2008 Asian Excellence Awards

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wow - Rush Hour 3? You've got to be kidding me. While I'm totally into the Asian Excellence Awards and what they're doing I just have to wonder what the hell the were thinking when they put out some of these nominations. Cool on the TV spots and the voting - but some of the movies and the actors/actresses - c'mon - you can't tell me you couldn't find more than these. At the same time, I'm still up for watching it and I know they're doing their best and I dig it - don't get me wrong - and I'm trying me hardest not to disrespect the noms - but c'mon Rush Hour 3 - and sure Maggie Q is cool in her own right - but outstanding film actress - not quite sure about that one for Balls Of Fury.

Tunage: Dawen Wang

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just a quick word that R&B / Neo-soul musician and singer Dawen Wang came out with a new EP which is available on iTunes. Check out his MySpace page here and chill out to some of his tunes. I didn't get a chance to listen at the release event, but I dig his tune Ku Li. Here's a little more on Dawen:

Fusing the grooves of Neo-soul with socially conscious lyricism, Dawen Wang explores the American dream. As a singer-songwriter, Dawen hopes his music will further the dialogue on racism and social injustice in American society.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Dawen was classically trained as a vocalist and has been singing and playing piano since he was 6 years old. Emerging on the scene, Dawen has played at venues such as FitzGeralds, The Note, Lilly’s, Bill’s Blues Bar, and the University of Illinois – Chicago. In these recordings all the production (instrumental tracks and programming) is his. In concert, Dawen performs solo with his keyboard.

DVD: Tokyo Streets

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Microcinema who also brought you Slant Vol. 1 have released a new flick called Tokyo Streets all about the fashion of Tokyo. Here's the synopsis:

Following the success of their first DVD – Swiss Fashion Design, the creative designers of fashionshow.ch would like to introduce to the world the lifestyle of the residents of Tokyo. The images gathered over a month’s stay in Tokyo are the
basis of a DVD entirely dedicated to urban fashion trends of the Japanese capital.

Our first DVD focused primarily on fashion designers and fashion shows for enthusiasts. The “Tokyo Streets” DVD shows
how in Japan fashion is more a form of popular expression than a world reserved for people in the fashion industry. Our DVD tries to show the raw emotions felt by westerners during their trips to Japan where they experience this fascinating new world.

We consider our DVD as a new multimedia genre and not as a simple means of dissemination for a film. The menu will be based on a metro visit to some of Tokyo’s neighborhoods. You will be able to see the movie in one go or chapter by chapter.
We are trying to promote a visual system that can be functional for people of all cultures.
You can check out more at the microcinema site here and view the YouTube clip below.

A letter to Eurotrash

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dear Eurotrash:

When you're in a different country - particularly in Asia - please follow a few simple rules:

1. Even though you may be on vacation because you need to get away from the sites that are Sarko and his sideshow Carla, please remember that a slap to your Eurotrash teenager is in fact allowable in a public place when they behave like the little Eurotrash offspring that they are, complaining and moaning about something they got on their plate that doesn't resemble what they saw in their guidebook. I know it's a long shot because you've raised them to believe they are the rightful heirs to everything, but a nice slap (or two) really does go a long way - but if said Eurotrash offspring continue to act like the idiots you've raised them to be - treating the friendly and great staff like pieces of meat - don't be surprised if a Slant Eye from across the way starts in on your Eurotrash family because you've interupted his meal with your bad Eurotrash behavior.

2. When you see Asian women sitting calmly in a park this doesn't mean that they're prostitutes waiting for your Eurotrash self to come and sweep them off their feet with your broke backpacker Eurosmell and receding hairline. They're enjoying themselves without you're Eurotrash cat calls and seriously - don't you get that they're about 20 dudes playing ball nearby that will gladly come over and help you out of the park and on your merry Eurotrash way?

3. This goes for trashy Americans as well - here and in the U.S. (haven't I said this before?) - while many people know English and most places will try to accomodate you no matter what the venue, if someone doesn't understand you - shouting doesn't help - it only makes you look like more of a complete dumbass especially when you start to get frustrated that someone in another country can't speak the Queens English. At least try and learn a little of the language - because it goes along way and is very much appreciated.

4. Just stay away from me.

Steven Sueppel: When White Men Get Asian Takeout

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Even over here in SE Asia I can't get away from the news about Steven Sueppel - the abomination that happens when some white man decides to pick up some Asian kids as a nice little bobble - you know kind of like a nice picture from a trip they took to show off to their friends - because that's all his children and his wife must have been to him.

I'd be lying if I said the world will miss him - we wont.

Chien-Ming Wang gets Opening Day nod

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cool news for the NY Yankees right-hander who lost out on Opening Day last season because of an injury:

The New York Yankees on Friday chose Chien-Ming Wang to start on Opening Day at home against the Toronto Blue Jays [...] "I think he's earned it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the March 31 start. "He's thrown the ball well the last couple years."

Read more down at ESPN.

Renee Sebastian

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Got this update sent to me - I haven't had a chance to listen to it myself - but the SF Weekly has a good story on Filipino singer Renee Sebastian as well who they describe as "the sunny simplicity of classic soul in the slick new duds of radio R&B, not unlike a purer version of Ne-Yo or Beyoncé's approach":

She makes accessible songwriting look easy on her new EP, but anyone who has heard even mediocre R&B knows it isn't, and will welcome Sebastian's strong, smooth voice and these expert full-band arrangements. She's also brutally honest, tackling her teenage pregnancy on the hip-hop-flavored opener "This Is Me" and all but offering herself as a sacrifice on "Please Break My Heart."
Renee Sebastian's CD Mrs. Sebastian just got released and can be purchased via iTunes, Nimbit, and CD Freedom.

