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

In Memoriam: Chi Cheng 1970-2013 Grammy winning bass guitarist of the Deftones

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Monday, 15 April 2013

Chi Cheng (1970-2013) Deftones Grammy-winning Bass Guitarist

Chi Cheng (1970-2013) Deftones Grammy-winning Bass Guitarist

Sacramento, California

April 14, 2013

Photo: OneLoveforChi.com  Chi Cheng (1970-2013) Grammy-winning American bass guitarist and Deftones band member  

 

www.oneloveforchi.com posted sad news today. It published a message from Jeanne Marie Cheng, mother of American musician and poet Chi Cheng that he passed away last night.

The website, originally started by a fan was dedicated to communicating updates and raising funds to aid in the recovery of Chi Cheng who was seriously injured in a car accident. It reported that a candlelight vigil is planned tonight, Sunday April 14 in Cheng's memory at 6:30pm at Cesar Chavez park in downtown Sacramento. 

Cheng, bass guitarist and co-founding member of the Grammy-winning alternative metal band Deftones died April 13, 2013 at age 42, after more than four years of medical care following a car accident in Santa Clara, California in November, 2008 which left him in a coma.  Born Chi Ling Dai Cheng in Davis, California, he grew up in Stockton and joined the Deftones shortly after it formed in a Sacramento garage. 

Updates on the website said that he was showing signs of improvement including regaining partial consciousness and moving his legs on command. By summer 2012 he returned home to further recover.  But he took a turn for the worse this weekend.

Cheng recorded five albums with the Deftones, debuting in 1995 with Adrenaline to 2006's Saturday Night Wrist. In 2000, Cheng released a collection of his poetry in a spoken word album titled The Bamboo Parachute.

Click here from the home page to the full story and Tribute Interview with Chi Cheng (1970 - 2013)
Credit: ArtisanNewsService on YouTube.com

His sister Mae reportedly sustained minor injuries and was wearing a seat belt in the 2008 accident. Chi's injuries were much more serious. He was in the passenger seat without...

NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams airs story on The Masked Marauders

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Saturday, 06 April 2013

NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams airs story on The Masked Marauders

April 6, 2013

Last night's television show Rock Center with Brian Williams aired a story about the 'super album' The Masked Marauders. 

The story included a clip from the movie Almost Famous of actor Terry Chen playing Ben Fong-Torres, former senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and author, Emmy award-winning broadcaster, and long-time columnist here.

News anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams has had a curiousity since childhood about a 1969 music album he bought called the The Masked Marauders - a record album touting that it was an album of music recorded in secret by a super group with the likes of John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.

Now, after more than four decades of the album's original release, the television network news anchor with his own show got the chance to look under the mask of the infamous album.

He talked with The Masked Marauder's prankster Greil Marcus, today a noted author, music critic and journalist who was at the time of the hoax the record reviews editor for Rolling Stone magazine. Marcus wrote a review of the album under the pseudonym T.M. Christian in collaboration with another Rolling Stone record reviewer Bruce Miroff. 

Greil Marcus confirmed the truth to Brian Williams, that yes, the 1969 album was indeed a fake. There was no super group formed to record in secrecy. 

Despite disclosures years ago that it was a fake, the album has continued in the anals of rock history with a life of its own. In 2003, Rhino Records remastered the album and released a numbered edition of 2,000 copies of it .

Brian Williams also interviewed another co-conspirator of the album, Langdon Winner, another former writer and contributing editor for Rolling Stone. Winner sat at a piano to play some of the music he and Marcus concocted, and had hired a Berkeley, Callifornia...

Sunday April 7: Jeremy Lin talks with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Saturday, 06 April 2013

Sunday April 7: Jeremy Lin talks with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes

Jeremy Lin talks with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes April 7, 2013 Photo: 60 MinutesJeremy Lin talks with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes. The interview airs Sunday, April 7, 2013 on CBS at 7:00pm ET/PST. 

Here's a preview clip from 60 Minutes with Lin talking with Rose about Asian American stereotypes. 

 

In Memoriam: Roger Ebert 1942-2013 American journalist, Film critic and Asian American Cinema Champion

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Thursday, 04 April 2013

1942-2013 Roger Ebert Champion of Asian American Film Photo: RogerEbert.com

1942-2013 Roger Ebert Champion of Asian American Film Photo: RogerEbert.com

Roger Ebert 1942-2013 Photo: RogerEbert.comRoger Ebert lost his battle with cancer today. He will be greatly missed. Most famous for his film criticism, he was the first movie critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Since 1967, and up to just two days ago he wrote a column for the Chicago Sun-Times.

He authored twenty books, and co-hosted several long-running syndicated television shows including Siskel and Ebert at the Movies. 

I will remember Roger Ebert not only for his reviews and commentary, but also for his advocacy of Asian American cinema.

I thank Roger Ebert for his outspoken support and standing up (literally) for a film called Better Luck Tomorrow.

When Ebert stood on his theater seat and yelled back at an audience member who was chastising the film's director Justin Lin and his cast on stage for making an "empty and amoral" film, it was a watershed moment in Asian American cinema.

Mind you, this was at the third screening of Lin's film Better Luck Tomorrow at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival where alot is at stake. Filmmakers are hoping that distribution deals are made. 

A video posted on Youtube captured the moment. (click here for the full story with the Youtube video). The audience member said, "You know how to make a movie. But why with the talent up there and yourself make a film as so empty and amoral for Asian Americans and Americans?"

Then Roger Ebert gets up and says "What I find very condescending and disturbing about your statement is nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, "How could you do this to your people?!" (applause from the crowd) Then Ebert continues, "Yes, film has the right to be about these people and Asian American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to represent their people."

And as America's influential dean of film critics sat back down in his seat, he had...

TV Drama writer Thomas Wong receives Writers Guild Honor

Posted by AC Team on Thursday, 04 April 2013

TV Drama writer Thomas Wong receives Writers Guild Honor

April 5, 2013

Hollywood

Thomas Wong is the recipient of the Writers Guild of America, West's 2013 Writer Access Project (WAP) honor. The Writers Guild will showcase Wong's work in drama to industry decision-makers.

Wong joins nine other honorees who were selected for outstanding talent in the areas of drama and comedy.

The winners were selected from the results of judges scores who read written entries and judged on a blind submission basis.

Writers Guild members with extensive showrunning and writer-producer experience served as judges, including award-winning screenwriter, producer and director Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and screenwriter of The Princess Diaries.

A reading of selections of the honorees' original pilots will be held this month to industry representatives.

Photo credit: Michael Jones, WGA.org  
2013 WAP Honorees, Standing (L-R): Thomas Wong, Michael DiGaetano, Dawn Comer Jefferson, Joey Manderino, Joseph Neustein, Leslie Valdes. Seated (L-R): Sherry Carnes, Geetika Lizardi, Lena Waithe, Margaux Froley Wong's bio states that he always dreamed of becoming a television writer, but, "as the first-born son in a traditional Chinese family, such fanciful notions were downright un-American." Wong earned a degree in English at Williams College, then attended NYU School of Law, "like any good child shouldering the weight of his family’s expectations would."

After several years immersed in labor and employment, divorce, immigration, and criminal defense, Thomas gave up law for a stint selling luxury real estate to Manhattan's rich and famous before finally moving to Los Angeles to pursue his childhood dream.

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