scott kurashige and the mulicultural city

Short notice, but if you're in Southern California, I just heard about this really interesting event happening tomorrow with Scott Kurashige, author of The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles:
What L.A. History Can Teach Us About Obama's Candidacy
From "Minority" Politics to a New Majority

Saturday, March 1, 2008, 2 p.m.
@ The Southern California Library
6120 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044

Talk and Book Reading with Scott Kurashige
Author of The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles

"Scott Kurashige shifts the urban history paradigm in this brilliantly triangulated account of African American and Japanese American resistance to white racism in Los Angeles."--Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and In Praise of Barbarians

The long historical struggles to remake Los Angeles from a "white city" into a multicultural "world city" open up a critical window for making sense of Barack Obama's campaign for presidency--and the future of U.S. politics.

Join us on Saturday, March 1, as Scott Kurashige breaks down how Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos/as, and whites in neighborhoods from Crenshaw to Boyle Heights worked together to create new definitions of community in a city whose civic and political leaders proudly proclaimed themselves to be defenders of white supremacy less than a century ago.

His talk will draw on the lessons of this history to show why no serious candidate for the presidency from here on out can ignore the mandate to build a multiracial coalition--one built not on carving people into "minority interest groups" but on a new collective majority.

Everyone welcome. Free admission. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

For more information, go to www.socallib.org or call (323) 759-6063.
Sounds like it's going to be a really fascinating talk. Alas, yet another item to add to my bulging, constantly expanding list of books to read.

the future of major league coaching

For the most part, Americans have gotten used to the fact that there Japanese baseball players in the major leagues. The novelty has sort of worn off, and with six Japanese players in their first major league training camps this season, it's pretty much the new status quo. The players have proven they can hang with the big dogs. But is Major League Baseball ready for a Japanese coach?

We're still probably several years away, but Masato Yoshii, formerly of the New York Mets, has become the first of the 31 Japanese players who have played in the major leagues since Hideo Nomo made his debut in 1995 to return to Japan and become a coach. And he's hoping the experience will one day lead to a coaching opportunity in the MLB : Hoping to Become the Next Hot Baseball Export From Japan. But first he's probably got to work on his English.

america's best dance crew: week four

Another great week on America's Best Dance Crew. Kaba Modern and JabbaWockeeZ got voted once again into the top three, and each gave another great, entertaining performance. I'm totally into this show. You can vote online for your favorite performance here. Voting closes Saturday, March 1st at 4:00am ET. Let's recap:

Doing a cool girl/nerd boy concept to Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction." I love these kids. To vote for Kaba Modern, call 1-877-75CREW2 [1-877-752-7392] or text 2 to 23882.

Stealing stuff to 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake's "Ayo Technology." Brilliant, once again. To vote for JabbaWockeeZ, call 1-877-75CREW1 [1-877-752-7391] or text 1 to 23882.

Special props go to Taeko of Fysh n Chicks, who have been scrapping their way out of the bottom two for several weeks. She did this crazy-ass move over a fence last night. See it here. Though they're definitely not the strongest group in the competition, I like these girls a lot too.

the rally at cu-boulder

Here's some media coverage of the protest rally held this week at the University of Colorado at Boulder, over Max Karson's "War on Asians" column: CU-Boulder students rally against hate. Around 250 people turned out for the event, intended to send the message to CU administrators that minority students have a voice, and will not tolerate hate speech (even if disguised as "satire"). Amen to that.

There was also an open forum between student leaders and school administrators that was reportedly optimistic and productive, according one attendee: Student leaders want 'Campus Press' editor, adviser out. (Thanks, Joe.) Meanwhile, Max Karson has been suspended from the Campus Press staff: Campus Press suspends Max Karson. More here: Student Suspended From CU Newspaper Over Column On Asians. See ya, sucka.

Also, here's a great piece at Inside Higher Ed, written in reaction to this and other recent negative events towards Asian American college students: Satire as Racial Backlash Against Asian Americans. It's a really good analysis of the aggression and hostility directed often underlying these "satire" efforts, directed at Asian American students.

is the rain ninja movie really ninja scroll?

Anime is so hot right now. Or rather, anime being turned into live-action Hollywood movies. That's really hot. In addition to the Speed Racer, Dragonball and Akira movies that are all currently in the works, it looks like we might be seeing a Ninja Scroll movie too.

Remember that Rain Ninja Movie I mentioned earlier this month? It stars Korean pop star Rain, produced by the Wachowski brothers, and directed by James McTeigue, who did V for Vendetta. They're calling it Ninja Assassin, but it looks like there could be more to it than that: Is the Wachowski Brothers' Ninja Assassin Actually a Live Action Ninja Scroll Movie?

The character names in this open casting call just all happen to be characters from Yoshiaki Kawajin's 1993 anime film Ninja Scroll, indicating a strong possibility that this is indeed a live action remake. Very sly, Rain.

southern california asian enclave news

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting story on San Fernando Valley, an area which has recently emerged as a significant population center for Korean Americans in Southern California: Koreatown in the suburbs. While the nation's largest community of Koreans, of 350,000, is concentrated in Los Angeles County and centered in Koreatown, the Valley is now home to at least 50,000 Koreans spread around Northridge, Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Chatsworth. The sure sign that the Korean community is booming in your town? When they build a Korean supermarket.

In other Southern Calfornia Asian enclave news... here's another Los Angeles Times story, this one on the large Chinese community of Monterey Park: Monterey Park tries to find itself. It seems that the city is currently undergoing an economic identity crisis, with measures being considered to address a declining tax base. It seems that Monterey Park's many small businesses geared toward the immigrant Chinese community have left the city starved for tax revenue, which has city leaders looking to attract national retailers to the area. This can't be good for the Chinese mom and pop shops...


roar of the tiger: the legend of tokyo rose

Over the years, the subject of Iva Toguri D'Aquino, aka "Tokyo Rose," has come up a couple of times around here, most recently with news that a feature film about her story is in currently in the works. I won't go into the details, but basically, "Tokyo Rose" was something of an urban legend during World War II. There's no real proof that such a woman existed, but Iva Toguri was wrongly tried and convicted by the United States of treason as Tokyo Rose, the haunting voice behind radio broadcasts that taunted Allied forces during the war.

Intrigued? A reader named Dennis writes in with some info about a play he's involved in... If you're in Southern California, you might want to check out the stage production of Roar of the Tiger: The Legend of Tokyo Rose, telling the story of Toguri, how she ended up being tried as Tokyo Rose, and the ordeal she went through to prove her innocence. The show has a four-weekend run starting this Friday, February 29 through March 23 at the Egyptian Arena Theatre in Hollywood. It sounds pretty interesting. For more information on the show, go here.

international murder suspect caught

Remember Nai Yin Xue? He's the New Zealand man suspected of killing his wife, stuffing her body into the trunk of a car, then allegedly abandoning his 3-year-old daughter at a train station in Australia. He made his way out to Los Angeles, where he was apparently hiding out somewhere in Chinatown. That was last September. I almost forgot about the case, but authorities have apparently arrested Xue in suburban Atlanta: Pumpkin's fugitive father caught in U.S.

So how did they catch him, after all this time with him laying low, crossing state lines? A group of residents at an apartment complex apparently recognized Xue, who has been featured on America's Most Wanted twice, and detained him—reportedly hog-tying him until police arrived. Officers responding to a "wanted person" call found a crowd of people at the complex, none of whom spoke English, holding a Chinese-language newspaper and pointing to a photograph of Xue. That's citizen justice, baby.

Speaking of international murder suspects... here's more on Kazuyoshi Miura, the Japanese businessman who was taken into custody last week for the 1981 murder of his wife in Los Angeles: Japanese murder suspect Kazuyoshi Miura's blog led to his arrest abroad. It was apparently his own blog that helped Los Angeles police detectives catch him, when he wrote about his international travel plans. Authorites grabbed him in Saipan. Caught, sucka. Blame the blog.

new sex and the city trailer

Hey look! The latest theatrical trailer for the upcoming Sex and the City movie has hit the web, and we get a few glimpses of Charlotte's daughter. The final episode of the series, Charlotte and her husband got word that they'd be able to adopt a baby from China. I guess this is her, all grown and big and stuff. That's her above with Sarah Jessica Parker, who appears to be dispensing some saavy advice about real life. And one day, she can grow up and be, like, Lucy Liu on Cashmere Mafia. Watch the trailer here. The movie opens May 30.

tonight: candlelight vigil for mike cho

There will be vigil this evening at UCLA on behalf of Mike Cho, who was shot and killed by La Habra police on New Year's Eve. Despite protests and calls for a thorough investigation into the shooting from his family, friends and concerned community members, police have yet to provide satisfactory answers about Michael's death. Justice For Mike Cho, unwilling to sit back idly and accept this situation, are calling on the community to come out tonight, 7:00-10:00pm, to show your support for this movement. Here are the details:
PLEASE TAKE 2 MINUTES TO READ THIS!! This could have been your brother or friend!!!

Justice for Mike Cho and UCLA's Korean American Students Association, Queer Alliance, and Asian Pacific Coalition are hosting a UCLA campus vigil for Michael S. Cho Thursday, February 28th, 7-10pm at the UCLA Bruin Plaza. Everybody is welcome to bring instruments to play along with the crowd. If you knew Mike or work with a civil rights organizations and would like to speak at the event, please contact justiceformikecho@gmail.com Please invite all friends to this event.

***How Mike was Shot and Killed***
Michael was leaving a liquor store at approximately 2pm when police officers confronted him with their guns drawn, suspecting him of vandalism. Michael, born with a lifelong leg disability, attempted to leave the scene peacefully. He was shot at least 10 times. The policemen justified the shooting by claiming that he was holding a tire iron in his left hand and made a "motion to attack".

***Who is Mike Cho***
He was a UCLA alumnus who studied the arts. He expressed himself through music, sculpture, drawing and ceramics, which became his passion. In 2005, after graduating from UCLA, Cho went to South Korea to study traditional Korean ceramic art. He was also active in his church, where he taught art to disabled children. Cho planned to apply to Yale University's master's program in art and become a college professor.
Here's a news story on the shooting and its impact on the community: Gone In 41 Seconds -- Police Quick to Kill Korean Artist. Here's an online petition calling for a more thorough investigaition of Michael's death: Justice For Mike Cho. If you're on Facebook, join the group: Stop Police Brutality - Remember Michael Cho. And for all the latest updates and information on the case, go to justiceformikecho.com.

Live-action 'Akira' movie in the works

According to Variety, Warner Bros. currently has plans are underway to produce two live-action feature films based on Katsuhiro Otomo's manga classic Akira, the first of which is being fast-tracked for release in summer 2009.

WB takes franchise turn with 'Akira'.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are rumored to be attached. I can't see it. I just can't. Part of me is simply resistant because the 1988 anime film is such a masterpiece, and ingrained into my consciousness.

nebraska's new walk-on lineman

Here's a cool story on 18-year-old Seung Hoon Choi, the 6-foot-2, 320-pound high school kid from South Korea who was asked by Nebraska's coaching staff to join the team as a walk-on: Lincoln Christian's Choi to walk on at NU. Considering the storied history of Nebraska's football program, this is a pretty big deal. And to the best of anyone's knowledge, Seung Hoon will be the first Korean to be part of the Husker team.

Choi apparently got the attention of Nebraska's recruiters when someone spotted him at school during his junior year. I suppose a Korean kid that big is kind of hard to miss. And you don't pass on that kind of potential without taking a good, hard look. Now they're trying to groom him into something special for the Huskers as an offensive lineman. Go, kid.

prachya pinkaew's chocolate

This trailer hit the web a while back, but I realized I never got around to posting it... and man, it's worth posting. The movie is Chocolate, the latest from Prachya Pinkaew, director of Ong Bak, and it looks like a totally bitchin' action flick. It's about an autistic girl who learns how to fight by absorbing her martial arts skills from what she sees on TV and from the Muay thai boxing school conveniently located next door. The premise is pretty ridiculous, and the plot is probably paper-thin, but you won't catch me complaining. The action looks crazy. Don't know when it'll make it over here to the States, but I can't wait. View the trailer here.

"real cool f--king asian"

This news is several weeks old, but it's still important to post... Last month, Washington State University senior Kyle Descher was viciously attacked at a bar, suffering a severely broken jaw and possible permanent facial nerve damage: A savage blow, fueled by hate, and no one steps forward. Just minutes before it happened, a group of guys passed by Descher, who is Korean, on the way into the bar and muttered, "Real cool fucking Asian." Yeah. To him. A few minutes later, Descher was on the floor, knocked unconscious, jaw broken in two places and bleeding badly from the mouth:
On the way in the door minutes earlier, the former Hoquiam High School student-body president and his roommate had encountered three guys -- two white, one black. As they passed, one of them declared, "Real cool f***ing Asian."

Descher turned and asked if he'd heard it right.

The slur was repeated.

Descher said, "Whatever, man. Have a nice life."

The three followed Descher and his roommate into the bar.

A few minutes later, in a flash, someone behind him unleashed a savage blow that broke his jaw in two places and knocked him to the floor, unconscious and bleeding badly from the mouth.

The Pullman police arrived hard on the heels of the paramedics, but they could find no one who saw the assailant -- or at least who would say they saw the assailant.
That last part is what stuns me. This guy gets sucker punched at a crowded bar and no one saw the coward who did it? No, no one was willing to say they saw who did it. It's absolutely ridiculous. There's got to be someone out there who saw this happen.

WSU recently hosted a forum to discuss the incident and its implication for the community: University to host safety forum discussing student attack, racism. The police have assigned detectives to the case, but it's being classified as a simple assault, with apparently "no concrete evidence" linking the racial comments to Descher's broken jaw. This was a hate crime, plain and simple. And the guy who did it is out there, free to attack other "fucking Asians." Is that right? That's racist!

george takei in j.j. abrams' star trek movie?

Okay, geek out time. Can this be? Ain't It Cool News reports that George Takei could possibly be involved with J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek feature. Back as Sulu? Nothing confirmed, but during a recent appearance on Howard Stern's talk show, Takei seemed to hint with a "no comment" that he might be in the movie. Personally, I think that would be kind of awesome.

As we know, the new story revolves around the early days of the Enterprise crew, with John Cho playing the young Hikaru Sulu. It's already been confirmed that Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) has some sort of involvement in the film. Could Takei have a role too? If so, it would be probably just be a cameo. The whole thing is so shrouded in secrecy, who knows? We won't get to see until the movie hits theaters over a year frow now, in summer 2009.

On a related note, I recently came across this wicked awesome SULU NATION t-shirt, pictured above. Had to buy it. Yeah, I'm cool.

victory for saigon grill workers

A turning point in the Saigon Grill saga... Last week, a judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the owner of Manhattan's Saigon Grill restaurants illegally fired 28 deliverymen last year and should reinstate them: Restaurants Must Rehire Deliverymen, Judge Rules. The deliverymen have been picketing for nearly a year now, so the decision is good news.

