DEAR AGELESS

By Linda Altoonian
Special to the Star-Telegram

StoryCorps offers gifts to the future

Dear Ageless: I love hearing my grandparents tell the stories of their lives. How can I preserve them for future generations?

— Wanting Sweet Remembrances

Dear Wanting: Preserving that kind of historical data is the mission of StoryCorps, which has conducted and archived more than 5,000 oral histories. Modeled after a 1930s program that hired unemployed writers to document oral history and folklore throughout the United States, StoryCorps is “a national project intended to instruct and inspire people to record each others’ stories in sound.”

StoryCorps is building recording studios across the country and offers two permanent locations in New York City called StoryBooths and two traveling studios called MobileBooths. A facilitator aids in question development, handles all the technical aspects of the recording, produces the CD (a digital recording with broadcast-quality equipment), and archives the 40-minute interview with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

An extraordinary value, only a $10 donation is asked. The $200 cost is underwritten by various organizations, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio (on which these interviews are broadcast), and is supported by public generosity.

Choose an interview partner (must be over 10), make a reservation online or call (800) 850-4406 (24 hours/7 days a week), develop a list of questions, and arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled time to conduct the interview (or tell your own story). If you live too far from a Story or MobileBooth, visit http://storycorps.net to download a Do It Yourself Guide that lists equipment needed and outlines the complete process for conducting a StoryCorps interview, including questions, tips and an interview checklist.


Linda Altoonian writes Dear Ageless. Send questions to Dear Ageless, 1800 Longbranch Court, Arlington, TX 76012 or dearageless@netzero.com.

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How to Watch a Movie: The Producer
They’re overshadowed by directors and misunderstood by actors and audiences, but just try and make a movie without ’em. The man behind The Graduate describes the producer’s one crucial function: to run the show.

By Lawrence Turman

(This article was originally published in the October 2005 issue of Premiere.)

With the sweet smell of my success still in the air, I thought I would give myself a break and get out of the trenches. Having just produced 1967’s The Graduate, I decided to executive-produce my next film, which meant trying the entrepreneur route—setting up financing for a film and choosing the creative elements, including a producer who would supervise the shoot. So I was a relaxed, happy camper at a dinner hosted by my friend and fellow producer David Wolper in the summer of 1968, bragging about how I had a picture, Pretty Poison, with a fine script by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (The Parallax View) and a superb cast (Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld), that was about to start shooting. I boasted that I wasn’t even going to visit the set. I had hired a producer to do the job.

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But before I had even started on my dessert, I was hit by a flurry of phone calls; my producer and the director tracked me down to tell me that their crew was in mutiny and they couldn’t start the film. I was on a plane the next morning to put out the fire—as well as to rub sticks to start new ones. First, I cajoled the assistant director to stay on board, then I axed the production manager and hired a new one. I did a lot of fanny-patting and got everyone on track emotionally, and, soon, the movie was off and running. But it wasn’t long before the neophyte director fell behind schedule. Each night I would have to go over his shot list with him for the next day’s work to ensure he could “make his day.” After we finished filming, I had to spend hours in the editing room and at the sound mix. Merely executive-produce!? I never worked so hard in my life.But nobody cares what goes into a film, only what comes out. Happily, the critics, including Pauline Kael, loved Pretty Poison. The director went on to bigger and better things (for a while). My young producer learned the importance of crisis management. And I learned you can’t always tell from the producer credits who did what on a film. Today, many films credit anywhere from 4 to 14 producers, some of whom are “baggage,” because there are so many categories of producer: executive producers, coproducers, associate producers, line producers, assistant producers. Line producers are physical production specialists—they are the guys on the ground, overseeing every day of the shoot. Executive producers get that credit for anything from arranging the money, being manager of the star or director, or being the studio executive overseeing the film. The associate producer title is a catchall, designating anyone the producer deems worthy. But the real deal is the producer. He or she runs the show. It’s the producer, and only the producer, who is called onstage to accept the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Even so, hardly anyone knows what a producer’s job is. You can see a director’s work, you can hear a writer’s work, and you can readily assess an actor’s skill. But the producer? Let me tell you: He or she just happens to be the cause, the reason, all the others are working on the movie. What you see at your local theater nearly always began life as an idea in a producer’s head. Sure, writers give birth to ideas and stories—some directors, too—but without our recognition and steadfast push, most films would not see the light of day. It is the producer who starts the ball rolling, and keeps it rolling. Do I sound self-serving and prejudiced? Well, I plead guilty. That takes nothing away from the talented, creative others I’ve had to convince, implore, and seduce to climb aboard my project. But even film crews often don’t fully understand or appreciate that the producer has busted his or her butt for several (or many) bloody, sweaty, and tearful years prior to the start of filming. I’ve been on set and heard them mutter about me, “Look at the slicker just standing around, and he gets the big bucks.”

