It screened at SXSW and the Venice Film Festival, so you know it’s got to be pretty badass. 13 Assassins, the latest film by acclaimed director Takashi Miike, is a period piece samurai action spectacle set at the end of Japan’s feudal era, where a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future.
Now you can watch it in a theater near you, the way it should be enjoyed. Check out times and dates after the jump.
Not sure what to do for the upcoming weekends? Perhaps you want to take a break on a weekday after a long day at the office. Here are some fun alternatives — from poppin’ to boppin’ to art hoppin’ — to just going home and vegging out in front of the tube. Go out for a night of music, art and culture — or some good ol’ fashioned sex. (Keep reading to see what we mean.)
Clara C Tour
When: Saturday, March 19, 8 pm
Where: Hotel Cafe 1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Kollaboration winner Clara C is going on tour!! If you don’t know who Clara C is, you are definitely missing out and need to go check out her YouTube page ASAP. Her first stop will be in L.A. at the Hotel Cafe. Pre-sale tickets will be $11 and you can get it at www.hotelcafe.com. It is a 21+ event, so if you’re under 21, sorry … maybe next time? If you know who Clara C is, you’ll be sure to make it there by 7 when doors open because there will definitely be a line.
Escape the Ides of March! Get yourself to some heartwarming indie films, cool anti-kawaii art, or be your own Asian American idol and sing your heart out at Kollaboration Acoustic’s auditions.
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
When: March 10-20
Where: Multiple venues, San Francisco, CA
Every year in March, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) holds the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF). The SFIAAFF is now the largest showcase for Asian American and Asian films in North America. The film festival is not just limited to SF but also in parts of San Jose and Berkeley.
The Opening Night film that will be shown is West Is West at 7 pm in the Castro Theatre. It is the sequel to East is East where Om Puri stars as a Pakistani father who, with his son, is caught between different cultures, trying to find their respective identities. Where the son is becoming a teenager, his father is dealing with similar struggles and issues even with the age gap. After the screening there will be an Opening Night Gala Reception at the Asian Art Museum.
The festival will also offer live performances from comedians as well as live music and dancing. Check out the scheduling on the website for more information.
From films to warm the heart to steaming hot noodles to warm the stomach, check out what’s happening this week.
When: Feb. 5
Where: Portage Theatre, Chicago
The non-profit organization ManilaStar Events is putting on its second annual benefit showcase, Pin@yPalooza. And this year performers include Filipino superstars Kat Badar, Kierra Folsom, Lydia Paek, and Victor Kim as headliners. Chicago talents include The RisQ, Robert Tolledo, Excel Cruz, Charlene “Apple” Alcantara, Brent Abas, and Design Dance Crew. With such a great group of performers, we know the show is going to rock.
Ramen Rules New York
When: Tuesday, February 8, 6:30 pm
Where: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.), New York City
How: Tickets are $20, $16 for Japan Society members, seniors & students. For reservations visit www.japansociety.org or call the box office at 212-715-1258.
From street food to foodie delight, ramen is the most sought after Japanese comfort food throughout America. Now, in Ramen Rules New York, Shinyokohama Ramen Museum’s Masahiro Nakano and Serious Eats’ J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, explore how this Japanese staple has gained traction outside Japan and discuss the future for New York’s noodle lovers. Moderated by Time Out New York’s Food & Drink editor Jordana Rothman, the discussion is followed by a tasting, supported by the Japanese Culinary Center, in which participants can taste the difference between soy and miso based soups and discover how noodle thickness — from vermicelli-like to broad fettuccini styles — influences flavor.
7th NYC Downtown Short Film Festival
When: February 10-12, 2011, 8 pm
Where: 62 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003 (Btn 2nd Ave and Bowery)
For Jie, directed by Hiroshi Hara, will be shown on the last night of this film festival. This short film provides a glimpse into the daily life of a family in China, following a loving husband who has just become a father in the city of Guangzhou. All he has ever known is living and struggling in poverty. But now that he is a father, he wants what is best for his son, Jie. For Jie had a very successful screening at the DC Asian Pacific American film festival in late 2010, and is likely to appear at many more festivals in 2011.
When: Sunday, February 13, 2011, 2-4 pm
Where: Leanna Lin’s Wonderland, 5024 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
How: Suggested donation $5; RSVP here or email: hello@LeannaLinsWonderland.com. Space is limited!
Jewelry designer Leanna Lin has the cutest little shop this side of the Mississippi. She’s always hosting mini art exhibits, like the “Love & Other Fairy Tales” exhibit by Mekanikku (art opening is on February 12). Now you can join her and artist Liane Shih for a special Valentine’s card making workshop! Create your own unique Valentine’s for that special someone (or yourself) using the art of Mekanikku while noshing on Valentine treats by Maile’s Fine Pastries.
