Saturday, April 01, 2006

Instant Yang v.6: Rockin' the Rising Sun; Why It's Important to Stay Angry Over New Orleans; Odds and Ends

A little late with the alert this week, but the latest Asian Pop column is up on installment looks at a new book by Josephine Yun, J.ROCK, INK., and the phenomenon that it so delightfully introduces--the outrageous landscape of Japanese "visual style" rock:

If you thought Japanese music was nothing but taiko drums and bubblegum pop, think again. Josephine Yun's new book "JRock, Ink.," from Berkeley's Stonebridge Press, showcases 40 of the biggest, hardest and wildest rock bands ever to roar out of the Rising Sun, from Dir en Grey and Glay to the pillows and Psycho le Cemu.

On a more serious note, I don't think I've ever been as angry at the government as I have this past week (and believe me, this particular administration has tested the limits any number of times). I wrote an essay on why it's important to be angry and stay angry after the complete mismanagement of the New Orleans disaster, which I hope will be put up somewhere soon. A brief sample:

After nearly a week of chaos, mismanagement, and bureaucratic incompetence, critically needed resources have finally been brought to the shattered remains of the great city of New Orleans. Pumping has begun. The floodwaters are receding. Offers of assistance have poured in from across the nation and around the world, showing once more the generosity that human beings are capable of in the wake of tragedy. People have opened their homes, their wallets, and their hearts to those who have lost everything to the winds and the waters of the storm.

These acts of grace should give us hope and inspiration; but as heartwarming as they might be, we can't afford to let soft emotions overcome us. With September 11's fourth anniversary approaching, it is time for us to remember that this was not the first catastrophe to strike our shores, and to reflect on the fact that it will not be the last. We can't allow ourselves to forget that, after 9/11, those who currently lead this country made a promise to protect us from future disasters. They were reelected to office as a direct result of that promise.

We have every right to be angry that they failed.

They failed not because they tried to make a difference and did not succeed. They failed because they chose not to act, despite multiple warnings about the possible scope of the destruction. Despite immediate evidence, from witnesses on the scene, from the mainstream media, that the worst fears had been realized. Despite the desperate pleas of those who had been grotesquely abandoned to their fates--individuals who almost to a soul were poor and members of minority populations."

The short of it: The response to Katrina wasn't an exception--it mirrored every other leadership failure that this administration has been responsible for, and we cannot allow ourselves to be lulled or distracted this time--if we want to prevent another tragedy from occurring. "A" stands for Anger, but "A" also stands for Accountability--and that should be our buzzword from now on out.

Meanwhile...our friends at Asian CineVision remind us that the New York Film Festival begins September 23, and there are a number of standout Asian films being screened there--so if you're in the New York area, look out below. My picks: SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, the followup to Park Chanwook's SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE (he also did the brilliantly gritty OLDBOY); Shinya Tsukamoto's HAZE; and the latest from Taiwanese maestro Hou Hsiao-hsien, THREE TIMES.

September 23 – October 9, 2005

SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE | Park Chanwook | South Korea | 2005
Fri. Sept. 30, 6:00 pm; Sun. Oct. 2, 8:30 pm *Director present (Alice Tully Hall)

TALE OF CINEMA | Hong Sang-soo | South Korea/France | 2005
Sat. Oct. 1, 6:15 pm; Sun. Oct. 2, 3:15 pm *Director present (Alice Tully Hall)

HAZE | Shinya Tsukamoto | Japan | 2005
Sat. Oct. 1, 12:00 midnight. *Director present (Walter Reade Theater)

THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG | Im Sang-soo | South Korea | 2005
Mon. Oct. 3, 6:00 pm; Tue. Oct. 4, 9:00 pm *Director present (Alice Tully Hall)

WHO’S CAMUS ANYWAY? | Mitsuo Yanagimachi | Japan | 2005
Mon. Oct. 3, 9:00 pm; Tue. Oct. 4, 6:00 pm *Director present (Alice Tully Hall)

THREE TIMES | Hou Hsiao-hsien | Taiwan | 2005
Wed. Oct. 5, 6:00 pm; Thu. Oct. 6, 9:00 pm (Alice Tully Hall)

Tickets will go on sale for the above programs starting Sunday, Sept 11 at 12pm at:
— Box Office: Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway at 65th Street, NYC
— By Phone: Centercharge 212 721 6500 ($5.50 surcharge per ticket)
— Online starting Monday Sept 12, 12 noon: <>; ($3.50 surcharge per ticket)

Box Office Information: 212 875 5050
Program Information:

September 24 – October 20, 2005

This 44-film retrospective celebrates Japan’s Shochiku Company on the occasion of its 110th anniversary. Films by Yasujiro Ozu, Heinosuke Gosho, Yasujiru Shimazu, Hiroshi Shimizu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Nagisa Oshima, Masahiro Shinoda, Kiju Yoshida, Yoji Yamada, Hou Hsiao-hsien and others, from the 1921 silent SOULS ON THE ROAD, to the US premiere of Yamada’s THE HIDDEN BLADE (2005).

Tickets for SHOCHIKU AT 110 on sale through <>; and at the Walter Reade Theater Box Office (165 West 65th Street, NYC, 212.875.5600)

Finally, a little anxiety for Ryan and Melody, the two Fil-Am contestants on my shameful new addiction, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? Both are currently in danger of elimination, after big guy Allan was dumped last week. We'll see what happens next episode...

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