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W H A T ' S   N E W
April 2005

Scan and Review the Highlights From the Various Categories Listed Below
  APA Christianity News Business News Christian Entertainment News Christian News Community News  
Diversity News Entertainment News Film News Literature News Music News  
  Political News R.I.P. Sports News Technology News Television News  
     
 
NEWS FROM ASIA
 
     
 

EDITORIALS
PROOFS OF LOYALTY OR AUTHENTICITY:
More than ever in history, we live in a world of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced and stateless persons -- tens of millions of them -- yet in culture and politics alike, we often demand proofs of loyalty or authenticity, the kind of identity card people like M.I.A. simply can't produce. Hence her stage name.

WELLY YANG "MAKING TRACKS" TO HISTORY
"There's the ethnic studies types who know it all," Welly Yang of "Making Tracks" 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.''

TIM WISE ON BILL COSBY & PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY:
Fact is, Cosby was merely trying, albeit in an obnoxious, over-the- top manner, to call for "personal responsibility" among poor blacks: an idea that is (contrary to what most whites seem to think) quite common in African American communities, and which exists side-by- side with a keen awareness of the need for continued vigilance against various forms of racism and exclusion.

BEYOND BLACK & WHITE (NORM CHAO):
The logic of white supremacy that limits coaching opportunities within collegiate football, however, is the same logic that impairs equity and justice for all minorities throughout the United States. This is not to say that identical histories and realities define African Americans and Asian Americans, but rather that we must avoid discourses of exceptionalism. Future fights must go beyond these reductions and give voice to the ways in which white supremacy impairs and affects opportunities for all people of color. Sports -- in this case football -- offers us a powerful opportunity to engage in such a fight.

YELLOWFACE - ASIANS ON WHITE SCREENS
Gawking at lengthy rows of photographs featuring white Hollywood actors portraying Asian characters, I find it unbelievable that such a practice was once widely accepted. There hangs the evidence, however, impaled on a trio of brightly painted walls at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. Accompanying news articles explain the offensive custom of "yellowface": Caucasians yellowing their skin with makeup and tightly taping their eyelids to appear Asian. However, the telltale stills really say it all.

PAN-ASIAN CASTING:
The choice of a pan-Asian cast raises hard questions about the way Hollywood views the world outside America. By using Chinese actors in quintessential Japanese roles, has Marshall become the Quiet American director, an innocent abroad, shaving the edges off human diversity to produce an imagined Japan for an American audience that doesn't know the real thing? Or is it a progressive act, as Marshall says, nothing more sinister than hiring the best-qualified actors, regardless of ethnicity, to do what actors do: act?

INVISIBLE ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE MEDIA
Television networks show an increasing number of ethnic faces as minorities are fast becoming the majority. Among these minorities are Asian-Americans; yet TV continues to turn a blind eye to this group. This unfortunately doesn't apply only to the casting of Asian-Americans but is also apparent in the lack of opportunities behind the camera and in the executive suites.

SPIELBERG ON PAN ASIAN CASTING
Casting a film should never be subject to a political litmus test. Isn't there already enough prejudice in the world? Films such as "Memoirs of a Geisha" allow audiences to travel across borders and peek behind cultural curtains to discover the universality of human emotions.

OSCARS' DIVERSITY
Although Asians in general have yet to figure prominently in the biggest award extravaganza that is the Academy Awards, other minority groups have started to get recognition in the acting profession, and the success of African Americans in the current awards season could augur well for other minority actors. Frank Pierson, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president, agrees. "The diversity of the Oscars, particularly as evidenced by the nominees this year, is something that we're very proud of," he says.

AUGUST WILSON'S COLOR-BLIND CASTING
Wilson on colorblind casting: "Colorblind casting is an aberrant idea that has never had any validity other than as a tool of the Cultural Imperialists who view American culture, rooted in the icons of European culture, as beyond reproach in its perfection."

AUGUST WILSON'S MULTICULTURALISM
Wilson on multiculturalism at white theaters: "We are being strangled by our well-meaning friends. Money spent on 'diversifying' the American theatre, developing black audiences for white institutions, developing ideas of colorblind casting, only strengthens and solidifies this stranglehold by making our artists subject to the paternalistic notions of white institutions that dominate and control the art."