Oh, sure, I’m hot stuff at the restaurants where I get the best tables, and at parties, where everybody wants to talk about my business, not theirs. But I only get a paycheck when/if I make a movie—and that’s not every year. My friends get a paycheck each and every month. I’m more like an oil wildcatter who sinks a lot of dry holes and once in a while, hopefully, hits a gusher, as I did with The Graduate.

Maybe a few stories will help show some of the things a producer actually does:

Getting Started: What’s the Big Idea?

Charles Webb wrote The Graduate, but his novel had only sold several thousand hardcover copies and was lying fallow when I spotted it and took an option for $1,000 of my own money—which was a lot for me in 1963. I then chose Mike Nichols to direct, before he became Mike Nichols. (He had directed one Broadway play, Barefoot in the Park, but had not yet done a film. I had already produced four films, the last being Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.) Together, we developed the script and cast Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, and then, together, became rich and famous. Of course, he a little more than I. (A few years later, a big New York Times story about me was headlined “But They Still Say ‘Larry Who?’ “!)

The Pitch: Hope Springs Eternal

Every producer pitches a story to the studio his own way. I’ve seen some practically jump on the executive’s desk and act out every role. I myself use a low-key, straightforward approach: Here’s my project, here’s why I like it, here’s what I think its potential is, I hope you share my enthusiasm. And they usually don’t. I always expect a no and am rarely disappointed. But all it takes is one yes, and then I’m in the game. So we producers live on hope, and it does spring eternal. After all, a project is only dead if the producer quits working on it. I hate to admit it, but I quit on Amadeus after my enthusiasm from seeing the play in London was thoroughly dampened by categorical turndowns from every single studio. But the dedicated, tasteful Saul Zaentz didn’t walk away from that project, even though he had to cobble together the financing. And he produced a great, Oscar-winning film.

Developing the Script: A Slow Road

How does a producer develop a script with a writer or director? Very carefully. Nothing is more important than the script. I work on the simple premise that I’m an audience of one for the writer. I always ask who is doing what to whom and, very important, why. As I did with novelist Bill Goldman—yes, the one and only future Oscar winner—when I arranged to meet him long before he ever wrote a screenplay, in the early 1960s. I was a big fan of his novels, and we became fast friends. He offered to write on spec what became the movie Harper. In my infinite wisdom, I turned him down, but in turn offered to have him write the screenplay for The Graduate. He turned me down. Bill then wanted to write an original script about the last of the outlaws, The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. We worked together on it for two years, and although I got him to reverse the title, to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and got Paul Newman interested (okay, in fairness, the script did that), I didn’t even get to produce the movie. Bill’s agent (whom I had set him up with) got muscled by his biggest client, who wanted to produce the picture. So I was out. Whoever said life, or producing, was fair?

Crisis Management: If I Had a Dime For Every Headache

I was on a soundstage in England producing I Could Go on Singing (1963), starring Judy Garland and Dirk Bogarde, longtime pals who then were pissing ice water at each other due to Judy’s mercurial mood swings. So I was ready for another gripe about Dirk when she came up to me, but instead she started bitching that director Ronald Neame was exhausting her by demanding too many takes. Trying to soothe her and to just get through the shoot, I took Neame aside and encouraged him to ease off. The very next scene, after only one take, Neame yelled, “Cut! That’s it. Perfect. Let’s move on to the next.” I let out a sigh of relief, until Judy rushed up and said, “So that’s the game the son of a bitch is going to play.” Sometimes, the producer can’t win.

