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...

Arts & Entertainment Articles

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

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    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,...

  • Racist Tweets after Miss America Nina Davuluri is crowned - first Indian-American to win title

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    September 15, 2013

    Atlantic City, N.J. 

    Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri Photo credit: The Miss America Organization / ABC

    CNN.com reported examples of racist tweets that were posted on Twitter by some users right after Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America tonight. The 24 year old Miss New York made history as the first Indian American to win the Miss America title. Miss Davuluri's talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance. 

    In response to the racist tweets on Twitter, including some Twitter users accusing her of being Arab and a terrorist, Ms. Davuluri said at her first press conference after winning the crown in Atlantic City, "I have to rise above that."  "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

    Ms. Davuluri said "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America." 

    A native of Syracuse, New York, Davuluri is applying to medical school. As the 2014 Miss America, she will receive a $50,000 scholarship as part of her pageant title. 

    Ms. Davuluri's first runner-up is Miss California Crystal Lee. Lee performed a ballet dance, is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, and obtained a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford in four years.

    Davuluri is the second Asian American to win the title. The first Asian American to win the title of Miss America was Angela Perez-Baraquio who won in 2001 and is of Filipino descent.

    For more on the story:

    MissAmerica.org

    ABCNews.go.com

    CNN.com

    USAToday.com

    Jeff Yang, writer of Tao Jones column for Wall Street Journal Online

    Related: RedAlertLive.com reports racist slurs for Puerto Rican singer Marc Anthony by some Twitter users for Singing 'God Bless America' and the young Mexican-American boy Sebastien De La Cruz for singing the National Anthem During the NBA Finals. 

  • Lia Chang Stars in "Power Play" by Lorey Hayes July 31-August 1, 2013

    Posted by:

    July 26, 2013

    Actress Lia Chang stars in the award-winning play "Power Play"  by playwright/actress Lorey Hayes in Winston-Salem, North Carolina July 31-August 1. 

    We are proud to take over Lia's "Backstage Pass" column this month to congratulate her on her upcoming performance in "Power Play."

    Lia stars with Pauletta Pearson Washington, aka Mrs. Denzel Washington ("The Watsons Go to Birningham"), Lorey Hayes ("Dreamgirls)", Roscoe Orman ("Sesame Street"), Marcus Naylor ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)", and Phynjuar ("Meet the Browns"). Photo credit courtesy by Wiliam J. Chang (L to R) Pauletta Pearson Washington, Lia Chang, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes.

    The actors will perform the play in a staged reading at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    “Power Play” by Lorey Hayes 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 3 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1 Shirley Recital Hall, Salem College, 500 E. Salem Ave., Winston-Salem Tickets: $25 Information: 723-7907, www.nbtf.org. Tickets also are available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the N.C. Black Repertory Company office, 610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem. Starting Tuesday, tickets may be purchased from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily at Benton Convention Center, 301 W. Fifth St., Winston-Salem.

    About "Power Play": Roscoe Orman's Franklin Wright has been propelled to political stardom by his Asian American campaign manager, played by Lia Chang.Just three days before the election, hoping to become California’s first African American governor he finds himself in a scandal that threatens his career and marriage — a scandal based on a secret that his wife, played by Paulette Pearson Washington, has harbored for years.  

    Related:

    National Black Theatre Festival: N.C. natives bring ‘Power Play’ to Festival by Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane News-Record.com

    Lia Chang is an actor, a professional photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.  She is the author of

  • Update: Go see Linsanity! Jeremy Lin's "Linsanity" Documentary hit theaters Oct 11, 2013 but watch for earlier releases in your area!

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    October 6, 2013 Update: Linsanity is in selected theaters now! Buy tickets and go!

    October 4, 2013 UPDATE: Go see Linsanity!

    "Linsanity" the docoumentary begins screening in theaters in a limited release October 11, but keep an eye out for earlier screenings in your area!

    Its a terrific documentary! Show support on the opening weekend by buying tickets!

    July 24, 2013

    Mark your calendars!

    Variety Film Reporter Dave McNary reports exclusively that "Linsanity" the documentary about Jeremy Lin directed by Evan Jackson Leong, and produced by Christopher Chen, Allen Lu and Brian Yang will be released in theaters beginning October 4, 2013.  

    For the full story by Dave McNary at Variety click here.

    I saw the documentary at a press screening earlier this year, and a second time at CAAMFest 2013's Opening Night in San Francisco, and look forward to its theatrical release. 

    If you would like to join the movie's "Street Team" to get the word out click here to fill out the Linsanity - Street Team form or go straight to the website and find the link at www.Linsanitythemovie.com

    If you would ike to host your own screening with your group you can fill out a form at the official website www.Linsanitythemovie.com/screening

    "Linsanity" credits:

    Executive Producer: Sam Kwok, James Stern, Patricia SunProducer: Christopher Chen, Allen Lu, Brian YangCinematographer: Evan LeongEditor: Greg Louie

    Here's the description of "Linsanity" from CAAMFest 2013:

    In 2012, the entire media landscape was abuzz about one man: basketball sensation Jeremy Lin. From gracing the covers of Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated to being satirized by Saturday Night Live, Lin captured the imagination, both here and abroad, like no single Asian American since Bruce Lee. In Linsanity, director and Bay Area native Evan Jackson Leong goes beyond the headlines to uncover the real story behind this cultural phenomenon.

    The Jeremy Lin story begins in the suburbs of Palo Alto, where as a...

  • Live! Tune in tomorrow Sat. July 6, 2013 10am PST to hear Ben Fong-Torres sing Bob Dylan and Elvis songs!

    Posted by:

    Ben Fong-Torres sang a Bob Dylan song on network television some years ago. While he might not get into costume as Dylan this time, he is going to make a rare appearance tomorrow singing Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley songs. Don't miss! Log on live online at WCL.org at 10AM PST Saturday July 6, 2013! 

    Update July 7, 2013

    Ben's performance can be heard online at West Coast Live's archives on KALW public radio 91.7 FM San Francisco for one week after the show. 

    Tune In Live at 10am PST Saturday July 6, 2013!

    Tomorrow!! From the Rock 'n' Roll man himself! -

    Don't miss Ben Fong-Torres as he sings Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley songs tomorrow morning!

    Log On to WCL.org to hear Ben's special appearance tomorrow on Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live show at 10am Pacific Standard Time.

    Rumor has it that Ben, and friends including musician/author Sam Barry are the opening act! So, tune it right at 10am tomorrow!

    Two ways to see Ben sing:

    1. Log on to WCL.org to hear Ben sing live online at WCL.org

    or

    2. Attend Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live Show In person at the Ferry Building in San Francisco! (tickets at WCL.org)