Posts tagged with "Asian"

Marchesa Donates Crazy Rich Asians Gown

Marchesa Donates Crazy Rich Asians Gown to the Smithsonian at Los Angeles Event

Dress Joins Collections in the National Museum of American History

Marchesa is donating the iconic blue dress that played an integral role in the Warner Bros. Pictures film Crazy Rich Asians to the National Museum of American History. The dress will be presented May 18 during “The Party: A Smithsonian Celebration of Asian Pacific Americans,” a Los Angeles event hosted by the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center at City Market Social House. “The Party” will celebrate and recognize the many contributions of Asian Pacific Americans to history and culture across industries, including music, film, sports and culinary arts. Tickets are available at Smithsonianapa.org.

This blue gown is part of a pivotal moment in the film’s plot in which Rachel Chu, played by actress Constance Wu, attends a high-profile wedding in defiance of her boyfriend’s disapproving mother Eleanor Young, played by Michelle Yeoh. The gown is a floor-length Grecian-style dress made of light blue tulle with floral applique, a deep V-neck and a cinched waist. The original version of the dress designed by Marchesa for its fall 2016 collection featured long sleeves, but they were temporarily removed by the film’s production for aesthetic purposes. The museum will receive the altered sleeveless version that appeared in the film.

“The film’s use of fashion is not merely decorative or secondary,” said Theodore S. Gonzalves, curator in the Division of Culture and Community Life at the National Museum of American History. “The cast’s clothing plays a crucial role in marking social class among its characters—from multi-generational moneyed elites of Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese immigrants), to the nouveau riche strivers of Singapore, to working class Chinese immigrants in the United States and their Asian American model minority progeny.”

Crazy Rich Asians is notable for having a mostly East Asian cast, the first Hollywood film to do so since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. The Warner Bros. film grossed $238 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade. The Crazy Rich Asians Marchesa gown joins a rich collection of museum artifacts with origins in film and entertainment such as Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Batman’s cowl from Batman and Robin and a handmaid’s costume from The Handmaid’s Tale TV show. The museum’s Archives Center also has a number of other theatrical scripts, video and audiotapes in its Luther Davis Collection.

“Representation of Asian Pacific Americans in film and media is critical to the visibility of a community who has made many contributions to the arts,” said Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “By collecting the film’s iconic dress, the Smithsonian is better able to present these contributions to the world.”

Marchesa is an American brand specializing in women’s wear based in New York City. Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig established it in 2004.

From its establishment in 1997 as an initiative critical to the mission of the Smithsonian until today, the vision for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center has been to enrich the American story with the voices of Asian Pacific Americans. Asian Pacific America is the story of a vibrant, diverse and resilient set of communities that have been part of the American experience for more than 200 years. The center believes that people’s understanding of America and America’s standing in the world is richer, more compelling and more powerful when it includes the Asian Pacific American story. “The Party” also marks the launch of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Keystone Initiative, which is designed to rally support for the first permanent Asian Pacific American Gallery within the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center serves as a dynamic national resource for discovering why the Asian Pacific American experience matters every day, everywhere and all of the time.

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more informed future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

Young Bae

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Young Bae’s childhood reads like a painful chapter of Oliver Twist. Using her innate talent – art – to overcome years of poverty, homelessness and abuse, Young managed to escape.

Young’s mom, an artist herself, was consistently unable to provide and care for her children and members of their community refused to volunteer assistance. Young recalls the cultural reaction to her family’s suffering with clarity,

“Korea is a materialistic country,” confides Young, now proprietor of the marquee Diamond Tattoos shop in New York City’s Times Square. “No matter how hard you work, it is hard to break away from poverty – nobody gives you an opportunity. If you’re poor, you’re poor for life. They treat the less fortunate like shit, hence I couldn’t talk to anybody about how I was living – not even my best friend. So I kept it all a secret, as best I could.”

Young did her best to mix in with other more privileged kids, even as she and her family moved around in church basements, abandoned houses and even a shipping container throughout her teenage years. “I may have been homeless with no money, but I was always fresh and fashionable,” says the self-taught tattoo queen has come a long way to now ink high-profile clientele and eager fans of the drama-filled show, “Black Ink.” “When my family didn’t have access to a shower I would clean up at public restrooms every morning. I’d also get hand-me-down-clothes from church and create my own fashions, or at least I tried to. My teachers suspected I was poor because there were things I couldn’t pay for, but for the most part I think I flew under the radar.”

She didn’t fly under the radar though when it came to her talent, her teachers and classmates acknowledged her ability to sketch, draw as well as paint. Young began receiving accolades for her fabrications, using the sales to buy basic necessities.

Young was able to land a partial academic scholarship to a college where she continued to hone her craft until she was ready to leave Korea.

“New York is an artist’s city,” says the Chugye University graduate, “so it just made sense.”

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere and the bonafide hustler Young took the motto to heart. In 2007, the 22-year-old made a beeline for Koreatown in Manhattan, touching down with just $80 and a student visa to study English, she landed a job at a local nail salon.

