Events and Exhibitions: July 24 – July 30, 2015

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Many of the events this week are part of the Asian American International Film Festival which opened yesterday.  We’ve listed the Chinese films, but do check out the full program and learn about more about the festival’s history and mission through our interview with Asian CineVision Executive Director John Woo.

In addition to the AAIFF films, we’re particular interested in the lecture by an instructor of the New York Chinese Opera Society who will help teach how to appreciate an upcoming opera that will be performed at Lincoln Center in September.

The Met’s Costume Institute’s show, China: Through the Looking Glass has been extended to September 7.

We’re excited to be sponsoring our first exhibition, China: Fortress Besieged which will show case four young Chinese photographers with varying backgrounds.

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Coming up next Friday, 7/31, is Nezha 《少女哪吒》 at the AAIFF and a one-night pop-up exhibition Hatch Series No. 2: Between the Concrete.   More on that in the coming days.

We add listings to our one-time and short term event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.  If you know of anything or would like to contribute photos or an article, shoot us an email at beyondchinatown@gmail.com.

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Coming up this week…

1) Screening and Conversation with Ruby Yang – Screenings of The Blood of Yingzhou District 《颍州的孩子》,Tongzhi in Love《彼岸浮生》, andThe Warriors of Qiugang《仇岗卫士》followed by a conversation with Ruby Yang, whose film My Voice, My Life opens the Asian American International Film Festival and will be screened on Saturday, July 25, moderated by S. Casper Wong.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Blood of Yingzhou District 《颍州的孩子》 (Running time: 40 minutes)
Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2007. The film tells of traditional obligations of family and village clashing with terror of infection, and how the lives of children infected with AIDS play out.

Tongzhi in Love《彼岸浮生》 (Running time: 30 minutes)
The film portrays the life of gay men in China.

The Warriors of Qiugang《仇岗卫士》 (Running time: 39 minutes)
Nomination for Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2011. Chinese villagers battle a chemical company that is poisoning their farmland and water supply.

Friday, July 24, 1 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Regular; $7/Students and Seniors; Free/ACV and MOCA Members
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2) My Voice, My Life 《爭氣》– A Hong Kong documentary directed by Oscar winner Ruby Yang, chronicles the trials and tribulations of a group of under-privileged middle and high school students as they underwent six months of vigorous trainings to produce a musical on stage. A life-affirming journey of self-discovery and growth, the stories of these young people will challenge every parent, teacher and policy maker in Hong Kong to reflect on our way of nurturing our young.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Friday, July 24, 6:30 PM
Village Cinema East, 181-189 E. 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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3) Dragon Blade 《天将雄狮》– Featuring an international cast led by Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, Dragon Blade features the fight for the Silk Road when East and West collide. When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius (Adrien Brody) arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An (Jackie Chan) and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (John Cusack) to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An gathers the warriors of thirty-six ethnic nations together to fight Tiberius in an incredible epic battle.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Friday, July 24, 9:30 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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4) Conversation with Arthur Dong – Join AAIFF for a lively on-stage conversation with Oscar®-nominated and three-time Sundance award-winning filmmaker Arthur Dong. Punctuated with clips from Dong’s oeuvre of award-winning films spanning over thirty years, this illuminating talk will cover the personal challenges and emotional thrills of creating artistic and socially relevant independent media.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Saturday, July 25, 1:30 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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5) Love Arcadia – A coming-of-age romantic dramedy that tells the story of a carefree teen who must defend his family’s bubble tea shop from a real estate developer with a mysterious link to his past.

Followed by discussion with director Lawrence Gan and producer Theresa Chiu.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Saturday, July 25, 3 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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6) Appreciating The Legend of White Snake 《白蛇传》– Bin Ma, Director of the Youth Troupe of the New York Chinese Opera Society will introduce the plot of Peking Opera The Legend of the White Snake  《白蛇传》 which will be performed at Lincoln Center on September 2 and 3, with renowned star Zhang Huoding in the lead role. He will discuss Zhang Huoding and the Cheng School, performance techniques, music, and other aspects of opera to help audiences better appreciate the art form and the show itself.

Saturday, July 25, 4 PM
Anniello Bianco Room, Pace University, 3 Spruce Street
Free

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7) Forbidden City, U.S.A. – In this digital remaster by UCLA Film & Television Archive that reveals, never before seen details, Arthur Dong takes a glimpse into the lives of the performers of the Forbidden City, an all-Chinese nightclub in San Francisco in the 1930s and 40s.  The film blends song and dance with more serious themes of racism and identity to showcase a group of performers willing to challenge cultural stereotypes.  Dong’s compilation of original video footage with interviews with the aging performers offers viewers the chance to meet the “Chinese Fred Astaire” and the “Chinese Sophie Tucker,” pioneering Chinese-American entertainers.

Followed by a book signing with director Arthur Dong.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Saturday, July 25, 4 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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8) LGBTQ Shorts – Sometimes we need to find a new community to be our home, our shelter from society. It is through this community, this chosen family, that we discover who we are and gain an identity. As one artist put it, “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.”

A collection of LGBTQ-themed shorts including:

Coming Home 
《回家》 by Steven Liang
Pamanhikan by Angelo Santos
Talking to My Mother by Leon Le
Paper Wrap Fire by Raymond Yeung
Rattlefly by Min Ding

Followed by discussion with Shing Ma, Actor,Paper Wrap Fire and Steven Liang, Director, Coming Home

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Saturday, July 25, 5:30 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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9) Made in NYC Shorts – While New York City may be well-known for its fashion, Wall Street, and fast-paced lifestyle, it is also home to one of the best independent film scenes. In this program, we present to you some of the best Asian-American independent shorts made at home, right here in the Big Apple.

A collection of shorts including:

The Flip by Chung Lam
Pipe Dream by Yudho Aditya
The Surrender by Stephen T. Maing
Almost Tibetan by João Inada and Tanya Dua
Lao Wong by Ming Zeng
Split End by Eddie Shieh

Followed by a Q&A with directors and actors.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Sunday, July 26, 12:30 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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10) For Youth by Youth: If There Is a Reason to Study 《學習的理由》 – People usually believe that focusing on academics and getting a higher educational degree ensures career readiness. However, will the students be able to remember their passion in learning and keep exploring their potential while complying with this belief? This film is a story of a group of Taiwanese alternative school students and their struggle when facing this conventional belief. By tracing their journey from junior high school to college, the director of this film–a 14-year-old alternative school student, YiFan, realized that high-stake testing and the tracking system might be the reason his friends are losing their motivation in learning and the courage to discover their own calling. YiFan even experimented on himself in this conventional system and found himself trapped in this game.

Followed by discussion with director Adler Yang.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Sunday, July 26, 1 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Regular; $7/Students and Seniors; Free/ACV and MOCA Members

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11) A Young Patriot 《少年小赵》– Exploring the passionate patriotism in China’s youths born after 1990, it follows 19-year-old Zhao flag-waving, slogan-shouting ‘patriotic exhibitionist’ for 3 years. His father is a factory worker when not gambling, his mother a housewife, his older bother a proud soldier in PRC`s 60th anniversary military parade, his younger bother quits school to support the family. They live in a run-down courtyard and seem forgotten by China’s “economic miracle”. Zhao leaves home to go to University where his values are challenged by new western influences and soon teeters between old-fashioned Maoist patriotism and pragmatic thinking about the future.  Director Haibin Du weaves this human story with patriotic education and nationalistic events in Chinese cities, questioning what patriotism is and the direction it is going.

