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

  • First Summit on Asian Stereotypes Urges Empowerment to Make Change

    Posted by:

    Jeff Yang writer of "Tao Jones" column for the Wall Street Journal

    Little Tokyo - Los Angeles

    March 23, 2013

    More than 200 people attended a summit yesterday in Los Angeles, provocatively titled "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly." The meeting was appropriately named as it took aim at the continued use of offensive images, ethnic slurs and stereotypical caricatures of Asian Americans in American media, and its impact on just about every aspect of American culture, politics, education and society.

    AsianConnections.com applauds Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal Online writer of the "Tao Jones" column for organizing this first summit devoted to the problem, and enlisting public dialogue and empowerment. Yang brought together activisits, bloggers and others to examine the issues and encouraged people to take action against the negative stereotypes and portrayals of Asian Americans in the media. 

    Stereotypical images of Asian Americans in the media have negatively impacted the lives of Asian Americans for more than a century.

    Yang told LA Times writer Anh Do the event is "the culmination of a dream, seeing people not only talking about these issues - but doing something about it," "The point is to empower everyone, telling them, "Change is happening, and it's happening inside - with us." 

    The March 23, 2013 summit officially kicks off Jeff Yang's new book he co-edited with Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma, Shattered: the Asian American Comics Anthology (Secret Identities). SHATTERED’s 2013 tour, will take Yang and his co-editors Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma to select cities and college campuses in the East, West and Midwest (contacts are listed below if you wish to book a SHATTERED tour event). 

    Click here for the story at the LA Times by writer Anh Do. 

    Featured sessions at the "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly" Los Angeles summit March 23, 2013:

    OPENING PLENARY — “IS THIS STEREOTYPE REALLY NECESSARY?”, a fresh, frank, informative (and likely snarky) exploration of Asian images past and present, moderated by...
  • Christine Lin, Henry Godinez and Liz Griffiths Receive Halcyon Theatre’s 2013 Iris Awards

    Posted by:

    On Friday, March 8, 2013, the Halcyon Theatre Company honored actor Christine Lin; Henry Godinez, resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival; and Liz Griffiths, immediate past Director of North River Commission’s (NRC) two economic development affiliates, the Lawrence Avenue Development Corporation (LADCOR) and the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce, with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il.

    Christine Lin was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts by Halcyon Theatre co-founders Jenn and Tony Adams, who is also the Artistic Director, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il, on March 8, 2013. Photo by Kan Chou

    Christine Lin, an actor, improvisor and engineering consultant, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and began her affiliation with Halcyon in 2008 as an Artistic Associate, appearing in the Company’s productions of Caridad Svich’sIphigenia…(a rave fable), Tony Adam’s Trickster, and Salman Rushdie’sHaroun and the Sea of Stories. She also directed Astrid Saalbach’s The Blessed Child in 2009′s Alcyone Festival. She has been a company and board member since 2011.

    Eric Lin and his daughter Christine Lin, who was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il, on March 8, 2013. Photo by Kan Chou

    Ms. Lin was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts by Halcyon Theatre co-founders Jenn and Tony Adams, who is also the Artistic Director.

    Ms. Lin shared, “I was delighted when Tony shared my first audition and production with Halcyon resulting in my first production in Chicago. And then I was...

  • Awards announced - San Francisco's CAAMFEST Celebrates Asian and Asian American Film, Food and Music

    Posted by:

    Linsanity by filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong was the opening night film at CAAMFEST

    March 30, 2013

    San Francisco

    Updates - CAAMFest winners announced:

    DEAD DAD is the winner of the Comcast Narrative Competition.

    SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE is the winner of the Documentary Conpetition.

    Aggie Ebrahii Bazaz received the Loni Ding Award

    The Emerging Filmmaker Award recipient is Ernesto Foronda of SUNSET STORIES.

    CAAM (The Center for Asian American Media) offers programs all year round.

    Visit CAAM's website at CAAMedia.org, and support its mission by becoming a member. 

     

    March 17, 2013

    San Francisco

    CAAMFest is in full swing! 

    The Center for Asian American Media has launched CAAMFest, an exciting new festival March 14-24, 2013. Formerly called the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the 31st annual event not only has a brand new name CAAMFest, and a brand new website CAAMFEST.com, the festival has branched out into food, music and digital media. 

