Yang Yang

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Again, its been ages. But recent events has stirred a Taiwanese culture Renaissance in me. So i felt a great need to write something... beyond 140 characters.

So last night i went to the Taiwan film night festival thing brought on by the SF Film Org. It was a pretty crappy little fest, in which one of the most crowded film was on a broken DVD and we got refunds for. But the highlight of the evening is when i saw this film:

Yang Yang Trailer:

Let's just say, it frakkin blew my mind. I'm luving it and easily putting it in my top 5 movie of the yr. My movie going companion hated the film. So i can't say everyone will like this film, but somehow, i luved it.

The gist of the film is about a young women dealing with life, her step sister, love, etc. The whole movie existed in some weird intimate space shot by Jake Pollock (a cinematographer that seems to do a lot of chinese films.) whom is closely becoming a the next Christopher Doyle for me. Pollack decided to do this film in a hand-held only style, which leads to the intimate framing of conversations & scenes. I also rather like the lighting in this movie. Asian cities tend to have this huge contrast in lighting, and bluish tint brought on by most of the florescent lights that illuminate the city (Example).  This movie uses a bunch of back lite shots which really illustrated the contrast in both day and night shots.

But my favorite thing was the audio, or the lack of it. The only distinct audio sound in the whole movie was the sound of breathing. A theme used in many of the scenes that involved running, fighting, dancing and sex. Those scenes just happened to b some of the best non-verbal scene since Lust, Caution's infamous sex scene. I swear, i demanded a cigarette after this one dance scene... Also the only soundtrack to the movie was some beautiful post-rock tracks composed by a Giong Lim, whom i shall be searching for right now.

All this still wasn't enough to make this movie the best thing i've seen this yr. There was some great acting. I'm always surprised by the actor/actress from Taiwan. I've seen many many Taiwan films, and as long as they arent a teen drama, the indie movie acting are always awesome. Yang Yang's main star is Sandrine Pinna a french/taiwanese actress, whom seems to have been in many TW indie films. Here's an interview from her. She seems rather ditzy in the interview, idk if that's the real her, or she is doing the same thing in does in the movie... scary.

Also after truly enjoying this film, i came to an odd theory that i seem to grok these Taiwanese films a lot easier than say, an Italian film. idk, is becuz of the background? or my asian upbringing? or deep down, this IS the culture of my people?

The other big thing that sparked this great interest in Taiwanese culture is the current music Taiwanese indie music scene. First of, i just saw one of my fav, TW indie bands, WonFu @ the Cafe Du Nord a few weeks back. Marking the event of seeing a chinese band live for the 1st time. And it was a fun experience for just mere fact that i know their songs well and that the lead singer had a level of cuteness that can only be described as distinctively Asian. There just seems to be a easier bonding between me and the Chinese music. I mean i've seen fav bands in Japanese & English, I just don't seem to connect as easily. Who knows, maybe I need to visit Taiwan more. Or perhaps, subconsciously i just miss that island. But the music, oh the music... The Taiwanese underground scene is now populated by indie bands like 1976, Tizzy Bac, Shin Band (broked up), Sodagreen, & too many to name here. They all followed in the foot step of MayDay, whom dominated the TW pop charts in the early aughts, which lead to the popularity of this band movement in the culture.

All this has made me totally excited to be going back to the Asian video rental stores & trying to find more Taiwanese music. Hopefully this is only the beginning. Or hopefully, like the character in Yang Yang, this is some sort of round about way, for me to discover who i really am, by searching into the past.

or that i'm just getting old...

BONUS: a trailer from the same director of Yang Yang, "Do Over":

Blogs are so 2004.

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Since i've not updated this thing for month & that I needed an outlet to post this, i figure this is a good way to come back with a post of sorts. I think these days I spend most of my days on Tumblr. I wish there's a way to auto-tumblr links to Movabletype. I'm sure there's a plugin somewhere, i'm just too lazy to look it up.

So besides all that how is everyone? I totally miss the big Coachella update for the year. I'm sure everyone that reads this has already seen my Flickr set for it, if not, here's a link. It was the Coachella w/ the largest entourage, for me at least. I dont think i've ever been to Coachella w/ that large of a crowd, meeting other crowds, etc. etc.

So ya, I blame Twitter and Tumblr for not allowing me to post much on the Ye'Old Blogs. Blogs are like so 2004.