Sunday, July 26, 3 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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12) From Chinatown with Love – On the ground and in the air, this extraordinary acrobatic group demonstrates breathtaking skill and dazzling athleticism. This program includes lion, sword, and Chinese traditional dances, kung fu demonstrations, the Chinese martial arts musical The Bound-feet Liu Jinding Crashes Four Gates, and dramatic dance Water Margin.  Presented by the Chinese American Arts Council as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Sunday, July 26, 3 PM
Hearst Plaza (by the fountain behind Avery Fisher Hall), Lincoln Center
Free

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13) The Experience of Cinema: Art House Shorts – Some go to the cinema to experience real life stories, but many of us make the trip out to the theater to experience cinema, to be “wow”-ed and momentarily escape in a fantastical, imaginary world. Through this program, we hope you can take a brief escape to another world where we can reflect upon society and ourselves.

Donkey Riding by Simon Liu
Karma by Majun Chen and Sixing Su
On an Infinite Loop by Allysa Sing
The Swan of Tuonela by Julie Zhu
Enfilade  by David Coyle
Six Dreams About a City by Tiger Cai
The Seat by Yi Xu

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Sunday, July 26, 4 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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14) Book Talk with Arthur Dong – AAIFF and Museum of Chinese in America present a book talk and signing with award-winning writer/filmmaker Arthur Dong, who will introduce his book, Forbidden City, USA. Followed by a reception.

Forbidden City, USA captures the magic and glamour of the Chinese American nightclub scene, which peaked in San Francisco during World War II. Previously unpublished personal stories, along with over four hundred stunning images and rare artifacts, are presented in this sexy and insightful chronicle of Asian American performers who defied racial and cultural barriers to pursue their showbiz dreams.

Forbidden City, USA is the culmination of filmmaker and writer Arthur Dong’s nearly thirty-year devotion to the topic, originally inspired by the author’s research for his documentary of the same name.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Sunday, July 26, 6 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Regular; $7/Students and Seniors; Free/ACV and MOCA Members

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15) Factory Boss 《打工老板》– After successfully running a toy factory in Shenzhen for 20 years, Lin Dalin has to face the economic squeeze and competition from cheaper Southeast Asian countries. New orders are scarce, pay is slow, savings are done on safety rules, and workers threaten to revolt. In order to avoid bankruptcy, Lin reluctantly accepts a large but very low profit margin order from a big international client. Meanwhile Ai Jing, a young journalist, is sent undercover to investigate the working conditions of the factory, one of the many ‘blood and sweat’ factories. When the government announces a minimum wage increase, the risk of a strike looms. Under intense pressure from all sides, Lin Dalin struggles to hold his business together and fulfill the big order… The confrontation that results will bring the entire industry to the brink of collapse.

Followed by a discussion with director Wei Zhang.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Sunday, July 26, 6:30 PM
Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue
$14/Regular; $12/Students and Seniors

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16) A Simple Life 《桃姐》 – A Hong Kong film helmed by distinguished Hong Kong director Ann Hui (许鞍华) and deemed one of the best films 0f 2012 by Roger Ebert, stars Andy Lau (刘德华 ) and Deanie Ip (叶德娴), who was awarded the Coppa Volpi Best Actress award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival for her role as Ah Tao, a servant for the Leung family who has looked after the household for 60 years.  Inspired by the true story of producer Roger Lee and his servant, the film depicts the blossoming relationship between Ah Tao and Roger (Lau), the last member of the Leung family.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Wednesday, July 29, 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing
Free

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17) China: Fortress Besieged Opening Reception – A group exhibition showcasing four New York-based Chinese artists Bai Feng, Wenjie Han, Xiao Wang and Zhiyue Wang. Connected by the thread of their quests to define China as a homeland, the exhibited works trigger nostalgia and curiosity, touching both painting and photography.

Thursday, July 30, 6 PM
Resobox, 41-26 27th St., Long Island City
Free (first come, first served)

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18) Revenge of the Green Dragons – Chinese immigrant Sonny joined the Chinatown gang “The Green Dragons” when he was a kid, and worked his way up through the gang hierarchy. But as he quickly rose up the ranks and became notorious in the community, his life falls apart around him.

