Sunday, May 28, 2017

Douglas Paal and "US-China Relations in the Era of Donald Trump", June 8.

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh will host Douglas Paal, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and his talk "US-China Relations in the Era of Donald Trump" on June 8.
Douglas H. Paal is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously served as vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase International (2006–2008) and was an unofficial U.S. representative to Taiwan as director of the American Institute in Taiwan (2002–2006). He was on the National Security Council staffs of Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush between 1986 and 1993 as director of Asian Affairs and then as senior director and special assistant to the president.
The event runs from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at the Duquesne Club downtown (map). The cost is $20 for World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh members and $30 for non-members.

Friday, May 26, 2017

36th annual Pittsburgh Bonsai Show, June 3 and 4.

The Pittsburgh Bonsai Society will presents its 36th annual Pittsburgh Bonsai Show on June 3 and 4 at the Phipps Garden Center in Shadyside (map). The event is free and open to the public, though reservations are required for the workshops and fees are required for supplies.

Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall (长城) part of Cinema in the Park this August.

The 2016 Zhang Yimou film The Great Wall (长城) will play in two Pittsburgh parks this August as part of the annual Cinema in the Park series. Starring Matt Damon, Jing Ting, and Andy Lau, among others, it was the highest-grossing movie in China the week it was released. A South China Morning Post review provides a summary:
Damon plays William, an Irish mercenary who arrives at China’s Great Wall together with Spanish companion Tovar (Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal) just as it is besieged by a monstrous horde of Taotie – mythical beasts from the bowels of Hell, whom the Chinese believe were sent to keep their greed in check.
Initially the foreigners simply wish to flee with as much explosive “black powder” as they can carry, but after earning the respect of Commander Lin (Jing Tian), newly appointed leader of the wall’s Nameless Order, William agrees to stay and help defend the kingdom.

Early criticism that the film propagates the “white saviour” narrative and that Damon’s role was whitewashed both prove unfounded. William is a proficient warrior and willing collaborator, but it is Lin and Strategist Wang (Andy Lau) who discover the key to defeating the beasts and spearhead the pivotal assault.
It will play in Schenley Park on August 16 and at Riverview Park in Observatory Hill on August 19. Movies are free and open to the public, and begin at dusk.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Three Pitt student-athletes to visit Vietnam in Coach for College program.

Campers from the 2014 program, which also featured Pitt student-athletes (via the Coach for College Facebook group).

University of Pittsburgh student-athletes will visit Vietnam this summer as participants in the Coach for College program. From a May 24 press release:
Three University of Pittsburgh student-athletes are set to travel abroad to participate in the Coach for College program, including junior men's soccer player Craig Bair, sophomore cross-country runner Sarah Frick and junior softball player Olivia Gray.

Coach for College is service-learning program that brings together U.S. student-athletes and Vietnamese university students to teach academics, sports, and life skills at summer camps to disadvantaged children in rural Vietnam. The program provides sports infrastructure to youth who attend middle schools in rural parts of developing countries, and helps them develop excitement for and proficiency in science, leadership, language, and life skills using sports as a means to applied learning.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mongolian-inspired "nomadic folk metal" band Tengger Cavalry in Lawrenceville, June 6.

The nomadic folk metal band Tengger Cavalry will play at Cattivo on June 6. The band's Facebook page describes the New York based group thus:
TENGGER CAVALRY have been turning heads in the music world since the band’s inception in 2010 they blend the nomadic music tradition of Central Asia with heavy metal, creating a unique genre of music known as Nomadic folk metal. Having sold out Carnegie Hall in a legendary performance and been featured in CNN, Vice, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, among countless others, the band is ready to take on the world.
Tickets for the 8:00 pm, 21-and-over show $12 to $14 online. Cattivo is located at 116 44th Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2016 Japanese film After the Storm (海よりもまだ深く) at Hollywood Theater, from June 16.

