A fan of all things deep fried and sweet, I just had a churro experience this past weekend that tops even my Spanish churro and chocolate experience in Barcelona. After watching multiple episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’ and Andrew Zimmern’s ‘Bizarre Foods’ on the Travel Network, I’ve been reminded that some of the most tasty, soulful, and inexpensive food can be found on the street. So on Saturday night, I dashed out to the heart of Koreatown on 8th and Irolo where a handful of taco trucks and food vendors hawking everything from homemade tamales, beef rib tacos, and hot dogs abound, to satiate my craving. And there, I saw a man selling his churros at his humble cart. Five for one dollar, the churros were a bit thicker than your average, skinny, soulless pre-fab churro usually seen at amusement parks and county fairgrounds. These were substantial churros. A crunchy, deep fried shell encasing a delicate, spongy center that teased the palate with a faint egg custard-like aroma, these churros reminded me of the best French-style crullers I ever had. 24 hours later, I went back to get my churro fix but saw no sign of the truck. Perhaps next time…
With the casting controversy surrounding the about-to-be-released live-action version of The Last Airbender coming to a head (see both sides of the issue here and here), I’ve been hearing the familiar refrain of how we need more Asian Americans in positions of power in Hollywood so this sort of thing won’t happen. There is obviously a logic to this: more Asians=better Asian representation. But like many things in Hollywood, logic doesn’t always apply. So let me offer a different perspective that goes something like this: More Asians will not necessarily mean better representation. In fact, it could add to the problem.
You heard me right. And the reason I say this? Because we already have a fairly decent number of Asian Americans in those power positions and they aren’t helping us any. So what makes us think more of the same will improve our lot? Permit me to explain further:
I’m fully aware that there’s still a glass ceiling and we don’t have the people at the very top where it truly counts—the folks who can greenlight the projects and wield the real power. But as many Asian Americans in the biz are proud to point out, if you look at the ranks of the behind-the-scenes, decision-making positions–executives, producers, agents and so forth—you’ll find that there are probably more Asian Americans represented there than many other minorities. But the problem is that a lot of the people in those positions aren’t helping the cause and, in some cases, are making things worse.
I have a friend staying in Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship. I’ll call him “Bill”. He loves it there to the point where he says he doesn’t want to come back. He commented however, that if there is one thing about the culture that really bugs him, it’s that the Japanese don’t know how to say “no”.
How could this be a bad thing?” you may ask. Well, Bill’s Fulbright has to do with architecture and there was an interesting house for him to look at. A friend of his happened to know the owners and said it should be no problem for Bill to take a look at it. But Bill’s friend later came back to him and said the owners “are busy for the entire year.” Busy for an entire year? Nobody is busy for an entire year. Not even the President. Bill was incensed. Why couldn’t they just have said “No”?
So I have pondered this question and I have decided
As the ongoing World Cup 2010 in South Africa illustrates multiple times daily, few elements are capable — at least, publicly — of stirring the blood, increasing the heart rate and heightening passions more than a performance of a national anthem at the onset of an anticipated event. When done properly, in tune, and with accurate lyrics and proper phrasing intact, the song has the mystic ability to transform mere enthusiasm into singularly-focused zeal. Hair standing on the back of one’s neck, what the Hawaiian’s call “chicken skin” and eyes with moisture content of Niagara Falls are the accompanying physical contexts. You are now as ready to battle with your team as if one of Leonidas’ 300.
5:13 am. “That’s a wrap!” Last day on set feels like saying goodbye to relatives after spending a summer with them. Indi films rarely feel like a summer vacation, more like a suicide deployment to Afganistan. There is a fine line between a good indi film and a horrible one. You are at the mercy of so many things on a film, weather, locations, etc, etc. With money you can buy your way out some problms, on a Indi film your currency goes as deep as your belief in the film. It’s amazing how far sincerity and belief in something goes. However, there is a thin line between belief and lunacy. By the second week, people are way too tired, way under payed, way too sick. Idealistic fervor is replaced with thoughts of regret and time waisted. Think of it like a battalion of soldiers. It’s nice a exciting when you start but you quickly realize the reality of not having enough of anything to fight a fair fight.
Bad Thing: It was with myself.
Last week I went into a Quest Diagnostics Lab for a semen test. (gasp not, dear readers, there is nothing wrong with my spunk – and I have the two children to prove it. Before you roll your eyes, believe me, if you saw their noses and eyebrows, you would have no doubt as to their paternity – this was a different health matter, and I’m fine).
I was shocked and disheartened when I heard the news yesterday that you would most likely not be competing this Fourth of July in Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Some of our readers may not know this, but that event is the apex of competitive eating. It is to eating what the Super Bowl is to football or what the World Cup is to soccer. And you are its star. In 2001, you put away 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, beating the previous world record by a whopping 25 hot dogs. You are a six-time champ—that’s more wins than anyone else in the history of this “sport” (since the event is broadcast on ESPN, I’m cool with referring to it as a “sport” as long as I can keep the quotes around it). And it’s not just hot dogs. You have gone on to win competitive eating contests featuring hamburgers, pizzas, lobster rolls and just about anything you can put in your mouth.
So when The International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) Executive Director George Shea told the press that they had reached “an impasse” in your contract negotiations, which will most likely not be resolved by July 4…my heart sank. What made the news especially devastating was that this announcement came close on the heels of your fellow countryman and world masturbation champ Masanobu Sato’s decision not to participate in this year’s Masturbate-a-thon.
Yes, I know I’ve proclaimed that soccer and the World Cup don’t mean shit to me (see here and here for proof). But I think I can be forgiven for indulging our readers with another World Cup related post. 32 lovely Chinese models pay homage to the 32 participating teams by getting naked and painting their bodies with the colors and symbols of each country. So enjoy this final tribute to the 2010 World Cup, after which you can go back to not caring about soccer for the next four years:
David Henry Hwang is a playwright who has been producing plays, musicals and operas for three decades. He won the Tony Award for his play M. BUTTERFLY and also writes for movies and television. After his previous blogs where he unleashed his Asian Shame and discussed his worst career moves (see here, here and here), he turns to write about something more…funky.
Growing up, I listened to lots of music, but the two artists who meant most to me were David Bowie and Prince. I discovered Prince through his 1980 album DIRTY MIND. See, back in 1980, there was black music, and there was white music. Period. I listened mostly to black artists cuz I imagined most of the white guys would just as soon beat me up as pick up their guitars. Unless they were British, in which case they might not beat me up cuz, I dunno, they had cool accents.
But Prince. DIRTY MIND. What WAS this? Kinda R&B, kinda New Wave. Kinda disco, kinda … punk? How was this guy managing to pull it off? The sound wasn’t black, wasn’t white, it was BOTH. Or neither. Whatever. It was totally new. And brilliant. So danceable. And … really nasty. I loved, loved, loved it.
From then on, I bought every Prince album the day of its release, scoured record stores for unreleased and bootleg tracks, followed each concert tour. I saw 1984’s PURPLE RAIN show in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis — on Christmas Eve.
So imagine my groupie heart in 1989, when I opened PEOPLE Magazine to find a picture of Prince, coming out of M. BUTTERFLY, my Broadway show! Prince goes to Broadway? Who knew? He saw my play! Did he like it? How come no one told me? I could’ve been there! I could had like a … casual conversation with him. “Hey, Prince, how ya doin’?” Do people actually call him “Prince?”
Four years later, in 1993, I began hearing through my agents that Prince was interested in meeting with me. To talk about an idea for a stage musical.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! I am today’s entertainment!
I was eating at Arby’s this week when I ordered four Roast Beef Sandwiches. Four, okay? That’s how many I ordered. So I get to the window, hand them my card. They charge me. I look at the receipt – yep, it said four there too. Then the guy hands me my bag of delicious and I drive home. When I set my prize down on the kitchen table and open it, guess what was inside?
FIVE FUCKING SANDWICHES!
Yep, I got five sandwiches when I only paid for four. I was pretty happy about that.
It’s about the small victories.
This week on YOMYOMF, we clear up some vaginal myths; explore the world of animal paint jobs; and indulge in some aural nostalgia in the form of songs that remind us of those frigid ice queens who break our hearts and then stomp on them with their pointed stilettos.
That felt good! Shall we?
So I was sitting around with a bunch of friends, drinking beers; the jukebox is playing, and the song Yellow from Coldplay comes up and my friend Stephane becomes a little solemn. I ask him what’s wrong and he then says, “dude, this is my breakup song.” We all get it. Ah, yes, the inevitable breakup song, the one song that will stick with you for your entire life as a painful reminder of that one person who ripped your guts out in the name of the brokenhearted.
I’m no longer an LA actor. Let me share a moment with you why that is.
“What are you doing back here?” I don’t quite know how I heard it. “What are YOU doing back here?” “What are you doing back HERE?” “What are you doing BACK here?” All I knew was it was early 2008, the height of the Writer’s Strike, and I was sitting at yet another commercial audition waiting my turn to act the hell out of a one line double-take to camera.