Rush Hour 4? What’s up with Jackie Chan? It’s been awhile since he made his first U.S. film debut in “Rush Hour” (1998) featuring the real (undubbed) Jackie Chan speaking English. And fans may see the dynamic duo of Chan and Chris Tucker reunited once again soon. I just got back from Hong Kong and homeboy Kong-San (means “born in Hong Kong” (aka Jackie) Chan is still popular and very busy. Jackie Chan was born in Victoria Peak to parents (cook and maid) who worked for the French Ambassador. He was not good at school, was prone to getting into fights, and was nicknamed “Pao Pao” meaning cannon ball because he was always rolling around as a child. His father enrolled the 6 year old Jackie into the China Drama Academy when they moved to Australia. Growing older, Jackie gained a reputation as “Hong Kong’s best stuntman” yet he wanted to be a big international star but was overshadowed by the great Bruce Lee. When Lee died in 1973, Jackie was able to break through and by 1980, he was the highest paid actor in Hong Kong and a huge international star in Asia. “I never wanted to be the next Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be the first Jackie Chan” and today, he still performs most of all of his own stunts and entertains the world with his signature screwball comedy, funny facial gestures, and thumbs up.
Twinkle Toes: Last year’s box office hit “Silver Linings Playbook” reminds us how everyone can dance…if they just try… and that’s why this month, “Dancing with the Stars” will celebrate their 300th episode in this 16thseason. My parents are religious about “DWTS” and take friendly bets on opening night on who will eventually win and cheer on their respective team each week. My Mom picked Team Alexandra, the 18 year old Women’s Gymnastics Team Olympic Gold Medalist (fyi: 8-time Olympic gold medal winner speed skater Apollo Ohno won Season 4) and my Dad picked Team Zendaya, the youngest competitor at age 17. Zendaya Coleman was born in Oakland, CA. Her mixed ethnic background and exotic looks (African, German, Irish, and English) has opened many doors. As a child, she would accompany her mom to work at the California Shakespeare Theater and eventually trained and performed in numerous stage productions there. She attended the Oakland School of Arts where she continued to hone her many talents adding to her long resume of stage, dance, and print portfolio. Both young ladies need to please the three judges especially the lovely Honolulu, Hawaii native Carrie Ann Inaba: dancer, choreographer, actress, game show host, and singer. My parents are proud that their two picks have advanced to next week’s round. As for me, I would’ve picked Team Dorothy (aka Hamill) because of her ice skating background (similar to Season 6 Winner Kristy Yamaguchi) but Dorothy got injured in week 2 and withdrew so this solidifies my DWTS Amateur status.
Housewives Still Reign: The newest Bravo reality show on the circuit is “Gallery Girls” which premiered August 13th of last year. The show follows 7 women in the prickly, snooty, fun New York City art gallery world. The self proclaimed “#1 Asian American Sweetheart” and lone API on the show is Angela Pham, freelance photographer and aspiring artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Pham grew up in a strict, traditional Vietnamese household in Orange County. Upon her acceptance to New York University, Pham celebrated by donning a Mohawk and off she went with camera in hand to take pictures of New York’s street life. Unfortunately, working “Gallery Girls” did not gain the followings it had hoped and will not be picked up by Bravo TV in 2013 however “Housewives” in Orange County, Beverly Hills, Atlanta (NeNe reportedly gets paid top salary of $1M), New Jersey, DC, Miami and NYC will be back airing their dirty laundry and clawing each other for fame and more fortune.
Happy Belated Birthday: “Sometimes change is slow but when we know better, we do better,” wrote Scott Fujita in last month’s New York Times’ Op-ed about California’s Proposition 8. LGBT advocates have been proud that Fujita has been outspoken on gay marriage since 2009 and earlier this year, was the third NFL member to be an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which fights homophobia in sports (a hot topic right now). As a father of three young girls, having a father who was interned during World War II, and an adoptee himself, Fujita is sensitive about civil and equal rights. His father Rodney Fujita, a Japanese American and his mother, Helen, Caucasian, were denied the right to marry at first. Fujita was born in Camarillo, CA, 34 years ago and grew up in a traditional Japanese household celebrating all the holidays and eating with chopsticks everyday. He was a high school three-sport athlete who earned his BA in Political Science and a Masters Degree from UC Berkeley He’s played professional football with the Chiefs, Cowboys, Saints (won the Super Bowl in 2010), Browns and announced his retirement two weeks ago after signing a one day contract with the Saints. Fujita and his family live in Carmel Valley and I see a future in politics for Fujita who also openly supports a women’s right to choose, breast cancer awareness, adoption, and wetlands preservation.
RIP: Asian male newscasters on a major TV network are few and far between these days. I’m sure fans of THE pioneer Mario Machado, Los Angeles’ first Asian American newscaster and eight Emmy Awards winner, were reminded of the lack of progress in that area when he passed away this week at 78. Machado was the nation’s first prominent Chinese American newscaster and the first in the Los Angeles market, starting as a consumer reporter for a local CBS affiliate. A collegiate soccer player, he helped found the American Youth Soccer Organization in 1964 and became the play-by-play announcer for CBS’s North American Soccer League games. After retiring from the broadcast world, he played a newsman or himself in a number of famous movies such as “Rocky III,” “Scarface,” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” In recent years, Machado gathered oral histories from people who left China after the Communist Revolution and was a co-founder of the “Old China Hands Archives” at Cal State Northridge in 1996 to memorialize some of the stories.
Back by Popular Demand: PSY made another surprise guest appearance at Dodgers stadium on May 1st where he excited the crowd (but baffled Tommy Lasorda) and cheered on his fellow countryman Korean pitching star Ryu Hyon Jin. Martin Kim said it was a “heck of a fun game” (see http://www.asianweek.com/2013/