I am a student on a tight budget, so I couldn't afford to try a $38 three-course meal for Dine Out Vancouver this year. Bistro 101 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts offers an $18 alternative, with food that's just as high quality as a fine dining restaurant.
The decor is simple and unimpressive. It was a little distracting sitting next to the kitchen. Fortunately, their food was so delicious, I forgot that culinary students were making my food instead of renowned chefs. Our server Ryan was friendly and professional and gave great recommendations.
I started off with mussels and pomme frites (pictured above). The mussels were served with a white broth and they were tender and full of flavour. The broth was so good, I couldn't stop soaking it up with my bread even after I had finished the mussels. The accompanying pomme frites, however, did not meet my expectations and resembled more like dry straws.
I had their veal for my main course, which was served with saffron rice and pearl onions. The saffron rice was a bit on the soft side but the veal was amazing. The meat fell off the bone as I cut into it. The sauce was a perfect fit.
Finally, I had their chocolate mousse. It was quite large but I managed to finish the whole thing. Chocolate-lovers, you will enjoy this little dome of soft and rich goodness.
Posted by Vinnie Yuen | January 31, 2011 | Comments (0)
If you've ever visited the Vancouver Night Market in Richmond, then you'll be familiar with its maze of stalls selling various "just like the real!" items for much cheaper prices. China has become infamous internationally for its penchant for copying just about anything in order to make a fast buck. One such copy was of one of the biggest names on the Internet, but unlike those fake purses and wallets, this knockoff has grown to rival the original and to even outperform it within its homeland.
Social network Xiaonei was originally a plagiarism of Facebook when it first began a few years ago right down to the color scheme and logo; however it has quickly taken over the Chinese social networking landscape under its new name, RenRen ("everybody"). The premise is exactly the same as Facebook - you have your profile, friends list, and newsfeeds, photos and there are even games! In fact, the super popular Facebook game Farmville actually originated in China! Not to be outdone, several other social networks popped up, each with their own niches targeting millions of users.
If you thought social networking in Canada was ubiquitous, in China it is 10 times worse (or better). A 2008 survey by MTV Music Matters found that China was unique in the world for its young people having more online friends than offline - and many by sites that started as basically knockoffs of their Western originals.
So just why are the Chinese so open to spilling their lives out online? For many, their online persona is an escape from their physical lives and is a place where they may express themselves freely. Via these social networks, isolated, or alternative groups such as the Chinese homosexual community, reach out to connect, and families with relatives working in distant cities can stay in touch.
As well, social gaming is highly popular, with some young users even instructing their parents to "tend to their farm" while they are at school, or in the office.
While RenRen and others like it currently remain centered in China, it doesn't seem unlikely that they could soon spread out as China's position in the world rises. Who knows, maybe you should be ahead of the curve and join now!Posted by Jordana Mah | January 31, 2011 | Comments (0)
A couple weeks ago Schema sat down with the lovely Elise Estrada to discuss her new album Here Kitty Kittee. She reveals her inspiration behind the album, her childhood, and what its like when she is just hanging out at home.
Crowned Miss Vancouver Princess at age 17, Elise knew early on that she wanted to be a performer. Earning a contract with RockStar Music Corporation in 2007, music has always been Elise's passion and dream.
You can check out the full video in our In-Depth section here.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | January 27, 2011 | Comments (0)
When Toyota approached Giant Robot magazine founder and publisher Erik Nakamura to re-envision its Scion xB car, the result was a retro 80's Nintendo Famicom-inspired car that provides an experience that is probably just as fun to drive as it is to have it parked.
The actual design of the car is heavily influenced by the old-school Nintendo Famicom game system, complete with sound effects from various classic video games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. The car itself was made to mimic the shape of the old 80's game controllers when viewed from the side, with the wheels being the buttons. And speaking of controller buttons, rather than the standard door handles, Nakamura had them replaced with giant red game controller buttons that, when pushed, pushes open the doors. The front seats come equipped with actual video game controllers since, naturally, the headlights also double as a projector, so you can park and play at any time - assuming you're parked in front of a white wall. To top it all off, rather than putting in a key to start the engine, the Giant Robot Scion is actually powered by a video game cartridge instead.
It's all pretty crazy -- definitely something you've got to see to believe. Check out the Youtube video above to see Erik Nakamura explain all the details himself. The car itself can be seen in person in LA's Japanese American National Museum as part of their Zen Garage exhibition, which runs until February 13, 2011.Posted by Adrian Bailon | January 26, 2011 | Comments (0)
BoldLove Communications is hosting a grand affair at Performance Works on Granville Island on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The theme is a funky, modern twist on the French period style with the dress code for this event described as "Lady Gaga meets Marie Antoinette". Partial proceeds from this event will go to A Loving Spoonful -- a charity that provides healthy meals to people living with HIV/AIDS.
A fun alternative to the usual Valentine's Day activities such as dinner and a movie, Evolution promises to be a sexy, entertaining night full of fashion, music and dance competitions. The featured event of Evolution is the Damask/Vogue Ball which is a series of dance-offs based on the 1990 groundbreaking documentary Paris is Burning which showcases transsexuals in disco clubs and the underground dance movement called voguing.
