Entertainment Spotlight

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

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    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...

The Magic of the Radio by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

December 28, 2011

This one is all about Asian connections.

It began at Bellaken Garden, a skilled nursing care facility in East Oakland, where my mother, Connie, has been staying since August. I’ve been visiting there twice a week, crossing the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and popping in with potstickers from a nearby takeout restaurant.Ben Fong-Torres with June Kwei December 2011-2

For months, I’d seen this thin, white-haired woman seated in the lobby area, across from one of the dining rooms. After a while, we’d exchange smiles and hellos. I’d noticed her mainly because she always had a transistor radio with her. Being a radio columnist and occasional DJ, I asked what she was listening to. “Baseball,” she said. She was an avid San Francisco Giants fan, kept notes on their games, and kept their radio schedule close to her, all on a shelf of her walker. Her son, Jonathan, I would learn, works as a concessions cashier for both the Giants and the 49ers, so she was a football fan, too. We could talk.

I decided to do a little shout-out to her in my Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle, learned her name – June Kwei – and told her to watch for the mention. She appeared delighted, although I never properly introduced myself. Bad manners. (In Cantonese, “bad” is pronounced “kwei.”) Anyway, on December 11, the item ran, ending with “Holiday cheers to June Kwei.”

That evening, I received an email from a “Dede.” It was Mrs. Kwei’s daughter. I couldn’t believe it. Here’s most of what she wrote:

What a delight to see the mention of my mom, June Kwei, in your column today.  I just wanted to let you know that we are huge fans of yours, and have been faithfully following you in print and radio, since the ‘70s!

About two weeks ago, my mom called to say that "I am going to be in the paper." This event in itself was amazing, since being the typical Chinese mom, she only calls me after earthquakes and when she needs me to bring her more batteries for her little transistor radio. Since her memory is a bit sketchy these days, I thought I got the salient facts: that somehow you were visiting Bellaken and that you chatted about something -- she couldn't remember why, though.

I asked her if she told you that I, her 50-year-old Chinese American Bay Area native baby boomer daughter, had listened to the old KSAN for years, and you on Sundays, while I did my homework, since I was in 7th grade, growing up on the Peninsula. My exposure to you on KSAN was what got me started reading Rolling Stone, too. I cannot tell you how much my exposure to both of these media has shaped my life.

June-Kwei-1944-full-shot-400x484I had to move my mom to Bellaken a few years ago … Bellaken has been a godsend. The staff is wonderful, friendly, always positive and caring! Putting one's loved one in a well-caring nursing home can be a huge, unexpected (healing) blessing for everyone involved.

My mom has been reading (the Chronicle) faithfully, from cover to cover, for at least 60 years. When I called her today, she told me specifically not to make a special trip to buy one. She already had figured out how to get a copy of the article today, LOL.

Again, I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated your influence in my pop culture life and I hope to run into you at Bellaken someday soon. I have gotten to meet many other dutiful Chinese children there.  

Dede added a note about 
her brother, Jonathan: “Today is his birthday. What a great present for our family: mom and my brother are in the paper ;-).”

What a present for all of us. I’ve shared Dede’s email, and an ensuing exchange, with my own family members. Suddenly, Bellaken Garden is more than a visit to Room 214 and chats with nurses, staffers and therapists.

I spoke with Dede for the first time a few days ago. Her mom is 85, she said. So she was in her mid-forties when she listened to my Sunday afternoon show on KSAN, the pioneer free-form rock station. Dede was maybe 12. “She loved it when you started saying a few words in Chinese,” she said.

So now I have a new project: To bring June a few air checks from those shows of long ago, when, unbeknownst to us, we made our first Asian connections.

