NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: June 10 – June 16, 2016

Falun Gong in Taipei

This week: A documentary about a women’s rights activist; a martial arts/breakdance/musical/blaxpoitation cult classic; performance and talk about contemporary Chinese music; a performance lecture about Asian migration to Latin America; a performance art piece that launches a brand to question price and value;  a blending of eastern and western musical styles led by an American musician who studied kunqu opera for her PhD.; a documentary film by Wang Bing; a documentary about Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project; and a photo exhibition that looks inteserction between the LGBTQ and the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Update: Designers, Golden Pin Concept Award are due June 15.  This award celebrates conceptual design inspired by philosophies and ideologies from huaren (Chinese speaking) culture and society.  Entries for the Golden Pin Design Award are due June 30.  This award celebrates innovative products and projects expressly created for and within huaren communities.

We added films at the the Brooklyn Film Festival includes films by directors from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Coming up:

6/16 – 6/30 – MOMA’s series on Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing screens 15 films.

6/22 – The New York Asian Film Festival begins!

6/23 – A documentary about Japanese from Taiwan who returned to Japan after World War II.

7/13 – 7/16 – Paradise Interrupted, a reimagining and fusing the biblical story of Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the vivid dream of Du Liniang in The Peony Pavilion.

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

This week’s events

1) Hooligan Sparrow – The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to southern China’s Hainan Province to protest against a principal who allegedly sexually abused six elementary-school girls.  Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment.  Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion women’s rights by arming herself with the power and reach of social media.  Wang becomes a target along with Sparrow, as she faces destroyed cameras and intimidation.  Yet she bravely and tenaciously keeps shooting, guerrilla-style, with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses.  By smuggling footage out of the country, Wang is able to tell the story of the revolutionary Sparrow and her fellow activists—and their seemingly impossible battle for human rights.

Followed by a Q&A with director Nanfu Wang.

Screens as part of Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2016

Friday, June 10, 6:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street
Standby only


2) Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon – Throwback with MOCA for this 80s kung-fu musical comedy cult classic. Set in New York City, the movie follows a martial artist named Leroy Green (A.K.A. “Bruce Leroy”), who has dreams of becoming a great martial artist like his idol Bruce Lee.

Friday, June 10, 8 PM PM
Columbus Park, 67 Mulberry St.


3) Fata Morgana – Inspired by true events, Fata Morgana tells the story of a Chinese couple who must examine their relationship’s fractures — and future — after they arrive in the United States to organize the funeral rites for their only child.

Screens as part of at Brooklyn Film Festival Narrative Shorts Program.

Dir. Amelie Wen
China/United States, 2016, 20min

Friday, June 10, 10 PM
Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn
$13/General Admission; $10/Student and Senior


4) Ambrosia and Interface – Two shorts that screen as part of the Brooklyn Film Festival Experimental Film Program.


A restless ghost, a suicidal clown, a philosopher who transformed into a golden diamond, a training maniac in the body of a dwarf, a masochistic woman, a doomed mischief gay couple, a family of three living under beautiful mask… This is a Kafkaesque allegory: In the end of the world, the disquiet of men is the food of the gods.

Dir. Qin Yuku
China, 2016, 25 min.


This animated film rests on the idea that digital media is like a transparent, thin layer of skin that shields our notion of self, and also the ability to transform and change. Like a self-portrait made of assemblages, the film investigates coexisting multiple digital identities to convey the message that “the best interface is no interface”. Assuming that the digital phenomenon is reshaping our culture, the film aims to synthesize and decode the compression of an over-connected modern society by visualizing that which is lost in translation and the art of error.

Dir: Mel Hiseh
Taiwan/United States, 2015, 3 min.

Saturday, June 11, 3 PM
Windmill Studios NYC, 300 Kingsland Avenue, Brooklyn
$13/General Admission; $10/Student and Senior


5) Red Egg – A sand animation that consists of 1582 individual sand paintings.  It tells the story about one’s life from start to the end, with the desire of chasing dreams through every stages of life. It is about love, sadness, anxiety, sickness, religion… all about life is condensed into a 4 mins 45 second animation.

Screens as part of Brooklyn Film Festival Shorts Program.

Dir. Hoi Chiu
Hong Kong, 2016 4 min.

