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W H A T ' S   N E W
January 2007

Review the Highlights From the Various Categories Listed Below
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EDITORIALS

LUCY LIU ON HER BACKGROUND
"when
you grow up Asian-American it's difficult because you don't know if you're Asian or you're American. You get confused" and that "You need to recognize where your background is from. I think it's important. Just for yourself. It makes you more whole. It does."
For more info, click HERE.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE MARRIAGE
  • Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
  • Do we have a clear idea of each other's financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
  • Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
  • Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
  • Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
  • Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
  • Will there be a television in the bedroom?
  • Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another's ideas and complaints?
  • Have we reached a clear understanding of each other's spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
  • Do we like and respect each other's friends?
  • Do we value and respect each other's parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
  • What does my family do that annoys you?
  • Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
  • If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other's family, are we prepared to move?
  • Does each of us feel fully confident in the other's commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
For more info, click
HERE.

POLITICAL INTEGRITY
"there was a great deal made today of Governor Baker's decision to not disclose his wife's minor medical condition, many people believe that is should have. But I don't believe Governor Baker failed to disclose it because he was ashamed or embarrassed. I think he didn't disclose it because we're the hyprocrite, not the Bakers because we're all broken - every single one of us and yet we pretend that we're not.

We all live lives of imperfection and yet we cling to this fantasy that there's a perfect life and that our leaders should embody it. But if we expect for our leaders to live on some higher moral plane than the rest of us, we're just asking to be deceived. It's been suggested to me that I should try to buy your support with jobs and the promise of access. It's been suggested to me that party unity is more important than your democratic right as delegates. It's not and you have a decision to make.

Don't vote for us because you think we're perfect. Don't vote for us because of what we might be able to do for you only. Vote for the person that shares your ideas, hopes and dreams. Vote for the person who most embodies what you believe what we need to keep our nation strong and free. When you have done that - you can go back to Seattle, Boston, Miami, Omaha, Tulsa, Chicago and Atlanta with your heads held high and say I am a member of the Democratic Party." - Matt Santos on "The West Wing." (2162 Votes Series)

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APA & MEDIA NEWS

JACKIE CHAN INJURED IN "RUSH HOUR 3"
Jackie Chan re-injured his chest while filming a fight scene for "Rush Hour 3," but doctors said it wasn't a major injury, the veteran action star says in an entry on his Web site.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SHELLY MORITA SUES JON PETERS
Shelly Morita, a former personal assistant, has sued "Superman Returns" producer Jon Peters, alleging she was forced to quit her job because he sexually harassed her, including exposing himself to her and her 3-year-old daughter.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DI NIRO ATTENDS NOBU OPENING
Robert De Niro plans to attend the grand opening of the 17th branch of his upscale Japanese restaurant chain Nobu in Hong Kong next year (Feb. 18) that is a partnership between De Niro and celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

APAMC'S REPORT
The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) says opportunities for starring roles on prime-time shows for Asian Pacific American (APA) actors have improved slightly over the past year on the four major networks - ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KAREN NARASAKI INTERVIEW
Well, we're very excited to do this study. It's called "Lights, Camera, and Too Little Action." We've been working on the issue of where are the Asian Americans in popular media, particularly on prime-time television.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KAREN NARASAKI ON TIGER WOODS
"He can say he cares about it, but I don't know from his perspective what it means to be Asian American. He's never characterized himself as Asian American. It's his choice." — Karen Narasaki
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WILLIE FUNG (ACTOR BET. 1922-1944)
Chinese character actor Willie Fung spent his entire Hollywood career imprisoned by the Hollywood Stereotype Syndrome - as seen in Old San Francisco (1927). In talkies, Fung was a buck-toothed, pigtailed, pidgin-English-spouting comedy relief, usually cast as a cook or laundryman.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

THE HATCHET MAN (UNCOMFORTABLE "ORIENTAL" PIC)
Oriental Hollywood excesses like The Hatchet Man make for rather uncomfortable viewing today, even when directed by William Wellman. The bizarre "Oriental" makeup of Occidental stars Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young simply gets in the way of the message, especially when contrasted to such genuine Asian supporting players as Toshia Mori and Willie Fung, both briefly spotted skulking about in the background.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ROSIE'S "CHING-CHONG"
"The use of the distorted phrases is insulting to the Chinese and Chinese-Americans, and gives the impression that they are a group that is substandard to English-speaking people." (AAJA) But Rosie's rep thinks they just don't get it: "I certainly hope that one day they will be able to grasp her humor."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ENRIQUE & ANNA WED
According to America's Us Weekly magazine, Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova wed in a low-key beach ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in front of family and a few close friends.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LOCATION OF BABEL - JAPAN
Adding a further layer of cultural inaccessibility, the main character in the Japanese part of Babel is deaf-mute suggesting a pernicious and near- insurmountable linguistic and cultural barrier between Asia and the rest of the spaces in the film.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CAMILLE CHEN ON "PLAYHOUSE 60"
Camille Chen went from commercials and guest roles to landing a coveted re-occuring spot on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, where she plays a featured player on the show-within-a-show and gets to share screentime with such TV veterans as Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, and DL Hughley.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ANGRY ASIAN MAN ON C.Y. LEE'S "FDS"
With the recent release of the 1961 all-Asian American Rodgers and Hammersetin musical Flower Drum Song on DVD, I (Angry Asian Man) recently teamed up with Brian Hu of Asia Pacific Arts to record their own audio commentary.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

