la weekly's review of balls of fury

This review of Balls of Fury by Nathan Lee in LA Weekly is kind of funny, kind of lazy, and a bit crude, but conveys pretty much all I really needed to know about the movie: Test My Balls of Fury.
Test My Balls of Fury
Answer all correctly and you still lose

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - 8:39 pm

1. Balls of Fury is a movie about:
a. A former table-tennis prodigy (Dan Fogler as Randy Daytona) enlisted by the FBI to infiltrate the underground pingpong tournament of a legendary Chinese criminal (Christopher Walken).
b. Suppository jokes.
c. Little worth discussing and even less worth seeing.
d. All of the above.

2. In his first leading role for the big screen, Fogler, a Tony Award–winning actor (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), can best be described as:
a. A comedic genius.
b. Killing time until his agent gets a call from Judd Apatow.
c. A cross between Jack Black and Richard Simmons.

3. Because the FBI agent who approaches Randy is played by a Latino (George Lopez), he will be made to say:
a. "Maricón!
b. "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!"
c. "Nigga, pleez!"
d. "Say hello to my little friend!"

4. When Randy undergoes intensive pingpong training at the Happy Mu Shu Palace ("If Mu Shu fits, wear it!"), his guru, Wong (James Hong), offers the following inscrutable advice:
a. "Be as the cricket."
b. "The cheeks cannot hold the smoke. That is what it is."
c. "Pingpong is not the Macarena."
d. "I miss you, Victor Wong."

5. Are Chinese people funny?
a. Yes.
b. No.
c. Totally, like with those weird little sticks they use to eat and everything!

6. As Feng, the criminal mastermind/pingpong enthusiast, Walken can best be described as:
a. A comedic genius.
b. Killing time until his agent gets a call from Judd Apatow.
c. Ka-ching, bitches!

7. When Feng's Amazonian henchwoman offers the services of sex slaves to Randy, it's funny because:
a. They're dudes!
b. They're dudes who scream like little girls.
c. Oh, I get it: sarcasm. Lighten up, homo.

8. Maggie Q co-stars as:
a. A pair of breasts.
b. A pair of breasts that know kung fu.
c. Who's Maggie Q?

9. Balls of Fury is best viewed:
a. At the multiplex.
b. On an airplane.
c. Loaded.
d. Never.

10. Balls of Fury is to The Sound and the Fury as:
a. Freddy Got Fingered is to Finnegans Wake.
b. Borat is to Austerlitz.
c. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is to The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.
d. Superbad is to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

11. Balls of Fury belongs in the tradition of:
a. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Blades of Glory.
b. Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury.
c. The Karate Kid, Big Trouble in Little China.
d. Wu Tang Forever.
e. Ka-ching, bitches!

12. Balls of Fury was written by:
a. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.
b. A racist monkey.

13. Balls of Fury should have been directed by:
a. Don't hate. Mr. Garant did a lovely job.
b. Stephen Chow.
c. Jacques Rivette.

14. This review is:
a. As lazy as the movie under consideration.
b. Lazier than the movie under consideration.
My only hope now is that this movie bombs at the box office, leaving no desire for anyone to make a sequel. Ever. But I'm not getting hopes up, since audiences have proven that they'll go to theaters in droves to watch any kind of racist idiocy on the big screen.

hyphen, five years later

Jeff Yang's latest "Asian Pop" column is dedicated to Bay Area-based Hyphen magazine, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary: Believe the Hyph. Jeff allows himself to reminisce a bit about being a co-founder of now-defunct aMagazine, way back in the day. Younger cats might not remember it, but for a long time it was one of the only regularly-published Asian American magazines around. It wasn't perfect, and sometimes it was downright frustrating, but it was ours. I even had a subscription for a few years before they called it quits. You could say that Hyphen was born out of the void left by aMagazine. Anyway, props to Melissa, Harry, and everyone who works on Hyphen. It's a true labor of love.

gettin' too old for this

That's a still from upcoming movie The Forbidden Kingdom, the long-anticipated colloboration between martial arts movie superstars Jackie Chan and Jet Li. People have been waiting for this movie for a long time. The problem is, I think we might have waited too long. I've always wanted to see a Jet/Jackie movie, or hell, maybe just a Jet/Jackie movie fight, because it would it be a lot of fun. But when I think about it, what I really want to see is a Jet/Jackie fight circa 1992. Dial it back fifteen years or so, when both actors were doing some of their best movies. Let's face it—both guys are kind of past their physical prime, and aren't making the kind of moves or movies they used to. Of couse, time travel is not readily available to us, so we're stuck with The Forbidden Kingdom, starring older, aging Jet and Jackie. And everything I've heard about this movie thus far has kind of sucked. I'm not expecting much out of this... and Jet Li is apparently urging others to do the same. Lower your expectations: Jet Li, Jackie Chan 'too old' to really throw down


the mental health history of seung hui cho

A new report provides a detailed, comprehensive look at Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho and his troubled mental health history: Cho's problems date to early childhood. His teachers said he apparently began showing suicidal and homicidal tendencies by the eighth grade. Fairfax County school officials determined that Seung Hui Cho suffered from an anxiety disorder so severe that they put him in special education and devised a plan to help. His parents, teachers and mental health counselors wove together a safety net that held him together through most of high school and got him into Virginia Tech, but it all fell apart when he got to college, where he stopped getting that help. Basically, there were warning signs. And Virginia Tech was never informed of the problem: Unknown to Va. Tech, Cho Had a Disorder. Somehow, while this information paints a more comprehensive of Cho, it still doesn't make what happened any easier to understand.

random stories from the community

Amidst all the talk about contaminated Chinese food products and toothpaste and all that, you'd think everybody would be changing their shopping habits... but many Chinese grocers in the San Gabrial Valley are apparently seeing little effect on their business: Food from China scares some, tantalizes others

Here's a great story in the San Jose Mercury News on a real community hero, 25-year-old leukemia patient Michelle Maykin, who is seeking a bone marrow match, but has also embarked on a mission to find a match for a fellow patient: Ill woman takes on man's struggle to live. Learn more about Michelle at projectmichelle.com.

Some cool South Bay teens pulled together their knowledge, resources and multi-media experience to reach out and educate their schools and communities about Hepatitis B: Sunnyvale, Saratoga teens educating peers about Hepatitis B virus. That's pretty damn awesome. These kids have done a whole lot more than I ever thought to accomplish (or care about) when I was in high school...

The University of California Davis has received a five-year, $3.9 million federal grant with which to create a national center to study Asian American mental health issues: UC Davis granted $3.9M for Asian American mental health studies. The National Institute of Mental Health grant will establish the Asian American Center on Disparities Research on the UC Davis campus. The center will support and coordinate the efforts of a network of researchers studying Asian American mental health. Brothers and sisters, we need this.

The National Education Association is calling for a series of changes to improve opportunities for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities facing educational challenges: NEA Highlights Education Needs of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders. The model minority myth must go!


yi jianlian signs with milwaukee bucks

About time. After all the speculating and talking and back and forth, Yi Jianlian is ready to play. After being picked sixth overall in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks back in June, and keeping every in suspense all summer, Yi signed a standard rookie scale contract with the Bucks in Hong Kong yesterday: Bucks officials travel to Hong Kong, sign Yi. There was some doubt over whether Yi would actually end up in Milwaukee, since it wasn't one of the teams his camp was looking at, and the city isn't particularly known for its large Asian population. But I guess they made it happen. And Yi just brought millions and millions of Chinese people on board as Milwaukee Bucks fans.

clinton mixed up with shady asian money?

I've been hearing quite a bit over the last couple of days about a man named Norman Hsu. Who? For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison, and then just disappeared. Turns out the guy has been hanging around quite publicly, at least for the last three years: Democratic fundraiser is a fugitive in plain sight. Since 2004, Norman Hsu has been a high roller at Democratic fundraisers, carving out some political and financial influence, funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the likes of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. He has apparently developed a knack for bundling large contributions from "obscure citizens who live modest lives": Big Dem fundraiser wanted on swindling charges

Obscure citizens meaning families like the Paws. This Wall Street Journal story started a lot of the chatter, reporting that the Paws' "unlikely" middle class address is listed for many contributions to the Clinton campaign: Big Source of Clinton's Cash Is an Unlikely Address. And here's the follow-up: Leading Clinton Donor Stays Below the Radar. This isn't the first we've seen a whole lotta fuss over questionable Clinton donors, lest we forget the Asian donor scandals of the 1990s. Oh yeaaaaahhh, wait, those guys were Asians too. This Daily Kos entry takes issue with the scrutiny: Chinese-Americans Give Money To Clinton. The Horror. The Horror.