Evolution is proud to present local, talented artists, dancers, fashion designers and musicians who are creating a buzz in the industry such as Jojo Zolina who is known as the Kinetic Philosopher. Read all about Zolina in this Schema Magazine article from last year. During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Zolina choregraphed a street dance that thousands viewed on Youtube. He will perform with his fabulous dance troupe The House of La Douche at Evolution.
Dedicated viewers of MTV will recognize Eric Solomon and Tito Deville from the now-defunct reality show Youth Electric which follows the lives of three up-and-coming Vancouverites in the art scene. Solomon is a producer/singer who deftly mixes beats as influenced by music through living in Africa, Montréal, Asia and Vancouver over the years. He is best known for his song "A.L.L.". Deville is a rapper who fronts an electro-pop group called the Tito Deville Band which blends different genres of music into catchy tunes such as "Robot Radio".
DJ Jef Leppard, DJ Riot, DJ U-Tern, Guy Babineau, Quanah Style, Princess Xtravaganza will also be present at this event. To buy tickets and to learn more information about Evolution, click on their Eventbrite page.Posted by Kathy Ko | January 27, 2011 | Comments (0)
Think you rock at origami because you've mastered the paper crane? Think again! Cheong-ah Hwang is a self-taught Korean artist who creates beautiful works of art entirely out of paper. Her dream is to be a full-time professional artist.
Hwang lives in Columbus, Ohio and has joined Kickstarter to fund her project of making affordable prints of her work. In her video on Kickstarter, she shows viewers her studio where she produced her creation of a Little Red Riding Hood scene.
My personal favourite is her paper creation of Iron Man:
You can view more photos of Hwang's artwork on her Flickr page atflickr.com.Posted by Vinnie Yuen | January 26, 2011 | Comments (0)
The National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre will be screening The Cats of Mirikitani for three days next month. The film tells the story of 80-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani, a survivor of the WWII internment camps, Hiroshima, homeless because of his art creations. "Make art not war" is Jimmy Mirikitani's motto.
For the average on-looker, Mirikitani may be just another homeless person sitting on a windy street corner of Soho. But for a neighbouring filmmaker, Mirikitani's whimsical drawings of cats captivated her attention and she stopped to ask him about his art. An unexpected friendship developed simultaneously when 9/11 happened.
September 11 thrusts Mirikitani once again into a world at war and challenges the filmmaker to move from witness to advocate. In the chaos following the collapse of the World Trade Center, she finds herself unable to passively photograph this elderly man coughing in the toxic smoke, and invites him into her small apartment. In this uncharted landscape, the two navigate the maze of social welfare, seek out family and friends, and research Jimmy's painful past -- finding eerie parallels to events unfolding around them in the present. From The Cats of Mirikitani
This film has been screened internationally and have won numerous awards such as Winner of Best Documentary, Winner of Best Picture Japanese Eyes, Winner of Norwegian Peace Film Award, Winner of Audience Award -- just to name a few.
The documentary is a blend of beauty and humour with tragedy and loss which will be sure to trigger your emotions.
Dates and times for film screening:
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7pm
Saturday, February 26, 2011, 2pm
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 2pm
By now, nearly everyone has heard in some way of Yale law professor Amy Chua's incredibly polarizing memoir regarding her stern Chinese-oriented parenting practices, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother . Even without reading the book itself, many members of the public, especially those of Asian descent, have naturally been able to relate and comment on the controversial issue of super strict parents.
Whether they presumably had similar childhoods, or because they are struggling with their own child-rearing decisions, everyone has something to say on the topic -- some have harshly criticized Chua, while others have praised her methods as being necessary in an increasingly competitive world where China and its own harsh education system is seen as a threat.
The Wall Street Journal released a video showing a perspective on the issue which seems to have been neglected -- that of other Chinese-American mothers. In this video, Elizabeth Lin, a full-time mom, and Kelly Cheng, a physician assistant, are shown caring for and interacting with their young babies while commenting on the firestorm of controversy incited by Chua.
Both Lin and Cheng succeed in providing a calm and rational reflection on their own childhoods, and how they are deciding to raise their own children in response to their experiences with their own Chinese parents. It seems that despite Chua's extreme rhetoric, there certainly is a degree of truth behind the way many Asian parents raise their children differently from Western parents, and Lin and Cheng acknowledge the emphasis on sacrifice in their families. Yet, they ultimately have decided to follow their own choices in bringing up their children, as they should.
Take a look at the video below!
Stay tuned for Part 2!Posted by Justin Ko | January 28, 2011 | Comments (0)
Seth Rogan and Jay Chou star in the 2011 version of The Green Hornet, a movie about a crime-fighter of the same name. Originating as a radio show character in the 1930s, the Green Hornet was created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. He was the alter-ego of Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher, who chose to fight crime with the help of his dad's car mechanic, Kato. In this year's version, Kato and Reid bond after his father's death, over the fact that they both hated him. Then they vow to fight crime together by pretending to be on the side of those committing it.
Apparently, Taiwanese pop star, song-writer, and four time WMA (World Music Award) winner Jay Chou steals the show. The tech-savvy martial arts expert Kato must've been fun to play, but no doubt it was a challenge for the star whose first language is not English.
Nevertheless, he is purported to be as effortlessly cool onscreen, as he is off, if this Georgia Straight article is anything to go by: straight.com.
The film released last week in Canada. Seth Rogan is always funny, and Jay Chou looks like he might have some dry wit about him as well as kickass moves to make up for Rogan, who does not look like he is accustomed to moving fast. Also, there are superhero cars, explosions and fancy gadgets. Go watch.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | January 24, 2011 | Comments (0)
Are you an aspiring filmmaker with a story to tell about an Asian-Canadian experience? Do you want to gain exposure and screen your film to a room full of enthusiastic audience members? Now is your chance to realize that dream with Ciné-Asie's National Video Portrait Contest.
If selected, you could win prizes from various companies, including a $1000-value service from Groupe Intervention Video for young Asian and Canadian women.
This contest is part of the organization's inaugural AmerAsia Film Festival in Montreal, which will feature short and feature-length films with Asian content or theme by Asian and Canadian filmmakers.
Films should be between 30 seconds to 5 minutes in length, in video format. Each submission should be accompanied by the submission form. This contest is open to permanent Canadian residents and citizens of any age. Submission deadline is February 10th. For more information on where to submit, please go to the contest's submission call webpage.
Ciné-Asie is a non-profit organization based in Montreal, with the aim to facilitate cultural exchange between Asia and Canada through film. Its sister company is Ciné-Asie Creatives, a film company specializing in co-production sales, and distribution of Asian films in Canada. For more information on both organizations, please visit cineasie.ca.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | January 18, 2011 | Comments (0)
If you rolled your eyes at the new trend of Asian girls posting "before and after makeup" online, you're not alone.
"Oh, how exciting," was my initial reaction. "Asian girls not wearing makeup...and then wearing makeup."
What was more interesting was the tizzy Sadie Stein at Jezebel stirred up in the comments section of her post about it last week.
"Before your eyes, you see these young women go from individuals to, well, 'after.'" Stein wrote in her post, titled, The Uniform Beauty of Asian women 'Before' and 'After' Makeup. The post title, and Stein's commentary about the striking uniformity of the "after" photos, provoked negative responses from its readers.
A commenter named CassandraSays wrote: "Did you, Sadie, a white woman, really do a post in which you wrote that a group of Asian women all look the same? Really? Is this trolling for pageviews or are you actually ignorant enough not to realise how that would be received?"
Out of the majority of mostly negative comments, one commenter named Wagner James Au (who I assume is male) wrote: "As an Asian-American, I have a counter-proposal for most commenters here: All y'all chill the fuck out."
He defended Stein's post, and cautioned against the chilling effects of readers accusing writers of racism:
"One reader complained Jezebel is making the site uncomfortable for Asian women. But since their readers are proving themselves hair-trigger willing to throw accusations of "racist" around any time a topic related to Asian women is brought up, I bet Jezebel is now way less likely to broach the subject at all. Is that what you want?"
This is an interesting question, and one that I haven't seen discussed very much online.
Was Stein's post really racist? Does readers' outcry encourage, or suppress questions about race?
The Too Asian? article in Macleans and the Wall Street Journal's Why Chinese Mothers are Superior have shown beyond a doubt that Asian stereotypes provoke a definite response from readers. Although I personally deplore the cynical page-view-grab tactics of both pieces, I have found the outpouring of debate and personal experiences in readers' comments uplifting and enriching in my own understanding of the issues in a way that I couldn't have accessed if there was no article there to begin with.
Does this mean that I want to see more vulgarized polemics based on Asian stereotypes? Hell no! But I definitely want to see the same level of debate and conversation about race continue in the mainstream.
I hate to admit it, but it seems like stirring the big, boiling pot of Asian stereotype controversy is the only way people are going to keep talking. Or is it?
Tell me what you think.Posted by Beth Hong | January 18, 2011 | Comments (1)
Dr. Mobin Akhtar got himself a BBC headline and more than a few threats in his native Pakistan with his book on sex ed for Muslims.
Yes, it's commendable that he not only raised a taboo topic, but wrote a whole book on it for the benefit of sexually frustrated youngsters.
What's more interesting is that sex seems to be more taboo now than it was when Islamic scripture was written -- the Qur'an makes detailed prescriptions of when it is kosher for a married couple to have intercourse.
I find it fascinating when modern conservatives, who you'd expect to play by the book hardest of all, out-puritan their religious predecessors. Take Hinduism for example. Ancient vedas embraced sex in ways that modern how-to handbooks still can't better (I'll spell it out, just in case: K-A-M-A S-U-T-R-A). Yet contemporary conservative Indians have pretty staunch mores when it comes to keeping sex under wraps. I'm pretty sure my school in New Delhi was one of a handful that chose to institute sex ed, and not without opposition. Come to think of it, the cartoon we watched was pretty raunchy for a first-time introduction to the subject, but that's a story for another time ...
Here's hoping Dr. Akhtar gets his 'quack' status lifted soon, and young 'uns in Pakistan get some light shed on their 'special problems'.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | January 20, 2011 | Comments (0)
35 years ago American troops sprayed the herbicide named Agent Orange over Vietnam and its toxic effects still linger today. Thuy Vu, CBS 5 anchor/reporter from San Francisco, returned to her homeland to deliver a special report on the legacy of Agent Orange.
