The Avengers: A Brief Film Guide for Non-Nerds, Hipster Cineastes, and (Generally Speaking) Women


Dominic Mah is a writer, director, rock musical aficionado, and ex-professional gambler. You can check out his film/video stuff here and his disparate thoughts on pop culture, Robotech, and Los Angeles here. He also tweets nerdcore film critiques at @ThorHulkCritic.

The Avengers movie is coming out this week, which is the greatest thing that has ever happened for a small segment of the population, and will likely cause some confusion to the majority of the world (And by “majority of the world,” I mean a) women and b) those not raised within the isolating sphere of comic books) In the coming month, a lot of people are going to get dragged to this movie on a date, but perhaps lack a reference point for WTF is going on with all these superheroes, and have no way of comprehending the massive warm geek-fuzzy that will be experienced by folks like me. So, in the interest of promoting healthy and robust post-movie conversations everywhere, here is a quickie viewers’ guide to the members of the Avengers.

SAF Seeking… Real Friends

Luddites: the original "Rage Against The Machine"

I know I’ve been stressed lately because I’ve been drinking a lot of margaritas and glasses of wine lately. Let’s face it, I’m so out of it. I try to keep up, but I am technologically-deficient, socially-networkingly dumb, and just plain out of touch. I don’t GET IT. I’m like that ninety-year old grandma who is learning how to navigate Facebook for the first time and truthfully, I really don’t get the new FB ‘Time Line’ profile at ALL.

All my friends complain about it: “Contact me via Facebook!”, “Didn’t you see my Instagram?”, “I texted you 5 whole minutes ago!”

Film Festival Dispatch: Far East Film Festival / FEFF14

This is my favorite film festival in the world. Who knew that one of the best Asian film showcases would be located in a small, bucolic town in Northeastern Italy? The 14th edition of the Far East Film Festival (FEFF) has just concluded and it was a fine edition at that. With over a week of popular Asian cinema, unspooled at an old Opera House (Teatro Giovanni de Udine), and super enthusiastic audiences numbering in the hundreds for every screening, whether it’s for a 9am or midnight screening, this is a true Asian cinema lover’s dream vacation.

My Latest Rock Obsession — SHELVES

[youtube][/youtube]Straight out of Singapore, this new power pop/indie rock band has taken over my iTunes playlist. The band is called SHELVES and here’s their latest music video for their song, “Against A Wall,” where lead singer Noel gets pelted with food, as well as some slaps and punches to the face. Talk about suffering for your art!

Apparently, SHELVES is made up of veterans from the Singaporean rock scene, where according to their official bio, “… were boys struggling to be men in the 90′s. Fast forward to 2011, they are men struggling to be boys again, finding solace in the cathartic arms of playing heartfelt power pop songs that promise the aching melodies reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub, delivered with the urgency of Weezer and insouciance of Pavement.”

This Chinese Woman is a Literal Ballbuster

A male shopkeeper in the Chinese town of Haikou died last week when a confrontation with a woman resulted in testicular asphxiation. Or to put it in layman’s terms, the woman grabbed the man’s balls and squeezed really hard until he died.

According to reports, the unidentified woman tried to park her scooter in front of the man’s store so she could pick up her child from school, but the man wouldn’t let her. This led to an argument, which led to violence, which led to the unfortunate death.

Just One More Thing…

I’m not good with compliments: giving or receiving them.  I don’t know why.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that, five years ago, I decided I had to do something about it.  I had to let Richard Levinson and William Link, the creators of the television show “Columbo,” know exactly how I felt about their work before it was too late.

Levinson had already passed away in 1987, and Link was 74.  So I asked my agent to get me Link’s address, which he did, and I sent him this letter:


April 11, 2007

Mr. William Link


Beverly Hills, CA 90210


Dear Mr. Link,

Coffee With Satan: Mr. Evil Potato Head

My chats with the devil have grown addictive. Worse than TV, the internet, or even fantasy sports (all of which S. claims are his/her inventions). I’ve tried to stop but simply can’t. I just have too many fucking questions, as you can imagine. I put up some of these interviews here last year, but finally, I had to publish an unabridged version for $6.66 (S. insisted on that price).

The conversation you are about to read is not in the current volume. Took place at the Starbucks on Westwood and Olympic last January. As you will see, the art of producing evil is tenuous. Striking where people least expect has been key to the devil’s success…

N: Outside of money, what would you say is a distant second instrument of evil?

