Entertainment Spotlight

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

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    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...

Arts & Entertainment Articles

  • Mar. 27: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Last weekend, I caught up with BD Wong at the Maravel Arts Center on 445 W. 45th St. in New York, where he was rehearsing a number which will be performed in “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids,” on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 W. 55th St. @ 9th Ave in New York.

    BD Wong rehearses with Rosie’s Theater Kids at the Maravel Arts Center on 445 W. 45th St. in New York on March 17, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    BD will also be hosting the event, (also honoring Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids), which features Rosie’s Theater Kids alongside Derick K. Grant, Brandon Victor Dixon, Zakiya Young, and special taped video appearances by Audra McDonald and John Tartaglia. A highlight of the evening is sure to be an original piece conceived and co-written by BD, in which he will perform with 11 of the children from the “Rosie’s Theater Kids” program.

    BD Wong rehearses with Rosie’s Theater Kids at the Maravel Arts Center on 445 W. 45th St. in New York on March 17, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    In Manhattan, thousands of children live near the “Great White Way” but never have the opportunity to step inside one of the theaters and experience Broadway. As Rosie O’Donnell says, it’s “like living in Hawaii and not having access to the beach.” Today, New York City public schools rely largely on private funding for arts education and they continue to struggle due to a constant shortage of public funding. This is where Rosie’s Theater Kids comes in, providing theater exposure and theater training to hundreds of NY City Public school kids each week.

    BD Wong rehearses with Rosie’s Theater Kids at the Maravel Arts Center on 445 W. 45th Street in New York on March 17, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    BD shared, “For several weeks now, I have been rehearsing with 11 of Rosie’s Theater Kids, Music Director Steven Jamail and RTK Vocal Performance...

  • In the Locker Room with Jeremy Lin

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    Madison Square Garden, New York City

    By Suzanne Joe Kai

    March 11, 2012 



    I spent the day today watching a Knicks game. This time it wasn't on a television screen from California but up close, live and in person at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

    I was on the court, literally, at today's pre-game practice, behind the scenes embedded with veteran sports reporters, at the pre and post game press conference with the coach, and yes - in the locker room with Jeremy Lin. 

    Stay tuned soon for our feature on Jeremy Lin, Mr. Linsanity himself. Meanwhile, we have posted a few photographs from today.

    The greatest thing about Linsanity is that Jeremy Lin can win, he can lose, but he has already achieved the near impossible.

    In just a few short weeks, he's turned a country on its head and made it examine how Asian Americans are viewed in the mainstream.

    As we watched him in person today, we saw a very talented 23 year old basketball player with a great career ahead of him.

    We also thought of the historical milestone he has already achieved - for all of us.

    Video screenshots are below. 


    "How Linsanity hits home" by author, journalist, broadcaster and former senior editor of Rolling Stone Magazine Ben Fong-Torres. 

    Author, former Wall Street Journal writer, and historian William Wong writes about Linsanity in this five-part series:

    Linsanity 5: Confirming stereotypes? by William Wong  Linsanity 4 Can't escape race no matter what by William Wong Linsanity 3: Will fame (‘friend’ of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, et. al.) ruin Jeremy Lin? by William Wong Linsanity 2: Redefining American by William Wong Linsanity 1: Am I Linsane? You Betcha! by William Wong

    Guidelines on reporting on Jeremy Lin issued by the Asian American Journalists Association

    Jeremy Lin inspires a nation by Dave Zirin for Nation Magazine

    Is Jeremy Lin a "marked man?"

    Woah - Jeremy Lin is on...

  • Mar. 9-25: Nick Choksi in CollaborationTown’s The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos by Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell at the New Ohio Theatre

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Nick Choksi

    CollaborationTown (The Play About My Dad, The Momentum) presents the World Premiere of THE DEEPEST PLAY EVER: THE CATHARSIS OF PATHOS by Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell with music by Michael Wells. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans and Jordan Seavey, previews begin March 9 at the New Ohio Theatre. An acclaimed 2006 production of this Brecht satire won an Outstanding Playwrighting Award at FringeNYC; this newly revised, reworked production is slated for opening on Wednesday, March 14.

    Before Mother Courage there was Mother LaMadre. In THE DEEPEST PLAY EVER, an unrivaled masterpiece of modern dramatic writing, our antiheroine Mother LaMadre and her rag-tag crew drag their wagon through the Fifth World War and the post-post-apocalyptic wasteland that is New Europe. Together they must navigate all the pitfalls (and rewards) of the dramatic art of drama to find the few remaining books the art-abolishing Evil Empire have yet to destroy and maybe, just maybe, find a way to replace violence with art. If the zombies don’t eat them first, that is.


    The production stars Jordan Barbour, Carly Cioffi, Nick Choksi, John Halbach, Boo Killebrew, Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Phillip Taratula, Emily Walton and TJ Witham. The creative team includes set and props by Deb O, costumes by Nikki Moody, lighting by Nick Houfek, sound by Brandon Wolcott and Daniel Kluger, music direction by Michael Wells, associate music direction by Nicholas Williams, stage management by Kaitlin Nemeth, and assistant stage management by Shelby Hibbs.

