suspect attacking asian women at seattle bus stops

In Seattle, police are searching for a man who is sexually attacking women at bus stops: Police search for suspect in bus stop sex assaults.

The man has already assaulted four women along sidewalks, and it appears the suspect is becoming more bold, aggressive and violent. All of the victims were Asian American.

blue scholars and masia one videos

Here's a pair of hot music videos for your Friday viewing pleasure...

"Joe Metro" by Blue Scholars. Really diggin' this song.

"Return of the B-Girl" by Masia One. Like I said, hot.

filipino american lawyer hired for h&m discrimination suit

This is an interesting twist in that H&M discrimination case that made headlines a few months back. In September, Frannie Richards filed a lawsuit against clothing store H&M for alleged discrimination. She was shopping at one of the Chicago stores an encountered an employee who subjected her to racial and sexual slurs, calling her a "mail-order bride" and making fun of her ability to understand English (she speaks perfect English): h&m: the new a&f?

Here's the weird part. H&M has chosen Filipino American lawyer Joseph J. Centeno to represent their case: Fil-Am vs. Fil-Am in H&M dispute. Whaaaat?

kung fu open casting call

I've already mentioned the big screen remake of the old TV series Kung Fu now in the works. As everyone now knows, the show starred white man David Carradine in the role originally created by and meant for Bruce Lee. Some of us haven't let that one go.

What I've been wondering since this remake talk began, is who will Caine? Caine is a half-Chinese Shaolin Monk who roams America's western frontier in search of his father, using his martial arts skillz along the way. For me though, the role has always been so closely associated with David Carradine, it would blow my mind if they actually cast someone who is part or full Asian. Then what would I do?

Well, apparently they're searching high and low for the next Caine, according to this Kung Fu Open Call. They're looking in Honolulu, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Singapore and Hong Kong:


fired dj gets a new job

Troi Torain, aka DJ Star, apparently has a new job: Hip-Hop D.J., Fired for Threats, Returns to Airwaves. If you recall, Torain was fired back in May 2006 after a broadcast in which he threatened the family of a rival DJ, made racially and sexually abusive remarks, and got himself arrested. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, with the on-air threats. The charges were eventually dropped, and Torain sued Councilman John C. Liu, who helped stir the public outcry over Torain's on-air threats. Whatever. I was happy to see the guy canned. But now...

the 25 most infamous yellow face film performances

Here's something you all might appreciate... In AsianWeek, columnist Phil Chung counts down The 25 Most Infamous Yellow Face Film Performances.

Yes, from Charlie Chan to Fu Manchu, Hollywood has a love affair with casting non-Asian actors as Asians characters, and they've been doing it for a very long time. So here's a list of the top 25 yellowfaces that have arguably had the most impact on our cultural landscape.

It's strictly limited to film performances, so no David Carradine in Kung Fu or Jonathan Pryce in Miss Saigon. It's a pretty good list, so take a look at part 1 here. A nice trip down Hollywood's racist memory lane.

couple faces deportation after over 20 years

Several folks have written in informing me of the plight of Pedro and Salvacion Servano, Filipino immigrants who have been living in the United States for over twenty years, but now facing possible deportation for misstating their marital status during their visa application process more than two decades ago. Their mistake has now come back to haunt them, and they could be forced to move back to the Philippines: Couple Fight Deportation After 20+ Years.

what I've been listening to: the slants

I first mentioned The Slants last month. I've since then had the chance to listen to their album, Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts, and let me tell you, kids, it kicks some serious ass.

cha vang's killer sentenced to 69 years

In Wisconsin, James Nichols, the white hunter convicted of killing a Hmong man while both were out hunting in the woods, was sentenced to the maximum 69 years in prison by a judge who rejected his claims of self-defense: Wisconsin hunter gets 69 years in slaying.

the karate kid remake?

I don't get it. It's been rumored on several movie sites that Jackie Chan and Will Smith could be teaming up for remake of The Karate Kid: Jackie Chan And Will Smith Teaming For A KARATE KID Remake? Yes, you read that right.

weirdo steals campus panties

Oh man. Another Asian weirdo in the news... Diexia Wang, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, was charged by police this week after allegedly stalking female students at the schhool and stealing several pairs of their underwear: UPenn Student Arrested For Alleged Underwear Theft.

undoing opening in theaters

Check it out. After taking a spin on the festival circuit, Chris Chan Lee's indie noir drama Undoing, starring Sung Kang, Kelly Hu, and Russell Wong, gets a theatrical release from Indican Pictures. Here's the official synopsis:


hip hop violinist paul dateh

Saw this video over at the FR*A blog... That's Paul Dateh on violin and Inka One on the turntables. It's a several months old, but still pretty cool. I'm diggin' their sound. I went Googling, and came across this Interview with Paul Dateh. Also check out his blog here.

welcome to the invasion, pat

Pat Buchanan, quite possibly America's official asshead racist, appeared the other day on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes to discuss his new book, in which he writes that America is "on a path to national suicide." Suicide? How so, Pat? Do tell.

He writes, "Every way a nation can... "[t]he American majority is not reproducing itself... Forty-five million of its young have been destroyed in the womb since Roe v. Wade, as Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate the lost generation of American children never got to see." From the book:

man hits father in the head... with a hammer

This week, San Mateo County prosecutors dropped an attempted-murder charge against Jayantibhai Patel, accused of hitting his father in the head with a hammer because he mistakenly though that 81-year-old had to be hospitalized before he could be admitted to a nursing home: Foster City man spared attempted-murder charges in father's injury.

Sounds like someone was seriously misinformed. According to prosecutors, Patel lived with his father but apparently wanted to return to India. The 81-year-old father is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, and Patel thought the only way to get him admitted to a nursing home was if he was injured or ill. So he took a hammer to the old man's head?! Ridiculous. Patel now faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. Not smart.


teaser trailer for stephen chow's cj7

"Are you on drugs?" Here's the official teaser trailer for Stephen Chow's highly-anticipated new sci-fi comedy, CJ7. I have no idea what's going on but I'm laughing my ass off. That kid is freaking hilarious. I'm so there. The movie opens sometime next year.

pizza deliveryman murdered

Last night in Richmond, CA, 38-year-old Thanh Thach, a Pizza Hut deliverman, was trying to find an address when he was shot and killed during a possible robbery attempt: Pizza deliveryman shot to death while looking for Richmond address.

the imaginasian center opens in los angeles

After several years of plans and announcements, next week, Asian American multi-media entertainment company ImaginAsian Entertainment expands its empire, unveiling a new theater, "The ImaginAsian Center," in Los Angeles. Formerly the historic Linda Lea Theater, the new theater will be the only film center in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to first-run Asian and Asian American films, opening on December 7 with the acclaimed Japanese action/adventure film Midnight Eagle. Read ImaginAsian's press release here (PDF).

happy birthday, bruce

Today is Bruce Lee's birthday. He would have been 67: Remember Bruce Lee. What can I say, except that his legacy continues to have a profound impact on the culture at large, as well as my own life and work. He's a legend.

watch the white rice

According to researchers, starchy foods such as white rice and bread raise the likelihood of diabetes for Black and Chinese women, but adding whole grain foods may reverse the risk: Starches raise diabetes risk in blacks and Chinese.

the search for chinatown's underground tunnels

It's the quest for the secret tunnels of Chinatown. Here's another interesting story on what used to be Fresno's old Chinatown, where an extensive network of underground tunnels is believed to have existed as a passageway to the community's illicit activities: An urban legend has resurfaced.


projekt newspeak presents "the sketch comedy show"

For those of you in Southern California, here's something fun for you to check out this weekend... Projekt Newspeak presents The Sketch Comedy Show, a live/video sketch show featuring the smiling faces of the comedic cast above. This Saturday, December 1st at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood.

