• Actor Ed Skrein quits reboot of "Hellboy" over whitewashing concerns

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    Actor Ed Skrein quits reboot of
    Hollywood September 15, 2017 by Suzanne Kai The controversial practice of whitewashing movies has been going on for nearly a century in Hollywood. In the 1930's even the starring role of the Charlie Chan movies, scripted to be a Chinese man, was given to white actors pretending to play Chinese men.  Fast forward to 2017 - Ed Skrein, an English actor and rapper, wins the...

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  • Mar. 6-17: Thom Sesma and Diane Phelan Featured in Prospect’s Death For Five Voices

    Posted by Lia Chang

    New York City

    Thom Sesma

    Click the title link above for the full story. Photo by Lia Chang: Thom Sesma (The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, Nick & Nora), Diane Phelan (Prospect’s Honor), Wilson Bridges (Signs of Life), Ryan Bauer-Walsh (Billy Elliot), Meghan McGeary (The Blue Flowerwith Prospect Theater Company, A.R.T. and Second Stage, Prospect’sThe Rockae), Hannah Jane McMurray (The Hidden Sky), and Peter Saide (Jersey Boys) are currently featured in Prospect Theater Company’s inaugural “Prototype Production” with public performances of DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES, an original musical drama inspired by true events in the life of infamous Renaissance composer – and murderer – Carlo Gesualdo.

    Diane Phelan

    Featuring a book by Prospect’s founding artists Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, music and lyrics by Mills and direction by Reichel, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES began performances on March 6, 2013 at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street in New York, and will continue through March 17, 2013.

    A talkback with Mills and Reichel and other members of the production team will be held on Saturday, March 16th at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public.

    Set amid the political intrigue, religious conflict and artistic vibrancy of the late Renaissance, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICESinvestigates the dark harmonies of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa – who is remembered for his unusually complex sacred music and for the extravagantly vicious double murder of his wife and her lover. Featuring a sophisticated and intimate choral score, this new musical explores sexual and creative passions while illuminating the fine line between madness and genius.

    Mills and Reichel’s prior collaborations include Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Illyria, The Rockae, The Flood, Honor, and The Pursuit of Persephone, among other works. Mills has been honored for his work with the prestigious Cole Porter Award (2011),...

  • Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

    Posted by Suzanne Kai


    February 26, 2013

    What?!! An Asian American male star in a Hollywood movie that isn't a Kung Fu film? 

    Justin Chon ("Twilight"), steps into the spotlight as the lead character in the comedy 21 and Over, opening in theaters nationwide March 1.

    Chon, 31, was born in Garden Grove in Orange County, California, and was raised in Irvine, California. He attended business school at the University of Southern California. At age 20, Chon began taking acting lessons, inspired by growing up watching his father in black and white films. His father is a former child actor from South Korea.

    AsianConnections' Suzanne Joe Kai chatted with Justin about his new role, 
breaking stereotypes, and what's next in his fast-rising career.  (For the full interview transcript click on the blue headline link above.) 

    Justin: Hey Suzanne, thank you.

    Suzanne: You’re right from Orange County, California!

    Justin: Yeah, Irvine. Yeah, born and raised. I was born in Garden Grove Hospital.

    Suzanne: Can you describe your role in your new film 21 and Over coming out in theaters March 1, 2013?

    Justin: Yeah. I play a character named Jeff Chang. It's his 21st birthday and my two friends come up to celebrate with me but I have a medical school interview the next day. They convinced me to have one beer and obviously that beer turns into absolute chaos. My character's just an average kid. He's actually not that smart, he's like failing out of school.

    Suzanne: What made you jump on board this film?  

    Justin: Well, the guys who wrote it wrote The Hangover and they’re great writers. I just read the script and I loved it. I’m an Asian American actor and it’s a three-dimensional part so it’s great to see somebody who wrote such a great part for an Asian American so I just had to do it. 

The whole movie's mass is with partying but the core of it is really about these three guys and their friendship.

    Suzanne: I think this is one of the very few or if not the first movie...

