Farewell to Robin Williams…

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today Robin Williams past away and it’s been so surreal, it felt like it came out of nowhere… A text message from a friend made me aware of the news and frantically I jumped online to see if it was true. Sadly, I found out it was and even more sad, I read of the circumstances. I couldn’t keep reading the stories online for it’s too sad.

At times like this, I get very reflective and being a writer, I guess it’s best to write and what better place but my blog. It’s surreal because I haven’t seen Robin for many years yet in he’s so connected to me due to his close involvement in the biggest role of my career in “Hook” where he played Peter Pan and I played the punk kid who took over as leader of the Lost Boys when he left Neverland… Rufio.

Although working with him changed my life, in truth, he impacted me several years before when “Dead Poet’s Society” became one of my favorite films and really started me being interested in poetry, at which I later became a poet.

I was lucky to work with him as an actor and witness first hand the magic of what made him a legend, the wit and other worldly improv skills. As well as see him single handedly put the morale of a movie set, easily hundreds of people, on his shoulders and kept everyone laughing as they worked long hours for what seemed like months on end. And at the same time, I was fortunate to spend private times, many mornings in the makeup chair, (which with my tri-hawk hair took hours), just talking about poetry… And soft spoken and introspectively we would discuss Walt Whitman and Charles Bukowski.

With “Hook” and so many other films, I, like millions of others became a fan and was always delightfully surprised by the performances he managed to produce, but with his passing, I can’t help to feel, along with my generation… I can’t help feeling like it’s the death of my childhood. I guess we can’t stay in Neverland forever, we must all grow up.

But I just want to bid a sorrowful farewell to one of the greatest I’ve been able to work with and be around and I’ll always remember my time with you as some of the greatest moments in my life… and just like the rest of the world, I’ll remember you with joy and laughter.

O’ Captain! My Captain! See you in Neverland…

Table For One. Melbourne.

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Jet lag while traveling really sucks, my confused body, waking up way too early for no reason. One of the only perks is being able to watch the sunrise in some new city from your hotel room. As I’ve been traveling so much lately, I’ve been getting accustomed to living life on the road. One of the biggest things I’ve had to get used to is eating alone. See, I grew up in a big family, 5 brother and sisters, and number of cousins and friends that lives with us throughout my life. Never even had my own room or bed for that matter till I moved out of my parents house and even then it was house with my brothers. 
So my whole life, I’ve spent my meals amongst a feeding frenzy of friends and family. I’ve never felt comfortable eating alone, for some reason it used to make me feel sad for some reason. In fact, I used to skip meals if one or two of my brothers weren’t around to grab a bite. I’ve even went to bed some nights and in the back of my mind I thought… I forgot to do something today, and sure enough it was, I forgot to eat. That’s when I would start the conversation with myself to see if I was more tired or more hungry…
That was then and now here I am, table for one, up early, a bit jetlagged in Melbourne, watching this city wake up. Drinking an excellent cappuccino and my new favorite breakfast, sourdough toast with avocado and feta.  And I’m not sad, actually not sad in least. I actually don’t mind spending time with myself these days. I actually kinda like it sometimes. 

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Life At 30,000 Feet

Posted: May 31, 2014 in Blog
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So if you follow me on any of the social media, including this one, you can see (or read…however it goes) that I’ve been traveling a lot lately… Like a lot, a lot! I’ve been pretty much out of town (town for me is LA!) every week for the last few months. Look, I’ve traveled my fair share in life, but as of late, it’s been kinda ridiculous! I feel like a traveling salesman or like George Clooney in “Up in the Air.”
Anyhow, I’m on the plane alone for another 5 hour flight, instead of my regular travel to the East Coast, I happen to be flying west, Hawaii to be exact, Maui to be even more exact. Traveling for business as usual. Now flying as much as I have been lately, turns out that I’ve watched nearly every movie offered, at least the ones I have any interest in and I look around and have a few observations… First of which, if you travel this much, it’s kinda lonely in its own way. You spend all these hours in transit next to strangers, strangers whom you have to get used to their body scents and sometimes intense perfumes. Now sometimes I can fly first class or business, but many times, the people who fly me out don’t have that in the budget, so I’m not above flying in coach. Now in LA, we’re not accustomed to using public transit on the whole, so some rules I’m not quite sure. That awkward moment of when a piece of there body is resting or touching your body for a long period of time, like if they’re sleeping or unaware. Do you quickly move or remove their body from touching yours. Or do you simply leave it and roll with it. Furthermore, I prefer the window seat… Always the window seat. 1. I enjoy the view and being in pseudo in control of the light coming in and out of my aisle, but also, I think I have a much better handle on my bladder than most and thus can usually get through a whole 6 hour flight without having to get up and thus I don’t have to repeatedly have to get up for others to use the bathroom when I’m in the aisle.
Now, I say it’s lonely up here because ultimately you’re traveling alone. I look around the plane as we’re about to take off and everyone puts on their headphones, me included (I have the nice Bose earbuds that has noise cancellation as to insure an even more solitude trip) and people kind of zone out in their thoughts or books or video games or what not.
It’s funny how we all resort back to grade school again when the meal comes out. It’s always some substandard meal, compactly assembled in little compartments. All of us are like kids at a lunch break, huddled over our shitty little lunches, racing through the “food” to get to the desert (being a hawaii flight its chocolate covered macadamia nuts), great thing about being an adult is you can now have that accompanied with an alcoholic beverage of your choice, for some reason, when I’m on planes, I always like to have a Bloody Mary… why? I’m not sure, I rarely drink them in real life, but up here… It usually seems like a good idea.
Also, on this particular flight I opted for the row with access to the emergency exit, pretty much for the extra leg room and early access to the plane. Before we take off, the chipper stewardess gives me all the instructions incase of an emergency, emergency pretty much meaning we crash or have a crash landing, yet she’ll never say the word crash. Like everyone who sits in these seats, I nod, half listening to her… I follow her hands and actions to see the levers that need to be pulled in case of an “emergency.” This lady did give me some extra info you don’t usually get, like the door weighs like 60lbs. when you unhinge it and she wondered if I could handle that. Of course I nodded like any man and was like, “No problem…” So you know, in case of an emergency, I’m down to help get as many people to safety as possible, including myself, but you know pretty much try to get those thoughts out of my mind immediately, because if you think about all that too long while sitting on this plane, 30,000 feet in the air, you can go into a pretty dark place. I wonder how many people have sat in these emergency exit seats and then some emergency happened and they got totally shell shocked and couldn’t perform any of the duties they promised they would do…
Well, now I’m rambling… See I’m sitting in this emergency row with all my extra leg room and lucky enough to have no one sitting next to me, so I can really spread out, however, now there is definitely no chance for any conversation on this long bus ride in the sky. The movies are not an option for me. Being that we’re flying over the Pacific Ocean, there’s no wifi, so no mindless web surfing. I go back and forth from reading my book (still reading “Ready Player 1″ and it’s awesome, but I have to put it down every half hour or so) and speaking of people sitting next to you, that whole Hollywood concept of a hot chick sitting next to you on your plane flights, it doesn’t happen to me much and I fly a lot… I wonder what the actual statistics of all that is.
So instead of all that… I’m talking to you guys. I’m writing this blog offline to be posted when I land. It reminds me I have to write more, mostly because I enjoy it… I mean, I think a lot about a lot of things, I talk a fair amount with a bunch of different people, but to sit and just write it out for one reason or another is enjoyable to me.
If you’re reading this, thank you for reading, maybe someday we’ll sit in seats next to each other on a plane and keep each other company while in transit.

