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4.30.2006

Archived Posts - April 2006



04.30.06

Here's an interesting article in the New York Times on diasporic film: American Indie Filmmakers: Thinking Globally and Acting Globally, Too. It has a good quote from SFIAAFF director Chi-hui Yang, regarding the changing nature of Asian American film:


"People are realizing that it can't just be about identity," he said. "Issues of immigration and assimilation are getting more complicated, and you're finding more in-between kinds of experiences—filmmakers who are mixed race or born and raised in another country."


The article also mentions indie projects like So Yong Kim's In Between Days and Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana's Cavite. Cool stuff to look out for at a theater near you.

04.30.06

An interesting result of this whole scandal over plagiarism in Kaavya Viswanathan's novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life—book sales. Since publisher's announcement of the recall, there's been a mad rush to pick up the book to see what the fuss is all about: For a Harvard Student and Aggrieved Novelist, Plagiarism Generates Interest. The book leapt from No. 64 in sales on Amazon.com to No. 10 almost overnight... Now third-party sellers are asking as much as $89.95 for a copy. Like I said, collector's item. So wonderful, how folks can find an opportunity to make some cash out of someone's highly-publicized downfall. That's America.

04.30.06

A bit of news on the fate of AZN, one of the many Asian American TV networks that have popped up within the last few years... since news of its demise, people have been wondering what's up. It's still airing programs, though nowhere near the scope or promise it once touted. So, what's going to happen to it? According to the April 24 issue of CableFAXDaily:


Comcast has no plans to dismantle AZN, programming pres Jeff Shell told CableFAX Fri. The service had more than half of its 80-person staff cut and content development put on hold post-Thanksgiving. "We've right-sized the organization to do what it can do with the circulation it has (14mln subs). We still believe in the business," Shell said.


So, it has no plans to shut down completely. It's just going to do what it can... but what exactly is that?

04.30.06

Check out the trailer for The Lake House, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock (bleh). It's a remake of the Korean film Il Mare... the first, I believe, of all the announced Hollywood versions of films from South Korea. This trailer just oozes with romantic cheese, but then again the original wasn't quite a stark, gritty masterpiece either. Anyway, a highly unnecessary remake, but this is just beginning...

04.30.06

Here's an article on Kim Ng, Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who no doubt has deal with a lot of crap as an Asian American woman in sports: Baseball's other barrier

04.30.06

The Karshner Museum in Puyallup, WA has built a replica of WWII-era internment camp barracks, as part of an exhibit about the Japanese American internment: Shedding light on a dark time

04.30.06



Find the Koreans.

So last week, I was seeing some commercials about a Korean pop star or something appearing on The OC. What the hell, I said. Sounded kind of strange, but maybe worth taking a look. So I tracked down the episode in question... having never seen a single episode of this show, I was a little lost. But basically, it was the prom episode. People are scrambling to get dates for the big night, and this perky white girl is talking about her date, Seung Ho, "the guy from the Korean barbecue." She totally digs him because "he's got this wonderfully hairless body. It's like hooking up with a seal." What the...? But the point is, she's got a date for mopey brunette girl—Seung Ho's cousin, Young Nam, who is visiting from Seoul. His English is iffy, but "he's huge on the K-Pop scene," part of some band called "Big Korea." It just gets weirder and weirder. Brunette initially refuses to go to prom with "some Asian pop singer that barely speaks English," but she eventually gives in. Seung Ho (Charles S. Kim) and Young Nam (Justin Chon) show up to pick up their dates, and there's this whole bit with everybody bowing to each other awkwardly. One dude remarks that Young Nam looks like the guy from Full Metal Alchemist (weird nerdy anime reference). Brunette eventually gets crazy drunk, because she's broken up about some guy, and Young Nam's just looking at her like she's a freak. The whole thing is just really random and strange. Oh, and the episode did feature a pretty lady named Navi Rawat. The show ends with two white guys punching each other out, which I'm told happens often on The OC.

And that will probably be first and last experience watching The OC.

04.30.06

I'm told that a guy named John Wynn is one of the hosts of CDUSA, a music-oriented show on Direct TV. Haven't seen the show, but it's good to know that they've got an Asian guy being representative of what's young and hip in America. He's also the host of an upcoming show spotlighting Asian Americans in pop culture/entertainment called Xposure, produced by JohnnyD. Check out clips from Xposure here. Hopefully we'll be seeing it sometime soon, in one form or another.

04.29.06

Have you seen the commercials for the upcoming ABC made-for-TV movie Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America? Truly, it looks like the worst idea ever. What an excellent way to fuel public panic about this thing! Here's an article all about it: Bird Flu Hitting TV Screens May 9. Apparently, the movie begins in China, where in the movie the bird flu virus has mutated to the point where it's being passed human to human. (Those dirty Asians!) The madness really gets started when an American businessman ("patient zero") catches a flight out of Hong Kong after crossing paths with an infected factory worker. Then it's just a crazy American bird flu party. I can't wait.

04.29.06

As part of its occasional series on "Americans abroad," NPR profiles Louisa Huynh (I think that's how you spell it), a young Vietnamese American woman who chose to start her career in television news with state-run TV in Hanoi: American Finds First Job in Vietnam

04.29.06

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee was recently honored by his home town of Tainan for his acclaimed movie Brokeback Mountain: Director Ang Lee's home town honour

04.29.06

Perhaps you've seen commercials for the new film Akeelah and the Bee. Or maybe you've rolled into your local Starbucks and seen ads for it there. Kids in spelling bees. Yay. The movie has an Asian American character, Dylan Chui, played by Sean Michael Afable. According to this review by Roger Ebert, Dylan is "driven by an obsessive father, treats the spelling bee like life-and-death, and takes no hostages. Hearing his father berate him, Akeelah feels an instinctive sympathy." Aw man, why do they have to make the Asian kid the take-no-hostages spelling bee guy, with the obsessive/oppresive father?

04.29.06

Here's another article on Clint Eastwood's two upcoming World War II films, Flags of Our Fathers, about the U.S. troops who famously raised the flag at Iwo Jima, and Red Sun, Black Sand, about the same battle from the Japanese perspective: Eastwood Finishing a Pair of War Films. Both movies will be released later this year. Sounds pretty intersesting.

04.29.06

A mailing sent to the Minnesota State Capitol office of Senator Satveer Chaudhary is being investigated as a possible hate crime or terroristic threat: Legislator says ad sent to office is death threat. According to the article, "The mailing included a newspaper advertisement bearing a picture of Chaudhary. Someone had then drawn an apparent bullet hole on his forehead. A handwritten note attached to it asked whether the senator, whose parents were born in India, was "eating curry" when he missed 63 votes last year." That's racist!

04.29.06

Check out this short documentary: One Inch Punch by Victor Tran. It's all about one inch punch (ah, my favorite of all punches). There's some cool old footage of Bruce Lee punching some dudes, as well as some fun old-school kung fu clips mixed in. And dude, let me just say that's one sweet moustache Dr. Zee Lo is sporting.

04.29.06

A few weeks ago I mentioned a controversy at the University of Texas at Arlington over which flag was to be used to represent Vietnam. Here's a website set up in support adopting of the yellow-and-red flag of South Vietnam as the flag of Vietnamese Americans (instead of the current flag Vietnam): VC Flag at UTA. There's a petition and everything.


04.28.06



Behold, my gigantic badass helmet.

How about another giveaway? Free stuff! To promote the upcoming release of The Promise, Warner Independent is giving away a bunch of posters to a few of you lucky aam readers (unfortunately, it's probably not a big ass poster of dude pictured above). To enter the drawing, just email me your name, mailing address (as in real-life, postal mail), and phone number. Please clearly indicate PROMISE POSTER in the subject line, and we're good. Dig? I'll accept entries until Tuesday, May 2nd, then throw all the entries in a hat and pick some winners.

The Promise is directed by Chen Kaige, and stars a pan-Asian cast with Hiroyuki Sanada, Jang Dong-gun, Cecilia Cheung, and Nicholas Tse. It's one of those big ol' Asian epics with swords and fighting and stuff that American audiences seem to eat up. It looks very... colorful. The movie opens everywhere on May 5th.

04.28.06

This is kind of shocking... Chi Mui, who was sworn in last month as the first Asian American mayor of San Gabriel, CA, has died of cancer: Chi Mui, 53; Was the First Mayor of Asian Descent in San Gabriel's History. He was 53.

04.28.06

Adidas has officially pulled the Y1 HUF shoe with the "Ray Fong" caricature: Adidas shoes pulled off shelf. I didn't know that this movement had achieved such momentum. But I guess it was enough to finally break Adidas.

04.28.06

Here's a website that has a ton of information about Monday's rallies in protest of HR4437: nohr4437.org. The website's kind of an eyesore, with the info all over the place, but it has details about regional protests if you scroll down the bottom. May 1st, people. It's going to be huge: May 1 protest aims to "close" cities

04.28.06

As I mentioned before, MANAA president Guy Aoki and Teddy Zee appeared on Adam Carolla's radio show on Wednesday to discuss Carolla's repeated on-air disrespect of Asian Americans (most recently, the "ching chong" skit): An Exchange of Opinions?. I've got an audio clip of the segment here. Carolla invited Aoki on the show in hopes to "clear the air." Note how he emphatically denies that he's a racist, as if that's what this has all been about. He also says he's said plenty of "positive" things about Asians to balance out his offenses. That's not the frickin' point. It's about repeatedly crapping on Asians in the name of "comedy," just because he thinks he can get away with it. Hell no, I say. Ignorance is the root of racism, and ignorance is Adam Carolla's game.

04.28.06

Check out this funny clip of PK (Laugh Factory host and Kollaboration organizer) doing some stand up on ComedyZen: PK's performance on Comedy Zen on Imaginasian TV. It's kind of low-quality, since it looks like someone just pointed a video camera at the television. But you get the idea.

04.28.06

This is a great article in the Los Angeles Times about undocumented students at UCLA: The Invisibles. They actually have an undocumented immigrant club called IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success), to meet and discuss frustrations and practical issues. The article's good, so check it out.

04.28.06

Another story on the surviving passengers of the Golden Venture human trafficking case, who still face possible deportation: Golden Venture Passengers Still Drifting. A documentary on their struggle premiered this week at the TriBeCa Film Festival.

04.28.06

Here's an article in UC Santa Cruz's Review magazine on Madison Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American person elected to San Jose's city council: Elected to make a difference

04.28.06

Another article on New York city employees who have been continually parking illegally in Chinatown... According to a new study by Transportation Alternatives, more than 90% of illegally parked cars have city-issued placards that permit free parking in legal spots when a government employee is conducting "official business." But they're not there on official business: Space invaders! Just don't let cops catch you taking pictures of their cars. They'll go crazy on you.

04.28.06

Retired Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Yoshimi Hayashi, the first Japanese American named to the position of U.S. attorney when he was appointed in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, died on Sunday. He was 83: Justice had career of 'firsts'

04.28.06

Check out this profile in D Magazine (a Dallas city publication), about a guy who calls himself the Asian Playboy, who runs a seminar for dateless men, where he teaches "The Game," a step-by-step method for scoring with hot babes ("HBs"): How To Score with Hot Babes. I know it sounds like a joke, but it's completely for real. This Asian Playboy guy is an actual person trying to help the Asian bros score with the ladies, with lessons and texts and everything. He has a blog here.

04.28.06

Here's an interesting article about the plight of Middle Eastern actors, and the increased demands in high profile movies to play terrorists (i.e. Munich, Syriana, United 93): Playing a Terrorist: An Actor's Dilemma. I think a lot of Asian actors can probably relate.

04.27.06

Random House, publisher of Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, from which Kaavya Viswanathan is accused of copying stuff for her own novel, is calling Viswanathan's apology "troubling and disingenuous" (basically, they're saying her excuse is a load of crap): Aggrieved Publisher Rejects Young Novelist's Apology.

