Asian-American media watchdog Kulture aims to abolish Asian stereotypes in entertainment

PR Newswire:

Asian-Americans have been unfairly maligned by Hollywood over the years and the trend shows no sign of abating. Kulture monitors the entertainment media for offensive representations of Asian-Americans and documents stereotypes and denigration of Asians in movies and television. The site is easy to navigate, categorizing offenses by media outlet, by type of offense, such as “Reinforces Stereotypes,” and by media type, such as TV commercials. Visitors to the site can also submit their own witnessed offenses through the “Report an Offense” feature.

Kulture is the only website that maintains a database of media offenses against Asian-Americans. They pull the curtain back onHollywood’s subtle racism and feature write ups that explore the offensive themes and tropes that are used to belittle Asian men and sexualize Asian women. In addition to providing the information on the offense, Kulture also analyzes the situation and provides explanation as to why it is considered offensive. Popular shows featured on the site include: “2 Broke Girls,” “Royal Pains,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “The Mindy Project.”

The offenses range from “Depicting Asians as Perpetual Immigrants” to “Asians as a Subordinate.” Every media offense, once added to the ‘Kulture Offense Database,’ stays forever. It serves as a repository and reference for the Asian-American community to know which TV shows, which directors, and which companies stereotype and demean Asian cultures.

According to Kulture, the Asian-American community doesn’t yet have full awareness of how depictions in the entertainment media disadvantage them in real life. As an example, Hollywood representations of Asians as timid translate into real-world stereotypes whereby whites refuse to see Asians as leaders.  Asians are often unable to fundamentally change attitudes towards them, which are stubbornly reinforced by Hollywood. In other cases, Asians have a general awareness, but there is no common understanding as to why exactly certain Hollywood depictions are offensive; this forms a shaky basis from which to advocate change. Kulture addresses this by unpacking TV and movie scenes in detail and explaining the offensive nature of them.

Asian-Americans account for approximately 5.6% of the United States population, roughly 18.2 million people. According to student surveys conducted by the University of Michigan, Asian-Americans, when asked, could not name more than a few Asian actors, and the ones they could name were often portrayed in negative terms. Women are often sexualized while men are cast as villains or uncultured characters.

Many Asians know TV shows represent them in a bad light. But they may think they’re alone in that view,” says Kulture’s founder Tim Gupta. “Kulture spotlights how Hollywood mocks and excludes Asian men while fetishizing Asian women. Kulture helps Asians and those concerned about media racism stay abreast of how Asians are depicted, and we will eventually serve as a platform for them to take action against Hollywood offenders.”

To view the list of media offenses, visit www.kulturemedia.org.

Dalian Wanda sneaks peek at theme park in Wuhan

Dailan Wanda sneeks peek at new

Variety:

China’s giant property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has raised the curtain – a little bit – on its new multi-billion dollar theme park and theater developments in Wuhan Nov. 7 as it expands its presence across the country while continuing to stretch its reach around the globe.

Steered by China’s second-richest man Wang Jianlin, the company in 2012 purchased AMC Entertainment, thereby staking its claim to be the world’s largest cinema operator, while it has recently announced billion-dollar plans to establish facilities in Hollywood and Australia.

But the developments in Wuhan — which will be officially opened Dec. 20 — reflect the current shift in China towards “internal consumption,”according to Tang Jun, vice president of the Beijing Wanda Cultural Industry Group.

Tang said it was thought that “entertainment and leisure could be one of the major drivers” of this economic trend in China, which has been a mantra pushed by China President Xi Jinping

This development is unprecedented in China,” claimed Tang. “It’s a combination of culture with high technology. That’s the charter.”

A small group of select guests were treated Nov. 7 to a sneak preview of the attractions being fine-tuned in Wuhan, while also taking in behind-the-scenes tours of the sprawling buildings that will house them.

Mark Fisher — the British artistic director of the Beijing and London Olympics who passed away in June — designed the Han Show Theatre based on a traditional glowing Chinese red lantern, and the Wanda Movie Park, which covers an areas of 100,000 square meters, from the shape of China’s Chu-Han culture’s ancient bells.

Opening next month, the “The Han Show,” created by theatrical director Franco Dragone, will be staged in the custom-build theater that carries its name while the Wanda Movie Park — Wanda is claiming it’s the world’s first indoor movie theme park — will boast six major attractions developed with the likes of Industrial Light & Magic, as well as retail and dining outlets.

