Work For All has a new short film out called Boxed In for its second week of their 10 Week Campaign, showcasing films against racism in the workplace.
What the film is about: "A young woman of mixed ancestry struggles with an Equal Opportunity Form that requires her to respond to the dilemma: Ethnicity - Choose One."—Excerpted from Work For All
Why we love this film: It's a truly unique and creative way of portraying the internal conflict we all go through when being forced into accepting antiquated and stereotypical views of ethnicity and identity.
Who this film appeals to: Anyone can identify with the struggle of feeling "boxed in." Regardless of whether you're mixed race or have a mixed ancestral background, we, as ethnic people living in North America, have mixed identities. Admitting that you are one, but not the other perpetuates the common belief that ethnic identities are simply ethnic. And we know better than anyone, that we're hella more than ethnic.Posted by Claudia Ho | March 31, 2010 | Comments (0)
So the count-down begins. In less than a week away, Schema will reveal the most Amazian blogger ladies of all time, hands down. When asked to choose my favorite Disgrasian post, I had a list of about 20+ posts, but for the sake of brevity, I'll buckle down to one for now.
I'm a huge sucker for cute boys who can play an instrument, so when I saw this post about the Ukulele playing sensation, I immediately fell in love. Not only can Jen and Diana inspire us with their words, but they sure do have an eye for finding future gems and superstars.
Warning: before watching this video, be prepared to have your heart melt.Posted by Christina J. | March 31, 2010 | Comments (0)
Hey Vancouver, are you ready to Squeeze The Day?! All this week Union Gospel Mission will be encouraging the public to "squeeze the day" - instead of spending $10 on a movie ticket or $20 for a new shirt, take the money you saved and donate it to UGM at their website. It's a great way to help out an awesome local cause. Plus UGM is urging everyone to find fun stuff to do for free around the city! In addition to having fun for free, go ahead and blog, record, tweet, or take pictures of your adventures!
The money raised will be used for providing dinners, addictions counseling, job training, housing, and partnering with them to build new lives.The Orange Day Campaign has already started and will end on Friday. So start saving and having free fun around this beautiful city!Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 29, 2010 | Comments (0)
At the beginning of Season 5 of America's Best Dance Crew, when the show introduced a Montreal-based dance group onto their stage, I was totally shocked. A Canadian dance crew on an American show? Don't get me wrong - my surprised reaction didn't have anything to do with Canadian hip-hop dancers being up able to dance (because us Canadians can dance our butts off). I was surprised that the show let Canadians on a show that has America in its title! The minute Blueprint Cru started dancing I was floored. I knew that I had to follow this season to see how far this dance crew can go.
Blueprint Cru has made it to the top 3, but the ride to that spot wasn't an easy one. They landed in the bottom 2 groups on 3 different occasions, each time performing with their hearts on the stage. This crew is majorly sick. While I have no knowledge of the intricacies and workings of hip-hop, I can appreciate good dancing when I see it. And Blueprint Cru is made up of fantastic dancers. You may even recognize some of the dancers as alumni of So You Think You Can Dance Canada: Vincent Noiseux (Season 1 Top 8) and Nicolas Bégin (Season 2 Top 16).
While American-voters seem to be finding it difficult to support a Canadian dance crew, the judges on ABDC are fully behind this group. During the Lady Gaga challenge week, the crew came out with an insane Lady Gaga inspired routine to "Bad Romance". Their efforts were rewarded when the judges granted Blueprint Cru the first immunity ever given out in the show's history.
I'm really excited for this dance crew and the talent they are showcasing to American audiences. How awesome would it be if they won the title of America's Best Dance Crew?
The show airs on MuchMusic, Sundays at 7pm EST.
Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 28, 2010
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Before we get to meet them this Thursday, April 1st at Schema Magazine's iWriteAboutMe workshop, let's get you a little preview of just how crucial it is for you to attend. It would be an understatement to say these writers come up with the most entertaining and creative ways of telling it like it is.
Founders of Disgrasian and blogging pioneers, they post weekly awards for 'Amazian of the Week'. Past laureates have included war veterans, filmmakers, party founders, 'invisible men", artists, Olympic athletes, activists (David Suzuki, yeah!), writers, and naked Padma Lakshmi (where hasn't she been rewarded for that spread).
Now, let's raise a toast to the writers themselves.
Without further ado, here are our...
1. Disgrasian's Dictionary. A work of wit, this is a compilation of terms the girls invented so the world could keep up with their take on the dynamic, evolving arena of race, politics and pop culture Disgrasian's readers are immersed in. If the Queen's English does not suffice, Jen and Diana are not afraid to mix n match and defy her. Some of my personal favourites include
n. An Asian who's aging well. adj. Delaying or lessening the effects of aging by about 10 years, especially on the skin: an anti-asian cream.
The oppressive, unassailable ideas handed down by the Fashion world.
HARDASS ASIAN PARENTS -
Our mothers and fathers, whom we, despite our achievements and senses of familial duty, are usually disappointing.
2. Sophisticasian: Beneath their razor-sharp wit and oft-ironic words, these two are unabashed about their political views, but nevertheless fair. I feel better-informed when I visit the blog, but in a way that makes it not boring, pedantic or one-sided! Politician Joseph Cao, for example, has been awarded both of the titles 'Disgrasian of the Weak' and 'Amazian' on the blog, despite being on the other side of the political fence than the one occupied by Disgrasian. i.e. he is a Republican and they are certainly not.
3. Disregard for beating around the bush: Disgrasian is not afraid to get a little dirty, and I love it. When everyone reaches a common platform and loosens up their neckties/gets their panties out of a bunch: it's like saying hey, we're not propah, we are not afraid, let's just cut right through the bull to the core of what we're all talking about. They are not afraid to 'call b***s**t' (see 6).Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | March 30, 2010 | Comments (0)
All over the country, we're asking men: "If you had one piece of advice that you'd give another man about love, what would it be?" These are their answers.—Excerpted from The Man's Guide To Love
Here's the video up on Disgrasian:
Though, the video is oddly entertaining, this is probably the worse "man's guide" in the world. Men, for the sake of romance, and perhaps even humanity, DO NOT follow it!
Check out Disgrasian's original post, and vote on their poll for whether or not you agree with what Edward, the dream seller had to say.Posted by Linda Chan | March 30, 2010 | Comments (0)
Ladies, this one is for you. Calvin Klein Underwear has launched their latest promotional campaign for their Calvin Klein X Underwear series. Only one word is needed to describe it: WOW. Not just a regular wow. But a WOW.
The ad campaign features four hot, steamy, sexy guys. And when I say hot, steamy, and sexy, I mean it. Hidetoshi Nakata, Fernando Verdasco, Kellan Lutz and Mehcad Brooks flaunt their stuff shamelessly for this campaign. I'm staring at hardcore, washboard abs and all I can say is WOW.
If washboard abs don't tickle your fancy (trust me, they will), then perhaps the dialogue will. Meant to stir the viewer with lines like "You want to see my bleep?" and "I'll show you my bleep if you show me yours", this straight forward attitude of selling underwear is not hiding behind any sort of sexuality screen. Sex sells and Calvin Klein is not holding anything back.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 26, 2010 | Comments (3)
In less than one week Schema will be hosting theiWriteAboutMe workshop featuring the hilarious ladies of Disgrasian. Since we announced this I have been visiting Disgrasian non-stop. As usual I was entertained for hours, but this one post managed to overwhelm me with every emotion possible.
Titled Who Knew? Pilipinas Loves Animals Sounds And Bondage Gear And... produces the LOLs big time! The Philippines have their own verison of "American's Got Talent" and lets just say their version of talent is something you have to see with your eyes.
Its defiantly a form of culture shock - when you notice how different cultures perceive what is considered talented and what isn't. This wouldn't fly on American soil. Nonetheless I'm sure most cultures would find this entertaining. As for me, I sure found it entertaining. It also left me speechless. And a little big scared. As well as awed and dare I say it, wanting a bit more? Yes, I am partly confused. And I'm sure you will be too after you check out the clip.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 27, 2010 | Comments (0)
Threats against the President of the United States are taken very seriously, regardless from where they are coming from. Two Twitter users have found out the hard way after their tweets from Sunday night.
Appearing after the intensely debated news of Sunday night's health care reform vote, @THHEE_JAY and @Solly_Forrel expressed their dissatisfaction with the President by tweeting to their readers "ASSASSINATION! America, we survived the Assassinations and Lincoln & Kennedy. We'll surely get over a bullet to Barrack Obama's head" and "You Should be Assassinated!! @Barack Obama."
Well, now the Secret Service is investigating these threats directed to President Obama. As of Monday night @THHEE_JAY account seems to be offline. While this isn't the first time social media tools have been on the radar of the Secret Services, the moral of this story shows just how powerful and weighty social media tools really are.
The Secret Services is a big deal. If they are looking into Twitter statements, then what goes on these sites must be a big deal.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 24, 2010 | Comments (1)
Here at Schema, we are super stoked to have the wonderful ladies at Disgrasian to speak at our iWriteAboutMe.com workshop, on Thursday April 1, 2010. I think most of us are super-stalking their blog, perhaps more than usual, in anticipation of this.
