surgery today: Asian women 'eye' cosmetic surgery. Ugh, I get kind of grossed out looking at footage of doctors poking sharp things into people's eyes. Yay. The things we do for "beauty." Whose beauty?


12.21.05

An article on Cristeta Comerford, White House Chef—cookin' up some grub for George W: The Other First Lady. She's a very busy woman this season.


12.21.05

Writer Yiyun Li has had some pretty extraordinary success at this stage in her career. Five years ago, she was a native Chinese speaker trying to write in English and break into publishing. Since then, she's won prestigious awards, had stories published in the New Yorker and the Paris Review, and signed a $200,000, two-book contract with Random House. Wouldn't you call that extraordinary? Not according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the summer of 2004, Li petitioned the USCIS to become a permanent resident of the United States. To approve her application for a green card, the agency would need to agree that she was an artist of "extraordinary ability," with "a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor." You'd think she'd pass just fine. However, a year after she filed it, her petition was rejected. Now, she's waiting on an appeal: Will Words Fail Her?


12.21.05

It was hazing, like out of a bad TV movie. New members of Lambda Phi Epsilon were expected to consume large amounts of liquor and to shave their heads. Thus, Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath died of alcohol poisoning: UT cites fraternity for hazing following freshman's death. Idiotic.


12.21.05

The White Countess is yet another movie where Asia serves as the backdrop for the troubles of white people... but it's also the last Merchant-Ivory film ever (producer Ismail Merchant died earlier this year), and the screenplay's by Kazuo Ishiguro: Big Trouble in Prewar China


12.21.05

Yet another example of the way movie marketing changes drastically for DVD... Check out the theatrical poster for The Beautiful Country, next to the art for the DVD:




From beautiful Asian landscape... to two white dudes and crazy Bai Ling's cleavage. Guaranteed to catch your eye from the shelf at Blockbuster. (Thanks, Chris)


12.21.05

USA Today has an interesting article on interracial relationships on television: Love is no longer color-coded on TV. The article makes some interesting observations, naming off several "breakthroughs" over the years... even Carmen from Mixed Media Watch gets a quote. That's cool... but... must I bring it up? Oh hell, why not. Since we're talking about interracial relationships on television, and the article names a couple of Asian women, let us note the lack of Asian men in the equation. I mean, really. Am I right? I don't want to turn this into the same old gripe, because this is complained about endlessly and elsewhere. But dude, come on. Where is the TV love?


12.20.05

At long last. Jun Choi is indeed the mayor of Edison, New Jersey: Stephens concedes loss in Edison mayoral race. His opponent Bill Stephens finally conceded defeat after a Superior Court judge dismissed his attempt to overturn Choi's victory. It was time to give it up, dude.


12.20.05

CHUD.com has an interview with Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee. And Jeff Yang wrote an article on him too: King Of Masks. All this attention and acclaim. It's almost enough to make you forget Hulk.


12.20.05

Check out The Shanghai Restoration Project by David Liang. The album blends traditional Chinese instruments with hip hop and electronic beats. Clips are available on the website. You like that? It's pretty appealing stuff. You can order the CD on the website, or download it at the usual online music retailers (i.e. iTunes, Napster, etc.)


12.20.05

Last minute Christmas gifts? I don't know what's worse... the fact that there's a Geisha Barbie Doll, or the fact that it costs $149.95. There's also a Chinese New Year Barbie Doll, just $19.95... but it's sold out. Darn.


12.20.05

That's racist!

It's baaaaack. Some of you readers who have been around for a while might remember Alessi's "Mandarin Juicer," which caused a bit of stir around here, circa February/March 2002. Yes, this little chinky-eyed juice squeezer and goblet designed by Stefano Giovannoni is loads of fun for your home. I've been hearing from folks who've been seeing it around... So I guess it's back. Or rather, it never really went away. It's available here and elsewhere online. That's racist!


12.19.05

35-year-old Sam Yoon, the first Asian-American elected to public office in Boston, has been named a "Bostonian of the Year" by the Boston Globe Magazine: The New Kid


12.19.05

MSNBC.com lists off "the worst films of 2005 you should totally see anyway": Awful is the new awesome. With some especially nice things to say about our favorite geisha movie:


"Memoirs of A Geisha" ó Costumes? Check. Beautiful sets? Check. Actors with countless hours of dialect coaching under their kimonos? Check. Okay, letís get that "Showgirls" script and weíll change the dates, location and race of the women. Now, whereís our Academy Award nomination?