Having just gone through Asian Heritage Month, (for those of you that don’t know, it’s the month of May) and touring around the country speaking on the issues concerning the Asian American/Pacific Islander community, I’ve been able to have great conversations about all kinds of ideas. Talks in San Francisco to New York, from Los Angeles to Portland. And one of the ideas I want to talk about right now is the idea of the Asian Leading Man.
Now, I’m a film maker and creating characters is important to me, as both an actor and writer. But the idea of trying to prove that to others has lead me to thinking about it all in a deeper way. On the surface, the Asian community’s cry for more roles and more substantial roles is one demanding more representation and point blankly, employment in the mainstream media in which we call “Hollywood.” I would be lying if I said I did not want more opportunities to work in my given profession. I think the Asian community at large wants to see characters that resemble them more throughout film and television. This is all true and I also believe Asian leading men and leading men of all ethnicities is important, leading women too (I don’t mean to be sexist) and ultimately help in race relations in a very special way.
How I see it, when we as an audience see the film, we live out the story through the star of the movie… the “Leading Man.” In most cases it happens to be a caucasian man. When we do this, we live a whole experience through their eyes and emotions. Thus, we grow up wanting to be Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or Travolta, Eastwood the list goes on and on. You see, when we’re living out our fantasies in films, we aren’t considering race or ethnicity, we are being scared or surprised or emotionally shattered or triumphant, we’re experiencing the human condition, as if we are the “leading man” ourselves!
Being ethnic in America, we have always seen ourselves through a Euro-centric perspective, it’s the culture that America was built on, but America has gone through many changes, like the world at large. Connecting with characters and living their stories makes us better understand or even better, makes us feel for that person, or even kind of person, more.
In reality we all see ourselves like the movie stars, we have deep connections with them, because they remind us of ourselves… or our friends and family.
You ask a group of Asian friends, who in their group reminds them of Tom Cruise or Will Smith… They’ll give you one of their buddies, because we see aspects of ourselves through movie stars. We’re funny or cocky or ernest or sexy… just like the guys on the big screen.
The problem for Asians in American media, is there isn’t enough representation out there. The predominant amount of rolls depicted of Asians in the media still circle around the old played out stereo types. We can all name them… The nerdy, heavily accented, kung fu master! Look, I’m not saying there isn’t any truth in the stereotypes, all these exist in the Asian American community and I’m not trying to protest any of these characters, I’m trying to include all the other attributes we have and pressing forward to help create more Asian Leading Men. Because you see, when we can live adventures and fantasies through others that may be Asian or Black or Latino, we actually humanize each other, we realize that we all react to things in very similar ways. We are scared shitless when being attacked by someone with a mask on in the middle of the night in the woods or proud when we have saved the world or saddened to tears when we come into the room a second too late to save the life of your one true love.
So yes, one of my goals is to help create the Asian American genre and help create many Asian leading men and women… I don’t know if it will change the world… But it won’t hurt it.

Hope you had a happy “Asian Heritage Month.”