Each film has its own unique problems. On The Graduate, my brilliant director, Mike Nichols, fell in love with a church as a location for our story’s climax, but the church refused to let us film there. The Graduate was racy, sexually provocative; this was 1967. So I told Mike, “No go. We have to find another church.” His reply? “But, Larry, that’s the only one I want.” Shit! I maneuvered a meeting with the church elders in which I told them our film was dealing with the very issues (purpose, morality, etc.) that the church itself should be dealing with. Chutzpah, yes, but the truth. They relented, and their church is the glorious centerpiece of our climax.

How to Watch a Movie: The Producer

Minding The Budget: The Buck’s Got to Stop Somewhere

Producing is largely about balancing your artistic desires against the financial means you have to achieve them. In the middle of filming The Young Doctors in 1961, starring two-time Oscar winner Fredric March and a young Dick Clark, we began slipping over budget. Our director was from the Hollywood studio system and was used to taking orders, so my then partner and I sat him down and told him, “Remember that nighttime ice skating sequence with two hundred extras? Well, it’s now a daytime scene with twenty-five extras.” The old pro agreed, putting the camera up high and pointing it downward to create a tight shot that made it look like we had zillions of extras on location, and, presto, by the next week we were on schedule and budget again.

Hopefully, that gives you a sense of just some of what a producer does on a film, and yet, still, we are thought to be irritating, money-obsessed, artistically devoid trolls. Serving as I do on the board of the producers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and having formed a board of 40 producer mentors for the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California, which I’ve chaired for 14 years, I talk a lot to my kind. And they all echo the same Rodney Dangerfield complaint: “We don’t get no respect.” And, frankly, it’s damn unfair. The best producers have the taste and creativity of an artist, the mind-set of an entertainer, the people skills of a politician, the business acumen of a CEO, the insight of a psychotherapist, the ebullience of a cheerleader, the tenacity of a pit bull, the charm of a snake-oil seller, the delegating ability of a five-star general, the malleability of a chameleon, and the dedication of a monk. It’s not happenstance that Zaentz produces quality classics that also have commercial appeal, that Jerry Bruckheimer has one blockbuster after another, that Brian Grazer can eclectically go from producing A Beautiful Mind to The Cat in the Hat, or that Scott Rudin could mortgage his house to tie up a story he loves. Or that younger newcomers like Laura Bickford and Michael London produce gems such as Traffic and Sideways.

I had the good fortune to be around in the old days, and, I have to admit, they were better. Every studio had dozens of producers under contract, each getting a hefty paycheck, and, to boot, a story department that would send around a memo saying the studio just bought such-and-such Pulitzer-winning book or play, and to please register interest if you’d like to produce it. Ah, where are the snows of yesteryear? Today, a producer has to full-time hustle, beg, borrow, and/or steal to nail the hot script or book that is the cheese to bait the trap to catch the money mouse (read: star, director, studio).

The old-time producers were lords of the universe, whereas today they’re high-priced peons. I’m not talking about the top elite, who still have the perks of studio-paid plush offices on, or off, the lot, plus plenty of staff, ample expense accounts, and even discretionary money to unilaterally buy a script or a book. But too many producers are working out of their homes, suffering the daily frustration, the indignity, of not having their phone calls returned in a timely fashion, if at all. And today’s fat cats, like Kathy Kennedy, Neal Moritz, Gale Anne Hurd, Joel Silver, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Doug Wick, don’t have the same power and control that David Selznick, Hal Wallis, and Darryl Zanuck had. As legend has it, two-time Oscar-winning director Joseph Mankiewicz once said, “I been tilling the fields a long time and I know who is the massa,'” regarding renowned producer-turned-studio chief Zanuck, who had recut his Cleopatra. And Selznick, when asked why he didn’t direct, since he controlled every other aspect of a production, said, “I’ve got more important things to do.”

