NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 22 – April 28, 2016

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This week: The Hong Kong Contemporary Film Festival; post-modern theater and a panel discussion about Asians on stage and screen; pop-up Taiwanese dinners; two films about Taiwan’s history tries to define a context for the island’s identity; a talk about a Chinese emperor; Cai Guo-Qiang at Japan Society; and The Queens International Night Market opens for the season on April 22.

Update: The 4K restoration of A Touch of Zen has been added to the list of films.

Coming up:

May 3 – Pianist Lang Lang shows his love for New York and China Institute hosts China – The Red Sons: A Screening and Conversation with Zheng Shengtian.

May 6 – May 22 – Yangtze Repertory Theatre stages Midnight Kill, an original play by Co-artistic Director K.K. Wong that is based on an actual murder story that occurred during the Cultural Revolution in a mountain hamlet that where he lived.

May 12 – Crossing Borders: Seven Short Videos from China and India

May 14 – Pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-fen performs her solo project Mao, Monk and Me as part of the New York Guitar Festival.

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) Taiwan Cinema: Yesterday and Today  – Day two of a symposium and film screenings in cooperation with Columbia University and Taipei Cultural Center celebrating the release of An Annotated Bibliography for Taiwan Film Studies edited by Jim Cheng, James Wicks, and Sachie Noguchi.

Friday, April 22
Room 203, Butler Library, Room 203
Free

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2) Blue Glaze Theatre 2016 Spring Production: Thunderstorm(re)making, CirC and ACT Summit – Two post-modern student devised works: the first features an adaptation of a famous Chinese drama Thunderstorm, and the second is a student written and directed detective story.  Here in New York today, women still struggle with the same problems that characters in Thunderstorm faced eighty years ago and we’ve decided to portray that struggle and their bravery with physical theater.  For the second part of the performance, a detective seeking truth to a mysterious murder is going to lead the audience through a journey of both absurdity and reality. Who is the victim and who is the murderer? These questions eventually became irrelevant as the play pushes the detective to find his/her true self.

There will also be an information session about shooting short films in China and also a panel discussion: Asian Artists in the States: Representation, Opportunity and Identification on stage and screen.

Performances and panel discussion will primarily be in Mandarin.

Visit the event page for specific program times.

April 22 – 24
202 Lehman Auditorium, Altschul Hall, Barnard College 3009 Broadway
Performances: $12/admission; Panel discussion: Free, but RSVP requested

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3) Win Son and Yumpling Pop Up Taiwanese Dinner with Cathy Erway – The first of two (the second one is on April 29) pop-up collaborations between Win Son and Yumpling, two Taiwanese food projects, and Cathy Erway, author of The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island, in anticipation of the grand opening of Win Son, a Taiwanese-American restaurant, in May 2016.

This dinner menu will be joint effort between Win Son’s Trigg Brown and Yumpling’s Jeffrey Fann. Both have been developing their own Taiwanese food concepts for the past few years and have hosted several dinners throughout the city.

Friday, April 22, 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM seatings
Win Son, 159 Graham Ave, Brooklyn
$35/per person (drinks and gratuity excluded)

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4) Ping Pong Coach《乒乓》– Fifteen-year-old Tsi-An has fallen in love with her ping pong coach, who happens to be her best friend’s father. She asks for private lessons with the hope of getting close to him.

Dir. Yi Liu
15 min., USA/Taiwan, 2016

Plays as part of Tribeca Film Festival’s Shorts in Competition: Student program

Saturday, April 23, 6:45 PM
Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea, 260 W. 23rd St.
Rush tickets only

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5) Country of Dreams: Art Festival as Social Change – Abandoned buildings repurposed as surreal dream houses, a million tulip petals falling from the sky: every three years the remote snow country of Echigo-Tsumari is transformed into a spellbinding art festival.  Conceived as a way of revitalizing a depopulated region, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is not only one of the world’s largest art festivals, it is a powerful force for social change.  In collaboration with the local community, the bucolic landscape is turned into a multi-media exhibit space, drawing in artists and admirers from around the world.  Come hear from participating artists Marina Abramović, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, as well as creator and General Director Fram Kitagawa. Asian art specialist Midori Yamamura joins the discussion, and Japan Society Gallery Director Yukie Kamiya moderates. Co-organized by Midori Yamamura.

Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 PM
Japan Society, 333 E. 47th Street
$20/Adult; $16/Student and Senior

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6) Attabu 《阿罩霧風雲》– The first of a two-part documentary film series about the rise and fall of the Wufeng Lin family (霧峰林家) in Wufeng District, Taiwan who sail from China to Taiwan in 1746 where they would become one of the most powerful clans in Taiwan due to services for the Qing dynasty.

“Attabu” refers to the original name of the Wufeng area under the language of the Taiwanese Plains Aborigines.

Part of TECO’s Discovering The Beauty and Sadness of History series.

Thursday, April 28, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 1 E. 42nd Street
Free, but RSVP required

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7) China’s Great Emperors – Susan L. Beningson, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum will talk about Emperor Wu and the Han Dynasty in the second installment of a six-session lecture series that will explore the history of imperial China through the lives of some of its most fascinating emperors.

Thursday, April 28, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
$15/Non-members; $10/Members (Full series: $75/Non-members; $50/Members)

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8) 3 Islands 《三岛》– Taiwan, Okinawa, and Jeju Island seemed to undertake their separate destinies after World War II, and yet the three islands carry an isomorphic historical texture. The 228 incident of Taiwan, the mass suicide of the Battle of Okinawa, and the 43 Incident on Jeju Island (also known as “Jeju Uprising”) are the critical political events that have occurred from 1940 to recent years. These events not only affect the lives of individuals on the 3 islands to date, but reflect the collective civil war amongst the individuals on the islands. Hence, if we extend it to Hong Kong as one of the landmarks, the Star Ferry Pier Preservation Protest in 2006, the Occupy Central in 2011, etc. are the important political practices of individuals of East Asia united as one as well. The artist KAO Jun-Honn, via the publishing of “Novel”, translated his observations, research, and artistic practices on these East Asian islands into a semi-fictional narrative literature to depict this unknown part of history. If the artists use their personal lives as creative materials, the direct approach to document such material would be the commitment of documentary image texts. 3 Islands documentary images try to shift from literary writings to the actual fixing of body-scene. Adopting literature as well as the personal research and practices of artists as scripts, paralleled with reversible movements of the flesh, the film recounts the unknown history and the symptomatic interpretations of the 3 islands of East Asia.

Dir. Lin Xinyi
62 min. Taiwan, 2015

Part of the Stories of Others program at the NYC Independent Film Festival

Thursday, April 28, 9:30 PM
Producers Club, 358 W.44th St.
$15/Admission


Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Hong Kong Contemporary Film Festival – In midst of growing social turmoil in Hong Kong, a new wave of creative expression emerges to address the city’s socio-political struggles and search for identity. The Hong Kong Contemporary Film Festival strives to challenge dated conceptions of Hong Kong cinema and transform nostalgia into renewed action. Together with local and overseas collaborators, Distill HK [ 川 ] presents the works of independent filmmakers as an intergenerational and transnational dialogue. These moving images become a critical lens on the pressing issues that are part of the global discourse. Through a 3-night festival in New York with Cantonese cuisine and retro-pop music, alongside a live-streamed panel discussion in Hong Kong, we invite both communities to reexamine Hong Kong’s current cultural climate and rediscover its creative voice together.

Curated by Tiffany Fung, Dorothy Lam; ZiHong and Emily Yin, the festival features video art, seven short films, and two feature-length documentaries, including Alvin Tsang’s Reunification 《家庭團聚》 which recently screened at the Queens World Film Festival, in three nightly programs.

Visit the festival’s Facebook page for updates.

April 22 – 24
Downtown Community Television Center, 87 Lafayette Street
$20/3-day pass; $7/1-day pass (20% discount available with code HK16)

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2) A Touch of Zen 《侠女》– Complete and uncut 4k restoration of the classic 1971 wuxia film.

In 15th century China, toothily nerdy scholar and painter Shih Jun and his nagging mother live next to an abandoned fort reputed to be haunted – so who is that mysterious, beautiful Hsu Feng who’s moved in? – a ghost? And what is that stranger who wants his portrait painted really up to? And what about the doctor who won’t take money and is the blind fortune teller really blind? But a flashback to scheming and murder at the highest levels of the court starts the answers and the battles coming: the elaborate ambush at the fort that engulfs an entire assassination cohort, to the chortling delight of its unlikely strategist – until, he realizes, in the light of day, there are dead people here; the fight in the bamboo forest that took 25 days of shooting (its hollow was sunlit only a few hours a day); the fight through incredible rock formations and rivers cutting between up-rearing crags; and a final showdown in spectacularly godforsaken desert that leaves one opponent’s vision reduced to color negative, the other bleeding golden blood, a climax mystically Buddhist (Taiwanese writer/director Hu admitted that he himself was not Buddhist). Hu’s epic of wuxia (ancient martial arts), begun in 1969, entailed meticulous preparation and care – the fort took 9 months to get right, partly to let the overgrowing vegetation to grow in place; and an epic battle with the producer, who insisted it be released in two still-truncated parts; Hu only got it his way in 1975, when a nearly complete version was shown at Cannes, where it won the Grand Prize for Technical Achievement – and an apology from his studio heads. This new restoration of Hu’s complete 3-hour epic returns the exemplar and template of an entire genre to his original vision.

