Events and Exhibitions: October 9 – October 15, 2015


It’s a big list this week with lots and lots of music this week.  Singer-songwriters with Taiwanese heritage, rock bands, experimental music, chamber music, traditional Chinese music with a contemporary flair…

As we were putting together this post, we learned about many new bands.  Many of them are from Taiwan and a couple like Pig Head Skin (豬頭皮), Soft Lipa, and Boxing, had us looking for more songs.

After hearing his arrangement for huqin and saxaphone quartet, we’re eager to hear Wang Guowei’s arrangement of Chinese and Taiwanese folk songs for a western chamber music ensemble on.  We’re also interested in the dance and sound performances by organized by Suzan Polat & Gao Jiafeng 456聊天室.  Both are on Sunday.

What else this week?  A reading discussion about socialist sci-fi, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin gets its U.S. premiere, a live event with Hou, a talk about a new translation of the I Ching, and of course new exhibition openings.  We’ve separated the three inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival locations into their own listings.   Update 10/9: Its Queens Museum component, Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront is highlighted in New York magazine.

Update: ChinaFile’s panel discussion “Can the China Model Succeed?” on October 15 is added below and to the calendar.

Don’t forget that seven films from the recent Cinema on the Edge series which brought films from the Beijing Independent Film Festival to NYC, are available on MUBI until October 23.

Coming up:

The Zhang Hongtu retrospective at Queens Museum opens on October 18 with a reception.

A walking tour through Chinatown to see the legacy of Chinese American architect Poy Gum Lee also takes place on Sunday, October 18.

China Remix, a short documentary that follows three Africans in Guangzhou and Double Happiness, a film that visits a perfect replica of an Austrian mountain village in Huizhou, Guangdong Province screen at the Margaret Mead Film Festival on October 23.

Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew will have two performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on November 14.

Taiwan’s percussive U Theatre bangs at BAM for three performances from November 19 – 21.

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

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Coming up this week…

1) The Boys from Fengkuei 《風櫃來的人》

Directed By Hou Hsiao-hsien
1983, Taiwan Mandarin with English subtitles
DCP 101 minutes

This “group portrait of four laddish adolescents on the razzle in Kaohsiung as they approach the onset of adult life” (Tony Rayns) is Hou Hsiao-hsien’s fourth film, but he has long considered it to be the real beginning of his career as a moviemaker. “I had very intense feelings at the time,” Hou told Sam Ho, “and I think the film has an intense energy. An artist’s early work might be lacking in craft but, at the same time, be very powerful, very direct. Later, when I wanted to return to that initial intensity, I no longer could.” In the tradition of Fellini’s I Vitelloni, The Boys from Fengkuei is a deeply personal look back at the director’s own adolescence—at the boredom of living in the middle of nowhere and the overwhelming need to get up and move, and get out and away to the big city. A glorious young-man’s film, and the first great work of the Taiwanese New Wave. Restored by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique in collaboration with Hou Hsiao-hsien and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.

Directed By Hou Hsiao-hsien 1983 Taiwan Mandarin with English subtitles DCP 101 minutes

Friday, October 9, 6 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street
$15/Non-member; $10/Student


2) The Assassin 《刺客聶隱娘》

Directed By Hou Hsiao-hsien
201, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong Mandarin with English subtitles
DCP 105 minutes

A wuxia like no other, The Assassin is set in the waning years of the Tang Dynasty when provincial rulers are challenging the power of the royal court. Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), who was exiled as a child so that her betrothed could make a more politically advantageous match, has been trained as an assassin for hire. Her mission is to destroy her former fiancé (Chang Chen). But worry not about the plot, which is as old as the jagged mountains and deep forests that bear witness to the cycles of power and as elusive as the mists that surround them. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s art is in the telling. The film is immersive and ephemeral, sensuous and spare, and as gloriously beautiful in its candle-lit sumptuous red and gold decor as Hou’s 1998 masterpiece, Flowers of Shanghai. As for the fight scenes, they’re over almost before you realize they’ve happened, but they will stay in your mind’s eye forever.

