Saturday, July 29, 2006

Leaving Nash Vegas

My friend and former college roommate is Leaving Nash Vegas and moving to LA which she's been wanting to do for some time now. I totally feel her:

But as excited as I am, I’m still overwhelmed at the prospect of leaving everything that I’ve known for the past 6 years, packing up all of my stuff and moving 2000 miles away. And it’s looking like I’m going to have to do it alone. With my dad having a stroke and none of my friends having the money nor the ability to get off work like I can, it’s looking like I will be making the 3 day drive alone. And as much as I want to see the country I don’t want to do it by myself. (Please do not get me started on doing stuff alone. I don’t care what people say I am SICK TO DEATH of being single. I have done EVERYTHING on my own. My dad is in the hospital and I’m there alone with no one to consol me. I move across the country and I do it alone. I was in freakin’ Puerto Rico last week ALONE. I think that I have paid my dues as a single person and that it is now time for me to be a non-single person. Shuck and jive if you want…I WANT TO GET MARRIED. I want to share the big moments and the small ones with someone. And I’m not ashamed to say it….That is all.)
Much love Tia!
As I was telling my roommate Amy the other night, I don't know why people hate on LA. Southern California is the promised land of beautiful, snow/skate boarding, movie loving men in every hue from light to dark. Girl, I guarantee it will be ON in 2 years or less!!!

Black, White & Yellow?

Instead of a Bollywood flick, I checked out Catfish in Blackbean Sauce this week. I remember the film coming out way back in 2000 but never found a theater indie enough to show it. Seeing as how I don't have cable, the waiting continued until it was brought to my memory again the other day and then to the top of my Netflix cue. That being the case, I absolutely can't hate on Chi Moui Lo's directorial debut. I mean, you've seen mine...

The story centers around Dwayne and his older sister Mai, two Vietnamese kids who were adopted by a black couple. Fast forward 20 years or so to Dwayne proposing to his (black) girlfriend, Mai finding their mother and flying her in from Vietnam, and Dwayne's roommate's transsexual? girlfriend and you can imagine what sort of treat you're in for. All this and somehow, the movie's still not bad. Quite honestly, I think it could have been funnier but maybe that wasn't the goal.

One of the highlights of the film is Sanaa Lathan, who does a great job as the loving, forgiving girlfriend in an interracial relationship. Sound familiar? Mary Alice and Paul Winfield play the parents. Ms. Mary was freaking me out with her light and airy, turn-on-you-in-a-split-second portrayal of the mom but I'm guessing that's how it was written. Also, Mai was played by Lauren Tom of Joy Luck Club fame.

From a writing perspective, Lo did a decent job of showing the estrangement between birth mother and child(ren) and also the insecurity that can plague a short (Asian) guy dating a fine black woman. (No, I am NOT talking about myself here.) Quite personally, I think it's just about time this topic is breached again.

If you're really looking for laughs then you should watch Fakin' Da Funk (1997) which features a bunch of actors, etc. who appearently didn't have anything better to do during the '90s. Including everyone's favorite Asian hoodrat, Dante Basco, "Pops"- John Witherspoon, Duane Martin, Ernie Hudson, Tatyana Ali, Bo Jackson, Tone Loc, Nell Carter, Margaret Cho, and one absolutely cannot forget Ms. Pam Grier.

Besides listening to Margaret Cho talk in a faker-than-fake Chinese accent, other notable moments include: Dante Basco telling Tatyana, "Whatever girl! I'm blacker than you!", John Witherspoon attempting to do Tai Chi on the front lawn of a Compton neighborhood, Duane Jackson pretending that he has a crush on Margaret Cho, and Tone Loc speaking. In fact, the last time I showed some friends the movie they're like, "Why haven't I seen this already?!" The film is perfectly ridiculous and perfectly hilarious. BTW, Dante (who is clearly Filipino) is playing a Chinese boy adopted by a black family which just adds to the ignorance of it all.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Yes, this IS wack.

I can't help it! My friend posted this on his MySpace yesterday. I saw this like a year ago, but it's so wack I couldn't help but watch it again AND share the love! It makes me giggle...

[This video actually made a friend of mine change her "name" from DJ Southpaw back to DJ Toya. She was traumatized.]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I love Mira Nair...

The Barmaid over at Love&Haterade had a link for The Namesake's trailer the other day. It looks hot. Plus I love Mira Nair. She lives in Africa. Yeah! Black & Browns unite! lol

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The perpetual decline of American society...