UPDATE: Oooh. The publisher Little, Brown and the author Kaavya Viswanathan have agreed to withdraw all editions of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life from the market: Publisher Withdraws 'How Opal Mehta Got Kissed'. Get it while you can—it's going to be a collector's item!

04.27.06

Check out Reel Asian Films an online database created by the Toronto Asian International Film Festival, of Asian Canadian films. It has listings and clips for 43 films made by Asian Canadians. Looks like it's still coming together, but it's a pretty cool resource. The Film Festival is currently accepting submissions for its tenth anniversary festival (November 15-19, 2006). For details, go here.

04.27.06

Not being a big watcher of The Golf Channel, I was unaware that there was a show called The Big Break, where undiscovered golfers compete and try to survive on the island or eat bugs or something (I'm totally making this up). The current season, Big Break V: Hawaii, features an Asian American woman among its contestants: Jeanne Cho. Korean woman rule at golf.

04.27.06

This is ridiculous. A Filipino second-grader in Canada has been repeatedly punished by his school for eating with a spoon and fork—a customary Filipino manner of eating: Filipino table etiquette punished at local school. The school's lunch program monitor calls his technique "disgusting" and has punished him more than ten times. What the hell? Are they actively looking for ways to punish children? Is there a stupider reason for punishing a student? When the kid's mom confronted the school, the freakin' idiot principal reportedly said, "Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat." This is just idiotic.

04.27.06

According to this press release, the American Society of Newspaper Editors' recently released its annual newsroom census, showing a slight
increase in the number of Asian Americans—from 1,664 in 2005 to 1,768 in 2006: Asian American Journalists Association Challenges Newspaper Editors to Set Personal Goals for Newsroom Diversity. Asian Americans now comprise 3.22% of the total newsroom workforce in the U.S.

04.27.06

An article on the trial of Pakistani immigrant Shahawar Matin Siraj charged with conspiring to blow up the subway station beneath Herald Square in Manhattan: In Tapes of Subway Plot Suspect, a Disjointed Torrent of Hatred

On the other side of the country... Hamid Hayat, a 23-year-old Pakistani-American, was convicted on terrorism charges in California: In California Terror Case, a Mistrial for a Father, but a Son Is Guilty

04.27.06

Something many of us are all too familiar with... the "cross-race effect": People of another race find it harder to read your face. The article mentions All Look Same, a cool site (it's been around for a while) that messes with the idea that all Asians look alike. There's a fun test that asks you to identify the ethnicities of several Asian based on their appearance. I've taken this test several times before, and I always do pretty poorly (even though they're always the same photos). This time, I scored 9 out of 18, which according to the site is "OK."

04.27.06

Ooh, McDonald's is getting all Asian on us again, introducing its new "Asian Salad": McDonald's Asian-themed salad going nationwide. What's so Asian about it? Manadarin oranges, almonds and edamame beans? Eh, whatever. I've also been seeing some weird ass animated commercials for it, of four women doing yoga and talking about how awesome the salad is. Sometimes fast food marketing confounds me.

UPDATE: Speaking of Asian Salad, check out this clip of Margaret Cho's standup: Asian Chicken Salad. I encourage everyone to go to the McDonald's counter and solemnly exclaim, "THIS. IS NOT. THE SALAD. OF. MY PEOPLE. (Thanks, Lou)

UPDATE AGAIN: Meanwhile, in Canada, they've got the Warm Chicken Oriental Salad.

04.27.06

Here's an incident at Michigan State University involving an offensive email a professor sent to a Muslim student group: Prof's e-mail angers Muslims. Notice how the professor uses the good ol' rock-solid "if you don't like it here, then leave" argument. I think a lot of us can relate to that; I've certainly received my share of hate mail telling me the same. Well, guess what? I ain't going anywhere, sucka! More here: MSU Muslims seek discipline of professor for critical e-mail

04.27.06

Terrible animated clip from the MTV show Wonder Showzen: Chinese Baby Girl Atlantis. They do this kind of stuff all the time.

04.27.06

Strange rumor circulating on the internets last week: Did MySpace's Tom Anderson do Asian porn? Apparently, before starting the ridiculously popular MySpace.com, Tom—who is everyone's friend—ran a porn site called TeamAsian.com. And his first MySpace profiles were of the Asian girls he used to photograph and put on his site. Yack. Another rumor floating around is that Tom has a second profile to collect Asian girls as friends. Double yack. But honestly, is anyone really surprised by this? MySpace used by creepy dudes to scope out Asian women? Big fat shocker.

04.26.06

Last month, I mentioned that Ryan Woo, a student at Miramonte High School in Orinda, CA wrote a satirical play on race relations called Angry Asian Man, which he also directs and stars in, as part of his senior project. The title an apparent homage to this very website. Cool, right? The play runs this week, Thursday, April 27th, and Friday, April 28th, 7:30pm at Miramonte High School. It's free, so show the kid some love. Details here. If anyone gets the chance to check it out, let me know how it goes...

04.26.06

Shout out to the students of the Korean Experience class at CSU Fullerton, who I visited and spoke to this evening. Thanks for having me, and listening to my ramblings. Stay Angry.

04.26.06

Asians on TV! I'm told that David Huynh has shown up on the last two episodes of Invasion (it comes on after Lost) as Sun Kim, a friend of one of the main characters. Go David.

04.26.06

Although it's not quite may yet, Los Angeles recently kicked off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a special ceremony at city hall last week: Los Angeles Kicks-Off Asian Pacific-Islander American Heritage Month. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented awards to United States District Judge Ronald S. W. Lew, Andrew & Peggy Cherng, founders of Panda Restaurant Group(!) and Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian American Olympic gold medalist. Activist Yuri Kochiyama also got a special honor. It's too bad the ceremony was disrupted by member's Engineers and Architects Association, who seem to be showing up at every Villaraigosa event these days and making a ruckus.

04.26.06

Check out this NPR interview with George Takei, about his personal mission to advance gay rights: George Takei's Sulu Effort on Gay Rights. There's also a great interview with Mr. Takei in the latest issue of Giant Robot.

04.26.06

Carnegie Mellon University recently unveiled a statue of Chinese alumnus Mao Yisheng, recipient of Carnegie Tech's first PhD 1917: Statue of Mao Yisheng unveiled. More background on Mao here.

04.26.06

Here's a radio story out of Seattle on artist Maya Lin's new exhibition, Systematic Landscapes: Maya Lin Brings Her Monumental Earthworks Indoors

04.26.06

You can dish it out, but can't take it? More on Michelle Malkin and the situation at UC Santa Cruz... as you probably remember, Malkin had posted the contact info for three members of Students Against War, who received a deluge of hate messages and death threats from around the country. A liberal website, in retaliation, published Malkin's cell phone number and home address. And there you go, all hell has broken loose on the web: Cyber war over UCSC protest heats up. While I certainly won't condone threatening messages towards anyone or their family, I can't but feel a little satisfaction in knowing Malkin is getting a taste of her own medecine. How does it feel?

04.26.06

President Bush is reportedly annoyed that the Chinese are using so much petroleum. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That's funny, George W. That's really funny, coming from a country that uses about a quarter of the world's energy, but makes up only 5 percent of the world's population: A NATION OF OILOHOLICS HAS NO BUSINESS LECTURING CHINA.

Speaking of China... here's a statement by Dr. Wenyi Wang on why she protested at the White House last week: A Cry to Awaken Our Conscience

04.26.06

Another article on Asian American attitudes towards the immigration reform debate: Asian Americans wary of immigration bills

04.25.06



Here's some funny for you. The Kims of Comedy DVD is out in stores today. It's a concert film featuring the standup comedy stylings of four funny Asian dudes—Steve Byrne, Bobby Lee, Dr. Ken and Kevin Shea—filmed at the El Portal Theater in Los Angeles. I had the chance to check it out, and it's damn funny stuff. It's available at the usual online retailers, so give it a try.

04.25.06

Not so fast there, young lady... Remember Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard undergraduate whose debut novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, snagged her a two-book contract and a movie deal? Turns out her super original book wasn't so super original, containing several passages that are strikingly similar to two books by another author: Student's Novel Faces Plagiarism Controversy. The similarities are just too close to be a coincidence. She admits she may have borrowed some language: Soph Says She's Sorry for Overlap. More here: Harvard Novelist Says Copying Was Unintentional. I'm sorry, but I have really hard time believing that similarities were as "unintentional and unconscious" as she claims. Let's call it what it is—plagiarism: Random House Calls Sophomore's Response 'Deeply Troubling and Disingenuous'. You got caught! I wonder if this jeopardizes her movie deal.

04.25.06

Good ol' Guy Aoki, founding president of MANAA, is scheduled to appear as a guest on Adam Carolla's radio show tomorrow morning (Wednesday, April 26th) at 9:00am. I hear that film producer Teddy Zee will be on the show as well. It's pretty safe to assume they'll be addressing the whole "ching chong" skit making fun of the Asian Excellence Awards, which aired back in January. I'm interested in seeing how it goes...

04.25.06

Various profiles from Asian America...

LA Weekly's "L.A. People 2006": Sumi Chang, Laura Kim, Tomoko Morishita

SF Gate: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Los Angeles Times: Lucy Liu

Gothamist: Amy Chin, Program Consultant for the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation


04.24.06

This may be of interest to some folks. The Korean Film Council has announced the launch of its inaugural KOFIC Filmmakers Development Lab, a major initiative to nurture and encourage emerging Korean American filmmakers to bring their stories to the screen. They're seeking applicants from the United States and Canada with a view to realizing projects that can find audience appeal in both Korea and North America. The Lab will be held in Hawaii in early September, in partnership with the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Info on the KOFIC Filmmakers Development Lab, and how to apply is available online at www.koreanfilm.or.kr and www.hawaii.edu/acm. The deadline is May 31st.

04.24.06

Heeeyyyy. To all my people in Chicago... The Grace Lee Project is currently playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I know you know someone named Grace Lee. Maybe you are a Grace Lee. This movie is for you. But time is running out. See it now, through Thursday, April 26. Go here for details.

UPDATE: Asia Pacific Arts has an interview with director Grace Lee and one of the Grace Lees from the documentary: A Tale of Two Graces

04.24.06

Interesting article on Angela Chao Roberson, who is Black and Chinese, vying for the title of Miss Los Angeles Chinatown: Tiaras, Sashes, Diversity. Sounds like she's in it to win it.

04.24.06

What the hell is wrong with this guy: Man Accused Of Trying To Sell Daughter

04.24.06

Here's an article on some of the differing priorities Asians may have than other immigrants taking part in the debate over immigration reform: Immigration a Family Affair for Many Asians

04.24.06

Newsweek has an article on General Eric Shinseki's response regarding the growing anti-Rumsfeld chorus backing him up: Anatomy of a Revolt

04.23.06

ComingSoon.net has a good article on Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook: Master of Revenge. I'm sure the guy extremely tired of talking about violence in every single interview he does. His latest film, Lady Vengeance opens in U.S. theaters on a city-by-city basis, starting April 28 in New York. Though I'm betting most diehard fans have probably already sought it on DVD by now...

On a related note, the New York Times has a good article on ImaginAsian Entertainment, and the company's exapnding mission/strategy to bring Asian and Asian American films to U.S. audiences: ImaginAsian Finds a New Formula for Asian Films in America. What intrigues me is the possiblity that the company could manage a same-date U.S. release with an Asian film across continents. Imagine getting to watch Lady Vengeance over here last summer, at the same time as South Korea audiences. The article also mentions the company's partnership with Palm Pictures to release Michael Kang's The Motel this summer. It all sounds pretty solid, and makes me optimistic.

04.23.06

The U.S. government has charged Wenyi Wang, a Chinese national who has lived in the United States for twenty years, with threatening Chinese president Hu Jintao: Heckler Charged With Harrassing Chinese President. She was formally charged with "knowingly and willfully intimidating, coercing, threatening or harassing... a foreign official performing his duties." Wang apparently crossed her First Amendment-protected rights when she yelled, "Your time is running out," to Hu, and later, when she screamed "Anything you have done will come back to you in this life." Now she's facing up to six months in prison and a $5000 fine. I don't know, is it me, or does the government's handling of this incident make them look a lot like China right now?