STEFANI'S "HARAJUKU GIRLS"
The (Harajuku) Girls silently accompanied her on photo shoots and to public appearances, and subsequently appeared on her tour. Stefani regarded the Girls, all of whom looked as if they had come straight off the streets of the capital city's hip Harajuku district, as a figment of her imagination brought to life in a culturally positive manner . . . Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho publicly decried them as ''a minstrel show.''
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

RODNEY WOO'S DIVERSE CHURCH
Rodney Woo, pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, baptizes Chris Smith as Mr. Smith's fiancée, Javandia Elder, waits her turn. Before that 2002 event, he'd been exhausted by his long effort to turn a declining, nearly all-white congregation into a stable, thoroughly multiracial one with people coming from 25 nations.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

GIRLS OF "GRANT AVENUE" (SUZUKI/UMEKI)
The swivel hips belong to Singer Pat Suzuki, and, like Miyoshi, the chubby Nisei is bouncing through her first Broadway part. Whatever else may be said for or against Flower Drum Song, it brings to Broadway two of the most endearing stars in many a season—surrounded by a fascinating Oriental chorus line that will give the most jaded Stage-Door Johnnies a new incentive.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KOREAN ADOPTIONS / AMERICAN PARENTS
Families from different corners of New Jersey share a thread in that they have all adopted children from Korea and they come to the school to pass on the culture to their children at the Lord's Children Culture School that is runned at the First Presbyterian Church of Bernardsville,
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIAN GLOBAL ETHNO-HUBS
Any map of L.A. would reveal "Asian global ethno-hubs" in the central city (Koreatown, Thai Town, Chinatown, Little Tokyo) and in the San Gabriel Valley, where Little Taipei includes ethnic Chinese from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, as well as native-born American Chinese. Farther south, Cambodians in Long Beach are organizing for a Little Cambodia not far from Little India in Artesia, or Little Saigon in Garden Grove.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MINETA AWARDED "MEDAL OF FREEDOM"
President Bush announced Norman Y. Mineta as one of this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (established in 1947 by President Harry Truman to honor distingushed service), the nation's highest civilian award.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

GENE WANG'S "AMERICAN-BORN CHINESE"
All Jin Wang wants is to fit in (in Gene Wang's graphic novel) ... When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese-American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl...
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