Dir. King Hu
In Mandarin, with English subtitles.
180 mins.

Film Forum 4/22 – 5/5

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3) New York New York 纽约纽约》 – It’s 1994 and Lu Tu (Ethan Juan) is the youngest concierge ever at five-star Chinese hotel; smart, loyal and honest, he’s respected by his fellow employees and lauded by his superiors. When he’s tempted with an invitation to run a new hotel in the Big Apple, everyone around him looks to take advantage of the move, including a love interest (Du Juan) who may not be as trustworthy as she seems.

Reviews: The Washington Post and The New York Times

At AMC Empire 25

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4) Chongqing Hotpot 《火锅英雄》- 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.”

At AMC Empire 25

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In addition to Lin Xinyi’s 3 Islands, the NYC Independent Film Festival includes a number of shorts in animation and art/experimental film programs.  All programs are at Producers Club, 358 West 44th Street.

At Art/Experimental Films Session #2, April 28, 2:15 PM

White Mushroom, Black Earth -Asuka is coming back to New York and Nate is going to make her mushroom soup. Where to find the best mushroom in New York City? A doc/fiction piece that took place at the landscape installation ‘The New York Earth Room’ and its context New York SoHo, featuring art, perception and lifestyle.

Dir. Mengxiao Rao
11 Min, China, 2015

At Art/Experimental Films Session #1, April 28, 9 PM

Take the High Line – The viewer is taken for a surreal ride on the High Line in Manhattan. It loosely incorporates elements of Alice in Wonderland, beginning with chasing a rabbit and ending with Alice transforming into a born again flower child.

Dir. Peter Meng
5 Min, United States, 2015

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At Animation Program #1, April 28, 3:30 PM:

Taichi Mice: Entrance Exam – Three little mice struggle to get through the entrance exam of a Taoism martial art school.

Dir. Boqing Tang
7 min, United States, 2014

West Lake Dream – A little girl gets inspiration for her painting when she dreams about her goldfish.

Dir. Wenwen Hou
1 min, United States, 2015


Current Art Exhibitions

Opening and newly added:

1) Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/28 – 9/11) –  A retrospective exhibition of celebrated and influential set designer Ming Cho Lee (b. 1930, Shanghai, China) that features original scale models, sketches, and photographic reproductions. The exhibition provides an in-depth exploration of Ming Cho Lee’s creative process by displaying the preparatory materials for his set designs alongside documentation of the performances, and chronicling the evolution of his practice from his groundbreaking, abstract set designs of the 1960s and 70s to his more recent hard-edge treatments. For over fifty years, Ming Cho Lee has served on the faculty at Yale School of Drama, including as the co-chair of the design department. As a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 2002 and the Tony Award® for lifetime achievement in 2013, Ming Cho Lee is one of the most acclaimed living set designers in the U.S. This exhibition is a project of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

A 1994 Production of The Woman Warrior for Berkely Repertory Theatre. Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America.

A 1994 Production of The Woman Warrior for Berkely Repertory Theatre. Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America.

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Closing soon:

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

How Much? (Chinatown Soup, 4/12 – 4/24)

Contemporary Photography Asian Perspectives (Laurence Miller Gallery, 3/10 – 4/30)

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

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/30)

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, 3/30 – 5/14)

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

How Much? (Chinatown Soup, 4/12 – 4/24)

Face to Face: Regina Bogat, Wang Keping (Gallery Zurcher, 3/10 – 4/29)

Contemporary Photography Asian Perspectives (Laurence Miller Gallery, 3/10 – 4/30)

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

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

Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/28 – 9/11)

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

Lead image: Photo still of Yang Yongliang (杨泳梁) – The Night of Perpetual Day, HD video, 4 channel with soundtrack.  Seen at RH Contemporary Art – Outside the Lines: New Art from China (January 31 – April 12, 2014).  Photo by Andrew Shiue