Sunday, June 12, 2 PM
Windmill Studios NYC, 300 Kingsland Avenue, Brooklyn
$13/General Admission; $10/Student and Senior

6) Salon on Contemporary Chinese Music – William Lane, Founder/Artistic Director at Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, will perform solo viola works by Chinese composers and lead a lecture and discussion of the contemporary classical music scene in China.

Sunday, June 12, 3 PM
Spectrum, 2nd Floor, 121 Ludlow St.
$15/General Admission; $10/Student and Senior


7) Spanish Lesson on How to Speak Chino – Interdisciplinary artist Beatrice Glow presents a lecture performance that delves into the realities of Asian migration to Latin America, coolie geography, and folk etymology.  There is a plethora of ways to use the word “chino” (Chinese) in colloquial Latin American Spanish.  While “chino,-a” often refers to a person with indigenous and or Asian physical characteristics, depending on context it can also reference orange juice, cannabis, curly blondes, children, a gaucho’s wife, fifty cents and even public figures.

Sunday, June 12, 4 PM
Momenta Art, 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn


8) Use Value by Chang Yuchen – Printed Matter hosts a “runway show” to launch the brand Use Value.  Use Value is a conceptual (and real) brand which produces useful handmade commodities, founded by Chang Yuchen in 2016.  Here, the labor of hands is measured with money, the act of possessing is considered love. The price of each product, the exchange value, is calculated by the hourly rate that Yuchen earned as a hostess working in a restaurant, multiplied by how many hours she has spent on this product, in addition to the cost of the raw materials.

The idea of artwork coming out of the museum or the gallery and entering into people’s everyday life, as well as the practice of artists adapting themselves to the common rules of economic reality are greatly inspired by the history of Printed Matter and by the artist book as a medium.  The first line of products are various embroidered bags. Each of them is a meticulous drawing made with silk thread, a portable piece of artwork with the function of carrying, and a proxy through which time and labor are transformed into use value.

Use Value’s friends will showcase the first season’s products in the form of walking, and will explore the possibility of walking as a mode of exhibition, which points at the broader experience of being seen, and the brief communication that occurs at the moment of encounter.

A newly finished artists’ book by Chang Yuchen, Rain Album, will also be available.

Sunday, June 12, 4 PM
Printed Matter, Inc., 231 11th Ave.


9) Ragged Silk (織音) – Founded in New York, Ragged Silk (織音) is a cross-cultural music collective that melds Eastern ancient melodies and lyrical sensibilities with Western electronic and popular music to form an original hybrid, consisting of vocal, guitar, pipa, bamboo flute, world music percussion, and DJ. Featuring music by songwriter Juliane Jones performed with acclaimed US and Chinese artists including pipa virtuoso Zhou Yi and zhongruan virtuoso Yueqin Eugenie Chen, this group aims to promote cross-cultural dialogue, friendship, and mutual understanding.

Ragged Silk’s live show curates genres of Chinese music including kung fu, guqin song, Buddhist chant, and kun opera presented in a popular music context. As Ragged Silk pushes the boundaries of performance by blending languages, timbres, and concepts, they aim to highlight the fluidity between the traditional and the modern.

Preview some of the songs on Ragged Silk’s page.

Sunday, June 12, 7 PM (Doors 6:30 PM)
Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street
$20/General Admission

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) ‘Til Madness Do Us Part  《 疯爱》– This documentary by famed filmmaker Wang Bing (West of the TracksFengming, Three Sisters) – a typically immersive and unflinching achievement – documents the grim daily existence of the inmates of an isolated mental institution in rural Zhaotong, in southwest China’s Yunnan province.  Somehow granted access to this normally carefully hidden world, Wang reveals a group of men, of various ages, backgrounds, and mental states, who are confined to the locked floors of a single building, with seemingly minimal supervision.  The facility’s inmates have been committed for different reasons: perhaps they have a developmental disability; perhaps they committed murder; perhaps they angered local officials.  But once inside, they all share the same life and cramped living quarters, staring at a barren, iron-fenced courtyard and seeking comfort and human warmth wherever they can find it.

