Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Work on new restaurant Oishii Donburi still continues in Lawrenceville.

Oishii Donburi, a new restaurant coming from the team behind Oakland's Oishii Bento, is still under construction in Lawrenceville. The team with the self-titled company name purchased the former Design Island and Artisan Harvest spot at 5227 Butler St. (map) in May 2018.

Below are a few images released by Margittai Architects last July:

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Topics on Asian-America, xenophobia at Pitt Diversity Forum 2020, July 28 to 30.

This year's installment of the annual Pitt Diversity Forum, titled Advancing Social Justice: A Call To Action, will feature a number of topics related to Asian-America and xenophobia. It is open to the Pitt community and runs from July 28 to 30. Particularly relevant topics include, on July 29:

A Conversation Too Long Ignored: How COVID-19, Xenophobia and Systemic Racism Disenfranchise the Marginalized Communities of Pittsburgh (Livestream)
Marian M. Lien, Josiah Gilliam, and James Cook

As the pandemic escalated with cases, it also intensified daily impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Facilitators at this workshop will discuss local perspectives of how racist and xenophobic incidents including physical and verbal assaults have dramatically increased against the Asian and Asian American populations, and how the pandemic has negatively affected the BIPOC communities who were already experiencing limited access to health care, paid sick leave, economic insecurity, and higher rates of underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illnesses that make COVID-10 infections deadly. They will share organizational and community action plans, as well as creating alliances, partnerships, and coalitions to reach a racial equity vision.

Nakama again voted Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant in Pittsburgh by people who don't know anything about Japanese restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Nakama has again been voted the Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine, ahead of local Japanese favorites like Chaya, Kiku, and Teppanyaki Kyoto, among others. It's become a yearly joke to post a headline about Pittsburghers and their choice of Japanese restaurants and sushi spots, though reader polls do tend to favor places with name-brand recognition.

2006 Vietnamese film Journey from the Fall (Vượt Sóng) online with Pitt's Asian Studies Center, August 12.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the 2006 Vietnamese film Journey from the Fall (Vượt Sóng) online on August 12 as the next installment of its Summer Screenshots: Hot Nights/Cold War film series. A synopsis, from the film's official site:
"The Americans have broken their promise. They have left us."
(Long Nguyen, South Vietnamese resistance fighter)

Inspired by the true stories of Vietnamese refugees who fled their land after the fall of Saigon—and those who were forced to stay behind, Journey From The Fall follows one family’s struggle for freedom.

April 30, 1975 marked the end of Vietnam's two-decade-old civil war and the start of the exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Despite his allegiance to the toppled South Vietnamese government, Long Nguyen (as Long Nguyen) decides to remain in Vietnam. Imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp, he urges his family to make the escape by boat without him. His wife Mai (Diem Lien), son Lai (Nguyen Thai Nguyen) and mother Ba Noi (Kieu Chinh) then embark on the arduous ocean voyage in the hope of reaching the U.S. and freedom.

Back in Vietnam, Long suffers years of solitary confinement and hard labor, and finally despairs that his family has perished. But news of their successful resettlement in America inspires him to make one last desperate attempt to join them.
The online presentation starts at 5:30 pm and includes a live Q and A with Ham Tran, the film's director. Those interested should register online.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Vietnamese movie Song Lang (online) in Pittsburgh, July 27.

The 2018 Vietnamese movie Song Lang, which was originally scheduled to play in Pittsburgh on April 30, will stream online on July 27 in a presentation hosted by ReelQ: The Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society and the City of Asylum.
Join us for a screening of SONG LANG, hosted by ReelQ. Director Leon Le will introduce the film, give a live talkback, and lead the audience in a Q&A after the screening.

