Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | pop culture
177
archive,tag,tag-pop-culture,tag-177,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-11.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1.1,vc_responsive

Giant Robot features the works of cutting-edge Asian and Asian American artistsHow cool is this? The March 16 visualizAsian.com show is going to be a conversation with Eric Nakamura, the owner, publisher and co-editor of Giant Robot magazine. Our call with Eric will be at 6 pm PT on Tuesday, March 16! From movie stars, musicians, and skate-boarders to toys, technology, and history, Giant Robot magazine covers cool aspects of Asian and Asian-American pop culture. Paving the way for less knowledgeable media outlets, Eric put the spotlight on Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li years before they were in mainstream America's vocabulary. Although Giant Robot has an Asian pop culture focus, it has earned a loyal readership of all colors. The readers are about half-Asian and half-not. Under Eric's leadership the magazine consistently has featured superior editorial content, innovative design, and a no-holds-barred attitude, garnering Giant Robot notoriety across a diverse crowd ranging from high schoolers to senior citizens. The magazine's graphic sensibility has featured a slew of artists who have gone on to fame in the art world. The magazine's popularity even led to the opening of Giant Robot retail stores, selling the kinds of cool products that the magazine writes about.

The brother and sister team of Tammy and Victor Jih were winners of season 14 of It's been a few weeks since this happened; I meant to write about it earlier, but better late than never, right? Asian Americans are finally getting more exposure on the TV screen, both in roles that don't require FoB accents (that's "fresh of the boat," for those of you new to the expression), and also in reality TV shows. Apolo Anton Ohno and Kristi Yamaguchi were "Dancing with the Stars" champions (and Carrie Ann Inaba is the best of the show's three judges). Each of the three seasons of "America's Best Dance Crew" has seen groups with mostly Asian American members as its champions. Yul Kwon beat out competitors to win "Survivor: Cook Islands." (Yul will be a guest on visualizAsian.com's AAPI Empowerment Series on June 9.) Now, congratulations are due to the Chinese American brother-and-sister team of Tammy and Victor Jih for being crowned champions of "The Amazing Race 14."

muckeyrooney-mryunioshiAudrey Hepburn, one of the great, classic actresses of Hollywood of the '50s and '60s, may have died in 1993, but she's alive and well in American pop culture. Her name, and the 1961 film with which her face is most associated, "Breakfast at Tiffany's," came up in conversation a couple of weeks ago, and coincidentally, a TV series' plot later that week involved three women dressed as Hepburn's character from "Tiffany's," Holly Golightly, robbing a bank with her trademark sunglasses hiding their identity. This week, The Gap began airing a pretty cool TV commercial that takes a Hepburn dance sequence from her 1957 musical co-starring Fred Astaire, "Funny Face," and sets her moves to AC-DC's "Back in Black." The commercial is pushing the retailer's new line of skinny black pants. Hepburn's character, a Greenwich Village beatnik who becomes a Paris model, is wearing hip skinny black pants in the dance scene.

One of my ongoing passions is pondering the passing of pop culture references. Baby boomers have lived through decades of new hip phrases -- for instance, the hip word for "good" has evolved every few years, from "cool" to "groovy" to "far out" (thanks to John Denver for killing that one off by using it too much) to "excellent" to "bad" to "tight" to other words and phrases.Young people are constantly introducing new words and bringing new meanings to old words. That's a part of the evolution of culture and language.