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W H A T ' S   N E W
May 2006

Review the Highlights From the Various Categories Listed Below
   
APA Entertainment APA Film Christianity Community Diversity
Entertainment Business Film History Immigration Literature
Media Music Online Media Online Politics
Religion Sports Technology Theater TV
 
Featured Artists                            R.I.P.                                         Editorials
 
     
 

EDITORIALS
In recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - in an era when the very nature of identity that was formed throughout the history of the United States - is being reshaped by technology, cultural fusion and political agenda, (along with some people addressing their "fears/concerns" that there are various "Asian Pacific" heritage festivals - minus the word "American" - along with people refering to May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month - again minus the word 'American'), listed below is some information that could provide some tangible foundations to understand the Asian Pacific American communities.

RACIAL FORMATION OF ASIAN AMERICANS
The racial formation of Asian Americans was a key moment in defining the color line among immigrants, extending whiteness to European immigrants, and targeting non-white immigrants for racial oppression that has led to the "new thinking" about relations as multipolar.
Click
HERE to continue the story.

RACIALLY COERCED LABOR FORCE TO EXCLUSION
Contrary to the myth that the early Chinese were part of the odious coolie labor trade that flourished between 1847 and 1874, most of the early Chinese immigrants bought their tickets to the United States on credit and were not contract laborers per se. Once they paid off their debts, they were more or less free.
Click HERE to continue the story.

"RACIALIZATION" OF THE CHINESE INTO ASIAN AMERICANS
Determining the precise social status of the Chinese and their place in U.S. society was stymied by the existing law covering only Negroes, Whites, and American Indians. It is this process of "racing," "racialization" or "racial formation" of the Chinese into Asian Americans. The Chinese were also racialized as "aliens (hence national) ineligible to citizenship (based on race)."
Click
HERE to continue the story.

PEOPLE VS. HALL
Another attempt to define the legal status of Chinese took racial, not nativist, form in late 1853 when a "free white citizen" named George Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man, but the next year the California Supreme Court reversed the conviction on the grounds that Hall had been "convicted upon the testimony of a Chinese person."
Click
HERE to continue the story.

DEBATING CHINESE NATURLIZATION
Congress debated Chinese naturalization in the course of the Reconstruction era civil rights debates, but declined to extend citizenship rights to Asians.
Click
HERE to continue the story.

LEGALIZED JIM CROW
By 1880, Reconstruction was defeated and the federal government joined the
anti-Chinese movement. It legalized Jim Crow, reversed the Civil Rights Act, and negotiated a new treaty with China that paved the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Click HERE to continue the story.

CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT OF 1882
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a culmination of the attempt to create a cross-class, nationwide white consensus to define legally the Chinese place in U.S. life . . . For the first time in U.S. history, a group was excluded from immigrating by (white) immigrants and former immigrants themselves.
Click
HERE to continue the story.

RACIALLY COERCED LABOR AND CLASS STRUGGLES
This racialization process was crucial to the first phase of the Asian-American experience, that of a racially coerced labor force. Asian Americans were systematically stripped of their political, economic, cultural, and citizenship rights and thereby condemned to be a vulnerable labor force that was made available to white capital at a price much cheaper than white labor.
Click
HERE to continue the story.

A TRADE UNION TRADITION
White workers (skilled and unskilled) banding together in unions and political organizations in the name of
"Americanism" and "free (white) labor" to defend their privileges over non-white workers.
Click HERE to continue the story.

NEW PANETHNIC RACIAL GROUP: ASIAN AMERICANS
The
common history of being considered racially inferior and not assimilable that forged the distinct (and often mutually hostile) Asian nationalities into a new panethnic racial group: Asian Americans.
Click HERE to continue the story.

SINS OF EXCLUSION
Exclusion was not only an immigration restriction. It became a
unique form of racism that also socially defined the situation of the remaining Asians inside the country, as well as those who managed to slip through after exclusion until 1965.
Click HERE to continue the story.

CONTROL FROM HOME
Home-country elites also took advantage of the racist isolation of Asians in America to extend their influence and control over these communities.
Click
HERE to continue the story.

