tuesday night cafe: august 4

If you live in Los Angeles, hopefully you already know about Tuesday Night Cafe, which happening every first and third Tuesdays, spring through fall. As one of the longest free public art space and revitalization projects of Little Tokyo/Downtown Los Angeles, it's practically an LA institution. Watch this TN KAT trailer for the audio/visual explanation.

Check out the flyer above for the upcoming Tuesday Night Cafe, featuring the likes of Alice Tong, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Long Nguyen and the Kominas/Sarmust/Propaganda Anonymous. Tuesday, August 4 at the Aratani Courtyard. For more information about TN KAT, visit the website here.

maya and konrad are moving to d.c.

The Obama clan is getting a little bit closer together. President Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her husband Konrad Ng, are moving their family from Hawaii to Washington D.C., where they'll spend the next several months: Obama and Sister to Share a Town.

Ms. Soetoro-Ng, who has given up her job as a high school teacher in Hawaii, has a book contract and a new baby. Her husband, Konrad Ng, a professor at the University of Hawaii, will become the scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution's Asian Pacific American Program next month.

They won't be living at the White House, but this, of course, brings the whole family a little bit closer. While they were certainly active during the presidential campaign, I wonder if this means they'll have more involvement with the Obama administration and other White House programs.

king of fighters: another white guy plays an asian man

Fans of this video game probably already know this, but there's currently a Hollywood movie adaptation of King of Fighters in the works. Sorry, fans. Unfortunately, I have no good news to share about this movie. It doesn't look good. Think Speed Racer. Think Dragonball. Think Avatar.

Directed by Gordon Chan, the live-action feature based on King of Fighters stars an extremely Caucasian dude named Sean Faris as Kyo Kusanagi. Now, I'm not very familiar with this game... but I'm fairly sure that Kyo Kusanagi is not a white character. But hey, that's Hollywood magic for you.

With no knowledge of what this movie's about -- except that it involves fighting -- I'm going to go out on a limb and predict right now that this movie is going to suck multiple volumes suck, for three reasons: 1) It's based on a video game. 2) Sean Faris plays Kyo Kusanagi. 3) It's based on a video game.

Other notable cast members include Will Yun Lee as Iori Yagami, Maggie Q as Mai Shiranui, Bernice Liu as Vice and Francoise Yip as Chizuru. Everybody's gotta work, I guess.

According to IMDb, the movie is supposed to be released some time in 2010. Without seeing a single second of footage, something tells me that this is one of those movies that plays in theaters for one weekend then quickly gets dumped to DVD. Mercifully, for the sake of everyone involved.

angry reader of the week: jimmy j. aquino

Gather 'round, friends. It's time to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's reader is Jimmy J. Aquino, who I had the pleasure of meeting last week at San Diego Comic-Con.

I am melissa roxas

In May 2009, an American citizen, Melissa Roxas, was illegally abducted and tortured while on a medical relief mission in the Philippines. This is her story:

Dearest Friends,

The recent birth of my niece reminds me that life is something more than just presence, it is the earth rising inside of you, the earth that has been there since the beginning, but taking a different form.

I started to think about all the other babies I had seen as a community health worker in the Philippines before my niece was born. The marking of before and after, beginnings and endings. I remember their mothers taking them in for health screenings and basic check ups. Infants who went untreated for days with a fever, the softness in their eyes gives way to a hardness, their skin was tight from dehydration, they were so tiny, their hand in mine was as little as my thumbnail. I remember how much I wanted them to get better and be alive. With so many babies, children and families that I’ve met, I realized that the disease they had was more than an epidemic of typhoid fever, cholera, or malaria, it was the disease of poverty and oppression.

When I started to work more with particular issues of human rights violations I also met different babies, babies and children who had lost their mothers and fathers to a different death. A horrible and preventable death that takes the life not only of its victim, but robs the whole family and the world of their presence, all because they advocated and fought for a better world where their children have genuine freedom, a just peace, and true democracy.

Each day I was with the community, I learned how precious a birth can be, how to appreciate life, and I slowly began to understand what they meant when they whispered me their names and told their stories. There are no deaths that are forgotten, no fathers, no mothers, no sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, or cousins that are forgotten. They live in the births of new babies each day.

When my own experience of abduction and torture ended and I was reunited with my family it was not a second birth for me, I realized that it is a continuing journey for the search for truth and justice. Repressive governments and military use torture as a form of control, to instill fear in people in debilitating ways, so they stay quiet and lose their light inside. But I realized no amount of pain or suffering or fear can stop that earth in me to keep rising. Instead it gave birth to new births. My experience has convinced me even more of the value of freedom and justice and the importance of fighting for and upholding the principles of human rights and human dignity.

Me being able to write this right now is testimony of how your collective love, support, prayers, and action is helping me and others like me through this experience. I know that your support is also part of a larger movement to create change towards a world free of poverty and oppression. Thank you to friends and family, family and friends of other desaparecidos, progressive people’s organizations, human rights groups, lawyers, civil rights advocates, church people’s organizations, concerned individuals, fellow poets and artists, and all believers in human rights and justice.

There are many more desaparecidos, more abductions, torture and extra-judicial killings going on in the Philippines and around the world. Let the new birth come where there is an end to all of the killings, abductions, and torture. Let the noise come from all directions—they are no longer whispers but shouts for justice.

Melissa Roxas
This week in the Philippines, Melissa testified about her experience at the Court of Appeals. Here's more about her abduction in this news article: American Woman Is Freed After Philippines Abduction.

To learn more about her experience, and the fight for all victims of state-sponsored human rights violations in the Philippines, go here: Justice for Melissa Roxas.

'curry bashing' leader sentenced to fifteen years

Hate crime news out of Australia... In Melbourne, 21-year-old John Caratozzolo has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the racially-motivated gang murder of an Asian researcher at Victoria University: Man jailed over racist killing of university researcher.

Caratozzolo apparently told his group of friends he wanted to get a mobile phone from an Indian student "because they had better phones." They then brutally attacked Dr. Zhongjun Cao, who they took to be of Indian descent. (He's actually Chinese.)

The guy was just walking down the street, on his way home, minding his own business. Next thing he knows, he's on the ground, getting his head kicked in by a bunch of racist punks. Over a goddamn cell phone? Now he's dead an Caratozzol gets 15 years?

More here: Ringleader of fatal 'curry bashing' jailed for 15 years. Meanwhile, racial violence and exploitations seems to be scaring away many prospective Indian students from Australia: Indian students 'ditching' Australia after attacks.

"jackie chan" gets picked up by the cops

No, not the real Jackie Chan. This is a ridiculous, infuriating story out of Indiana, about an immigrant refugee with mental and medical disabilities who went missing for thirty-five hours, much to the concern of his loved ones.

Meanwhile, while they frantically searched for him, he ended up getting picked up by the cops, arrested for public intoxication... and ridiculed by police: Police knowingly misidentify man in custody.

Authorities apparently booked the man into the lockup as "Jackie Chan." Very funny, officer. You've got a mentally unstable Asian man, so you decide to have a little fun and name him after the only other Asian name you can think of. That's racist!

Okay, it's not the same thing as a straight-up racial slur, but they sure as hell aren't helping a guy who needs help. It looks like the Lawrence Police Department is in need of some serious sensitivity training -- at the very least.

There's a Deputy Chief interviewed for this news report who says he doesn't find the made-up name (or the term "Oriental") offensive or discriminatory at all. Yes, these are the people who supposed to protect and serve you, good citizens. You've got to be kidding me.

chien-ming has shoulder surgery

Things aren't looking too great for New York Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who had surgery this week to repair a torn shoulder capsule: After Shoulder Surgery, Wang's Future Is Unclear.

