NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: August 11 – August 17, 2017

Conjoined Spheres

This week: A lesson in Cantonese opera, a film pulled from a film festival because of pressure from the Chinese government, a new band fusing electronica, dream pop, and rock, a tribute to a bartione saxophonist who combined Asian and African musical traditions, Chinese Rambo, and more…

The DC Chinese Film Festival, in partnership with VCinema, has launched a call for guest bloggers to write about Chinese cinema as part of their Retrospective on Chinese Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s which will take place September 21 – 24.  If you’re interested in contributing take a look at the open call page.

More locally, here in New York, W.O.W. Project and China Residencies has just put out an open call for the the second Storefront 店面 Residency at Wing on Wo & Co. at 26 Mott Street in Chinatown.  We’ll have more on it later, but it’s a great opportunity for artists interested exploring the Asian diaspora and social issues.

Coming up:

Aug 12-13 – The 27th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York

August 18 – 20 – Subway Cinema and Metrograph’s Old School Kung Fu Fest.  This year, the theme is “Wonder Women of the Martial Arts”

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.  For art, images, and other instances of Chineseness we see, follow our Instagram page.

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


1) Afro Yaqui Music Collective Honors Fred Ho on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday – Fred Ho—called the “greatest baritone saxophonist of all time” by The New Yorker—would be celebrating his 59th birthday this August. Despite a life cut short by a relentless cancer, Ho’s output remains massive, with over 15 albums as a bandleader, several full length Manga Operas which fused jazz and marital arts choreography, and a distinctive Afro Asian style he can call his own. By combining revolutionary politics with African and Asian musical traditions, Ho pioneered a vibrant new form of jazz deployed in service of eco-socialist ideals. Comprising leading jazz luminaries who have performed with the likes of Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, and Gil Evans, graced Ho’s bands and his recorded output.

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective is a 9-piece outfit which descends from Ho’s Afro Asian revolutionary ensembles and musical concepts. Led by Ben Barson, Ho’s Baritone protege who “he felt has the heft and sound to represent [Ho’s] assertive approach (The New York Times),” the band will include alumni of Ho’s groups such as trumpet maestro Jon Mark McGowan and Aaron J. Johnson.   Theatre artist Marina Celander and multimedia artist Nejma Shea will also be joining the ensemble. On top of it all, special guest Baritone Saxophonist Calaire Daaley and Basoonist Karen Borca will be performing Fred’s work and new works as well!

To all of this, the Afro Yaqui Music Collective has invited the Cuban trumpet and keyboard virtuoso Albertico Lescay to perform with the collective. Ho was long interested in the ways that the cultures of the African diaspora have contributed to the formation of jazz and a transnational consciousness embedded in the music. Lescay’s work is no stranger to these themes, which embeds in complex harmonic and melodic arrangements the ritual and functional music of his hometown of Santiago de Cuba.

Friday, August 11, 7:30 PM
Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Lenox Avenue


2) 27th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York – This two day event features a variety of musical, martial arts, and dance performances and a pretty intense boat racing between local teams.

Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13
Flushing Meadows Corona Park


3) Princess Iron Fan: The Stories and Music of Cantonese Opera – Before Hong Kong films, the most exported entertainment from southern China was Cantonese opera. Older than Peking opera, yet more open to innovation, Cantonese opera thrived not only in its home region but also in Cantonese enclaves around the world, with major stars from Hong Kong and Guangzhou (historically, Canton) regularly reaching out to their international fan base. Today, Cantonese opera still packs in the audiences in southern China, with professional troupes bolstered by an active community of amateur devotees.

This session offers an introduction to Cantonese opera’s traditional stories and musical styles. Learn the difference between a role type and a tune type, between Princess Changping and Princess Iron Fan. Two of Hong Kong’s noted experts guide you through this stylized yet populist entertainment.

Saturday, August 12, 2:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


4) Have a Nice Day 《好极了》– A bag full of yuan falls into the hands of two mob delivery guys, setting off a string of betrayals, twists and turns dragging us deep inside the unpredictable underworld of Southern China. The first animated Chinese feature film to ever compete at the Berlin Film Festival, Liu Jian’s Have a Nice Day is a laconically witty thriller that introduces western audiences to a bold new pop stylist. Featuring aging hitmen, philosopher gangsters, a motley crew of wanna-be criminals, and an irresistible soundtrack, the film is much more than a crafty animated neo-noir—it’s also an examination of Chinese society and of the social conditions pushing desperate individuals to the brink.

The film also garnered attention for being pulled from the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France because of pressure from the Chinese government.

Saturday, August 12, 7:30 PM
Rooftop, New Design High School, 350 Grand Street


5) The Either – This electronic band, made up of members Zongli (vocals), Jiaju (pipa), and Yang (erhu), are known for their unique futurism/minimalism composition style and the voices from traditional Asian instruments, that blends the likes of indie electronic, electronic rock, progressive metal and dream pop.

