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12.31.2006

Archived Posts - December 2006



12.30.06

LatinoReview.com posted a fairly detailed script review of Rambo 4: Pearl of the Cobra. That's right, baby. Stallone ain't satisfied with returning to just one of his iconic roles (what's next—Cobra?)... he's doing a new Rambo movie too, and it brings the character back to Asia:


The next chapter finds Rambo recruited by a group of Christian human rights missionaries to protect them against pirates, during a humanitarian aid deliver to the persecuted Karen people of Burma. After some of the missionaries are taken prisoner by sadistic Burmese soldiers, Rambo gets a second impossible job: to assemble a team of mercenaries to rescue the surviving relief workers.


Rambo must face off against the movie's main guy Pa Tee Tint, the evil, sadistic Burmese major. Ah yes, another villainous Asian military figure. I'd raise a bigger stink about the stereotype, but unfortunately, the character is probably a close approximation of some of the real-life figures from the region. Also in the movie, according to the casting call, is a guy named "En Joo," one of the mercenaries on Rambo's team. Neither his description, nor his fate in the story (spoilers!), is very encouraging:


En-joo: The fifth member of the quintet of mercenaries. En-joo is a barrel-chested former South Korean trooper, an expert in explosives who barely speaks during the mission to rescue the missionaries. Expert at assassination by garotte, En-Joo flees the compound after Lewis and Reese wrongly declare the missionaries to be dead, and winds up dying in battle when the three mercenaries are cornered and shot to pieces. Lead;


No word yet on who will play either character. Keep an eye on this one... How many faceless, machine-gun toting Asians will Rambo The One-Man Army kill in this movie? Can't wait to find out. You know, it just occurred to me that I was way too young to be watching Rambo II when I saw it with my friend, back circa 1985. Edward, what were your parents thinking?

12.28.06



That's Naveen Andrews, looking rather badass (and still sporting the Sayid hair) in this scene from "Planet Terror," part of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's double feature collaboration Grindhouse. Judging from the trailer, one can probably expect the usual kind of madness from the minds of these filmmakers.

Speaking of Naveen Andrews, here's a brief story from the Honolulu Advertiser a few weeks back on the Lost actor: 'Lost' actor notes lack of screen time. He talks about his sorely noticeable lack of screen time in the first part of this season. If you've noticed, the first six episodes focused primarily on Jack, Sawyer and Kate, leaving you to wonder what's going on with everyone else over on the beach. I hope they're not planning on writing off Sayid this season...

12.28.06

Who is Haiku Jones? One short I remember and really enjoyed from the film festival circuit a few years back was Kevin Inouye's unlikely audience favorite The Tale of Haiku Jones. Very low-tech, and unabashedly low-budget, but surprisingly charming and funny. I wasn't a big fan of Inouye's follow-up film, Wake, but it looks like he's revisiting the character of the titular master poet with a sequel, Epic. The 50-minute short film will premiere at a free screening, along with Haiku Jones and Wake this Saturday, December 30th, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. More information on the screening over at the Hawaii Film Blog: Whatever Happened to Haiku Jones?

12.28.06

Didn't know that this incident was still making headlines... You may remember back in the spring when Chicago sports radio personality Mike North asked on his show "Who was the 'Chinaman' on the mound the other day?" referring to South Korean-born Cubs pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu. The incident caused a bit of a stir, which resulted in North giving an on-air apology. It turns out that a local high school had plans to dedicate its refurbished baseball and softball field to North, but has since decided to revisit its decision after Asian American activists raised concerns about the WSCR incident: Score's North could lose honor over racial quip. Local school council members hope to discuss the matter and reach a decision at a meeting on January 10th. North is an ass for his "Chinaman" remark, and ever more so for his prolonged refusal to admit any wrongdoing on his part after the fact... but all this fuss over naming a freaking high school baseball field? Frankly, I don't really care...

12.28.06

The Toronto Star has a profile on Captain Terry Wong, a armed forces helicopter pilot who is slated to be the next Canadian astronaut: Not your typical astronaut. Cool for him, though the guy says he regards the movie Top Gun as "kinda crap." Blasphemy.

12.27.06

Among the twenty-five films selected this year for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry are The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916-17), the earliest known Chinese-American feature; and Daughter of Shanghai (1937), starring Asian American movie star Anna May Wong. A place on the annual list—always made up of 25 films—guarantees the film will be preserved under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act: 'Fargo,' 'Rocky' make film history

12.27.06

L.A. Chung has a nice piece in the San Jose Mercury News about Peter Chang Sr., who sounds like he led an amazing life. He died last month at the incredible, wise age of 103-years-old: Chung: Victories mark veteran's life

12.27.06

So many, many treasures found on the wonderful world of YouTube... like this BLEEPin' weird-ass commercial for Virgin Mobile, featuring an Asian family wrestling a pig in their living room, officiated by a midget referee. I know—what? It makes very little sense... I'd be offended, but I'm not even sure what to make of it. What the hell am I watching here?

Then there's the music video for 30 Seconds To Mars' "From Yesterday." Again, this one isn't quite as weird as the Virgin Mobile commercial, but it still pretty freaky, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. All I know is, someone watched a few too many Zhang Yimou movies. Maybe Jared Leto. There's a whole lotta random swords and fighting and armor and stuff. Weird.

And here's something completely different... While poking around YouTube (don't ask me what I was looking for), I randomly came across Gene Rhee's short film The Quest For Length, which made the festival rounds (including Sundance) about five years ago. It stars Roger Fan as a guy exploring the fascinating world of penis enlargement. Yeah, you read that right. I believe this is a shortened version of the film, but it's pretty entertaining.

12.27.06

My pal Oi-Yan is currently in the throes of planning her Big Fat Asian Wedding, and decided to create a blog community for Asian American folks who are planning/have planned their weddings: Asian American Weddings. She's looking for like-minded folks to join in on the community and share their experiences. Yes, Oi-Yan and Sid are getting married, thanks to a Hyphen speed-dating experiment gone oh-so-right. Check out the newly-established wedding community here.

12.27.06

An unidentified man was brutally assualted and robbed earlier this week in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, part of a violent string of at least eight other similar attacks: Police: Queens Park Mugging May Be Part Of Pattern. The victim, who is in critical condition, could not be identified by police due to the severity of his injuries, but he appears to be Asian and about 30-years-old. More info here: Latest Victim Of Queens Muggers Beat Into Coma

12.26.06

Some news about our favorite Asian American television networks... okay, so they're not exactly our favorites, but they're trying. For all you anime fans out there, you'll be pleased to know that ImaginAsian has announced that it's launching a new two-hour primetime anime block called "Anime EnerG," featuring popular anime series from animation distribution company Geneon Entertainment: ImaginAsian TV Launches New Anime Block. As for AZN, it's still hanging in there with a few new programs on its schedule for the new year: AZN Adds To Slate for 2007. That said, it's still a terrible name for a network.

12.26.06

Over the weekend I saw a news item about this kid, 8-year-old Dale Inouye of Torrance, CA, who has leukemia and needs a bone marrow donor: 8-Year-Old Dale Inouye in Urgent Need of a Bone Marrow Donor. I did a Google search and also came across this blog with more details: Please help Dale. For folks in Southern California, they're setting up bone marrow drives to find donors. Learn more about Dale and others who are in need of bone marrow at A3M: Asians For Miracle Marrow Matches.

12.26.06

Here's a follow-up on last month's news out of the UK, about an alleged hate crime against a Sikh schoolboy who said racist thugs assaulted him and chopped off his hair... Turns out, the boy made the whole thing up: Sikh boy admits his attack lie. The kid cut off his own hair, punched himself in the face and concocted the story. The kid definitely has some problems, including cultural identity issues. More here: Sikh teen lied about hair attack

12.26.06

Asians on TV! Couple of really random TV appearance here and there...

Remember, My Life Disoriented makes its national premiere tonight on PBS' Independent Lens. Check your local listings for exact dates and times.

Greg Watanabe (last seen sporting leopard-spotted bikini briefs in TeleMongol) tells me he can be seen as a recurring character on the MyNetworkTV primetime soap Watch Over Me. Though he plays a hitman, he says he doesn't come off too bad (since half the people on the show are evil anyway). He's in 24 of the 66 episodes. Good for you, Greg... but I'm sorry, nothing could compel me to watch this show...

Micah Karns and Eunice Cho both appear in the Cartoon Network original movie Re-Animated, which combines live-action with animation. It apparently premiered earlier this month as the top-rated original movie in the network's history.

And it looks like ABC has canceled the drama Day Break (with Moon Bloodgood and Ian Anthony Dale) and the comedy Help Me Help You (with Suzy Nakamura). Bye bye, Asians on TV.

12.26.06

Nitya Venkataraman has a nice (but rather culturally confused) piece in the Washington Post about her Indian American childhood, wanting so badly to take part in Christmas festivities, despite growing up in a Hindu home: Longing to Join in Christmas

12.26.06

The Seattle Times has a brief but interesting profile on Eugene Cho, Korean American pastor of progressive, multi-cultural church in the area: Eugene Cho / Found faith, and wisdom, in 'the least of thy brethren'

12.26.06

Here's a good perspective piece that was recently published in the Journal of Minority Medical Students, about disparities in healthcare facing API populations, despite the misconception that we're a homogenous model minority: Over-Underserved: Asian American As An Invisible Minority (Thanks, Steven)

12.22.06



That's Karai, leader of the evil Foot Ninja, in the upcoming CGI-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Yeah, they're back: Slow to return, teen Turtles are back! Carrying on the legacy of the Shredder... please tell me she won't be a dragon lady stereotype, even in animated form. If this was a live action movie, she'd probably be played by Lucy Liu or Kelly Hu.... or Zhang Ziyi, who provides the voice for the character.