That was then, this is now. Hollywood has embraced the French Cahiers du Cinema theory that each film has an author, and that author is always, and only, the director (unless a critic’s darling like writer Charlie Kaufman is involved). The studios think the director is the only one who can have a “vision” for a film. And the ripple effect? When was the last time you saw a producer mentioned in a film review? Robert Dowling, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, got it right when he said, “Producing is the only job where you hire the person [the director] from whom you take orders.”

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How to Watch a Movie: The Producer

0306_american_history_main.jpg A still from 1998’s American History X, which author Lawrence Turman exec-produced.

If producing is so tough, why do we do it? I asked a dozen top producers—who I interviewed for my book, So You Want to Be a Producer—if they liked producing. To a person, they replied, “I don’t like it, I love it.” Many years ago, I was asked about the joys and sorrows of the job by a young reporter named Curtis Hanson. (Yep, before he was the Oscar-winning writer-director of L.A. Confidential.) My reply? “Nothing could be more rewarding or stimulating. Each day has new challenges, new struggles, new frustrations, new satisfactions. Each day I figure I’ll walk into the office and get hit with a right to the heart and a left to the kidney, but I love it.”I feel the same way today. Nothing beats sitting in a crowded movie theater showing one of my films, hearing the audience laugh and hold its collective breath, seeing tears flow, and, perhaps, hearing some applause. And that’s just the icing. The cake, for me, is my personal expression: the idea behind each film I do, my conscious or sometimes unconscious signature with which I express my values. I like to think—I do think—that I can affect the world, or at least a few people in it.

Sure, seeing my name when the credits roll is nice, but knowing how I help shape a film is more important, like with American History X, which I exec-produced. Because he was so eager to play the part, Edward Norton volunteered to test for the lead role of the tattooed skinhead. Here was a guy who had already received an Oscar nomination for his first film. I was elated, and his test knocked my socks off. But not those of our director, Tony Kaye, whom I had also championed, and who was king in the world of commercials but helming his first film. He wanted to find a nonactor, an authentic street person. All studios are director fornicators; thus, to my dismay but not surprise, New Line agreed. After five weeks testing dozens of hopefuls, Tony screened his top choices for us. None of them had the right stuff, so New Line and my producer partners and I put our foot down, and Edward was in our film, for which he rightly earned his second Oscar nomination. Two weeks into shooting, Tony sidled up to me and whispered, “Edward is the best piece of luck I ever had.” His luck was having smart producers.

Lawrence Turman has produced 30 films, and is the author of So You Want to Be a Producer, from Three Rivers Press.

Award recipients helped give voice to all Asian-Americans

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, March 2, 2006

Esther Wu Angela Oh may well be remembered as the woman who stood up for Koreans during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

I can still recall her appearance on Frontline to discuss the issue.

“But I didn’t set out to be the spokeswoman for Koreans,” the Los Angeles-based lawyer said. “It was a chaotic time. It was not a riot but more of an implosion of all that was happening at that time. I stood up for all people who were on the edge at that time – the unemployed, the disenfranchised and the poor – everyone whose voices were not being heard.

“I want to be remembered as the voice who pointed out that America at that time needed to move beyond the black-and-white paradigm of race relations in this country,” she said in a telephone interview this week.

But she conceded that most would remember her as a champion of the Koreans in this country.

Not necessarily a bad legacy, she admits. But it is not the complete story.

Ms. Oh is a recipient of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Legacy Award, which will be presented March 11 at the Fairmont Hotel Dallas.

As national AAJA president, I’ve been working with the local chapter to help organize this fundraising event, which will honor five Asian-Americans whose exemplary achievements have changed the world we live in and have inspired future generations.

Others who will be recognized are Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sabeer Bhatia, lawyer Bill Lann Lee and actors George Takei and Lou Diamond Phillips.

We chose them not only because of their commitment and dedication to the Asian-American community, but because they are unsung heroes. Their true legacies are often masked by fame.

Mr. Phillips is probably best known for his work in La Bamba, Stand and Deliver and Courage Under Fire. But to many World War II veterans, Mr. Phillips is a real-life hero. The University of Texas at Arlington graduate, who was born in the Philippines, has been speaking out on behalf of veterans of Filipino descent who are still fighting for military benefits.

