Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.

Michael Paul Chan Q&A with Washington Post

The Washington Post posted a fan Q&A with actor Michael Paul Chan who plays Lt. Mike Tao on the TNT drama "The Closer".

Chan has appeared on series such as "Arrested Development" and "Robbery Homicide Division," and in films such as "The Joy Luck Club," "Spy Game," and Eric Byler's "Americanese." Interesting factoid: Chan's brother is author Jeffrey Paul Chan, one of the editors of the influential Asian American literary anthology "Aiiieeeee!."

Oh, Okazaki get Emmy Nods

Congrats to Sandra Oh and Steven Okazaki for being the lone Asian American Emmy nominees in non-technical categories this year. Oh's nod is for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Dr. Christina Yang on "Grey's Anatomy" and Okazaki is in the running for the Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking award for his Hiroshima documentary "White Light/Black Rain".

Anthony Kim: The Next Tiger Woods?

The L.A. Times did an interesting piece called "Twenty-three items about Anthony Kim," the L.A.-born Korean American golfer who is being touted as the next Tiger Woods. It's a nice glimpse into the life of an Asian American athlete who is dedicated - at 16, Kim moved by himself to La Quinta, CA from his parents' Los Angeles home to take advantage of the golf courses there - but also not devoid of a personality:

"In addition to telling Sports Illustrated in May he wants to 'help kids,' reach No. 1 and 'be the baddest person on the planet,' he confessed that in his misguided rookie year of 2007 before he righted his thinking last fall and winter, he sometimes played with a hangover or with 45 minutes' sleep."

Tarantino Eyes Tera Patrick for "Pussycat" Remake

From Variety, hapa porn queen-with-a-microbiology-degree Tera Patrick may be the star of Quentin Tarantino's remake of cult B-movie "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" about a trio of strippers on a motorcycle-riding rampage. The role may be the official transition to mainstream entertainment for Patrick, who is half-Thai and half-white. Of her adult film career she says, "I am the first to admit I can't do this forever! I'd love to cross over and do more 'regular movies.'"

Thao Nguyen Gets Down with the Indie Scene

I was perusing NPR's website when I saw singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen in the "Favorite Sessions" music section. Nguyen and her all-male band The Get Down Stay Down are originally from the DC/VA area but according to their MySpace now call San Francisco home after being signed to KillRockStars, the Seattle-based label best known for its stalwart indie roster including Sleater-Kinney and Elliott Smith (RIP).

M. Night Shyamalan's Love-Hate Relationship with Hollywood

The New York Times did a profile on India-born, Philly-raised director M. Night Shyamalan and his tumultuous relationship with Hollywood. Shyamalan, best known for his mega hits "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" (earning $294 million and $228 million in the U.S., respectively), talks about Hollywood's insistence on billing him as "the guy who makes the scary movies with a twist."

Brian Tee Cast in "Crash" Series

From Hollywood Reporter, the Starz network has cast five members in its upcoming "Crash" series, based on the 2004 Oscar-winning film by Paul Haggis. Cast members include Caucasian actor Ross McCall as a police officer, African American actor Jocko Sims as a driver for a music producer, Cuban American actress Arlene Tur as an actress-turned-cop, Latino American actor Luis Chavez as a "poor immigrant who embarks on a brutal journey to America," and Korean/Japanese American actor
Brian Tee as a Korean American immigrant who works as an EMT. Tee's credits include Justin Lin's "Finishing the Game" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

Writer Vincent Ngo Behind Will Smith's "Hancock"

Summer blockbuster movie season has already begun, which means another big budget Will Smith movie is headed our way. His new superhero-with-issues action film "Hancock" opens July 4th weekend and is expected to make upwards of a zillion dollars.

The film was written by Vietnamese American writer Vy Vincent Ngo, who
according to a New York Times article earlier this month,
had began shopping around the screenplay (originally entitled "Tonight,
He Comes") nearly a decade ago. The script was praised for its
brilliance by studios but was considered impossible to make, presumably
for its dark, sexual, and complex look at an imperfect hero.

