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  • Controversy - Mirai Nagusu is denied spot on US Olympic Skating Team

    Posted by: AC Team

    January 13, 2014

    Gabrielle Bluestoneon GAWKER.com - AP Photo

    The top three finishers at the national figure skating championships have always been, barring injury, the skaters named to the US Olympic team. But not this year.

    Mirai Nagasu, a 20-year-old skater who finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, took third place at the nationals competition this weekend. The only top finisher with Olympic experience, she was also the only figure skater not to fall or make a major error.

    But when the American women's team was announced Sunday, 22-year-old Ashley Wagner, who placed fourth, took the third Olympic spot. Nagasu was named as an alternate.

    The switch seems unprecedented - click here to the story by Gabrielle Bluestone on GAWKER.com

  • Happy Year of the Wood Horse 4712! Predictions by Angi Ma Wong

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    Predictions for Year of Wood HORSE 4712   1/31/14 to 2/18/15

    By Angi Ma Wong, Intercultural & Feng shui Consultant 2014             

    Hang on tight, Folks, it’s going to be a fast-paced year and not for the faint of heart. The characteristics of the Horse – headstrong, principle-driven, stubborn, inflexible, emotional and unstable,  contribute to conflict and wars. 

    But what a ride it will be - filled with opportunities and action for all if we can keep cool, stay flexible and willing to compromise.

    Second only to the Dragon, the Horse has strong, aggressive, yang fire energy that will elevate the economy as it did in 1954 when the Dow Jones hit record highs and already the trend has started.  

    The Boeing 707, bottled Coca-Cola, Texas Instrument’s first commercial transistor radio, the first nuclear-powered submarine and even Elvis’ classic “Rock Around the Clock” all made their debut in that last wood Horse year.

    This time around, businesses such as stocks, air travel, transportation, high tech, machinery, shipping, sports, spa, exercise, banking, engineering, computers, media, fashion, beauty and advertising will prosper, contributing to advancements in our working environment and lifestyles for at least two more years and even beyond.           

    On the flip side, international tensions and conflict will persist, as will events involving fire-related calamities, volcanoes, explosions, air and sea accidents, wind disasters such as Katrina, as well as environmental challenges related to air, oil and water.  

    Watch out for danger originating from the directions of south, north and northwest.

    Problems with the heart, blood, lung, skin, breathing and inflammation will dominate health concerns as well as threats to our children.

    The energy, finance, entertainment and textile industries may be flat.

    Famous people born in the Year of the Horse include Elvis Presley, Bruce Lee, Jami Hendricks, Natalie Portman, John Travolta, Warren Buffet, ...

  • Farewell to Sarah Fong-Torres Watkins by Ben Fong-Torres

    Posted by: Ben Fong-Torres

    Farewell to Sarah Fong-Torres Watkins

    We said goodbye to Sarah, my sister, on Sunday, the third of November, at Rancho Nicasio in Northern Marin County. The restaurant and club, owned by close friends, was one of her favorite hangouts.

    Sarah, the oldest of the Fong-Torres children, died in mid-October. It was cancer; she was 72. She was the third sibling I’ve lost in three years. As the last two of the kids, and with a 92 year-old mother in nursing care, we had a responsibility to take care of family matters. We had a special bond.

    But there were other reasons for our connectedness, and I noted some of them in my remarks at the memorial. Sarah was remembered for her humor, her spunk, her candor, and her heart, by best friends Annie Sampson and Ellen Blonder, husband Dave Watkins and son Jason, attorney and friend Ken Coren, and by others who stepped up to the microphone and told stories.

    Here, edited for space, are my remarks.

    On behalf of the Watkins-Fong-Torres family, welcome to this Celebration of Sarah Watkins.

    This is not a memorial service. Sarah would have none of that. She would not want us grieving, although we do. She would want this to be not about her, although it must be.

    I can see her off in the distance, smoking a cigarette, tapping her feet. Let’s go, already. And so we will.