04.22.06

I haven't been following the latest edition of reality show Survivor at all, but Asian American contestant Bruce Kanegai was forced out of the game this week for health reasons. Apparently, the guy had a case of severe constipation, not having gone to the bathroom in more than a week. Ouch. Here's a transcript of Bruce's interview on the Early Show.

04.22.06

Tomorrow (April 23) in San Francisco, there's going to be an immigrant rights rally... Bay Area Day of Action March with Asian Pacific Islander Contingent: STOP ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILLS IN CONGRESS! They'll be assembling at Dolores Park at 11:00am, then marching to the San Francisco Federal Building. Details on this flyer.

04.22.06

Some follow-up on Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House... he got all the saluting fanfare, but was also disrupted by the shouts of an unruly Falun Gong supporter that managed to attain press credentials: China and Its President Greeted by a Host of Indignities. Though, you wouldn't know if you were tuning into Chinese media sources: Chinese Media Ignore White House Gaffes. George W also apparently ripped the sleeve of Hu's jacket: Bush Rips Sleeve of Chinese President Creating International Incident (no, he really didn't, the article is satire). Here's a list of Guests for the White House Luncheon in honor of Hu's visit—a crazy random assortment of people of varying relevance from all over the United States. And quite possibly the largest number of Asians ever assembled at the White House. Hey, even Michelle Kwan was there. That's kind of a creepy look George W's giving her.

04.20.06

Here's an article on the city of Quincy, MA, which has fast-growing Asian American population, and the community's efforts to address and respect the changing face of the community: Know the new neighbors. Despite the city's booming Asian population, there are currently no Asian Americans on the city council or school committee. But you just wait!

04.20.06

This week, Chao Tung Wu, 54, of La Puente, CA admitted agreeing to arrange the smuggling of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles from China into the United States. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to import the missiles for a buyer who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent: Calif. Man Pleads Guilty in Missile Scheme. Expect lots of talk about sneaky Chinese smugglers among us, or just the usual watch-out-for-China rhetoric...

04.20.06

Whoa. Californians of Asian descent won more spots in this fall's freshman class at the University of California than any other ethnic group, edging out white students (by 0.4%) for the first time: Asians surpass mark at UC. Seems like it was only matter of time...

On semi-sort-of-related-because-we're-talking-about-school note: More Chinese Students Headed to U.S.

04.20.06

Christina Kwan, cousin of figure skating champ Michelle, is set to make her professional debut... as a boxer: Top Rank inks Kwan!

Speaking of figure skaters, here's an article on 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, now living the life of "hockey wife and mother" in North Carolina: Yamaguchi-Hedican: Skating With Stars, and Dealing With Diapers

04.20.06

Dan Hoyt, the guy now known as New York's "Subway Masturbator," made infamous by getting his photo plastered on the Post, was sentenced just two years probation: SUBWAY JERK OFF THE HOOK. What a creep. Big, big props to Ms. Thao Nguyen, cameraphone vigilante.

04.20.06

Here's an interesting article on the generations of people from the Philippines traveling abroad across the globe to find work: The Overseas Class

04.20.06

Here's a funny taste-test article on that wonderfood of Asia, ramen: Revisiting ramen, an Asian staple but an American afterthought. Now I'm hungry.

04.20.06

Just a reminder, LA poetry heads, a cool event for you this weekend. Many months in the making... Projekt Newspeak presents the 2nd annual Newspeak Slam!, a badass SLAM poetry showcase and competition featuring up-and-coming Asian American spoken word, musical and theatrical talent. It's going down this Saturday, April 22nd, 6pm at the Japan America Theater. Learn all about it here.

04.20.06

Ugh. Check out this letter, written to an advice column ("Dear Cheryl"), regarding a brother's potential Indonesian mail-order bride: Why Indonesia? There are plenty of eligible women right here in U.S.. It all sounds like a disaster in the making.

04.20.06

I primarily cover Asian American issues, but this was brought to my attention... rioting and unrest on the Solomon Islands has destroyed most of the Chinatown area: Australia, New Zealand deploy extra troops to Solomons as violence widens. This is an area of the world I know practically nothing about, but this situation sounds crazy.

04.20.06

Chinese Preseident Hu Jintao is in Washington today... This column definitely emphasizes China's rapidly growing economic power, and the potential threat it poses to the United States: Hu's visit shows who's in charge. Red Storm?

UPDATE: Protester Disrupts Hu Arrival Ceremony

04.20.06

For those interested, I'm going to be speaking/interacting with folks at UCLA today, invited by the good people of the School of Public Affairs API Caucus. I'll be talking about the website, and Asian American type stuff. I think it's going to be a small gathering, but I'm looking forward to it. See you there.


04.19.06



This is for my comic book geeks. In an attempt to diversify its superhero roster, DC Comics is introducing new heroes and replacing old ones. One of the new characters is Ryan Choi, a Korean American scientist who assumes the mantle of the new Atom (the old Atom, Ray Palmer, disappeared after the cataclysmic results of the miniseries Identity Crisis ...it's complicated). Check it out: The All-New Atom. The above image is from the cover of Brave New World, a one-shot special that (re)introduces several new characters, including the Atom (second from the right—check out the eyes). The regular series begins in July. Pretty interesting move... much better than creating new "ethnic" superheroes, like Samurai from the old SuperFriends cartoon.

UPDATE: There's a preview of the Brave New World issue here (Atom's on page 6).

04.19.06

The Fourth Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicks off tonight with its Opening Night screening of Deepa Mehta's Water. The festival runs through April 23 at the ArcLight Hollywood. For the full program lineup, go here.

Speaking of film festivals, the full schedule for VC Filmfest 2006 is up and running. They've got a very strong lineup of Asian American films this year. Get your tickets now!

04.19.06

Hey, public television viewers in Hawaii... three great indie films shot in Hawaii, set in Hawaii, and about Hawaii are airing on PBS next week and in May. Kayo Hatta's Fishbowl (I loved this film), Jennifer Akana-Sturla's Kamea, and Edgy Lee's The Hawaiians: Reflecting Spirit. Details over at the Hawaii Film Office Blog: Made-in-Hawaii Independent Films on PBS

04.19.06

It's one thing to outsource call center jobs to India... but dude, American couples are outsourcing pregnancies to able-bodied Indian surrogate mothers: Wombs for Rent, Cheap. Be wary, as this trend grows. Does anyone else find the implications of this practice sort of offensive?

04.19.06

Lodestone Theatre Ensemble's latest production, The Golden Hour by Philip W. Chung, looks pretty intriguing. The new play "explores the possibility of faith in our modern age." The show is now running Fridays and Saturdays through May 21 at the GTC Burbank. The latest edition of Asia Pacific Arts has a good article on the production: Keeping the Faith: Preparing for The Golden Hour. Check it out.

04.19.06

Been hearing about Bromwell High, a South Park-esque cartoon on the BBC, about a multicultural high school in South London. One of the characters, Natella, is South Asian:


Natella is the youngest and most intelligent of thirteen siblings - an errant Asian prodigy who uses her stunning intellect to manipulate both pupils and staff alike. In any normal school Natella would certainly be top of the class - so at Bromwell High (happy home of the underachiever) - her cerebral prowess is a nothing short of astonishing.


According to this brief writeup in TIME, the show is a satirical riot.

04.19.06

In the not-so-surprising news department... according to a new study, English-speaking minority groups (90% of Asian Americans!) are the leading adopters of broadband and IP communications: Minorities Are Leading Adopters Of Broadband, IP Services. The survey found that "Internet penetration is significantly higher among Asian-Americans than it is for all other ethnic groupsÖMany Asian-American Internet users are comfortable with tools that keep them in touch; Email, instant messaging (IM), and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)." I believe it.

04.19.06

Vikram Buddhi, a 34-year-old graduate student at Purdue University in Indiana was arrested by the secret service last week for posting violent messages on an internet message board urging readers to kill President George W Bush and his family: Indian student held in US for anti-Bush messages. I'm sorry, I'm no fan of Bush, but Vikram here is an idiot.

04.18.06

This week, the Supreme Court declined to expedite the case of two Chinese Muslims who have been held for four years at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, despite being cleared of ties to terrorism: Supreme Court Won't Hear Chinese Detainees' Case. The justices, without comment, deferred to a federal appellate court that is scheduled to hear the pair's plea for release next month. Their lawyers are arguing that the U.S. government has been improperly depriving the men of their freedom—the military has determined that the men are not enemy combatants, but officials have been unable to find a country that will accept them after their release.

04.18.06

Here are a couple of articles related to the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906—one hundred years ago today—and its effect on Chinatown:

The quake that toppled taboos and built a family

San Francisco's Survivors

04.18.06

Much is made of Japanese Americans interned during World War II (and rightly so—shut it, Malkin), but did you know that thousands of Latin Americans of Japanese descent were also interned? They were picked up in their home countries, stripped of their passports and taken to internment camps in the United States. Now, congressional lawmakers are launching a new effort, calling for the creation of a commission to investigate what happened and recommend remedies if any wrongs occurred: Justice sought anew for internees

04.18.06

Not that I care for giving Michelle Malkin any more attention than needed (life is too short, and well, Malkin is an insane bitch), but her latest "stunt" just crosses the freaking line: Cyberstalking, Malkin Style. Basically, a student group at UC Santa Cruz, Students Against War, organized a protest against some military recruiters. Malkin got a hold of a press relese that included the students' personal contact information—not a smart move on the students' part, true—and published this information on her website. This pretty much unleashed the wrath of all the brilliant, concerned citizens (when I say "brilliant" and "concerned," I really mean "stupid" and "misguided") who read her blog upon these unsuspecting students. This includes death threats. More here: Malkin crosses the line in Santa Cruz.

You can call Malkin crazy, ridiculous, or idiotic (as I have), but this stunt is just evil. She sure as hell knows that her website plays a large hand in originating these death threats, but claims no responsibility, maintaining a "they asked for it" line of reasoning. Hell, I get my share of hate mail, and sometimes post them here, but I don't stoop to her levels (though I think I'd be halfway justified). For her actions, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann awarded Michelle Malkin the "World's Worst": The worst person in the world. Congratulations on your award. You deserve it.

04.18.06

Here's the website for The Inheritance, the latest work by Filipino Canadian filmmaker Romeo Candido (who did the very unique Lolo's Child). Looks very cool and creepy.

04.17.06

Aw yeah. Pittsburgh, you're getting an Asian American film festival. According to this article: Asian-American film festival coming. Here's the official website: Silk Screen. It runs May 12-20, with a schedule of lots of great films. Sounds like good stuff.

04.17.06

Did you know that Asian Americans have the highest suicide rate among all women? It's a serious problem that hasn't received enough research or attention: High Suicide Rates for Asian-Am. Women

On a related note, here's more on the three separate incidents in Southern California this month involving Korean American fathers who killed their children: Killings stun Asian community. Regarding this headline, I do hope the killings stunned other communities too (not just the Asian one).

04.17.06

Very interesting essay by Terry Woo, Canadian author of Banana Boys, over at the Fighting44s: Responsibility. The essay won first prize in the 2006 Robert Stewart Essay Competition held by The Montreal Press Club.

04.17.06

Public criticism by retired military officers of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continues to grow louder... According to the article, the officers' falling out with Rumsfeld began over the the Defense Department's treatment of retired Army General Eric K. Shinseki, who said at a congressional hearing that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to occupy Iraq. Shinseki got chewed out for that: Anti-Rumsfeld Chorus Grows. General Richard B. Myers, otherwise supportive of Rumsfeld, says that Shinseki was inappropriately criticized: General Defends Rumsfeld, With a Caveat. More here: Rumsfeld still dogged by clash with Asian-American general over Iraq. Shinseki was the first Asian-American four-star general in US history, and as chief of the US Army, the first person of Asian ancestry to lead a branch of the military.

