Win A Trip To Japan To Karaoke With Utada (But You Probably Shouldn't Listen To All The Entries Because Some Of Them Really Aren't That Good)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

That's right people - Utada's got a karaoke contest - and if you win, that means you get to fly to Japan with up to 3 friends and karaoke with Utada herself (2nd and third place prizes include an Utada gift bag and autographed CDs).

To enter the contest - as well as view entries - follow this link.

Here are links to four entries from the "Most Popular" section that I didn't actually mind - even if only because they had some heart (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5).

And yes.

If you do see someone singing their little Utada heart out with a bucket of chicken who also happens to be naked - that could be me.

Wazzup KFC Japan!

Ban Ki-Moon, The UN, Our VP, And H1N1 Influenza (Otherwise Known As The Swine Flu)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chalk this up to more things you just didn't think you'd be reading about this year (the other was Pirates). I mean who would have thought we'd be getting all pandemic on each other?

I sure didn't.

But you know what?

Even if the world could actually still go to hell, somehow I just feel calm listening to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations.

He soothes me.

Unlike say, oh I don't know, our Vice President who basically told millions of people that the subway wasn't safe (see around 2:20 in).

I know, I know...there was a retraction...

Always is.

Extortion The Parsippany NJ Way

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Asian on Asian crime? Or non-Asian speaking Chinese on Asian crime?

Either way - I hope they catch whoever is trying to extort $$$ from Asian businessmen:

Police said Wednesday they are investigating, in conjunction with the FBI, alleged extortion threats against four Asian-American business owners. The owners told police that they were all recently contacted via telephone by a "Chinese-speaking male" who threatened to injure them and set their businesses on fire if he was not paid $20,000, according to police.

The male caller purportedly alluded to ties with Chinese organized crime. Police said that similar threats across the U.S. have been reported by Asian-Americans, though none of the victims were contacted afterwards and none of the threats have been carried out. The phone calls appear to be originating from China, police said.
Be my friend Godfather?

6th Asian American Association Film Festival

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Check out all the details down at their site.

The Web Series "Lumina" And Seven Questions For Jennifer Thym

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I got sent word about a new Web Series that's going to be coming your way this summer called LUMINA (check the trailer) which is chock full of Asian and Asian American talent including Chinese American Jennifer Thym (director/writer), producer Sommer Nguyen (Vietnamese American), actress JuJu Chan (Chinese American, and TVB's People's Choice Award for Miss Chinatown USA 2009), Michael Chan (Chinese Canadian, star of the YouTube hit viral Wall Street Fighter IV), and Vince Matthew Chung (Chinese American, winner of the Amazing Race Asia 3).

It definitely looks like it's going to be pretty hot and you can check out more about the series down at their site at

Seven Questions

At the same time I also sent over some questions about the series, the production, advice for new filmmakers (equipment/software), and being involved in independent media over to director/writer Jennifer Thym and here's what she had to say.

Talk to me about Lumina and where the idea came from. Why did you choose HK?

I am a long standing fan of Felicia Day's The Guild, and when I was looking into getting into the film industry, I thought, why not do a web series? It's fresh, it's modern and it could be alot of fun. I'm a Chinese American based in Hong Kong, so it was an easy choice to shoot here. Also Hong Kong is such a gorgeous city in which to film - there's so much color and vibrancy everywhere you look.

As for the idea behind LUMINA - I read alot of epic comics like Elfquest and The Sandman, and intricately woven novels like Pattern Recognition from William Gibson and Glimpses from Lewis Shiner. I love shows like Lost, Prison Break, Heroes and 24. When it came to writing, I saw a strange scene at a local shopping mall and the story started forming in my head. LUMINA is a dark fairy tale - it starts out a bit like a romantic story, and then it becomes more complicated and strange as the relationship between Lumina and Ryder deepens. The story is also an allegory for online relationships - how well do you know someone really? Even if you spend six hours a day talking to them for days, would you trust them with your life?

How did you get such a great cast involved?

I met my lead actress, JuJu Chan, through a gamer friend. I used to play a MMORPG called Final Fantasy XI, and when I was looking to get into the film industry, I asked my gaming friends if they knew any actors in HK, and luckily for me, one did. After hearing an early pitch of LUMINA, JuJu was on board. For the rest of the cast, I did open auditions. My buddy cinematographer Derrick Fong had invited me to a CB Fresh video shoot, and I spotted this tall guy in a dark suit, spiky hair and dark sunglasses - he looked like he had just walked off the pages of a manga! That was the first time I met Michael Chan, the lead actor. We also were lucky to get Vince Matthew Chung, the winner of Amazing Race Asia 3, involved as Lumina's best friend, Teddy. Vince is amazingly sweet and very down to earth.

When can we see the series, how long do you see the series running for, and are there plans for a feature length film or putting it out on DVD?

We're launching the ten part series in summer of 2009, and we will release one webisode per week after launch. What happens with LUMINA afterwards will depend very much on how the audience reacts to it. If the reaction is good, we will release a DVD packed with extras as well as a CD in conjunction with the Singapore music collective The Enigmatic Army, and hopefully make our initial investment back and then some! If we can find some investors who believe in us, then we would love to make either a second web series season or a full fledged feature film based on the LUMINA story. Our producer Sommer Nguyen is hard at work on this!

You shot on the RED camera which Google tells me is pretty hot - and expensive. What was it like shooting with it and at the same time, what would you recommend indie filmmakers with less of a budget (or connections) who are reading this use if they can't get their hands on a RED camera and software that can edit it?

At first, our DP's (directors of photography) XiaoSu Han and Andreas Thalhammer were going to shoot the series with their Panasonic HVX-200, with an adapter and lenses, and I have complete faith that they would have done a fantastic job with that. A good DP can shoot wonders with any camera if the framing, lighting and movement is good, and if they understand and work within the limits of their medium. They bought the RED One camera one week before we started filming LUMINA and that we just knew that they were going to rock it. Although the RED is expensive compared to prosumer cameras, it's cheap for getting that prized film look. RED is also coming out with the Scarlet later this year, which they're anticipating on pricing under USD 3,000. Indie filmmakers should definitely have that camera in their sights. I know I do.

During preproduction, I used two free programs: Celtx which is open source screenplay software and Google Docs, for its web based word processing and spreadsheets. For post production, I used Final Cut Studio. That's an expensive investment for an indie filmmaker but it is, in my very limited experience, worth it. I didn't go to film school, so I pretty much taught myself everything with online tutorials. Also, compression is a dark art - you have to be ready to do alot of experimenting to get the right mix of file size and smooth playback. The trailer has alot of movement and panning shots - I spent about 60 hours one weekend doing trial runs getting a compression I was happy with for upload to YouTube HD.

Being involved in independent media how do you balance the art with the business? Are you just happy to be profitable?

Heh, we're not profitable yet. My first priority is making a product that we're happy with, something that matches the vision that I had in my head when I wrote the script. If we succeed in finding our audience, then hopefully we can earn enough money back to make more projects! Fan support is so critical to an indie filmmaker, especially those who have told me they want to pre-order the DVD already - I love you guys! As Patrick Lee from said on his blog, "If you are an artist, you are basically your own company." That's exactly it - we're making our own future, and we're looking for the right audience that will enjoy and support our vision. Another good resource that was recommended to me by indie filmmaker Dan Carew is Scott Kirsner's book Friends, Fans and Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age.

What's in the future for RockGinger?

I want to do an action film next. I'm excited about the new script I'm writing, but I have to see LUMINA successfully through post production first. If we get lucky with LUMINA, then I'd love to work on something related to LUMINA right away!

Last question - 5 films you love.

Bladerunner and The Matrix (I am a huge cyberpunk fan), Infernal Affairs (yes, more than the Departed), Sunshine (a Danny Boyle gem if you haven't seen it, Cillian Murphy is a fantastic actor), The Usual Suspects (of course!) and Big Fish (a deviation from the usual Tim Burton film and refreshingly so.)

