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

  • Hawaii Five-O co-stars ask for equal pay to white co-stars - CBS offers less - They Quit

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    by Suzanne Kai

    July 5, 2017

    A year after the 2016 Oscars ceremony host Chris Rock made stereotypical jokes out of the Asian American kids on stage - Asian actors are still fighting for parity and roles.

    Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, co-stars on the CBS series 'Hawaii Five-0' since 2010 asked for equal pay to that of their white co-stars, Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan.

    According to Variety, CBS' final offer was 10 to 15 percent lower than what O'Loughlin and Caan are paid.

    Grace played Kono Kalakaua, and Daniel's character was Chin Ho Kelly. They acted in all of the 168 episodes of the series.

    Daniel Dae Kim posted on his Facebook page on July 5, 2017: (excerpt from a longer message to his fans)

    By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-0 when production starts next week. Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.

    As sad as it feels to say goodbye, what I feel most is gratitude. I am so deeply thankful to our crew, writers and everyone associated with the show – and especially the cast, who have been nothing but supportive through this entire process. They and the crew have been my second family for seven years and I wish them nothing but success for season 8 - and beyond.

    I also want to say thank you to Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and everyone at CBS. I will always be grateful for their faith in me to bring Chin Ho Kelly to life. As an Asian American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well developed, three dimensional character like Chin Ho. I will miss him sincerely.

    What made him even more special is that he was a representative of a place my family and I so dearly love. It has been nothing short of an honor to be able to showcase the beauty and people of Hawaii every week, and I...

  • Jackie Chan says his mission is complete with his 101st movie 'Chinese Zodiac'

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    October 27, 2013

    Rumors floating on the web say that Jackie Chan's 101st movie 'Chinese Zodiac' is his last major action comedy, but we hope those rumors are false.

    Ryan Pearson, AP Entertainment Writer sheds some hope. He reports that the 59 year old isn't quitting anytime soon, and just completed filming another installment for his "Police Story" franchise, and is in talks to do a movie with his "Rush Hour' co-star Chris Tucker. 

    Click here to the movie's trailer:

    http://youtu.be/4YtAbUU5jk8

    Chan wrote, directed and starred in his action comedy 'Chinese Zodiac' about a team trying to steal some of the bronze statues representing the twelve animals of hte zodiac from the Chinese Palace which were stolen from Beijing in the 1860s.

    The film is now in theaters in the U.S., and was released in China last year. Since the movie's release two of the statues were returned to China by the head of Gucci's parent company, Francois Pinault.

    Related:

    JackieChan.com - Jackie Chan's Official Website

    Los Angeles Times (video)

    AP Story on Jackie Chan

    The Washington Post on Jackie Chan

  • Update - Judith has signed with Sony! A ‘Voice’ in the Shadows: Judith Hill by Ben Fong-Torres

    Posted by Admin

    Photo: Judith Hill, Suzanne Joe Kai, Ben Fong-Torres at the 21st AAJA convention in Los Angeles                                          

    Update Oct. 8, 2013  Judith's touring schedule with Josh Groban and official news of her new deal with Sony Music!

     

    From Judith's official enewsletter and website JudithHill.com.

     

    Judith Hill has been tapped by multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter and actor Josh Groban as support for his fall "In The Round" tour, which kicks off tonight at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, ID. In addition to opening the show, Hill will join Groban during his set for two songs: "The Prayer" and "Remember When It Rains." Judith, who contributed backing vocals to three tracks on Groban's latest album, All That Echoes, will also be playing a series of headline dates this fall. See below for itinerary.

     

    Praised by Rolling Stone for her "stellar powerhouse vocals," Hill has signed with Sony Music. In addition to penning and performing her own material, Judith - who wrote her first song at the age of four - has backed such artists as the late Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. Hers is one of the stories told in director Morgan Neville's acclaimed 20 Feet From Stardom, a film that shines the spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Hill, who was also featured on the film's soundtrack, was a contestant on season four of "The Voice." 

     

    Hill is also finishing up her debut record, which will be released in early 2014.   

