The Kollaboration Green Room is our new video series featuring live sets from the amazing artists in the Kollaboration network. This inaugural session features Perry & Danielle, a Los Angeles based musical duo hailing from the islands of Hawaii. They are Kollab Alum from the 2015 Kollaboration Los Angeles showcase and recently performed alongside AC Lorenzo at Kollab Star 2015. Enjoy their smooth stylings and let us know what you think in the comments below!
We’re excited to announce a new digital showcase series called “The Green Room,” launching next Monday here on Kollaboration.org (and our YouTube channel). The Green Room is a callback to our annual showcases when artists would jam with each other in the green room while waiting for their turn to go on stage. Every few weeks, The Green Room will showcase an extended live set from an artist from our Kollaboration community. First up is Kollaboration Los Angeles 2015 performers Perry and Danielle. Don’t miss their set next Monday, November 30!
Dear creators, actors, and producers of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,
First off, as a West Covina native, I want to thank you for putting West Covina on the map. Thanks for showing that Southern California isn’t one blob of beach glamour but rather, it’s made of a ton of diverse suburbs that many Southern Californians call home. Sure, West Covina is a boring town that took me 18 years to get out of, but it’s also lovable — which Crazy Ex definitely portrays.
Last Monday night, youaired your 6th episode “My First Thanksgiving with Josh!” in which Rebecca Bunch spends Thanksgiving with her ex-boyfriend Josh Chan’s family — and they happen to be Filipino.
You should be proud of yourselves. This has been called a“landmark moment for Filipinos on American TV” and it’s probably the first time a lot of Filipinos have been on an American TV show all at once. The CW is also changing the game with its other programs — – more specifically, Jane the Virgin, for whichactress Gina Rodriguez has won a Golden Globe for Best Actress (the first Golden Globe ever won for the network). In an industry where people of color seem to be deprived of screen time, y’all are doing something right.
I want to take the time to show you exactly what you did right, whether you meant to or not.As if seeing my hometown on broadcast television didn’t give me enough feels, seeing Filipinos —- people who look like me and my family — made me straight up sentimental.
So, while the warm fuzzies and butterflies last, I want to thank you for:
Recognizing us as “Asian”… You show that we also go through the pressure of the model minority myth, and that this myth is destructive. Josh just wants to work at a chill electronics store, but his dad wants him to work in a hospital. Instead of presenting the model minority as being entirely constitutive of Josh’s personality, you show how he struggles against it — a struggle that resonates with many Asian Americans, including Filipino Americans.
…but also specifying us as “Filipino.” But you also got some Filipino-specific details: the fact that many of us are Catholic by way of the Spanish, our cuisine (bless Rebecca and her diniguan-related troubles), and the workings of a Filipino party. You also showed that we come from everywhere. When Josh lists the cities his family members are coming from, you cleverly mention cities with large Filipino populations — Stockton, Temecula, Glendale, just to name a few.
Showing how important family is to Filipinos. When you represent Filipinos on screen and you want to do it accurately, you better make sure to show how important family is to us. You not only did that, but you also made family the center of the entire “My First Thanksgiving with Josh!” episode and a constant site of struggle for Rebecca throughout the series. Rebecca is right to ask, “Would I like to be surrounded by the unconditional love of 100 Filipinos?” Of course she would. Filipino families are big and they show some big love, too.
For simply putting us on the screen. .Before Crazy Ex, it was hard to recall seeing a Filipino who wasn’t Manny Pacquiao anywhere on American television. Filipinos are the second largest Asian American population in Los Angeles, but we are practically invisible when it comes to television or film — only 6% of main characters on TV are Asian. You’ve made a dent in that percentage with Josh Chan, which is a big deal.
Of course, the show — no matter how awesomely campy — is not without its faults. Allow me to make some suggestions:
Don’t cross the line with the stereotypes. They were funny, but you tend to go wild with them… which could be a hit or miss. I get that you were poking fun at Rebecca by satirizing her through the age-old trope of the “Mighty Whitey,”but we’re still really underrepresented, so the few representations that do exist will likely shape the perceptions that others have of us. Any variation of us as “The Other” is a bit sketch.
Be careful with the representations of other folks of color on the screen, specifically the Latina characters. Valencia is hypersexualized; Mrs. Hernandez doesn’t talk (Please clarify this in future episodes). Also, West Covina’s population is 45.73% Latino —- clearly not reflected in your show.
