Quadrophenia And The Exaggerated Melancholy Of Youth

quad1

Recently I’ve been rearranging and down sizing a lot my stuff, which meant getting rid of at least two (“two” is the vow I made to myself) of the six crates of vinyl records I own.  These days, I rarely take the trouble to pull them out of the sleeve, put them on the turntable, and lower the needle, as CDs and iPhone playlists have taken their place, but I came across a copy of The Who’s “Quadrophenia” I bought in high school, and it hit me like a freight train.

quad7

 

They don’t make um like Leonard Nimoy anymore

2014 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival Opening Night Premiere Of "To Be Takei"

I had the great pleasure and honor of meeting Mr. Leonard Nimoy last year when I presented the film TO BE TAKEI at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. He was already ailing, with the possibility that we would have to make special arrangements at the venue to have his vehicle take him around back and he was going to enter via wheelchair and we would escort him to his seat.

But, he showed up, standing tall and walking, alongside his wife and assistant, and greeted staff and volunteers with grace. He still wanted to sneak through the back and not go on the red carpet. I assume, partly because the man was in pain but also, because it was George Takei’s night to shine, as the Festival presented the LA premiere of his documentary.

Ten Reasons Why LA Zine Fest Rocks

James Chong and Jesse Fillingham of Never Press

James Chong and Jesse Fillingham of Never Press

1 Zines. LA Zine Fest is not a craft show disguised as a zine fest like A.P.E. It actually celebrates zines. In fact the organizers demand you show zines and not crafts, t-shirts, etc.

2 Power of Zines. LA Zine Fest has raised the bar for zines in LA. Where was the zine scene a few years ago before the LA Zine Fest? They lived in everyone’s bedrooms.

3 Low Priced Tables. Anyone can afford a table at the zine fest. You can also choose between a full table or a half table. We’re talking sub $100 and sub $50 to have perhaps a few thousand or more see your work.

Berlinale Festival Dispatch: Iranian and British films shined in a lackluster year

The cast of MR. HOLMES starring Hiroyuki Sanada, Laura Linney, and Sir Ian McKellan

The cast of MR. HOLMES starring Hiroyuki Sanada, Laura Linney, and Sir Ian McKellan

After a great Sundance Film Festival, it was a little disheartening that this year’s Berlinale aka Berlin International Film Festival did not keep up with the upward trend of quality films. Instead, it was a hodge podge of films that didn’t really crackle with me or the audiences, which felt like apathy was becoming the norm as each day went by. For a lineup that boasted such new works from internationally known maestros like Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Peter Greenaway, Terence Malick, Isabel Coixet and Jiang Wen, it was even more depressing that their latest films were limp on arrival. Even more depressing was the fact that the world premiere of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, based on a trash novel, was a trashy movie with a pulse and the over capacity audience went absolutely bananas for the film.

All I Need are Some Tasty Waves and Cookies

Just ‘cause it’s cool:

cookiemonster

Reddit user photosonny transformed Japanese artist Hokusai’s “Mount Fuji Seen Below a Wave at Kanagawa”—one of the world’s best known works of art—into something that the residents of Sesame Street would all be proud of.

‘Fresh Off the Boat’: Tonight’s the Night

So you may have heard that the new TV series Fresh Off the Boat premieres tonight on ABC. You might have also heard this is the first prime-time network series featuring an Asian American family in twenty years (since Margaret Cho in All-American Girl). You might have also heard some say that if this show fails, it may set us back another twenty years.

freshofftheboat

Well, personally, I don’t buy the last statement—I think succeed or fail, we’re living in a different TV landscape than we were in 1994 and this won’t be the last you’ll be seeing of Asian faces in major roles on network TV. However, wouldn’t it be cool to have a show like this on the air now? And do well now? And maybe even lead to more shows like this in the near future? I’ve seen the first couple of episodes and enjoyed them and have high hopes that the show will only get better. So hope folks will give it a fair shot and let us know what you think.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Fresh Off the Boat journey, check out these previous blogs:

Visiting the Printed Matter’s L.A. Art Book Festival

photo 4

An annual event to witness is the Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) put on by Printed Matter — a New York-based non-profit dedicated to promoting art books. The annual event —now inits third year — takes place at the MOCA Geffen location in Downtown Los Angeles and thisyear attracted over 34,700 people. There are hundreds of vendors from around the world showing their wares — from zines, art books, prints and more. Its main purpose is to showcase art books and the overall quote from most is that it’s “overwhelming” — there are too many publications to see.

PM’s LAABF is more of a Festival. Aside books, there are plenty of other activities, such as live music, dj sets, food trucks, panels, parties, and workshops. As a vendor for the second year in a row, I’m in a position to witness the event turn into the premier book event in Los Angeles. While it once catered to the edgy art fan, the event is now practically a family event — sans some not safe for work art publications. I see plenty of strollers, pets, and kids coming through and being inspired.

