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Society of The Transpacific Jetsetters
by Nancy Moran and Brett Rosenblatt
"Sophisticated, discerning and cosmopolitan. This group will not only be the dealmakers but also the trendsetters among their peers," said Stephen Liu, the Founder, CEO and "Chief Social Capitalist" of Privy.net - an invitation only niche social network and online/mobile travel platform targeted at a select group of transpacific executives and key influencers.
At first glance, Privy may give the impression of just another social networking/community reviews site. But when you take a closer look, you'll see that not only it is very different from all other social networking sites, it is actually an exclusive, insider's community guide to the latest in spots and trends of Asia; recommended by professionals who are not only well-connected, but also possess an in-depth knowledge about living and traveling in Asia. Privy is ideal for someone who travels frequently to and within Asia and North America. For example, if you want to experience the best of the best when you're in town, but you don't have the time to sift through the morass of sites that are out there, that's when you turn to the members of this site to get information that is " Privy to" you in a given city. Whether it's where to find the most pungent kimchi jjigae in Seoul, what makes that eco-friendly boutique hotel in Shanghai so special, or when that "PG-13" S&M lounge in Tokyo will have its grand opening, the friends you make on Privy will be able to give you the inside scoop that you won't find in the online press or local newspapers.
According to Liu, he wanted to create Privy because "many are forecasting that the 21st century will be the Asian Century.' In this new global configuration of East and West, the pivotal players will be well-educated, bilingual, bicultural individuals who have likely lived in both worlds. This jet-setting class is already establishing itself at the forefront of the global cultural, economic, and political scene." Prior to Privy, Liu, a successful and accomplished young entrepreneur with an MBA from the University of Southern California, founded one of the early streaming video-enabled B2B digital marketplaces catering to the global film and television distribution industry called Reelplay - a Forbes recognized Top 200 B2B Company. He is also known for being the founder of Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) in Los Angeles, and served as the organization's founding President from 1993 to 1997. His involvement with the Asian American community inspired him to create an informal, not-for-profit 4,000 member social gathering group called Drinks 'n Chatter (DnC) which raises financial support and awareness for Asian American community-based organizations. Through Privy, Liu has committed to help support and raise funds for a handful of Asia-related causes including the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy (JUCCCE) and Liberty in North Korean (LiNK).
Most of the members on Privy are young Asian American professionals from a wide array of professional and creative backgrounds, located in southern California, China, South Korea or Hong Kong. What makes Privy even more unique is the process of gaining acceptance into the community, which is much like pledging a fraternity/sorority without the hazing. In order to join, one has to receive an invitation from a current member of the site, and set up a profile with recognizable and verifiable credentials. Once accepted, in order to become acquainted with the community, one must be introduced through current members on the site who can vouch for his/her character.
Sounds too finicky? It actually isn't, because this screening process is very commonly used among members-only groups. However, there's no cost in joining Privy once you pass the screening test. You can't buy approval and acceptance from these people, you have to earn it.
Backstage with Jason Wu
Interview by Alice An, edited by Nancy Moran
Known best for the old Hollywood sensibility which oozes from his runway creations, Jason Wu, now a household name across the globe, is the youngest Asian American designer ever to attain his level of success. Besides First Lady Michelle Obama, he has also dressed A list celebrities including Eva Longoria, and his creations hold their own next to designs by more seasoned designers at upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus-- not bad for someone who began his career designing dresses for porcelain dolls.
Here's an one-on-one interview with Jason backstage, following his Fall 2007 collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (February, 2007 - when he was only 23 at the time), to find out what was it like growing up in the fashion industry.
Altra: It is widely publicized that you started your career designing dolls.
Altra: Fashion Royalty is a very successful line for Integrity Toys. What made you switch over from designing for the six inch woman to the six foot woman?
Jason: I would not say "switched." I always wanted to do fashion. It is my first love. I would just say I grew up over the years.
Altra: The fashion media is obsessed with your age. Everyone keeps saying "Oh, he's so young!" but even though you are only 23, you have been designing for 10 years now, so that makes you a real veteran, what do you think?
Jason: Oh, I'm not quite a veteran yet but I aspire to be one. I definitely aspire to be one.
Altra: Your fall 07 collection is very streamlined in comparison to your spring 06 collection, tell me about it.
Jason: Oh yes, I'm trying my hand at new things, new materials, new techniques. I really want to grow (as a designer).
Altra: There is a very heavy western influence in your fashion.
Altra: And you are of Taiwanese descent, correct?
Jason: Yes I am.
Altra: Do you feel like any of your heritage comes through in your collection?