Bring back the boba guys from the Cup of Boba hut. Because they were hilarious. And the 626 loves its boba.
Have you been watching AMC’s new post-apocalyptic martial arts drama Into the Badlands? No? Well good thing we’re here to convince you! The Kollab Blog had the opportunity to go to a screening held in conjunction with CAPE to see the badassery firsthand along with a Q&A with the cast and creators followed afterward.
Here are our top 5 reasons why you should tune in to this epic series:
1)Daniel Wu. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Wu takes the screen as the leading man after a career in Hong Kong for 18 years. The 40 year old actor plays Sunny, a feared and ruthlessly loyal Clipper who begins to question his way of life, in the multicultural dystopian universe.
Fun fact: Daniel Wu was originally brought in as Executive Producer for the project but it became overwhelming clear during the audition process that he was the best fit for Sunny based on both his acting and martial arts experience. His role in this show was both physically and mentally challenging: If he wasn’t shooting then he was problem solving or coordinating something behind the scenes.
2)Aramis Knight plays M.K., a young man with yet-to-be-explained potential. This young talent, serves as an impetus in the story. Alongside Wu, they embark on an Odyssey across the land in which they learn, fight and grow. Who wouldn’t want Daniel Wu to be their mentor figure?
Fun fact: He is only 16! This kid’s got a bright future ahead of him.
3) Sure the show itself is intriguing but the opening credits alone are a work of art that blends East and West masterfully through an animated mix between contemporary comic book drawings and classic scroll paintings. Seeing the diverse names of the cast against the graphics and musical score feels like a huge high five moment every time.
Fun fact: It’s an empowering and beautiful intro that perfectly sums up the vibes of the show, made by none other than Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.
4)The Badlands are a world that audiences have never seen before. It’s a deliberate mash-up of everything that the executive producers/showrunners/writers, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (of Shanghai Noon and Smallville), think are cool: Asian Cinema, Pre-Edo Japan, Japanese Medieval Society, HK Cinema, Cowboy/Western, Dystopian Society… You can’t categorize it because it’s a unique world. Eventually you just don’t think about what it’s referencing, you just watch.
Fun Fact: “The story is very loosely based on Journey to the West’ which is how the Monkey King brought Buddhism from India to China. It’s about all these challenges he meets on the way and how they transform him from a rebellious, naughty Monkey King into a Buddha himself. So, that’s the real spritual backbone of the show — you see this character Sunny looking for something greater than he has known.”
5) It bringing Martial Arts drama to TV. Can you imagine a world without phones and email? In this series no modern electronics exist and martial arts is the great equalizer. Men and women alike fight hand to hand. But there’s more beyond the words and fighting. At the end of the day it’s about the compelling stories and complex people struggling with the common topics of power and freedom. The martial arts are just the visual eye candy and glue that helps to tell the story of spiritual and individual transformation.
Fun Fact: The actors went through a 6 week fight camp where they went through training with a elite team from HK led by Master Dee Dee, martial arts coordinator (Crouching Tiger, Matrix) to get in tip top shape for the fight choreography and learn the basics of martial arts.
A month ago, Kollab Blogger Lily Rugo attended the Boston Asian American Film Festival. Here is her recap on the films she watched and her recommendations!
The Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF) wrapped up another successful year of bringing guests and films from all over the world for the seventh year!
The festival was held Oct. 22-25 and showcased a variety of feature length films and shorts. The feature films included Seoul Searching, Miss India America, Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, and My Life in China. Their Shorts series each had a theme that related back to home, and each screening was usually followed by a Q&A with either the director, an actor, writer, or producer.
I really enjoyed the films I saw. For the full 2015 line up, visit BAAFF.org. For a quick look into what I enjoyed most, here’s my recap:
Shorts: Redefining Home— East of Hollywood; D. Asian; My Hot Mom Gandhi; My Sister Swallowed the Zoo; Next Like; Distance Between
Overall, these shorts were fun and established the festival’s theme of home well. One film continued the video trend of categorizing people with clever analogies, in this case likening girls to social media sites like “the Twitter girl” versus “the Facebook girl.” One was a bit too artistic for me to fully appreciate, showing a series of photos and videos flashing by while a daughter talked to her mother over the phone. I thought “Distance Between” was the most heartfelt in this series, a new take on a dad passing on words of wisdom to his son.
