Entertainment Spotlight

  • Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    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

  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Invites Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Miyazaki Collaborator Joe Hisaishi, DP Michael Chin and others to become Members

    Posted by:

    Beverly Hills, CA

     Photo credit used by permission: Emmy Magazine, Lucy Liu

     Congratulations to all of the 2013 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invitees.

    "These individuals are among the best filmmakers working in the industry today," said Academy President Hawk Koch. "Their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, and I am proud to welcome each of them to the Academy. Invitees who accept their invitation to join will be eligible to vote in the annual Oscars.

    The 276 invitees for 2013 include 12 names with Asian surnames that could be informally determined from the official Academy list. 

    The 2013 invitees include actors Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh, CEO of Warner Bros Entertainment Kevin Tsujihara, documentary filmmaker Michael Chin, and composer and music director Joe Hisaishi who is a frequent collaborator to animation director Hayao Miyazaki ("Ponyo,""Spirited Away").

    In 2012,  the overall list was 100 names shorter than 2013's. Only 7 people with Asian surnames made the 2012 list of 176 invitees including (Actor) Michelle Yeoh (“The Lady,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), (Cinematographer)  Larry Fong ("Super 8,” “300”), (Cinematographer) Toyomichi Kurita ("Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," "Waiting to Exhale"), (Director) Wong Kar Wai (“My Blueberry Nights,” “In the Mood for Love”), (Music) Ryuichi Sakamoto (“Love Is the Devil,” “The Last Emperor”),  (Short Film/Feature Animation) Jennifer Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Madagascar”).

    The New York Times reports that the Academy had limited its membership numbers since 2004 by using quotas within its branches, but has now changed its guidelines to increase its membership and broaden diversity within its ranks. 

    The full 2013 list can be viewed at Oscars.org  The full 2012 list can be viewed here.

    2013 Academy invitees (with Asian surnames) include: (click here to the article.) (Click here to the complete 2013 list...

  • Quincy Jones is the Executive Producer of new Asian girl group "Blush"

    Posted by:


    May 22, 2013

    Legendary music producer/composer Quincy Jones turned 80 this year and he's still going strong. His latest endeavors include representing young talent including K-Pop style Asian girl group Blush. Click here for the story by James McKinley, Jr. at the New York Times.

    Girl group Blush includes talents from five Asian countries, Ji Hae Lee from South Korea, Alisha Budhrani from India, Natsuko Danjo from Japan, Victoria Chan from Hong Kong/China and Angeli Flores from the Philippines. Quincy executive produced Blush's new single "Warrior." Click here to view the music video. 

    On a separate note, Quincy Jones was interviewed for a documentary about Ben Fong-Torres, the legendary rock journalist and former senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine. The documentary is being directed by Suzanne Joe Kai. Thanks Quincy! 



  • Hulu celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with new Asian film releases

    Posted by:

    May, 2013




    New Asian film titles have been added to Hulu in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month.


    Hulu's ChineseJapanese and Korean libraries now include:


    Korean Titles:Korean Dramas: Launching are My Sassy Girl (dir. Jae-Young Kwaek), 200 Pounds Beauty (Young-Hwa Kim), and action drama Crying Fist (Seung-Wan Ryoo with Oldboy’s Min-Sik Choi).Korean Cannes Selections: HahahaVirgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Sang-Soo Hong), and A Brand New Life (Ounie Lecomte).


    Additionally, the famed Oldboy trilogy is available on Hulu Plus until June 30th. The sci-fi cult classic is about a man determined to find his kidnapper who imprisoned him for 15 years. The film has been recognized at numerous festivals, and took home the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes in 2004.  Enter the world of director Chan-Wook Park with OldboySympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance.


    Chinese Titles

    Chinese dramas, such as Love In a Puff (Ho-Cheung Pang), The Soul Of Bread (Pin-Chuan Kao), and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Johnnie To) make their Hulu debut in the Chinese film category as well.


    Japanese Titles: Criterion Collection features masterpieces by Akira KurosawaMasaki Koboyashi and Nagisa Oshima, among many others. New Criterion titles never before seen on DVD are coming exclusively to Hulu soon, so stay tuned.


    To find Asian films at Hulu, you can go to its categorized playlists, such as New Asian Films on HuluChinese or Korean Dramas and A Beginner’s Guide to Korean Dramas.






  • ROCKSHOW - Paul McCartney and Wings Concert Film Screens in 1,000 theaters and 750+ cities

    Posted by:

    Update: May 17, 2013


    Photo credit: Robert Ellis, Paul McCartney and Wings on 1975-1976 "Wings Across America" tour. 


    We saw ROCKSHOW last night, May 16. If you are a Paul McCartney fan - this is a must see remastered concert film of his 1975-1976 "Wings Across America" tour with Wings, the band he and his late wife Linda put together back in 1971.


    By its 1975-1976 tour Wings was going full throttle.


    You can still check the theatrical screening schedule at  http://www.rockshowonscreen.com of this concert film for future dates.


    May 9, 2013


    Here we are in mid-2013, and Paul McCartney is still as popular as ever selling out entire stadiums around the U.S. on his latest live tour "Out There." 


    In our upcoming documentary in development, Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres, about legendary rock journalist and former senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine, and our resident columnist, we will be including some fascinating never-before-released excerpts of Ben's exclusive interviews with Paul McCartney.


    While our documentary about Ben Fong-Torres' fabled life is still in the works, go out and enjoy ROCKSHOW. 


    SpectiCast, in association with Eagle Rock Entertainment releases the film May 15 in the UK with Sir Paul McCartney at the red carpet premiere, and worldwide on May 16 on more than 1,000 screens in 750+ cities. For screenings in your area check http://www.rockshowonscreen.com 

  • International best-selling author Haruki Murakami breaks book sales record

    Posted by:


    May 13, 2013 

    Haruki Murakami Photo credit: Random HouseWhen Haruki Murakami's latest book became available for pre-order in Japan last month it broke the country's record for pre-orders on Amazon.co.jp within eleven days.

    After the first week of the release, Bungeishungu, his publisher in Japan ordered one million copies to be printed. Last month book stores in Japan opened at midnight to greet long lines of customers. Haruki Murakami's latest novel is Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. This is his first new novel since writing best-selling IQ84 three years ago which also received worldwide acclaim. Murakami's books have been translated into 42 languages. Murakami lives near Tokyo and was born in Kyoto in 1949. 

    Murakami was a writing fellow at Princeton Univeresity in Princeton, New Jersey, Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

    No word yet on when Murakami's latest book will be translated into English, but if you can read Japanese you can check it out here.


    For more articles related to Haruki Murakami's books and life:

    Official Random House U.S. site for author Haruki MurakamiJapantimes.co.jpAmazon.co.jpAmazon.com author page on Haruki MurakamiFacebook page on author Haruki Murakami managed by Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books, part of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (Random House)Blog post at NewYorker.com by Roland Kelts "Lost in Translation"Wikipedia

     Japanese edition of Haruki Murakami's "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage"