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5.31.2006

Archived Posts - May 2006



05.31.06

Two Korean American brothers, Will Demps, 27, and Marcus Demps, 23, are now both playing in the NFL. Will plays for the New York Giants, and Marcus just graduated from San Diego State and signed a contract with the Detroit Lions: Two Korean American Brothers Join NFL. Both teams are in the NFC, so it looks likely that they'll be playing against each other.

05.30.06

There's an Asian guy in the this commercial for Vault, one of those energy drinks. He and his neighbor play some macho game of who can build a better birdhouse. What that has to do with energy drinks, I have no idea.

05.30.06

This is a real sign—hand-made, from the looks of it—spotted at a Trader Joe's store in Las Vegas:



This really really saddens me. That's racist! (Thanks, Kali)

05.30.06

This is a really great opportunity for Korean American filmmakers, I wouldn't want anyone to miss out... I mentioned it last month, and the deadline is looming (May 31st, actually) but I hear that they actually haven't received a lot of applicants, so they might extend it. The Korean Film Council recently 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 here and here. Apply!

05.30.06

In Los Angeles this week, LACMA presents a special tribute to pioneer video artist Nam June Paik, who died earlier this year: Tribute to The Life and Times of Nam June Paik. Thursday, June 1st at the museum's Bing Theatre. It'll be an evening of remembrances, performances, projected video works, and rarely seen clips. Co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum, and the Korean Cultural Center. For details and ticket info, go here.

05.30.06

According to new study by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Asian Real Estate Association of America, Asian American Home Buying Increases in Many Cities, but Significant Barriers Continue to Exist. From 1990 to 2000, Asian American homeownership rates increased in 19 top metropolitan areas in the nation, most notably Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boston and Fresno.

05.30.06

Recently spotted actor Tony Lee in a Mitsubishi commercial (you may remember him as Sun's "tutor" in a flashback on Lost). Funny, I feel like I've been seeing him all over the place lately...

05.30.06

The second season of Uncle Morty's Dub Shack starts up on ImaginAsian this Friday, June 2nd. If you've ever seen the show, you're probably aware that it's some of the most idiotic television ever created... with flashes of comic brilliance. Basically, they take old footage from bad bad Asian movies and redub them... interspersed with goofy bits from the show's characters. For instance, the episode I saw was all about diarrhea. So you get an idea of the level of sophistication the show is going for. Anyway, it might be your thing. Check out some clips here (my favorite is "You are it!").

05.30.06

A revealing Korean War-era document has come to light—a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, informing the State Department that American soldiers would shoot refugees approaching their lines: Letter reveals policy on shooting refugees. The letter, dated July 25, 1950—the day of the Army's mass killing of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri—s the strongest indication yet that such a policy existed for all U.S. forces in Korea, and the first evidence that that policy was known to upper ranks of the U.S. government. Just read the article.

05.30.06

Here's a good New York Times article on Bong Joon-Ho, director of the South Korean film The Host, which was apparently a big hit at the Cannes Film Festival: Unlike His Peers, the Director Bong Joon-Ho Likes Ideas and Metaphors. I highly recommend his previous film, Memories of Murder.

05.30.06

Hey, for my people in the Bay Area, something to do this week... On Thursday, June 1st, the Asian Art Museum is launching MATCHA, its new monthly evening arts/performance/music series. Should be a good time of art, culture and cocktails in the museum after hours. This week's inaugural edition will feature the music of the Dhamaal Artist Collective. Details on the event here.

05.29.06



Here's the trailer for the movie adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Namesake. Directed by Mira Nair, and starring Kal Penn. You might recall that Kal Penn was blogging his experiences last year while shooting the film. I haven't read the book (I know, I know—I'll try to pick it up this summer), but the movie looks pretty good. It's scheduled to open in theaters on November 3rd.

05.29.06

Great big article in the Star Tribune "Arts & Entertainment" section on Asian American spoken word artists Ed Bok Lee and Bao Phi: Wide, wide word. Check out their websites at www.edboklee.com and www.baophi.com.

05.29.06

Remember the guy who proposed to his girlfriend over Apple Store webcam? Check it out: Follow-up to Apple Store proposal (she said yes!). To all the haters who bought the theory that the Asian man was just fishing for a green card, you suck. Her name is Uschi, and she is real.

05.29.06

Last week in Florida, vandals broke into a Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church and wrote racial slurs all over the walls and carpet: Asian pastor's office plastered with hate. In addition to writing "God hates Asians," among other epithets, the vandals stole a camera and poured motor oil on copiers and other office equipment. That's racist!

05.29.06

Here's a story about Jessamyn Liu, who graduated this weekend as valedictorian of her class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point: West Point valedictorian from here

05.29.06

The trial of Shahawar Matin Siraj, who was convicted last week of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station, hung largely on the testimony of an undercover police informer. Some Muslims say they are now wary of talking about politics in public, and believe that the use of informers set back the police's campaign to win their trust and cooperation: Undercover Work Deepens Police-Muslim Tensions

05.26.06



The mean streets of Cavite.

If you're interested in seeing something a little different at the movies this weekend, be sure to check out Ian Gamazon's and Neill dela Llana's indie thriller Cavite, which opens today in New York and Los Angeles. Winner of the Independent Spirit Awards' "Someone To Watch" Award, the film is a true blood-sweat-tears labor of love for these guys, and it deserves to be seen by a wider audience. Here's a letter from the two directors:


Dear Friends,

How often is it that a movie is released in theaters where
Filipino-Americans can watch a representation of their generation up
onscreen? Not often enough. Cavite opens May 26 in New York and Los Angeles
and three weeks later in San Diego and San Francisco, with dates in Seattle
to follow. It's easy for us to ask all of you to come and support so we can
continue our careers as filmmakers. But what we ask is so much more than
that.

Cavite has been called "a landmark in diaspora cinema" and it could not be
more true. It represents a journey back to our homeland that not only we,
as a generation of Filipino-Americans, but audiences outside our culture
have responded to as well. And it's that idea of Cavite traveling beyond
the lines of the Fil-Am boundaries that we should celebrate on this
occasion. Now we have a chance to show people of all cultures and races a
slice of the Filipino-American experience told in a manner that anyone, no
matter what your heritage, can appreciate.

And it's in that thought that we urge you and your friends to come see
Cavite. It will thrill and it will educate, it will present a side of a
spectacular world rarely seen in cinema today. But most of all, if people
see this movie on the weekend of its release--and let's not kid ourselves,
attendance will be key- it will allow all of us as filmmakers or
storytellers to make more films that our generation, and future generations
can be proud of.

In conclusion, what we ask for is a celebration-a celebration of a movie
born out of a desire to represent who we are and what we can do. So let's
rejoice, go see the movie, tell anyone that will listen, and not wait
another minute to watch a representation of Filipino-American filmmaking up
onscreen.

Sincerely,

Ian Gamazon/ Neill dela Llana

co-directors, CAVITE


The movie's playing at the NuArt in Los Angeles and the Cinema Village in New York, with more cities to follow. For more information, check out the official website. And go see the movie! (X-Men will still be around in a month.) Support Asian American cinema!

UPDATE: Here's an article on the movie: They were low-cost thrills. It really is a remarkable, resourceful film. Highly recommended.

05.26.06

Here's a local news (KXTV) story on Josephine Kao, a fifth grader from Roseville, CA who will compete at the 79th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee next week: Roseville Student to Compete Against the Best in Spelling Bee. Cool. Just watch out for that kid who won the Geography Bee.

05.26.06

Low blow, Bugs. Check out this clip from Robot Chicken, a rap battle between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. It's basically a spoof of 8 Mile. Making fun of Elmer's pronunciation ("Wabbit" instead of "Rabbit," etc.) Bugs launches into a tirade, which ends with "You replace so many Rs, I thought you was Chinese!" and then he pulls his eyes back, chink-eyed style: Bugs vs. Elmer. They just had to go there. What a cheap shot. That's racist!

05.26.06

X-Men: The Last Stand opens in theaters today. I hoping to check it out sometime soon... It looks like there about 300 characters in the movie. As I've mentioned before, Mei Melancon plays Psylocke, and Ken Leung plays Spike-Face Dude (judging from trailers, it looks like he's a fairly significant peripheral character). Actually, I thought he played the mutant Quill, but I just noticed that the movie's IMDb page has updated the character's name as "Kid Omega." I Googled the character's name, and found that in the comics Kid Omega is not Asian, nor does he exhibit Spike-Face powers. Strange. According to the IMDb, it also looks like Kea Wong reprises her role as Jubilee. Somewhere down line, maybe X-Men 8: Mutant Immigration, we'll get a glimpse of some of the more obscure characters, like Sunfire.

05.26.06

Worldwide supporters of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi hope that she'll be released from detention this weekend when her house arrest order expires: Myanmar may release pro-democracy leader. Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has spent about 10 of the last 17 years in detention.

UPDATE: Myanmar has extended the house arrest: Myanmar flouts world opinion on Suu Kyi

05.26.06

Oh, come on. Brenda Song, who can normally be seen on the Disney series The Suite Life with Cody & Zach (I've seen it—don't ask), will be in the Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. According to the website:


Wendy Wu is a popular teen whose goal is to be homecoming queen. But her life takes a dramatic turn when she finds out she's a reincarnated Chinese warrior and is needed to save the world! Undercover Buddist Monk Shen has important business with Wendy - she doesn't know it, but it is her destiny to battle the evil Yan Lo. Shen must train Wendy so she will be able to defeat Yan Lo and keep the world safe for another 90 years. But Wendy is too busy for that nonsense - she's trying to make sure she beats Jessica Dawson and is elected this year's Homecoming Queen!


Riiight. She can't just be normal high school student. The Asian girl has to be a reincarnated Chinese warrior who fights evil dudes named Yan Lo. Of course. Just another day for us Asians. This poster was recently spotted at a mall (thanks, Joan). The movie premieres on the Disney Channel on June 16th. Man, I can't wait for all the awesome wind flutes and gongs and kung fu and stuff.

05.26.06

Parents in New Milford, CT want Baseball Saved Us, a children's story about the World War II Japanese-American internment to be removed from the second-grade reading list because it uses the racial slur "Jap": Racial slur fuels parents' request to pull children's school book. In some ways, you can see where they're coming from. Is second grade too young to teach lessons about racism? No. But is it too young to introduce them to racial slurs? Good question. But I've seen the book—it's an award-winning bestseller—and it's great. It uses the slur because it reflects society's views at the time ("Jap" is used to taunt the main character). The issue is about context, and like defenders of the book argue, you have to handle it with sensitivity and guidance. Kids don't read books in a vacuum; it's up to parents and teachers to help kids to help explain the story's lesson of diversity and tolerance. Keep the book!

Speaking of racial slurs, remember the controversy over "Jap Road" a while back? The Japanese American Citizens League will present its bi-annual Edison Uno Civil Rights Award to Sandra Tanamachi for her successful 12-year fight to rename "Jap Road" in Beaumont, Texas: Woman to be honored by Japanese-American group for road renaming fight

05.26.06

Here's a pretty interesting, in-depth story in Christianity Today on the overwhelming number of Asian American students in Christian fellowships on college campuses: The Tiger in the Academy.