    It seems like forever that it was the five of us. The five Fong-Torreses. Even after Barry died, too young, in 1972, I thought of us as five kids. Even after Sarah and Shirley married and had different names. We were the Fong-Torres family, five kids bound by one weird name.

    Sarah was the first born; the first who’d have to explain that name—the product of an immigration scheme. She’s the one with whom I had the longest time, and whether by circumstance, by genes, or by personalities, we had an especially strong bond.

    We were raised in Oakland’s Chinatown and spent a lot of time at the New Eastern Café, in the early to mid-‘50s. We were kept in a...

  • Chinese protest ABC, Disney and Jimmy Kimmel

    Posted by: AC Team

    Photo by Together Visuals/Anthony Eng Alvarez

    November 9, 2013

    Protests from San Francisco to New York City erupted over late night show host Jimmy Kimmel on October 28 after airing a segment with Kimmel asking children their thoughts on world issues. In the segment, Kimmel asks how they would handle the $1 trillion-plus bill the U.S. owes China, a child made a comment about how the U.S. should 'kill everyone in China."

    The White House condemned the sketch in an statement online November 7, after a petition against Kimmel received more than 100,000 signatures.

    Protesters in Times Square on November 9 were captured on camera by New York based photographer Anthony Eng Alvarez. (Photo credit: Togerher Visuals/Anthony Eng Alvarez) 

     

    Related: 

    Asian Americans Protest Jimmy Kimmel by Katy Steinmetz, Time.com

    China wants Jimmy Kimmel to Apologize...For a Third Time by Laura Stampler. Time.com

    Chinese protest ABC, Disney and Jimmy Kimmel post by Together Visuals/Anthony Eng Alvarez

    Chinese Foreign Ministry tells ABC to respond to protesters' "Reasonable Demands" over Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Bit Deadline Hollywood

     

     

     

     

  • Jackie Chan says his mission is complete with his 101st movie 'Chinese Zodiac'

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    October 27, 2013

    Rumors floating on the web say that Jackie Chan's 101st movie 'Chinese Zodiac' is his last major action comedy, but we hope those rumors are false.

    Ryan Pearson, AP Entertainment Writer sheds some hope. He reports that the 59 year old isn't quitting anytime soon, and just completed filming another installment for his "Police Story" franchise, and is in talks to do a movie with his "Rush Hour' co-star Chris Tucker. 

    Click here to the movie's trailer:

    http://youtu.be/4YtAbUU5jk8

    Chan wrote, directed and starred in his action comedy 'Chinese Zodiac' about a team trying to steal some of the bronze statues representing the twelve animals of hte zodiac from the Chinese Palace which were stolen from Beijing in the 1860s.

    The film is now in theaters in the U.S., and was released in China last year. Since the movie's release two of the statues were returned to China by the head of Gucci's parent company, Francois Pinault.

    Related:

    JackieChan.com - Jackie Chan's Official Website

    Los Angeles Times (video)

    AP Story on Jackie Chan

    The Washington Post on Jackie Chan

  • Ben Fong-Torres is in Dubai with music producer Quincy Jones to kick-off Dubai's inaugural mega music event

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    Ben Fong-Torres shares a laugh with music producer Quincy Jones Photo by Suzanne Joe Kai

     

    September 24, 2013

     

    Dubai

     

    As I post this, Ben just arrived to Dubai from California, and had dinner with music producer Quincy Jones.

     

    Ben is in Dubai with Quincy to moderate two seminars at Dubai Music Week, presented by Quincy. It is a mega music event - the region's inaugural music industry trade show, conference and concert series September 24 - 29, 2013. 

     

    The seminar series called "Emirates World Exclusive Quincy Jones Seminars" begins September 24, with Ben moderating a discussion with Quincy Jones, and the multi Grammy award-winning production team behind Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, Bad, and Thriller. The team includes Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton and Bruce Swedien. They will share their experiences producing the greatest selling album of all time.