PREMAL SHAH CONNECTING INTL. BUSINESSES
With a Stanford degree and PayPal experience under his belt, Premal Shah (President of Kiva.org) is helping connect individuals across continents to support unique small businesses in developing countries.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KATHURIA'S PLANETSPACE"
Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria and partner, Geoff Sheerin, are behind PlanetSpace, a company competing with the likes of Virgin Galactic in the space tourism industry.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MINDY KALING'S WORDS
Thanks to the multitalented Mindy Kaling, more Americans are now educated about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. In addition to playing Kelly Kapour on NBC's "The Office," she has been invited to be a guest writer on "Saturday Night Live" and is writing a sorority comedy for Fox Atomic.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIAN FETISH
His Asian fetish actually originated in high school where he met a Vietnamese American girl named Ann. Although born in the United States, Ann was raised in Indonesia until about a year before Dan met her. She spoke English well, but not perfectly. The relationship ended in a pretty standard way, too: Dan suggested sex, Ann resisted, things spiraled. There was an ultimatum and then a breakup, and then—classic—threats of suicide.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JAZZ FROM THE PHILIPPINES
When Charmaine Clamor's (a Filipina, born in the provincial town of Subic-Zambales) warm, luscious contralto slips into a rhythmically seductive version of "I'm in the Mood for Love" or purrs through the tender lyrics of "The Very Thought of You," there's no doubt that a first-rate jazz talent is present.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DIVERSITY IN L.A.'S PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Despite their reputations as elitist enclaves of rich white kids, some independent schools are increasingly reaching out to to transform their student bodies to reflect the world outside their doors. Cate sophomore Edderic Ugaddan, 15, a Filipino American from New Jersey, said that seeing other Asians on campus was a deciding factor in choosing the school. One Asian father spoke of his discomfort in social settings when he seemed to be the "invisible man" to whom no one would speak unless he asked a question.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KIM KOGA & MUSEUM OF NEON ART
Kim Koga, who has directed the museum since 1998, said she has been searching for months for a new venue, but the museum is caught in a bind common among bohemians in booming urban settings - can't afford most buildings.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LITTLE SAIGON'S ORNATE ARCHWAYS
After more than a decade of contentious debate, community leaders are moving forward with plans to erect ornate archways at the entrances to Little Saigon, the bustling heart of Orange County's Vietnamese American community. The original bridge was proposed by Frank Jao - the "Godfather of Little Saigon."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DALAI LAMA HAS "IT"
Paul Ekman - the UC San Francisco psychology professor was as gnarly as an old oak, with a face hard-chiseled by a lifelong struggle with impulsive anger. All that changed one spring day in 2000 after a brief exchange with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "He held my hands while we talked," Ekman recalled, "and I was filled with a sense of goodness and a unique total body sensation that I have no words to describe."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SCHOOLS ALLOWED TO FAVOR NATIVE HAWAIIANS
A sharply divided federal appeals court ruled that a private school can favor Native Hawaiians for admissions in an effort to "counteract the significant, current educational deficits" experienced by the islands' indigenous population.
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7'9" SUN MING MING & NBA
Sun Ming Ming is no guard — at nearly 7 feet 9 inches, he would be the tallest player in N.B.A. history. But the pituitary tumor that led to his extraordinary size is threatening his life and keeping him away from a pro basketball career.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DOMINGO'S OPERATIC CHINESE HISTORY (W/ZIMOU/DUN/JIN)
"The First Emperor," a kind of mythologized Chinese history, with a formidable creative team — music by Tan Dun, libretto by novelist Ha Jin and the composer, and stage direction by filmmaker Zhang Yimou — would seem like a stretch for any Western musician - but not for Domingo.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INDIAN TRIBES PARTNERING W/CHINESE BUSINESSES
The Chickasaw Nation, among the most prosperous tribes in the United States thanks to its 18 casinos plans to bring the Chinese to Indian country. The tribe recently joined American investors and China's oldest automaker to resurrect the MG, the sporty British icon, at an abandoned military base here. The venture shows how some Indian tribes are reaching beyond their territories to take advantage of globalization.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TONY CHING SIU-TUNG'S CHOREOGRAPHY
Thanks to his longtime partnership with Hong Kong action director Tony Ching Siu-Tung, Zhang Yimou's films often showcase jaw-dropping airborne stunt choreography. Using a combination of kung fu and wire work, known as "wire fu," in 2003's "Hero," actors sailed over Chinese landscapes in fluttering robes; in 2004's "House of Flying Daggers," police and military threw mid-air punches and kicks high above open fields and bamboo groves.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MAUI'S LONG & WINDING ROAD
It's a lot more fun to watch the Hawaiian hit parade of waterfalls, taro fields and crashing waves than to glue your eyes to a strip of pavement so narrow it looks like it was meant for golf carts, not the Chevy Malibu we're renting.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SAN FRANCISO'S "FRENCH QUARTER"
Just northeast of the swarming Union Square shopping area, an enclave of convivial restaurants spills off Bush Street into several table-filled alleys festooned with lights. It has picked up the moniker French Quarter, and I wish it hadn't. The words evoke the happy din of New Orleans, with streets full of cup-toting revelers. That's not what this scene is.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

YUTAKA FUKUFUJI - 1ST JAPANESE-BORN NHL PLAYER
Yutaka Fukufuji is the stuff of national pride. He became the first Japanese-born player to dress for an NHL game Saturday, and that was enough to double the size of the media corps in the Kings dressing room after the game.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

IMMIGRANTS' HEALTH ISSUES
Upon arrival in the United States, Asian and Latino immigrants started out drinking fewer sodas and eating more fruits and vegetables than whites which was based on a survey of nearly 6,000 adolescents in 2001. After two generations, Asian youths caught up with or surpassed whites in other measures, including more hours exercising and fewer watching television.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INCREASED ASIAN POPULATION IN CA
Asians were the only ethnic group to have more people move into California than leave. The state gained nearly 33,000 Asians from elsewhere in the United States from 2000 to 2005 while losing 441,000 whites and 67,000 African-Americans. In the past five years, the overall state population grew by 2.9 million people, including 1.2 million foreign immigrants.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CALIFORNIA - AN ASIAN PACIFIC NATION
But the November election, (Kevin) Starr says, "shows we're getting to the point of being very comfortable with the fact that California is an Asian Pacific nation. The general direction of California is toward a very inclusive politics that's out ahead of the rest of the country."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JAPANESE HISTORY IN "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA"
"For 60 years, this has been a war we have tried to forget," said Yoshitaka Shindo, (Gen. Tadamichi) Kuribayashi's grandson, now a lawmaker with the governing party. "Of course we knew there was a war and that we lost it. But the only thing we learned was about the tragic deaths of civilians. The rest we put a lid on. We didn't talk about the details.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JERRY "NIKKO" COOKE PERISHED AT MT. HOOD
Jerry "Nikko" Cooke (husband of Michaela Cooke), a Wall Street attorney, was raised by his mother, a Korean immigrant, in the city's Chinatown neighborhood in a basement apartment of a building he now owns. His mother, Maria Kim, worked in a nail salon to support him.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

