Asian Images in American Film pt.3 1982-1998

August 19th, 2014

1982 is a watershed year in Asian-American cinema as Wayne Wang’s low-budget film Chan is Missing becomes an art house success and launches his directing career, including The Joy Luck Club (1993).  Bernardo Bertolucci’s international production of The Last Emperor (1987) brings western attention to several performers including Lisa Lu, Joan Chen and John Lone.


Chan is Missing (1982) National Film Registry (1995)
Gandhi (1982)  Academy Awards for Best Picture,  Best Actor Ben Kingsly and 6 other awards
The Karate Kid (1984)  Nominated Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Pat Morita
The Killing Fields (1984)  Academy Award Best Supporting Actor Haing S. Ngor and 2 other awards
The Last Emperor (1987) Academy Award for Best Picture and 8 other awards
Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1988) Nominated for Academy Award Best Documentary

India-born Mira Nair scores a 1991 hit movie with Mississippi Masala becoming the first Asian woman to do so in the states.  See also: The Perez Family (1995) and Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996).  Ang Lee begins his successful directing career with the comedies  The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994). Chinese-American documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong creates films that look at the experiences of his ethnic heritage and those of his fellow lesbian and gay men including Coming Out Under Fire (1994),  Licensed to Kill (1997) and Family Fundamentals (2002). Deepa Mehta challenges gender roles internationally with her “elements” trilogy set in India:  Fire (1996), 1947 Earth (1998), and Water (2005).


Mississippi Masala (1991)
Mr. Baseball (1992)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
M. Butterfly (1993)
The Wedding Banquet (1993) Nominated Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film
Coming Out Under Fire (1994)
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)  Nominated Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film
The Perez Family (1995)
Fire (1996)
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
Licensed to Kill (1997)  Sundance Film Festival 3 nominations, 2 wins
1947 Earth (1998)

Film Blog: Hunger Games Catching Fire

August 15th, 2014

Today I’m featuring one of the newest DVDs to arrive in the collection. We now have Hunger Games: Catching Fire ready to borrow. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland are all back reprising their roles from the first Hunger Games film, which we also have downstairs if you haven’t seen it.

If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, then I would definitely recommend it as it’s a very quick read. It has also won numerous awards since the first book came out in 2008. In the collection, we have the whole trilogy in print. You should start off with reading The Hunger Games  then Catching Fire then MockingjayWhen the author isn’t writing young adult dystopic novels, she writes children’s stories. In 2013, Collins won many awards for her book Year of the Jungle.

As always, I’m including a trailer below. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Below I’m also pasting a preview for part 1 of Mockingjay which comes out November 21 of this year.

Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson, Missouri

August 14th, 2014

Have you been following the coverage on the shooting in Missouri? Here’s what we know so far:

On Saturday August 9, a police officer stopped two African American men and told them to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street. The details afterwards differ, but the ending result was the shooting death of an unarmed Michael Brown. Police will not reveal how many times the teenage was shot, but all agree it was more than a couple of times (and more than what was necessary). Since then, police haven’t revealed the identity of the officer who shot Michael Brown or the number of times he was shot, which has lead to nightly riots, looting, vandalism, and reinforcements from St. Louis County Police. There is also a federal investigation going on right now.

Since the shooting, people have been asking many questions not just about the shooter, but about the police department in general. Some say a more diverse work force or better training could have prevented this tragedy from occurring.

For more information on the chronology of the shooting, click here to go to USA Today‘s Timeline page.


A Summer of Dumpster Diving & Sustainability (online video)

August 13th, 2014

This summer (2014) several interns supported by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency did projects at Chicago-area colleges (including Moraine Valley), each focusing on a waste reduction program aimed at increasing recycling and developing zero-waste plans. These interns presented the findings from their work and offer new insight on sustainability efforts in higher education.

A Summer of Dumpster Diving & Sustainability: IL EPA Interns Present Their Work

The audio of this event is available below:

Robin Williams, Suicide, and the Human Condition

August 12th, 2014

Like the rest of the world, we are in shock after hearing the news of Robin Williams’ apparent suicide. This is difficult news and a great loss.

