Maveric Vu

Dance, Dance Evolution

Asian Americans pop, lock and break their way into hip-hop dance culture.

Among the dozens of dancers on stage, the three smallest ones grab the spotlight. Jeremiah Bastida — who looks miniature in his oversized white T-shirt — has been dancing with Funksters, the youth division of San Francisco Bay Area-based hip-hop dance company Funkbrella, for three years. He is 9 years old.

Bumpy Ride

A redesigned, reinvigorated car tries to save a crestfallen automaker.

I AM DRIVING a brand new, cherry red Buick sedan across the Golden Gate Bridge on a characteristically foggy day, and I’m feeling self-conscious. On a roadway teeming with compact cars and imports, I wonder if I am driving perhaps the only Buick in all of San Francisco. After all, the brand doesn’t necessarily conjure up thoughts of smart, city living.

Hollywood Not Bending

Whitewashing of Last Airbender movie shows studios are still averse to Asian American actors.

I AM A PROUD fan of Avatar. The Last Airbender. I own the entire collection on DVD. I used to debate the pros and cons of each bender type with my 10-year-old niece. I am, and forever will be, part of Team Zutara.

So, in early 2009, when casting choices were announced for the film adaptation of the Nickelodeon cartoon, I was as angry as everyone else who lashed out in the Asian American and fan-boy blogospheres. At the center of controversy, amid all the furious appeals for casting changes and an all-out boycott, one accusation recurred: whitewashing.