The surgery was performed on Wednesday, and the Yankees are now awaiting word on the results Until then, they won't know the severity of Wang's injury or his expected recovery/return time.

After winning 19 games the previous two seasons, Wang was 1-6 with a 9.64 earned run average this season, initially struggling to regain arm strength after his foot injury last June. He was gradually making progress until his shoulder flared up July 4.

Sounds like what the guy really needs is some concentrated time to fully recover. As it stands, Wang might not even return to the Yankees next season. More here: Posada empathizes with Wang's pain.


kang eun-il's haegum plus concert in los angeles

My friends at Chaos Theory Music tell me that Kang Eun-il's Haegum Plus returns to the United States next week for two concerts on Friday, August 7 at 12:00pm and 8:00pm at Grand Performances in Los Angeles.

In the amazing outdoor amphitheater of the California Plaza, come out for a fun, relaxing evening of Haegum Plus' unique, boundary-crossing blend of "new traditional" Korean music.

In addition, L.A.'s famous Kogi truck will be just outside the venue, so you can eat some good-ass food too. And best of all, the concert is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, go here.

can your socal student group to host preprobono?

I recently heard from a reader named Frank, who's making a frantic, last-ditch effort to find a student group in Southern California to host his organization's program, PreProBono. He sounded a little desperate, and it sounds like a good opportunity, so I'm helping him put the call out.

PreProBono provides resources to prelaw students (with a focus on public service law). The weekend program includes an intensive LSAT prep course, dinner with a keynote speaker, and access to law school application assistance. They provide scholarships to students interested in probono/public service law and have a financial assistance program for those who qualify.

Basically, they're on a summer tour, and looking for a last-minute student group to host their program at a campus somewhere in Los Angeles on August 15 and 16. They originally had a school lined up, but I guess that fell through, so they have a hole in their schedule.

There must be a bunch of prelaw-interested students out there who are willing to help these guys out, and you really wouldn't have to do any of the planning. But they need to know soon. To learn more about PreProBono and their work, go here. And if you can help them out (or just hear them out), contact Jerone Hsu at (408) 455-3119 or jerone@primeproduce.org.

korean actor kwon sang-woo up for kato?

So there's this Green Hornet movie allegedly in the works. It will apparently star Seth Rogen and will be directed by Michel Gondry. And once upon a time, Stephen Chow was signed on to direct and star as Kato. This would've been awesome on so many levels, but it was not meant to be.

Since then, the quest to find Kato has been a long, drawn-out process. But it appears they may have found their man. The Korea Times is reporting that actor Kwon Sang-woo, pictured above, is said to be up for the role: Kwon Sang-woo May Make Hollywood Debut.

They're reporting that the South Korean star recently passed an English audition attended by Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry. So is this guy one of the top choices to play Kato? A final announcement regarding the role will be probably be made within the next month.

I have to be honest -- I'm not very familiar with this guy. I haven't seen any of his movies or TV dramas, but he's apparently pretty popular and has made his name in Korea as an actor and model. And holy smokes -- would you just look at that photo? More here: Has 'The Green Hornet' Found Its Kato In Kwon Sang-Woo?

UPDATE: I'm told that this rumor is incorrect, according to reliable studio sources. Kwon Sang-woo has not been cast as Kato. Sorry to disappoint. Still, I don't think anyone is complaining that I posted that photo. The search for Kato continues...

job opening: founding director, korematsu institute

I don't normally post a lot of job announcements, but this opportunity sounds particularly cool: Founding Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education at the Asian Law Caucus.

The Institute, which launched in April 2009, "will advance the cause of Asian American civil rights and human rights through pan-Asian American alliances and programs that focus on education, activism and leadership." Here's the email that was forwarded to me:
The Asian Law Caucus is inviting applications for the inaugural director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education.

The position provides an unprecedented opportunity to be the founding Director of a path-breaking organization in the field of racial justice and Asian American civil rights, the Korematsu Institute. The Director will be responsible for all aspects of the Institute's programs and will be primarily responsible for maximizing the resources available for the Institute's work.

The application deadline is Sept. 15, 2009.

TITLE: Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education at the Asian Law Caucus

  • Identify strategic opportunities to advance the mission of Asian Law Caucus and the Korematsu Institute through community education, strategic communications and leadership development
  • Develop and manage the programs of the Korematsu Institute
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson of the Institute and work closely with the Steering Committee to develop and implement a strategic plan for the Institute
  • Set medium and long-term priorities for the Institute's development
  • Take primary responsibility for developing and allocating the resources of the Institute

  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing the rights of low-income, API, people of color and/or immigrant communities
  • Minimum of five years professional experience in media, strategic communications, development of online content or other related fields.
  • Experience building and supporting collaborations among communities and organizations
  • Excellent analytical, written, and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work with a highly diverse group of mission-driven staff
  • Demonstrated leadership ability
  • Preferred bilingual skills in Asian and Pacific Islander language(s)

    SALARY AND BENEFITS: Salary range for this position is $70-80,000, depending on experience. Salary is based on principles of internal equity. A generous benefits package including full medical, dental and vision without an employee contribution is included.

    APPLICATION PROCESS: Interested candidates should submit via email (Microsoft Word compatible attachments) a cover letter, resume summarizing your interest, qualifications and experience, salary history, a brief writing sample (no more than 3-5 pages), and three professional references to Titi Liu, Executive Director, at
    titil@asianlawcaucus.org. Please no phone calls.

    The Asian Law Caucus is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All persons are encouraged to apply, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.
  • The application deadline is September 15. For more information about the position, and how to apply, go here: ALC Accepting Applications for Director of Korematsu Institute. And be sure to poke around the rest of the Korematsu Institute website to see the other cool stuff they've got going on.

    "pork buuuuns"

    So you've seen the music video for pop princess BoA's "Eat You Up,"... but have you seen the video for BaO's "Eat You Up"? Pork buns, that is. And lots of them. The video's a spoof conceived by actress Patty Yu, who thought BoA was just having too much fun, and decided to make a video herself.

    Because really, who doesn't like park buns? Lots of silly dancing and munching. And watch for a cameo by comedian Danny Cho. Cute, dumb fun all around. Go to Patty's website here to see how it all came together.

    fundraiser for the orphans of crossing borders

    All right, New York readers. Another event for a great cause... My friend Jessica Ko, a previous Angry Reader of the Week, is throwing a birthday party/Fundraiser for the Orphans of Crossing Borders, a nonprofit organization that aids North Korean refugees in China. The event is this Friday, July 31 at Hudson Terrace in New York. Read on for details:
    Fundraiser for the Orphans of Crossing Borders

    Friday, July 31, 2009
    6:00pm - 9:00pm
    Hudson Terrace
    621 West 46th Street btwn 11th and 12th Avenues
    New York, NY

    What better way to spend a beautiful summer evening (and help me celebrate my birthday) than to raise money and awareness for North Korean orphans on the Rooftop Garden Lounge at Hudson Terrace! All you have to do is show up and have a drink on us!

    As many of you had seen on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," our founder, Mike Kim, was asked "Is your organization able to keep going?" And we can only reply "yes" with your support.

    $20 admission at the door (just say you're there for "Crossing Borders").
    Complimentary drink included.
    Reduced Happy Hour prices.


    You MUST put all subsequent drink/food orders on the “CROSSING BORDERS" TAB from the server and at the bar, but GIVE THE CASH (plus tip) TO ONE OF THE CROSSING BORDERS STAFF.

    There will be two stations, one where you can pay for drinks/food and another for donations. We won't have credit card machines, so be sure to have plenty of cash on you. Thanks so much for cooperating with us!)

