Saturday, May 19, 2012
The Long Beach Pride celebration is underway this weekend (May 19th - May 20th).
At press time, it was announced that Queen Latifa and the Village People are slated to perform live on stage.
Queen Latifa will trot out to entertain a slew of party-hearty attendees tonight at 8:30, while the Village People are not scheduled to appear until Sunday evening at 9 p.m.
According to handlers, the line-up also includes The LBians, Adaawe, Omar Perez, Transgladivas, Faith Rivera, Shannon, Evelyn Champagne King, Thea Austin, and the David's (to name a few).
A posse of sizzling hot DJ's are slated to rev up the dance floor, too, such as DJ Renee, DJ Rose, DJ Draper, DJ Groove Section, Perry Twins, and Claudette Sexy DJ.
The Long Beach Pride par-tay (an annual event) is the 2nd largest gay celebration held in the city of Long Beach each year - and consequently - fills the public coffers (in addition to raising funds fundraising to benefit the LGBT community).
This year, the LBGP introduced some changes, however.
Now, there is a new corporate logo, new uniform for regular members of the LGBT organization (you go, girls!) and a to-the-point "Mission Statement".
Tomorrow, the much-anticipated "Parade" (which kicks off at Lindero & Ocean) is the highlight of the festive event.
Once the marching bands, eye-catching floats, and glad-handing politicians have trotted by, the teaming masses perched curbside will trek on over to the Festival grounds to check out the vendors tents, munch on mouth-watering food, and dance up-a-storm just shy of midnight.
They'll probably chug-a-lug an ale or two also.
By the way, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has a venue in Long Beach this year.
Tonight (Saturday May 19th) a screening of "In the Family" is on the festival program.
The drama focuses on a gay couple and a legal fight for the guardianship of an adopted child.
The screening starts at 6 p.m.
So, check it out, if you can tear yourself away from all the other "sensual" goings-on in town.
See 'ya there!
It was quite the blast!
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival tossed their closing night GALA at the CGV Theatre complex and their was no expense spared.
At the Awards Ceremony earlier in the day (winners listed below) tony guests streamed into the lower concourse (which was sprightly-decorated with flagrant flowers and eye-catching posters featuring films screened earlier in the week at the festival venues around town) to sup on a delicious open buffet and chat each other up over exotic cocktails.
At 7 p.m. sharp, the festival organizers ushered the well-heeled guests (actors, filmmakers, industry movers & shakers, high-profile media types) into a CGV Theatre where they were treated to the U.S. premiere of "Joyful Reunion" (a review will follow).
One the lights went up, all the excited attendees were inclined to dash downstairs where they were wined and dined and allowed to kick-up their heels on the spacious makeshift dance floor.
When I departed at 11 p.m. - a bit high, by the way! - the party-goers were still going strong!
Ah, that's Hollywood, for 'ya!
This weekend, the festival moves lock stock & barrel to the Long Beach venue where the Asian Pacific Festival is offering up a program titled:
Pacific Islander Visions in Long Beach
Films screening include Papa Mau: The Wayfinder, There Once was an Island, In the Family, and two repeats (Yes, We're Open & Two Shadows).
In addition, the Festival will be screening the Award-Winning films on Sunday along with SION'S 2: UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Catch a screening if you can, eh?
Here is a run-down on the films which snapped up coveted prizes at the Festival.