12.22.06



What's up, gangstas? Here's an interview with Zhang Yimou, director of the super-sized historic martial arts epic Curse of the Golden Flower: Zhang Yimou Wraps-Up His Kung Fu Trilogy. And here's an interview with star Gong Li: Gong Li on Curse of the Golden Flower. The movie opens in New York and Los Angeles this week. I recently had the chance to check it out, and I gotta say... it's kind of a mess. I'd characterize it as excessive. It has all the stuff audiences seem to really like about these big-ass martial arts spectacles—colors, costumes, swords, fighting—and lots of it. And lots of people walking up and down hallways. Oh, and one crazy huge battle scene. Remember Lord of the Rings? Think Helm's Deep, but with kung fu and swords and spears and wirework and all that. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the peculiarly abundant amount of cleavage that is displayed in the film. Yes, as in breasts. (Gong Li looks pretty freaking gorgeous throughout.) Put it all together, and you get crazy Chinese madness—Crouching Tiger, Hero, Flying Daggers, all rolled up and taken to eleven. In the end, what's it all for? The display just seems really excessive. But hey, maybe you'll like this kind of thing. Me, I'm putting my foot down. I've grown impatient with this genre...

12.22.06



Just another reminder... the new Asian American family drama, My Life... Disoriented, premieres on PBS with national broadcasts starting December 26th. Go here to find out when the show airs in your area. It's about a Chinese American family whose lives get turned upside down when they move from San Francisco to Bakersfield. The pilot is directed by Eric Byler, and the cast includes Karin Anna Cheung, Tamlyn Tomita, Dennis Dun, Autumn Reeser, and Di Quon. The show's producers are asking people across the country to e-mail PBS or your local affiliate to request more air dates (with better air times—some PBS stations are showing it at 3 AM!) and to express interest in seeing the show become a series. View clips from the show here and here. Learn more about My Life...Disoriented here. And tune in or set your TiVos on December 26th.

12.22.06

The President signed into law a $38 million grant program to be administered by the National Park Service to preserve, restore and pay for research at the sites of ten internment camps where Japanese Americans were kept behind barbed wire during World War II: Bush signs bill to preserve WWII camps. The law is intended to help preserve the camps as reminders of how the United States turned on some of its citizens in a time of fear. I hope the currently would similarly heed this advice.

12.22.06

Attention filmmakers! The DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is returning for a second year, and they've put out their Call for Entries seeking works from Asian American artists. The early submission deadline is January 19th, and the late deadline is February 2nd. So get your stuff together and enter. Learn more about the festival here. The festival will run next spring, April 27th - 29th.

12.22.06

I've sort of decided to basically not care about all things Rosie O'Donnell-related from here on out, but the loudmouthed, chingchonging host of The View is unavoidable these days. She seems to have opened her mouth and rolled from once controversy to another—her latest, a feud with Donald Trump. Details here on their war of words. Trump pulls no punches, calling O'Donnell "a loser." And that is the last I will speak of this nonsense.

12.22.06

This week, the Los Angeles city attorney's office filed 34 criminal charges against a landlord, Joon Lee, who allegedly removed pipes, tore out windows and cut off power to his building as part of an illegal campaign to drive tenants out of the building to replace them with higher-paying residents in a gentrifying area: Charges are filed against landlord. Lee, however, says that he's the victim in all this.

12.22.06

Check it out... Global Language Monitor has a compiled a list of the "Top Politically inCorrect Words for 2006." Topping the list at number one is... wait for it... "Macaca," the word quite possibly responsible for changing the political balance of the U.S. Senate. Funny, also making the list is "Oriental." It seems that some folks have not yet received the memo (somebody actually called me this last week). When I attempted to correct them, they responded with, "I can call you anything I want." Ah, you gotta love this great country we live in.

12.21.06



I guess Soderbergh, Clooney and Co. couldn't resist... Here's the trailer for Ocean's 13. Maybe they wanted to make amends for the disappointment of Ocean's 12 (personally, I didn't think it was as bad as everyone said). The trailer makes it clear that everyone is back, including to Amazing Yen himself, Shaobo Qin (who looks like he'll be out of a job when they stop making Ocean's... movies). Hopefully he'll have a little more to do than just sit around this time... View the trailer here.

12.21.06

Jeff Yang's latest "Asian Pop" column for SF Gate is the first part of his annual year-in-review, highlighting some of the reasons why 2006 was worth celebrating—from Heroes' Masi Oka to Survivor's Yul Kwon: Holiday Cheers

12.21.06

All right, prepare yourself for some racist video. I heard about this last week, but I just didn't feel like posting something that would give these punk-ass dudes any more attention than they deserved—because that's exactly what they wanted. But I guess it's unavoidable: Va. Men Get Licenses Wearing Outlandish Disguises. Basically, these two guys in Virginia dressed up in racist caricature (one guy in a spray-on hair and fake buck teeth) and went to the DMV to get their license photos retaken... and came out with new licenses, complete with their disguises. Freaking idiots. The video in question can be seen here: DMV Drivers License Prank. That's racist!

12.21.06

Anybody catch The Office last week? I was embroiled in the whole Rosie thing, so I neglected to mention it... Normally, I really enjoy The Office. Great show, but it has its missteps... case in point, "A Benihana Christmas," where Michael and Co. go to Benihana's, pick up a few Asian ladies, and bring them back to the office party. Red flags! Red flags all around. Unfortunately, the episode goes for the cheap laugh, playing on "all Asians look alike" stereotype. I'd recap, but Racialicious has a great rundown (with photos!) of the whole thing here: The Office: all Asians look alike. For a comedy that can be so smart at times, it was pretty disappointing.

12.21.06

Authorities have indentified the body of Jane M. Park, 24, found in a Boston-area park. She had been missing since May: Officials identify body found in Hingham park. No details on the cause of death, but police have said that they don't suspect foul play. It's pretty tragic. She was a Wellesley College graduate and Fulbright scholar, with a good a future ahead of her. My heart goes out to her family.

12.21.06

I know adopting kids from foriegn countries is, like, totally cool these days, but adopting from China just got a little harder... The country plans to bar people who are single, obese, older than 50 or who fail to meet certain standards in financial, physical or psychological health from adopting Chinese children: China Tightens Adoption Rules for Foreigners

Another recent trend... teaching your kids Chinese! Here's another article on an elementary school adopting Mandararin-language learning into its curriculum: Kindergartners tune in to Chinese. That's right, baby. Kolter Elementary School in Houston is teaching Mandarin to kindergartners. These kids are the future asskickers of the world.

12.20.06

Three days later, and I'm still feeling pretty good about Yul's million-dollar win on Survivor—the guy played a solid game, and was a true, deserving contender. Smart, athletic, strategic and articulate. And you've got to respect a guy who made it clear from the outset that one of his goals for being on the show was to be a positive representation for Asian Americans in the media. My kind of guy. Here's video of Yul talking with Julie Chen about his win on The Early Show: Yul Wins 'Survivor' By 1 Vote. And here he is accepting his prize: Yul Gets $1M 'Survivor' Check. And if you can't get enough Yul, check out the 12.19.06 episode of CBS' internet talk show Survivor Live for an extended interview (the hosts are kind of obnoxious though). I'm hoping to see a lot more of this guy in the future.

12.20.06

She may not have won on the LPGA Tour this year, but it looks like 17-year-old golf phenom Michelle Wie is going to Stanford next fall: Wie celebrates acceptance at Stanford. The question is, will she be able to finish? Tiger Woods only attended for two years before he went pro. Wie has already gone pro—can she handle touring while being a full-time student at a world-class university? Good luck, Michelle.

12.20.06

Here's an interesting feature on acclaimed actor Ken Watanabe, star of Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima: A Genial General

12.20.06

Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng, newly-signed Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, and fashion designer Anand Jon are among interesting individuals profiled for Newsweek's "Who's Next 2007" feature. Of course, the list also includes Sarah Silverman, so I don't really know what to tell you.

12.20.06

Former Democratic congressional candidate and highly-publicized Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth has been appointed by the governor to run Illinois' Veterans' Affairs Department: Duckworth will run Illinois vets' agency. She may have lost the election, but she's got herself a job now...

12.20.06

Last week, Yutaka Fukufuji became the first Japanese-born player to dress for an NHL game, when the Los Angeles Kings recalled goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League: Kings Recall Yutaka Fukufuji From Manchester. The Kings played the Dallas Stars, but alas, Fukufuji didn't see any playing time. He has gone back to the Monarchs: Fukufuji Returns To Manchester

12.19.06

I heard about a special program on racism that recently ran on CNN... mainly, I heard it sucked. For a good rant, listen to this week's episode of Addicted to Race. Basically, it suffered from limiting the discussion of racism to a black/white paradigm (as these things usually go). Here's Paula Zahn's reaction to the reaction: Show on racism provokes strong reaction. She says in the weeks ahead, they'll be broadening the discussion to look at issues of discrimination and intolerance in American against other groups of people. Man, I hope so...

12.19.06

Couple of notable DVD releases out today... the Special Collector's Edition of Jackie Chan's Police Story, from the Weinstein Company's "Dragon Dynasty" label. It's nice to see an attempt to give this film the proper DVD treatment it deserves... too bad it's not quite this disc. This is a classic Jackie Chan flick—one of his best, circa 1985 when he was young, creative, crazy... and willing to do some freakin' dangerous stunts. While this edition has its share of special features, it's far from the definitive disc I would've liked to have seen, and includes one glaring "oh, hell no" aspect: the inclusion of Brett Ratner, hack director of the Rush Hour movies, who supplies the audio commentary. Why? Why!? This is really enough for me to wait for a better version of this movie, even if it takes another twenty years.

Also on DVD this week, Jet Li's Fearless. Touted as his last martial arts movie (it's all semantics), Jet Li plays legendary Chinese fighter Huo Yuanjia, representin' for China amidst the threat of bullying foreign powers at the turn of the 20th century. Not Jet Li's best, but it's a decent flick with lots of great asskicking, and definitely a worthy film to make his exit from the genre (though I truly doubt we'll be seeing him in romantic comedies anytime soon). Read my interview with Jet Li about the movie here.

And finally, also hitting stores today... Chen Kaige's overblown, effects-plagued "epic" The Promise. Lots of colors, lots of fighting, with swords and spears and armor and stuff. Starring a transnational Asian cast. It's entertaining, but borderline laughable at moments. Put it in your Netflix queue for a lonely rainy night.

12.19.06

While I sure as hell don't accept to Rosie O'Donnell's lame-ass apology for her chingchongery, I am resigned to believe that's pretty much all we're going to hear in terms of an official response about the matter. Rosie O'Donnell joins the infamous pantheon of offenders—Adam Carolla, Miss Jones, Sarah Silverman—who feel it's okay to crap on Asians because, hey, it's funny. I leave you with this clever mash-up video from Gawker: Chingchonggate: Rosie's Last Shout

12.19.06

There are four—count 'em, four!—out of five Asian American members on the California Board of Equalization, who oversee the state's sales and property tax administration: History taking a sharp turn for Asian Americans. That's power.

