A-pop! A month of influence, celebrity, and success

By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

TIME and the most influential Asians

TIME recently published the 2013 TIME 100 — its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world — which showcases leading visionaries across all industries from art and politics to business and pop culture.

Although it may be subjective as to how this influence is assessed, the list tends to have a good pulse on who is currently hot and popular in the media. For the purposes of this pop culture column, noteworthy Asian and Asian Americans on this year’s list include Indian American actress and comedian Mindy Kaling and Indian film star and activist Aamir Khan. Kaling is currently known for creating and starring in the sitcom “The Mindy Project,” as well as playing a long-time supporting role on the sitcom “The Office,” which recently ended its near 10-year run.

Khan is a well-known Indian film actor, director, and producer who has established himself as one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema. He may be best known for his role in the Indian comedy drama “3 Idiots,” which has become the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in India. Way to represent to the world, guys!

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Denis Carré may look like Psy (if only slightly), but the Berklee College of Music graduate, he is not.

A fake Psy makes a splash in Cannes

Korean pop and rap star Psy was the talk of the town at the recent Cannes Film Festival. Psy, who is widely known for “Gangnam Style” that went viral on You Tube, was seen partying at the famed film festival while collecting free swag and getting chummy with fellow celebrities. Or, well, it was someone whom celebrities assumed was the mega pop star.

The fake Psy was apparently some random Asian guy who donned the iconic sunglasses, dapper jacket, and bowtie that viewers all around the world have come to identify with the rap star. To help further the illusion, the Psy imposter even toted around a fake entourage, and managed to snake his way into several high-profile parties. He reportedly made the party rounds at Cannes undetected for two days.

The imposter was finally revealed when the real Psy took to his official Twitter account to announce that he was currently in Singapore, and that the Psy running around Cannes was not him. It’s an amusing story – and one that even the real Psy found humor in – but it’s ridiculous how long the phony got away with it. Thus, it begs the age-old question, do all Asians still look alike to the world?

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/32_23/apop_fast.jpgSpring renewal: Sequels at the cinema

Memorial Day weekend at the box office started off with a bang when two of the summer’s most anticipated films opened at the same time.

“Fast & Furious 6” is the sixth installment in the action-packed film franchise “The Fast and the Furious,” and like the name might suggest, it raced off at the box office with a projected $122.2 million in ticket sales after its opening weekend, holding the lead spot in ticket sales over the long holiday. The film, which is a continuation of the franchise’s ongoing saga about import car racing and high-stake heists, stars actors Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Sung Kang, who are of Samoan and Korean descent, respectively. The film is directed by Taiwanese American director Justin Lin.

Reviews for this installment have been generally positive, so if you’re a fan of the hit franchise, get yourself to a theatre stat. I’m sure this flick will be more furious-er than ever.

The other top contender in the Memorial Day weekend sales was “The Hangover Part III,” the third and final installment in the comedy franchise, and perhaps the most bromantic film franchise to hit movie theaters in recent years. The sequel stars Korean American comedian Ken Jeong reprising his iconic role as Leslie Chow, a diabolical and effeminate gangster. “The Hangover Part III” follows the main characters as they attempt to locate Jeong’s long lost character with a conclusion that surely includes debauchery, bad decisions, and — if the past films were any indication — some nudity from Jeong.

Although it did not open over Memorial Day weekend, another sequel to recently open in May was “Star Trek Into Darkness,” a sequel to the 2009 “Star Trek” film, and the 12th installment in the ongoing science fiction franchise.

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Ken Jeong (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Korean American actor John Cho stars in the movie, reprising his role as the character of Hikaru Sulu.

Lastly, another long anticipated opening at the box office this past month was the screen adaptation of the American classic novel “The Great Gatsby.” Indian film legend Amitabh Bachchan had a cameo appearance in the film as a mysterious friend for actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, who played the titular Gatsby. With a long filmography list in Indian cinema, “The Great Gatsby” marked Bachchan’s long-awaited debut in Hollywood. (end)

Vivian Nguyen can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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