NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 28 – May 4, 2017

Ji Dachun – Inverse Hollywood

This week: A live showcase of composer Xiren Wang’s compositions with the Yangtze Repertory Theatre as Composer-in-Residence; CD release party for composer and pianist Zhen Chen; a documentary that observes 13 meals shared by a family of migrant workers over 14 months at the Art of the Reel festival; a documentary about a hospital in a second-tier city in China and one about Tibetan children sent to an “elite” school in Shanghai, both from NYU’s News and Documentary program which has had a history of producing excellent student documentary films; a discussion about the role of the Asian artist in America; new works showcase at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre; and more…

New exhibition listings include a show featuring ceramics inspired by Buddhism, Chinese folklore, and philosophy and another that uses video works to explore how personality affects behavior.

Coming up:

May 5 – Saxophonist, singer, and composer Stephanie Chou brings her fusion of classical, Chinese, and jazz music to Flushing Town Hall and will jam with Jamaican musician Owen Romeo and his group, Tribal Legacy.

May 5 – 6 – Immortal Chi: A Warrior’s Quest for Balance, a martial arts and acrobatics show with an all-female percussion ensemble by director Érick Villeneuve who created the long-running show Era, Intersection of Time in Shanghai.  We are offering two tickets to the show.  Email us at by 11:59 PM May 3 for your chance to be chosen in the drawing.

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) Knowledge Production in Twentieth Century China and Beyond -Scholars from schools in the United States and China host this two-day symposium about knowledge production in China. Panels include:

  • Changing Systems of Knowledge in the Late Qing
  • New Media and New Forms of Knowledge
  • Republican Medical Regimes
  • Engaging the Natural World
  • The Politicization and Administration of Knowledge
  • Knowledge Across Borders

Visit the symposium page for speakers, topics, and schedules.

Friday, April 28 – Saturday, April 29
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University


2) Pan Asian Repertory Theatre NuWorks 2017, Program B – Continuing its 40th milestone season, the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents a diverse range of short new works exploring different genres and techniques in two programs.

Written by Penny Pun
Directed by Drayton Hiers
Performed by Angelika Anastasio & Tristan Land

Hannah struggles to put on a tight blue dress for a party, as the expectations of how she should act and look overwhelm her.

Uniform Convergence
Created and performed by Corrine Yap

Through the lives of two women – a 19th century Russion mathematician and a present-day Asian-American math professor – this solo piece uses text, mathematics, movement, and music in an attempt to understand identity and how we communicate who we are.

Friday, April 28, 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 29, 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM
The Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street


3) Soul Journey: Traditional Nanyin Music Reimagined (Performance 2) – Singapore’s Siong Leng Musical Association was founded in 1941 to promote and preserve traditional Nanyin music and Liyuan Opera. Nanyin is a traditional musical performance genre of the Minnan people in southern Fujian Province along China’s south-eastern coast. With slow, elegant melodies, nanyin is performed on a combination of distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute (dongxiao) and crooked-neck lute (pipa) as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserve ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions.

Siong Leng Musical Association is committed to keeping the ancient art form of Nanyin music alive in today’s multicultural, technologically progressive Singapore. In this performance, traditional Nanyin is merged with its Zen influences, and with other elements such as vocals, Indian tabla and keyboard instrumentation, Liyuan dance and more, to bring new life to this ancient art form. The performers in this group are among the most renowned Nanyin performers in the world.

Friday, April 28, 8 PM with live webcast
Asia Society


4) Another Year 《又一年》– Thirteen meals shared by a family of migrant workers over 14 months. Through this simple premise, Shengze Zhu’s film speaks volumes about life in contemporary China. Shot in leisurely long takes with a static camera amid cramped living quarters, Another Year constantly finds something new and unexpected to focus on, magnifying small physical and psychological details and capturing subtly shifting family dynamics. Zhu uses her subjects as a microcosm for China’s broader socioeconomic realities, but her compassionate commitment to patient observation does justice to their specificity and dignity.

Dir. Shengze Zhu, 181 minutes
2016, China
In Hubei dialect with English subtitles

U.S. premiere, followed by a Q&A with the director and producer Zhengfan Yang

Screens as part of the Art of the Reel documentary film series

Saturday, April 29, 2 PM
Francesca Beale Theater, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W. 65th St.


5) Iron Hands –  As a 12-year-old girl prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, she makes an unlikely connection with the gym’s reclusive groundskeeper.