In other Asian American political milestones, Henry Charoen, elected to the La Palma, CA City Council last month, is apparently the first elected official of Thai descent to hold public office in the United States: First Thai-American elected to office

12.19.06

The Los Angeles Times has this amazing, compelling story about Hai Nguyen, who sent her son to the United States from Vietnam twenty years ago, and was in a race against the clock to find him before her visa expired (or her health gave out): A desperate mother ignores the odds

12.19.06

Saw this on Gizmodo last week... the HD DVD of Justin Lin's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is apparently one kick ass disc: The Best HD DVD: Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift? The entry breaks it down nicely with lots of descriptions and screen shots. Forget whether or not the movie's any good—the extra features on this disc look pretty damn sweet.

12.18.06



YUL WINS! Congratulations. You're my boy, Yul. Now I can stop watching this freaking show.

UPDATE: More on Yul's win, from Bay Area publications: 'Survivor' winner hopes he shattered some Asian stereotypes. Seriously: Survivor: Yul Kwon of San Mateo "represents" in win. And here's an interview from EW with the man himself: Yul Time

12.18.06

Here's an interesting interview with Iris Yamashita, the Japanese American screenwriter of Letters From Iwo Jima—her first produced screenplay(!): Iris Yamashita Writes Letters

12.18.06

Check out this cool CSTV video on star Harvard hockey player Kevin Du: What Can't Kevin Du? The guy has wanted to be a hockey player since he was kid—and they've got video to prove it.

12.18.06

The New York Times has a review of John Yoo's War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror, which basically says that in the war on terror, all "rules" go out the window: The Enemy Within. Yoo was one of the principal authors of the Bush administration's policies regarding arrests, detentions, interrogations and the treatment of prisoners. He's also vigorously defended the Bush administration's legal actions and approaches. That said, I think he's one scary dude. Read the first chapter here: 'War by Other Means'

12.18.06

Another story on Pittsburgh Steeler receiver and Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, who has reached out and made it his personal mission to shine light on the plight of mixed-race children in South Korea: Hines Ward shows a lot of heart off the field, too

12.18.06

I don't really know what to make of this photo:



I guess you are never too old: Santaís Knee Belongs to Everyone

12.17.06

Damn you, Survivor! I shake my fist at you, Mark Burnett and Co., for getting me hooked on this season of Survivor—a show I have never watched in any of the previous twelve seasons. Tonight's the finale, and I'm interested to see what happens... Yul and Becky have managed to make it into the top five. While Becky really doesn't have a chance, Yul has consistently been one of the strongest contenders. For my money, it's down to him and Ozzy. Yul, for the most part, has played an honest, clean game, which is admirable... but probably going to hurt him in the long run, as his too-honest machinations are actually starting to annoy a few folks. Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens tonight...

12.17.06

S.R. Sidarth, the O.G. "Macaca," and arguably the man inadvertently responsible for shifting the country's political power in this past November's elections, has been named Salon's Person of the Year.

12.17.06

I know he's joking, but why does Bill Simmons have to go to the Asian stereotypes when describing newly-signed Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka?


And speaking of Dice, I'm excited to have the Japanese Pedro on my team but have two concerns going in. First, I'm disappointed that he doesn't look a little more villainous than he does. I like my mysterious Japanese pitchers with unpronounceable names to have cold eyes, a blank stare, a 20-hair fu manchu and the same icy look that Sato's nephew had while he was trying to destroy Daniel-San at the end of "Karate Kid II." Those are the guys who would be terrifying in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game. Dice looks much more happy-go-lucky and friendlier than I expected, like one of those giddy exchange students in college who tries to join a frat and ends up having his stomach pumped on the second night. I'm not sure this is a good thing. And second, it's always a little scary when the Red Sox spend $103 million on a pitcher who owns the same winter jacket as my wife. No, really. Check out the picture to the right. How do you say, "I will now light myself on fire" in Japanese?


That said, for a guy who's supposed to be one of the hottest pitchers in Japan, he does sort of look like a regular joe schlub.

12.17.06

Not sure what Lucky Brand is trying to say by so prominently displaying the flag of Communist Vietnam on its clothing, but it's sure to rattle some folks in Vietnamese American communities, for whom the flag is a painful symbol:







(Thanks, Long)

But I guess it appears that Lucky Brand might have a "thing" for Asians... just check out this magazine ad, spotted in GQ:



I don't get it—what the hell does this image have to do with the fragrance? Way to exoticize the Asian ladies! (Thanks, Nia)

12.17.06

Anybody sick of this Rosie O'Donnell thing yet? Here's CNN video from Thursday night covering the Rosie O'Donnell "ching chong" controversy: ROSIE SAYS SHE'S SORRY. There are remarks from John Liu, who has arguably been the most public figure calling for action, and then there are comments from Lucy Liu—I guess because she's the most famous (and possibly nearest) Asian they could think of—and she pretty much lets O'Donnell off the hook. Now, as an Asian American, I know she has never really been the most "down" with the cause, so I can't say I'm surprised. But dude, give me a freaking break. Here, she takes yet another big step away from anything the Asian American community gives a damn about. No need to wonder why people so readily call her a sellout.

The Organization of Chinese Americans, on the other hand, isn't satisfied with O'Donnell's terrible excuse for an "apology": OCA QUESTIONS TONE AND INTENT OF ROSIE OíDONNELL APOLOGY

12.17.06

Another case made for Yao Ming, having an awesome season, as a strong contender for MVP: Biggest man, biggest honors. His true test for the rest of the season may be getting the Rockets into the playoffs...

12.17.06

Here's a New York Times article on the very private and eccentric life of Yoko Ono: Protecting the Private Side of Yoko Onoís Life. Her former driver, Koral Karsan, was jailed last week and accused of blackmailing and threatening to kill Ono unless she gave him $2 million: Friends Come Up With Bail for Yoko Ono's Driver

12.15.06

So Rosie O'Donnell apologized yesterday on The View for her "ching chong" jokes, all the while going into this thing where she claims she didn't know it was offensive, and in the end she'd probably do it again because, you know, it's funny. If she didn't really know it was offensive, can you imagine her doing this whole "ching chong" bit in front of a room of Chinese people? Would she go there? I highly doubt it. And when they referred to the two Asian women in the audience who were nodding in agreement, it pretty much invalidated the whole point of highlighting why people were upset in the first place, as if these two people were meant to represent Asian Americans everywhere. Oh look, my two Asian friends thought it was funny, so it must be okay. It's not like these two people are going to say, "You suck, Rosie. That's racist!" when you point the cameras at them on national television. It was rather pathetic: O'Donnell apologizes for Chinese parody.

Councilman John Liu seems to think the "apology" was acceptable and satisfactory, according to an email forwaded to me yesterday ("CM Liu Accepts Rosie O'Donnell's Apology"). That's weak. I definitely don't accept it, because it sure as hell didn't sound like an apology to me. I think I'm more in line with this group, Unity: Journalists of Color Inc.: Group not satisfied with Rosie's apology Unfortunately, I think this is the best we're going to get out of O'Donnell. Because you know what happens now? You press this issue further, and the people who don't get it will just say, "She already apologized, you whiny Asians."

It's sad day when I actually agree with Michelle Malkin, of all people: Rosie Ching Chong O'Donnell. That said, I still loathe Malkin, and I'm not buying it. Suddenly now Michelle Malkin gives a damn about Asian American issues? This is the woman who argues that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justifiable. But see her gleefully jump on the Rosie-bashing bandwagon because she gets to be critical of a liberal-leaning lesbian. Yes, ching chong mockery ain't funny. But I'm not buying it, Malkin. Thanks, but no thanks.

12.15.06

An update on the tragic death of James Kim... The Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that oversees the Oregon logging road where the Kim family was stranded said that a gate across the road's entrance had never been secured, reversing its initial assertion that a vandal must have cut the lock: Agency says road Kims took was never locked. The Kim family became stranded on the isolated road November 25, after they accidentally turned off Bear Camp Road on their way to Gold Beach, on the Oregon coast. They can point fingers all they want about this gate lock, but it's never going to bring James Kim back.

It's amazing how this story captured the attention of so many across the country. People who knew James, people who didn't. Bay Area circles, tech circles, Asian American circles... there's something about a man going beyond his personal limits for the sake of his loved ones. Very few of us ever experience the chance to see what we're actually made of, what we're capable of, and how far we'd go in such a situation. His death is tragic, but we know he died a hero. Yesterday's episode of KQED's Pacific Time featured special commentaries on James Kim from Carmen Van Kerckhove of New Demographic and actor/director Chris Tashima. Listen to the program here (the commentaries begin at about 20 minutes in). Read the text from Chris' commentary here and Carmen's commentary here.

12.15.06

South Korea's Ban Ki-moon was sworn in yesterday as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations, promising to restore the organization's tarnished reputation and push for peace in the Middle East and Darfur: Ban Ki-Moon Is Sworn In as U.N. Chief. He is the first Asian to lead the United Nations in 35 years.

12.15.06

Did you know that the tallest man in the world is an Asian dude? Bao Xishun is a 7-foot-9 herdsman from Inner Mongolia. I've mentioned him here a few times. Veterinarians in China recently recruited him and his 41.7-inch arms to help retrieve pieces of plastic from two sick dolphins' stomachs. I kid you not: World's tallest man saves China dolphins. He's a hero! Now, back to herding in Mongolia.

12.15.06

Some more information on the previously announced Rape of Nanking film, based on Iris Chang's non-fiction account of Japanese atrocities in WWII: NANKING SUFFERS NEW ATROCITY NAMED SIMON WEST. The movie, which starts filming next month, will be directed Simon West, the guy behind such masterpieces as Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and When a Stranger Calls. Not necessarily the kind of guy you want handling a movie about the Nanking Massacre. Keep an eye on this one...

12.15.06

Xiaodong Sheldon Meng, a former Chinese national, has been charged in a 36-count indictment alleging that he stole trade secrets with potential military applications and used them in sales proposals made to China, Malaysia and Thailand, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney: Silicon Valley espionage case. Chinese spies among us!