NARRATIVE FEATURES AWARDS
GRAND JURY PRIZE & BEST OVERALL FILM
VALLEY OF SAINTS
VALLEY OF SAINTS
Special Jury Mention
YES WE’RE OPEN
MODEL MINORITY & TWO SHADOWS
OUTSTANDING FIRST FEATURE
BEST NEWCOMER ACTORS
BEST ENSEMBLE ACTING AWARD
Sung Kang, Monique Curnen, Michelle Krusiec,
Joshua Leonard & Sandy Martin
PARADISE BROKEN & HANG LOOSE
GRAND JURY PRIZE
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL
SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE
OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY (a tie)
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL
SASHA FRIEDLANDER & BAO NGUYEN
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GIVE UP TOMORROW
NANI & JUSTIN TIPPING
LINDA MABALOT NEW DIRECTORS/NEW VISIONS
TSUYAKO & MITSUYO MIYAZAKI
C3: PROJECT MARKET
Liselle Mei & Derek Nguyen
Musa Syeed & Nicholas Bruckman
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 11:25 AM
The Hudson Block party, which started up as an annual event in 2009, is kicking off tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. and is expected to attract a large eclectic crowd of locals and out-of-towners (four-thousand folks attended last year apparently).
At press time, it was announced that - "White Rabbits", "LP", and "Haim" - were slated to entertain the teaming masses who will no doubt sit back and munch on steak frites, cioppino, and risotto (washed down with artisanal cocktail).
According to the organizers, the Hudson Block party is tossed for a different set of demographics that those attending Coachella or the The Sunset Music Strip Festival which is launched each year in the general vicinity.
"There's no high ticket prices, there's no VIP," chortled one organizer.
"It's a community event; you don't have to travel, and it is important to keep it really low-key."
1114 North Crescent Heights
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(before 2 p.m.)
(after 2 p.m.)
See 'ya there!
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 10:40 AM
Friday, May 18, 2012
A "Hollywood Block Party" is being tossed by the city tomorrow!
If you're a Los Angelenos, then, admission is free.
Locals out for adventure on a Saturday morning are invited to pop into some of the top tourist attractions such as Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Tussauds Hollywood Wax Museum without forking over a slim dime.
Hours of Operation
10 a.m. - 1 p.m
In addition, free access will be granted to Cirque du Soleil make-up and costume demonstrations.
Spa Luce at the Renaissance Hotel is also offering special treatments gratis, too.
At the "Block Party", visitors are urged to pick up a "passport" and have it stamped at every location they visit to be eligible for a mega "Hollywood Prize Package" drawing for tickets to shows, merchandise, and gift cards.
Dax Holt (one of the cutie reporters on TMZ who often shares a snazzy tee-shirt or two with boss Harvey Levin) is pining to do the "two-step" on the ever-popular weekly entertainment show "Dancing with the Stars".
I say, go girl!
But, maybe there's one too-many blond beauties already kicking up their heels on the highly-rated talent competition show?
You don't want to ruffle any peacock feathers now, do 'ya kid?
Stay posted for juicy updates!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Last night there was a zoo-like atmosphere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
As I predicted in a post last week, Sci-Fi film buffs descended in droves on the CGV Theatre in Hollywood to catch a sneak preview of “Battleship” slated for wide-screen release May 18th.
Two other flicks on the program also attracted sell-out crowds which – not only filled the tiny lobby to capacity – but also caused some frustration and a lot of mayhem.
For example, in spite of the fact festival organizers should have known large crowds were expected, they elected to assign an inexperienced handler (usher?) to monitor the passageways.
Consequently, the guests were confronted with some rude insulting behavior.
For example, instead of politely directing ticket holders to form an orderly line near the wall, on occasion, the overzealous jerk grabbed the startled guests by the arm and shoved them out of the way.
I was surprised that someone didn’t punch him!
Who wants to be manhandled by a tall geeky-looking guy with bad skin?
After witnessing his shocking misconduct – which drew attention to his bad manners and lack of people skills – it was obvious to me that he was better-suited to scrub out the toilets and mop down the restroom floors.
It’s all in the details.
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific film staff work hard to lure filmgoers in the doors of the Theatre, then blow it, when they hire idiots who don’t know how to treat a guest at their festival events.
Hopefully, as the festival winds down this week, the higher-ups will rectify the problem.
That issue aside, the night went off without a hitch, for the most part.
In fact, the night air was electrically-charged because of all the excitement that was being generated on the red carpet.
