NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 1 – April 8, 2016

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This week: A graphic novel about Singapore’s history; Museum of the Moving Image and Metrograph have things for fans of arthouse films from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; a jazz work based on Chinese mythology; a preview for an opera by a Chinese composer that weaves the biblical Garden of Eden story with The Peony Pavilion; an exhibition dedicated Cao Fei opens with a screening of her films at MoMA; and more…

Coming up:

Old School Kung-Fu Fest at NYC’s newest indie theater, Metrograph.

Asia Society screens and discussions two documentaries by graduates from News and Documentary program at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

We add talks, films, performances, exhibitions, featuring or relating to Chinese, Taiwanese, diasporic artists and topics to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

We post frequently on our Facebook page.   So check the page for links we share and get a heads up on events before we include them in these weekly posts.  Take a look also at our Instagram page.

If you’re interested in contributing to Beyond Chinatown, whether writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send an email to beyondchinatown@gmail.com.


This week’s events

1) Sonny Liew – The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye Book Tour -Malaysian-born, Singapore-based diasporic Chinese artist and graphic novelist Sonny Liew makes two NYC stops on his tour for his widely praised The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, a meta-look of Singapore’s past through the life of the titular fictional cartoonist that criticizes the city-state’s government and regrets missed opportunities while being wholly endeared to its cultures, people, and unsung heroes.

Friday, April 1, 7 PM
Midtown Comics, 200 W. 40th St.
Free

Saturday, April 2, 12:30 PM
Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art Festival, 639 W 46th St.
Free

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2) Ip Man 3 《叶问3》– In this third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, Donnie Yen returns as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee.  Master Ip is forced to take a stand when a band of brutal gangsters, led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city. Featuring exhilarating slow-motion action choreography by Yuen Woo-ping (Blade II, Hero). ”Fans of old-school kung fu will eat up the rock-solid, joint-snapping fights in Ip Man 3” —Variety.

Dir. Wilson Yip, 2016
105 minutes

Friday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
$12/Adult; $9/Senior and Student

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3) Goodbye, Dragon Inn 《不散》 – It’s the last night for a crumbling movie theater in Taipei, and the film is Dragon Inn (1967), the seminal wuxia by Taiwan-based filmmaker King Hu. Filled with expertly timed sight gags, Goodbye, Dragon Inn is Tsai’s rueful backwards glance at the disappearance of the filmgoing culture of his youth—and one of the seminal films of the 21st century.

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 2003
82 mins

Saturday, April 2, 7 PM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
$12/Adult; $9/Senior and Student

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4) Comrades: Almost a Love Story 《甜蜜蜜》 – Prolific Second Wave Chinese filmmaker Peter Chan’s lyrical boy-meets-girl chronicle stars Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai as a couple of mainlanders living in Hong Kong who fall into each other’s arms to deal with their urban isolation and end up in New York’s Chinatown. This spellbinding romance features gorgeous cinematography by Jingle Ma (Rumble in the Bronx) and songs by pan-Asian sensation Teresa Teng.

Dir. Peter Chan, 1996
188 min.

Variety says, “All but the hardest hearts are likely to warm to Comrades, Almost a Love Story, a beautifully played will-they-won’t-they romantic dramedy with plenty to say about the emigre Chinese experience and mainlanders’ misperceptions about Hong Kong.

Sunday April 3, 12:30 PM and 5:15 Pm
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street
$12/Reserved tickets

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5) An Evening with Cao Fei   MoMA presents a screening program of work by Chinese artist Cao Fei in conjunction with the opening of the MoMA PS1 exhibition Cao Fei, her first comprehensive solo museum show in the U.S. Mixing social commentary, popular culture, documentary conventions, and Surrealist impulses in her films and installations, the artist initiates multimedia projects that investigate the experiences of young Chinese citizens coming to terms with the rapidly shifting features of their reality, both physical and virtual. This evening’s screenings span the past two decades of Cao Fei’s creative output, including excerpts from several of her most important works: Cosplayers (2004), a portrait of adolescent fantasists who, by day, romp around the artist’s hometown of Guangzhou dressed as fairy princesses or lethal warriors, and by night, live in close quarters with their aging relatives; Whose Utopia? (2006), which documents performances by workers at a lighting factory in China’s Pearl River Delta region, in which the laborers wildly role-play their personal fantasies; RMB City (2007–11), a trip through the participatory metropolis Cao built and operated on the 3-D virtual world-building platform Second Life; the magical realist zombie film Haze and Fog (2013); and the artist’s most recent large-scale film project, La Town (2014), a neo-noir about a mythical, post-apocalyptic city forgotten by time, but nonetheless animated by the political scandals, torrid love affairs, and environmental disasters that typify contemporary life. In the artist’s words, “I try to find different ways to connect and interact with society. At the same time, I am trying to construct a new model of society.” The artist will be joined for a conversation with Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1, and Chief Curator at Large, MoMA.