05.26.06

This week, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Shahawar Matin Siraj, a 24-year-old Pakistani immigrant, for his part in the plot to blow up the Herald Square subway station in 2004: Guilty Verdict in Plot to Bomb Subway Station

05.25.06

Ed Park has a good article in the Village Voice on Kaavya Viswanathan, Opal Mehta and the nature of plagiarism: Mehta Fiction

05.25.06

Check it. It's not just spelling bees... Yesterday, twelve-year-old Bonny Jain of Moline, IL won the 2006 National Geographic Bee: Eighth-Grader From Ill. Wins Geography Bee. He won a $25,000 college scholarship by correctly naming the mountains that extend across much of Wales, from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel: The Cambrian Mountains. The kicker is, young Bonny will also be competing in his third appearance at the national spelling bee next week.

05.25.06

Brief but good article on Tom Shimura, aka Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born in San Diego City Beat: Different !@#$, different day

05.25.06

What the... Legendary Pictures has acquired the film rights to the 1970s TV series Kung Fu. Yeah, as in Kung Fu, the show starring white guy David Carradine as Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine: Kung Fu Headed for the Big Screen. According to Variety, they've optioned a screenplay from series creator Ed Spielman and original series writer Howard Friedlander. The film is expected to explore the events on which the TV show was based and the origins of the main characters. I suppose it was inevitable. I guess the question is, who will play Kwai Chang Caine? (It's too late to get Bruce Lee this time around.)

05.25.06

In celebration of APA Heritage Month, Terry Hong writes about a handful of new and notable books by APA writers: Asian Pacific voices find a US audience

05.25.06

A little-noticed provision in the Senate immigration bill would remove the limit on the number of nurses who can immigrate to the United States: U.S. Plan to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations. The aim of the proposal is to help the United States cope with a growing nursing shortage. Of course, the fear is that nurses, lured by the higher wages offered American hospitals, would be drained from developing countries. The measure could most notably have an impact on the Philippines and India, which are already sending thousands of nurses to the United States a year.

Also, another provision would allow Philippine-based single or married children of Filipino World War II veterans to join them in this country, granting them special immigrant status: Senate bill to unite veterans, children

05.25.06

The FBI officially reports that it mishandled its investigation of Katrina Leung: Report shows FBI missed Chinese spy

05.24.06

In Toronto, Chan-Ung Park, a retired professor, author, civil rights activist and prominent member of the local Korean community has died after suffering a vicious beating: Activist dies in vicious beating. Park, 79, was out for his nightly walk when he was robbed and attacked by two teens. Police have charged the assailants—one 18, the other 15—with second-degree murder.

05.24.06

Various bits of Asian film-related news... This week, Bob and Harvey Weinstein unveiled a new label called "Dragon Dynasty," under which the Weinstein Co. will release Asian films: Tarantino to advise Weinstein Asian label. Titles will include Ong Bak 2, The Protector (aka Tom Yum Goong), Born to Fight, SPL, Seven Swords and Dragon Squad, as well as a library of certifiable classics... If the Weinsteins' track record is any indication, this is terrible, horrible news for U.S. fans of Asian films. You can probably expect lots of editing, renaming, and delaying for these films.

Check out the trailer for Jet Li's latest film Fearless, getting a U.S. release on August 4th from Rogue Pictures. Actually, they're apparently calling it Jet Li's Fearless for the American release. Stupid, but you gotta do what you gotta do. The movie looks pretty impressive, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Of course, it's already available on DVD in Asia, and you can track it down at various online retailers (if you don't mind watching the movie without English subtitles).

Bong Joon-ho's The Host, a Korean monster movie, has apparently been a big hit at the Cannes Film Festival... How good is it? Kaiju Shakedown reports that "it was so good that in the middle of the screening several audience members who were on crutches suddenly stood up, approached the screen, touched it and were cured. They just threw away their crutches!" I sense a bit of exaggeration. But it does sound like it was generally well-received. Magnolia Pictures has picked up the rights: Magnolia blesses monster pic 'Host'

Twitch reports on the trailer for Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet, said to be this year's Crouching Tiger/Hero/Flying Daggers/Promise, complete with Zhang Ziyi/Tan Dun/Yuen Wo-Ping. Yup, another one of those. I think this genre is officially ripe for parody.

05.24.06

The New York Times has a story prominently featuring some Asian American students (including one kid sporting a mohawk!), on Christian clubs becoming a growing presence in New York public high schools: A Christian Group Finds Its Place in the Public Schools

05.24.06

Here's a Seattle Times article on short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who has been pretty busy since the Winter Olympics: Busy schedule makes Ohno long for Seattle

05.24.06

Got this from Boing Boing... Japanese news clips about obsessed "otaku" geeks from America making a pilgrimage to Japan to get their fill of Japanese pop culture pursuits—anime, manga, cosplay, etc. See here and here. I'm sure Japanese viewers were like, wow, look at all these nerdy foreigners buying our crap. Get Engineer Rick off the microphone! And check out the dude who bought the maid outfit. Pretty creepy, man.

05.24.06

If you're like me, you detest advertisements before movies... but what about live commercials before theater? This week, actress Parminder Nagra appeared before a performance of Stomp in New York as part of a live commercial to promote tourism in London: Nagra to Make Live Commercial on Stage. Weird.

05.24.06



The big question is, will the Jin figure come with a removeable shirt?

Hey, Lost fans. McFarlane Toys has struck a deal with Disney and ABC to produce a line of toys based on Lost: Coming Soon To A Toy Store Near You: 'Lost' Action Figures. The first line of characters to get toys will be Jack, Kate, Hurley, Locke, Charlie and Shannon... what, no Sun, Jin or Sayid? Come on! Hopefully, there will eventually be plans to include the rest of the characters.

05.24.06

Ang Lee's next film with be Lust, Caution, a Chinese-language espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai: Ang Lee to Direct Lust, Caution Next. It's scheduled to begin filming in the fall.

05.24.06

According to researchers, 25.4 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander families in Sacramento have incomes below the federal poverty line—around double the rate of other APAs in the rest of California: City's Asians have a high poverty rate. Sorry, did someone say something about the "model minority"? Statistics like this certainly make you think twice about that.

05.24.06

The San Francisco Chronicle has just launched Pinoy Pod, a Podcast channel for Filipinos in the Bay Area and beyond. It's a weekly program that'll feature stories and interviews on the Filipino experience. Here's inaugural show: The Star Spangled Banner in Tagalog? And fun and laughs with Rex Navarrete. Podcasts are neat.

05.24.06

Spotted this over at Mixed Media Watch... Chicago Sun-Times TV critic Doug Elfman points out the blow-by-blow idiocy throughout the season finale of Desperate Housewives, including some moments of racism:


In flashbacks, Matthewís girlfriend tries to stop him from breaking up with her: ìThere are advantages to dating someone like me, and you know what Iím talking about.î OK, so sheís of Asian descent. Is this some kind of commentary on Asian women? Really?

8:25 p.m. ó Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) begins to get suspicious that her Asian maid/surrogate is having sex with Gabrielleís hubby Carlos. The surrogate says Carlos is in the house: ìHe in kitchen.î Why does this show hate Asians?


Indeed, why?

05.24.06

John Chiang is running for California State Controller. As Chairman of the State Board of Equalization and a member of the Franchise Tax Board, Chiang is the highest-ranking Asian Pacific American elected state official in California.

05.23.06

The Media Coalition for Artists of Color holds a monthly networking salon featuring industry guest speakers and focus group screenings of works-in-progress at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York, hosted by the Tribeca Film Institute's All Access Connects program and sponsored by MTV Networks. The next salon is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 24th, and the featured guest is Michael Hong, CEO of ImaginAsian Entertainment. Details here.

05.23.06

Some impressive names added to the cast of Wong Kar-Wai's first English-language feature, My Blueberry Nights: Four Board Wong Kar Wai's Blueberry. The project begins shooting this summer.

05.23.06

Check this out... Last week, Apple opened up a new store on Fifth Avenue. Big whoop. But according to this article, some guy used the opportunity to propose marriage via one of the store's webcams: Romeo proposes on Apple's NY store webcam. The guy happens to be Asian. Great. Kind of nerdy, but to each his own. But note the end of the story, where it suggests the guy doesn't really have a fiancee, and is really a "US-passport-hungry Chinese web dissident looking for fast-track up-the-aisle asylum action before Yahoo! and Google catch up with him." What the hell? Do you think if the guy happened to be white, that anybody would be making that idiotic joke? That they'd even go there? There are public proposals all the time, and no one says a damn thing. But get an Asian guy on the webcam, and his citizenship is automatically questioned. Always the foreigner, never just a regular dude. That's racist!

05.23.06

Last night, Jae Seo of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Byung-Hyun Kim of the Colorado Rockies became the first Korean-born starting pitchers to meet in a major league game: LA Dodgers 6, Colorado 1

05.23.06

Hey! Lela Lee, actress and creator of the Angry Little Girls comic strip, has made it as character this week on the comic strip "Baldo." See here and here. She's the girl in the yellow shirt.

UPDATE: Here's a press release on the Baldo/Angry Little Girls collaboration: Guest Artist Teams Up with Baldo Creators -- This Time with Angry Little Girls' Theme

05.23.06

Here's the full version of the interview with filmmaker/comic book writer Greg Pak that ran in Diamond Bookmark's newsletter earlier this month: Chow interviews Pak for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. He's got some pretty interesting things to say (Greg always gives good interviews).

05.23.06

Anita Yu Westly, wife of state Controller and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Steve Westly, is out on the campaign trail, reaching out Asian American communities on her husband's behalf: The emerging power in Westly's campaign; Anita Yu Westly stumps for husband in Cantonese. She could be an influential force in winning the increasingly important Asian American vote.

05.23.06

Entrepreneur Kouta Matsuda is launching an effort to do for green tea what Starbucks did for coffee: Will matcha chocolate tea sell in the land of lattes? His company has opened its first U.S. Koots Green Tea shop in Bellevue's Lincoln Square. Just think, one day we could have a Koots on every frickin' corner, just like Starbucks.

05.23.06

According to this article, Vietnamese American director Othello Khanh and his international crew began shooting Saigon Eclipse in Ho Chi Minh City last week: Int'l cast starts filming 'Saigon Eclipse'. The film is based on the famous Vietnamese epic The Tale of Kieu by poet Nguyen Du and tells the story of Kieu, a beautiful and talented young Vietnamese woman, who faces many complicated obstacles. Hey, isn't there already movie called Kieu, directed by Vu T. Thu Ha, a modern film based on this same story? Yes, there is. And it's currently making the festival rounds...

05.23.06

An interesting essay on Hollywood's negative cinematic portrayal of Los Angeles over the years, including Paul Haggis' Crash: Contempt for the hometown. Here's a particularly interesting passage:


It appears that Paul Haggis created the film to exorcise his own racism, although he didn't quite succeed. He is capable of seeing blacks and Latinos as human beings, but his imagination can't extend to include Korean Americans. For them, old-fashioned comedy-relief stereotypes are good enough. Why not? Hollywood always needs at least one ethnic group to ridicule and demean. Moreover, since Haggis believes we are all racists, he can cannily implicate himself without compromising his message.


That's what I'm talking about.

05.22.06

Just another reminder... the early deadline to enter the AAFilmlab's 3rd annual 72-Hour Film Shootout is approaching fast—June 2. The competition goes down June 9-12, when teams will have 72 hours to write, edit, shoot, and produce a 6 minute short film that incorporates a to-be-announced theme. The contest is open to participants from all over the country (just read the rules carefully), so get your registration in, assemble your crew, and start scheming up something sexy.

05.22.06

Heads up... the big event in LA next month is Asian Elevation, the premiere Asian Pacific American talent show, brought to you by the people behind Kollaboration. Ten finalists competing for $3,000. Saturday, June 24, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Tickets are available now. Should be a really fun show, so check it out.

