Lisa Ling began her career at Channel One News, a news program broadcast to junior high and high school students across America. She then changed careers and joined the cast of daytime TV talk show, The View. Soon after, she went back into hard journalism and hosted National Geographic Explorer and now, on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) she hosts an hour long news show, Our America.
Ling has travelled around the world reporting from the front lines of wars, went undercover in North Korea and reported on drug lords. Our America focuses on interesting stories on Americans ranging from Sex Offenders to Nuns. Some stories reveal a darker underbelly and some are stories about people finding happiness. We talk about some of the inner workings of her new show, now it’s in third season, and the changes in her career.
Ling resides in Santa Monica, California, and I visited her new eco-home shared with her husband, Paul Song. The podcast began and stopped a couple of times from a visit from Ling’s mother, sister Laura and her new baby.
Lisa Ling is a pop culture fan and a long time supporter of Giant Robot.
David Horvath and his wife, Sun-min Kim created Uglydoll on a whim. It did begin at Giant Robot store in LA as the story is told, out of love letters back and forth across the Pacific. After they met at art school in NY, David stayed in the US and moved back to Southern California, while Sun-min moved back to Korea after 9/11. She handmade a doll from one of his tiny drawings on the sides of his letters and now over 10 years later, Uglydoll is a massive enterprise with a feature animated film movie deal. David frequents Giant Robot in LA and is a long time friend and collaborator. We’ve covered Uglydoll over the years and watched it grow – even working on events such as Uglycon – a convention based on Uglydoll. In this podcast with David, we cover topics such as Uglydoll’s growth, character creation, the film, what’s next, and more. It’s a podcast that’s over 45 minutes in length and if you’re into creating anything, this is a must listen.
That’s David Horvath below with his art piece for Game Over.
That’s Sun-min Kim on the left.
You saw her for too short of a moment as Psylocke. She was the jilted “Hello Moto” bride. Recently she was Jamie Chen on The L Word. In numerous commercials and assorted roles alongside of her modeling career, I catch up with Mei Melancon at Giant Robot 2 on a recent morning for a podcast. We cover topics that begin with her appearances in high profile commercials, X-Men, L-Word, relationships, and her little known upbringing in a commune in Japan.
Mei’s days are busy: ranging from modeling, acting, auditions and she’s even producing a film project.
Listen to her podcast. The link is here.
Luke Rook has always been a friend to Giant Robot. He began his recent career in toys by opening Lulubell Toy Bodega in Arizona and soon moved to Japan where his career turned. From being a “toy buyer” he’s now a toy maker. In this podcast, Luke Rook explains some of the mysteries of the Japanese toy making scene. In a matter of a few years after moving, he’s unlocked the “system” of striking up vinyl figures from serious mom and pops factories. One of the greatest facets of Luke is his sheer honesty and frankness which is shaping a new sub genre of “kaiju”. He still calls himself an apprentice, but that’ll change soon enough. Here’s a link to the podcast.
In 1986, a wire thin Ralph Macchio was cast again as karate champ “Danny” in Karate Kid 2. This time, he leaves the San Fernando Valley and travels to Japan with his Karate sensei, “Miyagi” played by Pat Morita. Miyagi needs to visit his dying father. Meanwhile there’s drama between he and his old rival friend, but stealing scenes is Danny’s hot female love interest, Kumiko portrayed by Tamlyn Tomita in her acting debut.
At the time, young Asian American female leads were scarce and Tamlyn Tomita became the woman by which many Asian American females were gauged. She was the crush of kids everywhere and 25 years later is quietly celebrating her debuts 25th anniversary. Only the Hawaii International Film Festival screened Karate Kid 2 and invited Tomita to the islands, and that’s where I caught up with her. In her Halekulani hotel suite, I got to sit down with Tomita to ask her every question I had boiling for the last two and half decades.
There’s a joke in my family that when Tamlyn Tomita’s name ever gets brought up, I’m quickly hovering the conversation. Crushes can run for decades.
Here’s a few memorable quotes:
On Karate Kid 2, “Changed by Freakin Life.”
“25 years ago I was known as the Karate Kid Girl, and now I’m known as the Glee mom. If you want any more evidence that 25 years have passed, there you go.”
“I look at a person, ok this one probably in his 40s I’ll refer to Karate Kid, if it’s a woman 25-40 I’ll say Joy Luck Club. If it’s a young teenager, it’s Glee.”
