Bruno Mars Dedicates His Grammy To His Late Mother

 

Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, who is of Filipino descent, won best pop vocal album for “Unorthodox Jukebox” at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night.

Mars, 28, was nominated for three more Grammys, including record of the year and song of the year for his hit song “Locked Out of Heaven” and best pop solo performance for “When I Was Your Man.” This is the second Grammy win for Mars, who won best male pop vocal performance for “Just the Way You Are” in 2011.

The most memorable part of Bruno’s acceptance speech? His heartfelt dedication to his mother.

“Ma, I know you’re watching,” Mars said in his acceptance speech, dedicating his win to his mother, who died unexpectedly back in June 2013. “I hope you’re smiling. I love you very much.”

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“It’s been five months and we’re still grieving — we’re still dealing with it and time hasn’t really healed much,” said Bruno’s sister Tiara in a November 2013 interview with ET. “We all have each other, which makes it easier,” Tahiti added.

Bruno’s four sisters, otherwise known as the singing group The Lylas, began documenting their rise to stardom in a new non-scripted series that premiered on WEtv in early November, simply titled The Lylas. In the midst of taping, the tragedy of their mother’s death occurred and the show focused on the girls dealing with their loss. After having initial concerns with a reality show, the girls found comfort in watching the footage of their mother.

“We’re so grateful to have documented our last few special moments with our mother,” says Jaime in an interview with Audrey Magazine, “that all of [the concerns of doing a reality show] are out the window.”

 

 

Asians in Fashion: Ming Xi for Zac Posen’s Pre-Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

Chinese fashion model Xi Meng Yao, more commonly known as Ming Xi, was featured in a series of breathtaking shots for fashion designer Zac Posen’s Pre-Fall-Winter 2014 lookbook in French Vogue. 

The lookbook, shot in both color and black-and-white, offers 26 dramatic photos of Ming in sweeping gowns and sharp silhouettes. Posen, known for his sophisticated style and penchant for deep and metallic hues, doesn’t let his fans down with this pre-collection. Ming poses in a variety of navy blue, gray and (of course) black dresses.

“I had no preconceptions about this career, I tend to just go with the flow,” Ming has said in an interview with CNN on her success in the fashion world. The model has walked in shows for countless high fashion brands, including Christian Dior, Alexander Wang and Givenchy. “I never really gave [being a professional model] too much thought before. That said, I absolutely love what I’m doing now.”

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A KARATE KID TRIBUTE for Tamlyn Tomita’s Birthday

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Japanese-American actress Tamlyn Tomita turns 48 today. Tomita has had numerous Hollywood TV and movie roles such as Waverly Jong in The Joy Luck Club, Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti in JAG and guest roles on popular TV shows like Glee and Teen Wolf.

But let’s not forget about the iconic movie that first introduced us to Tomita in 1986, when she was just 20 years old. The Karate Kid, Part II had Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita reprise their roles as student and mentor in this martial arts sequel. Tomita played Kumiko, the young Daniel’s love interest.

To commemorate Tomita’s birthday and give you a blast from the past, we present to you photos and video clips from everyone’s favorite coming-of-age karate blockbuster. Wax on, wax off.

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VIDEO OF THE DAY: “ONE” By Wong Fu Productions

Wong Fu Productions, the three-member Asian American filmmaking group considered to be one of YouTube’s elite, released another short film last week titled “ONE,” featuring Chinese American singer-songwriter Wang Leehom.

The six-and-a-half minute short, nearing the one million view count, opens on a young street musician (Leehom) performing on a cold winter’s day in New York City. Though he has raw talent, the musician is convinced that singing on the sidewalk is where he belongs; he might have been famous at one point, but in another life. Then he meets a stranger with dreams of her own, and his perspective changes for the better.

It’s a simple, sweet story that encourages others to see life as full of infinite possibilities; it’s up to you to choose what kind of life you want.

It’s also like most of Wong Fu’s other films: romantic, starring attractive twenty-somethings and geared towards Asian American youth. During Wong Fu’s college tour this year, more than a few students and campus organizations have voiced their criticism of the group, calling for less love stories and more videos that are representative of the country’s Asian American population and that cover social issues.

The men behind Wong Fu –– Philip Wang, Wesley Chan and Ted Fu haven’t addressed this critique formally.

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Author Jie-Song Zhang Calls Out “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua

Amy Chua, everyone’s favorite “Tiger Mom,” has received nothing but backlash upon the publication of her newest book, The Triple Package –– and rightfully so.

