Wednesday, May 30, 2007

APEX: Imagine

By Ernie Hsiung and Min Jung Kim

Ernie and MJ go to the NAAAP National Conference and AMMY Awards in 2000.

MJ: It’s true! Can you believe it? Me and Ernie from the II stix crew drove down to L.A. to attend the NAAAP National Conference and the AMMY awards!

“Ahh the memories… from the corners of my mind… scattered pictures, of the way we were...”

Ernie: Aaaah, the road trip. There’s something special about getting into an automobile and going on long extended trips. You get to blast the music in your car, and there’s something about the road trip that gives you the right to eat bags and bags of Doritos and wash it down with a sports drink. I mean, who drinks sport drinks anyways? Certainly not after playing sports. I mean, jeezus, that shit is like berry-flavored piss water. But I digress.

MJ: Yeah… right, anyways.

Friday
The Road Trip

MJ: Off to a late start, I’m stuck in traffic heading down to Santa Clara to pick Ernie’s punk ass up after work. After arriving at his office, we decide to chow down on some chow fun and avoid the deadly traffic. Turns out I gotta go back with him to his house so he can pack. Ahem.

Ernie: “I’m a guy, it only takes me 15 minutes to pack… PROMISE!”
Me: “Ok, dude.”

He packs, calls mommy, and I play with his pussy cat. Over 30 minutes it takes… the lying big ass punk.

Ernie: “Hey Min Jung, how should I pack this hair gel?” (Ernie holds up a economy size 40 ounce bottle of hair gel, slightly larger than a toaster oven)?
MJ: “OH HELL NO you’re not bringing that” (finds some travel sized bottles of shampoo, stolen from a cheap hotel)! “Bring this instead dumbass.”
Ernie: “Wow, you’re good!”
MJ: “Hey, no problem” (dumbass).

Finally we leave.

MJ: Time whips by as we talk about sexuality, dating, stupid celebs, what we should do, how should we dress, how ghetto fabulous we should be, and how we’re such tremendously huge dorks and should disguise ourselves as some other lame ass publication. Damn, don’t you wish you were a fly on the ceiling during our drive down?

A little thing that everyone knows about Ernie… he’s gay. A little thing that few people know about Ernie… he dehydrates like a mofo. Guzzling water like a madman.

Ernie: What? I get thirsty.

MJ: The air gets progressively thicker from the smog as you approach L.A. Other drivers make you feel like you belong in Special Ed if you’re not going at least 80 down the freeway.

Finally, we arrive and crash at my friend’s house.

At this point, we don’t mind the fact that we’re sleeping in the same bed cause they’re short on space there. We crash hard. Monster zzz’s.

Ernie: Yeah baby, that’s right. I slept with Min Jung. How many people can say that, huh Min Jung (insert evil, evil grin here)?

MJ: The next morning, my first reaction while in bed and staring at the ceiling… “OH MY GOD! I SLEPT WITH ERNIE!”

Ernie: Oh whatever. You were smoking a cigarette and I had my Hugh Heffner smoking jacket on, “Mrs. Robinson” playing in the background. Okay… no… not really.

With large Asian conventions, I can expect one of two things, it’s gonna be a room full of Asian yuppies, or a room full of Asian thugs. So what do I wear? Fuck. What to do, what to do? I end up wearing a Hawaiian shirt and baggy cargo pants. Great. I look like a trendy white guy. I can get dirty looks from both the yuppies and the ruffnecks. Everyone wins. Min Jung of course, looks stunning in her red shiny shirt. Corporate enough, but definately sexy. Did I tell you I slept with her? Haha. Good.

MJ: Shit. Well, I lost at paper, rock, scissors, so I had to be the yuppie and Ernie got to wear the Hawaiian shirt. Wait a sec… I guess I won huh?

Ernie: Hey, when Min Jung goes sexy corporate style, everyone wins. Everyone.

Entertainment Panel I

MJ: We quickly dress, pack up our gear, and jet to the hotel. Ack, we missed the opening speech. Desperate in search of coffee and eats, we take a minute to decide between a workshop session and Food. Okay okay, we’ll hit the panel this time. Sheesh (stomach growling).

The first panel discussed Asian Americans behind the scenes in the Entertainment biz. Ok, first thing to note about this conference… everything was all show biz or lame. Some were a combo of the two. This panel however, was actually pretty interesting because it discussed the demographics of Asian Americans in the biz, who’s got the power, who’s got the ducats, and who’s wielding it.

Many of the comments made were of the, “Well, yeah, we need to do this, and we need to do that blah blah blah.” Panel speakers included Quan Phung of Comedy Central, Janet Yang, Jeff Yang, and Fritz Friedman who kept plugging Cape at http://www.cape-usa.com. Hey, Ernie, I thought you were taking notes on this?

Ernie: Who me?

MJ: Sigh. We suck at this. So what’s next (stomach still growling)? Ok, session or food? Using our gut journalistic instincts, we flip a coin and go for some buttery hashbrowns, sausage, coffee, and a bagel.