Why you should see it anyway: Because you never knew that a P.F. Chang's vision of "Oriental" would make this kind of cultural comeback. And when "Showgirls" made its bow in the mid 1990s, no one could have predicted it would become the cult phenomenon it is today. Seeing this now will guarantee you a spot on that future-camp bandwagon.


You gotta love it.


12.19.05

Thinking about doing a little research on Mao Tse-Tung, maybe borrow The Little Red Book from the library? Watch yourself. The book is on a "watch list," and Big Brother is coming to get you: Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior


12.19.05

Howard Hsy, a prominent member of the Seattle Chinese community, has pleaded guilty to a charge that he conspired to export night-vision goggles and camera lenses to China, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act: Hsy pleads guilty in U.S. court. Night vision goggles!


12.19.05

I believe I mentioned this movie last summer: The L.A. Riot Spectacular. It's "a satirical look at the events surrounding the 1992 Rodney King beating and poses the question 'Can't we all just get along?'" Should be interesting, though I have a few serious reservations. Let's wait and see how the film handles the Korean American aspect of the uprising...


12.19.05

I missed crazy rockin' ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last week—his first nationally televised performance. Anybody got a clip? His most recent album Dragon was released a few months ago.


UPDATE: The clip of Jake's performance on Late Night is available here.


12.19.05

Been hearing about a recent episode of Comedy Central's Drawn Together, one of those offend-all-sensibilities animated shows... So, apparently in this episode Ling Ling, the show's Pokemon-like Asian creature, gets into a car accident that lands him in the hospital. The doctor brilliantly deduces that this must have happened because he's Asian, and everybody knows Asians can't drive—it's their slanty eyes. Hilarity ensues. Check out a clip from the show here ("Asian Vision"). Do I need to continue? That's racist!


12.19.05

According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, given in 2003 by the Department of Education, the average American college graduate's literacy in English declined significantly over the past decade. But among Blacks and Asians, literacy increased: Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds


12.19.05

So, you think South Korea is kicking the world's ass in the cloning game. Think again, suckas: Korean Scientist Said to Admit Fabrication in a Cloning Study


12.19.05

Blah blah blah blah geisha blah geisha interview with Zhang Ziyi: The Memoirs of Zhang Ziyi. Elsewhere, I really dig Junichi's duo review of Geisha and Brokeback over at Poplicks. Oh yeah, MADtv did a spoof of the movie (the sight of Bobby Lee in that makeup makes me feel a little queasy).


12.16.05

No frickin' way. Saving Face writer/director Alice Wu will direct an adaptation of Rachel DeWoskin's memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China: Filmmaker Wu puts arms around 'Babes'. The book, published earlier this year, chronicles her experiences as a white girl living in China during 1990s. The article says it will probably have a Lost in Translation quality to it, but it'll be interesting to see Alice Wu's take on it.


12.16.05

Hey fanboys, MTV.com has an article on Kal Penn, who has a villain role in the upcoming Superman Returns: 'Superman' Bad Guy Kal Penn Says Movie Is 'Like Nothing I've Ever Seen'. He makes some interesting observations about the casting:



"This is one of those great roles that is an example of when incredible directors and writers can think outside the box," Penn beamed. "They're colorblind casting. They write characters for characters, not for what they look like."


Man, I can dig it. And excuse me as I geek out, but I am sooo looking forward to this movie. Also, props to Chris Lee, executive producer on Superman Returns (who also happens to be a fan of this website). Okay, enough of my fanboy raving.


12.16.05

No doubt, Geisha has prompted a discussion or two about Hollywood's (mis)conceptions of Asian femininity: Studying filmsí Asian females. For better or for worse...


12.16.05

Officials at the University of Texas are investigating the death of 18-year-old freshman Phanta Jack Phoummarath whose body was found at a Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity house last weekend. Medical examiners have determined that he died of acute alcohol poisoning: Tests: Alcohol poisoning killed UT student. That is not cool.


