We may have Brangelina, but India’s got Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Bollywood’s reigning acting king and queen. And now the world-famous, real-life couple team up once again with director Mani Ratnam and Oscar and Grammy winning composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, Guru) in the highly anticipated new feature film Raavan.
Described as a modern day version and loose adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana, Raavan follows Rai Bachchan as Ragini, a classical dancer, who falls in love and marries police officer Dev (played by Tamil actor and playback singer, Vikram). This classic tale of good versus evil pits Dev against Beera Munda (Bachchan), the unlawful tribal leader who is wreaking havoc on Lal Maati, a remote town in Northern India.
Dev, knowing that if he wants to bring order to Lal Maati he must conquer Beera, sets off a chain of events that will ultimately claim lives and change fortunes. Dev, Beera and Ragini come face-to-face in a terrifying jungle where they must also confront their own truths. They embark on a journey that tests their beliefs, convictions and emotions.
Check out the trailer here:
Raavan opens worldwide on Friday, June 18.
More photos after the jump, plus photos of the stars at the Cannes Film Festival. Continue Reading »
It’s no secret I love traveling. But I have to admit, sometimes rather than traveling, you just want a vacation — you know, the kind involving lots of lounging around, colorful sunset-hued drinks, a tropical melody wafting in the background interrupted only by the rhythmic lapping of waves on creamy golden sand …
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Oahu? We’ve done Oahu! Besides, Waikiki is too touristy.
Ah, but you’ve never done Oahu Ko Olina-style. That’s because Ko Olina is located on the leeward, or west, side of the island, the complete opposite side of Waikiki. And not only is Ko Olina about an hour away from Waikiki, it feels like a world away when you’re there.
Now if you’re worried that you’ll be far away from the food, drink and fun at Waikiki — don’t. Ko Olina is 642 acres of varied attractions and amenities (the same size as Waikiki, but with one-third the density). On one end you have the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. Rooms are extra big here and my room had two lanais. Saltwater pools span the property, complete with a resident stingray and a few baby hammerhead sharks. (They release the sharks into the ocean once they’re full grown.)
The Ihilani is also known for their award-winning Ihilani Spa. Try the Deluxe Thalasso Therapy, which incorporates light, color, water jets and Hawaiian seawater for a particularly luxurious experience, or the traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage.
At the other end, Hawaii’s only luxury marina. (They’re shooting the newest installment of the Pirates of the Carribbean movies nearby and you can see the Black Pearl pirate ship they built for the film.) Housing 344 wet slips with watercraft ranging from 30-footers to 240-foot luxury yachts, the Ko Olina Marina accommodates an international clientele from British to Japanese to mainland American. Sign up for all manner of water sports at the Marina Shop — everything from helicopter tours to deep sea fishing to swimming with dolphins.
And esconced in between is the luxurious Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort, complete with Roy Yamaguchi-designed gourmet kitchens and special touches like the floating lily pad lounge chaises in the pool. With two to three bedrooms going for half a mill and up, you can expect a lot of amenities like pocketed sliding glass doors that open fully to the lanai and lei-making classes with a former Miss Hawaii. (You can also rent out villas; rack rates start at $695/night.)
If your taste runs a little more family-friendly, there’s always the tropical water park-like Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club timeshares, with a relatively hopping bar area, a pitch black water tube slide, and plenty of kids running around. And coming in 2011 is Aulani, Disney’s first resort outside of its theme parks.
Of course, there are plenty of restaurants, from the island’s only other Roy’s at the 18-hole championship Ko Olina Golf Club to the Ihilani’s culinary adventure that is Azul to the more casual live-music venue Kolohe’s at the Marriott Beach Club. There’s even the Ko Olina Station with Mexican fast food, ice cream and other retail outlets And don’t worry about getting around. All the lagoons and different properties are connected via a very pleasant oceanfront path, so getting from hotel to lagoon to restaurant is not a problem. If you have to get to places more inland, like the Golf Club or the Station, just hop on the old-fashioned red trolley that circles the resort. It comes around every half hour.
But by far my favorite part of Ko Olina is the natural lagoon nestled against Lanikuhonua, the private estate of the Campbell Estate Family Trust (James Campbell settled in Hawaii in the 1800s). The lagoon served as the original inspiration for the four other man-made lagoons of Ko Olina. Indeed, it’s what people think Old Hawaii would look like, says Mike Nelson, executive vice president of the resort.
