Friday, December 26, 2014

Watching "The Interview": #Whatever

Greetings comrades.

So. If you have not yet seen the latest Rogen-Franco movie "The Interview," then you may be missing out on what may be the biggest public relations campaign, or hoax, since the H.G. Wells saga The War of the Worlds. I first heard the Wells radio play when I was a public-radio listening youngster growing up in the Appalachians -- a region of the United States not known for alien invasions. (No way are aliens gonna find a place to land in our state -- no flat land! Nice job, though, Mr. Wells.) I loved the radio play, and could not get over the fact that this genius had made it seem as though Martians were going to take over the world. (Ahhh!) 

Fast forward to Christmas 2014. 

The media would have us believe that an independent movie about a head of state who is also a cultural icon, of sorts, for his hair and his enthusiasm for basketball, would be so offended as to wage war against the U.S. showing this movie.

Flash forward to the last Presidential press conference of the year ...

Even President Obama fields questions at his end of the year press conference on the topic of censorship and freedom related to the movie The Interview. First, the media enthralled us with stories of a wild hacking incident at Sony pictures by #thegop -- The Guardians of Peace. 

Then, there is the plot line of the movie itself: a journalist and his producer fly to China and then to Pyongyang to interview the head of state -- a wildly iconic present-day figure in his own right -- Kim Jong-un. Meanwhile, the United States' FBI named North Korea as the likely suspect behind the Sony hack.

What? I know, right? Crazy, crazy, and awesome marketing, non

So, of course I knew I had to watch this movie, even though I feared it might be stupid. Then, I realized that I had never even seen a Rogen-Franco movie, and that all I know about them is that the duo spoofed Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in the video "Bound 2".

I only stomached the original video by the married dynamic duo once, but I watched the spoof more than once. Therefore, I felt confident that watching "The Interview" on Christmas-day with my dad and my friend from China would yield at least a moderate laugh.

I should also note that I tried to download the movie on Christmas Eve, but got a peculiar message which you can see in the photo-collage below. However, this error could have been due to the fact that I tried downloading the movie from a Mac. The next night, I tried a PC and I ba-boom!

My overall assessment of this movie? 


But the movie features show-stealer Diana Bang as Kim-family liaison "Sook". 

So, I am happy to have only paid 5.99 to rent this movie for a total of 48-hours through YouTube.

There you have it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sarai Koo Places Seoul Food: A Korean American Living in Los Angeles at Vroman's Pasadena & Hasting's Ranch

PASADENA -- Quiclkly surveying the buslting Vroman's Bookstore, the woman in black bustles through the book aisles scoping out the best location for her new book. She is Sarai Koo, a Los Angeleno, whose passion for relationship-building and storytelling builds bridges. 

Sarai Koo, an American woman of Korean ancestry, interrogates the myth of the "model minority" with poignancy and humor in her first book, Seoul Food: A Korean American Living in Los Angeles. This book is a contemporary memoir of a young woman's ability to define herself despite pressures to conform. 

Among the topics Koo takes on include body image and beauty standards, educational institutions, overcoming the aftermath of the 1990s LA riots, and, of course, food -- Seoul food. 

Although my personal opinion of this book may be biased due to my acquaintance with the author, the book's biggest strength is that it shows the complexity of the LA-Pico Rivera community during the 1980s and 90s and beyond making this book a natural read for historians and urban planners, as well as anyone interested in culture.

I'm looking forward to chatting with Sarai Koo about what prompted her to write her memoir, so "stay tuned".

The book is available at Vroman's Bookstore Pasadena and Hasting's Ranch, and on Amazon. 

Get a copy!

Urban Planners Sharing Stories: thrdPlace Meets The Edge at Base Camp

Silicon Beach, CA -- Among the kind and talented who converged on NextSpace for the Immigration reform talk sponsored by this past Tuesday, was a representative from thrdPlace, an urban planning/community organizing team led by DeKoven Ashley and Mike Colosimo. As this interview with Carrie Norton, founder and CEO of Green Business Base Camp, demonstrates, Ashley and Colosimo prove that growth is a social and a local process of engagement. I wore my OFA hat, to listen and learn about how urban initiatives are re-shaping the world of work. The new world, I learned, is built on the simple premise, as Ashley and Colosimo state, of showing up and not being afraid to share stories in an effort to build a bright future.