I want...

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(via minnima)

and all the love
all the love inside you
it's for me
in the dooms in the tall grass
you said and smiled
you're the only one
that could ever tease me

Tindersticks - "All the Love"  (KCRW's Top Tune)

Bat For Lashes - "Siren Song"  (YouTube)

Microblogging and other social nuisances...

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So one of the biggest falling between the Wang & the WWW blog here, is the frequent posting on Twitter. It is probably why this blog hasnt gotten many posts in the last few month. Perhaps its laziness. Though reading this article kind of made me feel that i need to write something slightly longer than 140 characters.

Activities of self-realization are subject to increasing marginal utility: They become more enjoyable the more one has already engaged in them. Exactly the opposite is true of consumption. To derive sustained pleasure from consumption, diversity is essential. Diversity, on the other hand, is an obstacle to successful self-realization, as it prevents one from getting into the later and more rewarding stages.

Its made the Wang think about how we just consume everything from music, movies, web memes, to nodes of information, that we barely even absorb them into our reality. We r so set on the process of getting access to stuff, when we do get stuff, we dont really do anything useful w/ it. The Wang blog here is clearly a culprit. In the days of old, The Wang did nothing here but aggregate stuff. We rarely commented, besides the minor snide quips. Still, the move to more written post was one of time constraint rather than profound observations. I guess its one of those old issues about content vs. the aggregation of content.

Wang thinks that in the end it is about critical thinking. Its an amazing ability. And The Wang think it is mostly a absent talent on the internet, or in this day in general. The Wang hopes that it is a skill that is practiced more by everyone, including the Wang himself.

But The Wang still will be posting random stuff on the micro blogging sites, perhaps we'll reserve this old fashion ( I like that...) blog for more detail thoughts... So until something fascinating sparks the mind of the Wang, u can follow us here for the mindless stuff:

The Wang @ Twitter
The Wang @ Tumblr
Or just feed it all from FriendFeed

A letter to Ben Gibbard

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Dear Ben Gibbard,

I, like many of the late comers to the indie music scene all treat Death Cab for Cutie as some sort of gateway drug into the world of not-so pop music. Your band was pretty much the quintessential Indie Pop of the aughts. Then u dropped us with the wonderment of Postal Service; sucking me into another genre of music where i normally dont tread. I'm must confess my jealousy of u working with indie greats like Jenny Lewis and Feist. And was rather a fan boy of the Postal Service gems like "Such Great Heights" and "This Place is a Prison".

But after years of silence on the Postal Service front and the fading quality on the Death Cab front, Now u decided to take steal the girl of dreams?

I say to u sir, "It is on, like Donkey Kong." I will end u.

Sincerely, ur luving fan,
The Wang

P.S. U should get off ur fraking ass and release another Postal Service Album before i find u.

SO yes, once again the Wang mobile was involved in another crime. A few month back, the Wang mobile got broken into and an unknown person, whom was nice enough to leave a box of cigarettes on my floor, removed few of our loving electronic gadgets. Amongst the missing items were my beloved D70, a 4g iPod, Best Buy gift certificates, and the seldom played DS, or as the Wang calls it, the Nintendog machine.

But that's actually old news. It was like months ago. The Wang alrdy got his insured new camera alrdy.

So once again, the Wang was traveling in the search of great treasures and booty in the land of Berkeley of the kingdom of California. The Wang mobile was placed on a street that was semi shady on the GTA4 scale. But the Wang figures that, "God's in his heaven. All's right with the world." After some roughing around with the lovely hosts of the evening's entertainment, the party clearly heard the sound of continuous popping. Now the Wang was educated once that if random popping sounds happen in the neighborhood, one should just assume its car back fire. But if it is continuous and without rhythm, it is probably gunfire. So the Wang hosts and the Wang agreed that it wasn't the normal strand of Chinese firecrackers either and decided to call the sheriffs of Berkeley. The sheriff were a cheery lot and responded with some typical 'boxed' questions about, "If we seen anything, beside the sound," or "Heard anything AFTER the gunfire." Eventually they responded to us by saying, they've alrdy gotten calls and they will checkout the area in haste. I guess that eased our worries and we continued in our merry ways of pillaging fantastical lands with our paper people.