Bernard Chang and Wonder Woman

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cool article from Asian American Comics on Bernard Chang:

Bernard Chang is pencilling two issues of Gail Simone's "Wonder Woman" series for DC Comics. The first issue hit stores last Wednesday and features an alien race called the Khunds, whom Chang redesigned to give an Asian look. Newsarama's Best Shots crew had this to say about Chang's art in "Wonder Woman" #18..
Read the full article here.

Japan looks to ban P2P and RAIN is everywhere

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is an interesting article on Japan and how they are working with ISP's to help with file illegal file sharing:

Add Japan to the list of countries cracking down on illegal file sharing over the Internet. Amid ongoing pressure (not surprisingly) from the record and movie industries, the country’s four major Internet service provider organizations have agreed to cut off web access to those who repeatedly engage in illegal file-sharing.

Apparently they don't have anything like deep packet filtering in the works right now, but it begs the question really of who's Internet it really is and how far ISP's have a right to look at P2P sharing.

I'm just glad I'm live in the U.S.

On another note, while I know RAIN is huge world superstar - it's just interesting to see it in full view - because really - he is everywhere, and on everything - even in places you may not expect it.

Blogging From Southeast Asia

Monday, March 17, 2008

While everyone else is down at SIAAFF - I'm off to the mother ship for 3-4 weeks (getting ready has been fun with the exception of missing some great films) - but I'll have a laptop and cameras with me, so I'll be looking to blog while I'm out and about - however maybe not as much as I normally do (but then again you never know...)

To all my Slanty peeps - see you soon.

Bennie K: Monochrome

Friday, March 14, 2008

Go here to view the MV for their latest single Monochrome.

More racist things Geraldine Ferraro wants to say

Friday, March 14, 2008

Now that Geraldine Ferraro has quit the Clinton campaign because she's proven herself to be a complete idiot - aka a racist white woman who apparently still isn't over the fact that she lost her bid to be Vice President over 20 years ago - with more time on her hands I'm just assuming we'll be hearing more.

Here's a list of racist things Geraldine will probably say next:

  • "White Only" bathrooms were much cleaner.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. reminds me of someone I saw on Cops.
  • As a white woman, when I call someone a n***** I'm not being racist, I'm just talking about race.
  • It's not that black people aren't smart, their brains are just smaller.
  • How do I make sure that the noose doesn't come undone?

On the film "21"

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've read some good posts and discussions on the movie 21 already - based on the book by Ben Mezrich about the MIT card counters - both on the film itself as well as on the choice of casting, and as it gets nearer to the release date (March 28th) thought I'd post some quick thoughts on the movie.

In a lot of ways I have to admit that I'm kind of hyped about the film for a few reasons:

  • I like movies like Rounders, Pool Hall Junkies, and The Hustler - and 21 seems like it's going to fit nicely into that same category.

  • It's got Laurence Fishburne.

  • The movie has two Asian Americans as part of the MIT card counting group - Filipino American Liza Lapira who's also going to be in the upcoming films See You in September and Repossession Mambo, and also Korean American actor Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, Cinema AZN).

  • It's got Kevin Spacey.

  • The movie and actors Lapira and Yoo have already won an award for the film from the ShoWest convention.
Because of those reasons I can't help but actually want to see the movie, because if I just look at the film, it looks pretty righteous - but like everything else, it doesn't live inside a vacuum - it's not an ivory tower standing alone.

The original team was mostly Asian American, the main lead in the book and the movie in real life was Asian American - it begs the question that if the movie was based on the book and inspired by the true story, how come they didn't feel it necessary to have an Asian American male in the lead?

Is this just another case of Hollywood thinking that an Asian American male wouldn't have the same appeal as a white actor?

Alvin Lin, an MIT alum who co-founded the MIT Asian American Association, as well as runs the Facebook group "Asians Not Brainwashed by Media" (and also does some blogging over at Hyphen and Imprinttalk) sent over some links and quotes my way which some other bloggers have mentioned as well in their discussion of the movie - one of which included the following:

Mezrich mentioned the stereotypical Hollywood casting process — though most of the actual blackjack team was composed of Asian males, a studio executive involved in the casting process said that most of the film's actors would be White, with perhaps an Asian female. Even as Asian actors are entering more mainstream films, such as "BetterLuck Tomorrow" and the upcoming "Memoirs of a Geisha," these stereotypes still exist, Mezrich said." - http://www-tech.mit.edu/V125/N43/43vegas.html

I guess that answers that question.

While this isn't the same as having a film about someone like Sessue Hayakawa and having Hayakawa played by someone who's not Asian American - because I do see a difference in being true to a story like that versus college kids who count cards - I can't help and lament the tired thinking of Hollywood who has no problem putting out all white casts, but decided to stay clear of what could have been an almost all Asian American cast.

Asian Kung-Fu Generation: World World World

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Updated 3/14/2008

Check out the video for Asian Kung-Fu Generation's single Atarashii Sekai off their new CD World World World. It's pretty tight.

Box Office Top 10's

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Here's a quick list of the top 10 movies in South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong compiled from Box Office Mojo.