Look, I won't pretend that I know too much about the intricacies of campaign donations, political influence and fundraiser dinners and all that. I don't know what kind of shady business Norman Hsu has been involved with, and I don't know whether this fuss over the Paws is legit. Forget all that. It seems to that there's an awful lot of attention here simply because we have donors here of Chinese descent. One wonders if there would be so much scrutiny and fanfare if the people involved here didn't have names like Hsu or Paw. You know what I'm saying? Anyway, Clinton is donating the funds she has received from Hsu to charity: Clinton to Give Away Funds From Donor With Outstanding Warrant. And Hsu says that he'll "refrain from all fundraising activities" until his arrest warrant is resolved: Fugitive donor bows out of fundraising

asian men and prostate cancer

A recent study focusing on Asian American men and prostate cancer seems to indicate that most Asian groups have higher survival rates than other groups: Asians May Have an Edge in Battling Prostate Cancer. South Asians, however, seem to be the exception, having worse survival rates than whites by some 40 percent—definitely a major limitation of clumping multiple Asian ethnicities into one group. So why are we so badass when it comes to prostate cancer survival? Don't know. But researchers hypothesize that Asian American dietary patterns—which tend to include less fat, more soy, and more vegetables than a typical American diet—may play a role.


magnolia dvd/poster giveaway

Master auteur Johnnie To's Exiled opens in select theaters this Friday. It's one of those kickass Hong Kong gangster dramas Johnnie To has made a name for himself doing. Go here to see when/where it's playing at a theater near you. Great stuff. So, to celebrate the release of Exiled, as well as the recent DVD release of Bong Joon-Ho's The Host, how about another giveaway? I know everybody likes some free stuff. We've got some goodies here courtesy of the good folks from Magnolia Pictures. Five random lucky winners will get a shiny new Exiled poster and a DVD copy of the hit South Korean monster movie The Host. You like that? But you're going to have to answer two questions... 1) Exiled is the pseudo-sequel to what 1999 Johnnie To film? 2) What is your favorite gangster film, Asian or otherwise? (No wrong answer for this one.) That's it. Email me your answers, along with your name and mailing address, by the end of Monday, September 3rd. And please include "EXILED GIVEAWAY" in the subject line. Entries that do not follow these simple directions will get thrown out. I'll throw all the correct responses in a hat and pick five winners. Easy. So get your entries in, and watch Exiled this Friday in theaters.

sidus buys into imaginasian

Some interesting news for ImaginAsian... last week, the company entered into the first phase of an extensive investment and multi-platform entertainment content agreement with leading Korean entertainment company Sidus Corporation—a deal that's worth in excess of $20 million: Sidus gets a slice of ImaginAsian TV. So what does this mean? For one thing, it looks like ImaginAsian was in big need of some help. Hopefully, the money will be used to expand the cable channel's subscriber base in the United States. According to ImaginAsian's CEO: "We need scale to get advertisers to pay attention to us. Right now, our share of the advertising marketplace is pretty sad." At least he's being honest. Here's the full press release.

nyc's first asian american fire marshal

Earlier this month in New York, 40-year-old FDNY veteran David Wong was named the first Asian American fire marshal the department's history: HISTORIC FDNY APPOINTMENT. Very cool. The marshal rank has existed since 1854, so dammit, it's about time.

the science of racism

This is a load smelly nonsense. In the recent article "Down subjects and Oriental population share several specific attitudes and characteristics," published in the academic journal Medical Hypotheses, two Italian "doctors" offer their theory about the close similarities between Down sydrome and "oriental" people. What kind of crazy talk is this? This blog entry from The Guardian breaks it down: Evolutionary regression back to 1866. Among their genius reasons: "Down subjects adore having several dishes displayed on the table, and have a propensity for food which is rich in monosodium glutamate." Family style and MSG? That's their big argument? Hilarious. My favorite, though, is this one: "Down persons during waiting periods, when they get tired of standing up straight, crouch, squatting down, reminding us of the 'squatting' position ... They remain in this position for several minutes and only to rest themselves." The Asian squat? Compelling. This is the year 2007, isn't it? That's racist!


nyc slasher targets asian women

Police in Manhattan are searching for a man who walks up to women on the street and cuts them with a knife. The attacker has apparently been targeting Asian women—three women, three attacks: Police searching for slasher in NYC. Over the past six weeks the stalker has been walking the streets of Manhattan, targeting Asian women at random, and slashing them across the right forearm in broad daylight. The first attack was in mid-July on 32nd Street in midtown and then the same day in Chinatown. The latest, on August 17th, was just barely two blocks away. The suspect is described by the victims as an African American man 25 to 30 years old, thin, and 5 8" to 5 11". He wears a light gray sweat shirt with the numbers 09 on the back. More here: Slasher on the Loose. My friends in NYC, be on the lookout, and watch your backs. And let's hope somebody catches this racist attacker soon.

masi oka's got milk

Hey look! That's Masi Oka, everybody's favorite time/space-bending supergeek, featured in one of the new Heroes-themed "Got Milk" ads. Look for it in comic books coming soon. (Thanks, Troy.)

big brother is watching... racists

Here's an idea. Let's gather the most ignorant, racist idiots we can find, stick them in a house, and turn on some cameras. We'll put it on television. And thus, we have the most useless show ever, Big Brother. Courtesy of YouTube, the Big Brother 8 USA Racism & Bigotry Sampler:

I've never watched this show, and don't plan on it. This is pretty much all I needed to see. Behold, the decline of human civilization. That's racist!


"you've got a friend" in far east movement

Some summertime music for you... the boys of the Far East Movement recently dropped a new mixtape Flavored Animal Droppings, which sounds rather gross, but is actually pretty damn fun. Stream the whole album and take a listen over at AsianAve. And if you like what you hear, get yourself a copy here. For fans waiting for their sophomore album Animal coming in 2008, this should hold you over until then. Their track "You've Got a Friend" with Lil Rob and Baby Bash is started to get picked up for radio play at random stations, including in Los Angeles and Arizona. Take a listen over at their MySpace page. Good stuff.

chin han in the dark knight

One of the movies I'm really looking forward to next year is The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan and Co.'s follow-up to Batman Begins. I'm a huge superhero movie fan, and that movie was definitely an example of genre done right. I've been valiantly trying to avoid online information about the The Dark Knight, just to enhance my enjoyment of the movie come opening day. It hasn't been easy. Anyway, a few months back I posted some info about a Dark Knight casting call for an "Asian Male (20's-60's) dark hair and/or clean shaven 5'5"-6'3." There's a rumor floating around out there that, according to someone who's read the script, Chin Han plays a character in The Dark Knight named "Lau." Don't know if it's a significant part in the movie. But at this point, I don't want to know any more. I will see who this Lau is on July 18, 2008.

supermodel sayoko yamaguchi dies

Last week, it was reported that Japanese supermodel Sayoko Yamaguchi, who was one of the first Asians to grace the fashion world's top catwalks, died earlier this month from acute pneumonia. She was 57: Japanese supermodel Yamaguchi dies at 57. In 1977, she was named by Newsweek as one of the top six models in the world. In later years, she appeared in film and television roles, most recently in Seijun Suzuki's crazy Pistol Opera.

boston progress radio

I've meaning to write about Boston Progress Radio for a while now, because it kicks some serious ass. Formerly "Yellow Powered Radio," BPR is a community-based community-based online radio station affiliated with the Boston Progress Arts Collective, with the goal of providing an Internet stream dedicated to featuring the music of Asian American artists. Lots of great stuff there, with a radio stream featuring a constantly-expanding range of Asian American artists, a blog, and audio/video podcasts. I've been listening for a few weeks now, and I'm really digging it. Check it out, everybody. Listen here.

which words are offensive?