Yes, I’m Leonardo Nam’s sidekick in this conversation about relationships. Here’s the spiel: Sexy Quirky Love is a podcast about relationships. Topics: Pick Up Lines and their importance. Q and As – we answer Questions and Answers from you! Cell phones, Role Playing and more. The idea to do this podcast came out of our original podcast, which was meant to be a simple interview, but the relationship talk became the most interesting segment and knowing that Leo gives dating advice to his friends, the idea of a podcast came out of it.
We’ll be recording again soon so tweet a topic. Tweet @leonardo_nam or leave a comment here! I’m always @giantroboteric Hope you enjoy!
You can also subscribe to Giant Robot Podcasts to iTunes by Clicking at this link.
It’s been over a decade since the documentary film, SlamNation expanded the Slam Poetry movement. Growing up during the same expansive period was an Asian American, born in Oklahoma and schooled in New York City. In the late 90s, Beau Sia was a Black Cat brick of firecrackers with a mic in his hand. His energy sucked up everyone’s oxygen and his words and cadence both expanded minds and dropped jaws. The sheer power he projects in the many Def Poetry Jam videos on Youtube is monumental.
A few years later, Sia’s Rosie O’Donnell video in response to her “Ching Chong” comment went large and she apologized. It was a big deal. He appears occasionally in films like Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married. He does performances based on special events of occurrences like the Alexandra Wallace video, Asian in the Library, or a special for Fred Korematsu day. His explosiveness now appear in new ways, it’s via intellect, dialogue and understanding. As he says in his sincere and sometimes comical voice, “I’m still dangerous.”
Currently, he’s working on various projects from music to writing and spends plenty of time thinking.
In our talk, Beau Sia explains his past work and where it comes from, hip hop, current projects, insecurities, and his future. His words are thoughtful and his explanations are detailed.
music on podcast by Goh Nakamura
In casual conversation, Leonardo Nam’s Australian accent is obvious. In movies, he plays anything and anyone. Currently in his early 30s, Nam lives in West Hollywood and is currently one of the “go to” young Asian American actors. In the past decade or so, he’s played an array of roles from a supreme pothead in The Perfect Score, an evil rice rocket gangster in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift, to the heart of gold boyfriend in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The Aussie raised Asian American, also enjoys his travels, he’s been around the globe and always has plans to keep on going.
The plan for this podcast was to hear about the gap between time from his interview in Giant Robot Magazine to now. Naturally, we conversed about work, how the economy affects a young actor and his new directions, and relationships. It turns out, Nam is also a “go to” relationship guy for his friends and even folks in the Twitterverse. Perhaps it’s from his nice guy role in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, especially part 2 that’s led to some random solicitations for advice and he’s been giving it in 140 characters.
Lynn Chen shows up casually in a hoody with earbuds in at the Larchmont Bungalow cafe. Her hair is straight and long and she’s her normal friendly self. I first saw Chen opposite Michelle Krusiec in Saving Face, a Sony Pictures Classics feature film in 2005. A huge indie that was grasped by Asian American, LGBT, and indie film fans everywhere.
She got an earlier start in Law and Order and and All My Children before her move to the west coast. Since then, she’s consistently worked in both films in “the industry” including indies like White on Rice, People I Slept With and Surrogate Valentine. Chen’s also writer and started a food blog, the Actors Diet to address her past eating disorder. She also does one at thickdumplingskin.com
It’s a saturday morning and she assures me that she needs to be home by 12 since she’s going to the Asian Eastside for shave ice and Taiwanese breakfast. We meet early and find a quiet place to conduct a “podcast”.
Podcast intro music by Goh Nakamura
Heisuke Kitazawa installing his show at Giant Robot 2 that opens this saturday. He’s a talented and perhaps underrated artist, at least in America and here’s some quick questions and answers with him.
The music intro and outro by Goh Nakamura
Director Dave Boyle with his next film budget.
Dave Boyle has made three feature films including Big Dreams, Little Tokyo, White on Rice, and Surrogate Valentine which is currently touring film festivals. Surrogate Valentine stars musician Goh Nakamura and debuted at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin and has shown at film festivals including Cleveland International, Seattle International, Dallas International, Bamfest, and San Francisco International Asian American. In this podcast, Boyle explains how he’s fluent in Japanese, why his films feature Asian Americans, how he’s come up with his movie ideas, filmmaking, and what projects he’s working on next.