More than 20 million gallons of the substance were dumped on Vietnam jungles during the Vietnam War. Vu's report depicts the victims of the toxic agent, which include both US and Vietnamese veterans.
The most heart-breaking incidents involve Vietnamese children who suffer from severe birth defects and have been abandoned by their parents. These children are born with missing limbs, deformed limbs and/or deformed faces, sometimes missing their noses or eyes.
According to the report, the United States government has allocated $9 million for victim assistance and clean-up in Vietnam, but claimed there's no concrete evidence that Agent Orange harmed the Vietnamese.
Agent Orange: 35 years later (part 1)
Vietnam Soldiers still suffer from Agent Orange:
Posted by Vinnie Yuen | January 19, 2011
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Vancouverite Godfrey Gao was recently chosen to be the new face of Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear campaign. This is the first time that the 157 year old luxury brand has ever featured an Asian model.
The first released image of the ad campaign shows the handsome Gao sporting the newest Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Elvis messenger bag. For the first time, Louis Vuitton is explicitly aiming to market to the Asian population. Asians have a voracious appetite for luxury brands, especially in China, where Louis Vuitton and other high-end fashion retailers have opened stores.
So who is the man behind the latest Louis Vuitton ad? Gao was born in Vancouver but was raised by a Taiwanese father and Malaysian mother. The 26 year old's interests include basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, taekwondo, wakeboarding, DJ, playing the drums, track-and-field and ice skating. In his English interview with UrbanWire, he talks about his love for food and cooking.
Gao graduated from Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver and studied at Capilano University. At 6'4" (195 cm), he has modelled in local fashion shows for Mantique, Torino and Ecko (G-Unit) clothing. His early acting credits consist of small roles in Star-gate SG-1 and Still-Life -- both of which were produced in his hometown.
He decided to base his career in Taiwan and was immediately embraced by the industry. Godfrey has appeared in seven Taiwanese dramas, from The Kid from Heaven in 2006 to the most recent Volleyball Lover. The paparazzi in Taiwan and Hong Kong has started to follow him everywhere, a sign of his increasing celebrity status. Even though this star is rising fast, Gao still remains a very humble, unassuming and soft-spoken guy known as 'G' among his closest friends. In spring, his face will be seen in magazines, websites and stores around the world.Posted by Kathy Ko | January 19, 2011 | Comments (1)
Since comedienne Margaret Cho lent her support through her website to friend and fellow comedian Kevin Avery's short film, Thugs: The Musical, back in October of 2010, the project has been picking up steam and momentum.
Initially, to help fund the production of the film, Avery had a target of $10,000 that he hoped to raise in ninety days. As of January 7th, 2011, he has managed to exceed that amount with $10,751 being pledged online from 209 backers! With this outpouring of public support, Thugs: The Musical will undergo production, and Avery's hilarious creative vision will be realized.
The "musical," which Avery had proposed as part of a stand-up performance, is sure to add a comedic and urban element to the burgeoning popularity of the musical in mainstream media, for instance through the hit show Glee. In an attempt to prove his street credibility, a "non-urban" black actor decides to write, direct, and star in a musical about the thug life, which of course ends disastrously.
Due to the success of his online promotion, the film will also feature Margaret Cho, David Allan Grier (from Chocolate News and In Living Color) and Rachel True (Half & Half, The Craft). Additionally, the director of the project will be none other than Liam Sullivan, who is the creator of the music videos "Shoes" and "Let Me Borrow That Top."
Check out his promotional video about the film below!
Posted by Justin Ko | January 21, 2011
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The fashion world is currently seeing a surge in commercially and critically successful Asian American designers from Alexander Wang to Thakoon Panichgul, Jason Wu to Richard Chai. Among the top fashion designers today that also happens to be Asian American is Phillip Lim.
Lim, who is ethnically Chinese, was born in Thailand and immigrated with his family as a child to the United States. He gaining more and more popularity in fashion for his high-end aesthetics but (relatively) lower-priced clothes. The recent wave of Asian designers is not new to fashion, of course, as we saw a similar boom in Asian designers in the 1980's with Anna Sui and Vera Wang, and the rise of Japanese fashion spearheaded by the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, and Issey Miyake. Lim credits his Asian background for part of his success - coming from a society which places so much value in "face."
"I think that the Asian work ethic definitely plays a part [in the recent Asian American fashion wave]... but Asian society and Asian culture, it's very aesthetically driven. I think we've always been in fashion -- just behind the scenes. It's interesting, because I'm always getting this question too, and we come from such different paths. We took different roads to get there, and it just so happened to be coincidental in the timing for this rise, if you will."
Like many 1.5 generation Asian Americans, Phillip Lim has led a life balancing his American upbringing with his Asian roots. "I grew up in a duality where day was Western culture and night was completely Eastern culture. I grew up fighting my Eastern heritage, my Chinese side. As I got older, I have this innate yearning to realize my roots and get deeper in touch with them." So strong was Lim's 'double life', so to speak, that while studying home economics throughout university, his own mother believed he was studying business. It was only until he received his degree in home economics and had a job that he finally broke the news to his mother, who had always expected him to go into business.
Luckily for Lim though, his talents and creativity enabled him to rise to the top of the fashion ladder, which also helped ease tensions with his mother. In fact, he recently held his first fashion show in Beijing, where his mother was finally able to see her own son's show for the very first time.
