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...

Backstage Pass Articles

  • Sept. 6-8: 3rd Annual RightsFest - a Traveling Civil Rights Festival comes to Tribeca Cinemas, September 6-8, 2012

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Opening night: Thursday, September 6The 90th Minute (24 min) compels viewers to think about the way we value women’s sports. More than a decade after the 1999 Women’s World Cup, when players like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain inspired girls across the country to take up soccer, the Women’s Professional Soccer league still cannot survive. In May, just months after The 90th Minute’s release, the WPS folded completely.* Director Jun Stinson will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

    Jesse Owens (56 min), a 2012 American Experience film produced by Firelight Media (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), delves beyond the sprinter’s stunning performance at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany to tell the story of the son of a sharecropper who becomes a world champion, only to be confronted by the harsh realities of celebrity.* Director Laurens Grant will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

    Centerpiece presentations: Friday, September 7Transcending: the Wat Misaka Story (50 min) chronicles the journey of the first minority basketball player in the NBA. Amidst a hostile racial climate that incarcerated 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans during World War II, Misaka prevails as a top college basketball player who is ultimately drafted by the New York Knicks in 1947.* Co-directors Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

    In Her Corner (43 min) profiles 2012 Olympic bronze medal boxer Marlen Esparza. The 2012 Olympic Games were the first to allow women’s boxing, the last female sport to be included in the world’s most prestigious sporting competition. In Her Corner reflects the lives and many struggles of female boxers in this country.* CNN host Soledad O’Brien will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

    Closing night: Saturday, September 8Blind Ambition (12 min) introduces us to Simon Hill, a Paralympic soccer player who competes in England’s blind football...

  • Aug. 31: LA Premiere of $upercapitalist with Derek Ting, Kathy Uyen, Rachel Tan, Paul Sheehan and Joyce Yung at LAEMMLE Noho 7; Photos of NY Premiere

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Joyce Yung and Derek Ting at Village East Cinema for the New York theatrical premiere screening of Supercapitalist on August 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Meet Derek Ting (producer, writer, and actor), Kathy Uyen (lead actress), Joyce Yung (producer), Rachel Tan (actress), and Paul Sheehan (actor), who will be in attendance for the 7pm screening of Simon Yin’s$upercapitalist on August 31, 2012 at Laemmle’s Noho 7, 5240 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Click here to purchase tickets for the screening.

    Derek Ting and Kathy Uyen in $upercapitalist

    The screening will be followed by a Q & A and the after party hosted byPrivy.net at Le Ka Restaurant and Lounge, 800 W. 6th St. in downtown LA. Your ticket stub from the movie will provide entrance into the Privy $upercapitalist event at Le Ka. For more details, click here to RSVP.

    Derek Ting, producer, writer and star of Simon Yin’s Supercapitalist in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

    $upercapitalist, a U.S./China co-production and the first English language financial thriller independently produced out of Hong Kong, follows Conner Lee (Derek Ting), a maverick New York hedge fund trader who moves to Hong Kong to orchestrate a mega-deal that swiftly escalates beyond his control. Caught between competing forces in America and Asia in a ruthless culture of profits at all costs, he desperately negotiates and maneuvers inside China’s closed, complex society. With his life and Hong Kong’s future staked on a corrupt billion dollar deal, the trader takes the ultimate risk.

    Linus Roache in $UPERCAPITALIST

    The film also stars Linus Roache, (Batman Begins, The Chronicles of Riddick, Wings of a Dove), Kenneth Tsang (Rush Hour 2, John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow), Richard Ng (Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life), Kathy Uyen (How I Met Your Mother), Darren E. Scott and 2-time Emmy winner, Michael Park (“As the World Turns”).

    Supercapitalist’s stars Michael Park and Derek Ting at Village East Cinema for...

  • Sept. 14-16: World Premiere Screening of Lil Tokyo Reporter Starring Chris Tashima at Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Lil Tokyo Reporter, starring Academy award winner Chris Tashima (Visas and Virtue, Day of Independence, Model Minority), will have its world premiere screening at Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 East Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, from September 14-16, 2012.

    Chris Tashima (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Tashima portrays the title character in Lil Tokyo Reporter, a narrative short film based on the true life struggles of Sei Fujii, immigrant pioneer, leader, and publisher. Click here for updates on showtimes during the week of September 14.

    Jeffrey Gee Chin directed Lil Tokyo Reporter, with a screenplay written by Guinevere Turner (American Psycho), based on the research of executive producer Fumiko Carole Fujita and the Little Tokyo Historical Society. In addition to Tashima, Lil Tokyo Reporter stars Eijiro Ozaki, Ikuma Ando, Keiko Agena, and Sewell Whitney.

    Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo Reporter. Photo courtesy of Lil Tokyo Reporter

    Although Sei Fujii was one of the most pinnacle civil rights leaders in the early 20th century, Lil Tokyo Reporter highlights his journey away from his political contributions, and delves into his interpersonal journey to defend and promote his deteriorating community during the Great Depression.