Tang said Wuhan, one of China’s “second-tier” cities with a population of around 10.2 million, capital of the Hubei province and situated in the center of the country, had been earmarked for cultural development due to its rich heritage, which dates back to 1500 BC. Its East Lake was a favored holiday destination for China’s former leader Mao Tse-tung.

But Tang said the plan was to also establish a “new image” for Wuhan.

To that end, the two theater and theme park facilities are supplemented by Han Street: a retail, dining and entertainment district that Wanda says has attracted an average of more than 300,000 visitors per day since opening in September 2011. Han Street now comes surrounded by a growing number of commercial buildings and towering condominiums, with the hope that sales of flats within them will offset some of the overall cost of the project. There are also hotels around the developments, including the five-star Wanda Reign, which sits next to the Han Show Theatre.

Wanda is also hoping crowds will flock to the site to take in attractions at the Wanda Movie Park, and guests Nov. 7 tested out the Hubei in the Air flight simulation ride that flies guests through the province’s spectacular sites. Other attractions set to open next month include a 3D Journey to the West interactive ride/game.

We think (capacity) will be about 8,000 people at one time. During the first year we are projecting three million visitors and for revenue RMB800 million ($130.6 million),” said Aaron Soo, Wanda Movie Park’s general manager, who estimated the movie park alone would cost his company around RMB4.2 billion ($685 million) when completed. No official estimate of the amount Dalian Wanda Group has spent was offered.

Dragone is also fine-tuning “The Han Show” with the help of costume designer Tim Yip (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and Nov. 7 presented a series of small live excepts from the show to guests. “The Han Show” is looking to build on the success Dragone and his team have had in the southern Chinese gambling hub of Macau with “The House of Dancing Water,” which has met with great success since opening at the City of Dreams casino resort in 2010.

Although not giving too much away, Dragone explained his production would reflect how young Chinese people today are facing up to their future, told through the story of a teenage couple.

I will never have enough in seven lives to learn about the grandeur of this country,” said Dragone, the former Cirque du Soleil creative director who branched out on his own in 2000. “But I have always tried to find a language that can talk to everybody.

The Dalian Wanda Group has plans for 13 major theme parks over the next three years including a film studio and theme park complex in Qingdao, which will host a film festival starting in 2017.

It also has plans to establish a further 200 smaller “Baby King” theme parks specifically for younger children across China over the next few years.

As well as the acquisition of AMC Entertainment —which pushed its reach to more than 6,000 screens globally — the company has thrown its financial weight behind a series of major productions in recent years, among them Jackie Chan’s “Police Story 2013” and the 3D martial arts fantasy hit “The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven,” starring Chow Yun-fat and Donnie Yen.

Hayao Miyazaki receives honorary Oscar

Miyazaki with Pixar chief John Lasseter at the ceremony
Otaku USA:

Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki received an honorary Oscar for his “years of contributions to the motion picture industry” at a ceremony on Sunday.

Receiving the award, Miyazaki said, “my wife told me I’m a very lucky man,” according to the Japan Times.

To coincide with the honorary Oscar, Miyazaki was interviewed by Japanese film expert Mark Shilling for Variety, where he talked about a variety of subjects, including his current projects, the future of Ghibli and the industry overall.

On winning an honorary Oscar: “Somebody must have been pulling strings. Maybe [Pixar chief creative officer] John Lasseter.”

On Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) becoming an anime industry leader: “I wish him the best of luck. It will be hard work though.”

On making short films for the Ghibli Museum: “I will continue to make them.”

On the state of Studio Ghibli: “I don’t anymore. I don’t want to get involved in that sort of thing.”

On the state of the industry: “The kind of animation… made with paper and pencils is dying… There’s nothing inherently wrong or right about a method, whether it be pencil drawings or 3D CG. Pencil drawings don’t have to go away, but those who continue to use the medium lack talent. So sadly, it will fade away.

On retirement: “I intend to work until the day I die. I retired from full-length films but not from animation.”

The entire interview is a fascinating read, so take a look.

 

Miyazaki needs no introduction for most anime fans. Starting his career at Toei Animation, Miyazaki worked on titles like Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon and Hols: Prince of the Sun, directed by Isao Takahata, with whom he would later found Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated film in 2003, but he did not attend the ceremony.

Miyazaki is the second Japanese citizen to win an honorary Oscar. The first went to director Akira Kurosawa in 1990.

