Minneapolis Asian Arts Club?

I am contemplating creating a Asian Arts Club in the Minneapolis area – I wonder if there is anyone who would be interested in joining.  I would like to meet once or twice a month, to enjoy various movies/television shows and music or just about anything to do with South Asian culture (As discussed here on Daydreaming Lotus. ie: Korea, Japan, China, India) I’d be open to other cultures too.  I think it would be interesting.  I wonder if I can drum up some interest?

Long time no post!

I’m sorry about my extended absense.  Cold weather means no internet for me, so I only get online during the weekends.  I just thought I’d share my Bolly-tastic Halloween costume with you all!  Vah! When did a Bollywood star arrive at the party?  j/k

Mubarak ho!

Ha-ppy anniversary, ha-ppy anniversary, ha-ppy anniversary HAAAAAPY anniversary!

It’s my Bolly-versary today!  One year ago today I received Om Shanti Om in the mail from Netflix and subsequently became obsessed with all things Bollywood.  If I had a large readership I would consider having a give-away or something.  Instead I’ll post some pics along with my updated film list!  How exciting!

I don’t know if Om Shanti Om is really a good beginner Bollywood film.  It’s very reference heavy and has lots of inside jokes and things that are probably hard to understand, but I loved it. I recall thinking “Who is this guy?  He’s the main actor in this film, he is kind of odd looking isn’t he?”  I’ve become such a huge Shah Ruk Khan fan in the interum now that I can’t quite imagine not loving him.  I mean, I loved him by the end of Om Shanti Om.   With the great musical numbers, great action scenes and funny, quippy dialogue I knew I had stumbled across something amazing.  I kept Om Shanti Om for nearly a week, watching and re-watching the picturizations and immediately ordered a copy for myself.  (No, I did not support piracy and bought the official version.)  I’ve since watched it several more times (Maybe not start to finish as is proper, but jumping around from scene to scene as I felt like.)  and I’ve come to appreciate so much more about this movie than I did as a complete newbie.  I reckognize new tongue-in-cheek jokes and references to older films.  I still want to see the three movies that are represented in Dhoom Taana.  I know now that the scene in the tent where SRK is overheard saying “No ma’am, in friendship there are no sorries, no thank you’s” is a quote from Main Pyar Kya.  (My first Salman Khan film btw and my favorite, it was all down-hill there for me with Sallu-uncle I’m afraid)  I also recognize all of the people featured in Deewangi Deewangi.  I sometimes am surprised that I was able to follow and understand Om Shanti Om as much as I did when I was such a newcomer to the genre and culture.  I’ve covered a lot of ground in the last year.  I wouldn’t say I’ve dipped my toe in the water of southie films, but rather sniffed the air.  I have so many others films from Bollywood to watch on top of my first loves of Korean/Japanese and Chinese stuff too.  Not enough time to cover them all!   Here is my list of stuff I’ve managed to see so far.  It’s slightly incomplete because I totally spaced when I started renting from the local library and forgot to track what I was watching. (T__T) (Jenna is crying twin waterfalls! – If you get this joke kudos to you) So, I’m sure I’ve missed a few here or there. But, this is the majority list.  I’d celebrate my other anniversaries, but I can’t particularly pin-point when I fell in love with the other cultures.

1942: A Love Story

36 China Town

8 X 10 Tasveer

Aa Ab Laut Chalen

Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage

Ahista Ahista

Aitraaz

Andaaz

Asoka

Baabul

Baadshah

Beta

Bhool Bhulaiyaa

Bobby

Bommarillu (S.)

Bombay to Bangkok

Boothnath

Bunty Aur Babli

Chak De! India

Chalte Chalte

Chandni Chowk to China

Chori Chori

Chori Chori Chupke Chupke

Chup Chup Ke

De Taali

Deewane Huye Paagal

Deewar

Delhi 6

Devdas

Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke

Dhoom

Dhoom 2

Dil

Dil Chahta Hai

Dil Hai Tumhaara

Dil Maange More

Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa

Dil Se

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Don (2006)

Don (1978)