12.15.05

The latest issue of Asia Pacific Arts is particularly cool, featuring a two-part interview with Margaret Cho, an in-depth review of Brokeback Mountain, an article on prodigy kid (and frequent talk show guest) Marc Yu, and a tribute to Pat Morita, among other good stuff. Check it ouuuuut.


12.15.05

Oh hell no. What would be the point of sending someone this e-card? Why would this be a good idea? Oh yeah, I guess it would be a good idea... if you're racist.


12.15.05

Hey, all you students. On the east coast, specifically. ECAASU 2006 is coming. The 2006 East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference will be held on February 17-19 (President's Day Weekend) at George Washington University. It's a big ol' gathering of Asian American students, with speakers, workshops and all that good stuff. This year's theme is "Foundations: Deep Roots, Lasting Growth." Sounds cool. So register your ass today!


12.15.05

The New York Times has an article on 17-year-old short-track speedskater Hyo Jung Kim, so far a dominant contender for the U.S. Olympic team: Only the Ice Is the Same


12.15.05

The Washington Post gets their kicks in too: Hollywood's Faulty 'Memoirs'. The article picks at Memoirs' authenticity... meanwhile, there's a fat ad for the movie on the left. Yay. I want a life that is mine!


12.15.05

Awards show season has begun... the 63rd Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced this week. What in the world is a Golden Globe Award, you ask? Why, it's the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual honors for excellence in film and television. Ang Lee has been nominated for Best Director for Brokeback Mountain. Zhang Ziyi is nominated for Best Actress for Memoirs of a Geisha (yeah, yeah, I know). Naveen Andrews and Sandra Oh got Best Supporting nods for Lost and Grey's Anatomy, respectively. And woo woo, Kung Fu Hustle got nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The awards ceremony is on January 16th.

12.15.05

ComedyZEN will be taping a show for ImaginAsian on January 7th & 8th at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. The standup comedy lineup includes Steve Byrne, Bobby Lee, Dat Phan, Tom Rhodes, and Eddie Gossling... They're looking for a good crowd to come out and support the taping. It's free, and you can stay for one or all of the shows on either days (their shooting three a day). If you'd like to be in the audience, just email Johnny at comedyzen@gmail.com. Tell him I sent ya.


12.15.05

Missed this... Seoul Train, a documentary on the life-and-death struggle of North Koreans trying to flee their homeland, premiered this week on PBS. It looks really interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't catch it. However, depending on where you are, the program might repeat. Check the website for the schedule.


12.15.05

The Projekt Newspeak SLAM! is an annual APIA slam poetry showcase and competition in Los Angeles. I'm told last year's event was pretty damn cool. Tbey're putting out an open call to spoken word artists for their next showcase. Cash prize for the winner, baby. Auditions are on January 21 (you can also send a video recording of your audition). For audition information and further updates, visit www.projektnewspeak.com or www.xanga.com/projektnewspeak.


12.15.05

Been seeing commercials for ABC's new show Emily's Reasons Why Not, starring Heather Graham. Smith Cho is in the starring cast as Glitter, Emily's "back-stabbing former assistant." You may remember her from MTV's Faking the Video. I know I say this every time I mention Ms. Cho, but I swear I went to high school with her... at least I think I did. Anyway, the show premieres on January 9.


12.14.05

Thursday on The Tyra Banks Show, "Racism in America":



"Imagine hating the color of your own skin! Tyra interviews a woman who says she hates her own race and women of various ethnicities discuss the discrimination and bias they experience very day in America."


I'm told Martin Wong of Giant Robot(!) will make a brief appearance...


12.14.05

As I've mentioned numerous times now, The Grace Lee Project opens today at the Film Forum in New York. Check out my Q & A with Grace Lee.


Some fairly positive reviews in the Village Voice and New York Times. It's only running for two weeks, so get yourself to the theater! You can watch King Kong some other time (it'll be around for a while). Showtimes at the Film Forum are 1:15, 3:15, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00. Filmmaker Grace Lee will be around for a Q&A after the 8:00pm shows on Wednesday, December 14th and Friday, December 16th, and after the 6:00pm show on Saturday, December 17th. Tell her I sent you.


Here's IndieWire's interview with Grace: 5 Questions for Grace Lee, Director of "The Grace Lee Project". And again, check out my Q&A with her here.