The judge ruled that Simon Nget, Saigon Grill's owner, had illegally retaliated against the workers—all of them immigrants from China—by firing them because they were planning to bring a wage and hour lawsuit against them. Before being fired, the deliverymen asserted that they were sometimes paid only $120 for a 75-hour work week. That comes out to about $1.60 an hour, well below the minimum of $4.85 an hour they were supposed to be receiving under state law. This, in addition to other illegal deducations and fines. With this ruling, no more. Looks like it's time for Mr. Nget to rehire and pay up!

enter the dragon's master

There's been quite a bit of news over the last couple of years about various Bruce Lee-related movie and TV projects in the works, from Hollywood to Hong Kong. There's the forty-part Chinese TV mini-series, The Legend of Bruce Lee set to air sometime this year. There's the Untitled Bruce Lee Biopic from Bruce Lee's brother, Robert. Hell, there were even plans for a movie featuring a ghostly CGI-Bruce. That one, thankfully, fell through because Lee's family had the good sense to withdraw support.

Now, we get news that there are plans for two movies about another side of Bruce—his master, Ip Man. Action stars Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung are reportedly preparing to start shooting one of two movies about the life of Ip, teacher to the greatest martial arts hero in the history of cinema: Bruce Lee's Master Subject of Biopics. I'm really interested in seeing this.

But wait! I do remember a while back that famed auteur Wong Kar-Wai also announced the he's planning a biopic starring Tony Lueng Chiu-wai as Ip Man. The project is slated to begin production in Shanghai in March for release early next year. Considering how long it usually takes for Wong Kar-wai to finish a movie, don't count on seeing it for a while.

nyc cracks down on chinatown "counterfeit triangle"

This week in New York, city investigators raided dozens of storefronts on a triangular block in Chinatown—the "Counterfeit Triangle"—in a major seizing of fake brand goods: City Raids 'Counterfeit Triangle,' Shutting 32 Storefronts. As part of the investigation, 42 undercover purchases were made in various storefronts, uncovering counterfeits of such brands as Coach, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbanna, Dior, Prada, Rolex, Fendi, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dora the Explorer and Oakley—with an estimated street value of more than $1 million. The stores will be padlocked, and in addition to the stores selling counterfeit goods, an illegal massage parlor was closed and illegal signs were removed. Everyone feels much safer already.

Okay, I get it. Bootlegging is against the law, and counterfeit goods ultimately do have a negative impact on the economy. I understand this. But who are they really fooling in trying characterize this as anything other than a glorified public relations stunt? Complete with a photo op of Mayor Bloomberg holding up an official "CLOSED" sign. They appease a few high-end brand companies and present the illusion to the public that the city is cracking down on this society-plaguing criminal enterprise that "lowered the quality of life in the area." Meanwhile, Chinatown pretty much comes off looking like a den of sin. All you need is an opium den or two, and we're set.


touchblue vs. carls jr.

This is rather shady. Filipino American sketch comedy group Touchblue are crying foul on the makers of a recent Carls Jr. commercial, which apparently too closely resembles one of their popular sketches, produced nearly two years ago. Coincidence? Rip-off? You decide.

Here's Touchblue's "Knight School," from April 2005:

Not crazy hilarious, but you get the idea.

Here's the Carls Jr. Chili Burger commercial that's currently airing:

I gotta admit, they're pretty similar, at least in concept.

Touchblue has created a response video:

Either way, "Knight School" is funnier.

if it's war max karson wants...

The fallout from Max Karson's War on Asians piece continues to rage on (oh, you know it ain't over yet) with a student rally today at 3:00pm at the University of Colorado's Campus Press: University of Colorado student leaders want Campus Press changes. I'm told that students have a meeting scheduled with the school's Chancellor where they will be presenting their concerns and what they want to see changed at CU. There's also an online petition condeming the piece, Karson, and Campus Press editorial staff: Condemn "If it's war the Asians want..." Opinion Piece. Lend your signature, show your support. Here's a press release from CU's Asian Pacific American Student Services on today's rally:

On Wednesday, February 27, at 3:00 pm, there will be a peaceful, student-led rally on campus. The purpose of this rally is to show our unity as diverse communities in the face of discrimination, as well as to show our support for one another in all our endeavors. Shortly after, at 4:00 pm, there will be a second debriefing with campus administration, where student leaders will come together to discuss solutions with the administration in regard to the Campus Press, as well as preventative measures the administration can take to make certain these kinds of incidents do not take place on our campus again.

Our student leaders are meeting with administration to stress the importance of education in attaining a racist-free environment within the Boulder community. We are working to come together to act at a very crucial time on our campus; we will no longer stand for a campus community that does not promote and embrace cultural diversity. Working together as students, we hope to enact measures that will positively affect the entire campus in their understanding of people of diverse backgrounds, and foster a community that is built on mutual respect for one another, and not mere "tolerance."

After the meeting with the administration, there will be short debriefing in the Aspen Rooms, located on the second floor of the UMC at 6:30 pm, where we will discuss with the press the aftermath of the meeting, as well as our hopes for future initiatives. This will be a time for the press to ask the students any questions they may have.
No longer able to ignore it, The Campus Press published the first news story yesterday on the backlash from the article, and the editorial rationale that went into publishing it: From Conception to Publication: The Process Behind the Karson Opinion. There's also a piece from members of the Campus Press staff who apparently objected to the publication of the piece: A letter from some different editors. That's all great to know after the fact. It would've been nice if you'd actually done something about it at the time. Here's an article on the article: Campus Press editors: Opinion piece 'a mistake'.

senator inouye apologizes for obama comment

Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye has apologized for suggesting that Barack Obama's private high school in Hawaii elitist: Senator apologizes for Obama comment. Inouye said before his state's Democratic caucuses last week that voters know Obama was born in Hawaii and graduated from one of its high schools, "but he went to Punahou, and that was not a school for the impoverished." Never mind the fact that Obama went to the school on a scholarship. (Inouye is backing Hillary Clinton for President.)

Punahou, located in Honolulu, is one of the island's most prestigious private schools. I'm sure Senator Inouye's comments had Punahou's community—graduates, students and faculty—in a bit of an uproar, which prompted the apology. Don't mess with the Punahou, I guess.


looking for a "very asian man"

This cannot be good. The following casting call, seeking an Asian man—no wait, a "VERY ASIAN MAN"—for a feature film called Dirty Movie, was recently spotted on New York's Craigslist. And baby, they want the whole package:
Reply to: job-584936550@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-24, 9:05AM EST

Dirty Movie (2008) has an immediate need for an asian actor. Actor should look VERY VERY asian. Being able to speak Chinese (or Chinese sounding jibberish) would be helpful!). This is a very broad comedy.

The film shoots 2/25-2/29 in Manhattan.

** actor will be paid for at least 2 days
** SAG MLB scale pay although a non-union actor can be used
Tell me, how does one look VERY VERY Asian? What does that even mean? Might as well tape your eyes back and slap on some buck teeth. Lots of red flags going off here. Not to mention the fact that the role requires the actor "to speak Chinese (or Chinese sounds jibberish)." You know—Chinese, gibberish, it's all the same. I don't even want to know what this movie's about. That's racist!

injury takes yao ming out for the season

Aw man. Bad news for Yao Ming. The All-Star center is apparently out for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot: Yao done for season with stress fracture in left foot. Huge bummer. And terrible news for the red hot Houston Rockets, who are in the midst of a crazy winning streak. They did, however, grab their 13th straight victory tonight against the Washington Wizards—without Yao: Yao's injury shouldn't cripple Rockets' playoff hopes. There's also now concern, of course, whether Yao will be able to play for China at the Olympics this summer: China expresses shock, concern over Yao Ming injury, but still hopeful of Olympic appearance.

leonardo nam in vantage point and sisterhood

Forgot to mention that I briefly spotted Leonardo Nam in the trailer for Vantage Point, which opened in theaters over the weekend. You see him in the trailer for about 0.7 seconds, so I imagine his role is pretty small. But hey, he's there. And the movie opened number one at the box office, so that's cool.