RANDOM NOTES: Speaking of radio connections, I’m doing a stint on a show called “My Turn,” an hour-long program in which a celebrity (and, sometimes, people like me) gets to spin favorite tunes, with no format rules. This is for KPRI in San Diego, and sister station “100.3 The Sound” in Los Angeles will also air it. Jan. 1 for L.A.; Jan. 8 on KPRI, 6 p.m.; both stations stream online; just Google one of them at the appointed time and hit “Listen Live.” Artists on my hour include Al Green, Chris Isaak, Amy Winehouse, the Eagles, Mayer Hawthorne and Shelby Lynne. Good stuff … If you’re looking for a beautiful, interesting, yet low-priced book of photography, check out San Francisco and the Bay Area: The Haight-Ashbury Edition, by Dick Evans. Dazzling shots of people, places and things. He asked me to write the foreword and a couple of chapter intros, and it was a pleasure just going over the photos. Available at his daughter’s bookstore, The Booksmith on Haight Street (Booksmith.com), or on his photography site, Intransitimages.com. A bargain at $29.95 …

 

 

 

 

BEN FONG-TORRES_JOHNNY-DEPP-at-UC-BERKELEY-10-17-2011

AsianConnections' columnist Ben Fong-Torres is a true Renaissance man. The former Rolling Stone writer and senior editor is also a multiple Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writes a column Radio Waves in the San Francisco Chronicle, and is the author of many books, including two new ones released in Fall, 2011: the expanded and updated edition of his 1994 best-seller The Rice Room: Growing Up Chinese American from Number Two Son to Rock 'n' Roll published by University of California Berkeley Press, and Eagles: Taking It to the Limit, an insider's look at the American rock 'n' roll band on the occasion of the Eagles' 40th anniversary published by Running Press.



Visit Ben's official website www.BenFongTorres.com

Personal Appearance: 
 
Musings of a Pop Cultural Icon: A Talk with Ben Fong-Torres
1pm Saturday, January 14, 2012 

Join Author & Rock Icon Ben Fong-Torres 
as he speaks about his history with the rise of rock n’ roll 
at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum.

Chinese Historical Society of America
965 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

The event is free with Museum Admission. 
Please call (415) 391-1188 x101 or 
email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to RSVP

In the News:

Ben Fong-Torres talks about his new book on CBS San Francisco October 24, 2011 Eagles: Taking It to the Limit

Click here and to links below to more of Ben's columns. His thoughts about hanging out with Johnny Depp.

Footnote 12/28/2011: More of Ben's columns will be posted soon as AsianConnections.com completes work on its new system.


Related features:

Click here for more of Ben Fong-Torres' writings at AsianConnections.com:

http://www.asianconnections.com/component/zoo/category/like-a-rolling-stone/4 

Hearing Voices Everywhere by Ben Fong-Torres
 
How Jeremy 'Lin-sanity' Hits Home by Ben Fong-Torres
 
Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’
 
Heeeere’s Johnny! Hanging out with Mr. Depp by Ben Fong-Torres
 
In the kitchen and on the radio in 120 cities. by Ben Fong-Torres
 
Remembering Shirley Fong-Torres by Ben Fong-Torres
 
Meeting, and Googling, a real Asian Pioneer by Ben Fong-Torres
 
Jadin Wong: She Danced Through Stereotypes
 
 
 
S.F Chinese New Year Parade: The View from the Broadcast Tent
 
Asian Elvis Has Left the Building
 
Memories Are Made of This
Telling My Story, In Words and Music
 
A Super Day in Hollywood, Impersonating an Impersonator
 
'You Don't Know Jack:' The Story of a Renaissance Pioneer
 
A Guest Writer Checks Out AC's 'Renaissance Man'
  
Hooray for 'Hollywood Chinese'
 
Raining On a Chinese New Year Parade
 
Steering Toward Rock; Rolling Toward Rats
 
It Certainly Wasn't The Same Old Song
 
Pass the Catch-Up
 
Manhattan: Chow, Ciao, and Visits to TV Land - and the Summer of Love
 
Ed Jew's Dilemma: When A House Is Not a Home
 
'Ching-Chong' and 'Flied-Lice' On the Air: Enough Is Enough
 
A Visit with Bill Clinton: Health and 'Heartbreak'

Fun & Games with a Videocam And a Multimedia Montage Site

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben on the Fangs and their AsianWeek publication of Kenneth Eng's 'Why I Hate Blacks' column. An apology is not enough. Ben then joins the 'You Tube' video generation and shares behind the scenes clips of his fun prepping for and co-hosting the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade broadcast on KTVU. Plus a session with The Doors' Ray Manzarek. Fun & Games with a Videocam And a Multimedia...

