Film: Where Are You Taking Me?
Playing: Los Angeles Film Festival, Thursday, June 24th, 5:15pm (1000 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles 90015)
Director Kimi Takesue knows what it’s like to be an outsider. Raised by her Asian American father and Caucasian mother, Takesue split her childhood between the disparate cultural worlds of Hawai’i and Massachusetts. Other hapas can probably relate to the issues of identity and cultural belonging that being bi-racial entails, but Takesue chose to embrace these things in her work — what she calls “that meeting point where people from very different worlds come together and struggle for some form of communication.” When commissioned by the Rotterdam International Film Festival to make a film on Africa, Takesue, who had never before set foot in the country, jumped right in.
I saw her movie at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and it was unlike anything else there. For one thing, this movie employs neither narration nor translation; the camera simply wanders through Uganda, capturing daily life. The scenes are all somewhat familiar, but never completely. There’s the wedding ceremony where soap bubbles float towards the alter; elsewhere, children sit in a dark room watching an old Bruce Lee flick, while an attendant does a live voice-over.
“I intentionally wanted to construct the piece as an outsider,” Takesue explained, “so you’re constructing meaning through body language, through gesture.” While filming, her goal was to capture the little moments — or rather, to let them unfold in front of the camera. This is important, she says. “We’re inundated with images of Uganda that only relate to desperation and victimization. We only see images that relate to war and poverty and AIDs.” Her movie reminds us that it’s the little moments that show life’s beauty and vitality.
Add another Asian face on the hit musical dramedy Glee for next season, premiering in the fall. This time, it’s YouTube teen sensation Charice Pempengco, the pint-sized cutie with the voice of a diva.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 18-year-old Filipina will be playing a foreign exchange student whose amazing voice threatens queen Glee bee Rachel (Lea Michele).
She just released her self-titled debut album last month, where it ranked eighth in the Billboard Top 200.
Check her out as a 15-year-old.
And then her appearance on Ellen, her U.S. debut.
I think Charice is a perfect addition to Glee. Her voice really is amazing. What do you think? Will you watch?
Photos courtesy of Charicemusic.com.
Get Audrey Magazine’s Summer 2010 issue, available now!
* Easy summer hair and skin
* Fashion gets graphic with slashes, cut-outs and scribbles
* Jeannie Mai of E! Style’s How Do I Look and Extra
* Shoe designer Jinny Kim
* Comedian Steve Byrne
* Hip-hop/electronic band Far East Movement
* The Asian American dance phenomenon, including Jabbawockeez, Kaba Modern, and Asako Hara
* Plus fashion, beauty, entertaining, travel and more!
If you’re a subscriber, keep an eye out in your mailbox. If you’re not a subscriber, we make it easy for you! Just get our Summer issue now at AudreyShops.
Just ’cause it’s summer doesn’t mean there’s nothing to watch on TV. We told you about the shows with AA stars that premiered a few weeks ago, including the new Pretty Little Liars and the return of Drop Dead Diva, as well as all the reality show competitions like The Next Food Network Star, Top Chef and Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.
Well, tonight, a highly anticipated new series premieres, one that delves into the whole vampire craze we’re still mired in. The Gates follows the oh-so perfect lives of the residents of the exclusive suburban community The Gates. Now, if you’ve watched the trailers, you know that some of those perfect residents are actually vampires. And yes, I’m a Twilight fan, but that’s not the main reason I’ll be watching the show. There are two good reasons for anyone to watch this blood-fest: two Asian American actresses represent on The Gates tonight, premiering on ABC at 9 pm.
Rhona Mitra, who is of Indian-English-Irish descent, plays Claire Radcliff, the perfect Gates housewife and mother. She has a beautiful home, a handsome husband, and a daughter she loves dearly. But beneath the flawless exterior, Claire is struggling with a unique addiction — one that has the power to destroy her family and everything she holds dear if she fails to keep her urges in check. (Guess we know who one of the vampires are!)
Another AA actress in the series is Janina Gavankar, who plays Deputy Leigh Turner. Always ready with a witty retort and a sharp observation, Leigh is an intimidating addition to The Gates police force. But there’s more to Leigh than the tough exterior, and when it comes to love, she’s got a bad streak going.
