Saturday, April 30, 2016

Steelers' second round draft choice can speak Chinese.

Sean Davis, the Pittsburgh Steelers' second round draft choice in 2016, can count Chinese as one of the three languages he speaks. That's according to his University of Maryland bio that's been quoted in subsequent press releases, and according to a 2012 article profiling him out of high school when he committed to the Terapins:
Something that not many people know about you: “I studied Chinese for three years. I’m tri-lingual – English, Chinese and French. I’ve been speaking French for about five years. I picked up Chinese for three years in high school. … I dropped [it this year]. If I hear it and they’re not speaking too fast, I can understand it. The characters are still pretty hard. I haven’t really mastered it. I probably never will because I dropped it. But I can read books and write letters.”
For what they're worth, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article and a tweet from a 93.7 The Fan producer say he is fluent.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Umami opens in Lawrenceville.

After more than a year in development, Umami is finally open in Lawrenceville, writes Pittsburgh Magazine today.
“Everything fell through. Eclipse (an alternative location) fell through. Investors fell through. There were plenty of delays and obstacles once we started working in this space, too,” he says. Li spent the last year teasing Pittsburghers with line-out-the-door-popular pop-ups while he fought through the delays.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of izakaya, think of it as the Japanese equivalent to a really fun neighborhood pub: there’s crushable, inexpensive, but also well-prepared food that’s meant to go hand-in-hand with a good drink or two.

“After going to Japan many times and seeing the culture of street food and bar food that they have there, I decided I wanted to replicate that here. It’s never been done in Pittsburgh in the right way,” says Li, who from 2008-2015 was the executive chef of the now-closed Tamari. Umami marks a return to his culinary roots; before moving to Pittsburgh in 2005, Li was a sushi chef at Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Research & Development of Engineered Bamboo Structures" with Yan Xiao of Nanjing Tech, May 5 at Pitt.

The May 5 keynote speech of the "Bamboo in the Urban Environment" symposium at the University of Pittsburgh will be "Research & Development of Engineered Bamboo Structures" by Yan Xiao of the Nanjing University of Technology. Dr. Xiao is an innovator in the field of bamboo in construction, and made the news in 2008 for his plans to use "instant" bamboo structures to house those displaced by the Sichuan earthquake. The talk begins at 1:00 pm in 102 Benedum Hall (map).

"Hands-On Workshop Series—Calligraphy with Xiaoxu", May 3 in Oakland.

Tuesday, May 3, is a free"Hands-On Workshop Series—Calligraphy with Xiaoxu" event at the Carnegie Library in Oakland.
Join us for HOW, a series of hands-on workshops for adults and teens. Learn from skilled craftspeople. Dig in and try things out in a creative, supportive environment. Join us for one or all of these free programs. Materials provided.

Chinese calligraphy is a traditional art form of writing characters using a brush and ink, which has developed over many centuries. You will learn step-by-step how to apply ink with the special brush, write Chinese characters, and take a piece of art home with you.

No registration is necessary for these sessions. Seating for all workshops is available to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. You'll want to come early to be sure you MAKE it on time
The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. (map), accessible by over a dozen different buses that service Oakland.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Finding Mr. Right 2 (北京遇上西雅图 2) in Pittsburgh through May 18.



The 2016 Chinese movie Finding Mr. Right 2 (北京遇上西雅图), also called Beijing Meets Seattle II: Book of Love, will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater from April 28, a day before its nationwide premiere.

Chinese-American movie Pali Road (夏威夷之恋) in Pittsburgh, from April 28.



The 2015 movie Pali Road (夏威夷之恋), which premieres nationwide on Friday, will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront from April 28.

Zhiwan Cheung: Hanging Fruit at Andy Warhol Museum, from May 11.

The Andy Warhol Museum will host Zhiwan Cheung's original installation Hanging Fruit as part of its Exposures series from May 11 through August 14. The museum provides a summary:
Cheung’s practice focuses on the intersection of personal history, identity, and place. Through installation and video, Cheung explores the seemingly banal details of our everyday lives that can harbor important messages about race. The naming conventions of house paints such as Chinatown Orange, 50YR 18/650, found in home improvement stores and sold by Glidden Paints, is one example of how stereotypes are deeply rooted in our commercial society. For this window installation, Cheung places large plastic banana trees painted in bold, Chinatown Orange. One can find references to Warhol’s 1966 Velvet Underground album cover, now an iconic image of the screen-printed banana, with the exposed fruit on the inside of the cover. Store products hang within and emerge from the trees—a juxtaposition that speaks to the close connection between identity and commercial consumption.
On May 14, the museum will host an Artist Talk with Cheung at 2:00 pm.

Zhiwan Cheung is a Pittsburgh-based artist currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at Carnegie Mellon University. More information about him and his work is available on his website.

The Warhol is located at 117 Sandusky St. on the Northside (map). It's open every day but Monday, and adult admission is $20.

Monday, April 25, 2016

1966 yakuza film Tokyo Drifter (東京流れ者) at Row House Cinema from April 29.