Kevin Smith Says He Expected NC-17 Rating for 'Clerks II'
Director Kevin Smith said Saturday that he had been prepared to fight the MPAA's ratings board if Clerks II had received an NC-17 rating. "I was getting ready to have the jihad of all jihads with the MPAA," he told the Comic-Con meeting in San Diego. "They had done it to us on [the original] Clerks," he noted, "They gave us an NC-17. We had to fight to get it turned
over to an R, so I was kinda thinking we'd be facing them down this time, but oddly enough, no. We put it in front of them and they were like, 'Here you go, it's an R, ' and they didn't ask for a single cut. And I was elated, it felt great, because I didn't have to work on the flick anymore. But at the same time, five minutes later, I was like, 'What's f***ing wrong with you people? There is a dude f***ing a donkey in this movie! It doesn't get any more NC-17 than this!'" [Link]
Why? Because obviously, the MPAA just don't give a fig.
I know this doesn't specifically relate to the topics of my blog but given my interest in film, I felt the need to note this here. I find it pretty angering that the "powers that be" in the U.S. think that bestiality and gratuitously foul language only rates "R". The first Clerks came out in 1994. Has that much changed in 12 years?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

For the Love of Money

Here's my 2006 48 Hour Film Project.

Presenting: For the Love of Money

Also, check out the Production Highlights.

48 Hour Film Project highlights

[The film is here.]
I had a whole lot of fun this weekend. My crew was great. It was a real treat working with them. Our 48Hour Film Project will be judged later this week and the awards will occur next week. Keep your fingers crossed! There's a bunch of silliness in our lil' movie.

Initially, I was very worried about the outcome of the production. We didn't find out what genre our film would be until the first night of the
competition. We had brainstormed a few ideas and I knew the actors we had available were strongest in comedy. I had been praying for our team for a few days and for myself--a first-time director under extreme time restraint with a team of first time competitors! I didn't want to get stressed out or obviously let down all the people who were sacrificing time, sleep and resources to make this happen.

That being the case, our producer and I represented the team at the genre drawing. As he went up to draw, I'm dialoguing with God, "Okay, I know I've already prayed about this and I know, it's kinda silly but it would be really great if we got Comedy." I promise you, no sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth than I hear the announcer say, "Team New Beginning - Comedy" over the loudspeaker. I nearly jumped up and screamed! I can't remember ever having such a specific prayer answered in such a specific (and immediate) fashion! I'm like SHUT UP! That's awesome! Statistically, there's only about 7% chance that we would draw the exact genre we wanted.

All that considered, I have no gripes about the end product.

Production Highlight: We shot a "wedding" scene after I had been awake for 30 hours straight with a 1.5 hour nap at the 24 hour mark. The room with no air conditioning, no sound absorption, 17 cast members and 5 or so crew members.

I was holding one of the extras' baby girl so should wouldn't be crawling around the shooting area. She fell into a deep sleep in my arms. The temperature in the room was about 84 degrees and I was at about 94 and sweating because the baby was so hot. I was losing my voice and every time I called "cut" the cast would naturally start talking.

Here I am trying to give direction to my lead actor who can't hear me because the entire cast is talking. Various other people in the room would try to repeat what I was saying which made it more difficult for him to
hear what I was saying.

Finally, I had a mini meltdown and as loud as a sore throat can, yelled at everyone: "Quiet!!! I've already given my directions!" and emphasized my statement with a wide sweeping arm motion. It worked for the moment and we got some work done. When we finished the shoot, I hear a couple of the cast--friends, no less--mocking me in a hoity-toity voice. "I've already give my directions! Quiet!!!" They had quite a giggle or two at my expense. That's okay. I know what's going on my next t-shirt.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Is RED the color of patriotism?

Um, just finished watching Rang de Basanti. I guess blood red is the color of patriotism? I'm all for inspiring slacker youth toward activism. However, I have to throw out a big WTF?!? to shooting your own father to make a point?! Geez Louise! I'm willing to overlook the fact that a few kids with no real reason to live found a reason to shoot a a public figure. Heck, that's a somewhat American concept. But shooting your own parent is taking things to another level as was the extended hug-fest at the radio station after publicly admitting to shooting said public figure, albeit in a different way. Grrrrrr. I would have screamed if there was one more round of hugs. The logic kept evading me.