Ernie: Hey, what’s next on the schedule?

MJ: Hmm… let me check… Uh oh…

Ernie: What?

MJ: Lunch.

Ernie: Aaaah, the lunch panel. On the panel… the Indian guy, Anjul Nigam, that had a bit role on ER, Tamilyn Tomita from the Joy Luck Club, Marie Martiko from the Art of War, James Hong (aka Raiden from Big Trouble Little China), and some older women with bleached blonde hair who played on Broadway. Very highbrow, very Joan Collins from Dynasty.

The topic: Asian Americans in the media. Like you didn’t see that shit coming from a million miles away.

Now the panel moderator was obviously looking for a particular statement, like “Asians are not seen in the media and we need to do something about it.” Mind you, I agree with that statement, but in a day-long conference with every single cookie-cutter Asian person saying the exact same thing? That shit gets old, yo. Which is probably why an evil smile crossed my face when Asian Joan Collins nuzzled up to the microphone and said something to this effect, “Politics should NEVER interfere with art. If a white man plays an Asian man and he does a good job, THAT IS FINE.”

The “THAT IS FINE” comment could have been “FUCK YOU ALL,” the way the shocked audience reacted to that statement. I swear to God, I almost expected Amanda from Melrose Place to come out from backstage and wrestle her into a swimming pool.

I would have started clapping because she had the cajones to say this to a bunch of Asian sheep, but I would have been the only person and I didn’t want II stix to be known as “iistix.com, a bunch of non-politically correct assholes.”

MJ: Ok, they actually started serving us food as Kozmo boy Joe Park took his turn to speak. For some reason, they had given me some sort of beef (I hope) strip on top of baked beans with a side of bok choy. WTF? Who picked this menu? Good lord. This is so wrong. Thank goodness for the hashbrowns from before. Anyway, back to Joe Park.

His speech was mostly a personal sharing of his dilemma about telling his parents that he wanted to be an entrepreneur and bagged his whole super yuppy job at Goldman Sachs and how he’d been inspired by an issue of Fortune Magazine covering Amazon. Apparently, Bezos knocked his pants off in his stereotype of online entrepreneurs.

He then shared how he told his parents that he quit his job to kick up Kozmo… “Pass the Kimchi… I quit Goldman.”

Wow, if Kozmo weren’t on fuckedcompany.com every day, I’d say that move took monster cajones and the utter lack of grace that I find so oddly endearing. Afterwards, his mom wouldn’t stop calling to nag him (ahh… Korean moms are so damn good at this).

Stay for the next session or check out the career fair?

Ernie: Career fair? Oh yeah, that… ok…

MJ: After about 10 minutes cruising through the job fair, we decided to walk outside and pimp out some more II stix postcards and stickers. Thank goodness for nicotine.

Entertainment Panel II

MJ: Now actually, we were pretty lucky that we made it back in time from our smokes to catch this one. Me with my journalistic ballsiness made my way up front past a whole bunch of pissed looking chicks cause I had the press pass. On this panel were Lisa Ling, Rick Yune, Garrett Wang, Rosalind Chao and Tim Lounibos. The panel was more about APAs in front of the camera, the roles that they play, their reactions to them, and to others in the industry.

Of note, Rick Yune used the term “playa hata.” No joke.

After a brief break to go grab a change of clothes and freshen up, we head to the VIP Lounge which smells just a little too much like a Korean Club since the corporate sponsor is Hennessy.

Ernie: Min Jung is amazingly good at hobknobing with celebrities. I mean, they’re regular people just like you and me, right? Of course. The mom from Joy Luck is just chatting away with Min Jung. “Oh, I don’t use the Internet,” she says to MJ. “I’m too scared of it.” Min Jung gives her a II stix post card anyway, and she puts it in her pocket. It’s probably used as birdcage liner or something.

MJ: Awww man, she was totally cool. She was kinda grumpy though since she was hungry and there wasn’t any proper eats in the VIP lounge.

Ernie: My friend Ray is along for the ride. He’s just noddin and smiling, soaking it all in. We see a voluptuous girl with a mind-numbingly low cut dress taking pictures with some asian guy.

“Dude, I think that’s an Asian porn star.”
“You sure?” I ask.
“Yeah, I think so. Think her name is Miya or something.”

Turns out that Miya the porn star is actually Miya the news anchorwoman for one of the TV Stations in LA. Haha. Me on the other hand, I’m trippin. I’ve never seen the Art of War, but I still manage to fuck up an interview with Marie Martiko. We brought a voice recorder, and after replaying the messages to myself, I realize that my voice is shriller than hers.

A second interview with Dante Bosco (aka Rufio from Hook) went a lot smoother, because one, MJ was with me, and two, I knew that he played a gay wrestler going through don’t-be-gay rehab in the movie “But I’m a Cheerleader.”

“So, how did you get involved with that movie?” I ask.

I look over to MJ. She is smitten over him.

MJ: Whatevers you punk ass. 

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