Dropping Names & Lifting Spirits In The Year of the Pig-er, Boar

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Pee-Wee Herman is back, and he talks with our Ben Fong-Torres. I hate to be a name-dropper. Diana Ross told me it was gauche. But Ive got to drop at least one on youactually, two: Pee-Wee Herman and the guy who created and played him, Paul Reubens. He was honored by SF Sketchfest, an annual celebration of sketch comedy, and the organizers asked me to conduct the interview, in the theater at...

C'mon, Baby, Light My Fire

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben writes a book about The Doors and almost has them slammed on him. Id been kidding when, hours before, at a rehearsal, I told one musician at the Whisky a Go Go that we were headed for a 2006 version of "Riot on Sunset Strip," and that Stephen Stills should drop by and get some inspiration for an update of "For What Its Worth," his classic Sixties song about unrest between kids and cops...

A Laotian American's View of Golden Gate Park

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben visits an artist who paints whatever he likes, and listens to lots of flower drum songs. Somboun Sayasane is an anomaly among painters. Hes self-effacing, modest to a fault, and generous with his time and talents. And he loves to sing Chris Isaak, John Lennon and The Bee Gees. I know this because, since 1991, Ive seen Sayasane at Yet Wah, a San Francisco restaurant that includes a...

She's Asian American, She's 25 and She's Got the Blues

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres discovers an Asian blueswoman, plus an online locker for all your music. I was at Biscuits n Blues, a combo plate of blues nightclub and restaurant (with a Southern accent) in downtown San Francisco, working on a feature about a band comprised mostly of chefs. At B n B, the Back Burner Blues Band likes to invite people from the audience to jam, and, as I sat at the bar,...

Free Lunch? No Such Thing. Free Long-Distance Calls? Sure!

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres judges a gay beauty contest and offers the scoop on Skype. Free Lunch? No Such Thing. Free Long-Distance Calls? Sure! This is your lucky ten minutes, or however long itll take you to read this column. Im about to save you scads o cash especially if you make a lot of long-distance calls and have a computer. If so, you qualify to read on: So. Youve no doubt heard about...

‘Becoming Almost Famous’ On the Howard Stern Show

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

AC's renaissance man, Ben Fong-Torres, is having a two-book year. SUMMER ALREADY? Time flies when youre on deadline. Its true. Whats kept me from making more frequent Asian Connections was this book I had to write in about three months, from January into March, on The Doors. You know, Light My Fire. This is their 40th anniversary, and a big book, The Doors By the Doors , is coming out in...

A Fine Film Fest, and a Top Ten List:Why I Love (Hate) ‘American Idol’

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

A Fine Film Fest, and a Top Ten List: Why I Love (Hate) American Idol MOVING PICTURES: Asian American films are rocking. That was evident at the 24th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, which screened 126 films and videos over eleven days and nights in three Bay Area cities last month. Shawn Wongs Americanese, directed by Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes) and based on...

A Sweet Howard Stern, a Sour Adam Carolla, and a Crazed Parade: Oh, Man!

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

A Sweet Howard Stern, a Sour Adam Carolla, and a Crazed Parade: Oh, Man! A day or so after the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade which I co-anchored, for the tenth year, on KTVU (Fox 2) I got an e-mail from a long-time friend, Gail Katagiri: The best part of watching you anchor this year's Chinese New Year's Parade was after the broadcast had ended, and you and Julie disappeared from the...

Telling Stories and Barking Like Dogs

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Chinese New Year: Time to exchange those oranges! Not long ago, I was invited to participate in the Porch Light storytelling series thats taken hold here in San Francisco. Produced by author Beth Lisick and various pals, it fills local nightclubs with people who wantof all thingsto sit and hear anecdotes. Not standup comedy; not improv sketchesjust plain old stories. It was astonishing to...