S: Potatoes.

N: Potatoes?

S: As an American, what is your greatest probability of death? More than a plane crash, car accident, getting shot?

Cage Does Cage

[youtube][/youtube]Us Offenders love Nicholas Cage. Well, I do. He is a national treasure (get it? get it?) and I’ve blogged upon his undeadness here and here. Check out this latest montage of Nicholas Cage’s greatest performances but done in the rendition of John Cage’s 4’33″. Yeah, read the Wikipedia log about this. I didn’t get it at first, but now I do. Enjoy!

Living Dangerously in America’s Own Killing Fields


At 82-years-old, K.W. Lee is considered the “Godfather of Asian American journalism.” He immigrated to the U.S. in 1950 on a student visa and became the first Asian immigrant to be hired by a mainstream news daily and has reported for the Kingsport Times and News in Tennessee, the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia and the Sacramento Union. He has covered stories ranging from the plight of coal miners in the Appalachians to the civil rights movement in the Jim Crow South to the unjust incarceration of Chol Soo Lee. K.W. founded the Korea Times English Edition and continues to work and lecture across the country. On the eve of Sunday’s 20th Anniversary of the L.A. riots, K.W. looks back.

With the 20th anniversary of the April 29, 1992 LA Riots just around the corner, it’s déjà vu time again.

On sobering reflection, I dare say that our Sa-I-Gu (Korean for 4-2-9) didn’t explode on that date.

Long before the greatest urban upheaval in modern America, hardy Korean mom and pop storekeepers, along with their long-suffering and stoic Latino and Black neighbors, had been living dangerously every waking hour, seven days a week, all year round in the seething inner-cities.

Only God knows how many of these bedraggled newcomers from Korea — some call them wannabe Kamikazes —have been mugged, robbed, maimed or slain in their dogged pursuit of an elusive dream in America’s own killing fields.

The YOMYOMF Network: ‘Internet Icon’ Begins & The First Ever YouTube Video

The Internet Icon finalists lining up to sign-in on the first day of the shoot.

It seems fitting that today is the first day of shooting on our upcoming YOMYOMF YouTube Network show Internet Icon because it was almost exactly seven years ago on April 23, 2005 that the first video was uploaded to YouTube—changing the world forever.

So who would’ve thought that just seven years and a couple of days after that auspicious beginning, we’d be launching a competition to find the next “Internet icon” with one of the biggest personalities on YouTube (and our YOMYOMF network partner)—Ryan Higa–acting as a judge alongside Family Guy’s Christine Lakin and a rotating list of guest judges including some of the top names on YouTube like KassemG and Jenna Marbles (with our own very handsome Chester See acting as host)?

But here we are and as I write this, the Internet Icon finalists from all over the country have filed into the downtown L.A. studio that will be home to our show for the next week-and-a-half and are signing in:

SAF Seeking… Self-Acceptance


Melody Butiu is that type of actor that you see so many times that you stop and say, “I KNOW her!  What did I see her in???  I swear, I know her!!!”  In addition to playing many roles on television from court reporter to nanny to doctor to E.R. nurse; she is also a theatre actress who originated the role of Jennifer Marcus in the premiere of “The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow“, played to standing ovations at San Diego Rep’s “Long Story Short”, and will be playing ‘Desiree’ in East West Player’s upcoming “A Little Night Music”.  As a SAF, she shares a little about one of her old day jobs which deals with lovelorn people and her own search for love.

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”—Carl Jung

I work for a matchmaking company and I talk about love all the live-long day. It’s not as warm and fuzzy as you might expect, because in talking to people about love, we also talk about fears, failed relationships, regrets, resistance, and doubt. People believe that once they find that special someone, their life will be complete. They want to find that part of their life that’s missing.

I value quality relationships. I love my man with everything that I am. So I don’t begrudge others trying to find love, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with asking for help. I just encourage people to look within while they’re on this journey. If you have a string of horrible and failed relationships, you are the common denominator in those relationships, so what can you do to create change?  If you only come across “losers,” people you wouldn’t give the time of day to, how do expect anyone else to give you their time and attention? Do you want to feel special and honored? How often do you make others feel special and honored, regardless of whether or not they are date-worthy? What you put out is what you get back, so what are you putting out there?

Who the heck wants to date a mean girl? Like, really.