May 1 kicks off Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and Google is marking the occasion with a doodle honoring Ruth Asawa, a Japanese-American artist who shook the art world with her wire sculpture techniques. Here are some facts about the influential sculptor, who died in 2013 at age 87.
1. Ruth Asawa learned art in an internment camp.
Ruth Asawa was born in Southern California in 1926 to a family of farmers. Life changed drastically for the Asawas during World War II, as it did for the 120,000 Japanese Americans living in the western U.S. In 1942, Ruth was interned at the Santa Anita race track in Arcadia, California, along with her mother and siblings. Animators from Walt Disney Studios were also kept at the camp, and they gave her art lessons during the five months she lived there. After her family was transferred to an interment camp in Arkansas, she continued to work on her painting and drawing.
2. Ruth Asawa studied at Black Mountain College.
Her struggles didn't end with World War II. Asawa received a scholarship to study to become an art teacher at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, only to be barred from student-teaching due to her ethnicity. She continued her studies at the the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The experimental school was known for welcoming students from persecuted groups: It was a sanctuary for Jewish academics fleeing Nazi Europe, and it enrolled its first African-American student a decade prior to Brown v. Board of Education.
3. Ruth Asawa's wire sculpture technique made her famous.
Asawa found her artistic niche in wire sculpture. Borrowing techniques from basket weavers in Mexico, she used wires to create abstract, 3D structures. According to Google's blog, she cited such inspirations as "plants, the spiral shell of a snail, seeing light through insect wings, watching spiders repair their webs in the early morning, and seeing the sun through the droplets of water suspended from the tips of pine needles while watering my garden."
4. Ruth Asawa designed memorials for Japanese internees.
The artist overcame adversity, both as a Japanese American and a woman derided for doing "feminine handiwork," to leave a lasting impact on the art world. She designed two memorials to Japanese internment: the Internment Memorial Sculpture in San Jose and SF State University's Garden of Remembrance.
5. Ruth Asawa founded an art school.
Asawa stayed committed to arts education throughout her life, and founded a public arts high school called the San Francisco School of the Arts in 1982. It's since been renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.
As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.
1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)
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4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)
Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.
This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.
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Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.
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The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.
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By 1976, Harrison Ford had been acting for over a decade, most prominently as Bob Falfa in George Lucas’s American Graffiti (1973), and Martin Stett in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974). Unfortunately for Ford, he was still as well known for his carpentry as he was his filmography, and Lucas was against using the same actor in more than one of his movies. Still, there was hope: Lucas hired Ford to read lines as Han Solo during auditions with prospective actors, and Lucas was eventually convinced that the Chicago-born actor was the man to play the incorrigible Millennium Falcon captain with the heart of gold. Now, let's look back at some films that almost featured Harrison Ford.
1. The Graduate (1967)
Director Mike Nichols rejected the then 25-year-old Ford for The Graduate's Benjamin Braddock, who ended up being played by Dustin Hoffman. Nichols and Ford finally worked together in Working Girl (1988) and Regarding Henry (1991), the latter of which was written by The Force Awakens' writer-director J.J. Abrams.
2. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Ford flew 3000 miles to New York City—on his own dime—to audition for the role of Midnight Cowboy's Joe Buck. John Schlesinger went with Jon Voight.
3. Alien (1979)
Two years after Star Wars, Ford was turning down parts. He declined playing Captain Dallas in Alien, letting Tom Skerritt handle that.
4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Ford was cut from E.T. He played Elliott’s school principal. His face was not visible, because other than Elliott’s mother, Steven Spielberg tried to not show the faces of the adults.
5. Making Love (1982)
The then-controversial film was about Zach (Michael Ontkean), a doctor who is married to Claire (Kate Jackson), but starts a relationship with Bart (Harry Hamlin), a novelist. Ford, Michael Douglas, and Richard Gere all turned down playing the male leads. Making Love ended up being a commercial and critical failure.
