Around the Horn: Coffee, Tea or…?


So since we’re Asians, we’re supposed to drink tea, right? But I’ve just never had any affection at all for the stuff. Maybe this dates back to PTSD from being a kid at LA Chinese restaurants with my parents, who wouldn’t buy me a soft drink (back in the ‘60’s, even ice water wasn’t necessarily assured), and I assumed they were being cheap. Don’t even get me started on their sketchy justification that one should drink hot beverages in warm water to cool off. Really?! Then how come no one ever suggests drinking icy beverages when it’s freezing outside to warm up? In any case, I ended growing up into a total coffee person: love the stuff, the more bitter and full-bodied the better, and I probably drink too much of it. As for tea, well, I accept in theory that it’s a subtler drink, which cultivates a more refined palate — but c’mon, it tastes to me like water with some vague scent added. How about you guys? Tea? Coffee? Or some other preferred hot beverage?

This Week in Internet Cuteness: The Magic Bunny

What better way to kick off another week than with a picture of a cute and rare animal:


That’s the Ili pika aka the “Magic Bunny”. They live in the remote Tianshan Mountains in China and are so rare that there are believed to be fewer than 1,000 of them left. The photo was snapped by Weidong Li, the man who discovered the species back in 1983.

As adorable as the pika may be, its numbers have been decreasing because their natural habitat has been shrinking—by over 71% in the past 30 years.

Watch Dave Boyle’s MAN FROM RENO opening this weekend

10533982_10155361625195158_4852046159908324785_nWith a headline that says “A Director who’s showing how easy it is to cast Asian actors” those are some fighting words! But, multicultural casting has been film director Dave Boyle’s M.O. who fell into Japanese culture when at the age of 19, this young Mormon was designated to go on his mission in Australia and preach the gospel to a close-knit overseas Japanese community. All of his films, five in total, feature some aspect of Japanese culture, via Japanese American characters who inhibit the same idiosyncratic and DIY traits that Boyle IRL inhabit. From his debut BIG DREAMS, LITTLE TOKYO to SURROGATE VALENTINE and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS, parts one and two of his DON’T LOOK BACK inspired films about lovable sad sack, indie musician Goh Nakamura, they’re all iterations of Boyle.

“Goodbye, Saturday Morning” is the next big ’80s nostalgia anthem that your friends will hear in 2017

Why, 2017? Because that’s the year the final season of PARKS AND RECREATION takes place in. But, there’s truth to this headline because, hopefully, SF-based DIY and uber-talented multi-hyphenate H.P. Mendoza’s 8-bit animation musical feature DORK will be done and one of its main songs, “Goodbye, Saturday Morning” will be on the front page of The Daily Beast or some other mainstream media website, thinking they’ve got the scoop on the next big viral hit. But screw them, because we’re telling you to listen to it now!

Hey Japanese Schoolgirls, These Instructional Videos Will Show You How Not to Accidentally Show Off Your Panties While You Do Stuff


It’s not a secret that the Japanese have a thing for schoolgirls in uniform. But this “fetish” has apparently gotten so bad that now we have the Mousou Kagaku Kenkyushitsu video series—which is basically a series of short videos showing Japanese schoolgirls in uniform doing things like reaching for a book on the top shelf, resulting in a glimpse of their panties underneath their short skirts. Like this:

Flash & Arrow: Big Boss Battles


Dominic Mah is a writer, director, erratic blogger at, 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.


(Spoilers ahead)

This week’s FLASH and ARROW were mainly about leveling up the difficulty of the heroes’ showdowns with their foes, by addition of dramatic weight, new weapons, and an Iron Man suit.

FIGHT #1 Flash vs. The Rogues Gallery


How to Survive the 2015 TV Pilot Season if You’re a Caucasian Actor


Deadline Hollywood reported this week that because of the high demand for actors of color, this current TV pilot season (when actors audition for series regular roles in next fall’s crop of new TV shows) has been especially hard for white actors who are being denied opportunities in favor of their more “diverse” colleagues. Many folks attacked the article for its racism, including myself, but now that I’ve thought about it some more, I feel I may have taken the wrong approach.

You see, I’m all about the love. And that love extends to my Caucasian brothers and sisters. I know this is a scary time for them—they’ve never experienced being the “minority” before and even the suggestion that their white entitlement is threatened is uncomfortable and frightening.

Pilot season must be especially tough because this is the time of year when white people have traditionally shined. They’ve had their pick of auditions, their pick of roles, hell, this is why their forefathers came over on the Mayflower—so their descendants could be cast on Friends without having to worry about some black or brown actor taking away that opportunity. But we’re entering a brave new world and if white is the new black/Asian/Latino in Hollywood, here’s my advice on how my white friends should approach this pilot season:

Agents of SHIELD — Season 2, Episode 14 — “Love in the Time of Hydra” — Recap & Review


(Spoilers ahead…)

This episode, with homages to both PULP FICTION and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, is the second episode in the row where the villains took center stage (last week, it was Kyle MacLachlan’s maniacal “suicide squad”), with the return of Grant Ward and Agent 33. Entitled “Love in the Time of Hydra,” the episode planted a seed of a possible romance blossoming between Ward and Agent 33, who also make an excellent team, and they do a lot in this episode — hold up a diner (ala pumpkin and honey bunny in PULP FICTION), infiltrate a military base, capture that Hydra scumbag Bakshi (who was mind controlling Agent 33),and subjugate him with similar hypnosis torture at the end of the episode (with eyes taped open, about to be mind fucked by Agent 33).

A Portrait of Filmmakers as Young Men

Chinese Opera Singer William Lau, Justin Lin, me and Steven Pranoto in Toronto for Shopping For Fang’s Canadian premiere at TIFF 1997

Chinese Opera Singer William Lau, Justin Lin, me and Steven Pranoto in Toronto for Shopping For Fang’s Canadian premiere at TIFF 1997

Fellow Offender Justin Lin’s post on Class of 97 brings back humble memories of our roots as UCLA film students and independent filmmakers. I remember driving up to San Francisco to promote Shopping for Fangs at Berkeley. We stayed overnight on the floor of a future producer’s dorm room and we didn’t sleep very well on the night that she invited us to screen our movie on campus.

So the next night, when we were offered another night on the floor of this humble student’s dorm room, we declined and said we were heading back to Los Angeles.

But our secret plan was to find a nice motel room where we could spend a night in and write. As we were heading out of Berkeley, we checked all the motels in the vicinity and they all turned out to be over $60 per night. I was sure that we could find a motel room in the $40 range in the Oakland area.

‘Ethnic’ Casting – Too Much of a Good Thing? Really?

This was the headline for a piece posted last night by the popular showbiz website Deadline Hollywood about the trend this pilot season (the time of year when the broadcast networks cast the pilots for shows in consideration for the new TV season) to cast more “ethnic” actors (read the whole article here):

Screen shot 2015-03-24 at 11.47.45 PM

So apparently making a real and conscientious effort for more diversity in TV casting could constitute “too much of a good thing”. Or as the author Nellie Andreeva explains:

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.