Tickets On Sale Now: Map The Soul Tour Gets A SF Venue

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Got word sent out that Map The Soul now has a SF venue and that tickets go on sale today at 10:00 AM.

Check the info below (along with some other venue changes)

Masonic Auditorium (ALL AGES)
1111 California St.
San Francisco, CA
Fri, May 15, 2009 08:00 PM

The New York venue has been changed as well

New York (ALL AGES)
May 22, 2009 6:00 PM
Irving Plaza
17 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003


There is going to be a meet & greet at all 4 cities

In-Store Epik High Meet & Greets

San Franciso
Thursday, May 14 @ 5PM
Verizon Wireless Store
1 Daniel Bumham Court Ste 20C
San Fran, CA 94109

Los Angeles
Sunday, May 17 @ 1PM

New Jersey
Thursday, May 21 @ 5PM
200 Mill Creek Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094

Sunday, May 24 @ 1PM
Federal Way Retail Store
2125 S. 320th St.
Federal Way, WA 98003

LA Honors APA Month, Rice Daddy Ishmael, And More John Liu

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three quick snippets from some articles that caught my eye.

Los Angeles confers honors to Asian Pacific Islander Americans at Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The mayor presented awards to Administrative Operations Deputy Chief of the LA Fire Department (LAFD) to Emile Mack; East West Bank President Dominic Ng, and renowned artist Tyrus Wong, whose achievements embody this year’s APAHM theme of Hope, Spirit, and Dreams Flow to the Future.

"Angelenos come from every corner of the earth," Villaraigosa said. "We are the most diverse city anywhere in the world, and we are bound by a unifying force that is stronger than many of our differences."

After handing the awards to Mack, Ng, and Wong, the mayor said, "Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month pays homage to the rich cultural imprint of the Asian Pacific Islander community on the city’s identity. We are honored to recognize Emile Mack, Dominic Ng and Tyrus Wong for their achievements in public safety, business and the arts. Their creativity and courageous spirit have made them models in the Asian Pacific Islander community and to all Angelenos."
Call Me Ishmael

As we enter Asian American Heritage month, I can't help but wonder What is American? And how does it differ from Asian American? Why is it assumed my perceived Asian habits? mannerisms? beliefs? culture? fall outside of the bucket of characteristics that make something or someone simply American? America as melting pot and mosaic, doesn't my "Asianness" make me uniquely American? Why do I need the surname?

As a Second Generation dad, one that was born here but whose parents were newly immigrated, I have the same challenges my parents did - What to keep and what can be left out of an ethnic identity? Already, my wife and I struggle with language. We both want our children to speak Chinese. However, she wants them to learn Mandarin. I speak passable Cantonese and she speaks Vietnamese. At home, our native tongue is English.

We also suck at celebrating the holidays. Every year despite our best intentions we miss the Autumn Moon festival. We hang decorations for Chinese New Year but have not always followed its customs most of the time out of pure ignorance and forgetfulness.
Nothing Personal: John Liu Is Running for Comptroller

"The only way that you can make ‘John Liu’ easier to pronounce is you change the spelling of my last name to something like ‘L-o-o,’ at which point both my first and last name really would be just like slang for ‘toilet,’” said the councilman and city comptroller as he rushed his black Nissan Altima hybrid the short distance from a downtown press conference to City Hall for a couple of land-use votes.

While Mr. Liu chattered at the steering wheel, aides Juanita Scarlett and Sharon Lee passed a laptop back and forth, hurriedly editing a media advisory.

“And I represent Flushing,” he said, continuing the apparent stream of consciousness.

Interview: Rachael Yamagata

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Here's a little snippet from the MTV interview with Rachael Yamagata:

Saccharine pop ditties about love and relationships may dominate the airwaves, but few of them can capture the subtle bittersweet nuances of love lost or longing as much as Rachael Yamagata's works.

Perhaps you first stumbled upon her intimate piano-driven ballads on hit TV shows such as The O.C. and One Tree Hill. Familiar favourites such as "Be Be Your Love" and "Reason Why" are testament to the poignancy and staying power of Yamagata's 2004 debut Happenstance. The album also yielded the hit single "Worn Me Down," which made it to the U.S. Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks [...]

MTV Asia caught up with the talented songstress before her Singapore concert for a heartfelt chat on first love, the bane of musical comparisons and her devotion to critically acclaimed fan-favourite TV series Lost.

What has changed from Happenstance to Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart ?

I think the production on this record is very different. The sentiment is darker; it has a richness to it that comes with experience, travelling, age, relationships, and with more of the work roller-coaster. There's much more time being spoken for, there is loneliness to that travelling aspect, and I think that affected the evolution of the lyrics. The production got very intense, as I was working with new producers and recording in an isolated environment.
Read it in full here.

MV: Closer (Cover) - Vudoo Soul, Marie Choi, G*Lee, Taiyo-Na, Magnetic North, Alfa Garcia, SiC (Dance Crew) - Kollaboration NY

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If you can't vibe to this I just don't want to know you.

Check it in HD too.

Kollaboration New York. June 27, 2009.

Save The Date.

Thanks Taiyo!

Zhang Ziyi And The Horsemen

Monday, April 27, 2009

I think this'll be interesting just to see how Zhang is going to be in the role - so far I like the style of the film - but Dennis Quaid?

Guess I'll just have to wait and see this summer.

Sushi Love?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I just had this strange thought that the one thing I really don't hear about is people getting caught having sex with sushi by their wives and then their wives file for divorce because their husband was cheating on them with sushi.

You just don't really hear about that you know?

Now I'm not exactly sure why I'm posting on this because all it might do is make you wonder "Why was he thinking about having sex with sushi?" and to be honest, I can't really tell you that - not because I was thinking about having sex with sushi and don't want to admit to it - because I would tell you - but simply because it came out of the blue - from nowhere.

And I think that scares me.


Who's up for a California Roll?

America's Best Dance Crew Quest Stuck In Elevator And Twitters For Help

Monday, April 27, 2009

So they may not have been saved by Twitter, but while stuck in an elevator (before performing for a concert at San Diego State University) they did in fact capture the ordeal for YouTube and also Twittered:

"Trapped in the elevator at SDSU, no joke."
If you're interested you can check out the Quest elevator video below.

MV: The People I've Slept With, I Like Boys, And Asian Goodness

Monday, April 27, 2009

So you've heard me talk about the film The People I've Slept With back in November starring Karin Anna Cheung, Wilson Cruz, Archie Kao, Lynn Chen, and James Shigeta, with Rane Jameson, Dana Lee, Randall Park, Cathy Shim, Elizabeth Sung, Danny Vazquez, and Chris Zylka - take a breath now - and I got sent this link from Koji Steven Sakai (one of the writers and producers) for the movie's music video called "I Like Boys" (by the Fabulous Miss Wendy).

Check it out.

If that doesn't wet your appetite for the film - I'm not sure what will...other than the second version of the video which is a little more risque.

Coming soon to a theater near you.

AAPI National House Party With Konrad Ng

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's Up Teleconference?

Some of the good folks down at Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (thanks Curtis) sent down some information my way on a conference call they'll be having with Konrad Ng, the Chinese American brother-in-law of President Obama that you can get in on.

Here are the details from the APAP site:

National AAPI House Party w/ Special Guest Konrad Ng
A Nation-Wide Conversation on the State of AAPI

Sunday, May 31, 2009
4 pm EST/1 pm PST

w/ Konrad Ng (President Obama's brother-in-law) and other Special Guests

Please join us for a nation-wide conference call with leading Asian American voices, including President Obama's brother-in-law, a rep from the Obama administration, as well as AAPI elected officials. After the 20-minute call, we encourage you to engage in a conversation with your guests, write up a report and post it on the APAP website with pictures. This will become a record of the issues that AAPI's around the country are talking about.
Host A House Party

Consider hosting a party. It's easy. Just gather 12-20 friends, family members or co-workers and call into our conference call. You can even provide snacks or make it a potluck. After hearing from our special guests on the call, we encourage you to engage in a conversation with your guests to discuss what issues are important to you, write up a report and post it on the APAP website with pictures. This will become a record of the issues that AAPI's around the country are talking about. We'll even submit our report to the Obama administration.