     

    On September 25, Ben leads "The Producers Panel" seminar with Quincy Jones and Will.i.Am and Timbaland  to discuss music production with fans, and to launch the first cross-over talent from across the region. The events begin at 8pm on both days at Dubai World Trade Center, DMW Emirates Theater, Sheikh Saeed Hall 2.

     

    Will.i.Am and Timbaland will perform in concert September 26, and Selena Gomez will perform September 27. 

     

    The photo of Ben with Quincy Jones was taken at Quincy's home during an interview for our documentary in development Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres.

     

  • Actress Michi Barall is in the ensemble cast of stop.reset. a new play by Regina Taylor

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Photo by Lia Chang of Michi Barall, Actress

    New York City

    stop. reset., a new play written and directed by Regina Taylor which has performances in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York through September 29, 2013, tackles powerful questions of legacy, identity and survival in a world where the real and the virtual are more closely tied than we think.

    Photo by Joan Marcus of Teagle F Bougere as Chris, LaTanya Richardson Jackson as Jan, Donald Sage Mackay as Tim and Michi Barall as Deb in Signature Theatre’s world premiere of Regina Taylor’s stop. reset.

    Photo by Lia Chang of Ismael Cruz Cordova in stop. reset, written and directed by Regina Taylor. 

    In stop.reset., e-books are outselling printed books, and Alex Ames (Carl Lumbly), the owner of Chicago’s oldest African American book publishing company, is faced with the task of questioning each of his employees, Deb (Michi Barall), Chris (Teagle Bougere), Jan (LaTanya Richardson Jackson) and Tim (Donald Sage MacKay), to determine who is still relevant in a rapidly changing world. When he meets J (Ismael Cruz Cordova), a mysterious youth plugged into the future, Mr. Ames is forced to discover just how far he will go to survive.

    Photo by Lia Chang of castmembers LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Michi Barall starring in Regina Taylor’s stop. reset. on September 21, 2013. 

    Photo of Lia Chang of Michi Barall. 

    Signature alum Michi Barall, and member of the ensemble cast of stop.reset. is a native of Toronto, is an actor, playwright, professor and scholar-in-training. She last starred at Signature at The Peter Norton Space in the world premiere of Queens Boulevard (the musical) by 2007-2008 Playwright-in-Residence Charles Mee, her husband of ten years.

    As an actor, Michi has worked predominantly on new plays by American writers –including Julia Cho, Philip Kan Gotanda, A.R. Gurney, John Guare, Naomi Iizuka, Han Ong, Jose Rivera, Sung Rno, Paul Rudnick, Charles Mee, Sarah Schulman,...

  • Ann Curry on America's Struggling Journalism Industry - "There is no possibility of a democracy without good journalism"

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    New York City

    Veteran broadcast journalist Ann Curry inspired and encouraged journalists to 'hang on.' She says while there is strain in the journalism industry there will also be opportuniity.

    Photo by Lia Chang for AsianConnections.com

    The  NBC network television reporter, anchor and international correspondent was the keynote presenter at the closing night gala of the Asian American Journalist Association's 23rd annual convention in New York City August 24. 

    The seven-time Emmy award-winner, wife and mother of two opened the gala with her passionate commentary about the state of journalism.

    WPIX-TV's Arthur Chi'en introduced her to the audience. Here are excerpts of Curry's remarks (with more coverage of the convention to be posted soon):

    Arthur: Let's get right into it. What is the state of journalism?

