Have You Heard The News? Recent Updates

November 29, 2009 at 7:36 am 7 comments

Nick Cheung Ka-Fei shoots straight, The Beast Stalker, 2009

A few quick updates to some previous posts. Nick Cheung Ka-Fei has just won another Best Actor statue (along with co-winner Huang Bo) for his role in The Beast Stalker, this time at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, which is the fancy-schmancy Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars. Nick’s been cleaning up lately, award-wise, and can add his latest accolade to the Best Actor trophies he garnered at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards and the Hong Kong Film Critics’ Society Awards, as well as nods at a bunch of film festivals.

Nick Cheung & Huang Bo, co-Best Actors, Golden Horse Awards, 2009

Nick is a long-time Hong Kong movie vet who started out as a Stephen Chow Sing-Chi wannabe back in the 90s and who has since evolved into an intense and serious actor, most notably in Johnnie To’s crime dramas Exiled and Election 1 & 2. An interesting sidenote: Nick’s been very up front about his struggle with clinical depression, which is kinda cool in the ultra-image-conscious world of Hong Kong cinema.

Pahole Sookkasikon, Mr. Hyphen 2009

As of a couple weeks ago, my homeboy Pahole Sookkasikon is the newly crowned Mr. Hyphen 2009. Sponsored by Hyphen Magazine, the Asian American publication and website, the competition is more than just a beauty pageant—judges look at the entrants’ commitment to community service and dedication to la causa. However, the contest also includes a talent portion and a sleepwear competition, so it’s not only about righteous public service. Pahole left the opposition in the dust with his awesome talent presentation, a mind-blowing Muy Thai/disco diva mashup. He also nailed the Q&A section, giving props to the Asian American sistas who have inspired him as an Asian American male.

In addition to being an activist and artist, Pahole’s a grad student (and my former TA) in SF State’s Asian American Studies Department. This year’s first runner-up, Tony Douangviseth, is also a former SFSU AAS student, so AAS now has official bragging rights to the two smartest, slickest, most dedicated Asian American males in the Bay Area.

Detail of large poster

Detail of text overlay on poster (concept), Lord, It’s The Samurai, 2009

And asiansart.org, the collective responsible for this summer’s smash hit intervention, Lord, It’s The Samurai, had a little dustup at the deYoung Museum last Friday when they attempted to show artifacts from the project at the museum’s latest Friday night event. Apparently after the group spent most of the afternoon installing its exhibit, at the last minute functionaries from the deYoung severely censored asiansart’s presentation. This took place while the deYoung people were in phone consultation with their counterparts at the Asian Art Museum, which was the hapless target of the original intervention this summer. More details to be found here on their blog, but it sounds like the cabal of museum administrators protected their own interests at the expense of freedom of expression. Not a pretty thing to do to working Asian American artists, especially by an institution that mounted last year’s outstanding show, Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents. Shame on the deYoung for caving to peer pressure at the expense of provocative and important art—I expected better.

Francis Ng’s jawline, with gun, Fierce West Wind

And once again, just because I can, here’s a picture of Francis Ng looking coy, from his upcoming new cowboy flick, Fierce West Wind (aka Four Fantastic Detectives), directed by Gao Qunshu, which is expected to hit screens all over Asia in spring 2010. Gao’s last effort, The Message, was the box office champ over the National Day weekend in China this past October, and one of its stars, Li Bing Bing, took home the Best Actress crown at this weekend’s Golden Horse Awards. An intense little slice of World War II espionage, The Message features patriotism, backstabbing, intrigue, and a healthy dollop of psychosexual torture, including a couple of excruciating scenes of forceful coercion with a smiling and sinister acupuncturist named Mr. Six. It also introduced me to a new favorite actor, the smoking hot Zhang Hanyu, who plays a soldier turned spy. Looking forward to seeing his award-winning turn in Assembly, which should arrive on my doorstep any day now.

Zhang Hanyu burns it up

UPDATE: Pahole Sookkasikon has gone viral in an interview published by the Associated Press about Mr. Hyphen, community service, and Asian American masculinity. Go Pahi!