Monday, April 4, 7 PM
MoMA
$12/Adult; $10/Senior; $8/Student

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6) Inside Look: Paradise Interrupted – Asia Society and Lincoln Center Festival invite you inside an arresting new opera with some of its key artists: acclaimed composer Huang Ruo (Dr. Sun Yat-sen); director/designer and librettist Jennifer Wen Ma; and soprano Qian Yi.

Weaving together traditional Chinese and contemporary Western idioms, Paradise Interrupted reimagines the biblical story of Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the vivid dream of Du Liniang in The Peony Pavilion. This lecture/demonstration will explore the creative process of making this collaborative work, including an interactive look at the dynamic paper sculptures which make up the garden, as well as musical excerpts with Kunqu Opera soprano Qian Yi and tenor Yi Li, and music by members of Ensemble FIRE: Steve Buck, piano; Hong Da Chin, dizi; Shelley Monroe Huang, bassoon; Zhou Yi, pipa. Agnes Hsu-Tang will speak about the challenges and importance of translation within the work.

Paradise Interrupted will be at the Lincoln Center Festival from July 13-16, 2016.

Tuesday, April 5, 6:30 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue$20/General Admission; $15/Student, Senior, Member

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7) Mythology – Yuhan Su Quintet – Taiwanese jazz vibraphonist/composer Yuhan Su (蘇郁涵) and her jazz quintet perform a set of compositions by Yuhan inspired by Chinese Mythology Kua Fu(夸父), a giant who wished to capture the sun.

With each stride he got closer to the sun, however, he could never catch up to it. He followed the sun from the East to the West, draining all rivers and lakes crossing his path as sources of water to quench his burning thirst as he closed in on the star.  However, he did not finish his quest because he died of the extreme heat and exhaustion.  The wooden club he was carrying grew into a vast forest, and Kua Fu turned into a mountain range.

The story is now come to describe a person who fails to obtain his/her goal because of over-confidence

Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 PM
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York, 1 East 42nd Street
Free, but RSVP required


Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Afternoon 《那日下午》- Rarely does the great auteur Tsai Ming-liang appear onscreen himself and open up about his creative methods. In the new Afternoon, a film in four static shots in which the director sits with Lee Kang-sheng in a ramshackle rural house to discuss all manner of things professional and very personal. Presented with support from Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.

Dir. Tsai Ming-Liang, 2015
137 min.

Have a look at Variety‘s review.

Opens April 1 at Metrograph

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2) Chongqing Hotpot – After a preamble involving masked bankrobbers, our Chongqing potbolier settles into the story of three old schoolfriends (and former boy-band wannabes, naturally), now business partners who want to offload a dud restaurant built into one of the titluar city’s warren of underground caves. Embarking on some illegal renos, the trio accidentally blasts a hole through the floor of the bank next door; rather conveniently for Liu Bo (Chen Kun), who’s racked up a huge gambling debt with the psychopathic Brother Seven. (The Georgia Straight)

The Hollywood Reporter says “Chongqing Hot Pot is a crowd-pleaser, hitting all the right beats and loaded with stylistic conventions familiar to anyone who has seen Ning’s Crazy Stone or anything by Park Chan-wook.”

Opens at AMC Empire 25, April 1

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3) Office 3D 《华丽上班族》– Hugely popular Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To, primarily known for his action movies, surprised and delighted his fans this past year with the remarkable Office, a stylish, buoyant musical shot in 3D featuring grand, eye-popping set design reminiscent of Jacques Tati’s classic Playtime. Adapted from her own stage play by Sylvia Chang, who also costars, Office takes place in an austere yet exquisitely realized high-rise, where two new assistants attempt to climb the corporate ladder and please the head honcho (played by the imperious Chang).

Opens at Metrograph March 25

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3) The Mermaid 《美人鱼》– Stephen Chow’s latest absurdist comedy is about a businessman who falls in love with a mermaid who was sent to kill him.  While the movie is the biggest film ever in China and worldwide, Sony who purchased US distribution rights does not seem to be promoting it.

