Photo: Dao Nguyen Publisher, Buzzfeed
Photo: Dao Nguyen Publisher, Buzzfeed
June 1, 2015
After reading the reviews, a few of us still bravely ventured out on Monday, after the opening weekend curious to see what all the bashing and yammering was all about.
We sat in a theater that was unexpectedly full of moviegoers who also bought tickets to see "Aloha."
Surprise - We thought the movie was entertaining. So that puts us in RottenTomatoes' 40% positive audience score and 18% positive critics ratings. Despite some reviewers saying the film was hard to follow, we got it, including the 'surprise' twist at the end.
Ok, we like Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and John Krasinski, but would have loved to see Asian faces on the screen in lead roles. Come on - even just one! (Sigh) The fact that Cameron Crowe intended one of his lead characters to be half-Asian in his script - that was promising - but that was only on paper. Not enough.
So, what happened? A perfect storm of critics, revealing email leaks from the Sony hack, and the unfortunate casting of Emma Stone to play a half Asian character, and in Hawaii no-less, a land where the majority population is comprised of Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Asian Pacific Islanders.
Unfortunate because Emma Stone is one of the hottest bankable actresses in Hollywood today, but she was cast in a no-win role that is an easy target to illustrate the continuing underrepresentation of Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander actors in leading roles in Hollywood movies.
Just think of the missed opportunities to cast actors from diverse ethnic backgrounds in Hollywood movies. Latinos, for example, buy at least 20% of the opening-weekend audience for the highest-grossing summer movies according to data compiled by Nielsen and Univision. Asians, comprise 7% of frequent U.S. moviegoers in 2013 according to the MPAA. Internationally, and specifically in China, the potential market is huge.
AsianConnections: December 30, 2014 Still Few Leading Roles...
May 2, 2015
JANM Announces Acquisition of Japanese American Incarceration Artifacts
Public auction of the items averted through aligned interests of museum, Japanese American community, auction house, consignor.
Painting by Estelle Peck Ishigo - Photo by Rago Arts and Auction Center
The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) tonight announced it has acquired a collection of more than 400 pieces of historical art and artifacts created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. The announcement was made by JANM president and CEO Greg Kimura, during JANM’s annual Gala, which also honored actor and activist George Takei with the museum’s Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service.
LOS ANGELES —The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) announced today that it has acquired a collection of more than 400 pieces of historical art and artifacts created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. JANM’s acquisition ensures these artifacts will be properly preserved and honors the interests of Japanese Americans across the country who expressed concern for the future of these items.
JANM worked through Rago Arts and Auction Center in New Jersey and the consignor to acquire the private collection, which includes artifacts and photographs collected by Allen Hendershott Eaton who wrote a book in 1952 publicizing the injustice of America’s concentration camps for Japanese Americans, where more than 120,000 men, women, and children were kept behind barbed wire by their own country.
“The mission of the Japanese American National Museum is to share this story,” said JANM President and CEO Greg Kimura. “We honor the sacrifice of our forebears who suffered to prove their loyalty to the U.S. by ensuring that such Constitutional violations never happen again. I’m very pleased that our museum, Rago Arts and Auction Center, and the John Ryan family of Connecticut, which...
April 8, 2015
Eddie Huang, whose life and memoir inspired the ABC TV show Fresh Off the Boat went on Twitter last night to say, "For the record I don't watch #FreshOffTheBoat on @ABCNetwork." In separate messages, he continued to Tweet:
"I'm happy people of color are able to see a reflection of themselves throughon but I don't recognize it."
"My only goal was to represent my Taiwanese-Chinese-American experience & I did that. We also proved viewers want diverse content so make it!
"I had to say something because I stood by the pilot. After that it got so far from the truth that I don't recognize my own life. I don't think it is helping us to perpetuate an artificial representation of Asian American lives and we should address it."
Eddie Huang has a point. Maybe this is a good launching point for a discussion - again - on stereotypes of Asian Americans in the media.
Writer for Vulture.com, E. Alex Jung poses the question, "how do we make it better, more real, more "true"? For his full story go here to Vulture.com.
Community actor Ken Jeong learned about his wife Tran's diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer just as he was close to winning a part in The Hangover. Click here to Esquire.com and view Jeong's deeply personal story which was filmed as part of Ken Burns Films' "Cancer Story Wall" an accompaniment to this month's three-part PBS documentary series Cancer:The Emperor of All Maladies.
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is a three-part, six-hour major television event on PBS presented by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, in partnership with WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C.
Based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, the series is the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made.
This “biography” of cancer covers its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence.
The series also features the current status of cancer knowledge and treatment —the dawn of an era in which cancer may become a chronic or curable illness rather than its historic death sentence in some forms.
January 7, 2015
HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY BEN! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to Jann Wenner, publisher and co-founder of Rolling Stone who is 69 today! Best wishes for many happy and healthy years to come!
Ben and Jann are looking at photos of themselves from the early days when Rolling Stone started in San Francisco. As super busy as Ben is, he has graciously contributed commentary to our pages here at AsianConnections.com since 2000. Thank you!
This photo was taken at Rolling Stone's offices in New York by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer and former staff photographer for the New York Times, Marilynn K. Yee for our feature documentary currently in production LIKE A ROLLING STONE: The LIfe & Times of Ben Fong-Torres.
December 30, 2014
Asian American actors are still largely missing from the big screen in major roles. A year-end wrap up shows small gains for major movie roles for Asian American actors in Hollywood.
Even for Asian actors who are not American, major roles in a current Hollywood movie are scarce.
First time actor Takamasa Ishihara from Japan made the most of his opportunity.
