8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHO: Leon Le, (Writer/Director/Editor) is a self taught filmmaker/photographer. After 13 years working as a professional dancer/actor/singer for theaters, national/international tours, Off-Broadway to Broadway; he has appeared in numerous TV series and features films in Vietnam, he finally decided to take a stab at filmmaking. His latest short film Dawn, which he wrote, directed, edited and produced garnered positive attention at more than 20 national/international film festivals. In 2012, it won Best LGBT Short, Best International Short, and Best Director awards. And in 2013, Dawn was nominated for Best Short Film, Excellent in Short Filmmaking, and the Iris Prize film award.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Talk To Her
Talk to Her is a 12 minute film about love, acceptance, and missed opportunities. It tells the story of a young man trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunted his quest for personal happiness. The film explores the complicated relationships between Michael, a second generation Chinese American man; his mother, Mrs. Yue and; Julianne, his girlfriend of two year whom he plans to propose. After a twist of fate, Julianne accidentally discovers Michael’s secret love affair with a man. Will Michael be able to face the truth with his love ones, or most importantly himself before it’s too late?
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Friday, November 29, 2013 (11:59pm PT).
WHY: Why is it important?
Writer/director Leon Le’s idea for Talk to Her was inspired by a true story he read a while ago about a young Chinese woman in China coming home one afternoon to discovers her newly wedded husband was having an affair with her own brother. While tradition can scaffold a strong cultural unit, it can also imprison those unable to see beyond its sooted beams. The story remains relevant today while the cultural milieu of the Asian man continues to instill the ultimate responsibility for the man to carry on his family name, pressuring many gay men into marriages ending with broken families and devastated hearts.
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In standard Mandarin Chinese, tea is pronounced “cha” with a dipping tone. However, the common English word “Tea” actually derives from the Taiwanese/Minan/Fujian word for tea. In Taiwanese, I pronounce tea as “deh”, a lot more like “tea” than “cha”, so learning the fact that our English word “tea” is based on my home language pronunciation was a pleasant surprise, giving me a nice unexpected sense of unity between my English-speaking and Taiwanese-speaking selves. That and I’m a tea enthusiast.
Luckily for me, living in LA is like living in a tea wonderland. There are so many options for tea all over the Southland that I thought I’d share some of my tea knowledge in this little 6-part series for those of you looking to enjoy Los Angeles from a tea lover’s perspective.
The photo above is from a potluck tea party I had with friends a few years ago. A lovely tea time at home is a piece of cake, literally. I don’t cook or bake, but there is such a variety of bakeries here that it’s so easy to have a wonderful afternoon tea at home any day of the week, especially with our almost endless days of sunshine.
Here are some great places I frequent for cakes and desserts to go with my tea:
Susina Bakery & Cafe – European American baked fare
Urth Caffe - California fusion
Yamazaki Bakery – Japanese fusion
J.J. Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
85C Bakery Cafe – Taiwanese fusion
Nini Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
Phoenix Food Boutique – Asian fusion
Aside from top grade tea my parents or friends pick up for me on trips to Asia, I purchase most of my loose leaf teas from Bird Pick or Wing Hop Fung, both of which are basically different versions of the same store. If you do see a bag of their instant ginseng honey tea packets, pick one up for sure because this quick hot sweet drink is like a magic healing potion when you’re feeling under the weather. In this next photo, you’ll see that I sometimes splurge on my loose leaf teas.
Another cool source of high quality tea is Teavana, which most people can find in a local mall. They often boast a selection of 100 teas, but that’s still not as many as what’s available at Bird Pick/Wing Hop Fung.
Next up, Part 2: Tea Station.
Says an anonymous 8Asians tipster:
Video of Chinese Contestant on Holland’s Got Talent. The guy sings opera very well, but is continually disrespected by one of the judges.
By my count, there were actually two judges making various inappropriate jokes and comments, with the judge on the left (American choreographer Dan Karaty) mortified by the comments of his compatriots. I don’t know any Dutch jokes, otherwise, I’d make one right now.
