Events and Exhibitions: September 18 – September 24, 2015


Singapore, where nearly 3 out of 4 people are of Chinese decent, are a big part of this week’s listings.  We’ve added a couple of intriguing events from Something to Write Home About, a Singapore arts festival, that explore the city-state’s diversity and identity.  There are other events by non-Chinese Singaporeans; so, be sure to check out the full program.

Taiwan is also very well represented with dance performances, a film that shows Taiwan’s natural beauty, and a showcase of Taiwanese products.

China Institute, which recently moved to 100 Washington Street in the Financial District, is teaming up with New York Review of Books for a number of events, the first of which is a book launch of a translation of and lecture on Kong Shangren’s (孔尚任) The Peach Blossom Fan 《桃花扇》, which has been called called “China’s greatest historical drama.”  We’re giving away two tickets to the book launch and talk.  See the description below for how to enter.

We covered ChinaFile’s exhibition at photography pop-up Photoville which continues through Sunday.  We also interviewed the photographer of the WWII Chinese Veterans series and will have a post up by the weekend.

There are a couple of short-term exhibitions starting soon.  Be quick to check them out if they sound interesting to you.

Coming up:

SVA’s Social Documentary MFA program thesis showcase will include films by four Chinese filmmakers.

Mezzo-soprano Pang Yixuan graces the stage at Carnegie Hall and performs operatic works and Chinese folk songs on October 3.

The Modern Sky Festival returns to New York for a second year on October 4 with an incredible line up of American and Chinese bands.

In October, the New York Film Festival presents U.S. premieres of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin 《聶隱娘》 and Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart 《山河故人》,   hosts talk with both directors, and screens King Hu’s A Touch of Zen 《俠女》.

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

See an event you like?  Did you know you can copy events listed on the right side of each page on our site to your personal Google Calendar?  All you need to do is expand the entry for the event, and click “copy to my calendar”.  Modify the details to fit your needs and click “save” to make it part of your calendar.  If you see an event or exhibition that interests you, use this method of adding it to your calendar so can make a reminder to go without needing about making a calendar event yourself.

Coming up this week…

1) Rice – Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan – On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre takes grain, field, and flower as verdant muse in this celebration of the life cycle and natural beauty of the island’s essential crop. Dramatically poised against stunning video vistas of the Chihshang growing region, 24 dancers cross-pollinate modern dance and martial arts, ballet and qigong to become wind-rippled paddies, erotic agents of springtime germination, and fire walkers returning scorched seed to soil. Wielding bamboo sticks, recast as field implement, slender stalk, and weapon, they prod the seasons and coax valley rains as Taiwanese folk songs and Bellini arias waft in the wind.

Friday, September 18, 7:30 PM
Saturday, September 19, 7:30 PM
Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
Tickets begin at $20


2) Mid-Autumn Moon Family Festival  – Go mooncakes for MOCA! Explore the customs + traditions behind this harvest festival with a mooncake tasting, moon-themed arts and crafts, a photo corner that will send you to the moon and back, and more family fun.

Saturday, September 19, 12 – 4 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$10/Guest; $8/MOCA Dual and Individual Level Members; Free for MOCA Family Level Members and above, children under 2, and Cool Culture families.


3) A POETRY Afternoon with Jenny Zhang – Join Poetry contributor Jenny Zhang for an afternoon reading and a conversation with Poetry editor Lindsay Garbutt.

Jenny Zhang is the author of Hags (Guillotine, 2014) and Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books, 2012). She is a regular contributor to Rookie, and her fiction, nonfiction and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry, Fence, Glimmertrain, Pen American, Jezebel, The Guardian and Vice, among other venues. She recently won Poetry magazine’s Editors Prize for Feature Article for her essay “How It Feels” in the July/August 2015 issue.

