Entertainment Spotlight

Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres - on Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’
By Ben Fong-Torres It’s short shrift time. I have a life that’s ripe (and slightly wrinkled) for blogs and tweeting; for facebooking and updating. I’m just no good at it. My last column here on AsianConnections was about the memorial in late July for my sister Shirley. My last posting on the authors’ site, Redroom, was about a radio promo tour I did (20 stops, all on the phone in my home office) for my Eagles book. On my own home page, the last thing was about hanging with...

Interviews

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

Posted by Lia Chang on Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Photo by Lia Chang of Michi Barall, Actress

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. 

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Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

Posted by Suzanne Kai on Wednesday, 27 February 2013

 Justin Chon stars in 21 and Over

Hollywood

February 26, 2013

What?!! An Asian American male star in a Hollywood movie that isn't a Kung Fu film? 

Justin Chon ("Twilight"), steps into the spotlight as the lead character in the comedy 21 and Over, opening in theaters nationwide March 1.

Chon, 31, was born in Garden Grove in Orange County, California, and was raised in Irvine, California. He attended business school at the University of Southern California. At age 20, Chon began taking acting lessons, inspired by growing up watching his father in black and white films. His father is a former child actor from South Korea.

AsianConnections' Suzanne Joe Kai chatted with Justin about his new role, 
breaking stereotypes, and what's next in his fast-rising career.  (For the full interview transcript click on the blue headline link above.) 

Justin: Hey Suzanne, thank you.

Suzanne: You’re right from Orange County, California!

Justin: Yeah, Irvine. Yeah, born and raised. I was born in Garden Grove Hospital.

Suzanne: Can you describe your role in your new film 21 and Over coming out in theaters March 1, 2013?

Justin: Yeah. I play a character named Jeff Chang. It's his 21st birthday and my two friends come up to celebrate with me but I have a medical school interview the next day. They convinced me to have one beer and obviously that beer turns into absolute chaos. My character's just an average kid. He's actually not that smart, he's like failing out of school.

Suzanne: What made you jump on board this film?  

Justin: Well, the guys who wrote it wrote The Hangover and they’re great writers. I just read the script and I loved it. I’m an Asian American actor and it’s a three-dimensional part so it’s great to see somebody who wrote such a great part for an Asian American so I just had to do...

Are You Truly Free? by Marilyn Tam

Posted by Marilyn Tam on Tuesday, 07 August 2012

Are You Truly Free? by Marilyn Tam

Are You Truly Free?

By Marilyn Tam 


“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

      

      We are fortunate that we in the USA can enjoy basic freedom as a given. The things that bind us are more internal – the mental restrictions and “shoulds” that shape our thinking and our decisions subconsciously.

      These subconscious constraints confine us to a fixed set of expectations and view of the world.

       It locks us from truly being able to soar to our highest potential, inner peace and happiness. How can we break free? This is a three-step process. First by recognizing that we are prisoners of our beliefs.

Whatever we believe about ourselves and the world is what we are going to experience. If you are holding negative thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “Bad things happen to me”, then that is what you are going to create in at least some aspects of your life.

       No one consciously choose to hold limiting beliefs, and yet we all do to some extent. Our childhood conditioning, whether from family, school, other influential figures in our lives, or the mass media, often contain some negative programming. People’s intentions may have been good, but fear and limitation are commonly used to keep young, rambunctious and questioning children, and indeed all people, in line. We often take on the constraints set for us as a children, to keep us from achieving our full potential later on in our lives.

       The second step is to examine your beliefs. Is it really true that you are only good at math, and/or that you can’t sing?...

May 21-22: BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE to Benefit Dixon Place

Posted by Lia Chang on Wednesday, 25 April 2012

May 21-22: BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE to Benefit Dixon Place


Dixon Place is proud to announce a staged live concert recording of the one-man-musical Herringbone, starring the Tony Award-winning star of TV’s “Law & Order: SVU,” BD Wong.

The concert, which will benefit Dixon Place, will have two performances: Monday May 21, and Tuesday May 22, both at 7:00PM. Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie St. (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets and more information are available at dixonplace.org.

BD Wong in Herringbone. Photo by Lia Chang


Wong has headlined three critically-acclaimed productions of the demanding musical – in which he enacts, sings and dances at least 11 characters – at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007), McCarter Theatre (2009), and La Jolla Playhouse (2010), all directed by Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby, Peter And The Starcatcher). Wong also starred in another earlier production at the American Musical Theatre Festival in 1994.

Herringbone, with a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, was first produced in New York at Playwright’s Horizons in a memorable 1982 production...

Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast

Posted by Lia Chang on Thursday, 08 December 2011

Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast

 

Christmas came early for me this year, in the form of R.A. Shiomi’s award-winning play Yellow Fever, when I played the lead, Japanese-Canadian gumshoe, Sam Shikaze, in an all-female cast reading of the play at the home of Julie Azuma and Tamio Spiegel on December 5, 2011.

Playwright and co-director Rick Shiomi, Cindy Cheung, Susan Dalton Quinn, Amanda Galang, Ako, Katie Lee Hill, Lia Chang, Gyu Jin Lim and co-director Raul Aranas.

The reading was co-directed by playwright Rick Shiomi and actor/director Raul Aranas, who helmed Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production in 1982. It was an exhilarating and historic evening to be performing in my favorite play with my longtime colleagues Cindy Cheung (Captain Kadota) and Ako (Rosie); in addition to Susan Dalton Quinn (Sergeant Mackenzie), Katie Lee Hill (Nancy Wing), Gyu Jin Lim (Chuck Chan) and Amanda Galang (Superintendent Jameson, Goldberg).

Rick Shiomi, Julie Azuma and Tamio Spiegel Photo by Lia Chang

In the house to support- Reme Grefalda, curator of ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection; actors BD Wong, Gordana Rashovich, Jarlath Conroy and Karen Tsen...