12.14.05

In spite of the recent shake up, AZN TV will still be going through with the 2006 Asian Excellence Awards next month at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. Though, I imagine it'll much more of a muted affair. I'm not sure who the nominees are in the other categories, but there's a poll on the website for you to vote for the "Outstanding Newcomer Award." Do some of these people really count as newcomers? I mean, newcomer since when? Anyway, the event will be broadcast on AZN TV on Lunar New Year's eve, January 29, 2006.


12.14.05

Yet another take on the Kim Sisters' Top of the Class and the Wall Street Journal's "New White Flight": The Other Asian Miracle. Hey, is anyone else kind of tired of this?


12.14.05

The 40-Year Old Virgin was released on DVD this week. The chest waxing scene is arguably the funniest moment in the movie. It's also the part that bugged me the most, because of the stereotypical, subservient Asian women at the waxing salon. Argh. That said, I did laugh my ass off, so I don't know what to tell you. Anyway, Miki Mia, the woman who performed the waxing, gets her fifteen minutes of fame with an interview: Q&A: The '40-Year-Old Virgin' Chest Waxer


12.14.05

Even the dinosaur admits, its a complicated issue... a bizzare but funny take on people who only date Asians: Dinosaur Comics


12.14.05

Figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame: Yamaguchi part of Olympic Hall class


12.13.05

Sheridan Prasso, author of The Asian Mystique, was recently interviewed on PRI's The World (see under "The Asian Mystique"). Check it out, and do check out the book if you get the chance.


12.13.05

According to this article in the New York Times, Asians and Pacific Islanders constitute about 1 percent of American Catholics, but they account for 12 percent of seminarians, or about 397 of 3,308 men; a vast majority of them are of Vietnamese heritage: Clergy's Call Still Strong for Young Vietnamese


12.13.05

AsianWeek has an interview with San Francisco standup comedian: Ali Wongís Classy Comedy. She sounds crazy and fun. Here's her official website: www.aliwong.com


12.13.05

Last week, five men accused of badly beating a Sikh man in Queens last year were convicted of second-degree assault for their role in the attack, but were acquitted of more serious hate crime charges: Mixed verdicts in Sikh's beating. Come on, this was a freakin' hate crime: Sikh Community Reacts To Hate Crime Acquittal In Beating Of Priest


12.13.05

South Korea's board of game censors has warned U.S and European game makers against demonizing North Korea in games. Titles that portray North Korea as an aggressive, belligerent military dictatorship will be banned: Korean Censors Warn U.S Against Stereotypes. But man, with a dictator like Kim Jong-Il, sometimes it's just too easy.


12.13.05

According to a poll released last week by the Gallup Organization, nearly one out of every six U.S. employees say they were discriminated at work in the last year: Nearly 1 Out of 6 Workers Claim Bias. Among racial groups, Asians and blacks led the pack (31 percent and 26 percent, respectively) in saying they were treated unfairly, followed by Hispanics (18 percent) and then whites (12 percent).


12.13.05

A recent episode of the MTV show MADE featured Nadia, an aspiring singer who's too shy to sing in front of other people. MADE sets her up with a coach who guides her towards singing at her school's talent. Clips from the show are available for viewing here.


12.13.05

There will be a memorial service this week for actor-comedian Noriyuki Pat Morita. Wednesday, December 14, from 7pm-9pm at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. The service is open to the public, but seating is limited. Daughter Aly Morita, speaking for the family, requests that donations be made to the Pat Morita Fund at Shriners' Children's Hospital in lieu of flowers or koden.


12.13.05

Here's the official site for the movie The Gene Generation, directed by Pearry Reginald Teo. Welcome to the underground world of DNA hacking. Your guide: BAI FRICKIN' LING.


12.13.05

Just in time for the holidays! The perfect gift, spotted at a Kay Bee Toy Store in Gilroy, CA:



Fun for the whole family. I don't know what's worse—the chink-eyed caricature on the box, or the suggestion that your dirty Chinese food will get up an crawl out of the wok. That's racist! (Thanks, Rob)


12.13.05

Another article on golf phenom Michelle Wie... The Observer asks, is this the future of golf? So far, she has a whole lot of potential, and not much else to show for it: Little Mi$$ Perfect


Speaking of golf... I don't know much about golf, and I know even less about golf balls, but I know enough to tell this campaign for Bridgestone is pretty ridiculous: FindTobu.com


12.13.05

You might remember news from last year about a brawl in a Boston project between Asian and white youths that left a Vietnamese American teen stabbed to death. His admitted killer, Keith E. Gillespie, was sentenced to five years and one day in state prison: Teen gets 5-year sentence in S. Boston slaying. Five freakin' years? With credit for time already served, the guy could be out in 3 1/2 years. If the situation were reversed, and the white kid had been killed, would we be looking at the same sentence?