U.S. Premiere.  Director Hou Hsiao-Hsien in person.

Friday, October 9, 9 PM
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
$25/Non-member; $20/Student

Saturday, October 10, 1 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street
$15/Non-member; $10/Student (sold out)



3) The Scientific Image: a red sci-fi reading group -We’re going to suggest that many of the things that now seem most boring about socialist sci-fi (here understood as state-sanctioned science fiction published in officially socialist countries) are the most interesting: the utopian and didactic qualities of some but not all of these texts shows a different kind of realism. The dearth of genres like cyberpunk and dystopian fantasy will be interpreted not as a weakness but as a strength.

If the encounter with aliens in the Anglo* tradition tends to be “short, brutish and nasty”—as Hobbes observed of humans—here aliens can figure as more intelligent, compassionate, and socialist. By re-establishing contact with the distant planet on which these stories were written, this group intends to examine the potential use-value of mid-century scientific humanism.

Reading list:

Saturday, October 10, 4:30 – 6 PM
Momenta Art, 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn
Free, RSVP to


4) On Cinema: Hou Hsiao-hsien – Hou Hsiao-hsien directed his first film in 1980, after years of assisting and writing for other filmmakers. Three years later, he made the autobiographical The Boys from Fengkuei, which he considers to be the real beginning of his work as an artist in cinema. From there, he went on to create several of the defining works of the Taiwanese New Wave, one of the greatest moments in the cinema of the last decades, and then to make one astonishing film after another. With every new movie from The Puppetmaster (NYFF 1993) on, Hou redefined the very idea of what a movie was, for himself and for the rest of us. Immersive, grounded in history and change but tuned to the smallest nuances of gesture, light, color, and atmosphere, every individual Hou film arrives as a shock. And his new film The Assassin, his first in eight years, is no exception: audiences in Cannes were left open-mouthed. It’s been a long time since Hou has been in New York, and we’re very pleased that this true master accepted our invitation to discuss some of the movies that have marked him in his life as a filmmaker.

Saturday, October 10, 3:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street
Standby only


5) A Moving Sound – 聲動樂團 at THE MOMENT at Queens Museum – III – Sheng Dong, or as it is rendered in English, A Moving Sound, is a performance company based in Taipei, Taiwan. A Moving Sound has created a new musical expression that fuses Taiwanese, Chinese and neighboring Asian musical ideas in inspired and engaging modern song compositions. Songs are performed on Chinese instruments such as the vertically held and bowed erhu and the Chinese guitar known as zhong ruan, as well as Western instruments. Transcendent vocals and dance by lead singer Mia Hsieh, transport listeners to and beyond the Far East to where only the highest art can take us.

Featuring the distinctive timbres of the erhu and zhong ruan , and the vocals of Mia Hsieh, A Moving Sound has devised a unique and compelling style that is all their own – a Taiwanese whirlwind that veers between the meditative and the exuberant with irrepressible spirit.

Fusing traditional Taiwanese influences with a global sensibility, award winning ensemble A Moving Sound built a worldwide following through their joyous mix of original music and dance.

Sunday, October 11, 3 PM
Queens Museum, New York City Building Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Ticketing information unknown at press time


6) Wang Guowei and Friends – Re-inventing the sound and form of a traditional Chinese ensemble, the “Wang Guowei and Friends” concert features a cross-cultural quartet of erhu (Chinese 2-string fiddle), flute, cello and piano. This un-orthodox instrumental coupling brings together the highly nuanced playing of erhu master and composer Wang Guowei with the rich timbre of Western instruments. The program presents original compositions and new arrangements by Mr. Wang, including a new work Kong written for the quartet.

