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W H A T ' S   N E W
March 2006

Review the Highlights & Information From the Various Categories Listed Below
Animation APA Business APA Film APA Music APA TV Business Christianity Diversity
Entertainment Biz Film Literature Media Marketing Music New Media Online Media Radio
 
Featured Artists                            R.I.P.                                         Editorials
 
 

EDITORIALS
YURI KOCHIYAMA REMEMBERS
41 years ago today
(February 21, 1965), Malcolm X was gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. Yuri Kochiyama cradled his head as he lay dying on the stage. Kochiyama's activism began after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when she and her family were held in an internment camp along with more than 100,000 Japanese in the United States.

WELLY YANG LEARNING ABOUT ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY
"There's the ethnic studies types who know it all," he
(Welly Yang) says, "but I had a fairly elite education and it wasn't until that education was over that I discovered a lot of this on my own. I didn't know the history of Asian immigration, that they weren't even allowed to immigrate for a quarter of the nation's history or something ridiculous like that. I had never even heard of that." (Welly Yang)

ORIENTALISM (EDWARD SAID)
The
Oriental is the person represented by such thinking. The man is depicted as feminine, weak, yet strangely dangerous because poses a threat to white, Western women. The woman is both eager to be dominated and strikingly exotic.

The Oriental is a single image, a sweeping generalization, a stereotype that crosses countless cultural and national boundaries.
For more information, feel free to click HERE
(Read more about the "Asian Mystique" by clicking HERE)

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APA & MEDIA NEWS
ANG LEE'S IMAGERY
Ang Lee has made his point viscerally (through his film "Brokeback Mountain"); he's not in a pulpit, but he's no innocent either. He's speaking louder with images than most of his ideological opponents do in words.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DIVERSITY IN LAW FIRMS
Since 1975, the representation of women, African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans as professionals in larger Legal Service firms has increased substantially. Asians from 0.5 percent to 5.3 percent.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HINES WARD: "I'M A KOREAN AMERICAN
"Seeing my mom cry like that made me say, 'Hey, this is who I am and I have to accept it and move on,' " he said. "I'm a Korean American."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MICHELLE KWAN WITHDRAWS FROM OLYMPICS
Kwan's (Disney's Celebrity Representative & Spokesperson) last chance to win the only medal that has eluded her grasp -- an Olympic gold -- ended sadly Sunday when she (the goddess Hestia, who is revered and respected as the keeper of the flame by every Olympian.) withdrew from the Turin Games because of a groin injury.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TOBY DAWSON WINS
This was not about glamour for the South Korean-born, American-adopted 27-year-old, but rather the hard work of improving on the technical side of making his way through the moguls.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LORNA ONIZUKA HONORS HER ASTRONAUT HUSBAND
Lorna Onizuka is originally from Hawaii, as was her husband, veteran astronaut Ellison Onizuka. Lorna continues to serve as a Founding Director for Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LOUISE MITA-JUNG'S INDIE FILM
In the year 2000 I had the privilege of working with the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation. We selected five youths from South Central Los Angeles to travel to South Africa together with a delegation from Artists for a New South Africa, Habitat for Humanity and Creative Artists Agency.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

IATV, AZN-TV, MTV & AMERICAN DESI
Asian Americans (3rd largest ethnic group/fastest-growing group/most educated/most tech-savvy/underserved audience) have quietly become the target audience for a growing number of media outlets, including Imaginasian TV, AZN TV, American Desi and MTV.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LUCY LIU ON CRITICS OF "GEISHA" CASTING
Liu says that limiting casting of roles to their initial ethnic groups is a form of "reverse racism" and is appalled that the movie has been banned in China - a decision which can partly be blamed on the casting of Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li as Japanese geisha.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

YEAH YEAH YEAHS' (W/KAREN O) NEW MUSIC
Vampy lead singer Karen O, guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, however, are nothing if not disciples of George Santayana who know that those who fail to learn from the pop music past are doomed to repeat it — and themselves.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ADAM CAROLLA'S APOLOGY
A quick of business to take care of. An apology to the Asian community. We did a bit a few weeks back that offended many people. It was unintended to offend these people. We do a show here that is a little irreverent and sometimes we cross the line and we definitely crossed it this time. And it was not meant to offend. It did. And for that we sincerely apologize to the good people of the Asian community. So we apologize and we thank you for your support.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CHINESE DISSIDENT AVOIDS DEPORTATION
Zhang Hongbao, the leader of a Chinese spiritual group with an estimated following of 30 million, had been accused of five felony counts related to the alleged beating of his housekeeper in his Pasadena home in 2003.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

PATRICK SOON SHIONG - RESEARCHERS' DARLING/INVESTORS' SUSPICIONS
Patrick Soon Shiong is a darling of researchers but an object of investor suspicion as he seeks ways to market a cancer drug.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