    All proceeds will be benefiting Crossing Borders' orphanages, going towards the orphans' clothing, food, school supplies, tuition, medical bills, etc.
    So make your plans, and bring a friend. It's a nice way to spend a summer evening, enjoy a drink, and kick off the weekend. And best of all, it's for a great cause. To learn more about the event, and to purchase tickets, go here.

    really wrong answer

    I don't know what show this video comes from, or when it was recorded, but it's pretty damn funny. Not only because of the girl's wrong answer, but because of who gets it right. Nice steal, Jerry! And least the girl was being honest. I've watched this clip over and over again, and I'm still laughing.

    another chinese food delivery driver killed in virginia

    Some news out of Virginia about another Chinese food delivery driver murdered... This week in Richmond, an unidentified Asian male making a delivery from Wan Jing Lou restaurant was robbed and shot death while returning to his car: Restaurant delivery driver fatally shot.

    Police have been working to determine the victim's identity. He had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police asked that anyone with any information call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. More here: Slain delivery driver not yet identified.

    Another delivery driver killed. This is the area's second restaurant delivery murder in three months. A Chinese-food driver, 36-year-old Yong Sun, was shot to death making a delivery in April. And it's certainly not just in Virginia -- this is a disturbing trend that's been happening all over the United States.


    aaiff presents expanded community screenings

    If you're in New York, and couldn't make it out to the Asian American International Film Festival, you still have a chance to check out some of the film highlights at AAIFF community screenings in Harlem, Manhattan Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. Here are the events and venues:

    Whatever It Takes, dir. Christopher Wong
    USA / 97min / Documentary
    The first year of the Bronx Center of Science and Mathematics is documented in this film. While the school's stated mission is to patch the cracks in New York's education system, it's clear that the odds are stacked against its success.

    Maysles Cinema
    343 Lennox Avenue and 127th St., Harlem
    Thursday, July 30 @ 7:00 p.m.
    $7 suggested admission

    Li Tong, dir. Nian Liu
    China / 74min / Narrative
    A restless young girl loses her bus pass one day after school. Her meandering trip home is the thread of this poignant “day in the life” tale, which wends its way through the various homes, personae and urban landscapes of contemporary Beijing.

    Followed by:
    Karma Calling, dir. Sarba Das
    USA / 90min / Narrative
    The Raj family is definitely not comprised of stereotypical model minorities living the American Dream. On top of the family's troubled finances, the family hosts a recently widowed relative who is an endless source of comic disasters.

    Followed by:
    Shorts Program, Home Is Where the Heart Is
    Immigration is more than a series of border crossings. Whether in New York, San Francisco, or Taiwan, the immigrants in these shorts must reconcile their places in the new world with their foundations in the old. Their lives, by choice and by force, plot a new course for the meaning of "home."

    Featuring The Veiled Commodity, dir. Dickson Chow and Vinh Chung; A Green Mountain the Drawer, dir. Hwa Jun Lee; 20 30 40, dir. Mei-Yu Lee; Here to Stay, dir. ManSee Kong; Lower East Side: An Endangered Place, dir. MA Shumin.

    Queens Library, Flushing Branch
    41-17 Main St., Flushing, Queens
    Saturday, August 1 @ 12:00 p.m.
    Free admission
    This is so cool. I really commend Asian CineVision for expanding its programming to bring its films to a broader community audience. And these are great films that deserve to be seen by as many people as possible. So if you missed out, and couldn't make it to the festival last weekend, you have a second chance. For more information about the screenings visit the AAIFF website here.

    family used 'slave labor' for bootleg dvd scam

    Some news out of England about a family bootleg DVD operation that was busted using dozens of illegal Chinese immigrants as 'slaves' to produce millions of counterfeit copies of Hollywood movies: Jail for family who used 'slaves' to run £7m pirate DVD empire producing 350,000 fakes a week.

    Khalid Sheikh, 53, and his two sons Rafi, 26, and Sami, 28, were sentenced to a total of sixteen years in prison. For three years, the family produced the fake DVDs at a phenomenal rate in a series of cramped 'factories' in rented industrial units or houses across London.

    These were staffed by 'largely illegal Chinese immigrants', some of whom paid up to £20,000 to be smuggled into the UK to earn money to send back to China, basically living and working in 'virtual slavery. Take a look at the pictures in the article -- they had crazy operation going. More here: Family made £7m in fake DVD scam.

    secret identities/sdcc '09 jam piece

    Another reason to regret missing this year's Comic-Con. This cool piece of art was put together by several of the Secret Identities artists as part of their San Diego Comic Con scavenger hunt.

    Fans were encouraged to gather at least ten autographs from the various Secret Identities artists at Comic-Con on their SI copies for a chance to enter the raffle and win this kickass jam piece.

    The artists who contributed to this one-of-a-kind piece were Bernard Chang, Jimmy Aquino, Benton Jew, Tiffanie Hwang, Jerry Ma, Ming Doyle, Larry Hama, Gene Yang, Walden Wong and Sonny Liew.

    In the end, thirty folks were entered into the drawing, and one winner was plucked from the bunch: Cecil DeClaro of Orange, CA. Read more over at the Secret Identities blog: SDCC '09 Jam Piece Winner.

    a real life john doe

    Here's an amusing New York Times story about John Doe. A 40-year-old Korean American software programmer whose actual name is John Doe, no joke: Meet John Doe. No, Really!

    At age 11, Jang Do chose the name for himself when he immigrated to the United States from Korea. He changed "Jang" to "John" and "Do" to "Doe" (makes the pronunciation less confusing) and has been "John Doe" every since.

    This, of course, has not made his life simple. John Doe gets funny looks all the time. And he apparently gets stopped by airport security every time he flies. It also makes meeting women and dating a little awkward.

    But judging from the article, he doesn't really seem to mind the hassle associated with his name. It's his name, after all. And, ironically, having a name like John Doe actually makes him kind of unique. John H. Doe, to be precise.

    park chan-wook's thirst in theaters friday

    Thirst, the highly-anticipated latest film from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, opens in select theaters this Friday, July 31. If you know anything about this director, you know he makes movies that kick your ass. I had the chance to see Thirst a couple of weeks ago, and damn, I really liked it.

    This one's a vampire movie. Specifically, a movie about a priest who becomes a vampire. That's almost all you really need to know, right? Park Chan-wook makes a movie about a priest who becomes a vampire. Say no more. Where do I buy my ticket?

    Song Kang-ho stars as Sang-hyun, a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes him, and he receives an urgent blood transfusion... of vampire blood. Uh oh.

    Struggling with his newfound carnal desire for blood, Sang-hyun's faith is further strained when a childhood friend's wife comes to him asking for his help in escaping her life. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins.

    The movie won the Prix du Jury at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival, but I've heard that it's received some mixed reviews. I can see why, though anyone who's looking for a traditional vampire flick should probably look elsewhere. Believe me, this ain't no Twilight.

    This is a thinking man's vampire movie, one that grapples with some really interesting questions and dilemmas. And as usual, Park manages to inject some dark, delicious humor in the most absurd situations. My only issue is with the movie's pacing; it runs pretty long and drags a bit in the middle.

    Overall, this is an intriguing, enthralling movie... but definitely not for the faint of heart. There's a lot of blood (it's a vampire movie), violence and sex, and none of it is very pretty. Don't say I didn't warn you. To learn more about the movie, and to watch the trailer, go to the Thirst website here.

    research study on the experience/health of aapi women

    Another research study looking folks willing to fill out a survey... Someone recently passed along a message from Cirleen DeBlaere, a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a dissertation on the life experiences and well-being of Asian /Asian American women.

    The experiences of Asian American women, in particular, have often been neglected in academic literature. Her goal is to change this, and give voice to Asian/Asian American women's experiences -- but your participation is essential. She's hoping you'll take part in the study.

