• Vanessa Hudgens as ‘badass’ Blondie • A book of masters’ paintings • Focus group looking for immigrants


Disney darling Vanessa Hudgens was in town March 8 for a series of media interviews to promote “Sucker Punch,” a fantasy action film. She plays Blondie, one of five young girls locked in a futuristic asylum and who plot to escape their captors. The other girls with Vanessa are Abbie Cornish, Emily Browning, Jena Malone and Jamie Chung. The movie opens March 25.

Vanessa described her role as different from her usual staple of family-friendly films, like her breakout “High School Musical” where she plays Gabriella, the geek who finds romance in a school musical.

“I’d had a super badass fight sequence and I got to shoot super big guns,” she told the movie press of her “Sucker Punch” role.

Practically an Asian American production, “Sucker Punch” is led by Japanese American screenwriter Steve Shibuya, Chinese American cinematographer Larry Fong, Chinese American editor William Hoy, Korean American actress Jamie Chung, and Vanessa, a Chinese-FilAm. A press statement says Vanessa is of mixed cultural background: Her mother, a native of Manila, is of Chinese-Filipino-Spanish descent and her father is of Irish and Native American descent. The scenes contain powerful iconic visuals of dragons, Japanese anime and martial arts.

Those of you wondering where the huge collection of paintings donated to, or acquired by, the Philippine Center, the book “Art at the Philippine Center New York” has the answer.

The center keeps a collection of more than hundred paintings, sculptures and other art works, but they’re not for public viewing. They are housed in the official residence of the consul general and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, or they adorn the consulate offices. Part of this priceless collection includes the works of National Artists J. Elizalde Navarro (“Night Landscape,” 1974) and Vicente Manansala (“Kalabaw,” 1965). One can also delight in the art of Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Ang Kiukok, Benedicto ‘Bencab’ Cabrera, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Arturo Luz, and H. R. Ocampo.

The book allows the student of Philippine cultural history to “feast” on 135 full-color images featuring the center’s rich art collection. The team behind book was led by Lenore RS Lim, the project coordinator. Imelda Cajipe-Endaya is the author-layout artist-cover designer and Rene Ner, the photographer. All three are members of the Society of Philippine American Artists.

Those interested in a copy may contact Zeny Avila at 212-575-4774. The book is available in Manila through Endaya at Icendaya@gmail.com or at the Liongoren Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City.
An independent research firm is looking for participants in a focus group to discuss the U.S. citizenship process. JBS International is looking for recently naturalized citizens from the Philippines (those who applied after January 2008) to share their experiences on naturalization, the perceived benefits and drawbacks of citizenship, and U.S. government resources designed to support immigrants. Participants who attend a focus group will earn $100.00 for their 1.5 hour participation.

The information gathered will be reported anonymously and will be used to develop recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Citizenship on how to provide effective services for immigrants and recent citizens. Deadline is March 31.

Those interested may call 240-645-4767 and include your:
Country of origin
Educational background
Number of years in the United States
Phone or email contact information

You can also email the ImmStudy@jbsinternational.com.
On March 31, the Philippine Development Foundation (formerly Ayala Foundation USA) will present its leaders at a meeting at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue. PhilDev Chairman Dado Banatao, President Vicky Garchitorena, trustees Winston Damarillo, Sheila Marcelo and Ronna Reyes Sieh will discuss the programs and upcoming events for the year. Email maeclips@aol.com for details.

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