EASTWOOD'S POIGNANT LOOK AT WAR
Clint Eastwood's latest film, "Letters From Iwo Jima," takes audiences to a place that would seem unimaginable for an American director. Daring and significant, it presents a picture from life's other side, not only showing what wartime was like for our Japanese adversaries on that island in the Pacific but also actually telling the story in their language.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LOOK AT THE (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) VALLEY'S DIVERSITY
West Valley: Whites: 52% / Latinos: 29% / Asians: 11% / Blacks: 4% / Others: 4% /// East Valley / Latinos: 53% / Whites: 32% / Asians: 7% / Blacks: 4% / Others: 3%
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN POLITICIANS' CLOUT
Of the Asian Americans hoping to win a seat, nearly 20 of them in Orange County are of Vietnamese descent. It isn't surprising to those who study politics. Asian Americans — particularly Vietnamese Americans — are the new shining stars of California politics, both on the ballot and at the polls.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CUONG VU - VIETNAMESE TRUMPETER & VOCALIST
Born in Saigon, he left Vietnam with his family at the age of six in 1975, settling in Bellevue, Washington (an Eastside suburb of Seattle). He quickly learned English and adapted to his new country and culture. Although he still listened to the traditional Vietnamese music of his heritage, he also found the American pop music on the radio exciting.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIAN CARICATURE ON YOUTUBE VIDEO
Posted on Youtube.com, the video features scenes of Will Carsola spray-painting his face and neck bright red and Dave Stewart painting the top of his head black and sticking a row of fake buckteeth in his mouth in an Asian caricature. They each enter the DMV office and return with real licenses with photos of their new likenesses. "Getting over on the DMV"
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DRINKING AMONG FRESNO'S SE ASIANS
In this city in central California's rich agricultural region, drivers can work up a lot of speed on the wide, flat streets with long cruising distances between stoplights. Fresno also has large number of Latin American and Southeast Asian immigrants, some of whom are thought to be driving illegally or are unfamiliar with the rules of the road.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
"Curse of the Golden Flower" is great news for admirers of director Zhang Yimou and actress Gong Li . . . Both continued to make notable films, yet neither reached the dazzling level of their collaborations until rejoining forces with "Curse of the Golden Flower," in which Zhang celebrates the breathtaking beauty of Gong while fully tapping her resources of talent.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TAN DUN'S "FIRST EMPEROR"
Tan Dun has done it. Well, not for all of "The First Emperor," not even for most of his important new opera . But for a little while, this frustrating yet momentarily glorious affair — which brings to the Met stage everybody's favorite tenor, Plácido Domingo, along with a lot of people's favorite Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou, and novelist and poet Ha Jin — is one big, wild and wonderful wow.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TAN DUN'S "FIRST EMPEROR" EXPECTATIONS
Over the years Mr. Tan has drawn new audiences to classical music with eclectic works that find common ground between Asian traditions and the avant-garde.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MAYA LIN
She is of the rare few who have managed to forge a path in both art and architecture, Maya Lin is at once sculptor, architect, designer, craftsman and thinker. Since she founded her own studio in 1987, Maya Lin's wide range of monuments, sculptures, buildings, interiors and furniture have been "proposing ways of thinking and imagining that resist categories, genres, and borders."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LUCY LIU'S "BEAUTIFUL ASIAN BRIDES"
Lucy Liu is starring in a comedy about a man wrongly accused of murder that goes undercover as a mail order bride. Just what we need, another man who becomes a woman flick a' la `Mrs. Doubtfire.' Brian Grazer will produce `Beautiful Asian Brides' under his Imagine Entertainment shingle. Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso will pen script.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DEMISE OF AMAG REVISITED
On the face of it, the merger brought together two leading players in APA media — one print and one web — into a synergistic powerhouse. The reality was that the new company continued to bleed money. By June of last year, Chang was warning shareholders that Click2Asia would run out of money by year's end.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KELLY HU IN "EMERGENCY"
In Case of Emergency (Director: Jieho Lee) stars David Arquette as Jason Ventress, Jonathan Silverman as Harry Kennison, Greg Germann as Sherman Yablonsky and Kelly Hu as Kelly Lee, a fresh quartet of emotionally and physically injured oddballs. John Cho is playing "Bart."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DAVID REN'S "SHANGHAI KISS"
David's debut "big budget" feature film, "Shanghai Kiss", cast includes Ken Leung, Kelly Hu, Byron Mannand James Hong. Plot is "a struggling Chinese-American actor, who unwittingly finds himself involved with a high school girl, learns he has inherited his grandmother's home in Shanghai. The American-raised character moves to China in an attempt to connect with his ancestry, leaving behind quite possibly the only girl who has ever loved him.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