Mr. Phillips narrated An Untold Triumph, a documentary about the 7,000 men of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments of the Army who fought in World War II and were later known as Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “secret weapon.”

Mr. Takei is known to many baby boomers as Sulu on the television series Star Trek. But in reality he was one of the first Asian-Americans on a regular television series who did not portray a servant – a houseboy, a gardener or a cook.

The man who journeyed into the final frontier with Captain Kirk spent much of his childhood behind barbed wire at Camp Rohwer in Arkansas and Camp Tule Lake in California. Mr. Takei and his family were among the tens of thousands of people living in the U.S. who were placed in Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Bill Gates made Microsoft a household word, but it was Mr. Bhatia who helped develop a Web-based e-mail system that is now known by almost everyone who uses a computer. Mr. Bhatia co-founded Hotmail Corp. in 1996 and later sold it to Mr. Gates for about $400 million. Today, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur is CEO of Navin Communications.

Mr. Lee became the highest-ranking Asian-American law enforcement official in the U.S. when President Bill Clinton named him assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1997 – no small accomplishment for the son of Chinese immigrants who ran a laundry.

In his speeches, Mr. Lee, who has devoted much of his life to fighting hate crime, often talks about his father, who suffered the brunt of racial slurs because of his poor English. And how for many years the family could not purchase a home because of their ethnicity.

These five people have opened many doors for Asian-Americans. Unfortunately, too few people know the stories behind their successes.

The Legacy Awards Banquet will be held at 7 p.m. March 11 at the Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard St. in Dallas. Tickets are $200 and benefit AAJA’s scholarship and journalism training programs. For more information, call 469-438-5627 or visit http://www.aaja.org. E-mail ewu@dallasnews.com

2006 Call For Entries

Got film? Then we want to see it! The SDAFF is looking for the best in
Asian American cinema for the 7th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival.

The early entry deadline is April 7. Submit your film using our easy
online entry form at http://www.sdaff.org/film_submit.php

San Diego Latino Film Festival, March 9�19

Media Arts Center’s 13th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival presents
the best of Latino cinema for eleven days at UltraStar Mission Valley
Cinemas at Hazard Center.

For a complete list of this year’s films and videos, visit
http://www.sdlatinofilm.com

Terence Yin

March 12, 2006

Terence Yin Chi Wai

Terence Yin Filmography

Terence Yin Chi Wai

Terence Yin Terence Yin Chi Wai

(Yin Chi Wai, Wan Chi Wai, Wan Tze Wai)

Actor, Singer, Model

Born: May 19, 1975 Languages: Chinese, English

Height: 5’10” Weight: 155 lbs Education: University of California at Berkeley (1997)

Terence Yin characterizes the new breed of Asian-American actors who are making a splash

in Hong Kong. Yin shares the same management (JC Group) with Daniel Wu, Maggie Q,

and Edison Chen. His peers (who also include Stephen Fung, Lee Ann, Amanda Strang

and Jaymee Ong) have more than their Western upbringing in common- they’re frequent

co-stars and personal friends. Unlike the others, Yin has developed a knack for playing villains

in a string of youth oriented HK pictures. Terence has a distinct genetic connection to HK

cinema as well. His mother is 60’s Eurasian actress Jenny Hu, and his father is former Shaw

Brothers director Kang Wei. After retirement, the two migrated to California where Terence

was raised.

Terence made his film debut in Yonfan’s gay drama Bishonen (1998). Yin’s work has included

drama, action and triad genre roles, almost all supporting. His first starring credit was in

Jamie Luk’s 2000 romance Home Sweet Home, followed by lead roles in triad films

Gold Fingers and Mist in Judge, opposite Ti Lung. Terence released his first album,

Determination, in 2000, and took modeling jobs.

As his career took shape, a few of his films were set in Japan or featured Japanese cast

members- (Final Romance, Bullets of Love, and Color of Pain). Yin has deliberately

developed a Japanese following, co-starring in two of Takashi Miike’s movies- City of Lost

Souls and Dead or Alive Final.