Suicide is a topic that we discussed in our public programming last year during our One Book program on World War Z. We welcomed psychiatrist, Jason Burns, M.D., who defined suicide and discussed the topic from a healthcare view. He did this in the context of the World War Z program, but his talk relates to today’s news. Thus, we thought that sharing this video again may be valuable.

Suicide: A Human Condition featuring Dr. Jason Burns

What university offers a major in drone operations?

August 11th, 2014

In the August, 2014, issue of Popular Science, an article lists 25 reasons to love drones and 5 reasons to fear them. How about those beer ads showing the family dog retrieving beer from the fridge and delivering it to its master? Well, drones may be doing something similar by delivering pizza orders. They can also be a help in getting weather information, finding a parking space, finding stranded hikers, or adding workers by creating jobs. Take a look at this article at the library and find out that you would need to go to the University of North Dakota for that major in drone operations.

Popular Science is located in the magazine racks near the Circulation Desk in the Cafe. The article is very easy to read and has excellent graphics.

Asian Images in American Film pt. 2: 1919-1980

July 31st, 2014

Despite the early success of Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa in silent film  [See],  few significant roles were created for Asian performers and often large roles went to heavily made up non-Asian performers. This practice came to be known as ‘yellowface.’ Examples of this in the collection include:

Richard Barthelmess in Broken Blossoms or Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
Warner Oland in Old San Francisco (1927) and Shanghai Express (1932)
Luise Rainer & Paul Muni in The Good Earth (1937)
Ricardo Montalban in Sayonara (1957)

Learn about the challenges and triumphs Asian male actors faced in Hollywood viewing the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006) Watch a preview clip here:

Films in the collection featuring Asian portrayals or performances include:

Broken Blossoms or, The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
The Dragon Painter (1919)
The Tong Man (1919)
The Toll of the Sea (1922)
The Thief of Bagdad  (1924)
Old San Francisco (1927)
Piccadilly (1929)
Shanghai Express (1931)
The Good Earth  (1937) Academy award for Best Actress,  Luise Rainer


In the late 1950′s Hollywood takes a greater interest in Asian portrayals and three stars emerge: Miyoshi Umeki, Nancy Kwan and James Shigeta. All three combine their talents in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Flower Drum Song (1961).
Miyoshi Umeki is the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award in 1958.

Bad Day at Black Rock  (1954)
The King and I (1956) Academy Award for Best Actor, Yul Brynner
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Sessue Hayakawa
Sayonara (1957)    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Miyoshi Umeki
The Geisha Boy (1958)
South Pacific (1958)
The World of Suzie Wong (1960)
Bridge to the Sun  (1961)
Flower Drum Song (1961)
Enter the Dragon  (1973)

Bruce Lee Interview

Deadly Virus, “a plane ride away”?

July 30th, 2014

The Ebola virus has resurfaced in the news this week.  Medical experts predict that the deadly virus is “only a plane ride from the USA.”  This highly contagious virus has no cure and death occurs within three weeks.  See below for some helpful material to understand the severity of this disease. 

MVCC Catalog 

USA Today

CNN video

After reviewing this news, you may want to read/reread

World War Z: The Oral History of the Zombie War



‘The right to be handsome’: Clothing for gender non-conforming people on the rise

July 29th, 2014

I wanted to share this video that touches on some of the topics that we will be examining for our One Book, One College program on Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. This video touches on ideas of gender identity, how we represent ourselves, and how we understand ourselves.

From the PBS Newshour: Companies that offer custom-made clothing for transgender and gender non-conforming people are coming to the forefront, as more diverse models gain visibility in the fashion industry – and redefine the parameters of gender identity. Ivette Feliciano reports.
‘The right to be handsome’: Clothing for gender non-conforming people on the rise

Gaming in the Classroom

July 29th, 2014

We are excited for our gaming day that will be part of our Graphic Novel Symposium (September 18-19). This event will connect gaming and learning…and we hope it will be fun!

I wanted to send along a link to this post: ProfHacker: Gaming in the Classroom (A Game a Day at Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching).

This post would be especially useful for faculty who are thinking about using gaming as a way to engage their course content.