Jason: I think that there is an element of simplicity, of Zen, that comes from my background. I lived all over the world as a child, so I think I'm really inspired by everything. All cultures. I love Tokyo. I love Paris. They are two of my favorite places to visit; (my inspiration) is really a mélange of everything.
Altra: I noticed that your last dress on the runway looked almost Korean, was that your inspiration?
Jason: Actually it was not intentional. I realized it at the end and I said, "Wow, it looks Korean!" It's a new silhouette for me. (I feel) it's very elegant. Once again, I'm about trying new things and if it comes out to look a little Korean that's great.
Altra: Last question, what does your family think of all this?
Jason: They are very supportive. I know I would not be here without them. My parents have really done their best to get me where I am. It's with their blessing that I am here.
Lakme Fashion Week
Naomi Campbell for Sabyasachi
Superstars walk the runway at 'Mai Mumbai' with Naomi Campbell Fashion For Relief stealing the limelight at Lakme Fashion Week
Lakme Fashion Week, pioneers in the premium fashion and trade event in India for ten years, once again presented one of the most unique fashion events in the history of the industry in the country 'Mai Mumbai' Fashion for Relief Charity Show at Lakme Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2009. The event was held to raise awareness and funds for Citizens for Justice and Peace, in a show of solidarity against the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
2009 Tribeca Film Festival
2009 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL TO OPEN WITH WORLD PREMIERE OF WOODY ALLEN'S WHATEVER WORKS, A SONY PICTURES CLASSICS RELEASE
Film Marking Allen's Return to New York After Four Years of Shooting Abroad Will Screen Opening Night, April 22, 2009, in New York City
25th Anniversary Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 181 OUTSTANDING FILMS FOR 25TH ANNIVERSARY PRESENTED BY VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS
Festival to Showcase Asian American and Asian International Films from 26 Countries Opening with Sundance Hit CHILDREN OF INVENTION from Tze Chun; Toronto Film Festival Fave TREELESS MOUNTAIN from So Yong Kim as the Fest Centerpiece; and Academy Award® Winner DEPARTURES (OKURIBITO) from Yojiro Takita as the Closing Night Presentation of the 8-Day Fete
An Evening with Star Chef Martin Yan, Ambassador of Chinese Food and Culture
Asia Society and New Asian Cuisine co-presented the Asian Food Series "An Evening with Star Chef Martin Yan, Ambassador of Chinese Food and Culture" on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 6:00 P.M. at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City. World renowned Chef Martin Yan joined in conversation with New York Times reporter and author of "The Fortune Cookies Chronicles," Jennifer 8 Lee. The event is sponsored by Tsingtao Beer.
Chef Martin Yan in conversation with reporter and author Jennifer 8 Lee
Chef Martin Yan is a celebrated host of over 3,000 cooking shows broadcasted worldwide. The Yan Can Cook show is based on a food-lovers travelogue featuring culinary hotspots throughout Asia. Dedicated to dispelling the mysteries of Asian cooking, he is the author of over 30 cookbooks and the Founder and Chairman of Martin Yan's Culinary Arts Center, a unique international culinary academy for professional chefs in Shenzhen, China. Chef Yan launched his center to promote the Chinese culinary arts in response to the world's fascination with Chinese heritage and cuisine. He performed a live food demonstration at the event.
For more information contact:
Julie Sellew, Niwa Public Relations
ALTRA is giving away a copy of the APA 2010 All-Male Calendar this summer. The calendar will go on sale this June, to benefit the Asian Pacific Health Care Venture located in Los Angeles (www.aphcv.org).
Congrats to calendar winner, Gyorgy Mezo!
Synopsis courtesy of Focus Features, Photo credits: Ken Regan
"Taking Woodstock" is the new film from Academy Award®-winning director Ang Lee - and it's a trip!
Based on the memoirs of Elliot Tiber, the comedy stars Demetri Martin as Elliot, who inadvertently played a role in making 1969's Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the famed happening it was. Featuring a standout ensemble cast, and songs from a score of '60s musical icons including The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and Country Joe and the Fish - plus a new recording of "Freedom" from Richie Havens - "Taking Woodstock" is a joyous voyage to a moment in time when everything seemed possible.
"Taking Woodstock" opens nationwide Friday, August 28. This film has been rated "R" by the MPAA for graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language.
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund 2008 Gala
Photo by Jason Green
From left: Neil Horikoshi (President and Executive Director, APIASF), Wai-Ling Eng (Chair, APIASF Board of Directors), J. Alexander M. (Sandy) Douglas, Jr. (President, Coca-Cola North America), Don Thompson (President, McDonald's USA), Bill Imada (Chairman and CEO, IW Group, Inc.), and Tariq Khan (Chair, APIASF Gala Committee).
