Moving Up: Yes folks, reality shows are here to stay thanks to MTV’s The Real World, first broadcast in 1992. Last week Real World: Portland (Season 28) started and my best bud Bevan Dufty misses the days when housemates were just real characters (like Real World: SF, Season 3) versus today’s glam and hot bods. He vividly remembers the cute Asian…Jamie Chung was attending UC Riverside and working two jobs to pay her tuition when MTV crew members convinced her to audition for The Real World: San Diego (Season 14). She hasn’t stopped working since. All grown up, Chung played Stu’s fiancé in The Hangover Part 2 and will return next month in Part 3 (no wedding or bachelor party so what could go wrong?) with all the same stars including Zach Galifiankis who was in town recently (http://www.asianweek.com/2013/02/13/the-buzz-linsanity-returns-to-the-bay/) and all the other memorable characters in 1 and 2 including the crazy Mr. Chow, played by former physician Ken Jeong who will see his role expanded. In Chung’s latest debut two weeks ago, she tackles a very real modern day slavery issue playing a Korean American teenager who is abducted by a prostitution ring in Eden. The script is based on the real life of victim turned activist Chong Kim and propels Chung to a more serious acting level. After college, Chung failed to tell her strict Korean parents that she wanted to be an actress vs. an economist (sound familiar?) but thanks to the Internet, her parents can now keep up with their daughter’s busy schedule!
Ending Abuse and Violence: I remember the call. Four years ago Marily Mondejar called to ask me to be part of her show – the Vagina Monologues, but I wasn’t sure so she gave me the different scripts and said I could have my pick. I ending up picking the only one that didn’t have the “V” word in it or any derivative of it. I just wasn’t comfortable saying those words. I’m not alone. A friend I invited this past Friday said she was uncomfortable at the onset but then succumbed to the evening and found it eye opening and entertaining…the show alternated live, provocative performances with more gloomy, intense skits sprinkled with news clips and interviews (i.e. the “Comfort Women” still alive to tell of their abuse during WW2). The women cast members change each year and Eve Ensler, Vagina Monologues’ mistress creator, also tweaks it to make it relevant by including this year’s ”1 billion rising” flash mob campaign which happened on Valentine’s Day all over the US. The Filipina Women’s Network’s version of VM has something special not seen at other performances: The Hand Pledge led by men. This year Supervisors Eric Mar, Scott Wiener, Norman Yee asked audience members to stand if they’ve ever experienced DV (some stood); then asked people to stand if they have known anyone who has been beaten or abused (the rest of the audience stood); and then they ask everyone to promise that their hands will never hurt a woman or child. It’s always really moving and there’s not a dry eye in the audience. Producer Genevieve Jopanda said things have changed over the past 10 years. “There was a lot of resistance at first by the Filipino community but now it’s okay to talk about it; it’s okay to tell your story; and we want victims to know that it’s not their fault.” (And a big shout out to talented, child prodigy cellist Charles Wang who donated his musical gift to the cause http://www.youtube.com/user/CWcello?feature=mhee).
The Big Wiesey: Michelle Wie made headlines last week…not for a tournament win, red dyed hair, ostentatious jewelry or form flattering outfits, but because golf great Annika Sorenstam apologized for saying Wie was not the star everyone had hoped and playing with the boys was a big waste of time (as translated by this author). Regardless, the 6’1″ 23-year old stunner has already made $3.4 million in career earnings (winning only 2 major LPGA tournaments) but has banked multi-millions in corporate endorsements since she turned pro at 16-years-old. Wie started playing golf at age 4. Her mother was South Korea’s women’s amateur golf champ in 1985 and her father, a former professor, coached young Wie until she turned pro. Sound familiar? Tiger….. and new comer Cheyenne Woods, age 22 turned pro last year after graduating from Wake Forest University and already won her first professional tournament. She started playing golf at 5 years old after watching her uncle play; and she was coached by her grandfather Earl Woods, Sr….the same man who was integral to Tiger’s career. Now Wie has a fashion compadre to get fans excited….Just Do It ladies.
Seventh Sister: A Lifetime Achievement Award is deservedly due to 93-year-old Cecilia Chiang who is credited with introducing San Francisco to authentic Mandarin cuisine. The James Beard Foundation will be honoring highly acclaimed chef and restauranteur on May 6th in New York City…the ultimate honor for someone who never planned on opening up a restaurant or staying in San Francisco…but pig’s feet, pork kidneys, and Peking duck made her a favorite amongst the culinary circles. And she still gets around…last weekend she was honored at the Pebble Beach Wine and Food Festival, this week she’ll be feted by the SF Film Society, and she recently made a surprise appearance at Tante Marie’s Cooking School where my amiga Sofia was delighted to meet “Asian food royalty” and take a picture with the unassuming and vibrant Chiang.