O.C. - HOME OF ASIAN AMERICAN DREAM
To understand Orange County's unique place in the Asian American consciousness one must reconcile several seemingly conflicting images. First, Orange County has traditionally been one of the state's richest, whitest and most conservative counties. Second, it is home to UC Irvine, easily the most prestigious university in which Asians actually outnumber Whites 2-1 (54% to 28%). Third, it hosts the nation's largest Vietnamese population (145,000). Fourth, it's the home of the import-car racing craze, prompting some to dub UCI the University of Civics and Integras. (Editor's Note: Ironic that TV's "O.C." reflect an exact opposite picture of this.)
Read More>>>>>

MICHAEL WOO'S CONFUCIUS
Nevertheless, Asian dominance of science prizes and scholarships only reinforces the idea (honesty, integrity, hard work, modesty & individual responsibility for setting an example, obedience to authority figures with authority figures expected to justify their status by adhering to high values of conduct) that a special factor accounts for Asian American success in school. That special factor is Confucius.

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APA & MEDIA NEWS

AA VOTERS COUNT IN L.A. MAYORAL ELECTION
When people talk about the L.A. mayoral race, four voter blocs are almost always discussed: African Americans, Latinos, Jews, and Republicans. Yet one of the largest groups in the city is rarely mentioned: Asian Americans.
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NO YELLOW @ OSCARS
With the Black & Hispanic communities receiving eight nominations in six major categories, there's a grand total of zero nominations in those same categories for Asian Pacifics.
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ASIANWEEK/PHILLIP CHUNG'S HOLLYWOOD RESOLUTIONS
1) Medical tv shows with APA regulars, 2) Realize there's a difference between Asian Pacifics & Asian Pacific Americans, 3) Give us an APA superhero, 4) Saturday Night Live APA cast member & 5) No more William Hung!
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ASIANWEEK/PHILLIP CHUNG'S HOLLYWOOD BLUNDERS
AsianWeek's Phillip Chung provides his list of Hollywood's 25 Worst APA blunders. Click HERE to read part 2.
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HIP-HOP RACISM TOWARDS ASIANS
Hip-hop has always been outraged at white-on-black racism, but rather less enlightened in its attitude towards Asians.
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RMO FINANCES PETER CHAN'S HK MUSICAL & TV SERIES
Ruddy Morgan Organization, one of the producers of Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," is producing Applause Pictures' $10 million musical "Perhaps Love" that's directed by Peter Chan and the Dennis Hopper-starrer Flatland. "Flatland" is an action tv series in Shanghai. Read Andre Morgan's interview by clicking HERE.
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MIRA NAIR'S "THE NAMESAKE"
The $9.6 million film is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's best-selling novel, which Mira happened to read on a recent flight and bought the rights within a week. Mira wrote the screenplay with Sooni Taraporewala.
Read More>>>>>

HOW PREJUDICE ARE YOU?
Many Americans believe they are not prejudiced. Now a new test provides powerful evidence that a majority of us really are. Take the test and find out where you stand.
Read More>>>>>

GARY LOCKE JOINS SEATTLE LAW FIRM
Former Gov. Gary Locke has landed a lucrative, high-profile job with the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine as a partner with its China and governmental-relations practice groups.
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MIKE HONDA - 1ST POLITICAL VICE-CHAIR
Representative Mike Honda of California made history when he was elected Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the highest office ever held by an Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) in a major political party.
Read More>>>>>

CRESTOR NOT GOOD FOR ASIAN PATIENTS
The Food and Drug Administration urged doctors to use caution (started at the lowest approved dose - 5 milligrams a day) in prescribing the cholesterol drug Crestor to patients of Asian heritage.
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MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUICIDE
Iris Chang's bestselling book catapulted her into the spotlight as spokeswoman for a movement demanding reparations from Japan for World War II atrocities. Her suicide has made her a symbol for another cause: the fight to end a longstanding stigma against mental illness in Asian-American communities, which leads many people to delay getting treatment and suffer in isolation.
Read More>>>>>

LEA HOSTS ASIAN PACIFIC CATHOLIC DOCUMENTARY
That strong sense of her Catholic faith was one of the reasons Lea Salonga was chosen to host Hallmark Channel's "Harmony In Faith" on "The World of Faith and Values."
Read More>>>>>

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival features Alice Wu's Saving Face, introspective on Steven Okazaki's 25 year career, Curtis Choy's What's Wrong with Frank Chin, Adam Del Deo's The Year of the Yao and others.
Read More>>>>>

LA SALLE ACQUIRES A TAJ MAHAL
Former ER star Eriq La Salle's Humble Journey Films has acquired film rights to John Shors' "Beneath a Marble Sky: A Novel of the Taj Mahal" and has partnered with India-based Cinemaya Media to develop the project,
Read More>>>>>

EUGENIA YUAN IN "MAIL ORDER BRIDE"
Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland push the limits of comedy in their confrontational mockumentaries where Eugenia Yuan plays Lichi - the mail-order bride.
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NICOLAS CAGE & ALICE KIM SELL MALIBU HOME
Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim have sold their Malibu home for about $10 million. The Oscar-winning actor, who owns a home in Bel-Air and a house in New Orleans, had owned the Malibu home since 1997, when he purchased it for close to its $3.6-million asking price.
Read More>>>>>