Email Patrice ( for details or to sign up your house party

Check out more down at the APA For Progress Site.

Grace Rowe And I Am That Girl

Monday, April 27, 2009

I got word sent down to me from filmmaker/actress/writer Grace Rowe - who did the exceptional '03 short American Seoul that her new film I Am That Girl has been nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the L.A. Asian Pacific Film Fest.

Here's the trailer

You can learn more about the film and watch the trailer at and catch when it's playing at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in Hollywood at 7:30pm on Friday, May 1st. Check out pre-sale tickets at

Also - here's a link to Rowe's interview for the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival.

Goodbye Caachi Films

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sitting in my inbox was an e-mail that said the following:

Dear Caachi Customers and Filmmakers,

With great reluctance, we at Caachi Films have made the decision to close starting April 30, 2009 due to resource limitations. We wish to thank all of you who have supported us these past two years. You have our most heartfelt gratitude.
Films purchased from Caachi will be available until April 29, 2009.
We will send any royalties due from film sales to filmmakers during the first week of May, 2009.

For further correspondence with Caachi, please contact us at

Caachi Films
If it's tough out there for filmmakers - it's gotta be tougher sometimes for the startup projects and sites that are looking to give them a venue.

Caachi wasn't the largest video site on the Web - but what it did have, and was starting to get more of, were filmmaker voices from around the world including Asian Americans -- were they got a cut of the transactions and buys.

It was a good idea and I thought it was gaining traction.

But I guess in the end - it just didn't have the resources to end up being what it wanted too.

Definitely have to give them their due for trying through.

Up Close And Personal With Kristine Sa

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just thought I'd throw this teaser clip up for the KS Special.

Team Matthew: See If You're A Match

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you come to this site regularly (or even if not) you can't really help but not see the Asian American Donor Program's logo on the sidebar. It's something I think is important to do because even if you aren't a match - you could be - and that's what really matters.

Just to make the point a little more clear, let me direct you to teamMATTHEW where you can find out about Matthew who's in need of a bone marrow transplant:

Matthew was like any other healthy vibrant 25 year-old, full of life and ready to take on the world, until he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in June 2007. He underwent chemotherapy for sixteen months, overcoming one complication after another, fighting for his life and ultimately reaching remission. Unfortunately, six months after his last round of chemotherapy, Matthew relapsed in February 2009. He is now 27 years old and in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to save his life.

With the support of loving friends and family, Team Matthew is setting out to raise awareness of Leukemia, its impacts on the community, and how they can help increase the chances of finding a matching donor for blood cancer patients.

Doesn't mean you'll be a match - but you could be - and seriously - how could you at least not want to try when you could be helping out a guy like Matthew and others - who btw - are also probably better looking than you - and that means that jealousy would be the only thing stopping you - and that's not a great excuse.

Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Got this sent out to me and wanted to make sure and post it on up because it sounds like this is going to be completely and utterly cool:

Thirty-one contemporary artists from the Bay Area and beyond interrogate the phenomenon that is modern Chinese culture in the Chinese Culture Center’s (CCC) Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character exhibition. Presented in collaboration with Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) and guest curated by Kevin B. Chen, program director for Intersection for the Arts, the exhibition features a wide array of media including photography, video, painting, animation, sculpture and installation art displayed at both the Center’s downtown San Francisco gallery and in a number of satellite storefront windows throughout Chinatown. The exhibition, which is free to the public, is on view May 1 - August 23, 2009 and opens with a reception on Saturday May 2, 2009 at 1 pm.

The Biennial is designed to showcase fresh perspectives on contemporary culture in Chinese and Chinese American communities. “This is really a here and now survey of what Chinese means to people — specifically young people,” says Chen. “It’s young people who have been responsible for the big shifts we see both in China and out here in the Diaspora so we felt that young artists would be uniquely equipped to investigate and question it. They just embody the energy of all of that change.” And while many of the artists invited to participate are either from China or are Chinese-American, many are not. “When you organize a show around ethnicity, you run the risk of collapsing in on yourself,” he says. “So we were intentional about introducing other communities to the conversation.”
For more information check out the Present Tense Biennial Web site.

If I'm In Jail I'll Take A Nobel Laureate Too

Friday, April 24, 2009

I can't help it, I'm cynical on certain things - and applying pressure to foreign governments - it can go either way (and didn't you see Return To Paradise?) but maybe it all can make a difference and with enough support Roxana Saberi, Euna Lee, and Laura Ling can actually get back safe - although if you just read the news you'd also know that North Korea decided to formerly indict Euna Lee And Laura Ling, and while they still have to actually be convicted, with no real intervention happening right now -- it's not looking so good.

Things are though on the upswing for Roxana Saberi (if you can call it that) - there've been campus rallies across the nation, more media organizations are taking up her plea - and now - Shirin Ebadi who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 has decided to defend Saberi.

So will it make a difference?

You'd think so.

You'd hope so.

But in the end - you never really know.

The First Southern Arizona Asian American Pacific Islander Conference

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yes Arizona - you're being called. This Saturday the first Southern Arizona API Conference is happening down at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road with best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki as the keynote speaker. Space is limited and apparently they only have about 50 spots left - so register while you can down at

Get Your Asian American Writer's Workshop On: Luis Francia And Filipino Style

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Got sent word about what sounds like a pretty cool event down at the Asian American Writer's Workshop focusing on two Philippine literary icons José Rizal and José Garcia Villa where Luis Francia will be reading some of Villa's work:

The Asian American Writers' Workshop presents
From José Rizal to José Garcia Villa:
An Introduction to Philippine Literary Greats

Celebrate two heroes of Philippine literature andthe Philippine-American heritage and experience JOSÉ RIZAL and JOSÉ GARCIA VILLA with special guests HAROLD AUGENBRAUM and LUIS H. FRANCIA

Readings & Discussion
Light Reception

Monday, April 27 @ 7pmThe Workshop
16 W. 32nd Street, 10th Floor(between Broadway & Fifth Ave)


General Admission: $25AAWW and AAJA Members: $20
Students: $15
VIP Package: $50 (includes books and AAWW membership)

José Rizal (1861-1896) penned the great Philippine novel, Noli Me Tangere. Set during the Spanish occupation, Noli is a love story of a young gentleman who returns to the Philippines from Europe after his father's death. This powerful, moving novel and its sequel, El Filibusterismo, were banned by Spanish authorities. Rizal was later executed for sedition, rebellion, and conspiracy. Now considered a Philippine national hero, his work helped spark revolutionary movements.

Well-known translator and critic Harold Augenbraum discusses Rizal's life and reads from his translation of Noli Me Tangere, published by Penguin Classics, and from his translation-in-progress of El Filibusterismo. Augenbraum currently serves as Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.


Known as the "Pope of Greenwich Village," José Garcia Villa (1908-1997) was arguably the most important Asian American writer of the mid-twentieth century, as well as a colleague of modern literary giants such as W.H. Auden and Tennessee Williams. Edith Sitwell called him "a poet with a great, even an astounding, and perfectly original gift... The best of his poems are among the most beautifully written in our time." Penguin Classics recently reissued Doveglion: Collected Poems, a compilation of Villa's work, including rare and previously unpublished material.

Luis H. Francia, reknowned writer and poet, discusses Villa and reads from Doveglion, and will also read from his own Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago. Francia's semi-autobiographical account of life straddling American and Philippine culture won the Pen Center Beyond the Margin Award and The Asian American Writers' Workshop Literary Award in 2002.

An informal discussion will be encouraged after the presentations. Wine and meryenda hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Please visit the event page or call 212/494-0061
Now you'll never have a reason to not know who José Garcia Villa is.

Four Nights Only, Paper Angels, Genny Lim

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You've heard me talk about Paper Angels in a past post and now you can see it starting next Wednesday for a limited four night engagement.