South Korea

  1. Chu Gyuk Ja (The Chaser)
  2. Vantage Point
  3. BA:BO
  4. My New Partner
  5. 27 Dresses
  6. My Blueberry Nights
  7. Ji jie hao (Assembly)
  8. Jumper
  9. The Spiderwick Chronicles
  10. Rambo
  1. Doraemon: Nobita to Midori no kyojinten
  2. Jumper
  3. The Golden Compass
  4. Eiga: Kurosagi
  5. Vantage Point
  6. Change the World
  7. One Piece The Movie: Episode of Chopper: Bloom in the Winter, Miracle Sakura (9)
  8. Keroro Gunso 3: Keroro Tai Keroro
  9. Ashita e no yuigon (Best Wishes for Tomorrow)
  10. Gachi bôi Toho
Hong Kong
  1. 10,000 B.C.
  2. Shamo Gala
  3. Duo shuai (Fatal Move)
  4. The Eye
  5. Jumper
  6. No Country for Old Men
  7. Love in the Time of Cholera
  8. I Could Never Be Your Woman
  9. Meet the Spartans
  10. P.S. I Love You
See the Box Office Mojo South Korean, Japanese, and Hong Kong indices for more.

Musician Jared Rehberg's Top 20 Favorite Asian American Artists And Songs

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

When I made the post 25 songs by Asian American artists you should know a couple of weeks back, Jared Rehberg, a singer and songwriter who also works a day gig down in ImaginAsian TV's interactive department, shot me over a list of artists he thought should make their way into a post - so I asked if he wouldn't mind sending me a top 20 list of his own.

Here's what Jared sent on over:

My Favorite Asian American Artists and songs (in no particular order):

1. johnny hi-fi (rock) - The "Passive Killer" and "This is the song"

2. kevin so (rock/r&B/pop) - "Brighter Day" and "love suite"

3. flow sik (rap) - "Find a way out" and "Hate"

4. susie suh (pop) - "won't you come again" and "shell"

5. pete miser (rap) - "so sensitive" and "scent of a robot"

6. carol bui (rock) - "rockville" and "qua cau gio bay"

7. chan (rap) - "part of the nation" and "lonely road"

8. heather park (r&B) - "your woman" and "if i didn't love you"

9. ken oak (pop) - "inda" and "end credits"

10. thomas'apartment (rock) - "temperature" and "coda"

11. asobi seksu (rock) - "walk on the moon" and "umi de no jisatsu"

12. corrine may (pop) - "everything in it's time" and "safe in a crazy world"

13. vienna teng (pop) - "gravity" and "harbor"

14. jinny kim folk/pop) - "hold on" and "ophelia"

15. cynthia lin (folk/pop) - "i'm shy" and "blue and borderlined"

16. vudoo soul (R&B/pop) - "lover come over" and "lazy"

17. taiyo na (raP) - "love is growth" and "kasama"

18. maggie kim (pop) - "perfect" and "not even a white girl"

19. koba (rap) - "rise up move" and "when the wind"

20. kristine sa (pop) "in my mind" and "don't come home"

other notables:

jay legaspi (folk/pop) "maggie"
paperdoll (rock) "if nothing happened"
the speaks (rock) "regret"
matt sia (singer/songerwriter) "marquette"
franki love (singer/songwriter) "shadow"
alfa (folk/pop) - "wear your shoes" and "footnote"
peelander Z (cosplay punk/fun) "hapee pee"
scott tang(piano/pop) "freeway"
kyoshi graves(pop/rock) "chase"
jeff iftekaruddin (glorified rock) "reigning"
daniel ho (grammy winning slack guitar/pop) "no apologies"
sumeet (groovin) "agony"
thao nguyen(singer/songwriter) "beat health life and fire"
bento (pop/rock) "last chance"
putnam hall (rockin hard) "supernothing"

Go support Asian American artists!

To learn more about Jared Rehberg you can check out his site here (he's also an A&R rep for Don E Productions).

For more on ImaginAsian TV check out iaRadio, iaPictures, and iaLink.

News Bytes

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

  • Boston Progress Radio turned one year-old last week - Happy Birthday BPR. Check out the great video interview they just put up with hip hop duo Blue Scholars.

  • Interesting story on Aurora Abella-Austriaco who could be Illinois' first Asian American state representative (which would be a long time coming considering the half a million Asian Americans in the state):

    Fil-Am lady lawyer’s historic run in Illinois

    A top Filipino-American real estate lawyer is eyeing a chance to make history in Illinois when she runs for a seat in the State Assembly. Aurora Abella-Austriaco, 43, ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary, garnering 9,875 votes, nearly double the votes of the 16-year Republican incumbent she's facing in the November 4 general election. If elected, she will be the first ever Asian American state representative in Illinois, also known as the Land of Lincoln, being the hometown of the Civil War era president. She will represent a district which includes the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, where former first lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton grew up.
  • This could get fun - my money's on Disgrasian.

  • Read about this at 8Asians and I couldn't agree more - the closer we're getting to the 2008 Summer Olympics the more we're hearing about situations like this and even worse as people are being evicted from their homes to make space for the games.

    Tang Wei: “Lust, Caution” actress banned in China

    According to news reports, Tang Wei, the Chinese actress made famous in Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”, is currently band from all media in China - television, film, print, etc. As you may recall, “Lust, Caution” is a suspense-thriller set during the World II era of Japanese occupied Shanghai - with Tang Wei’s character trying to seduce a Japanese collaborator, with some heated sex scenes (thus resulting in a lot of controversy)...
  • Caught down at AAM that Margaret Cho will be coming back to TV on VH1 with her own new reality show called "The Cho Show" - which sounds like it could be pretty cool. There's also a good article in the SF Bay Times with her talking about her touring and stand-up.