AFRO SAMURAI
Film was written by Takashi Okazaki/Tomohiro Yamashita (Derek Draper/Christine Yoo - English version). Cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Hu, Yuri Lowenthal, Ron Perlman and Crystal Scales. .... Young Afro Samurai (voice) Film was produced by Eric S. Calderon, Leo Chu, Alex Gartner, Shinichiro Ishikawa, Samuel L. Jackson, Chihiro Kameyama, Charles Roven, Julie Silverman and Arthur Smith. Original music provided by RZA.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

"LETTERS" HIT HOME FOR WATANABE
While filming "Letters From Iwo Jima," director Clint Eastwood's Japanese-language companion piece to October's World War II drama "Flags of Our Fathers," Ken Watanabe (the 47-year-old Niigata native) broke down upon seeing the battle site during the film's only on-location day of shooting in Japan (the rest of the production was previously shot on soundstages in California).
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

EAST-WEST COOPERATION / KEN WATANABE
Indeed, the artistic collaboration between former enemy sides on the latter of Eastwood's movies examining America's and Japan's respective experiences during the battle of Iwo Jima, in 1945, is one of the more pleasant surprises of globalization. "If a Japanese director had made this film, it would have been more sentimental," Watanabe says. "So Clint could make the film more objectively. He could show the truth of the tragedy."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ELLEN YOUNG MAKES HISTORY IN NYC
Ellen Young became the first Asian-born woman elected to state office when she won her Assembly bid in Flushing. Young replaced Jimmy Meng, who is stepping down for health reasons.
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NEW WEALTH FUELS ART PRICES
Chinese contemporary art is the current hot favorite, with prices rising so rapidly that most believe this sector will be the first to fall. Hong Kong auction sales have quadrupled in the last five years, as Chinese and South Asian collectors make their presence felt.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

PUN BANDHU WINS A TONY
Pun Bandhu and producing partner Marc Falato did just that when they began their production company, ZenDog Productions. It paid off with a Tony Award in June 2005 for the first show they produced on Broadway — a revival of GlenGarry Glen Ross starring Alan Alda, Leiv Schreiber, and Jeffrey Tambor.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CHA VANG KILLED IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN
Law enforcement officials said a Hmong hunter (Cha Vang) found dead in northern Wisconsin had been murdered after an "accidental meeting" between the victim and another small game hunter. The killing has reignited racial tension in Wisconsin's northern woods, where two years ago a Hmong hunter killed six white hunters and injured two others in a confrontation that included racial epithets.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LINDA FURIYA'S "BENTO BOX IN THE HEARTLAND"
Linda Furiya grew up acutely aware of being different. She was the only daughter of the only Japanese American family in the tiny town of Versailles, Ind., and the physical and cultural differences that separated her from her classmates were obvious.
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TOYS "R" US AWARDS PRIZE TO CHINESE BABY
Toys "R" Us Inc. agreed to award a Chinese-American infant (Yuki Lin) a $25,000 prize in a New Year's baby contest after the company came under fire for disqualifying the girl because her mother (Yuki's parents - Yan Zhu Liu and Han Lin) was not a legal U.S. resident.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SINGH & WIE PAIRED TOGETHER
Wishing tournament organizers had paired Vijay Singh with Michelle Wie during the first two rounds of this week's Sony Open in Hawaii: Why? Because I like to see Singh squirm, and he made it clear four years ago that he doesn't like women playing against men in PGA Tour events.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WATADA FACES A COURT-MARTIAL
Do military officers have the right to publicly voice dissent about their commander in chief and U.S. war policy? That question highlighted last week's pretrial hearing at Ft. Lewis Army base near Seattle for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the nation's first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

VIKRAM CHANDRA'S "SACRED GAMES"
What do we make of Vikram Chandra and his 916-page detective novel "Sacred Games"? Published this past August in India, the U.K. and nine other countries and newly released in the United States, it seems utterly antithetical to our Age of Brevity.
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JACKIE CHAN'S NEW FILM COMPANY
Jackie Chan has a new film company in China and will be producing 10 films. He planed to use his Christmas vacation to scout talent and ideas for the 10 projects while reading screenplays and listening to ideas for more screenplays. He will be looking at director reels to hire more directors for this big project. Chan also will make a commercial with retired boxer George Foreman in China.
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JACKIE CHAN/BEIJING TV COMPETITION FOR A SUCCESSOR
Jackie Chan, w/Beijing TV, will launch a competition in March to find 10 talented young actors to star in his movies to find a successor. Finalists are slated to be announced in early October and receive professional training on kung fu acting for films starting in 2008 & dedicate to the Beijing Olympics.
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JACKIE CHAN & SLAPSTICK
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INTERVIEW WITH CHIL KONG
What is your background?
I started as a country/jazz singer while I was getting an ‘acceptable’ degree in Marketing and Psychology at Virginia Tech. Spent much of my college years traveling as a singer doing gigs all along the south from Virginia to Florida to Kentucky. I spent a few years in advertising and then made the move to Boston Conservatory to train as a performer in their Masters of Musical Theatre program.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY BACKGROUND

What was your first job?
My first professional job was as an understudy in the Huntington Theatre Production of Woman Warrior. Sometimes I really believe someone up above was looking out for me, because my first show I met my mentor, Soon Tek Oh, the first Korean American who actually supported my path as a performer.