Both J. Alexander M. Douglas, Jr. and Don Thompson received 2008 APIASF Excellence in Education Award and Bill Imada was awarded 2008 APIASF Inspiring Dream Award.
Successful Asian American Entrepreneurs who are beating the recession
Surviving and Thriving in the Recession: Female Entrepreneurs Speak Out
Ada Chan and Amanda Ma are the founders and owners of Fresh Events Company, a special events management and design firm based in Los Angeles. Julie Azuma is the founder and president of Different Roads to Learning Inc., an online retailer that markets educational products for children with autism. Chan, Ma, and Azuma recently spoke with ALTRA about the challenges and opportunities for Asian American female entrepreneurs in today's economic downturn.
How has the economy's recession affected your business?
Our bottom line is down double digits, but part of that loss is from adding new staff so that we're more efficient. We've also found that parents and professionals have been extremely conscious of impulse buying. In good economic times, parents would buy anything to support the education of their special needs child. Today, parents still need the product but have to figure out if they can afford it.
ADA CHAN/AMANDA MA:
We look at this as a time to help our clients understand why special events are more important than ever. For companies, events drive sales. For individuals, an intimate event goes back to what's important at the end of the day: having memorable experiences with friends and family.
As Asian American female entrepreneurs, how are you dealing with the difficult economy? How are you finding customers?
ADA CHAN/AMANDA MA:
We entrepreneurs get told "no" and "you can't do it" a hundred times a week. But that just adds fuel to our fire, and makes success all the sweeter. As women and as Asian Americans, we also sometimes come across prejudice. But that toughens us and makes us understand our strengths. Our unique perspective and experience are assets.
My point is, if after all this, we still can stand with our heads held high, why would we let a less-than-great economy stop us? The economy means we look for and create opportunity in less traditional and more exciting places. It means we get creative, and forge our own path. Entrepreneurs see opportunity while others are distracted.
A key component of our business is school districts. Although they have reduced budgets, they are still spending to support their classrooms. The way we're finding most beneficial to increase our school customer base is through our print catalog, which is sent directly to teachers and superintendents. Our products also are now on Amazon.com, which is bringing us to customers who otherwise wouldn't have heard of us.
What advice can you share with Asian American female entrepreneurs who are struggling to start or to grow a business right now?
Remember that starting a business you believe in with products or services that are valued by a customer base is better than dusting off your resume and trying to find a job in this economy.
As women, we also have to learn to overcome our fears and take measured risks. Don't let fear stop you, but make sure that you understand the financial and emotional risk you're taking. I work on overcoming fear and looking at risk almost daily; it's not just the new entrepreneur who has to do this. We're in this economy together.
ADA CHAN/AMANDA MA:
- Stick with Plan A, but have a Plan B and a Plan C. Be prepared.
- Kick fear in the a**. Fear keeps us from blooming into our full potential.
- Don't compromise who you are. Understand and embrace your roots and where you come from. That's what will give you an edge.
"A BIG TREE INVITES THE WIND": DOWNLOADABLE ACTIVISM
Interview by Nancy Moran
In April 2007, a popular New York radio station, WXRK-FM 92.3 which is owned by media giant CBS aired racially offensive crank phone calls by the station's two "shock jocks," JV and Elvis. Justifiably outraged, the Organization of Chinese Americans mounted a grassroots response that united the talents of four remarkable citizen-advocates. Their collaboration attracted thousands of supporters, made national headlines, and ultimately took on the leaders of CBS. Now, this story is told in "A Big Tree Invites the Wind," a 12-minute documentary video produced by Bill Imada, chairman and CEO of IW Group, one of the nation's leading Asian-American marketing firms. ALTRA recently spoke with Imada about the video, which can be downloaded at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=34730384495.
What made you decide to produce this video?
BILL IMADA: I thought it was important for us to capture this story so that future generations will understand the importance of activism. People don't always realize that one person can make a difference. In this case, several people joined together to fight for an important cause.
Which parts of this story moved you the most?
BILL IMADA: The passion of the four key women in this fight. All four of the key Asian women were from different backgrounds. They came together after checking their egos at the door. They worked as an effective team, never losing sight of their mission. They were fearless, even under attack. And they fought a fight that many people doubted they could ever win.
What types of attention has "A Big Tree" received?
BILL IMADA: The video has received heavy broadcast and print coverage, especially on the East Coast. Vicki Shu Smolin, president of the OCA's New York chapter, did most of the promotional groundwork. Other people focused on various aspects of the campaign against the two shock jocks for example, gathering petition signatures, building the coalition, arranging sponsorships, and coordinating the protest rally.
