Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Don’t forget to take some time this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country while serving in the armed forces.

A friend of mine shared on Facebook this link from the NY Times, an article by David Gonzalez, “When Every Day is Memorial Day,” regarding the photography of Andrew Lichtenstein, and the photo slide show of his photography of acknowledging those who died in service. I’m passing it on. The photos are moving stuff, telling stories in images.

A really interesting look over at NPR’s “All Things Considered” of Asians and Asian Americans working in the tech sector (which I checked out because of WNYC’s link to it). I think the whole “how does management consider its Asian/Asian American workforce?” is a question for all industries. Just saying!

A review of past Memorial Day posts here at triscribe, which have also asked readers to think about the meaning of Memorial Day (and observing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and other stuff):

Memorial Day 2012 has some interesting law and APA stuff.

Memorial Day 2009 involved a movie viewing. Memorial Day weekend of that year further included APA Heritage Month stuff.

Memorial Day 2008 was Marvel-related, with an Iron Man viewing. Amazing how much has been done with the Marvel characters since then.

Memorial Day 2007 involved Shrek.

Memorial Day 2006 was the X-Men 3 movie, and a Mission Impossible 3 (“X-Men: Days of Future Past” definitely remedied the sad plot weakness of X-Men 3, as I’ve said last year, and Mission Impossible will be back this summer, so… yeah, some things don’t change!).

TV viewing was something to catch up back during Memorial Day weekend 2005.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2015

Well, it’s been awhile since we have last blogged, so let me dust things off a little bit.

And, anyway, around here at triscribe, everyday is APA Heritage Month.

We ended up making it to the 36th Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Festival in Chinatown on May 3, 2015, although I totally missed seeing FC there. I thought it was smaller than past events, but the performances still had great energy (well, admittedly, I missed the final performance and the late morning/early afternoon ones, but I liked what I saw!). The folks of Asian Cinevision and the Asian American International Film Festival had a presence, and so we each scored our discount for this year’s film festival this summer (we triscribers are committed to that event, of course!). The weather cooperated; beautiful weather!

I got to say: the May temperatures have been nicer and not crazier so far than the weirdo weather of the past couple of months.

One of the really interesting items I saw on the Internet on the eve of APA Heritage Month: a profile on NPR of Brig. Gen. Viet Luong, US Army, on duty in Afghanistan, and reflecting on the parallels of the previous long-running conflict America had (which led to the general’s emigration to America from Vietnam) and the long war against terror. Listening to the profile was also worth it to really appreciate the emotional aspects of what Brig. Gen. Luong experienced and what it means to be an Asian American in public service.

The state of Asian American television: ok, I fell behind on watching “Fresh Off the Boat,” so I might have to binge-watch it at some point. On the bright side, ABC renewed it! Here’s a bit of analysis of the season finale and general commentary of its first season by NPR’s Kat Chow (spoilers there, but I’m a sucker for spoilers).

And, whoa. Two Asian American dominant sitcoms on ABC! ABC has ordered for the 2015 to 2016 season Ken Jeong’s series sitcom, “Dr. Ken”! (h/t Angry Asian Man). Maybe Ken Jeong won’t play an irritating lunatic character for once (his Senor Chang was arguably not that insane in Season 1 of “Community,” I will say, but then Chang got crazier each season, so…).

Unfortunately, FOX has canceled “The Mindy Project” (see here for Entertainment Weekly’s list on canceled shows), although there is a possibility that “The Mindy Project” might still live on in Netflix or other means. I haven’t seen it be considered as an Asian American show despite starring Mindy Kaling (possibly because the show isn’t exactly an Asian-dominant cast and more of a romantic comedy, and it’s more Mindy Kaling-driven than anything else), but it’s worth noting for what it is.

ABC canceled “Selfie,” also not considered an Asian American show, but again probably because it wasn’t Asian-dominant, but worth noting because John Cho got to be the romantic comic lead (honestly a very rare thing). That the show managed to stay on Hulu and apparently did get better by the end of its one season might give hope for something.

And, hey, ABC – don’t give up on the experiment in diverse tv! (well, a message to all the broadcast networks, really).

I meant to put this on triscribe earlier, but had shared this on Facebook awhile back in February, when “Fresh Off the Boat” started: a fascinating item by Kat Chow on NPR about past Asian American shows. A lot of the shows on her list pre-dated my memory of mediocre tv.