Link

American TV shows removed to help Chinese shows

 

the-big-bang-theory-cast

Recently, quite a few American TV show fans were surprised to discover that American TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory have one after another been taken down from many video streaming websites, with the webpages where they were taken down from showing “unable to be viewed due to [government] policy reasons”. As it is understood, 4 American TV shows that have been taken down, with them being The Big Bang TheoryThe Good WifeNCIS, and The Practice respectively. The two more influential [popular] ones are the first two, which have many hardcore fans domestically.

For watchers of the domestic film and television market, this news is actually not so unexpected. As early as last month, the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television [SARFT] issued a notice concerning strengthening their auditing/censorship of online shows, microfilms, and other online audio-visual programming. Apart from shows domestically produced or produced by websites themselves, the American and British TV shows that the various major websites are competing to purchase shall also face government review. According to the aforementioned notice, the American and British TV shows purchased henceforth by websites must be “audited first before broadcasting”, with the programs that have been approved to report the local provincial-level SARFT record. Organizations/companies that broadcast shows in violation of regulations shall have punishments such as warnings, injunctions, and fines imposed upon them by SARFT in accordance with the “Regulations on the Management of Internet Audio-Visual Programming Service”.

American TV shows are currently on average the costliest and most influential TV shows in the world. Since being introduced into China, they have gained the following of many viewers, particularly urban audiences. However, because American TV shows have not been subject to China’s regulatory and censorship organs, some inappropriate, bloody, and violent plots/scenes in them have also appeared completely uncut on China’s video websites. Supervisory departments has in the past relatively neglected this phenomenon. Following the increasing purchasing of shows by many video websites in recent years, the influence of some content in American TV shows upon the youth [younger audiences] is increasingly pronounced. Thus, increasing oversight has become a necessary decision of supervisory/regulatory departments. According to analyses by foreign media, the implementation of this policy will affect 80% of American TV shows, and many American shows will face being taken down.

Kelly Cuoco, Penny in The Big Bang Theory.

Other than regulating content, “purifying” videos, the departments who have enacted this policy have an even deeper-level of consideration. Not long ago, many domestic film and television industry professionals voiced the same complaint: Domestic films and television shows need to face strict government review/censorship, but at the same time, the foreign films or television shows on the internet essentially face nothing in terms of government auditing/censorship. This makes it unfair when it comes to competition, with domestically produced films and television shows “losing at the starting line” as a result [domestic films and shows face greater scrutiny which makes it harder for them to compete with foreign shows]. In light of there still not being a ratings system for domestic movies and television shows, this kind of inequality in auditing/censorship greatly influences the market performance of domestically produced movies and television shows. Many industry insiders thus suggested: Identical auditing/censorship standards for foreign films and television shows broadcasted and screened domestically.

From the above facts, other than considerations for the mental and physical health of the young, it can be seen that the deeper reason for the censorship regulatory departments are threatening American TV shows lies in protecting the domestic film and television industry that remains vulnerable, especially the domestically-produced TV shows that look increasingly vulnerable in the face of competition from American shows. On the surface, this policy by SARFT has no relationship with the previously announced “Only Two Channels Per Show” policy to begin in 2015 [only two channels can broadcast the same show during prime time each evening], but actually has the same roots, with both using government policy to adjust the direction of the film and television market and help domestically-produced works. Media has conjectured that the crisis for American TV shows may very well be an opportunity for Korean and Japanese shows, that from this point on, video websites will increase their purchases of Korean dramas. However, this author believes that in following the “no longer negligent” supervision and regulation of regulatory departments, the excessive flood of foreign film and television works will change.

penny-kaley-cuoco

Check out this link:

American TV shows removed to help Chinese shows

Link

11 Rooftop bars in Asia for the perfect midnight rendezvous abroad

 

1. 1-Altitude; Singapore, Singapore

1-Altitude; Singapore, Singapore

This 3 level bar and restaurant is noted to be the world’s highest al fresco rooftop bar to date! This classy and chic bar will give you the best 360 view of the Singapore skyline.

Vibe: Sophisticated romantic, clubbing/party atmosphere, smart casual
FYI: Every Wednesday becomes LADIES NIGHT! This mean free cover charge and a drink on the house for all the ladies!