Dor

Dostana

Drona

Dus

Eklavya

Fanaa

Fashion

Fiza

Gadaar

Golmaal: Fun Unlimited

Guru

Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya

Heyy Babyy

Hulchul

Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain

Home Delivery

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Hum Kisise Kum Nahim

Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam

Humko Deewana Kar Gaye

Humraaz

I See You

Immaan Dharam

International Khiladi

Iqbal

Ishq

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Jaan-E-Maan

Jab We Met

Jeans

Jewel Theif

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

Jodhaa Akbar

Kal Ho Naa No

Kaminey

Kambakkht Ishq

Karan Arjun

Karz

Khakee

Khiladi

Kidnap

Kismat Konnection

Kisna

Koi..Mil Gaya

Koyla

Krrish

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamaana

Kyun! Ho Gaya Na

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag

Laagan

Ladie Taylor

Lage Raho Munna Bhai

Lakshya

Love Aaj Kal

Love Story 2050

Luck By Chance

Lucky: No Time For Love

Main Hoon Na

Main Khiladi Tu Anari

Maine Prem Ki Diwani Hoon

Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya

Maine Pyaar Kiya

Mann

Mission Istaanbul

Mission Kashmir

Monsoon Wedding

Mr. India

Mujhse Dosti Karogi

Mujhse Shaadi Karogi

Munna Bhai

Musafir

Na Tum Jaano Na Hum

Naksha

Namastey London

Nayak: The Real Hero

Om Jai Jagadish

Om Shanti Om

Omkara

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

Padayappa (S.)

Paheli

Parineeta

Partner

Phirl Milenge

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

Rakht

Race

Ram Jaane

Rangeela

Rock On!!

Saawariya

Salaam-E-Ishq

Sarkar Raj

Shaan

Sholay

Sorry Bhai!

Sunday

Swades

Ta Ra Rum Pum

Taal

Tashan

The Hero

The Mistress of Spices

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

Umrao Jaan

Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi!

Veer-Zaara

Vivah

Welcome

Yaadein

Taadon Ki Baaraat

Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke

Yes Boss

Zamaana Deewana

Zanjeer

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind Bolly-year.  Hopefully there are many more to come!  I’m looking forward to Wanted and Dil Bole Hadippa in theaters in the next couple weeks.  I also am looking forward to my Sonu Niigam concert.  Hopefully it will actually happen this time!  I’m heading to my room to watch Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and possibly, in celebration (if I can stay awake) Om Shanti Om.

Tip of the iceburg? Down? Maybe?

Tip of the iceburg? Down? Maybe?

Chak De Phatte!

Last night was the most fun I’ve had all year long!  I went with my new friend Sita-Ji and her buddy to club Envy last night.  Nasha Entertainment was holding a Desi party.  I’ve not really been clubbing before.  Once, in place that was more of a bar I celebrated a friend/co-workers birthday, but there weren’t many dancers and my mom was there…   So, in many ways last night was full of firsts.  First time partying in downtown Minneapolis, first time going to a club, and first time dancing in a big crowd.  Oh, but was it fun!  Aside from the one guy who moved in with out any subtlety and stared at me intensely for awhile before I ran scared for the other room, I had a blast.  I’m grateful to Sita-ji and her friend for accompaning me.  I had entirely too much fun.  We met a man who was there for business from Mumbai whose name I think is spelled Babi…  I had the hardest time hearing anything over the pulsating punjab beats and fun Bollywood numbers.  I think I surprised him with how well I could sing along with the music.  There was great music, I knew about 50% of the songs, and the rest I would LOVE to find out what they were and listen to them when I can hear more than the dhol.  But, he invited me out on the dance floor and I danced with him, Sita-ji and his friends for awhile and we shifted around a lot.   There were a lot of people there enjoying themselves and it was nice to kind of let loose and just enjoy myself.  I woke up excited and sore this morning, well before I probably should have considering how late I stayed out…  I wasn’t planning to take pictures and didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t want the extra weight in my pocket, but I wish I could have taken a picture of the bartender – he looked like he could have been Abhishek Bachchans brother.   So cute!  I know I’ll be going to the next one!  When is it??!

(I’ll post a link to the photos that Nasha will put up because I’m pretty sure I’m in a bunch of them..  (*>__<*) ::blush::  Oh well…)

If you live in Minneapolis/the suburbs you should come join us!

Whee! (Love Aaj Kal anyone?)

Whee! (Love Aaj Kal anyone?)

Festival of Nations

It might be a little late but I am going to report on the Festival of Nations that took place over a month ago already.  (Where is my time going this year?!)  I had a lot of fun, but because of poor scheduling on my part I had to leave pretty early and missed out on a lot.  I didn’t realize until we were leaving there was a big stage upstairs with even more dance performances and I would have liked to see some of the different cultural dances.