Drinking Alone with the Moon (Wang Guowei)
Kong (Wang Guowei)
Song of Joy (traditional, arr.WGW)
Raindrops Falling on Palm Leaves (traditional, arr. WGW)
Remembered Love (Taiwan song, arr.WGW)
Red Azaleas (folk song, arr. WGW)
Sunshine Pours Over Tashikurgen (Chen Gang, arr. WGW)

Sunday, October 11, 3:30 PM
Christ & St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 120 W. 69th Street
$20/Adults; $10/Students & Seniors


7) Hello Taiwan A Musical Showcase & Taiwanese Food Bazaar – The Chairman (董事長樂團), Pig Head Skin (豬頭皮), 9m88 (Joanne Baba) (小芭)  take part in an annual event that features Taiwanese musical talent.  The concert is preceded by a xiaochi bazaar at 5 PM.  All proceeds from the event will go to Taiwan’s Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation.

Sunday, October 11, 5 PM (Concert at 7 PM)
Taiwan Center, 137-44 Northern Boulevard
$10/Concert Admission


8) Suzan Polat & Gao Jiafeng @ 456聊天室(456 Forum) – Dancer Suzan Polat and cross-discipline performer and multi-instrumentalist Gao Jiafeng will perform.  Followed by a Q&A, organized by Wei Xiaoguang.


9) CHAOS, The Chairman, The Hsu-Nami, The Rice Cookers, New Myths – Chinese/Taiwanese bands CHAOS, The Chairman, The Hsu-Nami rock Williamsburg

Tuesday, October 13, 6:30 PM
Black Bear Brooklyn, 63 North 6th Street, Brooklyn
$12/General Admission


10) Taiwan Beats Showcase – Taiwan Beats is a platform set to promote pop music of Taiwan origin over the internet. The showcase will present Soft Lipa, io, Boxing, and Treya. Some of these artists rank among Taiwan’s most popular talent, while others are steadily rising both within and outside their country’s borders; all of them offer thrilling international perspectives on both popular American genres and styles less known domestically. Treya’s heartfelt balladry and Soft Lipa’s boisterous hip-hop will sound familiar to US audiences, while io’s blend of Western pop with Eastern elements and Boxing’s fusion of disparate genres including Paiwan, Latino, hip-hop, and rock will surprise first-time listeners.

Tuesday, October 13, 6:30 PM
SOB’s, 204 Varick Street
Free for CMJ Badge holders


11) Raye Zaragoza – This Native-American/Taiwanese singer-songwriter who was born and raised in Manhattan, performs as part of the CMJ Showcase.  Her debut EP entitled “Heroine” has received acclaim from Deli Magazine, IndieMinded, and Hearty-Vibes UK.

Tuesday, October 13, 8 PM
Parkside Lounge, 317 E. Houston Street
Ticket information unavailable at press time


12) Klein Sun Gallery Opening Reception – Opening reception for new exhibitions Li Liao: Attacking the Boxer from Behind is Forbidden and Chen Wenbo: The Fat Years.  See below for exhibition information.

Wednesday, October 14, 6 PM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W 22nd St.


13) David Hinton and Bill Jensen on the I Ching – In his radical new translation of the I Ching, David Hinton teases out an elegant vision of the cosmos as ever-changing yet harmonious. He explores the text as the seed from which Chinese philosophy, poetry, and painting grew.

Wednesday, October 14, 7 PM
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St.
$20/General Admission; $18/Members

14) Body Politics Opening Reception – Join Gibney Dance for an opening reception for Body Politics, an exhibition of visual art that explores the body as a space for political action and discourse.  A panel of artists selected works by the Guerilla Girls Broadband, Christy Chow, Mo Kong, Katrina Majkut, Rhasaan Manning, and Mary Mihelic. In media ranging from needlepoint to sugar sculpture, these artists address issues such as abortion rights, excessive police force, and censorship.

Thursday, October 15, 6 PM
Gibney Dance – Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers)


15) Bird Without Borders – Black-faced Spoonbills – As a beautiful bird only found in the wetlands of Asia, the black-faced spoonbill is magnificently captured in the documentary Bird without Borders. It depicts an epic journey, 2,000 kilometers from Black-faced Spoonbill’s wintering grounds in Taiwan cross coastal China and the Yellow Sea to the bird’s annual breeding ground.

Part of the series “Discovering Taiwan”

Thursday, October 15, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York, 1 E 42nd St.