12.15.06

South Korean pop star Rain stars in Park Chan-wook's latest film I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK: South Korean pop star Rain debuts as robot lover. Does he have the acting chops? I don't know. But I'm certainly interested in seeing the film, a romantic comedy—quite a departure from Park's recent work.

12.14.06

If you're in Los Angeles, here's something very cool happening this weekend... Future Rockstars of American presents Talk of da Block 3, a show featuring Big Phony, Burning Tree Project, Far-East Movement, Invid, Kaila, Ken Oak Band, Red Team Go! and surprise guests. Sunday, December 17th at Vision 21 Art School in Los Angeles. It's gonna be one badass party. For more information, go here, or visit the MySpace page here. Good times!

12.14.06

An official first look at Chow Yun Fat as Captain Sao Feng in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie:



If you couldn't tell, he's the bald dude next to Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp, surrounded by all the gnarly Asian pirates. From the looks of it, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will have something of an Asian flava. Is it possible that we'll finally see what the internet has been clamoring for for years? That's right... pirates versus ninjas. If it's ever going to happen, now is the time.

12.14.06

It's a deal. After several days of negotiations, the Boston Red Sox have signed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a whoppin' $52 million, six-year contract: Introductions all around as Matsuzaka, Sox unveil deal. So what's this guy all about? In Japan, the right-hander's most interesting statistic is his blood type: Blood, Sweat and Type O: Japan's Weird Science. That's kooky. Also, Matsuzaka and his wife Tomoyo Shibata (nicknamed "Rockets" because, well, she's hot) are apparently a big celebrity couple, kind of like the Brangelina of Japan: Dreams of Rocket(s) have us seeing stars. This should be interesting.

12.14.06

For you readers in Canada... this weekend CBC Television and SFU's CAC present the premiere screening of Dragon Boys, a CBC three-part miniseries featuring an all-Asian Canadian cast—Byron Mann, Steph Song, Tzi Ma (last seen as a baddie on 24), Lawrence Chou and Eric Tsang (Sam from Infernal Affairs). Looks like a pretty interesting cops-and-gangsters story set in Vancouver's Asian gang scene. Terrible title, but what can you do? The premiere is Sunday, December 17th at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver. It looks like the screening is actually already sold out, but I thought it would be good to put it out there in case there's a rush line or something. For the rest of you Canadians, Dragon Boys airs on January 7 & 8 on CBC. For the rest of us, hopefully it'll make its way down to the states in some form or another. View the trailer ("In a world...") here. Very dramatic. Learn more about the series at the official site or the ultimate fansite.

12.14.06

This week at the University of Texas, a Travis County grand jury issued 21 indictments against three former Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity members on charges of hazing, and for two members, supplying alcohol to Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath, a freshman student who died of alcohol poisoning one year ago: Former UT frat members served 21 indictments. The jury issued seven indictments each for former fraternity president Benny Chan, pledge captain Andrew Nguyen and "hellmaster" Kamal Pulukuri. In addition to the possible fines and jail time they face, they have to live with the responsiblity of this poor guy's death.

12.14.06

Breaking news! I just heard that Rosie O'Donnell apologized on The View for her offensive chingchongery. I don't know exactly what she said, or the extent of her regret or acknowlegement (it hasn't aired on the west coast yet), but all I know is, it better be a hell of a lot more substantial than this sorry excuse for an "apology" on her website, reported over at TVSquad: Rosie finally apologizes. I still don't think she ever really "grasped" the point of all this controversy, but I guess she finally caved to pressure from all the groups (OCA recently joined in the ruckus) who were demanding for some sort of acknowledgement and apology, and making headlines: Asian American advocates decry parody by TV's O'Donnell. Maybe Barbara Walters gave her an ultimatum or something. If someone out there has video of the apology, please send it my way...

UPDATE: Here's video of the apology here: rosie apology. It's a joke. The entire thing is played for laughs, like it was no big deal—a case of some offended people overreacting. Elisabeth Hasselback leads in with this bit about what sounds like acupuncture, and they give some background about what happened (replaying the original clip). Rosie does this whole, "Oh, I had no idea about your pain" thing. Listen as the audience is completely incredulous when they find out that saying "ching chong" is apparently offensive to some Asian people out there. Sorry to burst your bubble. Though you had it all in check, huh? Of course, this whole apology is completely negated by the fact that O'Donnell goes on to say, "Hey, I still think it was funny!" and encourages everyone to still laugh along with her about the whole thing. But the part that infuriates me the most is when Joy points to two Asian women in the audience who are nodding in agreement. I guess if these two women say it's okay, it must be cool! Oh, it hurts. Betrayed by two of our own, on national television. What a pathetic excuse for an apology.

12.14.06



I'm nominated!!!

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced 64th Golden Globe Awards nominations this morning. They're sort of Oscar's lame younger sibling, but hey, they get people talking. A few surprises, but for the most part it all looks like what you'd expect. A couple of things worth noting... Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, and Rinko Kikuchi in Babel for Best Supporting Actress. I suppose I should also mention that The Departed racked up a crapload of nominations (somebody better acknowledge Infernal Affairs at some point this awards season). What's very cool is that Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Heroes were all nominated for Best Television Series, Drama—that's three of the most diverse shows on television. But my favorite of the bunch? Masi Oka, aka Hiro on Heroes, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for a TV Series. How cool is that? Read the full list of nominations here.

12.14.06

Just spotted Tyson Mao, former contestant on Beauty and the Geek, showing off his kickass Rubik's Cube-solving skillz on the Today show. Turns out he was Will Smith's consultant/tutor for the Cube in production of the new film The Pursuit of Happyness. Check out Tyson's Xanga here. Inside scoop: Tyson told me that if he got the chance, he would try to slip in a joke or reference to Rosie O'Donnell's "ching chong" remarks on his Today show appearance. Looks like he didn't really get the chance. I appreciate the thought, Tyson. Props.

12.14.06

In a few weeks, Ellen Young, will be sworn in as an assemblywoman representing Flushing, Queens, making her the first Asian American woman to be elected to the New York State Legislature: City Sends 2 Foreign-Born First-Timers to the Assembly. Her election has apparently been the subject of a great deal of foreign media attention.

12.14.06

After a long, arduous three-year legal battle, the historic 4 Star movie theater in San Francisco won its fight to stay open against the wishes of a local church, which had purchased the property and sought to evict the theater: 4 Star owners win legal fight, plan to renovate, reopen neighborhood theater. The theater, owned by Frank and Lida Lee, has been home to some really amazing eclectic cinema over the years, including Asian fare. According to this story, it's currently the only theater in the United States that shows first-run Hong Kong movies within days of release in their home territory. Next up for the mighty 4 Star: renovations.

12.14.06

San Francisco schoolchildren are getting a extra day off to celebrate Lunar New Year: Lunar New Year set to become school holiday. They actually already get the day off—the city's schools are closed for the holiday only if it falls on a weekday. The resolution makes the holiday an annual event even if the Lunar New Year falls on a weekend. The schools would then close either on Monday or Friday, depending on the day closest to the actual celebration. You lucky kids!

12.14.06

Kristine Sa's upcoming album Hopeless Romantic is now available for pre-order. The majority of the tracks are produced by Dave Liang, the guy behind the very cool Shanghai Restoration Project. Looks like they're going all-out deluxe for this release, including a 56-page glossy booklet with photos and production notes and stuff. Pre-order it now, get it on February 10th. Wait—who the heck is Kristine Sa? Learn more about her (and see her bare belly) here.

12.14.06

Looks like there will be Asian people on tonight's episode of The Office: The Office 3x10 Promo: A Benihana Christmas. Count on Michael Scott to say or do something completely awkward and inappropriate...

12.13.06

East West Magazine has named its list of Ten to Watch in 2007—ten people who are poised for a defining year. The individuals are, in no particular order:

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

Kal Penn, star of The Namesake, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj

Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube

Roy Lee, producer of pretty much every Asian flick re-made by Hollywood

Du Juan, Chinese supermodel

Mindy Kaling, producer/writer/actor on NBC's The Office

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, space travel entrepreneur

Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org

Padmasree Warrior, Executive VP of Motorola

View the list, along with profiles of the Ten to Watch here.

12.13.06

In mid-November, Hawaii enacted one of the strictest antismoking laws in the country, outlawing smoking in bars, restaurants and most hotel rooms, as well as forbidding it within 20 feet of those establishments' doorways, windows or ventilation intakes: The Aloha State Is Now Less Welcoming to Smokers. This raises the question of how the new law will affect the lives of Hawaii's tourists, who pour more than $11 billion a year into the state's economy—particularly the Japanese, who account for nearly one in five tourist dollars spent and are known to like to smoke. I wouldn't worry too much... sooner or later, establishments will find a way to bend the rules and cater to patrons who smoke. Just look at Koreatown.

12.13.06

Here's a good interview with Gene Yang: Writer/Creator of American Born Chinese. I can't say it enough, this graphic novel has got to be one of my favorite books of the year. Its National Book Award nomination was well-deserved. I highly recommend picking it up.

12.13.06

The furor over Rosie O'Donnell's chingchongery on The View continues... Here's the Asian American Justice Center's press release on the matter: AAJC Shocked By Rosie O'Donnell's Racist References to Asians on ABC's 'The View'. More and more media outlets are picking up on the controversy while O'Donnell still refuses to apologize:

O'Donnell Asian parody offends

Asian-Americans take dim view of Rosie

Rosie: Over One Billion Offended?

Outrage Grows Over Rosie O'Donnell's Asian Joke

Heck, even Comedy Central faux-con funnyman Stephen Colbert takes a few shots at Rosie's grasp of Chinese: Defending Rosie. "I had no idea Rosie O'Donnell spoke fake Chinese."

12.13.06

We have our winners! Here are the lucky winners of last week's Hundred Percent DVD giveaway, drawn from the entries at random:

David L. of College Point, NY

Amy K. of San Francisco, CA

Steven L. of Daly City, CA

Congratulations! They've scored themselves a shiny new DVD copy of Eric Koyanagi's indie feature film Hundred Percent (out in stores this week). As for the rest of you, thank you for your participation. You can get yourself a copy of the movie at Amazon.com or something.

12.13.06

Check it out... The DVD of Michael Kang's award-winning debut feature The Motel is available for pre-order. The movie hits stores on January 30th from Palm Pictures. According to Mike, the disc has some pretty sweet extra features, including an audio commentary track with actors Sung Kang, Jeffrey Chyau and himself, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. So in addition to a great movie, you get all that cool stuff. Pre-order it here or here.

