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  • Photos: AALDEF Honors Congressman John Lewis, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Simone Wu with 2013 Justice in Action Awards

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    Congressman John Lewis (GA), Margaret Fung, AALDEF Exec Dr, BD Wong, Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, Simone Wu of Choice Hotels Intl, Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer Columbia Univ., Juju Chang ABC News, at AALDEF awards Photo by Lia Chang

    New York City

    Congressman John Lewis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia), Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, and Simone Wu of Choice Hotels International, Inc. received the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (AALDEF) 2013 Justice in Action Awards at AALDEF’s annual Lunar New Year benefit, held at PIER 60 Chelsea Piers in New York on February 19, 2013.

    2013 AALDEF Justice in Action honorees Jose Antonio Vargas, Simone Wu and Congressman John Lewis. Photo by Lia Chang

    Since 1987, AALDEF has presented the Justice in Action Awards to exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and efforts in advancing social justice. The awards were presented by Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, Tony Award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang, and Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase.

    Congressman John Lewis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia), Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, BD Wong, Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, and Simone Wu of Choice Hotels International, Inc., Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University and Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (AALDEF) 2013 Justice in Action Awards held at PIER 60 Chelsea Piers in New York on February 19, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

    Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University, both long time supporters of AALDEF, were the co-emcees for the banquet of over 700. They were joined at the end with a surprise appearance on stage from actor BD Wong, who urged the guests to show their support for AALDEF.

    Co-emcees Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University raise their...

  • Extended to March 24: David Henry Hwang's The Dance and the Railroad at the Signature Theatre & Lark Play Development Center

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    New York City

    Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) and Lark Play Development Center (John Clinton Eisner, Artistic Director; Michael Robertson, Managing Director) are presenting the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series, curated by Signature’s Residency One Playwright David Henry Hwang, whose play THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD, directed by May Adrales, opened at Signature on Monday, February 25, 2013 and has been extended until March 24, 2013.

    David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang


    The two theatre companies also hosted a group of distinguished playwrights, directors, translators, adaptors, and actors in a cross-cultural dialogue through the development and presentation of English-language versions of four contemporary Chinese plays. The play translations—co-commissioned by the companies—were presented in readings as part of the translation development process on March 15, 16 and 17 in the Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

    A vital component of David Henry Hwang’s residency at Signature, and an extension of Hwang’s many international collaborations at the Lark Play Development Center, the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series is aimed at exposing U.S. audiences to the diverse, dynamic world of contemporary Chinese playwriting while fostering a conversation between Chinese and U.S. artists.. The four contemporary Chinese plays include:

    PLAYING THE VIOLINby Wei-Jan Chi, literal translation by Cheng-Han Wu, adaptation by Madeleine George, directed by Daniel JaquezReading on Friday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.Summary: The death of Liu San’s best friend starts him on a wild ride through hidden memories and alternate realities.

    THE CAPTAINby Nick Yu, literal translation and adaptation by Zhao Binghao, directed by Josh HechtReading on Saturday, March 16 at 2:30 p.m.Summary: Sixty years after being rescued from drowning...

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

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    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.

  • Hold These Truths Opening Night at Honolulu Theatre for Youth's Tenney Theatre with Daniel Dae Kim, Joel de la Fuente and Jeanne Sakata

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    Playwright Jeanne Sakata flew to Honolulu on Thursday, February 21, 2013 for a double celebration, to attend the opening night performance of Hold These Truths, her acclaimed Off Broadway one-man show inspired by the true story of second generation Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi, which opened at Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre, and to celebrate her husband Tim’s 60th birthday.

    Playwright Jeanne Sakata with her husband and birthday boy, Tim Patterson. Photo by Phyllis Look

    Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths. Photo by Lia Chang

    Directed by Lisa Rothe and starring actor Joel de la Fuente, the show is being presented by producer/actor Daniel Dae Kim and Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY). The production is dedicated to the memory of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, an American hero who was directly involved by the themes of the play. Proceeds will support the non-profit theatre and drama education programs of HTY.

    The limited engagement performance schedule is Friday February 22 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 23 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday February 24 at 3:00 p.m.; Thursday February 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and CLOSES on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m.

    General admission is $20 for adults; $15 for students/seniors; limited premium seating available for $30. Tickets may be ordered online at or by calling HTY at (808) 839-9885.

    Joel de la Fuente, Tosh Furugori, Gordon Hirabayashi’s sister and Jeanne Sakata

    HOLD THESE TRUTHS is set in Seattle during World War II, where Hirabayashi, a University of Washington student, 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, Hirabayashi journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs-and a confrontation with its failures.

    President Obama...

  • Happy Birthday James Hong!

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    February 22, 2013

    Happy Birthday James Hong!

    Our favorite actor James Hong celebrated his birthday February 22!

    All of us at 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

    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 


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