JAPANESE AMERICANS' SUCCESS
Even the
California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prohibited "aliens ineligible to citizenship" from owning land or leasing it for, more than three years failed to stop their success.
Click HERE to continue the story.

EFFECTS OF EXCLUSION
The period of exclusion which lasted until the change in immigration laws in 1965 produced ethnic Asian enclaves (Manilatowns, Chinatowns, Japantowns, etc..
Click
HERE to continue the story.

IMPORTANCE OF APA HERITAGE MONTH
The
racialization of nationality was a critical event in U.S. history that has shaped today's social formation and even impacted its foreign policy.
Click HERE to continue the story.

TASK OF THE MINORITY ARTIST

  • As minority artists, we must create opportunities for ourselves and for one another.
  • We create opportunities by simply doing the artistic work faithfully despite the obstacles. And doing so with no promise of success. And doing so not for months, but for years.
  • Minority artists must commit to the work—no matter how many doors slam shut. Because with every song we write, every dance we create, and every line we speak on a stage, we add a bit of momentum to the cause of minority artists everywhere. And this ever-increasing momentum will slowly create more and more opportunities for future minority artists.

  • For more info, click
    HERE

    WE MUST BE THE CHANGE
    In those days even department stores would come right out and say: "We don't hire Orientals." So I joined the March on Washington Movement initiated by A.Philip Randolph in 1941 to demand jobs for blacks in the defense plants . . . . concluded that although rebellions are important because they represent the standing up of the oppressed, they fall short of revolution because people at the grassroots and community level have not been involved in creating the new values, new truths, new relationships and new infrastructures that are the foundation for a new society.
    (Grace Lee Boggs)