What would you like to tell ALTRA readers before they view this video?
BILL IMADA: That the video is graphic and uses foul and offensive language. Although the language was toned down considerably, the viewer needs to know exactly how these women felt when they chose to fight the station, the shock jocks, and their fans. But after all was said and done, these women proved that individuals and a small group of liked-minded people can make a difference.
Book Review: The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
In Janice Y.K. Lee's new novel "The Piano Teacher," nothing is quite what it appears to be. Set in Hong Kong during and after World War II, the story is a seductive mixture of truth and falsehood, loyalty and betrayal, past and present. But most of all, the story portrays the mixture that was Hong Kong itself: a blend of East and West cultures, Chinese sensibility and British tradition, beau monde life and the horror of war.
"The Piano Teacher" is actually two intertwined stories occurring a decade apart, told in interspersed chapters. In 1942, we meet Will Truesdale, an Englishman who arrives in Hong Kong and immediately falls in love with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. When Japan's capture of Hong Kong threatens their relationship, both Will and Trudy have to make morally ambiguous choices in order to survive.
Flash forward to 1952. Another newly arrived Brit, Claire Pendleton, teaches piano to the daughter of a wealthy Chinese couple, who also happen to be Will's employer. Will, now crippled by the war, is struggling to deal with his past and the past of the colonial Hong Kong community. These pasts connect with the life Claire creates for herself in surprising and bittersweet ways.
Lee, who was raised in Hong Kong, writes with a keen and knowledgeable eye. She immerses us in her homeland so convincingly that we feel we are discovering it just as her characters do. Ultimately, Hong Kong -- with all its seeming contradictions, is the main character in this haunting, beautiful novel.
-- James Hall
*In select cities on Wednesday, November 26th; and in additional cities on December 5th and 12th.
*Synopsis: In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk under the direction of Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant in MILK, filmed on location in San Francisco from an original screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, and produced by Academy Award winners Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.
A film directed and starred by Clint Eastwood.
US release dates: (limited) December 17, 2008 (Nationwide) January 9, 2009
photos courtesy of Warner Bros.
Walt Kowalski, a Korean veteran played by Clint Eastwood, has been forced to come to grip with his racist mentality when he caught his teenage hmong neighbor Tao Vang Lor (Bee Vang) attempting to steal his prized possession - the 1972 Gran Torino, as part of the gang initiation. Kowalski initially resented the hmong family's arrival, but then gradually became friends with Tao and started protecting him and his sister Sue (Ahney Her), after Tao started working for him as penance.
As much as Kowalski hated "foreigners" due to his own war experience, he still had a sense of social conscience to stand up for what is right and what is wrong. The Asian American actors in this film, however, seemed rather uncomfortable delivering some of the lines while the storyline takes one through a roller coaster of emotions. If you are a die-hard Eastwood fan, then you would inevitably be drawn into his character in this film; which is very similar to his famed role in the film "Dirty Harry" - tough on the outside, soft on the inside. However, this film is not just about Eastwood's acting, it's about overcoming life's ups and downs, making peace within oneself; no matter how much pain and bitterness there is to endure.
- Brett R.
Children of Invention - A film by Tze Chun
Sundance Film Festival 2009
Two young children living illegally in a model apartment outside Boston are left to fend for themselves when their hardworking mother disappears.
Synopsis: After being evicted from their home, the Cheng family finds that times are tighter than ever. Hardworking single mom and recent Boston transplant Elaine tries desperately to find the means to support her young children, Raymond and Tina. They squat in a model apartment in an unfinished building, but try to maintain a normal life. Elaine juggles a number of jobs, including working for a questionable pyramid scheme. Meanwhile, Raymond and Tina become latch-key kids and find amusement in building childish inventions. When Elaine doesn't return home one night, things take a turn for the worse. Nobody knows the kids are home alone, and they are left to fend for themselves. As the days pass, Raymond realizes he needs to come up with a plan to take care of his little sister.
Based on Tze Chun's own award-winning short film, "Windowbreaker," which screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, "Children of Invention" is a drama about the influence of an adult world on children, the immigrant mentality, and shortcuts to the American dream.