The Chinese American law professor outdid herself with yet another controversial work –– one in which she acknowledges that some races are superior than others. Online publications and morning talk shows have acknowledged Chua’s blatant racism, and Facebook friends have posted links to articles with captions like “WTF is she thinking?!”

But few have delved into the book itself and emerged with other various reasons why The Triple Package –– and Chua, for that matter –– is problematic. Huffington Post writer and author Jie-Song Zhang took to his blog in a post titled “Tiger Mom vs. Brooklyn Dragon: I Hereby Challenge Amy Chua to a Barefist Kung Fu Duel.”

“Tell me how you want it, Chua,” Zhang writes. “We could match fists across the rooftops of a small rural village, the shadow outlines of our battle poses stitched across the cold black fabric of night…We could get down in Chinatown at the corner of Mott and Bayard, with a gathered crowd of elderly Chinese men, all of them squatting and smoking cigarettes as they watch us. Whatever you want to do.”

Zhang writes that by penning controversial statements in regards to Chinese superiority as a public figure, Chua is only increasing anti-Chinese, and therefore, anti-Asian sentiment. It’s not Chua everyone will end up criticizing, but all Asian Americans. As if there wasn’t already a wedge driven between American communities.

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As for her book, Zhang criticizes the standards by which Chua measures the value of communities –– through income and test scores –– calling it “simple-minded.”

“…our nation, and the world, might come to intuitively understand that it can only be in the recognition of our great common cause, in the joining together of our individual strengths, and in the sharing of our collective responsibilities that we will pass through honorably to the next stage of humankind,” Zhang concludes.

Krystle Cruz Tells Us Why You Need To Watch BARE: THE MUSICAL

Theater Out, Orange County’s top LGBT theater, brings us a powerful musical by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo.

BARE: THE MUSICAL depicts the story of young adults who who are faced with issues of identity, sexuality and spirituality. Set in a Catholic boarding school, the characters must each face their own battle as they try to navigate between adolescence and adulthood. In the midst of searching for their identity, many characters face an inner dilemma between conflicting feelings and beliefs.

Krystle Cruz, the Filipino American actress who plays Ivy, tells us why everyone should watch this powerful show.

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Audrey Magazine: Why should we go see this musical?
Krystle Cruz:  It’s already enough that kids in a normal public high school go through numerous issues, so putting this story behind a Catholic high school backdrop adds more urgency and conflict. People are usually quick to assume that due to the title, the production is filled with nudity but that is definitely not the case. The use of the word “bare” in this show pertains mostly to the baring of one’s soul, and how naked that can make us feel. Every character has at least one problem to confront that affects others in different ways. The music in the show is very similar to Spring Awakening and RENT, with a pulsating rock musical score and a little hint of R&B. Due to the language and some scenes, this show is recommended for mature audiences, preferably ages 14 and up.

AM: Can you tell us more about your character, Ivy?
KC: The name of the character I am playing is Ivy Robinson. The character in the script itself describes her as “pretty, popular and insecure”. She is known as the school whore, however, there are more layers to her personality that not everyone at school sees in her. To the world, she acts promiscuous in order to hide the vulnerability she keeps to herself. Ivy is very attracted to Jason, the over-achieving academic jock who all the girls swoon for and all the guys look up to. But the problem is that Jason has a secret relationship with his roommate Peter. Ivy is the kind of girl who is used to getting exactly what she wants, so when her attraction to Jason becomes a challenge, she does all that she can to win him over. [As a result, she is forced] to finally be vulnerable in front of everyone and show who she truly is inside.

AM: Explain the significance of casting a Filipina for this role.
KC: I think it’s very significant that Theatre Out cast a Filipina for this role because first of all, her last name is Robinson and that is definitely not a Filipino last name. There have been many productions of this show and it’s very typical that Ivy is played by a caucasian female. Going into the audition, I already felt against type for Ivy so I just hoped to get any role, even if it was an ensemble role. I really care about this show so I just wanted to be a part of it. After the audition & callback process, director David Carnevale gave me a call the next day and he offered me the role of Ivy. My initial reaction was, “What?!” because I simply could not believe that they would actually consider me to do it. But of course I was very excited and extremely happy to accept the role. I’ve seen that some people have found it interesting when I tell them I am playing Ivy because there is already a preconceived idea that she is supposed to be a pretty and popular white girl. I’ve even been asked by some reviewers who have come to our show so far about how I feel as an Asian-American being cast as Ivy and it catches me off-guard because I have been so focused on portraying the character to the best of my ability, rather than what people will think of me being an Asian girl playing Ivy. I think that as long as you can relate to her struggle with being an object of rumor and wanting what she can’t have, any beautiful and confident girl could definitely play this role. Being in this show has taught me that I am capable of more than I know, and that I should never limit myself to certain roles just because I am a Filipina. I’m very much inspired by Lea Salonga, a fellow Fil-Am singer/actor who has played many roles on Broadway, including her biggest role as Eponine in Les Miserables. Knowing that gives me enough fuel to keep pushing against the grain in the entertainment industry. Most importantly, I just want to be known for doing great work, aside from the fact of being a Filipina in a predominantly caucasian cast.