04.17.06

As you probably know, China's President Hu Jintao is visiting the United States this week... Here's an article about China's efforts to reduce, or at least redirect, American anxiety about its growing power: In Candor From China, Efforts to Ease Anxiety

Speaking of China: Chinese upset about Yao. Yao's recent foot injury, that is.

04.17.06

According an Associated Press computer analysis, states are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress. Apparently, schools deliberately aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups: States Omit Minorities' School Scores. According to the article, less than 2 percent of white children's scores aren't being counted as a separate category. In contrast, Hispanics and blacks have roughly 10 percent of their scores excluded. More than one-third of Asian scores and nearly half of American Indian scores aren't broken out. What's going on here?

04.17.06

Check it out, something for you New Yorkers. Say NO to street/subway pervs! You might remember that New York Magazine article a few weeks ago on Dan Hoyt, the subway perv who got caught exposing himself, thanks to Thao Nguyen's quick thinking, and ended up on the front page of the Daily News (by the way, does anyone out there have a large scan/image of this cover?). The article mentioned that Thao's cameraphone justice inspired Holla Back NYC, a blog that encourages all women to "holla back" at street harassers by taking cell-phone pictures and posting them online. Well, Dan Hoyt is scheduled to be sentenced this week, Thursday, April 18, and Holla Back plans on being there. Bring a clever sign, a friend, and your game face. For details, go here.

04.17.06

Like I said, the immigration issue isn't just a Latino issue... While of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, 78 percent come from Latin America, but the next largest undocumented population comes from Asia, with 13 percent. And they have their reasons for being here too: Non-Hispanics Part of Immigration Debate

04.17.06

At Yale University, Asian American students have started a campaign calling attention to consistent anti-Asian jokes and sentiments in The Herald and Rumpus, two campus publications. It's a common situation... for example:


"Asian girls are like New Orleans levees; they only stay tight for so long" -- Rumpus, 4.15.06, "Me Love You Long Time: Yale's case of Yellow Fever" [see here, page 10 & 11)

"If you have Yellow Fever... Where can you find the largest gatherings of Lees, Wangs and Kims on campus this weekend? For once, the answer isn't at the library.'" -- Herald, 1.20.06, Calendar Section

Cartoon: "I figured I'd vote for Larry Wise 'cause he's got a better platform...and plus, isn't Emery Asian?" -- Herald 4.14.06, Comics Section


The argument is, this has gone on far too long, and the only reason writers and editors seem to think they can get away with it is because of the presumption that Asian American students won't stand up or say anthing about it. So this is the line being drawn—they're as mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore: AASA accuses publications of racism. Here's the Asian American Student Alliance's formal letter of protest. Here's an op-ed piece by Christine Hung and Annette Wong published today: RACIALLY BASED HUMOR REFLECTS BADLY ON SCHOOL. Expect the usual suspects to offer the ol' "You-Asians-need-to- lighten-up-and-take-a-joke" defense. Asian American students at Yale have spoken, and that's not going to cut it anymore.

04.17.06

Hey, to all the cool kids in Los Angeles, something for you to do on a Tuesday night: The Tuesday Night Project. Presented by Katalyst Productions, partnering up with Blacklava and the Little Tokyo Service Center to bring great music, theatre, dance, spoken word, live painting and good vibes to LA's Little Tokyo. You know you like it. So it's going down this Tuesday, April 18th, at the Aratani Courtyard/Union Center for the Arts. More info here.

04.16.06

Two more angry letters to the editor in the Boston Globe, in response to last month's article on that new Asiaphile publication Asian Boston:

Ballou's work is offensive, perpetuates stereotypes

A disgusting misrepresentation of Asian-Americans

04.16.06

The Hines Ward love continues. Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward is ABC News' Person of the Week, for his efforts to bring attention to the plight of biracial children in South Korea.

04.16.06

An article on Maggie Cheung, who stars in Olivier Assayas' Clean: Maggie Cheung Is Perfect for the Role. She's the Director's Ex.

04.16.06

Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta—the very first Asian American Cabinet secretary—is still hanging out with the Bush administration's sinking ship, and says he isn't going anywhere: Mineta Loves His Job Too Much to Quit. Let's hope he watches his help.

04.15.06

In Nebraska, a law was enacted last week that would essentially divide the Omaha school district into three racially identifiable districts—one largely black, one white and one mostly Hispanic: Law to Segregate Omaha Schools Divides Nebraska. Dude, this is state-sponsored segregation. According to the article, the Omaha district is 3 percent Asian or Native American... so what the hell happens to them? If you ask me, this is pretty much the worst idea ever.

04.15.06



Hey man, I'm just coming back from the Pirates vs. Ninjas kegger.

I just had to laugh at this: Feds pounce on student dressed as a ninja. Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on the University of Georgia campus for a community training project, detained Jeremiah Ransom as a "suspicious individual." The article says the guy was leaving a "pirate vs. ninja" event. Hahahahahahahahahaha.

04.15.06

Someone has turned in an early review of Fast and the Furious 3 on Ain't It Cool News: Newman DRIFTS Through Faster and Furiouser (Subsection 9 C): Nihon Boogaloo!!. Doesn't really reveal much more than what you could have gathered from the trailer. Sounds like the reviewer enjoyed the hell out of it, though perhaps that's not saying much, when the reviewer admits, "That's why I loved the first two flicks... sometimes, I just don't want to think." Sounds like you'll get what you pay for.

04.15.06

Oh my freaking goodness. Notorious MSG got profiled on PRI's The World: Global Hit. Why do I get the feeling that Notorious MSG just took a very unaware public radio audience for a ride? Mothersuckaaaas!

04.15.06

Poor Wang Zhizhi. Before Yao Ming entered the NBA, and became China's Really Big Deal, there was Wang Zhizhi who first joined the Dallas Mavericks in 2001. Now he's going home to make amends with the Chinese government: Prodigal Returns to Chinese Home

04.15.06

Here's a funny interview with the creators of the Adult Swim show Minoriteam: Interview: The Creators of Minoriteam. I like the explanation of the idea for "Racist Frankenstein." There's always an idiot like that in the room.

04.15.06

Tarzan is the latest Broadway musical production from Disney. Like the animated feature from a few years back, the music is by Phil Collins, but the show's book is by acclaimed playwright David Henry Hwang. The show premieres on May 10th.

04.15.06

I've recently been reading a few essays by Ranjit Souri. His latest column for India Currents is on being a Indian American actor... and watching a coveted part go to the white guy: The Indian Wants The Indian Wants the Bronx

04.15.06

This is a fascinating, crazy article on the fascinating, crazy Reverend Sun Myung Moon: SUSHI AND REV. MOON. Little did we know, our sushi appetite is indirectly supporting the Rev's multimillion dollar cash money fish-fueled religious empire.

04.15.06

Since the Winter Olympics, more than a dozen Korean families have come forward claiming to be long-lost family of U.S. bronze medal skier Toby Dawson: Olympian's Avalanche of 'Families'. Looks like he's taking his time to figure it all out. At least, if anything, the situation has shed brought public attention to issues surrounding transnational adoption from South Korea. According to the article, since 1950, more than 100,000 South Korean children have been adopted by Americans. They make up the largest population of foreign adoptees in the U.S. Though the media has made this public affair, I doubt Dawson wants to become some sort of poster-boy for an adoptee movement.

04.14.06

Yo, San Diego! As I mentioned before, I will be participating in the APSA Fashion Talent Show at San Diego State University, as a guest judge/presenter. Tonight, 7:00pm, at Montezuma Hall. Doors open at 6:30pm. See you there.

04.14.06

The Washington Post has picked up on the Adidas "Y1 HUF" controversy: Asians Decry Adidas Shoe as a Misstep. I'm quoted very briefly in the article, though I think it takes my comments out of context from the overall discussion. Note that this article also brings up the A&F controversy... I'm tellin' ya, it has become a benchmark.

04.14.06

Saw this on the news... down in San Diego, an 'Asian-themed' Easter card sold at Target caused a bit of an uproar amongst members of San Diego's Asian American community: Woman Wants Easter Cards Pulled From Store Shelves. The card, which presents an "Easter Haiku," features an illustration of a buck-tooth rabbit with slanted eyes and a Chinese outfit. Yeah, that's racist! Target pulled the cards (made by Carlton Cards) after Asian American groups voiced their concerns... It's funny how the story, and most stories covering similar incidents, always now seem to mention the Abercrombie and Fitch controversy of 2002 for context, like it's some sort benchmark in Asian American consumer controversies. I guess that's what it sort of is.

04.14.06

gr/eats, the nifty Sawtelle eatery from the folks at Giant Robot, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. From April 17-30, they'll be giving away free food and gifts and stuff. If you're in Los Angeles, stop by and grab some grub.

04.14.06

A new film festival in Hawaii! Check it out: Filipino Indie Film Festival. Ten films will be shown as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Filipinos in Hawaii, presented by the UH Manoa Filipino and Philippine Literature Program. April 17-21, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hemenway Auditorium. Go here for more info.

04.14.06

Ah, my people up North.... This is pretty cool: Chinese Canadian Culture Online Project, presented by the Chinese Canadian National Council. It's an initiative that "aims to showcase emerging talents from Chinese Canadians across Canada." Visit here, poke around.

04.14.06

VC Filmfest 2006 has announced its lineup of features, which includes a record number of Asian American features. It's a good year. Check the press release: Asian American Directors Take Spotlight at 22nd Edition of the VC FILMFEST 2006 - The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Full schedule and ticketing forthcoming... Check back here.

04.14.06

Hey Boston! This is for you: Chinatown Heritage Project, a community-based video and oral history project that has been in the works for over 5 years. The official unveiling happens on April 27 in front of United Commercial Bank. Details here and here.

04.14.06

William F. Woo, a former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who was the first Asian American to lead a major U.S. daily newspaper, and more recently the interim director of the graduate journalism program at Stanford University, died Wednesday at his home in Palo Alto of colorectal cancer. He was 69: William F. Woo, journalism prof

04.14.06

Heard about this little bit of movie news: Christopher Walken Fires Balls of Fury. It's a comedy about "a former ping-pong champ [who] is brought in by the government to infiltrate a high-stakes underworld [ping-pong] tournament and bring down the organizer, a feared crime boss." Sounds kind of like the plot of Enter the Dragon. Anyway, Walken plays Fang, the ping pong-loving crime boss. As much I like Walken, please tell me Fang is not supposed to be Asian... Maggie Q has also been cast in the film as "the sexy niece of [the hero's] mentor, Master Wong." Master Wong has yet to be cast. The looks like the makings of something disastrous...

04.14.06

This Japanese band, the Gosperats, disturbs and disgusts me. Yeah, that's blackface. Reminds me a lot of that Korea group, the Bubble Sisters. Bad, bad taste. Though, as MMW points out, we should remind ourselves that in Asia, they have different attitudes towards something like this, simply because they don't have same historical context of Blackness that exists in the United States. That said, that is some pretty ignorant ugliness.

04.14.06



This week's episode of Veronica Mars (one of my favorite shows, no joke) prominently featured Martin Yu as Mr. Wu, Neptune High's physics teacher—and one of the subjects involved in Veronica's investigation of the victims of last fall's school bus crash. Without going too much into it (it could take a while), the usually intuitive Veronica mistakenly assumes that the well-dressed, articulate Mr. Wu is gay. He's not:


"Veronica, I think when you get out into the world a little more, you'll discover that not all well-dress, articulate, detail-orinted men are gay. Many of them are just... Asian."


You can't believe all the gossip you hear in the halls, Veronica. Interesting, awkward way to address the stereotype. Makes me wonder if the writers were messing with the whole Details controversy...