In 2003 Terence Yin played Simon Yam’s younger brother in Paramount’s summer

blockbuster Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. He co-stars in Jackie Chan’s

New Police Story as yet another villain.

2002 Black Mask 2: City of Masks
1998 Bishonen
2001 Bullets of Love
2002 Color of Pain
2003 Colour of the Truth
2000 Dial D For Demons
2001 Final Romance
1999 Gen-X Cops
2000 Gold Fingers
2000 Home Sweet Home
1998 Hot War
2000 Lavender (c)
2001 Martial Angels
1999 Metade Fumaca
2001 Mist in Judge
2004 New Police Story
2004 Police Love Affairs
2005 PTU File- Death Trap
1999 Rave Fever
2000 Skyline Cruisers
2003 The Trouble-Makers

c = cameo

Terence Yin -American Films

Terence Yin Chi Wai

2003 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Terence Yin Japanese Films

Terence Yin Chi Wai

2000 The City of Lost Souls *
2001 Dead or Alive Final

1 aka The Hazard City

Terence Yin Korean Films

Terence Yin Chi Wai

2001 Hi, Dharma! *

* Cantonese voice dubbing for HK release

Picture of Terence Yin in Bisonen

Terence in Bishonen (1998).

[March 01, 2006]

A dream come true

(Malay Mail Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)ANY actor would love to go to the Academy Awards and Terence Yin is no exception.

The 30-year-old actor from Hong Kong, currently the host of STAR Movies’ Opening Night, will present the pre-show programme, Road to the Red Carpet together with Channel V’s VJ Maya Karin.

It’s a chance of a lifetime for them to interact with famous celebrities, producers, directors at the 78th Oscars presentation.

“I am so excited.

This is a unique opportunity and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Yin over a phone interview from Hong Kong before he left for the United States.

He has been doing quite a bit of research, including watching the films that have been nominated and reading up on the nominees – actors, directors, scriptwriters and cinematographers.

When asked who he liked to meet most, Yin said he would love to meet everyone but Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman were at the top of his list.

He would be in LA about a week and doing exclusive interviews with some of the nominees prior to the awards night.

“This is my first time doing this kind of thing and I can’t believe I’m going to be in the middle of the biggest event of the year in Hollywood,” said Yin, in his American accented English.

If Yin looks familiar, that’s because you might have seen him in some Hong Kong movies.

Since 1998, Yin has acted in more than 30 movies, most of them in supporting roles.

With the likes of Daniel Wu and Edison Chen, Yin is among the breed of Asian-American actors who have been making waves in Hong Kong’s movie scene.

He might not be as well known as some of his peers but Yin takes his acting career seriously.

Among the movies he appeared in in recent years were Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), New Police Story (2004), (playing villains in both), Drink, Drank, Drunk and Kung Fu Mahjong.

He has just completed a Taiwan movie called 21 Blackjack – loosely based on the underground gambling scene in Taiwan.

Having been in the entertainment industry for about eight years now, Yin said he had done a bit of everything, including music! He has released an album in Taiwan three years ago and currently, he’s in a band called Alive with Daniel Wu.

But first and foremost, acting is still his main focus.

“I have done a lot of action movies.

I always look to play characters different from my earlier roles as I’m looking for new challenges.

I want to show the audience that I can portray many different characters.” He said the most challenging role he has played to date is that of a sociopath in Rave Fever in 1999.

Yin has never studied acting but instead, graduated with a degree in philosophy,majoring in rhetoric from University of California, Berkeley.

“It was a personal interest.

I found it mentally challenging.

“It’s based on logic and analysis.

You have to develop your own viewpoint and that’s what I found most interesting.

“In a way, it relates to acting,” he said.

“You have to have your own understanding of the script and the role you portray.

The character has to be a part of you to be believable.” After he graduated in 1997, he was going to pursue his MBA and had even taken the exams required for him to continue graduate school.

However, his interest in acting grew and he decided to return to Hong Kong and give it a shot.

