Friday, September 27, 2013

Song E. Kim's "Bite of the Tail" at Melwood Screening Room, October 4 and 5.



The Melwood Screening Room in Oakland (map) will be showing the Ann Arbor Film Festival tour for free on Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5 as part of the city's RADical Days. The tour program is comprised of numerous short films---a complete list is available here---one of which being "Bite of the Tail" by Seoul-born, LA-based Song E. Kim. It's a nine-minute animated film summarized in her words thus:
Wife is suffering from stomach pain and she firmly believes that she can find a cure from Doctor. However, Doctor has no idea how. Husband goes to an empty lot in search of a snake. When he hunts, he wears a beekeeper’s hat. Sister talks but who knows if it is the truth? Life is a constant struggle to find a right answer.
A trailer is available on Kim's website. "Bite of the Tail" is part of Program B, which begins on Friday night at 9:15 and on Saturday the 5th at 7:30.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Art Lecture Series - Yasumasa Morimura, October 3 at CMU.

Carnegie Mellon University's Art Lecture Series will host Yasumasa Morimura on October 3. Wikipedia describes him as an appropriation artist who, by definition,
borrows images from historical artists (ranging from Édouard Manet to Rembrandt to Cindy Sherman), and inserts his own face and body into them.
The CMU School of Art's webpage previews the lecture:
YASUMASA MORIMURA’s fascination with the self-portrait, gay and transgendered life, art history and popular culture aligns him closely with the work of Andy Warhol. Renowned for his reprisals of iconic images drawn from art history and the mass media, Morimura literally assumes his own place in the historical narrative. In the process, he conflates issues of originality and reproduction, gender and race to create what he calls a “beautiful commotion.” Like Warhol and many artists today, Morimura explores the fluidity of sexuality and gender, and the meaning of difference in highly structured societies.
The talk will run from 5:00 to 6:00 in McConomy Auditorium, CMU University Center (campus map). As the website says, the Andy Warhol Museum will present "Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self", from October 6, 2013 to January 12, 2014.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Taiwanese musicians "A Moving Sound" at Seton Hill University, October 10.



Taiwanese musical act "A Moving Sound" has included Greensburg on its 2013 US tour, and will be at Seton Hill University on October 10. A Moving Sound, says motema,
brings the sounds of traditional Taiwanese, Chinese and neighboring Asian traditions into modern times with skillful compositions that open new passageways for east-west cultural dialogue. Accompanied by the sound of traditional instruments such as the Chinese erhu, zhong-ruan, and Chinese percussion, the sublime singer and dancer Mia Hsieh leads a powerful ensemble on ethereal journeys that are enchanting audiences and critics across five continents.
All descriptions of the band plagiarize each other, so it's more informative to watch their performance videos on their YouTube channel.

The show begins at 8:00 pm and is held in the Carol Reichgut Concert Hall in the Performing Arts Center at 100 Harrison Ave. (map). Tickets are $10 for Seton Hill students, $20 for the general public, and are available online.

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Vietnamese Dance Party" at Mount Airy Casino, October 12.

Mount Airy Casino Vietnamese Dance Party October 2013

Mount Airy Casino in the Poconos (map) will host a "Vietnamese Dance Party" on October 12 from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. According to Mongtuyen Ngo, an Executive Host in charge of tickets and who returned my email before I found that poster, the lineup consists of
* Don Ho
* Thanh Ha
* Justin Nguyen
* Helena Ngoc Hong
* Archie
The show is 21 and over, and tickets are $35. Additional Vietnamese shows are planned at Mount Airy in November and December.

Mid-Autumn Festival at Pitt, September 29.



The University of Pittsburgh's Vietnamese Student Association and Chinese American Student Association will host a Mid-Autumn Festival on September 29 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm in the William Pitt Union's Assembly Room.

Netsuke programs for adults, children at Maridon Museum, September 28.

Butler's Maridon Museum is holding two netsuke programs on September 28; one for children at 11:00 am, and one for adults at 1:00 pm. Netsuke (根付), Wikipedia says,
are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean "root" and "to attach"). Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.
The cost for each is $5, and registration is required. The programs are led by local Japanese and history teacher Dixie Lipnichan, and attendees
will learn the history of the Netsuke, and about the folklore behind the carvings, they will visit the Maridon's wall of over 100 Netsuke, and make their own carving to take home.
The Maridon Museum of Asian Art is located at 322 N. McKean St. in downtown Butler, some 40 miles north of Pittsburgh (map).

Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster (一代宗師) still in Pittsburgh this week.



Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster (一代宗師), which opened nationwide on August 30th, will continue to be in Pittsburgh theaters at least through September 27. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has local showtimes; it's playing at AMC Loews Waterfront, Waterworks Cinema 10, Chartiers Valley Stadium 18, and North Versailles Stadium 18.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Photos of Conflict Kitchen's trip to Anyang.