The show will be taped before a live audience, with plans to ultimately pitch it to industry executives as a potential new TV show. For more information about the Sketch Comedy Show, including ticket info, visit the Projekt Newspeak website and www.myspace.com/newspeakfunny.

minneapolis settles lawsuit with shot cop

Today in Minneapolis, the city agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Duy Ngo, an undercover police officer who was shot by a colleague and left permanently disabled: Minneapolis Settles Shot Officer's Suit. The incident happened back in 2003, when Officer Charles Storlie shot Ngo six times with a semiautomatic machine gun:

parry shen guest stars on criminal minds

My man Parry Shen tells me you can catch him guest starring this week on CBS' Criminal Minds. Frankie Muniz plays a popular comic book artist who becomes involved with a search for a serial killer. Parry plays Frankie's demanding literary agent, Bobby Kim.

Interestingly enough, Parry is one of the editors of the upcoming real-life Asian American superhero anthology comic book Secret Identities. It's set for a fall 2008 release, and it's gonna be sweet. Download the sneak preview here.

Anyway, catch Parry this Wednesday, November 28th on Criminal Minds. And read his Xanga blog here.

making waves in massachusetts politics

This month in Massachusetts, several Chinese American politicians won election in Newton, Brookline and other posts around the region, making strides in increasing Asian American representation in the area: Asian-Americans notch wins in municipal elections.

mda ain't nothin' to f*** with

What... I don't... There are no words. It's from Singapore.

people stories

The Manicurists' Heroine: By taking her former employers to court, Susan Kim became the unlikely whistle-blower of New York's nail salon industry and catalyzed a movement for salon-workers' rights. She sued her boss for overtime pay and wrongful termination... and won, setting off a chain reaction of manicurists alleging health problems and wrongful terminations in the city's nail salons.

while you're waiting for lost to come back...

What do Lost stars do while on hiatus? Yunjin Kim returned to her industry roots to star in the Korea thriller Seven Days, which opened last week in Korea: A Grueling 'Seven Days' for Kim Yun-jin.

She stars as a lawyer who must free a convicted killer in just one week or else see her kidnapped daughter murdered. Cool, whatever. I'll watch anything she's in.

more racist jokes from chelsea handler

TMZ.com catches Chelsea Handler going back to the well to make some of her usual racist cracks. Not that anybody is surprised. Mentioned here last summer after an appearance on The Tonight Show, the woman has made a "career" off of tired, lame jokes at the expense of Asians and everybody else her pretty, blonde, white self thinks she can get away with offending: Chelsea Handler's New Gig: Bigot?

woman "forgives" her racist attackers

In London, Ontario, a woman was recently the victim of a racially-charged attack by a mob of Grade 8 boys. The woman was reportedly head-butted, slapped and mocked for her Chinese accent, while at least one of her tormentors recorded it on a cellphone video camera.

The harassment had apparently been going on for quite a while, with the same group intercepting her and taunting her with "mock Chinese." That's racist! Amazingly, the woman has chosen to forgive her attackers, attributing their actions to the "mistakes" of youth: Woman 'forgives' school attackers. She doesn't want to be identified and won't file a police complaint. I don't even know what to say. That's a powerful reaction.

The woman is certainly entitled to her convictions, and she doesn't have to hold a grudge... but dammit, make these kids own up to their actions! There is a way to forgive and still have some semblance of justice. By keeping quiet, it just sends the message that this kind of bullying and harassment is consequence-free. You know why people engage in racist behavior like this? Because they think they can get away with it. And that needs to change.


gong li will star in shanghai

The very gorgeous Gong Li has signed on to star opposite John Cusack in a new film Shanghai: Gong Li to Star in New Hollywood Film "Shanghai".

In the movie, she'll apparently play "a mysterious woman who deals with the underworld and a journalist from the US." Ooh, sounds very exotic and dragon lady-like.

Looks like Gong Li will be taking us on a myterious, dark journey through the Orient. Why do I get a bad, bad feeling about this movie? The film starts shooting next February in Shanghai, Los Angeles and Canada.

attacks on asians in brooklyn

In New York, police are investigating eight recent muggings of Asian men and women in Brooklyn's 84th precinct: Cops are probing attacks on Asians.

The first attack occurred August 14, and the last victim was targeted November 12. In each case, between one and five teens used intimidation and force to rob their victims, whose ages range from 15 to 52—all Asian. Police say the robberies appear to be part of a pattern. Ya think?

Clearly, Asians in this community are being targeted, for whatever reason. Maybe it's because the perpetrators think Asians are easy targets, or maybe they think Asians will be less likely to report the crime. Or maybe they're just targeting Asians for the hell of it. Whatever the case, that's racist!

cleveland indians sign kobayashi

Last week, the Cleveland Indians signed a two-year contract with free agent pitcher Masahide Kobayashi of Japan: Tribe lands Japan's Kobayashi.

Kobayashi, who has recorded at least 20 saves in each of the past seven seasons, will move into the back end of Cleveland's bullpen as a setup man for closer Joe Borowski.

He spent the past nine seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines, and is one of just three pitchers in Japanese baseball history with over 200 saves. Just don't confuse him with the other famous Kobayashi. This is not the hot dog guy.


mud needs your help

Mud is a punk band (whose members happen to be Asian American) based in San Francisco, currently competing in radio station Live 105's "Not So Silent Night" Battle of the Bands Contest, vying for a chance to open for the December 7 concert with Jimmy Eat World, Paramour and Modest Mouse.

frat boys, water balloons and racial slurs

Police in Seattle are investigating an apparent hate crime involving a University of Washington frat house: Police investigating apparent hate crime at UW frat house. Witnesses told police last Sunday that they saw several people hurl water balloons and yell abusive comments from the Delta Upsion fraternity house. Water balloons? Big deal, you say. It's just a bunch of stupid drunk frat boys being the assheads that they are. Right? Not so fast. According to police, witnesses saw an Asian student get hit in the head with a water balloon, with four or five people on the fraternity balcony yelling racial and anti-immigrant slurs at the man, who ran from the house.

While water balloons and racial slurs may seem like a minor matter to some, I would argue that it opens the door to all sorts of hate and intolerance. It's not the water balloons. It's the aggressive, hateful, de-humanizing sentiment behind it. It starts out as something innocuous, but what's to say that the next time it won't be something more dangerous or violent? The frat guys, of course, deny any wrongdoing. The Delta Upsilon president told police that he and other members of the fraternity were in a meeting when the incident occurred. Responding officers classified the incident as assault and malicious harrassment. Unfortunately, police were not able to locate the victim immediately after the incident. I hope he comes forward. Meanwhile, here is the contact information for the Delta Upsilon chapter at UW. Do what you will with this information...

"angry asian man" emerging

CBC ran a story the other day about the increasingly visible trend of the "angry Asian man," a figure that has emerged quite a bit in news and popular culture in the last year or so... for better or for worse: All the rage: Tracking the trend of angry Asian men. Funny. I might know a few things about that. It's an okay article, though it tries to draw together a hell of a lot of disparate elements to illustrate this "angry" concept, everything from Harold and Kumar to Giant Robot to Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings. It's kind of all over the place. But I get it.