The highlight was “East of Hollywood,” a 30-minute short film satirizing the struggles Asian American actors face in the entertainment industry. Based on lead actor and co-writer/director Michael Tow’s true experiences, the film exaggerates the stereotypes and tropes Asians face, or in this case, must lean in to as they try to break the bamboo ceiling in Hollywood . “East of Hollywood” is a local project that had its premiere at BAAFF and will hopefully be continued on in a longer film.
Shorts: Queer at Home— Dol (First Birthday); Paper Wrap Fire; Ordinary Family; FU377; Coming Home; Draft Day; Brokeback That Ass Up
I found these more enlightening and in-depth than the Redefining Home series. I appreciated the stop motion of “FU377” and comedic drama in “Ordinary Family.” Most of them ended without a neat little bow, as I expect was the point, and loved the honesty of each short. My favorite was “Draft Day” about the Thai military draft required of all males when they turn 21. The short follows two transgender girls throughout their drafting process and explores how Thailand has adapted to the transgender community.
Crush the Skull
Dear Chris Dinh: You lied to me. I asked if your movie would be gory and here we are. I had seen both the online shorts, “Crush the Skull” and “Crush the Skull II,” and I was excited to see the film they made—even though I spent most of the movie hiding behind my jacket. Crush the Skull, the feature length film, has a different plot than the online shorts, but it’s keeps to the same genre of dark comedy and campy violence. The story follows a group of burglars as they break into a secluded house thinking it will be easy and their last job. Little do they expect for it actually be their last as it turns out the owner is home—and a deranged serial killer. I enjoyed the references to the original shorts and the usage of the same actors, jokes, and situations– not to mention the classic line “crush the skull” that has to end up somewhere. I’m not a big horror movie person—I even screamed at one point during the movie—but I would suggest Crush the Skull for a fun night with friends.
Shorts: Home in America— Closeness; Leadway; Giap’s Last Day at the Ironing Board Factory; Finding Cleveland; Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides; El Chino
Home in America was the heaviest of the Shorts series. I even cried a bit. All of the shorts related back to home and connection to roots and family. Each of them made me think either about my own family or contemplate the situations the subjects of the shorts were going through.
One of my favorites, Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, told three amazing stories about women who married American soldiers at the end of World War II. The director’s plan on developing the documentary into a longer piece, and more information on how to support the project can be found on their website. But the biggest takeaway for me was how recent the Vietnam War was in my lifetime. Learning about it in history class makes it seem so long ago, but these shorts made me realize that past events still hold a strong impact on today’s families. If you have the time, I recommend all of these shorts.
Off the Menu
Probably one of my favorites in the festival, it was like a good meal: filling, nothing too fancy, and heartwarming. The director, Grace Lee, started with joking about why Asians take so many photos of food then developed the idea into a documentary. For the most part Off the Menu doesn’t focus on food as product, but the ways it brings people together and represents larger aspects in life like community and heritage. Lee explores the rise of sushi as a trend, how a chef at a new restaurant in New York City incorporates its family, Hawaiian traditions, and the community langar meal served at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. It’s a simple movie, but I loved it and thought Lee did a great job finding different aspects of food in people’s lives across America.
Miss India America
Another favorite of mine, I thought the director and writer did a really good job with this film. Miss India America follows recent high school graduate and winner of everything Lily Prasad as she sets her mind to win Miss India National. Of course the journey is one big learning experience for Lily, but it doesn’t rely on too many tropes of the coming-of-age story. My favorite part about Miss India America is that I wasn’t rooting for the main character to win (she does enough of that herself), but that I’m rooting for her to change.
Also, New Girl actress Hannah Simone has a supporting role when she could have easily been the lead—and I’m glad she wasn’t. The lead actress Tiya Sicar did very well, and looked like the average girl who enters a beauty pageant, not a pageant queen playing the average girl. I highly recommend Miss India America. Follow this link for the movie’s website. If you try Googling it, you might just find yourself on Miss India’s real website.
Congratulations to the staff at the Boston Asian American Film Festival on another successful year. I really enjoyed all the films I got to see and learned a lot from the following Q&A sessions. Best of luck next year!
If there’s one thing that can be said about Thanksgiving is that it brings families together, for better or for worse. While it’s a great opportunity to kick it with relatives you haven’t seen in a while, such a gathering also sets up for the worst of the grudges and other possible family dilemmas to resurface. In this week’s episode of Fresh Off the Boat, “Huangsgiving,” we see Jessica’s desire to outdo her attention-seeking sister come out, as the Huang family assembles to prepare for their first Thanksgiving in the Sunshine State.