Sunday, August 13, 8 PM
Map Room, The Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery


6) Screening of Lucky Chow “Made in China” – Enjoy a special screening of LUCKY CHOW season 2 episode, “Made in China” that explores what the rise of China has meant to the Chinese culinary traditions in America. Followed by Q&A, tasting, and book signing with host and creator of the series Danielle Chang.

In season 2 of Lucky Chow, Chang explores Asian cuisine’s impact on American food culture, while discovering how deeply Asian culture is rooted in our everyday lives.

Tuesday, August 15, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


1) Once Upon a Time 《三生三世十里桃花》– Based on the best-selling fantasy novel Three Lives Three World, Ten Miles of  Peach BlossomsOnce Upon a Time is a story of epic battles, deep passion, and the powerful forces that drive mortals and gods alike toward revenge, loyalty, and eternal love. Bai Qian, a goddess and monarch from the Heavenly Realms, is sent to the mortal world to undergo a trial to become a High Goddess. There, she meets Ye Hua, with whom she falls in love and marries. When an old enemy reappears in her life, everything she holds dear is threatened.

Opens August 11 at AMC Empire 25


2) Wolf Warrior 2 《战狼2》– The Wolf Warrior is back, bigger and badder than ever, in this action-packed sequel to the 2015 blockbuster hit. With his career in tatters, China’s deadliest Special Forces operative has settled into a quiet life on the sea. But when he crosses paths with a sadistic band of mercenaries terrorizing innocent civilians, he must reaffirm his duty as a soldier and save the day once again. Fists (and bullets, tanks, missiles and much more) will fly in this adrenaline-fueled tour de force of bravura action filmmaking, all culminating into a climactic battle between the Wolf Warrior and the mercenary leader (Frank Grillo, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War).

The film is known for its patriotism, some call it the Chinese Rambo, and has become the highest-grossing movie ever in China.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and New Listed:

Everybody’s away in August — probably in Europe — so, no new listings this week.


Dongfan Chen is part of the Studio Artists Exhibition at NARS Foundation, which opens on August 4.

Asia Society hosts Inspired by Zao Wou-Ki as part of a series of exhibitions that presents the work of New York City students created in response to the great artistic traditions of Asia.  This year the exhibition presents student artwork inspired by the Asia Society fall 2016 exhibition No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki.  The exhibition runs through August 6.

Hai-Hsin Huang‘s humorous and insightful observations of people out in the world — including one of the enormous drawings showing a moment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be on view as part of Revealing Reflected Refractions at Tiger Strikes Asteroid August 4 – September 10.

Ceramicist Heidi Lau is part of Morph, a group show at Asya Geisberg Gallery of contemporary ceramic sculpture.  The artists in Morph paint expressionistically with glaze, weave in hair, inlay surfaces, squash perfect forms, recombine tchotchkes, and subvert genres heedless of strict boundaries.  The exhibition runs through August 11.

In addition to an installation at Fully Loaded: Tainan – New York 2017, Lulu Meng‘s will also exhibit her sculpture series Impression in which “softness and movement [of articles of clothing are] frozen in the solidity of the object” is part of the Fourth AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

We dropped by Bronx Museum to see Heidi Lau’s terrace commission The Primordial Molder. It is simply amazing!

Installation view, photo by Hansi Liao

We also ran into Chuck Close’s subway mural of Chinese artist Zhang Huan (张洹) inside the 86th St. station on the Q line.

Chuck Close’s portrait of Zhang Huan as subway mural, photo by Hansi Liao


Closing soon:

Morph (Asya Geisberg Gallery, 6/22 – 8/11)

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

Discursive Selves (Westbeth Gallery, 7/11 – 8/21)

Jennifer Wen Ma: Entry Niches (Van Doren Waxter, 5/11 – 8/25)

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


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.

NSFW: Female Gaze(Museum of Sex, 6/21 – TBC)

Morph (Asya Geisberg Gallery, 6/22 – 8/11)

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

Discursive Selves (Westbeth Gallery, 7/11 – 8/21)

Jennifer Wen Ma: Entry Niches (Van Doren Waxter, 5/11 – 8/25)

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

Yi Xin Tong: NYC Fishing Trip (Nars Foundation, 8/4 – 9/1)

Liu Wei: Cellar and Garret (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/10 – 9/2)

Transitions: Dong Yuan, Lam Tung-pang and Lao Tongli (Chambers Fine Art, 6/22 – 9/2)

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

Fully Loaded: Tainan – New York 2017 (Pfizer Building, 7/20 – 9/10)

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

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

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)

Heidi Lau: The Primordial Molder (Bronx Museum of the Arts, 7/19 – 10/22)

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou (China Institute, 5/25 – 11/12/17)

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong – Constellation (Seward Park, June 2017 – June 2018)

Lead image: Carved Polychrome Lacquer Box in the Shape of Conjoined Spheres, Qianlong reign 1736 – 1795. Wood with polychrome lacquer, 29 x 19.8 x 18.6 cm.  Image from the Collection of the National Palace Museum.