For the first time, a talent search is going on specifically for Mainland Pacific Island entertainers. The Weekend in Polynesia Organization are looking for singers between the ages of 18 and 30, who are interested in furthering their careers in the music entertainment industry. If you are of Pacific Islander descent and looking to break into the music industry, make sure you audition! Winners will have the opportunity to attend workshops like vocal coaching, financial management, in-studio practice session at local record companies, and much much more.
Auditions will be held on January 29 from 9 am to 2 pm at the Redondo Beach Masonic Lodge, 116 Ruby Street (Catalina Avenue), Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
First round of auditions take place in January with February and March as the last two audition rounds. If you have friends or family that you want to support and cheer for you, feel free to invite them! If anything, they are more than welcome to come be your personal cheerleaders.
For more information or online application, check out their website: www.weekendinpolynesia.com
If you can’t seem to get enough of Mike Chang in Glee, then you have to check out Harry Shum Jr.’s YouTube channel and see what else he’s been up to.
On January 10, 3 Minutes will be released on YouTube. Ross Ching directed and George Wang and Don Le produced the film. The teasers on the Facebook and YouTube pages are just that: teasers. It gives a little glimpse of the film, but not much of a plot behind it. All we know from trailers 1 and 2 is that Shum has three minutes to do something, but we don’t know what. Does he get hurt? Are Shum and Stephen “tWitch” Boss from So You Think You Can Dance enemies? What is going to happen?! If you love Shum , make sure you check it out come Monday to see what all the buzz is about.
What exactly is “hapa?” “Hapa” comes from the original word in Hawaiian, which meant “portion, fragment, part, fraction; to be partial, less.” But today, hapa has evolved to mean a person of multiple racial heritage, specifically someone who is of both Asian/Pacific Islander and non-Asian descent. Some even use it to describe anyone of multiple ethnicities, even if one of those is not Asian, as well as those of multi-Asian descent, like someone who is Chinese and Korean.
But beyond the genealogical definition, what does it mean to be hapa? Erica Johnson knows, or at least she’s getting there, with her website Hapavoice.com. She started the photo blog, awareness project, educational resource and discussion forum one chance night when she had the sudden inspiration to start a website for those who weren’t aware of the hapa community. Johnson, who herself is of Filipino and German descent, sits down with Audrey for a one-on-one.
Audrey Magazine: What motivated you to start hapavoice.com?
Erica Johnson: I think the biggest motivator was the fact that I didn’t know anything about the hapa community until I was 17. Until that time, I felt like there was no one else I could share both the joys and the struggles of multiracial identity. I wanted to create something that would bring hapas together, and give them a way to express themselves, to support each other and I guess more than anything is to celebrate their mixed roots
I really want to make hapa a household word. A lot of hapas get “oh, what are you? What is your racial identity?” Most of us say what we are, but we also shy away from saying we’re hapa because the familiarity just is not there. The term seems pretty much nonexistent aside from college campuses and maybe select metropolitan areas. I would say I was really passionate about creating mainstream awareness.
AM: Was it difficult growing up not being able to identify with all your cultures?
EJ: I remember taking the Advanced Placement tests back in high school and feeling outraged that I had to choose just one box. I wondered if there were any other multiracial kids in the room who were also bothered. To top it off, my scores actually got screwed up because they counted me as two separate people for checking different boxes on different exams – of course I self-identified differently before the Spanish and biology tests!
AM: What got you to actually set up the website?
EJ: The idea came to me my last year in college and it was my senior year and I was super busy planning for graduation and moving to New York, but once I got the idea I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I bought the domain name and started the site on my living room floor one night. I just couldn’t tear myself away from this project once I got started.
I had been thinking and thinking just running names by my friends asking, “Hey, what do you think? Does it sound good?” Once I did have the site up, I started asking personal friends to contribute. As more entries came in (especially from people I didn’t know), it got me really excited to see that completely unsolicited submissions came in from people that I had never met. That was a huge motivation for me to keep working on the site.
AM: What makes hapavoice.com different from any other blog or forum?
EJ: There are little things, but I just noticed other websites out there were just very poorly designed and just crazy and busy where you just couldn’t find what you’re looking for. But more importantly with hapavoice, 100 percent of the content is user generated. So every single entry is written from a very unique perspective. We have students, authors, a member of a pop band, Shakira’s drummer, just people from all walks of life. Another really important thing is that there are no rules aside the basic format where there’s a photo caption and the story. The website instructions are intentionally vague. I just want people to talk and its awesome to see the different things that come out.
AM: How does the website help those who are hapa?
