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W H A T ' S   N E W
February 2006

Review the Highlights From the Various Categories Listed Below
  APA Film News Artistry Business Christianity Community Diversity  
  Film Business Film Leisure Literature Medical News Music  
  Music Business New Media Online Technology Sports TV Business Television  
 
Featured Artists                            R.I.P.                                         Editorials
 
 
                 Politics
 
 

EDITORIALS
Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year or Asian New Year - it's one of the biggest celebrations of the year that take place all across the world. Although it originated from a Chinese tradition, other Asian communities such as Vietnamese and Korean communities celebrate it as well, with slightly different traditions.

Lunar New Year never has been a holiday recognized by corporate America, usually seen more as a pop-culture fixture though there are signs that the corporate landscape of the United States is opening up to the holiday. President Bush wrote a letter recognizing the significance of the holiday that ran in Chinese newspapers discussing the importance of celebrating the Asian culture and "their contributions to our multi-cultural society." These contributions alludes to the Asian-American buying power that will have risen by nearly 400 percent from 1990 to 2010 that undoubtedly will impact future advertisers and business strategies.

Considering that the Lunar New Year is the biggest celebration in China, and largely observed in many other Asian nations, it only may be a matter of a few lunar years before corporate America joins in on the party.

What is Chinese New Year? (Willie Chan)
Unlike The Western Calendar where
New Year's Day is always January 1 and New Year's Eve is always December 31, the Lunar Calendar does not have a fixed date for the Chinese New Year. Not only that, there is not always a Chinese New Year's Eve either!

For the Movie Industry in Hong Kong, the Chinese New Year Holidays are the only time of the Year where all work stops. The Chinese are very traditional and superstitious people and there are many rites to follow for the Chinese New Year. The younger generation may not care too much nowadays (as they become more and more Americanized). Start time is 10pm Chinese New Year's Eve!

The whole festivities will go on for fifteen days culminating on the 15th day, which is lover's day (equivalent to Valentine's Day in the Western Calendar). However, one should refrain from visiting friends on the third day of the New Year. Superstition says it's a day when quarrels start easily! Another day of importance is the seventh day of the New Year. This day is known as `people's day' and it's considered as everyone's birthday! To read more of Willie Chan's descriptions, click HERE.

A Love Story (Nancy Yoon)
My true hero is my mother,
Nancy Yoon. She has endured so much and she is still strong. She has been through a failed marriage, giving up her children so that they could have a better life, and these are in addition to the everyday conflicts that come up in life.

All that my mother wanted for John and me was a better chance at life than she had ever had. And even when we put her through some bad times she still showed us that she loved us and wanted the best for us. My mother is my true hero not because of her intelligence or her work in the community, but because of her strength, courage, perseverance, and true love.

Remy Martin's Asian Excellence Awards
The event
(fund-raiser for Asian Professional Exchange/APEX, Second Generation Theater Company, Taiwanese American Professionals/TAP and Taiwanese United Fund/TUF) wasn't perfect; some of it was downright ridiculous. It truly was a strange mix of a participants and honorees—a real stretch at times. I think more than a few people were probably scratching their heads at the way the evening went down. - from "Angry Asian Man"

Black History Month
His (Isiah Washington) sentiment echoes that of
Morgan Freeman, who said on Sunday's 60 Minutes that the whole idea of a month for black history is "ridiculous" because it separates black history from American history and is part of a labeling process that abets racism.

Modern Activism
There's also a sense among advocates that
modern activism is being overshadowed by a near-constant string of commemorations for bygone victories: the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education in 2004 and, last year, the 40 years since the historic march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., to win voting rights for African-Americans.

James Wong Howe's Advice
Forget about "source lighting" . . . . "source lighting" is for sissy . . . there's no justification from where the light comes from . . just light it the way that looks good to you. He warned me to don't look for a style. In almost every good story, really good story and good cast will generate its own style,
(Spoken to John Alonzo - Cinematographer for "Sounder" - by James Wong Howe on TCM)

Interracial Couples
"The reality is that interracial couples still deal with discrimination and hate," says
Carmen Van Kerckhove, co-director of New Demographic, a diversity training company. "It's a positive thing that we're seeing less of a tragic element. Television models for us what we should think about people, really determines our taboos and what's acceptable. The more people see positive and normal representations, that will lessen the fear and taboo."