Written & Directed by Tze Chun
Produced by Mynette Louie
Producer: Trevor Sagan
Executive Producer: Dan Cogan
Co-Producer: Dave Saltzman
Dir of Photography: Chris Teague
Edited by Anna Boden
Original Music by T. Griffin
Costume Designer: Jennifer Behar
Casting Director & Co-Exec Producer: Susan Shopmaker
Associate Producer: Sheila Dvorak
Did you know that Warner Bros. Pictures India and People Tree Films, who partnered on "Chandni Chowk to China," have a production deal covering three upcoming films? This pact covers the production and distribution of the titles "Jaane Kahaa Se Aayi Ha" (a romantic comedy), "Chandbhai" and "Basra" (a political thriller), all of which will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures India in 2009.
UNDOING Interview with the cast and producers
Coming to DVD in February, 2008 www.undoingmovie.com
Sung Kang (Sam)
Russell Wong (Leon)
Chris Chan, Karin (Writer, Director)
Philip Lam (Executive Producer)
Karin Chien (Producer)
Chris: This film was inspired by my experiences of living and working in Asia and being a stranger in a strange land. Ultimately, in identifying with an array of people from various backgrounds and arriving at the same essential issues of humanity.
Philip: The opportunity of being a producer on this film was presented to me by Catherine Park. I immediately jumped on it because I really enjoyed reading the script and liked the concept of doing a film in the "noir" genre. The story has a deep substance; the characters are relatable for everyone; not just Asian Americans. Plus, I work well with Chris Chan Lee, he inspires me.
Sung: I enjoyed reading the script, and loved the concept of a "noir" film. Plus, I really like working with Karin, we worked on Michael Kang's "The Motel" together. And Chris is a good person to work with as well.
Russell: I am a huge fan of Chris Lee and I really liked the idea of being part of a "noir" film; it's something different for me, and I enjoyed playing my character as well.
Karin: I worked with Chris on the script as well as the film's visual and narrative aesthetics. The aesthetics were very unconventional and creative, which is what I loved because it was like a creative outlet for me. Plus, it was great to have the opportunity to work with Sung again.
Your experience of working in Hollywood as an Asian American?
Sung: I'm constantly being approached with stereotyped roles such as a Kung Fu fighter, foreigner, or a techie/nerd because of my appearance. Hollywood tends to get confused between Asians and Asian American actors because of the Asian stereotype overall.
Russell: I don't get stereotyped roles a lot; I've been treated just like any other male actor.
Karin: I've been in the industry as a producer for six years now, it is a tough struggle for Asian Americans especially females, because it's not culturally accepted and expected by our parents to be in this industry. Luckily, I have very supportive parents and am constantly surrounded by people who continually inspire me, and are always there for me I am very grateful and lucky in that respect.
Philip: This is my first time working in the film industry and it's really exciting, it helps me unleash my creative side and gain an insight into this complex industry.
Chris: I believe each film I make shows progression over my previous works. However, I still have a certain pride for my first super-8 and video films made in high school.
Your next project?
Karin: I am producing and curating an inaugural public program and exhibition for the expansion of the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. It's a two-year, three-part film and interactive media project, commissioning original work from directors Wayne Wang, Miguel Arteta, Jonas Mekas, and others. My hope is to "re-see" Chinatown through the eyes of the filmmakers, and also for the filmmakers to "re-see" Chinatown as a place to create and experience art.
I am also in pre-production on a feature film, called "Jack & Diane," scheduled to shoot Spring 2008. New ventures include developing an Asian American film professional mentoring program and starting a new company to distribute underground cinema from mainland China to the non-theatrical market in the States.
And last, but not least, the fifth film I produced, "Santa Mesa," by writer/director Ron Morales, will be premiering at film festivals in Spring 2008.
Philip: I am looking forward to working on more projects with Karin featuring Asian American faces and stories that are relatable to everyone.
Russell: My next film is "The Mummy 3", scheduled to release later this year.
Sung: A comedy called "Helium", scheduled to release sometime this year.
Final Message to our readers:
Russell: There's been a wave of change in showing only stereotyped Asian American characters in TV and films. A lot more variety of characters and stories are now being offered to Asian American actors, so show your support and appreciation, thanks.
Sung: It's tough for Asian American actors, so we need all the support we can get from the Asian American community. We need you to come out and see the films, spread the word, and do whatever you can to help us, and the community overall, to raise our visibility in Hollywood and the media.
Karin: Thanks for the support, and hope to see you at the movies!
Philip: There is a lot of activism for wrongful portrayals of Asian Americans in films. However, these actors had to make the compromise of playing these roles in order to become trailblazers in the film business. So the community needs to be more understanding and supportive of Asian American actors and talents, because we need more of them on screen, no matter what role they're in.