 

Catch the show today! BARE: THE MUSICAL is currently playing at Theatre Out in Santa Ana. Tickets are available for purchase at www.theatreout.com. For full cast and crew list, click here

Japan Has Found “The Perfect Girlfriend” …And She’s A Video Game

The hit movie Her, now out in theaters, has received widespread critical acclaim and praise. The appeal to the movie? A man falls in love with an operating system. Some say they want to watch the movie simply because the concept is so strange. After all, to many of us, the idea of falling in love with a computer system sounds impossible. As it turns out, this may not be so unheard of after all.

Many people who are looking for love, company and comfort have decided to fulfill this with a girlfriend. A virtual girlfriend that is. LovePlus is a Japanese dating simulator for Nintendo DS.

LovePlus is sold exclusively in Japan so this may be the first time you’ve heard about it (it’s certainly my first time), but the game has picked up quite a bit of popularity worldwide. Thousands of men and women of all ages have been captivated by this real life dating simulator which offers three girlfriends to choose from– Rinko, Nene and Manaka. All of the choices have different backstories and adjustable personalities.

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Many LovePlus users claim that they use the game for comfort and emotional support. These players swear that though the girls are virtual, the affection and comfort feels very real.

“Manaka is the only — could I say person? … She’s the only person that actually supports me in bad times,”  one user tells Huffington Post. “When I feel down or I have a bad day, I always come home and turn on the game and play with Manaka. I know she always has something to make me feel better.”

Other users claim the video game helps them prepare for real world dating. Others have just gone through heartbreak or traumatizing loss and use the LovePlus girls as a method to cope with the loss. Because of this, there is a surprising amount of users who are heterosexual females simply seeking companionship.

So just how real can these girls get? While they may not look real, they apparently act the part completely. For instance, abruptly leaving a conversation may upset your virtual girlfriend and she’ll want you to say and prove your love. Her temper can raise so high that she’ll actually “slap” you out of anger. Generally, the LovePlus girlfriends are known to be caring, interested in your day, worried about you and ready to listen to whatever you want to talk about. If you’re feeling down, you can activate “comfort mode” and the virtual girlfriend will tell you how important you are to her and how she wants nothing but your happiness.

Apparently, creators have thought about making an “SOS” button that can be used once per game for users who may be feeling suicidal and need to hear words of encouragement. After all, many people have begun to be emotionally dependent on their LovePlus girlfriends.

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As a result, many LovePlus users treat their virtual girlfriends with the attention and care that any real girlfriend would want. Users will take their girlfriends out on dates, weekend trips, buy them presents on their birthday and even exchange flirty emails.

Patrick Galbraith, an anthropologist researching Japanese culture, tries to explain this peculiar phenomenon. “You have — always — this warmth and smile and happiness available at the touch of your fingers,” he says. “It’s the kind of relationship that is instantly rewarding and is always giving. You don’t have to give much to the game and it gives to you every time you turn on the machine.”

“The [LovePlus girlfriends] will kiss, model bikinis and moan when players stroke their chests with a stylus, but sex and nudity are out of the question,” Huffington post explains. “Neither the chastity nor young age of the girls has kept players from being attracted to their girlfriends, however.”

To try and make this relationship even more realistic, if you consider it realistic at all, there are hugging pillows with the images of the LovePlus girls printed on them. Apparently, there are clothed and semi-nude versions available.  Of course, users still swear that the main appeal is the emotional, not physical, support.

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This strange, but wide-spread phenomenon has been captivating the hearts of many. People have claimed their virtual relationships have not only lasted longer than real relationships, it has felt more rewarding.

While we’re personally not ready to pour our emotions into a video game, it turns out many people already have. Tell us what you think.