Review by the South China Morning Post

At AMC Empire 25


Current Art Exhibitions

Opening and newly added:

1) Taca Sui (塔可) – Steles – Huang Yi Project 《碑錄—黄易计划》 (Chambers Fine Art, 3/31 – 5/28) The latest body of work collectively titled Steles (2015) focuses on the stone steles that have played such a crucial role in the documentation of the history of China.  In this case he was inspired by the late Qing dynasty imperial bureaucrat Huang Yi (1744 – 1802) who in his leisure time was also a dedicated amateur archaeologist, painter, poet and calligrapher.  In the last years of the 18th century he made two trips in which the focus was on documenting steles mainly located in Shandong Province and Henan Province. Through his travel diaries, paintings, and rubbings, he provided an invaluable record of cultural artifacts that otherwise might have disappeared altogether through neglect. In planning his own trips, Taca consulted Huang Yi’s diaries, Diary on Visiting Steles near Mount Song and the Luo River and Diary on Visiting Historical Steles from Jining to Tai’an.

Read more from the full press release.

Opening reception, March 31, 6 PM

Taca Sui - Feilai Peak, 2015 Archival pigment print on baryta paper 20 3/4 x 31 1/2 in. Edition of 6

Taca Sui – Feilai Peak, 2015
Archival pigment print on baryta paper
20 3/4 x 31 1/2 in.Edition of 6

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2) HerStory Chinese American Women — 165 Years of Struggle and Success (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 4/1 – 4/30) – This exhibit showcases the legal milestones and often harrowing stories of these brave women.  Before their lives and accomplishments are completely lost in the annals of history, we aim to tell herstory. This show finally gives voice to those Chinese American women who paved the way for our past, present and future.

This is a grand departure from the typical exhibit with historical posters and documents. Art speaks louder than words! Through video, sound and paintings, the exhibit is an unprecedented multi-media art installation meant to memorialize and celebrate these courageous Chinese American women.

Herstory (她們) by 劉經倫

Herstory (她們) by 劉經倫

Opening reception April 12, 7 PM

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3) INSOMNIA – Lan Chunghsuan MFA Thesis Exhibition (Steuben Gallery, Pratt Institute, 4/4 – 4/8)

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4) Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31) – MoMA PS1 presents the first museum solo show in the United States of Beijing-based artist Cao Fei. One of the most innovative young artists to have emerged from China, Cao Fei creates multimedia projects that explore the experiences of young Chinese citizens as they develop strategies for overcoming and escaping the realities of a rapidly changing society. Mixing social commentary, pop aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations, the artist reflects on the swift and chaotic changes occurring in Chinese society.

Read more from the full exhibition description.

Cao Fei - Still from Haze and Fog

Cao Fei – Still from Haze and Fog

Closing soon:

Yi-Husan Lin – A Chicken and a Dog, They Walk (Jeffrey Stark, 3/6 – 4/1)

Chen Dongfan – Punk Bookstore (Square Peg Gallery, 3/4 – 4/3)

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/3)

The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4)

Yueyin Hu – Off the Wall (Gateway Art Center NYC, 3/26 – 4/7)

INSOMNIA – Lan Chunghsuan MFA Thesis Exhibition (Steuben Gallery, Pratt Institute, 4/4 – 4/8)

James Wong – Invasion of the Pods (Gallery 456, 3/10 – 4/15)

The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4)

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

Woods (Cloud Gallery, opened 3/30)

Yi-Husan Lin – A Chicken and a Dog, They Walk (Jeffrey Stark, 3/6 – 4/1)

Chen Dongfan – Punk Bookstore (Square Peg Gallery, 3/4 – 4/3)

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/3)

The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4)

Yueyin Hu – Off the Wall (Gateway Art Center NYC, 3/26 – 4/7)

INSOMNIA – Lan Chunghsuan MFA Thesis Exhibition (Steuben Gallery, Pratt Institute, 4/4 – 4/8)

James Wong – Invasion of the Pods (Gallery 456, 3/10 – 4/15)

Qiu Xiaofei – Double Pendulum (Pace Gallery, 25th St, 3/11 – 4/23)

HerStory Chinese American Women — 165 Years of Struggle and Success (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 4/1 – 4/30)

Taca Sui (塔可) – Steles – Huang Yi Project 《碑錄—黄易计划》 (Chambers Fine Art, 3/31 – 5/28)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/16)

Lead image: Two Greats – Elvis and Confucius at Hello Kongzi.  Times Square, February 19, 2016.   Photo by Andrew Shiue