    Nick Choksi’s New York work has included: Invasion (The Flea), Triple Trouble with Love (59E59), Practice (Atlantic), Huck and Holden (Cherry Lane), Twelfth Night (Sonnet Rep); Regional includes: Love’s Labor’s Lost(RSC & Shakespeare Theater DC), Mouse Cop (Chicago’s Noble Fool),Imaginary Theater Company (St. Louis Rep); TV/FILM: “The Electric Company” (PBS), “L&O: CI” (NBC), “Sopranos” (HBO), “Royal Pain”...

  • NYIFF To Screen ‘Saving Face,’ Oscar-Winning Pakistani Documentary, As Part of its Stellar 12th Anniversary Line-up of Films, Festival Runs May 23-27 at Tribeca Cinemas

    Posted by Lia Chang

    (New York, NY—March 5, 2012) Saving Face,Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge’s Oscar-winning short documentary about the plight of two Pakistani women who were victims of acid attacks, is one of more than 50 hand-selected films that will wow audiences at the 12th annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF). Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), NYIFF is scheduled from May 23 to 27 at Tribeca Cinemas in lower Manhattan. Formerly known as the IAAC and MIAAC Film Festivals, NYIFF has premiered some of the most well-known South Asian and foreign films, including Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, Bride and Prejudice, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, and several others. Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include:

    May 23rd - Opening night red carpet screening at Paris Theatre & Gala Benefit at Essex HouseMay 24th – Industry Panels at Tribeca CinemasMay 24th to 27th – NYIFF Screenings, post-screening events, parties, special eventsScript-writing workshopsOne minute cell phone films by NYU Tisch Film & TV students on Bollywood MusicNightly networking parties at lounges around New York CityMay 25th – Centerpiece screening & discussion: Tribute to Dev Anand –Hum Dono RangeenMay 26th – Sidebar: Shyam Benegal Retrospective followed by post-screening discussion with director. Mamoo (1994), Sardari Begum (1996), and Zubeidaa (2001) – the first such programming of Benegal’s trilogy based on scripts by renowned critic, journalist, and filmmaker Khalid Mohamed. All three films are Mohamed’s personal stories about his mother, grandmother, aunt and grandaunt.Children’s films afternoon screenings and discussions at Tribeca CinemasMay 27th – Closing Night red carpet screening, discussion & awards ceremony at Skirball Center for Arts

    “Our lineup of films, networking parties, and red carpet events this year will be bigger and better than ever,” says Aroon Shivdasani, IAAC Executive Director. “As the longest-running and most...

  • Mar. 11: Thom Sesma, Patti LuPone, Cindy Cheung, Ken Leung, Jennifer Lim, Sab Shimono, James Yaegashi and more set for Shinsai: Theaters for Japan Benefit in NY

    Posted by Lia Chang


    On Sunday, March 11, 2012, Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, will be performed at 3pm and 8pm at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, Seventh Street at Third Avenue in New York.

    Thom Sesma Photo by Lia Chang

    Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a two performance benefit to raise funds that will go directly to Japanese theater artists devastated by last year’s great earthquake (Shinsai), will feature Michi Barall, Cindy Cheung, Joel de la Fuente, Angel Desai, Ann Harada, Jennifer Ikeda, Paul Juhn, Peter Kim, Ken Leung, Li Jun Li, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Paolo Montalban, Olivia Oguma, Jon Norman Schneider, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Jade Wu, Johnny Wu, James Yaegashi and Stacey Yen, under the direction of Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher.

    UPDATED: 3/6/12 12:45pm

    Jennifer Lim Photo by Lia Chang

    Broadwayworld.com reports that Patti LuPone, Richard Thomas, Mary Beth Hurt, Jay O. Sanders and Henry Stram will join forces with the previously announced Asian American actors to raise funds that will go directly to Japanese theater artists devasted by last year’s earthquake when they appear in this Sunday’s March 11 benefit performances of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (Seventh Street at Third Avenue).

    Patti LuPone and Henry Stram will appear in the 8pm performance only. Jay O. Sanders and Mary Beth Hurt will appear in the 3pm performance only. Richard Thomas will appear in both the 3pm and 8pm performances.

    Read more: http://broadwayworld.com/article/Patti-LuPone-Richard-Thomas-and-More-Join-SHINSAI-THEATERS-FOR-JAPAN-Benefit-20120306#ixzz1oMLLtsQM

    Edward Albee. Photo by Lia Chang

    This stellar lineup will perform a series of ten minute plays and musical numbers by an eclectic group of award-winning American and Japanese writers and composers including Edward Albee, Shoki Kokami, Oriza Hirata, Richard Greenberg, John Guare, Kumiko Shinohara, John Kander, Fred Ebb & Joseph Stein, Tony Kushner & Jeanine Tesori, Nen...