CNN Talk Asia sat down with Phillip Lim for a great interview recently where he discussed more about his background, his Asian roots, and the rise of his brand, 3.1 Phillip Lim. While it's encouraging to see a 1.5 generation Asian American designer get so much recognition these days, we should also remember that Phillip Lim reached this point not because he just happens to be riding the Asian American designer bandwagon, but because he is a an amazing designer in his own right. If you're not already familiar with some of his work, check out Style.com's rundown on his Spring 2011 collection.Posted by Adrian Bailon | January 17, 2011 | Comments (0)
Have you ever found yourself searching for the right English word to describe something only to remain speechless? Maybe this happened while you were chatting with a group of friends. One claimed to have a great joke to tell and everyone groaned because he is widely known as being terrible at telling jokes. Yet again, he told another less than funny joke poorly. Yet everyone couldn't help but laugh because it was such a disaster. What is the English word to explain that situation?
There isn't one. But the Indonesian word is jayus.
The English language may have at least 250,000 words, but those still seem to leave the language's speaker speechless at times. The website MatadorNetwork complied a list of 20 words that can't be translated directly into English.
Tartle (Scottish) means to hesitate before giving an introduction because you have forgotten the person's name. Prozvonit (Czech) means to call someone, but only allow the phone to ring once so that the person will call you back and you will save money.
So, next time you find yourself in one of these situations, you may need to turn to the Indonesians, Scots or Czechs for guidance because English will leave you struggling to find the right word.
Many university students pack their bags and go home for the Christmas holidays to sleep in past noon and eat oversized portions of homemade food. For many international students this is not an option. Instead they stay in a foreign country filled with Christmas cheer and look for ways to join the festivities.
The students at St. John's College - a graduate residence at the University of British Columbia with an international focus - host a potluck dinner on Christmas Eve to celebrate.
"It was beautiful. People really enjoyed it and the food was so super good. I mean - honestly - the turkey was the best turkey I've had," said Nicole Ong. The Singapore native organized the event, after participating in the dinner for the past two years.
Over 40 residents and their guests filled the social lounge. Blue and white Christmas lights shined above their heads, individualized handmade stockings hung on the walls and songs about mistletoe played in the background. Designated cooks placed their freshly made dishes on the buffet table. Two glistening turkeys sat beside less traditional spicy curries and Greek pastries.
"I loved it. I've never had that many different kinds of food in one time ever in my life," said Ziaul Hasan, from India. He is a second year PhD student at UBC.
Ong and Hasan agree it is too expensive for them to fly home for only a few weeks. Ong's family doesn't celebrate Christmas in Singapore. They put up a tree, exchange a few gifts and walk to view the light displays in store windows. She thinks Christmas in Vancouver can be more fun, especially with the potluck dinner. She prefers to pay for a flight home for holidays that are more important to her family, such as Chinese New Year.
In India, Hasan's family doesn't celebrate Christmas, but everyone has vacation time. They spend the winter holidays visiting with family. But Hasan could not afford to fly to India. He is thankful to have the holiday dinner. "I would have just stayed home... and wouldn't have done something great," said Hasan, of his plans if the potluck hadn't been organized.
In 2009, there were almost 200,000 international students in Canada, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Vancouver had the second largest population with 20.2 per cent. The city trailed behind Toronto by only 0.4 per cent. Many of these students can't afford the visit home and most don't live in St. John's College and can't attend its traditional feast. UBC's International House offers the university students another option: sharing a holiday meal with a local Vancouver family.
International House partners with UBC chaplains to find host families. Students are matched based on availability and dietary requirements. This year about 30 students participated.
Maureen Wicken, the Catholic Campus Ministry co-ordinator, and her husband hosted three students on Christmas day. An American, Indian and Maltese students added to the bustling household filled with four children, extended family, friends and one small black dog. "I think it's really important that when a student is here from another place that they have an experience of being immersed into family or local life in whatever experience they can have," said Wicken.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | January 12, 2011 | Comments (0)
Hong Kong will be experiencing the joys of custom designed shoes that are apparently designed to accomodate the 'Asian foot.'
Is there really a difference between Asian and Western feet? Teresa Wong and Betrand Mak, heads of luxury shoe-brand Rupert Sanderson and Bruton Limited think so. Rupert Sanderson's marketing strategy advertises that its new line features shoes that are tailored for Asian feet. These shoes will hit shelves in its Hong Kong boutique and can also be found at Lane Crawford.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Mak says:
We basically developed a new last [the mold on which a shoe is built] that is tailor-made for the Asian foot," says Mr. Mak. "We're trying to make a four-inch [10-centimeter] heel more comfortable.
Mr. Mak did not consult with a podiatrist in making the mold for the Asian foot, and some podiatrists dispute his claims that Asian feet are higher-arched and more narrow.
Podiatrist Alexandra Duff is one:
Asian feet tend to be slightly broader in the forefoot and they have a lower arch profile," says Hong Kong podiatrist Alexandra Duff, who has been practicing for 15 years. In fact, she says about 80% of Asians are flat-footed -- more than any other ethnic group.
The mold was created from one foot, that of Teresa Wong, Mak's business partner. Mak acknowledges that his research solely consists of client and friend consultations. Dr. Duff still retains that women should only wear heels under 1.5 inches. Any more than 1.5 inches can cause damage according to her research.
