November 24, 2009
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Books, Go Away With..., Interviews
Tags: "Everything Asian", Alaska, Anchorage, Asian American, Eee PC, Homer, immigrants, Korean-American, netbook
With his critically acclaimed debut novel “Everything Asian,” Sung J. Woo succinctly and poignantly captures a year in the life of a 12-year-old immigrant who tries to navigate life in the United States, while also trying to understand his estranged father. A resident of Washington, N.J., the 38-year-old author chats about his recent trip to Alaska, how he gets the best hotel deals and why he often feels like a tourist — even when he’s not far from home.
Best known as Ari Gold’s much maligned assistant Lloyd on “Entourage,” Rex Lee has become a fan favorite on the hit HBO series. With just a stare and a well-placed word, Lee is a scene-stealer, especially when he spars with his cantankerous boss Ari (Jeremy Piven). “I found out after I got the role that they didn’t have an Asian American actor in mind for the part originally,” says Lee, 39. “Women auditioned, African Americans, everyone. I was told they didn’t quite know what they wanted until I walked through the door and showed them what they wanted.” Laughing, he adds, “And I choose to believe that!”
Margaret Cho knows a thing or two about traveling. After beginning her standup career at 16, she toured the United States nonstop, bringing her unique brand of comedy to venues across the country. At 26, she broke barriers with her short-lived ABC sitcom “All-American Girl,” where she played a fictionalized version of herself. It was the first American television series where all the lead actors were Asian-American. In her standup routines, Cho talks frankly about how producers asked her at times to try to be more — and less — Asian. Now 39, Cho is ready to debut her new VH1 series “The Cho Show.”
April 13, 2005
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Features, Issues
Tags: "Lost", "Memoirs of a Geisha", "Miss Saigon", "Sideways", Asian actors, Asian American, Bai Ling, Daniel Dae Kim, geisha, Gong Li, Grey's Anatomy, Jet Li, Korean, Korean-American, Sandra Oh, Steven Spielberg, Yunjin Kim, Ziyi Zhang
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”).
August 27, 2004
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Features, Interviews, Issues
Tags: "Hero", actors, Asian American, Asians, Bruce Lee, Donnie Yen, Ho-Sung Pak, Jackie Chan, John Cho, Justin Lin, Margaret Cho, race issues, racism, Rick Yune, Sandra Oh
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.
“Chink-a-Chink-a Chinaman sitting on a fence; Trying to make a dollar out of 59 cents.” My parents were mortified when their 5-year-old daughter came home from school singing this chant. My friends and I had learned to jump rope to this song from older kids who thought it would be fun to teach a bunch of kindergartners a thing or two. At the time, I had about as much concept of what a “Chink” was as I did the actual value of 59 cents. But I was too young to see past my parents’ forced smiles.
I don’t necessarily love her semi-autobiographical show “All-American Girl” yet, but I relate to Margaret Cho, the star of ABC’s new comedy. Cho is Korean-American. I am Korean-American. She is the antithesis of the ideal Asian woman (geisha girl). No one would mistake me for Suzy Wong. She snorts when she laughs. I snort when I laugh. She’s big (chubby). I’m big (tall). Once, a Korean friend’s father helpfully advised me to “stop growing” if I wanted to land a husband. She’s not a doctor, but a comedian. I’m not a doctor, but a journalist – kind of like a comedian. Cho dates losers. When I date, they’re usually losers. She’s 25. I’m . . . well, never mind.