Screens as part of Shorts: Your Hearts Desire short film program at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Saturday, April 29, 6:30 PM
Cinépolis Chelsea

Sunday, April 30, 6:15 PM
Regal Cinemas Battery Park


6) King of Peking – Big Wong and Little Wong are a close knit father-son duo. Together, they travel around as a mobile cinema projecting Hollywood movies for local villagers. When Big Wong’s ex-wife demands he start paying spousal support, he realizes he may lose custody of his son. In order to raise enough money to stay together, Big Wong takes up a job as a janitor in an old Beijing movie theater.

When Big Wong happens upon an old DVD recorder in a junk store, he comes up with a business plan that he hopes will make him enough money to maintain custody of Little Wong: creating and selling bootleg DVDs. Together, they secretly run their new business — which they name King of Peking — out of the basement of the movie theater. As business booms, Little Wong starts to question the moral and ethical implications of their scheme and Big Wong senses that he is slowly losing his son’s trust.

In King of Peking, writer-director Sam Voutas put his reverence for movies on full display. He crafts a beautiful story that is at once an endearing father-son story and a love letter to cinema. (Shayna Weingast)

Saturday, April 29, 6:30 PM
Cinépolis Chelsea


7) Riverine -Composer/pianist/DJ Xiren Wang shares, for the first time in live performance, the haunting and captivating music scores that have accompanied and contoured the high highs and low lows of the dynastic dramas and compelling stories of Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America. A Juilliard trained international artist of diverse background, Xiren has been creating aural magic” as Composer in Residence for Yangtze Theatre for the past four years. Xiren is joined by performing artists hailing from both Chinese music and electronic music worlds, including Feifei Yang on Erhu, Wei Sun on Guzheng, Maxwell Carmack on synths, and Mondo Wav on guitar and projections. The concert is co-presented by WhiteBox Lab: Sound Lounge

The program includes best scores from The Story of Yu-Huan, Behind the Mask, and Midnight Kill, as well as new works in the fusion sound worlds Xiren creates in.

“This is a tribute to the river that has brought us together. Whether we are born children of the Yangtze River, or have sailed its lengths in New York, through theatre, we are united in story. Through music and moving images, this is the retelling of riverine tales – for the first time, without words. This is a performance of time-travel, of tradition meets technology, of East meets West, of romance meets battlefield, of acoustic meets electronica.

Through the telling and retelling of the tales, we become conscious of the fragments that make us whole. As we honor our roots, we are extending the footprint of the already longest river in Asia, and in the process, renewing the life that feeds our work.”

Saturday, April 29, 7 PM
WhiteBox, 329 Broome Street


8) Pan Asian Repertory Theatre NuWorks 2017, Program A – Continuing its 40th milestone season, the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents a diverse range of short new works exploring different genres and techniques in two programs

Hide Your Fires (excerpt) 
Created and performed by YOKKO
Choreographed, Adapted & Performed by Yokko
Written & Co-Adapted by Sean Michael Welch
Directed by Brian Rhinehart

The lost soul of Lady Macbeth invites the audience to experience her nightmare of desperate cravings, unfulfilled desires, and ultimate loss. Lady M relates the story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth solely through her perspective, using Butoh (Japanese avant-garde dance), movement, and various texts to put you inside the mind and body of one of the Bard’s most famous villians.

It Ain’t Easy Being Chinesey
Created and performed by Lucy Wang

All her life, Lucy Wang has been told one billion Asians are counting on her to represent, to be a model minority, so they might one day become Asian Americans too. That’s a lot of pressure, and a lot of laughs. Come laugh for long time.

Sunday, April 30, 2:30 PM
Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd Street


9) ERGO CD Release Party and Concert – Global Music Awards winner composer and pianist Zhen Chen follows a decades-long tradition among American and European composers of blending traditional Chinese and western instruments. In ERGO, the debut recording with the label Navona, Zhen Chen explores new possibilities by embroidering traditional Chinese music instruments and folk tone with piano and Western style chamber music collaboration. He takes a minimalistic, modern approach in composition with emphasis on story-telling and emotional appeal defined by seamless melodic lines and exquisite tonality.

Zhen Chen and his collaborating Chinese folk music performing artists: Jiaju Shen, Feifei Yang and Yixuan Pang cordially invite world music connoisseurs in the Big Apple to witness the fruition of this composition and recording project with a live performance at the intimate Greenwich Music House.

Sunday, April 30, 3 PM
Greenwich Music House, 46 Barrow Street


10) Thomas Holton, The Lams of Ludlow – Photographer Thomas Holton documented the lives of the Lam family of Chinatown over a period of 13 years in their home.  21 Pell Street hosts Holton and possibly one of the members of the family for a discussion.