Earlier this month Conflict Kitchen shared photos of their August trip to Anyang, South Korea, made in preparation for their North Korean menu this fall.


Naengmyeon (냉면), a specialty of Pyeongyang and of numerous South Korean cities, too.

Conflict Kitchen is "a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict" located in Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Follow along at home with "History of East Asia" and "History of Early China" classes.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Alan Baumler has a couple of syllabi online for two of his courses: "History of East Asia" and "History of Early China". As I pointed out last winter, unlike other "free" "classes" that are merely reading lists without the readings, Dr. Baumler's courses often provide the chapters and journal articles online for students. In previous terms he offered "Introduction to Asian Studies" and "Modern Japan" courses, though they are currently unavailable online.

Dr. Baumler is also a contributor to the Frog in a Well China blog, the most active and best-written of the Frog in a Well series.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about an Asian-inspired garden in Reserve Township that won in the small garden category of the paper's Great Gardens Contest.
"Small spaces can be made to be very dramatic and beautiful and affordable to pull off," [homeowner Ed McHugh] said. "Many people do not have the luxury of having large, expansive spaces."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hong Kong movie Drug War at Harris Theater, from September 20.

Hong Kong Drug War

The Harris Theater (map) will show the 2012 Hong Kong movie Drug War (毒戰) from September 20. The Onion's AV Club wrote in a July review:
Drug War belongs to a subgenre that’s particular to [director Johnnie] To: crime movies that blend real-world details with oddball characters and narrative left turns, resulting in something that feels both realistic and heightened. Set in the mainland city of Jinhai, Drug War follows a group of narcotics agents who score a big break when they arrest Louis Koo, a Cantonese meth supplier. Faced with the possibility of the death penalty under China’s strict drug laws, Koo becomes an informant for the police, offering them an even bigger break in exchange for clemency: the chance to nab his boss.
The Pittsburgh Filmmakers website has information on showtimes, with the first screening at 8:00 on Friday and three additional showings through the weekend.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Korean totem in Indiana, PA.

Sinobi---a Korean restaurant with Korean owners and a Japanese name---has this totem outside their location in the Indiana Mall foodcourt. The inscription, 제36회교정작품전시회, refers to an art and cultural artifact exhibition held in the Korean city of Suwon in 2007. This sort of totem (장승) is a common piece of art throughout Korea, historically found at a village's entrance but today frequently seen at festivals and folk museums.

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Pitt student 2nd-best Yu-Gi-Oh player in the world.

Pitt student David Keener placed 2nd in the World Yu-Gi-Oh Game Championships in August. The final match is available on YouTube:



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chinese grandparent bobbleheads and maneki neko in Greenfield.

Asian knick-knacks at Beautiful World Variety Store in Greenfield, in Squirrel Hill Plaza at the corner of Murray and Hazelwood Aves (map). It's worth a visit if you're in the area, and has a mix of household stuff and Asian accessories, like those pictured, though it's the kind of place where you'll find neat, random stuff but probably won't fare well with a shopping list.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Documentary Somewhere Between at Pitt, September 16.

Somewhere Between Pittsburgh 2013

The documentary Somewhere Between, about Chinese adoptees in the United States, is finally coming to Pittsburgh with a September 16th screening at the University of Pittsburgh. Roger Ebert gave an overview of themes in a January 2013 review:
Four girls: each abandoned, each eventually adopted by an American family. Now they are teenagers in American suburbs, a world of minivans and school activities. Each is clearly confident enough to navigate her local terrain. Each is introspective about her roots, curious about her origins, though perhaps not so confident about meeting her birth family, should that possibility arise.

The movie explores the psychology of being immigrant in American society. The young women have that consciousness that minority status in America forces. Immigrants are simultaneously insiders and outsiders, always conscious of our identities. The sense of exile from all lands, living somewhere between this and that, is the norm. Many immigrants respond by trying to surrender everything that would be deemed “exotic,” whether it means overcompensation with language, makeup, or even surgery. These girls, however, seem exceptionally comfortable in their own skins. I suspect much of that has to do with the fact that their experience is an exponentially exaggerated version of the common immigrant experience. But, I suspect that just as much results from their adoptive parents' concerns in raising them. One mother learned Chinese, while all the parents seem to take their adoptive daughters back to China, almost annually.
Somewhere Between will be shown at 7:30 pm, September 16, in 1500 Posvar Hall (map) on the University of Pittsburgh campus. It's free, and include discussion from three speakers. See the flyer above for more on the screening, and the movie's official website for more on the documentary.
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Stoneware mug.