As the frenzied paparazzi jockeyed for position, high-profile actors in the Asian American film community primped and posed and uttered up their thoughts on the films premiering to all within earshot.
Everyone was pretty-much hyped-up over the screening of:
UPLOADED: THE ASIAN AMERICAN MOVEMENT
The much-ballyhooed documentary focuses on the current phenomenon of Asian American actors emerging into the mainstream across the country with a big splash.
A handful of performers – featured in the insightful piece – were trotted out to chat up the media (such as AJ Raphael, Mike Song, Bing Shen, to name a few).
I managed to capture some footage as they trotted by and ran the gauntlet:
Tattler readers may recall that I penned a post on the subject last week.
Of course, I am quite familiar with the issues, and have been for quite a few years.
One of my first agents in Hollywood (who I later worked as a rep for) boasted an impressive roster of minority talent types at the SAG FRANCHISED theatrical agency.
I recall perusing the casting posts from “Breakdown Services” daily - and noting at the time - that roles for Asian Americans tended to be stereotypical.
The actors would often breeze into the office and lament their plight.
In the documentary one actress said it quite succinctly.
“I was always the token Asian,” she grimaced.
One performer that was interviewed on-camera for the documentary was ecstatic over the fact the “Asian” image has been radically-changing in recent days.
“Oh, you’re Asian, that’s so cool,” he recalled a contact on a social hub commenting.
“Now if you say you’re Asian, people think you can dance,” he chuckled.
“And, there’s nothing feminine about that,” he was quick to note on the uptake.
At this point, a video clip of a well-muscled macho Asian American dancer splashed across the screen to stress the point.
Kevjumba fessed up about his humble beginnings on YouTube, too.
“I wasn’t very popular. And, I didn’t have any friends. So, I signed up to YouTube to connect with some,” he beamed.
His first performance was a clip of himself dancing hip-hop in the backyard.
Within a short while he built up a following.
In fact, one night a video of his went viral, and overnight he racked up 1/2 million hits.
The kid has never looked back since.
The Asian American actor has come a long way, baby!
By the way, tonight the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is tossing their closing night GALA.
"Joyful Reunion" will screen at the CGV Theatre in Hollywood ( at Western & Wilshire).
Over the next few days, film buffs can catch repeats of films they missed earlier on in the Fest, as well.
And, for the first time, a handful of flicks will be screened at a third venue in Long Beach.
So, for folks who don't want to have to take the long trek up to LA LA LAND from the Beach Cities, the venue is downright appealing.
See 'ya there!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
"Yes, We’re Open" is an intimate tale about a San Francisco couple who question their relationship early one morning when their usual sex romp between-the-sheets just plain fizzles out.
Coincidentally, a day or two later, the attractive twosome are invited to a small dinner party where a “modern couple” proceed to put “the moves” on them.
The unexpected encounter triggers a deep conversation about the sexual mores of the day.
“Maybe we should be more modern, too,” the gal’s hubby utters up one evening.
At this point, they engage in a heart-to-heart in a bold-faced effort to be honest and straightforward about what is lacking in their relationship.
Anyone who has ever been in a long-term monogamous affair can probably relate.
If the sizzle goes out of love-making, what are options at hand?
After deciding that having “sex” outside the marriage would be okay, another niggling problem reared its ugly head out-of-the-blue (no pun intended).
What would be the perimeters (the rules) for such an “open relationship” be?
Should they tell each other about their clandestine encounters, and if so, when?
“No, I don’t want to know,” Sylvia (Lynn Chen) fesses up as she looks away obviously distressed.
Then, quick as a wink, the inevitable happened that very week.
The once-monogamous couple both found themselves making out passionately in the arms of each other's mates.
