By Li Dong
It was about 10 days before shooting started when it all broke apart.
After months of planning, casting, location scouting, organizing, careful scheduling, writing and budgeting, my delicate straw house of a production for my web series, Model Minority, was getting ramshackled by the unforgiving winds of change.
Within a few days, my lead actress, supporting actress, assistant director and director of photography all walked away from the production for varying reasons (they were offered more lucrative gigs at the last minute or they had sudden scheduling conflicts or–in the case of one former employee–they felt that I was “walking into a disaster” so, I guess we’ll chalk that one up to “creative differences”). If you think of a film project as a living human, these events would be the equivalent to a person having their liver, kidneys, hamstrings and eyeballs start bleeding profusely and unstoppably for no reason whatsoever.
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Spending 40 years at any company or industry is nearly unheard of these days, but local television news reporter, David Louie, is celebrating 40 years as a broadcast journalist with local ABC affiliate, ABC 7/ KGO. I was surprised to hear that Louie has been with KGO for 40 years given that like most Asians, he doesn’t look his age! Louie is the longest serving Asian American news journalist in the U.S.
It appears he had a change of heart last week when, after being afflicted with a blood clot in Las Vegas, he was looked after by some Filipino nurses.
I also thank outstanding medical staff, incl. kind professional Filipino staff. I stand corrected; I truly didn’t mean 2 hurt or offend.
— Marion S. Barry, Jr. (@marionbarryjr) May 21, 2012
Hurray! Adobo and lumpia for everybody, right?
Not so fast.
Judge Lanny Moriarty has dismissed contempt charges against truant honor student Diane Tran. Tran was sentenced to a night in jail and a $100 fine for missing classes because of exhaustion from working two jobs and an intense academic workload. Attorney Brian Wice took up her case pro bono, and now she will not have a criminal record, which could have affected her negatively in the future. In other good news, $100,000 has been raised to help her with expenses.
There is no better time to be a young API American than today… Trust me! Don’t believe me? Let’s go back in time… way way way way way back when I was your age. When Dinosaurs ruled the earth. Okay, I’m not THAT old but I’m old. Really old compared to you guys. I was born in 1977, which for those of you who aren’t good at math, means I’m 35 years old. I grew up in the 1980s and came of age in the 1990s. Ronald Reagan and George Bush (the first one) were the presidents and Michael Jackson was still the King of Pop. Back then the only Asian faces on television or in the movies was the socially awkward nerd, the martial arts master, the foreign villain, or the geisha.
Many may not know a man by the name of Jim Nakano, however, the Donut Man might ring a bell. Nakano, at age 72, is the owner and the creator of the best-selling strawberry donut. His doughnut shop, The Donut Man, is located in Glendora, California, with many loyal customers including me.
A new series of posters from San Francisco artist, Deborah Enrile Lao celebrates Asian American masculinity. The series, titled “Manhood,” consists of screen printed posters of five iconic Asian American men—Richard Aoki, George Takei, Jeremy Lin, Bruce Lee and DJ Qbert.
A statement from the artist describes her work:
This piece challenges the unkind, one dimensional portrait of Asian American men in mainstream Western media. By exuding strength, creativity, leadership and masculinity, these five icons buck characterizations of Asian American men as meek nerds who never get the girl (or guy). Bold paper colors and a minimal illustration style reclaims the one dimensional space into one that portrays these men as “superheroes” that young boys and men can aspire to be like.
People need to know who James Akira Hirabayashi was. A scholar and an activist, he was one of the professors who “risked their jobs when they went on strike in 1968, a historic social movement that led to the creation of the first autonomous school of ethnic studies” at San Francisco State University. He later became the chair of the department. He was also an earlier advisor and employee of the Japanese American National Museum and according to one of my colleagues, helped shape the “philosophical foundation of the museum that continues to guide our work today.” This is just a way of saying that Mr. Hirabayashi in my hero and he is proof that not heroes are made on a battle field.
For more on Mr. Hirabayashi, check out this article.
Abandoned by her parents, Diane Tran works a full and part time job to support two siblings while being a honor student taking AP courses and college level courses, but was jailed for a night and fined $100 after missing more classes from sheer exhaustion. Houston’s KHOU covered this case about the Willis High School junior. Judge Lanny Moriaty, who sentenced Tran, says:
If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?
I can see the need to make an example of someone to reduce truancy, but exactly what kind of example is this?
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Earlier this week, we blogged about Rolling Stone magazine releasing their list of 10 K-pop groups most likely to break in the U.S.
I had the great pleasure to attend the Google/YouTube sponsored MBC K-Pop concert – MBC Korean Music Wave – at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. The event was free, though tickets were “sold” out fast via the ticketing website within a few hours. Luckily, Google employees were able to get tickets in advance, and I received a pair from my cousin, who works there. K-pop bands MBLAQ, SISTAR, f(x), KARA, BEAST, Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, Super Junior and TVXQ performed – though I had to leave after the Wonder Girls performed. The event took place in celebration to MBC’s content partnership with Google/YouTube – which the audience was reminded often by the bands that performed and also happened to be YouTube’s 7th anniversary.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute, showed for the second year in a row that Asian Americans have the highest rate of long-term joblessness (6 months or more) of any ethnicity in the United States. In 2011, 50.1 percent of the Asian American unemployed were unemployed long term, up from 48.7 percent in 2010, exceeding the rates for whites, blacks and Hispanics in both years. This correlates with the news that unemployment lasts longer for Asian Americans, reported back in 2010, and that Asians were more affected by the housing downturn.
From Min Y.: “Before there was the Facebook Effect, there was the Yao Ming Effect, where any player who ever played with Yao received random endorsement deals from Chinese companies. Now almost a year after Yao’s retirement, Former Houston Rockets (and current Atlanta Hawks) basketball player Tracy McGrady is still benefiting. I just hope XueJin Beer is not as stale as McGrady’s career. (And in case you were wondering: McGrady says at the end, “We are brothers, so let’s drink together.”)”