San Francisco 2008
Greetings from San Francisco where the 26th annual San Francisco International Asian American festival has officially kicked off.
Thirteen of us DC APA'ers arrived in town yesterday, although three of us barely made it. Mickey and I nearly missed our early morning Virgin America flight, boarding just as they were closing the gate. Guess that twenty helped. But that was nothing compared to Franco's experience. He spent the entire day being tossed around from DC to St. Louis to Dallas before finally landing in San Fran 15 hours later. Geez Franco, couldn't you have just found a direct flight? (Just kidding, we're glad you made it.)
A note to Virgin America: the in-flight chatting is really cool, but bigger keypads would help. But keep up the great music and movie selection. The 5-hour flight passed by in no time at all.
Landing in San Fran, we made our way over to Hotel Tomo!, a manga-inspired hotel just minutes from the Kabuki theaters in Japantown where many of the films will be shown. Some of us ate lunch at Tempopo Cafe, which offered nearly 30 varieties of ramen noodles. Though their bottles of water were amusingly small, they knew how to serve their beer: in huge, frosty mugs. Yum!
The opening night film at the historic Castro Theater was Wayne Wang's "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," a sometimes very funny and moving film about an elderly Chinese man and his strained relationship with his daughter. Wayne Wang ("Joy Luck Club") himself introduced the film, advising the audience "to laugh" and "not fall asleep" during the movie. Judging from the warm reception the movie got at the end, Wang had no need to worry.
Once again, the SF festival organizers proved they can throw a good reception, based on the snazzy gala held at the multi-level Asian Art Museum following the screening. Never mind the huge bite I took of white radish thinking it was Asian pear, there was plenty of wine around to wash it down with. At the reception, we had the opportunity to hobnob with fellow festival organizers from around the country, as well as reconnect with old acquaintances. And of course pose for a good 'ol group photo.
One of the most scandalous moments of the night was documented on camera, which I unfortunately can't post til I find a camera cable. But let's just say it involved Wyman, Eric, and Jenny in an amusing line formation. It was enough to make me turn red...oh wait.
When the clock struck midnight, some of us took a look at our watches and recalled it would be 3 am back on the East Coast...which meant, time to call it. The heartier souls headed to the next destination for the "official" San Fran festival afterparty.
With that, Day 1 came to a close, a whole weekend of movie-watching still to come.