The article also mentions a low-budget independent film, apparently 7 years in the making, Tetsuro Shigematsu's Yellow Fellas, a comedy (I think) about "a disgruntled young Japanese-Canadian named Howie Hiroshima, who decides to create a politicized (and unintentionally bumbling) Asian gang to combat skinheads and racism." Sounds kind of crazy—could be really good... or really bad. Watch the trailer here.

the long road from fujian

Here's an interesting NPR Morning Edition story on the large community of Fujianese immigrants that have settled in the eastern part of Manhattan's Chinatown: Chinese Immigrants Chase Opportunity in America. Hailing from China's Fujian Province, hundreds of thousands illegal immigrants have been voluntarily smuggled into the United States looking for jobs and opportunties, together creating a little microcosm of home in America. Many of them make money to send home to their relatives, who can live comfortoably back in China. Interestingly enough, many villages in the Fujian Province are now practically ghost towns due to the large influx of workers going abroad. Here's also a companion story on the long the journey from the Fujian Province to the United States: Smuggled Chinese Travel Circuitously to the U.S.


west 32nd opens in korea

Just a reminder... tell all your friends, family, associates and connections in Korea that Michael Kang's Korean American gangster drama West 32nd is opening today, November 22, in CGV theaters around Korea. Here's an interview with the director from The Korea Times: Director Explores Korean-American Identity. The story provides some pretty interesting insights about New York's Koreatown that went into making the film. Here is also a letter from star John Cho, encouraging out there to check out West 32nd:
A Note from John Cho

When I came to Los Angeles to pursue acting 10 years ago, it felt like I was one of very few Korean American guys in town. In the years since, the situation has changed dramatically--I would never have guessed then that there would be so many prominent Korean American actors working today. And it's been so exciting to see that growth paralleled by the growth of Korean cinema in the global market.

I began to wonder what it would be like if resources and talent flowed both ways, from the United States to Korea and back? One of the first answers to that question is a Michael Kang movie I acted in called West 32nd. It's set in New York's Koreatown; it's often bi-lingual; it stars Korean American and Korean actors; and it was financed by CJ Entertainment, a Korean company that took a chance on this uniquely entertaining thriller.

On a personal note, the experience of making this film is among the most gratifying of my life. My character's discovery of his own culture mirrored my own experience with a largely Korean American cast and crew. It was a special time for me.

But the opportunity to give birth to a new category of film--the Korean/American co-production--is also special. In success, I hope this film is a catalyst for stories, talent, and resources to be shared between Koreans and Korean Americans. It would be a shame for us to drop the ball on this now.

West 32nd is opening theatrically in Korea on 20 screens on November 22. We ask that you please alert those you know in Korea. This is the way it happens--people emailing friends and family. Thank you very much for reading.

-John Cho
Actor West 32nd
See a more serious side of John Cho, the guy you previously only knew as Harold or the MILF guy. There's also Battlestar Galactica's Grace Park, on whom I have an immmense crush. I know you can dig it. To learn more about the film, go to the official site here. Also check out West 32nd's MySpace and Cyworld profiles. Mike's Xanga site also has a lot of useful information. Sarah, make sure you get to the theater in Seoul, okay?


kae is not the biggest loser

Awwww man. So, I've been watching The Biggest Loser. Don't laugh. I find it an oddly compelling, inspiring show. This season, I've been rooting for our girl Kae, a former Private in the US Army, hailing from Clark, NJ. This girl kicking some serious ass, working hard and consistently shedding pounds. She was easily one of the strongest, most disciplined contestants within the group. And all her fellow competitors knew it. Unfortunately, tonight, she slipped into the bottom two with the lowest percentage of weight loss, and was voted off. Her competitors clearly saw it as an opportunity to remove the biggest threat from the game. It's too bad—she could've gone all the way. They did, however, show how much progress she's made up to now with a live weigh-in, and it's amazing. She's lost 88 lbs, and looks pretty stunning. Daaaaaang. Much props to you, Kae. Oh, check her out on her MySpace profile.

rock the border, december 7 in nyc

My friend Jess has been involved with Crossing Borders, a non-profit organization that was established in Chicago in 2002 to aid North Korean refugees who escape to China. They've recently expanded their presence to New York, and next month, they're holding a benefit concert to raise funds as well as introduce folks to the organization's initiatives on behalf of the people of North Korea. So... check out Rock the Border, featuring the music of Miss Vintage, Minnow Park, Ahh Sum Band. Friday, December 7th at the Lion's Den in New York. Here are the specifics:

When: Friday, December 7th, 8pm-10pm
Where: Lion's Den, 214 Sullivan Street (betwee Bleeker St and West 3rd St)
Live Entertainment: Miss Vintage, Minnow Park, Ahhh Sum Band
Cost: $25 in advance, $30 at door

Purpose: To raise funds and awareness for Crossing Borders NY
Proceeds: To help fund our three current projects: "Restore Life," Second Wave," "Working Hands"
Other: Silent Auction, Cash Bar
Tickets: rocktheborder.org
Crossing Borders website: www.crossingbordersnk.org
Live enterainment, drinks, good people. It's all there. It should be a really cool event, and it's for a great cause. So if you live in NYC, or will be in town on December 7, make some plans to be there. Mark your calendars, spread the word, bring a friend, and have a goooood time.

dawn's light: the journey of gordon hirabayashi

The East West Players' latest production is Dawn's Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi, currently running through December 2 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. Written by Jeanne Sakata and starring Ryun Yu, it's a one-actor play that tells the true story of Japanese American college student in Seattle who refused to sign himself into internment camps during World War II. During the course of the play, he fights to reconcile his country's betrayal with his Constitutional beliefs, journeying towards a greater understanding of America's triumphs and failures. For more information about the play, go here. Here's also a rather tepid review of the play from the Los Angeles Times: Story of Japanese American who fought internment lacks punch

the future first asian american deaf male star

This is a great story about 22-year-old Vichay Phommachan, who says his goal is to become "the first Asian American deaf male artist and entertainer": Singing hands. Although he was born able to hear, he became deaf after having a high fever at age 3, and now can only hear loud noises. However, he still enjoys pop, R&B, soul and dance music (by feeling the sound vibrations from the music to make out the song's melody)—so much so that he auditioned for American Idol. How? Because Vichay is unable to communicate verbally, his 30-second audition consisted of him interpreting lyrics of a Korean pop song through sign language. I guess it was pretty unique, because he actually made it to the next round. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to advance beyond that. Still, you gotta hand it to the guy for having dreams.

that's not love

Here's a good website/organization worthy of a plug... That's Not Love is a website created and maintained by the Youth Advisory Council of Asian Pacfic Islander Legal Outreach, committed to helping Bay Area Asian/Pacific Islander youth change their knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs towards domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harrassment, and sexual assault against women and girls in the API community. The site provides a variety of relationship resources, including information about the cycle of violence, types of violence and abuse, a regular online chat, a links pointing to various national and local organizations serving Asian Pacific Islanders. It's a worthwhile, valuable site that's hopefully making a difference in the lives of a lot of young people. Check it out at www.thatsnotlove.org.

asian parents sue tutoring program for discrimination

Three Chinese parents in Brooklyn are filing a federal lawsuit challenging a popular city-run tutoring program on the grounds it discriminates against Asians: IN 'WRONG' MINORITY. The Specialized High School Institute helps prepare gifted but "underrepresented" minorities take the competitive exam to get into top city high schools like Stuyvesant or Brooklyn Tech. But the parents say it's unfair and illegal for the Department of Education to limit elegibility to Blacks and Latinos. The Department, however, has always insisted anyone who qualifies for a free lunch could apply.

