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

Filmmaker Grace Lee Wants You

Posted by AC Team on Saturday, 19 November 2005

I made a film called THE GRACE LEE PROJECT which opens at NYC's Film Forum from Dec. 14-27.


Dear Friends, Grace Lees, and Friends of Grace Lee(s),
Greetings! As many of you know, I made a film called THE GRACE LEE PROJECT which opens theatrically at New York City's Film Forum from December 14-27.

The film premiered earlier this year at the San Francisco Intl. Asian American Film Festival to sold out houses, and has continued to collect great reviews on its festival run from SXSW to the Los Angeles and Pusan International Film Festivals and many others in between. Variety called it a "funny and complex meditation on identity and cultural expectations." And the Los Angeles Times described it as a "fascinating portrait, told with humor and insight."

I'm really excited to be working with our distributor Women Make Movies on the release and am proud to premiere at the prestigious Film Forum. But we need your help to make sure this film finds its audience -- especially since performing well here will help us move on to other cities. AND, we're opening on the same day as King Kong! Yes, it's King Kong vs. Grace Lee. The battle lines are drawn.

I'm writing to ask you to SAVE THE DATES (December 14-27) and urge you and everyone you know in the New York area to come out and support the film. I guarantee that you will be entertained, that you will get a fresh take on an identity crisis, and you will meet characters you have never seen before. And they all share my incredibly common Asian American name: Grace Lee.

I'll be in New York from Dec 7-19 to help promote the film, but in the meantime, please help spread the word. Some of the ways you can help:

1. Send an email to all your friends, newsgroups, organizations, listservs, etc.
2. Link the Grace Lee Project banner to your blog/website (you can download the html at www.gracelee.net)
3. Bring postcards to any...

Mike Kang's The Motel at the 28th Asian American International Film Festival

Posted by Lia Chang on Saturday, 16 July 2005

Check into Mike Kang's THE MOTEL at the Asia Society on July 21st during the 28th Asian American International Film Festival

Check into Michael Kang's THE MOTEL on July 21st at the Asia Society during the 28th Asian American International Film Festival in New York.

Fresh from its Sundance world premiere and winner of the 2001 AAIFF Screenplay Competition, THE MOTEL is Kang's smart and funny feature film debut, starring Sung Kang, Jeffrey Chyau, Jade Wu and Samantha Futerman, a heartwarming coming of age comedy that also taps into the heartbreak of growing up adolescent and A-squared in America.

When you're a chubby Chinese American kid toiling in your family's sleazy suburban motel and hopelessly in love with the only Asian American girl in the county, how can you ever manage to be the model minority that everyone expects you to be? If you're Ernest Chin, the hapless hero of THE MOTEL, you may have better luck tomorrow when a badboy tenant decides to become the big brother you never had.

Aspiring to something more, young Ernest (Jeffrey Chyau) chronicles the crushing monotony of his daily life at the motel as well as his crush on the cute waitress at the local Chinese restaurant in an essay that ends up a winner in a local literary contest. Well, an honorable mention to be exact. His bitter mother belittles his accomplishment and sends him packing with fresh linens and toilet paper until new tenant Sam (Sung Kang, BETTER LUCK TOMORROW), complete with floozy and booze, takes him under his wing. The problem is, this newfound mentor may be more played-out than player.

To order tickets, visit 28th Asian American International Film Festival or call the box office at 212-327-9385

Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Ave, NYC
Q+A with Mike Kang, cast and crew to follow.

White Rabbit
145 Houston Street (b/w Forsyth and Eldridge)
$10 admission...

Lorey Hayes' Dragonfly Tale at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre in NY on July 24th

Posted by AC Team on Saturday, 16 July 2005

Lorey Hayes' Dragonfly Tale at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre in NY on July 24th

Catch the reading of THE DRAGONFLY TALE , a new play by Lorey Hayes and Bobby Crear on Sunday, July 24th at 4:30pm in the 13th Street Repertory Playreading Series in New York.

A tale of spiritual and emotional warfare inspired by a true story, THE DRAGONFLY TALE follows the journey of a Russian immigrant and a Black war veteran in a small Texas town still reeling from the Kennedy assasination, who risk their lives and freedom to help a young Black boy and his mother escape the devastation of domestic violence.