In one sexually-graphic scene, Ronald (Kerry McCrohan) slyly maneuvers Sylvia (Lynn Chen) into a storage closet at the restaurant (Hornio’s, of all places!) where he lustily goes down on her and eats her pussy out in soft-porn-style.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, Elena (Sheetal Sheth) casually drops in on Sylvia’s husband (Parry Shen) where the two start banging the living daylights out of each other.
But, within an hour-or-so, Luke feels like a male slut after a surprise rebuff.
“When do you want to get together again,” he casually probes Ronald's wife.
“Oh, we never have sex with the same individual twice,” Elena sneers.
“I just came here to fuck you,” she snarls, to be sure he didn’t have the wrong idea.
Sylvia ends up in pretty much the same scenario across town.
Yeah, she feels used, and tossed away like an empty bottle.
In fact, in the storage room when the two are involved in passionate lovemaking, a shelf upends, and an expensive bottle of wine smashes on the floor and splatters Sylvia's expensive dress.
The hapless gal has to dash home and change; after all, she was on her lunch break.
Later that evening, Luke and Syliva appear to happy to be in each other’s arms alone again, alone in their own home.
Judging by the way the flick ends, though, the filmgoer has to wonder if the twosome will ever venture down that road again.
"Originally, the lead characters were two gay couples," noted Director Richard Wong in a Q & A session at a screening at the DGA the other evening.
"But, when we tooled around with the idea of two straight couples, it seemed all that much more provocative."
Indeed, it is that.
Personally, I have found over the years that couples who remained monogamous usually stayed together.
The individuals who had three-ways (or an open relationship) to spice up their relationship usually split up a few years down the road.
"Yes, We're Open" is a well-crafted film which moves along at a pretty fast clip without any excess baggage.
All four actors turn in bang-on seamless performances, for starters.
But, Sheetal Sheth is a particular stand-out on screen, and is bound to grab the brass ring and succeed beyond her wildest dreams in Hollywood and beyond.
Although the young man who played "Ronald" never acted before on camera on the silver screen, he showed a remarkable screen presence, too.
Meanwile Wong has a keen eye, and directed with a firm - but adventurous - hand, especially in respect to the sex romps which are sizzling hot!.
"All Our Friends" - the catchy theme song for the flick - was scored by Digital Crafts Night (and just may sell well on the charts if marketed right).
Apparently, the project was a collaborative effort, supported by the generosity of family, friends, and local patrons.
A Kickstart campaign raised the post-production funds to launch it at a couple of festivals around the country (where it has been received well).
In spite of the fact the project came together after twenty-eight days of pre-production, the drama doesn't come off as a rinky-dink quickie-flick at all.
"Yes, We're Open" is worth the price of admission.
Catch it the second time around at the Festival in the coming week ahead!
Whenever a charitable organization
approaches me on the street
approaches me on the street
for a donation
for the poor
for the poor
I am often inclined
When will I
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Valley of Saints...beautifully-crafted film magically touches filmgoers! Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival!
The “Valley of Saints” – a beautifully-crafted visually-stunning narrative - has not only been causing a buzz in the film community in recent weeks – but also – snatched up two prestigious awards at the Sundance Film Festival this year (the World Audience Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Award).
The thought-provoking tale – directed by insightful Musa Syeed – focuses on a boatman in Kashmir (India) longing to escape the rural life with a childhood pal in tow.
As plans to seek their fortunes are underway, a military conflict - and subsequent curfew in the torn region - delays their departure.
While Gulzar (the main character) and his friend are cooling their heels, events unfold which test their relationship.
For example, when a young lady who crosses Gulzar's path unexpectedly one day, the naive young man has to seriously consider ending his life-long friendship with his male companion in order to pursue a romance with the woman he is smitten with.
At this juncture, it becomes evident that “Valley of Saints” is a coming-of-age tale, of sorts.
At one point, the feature shifts gears, though.
Because Gulzar's love interest is involved with a project to “heal” the contaminated waters at the lake, the filmmaker ends up tossing a searing spotlight on environmental issues that have been plaguing the picturesque mountain town for years.