Saturday, September 19, 2 PM
Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn


4) Early Life of Yuan Shikai and the Formation of the Yuan Family – Critical debates of the controversial political career of Yuan Shikai, first President of the Republic of China, have always been popular topics in the study of modern Chinese history, but accurate facts about Yuan’s personal life and his family are seldom available. Ms. Jiagan Yuan Gee, a granddaughter of Yuan Shikai, and Prof. Sheau-yueh J. Chao, both of CUNY will discuss the early life of Yuan Shikai before his rise to political prominence; the family structure of the Yuan family during and after Yuan’s time; and the lives of more prominent Yuan sons and daughters in the second and third generations. They will also address the strategy, procedures and significance of the research they used in co-authoring The Yuan Chronicle, a book written in English to be expected to come out next year.

In Mandarin.

Saturday, September 19, 2:30 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street


5)  Annie Chen Septet @ Nublu – Pisces the Dreamer comes to the fame jazz club in Alphabet City.

Saturday, September 19, 10 PM
NUBLU, 62 Avenue C


6) Visualizing China’s Pollution – In China, air pollution remains a major—and literally visible—problem that shows no signs of going away, except when Beijing shuts down industry for events such as the military parade, and the Olympic Games. Launched in 2012, the website China Air Daily publishes near real time snapshots of the sky in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and, for comparison, New York City and Phoenix. The project—produced with Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations—provides a visual record of air quality and pollution in China’s main cities.

Michael Zhao, creator of China Air Daily, will join Queens Library to discuss his work as a multimedia journalist focused on environmental issues in China.

Monday, September 21, 6:30 PM
Queens Library at Flushing, 41-17 Main Street, Flushing


7) Recalling Mother by Checkpoint Theatre – Two women tell stories about two other women – their mothers – and the complexities of living with (and not living with) them. One mother is Cantonese-speaking and impetuous; the other speaks Malay and is quietly stubborn. Both are smart, sharp and strong, and they are wonderful cooks.

Poignant, moving and funny, Recalling Mother celebrates the joys and challenges of motherhood – and daughterhood. Written and performed in English, Malay and Cantonese by Claire Wong and Noorlinah Mohamed.

A brief interview with co-author Claire Wong.

Part of Something to Write Home About, a Singapore arts festival.

Monday, September 21, 7:30 PM
La MaMa, Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E 4th St
$12/General Admission


8) Cursed Earth by Verena Tay – Centuries ago, a piece of land somewhere in Singapore became cursed and remains cursed to this day. Seasoned storyteller Verena Tay will share you with four tales about this land. Tales of black magic, ghosts and evil beings. Tales guaranteed to send chills of fear up and down your spine. Enter this other world at your own peril…

Based on Verena’s published short story, ‘The Land’, Cursed Earth comprises four parts, each covering a different era of Singapore’s history and incorporating different supernatural motifs and urban legends prevalent in Southeast Asia. A storytelling performance for adults not to be missed.

Part of Something to Write Home About, a Singapore arts festival.

Tuesday, September 22, 7:30 PM
La MaMa, Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E 4th St
$12/General Admission


9) Beyond Beauty – Taiwan from Above – a 2013 documentary film which documents Taiwan from an aerial perspective offering a glimpse of Taiwan’s natural beauty as well as the effect of human activities and urbanization on our environment. The film broke the Taiwan box office records for the largest opening weekend and the highest total gross of a locally produced documentary. It was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Original Film Score at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, winning the best documentary category. In addition, it is also a winner of special jury award for creative excellence and won a gold medal for cinematography at the 47th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

Beyond Beauty is almost a moving physical geography textbook or a tourism promotion clip showing the stunning and therapeutic natural wonders of Taiwan, a beauty people have never experienced because of the different perspective from the sky. Breathtaking aerial photography aside, this documentary is a timely reminder how people have mistreated Mother Nature, and how we can still conserve this island full of beauty we call Formosa.

Part of TECO’s series “Discovering Taiwan”

Thursday, September 24, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York, 1 E 42nd St.
Free, but RSVP required


10) Book Launch and Lecture: The Peach Blossom Fan – China Institute is joining with New York Review Books to celebrate the publication of Chen Shih-hsiang and Harold Acton’s lively translation of K’ung Shang-jen’s The Peach Blossom Fan 《桃花扇》 In his first lecture at China Institute’s new downtown home, Senior Lecturer Ben Wang will speak about this masterpiece of Chinese literature, a vast dramatic composition that combines the range and depth of a great novel with the swift intensity of film.