04.13.06

It's the quintessential, all-American dining experience—the Chinese restaurant. "Have You Eaten Yet? The Chinese Restaurant in America" is a new museum exhibit in Philadelphia (on loan from the from the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in New York), all about the historical and cultural significance of the Chinese restaurant: An all-American: The Chinese restaurant

Speaking of exhibits, in San Francisco, the work of photographer Thomas L. Chang is being shown in an exhbit called "Orientalism" at the Lisa Dent Gallery, running April 13th through May 13th. According to Chang, "This new work, made over the last three years at the Angel Island Immigration Station, offers insight into the portrayal of history, immigration, and ethnicity through photographs that mimic historic photography and
reveal misunderstandings of history and misperceptions of ethnicity." Learn more here.

04.13.06

UCLA's Daily Bruin has a story on David "FD" Nguyen, the guy who started Aznraps.com at age sixteen: Changing perceptions through hip-hop. I've always thought the site was a great resource... I had no idea it was started by a teenager. Good stuff.

04.13.06

Great story on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday on the San Francisco's Chinatown and the 1906 earthquake: Rebuilding Chinatown After the 1906 Quake

UPDATE: Another great article here: The Great Quake: 1906-2006; Out of chaos came new Chinese America

04.13.06

Check out the website and trailer for Hubris, a short film by Gary King. Looks pretty interesting. It's currently being submitted to festivals, so look out for it soon. The film's got a MySpace page too. Hey, that's Sabrina Shimada from Stir in the cast.

04.13.06

While mass media consistently seems to paint the immigration debate as a U.S.-Mexico issue, it does and must MATTER to us, and has huge implications for us as Asian Americans: The Stake for Asian Americans in Immigration Reform. And here's a good perspective by San Jose Mercury News columnist L.A. Chung: 'Illegals' label denies people their dignity

04.13.06

There's this idiotic article in the New York Times (okay, the article's not idiotic; the people in it are) about fools using DNA tests that supposedly reveal your racial heritage. Said fools then take this newfound racial identification and use it when applying colleges and scholarship. I was going to comment on this, but I thought Carmen's rant over at Mixed Media Watch was sufficiently angry: Playing the race cardÖ for cash. I did want to note the stupidity of this girl who marked "Asian" on her college applications, after her sister's DNA test said she was 2% Asian and 98% European. Does she think that actually helped her get into her college of choice? Ha. Doesn't she know us Asians are already overrepresented in higher education? Sorry, it's all just ridiculous.

04.13.06

The latest edition of The Onion's "This Day In History" is all about World War II and the Japanese American Internment. I thought it was kind of funny.

04.12.06

The official website for the VC Filmfest 2006, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, is up and running, sort of. It doesn't list the full program (probably later this week), but it announces the Opening Night film, Ham Tran's Journey From The Fall; the Centerpiece Presentation, Julia Kwan's Eve & The Firehorse; and the Closing Night film, Eric Byler's Americanese. Check the site for the festival trailer, and other vital information. The festival goes down May 4-11, so mark your calendars.

04.12.06

This strange Intel commercial featuring Elijah Wood sitting on an Asian woman's lap on a plane (it's not as kinky as it sounds) is available for viewing on YouTube. Those are some crazy sideburns, Frodo. Anyone recognize the actress?

04.12.06

Comedian Steve Byrne was supposed to be featured on an episode of MTV's documentary series True Life, but it now looks like that's not happening. Steve says it best in his own funny words:


I just got word that the episode of My Big Break on MTV's True Life will not be airing. For those of you that knew about it or don't, True Life is a documentary series. They followed me around to see how one prepares for a 1/2 hour Comedy Central Presents and they picked me. They followed me around for two to three weeks. They will not include me on the show, that also follows a soap opera actress and a punk band. The explanation I got from an executive from MTV was the following, "It doesn't have a story arch". Keep in mind, an exec from MTV told me that my portion of stand up and the behind the scenes didn't have a story arch. This is from a prestine and in depth cable channel that really does make you think, with shows like, "Yo Mama" and "Date my Mom". I can completely see where he is coming from. Either way, it got cut and I know I have gotten loads of emails asking when it will air. It won't. It lacks depth I suppose. So, next time you see Steve O getting bit in the ass by a crocodile, remember, my story line on True Life wasn't as compelling as that.


Bummer. Ah well. You can catch Steve, along with comics Bobby Lee, Kevin Shea and Dr. Ken on the upcoming Kims of Comedy DVD, available April 25 from Goldhil Entertainment. I've seen it, and it's pretty hilarious.

04.12.06

There's recently been controversy at the University of Texas at Arlington over which flag should represent Vietnam during the school's International Week. Administrators wouldn't allow the yellow-and-red flag of South Vietnam to be displayed, instead displaying the current red flag with a yellow star. This of course, offended many Vietnamese immigrants and Vietnamese American students: Vietnamese flag display sparks controversy at UTA

04.12.06

Asians on TV! Totally forgot to mention this... Parry Shen on FX's Thief last night as "Shrimp Boy," some sort of backup guy to Will Yun Lee's assassin character (and apparently based on an actual person). Haven't watched the episode yet, so I don't know what the hell Parry's talking about. Last time I talked to him, Parry was a little unwilling to say anything—good or bad—about the part, since I was pretty critical of the Without a Trace episode he guest starred on back in the fall. But I think it sounds kind of cool...

04.12.06

Guess they couldn't ignore it any longer... Got this from Oliver's post at Poplicks: ADIDAS RESPONDS (FINALLY). Adidas' press release regarding the Y1 Huf shoe:


Herzogenaurach, March 2006 - With the current introduction of the adicolor series, adidas brings back an iconic footwear concept that celebrates the touch points of self expression, customization and personalization.

Comprised of over 40 unique footwear designs, the adicolor collection is divided in two major parts, the White Series and the innovative Color Series. Represented by six different colors- black, red, pink, green, blue and yellow- the latter series features a number of collaborations between adidas Originals and a diverse group of partners- all icons from the worlds of fashion and art.

Among those is San Francisco-based store HUF, who hooked up with the much-respected West Coast artist Barry McGee, better known by his tag name, "Twist". Working on and inspired by the streets of America's cities since the 1980s, Chinese-American McGee and HUF chose to feature one of Twist's favorite characters, fictional bondsman Ray Fong, on the footbed, lace jewel and tongue of their adicolor sneaker.

McGee on his adicolor sneaker: "Ray Fong is a character I developed well-over four years ago for an art installation in New York. The image was made from a picture of me when I was around eight years old. When I look at the photo, I think- cute! The name Ray Fong came from my uncle Ray Fong who passed away over a decade ago. Keith (HUF) and I never thought the image was "racist" and I am sorry to those people who perceive it that way. All I remember is having Stan Smith's face on my adidas when I was young, and was elated to put a caricature of myself on a shoe when presented the opportunity this year."

The HUF/Twist sneaker represents the adicolor concept as it takes expression from the contemporary urban world. Part of the most limited-edition package of the adicolor series, these were produced for a one-time run with a limited distribution of only 1,000 pairs available exclusively at just twelve retail locations worldwide. There is no plan to market these sneakers in the future, and they are expected to completely sell out following this limited release. Please visit www.adidas.com/adicolor to see other models represented in the adicolor series.

adidas is excited to have featured HUF and McGee as part of this project. We are committed to understanding, valuing and incorporating the diversity of our communities and various fields of activities among the global marketplace. adidas does and always has valued an open dialogue with its consumers. Therefore, we welcome the feedback we have received from the global community and will continue to do so. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the HUF/Twist sneaker and its inclusion as part of the "Yellow Series" is misinterpreted as purposely offensive. It is not our intention to offend any group or individual as adidas prides itself on being a multicultural organization.


This is almost word-for-word, the letter they're sending to everyone who wrote in to complain. I think it certainly illuminates the issue a little more, especially McGee's intent as the artist, though I agree with Oliver—Adidas could've done a better job recognizing a little sooner that the shoe's artwork was controversial. Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot, which has featured McGee's art on numerous occasions, has written his own take on the matter on his blog, in defense of Ray Fong. It's good background. I don't think I'm going to spend much more time on this... if you think about it, all the controversy has given the shoe much more publicity than it ever would've received in the first place.

04.12.06

Movie news... According to the Hollywood Reporter, Focus Features and LJ Films will co-produce and co-finance the tentatively titled Julia Project, a drama based on the true story of an American who married a Korean prince. The story will be a look at the life of Julia Mullock, an American woman who married Kyu Lee, the last crown prince of Korea, in 1959: Focus, LJ climb Korean throne

04.11.06

Today in the sentencing trial of admitted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, jurors heard 911 audiotapes of two people trapped inside the World Trade Center, including Melissa Doi, who died on September 11: Moussaoui Jury Hears the Panic From 9/11

04.11.06

An interesting article in the Village Voice... Since 2003, the NYPD has been filming protesters at political demonstrations, regardless of whether anything illegal's going on. What happens in public, happens in public, and no harm done, they say. But apparently, police aren't cool with surveillance when the cameras are turned on them—particularly when those cameras show them abusing free-street-parking privileges: Watching the Detectives

04.11.06

This guy is in serious need of some anger management... Alan Lau, a retired member of the NYPD, allegedly shot and killed a decorated Port Authority officer in an apparent case of road rage: Retired Cop Accused Of Killing Retired. He shot the guy's dog too.

04.11.06

Here's 60 Minutes story on 16-year-old golf phenom Michelle Wie: Michelle Wie: Not Your Average Teen. She says she wants to become the first woman ever to successfully compete with men in a professional sport. I think she has plenty of time to prove herself.

04.11.06

I've started getting emails promoting the Miss Asia USA pageant. What the heck is is? Why, it's a "celebration of culture, beauty, elegance, and talent." Apparently, it's been going on for eighteen years. To participate, contestants must "be a female of at least 25% Asian ancestry from one of the 58 Countries in the Asian Continent, between the ages of 17 to 28, and single, of good moral character, never been married and never had any children." I counted 29 participating countries in this year's pageant. Still waiting for Miss North Korea, Miss Maldives or Miss Azerbaijan...

04.11.06

News on the latest film by Jay Chandrasekhar (director of Dukes of Hazzard, and he's not afraid to admit it), the new Broke Lizard comedy Beerfest: Jay Chandrasekhar on the Set of Beerfest. To his credit, he also directed several episodes of the now-departed Arrested Development (one of the greatest shows ever).

04.11.06

Yao Ming broke his foot! Broken in the first quarter of 85-83 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday: Yao Ming breaks foot in Utah game. Bad luck for Yao, who has already missed 21 games this season because of a toe infection.

04.11.06

From the Gotham Gazette... In an effort to reach out for more voters, Democratic candidate for New York Governor Tom Suozzi posted on his website pictures of him and his ethnic "friends." Though apparently, Mr. Suozzi has no Asian friends. Seriously! See here.

04.11.06

This week, the AAFilmlab in New York will be screening a number of short films by up-and-coming Asian American filmmakers: The Beachhead: APA Shorts Make Their Landing. Thursday, April 13, at The ImaginAsian. For more details, go here. Support Asian American film!

04.11.06

Here's a sorted list of Asian and Asian American films playing at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. A number of interesting films also worth taking a look at: Air Guitar Nation (I believe that's a photo of David "C-Diddy" Jung, Air Guitar Champ, in the program notes), The Cats of Mirikitani (documentary on Jimmy Mirikitani, a homeless 80-year-old Japanese-American artist), Golden Venture (documentary on the undocumented Chinese immigrants onboard the Golden Venture in 1993), Hatchet (horror film with Parry Shen in the cast), and Punching at the Sun (Tanuj Chopra's South Asian indie coming-of-age feature).

04.11.06

A pair of interesting stories related to the immigration reform debate:

To Marshal Immigrant Forces, Start at Ethnic Radio Stations

Thanking Immigrants for the Myriad Jobs They Do

04.11.06

Here's more coverage on Hines Ward's crazy trip to South Korea with his mother: Ward spins biracial roots into blessing. His mom sounds like a strong woman. So now he's been welcomed and heralded as a hero... and hopefully changing prevailing attitudes towards mixed-race identity in the country.

04.11.06

Another murder-suicide tragedy in Los Angeles involving a Korean family, or as the story puts it, the second time in a week that a man of Korean descent was believed to have killed family members: Father Shoots Family, Commits Suicide In Echo Park. What is going on here?

