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Gene Yang '03 (Photo: Jesse Cantley)

That's entertainment: Alumni in the spotlight and behind the scenes

  • September 12, 2011

Gene Yang '03 Levels Up

Gene Yang's new graphic novel, "Level Up," illustrated by Thien Pham, tells the tale of a young Asian American boy obsessed with video games, to the disappointment of his more traditional father. It explores some familiar themes for Yang, whose 2006 book "American Born Chinese" was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award.

When it was released in June, it shed more light on the "Tiger Mother" phenomenon started by Amy Chua, and Yang shared his thoughts about parents-vs-kids with the San Francisco Chronicle in an interview.

Emmys on the way?

J.R. Havlan '87 and the writing staff of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" are nominated for two writing Emmys in 2011, which could add No. 7 and No. 8 to Havlan's collection. The show is also up for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series — a category it's won every year since 2003. The 2011 winners will be announced Sunday, Sept. 18.

Cowboys & Aliens and more aliens

Production designer Scott Chambilss '85 pulled out all the stops for the summer blockbuster "Cowboys & Aliens," merging the Wild West with futuristic technology and spaceships as he worked with the producers and director to create the sets and props that gave the film its distinctive look. Now it's back to the future for Chambliss, already at work on the second "Star Trek" film.

And Havlan's in good company; Chambliss also has an Emmy, for production design on the show "Alias.")

Love is on the air

CSUEB business grad Diann Valentine planned star-studded weddings for celebrities and hosted reality TV shows, fulfilling a dream she had as a student at then-Cal State Hayward. She's in final preparations to host and co-executive produce a new show, I Do Over, on WeTV.

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