Check the info below:

“Paper Angels” by Genny Lim
The seminal play about the Chinese Exclusion Act

Exclusive Engagement
Opens April 29, 2009 for 4 nights only

DATE: Wednesday, April 29th through Saturday, May 2nd
Special Post-Show Discussion on Friday, April 30th with Peter Kwong, author of Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community.

SHOW TIMES: Wednesday through Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 3:00PM

LOCATION: Speyer Hall at University Settlement
184 Eldridge Street, bet. Rivington and Delancey

TICKETS: $18 adult, $15 student/senior


New York, NY – Direct Arts in conjunction with The Performance Project @ University Settlement presents a workshop production of PAPER ANGELS by Genny Lim, Wednesday, 29 April to Saturday, 2 May 2009 for four performances only in New York’s Chinatown district.

Set in 1915, long before Arab-Americans were being targeted as unwanted émigrés, PAPER ANGELS explores America's historic ambivalence over immigration through a group of Chinese detainees on Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the West Coast. Few people know that from 1882 to 1943, the Chinese were prohibited from immigrating to America through the Chinese Exclusion Act, giving the Chinese the dubious distinction of being the only ethnic group to have specifically been banned against coming to America.

A compelling and incisive script that not only probes racism, but also takes swipes at Confucianism and class discrimination, PAPER ANGELS was last seen on the New York City stage in 1982 at the New Federal Theatre. Dusting off this prescient gem two decades later amidst worldwide debates on immigration and after controversies surrounding detention of Muslims at Guantánamo, Direct Arts’ new production of PAPER ANGELS will incorporate archival footage of Angel Island, a 2-piece traditional Chinese music ensemble, Chinese Opera, and an ensemble of 12 multi-ethnic actors including Obie Award winner Jojo Gonzalez (The Romance of Magno Rubio) as a long-time Californ’ caught in the net of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The cast includes Robert Fitzsimmons, Jojo Gonzalez, Wai Ching Ho, Kenji, Kerry Huang, Heland Lee, Victoria Linchong, Doan Ly, Scott Sowers, Amy Staats and Helen Tong. On April 30th, there will be a post-show discussion Peter Kwong, author of Chinese America: The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community.

Anoop: It Was Good While It Lasted

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dear Anoop,

Well - it was a fun ride and in a lot of ways you still won because you'll be going on tour with the AI troupe and there's a lot to be said for that - so keep your head up.

You've done us proud.

At the same time, you know I can't help but ask the question of if people just weren't ready for an Asian American Desi Idol winner (or at least a top 5) because let's face it - other than a few of your wardrobe choices you had some pretty rock solid performances, and while some of the WBs got away with doing their own thing, sounding kind of karaoke themselves, getting a judges' pardon, lacking star power - or being surrounded by groups of fans for the money call in shot - people just looked at you a little different.

But I guess you knew that going into this - at least a little - that you'd have to sing twice as good as everyone else just to make people say you did "all right" and in the end - well - it's just the way the Abdul percocets.

Stay up and see ya on tour,

Recession, Budget Cuts, And Asian Americans

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I don't know about you, but I kind feel like some scissors right now.

Yes - Just To Answer Your Question - Some People Still See Us As Outsiders

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So The Committee of 100 (a Chinese American group) did a nationwide survey that took a look at the how the Asian American population was looked at - and if it's changed - since 2001.

Guess what they found?

You probably already guessed it from the title of the post.

Yeah - people do love us - I mean we're winning Oscars, we're getting behind the scenes in media, we're scaling new heights in the political arena - in a lot of ways - you'd think we're really making some progress.

And we are.

But in the back of my mind (and didn't I have a conversation about this a while ago with myself during the Olympics) - I know it's still there.

That thought that no one really wants to say.

And while polls can be shifted in different ways to make them sometimes seem what you want (it was conducted with around 1500 participants nationwide) - who really wants this?

Fears over China are hitting the US image of Asian-Americans, as their loyalties come under suspicion despite steady improvements in perceptions of the community, a survey said. The Committee of 100, a Chinese-American group, conducted a nationwide survey to look at changes since its major study in 2001 on attitudes toward Asian-Americans [...]

45 percent of the general public believed Asian-Americans were more loyal to their nations of origin than the United States -- up from 37 percent at the beginning of the decade [...]

"There is increasing acceptance of Asian-Americans as people who are equals with the right to take part in democracy and are no different from white or black Americans," Wu told AFP Tuesday.

"But coupled to that, there is also a great sense among a significant part of the population that they are not quite 'real' Americans," he said.
Maybe it was a bad sample?

Old School Steps: Beauty Queens

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I caught this article down at the NY Times yesterday and what I found almost more interesting than the story itself (which is a good read by Jennfier 8. Lee) was that even though it was on of the first integrated pageants that you still had this:


And "Creative" (although you also have to read the article on Berkowitz too and how she also broke down stereotypes and prejudice).

You had to start somewhere though right?

Because change doesn't just happen - it takes small steps - and a lot of courage to get on out there and go where POC just didn't get to go before them.


Those steps that I just referred to as small?

Yeah - I'm with ya - way way bigger than mine.


See The Zia - Helen Zia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you're looking for something to do - short notice I know - check out Helen Zia down at Bryn Mawr’s Dalton Hall at 7:30 this Wednesday night:

Asian-American activist, author, and journalist Helen Zia will be speaking at Bryn Mawr’s Dalton Hall, room 300, on Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 pm.

Her subject for the evening will be “Transcending ‘Evil’ in the Age of Obama: Notes of an Asian American Feminist.”

“As this nation rapidly moves toward a ‘minority majority’ and emergent groups move out of invisibility in our workplaces, communities and even the White House,” Zia asks, “can we re-envision the new face of America in these contemporary times that have been labeled ‘post-Civil Rights,’ ‘post-racism,’ and ‘post-feminist’?”

JFFLA Winners

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Got this sent out and wanted to post up for the winners of the Japan Film Festival Los Angeles.

Japan Film Festival Los Angeles 2009 is proud to announce the winners of the 2009 film festival. The closing awards party was held at the Downtown Independent theater (Downtown L.A.), Sunday, April 19th. Guests included JVTA staff, JAMA members, submission film directors, producers, crew, general attendees and JFFLA festival staff. Thank you so much for supporting the Japan Film Festival–Los Angeles 2009.

The following films received awards:

Best Feature Film: LEFT HANDED Director: Laurence Thrush
A disaffected teen locks himself in his room, where he stays for two years. Explores the uniquely Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori (social withdrawal).

Best Documentary Film: WHALE Director: Danny Samit
An unprecedented, explicit and evenhanded investigation of fishing practices in one of Japan’s few remaining traditional whaling villages.

Best Short Film: CANNIBALIEN Director: David Kame Tsai
Twisted!! Socially conscious. Delicious! In the not-too-distant future, humans are dinner for a race of greedy aliens.

Audience Award - Feature Film: BLITZKRIEG BOP Director: Kakuei Shimada
This 16mm splatter-punk conflagration from Ramones fanatic Kakuei Shimada is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Or probably should see.

Audience Award - Short Film: DIARY OF THE DOROBO
Director: Devi Kobayashi
A thief breaks into a house where he encounters a young wife wearing an elaborate steel mask.
Congratulations to all.

Released: Meg & Dia: Here, Here and Here

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If you've been waiting for the new album by Meg & Dia - and you know you have - the wait is finally over - and I imagine you've already picked up your copy via iTunes, Target, your local indie record shop, or even down at the Meg & Dia site where you can get the special CD/DVD which has a 30 minute featurette on the making of "Here, Here and Here" (you gotta hit up the site direct though for the special CD/DVD package).