    Participation will involve completing a survey that will take approximately 30 minutes. In order to participate, you must identify as an Asian/Asian American woman, reside in the US, and be at least 18 years old. To fill out the survey, go to the Survey Monkey site here.

    For more information on the study, follow the survey link, or contact Cirleen DeBlaere at deblaere@ufl.edu. And pass along the link to other Asian/Asian American women who might be interesting in taking the survey.

    megabot trailer

    Check out the trailer for MegaBot, an upcoming new web series from 5432 Films and Cherry Sky Films. It's directed by Nathan Kitada and Aaron T. Umetani, produced by Chris Nguyen, Ryan Kim and Jonako Donley... and stars Randall Park as Yellow. Think Voltron and Power Rangers, but with really bad language:
    In 1999, five attractive, multi-ethnic students from Anytown High discovered mystical PowerSleeves. United, the PowerSleeves control MegaBot, a colossal crime-fighting robot designed by Lord Galgon, who must defend earth from evil BioBorg invasion, week after week. Now, a decade later, they hate the job and they really hate each other - but they still need the work.
    You like that? Looks like it has the potential to be pretty damn funny. And I'm a big fan of Randall's, so I'll watch anything he's in. The series will be premiering sometime next month, either on YouTube or Atom.com. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, subscribe to the 5432 Films YouTube channel.

    lausd names middle school after col. young oak kim

    This story is a couple of weeks old, but I think it's pretty cool... Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that they would set up a middle school named after Korean American war hero Colonel Young Oak Kim: L.A. Names School for Korean-American War Hero.

    Young Oak Kim Academy will open in Los Angeles' Koreatown in September. The late Colonel Kim was a highly decorated member of the U.S. Army's 100th Infantry Battalion/42nd Regimental Combat Team who served in World War II and the Korean War.

    Born in Los Angeles, Colonel Kim was a second-generation Korean American widely remembered for his wartime heroics. He was awarded medals for courageous and exemplary achievements, and devoted the rest of his life to charity work, helping war orphans and young people. More on Col. Kim here.


    18mmw presents "bow down to your asian masters"

    Asian American sketch comedy troupe 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors presents their latest show, "Bow Down to Your Asians Masters," running July 31 - August 23 at The Complex in Hollywood. The photo and that title should be enough to get you in the door. Some more info:
    18 Mighty Mountain Warriors

    Present The World Premiere of

    "Bow Down To You Asian Masters!"

    It's the Asian Century. Be prepared to show obedience to your new Asian masters. 18mmw will show you how. We have ways of making you laugh! You will bow down...with laughter. We will torture you...with laughter! You will shiver with... oh, you get the picture.

    Starring: Junko Goda, Michael Chih Ming Hornbuckle, Kevin Ocampo, Diana Toshiko, Greg Watanabe, and Peter J.Wong!

    Brand New Theatrical Sketches! Including:

    * David Carradine and Bruce Lee debate "Kung Fu" in the afterlife!
    * The 18 MMW News Show!
    * How to serve your new Asian masters properly
    And more!

    The Complex's Dorie Theater
    6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90038
    (East of Highland Ave)

    July 31-Aug 23 (July 30 preview)
    4 Week Limited Run!
    Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 8pm

    $15 General
    $12 Students/Seniors
    $10 groups of SIX or more
    $5 for Preview July 30th
    Buy out the house for $8 per seat! (55 seats total)!
    2 for 1 every Sunday (except closing Sunday 8/23!)
    SPECIAL: If you pay to see the show once, you can see it again for FREE if you bring a paying guest!

    Reservation: 818-754-4500 (vm) or
    Purchase tickets online
    The Asians overlords are coming! Indeed, it's time to bow down to your Asian masters! It's useless to resist, so you might as well come out to pay your respects. To learn more about the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and the new show, visit the website here.

    the fabulous miss wendy's "crazy fucked up bitch" music video

    Oh my. Here's the not-quite-safe-for-work music video for "Crazy Fucked Up Bitch" by the Fabulous Miss Wendy, featuring Karin Anna Cheung engaging in all sorts of very, very naughty behavior. It's risque -- you've been warned.

    The song and video are from the upcoming indie feature film The People I've Slept With, directed by Quentin Lee. Karin plays Anna, "a promiscuous woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy and needs to figure out who the baby daddy is... NOW."

    The movie also stars Wilson Cruz, Archie Kao, Lynn Chen, and James Shigeta. There's not much currently on the movie's website, except for a pretty picture of Karin. But I'm told that the movie is supposed to premiere sometime this fall. So stay tuned.

    UPDATE: Alas, the "Crazy F*cked Up B*tch" music video has been banned from YouTube! It was apparently "removed due to terms of use violation." If you had a chance to watch it, you've got to admit it was pretty racy -- but too sexy for YouTube? Maybe. It's okay though, you can still watch it on The People I've Slept With website here.

    caam presents special outdoor screening of kamikaze girls

    This is for everyone in San Francisco... My friends at the Center for Asian American Media and the Japantown Merchants Association invite to special outdoor screening of Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls on Friday, August 14 at Japantown Peace Plaza. Here are the details:
    CAAM and the Japantown Merchants Association welcome New People to San Francisco with a special outdoor screening of

    A film by Tetsuya Nakashima


    Japantown Peace Plaza
    Post Street at Buchanan Street
    San Francisco, CA


    Kamikaze Girls
    103 mins | Japanese w/ E.S.

    Momoko (Kyoko Fukada) yearns to live in 18 century Versailles than in her back-country hometown of Shimotsuma, heartland of the Yakuza. To escape, she loses herself in the dreamy, doll-like fashions of the "Lolita" scene. Her idol is Akinori Isobe, chief designer of Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, her favorite Lolita design house. She travels all the way to Tokyo to shop at their store.

    One languid summer, to help fund her expensive hobby, Momoko runs a classified ad for brand-name knock-off clothes for sale. She encounters a buyer named Ichiko (Anna Tsuchiya), super-rebel member of the Ponytails motorbike gang. Somewhat against Momoko's will, she and Ichiko slowly develop a strong friendship as they share their feelings on the odd going-ons around them.
    If you haven't seen this movie, it's a crazy, fun ride -- unlike anything you've probably ever seen. This should be a really fun evening. Seating is first-come, first-served, so mark your calendars and get there early. For more information about the screening, visit the CAAM website here.

    charlyne yi and channing tatum do dirty dancing

    This video of Charlyne Yi and Channing Tatum doing a scene re-enactment from Dirty Dancing is pretty friggin' excellent: Channing Tatum and Charlyne Yi dirty dance their way into our hearts.

    It's trashy and ridiculous in all the right ways. Is it me, or does Johnny get shinier as the video progresses? Bad wigs make everything funnier. You can catch Charlyne doing more silly stuff in Paper Heart, in theaters August 7.

    2009 comic-con recap: part two

    So you've perused through part one of my Comic-Con recap. Here's the second half. Behold, two giant Ugly Dolls, just standing there, wobbling side to side, chillin' at Comic-Con. They were a big hit, and everyone wanted to take a picture with them. That's Big Toe and Babo, I think.

    Also near the Ugly Dolls booth, I spotted Spider-Man and the Black Cat. Yes, Felicia Hardy is an Asian girl. Hey, at Comic-Con, you can be anyone you want to be. Don't know who's under the Spidey mask though. Pretty good costumes, but pretty tame compared to some of the crazy stuff I saw wandering around the main floor.

    You can always count on Giant Robot. These guys have been coming to Comic-Con for years and years, and it remains an extremely popular booth, offering their unique brand of cool toys, books and shirts to eager Con-goers.