    As CAAM's Executive Director Stephen Gong says, CAAMFest aims to present a world-class festival of Asian and Asian American film, music, food and digital media.

    Judging from what I saw in the first few days, CAAMFest's ambitious plans have succeeded. 

    I counted at least 100 films and events representing more than twenty countries, held in ten venues mostly in San Francisco, with some events and film screenings at the Oakland Museum of California and Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive Theater.

    There's still time to take in a screening or an event.

    Click here to CAAMFest's schedule of events.

    Linsanity, Evan Jackson Leong's documentary about NBA player Jeremy Lin was CAAMFest's opening night film     Linsanity, Evan Jackson Leong's inspiring documentary about Jeremy Lin was the opening night film to an enthusiastic sold-out audience. Linsanity has received rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival this month.

    Filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong, who had been documenting Jeremy Lin's career since 2010,...

  • Mar. 6-17: Thom Sesma and Diane Phelan Featured in Prospect’s Death For Five Voices

    Posted by:

    New York City

    Thom Sesma

    Click the title link above for the full story. Photo by Lia Chang: Thom Sesma (The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, Nick & Nora), Diane Phelan (Prospect’s Honor), Wilson Bridges (Signs of Life), Ryan Bauer-Walsh (Billy Elliot), Meghan McGeary (The Blue Flowerwith Prospect Theater Company, A.R.T. and Second Stage, Prospect’sThe Rockae), Hannah Jane McMurray (The Hidden Sky), and Peter Saide (Jersey Boys) are currently featured in Prospect Theater Company’s inaugural “Prototype Production” with public performances of DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES, an original musical drama inspired by true events in the life of infamous Renaissance composer – and murderer – Carlo Gesualdo.

    Diane Phelan

    Featuring a book by Prospect’s founding artists Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, music and lyrics by Mills and direction by Reichel, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES began performances on March 6, 2013 at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street in New York, and will continue through March 17, 2013.

    A talkback with Mills and Reichel and other members of the production team will be held on Saturday, March 16th at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public.

    Set amid the political intrigue, religious conflict and artistic vibrancy of the late Renaissance, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICESinvestigates the dark harmonies of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa – who is remembered for his unusually complex sacred music and for the extravagantly vicious double murder of his wife and her lover. Featuring a sophisticated and intimate choral score, this new musical explores sexual and creative passions while illuminating the fine line between madness and genius.

    Mills and Reichel’s prior collaborations include Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Illyria, The Rockae, The Flood, Honor, and The Pursuit of Persephone, among other works. Mills has been honored for his work with the prestigious Cole Porter Award (2011),...

  • Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

    Posted by:

    Hollywood

    February 26, 2013

    What?!! An Asian American male star in a Hollywood movie that isn't a Kung Fu film? 

    Justin Chon ("Twilight"), steps into the spotlight as the lead character in the comedy 21 and Over, opening in theaters nationwide March 1.

    Chon, 31, was born in Garden Grove in Orange County, California, and was raised in Irvine, California. He attended business school at the University of Southern California. At age 20, Chon began taking acting lessons, inspired by growing up watching his father in black and white films. His father is a former child actor from South Korea.

    AsianConnections' Suzanne Joe Kai chatted with Justin about his new role, 
breaking stereotypes, and what's next in his fast-rising career.  (For the full interview transcript click on the blue headline link above.) 

    Justin: Hey Suzanne, thank you.

    Suzanne: You’re right from Orange County, California!

    Justin: Yeah, Irvine. Yeah, born and raised. I was born in Garden Grove Hospital.

    Suzanne: Can you describe your role in your new film 21 and Over coming out in theaters March 1, 2013?

    Justin: Yeah. I play a character named Jeff Chang. It's his 21st birthday and my two friends come up to celebrate with me but I have a medical school interview the next day. They convinced me to have one beer and obviously that beer turns into absolute chaos. My character's just an average kid. He's actually not that smart, he's like failing out of school.

    Suzanne: What made you jump on board this film?  

    Justin: Well, the guys who wrote it wrote The Hangover and they’re great writers. I just read the script and I loved it. I’m an Asian American actor and it’s a three-dimensional part so it’s great to see somebody who wrote such a great part for an Asian American so I just had to do it. 

The whole movie's mass is with partying but the core of it is really about these three guys and their friendship.

    Suzanne: I think this is one of the very few or if not the first movie...