It wasn't till the evening came to an end and the Wang returned to his faithful steam wagon, did he notice the shattered windows. From there, the Wang went through the regular procedures and called the sheriffs back for an report. In which that's when the audience learns about how the earlier shooting was, in fact a real shooting, in which, no one was hurt. But they documented the fact that the Wang mobile was in fact, damaged. The bullet went in at an angle and hit the back of the passenger front seat. Also made a mess on the back seat with layers of powdered glass. The Wang was informed that if he discovered the bullet, it might be good to bring it back to the Police department, but all the Wang can find is some sort of deformed metal. One would assume that bullets do deform a lot, but all that the Wang found was a scrap of bent metal, perhaps it is a bullet, or maybe just some random robot dandruff. 

The Wang is sure that he'll probably get another one of those recorded voice messages from his insurance company about watching where to park. Sometimes, just sometimes, the Wang really misses the safety and comforts of LA's south central. At least u know after an heated crime scene incident, u can drive over and get some good Roscoe's chicken and waffle to ease the trouble soul.

More Photos of the Wang mobile: Flickr Set 

The Longest Post Evah! + Coachella 08

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It has been soo long since the Wang's last post, that even the Wang himself don't remember much. But since u gentle readers all sit patiently glued to ur RSS feeds of WWW, The Wang figures its about time for another infamous update. Of course, like a good blogger, the Wang keeps notes for things he wants to blog about. But as a bad blogger the Wang will dump the entirety of 1.5 month of stuff in one giant post. This might get long... That's what she said!! (and it might include a lot of random links like that one there.)

First off, the almost two month old post that the Wang should of wrote for Coachella 08'. Since it is very late, The Wang will cut it short.

It was fun.

Here are more photos than u can shake a stick at:
-The Wang's Flickr Coachella 08 Set
-Sunggnus' Flickr He Haz a photo pass.
-Ourcommon's Flickr stuff, very pretty.
-Miss Black's I'm w/ the Band Set
-Girl from Long Beach
-Jackiebutler's Coachella Group.
-Lastnightsparty's photoset (some NSFW stuff)
-LAist's coverage Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3
Damn it, I truly miss the LAist. They were nice enough to post a "where to eat" @ Coachella list. That's right SFist u've been warned, shape up or u r losing ur spot in the Wang's RSS feed.

Some of the memorable moments include The Flogging Molly Mosh out, the Gogol Bordello Mosh Out, which lead to famous drum riding, and yes, you r right, one of those hands holding up the drum is, in fact, of the Wang. The Wang was up front and right. When the the drum flew, the Wang brought forth his super human strength and carried the Gogol Bordello Dancing girl, by himself with the aid of a few. The Wang and friends, camped this yr @ Tent City which basically involve staying up late and waking up tot he heated tent fighting for a shower spot. Mr. Starfizzy did battle with the electronic charging wall daily. He is an avid documentor with a very small battery.

Other things of note:
-Best Video Ass Shaking.
-Roger Water Lost his Pig and then found it.
-Prince did his "Second Coming" thing and played for like 3 hrs. The Wang Squad enjoyed it from a distance, safe from the rabid fans. But we did miss the epic music momemnt of him covering "Creep". being Prince, he proceed to remove every video on Youtube of it... thank god the internet is beautiful place. So here it is: Prince Covering Creep.
-The Wang does regret not being able to be at multiple places at once... or to have the willingness to stay late enough to see Fatboy Slim

Of course the rest of today's Giant Panda Post will be paw style... one after the other. A lot of crap. Feel free to skip around or go back to your pron. Also, some of these things might be month old news.

The Wang has almost been in the City by the Bay for 1 year now. The relocation and new gig is one of the reason that the blog is getting less luv than its glory days of daily posts. The other of course is laziness. As with all great blogs, the reason for today's post is of course bitter ranting. SF is great city by most parts, but today the Wang will bring two of the most irritating things plaguing the Wang's peaceful and happy life. The Giants and "Limited Releases".

(photo by Antman)

First of, the Wang takes a nice and laid-back drive to work, daily via the beautiful stretch of the east side of the SF proper. This involves passing through the middle of tourist travel routes to the pier 39, the Ferry Building, The Infamous Giant Spider, and the Hell of Pedestrians, (The Chinese have like 18 Hells...) AKA Pacbell Park SBC Park AT&T Park. Now the Wang isn't one to comment on baseball. He was rather bored at that one game which he was invited to go see the SF Giants @ the park, he really could care less about Berry Bond's "allegations" of steroids use (though the whole Elk semen thing is rather funny.) and he clearly wasn't impressed by the famous hot dogs at the park. So, pretty much the whole Giants and AT&T park existence has brought nothing to the Wang's happy life, but misery. This bring us back to the Hell of Pedestrians.

The AT&T park is located in a nice stretch of the 2nd largest freeway exit area for Downtown SF. Basically, the cooler hipper 280 exits right on to the street that leads to the ballpark. This is also the gathering spot for the Caltrain and the end of the line for a pretty well used Muni light rail. So with all this, this means that the none-car-loving SFians love to walk fill up the 3 small intersections that spans between the park and the Caltrain station. This of course, backs up all the cars trying to exit the 280 freeway. Now this is going one way. The other way of the street is jammed packed with people trying to park, more pedestrians, and the general slowness of the cars in the area. So come baseball season, (and why cant they play on Sundays like the football ppl do? They r nice enough not to bother me...) the whole area in front of AT&T park becomes an even lower level of hell, The Hell of Slow Traffic. One can see an example of this on the 405 between the I10 and El Segundo in LA, but then LA is like a whole other lvl of Hell. (That's needs an entire blog post of its own, one day... Don't get me wrong, I luv and miss LA, no hate man) So baseball season, though happytime for some, utter chaos on the Wang's schedule. And this is the main reason why the Wang has the Giants Schdule as a bookmark, just so he can keep track of the times where baseball becomes the national traffic time.

The 2nd wine and cheese moment for today's post is the whole issue of "Limited Releases". Now when a foreign, indie, art house, or early release of film gets a "limited release", they usually mean LA/NY. So being once a melancholy citizen of the greater LA metro, the Wang was happily partaking in the early release of films that others won't see for weeks to come, or at all. With places in LA like Laemmle chain, the Arclight, and other art house theaters, LA was pretty much a Mecca for films that the studio won't market to large Cineplexes. It took awhile before the Wang discovered all the art house theaters in SF, but they r there, just buried in neighborhoods less traveled. Most of the time the Wang isn't a rush to catch films early, but the Wang has like 2 favorite directors from the 90s, and 1 of them is Wong Kar Wai. Mr. Wong's latest film after his epic 2046 is his English debut, My Blueberry Nights. So the fact that its Limited release means that its is shown in LA RIGHT AT THIS FRAKKING MOMENT and not in SF till 4/18 is pissing the Wang off, only slightly less than the fact that the Giant's baseball season has started.

Now we move to the less whining and more comment portion of the post.

The Wang has always been a fan of Wong Kar Wai, even though some of his films r truly hard to digest. But as w/ 2046, the Wang followed and waited for all the rumors and news about My Blueberry Nights. Much like the matrix and any other esoteric things, Wong Kar Wai's movies are best experienced. So here's a beautiful clip from the My Blueberry Nights... I guess it might be a spoiler since it shows who and who hooks up, but I doubt any of his movies really lives story progression. The Kiss This of course is a scene between Jude Law and Norah Jones. Yes Ms. Jones not only lends her sultry voice to the soundtrack, but also her debut-acting gig. This movie is supposedly done in parts, dealing with difference couples and their stories of love, relationship and companionship. As with all Wong Kar Wai films, he enjoys slow slow editing, saturated lighting, layering of subjects and defining music. And since the lucky folks of NYC and LA have alrdy have their limited releases... (note rant above), the Thighmaster has alrdy graced the web with his review. The Wang hasn't seen it, but much of Wong's films do not disappoint if u r in a certain mindset to absorb all his stuff. Though slow and chaotic, he tends to shine in scenes, characters and ambience, rather than grand stories and plot. So if u don't live in LA or NYC check ur local weeklies or movies showtime sites and see if u r lucky enough to be graced by My Blueberry Nights.

Here's another one Wong Kar Wai's latest work. He did a series of short movie/commercials for Philips Aurea HDTV:

There's only One Sun

A nice collection of clips from the Wang's favorite Wong Kar Wai film, Fallen Angel.

And in case u still haven't gotten enough, here's a great MTV for the Nationals' Fake Empire, which really carries a Wong Kar Wai feel, and should have been directed by him anyways:


Achtung Baby!

Battlestar Galactica season 4 @ 4/4

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Are you ready for the final season of BSG? Don't forget, tomorrow night will be the 2nd coming.