OLIVER WANG, HIP-HOP & ASIAN AMERICANS
Oliver Wang went on to say that the only reason why Asians were drawn to hip-hop was because of the music. He also said that "hip-hop is the most democratic music because it doesn't take the same skill as playing classical music."
Read More>>>>>

ALEXANDER PAYNE & SANDRA OH DIVORCE
Director Alexander Payne and wife Sandra Oh have mutually decided to separate. They will remain friends." The couple met five years ago and married in 2003.
Read More>>>>>

WHAT POLLS OF MINORITIES MISS
The media's knowledge of African Americans, Asians and Latinos is woefully lacking. Opinion polls break out minority-group results from general populations, but the meaningfulness of the findings is moot at best.
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STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S RISKS
Indeed, "risk" has never been part of the personal lexicon of one of America's premier wordsmiths who, more than any of his peers or even his predecessors, has so single-mindedly pursued his maverick artistic vision without regard to popular taste.
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HANDSOME BOY MODELING SCHOOL
Handsome Boy Modeling School, aka Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Merriweather, aka Prince Paul and Dan The Automator, have announced the dates of their upcoming tour with Buck 65 and K-OS.
Read More>>>>>

INOUE & BALDWIN TRAINING WITH OPPEGARD
Rena Inoue and John Baldwin Jr. of Santa Monica, who won the 2004 U.S. pairs title, followed their coach, Jill Watson to Arizona. Unhappy in their new surroundings, they're training in Lakewood with Peter Oppegard (who is married to Karen Kwan, sister of Michelle Kwan and a coach herself.
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BOLLYWOOD ON TCM & ED LITWAK
Movies with Indian themes have been getting more theatrical distribution in the United States via Starz Encore, Ed Litwak/Ethnic Broadcasting Co.'s Bollywood Channel and Turner Classic Movies - a seemingly strange home for Indian musical melodramas.
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ROSALIND CHAO IN "WHAT DREAMS MAY COME" (1998)
Heaven isn't a vacuum (and hence there are a few more characters that actually float in an out of the picture. Rosalind Chao is tour guide Leona (or is she), who provides the key to her 19th century consciousness city portrayed in the film.
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PUBLIC GOV. AGENCIES COMMIT TO DIVERSITY
Top executives of 11 public agencies signed a pledge reaffirming their institutions' commitment to racial diversity.
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MICHELLE YEOH SAYS OK TO GEISHA CASTING
Former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh says that her upcoming film "Memoirs of a Geisha" should be received well in Japan, even though many of the main roles are played by ethnic Chinese actresses.
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CA'S APIA COMMUNITIES
Report reveals that thousands of APIs in California live in poverty, face language barriers, and dwell in overcrowded housing.
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fFRANK FONG'S BATTLE FOR VA BENEFITS
It took 48 years for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to concede that a plane crash scarred his left eye and eventually took his sight. He's still seeking back pay for the years 1950-1997, when the VA refused to acknowledge his blindness.
Read More>>>>>

"DARNA" BECOMES A TV SERIES
Asia's first and greatest Super-Heroine- DARNA - becomes a TV series. Darna is a strong, beautiful, sexy woman with superstrength and the power of flight.
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INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE TAKEI
Actor George Takei is a real legend. As a cast member of "Star Trek: The Original Series," Takei basically laid the foundation for positive portrayals of Asians in motion pictures.
Read More>>>>>

CHILDREN & TRADITIONALISTS
Children are the world's most ardent traditionalists. They like things stable and categorized. They want to know what girls can do and what girls can't do. Television, like it or not, teaches them a lot of these rules.
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COLOR CHANGE
Bernie Mac is the new Spencer Tracy. James Earl Jones is the new Henry Fonda. Ving Rhames is the new Telly Savalas. And Denzel Washington is the new Laurence Olivier. Does that make Ashton Kutcher the new Sidney Poitier? Well, maybe not. But there's no avoiding the race-reversal trend that's happening in movies, theater and TV these days.
Read More>>>>>

GLORIA TREVI - BREAKING TRADITIONS & STEREOTYPES
The recently freed Mexican pop star who breaks stereotypes and controversies is about to perform on an "American Idol"-type television program, with contestants almost as young and hungry for fame as the underage women she was accused of luring.
Read More>>>>>

HONOR KILLINGS
Respect is the motive behind honor killing. The honor of the family and the honor of the brothers are fixed upon how the sister's perceived.
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STANLEY KUBRICK OF ANIME
When Katsuhiro Otomo's "Steamboy" opens, it likely will be received much differently from his last anime film to be screened outside Japan that started an animation revolution with fans such asQuentin Tarantino, James Cameron and the Wachowskis.
Read More>>>>>

BICKERING: BLOODSPORT OF SIBLINGS
You should worry if your kids aren't squabbling, say the experts. Home is the lab where children can try out behaviors.
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SHOW THEM YOUR 'TAKE ME HOME' FACE
So much was at stake in the search for foster children gathered at the William Clark Mansion to have their portraits taken by professional photographers for the state's Heart Gallery, a planned exhibit of more than 300 children available for adoption, some of whom have had about as many foster homes as birthdays.
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STRESS = HEART PROBLEMS
The longer hours, faster pace and insecurity typical of many new jobs is taking a toll on workers' hearts.
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MIYUKI MIYABE'S SHADOW FAMILY
Miyuki Miyabe is a prolific and award-winning mystery writer in Japan, but her true subject is the mystery of modern Japanese identity.
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N.E.R.D. CALLS IT QUITS
N.E.R.D. (No one Ever Really Dies), the band formed by blockbuster producers the Neptunes, have broken up. Pharrell emphasized that he and production partner Chad Hugo will continue their work as the Neptunes and on good terms with third N.E.R.D. member Shay.
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BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT - CARAT
Carat Americas is launching Carat Entertainment, a new business unit that will offer branded entertainment opportunities for Carat clients and be headed by Michael Yudin. He will report to Andy Donchin, executive vp, director of national broadcast.
Read More>>>>>

HA JIN WINS PEN/FAULKNER PRIZE
Ha Jin, has joined an elite club in becoming a two-time winner of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award and its $15,000 prize, the largest American literary award.
Read More>>>>>

REVIVAL OF THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE
A 1983 survey estimated that only 1,500 people remained in Hawaii who could speak it, most of them elderly. Today there are probably 6,000 to 8,000 Hawaiian language speakers throughout the state, most of them under 30.
Read More>>>>>

GORILLAZ NEW C.D.
Damon Albarn partners With Danger Mouse for the follow-up to their 6 million wordwide-selling debut sophomore ("Demon Days) to be released on May 24.
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SANDRA OH'S GREY ANATOMY
Sandra Oh, who played a freewheeling single mom in "Sideways," gets tough as a surgical intern in the ABC's medical drama.
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CORPORATE INSURANCE FOR AA COMPANIES
Ed Chin is a third-generation Chinese American "raised hell" at the insurance company where he worked in the 1960s after noticing that Asians were being overcharged for insurance products. Not seeing progress, Chin quit his job and in 1979 started AIS Corp. in Oakland.
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BROADWAY LOST ITS VOICE TO AMERICAN IDOL
The style of vocalizing that is rewarded on "American Idol" - by its panel of on-air judges and by the television audience that votes on the winners - is both intensely emotional and oddly impersonal.
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IMMIGRANTS FINDING THE GOOD LIFE BACK HOME
Chiang is among a growing number of immigrants who are returning to countries such as China, India and Vietnam to live, lured by economic booms and investment opportunities - the same things that brought them, or their parents, to the United States.
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WHAT IS HIP-HOP BY JEFF CHANG
Hip-hop organizes the way that we view the world--everything from what kinds of shoes we buy and how we lace them up to how we look at political candidates and whether we vote or not.
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INSIGHTS FROM YO-YO MA
On his newest--and 88th album, Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon, the world-renowned cellist collaborates with musicians along the ancient trade route that linked China and the West.
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LIKE LAMBS TO SLAUGHTER
Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel, "Never Let Me Go," is an elegiac, deceptively lovely book about boarding-school mates at an institution called Hailsham, in rural England.
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DANIEL DAE KIM IN "THE CAVE"
Plot: Deep in the Romanian forest, a team of scientists stumbles upon the ruins of a 13th century Abbey. On further inspection, they make a startling discovery - the Abbey is built over the entrance to a giant underground cave system.
Read More>>>>>

GONG LI IN MIAMI VICE REMAKE
Chinese superstar Gong Li, in addition to a role in the forthcoming "Red Dragon" prequel "The Lecter Variation," will play a role in Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" movie.
Read More>>>>>

GONG LI & WONG KAR-WAI IN "EROS"
Synopsis: It's 1963, a hot summer afternoon. Zhang (Chang Chen), the tailor's apprentice, is very nervous. It's the first time he's ever been asked to fit a customer by himself. And the client is one of Master Jin's most important and demanding-Miss Hua (Gong Li), a famous courtesan.
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BLACK & ASIAN WOMEN W/DEGREES EARN MORE
Black and Asian women with bachelor's degrees earn slightly more than similarly educated white women, and white men with four-year degrees make more than anyone else.
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INTERVIEW WITH JOHNNIE TO
Johnnie To Kei-fung is probably the hardest working man in Hong Kong show business woring on many critically acclaimed Hong Kong/Asian films.
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"VILLAGE" STAR REUNITES WITH SHYMALAN
Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter) is continuing an M. Night Shyamalan tradition by reteaming with the filmmaker for his next thriller "The Lady in the Water."
Read More>>>>>


 
Lang Lang

The creative center, attraction and audience favorite at the UCLA Live's China Philharmonic concert was Lang Lang - the pianist from China who made his debut in 1999 with Chicago Symphony in the Ravfinia Festival at the age 17 when he replaced an ailing Andre Watts to perform as solo pianist that started his acclaim performing career that included major concert halls of North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia - along with television performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Sesame Street.

Lang Lang descended upon the audience at UCLA's Royce Hall sharing his ever-growing artistry that encompasses the usage of dynamics, shadings, colors, sound and touch on an ever-continuing creative journey to reach the heartfelt essence of each piece performed with the backing of the China Philharmonic that was conducted by Long Yu. Lang Lang’s performance was a testimony of his prodigious talent that needed the ability to communicate a distinctive and unique creative vision that yet has been witnessed – though one senses that it is getting closer and well worth the wait. As we have seen Midori becoming an artist where the violin is an extension of her spirit – as oppose to being a great technician, Lang Lang’s efforts provided ample evidence that he is traveling along the same path of discovery.

Lang Lang in Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" showcased his virtuoso abilities as he utilized contrasts in dynamics, shadings and colors. Long Yu provided him great freedom that provided Lang Lang ample opportunities to communicate the essence of this piece. This exciting pianist has demonstrated a great ability to connect with audiences on many levels, yet not able to share his distinctive creative vision with invaluable insight and heart. His talent and potential was seen at one time during his performance of the all-important Variation 18. He played Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 as an encore.

The Long Yu-conducted China Philharmonic started the evening with the Overture to Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Tsar's Bridge" and closed with Bartók's "Miraculous Mandarin" Suite. The performance of the Western-flavored transcription of Yanjun Hua's "Moon Reflected on the Erquan Fountain" provided the orchestra to demonstrate its ability to provide a satisfying fullness to the various ensemble sections.

The performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's overture to The Tsar's Bride found Long Yu passionately leading the orchestra in the attempt to discern determination with Russian sensuality. Long Yu achieved better results with Moon Reflected on the Erquan Fountain by Hua Yanjun (performed in a transcription by Wu Zuqiang – a celebrated composer, musicologist and educator in the People’s Republic of China). Based on a melody for erhu, the music depicts a tourist mecca in the Chinese city of Wushi; in this tranquil performance, one could easily imagine its beauties. The orchestra appeared to more fully captured Long Yu’s vision and its own unique voice during this piece.

 
Lang Lang

As the result of Lang Lang captivating the audience with his performances right before intermission, the performance of Ye Xiaogang's (one of the leading and influential composers in China) Das Lied auf der Erde – a China Philharmonic-commissioned-piece for voice and large orchestra and sung in the original language seemed anti-climatic. This new song cycle shares a title with Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and incorporates the Chinese five poems (two more are planned) adapted by librettist Hans Bethge and set by Mahler. With soprano Luwa Ke - a talented upcoming opera singer whose credits included performing “Madama Butterfly” that was directed by Seiji Ozawa, Violetta in “La Traviata,” Despina in “Cosi Fan Tutte” and Servillia in “La Clemeza Di Titto” while being trained at the Opera Department of the Central Music Academy - supplying her virtuosity and stratospheric range that incorporated various “swooping runs,” it highlighted that the score has more in common with Chinese operatic traditions than German Romanticism.

The second half ended with a performance of the suite from Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin that featured soprano Luwa Ke found the string section striving to bring intensity, the woodwinds speaking longingly of the dangers to come and the horns attempting to communicate their urgency. The orchestra was seeking to communicate how Bartók draws on Eastern and Western traditions to make an immediate and evocative series of impressions that a Western listener might miss its many nuances and meanings. Soprano Luwa Ke sang with power and expression, though strident at times. One was impressed but not personally affected by the performance of the 20 minute suite of Bartók's ballet score.

This "UCLA Live" event was part of the China Philharmonic's first world tour that included on other dates cellist Wang Jian and violinist Augustin Dumay - along with Lang Lang and soprano Luwa Ke. The artistic backdrop and foundation of this evening's music was the China Philharmonic conducted by its music director and chief conductor - Long Yu (“Musical Superman in China”). Since December 2000, they served as an excellent example of the cross-cultural music influences between Asian and Western cultures that hold promises of many rewarding experiences across the entire arts spectrum.

Experiencing one of the most significant symphony orchestras in Asia that is known for promoting masterpieces of Chinese symphonic music to the world while presenting the works of European and American composers to Chinese audiences, one was recognizing that the China Philharmonic represents a new breed of classical artists that incorporates a wide spectrum of world cultures within their creative voice. Mr. Yu and the orchestra’s mission is to develop the China Philharmonic Orchestra as a world class professional institution through extensive collaboration with top musician from all over the world - as a result, it has worked with world class conductors, instrumentalists, and singers including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Lloyd Webber, and Placido Domingo to help fine-tune their creative vision. Supporters say that the orchestra's (it’s one of 30 full-time professional symphony orchestras in China – more than in the U.S.) success is heralding a renaissance in classical music in China. As a result, many have heralded the orchestra’s success as ushering in a renaissance in classical music in China.

 
Long Yu

Shanghai-native Long Yu, as The China Philharmonic’s music director and artistic director, has utilized his career as one of most distinguished Chinese conductors with an established international reputation to spearhead China’s entry into the classical music world. His qualifications include conducting orchestras in Germany, France, the Northlands, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macao – along with working with the Homburg State Opera, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Leipzig, the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, the Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Symphoniker, Le Theatre de Nice, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra has provided him with the experience. His collaboration with world class musicians including Neville Marriner, Mikhail Pletnev , Izhak Perlman, Cho-liang Lin, Frank Peter Zimmerman, Matt Haimoviz, Wang Jian, Charles Neidich and Tiziana Fabbricini has provided the ability for the China Philharmonic Orchestra to work with various internationally-acclaim artists of the highest order. His strong belief (stemming from his grandfather – professor of composition at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music during the Cultural Revolution – who was humiliated and forced to burn his music during the Cultural Revolution) that classical music belongs to the world is one of the driving forces behind the China Philharmonic and its performance at UCLA.

On this night at UCLA, the Long Yu-conducted China Philharmonic provided ample evidence of its growing talent while in the process of developing a harmonious and unified ensemble sound that sets them apart from other orchestras. As it is developing its unique creative voice, presently it exhibits a youthful energy embedded within a well-rehearsed set of musicians. Its ambitious creative commitment that included the willingness of integrating the classical repertoire of East and West, placing works by Bartók, Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov alongside music by contemporary Chinese composers Ye Xiaogang and Hua Yanjun provided ample evidence that the next multicultural generation of classical music is closer than we think. It will be exciting to witness their growth the next time we witness a performance by Long Yu’s China Philharmonic Orchestra and the fabulous Lang Lang!


 
 
She began her career as a BBC news reporter. She went on to direct award-winning documentaries for the BFI, BBC and Channel Four. Her debut feature Bhaji on the Beach won the jury prize at The Locarno International Film Festival, received a BAFTA Nomination for Best British Film (1994). Her second feature What's Cooking? was the opening night film of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and was voted joint audience award-winner in The New York Film Critics' 2000 season. Gurinder's Bend It Like Beckham a critical and commercial success internationally, topped box-office charts across the globe. Bend It Like Beckham won the audience favourite film awards at the Locarno, Sydney and Toronto film festivals. The film also garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)

This British Indian woman (along with her husband) built her reputation on the global hit "Bend It Like Beckham" and take Bollywood to America through "Bride & Prejudice" starring Indian superstar Aishwarya Rai. This ethnically Punjabi Indian was born in Kenya and raised in London. neighborhood where "Beckham" was shot, and grew up on both British and Bollywood films. Her husband and co-writer, Paul Mayeda Berges, is an American with a Japanese mother who was the director of San Francisco Intl. Film Festival and director of Aishwarya Rai-starrer "Mistress of Spices."

After "Beckham," they decided to take on an enduring and beloved work of literature, creating a comfort zone for audiences who'd be seeing a movie with unfamiliar stylistic elements. "The reason to take Jane Austen was so that audiences would feel comfortable with the story, so they could relax when the Bollywood film language kicked in and they weren't necessarily familiar with where they were," Chadha said.

In Chadha's retelling, Elizabeth Bennet is Lalita Bakshi of Amritsar, a relatively small town in the Punjabi region of north India. And Mr. Darcy is Will Darcy, an American businessman who travels there for a friend's wedding and makes a poor first impression on the opinionated Lalita. While much globe-trotting and song-and-dance ensues, the machinations of the plot remain intact.

