“Most icons are dead or past their prime. I’m still alive. And still very much actively involved.” — George Takei
ISSUE: Summer 2011
STORY: Janice Jann
With a resurgence on film and TV, George Takei may be the next Betty White.
George Takei is not a fan of being called an icon. “I take a little umbrage with that,” says the veteran entertainer. “Most icons are dead or past their prime. I’m still alive. And still very much actively involved.”
Indeed, the Japanese American, who is arguably the most famous Asian American actor in Hollywood,
with an entertainment career that spans more than 50 years, across continents, on the small and large screen and on stage, is nowhere near slowing down.
Though Takei is perhaps best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on the ’60s cult classic Star Trek, the star with the deep-baritone voice continues to shine on screen and on stage to this day. Currently, Takei plays a holographic ancestor called Hologramps on the Nickelodeon comedy Supah Ninjas, a show he says will “bring family viewing back together again.” Takei also makes an appearance this summer in the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts film Larry Crowne, and come 2012, he’ll be on Broadway starring in Allegiance, a musical with Lea Salonga about the Japanese internment during World War II. “It’s a story very close to me,” says Takei. “I lived that life as a child. The parents in the musical are really modeled after my own parents.”
Takei takes the hardships he’s faced in life in stride. Despite the actor’s sometimes stoic reputation, Takei has always been able to combat adversity with a good dose of humor. He’s an outspoken advocate of gay rights (he’s married to long-time partner Brad Altman) and is known for his mock PSAs responding to homo- phobic remarks by public figures. In fact, no one can call this 74-year-old entertainer behind the times in this YouTube age. After his Spider-Man musical spoof video went viral, Takei was dubbed the next Betty White. He’s flattered by the comparison, but what would he rather be called?
“What about George Takei?” he laughs. “I’d like to be that kind of an icon. Working, creative, active and relevant throughout his life.”
“I feel like everything up until this point has prepared me for this and now I’m ready.”
– T.V. Carpio
ISSUE: Spring 2011
STORY: Linda Lam with reporting by Anna M. Park
Of all the roles T.V. Carpio has played, she likes the role of the mythical eight-legged goddess best.
“It’s a side of me most people haven’t seen yet,” says the Chinese-Filipino American actress who was just promoted to female lead villain, Arachne, in the Broadway “mega-musical” Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, directed by Julie Taymor, music by Bono and The Edge.
The highly anticipated Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is officially opening next week, March 15. We highlighted the Chinese-Filipina American actress T.V. Carpio in our Spring issue, who is tackling the role of Arachne, Spider-Man’s villainous love. Here, 10 things about T.V. you may not know.
1. She was born Teresa Victoria Carpio, named for her mother, Teresa Carpio, an award-winning Hong Kong performer.
“But my name was initially just T.V. My father said, ‘this T.V. is here,’ because my mother had a TV show at the time and for some reason he just wanted to call me T.V. and mom was appalled by the idea.”
The weather’s finally starting to clear up! Here’s what’s happening in March — a little dance (Jabbawockeez!), a little music (Lea Salonga live!), and some dishes best served cold (courtesy of Korean hottie Won Bin).
The Bangerz “Jabbawockeez MUS.I.C.” album release
When: March 1
By now, everyone knows the Jabbawockeez, the winners of MTV’s hit dance show, America’s Best Dance Crew, who have single-handedly elevated Asian Americans to the top of the hip-hop dance world. But do you know The Bangerz, the six-man, mostly Asian American DJ and production team that produces all the original music for all Jabbawockeez’ performances? Better study up. ‘Cause they’re about to hit the big time.
Years ago I was in New York City and my then-boyfriend said I looked like a tourist. I wasn’t sure what he meant considering I was wearing the same clothes I always wear. Did my uniform of jeans, converse low-cuts and a T-shirt scream left coast? In hindsight, he was probably referring to the smile I was wearing. And my penchant for eye contact. And the giddy look of “I’m in Manhattan!” that was spread across my face.
It’s those same qualities that, while on a trip to New York last fall, led multiple people to ask if I would like to rent a bike or go for a carriage ride through Central Park. On the last day of my trip I took a different approach. I kept my head down and walked with more purpose than wonder. No surprise, the questions stopped.
But what fun is that? It’s not every day I get to engage with the funny, irritable or weird. In New York, I engaged with more people during one block on foot than I do in a whole day in Los Angeles (and returned with the cold to prove it). I also engaged in so much food that on my last night I had to buy the “emergency Perrier” to settled an over-stuffed, but incredibly satisfied, belly.
If I were in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t be on a street corner wondering which way to Broadway only to see Kristin Chenoweth, the star of Promises, Promises, the show we were going to see, standing on the same corner. Suffice it to say, we followed her directly to the theater. (The show is, in a word, delightful.)
Of course, this is because I was on vacation. It was all fun all the time, which is exactly how it wouldn’t be if I lived there.
If I lived in Manhattan I wouldn’t be going to high tea at the Plaza (where I felt super-posh in my nice jeans, new cons and fancy T-shirt), taking in Broadway shows (specifically musicals, because why settle for talking when you can have talking and singing?), or returning regularly to Mario Batali’s Otto (a frequent daydream is getting trapped in this restaurant). Sure, I might when I first arrive, but then the city would lose its luster and become just the place I live. In the same way that I live in Los Angeles and yet rarely go to the beach.
Which is all to say that being a tourist in the Big Apple is, for me, the way to go. I get to take in all the city has to offer, and when it’s time to leave I bid adieu to my teeny hotel room and say hello to my large-by-comparison 800-square-foot house in a city where I’m never mistaken for a tourist. But that’s probably because I’m always in my car.