Peggy Foo-Ching begs to differ. She says her 12-year-old daughter's application last year was ignored, and that rules were changed to bar her daughter from participating. According to the Post, a Department of Education internal memo obtained by lawyers trying the case apparently indicated that eligibility criteria excludes whites and Asians. You get in the way of an Asian parent trying to give their kid an educational edge, and somebody's going to get in trouble...

shaun tan's the arrival

I've been meaning to write about Shaun Tan's amazing, award-winning graphic novel The Arrival for quite a while now. The book is a wordless, gorgeous compelling piece depicting the journey of one man to a new country. Tan mixes his sepia-tone, realistic style with a sense of the mysterious and fantastic. Check out this excerpt in New York magazine's comics page from a few months back: Exclusive Comics Excerpt: 'The Arrival'. It's pretty amazing stuff. Learn more about Shaun Tan and his work here.

l.s. kim writes for ms.

I received this press release last week informing me that my friend and former professor/mentor L.S. Kim, assistant professor of film and digital media at UC Santa Cruz, has a feature story in the 35th anniversary issue of Ms. magazine: UCSC media expert contributes feature to 35th anniversary issue of Ms. magazine. Her article traces the impact feminists have had on mainstream media over the past three and a half decades. Awesome. Here's an excerpt from her article over on AlterNet: Do We Still Need Feminist Media? Go Professor Kim! I feel I owe her a lot. Many years ago, I sat in her "Asian Americans in the Media" class as an impressionable young soul, eager to learn and gain a little perspective on how my people were being represented in film and television. You can probably thank her for planting a few of the seeds of anger that eventually gave birth to this website. Man, all things considered, her class changed my life.

san jose's "saigon business district"?

Orange County's Little Saigon usually gets most of the attention... but San Jose, California's other Vietnamese enclave, home to more than 78,000 Vietnamese Americans, has also got a little somethin' somethin' going on: San Jose's Vietnamese district building a name for itself. San Jose officials are pushing to designate the city's Vietnamese business district with a name that reflects the contributions of Vietnamese Americans to the community's identity. This, however, has sparked fierce debate over what to name the district. Little Saigon? New Saigon? Vietnamtown? Vietnamese Business District? Each proposed name has had its set of supporters and detractors. The city council is scheduled to decide today whether to adopt the name "Saigon Business District." Kind of weak, not too flashy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Whatever the name, however, I have a hard time seeing San Jose ever overtaking Orange County's Little Saigon as the capital of Vietnamese America.

jeon ji-hyun in blood: the last vampire

The above photo is the first proper still to hit the web from the upcoming live-action adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire, based on popular Japanese anime. That's Korean superstar Jeon Ji-Hyun (My Sassy Girl), and I gotta say, she looks pretty good as vampire slayer Saya. It should be noted that she is apparently now going by "Gianna Jun." I believe Blood also marks her English-language movie debut. The movie is directed by Chris Nahon, produced by Ronnie Yu, and set to be released sometime in 2008.

the "jazzipino" swing

NPR's Weekend Edition recently profiled Filipino jazz vocalist Charmaine Clamor, whose most recent CD Flippin' Out introduces a hybrid sound, which she calls "jazzipino": Charmaine Clamor's 'Jazzipino' Swing. She melds traditional Filipino melodies, languages and instruments with the soul and swing of American jazz. I don't understand a word of Tagalog, but I'm a jazz fan, and her music, as well as some of the ideology behind it, is pretty interesting.

making nail salons safe

In Boston, the Public Health Comission is expanding its "Safe Shops" initiative to the hundreds of nail salons in the city. Originally conceived as a campaign to protect the health of workers in auto-repair garages—a field frequently occupied by immigrant men—against harmful toxins and working conditions, the intitiative will extend to nail salons, which are largely staffed by women from Southeast Asia breathing the chemical-laden fumes of nail polish and other beauty products: At city nail shops, guarding workers against a toxic mix. Starting in January, health agency representatives will venture into salons, stressing the importance of proper ventilation, demonstrating the correct use of gloves and masks, and urging owners to switch to safer products that have emerged in the past year.

UPDATE: For more information regarding proper ventilated work tables and other working conditions for your nail salon, you can refer to the following websites:


Here's also a helpful article from the Seattle Post: Nail salons' workers, clients at risk from toxic chemicals. The same article in Vietnamese can be found here. Some other resources in Vietnamese have been posted here. (Thanks, Matt)

gregg araki's smiley face

Here's an interview with veteran indie director Gregg Araki on his latest film Smiley Face, a comedy about a woman who has a very bad day after treating herself to a batch of pot cupcakes: "Smiley Face" Director Gregg Araki. The film, which is a bit of a departure from Araki's acclaimed previous films, made it premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. After various stops on the festival circuit, and a very limited theatrical run, the movie is going straight to DVD in January. Here's another interview from AFI Fest: Gregg Araki puts on a Smiley Face.

george takei in star trek: new voyages

Excuse me for a moment while I venture into extreme geek territory... Star Trek: New Voyages is an all-out, fan-produced, fan-financed web series based on the original 1960s television series. You know, with Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest. This series basically just picks up where the old one left off, with all the old characters intact... including Sulu. For an unofficial fan series, it's pretty elaborate, with some very authentic-looking costumes, makeup, sets and effects. You gotta really love Trek to be part of something like this. I mention it here because the most recent episode, "World Enough and Time," guest stars none other than George Takei. The man himself, reprising the role that made him famous. The story involves an aged, forty-years-older Sulu. Apparently, he was completely cool with getting involved. Watch the episode here. Warning: it's extremely cheesy. But then again, so was the old Star Trek.


paulose steps down

Rachel K. Paulose, the controversial U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, announced today that she would be stepping down to go work at the Justice Department in Washington on legal policy issues: U.S. Attorney in Minnesota Is Reassigned. The announcement came in wake of reports of new staff turmoil in her office, with at least one senior lawyer resigning from his management post in Minneapolis last week in a protest over her leadership. Her office also made news last April when three other managers gave up their administrative job in a similar protest. Wow, people must really not like working with her.

asian/latino issues forum on december 4

All right. For those of you in Los Angeles, save the date. Here's details on a cool event next month I'm on the hosting committee for, an Asian / Latino Issues Forum featuring representatives from the leading Democratic Presidential Campaigns. Tuesday, December 4th at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. Here are the full details:
Please join us on Dec. 4th for two exciting programs in one night: an Asian/Latino Democratic Presidential Forum and - immediately following the forum - a very special networking party hosted by various community groups!


An Asian / Latino Issues Forum
featuring representatives from the leading Democratic Presidential Campaigns
with special celebrity appearance by Kelly Hu

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Event is FREE

6:15 PM doors open
6:45 - 8:15 PM panel/forum (will begin promptly)
8:15 PM - Tuesday Tingler at the Far Bar (more info below)

Assembly Member Kevin de Leon (Hillary Clinton's campaign)
Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (John Edwards' campaign)
LA School Board Member Yolie Flores Aguilar (Barack Obama's campaign)

The forum will be moderated by Eric Byler (Asian Pacific Americans for Progress) and Sandra Mendoza (Metropolitan Democratic Club).