First Impression Standout Tracks

  • Are There Giants Too, In the Dance
  • Black Wedding
  • One Sail
  • Agree to Disagree
  • Fighting For Nothing
  • Kiss You Goodnight
  • Here, Here and Here
  • What If (Remix)
Autograph Signing Dates

5/8 - Los Angeles - 5pm
Santa Anita Fashion Park
400 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007

5/9 - Orange County - 3pm
Irvine Spectrum
71 Fortune Dr
Irvine, CA 92618

5/10 - San Diego - 3pm
Mission Valley Center
1640 Camino Del Rio North
San Diego, CA 92108

5/12 - Tucson - 5pm
Tucson Mall
4500 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705

Submit Now: Art Slam 2009 At The Asian American Arts Centre

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For the past several years, the Asian American Arts Centre has held a series of slide slams, allowing emerging artists the opportunity to present and talk about their work, meet and network with each other as well as with more established artists and critics/curators. Last year, the Centre hosted three art slams, showcasing the work of fifteen artists working in various media.

AAAC will mount two Art Slam this Summer. Dates will be announced later.

Art Slam is an opportunity for artists to share their work with peers, general audience and art professionals in an open forum for critical exchange. This presentation can be done in slides or digital format.

We are inviting all artists of Asian and Asian-American descent as well as those who have been influenced by Asia to submit their work for participation.

If you are interested in participating, please send us:
  • 6-10 images of your work (CDR with images in jpeg format or photographs are fine)
  • 1 page artist statement
  • Abbreviated artist statement (2-3 lines) for the program
  • Artist resume
  • Completed information form (see
Send all submission to:
Asian American Arts Centre
26 Bowery, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10013
ATTN: Art Slam 2009
Check more out down at the Asian American Arts Centre blog.

You Got Joe You Got Wonged

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So I caught this via 8 Asians and I have to say this guy was laugh out loud funny - it was just the perfect mix of timing, straight face, and intelligent jokes (see Roe v Wade and immigration).


Taiyo Na, Heather Park, Parisa Montazaran, Malan Breton, And Your Asian American Idol (2)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You've heard me talk about Asian American Idol II before - and just in case you needed a little extra something to help get you in the door next Tuesday I thought I'd through this info out your way:

This spectacular evening will be hosted by dynamic singer/songwriter/MC Taiyo Na and presided over by our panel of celebrity judges: Parisa Montazaran (singer / The Real World Sydney), Heather Park (singer and musician), and Malan Breton (designer / Project Runway).
So there you have it - karaoke, celebrity judges - and who knows - if you're lucky - maybe Taiyo Na and Heather Park with sing a little something as well.

Did I hear someone say duet?

Boycotting The Last Airbender Movie YouTube Style: NYC Chinatown Meet Up

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You've heard about it, you've read about it, and if you feel like getting in on the action - YouTube Boycott style - now's you're chance:

In essence, this is the visual/vocal pledge to boycott M. Night's The Last Airbender film in it's current form. Filming has already begun and knowing the film industry, they will now sail along at due course. So for us, if there is one thing were people can hit them and they will get the message it's the thing that Hollywood's religion: Their Wallets!

However, a simple boycott text petition would not do for us. It's one thing when a bunch of random anonymous people on the internet posts on some back end fan forum that they will not see the movie. It's another thing entirely when someone has a real name and face attached to that and it's publicized on the internet and the news.

The Last Airbender Video Boycott, is quite simply all of you guys and a YouTube page. I have a candid formal Boycotting statement that people will record them self's reading; revealing their race, first name and location. The statement declares that they will not see the movie when it hits theaters next year and thus they have lost money from one of their potential customers. These videos will then be send to me were I will upload them to our new boycott YouTube page debuting this Friday.

Over time, more and more videos will be up on our page. We will also link to other videos such as presentations, rants and other things on video about the Avatar World and how bad Paramount is screwing up the film.When enough videos are collected, I will take them and edit them together into one rapid-fire viral video that will be sent to my friends who work in national newspapers and TV news channels.

The whole point of this project is to communicate to Paramount, M. Night and others working on the film that the fans of the Avatar show are a very diverse multi-racial and multi-cultural community. And that by offending this community, they have lost ticket sales from this group in return.


When: Friday, April 24th, 2009

Where: Outside Starbucks, on the corner, connecting to the East Bank bank between the Canal Street (6) line and the Canal Street (J,M,Z) line.

From there, we will travel to one of the many famous locations to film as a back drop for the Boycott video...
Check out LiveJournal for all the information.

Tammy And Victor: The Peacemakers (Who Were Also Worried About Their Chinese)

Monday, April 20, 2009

So if you watched last night's Amazing Race you knew three things.

1. Tammy and Victor are in the top four.

2. The best line of the night was during the calligraphy challenge when Victor said something akin to: "We're Chinese, born in America, and if we don't win this challenge our parent's will cry".

3. That was some drama that went down last night.

And now - you can know one more thing - Tammy and Victor are peacemakers.

Younha: Sometimes You Just Need A Little Peace, Love, And Ice Cream

Monday, April 20, 2009

Off her new album Part A: Peace Love & Ice Cream here's the video for the title track.

Here's the coolsmurf subbed version too.

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, this is a remake of the 2008 Sandy Dane song (and while the original is good, I'm definitely feeling this version and video more).

Winners: 28th Hong Kong Film Awards

Monday, April 20, 2009

While If You Are The One didn't win any hardware, the films Ip Man and The Way We Are did pick up Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (and while I've passed up Ip Man continuously at the DVD rentals, seeing that last fight scene again kind of makes me want to check it out - it'll have to wait though once I've piled through the list of other films I for some reason just haven't found the time get through).

最佳電影 Best Picture 葉問 Ip Man
最佳導演 Best Director 許鞍華【天水圍的日與夜】Ann Hui (The Way We Are)
最佳編劇 Best Screenplay 呂筱華【天水圍的日與夜】Lui Yau-Wah (The Way We Are)
最佳男主角 Best Actor 張家輝【證人】Nick Cheung (The Beast Stalker)
最佳女主角 Best Actress 鮑起靜【天水圍的日與夜】Paw Hee-ching (The Way We Are)
最佳男配角 Best Supporting Actor 廖啟智【證人】Liu Kai-Chi (The Beast Stalker)
最佳女配角 Best Supporting Actress 陳麗雲【天水圍的日與夜】Chan Lai-Wun (The Way We Are)

最佳新演員 Best New Performer 徐嬌【長江7號】Xu Jiao (CJ7)
最佳攝影 Best Cinematography 黃岳泰【畫皮】Arthur Wong (Painted Skin)
最佳剪輯 Best Editing 邱志偉【保持通話】Yau Chi-Wai (Connected)
最佳美術指導 Best Art Direction 葉錦添【赤壁】Tim Yip (Red Cliff)
最佳服裝造型設計 Best Costume Design and Make-Up 葉錦添【赤壁】Tim Yip (Red Cliff)
最佳動作設計 Best Action Design 洪金寶、梁小熊【葉問】Sammo Hung, Tony Leung Siu-Hung (Ip Man)
最佳音響效果 Best Sound Design 吳江、Roger Savage 【赤壁】Wu Jiang, Roger Savage (Red Cliff)

最佳視覺效果 Best Visual Effects Heather Abels【赤壁】Heather Abels (Red Cliff)
最佳原創電影音樂 Best Original Film Score 岩代太郎【赤壁】Taro Iwashiro (Red Cliff)
最佳原創電影歌曲 Best Original Song 畫心【畫皮】Painted Heart (from Painted Skin)
最佳新進導演 Best New Director 郭子健【青苔】Derek Kwok Chi-Kin (The Moss)
最佳亞洲電影 Best Asian Film 【集結號】Assembly (China)
專業精神獎 Professional Achievement Award 丁羽 Ding Yue
終身成就獎 Lifetime Achievement Award 蕭芳芳 Josephine Siao Fong-Fong

Who Are You Working For?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I guess it probably depends on what division, who your boss is - and so on and so on - but if you're interested, Diversity Inc. just put out a list of the top 10 companies who are Asian American friendly (meaning you may want to work for them).

Here's the top 3:

No. 1: Abbott, No. 16 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Abbott gets a perfect score for its mentoring best practices, including training and formal follow-up to assess results. Fourteen percent of its U.S. work force and 17 percent of its new hires are Asian American.

