Jordon Nagai: The Voice of Russell in Pixar’s Up

Jordan Nagai and his Animated Counterpart. Click here for Pixar's Up Trailer.

Jordan Nagai and his animated counterpart, Russell. Click here for Pixar's Up Trailer.

Aside from the usual Pixar shout outs to East Bay landmarks surrounding the Emeryville animation studio (Spoiler Alert: click here to find out the Oakland institution that is mentioned in the movie), the movie basically guaranteed itself an Academy Award with an amazing storyline that made 1.5 of the BcB writers almost cry. We’re not talking a Bambi’s mom kind of Disney tearjerker (dude, I was 5, ok?), but it makes you wonder why Dreamworks and Disney itself even bother having animation studios that release 2nd and 3rd runner-ups to Pixar’s yearly Best Animated Feature Oscarworthy films. But the capper is this, the lead character, Russell, an adorable sure-to-be-available doll at your local Disney Store, is voiced by first time Asian American actor Jordan Nagai. This might explain the lack of the usual Disney round eyes on our hero Russell. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Vigil for the Release of Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee

I recently attended the vigil for Laura Ling and Euna Ling, Current TV journalists being detained by North Korea. The vigil was held concurrently on May 21st in Chicago, Portland, Orlando, Los Angeles and in New York City at Rockefeller Center (where I was). At the vigil, Laura Ling’s cousin, Angie Wang, read excerpts from a letter that Laura was able to send to Lisa Ling, her sister. The video and texts are as follows, and came from the Lia Chang blog

When I first got here, I cried so much. Now, I cry less. I try very hard to think about positive things, but sometimes it is hard too. Some days I get to go outside and get some fresh air. In the early evening, I do some stretching. I also sit and meditate. I breathe deeply and think about positive things that have happened in the day. For example, I think “I’m lucky I made it through another day.” I’m lucky my family is working so hard to get me released. I’m thinking about you all constantly and how fortunate I am to have an amazing family. Stay strong and please take care of yourselves. That is my request. Know that I’m thinking of you and dreaming about being reunited with you all again.

All my love,

Laura

If you’d like to attend the next vigil, here’s more info (you can also join the Facebook page): 

On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 6 cities across the country will host public vigils to bring awareness to their detainment. Through a grassroots effort on FACEBOOK, Candlelight vigils in NYC, DC, Birmingham, LA, and San Francisco are being organized in the name of justice, upholding the truth and freedom for Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  Bring a candle and come out to show your support.

DATE: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

TIME: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Washington Square Park (The Fountain)

5th Ave & Waverly Place

NYC

To volunteer or for more information, please email Danielle Chang atchangdanielle@yahoo.com.

Wolves vs Unicorns

It’s official, once you’ve gotten into the Washington Post because of a witty tongue in cheek review on Amazon and viral videos are circling the internets about your awesomeness, you have officially gone from ironic cool to played out status faster than Zachary Quinto can order up an iced double shot, no foam, orange infused textured soy milk cappuccino at Cafe Intelligentsia.

So now that the iconic ironic wolves sweatshirt has gone down the fashion drain (expect wolves sweatshirts to be clearanced out at Metropark and sold at your  local Millers Outpost, if you still got them), what’s next? My prediction: unicorns. Not to be mistaken with the Pegasus trend of the early 90’s, the unicorn will replace the wormhole void that the ironic wolf left in the Williamsburg and Echo Park communities.

Click on this legendary Unicorn to see why Unicorns p0wn all other animals.

Click on this legendary Unicorn to see why these mythical creatures p0wn all other animals.

So throw those things on eBay (it’s sooooo early 2009!) and let some poor sap in Kansas City impress his Flight of the Conchord season 1 DVD watching friends heading to a MGMT concert. And rock that unicorn v-neck that will make you look more futuristic than a pair of Kanye designed Nike LeBrons in NY Knicks Blue and Orange.

Thanks cbruhs for the videos. It was just the proof I needed to confirm the dominance of the unicorn over all other creatures, mythical or not.

Queen Bee Shivashankar

H-E-W-W-W-L-L-L-L-Z  Y-E-A-A-A-H-H-H-H to our new Spelling Bee Championess! Last night, 13-year-old Kavya Shivashankar of Kansas made immigrant parents everywhere proud and immigrant children feel under-accomplished by giving the Scripps National Spelling Bee a beat down with her words.

The winning word? La…Lud…Load…Laodicean! I thought that was some kinda Southeast AZN cutlery, but apparently it means: “indifferent, especially in religious matters”. That one will come in handy next time the Jehoves knock on your door.

I personally feel a little twinge in my gut whenever I hear the words “Spelling Bee”, as it reminds me of my own failings in life. My first and last attempt at SB glory was in the 2nd grade, and cut tragically short after the first round. I mis-spelled the word “friend”. True story. Oh, the irony.