Warning: this post will contain offensive language, for the purposes of conveying the results of a recent survey. This is really fascinating... Last month, the Harris Poll conducted a survey that confirmed that large majorities of the U.S. adult public find the use of certain terms offensive, while other less so, particularly in response to recent events that have made the news: Which Words Are Offensive?

The survey revolved around specific incidents and slurs: Don Imus' reference to the Rutgers female basketball players as 'nappy-headed hos' on the radio; Mel Gibson's use of Jewish slurs after being pulled over for drunk driving in 2006 audio-tape; Isaiah Washington's usage of the word 'faggot' toward another co-star of the television series Grey's Anatomy in 2007 reported in the media; Rush Limbaugh's reference to Senator Barack Obama as 'Obama Osama' on the radio; George Allen's use of the term 'Maccaca' in 2006 videotape at a political rally. These were highly publicized incidents in the media over the last year or so. Interesting... but what's missing? A lot.

If you look at the numbers, George Allen's 'macaca' remarks scored the lowest on scale of perceived offensiveness. I guess this isn't surprising, as most people have never even heard the word 'macaca' and probably thought it was made up, if anything. The question also makes no note that Allen was referring to a person of South Asian descent. But what really gets me is that the survey didn't even bother to ask anyone of Asian descent to participate. Nor did they bother to ask about any other incidents significant to the APA community—and we've certainly had our share over the last year and beyond. It's certainly reflective of why we have such a hard time finding allies to be sympathetic to our causes... we get so little coverage or regard, we're not important enough to make it on this survey. I guess it's true: people don't find Asian jokes offensive. And this makes it seem like not only do we have very little to be offended about, we simply don't care. What's up with that? This is an interested poll that is seriously flawed, and just could've been a hell of a lot better... (Thanks, Steven.)


what inspires you?

Just wanted to throw another plug out there for next weekend's INSPIRE/07 conference, a gathering of APA leaders from all sectors of our community. It looks like it's going to be a really weekend of workshops, panels and opportunities to build networks and relationships. Come meet and hear from folks like Yul Kwon, James Kyson Lee, Justin Lin, Sung Kang, Tamlyn Tomita, Norman Mineta, Elaine Kim, Eddy Zheng... the list goes on and on. It all goes down next weekend, August 31 - September 2 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. To learn more about the conference, go here, and view the conference schedule here. And check out some really cool promo videos ("I Love the Asians") for the conference here.

If you're thinking about going to the conference, and haven't registered yet, let me offer you a little something something... When you register, enter the coupon code ANGRY to get $50 off. But wait, if you're a student or work for a nonprofit organization, enter the coupon code VERY ANGRY to get $100 off. That makes things a little easier, right? It's going to be a really awesome conference, so register now... and I'll see you there!


lots of random stories

Last week in Edison, NJ, a ceremony marking India's independence anniversary led to protests by local veterans advocates after they learned the POW/MIA flag would be removed from a pole outside Town Hall so the Indian tricolor could fly below the American flag: Tempers flare over flag move in Edison. Here's the quote that gets me: "It's no longer Edison, it's little India," said Rosemary Wilson, a 30-year Edison resident... No, dear Rosemarie. It's America.

Interesting story in TIME on the large number of South Asian-owned hotels that have popped up along America's historic Route 66: No-Tell Motels. Members of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association now own 37% of the U.S. hotel industry. Unfortunately, the trend has prompted a xenophobic, racist response from competitors, with AMERICAN OWNED signs popping up outside motels around the country. Let me translate that for you... what they mean to say is, "NOT IMMIGRANT OWNED" ... or dare I say it, "WHITE OWNED."

Speaking of Asian-dominated businesses... here's a New York Times article on the ugly, not-so-glamorous side of the nail salon industry—often filled with cutthroat price wars, long hours, low wages and hazardous chemicals: At Nail Salons, Beauty Treatments Can Have a Distinctly Unglamorous Side. Your beautiful nails can come at a high price...

Christopher Pak is trying to change the cityscape of Los Angeles. Think taller, denser living and building: A taller L.A.? He's making it happen. I'm trying to envision this, but all I can think about is traffic.

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, the Justice Department's top civil rights enforcer, resigned this week following more than a year of criticism that his office was hiring conservative GOP loyalists over experienced attorneys with civil rights experience: Top Civil Rights Prosecutor Resigns. He was the first immigrant and first Korean-American to head the department's civil rights division.

John Seo and John Rhee, hotel owners in Joliet, IL, have filed a federal lawsuit which alleges an informant worked with Will County Sheriff's Detective Dennis Carey and Sgt. Edward Hayes to manufacture false identity theft charges against hotel owners and employees, "the majority of whom were of Asian descent": Hotel owners sue Will sheriff. Not only were the charges false, the hotel owners say their arrests almost destroyed their business.

An update on that slavery case from last month... the federal government has dismisssed the slavery charges against three men accused of detaining a troupe of Chinese acrobats and forcing it to perform: Slavery Charges Are Dismissed. It appears that the government wasn't able to develop evidence sufficient enough to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, the China Star Acrobats carry on.

Last week, activist Yang Jianli returned home to the United States after spending five years in a Chinese prison: 'I respect even my guards'. Yang, the co-founder of the Foundation for China in the 21st Century, a pro-democracy group based in Boston, was imprisoned in China in 2002 after he used a friend's passport to enter the country illegally so he could report on unfolding labor unrest. It's been a long road back to freedom...


film festival roundup

This is for you, Dallas. The 2007 Asian Film Festival of Dallas kicks off tonight with the Opening Night presentation of (surprise, surprise) Justin Lin's Finishing the Game (yes, that's Dustin Nguyen and MC Hammer in the photo above), and runs throught August 30th at Landmark's Magnolia Theatre. It looks like they've put together a really solid schedule showcasing some of the best of Asian and Asian American cinema, including Sang-Il Lee's Hula Girls, Stephane Gauger's The Owl and the Sparrow and Joy Dietrich's Tie a Yellow Ribbon. The festivities close out next week with the South Korean gambling drama Tazza. So head on out to the festival, and join in on the fun. It's going to be a good-ass time. For more information, head here.

Speaking of film festivals, the 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival recently announced its slate of official selections, and it looks pretty damn good. I'm really digging it. The festival opens with Finishing the Game (right around the movie's theatrical release), closes out with Michael Kang's gangster drama West 32nd, and includes some of the best features from this year's festival circuit. Not only do they throw one of the funnest film festivals around, they've put together one hell of a film program—one of the best I've seen all year. The festival runs October 11-18.

Also, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival is currently accepting submmissions for the 2008 Festival. Presented by the Center for Asian American Media, it's one of the nation's biggest festivals of its kind. They're accepting films and videos of all lengths and genres, made by and/or about Asian Americans and Asians of any nationality. Maybe you've got something that needs an audience. SFIAAFF is there for you. The early deadline is September 7, and late deadline October 5. For more information on how to submit your film, go here. The festival is scheduled for March 13-23, 2008.

And finally, for our neighbors to the north... mark your calendars for the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, running November 1-4, and the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, running November 14-18. Canada cares about Asian cinema too.


the international gesture for "chink"

What the hell is happening in this photo? That's Peru's Carlos Bazalar celebrating his game-winning goal over South Korea at the FIFA U-17 World Cup game this past Saturday. Check out the video. Yes, the chinky eyes. That's maturity and good sportsmanship. He just mocked Asians worldwide on international television with a simple, tired gesture. Unfortunately, almost any Asian kid in schoolyards across the United States is familiar with this racist taunt. How many kids around the world saw this and instantly learned the international gesture for "chink," thanks to this jerk? You'd think he would've gotten in some kind of trouble for this... but nope. Nothing. That's racist!

lees unite!