No. 2: Wells Fargo & Co., No. 31 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 8 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention; No. 2 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees; and No. 10 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Latinos. The 17-member board of directors has an Asian-American member. The bank spends 22 percent of its philanthropic endeavors on multicultural nonprofits, including Asian Pacific Rim Foundation and Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund.

No. 3: American Express Co., No. 13 in the DiversityInc Top 50. Also No. 1 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention and No. 5 in The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women. Asian Americans are 10 percent of U.S. managers but receive 19 percent of management promotions. The company has a strong Asian-American employee-resource group called Asian Network at Amex (ANA).
Check out the article for the full top 10.

MV: Heather Park - Leave Me To Dream

Monday, April 20, 2009

Caught this down at AAM and as I'm a fan of Heather Park and her music wanted to make sure and post it up here as well. The video is for the song called "Leave Me To Dream" off her album Dream In Pictures which you can pick up down at iTunes.

Changing Landscape: NYC's Chinatown

Monday, April 20, 2009

Interesting article out on the Gotham Gazette about Chinatown, gentrification, and what happens when the old clashes with the new and in the end, where will it take everyone:

Some 26 luxury residential buildings have recently been built or are under construction in Chinatown, along with 25 new hotels, and 118 new high-end boutiques and cafes, according to a report by the Urban Justice Center and Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, or CAAAV. The report also pointed out that there were 195 commercial construction permits filed with the Department of Buildings in Chinatown between January and November 2008.

So, has gentrification finally arrived in one of New York's oldest ethnic neighborhoods?

Many said the transition began years ago. "Gentrification in Chinatown is not a new phenomenon," said Esther Wang, project coordinator for the Chinatown Justice Project at CAAAV. "What we have seen in Chinatown in the past few years is that development has really picked up."

"In the real estate market, Chinatown is probably the last frontier", said Justin Yu, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolence Association, popularly known as Chinese Community Center on Mott Street. "But most of the designs of the new buildings are contradictory to what we have."
Read it in full here.

MV: Doping Panda - Beat Addiction

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Note: Video may take a minute to load up the start screen.

KY Intense: Socks

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Been seeing this around a lot and thought I'd post it up here as well. I have to admit that I'm actually a fan of this commercial because this KY PDT is supposed to be a jumpstarter for all types of couples and I'm glad to see us get in on the action too.

Ten To Life, The Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, And The Final Season

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I got word from Philip Chung down at the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble about their latest show (and the World Premiere) called "Ten To Life" that I wanted to make sure and get posted on up because it looks and sounds like it's going cool as hell:

under the artistic direction of Philip W. Chung & Chil Kong
proudly presents the world premiere of

Written & Produced by
Nic Cha Kim, Annette Lee, Tim Lounibos & Judy Soo Hoo
Directed by Alberto Isaac

Starring: Peggy Ahn, Feodor Chin, Ewan Chung, Elpidio Ebuen, Emily Kuroda, Jully Lee, Janet Song, Carin Chea, Vincent Gabucan, Junko Goda & Joon Lee

A census agent exposes a family's perverse, hidden secret...
A desperate loser turns to experimental surgery to seduce his high school crush...
A happy homemaker struggles against an ancient evil that lurks in plain sight...
A controlling psychologist must protect his life’s love from her memories...
Lodestone kicks off its final season with four twisted one-acts touching on the bizarre and unnatural.
It's been ten years... Time to pay.

May 2-June 7, 2009
Friday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday 2pm
Low-Priced $8 previews, April 30 and May 1, 8pm

$16 general admission
$14 students and seniors (w/valid ID)
$12 (groups of 10+)
All Sunday matinees (except June 7) are pay-what-you-can ($1 minimum)
$25 May 2 opening night gala performance (w/post-show reception)

GTC Burbank
1111-B W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91506

The theatre is in George Izay Park between S. Victory Bl. and N. Griffith Park Bl. Park near the jet plane at 1111 W. Olive and walk past the Olive Recreation Center. The theatre is behind the rec center; the entrance faces the softball fields.
If that doesn't get you down in the seats checking out some what I'm sure is going to be some great stage I'm not sure what else will.

At the same time I also wanted to post up the press release about the Lodestone's Tenth - and yes - final season (which is just another reason to get on out and see some history before it's gone).


Lodestone’s 2008-09 Tenth Anniversary Season of “Beginnings and Endings” Will Be Its Last

LOS ANGELES, CA – Lodestone Theatre Ensemble kicks off its Tenth Anniversary with a season devoted to the theme of “Beginnings and Endings.” The 2008-09 season will also be the final one for the Asian American theatre company.

“Lodestone was always intended to be a finite thing,” says Co-Artistic Director Chil Kong. “A couple of years ago, we decided that the tenth year was a good time to stop. We felt we hit our artistic stride and achieved the goals we set for ourselves. If you’re going to go out, why not go out at your peak?”

Lodestone was founded in 1999 by Alexandra Bokyun Chun, Philip W. Chung, Chil Kong and Tim Lounibos.

The company’s first mainstage production of Judy Soo Hoo’s TEXAS premiered in Fall 1999. Since then, Lodestone has produced close to a hundred events from mainstage productions to readings, workshops and special fundraisers. Almost every play that has graced the mainstage has been a world premiere. The Tenth Anniversary season will feature two world premieres developed and written specifically for the occasion, as well as a revival of a musical exploring relevant themes:

* The World Premiere of TEN TO LIFE by Nic Cha Kim (Trapezoid), Annette Lee (A Dirty Secret Between the Toes), Tim Lounibos (Lodestone cofounder) & Judy Soo Hoo (Texas, Solve For X)

Four original twisted one-acts by Lodestone veterans to commemorate Lodestone Theatre Ensemble’s ten disturbing years.

* The Revival of CLOSER THAN EVER a musical revue with words by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire directed by Chil Kong (The Mikado Project)

Conceived by Steven Scott Smith, this dialogue-free two-act musical features songs that are stories unto themselves dealing with such diverse topics as security, aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages, working couples and unrequited love. In other words, perfect for an anniversary season devoted to beginnings and

By Philip W. Chung (The Golden Hour)

Ten years ago, the super high-achieving Grace Kim had a nervous breakdown and still can’t face the outside world. But when her sister returns to visit for the holidays with her unorthodox fiancé, Grace's life undergoes a profound change. A new play about falling in love with your sister's future husband, beginnings/endings and
what to do if you suspect you were born on the wrong planet.
For more information, visit or and make sure to give it up for ten years of putting Asian American faces out on the stage.

Updates On Euna Lee, Laura Ling, And Roxana Saberi

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In pasts post or newsbytes you've heard me talk about Euna Lee, Laura Ling, and Roxana Saberi - all Asian American journalists being held captive. Here's the latest news on what's going on:

Iranian President Asks Court to Reconsider Spy Case

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a rare effort to intervene in the justice system, urged Tehran’s chief prosecutor on Sunday to fairly examine the cases of an Iranian-American journalist and an Iranian-Canadian blogger. The Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi, has been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying for Washington, her lawyer reported Saturday. The other detainee is Hossein Derakhshan, a blogger who has been jailed since November without any official charges.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, who will be attending an international conference on racism on Monday and is expected to seek re-election in June, may be seeking to cast himself as a defender of human rights, analysts said. He may also be trying to prevent radical forces from sabotaging a possible reconciliation between Iran and the United States. President Obama, speaking at a news conference in Trinidad on Sunday, said he was “gravely concerned” about Ms. Saberi’s safety and called for her release.

“She is an American citizen, and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage,” Mr. Obama said, adding that the United States would ask Iran for “a proper disposition of this case.”
Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee face jail in North Korea

In a state “guest house” on the outskirts of Pyongyang, Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been held for more than a month: valuable pawns in an growing international nuclear stand-off. Hanging over the heads of the American journalists is the possibility of a show trial and ten years in a notoriously harsh North Korean prison camp. The outside world knows little about how they are holding up — because North Korea is not saying and the United States, while trying to free them through diplomacy, has tried to impose a blanket of silence [...]