    I bought Cursiv, "a book of dirty drawings by David Choe." Then I got it signed by the dirty drawer himself, who was hanging out in the Giant Robot booth. I don't think he was enjoying Comic-Con too much, but he paused to pose for this photo.

    Right next door, the Secret Identities booth! Half the reason why I came to Comic-Con in this year -- to support these guys. That's Jerry Ma, Jeff Yang, Parry Shen and Keith Chow, the editors of the Secret Identities, the Asian American superhero anthology.

    Secret Identities shared a booth with Jerry's art/design company, Epic Proportions. Jerry hooked up me up with one of his newest designs, Devil Mask He's got a bunch of really cool t-shirt designs, so take a look here.

    Here's the listing for the Epic Proportions/Secret Identities booth in the Comic-Con Events Guide. No respect. Unfortunately, Larry Shen was nowhere to be seen. Editor/actor Parry Shen, however, was on hand and happy to meet fans at the booth.

    Hey, there appears to be a line starting to form around the Secret Identities booth. Who or what are all these (mostly male) Con-goers waiting to see?

    It's actress Kelly Hu, who contributed the character "Jia," with superstar artist Cliff Chiang, in Secret Identities. They were both hanging around at the booth on Saturday afternoon to meet fans and sign autographs.

    Here's Keith doing some serious hustling to sell Secret Identities to this curious young lady. She had wandered over to the booth after seeing the sign for "Asian American Superhero Anthology," and Keith started going into all the reasons why she should get the book. I witnessed the whole thing. She ended up buying a copy. Nice, Keith.

    While walking the exhibit hall floor, I was pleased to find out that actor C.S. Lee, who plays Vince Masuka on Showtime's Dexter, would be making an appearance to meet fans and sign autographs. Not only that, but Masuka has his very own...

    Bobblehead! Available from Entertainment Earth. How cool is that? You know I had to pick one up. They also had a Comic-Con exclusive Benjamin Linus bobblehead. Yes, I got one of those too.

    And of course, I got my Masuka bobblehead signed by C.S., who was rocking a red FRA t-shirt. Turns out, the guy has crazy fans. While I was standing in line, I chatted up the people around me, and a lot of folks were saying that Masuka is their favorite character on Dexter. It was fun to see him get the recognition and fan adoration he deserves.

    It was a long, tiring day. But extremely fun for this fanboy. I'll leave you with this photo of the saddest Skeletor I've ever seen. I actually saw this guy at least year's Comic-Con, and noted then how sad his costume was. Turns out, Unemployed Skeletor comes to Comic-Con every year, wearing his sad, sad, costume. And as you can see, he's looking for work. Times are tough. See you at next year's Comic-Con, Skeletor.

    the stupidest thing I've ever seen II

    When you come across things like this, you just don't know what to do. After you get over the initial w-t-f moment... then what? Get angry, and tell everyone else to get them angry, at the risk of giving it more publicity than it deserves? Or just ignore it altogether? I'm sorry, but I can't ignore this.

    I'm talking about this shit-ass-looking movie, Golden Blade III. I swear, I'm not making this up -- this is the actual poster for an actual movie. And if you think that's bad, watch the crappy trailer. I don't even want to know if there's an actual Golden Blade parts I or II.

    Need to suffer more? Here's the movie's website.

    It's obvious that the people involved with this have an unhealthy appreciation for martial arts flicks... but seriously lack respect for Asian culture... or Asian people, for that matter. Or maybe they don't actually know any Asians who told them to shut this shit down. All I saw was a lot of racial mockery. That's racist! (Thanks, Koji.)

    america's best dance crew: sundays are for worship

    Oh yes. Check out this promo for the new season of America's Best Dance Crew, featuring season three champs Quest Crew doing what they do best. Season four premieres on its new night, Sunday, August 9 on MTV.

    The crews have already been selected, and they're ready to prove they've got what it takes. Let's face it -- it's going to be hard to top the awesome crews of season past. But here they are: ABDC Season 4 Crews Announced!

    korean dramas will reunify the peninsula

    Everybody knows that Korean dramas have a powerful lure. I don't know what it is, but anyone who has gotten caught up watching them can tell you that they can get downright addictive. So this article actually isn't remarkably surprising: NKoreans Risking Lives for SKorean Soap Operas.

    According to a new report, in North Korea -- one of the world's most isolated and repressive nations -- more and more people have been found smuggling bootleg video tapes of South Korean dramas, by way of China. They're holding illicit screenings across Pyongyang or swapping tapes.

    If they get caught, some pay off security agents who turn a blind eye in favor of cash -- or let them join them in watching the banned dramas. The draw of South Korean movies and music -- widely known across Asia as hallyu, or the "Korean Wave" -- is just that powerful. It's fascinating.

    The trend has the government worried enough that they've been cracking down on the bootlegs. Teams of North Korean agents known as "109 squads" are sweeping through border towns at night, arresting smugglers and confiscating banned South Korean material.

    Basically, the North Korean government is losing its tight grip on the flow of information, and it's freaking them out. Who would have known that outside influence would come in the form of South Korea soap operas?

    A few years back, I visited South Korea and was part of a group that got to meet former president Kim Dae-jung. In his speech to us, even he suggested that the Korean Wave -- South Korean dramas, film, music -- would play an important in role in ultimately re-unifying the people of the Korean peninsula (that is, in addition to careful international diplomacy) by indirectly reaching out to the North through culture. That's the power of hallyu.


    boa's "energetic" video

    Wanna dance? Here's the high-energy video for BoA's "Energetic." The song, in which BoA instructs you to "report to the dance flooooor," is probably one of my favorite tracks on her self-titled English-language debut album.

    The song is catchy, and it's obvious that this girl can dance her ass off. So will this be the single that really propels Ms. Kwon into mainstream U.S. pop consciousness? "Eat You Up" didn't quite catch on, and I wasn't too fond of "I Did It For Love." But maybe this is the one.

    aaiff 2009 award winners

    Over the weekend in New York Asian CineVision announced the award winners of the Asian American International Film Festival. Five filmmakers were honored Sunday night as part of the Festival's closing ceremonies.

    First announced was Iemi Hernandez-Kim, director of the short film Ayi's Story and winner of the One to Watch award, an audience-voted prize that recognizes talent in filmmakers under the age of 21. Ayi's Story follows the journey of a teenaged girl from Brooklyn to numerous destinations in China, capturing her experiences in documentary and video-journal style.

    Kim Snyder, director of the short film Crossing Midnight, won the award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking. Her documentary on the efforts of health workers to treat Burmese refugees deals with the issue of human rights through the lens of medicine.

    Also putting a spotlight on the plight of persecuted minorities is director Ngawang Choephel, who won the award for Best Emerging Director in Documentary Feature. His film, Tibet in Song, explores the traditional folk music of Tibet, China's impact on this tradition, and Choephel's own political imprisonment during his attempt to capture his subject on film.

    Chinese director Nian Liu won the award for Best Emerging Director in Narrative Feature. Her film, Li Tong, used the fictional story of a schoolgirl losing her bus pass as a means of exploring and exposing the many cultural, socioeconomic and personal facets of contemporary Beijing.

    Director Christopher Wong won the Audience Choice Award, which was based on votes cast by the audience during the Festival's various screenings. His documentary feature, Whatever It Takes, follows the progress of the Bronx Center of Science and Mathematics in its first year of operation, focusing especially on the relationship between principal Edward Tom and student Sharifea Baskerville.

    I have to give special props to Whatever It Takes. I've been following this film's journey for a long time, and it's just awesome to see audiences respond to Sharifea and Principal Tom's story in such a positive way. The film is a bold, honest portrait of people trying to do the best they can in circumstances that seem stacked against them. If you get a chance to see this film, don't miss it.