Host Committee (in formation): Grace Chee, Phil Chung, Xioamara Corpeno, Keith Kamisugi, Ted Kroeber, Joseph Legaspi, Monica Macer, Raul Macias, Alejandro Menchaca, Sumun Pendakur, Alex Rooker, Mora Mi-Ok Stephens, Liz Sunwoo, Nick Velasquez, Janet Yang, Ed Yoon

Steering Committee: Dennis Arguelles, Charles Chang, Curtis Chin, Rhett Francisco, Vivien Hao, Go Kasai, Preeti Kulkarni, Katy Lim, Dean Matsubayashi, Sandra Mendoza, Catherine Park, Anthony Rendon, Melvin Tabilas, Sarah Tay

Presented by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and the Metropolitan Democratic Club. Venue sponsored by National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. Co-sponsored by the USC Asian Pacific American Student Services. For more info on the forum, email: curtischin@aol.com

Immediately following the forum will be the Tuesday Tingler, a special edition of the Monday Minglers co-sponsored by Asian Pacific American Legislative Staff, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Committee and Asian Pacific Americans in Philanthropy. They will be joined by several co-sponsoring Latino organizations. Just walk around the corner to:

Far Bar at Chop Suey Cafe
347 E. First Street
Tel: (213) 617-9990

For more info on the party, email charles.chang@apadrc.org
Mark your calendars. It should be a pretty interesting event, along with a cool party afterwards. Hope to see you all there.

more on adrian tomine's shortcomings

Here's another story on Adrian Tomine's graphic novel Shortcomings, from Los Angeles City Beat: Long and 'Short'. And here's one from earlier this month on Shortomings (and Derek Kirk Kim's Good as Lily): Adrian Tomine and Derek Kirk Kim graphic novels an accurate mirror. It's good stuff. Learn more about Adrian Tomine and Shortcomings here.

some plot details for fast and the furious 4

Some plot details have emerged, based on sides, regarding the upcoming fourth installment of The Fast and the Furious. The movie will be the return of the original stars, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, back to the franchise, with director Justin Lin back at the helm. According to Moviehole:
Times have definitely changed since the first film... and the script refects this; right down to just how much illegal street racing has changed since Dominic (Diesel) burned rubber in the original.

This time, he's in Mexico, where he's racing 'for' a guy named Braga. From the sounds of it, Brian (Paul Walker) has chased him down there, and may have even set up this 'Braga' deal (possibly as part of a deal for Dom - 'you help us catch this guy, you get a leaner sentence'); not that Dom's going to play nicely, naturally.

Dom's still as cheeky as ever... and as charming (About half-way through the script, Dom's getting ready for a big race - Brian on the side - and has to give a thumb-print on a scanning pad before getting into the car. One of the female organizers, a hottie named Gisele, even asks for his number before he starts up the engine. So lots of 'Vin is soooo charming' gags in here.)

This 'Gisele' character pops up frequently... She works for the bad guys, it seems.

The story looks like it has something to do with Dom - and Brian, no doubt undercover - helping a seedy crowd transport some goods (it doesn't say what it's in the goods - not what I read anyway - just that they were in 'large polymer cases') to an undisclosed location (everyone's car has been fitted with a GPS that'll guide them to the drop-off point). As soon as they leave their location, to evade the authorities, all the drivers have to put 'metallic car covers' over their rides so that choppers can't pick up their heat signals. The choppers zoom over head, but they can't seen anything but darkness. As soon as the choppers disappear, they're off and racing!

Other new characters, besides Gisele, in the film include a rogue named Fenix (who Dom doesn't seem to fond of) and a smart-ass named Dwight, who taunts Brian a bit.
Okay, sure. Frankly, who really cares about the plot? The franchise has always essentially been an excuse to showcase a bunch of really badass car chase scenes. This sounds like it'll be more of the same. Not to put any pressure on you, Justin, but I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of positive Asian American elements you can slip into the movie. Having gotten to know Justin over the last few years, and seeing how he works as a director, I'm interested in seeing what he does this time around.

the healing power of seaweed soup

Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey is launching at Korean Medical Program to serve the growing number of residents from Korea in the metro-area: A warm welcome for Koreans. More than 36,000 Koreans live in Bergen County, according to the 2000 census, with concentrations in Palisades Park, Fort Lee, Ridgefield and Leonia. The hospital has added 50 Korean-speaking doctors to the medical staff, hired two full-time staffers to interpret for Korean patients, and will offer Korean cable television stations in patient rooms. And best of all, they've got Korean food on the menu. Awwww yeah. Seaweed soup.

another dangerous "chinese" product

Oh come on. It continues. The media's unofficial campaign to scare the crap out of you regarding all things China... According to this Reuters article, 36,000 children's storage racks sold at Wal-Mart stores were recalled last week after a baby was suffocated by an overturned rack: Kids' storage racks recalled after death. An 8-month-old boy suffocated after he pulled on a storage rack and it fell over on him, with the top rail landing on his neck. The wooden storage rack was manufactured for Irving, Texas-based Jetmax International Ltd.

This is tragic, and should not have happened. It appears to me that the storage rack's instability is a major design flaw, and Jetmax should be held responsible for this senseless death. So why does this story deem it necessary to point out right away that the rack was "Chinese-made"? It makes no other reference to the Chinese manufacturer anywhere else in the article. Unless it's made clear that the recall is due to some kind of manufacturing flaw, there's no real reason to make this distinction. The implication, of course, is that the Chinese-ness of the product somehow made it dangerous. You see, we live in times where we have to blame all our troubles on China. Just another day in the U.S.A. That's not to say that factories in China don't have their share of problems. But let's lay blame where and when it's actually due.

the forbidden kingdom teaser trailer

A teaser trailer for the long-anticipated Jackie Chan/Jet Li collaboration The Forbidden Kingdom popped up on the web last week, and suprisingly, it doesn't look like a giant pile of suckage. That said, I still don't have a lot of high hopes for this movie. Based on everything I've heard so far, the story sounds pretty unappealing. And based on this footage, it's obvious that it's going for that overblown Asian swords-and-robes aesthetic that has become so popular in recent years with western audiences. It was fun at first, but then it got pretty tiring. Curse of the Golden Flower was the last straw for me. The prospect of a Jet Li/Jackie Chan fight does get me kind of excited, but as I've said before, this matchup is coming about 10-15 years too late, with both stars now way past their primes. (By the way, didn't Jet Li say that Fearless was his last martial arts film?) Anyway, view the trailer here. The movie opens in theaters April 18, 2008.

words of wisdom from supreme master ching hai

A weird little bit of literary news... The number eight selling book at Amazon right now is an odd self-published book, The Birds in My Life, by "The Supreme Master Ching Hai." Last week it was hovering around the number one spot. How did it sell so well? Is the book any good? This is a Publishers Weekly emailing, which suspects something fishy is going on:
Amazon, Gone to the Birds
Meanwhile, it appears that it's still quite possible to manufacture a No 1. Amazon bestseller. Supreme Master Ching Hai's self-published THE BIRDS IN MY LIFE, said to have been published on June 1, is back at the top position on Amazon's list even though it's now "not in stock" (previously it was listed as available for delivery in one to four weeks). The title first hit the top of Amazon's list at the beginning of this week.

With 77 posted reviews, only one dares to give the book anything but glowing comments and five stars. The rebellious P. Good "TheDr" said, "I browsed this book in a store and I found it silly and vapid. Why is this book getting so many 5-star reviews from people who have never reviewed a book before? The only thing that Ching Hai is a master of is creating fake reviews."