    For Margaret Cho, her upcoming three-day engagement at The Warfield is a double homecoming. Not only does it bring Cho back to the Bay Area, it returns the San Francisco-born stand-up comedian to the artform which made her famous.

    With comic Liam Sullivan opening – and his "Shoes"-loving alter-ego, YouTube sensation Kelly, as special musical guest – Cho plays her hometown March 14-16 as part of her national Beautiful Tour. Here the funny lady who has carved an indelible niche for herself within the LGBT community discusses her return to stand-up, touring the country and an evolving sense of "beauty."

Ramiele Malubay: In My Life

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here's some video from Ramiele Malubay's Tuesday American Idol performance.

I didn't think it was that bad - and at least she didn't forget the lyrics...

Spitzer Resigns

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


What else was he going to do though? I'm curious to see what happens to him next.

Apolo Anton Ohno: Still World Class

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

While South Korean speedskaters at the World Short Track Championships did pretty well winning titles in five events, American Apolo Anton Ohno didn't do too bad either:

Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States won gold in the men's 500 meters (42.568 seconds) then placed second in the 1,000 meters (1:26.528) and third in the 3,000 meters (5:00.838).
He's probably still in shape from the rigorous training of Dancing With The Stars.

For the full article go to The Korea Times.

Race Roundup

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some news from around the way:

The Red Phone in Black and White

On first watching Hillary Clinton’s recent “It’s 3 a.m.” advertisement, I was left with an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right — something that went beyond my disappointment that she had decided to go negative. Repeated watching of the ad on YouTube increased my unease. I realized that I had only too often in my study of America’s racial history seen images much like these, and the sentiments to which they allude.
Ferarro gets free pass on racist comment

Compare this quote by Clinton surrogate and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferarro: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Racist Hate in US at 'Staggering' Levels, Report Says

The number of "hate groups" operating in America has jumped 48 percent since 2000 due to those groups' "exploitation" of the immigration debate, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a controversial civil rights organization that has monitored hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan for nearly 30 years. In the current issue of its quarterly magazine "Intelligence Report," the SPLC said on Monday that 2007 was "another year marked by staggering levels of racist hate in America."
BBC blasted over 'racist white season'

The BBC have come under attack from anti-racist groups over their decision to air a series of programmes called the "white season". Billed as an investigative look into why some sections of the white community feel increasingly marginalised, the programmes begin on BBC 2 this week. But black led organisations have blasted the BBC for their insensitivity.
Three U.S. Senators query U.C. Irvine anti-Semitism report

Questions about anti-Semitism and harassment at UCI, which has seen two separate reports in recent months on the subject, now involves three U.S. senators. The three senators on the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education calling into question some portions of its investigation into alleged anti-Semitism on UCI’s campus.
Racist KellyAnne Conway Sends Obama To The Back Of The Bus

On Larry King Live show (Friday, March 7th), Republican strategist and owner of The Polling Company, KellyAnne Conway, stated that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were: "...arguing about whether she should let him SIT ON THE BACK OF THE BUS of her presidential ticket." Even by CNN standards, with its ample chicanery and spin, Conway's remark was brutal. Larry King's nightly program, usually more schmooze than news, was plunged to a Limbaugh-like low. Gratefully, Democratic strategist and Obama supporter, Jamal Simmons, was on hand to challenge Conway.

Glad You're Not Asian: Gov. Eliot Spitzer

Monday, March 10, 2008

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Blog Read

Monday, March 10, 2008

There's a good article/interview down at reappropriate on the current discussion about the Asian fusion restaurant "Chinese Laundry":

Earlier this week, the distribution of a nauseating advertisement promoting a new Asian fusion restaurant (”Chinese Laundry”) in Providence, Rhode Island was initiated by Brown University student, W.J. For more information on how their ads objectify women and fetishize the Asian culture, please see my posts here and here.

W.J. was the impetus for what looks to be a growing Internet movement to respond to these ads. I asked W.J. a few questions over email...
Read the full post here.

Midwest Asians and the APCC

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sometimes it's easy to forget that the Midwest has 1 million+ Asian Americans dwelling inside its landscape helping to create a rich and diverse community, because in a lot of ways we only think about the coasts - but really - how can we look past 1 million Asian American faces?

Right now there's a project in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that is working to create one of the largest Pan Asian Cultural Centers in the United States, and while they've received about 1 million dollars towards the project already - which is a great sign - they could use support, or else the project may not get completed.

If you're in the area you can help support the project by calling 651-296-3391 which is a voice hot-line for the project and leave your name, what city you live in and that you support the creation of the new Asian Pacific Cultural Center up until this Thursday. Apparently all calls are logged and counted and it will help add support for a bill which will give state bonding funds to the project - which is needed for the building where the center will be located.

Go to the project's website at http://www.apccmn.org/ where you can view more about it and see other ways to help offer support.

That gives me wood: The Vatican's New Sin List

Monday, March 10, 2008

I was reading some of the Vatican's new sins from a Reuters' article and I wondered to myself how new sins like "Thou shall not pollute the earth" and "Thou shall beware genetic manipulation" actually come to be, because I can't really remember the last time the Vatican came out with some new sins and it kind of excites me.

Like is there a big sin suggestion box where everyone gets to put something in, or do they battle it out in a game of bocce ball to see who's sins make it to the final round, and if so, might they have a voter segment via text messaging in the future?

Maybe it's more godly though - maybe there's a big heavenly pimp that comes to visit people in dreams and in between giving sleepy advice on how to take down an Episcopalian or not touch themselves during confession also doles out new sins and PR advice to the Vatican management.