Ishihara, a 33 year old singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer known to his fans as Miyavi gave a chilling break-out performance as the brutal sergeant in Angelina Jolie's film "Unbroken."
Ishihara's role as Sergeant Matsuhiro Watanabe was so intense, he told Vanity Fair's Natalie Finn "It's a story that is still painful for my country," ... "But she (Director Angelina Jolie) told me she wanted to make a bridge between all countries that had conflict. She was very persuasive." And after filming some of the more violent scenes, "I couldn't stop crying," he admitted.
Ishihara has two daughters with American-born wife, Melody Ishihara, a fashion designer, who was a former TV show host and J-Pop singer known as Melody Miyuki Ishikawa.
One notable win to be celebrated for an Asian American actor in a Hollywood movie is Randall Park's role in "The Interview."
While the hacking scandal at Sony has grabbed international headlines for the comedy "The Interview" and its stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, some writers in the Asian American blogosphere have been abuzz about American actor Randall Park, praising his performance in the movie as Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader.
Park, 40, said there was very little footage of Kim Jong-un available to research his role. He reviewed video of Kim Jong-un from HBO's show "Vice" about basketball star Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea.
Prior to "The Interview" Park was previously best known for his role on the HBO comedy series "Veep," as Minnesota Govenor Danny Chung, and has made a number of guest appearances on...
CHOL SOO LEE 1952-2014
Korean American immigrant's struggle for justice sparked an early pan-Asian American Movement
Koream Journal, News Report, by Julie Ha Posted: Dec 04, 2014
Distributed by New America Media
By Julie Ha, Koream Journal
Chol Soo Lee, a Korean American whose wrongful conviction in a 1973 San Francisco murder case galvanized a historic pan-Asian American movement to win his freedom, died Tuesday at age 62.
He passed away after complications related to surgery, according to friends. (Photo LtoR: Chol Soo Lee with journalist K.W. Lee, at press conference date unknown) Lee, an immigrant from South Korea who came to the U.S. around middle-school age, was arrested by San Francisco police in June 1973 for the murder of Yip Yee Tak, a local Chinatown gang leader, who was shot dead in broad daylight.
Though Lee was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison a year later, he maintained his innocence. Thanks to a group of Asian American supporters, who rallied to his side, a Korean American journalist by the name of K.W. Lee (no relation to Chol Soo Lee) began investigating the case. Lee, then a staff writer for the Sacramento Union, would write more than 100 articles that raised questions about Chol Soo Lee’s conviction. Chol Soo was much shorter than eyewitness descriptions of the gunman and had a mustache that not a single witness mentioned to police. Notably, Lee was often identified as Chinese during his trial.
For more on the this story by Julie Ha, Koream Journal:
October 21, 2014
New U.S. Screenings for the groundbreaking documentary directed by Marissa Aroy.
For news go to the official website at www.delanomanongs.com
THE DELANO MANONGS
Forgotten Heroes of the United Farmworkers MovementTuesday October 21st, 2014 - Irvine, CA University of California at Irvine Cross-Cultural Center presents the screening as part of the contemporary social issues series. Co-sponsored by Kababayan at UCI, Student Life & Leadership, Student Affairs. A discussion with director, Marissa Aroy and Mayor of Cerritos Mark E. Pulido follows. 7PM Dr. White Room, UCI Cross-Cultural Center, 106 Gateway, Irvine, CA 92697. ======================================================================= Thursday October 23rd, 2014 - San Marcos, CA Cal State University, San Marcos Multicultural Programs, Student Life & Leadership along with SLL Cross-Cultural Center, CSUSM Library, and Kamaylayan Alliance will hold a screening with director Marissa Aroy in attendance. 6:00 PM-8:00 PM University Student Union 2310-AB, Cal State University, San Marcos, 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92078. ======================================================================== Thursday October 23rd, 2014 - Honolulu, HI 5:30-8:00PM Shidler Bus Ad D106 (corner of Maile Way & University Ave) call 956-7348 for more information http://www.hawaii.edu/calendar/manoa/2014/10/23/25014.html?et_id=33009 =============================================================================== Friday October 24th, 2014 -...
October 16, 2014
AFTRA mourns the passing of national board member and former interim Screen Actors Guild President Sumi Sevilla Haru, who died October 16, 2014 at age 75.
“It is with great sadness that our SAG-AFTRA family says goodbye to Sumi Haru,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “Sumi notably represented SAG-AFTRA and its predecessor unions for decades on our local and national boards, and as Screen Actors Guild recording secretary and interim president.
Sumi served our members through her lifelong dedication to actors, the labor movement, and civil rights and equal employment. She did that with conviction, passion and grace. Our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones. We will miss her.”
Haru joined SAG in 1968 and AFTRA in 1972 and served as a national board member for both organizations for multiple terms since 1974. She served as interim president of Screen Actors Guild in 1995, the first and only woman of color to hold the position (image to the left is of Barry Gordon passing the gavel to Sumi Haru in 1995).
Haru also served as a delegate at both AFTRA and SAG-AFTRA conventions. In 2013, she was elected for a two-year term as a member of the first elected national board of the merged SAG-Sumi Sevilla Haru, SAG-AFTRA Leader 1939-2014
AFTRA. In 1995, she became the first Asian Pacific American to serve as a national vice president of the AFL-CIO, a position she filled for six years. Haru was a co-founder and national chair of SAG's Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee and Western national chair of AFTRA’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee.
Haru originated the EEOC Career Day and helped develop SAG's affirmative action conferences. She was a negotiator of "American Scene" language and affirmative action clauses for SAG’s national TV/Theatrical and Commercials contracts and for AFTRA’s national Network Television and Commercials agreements. She chaired SAG’s Legislative Committee and...