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

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

Posted by Lia Chang on Wednesday, 06 March 2013

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

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...

Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Wednesday, 27 February 2013

 Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

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...

Congratulations! Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar for "Life of Pi"

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Monday, 25 February 2013

Congratulations! Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar for

Hollywood

February 24, 2013

Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director at the 85th Academy Awards for his film "Life of Pi," the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Yann Martel about a boy shipwrecked and stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. 

The film took Lee four and a half years to complete. He has said it was the hardest fim he has ever made.  (Click the top headline for the full story and a peek at Ang holding his new Oscar in one hand, and with his other hand enjoying an In-N-Out burger. This great photo was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair's publisher Edward Menicheschi!

This is Ang Lee's second Oscar win. His first Academy Award was in 2006 for directing "Brokeback Mountain." 

Lee's 2000 Chinese-language film "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Lee, 58, thanked his wife of 30 years, Jane Lin, a microbiologist, his two sons Haan and Mason, and the 3,000 people involved in the making of his film. He also thanked Taiwan, and Taichung City in central Taiwan where 80 per cent of the film was shot, and his Canadian and Indian partners. 

Other Oscar contenders for the Best Director award were Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook," Michael Haneke for "Amour" which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Fim and the prestigious Palm d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and Benh Zeitlin with "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

And we couldn't help but admire Ang Lee for being so down to earth even on his big night at the Oscars. We know - those burgers are good! This image was posted on Twitter by Vanity Fair magazine's publisher Edward Menicheschi.

Happy Birthday James Hong!

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Friday, 22 February 2013

Happy Birthday James Hong!

February 22, 2013

Happy Birthday James Hong!

Our favorite actor James Hong celebrated his birthday February 22!

All of us at AsianConnections.com wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Here are our favorite interviews we have done with Mr. Hong over the years. 

Click on the blue headline title to the full story.

Part 1 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong:

On APAs in Hollywood - Urges Cooperation and Support of organizations like CAPEUSA.org.

Part 2 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong:

James Hong shares his famous lines from his role as Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda

Part 3 of 3: AsianConnections' interview with James Hong and daughter April Hong:

James Hong sighting! Mr. Hong attended a CAPE event with Film Independent in Los Angeles February 1, 2012. I had a chance to visit with him and personally wish him Happy Birthday, in advance of his real birthday today!  

He was born February 22, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied civil engineering at the University of Southern California. As a road engineer for Los Angeles County for 7-1/2 years, he would act during his vacations and sick days, eventually quitting to go full time as an actor.

Mr. Hong has played in more than 500 television and film roles, including his award-winning role as "Mr. Ping" in Kung Fu Panda, and Kung Fu Panda 2.  

- Suzanne Joe Kai, Publisher/Editor AsianConnections.com 

 

April 10: NYIFF 2013 Presents Screening of Midnight's Children, Deepa Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Sarita Choudhury, Samrat Chakrabarti & More to Attend

Posted by Lia Chang on Friday, 15 February 2013

The 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) is presenting an exclusive kick-off screening of Midnight’s Children followed by a special Q&A on April 10, 2013. In attendance will be the film’s acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, award-winning writer of the novel Salman Rushdie who also adapted the screenplay, producer David Hamilton, cast members Sarita Choudhury and Samrat Chakrabarti, plus other special guests. Paladin and 108 Media will be officially releasing Midnight’s Children in major U.S. cities starting in New York City on April 26.

(L-R) Author and Screenwriter Salman Rushdie and Director Deepa Mehta


Deepa Mehta returns to NYIFF after her Oscar-nominated film WATERopened the film festival in 2005. “We have had a very long and creatively fruitful relationship with NYIFF. FIRE, the very first film in the elemental Trilogy was shown there and almost every film I have made since,” says Mehta. “Aroon Shivdasani was in fact responsible for the creation ofMidnight’s Children. She brought Salman to the premiere screening ofWATER in New York and that began a close relationship with Salman, which culminated in the very first film adaptation of any of his novels. It is enormously pleasing for me to be once again collaborating with NYIFF and bringing to their extremely discerning audience Midnight’s Children, a film that I have been dreaming of doing since I first read the book over 30 years ago.”

Continue Reading