(SOURCE)

Get To Know Janel Parrish: The Pretty Little Liar You Love To Hate

FULL NAME Janel Meilani Parrish
HERITAGE Chinese and Irish/German
AGE 24
CLAIM TO FAME The girl you love to hate is back on the fourth season of ABC Family’s hit show, Pretty Little Liars. “Mona is not a very nice person,” says Parrish of her character. “She always has a hidden agenda. I don’t think I’m like her at all, thank God!” But clearly, Parrish is doing a great job portraying what she calls “a complex character with lots of layers” — she won Choice TV Villain at the most recent Teen Choice Awards. Next up, Parrish stars opposite Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series) in the indie film The Concerto.

Go-to karaoke song: “Mercy” by Duffy.
Last time I cried: Yesterday during a movie.
Always makes me laugh: Game nights with friends.
Go-to comfort food: Thai.
Last thing I ate: Cheese and salami.
Currently on “repeat” on my iPod: “In Case” by Demi Lovato.
A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Sex and the City reruns.
Current favorite place: Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu.
Favorite drink: Red wine!
Pet peeve: People telling me I’m being overdramatic.
Habit I need to break: Fidgeting.
Talent I’d like to have: Making my own clothes.
Word I overuse: “Literally.”
Most treasured possession: iPhone.
Greatest fear: Being alone.
Favorite childhood memory: Playing hide-and-go-seek with my cousins at my grandma’s house in Hawaii.
Motto: Timing is everything.
What’s cool about being Asian: I’m always on time ;]
My job in another life: Probably hair and makeup!

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photo Jack Blizzard
styling Reichelle Palo
hair & makeup Berenice Gallego

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Farmers in Japan Create Pentagon-Shaped Fruits

Iyokan is a Japanese citrus fruit widely produced in Japan. The fruit is apparently more bitter than orange, but more sweet than grapefruit.

Japanese farmers placed a pentagon mold on the citrus fruit to mold the fruit into the creative shape. Why go through the trouble of making the ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ pentagon-shaped fruit?

Apparently, ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ translates to ‘sweet smell of success in exams.’ You guessed it. The pentagon-shaped fruit were handed out as good luck charms to students for the entrance exam season in Yawatahama, Ehime.

In Japan, the National Center Test for University Admissions is a test given to third year high school students. Results of the exam will determine if the student moves on to prestigious universities in the country.

The students needed all the luck they could get. The Japanese entrance exams are notorious for their difficulty and the third year student often spends their entire year (and most of their other high school years) preparing for the exam. At one point, the saying “Yontou-goraku (four-pass, five-fail)” began spreading. It warns students that anyone who got more than five hours of sleep a night would fail the exam because they did not spend enough time studying.

We certainly hope the ‘Gokaku no Iyokan’ helps!

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Top Asian Comfort Foods

When we think comfort food, most of us revert back to the dishes our moms made us. Here, we salivate over home cooking-from-another-mother. 

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PORK ADOBO BY CHEF CHARLEEN CAABAY, KAINBIGAN 
by Kristine Ortiz.

In the Asian food scene, Filipino food is like that last person picked for the dodge ball team: under-recognized and little appreciated. Despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian ethnicity group in the United States today, the culinary landscape has yet to reflect its ever-growing population. Even in the Bay Area, an area home to some of the highest concentrations of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, there are only pockets of Filipino food wastelands.

This is where chef Charleen Caabay of Oakland’s Kainbigan comes in. She started out cooking pinoy food for friends, and after seeing the lack of Filipino culinary offerings in the region, she opened her restaurant this past August. “As diverse as Oakland is,” says Caabay, “they don’t have enough Filipino food.”

With a name that means “Let’s eat, my friends” (in Tagalog, pagkain means food, kaibigan means friend) and a straightforward, stick-to-your-ribs menu, Kainbigan is not one of those places with too-fancy offerings and sky-high prices. Rather, the restaurant specializes in home-cooked, straight-from-the-heart Filipino food, which is characterized by its salty, sour and sweet flavors and Chinese and Spanish influence, remnants of the country’s trade and colonial histories. Take the adobo, arguably the national dish of the Philippines. Meat is marinated and cooked in a blend of soy sauce and vinegar alongside black pepper, bay leaves and garlic. While the chicken adobo (the most common and recognizable version) is absolutely delicious, Caabay is most proud of her Pork Adobo. It may seem like a simple marinade, but “the way it’s cooked and how long you braise it for — when it’s cooked for just long enough, the taste is amazing,” says Caabay. Served in a wooden bowl atop a heaping cloud of white rice, meant to soak up the expertly balanced sauce, the adobo is comfort food 101, filling you up in the most delicious way possible through a flavor profile that is as complex as it is appetizing.