05.22.06

Interesting article on churchgoers in Chinatown conducting services and Bible studies... over conference calls. Unable to attend Sunday church regularly because of long, odd working hours, they've created a virtual church: Immigrants Hear God's Word, in Chinese, via Conference Call

05.22.06

Heard about this a few months ago... check out the synopsis for AMC's first original movie, Broken Trail:


Legendary Academy Award winner Robert Duvall ("The Godfather," "Apocalypse Now," "Open Range"), Academy Award nominated actor Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways") and acclaimed director Walter Hill ("Aliens," "48 Hrs.," "Deadwood") present AMC's first original movie, "Broken Trail," a two-part drama set in the American West of the 1880s, told through the eyes of five Chinese girls sold into prostitution in outlaw mining camps. The four-hour drama is a haunting and poetic tale that follows a veteran cowboy (Robert Duvall) and his nephew (Thomas Haden Church) as they drive a herd of horses from Oregon to Wyoming, their trail crossing with the enslaved girls. A fateful act of decency plunges their lives in peril and forever changes their destinies. "Broken Trail" follows the complicated paths of each travelersí life, witnessed through the eyes of innocents lost in America.


Yay. Two white heroes save five helpless Chinese slaves in the wild, wild west. At least, that's what it sounds like. Kind of like Ludacris saving that van full of Asian immigrants in Crash! Hooray for people who save Asians. Anyway, according to the website, Olivia Cheng, Gwendoline Yeo (who is currently on Desperate Housewives), Donald Fong, Caroline Chan, Jadyn Wong, and Valerie Tian are in the movie. It premieres later next month on AMC.

Also, there are a few Asian names in the cast of the ABC miniseries Desperation (scary-looking commercials with Ron Perlman), including Ewan Chung, Alain Uy, and Trieu Tran. Not really familiar with the story, so I have no idea who these characters or what significance, if any, they have in the movie. It airs on Tuesday.

05.21.06



If you go to Korea, they'll proudly extol the virtues of kimchi (that's stinky, spicy, fermented cabbage dish, for you uninitiated). They'll tell you about the health benefits of consuming kimchi, from outlandish wives tales to serious scientific research... Back during the SARS panic, many believed kimchi to be the key to South Korea's peculiar immunity while the rest of Asia freaked out. Other research suggests kimchi promotes digestive health, and possesses anti-aging properties. On the other hand, heavy eaters of kimchi might be more susceptible to gastric cancer, which happens to be the most common cancer among Koreans. Anyway, here's an interesting article on the topic of Korea's favorite dish: Koreans' Kimchi Adulation, With a Side of Skepticism

05.21.06

Some info on what sounds like a kickass show, for a good cause... On January 31, graphic designer/art director Keith Tamashiro suffered a brain aneurysm. He's the guy responsible for all sorts of memorable album art: Brainfreeze, Product Placement, The Private Press, Welcome To Jamrock, Jurassic 5, Poets of Rhythm, Stone's Throw, Mia Doi Todd, Herbie Hancock, the list goes on. He doesn't have health insurance, and his medical expenses are piling up, so his friends are throwing a benefit show: Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, The Beat Junkies, Supernatural, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Madlib, MF Doom, and more. Thursday, May 25, at The Mayan in Los Angeles. There's also a San Francisco show on May 26. Details here and over at Jeff Chang's blog.

05.21.06

Another good article on how the debate over immmigration reform does indeed affect Asians in America, contrary to what the media may seem to portray: Amnesty touches home for Bay Area Asians. According to the article, there are nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants from Asia in the United States.

Along similiar lines, Asian American groups are speaking out against the proposed "English Only" amendment to immigrant reform legislation: Asian American Group Blasts English Only Proposal

05.21.06

If you're a Lost fan like me, you're looking forward to the big season two finale this week. Lots and lots of questions to answer, and they better deliver. Entertainment Weekly has an interview with Daniel Dae Kim about the finale and some of his theories (if you don't watch the show, you probably won't get it): Doc Jensen's 'Lost' Diary, Part 2. There's also a video clip with Daniel over on E! Online's Watch With Kristin column. Aaaaand, he has some things to say on the latest edition of the Official Lost Podcast. That's a lot of DDK.

05.21.06

Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun has composed and will also conduct The First Emperor, the most expensive and complex opera New York's Metropolitan Opera has ever commissioned: For Tan Dun's 'First Emperor,' the Met Does a Way-Out-of-Town Tryout

05.21.06

Police in New Jersey are searching a creek for Diana Ham, 22, a Palisades Park waitress who has been missing since May 12: Search Focuses on Creek. More details on the search here: 22-year-old Diana Ham was last seen at bar

05.21.06

Jimmy Meng, New York's first Asian American legislator, representing the 22nd District in Queens, won't be seeking a second term: State's first Asian-American legislator won't seek second term. However, he's apparently supporting his 31-year-old daughter Grace Meng to succeed him.

05.21.06

I'm told that there's an Asian housemate on the latest edition of Big Brother in the United Kingdom. Lisa, an upholsterer from Manchester, is "a laddish lady who describes herself as 'wild, crazy and sexy.'" Laddish? By the way, that photo makes her look like she really has to go to the bathroom.

05.21.06

The Mayhem Dragon Ladies(!?) make history as the first all-Asian female squad in a Canadian tournament, the Asian Hockey Championship in Toronto: All-Asian women's team breaks the ice

05.21.06

I suppose stranger things have happened. Porn actress Melody "Mimi Miyagi" Damayo is making a run as a Republican candidate for governor of Nevada. Highlights on her resume include Adult Film Star, Writer/Director/Producer for the film series Fantasiany 1-4, and Magazine Publisher for Oriental Dolls and Asian Hotties. I don't know what to tell you. Seems like these days anyone can be elected to lead a state. I mean, come on, this guy is now the Governor of California. I'll leave it to the people of Nevada to decide their future leadership.

05.20.06

Brief but good article on Jeff Adachi's documentary, The Slanted Screening: Asian American screentime. Now playing at the Roxie in San Francisco.

05.20.06

Another movie in the works to keep an eye on, starring Brittany Murphy and Japanese actor Toshiyuki Nishida: Brittany Murphy is The Ramen Girl. According to the article, the movie's about "an American woman (Murphy) who's stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a ramen noodle chef under a tyrannical Japanese master (Nishida)." Expect the usual white-girl-in-a-strange-land hilarity...

05.20.06

Here's a story on the disturbing pattern of Southern California murder-suicide incidents involving Korean men and their families that occurred last month: L.A. confronts Asian family abuse

05.20.06

Treading way deep into frivolity... Maxim has released its seventh "Hot 100" list, the magazine's annual countdown of scantily clad women celebrities. Because I know more than a few folks are probably curious (I won't lie—I was), here are the people of Asian descent I spotted on the list: Vanessa Minnillo (#15), Moon Bloodgood (#53), Amerie (#84), Tila Nguyen (#88), Grace Park (#93), and Yunjin Kim (#98). Calm down, I'm not posting any photos. Someone named "Michele Merkin" is number 74 on the list. I almost fell out of my chair, because for a second I thought it said "Michelle Malkin."

05.19.06

Kaiju Shakedown reports on two interesting billboards spotted at Cannes... one for Tony Jaa's Ong Bak 2, and one for Wong Kar-Wai's Norah Jones project, My Blueberry Nights: NEW WKW AND TONY JAA PROJECTS. Both sound pretty cool to me.

05.19.06

He just won't go away. American Idol reject William Hung continues to find ways to squeeeeeeze every last drop of fame for himself... resorting to new lows this weekend as the newly crowned "Artichoke King" of Castroville, CA: William Hung Crowned 'Artichoke King'. More than anything, this just saddens me.

05.19.06

In celebration of APA Heritage Month, ESPN has a good article on the increasing contributions of Asian and Asian American athletes in professional sports, starting with the legacy of Wat Misaka—the NBA's first player of Asian descent: Promise to prominence for Asian athletes

05.19.06

I just read that Junichi over at Poplicks will be spending the next seven months as an exclusive professional blogger for the Dixie Chicks. Yes, the Dixie Chicks: JUNICHI TAKES THE LONG WAY WITH THE DIXIE CHICKS. At first I thought it was a joke, but then I read this on his blog: "If you are having a hard time absorbing this, maybe you should stop stereotyping Asian American male hip hop fans from California as being unable to document the lives of an all-female country-rock trio from Texas, you bigot." That shut me up. And then I checked the Dixie Chicks Blog on MSN, and indeed, there was Junichi. And it confirmed for me that the awesome "Man Ass" picture wasn't a Photoshop job. How does one get a gig like this? (Professional blogger, not man ass, I mean.)

05.19.06

Don't you mean Wong? Wong Kar Wai is heading up the 2006 Cannes Film Festival jury: Wai Reports for Jury Duty. This headline is like talking about Chow Yun Fat and referring to him as "Fat." Anyway, Zhang Ziyi is also on the jury.

05.18.06

Just took a look at Fox's 2006-07 primetime schedule. Ming Na is in the new conspiracy drama Vanished as "Agent Lin Mei." Hopefully this show will last longer or be a little more interesting than her roles on Inconceivable and ER, respectively. Also noticed that The Loop with Joy Osmanski will be returning. By the way, did you know Cops is still on the air?

05.18.06

According to Variety, Kate Hudson and Ken Watanabe will star in Bruce Beresford's A Dream of Red Mansions: Hudson & Watanabe Dream of Red Mansions. Inspired by a true story, the movie is "an epic romance set against the backdrop of the Chinese Revolution in 1949. Hudson plays an American photojournalist who falls for an idealistic revolutionary (Watanabe)." I wonder if the casting of Watanable as a Chinese person will spark the same kind of controversy we saw with Geisha... Keep an eye on this one.

05.18.06

The race between California's Democratic gubernatorial candidates is heating up... Frontrunners Phil Angelides and Steve Westly are both stepping up their game, and actively trying woo the support of Asian Americans—believed to be a pivotal voting bloc in the primary next month: Democrats courting Asian-American vote

05.18.06

An article on Yen Do, founder of America's oldest and largest Vietnamese-language newspaper. He was among the first Vietnamese refugees to arrive in the United States when Saigon fell in 1975: The Rough Drafts of Vietnamese- American History. Started small, and created an important community institution.

05.18.06

Parents and teachers in Chula Vista, CA are protesting the unexplained dismissal of Tim Suanico, a Filipino American principal of an elementary school... the community is demanding his reinstatement and the removal of the superintendent who fired him, or at the very least, an explanation. They're hinting that it's a case of racism: Community Protests Firing of Filipino American Principal

05.17.06



Who will blink first? The fate of a nation hangs in the balance.

Last night, I watched Kwak Kyung-Taek's Typhoon, a big-budget action flick from South Korea. As blockbusters go, it's pretty standard—lots of bullets, explosions, and a big ass body count. It's pretty much what you'd expect from the watching the trailer... and very much in the vein of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie (there are a couple of shots completely lifted from the Michael Bay playbook). Melodramatic, overblown, overacted, and really really overscored (again, Hans Zimmer should be flattered). Frankly, I wasn't all that impressed. But the movie will be released nationally in major cities on June 2nd (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Honolulu, Seattle, Washington DC, and Chicago, with other cities to follow). The movie is apparently the most expensive South Korean movie ever, starring some big names (Jang Dong-gun, Lee Jung-jae), but I'm told it was actually kind of a disappointment when it opened last December. Too much hype, I guess. But the U.S. release is supposed to be a new director's cut...