I mean I'm not really sure, but I figure it has to be something more than just one single white guy drawing up some notes on the back of a bible and saying "Just go with me on this one."

Therein lies the problem

Sunday, March 09, 2008

In an article down at the New Jersey On-Line called Cinema can't keep up with Hayakawa's strides which takes a look at Sessue Hayakawa and Asian Americans in film I came across this quote which struck an obvious chord:

Author Ian Baruma, who curated the yakuza series, admits Asians don't figure prominently in American movies. "But why would they," he rhetorically asks. "Most Hollywood films are pitched to achieve the maximum appeal. The Asian-American audience isn't particularly significant, demographically."
I wonder when people are going to wake up and realize that an Asian American can have the same crossover appeal as any other type of actor or actress, and having an Asian American face on the big screen doesn't mean that they have to appeal strictly to our community - that the Asian American community alone doesn't need to bankroll their success and that if we gave more Asian Americans not just a chance - but some time - that the cross over appeal will be there, and that in many ways it already is here. It just needs to be cultivated and supported on a wider scale.

Shutter: Maybe a decent remake?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Megumi Okina in the U.S. remake of Shutter

The Thai horror film Shutter is one of those movies that makes you race a little faster to turn on the lights after it's done - it stays with you, it lingers, and I think it's one of the reasons it became so popular, and why inevitably it was going to get a remake.

The U.S. version was directed by Japanese film director Masayuki Ochiai of Infection, Hypnosis, and Dark Tales of Japan, and in addition to Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor in the cast, the movie also has Megumi Okina, Maya Hazen, James Kyson Lee, and Natalie N. Okamoto (voice only) - whether any of that will translate into actually being a good film is still up for grabs, but it does make it interesting.

View the trailer

The U.S. remake of Shutter opens up on March 21st. See the official site for more.

Swimming Prodigy Lia Neal

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Metropolitan Swimming 2006 Hall Of Fame Dinner

I was just happy I learned to dog-paddle when I was younger so I wouldn't sink down to the bottom of the pool:

Lia Neal, a newly minted 13-year-old from Brooklyn, is at an age when girls tend to expend a lot of energy trying to blend into the background. Neal is a typical teenager in that respect. She defers to her older teammates when it comes to setting the training pace. She retrieves equipment for everybody in her lane as if she were their kid sister and not a prodigy.

Neal stands out, anyway, because of her deft strokes and her dark skin. The youngest child of an African-American father and an Asian mother, she has been compared to another biracial prodigy who blossomed in a mostly white sport. The connection to Tiger Woods is perhaps inevitable, but Neal prefers being mentioned in the same breath as Cynthia Woodhead, a swimmer in the 1970s who, like Neal, qualified for the Olympic trials in the freestyle as a 12-year-old.
Check out the full article at the NY Times.

Adding Insult to Injury: First Yao, Now Yi

Friday, March 07, 2008

Talk about bad luck if you're the Chinese National Basketball team -- from ESPN:

Bucks rookie forward Yi Jianlian, who missed Milwaukee's game against Seattle on Wednesday because of a sprained left ankle, flew to Los Angeles on Thursday for additional medical examinations on an injured right wrist.

Bucks general manager Larry Harris said Yi would have the wrist looked at by two different doctors to suplement a diagnosis by the team's medical staff.

Among the possible remedies for the lingering injury is surgery, which would end Yi's season. But Harris said, "It's too early to speculate."
While you'd rather have Yao be healthy for the Beijing Games versus Yi (who's still averaging a decent 9 points and 5 rebounds a game) having both out would just be bad news for everyone involved - including the Milwaukee Bucks and what they did to have to get Yi to play in their smaller market.

Naomi Kawase and Women with Vision 2008: Past/Present

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will be presenting their annual Women with Vision series during the month of March celebrating the work of women directors in cinema, this year spotlighting director Naomi Kawase:

Naomi Kawase was only 27 when she won the Camera d’Or at Cannes for her independently produced debut Suzaku in 1997. Reaffirming her reputation with Shara in 2003, she is now recognized as one of Japan’s leading directors. This reputation was solidly confirmed on the international stage when she won the Grand Jury prize in Cannes 2007 for The Mourning Forest.
For more on the event go to Women with Vision 2008: Past/Present.

Film: Kissing Cousins

Friday, March 07, 2008

Billed as a "relatively romantic comedy", Kissing Cousins stars Samrat Chakrabarti as Amir, who's a professional break-up messenger, and Rebecca Hazlewood as Zara, his first cousin who pretends to be his girlfriend when she meets his friends:

Amir, 29, is a heartbreaker. Literally. As a relationship termination specialist, providing dumping services for disgruntled daters, Amir spends his days delivering bad news to unsuspecting lovers across Los Angeles and retrieving his clients' belongings (underwear, CDs, photos, etc).

When Amir returns to his family's Bay Area home for Thanksgiving, he is reunited with Zara, his charming and beautiful cousin from Britain who he has not seen in twenty years.

With the prompting of Amir's parents, Zara hitches a ride with Amir back to LA, only planning to stay a few days. Along the way, Amir tells her about his friends and their bachelorism and she is sympathetic. When she meets them, she surprises everyone, including Amir, by introducing herself as his girlfriend.

View the trailer below

Kissing Cousins' makes its debut at SF Int'l Asian American Film Fest on March 19th. The film also stars David Alan Grier, Jaleel White, and Manish Goyal (who's also a producer of the film). For more see the Kissing Cousins' movie site, Rebecca Hazlewood's bio, and Samrat Chakrabarti'ssite.

