Entertainment Spotlight

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Suzanne Kai - on Sunday, 08 May 2022

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres
What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres MAY 8, 2022 With “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” the documentary about me, now out today and streaming merrily along on Netflix, I’m officially in the film industry.  Actually, that’s been the case since last June, when the documentary, which stole its title from a popular column at Asian Connections created by director Suzanne Joe Kai's son Mike when he was 14, premiered at the...

Asian American Talent Shines at Kollaboration 11 by Amy Lieu

Posted by AC Team on Tuesday, 24 January 2012.

Asian American Talent Shines at Kollaboration 11

By Amy Lieu

With every strum of the guitar, tap of the drum, tune of melody, and dance to the beat, song and dance performances were engrossed with emotion, energy, and passion.KOLLABORATION-6The annual Asian American talent show competition, Kollaboration 11, presented its eleventh year and season finale at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live November 5, 2011. The flagship show in Los Angeles was its last stop after touring for 15 shows across 12 other cities in the United States. Its motto: empowerment through entertainment.

Many notable Asian Americans graced the pre-show red carpet including actress Bai Ling (“The Crow” and “Lost),” and journalist Lisa Ling, host of “Our America” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

With the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in U.S. entertainment, Kollaboration gives popular and up-and-coming artists a stage to showcase their talents. The competition show aims to inspire and empower young Asian Americans to pursue their dreams in entertainment, a career path that some of the artists have said has not always been encouraged by their parents. 

Lights dimmed and curtains opened as former contestant Ensemble Memo from Kollaboration Acoustic 5 (the acoustic version of the talent show earlier this year) opened the night’s performances. Special guest performer and popular YouTube singer Clara C serenaded the audience with her sweet voice, tambourine, guitar, and accordion.

Eight talented contestants vied for the coveted title. Rap, rock and alternative band Afterschoolspecial from San Diego, rocked their hearts out. They were nominated for the 2009 San Diego Music  Awards for Best Hip Hop Act and Best Hip Hop Album.


Andrew Figueroa Chiang and The Blazing Rays of the Sun brought high energy and big harmonies with their lead singer on the keyboard.

Seattle-based band Lion’s Ambition fused hip-hop and rock in their soulful performance. Formed only in 2008, the group has already opened for Ludacris, Talib Kweli, and Schwayze.

Singer and songwriter Dawen fused soul and R&B with jazz and funk in his musical performance. He was the grand prizewinner of Kollaboration Acoustic 4, the acoustic talent show competition in 2010.

Singaporean singer and songwriter Inch Chua brought her vocal talents from Asia to the Los Angeles stage. She was the first Singapore solo artist to perform at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

Monsters Calling Home, composed of five musicians, took their voices to the limit in their upbeat performance. The group is from the Fernando Valley and was inspired by the 90s hit TV show “Ahh! Real Monsters.”


With strength in numbers, the highly energetic Emanon Dance Crew stomped and grooved to various hip-hop and R&B songs. The team, consisting of high school students from all over Ventura County, recently received the Work of Dance Industries’ Youth Team of the Year Award.

Noel Kunz, the two-time World Championship Finalist of the World Yo-yo Contest (Artistic Performance Division), yo-yoed his way through the competition with his advanced and fast-paced tricks (shown right). He had been featured in “America's Got Talent” and PBS' “The Friday Zone.”

Guest judges included YouTube star Ryan Higa, actress Kelly Hu, musician David Choi, and Japanese singer Jin Akanishi.

KOLLABORATION-11-3After intermission, talented audience members competed in a song and dance contest. The show also featured South Korean pop star G.NA, who performed her latest singles “Black and White” and “Top Girl” (shown left).

It was a tight race. All eight contenders battled head-to-head for both the judges’ and the audiences’ attention and approval.

While Emanon Dance Crew won the Audience Choice Award (shown right), Noel Kunz won the Kollaboration talent show title.

KOLLABORATION-11-2At the end of the night, Yo-yo prodigy Noel Kunz, in shock and awe, proudly leaped up and down while beaming with the Kollaboration trophy in hand (shown below).

KOLLABORATION-11Kollaboration's founder Paul "PK" Kim a stand-up comedian performed a comedy routine in between the competing acts. With his raunchy jokes, he brought the whole audience to boisterous laughter. Kim created the non-profit organization in 2000. Kim has performed at The Laugh Factory and the Improv, and is the host and associate producer of "BPM" - Beats per Mnet, a show produced by CJ Mnet Media, a division of Korean media conglomerate CJ Entertainment and Media. 

Kim's first Kollaboration show began with one single show in Los Angeles in 2000. The 2011's live talent show’s eleventh anniversary season finale drew approximately 4,000 fans on the exciting November night. Advocating for Asian Americans in entertainment, the talent show’s message stresses that everyone should follow their dreams, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, or socioeconomic status.

Kollaboration 2012 plans to include shows in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, East Lansing, Hawaii, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Tulsa, and Washington D.C.

- by Amy Lieu

Contributors to this story include:

Photos Courtesy of Kollobaration, Nathan Nowack Photography
Suzanne Joe Kai, editor/publisher, AsianConnections.com