NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: July 15 – July 21, 2016

Photo Apr 04, 4 38 07 PM

This week: three really great and really different bands from Taiwan play New York’s celebrated SummerStage; an opera that fuses the biblical story of the expulsion from Eden with The Peony Pavilion; public performance art and an interactive theater experience by local artists; screenings at Asia Art Archive in America and Asia Society (we’re giving away tickets for this one); a talk and tasting by LUCKYRICE founder Danielle Chang; the opening of Johnnie To’s newest movie; three new exhibition listings, including one by a local ceramics artist; and more…

Coming up:

7/21 – 7/30 – Asian American International Film Festival

7/22 – Nanfu Wang’s acclaimed Hooligan Sparrow starts a theatrical run in NYC

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) Paradise Interrupted – In this arresting new opera by acclaimed composer Huang Ruo (Dr. Sun Yat-sen), traditional Chinese and contemporary Western idioms intertwine within an exquisite setting by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma, known for her Emmy Award–winning work on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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, Paradise Interrupted opens with a woman alone onstage, dreaming of an erotic encounter with her ideal lover. This dream triggers a psychological journey through a surreal, interactive garden made from dynamic paper sculptures. The woman is portrayed by Qian Yi, “China’s reigning opera princess” (New York Times), whose performance in Lincoln Center Festival’s famous 20-hour production of _The Peony Pavilion_ in 1999 introduced New Yorkers to the 600-year-old Kun opera tradition.

Taiwanese conductor Wen-Pin Chien leads a chamber orchestra of both Western and Chinese instruments in Huang Ruo’s haunting, sensual score that weaves the melismatic vocal style of kunqu with Western tonality.

Friday July 15, 8 PM
Saturday, July 16, 8 PM
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 West 59th Street
Tickets begin at $40


2) Taiwanese Waves – For the first time in its history, New York’s celebrated SummerStage hosts musicians from Taiwan.  Three star acts, Anpu 安溥 (張懸, Deserts Chang, Zhang Xuan); Wonfu (旺福); and Sunset Rollercoaster (落日飛車) will perform at this free concert.

Learn about the bands and hear more music from our earlier coverage.

Saturday, July 16, 6 – 10 PM
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park (enter at E. 69th St.)


3) Cityscape Theatre: Arrival || Departure – Cityscape Theater’s new production, Arrival || Departure, directed by Zifei Wu, takes you on a stroll through the thriving and bustling crowds of Penn Station, to witness scenes of joy and sorrow, to immerse yourself in the idea that “all the world’s a stage”, and to embrace theater as life.

The performance takes place at different locations around Penn Station, and the audience needs to walk around with an audio guide to find the actors. Through several one-on-one performances, you pick up the pieces and create your own stories.

De-emphasizing stagecraft and instead focuses on life as an art, performance is brought into everyday life and invites the audience to participate and create a personalized experience.

The performance format is a one-on-one interactive experience, in which one actor performs with one audience member at a time for a unique experience. Thus, the admission time for every audience member is different. Please select the starting time when booking your tickets.  Each interactive experience lasts roughly one hour and a half.

There are only 20 slots available per performance, so book tickets in advance.

See a trailer here.

Sunday, July 17, 1 – 3 PM
Pearson Park (34th St side of Penn Station)
Free (tickets are available here)


4) Mutual Hatred – This performance responds to race hatred and the recent gun shootings.

HE Monthly Performance Events are performance art events curated by Huisi He and take place in New York City every month. Untraditional performance venues to push performance artists out of their performance comfort zones, such as museums and galleries. In the event, both audience and artists encounter unpredictable situations during a performance. This performance responds to race hatred and the recent gun shootings.

For more info, contact Huisi He at

Sunday, July 17, 3 PM (Performers will gather at 3 PM and depart on trains at 3:30 PM
Union Square Station, Platform Above N, Q trains


4) Happiness 《幸運是我》– After his mother’s death, Chan Kai-yuk feels so alone that he leaves Guangzhou for Hong Kong to look up his father, who abandoned him years earlier. Yuk’s hopes are dashed upon finding that his father has a new family and considers him a burden.