And the best way to recall last season is this:

And in case need more reasons to watch BSG, here are 10 more, delivered by the cast on Letterman.

In case you missed te first three seasons, here's Sci-Fis very own "What the Frak is going on."

A Good Weekend for Music

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So this past weekend was the end of the big GDC event which blurred right into WonderCon, the tiny sister of ComicCon. The Wang wasn't really involved with the GDC, cept by proxy of a visiting WoW friend. But the WonderCon did lure the Wang with some panels, that were minorly related to the Wang's work. Which turned out to be completely unrelated. But the whole potential lead the Wang to learn about professional free pass for WonderCon. So free cons = good cons.

We're not really going into a WonderCon review, but the Wang will note that he sat in a J. Michael Straczynski panel. JMS is most well known for Babylon 5, which is a legendary TV show. It had some of the best television seasonal arcs. But unfortunately due to crappy art design and dated special effects, it might be really hard for anyone to pick up the DVD sets and start watching it these days. JMS now is doing a lot of comic work and might be involved with a lot of future movie scripts. Specially with all the new comic to movies that are coming out, all these famous comic/TV writers are getting great exposures.

Now back to the main topic of today's post, the Oscars. Yes, here at WWW we're looking at the Oscars. Normally we flee from this type of direct media coverage reserved for The Daily 10, Defamer, or any of Perez Hilton's blogs. But this last year was actually a pretty good year for film. So in old school style, we jump right in to the paw listings.

Mahalo Daily's Monday post: Oscar in 60 sec. A great list but they miss a few important gems, one of which is the win by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová's for their great song "Falling Slowly". Here is their Oscar live performance, which the Wang thinks that Glen toned down his usual vein popping performance during the high climax of the song. This of course lead to the best moment in Oscar history where John Stewart brought back Markéta Irglová to let her finish her cut-off-ed speech. She proceed to give one of the evening's most memorable speech about how hope unites us all. Here are the texts to the full speech for both Glen and Markéta, from Firstshowing. And if all this coolness isn't enough to convince you to go see this gem of a indie film then you are dead to me and might as well take you RSS feed for this blog off you readers. So go watch Once, or prepare for the burning wrath of the Wang.

Here's the FirstShowing, Full List.

I hate transformers, but really Visual Award? At least thanks to the Onion, Michael Bay gets his Oscar @ the cost of a $120m digital production. He did make that "AWESOME!" commercial. how the frak did Golden Compass win this? Really? I mean the Wang digged the airships, but it was clearly no match for the 10,000 pieces of moving metal fighting another 10,000 pieces of moving metal that is Transformers. And Bourne ran off with 3 technical awards. Great movie, but it felt like they gave it to Bourne for the trilogy, not Ultimatum.

I was rooting for Ellen Page for Juno. But since every prediction and their mother's prediction was for Julie Christie and the fact that the movie, Away From Her, was directed by Sarah Polley, The Wang was swayed... But I guess it is good that Tilda Swinton got it in the end, which shocked everyone. And ended the Wang's internal struggles. Because there's enough Wang for both Ellen Page and Sarah Polley. Email me. (makes phone gesture.)

Sure I like Johnny Depp in his myriad of characters, but really? How did that Sweeney Todd clip even fit with the others?!

Great Speech Quotes: Joel Coens: "...letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox"

Plus who knew, Clooney was the man. He predicated most of the acting nods. He's truly as they say, "old Hollywood". He's got it all, class, style and devilish smile. The Wang aint gay, but if George showed up an bought us diner, hey u never know... I'm just saying, not gay.

Ebb and Flow of Movies:

NYT gives us this wave-like visualization of movie grosses in the last few years.

On Monday night, the weekend ended in a really fun concert with Missy Higgins @ The Independent. She was rather funny with a few Aussie/American jokes, some humor about how her Target bought Bra kept falling of her shoulders (ZING!!), how she finally got her song into Grey's Anatomy and the overall comments on the American accent, which she demo-ed for the audience. Fun times were had and the Wang probably had the fun-est time at a "Pop" concert. There was something about the happy upbeat energy that Missy Higgins was going off on.

And in the end all this seemed make a really fun music weekend for the Wang. And in the recent artistic posting line, we end the day on a grammy winning music short dedicated to Johnny Cash:

My Extra Life, Firstshowing.net, Vulture