Normally it’s Jessica’s sister Connie who plays host to Thanksgiving. However, this time around, their mother formally announces during her traditional 5:30 AM phone call that it’s Jessica and her family who have been given the honor. Unfortunately, despite having preparations set as far as what food to prepare and what additional people to invite, things begin to fall apart quickly.
Upon Connie’s family’s arrival the day before Thanksgiving, Connie is quick to announce how she’s having issues with her marriage to her husband Steve. Despite Jessica not buying her pity party, Louis offers him the couch to sleep on for the night. However, Steve convinces Louis to join him for “a little drink” and he finds himself lying outside the house the next morning, with the ultimate of hangovers and a half-eaten burrito on his chest. Jessica naturally assumes the drinking was a strategy for taking advantage of the Huang family.
The chaos continues throughout the day , including supposed ready-to-cook Cornish hens being delivered live, a raw turkey in the oven that Louis forgot to turn on, stingy and sour cranberries, and Louis gets knocked out during a friendly game of football. Nothing goes according to plan (including Steve’s attempts to win back Connie). This is ABC however, so everything turns out alright in the end for the Huangs in an (almost) heartwarming fashion.
This episode had a number of great callbacks to moments from the previous season. Jessica’s brief phone call with Connie, complete with passive-aggressive subtitles, was a great nod at season one episode, “Success Perm.” Also returning from that episode were the two grandmas being badasses together again, as well as Eddie struggling to keep up with his cousin Justin; whose taste in music is “like chasing the wind.”
I did find the return of Jessica’s gay ex-boyfriend Oscar (in tow with his new NPR-loving boyfriend no less) a little out of place, though it’s explained that he’s a favorite of Jessica’s mother and being used to sway her approval. Honestly, even if it wasn’t a big part of the story, how many people here would actually invite their exes to their Thanksgiving feast?
Much like the organized chaos of actual Thanksgivings, there was no official B plot in this episode; just a bunch of smaller vignettes, supporting the main storyline of Jessica and Louis putting together the best Huangsgiving ever. I personally liked how the episode was able to carry itself with one primary storyline all the way through and it’s a testament to the strength of the characters that it worked out so well. This bodes well for future “special” episodes. On the downside though, we had less time to spend with some of the other characters, like the kids. Yes, Emery and Evan were frustrated that Honey was not taking their table decorations seriously, and Eddie and Justin put their musical differences aside to download pictures of sexy girls (or a sensible Tracy Chapman) on the Internet, but their stories were more on the periphery to the main plot.
I’ve been enjoying the episodes of Fresh Off the Boat this season where Louis and Jessica have taken center stage, but I was happy to see this week’s episode, “The Big 1-2,” re-direct its focus on the children of the Huang family. In this episode, all three got to test and challenge the rules placed upon them, as they made space for either breaking out of character or just wanting to grow.
Eddie continues to make the transition from child to adolescent as he celebrates his twelfth birthday. After last year’s Star Wars-themed birthday party fail, Eddie tells his parents that he doesn’t want a party this year and instead wants to spend the day with his friends at the mall. However, as Jessica and Louis arrive at the mall, balloons in tow, to surprise him, they catch him having a secret birthday party with his friends and, to Louis’ dismay, Mitch. Confronting him about it over dinner, Eddie calls out his parents’ overly strict rules for his inability to be himself at home. To his surprise, his parents decide to start relaxing the rules, and this leads to after effects both good… and weird.
Meanwhile, Emery and Evan, who are tired of being constantly ignored by their parents in favor of their troublemaking brother, decide to break from their goody two shoes and start living life on the wild side. When their big reveal of how they went to see the PG-13 rated Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls gets no reaction, they decide to step it up by messing up their clothes and hair, sticking their hands into a jar of Nutella before eating it, and pouring their Legos all over the floor, like badasses! They turn out to be the worst rebels in the world, as none of their mischief is met with any reaction of a sort. Even their last resort of running away to Denver falls through when the sight of their empty suburban street scares them into staying home. But in the weirdest way possible, and to their delight, it all works out in the end when they find themselves grounded (possibly for the first time in their lives).
I continue to enjoy seeing different sides of Eddie. He’s becoming better-rounded as a character as he’s slowly growing from a self-absorbed, hip hop-loving boy to a young man who has just as many conflicts and insecurities as anyone else. It’s an evolution that feels real as actor Hudson Yang does a successful job at portraying Eddie’s struggles. Plus, given that he too just turned twelve recently, I can only imagine bringing more of an authentic feel for the character as he continues to grow. (Fun fact: I don’t know if anyone else considered this, but did anyone find it weird that the show made Eddie’s birthday in November when the real Eddie’s birthday is in March?)
