Category Archives: Manhattan

Happy Lunar New Year and Post Super Bowl Edition

Happy Lunar New Year! (a day late; but celebrations in China are still ongoing, and events in the city for almost the rest of the month, so whatever!).

May the Year of the Monkey bring us all the luck and good fortune we need (and we need a lot of that).

See here in Time Out New York for more Lunar New Year events.

Gothamist’s Jen Chung on the 8 auspicious foods of the Lunar New Year (well, to Chinese people, anyway).

How cool is that: over at Mashable, photos of Chinese New Year, Chinatown, NYC, circa 1960.  A lot of those old landmarks or restaurants are gone and 1960s fashion is what it is, but these photos might as well have been anytime since or before then. (h/t Angry Asian Man‘s Facebook page post).

Speaking of Super Bowl:

Super Bowl Sunday was this past Sunday, with the NFL going all out for Super Bowl 50 (going with the Arabic numerals, rather than the usual Roman numeral of “L”), and there were expectations for the game between Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers.  Kudos to Denver; quarterback Peyton Manning got his fairy tale ending (assuming he retires).

I do think one day, quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers will win a Super Bowl; they were simply great this past regular season and at that NFC Championship game, they scored ridiculously well.  But, as Denver showed, defense beats offense.

I was rooting for Peyton and Denver, for sentimental reasons, but toward the last five minutes of the game, I kept wanting Cam and Carolina to make it competitive, even as the defense was putting the nail on the coffin.   I’m pretty convinced that the curse of Sports Illustrated lives (since Cam Newton got on the cover and people who get on the cover get cursed; the previous cover was Peyton and Tom Brady, and they couldn’t both lose at the AFC game).

And, as usual, the disclaimer holds: I’m only a casual sports viewer.  It’s not like I understood a lot of what was going on.

I was impressed to see all those past Super Bowl MVPs prior to the start of the game.

I understood that the promotions/marketing was all about how this was the San Francisco Super Bowl, and it was at the home of 49’ers, but it was funny how they were actually miles away from Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all the other San Fran landmarks. The Super Bowl of New York/New Jersey was at least a less vaguely odd situation; you could still see the NYC skyline from Meadowlands, after all.

I thought the halftime show was colorful.  Coldplay had some audio problems, but I liked how Chris Martin, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars (with Mark Ronson in the background) looked like they had fun in the end.  Kids were brought out, because of course this stuff is all about the kids (insert sarcasm there).  Generally, I agreed with the initial Time Magazine reaction by Daniel D’Addario – it was a decently entertaining halftime show. Also, I generally don’t look for political messages from halftime show performances, and even if Beyonce had been making one, I didn’t think people should have been offended simply because Beyonce has a political opinion – and at least she didn’t let her point of view get in the way of her making a good show and promoting her own brand (and vice versa – she seemed to have made her point the way she wanted to make it; I giver her credit for that).

It’s funny how with each passing year, I’m becoming more convinced than ever that the NFL and the broadcast networks should all apologize to Janet Jackson, because without her allegedly notorious contribution to that halftime show years ago, we wouldn’t have these halftime shows that are so doggedly determined to be campy, celebratory, and entertaining, at the risk of having so much nostalgia for certain bands and brands, and maybe being a tad boring. (plus, Jackson’s so-called nipplegate was also because of Justin Timberlake, yet she still gets blamed; sigh).

The commercials generally disappointed me, not that I really watched for commercials (this year, I really didn’t; I missed most of the 1st quarter commercials and I really tried to pay attention to the game).  They were an odd mix, in my opinion.   The “puppy monkey baby” commercial for Mountain Dew disturbed me for (a) blatantly hitting all the cute points of a Super Bowl commercial; and (b) that puppy monkey baby chimera did not have the cute parts of a puppy, monkey, or baby. The chimera made me not want to drink Mountain Dew (which I don’t do anyway).

I missed seeing the notorious Doritos commercial, and later saw it online – this is the one where the fetus ejected itself from the womb just for… Doritos.  It was disturbing – seriously, fetus: Doritos aren’t that good.  It’s not worth risking your life to eat something you can’t even eat yet.

I say this because, as I get older, I find that I can’t eat Doritos endlessly like I used to do.  It gets unappetizing after awhile.

But, the movie commercials were impressive.  Captain America! Jason Bourne!  The commercials made me want to see those two movies in particular (but, I was hoping to do so anyway, so clearly I’m just weak).

And… Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, who I’ve been deeming “Batfleck”) shilling for Turkish Airlines, to fly us viewers to Gotham City, which Wayne Enterprises has invested to rebuild; and Lex Luther (Jason Eisenberg) also shilling for Turkish Airlines, to fly us viewers to take us to Metropolis, which Luthor’s company has invested to rebuild since the General Zod disaster of “Man of Steel.”  Uh huh.  Geez, Bruce, Lex: did Gotham or Metropolis really need these ads?

Needless to say, neither of those commercials has persuaded me of a genuine desire to watch “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” or fly Turkish Airlines.   I’d watch the movie mostly to see how Batfleck probably won’t match up with Christian Bale’s Dark Knight (at best, Batfleck will have to be his own man), or how Batman and Superman will really have to get over their testosterone rivalry before they realize they’re much better at being buds.  But, hey, corporate synergy!

Speaking of corporate synergy: Ant-Man (with what sounded like the voice of actor Paul Rudd) and his stealing Bruce Banner’s last can of Coca Cola, and Bruce as Hulk going after Ant-Man – that commercial was a much better way to meld brands.

The Toyota Prius commercials about the bank robbers who go on a police chase with their stolen Prius and the cops who use their own Prius to go after the bank robbers – hilarious.

Helen Mirren, via Budweiser, telling us not to drink and drive because she said so – awesome.  Although, I’m convinced that she would drink better beer in real life.  And, the Bud Light commercial with Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer, along with the Ant-Man movie actors Paul Rudd and Michael Pena: Seth and Amy didn’t convince me of how a Bud Light Party could be an analog for a political party (that kind of party?  Come on!), but Paul Rudd and Michael Pena were hilarious. Hmm!

The Audi commercial using David Bowie’s StarMan song (i.e., Commander Tom to Ground Control) was strangely moving to me.  I think it was the timing of it – since it came after the passing of David Bowie.

Slate’s Seth  Stevenson did a nice rundown of the commercials over at Slate.  He was hilarious about puppy monkey baby (and I ditto the weirded out reaction), and about the Bud Light commercial (yeah, America apparently does like Paul Rudd a lot).

Well, that’s what I’ll post for now.  Perhaps one of these days I won’t do a combined Lunar New Year and Super Bowl post…

Taking a Pause to Remember and Reflect 2015

Below, I’m re-posting the post from prior years. I also recommend taking a look at David W. Dunlap’s article in the NY Times today on the Tribute in Lights, which I appreciate as a memorial left open for the viewer to interpret. — ssw15

As we have done previously:

Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh, so mellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

When grass was green and grain was yellow.

-“Try to Remember,” from The Fantasticks.

Another photo I had taken a couple of years ago (maybe last year or two ago?).

 

(I took the photo above at the Brooklyn Promenade, a couple of years ago. That framed picture is still there, do check it out if you’re in the neighborhood. — ssw15).

 

 

(cross-posted at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

(cross-posted at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

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!