With a large cast divided into a group of scrupulous and passionate patriots and another of corrupt and self-serving decadents, all of whom are based on real personalities and events of the day, the play tells the poignant story of love and heartbreaks in the midst of intriguing political and social upheavals that led to the fall of a monarchy. Mr. Wang will place The Peach Blossom Fan in this fascinating historical and literary context while delving into the beauty of its writing and its long-lasting influence.

China Institute is offering two tickets to the event to our readers.  If you’re interested, email beyondchinatown[at] by Monday, 6 PM with the title of the book.

Thursday, September 24, 6:30 PM
China Institute in America, 100 Washington Street
$10/Members; 15/Non-members


11) 2015 Taiwan Excellence Product Showcase – A free, interactive family event showcasing Taiwan’s cutting-edge, innovative design and functionality. It will feature over 100 award-winning Taiwanese spanning the consumer electronics, home & decor, homecare medical, sporting, and lifestyle industries.

Throughout the event, additional activities, including musical performances, product demos and giveaways, will be held designed to entertain, inform, and excite consumers about Taiwanese products.

Thursday, September 24 – 27
Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal

Ongoing Films and Shows

Office 《華麗上班族》– Based on the hit play ‘Design for Living’ by star and producer Sylvia Chang, Office is a movie musical spectacular revolving around corporate maneuvering and romantic intrigue.  Hong Kong legend Johnnie To, continuing his surprise shift from gritty gangster movies following last year’s rom-com Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 《单身男女2》 , delivers a biting takedown of capitalism, detailing the financial crisis following the Lehman Brothers collapse and what one company has to do to fight to stay alive — all in a lavishly detailed, wholly original musical production. Stars Chow Yun-Fat and Tang Wei.

The New York Times deemed the film a Critic’s Pick and says the film is “[a]t once sharp and exceedingly playful” and “[i]ts smashing look gives visible form to the idea of China as an enormous machine.

Opens on September 18 at AMC Empire 25.


Just added and opening:

1) 8288 Nautical Miles (La Mama, 9/14 – 9/22) – 8288 Nautical Miles is both the title of this exhibition and the absolute distance between New York and Singapore. As a selection of works, it enumerates the journeys undertaken. Elaborating on the festival’s theme of writing home in an age with renewed opportunities for connectivity, and when emails far outpace handwritten letters, 8288 Nautical Miles urges five artists and two collaboratives to meditate on their bi-continental lives, in which home is sought, found, and rediscovered. In re-presenting their sense of home, the artists featured in this exhibition capture facets of Singapore as the island-nation reaches a significant milestone: turning 50 years of age.

Part of Something to Write Home About, a Singapore arts festival.


2) Aboveground—40 Moments of Transformation (The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, LES Gallery, 9/23 – 9/27)  – Feminism calls for freedom from restrictive gender roles and for gender equality in the realization of social, cultural, economic and political rights. “Aboveground—40 Moments of Transformation” documents, through photography, young Chinese activists’ impressive efforts to combat stigma, discrimination, and violence against women in pursuit of these ideals. These activists use public spaces as their battlefront to gain visibility and spark open dialogue. But, in China’s repressive environment, bringing the fight for gender equality above ground comes at great personal risk. This exhibition frames and explores the determination with which these young feminists are pushing for a China with true gender equality.

Opening reception: Thursday, September 24, from 5-7 PM


Exploring Harmony with Nature (Flushing Town Hall, 9/24 – 10/15) – Presents the artworks of six contemporary artists from Korea, China, and Taiwan: Wheiza Kim, Xin Song, Kate Oh, Young Kwon, Eric Chiang and Hai-Hsin Huang who explore the possibility of mankind living in harmony with nature.


4) SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 1/31/16) – An award-winning anthropological case study by designer Stephen Fan, SUB URBANISMS explores the controversial conversion of suburban single-family homes into multi-family communities by immigrant Chinese casino workers in Connecticut. Addressing the norms, cultural values, and public policies that determine how most Americans live, the exhibition juxtaposes immigrant cultural beliefs and pragmatism with suburban American social, aesthetic, and financial codes. With a regional focus and global reach, it also provides insight into the long-term effects of 9/11 on the New York Chinatown service industry as a significant factor behind the influx of Chinese labor seeking employment at the region’s casinos, and the formation of this satellite suburban Chinatown. With creative implications for the future of housing design and habitation in response to cultural, social, and ecological challenges, SUB URBANISMS offers a powerful inquiry into the ways in which culture shapes our lives and homes.


5) Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 1/31/16) – In this survey exhibition, architectural historian Kerri Culhane documents and explores Poy Gum Lee’s (1900-1968) nearly 50-year long career in both China and New York and examines Lee’s modernist influence in New York Chinatown. This project will result in the first-ever comprehensive list of Lee’s projects in New York. Lee’s hand is visible in the major civic architecture of Chinatown post 1945, which blends stylistically Chinese details with modern technologies and materials. Lee was the architectural consultant for the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association’s building on Mott Street (1959) and the On Leong Tong Merchant’s Association at Mott & Canal Street (1948-50) – the most prominent Chinese modern building in Chinatown. Among his highly visible commissions, Lee designed the Chinese-American WWII Monument in Kimlau Square (1962), a modernist take on a traditional Chinese pailou, or ceremonial gate; the Lee Family Association (ca. 1950); and the Pagoda Theatre (1963, demolished).


Closing soon:

Fertility, Blessings and Protection – Taiwanese and Asian Cultures of Baby Carrier (Taipei Cultural Center of TECO, 7/29 – 9/20)

Documentary China (Photoville, 9/10 – 9/20)

WWII Chinese Veterans (Photoville, 9/10 – 9/20)

8288 Nautical Miles (La Mama, 9/14 – 9/22)

Mary Ting: Compassion – For the Animals Great and Small (Gallery 456, 8/12 – 9/27)

Jun-Te Hwang (黃榮德): From Mountains to Monuments: The Hidden Corners of China (Hwang Gallery, 8/11 – 9/30)

Visit the exhibition calendar ( for details for the following shows below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Exploring Harmony with Nature (Flushing Town Hall, 9/24 – 10/15)

Fertility, Blessings and Protection – Taiwanese and Asian Cultures of Baby Carrier (Taipei Cultural Center of TECO, 7/29 – 9/20)

Documentary China – Yuyang Liu – Kashgar’s Workers on the Move and Souvid Datta – China: The Human Cost of Pollution (Photoville, 9/10 – 9/20)

WWII Chinese Veterans (Photoville, 9/10 – 9/20)

8288 Nautical Miles (La Mama, 9/14 – 9/22)

Mary Ting: Compassion – For the Animals Great and Small (Gallery 456, 8/12 – 9/27)

Jun-Te Hwang (黃榮德): From Mountains to Monuments: The Hidden Corners of China (Hwang Gallery, 8/11 – 9/30)

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

Tai Xiangzhou (泰祥洲) – Celestial Tales (Paul Kasmin Gallery, 9/10 – 10/3)

Intimate Transgressions (Whitebox Gallery, 9/3 – 10/4)

Ji Zhou (计洲) – Civilized Landscape 《文明的景观》(Klein Sun Gallery, 9/10 – 10/10)

Xiao Fu – Pixel World (Storefront Ten Eyck, 9/11 – 10/11)

Wang Dongling (王冬龄) – New Works 《新作》 (Chambers Fine Art, 9/12 – 10/24)

Willie Yao – Solo Exhibition (Carma Restaurant, 9/9 – 10/31)

“Who is My Neighbor? NYC” (Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center, 9/12 – 12/8)

SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 1/31/16)

Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 1/31/16)

Lead image: “Uyghur Bread” by Flickr user Evgeni Zotov licensed through Creative Commons