Entertainment Spotlight

Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres - on Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’
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...

Arts & Entertainment

The Olympics, Ryan Seacrest and Me by Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by AC Team on Wednesday, 08 August 2012

The Olympics, Ryan Seacrest and Me by Ben Fong-Torres

The Olympics, Ryan Seacrest and Me

As the old song goes, “it’s been a long, long time.”

I apologize for not writing sooner. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. Just not for this space. For example, I just had a short piece published in The Hollywood Reporter, about the Olympics’ opening ceremonies, with a focus on music. It’s in the August 10 edition of “THR,” which is an interesting blend of trade magazine (for showbiz industry folks) and consumer mag (for people who like backstage peeps at the business known as show).

My piece—about the 60’s music that producer Danny Boyle featured during that wild, wacky event—was nothing special. But one thing about it really amused me. Just below my story was a Q&A with Ryan Seacrest, who was among the talent NBC shipped to London to work the Olympics.

A few months ago, when Dick Clark died, I wrote my first article for The Hollywood Reporter, recalling a sometimes contentious interview with him from ‘way back, for Rolling Stone. The editors chose a quote of Clark, something he said to me, for the headline: “YOU’RE A LIBERAL, AND I’M A F---ING WHORE’. This, right after a glowing tribute, “What I Learned from the Master,” by…Ryan Seacrest.

We are fated to be together!

This is to say that stuff happens.

Just the other day, I was on Castro Street here in San Francisco, and a guy asks, “Aren’t you Ben Fong-Torres?” I admit that I am.

“Well, that’s reassuring,” he says.

I didn’t know what to make of that—although I think I knew what he meant, about old-timers still being around—so I just asked for his name and shook his hand. I hope he found my gesture…reassuring.

A few weeks before, at a wine tasting party, a friend asked if I’d seen the banners around town carrying my name and a quote. I had not, but went out in search of one of the signs a few days later. Sure enough, there...

Congratulations to Asian American International Film Festival '12 Award Winners

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 07 August 2012

Congratulations to Asian American International Film Festival '12 Award Winners

The Asian American International Film Festival handed out the 2012 Awards for feature and short films before the closing night screening of Michael Kang’s Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. The awards ceremony was emceed by spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai.

Knots director Michael Kang and writer and star Kimberly-Rose Wolter at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival Closing night screening of Knots, at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

This year, the Asian American International Film Festival, presented by Asian Cinevision (ACV), featured 50 New York premieres-narrative and documentary features, and shorts-of all genres from The Philippines, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, UK, Canada and across the Asian Diaspora.

Presenter Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, a spoken word artist, presents the AAIFF Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature to Lily Mariye for Model Minority at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York on August 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Audience Choice Awards:

Lily Mariye’s Model Minority (photo courtesy of Nice Girl Films)


The Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature was presented to Lily Mariye, an actor, screenwriter and director, whose impressive debut feature MODEL MINORITY, follows the story of L.A. teenagers trying to navigate the treacherous world of peer pressure, drug dealers, juvenile...

Are You Truly Free? by Marilyn Tam

Posted by Marilyn Tam on Tuesday, 07 August 2012

Are You Truly Free? by Marilyn Tam

Are You Truly Free?

By Marilyn Tam 


“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

      

      We are fortunate that we in the USA can enjoy basic freedom as a given. The things that bind us are more internal – the mental restrictions and “shoulds” that shape our thinking and our decisions subconsciously.

      These subconscious constraints confine us to a fixed set of expectations and view of the world.

       It locks us from truly being able to soar to our highest potential, inner peace and happiness. How can we break free? This is a three-step process. First by recognizing that we are prisoners of our beliefs.

Whatever we believe about ourselves and the world is what we are going to experience. If you are holding negative thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “Bad things happen to me”, then that is what you are going to create in at least some aspects of your life.

       No one consciously choose to hold limiting beliefs, and yet we all do to some extent. Our childhood conditioning, whether from family, school, other influential figures in our lives, or the mass media, often contain some negative programming. People’s intentions may have been good, but fear and limitation are commonly used to keep young, rambunctious and questioning children, and indeed all people, in line. We often take on the constraints set for us as a children, to keep us from achieving our full potential later on in our lives.

       The second step is to examine your beliefs. Is it really true that you are only good at math, and/or that you can’t sing?...

Composer/Lyricist Timothy Huang Launches Rockethub.com Crowd Funding Project for New Musical ‘Costs of Living’

Posted by Lia Chang on Wednesday, 01 August 2012

Composer/Lyricist Timothy Huang Launches Rockethub.com Crowd Funding Project for New Musical ‘Costs of Living’

Award-winning composer/lyricist Timothy Huang (The View from Here, And the Earth Moved) has launched a Rockethub.com crowd funding campaign for a workshop of his latest passion project, a new musical called Costs of Living.

Huang was inspired to create Costs of Living after reading Night and Day, an article which appeared in the New York Times in 2009, that tells the story of two immigrant cab drivers who take opposite shifts off the same medallion.

While the day shift driver (Eng) encounters successes, his night shift partner (Chin) continues to encounter obstacles until the two find themselves on opposite sides of an ever widening gap and in a dangerous escalation that leaves one dead and the other brutalized.

It is, at its heart, a human story, an American story and a cautionary tale lending voice to the unspoken dangers of freedom without social consciousness or oversight. It is a story of love and country, resilience and responsibility, the price of freedom and the costs of living.

 

“The last ten years of my career have been about finding ways to make the things that move me move other people,” said Huang. “And with tremendous support and feedback from the Asian American community and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop (where this project originated) I feel like Costs of Living has found a unique balance.

...

July 16-28 Oscar® Nominee The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom airs on HBO

Posted by Lia Chang on Monday, 16 July 2012

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, leaving 15,372 people confirmed dead and 7,762 reported still missing. In the wake of the largest earthquake in the country’s history, some people drew the courage to revive and rebuild from cherry-blossom season, which began within weeks of the tragedy.

Oscar®-nominated this year for Best Documentary Short Subject, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom shows how nature can be a rejuvenating – as well as a destructive – force when it debuts Monday, July 16 (10:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Directed by Lucy Walker (the Oscar®-nominated documentary feature “Waste Land”), this poignant film debuts immediately after the debut of the SXSW Film Festival hit “Birders: The Central Park Effect,” which offers a different look at how nature touches people.

            Other HBO playdates: July 18 (12:15 p.m.), 24 (4:15 p.m.) and 28 (6:00 a.m., 3:15 p.m.)

            HBO2 playdate: July 18 (9:00 p.m.)

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life, and the healing power of Japan's most beloved flower. The nation is transfixed by cherry blossom season, which runs from late March through April, with many people tracking the blossoms’ short lifecycle and attending “hanami,” or viewing parties, with family and friends.

Walker had originally planned to visit Japan to make a film about cherry-blossom season, but on March 11, 2011, while she was making final preparations for her trip, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck, triggering tsunami waves of up to 133 feet on Japan’s northeastern coast. Initially unsure whether to continue, she flew to Tokyo with a small film crew and headed north to the...