Saturday, September 23, 2006

Get Your Wushu On

Given that Hero is one of my favorite movies of the last five years, I find this particularly awesome:

To give a little clarification: that's my former coworker Joanna with martial arts megastar Jet Li. They took that photo when she met him for an interview, which I highly encourage you to read here. Props to Jo – she always seems to be doing big and exciting things with Hollywood types, and for me, this one takes the cake so far.

I went to see Jet's new film Fearless last night, and I thought it was pretty good. The fight scenes are of course brilliant, and the cinematography was breathtaking; I do believe I see what he means in the interview about the director's cut. Anyway, I'm not trying to write a review or anything, but I definitely recommend going to see it.

I'll throw in a couple more links just for fun: one to a recent New York Times article about the movie and Li's career transition, and one to Jo's husband's podcast (not because he has anything to do with this, but just because he's a cool kind of dude).


Friday, September 15, 2006

Nikkei Hoops

I try to keep my blogger identity kind of shrouded in mystery (so that I can be all cranky and incendiary), but I've exposed my more professional self on this site before, and I might as well do it again. Last February, me and the folks at the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society completed a little oral history project on JA community basketball; we didn't really promote it very much at the time, but I found out today that it's getting a little exposure over at Discover Nikkei. I encourage you to go take a look (they've included links to the piece I wrote and the multimedia gallery we put together).

On a related note, I'm looking to organize a hoops team this fall, so if you're ballin' in the Bay Area, let me know! I'm told there's a league over in J-town, but I may end up going the Sport and Social Club route, depending on scheduling. We'll see...


Monday, September 11, 2006

Better to Reference Margaret Cho on this one...

So recently I got an email message from the Asian Community Online Network Chicago listserv. Looks like the Illinois Humanities Council is hosting a panel discussion on interracial dating – good for them. Seems as if they got a nice program set up; Mae Ngai, one of my old professors, will speak, and they’re showing a Kip Fulbeck film, which of course makes for fun times. I’m a little bummed I can’t be there to check it out.

I’m also a little bummed they had to drop this business into their press release:

“The romantic vision of the Middle East and Asia held by the West has been defined by the activist & intellectual Edward Said as a mixture of racist assumptions, intertwined with and underpinned by colonialist desire to conquer the so-called ‘Other.’ The exotification of the mysterious Asia was a preface to conquering and dominating Eastern civilizations by the West.”

I know I’m going to sound like a jerk here, but can we stop trying to force Said into every conversation we have about race relations? Don’t get me wrong, Orientalism was of course a very interesting and highly influential book; props to Eddie and may he rest in peace. But you don’t need to go back to his deconstruction of how European imperialism tried to represent the Middle East through misguided scholarship in order to talk about why Joe Whiteboy wants to join your taiko group (it’s not the drum he wants to bang).

For starters, while it’s worth paying homage to the thinkers and the activists who got us here, do it because of some correlation with what you’re trying to address, not because you like throwing their ideas around to prove you took an ethnic studies class. But what’s really at issue here I think is that if you want to actually get Joe to stop seeing your friend Mariko as a hot piece of geisha ass, then you better start talking about something a little more close at hand than what some 18th century philologist had to say about Egypt. Cuz while your friends will pat you on the back for playing connect the dots with all that theory (which they already know since they took that class with you), maybe you could teach that horny idiot a real lesson instead.

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