How did you decide to become a professional actor?
Singing in the Choir and doing it for a living is something very different. I kept singing and performing throughout high school into college as a “hobby”. In my second year of performing with my college group, the New Virginians, I found myself traveling into small towns all along the South. Seriously, some of these little towns felt just one step up from “Deliverance” with the haunting sound of banjos and burning Orientals whispering in the mountains. I would see familiar looks of “you don’t belong here”.

But as I took the stage, and sang a few solos, I found myself connecting with strangers. I sang about love, about loss, all those universal experiences that make us more than white or yellow. And something remarkable would happen after each show, those same folks who met me with strange looks would look applaud me as a friend. For a moment I was just like them, I had crossed some imaginary boundary of color and stood next to them as another person who felt the same pains they felt, hurt the same hurts. There was power there.

How did your family view what you did?
We had a really rough period when I left my job in advertising to go back to school for musical theatre. It wasn’t something Koreans did, and especially not the first-born son. I remember lots of emotion on all sides, lots of hurt feelings, it’s a painful memory to say the least.

What is the worst story you have about your family’s reaction?
I had just told my parents after dinner. We spent the next
three hours screaming about it. I couldn’t stay home, so I drove back to Richmond where I had just quit my job in advertising. A week later my Father had a stroke. My Family never blamed me for that. I do. I have spent that time trying to prove to my Family that my decision was the right one. That the Father I had known for most of my life as the heart of my Family was not ‘broken’ for a little dream that ended in nothing.

What made you start performing?
This isn’t a real easy answer. I spent much of my young adult life trying to find my place in America. Growing up in the South as one of maybe 3 Asian families and I struggled with who I was. I found comfort in singing and was good enough to join different Choirs and school jazz groups, etc. This was life altering, because when I found music, I belonged. I had tried to fit in as an athlete, and it had not worked out quite as well.

When I was on the football team , we won the regional championship. To celebrate the team went to the local pizza parlor and had a dinner. In that excitement I felt like I belonged, I didn’t realize that the team decided to throw a ‘special’ party just for me.

In the South there is a tradition called a blanket party. One person is the “blanketee” and the rest of the group, the “blanketor”. The blanketee is invited out to a special area and the blanketors get together and surprise him by jumping on him and beating the living crap out of him. I was the ‘blanketee’ in this little party and what made it worse was, my 2 young sisters were there watching.

Film Credits
West 32nd / Detective Par / Michael Kang – CJ Ent.
Freedom Writers / Store Owner/Supp. / Paramount
Purity / Rev. Kim/Lead / Dragon Lady Productions
Pollen / Peter/Lead / Wait What Productions
Year of the Dog / Jin/Lead / Year Of The Dog Prod
True / Hung/Lead / Brown Eyes Motion Pictures
The Crack / Dreamweaver/Lead / Wait What Prod.
TV Credits
House: MD / Morg Tech/Co-Star / NBC
Freddie / Sung/Co-Star / Warner Bros/ABC
LOST / White Suit/Co-Star / Touchstone/ABC
Six Feet Under / Father Kim/Co-Star / HBO
The Next Level / Host / eyegoo.tv Productions
Pensacola / Korean MP/Co-star / Stu Seagull Prod.
Destination Mars / Lead / Discovery Channel
Theater Credits
Generations / Eddie / DMC Productions
China Dolls / Johnny Song / Wait What Prod.
Freak Storm / Ian / Lodestone Theatre
Making Tracks / Frankie/David / Village Theatre
Three Penny Opera / MacHeath / American Rep
Waiting Room / Blessing from H. / Trinity Rep Theatre
Three Penny Opera / Ed / American Rep Theatre
The Woman Warrior / Kaugoon / Huntington Theatre

Training
Acting: Bobby Ausubel, Fran Charnes, Steve McConnell
Voice: John Howell, Walter Boyce, John O’Neal
Dance: Pam Turner, Greg Marcum, Sue Ronson
Stage Combat: Robert Walsh, Micheal Defeaux
MM of Musical Theatre and Directing (participant) from The Boston Conservatory
BS in Marketing and Psychology from Virginia Tech

Special Skills

20 years of martial arts experience
Stage Combat trainer/choreographer

Voice over experience
Cabaret, Pop, Jazz, Country Vocals
Clogging/Horse riding
Volleyball, baseball, football, etc.

I am not sure if I fought back or not, the physical pain was nothing compared to the emotional trauma. I was devastated. My trust in my fellow students was gone.

Two months later I got the lead solo in the Christmas concert. All I remember about that week before the concert was thinking to myself - this was another cruel joke set up by my “friends”.