UPDATE: And another one! A 40-year-old Korean man shot and killed his young daughter and then himself Saturday at his Fontana home: Fontana Father Kills His 5-Year-Old, Then Himself. What the hell is going on?

04.11.06

That's Suzy Nakamura in this funny commercial for Twix.


04.11.06

I was recently trolling around MySpace (yeah, I'll admit it) and came across the music of Corinne May, and kind of liked her sound. She sort of got that Vienna Teng vibe. Her latest album is called Safe in a Crazy World. You can listen to it here.

04.10.06

Protests are happening all over the country today—The National Day of Action for Immigration Justice: www.April10.org

04.10.06

This month, San Francisco marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Quake of 1906, an event that completely rocked the entire Bay Area. Among the areas that experienced destruction and rebirth was San Francisco's Chinatown. The Chinese Historical Society of America is commemorating the century since the quake with an exhibit and several events: Since the Quake: The Rebirth of San Francisco's Chinatown. Here's an article on the exhibit: Special exhibit on Chinese-American quake experience

04.10.06

Director Grace Lee is starting production on a low-budget DV feature called American Zombie, and they're in need of lots and lots of extras. They'll be shooting in and around Los Angeles. If you want to be part of the movie shoot/crazy zombie party, see here:


CASTING EXTRAS!

Dear Friends,

We are in need of extras for our film American Zombie. If you or any
of your friends, family and acquaintances would like to participate,
please help spread the word! It could be ideal for aspiring actors,
students, or anyone who wants to see how a film set works. Their are
some very fun spots in the film that need to be filled. For example:
a dead couple, park volunteers, protestors, zombies and many more.
The shooting days are between April 11th and May 6th. Unfortunately
it is unpaid, but food and good times will be had by all. If you, or
anyone you know are interested please contact Conall Jones as soon
as possible at zombieextras@gmail.com or call 323-467-8565.

Thank you.


Should be a fun time.

04.10.06

One of my favorite ladies, Jenny Choi and her band Sanawon, are embarking on a West Coast tour this month, playing with Mike Park. Brothers and sisters in California, come out to the shows and represent. West Siiiiiide!

04.10.06

Last week, I watched the Chinese film Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, written and directed by Lu Chuan. It's based on the true story of a group of Tibetans in western China who form a volunteer patrol to combat the illegal poaching and mass slaughter of the native antelope (it's not a documentary). Very compelling, complex, gorgeously shot film—I highly recommend it. The movie opens in New York and Los Angeles on April 14. Go to the official site for details.

If you're in Los Angeles, Visual Communications is hosting a special sneak screening of Kekexili on Wednesday, April 12 at the Laemmle Sunset 5. Go check it out. It's free, but ya gotta RSVP. For more information, go here.

04.10.06

The magazine formerly known as East West Woman has given itself a facelift, and is now the new and improved East West Magazine. Yeah, they dropped the "Woman," to widen their readership. Now the East West Man can read it too! And they've revamped their website (hopefully, with regularly updated content). Take a look around.

04.10.06

Spotted this casting call on LA's Craigslist, for a new Asian American pilot, titled Wilshire Blvd: CASTING FOR ASIAN-AMERICAN PILOT. Apparently a series about 8 friends, 4 guys and 4 girls, post-college years, all from different Asian ethnicities. It's described as "a Real World type shooting meets Sex in the City narrative story telling." Sounds interesting... and ambitious. Hope they can pull it off. More details here.

04.10.06

Maybe people got tired of seeing good ol' Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments on TV every Easter... so they made a new sexy version, airing tonight and tomorrow on ABC: The Ten Commandments. I only mention this because Naveen Andrews is in it as Moses' stepbrother. But old schoolers need not worry—I think they're still showing the old version next weekend, so you can get your annual Heston fix.

UPDATE: Here's an article on Naveen Andrews: 'Lost' star finds love, home in L.A.


04.10.06



I was recently contacted by an actor named James Lew. Maybe you don't recognize the name, but perhaps you've seen him in a film or fifty. If you look at his IMDb entry, the sheer number of credits is pretty impressive. While he's been in his fair share of stinkers (American Ninja V, Savage Beach, Dark Vengeance, the list goes on), in less-than-memorable roles (Ninja #1, Agent #1, Yakuza #5, Cambodian), you have to appreciate a guy who has toiled in the Hollywood trenches for over twenty years as a martial arts actor. In a way, he epitomizes the legion of nameless, faceless stereotypical roles for Asian men that populate so many Hollywood films. An unsung hero, if you will.

Anyway, James recently made his writing/directorial debut with a film called 18 Fingers of Death. It's a goofy mockumentary ("sock-umentary") lampooning the Hollywood martial arts film, with not-so-subtle jabs at everyone from Steven Seagal to Billy Blanks to Antonio Banderas. Basically, James stars as Buford Lee, the most prolific martial arts actor you've never heard of, having appeared in over eight hundred of Hollywood's worst martial arts movies. The story follows Buford's attempt to make 18 Fingers of Death, the breakout movie that'll finally make him a household name. It's a great idea for a film, and no doubt draws from James Lew's own experiences in Hollywood.

The films is getting the direct-to-DVD treatment this week, April 11, distributed by Universal and available at the usual online retailers... Okay, but is it any good? Well, I watched it, and it's definitely not a masterpiece. Let's just say there are reasons some films go directly to DVD. All right, I'll be honest, it's pretty rough. It has a lot of energy, but a lot of the parody is really forced, and too many jokes fall flat. (Not that I don't like entire fight scenes comprised of farting.) And it's most definitely got that low-budget, indie flava. That said, I really did appreciate what Lew and Co. were trying to do here, and I give props for the idea, as well as the work that went into making it happen. As a commentary on show business, it hits a lot of the right notes. And there's a surprisingly great performance by the late Pat Morita. All in all, you can tell it's a pretty personal work for him. He speaks for all the unidentified kung fu cinema performers out there! I can dig that. So hey, if this sounds like your thing, check it out.

04.10.06

Some schools in Orange County are offering Vietnamese language classes to help teens bridge the communication gap with their immigrant parents: Saying the Magic Words

04.09.06

Here's a follow-up editorial in the LA Times on the Chinese bones and burial artifacts the MTA uncovered at an excavation site in Boyle Heights: The burial they deserved. The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California believes that the diggers stumbled upon a long-lost Chinese potter's field, just ajacent to Evergreen Cemetery, which (like much of official Los Angeles) barred Chinese from its property a century ago. The society says it only heard about this discovery late last year through a whistle-blower on the site, and had to confront the MTA to receive affirmation. Now they're calling for a proper reburial ceremony.

04.09.06

Most of the recent discussion on immigration reform has revolved around illegal immigrants from Mexico. But did you know that an estimated 500,000 Chinese immigrants have been smuggled into the United States since the late 1980s, making them the second-largest undocumented immigrant group? It seems like most of the media attention has ignored this: The invisible illegal immigrants: Chinese. This concerns everyone: Other Ethnic Groups to Join Rallies

04.09.06

Asian Elevation, the big ol' Asian American talent showcase (brought to you by the producers of Kollaboration) have narrowed the competition down to ten finalists. For the lineup, see here (hey, that's my man Raymond Lee—former Fame contestant and fellow NU alum). The show has partnered up with Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) to promote awareness about the severe lack of Asian marrow donors in the National Registry. It all goes down on June 24 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

04.09.06

Another article on the mysterious murder of Allen Leung, shot to death at his business in February: A KILLING IN CHINATOWN

04.09.06

Butterfinger (the candy bar) is doing this weird-ass ad campaign revolving around "The Finger" and an Indian call center: Follow the Finger. Watch the videos (under "WATCH IT"). It's really bizarre.

04.09.06

As the immigration debate continues, here's an article on the fate of the Chinese immigrants who came to America aboard the infamous Golden Venture back in 1993: Making It Ashore, but Still Chasing U.S. Dream.

04.09.06

What a crazy story... Yong Hak Kim, a high-level U.S. executive who was kidnapped in Mexico, managed to escape his captors after grabbing a revolver while two kidnappers were dozing. He locked his abductors in a bathroom of the house where he was being held and ran outside for help: Korean-American took gun while captors were dozing

04.09.06

Follow up on Shi Yi Yan, the Chinese food deliveryman who got shot in New York last week... the guy survived and is doing all right: Deliveryman thanks God he'll be okay after shooting

04.09.06

USA Today has an article on all the ethnic media ventures that have been popping over the last few years: Media tune in to ethnic audiences. There's a brief mention of AZN, though it doesn't really go into any of the financial troubles the network reportedly has gone through... really, what is going on with that?

04.09.06

Alternet has another interview with the very opinionated, very outspoken comedienne Margaret Cho: Notorious C.H.O.

04.09.06

The San Jose Mercury News has picked up on the Adidas sneaker controversy: Adidas sneaker roils Asian-Americans. Man, people are like crazy mad about this one! The funny thing is, it's a shoe you'll probably NEVER see anyone actually wear on the street. It's locked up in someone's special airtight sexy shoe collector cabinet... where the chinkface caricature sits, smiling. Whoo!

04.09.06

New York Times Magazine has a lengthy article on South Korean film director Park Chan-Wook: Mr. Vengeance. If you haven't seen any of his films, but plan to, I wouldn't recommend reading the article—it gives away some key plot info. According to Tartan Films, the third film in Park's 'vengeance' trilogy, Lady Vengeance hits U.S. theaters on May 5th.

04.09.06

According to the BBC, last week... Harraj Mann, 23, a phone salesman, was hauled off a London-bound plane by police after he asked a taxi driver to play The Clash's "London Calling" through the cab's stereo. Bascially, this guy's taste in music set off red flags for terrorism: Terror fear over Clash fan's song. You think this might have had anything to do with the fact that Harraj is Indian?

04.09.06

The details in this article are pretty scant, but Vietnamese Americans living in Memphis say they've been targeted by a four month long rash of crimes: Vietnamese Community Victimized by Crime. Not much to go on, is it?

04.09.06

The LA Times has a story on Ahilan Nadarajah of Sri Lanka—twice granted political asylum by a U.S. immigration judge, but then branded a national security threat by the Department of Homeland Security. He spent nearly four and a half years in a U.S. jail while the government tried to deport him back to Sri Lanka. He was freed last month when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his detention illegal, calling the government's arguments "patently absurd," "implausible" and "baffling": Jailed 4 1/2 Years in Land of the Free

04.08.06

Hey! Interview with Tian of Hanzi Smatter on BBC Radio. Talking about Chinese characters, and bad translations, and all the wonderfully inane things people tattoo on their bodies. "Crazy diarrhea!" Listen to it here. It's good stuff.

04.08.06

Nothing better than inappropriate racial remarks by elected officials to brighten your day... this time, from former Nebraska state Senator John DeCamp, regarding Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, the Legislature's only black member. See here: DeCamp makes racial remark about Chambers. While that definitely makes him look like a jackass, his other remarks, quoted at the bottom of the article, might also be of particular interest:


DeCamp, 64, made a name for himself during his legislative career as being both colorful and controversial. An attorney, DeCamp ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1984 and 2000, attorney general in 1990 and governor in 1994.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968 and served with the infantry in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1970 with the rank of captain.

At the same forum Tuesday, DeCamp referred to his wife Nga, who he met in South Vietnam during the war, as "my war trophy."

"My wife, of course, my little Vietnamese wife, my war trophy, she wants to tell you also to vote against me because she says politics is mean, tough, cruelest thing so you vote for other man."


Are you kidding me? Does your little Vietnamese wife—your "war trophy"—does she love you long time too? That's racist!

04.08.06

This week, the Canadian government said it would apologize or imposing a discriminatory tax on Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1923: Canada Apologizes for Tax on Chinese. The head tax was intended to discourage Chinese immigration after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway by many Chinese laborers. Another article here: Chinese laud head tax apology

04.08.06

Why, our Secretary of State is such a well-rounded woman. Scholar, White House administrator, warmonger, football enthusiast... and accomplished classical pianist: Condoleezza Rice on Piano. Every other week, Condy kicks it with her chamber group, which includes Soye Kim, the first violinist. And they make sweet, sweet music.

