Sunday, November 28, 2010

Theater Review: "Brief Encounter"

If you've ever been in love, like hopelessly, maddeningly, extraordinarily in love, then Noel Coward's "Brief Encounter," will feel all too familiar. Because who hasn't, when they were in a relationship, felt they were flying, or drowning, or just no longer able to be sensible?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Lurkey Time

In my family, Thanksgiving is a time for patriotism and having lobster and crabs.

Growing up, my family had traditional American Thanksgiving exactly one time. My dad had bought a ham home one year (from work) and after some pestering on my part (naturally), my sisters and my mom finally used our oven. In Asian households, ovens are used for storage.

So my sisters and my mom prepared everything the way I always imagined it, the honey-glazed ham, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the fall vegetables (a medley of corn, sweet potatoes, carrots - orange and yellows). And we also had an Vietnamese vegetable soup as a palette cleanser. The ultimate fusion.

Then after, the clean-up was so heinous that my family has never prepared Thanksgiving dinner in quite this way since. This year, my family back in California went out for seafood, a yearly tradition.

Now, drunk off of turkey and too many glasses of champagne, it's allowed me to be a bit introspective about the holiday, the first time I'm away from home. Yet I'm still able to have a real Thanksgiving, courtesy of my sister and my brother-in-law, and some in-law relatives who live in the Hamptons.

I helped prepare my first turkey today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Theater Review: 'The Language Archive'

You ever had one of those times when the word is on the tip of your tongue, standing right at the precipice between the subconscious part of your brain and the conscious part, but try as you might, damnit! You just can't think of the words?

"The Language Archive" by Julia Choi takes that scenario and turns it into two very muddled hours. George (Matt Letscher) is a linguist who has trouble communicating with his wife (oh the delicious irony!), Mary (Heidi Schreck) who leaves him.

Meanwhile, George's coworker, Emma (Betty Gilpin) is in love with him, a feeling that only intensifies as they try to get an old married couple, Alta (Jayne Houdy Shell) and Resten (John Horton) to speak to each other in their native tongues, a language that is soon to be extinct.

And there's the conundrum, George is more obsessed with saving an ancient language than his marriage.

Theater Review: "Knock Me a Kiss

Family drama is played for laughs in Charles Smith's "Knock Me a Kiss." A romanticized retelling of the marriage between Yolande Dubois, the daughter of civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois, and poet Countee Cullen during the Harlem Renaissance, the play traffics in superficial comedy at the expense of complex characters.

DuBois, concerned more with pedigree than love, orchestrates the match for his daughter unaware that Cullen is gay. Yolande, who has an infantile notion of romance, rejects a proposal from jazz-band conductor Jimmy Lunceford, whom she loves, in part to cement her position in society. Of course, the truth inevitably comes out.

Read the rest at Back Stage.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to be a Good Critic

The short end: have an opinion and stick to it.

The long end: Siskel and Ebert says it so much better than I do.

I know for me, something I struggle with is opinions, or the correlations thereof. Sometimes there are things I see that I actively dislike it but others might enjoy.

Then you wonder, is my opinion wrong? Do I have no taste? One thing you learn, especially after writing papers at university (especially if you got a BA in English like I did), is that it's not about the opinion, it's about the support. And if you can support your criticism with well-reasoned statements, then no one can really fault you for having that opinion.

Though that doesn't mean that there will never be doubts. I just read a New York Times review of a play I saw Friday night, which I gave a dubious review for (Back Stage will post it up soon).

Neil Genzlinger was more positive than I was. Who is correct?

Who knows.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Your Girl is Lovely, Hubble"

So I've been a little bit (a lot) busy lately, what with work and fighting off the stomach flu and filming around town for a class project. So as not to look like I'm completely blowing off the blog, I'm just going to leave you with a feeling.

"The Way We Were," which makes me cry every time I hear it and made me cry even harder after seeing this movie for the first time in September (don't judge, I grew up in an Asian family). And with this version of the song, performed by Barbra ("K-k-k-k-Katie!") herself during a recent taping of "Oprah," Babs proves that she still has it. And like Bernadette Peters, the woman also does not age.

And like this last scene in the movie didn't make you cry? Though according to the making-of information, the amount of footage cut from the movie made the reason Katie and Hubble split incomprehensible. Watching the movie for the first time, I didn't realize it, only because there was an intuitive sense that something wasn't quite right in the relationship and it was never going to work out. Like real-life relationships, sometimes you just can't work it out and love isn't really enough. Because life isn't the movies. Unless that movie is "The Way We Were."

But enough of that, little girl is going to bed now and fight off the last of this flu. Enjoy the Barbs!

Theater Review: "Turn of the Screw"

There is a moment in fear when time crawls to a halt, and the viewer can only look, frozen in horror, as the terror is slowly manifested before him or her. Two Turns Theatre Company's production of "The Turn of the Screw" slows down time but for entirely the wrong reasons.

Read the rest at Back Stage (aka, yay my first Back Stage review!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Write About Zombies

Say hello to the newest television recapper for "" Join me every Monday, readers, as I recap the newest episode of "The Walking Dead."

And now a recap of episode 2 of "The Walking Dead" with the "Zombie Kill of the Week."


And some other small bits of writing.

Music: "KT Tunstall: Tiger Suit"

Op-ed: "Want to Meet Stars? Go to the Theater"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Now for a Limited Time: Ideas!

One of my favorite professors ever, Johanna Keller (who is my very own personal Dumbledore) says that ideas are like water in the well.

And when you run out, it's time to refill the well. If these past two weeks have been any indication to me, it's that the well is working overtime. Having pitched four ideas for a web journalism class and gotten rejected on all of them, and having a story that I'm writing for Back Stage implode forcing me to think up three more ideas, I've been on constant idea generating mode.

So that brought my idea generating status to a grand total of 8 ideas in two weeks. And not counting updating this blog and starting work on my new column for "" called "Culture Ninja" (hyah!!).

And I will like to share with you readers, my idiot-proof way to think up feature article ideas, honed from a grand 2.5 years of journalism.

Diep's Handy-Dandy, Idiot-Proof Way to Generate Ideas

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Glee-view: "Rocky Horror Glee Show"


As you may or may have not noticed while reading this blog, I am not very secretive in my simultaneous fascination/disappointment with "Glee." So much so that I have dedicated multiple blog posts to that very subject.

So really, I felt that it was only a matter of time before I took to critiquing every "Glee" episode, especially since most of them contains musical references that I, as a musical theater geek (or "gleek"), should be kind to point out.

This post is a bit late since I spent this past week preparing for Halloween (which included me teasing my hair and making some pumpkin cookies and butterbeer), so there was not much time for writing.

Now I am back to long, theater-related posts and what better way to start than with the "Rocky Horror Glee Show."

Calling all Harry Potter fans! Butterbeer recipe

To honor the opening of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," on Nov. 19, I make another guest-star appearance. This time on my friend Kathleen Hessman's food blog where she films me making butterbeer, that ubiquitous drink found in the "Harry Potter" series.

The recipe can also be found on the site.

And this, readers, is what professionals do during a party. And if you're a journalist, you have a camera to record every special moment so you can put it on your personal blog later.