In the item, Chow mentioned David Carradine’s “Kung Fu,” but she forgot about Carradine’s “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues,” which was on syndication back in the 1990s. Strangely, neither of the actors who played the descendants of the original Kwai Chang Caine were actual Asian Americans (forget that even the original Kwai Chang Caine, a half-Asian, was played by David Carradine, who played his own descendants on “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues” and, oh, whatever). But, I remembered the “Kung Fu” sequel show was strangely campy, with actor Kim Chan (an actual Asian American) as a Caine family sidekick. Not that I watched “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues” in any consistent way back in the 1990s.

Oh, and I liked that Chow referenced that other 1990s syndicated show: Russell Wong’s “Vanishing Son.” Wong was hot in that show, even if (of course) the plot made no sense (yes, another tv series that I did not consistently watch, but did catch some episodes). I didn’t realize that it got replaced by “Xena: The Warrior Princess,” which transformed 1990s syndicated tv. And, yeah, I probably watched a lot of weird tv back in the 1990s.

Well, a slight disclaimer: I had to check on that wonderful source of info, a.k.a. Wikipedia, to confirm details about “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.” It wasn’t like I remembered most of that stuff. Honestly, I almost wanted to call the show “Kung Fu: The Next Generation.” Not that I’d compare David Carradine to Patrick Stewart…

On another triscribe note, check out this Tribeca Film Festival review that FC wrote for Meniscus, on the documentary “Steak (R)evolution.” FC had a lot of thoughtful things about the film and the state of steak. Actually, now I’m starting to feel hungry.

Oh well. Back to your regularly scheduled non-blog-related living…

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, stepmoms, grandmas, and mom-figures out there!

Oscars Sunday

(The following was written as I was more or less watching the Oscars; what a nutty, agonizingly long night).

Oh, Hollywood!

JK Simmons, for Best Supporting Actor! Nice, brief, touching speech, to remember your parents.

“Everything is Awesome” – the song from “The Lego Movie” – had a powerfully weird presentation.

I suppose this is the Year of the Weird Oscars. Hmm!

People are going to ignore the music and do their speeches. It’s their moment, gosh darn it. (this is still tv; timing, people).

Liam Neeson presenting the clips from “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “American Sniper” for Best Picture.

Shirley MacLaine had a nice grace in presenting “Boyhood,” “Birdman,” and “The Theory of Everything.”

Is it me or is it agonizingly longer than ever? (well, I stepped away; I know – very bad). Perhaps lengthiness is the Oscars thing; it’ll never go away.

Terrence Howard was strangely quite dramatic in presenting “Whiplash,” “The Imitation Game,” and “Selma.” It was as if he had watched the movies, got so teary, and was so pushing for all of them. Uh…

“Glory,” the song by John Legend and Common for the movie, “Selma” – quite a presentation for that stage. So powerful.

And, “Glory” won! Powerful speech by John Legend and Common. The fight for social justice is a never-ending one, indeed.

Why is Lady Gaga singing “Sound of Music”? Am I missing something? It’s beautiful, but… wait, is it the 50th anniversary of “Sound of Music”? Is this just to make the Oscars long as usual? It just doesn’t feel very necessary, and very anti-climactic after John Legend and Common’s making a big Oscar moment.

Sometimes someone gets to make a good speech – short, sweet, inspirational. Graham Moore, for “The Imitation Game” in Best Adapted Screenplay, said that it’s okay to be weird and to “stay weird”; one, day, that person will be on the Oscars stage one day too. That was a lovely Oscar moment too.

“Birdman” won for Best Director and…?

Patricia Arquette, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore – lovely speeches.

“Birdman” for Best Picture! (“oh” to Sean Penn for dragging the moment out!).

Lots of moving speeches, with the attention to the families, the producers (yep, them), and social issues.

I just wished they’d cut out the unnecessary stuff. It didn’t feel like they did as much of the usual “Let’s learn about the history of films and have film appreciation” as much (which they usually do for the viewers who are unfamiliar to the Oscars and/or films). Neil Patrick Harris’ opening was nice and encapsulated the appreciation for movies in one full swoop.

But, as I said, Lady Gaga’s moment was just oddly needless, even though she sang well. And, the clips of the acting moments of the nominated actors and actresses – well, they were spoilery of the films they were in. The Oscars just went on and on. Well, it was still something to watch and we’ll see what this year’s movies will make us say!