Directed by Imani, the cast features Hayes, Malik Bedford Deatrice Devon, Garrett Hendrix, Terrence Riggins, Wayne Scherzer, Sara Wagner, Sharon Wajswol, Lawrence Winslow and Kim Yancey.

13th Street Repertory Company
50 W. 13th St. btwn 5th and 6th Ave.
New York
RSVP: call (212) 714-7066.

Lia Chang in Lorey Hayes' Power Play

Posted by AC Team on Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Lia Chang, Peggy Alston, E. L. Janie, Dianne Kirksey and J. Preston star in Power Play by Lorey Hayes at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, New York through June 26th.

Lia Chang is currently appearing in the Billie Holiday Theatre's production of Lorey Hayes' Power Play in Brooklyn, NY through Jun. 26th.

Power Play also features J. Preston, Peggy Alston, E.L. Janie and Dianne Kirksey under the direction of Marjorie Moon, the producer of the Billie Holiday Theatre.

This political drama follows the path of the dynamic women behind a powerful man enmeshed in a whirlwind of intrigue.

In Power Play , Senator Franklin Wright (J. Preston) and his wife Lou (E.L. Janie) are living the American Dream. Senator Wright is propelled to political stardom by his campaign manager Carole Barbara (Lia Chang) who is female and Asian American. He is the campaign front runner who just might make history by becoming California's first African-American Governor, when three days before the election, he is embroiled in the midst of a scandal that threatens to ruin his career, the election and his marriage, forcing him to make a life and death decision.

The design team includes Patrice Davidson (sets), Helen Simmons (costumes) and Avan (lighting).

Lia who plays the role of Carole Barbara, recently appeared as Angela in William A. Parker's Audelco nominated Waitin' 2 End Hell directed by Woodie King at the 47th Street Playhouse for the New Federal Theatre. The San Francisco born and bred actress has also been featured on stage in the Signature Theater Company's revival of Sam Shepard's 1965 Obie award winning play Chicago at the Public Theater, in South Pacific with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden, Jeff Weiss' Obie Award winning Hot Keys as well as on screen in "Wolf," "New Jack City," "Kiss Before Dying," "King of New York," "Big Trouble in Little China," "The Last Dragon," "Taxman," "New York Undercover," "One Life to Live," and "As the...

The Power of the Asian Connection in Lorey Hayes' Power Play

Posted by AC Team on Friday, 03 June 2005

Lorey Hayes' "Power Play" celebrates the celebrates the spirit and integrity of African-American men.

The revival of Lorey Hayes' award-winning play, "Power Play" at The Billie Holiday Theatre re-examines prayer, politics and the power of the Asian connection.

The ensemble cast of "Power Play" features Peggy Alston, Lia Chang, E.L. Janie, Dianne Kirksey and J. Preston under the direction of Marjorie Moon, who is also the producer and the executive director of the AUDELCO and OBIE award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre. The design team includes sets by Patrice Andrew Davidson, costumes by Helen L. Simmons, and lighting by Avan.

Propelled to political stardom by an Asian American female campaign manager, Senator Franklin Wright stands on the threshold of making history; becoming Californias first African-American governor. Three days before the election, he suddenly finds himself thrust in the midst of a scandal that threatens to destroy the election, his career and forces him to make a life and death decision. "Power Play" is about the women behind this powerful man who find themselves caught up in a whirlwind that threatens to destroy them all.

Celebrating the spirit and integrity of African American men, the play is a provocative, funny look at the residual effects of political scandal. "Power Play" examines friendship, love integrity, public scrutiny and the question we all face today "What are we voting for, a candidate's private life or the record of his accomplishments and the depths of his commitment?"

Hayes is a Wallace, North Carolina native who honed her writing skills in New York at The Negro Ensemble Company, Frank Silveras Writers Workshop, Roger Furman Theater, The Frederick Douglas Creative Arts Center and Los Angeles Mark Taper Forum. For two consecutive years, Ms. Hayes' plays have been chosen for the Skirball Celebrity Reading Gala to benefit Danny Glover's Robey Theater. Excerpts from several plays are...