Time will tell if a pair of Rupert Sanderson shoes will be the next Jimmy Choos. All I know is that I want the Winona model in lavender pink; you'll see me in them this coming spring.
Freida Pinto, starlet of Slumdog fame, is all set to prove her acting chops in the new movie Miral. Pinto plays a sheltered Palestinian orphan who makes it out of the 'Institute', where she has been raised, to find a struggle awaiting her. While sent to teach at a refugee camp she falls in love with a political activist and takes up the cause of the Palestinian victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Check out the trailer below for what promises to be an edge-of-the-seat kind of movie.
American director Julian Schnabel (director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) mentions that this is the first time a lot of people in the States will see this side of the Arab-Israeli story portrayed in this way, or, at the very least, by an American director, in this way.
The film is based on a novel of the same name by Palestinian broadcaster and journalist Rula Jebreal. I was struck while watching the interviews by the resemblance between Rula and Freida. Are authors supposed to be that good-looking?
By the looks of it, the book is based on the true story of Rula who actually did spend time in an orphanage run by founder and visionary Hind Husseini. Rula really did experience the torture Pinto's character experiences in the movie (apparently Pinto was uncomfortable having to act out these scenes with the writer on set). Nothing like a true story on the big screen to make people look and really listen. I'm stoked that it's from the perspective of a young woman in Palestine too. Being neither an angry young Palestinian man, nor an Israeli soldier, she's not what most of the world has in mind when it thinks 'force to be reckoned' with in the eye of the Arab-Israeli storm. Watch out for the film in March of 2011.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | January 11, 2011 | Comments (0)
On December 19, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Native American Apology Resolution. Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially apologized to the First Nations population on June 11, 2008. These were historic steps taken to atone for many centuries of wrongdoings committed by American and Canadian governments towards aboriginal people.
White Europeans began residential schools in the 19th century as a means to assimilate First Nations children into "civilized white society." In these schools, children were forced to live apart from their families and often, siblings were not allowed to communicate with each other. Many physical and sexual abuse cases emerged over the years. The language, culture and customs of the First Nations people were forbidden in residential school systems. Fines were given out by the government for rituals such as sundances and potlatches. The last of the residential schools shut down in 1996.
This prolonged suppression of the language combined with the migration of people from reserves to big cities resulted in the new generation of Aboriginals not knowing their own language. The National Aboriginal Health Organization states that at least ten Aboriginal languages have become extinct during the last 100 years. And according to the 2006 Census, only 29% of First Nations people could converse in an Aboriginal language. Acknowledging this alarming issue, First Nations people have taken action and have embraced technology in order to preserve their language.
The first to act is the Cherokee Nation. Through funding from the New Relationship Trust, Apple has created an App that allows users to type in Cherokee and it is now being used as an educational tool in schools on the reserves. Ten more communities are also in development to have their Apple Apps.
What's better than simple, practical, sustainable design? Simple, practical, sustainable design that is crafted locally. Which is what originally drew me to Combine Collective, described as "a group of like minded artists working together to achieve a common goal", and their black walnut keyboard trays crafted in Vancouver by local artists.
The concept is simple -- in fact, I wonder why I didn't think of it myself. A sleek wooden tray that "combines the Mac wireless keyboard and trackpad into one clean unit." Imagine how legit you would look with this lovely addition to your office desk. Your co-workers will definitely start taking you seriously.
Not only is the tray's production environmentally-friendly, using water-based glues, food-safe oil finishes, and sustainably harvested wood, the tray also comes in both right and left-handed versions. Now there's a progressive design for ya, no more lefties being left out.
To find out more about Combine Collective, visit their website at www.combinecollective.caPosted by Kayo Homma-Komori | January 13, 2011 | Comments (1)
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is back for the seventh time this year from January 18 to February 6, 2011. The festival features live performance arts with theatre, dance, music, and various forms of multimedia and hybrid performance. This year, the festival will showcase works that reflect upon Vancouver's 125th Anniversary and notions of "cityness".
The show 100% Vancouver is particularly unique, in that the show is not performed by trained actors, but "everyday Vancouverites". Casting started with one person, who had 24 hours to recruit the next person, who then found the next and so on. The 100 participants were chosen according to specific criteria such as gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, and the neighbourhood they live in -- an attempt to reflect the demographics of the last census.
The festival is also featuring a free show called La Marea (The Tide), an outdoor performance at the zero to hundred block of Water Street in Gastown. Audience members can come and go as they please as each of the nine scenes unfold between 7pm and 9pm.
Individual tickets range from free to $44 or the flexible PuSh pass is available for four shows ($115) or six shows ($170).Posted by Vinnie Yuen | January 10, 2011 | Comments (0)
A couple mornings ago, I woke up to a flood of Facebook posts from friends in Alexandria, Egypt - the city where the New Year's bombing occurred.
Shock and anger were two emotions that resonated in Alexandria when a church bomb killed 21 Coptic Christians on New Year's day. 96 bystanders, including Muslims were also injured in the blast that left body parts strewn and piled up against church doors. A gruesome sight for many, tensions broke out between Muslim and Christian bystanders left standing after the explosion.