My circle of mistrust also included my teachers. I didn’t even bother to learn the words to "Silent Night." Just before the performance, the Choir Director looked at me and asked if I was ready. I started to walk out of the choir room I thought “maybe this time it will be okay” . I scribbled the words onto a small piece of paper.

After the concert, there was only applause and my proud Mother watching the cheers of over three hundred audience members. I never felt that kind of joy. It was a kind of high I had never experienced. So I think I got into it by kind of a fluke, but I stayed because of the joy.

When you went to Conservatory, what was your greatest lesson?
Despite what anyone tells you, keep working, keep learning, and keep trying. You have to train, you have to continue to read and learn. No one hands anything to you, so above all be prepared. If someone asks you about a play, you’d better have read it. A book – same thing. Theater is a game that is played in the heart and the mind, so those that are passionate about it, who have a thirst for it – those are the ones that succeed in my opinion.

How were you viewed at Conservatory – were you the only Asian American?
I was the first Asian Male at the Conservatory and there was another Asian female in the undergraduate program. I don’t think they knew what to do with me. Which actually was in my favor - cause no one tried to turn me into the next KING in the "King and I". They allowed me to develop in a non- traditional casting world. I got to play everything but the King and I and Miss Saigon.

WEST 32ND

Talk about the protesting by the Korean Community of West 32nd while you were filming.
I heard about it, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it – apparently West 32nd was being protested by some of the local Korean community in Flushing, NY - which was where quite a bit of it was filmed. My Father In Law told me about it, because he has a friend who is a Korean American Lawyer and she had asked what I was up to, and when he told her, she said “Oh, we are protesting that movie, it’s about Korean Gangsters”. Then it got picked up by someone running for office in NY, and then the rumors started flying, and I didn’t know which end stuff was coming from.

What did you hear the protesters were upset about?
They felt the movie was about Korean Gangsters, and that was a bad image for the community. I disagree – look at The Departed, that’s a movie about Irish American gangsters, and I haven’t heard any Irish groups protesting. I asked my Wife about it, she’s Irish, Chinese, and Welsh, and she said, “Well, the Irish have been in the USA so long, it’s more like “Oh yeah, that’s a Great film.” I think that’s really the point – we see so few images of ourselves in the media, that people overreact when they see or hear about something that has shades of the criminal world in it.

This is a commercially viable film that will cross over because of it’s Leads and it’s subject matter, and I think the Community should celebrate it. You know, someone asked the politician why he was upset about it, did he read the script, and he said no, that his constituents were upset, so he had to bring it up. Art doesn’t happen by association. This is one film that is one Director’s vision and before we get all up in arms about it, we should see the finished product. I trust Michael Kang’s vision. I always say, “Success is the greatest revenge”, so it would be great to have this movie be a huge hit.

Do you think this movie marks a turning point for Asian Americans?
I’d like to think that West 32nd is building on previous film landmarks, such as Better Luck Tomorrow, Motel, Saving Face, Red Doors. All of them show the diversity in our abilities and subject matter. If people see it, and they like it – that’s the best judge, but yeah – I think it’s going to be a great movie. I’m very excited about it. If it does mark a turning point it’s really that the movie is filled up to the rim with Asian American actors and they do a fantastic job, and it just shows again, that we’ve been underrated in terms of sex appeal, acting chops, and as viable commercial risks.

How did you transition to Artistic Director?
By accident. I was introduced to Doris Chu in Boston while I was performing in Woman Warrior and going to the Boston Conservatory. We found common ideals and found that she was looking to start an Asian American Theatre Company. I had just finished a class on Tennessee Williams and really wanted to direct the play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. So we got together and formed the theatre company.

I was in my first year at the Conservatory and found myself gravitating to the directing classes and found the theatre company a perfect opportunity to stretch my directing muscles. I tackled the constraints of non- profit management as if it was a business and the model worked. We successfully grew from no funding and no name recognition into a well-funded organization with money in the bank in my first three years as the AD.

Can you trace your journey throughout all the companies you have founded?
I was the founding Artistic Director of Asia on Stage in Boston. I then left for San Diego where I was a director in Residence for the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theater. I heard about the national search for an Artistic Director in Seattle for the Northwest Asian American Theater, was chosen, and moved to the Northwest. After two years in Seattle I was looking for a change of pace. Soon Tek Oh contacted me and asked me to come down to Los Angeles. I took a meeting with him and the founding members of his group, the Society of Heritage Performers. That’s when I reconnected with Philip W. Chung and Tim Lounibos and found that we had like aesthetics and was looking to do something different in Los Angeles. All the planets aligned and we formed Lodestone Theatre Ensemble.

What are your goals?
To win an Academy Award as an Actor, and a Tony Award as a Director.

