NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: June 2 – June 8, 2017

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This week: a film about a former soldier born in Hebei who ended up in Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War; a virtuoso guitarist performs with an erhu player; a lecture on Han Dynasty tombs; a conversation about the war against Chinese restaurants from the late 1800s to early 1900s; a walking tour of Chinatown’s art spaces, past and present; and an artist talk at the closing reception of Chen Dongfan’s exhibition at Fou Gallery.

In addition to the listings below, you can watch on PBS online Forever Chinatown, a half-hour documentary about artist Frank Wong’s dioramas of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1940s and ’50s.  The video is available through June 7.  Read more about his labor of love on Hyperallergic.

Coming up:

June 10 – A concert by the New Asia Chamber Music Society of works by three Taiwanese composers

June 19 – Mighty Peking Man, a 1977 HK attempt to capitalize on the 1976 movie King Kong

June 30 – July 15 – New York Asian Film 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.

We’re looking for contributors!  If you’re interested in writing an article, contributing photos or artworkto be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send a pitch at beyondchinatown@gmail.com.


UPCOMING EVENTS

1) Sword Master 《三少爺的劍》– Hong Kong cinema giants Derek Yee (Triple Yap) and Tsui Hark (Young Detective Dee) join forces in this martial arts epic about an elite swordsman who is haunted by his deadly skills, and the challenger who aims to take his place at any cost. “Stuffed with demon warriors, vamping concubines, and overblown acrobatics, Derek Yee’s Sword Master packs a lot into its 105 minutes. A remake of Chor Yuen’s Death Duel (1977), this nostalgic nod to the Chinese magic-and-martial arts genre known as wuxia mixes love story and clan war with equal amounts of silliness and heart.” — Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times.

Friday, June 2, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image

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2) Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon – Throwback with MOCA for this 80s kung-fu musical comedy. 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 2, 8 PM
Columbus Park

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3) Walking Tour: Chinatown Art Scene – The recent influx of contemporary art galleries have dominated conversations on Manhattan’s changing Chinatown, but did you know that this neighborhood has long been home to Asian American arts and artist collectives. Join Herb Tam, Curator/Director of Exhibitions at MOCA, as he shares insight on contemporary art and Chinatown through its art spaces, past and present.

Saturday, June 3, 1 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

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4) China Institute Children’s Book Festival – In honor of International Children’s Day and in conjunction with BookExpo America & BookCon, China Institute presents a family festival celebrating some of the most beloved Chinese children’s stories. Children of all ages will be able to explore classic and contemporary books and stories through a puppet show, author readings, pop-up exhibition, movies, costumed characters, e-book launch, games, crafts and more.

Sunday, June 4, 11 AM – 4 PM
China Institute

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4) Hebei Taipei 《河北臺北》– Li, a former soldier born in Hebei, China, joined the army as a young man in order to survive. The war brought him to Taiwan, where he lived for six decades, and often dreamt of home. At the age of sixty, he decided to separate from his family, having no idea how his eventful life would come to an end…

Followed by a Q&A with the director

Dir. Li Nien-Hsiu, 2015, 92min

Sunday, June 4, 2 PM
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Ave.

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5) Artist’s Talk with Chen Dongfan and Closing Reception – Artist Chen Dongfan will talk about his ideas and process at this closing reception for his current show at Fou Gallery, You Know My Name, Not My Story.

‘You Know My Name, Not My Story’ installation view at Fou Gallery. Photo by Liu Zhangbolong

Sunday, June 4, 3 PM
Fou Gallery

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6) The War Against Chinese Restaurants – Experts estimate that today there are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than McDonalds, Burger Kings, Wendy’s Domino’s and Pizza Huts combined. There was a time however when there was a national outcry to ban all Chinese restaurants. A hotel advertisement in The Chronicle Spokane stated in 1893, “I will revolutionize the cheap hotel business. Chinese restaurants must go. Can beat them all these hard times. Excellent table at bed rock prices.”

In conjunction with MOCA’s exhibit Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America, please join Gabriel “Jack” Chin, teacher and scholar of Immigration Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race and Law in a conversation about the war against Chinese restaurants from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

This event is co-presented with Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY).

Tuesday, June 6, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

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7) Dreaming of Kings in the Han Dynasty with Nancy S. Steinhardt – In 201 BCE, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty knighted his younger brother as the first king of the Chu Kingdom, which was centered in Peng Cheng, today’s Xuzhou, in northern Jiangsu Province. Ruling under the emperor’s protection, and given special exemption from imperial taxes, elites in this Kingdom enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Twelve generations of kings lived, died, and were buried in sumptuous tombs carved into the nearby rocky hills. Since the mid-20th Century, nearly hundred tombs were excavated, revealing contents that testify to the Chu kings’ affluence, as well as their beliefs in immortality and the afterlife.

Learn about the history behind China Institute’s exhibit, Dreams Of The Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity with a lecture exploring the architecture and decoration of Han dynasty tombs by renowned scholar, Nancy S. Steinhardt. Placing objects from the exhibition in their architectural context, Dr. Steinhardt will contrast royal and non-royal tombs, and through the tombs of wealthy citizens of Han dynasty show how the desire for immortality is only part of the final statements of men and women in Han China.

Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 PM
China Institute

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8) Lower East Side Sounds: Chinese, Puerto Rican and Jewish Folk Music – Concert with Bobby Sanabria, Zisl Slepovitch, and Music from China – Presenting a joyous mash-up of Chinese, Yiddish and Puerto Rican folk music traditions!  The Museum at Eldridge Street celebrates the diverse immigrant life of our Lower East Side neighborhood with performances by klezmer clarinetist Zisl Slepovitch and band; drummer Bobby Sanabria and his group Quarteto Ache’; and Susan Cheng and members of Music from China. Discover the surprising connections between these different musical traditions and enjoy a jam finale with all three bands!

Wednesday, June 7, 7 PM
Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street

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9) Gary Lucas with Special Guest Feifei Yang – Guitarist extraordinaire and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas, called by Rolling Stone “one of the best and most original guitarists in America” by Rolling Stone performs with local award-winning vocalist and erhu player and champion of contemporary Chinese music Feifei Yang.

Gary and Feifei along with Jason Candler are currently recording Vol. Two of Gary’s celebrated 30’s Chinese pop album The Edge of Heaven.

Thursday, June 8, 7:30 PM
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street


ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS

1) 410[Gone] – The Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America presents the New York premiere of 410[GONE] by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, the prize-winning author of “The World of Extreme Happiness”.  The dark and dazzling play uses comedy, Chinese mythology and cyber-imagery to explore how we release loved ones when they are gone.  The play will be acted in English with Chinese subtitles.  Chongren Fan directs; he staged Yangtze’s critically-applauded production of Behind the Mask — a Play by Chinese authors Feng BaiMing and Huang WeiRuo at Theater for the New City in 2015.

Where do we go when we die? In Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s dark and dazzling play, a boy named Seventeen has committed suicide and wanders into the Chinese Land of the Dead, a dominion ruled by Goddess of Mercy and Monkey King. His elder sister, Twenty-One, has been reliving the night of the suicide in order to find her lost brother. Between the lines of life and death, the siblings reflect on identity and explore heritage, but in the end, they must face the ultimate question: if there is no love without pain, what does it mean to love?

The play combines references to Chinese mythology and Chinese Opera with a wide variety of pop culture references, including the Dance Dance Revolution arcade game and pachinko arcades.  The title, 410[GONE],  refers to the http 410 status error code, “Gone,” which indicates that the requested resource has been intentionally removed and will not be available again.  We’re offered a multicultural take on the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, with death portrayed as something of a video game.  Seventeen is moving through a digitally-enanced version of the traditional Chinese underworld, encountering the Goddess of Mercy and the Monkey God, who struggle to process the impact this intruder has in their ordered world. Meanwhile, his sister is searching for a meaningful solution to the mystery of his death.  After a series of hilarious events between the lands of the living and the dead, Twenty-One finally meets Seventeen again only to realize she has to set him free.

Roger Yeh as Seventeen and Carolina Do as Twenty-One. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

June 2 – 18
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave.

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2) Beautiful Accident 《美好的意外》– When a single, successful female lawyer (Gwei Lun-Mei) is involved in a highway car accident, she wakes up to find herself in an alternate reality where she’s forced to take on the responsibility of a full time mother and wife, dealing with her demanding architect husband (Chen Kun) and two difficult children.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 June 1

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3) God of War 《战神戚继光》– During the 16th century, pirates rule the Chinese coastline, pillaging the small villages and terrorizing the citizens. When maverick leader Commander Yu (martial arts legend Sammo Hung) enlists the help of a sharp young general (Vincent Zhao), they devise a plan to defeat the pirates. A violent clash of wit and weapons will decide who will rule the land in this sweeping historical epic from veteran action director Gordon Chan.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 June 1

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4) Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

Select screenings on May 26 and 27 will feature Q&As with members of the Sung family.

At IFC Center


CURRENT ART EXHIBITIONS

No specific listings this week, but if you’re in the Chelsea area, visit Fluid Horizons, the SVA Computer Art MFA thesis exhibition includes a number of Chinese students.  The show is at SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor and runs from May 30 – June 10.

Read our review of Geng Xue’s Mount Sumeru currently on view at Klein Sun Gallery.

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Closing soon:

Soft Skills (Group show with Jen Liu, The James Gallery, 4/14 – 6/3)

Zheng Liu: Undercurrent (Sundaram Tagore Gallery Chelsea, 5/5 – 6/3)

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

Lin Sha (Gallery 456, 5/12 – 6/9)

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

Saved by the Web? (Postmasters Gallery 4/29 – 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)

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Current shows:

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

Soft Skills (The James Gallery, 4/14 – 6/3)

Zheng Liu: Undercurrent (Sundaram Tagore Gallery Chelsea, 5/5 – 6/3)

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

Lin Sha (Gallery 456, 5/12 – 6/9)

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

Saved by the Web? (Postamsters Gallery 4/29 – 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 II (Goodwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, 4/6 – 5/26)

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)

Jennifer Wen Ma: Eight Views of Paradise Interrupted (Sandra Gering Inc, 5/11 – 7/28)

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)

Informality (group show with Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, NYFA Gallery, 5/4 – 9/1)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (Museum of Food and Drink Lab, 11/11/16 – 9/3/17)

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

Ian Cheng (MoMA PS1, 4/9 – 9/25)

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: Mural seen in Shanghai.  Photo courtesy of anonymous friend.