This is not the first time that violence between religious communities has broken out. Approximately a year ago, on January 7th 2010, on the eve of coptic Christmas, a drive-by shooting killed 7 churchgoers in the town of Naga Hammadi.
Here is an excerpt from Huffington Post correspondant Mohamed El Dahshan:
Clumsily, people are trying to go about their business -- but demonstrations in Alexandria have not quieted, later in the day to be matched by a 3,000-person strong demonstration, huge by Egyptian standards in Shubra, one of Cairo's neighborhoods with a strong Christian presence. As always, the demonstration was met by police brutality, with protesters clashing with the state police that reacted the same way it always did. But the demonstration was nevertheless deemed as extremely successful -- it was even described by one foreign correspondent as the "most unique protest I've been to. First time it seems protesters outnumber police"...
Having many good friends from Alexandria, I was quick to get in touch with loved ones.
Ghada Abdelhady reported that the Egyptians were suffering from low morale.
I'm fine physically, but I doubt if I am emotionally. You have no idea how this start for 2011 affected me. A wave of pessimism just rushed over me and everybody in Alexandria and Cairo. Putting aside the losses instead of celebrating New Year's eve put everyone a victim to terrorism's plan.
My trip to Istanbul as a journalist for the 5th World Youth Congress allowed me to see religious harmony in Turkey. The architecture of the Aya Sophia represented Islamic and Christian symbols integrated together in one building, despite the tumultuous history between the two groups. Often, I was able to step into a mosque during the adzan, and then into a church right across the street. In the dormitories, I met a handful of Egyptians, and I am Egypt-bound in 2012 to attend my friend Marwa's wedding.
Alhassan Ali Omar, a highschool student in Egypt said that the New Year's attacks spread sadness throughout Egypt and foreshadows a rocky start to 2011.
The world watches on as Muslims and Christians from all seven continents are coming together to protest against the violence that has tainted Alexandria's New Year. Better days will come. Insha'Allah.Posted by Michelle Pham | January 10, 2011 | Comments (0)
With the recent pronouncement of Facebook founder and 26-year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg as TIME Magazine's Person of the Year, it should come as no surprise that Facebook stands as one of the most influential and connective online entities ever created. With over 500 million users, Facebook has an unparalleled ability to join people from across the globe (although the dominant area of usage of course remains confined to the Eastern United States).
But how exactly is Facebook connecting people across municipal and country borders? It stands to reason that one of the strengths of the website is the empowerment it gives in ignoring boundaries and geographical distances. A world map created by Facebook intern Paul Butler mapped these transnational connections in a fascinating display that reflects all of the millions of Facebook users and shows lines and links to friend networks outside of local city regions. The image is startling in that it seems to disregard certain countries such as China or Canada, entirely due to censorship of the Facebook website in China, and the relatively low population of Canada respectively.
A particular chain of connections that drew the attention of Granville Magazine writer Hillary Henegar was the web of links that joined Vancouver with other major cities along the Northwestern United States, mainly Seattle and Portland. This region, known as the Cascadia, is referred to in Henegar's editorial as holding more influence on Vancouver than the links that join us to other Canadian cities. If the map of Facebook friend connections is any indication, the traditional boundaries that separate countries and cities apart may be lessening in importance in the wired age.Posted by Justin Ko | January 14, 2011 | Comments (0)
By the end of 2011, you will be 1 of 7 billion people living on Earth. 7 billion is a huge number. Think about it this way: if everyone on Earth planted a tree, we would have 7 billion extra trees. If everyone on Earth screamed at the same time, how long would the echo last? I can go on, but I think you get my point.
National Geographic magazine is doing a year-long series on global population. I'm looking forward to this series for a number of reasons. I'll be honest -- I haven't really given much though to the significance behind the growing number of the world's population. But with issues such as the environment, global consumption and waste take center stage, I can think of 7 billion reasons why it's time we start to really pay attention to our impact on each other and to the Earth.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | January 7, 2011 | Comments (0)
Have you ever wondered how you will be able to afford your first house in Vancouver - one of the world's most expensive cities to live in?
Dai Haifei found himself asking the same question, except about his city: Beijing. After graduating from an architecture program, he did not know how he would pay for his first apartment, condominium, house or other living space. So he decided to build his own "other living space": a two-meter high house with a striking resemblance to an egg.
Before building his own egg-house, Haifei attended the 2010 Shanghai Biennale Exhibition. He saw a project called "City's Egg" there and it became the inspiration for his future home.
"I was impressed by the green-notion of building a house like that, especially in cities like Beijing where rental price for a fresh graduate is a huge burden," Dai said to China Daily.
His egg-house is built from sack bags, bamboo splints, wood chippings and grass seeds. It fits a bed and a water tank. Though small, it is definitely an environmentally friendly and - most important for Haifei - affordable home.Posted by Jocelyn Gan | January 4, 2011 | Comments (0)
Over the last ten years there have been few figures in Asian popular music and cinema that have come close to the stature and fame that Taiwanese luminary Jay Chou has amassed. Slated to appear in the upcoming film The Green Hornet opposite Seth Rogen, his popularity is certain to spread to North America in the coming years.
Last Thursday, I had the awesome opportunity (courtesy of Metropolis Hot Seats) to watch his Era World Tour concert at Rogers Arena, a spectacular event which drew out the masses in celebration of the Jay Chou era.