Chris: As an Asian American noir art film, UNDOING is a peculiar movie, made by a group of talented and committed people that I was fortunate enough to have by my side as allies. We are in an age where true independent filmmaking is under siege by the demands of commerce. We strive for an experience that is fresh, unique and unfamiliar. Should this film connect with you in some way, please spread the word. And thanks for your attention.
Did you know...?
*Sung is originally from Georgia, now lives in Los Angeles, His favorite color is orange, loves Vietnamese food and Marvin Gaye, appreciates NYC's artist scene, and has been with his current girlfriend for thirteen years.
*Russell is originally from upstate NY, now lives in Los Angeles. Dad is from Shanghai, mom is Dutch/German/French and Mohawk Indian. His favorite color is blue. Admires Christopher Watkins and Sogyal Rinpoche, Loves good dumplings, IL Corteo on Mulberry St. in NYC, and his dad's hot and sour soup.
*Chris is a native of Los Angeles (his favorite city in the world). Favorite color is grey, loves Korean, Mexican, Italian, Sushi, Hamburgers, anything with good bread or fluffy rice.
*Philip is a native of New Jersey. He worked as a New Media Executive prior to becoming a film producer. His favorite color is red; loves Palau or anywhere that is serene with great scuba diving.
*Karin is from Los Angeles, now lives in both New York City (her favorite city in the US) and Los Angeles. Favorite color is white, loves to eat everything especially rice. She has produced five films and considers the fact that she is still alive as the biggest achievement to date.
Zang Toi's Fall '08 Fashion Week Show
SHIFTED FOCUS: San Francisco's KEARNY STREET WORKSHOP'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY APATURE RETROSPECTIVE
Featuring new works by Christine Wong Yap, Kevin Chen, Binh Danh, Michael Arcega, Rajkamal Kahlon, Kana Tanaka, Rebecca Szeto, Jenifer Wofford, Mark Baugh-Sasaki and Weston Teruya.
Saturday, October 25, 7:00 9:00 pm
KSW's space180 Gallery
180 Capp Street, 3rd floor
In conjunction with the Chinese Culture Center's exhibition, ICONS OF PRESENCE: Asian American Activist Art, Nancy Hom, Leland Wong, Lenore Chinn, Choppy Oshiro and Richard Godinez will discuss the similarities and differences between APA artists working in the 1970s and today. Moderated by Robynn Takayama.
Wednesday, November 12, 7:00 9:00 pm
Chinese Culture Center
750 Kearny Street, 3rd floor
Past APAture literary artists present new works of poetry, prose, spoken word and more. Artists include Claire Light, Sabina Chen, Dennis Somera, Wei Ming Dariotis, Truong Tran, Neela Banerjee, Bushra Rehman and Pireeni Sundaralingam.
Wednesday, December 5, 7:00 9:00 pm
KSW's space180 Gallery
180 Capp Street, 3rd floor
In conjunction with the de Young Museum's exhibition, Asian | American | Modern Art, past APAture performance artists present new works. Artists TBD.
Friday, January 23, 6:00 8:30 pm
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
SAN FRANCISCO October 2, 2008 Kearny Street Workshop (KSW), the nation's oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization, presents SHIFTED FOCUS: A 10th Anniversary APAture Retrospective from October 25, 2008 through January 23, 2009. The visual art exhibition features a selection of ten artists who have previously shown their work in KSW's annual APAture and have significantly contributed to the dialogue of contemporary art and practice in the Bay Area and beyond. Each of these artists represents a unique perspective and artistic intent , yet they have all produced work that interprets our common surroundings. While in the past many have looked inward at issues of identity, now they are looking outward at the world and investigating it through various vantage pointsby zooming in, dissecting, inverting, or filtering through a critical or historical lens. True to the root of APAture (aperture), the works in SHIFTED FOCUS control the gaze and cast new light on our everyday environment. The APAture retrospective series also includes a panel discussion, an evening of literary readings, and a multidisciplinary performance event.
*Christine Wong Yap (APAture1999) explores themes of optimism and pessimism, through a multidisciplinary studio practice. Currently an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, she has exhibited widely in the Bay Area, most recently in Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in a two-woman show at Frey Norris Gallery and a solo project at Swarm Gallery.
*Kevin Chen (APAture 2000) is a printmaker and sculptor who, since 1998 has doubled as Program Director at Intersection for the Arts, the oldest alternative non-profit arts organization in San Francisco. Chen has exhibited at Southern Exposure, SomArts, Oakland Asia Pacific Cultural Center, and California Museum of Art.
*Rajkamal Kahlon (APAture 2001) has worked in painting, collage, performance/video, and animation. Kahlon's work has been shown at the Oakland Museum of California, Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn, Artists Space in NYC, arttransponder in Berlin, Queens Museum of Art and the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City.