Despite a language barrier, she wouldn’t stop there. Young continued job hunting, getting jobs at restaurants, jewelry shops, even illegally hawking her art in New York’s famed Union Square. All this to make her share of the rent for a small place with roommates in New Jersey.

On the way to the tattoo shop in NYC, the neon lights of New York City brightly shined on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Tattooing was illegal in South Korea so Young had no experience. “I walked in, took a look around at the tattoo sketches on the wall, and thought, hey, I could do this. So I offered the shop owners a barter: in exchange for giving me a shot I would clean their shop for free. They agreed.” With that, her apprenticeship commenced.

In no time, Young became confident in her skills and moved to another shop where she could demand a tattoo artist’s wages. Quickly becoming the most requested artist in the shop, Young decided look into owning and operating her own business.

“I rented this little ratty spot on 46th Street in Times Square. It was literally a storage room in the back of an eyebrow threading shop. I got licensed, worked like three additional jobs to afford the $1000/month overhead and scoured the area to find shelves, paint and other stuff to decorate. I upholstered my first tattoo chairs with fake leather I found on the street. Then every day I’d go hold up this human-sized sign advertising my shop, and miraculously people showed up. Eventually so many showed up, I quickly outgrew the space!”

With Young’s growing credibility and reputation among fellow artists throughout the tri-state area, it was no wonder that reality TV show producers eventually came calling.

“My shop might not have been the fanciest, but my work was good and news about me began to spread quickly. It kept getting bigger and busier every year,” she says.

Young was delighted to join VH1’s popular show “Black Ink Crew: New York” during its fifth season. Heading into its seventh season, Young Bae is a fascinating and loveable character to watch.

Through it all, Young gives God the credit for not just where she is today but where’s she’s headed, “I had faith that poverty, homelessness and abuse wouldn’t be the end of my story. I went through all of what I did so I could come out on top on the other end and eventually go on to help others who are vulnerable like I was. There is greatness waiting for us all and I’m determined to live and share my best life now.”

Currently, Young Bae is working on an athleisure line 2one2 and a book sharing her life experiences.

Additional information can be found on her wikipedia.

RACELLA

RACELLA is a singer-songwriter, composer, and music producer based in Los Angeles. She was born in the small town of Delano, California and was raised in a Filipino Household. Upon receiving her degree from California State Univerity, Bakersfield, she moved to LA to pursue her passion for singing and songwriting. She found herself working with DJ Mormile, Fakework Management (Mike Will Made it, Rae Sremmurd, S1, Swiff D, and YG).

In 2015, Racella got married to her best friend, Cesar. Unfortunately, a few weeks later he got into a catastrophic car accident, which caused him to undergo heart and spinal surgery. He only had a 10% chance of living. The thought of leaving him alone in the hospital was unbearable. She was determined to stay with him until he was ready to go home with her. Instead of succumbing to fear and doubt, she used all her energy on prayer and writing music on the phases and waves they experienced together. She wrote, “Can’t Do This On My Own (CDTOMO)” at the edge of Cesar’s hospital bed. That’s where the WAVES EP was created.

TOKYO TEA

My heart beat with anticipation as the plane broke through the clouds as we approached Narita International Airport. The 22nd stop on my international checklist couldn’t have looked more picturesque from this view. Upon arrival, I advanced to customs where I was corralled through a maze-like queue I would liken to the old school snake game. Shortly after, I approached an automated kiosk attended by a customs official, who surprised at my stature jokingly remarked that the machine was made for Asians. Passport in hand, I stepped up to the counter at the final checkpoint and receive my stamp to enter Japan. With a quick smile and gesture to pass the attendant said “Arigatou! Welcome to Tokyo!”

My first morning in Tokyo started like any other. I woke up early, ready to seize the day. I lifted the curtain and popped out of my sleeping quarters to head for the showers. At 9 hours, an ultra-modern take on the traditional Japanese capsule hotel, living out of a locker for 4 nights somehow felt super trendy and posh. Exceptionally clean facilities, private bathrooms and showers and a super sleek, minimalist design explained the “Fabulous” rating on my booking website. As always, I strove to tour like a local, having accommodations that were authentically Japanese was paramount.

When exiting my hotel in Shinjuku I was quickly swept into the cadence of the crowd outside. The city has a true rhythm, a viable beat that you either get on or awkwardly exist outside of. Luckily my cultural metronome was in tune and I set out ready to embrace my week as a Tokyoite. Here’s the TEA on Tokyo.

Tour

Among the many quirky shops and unconventional things to pursue in the city, there are the famous cat cafes. They’re literally all over Tokyo and are just what they seem to be. I dropped into Calico Cat cafe in Shinjuku. I spent some quality time with my feline friends while enjoying a traditional Japanese milk tea with boba. At 1000 yen per hour it’s a welcome escape from the bustle of the city that won’t break the bank.
A visit to the tallest tower in the world will give you vertigo if nothing else. The Tokyo Skytree, standing at 350 meters, gives one incredible view of the city while providing equally heightening entertainment and shopping. The attraction starts with a massive shopping mall, chock full of retail and restaurants, (Tokyo Skytree town) to engorge the senses before leading to the attraction. After purchasing my ticket at the will call, I was ushered into a massive elevator that ascends the height of the tower in under a minute (your ears will pop). The top platform features a cinema, photo booth and of course the resident gift shop; however the real treat is the view. At night the metropolis is an endless sea of light rippling in all directions. For the more courageous, there is a portion of the floor that has a glass bottom. Don’t look down!