PEARL S. BUCK - READ BUT NOT ADMIRED IN THE U.S.
More than 30 years after the writer's death and 75 since the publication of "The Good Earth," the saga of a farming family in pre- Communist China, Buck remains stranded between two worlds. In China she is admired but not read; in America, she is read but not admired.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

"DRIFTING" & "FAST & THE FURIOUS
Never heard of drifting (Japanese motor sport of drifting, in which racers are judged on the speed, accuracy, daring and balletic grace of their driving as they slide sideways — drift — around a serpentine course)? Well, that will change in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," the third installment (directed by Justin Lin) of the car-porn franchise that first brought us the thespian exploits of Vin Diesel in 2001.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

J-CARS - SOUPED UP JAPANESE CARS
The souped-up Japanese autos—J-cars, as they're called—first appeared on American streets a decade or so ago. For "tuners" - the show was—and still is—under the hood. Forget fancy spoilers and gaudy trim. The cool thing is to have your car look normal.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

V-POP
Although Japan, China and South Korea boast thriving music scenes with CDs produced locally, almost all of the world's Vpop comes out of Little Saigon. The music spans genres, from rap to rock to R&B. But more often than not, Vpop gives a nod to the old-country ballads of Vietnam.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

"LOST'S" SUN & JIN'S ROMANCE
Sun and Jin are alluring in part because their relationship is so unusual for network television, where younger, whiter, unmarried people seem to have all the romantic fun. But Sun and Jin also stand out on "Lost" because their storyline, despite the requisite flashbacks, seems to be pushing forward. The island has freed Sun and Jin, though, to deal with their marital problems in a way they could not back in South Korea. It is their Eden.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ALEX SOOJUNG-KIM PANG & MARKETING
Institute for the Future's Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Lyn Jeffery and former Institute intern Jason Li have a blog, "Virtual China" that is "an exploration of virtual experiences and environments in and about China," and is part of a larger research project on the future of China at http://www.virtual-china.org/. They feel that "by changing the creation equation, Visible World's adaptive ads adopt the "permanent beta" ethic of online marketing - advertisers can continually refine their message, swapping out offers in response to what works."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

DECLINE OF INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES AMONG AA COMMUNITIES
After rising for decades, the rate of interracial ("IR") marriages for contemporary (aged 25-34) U.S.-born Asian Americans has declined from 2000 to 2004 according to data tabulated from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 American Community Survey ("ACS") and the Census 2000. Contemporary 1.5 Generation Asian American females also experienced fewer IR marriages. Part of the decline was due to record levels of Pan Asian marriages (marriages between Asians of different ethnicities). For additional info on interracial marriages, click HERE.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

BOMBAY DREAMS
A pet project of Andrew Lloyd Webber's, "Bombay Dreams" emerged from the British impresario's fascination with A R Rahman's music. Tonally and rhythmically complex, that music fuses Indian classical music and Western pop, with salsa, jazz and other styles percolating among the techno drum beats and traditional Indian percussion.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CELEBRATING HERITAGE & ASSIMILATION IN BEAUTY PAGEANTS
Recognizing the high incidence of ethnic and racial intermarriage, pageant organizers have determined that contestants only had to be a quarter Chinese or half Japanese to enter, respectively.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MONTEREY PARK'S "CHINESE CONNECTION"
With its plethora of Asian restaurants, markets and businesses, it's obvious why Monterey Park has been dubbed "Little Taipei" by its immigrant residents and "the new Chinatown" by visitors who flock there for dim sum and a variety of regional cuisines.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

NAVI RAWAT IN "NUMB3RS"
One of the pleasures of the tv series "Numb3rs" is a character [Amita Ramanujan - played by Navi Rawat] who is not only a math whiz, but a woman of exotic beauty, not the standard blonde [as appealing as many blonde actors may be]. Navi Rawat was born to a German mother and an Indian father, and has admitted she felt self-conscious about that fact earlier in her life, but now feels "it's all fine."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CHARLES WANG/SALON FILM'S "ULTRAVIOLET"
In moviegoing's olden days, something like "Ultraviolet" (produced by Salon Film's Charles Wang, T.C. Wang, Tony Mark & Sue Jett) would be considered a "quickie": a genre flick that had nothing on its mind except tying together as many motifs as it could from other movies in its genre and making things move quick and dirty.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ANG LEE: 1ST NON-WHITE DIRECTOR TO WIN AN OSCAR
"Brokeback Mountain," which had cleaned up at awards shows leading up to the 78th annual Oscars and was among the year's best-reviewed films, did win an Oscar for Ang Lee, the first non-white director to win the industry's top filmmaking prize.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INTERNMENT: IT'S NOT ON THE BLACKBOARD
CCLPEP is the first program officially sponsored by a State agency that recognizes and truly supports projects that inform Californians about the Japanese American experience during World War II.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

