Women Power: Last week, March 8th was International Women’s Day where we celebrate the advancements and reflect on the disturbing truths that still face women all over the world today. To further level the playing field in Hollywood where only 9% of the top 250 films last year were made by women versus Sundance this past January where 50% of the films were directed by women (source: SF Chronicle 3/10/13), this year’s CAAMFest, formerly the SF International Asian American Film Festival, will feature a slate of female backed projects highlighting the accomplishments of emerging Asian filmmakers, actresses, musicians and chefs including (Bitter) Sweet: Cook Salon starring self-taught Wendy Lieu, founder and Chief Chocolatier of Socola based in the Bay Area. Vietnamese American sisters Wendy and Susan seek to wet appetites and promote social consciousness through their sweet sensations. Since I’m a fan of hot & spicy, the Sriracha Flying Rooster Truffles on their website www.socolachocolates.com looks tasty! Catch Sundance favorite Linsanity by the Bay Area’s Evan Jackson Leong on opening night. The full schedule of events can be found at www.caamfest.com.
Bond Ladies: One of the highlights of this year’s Academy Awards was Adele, the British singing sensation that won six Grammy awards last year. She did not disappoint as she sang her “Best Original Song” winner for Skyfall which she performed live. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the song “instantly feels like a Bond theme..” And the judges agreed…It was the first Bond themed song to ever win the Academy Award in the 50 year history since “007” first mesmerized audiences. The film spanned many continents and cities including the United Kingdom, Turkey and China, including rarely seen aerial footage of Shanghai, courtesy of the Chinese government. Overall, the movie has earned $1.1 billion plus worldwide which will help propel the newest Bond Girl Berenice Lim Marlohe to international stardom. The 5’8” Marlohe was born in Paris, France to a Chinese/Cambodian doctor father and a French mother. Skyfall is Marlohe’s English film debut and fans will see more of her as the face of 2013 Swarovski’s Sparkling Moments Campaign. She’s also lending her star status to social media’s Petition for Human Rights to bring justice to the 2 million who died 37 years ago in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Snake Baby: Congrats to new parents Lisa Ling and Dr. Paul Song who welcomed baby daughter Jett Ling Song into this world last week on International Women’s Day…how apropos. “We are so happy and blessed. Jett and mom are doing great,” says proud new Dad. Jett’s mom is Lisa Ling, the youngest news correspondence ever-to-be-hired by Channel One News where she traveled the world to expose the untold truths. I was excited to see Ling on the daytime hit show The View where the all-women show won their first daytime Emmy while Ling was at the table. The motto on Ling’s website says it all: “Trying to Do Good” and fans can catch her weekly on Our America with Lisa Ling where she challenges viewers to understand different perspectives and question themselves after each thought provoking episode. Jett’s daddy is healthcare leader and radiation oncologist Dr. Paul Song who was recently appointed by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones as the first Visiting Fellow at the CA Department of insurance. A tireless advocate for increased access to healthcare for all, (Hep B Free advocates thank him) Dr. Song will advise the Commissioner and complete a research project focusing on the plight of the family physician shortage in CA. And who can forget Jett’s auntie Laura Ling, an award-winning, world renowned investigative journalist as well. She was arrested and held for 140 days in a North Korean jail with fellow reporter Euna Lee while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women. (http://www.asianweek.com/2013/01/30/hannah-song-pursuing-humanity-for-north-koreans/) Big sister Lisa worked tirelessly for their release and President Bill Clinton flew to North Korea in August 2009 and brought the two women safely back to the US. Nine months later, Laura and her husband named their first daughter “Li Jefferson Clayton” after her sister Lisa and William Jefferson Clinton.
Comedy for a Cause: Paul Wells of the Will and Willie show called me months ago and asked if I would be a guest comedian at this year’s Northern California’s Variety Children’s Charity benefit at the Punchline, SF. I blurted out “Of course” then stressed for months because I unfortunately did not get any of my father’s joke-telling genes. I (and fellow VIP guest Renel Brooks-Moon, the voice of the SF Giants) was gratefully let off the hook by headliner Zach Galifianakis (of the Hangover classics). Comedians Ronn Vigh, Alex Koll, Joe Tobin, Carla Clayy and Chris Burns all generously donated their time to benefit three Bay Area therapeutic children’s organizations: Katie’s Clinic for Rett Syndrome, Camp Winnarainbow and my personal favorite the James S Brady Therapeutic Riding Program (I’m stepping up my involvement in Polo in the Park this year as an honorary board member: www.horsesinca.org). On the global level, Julia Morley, President of Variety International, has been leveraging her international beauties to help raise millions of dollars for the charity in support of sick and disadvantaged children. Morley is also the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Miss World Organization. On March 9th, the reigning Miss World Wenxia Yu (crowned on Aug 18, 2012) from China was in Iowa manning the phones for their annual telethon. And this week, the talented and tall (5’10”) Miss World will travel to Haiti to deliver firsthand the $500k raised by Miss World contestants to ease the poverty and suffering in the country.
Jūhachiban: You can’t judge a book by its cover and last week proved true. I was mesmerized by Akina, a petite, Asian woman who sat on a bar stool and proceeded to belt out a Mariah Carey song like none other. Sushi and karaoke…a perfect combination at The Mint on Market Street in San Francisco. Frank Huang is the best K-DJ around…(we’ve both) been there 15 years….time flies.