Eat
One of my favorite Japanese snacks and the ultimate street food in Japan, is takoyaki. The ball of dough is filled with grilled octopus and is fried to a crisp golden brown on the outside, leaving the inside a nice gooey consistency. Topped with a sweet soy sauce, mayo and bonito (fish) flakes, this makes the perfect snack if you’re in a hurry. It’s sold practically everywhere (convenience stores, street vendors, restaurants) however the perfect stop for me was Gindaco Takoyaki. A causal chain found all over Tokyo. Here they specialize in the treat and make them to order with a number of toppings and flavors. I stumbled upon the location in Kabukicho and spent a moment enjoying a Japanese highball (beer infused with liquor) while watching the busy square outside.

A trip to Tokyo without sushi? Unheard of. Although a novelty in the states, conveyor belt sushi restaurants are definitely worth a visit in Tokyo. I dined at Smart Sushi at the Shinjuku JR station and had a phenomenal experience. Have your pick of fresh sushi as it goes round on the belt or select made to order hot and cold dishes (and sake of course) from the tablet at your seat. I couldn’t help but think about the efficiency of the whole experience. Is this the future of dining?
Adventure
From Shinjuku Station I took the Keiko Highway bus towards the Fuji Five Lakes region and Kawaguchiko. The two hour ride is quite scenic, taking you west of Tokyo. It’s just the right distance for a perfect day trip. Buses are outfitted with WiFi and in-seat power outlets making for a comfy ride. As I left the city behind, I traded the tall compact skyscrapers of Tokyo for wide open spaces and countryside homes. On approaching to the final bus stop, the topography changed significantly as the mountains jut out before you and the winding roads lead into the small town before Fujikawaguchiko.

The snow capped peak of Mt. Fuji commands the skyline above Kawaguchiko Station, which is the closest one can get to Japan’s majestic active volcano during the off season. The terrain is only safe for driving and climbing during July/August; however the view from here is unparalleled on a clear day. The station was packed with tourists and locals alike, perusing the shops and attached cafe; while the train yard is full of photographers admiring the vintage trains and snapping away at Fuji-san. I ventured across the street to a very unassuming traditional Japanese restaurant, which is aptly named as such. While enjoying a fantastic Katsudon, I gazed out the window at the beauty that is Japan’s tallest mountain.
As I boarded the Narita Express train from Shinjuku, I longed for so many of the other fascinating experiences one can enjoy in the land of the rising sun. I assured myself that four nights in Tokyo could not have been better spent. The T, E and A of my trip made for some lasting memories and affirmed my return trip to Japan in the near future. Until the next chapter…
Arigatō gozaimasu!
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Jimmy Wong – Actor + Musician

James “Jimmy” Wong, is an American actor and musician best known for his 2011 music video, “Ching Chong: Asians in the Library Song” and for his role as Ted in the web series Video Game High School. His newest project with Disney XD, Polaris Primetime will debut July 2017.

 

Wong garnered national news coverage in March 2011, when he uploaded his music video, “Ching Chong: Asians in the Library Song” to YouTube. He created the video as a response to a UCLA student’s vlog rant against Asian students using mobile phones in the UCLA library, one which MSNBC qualified as “offensive.” NPR suggested that Wong’s video response was one that “effectively turned the tables on the original rant,” offering an alternative method of defense against cyberbullying. Wong later said in an MSNBC interview that while he was initially frustrated by the video rant, he realized that humor offered a better response, as he hoped to “put a positive spin on all of it.” The video has seen a resurgence due to the current political climate. Wong is very passionate about social issues and politics and is something that drives him to create every day. He aims to create justice for all and especially for representation in Hollywood as an Asian American.

 

Prior to releasing the video, Wong began spearheading the YouTube world, collaborating with other largescale YouTubers, including the very successful Joey Graceffa. This period proved to be invaluable. At the end of 2010, the web series Feast of Fiction was born, a cooking show dedicated to making food from movies, TV shows, cartoons, video games, and other fictional properties. The show kicked off strongly with the first video passing the 100,000-subscriber mark almost immediately. Due to it’s success, media company Tastemade partnered with the successful web series which allowed for guests like Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Anthony Padilla from Smosh, and Rosanna Pansino from Nerdy Nummies.

 

In 2016 Wong was asked to host the pilot for a gaming show, Polaris Primetime, on Disney XD. Disney XD is creating a new channel  block, similar to Adult Swim or Teen Nick, called Disney XP that will air this show and others like it exclusively daily from 9PM to 3AM. Polaris Primetime is a gaming variety show with guests from all across the YouTube and TV world. Special guests that have already been on the show include Nolan Gould (Modern Family) and Marcus Scribner (Blackish).

 Twitter.com/jfwong