Speaking of Michael Kang, I almost forgot to mention this podcast episode of Addicted to Race from a couple of weeks ago where they interviewed Teddy Zee, producer on Mike's latest film West 32nd. Pretty interesting interview, coming from his particular insider's perspective of the entertainment industry... though I can't help feeling that he pulls a few punches here and there when it comes to really indicting Hollywood racism. Either way, he has some intriguing things to say.

12.13.06

Readers have reacted strongly to Vickie Chang's article Yellow Fever, as well as her follow-up that ran in the OC Weekly last month. Check out Yellow Fever Letters, along with Yellow Fever Web Feedback. It seems like most of detractors really miss the point. Once again, I like to express my support to Vickie for writing this piece—always a controversial topic. Don't let the haters and asiaphiles (haterasiaphiles?) get you down!

12.13.06

So with MySpace, Friendster, LinkedIn, Cyworld and similar destinations, it's getting hard to keep track of all the social networking websites out there... but here's yet another one: Zoodango (I swear, people come up with these names when they're drunk), a site focused on professionals who can find people online and network face-to-face. The company was started by CEO and Founder James Sun, who's apparently going to be appearing as a contestant on the upcoming season of The Apprentice. Here's his show profile on Yahoo TV. Am I seeing a trend here? Korean American dudes on reality TV shows?

12.12.06

This is pretty cool. The latest issue of UCLA's Asia Pacific Arts is up and running. It's got some great stuff, including interviews with director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Studio 60 actress Camille Chen, and the creative team behind TeleMongol. But you know what's super cool? Asians singing and dancing: Chop Suey Commentary. With the recent release of the 1961 all-Asian American Rodgers and Hammersetin musical Flower Drum Song on DVD, I recently teamed up with Brian Hu of Asia Pacific Arts to record our own little bootleg audio commentary of the film. As members of a generation removed from this landmark movie, we thought it would be kind of fun to record our observations and thoughts on the movie as we watched it in 2006. We're in no way experts or historians of the film—just regular guys who happen to be fans/critics of Asian American cinema. We only watched and recorded for about 42 minutes of the movie (the full two hours was just a little too long), but it ended up being pretty fun. So, get your hands on a copy of the Flower Drum Song DVD, download our commentary here, follow the instructions to sync it up, and enjoy the sound of our dorky voices.

12.12.06

Oh hell no... you're gonna love this one. Recently published for your enjoyment: Sex Secrets of an American Geisha: How to Attract, Satisfy, and Keep Your Man (Positively Sexual) by Py Kim Conant. This is a real freaking book, published in October 2006 by Hunter House. According to the book description, "any single or married woman can find success in the pursuit of love, marriage, and happiness with these sensible, sexy, realistic tips from Py Kim Conant, who used them to find her own American husband." And saved herself from deportation, I bet. Read the book, and learn how to develop your "Geisha Consciousness," and create "a bedroom shrine of worship to hubby's manhood." Goodness. Thank you, Mrs. Py Kim Conant, for singlehandedly doing your part to reinforce all sorts of amazing Asian stereotypes. Asian women everywhere thank you. And the gross stereotypical misconceptions are already taking effect! Just read the user reviews at Amazon.com. (Thanks, Helen)

UPDATE: Here is Py Kim Conant's MySpace page. It's good for a laugh (or cry).

12.12.06

We've mentioned here a few times about Kevin Spacey's attempts to adapt Ben Mezrich's book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions for the big screen. It's basically what the title says—the true story of how a group of MIT students took Vegas for millions using blackjack and simple math. Now, in reality, the students were a group of Asian American guys. But of course, in Hollywood, the story gets changed, because nobody wants to see a group of Asian dudes for an entire movie. I posted this story back in October 2005, where Mezrich talks about the stereotypical Hollywood casting process. Basically, a studio executive involved in the casting process said that most of the film's actors would be white, "with perhaps an Asian female." Now I'm hearing there may not even be an Asian female. That's racist! Anyway, the project, now called 21, recent cast the lead role: Jim Sturgess Boards Spacey's 21. Yeah, that dude's not Asian.

12.12.06

According to leading arson experts, Han Tak Lee, given a life sentence for setting a fire that killed his daughter in 1989, may have been wrongfully convicted based on a case built on bad science: Science casts doubt on arson convictions. Fire investigators say there could be hundreds of mistaken arson prosecutions, all built on the same ideas about fire that were scientifically uprooted more than a decade ago.

12.12.06

I'm really looking forward to seeing Clint Eastwood's World War II film, Letters From Iwo Jima, which has been generating quite a bit of buzz both here and in Japan: Clint Eastwood's Iwo Jima film resonates in Japan. In addition to being the National Board of Review's pick for the best film of 2006, it was just named top film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Eastwood film tops L.A. critics list. Could there be Oscar gold in this film's future? Ironically, though Letters is entirely in Japanese, it's technically an American film and ineligible for the foreign language Academy Award.

12.12.06

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming continues to be dominant and unstoppable on the court... while remaining humble and self-effacing off the court: The Best Center Is Made in China

12.12.06



So get this. A group calling itself "Vietnamese for Fair Immigration" recently placed a billboard in Berkeley that reads "No Racist Amnesty." They're basically an anti-immigrant group. The organization's leaders say they feel illegal immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants, are to blame for the long waits their family members face to come here from Vietnam. However, it appears that the group's spokesman and co-founder is actually a white guy from Southern California who has been using a Vietnamese surmname, Tim Binh—his real name is Tim Brummer: Vietnamese immigrant group not what it seems. Shady. When confronted by a reporter about this little discrepancy, Brummer first denied it, then fessed up, and used the ol' "I'm practically Vietnamese" argument: "I speak Vietnamese. I eat Vietnamese food. I live with Vietnamese. In my mind, I'm half-Vietnamese." No, you're not, dude. And stop pretending.

12.12.06

Two men have been charged with stabbing three others during a dispute in Flushing over the weekend...The suspects, Robert Wu, 19, and Stephen Chan, 30, both of Manhattan, were arrested yesterday and charged with felony assault: Queens: Two Arrested in Stabbing. The two were apparently in a group leaving a bar that got into an argument with another group. The dispute escalated (of course) and some guys ended up stabbed. Though the incident involved a group of Asian men and a group of Hispanic men, they're not treating it as a bias crime. Again, I gotta ask—why do these things always end up with idiotic dudes pulling out guns and knives?

12.12.06

Check it out... this dance class at Bridgewater State College in Massachussetts is performing a production of "An Indian Nutcracker," a multicultural interpretation of the ballet that infuses classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance with other Indian dance styles and original Indian music: Cracking into an old favorite: Dance class at Bridgewater State College offers 'An Indian Nutcracker'. Funny... while the class instructor is Indian, it doens't look like any of the students in the class are actually Indian.

12.11.06

Ching Chong Rosie Update. You know the shizzo has hit the fan when John Liu gets involved. The New York City Councilman is quickly becoming the Asian American Jesse Jackson (in a good way) when it comes to reacting to these media controversies, giving a legitimate, real-life political voice to these protests outside of just blogger campaigns and the like. Indeed, Liu has jumped into the fray regarding Rosie O'Donnell's recent chingchongery on The View: Forget the Ni Hao Ma's, It's John Liu Vs. Rosie O'Donnell. More here: Pol's 'View' of Rosie: She offends. Here's the letter from Liu wrote to Barbara Walters (co-owner, co-executive producer and co-host of The View:


December 9, 2006

Barbara Walters

Producer, "The View"

American Broadcasting Company

320 West 66th Street

New York, NY 10023

RE: Rosie O'Donnell's Remarks on "The View"

Dear Ms. Walters:

Asian Americans across the country are very offended by remarks made
by Rosie O'Donnell this past week on your program "The View." Her
caricature of the Chinese language hits a raw nerve in our community.
For your information, a clip of the relevant December 7, 2006 program
is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuTspbPmV_g.

As a well-traveled and experienced journalist who has gained respect
from many people around the world, you better than anyone should know
that these types of derogatory remarks have consequences beyond the
stupidity of the person who made them. Yet, you more than anyone
stands to profit handsomely from the pumped-up ratings generated by
this type of controversy.

I do not believe the production and broadcast of these remarks
reflects the high standards of excellence held by you or the American
Broadcasting Company. But, what will you do to hold yourself and
those who host the program accountable for such offensive remarks? I
and the many Asian Americans offended by "The View" look forward to
your response.

Sincerely,

John C. Liu

Council Member


Given the original context of O'Donnell's "ching chong" remarks, wouldn't that be funny if everyone in China was actually talking about The View now? Except that they're not talking about Danny DeVito—they're talking about Rosie and her racist remarks.

12.11.06

My Life... Disoriented, a short film directed by Eric Byler is scheduled to air on PBS this month. It's about a Chinese American family whose lives get turned upside down when they move from San Francisco to the middle-of-nowhere Bakersfield (apologies to everyone out there who actually lives in Bakersfield). I saw it at HIFF, and found it really genuine and engaging. Check out clips on YouTube here and here. It's actually a show pilot, with PBS and several other networks including MTV considering it as a series. What? An Asian American family on television? It could happen. A lot depends on audience response to broadcast premiere, as well as these YouTube clips. If you like what you see, it might be a good idea to contact your local PBS affiliate to say that you love the clip/will watch the show/want to see more shows, etc. (please copy the show's producers on any emails sent: contact@mylifedisoriented.com). It could make a big difference as to whether or not My Life... Disoriented really becomes what it was meant to be. So tune in, or set your Tivos. For a list of local stations and broadcast dates, go here. To learn more about the series, go here.

12.11.06

'Tis the season to be jolly... and racist. In London, a department store Santa was fired by Harrods for making a racist comment to an Asian family: Harrods Santa sacked over racial slur. The Santa allegedly asked the family, who were on a visit to the store, "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be shopping in Tesco?" I actually had no idea what this meant, but a quick Google search informed that Tesco is kind of like the UK's Wal-Mart (Harrods is a high-end, upscale store). To make things worse, when the family started to leave the store, Santa apparently asked the couple's teenage daughter whether she wanted to stay and sit on his knee. Harrods, thankfully, fired Racist Santa's ass.

12.11.06

I think I posted about the brutal murder of Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese tourist in the Grand Canyon last May... FBI have arrested 18-year old Randy Wescogame in connection with the kidnapping, robbery and killing of Hanamure: FBI solves Grand Canyon murder. More details on the case here: Arrest in tourist slaying in northern Arizona

12.11.06

Yong Bae Hong, a gang member in Torrance, CA was sentenced last week to 50 years to life for his part in a shootout six years ago that left one man dead and three others seriously wounded: Gang member gets 50 years in fatal shootout. He was apparently driving one of the cars. Another gang member implicated in the shooting — Jason Liu, who is on Orange County's most-wanted list—is believed to have fled to Taiwan or South Korea, and a third man, Kevin Kim, is scheduled to begin trial for murder next week. And of course, the shootout reportedly stemmed from a verbal altercation that began in a bar. Why can't grown men settle differences without pulling out their freaking guns?

12.11.06

Former transportation secretary Norm Mineta is among this year's ten recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, announced last week by President Bush: Bush Names 10 Recipients of Top Honor for Civilians. He'll be honored along with the other recipients at a White House ceremony on December 15th.

12.11.06

Last week, federal authorities are announced a $1.4-million settlement in a case involving 48 Thai welders who were brought to California four years ago with the promise of a good job, only to find themselves trapped in near-slavery living and working long days in unbearably crappy conditions: Trafficking case ends for 48 Thai welders. Unfortunately, this kind of human trafficking and labor exploitation is a pretty common practice. The Thai welders represent bonded laborers: those forced into servitude to repay enormous loans—it's apparently the least known but most widely used method of enslaving people today.

12.11.06

According to mental health experts and advocates who testified at a State Assembly hearing last week, young Hispanic women and elderly Asian women are at exceptionally high risk of attempting or committing suicide: Suicide in 2 Ethnic Groups Is Topic at Assembly Hearing. The experiences of these two groups are poorly understood by public health experts because little research has been done in this area. The problem is fueled by cultural and linguistic isolation, the stress of immigration and a shortage of psychiatric and counseling services.

12.10.06

An update on the Rosie O'Donnell "situation." First, see Rosie's official website for eloquent responses from O'Donnell herself addressing this issue: Ask Ro. The comedian/talk show host, who did a totally bitchin' job of insulting every Chinese-speaking person on the planet last week with her idiotic chingchongery, thinks Asian folks need to loosen up and learn to "grasp her humor," according to Page Six: ROSIE TO ASIANS: LOOSEN UP. Oh, I see. It's us humorless yellow folks that just don't "get" her awesomely funny ching chong jokes. So it's not that Rosie was going for the time-tested cheap laugh? Making fun of those strange, funny Asians and their strange, funny Asian-ness? So the next time some Asian kid gets taunted on the playground with the good o' "ching chong ching chong ching chong" (news flash: it happens all the time), we're supposed to just sit back, laugh along, and perhaps rethink our "grasp" of this humor. Because Rosie said so? Hell no. Again, I encourage you to contact Barbara, Joy, Elisabeth, and co. at The View and let them know how you feel. Ching chong chong ching chong Rosie O'Donnell The View ching chong racist ching chong.

12.10.06

This is crazy. Last week, South Korean prosecutors indicted Michael Jang, a Korean American and four others on Friday for allegedly spying for North Korea in what officials are calling the biggest spy case since the beginning of reconciliation between the two Koreas: South Korea indicts 5 for spying for the North. Jang was charged with setting up the spy ring in 2002 at the instruction of the communist regime and passing secret information to the North. More here: Seoul charges North Korea 'spies'. North Korean spies! More reason for folks to look at us suspiciously, like inscrutable, sneaky foreigners... in our own country.

12.11.06

Oh goodness. Check out Michelle Yeoh, who I usually love, pimping out the martial arts choreography in a TV spot for Puma shoes: PUMA HOLIDAY HEROES. Complete with pagodas, bonsai trees and wind flutes. There's also this lame-ass video game on the website where she can beat up ninjas. Puma: official shoe for Asian ninja asskicking.

12.10.06

Some news on Norm Chow, former offensive coordinator for USC, now with the Tennesee Titans... Last week, Chow withdrew his name from consideration for the head coaching job at North Carolina State: Titans' Chow pulls out of NC State search. There was also a confirmed rumor a few weeks back that Chow had been contacted for the head coaching job at Arizona State: Truth & Rumors: November 30, 2006. Sooner or later, Norm will get that head coach job... somewhere.

12.10.06

Some more details about the upcoming Harold and Kumar sequel, based on a casting sheet looking for actors to play several key characters: HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO THE WHITE HOUSE. This looks pretty close to the early draft of the script I recently read. They don't quite get to go to Amsterdam, as the end of White Castle had us thinking. But believe me, the movie looks as hilariously gross, crass and offensive as the first one—if that's your kind of thing. And it probably is.

12.10.06

Be wary. Variety reports that Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are teaming with Spike Lee for L.A. Riots, a drama based on—you guess it—the 1992 Los Angeles riots: Spike Lee to Direct L.A. Riots. The movie will be written by John Ridley and produced by Brian Grazer. Lee says that the movie will be "a truthful and realistic examination of what happened, what the ramifications were and where we are now, in hopes that something like this doesn't happen again." Something tells me Spike Lee will not be handling this subject matters with kid gloves. This has controversy written all over it. And as you may know, the riots were nothing short of a cataclysmic event for Korean Americans in Los Angeles. Many consider the riots a "baptism by fire" for Koren Americans. One has to wonder how they will be portrayed, if at all, in a movie about this racially-charged event... Stay tuned, and keep an eye out. The movie will begin production sometime next year.

12.10.06

Late last month in Sutter County, CA, 17-year-old Keng Yang's body was pulled from a slough by his brother, days after deputies had called off the search: A boy lost, a rift bared for Hmong, authorities. The incident has raised outrage and questions within the local Hmong community over how seriously authorities treated the disappearance and death of a Hmong boy.

12.10.06

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a joke: Attack on Pearl Harbor, the video game. Where you can play a role on either side of the conflict: "take on the role of US gunner turned pilot Douglas Knox or Japanese ace Zenji Yamada. Either nation can win the war... the fate of history lies in your hands!" The website is complete with all sorts of faux-Asian font, along with the game's ridiculous packaging art—the screaming face of a Japanese pilot. Classy. To top it off, the game was actually announced last week, on December 7th. That's right, the sixty-fifth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Truly tasteless.

12.10.06

So I'll admit that I've been actively following the latest season of Survivor. Yeah, the one that started out with teams divided by race. But that experiment pretty much proved to be ineffective (and incredibly boring) for the show, so the teams were quickly dissolved and integrated. Since then, I've been watching the show week-to-week, primarily because of one guy: Yul Kwon. He is one of just six contestants left (along with fellow Korean American Becky. Without question, Yul has stood out as the show's most solid overall contender, regardless of race. Plus, he just seems like a really cool guy. I'm rooting for him all the way. Anyway, CBS is currently running the Mercury Mariner "Clever Choice" Poll, where you can vote for which contestant is most deserving of an '08 Mercury Mariner. I cast my vote for Yul!

12.10.06

Saw this last week on the Today show... Jess, American Girl's Girl of the Year 2006. According to the website, her dad's Irish American and her mom's Japanese American—"but they both love archeology." Whooo! Who doesn't? Sure to be a big seller this year (I'm told that this American Girl doll line is phenomenally popular), the doll will be available through the end of the month.

12.08.06

One last reminder to get your entries in for the Hundred Percent DVD. I'll be accepting them until the end of today. Just email me with your name and mailing address, with "HUNDRED PERCENT DVD" written in the subject line. I'll draw some names at random and we'll have our winners. Good luck!

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who participated. Winners will be announced shortly.

12.08.06

Rosie O'Donnell's "ching chong" bit on The View made it on to Gawker the other day: Rosie O'Donnell's Sophisticated Grasp Of Mandarin Stuns And Impresses. Why not just add the GONG sound effect, Rosie?

Adding to the fray, Guy Aoki was the Adam Carolla Show yesterday to talk about the incident. Yeah, you read that right—Guy Aoki and Adam Carolla. They're like buddies now. Carolla considers himself "in" with Asians, having gone through fire, and somehow now a better man. Yeah, some of us aren't so forgiving. Listen to the show segment here. Please. Did Guy Aoki give Carolla a Yellow Pass or something? Because it's obvious to me that Carolla, who's smug and patronizing throughout this clip (granted, he's always like that), still doesn't get it or give a damn. He's just going through the motions and still doing penance for his own "ching chong" bit gone wrong. Please, stop.

12.08.06

A solid cast of actors headline HBO's two-part movie Tsunami: The Aftermath—Tim Roth, Chiwetel Ejoifor, Sophie Okonedo, Toni Collette... but dude, where are all the Asians? Shouldn't a movie about the Asian tsunami disaster feature, um, Asians? And not just some Asians, but a lot of them, considering that the majority of the disaster's 200,000-plus victims were in fact Asian. Samrit Machilesen is listed in the main cast as "Than," and IMDb lists Will Yun Lee as "Chai," but come on. This looks like a story about Westerners on a bad vacation. This review in USA Today isn't very encouraging either: HBO's 'Tsunami' is itself a disaster, and just wrong

12.08.06

The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition has released its annual report card on television diversity says opportunities for starring roles on prime time shows for APA actors have improved slightly over the past year on the four major networks - ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. I think I could've told you that. Better, but still not great. The report also expresses concern about the severe drop in APA and minority writers and producers. Here's the press release: The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition Releases 2006 Report Card on Television Diversity. And here's the report itself, downloadable from the AAJC website. One thing I have to wonder—is it still relevant to limit the report card's scrutiny to just the four major networks? With the ubiquity of cable and satellite channels, who watches just these broadcast networks anymore? There are a lot more programs and channels competing for our attention. It might be wise (though, probably a lot more work) to start widening scope of the report in the future...