Prejudice, Pride and Perseverance

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

From the Japanese internment camps came art. Beautiful art. I am, as always, watching The Daily Show . The headlines are about George W. Bush approving the National Security Agencys wire- tapping of private citizens. We begin tonight, Jon Stewart shouts, as he is wont to do, with the war on terrorism! You know how sometimes during war time civil liberties take a back seat to national...

Whacking Moles with 'Buddha Baby' Kim Wong Keltner

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

She loves Hello Kitty, karaoke, and a white guy. What more could you want in a novelist? You get an idea of what Kim Wong Keltner is all about with the first sen- tence of her bio on the back cover of her first novel, The Dim Sum of All Things , published last year: In the fourth grade, Kim Wong Keltner won a cutthroat spelling bee, which encouraged her aspirations as a writer. With Dim Sum...

M*A*S*H Notes: Unreal Sex and Real Acting

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres chats with the commanding Donald Sutherland Over the years, one of my favorite side gigs has been the conducting of on-stage interviews at the Mill Valley Film Festival. Mill Valley is a village of a town, nestled in Marin County, and its the last place youd think of as a host of a film festivalespecially since, right across the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, theres an...

Suddenly, I Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

What did Ben Fong-Torres love about New Orleans? Everything and everyone. "The moonlight on the bayou, Louis Armstrong sang in Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans." A creole tune that fills the air. I dream about magnolias in bloom, and Im wishin I was there. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Im prepared to miss New Orleans for a long, long time. What a wonderful city it...

What It's Really Like Up There On Stage

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Our Ben Fong-Torres sings with music legends, then joins Tamlyn Tomita to say 'Happy Birthday' to Mike Honda. After I did my three Elvis Presley tunes at chef Dean Fearings fund-raising BBQ Bash in Dallas, keyboard player Tony Brown , who was Presleys last onstage pianist, leaned into a microphone and intoned: Elvis has left the building. All around the Mansion on Turtle Creek, the luxury...

A New York Minute with the High-Flying Eagles

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres flies with the Eagles and Al Green, and addresses 21,000 at his alma mater. Okay, first of all, its the rock band, the Eagles, and not the Philadelphia Eagles. Seems like a lot of people, especially younger ones, dont know about the band from the 70s, the one with all those hits: Hotel California, Lyin Eyes, Best of My Love, Take It Easy, New Kid in Town, The Long Run, Take...

Asian Americans on TV? What a Concept! And Ben goes to a parade…and the Grammys.

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Asian Americans on TV? What a Concept! And Ben goes to a paradeand the Grammys. If it strikes you as odd that Asian Americans, for all of our inroads into the mainstream, have yet to be seen widely on television, you are not alone. And, in recent times, there've been some noble attempts to raise APA profiles, ranging from Stir TV (on the International Channel as well as KTSF in San...

Is it OK to Say 'Happy New Year'?

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

A politically correct look back...and ahead. Looking Back; Looking Forward Well, I hope you and yours had a merry whatever. Thats what the New York Times called the holidays in a recent headline on an article about how political correctness has pushed the very word Christmas out of the holiday season; how the tree at a lighting ceremony in Kansas was called a community tree, and not a...

Welcome to your Chinese American Bandstand

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben joins jazz singer Cookie Wong in a tribute to pioneer music makers. And then he takes off for Vegas! October, for me, was chock-a-block with events: I officiated a wedding; MCd a set of readings at LitCrawl, an annual literary event in San Francisco. Did an onstage interview with Albert Maysles, the legendary documentary filmmaker for the Mill Valley Film Festival; hosted a dinner...

A New High: Getting Organized!

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Is your room a mess? You are not alone. Here's how Ben Fong-Torres cleared away 30 years of clutter. It's a neat article. We are a nation of clutter. Just look at your closet. Your kitchen drawers. Your bathroom ca- binet. Your CD col- lection. The trunk of your car. Your home office. Your garage. Were a massive mess, and were always telling ourselves, Next weekend. Ill get to it next...