While, I was doing this, something that caught my eye was this post about Grace Park. It was her birthday recently, and to appreciate her existence, I have complied a list of reasons of why I love Grace.
1. She's hot
2. She's from Vancouver
3. I've met her, and practically got her autograph. (I was a cashier, she paid for something with a credit card)
4. She was in Edgemont, one of the very few Canadian teen dramas.
5. She is a sex pot. She has made it on Maxim's hot 100 list twice!
All this is why she has a special place in my heart. Thank you Disgrasian for sharing with us Grace Park's sexiness on her birthday! The world needs more of it.Posted by Linda Chan | March 25, 2010 | Comments (0)
Cutie Swede indie-pop singer Lykke Li has gone dark! Released a few days ago, the new music video for her song "Possibility" takes a serious turn. Compared to her previous upbeat and flighty videos such as "Little Bit" and "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Possibility" is all shot in a very serene black and white. Clocking in at just over six minutes, the video is full of ebbs and flows, with her vocals cascading throughout the music, rough as times, but blissfully pure.
Li recently told Nylon Magazine of the making of the video in which there were two cameramen on-hand to capture this impromptu jam with her band:
"Why the wait one might think?" asks Li, adding, "Winter became spring. There is hope again
Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 24, 2010
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I know that I'm a bit behind my Banksy news, but it thrilled me to the very core of my wannabe graffiti artist self that I just had to post this on Schema. Infamous street artist Banksy has recently unleashed a film to the world! Titled Exit Through The Gift Shop, the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this past January and undoubtedly anything Banksy would not be complete without an air of mystery present.
Exit Through The Gift Shop was left off the official Sundance program, but intrigue and speculation turned to Banksy after four stencils, believed to be by the artist, appeared throughout the festivals grounds. As usual the graffiti god did not waste time in toying and teasing with his audience.
Banksy's film is described as a story of how a quirky French shop owner-turned-documentary-maker attempts to locate and befriend Banksy, only to find the artist turning the camera on him. (Sounds totally Banksy, eh?) What's more exciting than a film by Banksy is the fact that it will be the closest the anonymous graffiti artist has come to unmasking himself ever. The film also includes footage of many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work.
Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 23, 2010
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Exit Through The Gift Shop opened on March 5 in the UK. There are no North American dates set at the moment, but when I find out I will be sure to let all you Banksy lovers out there know!
WORKS OF ART (USA, 2009, 19 mins, Video)
World Premiere @ SFIAAFF 2010
Meet Art Hahn (Paul Juhn), whose days are a blur of demoralizing auditions and bleak temp jobs--just another actor numbed by the New York struggle. One day, an unusual proposition from his friend, John Kim (Ken Leung), leads him to a remarkable role that jolts his system like never before.
Work of Art TRAILER
Cast includes: Paul Juhn, Sara Kim, Ken Leung, Paul Giamatti, Caitlin Miller and Joel de la Fuente.
Director of Photography: Ramsey Fendall
Editor: Cindy Lee
Producers: Philippe Cu Leong and Helen Yum
(From L-R: Ken Leung & Paul Juhn in Works of Art)
Daaaamn. Works of Art is a fine piece of film. You know, I am not a film critic in the least, nope. Okay, caveat completed. Now, what I do enjoy about films is that refreshing feeling after watching a satisfying film, after reading a satisfying story, after a satisfying meal. Works of Art left me refreshed and satisfied...and ready to book a flight out to NYC. The characters meander around the city, fleshing it out, making the scenes vibrate with the energy of the city. I could hear the street sounds clearly as though I was there, even though they were in the background of each shot. Aiya. So fine.
And there's -- whoa! -- some facial close-ups where a blackhead investigation could be conducted (there's a reason, you'll have to watch to see why)...but I swear the expressive facial expressions of the actors was perfection because, well, isn't that how we often expressive ourselves? The subtle facial expressions, our body language...they say a lot of more in their nuance than words in their limitation. Oye, the music was sweet (Big Phony).
So, to begin, I found three young men walking through the Hotel Tomo lobby with a look that suggested they were looking for the unofficial after-party at Goh & Kevin's. Turns out they (Andrew Pang, Philippe Leong, Paul Juhn) were in town (that'll be San Francisco), visiting from New York City, to show their short film, Works of Art. So upon leaving, Andrew offers up a screener of the film. Squee! Sorry, I had to have a moment there. That was very unlike me...uh hum, yeah, women my age shouldn't be squealing. *cough*
This set of films [in Wandering, Wondering] floats through the city like seeds from dandelions. The same kinds of meanderings are oriented within. on a bus, on a bike, these tales of love hide in alleys, hotel rooms, or in the anonymity of large groups. These cinematic kisses will leave you wondering whether the story is about a moment, a secret, or love.
* Work of Art TRAILER
(Photo credit : Big Phony by Dorothy Hong @ Theme)
* LISTEN to Big Phony:
Posted by Tamiko | March 21, 2010 | Comments (1)
Schema first found this Tim Hortons commercial on DarrenBareFoot.com. When I began to read the comments, I was shocked by the negativity. But it was nothing compared to all the anti-immigration and anti-Tim Hortons comments from The Globe and Mail. All I have to say is: Stop the bashing and appreciate the story.
Sometimes people tend to neglect their capacity to understand or connect with one one thing every person in this world shares is emotions. Tim Hortons used this point to their advantage and reeled out this emotional, "based on a true story" commercial. Check it out:
What this commercial highlighted is the sense of loneliness, separation, excitement, anticipation, reunion, family, love, adventure and discovery. Many people are calling this a "tear jerker," while others consider this "corny." Either way, Tim Hortons should be acknowledged for the fact that isn't following the corporate route of many other fast food chains with a "Hi, welcome to [fast food chain name], may I take your order?"-type commercial.
While the characters in the commerical are actors and the story itself may have been altered to some degree, the importance is that it's different. It tells the story from the viewpoint of an immigrant (i.e. visible minority), which is something we seldom see in mainstream media.
Thie commerical reminded Schema of another Tim Hortons commercial that was aired during the last Winter Olympics. This time, the story is from the viewpoint of a 2nd/3rd Generation Chinese Canadian family. Check it out:
Posted by Angela Jung | March 23, 2010 | Comments (6)
So this short will doubtlessly lead to outrage among people with an underdeveloped sense of irony, who either have trouble comprehending it (a la outrage at Sasha Baron Cohen's work) or who think racism is far too serious to ever be depicted humorously. Some may find that the film makes light of racism and some may find it really intelligent. Whatever the reception may be, you can be sure that the director, Cal Garingan, had every intention of taking a strong stance against racism in the workplace - albeit done in a rather humorous way.
This short film deserves some great laughs. As you might have understood so far, the film is a mockumentary about a white girl, Jade, who basically allows her bosses, Shaq King and Wen Dee benefit from her hard work because she convinces herself that her efforts now will pay off. Jades bosses are sardonically patronizing and treat her like the special visible minority worker "that every office should have."
The film takes the humour right to its limit, with Jade bemoaning that she is "an invisible minority." She rejoices when an Asian conference-guest actually lays eyes on her as she holds the door open for him, bestowing her with a wink. Well, before I give away all the punchlines, let me just say that humour is the best tool with which to make the proverbial mirror-for-society. No one can deny that the reasons this film is funny is because racism is real and recognizable and it sure beats listing bad things that happen to visible minorities (to resort to soon-to-be-dated terms) in a pedantic moralizing way.
Jaded is a great start to NFB's Work for All 10 Week Campaign. A must see mockumentary that is guarantee to stir up a much needed discussion about racism at the office. Be amongst the first people to watch the film!Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | March 22, 2010 | Comments (0)
Wow. I had to take a second look when I first saw this picture. Twelve crayons carved meticulously into the twelve characters of the Chinese Zodiac. How cool is that.
Diem Chau is an artist originally from Saigon, Vietnam and now resides in Seattle, WA. She's known to produce whimsical works of art that lure unsuspecting viewers into stories that are much more than they appear (at least, that's what happened to me).
The Horse and The Ox
Chau tells a story in her blog about the Horse and Ox and how the two characters relate to her childhood. It's a story that I found particularly compelling and I encourage you to find out more.
Other sources:Posted by Claudia Ho | March 20, 2010 | Comments (3)
How unfortunate it is that even in the 21st century, in the midst of globalization and vast migration, racism is still alive. Of course it has evolved to become something different than it was. But the fact that racism is still alive means that it is still prevalent in our society.
Multiple times, on the bus, at the grocery store, and just out and about on the streets, I have been told to 'go back home'. This year, I went to a new optometrist in Kitsilano to get a check-up for my new glasses, and had my prescription filled at a legit, franchised glasses store in Oakridge Centre. The prescription turned out to make my vision blurry, and my optometrist blamed it on my cheap, low-quality lenses I got from 'the Orients'. WTF!