Bruce Lee on Broadway

Playbill announced yesterday that the musical "Bruce Lee: A Journey to the West" will be coming to Broadway in the 2010-2011 season. The musical will be written by Tony award-winner David Henry Hwang (of M. Butterfly fame) and directed by Bartlett Sher whose revival of South Pacific was recently nominated for 11 Tony awards. The production will chronicle Lee's life and career path and will infuse elements of Chinese mythology, opera, dance, martial arts, and pop music.

George Takei to Marry

California's overturning of the same-sex marriage ban last week has prompted many gay and lesbian couples to start on wedding plans, including actor George Takei. Takei's role as Sulu in the "Star Trek" series has been an influence on generations of Asian American actors, and with Prop 22 now dissolved the veteran actor plans to wed Brad Altman, his partner of 21 years.

Read George's words on the parallels between racism he has faced as a Japanese American and the legal discrimination he has faced due to his sexual orientation here.

I have the utmost respect for George as he is an activist in both the
Asian American and gay communities. Best wishes to him and Brad.

Singers Justin and George Nozuka On the Rise

Entertainment Weekly's website recently highlighted upcoming male singer-songwriters in a profile entitled, Guys on the Rise: 8 Emerging Singer-Songwriters.

Clocking in at number 3 is Japanese/American Justin Nozuka who was born in New York but raised in Toronto, and is interestingly enough, nephew of American actress Kyra Sedgwick who's married to Kevin Bacon. Wow, six degrees of Kevin Bacon really does work.

Is Eri Chan Appropriating an Asian Culture?

NPR's Second Stage music section profiles American ex-pat Lizzie Moore who lives in Japan and performs Asian-inflected indie/electro music under the name Eri Chan. Her debut album - entitled Fire Fox - has a lead track "KitsuneBi" ("fire fox" in Japanese) and much of the album explores, in the artist's words, "the thoughts of a girl living in Japan, fascinated by folklore and possessed by a fox."

Interview with TCM Asian Images in Film's Peter X. Feng

As Harry mentioned last week, Turner Classic Movies will be airing a month-long retrospective, "Race and Hollywood: Asian Images in Film," this June. I spoke about Asian/American images with the festival's co-host Peter X. Feng who is Associate Professor of film, ethnic, and cultural studies at the University of Delaware and author of the book Screening Asian Americans.

John Cho's Getting High

The actor heads to space, taking over the role of Sulu in the new Star Trek movie.

WEED REFERENCES and extolling the virtues of female frontal nudity-exactly what you'd expect at a panel discussion about the movie Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Throw in an exhibit hall full of fanboys dressed as Japanese elf warriors and you can imagine the scene at San Francisco's WonderCon comic book and movie convention.

Writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and co-leading man John Cho sat on a raucous promotional panel for the Harold & Kumar sequel.

Hiphopistan brings South Asian MCs to the Midwest

I spent the past week in Chicago for the Association of
Asian American Studies annual meeting, and while I was there working and hence unable to attend the various panels on this year's theme of "Where is the Heart of Asian America?," the week wasn't a complete wash. I stopped by the Hiphopistan performance on Thursday night, which featured a small contingent of South Asian/American rappers from the U.S. and Asia: Abstract Vision (New York City), MC Kabir (Boston), Chee Malabar (New York City), Yogi B and Natchatra (Malaysia), and DJ Rekha (New York City). The venue and crowd were small so some light head nods and strained call-and-response were the extent of the audience participation, but luckily the performers were unfazed.

Q&A with John Cho

For those SFIAFF-goers that were looking to catch a glimpse of John Cho but were unable to snag tickets to Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay or West 32nd (both sold out), Hyphen has you covered.

We sat down with the actor at last month’s WonderCon comic book/film expo where he was promoting the Harold and Kumar sequel with writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.