No event link, but event was posted on 21 Pell Street’s Facebook page

Sunday, April 30, 3 PM
21 Pell Street


11) Yuhan Su Quintet – A native of Taiwan, New York-based vibraphonist/composer Yuhan Su returns to Cornelia Street Cafe with a series of new music entitled Viaje featuring her quintet. Since the release of her second record A Room Of One’s Own, the album has been listed on the Best of 2016 on Downbeat magazine and received numerous music awards and nominations including the Best Jazz Album of the Year and Best Instrumentalist Award from 2016 Golden Indie Award in Taiwan.

Sunday, April 30, 8:30 PM
Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street


12) ChinaFile Presents: Documentary Films From China – In collaboration with the News and Documentary program at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, ChinaFile, the online magazine of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, will present a public screening and discussion of two films by young directors from China.

Emergency Room, directed and produced by Siyi Chen, goes inside a hospital in a second-tier city along China’s east coast, where overworked and underpaid doctors often conduct three-minute consults and carry pepper spray for protection from angry patients. In a country where healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP is well below the international average, thinly spread resources and attacks on doctors have become commonplace.

One Way Home, directed and produced by Qingzi Fan, follows two Tibetan children chosen to study in a government-sponsored Shanghai boarding school exclusively for Tibetan students. These boarding schools prepare thousands of kids to return to Tibet as China’s new elite, but the “first class” education comes with a deep loss of identity, language, and culture.

The screenings of these two documentary shorts will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Chen and Fan, Marcia Rock, director of the News and Documentary program, and Jonathan Landreth, managing editor of ChinaFile.

Monday, May 1, 6:30 PM
Asia Society


13) Discussion and Performance: The Role of the Asian Artist in America – This season, the Crossing Paths With… Salon Series will examine issues related to immigrant artists and the development of Asian arts and culture in America. The evening will open with a roundtable discussion that includes dancers Yung Yung Tsuai and Nuo An; toy piano musician Phyllis Chen; Eleanor Yung of Asian American Arts Center; and Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin of Chinese Theatre Works. Together they will talk about the difficulties in presenting performance arts for audiences of widely different cultural backgrounds and the ways artists adjust their work to accommodate them. The discussion will conclude with a performance that combines dance with shadow puppetry.

This event is a co-presentation between China Institute and Chinese Theatre Works, with additional funding provided by the Confucius Institute at China Institute.

Wednesday, May 3, 6:30 PM
China Institute


14) The Enclave 《飞地》– As China took a leap forward economically, what happened to the rural population that was being left behind, physically and financially? Who was to educate the rural children? Independent documentary director Li Wei’s The Enclave serves as an intimate and nuanced lens through which one can see this world of the left-behind, their loss, grief, failure, numbness, and above all, the unfairness of their world. (Blynkt)

Dir. Li Wei, 119 minutes
2015, China
In Chinese with English subtitles

Followed by a discussion with the director, moderated by Ying Qian, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Thursday, May 4, 6 PM
Room 403, Kent Hall, Columbia University


15) Lost in Shanghai – Lost in Shanghai is an untold adventure story and romance, giving a glimpse into the lavish and mysterious world of 1940’s Shanghai, a time when the city was known as “The Paris of the East” and the “New York of the West;” of beautiful clothes and elevated emotions, like a floating world, everything was transient…a time now lost to history.

Based on family diaries, Angel Lam’s Lost in Shanghai pushes the boundaries of theatre by integrating a unique sound world of classical, musical theatre, East Asian music esthetics and folk songs, transporting audiences to a different time and place. The cast of 6 portray diverse characters in an adventure and love story against the backdrop of war from a personal perspective that has universal but personal relevance.

Thursday May 4 – Saturday, May 6, 7:30 PM
The Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street


1) The Boba Room – Chaimi Food Studio, founded by Yanqiong Zeng and Iris Danlu Xing, conceived of this interactive exhibition inspired by bubble tea which Gothamist describes as “an intersection of art, design and food that combines the duo’s appreciation for food with their backgrounds and experiences in visual art, photography and food engineering and science.”  Artists Natalie Jarvis and Melody Shih helped realize the idea with neon art and wall paintings.  Vivi Bubble Tea, Gong Cha, Pa Tea, Tea and Milk and Luv Tea will take turns serving bubble tea during the 2 week run, and Boba Guys, Tea and Milk, and Bibi Bubble Tea will be there for the entirety of the show.