In recognition of International Eliminate Racism Day, March 21st, Work for All, in collaboration with Schema Magazine, is hosting a 10-week film campaign against racism in the workplace.
Work for All is an online film project that encourages open discussion about racism at work. It has taken up the ambitious aim to eliminate racism in the workplace. Each week, a new film will be featured to talk about the different types of racism in a variety of workplaces. They will be funny, touching, controversial, but most importantly entertaining and informative.
The first of film of the campaign is Jaded. A hilarious mockumentary, about racism. I guarantee you, it will exceed all expectations. Deliberately created by Cal Garingan to spark conversation about race from all ethnicities, even for those who do not consider themselves "ethnic."
Stay tuned! It is going to be an exciting and provocative 10 weeks.Posted by Linda Chan | March 22, 2010 | Comments (0)
I found out two seconds ago that one of my favourite artists, Jun Seba, better known as Nujabes died from a car accident in Tokyo, Japan on February 26, 2010. I have no idea how the news escaped me for so long and I apologize that I didn't do a post about this genius of an artist earlier when I had the chance.
Nujabes' work is probably considered more on the "chill" side of the spectrum for hip hop, but nevertheless, is awesome for all its worth. I'd say his music sounds like a fusion of jazz and hip hop, with an unmistakable "mellow soulfulness" that seems to resonate in all his tracks.
It's hard not to get emotional as I write this post, because I feel that Nujabes really opened up the scope for me in terms of listening to less conventional forms of hip hop music. He was, without a doubt, an incredibly talented and unique hip hop producer/DJ/artist that I have ever been introduced to. Check it out.
Nujabes' discography can be found on thedailymojo.com
"Feather" (Feat Cise Starr & Akin) (One of my favourite tracks)
Sources:Posted by Claudia Ho | March 19, 2010 | Comments (1)
Sometimes, videos speak louder than words.
"The Man" featured in the videos below is the man of your dreams—unreal, but perfect in every way.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do...and the other 5.6 million youtube viewers out there!
UPDATE: Found an article from people.com written about the main character, whose real name is Isaiah Mustafa.Posted by Claudia Ho | March 18, 2010 | Comments (0)
In recognition of International Eliminate Racism Day and the launch of NFB's Work for All 10 Week Campagin, Schema Mag had the amazing opportunity to interview Cal Garingan, the director of Jaded. Discover Cal's passion and inspiration behind the film through his one on one interview on Schema's People to Watch section in Indepth!
Posted by Claudia Ho | March 22, 2010
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For a sneak peak of Cal Garingan and his ideas behind the mockumentary, Jaded, watch his interview with NFB here:
Schema Magazine's iWriteAboutMe workshop of the month features the hilarious Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen, creators of DISGRASIAN , one of the most popular and influential Asian American blogs of our time.
It's no surprise either, because their unabashedly wry commentary on the outlandish, ridiculous and disgraceful in pop culture, music, politics sports race and identity, has won over thousands of fans in the online social network - and Schema is a BIG fan too!
How DISGRASIAN came to be:
A little ditty about Jen and Diana, two Asian American chicks who grew up in the Heartland. Jen was gonna be a football star, Diana was gonna be the first girl in NASCAR. Suckin' on chili dogs, outside the line at Pink's, Diana's eating Jen's fries, gets some ketchup on her sleeve. Jen says, Hey Diana, let's run off and start this blog, quit our lame day jobs and do what we please. Diana says, Oh yeah! Life goes on, long after the thrill of livin' is gone. Oh yeah...Jen says, Hold on. Are we singing "Jack and Diane"? Diana says, Hells yeah, we're singing "Jack and Diane." Where were we? Oh right...and together they go, Gonna let it rawk, let it ro-oll! Let the bible belt come and save ma so-o-oul! —From Disgrasian's "About"
Mark your calendars for:
Special thanks to our Partners and Sponsors
The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (University of British Columbia), the North American Association of Asian Professionals Vancouver (NAAAP), theTyee.ca, Fresh Media, the Office of Learning Technology (University of British Columbia), the Museum of Vancouver, and our sponsors The Laurier Institution and Bing Thom Architects.
This special event is part of iWriteAboutMe.com, a monthly series of web writing workshops and speakers, featuring some of the most pioneering, innovative and ethnic cool voices on the Internet. iWriteAboutMe.com showcases dynamic web personalities, social media gurus, bloggers and writers who share their stories of transforming their personal perspective and diverse identities into an online brand.
Check out the hype on previous workshops here: iWriteAboutMe.comPosted by Gayatri Bajpai | March 27, 2010 | Comments (0)
Like other Iranians around the world, Charshanbe-Suri, the Festival of Fire was celebrated amongst thousands of Iranians at Vancouver Ambleside Park on March 16, 2010.
Charshanbe-Suri, the Festival of Fire, is an ancient Iranian festival dating back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival is a prelude to the ancient Norouz Festival, which is celebrated every last Tuesday night of the solar calendar, marking the arrival of spring and the revival of nature.
The most significant event that has made this festival so special is the tradition of "making bonfires and jumping over them" while singing the song "zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man," which, literally translated, means, "my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red color is mine." The saying emphasizes on the idea that the fire will take your paleness, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy.
The event started with music, dance and Persian food. Last year approximately 20,000 people came out to enjoy the music, food and entertainment. Some even made the leap over the bonfire's flames.
There is no religious significance attached to Chaharshanbeh Soori. It's moreso a cultural festival for Persians, Persian Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Armenians, Kurds, Turks and Zoroastrians alike. Indeed this celebration, in particular the significant role of fire, is likely to hail from.Posted by Azam Shaghaghi | March 18, 2010 | Comments (0)
Tags: Activism, Advertising, Art, Asian, Asian American, Asian Canadian, Canada, Commentary, Community, Culture, Dance, Design, Diversity, Environment, Ethnic Cool, Events, Food, Identity, International, Iran, People To Watch
In a world of monstrous mountains of trash, a family confronts their ultimate fight for survival as they seek refuge and redemption from war and hunger.
THE FILMMAKER | GERRY BALASTA
We met in the Guest Services Lounge at Hotel Tomo. He was giddy with excitement since his film The Mountain Thief was having its festival premiere at SFIAAFF 2010. Genuinely nice guy, and damn...so young!
As the writer, director AND producer of The Mountain Thief, Gerry balances this trifecta with his first feature narrative...and it's been gaining rave reviews since it's premiere this past Sunday (moved the audience to tears). Good on ya! Couldn't happen to a better guy.
After years of working with children with disabilities as an Occupational Therapist, Gerry pursued a career in filmmaking--a life-long passion.
Inspired by a vision of sharing the spirit of people in Manila living in extreme poverty, he completed courses in film production at New York University-SCPS. A couple of his short films have played in festivals in the US. Gerry has written several screenplays, two of which were finalists for the 26th and 27th AAIFF Screenwriting Competition.
In December of 2004, Gerry went to the Philippines, where he was born and raised, and instituted an acting workshop open to the residents of the Philippine's largest garbage-collecting town. Graduates of the workshop acted in his first feature film, The Mountain Thief. The film was selected to the prestigious 2008 IFP Narrative Rough Cut Lab. Gerry is also currently working on his next feature The Silence Of Manila, a political-psychological thriller.
THE MOUNTAIN THIEF | ABOUT THE FILM
The Mountain Thief is the first narrative feature film that was shot in the garbage-collecting town of Promised Land and Urban, Payatas in the Philippines where the living conditions are possibly the most horrific in the world.
It was also the first film that was made with a cast culled from the scavengers of a garbage-collecting town, from the graduates of the town's only acting workshop. The Director instituted the workshop in December of 2004.
A micro-philanthropy project called Mount Hope Project was initiated by the filmmakers to help the scavengers who acted in the film. In late 2009, through the supporters and fans of this film, 2 of the children involved in the film received medical care, including surgery for one child with a club foot deformity.
In a world of monstrous mountains of trash, Julio and his son confront their ultimate fight for survival as they seek refuge and redemption from war and hunger. Together, they navigate territorial rivalries and intense desperation among scavengers, surviving--and finding love--despite horrific living conditions. Julio, involved in a murder incident, must prove his innocence to avoid his family's banishment and ultimate starvation.
A story of triumph over unusual circumstances, "The Mountain Thief" reveals the unimaginable realities of people living in extreme poverty, and what happens when their tenuous hold on hope and survival is threatened.
The Mountain Thief (USA, 2010, 78 mins, Video)
In Tagalog w./E.S. with English subtitles
Directed By: Gerry Balasta
Writer: Gerry Balasta
Exec. Producer: Douglas Morse
Producers: Gerry Balasta, Nina Balasta
Cinematographer: Francisco Valdez
Editors: Francisco Diaz, Clarence Sison, Gerry Balasta
Sound: Miguel Mariano Locsin III, Jojo Jacinto
Music: Michael Tremante
Cast: Randy Catonjay, Manuel Gonzaga, Jr., John Richard Casas, Reynaldo R. Cinco
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT | Gerry Balasta
Growing up in a town in Manila, I still remember that when a strong wind blew from the west, we had to cover our noses. If I close my eyes today, I can still smell the sickening stench coming from the country's largest dumpsite. To this day, I am haunted by this memory, because I knew back then that people were born, lived and died in those monstrous mountains of trash. After I moved to the US, I realized, that it is essential for me to share this disturbing yet ultimately hopeful story of man's love for life and his ability to endure.