What made a set run by Teddy Zee and Michael Kang different from any other?
It was one of the most relaxed and entertaining movie shoot I’ve ever been on. I loved working with both of them. Teddy is a hands on Producer who maintained a slick and well run set with a great crew, and Michael, well Michael is a great director for an actor. I could not have asked for a nicer guy to work with who knew exactly how to get what he wanted while still letting you be creative. I would work for those guys any day.

Did you enjoy working with John Cho?
Watching him make sense of the words and finding the humor was a reminder that there are exceptional actors out there who happen to be Asian. He has a fantastic energy and drive, and even though he’d be embarrassed to hear me say it, he’s kind of inspiring.

Tell us about the NBC directing opportunity.
Very exciting. I have been asked to direct scenes for their Diversity Showcase. They’ve been auditioning actors, and getting scenes from writers in their Diversity programs, so it is a thrill to be asked. I’ll get to work with Sheldon Epps from the South Coast Rep, an internationally recognized theatre director. Theater is one of those things where getting guidance from someone who has fought similar fights with great success is key. When they said Sheldon Epps, I was ‘in’, he is someone I can really learn from. I also get to showcase my skills with all the executives at NBC and hopefully continue my directing career in television.

ASIAN AMERICAN THEATER

What makes Lodestone different from the others?
The biggest difference was the way it was formed. Most of the other groups formed out of a need to serve the Asian American community. Here was a chance for a group of people to come together and build a theatre company was conceived to push the community, to press it’s boundaries, and test the limits of what is considered Asian American Theater. It was also different in the way it was organized. With initially 4 artistic directors we wanted to create an identity that was greater than one person. We also believed that in order to continue to press the boundaries we needed a collective leadership that pressed each other, all the while supporting and pushing each other.

You talk a lot about being ‘charged with a mission’, in which way?
I think the Asian American community is not one who has traditionally supported the Arts. It could be for many reasons – they were immigrants, they were working, they didn’t view it as necessary. However there is a whole generation of younger Asian Americans who grew up here, who have a need to see themselves reflected in the cultural landscape. We’re hoping to encourage in them a lifelong support of the Arts. To tell their stories, to be their ‘reflection’. Also, those who long to be in front of the camera need a place to get up and stretch their artistic muscles. Actors do not improve without constant work, and I’m proud to say that Lodestone has among it’s members past and present, most of the younger Asian American actors working on screen today.

What do you think is wrong with most of the theater work we see that represents Asian Americans?
Well, if you are talking about traditional roles, in the American pantheon, they are fairly one note and FOBby. If you are talking about performances, I think the biggest detriment, is that people are not allowed by their families to train alongside other people whose goal is to be professional actors. The time spent in the classroom is so important, I feel that we double the time really, because you have to go to college for your ‘real’ degree and then a lot of us come out of school and THEN begin to study. It sets you back artistically to have desire, but no training.

What else are you working on in film?
I’ve shot a short, POLLEN, written by Nic Cha Kim. Currently I’m working with a very talented writer, Dennis Hensley, on a TV pilot called Screening Party. Dennis wrote on Lovespring International, and this is a pilot script that is based on his book by the same name. It’s a multi-camera shoot with a great cast, and it’s going to be awesome.

How did you meet your wife and did that change how you view Asian Americans in the Arts?
I met my wife, Erin Quill, at a Lodestone play called Freakstorm. At the time, she was the Vice Chair of the Asian American Sub Committee at SAG, and she was a friend of Ray Chang – who was also in it. I came out of the theater and saw her and that was it for me. We just celebrated our one year anniversary.

One of the ways meeting her has changed me is that she is very talented, studied at a great conservatory – Carnegie Mellon, she’s from New York, she’s been on Broadway, so her standards for performance and theater are high. She has a fantastic eye and whether we work together or not, I love to hear what she has to say. She’s never afraid to voice an opinion, basically, she demands more – of everyone. She really doesn’t care what you call yourself, what your ‘label’ is, she just expects everyone to push like hell every day and to try and be the best they can be. Her whole Family is like that, it’s fantastic. I love to watch her work.

Erin May Ling Quill - Read more about Chil Kong's wife by clicking HERE.
She has an amazing support system both in NY and LA of funny, artistic, and inspiring people that it is a pleasure to be around and who have welcomed me. To hear all their opinions, the repartee, is fascinating and it opens your mind. Plus, she is my biggest supporter, which inspires me.

If you looked around what are your hopes for the future?
To do great work. To continue to work with people who are inspiring, and to choose projects that are both entertaining and contribute a little something to the "Community."

I’m very encouraged by this mid term election, it signifies to me that the "Country" is not as polarized as I thought, and where there is hope, there is art. I look at the television landscape and I think things are getting better – seeing Daniel Dae Kim, Masi Oka, John, James K. Lee, Gwen Yeo, Grace Park – that is all amazing stuff, it’s very, very hopeful right now. Also, I’d love to get a Hybrid SUV. That would be cool, a green machine. Save the planet. (Note: To check out Chil's work on the Internet, click HERE.)

 
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