Not only was I given a free ticket (thanks to Metropolis at Metrotown), but the ticket turned out to be for an executive suite on the fifth floor, which included free food, drinks, and a lounge! The hospitality shown by the Metropolis representatives was top notch- as if seeing an iconic Asian artist of Jay Chou's stature was not thrilling enough.
Though we sat high above the rest of the crowd, the energy in the building was palpable and frenetic, as the innumerable Jay fans made their devotion known. And Jay did not disappoint. With constant costume changes nearly every song, Jay was able to change up his style on the fly, as he has been known to do throughout his career.
Jay also used the concert to help showcase his new label mates and talent signees, including the beautiful Cindy, who performed a duet with Jay on the piano after holding her own with two of her own hit singles. After this sentimental moment, Jay began mixing up his repertoire with more of his fiery rap and hip-hop oriented songs.
When he closed the concert with two rap songs from his first album, Ninja and Nunchucks, the crowd was ecstatic, yelling the lyrics as loud as they could as Jay showed off his martial arts prowess. With such a rousing performance, which also functioned as a coming-together of the local Chinese community, Jay injected the city with an innovative musicality and passion that is often lacking in mainstream artists. I for one was thoroughly impressed, and I remain grateful to Metropolis Hot Seats for giving me such a fantastic and memorable opportunity.
Posted by Justin Ko | January 3, 2011
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For the past few years, animation studio Pixar has had a monopoly on just about every prestigious animated feature film award in North America. However, Japanese animation studio Madhouse will be gunning for the Best Animated Feature prize in the 83rd Academy Awards with the critically-acclaimed film Summer Wars.
Released in theatres in Japan in August 2009, Summer Wars tells the story of high school student Kenji, who gets a summer "job" as his secret crush Natsuki's boyfriend during her grandmother's birthday party. Amidst the regular teenage summer love story though, Kenji accidentally breaks the security barricade of Oz, a virtual world not unlike Second Life, where millions of people, businesses, and governments connect online. The problem? Oz also handles very sensitive information from national defence and nuclear launch codes, to the more mundane, such as online shopping. It gets worse as an Agent Smith-like AI program called Love Machine is unleashed and hijacks Oz accounts, becoming more powerful and destructive. With the help of Natsuki, Kenji must somehow find a way to stop the real world and virtual world from colliding.
Summer Wars, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, has already won the 2010 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the 2010 Japan Media Arts Festival's Animation Division Grand Prize, the Anaheim International Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Animated Feature, and was also nominated for the 2009 Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.
According to Hosoda, the virtual world of Oz, despite its similarities to Second Life, was actually inspired by popular Japanese social networking site Mixi (Japan's answer to Facebook). Visually, though, Oz takes cues from the superflat work of pop artist Takashi Murakami, who first started gaining fame in the west for collaborating with Marc Jacobs to redesign Louis Vuitton's brown monogram to bright colours on a white background.
With Facebook now having enough members on its site to become the world's third most populated country, and the recent controversy surrounding WikiLeaks' publishing of confidential government files, Summer Wars seems strangely relevant in our increasingly virtually-connected lives. But will it be enough to win an Oscar?
Summer Wars was submitted for the upcoming Academy Awards' Best Animated Feature category, and will be fighting it out with 13 other animated features. The nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards will be revealed in late January, but I have a feeling Summer Wars stands a very good chance at making the cut.
Summer Wars will be released in North America for blu-ray and DVD on February 15, 2011.Posted by Adrian Bailon | January 6, 2011 | Comments (0)
Channel APA's Steve Nguyen (Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, Jarhead) collaborates with Choz Belen (Far East Movement's 'I Party', Deep Foundation's 'Sleep') and Daisuke Suzuki (The Hillz, American Dad!) have collaborated on a new animated short film that tells the story of Kaz Suyeishi, an 80 year-old Japanese-American woman who was studying in the USA when Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hibakusha is a Japanese name for those who survived.
Nguyen's production is in its initial phases. He and his team are still looking for funding. While their appeal on the website kickstarter.com has raised a few donations so far, every cent makes a difference to a worthwhile project like this.
The old cliche about history repeating itself is the very kind this film could counter. With the wide appeal of its medium, it'll serve to make a lasting impression on contemporary audiences that have grown complacent beyond the immediate reach of WWII's catastrophes. Time heals most wounds, but history keeps its scars. I think it's wonderful that two young directors who have been in the music biz and worked on blockbuster films are taking on a historical event like the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A message from the pair:
This film is inspired to bring awareness to the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings in hopes that nothing like this will ever happen again and over time, show tremendous forgiveness after these terrible incidents occurred. This project will commemorate the 66th Anniversary of the bombings and is dedicated to the Association of Hiroshima & Nagasaki A-bomb Survivors.Posted by Gayatri Bajpai | January 5, 2011 | Comments (0)
We are in the process of setting up an IMDB page once production starts rolling, so hopefully everything is squared away by then!
What the money is for:
In the past several months, the crew has grown and managing the project has happily taken over our lives. This critical mass is forcing us to leave our part time work and focus on the film until it is done. The funds needed would be directed straight to the production and animation costs as well as distribution and film festival circulating. Your financial support will make this a reality.