Korean American Film at SFIAAFF

Korean and Korean American filmmakers have a strong showing at this year's San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, including Academy Award winner Jessica Yu's Ping Pong Playa and Cannes Film Festival prize winner Chan-wook Park's I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay.

I was lucky enough to get an early viewing of three cinematic offerings by emerging Korean American filmmakers that will be screening at SFIAAFF which has its opening night this Thursday.

Who Says Asians Can't Dance?

I indulge my inner cheeseball way more than I care to admit, and most recently I’ve become a fan of a little show on MTV called America’s Best Dance Crew. Normally, a show hosted by the erstwhile AC Slater and a judging panel featuring an ex-N*Sync member that’s not Justin Timberlake wouldn’t be a draw for me.

But, I’ve got a soft spot for talent-driven reality shows, especially when two of the top dance crews are chock full of Asian Americans: San Diego-based Jabbawockeez and Orange County natives Kaba Modern.

Jake Shimabukuro's Mad Ukulele Skills

Ukuleles conjure up some distinct images in my mind, mainly the opening credits of Arrested Development, that creepy Tiny Tim, and the cover of "Over the Rainbow" that appeared in every commercial, movie, and hour-long TV drama at some point in the early 2000s.

But I was catching up on some episodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and one of last week's musical guests completely upended my view of this four-stringed instrument. Jake Shimabukuro, a 31-year-old native of Hawaii and fifth-generation Japanese American, performed a soulful, melodic cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on an amped-up ukulele with guitar effect pedals.

No Witnesses in Possible Hate Crime

Washington State University held a forum last week to discuss the assault of Korean-American student Kyle Descher in a local college bar. “Real cool f---ing Asian,” was what Descher and his friend heard when they passed three men in front of Mike’s bar. Descher asked the men what they meant by the comment, but decided to shrug it off and proceed inside. Upon entering the bar, Descher was attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. Three titanium plates were needed to reconstruct his jaw.

Modeling Minorities

Feminist blog Jezebel has dug up some disturbing diversity facts from this year’s NY Fashion Week.

Despite CFDA prez Diane Von Furstenberg urging designers to diversify the catwalk with more minority models, “Of 103 runway shows, there were 2,278 chances to feature a model on the runway. Of these, women of color were used 298 times. An Asian model was used 124 times, a black model was used 112 times, and a Hispanic model was used 62 times.”

Racial Unity, Canadian Style

The Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia—a metro area that counts 40% of its 2.2 million citizens as being of Chinese ancestry—will be celebrating Lunar new year in true multiethnic fashion. The culturally diverse city will hold celebrations in Chinatown, but will also feature performances by North American aboriginal groups, South Asians, and those of Scottish heritage.

Did you pause when you got to the “Scottish” part?

Wang's Good Intentions, Bad Title?

Wayne Wang, noted director of Chan is Missing, Smoke, and the divisive (at least among some Asian Americans) The Joy Luck Club, has this particular filmgoer wondering about the status of his latest project, Good Cook, Likes Music.

The storyline according to is as follows: “A slacker and lovable loser lives with his mother in a trailer park. One drunken night, he sends away for a mail-order bride, who ends up being a musical prodigy, and together, they change each other's lives.”

Who’s M.I.A. from the Grammy Nod List?

The Grammy Awards celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, and judging by this year’s nominees it seems that very few API musicians and performers will be gracing the stage to pick up a gramophone statuette.

That is, unless Tia Carrere (yes, that Tia Carrere) wins for Best Hawaiian Music Album. Or if pianist Lang Lang wins for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra).

The dearth of Asian/Pacific Islander musical artists in the U.S. isn’t exactly a surprise. Yes, we all know about Jin Tha MC and the Filipino member of the Black Eyed Peas. Seeing a Grammy telecast devoid of API nominees and winners isn’t the shock of the century; maybe some of these artists just aren’t putting out notable material.

But what about one particular Sri Lankan-born, London-raised, political female rapper who happened to land on nearly every music critics’ ‘Best of 2007’ list, including the writers at Rolling Stone, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly?