Events and Exhibitions: January 15 – January 21, 2016

Chinese New Year is just a few weeks away.  Have you got your miniature orange tree?

This week, Peking opera and Chinese rock are presented in two events, and two translators talk about the work of Li Ang (李昂), a contemporary Taiwanese writer considered to be one of the “most sophisticated contemporary Chinese-language writers.”  Also, a new Chinese mainstream movie starts at AMC while the acclaimed Mr. Six continues, and three new exhibitions were added to the calendar, including one intriguing that presents letters from architects to Taipei’s mayor.

Looming on the horizon are a few things from local talent:

1/23 – 2/14 – Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents A Dream of Red Pavilions, Jeremy Tiang’s adaptation of Cao Xueqin’s classic Chinese novel in a theater production directed by Tisa Chang and Lu Yu.

1/26 – 1/31 – Artist, designer, and current Flux Factory artist-in-residence Zhou Yi, sets up pop-up shop in the LES to share her BodyMemory project which is based on the idea a part of a person’s body can invoke memories for another — and a replica can serve as a keepsake or jewelry.

2/1 – Six local accomplished Chinese musicians  – Yunzhuo Gan, Dong Liu, Jiaju Shen, Feifei Yang, Mengyan Yu, and Li Zong– take the stage at Carnegie Hall to redefine the possibilities of the traditional Chinese Erhu, Guzheng, Pipa, and Yangqin instruments through original contemporary arrangements with the piano, woodwind instruments, and string ensembles that fuse classical Chinese ideals with the upbeat spirits of international culture.

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We add listings to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

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Coming up this week…

1) 2016 Peking Opera Performance of Lunar New Year Celebration of the Monkey – Arias and excerpts from Catch and Release Cao 《捉放曹 · 宿店》adapted from Romance of the Three Kingdoms 《三國演義》, Xuce Running In the City 《徐策跑城》, and The Emperor and the Bar Maid 《游龍戲鳳》.

Sunday, January 17, 1:30 PM
Flushing Library Auditorium, 41-17 Main Street, Flushing


2) Serve The People! Serve The Rock! MusicDish Yaogun Launch – Yaogun refers to Chinese rock, which was born nearly 30 years ago when Cui Jian performed at the Concert of Year of International Peace at Beijing Worker’s Stadium. It has since grown into a movement, melding rock ‘n roll with its own unique characteristics (rock with Chinese characteristics) and opening a new chapter in the long history of rock ‘n roll. The event will introduce attendees to the spirit and music of Chinese rock and artists that have shaped its development through an exhibition, video presentations and speakers sharing their first-hand experiences.

• 2:00 PM: Yaogun exhibition + video screening opens
• 4:00 PM: Speakers (PechaKucha Presentations + Panel Q&A)
• 6:00 PM: MusicDish Yaogun press conference
• 7:00 PM: Networking Cocktail Reception

Tuesday, January 19, 2 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street


3) Li Ang and her “Lost Garden” with the Translators: Sylvia Lin and Howard Goldblatt – Li Ang (李昂) is also the author of the award-winning The Butcher’s Wife. A prolific writer and astute social critic, she was honored by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication with its Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award, and a modern dance based on her short story was shortlisted for Der Faust Prize. She is considered one of the “most sophisticated contemporary Chinese-language writers.”

Sylvia Li-chun Lin, formerly associate professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame, translates contemporary Chinese fiction from Taiwan and China.

Howard Goldblatt, a Guggenheim Fellow, is an internationally renowned translator of Chinese fiction, including the novels of Mo Yan, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Co-sponsored by the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University Press, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University.

Wednesday, January 20, 4 PM
C.V. Starr East Asian Library Reading Room, 300 Kent Hall, Columbia University

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Detective Chinatown 《唐人街探案》– “A budding Chinese Sherlock Holmes meets his dumbass Watson in Bangkok and solves a locked-room murder in singer-actor-director Chen Sicheng’s “Detective Chinatown,” a carefully constructed mystery that blends screechy comedy and crazed action in high-spirited but somewhat ungainly fashion. This eclectic genre mash-up reps quite a novelty in mainland Chinese commercial cinema, and its instant success points to further opportunities for cerebral, plot-driven concepts to be injected into crowdpleasing hits.” –Variety (read the full review)

At AMC Empire 25


2) Mr. Six 《老炮儿》– “In this unusually fight-skittish action-movie scenario, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang plays a reformed criminal struck by how much the codes of behavior have changed when his son is kidnapped.” (full review by Variety)

At AMC Empire 25


3) Mojin – The Lost Legend 《鬼吹灯之寻龙诀》– Based on a #1 best-selling novel in China, the film evokes Indiana Jones, The Mummy and National Treasure as it brings to the screen an epic fantasy adventure about a trio of legendary grave robbers, the Mojin, who are enjoying the retired civilian life hawking goods on the mean streets of New York City, until they are propositioned by a shadowy and mysterious client. They accept the job and return to their roots, raiding the secrets and treasures of ancient tombs in China under the guise of an archaeology study. As each hidden passage is unearthed, it triggers extraordinary challenges that put their friendship, loyalty and life to the ultimate test.