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    APA & MEDIA NEWS
    C.Y. LEE'S DETERMINE TO HELP CHINESE AMERICANS
    Playwright and author C.Y. Lee is determined to help young Chinese actors get a foothold in mainstream Hollywood, even if he has to make them stars himself. To showcase Asian talent, Lee, best known for having penned "The Flower Drum Song," has written four plays that he's staging in small theaters around town and in New York, with four more in development.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    CUNG LE WINS IN DEBUT
    Cung Le dominated in his MMA debut in front of the largest audience ever to witness an MMA event.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    CHICAGO'S CHINATOWN
    Tourists flock to Chinatown in the thousands each year, but on any given afternoon on South Wentworth Avenue, they are visibly outnumbered by ethnic Chinese. In fact, Chinatown is one of the densest ethnic enclaves in Chicago, and also one of the most persistent. And Chinatown's stability is attracting attention.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    JEANETTE LEE IS READY TO RUMBLE
    Jeanette Lee hasn't had an easy year. In May 2005, she announced that she would undergo yet another surgical procedure to repair damage to her back due to the effects of scoliosis. It was her ninth major surgery since childhood. The procedure on Aug. 11 was a success, and "The Black Widow" began the months-long recovery process at home with her husband, George Breedlove, and their adopted 1-year-old daughter, Cheyenne.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    JEFF HIRONAKA - ONLY AA MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH
    Seattle Pacific coach Jeff Hironaka is the only Asian-American men's basketball coach at a four-year college in the United States and only the second ever Asian-American coach after Cal State-Los Angeles' Dave Yanai retired two years ago.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    NATHAN WANG'S "SHE'S THE MAN"
    This Fulbright scholar's (whose maternal grandfather owned Shanghai's Number 1 Department Store - the 1st commercial building in China with escalators - latest work is the score for ``She's the Man,'' a DreamWorks comedy starring Amanda Bynes as a teenager who poses as her missing brother in boarding school in a tale of love and mistaken identity inspired by Shakespeare's ``Twelfth Night.''
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    MAGGIE Q & MI3
    Under the guidance of Jackie Chan, Maggie got prominent roles in some of his Hong Kong films, as well as a small part in his 2001 sequel Rush Hour 2. Maggie's upcoming role in the J.J. Abrams-directed threequel Mission: Impossible: III will probably do for Maggie's career what the last movie did for Thandie Newton.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    U.S.'S LOVE OF KOREAN SOAP OPERAS
    Mainstream commercial outlets in the U.s. also are joining in the Korean craze, with TV dramas becoming South Korea's hottest export since cell phones, women golfers and kimchi.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    LUCY LIU'S "CHARLIE CHAN"
    For the last few years, much has been working on developing a movie based on a very different Charlie--Charlie Chan--with the intention of playing the character herself as the granddaughter of the original.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    IRVIN KERSNER TURNS TO BOLLYWOOD
    Irvin Kershner, the Hollywood director of Star Wars and James Bond fame, is scouting for actors in India where he will shoot large parts of his next film - "The Princess and Wizard' - "a children's film that adults will also like."
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    CLOSING OF HANFORD'S "IMPERIAL DYNASTY" RESTAURANT
    At Hanford's Imperial Dynasty Restaurant - European monarchs dined there, Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek once sent ambassadors to try the famous escargot and Ronald Reagan ate there when he was governor of California is closing down.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    JAMES WONG HOWE
    "I believe that the best cameraman is one who recognizes the source, the story, as the basis of his work," said Academy Award®-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe (1899-1976). With that simple philosophy, Howe became a Hollywood legend for his mastery of low-key lighting, deep-focus photography and the evocative imagery that so excitingly served his films' storytelling purposes.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "HUNDRED MEN WIVES"
    The image of women as victims of Chinese tradition is a stereotype in which both Western scholars and Chinese May Fourth (1917-24) Western-educated intellectuals were complicit. During the May Fourth discourse, "women" became a figure for the struggle between tradition and modernity. "Women became the 'stand-ins' for China's traumatized self-consciousness." The result was to link the female body with the health and the strength of the nation by advocating the abolition of foot binding and other "traditional" social practices such as polygamy. Influenced heavily by missionary reports and the wish to "modernize" China as the "White man's burden," and because many Chinese immigrant women were brought to the United States of America to be "hundred men's wives", the working class woman's image, especially that of the prostitute, dominated the American West. Gradually, women of the footbinding merchant wife's class were also viewed as slaves of male control and abuse.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    JET LI IS BEING SUED
    Jet Li is being sued by relatives of a Chinese kung fu master who say the actor's new film dishonors and misrepresents the life of Huo Yuanjia.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "DEAR MISS BREED" / INTERNMENT CAMPS
    "Dear Miss Breed" tells the full story of the Japanese American internment as seen through the eyes of the youth in the camps. The children's letters add intimacy and detail to the story told by historical facts and the recollections of internees.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "CRASH" & ASIAN AMERICAN PORTRAYALS
    . . . there is a longer scene in the hospital between the two Korean characters where you see them more as a lovely, loving couple -- but yes, he still turns out to be selling slaves. While that may seem harsh, what I truly wanted to do was condemn what many white (and black and Hispanic) Americans often think of Asians