But I feel better knowing that wee Kavya took the crown and $40K cold cash. Being recognized as the best speller on the planet must feel pretty delicious after a lifetime of dum-dums and A-holes spelling your name wrong. So sweet indeed. Downright delictibule…dilick, uh…daluct…dammit.

Friday Fuckery: Your Venn Weekend

My, what a simple yet elegant visual:

the-definition-of-karaoke-12885-1242858033-8

courtesy of Buzzfeed and tannuyen.com

This is the kinda theory I can actually understand and apply to real life. Thanks 11th-grade maths class (shut it, I went to public skool). However, the “set” on the left could include a few more items, namely China, the Philippines, Korea and about 2,117 other Asian cultures. And of course the overlay of a 3rd circle: public disgrace.

A Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Viet Nam?!?


This electrical pole would never fly on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax...

This electrical pole would never fly on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax...

Really? You have 2 locations in SF, a handful in NYC and one on every corner in LA. You make me addicted to your damn Chai Tea and Black Forest dranks, but you open up stores in random places, inconsistenly. And now there are stores in Viet Nam? Who does your franchising? What (il)logical, tricoastal expansion plan does your CEO have? I’m not sure if I’m more mad that there’s an American franchise in Viet Nam selling Cafe Sua Da My that locals can’t afford or if I’m mad that I have to maneuver through the B-C-D-E-F-V-1 subway mess that is Greenwich Village to get coffee that Britney Spears has flown in daily during her tours. 

Thanks for the pic Steve. Glad you enjoyed VN!

Remembering Professor Ronald Takaki

takaki

Although I spent 6 years at Cal taking Ethnic Studies and AsAm classes and never had the pleasure of taking a class under Professor Ronald Takaki, his books, curriculum, and guest lecturing had a significant impact on me. The program is arguably the best Ethnic Studies program in the nation, and that is due largely to this man. Strangers from a Different Shore is required reading for most Asian American Studies programs in the nation, so its no surprise that the Professor’s teachings have gone past the hallowed walls of Barrows Hall… The last time I saw the man, I was walking from the west entrance of campus to the south entrance in 2003, and the man had three separate fans come up to get autographs on their textbooks. What an f’n badass. If only all schools could have an Ethnic Studies professor like Ron Takaki, because today, the Cal community mourns the loss of a great man. The following obituary piece is from Asian Week

It is with great sadness to announce that Professor Emeritus Ronald Takaki passed away on the evening of May 26th, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Carol Takaki, his three children Dana, Troy, and Todd Takaki, and his grandchildren.

Ron Takaki was one of the most preeminent scholars of our nation’s diversity, and considered “the father” of multicultural studies. As an academic, historian, ethnographer and author, his work helped dispel stereotypes of Asian Americans. In his study of multicultural people’s history in America, Takaki seeked to unite Americans, today and in the future, with each other and with the rest of the world.

He was a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught over 20,000 students during 34 years of teaching.

Born in 1939, Professor Takaki was the grandson of immigrant Japanese plantation workers in Hawaii. He graduated from the College of Wooster, Ohio, in 1961. Six years later, after receiving his Ph.D. in American history from UC Berkeley, Takaki went to UCLA to teach its first Black history course.

As a Professor, Takaki hoped that his students would learn that skills of critical thinking and effective writing could be used in a revolutionary way. Epistemology, critical thinking, or in Takaki’s words “how do you know, you know, what you know about the America and the world you live in?” was a question Takaki posed to his students to challenge the way they looked at history, current policies, and even life.

In 1972, Professor Takaki returned to Berkeley to teach in the newly instituted Department of Ethnic Studies. His comparative approach to the study of race and ethnicity provided the conceptual framework for the B.A. program and the Ph.D. program in Comparative Ethnic Studies as well as for the university’s multicultural requirement for graduation, known as the American Cultures Requirement.

The Berkeley faculty has honored Professor Takaki with a Distinguished Teaching Award.

Takaki has lectured in Japan, Russia, Armenia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Austria, and South Africa.

He has debated Nathan Glazer and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. on issues such as affirmative action and multicultural education.

Takaki is a fellow of the Society of American Historians; its executive secretary, Mark Carnes stated that Takaki “has re-shaped American history.”

In 1997, Professor Takaki helped President Bill Clinton write his major speech on race, “One America in the 21st Century.”

Professor Takaki was the author of 12 books. Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America has been critically acclaimed. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans has been selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best 100 non-fiction books of the 20th century, and A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America is read on college campuses across the country and has over half a million copies in print.

AsianWeek will be running a series of articles on honoring and remembering Ronald Takaki on AsianWeek.com. If you would like to contribute with written pieces, pictures, or videos, feel free to contact Beleza Chan at belezachan@gmail.com.