I get really annoyed when I'm minding my own business, walking down the street, and I feel my shoe step in something soft and moist, while a faint, putrid smells reaches my nose. All these encounters with animal crap are very unwelcome. Its one thing to step in poop. Its a whole other thing to want to wear it!
I've seen some pretty crazy stilettos designs (RIP the genius that is Alexander McQueen), but INSA Heels have surpassed my wildest imaginations! Called the INSA Elephant Dung Heels. these craptastic heels reach the crazy height of 10 inches. I can deal with how tall these shoes are, but I'm finding it hard to swallow the use of poop integrated in them.
London designer INSA created the heels as a response to artist Chris Ofili's controversial painting titled 'The Holy Virgin Mary' in which he used droppings of elephant dung as material. INSA used the same poop from the same family of elephants Ofili used in his infamous nineties painting. Wow! That's probably the most intense way to pay tribute to someone!Posted by Jocelyn Gan | March 18, 2010 | Comments (0)
DAY III | BRUNCH & SING CHINA!
Woke up to glorious sunshine on Day 3 and took the MUNI bus along Geary to meet Chris of Reel Asian, Wendy from SFIAAFF (formerly DC APA), and filmmaker Soopum of "Make Yourself At Home" for brunch.
The bus ride? People watching at its best: A sharply-dressed Caucasian woman randomly carrying a red Japanese schoolgirl backpack. A girl in a purple silk dress with a plunging neckline that revealed her pillowy tatas, in contrast to her angelic curls framing her equally angelic face. A stoic African-American wearing a Rasta handknitted tam upon his head, delicately mending his burlap eco-bag with needle and thread. An elderly Asian woman, all curled-back and lived-in face, wheeling her cart bursting with bags of groceries, while shielding her face with a bright yellow and blue Marimekko print sunhat. A young Vietnamese woman with shiny black locks, bopping along and unabashingly singing out along to the V-pop tune thumping out of her Mp3 player. A young Latino man, biting his lower lip, with his Nike cap backwards atop his head. An elderly Asian man nodding off, with a lolling head, bumping his thick black-framed glasses against the rim of his Adidas cap.
Alas I arrived to meet my group at Hotel Tomo and we managed to slip off for brunch at Ti Couz, a Breton creperie in the Mission district. We're talking authentic buckwheat savory crepes filled with smoked salmon (mine) and decorated with creme fraiche; tall glasses of Bloody Mary's adorned with a pickled onion, olive, and a plump shrimp on a toothpick; a soft crepe soaked with lemon-sugar and a dollop of fresh cream; and a rustic bowl of organic pear cider. Sublime. Delicious.
Freida Lee Mock's 2001 Oscar-nominated short film SING! looked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Children's Choir, and in her inspiring sequel she returns to the chorus seven years later, chronicling its groundbreaking tour of China.
Following the chorus' 60 members, all 11-17 years-old, Mock not only captures the excitement and drama of performance, but also paints a portrait of a changing China, one then on the cusp of hosting the 2008 Olympics.
Internationally acclaimed, the Los Angeles Children's Chorus includes youth from over 50 diverse communities across Los Angeles and has traveled around the world, bringing its young ambassadors of American culture from Brazil to Australia.
In the chorus' first trip to China, Mock captures the intimate moments of their rehearsals and performances, and also their interactions with host organizations and fellow Chinese singers.
From Shanghai to Beijing to Xi'an, SING CHINA! follows the children as they inquisitively learn how silk is made, haggle with street vendors and stand in awe of ancient buildings, and also provides incredible footage of their concerts and performances, featuring everything from Beethoven to Ellington to traditional Chinese songs.
For many of the children, the trip is a fascinating glimpse into another culture, but for others it is something quite more meaningful. These include Gianna, a Chinese adoptee returning to China for the first time who is in search of her orphanage, and the precocious Nathan, a Filipino American who is astonished to see so many Asians in one place.
Funny, heartful and moving, SING CHINA! is a celebration of performance, culture and the transformative power of music.
YAY FOR SING CHINA!
I cried with joy. Damn, Sing China! is a feel-good film. I got all tingly, so inspired by the children of this choir. So if you were too lazy to read the above synopsis: You get this choir from LA. They go to China. Sing their hearts out during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They visit Chinese choirs. They sing Carmina Burana and Ode To Joy, among other classics. They tour and travel and see the sights. They experience a different world and appreciate the intricacies of another country. They find bits of themselves. They share their lives with others. They appreciate what they have at home. You basically want to adopt them all!
Weeping while the young singer Gianna, adopted by an American family after being abandoned in an orphanage in China, visits the orphanage and her amah. Hearing her wonder if she's Chinese or American or both...tears rolling down my face. Accepting her birth parents decision to give her a better life. Melts your heart.
And their teacher...she reminded the students to be ambassadors of America and to carry with them "kindness, grace, and understanding" wherever they go. If only we all learned to carry with us "kindness, grace, and understanding" -- a reminder to do so.
Sing China! will hopefully show in a festival near you...or you can always wait for it to premiere on public television. Worth every breathless moment of waiting.Posted by Tamiko | March 15, 2010 | Comments (0)
SFIAAFF Day II didn't formerly begin until the first screenings at 3ish, which meant I was able to partake in some San Franciscan pleasures. Oh la. A MUNI bus took me down -- as in "ridiculously steep" -- Sacramento towards Chinatown where I disembarked for a decidedly rainy walk towards one of my favorite spots - Cafe de La Presse for a Parisian brassiere-style brunch.
After a fresh bite of tiger prawns, avocado, pink grapefruit segments, cherry tomatoes covered in, ahem, french dressing (you know, that tangy reddish salad dressing), and a delightful bowl of cafe au lait, we wandered up towards a soggy Chinatown for a heftier lunch with friends at a Vietnamese pho place. Didn't end up with pho; instead swooned over my spicy-sweet-sour shrimp salad that was covered with crispy garlic flakes.
Of course, the rain didn't deter me from lining up outside the Golden Gate Bakery for the best dan tats in the whole entire universe (well, at least my universe, ha!). Light, flaky pastry shell filled with warm silky egg custard. This fortified our next mission for some shopping -- er, window shopping in Union Square.
After a nap, headed down to eat somewhere random (re: not very good) on Fillmore for a screening of Fog (see pic above), a US/Hong Kong joint production by director Kit Hui. She was in attendance, along with the actors of the film, Terence Yin and Eugenia Yuan.
Here's the SFIAAF write-up for Fog...like I've said before, they've done a better job of summing the film up than I would have:
This intimate Hong Kong story follows a young man attempting to move past his amnesia. While he strives to reconcile his past with his future, the city around him busily prepares for the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's reunification with China. Propelled by an engrossing, understated performance from Chinese American heartthrob Terence Yin (TOMB RAIDER II: THE CRADLE OF LIFE; THE HEAVENLY KINGS), this film marks the assured debut of writer-director Kit Hui, who makes good on the promise of her award-winning short MISSING (SFIAAFF '07). Wai (yin) is in a state of confusion. He moves through each day in a trance, numbly stumbling from home to hospital to work and vainly attempting to jog his foggy memory by wandering through his childhood school, by making frequent visits to his friend's bar. Gradually Wai gathers bits of information about his past life and the world around him through conversations, photographs and even trips to the library. He absorbs most of it in a state of numbness, maintaining equilibrium with alcohol and drugs. Some revelations, however, prove too great to ignore. Also starring the lovely Eugenia Yuan (CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES, SFIAAFF '03), FOG is a rich exploration of the search for identity on levels both micro and macro: Wai finds a rare opportunity to overcome a wealth of past wrongs, while Hong Kong sits at a crucial point, looking back on its history, and towards its uncertain future.
Okay, lookit, I go into the film as a regular layman audience member...not a film school student with arty understanding of the mechanics of independent film, you hear me? Translation: I watch films for entertainment value, not so much artistic merit. It's an escape mechanism, a need for a break and a bit of pleasure -- this is why we watch films en masse, no? I preface with this caveat, because....well, my whole row in the theatre squirmed over and over again, and many eventually fell asleep...one even left..due to sheer boredom. It was pure molasses, aka. tortuously slow....with some sweet moments where you'd think, ah, redemption, it's going to pick up, it's going somewhere...and then it doesn't. What a tease. Not a guy, but dare I say it had blue ball moments.
Obviously I'm not going to kiss some asses by saying it was fantastic. I could say it was an artistic, brooding piece of melancholy in the human psyche...just so I can sound arty and intelligent. But for the regular filmgoer, this film was pretty much a tortuous experience for someone who seeks instant gratification in their movie experience. But that's just me...and my row in the theatre. To be fair, the vision of the filmmaker and her producers was probably that this film was an experiment in the noir. The trailer's good, though HERE.