Also spotted Leo in the teaser trailer for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, reprising his role as Brian McBrian. I imagine his role is fairly significant, because it looks like he gets kind of intimate with Amber Tamblyn in the movie. The movie opens in theaters this summer, on August 8. Go Leo.

chinese table tennis star now playing for u.s.

The New York Times recently ran a profile on Chinese-born tennis table player Wang Chen, who now plays for the United States. She is one of two American table tennis players ranked high enough in the world to automatically qualify for the Olympics this summer in Beijing: A Table Tennis Star in China Now Uses Her Paddle for the U.S.. She's got a really interesting story—her long journey to the Olympics involves being groomed for table tennis glory in China, only to eventually quit the sport and move to New York, where she befriended an old Holocaust survivor... who loves table tennis. This summer, she's Beijing-bound.

man kills family in murder/suicide

Another one of these tragic multiple family murder/suicides in Southern California... on Saturday night, a man in Yorba killed his wife and three of his children, then turned the shotgun on himself: 5 family members found dead in Yorba Linda. The gunman was identified as 41-year-old Orland Cho, who shot his wife, Maricel, 39; daughters Nicole, 9, and Kathleen, 8; and son Christopher, 5. His 14-year-old stepson, Ian Mercado, was also shot but expected to survive. Police are still searching for a motive for the attacks: Police look for clues in Yorba Linda murder-suicide.

dengue fever on npr's fresh air

Zac and Ethan Holzman, the founders of Cambodian vocal pop-rock band Dengue Fever, were interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday: Dengue Fever: Vintage Cambodian Pop Remixed. It's a well-known fact that Dengue Fever is super crazy awesome, thanks to the Khmer-language vocal stylings of lead singer Chhom Nimol. Their latest album is Venus on Earth. Haven't heard it yet, but it sounds pretty cool.

everybody loves a sex scandal

So, I got a truckload of emails from people asking me why there was no mention of the Edison Chen scandal around here... Honestly? I don't know. I guess I didn't really give a crap about it. But hey, everybody loves a good sex scandal, so here goes. Basically, over 1,300 private photos of Hong Kong singer/actor Edison Chen in bed with at least half a dozen female celebrities were recently made public, apparently copied from Chen's laptop by the staff of a computer repair shop. The photos set off a media firestorm, shaming a number of female starlets and forcing Chen to step down from his career "indefinitely."

Damn, bro. 1,300 photos? Turns out Edison was a bit of an amateur pornographer on the side.

I guess what's surprised me is how crazy people have gone for this story. The publicity the scandal has generated has been unavoidable, with the story making it even into U.S. mainstream press outlets like the New York Times: Hong Kong's Edison Chen Quits After Sex Scandal. This has sort of baffled me. I mean, really, how many people in the United States really know and give a damn who Edison Chen is? I guess we just don't have enough celebrity sex scandals here in the States. We have to outsource them every now and then.

man arrested for wife's 1981 murder

Last Friday, a Japanese businessman was arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife, Kazuma Miura, in downtown Los Angeles almost 27 years ago: Man again held in his wife's 1981 killing in L.A.. Kazuyoshi Miura was taken in custody while visiting the U.S. territory of Saipan and could now face trial in the United States, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Miura's murder back in 1981 apparently caused an international uproar because her husband initially had blamed "two street criminals," reinforcing Japanese stereotypes about violence in L.A. and other American cities. Later, suspicion turned to Kazuyoshi Miura, who was eventually put on trial in Japan for conspiracy to commit murder under a Japanese law that allows its citizens to be prosecuted for crimes committed in other countries. Now it's time face some U.S. justice, Kazuyoshi.


uc irvine's apaac and other conferences

Some info on upcoming conferences... this Saturday, March 1 at UC Irvine, APSA presents the 23rd Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference. The event's theme is "Building Bridges: A Unified Community Begins with You," aimed at educating students about issues, encouraging activism, and celebrating the achievements of our pan-ethnic community. The schedule features keynote speaker Hamid Khan, Executive Director of the South Asian Network; numerous community/movement-building workshops and a performance by Seriously. I'll actually be speaking at one of the workshops in the afternoon. For more information about the conference, go here. Hope to see you there!

Also this weekend, the 5 College Pan Asian Network presents its Spring Leadership Conference at Smith College. 5PAN, a group comprised of students from Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mt. Holyoke College, and the University of Massachussetts Amherst, aims to inspire and spread awareness of APIA issues relevant to the 5 college community. This year's conference theme will focus on building attendees' leadership skills, with a number of workshops dealing with themes such as grassroots organizing, revitalizing the student APIA community, coalition-building with other multicultural organizations, networking, and more. For more information about the conference, and to register, go here.

Next month, the Midwest Asian American Student Union presents its Spring Conference, March 28-30 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The event is designed to provide opportunity to discuss and share issues, strategies and programs that support Asian American student organizations. Like every good student conference, there will be a multitude of workshops, speakers and entertainment, with appearances from folks like actor Parry Shen, the Ken Oak Band, comedian Danny Cho and Rich Kiamco. Midwest, represent! For more information about the conference, go here.

And looking ahead, ASPIRE presents the 2008 Asian American Women in Leadership Conference, celebrating the theme of Balanced Leadership: Maintaining Perspective. It's happening April 26 at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. Lots of great stuff there for everyone, ranging from high school students, college students and professionals. Speakers include MTV News corespondent SuChin Pak, blogger Lena Chen, Survivor: Cook Islands contestant Becky Lee, writer Jennifer 8 Lee, singer/songwriter Cynthia Lin, and more. To learn more, go here.


america's best dance crew: week three

Week three of America's Best Dance Crew. Kaba Modern and JabbaWockeeZ land themselves in the top spots again! I'm a little late posting this, so you can't vote anymore. But check out their hot hot hot performances last week:

Kaba Modern doing Lil Mama's "G-Slide." Damn, those kids make me so proud.

JabbaWockeeZ doing Dem Franchize Boyz's "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It." Gotta love the crazy superman move at the end.

campus press staff to undergo diversity training

Fresh from the fallout of the War on Asians column, the University of Colorado's Campus Press staff will reportedly undergo diversity training and meet other measures outlined by University officials: Diversity training for CU's Campus Press after Asian 'hate' column. On Thursday, editors of the Campus Press met with the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to talk about how to deal with fallout from Max Karson's column.

I'm still astounded that at no point prior to publication did any one of these editors stop to think, hey, this might be a monumentally bad idea. It's rather pathetic. As a result of the meeting, the group agreed to take steps to prevent similar "editing lapses" in the future. I wish the same could have been promised from the AsianWeek editors after the Kenneth Eng debacle.

daniel henney in x-men origins: wolverine

According to Variety, model/actor/heartthrob Daniel Henney has been cast in the new X-Men movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Daniel Henney Is Agent Zero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Henney will stars as Agent Zero, "a member of the Weapon X program and an expert tracker with lethal marksman skills." I believe the movie is actually a prequel, telling the backstory of Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. While he grew up here in the States, Henney actually became a huge star in Korea after starring roles in several hit dramas. From what I've seen, he isn't the strongest actor... but damn, that is one good-looking man.

priest sentenced for embezzling from churches

Asians behaving badly... catholic priest edition. This week, Rodney L. Rodis, a retired Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to more than five years in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from two churches while leading a double life as a husband and father: Retired Priest Sentenced for Bilking Two Churches.