Another standout item at Kainbigan is Caabay’s own unique creation, Crispy Chicken Adobo over Garlic Noodles, an interesting take on pancit, another Filipino food staple. Instead of the typical rice noodle, Caabay opts for an egg noodle, the chef’s personal favorite, which is combined with the flavorful house garlic sauce and topped with bits of crispy adobo. “I think that’s one of my best dishes because I created it here, and it has a little bit of everything,” she says with a smile. It may not be your typically dry pancit, but the flavor profile of the Garlic Noodles is purely pinoy.

Caabay’s passion for traditional Filipino culture is something she wants to share through the meals she serves. “If you were at home, this would be how mom or lola [grandma] would make it,” she says. And her challenge to potential diners? “Come with an open mind and a big appetite, and I can guarantee that you’ll leave here feeling good.”

 

 

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PHO BY CHEF KIMMY TANG, 9021PHO
by Anna M. Park.

When it comes to comfort food, chef Kimmy Tang knows a thing or two — as owner and chef of 9021Pho in Beverly Hills, Calif., her whole career revolves around hers, the Vietnamese noodle soup known as pho. “Pho is like your breakfast,” she says, “very nutri- tious and energetic. It sets your energy for the rest of the day.” In addition to traditional beef pho and chicken pho, Tang offers a spicy pho that is reminiscent of the southern style of pho she loved in her native Saigon. “Northern Vietnamese cuisine is often less spicy and is not bold in any particular taste,” she explains. “Southern Vietnamese cuisine is often vibrant, flavorful and sweeter than other regions.” Either way, what makes pho is the broth, and for Tang, “the broth is a labor of love. It’s cooked slow for a long period of time, about eight hours.” She also carefully selects lean, high quality meats and offers reduced fat and low-carb versions to cater to the local clientele.

Surrounded by pho day in and day out, does Tang ever tire of pho? Apparently not. “I get my [serving of] daily vitamins with small portions of pho throughout the day,” says Tang. “The concentrated broth is full of vitamins and nutrients and gives me a nice dose of energy, the healthy way.”

 

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CAMBODIAN SOUPS
by Kanara Ty.

When people want comfort food, some may reach for a calming chicken soup or greasy fried chicken. I turn to Cambodian food. I crave things that pack a lot of flavor, and Cambodian cuisine incorporates a lot of spices (often made into a spice blend known as kroeung). And with cold weather around the corner, I know I’ll want a particular kind of Cambodian comfort food: the hearty soups.

During the winter in any Cambodian American household, hearty soups are always on rotation for any meal of the day, with plenty to go around for everyone (including our neighbors, who also make more than enough food). Noodle soups (like kuyteav) and rice porridge (babor) make for popular breakfast dishes, while sour soup dishes
like somlaw machu kroeung, which incorporates ingredients like kroeung paste, turmeric, morning glory, coriander, stewed beef ribs and tripe, make for a great main dinner course. Another popular dish is somlaw machu youen, which incorporates fish, shrimp, pineapple, tomatoes and the celery-like bac hà in a tamarind-flavored broth.

For me, the one soup that represents the epitome of Cambodian comfort food is the national dish somlaw koko (Cambodian ratatouille). It’s perfect for anyone who likes to savor the discovery of various ingredients in a complex dish. With your first sip, you’ll be overwhelmed by the layers of contrasting flavors and textures of lemongrass-based kroeung paste, prahok (fermented fish paste), palm sugar, ground toasted rice, assorted veggies (including kabocha and Thai eggplants), and meat (most Cambodians prefer pork spareribs cut into bite-sized pieces). I also eat the soup with a side dish of fish sauce (chopped with Thai chilies) and serve it over rice — the perfect way to enjoy the ultimate Cambodian comfort food.

Dying to try somlaw koko? Check out elephantwalk.com for recipes, or Sophy’s in Long Beach, Calif. (sophysthailongbeach.com).


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SOUP DUMPLINGS, DIN TAI FUNG
by Anna M. Park.

Mention soup dumplings as gourmet fare, and one immediately thinks of Din Tai Fung. The Michelin-star Taiwanese restaurant that sparked a million lines around the world (there are more than 80 locations globally) has just opened its fourth U.S. branch at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. Go for their Juicy Pork Dumplings, which burst with flavorful soup in your mouth. Just make sure to do it the proper way: make your dipping sauce 80-20 vinegar to soy sauce, cool the dumpling in the sauce, and then eat whole (do not bite and do not slurp soup out!). unless, of course, you’re having their coveted Truffle Dumplings, normally reserved for dignitaries and exclusive to The Americana branch — that you eat straight out of the bamboo steamer.

 


This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here