That's me in my new Hindustani ear-rings.

That's me in my new Hindustani ear-rings.

I had fun watching a performance of Sa Re Ke Sa Re and the lovely woman directing the children on stage had the audience singing along with her.  I’ll upload the video when I get a chance.

Singing time!

Singing time!

It  was fun, but there was a kind of creepy looking gauri guy in the back of the group.  He was kind of odd and didn’t smile or anything…  I guess it just threw me off.  If he was smiling and acting jovial I’d have been ok with him, but when he was kind of grumpy/emotional/whatever I think he should have stayed off the stage.

After we watched this my friend and I wandered into the cafe area and kind of made pigs out of ourselves.  I had a small piece of lefse, which when I moved to Florida I didn’t realize how specific to MN and northern-European heritage this treat was!  I was happy to have a little taste of my childhood.  By far my favorite thing there was my yummy samosa with mint chutney.  Mmm.  I bought some mint chutney at the Indian market yesterday, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it since I can’t make samosas (yet), but I’ll find something to put it on and make tasty.  I wanted to get mendhi done next, but there was a long line and I had to be back out in the suburbs to meet someone to go back into the city for a Twins game.  ::sigh:: I’ll have to plan for a longer trip next year.  Maybe I’ll see if they need some volunteers. That would be fun.

There was a really cute Pakistani guy that my friend and I were sad we didn’t notice before I bought my samosa because he was peddling the same thing and it would have given us a chance to chit-chat.  Oh well.  Anyway, if you have a chance to next year you should go check it out – they are open for three days and have great cultural performances going on all day.  I have to get off the interwebs because I’m on the porch and a storm is rolling in!  Have a great week – maybe I’ll make it out to this next weekend:

Very Exciting!

Very Exciting!

I wonder what the dress code is?  Do I have to have a sari?  Hm… chances of me going seem less and less if that’s the case.  But, it does sound like a heck of a lot of fun!

I was re-born last night.

Into an On Joo-Wan fan.  I watched My Mighty Princess and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was overwhelmingly taken in by On Joo-Wan.  I adore him.  (I also love the fact that I’m lucky enough to fall for someone older than me for once; even if it is only 20 days older…)  I was mostly struck by his versatility.  He was vulnerable, adorable, charming and tormented all in a short period of time.  I know that the movie was supposed to be about So-Hui and her struggle to be normal, but in all that struggling I fell head over heals with the show stealer that is On Joo-Wan.  Why isn’t he in a lot of dramas and getting tons of attention?  I don’t understand this.  My next post will be an actual review of this movie.  But, for now, here is lot’s of Joo-Wan! 🙂

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

Xi Nian Kuai Le!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!  Although I didn’t have the money to truly celebrate the holiday this year, I made sure to check my horoscope and wish everyone a happy new year.

(My Zodia = The Pig)

(My Zodiac = The Pig)

In Chinese culture, the lunar new year is much more prominent.  In fact, the calendar new year is hardly noted and only some people actually celebrate it.  During new years the elders hand out lai see (red envelopes) of money to the youngsters in their family. Traditionally they also light fireworks in order to scare of bad spirits, and to welcome in good luck.  There are numerous traditions and different symbols that are followed and observed in the biggest holiday of the year.  It’s bigger than Christmas is here.

laisee2

In Korean culture it is called Seollal (설날.)  One of the most time-honored traditions of lunar new year is dressing up in a hanbok and performing Sebae; a bow of respect to their elders.  It’s rather specific, and is sometimes hard to figure out if you aren’t used to it.


Here is a clip of Rain/Bi (비) trying it out. 🙂 Hooray for silly commercials. 🙂


The Japanese celebrate with the U.S. during the calendar New Year, and one big tradition for them is to dress up in kimono and visit the local temple to pray for luck in the new year and to draw their horoscopes for the new year.  Oshogatsu is a fun time, and I’ve spent a couple of them at Morikami feeding the fish, making mochi and eating yakisoba.

Hanetsuki

Hanetsuki at Morikami

I hope no matter where you are or what your beliefs are, you can enjoy the start of this new year – if you celebrate with the moon, or follow the calendar a bright new year is upon us.

How it all started. Part II.

