Monthly Archives: July 2007

Tribute To Bruce

Bruce Lee“[The studios are] trying to get me to do things for the sake of being ‘exotic.’ But things Chinese will be very interesting in next few years. The opening of China will bring more understanding … And maybe in the contrast of comparison, some new things might grow. It’s a very rich period to be in. If I were born, let’s say, 40 years ago, if I had thought in my mind, ‘Boy, you’re going to star in a movie, star in a TV series in America,’ well, that might [have been just] a dream. But I think now, maybe not … I don’t want to sound “Confucius say,” but under the sky, under the heavens, there’s just one family, man.”

— Bruce Lee, the “lost interview,” “The Pierre Berten Show,” 1973

Bruce Lee passed out of this world 34 years ago this month, on July 20, 1973. I feel the need to commemorate the guy, as I think a lot of Asian American folks (males especially) do, becaue of what he still represents to this day. As far as Asian American male role models, he was and still is it for us. He was insanely popular, an international superstar. He portrayed a badass image of someone who was compassionate but not one to be fucked with. My dad and I used to watch all his movies when I was a kid, and I remember being blown away the first time I saw “Enter the Dragon,” his last fully completed film.

There is a flipside to his legacy, however, as some would argue that it has pigeon-holed images of Asian American males into a one-dimensional karate expert caricature. I wouldn’t completely disagree, but I think that it is clear from viewing his work how he tried to infuse aspects of his personal philosophy on life into much of his films. If anyone is to blame, its the damn studios that have cemented the stereotypical images. Anyone who hasn’t seen “The Lost Interview” with Bruce Lee from 1973, which I have posted below, should check it out. Its an amazing look into his outlook on everything.

Its really interesting to see how bitter and frustrated he was with the Hollywood establishment, and how things really haven’t changed much since then. Also, Jeff Yang, a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote a really great tribute to Bruce Lee’s legacy today that also touches on a lot of different topics (and is much more well done than anything my ass could think up, hahah) including what things might be like if Bruce was still alive. Check it out here.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Say what you will about Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s highly publicized president, but the man knows how to keep the global audience captivated. Here’s a guy who is outspoken in his criticism of the Bush Administration and the West as a whole, and is in a powerful position due to Venezuela being the fourth largest exporter of oil to the world. If you look at history, the US has not been kind to people who criticize the establishment, so one would think that Hugo probably has to watch his back, as folks are bound to try to take him down at some point. The thing is, they already tried to take him down, as shown in this film, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which is posted below. I know the image is small, so you can go here and enlarge it to full screen, although its still kind of blurry. I saw this about a year ago and was blown away. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy ever since, but being that its 2007, its of course posted all over the web. Hugo got re-elected by a landslide recently so Venezuela is sure to stay in the news. With everything that’s written about him, good or bad, this film has put some things in perspective for me.

Healthcare: Its So Hot Right Now!

So health care is a pretty hot topic right now, as it should be, and Michael Moore is in the thick of it all thanks to his new movie, Sicko. There’s a pretty funny interview of him on the Colbert Report here. So thats great and all, but then someone passed along this clip from our good friends over at Fox News:

Now this is getting ri-goddamn-diculous. Once Fox News starts airing pieces linking socialized medicine to terrorism, I’d say its time to question all the anti-universal health care bullshit thats out there. Or I guess you could just stop watching Fox News, even though its so damn entertaining.

In terms of Michael Moore, I saw and enjoyed Sicko. I don’t think he’s perfect by any means, but I think its crazy how quick people are to hate on the guy and his work. The bottom line is that when all is said and done, I think Moore is going to be able to look back on his life and say that within his line of work, he tried to do some good for his community and country. How many of us can say that about ourselves?

He’s supporting a universal health care bill thats in the works in California right now called SB840, and it looks pretty solid to me. Should be interesting to see what happens, because it seems like all eyes are on Cali in regards to how the Golden State handles the health care issue.

The Internet Has Some Funny Shit

A thousand Filipino prison inmates doing “Thriller” and a Japanese game show. Nuff Said.

Ode to the Wu

Wu-Tang Clan

One thing I love about going to New York (besides the crack laced slammin food they got over there), is loading up the ipod/cd player/tapedeck/whatever with Wu-Tang jams and walking around the city. Best rap group, hands down. What other group has like 10 guys who all got flow? Here’s some of the albums I still consistently knock:

1) Enter the 36 Chambers

2) Wu-Tang Forever

3) Gza ~ Liquid Swords

4) Raekwon ~ Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

5) Any and all Ghostface albums, he’s just that good

If you need to kill even more time, The Wu-Tang Manual is a great read. Buy it at Powells Books, the only major online union bookstore, or at Booksense, which supports local bookstores in your area.

Sports and Politics…Together??

Dave Zirin is the man, plain and simple. Any sports fans out there who want to gain perspective on how intertwined sports are with politics needs to check out his weekly sports column called the Edge of Sports. Also, peep these recent articles that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle here and here. While we’re on this tip, please bear with me as I vent about recent developments in Bay Area sports:

1) I’m still feeling shitty about the Warriors decision to trade Jason Richardson. I understand this is a business and blah blah blah but it doesn’t take away from the fact that J-Rich gave the Bay years of hard work and loved it here. I mean come on, the man just bought a new house in Oakland. He played through the bad years and just when we get good, he gets shipped off to Charlotte. Furthermore, the guy we got for him is injured now. So it goes, I guess, but you will be missed, Rich, believe that.

2) It seems the A’s are most definitely moving to Fremont as soon as a stadium is built there. That will be a sad day for me, as its hard to imagine tons of kids in Oakland growing up without a baseball team in their city, when so many of my old memories revolve around A’s games…Oakland A’s games. While we’re on the subject of the A’s, their owner Lew Wolff gets a big fuck you from the Cheddar Box. I am sick and tired of these billionaire team owners getting cities to fork over billions of public tax dollars to build stadiums and ball parks that are cited as never having any positive benefit on the communities they barge into. Thats money that could be going to schools. What we need to do is organize around community ownership of sports teams, like they did in Green Bay with the Packers. That would be dope.

3) Enough has been written about Barry Bonds, especially by Zirin, so all I’ll say is that everyone who doesn’t think he’s one of the greatest to play the game is a hater and should especially be reading Dave Zirin. The Cheddar Box also gives big fuck you’s to Bud Selig, baseball’s commisioner, and David Stern, Basketball’s commisioner. Enough said.

The thought I leave with is that I’ll neve stop being a sports fan, but there is a really ugly side to professional sports. Its refreshing to read folks like Zirin who expose the ugliness but still highlight those trying to change it. Until next time…

Rap On Its Way Out??

There’s a funny post about the declining sales of rap over at Oh Word. Of course music sales are down across the board these days, but it seems that rap sales in particular are really sliding, while rock sales are way up. Apparently listening to rap is no longer the cool and rebellious thing for White suburban kids to do. Are we in for a change of direction for mainstream hip hop? More bubblegum, inoffensive but still damn catchy pop raps like Will Smith in his prime? Time will tell. Me personally, I’m fine with the mainstream as long as Lil Wayne, Clipse and R. Kelly keep putting out records. And I want The Team to blow up nationally for Oakland, but we’ll see if that happens (can Black Wall Street please hurry up and put out the Clyde Carson album?? Come on, Baron, get on that).