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "MINK" TOPPING BILLBOARD CHART
    The 22 years old Korea artist "Mink" (that stands for "Made IN Korea") - signed to Japan's recording powerhouse Avex Trax label - has topped the American Billboard Hot Dance Play Chart with her song "Glory of Life."
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    GURINDER CHADHA TAKES OVER "DALLAS"
    "Bend It Like Beckham" director Gurinder Chadha is in talks to take the helm of "Dallas," a big-screen version of the '80s primetime soap. Chadha would take over from "Legally Blonde" director Robert Luketic, who has moved on to "21," a Columbia project based on Ben Mezrich's best-seller "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions."
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ADIDAS' LIMITED-EDITION SHOE BEARS OFFENSIVE IMAGE
    Some Asian-Americans are charging racism in the release of a limited-edition Adidas sneaker that bears an artist's image of an Asian man with bowl-cut hair, slanted eyes, pig nose and buck teeth. Asian-Americans say the offensive image, similar to ones used in anti-Chinese political cartoons in the past, perpetuates a negative stereotype of Asians. Meanwhile Adidas and the clothing manufacturer contend it's about art and self-expression.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    MARGARET CHO INTERVIEW
    Comedian Margaret Cho talks about being Asian in America, body image, queer politics and sex.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    NAVEEN ANDREW'S LOVE OF L.A. & BARBARA
    It was work that first brought Naveen Andrews to Los Angeles and love that kept him here. He and actress Barbara Hershey played opposite each other in the 1999 film "Drowning on Dry Land," a road picture about a cab driver and the woman who takes him for a ride. "We met, we ended up having a relationship and that's why I stayed," he said.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    HINES WARD'S BIRACIAL ROOTS
    At school, they taunted him for his looks - half-black, half-Asian. "Jackie Chan!" they'd say. "Bruce Lee-roy!" At home, he didn't understand why his mother struggled with English, couldn't help him with his homework and made him take his shoes off before he walked in the door.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    CHRIS SANAGUSTIN UPPED TO EVP OF CURRENT PROGRAMMING
    Chris Sanagustin joins The WB Television Network as senior vice president of current programming (from Viacom), executive VP of current programming and prime-time scheduling. She will oversee The WB's comedies, a genre that the network has had a hard time launching successfully.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    GHEN MAYNARD - CW/CBS ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING POSITION
    Maynard To Oversee Reality And Unscripted Programming Operations For The CBS Television Network And Assume Newly Created Post Overseeing Alternative Programming For The CW And CBS Paramount Network Television, As Well As Entertainment Content For Wireless, Online And Other Emerging Platforms
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    SCOTT SASSA
    Scott Sassa is currently CEO in Residence with Kleiner Perkins, a leading technology venture capital firm.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    MICHELLE KWAN
    Kwan said she intends to decide for certain which direction to send her life by the summer's end. She plans to finish her degree at UCLA in the near future and has a variety of acting and other options - including future Olympics?!?!
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ASIAN POPULATION
    Of the total United States population, 10.2 million people, or 3.6 percent, reported only Asian. An additional 1.7 million people reported Asian and at least one other race. Thus, 11.9 million people, or 4.2 percent of the total population, reported Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    MAGGIE CHEUNG IN "CLEAN"
    Maggie Cheung's performance won her the best actress award at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. It speaks to the state of foreign-film distribution in this country that it has taken "Clean" three years to open here. And it speaks to the strength of the collaboration between Maggie Cheung and Olivier Assayas that they reunited for this film: The two were married following the making of the 1994 "Irma Vep" but divorced a few years later.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ANGELA CHAO ROBERTSON - DIVERSITY'S FUTURE
    Angela Chao Roberson, 22, knew she did not exactly look Chinese, with her cocoa-colored skin, her bushels of curly hair and her curvy figure. But she had no doubt she belonged in the same room with 17 other young women vying for the title Miss Los Angeles Chinatown.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    LUCY LIU'S VERSATILITY
    People are always going, "You are the most this and that Asian American actress." I just want to be considered an actress. You want to be acknowledged as a writer and an artist. I am not ashamed of who I am. Ethnicity is part of your culture and your blood. For me, I want to be the best person for the job — not the best color for the job. That to me would be the most ideal thing.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    DIVERSITY AT MS. CHINATOWN BEAUTY PAGEANT
    Two of the five members of this year's Miss Chinatown court were racially mixed. The second princess, Kaye Ponnusamy, is half East Indian; the third princess, Angela Chao Roberson, is half African American. Kenny Yee stated "It reflects well on us that we still embrace the fact that we're Chinese even as we're mixing."
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    APA IMMIGRATION ISSUES & INFO
    Only about 8% to 10% of the Asian population is here illegally, compared with more than 20% of Latinos. Latinos accounted for 78% of the nation's 11 million illegal migrants in 2005. AA communities are concerned about reducing family visa backlogs and oppose proposed measures that would curtail the civil rights of legal immigrants. More Asians than Latinos are naturalized U.S. citizens, college-educated and professionally employed.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ISRAEL HOROVITZ'S "THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX"