16) Songs of a Golden Age: High Tang Poetry #2 – In part two of his inaugural lecture series at China Institute’s new home, Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities of China Institute and an award-winning translator, continues his introduction to the Tang dynasty and the lives and works of these four poets. Poems in their original Chinese texts will be studied character by character to give an in-depth understanding and a full appreciation of their profundity and beauty. The relationship between classical Chinese poetry, music, painting and major schools of thought will be explored, with comparative points of interest made between Chinese and English poetry.

Thursday, October 15, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
$30/Non-members; $25/Members


17) ChinaFile Presents: Can the China Model Succeed? – How does liberal democracy stack up against what has been called the “China Model”? Daniel A. Bell, a philosopher and political theorist who teaches at China’s Tsinghua University, argues in a new book that China’s “political meritocracy” has been overlooked as a superior system. Bell will discuss his ideas and the comparative merits of different political models with law professor Taisu Zhang, author Mark Danner, political scientist Andrew Nathan, Oxford University Professor of European Studies Timothy Garton Ash, and Asia Society’s Orville Schell.

In The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy, published earlier this year, Bell argues that Chinese-style political meritocracy can help to remedy the key flaws of electoral democracy. Defining the “China model” as meritocracy at the top, experimentation in the middle, and democracy at the bottom, he argues that China has evolved a model of democratic meritocracy that is morally desirable and politically stable.

Thursday, October 15, 6:30 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$5/Members, students, and seniors; $10 nonmembers

The event will also be livestreamed at and


18) Sui Zhen – Dot Dash / Remote Control Party for CMJ – Sui Zhen is the alias of Melbourne-based artist Becky Sui Zhen. Following her recent electronic experimentation with ethereal techno-pop and minimal down-tempo 808-lead tracks, her new LP marks a return to more traditional vocal-led pop songs.

Expect to be immersed in the larger narratives that surround Becky’s work, from the banal pastel dystopia of her Infinity Street video to the invention of Susan, an alter ego who manifests in the forthcoming single “Take It All Back” – these colourful, surreal and staged landscapes allow Becky’s take on pop music to sit within its own uncanny terrain.

Thursday, October 15, 9 PM
Leftfield, 87 Ludlow Street
Ticket information unavailable at press time

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Goodbye Mr. Loser 《夏洛特烦恼》– Comedians Shen Teng and Mai Li star in this film adaptation of the very popular Mainland theater play following the story of a middle-aged loser who finds himself magically transported back to his high school years, enabling him to fix all his life’s mistakes.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 on October 9


2) Lost in Hong Kong 《港囧》– In this sequel to China’s second highest-grossing movie of all time and a blockbuster in its own right, Lost in Thailand, A mid-aged mainland Chinese bra designer (Xu Zheng) takes his baby-crazy wife (Zhao Wei) and DVD-pirating brother-in-law (Bao Bei’er) to Hong Kong, ostensibly on a sight-seeing trip, but really wishes to use this opportunity to secretly meet his old flame (Du Juan). Never did he imagine he would be embroiled in a murder investigation.

Variety says “Trading the earlier film’s goofy fish-out-of-water gags for robust action acrobatics and fail-safe family drama, the laffer induces the warm-and-fuzzies as an ode to Hong Kong cinema and its role in mainland Gen-Xers’ sentimental coming of age.”

Opened at AMC Empire 25 on September 25.


Just added and opening

1) inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Retina of the Unconscious II (inCube Arts SPACE, 10/2 – 10/24) – The gallery features the “Murder: Er Lin Qi An” by Ting Chaong-Wen as part of inToAsian: Time-based art Festival aims to continue its mission to exhibit time-based art with perspective from Asia.


2) inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront (Queens Museum 10/3 – 10/31) – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront exhibition curated by Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, is part of the festival and is presented at Queens Museum in New York City. The exhibition looks to natural landscapes in Southeast Asia (SEA) that are slowly transformed for architectural or urban purposes and focuses on architectural landmarks & local iconic buildings that are overlooked by market forces to the benefit of consumerism. Participating artists: Sok Chanrado, Kim Hak, Le Brothers, Ho Tzu Nyen, Donna Ong, and Khvay Samnang.