Last weekend, hundreds of people from around the country who share the Chinese surname "Lee" gathered in Los Angeles' Chinatown to celebrate the 19th national convention of the Lee Family Assn: Lee? Your party is here Formed nearly a century and a half ago in San Francisco, the group provided members a place of refuge and aid in Chinatowns across the United States, like many other Chinese family and village associations of its kind. The convention, which happens every three years, is meant to represent the 100,000 Lees living in the United States, and is apparently rivaled in size by the Wong group. Are we going to have a fight on our hands? Wongs vs. Lees? Bring it.

alive not dead

Check out Alive Not Dead, launched not too long ago... It's an online artistic community for artists and fans to share their artistic creations (film, lit, music, etc.) and get to know each better. I guess it's kind of like Friendster or MySpace, but for Asian/Asian American artists and fans who want to connect. If you're wondering about the name, AliveNotDead.com originally started as the official website for the fictitious Hong Kong boy band Alive, stars of the Spinal Tap-like mockumentary The Heavenly Kings. The site has since evolved into an online artists' space. Some pretty good information there, so check it out. Right now they're running a contest, where one winner will get a round trip to the Hawaii International Film Festival to catch screenings of Finishing the Game and The Heavenly Kings and hang with the movies' casts and crews, as well as some other cool prizes. More info here.

yet another stupid t-shirt design

Racism and t-shirts. They're just a classic combination. From Abercrombie & Fitch, to tired jokes like this one, we've seen them all. And yet stupid, offensive designs continue to replenish and populate the marketplace... case in point, this "Flied Rice" design, seen over at Threadless. First saw this a couple of weeks ago over at Racialicious. Hey, have you heard the one about the dirty Chinese restaurant? Ha ha. So original. The fly is a nice touch. "Flied rice"? Wow, haven't heard that one since fifth grade. That's racist!

EDIT: It should be noted that the t-shirt isn't actually for sale... yet. The way Threadless works, people can submit their designs and users score them. High-scoring designs can win prizes, and get printed and sold on the site. Thankfully, the way things are going now, tamphan98's "Flied Rice" is scoring pretty poorly.


defamation, my ass

Remember last year, when Power 105 radio host Troi Torain, aka "DJ Star," was fired and arrested? He asked listeners on the air for information about rival DJ Raashaun Casey's 4-year-old daughter, made sexually charged remarks about her, and used racial slurs when talking about Casey's wife. He was charged with child endangerment, though prosecutors eventually dropped the accusations. Amidst all this, City Councilman John Liu spoke out against Torain, calling him a "sick, racist pedophile," and saying he should be "terminated from the face of the earth." Harsh words, but you can't say the guy didn't deserve it.

So what does Troi do? He sues Councilman Liu with a $55 million for damaging his reputation. Idiot. Dude, the only person damaging your reputation is you. Defamation, my ass. Last week, a federal judge cleared Liu of the charges, ruling that most people wouldn't take his comments at face value: Councilman Cleared Of Defamation Charges. More here: COURT SOCKS SHOCK-JOCK SUIT VS. POL. Liu stands by what he said:
"This aside, there is no question that the broadcasts in May 2006 endangered the welfare of children. Although the vile and revolting words were said by Torain, ultimately the accountability rests upon the Clear Channel Corporation. This is a company that sought to hire Torain--in fact, paid him an extended contract worth an astronomical $17 million--to push the envelope and pump up profits at the community's expense, and they must take responsibility for profiting from this hate media. The least the corporation can do is to spend some money supporting organizations dedicated to fighting child predators."
Props to Council Liu, for continually standing up and speaking out where others have stayed quiet. As for Torain, he can eat it. $55 million? Who do you think you are—Roy Pearson? Thank you for your time. Now please kindly shut the hell up. Forever.

early review of 21

For a couple of years now, I've been following along with the progress of 21, the movie based on Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House, about real-life MIT students who took Vegas for millions by counting cards in blackjack. Very interesting story, particularly because most of the guys involved were Asian American. However, the story we've been hearing about the movie version is that most of the characters would be magically Hollywoodized into white people, with maybe one or two Asians speckled into the mix. Well, an early (poorly written) review of the movie was recently posted to Ain't It Cool News, and it's apparently what we feared:
... all the characters were interesting and had a reason of being in each scene to tell the story that they were telling . every character except the two asian actors that is ... they seem to be there simple for comic relief and it worked but mostly because the other actors just treated them like they we're just retarded.
Granted, if you read through the entire review, it's really poorly written. But the reviewer makes it a point to specifically highlight the two Asian characters, who are used for comic relief... That's not very encouraging. I'm assuming he's talking about characters played by Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira. Too bad. Can't say you didn't see it coming. For those who care, the movie is scheduled to be released next March.

asian american phds, help out oiyan

All right, friends. My pal Oiyan is asking for your help. She is currently writing a chapter for an upcoming book on graduate students of color, and is looking for Asian American Ph.D students to take her online survey. Here are the details, in her own words:
Dear Angry Asian Man Reader:

Please help me out with my research project. I'm writing a chapter for an upcoming book on the experiences of current Asian American doctoral students and former Ph.D. students. It will be in a book on Graduate Students of Color, and it's the "token" chapter on Asian Americans. So, please help me represent! Folks who complete the survey will be eligible to win a gift certificate for the iTunes online store.

To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following criteria:

1. Identify as Asian American - a person with ethnic/ancestral roots in South Asia (Indian sub-continent), the Philippines, Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.; or ethnically Hmong, Mien, Chaam, etc.), or East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.)
2. Be a U.S. citizen or resident (not on an international student visa)
3. Be at least 18 years old
4. Meet one of the following criteria of Ph.D. status:
a) Currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program
b) Discontinued progress toward a Ph.D. within the last 3 years
c) Completed your Ph.D. at an accredited, degree-granting university in the U.S. within the last 3 years

If you do not meet all 4 of the eligibility requirements listed, please feel free to send this invitation to others who might meet these criteria.

This short online questionnaire will ask you to answer questions about your experiences in your Ph.D. program and as a Ph.D. student/candidate in general. Specifically, there will be questions about university resources, your program curricula and pedagogy, student networks, professionalization opportunities, personal and professional responsibilities.

If you choose to complete the questionnaire you will be entered into a random drawing to win one of two $10 gift certificates to the iTunes online store.

Since this is a web-based survey, you may access it from any computer with Internet access. Please click on this link to begin the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=T1W2wIj9fZ7Dtw6EhEC1sw_3d_3d

If you have any trouble with the link, try cutting and pasting it into your web browser.

If you have any questions about the survey, or further difficulties with the survey web link, please feel free to contact Oiyan Poon (oiyan.poon@gmail.com) or Dr. Shirley Hune (shirleyhune@gmail.com).

Thank you,

P.S. Please send this invitation to anyone you think would meet the criteria for this study.
Asian American PhDs, I know you're out there. Help a sister out. Oiyan an awesome woman who's helped me out quite a bit in the past, so help me sends some love back. Take the survey!

asians dudes, of course, on the pickup artist

A bunch of folks wrote in to tell me about the Asian guy on VH1's new reality show The Pickup Artist, in which a group of "loveable losers" get schooled in the secret to wooing women, and compete for the title of "Master Pick-Up Artist." So of course they had to throw a couple of Asians guys in to the mix, like Pradeep, the 22-year-old researcher/mathematician who is afraid of girls, and Stephen Poon ("Spoon"), the 27-year-old graphic designer with a Star Wars scooter helmet and some serious video game bragging rights ("80,000 honor kills"). Real winners. Unfortunately, Stephen dropped out of the competition in the second episode before I had a chance to check the show out, apparently because he couldn't handle the pressure. It's just as well, I guess. Going on the show is embarrassing enough. Who knows what kind of fool he would've made of himself down the line?

controversy over mlk monument

Another article on the controversy over the planned Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington DC... the statue of King, to be unveiled on the Mall in 2009, has been the subject of a great deal of criticism ever since master sculptor Lei Yixin of China was selected as the lead sculptor for the project.

Critics are basically equating the choice as "outsourcing," and argue that an African American—or any American—should have been picked to sculpt King. Not a Chinese guy: A King Statue 'Made in China'?

I can see how people would feel very strongly about this, and in some ways they bring up legitimate questions—is Martin Luther King an American hero (they are, after all, placing the statue in DC, among the other great American monuments) and thus should be sculpted by an American artist? Or is King a hero to the world? The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation says they chose Lei for one reason only: artistic ability.