Evidently, “Holland’s Got Talent” judge Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, who goes by the nickname Gordon, couldn’t help but to make several Chinese jokes during Xiao Wang’s audition.
When Wang said he was going to sing La donna è mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gordon responded with, “Which (Verdi) number are you singing, number 39 with rice?”
After Wang’s performance, for which he received a standing ovation, Gordon giggled while saying, “Honestly, this is the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks, and it’s not a takeaway.”
The judge continued on his racist rampage after the reality show hopeful left the stage, turning to the audience and saying in Dutch, “he looks like a waiter from a Chinese restaurant.”
Dan Karaty, who is an American judge on the show, was clearly shocked by Gordon’s comments, telling him, “You’re really not supposed to say things like that to people.” [full story]
The female judge, Dutch actress Chantal Janzen, doesn’t get off scot free here. It could be said that she started off the condescension when she asked Xiao Wang his name and after he responds, she quips, “Aw, that’s ok.”
I’m not sure if Xiao understood everything that was happening, but to his credit, he laughs everything off.
Everyone’s been wanting to see this fight, so here’s a way to experience the fight fictionally, Hajime no Ippo anime style. I know I’m excited to see it!
I’m already getting goosebumps from just this teaser video. Makes me wish I could spend all of today at the boxing gym!
Brooklyn, center of all things hipster and edgy, is home to a bar. That bar is hosting a party. That party is called “Madam Wu’s Good Luck Banquet of the Senses.” It is not edgy. It it also what one might call, rife with problems.
Ignoring for now the fact that the title is written in a font that I hate and that “Confucius say” jokes are still not funny, the event poster suggests dress for “travel along the Silk Road, tea with the emperor, dragon dancing, coolie couture, silk pajamas.” UM, no. Dressing as an indentured servant/basically slave is not desirable, encouraged, or acceptable. Hats off to a Facebook comment (and Jezebel) for thoroughly debunking “coolie couture”: “Coolies were Asian laborers – some of these laborers signed contracts based on misleading promises, some were kidnapped, some were victims of violence…Their voyages…were as inhumane and dangerous as the notorious Middle Passage.” And when this person says Asian, it wasn’t just Chinese, but also Central Asians, Indians, Filipinos, and Southeast Asians.
Apparently, the party organizers have apologized (somewhat), but also claimed that it was sort-of-ok because it was an art party, that it was a “theme based on the kind of art we like to make.” That totally makes it okay! Come on creative types, do something new. This is not me with a pitchfork yelling at all the people, it is me asking you to be conscious that these images and ideas have a long history – one of discriminatory public portrayals of Asians that were insidious and widespread within American society. Brooklyn is full of books, it might be worth reading about this and rethinking whether or not we can call this kind of theme, “art.”
Cranston City Mayor Allan Fung on November 5th announced his candidacy for Governor of Rhode Island. One of Fung’s unique distinction is that he is Rhode Island’s first ever Asian American mayor (and he happens to also be a Republican) and would be Rhode Island’s first Asian American governor if elected. That may not sounds like much, but Asian Americans constitute only 3.4% of Rhode Island’s overall population. Cranston itself is Rhode Island’s 3rd largest city, with a population of approximately 80,000 people (Rhode Island’s overall population is about 1 million). More on Fung’s background:
“Fung, 43, was first elected mayor of the state’s third-largest city in 2008. Before that, he served as a city councilman and worked in the private sector as a lawyer for MetLife. If elected, Fung would become the first Asian-American governor in Rhode Island history. His parents immigrated to Rhode Island 44 years ago from Hong Kong and owned a restaurant in Cranston a few blocks from where he made his announcement. He said he started working there at age 9, busing tables and washing dishes. He grew up in Providence and graduated from the city’s elite magnet school, Classical High School, where he became close friends with Taveras. He went on to graduate from Rhode Island College and later got his law degree from Suffolk University in Boston. He is not married but his girlfriend, Barbara Ann Fenton, is chair of the Rhody Young Republicans.”
Fung’s family background reminds me a little bit of Connecticut State Representative William Tong (who ran for U.S. Senate), since Tong also came from an immigrant family and had owned and operated a Chinese restaurant. What is interesting about Rhode Island is how “elastic” the state is politically:
“Rhode Island is the most elastic state, a large swatch of its electorate are persuadable voters unaligned with either political party. Rhode Island has very few Republicans (10 percent of registered voters), a ton of Democrats (41 percent), but even more unaffiliated voters (49 percent).”
Given that Asian Americans tend to lean either Democratic or Independent, Fung is quite a rarity in a state like Connecticut.
Last spring, I went on a trip to North Cali to research for my book series about Chinese in the American Old West. For fun, my brother and I did a fight video with a filmmaker friend of ours iMakeDumbFilms, and here was the result. After we had our fun, I considered the Asian stereotypes that we reinforced:
Nevermind that my brother and I are Americans or that we aren’t at all professional martial artists. The moves we can do are just a few leftovers from past lives in some kung fu, wushu, and karate classes we took as kids, like millions of other American kids. I do love kung fu and martial arts, so I’ve come to terms with the fact that my sincere interest in martial arts will be overgeneralized by simple-minded and ignorant folk who will think that what is true for one American of Asian descent will be automatically true for all Asians period.
Comedian Dat Phan knows what I’m talking about.
It has been a few years since 8Asians first covered singer-songwriter Dawen’s debut single “Wake Up” and his cover of Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings.” I’ve been following Dawen as he moved to Taiwan to work on his first Mandarin language album after being signed with Universal Records.
I’m excited to hear his debut single in this chapter of his career, “Hello” (你好). Says Dawen (oh wait, I mean 王大文), “This music video is especially important to me as my brother George flew all the way from Los Angeles to produce and film it. This video is my love letter to my new home. I hope it conveys just how much I love this place.”
If this song is supposed to make you feel love for Taiwan, it’s “mission accomplished” for me. This song makes me think of Taiwan and the fun times I had making new friends and singing mando-pop songs while I was at LoveBoat.
These days, one would think that every actor, actress and generally, celebrities would all be on Twitter trying to build up their fan base and build up a following. Apparently not. The other night, I caught actress Lucy Liu on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Fallon helped Liu tweet her first tweet:
You can follow Liu @LucyLiu. Within 24 hours, Liu had over 29,000 fans. Liu seems to be friends with Fallon and was on his show to remind her fans that she’s on the hit CBS show, “Elementary.”
The Holy Grail chooses 7 Mages it deems worthy of fighting for its power, and in this battle to the death, the mages are able to summon Servants, historic heroes like King Arthur, Alexander the Great, and Gilgamesh. The last team standing in this battle royale will get one miracle each of their choosing.
The animation is nice and the story is complex strategy coupled with raw power, and I really enjoy the historical references and the creating of characters based on legends, but the best word to summarize this anime would be “disturbing”.
Best for occult history buffs and should only be watched when you’re in the mood to go to a very dark place.
I saw this television ad recently for this website/company that I had not heard of before – TRUECar.com, highlighting several women seeking to buy a new car, including an Asian American one. I guess the site is aimed at women who don’t like to negotiate for a car price, as one women simply states: “I don’t need to bring a dude with me” [to the car dealership]. Kind of sad how the auto industry built this reputation for negotiations over an automobile’s price. I wonder if women find this ad a bit condescending? To me, it comes across a little that way.
I love tea. I’m also not much of a coffee drinker. Although I am a periodic Starbucks customer, it’s mainly because it’s usually a convenient spot for me to settle down and get some work done in my on-the-road professional lifestyle. I’m really not there for the drinks or the food. The first time I walked into a Starbucks, I was all frowns. It was too loud, the weedy decor wasn’t to my liking, and the stench of stale coffee beans was so thick in the air I gagged. Then, wanting a simple cup of tea, I got one served in a paper cup that tasted like the paper cup, and the tea itself was so infused with flowers I felt like I was drinking a cup of old potpourri instead. BLEH.
So this news I heard on KPCC that Starbucks may be starting a whole new chain of Teavana-style coffee stops has got my hopes up. I like the conveniences of Starbucks, but not much else. Maybe a zen version of it with some quality teas will be the answer to my prayers.