Sundance 2015 Dispatch: Daily Buzz Podcast Episode 2 & Asian Pacific Film Experience Celebration

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Go ahead and click the photo above to view a larger file. Yesterday was an auspicious day as Asian Pacific filmmakers from the US and around the globe were honored at the 2015 Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City, and it was a fun party. With an open bar, including some dangerous yet delicious moonshine, and appetizers, the annual party that celebrates Asian representation in Park City was held at the Mountain Trails Art Gallery at the top of Main Street.

Over 40+ artists had official films at both Sundance and Slamdance, which may seem not like much, but it was a stark improvement and shows that more quality Asian and Asian American films are being made. I’ll post official photos from the party, but in the meantime, here’s some shots from yesterday:

Around the Horn: Who’s Watching ‘Fresh Off the Boat’?

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So you might have heard that ABC will be premiering a new series in a couple of weeks entitled FRESH OFF THE BOAT–the first network prime-time series featuring an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s ALL-AMERICAN GIRL two decades ago. Already the show’s garnered its share of “controversy”–everything from folks offended by the show’s name (should remind everyone that our own DHH wrote a play called FOB over three decades ago) to criticisms about the actors’ accents to journalists asking the cast and producers if chopsticks would be prominently featured. I’ve already blogged about the show and have seen the pilot which I thought was good and does try to do justice to the Asian American characters.

So what does everyone think about the show? Are you going to watch it and why or why not (or if you’ve already seen it, what’d you think)? What sort of impact do you think it’ll have on the community–good or bad? And since it’s being compared to ALL-AMERICAN GIRL, for those of you old enough to remember that sitcom, what do you make of the comparisons?

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: Daily Buzz Podcast Episodes 1, Strong Horror Fare & Coming-of-Age Stories

INDEPENDENT

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Although today is Day 3 of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, it feels like I’ve been here a week already. Sundance is always a major scene and I’ve seen almost a dozen films already. If there were emerging themes from this year’s film program, then it would definitely be coming-of-age titles and a strong horror and midnight section.

THE WITCH broke out of the gates with rave reviews and a verisimilitude and authenticity, and also well crafted scares and slow burn horror that fits perfectly with this Salem era period piece that doesn’t do any smarmy metaphors and immediately sets in stone that yes, the witch is a witch, she’s evil and she’s there to tear some shit up.

UCLA Needs Asian Americans to Drink Alcohol for Science and Money

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And that sound you’re hearing is my Southern California Korean American peeps clicking on this link to find out how they can get involved…in the name of science of course.

So here are the facts:

The Addictions Research Laboratory in UCLA’s Dept. of Psychology is conducting a study “investigating a medication for alcohol use” and need Asian American subjects between the ages of 21-55 to participate.

ARROW “Left Behind” Episode Review: They’re Not Gonna Rename the Show “Felicity” Just Yet

guest_offendersDOMINIC

Dominic Mah is a writer, director, erratic blogger at dommah.com, and rock musical enthusiast. He recently co-wrote a feature film about superheroes and sidekicks. He is working on a startup comic book. He is often found in karaoke bars being @dommah and @thorhulkcritic.

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Well, it seems I was very wrong about that Lazarus Pit thing. Because I, like most naive people, UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF JAPANESE SUPER-AGENTS. More spoilers follow.

Most of this rather somber episode deals with Team Arrow learning that Oliver was killed in his cliffside duel with the evil and unspellcheckable Ra’s al Ghul. Felicity, in her grief, pleads with Ray Palmer to abandon his superhero aspirations. Diggle and Roy get extremely gruff and decide that the best way to honor Oliver’s memory is to go out and pound bad guys. Laurel combines the grief/gruff reactions by being sad for a bit and then finally suiting up as the new Black Canary and ambushing two goons with her patented sonic scream.

Who Wants an Invisible Asian Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

If you’re a loser someone who is girlfriend-less or boyfriend-less but wants the world to think you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, two new apps in the beta stage just might be your salvation: Invisible girlfriend and Invisible boyfriend.

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For just $24.99 to start, the service will send you 100 texts, 10 voicemails and 1 handwritten note from your imaginary invisible girlfriend or boyfriend. So the next time you visit your parents for the holidays and they ask why you’re not seeing anyone/when are you getting married/when will you give us grandsons since we’re going to die soon, you can just show them the romantic texts or play them the voicemails or read them the handwritten note from the love of your life. Problem solved. Here’s how the Invisible girlfriend site describes their service:

“Finally. A girlfriend your family can believe in. Invisible girlfriend gives you real-world and social proof that you’re in a relationship—even if you’re not—so you can get back to living life on your own terms.”