According to court documents, from September 2002 to August 2006, Rodis embezzled an estmiated $600,000 to $700.000 from St. Jude Catholic Church and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, both in central Virginia, by instructing parishioners to mail contributions to a post office box that he controlled. He then pocketed the money in a personal bank account, apparently using it to support his wife and three daughters, as well as his relatives in the Philippines. Now you've been caught, sucka!


the real fifth beatle

It's been kind of a long week. Here's a little video joy to brighten your day. It's quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. The fifth Beatle is a Korean toddler in diapers. My favorite part is the scream before the "Na na na" part.

early ain't it cool review of harold and kumar

Hey kids. Lots of Harold and Kumar fans out there, so you might be interested in this... Ain't It Cool News has posted an early review of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay: A Reader Reviews HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY!! There are a few key spoilers in there, so don't read it if you want to be surprised. It's also a rather poorly written review, so you might to spare yourself and just hold off and see the movie for yourself. Harold and Kumar will screen next month at South by Southwest in Austin, then at the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. It opens in theaters nationwide on April 25.

lame kim jong il shirt

Oh come on. This t-shirt blog recently wrote about this pathetic shirt from ShirtADay. It's one thing to make fun of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. I mean, that's easy. He makes it easy. The guy is a walking cartoon character. But did they really have to go there with the "Oh Reary?" It's a terrible, tired joke. Oh, those funny Asians and their problems with the English language. Yes, I know it's probably a reference to that Team America movie. Doesn't really make it any funnier. (Thanks, Marla.)

ed lin and lisa chen book readings in the bay area

Bay Area friends... here's a cool event for you all you bookworms. Hyphen invites you to "the literary event of the year": Ed Lin & Lisa Chen. Author Ed Lin and poet Lisa Chen will be reading from their latest works, This Is a Bust and Mouth, respectively. Here are the details from Hyphen:
HYPHEN invites you to the literary event of the year:

Acclaimed novelist ED LIN ('Waylaid') and poet LISA CHEN - both published by independent Asian American press Kaya Books - read from their latest work.

'This is a Bust' marks award winning novelist Ed Lin's second novel - a genre-bending hardboiled social narrative about an alcoholic, Chinese American Vietnam vet working an increasingly suspicious Chinatown beat.

"Lin's book reclaims Chinatown from the clutches of writers who have been exotifying this enclave for the past 20 years." -- From "Good Cop, Bad Cop: Maverick writer Ed Lin invades Chinatown" - a feature story on Ed Lin in the latest issue of Hyphen.

Plus, Lisa Chen will read from 'Mouth' - her debut collection of poetry called "wild, playful, gorgeous, weird, often hip" by Poet Linh Dinh.

Catch Ed and Lisa on SUNDAY FEBRUARY 24th at 3 p.m.
@ Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia Street (Near 20th Street)
San Francisco CA 94110
phone: 415-282-9246


MONDAY FEBRUARY 25th at 7:30 p.m.
@ EastWind Books
Eastwind Books of Berkeley
2066 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
phone: 510-548-2350
I still haven't had a chance to read This Is a Bust, but it looks great. And Mouth sounds like a special kind of cool. I'm bettting this is going to be a pretty cool event. For more information, go here.

woman on life support after pepper spray attack

In Westminster, California, a woman is on life support after she was pepper sprayed during a robbery and suffered a stroke: Woman on life support after pepper spray attack. 50-year-old Kun Min Kim was attacked on Sunday evening as she arrived home from work. As she opened her car door, a woman approached and sprayed her in the face, then grabbed a bag Kim was carrying and fled. The bag was her lunch sack. Now she's in intensive care, with hopes for her survival uncertain. More here.

The suspect in the robbery is described as in her 20s, wearing dark pants and a gray sweater or sweat shirt. Police are asking anyone with information about the attack to contact Westminster Police Detective Kevin MacCormick at (714) 898-3315, Ext. 340.

UPDATE: Sadly, Ms. Kim died yesterday, when she was taken off life support: Pepper-Spray Attack Turns Into Homicide Investigation. Police are now looking for a killer. All this over a stupid lunch sack.

dan tani's unique view of the world

Astronaut Dan Tani serves as flight engineer on the International Space Station where he has conducted four space walks. You might remember that Tani's mother was killed in a car accident a few months ago. He had to learn the sad news while in space, and was unable to return home for her funeral. Here, he honors her memory through this inspiring essay for NPR's "This I Believe" series: An Optimistic View of the World.

the troublesome history of max karson

Some background info on Max Karson, that amazing fool responsible for writing the War on Asians opinion piece that's got everyone in a big fat fuss. People have been hittin' up some Google, and coming up with a little bit of history on the guy... Here's an entire Wikipedia article on this troubled dude. His column for the Campus Press is just the latest incident in a long history of disturbing behavior dating back to high school.

Last year, Karson was apparently arrested for making threatening comments in one of his classes, allegedly saying there were aspects of CU that "made him angry enough to kill people" and expressing sympathetic views toward the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hui Cho: 'The Yeti' arrested for threatening comments. More here: Students return to class after Max Karson's arrest. Considering all this, I feel even more disturbed about Karson's declaration of war against the Asian soul... Are you still trying to tell me that crap is supposed to be "satire"?


the "war on asians" article, for your reference

The University of Colorado's Campus Press has changed up the links for Max Karson's "War on Asians" piece. It's available here now. I'm also reposting it here for your reference:
If it's war the Asians want...

It's war they'll get

By: Max Karson

Posted: 2/18/08

Since I transferred to CU last year, I've noticed some tension between the white students and the Asian students. There's never any outright conflict, but I notice little things. Like, Asians always seem surprised whenever I talk to them. They stare at me for a few seconds as though I must have made some mistake, and once they realize I'm intentionally speaking to them, they aren't always thrilled.

On the other hand, white people are quick to ridicule Asians. They have no problem with making demeaning remarks about their looks, mannerisms, and accents-things they would never say about black people.

So when an Asian refuses to make eye contact with me or dismisses me with a one-word sentence, I just say to myself, "Max, Asians are not evil cyborgs. They're human, just like you. And if you were a minority student in a sea of walnut-brained business majors and skiers, you'd be crabby, too."

But last week, I had an epiphany.

After my friend and I finished working our abs at the Rec Center, we decided to head upstairs to tighten our buns on the StairMaster. As we walked down the hallway, a rubber ball bounced out of one of the racquetball courts and landed at the feet of an Asian in front of us. He picked up the ball and leaned over the railing of the court nearest to him.

"Hey, that's not ours," I heard a guy call up from the court. The Asian stared down at him for a moment, and then held the ball out to him. "That's not ours," the guy said again.

Then another voice called out from a different court, "Hey, does anyone see a ball up there?"

The Asian looked over, confused.

"I think it goes to that court," I said, pointing to the one nearest to me.

The Asian stared at me blankly for another second, and then he looked back down into the court next to him and offered them the ball again.

"That's not our ball," the guy called up.

"Excuse me," I said. The Asian whipped his head around and scowled at me. "I think it goes to that court."

He paused a few seconds, and then he said, in a perfect American accent, "Okay," and tossed the ball into the court next to me.

That's when it hit me.

The Asian was so jaded by his experiences with the whitebread, brainless tree sloths of CU that even though three people had explained to him that he was trying to return the ball to the wrong court, it was inconceivable to him that we might be right.

And when he looked into my eyes, it wasn't just irritation and disgust that I saw-it was hate. Pure hate.

I'm such a fool for not realizing it sooner. I can't tell you how many times the Asians have treated me like a retarded weasel and I've forgiven them. But now I know that Asians are not just "a product of their environment," and their rudeness is not a "cultural misunderstanding."

They hate us all.

And I say it's time we started hating them back. That's right-no more "tolerance." No more "cultural sensitivity." No more "Mr. Pretend-I'm-Not-Racist."

It's time for war.