The Cosplay Ball

Posted: April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

As I’m on this plane to Chicago, already embarking on my next event. I needed to write a little about what just happened last night. See last night, still fresh on the minds of some of those who were there and fresh online, across several post on instagram and tumblr, was an event that we threw called, the Cosplay Ball.
A few months ago, I had an idea to throw a party for all of the wonderful people I’ve met online and throughout the comic convention world. We put a team together, including friends in the industry, Bryce Papenbrook and Giancarlo Volpe and we called ourselves, Fandom Society. We decided to throw a big party and have everyone dress up in cosplay, including ourselves and just have a big get together or hangout. One of our partners, Rob Valletta, got us one of the biggest clubs in Hollywood, the Supper Club and along with our other partners, Sammy and Snejana we found the most amazing interns and we set off to make this all happen. And last night it went down!
Honestly, we sort of just jumped into it and was off running getting things set up and making cosplay outfits, but somewhere in the middle of preparations and me going in and out of town so much, I didn’t know how this would all turn out. I wanted to make a cool event that people would come to and hopefully have a good time. There’s nothing that makes me more nervous than throwing a party and wondering if anyone is going to show up!
But last night, we packed the Supper Club and nearly everyone was dressed up. I was so happy with the turnout and the fact that so many came repping their fandom with top notch cosplay. All the people that came were amazing, but also all my friends from the industry that showed up and hung out. Shout out to Kevin Michael Richardson, Jack DeSena, Greg Finley, Laura Landa, Adrianne Curry and creator of Avatar the Last Airbender, Bryan Konietzko (even he dressed up in Fire Nation garb… I’m so impressed) Part of my underground agenda was creating a place to hang with fans and celebs, not unlike a con, but taking down the wall between, us and them. Literally throw a club for the geekdom… and I think it worked.
So some highlights from last night… The early meet and greet, we were just packed in there early, just casually having drinks and talking to everyone. We had a fun photo wall set up so everyone can take pics in front of it, a little touch of Hollywood red carpet. A great live stream with Mike Capes, great interviews with all kinds of folks in the house. Then as Giancarlo, Bryce and myself welcomed everyone and set the party off, the big red curtains opened the aerial show began. Throughout the night several performers descended from the hundred foot ceiling, including, Catwomen, Spiderman, Wonder Women and a certain Fire Lord before a dj set. The Megas performed to the crowd rockin out, even screamed for an encore. And my friend AJ Rafael came in to do a Disney medley as the whole house sang along with all the songs. I ended up breaking in and doing a Fire Nation remix on “Let It Go”. Ummm… what else happened? Oh yeah, somehow, we ended having a dance circle and soul train line.
I’m sure I’m missing so many things… If you were there, help me out and add to this in the comments.
All I can say is although it was our first time doing this and there are a bunch of things for us to work out when we do this again somewhere in the world… it was perfect. I’m still a bit exhausted from all the hard work and the little sleep and cramped on this plane heading from sunny California to the bitterly cold Chicago, but last night we did it you guys… We really pulled this off.
My last shout out is to the girls that interned for us, you guys worked your asses off and this success was your success too. So thank you Haley, Alexa, Jen, Vivian, Sophie and TIffany.

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Thoughts While Traveling… New York.

Posted: March 12, 2014 in Blog
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So as I travel around this country… and this world, I always get this feeling, or have this thought… that I’m walking around some Hollywood set filled with extras and store fronts filled with props and what not of life going on. It’s always amazing for me to see a whole city of people… millions upon millions of people… who don’t give one second of thought about what’s going on in LA.
See, I’m from LA, and well, you may be from whatever city you’re from, but sometimes, being where we’re from, we sometimes get caught up that our city and our world, or just us, as individuals are the center of the universe… There’s nothing like traveling and getting lost in the sea of people, a new surrounding, landscape, not comfortable to you and witnessing people, literally not giving a shit about any of the happenings of where you call home.
Refreshing really… Sometimes I get caught up so much in what I’m trying to accomplish for myself and my family and friends, its great sometimes to just see some people in the middle of the night, laughing, in the lower East Side, Village, laughing, randomly dribbling a basketball somebody pulled out of someones trunk of the car and others exclaiming what they go to do next time they get on the court. Laughs and smiles… Wearing winter coats and scarves they actually need to use to keep warm, not just some accessory some Los Angelino, like myself would wear to accentuate an outfit, but an actual necessary article of clothing to protect them from the harsh wind that cuts through thin collars.
Traveling… Sometimes it’s good to be introspective and take stock of who you are and other times it’s good to get out of your space to see the world move and breathe on its own… at least it’s good for me.

As winter melts into spring… and I know, I live in LA so not much snow here. But recently, I was in the Toronto area, in the Great North… Canadia, and my thought as school let out and I saw the buses open the doors to elementary school kids walking around in subzero weather, was that all these kids are tougher than almost everyone in Los Angeles, for conditions like this would surely shut this city down. But as we get close to time miraculously jumping forward making our days longer, warmer, I’m particularly looking forward to it this year. I don’t know… it’s Spring, a rebirth for everyone and I like to think that anything is possible. I guess, anything is always possible in this town, where people are discovered everyday, overnight sensations happen some nights and great comebacks, well, comeback with a bang! But somehow in Spring it feels even more possible, it’s like Mother Earth herself is giving us a little help. So, I’m not ashamed to say as Spring comes… I’m hopeful. Excited to see what’s around the next corner, the longer days inspire me to work out a little more, jump on the back of my motorcycle, spend more time outdoors and maybe all the hard work done in the cold of winter will sprout the new life in the Spring… I would say this feeling is worth the hour less of sleep I’ll lose in the morning.