And it is heavenly. Go early in the day, when the tide is low and the waves less boisterous. Hop from boulder to boulder, scouring the glass-like tide pools along the way for curious black jumping crabs or yellow and black striped fish. Take in the stunning view of the Waianae mountain range. Relax in the shade on one of the flatter boulders, the soothing melody of traditional Hawaiian songs drifting from Lanikuhonua (Auntie Nettie teaches folk music there to locals on occasion), the thunder of crashing waves safely set back 100 feet or so by the intimidating boulder wall. Most likely, you’ll be the only human being on the rocks.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to get a glimpse of the private grounds of Lanikuhonua. Auntie Nettie is the official caretaker of the land and is a “kahu,” or spiritual advisor, a title she inherited from her mother, the original kahu. (She goes to every groundbreaking at Ko Olina, including the most recent one for the Aulani, the first Disney resort outside of its theme parks.) Lost shot many a scene on the sacred property, which is dedicated to preserving, displaying and promoting the cultural traditions of Hawaii. Legends and history abound on the grounds, as evidenced by the smattering of sacred boulders and rocks carried in from other parts of the island.
One thing you have to do before you leave is take advantage of Ko Olina’s location on the leeward side of the island. Unlike Waikiki, this side of the island gets one helluva sunset every evening.
You can enjoy it from your hotel lanai, but the best way to enjoy it is via catamaran (sign up at the Marina Shop.) Enjoy appetizers and an all-you-can-drink bar (their specialty is the Cata-tonic), and then kick back on deck as you sail to what seems like the end of the earth, chasing the sun as it lazes lower and lower, leaving an ever-changing kaleidoscope of light and color in the clear backdrop of sky.
Photos by Anna M. Park.
Each year since 2006, L’Oréal Paris, through their Women of Worth campaign, has been honoring 10 women for their services in a variety of causes, including education, encouraging female and youth empowerment, military support, and healing for survivors of cancer or sexual violence.
In 2008, Nancy Chang of Seattle, Wash., was one of the 10 Women of Worth award winners for her work with underprivileged girls in the Seattle area. She is the director of Skate Like a Girl, which provides skateboarding lessons to girls as a way of promoting an all-inclusive female skateboarding community, helping to empower girls and women. The program also encourages them to make positive decisions in life and increases their confidence and self-image.
As in years past, L’Oréal will make a $5,000 donation to each of the 2010 honorees’ most loved charity. A $5,000 donation will also be made by L’Oréal in each woman’s name to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), L’Oréal Paris’ primary philanthropy.
Once all nominees are in and the 10 honorees are chosen, the public will have the opportunity to vote online for which of the 10 women they believe should be recognized as the National Woman Of Worth Honoree. L’Oréal Paris will make an additional $25,000 donation to the winner’s charity in her name.
Nominations are open until July 9, 2010 so hurry up and nominate an amazing Asian American woman! I know there are tons of them out there! Go to www.womenofworth.com to nominate your woman of worth.
The LA Film Fest is this weekend, and we’ve got five pairs of movie ticket vouchers, which includes lounge day passes for you and your guest, to give away to Audrey readers!
Yes, I know, they’re screening The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at the festival. But there’s plenty of Asian love at this film festival, too, so if you’re around, check it out. Some highlights include:
On May 12, 2008 at 14:28, the Great Sichuan Earthquake rocked China, claiming the lives of more than 68,000 people. Ten days later, filmmaker Du Haibin was there, camera in hand. The result is a film that won the Best Documentary Award at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival. Du not only covers the immediate aftermath, but also the government response and the fate of the survivors seven months later. Going beyond the whitewashed official visits portrayed in mainstream media, 1428 gives the audience a raw look at the reality of today’s Beichuan, the town most severely hit, where Lunar New Year’s is celebrated with a never-ending parade of tourists buying DVDs of the most horrific scenes, souvenir albums of corpses being pulled out of the ruins, and photo taking.
What’s interesting about this story of unrequited love is that it’s the directorial debut of Korean film critic-turned-auteur Jung Sung-il. The storyline is simple enough: A heartsick music teacher, recently dumped by his married lover, finds himself drawn to a young woman living in her own romantic purgatory. What makes Jung’s subversively funny Café Noir a fascinating, ambitious piece of art are all the references to Goethe, Dostoyevsky, leftist politics, Bollywood, Christianity and, of course, the last decade of Korean cinema.
Isao Yukisada’s stylish and subversive drama follows four twenty-somethings in a small Tokyo apartment. The motley crew don’t really know much about each other, but they tolerate each other as they go through the daily pressures or work, love and play. But strange things are going on, including a serial killer on the loose, as the film’s sitcom feel turns sinister. Yukisada is expected to attend the screening.
Woman on Fire Looks for Water
Korean director Woo Ming Jin captures the meditative rhythms of life in a small Malaysian fishing village, as he follows father and son and their respective heartache. Ah Fei is in love with Lily, but he can’t capture her heart selling frogs from the river. Meanwhile, Ah Fei’s equally heartsick father, worried that death is near, sets off to a neighboring village to pursue a long lost love.
Called a cross between “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and The Fugitive,” Yoshihiro Nakamura’s serio-comic thriller follows easygoing Aoyagi as he tries to clear his name when he is framed for the Prime Minister’s assassination. The film’s already a major hit in its native Japan.