12.13.05

Xperimental Entertainment is holding open auditions to find the first Asian American pop star. I don't know, aren't there Asian American pop stars already out there? Okay, I suppose the "star" part is debatable. And don't get me started on William Hung. Anyway, this group wants to make your pop star dreams come true. Details here (I think the deadline for video submissions is soon).


12.13.05

For thirty years, between 1910 and 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station was a stop for roughly 175,000 Chinese immigrants who were detained and exhaustively interrogated before entering the country—the physical embodiment of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Last week, the Angel Island Immigration Station Restoration and Preservation Act was signed into law, authorizing up to $15 million to establish a museum and genealogical research center on the island: Poetic Justice for a Feared Immigrant Stop


12.12.05

Straight out of Lost in Translation... an editorial by a white person who realized she kind of stuck out in Japan: At 5 Feet 10 Inches, I Was Too Tall for Tokyo. Hey lady, welcome to what a whole mess of people in the United States experience on a daily basis.


12.12.05

As we all know, realistic, desirable Asian males are usually nowhere to be found in the current media landscape. This dearth of representation is leading many gay Asian American men to a distorted and troubling view of their own physical attractiveness. Here's a perspective by someone who's seen it firsthand: Simply invisible


12.12.05

Jet Li says his upcoming movie Fearless will be his last martial arts film: Jet Li Says 'Fearless' Is His Last Film. Apparently, he wants to make more philosophical, family oriented movies. I don't know, dude. Is there really an audience for kung fu-less Jet Li movies? Maybe.


12.12.05

Legendary Hawaiian crooner Don Ho is recovering at a hospital in Thailand after undergoing an experimental stem cell procedure on his ailing heart: Don Ho Recovering From Stem Cell Procedure. "He felt well enough, but his pacer sometimes would go off in his chest and scare the hell out of him. That's a difficult thing to live with right in the middle of 'Tiny Bubbles.'" Indeed.


12.12.05

Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain is receiving a great deal of critical acclaim... for example: L.A. Critics Pick "Brokeback". Lots of hype over the "gay cowboy movie": 'Brokeback Mountain' turns a short story into a Hollywood first; Cowboy romance 'Brokeback' faces challenge. And here's some advice for the heterosexuals: The straight dudeís guide to 'Brokeback'


12.12.05

Washington Post Education Columnist Jay Mathews writes about that Top of the Class book, as well as the recent Wall Street Journal article on the "New White Flight": I Am an Asian Parent. I don't know, is it just me, or do Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim sound kind of sad?


12.12.05

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this project before... Van Wilder II: The Rise of Taj, starring Kal Penn, is still a go. Yes, Kal Penn reprises his role as sidekick Taj, though presumably this time he'll be the main dude. The movie just got itself a distributor: Bauer Martinez rolls with 'Wilder II'


12.12.05

Filipino brothers Jeff and Jerry Festejo allege they were the victims of a racially-motivated hate crime on September 10 in Hercules, CA: Filipinos demand justice. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has thus far refused to press charges against their attackers.


12.12.05

Mike Shinoda, one of the frontmen for Linkin Park, recently released The Rising Tied, an album under his hip hop side project Fort Minor. MTV.com has a feature on the project here. One of the tracks, "Kenji," is based on his own family's experiences in an internment camp during World War II.

12.12.05

Here's a lengthy Philippine News article highlighting some of the Pinoy movies, actors and filmmakers who have recently been making waves Stateside: Filipinos making it in Hollywood


12.12.05

Last week, about twenty San Francisco police officers were suspended because of their alleged involvement in videos ("morale boosters") that mock women and minorities: Video scandal rocks S.F. police. No doubt, Mayor Gavin Newson and Police Chief Heather Fong are furious. Why do these in-house videos—usually intended for company eyes only—always end up being ridiculously offensive, racist, sexist and homophobic?