Gavankar, who is of Indian and Dutch descent, is best known for her role as the promiscuous Papi in The L Word. Other television credits include Stargate Atlantis, Grey’s Anatomy, The Cleaner, Dollhouse, NCIS and Three Rivers. She’s a native of Joliet, Ill., and is an accomplished pianist, vocalist and orchestral percussionist. Once a member of the girl group Endera, she has had several of her songs licensed for various films and television series.
I’ll be watching The Gates, just because of Gavankar and Mitra. Well, that and morbid curiosity. Will you?
Photos courtesy of ABC.
Much of this movie happens in a language that will scare a whole lot of good ‘ol Americans. I don’t mean Chinese. It’s the language of silence. The setting takes place in a tiny fishing village in Malaysia. There are smoke stacks beyond the trees and garbage collects on the shore, but the village itself is trapped in time, its residents occupied by the day-to-day tasks of catching, gutting and drying fish.
In this quiet, structured setting, the simplest dialog can cast deep foreboding. In its first scene, a young man, Ah Fei (Ernest Chong), is with his father, Ah Kau (Chung Kok-keong). Ah Fei asks his father if the old man will die soon. Ah Kau’s response is simple: yes, he will die soon.
Director Woo Ming-jin (Monday Morning Glory, The Elephant and the Sea) here deserves credit for giving his characters time to reveal themselves. One of the movie’s funniest scenes comes when Ah Kau visits the woman he has loved for decades, Ai Ling . What starts off as an honest confession of unrequited love turns abruptly when we find out that Ai Ling is still married to another man. The two then turn to discuss whether Ah Kau will outlive Ai Ling’s husband.
Still, for its careful pacing and simple-yet-beautiful style, this movie will not turn a box-office hit. This was never more apparent then when, after watching Woman on Fire at the Los Angeles Film Festival, I walked into my next screening: Cane Toads: The Conquest in 3D. I’m not making a judgement about either movie–simply commenting on the things people tend to spend their money on. On a related note, I’d like to point out that Woman on Fire contains the more graphic depiction of a decapitated frog.
That’s too bad (about the movie’s commercial success, not the dead frog). Woman on Fire Looks for Water can be riveting, especially in its depiction of young love between Ah Fei and Lily (Foo Fei-ling). Their interaction manages to be both charming and uncomfortable, always pure, but with the implication that such love rarely stands still. Woo Ming-jin said in an early interview that his film is primarily about longing. With longing comes regret, and at the core of this movie is the tragedy that Ah Fei might be on his way to becoming just like his father.
If you live in Los Angeles, you have a chance to watch Woman on Fire Looks for Water on Sunday, 1:45pm at the LA Film Festival. I recommend it, but just make sure to go with the right expectations, which can be summed up as such: Jerrica Lai gives a great performance as a character that is the exact opposite of her last major role.
And let us know how you liked it!
It’s summertime and that means some serious summer reading. I’ve been obsessed with Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, and Chang-Rae Lee’s The Surrendered. (Read our book review and interview with Lee in our Summer issue.) But I also want to check out some guilty pleasure reading like The Carrie Diaries and the new Twilight graphic novel illustrated by Korean artist Young Kim. Oh, what to do.
Thankfully, some really ingenious people have picked up on the success of Netflix to bring you all the books you could want to your doorstep. It’s like having a Border’s at your fingertips.
I remember the days when I used to run to my local Blockbuster to get my video return in on time. Never again. Honestly, I don’t know how we as a society survived thus far without the Internet, computers and Netflix.
Well, now there’s BookSwim, the Netflix for books. Which is completely genius because while I cherish the written word and love my old-fashioned books, I simply don’t have room in my apartment to house every single book I’ve ever read. I’m a bit of a snob that way. I only want the really good, quality books displayed on my bookcase.