Yin said he loved the buzz of this cosmopolitan city that had a variety of elements from all over the world, although it could be overwhelming at times.

Good looking with a tall and well-built physique, he could easily be a model.

But that’s not something he’s interested in.

“Although I had some opportunities, these shoots were just an extension of my acting career.” Right now, he’s loving working on Opening Night which he started hosting a year and a half ago.

“I have not been a host or presenter before.

But now I get to do a show about something I like – watching and making films.

“As part of my work I get to view a lot of behind-the-scenes footage and learn about different aspects of presenting,” he said.

As for his future plans, Yin seems to be content with what he’s doing and wants to stay on in Hong Kong and continue acting.

denver & the west
Legal or illegal? Here’s the deal

By Kieran Nicholson
Denver Post Staff Writer

More than 60 poker players fill tables Monday night at the Tailgate Tavern on Mainstreet in Parker, part of The Poker Tour. Participants pay nothing to play, but they can win prizes, which is legal. (Post / John Leyba)
The arrest of 41 people at two social clubs doesn’t seem to have slowed the Texas Hold ‘Em poker craze.

The alleged gamblers are scheduled to appear in Denver court Friday, where most face a petty “gambling” charge and some face a misdemeanor “professional gambling” charge.

But it’s a sure bet that dozens of poker tournaments will be held in Colorado tonight, and the games will continue no matter the outcome of the sting.

So what separates the hundreds of legal poker players and those who were fingerprinted and issued summonses?

It’s the difference between what’s legal and what’s not, authorities say.

“You can gamble in a legal environment or you can gamble in an illegal one,” said Bob Brown of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The Feb. 11 arrests stemmed from a three-month investigation of two Denver social clubs – Hop Sing Tong, 4130 E. Colfax Ave., and Asian International, 7520 E. Colfax Ave.

Undercover CBI agents sat in on several games and found alleged infractions including:

Games were played for money among people without an established relationship.

The house was taking a $4 cut from each hand.

The games used licensed dealers, a violation of their license.

Informal poker games where friends or colleagues play for nickels, dimes and quarters are legal under Colorado law because players have a “bona fide social relationship,” Brown said. What also makes

Debbie McPherson, 33, of Parker throws in her hand Monday night at the Tailgate Tavern. (Post / John Leyba)

these games legal is that the house (or home owner) doesn’t take a cut.

Even if pots grow substantially larger than nickels and dimes, up to thousands of dollars, these games remain legal as long as the social relationship is valid and there is no cut for the house.

Both clubs hold a city license as “after-hours social clubs,” stating they’re nonprofits and formed for recreational purposes, including playing cards.

Some players who received summonses declined comment and others couldn’t be reached. Club operators could not be reached.

If convicted, the alleged gamblers face up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine for a petty offense, and up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine
for the misdemeanor, said Lynn Kimbrough of the Denver District Attorney’s Office.At the Tailgate Tavern, on Mainstreet in Parker, more than 60 legal players filled six poker tables Monday night.

Rico Ramirez, co-owner of The Poker Tour, is paid to run Texas Hold ‘Em games at the Tailgate and other businesses.

“We are here to play poker, but we will not play for a single penny,” Ramirez, a retired police officer, told players.

Tournament participants pay nothing to play, but they can win an array of prizes, which is legal.

Not wagering money makes poker tournaments outside the recognized Colorado gambling towns – Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek – both legal and popular.

Some players join for fun; others do it to sharpen their skills.

“I consider poker a sport,” said Dave Hartmann, a dealer with The Poker Tour. “You’re in competition and you sweat.”

Hartmann plays as often as possible, up to 500 hands a day, he said, including online games. Wagering in online poker is against the law in Colorado.

Players at the Tailgate included men and women, young and old. Some wore baseball caps and dark sunglasses, others cowboy hats. Some came with friends, some came to make new friends.

Debbie McPherson of Parker was introduced to poker by her boyfriend.

“I’ve told him he’s created a monster,” McPherson joked. “When I play, it’s all about luck.”

Staff writer Kieran Nicholson can be reached at 303-820-1822 or knicholson@denverpost.com.