12.12.05

The Grace Lee Project

Just another reminder for my New York readers... I've told you many times, and I tell you again. The Grace Lee Project opens theatrically at the Film Forum, Wednesday, December 14 and runs through December 27. It's a quirky, appealing little documentary about about one of the most common names in Asian America: Grace Lee. It's a great film with a tiny marketing budget, so get out there and show your support! If it performs well, it'll determine further theatrical dates and cities... Incidentally, The Grace Lee Project happens to be opening on the same day as a little film called King Kong, so it could use some help. So get to the Film Forum, bring a friend, spread the word.


12.12.05

This fool just won't go away: William Hung Is Still She-Banging! It's over, William. Just stop now.


12.12.05

So... Memoirs of a Geisha opened in select theaters over the weekend. The reviews thus far haven't had many good things to say. They mostly seem to fall along the lines of "beautiful, but so what...?" And thankfully, a good number of reviews seem to recognize that Memoirs is indeed White Man Hollywood's take on what it thinks Asia should look and act like—I think that's been our general criticism from the very beginning, before this damn film ever got made. I found the Village Voice's review humorous, but fair and intelligent: Orient Excess. And this one, by Walter Chaw, is pretty hilarious. This article from Zap2it (not really a review, just plain criticism) is particularly scathing, with some great observations on Hollywood's history of Orientalism: A Whore Is Born. It's all a sham, friends: Considering the source. Meanwhile, 'Geisha' Filmmakers Defend Casting. And ugh: Geisha style is a hit with Westerners.


In the end, it all just seems like pretty posturing for Oscar season.


12.11.05

Sorry. Been out of commission for a few days. Sony sent Secret Geisha Agents after me for making fun of their stinkin' movie. They beat me with their fans. No, no, just kidding. Contrary to popular belief, I have a life outside of this website, and sometimes it gets a little hectic. Last week was one of those weeks. I will try to catch up with posting a bunch of articles and features over the next few days. For now, here's something that sort of blew up last week...


Perhaps it was inevitable, but it's a bombshell nonetheless: AZN, R.I.P.. Yes, AZN TV, that crazy 24-hour Asian American cable television network with the terrible name, has tanked. Apparently, 70 percent of its staff, including all of its senior programming, promotions, acquisitions, and marketing execs are being laid off (parent company Comcast politely calls it "restructuring"). Which means you can kiss those hopes for original programming by, for and about Asians American... a big fat goodbye. For now (and perhaps forevermore), it'll be the regular ol' news, soaps, movies and anime from Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Bollywood and beyond... That's great and all, but we were all once hopeful for so much more. I think turn of events is suprising for a lot of folks. It seemed like AZN, backed by cable giant Comcast, was out in front. They were pouring all this money into original programming, planning these big-ass fancy events, sponsoring all the big Asian American film festivals... So what the hell happened? Jeff Yang's most recent column sheds some light.


Seems rather ill-timed, but here's an article on AZN from the latest issue of UT Austin's film/media journal Flow, by a former professor of mine, L.S. Kim: "AZN Television: The Network for Asian America"


Meanwhile, scrappy ImaginAsian hangs in there. And MTV just launched MTV Chi last week, with MTV Desi already doing its thing, and MTV K on the way... There is still hope. Like I've said before, I guess we're still waiting to see what happens when the smoke clears.


12.06.05

The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting review of a new book, Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community by Peter Kwong and Dusanka Miscevic: From China to the top of Gold Mountain


12.06.05

MTV Chi launches tonight. The votes are in, and the network's very first video will be Jin's "Learn Chinese." All things considered, this seems to be a fitting choice. I'm told that Notorious MSG will be hosting the shows Live From and Maximum Chi. Ohhh boy. That ought to be interesting. Expect the usual hilarious wonton gangsta hustle. They're back, muthasuckas!


12.06.05

The rumors are true, it's official, it's happening, it's back on track... Gurinder Chadha will direct the American remake of the South Korean hit romantic comedy My Sassy Girl: Chadha Helming My Sassy Girl. Okay. But having seen the original film a few times, I just have a really bad feeling about this. I mean, I certainly dig Gurinder Chadha's work. But so much of that movie's charm is culturally specific. And forgive me, but there is none Sassier than Jeon Ji-Hyeon. I have a really hard time seeing an American version—it's almost unadaptable. But that's just me. We shall see.