So should you bother? Well, what makes Typhoon significant is that CJ Entertainment, with the help of Paramount Classics, is distributing this film directly to U.S. theaters. No Miramax or Weinstein Brothers to screw around with stuff, or leave it on the shelf for two years. If this experiment proves successful, it could set an interesting precedent for the release of future Asian films in the United States. If you're in the mood for seeing a mindless action flick on the weekend of June 2nd, I suppose you could do worse.

Anyway, they're throwing a big Hollywood-style red carpet premiere event tomorrow night to generate interest around the film. Director Kwak Kyung-Taek, and actors Jang Dong-gun and Lee Jung-Jae (BIG international stars) will be present. They're encouraging fans to show up with cameras and scream and holler and all that. Thursday, May 18, 6:30pm at the Arclight in Hollywood. Details at the Typhoon website ("Red Carpet Event").

05.17.06

Here's an update on police brutality incident in Quincy, MA I mentioned last week... Organizers are putting together a community forum this Sunday, May 21st, at 4:00pm:


Community Meeting on Police BRUTALITY

In early Sunday morning April 30, Chinese Progressive Association organizer Karen Chen and three of her friends were brutally assaulted by the Quincy police, while coming home from a Chinese engagement party. All are young Chinese Americans.

While pulled over at a curb next to Super 88, they were approached by a state trooper. As they spoke with the trooper, a Quincy police car pulled up. Without warning, a police officer jumped out and pepper-sprayed all three directly in the eyes at close range. Karen, who is just over five feet tall, was tackled by three male officers, receiving a black eye, swollen face, and bruises. Another friend was knocked unconscious.

Throughout the incident, the police repeatedly yelled at the victims, used profanities, and called them names. Four innocent Asian Americans were taken to the police station in handcuffs and falsely charged with resisting arrest and/or disorderly conduct.

We are calling a community meeting to support these four Asian Americans and to hear about your experiences with the Quincy police.

We are currently proposing these demands:

1) Drop the false charges

2) Compensate the victims for lost work and other damages

3) A public apology from the Quincy police department

4) Suspend the police involved without pay

5) An open and public investigation of this case

6) Diversify the police force and implement sensitivity training

7) Public inquiry into police misconduct and the use of force

Community Meeting on Police Misconduct

Sunday, May 21, 4:00 ñ 6:00 pm

Episcopal Quincy Chinese Center

531 Hancock Street (near Wollaston T stop)

For more information, please contact the Chinese Progressive Association at (617) 357-4499.


They could probably use some help getting the word out. Feel free to download a flyer here, and disseminate.

05.17.06

Jane Park, 23, was last seen in Harvard Square and has been missing since May 5th: Woman missing. The article has contact info for Somerville Police if anyone has any information.

05.17.06

AsianAmericanFilm.com has a good interview with screenwriter Milton Liu, who recently won the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award for his screenplay John Hughes Ruined My Life. I imagine John Hughes messed with a lot of people's lives, thanks to Long Duk Dong. Read the interview here.

05.17.06

Some news, if you can call it that, on the proposed remake of Oldboy... according to director Justin Lin, things are going moving pretty slowly, and it doesn't look like much will happen any time soon: Oldboy Remake in Holding Pattern. This may or may not be good news to the very vocal anti-remake contingent. If this does indeed eventually happen, I just really hope they don't cast Nicholas Cage in the starring role.

05.17.06

Interesting commentary by Glenn Magpantay of AALDEF about the disenfranchisement of Asian American voters: The Voting Rights Act: Asian Americans and Access to the Vote, Circa 2006

05.17.06

British Sri-Lankan MC M.I.A. has been denied a visa to visit or work in the USA by immigration officials: Rapper MIA denied entry into USA. Could this be connected to her terrorism-themed lyrics? More info over at Sepia Mutiny.

05.17.06

The Phoenix New Times recently ran a cover story on a local chef Kaz Yamamoto, allegedly known for preparing "extreme" exotic/illegal dishes made from gorillas, penguins, human flesh, etc., which raised the eyebrows of a lot of concerned folks. Of course, those Asians are so weird and extreme with their cuisin! But if you read the article carefully, it's pretty ridiculous, and leaves you wondering if the story's for real. Turns out, it's a big fat hoax. See here and here.

05.16.06

Here's a Daily News article on the work of Queens Councilman John Liu and the growing political clout of Asian Americans in New York: Strength in numbers

05.16.06
Speak.AsianAmericans has gotten an early look at Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, and has some good things to say about Justin Lin's latest film. I've been talking to a few folks about it, and I'm actually pretty interested in checking it out myself. The movie opens on June 16.

05.16.06

A story on targeting advertising towards Asian Americans: Advertisers Begin Catering To The Growing Asian-American Population. Apparently, we're going to be major players in the market.

05.16.06

Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani immigrant accused of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station said an informer treated him like a younger brother and inflamed his anger against the United States: Defendant Says Police Informer Pushed Him Into Bomb Plot

05.16.06

Check out this editorial by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times... basically, it's rehash of the good ol' model minority attribution: The Model Students. To read the article, you have to be a subscriber, but here's the full text that's being passed around. What bugs me most is how easily Kristof seems to conflate Asian and Asian American populations and education strategies. My friend Oi-Yan writes:


Does he mean Asian lessons as in education systems in Asia? Or does he mean Asian American lessons? If he means Asian American lessons, then he should read deeper into what's going on with Asian American immigrant parental strategies. Vivian Louie in her recent book shows through her research how Chinese American school success is very much determined by class (higher ses students are more successful because of more resources), and that their success is NOT a function of some mythical Asian culture. Rather, the Chinese immigrant parents she interviewed recognizes that America is racist, and therefore they push their children that much harder as a strategy for survival in America. Arguably, Chinese American immigrant parents in Louie's book value and strategize around schooling for their children much more intensely than Chinese parents in China.


Don't buy into the model minority myth!

05.16.06

ABC has announced its fall TV lineup... Among the new shows, I spotted Suzy Nakamura in the comedy Help Me Help You, about group therapy, and Kelly Hu in the previously mentioned In Case of Emergency, playing a high school valedictorian-turned-masseusse/prostitute. By the way, Grey's Anatomy is moving to Thursday nights.

05.16.06



Asian women! Why do you do this to yourselves? Taking more and more ludicrous steps to make your skin paler, less dark, whiter. Don't buy into this ridiculous skin-whitening craze. What are you trying to do? Who are you trying to be? It ranges everywhere from those idiotic welders mask things, to this dangerous skin-whitening cream in Thailand: A Vision of Pale Beauty Carries Risks for Asia's Women. Crazy.

05.16.06

Dude, what the hell? In this MSNBC/Newsweek feature on Lost, cast members offer their theories about the show... but the woman they have pictured for Yunjin Kim is not Yunjin Kim—if I'm not mistaken, it's actress Smith Cho. I guess all Asians do look alike, eh? Even the famous ones.

UPDATE: The photo has been changed to the correct one.

05.16.06

Here's an article in the Nichi Bei Times on what is perhaps my favorite Asian American-themed t-shirt company, the original apparel asskicker, Blacklava: Out of Blacklava Flows a Stream of Yellow Consciousness. As always, props to Ryan Suda. Check out all of Blacklava's fine merchandise here, and buy lots and lots of stuff. Then wear it proudly.

05.16.06

Check out this LA Weekly interview with Oliver "O-Dub" Wang, "hip-hop fanatic, soul-music fiend, pop-culture junkie, ethnic-studies professor, DJ, obsessive blogger, music and cultural critic, husband, and dad": Soul Love. He recently curated and released Soul Sides, Vol. 1, a compilation of badass soul music, based on his own audioblog of the same name. It's available from all the regular online retailers, so check it out.

05.16.06

Jeff Yang's latest "Asian Pop" column is about APA Heritage Month, and what the hell it really means, if anything, to be Asian American: An Asian Occasion. Seems to me that begin Asian American is one big, confusing, mixed-up mess... and that's completely OK.

05.16.06

NBC just announced its official fall schedule, which includes a bunch of new shows. Doing a quick scan of the official release, I spotted a couple of Asian American names in the casts... In the drama Heroes, which "chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities," Sendhil Ramamurthy plays a genetics professor in India who uncovers a secret theory—there are people with super powers living among us. And Masi Oka (he was "Franklyn" on Scrubs) plays a young man in Japan who "develops a way to stop time through sheer will power." The show sounds pretty interesting. Linda Park (formerly of Enterprise) plays an LAPD officer on the police drama Raines. And I believe I've previously mentioned John Cho in the comedy The Singles Table. And though article doesn't mention it, Peter James Smith plays a dude named "Chang" on Andy Barker P.I.

More on the other networks later, I guess.

05.16.06

Some post-festival coverage... The latest edition of Asia Pacific Arts has some good roundup coverage of VC Filmfest 2006, including some star-watching, reviews, and thoughtful questioning. And my pal Margaret has a decent summary article about the festival on Backstage.com: VC FILMFEST Debuts Record Number of Asian-American Films

05.16.06

An interview with Robert Asahina, whose book Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad, is a history of the 442d Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in the American Army in World War II for its size and length of service: Japanese Americans: Victims to Heroes. The book comes out on May 18th.

05.16.06

According to this report from E3 (scroll down), among John Woo's many many many announced projects, he's also got a video game, Stranglehold in the works. It stars Chow Yun-Fat and is apparently a sequel to Hard Boiled.

05.15.06

More stuff for the film fans... Tomorrow night, May 16 in New York, an ACV benefit screening of Ian Gamazon and Neill dela Llana's indie thriller Cavite. 7pm at The ImaginAsian. All proceeds will go towards benefiting and supporting Asian CineVision. Here's the website for Cavite. The movie opens in New York and Los Angeles on May 26, with a limited city-by-city release in subsequent weeks. Check it out.

05.15.06

You get a couple of glimpses of Gong Li in the trailer for Miami Vice. Previous reports describe her character as "Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of the leader of a transnational crime syndicate and Crockett's love interest." Greaaaat.

05.15.06



San Francisco friends, an interesting film you should check out... The Slanted Screen, by Jeff Adachi, will be screening at the Roxie, May 19-25th. It's a documentary that explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles. It's full of clips from throughout Hollywood's history, and interviews numerous Asian American actors, producers and writers who offer a unique perspective. One week at the Roxie. Spread the word!

05.15.06

I know some folks will be interested in this... Happening next month: Next Big Bang: The Explosion of Asian American Theatre, the first ever conference of Asian American theatre, to be hosted by East West Players in Los Angeles from June 18-20. Looks like it's going to be a very cool event. Learn more here.

05.15.06

The first ever Silk Screen: Asian American Film Festival in Pittsburgh started on Friday, and runs through May 20th. The festival has a solid schedule of films, including Julia Kwan's Eve & The Fire Horse, Ham Tran's Journey From The Fall, Tanuj Chopra's Punching at the Sun, and Michael Kang's The Motel, among others. Support Asian/AsianAmerican film! More information on the festival here.

05.15.06

Here's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on "Hannah" and "Naomi," two refugees from who escaped from North Korea and defected to the United States: The New Underground Railroad

05.15.06

Check out this article by old-school activist Bob Wing, from December 2005, giving a historical/theoretical perspective on the racial formation of Asian Americans: Crossing Race and Nationality: The Racial Formation of Asian Americans, 1852-1965

05.15.06

Hey Bay Area, my pal Kristina Wong, performance artist extraordinaire, the Big Bad Chinese Mama herself, will be doing her solo show "Free?" at the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley on Thursday, May 18th, as part of the Bay Area Hip Hop Theater Festival. Should be a fun time. Can you dig that? More info here. Come out to the show—Kristina will love you for it.

