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.8: SFIAAFF30 Kicks Off with World Premiere of White Frog Featuring Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum, Jr., Joan Chen, Kelly Hu and BD Wong at the Castro Theater

    Posted by Lia Chang

    WHITE FROG features Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Harry Shum, Jr. (“Glee”), Kelly Hu (Scorpion King), BD Wong (“Awake,” “Law and Order: SVU”), and Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Lust, Caution, Mao’s Last Dancer).

    White Frog Executive Producer David Henry Hwang and Producer/Co-Screenwriter Ellie Wen in New York after a performance of Chinglish on January 28, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Written by the mother/daughter screenwriting team Ellie and Fabienne Wen, and executive produced by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), WHITE FROG tells the story of high-school freshman, Nick (Booboo Stewart), a young boy with Asperger’s syndrome, who is often neglected and misunderstood by his seemingly perfect family. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Nick is forced out of his comfort zone, and into finding the strength he needs to survive. WHITE FROG is a universal story about the power of family, friendship, and love.

    BD Wong Photo by Lia Chang

    The red carpet will be rolled out for actors Harry Shum Jr., Joan Chen, B.D. Wong; director Quentin Lee; producer and co-screenwriter Ellie Wen; producer Chris Lee; and executive producer David Henry Hwang, who will be at the screening and at the star-studded Opening Night Gala Reception at the Asian Art Museum. Delicious treats will be served up by some of the Bay Area’s most popular restaurants, including Bushi-Tei, Chotto, Dosa, Serpentine, and Yoshi’s.

    WHITE FROGSFIAAFF 30 Opening Night Gala & World PremiereTuursday, March 8, 20127PM Film Screening @ Castro Theater429 Castro St (at Market near 17th St), San Francisco9:30pm Opening Night Reception at Asian Art Museum200 Larkin Street (at Fulton), San FranciscoScreening + Gala Non-Member Price: $60Screening + Gala CAAM Member Price: $50 CAAM MembersFilm only: $35Gala only: $30CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.http://whitefrogthemovie.com/

  • David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Congratulations to playwright David Henry Hwang, who has been named the Honoree of the 31st Annual William Inge Theatre Festival, in Independence, Kansas, on the campus of Independence Community College.

    David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

    Hwang will be at the Inge Festival from April 18-21, 2012. He joins the roster of internationally renowned playwrights who have traveled to the Inge Festival to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award. This select list includes Arthur Miller, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, and the most recent Honoree, Marsha Norman, to name just a few.

    “David Henry Hwang brings a unique voice to the fabric of the American theatre,” said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center Artistic Director. “Besides being a great dramatist, his work often gives voice to an Asian-American perspective that has been long left out of American culture.”

    Hwang is also a librettist for musicals and operas, as well as a screenwriter. At the multi-media Tribute ceremony that concludes the Inge Festival, Hwang will accept the annual Inge Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.

    Since its founding in 1981, the William Inge Theatre Festival has celebrated the accomplishments of nationally renowned playwrights. It is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas, located in the picturesque southeastern Kansas town of Independence (pop. 10,000), William Inge’s hometown. Inge, who passed away in 1973, was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Picnic and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Splendor in the Grass.

    Throughout his career, playwright David Henry Hwang has explored the complexities of forging Eastern and Western cultures in a contemporary America. His extraordinary body of work, over the past 30 years, has been marked by a deep desire to reaffirm the common humanity in all of us.

    He is perhaps best known as the author of M. Butterfly,...

  • Pan Asian Rep’s 35th Anniversary Gala on March 19 honors Daniel Dae Kim and Dr. Patrica E. Taylor; New Season includes Stella Rising, BAUDELAIRE: La Mort

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Daniel Dae Kim and Dr. Patricia E. Taylor will be honored at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s 35th Anniversary Gala on Monday, March 19, 2012, at the Edison Ballroom, 240 W 47th Street in New York. Tickets are $350, $500 and $1,000; tables begin at $5,000. Call 212-868-4030 or visit www.panasianrep.org to purchase.