BANKS SEEK CHINESE AMERICAN CONSUMER MARKETS
Two Chinese American (Cathay General Bancorp of Los Angeles and San Francisco's UCBH Holdings, Inc.) banking companies that have outgrown their California roots appear to be nearing the end of a bitter takeover battle for Great Eastern Bank, which serves ethnic Chinese communities in New York (2nd largest Chinese American marketplace outside of California).
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

WHAM-O/FRISBEE/HULA HOOP PURCHASED BY CORNERSTONE
Cornerstone is run by Jeff Hsieh, who recently ended a 4 1/4-year partnership with Marvel Entertainment Inc. that required him to pay a minimum of $20 million for the licensing rights to toys based on comic-book heroes like Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and Captain America. Cornerstone Chief Executive Jeff Hsieh owns a chain of 400 toy stores across China, making immediate distribution in Asia easier.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

JUSTIN LIN'S "ANNAPOLIS"
If you follow a formula and deliver only a pale imitation of the beloved masterpieces that wrote the cookbook for it, the failure is all the more glaring. That's the case with Annapolis, a James Franco military-training drama that borrows so many plot lines and stereotypes from An Officer and a Gentleman and Top Gun that their writers could almost sue for plagiarism.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HODGETTS & FUNG DESIGNS AA THEATER IN L.A.
Hodgetts & Fung Design and Architecture — The Los Angeles firm responsible for the restoration of Hollywood's Egyptian Theater as well as the new Hollywood Bowl — has been selected to renovate a historic downtown movie palace into an Asian American theater and cultural center that architect Craig Hodgetts hopes will have the "compressed, surprising quality that you find in a very dense Asian city."
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HINES WARD - 1ST STEELER TO HOLD-OUT
Hodgetts & Fung Design and Architecture — Hines Ward became the first Steeler in 12 years to hold out for any length of time, but he stayed professional during the ordeal.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ANG LEE PRODUCING "THE HANDS OF SHANG-CHI"
Hodgetts & Fung Design and Architecture — Ang Lee to produce a film based on The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, a Marvel Comics series from the 1970s about the son of evil mastermind Fu Manchu. Stan Lee has agreed to executive produce the film for DreamWorks, with Yuen Woo-ping directing from a Bruce McKenna screenplay.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

HSING KUNG - UNDERSTATED POWER BROKER
After three successful start-ups later, he is among the region's favorite go-to guys -- a man who hosts big-name political fund-raisers but who is not above registering voters outside a supermarket; a bridge-building peacemaker who is unafraid to pick a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger if he feels the governor has dismissed the Asian-American view.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

BOBBY WOO JR. - 200,000,000TH AMERICAN BORN
In 1967, an Atlanta woman named Sally Woo had a very special baby at Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital. Woo had no idea just how special her baby was until Life magazine told her Robert "Bobby" Ken Woo Jr., born at 11:03 a.m. on Nov. 20, was the 200,000,000th American.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

MIKE SHINODA'S PERSONAL FREEDOM
Mike Shinoda is well known for his expressions of raw emotion as a lead vocalist for the rap-metal band Linkin Park. Just two weeks ago, millions of people watched him and his group onstage at the Grammy Awards, performing with Jay-Z, and then accepting the award for best rap-song collaboration. But as public as Shinoda has been, he's never reached as far into his personal life as he does with his current side project, known as Fort Minor.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

LAWSON FUSSAO INADA - POET LAUREATE OF OREGON
As a child, Lawson Fusao Inada was taken from his home in Fresno, Calif., with his family and sent to internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. As a young man, Inada's "Before the War" became one of the first books of poetry by an Asian American to be released by a New York publisher.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS (WM/AF)
We must not ignore the role the media play in eroticizing East Asian women while desexualizing East Asian men. For example, nothing says "cultural imperialism" like silver screen interracial relationships -- just think Sideways or The Last Samurai. Now think of the last time you saw an Asian man kiss a white woman on screen.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

TONY LEUNG IN LAWRENCE BLOCK MOVIE
Hong Kong film star Tony Leung Chiu-wai will star in an English-language film being penned by acclaimed American mystery writer Lawrence Block. The original lead character will be changed from an American to an American-born Chinese, played by Leung.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

ANNA MAY WONG / MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
The Museum of the Moving Image which is dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media and to examining their impact on culture and society has a retrospective on Anna May Wong.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

CATE BLANCHETT/DUSTIN NGUYEN IN "LITTLE FISH"
To sink or to swim: that is the question. In "Little Fish," Cate Blanchett does both. The great Australian actress sinks into the role Tracy Heart, a 32-year-old recovering drug addict who manages a video store in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb nicknamed Little Saigon for its large Vietnamese population and known as the heroin capital of Australia. Dustin Nguyen plays Jonny Nguyen, Cate Blanchett's former boyfriend.
Click Here to Read More>>>>>

 
 
Sheridan Prasso is a writer, editor, and Asia specialist with more than 15 years of experience covering the region. She writes about global issues and international affairs, particularly from cultural, economic, and business perspectives. Her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, Fortune, BusinessWeek, TIME, The Far Eastern Economic Review, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The World Policy Journal, among other publications.