It's an interesting debate, but what really irritates me is the rhetoric of Lei's detractors. It's certainly fashionable these days to use all sorts of anti-Chinese language... and here, they've jumped all over it. From the "outsourcing" comment to the "Made in China" reference. It's obvious they're trying to capitalize on this sentiment, calling Lei Yixin's involvement "obscene."

Ridiculous. This issue has somehow been lumped in with contaminated food, defective toys, and China's looming economic power. Wow, it really has become popular to disparage all things Chinese.


ken leung joins lost

Awww yeah. Some Lost casting news... Heard some rumors about this last week from well-placed sources, but I guess the news is officially out there, according to TV Guide... Ken Leung, last seen delivering a killer performance in The Sopranos, has been cast in a recurring role in ABC's Lost: Sopranos Scene-Stealer Gets Lost!. It's believed he'll be playing Russell, "a brilliant mathematician who is capable of great insights and has a tremendous knowledge across various scientific fields." Dude, how many Asians are now on Lost? Ah, but of course, Ken plays a math guy. Seriously though, he's a talented actor who deserves a lot more exposure in a series like Lost. Can't wait until the show returns. It's been a long summer.


vienna teng's live at world cafe live dvd

Hey, everybody's favorite software engineer-turned-singer/songwriter Vienna Teng has released her first-ever DVD Live at World Cafe Live, recorded in Philadelphia last January. I've seen a couple of Vienna's concerts, and she puts on a great live show, so if you're a fan of her music, you might want to check it out. Buy it at Vienna's online store.

kung fu-powered chinese food delivery

At Comic-Con a few weeks back, New York-based Animation Collective and Fatkat Studios announced a new half-hour action-comedy animated series Three Delivery, about a group of teenage delivery kids/superheroes set in Chinatown. The 26-episode series will be produced in association with Nicktoons, YTV and the BBC, and will premiere in early 2008. Here's the story:
Years ago, an evil young apprentice named Kong Li unleashed the power of a magical cookbook, scattering its dangerous recipes throughout Chinatown. Thanks to an ancient spell, a force field was placed around the city, keeping the magic in. For many years, the rest of the world was protected, but now Kong Li has returned to find the powerful recipes. If he succeeds, evil power will be released and the world will be in danger.

Luckily, three teenage heroes, skilled in Kung Fu, have been trained to stop Kong Li. When orphans Sue, Sid, and Toby are recruited by Nana to make deliveries for Wu's Garden Chinese restaurant, they see it as a chance to move out of the orphanage and ride cool bikes. Little did they know that every evening they would be locked in a lightning-fast battle against evil for the fate of the world.

A modern day superhero tale packed with martial arts action, high speed bike races, paranormal mystery and kid-relatable comedy, "Three Delivery" is set in a Chinatown at twilight with rich hues and spectacular lighting that enhance the mystery. The action unfolds in extreme close-ups and dramatic angles as if ripped from the pages of a comic book.
While I'm always glad to see more Asians on television, animation or otherwise, why does it always have to be Asians who are also secretly trained in the mystical, magical martial arts? And dude, here, they're freaking Chinese food delivery kids! I hope they use their extaordinary kung fu skills to stop would-be muggers. These days, Chinese food delivery is a dangerous game. Anyway, here's a press release on the series: Animation Collective and Fatkat Studios Announce Co-Venture for "Three Delivery," New, Animated Take on Super Hero Series

snakes in the river

This is kind of weird one... Last week, members from a New York sect of Amitabha Buddhists—devout vegetarians who believe in the sanctity of all living creatures—purchased hundreds of live reptiles and released them into the Passaic River as part of a Buddhist rite. The group apparently believed in letting the reptiles complete their natural life cycle and realize their full karmic potential. However, state environmental authorities say that the practice was illegal, a civil offense punishable by a fines: Authorities find a lot wrong with Buddhist reptile rite

here she comes... miss new york chinese

The New York Times recently ran a really interesting, amusing, behind-the-scenes story on one of the most important events for the city's Chinese American community, an annual hallmark of cultural pride and dignity... the Miss New York Chinese pageant: The Rainbow Runway. I guess there's no better way to show your Chinese pride than prancing around in a string bikini and heels.

some heroes news

Here's a recent interview with Heroes' star Masi Oka, talking about the show's upcoming second season (which premieres September 24th), next week's release of Season One on DVD, and his recent Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination: Masi Oka on Heroes. The guy is on top of the world right now...

In other Heroes news... seems like there's a bit of Heroes casting news every other day. So... the other day, it was announced that Janel Parrish, most recently seen as "Jade" in Bratz, will appear in a few episodes of Heroes next season. She will play "May," the head cheerleader at the new school that Claire attends: "Bratz" starlet joins "Heroes" team. Yay, whatever. Still no details on the very white actor David Anders playing Takezo Kensei...

hiv youth project

The HIV Youth Project is soon-to-be-launched online community and support group for HIV-positive youth and people of color. It was started by William Ching, who thought up the idea after seeing there was a tremendous lack of resources for recently diagnosed youth and other marginalized communities. The project is currently seeking stories, testimonials, articles and any other type of submissions on peoples' experiences on testing positive and/or living with HIV. They're encouraging submissions particularly from youth, LGBT-identified, women and communities of color. Check out the website placeholder (not much there right now) and contact info here.


12th annual la tofu festival

Almost forgot! Good people of Southern California, get yourself down to Little Tokyo for the 12th LA Tofu Festival. Happening right now as write this, August 18th and 19th. A weekend of food, fun and friends, all powered by super tofu goodness. Lots of food vendors, an entertainment stage, a cosplay contest(!), a tofu eating contest, prizes, and people... and all proceeds go to the Little Tokyo Service Center. So come on out, support a good cause. And wear sunblock because it's going to be a hot one. And be sure to stop by the Blacklava table buy a t-shirt or two.


harold and kumar 2 teaser trailer

Well, they're back. Here's your first look at the Harold and Kumar sequel:

Starring John Cho and Kal Penn. Hitting theaters in 2008.

two arrested in fatal grocery shooting

It's not just restaurants.... In the Philadelphia area, two teens have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Lu Jiaxing at his grocery store last week. According to police, Darrin White, 19 and James Canady, 15, apparently tried to rob Lu, but he stood up and fought back, managing to get them out of the store. But then Canady pulled a gun and shot him. This story was written last week, when the cops had White in custody on murder, robbery and weapons charges: Lawncrest slay suspect surrenders. Canady turned himself in a few days later: Boy surrenders in grocer slaying. Devastated by their loss, the Lu famly has now given up on Philadelphia and plans to move to New York: As suspect surrenders, a family gives up on city.

free "bebot" promotional dvd

A year ago this month, the folks at Kid Heroes Productions debuted not one, but two Filipino pride-packed videos for the Black Eyed Peas' "Bebot." The videos were a huge internet sensation, with over 50,000 views in just the first few days. This month, they're celebrating the one year anniversary of the video with a special release of the BEBOT Promotional DVD. But it's not for sale. The DVD will be free to anyone who purchases any two items a the Kid Heroes Cyber Store. The DVD contains both versions of the video, a making-of featurette, and other extra goodies. Best of all, a portion of all online sales during the month of August will be donated to the Little Manila Foundation. For more info, go here.

ah jook ku, first asian american ap reporter

Ah Jook Ku, the first Asian American reporter for the Associated Press and retired executive secratary of the Honolulu Community-Media Council, died last week in Hawaii. She was 97: Star-Bulletin reporter pushed for free press. In the 1940s she covered life in China and the government of Chang Kai-Shek as the first Asian American reporter for the Associated Press, and in later years, she was known by her colleagues for her advocacy for freedom of information and journalism standards. Definitely a pioneer in the field.

the real home run king

All the hoopla and fanfare over Barry Bonds record-breaking 756th home run has sort of come and gone. But at this point, between being one of the most disliked players in baseball and allegations of performance-enhancing substances, I think a lot of folks just rolled their eyes at Bonds' feat. Besides, beating Hank Aaron's record? 755? That's nothing. The real home run king is Japan's Sadaharu Oh, who played with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giatns from 1959 to 1980 and hit more home runs than any other professional player... in the world. 868. Beat that, Barry. Here's a good profile on Oh from the Los Angeles Times: Home run king and gentleman. Humble and revered in Japan, he sounds a bit like the anti-Bonds.


asian american shows at the new york fringe festival

Check it out, NYC. There are a handful of Asian American shows playing as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America...