Biloxi: Asian-Americans for Change

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This is a good story on Gai Kaitlin Truong who's starting up the non-profit Asian-Americans for Change in Biloxi:

"When it deals with family, I get emotional about it," Truong said. "So many people have lost so much."

That sense of loss and love for her community, motivated Truong to do more to help Vietnamese families that are suffering. So she formed a local, non-profit group called Asian-Americans for Change.

"We know that a lot of the non-profit organizations are not going to be here for the next five years," Truong said. "So we're grass roots, to bridge the gap between the Vietnamese and the English-speaking community."
Read more at the WLOX-TV.

Ramiele Malubay, Top 12, And Some Groping

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Even though some pics of Ramiele Malubay are stirring up some discussion - and really - haven't we all groped a friend or two at some point? - it hasn't done anything to lessen her chances of becoming the next American Idol as Ramiele has landed into the top 12, avoiding being one of the four eliminated from tonight's show (Luke Menard, Kady Mally, Asia'h Epperson, and Danny Noriega).

Here's the full top 12 list:

  • David Cook
  • David Archuleta
  • Jason Castro
  • Carly Smithson
  • Kristy Lee Cook
  • Amanda Overmeyer
  • Syesha Mercado
  • Brooke White
  • Chickezie
  • David Hernandez
  • Michael Johns
  • Ramiele Mulaby

B.D. Wong on diversity

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Check out actor and writer B.D. Wong from a recent speech at Ardrey Auditorium about being gay, Asian, and dropping out of San Francisco State:

"I grew up learning that American dynamic of wanting to fit in," Wong said. "When I was little I didn't see many Asian-Americans on TV unless they were made fun of, were boring or had servile jobs. But all this inspired to change this."

Wong pursued this goal as he told his audience how he met his high school mentor to pursue his dream as an actor. However, after high school he attended San Francisco State, where he later dropped out.
Read the full article here.

Get your Dallas Asian American Film On

Thursday, March 06, 2008

If you're an Asian American filmmaker who's been waiting to show the world how talented you are, or you just like to play around with your home video cam but think other people might like seeing what you do (and no - Edison Chen movies don't count) - you may want to check out the Dallas Asian American Film Festival which is calling for entries up until May 31.

Here's a quick overview (the festival runs from August 14 - 21, 2008):

Feature Films

Deadline: May 31, 2008 (postmarked)
Entry Fee: $15
Categories: Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Other

Feature film or video productions by Asian Americans and Asian International filmmakers, or with subject matter concerning Asian issues from any year, country, state, age, category, and serving any theme. No limit on the number of entries per person. Entry fee applies to each project submitted.

Short Films

Deadline: May 31, 2008 (postmarked)
Entry Fee: $10
Categories: Narrative, Documentary, Experimental, Animation, Other

Short film or video productions by Asian Americans and Asian International filmmakers, or with subject matter concerning Asian issues from any year, country, state, age, category, and serving any theme. No limit on the number of entries per person. Entry fee applies to each project submitted.

See the Asian Film Festival Of Dallas's web site for complete entry information and guidelines.

Jae Lee

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Here's some video of comic book artist Jae Lee (who won an Eisner Award for his work in Marvel's Namor the Sub-Mariner, Inhumans) and writer Peter David, both collaborators on the Marvel Comics' spinoff of Stephen King's The Dark Tower novels, from their midnight signing at Midtown Comics in NYC this past Tuesday (hat tip asianamericancomics.com):

John Cho Interview

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Updated 3-8-2008

There's an interesting interview with John Cho on the new Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay movie from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:

And the focus is always on being funny first. The characters' races are almost secondary. I find that so refreshing because a lot of Asian American cinema is just about being Asian American, how hard it is. Not to denigrate anyone's work, but those movies get really repetitive, and fewer people want to see them.

I'm definitely a fan of Cho's movies and respect what he's accomplished - and like everyone else I'm waiting for the next installment of Harold and Kumar - but I do think the need for movies like the Slanted Screen or Finishing The Game still exist - that they're still relevant within today's landscape of looking at Asian Americans in cinema.

I personally don't think Asian American films are strictly about being Asian American and how hard it is - I think it's a generalization - a perception we sometimes have in the Asian American community. Sure, certain films might talk about the Asian American experience - and we should talk about the Asian American experience in all of its forms - but more and more films and characters are being shown where race and ethnicity is secondary, they just may not be getting seen as much as they should.

Read the full interview at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

NYC Asian Contemporary Art Week 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

If you're out in the NYC area - or even if you're not - and you want to see some cool Asian art, you'll want to check out Asian Contemporary Art Week 2008, running from March 15 - March 24th which will be showcasing over 100 artist works at 46 venues.

Here's some more info:

Over 100 artists will present their works at 60 special events at 46 museums and galleries during the fifth Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), March 15 to 24, featuring receptions, exhibition viewings, screenings, artist conversations and walkthroughs throughout New York City. ACAW aims to promote increased public awareness of the richness and diversity of contemporary Asian art.

"Since the first Asian Contemporary Art Week held in 2002, there has been a dramatic increase in awareness of Asian contemporary art and we like to believe this initiative has contributed to this fact," notes Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu. "The ACAW Consortium feels that as general knowledge spreads, there is a need for more focused education and so this year, there is an increased emphasis on public programs involving the artists during the week."

Featured artists hail from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and, for the first time, from the Middle East: Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.

New to this year’s ACAW format is Artists in Conversation, a series of talks given by 35 leading and emerging artists who speak about their works and share their concepts and inspirations.
For more on times, artists, and venues go to the ACAW's website.

