East West

I used to post much more frequently than I currently do (read: when I was working up in my college town for a summer and spent too much time wandering around an empty house talking to microwaves and couches.)  You’d think that now, living back in LA and actually being somewhat social, I would do interesting things and y’know, actually write about them.  Apparently I’ve been a boring hermit for the last few months.

But behold!  A post that comes less than a week after my previous one!  (Everyone can applaud if they wish.  I know I certainly gave myself a pat on the back.)

Monday night was the annual fundraising gala for the East West Players, an LA-based Asian American theater group.  I got to see several Asian American celebs wandering around including John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame and who got his start with the EWP), Steven Yeun (from The Walking Dead- his skin looks even better up close) and Harry Shum Jr. (I finally got a picture with the latter- swoon).

Envious folks commented on my luck on Facebook, and though it might seem like I live some sort of glamorous life, hangin’ out with all these celebs, it’s important to remember two things.  1) Being in LA drastically increases your odds of seeing a celebrity.  If you’re in the Hollywood area, chances are even higher.  It is actually quite easy to do some star spotting if you know where to look.  2) There are not many Asian Americans in the American entertainment industry (relative to people of other ethnic backgrounds), so when you have Asian American talent being honored at an event, there is a relatively small pool to pick from.  So regardless of how famous they are to public as a whole, they are at least well known to the Asian American audience that is eagerly keeping track of any Asian person in the industry.  Also, the Asian American entertainment community is still small enough so that if you know someone in it, you’re probably only 1-2 degrees separated from a celeb.

I love what EWP does and I love the opportunities and chances they give to Asian American talent, who otherwise might find it very hard to find work.  Having lived the entirety of my life in California, I sometimes forget that Asian Americans are not a majority/significant minority in most of the country, since I’m almost always around Asians.  So while a Southern California high school might be 40% Asian, that might not be the case for a school in the Mid West (so obviously a TV show that takes place in South Dakota probably won’t have a lot of Asian characters.)  But a movie taking place in LA?  Asians don’t just live in Chinatown and Little Tokyo, y’all.  But I do have to remind myself Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Slowly but surely there will be more visible Asian Americans in the industry (just like those three handsome gentlemen I mentioned earlier.)

ALSO- I finally got to wear a dress that’s been sitting in my closet forever- a glorious scarlet silk dress that belonged to my mother in the 80s.  Once I took out those shoulder pads, I was good to go with my slightly puffy Snow White sleeves.  People, never throw away anything because eventually fashions come back and/or you get to a point in your life where you don’t care if it’s “hip”- you just wear it because you like it.  As long as you have the confidence to rock something, do it.  Life is too short to care if someone thinks your dress is outdated or not.  Macklemore’s got nothing on me- I’ve been stealing things from my grandmother and my mom since I was like 8.


The Last Stand

Last night I attended an early screening of the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger action/Western movie The Last Stand, also co-starring Johnny Knoxville and Forrest Whitaker.  I have to admit, the main allure of attending the event was not getting to see a movie for free before it shows in theaters (though the cheap Asian in me always appreciates free things).  The main draw for me was getting to see in person (again!) the handsome and talented Daniel Henney, who also stars in the movie (although without a doubt the main character is Arnold.)

Not going to lie, the movie was a bit intense for me.  One would think that seeing my brother happily blow up zombies on his computer would lessen my distaste for blood (real or fake) but that is not the case.  This movie had the usual car racing (with some pretty nifty driving), comedic moments, hot chicks, etc etc but the violence was pretty gory.  Like you see people get blown up at close range and have their body parts rain down gory.  Which is fine and dandy for those who can stomach watching such stuff.  Thankfully, I’m pretty good at anticipating when to close my eyes to avoid seeing people explode.  Hearing the chorus of “oh shit!” and “ewwww” accompanying aforementioned gory scenes was enough for me.

The movie was directed by a famous Korean director, Kim Ji-woon, who is acclaimed in South Korea and abroad for his work.  Watching the film and knowing that the director wasn’t fluent in English made me see the film through different eyes, namely- how would I, a foreign director, direct an English-speaking cast in a movie with its references to 80’s action flicks and Western movies?  How would my interpretation of the work translate to native English speakers? The choices he made- the timing of comedic lines, action sequences, car chases, etc. etc. were interesting.  If anyone else sees it I’d love to know your thoughts.   Also, this is supposed be to a “comeback” of sorts for Arnold.  He’s still in great shape and can probably take down anyone he wishes to- but he’s looking old.  Like really old.  All in all, though I probably wouldn’t normally pay money to see this movie (again, that’s just me being cheap too chicken to see people get shot at), I’d recommend it to anyone who likes fast cars, lots of guns, and an easy to follow plot that doesn’t require one to ponder the meaning of life.

I managed to snag a photo with the godlike Mr. Henney before he was whisked off (you may recall my previous failed attempt) and now I can happily fangirl over this photo for all of time.  Though work I’ve interacted with (or seen) my fair share of celebrities (some not as famous as they’d like to believe) and I rarely get as starstruck as I did with Daniel Henney (somehow it seems too casual if I just call him Daniel.)  He was a genuinely nice guy who patiently took photos with as many of his fans as he could, and it didn’t hurt that he isn’t bad on the eyes either 😉  Call me smitten.

Asian American Star Power

It’s been 11 long days since I blogged- apologies for the longest post drought in the young history of this blog. I’ve been incredibly busy at work lately (not that that’s a bad thing- a PR firm that’s not busy means no clients, and no clients means no money) so though I normally find blogging a nice break from writing business emails all day, I’ve been in no mood to even look at a computer when I come home the last week and a half. I know you missed my updates (I could practically hear the wails of despair when you turned on your computer and saw 0 posts from me.)

Last night I attended the 2012 LA Asia Pacific Film Festival Opening Night Gala, and it was nice to get all dressed up for an event not related to work (as I can partake in the free bar, I can squeal unprofessionally over celebrities and I can wander around and not have to worry about a client)!

Even before the movie started, I was already giddy with excitement for spotting the perennially adorable Harry Shum Jr. and the boys from Wong Fu Productions in the VIP Lounge (which we craftily wriggled our way into.) I was swooning with happiness from the serious Asian American star power. Because we didn’t have time to grab dinner beforehand, I was even more happy we got into the VIP area because the free appetizers became my dinner (from noon-midnight, my food intake consisted of: 1 yogurt cup, 3 tangerines, 1 egg roll, 2 pieces of watermelon, and 4 crackers and hummus. A true LA diet.) Don’t worry, I made up for it with an In-N-Out after the afterparty- is there anything better than In-N-Out at midnight after a long day? Not much.

The movie, Shanghai Calling, was a cute rom-com that starred the very handsome Daniel Henney (more on him later) and Eliza Coupe. I probably won’t be craving another viewing any time soon, but it was cute and funny and it made me really nostalgic for my own trip to Shanghai last year. Actually, I’m pretty sure that the office in the movie was where my mom worked- I kept thinking “Hey, I walked that street! I visited that store!”

Daniel Henney was actually in attendance, and I ALMOST got a picture with him, but unfortunately I was not mean enough to shove some eager ladies out of my way when they cut in front, and by the time I was next in line, he had to be whisked away to talk to far more important people than I. Oh well. I didn’t even know he was going to be there, so just being near him was a pretty nice surprise. Below is a much better picture of him than the one I took, so let your eyes feast away!