But followers of the Master reply that the book is not available in stores in the US. "Mr. Good, when I write here, my tears suddenly comes out. It's not because Supreme Master Ching Hai is a very good & very famous master who has won many awards like the World Peace Award, etc. It's because no word can describe how loving & compassionate she is, you can really feel that, she is really the light of all of us. I'm sure you can feel my heart and trust my sincere words."

At least one major chain we contacted is ordering the book, but so far it does appear to be an Amazon-only product. Today is the big expansion of Supreme Master Television, a "free-to-air station of 24-hour uplifting news and inspirational programs," to 10 new satellite platforms.
It would appear that the Supreme Master Ching Hai has many many followers. The 100+ gushing Amazon customer "reviews" are downright hilarious. I think someone is stuffing the ballot fox. Except for this review, which breaks rank and gets kind of nasty:
The "Supreme Master Ching Hai"?

Oh, do PLEASE get over yourself! What? Just plain "Chang Hai" not good enough for you?

I think I'm going to write a book about my entomological experiences, titled

"The Cockroaches of My Life," by Grandmaster Supergroovalisticoprosifunkstication Sweet Daddy Jones."

Kinda makes "Supreme Master Chang Hai" seem a little ordinary, by comparison.
Moral of the story: if you want a best-selling book on Amazon.com, add the title "Supreme Master" to your name. In fact, start thinking up lots and lots of fake names for your customer reviews. It is the way of the Supreme Master. (Thanks, Jamie)

gentrification, little saigon style

Last week, a panel of land-use experts from the Urban Land Institute presented plans to the Westminster city council to transform Orange County's Little Saigon into a New York City-style development: A New York-style vision for Little Saigon. The district, right now a jumble of mom-and-pop shops in old strip malls, apparently hasn't been living up to its potential as a tourist destinaton. The new vision of Little Saigon, home to the largest concentraion of Vietnamese Americans in the country, would include lots of lofts, high-end stores, hotels and sidewalk cafes. You know—gentrification. Sounds like every other new urban development. Good luck with that.


do that damn thing

Another article on Bay Area hip hop artist Lyrics Born, aka Tom Shimura, one of my favorite MCs around: Lyrics Born is an act born in a cultural mix. The new album, Everywhere at Once, is set to release in March. Visit his official site here, and his MySpace profile here.

bill hosokawa, journalist, dies at 92

Bill Hosokawa, a former editor at the Denver Post who built a distinguished career as a journalist and chronicler of the Japanese American experience, has died. He was 92: Bill Hosokawa, 92; journalist overcame internment and prejudice. Born in Seattle in 1915, he was one of the 110,000 Japanese Americans who were forced to relocate into internment camps during World War II. After the war, for many years Hosokawa was the highest-ranking Asian American journalist in the nation. Hired at the Denver Post in 1946, he spent 38 years there as reporter, editor and columnist. He later worked at the Rocky Mountain News, where he served as ombudsman from 1985 to 1992, when he retired. He died of natural causes November 9 in Sequim, Washington.

police searching for missing student

Police in Columbia, Missouri are looking for a missing MU student, 27-year-old Ye Won Lee, who failed to show up at her home in Indiana last week: Columbia police looking for missing MU student. Lee was supposed to meet her family Thursday in Indiana. When she didn't arrive, her family traveled to Columbia and contacted local police, who searched her home. Police, however, say they've found no indication of foul play.

Lee is described as an Asian American woman, 5-foot-3, 105 pounds, with a thin build, light-colored skin and shoulder-length black hair. She may be driving a four-door, 2002 silver Honda Civic with Indiana license plate JK2714. Anyone with information on Lee's whereabouts is asked to call Columbia police or CrimeStoppers at 875-8477.

the live-action dragonball movie

Got like a zillion emails about this last week... a lot of it expressing a great deal of anger. Who knew there were so many Dragonball fans out there? For those of you who don't know, Dragonball is an insanely popular manga/anime/video game series, one of the most successful Japanese cultural exports of all time.

Twentieth Century Fox has plans to produce a live-action movie version of the series for next summer, and recently announced the Hollywood players that will bring the series to life: 'Dragonball' movie set to roll.

The movie will be directed by James Wong, who directed that bad Jet Li movie The One, and produced by none other than Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame. But much to many fans dismay, Justin Chatwin will play the hero Goku, and James Marsters will play the villain Piccolo. Who? What?

This announcement of a very white Hollywood cast pissed off a lot of fans who always kind of presumed the Dragonball characters were Asian, being a Japanese creation and all. Even the green dude. I can understand the outrage, though not being much of a fan, I'm not quite that invested. And frankly, I'm not surprised. Sorry friends. The animated heroes of your childhood are going to be played by white actors. It's the Hollywood way, after all. The release date is set fo August 15, 2008.

uc expands api applicant categories

The University of California is expanding the categories undergraduate applicants use to self-report their ethnicity as part of an effort to collect and better report the complexities of its Asian American and Pacific Islander students. It'll become the first public institution of higher education in California to collect and report data specifically on Hmong, Filipino and other Asian subgroups: University of California Tries to Better Understand Asian Students.

Next year's undergraduate application will include 23 Asian American and Pacific Islander categories, up from the eight that are currently recorded. This is a pretty big move, since it will go a long way towards dispelling the harmful minority myth in higher education. Through aggregated data, Asians are often portrayed as academically, socially and economically successful. But last summer, the federal Government Accountability Office released a report warning that the "Asian" umbrella masks the underperformance of several Asian Pacific American subgroups, like Vietnamese and Native Hawaiians. A more detailed, comprehensive collection of data will result in a more accurate picture of how Asian American and Pacific Islander students are doing.

Next year's applications for UC admissions will include separate categories for Chinese, Taiwanese, Asian Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and "other" Asian.


new trailer for 21

The trailer for 21 just hit the web. It's the movie based on Ben Mezrich's book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. And as the title suggests, it's the true story of how a group of MIT guys created a system to count cards—and win an insane amount of money—playing blackjack. In real life it was actually a bunch of Asian guys. Hollywood's version, however, is another story. It's okay trailer, but damn.

We've been following along with the developement of this story from page to screen for several years now, so it became clear pretty early on that, in true Hollywood fashion, the main characters would all be changed to white people. That's racist! But it seems here that they've thrown us a bone by adding a few Asian American characters, played by Aaron Yoo and Liza LaPira. They appear to have pretty substantial roles... though obviously Kevin Spacey and the other pretty white folks are the ones who are meant to be front and center. Anyway, watch the trailer here, curse Hollywood, and lament with me over the movie that could've been.

only the brave screening in san diego this weekend

Lane Nishikawa's World War II drama Only the Brave is currently on a city-by-city tour in support of the movie's recent release on DVD. Based on actual events, the film tells the story of the Japanese American 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, and stars Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Tamilyn Tomita, Yuji Okumoto, Jeff Fahey, Guy Ecker and the late Pat Noriyuki Morita. Produced on a modest, independent budget, the film is one of those true labors of love.