    To learn more about this year's film festival and all the award winning films, visit the Asian American International Film Festival website here.

    cebu inmates are "dangerous"

    The Cebu inmates are back with their latest tribute to Michael Jackson, an elaborately choreographed rendition of "Dangerous." Behold, as these crime-hardened prisoners show you who's bad... with dance!

    Ever since the original "Thriller" video that made these prisoners an international YouTube sensation, I've always wondered... how do they determine which inmates get to be the featured dancers in black? Is there an audition process? Call backs? And most importantly, who gets to be Michael?

    There's a movie in this, somewhere: the story of a new inmate -- a troubled, but gifted young dancer -- who rises up among the ranks to become the top dancer at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre. Dare to dream.

    dr. thomas dao, breast cancer specialist, dies at 88

    Dr. Thomas Dao, a former research director at one of the nation's leading cancer institutes and an early advocate of a conservative approach to breast cancer surgery, died earlier this month in Buffalo. He was 88: Dr. Thomas Dao, Expert on Treatment of Breast Cancer, Dies at 88.

    Dr. Dao was director of the breast surgery department at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute from 1957 to 1988. He made contributions in both the clinical treatment of breast cancer and research on how hormones stimulate the growth of tumors.

    For decades, radical mastectomy -- in which the breast, underlying chest muscle and lymph nodes are removed -- was standard procedure and was often performed immediately after a biopsy determined a malignant tumor was present.

    Dr. Dao's research supported the idea that a delay between the biopsy and surgery gave the patient time to consider various treatments. The two-step procedure is now common.

    6th annual 72 hour shootout winners

    Over the weekend, as part of the Asian American International Film Festival, AAFilmLab announced the winners and presented awards for the 6th Annual 72 Hour Film Shootout.

    If you're not familiar with the Shootout, basically, it's a nationwide competition where filmmaking teams have 72 hours to complete a five-minute short film based around a prescribed theme. This year's theme was was Time's Up.

    Here are the competition's Top 10:

    Top 10
    1. Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up"
    2. Color TV "Grace & the Staten Island Fairy"
    3. Fish Grenade "25 Mins"
    4. A Green Bowl "Just A Burger"
    5. Vision "96-120"
    6. Team Persimmon "Broken"
    7. Barkada Inc. "Time Out"
    8. The Sexiest One in the Bunch "A Date with Time "
    9. imua! Theatre and Film Company "White Rabbit"
    10. Fresh C Crew "Time After Time"

    And here are the Shootout's award winners:

    Best Actor
    Rain Noe "Grace & the Staten Island Fairy"

    Best Actress
    Ginger Kroll "Broken"

    Peer Choice Award
    Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up"

    Peek Award
    Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up"
    Color TV "Grace & the Staten Island Fairy"
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins"

    Student Filmmaker Award
    Team Fivelement "I'm Perfect"

    Best Cinematography
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins" - WINNER
    Last Minute Films "An Untitled Project"
    Kevin Boston "The One"
    Wet Maynard "Season's End"
    AK9 Films "Now"

    Best Story
    One Hundred Hand Clap "Is There Anything Else?"
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins"
    Color TV "Grace & the Staten Island Fairy"
    Barkada Inc. "Time Out"
    Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up" - WINNER

    Most Original Use of Theme
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins"
    A Green Bowl "Just A Burger" - WINNER
    Vision "96-120"
    Fresh C Crew "Time After Time"
    Argosy "I Have A Rendezvous With Death"

    Best Editing
    Vision "96-120"
    A Green Bowl "Just A Burger"
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins"
    Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up" - WINNER
    imua! Theatre & Film Company "White Rabbit"

    Best Direction
    Color TV "Grace & the Staten Island Fairy"
    One Hundred Hand Clap "Is There Anything Else?"
    Fish Grenade "25 Mins"
    imua! Theatre & Film Company "White Rabbit"
    Team HeadOn "Times [not] Up" - WINNER

    Congratulations to all the award winners -- especially grand prize winners TeamHeadOn for Time's [not] Up. Nice work. For the rest of you, there's always next year. To learn more about AAFilmLab's 72 Hour Film Shootout, visit the website here.

    leap's "locating ourselves in history" project

    Check it out. The summer interns at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) have put together a project called Locating Ourselves in History, which collects personal stories and narratives of Asian Pacific Islander Americans and places them on an interactive timeline/map to demonstrate their part in the larger fabric of the American experience.

    They plan to officially launch the website on August 14. In the meantime, they're putting the call out for folks to share their own personal stories as part of the project. Go here and fill out the form to submit your story. To learn more about Locating Ourselves in History, go to future home of the website here.

    2009 comic-con recap: part one

    Over the weekend, I joined thousands of fellow fanboys/girls at the San Diego Convention Center for the massive geek gathering known as Comic-Con. This year, I was only attending for one day -- the busiest day of the Con -- so I braved the lines, crowds and costumes to pack it all in. Here are some of the things/people I saw.

    I get to the convention center, and the first person I run into? Filmmaker and friend Patricio Ginelsa, rocking the foam Spidey hand. This guy had the scoop on all the cool Comic-Con exclusives.

    Here's line to get into Hall H, where all the big buzz panels take place. This is actually just the front of the line. I got there two hours before the start of the Lost panel, but some people actually camped out in line all night. I thought I was Lost fan... but compared to these folks, I'm a novice.

    Ah, the extremely popular annual Lost panel, gathering at Comic-Con for the last time in anticipation of the final season. This is a shot of show producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, projected on the big screen. They were joined by cast members, Jorge Garcia, Michael Emerson, Nestor Carbonell, Josh Holloway and Dominic Monaghan. Word is, the final season will "close the loop" of the show's story arc, so that means season six will somewhat resemble season one... whatever that means. Wait and see.

    Inside the main exhibit, there are crowds. Lots and lots and lots of crowds. And no one gathered more crowds than the live taping of G4's Attack of the Show. Specifically, co-host Olivia Munn. The crowd went absolutely insane any time she would just look down and wave. Right around when I took this photo, I really wished I had a better camera.

    MMA champion fighter Cung Le was at Comic-Con to shake hands and meet fans. He'll be appearing in upcoming the sci-fi thriller Pandorum. When I asked him about his role in the movie, he specifically told me he's there to "represent for the Asians." I thought that was pretty cool.

    A man of action deserves an action figure.

    Bryan Lee O'Malley, the creator behind the extremely popular Scott Pilgrim series was at the Oni Press booth to sign autographs, generating a long line of eager fans. I've never read this title, but have heard crazy good things about it. The guy working the Oni table tried to get me to buy all six volumes, but I ended just getting the first two to give it a try. I'll tell you how it is.

    This is John Layman, writer behind the comic book Chew, which I've mentioned here before. The book's main character is federal agent Tony Chu -- an Asian guy -- who gets psychic impressions from the things he eats. I've read the first two issues, and it's one of the most original and weird comics I've ever read (in a good way). It's also quickly become one of the Image Comics' bestselling titles.

    In interviews, John has said that Tony Chu's look is modeled after actor Ken Leung, who plays Miles on Lost. We got to talking, and he said that he's been approached by Hollywood types who are interested in adapting Chew for the big screen. The one thing that he insists, he says, is that Tony Chu has to be played by an Asian guy. I hope we get to see that one day. For now, I'm really enjoying the comic book.

    Kazu Kibuishi is the creator and editor of the anthology Flight and the children's graphic novel Amulet. I hadn't picked either of these books up yet, but when I professed this to the people at the booth, they all freaked out and insisted that I had to read them. Random people hanging around the booth started chiming in. So I caved into peer pressure and bought volume ones of each book... and I'm really looking forward to digging in to them.