05.15.06

Ugh. In this interview, Rush Hour and X-Men 3 director Brett Ratner mentions who he'd like to star in Rush Hour 3: Brett Ratner's Rush Hour 3 Dream Cast. He wants freaking Yao Ming, Gong Li, Aishwarya Rai, and Tony Jaa. What a crazy spectacle this would be. It's no secret—Ratner's got an Asian thing. Let us pray this 'dream' scenario never actually comes together.

05.14.06

Another op-ed piece on the Kaavya Viswanathan Opal Mehta debacle: Unoriginal Sins. Never ever cave into the pressures of writing bad, bad derivative chick lit.

05.14.06

Last week, Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui broke his left wrist while trying to catch a ball: A Broken Wrist Ends Matsui's Streak (the photo of his wrist bending back is a little gruesome). Unfortunately, the injury could end the season for Matsui. After his surgery, the guy actually apololgized for the disappointment: After Surgery, Matsui Apologizes for Injury. On the other hand, Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang had a pretty good game on Friday night: Wang Helps Ease the Yankees' Pain

05.14.06

Some news about an upcoming movie called Street of Dreams, based on the true story of Japanese-American gangster Montana Joe: De Felitta Travels A "Street of Dreams". According to Variety, the movie will "explore the isolation and oppression of Japanese immigrants in the California valley farm communities during the Depression; the internment of Japanese Americans during the 1940s and their role in the U.S. military during WWII; and Japanese gambling culture." It'll be directed by Raymond De Felitta, and written by Robert Towne. Keep an eye on this one...

05.14.06

A Filipino man who was a driver at the Micronesia Embassy in Washington was on Friday on charges of stealing passports from the embassy and doctoring them to sell to other Filipinos seeking to enter the United States illegally: Ex-Driver for Micronesian Embassy Charged in Passport Scheme

05.14.06

An update on Troi Tarain (aka "DJ Star"), who was fired from Power 105 for making on-air threats to track down and sexually abuse the 4-year-old daughter of a rival DJ... he was arrested and charged on Friday with endangering the welfare of a child: Hip-Hop Radio D.J. Arrested for On-Air Threats. He's been released on bail: DJ Out on Bail After On - Air Sexual Rants

05.12.06

Had a good time closing out the film festival last night. Congratulations to Michael Kang's The Motel, which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative feature, Richard Wong's Colma: The Musical, which was presented a "Special Jury Prize," and Kris Chin and Ron Oda's Asian Stories (Book 3), which won the Audience Favorite Film Award. Other prize winners include David Ngo's The Queen From Virginia: The Jackie Bong Wright Story, which won the Best Documentary Feature Award, and Ashim Ahluwalia's John & Jane Toll Free, which was presented a Special Jury Prize. The Golden Reel award for best short film was presented to Kit Hui's Missing, and the Linda Mabalot New Directions/New Visions Award went to Susan Tuan's New Year. All very good stuff. It was an awesome festival! See you all next year.

05.12.06

Check out this extended 7-minute clip of X-Men: The Last Stand. You get a brief glimpse of Mei Melancon as Psylocke and Ken Leung as Quill. I actually wasn't super excited about this movie, but now I'm feeling kind of geeked out. I'll probably be there opening night.

05.12.06

In New York, the subway flasher (not Dan Hoyt, a different guy) who harassed a teenage girl in March has been caught on camera again... Police believe that the Hispanic, 30-something man is targeting young Asian women: BACK IN A FLASH. Looks like Thao Nguyen has inspired an army of camera vigilantes who just aren't going to take it anymore.

UPDATE: Speaking of subway flashers... here's an apology from Dan Hoyt to Thao Nguyen, written last month in Raw Food News: An Open Apology from Dan Hoyt to Thao Nguyen. Whatever, dude.

05.12.06

Thank you to everyone entered last month's poster giveaway for The Promise. Congratulations to the following winners:

Elly S. of Bridgeport, NY

Gloria C. of Los Angeles, CA

Ted A. of Lathrop, CA

Ken L. of San Jose, CA

Evan O. of La Jolla, CA

Reagan L. of Corvallis, OR

Ernie Y. of Los Angeles, CA

Edward W. of New York NY

Kien D. of Raleigh, NC

Quin A. of Akron, OH

They all won a colorful poster of Chen Kaige's The Promise. Enjoy.

05.12.06

So you've heard about Miss Chinatown, or Miss Asia USA, but what about the men? Where are the pageants celebrating Asian men? It's about time we got some love. Thus, next weekend Hyphen presents the inaugural Mr. Hyphen contest, honoring the male activists, organizers and leaders of the many Asian American nonprofit organizations, who will be competing in several rounds covering talent, fashion and Asian American Q&A. The first place winner receives a "bling belt" and $500 donated to their organization. It's going down Friday, May 19, 7:30pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Should be a fun time. For more information, go here.

05.12.06

Francis Fukuyama, former neoconservative American philosopher, political economist, and author of America at the Crossroads, was a guest on The Daily Show last night. View the video of his appearance here.

05.11.06

New York Times Science Editor Laura Chang answers questions from readers: Talk to the Newsroom: Science Editor Laura Chang

05.12.06

Here's an article on The Asian Women's Safety Net, a project of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, an effort to help educate the greater Asian community about domestic violence and serve on local domestic violence response teams: Safety net in place for Asian women

05.11.06

Well, tonight's closing night of VC Filmfest 2006. The week really seemed to fly by. Had a good time meeting all the filmmakers, actors, and festivalgoers... See you tonight at the Closing Night festivities, with a screening of Eric Byler's Americanese. Peace!

05.11.06

I caught Park Chan-Wook's Lady Vengeance the other night. Wicked, wicked movie. Twisted, beautiful, and full of dark humor. I think I have a minor crush on star Lee Young-Ae, who plays Geum-Ja. Signature Park, though certainly not the most twisted or violent of Park's Vengeance Trilogy. I enjoyed it, though it may leave hardcore fans of Park's films somewhat disappointed. It opens in Los Angeles in Friday, and rolls out city by city. Check out the website for the release schedule (under "showtimes").

05.11.06

Here's an article on the growing number of women and ethnic minorities in Sacramento's police department: New officers reflect diverse face of city

05.11.06

Here's another update on the controversy over the Vietnamese flag at the University of Texas at Arlington: Protest prompts UTA to pull flags from building. Basically, in response to the protests, they took down all the flags.

05.11.06

From Canada, news about a 31-year-old Chinese immigrant who died from overwork: Immigrant reported dead of overwork; 2nd this year. The article says he worked long hours and only ate instant noodles, in order to save money. Hear that? Get some sleep, and cut back on the ramen.

05.11.06

Two members of an Orange County Asian gang were convicted of first-degree murder yesterday for gunning down a 14-year-old eighth-grader they mistook for a rival gang member: 2 reputed gang members convicted of murdering boy, 14. They now face 50-years to life terms in state prison for killing Eddie Fernandez, a victim of mistaken identity.

05.11.06

So this is what it takes to get a radio personality fired. Troi Tarain, better known to his listeners as DJ Star of hip hop station Power 105 in New York, was fired yesterday for making sexist, racist and violent on-air remarks, including a threat to sexually molest the young daughter of a rival DJ: Hip-hop jock's sick rap. Torain apparently offered listeners $500 to tell him where the daughter of nemesis DJ Envy, of Hot 97, went to school, threatening that he'd like to "do an R. Kelly on your seed. On your little baby girl." He also warned that he carries a gun, and called DJ Envy's wife Gia Casey (who is half Asian), a "gook," "slant-eyed whore," and "lo mein eater." More here: Vile 'Kid-Rape' Hip Hop DJ Axed. And here: DJ Fired Over X-Rated Racial Slurs. Props to Councilman John Liu for helping to call attention to this matter. If you recall, Tarain was the same guy who did the on-air bit back in December 2004, where he called an Indian call center worker a "filthy rat eater." Get this guy the hell out of there. That's racist!

UPDATE: Though, let us also not forget that DJ Envy was among the radio personalities from Hot 97's "Miss Jones" morning show who got suspended for the "Tsunami Song" debacle...

05.11.06

with all the news about the current immigration reform debate, here's an interesting look at the landmark immigration bill of 1965, viewed at the time as a sweeping change of intolerably racist previous policies: 1965 Immigration Law Changed Face of America

05.11.06

According to a new study, among east Asian immigrants in New York City, one person in seven carries the hepatitis B virus, putting them at far greaters risk than other Americans for diseases like liver cancer and cirrhosis: Hepatitis Risk for East Asians in New York. One in seven! That is crazy. And most of the people tested had no idea that they were infected. This is something people need to know!

05.11.06

In honor of APA Heritage Month, we get lots of articles on how awesome Asians are. Here's another one, from the New York Press: FINDING THE FACE OF ASIAN NEW YORK (check out the cover. And this sidebar is a quick chronicling of some of the recent Asian American-related controversies over the last few years: EAST ASIA VS. THE AMERICAN POP CULTURE MACHINE. And an article on one writer's discovery of New York's Korean underworld: MANHATTANíS INVISIBLE KOREAN POWER

05.11.06

A while back, we heard news from Canada about the kidnap and murder of 9-year-old Cecilia Zhang, a high-profile case that captured the attention of the entire country, and resulted in the arrest of Min Chen, a student from China. Apparently, he kidnapped Cecilia for the money, but inadvertently killed her. He pleaded guilty this week to second-degree murder: Student pleads guilty to killing 9-year-old Cecilia Zhang. The guy will be sentenced to life in prison (where I hope he rots).

05.11.06

According to this press release, this year during Memorial Day weekend, only two all-Chinese American units of WWII will be holding a combined reunion in Washington DC. The gathering will be the largest group of Chinese American Veterans from any era to hold a regular reunion, and is composed of the 14th Air Service Group (ASG), 14th Air Force, US Army Air Corp—part of General Claire Chennault's famous "Flying Tigers"—and the 987th Signal Company, US Army. Learn more at 14ASGand987SOC.org

05.10.06

Took a break from VC Filmfest these past two days, recovered from the wild, busy weekend. Saw the Taiwanese film Blue Cha Cha, which I thought was okay. Caught the sold-out screening of Asian Stories (Book 3), to see what all the buzz was about. I was totally surprised—I really really enjoyed it. Not that I was expecting it to be bad... I just didn't think I'd have so much fun. Highly recommended. The movie's just beginning it's festival run, so hopefully it'll make its way to a screen near you soon.

Great stuff happening on Wednesday at the festival... Over at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre, the VC Digital Posse 06 Edition makes its anticipated debut. And back at the Sunset 5, it's a music-themed evening of screenings, with Yamashita Nobuhiro's Linda Linda Linda and Colma: The Musical. Should be a fun night. Here's in a good interview with the creators of Colma, over at Globality.org: How Colma got its groove back

And don't miss FuseBox: A Celebration of Asian American Music and Video, featuring music videos and live performances by some of the best up-and-coming Asian American musical artists from the Los Angeles area. Performers include Burning Tree Projekt, Corinne May, Far East Movement, Karmacy and Scott Tang. Wednesday night, doors open at 8:00pm, at CafÈ Club Fais Do Do in Los Angeles. MTV Chi will be there covering the gig. And perhaps best of all, FREE Heinekens from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. Heck yes.