    Ann: I think journalism is in a very interesting state of change. I say interesting because there is strain, and there is also opportunity.    People are very concerned about the future of journalism and yet did you know that enrollment in journalism schools is up? So there is this kind of awareness that there's an opportunity ahead.    Curry acknowledged the struggles of the journalism industry but said, "Rather than be afraid and close up,...open up to what is possible."     We don't know what it looks like. We do know it will be broad. I think that there is a great opportunity to be deep in terms of what we can report. So I am extremely excited about it. I think there will be an opportunity to put news in a place in a way that has never been done before in the history of journalism and this is an amazing time.    The struggle now is to get to that point. And as we struggle to get to that point, the companies that are used to doing journalism a certain way, which is to say in certain kinds of forms, are going to ...now pivot...to figure out a new form.  But the function is just the same.    And people who are concerned about the future of...
  • Aug.22: National Geographic Photographer Mike Yamashita Shares His Shangri-la at the AAJA Convention in New York

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    On Thursday, August 22, 2013, don’t miss Elusive Paradise: National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita’s Shangri-la at 10:00am at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Convention at the New York Hilton.

    National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita at a book signing at the Asia Society on February 21, 2013 for his new book Shangri-LA. Photo by Lia Chang

    Yamashita will start off the session with a short presentation on putting together and selling a book project, followed by a slideshow of his images of a rare and fast-disappearing view of Tibet which are featured in his new book, Shangri-La (along the tea road to Lhasa).

    Yamashita fell in love with the region over fifteen years ago, and his photographs offer a record of a way of life that has flourished in the rarefied heights of the Himalayas for centuries but is now threatened with extinction.

    AAJA-NY chapter members Michael Yamashita, Lia Chang, Henry Moritsugu, Marilynn K. Yee and Stan Honda at the opening reception for the AAJA Convention at The New York Hilton on August 21, 2013.

    Michael Yamashita has been shooting for National Geographic magazine for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of photography and travel. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Asian studies, he spent seven years in Asia, which became his area of specialty. Returning to the United States fluent in Japanese, he began shooting for National Geographic as well as many other U.S. and international clients. Michael is known for epic stories that retrace the paths of famous travelers, like Marco Polo, the Japanese poet Basho, and the Chinese explorer Zheng He. His feature documentary, The Ghost Fleet, won the Best Historical Documentary prize at the New York International Independent Film Festival. His National Geographic Channel documentary, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, received two Asian Television and Film Awards and was also included in the top 20 most...

  • Thom Sesma's Summer in Bangkok, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Arlington, VA

    This summer, Broadway vet Thom Sesma (Titanic, The Times They Are A’Changin’) is busy appearing in three shows all hailing from Thailand. In July, he appeared as The King in the critically acclaimed Music Theatre of Wichita’s new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic The King and I.

    Kim Huber and Thom Sesma. Photo by Christopher Clark, Music Theatre of Wichita

    Production Photos: Music Theatre of Wichita’s The King and I Starring Thom Sesma, Kim Huber, Alan Ariano, Karl Josef Co, Kay Trinidad, Tami Swartz at Century II Performing Arts Center through July 14, 2013 

    Thom Sesma as The Engineer in Miss Saigon. Photo by Christopher Mueller

    Tonight, Sesma revisits the role of The Engineer for the first time since leaving the Second National Tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Miss Saigon in 1997, in Signature’s production of Miss Saigon, directed by Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer at the MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue in Arlington, VA., August 16- September 22, 2013.

    The day after Miss Saigon closes, he begins a 29 hour reading of a musical called Behind The Painting, which hails from Thailand. It stars Thai pop sensation “Bie”, and was presented in Bangkok by Broadway producer Thakonkiat Veerawan. The American adaptation is by Richard Maltby (with whom Sesma worked with on Broadway’s Nick and Nora) and David Shire in collaboration with Thakonkiat (“Tak”) and is being produced by Tak and Jack Dalgliesh.

    Signature’s production of Miss Saigon kicks off the 2013/2014 and also stars Signature newcomers Diana Huey as the Vietnamese bar girl Kim, Jason Michael Evans as the American GI Chris. They are joined by many of Signature’s most well-known actors, including Erin Driscoll (Spin, Company) as Ellen, Chris Sizemore (Chess, Sweeney Todd) as John, and Christopher Mueller (Spin, Brother Russia) as Thuy.

    Cheryl Daro will play Gigi. Stephen Gregory Smith, James Gardiner, Gannon O’Brien, Vincent...

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