  • Photos: AALDEF Honors Congressman John Lewis, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Simone Wu with 2013 Justice in Action Awards

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Congressman John Lewis (GA), Margaret Fung, AALDEF Exec Dr, BD Wong, Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, Simone Wu of Choice Hotels Intl, Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer Columbia Univ., Juju Chang ABC News, at AALDEF awards Photo by Lia Chang

    New York City

    Congressman John Lewis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia), Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, and Simone Wu of Choice Hotels International, Inc. received the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (AALDEF) 2013 Justice in Action Awards at AALDEF’s annual Lunar New Year benefit, held at PIER 60 Chelsea Piers in New York on February 19, 2013.

    2013 AALDEF Justice in Action honorees Jose Antonio Vargas, Simone Wu and Congressman John Lewis. Photo by Lia Chang

    Since 1987, AALDEF has presented the Justice in Action Awards to exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and efforts in advancing social justice. The awards were presented by Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, Tony Award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang, and Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase.

    Congressman John Lewis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia), Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, BD Wong, Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, and Simone Wu of Choice Hotels International, Inc., Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University and Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (AALDEF) 2013 Justice in Action Awards held at PIER 60 Chelsea Piers in New York on February 19, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

    Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University, both long time supporters of AALDEF, were the co-emcees for the banquet of over 700. They were joined at the end with a surprise appearance on stage from actor BD Wong, who urged the guests to show their support for AALDEF.

    Co-emcees Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University raise their...

  • Extended to March 24: David Henry Hwang's The Dance and the Railroad at the Signature Theatre & Lark Play Development Center

    Posted by Lia Chang

    New York City

    Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) and Lark Play Development Center (John Clinton Eisner, Artistic Director; Michael Robertson, Managing Director) are presenting the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series, curated by Signature’s Residency One Playwright David Henry Hwang, whose play THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD, directed by May Adrales, opened at Signature on Monday, February 25, 2013 and has been extended until March 24, 2013.

    David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang


    The two theatre companies also hosted a group of distinguished playwrights, directors, translators, adaptors, and actors in a cross-cultural dialogue through the development and presentation of English-language versions of four contemporary Chinese plays. The play translations—co-commissioned by the companies—were presented in readings as part of the translation development process on March 15, 16 and 17 in the Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

    A vital component of David Henry Hwang’s residency at Signature, and an extension of Hwang’s many international collaborations at the Lark Play Development Center, the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series is aimed at exposing U.S. audiences to the diverse, dynamic world of contemporary Chinese playwriting while fostering a conversation between Chinese and U.S. artists.. The four contemporary Chinese plays include:

    PLAYING THE VIOLINby Wei-Jan Chi, literal translation by Cheng-Han Wu, adaptation by Madeleine George, directed by Daniel JaquezReading on Friday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.Summary: The death of Liu San’s best friend starts him on a wild ride through hidden memories and alternate realities.

    THE CAPTAINby Nick Yu, literal translation and adaptation by Zhao Binghao, directed by Josh HechtReading on Saturday, March 16 at 2:30 p.m.Summary: Sixty years after being rescued from drowning...

  • Congratulations! Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar for "Life of Pi"

    Posted by Suzanne Kai


    February 24, 2013

    Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director at the 85th Academy Awards for his film "Life of Pi," the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Yann Martel about a boy shipwrecked and stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. 

    The film took Lee four and a half years to complete. He has said it was the hardest fim he has ever made.  (Click the top headline for the full story and a peek at Ang holding his new Oscar in one hand, and with his other hand enjoying an In-N-Out burger. This great photo was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair's publisher Edward Menicheschi!

    This is Ang Lee's second Oscar win. His first Academy Award was in 2006 for directing "Brokeback Mountain." 

    Lee's 2000 Chinese-language film "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

    Lee, 58, thanked his wife of 30 years, Jane Lin, a microbiologist, his two sons Haan and Mason, and the 3,000 people involved in the making of his film. He also thanked Taiwan, and Taichung City in central Taiwan where 80 per cent of the film was shot, and his Canadian and Indian partners. 

    Other Oscar contenders for the Best Director award were Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Michael Haneke for "Amour" which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Fim and the prestigious Palm d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and Benh Zeitlin with "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

    And we couldn't help but admire Ang Lee for being so down to earth even on his big night at the Oscars. We know - those burgers are good! This image was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair magazine's publisher Edward Menicheschi.

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