I'm particularly interested in the musical Victor Woo - The Average Asian American, with music and lyrics by the prolific Kevin So. The story: "1980's preteen Victor Woo dreams of becoming a pop star "sensation." His Chinese-born parents see a different future. Confronting cultural expectations and media stereotypes, 'The Average Asian American' reconciles his duty to his family, his heritage, and himself." I'm a big fan of Kevin's music, and the show stars my by boy Raymond J. Lee. For more info on Victor Woo at the festival, go here. And the show's official site. And the requisite MySpace.

Also playing at the festival, Lauren Yee's Asian American identity comedy Ching Chong Chinaman. The story: "A privileged life. A stable home. Indentured servitude in the name of galactic conquest. Upton Wong has it all. But when his Chinese slave starts romancing his mother, will the Wongs ever learn how to be Asian American? A dysfunctional, madcap comedy that redefines what it takes to grow up Asian in America." For more info about the Fringe shows, go here.

And finally, there's Byron Yee's critically acclamed solo show Paper Son, about his own journey growing up in Oklahoma, moving to California, becoming a stand-up comedian, then finding his heritage. Boom! Born again Asian American. Learn more about the show at the official site, Byron Yee's blog, and the remaining Fringe shows here. Lots of great reviews for this over the last few years, so check it out.

another dream shattered

Song Ni had a dream just like many Chinese immigrants... move to a small town from New York, open a restaurant, raise a family. So he moved to Stantonsburg, NC (population: 800) and opened Jin Jin Chinese Restaurant, a "hole-in-the-wall" offering the usual Chinese American cuisine. Probably not very good, but it had its place in the small community, right next to the laundromat, the diner, and the Piggly Wiggly.

However, Ni's dream came to an end last month when robbers shot him dead in his home—just across the street from his restaurant: Slain immigrant lived a dream, briefly. Unfortunately, Ni's death, just like his dream, is also a common occurrence for Chinese restaurant workers—and it doesn't matter whether you're in a big city or small town. This has got to stop.

housing crackdown on indian immigrants

Here's a New York Times story from last week about a housing crackdown that's putting the squeeze on Indian immigrants in New Jersey: Housing Crackdown Hits Indian Immigrants. The city has basically been investigating and cracking down on illegally subdivided homes being turned into unauthorized boarding houses and multifamily dwellings. It's been a common practice for middle-class Indians in the area to rent rooms (or parts of rooms) to students, technology workers and others from India. Heck, this practice is not limited to Indian immigrants—it happens in all immigrant communities in one way or another. But I guess city authorities, as well as cranky neighbors, aren't happy with it...

federal charges for kenneth eng, freak

Recap: so when last we left the one and only Kenneth Eng, the self-proclaimed "Asian supremacist" was sentenced to counseling for threatening to assault his neighbors. With a hammer. He was then promptly arrested on federal charges. The 23-year-old science fiction writer apparently made threatening phone calls to a NYU classmate a couple of years back, which constitutes transmitting "in interstate commerce a communication containing a threat," according to sworn affidavit from an FBI agent who investigates hate crimes. Basically, because the threats were transmitted over state lines, it's a federal issue. This Village Voice blog entry details some of Eng's hateful actions while at NYU (and beyond), and holy smokes, it's pretty much complete insanity: Kenneth Eng Threatened a 'White Pussy' With Violence. This time, a conviction could mean real jail time. What the hell are you going to do in federal lockup, Kenneth? It's just you and your dragons now. (Thanks CV.)


three white dudes in india: the movie

Here's the trailer for The Darjeeling Limited, the latest film from Wes Anderson. Ooh, so quirky. It looks like the movie takes a trio of Anderson usuals and sticks them on a journey through India. By train. Or something. And it looks like Jason Schwartzman romances one of the locals. Greaaatttt. Kind of surprised Kumar Pallana isn't in this one.

august 16 is 'yul kwon day'

Tomorrow is Yul Kwon Day. I'm not kidding. The city of Concord, CA, where the Survivor winner grew up, is designating Thursday, August 16th as "Yul Kwon Day": Warm welcome for reality star. Yul will make a special appearance at the Thursday Night Market & Music program at Todos Santos Plaza starting at 6:30pm. City officials will present him with a proclamation, and true to his causes, Yul will be using the occasion to raise awareness for and promote the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which will have a table at the event. For more information, here's the city's press release: Concord 'Survivor' Yul Kwon special guest at music program

blame china. for everything.

Seems like I can't turn on the news these days without hearing about how something has gone wrong in China, or how some company is recalling defective/contaminated products... made in China. This was all over the news the other day: A Death over Tainted Toys. According to China's Southern Metropolis Daily, Cheung Shu-hung, co-owner of Lee Der Industrial Co. Ltd., hanged himself in a warehouse on Saturday afternoon. His company apparently manufactured all of the nearly 1 million toys recalled by Mattel earlier this month. Very dramatic, rather sensational.

And yesterday, we get the news that fourteen people were killed and 65 were missing after a bridge under construction in southern China collapsed: Fourteen die in China bridge collapse, 65 missing. You can just see folks in America hearing this news, shrugging their shoulders, and blaming the usual bad Chinese engineering. Never mind that we saw a bridge collapse here the United States just two weeks ago (or are we blaming the Chinese for that one too?).

Heck, China is even responsible for a huge wave of counterfeit Harry Potter books. And I'm not talking about unofficial reproductions of Deathly Hallows. I'm talking about phony unauthorized installments of the series, written by hack Chinese writers (posing as J.K. Rowling) trying to cash in: Chinese Market Awash in Fake Potter Books. Bootleg titles include Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon, Harry Potter and the Chinese Empire, and Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon. Here's a list of some of the fake books, with plot summaries: Memo to the Dept. of Magical Copyright Enforcement

And now, with the 2008 presidential election looming, China is starting to become a major foreign policy issue in the race: China becomes popular issue in 2008 race. Given the way China is looking in the news lately, it's likely some candidates will embrace bashing China as a way of winning votes.


roy pearson, you idiot

And it don't stop. DC's sad sack of a legal loser, Roy Pearson—the $54 million pants guy—filed a Notice of Appeal today signifying his intent to appeal Judge Bartnoff's verdict: Judge Who Filed Suit Plans to Appeal Defeat. Is anyone really surprised? No. But I think everyone was really hoping the Chungs would finally get some peace. They've done everything possible to put all this behind them and lay the matter to rest. Yesterday, they withdrew their demand that Pearson pay the $83,000 for their legal bills: Dry Cleaners Cut Plaintiff Some Slack. But Pearson, being the soon-to-be-fired idiot that he is, will not let this ridiculous lawsuit go. The fool. No matter! The Chungs will prevail, because this lawsuit has been a load of ass from the very beginning. An appeal is not going to change that. Just let the damn thing go, Roy. Let it go.

three heroes honored in san francisco

Last week, San Francisco's police commission honored three men who helped saved a 14-year-old girl's life: 3 men's bravery honored. Back in May, Kermit Kubitz, Dr. Sang-ick Chang and Jonas Svalling—three strangers who had never met—were enjoying their Saturday afternoon when they happened to get caught up in a crazy, deadly situation. Without warning, a recently-paroled guy attacked a young teenager with a hunting knife inside a bakery. Kubitz tried to intervene, and got stabbed himself. Chang saved the girl's life. And Svallin chased down her attacker. Crazy. But now they're heroes. Read all about what happened here.

stephen chow as kato?

So they've been talking about a Green Hornet movie for years, but the project has been bounced from studio to studio, and attached to various directors, including Kevin Smith at one point. For those unfamiliar with the character, Green Hornet followed the adventures of Britt Reid, a bored playboy who inherits his father's crusading newspaper, the Daily Sentinel. By night he's a masked hero, fighting crime with his martial arts expert sidekick/chauffeur Kato. While the 1966 ABC series was short lived, and I can't profess to ever being a fan, it's probably best remembered as the show that introduced American audiences to Bruce Lee, who played Kato. As I've written here before, I'm interested in seeing who they get to play Kato, if they ever actually get around to making the movie. And he better be badass.