Prejudice
What's rational about prejudice (Spoken by "Pinky" - played by
Jeanne Crain - in the 1949 movie "Pinky")

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R.I.P.

     

APA & MEDIA NEWS
HALLYU GOING STRONG
List of Ethnic Koreans Active on Global Music Scene include R&B Singer Amerie, Bossa Nova artist Ann Sally, Cho Ji-in (lead singer of the German band Krypteria) and Joseph Hahn, member of rock band Linkin Park
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JOSEPH HAHN'S FILM "THE SEED"
Linkin Park's DJ Joseph Hahn has been exploring his second love: filmmaking through the band's video and the short film "The Seed."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WEINSTEIN ENDS "THE PROMISE"
Harvey Weinstein pulled out of Chen Kaige's "The Promise on its North America release with Moonstone and China Film Group resuming control.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

AMY TAN / MYANMAR / TROUBLES
"I (Amy Tan) realize that at this point in my life, the things that I think about a lot have to do with discomfort, discomfort about what I feel about the suffering of other people, of what I'm supposed to be doing, what I can do, what I can't do, what I don't want to do," she says.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

EAST WEST BANK PURCHASES STANDARD BANK
East West Bancorp Inc. agreed to buy rival California community bank Standard Bank for about $204 million in a move to expand its Chinese American customer base.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SEC & US PROSECUTORS CLASH ON YUEN DEAL
In a rare split, the Securities and Exchange Commission is at odds with U.S. Prosecutors (Debra Yang) in cleaning up corporate accounting — the Justice Department — over a plea agreement with Henry Yuen former chief of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HMONG'S FARMING TRADITION BEING ABANDONED
Community leaders say they're glad to see young Hmong pursuing higher-paying jobs, but they say they're troubled by the notion that the next generation doesn't consider farming a professional option.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ACCLAIM WRITER YIYUN LI REJECTED BY IMMIGRATION
Yiyun Li is a literary sensation, but that hasn't impressed immigration officials, who rejected her request for residency in the United States.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ROMANCE & "MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA"
Even in the nominally more conventional "Memoirs of a Geisha," billed as a real "Cinderella story," the payoff between the geisha and the wealthy patron she's pined away her girlhood for isn't exactly the happily-ever-after ending of a Disneyfied fairy tale.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JEFF MA & MIKE KERNS OF "PROTRADE.COM"
Ma, a MIT graduate who gained notice for his blackjack prowess as the hero of the nonfiction bestseller "Bringing Down the House," is the main force behind ProTrade's proprietary scoring system.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MEI MELACON JOINS "X-MEN 3"
Philippines-born Mei Melancon (Rush Hour 2, CSI, Deadwood) has joined the cast of the comic book-inspired sequel as the evil mutant assassin Psylocke.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JANET LEE'S "FLOUR IN CONDOM" GAG & JAIL
Janet Lee, college student at Bryn Mawr College, spent 3 weeks in jail after a field test said she was carrying drugs in condoms that she had in her luggage.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KOREAN AMERICAN CHURCH RAISES THE CURTAIN
With more than 4,000 members, Rev. Nam Soo Kim-led Promise Church is the largest of New York City's four Korean megachurches and has embraced mass entertainments like "The Promise" as a strategy to win over the "unchurched."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MS. UTAH USA: SOBEN HUON
With this win, Soben Huon will serve as Miss Utah for the next year and is eligible to compete in the Miss USA pageant, owned by Donald Trump, in April 2006.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LEARNING MANDARIN IN U.S. CLASSROOMS
10 times the number of high schools across the country picked Mandarin over Russian, Japanese and Italian, when asked by The College Board's world language initiative what Advanced Placement courses they wanted to add.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DIABETES & ITS AWFUL EFFECT ON ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICANS
Some Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders also appear more prone, and they can develop the disease at much lower weights. Asians constitute one-tenth of New York's population, more than twice their proportion nationwide.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN / RACIST / BEING ALONE
"Does being grossed out by gay men having sex make me a homophobe? Does it make me a bad person?" Pretty much, yeah. Let me once again make a comparison: exchange "gay men" with "people of different races" and reread your sentence. You'd be a racist, wouldn't you? Film director Ang Lee (who was DGA's "Filmmaker of the Year") says it wasn't hard to evoke the loneliness of the open spaces of Wyoming, or delve into the lonely heart of Ennis Del Mar (Health Ledger), one of the two protagonists of his new film, "Brokeback Mountain" (nominated for various GLAAD awards - along with 8 Oscar nominations). After all, Lee was well aware that he was alone in making a film that many thought couldn't be made. Lee said he felt alone because he realized that what he was tackling was not just a gay love story, or a Western, but both. Against all odds, this Western romance about two men has corralled the cultural zeitgeist, making it safe for our national funny bone to come out of the closet.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
Born in the U.S.A. to Asian parents, a generation of immigrants' kids seek to forge new identities.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIANS ARE 1% OF CATHOLICS, 12% OF THE SEMINARIANS
Asians and Pacific Islanders constitute about 1 percent of American Catholics, but they account for 12 percent of seminarians, or about 397 of 3,308 men; a vast majority of them are of Vietnamese heritage.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIAN AMERICANS MUST SPEAK-UP
In the wake of the Chai Soua Vang verdict, now, more than ever, Asian-Americans need to talk candidly about race and racism, or the American dream shall never truly be ours.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ARE ASIAN CHILDREN SMARTER??
Asian-Americans comprise only 4 percent of the United States' population, yet they make up 20 percent of the Ivy League.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WHAT SHAPES THE CAREER OF ASIAN IMMIGRANT CHILDREN?
No definitive studies have been made of the career choices of American-born sons and daughters of Asian immigrants. But anecdotal information suggests that while tradition is important, so is the influence of Americanization.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ASIANS ACUTELY SUSCEPTIBLE TO TYPE 2 DIABETES
Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes. They develop it at far lower weights than people of other races, studies show; at any weight, they are 60 percent more likely to get the disease than whites.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INFLUENTIAL AA CABLE EXECUTIVES
Laureen Ong (President, National Geographic Channel), Albert Cheng (SVP, business, strategy and development at ESPN), Henry Ahn (SVP, affiliate sales at NBC Universal Cable), Michelle Kim (VP, cf. counsel/programming contracts, Time Warner Cable), Mitchell Chun (SVP, bus. dev., Fox Cable Networks)/Steven Kuo (SVP, dig. media & tech, Fox Television) and Christy Kwon Kreisberg (VP, original programming/series, TBS).
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