Based on a real life case, Liu Jie’s film puts a spotlight on China’s past. A by-the-book judge invokes an almost-obsolete law and sentences a car thief to death. The thief attempts to make amends, offering to donate his kidney to a powerful businessman if it will mitigate his sentence.
The Wolf Knife (World Premiere)
Japanese American Laurel Nakadate’s stunning, low-budget feature follows two teenage girls on a road trip, but instead of the journey, it’s the girls’ conflicted relationship that is the focus of this stylish film.
Where Are You Taking Me? (North American Premiere)
Japanese filmmaker Kimi Takesue reveals the many faces and facets of Uganda, from a high society wedding to a center for former child soldiers. Takesue is expected to attend the screening.
The Wheeler Boys
Filipino American auteur Philip G. Flores’ directorial debut, The Wheeler Boys, captures small town life as a young boy struggles to accept some disturbing revelations about the older brother he idolizes.
So just comment below by tomorrow, June 15 at 11 am, and we’ll pick five lucky winners! Good luck!
In our Summer issue, out now, we highlighted the cut-out, slasher trend hot in fashion right now. The peek-a-boo look was all over the spring runways, and even continued for fall.
Here, some extras on-trend pieces available now.
Thai designer Disaya Sorakraikitikul’s cult line Disaya offers plenty of slits and slices in its spring/summer collection. I love the pleated panel skirt on this dress, its repetitious geometry echoed in the sheer panel by the neckline.
May Kosaka models her pieces for her line Mothe after the sensuous lines of flora and nocturnal creatures. This one criss-crosses the shoulders and neckline, like fingers gently resting on shoulders. I love the splash of neon yellow in the belt.
The Tart slashed strap top gives you a similar effect but with a sharper, more graphic take, like the shard-like panels on Shu Pei at Herve Leger’s fall/winter show.
For a more distressed, deconstructed look, try something that looks like Edward Scissorhands had his way with you, whether in Cynthia Rowley’s snipped up dress or a shredded sleeve sweater designed by Smitten‘s Jerry Chen.
Even if you’re not feeling the slash and burn look, you can get the look with optic stripes like on this knit tunic by Qi.
Happy Loving Day!
What is Loving Day? Well, read on.
We previously told you about the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, an art festival dedicated to celebrating the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and hapa experience, going on all weekend. At the festival, Maya Soetoro-Ng, whose father is Indonesian and brother is the POTUS, and Kip Fulbeck will be discussing identity, culture and growing up multiracial in America in the Japanese American National Museum‘s on-going series “Conversations,” tonight, Saturday, June 12, beginning at 7:30 pm in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum.
Also at the presentation, the Loving Prize will be awarded by the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. The Loving Prize is named in honor of the aptly named June 12, 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, in which the remaining anti-miscegenation laws in 16 states, which banned marriages between the races, were finally struck down. Groups and organizations around the nation now commemorate that landmark case by celebrating June 12 as Loving Day.
The Loving Prize is awarded annually to outstanding artists, storytellers and community leaders for inspiration dedication to celebrating and illuminating the mixed racial and cultural experience.
So head on over to the festival today or tomorrow.
And if Loving Day has special meaning to you or your loved ones, check out Asian American designers Ken & Dana‘s specially made rings in honor of Loving Day.
A tangle of dainty silver wires strung on a minimalist sterling silver strand. Nestled within are two delicate grey pearls. What does it mean to you? Perhaps you and your adorable boyfriend. Or maybe the twins on the way, or your little boy and girl. Or it could be you and your best friend, just two peas in a pod, so to speak.
Allison Dayton Jewelry Designs features a whole slew of thoughtfully designed, handmade jewelry, from rings to necklaces, even for the little girl in your life. And now we’ve got three of her stunning nest necklace for our lucky readers.
Just comment below and you may win one of three necklaces. Remember, you have until June 16, 2010, 11:59 pm to enter, and you must have a U.S. mailing address to win. Good luck!
In our Must-See Shows: Summer TV post last week, we highlighted contestant Doreen Fang of season 6 of The Next Food Network Star, airing on Sundays at 9 pm on The Food Network.
Well, we forgot to mention Aarti Sequeira, a contestant who is of Indian descent! The 31-year-old Los Angeles native was born in India and raised in Dubai. The CNN producer-turned-host of online cooking show “Aarti Paarti” specializes in Indian flavors incorporated into American classics.
Sequeira says her favorite food destination is Dubai for its diversity of global cuisine, including that of Iran, India and the Philippines. And if she had to make a special dinner, she’d make samosas, tandoori chicken, her mom’s potato salad, mango-dusted roasted cauliflower and coconut sorbet. Mmmm.
Catch Sequeira and the other contestants on The Next Food Network Star, airing Sundays at 9 pm.