After the screening, headed out to Mighty, a club on Utah Street, for Directions in Sound: NOTES FROM THE ASIAN AMERICAN UNDERGROUND (click on link for list of DJs, including DJ Shortkut - pictured above):
DIRECTIONS IN SOUND is a genre-bending showcase featuring the best future-forward sounds that are blowing up around the globe. This year our lineup features internationally known artists and up-and-comers bubbling below the radar. If you can dig non-stop bangin' beats, electro-clash with a neon sheen, and even hip-hop smashed on video, DIRECTIONS IN SOUND 2010 will satisfy all the senses.
Then back to Hotel Tomo for live sets in Kevin's (Hawaii via Toronto) Room *** from Goh Nakamura (above), Han Wang from the band Invisible Cities, and Dan Lee from the band Scrabbel (listen below to their great song, "Emily, I").
Other films screening on Day II included (all write-ups from SFIAAF website):
The magical, sustaining forces of the land collide with the all-pervasive march of globalization in this remarkable, visually stunning film. A scripted work that plays closer to documentary, AGRARIAN UTOPIA describes the conditions befalling traditional agricultural lifestyle in a time of mass farming, government instability and global price setting. The film follows two farmers and their families through the cycle of a rice crop season. Strapped by crippling debts and interest rates, the families share a plot of land; the fertile soil offers them potential riches, but market prices may reduce their crop value to almost nothing. Creative means are keys to survival; some of the film's most exquisite sequences feature the harvesting of snakes, honeycomb, frogs and mushrooms, sustenance the land can provide, but the government cannot. All the while, political turmoil roils distant Bangkok with cries for reform and fairer agricultural policy, while the city itself provides a further temptation to abandon agrarian life entirely. A neighboring farmer offers a potential solution through his holistic, organic approach to farming, but neither of these options can restore a lifestyle that is fast disappearing. The son of farmers, director Uruphong Raksasad offers an intimate vision of the Thai countryside, where what is on display is not just a way of life, but also the force of nature itself. The film's astonishing cinematography and time-lapse images capture the sublimity of electrical storms, morning mist and gathering winds, and present a glimpse of what a utopian agrarian world could truly look like.
Amid the heady days of youth, three high school students gear up for a talent competition. While shuttling between home and school, they find their way from love to loss, and back again. Melur is the eldest daughter of a well-to-do English/Malaysian family. She sweetly sings her heart out and recites poignant poems over the breakfast table at home. Mahesh, a handsome and deaf Indian student with a motorbike, is assigned to chauffeur her to rehearsals. Hafiz is a guitar-strumming Malay student who dutifully tends to his dying mother while loving Melur from afar. The upcoming competition unravels the heightened emotions of the students and their families as they navigate heartache, tragedy and the fluctuating tempo of quotidian life. In her final film, the late director Yasmin Ahmad interweaves music and dialogue with humor and grace, as well as a touch of Yasujiro Ozu. The strains of Debussy imbues the empty school halls with longing, while some John Hughes-style montages make a fitting ode to awkward teenage angst. Never one to shy away from sensitive topics, Ahmad tackles the complex social and cultural dynamic of Malaysia through the films' touching multicultural family portraits; her characters, both young and old, flit effortlessly between languages both spoken and unspoken, voicing the soundtrack of the young at heart. "A story full of joy and pain, hope and despair, and a host of beautifully written songs," is how Ahmad described TALENTIME. One of the most acclaimed and original voices in Southeast Asian cinema, she passed away suddenly last July, aged just 51.
Still in his mid-twenties, director Raya Martin is already a Cannes Film Festival veteran. Having attended with projects and films in 2005 and 2008, in 2009 he became the first Filipino to have two films at Cannes (a rare feat for a director of any nationality), with MANILA (co-directed with Adolfo Alix Jr.) and INDEPENDENCIA. The second of a planned trilogy on the history of the Philippines (each film's aesthetic will mirror the era), INDEPENDENCIA takes place during the American occupation of the early 20th century, and is shot as a classic Hollywood studio film from the period, with black-and-white deep-focus photography, soft-focus close-ups and elaborately fake sets. The film's plot is stripped to an essential framework (a man, a woman and a child hide from American patrols in the jungle rains), the better to address more weighty, complex ideas on culture, history, colonialism and cinema itself. To recreate the classic Hollywood look, Martin constructed an elaborate "jungle" set indoors, using backdrops intricatedly hand-painted by local artists. The hypnotic result recalls such studio exotica as I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, RED DUST, and SHANGHAI EXPRESS, with cinematographer Jeanne Lapoirie (who's worked with Pedro Costa and Francois Ozon) casting a dazzling spell of faces, bodies and movement amidst dark shadows and shafts of diffused light. "Nobody makes this kind of film anymore," Martin recalls. "It's more expensive than traveling to a real forest, which we have almost everywhere in the Philippines, and our audiences are used to realism in the movies. What made it easier for everyone was our child-like fascination. We were like kids reconstructing a lost world."
Documentary In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee (trailer):
n 1966, an American couple adopted a Korean "orphan" named Cha Jung Hee, and renamed her Deann Borshay. No one questioned the authenticity of the identity papers from the adoption agency, nor did anyone heed the little girl's pleas that her family was actually still alive. As time went on, Jung Hee/Deann happily integrated into the new family. There was just one important discrepancy-she was never Cha Jung Hee. A moving and complex follow-up to the acclaimed FIRST PERSON PLURAL (SFIAAFF '99), Borshay's IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE takes us on a remarkable journey through an individual's "mislabeled" past and a nation's scarred history. When Borshay was first taken to Sun Duck Orphanage, she was given the identity of another girl and told to keep it a secret. Over 50 years later, Borshay returns to Korea to find the real Cha Jung Hee: she visits the orphanage, appears on a television show, and even cold calls a list of some hundred Cha Jung Hees. Throughout, the artifacts of her identity are placed into question even as she strives to piece together a family history she can scarcely corroborate. Partially a personal investigation, IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE also traverses the changing face of Korea's cultural landscape, inextricably linking this history with Borshay's compelling narrative.
Eleven-year-old Monica Shah (the wonderfully charming Lily Javaherpour) is a slightly awkward but totally precocious tween who spends all her free time preparing for the regional science fair. Her hypothesis: "Touch therapy can accelerate the growth of rubus idaeus." (In other words, human contact can help raspberry plants grow.) To Monica, raspberries are more than just a desired fruit; they represent "the perfect balance of sweet and sour, the good and the bad," the right combination necessary to savor all the flavors of life itself. When Monica's father loses his job and her mother's cherished cookbook idea loses steam, the fragile bonds keeping them all together begin to wear thin; even her little sister begins to mimic the parents' depression. Through the turmoil, Monica continues with her raspberry experiment; soon it becomes less about winning at the fair, and more about proving the importance of human connection--and getting her parents back together. Things take a turn for the worst when a classmate sabotages her experiment and her father moves out, but Monica might just have a few tricks up her sleeve to work the kind of magic needed to sort it all out... Pendarkar's winning debut feature is a charming coming-of-age tale which explores the delicate nature of human relations and the complex web of emotions that tie us together. Evoking the quirky adolescence of Wes Anderson's RUSHMORE, but taking it in a wholly fresh and heartfelt direction, RASPBERRY MAGIC is an enormously satisfying film about staying in touch.
Program Running Time is 93 min
From Singapore, Queens, India, Canada, San Francisco, London and China, these stunningly bold films give voice to the quiet struggles, strengths, emotions and thoughts of everyday life.
A collection of short films in Sweet Dreams & Beautiful Nightmares (click on link for a list of the short films):
Shorts ProgramsPosted by Tamiko | March 14, 2010 | Comments (0)
Program Running Time is 87 min
Forget about safety and instead tread the path not taken. Here lies an eclectic collection of shorts, where encountering doppelgangers and stalking your crushes are considered recreational sports.
Farewell, paper cranes! Hello, hoodie origami! Antonio Scarponi, founder of Conceptual Devices, has taken traditional Japanese origami to the fashion world. Any regular hoodie (and if you're from the West Coast, I know you must have tons) can become a laptop bag, baby carrier, pillow, backpack and strap bag! I kid you not.
Scarponi is actually an architect and has lectured at schools of architecture and design throughout Europe and the U.S. His work has also been showcased at galleries and museums internationally. So you know that your hoodie strap bag is engineered to carry your things and made to last.
It's simple, really! And you are sure to impress your friends by combining practicality with innovation.Posted by Angela Jung | March 15, 2010 | Comments (2)
Okay, so it's raining like the Pacific Northwest down here in San Francisco...and I'm without my Hunter wellies. Sigh. Sure does remind me of home (that would be Vancouver). But I digres. I am surely feeling right at home here while attending the ever-so fabulous San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) 2010. It's like I'm transported in time since I found myself here 2 years ago exact, give or take a couple of weeks.