05.09.06

Hey, lots of good Asian American stuff on PBS! I already mentioned the good stuff presented by NAATA. Do check out their excellent Heritage Month. Independent Lens presents Fishbowl and American Made.

05.09.06

This is a really interesting story on schools like MIT that require students to pass a swim test before they graduate: Time to sink or graduate. A couple of the students profiled in the article are Asian. Apparently, many students who struggle with the test are from Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries where they have had little access to oceans or pools or swimming lessons.

05.09.06

Wonder what Project Runway winner Chloe Dao has been up to since her victory? Here's a story from the Mercury News: 'Runway' success: Designer Chloe Dao had work cut out. I'm not really into fashion, but I gotta admit, I was pretty happy to see her win.

05.09.06

Check out the description for the latest episode of CBS' Numb3rs, which airs this Friday:


The FBI becomes involved when the bodies of young Asian girls are washed up on the beach. The situation becomes more critical when it is discovered one girl has Asian bird flu. As the investigation continues, Don and his team discover a connection between the girls and the sex trade industry.

Meanwhile, Amita considers a transfer to Harvard University, which causes Charlie to re-evaluate his feelings for her.


I think you should transfer to Harvard, Amita. Asian girls? Must be Asian bird flu. No wait, it's the Asian sex trade. Or maybe it's opium, or the yakuza. Whatever it is, it sounds pretty sinister. Anyway, Amita is played by Navi Rawat, who has a recurring role. The episode also guest stars Russell Wong, Ping Wu, and April Hong.

05.09.06

Have you seen this commercial for Burger King? The basic idea is that the men are rebelling against sucky "chick food," and reclaiming their manhood by eating at Burger King. It shows them doing various ridiculous thing to reassert their manliness, like punching stuff, burning things, throwing a minivan into a dump truck. You get the idea. Of course, the way the lone Asian guy in the commercial displays his masculinity is by karate chopping a cinder block (about 35 seconds in). Can't seem to get away from this image...

Speaking of commercials, I've been hearing from numerous folks about this Bud Light commercial that takes place in a Japanese restaurant. Basically, the waitress asks a white dude if he wants the "Nagafuki Surprise." The guy claims that he's been to Japan (does a karate chop), so you can't surprise him. When the dish comes out, it's this gross octopus roll that jumps out and attaches itself to his face. And everybody at the restaurant yells, "Surprise!" Wasn't down the foreign exotic Asian thing, but can't say I didn't like seeing the cocky guy getting "surprised."

Also been hearing about a commercial for Snapple's new White Tea, featuring an old Asian guy in the field talking about the virtues of white tea. Ancient Chinese secret? The commercial's not avaiable on the website yet, but it says it's coming soon.

UPDATE: The Snapple "White Tea" commercial is available for viewing here. Click on "Directors," then "Suthon Petchsuwan," then "Spots." I'm told the commercial was actually shot in Thailand.

05.09.06

Simplified or traditional? That is the question: For students of Chinese, politics fill the characters

05.09.06

Richard Park, who plays for the Vancouver Canucks, is captain for the U.S. hockey team playing at the 2006 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia. Nice to see an Asian American guy representing for the American team.

05.09.06

Some news from last week... The principal of the elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has apologized to students, parents and teachers for linking ethnicity to stealing and cheating by some students: Va. Principal Issues Apology for Remarks. Basically, in a PTSA newsletter, she wrote that the school needs to do more to prevent cheating and help students cope with stress in the high-pressure academic environment. She said that she was discussing theft and cheating in March at a PTSA meeting and "identified the ethnicity of the students who were caught and the percentage of these students who were involved with disciplinary issues in early 2006." Turns out that the students in question were Asian. Now why exactly was it necessary for her to identify their ethnicity? Those sneaky Asians.

05.09.06

Here's a really cool event going on this weekend at UCLA... The Asian American Writers Congress, a dialogue event to promote networks among APA writers, both emerging and published, and to set the groundwork for the 2007 Asian Pacific American Book Festival in Los Angeles. The free event will feature speakers, a publishing panel, and a discussion with all attendees about their writing journeys. This Saturday, May 13, 10:00am to 3:00pm at UCLA's James West Alumni Center. The keynote speaker is Shawn Wong, author of American Knees. Sounds pretty cool, right?

05.09.06

The latest edition of Diamond Bookmark, the monthly newsletter of Diamond Comic Distributor's educational resource Diamond Bookshelf, features cool Asian American content in honor of APA Heritage Month... A conversation with Greg Pak, Jason Shiga, Gene Yang, Kazu Kibuishi, and Lark Pien: Noted Asian American Creators Discuss Comics. Spotlight on comics by Asian American creators or about Asian American characters: Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with Books from Diamond. Gene Yang shares his experiences and thoughts on why he believes comics are an ideal medium for communication and reaching young people: Comics and 21st Century Learning. Good stuff.

In other comic book-related news, here's some info on a new comic book from Marvel, Agents of Atlas, which features a Chinese American superagent named Jimmy Woo. Of course, there's a Fu Manchu-like villain called the "Yellow Claw," but what are you gonna do? Still, the art looks pretty kickass.

05.09.06

Don't be wasting good Chinese food, people (though if it's all-you-can-eat for $5.95, I doubt it's that good): Family Kicked Out of Buffet Restaurant. I guess their parents never gave them the starving-children-around-the-world lecture.

05.09.06

Funny commercial for geek network G4, in which Mr. Spock takes you on a tour of his swingin' pad—and walks in on Sulu making the moves on Uhura: Star Trek Cribs. Baby, no salsa on the leather!

05.09.06

Where do you put all the crud and crap from the wreckage caused by Hurricane Katrina? Well, officials in New Orleans have decided to dump the several million tons of garbage... less than two miles from where more than a thousand Vietnamese American families live: A New Landfill in New Orleans Sets Off a Battle

05.09.06

News about another Korean sex trafficking operation, this time out of Dallas: Sex slaves or capitalists? The question is whether the 42 women arrested are victims or opportunists...

05.09.06

Here are some more details on that police brutality incident in Quincy, MA: Activist Claims Excessive Police Force in Quincy. Yo, I know the Asian woman can bust out the fierce when she has to, and I don't know what exactly transpired, but something just doesn't add up with the cops' conduct. More mainstream press needs to pick up on this!

05.09.06

Michelle Wie isn't just a good golfer... she's a ridiculously good golfer: 'Miss Ridiculous' continues to amaze

05.09.06

Check out this interesting op-ed piece on APA Heritage Month, by writer/poet Bryan Thao Worra, published in The Daily Telegram: Remember other immigrants. What makes it so interesting is that it's probably a message that the community of Lenawee County, Michigan isn't normally used to hearing...

And here's a commentary in the Minnesota Women's Press by column Ka Vang about Asian American communities and the immigration debate: Don't forget, they came for you, too

05.08.06

At the movies this weekend, saw a poster for 12 and Holding, which features kid actress Zoe Weizenbaum. She's profiled in this article about breakthrough performances: Five to Look Out For

05.08.06

According to this website, Hao Wu, a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China's State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006. He's been detained now for over two months, though he has not been charged with a crime. This blog has frequent updates on the case: Free Hao Wu

05.08.06

Looks like Gurinder Chadha is no longer attached to direct the remake of My Sassy Girl: Samuel Is "My Sassy Girl". This project is a bad bad bad bad idea.

05.08.06

News about Saw director James Wan's next movie: Saw Director Gets Death Sentence. It's about "a father out for revenge after his family is attacked in a senseless and heinous gang-initiation crime. The father enacts a death sentence on each perpetrator involved with the crime." For those of you thinking that this sounds rather Charles Bronson-esque, you're right; the movie is based on a novel by the same guy who wrote Death Wish.

05.08.06

John Cho, recently seen in the movie American Dreamz, made an appearance on Grey's Anatomy last night, as a patient involved in a car crash. Hey, I just saw John Cho on Friday night, at the film festival.

05.08.06

Lisa Ling is part of the Internationl Museum of Women's Imagining Ourselves online exhibit. She's contributing stories and entries to the project, like this one.

05.08.06

First, there are article on how Asians aren't really involved in the immigration debate. Then, we see a bunch of stories on how Asians are indeed asserting their voices in the discussion. And then, we get more articles like this one saying Asians aren't really interested in getting involved: Asian illegal immigrants keep low profile in debate I guess it goes to show that we are not just one monolithic group, and there are lot of opinions out there...

05.08.06

Six refugees from North Korea, including four women who say they were victims of sexual slavery or forced marriages, have fled to the United States, and will be given official refugee status: Korean sex slaves take refuge in U.S.

05.08.06

Daaaamn. I didn't think that Balls of Fury casting notice for extras would get people so riled up. But apparently the casting director got slammed this weekend with some nasty emails. Death threats and everything. I know this because the casting director contacted me. While the "No Asians" thing definitely stung, it certainly wasn't my intention to wish death or injury upon anyone (having received my share of hate mail as well). Here's the first of two emails I received:


We are receiving a lot of hate mail based on a posting that was miss placed on your web site. Our company is managed by an Asian women. To keep getting e mails that we are racist is very disturbing. The e mails are stating that we are not casting Asians that we are a bunch of mean white people etc. There are also a couple of e mails that tell us to die.Our company actually is made up of all Asian and Black. The project we are casting is an Asian movie, so people are getting the wrong information from your web site. Please pull the statements, they are untrue. If someone could call me that would be much appreciated.

thank you,

sasha adkinson


I understand now that they were casting for a certain type, and these types were probably in contrast to other folks in the movie (presumably Asian). But the "No Asians" line was just a stupid thing to say. Here's the second email:


Hi again I'm the extras casting director for Balls of Fury. The posting on HOS was for one catorgy. Judy wrote the posting and she is Asian, she just used the wrong wording. Earlier that week I was looking for big strong Japanese men who can play table tennis. It is unfortunate that the person who sent you the one posting did no also show you all the other parts that are Asian only! 90% of this movie is Asian. It will be a lot of good work during the slow time in Hollywood. What about all the other people out there that do not fit. Is a black man going to get mad because I can not book him as Yakuza? I understand what you are trying to do with this website and I myself am mixed and grew up in small white town, so I have seen my share of racism. We are not those people. Please pull our e mail. I can't believe people think we are a bunch racist white men.


To be fair, it's true. By total coincidence, yesterday I met a production assistant on this film who told me that they are actually casting a TON of Asian extras for this film. It's just unfortunate that this casting notice is the only one that the majority of people are seeing. I've also heard that Jason Scott Lee and James Hong both have prominent roles in the film.

I'm not going to take down the original post. It's a poorly written casting notice, and it's out there for the world to see. But I'm going to ask people to stop this hate mail crusade. We didn't have all the information. Though, it certainly doesn't mean I won't be keeping an eye on this production. Carry on.

05.07.06

Day four of VC Filmfest 2006. Been having a pretty kickass time so far. I'll be finally getting around to watching Lane Nishikawa's Only the Brave, a World War II drama on the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. Some other cool stuff screening are Cheng Wen-tang's Blue Cha Cha, from Taiwan; "Malaysians Uncovered," a compilation of shorts from Malaysia; and Thu Ha T. Vu's Vietnamese American drama Kieu. I'm still trying to decide whether to watch the West Coast premiere NaRhee Ahn's Purity or Kris Chin and Ron Oda's Asian Stories (Book 3), because both are playing at the same time. And let's be honest: neither of these films have very attractive titles. I guess I'll go with whatever vibe I'm feeling this evening. But here's an article on Asian Stories: San Gabriel Valley-based film wins spot in L.A. festival.