    Daniel Dae Kim image courtesy of DDK Entertainment

    The evening will be co-emceed by Broadway performer Raul Aranas (Miss Saigon), and SLANT's Richard Ebihara and Perry Yung.  Pan Asian Rep will honor Daniel Dae Kim, alum from Pan Asian Rep’s 1993 production ofA Doll House and star of television series “Hawaii Five-O,” “Lost,” and Academy Award-winning film Crash; and Dr. Patricia E. Taylor, research scientist, who with husband Kenneth Taylor, former Canadian Ambassador to Iran in the 70′s, was a key player in the escape of 6 Americans during the Iran hostage crisis.

    The 7th Annual Red Socks Award, established to honor the memory of Lilah Kan, will be given to an Asian-American performer, to be announced at the event. The evening’s entertainment will also present highlights from Pan Asian’s musicals, andspecial In Memoriam photo tributes to Ellen Stewart founder of La Mama E.T.C. and Jadin Wong entertainer and artists manager.

    The evening opens with a cocktail hour and dinner, and continues with the awards ceremony, dancing and a raffle, proceeds of which will benefit Pan Asian Repertory’s continuing commitment to nurturing the next generation of Asian-American artists and audiences.

    Pan Asian Rep is also launching their spring season this month withSTELLA RISING and BAUDELAIRE: La Mort, two unique productions featuring veteran artists from the jazz, dance, theatre and experimental music communities. STELLA RISING and BAUDELAIRE: La Mort play off-Broadway at the West End Theatre (263 W. 86th Street between Broadway & West End Avenue in the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, 2nd floor). STELLA RISING runs March 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15,...

  • Why do Asian Americans Go Uncast in New York Theater?

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    Asian American actors are cast in only two percent of the roles in Broadway and major Off Broadway productions according to new data released by the advocacy group, the Asian American Performers Action Coalition.

    The two percent number is dismal. The data disclosed that of the 6,639 total roles cast in the past five theater seasons, only 54 Broadway parts went to Asian American actors, and 100 Asian American actors got work at nonprofit companies.

    Asian American Performers Action Coalition advocates point to these statistics as proof that there is negligible representation of Asian Americans on stage, and a serious lack of true diversity.

    Asian Americans are New York City's fastest growing ethnic group, currently comprising 12.9 percent of the population. 

    More than 400 people, mostly performers attended the RepresentAsian conference at Fordham University on Monday February 13, 2012 to listen to a roundtable discussion about the topic moderated by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, M.Butterfly) and 17 other members of the theatrical community. 

    Theatre industry veterans at the round table discussion included Broadway director Bartlett Sher, Vineyard Theatre's Doug Aibel, playwright Douglas Carter Beane, producers Nelle Nugent and Stephen Byrd, and Actors' Equity boss Mary McColl.

     

    Related: 

    NPR's Randy Gener covers the RepresentAsian conference

    New York Times writer Patrick Healy reports 

  • Linsanity Etiquette 101 - The historical milestone Jeremy Lin achieved - for all of us

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

     

    March 9, 2012:

    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.

    AC Team members head to New York this week with high hopes to see Jeremy Lin play in a Knicks game. When we watch him, we will be watching a talented basketball player, but we will also be thinking about the historical milestone he has already achieved - for all of us.

     

    Related Update: 

    February 23, 2012:

    Following on the recent racist and racially-offensive incidents in coverage of NBA star Jeremy Lin, the Asian American Journalists Association has issued guidelines on how to and how not to cover Jeremy Lin.

    These guidelines are good for everyone, not just news media. 

    You would have thought that by 2012 our nation's news media wouldn't need such etiquette lessons, but the recent incidents prove otherwise. Let's hope AAJA's advisory serves not only as guidelines, but as a warning shot that any future incidents will not be tolerated. 

    Born in Los Angeles and raised in Palo Alto, California, Jeremy Lin is a native born American.  

    AAJA introduces its guidelines with the following:

    "Jeremy Lin is Asian American, not Asian (more specifically, Taiwanese American). It's an important distinction and one that should be considered before any references to former NBA players such as Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi, who were Chinese. Lin's experiences were fundamentally different than people who immigrated to play in the NBA. Lin progressed through the ranks of American basketball from high school to college to the NBA, and to characterize him as a foreigner is both inaccurate and insulting."

    "Journalists don't assume that African American players identify with NBA players who emigrated from Africa. The same principle applies with Asian Americans. It's fair to ask Lin whether he looked up to...