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The set of a popular TV Show Hawaii 5-0 is like the sets of all TV and film productions. At Universal Studios the 70s Jaws shark moves and looks like giant plastic toy. The buildings have believable facades but no interior. The magic is in the final product that’ll get magically projected onto your 60 inch HD LCD 3D television. It’ll look perfect. I’m prepared to see the charisma of the special police force: McGarrett, Danno, Chin-Ho, and Kono and not their human counterpart, Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. It all changes in an instant.

I wait at a parking lot of the old Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper that now has rows of Star Waggons, white box trucks, tons of gear, cars, and a security gate that has a small sign telling folks who to contact if you want to be an extra. I wait for some time and then a few minutes later, Daniel Dae Kim walks up. The pleasant security gate keeper jokingly says, “maybe he’s here to pick you up.” She was right and also surprised. I was labelled as a social networking journalist. We walked straight to the Daniel’s Star Waggon where he sat and worked on his lines to portray Detective Chin-Ho. The next shots are going to be difficult. Unlike the normal, shoot a scene then ready up for the next, he was prepping for a five scenes in a one set up segment – something that hasn’t been done before. It’s a time saving effort and a perfect moment for me to witness.



In the Star Waggon, Daniel mutters some lines, first reading, then staring into space while moving his lips. Mostly inaudible. He apologizing for his needing to do this. The interior is standard, there’s some Hawaii 5-0 mini posters, a back room with costume changes hanging, food that’s not his, and nothing much else to show that it’s his particular trailer.

While practicing, a knock happens and we’re walking to the set which depicts the middle of their squad room. The scene is Daniel talking to Office Lori Westen played by blond, Lauren German about a suspects ID and they talk to each other while staring at the screens. I sit in the Daniel Dae Kim “directors chair” behind the actual director and script supervisor and am given a headset to hear their lines. The set runs like a machine. The script supervisor watches every word and makes sure the dialogue are recited correctly. She’ll also cue the actors with the first few words to get them going. She signals with a karate chop like move to the director that the lines were done correctly at the end of a scene. Shots are done with multiple angles, some close ups of the principals in the scene. The reverse site shots are the easiest since there’s no dialogue being recorded.


Daniel Dae Kim like oranges, and Grace Park likes the smell of orange peel. Fans, now  you know what to get them.

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I’ve had the privilege of meeting and interviewing a lot of top-shelf skaters for the pages of Giant Robot: Don Nguyen, Daewon Song, Kenny Anderson, Eric Koston, Shogo Kubo, Steve Caballero, Willy Santos, Peggy Oki, Richard Mulder, Kien Lieu, Chad Tim Tim, Jamie Reyes, Daniel Castillo, Pat Channita, Jimmy Cao, Lincoln Ueda… (I know there are more and if I forgot you, I’m sorry.) Truthfully, the topic was probably lost on many readers but hopefully the culture wasn’t. Streetwear, street art, and even punk rock–so much of that stems from skateboarding and no one should forget that.

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Homeboy is Cray Cray. “What the hell is goin’ on?” you might ask…  I’m not quite sure- but he and his family were feeding the raccoons. After a long first day of getting into Montreal, my hosts Li Li and Jeff took me up to Mount Royal to check out the view.  We drove up, saw the beautiful lights of the city- but it was upstaged by the most random scene…  a family- two parents and a little girl, about 7 or 8? feeding a horde of Freakishly Large  Raccoons.  I was fearing that something really bad was about to happen, but fortunately it- never escalated… even when the mom was kicking some of the bigger raccoons out of the way so the babies could eat. If you watch the video- you’ll see there’s like 30+ of ‘em swarming/begging for food like dogs.  Strangely, they were really gentle and seemed almost domesticated…very at ease around humans.  Maybe because they’re Canadian?  All the American Raccoons I’ve encountered are mean and aggressive. [youtube]NVmKmLDTo60[/youtube]
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“People at Art openings are pretentious and weird.” I hear variations of this comment all the time.

Either of these scenarios sound familiar? Standing next to a person by the bathroom for 10 minutes and not even saying a polite hello—much less making an introduction? Or even more awkward; standing next to someone whom you know is your Facebook friend, but neither of you are acknowledging this fact or each other? I rarely have this interaction with the same person when we meet in a restaurant, nightclub or even at Trader Joe’s—so what gives? Uncomfortable moments like these have got me thinking. Is it the other person? Is it me? Or could it possibly be something to do with the art venue?

The weird thing is, I go to museums often and I really do love art. I have become somewhat obsessed with artists such as, Brancusi, Dali, Hokusai, Freud, and Murakami to name a few. Yes, these are Masters, I know, I know, and yes, their works are mainstream and accessible, so it is not a surprise really that I like them.

Yet nothing has been more nerve wracking at times for me, than going to an art show. You know, one of those great gatherings, with great up and coming artists, like the ones that you get invited to on Facebook?  Something like those. So I’ll get an invite to one of these shows; and having the predisposition of a hermit crab–but knowing that I could use a little of that stuff called “culture”—I’ll throw my Repettos on and venture out from under my rock.

Here’s a dirty little secret…

Sometimes, I don’t even know who the artist is, or even the art medium that I am about to show up for. Quelle Horreur!! I know, I know, but off I’ll go. Then, it will happen that I get there and I have the awkward experience of either showing up way too early; or, being stood up by certain friends of mine (who will remain nameless ahem, but know who they are.)

As soon as those neon, dark-under-eye-circle-magnifying lights hit me—so do the butterflies. This calls for activities such as; typing a faux text on my blackberry; pretending to have to use the bathroom–and then often—just walking out. It’s kind of involuntary. Halfway down the street, after pulling out of my ‘karma good’ parking spot, I will have a little “what is my problem?” moment. If I do end up staying, I am tense, awkward and hyper-aware of every movement of my body. I’m not really enjoying the art because my brain is slowly melting as I try to adjust to being in the space correctly.

New people. Art. Florescent lights. People. Noises. Music. Nowhere to sit. Nowhere to hide. Nowhere to sit. How am I standing? Ahh.

Then, after settling into the place, I will often find myself taking on another behavior, even more bizarre. I will float around, avoiding eye contact, ignoring certain individuals and having light, safe conversations, mostly avoiding the topic of the event that I showed up for in the first place; the Art.

“I saw you but didn’t get a chance to talk to you.”

Huh? We are in a space about the size of a matchbox and are having a hard time connecting?

What a peculiar condition.

Well, having the propensity towards a hypochondriacal nature, I do sometimes self-diagnose. After much self-examination, I have come up with a little theory. What clinically might be known as a form of social anxiety might possibly have a more accurate diagnosis. I have taken the liberty of naming this condition:

Art Show Syndrome—or—with all due respect, A.S.S. I see A.S.S as a benign condition that affects a person’s attitude, posture, and vernacular in various degrees while participating in the Art Scene. A couple of weeks ago, I started an unqualified behavioral study of myself and other art goers surrounding me. Though I have not done enough research to argue what the causes or cures are for everyone, I think I have found a few simple facts that are at the root of my own A.S.S behavior. I will share.

Maybe some of you can relate…

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  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.   [youtube]diNLPGHZbGM[/youtube]   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.”   [youtube]VJCkHu3trKc[/youtube]   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
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