One day the villager relays the ancient tale of about a Saint who once helped his people when they were troubled with a water demon centuries earlier.
"But now," he notes poignantly, "there are no saints to save the village."
Maybe that is the role that the producers of "Valley of Saints" are playing now?
“I didn’t want to delve in the complex political problems in Kashmir because that ground has already been extensively covered by other filmmakers in the past. Since most people can relate to the environmental issues intuitively, I chose to go down that path instead,” Syeed explained in so many words.
The "Valley of Saints" is a magical (and mystical) film in many respects.
Syeed - who has a keen visual eye and a knack for attention to detail - noted that he specifically used master shots (no close-ups) to ensure the footage would mirror the fluidity of the water.
Consequently, "Valley of Saints" has a dream-like quality which ebbs and flows (as it embraces the psyche of all the rapt filmgoers watching from beyond the footlights of the theatre).
By the way, the soundtrack is quite haunting, too.
The composer underscored (no pun intended) that he steered away from traditional Kashmir music because it would have felt "dishonest" under the circumstances (he being at the helm and all).
Apparently, he was inspired by Keith Richards and Jimmy Plant's early folk style, which works beautifully here.
Although the locals have yet to attend a screening - all the theatres have been shut down in Kashmir in recent years due to the military conflict - Syeed is hopeful that he'll be able to return and screen "Valley of Saints" in the near future.
Musa Syeed was interviewed at a Q & A at the DGA by the Angry Asian Man which is located at my YouTube site for viewing:
1 week left to attend screenings at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival!
See 'ya there!
Director of Valley of Saints
Monday, May 14, 2012
The ever-popular Beverly Hill's "Affaire in the Gardens" Art Show is slated to unveil thousands of artworks this weekend to the locals and tourists alike.
Exhibition dates are May 19th - May 20th.
In addition to a eclectic collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, art-lovers will also be treated to a handful of demonstrations, a wine and beer garden, state-of-the-art food trucks, upbeat lively music, you name it.
The much-anticipated event is expected to span four blocks (along the flats amidst the rose gardens) in the center of Beverly Hills.
Two hundred and fifty artists from around the United States are scheduled to descend on the tony enclave and flog their wares.
"Landscape" and the "Los Angeles Imagination" will feature LA artists whose work focuses on the maze-like LA landscape.
Installation artists Steve Fujimoto and Amy Jean Boebel (sponsored by the Los Angeles Art Association) also plan to erect large scale art specific to the garden site for the weekend.
See 'ya there!
I was strolling up Rodeo Drive on Saturday when a couple of window displays caught my eye.
High-end designers are currently flogging a smattering of chic "looks" for women this spring and summer that run the gamut.
For example, at Valentino the stylists were offering up a collection of body-sheathing gowns in blood red, which were highlighted with elegant design flourishes such as delicately-crafted bows, pretty sashes, and delightful faux flowers.
Meanwhile, at Chanel, a cocktail dress with a bubble skirt (and matching sleeves crafted in exquisite black lace) was stopping traffic in the tony streets of Beverly Hills.
An opaque ultra-feminine see-through frock was also garnering a lot of attention from fashionistas passing by.
At Juicy Couture, management was pushing a bold two-piece suit ensemble in brilliant orange (which consisted of a short high-waisted jacket, short-shorts resting high on the leg, teamed with a nautically-inspired jersey with white and blue horizontal stripes).
Up the street, Ralph Lauren rustled up a take on a "flapper look" that was understated and elegant.
A weave purse, adorned with a clasp in a beautiful flower motif (carved in mother-of-pearl) rounded out the look.
But, it was the three-piece cream-colored suit (slightly popping with a blue pin stripe), which favored a suit jacket, short pants (cut above the knee) vest, chic dress shirt and silver tie (!) that spoke volumes.
This spring women are not going to be shrinking violets - especially when it comes to the Board room - folks!