Report From Dallas: Will Sing for BBQ

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres sings on stage in Texas with rock legends and lives to tell the story. [Editor's Note: This article was written for the music maga- zine Paste and will appear, in a slightly differ- ent form, in its October issue.] We were re- hearsing, and Id just run through my Elvis number when Jim Messina issued a threat. Hey, Ben, he said, I just want to let you know Im gonna be writing...

Get a Job? Who Needs a Job?

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Our Ben Fong-Torres loses a job and gains a half-dozen others, from New York to San Francisco, with a stop in Cincinnati. I lost my job a couple of months ago, and life couldnt be better. I was just about ready to run out of the office in South San Francisco, screaming from sheer boredom with the job (VP of content at a marketing company that produced branded magazines sent out by e-mail),...

I Write the Songs That Make Nobody Sing

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

You know our Ben, the writer, the editor, the broadcaster. But Ben, the songwriter?... AsianConnections presents the adven-tures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, karaoke nut and former writer and editor at Rolling Stone. Ben was a featured character in the acclaimed film, Almost Famous. First, before the musical portion of this column, a couple of quick...

You're Reading an Award-Winning Column!

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Our Renaissance Man wins an Emmy for his work on the Chinese New Year Parade broadcast. And he honors winners of the Women Warrior Awards. I wont lie to you. It feels good to win an Emmy. Thats what happened the other night at the Northern California Emmy Awards in San Francisco, when the Chinese New Year Parade broadcast, which Julie Haener and I co-host on KTVU (Fox 2), won a bunch of the...

She Bangs! She Bangs! Ooh, Baby, I'm William Hung Over!

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

American Idol reject William Hung gets an extended 15 minutes of fame, and Kim Wong Keltner's first novel sets off an online firestorm. AsianConnections pre- sents the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broad- caster, karaoke nut and former writer and editor at Rolling Stone. Ben was a featured character in the acclaimed film, Almost Famous. Ive got a...

Googling and Monkeying Around

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Mickey Newbury, the late, absolutely great singer-songwriter, and I were chatting one night a couple of years ago when he mentioned that he had "Googled" himself and was amazed to find several hundreds of mentions of him on various Web sites. Mickey Newbury, the late, absolutely great singer-songwriter, and I were chatting one night a couple of years ago when he mentioned that he had...

Old Year New Year: A Column of Musings

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

2004 brings in a New Year Column of Musings from AsianConnections' Renaissance man: Ben Fong-Torres. So, happy new year. As for the old one, it was another dozen months that flew by all too fast. Heres how it goes: Happy New Year! Suddenly, its tax time. Yikes, its summer. What? The World Series? And while youre carving your pumpkin, stores are putting up Christmas lights. And another year...

The Art of Rock - and of Chinese Restaurant Take-Out Menus

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Art is on my mind these days. Art is on my mind these days. I dropped in on an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Grace Slick at the Hotel Monaco in downtown San Francisco the other evening. Yes, that Grace Slick -- the so-called "acid queen" of the Sixties rock scene, who soared with Jefferson Airplane with such hits as "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." Nowadays, she paints white...

We Love New York, v. 2003

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

As my regular readersboth of youknow, Dianne, my wife, and I like to hit New York City every year. AsianConnections is proud to present the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine. This guy's our hero! Ben was a featured character and immortalized in the movie "Almost Famous," the Oscar...

Asians in the Outfield and an Attorney on the Rotisserie

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Can you be Chinese American ... AND a baseball fan? Plus, a highly regarded civil rights lawyer, Dale Minami, gets royally roasted. When I'm sworn in as Governor of California oh, you didnt know I was running? I'm going to try and do something about the stupid people. It's been several weeks now, and my sunburns just about peeled off, but I'm still smarting from a comment I got as I was...

