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


This week: The beginning of the Asian American International Film Festival; Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow begins its theatrical release and the director joins a Q&A; Wang Li and Wu Wei’s Jew’s harp – sheng joint collaboration; a guided tour of Asia Society’s exhibition featuring the museum’s collection; a talk about LGBT activism in China; David Henry Hwang in conversation; three new exhibition listings; and more…

Coming up:

August 5 and 6 – AAIFF’s Chinese Art Film Series

August 6 and 7 – Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat 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


1) Q&A with Hooligan Sparrow Director Nanfu Wang + Special Guests – Director Nanfu Wang talks with Karyn Kaplan of Asia Catalyst and Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch about her film about maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues who go to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal.

See below for film description and trailer.

Friday, July 22, 7:05 PM
Saturday, July 23, 7:05 PM
Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St.
$12/Adult; $8/Student and Senior


2) Joy Chi Wang in Recital: The Journey – A musical journey themed with poetry and cultural discovery, brought to you by Taiwanese national prize winning pianist Joy Chi Wang.

The program crosses between Western and Eastern cultures such as Liszt’s Sonetto which was composed while he traveled to Italy, the Polish modern composer Gorecki’s heart-aching Sonata, transcriptions of classic Chinese pieces Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake 《平湖秋月》 and Ambushed from All Sides 《十面埋伏》, and Romance by Japanese composer Takemitsu.

As an indigenous Taiwanese, Joy Chi Wang always seeks for unique opportunities to promote her indigenous Taiwanese heritage. Suite of Bunun 《布農組曲》, which depicts the traditional life of indigenous Taiwanese, will be presented as a premiere in the United States.

This recital also features collaboration with modern dancer Jessica Chia-Chun Hu, with her choreography for the piece Für Alina.

Reception to follow.

Saturday July 23, 4 PM
Shetler Studios & Theatres, 244 W 54th St.


3) Wang Li and Wu Wei  In what seems like an act of sorcery, two ancient musical instruments are resurrected in this singular collaboration. Born in China and now based in Paris, Jew’s harp virtuoso Wang Li spent four years living in a French monastery, where he immersed himself in an introspective serenity that has become central to his musical voice. His collaborator for this performance, the Chinese-born, Berlin-based sheng master Wu Wei, has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic under Kent Nagano, the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel, and many other world-renowned ensembles.

Together, these two intrepid artists embark on gorgeous improvised meditations, exploring the nuances of their instruments. The twang of the Jew’s harp and expansive ambience of the sheng are supported by circular breathing and throat singing; the drones are punctuated with exhilarating rhythms, tricking the ears into hearing electronic sounds where there are none. Wu Wei and Wang Li don’t discover new worlds of sound so much as create them, enveloping the audience in poetic visions.

Saturday July 23, 8 PM
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, 165 West 65th Street
Tickets: $25 and $35


4) Rewind: Exhibition Walkthrough with Curator Michelle Yun – join Michelle Yun, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Asia Society Museum for a walkthrough of the exhibition – Rewind: Selections from the Harold and Ruth Newman New Media Collection, Asia Society Museum. The exhibition includes seminal works by Cao Fei, Dinh Q. Lê, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Koki Tanaka, and Yang Fudong, among many others.

Wednesday July 27, 4 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
Free, but RSVP Required


5) ChinaFile Presents: Feminist and LGBT Activism in China – In recent years, a growing movement of feminist and LGBT activists in China has been pushing for greater equality and awareness of discrimination. Their often highly playful visual campaigns — ranging from parading in blood-spattered bridal gowns to protest domestic abuse, to “occupying” men’s rooms to push for more female public toilets — have gone viral and even prompted changes in legislation. But they’ve also drawn unwanted attention from authorities, culminating in the arrest and month-long detention of five prominent feminists, including Li Maizi, ahead of Women’s Day in 2015. Join ChinaFile for a discussion on the state of feminism and LGBT rights in China, and how movements pushing for equality have evolved.

Thursday July 28, 6:30PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$12/General Admission; $10/Student and Senior; $8/Member


6) David Henry Hwang in Conversation with Christopher Chen – The Play Company and MOCA present an evening of play and conversation featuring an excerpt of international award-winning playwright Christopher Chen’s genre-bending new work, Caught which premieres in New York City this August.

David Henry Hwang moderates a conversation with Chen and members of the cast, moderated by David Henry Hwang.

Thursday, July 28, 7 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$20/General Admission; $15/Student and Senior

Asian American International Film Festival

See our post about AAIFF16 which includes our comprehensive listing of Chinese language and films by Chinese and the Chinese diaspora and trailers for most of the films.  Festival screenings and events relating to Chinese and the Chinese diaspora for 7/22 – 7/79 include:

We Are Beautiful Shorts Program – Includes the delightful Fairy Tale.

Friday, July 22, 7 PM


Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story – A documentary feature about a Chinese immigrant who became the youngest prisoner at San Quentin State Prison and later one of the nation’s most recognized leaders on prison reform and youth violence prevention

Friday, July 22, 7:30 PM


AAWMM Talk-back with Mabel Cheung – A talk-back with Hong Kong filmmaker Mabel Cheung (Director of AAIFF16 Centerpiece, A Tale of Three Cities), moderated by Asian American Women Media Maker’s co-founder S. Casper Wong.