Sheridan previously spent eight years with BusinessWeek, as its New York-based Asia Editor, as a Senior News Editor, and as a Contributing Editor. She served as Cambodia Bureau Chief for Agence France-Presse (AFP) from 1991 to 1994, setting up the first permanent Western news bureau to reopen in Phnom Penh since 1975.

She also worked in Hong Kong as an Asia Regional Correspondent, in Paris as a Europe/Africa Desk Editor, and as a United Nations Correspondent for AFP. She started her career with The Associated Press (AP), in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and later worked in New York as an AP Business Writer. She has been a U.S.-Japan Foundation Media Fellow in Japan and a Knight International Press Fellow in China.

EMAIL: sheri@sheridanprasso.com

SHERIDAN PRASSO - AUTHOR OF "THE ASIAN MYSTIQUE"

US ASIANS: Considering your thoughts on how the Western world/United States has penalized/ emasculated the Asian male, could you elaborate on your own impressions regarding this subject?

SHERIDAN PRASSO: As I explain in the chapter of my book called "Matters of Men and Country: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Portrayed," in Hollywood movies, over and over again, action heroes such as Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat save the girl but don't even get a romantic kiss at the end. I have read that in the finale of "Romeo Must Die," the kiss scene between Jet Li and Aaliyah was cut after it fared badly in front of test audiences, and the director decided that American audiences weren't ready yet to see an Asian man acting the same way that a white hero would.

There is no such prohibition between white men and Asian women on screen (witness "Sideways" as the most recent example). These images from Hollywood need to change before male sex symbols from Asia can be fully regarded as masculine heroes in the eyes of Hollywood and in Western culture in general. I argue that such images - of Asian males as asexual and/or emasculated in Hollywood movies - have an impact on interpersonal relations, such as the low prevalence of Asian male/Caucasian female couples in the West.

US ASIANS: When do you feel that the attitudes that you've described above and at the review of "Romeo Must Die" will change where AM/WF relationships will be accepted, like in the past pictures such as Cecille DeMille's "The Cheat," "Hiroshima Mon Amour," James Shigeta/Victoria Shaw in Crimson Kimono and/or James Shigeta/Carol Baker in "Bridge to the Sun?"

SHERIDAN PRASSO: I do not know when it will change. Having contemporary movies from Hollywood showing equitable relationships between Asian males and Caucasian women might help.
To read the entire interview with Sheridan Prasso, click HERE

CALVIN JUNG - ESTABLISHED ACTOR / "ANCIENT CHINESE SECRET" COMMERCIAL
 
Calvin Jung
 

Could you share your views on participating on the Calgon "Ancient Chinese Secret" commercial?
The audition process never made me feel that this was stereotypical. In fact, I went to the audition in my overalls, hair down to my shoulders and wearing clogs. I fooled around with the text, they loved it and hired me. I never expected to get this commercial since they had a room filled with "chinky types" sitting in the room. The producers never asked for an accent, just straight ahead dialogue.

Did you consider it a stereotypical role?
No, never even gave it a second thought. The fact that you had an Asian couple speak without accents was advanced for that time. Forget about stereotypes, just having Asians speak without accents was a major breakthrough.

How is it different than other stereotypical roles?
At that time, a commercial with no accent broke a pattern. I can name a number of actors (but won't) who volunteered accents on "copy" that was written straight ahead (no accent required or written) and got the commercial because the people thought it was funny.

Could you elaborate on the fact that it was/is the longest running commercial
The "hook line" was what captured everyone and made it one of the most popular commercials. People, to this day, still remember the spot when I tell them I was the "Ancient Chinese Secret" guy. Since the initial "shoot" - they have re-shot the spot to upgrade/update it a number of times, while never calling me in once, just lifting my "take" and moving on. The hook "Ancient Chinese Secret" was poking fun NOT at Asians, it was just humore. I feel if you're offended by this - you'd better learn to see what's really racist and what isn't. The commercial ran from 1974 to 1986 and is in the TV Museum in New York City with other classic commercials such as "Speedy Alka-Seltzer," "Mother Nature," "Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing," etc.
To continue this interview, click HERE
To learn about Calvin Jung, click HERE
To discover the Calgon commerical, click HERE

 
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