Election 2008: Going down to the wire

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I was glad to see Clinton pull out wins in Ohio and Texas last night, shortening the gap between her and Obama who are running almost neck and neck now, because I want to see this go down to the wire -- I want to know that people across the country have a hard time when thinking "Do I want to see a man of color or a woman take the highest office in the United States?" - and that there's support for either side.

Obviously I know there's more to Sens. Clinton and Obama than their gender or color - but I also know the reality - that it does matter - that it is important - that it is historical in this context, and in this sense I'd rather not see a landslide on either side, or a concession to pull out of the race too early, because it's too close.

I want to see each side fight for their place in American history, to know that whoever comes after them and follows in their footsteps - that they can look back at this election and say to themselves that no matter what their gender, color, or ethnic makeup, that as a nation - we'll support them as far as we can - as far as they can take themselves.

Top Chef 4, Egg Whites, and Filipino American Dale Talde

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Season four of Top Chef starts next week - March 12th - and as I was looking over the cast bios of the cheftestants I couldn't help but think to myself how white the cast was in comparison to last season.

It's not that the current crew of cooks don't seem full of personality or talent, or that I mind watching white people (because white people, I've been watching you for a while now) - but I was expecting more diversity, more color, more individuals.

At least Top Chef still had the sense to get Filipino American chef Dale Talde on its cast for this season (and be on the lookout for Manuel and Nimma too).

Here's his Top Chef info:

AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Chicago, Il
PROFESSION: Sous Chef at Buddakan
CULINARY EDUCATION: Culinary Institute Of America
FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Grilled matsutake mushrooms, shaved myoga, spicy truffled ponzu

BIO: Dale, a sous chef at Buddakan, one of New York's hottest restaurants, was born and raised in Chicago, where he helped open the renowned restaurant Jean Georges Vong. In Chicago, Dale worked with distinguished chefs like Carrie Nahabedian and Shawn Mcclain. With his Filipino background, Dale focuses on Asian flavors. "I love the balance that Asian cuisine offers the salty, sweet, bitter and sour and the textures it provides for different experiences in every bite." One of Dale's kitchen favorites is a dry aged kobe rib eye. Dale says cooking meats is one of his favorite things to do in the kitchen and the technique that goes into properly searing and basting a rack of lamb or steak shows a lot of love. A motto that drives Dale is "expect perfection , because if you fall short your left with greatness."
For the full list of this season's hopefuls, check out the Top Chef Season 4 bios here, and if you feel like dropping an e-mail out Bravo's way asking why they decided to take a step back in diversifying their cast, jump on over to their contact page.

20 Clicks To Lee Hyori

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Here's a quick list to satisfy the Lee Hyori addict in everyone, with links to video sites, lyric translations, blog posts, images, and biographies on the Kpop superstar.

  1. KoME World Lee Hyori Biography - kome-world.com

  2. YouTube Lee Hyori Videos - youtube.com

  3. Lee Hyori - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - wikipedia.org

  4. Veoh Lee Hyori Videos - veoh.com

  5. Lee Hyori - Korean Pop Diva Lee Hyori Profile, Bio and Gallery - kpopmusic.co.uk

  6. CrunchyRoll Lee Hyori Media Results - crunchyroll.com

  7. Lee Hyori - DramaWiki - wiki.d-addicts.com

  8. Flickr Lee Hyori Images - flickr.com

  9. ShenYuePop's Lee Hyori Posts And Archive - shenyuepop.com

  10. Lee Hyori Lyrics And Translations - aheeyah.com

  11. Google Lee Hyori Images - images.google.com

  12. Truveo Lee Hyori Videos - truveo.com

  13. YeinJee Blog Posts - yeinjee.com

  14. Popseoul Lee Hyori Posts - popseoul.com

  15. Unnoficial Lee Hyori English Fansite Images Gallery Music Videos - hyori-lee.com

  16. Krnloop Blog Posts - krnloop.cjb.net

  17. AllKpop's Lee Hyori Posts - allkpop.com

  18. Daily Motion Lee Hyori Videos - dailymotion.com

  19. Hancinema Lee Hyori Images - hancinema.net

  20. Zr5 Asian News Articles - zr5.net

Who's the best? Incheon's the best

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Next time there's a lull in the conversation break out this geeky fact:

According to the Airports Council International, for the third year in a row, Asia Pacific airports received the top three positions for the best worldwide airports. Seoul’s Incheon International Airport came in first, Kuala Lumpur's International Airport came in second, and Singapore's Changi was listed as the third best airport in the world.

Blog Read: SNL and Obama

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hyphen blogger momo has a good post on the current conversations surrounding SNL and the mock Obama and Clinton debate:

Blackface (or yellowface and any other face) is racist, oppressive, exploitative, and rooted in violence. But does the fact that SNL seems to frequently cast people as different races and sexual orientations, and the fact that Armisen is also mixed race (though not black) like Obama, make any difference at all?
Read the full post and comments here at the Hyphen blog, and see the links below for more:

Celebrity Big Brother Movie

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Somehow I feel dirty saying I might actually watch this:

Ek Chhotisi Love Story famed Bollywood film director Shashilal K Nair is planning to produce a movie casting Celebrity Big Brother opponents Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty in lead cast. He believes that both the stars have enough ammunition for a movie to be hit at Box office.
Read more at Bollywood Stars.

Derrick Low: NBA bound?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Derrick Low (Honolulu born) who plays for Washington State isn't a definitive pick for the 2008 NBA Draft by any means, and many have him going undrafted - but he still is getting mentioned in at least one source with a possible second round pick.