*Michael Arcega (APAture 2002) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work investigates issues of concealment, materiality, language and globalism. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has had residencies at the de Young Art Center in San Francisco, Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, and the 18th St. Art Center in Santa Monica. Michael is represented by Marx & Zavattero in San Francisco and Nicelle Beauchene in New York.
*Binh Danh (APAture 2003) invented his own art process, which he calls "chlorophyll prints." He prints found photographs of his native Vietnam onto leaves and other surfaces using the natural process of photosynthesis. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the M.H. de Young Museum, and the Oakland Museum.
*Kana Tanaka (APAture 2004) is an installation artist who works uses glass to explore light and optical phenomena. Her large-scale glass sculptures are permanently on view as public art in Davis and in the Solano County Government Center. Tanaka is currently working on a suspended sculpture project, awarded by the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts.
*Rebecca Szeto (APAture 2005) plays with subtle shifts in perception, often moving between truth and fiction utilizing diverse materials and process that are often drawn from daily life This year, Szeto exhibited in groups shows at Bucheon Gallery and at Southern Exposure in San Francisco.
*Jenifer Wofford (APAture 2006) is a multidisciplinary artist and curator who often addresses notions of difference, liminality, and authenticity. Wofford has recently exhibited her work at Southern Exposure, Manilatown Center, San Francisco Arts Commission, and curated Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
*Mark Baugh-Sasaki (APAture 2007) juxtaposes organic and industrial material to demonstrate the relationship between humans and the land. Mark has shown his work at HANG ART Gallery, Diablo Valley College, and has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Patricia's Green public sculpture site in spring 2009.
*Weston Takeshi Teruya (APAture 2008) intermixes materials and rendered images of fences (chain-link or white picket), striped roadblocks, and square green lawns to restructure spaces of containment and privilege. Teruya has exhibited his work at Patricia Sweetow Gallery and Intersection for the Arts.
Kearny Street Workshop's APAture is an annual multidisciplinary arts festival presenting the work of emerging Asian Pacific American artists living and/or working in the San Francisco Bay Area. APAture's mission is to provide artists with an early experience presenting their work at a large event, to strengthen the sense of community among artists, and to raise awareness of the existence of and diversity within the APA arts community.
About Kearny Street Workshop
For the past 35 years, Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) has produced, presented and promoted art that empowers Asian Pacific American artists and communities. KSW serves the community as an information resource and through four areas of arts programming: adult arts education, next generation arts support and training, multidisciplinary arts presentations, and publications. For more information please visit www.kearnystreet.org.
Beijing's Hidden Locals
by Michael Martin
Tourists attending the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be hard-pressed to find pieces of Chinese history and traditional culture scattered among the city's man skyscrapers and shopping complexes. They will likely find a characteristic melding of Chinese tradition and new-age commecialism.
Beijing's signature hutongs, mazes of alleyway homes and shops dating back to the Qing dynasty, represent this curious admixture. For the hutong communities that have survived the city's wide-scale modernization projects, these mazes represents more than quaint walkways and tiled roves- they represents vibrant social networks. A boisterous cacophony of children at play, gossiping crones, arguing drunkards, the corner grocer- all in close quarters.
But the hutongs also represent a major moneymaker in the tourist and expat entertainment industry. As most of Beijing's faint souvenirs of the past, the hutongs are often painted, refurbished, and lacquered for a foreign audience. Many of these close-knit communities now feature nightclubs, curio shops, posh bistros, and the homes of foreign enterprise CEOs.
Rest assured- this is the real Beijing-- marketing history and tradition, moving between noises of the past and the gentrification of internationalism.
Lindsay Price & Teddy Zee
Photos by Walter Ho
Bollywood Concert Starring Aishwarya Rai
Newport Beach Film Festival
ALTRA was extremely delighted to be invited as Q&A panel moderators for their West 32nd screening and the "Insights from Asian American Professionals in Entertainment and Media" at the 9th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival (www.newportbeachfilmfest.com), which took place from April 24th to May 1st in the Fashion Island of Newport Beach, California. This year, the festival's President/Director Gregg Schwenk decided to add a different twist to the festival, by offering two Q&A panels dedicated to Asian American Entertainment Industry, along with exclusive post screening parties, to delight his audience in quality international films and to celebrate diversity in filmmaking.
The festival opened with the comedy film Sherman's Way, with celebrity guests including Brooke Burns (actress), Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (The Hills), Elisa Neal (actress), Richard Sherman (songwriter). But the best part of the opening night happened right after the screening the opening night party that boasted over 15 of the best restaurants in Orange County, generously giving away their delicious signature dishes in appetizer portions, along with complimentary cocktail and beverage sponsors including Level Vodka and Perrier. Below are three of our favorite restaurants from the event:
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant
453 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(Also in New York City)
Caspian Restaurant Persian Cuisine
14100 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
Blanca Spanish Italian Coastal Cuisine
3420 Via Oporto
Newport Beach, CA 92663
The Panels: Moderated by ALTRA's Publisher/Editorial Director Nancy Moran, along with co-moderators Steve Tsai (Web Director) and Jane Park (Contributing Writer) "West 32nd" - Producer Teddy Zee, Director Michael Kang and cast member Hans Kim openly discussed the making of the film and its message, along with the rising popularity of Asian & Asian American actors and filmmakers. The audience was delighted to hear their perspective on why this film has been so warmly received worldwide, and the importance of recognizing Asian American talents on the big screen.
"Insights from Asian American Professionals in Entertainment and Media" - The guests on this panel all came out with one uniformed mission to raise support and recognition for Asian American Entertainment and Media Professionals. Panelists included Bill Imada, Founder/CEO of the IW Group, Simon Yin, Actor and VJ of formerly known as MTV Chi, Ron Oda, writer/director of "Asian Stories (Book 3)", Carl Choi, Music Mogul and Founder of "Plan C" group, and actor Camille Mana (Smart People, Equal Opportunity). They enthusiastically talked about their experience and achievements, while encouraging the Asian Americans in the audience to become more involved in the media and entertainment industries.
We were also pleasantly surprised to see people who traveled from other parts of the country to participate in these panel events. Their presence undoubtedly showed a strong desire to support talented Asian American talents, and the pride of being part of the Asian American film community.
"We were glad to have partnered with ALTRA Magazine on the Q&A panels for West 32nd and Asian American Professionals in Media and Entertainment. Through ALTRA's strong relationships and resources within the Asian American Media and Entertainment sectors, the panels resulted in a great turnout and added a new layer of dimension to the festival. It's always great when those involved with the films can come out to show support and interact with the audience," said Gregg Schwenk, who was thrilled with the panels' turnouts.
The Asian Films Cinema Showcase
"It's nice to be able to expose films from different cultures, it is also nice to see that a variety of Asian films can gain an audience in an area where they might not have had the chance to see them if it were not for the Festival," said Jennifer Perez, the showcase coordinator who presented renowned films from Asia including Up the Yangtze River (China), Before the Rains (India), Hellcats (Korea) and Always:Sunset on Third Street 2 (Japan). The showcase received great feedbacks from the audience, along with media support from various local publications. And of course, we have to mention the wonderful post screening party that offered complimentary yummy catering from the area's top Asian restaurants, and great goody bags that included handmade, all natural chocolates from Kron Chocolatier in Beverly Hills (www.dkron.com).
ALTRA had a fabulous time at the Newport Beach Film Festival and truly appreciate everyone there for being such gracious host, as well as their strong support of Asian and Asian American films. We look forward to seeing them again at their 10th anniversary next year.
NYC International Auto Show
Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren
Photos by Michael Seto
Lexus LS 600h
Spyker C8 Laviolette SWB
Review: "Three Kingdoms"
Three Kingdoms Resurrection of the Dragon is an epic feature that tells the semi-fictional story of Zhao Zilong (Andy Lau), a Chinese commoner who rose to become a heroic general during the darkest period is his country's history. The time is the third century A.D., and China is torn by civil war. Three warlord states the kingdoms of Shu, Wei, and Wu contend for control. As a young man, Zilong joins the army of Shu, and we see him prove his valor in one bloody scene after another. Finally, as an aging but undefeated "Tiger General," he must face Cao Ying (Maggie Q), the granddaughter of his longtime Wei rival, in a final, desperate battle.
Photos Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
The film is based on one of China's greatest classical novels, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms," a 14th-century work of legends that is revered in much the same way as the tales of King Arthur. For some audiences, these historical roots will be enough reason to see the film. Others will appreciate the sheer spectacle the film's scenes of combat are incredible feats to behold, and the cinematography takes full advantage of the majestic, barren landscape.
When it comes to the characters of Zilong and Cao Ying; their protrayls are more cartoon than life like, which makes the film fall flat. Zilong, nearing the end of his life and his military career, ponders the purpose of war but his questioning seems insincere. Cao Ying is a villainess, but she is a one-dimensional villainess, so angry and evil that she becomes a caricature.
However, "Three Kingdoms" will still appeal to an audience who appreciates the history of China and a spectacular cinematography.