Well, it was recently announced that Seth Rogen, that dude from Knocked Up, and his writing partner Evan Goldberg, are going to write and executive-produce The Green Hornet for Columbia Pictures: Rogen to pen "Hornet," don hero's mask. Rogen is also attached to star as the Green Hornet. What the...? Not the first, second, third through 100th person I would've thought of for the role, but it's certainly interesting. Rogen and Goldberg are the writing team responsible for the comedy Superbad, which opens in theaters on Friday. I've seen it, and it's hilarious. But with these two now involved, I can't imagine Green Hornet being anything but a comedy, or at least a superhero movie with some heavy comic undertones. I'm not saying it won't work... it's just different.

But back to the original question, the point we care about: who will play Kato? Well, Rogen apparently wants none other than Kung Fu Hustle star/director Stephen Chow for the role. Don't know how close this is to being reality, but I love it—especially if they're going with the comedic route. That's badass in a totally different way.

3rd annual newspeak slam!

Southern California People! The NewSpeak SLAM!, the annual Asian American spoken word showcase is back this weekend for its third year. This year's theme is LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE. - a celebration of word + music, an exclusive showcase featuring an all-star lineup of performers, including Shihan, Poetri, Dante Basco, SKIM, Far East Movement, DumbFounDead, Kristina Wong, Traci Kato-Kiriyama, DJ Soulspeak, among others. Saturday, August 18th, at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. It looks like it's going to be a pretty wicked awesome time. For more information about the show, including tickets, go here. And visit the Projekt NewSpeak's MySpace page here.


angry asian metrodad

Had to post this excerpt from a recent entry over at MetroDad, one of my favorite blogs. The post is titled "Memos to the World-at-Large":
To the guy who called me a "FUCKING CHINK" on the subway this morning...

In the overheated ant farm known as the NYC subway system, it's part of the social contract that exiting passengers be allowed to get out of the train before incoming passengers enter. Apparently, you're too much of an ignorant fuck to understand this common-sense rule that has been in place since the days of Noah's ark. No, my friend, you obviously felt some sense of entitlement. When I didn't budge to let you on the train because I was getting out, you felt compelled to call me a "fucking chink."

Normally, I don't take that shit lightly. I've only been in 6 fights over the course of my lifetime and they were all because someone felt compelled to slander me with racial epithets. Just so you know? I'm 6 for 6 in those fights. Don't fuck with an angry Asian man!

Anyway, the only reason I didn't throw your racist ass under the train tracks today was because YOU WERE WITH YOUR FUCKING KID!

Man, at that point, I just felt horrible for your little daughter. I felt terrible that she has a father filled with so much hate that every little misstep in daily life turns into a potential interpersonal Gulf of Tonkin incident. I felt disgusted knowing that she's being raised by a man who can spew racial epithets at the drop of a hat. And I felt worse thinking that, without proper perspective and life experience, she might end up adopting your racist views as her own.

In the end, I kept coming back to that brilliant Denis Leary quote, "Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list."

I hope your daughter realizes what a total fucking asshole you are and grows up to reject not only you but everything you represent. That, my acerbic little friend, would be an even greater revenge than kicking your ass up and down 7th Avenue.
I think we've all wanted to write a similar memo at some point or another, to every racist asshead we've had to deal with in our lives. MetroDad is dead right—racism isn't born. It's taught. And we witnessed right here on the subway.

roger fan in drillbit taylor

Just spotted my man Roger Fan in the trailer for Drillbit Taylor, about two kids who hire a bodyguard to protect them from the school bully. According to IMDb, Roger plays "Guy With Knives," presumably one of the interviewees for the bodyguard position. Ouch. Looks like he didn't get the job.

the rebel goes to the weinsteins

Here's an article on Charlie Nguyen's super kickass film The Rebel which has been wowing audiences and drawing crowds at festivals worldwide: 'Rebel' with a cause. Starring Johnny Tri Nguyen and Dustin Nguyen, it's a period action flick set in 1922 Vietnam during a peasant uprising against French colonialists. Made for a measly $1.5 million, it's still apparently the biggest Vietnamese film ever made, and looks amazing. And don't worry, you will get a chance to see it... eventually. The Weinstein Company has picked up home video rights to The Rebel: TWC nabs Vietnamese actioner 'The Rebel'. This might mean it'll sit on the shelf for a couple of years, but let's hope for the best. The Weinsteins Dragon Dynasty label has been coming out with some pretty solid releases. If all goes well, you'll be putting it in your Netflix queue soon. For now, check out the trailer on The Rebel MySpace page.

lou and lou: safety patrol

Remember Schoolhouse Rock? Some of you might. Some of you might not. They were brief, entertaining educational segments that ran Saturday mornings on ABC along with your regular dose of cartoons and cereal, way back in the day. Well, educational interstitials still run today amidst all the cartoon programming out there: Short Stops: Animated Interstitials. Not being a heavy Disney watcher, I wasn't aware of Lou and Lou: Safety Patrol, a popular interstitial for Disney Playhouse, which features Asian American boy-and-girl twins who challenge their audience to spot potentially hazardous conditions during three-minute segments. They're just normal, regular (though super-safety conscious) Asian American kids. And now that I have visited Lou and Lou's website, I am all caught up on my safety knowledge. Still, I think I prefer the old G.I. Joe public service announcements. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

two south korean hostages freed

In Afghanistan, two women among the 23 South Korean missionaries kidnapped by the Taliban last month have been freed: Taliban free 2 South Korean women. They were left on a rural roadside then driven to a U.S. base by two waiting Red Cross SUVs. The South Korean Foreign Ministry identified the freed hostages as Kim Kyung-ja and Kim Ji-na. Thank God. Let's hope for the quick release of the other hostages.

three teens charged with murder/robbery

In El Cerrito, CA, three 17-year-old boys have been charged as adults in the shooting death of 24-year-old handyman Jinzhou Chang, who was robbed while helping his father with repairs at an apartment complex two weeks ago: Contra Costa teens to be tried as adults in El Cerrito killing. Christian Latimore, Raymond Richard and Marcellus Allen, who face murder and robbery charges, were identified with the help of a security camera at a Chevron gas station, where they had gone in hopes of buying gas with a credit card belonging to Chang. The three will be tried as adults because they're almost 18 years old and because of the severity of the crime. I hope they get what they deserve. Contributions to help the Chang family can be sent to a family friend, Joshua Lee, 1 Montgomery St., No. 3300, San Francisco, CA 94104 or sent to any Bank of America, account number: 04081-67348.


filipino party people

Here's an article in LA Weekly on Filipino Americans party crews dominating Southern California's Hollywood club scene: The Fil-Am Invasion. It's a pretty interesting look at the scene and some of its players. Though, my man Oliver apparently has a few issues with the piece (particularly the emphasis of connecting Filipino "tribal roots" and hip hop) over at Poplicks: L.A.'S FILIPINO INV(ASIAN)?. And I generally trust that O-Dub knows what he's talking about. Most of the time.

the asian american vote is up for grabs

It seems that the race is on for the Asian American vote... Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was trying to woo Asian American voters (and donations) this weekend at the Dynasty Restaurant in San Jose: Clinton To Court Asian Vote In Bay Area Visit. $2300 apparently bought you a private session for some personal discussion with Hillary. Many believe that much of the Asian American vote is up for grabs, with the community showing a lot more political clout. As the the article points out, for the first time ever, there are now five Asian American mayors in the Bay Area. Asian American political power, baby. And Hillary wants it.

write for ialink

Calling all writers, journalists, thinkers... iaLink, ImaginAsian's monthly online magazine, is currently seeking submissions for its September issue, which will concentrate on political and social issues. Anyone interested in submitting a story can email their ideas to Jamie Quiroz at JQuiroz@Iatv.tv. Got a story to share? A perspective that needs sharing? Break out of the confines of your blog and get your message out there on iaLink. Check out the current issue here.

reasons to visit milwaukee

Here's one Asian American columnist's plea to everybody's favorite Chinese NBA draftee Yi Jianlian, who seems to be having hard time making up his mind about coming to play for the Milwaukee Bucks. She gives a few "great" reasons for being part of the Milwaukee's Asian community: Hey, Jianlian, give us a chance. Can't say a lot of these will actually apply to Yi ("the exotic factor"?) but at least he's got one friend to hang with in Milwaukee... if he decides to come play.