GAMBLING'S NO-WIN SITUATION WITH ASIANS
Community leaders and social workers are putting pressure on casinos and legislators to help those who may be addicted face their problem.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

L.A.'S KOREATOWN USHERS IN NEW GATEWAY
A century after their immigration to America began, Korean Americans got their first cultural landmark in Los Angeles' Koreatown: Koreatown Pavilion Garden - a 5,000 square feet traditional pavilion and garden at Olympic Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TIGER'S SUCCESS IS ALL RELATIVE
When he saw his son win his first major championship, the 1997 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Earl Woods was 65 and Tiger Woods was 21. The age difference didn't show. The picture of the moment of victory was simple, but it explained so much.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INDIA'S RAMAYANA - POST-APOCALYPTIC COMIC BOOK
Hollywood's search for new mythologies now extends to the Indian subcontinent where one of the world's greatest stories, India's Ramayana, is being retold as a post-apocalyptic comic book, in "Ramayana Reborn," with an animated television spinoff for kids titled "The Seven Sounds."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CANTONESE SPEAKERS LEARNING MELLOWER MANDARIN
The surging Chinese economy today has challenged Cantonese speakers because Mandarin is China's official language. Cantonese entrepreneurs have been forced to adapt, often learning the hard way that business can't be done with Cantonese alone.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CEMETARY ACCUSED OF PREYING ON KOREAN VETERANS
Julie A. Su of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a nonprofit group that helped the Korean veterans file their suit, alleges that the Oakdale Memorial Park Cemetary in Glendora took advantage of the fact that most of the Korean buyers did not speak much English. The suit comes amid a greater focus by authorities on possible fraud targeting Asians who do not speak English.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WAYNE WANG'S "LAST HOLIDAY" REVIEW
"Last Holiday," Wayne Wang's energetic remake of the 1950 comedy starring Alec Guinness, gets new life breathed into it by a wonderful, slightly toned down performance from Queen Latifah. She's soft, bold and very funny, infusing this otherwise predictable movie with a contagious sort of charm.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

"IF TOMORROW COMES" (PATTY DUKE/MICHAEL LIU
Plot Summary: In California, a young Caucasian girl and a Japanese-American boy defy local prejudices and secretly marry--on Dec. 7, 1941, minutes before Pearl Harbor is attacked.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MIXED ASIANS IN HIP-HOP
Hip hop artists have long sprinkled their lyrics with references to shaolin, kung fu and geishas. But despite this apparent fascination with Asian culture, hip hop artists of mixed Asian descent continue to deny their ethnic heritage.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SONYA THOMAS - #1 COMPETITIVE EATER
Thomas, South Korean born, 37 years old and single, is the No. 1 female competitive eater in the United States. She is ranked second in the world, with 22 world titles, and regularly outeats men four and five times her size in contests held throughout the year, earning the self-appointed moniker the Black Widow."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INTERRACIAL LOVE ON TV
Interracial pairings suddenly are integral to several of today's top-rated TV shows, including Grey's, Lost, My Name Is Earl and ER. But these on-screen pairings no longer draw the kind of attention and reaction they did in the '60s and '70s. Romances between people of different colors are being handled more offhandedly, with race being neither an issue nor much of a plot point.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DANIEL DAE KIM LOVES "LOST" BLESSINGS
"I really like Jin. I don't think he's the hard, stern character that he was initially laid out to be. I think he's very complex. I think he's very human," says Daniel Dae Kim of his "Lost" character.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

UCLA ALUMNI GROUP TRACKING AA PROFESSORS
Two of our professors (Law Professor Jerry Kang and Historian Vinay Lal) and one of our long-time lecturers (Kent Wong, who is also the director of UCLA's Labor Center) are among 30 faculty members that have been targeted and profiled in a web site run by a very conservative UCLA alumnus, Andrew Jones, and his organization, the Bruin Alumni Association (which is not affiliated with the university's official alumni association).
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CHINESE SCIONS TAKE ROOT @ HUNTINGTON LIBRARY
The rail fortune behind the Huntington Library was built using men society shunned. Now local Asian wealth is key to the site's future.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LUCY LIU IN "LUCK NUMBER SLEVIN"
Only the friend has vanished from his apartment. Slevin spends the night, then meets the cute and flirty girl next door, Lindsey (Lucy Liu). But his luck doesn't hold. Two goons show up at the door and absolutely insist their boss wants to see him.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JULIA KWAN'S "EVE & THE FIRE HORSE"
Julia Kwan, the director of one of the most beloved films at Sundance this year, didn't touch a film camera until she was 23. She was studying to be a legal assistant. Her dad worked in a restaurant. Her mom worked in the garment industry.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HINES WARD: KOREAN-BORN SUPER BOWL HERO
Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who was born in Seoul to a Korean woman and an African-American GI 29 years ago, caught five passes and a touchdown in the game against the Denver Broncos, contributing to the team's 34-17 triumph. Recently he went back to Seoul to honor his mother.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MS. GEORGIA: MONICA PANG
Today's Miss Georgia is Monica Pang. Her mom is a blonde from Middle Georgia, a daughter of the Old South. Her dad is ethnic Chinese, from Malaysia. The South is now a cosmopolitan place, a crossroads of the world.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

FRIEDA LEE MOCK'S DOC ON TONY KUSHNER
As good-looking and well-crafted as Freida Lee Mock's "Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner" is, the film suffers from a crucial lack of perspective.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