At any rate, Kunal was very sweet. He plays the "good Indian boy" very well. I do however, keep wondering though whether I would think about Jesus every time I see him if I had never seen The Passion of the Christ.

On a positive note, I liked the creativity in this film. It's different from the standard fair coming out of Bombay. I appreciate the fact that the writers/director took risks even if they're choices I wouldn't make. I've only seen Aamir Khan in Lagaan and didn't care to see him in anything else. (There's just something about him I find annoying.) Here though I think that same immaterial source of annoyance worked in his favor. Furthermore, what's with him and white girls? ;0) Also, did he actually say, "Would our children be black or white?" at the end or was that a bad translation? Anyone? Anyone? Futhermore, if he's black, what am I?!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hello Hrithik.

I found this site yesterday--BollyCreations--and I absolutely HAVE to share the love!!!

Some tech savvy people have gotten together and made animations of all our favorite stars.

My favorite, for obvious reasons:

Friday, July 21, 2006

Film, film and more film

I just got a confirmation email that Rang de Basanti is arriving tomorrow from Netflix. Too bad I'll be shooting all weekend.

I hate to leave Kunal waiting!

You know it!

A friend sent this to me today. It's not the first time I've heard it but it still makes me laugh...

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours and from those results, I will judge who does the better job."

So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.

They moused.

They faxed.
They e-mailed.

They e-mailed with attachments.
They downloaded.
They did spreadsheets!
They wrote reports.
They created labels and cards.
They created charts and graphs.
They did some genealogy reports.

They did every job known to man.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell. Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed. Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers.

Satan started searching frantically, screaming: "It's gone! It's all GONE! "I lost everything when the power went out!" Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work. Satan observed this and became irate. "Wait!" he screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"

God just shrugged and said, "Jesus Saves."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Black, White & Brown

Amardeep stirred up a little chitchat over at Sepia Mutiny over "Black Men & Asian Women," specifically those of the brown persuasian.

I found the topic personally interesting because I've never heard the Indian perspective on the whole thing. At some point, the topic flipped to Asian guys and black women. I know a few Asian guys (Filipino, Laos, Chinese) who holla at black girls (or are/were married to) but I've never seen a desi guy with a sista. At the same time, I do remember an older Indian woman at my church lamenting to me that her 30 year old son was still not married. Was that a hint? Still wondering...

The dialogue on Sepia Mutiny was mostly constructive with random moments of silliness. The last time I checked there were over 250 comments. Feel free to weigh in here if you like.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Promise not to laugh the FIRST time.

Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears. Well, at least your eyes. Here's the project that I worked on for the Nashville International Black Film Festival Boot Camp.

Presenting--Caught Up.

If you think it's good: We shot this in 8 hours.
If you think it's bad: We shot this in 8 hours.


[Why yes, that IS my hand in the middle of the first shot...]

Monday, July 10, 2006

There are only two kinds of people in the world...

...those who stay and those who go. -- personal opinon!

Bunty aur Babli?! I absolutely loved this movie! While mostly improbable, the film is wild fun and avoids the dreaded love triangle--good stories go in, but they never come out...

The whole movie is rather silly and admittedly, I didn't see it in its entirety because the dvd I rented wouldn't play chapters 13-17 or so. (I believe I missed a saucy dance number! Our protagonists were married when I next saw them...) However, the 2.75 hours I watched were entertaining enough.

The first few moments of the film had me pretty good. I can't remember the last time I saw people dancing that hard. Futhermore, Rani's clothes in the first 15 minutes were killer. I could rock every one of those! The conversation Abhishek's character had with his father about not wanting to "just get a job," that's so me. Good is not good enough. I wouldn't mouth off at my parents like he did--black parents do not play that--but I can totally feel where he's coming from. Really, there are only two kinds of people in the world...

[Only negative: The film sent me into a funk for a day and a half due to present 'single' status. To be more precise, it's not the single status so much as the sense of loss made appearant by watching a film full of ridiculous behavior that reminded me of my ex. I always thought of us as Bonnie & Clyde. Short of criminal activity, we were always plotting adventure and getting stared at. Alas, that is all in the past now. I am however, accepting applications for the role of Clyde or Bunty, whichever you prefer but let's skip the jail and/or tragic death and/or breakup part. Shall we?]

Concerning the film, I finally understand why Ms. World added dear
Abhishek to her list. I've never really seen the fascination with him outside of his obvious lineage but it only took a blue sport coat and reflective sunglasses to change everything. Oh my! I thought to myself, while wondering whether Abhishek had been airbrushed or whether I was previously blind. At one point he was sporting a very pleasant gotee but I can't seem to find that photo anywhere so this one will suffice...