And yet, I do like an easy, lighthearted read. That’s why BookSwim is perfect for people like me (and apparently Pakistani American co-founder Shamoon Siddiqui as well). I can fly through The Carrie Diaries or skim Eat, Pray, Love before it hits theaters. Ideal if you’re a James Patterson or Nora Roberts junkie (one could go broke buying up every single one of these prolific author’s new books). And when you’re done, pop it into the envelope they give you and wait for your next shipment. It ships directly to your mailbox and you can keep the books for as long as you want. No shipping fees, no late fees.
Now granted, they’re not as fast as Netflix (a hard cover book is a lot more unwieldy than a DVD), especially because you are generally encouraged to return two books at a time, but if you like to take time with your books, the three-at-a-time plan works perfectly. Read a couple, return, and wait for your next shipment as you read your third.
Wanna try it out? Enter code READINGINSTYLE at checkout and receive one month free on a three month subscription (plans start from $23.95). Good through August 31, 2010.
Now, as much as I enjoy reading, I think there are certain books that require you to esconce yourself in a cozy chair and really lose yourself. Then there are books that are light and fun and don’t require so much brain time. That’s when audio books come in handy.
Simply Audio Books borrows the Netflix concept, but with books on disc narrated by actors and others. There’s something to be said about listening to the latest Lauren Weisberger chick lit narrated by the scratchy voiced actress Eliza Dushku.
Simply Audio Books has 22,000 books on disc in 33 categories with no due dates, shipping costs or late fees to worry about. The plans start at about $15 a month and I find the turnaround time to be fairly quick, which is a huge plus. Whether you have a long commute, a cross-country road trip, or just need to find time to squeeze in some books, for a multi-tasker like me, it’s a pretty genius concept.
I don’t have kids, but I have toddler nieces. And I know that no matter how perfectly you want to raise your children with esteem-building words, psychologically sound discipline and positive artistic stimulation, sometimes you just have to distract them with the TV or a DVD. Sorry, that’s just reality.
I’ve done more than my share of television babysitting with my nieces, I’ll admit. And when little Chloe gets antsy at the restaurant, I’m the first one to say, “Hey, where’s your iPhone?”
Thank goodness StoryChimes has actual books you can download onto your iPhone. With classic stories from Hans Christian Anderson (The Frog Prince) and the Brothers Grimm (Rumpelstiltskin), as well as newer stories involving Jasper the dog, the stories are interactive and lively, with chimes to let kids know to “turn the page.” (Ever notice how a 2-year-olds’ fingers are so much better equipped for the iPhone than our grownup ones?) Just download as many stories as you want for 99 cents from the website. And they’ve even got bilingual stories, too! (You can’t argue with a Spanish lesson on the way to grandma’s.)
I love food delivery. I think everything should be delivered. And on those days when I’m working late at the office, glued to my computer screen, I keep reminding myself that someone out there — somewhere — you need to start a cocktail delivery service!
And if not cocktails, why not beauty at your doorstep?
You’ve all heard of Minx™ nails by now, haven’t you? It’s the super chic molten metal look for your fingernails, sported by all the trendiest stars. Essentially what it is is a solid film with an adhesive back that is heat activated. The result is a stand-out, “wow” manicure.
And now Manicures R Mobile™ brings it to your home or office. No more waiting, no more lines. Manicures R Mobile™ brings the luxury, professionalism and pampering of a spa straight to you.
And they don’t do just nails (though it’s worth mentioning that they use polishes that are non-toxic and free from DBP, formaldehyde and tuolene). Indulge in a massage, a makeover, waxing, spray tanning, even wig styling! The treatments are performed by a team of renowned celebrity nail, makeup, hair and body artists who work on and off the red carpet for socialites, stay-at-home moms and working professionals. Manicures R Mobile™ does party packages, too (it is bachelorette party season …).
So for one very, very lucky Audrey reader, we are going to hook you up with a Minx™ manicure and pedicure from Manicures R Mobile™. The only catch? You have to be in the Los Angeles area to win. (Sorry East Coasters!) Manicures R Mobile™ are solely L.A.-based for now, but I have a feeling it’s a trend that catching on (think taco trucks).
So get commenting below! You have until Wednesday, June 23, 11:59 pm to enter!
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.