UPDATE 2: Here’s a video of Pahole’s talent presentation at Mr. Hyphen, which combines Thai martial arts, disco disco, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. To see Pahole’s amusing introduction go here.

Entry filed under: activism, francis ng, hong kong, interventionism, movies, nick cheung ka-fai, social practice, Uncategorized, visual art. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ewaffle  |  November 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    The deYoung/Asian Art Musuem combined censorship of the asianarts.org juried exhibit seems, in addition to censorship, outright sabotage by waiting as long as they did to demand crippling changes in the already hung work.

    Although it probably isn’t sabotage but just boneheaded institutional bias since they would have to be organized to actively sabotage the exhibit while simply being base and unworthy of public trust is enough reason to censor.

    On a happier note, congrats to Pahole Sookkasikon, Clearly you have a knack for picking assistants as he does for chosing a mentor.

    • 2. valeriesoe  |  November 30, 2009 at 4:56 am

      Although it probably isn’t sabotage but just boneheaded institutional bias since they would have to be organized to actively sabotage the exhibit.

      I think this is the case—I doubt the deYoung was malevolently plotting to undermine the exhibit from the start. I think they just chickened out.

      Clearly you have a knack for picking assistants as he does for chosing a mentor.

      Aw, thanks! Or just dumb luck on my part–

  • 3. Marie  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Now that Nick Cheung keeps winning awards for serious roles, I need to see some of them. I was less than impressed with his attempts as a Stephen Chow wannabe. I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised. But where to start?

    Thanks for another look at Francis Ng. I started watching Triumph in the Sky today and I have to say his hairstyle deserves an acting credit all its own. It has to be one of the most wacky hairstyles on a serious actor I’ve ever seen. I would have loved to see Francis’ reaction when the barber turned him around in the chair to let him see his “do” in the mirror for the first time. 🙂

    • 4. valeriesoe  |  November 30, 2009 at 5:02 am

      Now that Nick Cheung keeps winning awards for serious roles, I need to see some of them. . . . But where to start?

      Nick is excellent in Exiled, which if you haven’t seen it you need to. Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Roy Cheung & Lam Suet top the bill, plus Simon Yam, Josie Ho and Nick in supporting roles. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

      Nick is also good in Election 1 (less so in Part 2) and was supposedly good in Breaking News, although I can’t remember since the handheld camerawork made me too nauseous to properly watch the movie. He’s also very good in On The Edge, where he plays an cop who has to readjust to being a policeman after years undercover as a triad. Francis & Anthony are both in that one, too, and they’re all great. And Nick is also pretty good in The Beast Stalker, thought the movie itself is somewhat flawed.

      It has to be one of the most wacky hairstyles on a serious actor I’ve ever seen.

      Apparently Francis designed that hairstyle himself and while it’s very distracting at first, it seems to fit the character pretty well. I loved Triumph In The Skies, btw, and blogged about it here. I’m not a big fan of Asian dramas (they take too long to watch!) but I’ve seen three that Francis has been in (The Great Adventurer, TITS, and Healing Souls) and Triumph in the Skies is by far the best one. Though Francis is the most dashing in The Great Adventurer and has the best wardrobe in Healing Souls
      ; P

      Francis Ng, tailored, The Great Adventurer, 2005

      Francis Ng, tailored, The Great Adventurer, 2005

      francis hipster
      Francis Ng, hipster, Healing Souls, 2008

      • 5. Marie  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm

        The funny thing is that I watched Exiled and Election 1, and I remember seeing the other actors you list…but not Nick Cheung. Hum. Maybe he was a little overshadowed by the august company he shared the screen with in those 2 films? Well, I’ve got a copy of Exiled and plan to rewatch it during the holidays. I’ll keep an eye out for Nick Cheung and see if he makes more of an impression now.

  • 6. pah  |  November 30, 2009 at 5:44 am

    val, i never knew i was a “homeboy.” from this point on, my relationship with you has hit a definite milestone. sessy politics dear professor.

    • 7. valeriesoe  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      Now that I’m reading your thesis you’re my bff


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