April 22 – May 6
Open Space Gallery, 355A Bowery


2) Battle of Memories 《记忆大师》– What will happen if your brain locates a memory that doesn’t belong to you? In 2025, the memory-manipulation operation has been popularized across the world. Feng, a prestigious novelist (Huang Bo), deletes the memory of his failed marriage. But when he tries to recover the lost memories, he finds himself in the mind of a serial killer. He reaches out to police officer Shen (Duan Yihong) and when they begin to solve the case together, a conspiracy surfaces.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 April 27


3) Born in China – Disneynature, in its ongoing quest to bring the natural world to the big screen as never before, presents its most ambitious project to date, taking moviegoers on a grand journey into the wilds of China. Born In China follows the adventures of three animal families — the majestic panda, the savvy golden monkey and the elusive snow leopard. Featuring stunning imagery, the film navigates the vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of a red-crowned crane, showcasing remarkably intimate family moments captured on film for the first time ever.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Emma Yi – Masks Inside (Cloud Gallery, 4/29 – 5/6) – Consisting of six time-based and independent videos, Masks Inside discusses the concept of multiple personalities from various angles: an immediate response to the fixed environment or situation; a mind influenced by surrounding culture; an unconscious thought or action; or a deliberate attitude towards self.  Each named after a main character, the stories observe different behaviors according to their personalities and explores issues such as gender, language, psychology, and personal space.

Opening reception: Saturday, April 29, 6 – 8 PM

‘Giselle’, 2017


2) Geng Xue – Mount Sumeru (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/4 – 6/17) – Featuring the series of sculptural works by Geng Xue, the exhibition, the first of her porcelain and bronze works in America, references the sacred mountain Mount Sumeru, considered as the center of the physical and spiritual universe in Buddhist cosmology. Inspired by Chinese folklore and philosophy, Geng Xue recontextualizes traditional porcelain, molding her sculptures as an array of truncated bodies blended into various ethereal landscapes. Rendering the works in diverse peculiar forms and scales, the artist then transforms the porcelain pieces into sound installations, where sound echoes and reverberates inside the structure, emitting a fluid resonance. Constructing a sense of the surreal and the uncanny, the exhibition endeavors to uncover the intricacies between perception and embodiment.

Opening reception: Thursday, May 4, 6 – 8 PM


Closing soon:

Considerate Creations: Chameleons (Taipei Cultural Center, 3/17 – 4/28)

Shen Shaomin: Keep Upright (Klein Sun Gallery, 3/6 – 4/29)

Red Attack (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, 2/25 – 4/29)


Current shows:

In addition to the below is The Map is Not the Territory for which SVA MA Curatorial Practice fellow Lux Yuting Bai is one of the curators.  It runs April 21 to May 14 at Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn.

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

Shen Wei: Between Blossoms (Flower Gallery, 3/2 – 4/22)

Self Reimagined (NJCU Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, 3/16 – 4/26)

Considerate Creations: Chameleons (Taipei Cultural Center, 3/17 – 4/28)

Shen Shaomin: Keep Upright (Klein Sun Gallery, 3/6 – 4/29)

Red Attack (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, 2/25 – 4/29)

Emma Yi – Masks Inside (Cloud Gallery, 4/29 – 5/6)

The Map is Not the Territory (group curated show with Lux Yuting Bai) (Pfizer Building, 4/21 – 5/14)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (Museum of Food and Drink Lab, 11/11/16 – 5/28/17)

You Know My Name You Don’t Know My Story (Fou Gallery, 4/1 – 6/4)

Liu Xiaofei: Assembly Line (ART100 New York, 4/20 – 6/10)

Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze (Chambers Fine Art, 4/6 – 6/17)

Geng Xue – Mount Sumeru (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/4 – 6/17)

REWOVEN: Innovative Fiber Art (QCC Art Gallery CUNY, 3/16 -6/20) 

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part III (El Museo de Los Sures, 4/18 – 6/30)

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1/25 – 7/4)

Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art (Staten Island Museum, 10/22/16 – 9/25/17)

Age of Empires: Chinese Art of Qin and Han Dynasties (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4/3 – 7/16)

Show and Tell: Stories in Chinese Painting (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/29/16 – 8/6/17)

Body, Self, Society – Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s (The Walther Collection, 4/14 – 8/19)

Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/6/2016- 9/10/17) 

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 -10/9/17)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Lead image: Ji Dachun (季大纯)Inverse Hollywood, 2003. Mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100 cm.

The post was edited to include The Boba Room.