    Fujii vowed to protect his people, defended them in legal cases with Attorney Wright and built a much needed hospital for the Japanese American community. During the Great Depression, the community unites at their first annual pageant parade while Fujii promotes their accomplishments through his new radio program and newspaper. Wright brings to Fujii’s attention a group running the local gambling hall who decided to take advantage of his community. Fujii must make a decision to confront the issue through his reporting and newspaper. Will these local baddies win over our historic civil rights leader? Or will our hero survive a road that will lead him into many unexpected twist of events.

    Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo...

  • Sept. 5-8: Puppets, Projections and Politics Collide in Rehana Lew Mirza’s LONELY LEELA at Here

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Desipina & Co. – a fusion arts company focusing in film and theatre, dedicated to promoting cross-pollinations of artistic, political and cultural dialogues – in conjunction with Ma-Yi Writers Lab, will present a workshop of LONELY LEELA, a new play by Rehana Lew Mirza (TCG Future Leader Fellow, Lark/IAAC Playwright in Residence). The play is an “Alice in Wonderland” inspired multi-media, puppet adventure where malicious codes and white knight bloggers meet in a shifting world of everything’s at your fingertips but you can’t quite find what you’re looking for.

    Performances for LONELY LEELA are Wednesday, September 5 to Saturday, September 8 at 7:00pm, at HERE (145 6th Avenue, enter on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring Street) in New York.

    Directed by Robert Ross Parker (co-Artistic Director of the Obie Award-winning Vampire Cowboys), LONELY LEELA features a cast that includes: Quinlan Corbett (YOUR BOYFRIEND MAY BE IMAGINARY), Andrew Guilarte (INVASION), Anna Kull (MILK), Maria-Christina Oliveras (BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON), Matt Park (WE IN SILENCE HEAR A WHISPER), Lipica Shah (DOV & ALI), and David Shih (CRANE STORY).

    LONELY LEELA is produced by Ying Le for Desipina & Co. and has a design team that includes Jason Simms (set), Jake Witlen (video and lighting), Spica Wobbe (puppets), Ien DeNio (sound and music), Dax Valdes (choreographer), Jenny Fisher (costumes) and stage management by John Nehlich.

    This production is a part of the Sublet Series@HERE, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support. LONELY LEELA is an Equity approved showcase.

    Tickets are $15 general admission. For Tickets & Information at: here.orgor desipina.org or call 212-352-3101.

    For more information on LONELY LEELA, please visit www.desipina.org. Follow the production on Twitter @Desipina.

    Rehana Lew Mirza’s full-length plays include BARRIERS (HERE; Asian American Theater Company, SF); THE...

  • Aug. 31-Sept. 11: The King and I on tour at Wolf Trap and Fabulous Fox Theatre - Stars Ronobir Lahiri, Victoria Mallory, Raul Aranas, Ali Ewoldt, Josh Dela Cruz, Jee Hyun Lim and Raphael Aranas, Helmed by Baayork Lee

    Posted by Lia Chang

    "The King and I" is on tour in three cities Aug. 31-Sept. 11, 2012

    Rodgers and Hammerstein’s multiple Tony-winning classic The King and I is on a tour starring Ronobir Lahiri as The King of Siam and Victoria Mallory as Anna, helmed by Baayork Lee, with choreography by Susan Kikuchi and Jerome Robbins, in a three city tour.The King and I tour presented by Theater of the Stars, kicked off at The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, VA. on August 28, 2012, for three performances. From August 31st – September 2, the show will have five performances at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA., before heading to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA., September 5 – 11.

    Based on the real life adventures of the English widow Anna Leonowens, and the best-selling 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siamby Margaret Landon, The King and I is a fascinating tale about a clash of customs and finding love in spite of our differences.

    Set in the 1860’s in Bangkok, The King and I is the timeless love story between a powerful and stubborn king and a determined governess named Anna. The show features opulent settings, a beautiful story of honor and forgiveness, and is filled with memorable songs such as “Hello Young Lovers,” “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Shall We Dance?” and “Getting To Know You.”

    Raul Aranas as The Kralahome and Raphael Aranas as Prince Chulalongkorn. (Photo courtesy of Raul Aranas)

    Ali Ewoldt

    The King and I cast includes Raul Aranas as The Kralahome and his son Raphael Aranas as Prince Chulalongkorn, Josh Dela Cruz as Lun Tha, Ali Ewoldt as Tuptim, Jee Hyun Lim as Lady Thiang, John Antony as Captain Orton, Andrew Cheng as Simon of Legree, Andy Danh as The Interpreter, Carl Kimbrough as Louis Leonowens, Cassey K. Kivnick as Uncle Thomas, Chase McGrath as Louis Leonowens, Azumi Milligan as Little Eva, Rumi Oyama as Angel George, Yuki Ozeki as Topsy and Jessica Wu as Eliza. The cast also features Stephanie Card, Amy Chiang, Thang Dao, Yuka...