But we won't attack their bodies or minds. We will attack their souls.

The first step, or "Phase 1," is to find them all. Anyone who is interested in signing up to volunteer can do so by e-mailing me. Next Sunday at noon, we will all meet at Farrand Field. Each volunteer will be issued an extra-large butterfly net.

The hunt will then begin.

When I blow my whistle, we will scatter in every direction and catch as many Asians as possible. Make sure to pay special attention to the Rec Center, the UMC, the math and engineering buildings and Lollicup. If you're not sure if someone is an Asian, give them a calculus problem to do in their head. If they get it right, net 'em.

Captured Asians will be dragged to my apartment on the Hill and hog-tied. Once they're all secured in my living room, "Phase 2" will come into effect.

The Asians' reformation will begin with a 100-round beer pong tournament. They will listen to "It's a Small World" on repeat while they play.

When the tournament is finished, the Asians will then be forced to eat bad sushi from Hapa-with forks. When all the sushi is gone, they will be permitted to sleep for four hours, but the entire time I will shout through a megaphone, over and over, "Why didn't you make enough Wiis?!"

In the morning, the Asians will arrange themselves in rows, if they haven't naturally done so already. I will stand in front of them and hold up a card with the name of an emotion on it such as, "sad," or "surprised." The Asians must then make a facial expression to match the word on the card. Any Asian who remains deadpan or makes the wrong face will be tickled until they pee. When all Asians make the correct face at the same time, the game will end, but then they will be yelled at for being conformists.

The Asians will then be allowed to play "Dance Dance Revolution." However, the game will be rigged so that the Asians will receive no points, regardless of how robotically they dance.

Any Asian who tries to escape will be butterfly-netted and sent back to my apartment for another "Phase 2." Anyone caught speaking any language other than English will be kissed on the lips.

Once the Asian spirit has been broken, "Phase 3" will begin. Before we let the Asians go, we will go to their homes and redecorate them in a traditional American style. We will replace their rice cookers with George Foreman Grills, their green tea mochi with fried Snickers bars, and their rice rockets with Hummers. And booster seats.

When "Phase 3" is complete, the Asians will be released.

Now, I understand that this plan may upset some of you Asian readers, but the only other way to make peace would be to expel you. If you're smart, you'll turn yourselves in now, and it will all be over in a few days.

Besides, look on the bright side-we're not going to put you through anything we haven't put ourselves through, and we all turned out fine.

Contact Campus Press staff editor Max Karson at max.karson@colorado.edu
I keep hearing this piece described as satire, but what eludes me is what exactly Karson is trying to satirize. A printer friendly version of the article is still available online here. You can also write a Letter to the Editor of the Campus Press if you feel so inclined.

kollaboration 8!

Oh hell yes. Kollaboration, the world-famous Asian Pacific American talent show, returns for its eighth year in Los Angeles. It's all going down this Saturday, February 23 at the Orpheum Theatre. The annual event is a community-based showcase for emerging, up-and-coming talent, which continues to grow bigger and better every year. There's going to be singing, dancing, joking, laughing. Good times all around.

Like the flyer says, guest judges include David Bernal "Elsewhere," world famous breakdancer; Michael Kang, director of West 32nd and The Motel; James Kyson Lee of Heroes; Ken Mok, TV Producer; Erin Pak, CEO of KHEIR; and Janet Yang, Film Producer. And a special performance by Roscoe Umali! According to the website, tickets are actually all sold out, but you've actually got the chance to win two VIP tickets here. Good luck. Mad props to PK.

school chancellor responds to "war on asians"

Here is the official statement by University of Colorado Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson, regarding Max Karson's War on Asians "satire" piece published earlier this week in CU's Campus Press:
A Statement by University of Colorado Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson Regarding a Student Column in the University of Colorado Campus Press

February 20, 2008

On behalf of the University of Colorado at Boulder, I want to apologize to the members of Colorado's Asian and Asian-American communities for a satirical column written by a student columnist at the CU Campus Press – the Web-based student news outlet managed by the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The column was a poor attempt at social satire laden with offensive references, stereotypes and hateful language. It was not properly labeled as either satire or commentary, and readers were left with the impression that the author spoke for the collective staff and leadership of the Campus Press, and perhaps even the University of Colorado.

He spoke for none of the aforementioned, and while his column is unquestionably protected under the First Amendment, the sentiments he has expressed are wounding and damaging to a community we hold dear and come at a time when we are trying to celebrate diversity at CU-Boulder with our annual Diversity Summit. I want to personally apologize to the individuals who may have been wounded or offended by the column and the perspectives that it purports to represent. I have asked the dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to review this matter, to meet with the management of the Campus Press and to consider what steps are appropriate to account for what was published. In the meantime, I invite the commentary of all communities to the Campus Press Web site at www.thecampuspress.com.

While that discussion takes place, let me reiterate the support of the CU-Boulder campus, our collective campus community, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, for our Asian and Asian-American students, and for all students of color from all walks of life. Let me also reaffirm my commitment to building a campus that embraces diversity in all its forms, and that also promotes free speech, open debate and discussion of issues and ideas, and that will not trade one to achieve the other.
Great, Bud. Apology accepted (though it really isn't you that should be apologizing). Now what are you really going to do about it? Here's also a Letter from the editors addressing all the negative reaction to the piece. I doubt it's really going to appease anyone, but nice try. Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming days...

more street fighter movie news

I already mentioned a few months back that Kristin Kreuk had been cast as Chun Li in the upcoming Street Fighter movie, based on the popular movie. Variety recently reported some additional casting details on the project, officially titled Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, and it includes a few more Asian names: Kreuk, Duncan cruise 'Street'. It says that Rick Yune (where has he been?) will play "the mysical Gen." Uhhhh. I have nothing to say about this.

The cast also includes Moon Bloodgood, who I think is gorgeous; Singapore's Edmund Chen; and veteran Hong Kong actress Chen Pei-pei. I've got a bad, bad feeling about this movie. And the fact it's being directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, who did Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds, doesn't give me much comfort. Let the disaster begin.

rat recipes in asianweek

I don't regularly read AsianWeek anymore. After the whole Kenneth Eng debacle last year, I seriously doubted the editorial credibility of a publication, claiming to be "The Voice of Asian America," that would allow such utter crap to see print. So I just stopped reading it. And I really don't regret that decision, especially after seeing an article like this: Rat a la Carte. It's a basically a list of rat recipes. Yes, instructing people how to prepare and eat rats. Presumably in honor of the Year of the Rat? Whatever the case, it's ridiculous.

I know the article isn't supposed to be a big deal, and was simply compiled from recipes found on Google, but was this exercise really necessary? Asians are already fighting the stereotype that we're dirty, unsanitary, and willing to eat any old dirty creature that wanders into our kitchens. The rat stereotype has been around for years. Why help it along? (Thanks, Jake.)

kristi yamaguchi in dancing with the stars

She's won Olympic gold, now she's after that ugly ballroom trophy... The new cast of ABC's Dancing with the Stars was announced earlier this week, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi is among the twelve contestants who will be competing on the next season: 'Dancing With Stars' celebs announced. Not that I'm ballroom dance expert, but if you ask me, she's got in the bag. She's used to working with demanding choreography, and has excelled in looking graceful while competing under the spotlight. At the very least, she's got to beat Adam Carolla.

a shared history, 66 years later

This week marks the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which ordered the removal and relocation of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast to internment camps in remote areas of the United States during World War II—Manzanar, Tule Lake, Topaz and elsewhere. It was an unlawful, xenophobic response to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. We know this.