The US State Department has said that it is making every diplomatic effort to free the two women and Mr Gore is said to have contacted Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, to ask for her assistance. The US has no embassy in North Korea but a representative of the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang is said to have seen the journalists at the end of last month.
Asian American Journalists Association deeply concerned and disappointed

A statement from Sharon Chan, national president of the Asian American Journalists Association:

We are deeply concerned and disappointed at the sentencing of Roxana Saberi.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. We are distressed at the severity of her sentence, that her trial was held in secret without transparency and that her confession may have been coerced, according to her father. We urge that the Iranian government show compassion, and release her to be reunited with her family pending her appeal.

By all accounts of people who know her and who have worked with her — Roxana is a journalist, not a spy. An American of Iranian and Japanese descent, she crossed borders to report stories that shined a light into distant corners of the world. Her work was carried by NPR, the BBC and ABC News, organizations committed to fair, accurate and independent journalism.

The stories Roxana reported from abroad are crucial to understanding U.S. foreign policy and what it means to be a citizen of the world. With many newsrooms cutting their foreign coverage, the public is more reliant than ever on the work of freelance journalists willing to risk their personal safety so we may know more. Roxana went abroad because of her commitment to tell stories that would otherwise go untold.

With her unique cultural background, she brought a nuanced perspective to her stories. Roxana was devoted to discovering Iran, its culture and its people and sharing her knowledge with others.It is not and should not be a crime to be a journalist.
So what does it all mean?

It's the same as before.

We don't really know much - and we can't really do much about it.

Random Reader Comments

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's been a little bit since I posted up some reader comments from various posts, so here are some from around the last month.

From Roun Dye on The Most Racist Statements Made By A White Celeb Or Politician In 2008 and 1/2 A Man: Charlie Sheen Goes On A Racist Rant:

1. Someone's a little sensitive, huh? Grow some balls. You idiots are perpetuating this whole "racism" thing as much as anyone else. Your entire website is racist! Imagine if I started a website with info purely about white people and website white people could go to.

Look at the stuipid Asian Excellence Awards: what a racist load of CRAP! Any Asian actor is able to receive Oscars and other awards in the USA. Why do you need your own "special" awards that excludes whites, blacks, hispanics, etc? What if we started the White America Master Awards? The WAMAs. No! We can't! That would be racist!

Go fuck yourselves.

2. Get over it, ching chong.
Slanty's Note: You don't have to imagine a Website which is started by and devoted to White People by White People - its' called "Stuff White People Like" (they have a book out too) - you also have FOX News - and 98.5% of all media.

From Shoyi Cheng On Stage: American Hwangap:

I went to see the show last night and highly recommend everyone to check it out. The play is very well written with lots of humor as well as emotional elements that many people can relate to. Plus a stellar cast and an intimate setting, this is surely a wonderful show not to be missed.
From JC On MetroDad On T.V.? And Is He Going To Be A White Guy?:

There are a lot of AA working behind the camera. The issue is with AA, especially men in front of the camera. If he sells-out and made the lead white, the show would loose the favor and be just another white sitcom. I really hope MetroDad stick to his Guns... I would be very disappointed if he takes the money and make HIMSELF white.
From anon and travp 16 On Thoughts On Jiverly Wong And The Binghamton Shootings At The American Civic Association:

anon: Moral of this story is if you see an irritated Asian in the room, get out and get out quickly. And don't pick on them. They don't miss.

This Vietnamese guy: 13 kills
Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho (Korean): 32 kills
Wisconsin hunter Chai Soua Vang (Hmong): 6 kills

travp 16: Moral of that last post: If you want to be a dumbass and racist follow said comments.

I totally agree with your last paragraph. People shouldn't have to apologize for the wrongs one person of their ethnicity and it is unfortunate that some people feel they have too. I hate when people say "Why do black males do this and that, blah, blah blah..."Just because they are of the same ethnicity as me does not mean all males in my community are like that. I am afraid of the onslaught that IS bound to occur by ignorant folk toward Asian American males. It's 2009, look how "far" the human race has come.

Ahh bigotry, if only you could cease to exist.
From Paul G. Bens, Jr. On Jaime From The Amazing Race: I Just Don't Like You:

I'm with you. Jaimee pissed me off the way she was treating everyone and her condescension. I mean how dare people in Thailand speak Thai and not English! The nerve.
From Wade Simmons And Byron On The New UC-Berkeley Admissions Policy:

Wade: Of course you say its racism, because you can not open your eyes wide enough to see..... (now that's racism for you).

In reality, this is simply affirmative action for white people (and others). It s goal, just as affirmative action for blacks and women during the civil rights era, is to prevent one race from dominating the others.

Byron: It's good to see someone finally calling the system out on this legalized discrimination against Asian Americans. Daniel Golden once addressed Affirmative Action's de-facto racism against Asians, and people just ignored his findings in order to talk about diversity. It's good to see someone speaking out.
From Stella On Joe Jonas: More Dumbass White Kids Do The Chink Eye:

Jesus Christ! I can't believe they're doing it again! You're right this whole thing just smacks of, "Pfft you think you can tell me what to do? How dare you? I'm white, I'm untouchable. Look at this!"

Its bad enough when people refuse to acknowledge their privilege but then you get people who are downright cocky assholes about it. And Disney doesn't apologize because they don't feel threatened. I quote, "Fuck you too Disney."
From Eric Chan On Getting Interracial: Akira's Hip Hop Shop:

I just watched it On Demand via and I think the point of the movie is they (and the audience) discover they're part of the same world.

Worth checking out.
From Biscuitnapper On And Miley Cyrus Goes Chink Eye:

Umm... quite the opposite, I think. And it may not be that everything a white person does is racist, but there is such thing as history, and a lot of this kind of thing has layers of white privilege for some of us non-whites. If slavery is part of what has made you what you are now, forgetting the past is futile, because then you can't find a sustainable solution for the future. That's what I've found, anyway, for any contemporary issue, not just racial issues.

Seriously, can't we (non white/white allies) just have a space where we can say 'I think this is racially skanky', without another white person saying 'you're the ones who are actually being racist/GET OVR IT'. I mean, I get why some of you do it (offering another perspective and all that), but it's rather annoying and a bit rude, to say the least.
From loud and proud On A Quick Letter To The NY Times And Deborah Baldwin:

Thanks for posting this!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Gets Some Perspective (At Least The DVD)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I missed the news about this last week, but you definitely need to give it up to the folks down at MANAA for helping and contributing to the 17 minute featurette "Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective" on the Centennial Collection’s version of the film - because it's pretty damn cool:

When producers began planning extra featurettes for the Centennial Collection’s version of the film, Eric Young of Sparkhill saw the opportunity to openly discuss the problem of Mr. Yunioshi.

“It was almost like the proverbial elephant in the room that needed commenting on,” said his brother Mark Young, who eventually produced the segment, Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s is such an iconic film and it just had this mistake right in the middle of it, this character, and here we are in a more contemporary era—it just begs to be addressed and discussed.”

Young knew that he wanted to interview a panel of experts for the featurette, so he started making phone calls to academics who studied representations of Asian Americans in the media. Since it was the beginning of the school year, they were too busy to participate in the project. That’s when he turned to MANAA, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans.

“When I was able to reach Phil Lee at MANAA it was like reaching pay dirt, he was so receptive and he invited me to a meeting,” said Young. “When I first met the group at MANAA’s meeting I knew I’d have a nice lively group of individuals to interview, each with a different personality. Everyone’s background was different so we had different voices in discussing the same topic.”

From MANAA, Young found President Phil Lee, Vice President Jeffery Mio, and Founding President Guy Aoki. Since they wanted to include a female perspective as well, they suggested Marilyn Tokuda, an actress who had a long history of acting in films and was currently involved with East West Players.