12.05.05

A cool article on recently published books by Asian American poets: Asian and American, entranced by words


12.05.05

I haven't been following But Can They Sing? (I don't have VH1, plus I try to avoid all things remotely related to Bai Ling), but I'm told Michael Copon won. He wins $50,000 for charity. Good for him.


12.05.05

Not sure, but I think I spotted Ken Leung oh-so-briefly in the teaser trailer for X-Men 3. Standing right behind Magneto, a little out of focus, amongst the evil mutants (not sure which character he's supposed to be). At least, I think that's him.


12.05.05

In memory of Pat Morita's shining contribution to cinema, The Karate Kid, Bill Simmons has resurrected and reworked his hilarious review of the Trilogy: Page 2. I gotta say, it's pretty damn funny.


12.05.05

A new report issued last week by the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) finds that the television networks' efforts to increase diversity among their talents over the last year has in some cases, not only stalled, but is deteriorating: Report Shows Mixed Results for Increased Diversity in Primetime TV. The number of regular roles in primetime television for APA actors increased by one since last year for a total of 17. This, of course, is not really big news. The full report is available here.


12.05.05

That's actor and comedian Randall Park you've been seeing on that Old Navy commercial with the Christmas scarf and the white girl and the misconstrued proposal. Funny guy... do check out the short film Dragon of Love. He's also in the band Ill Again.


12.05.05

If you're in southern California, here's something cool for you to do this week... Asian Voices Greatest Hits Vol. 1 at Highways in Santa Monica. Here is what in store for you, if you attend:



ASIAN VOICES GREATEST HITS (Vol.1)

Directed by Alex Luu

Highways Performance Space

December 8-10, 8:30pm

$15 general/$12 students


In your face and no-holds-barred, ASIAN VOICES blends performance, slam poetry, movement, and monologues which challenge and subvert themes of identity, gender/body politics, racism, and family dynamics with a healthy dose of comedy and pathos.


Does that not sound cool? Special shout out to my pal Margaret, who will be performing a piece in the show. For more information, visit www.highwaysperformance.org/


12.05.05

As I write this, Greg Pak's Mastermind Excello holds the lead with about 29% of the vote. If you have not yet voted, get yourself over to Marvel.com and show some love for Amadeus Cho.


12.05.05

An interesting perspective published in the Wharton Journal: Do all Asians look alike?. The writer was spurred by a racist email sent to the parents of a classmate, who own and operate an apple orchard in the Midwest. As it happens, I actually know the person whose parents received this email. I was forwarded a copy of the email, so here it is its entirety, for your viewing displeasure:



To whom it may concern,


I have been enjoying the annual ritual of apple picking for over 30 years with family and friends. I have seen may apple orcahrds across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. I thought I'd never experience a UN-enjoyable time in an apple orchard until now.


Yesterday, my family and I visited your orchard. I saw very early on when we pulled into your property that the asian influence is abundant. I can appreciate different cultures and lifestyles and philsophies, but apple picking to me is about as American as you can get. To have an asian worker yelling at people in the orchard in chinese or japanese is appalling. To see guard-like asian people strategically placed in the orchard reminds me of visions of Vietnam. I can appreciate rules and regulations and respect for the apple trees but when you have some asian person yelling at Americans in an asian language is just out right ridiculous and stupid.


Your orchard may conform itself to the rule strict asian population, but for us red blooded American's who use the past time of apple picking as a form or family gathering and relaxation you bet your American dollar we will never spend time or money at this Nazi driven orchard ever again.


To think that trunk inspections and apple inspections is acceptable!!! Why bother. If the patrons were going to steal apples, they would've been caught before they made it to their car, given the asian security force placed in the orchard.


I only wish that American's of whatever race or religious view your apple orchard nothing short of Communistic. Hopefully, the current asian owners will get a clue on what apple picking and farm life is all about. We're not in Hong Kong.


Sincerely,


Andy



Ah yes. This is America. Sorry that we yellow people and our foreign Asian language ruined your red-blooded American apple-picking experience, buddy. Now get over yourself. That's racist!


12.05.05

Spotted Robert Wu and Claudia Choi in a commercial for the next episode of George Lopez. Claudia's that very very honest woman from those kooky Washington Mutual commercials.