SANDRA OH IN "NIGHT LISTENER"
So this is a Chinese-box movie with puzzles lurking inside puzzles and a melodramatic overlay that keeps one on the edge of the seat. "The Night Listener" is one of the few films that manages to be highly cerebral and a great popcorn movie simultaneously.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KENJI HOSHINO'S "COVERING: THE HIDDEN ASSAULT ON OUR CIVIL RIGHTS"
Despite coming out to his friends, his parents and his colleagues, Yoshino still feels afflicted by the pressure to act as though being gay does not have much effect on his life.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MICHELLE KWAN HEADS TO 3RD OLYMPICS
Kwan sealed the spot on the U.S. Olympic team that she was handed two weeks ago, proving to a five-person monitoring committee that she's recovered from the groin injury that kept her out of the National Championships.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

RAIN ("K-POP" STAR) PERFORMS AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Rain, who has been labeled the Korean Justin Timberlake and the Korean Usher, is a serious and driven performer (with washboard abs, winsome looks and a Gene Kelly-like ability to leap through puddles while performing his hit song, "It's Raining").
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

RUSH HOUR 3 PRODUCER HONORED - ARTHUR SARKISSIAN
Producer Arthur Sarkissian received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fourth Annual ARPA Foundation For Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) awards ceremony. His recent credits included both Rush Hour films, as well as While You Were Sleeping and Last Man Standing.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TROY POLAMALU - SUPER BOWL ALL-STAR
On Sunday, Polamalu will be one of the most-watched players in Super Bowl XL. His long hair - a tribute to his Samoan heritage - identifies him to the general public, but his omnipresence on the field makes him priority No. 1 for the Seattle Seahawks.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

KEN WATANBE DEFENDS "GEISHA" CASTING
Ken Watanabe, the Japanese star of "Memoirs of a Geisha," is defending the casting of Chinese actresses for the film's main roles, saying talent is the most important consideration.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

US ASIANS: Jeff, what motivated you to do a film about Asian American men in film and television?

JEFF ADACHI: From 1995-1999, I produced a San Francisco-based Asian American awards show called the Golden Ring Awards for the Asian American Arts Foundation. We recognized Asian artists and actors, including Margaret Cho, Ming-Na, Lou Diamond Phillips, Wayne Wang, Joan Chen, Steve Park, and others, and I was struck by how difficult it was for Asian American actors to find work.
Working Asian American Artists in Hollywood

Although there were many talented Asian American actors, they rarely had a chance to work. And when they did, the roles were forced to play were limited to gangsters or waiters for men, or geishas or dragon ladies for women. I became fascinated by the stories of these actors, who struggled against incredible adversity for their entire careers, often receiving little or no support from their families and the communities they came from. I wanted to tell their story. That's how the Slanted Screen came about.

US ASIANS: Why did you choose Asian men?

JEFF ADACHI: Historically, in films and television, Asian men have been portrayed alternatively as the sinister and evil Fu Man Chu who's going to take over the world
 
and then there's the non-sexual nerd, like Long Duk Dong in the film "Sixteen Candles." It's an interesting dichotomy that Asian men are stereotyped in this way. We also have the kung-fu stereotype, you know, that all Asians know kung-fu. And these images have existed and been perpetuated for decades. If you look at cartoons like National Lampoon's Mr. Wong, or the recent Abercrombie and Fitch's Asian caricatures on their t-shirts, we see that these stereotypes persist even to this day.

US ASIANS: What will people learn about these actors by watching the film?

 
JEFF ADACHI: That while it's tough being an Asian male actor, because of the lack of roles, and the choices you have to make, that these actors had to fight for their roles and in sometimes prevailed. Take Mako for example. Many people may not know him by name, but he's been in over 70 major films. He's been in nearly a hundred television shows and has a career that has spanned over 40 years. And he's still acting today --- he had a role in "Memoirs of a Geisha." He has an incredible story and a lot to say about his experiences as an actor, and the integrity that he carries himself with. He is featured in our film and tells a no-hold bars story of what it's like to be an actor in Hollywood. People who are interested in acting will be inspired by his story, I think.

US ASIANS: Are you a filmmaker by training?

JEFF ADACHI: Actually, no. My day job is that I am a criminal defense attorney. I am the elected Public Defender in San Francisco, and I run an office of 90 attorneys who represent poor people in criminal cases. I first started as a producer and writer of the film, and then took over the directing reigns over when the person who originally was to be the director was unable to continue.

To read the rest of the intereview, click HERE.

 
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