Presented by inCube Arts, the second edition of inToAsian: Time-based art Festival aims to continue its mission to exhibit time-based art with perspective from Asia.


3) Body Politics (Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 10/15 – 12/11) – In media ranging from needlepoint to sugar sculpture, Guerilla Girls Broadband, Christy Chow, Mo Kong, Katrina Majkut, Rhasaan Manning, andMary Mihelic, address issues such as abortion rights, excessive police force, and censorship.


4) Chen Wenbo (陈文波): The Fat Years《盛世华年》– (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14) – Irregular, fragmented and distorted, the hyper-realistic subjects in Chen Wenbo’s “Broken” paintings convey satirical messages, which have been inspired by the “carnivalesque” – the English translation of the term coined by Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin to describe a social landscape mired in revelry.  Chen paints everyday objects as shiny, glossy beacons of desire.  Drawing from the theory of “fat years,” an illusion of accelerated economic growth manipulated by higher powers, Chen is both a critic and participator in this bubble of celebration.  The audience too, cannot escape this dichotomy: the installed canvases are sliced and carved into silvers, revealing just enough of an illusion to entice; the exhibition walls are fully painted in vivid color.

A prominent painter in the figurative movement, Chen is separate from his contemporaries in his stylistic observations.  While others air their views through zeitgeist agitprop styles, Chen always chooses to disseminate his socio-political stances through subversion.  He paints the mundane as fantastical and brilliant in soft flourescents, as if though a looking glass.  His attention is not limited to China; skepticism over market crashes in New York in the late 2000s triggered the artist to consider the inevitable instabilities across the Western and Eastern megacities, and to look at who is presenting the facts and for what purpose.

5) Li Liao (李燎): Attacking the Boxer from Behind is Forbidden 《严禁在背后袭击拳手》(Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)  – In Li’s multi-media and performance works, planned elements – a video, an instruction, or a routine – are usually catalyzed or interrupted by an action unscripted by the artist. In this way, Li inquisitively, and sometimes aggressively, plies the boundaries between auteur and subject, artist and observer, private and public. He is best known for the piece, Consumption(2012), where he utilized the self as vehicle for experimentation within the rigid construct of economic greed. He assembled an installation consisting of an iPad framed by the objects, leeched of character, that created it: a lab coat, a badge ID with a number and Li’s work contract. This piece was featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Whereas Consumption encapsulates a narrative of socio-economic conflict in a singular moment, Li Liao’s new work reverses that concept in initiating ephemeral bursts of conflict, confrontation and narrative. The new performance piece, Attacking The Boxer From Behind is Forbidden (2015), features a hired boxer crouched at the gallery from 12pm to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday; as visitors enter the gallery, they unknowingly also enter a silent ‘boxing ring’ of tension, and the boxer’s volleyed gazes and defensive stances act as cues for participation and reaction. Interrupting the white walls of the commercial space, this performance complicates our sense of expectation.

Closing soon:

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)

Face to Face (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, 9/10 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Retina of the Unconscious I (The Sylvia Wald + Po Kim Gallery, 10/1 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Retina of the Unconscious II (inCube Arts SPACE, 10/2 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront (Queens Museum 10/3 – 10/31)

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

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)

Face to Face (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, 9/10 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Retina of the Unconscious I (The Sylvia Wald + Po Kim Gallery, 10/1 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Retina of the Unconscious II (inCube Arts SPACE, 10/2 – 10/24)

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront (Queens Museum 10/3 – 10/31)

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

Chen Wenbo (陈文波): The Fat Years《盛世华年》– (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

Li Liao (李燎): Attacking the Boxer from Behind is Forbidden 《严禁在背后袭击拳手》(Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

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

Body Politics (Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 10/15 – 12/11)

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)

Zhang Hongtu (Queens Museum, 10/18/15 – 2/28/16)

Lead image – New Pants at Modern Sky Festival, NYC, October 4, 2015.