Anything goes, ladies, if you have the panache to pull it off.
Stay posted for fashion updates!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
The line snaked through the lobby and just about out the front door of the theatre last evening at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
And, there was an undeniable circus-like atmosphere which triggered an adrenalin-rush which was totally electric, dudes!
At one point before the excited filmgoers dashed in to snatch up their seats in the plush environs at the DGA, I actually overheard festival handler - David Magdael - shake his head in disbelief and exclaim:
"This is crazy!"
A packed house - primarily consisting of a young hip crowd - was ready to rock 'n roll.
Understandably, since "The Crumbles" - a tragi-comedy about a struggling garage band pining for success in the heady topsy-turvy world of the music biz - was about to unfold on the silver screen.
The entertaining narrative was inspired by the Director's own teen stint on the music scene before he moved on to fulfill his dreams behind-the-camera in the film industry.
It's unfortunate that the project was not produced and released a dozen-or-so years ago when Akira Boch first hatched-up the idea.
In recent years, other filmmakers mined the territory successfully - and ultimately - beat the talented director to the punch (so-to-speak).
Consequently, some of the material is a bit cliche now.
Because the film was produced on a low budget, the quirky indie also tended to be a bit ragged around the edges in respect to production values.
However, film reviewers are often inclined to overlook such flaws, if the heart of the piece beats in the right place (which it does here).
That issue aside, "The Crumbles" is a little "gem" of a flick worth catching.
While it is doubtful that the vastly entertaining charmer will ever hit the mainstream and rustle up big bucks at the box office, "The Crumbles" does manage to toss a spotlight on the potential of all the players involved ( the director, actors, behind-the-scenes creative production staff, and-so-forth and-so-on).
The performance of a couple of the actors in the cast was a bit awkward (self-conscious) at times, however.
Two of the leads (Jeff Torres & Katie Hipol) were a guilty of - what I refer to - as an "externalist" acting style which tended to fall flat for the most part (to the detriment of the film).
On the other hand, when Torres appeared with his shirt off in one scene - and showed off his pumped-up pecs - members of the audience whooped and hollered.
So, he may have a career ahead of him as a screen heartthrob.
The tall down-to-earth actor reminded me of a younger Ashton Kutcher.
As to the performances as aforementioned, both Hipol and Torres tended to rely solely on hand gestures and facial expressions to express their emotions.
It would have behooved both performers to explore the subtext of the scenes - and especially - the dialogue that moved them along.
A good actor always asks themselves how they might relate in any given situation.
Then, he or she determines how their responses differ from those of the character they are portraying, to get a handle on the characterization.
Once the actor senses what the individual is "feeling", the emotions will inevitably bubble up from within and smack of truth.
In contrast, one of the actresses who played Elisa (Teresa Michelle Lee) was a natural in this regard.
In fact, her performance was pretty remarkable for a relative unknown, without a a heck of-a-lot of acting experience under her belt.
The pretty Asian actress stole every scene she appeared in, so riveting was her onscreen persona.
I expect that if the talented young lady remains focused - and makes the right career choices along the way - that she'll be catapulted into the stratosphere and garner International acclaim.
On the surface, the scripted tale appeared to be a light-hearted peek at the world of a struggling musician.
On a deeper level, though, "The Crumbles" is about the ties that bind, the perimeters of friendship, and lessons that need to be learned in life (about relying on one's self, for instance).
The soundtrack was kick-ass - so unlike the other bubble-gum tracks that are often whipped up for a feature film - but fail to hit the mark.
At the Q & A, the producers noted that one of the catchy tunes is actually available for download for free when signing up at "The Crumbles" Facebook page.
Although the producers do not have distribution agreements just yet for "The Crumbles", plans are underway to screen the flick on the University circuit, where it should fair pretty well with a younger crowd of filmgoers who are less critical than film critics like moi!
"The Crumbles" is definitely worth the price of admission!