    My favorite play is The Indian Wants the Bronx by Israel Horovitz. In this play, a man from India travels to New York City to visit his son, who lives in the Bronx. The man cannot speak English and he quickly gets lost. He finds himself stranded in a tough neighborhood in Manhattan.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    NORMAN MINETA LOVES HIS JOB
    Norman Mineta, seriously ill and in his 70s, was expected to step down as transportation secretary three years ago. Now fully recovered, Mineta is still on the job and showing no sign he wants to leave.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    HIGH SUICIDE RATE AMONG AA WOMEN
    Suicide is the second-leading cause [of death] among Asian-American women. Asian-American women over 65 have the highest female suicide rate. women from 15 to 24 also have the highest suicide rate across race and ethnicity. Asian-American girls in elementary school have the highest rate of depression across gender and race.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    LESSONS LEARNED: TERRY WOO -WWII VETERAN
    We're loath to bear responsibility for creating the monsters in our midst, but they are there. And they are us. We're obligated to break the chain of pain, to make sure the potential monster in all of us never comes to be – regardless of the suffering and abuse, physical and emotional, we've all been subjected to. It is, above all, the most basic responsibility each and every one of us has.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    KRISTI YAMAGUICHI-HEDICAN'S FUTURE
    Yamaguchi has already made that transition from the ice. She worked for a San Jose television station during the Olympics and "Skating with the Stars," while hoping to become more involved with broadcasting. As for performing, she has committed to only one show that she will co-direct for NBC in December.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    BOXER CHRISTINA KWAN TURNS PRO
    Christina Kwan, who is a cousin of figure skater Michelle Kwan, will fight professionally for the first time in an off-TV bout on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Corrales vs. Castillo III card on June 3 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ASIANS SURPASS MARK AT UC CAMPUSES
    Californians of Asian descent won more spots in this fall's freshman class at the University of California than any other ethnic group, edging out white students for the first time. The milestone follows a steady climb among Asians in the state's leading public university system. Asians account for 36 percent of California residents admitted to study at UC schools, though they make up only 14 percent of seniors projected to graduate from the state's public high schools.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "CULTURAL COMPETENCY" IN QUINCY
    For years, people have been talking about the changing face of Quincy. The historically white, blue-collar city has a fast-growing Asian population that now makes up almost a quarter of the whole. Almost 30 percent of students in the city's schools are Asian. There are a growing number of Asian-owned businesses. But the official face of Quincy is virtually frozen. The nine men who sit on the City Council are white. There are no Asian-Americans on the School Committee.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    IMMIGRATION PROTESTS
    Asians may not account for the large majority of illegal immigrants in the United States but are in the forefront of protests of what they see as increasingly discriminatory moves to regulate immigration.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    HOLLYWOOD IS SHORT OF GOOD IDEAS
    Hollywood's fondness for remakes has made Japanese horror director Takashi Shimizu a rich man at the tender age of 33, but he believes the trend will come back to haunt it. "Hollywood is short of good ideas -- across all the genres -- and also reluctant to take a chance on a film because if it's a flop, then they lose a lot of money and are hit hard by the critics," says Shimizu, who made his U.S. debut with "The Grudge" in 2004, a remake of his "Ju-on," which was released in Japan a year earlier.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    "CHINA MARY" RULED TOMBSTONE'S HOPTOWN
    Few women in the American West had as much dignity as China Mary had during that time. Her decisions went undisputed and nobody dared to disobey her. No Chinese could be hired except through China Mary; none could be paid: except through China Mary. She also controlled Chinese prostitution and all the opium trade in town. She owned an interest in most Chinese businesses in Tombstone, too. Many believe that the Six Companies sent her there to oversee things and that her marriage to Ah Lum might have been political.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    ANNA MAY WONG IS BACK
    Anna May Wong (1905-1961), the Chinese American actress who graced the silver screen at a time when an onscreen kiss between Asian and Caucasian was strictly taboo, seems an improbable present-day role model and cultural icon. Yet, there is a growing awareness of the long-dead star, and Wong's life and work have stimulated much interest and publicity in the year that marks her centenary.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    INFLUX OF ASIANS IN NEW JERSEY NOT REFLECTED IN POLICE RANKS
    Walk down Broad Street, the main street of this middle-class suburb in Bergen County, and everyone, it seems, is Korean — the butcher, the baker, the eyeglasses maker. Over the past 20 years, so many Korean strivers have crossed the Hudson River from New York City enclaves that almost half of the 17,000 residents are Korean-American and 90 percent of the shops are Korean-owned.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    GEORGE TAKEI SPEAKS OUT
    Since the Governator (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) vetoed the state's (California) same-sex marriage bill, Takei has spoken out passionately for gay rights. He is currently on a speaking tour for the Human Rights Campaign he has dubbed an "Equality Trek". So between that, his appearances at Star Trek conventions, and his negotiations to return to the Howard Stern's XM Radio Show, it's a wonder he has time to talk to any reporters at all.
    Click Here to Read More>>>>>

    DAIRY QUEEN "DREAMS" COMMERCIAL
    In recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - we want to support and highlight the excellent work done by companies such as
    Dairy Queen and Grey Worldwide that are leaders in our fast-arising multicultural and multi-ethnic world to embrace the policy of "blind-casting."

    Their latest example is the recent "Dreams" commercial that features two Asian/Asian Pacific American actors - a great rarity in today's U.S. media – in American roles that could have been played by any nationality. This bold step have separated Dairy Queen/Grey Worldwide from recent commercials produced by national companies that have started to incorporate Asian/Asian Pacific American actors within their various prominent commercials to represent their attempts to represent diversity. Dairy Queen and Grey Worldwide hired two Asian/Asian Pacific American actors because they were simply the best - hopefully the only criteria of why one would get "the job."

    The goal of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is for the general public to recognize that Asian Pacific Americans are “Americans.” Read the interviews with Michael Keller (Chief Brand Officer for Dairy Queen), Rick Cusato (Executive Vice-President/Account Director at Grey Worldwide New York), Jonathan Rogers (EVP/Managing Partner - Creative/"True Grey" division - for Grey Worldwide/New York), Ryan Yu (male actor) and Shireen Mui (female actor) - that are listed below - to discover more about the creation of the “Dreams” commercial.

    US ASIANS: Could you share your experience on working with the creative team (i.e. other actors, director, writers, DQ management team, etc.) on the commercial - especially since all of Dairy Queen's management had stated how funny you were?

    RYUN YU: Really enjoyed it - it was an especially fulfilling experience.

    SHIREEN NOMURA MUI: I had an extremely positive experience working with the creative team. Everyone was so complimentary and supportive. Since this spot completely focused on the comedic driven performance of the actors. I think they were even more appreciative than a commercial where the actors have a less active role. Baker, the director was a real pro. He just had this great, easy going vibe that helped make us feel comfortable and bring out our best performance.

    Ryun Yu (the husband) really had the hardest part and he did an outstanding job. He was also one of my husband's groomsman at our wedding so it was nice to share this experience with a friend. I have to mention Bob Morrisey who played the doctor. He was great to work with and coincidentally we have the same agent (Lawrence Har at Aqua). We simply had the best time largely in part to wonderful treatment we got from the DQ team. As Ryun and I left after the first day of filming one of the DQ executives stopped us to thank us for a job well done and mentioned that this commercial was for their best, #1 selling product and it would be the first in the series to air. At every turn there was such a sense of pride from the entire team and I was really glad to be a part of that.

    US ASIANS: Did the breakdown called for an Asian American or just described a certain type of person that could be of any nationality or do you feel that the selection was based on blind-casting (click HERE to David Henry Hwang's definition)?"

    RYUN YU: I'm not sure - all I know it at the callback - it was Shireen and I, and four other white couples.

    SHIREEN NOMURA MUI: I'm not sure what the breakdown called for exactly but this commercial always seemed like it was more about the relationship between the characters and humor of the situation rather than ethnicity. So I would say this was a case of blind-casting. US ASIANS: It is great that Dairy Queen subscribe to "blind-casting" (read David Henry Hwang's definition by clicking HERE) in casting for this commercial and others. What factors led to you and Dairy Queen's firm beliefs in this type of casting that rarely exists within network television and occasionally within American commercials?