Our summer TV preview continues. Earlier this week, we highlighted new show Pretty Little Liars starring Asian American Shay Mitchell, and the return of favorites Drop Dead Diva with Margaret Cho, The Next Food Network Star, and True Beauty. Here, some more mindless fun on the small screen.
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Bravo
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 11 pm
They’ve done chefs, fashion designers, dancers, singers, hair stylists and interior designers. There’s even talk of a new bartender competition reality show. So it only makes sense that contemporary artists would be the next to join in the reality show fray. Except this one is produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and hosted by Chinese American model China Chow, art enthusiast and daughter of the late model and fashion icon Tina Chow and restaurateur Michael Chow (of the famed Mr. Chow and Eurochow restaurants).
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is Bravo’s latest entrant into the reality show arena. Fourteen contemporary artists will compete for a solo show at a nationally recognized museum and a cash prize.
Born in London, Chow moved to New York at the age of 5 and grew up in the ’80s art world of Manhattan. Counting famed artists like Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente as family friends, you can say Chow pretty much grew up in art. Chow even learned how draw elephants from renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Even more exciting, the early buzz on the show paints Vietnam-born artist and curator Trong Nguyen as a front-runner. The Brooklyn-based Nguyen has exhibited his work all around the world, and has been reviewed by The New York Times, Paper, Village Voice and loads of other publications. He is currently working on a “metaphysical GPS” application for the iPhone and runs his artist-as-company project, Humanitarians Not Heroes.
HGTV Design Star, HGTV
Premieres Sunday, June 13, 10 pm
Award-winning architectural and interior designer Vern Yip returns to judge the cult hit reality show, HGTV Design Star.
Yip, who just announced that he adopted a baby boy with his partner, runs his own design company in Atlanta, Ga., Vern Yip Designs. With a master’s in management, and a master’s in architecture from The Georgia Institute of Technology, Yip transforms rooms, houses and restaurants — on television and in his private practice — ranging in budget from frugal to eight-figure projects for high-end clients, including the design for a high-profile Oscar party in 2006.
This season, one of the contestants on Design Star is Julie Khuu, a 29-year-old interior designer from Santa Ana, Calif. An interior design graduate from The Art Institute of California, Khuu works on everything from hospitality design to home consultation. A self-described overachiever and socialite, Khuu calls her design style “modern global glamour” and says that her favorite projects involve designing spaces for nightclubs.
Top Chef: Washington D.C., Bravo
Premieres Wednesday, June 16, 9 pm
Host Padma Lakshmi is back. This time, the Indian American model will be judging the culinary contenders in Washington, D.C.
One of the first internationally successful Indian models, Lakshmi has since written two cookbooks, the best-selling Easy Exotic, for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer, and her memoir-filled cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet. She’s also hosted a variety of cooking and food shows, including Padma’s Passport, and the documentary series Planet Food on The Food Network and worldwide on the Discovery Channel.
But her talents don’t stop there. Lakshmi launched a line of fine jewelry last year at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. And this year, Lakshmi became the new face of Pantene’s Nature Fusion line.
Among the contestants Lakshmi will be judging is Arnold Myint, a 32-year-old Thai-Burmese American from Nashville. He’s the owner and chef of Cha Chah (voted Best New Restaurant by Nashville Scene in 2009), PM, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, all located in Nashville. The competitive professional figure-skater-turned-chef is expected to bring his own colorful personality into the mix this season.
Census 2010 shed light on the gaps in our understanding of race — especially what happens when our cut-and-dry textbook definitions of race collide. Multiracial individuals and transnational adoptees are among those who may have paused at an uncomfortable length when asked to indicate their race(s). A simple check-mark won’t do. “The mixed experience”, which refers to interracial and intercultural relationships, transracial and transcultural adoptions, and anyone who identifies as having biracial, multiracial, hapa or mixed identity, prompts more than Census form complications; explorations of the mixed experience unearths twists and turns in ancestry, geography, language, self-identification, social constructs and American nationality — all of which make for good stories and food for thought.
To that end, the Third Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, an arts festival held at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, seeks to share and nurture storytelling of the mixed experience with its exciting roster of readings, short and feature films, activities, speakers, panels and a marketplace. In particular, multicultural and global educator Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng (that’s right, President Barack Obama’s sister) will lead a discussion on identity, family and what it means to be multiracial in America, with slam poet, filmmaker and author Kip Fulbeck (Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck), moderated by actor Amy Hill, in a special ticketed presentation on Saturday, June 12.
– Audrey Sunu
The Third Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, June 12-13, 2010
Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA
Most events are free and open to the public.
And don’t miss Kip Fulbeck’s newest collection of works, called “Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck,” in a family-friendly exhibition that offers a playful yet powerful perspective on contemporary American identity. On display now through September 26, 2010.