Set in 1980s Saigon, well before the U.S. embargo on Vietnam was lifted in 1994, SONG LANG depicts a gritty underworld whose only source of brightness comes from the gorgeous stage productions of a local opera troupe. A hunky, brooding debt collector forms an unlikely friendship with the charismatic lead actor of the struggling company, and their friendship, to their surprise, awakens feelings in both men. “Song Lang” is a percussion instrument used to control tempo and phrasing in Vietnamese modern folk opera. In the Vietnamese language, it also means “two men.” It is the perfect homonym for a nearly perfect film. This film is an outstanding achievement for first-time feature director Leon Le—who also voices the part of the lead actor in the opera! To date, this film has racked up 25 awards in a wide variety of categories: best narrative feature, screenplay, cinematography, production design, costume design. Festivals in Asia have also recognized newcomer Lien Bahn Phat, who makes his acting debut in this film as the debt collector Dung ‘Thunderbolt,’ as a rising star.
The presentation starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets are free but registration is required and can be completed online.

Friday, July 17, 2020

New restaurant "Mr. Egg's Kitchen" to open in Squirrel Hill, July 20.

The restaurant known as "Mr. Egg's Kitchen" will open on July 20, according to new signs on the doors. The menu, and the name, remain to be seen, however, for the Chinese restaurant opening at 2101 and 2103 Murray Ave (map). Permits were first issued for the space in March 2017 and described a noodle restaurant. It was under construction for over three years until being permitted by the county to open in May. In June, however, signage for a hot pot and fresh juice restaurant went up.

Online group screening of Lucky Grandma (幸運的奶奶) with Pitt's SCREENSHOT: Asia and Row House Cinema, July 24.

SCREENSHOT: ASIA, the upcoming Asian film and cultural festival at the University of Pittsburgh, will present an online group screening of Lucky Grandma (幸運的奶奶) with the Row House Cinema on July 24. A New York Times review provides a synopsis:
Cantankerous and fiercely independent, the 80-year-old Grandma Wong (Tsai Chin) wants to live by herself in her Chinatown apartment in New York. Her son, Howard (Eddie Yu), wants her to move in with his family to save on rent. Encouraged by a fortune teller’s promise of imminent luck, she takes all her savings to a casino only to find herself — after some hilariously absurd twists — with a bagful of a dead man’s cash and a pair of gangsters on her tail.
The screening starts at 8:00 pm and registration for the Zoom session is now available. There is a limited number of free student tickets available; those interested should contact asia@pitt.edu. Lucky Grandma is one of three films comprising an online Chinese Film Festival at the Row House Cinema, from July 17 through 30.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Tickets now available for Denise Ho: Becoming the Song online via The Tull Family Theater, from July 17.

Tickets are now available for Denise Ho: Becoming the Song, online from July 17 via Sewickley's Tull Family Theater. A Hollywood Reporter review provides an overview:
Denise Ho — Becoming the Song presents a thoughtful, if surprisingly reserved portrait, of Hong Kong-born, Montreal-reared singer Denise Ho, the first Cantopop superstar to come out publicly as gay. Not long after weathering the storm that followed, Ho also became a political activist, marching alongside pro-democracy protesters in the 2014 Umbrella movement and supporting protests against China’s new extradition laws for Hong Kong residents, which stirred up violent confrontations in the streets recently.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Soon-Mi Yoo's Songs from the North (북녘에서 온 노래) online with Pitt's Asian Studies Center, July 22.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the 2014 Soon-Mi Yoo documentary Songs from the North (북녘에서 온 노래) on July 22, as the second installment of its online Summer Screenshots: Hot Nights And Cold War series. (Please note the date change from the original announcement.) From a New York Times review:
More art-video installation than typical documentary, “Songs From the North” is mostly nonnarrative, drawing on North Korean film and TV clips to sketch a sensibility that — however stoked by propaganda — prizes family above all and melds that with a zealous commitment to the fatherland. Song and music invoke shared ideals of sacrifice, honor and patriotism; one televised event that features a young boy crying as he sings of his love of country — as an audience of dignitaries also sobs — is moving and disturbing.
. . .
Scattering history lessons and ambiguous imagery amid Ms. Yoo’s engagement with North Koreans, her film implicitly asks: What must they think of us?
The presentation runs from 4:00 to 7:00 pm and registration is required.