04.08.06

Although APA Heritage Month is in May, a lot of colleges are doing out their APA celebrations this month, since May usually isn't convenient for a lot school calendars. So, schools all over the country, from NYU, to Central Florida, to Georgia, to Columbia, to Minnesota, are bustin' out their respective events. My man Parry is doing his usual run of speaking gigs, and has some encouraging words on his blog regarding the state of things: On The Verge

Next Friday, April 14, I'll be participating as a guest judge at the 11th annual APSA Fashion Talent Show at San Diego State University. Friday, 7:30pm at Montezuma Hall. With plenty of fashion and talent to go around, with live performances from the Ken Oak Band, Far East Movement, and Clean Up Crew. Just like the flyer says. For more info, go here. It's going to be a good time.

04.08.06

The huge Jing Fong restaurant in New York's Chinatown is accused of violating the state minimum wage law and failing to pay overtime: Big Chinatown Restaurant Accused of Siphoning Tips

04.08.06

The always enthusiastic (lots of caps, lots of exclamation points) APA FIRST WEEKEND FILM CLUB newsletter informs me that there are Asian American actors starring in three major Hollywood releases this weekend: Lucy Liu in Lucky Number Slevin, Dante Basco in Take the Lead, and Rob Schneider in Benchwarmers. Okay, good fact to know. That said, I can guarantee, you won't be seeing me running to the theater for these movies any time soon...

04.07.06

With all the news about Chinese food delivery men being killed, how about a recent story about a Chinese restaurant owner who fought back: Deliveryman Fights Off Robber With Saw. Take that, thieving suckas!

04.07.06

Sepia Mutiny about a possible hate crime at Baylor University in Texas... apparently, a Muslim Baylor University senior of South Asian heritage who was active in Muslim-Christian relations was attacked on the school's campus Saturday night, suffering multiple injuries. The victim says that a man, thought to be in his 30s, grabbed her head scarf, and threw the woman to the ground. As he did, the attacker allegedly yelled anti-Muslim and ethnic slurs at the woman including "Arabian (expletive)" and "(expletive) Muslims." More info here: Possible hate crime on Baylor campus

04.07.06

News about an Asian character on an upcoming NBC pilot in development... Peter James Smith ("Ed" on The West Wing) in Andy Barker, P.I. According to the futon critic:


ANDY BARKER, P.I. (NBC) - Peter James Smith (Ed on "The West Wing") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an accountant-turned-private detective (Andy Richter). He'll play Chang, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "20s-30. He is Lew's (Harve Presnell) Asian assistant, relegated to performing occasionally demeaning tasks. Chang doesn't seem to mind Lew's offhandedly racist remarks, but they disturb Andy." Amy Farrington, Marshall Manesh, Tony Hale and Ion Overman also star in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which comes from executive producers A.J. Morewitz, Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, Jeff Ross and Jonathan Groff. Jason Ensler is directing from a script by O'Brien and Groff.


The part doesn't sound very appealing... Hopefully, there's more to it than what's described here, because it's pretty sad.

04.07.06

Remember I said how much I dug Eliot Chang's green t-shirt? The shirt, and other similarly cool shirts, are available from A-Nation Clothing Co..

04.07.06

Just noticed that the film Shanghai Kid, written and directed by David Ren, and starring Ken Leung, was recently renamed Shanghai Kiss. I wonder what prompted the change. I've been following the progress of this film for a while... hopefully there are plans to release it soon, in some form or another.

Speaking of Asian American films and name changes, there's this project: East Broadway. I believe this is the film formerly called "Social Grace" that was supposed to be B.D. Wong's directorial debut. According to this interview with writer/director/star Fay Ann Lee, Wong departed from the project because of "artistic difference." It's premiering this month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

04.06.06

This was reported on IMDb today (though I'm pretty sure there was also talk of this last year)... apparently, they're developing a TV drama based Crash, to start airing next year: "Crash" To Hit The Tube. Actors/characters from the movie will appear in the show. Of course, first order of business will probably be to screw over any Asian characters.

04.06.06

Adding yet another project to her schedule, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha will be helming the big screen adaptation of Dallas: "Beckham" director doing "Dallas". I believe she's also directing the movie version of I Dream of Jeannie. Hmm. Perhaps she's got a thing for Larry Hagman?

04.06.06

In Seattle, twenty-two Chinese immigrants are in custody after they apparently let themselves out of a 40-foot-long cargo container that had been used to smuggle them from China. They were in the container for about two weeks: 22 Chinese Are Held in a Smuggling Case. The shipping container, which was loaded on the ship in Shanghai, had water bottles, food, blankets and toilet facilities.

04.06.06

File under 'More Tasteless T-Shirts':

I Have the Body of a God

My Weiner Is Huge In Japan

04.06.06

News out of Boston, about a horrible freak accident that killed a young Asian American physician: Michael Tsan Ty, 28, Roslindale

04.06.06

DDK fans, set your Tivos... Daniel Dae Kim will be a guest on Live with Regis and Kelly on Friday. Spotted him on a promo for tomorrow's show, though it doesn't seem to be listed on the show's website. Guess you'll have to take my word for it.

04.06.06

The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing federal prosecutors of ethnic bias in a sting last summer in which South Asian owners of convenience stores in Georgia were charged with selling household ingredients that could be used to make methamphetamine: A.C.L.U. Says Ethnic Bias Steered Georgia Drug Sting. They're alleging that prosecutors ignored extensive evidence that white-owned stores were selling the same items to methamphetamine makers and focused instead on South Asians to take advantage of language barriers. That's racist!

04.06.06

Mora Stephens Conventioneers wins another award... the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the Florida Film Festival. Article here: Korean American Feted at Florida Film Festival. And the film's official site here.

04.06.06

For those interested... Ask the White House, an interactive chat session with White House administration officials, is taking questions for their next guest, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. The chat is tomorrow (Friday) at 1:30 pm EST.

04.06.06

In New York, another attack on a Chinese food delivery man: Deliveryman In Critical Condition After Shooting. Police in Queens are searching for two teenagers who shot 46-year-old Shi Wi Yan in the chest. Are delivery people of other ethnicities being targeted? Or is this just an Asian thing? That's certainly what it looks like to me. Something seriously needs to be done about this situation—delivering food shouldn't be a fight to stay alive.

04.06.06

Here's the website for that Asian Boston magazine I mentioned last week. Ugh. Big fat ugh. Looks as bad as it sounds, though I'd still like to see an issue for myself... If anyone out in Boston gets their hands on an extra copy, hook me up!

There's good letter to the editor by Giles Li, responding to the initial article, published in the Boston Globe this past Sunday: Magazine is an insult to Asian community

04.06.06

Hey filmmakers! The 7th Annual DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival is currently accepting submissions for feature films, documentaries and short films. The final deadline is May 15th. Can you dig it? The festival happens September 28 through October 7, 2006 in the greater Washington, DC area. Go here for submission details.

04.06.06

OH, awesome. Dog food. How appetizing: Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs. Mmm. That's "Chinese Take-Out w/ Sauce" flavor. Oh, wait. It's dog food. As in food for dogs. Dude, do the dogs really give a damn if it's Chinese take-out flavor or not? And is it really necessary to dress up Dick Van Patten in that ridiculous outfit?

04.06.06

The latest edition of Asia Pacific Arts is all about SFIAAFF coverage, for those who might've missed it. Good stuff from all over the festival, including an overview discussion, reviews, and interviews with Georgia Lee (Red Doors), Julia Kwan (Eve and the Fire Horse), Mora Stephens (Conventioneers). It's good stuff, so check it out.

04.06.06

An article on Tida and Earl Woods—mother and father of Tiger: Raising a Child First, Then a Champion. I wonder if they've seen Dave Chappelle's "Racial Draft" sketch, and what they think of it...

04.05.06

New York magazine has an article on Dan Hoyt, the infamous raw-food guru turned "subway perv" caught in the act of exposing himself by Thao Nguyen's camera phone last summer. The photo eventually ended up on the front page of the Daily News, and Hoyt was really exposed. Gotcha, sucka: Onan The Vegetarian. According to the article, the incident has inspired a mini-movement of camera phone vigilante justice:


The subway incident has spawned a mini-movement of sorts. Inspired by Nguyen, a 15-year-old Queens girl used a cell phone to snap her own picture of a man who flashed her on the 7 train on March 3. A group of Nguyen's East Village fans have started Hollabacknyc.com, a blog that encourages all women to "holla back" at street harassers by taking cell-phone pictures and posting them online. Nguyen "took the leap to say, 'Uh-uh. This is not okay,' " says Hollaback co-founder Emily May. "She's our princess," adds another co-founder, Lauren Spees. "He picked the wrong person to do this to," Nguyen says.


Meanwhile, Hoyt has been convicted of public lewdness and awaits sentencing on April 18. Though it doesn't really sound all that repentant about what he did:


In his account, the perpetrator is Nguyen, who misread his intentions (he claims he was already mid-masturbation when she stepped onto the train) and then humiliated him by posting his picture on the Web. He says he didn't even realize he'd been photographed. "Even so, I wouldn't imagine somebody throwing it up on the Internet for millions of people and destroying your life like that," he says. "It's one thing to take it to the police. But on the Internet, I read a lot of people saying, 'That was not too cool of her. That was really screwed up.'"

What a creep. Sorry, you ass. "Not cool"? If you think it's "cool" to expose yourself to someone on the freaking subway, I think that was the green light for her to post your sad ass weiner up on the internet.

04.05.06

Action director Yuen Wo-ping fears that Hong Kong may not be able to produce another major martial arts movie star: Can Hong Kong Produce New Jackie Chan? If you ask me, the next Jackie Chan isn't coming out of Hong Kong—it's Thai Ong-Bak star Tony Jaa... with a few good career choices, he definitely has what it takes to be the next big thing.

Speaking of Hong Kong superstars... a few people might be interested in watching this cool Bruce Lee interview, from The Pierre Berton Show, filmed December 9, 1971.



It's been out there on the internets for a while... And if you've seen any Bruce Lee documentaries (like A Warriors Journey) over the years, you've probably seen snippets from this interview. He's incredible—confident, dynamic, and articulate. And you get a little sad when he talks about plans for the "The Warrior"—the show that would eventually be called Kung Fu, and star frickin' David Carradine. Or Lee's involvement in plans to possibly revive and revamp the Charlie Chan franchise. Oh, what could have been. It's a really great interview, so take a look.

04.05.06

According to Variety, the new CW network (UPN + WB = CW) is developing a pilot for new sitcom, Aliens in America, about a Pakistani Muslim foreign exchange student who moves in with a Wisconsin family: CW in 'Aliens' territory. Could be interesting, or it could suck much. Guess we'll find out...

04.05.06

Yeah Yeah Yeahs released a new album, Show Your Bones, last week (singer Karen O is half Korean, dude). There's a live concert stream available on NPR: Yeah Yeah Yeahs Play DC

04.05.06

Spotted Benedict Wong in the trailer for On A Clear Day. Here's an article on the movie: At the Movies: `On a Clear Day' I'm told that he seems to be the go-to guy in the UK for Asian chracters. You'll see him next with Michelle Yeoh in the Danny Boyle movie Sunshine.

04.05.06

The recently published diaries of a North Vietnamese surgeon named Dang Thuy Tram, who died in 1970, have received an incredible national response: Vietnamese Surgeon's Diaries a Sensation. The book has sold a record 400,000 copies in Vietnam. It'll be published in the United States next year.

04.05.06

Check out this fun documentary short, by Baun Mah, where a Chinese Canadian guy tries to get to the bottom of some Chinese stereotypes through a series of humorous, highly unscientific tests: A Chink in the Armour. The last test is my favorite. Oh, by the way, is anyone else sort of creeped out by the University of Toronto professor guy?