Last night, I attended the Opening Night film (thanks to Leo Wong @ Larsen Associates) Today's Special, with the fantabulous festival contingents from Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival; DC APA film festival; Pittsburgh's Silk Screen Festival; and a couple of creative genius filmmakers (that'll be Gerry Balasta, director/writer of The Mountain Thief; and Soopum Sohn, director/writer of Make Yourself At Home).Posted by Tamiko | March 12, 2010 | Comments (0)
On Saturday March 13th, 2010, from 5pm to 10pm, the last installment of Paul Wong's 5.5 Five Elements will be taking place at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, 578 Carrall St!
Come and experience the final event Number 5 of 5, with the 5 elements: earth, air, fire, water and metal, and the 5 senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell as inspirations for making use of this spectacular 15th century compound of gardens, courtyards, waterways and architectural features in the heart of Chinatown. The contemporary, classical pictorial and moving images, old and new school, are digitally meshed in this spectacular, multi-media art installation. Come and be touched by the hand.
TICKETS AT THE DOOR are ONLY $10 (cash only).
Beautiful works you can expect to see include Black Flags, Sally, Ginko, Grotto, Windows 97, Snakes On A Pond, Koi, Downtown Eastside, Enter The Dragon 1973-2008, Mah Jong, Miss Chinatown by Paul Wong, Shattered by Karin Lee, Hope by Dana Claxton, Beach by Brian Kent Gotro, and Rex vs. Singh by Richard Fung, John Greyson and Ali Kazimi. The Palm-Reader/Psychic Sahara Exodus in the Hall of 100 Rivers will also be featured.
'5' is commissioned by The City of Vancouver through its Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program, as part of Mapping and Marking Artist-Initiated Projects for Vancouver 2010.
The Buzz About 5.4 Mountain View Cemetery March 6th
"There was always something compelling to look at. the fourth installation was entertaining, an innovative series of video installations in a non-traditional venue. a burka facing images of Canadian soldiers who had died in Afghanistan. the burka stood in silence as it embodied the faceless and nameless Afghani women who have no voice.Joey Shithead Keithley played a Gibson electric guitar as a homage to Les Paul. It was loud and aggressive - just the opposite of a calm contemplative cemetery." http://communities.canada.com/VANCOUVERSUN/blogs/cultureseen/default.aspx
"Paul has a fascination with death in a way that I can relate to. The setting of the cemetery was really amazing. the best of the projects so far. I'm glad I went and gave it some time." http://marialantin.blogspot.com/search/label/paul wong
A Man Of The Decade
"Wong has been leading a faithful following of viewers, who have taken well to his radical and in-your-face projects...So, what's not to love? A ballsy guy willing to lay it all out on the line - despite critical comments from the peanut gallery - is truly a rare gem." http://thinkcontra.com/magazine/
For a complete list of works, reviews, documentation, high-resolution downloads, and to experience '5' virtually, please visit www.5.paulwongprojects.comPosted by Sara C. | March 12, 2010 | Comments (0)
Saturday, Mar. 13, if you are a Korean-Canadian, drop whatever you are doing and come out to Robson Square & Ayden Gallery. For one day only from 10am to 9pm, CS Society presents CS Korean Canadian Leadership Conference.
This event is calling out the Korean-Canadian community together and to find their place in this increasingly rich and diverse global community. Young professionals can come and discover what opportunities are available in this growing global community. Students can make networks with professionals and potential mentors.
This event will include an industry round table session and a series of workshops on self-identity, social responsibility, and global citizenship. Keynote speakers include: CTV News Anchor Mi-Jung Lee and Canadian Senator Yonah Martin.
Companies, organizations and institutions represented include: CTV, HSBC, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Trip Television, CBC, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Telus, RCMP, Grant Thorton, Government of British Columbia, SNC-Lavalin, Fasken Martineau, SAP, Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver, UBC Faculty of Law, First Steps, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver and more!
Come out and join in this great opportunity!
Wine & Cheese $20
1. Register your account and login (http://www.c3society.org)
2. Click on register
3. Choose your speakers and workshops
4. Make payment
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010
Time: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Location: UBC Robson Square & Ayden Art Gallery
Are you Creative? A Great Story Teller? Do you like to draw? Are you.... in Kindergarten, first, second, or third Grade? Or do you know someone who is?? PBS is having their annual KIDS GO! Writers Contest. It's open to kids in the USA and British Columbia from K~Gr.3. And there are a lot of great prizes available!
This is what you do:
Each applicant will get a Certificate of Achievement for their efforts. Local winners will be announced in May and will receive a prize package of books, DVDs, backpack and games. National Winners can win prizes as big as laptops, digital cameras, or MP3 players! Top winners might even get the chance to show their story on air and on line for KCTS 9!
The last day to apply is Friday, March 24, 2010. So we hope to see you there!Posted by Joy | March 11, 2010 | Comments (0)
(See interactive map above at theglobeandmail.com)
Statistics Canada has just released its Projections of the diversity of the Canadian population, for population grown between 2006 to 2031. That's basically two generations from now. They're just estimations about how visibly and culturally diverse the country will be, but made by the smartest people in the country.
Here's the highlights:
My parents were watching the Chinese news last night and one particular story about a homeless man from China caught my attention. His name is Cheng Guorong, better known as "Brother Sharp," a title dubbed in Tianya, the most popular internet forum in China.
Ever since this photo appeared on the internet, "Brother Sharp" has become an instant celebrity. People were immediately taken aback by his "rugged good looks,"
"That frowning look...Ai yo! My little heart! Really so handsome!"
"China truly has innumerable handsome guys, Brother Sharp, you are truly too handsome."
For more ridiculous comments, check out ChinaSmack
Looks like everyone has disregarded the fact that Mr. Cheng is, in all aspects, a homeless person with a tragic past (his wife and father died in a car accident and he is a single father of two). Instead, people see him as the undiscovered Mr. GQ and have tried to reach out to him and, rather forcibly, have urged him to accept what he fervently refuses.Posted by Claudia Ho | March 9, 2010 | Comments (1)
I first learned about Jessica Yee just over a year ago when I began my "blogsession" with Feministing. Jessica is a regular contributor to that blog, along with Racialicious, rabble, section 15, and Shameless Magazine.
Jessica Yee is a Canadian activist, writer, educator, organizer, and facilitator. She is the founder and director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the writer and director of the Choice Monologues, the youth coordinator for the Highway of Tears Initiative, an equity and diversity presenter for the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the national youth coordinator for the Taking Action Project - Art and Aboriginal Youth Leadership for HIV Prevention. And if all of that isn't amazing enough, Jessica is 23 years old.
Jessica is a multi-racial indigenous woman of Chinese and Mohawk ancestry. She is a self-described "Indigenous hip hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter" (how awesome is that?!) She got her first taste of community work at the age of 12 by volunteering at the Homeward Family Shelter, a shelter for women fleeing abuse. At 15, she led a letter-writing campaign in support of a gay student who was banned from bringing his boyfriend to prom, and at 19, Jessica dove head-first into the pro-choice debate, working the front lines in South Dakota to repeal the ban on abortion in the first state to illegalize abortion since Roe vs. Wade.
Today, Jessica is at the forefront of pro-choice, anti-racist work in Canada. Her passion for justice and understanding is clear in her work with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. The organization aims to address issues on healthy sexuality, youth empowerment, reproductive justice, and cultural competency by and for Indigenous youth. She has also facilitated multiple channels of dialogue for choice across Canada in both First Nations and wider communities, including UN conference forums.
To me, Jessica Yee is inspiring. She is courageous, out-spoken and encourages others to be socially responsible and open minded.
More info:Posted by Michelle D. | March 10, 2010 | Comments (0)
Flipping through the pages of any fashion magazine, one can get the impression that models are like these untouchable pieces of perfection, with perfect skin and hair and perfectly artistic hobbies like sculpture and saving baby penguins. Totally unrelatable beings. It's easy to forget that often the models you see in magazines are just teenage girls, as impressionable and giggly as the girls at the mall. Take for instance, rising new model Jeneil Williams.Posted by Jordana Mah | March 5, 2010 | Comments (0)
The lovely ladies of oncelovedthreads.com, Danielle Ow and Marjolyn Ustaris, are organizing and hosting The Frock Swap 4.0. Oncelovedthreads.com is a website, that sells reasonable priced once loved but always loved clothing.
The Frock Swap 4.0, a day of free and sustainable shopping. Like the popular saying: one person's trash becomes another's treasure. The swap is just like any other warehouse sale, only that you don't have to pay for anything, and everything will be gently used. The deal is you bring those gently-used pieces of clothing (that sit in the back of your closet always waiting to be worn, but never is) in exchange for new gently-used, but still fashionable clothes.
Register here by April 28th, 2010 to partake in this brilliant shopping experience.
There will first be a clothing drive, where you bring a maximum of fifteen of your used, but still fresh pieces of clothing. Here the clothing will be organized and prepared for the actual Frock Swap the next day.