‘Til Madness Do Us Part calls to mind Frederick Wiseman’s classic Titticut Follies (1967), but its approach is very much Wang’s own: he takes advantage of the capabilities of digital video to achieve an unprecedented intimacy, and to construct his portrait out of radically long takes, which result in an unusually profound understanding of the texture and rhythms of the inmates’ lives.  The result is a vitally important film that interrogates mental illness and criminality, therapy and incarceration, and the relationship between individuals and society.  ‘Til Madness Do Us Part is at once riveting, terrifying, surprising, and sometimes disarmingly tender – an eye-opening exposé of a particular institution, but also a monumental reflection on human nature.

See our review here, and read what others had to say:

“An unsparing chronicler of the abused and neglected in his country’s darkest corners, Chinese documentarian Wang Bing pushes his starkly immersive strategies to a grueling yet empathetic extreme.” –Justin Chang, Variety

“A Foucauldian vision, Wang’s documentary lays the patients’ plight and vulnerabilities bare before the camera.” –Ela Bittencourt, The Brooklyn Rail

“Mundane activities such as dressing and undressing oneself, lighting a cigarette, and lying beneath a blanket with another inmate come to seem like peoples’ declarations of their own humanity. […] In chronicling individual, present-day lives, Wang gives a sense of his country’s recent history.” –Aaron Cutler, Cineaste 

Dir. Wang Bing
2013, 228 minutes
In Mandarin & Yunnan dialect with English subtitles

At Anthology Film Archives through June 15.


2) The Music of Strangers  – This film from Oscar-winning director Mogan Neville tells the extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  The documentary follows this group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.

Opens June 10 at Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinema.


3) The Final Master 《 師父》 – From the screenwriter of Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster, this film tells the story of “traveling master Chen (Liao Fan), a stern, composed man from the south of China, arrives in northern martial arts hub Tianjin with the mission of passing down his beloved Wing Chun style of butterfly-sword fighting — which he fears will be lost to history — by founding a school.  The local grandmaster Zheng (Jin Shi-Jye) informs him that to do so, Chen will have to fight and defeat representatives from eight rival academies. And even that’s not a guarantee, since such an incredible feat would be enough of a blot on Tianjin’s reputation that the victor would have to be defeated and banished, by any means necessary.” – Lost Angeles Times

At AMC Empire 25

Current Art Exhibitions

In addition to the listings below, three local artists are participating in group shows:

Naomi is part of Rhapsody in Color at Samuel J. Wood Library at Weill Cornell Medical College through 6/10.

Fina Yeung shows her Urban Cages, a mixed media cardboard painting installation about her memory of growing up in a very crowded city, Hong Kong, at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Wide Open 7 (5/7 – 6/12).

Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin is part of Queens International 2016.  Through 7/31.

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Ka-Men Tse Photography (Mulberry Street Library, 6/2 – 9/7) – From the artist: “These photographs are part of an ongoing investigation surrounding notions of home, family, identity and community. My image-making is informed by the points of intersection between the LGBTQ and the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community; and what is shared, divergent, and negotiated between these two seemingly disparate worlds. Using mostly a large format view camera (there are two sides per film holder), my photographs offer B-sides: a mix-tape of queer narratives and portraiture, memories and obsessions.

untitled, (Fei), 2016 12"x18" Courtesy of Ka-Man Tse

untitled, (Fei), 2016
Courtesy of Ka-Man Tse

What does it mean to look, what does it mean to be seen? Whose histories are told or visible? I am a photographer searching for an image of possibility. In these photographs, I think about issues of access and disclosure, visibility and protection; visibility and resistance. In the contested and contingent spaces in Hong Kong, New York, and in the home, occupying a space, a conversation and visibility is political. Possibilities start with small gestures, or a question, spoken or unspoken, clear or coded, in private and the public.”





Closing soon:

New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18)

Xu Lei – New Works (Marlborough Gallery, 5/12 – 6/18)

A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

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)


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

New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18)

Xu Lei – New Works (Marlborough Gallery, 5/12 – 6/18)

A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

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)

Zane Kuo (郭季彥) Solo Photography Exhibition (Hwang Gallery, 6/7 – 6/15)

RongRong & inri (荣荣&映里) – Tamari Story 《妻有物语》 (Chambers Fine Art, 6/4 – 8/20)

Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31)

Ka-Men Tse Photography (NYPL – Mulberry Street Library, 6/2 – 9/7)

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: Falun Gong trying near the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, a popular tourist spot.  In Taiwan, members of the cult make themselves highly visible in places frequented by Mainland tourists.  Photo by Andrew Shiue