Sweet 16: Top Films of 2016

For the better part of a decade, this has become an annual tradition for yours truly.

From January to December I compile a list of the best, artistic and most progressive films, television shows, and music albums. One of the reasons I do this is to provide resources to readers who are looking for cerebral, fun, and progressive media. It does exist as my lists have continued to prove. Don’t say I never gave you anything. You’re welcome.

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Sikh Captain America: The Man Behind the Shield

Is America ready for a Sikh Captain America — a superhero fighting hate crimes and intolerance? In the wake of 9/11, the massacre of Sikh Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and America post-Ferguson, my answer is a resounding yes! If superheroes can battle aliens, cyborgs, and fellow villainous superheroes, why can’t there be one that fights for social and racial justice?

In 2013, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh wore a Captain America costume for the first time with a royal blue turban to match his ensemble. The short documentary Red, White, and Beard is a quirky, lighthearted glance into Sikh Captain America and the man behind this growing phenomenon.

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Red, White, and Beard Documentary Launches

Back in 2013, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh made a splash on the internet when he took to the streets of New York in a customized turbaned Captain America uniform. A year later, a team of filmmakers followed Singh on one of his Captain America runs and the result of that journey, a short documentary feature called Red, White, and Beard, debuts in one week at its eponymous website.

Also, come back later in the week for Alice’s review of the film. In the meantime, check out its trailer and description after the cut.

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Making it Up As I Go Along with Larry Hama

A few weeks back, I had the honor to attend the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU’s presentation of Making It Up As I Go Along, a documentary about the legendary G.I. Joe creator Larry Hama. After the screening, I was also able to have a one-on-one conversation with Larry and fielded some questions from the audience in attendance.

If you were unable to be at the screening, the APA Institute has posted the whole thing online, and you can see it for yourself after the jump!

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Diggin’ In the Carts: A Sound Test for Your Childhood

I love video game music. Ever since I started playing them back in the NES/Famicom days, I have always appreciated the catchy tunes from various games. This never went away as games evolved; if anything, my love for them only expanded. I would say at least 50% of my iPod library contains music from video games ranging from the 80s to the present day.

Nowadays, accessing the music you wanted to hear is pretty easy; usually a search on YouTube will do it. But back in the day, you had to either go to that specific part of the game or record it yourself. Props to my dad who had the fantastic idea of using an audio recorder to record Magic Sword through the SNES by going through each song in the sound test for a couple of minutes and recording it onto a cassette for me to jam to while on the move.

But now? I can just type that on YouTube and voila!

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Larry Hama Documentary Screening in New York City on October 22

On Wednesday, October 22, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU is presenting Making It Up As I Go Along, a documentary by The Spitting Image. The film reveals the creative process of a man who has become a legend, beloved by throngs of comic book readers worldwide — cartoonist, musician, and G.I. Joe creator Larry Hama. Following the screening, Hama speaks with Keith Chow, founder and editor of The Nerds of Color and co-editor of the groundbreaking Asian American comic anthologies Secret Identities and Shattered.

Items from the A/P/A Institute-produced traveling exhibition,  MARVELS & MONSTERS Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 will be for sale in a silent auction to support the institute’s collections building initiatives. MARVELS & MONSTERS was curated using images from the William F. Wu Comics Collection, the world’s largest collection of American comic books featuring images of Asians and is housed at the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

Register for tickets by Monday, October 20. You can find and RSPVP to the event on Facebook as well.

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Who is Arthur Chu?

Originally posted at The Huffington Post

When I first “went viral,” I was as skeptical about “why this Arthur Chu guy is even a thing” as much as anyone else, believe me. The weirdest thing about this year was seeing an explosion of media discussion of some random guy and not being able to blog about how weird and misplaced it was because for the first time I was that guy.

And the weirdest thing about that is seeing other people doing the obnoxious thing I used to do, blogging about complete strangers confidently making assessments about what they’re “about” based on the tiny slice of their life that made them YouTube famous.

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Things I Learned While Making the Brave New Souls Documentary

Brave New Souls is a documentary I wrote, produced, and directed that explores the thoughts, goals, and inspirations of a new generation of Black creators in graphic novels, television, cinema, literature, and digital media. It was a very tough shoot as I did the camera work, sound recording, lighting, and directing ALL BY MYSELF! While the movie will be released on DVD in two weeks — on July 15 — for those that want to watch it via their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home PCs, you can stream or download it as a high-quality, digital video right now at Gumroad for $7.99!

I wanted to take a moment to thank all the creators I worked with during the production of the documentary and share a few things I learned:

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It’s More Than Okay To Be George Takei

Last night, I had the distinct honor to attend a screening of To Be Takei — the new documentary about Start Trek actor, civil rights activist, and social media maven George Takei — as part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center‘s ongoing Asian Pacific Heritage Month celebrations. Bookended by remarks from Smithsonian APAC Director Konrad Ng and a Q&A with the film’s subjects, the entire evening was a celebration of one of our culture’s most trailblazing icons.

Having made its debut at Sundance in January, To Be Takei was recently acquired by Starz for digital and theatrical distribution later this year. In advance of its formal theatrical release, the film has been doing the festival rounds and made its Washington, DC premiere at the Warner Brothers theater inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. I was lucky enough to check it out with the homie (and fellow NOC) Patrick Michael Strange.

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