As for Emery and Evan, I continue to laugh out loud over the humorous and mischievous antics they get themselves into. My brother was watching the episode with me and during their little montage, every act of “rebellion” was met with a sarcastic but appropriate “They did not!” from him. Despite their young age, actors Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen are already on the path to becoming comedic pros, as their timing is spot on.
Overall, it was another fun episode of Fresh Off the Boat with great one-liners from Jessica and more of Louis’ charismatic and open perspective on life. I can’t wait to see how future episodes branch off from what occurred in this episode.
It was a beautiful night in Los Angeles this past Saturday, November 14 as Kollaboration wrapped up it’s 16th season with Kollaboration Star 2015, a grand celebration of the creative passion and talents of the Asian American community. Six up-and-coming Asian American artists, all winners of their local Kollaboration showcases, gave the performances of their lives on stage. In the end, it was Peter Chung, representing Kollaboration Los Angeles, who took the title of Kollaboration Star 2016!
Congratulations to Peter and thanks to all of the finalists and guest performers for a great night! Videos and a full recap of the night will be coming soon to kollaboration.org so keep checking in!
Audrey Huwae is the finalist representing our nation’s capital, Washington DC, for the upcoming Kollaboration Star showcase, taking place Saturday, November 14, 2015. She takes a moment in between preparing for the show to answet a few questions with the Kollaboration Blog.
What is your self-described style and influences?
I would describe myself as a pop/r&b singer. My biggest influences would be Justin Timberlake and Pentatonix. I have always been inspired by their approach on music.
How did you start playing music and what are your musical dreams?
I started playing music when I was 8 and I’ve never stopped since. All throughout middle and high school I was in choir and an acapella group. My passion for music has moved me to one day become a business manager for artists.
What has participating in Kollaboration meant to you?
My Kollaboration experience has taught me so much. I am so honored that I get to represent the Indonesian community in the DMV area through something I love. Kollaboration has also given me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, which I’ve struggled with throughout my life.
How are you preparing for STAR, and what do you hope the audience will take away from your performance?
Aside from singing in the shower, I’ve been practicing with my guitarist, Gerard Silalahi, and cajonist, Patty Rarumangkay. We’ve been working very hard to make this a memorable performance. I hope that the audience will truly feel how meaningful this song is to me through the performance.
Watch Audrey perform for the chance to win $10,000 at Kollaboration Star, taking place 11/14/15! Tickets are on sale now at star.kollaboration.org
Meet Dhaea, winner of this year’s Kollaboration Chicago and one of the six finalists at this weekend’s Kollaboration Star.
What is your self-described style and influences?
You would think I’d have a go-to answer for this question after being asked so many times… I would say acoustic singer-songwriter, though I understand this is a pretty vague description… I picked up the guitar when I was into a pretty heavy classic rock stage (particularly AC/DC and Van Halen) in my early teens, though I can’t say that my writing is even remotely influenced by Eddie Van Halen’s style. I do find myself listening to a lot of strong female singer-songwriters, like Regina Spektor, Alanis Morisette, and Alicia Keys among many others.
How did you start playing music and what are your musical dreams?
I used to “write poetry” in my early teens, which transferred into some of my earliest songs when I eventually picked up the guitar. The first time I performed in front of a crowd was at my sister’s wedding reception when I was 19- from then on, I was hooked! Right now I’m just having fun writing and playing around town.
What has participating in Kollaboration meant to you?
It has definitely pushed me to continue to do what I love- writing and performing! I auditioned for Kollaboration on a whim when I was at a point in my life where I had taken a step back from music and had thrown myself into other work. My experience with Kollaboration made me realize that I need to continue to nurture my creative side in order to feel like my best self.
How are you preparing for STAR?
Other than playing over the song I plan on performing, nothing
What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance?
I hope that they will be able to identify with the song’s theme and that they will be able to connect with some of the emotions I was feeling at the time I wrote the song. The song I plan on performing is one of the first I wrote and one of my favorites to play- I wrote it during a time of transition I’m sure most people can relate to.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals that you do to get ready to sing?
For some reason, more often than not, I feel like I always come down with a sore throat right before a performance, so I binge on tea with honey and lemon and cough drops. Maybe it’s just nerves?