I'll be hosting the shorts program "The City Never Sleeps" tonight, 9:00pm at the Laemmle Sunset 5. It's sort of a crime/action-themed grouping of shorts. If you can make it to the screening, please stop by and say hello.

05.07.06

She's got them screaming "Un-ni!" in South Korea. Golf star Michelle Wie makes the cut in a men's professional tournament: Wie tied for 17th after two rounds on Asian Tour

05.07.06

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office won't be filing charges against the two Dublin police officers who shot and killed Kwang Tae-Lee and Richard Kim in August: Dublin officers cleared in shootings of two Korean men. The thing that's got people angry is that the DA's office made this decision back in March, but the information wasn't made public until this week in a Bay Area newspaper, which had to file a Public Records Act request to receive the report. With a case that's been so closely scrutinized by the Korean community, one wonders why the county kept this decision so quiet. Well, no. One doesn't really have to wonder. They just didn't give a damn.

05.07.06

Not long after this article on the city of Quincy, MA and its efforts to better understand its Asian American community, I get this unsettling news passed along to me:


QUINCY POLICE ASSAULT 4 ASIAN AMERICANS

In early Sunday morning April 30, Chinese Progressive Association organizer Karen Chen and three of her friends were brutally assaulted by the Quincy police, while coming home from a wedding party. All are young Chinese Americans.

While pulled over at a curb next to Super 88, they were approached by a state trooper. As they spoke with the trooper, a Quincy police car pulled up. Without warning, Officer Robert E. Curtis jumped out and pepper-sprayed Karen and three of her friends. Karen was tackled by three cops at once, receiving a black eye, swollen face, and bruises all over. Another friend was beaten and knocked unconscious. They were arrested and taken to jail. As a woman, Karen was subjected to possibly sexually harrassing behavior.

On May Day at court, three were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and one person was charged with disorderly conduct.

The names of the police involved are:

Robert E. Curtis (#2488)
Brian Mahoney

Keith Wilbur

Patrick Folan

Sergeant O'Shea

State Trooper Chuck (Charlie) McGrail

Incidently, Robert E. Curtis ranked as the 17th highest paid municipal employee in South Shore, making $141,947.39 in 2005. See
http://www.southofboston.net/specialreports/salaries/pages/040806a.shtml

CPA is planning to form a support committee to launch a campaign against the Quincy police to prevent brutality, to start meeting next week. We'd also like to look at working in coalition with other groups, including others organizing around police brutality and the criminal justice system...

** Please contact Amee at amee@cpaboston.org if you are interested or have ideas. **


I've been poking around, trying to find any news reports or background details on this incident, but haven't come up with anything. But the news is definitely disturbing. It looks to me that this campaign could use a little attention...

05.07.06

Jeff Yang, who writes the regular "Asian Pop" column for SFGate, needs your help! In honor of APA Heritage Month, he's examining the meaning of the term "Asian." You might think, duh, that's a stupid question, but it's actually a lot more complicated than you think. So Jeff is asking a few questions to get you thinking: Need your help! WHAT DOES "ASIAN" MEAN TO YOU?

05.06.06

Lots of great stuff happening all day today at VC Filmfest. If you're in Los Angeles, and looking for something to do, head over to the Directors Guild of America or Laemmle Sunset 5. A few highlights include the festival Centerpiece screening of Julia Kwan's Eve and the Fire Horse, a beautiful, quirky little film; Independent Spirit Award winner Conventioneers, directed by Mora Mi-Ok Stephens; Paul Mayeda Berges' Mistress of the Spices, starring "the most beautiful woman in the world," Aishwarya Rai; and a truckload of amazing shorts programs, including "Next Wave: Korea," a collection of South Korean indie shorts—and quite possibly my favorite program in the festival.

Heads up... here's tomorrow's programs, if you're planning ahead. And if people are looking for a reason to hang around and mingle, there's a VC Taiwanese Cinema Mixer, organized by my pal Sybill. Sunday, 4:30-6:30pm, at the California Pizza Kitchen (downstairs from the Sunset 5). Food and film talk. It starts right after the screening of Taiwanese film Blue Cha Cha and immediately before the screening of Kris Chin and Ron Oda's Asian Stories (Book 3). See you there...

05.06.06

Here's another good perspective in Salon.com on young Kaavya Viswanathan's plagiarism debacle How Opal Mehta saved our lives

05.06.06

Leandro Aragoncillo, a former Marine security attachÈ who worked in the White House, pleaded guilty to passing top-secret information to political opponents of the current Philippine government: Former Marine Admits Passing Secret Documents. He faces 15 to 24 years in prison.

05.06.06

Got word of this casting call passed along to me... Big deal, a casting call that wants a certain kind of physical type. It's been an easy way for Hollywood to exclude Asians from the most basic roles forever. But note how this casting call specifically says "No Asians.":


Project Type: Film

For production: Lucky Cricket Prod., LLC

Start Date: May 12, 2006

End Date: Jul 17, 2006

Extras Casting Company: Background Players

Extras Casting Director: Sasha Adkinson / Judy Cook

Age From: 20 - 24

Age To: 30 - 34

Gender: Male

Ethnicity Need: Caucasian, Hispanic, Greek, Middle

Eastern, African American

Location: Los Angeles

More Info: Hi, Guys!

Hot muscle-bound guys who play sex slaves. It's a comedy,
so you should have a sense of humor and be comfortable
with your body. These guys are featured at $122/8 for
multiple days. You should look like you've lived in the
gym. Let us know if you have a 6-pack. 5'11' or taller. No
Asians here.
Muscles! Your photos should include a body
shot (shirtless, maybe?). Just make sure that your
submission includes all your stats and info. Thank you!


What's up with that? As if Asian men can't be muscular or tall? That's racist! The email contact makes me suspect that this might be for that Christopher Walken ping pong movie I mentioned too long ago, Balls of Fury, where Walken plays an evil crime lord named "Fang." I'm wondering of the "No Asians" thing has something to do with this...

05.05.06

Had a good time at VC's Opening Night, with a screening of Ham Tran's Journey From The Fall. Talk about a gut punch. It's an ambitious, well-made film, with great performances, that tells an important part of American history. Lots of tears and sniffles in the audience. I highly recommend a viewing.

Tonight, more great screenings, including some really great shorts programs (I recommend "No Exit"), and Tanuj Chopra's Punching At The Sun, which I've heard described as "the best South Asian American film ever." Bold claims, but very promising. I'll be hosting the screening of Michael Kang's The Motel, so please stop by and say hello.

05.05.06

Youth Radio interviews cartoonist Lela Lee, a cool lady who doesn't take any crap: Angry Little Asian Girl. No relation. Check out the ALAG website at www.angrylittleasiangirl.com

05.05.06

More film screenings in Chicago... Doc Films at the University of Chicago is screening an Asian American Cinema series every Tuesday throughout the spring. Unfortunately, I didn't hear about this until yesterday, so it's about half over. But there's still some great films left: Rice Rhapsody, The Grace Lee Project, Better Luck Tomorrow, The Motel. So check them out. Details here.

05.05.06

Ang Lee is looking for a few good scripts. He says he's always on the lookout for quality Chinese-language subject matter, but it's hard to come by (thus, he does stuff like Hulk): Oscar director seeking crouching talent, hidden writers

05.05.06

Did you see Lost this week? Holy moly. What an asskicker. Anyway, here's some minor news for Lost fans, or those looking to catch up the season... The Lost Second Season DVD set will be released in October, and menu screenshots here indicate that there will be an audio commentary for the episode "The Whole Truth," with Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, and writers Elizabeth Sarnoff and Christina M. Kim. Sounds good.

05.04.06

All right, good people. It's going down. Tonight kicks off VC Filmfest 2006, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, with the Opening Night presentation of Ham Tran's Vietnam War drama Journey From The Fall. Tran was recently awarded the Bubbling Under Award, presented at the 2006 Newport Beach Film Festival. I will present to check out the screening, and take part in the festivities.

I'll also be making an effort to cover the festival's events throughout the next week, spotlighting and/or reviewing noteworthy programs here and there. I've been hearing from everybody and their momma trying to pimp their stuff, asking me to help promote their screening or event. I'll do what I can.

But first things first. Two dorky little short films I made last year will be making their festival debut this weekend. Saturday Morning, in the shorts program "Would You Be" will be playing at 2:15pm on Saturday at the Sunset 5. And Return of the Dragon (Again), part of the shorts program "Secret Identity Crisis", will be screening at 10:00pm at the DGA. I'll be on hand, hoping the audience is generous with their patience and nobody kicks my ass. If you can make it out, I'd appreciate any friendly faces in the crowd. Ticket info here. Thank you for your support!

05.04.06

Something cool for the folks in New York... this weekend is the 27th Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival, presented by the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans. Basically, it's a big ass gathering with live music and dance, martial arts, film screenings, children's activities, arts and crafts and over a hundred participating organizations—the largest Pan Asian outdoor event on the East Coast. This Sunday, May 7th, noon to 6:00pm at Union Square Park in New York City.

05.04.06

In Seattle, a new report by a city computer systems and data analyst (compiled as a private citizen) shows that bias attacks occur in all neighborhoods of the city (more than 400 over a five-year period): Bias crimes found in all areas of city. According to the report, the two biggest motivators for attacks were race (142 incidents) and sexual orientation (119 incidents). Other biases, in decreasing order, included religion, national origin, political ideology and gender identity.

05.04.06

Good story in the LA Times on immigrant groups in Koreatown: Koreatown Immigrants Blending In. Did you know that Latinos, not Koreans, constitute the single biggest group of residents in Koreatown?

05.04.06

For the second straight year, Michelle Wie will attempt to become the first woman to play in the men's U.S. Open by entering a local qualifier in Honolulu on May 15: Wie will attempt to qualify for men's U.S. Open. Every time I see Michelle Wie, the only thing I can think of is, "Dude. She's tall."

05.04.06

Here's an article on Esmie Tseng, who made headlines last year when she arrested for stabbing her mother to death: Killer daughter case ignites US debate. The case ignited questions about her family life and psychological health. Since then, the case has sort of floated under the radar in the U.S. (the article is from the BBC). She pleaded guilty in adult court to voluntary manslaughter back in March, and is awating sentencing. The whole situation is pretty tragic.

05.04.06

SFGate has a profile on Asian American scholar, writer and activist Ling-chi Wang: Activism will always be part of professor's life

05.04.06

News about an event in Seattle featuring Olympic speed skating medalist Apolo Ohno, with proceeds to Nikkei Concerns, a Seattle-based organization that provides elder care primarily for Japanese-Americans and Asian Pacific Americans: People in Sports: Ohno to host Seattle reception

05.04.06

Political blog Wonkette has interesting recent entry on Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who sounds like something of a diva: Madame Chao: Donít Be Fooled By Her Cuteness. Congratulations for not calling her a 'Dragon lady'.

05.03.06

TV Squad has a really insightful, lengthy interview with my man Sulu—George Takei, covering a variety of topics: George Takei: The TV Squad Interview. He is currently on a speaking tour for the Human Rights Campaign he has dubbed an "Equality Trek." There's also an audio version of the interview here. He seems like a really interesting cat.

05.03.06

An article on Hiroshi Kashiwagi, whose new memoir Swimming in the American looks back at his childhood in Loomis, CA, and his experiences in an internment during World War II. Kashiwagi was one of the "No-No Boys" who refused to sign a loyalty oath: Swimming upstream

05.03.06

Oh, in case anyone was keeping score, Jennifer Pham, a 21-year-old student at the University of California at Irvine, was crowned Miss Asian USA last week: Vietnamese crowned Miss Asia USA. In addition, she was also named "Miss Photogenic" and "Miss Body Beautiful." Such talent!