For those of you in San Diego, catch special screenings of Only the Brave this Sunday, November 18 at 2pm and 6pm, at the Ultrastar Cinemas Mission Valley. Stars Tamlyn Tomita and Yuji Okumoto (it's a Karate Kid II reunion!) will be present to autograph DVDs. Tickets are $10 general, $8 for seniors, and free for U.S. Armed Forces veterans. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Japanese American Citizens League, Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana, the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego and the Buddhist Temple of San Diego. For more information about the movie (or to purchase the DVD), visit the Only the Brave website here.

finishing the game opens in more cities

Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Seattle. Just a quick reminder to all of you looking forward to seeing Justin Lin's Finishing the Game, the movie opens this weekend at the Landmark Ritz in Philadelphia, the Landmark Inwood in Dallas, the Landmark Greenway in Houston, the Landmark Dobie in Austin, and the Landmark Varsity Theater in Seattle. The movie is also still available nationwide On Demand from your cable/satellite operator. For more information about Finishing the Game, go here

center for asian american media's new website

My good friends over at the Center For Asian American Media recently unveiled their shiny new redesigned website. Lots of great new content there, including all sorts of features, interviews, news and blogs covering the various arms of the organization and their mission to advance Asian American media. For instance, they've been following up on films that screened earlier this year at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival: Festival Stars: Where are they now? (Part 1). And Part 2. The Media Fund blog has guest filmmakers writing about the progress and process of completing their CAAM-funded films. Christopher Wong writes about his education documentary: WHATEVER IT TAKES: First Log. And Christopher Woon blogs about his b-boy documentary: AMONG B-BOYS: On the Quest. Like I said, lots of good stuff there, so check it out. I'm diggin' it.

australian prime minister could lose his seat

News from the land down under... After 33 years in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister John Howard is in danger of becoming Australia's first prime minister since 1929 to lose his seat: Australia's Howard Fights to Save Seat Amid Immigrants' Anger. In some past campaigns, he has argued for stronger immigration controls, especially for Asians. Now his Bennelong district is 41 percent Asian, compared with 2 percent when he was first elected back in 1974. He's apparently been able to win people over at the last minute in previous elections playing the race card or immigration card... but now he's looking at a situation where he has to attract both the Asian and working class vote. Funny. In his 1988 campaign, Howard called for reducing Asian immigration for the sake of "social cohesion." In the 2001 election, his campaign slogan was "we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come." Looks like his past xenophobic rhetoric might be coming back to bite him in the ass...


the moca storymap

This is a pretty cool project. The Museum of Chinese in America is seeking submissions for its StoryMap, an online archive that links personal stories with Google Maps. They're mapping the Chinese American experience, one story at a time. What's your story? Is there an event or object that symbolizes your family's legacy in America? what was the moment when you or your family first felt like America was truly home? Share your experience by adding it to The MOCA StoryMap. The website has already drawn stories and photos from a number of people who immigrated from China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, and South Korea, as well as folks born right here in America. Check it out, contribute your story, be on the map.

dj shy: beauty and the beats

DJ Shy, the first female DJ for Los Angeles' KIIS FM 102.7, is featured in a reality docu-series, Beauty and the Beats, currently entered in MySpace's Storyteller Challenge. It's a behind-the-scenes look at her life and career as an Asian American woman in the male-dominated DJ industry. Producer Don Le describes it as a "passion-fueled project that mixes the best elements of HBO's Entourage with MTV's The Hills. What they've got so far looks pretty cool. View the promo piece here, then vote "BOOYAH!" (thumbs up). Voting ends tomorrow, November 16. The winner gets $25,000 and a development deal with FOX. To learn more about DJ Shy, visit her MySpace profile here.

abc promises opportunities for filipinos

A little bit of follow-up on last month's Desperate Housewives controversy, in which Teri Hatcher's character made a disparaging remark about the trustworthiness of Filipino medical schools. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the clip here.

The scene caused an uproar from outraged members of the Filipino community, both here and abroad. ABC apologized, but community leaders demanded more restitution, something more substantial. As a result, after meeting with president of ABC primetime entertanment Steve McPherson, they've been promised several intiatives, including hiring Filipino on-camera and behind-camera talents, incorporating dialogues and plot lines to popular ABC-TV shows depicting the contributions of Filipino Americans in the nation's healthcare system, and including healthcare, arts and advocacy experts as guests in news programs: ABC hiring Filipino American talents to make up for 'Desperate Housewives'.

McPherson apparently even suggested a plotline for Boston Legal, about a Filipino American lawyer suing the government for the injustice to Filipino World War II veterans. Which would be pretty damn awesome, if it actually happened. This is all very encouraging news, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll believe it when I see it, and who knows when that might be (after all, there is a writer's strike happening right now).

mancini vs. kim, 25 years later

Here's a great story on the historic 1982 WBA lightweight championship fight between Ray Mancini and South Korean boxer Kim Duk Koo, in which Kim was fatally beaten on national television: Mancini and Kim forever linked

Going into the evening, no one was expecting much out of the Mancini-Kim fight. Little was known of Kim, coming in with a 17-1-1 record, but having never fought outside of Asia and with no opponents of note on his record. It ended up being the fight of his life. During the fourteen rounds, a blood a clot had formed on Kim's brain, probably caused by one or two powerful punches. A right to the head knocked him out for the count. Four days later, on November 17, 1982, a judge declared Kim legally dead and doctors removed him from life support. And Mancini has had to live with Kim's death ever since. Crazy.

The story of Kim Duk-Koo's life was depicted in the South Korean movie Champion that came out a couple of years back. I've never seen it, but I kind of want to check it out, now that I know a little more background about this story.

will yun lee is one of people's "sexiest men alive"

Some serious, important news. Actor Will Yun Lee, star of the NBC series Bionic Woman has been named on People's annual list of "The Sexiest Men Alive." I concur. Hell yes. The guy is sexy. You know, he's one of the few dudes who can pull off the ponytail thing. And dammit, I'll say it—I'm really glad an Asian guy made the list, as frivolous as the distinction might be. (He also made it on to People's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" list in 2002.)

Have you been watching Bionic Woman? I caught the first couple of episodes, and while I thought it was a well-produced show, it just didn't hold my attention. However, Will definitely has one of the more interesting roles as specialized operations leader Jae Kim. I also really dug his hitman character from the short-lived FX drama Thief. Best of all, he hasn't had to rock an Asian an accent in either role.


just another asian american psycho

Some disturbing news out of Delaware... This week, 23-year-old Daniel Yoon, a self-described "diabolical killer," stabbed two female co-workers inside a Houlihan's restaurant. Authorities charged him with attempted murder, assault and possession of a deadly weapon after he critically stabbed one waitress and injured another during an attack that was apparently sparked because he was "sick of being rejected": Houlihan's Employee Charged In Stabbing Rampage

As police led him handcuffed to a cruiser Monday night, Yoon said he was proud of what he allegedly did and smiled at cameras: "I'm proud of what I did. I'm a (expletive) diabolical killer." Psycho. Dude, no one calls himself a "diabolical killer." That's just stupid. Police said Yoon was upset that the 19-year-old waitress rejected his romantic advances. Something tells me rejecting him was still the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, what folks will be seeing on the local news is another unstable Asian guy who snapped and went on a violent rampage. Great.

"no justice! no noodles!"