    This is Derek Kirk Kim and Gene Luen Yang, the co-creators behind The Eternal Smile, and the authors behind two of my favorite books, Same Difference and American Born Chinese, respectively. As a huge fan of their work, I am extremely happy to tell you that they're both really cool guys.

    And here's Ryan Suda, holding it down as usual at the Blacklava booth. I actually have almost the exact same photo of him from last year's Comic-Con. Heck, he's even wearing the same BARACK shirt. Very cool to see the Comic-Con audience discovering and buying Blacklava's Asian American empowerment apparel.

    Okay, this is getting long, and I'm only halfway through what I was planning for this post. And I'm still kind of recovering from the weekend. So I'll cut it short here and post the rest later. Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two of my 2009 Comic-Con recap.

    singles, matchmaking, and stand-up comedy

    Everyone knows that dating in the big city is complicated. But it shouldn't be painful. This is a fun New York Times story on Helen Hong, a television producer and standup comedian who has come up with innovation for singles: speed matchmaking. To be more precise, it's speed matchmaking for singles in the audience of a comedy show: Get a Laugh? She Also Wants to Make a Match

    Helen herself does some of the matchmaking, right there in front of a packed room full of singles. She just finds people who look like they should be together, cracks a few jokes, and makes a match. I guess she's just trying to un-complicate things and make it fun. If it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. I sense a possible new trend across the Asian American singles scene!


    ksw's apature runway III

    Hey, Bay Area. Kearny Street Workshop's third annual fashion show fundraiser, APAture Runway III is coming up next month, August 8 in San Francisco. This year is their biggest lineup yet, with ten emerging Asian American designers, including headliner Linda Wong of the Battalion. Here are some details:
    APAture Runway III:
    Third Annual Fashion Show of Emerging Asian American Designers
    Co-presented by KSW and APICC

    Saturday, August 8, 7:30pm - 10:30pm
    SOMArts Cultural Center
    934 Brannan St., SF
    Admission: $10-20 sliding scale at the door or $8 online pre-sale

    Attention local fashionistas - Be the first to experience fresh and eclectic collections from 10 up-and-coming fashion designers at APAture Runway III, featuring LA-based eco-couture designer Linda Wong of The Battalion.

    Our lineup of emerging Asian American designers includes Heather Guevarra (Gingerbread Clothing), Amy M. Ho, Faithy Leong, Jarvinia Li, I Shan Liou, Loretta K Nguyen (fiftyseven-thirtythree), Erica Varize (Evarize), Brian Yee (Bok Choy Apparel), and Shani Solomon (MXW). Take home clothes hot off the runway by bidding in our live auction of designers goods!

    All proceeds benefit KSW's 11th annual APAture, a multidisciplinary arts festival of emerging Asian Pacific American artists, happening September 17-26.

    Admission: $10-20 sliding scale at the door or $8 in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com
    All proceeds from the event will benefit Kearny Street Workshop's 11th annual APAture, a multidisciplinary arts festival of emerging Asian Pacific American artists, happening September 17-26. For more information about APAture Runway, go to the KSW website here.

    former pitcher jim parque comes clean

    Here's a really candid, lengthy piece in the Chicago Sun-Times by former White Sox pitcher Jim Parque, who admits to taking human growth hormone, and explains the circumstances and decisions that led him to that place: Former Sox pitcher Jim Parque confesses: Why I juiced.

    Parque is one of the few major league players to come out and openly admit he took performance-enhancing drugs. He's obviously sorry for what he did, but he also dares to ask the reader a sobering question: what would you have done in his place? In an age where professional baseball is mired with doping denials and finger-pointing, Parques' honesty is surprisingly refreshing.

    fundraising help for steven lee

    I get a lot of messages and requests from folks asking for help spreading the word about individuals in need of medical help. It's tough, because I just can't write about all of them, but it's so hard to say no. I recently heard from Pitt, who tells me about Steven Lee, a friend seriously in need of funding for medical expenses. Here's his story:
    I am writing to you in hopes of garnering some help for a close friend who was in a rock climbing accident in Upstate New York a few months ago. Because of the accident, he sustained a crushed hip, fractured leg, and a major neck injury. After several surgeries his leg and hip has healed, but because of his neck injury, is unable to move and feel anything below his shoulders voluntarily. His name is Steven Lee, and he has been going through intense rehabilitation at the Kessler Institute. Because of his inner strength, sheer will, determination, and the intense therapy he has been receiving, Steve's body is showing signs of progress everyday. His body can now feel sensations, and just quite recently has been able to move a finger. His body is slowly trying to heal itself and understandably, Doctors are reluctant to make any types of prognosis in terms of his recovery. It has been an uphill climb but he has been fighting everyday.

    Due to the insurance industry and his medical expenses, it has become necessary for all of Steve's friends and family to start fund raising so that we can make sure he gets the best care possible. Without this care they will send him home and we fear all the progress Steve has made thus far will be for naught.

    Fortunately, there is a company that keeps an accounting of the funds and makes sure they are dispersed for Steve's medical expenses only. If all of us could engage everyone we know, and all the groups we know, we could reach out and make a huge difference in Steve's recovery. He is one of the most sincere and giving persons I know and we are all trying to lift him and his parents up and over this seemingly unconquerable mountain.
    Maybe you know Steve. You probably don't. But if he has a friend is Pitt who willing to reach out like this on his behalf, you can at least take a moment to hear more about his situation. You can find out more, and donate to Steven's fund here: NTAF Mid-Atlantic Spinal Cord Injury Fund.

    goodbye, michelle.

    Very sad, heartbreaking news. Michelle Maykin, whose public struggle with leukemia inspired so many people, finally lost her battle early yesterday. She was 27: Michelle is in peace.

    The campaign that developed around fighting her illness managed to register over 18,000 individuals to be bone marrow donors for the APIA community. She fought not only for herself, but the countless lives of others who have slim chances of finding a marrow match.

    Services will be held today at 7:00pm at the Fremont Buddhist Thai Temple (36054 Niles Blvd. Fremont, CA) to honor Michelle's life. All are welcome. The funeral itself will be next week, with details forthcoming.

    I never met Michelle, but I knew her struggle, and she seemed like a beautiful, fearless individual. My deepest condolences go out to her family and friends. If you haven't yet registered as a bone marrow donor, please consider doing so -- you could save a life. To learn more about Michelle's story, go here.


    new white on rice trailer

    I've mentioned David Boyle's indie comedy White on Rice here throughout its festival run, but I thought post about it again, since a new trailer recently popped up on Apple. Here's the film's official description:
    Jimmy (Hiroshi Watanabe, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) loves dinosaurs and sleeps on the top bunk. Unfortunately, Jimmy is 40, and shares the bunk bed with Bob, his 10-year-old nephew. Freshly divorced, Jimmy has moved in with his sister Aiko and her family while boldly searching for a new wife. His brother in-law, Tak, thinks he's a disaster. And although Jimmy may lack social grace, he is convinced the best years of his life are just beginning. His plan seems like it's all falling into place when Tak's beautiful niece Ramona moves in. But once Jimmy sets his sights on her, he finds he has competition from his handsome co-worker Tim (James Kyson Lee, HEROES), and his intentions begin to go hilariously awry.
    If this is your first time hearing about the film, believe me, it's as weird and quirky as the trailer indicates. Hiroshi Watanabe is kind of brilliant as one of the most annoying and unlikeable heroes you'll ever find yourself rooting for. To learn more about the movie, visit the White on Rice website here.

    tough transition for kids coming back to america

    It's becoming a fairly common phenomenon. Chinese immigrants, facing mounting financial and cultural pressures, temporarily send their American-born children to live with relatives in China, bringing them back when the parents are more established and the children are older, around pre-school age.