Ford admitted he was offered the lead after Sylvester Stallone dropped out, and before it was turned into a comedy starring Eddie Murphy. He said he saw the movie and had no regrets on declining. It helps that he starred in Witness (1985) instead, which landed him his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination.
8. Big (1988)
Off of Anne Spielberg (Steven’s sister) and Gary Ross’ script, producer/director James L. Brooks spent six months waiting for Ford to play Josh Baskin. But Ford wasn't pleased with the choice of director. Eventually, Tom Hanks ended up playing the lead, with Penny Marshall directing.
Martin Scorsese asked Robert De Niro to ask Ford to play the lawyer Sam Bowden in the remake of the 1962 thriller Cape Fear. Ford told De Niro he would only do it if he could play Max Cady and De Niro would play Bowden. De Niro did not want to do that, so Nick Nolte ended up in the role.
15. JFK (1991)
Ford was Oliver Stone’s first choice to play district attorney Jim Garrison in JFK, but he was unavailable, on a long vacation. Kevin Costner played the part instead.
16. Jurassic Park (1993)
Sam Neill in Jurassic Park (1993).
Ford could have been Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Spielberg claimed he offered the role to the actor at the 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark after Ford said Spielberg only hired him for the Indiana Jones movies.
17. Outbreak (1995)
Producer Arnold Kopelson asked Ford to play Sam Daniels, but he said no. Dustin Hoffman, who became famous 10 years before Ford after he beat him out to play Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, said yes.
Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Paschal Friel, Rolf Saxon, and Adam Shaw in Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Paramount Home Entertainment
Spielberg considered both Mel Gibson and Ford before tapping Tom Hanks to play Captain Miller, in an Oscar nominated performance.
20. The Thin Red Line (1998)
Sean Penn, on behalf of director Terrence Malick, called Ford and asked him to appear in the war epic alongside him, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, and John Travolta.
21. Runaway Bride (1999)
Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, and Ben Affleck were set to play Ike Graham during the 10-year development process. Richard Gere got the role as part of a Pretty Woman reunion with Julia Roberts and director Garry Marshall.
22. The Patriot (2000)
Ford believed the movie would be too violent. Mel Gibson was okay with that.
23. The Perfect Storm (2000)
William Fichtner, John C. Reilly, Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Allen Payne, and John Hawkes in The Perfect Storm (2000).
Warner Home Video
Air Force One director Wolfgang Petersen wanted to work with Ford again, but he turned the lead role of Captain BIlly Tyne down. After Mel Gibson wanted too much money, George Clooney got the role.
24. Proof of Life (2000)
Ford and, once again, Mel Gibson could have played Terry Thorne in the action movie. Instead, director Taylor Hackford told the studio he preferred Russell Crowe for the role, and won the argument.
25. Traffic (2000)
20th Century Fox decided they only wanted the Steven Soderbergh-directed project if Harrison Ford agreed to star. Ford became interested before backing out, and the major studio did, too. The movie ended up being produced by USA Films, and won four Oscars.
26. The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Ben Affleck became the third actor to play Jack Ryan when Ford and director Phillip Noyce couldn’t agree on how to fix the script.
27. Insomnia (2002)
Ford and director Jonathan Demme worked on getting an American remake of the Norwegian thriller made. Ford was to play police detective Will Dormer but Christopher Nolan ended up directing, and Al Pacino took over the lead.
28. Syriana (2005)
Ford had questions over the validity of some of the geopolitical story involving petroleum products and the oil industry, only later finding that the parts he found untruthful were taken out. He said he wished he took the role of Rob Barnes after seeing the movie. George Clooney ended up playing Barnes, and won a Best Supporting Actor for his work.
29. A History of Violence (2005)
Ford turned down playing small-town diner owner/mobster-in-hiding Tom Stall in David Cronenberg's crime thriller. Viggo Mortensen got the gig.