The 2016 Japanese film After the Storm (海よりもまだ深く) will play at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont from June 16. A summary from a March San Francisco Chronicle review:
Ryoto (Hiroshi Abe) has lost his mojo. Fifteen years earlier, his novel won a prestigious award, but he has yet to follow up on that success. He is divorced from Kyoko (Yoko Maki) and is behind on his child support — he is limited by the divorce settlement to visiting his son Shingo (Taiyo Yoshizawa) once a month.

He is also broke — probably because of the cost of the divorce and his gambling habit. With no follow-up novel in the works, he has taken a job with a private detective agency. As he gets the goods on his clients’ cheating significant others, he also examines his only life, which he is gradually realizing is a failure.

“I’m the ‘great talents bloom late’ kind,” Ryoto tells his mother, Yashiko (Kirin Kiki, who is excellent).

Not buying it for a second, Mom responds, “You’re taking too long to bloom.”

Unable to move on, Ryoto uses his private eye skills to spy on his ex-wife and her new boyfriend, who seems to be everything he is not — and a nice guy to boot. What could be a creepy sort of plot twist is, in Kore-eda’s hands, more of a sad desperation.

As with many of Kore-eda’s best films — “Maborosi” and “Still Walking,” among others — “After the Storm” has what the Japanese call mono no aware, which translates as “the pathos of things.” It is a film that is aware of the transient, impermanent nature of life.
Tickets and showtime information is not yet available. The theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont (map), and is accessible by Pittsburgh's subway/LRT at a block south of Potomac Station.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dragon Boat Festival returns to Pittsburgh with Dragon Fest 2017, June 10.

The Organization of Chinese Americans Pittsburgh Chapter is hosting Dragon Fest 2017 on June 10.
Come enjoy a summer afternoon with OCA members and family. Learn how to dragonboat alongside members of the Pittsburgh Paddlefish Dragon Boat team, and meet our Japan-America Society of Pittsburgh (JASP) and Taiwanese Association of America (TAA), Pittsburgh Chapter members and friends! We will have professional staff that will introduce the basics of dragon boating and a brief training session. After the training, we are planning on having teams compete in short races. Join us as a guest (must be an OCA, TAA, or JAS member), or apply as an individual rower or build your own team. All attendees will enjoy having a chance to sit in an authentic dragon boat, along with other crafts and activities for children. Lunch Bentos will be available for sale. Children 12 and under can receive dragon boat instruction, but will not be allowed to participate in the races. It’s never too late to get involved in a new hobby that's as much fun and exhilarating as dragon boating! Reservations required, all ages welcome!
The festival will be held atMillvale Riverfront Park in Millvale, across the river from Lawrenceville (map).

WESA-FM profiles cultures around Asian restaurants in Squirrel Hill.

Dr. Freddie Fu demonstrates his method of eating dumplings at Café 33 (via Margaret Sun of WESA).

WESA-FM has a lengthy profile on some of the Chinese restaurants in Squirrel Hill and the roles they provide as not only eateries but transmitters of culture.
Food is communication, [Café 33 owner Meiching] Tao explained, and a way to create understanding between different cultures. Challenging her customers to use chopsticks is just one way Tao tries to get westerners to experience her native cuisine.

“I want to share and teach about culture, because it’s an important part of who I am,” said Tao.

Still no news on Shadyside's Szechuan Spice.

It's been over a year since any progress has been made on Shadyside's Szechuan Spice, on the ground floor of Kennilworth Apartments. And it's been nearly two since a red canopy went up at 5700 Centre Ave. (map) to replace the long blue awning that once belonged to Jimmy Tsang's Chinese Restaurant, which occupied the space from 1982 to 2011.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Squirrel Hill's Bubble Pi to reopen under new management.

Bubble π [Pi] Baking Arts, the original Asian bakery in Squirrel Hill that closed earlier this month, is reopening under new management. It is currently selling coffee and buns---and is running a buy-one-get-one-free special---but plans a fuller menu of beverages and pastries at a yet-undecided future date.