Check out The Frock Swap 3.0 to see what it is all about.
Date: May 1st, 2010
Location: Box Studios
1622 Franklin Street
The Frock Swap
Date: May 2nd, 2010
Location: Box Studios
1622 Franklin Street
*Remember, you won't be able to shop at the Frock Swap, unless you participate in the clothing drive.*
All unswapped clothing will be donated to a local charity.
Remember the American Bronze medal snowboarder, Scott Lago, who got kicked out of Vancouver before the closing ceremony after some rather scandalous party photos popped up all over the internet? Poor guy, eh?
Rather, poor anonymous Asian girl, whose infamy on TMZ (and now, everywhere else on the web) will continue to haunt her forever...Or until another random Asian girl takes her place!
Lainey Lui, is a journalist who runs a gossip site, LaineyGossip.com. During the Olympics she was a regular on the the "gossip and celebrity watch" segment of CTV's Olympic coverage with MTV's Dan and Jessi.
Lainey was sent on a mission to go to an Olympics party, hosted by the one and only Michael Phelps to complete three tasks:
1. Take a picture with Mr.Phelps.
2. Kiss him on the cheek.
3. Get him to send her a text message.
As it turns out, Phelps was actually terrified of Lainey when she went in for the kiss because he was fully convinced that she was the Asian medal-biting rebel who got Scott Lago kicked out of Vancouver. In fact, he was so sure that he made a call to Lago's friend and told him that the "same Asian chick" had tried to make out with him too...ok, what the eff?!
"I am the Asian reporter in question. I am the person now being accused of getting Scotty Lago kicked out of Vancouver. I am the person Michael Phelps believed was trying to set them both up. Because some people don't know about Asians."—Lainey Lui
Now, because of Phelps' misidentification of Asian girls, Lago feels like he has been "set up" and wishes that the IOC was more supportive of him and ignore the fact that he hung the medal around his ding-dong...classy. Meanwhile, Lainey is being accused all over the internet as the girl who kicked Scott Lago out of Vancouver.
"Like hello! Excuse me, Michael Phelps, not all Asians look the same, stop the Racial profiling now!"—Lainey Lui
Ah yes, I can certainly see the resemblance. The black hair and degree of Asian-ness was a dead giveaway. I'll give Mr.Lago the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he doesn't know what Lainey looks like, but for Mr.Phelps, I don't know, if that was a joke, it wasn't a very funny one or maybe he hasn't laid off the pot yet.
In any case, it's yet another mistaken Asian identity story heard one too many times.
Read Lainey's response on laineygossip.comPosted by Claudia Ho | March 3, 2010 | Comments (0)
I discovered Saul Williams back in uni and when I saw his Def Poetry Jam video (see below), I was absolutely blown away. Grounded TV has been working on a three-part video interview of Williams, who is honestly a ridiculously gifted, cool, AMAZING music artist/spoken word poet. It might take a while to get used to "Afropunk," but if you take the time, you'll understand why he is truly a genius. Do me a favour, check it out.
See also Saul Williams on Def Poetry Jam. So powerful.
Take a read of his full bio if you're intrigued.
Original post on Grounded TV.Posted by Claudia Ho | March 7, 2010 | Comments (0)
I never watched skating much before, but Joannie Rochette's bronze medal performance brought me close to tears and I have to say, though the tragedy surrounding her mother's death was a compelling factor, there's something about skating in itself that makes you emotional. Corny as it sounds, something inside you soars with the skaters as they spin and fly over the ice. Music choice also obviously makes or breaks the choreography and I have to say I'm a big fan of what they did for Kim Yu-Na's performance.
I didn't catch the women's final, unfortunately, but I did find a youtube video of "The Queen," a title that Yu-Na has earned at the tender age of 19. I was struck by how much she does look like a "Bond Girl" with the whole black silhouette thing going on.
I'm amazed at how she's just practicing and for some reason, it's still riveting. I love how she lets it all hang loose, sports her black tights with confidence, does crazy spins at incredible precision and surprises everyone with her smooth transition from "regal princess" to "cool chick with a 'tude." And, of course, the signature smoking-gun move.
Does she like it shaken, not stirred? More like on the rocks. Well, definitely on a big block of ice.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | March 3, 2010 | Comments (0)
Ever want to go away to a secluded island, on a tiny island to write facing the ocean, where all you see is the water and the expanding horizon, and pretend you are a romanticized artist? Need to get away from the distractions of life, and the distractions from your computer such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia to get your essays, reports, and other work done? Well, your problem is solved with the Ommwriter.
Ommwriter is first and foremost a word processor, but it can do so much more. It is an application designed to turn your computer into a private writing oasis. With ambient background music, serene backgrounds, and non-irritating keyboard sounds, like the sound of bubble wrap (it makes everyone happy, as Claudia says on her post about Happy Slip); it creates a staycation like no other.
This program is created by Herriaz Soto&Co, an advertising agency based in Barcelona. They have done some really cool work for the Spanish branch of international companies, such as BMW, Ikea, and Casio to name a few.
As it says on their website:
Ommwriter is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.
It is kind of ironic to use technology to get away from technology, but this application is genius. I am using it right now to write this post, and I feel like I am writing something very profound. Maybe it's the mood music.
It is available to be downloaded for free. Check out the introductory video tutorial found on the Ommwriter website.
Posted by Linda Chan | March 2, 2010
| Comments (0)
Photo: Bryan Partington Here's an interesting piece of history: Aboriginal Canadians greeted the French explorer Jacques Cartier in Spanish way back in the 1500s! Spanish and Portuguese explorers had beaten Cartier to the land he was to claim for France. Canada's first Spanish-speakers may have been around centuries ago, but now we associate their language with our neighbours down south or Mexico, Spanish having become of commercial importance post-NAFTA. Writer Stephen Henighan digs deeper for the soul and history of the small but expanding Latino community of Canada. The least-discussed facet of the economic and cultural transformation that began in Canada with the implementation of NAFTA on January 1, 1994, is the fact that of the 450 million people who inhabit the North American Free Trade Area, roughly one-third—more than 100 million in Mexico and more than 45 million in the United States—speak Spanish. The Latin American community in Canada does not have a strongly defined public image, even though our contact with the Spanish-speaking world goes back to the country's origins. Some of the first non-indigenous visitors to both our Atlantic and Pacific coasts were of Iberian heritage. Navigators from Spain and Portugal, such as the Corte-Real brothers and João Fernandes, visited Atlantic Canada as early as the summer of 1500. These voyages were the catalyst for increasing numbers of fishermen from the Basque country to spend their summers on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. When Jacques Cartier, heralded by high school history textbooks as the pioneering post-Viking European explorer of eastern Canada, arrived in 1534, Aboriginal Canadians, recognizing Cartier as a European, naturally addressed him in the Basque language of northern Spain. Men of Hispanic culture were also among the first explorers of Canada's Pacific Coast. In 1774 Juan José Pérez Hernández, a naval officer based in San Blas, Mexico, sailed up the British Columbia coast as far as Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). In 1775 the Peruvian captain Juan Francisco Bodega y Quadra retraced this route and claimed the coast for Spain. In 1789 the Spaniard Esteban José Martínez constructed the fort in Nootka Sound—Santa Cruz de Nutka, in Spanish—that is often considered to be the first European building on Canada's Pacific Coast. But these early contacts did not result in Spanish colonization, and the Hispanic cultural presence in Canada soon disappeared. As recently as 1970, it is unlikely that Canada's population counted much more than three thousand people of Latin American origin (and even fewer from Spain). The catalyst for the growth of a Latin American community was the military coups in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina between 1973 and 1976. When the United States refused to accept most refugees from military governments that the U.S. supported, tens of thousands of people were diverted to Canada. Most were middle class and well educated; since many knew more French than English, the first beachheads of a Latino-Canadian culture were established in Montreal and Ottawa. Small travel agencies, empanada shops, newspapers and, because the refugees included many writers and avid readers, Spanish-language literary presses, became the first outposts of this new contribution to our cultural mix. The civil wars in Central America in the 1980s diversified Canada's Hispanic community. Many of the immigrants and refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala came from rural areas and were of indigenous descent; they settled throughout Canada, often in places where unskilled labour was in demand. In the new millennium, Colombia and Venezuela have become major sources of immigration. But it is the passage of NAFTA, which has weakened Mexico's once-powerful middle class, that has contributed to the greatest change in the Latin American community. Since NAFTA provides for free movement of "professionals," middle-class Mexicans whose prospects have dimmed at home can settle here with less difficulty than other Latin Americans. In recent years, Mexicans have overtaken Chileans to become the largest Spanish-speaking group in Canada. Census figures maintain that the Latin American population of Canada is a little more than 250,000 people. This figure is almost certainly too low, just as the one million claimed by one Hispanic lobby group is too high. The probable figure—around 500,000— amounts to about 1.5 percent of Canada's population, far below the almost 15 percent in the United States, and the more than 30 percent in the entire North American Free Trade Area. This imbalance generates a series of paradoxes in the ways in which Canadians experience Hispanic