The New York Times thinks the film wastes the talents of Shu Qi who plays the titular role in The Assassin and The Sydney Morning Herald compares the cinematography to Peter Jackson’s  The Lord of the Rings trilogy but finds it disjointed overall.

At AMC Empire 25


4) Double It! –  From internationally renowned Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng ( 陳士爭, director of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s Monkey: Journey to the West), a story straight out of your favorite comic book, hip-hop dance numbers, and a dazzling martial arts showcase choreographed by one of China’s foremost kung-fu experts. The story revolves around a normal super hero costume party that grows to resemble a living comic book, with performers transforming from everyday citizens into the mighty men and women they emulate. Part acrobatic super hero saga, part kinetic martial arts theater, Double It like nothing you’ve seen before.

Review from The New York Times.

November 24, 2015 – January 18, 2016
Baruch Performing Arts Center
$55/Admission; $25/Students


5) The Assassin 《刺客聶隱娘》 

Hou Hsiao-Hsien
2015 | 105 minutes | Taiwan/China/Hong Kong
Mandarin with English subtitles

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.

Best Director, Cannes Film Festival

Official selection: New York Film Festival

At Film Society Lincoln Center.


Just added and opening:

1) Letters to the Mayor: Taipei (Storefront for Architecture, 1/8 – 1/31) – As a civic figure, the architect has the privilege and responsibility to articulate and translate the collective aspirations of society, and specifically of those not able to sit at the decision-making tables.

Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and the structures of economic, political and cultural power in different ways and with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. While designing the next economically driven cultural-iconic-touristic object, an increasing amount of both architects and with them, politicians, have forgotten the ethics that should be associated with architectural practice and the potential of design in the construction of public life.

Letters to the Mayor presents fifty letters written by international architects to the political leaders of more than 20 cities around the world. Each letter provides a space of reflection for the architect to present ideas and methodologies and express some of the concerns and desires that might contribute to action within political spheres.


2) J.T. Hwang – Surfing (Hwang Gallery, 1/19 – 2/5) – 80-year old gallery founder Jung-Te Hwang tried his hand at extreme sports photography, shooting one of the most famous surfing spots in Oahu, Hawaii.


3) Martin Wong – Voices (P.P.O.W., 1/9 – 2/6) – P.P.O.W hosts Martin Wong’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery which runs concurrently with his retrospective Human Instamatic now on view at The Bronx Museum of the Arts until February 14th. Voices concentrates on Wong’s continuous association with language as the source of his artistic practice –echoed in the forms of poetry nurtured by his affiliation with the Nuyorican poets and fueled by Kufic manuscripts, Sanskrit calligraphy, sign language, astronomical constellations and graffiti. The exhibition includes works concentrating on poetry scrolls and including paintings, drawings, ceramics, and dog tags dated from 1968 to 1999.


Closing soon:

Zhangbolong Liu – The Absence and Presence of a Cat (ISCP, 12/12/15 – 1/8/16)

The Art of Guo Fengyi (Andrew Edlin Gallery, 12/12/15 – 1/31/16)

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

Zhangbolong Liu – The Absence and Presence of a Cat (ISCP, 12/12/15 – 1/8/16)

The Art of Guo Fengyi (Andrew Edlin Gallery, 12/12/15 – 1/31/16)

Wang Fengge (王凤鸽) – Unbounded (无界) (Chambers Fine Art, 1/7 – 2/6)

Li Hongbo (李洪波) – Textbooks (教科书) (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/7 – 2/13)

Gao Rong (高蓉) – The Simple Line (棱与韧) (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/7 – 2/13)

Zhu Jinshi Exhibition (Blum & Poe, 1/7 – 2/13)

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (11/4/15 – 2/14/16)

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

SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 3/27/16)

Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 3/27/16)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/06)

Lead image: Miniature orange trees in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Photo by Andrew Shiue