12.08.06

More details on the tragic death of James Kim, coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle: Father much more lost than he thought. It reveals just how aimless and treacherous his trek was, after the fact. It just makes it that much more heartbreaking. The whole ordeal has captured the attention of millions: A FAMILY'S TRAGEDY. C.W. Nevius puts it in perspective: A Story of Hope... and Disappointment

12.08.06

The eight-minute "prequel" to the sixth season of 24 is currently up on YouTube (watch it quick—Fox will probably have it taken down soon). When last we left Jack Bauer, he was beaten, bloody, and held captive on a boat presumably headed to China... and facing a lifetime of torture at the hands of the nefarious Tzi Ma. The clip picks up seven months later, with Jack still being tortured up nice and good by Tzi and his boys. It pretty much ends being a glorified Toyota commercial, but damn, those Chinese are baaaad!

12.08.06

This week, the city of Oakland agreed Tuesday to pay $190,000 to two Asian women who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing a police officer of groping them after pulling them over for no reason: City to pay $190,000 to women officer groped. I first mentioned this here back in August '05. Veteran Oakland police officer Richard Valerga, 51, was charnged with making illegal traffic stops targeting Asian women, then "trying to kiss or caress them." Ugh. You know what's worse than a creepy dude with an Asian fetish? A creepy dude with an Asian fetish... and a badge.

12.08.06

Grace Lee's latest film American Zombie has been accepted into competition by the Slamdance Film Festival. Here's the info from indieWIRE:


"American Zombie," directed by Grace Lee

Two filmmakers team up to document a group of zombies in Los Angeles and their struggle to gain acceptance in the human community. (World Premiere)


Sounds like a heck of a departure from The Grace Lee Project. The cast includes Suzy Nakamura, currently on ABC's Help Me Help You (they've collaborated previously on the awesome short film Barrier Device). Here's American Zombie's MySpace page. And here's the official word from Slamdance.

12.08.06

Hey, it's Kumar! No, not Kal Penn. Check out the trailer for the upcoming feature film Kumar: My 88 Year Old Best Friend, a documentary about "the fascinating and unlikely friendship between eighty-eight year old cult film icon Kumar Pallana and thirty-year old indie label proprietor and PR/management guru Dave Brown." You may recognize Kumar from such Wes Anderson films as The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore. Well, he's apparently got an amazing story, told in this film. Oh, and Kumar even has a MySpace page.

12.07.06

News of James Kim's death really rattled me the other day. I didn't know the guy, but hearing about him and his family's ordeal really gripped me, and others all over the country: Reaction: For friends and strangers alike, hope turned to grief. There's a nice tribute for him over at Cnet, where he worked as a senior editor. It's just tragic, especially after so many held out hope for his safe return. He really did die a hero. Again, my heart goes out to his friends and family. You can send a note of hope and encouragement (and/or make a donation) to James' family here.

12.07.06

This week, Congress passed a bill for $38 million in National Park Service grants to restore and pay for research at ten World War II internment camps for Japanese Americans, to be preserved as reminders of how the United States treated some citizens in wartime: House Passes Bill to Preserve 10 Camps of Internment. Never again!

12.07.06

Another profile article on television's favorite new geek-turned-hero, Masi Oka: A surprise TV star embraces his geeky side. According to future-painting Isaac, Hiro will be confronting a large dinosaur in the near future on Heroes. He's going to need that sword.

12.07.06

Letters From Iwo Jima is the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures' pick as the best film of 2006: National Board Loves 'Letters'. It's Clint Eastwood's companion World War II film to Flags of Our Fathers, told from the Japanese perspective of the battle of Iwo Jima. Looks like Warner Brothers made a smart move, changing the release date of Letters from early 2007 to December 20th to qualify for awards season (especially after Flags failed to make the impact they were hoping for).

12.07.06

The Seattle Times has an interesting story about a Cambodian American family who found an extreme solution to their son's increasingly out-of-control juvenile deliquency—they shipped him off to live in a monastery in Cambodia for two years: Tough-love remedy for an unruly teen: Two years. With monks. In Cambodia. If this were like the movies, he would've returned with an intimate mastery of martial arts.

12.07.06

Another article on the growing popularity and acceptance of eyelid surgery for Asians as a regular cosmetic procedure: Eyelid surgery stigma fades among Asian-Americans. For folks who don't know, it's the most requested procedure among Asian Americans, where a tiny fold is added in the skin of her upper eyelid to widen the eyes. If y'all didn't notice, a lot of Asians lack that feature. More and more people insist that it's not a rejection of ethnic identity (i.e. trying to look "more white") but just one of those things you do to make your features more "aesthetically pleasing," like getting your ears pierced. Okay, but I gotta ask—whose standards of beauty are you trying so hard to adhere to? If bigger eyes are considered more aesthetically pleasing, and the majority of Asians naturally have smaller eyes, doesn't that mean Asians are simply considered less beautiful, by default? Hell, do you what you want. Just know what you're getting into, and what you're buying into. But my Asian sisters, hear me when I say this: you are beautiful the way you are.

12.07.06

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives have arrested two people suspected in a series of home-invasion robberies targeting elderly Asian women in Hacienda Heights, Norwalk and Rowland Heights: 2 arrested in series of home-invasion holdups. I believe mentioned these robberies a couple of weeks ago. Detectives armed with warrants arrested Ed Ross, 39, and Rosie Nichols, 34, on Saturday. Caught!

12.07.06

Saw this the other day over at Boing Boing... Now open in Toronto: i maid cafe, "a Japanese cafe where women dressed up in anime maid outfits wait on patrons with lavish attention." Ugh. Otaku Asian fetishists are lining up around the block as we speak...

EDIT: The Boing Bong description apparently got it wrong... I'm told the cafe is not Japanese, but a Hong Kong/Taiwanese "theme cafe." This, of course, probably won't make much difference to the fetishists.

12.06.06

Just a reminder... you can win a copy of Eric Koyanagi's Asian American independent film Hundred Percent, finally out on DVD this month from Pathfinder Pictures. To enter the drawing, just email me with your name and mailing address, with "HUNDRED PERCENT DVD" in the subject line. Duplicate entries will be discarded (you know who you are, suckas). Don't be a fool—follow instructions, and you could win! I'll be accepting entries until the end of Friday. Learn more about the film here, or just pre-order the thing here.

12.06.06

A video clip of Rosie O'Donnell's "ching chong" moment on The View the other day is up and running on the ABC website here (under "The View: Hot Topics - Danny DeVito"). The clip is a little over three minutes long, and the bit in question happens at around 2:06. There's no question about it—O'Donnell indeed goes for the cheap laugh with an extended bit of mock Chinese. So unnecessary. And the audience applauds her! You've got to be kidding me. That's racist! And of course, nobody cares...

UPDATE: The offending portion of the clip has been uploaded to YouTube: Rosie O'Donnell Makes Fun of Chinese People!

12.06.06

Some tragic news. Search teams have found the body of James Kim in the southern Oregon wilderness. I just saw the announcement from Oregon authorities: Searchers have found missing dad's body. No other details yet. My heart goes out his wife Kati and their two daughters. It's just an awful end to this ordeal.

12.06.06



Something fun for everyone, going down this weekend at GR2 in Los Angeles... Giant Robot hosts the first annual UGLYCON, a convention dedicated to the awesome Uglydolls, December 9th through January 16th at GR2. The event opens this weekend, featuring an art show, costume contest, prizes and a special Uglydoll lecture by creators Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath. Fun, right? For more information, go here. Jeero is my favorite.

12.06.06

Russell Leong has a piece in the Los Angeles Times on the presence and influence of Asian Americans in Los Angeles, written for the Times' 125th anniversary: East meets West meets East again

12.06.06

I've been seeing commercials for this new ABC midseason comedy In Case of Emergency, starring Kelly Hu. As reported here previously, she plays Dara Lee, a once-high school valedictorian, now a hooker in a Korean massage parlor. WONDERFUL. Indeed, it is possible to portray not one, but two opposite Asian stereotypes in one role. And man, don't get me started about the red dress they have here wearing in the photo here. For the curious, the show is scheduled to premiere on January 3rd.

12.06.06

The family and friends of James Kim, still missing somewhere in Oregon, are holding out hope for his safe rescue and return: 'We are not going to quit until we find him'. They describe 35-year-old Cnet editor as a calm and resourceful guy, attributes that'll hopefully keep him alive. Here's the San Francisco Chronicle's podcast interview with Sgt. Jeff Proulx of the Oregon State Police, talking about the search efforts: Oregon police describe search efforts for James Kim. And here's a website the Kims' family friend set up for updates and developments: www.jamesandkati.com.

The search for James Kim reminded me of Jerry Tang, who disappeared from his San Francisco apartment over a year ago, and hasn't been seen since: Jerry Tang, One Year Later. His wife held a vigil in Golden Gate Park last week to remind people that Jerry is still missing and to encourage people to keep looking for him: Wife Of Missing SF Man To Hold Vigil In Golden Gate Park. There are updates and information on the search available here: FindJerry.org

12.06.06

Some interesting news out of Hawaii... a federal appeals court ruled yesterday that a private school, the Kamehameha Schools, can favor Hawaiian natives for admission as a means of giving a helping hand to a downtrodden indigenous population: Hawaii School's Admission Policy Upheld. The decision by a 15-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling by three of the same judges that the Schools' policy amounted to unlawful discrimination. In yesterday decision, the majority noted that the case was unique because Congress has singled out the plight of native Hawaiians for improvement, just as lawmakers have done with Alaskan natives and American Indians. More on the decision here: Hawaii Schoolsí Racial Enrollment Upheld

12.06.06

Anybody out there watch The View yesterday? I've gotten a few reports about a possible "ching chong" incident, courtesy of Rosie O'Donnell. Geraly wrote in the other day with this information:


just wondering if anyone else has asked about rosie
o'donnell on the view this morning. i just happened
to be flipping channels and joy behar was talking
about how danny devitos appearance on the view made
them popular enough that they were probably being seen
in outer mongolia. then, my baby started to cry and i
didn't hear what rosie said in response right after
that... but when i got back to the tvm what i did
hear (i'm 90% sure) was "ching chong, ching chong,
the view, ching chong ching chong". i keep looking
for replays but i can't find any. just wondering if
anyone else mentioned this?


Then I got this email from Kristine in Chicago:


This morning (12/5/06) on "the View," Rosie O'Donnell and the gang were discussing the Danny Devito "incident" when Rosie remarked that this was such big news everywhere that people in China were probably saying "ching ching ching chong Danny Devito ching chong ching chong drunk on The View ching chong (etc.)" I was sort of surprised about her lack of insensitivity especially considering her outrage at Kelly Ripa's Clay Aiken comments recently. I guess it's another example of how stereotypes/ racially insensitive comments about Asians can be made and no one thinks much of it, or even bats an eye. Not even sure how many others who were watching the show even noticed it, but it bugged the crap out of me!