12.05.05

On the set of Memoirs of a Geisha:


There are viewable clips from the movie here. That's Engrish, baby. America is gonna eat this up.


And oh, yippee. The New York Times Magazine has a photo spread ("Murmurings of a Geisha") in which "Japanese women are rediscovering the beauty of tradition." Just in time for the Geishapalooza! Bring it.


Okay, I've been ragging on this movie a lot. I can't help it. It's too easy. But I am actually a fan of most of the talent involved. Michelle Yeoh is easily one of my favorite actresses: Action-film smart, 'Geisha' graceful


12.05.05

Keep forgetting to mention this... I was walking down the street the other day and noticed two Asian faces on an ad for Yours, Mine & Ours on the side of a bus. It's a family comedy about two single parents, both with large families, who get married and form one big-ass family. Two of the kids are Asian: Miki Ishikawa plays Naoko, and Andrew Vo plays Luo. One of the families is comprised of adopted kids. Thus, the multicultural cast. That's cool... but forgive me if I skip this one.


12.05.05

A review of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain: First Person: Marcus Hu on "Brokeback Mountain"


12.05.05

A high school student, Charlene Nguon, filed a lawsuit against her high school charging that her privacy rights were violated after a principal called her mother and disclosed her sexual orientation: Openly Gay Student's Lawsuit Over Privacy Will Proceed


12.05.05

Soccer player Lee Nguyen is contemplating going pro: IU's Nguyen Going Pro, Claims PSV Interest


12.02.05

The 29th Asian American International Film Festival—the nation's first festival dedicated to screening works by media artists of Asian descent—is now accepting entries. For more details and submission information, go here. The festival, presented by Asian CineVision in association with Asia Society, will take place July 14-30, 2006 in New York City and Long Island. Submit your films and videos! And go to the festival next summer.


12.02.05

The Asian American Writers' Workshop presents The Eighth Annual Asian American Literary Awards Ceremony, celebrating the best Asian American literature published in 2004. Monday, December 5 at the Asia Society in New York. The winner are Brian Leung, World Famous Love Acts (Fiction); Suketu Mehta Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (Nonfiction); and Srikanth Reddy, Facts for Visitors (Poetry). The finalists for Members' Choice are Tina Chang, Half-Lit Houses (Poetry); Sarah Gambito, Matadora (Poetry); Suketu Mehta; and Ishle Yi Park, The Temperature of this Water (Poetry). For more information on the event, visit the AAWW website.


12.02.05

As I've mentioned before, stand-up comedian Steve Byrne is doing a taping of Comedy Central Presents on December 20 at the Hudson Theatre in New York. If you'd like free tickets (FREE IS GOOD) just head on over to ocatv.com, and specify the December 20th show with Steve Byrne. He's a funny man.


12.01.05

I am serious about this. You must buy and listen to Bao Phi's spoken word double CD Refugeography. It will kick your ass.


After what I understand were many trials and tribulations (and a pending legal battle) getting the CDs manufactured, Refugeography is available again. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy, and it's incredible. Bao's words are angry, beautiful, irreverent, hilarious, and heartbreaking... His stories and poems make you wanna fall in love and fight the power all at once. Okay? Enough gushing. To order yourself a copy, just head over to Bao's website.


12.01.05

The FBI alleges that there are Chinese spies among us. Apparently, this is how the Chinese do it: Spy case patterns the Chinese style of espionage


12.01.05

We've been following this case off and on for a while... In July 2003, San Jose Police Officer Chad Marshall arrived at the home of Bich Cau Thi Tran to investigate reports that her sons were left unattended in the street and also about a potential domestic violence situation. He entered her home and within a few seconds shot and killed Tran as she waved an Asian-style vegetable peeler that he mistook for a cleaver. The incident triggered an outcry in the Vietnamese American community, as well as a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit. It looks like the legal battle has come to a close, with a $1.8 million settlement: S.J. to pay $1.8 million in '03 cop shooting


12.01.05

Just came across this interesting article on The Sini-Gang, a podcast on Filipino American issues: Internet "gang" speaks to Filipino Americans through podcast. Actually, it's just a group of Filipino American dudes in Virginia Beach, VA getting together to talk about whatever. That's cool.