Preceded by Made in Flushing: Flushing Web Series Created by Swallowtail Studios.

Presented as part of the AAIFF.

Thursday, July 30, 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing
Free (first come, first served)

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19) La Salada – Juan Martin Hsu’s multicultural story about the experience of new immigrants in Argentina. Blending the stories of Korean, Taiwanese and Bolivian immigrants who are not exactly at home, yet no longer belong to the countries they were born in, La Salada captures the constant struggle with identity issues, social exclusion and the generation gap that many immigrants face today.

 


Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Jian Bing Man: A Hero or Not 《煎餅俠》– A superhero parody movie with cameos from Jean-Claude Van Damme is the tale of a street pancake vendor who gains superpowers from the breakfast dishes he serves. It is directed by Da Peng and stars Chinese actors Ada Liu (“Badges of Fury”) and Yuan Shanshan (“One Day”) and includes Hong Kong comedy favorites Eric Tsang and Sandra Ng. (Variety)

Opens July 24 at AMC Empire 25.

2) Only You 《命中注定》- – A remake of the Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr., film of the same name, Tang Wei plays a bride-to-be who discovers her soon-to-be-husband’s high school classmate (Liao Fan) shares the name of her fated lover, as predicted by a fortune teller in her youth.  Eager to ensure that she’s not making a mistake with her current fiance, she flies to Italy to investigate and meet with him.

Opens July 24 at AMC Empire 25.


Exhibitions

Just added and opening:

1) China: Fortress Besieged  (Resobox, 7/30 – 8/1) – A group exhibition showcasing four New York-based Chinese artists Bai Feng, Wenjie Han, Xiao Wang and Zhiyue Wang.  Connected by the thread of their quests to define China as a homeland, the exhibited works trigger nostalgia and curiosity, touching both painting and photography.

The title borrows from a French proverb, “Le mariage est une forteresse assiégée, ceux qui sont dehors veulent y entrer, ceux qui sont dedans veulent en sortir.”  It is also the title of a masterpiece in twentieth-century Chinese literature by Qian Zhongshu, which depicts a young Chinese student who studied abroad but eventually made his way back to China in a dramatic voyage.  For all four artists, outsiders in a country far away from home, China is their fortress. They ran away from their motherland to America for inspiration and freedom; however, ironically, they still find themselves drawn to China-related themes.  There is no escape for them as artists from where they are from – the places of their loved ones, childhood memories, teenage struggles, and first exposures to art.  As friends in life and partners at work, these four young artists are rediscovering what China means to them.

Closing soon:

Huang Rui: Language Color (Zürcher Gallery, 5/26 – 7/25)

Brimming with Nostalgia: The Humanistic Landscape of Taiwanese and Japanese Watercolor Paintings (Tenri Cultural Institute, 7/6 – 7/31)

Facing East: Chinese Urbanism in Africa (Storefront for Architecture, 6/17 – 8/1)

Visit the exhibition calendar (http://ow.ly/pxe9o) for details for the following shows below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Huang Rui: Language Color (Zürcher Gallery, 5/26 – 7/25)

China: Fortress Besieged (Resobox, 7/30 – 8/1)

Born Again《重生》 – Qionghui Zou Solo Exhibition 《邹琼辉个展》(Gallery 456, 7/9 – 8/7)

Up-Youth 《旋构塔》  (Klein Sun Gallery, 7/9 – 8/8)

One-Year Certificate Programs 2015 Full-Time Student Exhibition (ICP School, 6/19 – 8/9) – includes Chinese artists Amy Xian Luo, Jiaxi Yang, and Marc Qimeng Zhao

China: Through the Looking Glass (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5/7- 9/7)

The Great Ephemeral (New Museum, 5/27 – 9/6)

Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong (Museum of Chinese in America, 3/26 – 9/13)

Ishu Han: Memory of Each Other (ICSP, 7/8 – 10/2)

Lead image: Backstage by Flickr user Jonathan Kos-Read, licensed through Creative Commons