In the 17-minute segment, stories of reactions to the film and the character of Mr. Yunioshi eventually opened into wider territory. Lee, Mio, Aoki and Tokuda also discuss the Japanese American internment, activism toward redress for Japanese Americans, the perils of being an Asian American actor/actress, and the impact of George Takei’s role on Star Trek for the Asian American community, among other topics.
Too bad we can't get this on every edition of the DVD.

Get Your Secret Asian Man Stickers

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If you're looking for stickers - from Secret Asian Man - there's a drawing down at Current Vine: has partnered with its previous interviewee, Secret Asian Man cartoonist Tak Toyoshima, to give away one SAM sticker each to four fans in a random drawing. The stickers are weatherproof, die-cut vinyl and approximately 8″ x 8″; one of each color is available (black, white, red, and gold). One will be given away each week in May.

The giveaway coincides with the recent release of the comic anthology Toyoshima is contributing to—Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology (The New Press), which is the first comic short story collection to center on Asian American superheroes; and with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is May of each year.

To enter the drawing, simply send an e-mail to deals with “SAM” in the subject line. Your information will not be shared with anyone.
Check out the link for all the details.

MV: BoA - I Did It For Love

Friday, April 17, 2009

The full video for BoA's I Did It For Love featuring Sean Garrett.

Undeclared: That Doesn't Sound So Good

Friday, April 17, 2009

Caught this via some alerts and well...I'll just reprint some of it:

I was just watching Undeclared , which is a pretty awesome show (Judd Apatow/Freaks and Geeks, anyone?). In this particular episode, the character Marshall is trying to make his crush jealous, grabbing the first girl in the common room to use as a pseudo-girlfriend. Okay, fine, that happens. What pissed me off was that this girl Kikuki, the only Asian featured on the show, did not speak a lick of English. Despite the language barrier, Marshall opts to use her as an accessory to get the attention of the girl he's actually into. A lot of the episode's humor revolves around the fact that the two are unable to communicate with each other and depend on electronic translators to keep the 'relationship' intact.

As an Asian-American woman myself, I didn't know how to react to this - I'm not sure which lens I wanted to look through first - race or gender? I kept on asking myself, what kind of message is this sending?? The invisibility of Asians in the media is one thing, but to portray the only Asian as a non-English-speaking foreigner - well, aren't we just perpetuating the stereotype? The character Ron even goes as far to say, "She seems dumb because she's foreign." Why does that make her less-than? Moreover, every time Kikuki meets one of Marshall's friends, she gives them a cookie. Marshall explains, "It's like a tradition or something," in a tone connoting that he thinks she's a bit weird for doing so. It also pissed me off that the White male was simply using the Asian female like a trophy, another stereotype that is detrimental to the Asian/Asian-American woman. He keeps on saying things like "Isn't she cute?" even though he clearly is not too comfortable with her. To further exotify her racial features, he announces, "She doesn't speak any English - she's all Japanese." What, does that give you ten bonus points or something??
Doesn't really make me want to watch the show...check out the full post as well as the comments down at Community Feministing.

Family Secrets, NY Times, And Gary Locke

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here's a good read on Gary Locke that talks not only about the relationship that his grandfather has to the census, but also about an interesting rash of letters Locke received back in 2003 when he gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address:

Some Americans don’t see the common heritage: the hushed story of entry paired with the later success borne of hard work. When Locke gave the Democratic response to the 2003 State of the Union address, he was besieged by hate e-mails and death threats, many telling him to go back to China. The reaction stunned him: Here was a deep hatred he had never been exposed to.

Few of us can trace our ancestry to the Mayflower. But it’s worth noting that, from a Native American perspective, those Massachusetts Bay pilgrims were illegals.
Read it in full down at the NY Times.

Film I Keep On Passing Up At The Video Store

Friday, April 17, 2009

You know I love me some Michelle Yeoh And Michelle Krusiec (aka K&K), but I just can't help but keep on passing this up in the video store (I think it's been like a year now since it came out on DVD):

Saiva (Michelle Yeoh) was pronounced evil by a shaman who witnessed her birth: any person who comes near her will fall to harm. Cast out from her tribe, Saiva has survived into adulthood accompanied by the young girl Anja (Michelle Krusiec) she has raised, living a simple existence in tents, dependent on any available food, and always in hiding from a strange pursuing army of soldiers: flashbacks show how Saiva had been physically abused by this strange band of wandering men. When danger approaches, the two women simply move on. Saiva finds an injured and starving soldier Yoki (Sean Bean) who is likewise escaping from the marauding band, and brings him into her tent, nursing him to health, exchanging signs of friendship to a stranger that seems so natural yet so foreign to guarded Saiva. As Yoki recovers, Anja's curiosity about love and men is heightened and soon Anja and Yoki are planning to strike out on their own. When Saiva witnesses the passion between the two people in her life, she reacts as a threatened animal and the horrors that follow echo across the frozen ice of her isolated life.
Two semi-sane Asian women go batshit over a white dude - and it's not even that he's a white dude (even though that story's been played out to all hell as we know) it's that the white dude is Sean Bean - outside of LOTR who the hell is he? If they're going to go batshit over a white guy at least let it be someone like JT (because that white boy's got some moves).

ABC News And Secret Identities

Friday, April 17, 2009

Caught this down at the YouTube Secret Identities channel and wanted to post it on up as it's pretty hot that they're being featured on a national news channel.

Pirates Have Wicked Dogs: Thailand Edition

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Random stories that have caught my eye:

1. The Presidential White House poochie Bo.

Seriously. Who knew a dog could get this much attention. Shelter, no shelter, purebred, broken promises - when's the last time a dog stirred up this much controversy? Bo's got a UK blog (and apparently writes as a Republican and actually doesn't like the Obamas, or his name) - and yes - he's also got his own book coming out (that's legit) - it's going to be called "Bo, America's Commander in Leash".

2. You can play it like this wasn't a surprise all you want, but I don't think anyone at the beginning of the year said to themselves "I think this year we're going to be reading about more news about pirates".

3. Honestly, I've kind of lost track of who I should be rooting for in Thailand. Red shirts, Yellow shirts - maybe they'll throw in a little burnt orange? While it seems to be calming down a little - at least for now - I just hope they get this sorted out soon because there're some elephants that are dying to get me in a 21 rematch (because I schooled 'em last time).

And that concludes this random post.

Map The Soul: Epik High, MYK, Kero One, And Far*East Movement

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Definitely looking like this is going to be a cool show featuring a ton of great acts including Epik High and FM.

Here are the dates as they stand right now (look for more updates as they come).

San Francisco
Masonic Auditorium (ALL AGES)
1111 California St. San Francisco,
CA Fri, May 15, 2009 08:00 PM

Los Angeles (All Ages)
May 16, 2009 8:00 PM
House of Blues Los Angeles
8430 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

New York (18+)
New York (ALL AGES)
May 22, 2009 6:00 PM
Irving Plaza 17 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Seattle (All Ages)
May 23, 2009 7:00 PM
The King Kat Theater
2130 6th Ave.
Seattle, CA 98121

Here's "One" off the album Pieces, Part One from Epik High featuring Ji Sun.


Hmong History Month: Straight Outta Wausau

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just thought I'd kick it Wausau style (because that just sounds deep) and post up a portion from an article on Hmong History Month from the WDH last week:

Hmong History Month has become a valued part of the calendar here, as the Hmong population celebrates its cultural heritage through songs, stories, readings and meals [...]

What is different this year is the extent to which young people in the community have been involved in planning and carrying out the events. Peter Yang of the Hmong Association and Thomas Lee of the Wausau-Marathon County Diversity Affairs Office have made an intentional effort this year to involve a new generation, and by all indications it is paying off.

The participation of Kou Lee, the 29-year-old owner of the Tea Palace in Wausau; Hlee Xiong Lee, 20, an advocate at The Women's Community; Bao Vang, the WSAW-TV anchor, and others in planning the events is itself something worth celebrating.

They should be applauded for stepping up and getting involved with Hmong History Month. Leaders Yang and Lee deserve some credit, too, for recognizing the value of involving the next generation of leaders in planning and decision-making for the community.
Read more here.