Stray notes: I read in Wikipedia that Hrithik was considered for the role of Bunty. While I'd scream, "I love Hrithik" with the best of them, I think Abhishek was a good fit. I mean, I know there are criminals who are really pretty but I think just pretty enough gives the character a slight edge. Also, I was NOT prepared for Big B at the end. While he is fabulous, he is still elderly. I nearly stopped breathing during the credits. I don't remember if it was the "rapping" or the "booty-shaking flygirls" that did the trick...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What is wrong with SONY people?!?

Ok Kalyan, I'll take the bait...
I don't really have the energy to expend elucidating the idiocy of this ad campaign for Sony's new PSP White. The ad says very little about the product (PlayStation Portable) but SO very much about the company promoting it. Like so many other attempts to incite ire and inadvertent interest, it has succeeded. I doubt our friends at Sony would have the balls to post that madness anywhere near a city like Atlanta. Thus, I say no more. [Link]

I mean, I totally don't understand what the big deal is. I mean, it's just about color. Like, if they had two asian girls and one was wearing red and white and the other one was wearing red and yellow and the one in red and white was gripping the crap out of the one in red and yellow's face, I mean no big deal. It wouldn't have the lingering air of several hundred years of history or anything. I mean, like what multi-billion dollar international corporations pay attention to history these days? For reals.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Krrish in Question

I will sum up my experience seeing Krrish in a countdown of brief retorical questions.

10. Why is Priyanka Chopra SO pretty?

9. Why in all of Singapore, a country where English is an official language, did they find a man who spoke English so poory, um poorly?

8. Why as a semi-conscious, invalid does Hrithik Roshan still look remotely endearing?

7. Why did someone other than Krrish's grandma think that a beat up grey jacket from 1972 still looked cute?!?

6. Why did the evil scientist talking directly to the screen remind me of Parker Lewis Can't Lose?

5. Why do I think the only way the Gahadur character could have been more weird/annoying is if he was played by Johnny Lever?

4. Why did song #1, look a lot like song #3 with about 2 minor changes?

3. Why is it that Archana Puran Singh, aka "Boss" looks like she's a first cousin to Pam Grier aka "Foxy Brown"?

2. Why did Hrithik's extra digit get more screen time than a Coca-Cola in Kuch Naa Kaho?

And #1...
1. Why during the "interval" while waiting in line for more popcorn, did a cute little (teenage) boy with a red turban ask me and my (white & asian) girlfriends, "You guys like this stuff?"

Do I like this stuff? I LOVE this stuff!!! Actually, I answered, "I just love Hrithik Roshan and--(thanks babasko!)--I heard the second half was better than the first." I had heard him telling his friends who were sitting behind us "Look!" every time Hrithik's stray thumb made an appearance. I was doing the same thing to my friends so I guess we bonded. ;0)

Filmi Me again...

On a personal note, I mean to post more but I've been horribly distracted by work--of all things!--and my ever absorbing "hobby" of filmmaking. I have 15 days left to be completely and totally ready to lead my team to victory in the 48Hour Film Project in which somehow or another I will be directing a short film. Yikes! Deep down inside I've always thought about directing but now that I have a crew of people depending on me I'm like, What have I done?!?

Unfortunately, there won't be any Bollydancing but if I have my way, there'll be musical festivity! At some point I'll post the needlessly tragic first piece I worked on as well...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shahrukh Khan & Eric Estrada

So I coerced one of my Lao friends into watching K3G with me this evening in order to provide a proper contrast to Krrish which she had enjoyed Sunday afternoon with me and a previously mentioned Bollywood indoctrinee (pmBi). The contrast was necessary because as pmBi stated after leaving Krrish, "I'm kinda disappointed they didn't have more Shava Shava type songs." Point well taken!

After thoroughly explaining that Shahrukh Khan is THE Tom Cruise of India--not always hot but typically cute and endearing--midway through the condensed version of K3G, (note: I have a method that is guaranteed to provide a 2-hour viewing time. Sorry Poo!), my friend exclaims, "I know who he looks like! The guy from that old show--CHiPS!" Baahaaahaaahaa!!!

Not my beloved Shahrukh! Say it ain't so. I'm not sure I can trust her judgement. I mean she hates his eyebrows! Like come on, everyone knows how endearing they are...