In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, ABC 7 Chicago presents ASIAN INFLUENCES, an Emmy Award-winning program that shines the spotlight on Chicago's Pan-Asian American community. Hosted by Linda Yu, with contributions by Judy Hsu, Ravi Baichwal, Eric Horng and Ji Suk Yi, the latest ASIAN INFLUENCES edition airs Saturday, May 25 at 6:00 pm. An encore performance will air Sunday, May 26 at 4:30 PM.
This edition of ASIAN INFLUENCES shares some laughs with the comedy troupe Stir-Friday Night, a fixture on Chicago's comedy scene since 1995. Performing with renowned companies The Second City and iO (formerly improv Olympic) several of Stir-Friday Night's alum have captured success in film and television.
California may have Silicon Valley, but if Chicago has any say, this will become the home to the next generation of the edgy digital start-ups. The epicenter of it all is 1871, a tech 'incubator' of sorts in the Merchandise Mart, housing 400 of the brightest minds in technology. ASIAN INFLUENCES talks to one of the these tech stars, Ravi Singh, the founder of RavWare Mobile Labs, a cutting-edge application development company.
Next, our cameras go behind-the-scenes at Halas Hall and the United Center to profile Chicago sports professionals about their careers. ASIAN INFLUENCES spotlights Chicago Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea and running back Harvey Unga, as well as Chicago Bulls athletic trainer, Jeff Tanaka, who candidly discuss how they've defied stereotypes and garnered success.
Then, viewers get an earful from IBU, a Chicago group who have proven that Asian Americans can sing soulful music with the best of them. IBU has rocked Chicago with their eclectic style of Pop and R&B at venues throughout the city.
ASIAN INFLUENCES will then turn its attention to immigration reform and its effect on Asian American families.
Finally, the program will look at how Chinese Tourism impacts the economy of Chicago and neighboring suburbs. Don Welsh, head of "Choose Chicago," the city's official tourism office, talks about this boon for the local economy.
ASIAN INFLUENCES will be available on-demand at abc7chicago.com.
Holly Grisham and Rubye Wilson are the producers of ASIAN INFLUENCES.
Seen on Asian Influences
"Asian Influences" is an annual half-hour ABC7 special that recognizes the many contributions of Asian Pacific Americans in the Chicago area. It is hosted by Linda Yu with reporters Ravi Baichwal, Eric Horng, Judy Hsu and Ji Suk Yi.
I-B-U, or Inspired by You, got its start singing in karaoke clubs back in college but this Asian American trio has gone on to release two C-Ds. This unique R and B 'boy band' from Chicago has even been tapped to sing the national anthem at a White Sox game.
With a name like Stir-Friday Night, you can tell these comedians don't mind poking a little fun at themselves. This Asian American comedy troupe started nearly 20 years ago.. because members weren't finding enough work in mainstream theaters. Now, they perform regularly at Wrigleyville's Underground Lounge. Many of the Stir-Friday Night alums have gone on to successful careers in TV and film.
Stephen Paea, Harvey Unga and Jeff Tanaka
While Asians aren't widely represented in the ranks of professional athletes, two players who have roots in the Polynesian island of Tonga are current Chicago Bears. Harvey Unga has been a Running Back for the last three seasons for the team. Stephen Paea has been a Bears defensive tackle for the past two seasons. Both actually grew up playing rugby, not football. In fact, Paea's only childhood exposure to American football was through TV and video games!
While there may not be Asians represented in the ranks of the Chicago Bulls, one of the important people working 'behind the scenes' of the pro basketball team is very proud of his Japanese heritage. Jeff Tanaka, a second generation Japanese American, is the Bull's assistant Athletic Trainer.
The Golden Triangle
More than 20 years ago, The Golden Triangle opened its doors, selling beautiful Thai artifacts and antiques. Now, the massive gallery just north of the Chicago River on Clark street showcases antiquities from across Asia? even Europe.