R0029341

Behind the scenes, PM’s LAABF Coordinator Jordan Nassar sends daily email updates telling us vendors about things to watch, promote, how many are coming through daily, party invites, and special events. He tells me that it’s the “best LAABF yet” and it’s a “huge success.”

There are plenty of high-art publications that many will breeze through, yet this is exactly the event to give them their audience. New this year, a powerful photography section was added to the second floor mezzanine. Exhibition areas continue to grow and attract their audience. If you have any interest in books, this is an event that directly helps artists, publishers, and their allies.

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: The Daily Buzz Episodes 6 & 7 + Sundance Winners

Instagrammed by Jennifer Phang: Here's Team Advantageous with U.S. competition jurors WInona Ryder and Cary Fukunaga.

Instagrammed by @jennifertphang: Here’s Team Advantageous with U.S. competition jurors Winona Ryder and Cary Fukunaga.

Sundance 2015 came to a close last night with the awards ceremony, which was streamed live via YouTube, and hosted by comedian Tig Notaro, who had a documentary called TIG in the Festival as well. The big winner was ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, which not only has bragging rights for the biggest sales in Sundance this year, it swept both the Grand Jury and Audience award prizes.

You Go Molly Ringwald!

amolly2

The city of Livermore, California is known mostly to non-Livermorians as one of the last towns you pass when driving from the Bay Area to SoCal before entering the vast, agricultural Central Valley.  Once you’ve spotted the tall windmills of Livermore, you know Interstate 5 is just a few minutes away.

amolly5

On Friday, February 6, at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, the Livermore School of Dance will perform “The Lion King – A Dance Revue,” and on February 18, Ottmar Liebert will treat viewers to an evening of “compelling contemporary Flamenco.”

And between these two acts, on February 12, there will be a third act: Molly Ringwald.

molly (2) (960x1280)

 

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: Film Highlights + The Daily Buzz Podcast Episode 5

TANGERINE, directed by Sean Baker, is one of the highlights from this year's Sundance Film Festival.

TANGERINE, directed by Sean Baker, is one of the highlights from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s edition of Sundance brought a sense of reinvigoration in the American indie film scene with a broad cross-section of strong titles that ranged from commercially viable to straight up experimental. Perhaps 2014 was an off-year for indie cinema, but if Sundance is any indication, it looks like we’ll have a strong crop of films to populate the growing and emerging distribution channels and platforms for indie cinema via SVOD, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, VHX, Vimeo, YouTube, and many more.

I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite films from the Festival in the next few blog entries. First off, here were some of my screening highlights:

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: The Daily Buzz Podcast Episode 4 + More Photos from the Asian Pacific Experience in Park City

20705_10153039387039467_8906685318413472954_n

Sundance programmer Ernesto Foronda (center) in an Indian sandwich, between actor Parvesh Cheena and musician Gingger Songs

After taking a break in 2014, the APA Filmmakers’ Experience in Park City came roaring back for its 11th edition at the Mountain Trails Art Gallery on Main Street, in the heart of Park City, Utah. A fixture during the annual Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals, the reception, hosted by Visual Communications, David Magdael & Associates, and Irene Cho, celebrates the achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers whose works screen at these two fine film festivals. Over 200 people celebrated new works by the likes of Raimin Bahrani, Wally Chung, Benson Lee, JiYoung Lee, Prashant Nair, Jennifer Phang, Mora Stephens, Tony Vainuku, Steve Yu, Chloe Zhao, and many others. Here are more photos from the event, which was held last Sunday, January 25:

Sundance 2015 Dispatch: The Daily Buzz Episode 3 + ADVANTAGEOUS is welcomed smart sci-fi

15301-2-1100With the Sundance Film Festival coming to a midpoint, it’s ironic that snow blizzards are not here in Park City and dumping major powder on the East Coast (hang in there, friends). The weather has been fantastic here, so I really can’t complain, especially when there’s been a high caliber of films playing this year.

On the Asian American front, ADVANTAGEOUS, a smartly written sci-fi film by Jennifer Phang, is one of my favorites at this year’s festival. Placed in the U.S. Dramatic competition section, the film stars Jacqueline Kim (deeply missed on the big screen) in a nuanced and career making performance as a single mother who goes through extreme strides to “better herself” via genetic manipulation for the sake of her daughter’s future. The film is set in a dystopian near future where women as a gender are straddled down by the government and their rights limited for the betterment of society. Although this film is sci-fi, it’s timeliness mirrors what women go through today around the world (yes, and this is 2015) from the GOP’s attempts to pass an abortion bill on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to sexual assaults on college campuses, to the destructive culture of plastic surgery in Asian cultures.