Saturday July 23, 2016 12 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street


For Youth by Youth Shorts Program

Saturday, July 22, 2 PM


Roots; Removals and Returns Short Films – Includes the exotically named Fata Morgana.

Saturday, July 23, 4:30 PM


Made in NY Shorts Program

Saturday, July 23 , 7 PM


In the Room – One of the most transitory lived spaces, the hotel room, becomes the vehicle that transposes a sprawling tapestry of stories in Eric Khoo’s vision of the history of Singapore. The film is anchored as a posthumous tribute to Singapore writer-musician Damien Sin, also the scriptwriter for Khoo’s first feature Mee Pok Man.

Saturday, July 23, 8:15 PM


Tyrus – Pamela Tom’s tour-de-force documentary about 105-year old Guangzhou-born, L.A. based visual artist, Tyrus Wong, and his breathtaking scope of work across multiple artistic mediums and his personal and professional journey navigating racial bigotry in 20th century America.

Seventeen years in the making, Tom’s film makes meticulous use of Tyrus Wong’s exquisite art, archival footage, illuminating interviews and commentary from Wong himself to document how his unique style, melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art, helped the Disney animated film, Bambi (1942) specifically, and early Hollywood in general establish their signature visual styles.

Sunday, July 24, 6:30 PM


Singapore Minstrel – Roy Payamal is the wildest busker of a country ranked the world’s most emotionless society. An old-time pioneer of the local scene, dubbed ‘Silver Man’, he creates mind-boggling acts, taking his undermined profession as a serious art- but is his faith impossible idealism or an admirable conviction?

Unraveling the nation’s bureaucratic reaches, a discourse on culture and expression plays out, co-starring Roy’s eccentric street colleagues. Flowing kaleidoscopically from interviews and fantasy sequences, to Roy’s handphone footage of his everyday life, Singapore Minstrel is an invitation into his beautiful mind, a magical, trying universe where art and life dialogue in a tropical dream.

Sunday, July 24, 8:15 PM


Finding Love Shorts Program

Saturday, July 24, 8:45 PM


CUNY Asian Film Festival Showcase

Wednesday, 7/27, 5 PM
The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue

Bright Sun Mansion – Legendary Peking Opera master, Yuling Fang, emigrates to New York where he works in a nail salon. Realizing there is no one to inherit his legendary skills, he decides to mount an amateur production in order to keep alive the vanishing world he loves.

The film is preceded by the TWN Senior Media Workshop Showcase.

Wednesday, 7/27 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd, Queens


Films are screened at Village East Cinema, 189 Second Avenue, unless otherwise noted.


1) Hooligan Sparrow  The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal.

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 girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media.

Opens at Cinema Village on 7/22


2) 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 22 and 23 at Metrograph.


3) 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.


4) 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.


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

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

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Deng Tai: Shadow (MoMA PS1, 6/19 – 8/28) – This is the first U.S. solo exhibition of the work of late Chinese artist Deng Tai (1987-2012). While living in Beijing, Deng casually enlisted friends to shoot several series of haunting photographs in which he performed for the camera in public spaces around the city. Seen as a collection, these ecstatic and melancholic images suggest the intensity of Deng’s struggle to negotiate a subversively exuberant identity in China’s changing, yet traditional, society.


Deng Tai’s Shadow series documents the artist as he performs, nearly naked, with a shroud of blood-red fabric flowing around him. Photo courtesy of New Museum.


2) The Keeper (New Museum, 7/20 – 9/25) – In a ceremonious personal custom, Ye Jinglu had a studio portrait taken every year for decades. These photos, preserved by Tong Bingxue, represent collecting as a mode of auto-ethnography that inadvertently also traces social and political changes over time.


Ye Jinglu took this photo on Oct 1, 1949. Photo courtesy of China Daily


3) Folk My Life ( New York Foundation for the Arts Gallery, 7/22 – 10/21) – works from Zhong-Hua Lu, Hongyi He and Wang Guowei are part of a group show at NYFA focusing on folk art, acknowledging the significant work contributed by artists who are self-taught or practicing within a cultural community or tradition.

Hongyi He - A Miao Woman, Paper-cut. Courtesy of NYFA and the artist

Hongyi He – A Miao Woman, Paper-cut. Courtesy of NYFA and the artist


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, Nabui, Ali Van (Thomas Erben Gallery, 6/7 – 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)

Deng Tai: Shadow (MoMA PS1, 6/19 – 8/28)

Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31)

Global by Design: Chinese Ceramics from the R. Albuquerque Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 9/5/16)

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)

The Keeper (New Museum, 7/20 – 9/25)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

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

Folk My Life ( New York Foundation for the Arts Gallery, 7/22 – 10/21)

Lead image: Peace Lion, a modern Sword-lion keyring holder designed by Jimmy Chang & Mar Shih inspired by the traditional sword-lion of the Anping people