2. Roku Nana; Tokyo, Japan

Roku Nana; Tokyo, Japan

A true hidden gem in the city of Tokyo, Roku Nana is a secret, modern rooftop bar with a futuristic vibe. If you’re lucky enough to find this place, don’t just come here for a romantic view of the city, come here to check out the hipster-tastic decor!

Vibe: Inconspicuously romantic
FYI: This place is so secret that it’s almost impossible to find! No advertisements or signs will help direct you here. Thus, it’s probably best to call the bar for directions.

3. Sugar; Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Sugar; Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Located atop Hong Kong’s East Hotel (near Tai Koo), Sugar provides a different perspective of HK nightlife. Feast your eyes on the lovely harbor and view of East Kowloon in this calm and relaxing lounge.

Vibe: Relaxing and chill, simplistically trendy
FYI: Reviews suggest to head to Sugar prior to sunset to get the best experience of the view.

4. X-Bar; Siem Reap, Cambodia

X-Bar; Siem Reap, Cambodia

With live rock band and DJ performances, billiards, darts, food, drinks, plus a half pipe on the roof, this bar literally screams sports bar heaven!

Vibe: Punk rocker chic, new twist to a typical sports bar
FYI: Don’t forget your skateboard if you wanna try that rooftop half pipe!!

5. Migas; Beijing, China

Migas; Beijing, China

The new “IT” spot for all twenty-something-year-olds in Beijing. Although slightly pricey, this trendy rooftop bar pumps up a funky and retro feel to dance the night away!

Vibe: Hipster chic, futuristic yet retro
FYI: Spanish inspired restaurant and lounge. Known for its soul, house, funk, and disco spins!

6. Red Sky Bistro & Bar; Bangkok, Thailand

Red Sky Bistro & Bar; Bangkok, Thailand

Taking over the 55th floor of Centara Grand Hotel, this bistro and bar is known for its delicious meals and wide selection of the world’s finest wines.

Vibe: Urban chic, dinner-and-drinks-after kind of place
FYI: Be sure to check out the long bar located at the edge of this rooftop bistro. Reviews say they serve some of the most unique martinis!

7. RufXXX; Seoul, South Korea

RufXXX; Seoul, South Korea

This two story venue is the perfect location for indie heads. The first floor is comprised of various alternative artists while the second deck is a stand-only area where you’ll find an amazing view of the Itaewon hills and Namsan Tower.

Vibe: Alternative/Indie, quirky atmosphere, the real definition of hipster
FYI: You may get wigged out by some of the unusual performers, but the view itself will definitely be worth the visit.

8. Two Rooms; Tokyo, Japan

Two Rooms; Tokyo, Japan

Unlike Roku Nana, Two Rooms in Tokyo is not a secret. Enjoy cocktails and a view of Tokyo from 11:30am-2am every Monday thru Saturday!

Vibe: Calm, relaxing, Sunday brunch atmosphere
FYI: They serve many unique in-house cocktails such as vodka oyster shots! Vodka and oysters? I’m not sure how I feel about that either! LOL.

9. Sevva; Central, Hong Kong

Sevva; Central, Hong Kong

Sevva is a fine dine restaurant with exquisite decor catering to the theme of each various rooms they have to offer. With an impeccable view of the neon lights HK has to offer, the terrace at Sevva is a must see.

Vibe: Fun, eccentric, and exquisite
FYI: Don’t forget to also check out the Taste Bar for some scrumptious looking appetizers and the unique desserts of Ms. B’s Cakery.

10. Flair; Shanghai, China

Flair; Shanghai, China

This double-decker lounge is no joke. Equipped with a killer view of the Pearl Tower and Shanghai city, Flair is applauded for its expensive and luxurious style.

Vibe: Rustic, reminiscent feel of having brunch on the Upper East Side
FYI: Be ready to shell out some bills. The prices are quite high, but experts say you’ll definitely want a glass of champagne in your hand to experience this lovely outlook.

11. Ku Dé Ta; Singapore, Singapore

Ku Dé Ta; Singapore, Singapore

If you’re looking for another view of Singapore with perhaps a less club-bey, but more elegant and romantic atmosphere, then check out Ku Dé Ta. Located in the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, this rooftop bar and lounge is every couples dream of sophistication and romance.

Vibe: Just plain and simple romantic
FYI: Various events are held throughout the year with a wide variety of DJs. Sundays include DJ entertainment, dance grooves, and barbecues.

Check out this link:

11 Rooftop bars in Asia for the perfect midnight rendezvous abroad