To her surprise, Chadha found that her adaptation allowed Austen to take on new relevance: "The time that Jane Austen was writing in, a time where women weren't considered whole unless they were married, where their mothers were the ones who were pushing them out, all this is very typical of contemporary India." Ultimately, though, what will probably make the strongest impression on western audiences is Rai, Bollywood's most stunning ambassador, who stars as Lalita. With her beguiling blue-green eyes and mesmerizing presence, Rai, a former Miss World, is known as the Queen of Bollywood as revered there as Julia Roberts, Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie combined.

"In Bollywood films, people don't kiss, there's no nudity," Chadha said. "So I'm not sure what kind of movies she's going to end up doing here. I think she'll get a lot of offers, but I think she's going to be very particular about showing her body and about any kind of physical, intimate scenes. Because she's a good Indian girl at heart." Chadha said there was much debate about whether to incorporate a kiss into "Bride & Prejudice," but it was ultimately academic: "It was in Ash's contract that she was not going to kiss."

Chadha is serious about her depiction of the frictions and misunderstandings that mark interracial or cross-cultural romance that is seen in all four of her movies. Before "Beckham," Chadha directed "What's Cooking?" (2000), a Thanksgiving mosaic set in Los Angeles, and "Bhaji on the Beach" (1993), a chronicle of British Indian women on holiday. She's stated that addressing this subject provides the license to communicate the feeling of loss, the cultural loss that goes with integration and assimilation. ... But at the same time, it allows you to celebrate being bilingual or multicultural."

Because Chadha has a sunny disposition and her characters usually overcome cultural differences, it opens her up to criticism that she shies away from stickier issues and doesn't represent her culture authentically, she said. "I make personal films that are mainstream," she said. "That's it. If I were making small, personal films for Sundance or something, then it's somehow, 'Oh, it's her personal story, it's fine.' ... But I'm going for the multiplexes. I want as many people as possible to see what I'm making. That's why I make the films. They're hard to make! They take years to make!"

She tells the story of a Sikh from Dallas who cornered her at a wedding and told her that "Bend It Like Beckham" changed his life. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the man, who was born and raised in Texas, had to ward off insults and threats from neighbors who thought he was an Islamic terrorist. But after "Beckham" was released, the tension abated. "People would come up to him and go, 'You're a Sikh, right? That's a turban, right? You're a Sikh like in "Bend It Like Beckham,'" Chadha said. "And he was like, 'Damn right I am!' For me, that's a big deal. That changed his life."


 

She is quickly becoming the first South Asian woman pop star to enter the U.S. mainstream. This daughter of a seamstress, Maya Arulpragasam has one of the most written-about albums of 2005 that is filled with her electro-Bollywood-hip-hop music - special interest has been focused on a single song ("Galang") that is an intensely rhythmic culture clash that draws heavily on American gangsta rap and Hindi film, Jamaican dancehall, Europop, electro-dancehall, electrogroove and multiculti gibberish that was named as one of 2004's 10 best singles in Rolling Stone's critics' poll.

M.I.A.'s debut album, "Arular," (which is her father's name) is a more in-depth exploration of the singer's refugee eclecticism. From start to finish (with help from producers such as ex-Pulp member Steve Mackey doing dancehall, Richard X working Sri Lankan nursery rhymes, Anthony Whiting and Switch), it is an unstoppable riot of sound, weaving London street slang with Sri Lankan nursery rhymes, tough-talking raps softened by a Hindi vocal style that ends lines of lyrics with curlicue upswings, fascinating stories (teenage prostitution, "part-time jobbers" in call centers & "comfort bars"), world politics and personal experience that vacillates between attitude and innocence.

Few Western pop singers have lived as chaotically as M.I.A. where her formative years were a steady progression from bad to worse, going from poverty to persecution to war and alienation before she was able to turn it around.

In 1978, she was born in Hounslow London and moved to her grandparent's remote farm (a collection of huts without electricity or running water) than to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka with her family when she was 6 months old. There were tensions between the country's two ethnic groups were growing. She and her family were among the minority Tamil population in a country dominated by Sinhalese; her father was part of a militant group (EROS - Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students while becoming politically known as Arular) seeking independence. Rebel activities kept her father separated from the family and her family on the run for the next decade. When civil war broke out, they relocated to India (Madras & Chennai), living for a year and a half "in a room surrounded by five miles of empty land.

In 1986, 10-year-old Maya Arulpragasam and her family fled the civil war in Sri Lanka (as the result of hostilities between the ruling Sinhalese and the Tamil minority) and settled in England at Phipps Bridge Estate (Mitcham, Surrey) - a housing project twenty minutes south of London while being one of two Asian families that lived there. She learned English about the time she discovered another language: hip-hop, the perfect vernacular for describing life as a refugee in a squalid housing estate in South London.

In 2001, she returned to Sri Lanka. She was hoping to make "a random film about Tamil youth" and, in the process, sort out her feelings over the ongoing conflict in her parents' country. She returned to London more confused than ever. Much of the Tamil population today is starving and restricted to refugee camps, she says. The rebel group her father helped form is now considered a terrorist organization. She often asks who would you call a terrorist or who would you call a revolutionary today? In her album, she asks: "You can be a follower, but who's your leader?"
         
Until she was 10, her only contact with music was Bollywood films, television theme songs and bootleg tapes of Michael Jackson and Boney M. When she was in England, she listened to Madonna and Bananarama on radio. Circumstances led her to be influenced by hip-hop and rap that connected with the young South Asian transplant. Even though she didn't understand English, she connected with the rhythm and look of Public Enemy, N.W.A and other artists she would later appreciate for their politics.
 
M.I.A.'S VIEWS ON WHY ASIAN WOMEN HAVEN'T COME OUT BEFORE

I think Asian women are the best; they have the looks, the smarts, and the depth and should be proud. Why hasn't anyone come out before? It's because of trying to bridge the gap between older traditions and generations and integrate those with younger generations. The support just isn't there from the older generation when it comes to making creative statements, and it's hard for young women to do that without that support. So you have to just know what you want and not let what other people say hold you back.

Until she was 10, her only contact with music was Bollywood films, television theme songs and bootleg tapes of Michael Jackson and Boney M. When she was in England, she listened to Madonna and Bananarama on radio. Circumstances led her to be influenced by hip-hop and rap that connected with the young South Asian transplant. Even though she didn't understand English, she connected with the rhythm and look of Public Enemy, N.W.A and other artists she would later appreciate for their politics.

She wanted to be an artist - not a rapper or musician. As a student at St. Martin's Art School in London, she began exploring film. When an art gallery asked her to contribute work to a show, she branched out to painting, channeling her Sri Lankan experience into candy-colored stencils of tigers, palm trees, hand grenades and warplanes. Her first-ever public exhibition of paintings (where every painting was sold) featured candy coloured spray-paint and stencil pictures of the Tamil terrorist movement. Graffitied tigers and palm trees mixed with orange, green and pink camouflage, bombs, guns and freedom fighters on chip board off-cuts and canvases that was nominated for the alternative Turner prize.

In 2001, Justine Frischmann, former leader of the rock band Elastica, commissioned her to create the cover art for its 2000 album, "Menace," and a video for the single "Mad Dog God Dam." While on tour with the group, she met electro pioneer Peaches who encouraged her to experiment with sequencing on a Roland MC-505. This resulted in producing a six song demo that got into the hands of Steve Mackey and Ross Orton who then re-worked "Galang" into the monstrous meld of influences that would eventually propel M.I.A. into the limelight. The accompanying colorful video for "Galang", featuring multiple M.I.A.'s amid a backdrop of her graffiti artwork animated that included scenes of urban Britain and Sri Landan civil war, was directed by Ruben Fleischer and art directed by M.I.A. herself.
   
M.I.A. creates culture clashes that work; `a unique voice unafraid to mix big issues with cool sounds' (Harpers & Queen).
The Village Voice called her a `Sri Lankan Tamil hottie,' a phrase you rarely read in America.
 

She shared that Hindi and Indian radio stations wouldn't play her songs unless it was translated into Hindi. As a result, she's had to use the white mainstream to get her music played. Another obstacle has been the issue of terrorism that she flaunts as a Sri Lankan Tamil, as the result of her family background (her father's involvement with the Tamil Tigers that assassinated the prime minister of India in 1991), her shoutout to the PLO and her song "Sunshowers" - (MTV refused to play the video without a disclaimer).

Her influences are seen in the records and artists that she is currently listening to that often comes from pirate D.J.'s.. They include "Bad Gal Riddim" that is made of dancehall producers coming up with a new 'riddim" or beat track and everyone does their own version of the beat. She's a big fan of Ivy Queen - the biggest reggaeton (music from Puerto Rico that has a Caribbean sound with steel drums and different tempos) star. Baile fun ('funk ball' - aka 'booty music') is her latest influences. This is music consists of Brazilian kids in the favelas (ghettos) going crazy with Miami bass beats (drum loops & heavy bass), screaming the dirtiest lyrics over Clash songs and electronic music that sounds like Kraftwerk. In addition to Ce'cile, Jim Jones and the Diplomats - she loves Lethal Bizzle's "Forward Riddim Remix of 'Pow!'" which is a grime (the new punk - electronic, minimal beats and mad bass lines) record that reflects the London streets in the most aggressive way possible.

 
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