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

Memoirs of a Geisha

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Monday, 05 December 2005

Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe star in
Memoirs of a Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall, which opens in the U.S. on Dec. 9, 2005

Based on the novel by Arthur Golden, 'Memoirs of a Geisha' is a romantic epic set in Japan. In the years before WWII a penniless Japanese child is torn from her family to work as a maid in a geisha house. The girl blossoms into the legendary geisha Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang). Sayuri captivates the most powerful men of her day, but is haunted by her secret
love for the one man who is out of her reach (Ken Watanabe).

Directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), produced by Steven Spielberg and featuring an international all-star cast including Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), Koji Yakusho ("Shall We Dance?"), Youki Kudoh ("Snow Falling on Cedars"), Gong Li ("Raise the Red Lantern"), Kaori Momoi, Tsai Chin, Cary Tagawa, Mako, Randall Duk Kim, Thomas Ikeda and Zoe Weizenbaum.

Memoirs of a Geisha is now playing in select cities and opens nationwide on Friday, December 23.

Memoirs of a Geisha Website

Paul H. Juhn and James Saito in Sung Rno's Drizzle

Posted by Lia Chang on Friday, 02 December 2005

Paul H. Juhn and James Saito co-star in the one act play "Drizzle" by Sung Rno presented as part of the Drama League's Directorfest 2005, the twenty-second annual presentation of one-act plays staged by The Drama League Fall Directing Fellows, Dec. 8-11, 2005 at the 45th Street Theatre, 354 W. 45th St. in New York.

Paul H. Juhn and James Saito co-star in the one act play "Drizzle" by Sung Rno presented as part of the Drama League's
Directorfest 2005, the twenty-second annual presentation of one-act plays staged by The Drama League Fall Directing Fellows, Dec. 8-11, 2005 at the 45th Street Theatre, 354 W. 45th St. in New York.

Based on a story by Hwang Sung Won,"Drizzle" directed by Abigail Marateck, is a mysterious, witty, and suspenseful play that tells the story of two men, colleagues in the same real estate firm, who after failing to close a deal, retire to a nearby coffee shop for a bit of a break. When the topic of conversation shifts to the Korean War, deadly secrets are revealed. One of the men has a sinister past, but both of their futures will never be the same again after this seemingly harmless coffee break.

Three other new plays Gary Sunshine's "Kahn and Kant", directed by Michael Goldfried; Elizabeth Meriwether's "The Sketch Comedian", directed by Alex Timbers and Michael John Garces' "Audio-video", directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel are in the evening's lineup.

In Gary Sunshine's "Kahn and Kant", Issac K. Kahn is a neurotic, gay 20-something intellectual cannot sleep. In the middle of a hot summer night, he is haunted by his decidedly non-eriudite fantasies: a studly counselor from summer camp days of yore, the Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, and the late great Judy Garland. The heart of the fantasia lies in Issac's struggle to cling to an self-constructed idea of himself as a neck-up intellectual, an identity that denies him the freedom to be a passionate, sexual, fully-feeling human being.

Elizabeth...

Being Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres on Monday, 28 November 2005

Our Renaissance Man is innocently visiting an open house. Next thing he knows, he's in a stranger's blog! Crazy...

Maybe its just me, but I dont get this whole blogging phenomenon. People writing anything from diary entries to political rants and posting them; other people trolling the Internet and stumbling into them. And thenand this is what gets metaking the time to read the stuff.

Yeah, I know. There are professional writers blogging away. Brian Williams , the NBC anchor and managing editor, writes one on www.dailynightly.msnbc.com. The San Jose Mercury's fine young pop music critic, Marian Liu , offers backstage info on the myriad shows she catches: The Roots, Black Eyed Peas , the hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari , and Japan Girls Nite with Red Bacteria Vacuum --and that's all in one night, just about. The girl never sleeps. She even says as much on her blog, which is at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/marian_liu/index.html.

And, yeah, Im aware that this little column is, in essence, a (too-) long running blog, only housed in an established portal. But most bloggers are no more interesting than anyone who writes letters to the editor, or who goes onto an Internet site and posts reviews of books and movies, or joins a bulletin board, where they can rant and rave, hoping to draw a commentthat is, another ranter and raver out there.

Obviously, people are into it, as we now have the audio version, called Podcasting.

So, anyway, I was Googling myself one late night and ran right into this unbelievable blog, this reminder that youve always got to be on your best behavior. Or decent, anyway. You never know when someones gonna do a blog about you.

Heres what I found. It was posted back in July of 2004. (Hey, I dont Google myself all that often.)

* * *
Jan and I are house hunting. Sick and pretty damn tired of suburbia, we think we're heading for San Francisco. Or course, house prices here are insane so...

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.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM GRACE LEE -

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
7pm
Q+A with Mike Kang, cast and crew to follow.

THE MOTEL AFTER PARTY
8pm-11pm
White Rabbit
145 Houston Street (b/w Forsyth and Eldridge)
$10 admission...