Alone and homeless, Yuk is taken in by Auntie Fen, a middle-aged recluse who leads a solitary existence. Their differences lead to squabbles, intensified by Yuk’s self-centeredness and Fen’s odd temperament. But as time goes by, Yuk learns Fen is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The discovery unexpectedly serves as a catalyst for the young man’s growth into a caring friend, and for the first time in her life, Fen feels blessed. Yet the nature of her disease and the accelerating elusiveness of feelings and memories loom.

Followed by a Q&A with actors Kara Wai and Carlos Chan.

Director Andy Lo | 2015 | Hong Kong | 120 min.
In Cantonese with English Subtitles

Screens as part of the 39th Asian American International Film Festival.
Presented by Asian CineVision in association with Asia Society.

Tuesday, July 19, 7 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$20/Screening; $120/Screening + pre-screening reception + priority seating

AAIFF has offered us two tickets for the screening, and we’ll hold a drawing for them.  Send us an email at with the subject line “Happiness” by Sunday, 6 PM, and we’ll randomly select a winner and inform him or her that night.


5) Cloud Explosion: Dongting and the Death of Signifier – Join for a screening of Mao Chenyu’s Cloud Explosion: Dongting and the Death of Signifier, followed by discussion with artist and curator Li Xiaofei. This program is part of Backyard Conversations, a series of informal screenings where we pause, rewind, forward, and look closely at works that escape easy interpretation.

The film takes as its subject the personal Weibo account of the director of the Dongting Lake Porpoise Sanctuary, using syntactical analysis to gradually deduce an interrogation of “reality” as the medium of presence. “Dongting” as a signifier suspends itself above the bubble of time, losing the concrete field where its image is created.

Technology, speed of the universe, possible escape, and the speculation of futurism reconstruct the symbolic field, yet we forget there are such things as time and reality. “The order of meanings” is in crisis, the image of cloud explosion produces nothingness and the field of nothingness.

The film will be screened in Chinese with no English subtitles.

Wednesday, July 20, 7 PM
Asia Art Archive in America, 43 Remsen Street, Brooklyn
Free, but RSVP required


6) Gourmet Food Circle – Lucky Rice Cookbook Talk, Tasting, and Book Signing – Danielle Chang, founder of LUCKYRICE, brings night markets, grand feasts, and dumpling-making sessions to America’s biggest cities comes to China Institute to shares stories from her cookbook Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables, with recipes that marry modern Asian comfort foods with ancient traditions, simple techniques and fresh flavors.

Before the talk, guests can taste some Lucky Rice snacks while sipping cocktails with Bombay Sapphire East Gin. A copy of Lucky Rice is included in the price of the ticket. Following her talk, Ms. Chang will sign copies of the books.

Thursday, July 21, 6 PM
China Institute in America, 40 Rector Street
$35/Non-member; $30/Member; $20/Patron Member
$5 discount, if you email Michael Buening ( with the code BEYONDLUCKY


7) Reunification – An outdoor screening of Alvin Tsang’s award-winning film, a deeply personal consideration — one 25 years in the making — of his family’s separation by immigration that led to a breakdown of his family and his emotionally turbulent upbringing.  When his mother and two siblings first immigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, six-year-old, Tsang was forced to stay behind with his working, and consequently absent, father.  Spending the following three years often alone in an empty apartment, he longed for his family’s reunification.  However, upon Tsang and his father’s arrival to America, that dream was utterly and permanently shattered under circumstances the filmmaker has yet to fully comprehend to this day.

Though Tsang began shooting the film in Los Angeles, he was only able to complete it in New York City because “[he] needed to be far away from home in order to see the whole picture and move on.”

Thursday, July 21, 8 PM
Kissena Corridor Park at Main Street & Elder Avenue

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Three 《三人行》– A new nail-biter from the prodigious Johnnie To, the modern torch-carrier for the Hong Kong tradition of improbable, pretzel-like plot twists, unabashed melodrama, and hell-bent for leather action. Wallace Chung’s wounded criminal, Louis Koo’s wary detective, and doctor Zhao Wei are thrown together in an emergency ward, engaging in games of psychological brinksmanship tinged with the threat of violence. It’s not a matter of “if” it will happen, but “when”—and the big slo-mo show-stopper should be on any shortlist for set piece of the year.