Now, I didn't see this, so I'm not exactly sure of the details/context, but it definitely sounds shady. I'm sorry, but anytime someone falls back on the ol' "ching chong ching chong" for cheap laughs, you're not walking a fine line—you've crossed it. And that's racist! But again, I didn't see this for myself. Anybody out there see it? Better yet, does anybody have a video clip of this?

12.06.06



Bad news for this guy.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to check out TeleMongol, the Asian American sketch comedy collaboration between Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, Cold Tofu, OPM, and 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors. It's a show built around the premise of an all-Asian American television network. Very funny stuff. No one is safe. They lampoon the likes of Kim Jong Il, Korean dramas, Desperate Housewives, and of course, Bai Ling. My favorite. Rick Yune takes a quite a beating too. And Greg Watanabe does a hell of a George Takei impression. Good times. Check out the remaining two weekends of the show, running through December 17th at GTC Burbank. For more information, go here.

12.05.06

Last month I wrote about the serial rapist that's been sexually assaulting Asian women in Northern California for the past 15 years. A friend of the brave victim who came forward last month created a website, The NorCal rapist info page, to keep the public aware and informed about the rapist, with details, history and information, including an updated sketch. The site also has a downloadable flier to print out and disperse. There's a $21,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Stay vigilant, and be careful out there!

12.05.06

Thanks again, YouTube. Here's part two of MadTV's hilarious tribute/parody of Korean dramas, starring Bobby Lee, Sung Kang and Cathy Shim: Attitudes and Feelings, episode 2. Again, this will probably only be funny to those who are familiar with Korean dramas.

12.05.06

This week, the Space Shuttle Discovery will launch on a 12-day mission to rewire the International Space Station. The mission's seven astronauts are among the most culturally diverse of any space shuttle crew: Discovery's 7 astronauts a diverse bunch. This includes U.S. Navy Cmdr. Sunita Williams, 41, who is of Indian descent. The shuttle will be dropping her off for a six-month stay at the lab, where she will do awesome space and science technology stuff.

12.05.06

While Lost fans wait patiently during the show's long mid-season hiatus, here's an interview from the Honolulu Advertiser on star Yunjin Kim: 'Lost' star wrote own script for fame. That had to be tough, after becoming a huge star in Korea, coming back to Hollywood as a virtual unknown and having to audition again. Luckily, she landed herself a role on one of the most popular shows on television...

12.05.06

Believe the hype! More talk of Yao Ming's crazy good basketball-playing this year, from Houston Chronicle columnist John P. Lopez: Yao again shows he's an MVP candidate. There's also audio commentary from Lopez here.

12.05.06

The New York Times has a brief Q & A with acclaimed composer Tan Dun, whose new opera The First Emperor makes its debut at the Metropolitan Opera this month: Composing a Life

12.05.06

The National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco is currently in the middle of a exhibit and public events series called Heroes All! A Tribute to Nikkei Veterans of World War II and Korea. The exhibit in the NJAHS Peace Gallery features a collection of veterans' portraits and interviews from San Francisco photographer Tom Graves' book and traveling exhibit. The exhibit runs through December 31st. For more information, go here.

12.05.06

Here's a story about a school, run out of a church in New Jersey, committed to teaching Korean culture and creating community for Korean adoptees and their families: Korean culture for the whole family

12.05.06

Three members of the Kim family, Kati Kim and her two young daughters—missing since Thanksgiving weekend—have been found. James Kim is still missing: Mom, 2 kids survive -- frantic hunt for dad. The family was stranded in the mountains of southwestern Oregon while driving home to San Francisco. Kati and the children were rescued yesterday afternoon when a helicopter spotted them. James, however, left on foot two days earlier to find help, and hasn't been seen since. Searchers were still looking for him on Monday night. More here: San Francisco family found alive, father still missing


12.04.06



Check it out... Eric Koyanagi's Hundred Percent is finally available on DVD! It's an offbeat comedy-drama starring Dustin Nguyen, Garrett Wang, Tamlyn Tomita, Darion Basco, Keiko Agena, and Lindsay Price, among others. This trailblazing Asian American independent feature film made its debut way way back in 1998, made a splash on festival circuit, and hasn't been seen since. It's one of those films I heard about, but never got a chance to see. Due to legal wrangling and business problems beyond Eric's control, it never got a proper theatrical release, and hasn't been available on home video... until now. Eight years later, the DVD gets released next week, December 12th, from Pathfinder Pictures, with special features and the whole nine yards. Get it at the usual online retailers, like Amazon.com. Learn more about the film here. While Asian American cinema has progressed, made strides, and moved on, Hundred Percent remains a really interesting snapshot of Asian American cinema from a particular era.

So... why don't we give something away? To celebrate the release of the movie, Eric has provided a few copies of Hundred Percent to giveaway to you, the good readers of this website. If you'd like to win a copy, just send me an email with your name and mailing address, and be sure to include "HUNDRED PERCENT DVD" in the subject line, by the end of this Friday, December 8th. I'll throw all the entries into a hat and draw a few winners at random. Dig it? Get your entries in...

12.04.06

Hong Kong actor Chan Kwok-kwan has been cast in the lead role in a new Chinese television series about Bruce Lee: Chan Kwok-Kwan Stars in Bruce Lee Series. If you've seen Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer, you already know this guy pull off Lee's looks and gestures. He played the Bruce-lookalike goalie. Looks like he's found his niche...

12.04.06

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward welcomed eight biracial kids from Korea to Pittsburgh this weekend for the inaugural event of his "Helping Hands Foundation": Hines Ward Welcomes Korean Kids To Pittsburgh. More here and here.

12.04.06

Saw this item all over the blogs this weekend... the Chinese site for the BenQ MusiQ Dog Tag MP3 player features an image of a guy posing defiantly in front of what looks alarmingly like the ruins of the World Trade Center. Yeah. I guess somebody thought it was a good idea. Now, I'm inclined to believe it wasn't meant to be totally disrespectful—I'm told the text roughly translates to "Though the world be destroyed, I will still believe in music." Sort of a more hopeful message. But come on! BenQ had to know the image would hit a nerve: There is nothing cool about the WTC ruins. Expect lots of pissed off people offering their openly hostile opinions of the Chinese...

12.04.06

For my people in San Diego... This week, SDAFF presents a special screening of the documentary A State of Mind, a rare glimpse of North Korean life and society. Thursday, December 7th at UltraStar Cinemas, Mission Valley at Hazard Center. View the trailer for the film here. It looks really fascinating. For more information about the screening, go here.

12.03.06

Yet another article on the influx of Asian families in local New York communities—a population particularly reflected in the region's school districts: Surge in Asian Enrollment Alters Schools. I sort of wonder when these kinds of population changes will cease to be newsworthy, and if your community happens to be home to a lot of Asians, it won't be considered a big deal. Oh, and I love how the photo that accompanies this story has positioned the two cute Asian kids in the class up front, to reflect "the influx of more Asian families into the district." Two kids represent an influx?

12.02.06

Check out the U.S. trailer for the South Korean monster movie The Host: EXCLUSIVE: THE HOST RED BAND TRAILER! The movie is directed by Bong Joon-ho, stars Song Kang-ho, and was huge box office smash earlier this year. Bong's previous crime thriller Memories of Murder, also starring Song, is freaking incredible. From what I've heard and seen about The Host, it also looks pretty kickass. The movie was originally slated for a January release, but is now scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on March 9th, 2007 from Magnolia Pictures. I'm looking forward to checking this one out.

12.02.06



Here are a set of dolls I hope no kids find under the three on Christmas morning: Gwen Stefani & Harajuku Girls. That's right! Gwen (four versions: Bananas, Cool, Hollaback, Tick Tock), along her favorite Asian sidekicks/pets/accessories, Love, Angel, Music and Baby—the Harajuku Girls. Collect them all! No thank you, Santa.

12.02.06

The Los Angeles Times ran a story the other day on Rudy Kurniawan, a dude who really likes his wine: Young wine fanatic ups the ante

12.01.06

Tripmaster Monkey posted this great article a few weeks ago, timed with the recent release of the latest James Bond flick Casino Royale: License to Kill (Asians), a rundown of Asian folks appearing throughout the history of the 007 movie franchise. Tsai Chin's random appearance in Casino Royale makes so much sense now—it's obviously a tip of the hat to her role in 1967's You Only Live Twice, a movie that sounds so bad it must be seen. It's the one where Bond undergoes special surgery to go undercover as a Japanese person. That's right, baby. Yellowface! Put that one in your Netflix queue.

12.01.06

The AAFilmlab in New York presents a special information panel next week: AAFilmLab Feature Film Production Panel, featuring filmmakers James Bai, Eric Byler, Karin Chien, Stann Nakazono, and Greg Pak. Tuesday, December 5th at 19 West 26th Street. Looks like it's going to be a really interesting discussion, so check it out. For more information, go here.

12.01.06

With the recent release of the DVD, I've sort of been on a Flower Drum Song nostalgia kick. While Googling around, I came across this awesome TIME magazine cover from 1958 of Miyoshi Umeki and Pat Suzuki from the original Broadway show:



Crazy, right? Here's the accompanying article from the issue: The Girls on Grant Avenue, dated December 22, 1958. What a trip.

12.01.06

Here's another story on singer/songwriter Vienna Teng, a refreshing Asian American voice in the "Tori Amos-Fiona Apple-Sarah McClachan genre": Singer-Songwriter Teng Seeks Balance. (Real name: Cynthia Shih.) She release her latest album Dreaming Through The Noise was released earlier this year. In a way, her story of Silicon Valley software engineer-turned-musician has sort of become legendary.

Speaking of Ms. Teng, she'll be taping a live show DVD on January 21st at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Her website is offering event packages (airfare/hotel/event tickets) you can purchase to attend the taping: VIP packages for Jan 21st DVD taping available now. Or maybe you can win a trip to the Jan 21st DVD taping, including airfare! Good music and good times in the City of Brotherly Love.

12.01.06

Japanese baseball players = big money: Merely Talking to Japanís Best Is Big Business.