But in a little known piece of the internment story, the U.S. government also sent nearly 20,000 Japanese Americans to three camps on a Colorado River Indian Tribe reservation at Poston, Arizona with an explicit plan to use the internees to help develop tribal lands for later Indian use. Here's a story on the Japanese Americans and Native Americans the relocation impacted, 66 years later: Celebrating a shared history.


jake shimabukuro on late night with conan o'brien

Awwww hell yeah. Hawaii's amazing ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last night. This isn't the first time he's been on the show, but I guess they liked him so much they brought him back. He played "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from his album Gently Weeps. Conan called it one his favorite things he's ever seen on the show. To learn more about Jake, go here, and visit his MySpace page here. Jake rules.

student column: "if it's war the asians want..."

A student column published this week at the University of Colorado has ignited controversy and enraged students over its racist and inflammatory commentary about Asians: 'Asians hate' column ignites firestorm at CU. The column, titled "If it's war the Asians want... It's war they'll get," was written by Campus Press staff editor Max Karson, who's had a spotty history of controversial writing. He sounds like a racist idiot:
Published on the newspaper's Web site Monday, Karson's piece begins that he's noticed "some tension between the white students and the Asian students" at CU in the past year.

"There's never any outright conflict, but I notice little things," Karson wrote. "Like, Asians always seem surprised whenever I talk to them."

The author describes an incident at the CU Recreation Center in which "an Asian" apparently was confused about which racquetball court an errant ball belonged to.

"The Asian was so jaded by his experiences with the whitebread, brainless tree sloths of CU that even though three people had explained to him that he was trying to return the ball to the wrong court, it was inconceivable to him that we might be right," Karson wrote. "And when he looked into my eyes, it wasn't just irritation and disgust that I saw -- it was hate. Pure hate.

"They hate us all. And I say it's time we started hating them back."
What is wrong with this guy? Is he really asking for it? The article appeared in the opinion section of the paper's website, is apparently supposed to be satirical... but is it really? If you ask me, the guy is trying to vent some of his own frustrations and hate with the Asian student population at his school. "The Asians." Here's a link to the actual column: If it's war the Asians want....

That's racist! It's ugly. He goes on to outline his "plan" for attacking the Asian soul. I think he's trying to be funny. He's not. I'm not trying to fan to the flames here, since it's obvious Karson is the kind of guy who writes this stuff to get attention for his pathetic aspiring journalism career. But damn, this guy is a true flaming idiot. Sadly, I'm sure there's a future place for him at Fox News.

asians americans emerge as swing voter bloc

This story popped up Yahoo's homepage for a bit last night: Asians emerge as swing voters in White House race. You're damn right, America. Asian Americans have become a critical swing voter bloc, and are poised to have an extremely decisive impact in the U.S. presidential election race. Perhaps it would be wise to pay a little more attention to our growing political relevance... So why does it seem like our voice and vote hs been "much less scrutinized," as the article points out? No more.

m. night shyamalan's the happening

Forgot to mention that the teaser trailer for M. Night Shymalan's latest movie, The Happening, recently hit the web... True to what we've come to know from the director, it looks creepy as hell. I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but it looks like some kind of strange phenomenon overtakes the population, where random people suddenly start killing themselves. Weeeird.

While M. Night's last couple of movies have sort of been stinkers, he's certainly built enough cred as a moviemaker to get me at least halfway intrigued with this trailer. Terrible title though. And I'm not a huge fan of Marky Mark. Oh, and is it too much to ask that Shyamalan not put himself in his own movie this time around? I mean, who does he think he is—Hitchcock? Anyway, view the trailer here.

And hey, is that Joel de la Fuente showing up in the trailer for like half a second? According to Joel's website, indeed it is.

cornell president's "love affair with asia"

ECAASU, the East Coast Asian American Student Union conference, happened at Cornell over the weekend, and I've been hearing from quite a few folks who witnessed some questionable remarks from the University's President at one of the events. During his speech, he referred to the Asian American students attending the conference as immigrants, and claimed to have "a love affair with Asia." Yeah, definitely not the best choice of words. Apparently, the President's comments did not sit well with the conference-goers, because I've been getting emails like this all day:
Dear Angry Asian Man,

My name is Henry C. and I'm a student at the University of Pennsylvania. I recently attended ECAASU 2008, which was held in Cornell this past wee

I was wondering if you heard about the RACIST and INAPPROPRIATE comments that the President of Cornell spoke at one of the ECAASU events. In addition to beginning his speech with the phrase "My wife and I have come to form a LOVE AFFAIR with Asia," he also assumed the whole time that we were immigrants, when in fact, most of us were Asian Americans. By the way, he is a White man.

Anyways, just thought you'd be interested. And just for the record, the Penn contingent made sure to clarify his clear exotification of the Asian culture during Q&A.

Like I said, I've been getting emails like this for the last few days, all saying the same thing (some of them completely verbatim, oddly enough). I do hope that the students present made sure to let the President know how they felt about his remarks. Yo, Mr. President. What exactly does your "love affair" with Asia got to do with the East Coast Asian American Student Union?

stephen chow's cj7 opens march 7

I've been meaning to post some more about Stephen Chow's CJ7 for a little while now. The sci-fi comedy from the comic genius behind Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, has been apparently been making box office bank in Asia, and opens here in the States next month. Reviews have generally been good, not great. I was particularly entertained by Grady Hendrix's review of the film. I acually got the chance to check out the movie a couple of weeks ago, and it's... weird. A really weird, funny movie.

CJ7 is a family-oriented sci-fi comedy, sort of along the lines of E.T., about a kid and a cute alien dog-like creature. Stephen Chow plays the boy's poor father, Ti, who works hard to scrape out a very humble living for themselves. The two are so poor it's funny. Unable to afford expensive cool toys for his son, Ti finds a mysterious orb at the junkyard and brings it home. The "toy" turns out to be an alien pet with extraordinary powers. Craziness ensues.

I really didn't know what to make of this weird little movie. It's kind of all over the place, bouncing somewhere between family, slapstick and dark comedy. While I'm a big fan of Stephen Chow's work, and this movie has its share of great Chow-esque moments, overall it's a bit of a disappointment. At some points during the film I was laughing my ass off, but at other moments I found myself growing impatient with the cute overload. In the end, it sort of felt like a really long advertisement for the little stuffed CJ7 toy. See the movie, and you'll know what I mean.

A special honorable mention goes to the kid who plays Chow's son Dicky, who's absolutely brilliant in the movie. He's actually played by a girl, newcomer Xu Jian. Pretty awesome, considering most of her scenes are with a CG alien dog. Anyway, CJ7 opens in New York and Los Angeles on March 7. For more information about the movie, go here.


the malaysian office...?

This sketch apparently popped on G4 last week, part of a segment called "Foreign Versions of Popular TV Shows"... it's a supposed Malaysian remake of The Office: The Office Malaysia. You might recognize comedian Dat Phan as the Michael Scott character. Honestly, I could only make it through about half the video.... they took what could've been relatively funny premise and have come up with something rather awful. Aside from a few snickers, it's unfunny and offensive on multiple levels. Boo. The baby is really cute though.

fox diversity casting workshop at sfiaaff

This is for APA actors in the Bay Area, an opportunity to get yourself out there, and get noticed by casting professionals... Fox Diversity will be in town next month during the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival to hold auditions at a special casting workshop. The taped auditions will be sent on to a Casting Executive at Fox. Could this be your chance at a big break? Who knows. But you won't know if you don't try... Here are the details:
Fox Diversity Casting Workshop at the 26th SF Int'l Asian American Film Festival

Calling all APA actors! FOX Diversity (www.fox.com/diversity/) will be in town during the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in March. Now's your chance to be discovered and show them what your made of!