Oh, the Humanity! (Ramen Edition)

I was greeted by this disturbing news headline when I went online earlier today:

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In what can only be described as tragic news out of North Carolina (though isn’t everything out of North Carolina automatically tragic?), truck driver Larry Scholting fell asleep behind the wheel of his big rig early this morning and crashed his vehicle on I-95.

Luckily, neither Scholting or anyone else was hurt in the accident, but that’s not to say there were no casualties. Behold:

FLASH “Revenge Of The Rogues” Rundown & Review

guest_offendersDOMINIC

Dominic Mah is a writer, director, erratic blogger at dommah.com, and rock musical enthusiast. He recently co-wrote a feature film about superheroes and sidekicks. He is working on a startup comic book. He is often found in karaoke bars being @dommah and @thorhulkcritic.

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Flash trains so he can get faster than the Reverse Flash, who kicked his butt in the last episode. Captain Cold returns with an arsonist partner, Heatwave (not the 70′s funk band). Heatwave has a mega-flame gun to complement Captain Cold’s ultra-ice gun.

Flash’s dilemma is whether to keep hard training (because evil Dr. Wells wants him to) or to go fight the Icy Hot villains. Guess what? He eventually decides to go fight them. This results in another odd confrontation where Flash runs around his foes real fast instead of just grabbing up their weapons of mass climate change. I get it, if the fights happened in real Flash-time they’d be over much too quickly and plus we’d all get strobe-induced seizures from watching them. But it’s getting increasingly hard to believe that the Fastest Guy Alive cannot quickly settle a dispute with a man whose costume is a fuzzy parka.

Sundance 2015 Preview: A Banner Year for Asian American filmmakers?

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INDEPENDENTYOMYOMF will be reporting from the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow night through February 1st in Park City, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. Known as the mecca of American independent film, the Festival has jumpstarted many careers in the film industry and has become a discovery festival of artists and works that frame the American lexicon of filmed entertainment and pop culture.

Of course, YOMYOMF founder Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW premiered there in 2002, where years later, Justin has returned to Sundance in various capacities, as an advisor, a juror, panelist, and sponsor. The 2015 edition of the festival is a landmark year for Asian Americans (much like the BLT year of 2002), with an unprecedented 30 Asian American artists, ranging from directors, to producers, cinematographers, and actors who will preside in Park City in the next 10 days via Sundance and also the Slamdance Film Festival.

So What’s Up with This ‘Black Person Toothpaste’?

Yup, this is a real thing in Asia:

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I had previously heard about “Darlie (formerly “Darkie”) Toothpaste” or “Black Person Toothpaste” (i.e. the literal Chinese translation of the brand name) from friends who had grown up in Hong Kong and Taiwan. You’d think in this day and age such a product would’ve been, oh, I don’t know—discontinued or changed, but apparently, according to writer Clarissa Wei, it’s still being sold roughly as is.

Here’s some background on the product from Wei’s xojane piece:

Sold by an Asian company named Hawley & Hazel and partially owned by America’s Colgate-Palmolive, the brand was born after the founder had seen comedian Al Jolson in his 1920s blackface show. The whiteness of Jolson’s teeth reportedly impressed him and thus, a new product and marketing campaign.

If You Have $1 Million & Want a Japanese Giant Robot, You’re in Luck

Yup, a fully functioning mecha suit can be yours for the low price of only $1 million thanks to Japanese robotics company Suidobashi Heavy Industry which now has the Kuratas, the aforementioned mecha suit, for sale on Amazon.

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It’s a five-ton, 13-foot robot with a cockpit that, among other things, can fire BB cannons (sold separately of course). Here’s a demonstration video from 2012 when the Kuratas was first introduced as an art installation project:

AROUND THE HORN: Juicy Fruit at the End of the World

I wanted to keep it light this week, so my question is: when the world ends, what’s the one tangible thing you hope will still be around?

Of course, it would be great if stuff like compassion for your fellow man and a working sense of humor still existed, but we all know those aren’t the important things. What we all want to know is where will we find the stockpiles of Shin Black microwaveable ramen; blue Monster; or – my personal favorite – Juicy Fruit?

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Since I’ve already plugged Juicy Fruit three times now, I’ll share my only other obsession: Pringles. Yes, Sour Cream & Onions is a great flavor, but I’m thinking those containers could probably be fashioned as some sort of improvised weapon.