culture. Products on sale in big box stores bear trilingual labels: Shower door/ porte de douche/ puerta de ducha. Some items that arrive in Canada directly from the United States, disdaining official English-French bilingualism, have labels in English and Spanish. For example, when someone spills a soft drink at my local shopping mall, employees set out a yellow pylon with Wet Floor on one side and Piso Mojado on the other; Plancher Mouillé is nowhere to be seen. The Greyhound buses that I ride between Guelph and Toronto often have bilingual English-Spanish signs, but no French. Yet, outside of Alberta and Quebec, Spanish is sparsely taught in our high schools. As a result, Spanish departments in Canadian universities are bottom-heavy, with hundreds of students taking one or two semesters of introductory language to use on the beach in Cuba or the Dominican Republic. In contrast to French, which is booming, advanced courses in Hispanic literatures and cultures are thinly subscribed; among students who are not of Hispanic ancestry, enrolment in these courses is plummeting. Since the implementation of NAFTA, Carleton University, Simon Fraser University and McMaster University have closed their BAs in Spanish; the BA at Queen's University was recently threatened with closure. This is a startling fate for the second language of the Americas during a period of hemispheric integration. The trend suggests that for most Canadians, Spanish remains an exotic anomaly promoted by corporate priorities, the U.S. entertainment industry and the drive to sustain the continental market. (It is elderly Canadians who have most conspicuously deepened their contact with Latin America, by retiring in ever greater numbers to Costa Rica and Panama.) As more Canadians have begun to learn a few words of Spanish, fewer than in the pre-NAFTA era are pursuing a serious interest in the language, literature or culture of the Hispanic world. Our engagement with our Latin American neighbours remains distant and primarily commercial, our place in the Americas as nebulous as it has always been. Alejandro Saravia, a Bolivian-Canadian writer from Brossard, Quebec, whose impressively fluid trilingual book of poems, Lettres de Nootka, was published in 2008, laments a time when: "along with the indigenous languages/ Spanish was/ the newest, most fragrant bride/ of the North Pacific Coast// yet the maps/ the history books/ barely retain the fragile memory/ of Santa Cruz de Nutka." Our history tells us that our links to the rest of the hemisphere run deeper than commercial treaties. I don't know why I don't blog more about these guys, because, for the record, Phil Wang, Ted Fu and Wes Chan of WongFu Productions are THE BOMB. They put out a cool video last week talking about this year's World Expo which will be hosted in Shanghai. WongFu's video (below) covers the monumentus event quite well and mentions how you can become a part of the Expo without having to trek it to China. Check it out. WongFu Productions Special Vlog: Tags:
Photo: Bryan Partington
Here's an interesting piece of history: Aboriginal Canadians greeted the French explorer Jacques Cartier in Spanish way back in the 1500s! Spanish and Portuguese explorers had beaten Cartier to the land he was to claim for France.
Canada's first Spanish-speakers may have been around centuries ago, but now we associate their language with our neighbours down south or Mexico, Spanish having become of commercial importance post-NAFTA. Writer Stephen Henighan digs deeper for the soul and history of the small but expanding Latino community of Canada.
The least-discussed facet of the economic and cultural transformation that began in Canada with the implementation of NAFTA on January 1, 1994, is the fact that of the 450 million people who inhabit the North American Free Trade Area, roughly one-third—more than 100 million in Mexico and more than 45 million in the United States—speak Spanish.
The Latin American community in Canada does not have a strongly defined public image, even though our contact with the Spanish-speaking world goes back to the country's origins. Some of the first non-indigenous visitors to both our Atlantic and Pacific coasts were of Iberian heritage. Navigators from Spain and Portugal, such as the Corte-Real brothers and João Fernandes, visited Atlantic Canada as early as the summer of 1500. These voyages were the catalyst for increasing numbers of fishermen from the Basque country to spend their summers on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. When Jacques Cartier, heralded by high school history textbooks as the pioneering post-Viking European explorer of eastern Canada, arrived in 1534, Aboriginal Canadians, recognizing Cartier as a European, naturally addressed him in the Basque language of northern Spain.
Men of Hispanic culture were also among the first explorers of Canada's Pacific Coast. In 1774 Juan José Pérez Hernández, a naval officer based in San Blas, Mexico, sailed up the British Columbia coast as far as Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). In 1775 the Peruvian captain Juan Francisco Bodega y Quadra retraced this route and claimed the coast for Spain. In 1789 the Spaniard Esteban José Martínez constructed the fort in Nootka Sound—Santa Cruz de Nutka, in Spanish—that is often considered to be the first European building on Canada's Pacific Coast. But these early contacts did not result in Spanish colonization, and the Hispanic cultural presence in Canada soon disappeared.
As recently as 1970, it is unlikely that Canada's population counted much more than three thousand people of Latin American origin (and even fewer from Spain). The catalyst for the growth of a Latin American community was the military coups in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina between 1973 and 1976. When the United States refused to accept most refugees from military governments that the U.S. supported, tens of thousands of people were diverted to Canada. Most were middle class and well educated; since many knew more French than English, the first beachheads of a Latino-Canadian culture were established in Montreal and Ottawa. Small travel agencies, empanada shops, newspapers and, because the refugees included many writers and avid readers, Spanish-language literary presses, became the first outposts of this new contribution to our cultural mix. The civil wars in Central America in the 1980s diversified Canada's Hispanic community. Many of the immigrants and refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala came from rural areas and were of indigenous descent; they settled throughout Canada, often in places where unskilled labour was in demand. In the new millennium, Colombia and Venezuela have become major sources of immigration. But it is the passage of NAFTA, which has weakened Mexico's once-powerful middle class, that has contributed to the greatest change in the Latin American community. Since NAFTA provides for free movement of "professionals," middle-class Mexicans whose prospects have dimmed at home can settle here with less difficulty than other Latin Americans. In recent years, Mexicans have overtaken Chileans to become the largest Spanish-speaking group in Canada.
Census figures maintain that the Latin American population of Canada is a little more than 250,000 people. This figure is almost certainly too low, just as the one million claimed by one Hispanic lobby group is too high. The probable figure—around 500,000— amounts to about 1.5 percent of Canada's population, far below the almost 15 percent in the United States, and the more than 30 percent in the entire North American Free Trade Area. This imbalance generates a series of paradoxes in the ways in which Canadians experience Hispanic culture. Products on sale in big box stores bear trilingual labels: Shower door/ porte de douche/ puerta de ducha. Some items that arrive in Canada directly from the United States, disdaining official English-French bilingualism, have labels in English and Spanish. For example, when someone spills a soft drink at my local shopping mall, employees set out a yellow pylon with Wet Floor on one side and Piso Mojado on the other; Plancher Mouillé is nowhere to be seen. The Greyhound buses that I ride between Guelph and Toronto often have bilingual English-Spanish signs, but no French.
Yet, outside of Alberta and Quebec, Spanish is sparsely taught in our high schools. As a result, Spanish departments in Canadian universities are bottom-heavy, with hundreds of students taking one or two semesters of introductory language to use on the beach in Cuba or the Dominican Republic. In contrast to French, which is booming, advanced courses in Hispanic literatures and cultures are thinly subscribed; among students who are not of Hispanic ancestry, enrolment in these courses is plummeting. Since the implementation of NAFTA, Carleton University, Simon Fraser University and McMaster University have closed their BAs in Spanish; the BA at Queen's University was recently threatened with closure. This is a startling fate for the second language of the Americas during a period of hemispheric integration. The trend suggests that for most Canadians, Spanish remains an exotic anomaly promoted by corporate priorities, the U.S. entertainment industry and the drive to sustain the continental market. (It is elderly Canadians who have most conspicuously deepened their contact with Latin America, by retiring in ever greater numbers to Costa Rica and Panama.) As more Canadians have begun to learn a few words of Spanish, fewer than in the pre-NAFTA era are pursuing a serious interest in the language, literature or culture of the Hispanic world. Our engagement with our Latin American neighbours remains distant and primarily commercial, our place in the Americas as nebulous as it has always been. Alejandro Saravia, a Bolivian-Canadian writer from Brossard, Quebec, whose impressively fluid trilingual book of poems, Lettres de Nootka, was published in 2008, laments a time when: "along with the indigenous languages/ Spanish was/ the newest, most fragrant bride/ of the North Pacific Coast// yet the maps/ the history books/ barely retain the fragile memory/ of Santa Cruz de Nutka." Our history tells us that our links to the rest of the hemisphere run deeper than commercial treaties.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | March 8, 2010 | Comments (0)
I don't know why I don't blog more about these guys, because, for the record, Phil Wang, Ted Fu and Wes Chan of WongFu Productions are THE BOMB. They put out a cool video last week talking about this year's World Expo which will be hosted in Shanghai. WongFu's video (below) covers the monumentus event quite well and mentions how you can become a part of the Expo without having to trek it to China. Check it out.
WongFu Productions Special Vlog:Posted by Claudia Ho | March 2, 2010 | Comments (0)