04.05.06

Comedian Tina Kim appears on this sketch comedy show Unacceptable Behavior on SiTV, an English-language, Latin American TV network. It's the one called "Mrs. Fong." According to her website, she wrote the sketch too. I didn't think it was all that funny... but maybe I just got tired of all the yelling.

04.05.06



A few weeks ago, I mentioned the new Y1 HUF shoe by Adidas, which features a stereotypical Asian caricature (photo above) on the tongue (part of the "Yellow Series"). Since then, a campaign against Adidas and the shoe has picked up steam... which means I'm being bombarded with emails like this one:


Dear Friends,

I wanted to call your attention to a new and offensive sneaker being released by adidas, the sports footwear, apparel and accessories company. The sneaker, part of the company's Yellow Series, features a stereotypical caricature with slanted eyes, buck teeth and bowl cut with "Fong" written on its back heel. Images of the shoe are on the adidas Web site:

http://www.press.adidas.com/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-218/

A close up of the face is at:

http://www.csr-asia.com/index.php?p=5914

Why should you care? This image perpetuates negative stereotypes of Asians, and adidas shouldn't be allowed to make money off of such a concept. Adidas needs to know that this is not a fashion statement ñ it's an insult.

There has been some discussion on blogs about whether this constitutes racism, or whether it is simply an artist's response to racism. But we think it is, at the very least, a bad marketing decision on the part of adidas. And, taken out of context, it represents an outdated stereotype.

Please make your voices heard and let adidas know this is unacceptable. You can email adidas USA through their online contact form at:
http://www.press.adidas.com/en/Desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-43/

or call their customer service number at 1 (800) 448-1796 on Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST.

We are also contacting Asian Americans who have been affiliated professionally with adidas and letting them know about this issue.

Please help us spread the word by emailing this to your friends.

Sincerely,

Deb Kong, debkong@yahoo.com


Contact Adidas, and let them know how you feel. It's important to note that the shoe was designed by graffiti artist Barry McGee, who is half Asian. The design is sort of a signature (presumably a self-portrait?), which has appeared on his other work. So is it an offensive caricature, or artistic cultural subversion? Like the message says, at the very least, it's a bad marketing decision on the part of Adidas. And, taken out of context, it represents an outdated stereotype (though I have to ask, when was it actually an up-to-date stereotype?). For another perspective on this issue, Oliver over at Poplicks has an interesting, thoughtful take on the matter: KICKS CONTROVERSY

04.05.06

Sad, tragic story out of Los Angeles about Dae Kwon Yun, who got into his car with his two kids, and set it in fire in an apparent suicide attempt: Stress, Money Woes Believed Factors in Fatal SUV Blaze. The worst part is, both children burned to death, but the father survived and is expected to recover. Apparently, he was having severe marital and financial problems. Now he's being charged with murder.

04.05.06

So Roger Clemens, famed Major League pitcher (aka "The Rocket"), talks about the World Baseball Classic, and makes a few insensitive, racist remarks:


Roger Clemens was discussing his future Tuesday at the Astros season opener when he responded to a question about his health after the World Baseball Classic with a comment that some might consider racially insensitive.

Clemens, who broke down late last season with injuries, said he felt fine after the WBC and left the tournament impressed by the quality of the international teams.

But he made a questionable comment when speaking about the devotion of the Japanese and South Korean fans.

"None of the dry cleaners were open, they were all at the game, Japan and Korea," Clemens said. "So we couldn't get any dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing is that 50,000 of them were at Anaheim Stadium."


Oh, that's clever. Clever remark from someone's whose team got their ass beat by Japan and Korea. I guess the next best thing to do is to make denigrating remark about entire communities. Interestingly, the above quote is from the original AP article on ESPN, which had a headline that originally read, "Clemens makes insensitive remark," but for some reason the article (located at the same URL) was altered just hours after the initial story was posted: Clemens gets NL ring, remains unsure of future. The text that pertains to Clemens' comments now reads:


He felt fine after the World Baseball Classic and left the tournament impressed by the quality of the international teams -- and the devotion of the Japanese and South Korean fans.

Remembering back to a Japan-South Korea game in Anaheim, Calif., Clemens said he took clothes to a dry cleaners and was told he wouldn't get them back for nearly a week.

"They said, 'You've got no chance,' they told me," Clemens said. "I said, 'I'm going to get it tomorrow, right?' And then she goes, `No chance, we're going to the game.' So we couldn't get dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing about them was there were about 50,000 of them at Anaheim Stadium, Korea and Japan.

"Even in Arizona, when we played Mexico there, it was so festive. It really makes you sit back and realize our game is played the right way in a number of different countries."


Perhaps to soften his remarks, and make them sound less inflammatory? Either way, with one stupid comment, he's characterizes both Korean and Japan (just say "Orientals," why don't ya?) as nations of dry cleaners. That's racist!

04.04.06

As I mentioned before, students at the University of Illinois at Chicago have been trying to establish an Asian Amerian Studies program at their school, but have encountered a great deal of resistance and apathy from the administration. Here's an interview with Charlyne Sarmiento, one of the students in the Asian American Coalition Committee involved with the movement: Behind an Asian American Studies program

04.04.06

Ooh, Asian tattoos. They're like, so exotic. New York Times has an article on the unfortunate (but very common) phenomenon of Asian character tattoos gone wrong: Cool Tat, Too Bad It's Gibberish. And of course, Tian of Hanzi Smatter is there to offer his expertise. Fools. If you wanted to get a freaking Chinese character tattooed on your forearm so badly, you should have at least done the research.

04.04.06

Over the weekend, Asian American sketch comedy group 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors competed at the 2006 International Sketch Comedy Championships... and won! Reppin' for Asian America, they took home the trophy. Niiice. Congratulations!

04.04.06

Just a reminder... The Grace Lee Project is currently in the middle of a one-week run at Laemmle's Fairfax Theater in Los Angeles. Now playing through Friday, April 6. Check it out, bring a friend.

04.04.06

CNN report featuring YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen: Viral Videos. The New York Times also has an article on YouTube: Now Playing on YouTube: Web Videos by Everyone. Reviewing the site, it observes that "Videos with Asian and Asian-American themes get heavy play." I'm incline to agree. I know I praised YouTube a few weeks back, because all the cool, obscure stuff you can track down (i.e. Karate Kommandoes). But there's also an awful lot of crap on the site as well. And for some reason, we Asians are responsible for way too much of it. I'm sorry, but I don't need to see any more videos of dorky, bored Asian kids lip synching to Backstreet Boys song in their dorm room.

04.04.06

A first-ever poll of legal immigrants in the United States finds little support for a crackdown on illegal immigrants: Poll: Legal Immigrants Don't Back Crackdown

04.03.06

Chosun Ilbo interviews Paul Haggis, writer/director of Crash: 'Crash' and How to Write Oscar-Winning Movies . They specifically ask him about the depiction of Asian characters in the film:


A question for Korean audiences. In the movie, (even though it is very short scene) a Korean is depicted as a "slave trader" while the main characters are portrayed as complex people with both good and bad sides. Korean audiences may be a little saddened by that.

Yes, I was aware of that, and would have liked to have been more even-handed with my characters. But I did not set out to do something fair, I set out to tell a story about characters and then just followed them. Actually, in the director's cut of the film, which is coming out in April on DVD, there is a longer scene in the hospital between the two Korean characters where you see them more as a lovely, loving couple -- but yes, he still turns out to be selling slaves.

While that may seem harsh, what I truly wanted to do was condemn what many white (and black and Hispanic) Americans often think of Asians -- and so I referred to the Koreans (and the Cambodians and Thai refugees) as Chinese all the way through the film. In fact, the only person who corrects anyone is the Russian criminal who wants to sell the refugees. So I was using the Korean characters as symbols of American (and white and black) ignorance of Asian cultures -- and talking about the fact that, to Americans, only America exists. And that we have too little curiosity about those who are different from us -- everyone to the west of us becomes "Chinese".

I think this is actually true in most dominant cultures. I have never been to China, but I bet they do not always distinguish between Canadians, English, Australians or Americans. But in America, we have this disturbing lack of curiosity down to an art.


I got that. I understood it was comment on American ignorance of Asian ethnicities. But so what? It's such a minor, throwaway moment. It doesn't change much. And the deleted scene in the director's cut doesn't sound like it does much either. Let's be real—Asians got screwed in Crash. But hey, what's new?

04.03.06

Been trying to keep track of this case, but I missed this development... last month, Stephen Williamson, the University of Michigan junior accused of shouting ethnic slurs and urinating off his balcony on an Asian couple who were walking by last September, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery for "tossing a beer off a balcony and splashing people below": Junior pleads guilty to throwing beer. Apparently, there wasn't enough to support charges of ethnic intimidation. If there's anything that came out of this incident, at least it sparked discussion about existing bias and hostility towards Asians on campus.

04.03.06

Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward makes his trip back to South Korea with his mother, and gets a hero's welcome: Steelers' Ward returns to South Korea. Here's another article from the Korea Times: Super Bowl Hero Visits Motherland

04.03.06

Happy birthday, Miyoshi Umeki. I heard it on NPR this morning. Star of Flower Drum Song, and Academy Award winner—the very first Asian actor to win an Oscar—for her role in Sayonara. She is 77 today... somewhere out there.

04.01.06

Roger Ebert gives Eric Byler's Americanese three and a half stars.

04.01.06

Dude, I like the Flaming Lips, but what's up with this CRAZY video for their new single: The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. That reminds me, it's been a long time since I had three beautiful Asian women duct tape food to my body.

04.01.06

Yu Jin Ling, a sixth grader at Public School 101 in Queens, will represent New York at the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee May 31 and June 1: N.Y. spelling ace makes bee-line to U.S. finals. ...Along with a whole mess of other Asian kids who always seem to end up in this competition. Yu Jin learned English by reading the classics after moving to the U.S. with her family four years ago. What a wonderful immigrant story for the newspapers!

Spelling bees always make me recall traumatic moments. In the sixth grade, I represented my school at the district spelling bee. I didn't make it very far. Arrgh! "Choreography." That damn word.

04.01.06

Everyone in Los Angeles knows, there's Chinatown (which is great for the tourists), and then there's the region's real Chinatown: Dragon Roars in San Gabriel

04.01.06

An article on Asian American comedian Eliot Chang, who recently performed for students at Boston University: Comedian tackles stereotypes, racial slurs. Visit Eliot's website here. There's clips and stuff. (And where can I get that green shirt he's wearing?)

04.01.06

So last night I make the terrible mistake of watching this evil new show, Survival of the Richest, starring some of the worst human beings ever to appear on reality television. Basically a bunch of rich kids get paired up with a bunch of poor kids. "Reality" ensues, and basically, you want to kill everyone on the show, as well as everyone responsible for making the show. Anyway, one of the rich kids was Kat, initially described as a "religious empire heiress." I was like, what the hell does that mean? Turns out she's the daughter of Reverend Sun Myung Moon—the Moonies! She comes off as pretty cold, and she ends up distancing herself from the rest of the rich kids (who love talking about how rich they are). This proves fatal, as she is voted off at the end of the show. And there you go. See? I watch TV crap like this so you don't have to.

04.01.06

The Chicago Tribune has a story on the murder of Allen Leung, the Chinatown community leader who was killed at his business in San Francisco last month: Mystery shrouds slaying of Chinatown businessman

04.01.06

A good review of Wayne Wang's classic Chan Is Missing, which got a DVD release back in January: Wayne Wang Is Missing

04.01.06

Does anyone else laugh when they read this article? China's nefarious diplomatic offensive against Taiwan—the power of crazy cute pandas. Read the article, then look at the photos: Attack of the Pandas. It's this quote from lawmaker Huang Shi-cho of the Taiwan Solidarity Union party that really gets me: "The pandas are a trick, just like the Trojan horse. Pandas are cute, but they are meant to destroy Taiwan's psychological defenses." Yeah, that's exactly what I'm thinking, when I see this.