December 28, 2011
This one is all about Asian connections.
It began at Bellaken Garden, a skilled nursing care facility in East Oakland, where my mother, Connie, has been staying since August. I’ve been visiting there twice a week, crossing the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and popping in with potstickers from a nearby takeout restaurant.
For months, I’d seen this thin, white-haired woman seated in the lobby area, across from one of the dining rooms. After a while, we’d exchange smiles and hellos. I’d noticed her mainly because she always had a transistor radio with her. Being a radio columnist and occasional DJ, I asked what she was listening to. “Baseball,” she said. She was an avid San Francisco Giants fan, kept notes on their games, and kept their radio schedule close to her, all on a shelf of her walker. Her son, Jonathan, I would learn, works as a concessions cashier for both the Giants and the 49ers, so she was a football fan, too. We could talk.
I decided to do a little shout-out to her in my Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle, learned her name – June Kwei – and told her to watch for the mention. She appeared delighted, although I never properly introduced myself. Bad manners. (In Cantonese, “bad” is pronounced “kwei.”) Anyway, on December 11, the item ran, ending with “Holiday cheers to June Kwei.”
That evening, I received an email from a “Dede.” It was Mrs. Kwei’s daughter. I couldn’t believe it. Here’s most of what she wrote:
By Ben Fong-Torres
It’s short shrift time.
I have a life that’s ripe (and slightly wrinkled) for blogs and tweeting; for facebooking and updating.
I’m just no good at it. My last column here on AsianConnections was about the memorial in late July for my sister Shirley. My last posting on the authors’ site, Redroom, was about a radio promo tour I did (20 stops, all on the phone in my home office) for my Eagles book. On my own home page, the last thing was about hanging with Johnny Depp at UC Berkley – in mid-October.
Pathetic. But hey, when you’re busy having a life, it’s not easy stopping and writing about it -- although hundreds of thousands of people apparently do. I hear Steve Martin is an inveterate Tweeter, and he’s kind of a busy guy. But I can’t do it. Backstage with Depp, I realized that it was the perfect time to post on Twitter: “We’re about to go on stage; students are screaming already”—something like that. But Johnny and director Bruce Robinson were chatting; one must pay attention. So, no tweets from this twit.
Bottom line: It’s time to catch up, and, with apologies, to give the following events & incidents short shrift.
SANTANA: On Oct. 21, four days after the on-stager with Depp, about his movie, The Rum Diary, at Cal, I was at Mission High School, where Carlos Santana was a student in the late Sixties, soon after arriving from the streets of Tijuana, where he learned about music and life. That, he once told me, was his high school. But, at...
Dogs Lie, Richard Atkinson’s latest indie feature starring Samrat Chakrabarti (Elle Magazine Top 100 Talents to watch), Frank Boyd and Ewa Da Cruz, scored two awards, for “Best Film” (USA) and the “Feature Film Audience Award,” at the 2011 ITN Distribution Film and New Media Festival in New York.
“It was a great thrill for all involved to receive recognition,” said director Richard Atkinson. “The movie will be released in 2012 and will highlight a cast of rapidly rising acting talent……I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of Samrat Chakrabarti, Frank Boyd and Ewa Da Cruz… they have all been involved in multiple movie and TV projects since we shot Dogs Lie….they are exceptional …TNA World Wrestling Champion, Ken Anderson, has a feature role as Yuri a Russian mobster. It all makes for great entertainment with unexpected twists and turns.”
Dogs Lie won “Honorable Mention” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2011 and was an “Official Selection” at The Big Apple Film Festival (BAFF) in NY, the La Femme International Film Festival in LA, and the Filmi SE Asian Film Festival in Toronto, where it was the “showcase feature.”
Samrat Chakrabarti plays Iqbal Khani, a likeable, conscientious clinician and romantic opportunist, alongside Frank Boyd as Josh Logan, a clinician who is a compulsive jokester with a competitive streak. The two are thrown together with eight patients at a luxury NY sleep clinic for a night of monitoring and observation. As the night progresses dark...
Time Magazine has named David Henry Hwang’s sexy and hilarious new play Chinglish the number three show out of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year. Chinglish will feature special audience post-show talkbacks with the cast and creative team members at the Longacre Theatre in New York.
Beginning Wednesday, December 14th after the evening show, the cast will come out to answer audience questions. The mostly bi-lingual and multi-cultural cast will also be answering questions in Mandarin and maybe give a lesson or two. In addition to the 14th, talkbacks will be held after the show on December 20th, 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th, 29th.
After the post-show talkbacks, head to the front of the orchestra and you’ll have the opportunity to meet the cast members.
Chinglish is a new comedy about the misadventures of miscommunication. It is the story of an American businessman desperate to launch a new enterprise in China. There are only three things standing in his way: He can’t speak the language. He can’t learn the customs. And he’s falling in love with the one woman he absolutely can’t have.
The Chinglish cast features Jennifer Lim, Gary Wilmes, Angela Lin, Christine Lin, Stephen Pucci, Johnny Wu and Larry Lei Zhang.
The play is directed by Leigh Silverman, who directed Lisa Kron’s Well on Broadway and won a 2011 OBIE for directing both Go Back To Where You Are and In The Wake, Chinglish had its world premiere this summer at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.