Tag Archives: san diego asian film festival

Blacklava Lights Up Asian America For 20 Years

By Guest Contributor Ken Choy, cross-posted from Hyphen Magazine

Blacklava founder Ryan Suda

Blacklava has been a reliable support system for Asian America. If one has an indie film, she’d go to Blacklava to help promote it. If one wants to expand a business, t-shirts created by Blacklava is the obvious choice. And if non-profits and live events need more bandwidth, no wider audience is to be found than Blacklava’s. Throngs crowd around the company’s booth appearances at Comic-Con just as much as they do at the Nihonmachi Street Fair.

Originally geared toward the surfing community, Ryan Suda created his company 20 years ago. He segued into Asian American-focused items when he created the “Asian is Not Oriental” t-shirt and was continually asked, “Hey, where can I get one of those?” And since then, Blacklava has been a reliable source of support and socially conscious sustenance for the Asian American community. Throughout the years, Blacklava has partnered with the likes of AngryAsianManSan Diego Asian Film FestivalEast West PlayersNorthern California Cherry Blossom FestivalSecret Identities, and over 150 other collaborators–including our own Hyphen Magazine.

As he prepares to open a 20th Anniversary Exhibit in Downtown LA’s Hatakeyama Gallery which includes an Opening Night Gala, I caught up with the soft-spoken entrepreneur and philanthropist with a huge heart.

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Festival Picks: ‘You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story,’ ‘Arusi: Persian Wedding’ & ‘Shades Of Ray’

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

These notes are taken from complimentary screenings courtesy of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, which concluded Thursday night.

For those of us who only remember Jack Soo from watching Barney Miller with our parents, the documentary You Don’t Know Jack is aptly named, as it reveals a pleasant set of surprises.

Directed by Jeff Adachi, Jack is concise (it clocks in at just under an hour) but not rushed, covering its subject with a relaxed cool that, as we soon learn, fed not only the onstage persona he developed as a singer, nightclub host and comedian, but made him an asset to Japanese-American families interned in California during World War II, as he organized talent revues and shows to lift spirits at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah. He even managed to arrange permission and transportation for off-site shows. Soo’s singing ability is shown off about halfway through the movie, when you hear his rendition of “For Once In My Life,” made popular by Stevie Wonder.
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