Remembering Larry Ching, 'Till the End of Time

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

It was typical Larry Ching. As producer of his CD, I had just presented him with a dinky Plexiglas plaque that displayed his CD cover and the disk itself, both showing him as the star he was back in the 1940s at the Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco. Then, George Yamasaki, his pianist, lauded Larry and presented him with a proclamation from Mayor Willie L. Brown, declaring that day,...

Anatomy of a Session: Inside the Studio with Larry Ching

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

As a writer at Rolling Stone, I have done a lot of time in recording studios. Crosby Stills and Nashs first album; Sly and the Family Stone; Ray Charles running his own control board; Fleetwood Mac; Jefferson Airplane. Richard Perry producing Carly Simon, Leo Sayer, and others. That is a lot of time. Rehearsing, recording, endless retakes, and lots of sitting around. The Larry Ching session...

The Facts on Larry Ching, and Some Unexpected Honors

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine, added record production to his credits with 'Till the End of Time' by Larry Ching. Read all about it. AsianConnections is proud to present the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at...

'Better Luck' This Weekend

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres takes a look at a spunky new film, and at the equally spunky promotional campaign behind it. To help promote Better Luck Tomorrow, Parry Shen, who plays one of the central characters, simply went to his computer and sent out scads of e-mails, telling friends and acquaintances how crucial the opening weekend would be for the film. How this Asian-American teenage-wasteland...

Old Memories, a New Museum

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine, writes again. An old letter triggers thoughts about today's radio scene. Also, a visit to the beautiful new Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The other Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a letter from one Vic Dertimanis, saying: On Feb. 22, I met Ben...

'Twixt Teen and Michael Jackson

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man -- author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine -- visits with pop icon Pat Boone. Twixt? Whats THAT mean? The word was part of the title of the best-selling book back in the late Fifties by pop star Pat Boone. Its short for betwixt, as in, betwixt and between. Its one of Dianne, my wifes favorite...

In the Trenches with Trent, Jon Lovitz, and Johnny Rivers

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man -- author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine -- was a featured character in the 2000 movie "Almost Famous." Everybody still asks him about it--even comedian Jon Lovitz. In the end, it doesnt really matter whether Sen. Trent Lott is outwhich he should and may well be, by the time you read thisor remains the...

The Pioneer Performers of The Forbidden City

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine, reunited with the stars of the Forbidden City nightclub and vows to make a record with one of them. In the black and white photographs, they are impossibly dashing, daring, devil may care. There's Larry Ching, "The Chinese Sinatra," surrounded by four babes....

A Letter to Writers, and How the Wiest was Won

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone, responds to queries about how to get into writing. He also recounts a a busy day, including a gig with Sheila E. and a chat with Oscar-winning actor Dianne Wiest. One recent Saturday, I emceed a lunchtime fundraiser for Oakland High School, featuring fellow alumnus Sheila...

A Singing Career? Oh, I Think Not.

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

AsianConnections is proud to present the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine. And, now, singer? Not really, but he's certainly had his moments. AsianConnections is proud to present the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man: author, broadcaster, and former senior...

Sheryl Crow: All She Wants To Do is Have Some Lunch

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

AsianConnections is proud to present the adventures of Ben Fong-Torres, who, in turn, is proud to present Sheryl Crow. Just about once a day, I roll my eyes as someone asks about Almost Famous. It's been almost two years since that movie came out, but the curiosity about my being a character in the film rolls on. Whether it's by e-mail or in person; whether it's friends I run into at social...

Bruce Springsteen: He's Still the Boss

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man -- author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine -- still gets called to be a TV talking head. Especially when the subject is pop music, and stars like The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. For a moment there, I thought Bruce Springsteen had died. Back at my home office after a lunch in San Francisco, I had messages...

In a Confused State of Mind

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres, our very own Renaissance man -- author, broadcaster, and former senior editor and writer at Rolling Stone Magazine -- wishes you a happy year of the ram. Or is that goat? Black sheep, anybody? Also, he confesses to being a TiVo-maniac. Happy Year of the...What? Its the Year of the Ram. Or is it? Weve had a minor controversy recently at KTVU, the station that broadcasts the...