there goes the neighborhood

South Bay, represent! Last year, Santa Clara County's population gained more Asians than any other county in the United States. Population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau say Santa Clara County gained nearly 18,000 new Asian residents in 2006, a 3.3 percent increase from 2005, and a 20 percent jump this decade. It makes for some very interesting changes and opportunities in the community: Santa Clara County adding Asians at nation's fastest pace

On the other side of the country... Asians were the only major racial or ethnic group to record population gains in every county in the New York metropolitan region since 2005. And since 2000, New York has recorded the greatest increase in Asians (309,773) of any metropolitan area: Asians Make Broad Gains in New York Population. You hear that, America? We're growing. And we're coming to get you! Muhahahahahahahahahaha!

chef settles discrimination lawsuit

This news is a couple of weeks old, but it's worth noting... Noted New York chef Daniel Boulud recently settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by Latino and Asian workers who claimed he promoted white French workers ahead of nonwhite workers at one of his Manhattan restaurants: Noted NYC chef Daniel Boulud settles discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought by low-paid Latino and Bangladeshi bus boys and runners who claimed they were denied opportunities to advance to higher-paid positions, passed over in favor of newly hired white employees with less experience, and subjected to harassment and racial insults if they complained. That's racist! The settlement called for Boulud's restaurant to pay $80,000 in damages to eight workers, adopt a policy to ensure that race and national origin are not factors in promotions, and train managers about employment law. And there you go.


kenneth eng sentenced to mental health treatment... then arrested again

Hey look! Everybody's favorite "Asian Supremacist" Kenneth Eng has been sentenced to a year of mental health treatment for his latest act of crazy: Asian supremacist sentenced to therapy. Back in May, good ol' Kenny was arrested for waving a hammer at a neighbor's face and threatening to kill her and her family... and her dog. He pleaded guilty in Queens County Court yesterday to attempted assault and harrassment. Is anyone really surprised? So the Dragon Master will be headed to a 12-month outpatient mental health program. Not sure what that really entails, but if he fails to comply with the program's requirements and fails to take his medication, or if he violates his neighbors' orders of protection, he can be resentenced up to 4 years in prison.

Here's the interesting thing... the article notes that after his sentencing yesterday, federal authorities produced an arrest warrant and took Eng into custody with new charges. He apparently arrived at home to find the feds waiting to bust him on a sealed complaint: ASIAN BIGOT BUSTED. So what are the new charges? What has Krazy-ass Kenny gotten himself into this time?

warner brothers, you bastards

I can't believe this. This is the worst idea in the history of cinema. This is a tragedy. This is evil. In a sea of recent movie remakes, both good and bad, there is one movie that should never be touched. EVER. And yet, Variety reports that Warner Independent Pictures is planning a remake of Enter the Dragon. Enter the frickin' Dragon! This cannot be. I don't want to believe it: Warners to remake 'Enter the Dragon'.

Kurt Sutter will write and make his feature directing debut on Awaken the Dragon, "a noir-style remake" of Enter the Dragon, the 1973 martial arts classic that made Bruce Lee an international star. It'll be produced by John Wells, and original movie producers Fred Weintraub and Paul Heller. The bastards. Here are some details:
Sutter said he's writing "Awaken the Dragon" as a contemporized drama about a lone FBI agent who pursues a rogue Shaolin monk into the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs.

Original film starred Lee as a martial artist who's drafted by law enforcement to participate in a martial arts tournament and infiltrate a drug smuggling operation run from the host's heavily guarded island.

"I'm a huge noir fan, and this plot lends itself to the film I want to make," Sutter said. "I wanted to set it in these underground fight clubs where the action is really raw and expose the brutality of Shaolin kung fu. This will be more 'Raging Bull' than 'Crouching Tiger' in its viciousness."

Sutter will look to discover a fight star in the role of the monk and cast an established American actor to play the FBI agent.
Noir? This doesn't sound anything like film noir. Does this Sutter guy even know what the hell he's talking about? It sounds like a steaming pile of crap. How many suck-ass 1980s direct-to-video action flicks have been set in "the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs"?

For that matter, hasn't Enter the Dragon already been remade (and when I say remade, I mean ripped off) countless times over the last 30 years? In everything from Bloodsport to the upcoming Balls of Fury? Hell, Jean-Claude Van Damme is responsible for half of them. We do not need an Enter the Dragon remake. This is just a ridiculous attempt to cash in on the legacy of the original.

In the name of all that is good and decent in the world, do not do this. No doubt, Sutter's plans for "an established American actor" probably means a "white actor." Never mind that what was so appealing about the original movie was Bruce Lee himself. The guy was an amazing onscreen presence—a phenomenal martial artist, but just as impressive when he wasn't doing martial arts. That's what set him apart.

And consider the symbolic, historic impact of Enter the Dragon, as strange as that sounds... an Asian man kicking ass in a Hollywood movie? Unheard of. Revolutionary. Life-changing. I know I'm sounding excessively dramatic, but this remake is a horrible idea. I shake my fist at you, Warner.

caught on youtube: australian priest's racist tirade

I've heard from several folks telling me about this YouTube video, of a priest in Australia flying off the handle and going crazy on some unruly trespassing skateboarders. Basically, the guy loses it and starts screaming all sorts of nasty stuff at the skaters, crossing waaaay over into the sexual and racist. True colors come out. At one point, he points at one of the Asian kids in the group and calls him a "little foreigner" with "seedy eyes" and "black hair." That's racist! Granted, the fisheye video is annoying as hell, and these obnoxious punkass skaters are pretty much harrassing this guy. But there's no reason to go there with the racist remarks. Reverend Monsignor Geoff Baron was apparently placed on leave by church authorities after the video was posted on YouTube: Priest's racist rant posted on YouTube.

eve and the fire horse on dvd

Forgot to mention this... Julia Kwan's magnificent film Eve and the Fire Horse was released on DVD a couple of weeks ago. I've said quite a bit about this film over the last year, and I just can't recommend it enough. A critically-acclaimed, award-winning, beloved film on the festival circuit, it deserves a space on your DVD shelf:
The humorous and magical tale of Eve, a precocious nine year old with an overactive imagination. Eve was born in the year of the Fire Horse, notorious among Chinese families for producing the most troublesome children. Her family begins suffering misfortunes when her mom (Vivian Wu of THE JOY LUCK CLUB, THE LAST EMPEROR) goes against superstition and cuts down the apple tree in the back yard. Eve decides only she can save her family, but her vivid imagination often lands her in trouble. After a visit by missionaries, Eve’s 11 year old sister becomes fascinated with Christianity, and drags Eve along with her to Sunday School. Soon the emaciated Jesus finds a place next to the fat, jolly Buddha on the family mantle-piece, and Eve’s confusion grows.

Caught between her authoritative sister's fantasies of sainthood and cultural confusion and her own sense of right and wrong, Eve faces the challenges of childhood with fanciful humor and wide-eyed wonder. Sometimes the most troublesome children are the ones that touch our hearts most deeply.
Special features on the DVD include a director's commentary, deleted scenes, and Julia Kwan's beautiful previou short film Three Sisters on Moon Lake. Good stuff. Learn more about the film here. And purchase the DVD here.

new report on asian american students

According to a new government report, several Asian American groups are not well-prepared—academically or financially—to succeed in college: Report refines image of Asians. Take that, model minority stereotype. I know that a lot of people regard Asian American students as brainy, successful, affluent over-achievers, but many APA groups aren't making the grade. While many Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian students typically do well in school, the Government Accountability Office reports that Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians of Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Thai and Burmese descent often don't enroll in the rigorous math and reading classes necessary to succeed in at the college level. Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander youths are also more likely to need outside financial support. A copy of the government report is available for download here. I think the quote from L. Ling-chi Wang, chairman of the University of California-Berkeley's ethnic studies department, pretty much sums it up: "The report confirms the need to avoid making national generalizations about Asian American achievements in education and conflating all Asian American subgroups as if all Asian-Americans are homogeneous." Indeed. It also demonstrates the importance of the "Count Me In" campaign.

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