All you need to do is submit your head shot and resume/credit list to CAAM by Friday, February 29th. Selected participants will be invited to perform audition monologues at a casting workshop with Janice Tanaka, Manager of Diversity Development at FOX. The casting workshop will take place opening weekend of the 2008 SFIAAFF. The taped auditions will be sent on to a Casting Executive at FOX.

Even if you aren't selected to audition you can still be part of the fun. We'll be inviting an audience composed of actors and filmmakers to offer feedback for an interactive audition process. Everyone at the audition will see what it takes to make a great audition tape.

Submission deadline: Friday 2/29/08
Email to: mediafund@asianamericanmedia.org

For details on the casting and audition process, visit the 2008 SFIAAFF website: http://festival.asianamericanmedia.org/2008/

Hosted by: Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Sounds like an interesting opportunity, though certainly not a guarantee of anything actually happening for your potential acting career. And I'm always a little wary of big studio Diveristy Development initiatives. But at the very least it'll be a chance for you to get in a room with some people with a moderate degree of influence. Anyway, for more information, go FOX Diversity Casting Workshop.

more on asian american voters

Two more articles on Asian Americans and which candidate we are supposedly voting for/voting against/support/fear... This one, by Scott Kurashige, is in response to that wack CNN report on Asian American voters: Anderson Cooper Explains Little About Asian Americans. He argues for ending the marginalization of Asian American voices and stopping the monolithic portrayal of Asian American political attitudes.

This other story, from TIME, attempts to examine an increasingly persistent question in this election: why have Asian Americans so far consistently and overwhelmingly voted for Clinton over Obama? Unfortunately, the article has an absolutely terrible title: Does Obama Have an Asian Problem? The fact of the matter is, while all the theories being offered have some kernels of truth, there is no one simple explanation for the way Asian Americans have been voting, despite what mainstream media outlets have been so laboriously trying to convey.

All that said, I'm extremely curious to see what happens during today's Democratic caucuses in Obama's home state of Hawaii—where nearly 60% of the state's population is Asian American.


ramiele malubay in american idol top 24

Meet Ramiele Malubay, who last week nabbed one of the coveted Top 24 finalist spots on the current season of American Idol. Here's video of her original audition And here's video of her getting the good news. The 20-year-old Filipino American from Miramar, Florida has definitely got some singing chops—certainly not the voice I expected to come out of such a small woman—but it's going to take more than just singing talent to get her the top of this competition... This is when things get interesting. Good luck to her, representin'. View the rest of the contestants here.

don wakamatsu, future major league manager?

Don Wakamatsu, bench coach for the Oakland Athletics, is widely considered to be future manager material: MANAGER IN THE MAKING. If he should become manager in the next several years, he could be the first Asian American manager in the big leagues. I'll believe it when I see it... Not to knock Wakamatsu's skill and potential as a manager, but we've seen talk here and there for years about the possible first Asian American manager/head coach in various professional sports, and it has yet to happen. Still, there seems to be quite a bit of optimistic talk surrounding the idea of Wakamatsu as manager. We'll see.

asian american bar association presents legally asian!

Calling all aspiring law students in the Bay Area... this Friday, February 22, the Asian American Bar Association presents its first annual "Legally Asian!" event, dedicated to sharing advice with college and high school students about the legal profession. Survivor winner Yul Kwon will be delivering the event's morning keynote address. Other speakers include San Francisco School Board Member Jane Kim, Judge Erica Yew and Judge Edward Chen. Here's the nitty gritty:
All students are invited to attend the Asian American Bar Association's first annual "Legally Asian!". Our event is dedicated to sharing advice with college and high school students about the legal profession, such as:

* What Real Lawyers Do Everyday
* Saving The World with a Law Degree
* How to Apply to Law School

Notable speakers include prominent Asian American attorneys, such as Yul Kwon, Winner of Survivor Cook Islands, San Francisco School Board Member Jane Kim, Judge Erica Yew and Judge Edward Chen.

Friday, Feb 22
8:30 am - 1 pm
US District Court - Ceremonial Courtroom (19th Floor)
450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco

Registration and Mentorship Lunch is FREE for all students who RSVP to ruy@apilegaloutreach.org by Friday, Feb. 15

More info at http://aababay.googlepages.com and www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=8064411542

Sponsored by Asian American Bar Association - www.aaba-bay.com
Brian Wang, one of the event's organizers, tells me, "I wish that I had this kind of opportunity when I was a college student thinking about applying to law school, especially because it is FREE. Even if our attendees don't end up pursuing a legal career, it will be truly inspirational and help them understand the importance of making a greater impact with their lives." Sounds good to me. For more information, go here.

jon m. chu steps up... to the streets

Here's an interesting profile on director Jon M. Chu, whose dance drama Step Up 2 the Streets landed a respectable number two at the box office over the weekend: Director's Reward: A Second First Chance. I remember first writing about him here years ago when he was tapped by Sony to do a big-screen remake of Bye Bye Birdie, straight out of film school. His award-winning USC student film, When The Kids Are Away, got him the attention of some huge Hollywood names (including Steven Spielberg), and it seemed like he was on his way to the big time... But that was five years ago. Unfortuntely, the bottom fell out of several projects he was working on. Looks like Step Up 2 the Streets is sort of a second chance to show what he's made of.

niu shooting victim, in his own words

As you've probably heard, last week, a man walked into a packed lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire with a shotgun, killing five people and wounding 15 others before taking his own life. One of wounded students was Harold Ng, 21, a junior communications major from Mundelein, Illinois. Here's a piece from Newsweek about his experience during the shooting, in his own words: 'This Can’t Be Real'. Sadly, we've seen way too many situations like this, just in the last year alone. One violent incident after another seems to inspire the next one, and it snowballs. When will it stop?


eddie shin in bbc3's phoo action

What in the world? I do not know what to make of this... Actor Eddie Shin is in a new kitschy UK action/comedy television series, Phoo Action, alongside Jaime Winstone: Jaime is kung-fu fighting!. Based on the photo above, the trailer here and the description below, it sounds pretty crazy... and man, I'm curious as hell to see it:
Car chases, kung-fu and comedy come together in the wonderfully warped world of Phoo Action – an offbeat 60-minute drama special for BBC Three.

Based on characters created by Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz, Tank Girl) for The Face comic strip Get The Freebies, Phoo Action is set in 2012, when London is in the grip of mutant criminals, The Freebies.

Only Terry Phoo, a hapless Buddhist kung-fu cop, and unruly teenage heroine Whitey Action, the daughter of Police Chief Benjamin Benson, can save the nation.

Together they form an unlikely but effective crime-fighting team who bring together chaos and comedy, mischief and mayhem, to become heroes for a future generation in the face of Britain's super-vile, super-famous mutated criminals.

Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood) stars as teenage anarchist Whitey Action, Eddie Shin (ER) as martial arts sweetheart Terry Phoo and Rocky legend Carl Weathers as Benjamin Benson, Chief of Police and long-suffering father to the rebellious Whitey.
The show is based on characters created by Jamie Hewlett, one of the guys behind the cartoon band Gorillaz and Tank Girl. The show premiered last week, and was picked up for a full six-episode series by BBC3, despite disappointing ratings for the debut episode. The pilot episode is up on the BBC Three website, but is only currently available to UK viewers. I am currently in the process of tracking it down to view it for myself... I like Eddie, and I hope this isn't a show about him actin' the fool. Or phoo.

ann marie calhoun's grammy moment

If you caught the 50th annual Grammy Awards last weekend, you might have seen rock violinst Anne Marie Calhoun winning the My Grammy Moment competition, beating out two other finalists for the chance to play on stage with the Foo Fighters, right there on national television: A Shining Moment In Grammy Spotlight. That's video of her Grammy Moment above (you don't get to see too much of her). Also check out her official site here, and her Myspace profile here.

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