     

    Judith Hill - Fall 2013 Tour Dates

     

    All dates are supporting Josh Groban unless otherwise noted.

     

    Additional headline dates to be announced.  Click HERE to Purchase Tickets. 

     

    October

     

    2 - Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena   

     

    3 - Portland, OR @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (headline show)

     

    4 - Seattle, WA @ KeyArena 6 - Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Arena 7 - San Jose, CA @HP Pavilion at San Jose 9 - Phoenix, AZ @ US...

  • Ben Fong-Torres is in Dubai with music producer Quincy Jones to kick-off Dubai's inaugural mega music event

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    Ben Fong-Torres shares a laugh with music producer Quincy Jones Photo by Suzanne Joe Kai

     

    September 24, 2013

     

    Dubai

     

    As I post this, Ben just arrived to Dubai from California, and had dinner with music producer Quincy Jones.

     

    Ben is in Dubai with Quincy to moderate two seminars at Dubai Music Week, presented by Quincy. It is a mega music event - the region's inaugural music industry trade show, conference and concert series September 24 - 29, 2013. 

     

    The seminar series called "Emirates World Exclusive Quincy Jones Seminars" begins September 24, with Ben moderating a discussion with Quincy Jones, and the multi Grammy award-winning production team behind Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, Bad, and Thriller. The team includes Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Bruce Swedien. They will share their experiences producing the greatest selling album of all time.

     

    On September 25, Ben leads "The Producers Panel" seminar with Quincy Jones and Will.i.Am and Timbaland  to discuss music production with fans, and to launch the first cross-over talent from across the region. The events begin at 8pm on both days at Dubai World Trade Center, DMW Emirates Theater, Sheikh Saeed Hall 2.

     

    Will.i.Am and Timbaland will perform in concert September 26, and Selena Gomez will perform September 27. 

     

    The photo of Ben with Quincy Jones was taken at Quincy's home during an interview for our documentary in development Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres.

     

  • Actress Michi Barall is in the ensemble cast of stop.reset. a new play by Regina Taylor

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Photo by Lia Chang of Michi Barall, Actress

    New York City

    stop. reset., a new play written and directed by Regina Taylor which has performances in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York through September 29, 2013, tackles powerful questions of legacy, identity and survival in a world where the real and the virtual are more closely tied than we think.

    Photo by Joan Marcus of Teagle F Bougere as Chris, LaTanya Richardson Jackson as Jan, Donald Sage Mackay as Tim and Michi Barall as Deb in Signature Theatre’s world premiere of Regina Taylor’s stop. reset.

    Photo by Lia Chang of Ismael Cruz Cordova in stop. reset, written and directed by Regina Taylor. 

    In stop.reset., e-books are outselling printed books, and Alex Ames (Carl Lumbly), the owner of Chicago’s oldest African American book publishing company, is faced with the task of questioning each of his employees, Deb (Michi Barall), Chris (Teagle Bougere), Jan (LaTanya Richardson Jackson) and Tim (Donald Sage MacKay), to determine who is still relevant in a rapidly changing world. When he meets J (Ismael Cruz Cordova), a mysterious youth plugged into the future, Mr. Ames is forced to discover just how far he will go to survive.

    Photo by Lia Chang of castmembers LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Michi Barall starring in Regina Taylor’s stop. reset. on September 21, 2013. 

    Photo of Lia Chang of Michi Barall. 

    Signature alum Michi Barall, and member of the ensemble cast of stop.reset. is a native of Toronto, is an actor, playwright, professor and scholar-in-training. She last starred at Signature at The Peter Norton Space in the world premiere of Queens Boulevard (the musical) by 2007-2008 Playwright-in-Residence Charles Mee, her husband of ten years.

    As an actor, Michi has worked predominantly on new plays by American writers –including Julia Cho, Philip Kan Gotanda, A.R. Gurney, John Guare, Naomi Iizuka, Han Ong, Jose Rivera, Sung Rno, Paul Rudnick, Charles Mee, Sarah Schulman,...