Right now NBADraft.net has him going in the second round to Utah and here's what they had to say about his strengths:

Throw back type of scrappy point guard who plays with a ton of heart … His point guard and leadership abilities are strong … Good decision maker who can put points up quickly from the perimeter … Very focused. Smart player who has a solid feel for the game … Always plays under control. Team player who rarely makes bad decisions ... Clutch player, wants the ball in his hands at the end of close games … Gets the most of his abilities and hustles at all times … Protects the ball well and finds teammates with solid vision of the floor. A gym rat. Hard worker who has shown steady improvement each year in college.
A snippet from his Draft Express Profile:

Washington State was able to play tough for 50 minutes thanks in part to a strong effort from junior Derrick Low. Though he has a lot to prove between now and the end of next season, he appears to have some potential for the next level.

Against Vanderbilt, Low displayed the ability to create his own shot, and hit difficult shots on the move. He knocked down both three pointers and floaters from mid-range over bigger defenders. He hit many key shots for Washington State against Vanderbilt, many coming when it seemed like momentum was shifting away from the Cougars. In addition to scoring and handling the ball well, he also plays tough defense, and gives a great all-around effort on the court.
At the same time, Draft Express doesn't have him in their current mock draft and neither does ESPN, or RealGM.

There's still time between now and the 2008 draft though, and a lot of things could shift around depending on what happens in the remainder of the season and what a team might eventually need. So while the outlook doesn't look great for Low to get drafted, it's still not out of the question either.

People Watching: Asian Americans In Pictures

Monday, March 03, 2008

Below are ten pictures from Flickr with Asian Americans from various places and events in them. Some pictures are relatively new, and others may have been taken within the last year. Each photo is used per the original's Creative Commons License and has a link to the original page.

Street Shot

Asian Americans for Obama, Des Moines, IA

American Gothic

(H)API Hour charity event to benefit OCA-GLA at E3rd Steakhouse and Lounge

Young Couple

Kelly Hu at Asian Americans for Obama event in San Francisco

Asian American Studies - Japanese American Personality and Japanese in America; San Francisco State University.

Asian American Pastors at the "Asian American Wild Challenge" in Dallas

Asian American Coalition Endorsement

Asian Americans for Obama in San Francisco

Race Roundup

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pair of UI students report racist graffiti

University of Iowa senior Justin Talley said a startling discovery Sunday afternoon will make him think differently about the community he lives in. Talley, 21, from Fairfield, said he and his roommate, UI senior Ryan Thomas, 21, from Cedar Rapids, found racist graffiti on the front door of their apartment at 515 E. Jefferson St. Talley said some friends of his, who also live in the apartment building, first saw the markings on the door when they came to visit at about 1 p.m. "My first reaction was disbelief," he said. "I was pretty angry about it. It’s 2008; why is this still happening?" Talley said someone drew pictures of nooses and Ku Klux Klan symbols, along with racial epithets, using a permanent marker. He and his roommate are both black.
Trooper's Racist Rant Caught on Dashcam Video

South Carolina Highway Patrol is under scrutiny after the release of a controversial dashcam video. Audio on the tape captured an officer using racial slurs against an African-American -- and threatening to kill him. The trooper, off camera but whose voice is recorded, is later heard bringing the man back to his patrol car.
Teen Arrested For Racist, Anti-Semitic Vandalism

Fort Thomas Police have just arrested a juvenile for spray painting racist and anti-semitic messages. Police say our report on the vandalism Monday night helped lead to the arrest. Fort Thomas Police say the graffiti started last summer with the initials "e-j" or "l-j" painted near Highland Park. Then a house, a car, and a wall in a park were hit. This past weekend, Swastikas were painted on the walls of Saint Catherine's Church. Police say the 15-year-old is from that neighborhood.
Idaho Planned Parenthood agreed to racist donation

Planned Parenthood of Idaho is taking (justifiable) heat after an employee agreed to take a donation aimed at aborting black fetuses. The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho. On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because "the less black kids out there the better."
Racist university video causes outrage in S.Africa

A video of white South African university students feeding black campus cleaners soup they had urinated in has caused outrage in a country scarred by decades of apartheid. University classes were cancelled and staff and students protested on Wednesday, demanding action against the four men.The video shows one student urinating into a container of soup placed on a toilet seat at the University of the Free State, situated in a conservative Afrikaner farming region. "This is the final ingredient," he said before heating the soup in a microwave oven and giving it to the elderly cleaners -- four women and one man.
CSS responds to racist incidents

When Jessica Doss went outside her College of St. Scholastica apartment building on the morning of Feb. 3, she saw racist terms and a swastika drawn in the frost on her friend’s car. "We all thought it was a joke at first,” she said. “We realized it was not a joke." Doss alerted the car’s owner, who is white. The car’s owner lives with international students who are black, one of whom drives the car frequently and whom Doss believes was the target. The presumed target wouldn’t comment for this story because she fears for her safety.

MTV's That's Amore and Katherine Le

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Complete with Italian sausages hanging from the background and some sort of meat sauce swimming pool throwdown in the promos, we already know what That's Amore, the spinoff from A Shot At Love, is going to be like - and yes - there's even some Asian representation.

Here's 21 yr-old Katherine Le's audition tape:

You think UT might want to use this in their promo videos for attracting new students?

If you want to know more about Katherine check out her MySpace page or on iamonmtv.com. That's Amore starts tonight at 10 PM ET/PT.