    But social service agencies are tracking a disconcerting trend. Many of the kids who return to the United States, traumatized by the shock of displacement, are suffering developmental problems: Chinese-American Children Sent to Live With Kin Abroad Face a Tough Return.

    This sucks. Because no parent wants to send their kid to China, even if it is with relatives. But for some working-class families, it might seem like the only viable option. Now that the developmental pitfalls are being identified, let's hope community efforts can help families find alternatives.

    vague asian spirituality in the palm of your hand

    What's up with this commercial for the Palm Pre? It's a cool effect (no doubt, inspired by the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony)... too bad it's achieved by one weird, massive, vaguely spiritual Asian stereotype: New Palm Pre Ad Is Chock Full of Elaborately Choreographed Prison Inmates.

    The ad was inspired by the Pre's ability "to let you effortlessly flow among all your life's diverse dimensions." It was apparently filmed entirely in China, with real Chinese kung fu students. Because, baby, you can't half-ass Asian spirtuality.

    What an amazing device. With the Pre, you will have a subservient, well-choreographed Asian horde in the palm of your hand! Of course, the Gizmodo headline is a reference to the Cebu prison inmates. Hey, they're all wearing orange jumpsuits too.

    the koh brothers are runnin' this

    D.C., are you ready for the Koh Brothers? Here's a Wall Street Journal article on two of the newest additions to the Obama administration, the Harold and Howard Koh: Power Siblings Hit the Capital (Hint -- not the Emanuels).

    Harold Koh, former dean of Yale Law School and now legal adviser at the State Department, and Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, both were confirmed by the Senate late last month.

    The sons of Korean immigrants, their rise to the Obama administration is only the latest success story in their family of overachievers. The Kohs' four siblings include a retired college dean, a university professor, a doctor and an artist. Daaaaamn.

    Oh, and their mom holds a Ph.D in sociology and anthropology. Got that, Rahm, Zeke and Ari? The Emanuels have nothing on this family.

    angry reader of the week: kate agathon

    It's that time again. Time to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Kate Agathon, representin' the Midwest.

    new comic book themes for igoogle

    Google users, check this out... they're now offering all sorts of new free comic book themes for iGoogle, including Gene Yang's American Born Chinese, Gene and Derek Kirk Kim's The Eternal Smile, and art from Hellen Jo. Lots of fun stuff there for comic book lovers.

    research study on career making process of chinese americans

    I recently heard from William Nguyen, a Ph.D student at at Alliant International University who is doing research for his dissertation on the Career Decision Making Styles of Chinese American undergraduate students. If you're a Chinese American student, he could use your help filling out his survey. From William:
    Greetings. My name is William Nguyen, MA and I am a Ph. D Candidate at Alliant International University: CSPP. I am conducting a study that explores the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of Chinese American identified undergraduate students attending a 2 or 4 year college/university in regards to their career decision-making process. If you are interested in participating, you will complete a 20 – 30 minute survey that asks you a myriad of questions related to your career decision-making process. All responses and identifying information will be kept confidential. As incentive for your participation, all participants that provide contact information will be entered in a raffle for either a $75, $50, or $25 gift card to Gap, Inc. (or any other department store of choice). Should you have any questions about the research please contact: William Nguyen at wnguyen@alliant.edu. If you would like to participate, please click on the following link to survey monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=DQKGz8ZQQ58Uuyq4aROxvA_3d_3d). Also, if you are interested in receiving results to this study, please contact William Nguyen with that request. Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Do you meet the criteria? William could use your help. If you could take 20-30 minutes of your time to fill out the survey, it would be really help for his research. And of course, all the information you give will be kept confidential. To take the online survey, go here.

    man walks across america. because he loves america.

    This is an interesting story from The Dallas Morning News about 40-year-old Sinh Tho Nguyen, an Army and National Guard veteran who has made it his personal mission to walk across the United States to honor America and its troops: Fort Worth man puts heart, soles into message with walk across America.

    Nguyen, who moved to Texas after growing up in Vietnam, is about 1,000 miles into his journey and arrived in Dallas-Forth Worth on Wednesday -- a pit stop for one week before resuming his walk across America. He's not getting paid or raising money for a cause. It's just his way of saying thanks to America and its troops.

    He started his 2,600-mile journey in Atlantic Beach, Florida, and hopes to make it to San Diego by Thanksgiving. Nguyen always carries an American flag and has a sign strapped to his back displaying the message: "Shore to Shore: A Walk Across America to Honor Those Who Serve." Did I mention that this guy really loves America?

    john yoo's awkward moment

    "Torture Memo" author John Yoo recently experienced an uncomfortable little incident when a prankster interrupted one of his lectures at Chapman University School of Law. I kind of love this Gawker headline: John Yoo Briefly Disturbed By Consequences of His Actions.

    It's all on video. When Yoo mentions the Constitution during his lecture, and asks the students if he has any questions, the comedian, dressed in the now-iconic black hooded robe, stands up on the desk and asks "Uhm, how long can I be required to stand here 'til it counts as torture?"

    Yoo, trying to keep it cool, promptly ends the lecture and gets the hell out of there. But he does let the prankster know he'll give him a few moments before calling security. Sorry, professor -- was that awkward? Maybe even a little awkward? But surely not torture.

    I'm generally not a fan of these prankster ambush setups... but you gotta admit, it feels pretty good to see Yoo squirm a bit. More here: Author of Torture Memos Pranked in Classroom. And here: John Yoo Pranked by Australian Comedy Team.

    mynette louie goes to sundance's creative producing lab

    Earlier this month, the Sundance Institute announced the expansion of its Creative Producing Initiative designed to nurture emerging independent producers in both narrative and documentary fields: Sundance Institute Expands Support For Indie Film Producers With Creative Producing Initiative.

    The Feature Film Creative Producing Lab is a five-day Lab for narrative feature film producers, designed to develop creative instincts in all stages of film production and to evolve communication and problem-solving skills.

    I was pleased to hear that You're a Big Girl Now, produced by Mynette Louie, was one of the projects selected to attend the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab. The film is the latest from Tze Chun, writer/director of Children of Invention. Here's a brief description and Mynette's bio from the Sundance press release:
    YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW / Mynette Louie

    A Singaporean orphan is bought by a brothel, escapes to Hong Kong with an older prostitute, then returns to Singapore to uncover the mysteries of her childhood. Based on a true story.

    Mynette Louie A New York-based independent film producer, Louie produced Tze Chun's award-winning Sundance feature, Children of Invention, co-produced Andrew Bujalski's critically acclaimed Mutual Appreciation, and was selected by IFP as one of two emerging American independent producers to participate in Rotterdam Lab 2008. She is currently in post-production on P. Benoit's Ayiti, Ayiti, a Sundance Lab project and winner of the inaugural Time Warner Storytelling Award. She previously worked at the Hawaii Film Office, where she authored the state's production tax credit, and in business development and marketing at SportsIllustrated.com, Jupiter Research, and Time Magazine. She received a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies, focusing on Chinese literature and film, from Harvard University.
    Mynette posted a blog entry for Filmmaker Magazine, written before she left for the Sundance Lab, on why she's attending and what she hopes to learn there. She also sounds extremely busy: BLOGGING FROM THE SUNDANCE CREATIVE PRODUCING LAB: MYNETTE LOUIE. I think she intends to write another post when she returns from the Lab too.

    UPDATE: Here's the second part of Mynette Louie's blog, collecting her thoughts and sharing about her experience at the Sundance Creative Producing Lab: BLOGGING FROM THE SUNDANCE CREATIVE PRODUCING LAB: MYNETTE LOUIE, PT. 2. It's a good read for anyone who's interested in becoming (and surviving as) an indie film producer.

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