As a young woman, I fell victim to the most common anime-fan (otaku, if I may) cliche’s: Hello Kitty, Kerropi, and other Sanrio characters now adorned my school supplies and and I spent time searching for places to buy them. Indeed, I found a small store very close by that sold a variety of character goods and to my delight, they sold CD’s as well. A few anime soundtracks (it’s where I picked up my Cowboy Bebop complete collection CD set!) were always available, but also a section of cd’s with cute Asian boys and girls all smiling and dancing across the brightly colored covers. I experimented and bought a few that simply LOOKED good. I ended up buying Lee Jung-Hyun‘s Magic to Go To My Star, BoA‘s ID; Peace B, and Baby V.O.X.‘s Why. Thus, my true introduction to Asian pop music was launched. From there, I began to expand my fan base and buy other albums to experiment with and see if I liked the music and it’s grown to gigantic proportions today. I have so many artists that I listen on a regular basis it takes several hard drives to contain them. I remember buying the Lee Jung-Hyun album most, probably because of the distinct packaging। I was a little creeped out by the doll, and a bit taken aback by the sound of the album too. Her voice was so high, and I really don’t think I was expecting such a techno-heavy album after the bubblegum pop of BoA and Baby V.O.X. For the longest time I didn’t really know what she looked like, because none of her early albums didn’t have pictures, and I guess I didn’t think to look up Lee Jung-Hyun on the internet. There was no Google image search at that time, and it was just something I didn’t know how to do. I quietly enjoyed my Korean and Japanese pop. I also started to find some common Japanese artists too, Koda Kumi, Utada Hikaru, Maaya Sakamoto and others who were somehow related to the anime industry.
In order to get to where I am now, there was a step that I had to take and it came about the time I was leaving my first college to move to Florida. I was still quite obsessed with anime, but I was beginning to get my toes wet in the waters of Asian cinema. It was a good thing that ADV and other anime distributors were putting out a few Japanese and Korean movies here and there, because with out easy access I might not have discovered the whole new world I did. Princess Blade was one of the first live-action Japanese movies I remember actually sitting down and watching. Then came the miracle of Netflix. If you live far away from any really good Asian communities it is hard to find places to get or watch Asian movies. I joined Netflix in order to save money, up until that point I had been buying everything that I wanted to watch out of necessity. No one else I knew was really that into the same things as me, so it wasn’t possilbe to borrow anything. Netflix opened up a giant door for me and allowed me to easily expand my repertoire of movies. I started out renting The Returner, starring Takeshi Kaneshiro. It was a great action movie starring Anne Suzuki. I liked her
too, so I added the only other movie she was in to my queue: Moon Child. And to my Gackt-obsessed delight it was the only movie HE was in too. I won’t describe the process of each movie, it would be obnoxiously long and boring. But, this is how I tend to find new artists (musicians & actors.) I like someone, watch a lot of their work, and then find someone else in one of their movies that interests me and watch their work and the process repeats over and over again. The lucky thing for me is that I love music as much as I love movies. So, when I find a double or triple threat it’s very exciting and usually leads to a larger discovery. (Double threats are singers/actors and triple threats are singers/actors/dancers – not everyone can dance. ::cough::Gackt::cough::) I find it interesting however, that I will still be drawn to the same actor or actress without knowing it. I am currently watching a series called Room of King, starring a new favorite of mine; Mizushima Hiro. All I really knew about it while downloading the fan-sub was that he was in it. I watched the first episode and lo and behold, Anne Suzuki shows up. It’s not uncommon, but it still seems odd that I should gravitate towards the same people without knowing it.

A couple of years ago, I discovered IRC and that there were scanlators; people who scan Japanese, Korean and Chinese manga raws and then work tirelessly and for free to translate and create English language versions for fans. I have since left the IRC world, but it lead me in a new direction through a friend I met there. He suggested that I watch a movie called Bride and Prejudice. Bride and Prejudice is a culturally different take on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, created by a Desi director from London. While not an actual Bollywood movie, it was my first introduction to Indian related cinema and my first time seeing the beautiful Aishwarya Rai. I immediately loved the colorful traditional outfits, the catchy and fun bangara music. Immediately following this I rented Monsoon Wedding and decidedly loved that movie too. ((It is odd that at this time my mp3 player picked the Punjabi Wedding Song from the B&P soundtrack to play out of over 7500 songs on it…))Sadly, at the time I was very caught up in a Chinese movie kick and left Bollywood hanging. I think that my introduction to Indian culture through Gurinder Chadha’s films Bride & Prejudice and Bend It Like Beckham was essential. If, perhaps I had chosen another path into Bollywood and just watched something random, I might not have liked it or understood anything. As it stands today, I’m sure that I don’t quite understand a lot of what is going on in the films, but that will take time. I have surely addapted to and learned about Korean, Japanese and Chinese culture by watching more and more of their movies and television shows, it is easy to assume that I will learn just as much about India and all it has to offer if I watch more of their entertainment too.