Forget the writers' strike. Jennifer 8. Lee blogs about another labor dispute happening in New York, where a group of Chinese restaurant workers called for a boycott of Ollie's Noodle Shop and Grill today. The claim that the president of the restaurant chain was leading a retaliation and blacklisting effort against restaurant workers across the city who were organizing. The workers' rallying chant: "No Justice! No Noodles!" In recent months, a number of workers have protested or filed lawsuits against several popular Asian restaurant groups, including Ollie's, Saigon Grill, Flor de Mayo and Republic, saying that the restaurants' owners have resorted to mass firing, discriminatory hiring processes and demotions, particularly against Fujianese workers who are at the heart of the organizing efforts. For more information about the organizing efforts, visit Justice Will Be Served!

ha jin's free life

Here's an interesting Newsweek article on A Free Life, the latest novel by acclaimed, award-winning author Ha Jin: The Americanization of Ha Jin. And here's a story from NPR: Immigrant Struggles to Find Meaning in 'A Free Life'. It's Ha Jin's first novel set in America. He emigrated to the U.S. from China in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square, and had only been writing in English for twelve years when he won the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Waiting in 1999. Not bad for a guy who listed English as a last choice for his preferred courses of study during college. Now he's writing novels and winning awards. Damn. I'm looking forward to picking up the new book.

another chinese food deliveryman killed

Another deliveryman falls... On Sunday, 29-year-old Hong Zhi Wang was fatally shot in the back while delivering food to a home in Southeast Washington—the second such killing in DC in recent months: Another Man Killed Delivering Asian Takeout Food in Southeast. Police have not made any arrests:
"This raises concern for members of the Asian community," said Sgt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department's specialized squads, including the Asian Liaison Unit. "My folks from Asian liaison are redoubling efforts to reach out to carryout workers, telling them to trust their gut if they feel something is not right."
Damn straight, something is not right. This killing comes less than three months after another deliveryman from an Asian carryout restaurant was robbed and killed in the area. This pattern, of course, is not limited to the DC area, as there have been scores of reports over the years of Asian food deliveryman attacked, beaten, robbed and killed all over the United States. Delivering Chinese food has somehow become a dangerous, deadly job.

Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information on Wang's death that leads to an arrest and conviction. Authorities are urging anyone with information to call police at 202-727-9099.

toronto reel asian international film festival opens tonight

That's right, Toronto readers. The day has finally arrived. The 11th Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival opens tonight with the Opening Night screening of Justin Lin's Finishing the Game. In case you haven't heard, it's a comedy about the search for a new Bruce Lee. Tonight, 7:00pm at Bloor Cinema. With a special appearance by star Dustin Nguyen! The one and only. There's also the Opening Night Gala Party (free with ticket stub) at the Century Room. Reel Asian will show you how to party.

The festival runs tonight through November 18, with all sorts of great screenings and events, with over 77 films (59 premieres) from 13 countries. View the full schedule here. Throughout the festival, be sure to check out Reel Asian's second annual industry series of panel discussions, salon sessions, workshops and mentorship opportunities for Asian Canadian filmmakers, aspiring or otherwise. Also check out the festival's music showcase RAMeN: Reel Asian Music Night featuring These Electric Lives, Dance Electric and The Flashboyz. Designed to get your ass moving. This Friday, November 16 at The Courthouse.

That's Canadian flavor. For all the information you need on the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, go here.

"embarcadero blues" by goh nakamura

Check out this great video for "Embarcadero Blues" by Goh Nakamura, directed by Dino Ignacio.... two very cool guys. It's listed as one of YouTube's featured videos at the moment. I'm a big fan of Goh's music, so it's great to see him get this kind of exposure. He calls the tune a love song for San Francisco and anyone who works in the service industry. To learn more about Goh Nakamura, go here, and visit his MySpace page here. Diggin' it.

pak se-ri inducted into world golf hall of fame

This week at a ceremony in St. Augustine, Florida, golfer Pak Se-ri was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame: Pak Se-ri: Queen of Golf is Crowned. The World Golf Hall of Fame opens its doors to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of the game. After having been inducted to the LPGA Hall of Fame, Pak autmoatically became a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. She's the fourth Asian woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, and remains the sold Asian in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

censorship on new york times adoption blog

Heard about this over at Racialicious yesterday, and I'm with Carmen—it's outrageous: The New York Times censors adult adoptees on adoption blog. The New York Times started a new blog this month called Relative Choices, discussing "adoption and the American family." The blog generated quite a bit of criticism from folks who felt that contributors were insensitive to a lot of the issues and nuances surrounding transracial adoption. Carmen points out a few of the questionable posts here. What made things worse, however, was that the Times blog was apparently not approving comments from numerous people—many of them adult adoptees—who were critical of certain adoption practices. Shady. News about the censorship started hitting the blogs (it's being chronicled quite well here), creating a lot of negative attention for the New York Times. This is why I love the internet. Anyway, get an overview of this little controversy over at Racialicious.


korean film festival in los angeles, november 15-18

Here's a cool event happening this week for Korean film fans in Los Angeles... The Korean Film Council, in partnership with Korean Cinematheque, is hosting the first annual Korean Film Festival in Los Angeles (KOFFLA), from November 15 to 18. This year's theme is "It's Alive: Korean Film Genre Hybrids and Hollywood Remakes." The festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Kim Tai Sik's Driving With My Wife's Lover, and closes with the Han Jae Rim's gangster drama A Show Must Go On. Both films look great, along with the rest of the schedule, which features kickass movies like A Bitterseet Life, Save the Green Planet and Barking Dogs Never Bite.

In addition to all the films, the festival will feature a panel discussion on the viability of Korean films as potential material for Hollywood remakes: "Korean Films Ready for Hollywood Remake and Co-Production". As you probably know, there's been a recent phenomenon of Hollywood remakes of quite a few Korean films announced over the last few years. In addition to The Lake House and My Sassy Girl, the rights to more than 10 Korean movies have been purchased by U.S. studios (much to the dismay of many dedicated Asian film fans). The panel will feature Zak Kadison, vice president of production at Fox Atomic and producer on the remake of My Sassy Girl; Jonathan Kim of Dain Pictures, which produced the hit Korean films Silmido and To Catch a Virgin Ghost; and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, responsible for recent remakes The Ring, The Departed and The Lake House. Should be a really interesting discussion. Given some of the fan reaction to remakes, I hope someone throws in a bit of controversy.

The Korean Film Festival in Los Angeles runs this week, November 15-18. For more information, including the full film schedule and ticket info, visit the website here. The site is rather poorly designed, but it'll have to do.

boston globe story on bloggers of color

Folks have been emailing me all day with this Boston Globe story on bloggers of color who are challenging racial stereotypes, making their voices heard, and stirring things up in the media: Blog is beautiful. Good stuff. I get namechecked in there ("facetiously named"), along with fellow bloggers from Ultrabrown, Racialicious, Jack and Jill Politics, Angry Black Woman, Guanabee, The Unapologetic Mexican, Latino Pundit, Ultrabrown, Zuky, Sepia Mutiny, The Field Negro, Too Sense, and Resist Racism. Damn, there are a lot of us!

chinese, "with eyes like this"

You've got to be kidding me: More Asian Racism ("Eyes like this") on Fox News. Yesterday on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, guest Rod Wheeler was on the show to talk about the ethnicity of an alleged rape suspect on the loose. The issue at hand was the police's description of the suspect as "Hispanic," as opposed to "dark skinned" or "light skinned."

Former homicide detective Wheeler, in defense of the police, says the the investigators had indeed narrowed down the suspect to a Hispanic male. "Not a Black male, not a Chinese male—with his eyes like this—but a Hispanic male." Yes, he pulled back his eyes. The international symbol for "chink," as we all know. An old police trick he learned on the playground, no doubt. Ah, Fox News. Teaching America racist gestures, one viewer at a time.

Was that really necessary, Mr. Wheeler? Is the American viewing public really incapable of understanding the term "Chinese" without the good ol' eye pull? Let's also note the fact that he muddles his own argument by referring to "Chinese" instead of "Asian" in regards to describing a suspect. But then again, maybe he just thinks all Asians are the same. I guess we're all Chinese, and we all have "eyes like this." Idiot. That's racist!

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