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

  • May 20, 21: Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente at 47th Street Theatre

    Posted by Lia Chang

    The NYC Epic Theatre Ensemble is presenting Jeanne Sakata’s solo playHold These Truths (formerly known as Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi), directed by Lisa Rothe and starring Joel de la Fuente, in a free and prototype production at the 47th Street Theatre, 304 W. 47th St. between 8th and 9th Ave in New York on May 20 and 21 at 8pm.

    Inspired by a true story, Dawn’s Light takes placed in Seattle during World War II, where University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi is agonizing over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures.

    The production is free and open to the public, and begins at 8pm. Clickhere to RSVP. http://epictheatreensemble.org/holdthesetruths

    Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom 

    Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Jeanne Sakata made her playwriting debut in recent years with her solo show Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi). The play had its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players, co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and was subsequently chosen by the Epic Theatre Ensemble and the Lark Play Development Center for their first joint presentation, as well as by the New York Theatre Workshop to be showcased at their 2009 Dartmouth Residency. Most recently, the play was performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park as part of the Park’s 2011 IN THE WORKS New Plays Series. It was also presented in the Epic...

  • David Henry Hwang, BD Wong, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim, Brian d’Arcy James, Oskar Eustis, and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space

    Posted by Lia Chang

    On Monday, May 7, 2012 at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York, Tony award-winning Playwright David Henry Hwang celebrated the release of his newly published play from TCG Books, Chinglish, which received its Broadway premiere in Fall 2011 and was named “Best American Play of 2011” by TIME magazine, and by Bloomberg Radio, NY1 and WNYC as one of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year.

    David Henry Hwang at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    The critically acclaimed Chinglish is set for the silver screen, and a tour which kicks off in the Fall at Berkeley Rep. Fast and Furioushelmer Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Finishing the Game), recently acquired the film rights toChinglish and is set to begin shooting in 2013, with a screenplay by Hwang.Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish

    WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    The play has been nominated for 3 Drama Desk Awards including – Outstanding Play for Hwang, Outstanding Actress in a Play for Jennifer Lim and Outstanding Set Design for David Korins. Chinglish opened at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in the summer of 2011, winning two Jeff Awards – for Hwang (New Work-Play) and scenic designer David Korins (Scenic Design-Large), before moving to Broadway.

    Brian d’Arcy James, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim and Francis Jue at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    This Fall, Hwang succeeds Athol Fugard as Signature Theatre’s Residency One playwright for the 2012-2013 season at the company’s new home, The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenues). Residency One is Signature’s core one-year playwright-in-residence program that...

  • One Red Bastard Novelist Ed Lin Readings in New York on May 7, 10 and 12

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Novelist Ed Lin’s 4th book, One Red Bastard (Minotaur Books), his 3rd of his Robert Chow series, is hot off the presses this month. Publishers Weeklyawarded the book a prepublication star, denoting a book of exceptional merit.

    “Tensions in America’s relationship with China and Taiwan form the backdrop for Lin’s compelling third mystery featuring Chinese-American Robert Chow of the NYPD (after 2010’s Snakes Can’t Run). By the fall of 1976, Chow has moved on from being the department’s token to real policing, but his personal and professional lives collide when his journalist girlfriend, Lonnie, becomes the prime suspect in a case with potential international repercussions. Chen Xiaochuan, the official representative for Mao Tse-tung’s daughter, who’s seeking asylum in the States, is bludgeoned to death in a Chinatown park, and Lonnie is the last person known to have seen him after interviewing him for her newspaper. Possible motives can be found all over the political spectrum, complicating the investigation.”

    Check out the book trailer here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VnwcLiSXO4

    Ed Lin

    Meet Lin on Monday, May 7 at 6:30pm at The Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren Street in New York.http://bit.ly/IFi9GWOn Thursday, May 10, at 6:30pm, Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang introduces Lin at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), 215 Centre Street in Chinatown. Louis Changchien will be reading from the book, and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is serving up an “Ed Lin” flavor that night. Taste the EdLinsanity!http://bit.ly/HKSmhjOn Saturday, May 12 at 6:30pm: Lin will be joined by his wife, actress Cindy Cheung (SPEAK UP CONNIE), at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop at 110-112 West 27th Street, 6th Floor in New York.http://bit.ly/HZXAJG

    Ed Lin is the author of several books including Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, were widely praised. Both also won the Members’ Choice...

  • May 21: Raymond J. Lee and Ali Ewoldt star in Concert Reading of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Ali Ewoldt

    In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, the Eastern Region Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actors’ Equity Association will present a concert reading of GOLD MOUNTAIN (book, music and lyrics by Jason Ma), on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Directed by Christine Toy Johnson, the reading will take place at Hunter College’s Lang Recital Hall, 69th Street (between Park and Lex) and will feature Raymond J. Lee (ANYTHING GOES), Ali Ewoldt (LES MISERABLES), Alan Ariano (MISS SAIGON), Steven Eng, Whitney Kam Lee, Paolo Montalban (PACIFIC OVERTURES), Buzz Roddy, Hansel Tan, Joshua Dela Cruz, Dan Edwards, Andrew Eisenman, Brian Jose, Jake Manabat and David Shih. Musical direction is by Michael Larsen. Production design is by Bruce Alan Johnson.

    Raymond J. Lee

    GOLD MOUNTAIN is the untold story of the Chinese men who, in search of a better life for their families, came to California to build the Central Pacific Railroad — endangering their own lives and finding heartache and hardship instead of the gold they were promised. Two star-crossed lovers find each other in the midst of it all and must find a way to escape, or risk never being together again.

    Tickets are free, but space is very limited. RSVP to eeo@actorsequity.org by May 18.

    Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

    Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

    Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

  • May 2: Gwynne Chow Tuan, Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show, Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep and Dr. Alexander Tsui to receive 2012 APEX Inspiration Awards in NYC

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Gwynne Chow Tuan

    On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, MSNBC anchor Richard Lui and actor BD Wong (“Awake”, “Law & Order SVU”) will co-emcee APEX’s 20th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Gala Dinner celebrating role models in the Asian-American community and APEX’s crucial work with underserved, inner-city youth, at Capitale, 130 Bowery in New York City from 6:30pm – 10pm.

    The 2012 Inspiration Awards will be presented to Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show,” Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep, Dr. Alexander Tsui, and fundraiser Gwynne Chow Tuan.

    APEX enables underserved children from Asian American communities in New York City to become well-rounded, productive members of society through programs that meet their academic, social and personal needs. The honorees for the evening have demonstrated an equal commitment to serving the Asian American community.

    APEX was founded in 1992 and today serves more than 200 youth from almost 50 public schools, and provides over 6,000 hours of volunteer service a year within New York City’s five boroughs. The youth can participate in a variety of after-school programs that build academic skills to help them overcome achievement gaps, engage them in a larger community, and instill a lifelong commitment to volunteerism and service. These programs address a population that is often assumed to be well positioned for success. However, one in four Asian American youths live in poverty, one out of three do not graduate high school on time or graduate at all, and 65 percent in high-need areas are not college or career-ready upon graduation. Despite these statistics, only one percent of New York City’s social service budget and foundation grants to New York charities go toward organizations focused on Asian American communities. APEX’s programs fill the void of the underserved in this community and young people who complete its programs have a 99% college attendance rate. After 20 years,...