The New York Times named it a “Critic’s Pick”, and A.V. Club says that To ” flourishes within Three’s self-imposed limits, folding and reorienting the space of the hospital using privacy curtains, swinging doors, and a constantly moving camera—in the process producing a rollickingly entertaining movie.”

Opens July 15 at Metrograph.


2) When Larry Met Mary 《陆垚知马俐》- Lu Yao met his kindergarten classmate Ma Li in college, and his attraction towards her grows in his heart. Unfortunately, he was one step too slow to tell her his affection. In the following ten years, Ma Li went through falling in love, breaking up, marriage, divorce, and getting married again soon. At the same time, Lu Yao has also experienced two fruitless relationships. What would happen next?

Opens at AMC Empire 25 July 15.


3) Cold War II 《寒战2》 In this sequel to the 2012 Hong Kong megahit, rival police chiefs battle it out both on the streets and at the station, kicked off by a psychotic killer’s desperate escape attempt.

At AMC Empire 25.

Current Art Exhibitions

In addition to the listings below, one local artists is participating in group show:

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

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Heidi Lau – Third Rome (Deli, 7/8 – 7/31) – Raised in Macau, Lau creates work surrounding the social and political history of her hometown. The artist uses this history to examine and recreate the ancient or deteriorating architecture, often imbuing the sculptures with personal and spiritual narratives.

Heidi Lau - Pillars of the Earth, 2015. Glazed ceramic, dimensions variable

Heidi Lau – Pillars of the Earth, 2015. Glazed ceramic, dimensions variable


2) Soft Haze: Xinyi Cheng – Nabuqi – Ali Van (Thomas Erben Gallery, 7/7 – 8/5) – In Xinyi Cheng’s paintings, the artist depicts nude figures reclining and relaxing within sparsely rendered spaces.  In Tension, a lone man lies on his side, staring straight out of the picture.  The domestic architecture surrounding him is created through an assemblage of flat planes, whose light pastels are in sharp contrast to the dark lines of the figure’s leg hair.  Similarly, in Goodnight, Thomas, the subject is seen from above, his body laid back in bed.  Within the smooth, geometric rendering of his surroundings, his finely rendered chest hair hints at a certain eroticism, reflected in the way his bearded face looks playfully at the viewer.

Xinyi Cheng, The Rain, 2014, Oil on Linen, 36 x 40 in

Xinyi Cheng, The Rain, 2014, Oil on Linen, 36 x 40 in


3) Stone Wong: In Search of Hong Kong Vision (Cloud Gallery, 7/14 – 7/28) –  Stone presents a harmonious blend of Chinese and Western culture in his photographic work while sharing a special view for China’s rapid development, Hong Kong and international vision, and humanitarian issues. 

Stone Wong - Fear, Matte paper, 16 x 24 in.

Stone Wong – Fear, Matte paper, 16 x 24 in.


Closing soon:

Stone Wong: In Search of Hong Kong Vision (Cloud Gallery, 7/14 – 7/28) –

Nadim Abbas and Tuo Wang: Only the Lonely (inCube Arts, 7/9 – 7/30)


Current shows:

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.

Stone Wong: In Search of Hong Kong Vision (Cloud Gallery, 7/14 – 7/28) –

Nadim Abbas and Tuo Wang: Only the Lonely (inCube Arts, 7/9 – 7/30)

Heidi Lau – Third Rome (Deli, 7/8 – 7/31)

A Fraction of Island – Hsiang-Lin Wang & Ming-Jer Kuo Duo Exhibition (Gallery 456, 7/8 – 8/5)

Soft Haze: Xinyi Cheng – Nabuqi – Ali Van (Thomas Erben Gallery, 7/7 – 8/5)

Meng Du: The Climb, The Fall ( Fou Gallery, 6/28 – 8/7)

Peili: Greater New York (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19)

Zhang Gong: The Watcher (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19)

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: Colette Fu – Dai Food pop-up photo collage from the series We Are the Tiger Dragon People.  Dimensions unknown.  Seen last year at New York Center for Book Arts. Photo by Andrew Shiue.