    MICHAEL KELLER: Great question. It all comes down to the fact that we are just trying to find the best possible talent we can find/afford. We're really looking for the type of actors who are capable of bringing the type of comedy and sensibility that are in our spots to life. We could care less what they look like, we're just looking for actors that look like our customers and for people who can really act and do a great job.

    THE WORLD OF "YU"

    Ryun Yu was a geek. He first garnered national press attention by diagramming the world's second longest sentence (from a book by William Faulkner) - his early interests were astrophysics and computers, until he realized that he was never going to get the chicks that way.

    He knew he had no real interest in science as a career, but for a variety of reasons he chose M.I.T. for college. This resulted in a number of things: the first theater degree ever awarded by M.I.T; the possibility that 'if he got big they would give him a statue; and the killer advantage of being one of the few actors with a grounding in multi-variable calculus and a working knowledge of holography.

    After college he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and after graduation, went to Los Angeles.

    In the next few years he did some theatre ('Hamlet' in Singapore; 'Sisters Matsumoto' with The East-West Players, at Seattle Rep and in San Jose;' Kate Crackernuts' in LA; and various pieces with the Taper New Works Festival, the Geffen production of 'Take Me Out' and the very recent Fountain Theatre 'What I Heard About Iraq'), meditated a lot, and worked on both his Sean Connery and Keanu Reeves impersonations.

    Since turning to film and TV, he quickly won guest spots on such shows as 'Curb Your Enthusiam', 'Cold Case', 'Arli$$', 'The Shield' '24', 'ER'and "Huff". His recent NBC pilot for James Burrows and Larry Wilmore 'Beverly Hills SUV' was not picked up, but, on the bright side, Ryun has finally stopped crying. . Films include independents for Cherry Sky Films and Richard Day.

    We were just delighted with Ryan's performance. He was just so incredibly funny during the casting session, although I wasn't present for that, but I got to see his performance in he casting reel and was equally taken with him. When you see an actor doing an incredibly good job delivering the lines and the sensibility of the spot, you don't want to go with anyone else.

    We've had this before. Last year, one of our best spots was "Killer Bee" that featured two Indian decent actors from the country of India and it was a bit unexpected but in reality, given that we were casting two scientists, and that we were looking for some intelligent debate and dialogue, as well as a certain type of comedy, when we put the lines and the context into these two actor's lives, it was a perfect fit. We quickly realized that their contributions to the script went well beyond what we even wrote and it seemed like they were the best talent for the spot, so we went with them.

    JONATHAN RODGERS: Simple, we hire the best talent.

    US ASIANS: Acknowledging Grey's position on "blind-casting," how much of a battle was it to only have Asian American actors featured in this commercial (to Dairy Queen's corporate headquarters and other executives outside of yourselves), acknowledging past incidents where studio heads not wanting to have an "All-American Hero" in the film "Independence Day" played by a superstar like Will Smith and/or prominent actresses such as Lea Salonga (click HERE to read about her inability to get "American" parts) happening all the time?

    MICHAEL KELLER: It wasn't a battle at all to feature Asian American actors in our spot. Grey Worldwide presented them as the best talent of the talent that had auditioned and we reviewed that. We reviewed the second and third place finishers and it was pretty clear that the talent that Grey had selected was the best talent for the spot. Also, recognizing that we are trying to be increasingly diverse in the images that we portray to the North American public through our TV advertising, it fit that criteria as well, just like our other spot with a talented African American man and a African American boy turned out to be our father and son team for another spot we did and they were just better that all of the other talent we looked at. And, given that we were really looking for diversity, that really helped us fill out that criteria as well.

    RICK CUSATO: It wasn't a problem at all because they were the best actors for the part.

    JONATHAN RODGERS: This was not an issue with the Dairy Queen client. All of the casting has been very well received.

    To read the entire interview with all the executives, director and actors involved with the commercial, click HERE

     
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