Looking back, it’s been a very kinetic experience, one thing leads to another and then to another snowballing into a giant ball of actors, singers, movies, and music that I adore and wouldn’t trade for anything. I am fortunate enough to have the drive and passion to follow all that I do and I just hope to share that passion with anyone who will listen (or read as the case may be here.) Today I am an international person, no longer simply “white,” as my friend says – I’m just as much Asian as she is. I think that if other people in the world could be half as open-minded as I am, then we would be a lot better of. If you got this far – thanks for reading! Feel free to leave comments or questions here or on any other posts!

How it all started. Part I.

I have been thinking about my interest in Asian culture a lot lately and thought I might take a few minutes to jot down the story of my growing and insatiable thirst for knowledge in all things Asian.
It all started in about 8th grade, when I discovered Pokemon. Ahhh…I remember scheduling my life around Pokemon. I would make sure that I made it home in time to catch the afternoon episodes and if I was going to miss it, I set the VCR to tape it. Some days I even paused the tapes and drew the characters while they were frozen on screen. I researched them on the Internet and eventually learned that my favorite show was called an “Anime.” I temporarily became obsessed. I still have drawings from those days tucked away in an old sketch book. This was my first taste of true Asian culture, even if it was watered down and Americanized.
Fast forward a few years and to my Junior year of high-school, while still struggling with teenage angst, establishing self-worth and figuring out what to do with my future I became mildly obsessed with anime and borrowed as much as possible from my friends and even friends of my older brother. The next thing I acutely remember about anime was going to visit my brother on his college campus and seeing posters and post-cards advertising the release of
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime as I now refer to most of the time.) He told me that it was an anime and that it was one of the first to really be promoted in the United States. He said his friend Bryan was more into it butt he thought it was pretty cool himself. My first few experiences with anime also included series such as Martian Successor Nadesico, Dual!, Photon: Idiot Adventures, Trigun, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and my favorite even to this day: Cowboy Bebop. I was so into my new world, that I bought chopsticks, and sat down to many a piping bowl of Ramen noodles while staring at my small bedroom television watching Nadesico and the like. I started an anime journal. Where I would write the lyrics to songs, small reviews and episode summaries to my favorites. I loved the karaoke subtitles of the opening and closing credit songs. I started to try and find the songs online and would spend hours on end, into the early morning looking for them.

I continued this way into my first year of college, where I was lucky enough to go to Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Not only did they have an anime club, once a year they had a workshop called Schoolgirls and Mobilesuts where you could EARN CREDITS FOR WATCHING ANIME!!!! Oh man, was I excited. I think it was the highest grade I got while at that school actually. MCAD was able to get in contact with Disney that year and talked them into giving us a subtitled copy of Spirited Away for our own private screening just before it’s official release in theaters around the United States. I remember sitting in the Minneapolis Institute for Art theater wondering how I had arrived there, and just being thrilled to be a part of something so wonderful. I was also blessed to have been able to listen to Susan Napier speak as well. As author of Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke, Napier was able to give thought provoking insite into the literal and deeper side of anime that I hadn’t really opened up to before. (It is now a revised version taking the reader through the time in Hayao Miyazaki’s career up to How’s Moving Castle) I began to practically inhale manga at this time. I read everything I could get my hands on, from Sailor Moon to Battle Royale. I still have my old favorites and regularly read many new titles. I think the local book stores and comic shops ran out of manga because of me. I currently own over 1,000 graphic novels, although I’m liquidating my collection to less than half that (It’s hard to move them all!) On the outskirts of my vision there were starting to be other things other than just Japanese anime and manga. I realized that several of the titles I was reading had non-Japanese names and the style of art were slightly different as well. At the time, Demon Diary was one of my favorites and I was somewhat surprised to find out that it was actually a “mangwha;” Korean in origin, unlike the majority of my other books. So, another one of my great loves was finding it’s way into my life.