EJ: Simply put, it gives us a voice. It lets people express themselves in a supportive environment, whether they’re sharing their struggles or their love of multiracial identity, and it helps us work toward giving “hapa” a place in mainstream dialogue. I hope that the site will help young people develop a positive self-image, since race and culture can be so influential on one’s identity at a young age. I think it would be great to get more prominent role models on the site and then we can really bring it into mainstream and raise awareness beyond just the college campus.
AM: Have there been people in your life who are hapa and an inspiration to you?
EJ: Kip Fulbeck — he teaches at my alma mater at UC Santa Barbara and is an inspiration to hapas everywhere. I’ve never had him as my own professor, but I did get to meet him once. He is just incredible, he is so talented in everything from film to spoken word. He’s the author of Part Asian, 100% Hapa, the book that introduced me to the existence of the Hapa community. It looks a lot like the hapa site, and played an influential role.
AM: Do you identify more with your Filipino side or your German side?
EJ: I’m Filipina and German by blood, but Filipina, Latina and Jewish at heart because I was born and raised in Arizona and part of my family is Jewish. I recently moved to New York City, where an endless number of different cultures are represented, so I’m very proud to call it my home.
Different parts of my identity manifests differently in various situations. I think that’s the beauty of being hapa — you can bring certain parts out at different times.
AM: What about New York is it that you love?
EJ: Over the past few months, it has been being able to explore the city. New York City — it celebrates an endless amount of different cultures. I can go to different neighborhoods and try different things. I have had things here that I have never had anywhere else.
Don’t have any plans for the New Year weekend? Or just don’t know what’s even open? You may be snowed in in the East Coast, but if you’re in the West Coast, you’re in luck.
Where: Koyasan Buddhist Temple, 342 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 624-1267
What: Most Asian cultures consider the first day of the year to be very important and would go to a temple or shrine to offer a prayer. In Japanese it is called “Hatsu-mode” or first offering. Bishop Seicho Asahi will be officiating the the fire ritual by chanting mantras and throwing tiny sticks into a fire. If you’ve never been to one before, this is definitely something to go check out and experience. The temple will continue to be open from Jan 1-3 for visitors from 10am-5pm and will have fortune telling slips, good luck arrows, amulets, charms, and picture tablets.
Kotohajime: Hatsu Dayori “First Letters for the New Year”
When: Sunday, January 2, 2010, 1pm
Where: Little Tokyo, CA
Aratani/Japan America Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro Street, Suite 505, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What: Every year JACCC puts together a performance for the new year. This year’s theme is Hatsu Dayori, or First Letters for the New Year. There will be performances by the Los Angeles Kyudo Archery Group, Trudl Zipper Dance Institute of the Colburn School, and many more. This January for the year of the rabbit, Little Tokyo will become the center for celebrating the Japanese New Year for Southern California.
Tickets: $20 General Admission, $18 Seniors/Students/Groups, $15 JACCC members
Where: Wi Spa 2700 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057 (213) 487-2700
What: It’s a rare time to finally get some vacation time, so most people just want to relax. And that is where I say “it is time to go to a spa!!” Wi Spa is open 24 hours and yes, open on new years day. They have jim jil bang as the common area for everyone to hang out and eat. They offer body treatments, massages, and saunas. Everything a girl could ever hope for when it comes to just taking a day off from the rest of the world.
Happiest Place on Earth
What: 365 days a year … Disneyland is open to make every child’s dreams come true. If it’s been a while since you’ve been, definitely take a day out of your busy weekend to go to the happiest place on earth.
Hungry for Thai?
Where: Banana Bay 18230 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant 815 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776
Open New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
What: Just in case you don’t feel like cooking at home, and want to try someplace new for some good Thai or Vietnamese food. If you go to Golden Deli, you have to try their fried egg rolls … they are to die for.
It’s been a big year for Asian Americans in politics. Here, some of the highlights and names you need to know.
If you didn’t know already, now you do — Pete Rouse is the first Asian American Chief of Staff in U.S. history. Rouse, who replaced Rahm Emanuel as the Chief of Staff in the Obama Administration in October, is of Japanese descent. Rouse is known as the 101st senator for his extensive knowledge about Congress. He had the role of chief of staff even when Obama was Senator. When Obama came into the White House, Rouse had the role of Senior Advisor. Rouse said in an interview that he “basically does the inside, organizational stuff and strategic stuff internally.”
Bobby Jindal was formally a member of the House of Representatives and is currently the 55th governor of Louisiana. On October 20, 2007, Jindal became the youngest current governor in the United States. Jindal is the first elected non-white governor of Louisiana, and the first Indian American governor in the country. In November 2010, Jindal published a book titled Leadership and Crisis that discusses leadership and how it influences events like in the occurrence of the Gulf Oil Spill.
