`Geisha’ raises fears of stereotypical movie roles

In both the book “Memoirs of a Geisha” and its film adaptation, women fall into two categories: sexy geisha and conniving dragon ladies, two stereotypes about Asian women that linger today. Already some members of the Asian-American community are worried that the film, which opens locally Friday, may reinforce unflattering images of Asian women as being submissive, sexual objects.

Asian stars are rising — Latest TV breakthroughs look like the real deal

Once relegated to playing houseboys, prostitutes and extras on “M*A*S*H,” Asian-American actors are now appearing on prime-time television not as exoticized versions of reality, but as real people. Sandra Oh, superb in “Sideways,” is a star in the new medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which has kicked “Boston Legal” to the curb and taken the prime slot after “Desperate Housewives” on Sunday nights at ABC. Or turn on ABC’s other hit drama, “Lost,” and you’ll notice not one, but two Asian regulars. Korean-American actors Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim (no relation to each other — or me) portray a married Korean couple stranded on the creepy island with a crew of folks including a pregnant woman, an Iraqi hottie, a fat dude, an African-American father and his son, a dog and a hobbit (or at least a guy who played a hobbit in “Lord of the Rings”).

Donnie Yen: Asians of change

Jet Li. Jackie Chan. Donnie Yen. Quick. Which one of these action film stars grew up in the United States? Or, more appropriately, which one of these stars had to leave the United States before he could make a name for himself in Hollywood? That would be Yen. Sure, while he’s not as famous in the United States as either Li or Chan, he has a loyal following worldwide and an impressive resume of films — the best of which were made in Hong Kong.

Speaking with … Joe Perry

Somehow, you don’t imagine rock guitar god Joe Perry tanning on a beach. But on this afternoon, that’s exactly what the Aerosmith guitarist is doing three hours before a Florida concert. Taking a breather from tanning, he phoned to let us know why Chicago stores love him, his mixed feelings about downloading music and why his kids made him change his bathing suit.

Bruce Lee — Urban Legend

Two decades before Jet Li and DMX joined forces for “Cradle 2 the Grave”–which opens Friday–Bruce Lee was kicking it with Jim Kelly in “Enter the Dragon.” Back then, pairing an Asian-American martial arts star (Lee was born in the United States and raised in Hong Kong) with a black karate champ-turned-actor was a novelty. These days, it’s good business to keep faith with the audience that first embraced martial arts films in the United States–African Americans.

There’s something about Harry Potter

Come July 8, 12-year-old Allie Greenberg will be one of the first kids in Chicago to own the new Harry Potter book. Allie, who’ll be in seventh grade at the University of Chicago Lab School this fall, put her name on the pre-order list at Barbara’s Bookstore in Old Town, oh, a year ago.

Pooch Progress: TV’s Comet Finally Hits Big Screen

So Robert De Niro and Marisa Tomei gained weight for their movie roles. Big deal. Comet – no last name, please – easily can one-up them. The 9-year-old had his luxurious blond mane snipped and dyed murky brown, perfected a limp and convinced the casting director that he could play a 1-year-old in the new comedy “Fluke.” Oh, did we mention that Comet is a dog?

Axl Rose a fugitive after show canceled

Rowdy heavy metal rocker Axl Rose cancelled a concert at the Rosemont Horizon and skipped town to escape the long arms of persecuting prosecutors, a representative for the singer says. Leaving thousands of fans waiting outside the Rosemont Horizon, Rose’s band, Guns N’ Roses, canceled a Friday night show half an hour before doors were to open so that Rose could avoid being served with misdemeanor arrest warrants for his alleged role in a Missouri riot last year.

Guns N’ Roses’ lyrics become secondary to incendiary sound

Guns N’ Roses have been hailed and assailed as everything from rock ‘n’ roll’s messiahs to self-indulgent spoiled brats living out a hedonistic fantasy. They are musicians whose musical justification always has packed a stronger punch than the convoluted interviews they don’t readily grant anymore.