05.03.06

I know some people were wondering what happened to former University of Hawai'i quarterback Timmy Chang: Tim Chang passes for 141 yards in NFL Europe win

05.02.06



Whoa. Holy moly, fanboys. Have you seen the new trailer for Superman Returns? It's freakin' incredible. Yeah, yeah, I'm a comic book movie geek, and this is pretty much just a nerdy excuse to link the trailer. But allow me to point out that the screenplay was co-written by Michael Dougherty (who happens to be Vietnamese American), and executive produced by Chris Lee (who happens to be Chinese American), and features actor Kal Penn as "Stanford," one of Lex Luthor's henchmen. That's him screencapped above, to the right of baldy, appearing in the trailer for a miss-if-you-blink second. The movie opens June 30th. Can you tell that I'm excited?

05.02.06

Here's something for all you badass Asian American filmmakers out there... Asian CineVision and the Asian American FilmLab present the 3rd Annual 72 Hour Film Shootout. The Shootout is a nationwide competition where filmmaking teams have 72 hours to write, shoot, edit and produce short digital films up to six minutes in length and based on a common theme. The goal of the competition is to create opportunities for Asian Americans to demonstrate their talent, gain exposure in the entertainment industry, and impact the visibility of Asian American stories and characters in film and television (at least one key production member and a principal actor from each team must be of Asian descent). The Shootout goes down June 9-12, so get your teams together now. For registration and submission info, go here.

05.02.06

Another story on the controversy over which Vietnamese flag to fly at the University of Texas at Arlington: Communist flag spurs protests. It's interesting to see what kind of support the issue has drawn to both sides of the debate.

05.02.06

Here's are various articles on Asian American participation (or lack thereof) in the immigration rights rallies:

Asians get more vocal in immigration debate

In Asian communities, just another day

Thousands Turn Out, but Support Is Mixed Among New York's Immigrants

Asian Media Report Conflicts Over Economic Boycott

Chicago Protest Draws Diverse Support

°SÌ, Se Puede! Immigrant Movement Lost in Translation?

05.02.06

The Washington Post has an interesting profile on Laureen Ong, president of the National Geographic Channel: Putting Herself On the Map

05.02.06

The South Korean film Typhoon, directed by Kwak Kyung-Taek, will be released in U.S. theaters in June. I'm told it's a shoot-em-up action thriller. Apparently, Korean company CJ Entertainment will be directly distributing the film themselves, which is bold. I assume they'll be depending a lot on word-of-mouth... which begins here, with the website. The film will also be screening Saturday, May 6th at VC Filmfest.

05.02.06

Oh, excuse me, Jeff Yang. Boba is so late '90s. There are new contenders for the country's latest Asian dessert fad: Dessert Storm

05.02.06

According to a new report, adoptions in Massachusetts have dropped by 6 percent, largely because of a sharp decline in the number of babies from China: China's policies lead to drop in Bay State adoptions. According to the article, the decline is largely the result of the Chinese government's decision to severely limit the number of single people who can adopt The Chinese government apparently enforced these rules after being troubled by publicity in the late 1990s over gay parents in the U.S. raising Chinese babies. Now, Chinese officials allow no more than 8 percent of the country's children who are adopted to be placed with single people, and requires all applicants to sign statements that they are not gay or lesbian.

05.02.06

Just a reminder, you've still got a chance to win a poster for Chen Kaige's The Promise. I've received a good number of entries, but I'd say your chances are still pretty decent. To enter the drawing, all you have to do is email me your name, mailing address (as in physical, postal mail), and phone number. And clearly indicate PROMISE POSTER in the subject line. I'll accept entries until the end of today, then pick a few winners at random. Good luck. The Promise opens in theaters on Friday, May 5th.

05.02.06

A little bit of follow-up about the seven-year-old boy in Canada who was ridiculed and punished by his school for his customary Filipino eating habits: Filipino mom to ask for public apology. The story has apparently received a great deal of attention from all over.

05.02.06

According to Sepia Mutiny, it appears that more passages from Kaavya Viswanathan's Opal Mehta may have been cribbed and reworded from another "chick-lit" source, Sophie Kinsella's Can You Keep a Secret? The full details are here: Second Helpings. I'm with Manish—I can't believe there are people reading these books so closely that they actually caught this.

UPDATE: Yep, Kaavya is in big ass trouble: Young Author Faces 2nd Plagiarism Claim So short-lived was your career as a novelist.

UPDATE 2: Particularly insightful commentary on this whole ordeal here: Viswanathan-gate. And here's the cartoon-take on the situation, courtesy of Badmash.

UPDATE III: Indeed, it's over: Publisher Cancels Deal With Young Author

05.02.06

TIME has published its annual list of the world's most influential people, The TIME 100, "the people who shape our world." And because I know you're wondering... there happens to be considerable Asian/AsianAmerican representation on this year's list, for better or for worse: filmmaker Ang Lee, Korean pop singer Rain, Chinese scientist Ma Jun, AIDS crusader Jim Yong Kim, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, teen golf phenom Michelle Wie, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, Pakistani women's organizer Mukhtaran Bibi, SKS Microfinance founder Vikram Akula, China's richest man Huang Guangyu, and Infosys Technologies founder Nandan Nilekani. Whew.

Speaking of highly subjective annual magazine lists, People has also published its "100 Most Beautiful" issue. As for the Asian/AsianAmerican folks, placed in various categories: Naveen Andrews, Zhang Ziyi, Vicky Zhao Wei, Aishwarya Rai, and Amerie. Let us notice the sever unrepresentation of Asian men... but who was really expecting anything otherwise?

05.02.06

According to Jackie Chan, movie awards can never be fair because of the volume of films to choose from and the difficulty in finding objective jurors: Chan: Oscar film selection not fair. Fair enough, Jackie. That said, I think it is safe to assume that none of Jackie Chan's films were probably ever in the running for an Oscar.

05.02.06

Here's something cool for cinephiles in the Chicago area... this month, the Block Museum at Northwestern University (Go Wildcats!) will be screening several high-profile Korean films: Recent Korean Film. Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy on May 4th, Jeong Jun-hwan's Save the Green Planet! on May 17th, Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance on May 31st, and Kim Jee-woon's A Tale of Two Sisters on June 1st. And it's all free! Sounds like good stuff to me. Details here.

05.01.06

From today's immigrants rights march in Los Angeles:







(Thanks, Grant)

05.01.06

Check this. The UC Davis Asian American Association Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, May 2, and runs through May 12 on campus in Chemistry 194. This is their third year, and going strong, with a great lineup of films. The festival is entirely student-organized, and best of all, it's free. How cool is that? So if you're in the area, get out support this great festival.

05.01.06

Today in Washington DC, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Vice Chair Congressman Mike Honda issued the following joint statement commemorating APA Heritage Month:


"On behalf of the Democratic National Committee, we are honored to join all Americans in paying tribute to the contributions made by the 13 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to our nation's social, economic, and cultural identity. When it comes to public service, Democrats remain committed to working with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to promote civic engagement and participation at every level of government, and getting more AAPI leaders elected all across the country.

"Democrats are leading the way in changing the old politics that kept minority elected officials in minority districts. The fact is, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Americans can represent Americans of every background - and in many parts of the country are already doing so. From Satveer Chaudry, who serves as State Senator in Minnesota, to Jennifer Kim who serves as Austin City Council Member in Texas, to 22-year old Nathan Shinagawa who serves as Tompkins County Legislator in New York, and all the way to Madaleine Bordallo and Eni Faleomavaega, our Pacific Islander members of Congress from Guam and America Samoa, respectively, AAPI leaders all across America and its territories are breaking new ground and representing not just the AAPI community, but the full diversity of the cities and districts they represent.

"As a Party, Democrats want the AAPI community not just at the table, but also on the ticket at every level. The overwhelming majority of AAPI elected officials are Democrats, and we intend to keep it that way. Democrats have long championed the values we share with the AAPI community, including a strong work ethic, a commitment to education, and respect for families. As we commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Democrats renew our commitment to working together as we forge a future that strengthens our country, protects our democracy, and defends our civil rights for all our citizens. Together, America can do better."


Yay, we're so awesome.

05.01.06

Here's an interesting piece in the Washington Post interviewing explosives expert Anh Duong: Explosives Expert. If you remember, she was profiled in the documentary Why We Fight. Imagine meeting Ms. Duong at a party... "What do you do for a living?" "I make bombs."

05.01.06

The Asians are taking over! ...the malls of San Gabriel Valley, that is: Asians alter local malls. It's not just SGV, these "Asian centers." It's happening all over, from Cupertino to Flushing. I think Asians just like having a place to hang out together and sip their boba drinks.

05.01.06

There's an interesting article in today's New York Times on the disparities in demographics between New Jersey's police department and the communities it serves—which have become increasingly Asian American: Influx of Asians in New Jersey Is Not Reflected in Police Ranks

05.01.06

Carmen of Mixed Media Watch tells me about an Asian character appearing on American Dad last night:


Don't know if you caught American Dad last night, but basically the
episode was about the dad wanting to make the son popular. So he makes
him take steroids which have the unfortunate side effect of making him
grow enormous breasts. However, this actually makes him popular with
the in-crowd since all the dudes want to stare at his chest.

ANYWAYS... the "coolest" of the kids is this Asian guy. There's some
line where they're like "Wow, he's so cool and funny and good looking
and popular that you forget he's Asian!" I thought it was pretty
funny. :)


What? A "cool" Asian guy on television? Who'da thunk it? That's sly.

05.01.06

Reuters has a very unenthusiastic review of Eric Byler's Americanese: "Americanese" dull despite good intentions. I don't think it's quite as bland as Sura Wood here thinks. I'd still recommend it, especially for the issues it raises. It's the Closing Night film next week at VC Filmfest.

05.01.06

Here's a cool new blog, inspired by the blogging Asian American fathers at Rice Daddies, by a collective of "Korean and married-to-Korean mothers," who could only call themselves... Kimchi Mamas

05.01.06

A handful of New York Times reviews of recent Asian/Asian-related film releases...

Maggie Cheung in Clean: Maggie Cheung Is All Washed Up but Holding Out Hope for Redemption in 'Clean'

Park Chan-Wook's Lady Vengeance: With 'Lady Vengeance,' Park Chanwook Completes a Trilogy, a Bit More Restrained

Deepa Mehta's Water: Under the Heel of Britain and the Thumb of Hindu Law in 'Water'

05.01.06

Interesting article about poet Amy Uyematsu's quest to trace the unknown story of her grandfather: Roots That Run Deep

05.01.06

In Vancouver, there has been a rash of robberies targeting Asian restaurants. The sixth of such incidents occurred last week, resulting in one customer dead and another in critical condition: One dead, several wounded in shooting at Vancouver noodle house

05.01.06

It's May, so today marks the beginning of APA Heritage Month. There's a ton of stuff going on in celebration of our community, so keep your eyes open. One thing I definitely want to draw your attention to is the Center for Asian American Media's 2006 APA Heritage Month website, showcasing a number of Asian American films they'll be presenting on public television throughout the month of May, including Balancing Acts by Donna Schwartz, Day of Independence by Chris Tashima, and Fishbowl by Kayo Hatta. To find out if/when these programs are airing in your area, check out the list of schedules and stations here. Or check your local listings. It's good stuff. And it is good to support public television.