If there is one woman not to underestimate, it’s Kamala Harris. Harris is the Attorney General of California, and not only is she the first African American and first Asian American attorney general in California, but also the first Indian American attorney general in the United States. Harris served as a Deputy District Attorney, then became a Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Finally in 2003, she was elected as the District Attorney of San Francisco and then again in 2007. It only made sense that from there she run for California Attorney General in 2010. The Los Angeles Daily Journal names Harris one of the top 100 lawyers in California.
Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public School System of Washington D.C. announced her resignation on October 13, 2010. She was the one who founded The New Teacher Project, which works with urban school districts to train new teachers to help narrow the achievement gap for high-need students. The New Teacher Project was founded in 1997 and is a non-profit organization. In the 10 years that it has been established, they have recruited more than 10,000 teachers and reached 20 states. Rhee had originally started out as a teacher in Baltimore, Md., as a recruit for Teach For America. As a teacher, Rhee was able to help her students, who were ranging in the 13th percentile, raise their scores into the 90th over the span of two years. Recently, while on the Oprah Winfrey Show, she announced her new movement called Students First where she hopes to have 1 million members raise $1 billion to catalyze education reform in the U.S.
Ever hear of the name Sukhee Kang? No? Well, he is the current mayor of Irvine, Calif. In 2004, he was elected to the Irvine City Council and then re-elected in 2006. In 2008, Kang became the first Korean American to serve as mayor of a U.S. city. Then in November 2010, he was re-elected as Mayor. Both he and his wife, Joanne, were born and raised in South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. in 1977. Kang was recently recognized “for his community leadership and citizenship by the Carnegie Corporation of New York which salutes immigrants who have made significant contributions to the country.”
As if making it in the film business isn’t hard enough, try making it in another country. This year, we’ve selected a few greats for overcoming the language barrier (or at least mastering the accent) and becoming well-known in both their native country and in America.
Jang Dong Gun started out as a South Korean actor and musician. Jang made his first debut in the Korean drama, Our Heaven. From there, he won multiple Blue Dragon Awards (Korea’s Oscars) as an actor in Korean films. In 2005, he broke into Chinese cinema in the movie Wu Ji (The Promise), starring Cecilia Cheung. Now in 2010, Jang made his debut in the American film industry with the recent release of The Warrior’s Way. Jang has managed to make his name known not just in Korea, but all over Asia and now the States. We’ll have to wait and see if he’ll become a household name in the States like predecessors Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Ken Watanabe.
Wonder Girls are a South Korean girl band group. They debuted in 2007 with their hit song “Tell Me” in Korea. They entered into the American market in 2009 with the single “Nobody.” “Nobody” was the first song by a Korean group to have entered the Billboard Hot 100. After a successful run opening for the Jonas Brothers on the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009, the Wonder Girls went on a world tour of their own in 2010, hitting more than two dozen cities in the U.S. and Canada. They also released the EP/single “2 Different Tears,” with a video starring Korean American comedian Bobby Lee. MTV Korea premiered a reality show that introduced the Wonder Girl’s everyday life in the United States, and on October 18th, the Wonder Girls’ management company JYP announced that the Wonder Girls were shooting a television series about five talented Asian pop stars crossing over to the United States that would be broadcast in the States.
Where do we even start with Jay Chou? Not only is he a musician, but he is also a singer, film producer, actor, and director. Oh and by the way, he’s won awards for these things too. In Taiwan, he is most known for composing all of his own songs, as well as for other artists. In 2005, Chou decided to break into the acting field in the movie Initial D, in the hope of expanding his exposure to Asian countries beyong Taiwan and China. Now that he had all that exposure, Chou went in full speed ahead and is about to make his American film debut in the highly anticipated film The Green Hornet. Chou stars as Kato, the Hornet’s partner, a role previously played by Bruce Lee (perhaps the greatest crossover of all time).
Archana “Archie” Panjabi is a British Indian actress who was first recognized in the United States in the film Bend It Like Beckham. In 2007, she appeared in the movie A Mighty Heart with Angelina Jolie, based on the book by Mariane Pearl. But 2010 was Panjabi’s breakout year, with her Primetime Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role of Kalinda Sharma on the CBS critically acclaimed television series The Good Wife.
Last but not least, BoA. If you don’t know who she is, listen up. BoA stands for Beat of Angel and is basically the Korean Britney Spears in entertainment. She has gone above and beyond in languages. She not only knows her native tongue, but she is also conversational in Japanese and English. Think those languages are hard to learn? Try learning Chinese. Oh wait, BoA did that too. BoA also recorded songs in Mandarin Chinese. In 2008, SM Entertainment announced her debut in America with the single “Eat You Up.” There was also a remix of “Eat You Up” featuring rapper Flo Rida. In 2010, BoA released her newest album, “Hurricane Venus.”