The Row House Cinema will show the 1966 yazkuza film Tokyo Drifter (東京流れ者) from April 29 to May 5 as part of its Spirit of '66 series. A 2012 A.V. Club review offers a summary:
Blank-faced Tetsuya Watari stars as the titular wanderer, a gifted yakuza enforcer trying to stay true to his own idea of honor. The film traffics in a lot of familiar crime movie archetypes: the pretty girl kept on the sidelines; the father-son relationship between Watari and Ryuji Kita, his trying-to-go-straight boss; and all the complicated lines of loyalty and betrayal that come into play when a rival gang tries to muscle in on Kita’s turf. The story is engaging enough, and Watari makes for an appropriately implacable (but still soulful) lead, but what sets the film apart from countless others telling a similar tale are the lengths [director] Suzuki goes to in order to make each scene a feast for the eyes. Violent reds, purples, greens, and blues paint the screen, and the editing forgoes traditional cinematic logic in favor of impressionistic cuts and a jagged, jazzy rhythm. Through it all, Suzuki walks a knife-edge of ironic sincerity, poking at yakuza clichés in an attempt to reveal some larger, wordless truth.
Showtimes and ticket information are currently online. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street (map).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Signage up for Tan Izakaya in Shadyside.



Signage is up for Tan Izakaya at 815 S. Aiken Ave. (map) in Shadyside, the former location of the S. Aiken Bar and Grille.

Friday, April 22, 2016

First Bruster's in Seoul to open May 2.



Seoul will have its first Bruster's Ice Cream on May 2, when it opens at 9:30 am on the 7th floor of the Lotte Department Store in Gwanak-gu. The country's first Bruster's opened on March 31 in Cheonan, a city some 80 kilometers south of Seoul. Bruster's is a chain based in Beaver County, just northwest of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃) at Row House Cinema, April 22 - 28.



Row House Cinema will show the 2001 movie Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃) from April 22 through 28 as part of its Massive Movie Monsters film series. A 2003 Boston Globe review writes:
As a movie, "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack" is as absurd as its title, and by those standards it's a hilarious success. Phony and retrograde to the max - the shaky ground has rarely seemed more fake, and the run-for-your-lives hysterics of the soon-to-be-trampled never fail to exhilarate - "All Out Attack" picks up where any old 1960s sequel might.
Tickets information and showtimes are now available online. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville(map).

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Sounds from the East: Composers in Japanese Musical Modernity" at Pitt, April 20.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. Bonnie Wade of UC Berkeley and her talk "Sounds from the East: Composers in Japanese Musical Modernity" on April 20. An Asian Studies Center newsletter provides a synopsis:
Who "the creator of new music" is in Japanese culture changed from the pre-modern performer-composer of traditional musical contexts when the mid-19th century government of the emerging nation-state decided to absorb and normalize music from Europe and America as a technology in a massive modernization process. In this talk, Dr. Bonnie Wade will elucidate how the separation of the functions of performing and composing in the creation of new music was a response to the emergent conditions of Japanese musical modernity and situate composers as creative individuals who by exercising considerable artistic flexibility in their creative production remain "close to the people" while also participating in the shared
international cultural space of Western music.
Wade is the author of a 2013 book Composing Japanese Musical Modernity. The talk begins at 4:00 pm in 4217 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Friday, April 15, 2016

1989 China/Avant-Garde Exhibition at Pitt through October 31.


Wang Youshen, Newspaper-Advertising, 1993

Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh will is hosting an 1989 China/Avant-Garde Exhibition – from Gao Minglu Archive through October 31.
Dr. Minglu Gao is a research professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture (HAA) at Pitt, and a leading scholar of Chinese contemporary art. Over three decades Dr. Gao has been building a collection of Chinese contemporary art unique in the world today. These unique primary materials include manuscripts, posters, paintings, and exhibit catalogs, as well as slides, videos, recordings, etc.

Since 2014, the University Library System has been working the HAA department, Asian Studies Center, and University Center for International Studies to create a digital archive of Dr. Gao's collection. This exhibit will showcase many of the items in Dr. Gao's collection, and present an unparalleled look into the world of Chinese contemporary art.
The Spring 2006 issue of Pitt Magazine has one of many lengthy profiles on Gao. Hillman Library is located at 3960 Forbes Ave. (map) in Oakland.

Ramen, robata restaurant coming to downtown Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Business Times writes about restauranteur Teejay Li and his plans to bring Yuzu Kitchen to 409 Wood Street downtown:
[Yuzu Kitchen is] a restaurant focused on a menu of ramen dishes and robata grill items.

It’s a mix expected to also include tapas-style appetizers and a full bar that Li is optimistic will offer a cuisine available nowhere else in central business district.

“I do believe there’s a big need for this kind of restaurant downtown,” said Li. “There’s no competition for my concept."

Against a popular perception of it consisting of cheap instant noodles often eaten by college students, Ramen noodle dishes have become a hot food trend elsewhere based on ingredients focused on a rich broth base and a range of toppings that include pork belly, poached eggs, scallions and a host of others.
. . .
Li added he expects the robata grill component, a traditional cooking method in which meats are served on skewers, to have strong appeal with downtown residents living in high-rise buildings that don’t have the opportunity to grill. With the restaurant’s central location, he also sees potential for Yuzu Kitchen to be a destination draw for the city’s growing Asian population who can access downtown on public transportation for a cuisine hard to find elsewhere.

He is shooting to get his full approvals and renovate the property for use as a two-level restaurant and open in September. If all goes as planned, he hopes to expand it elsewhere as well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Japanese rock group ONE OK ROCK at Mr. Smalls, April 16.



The Japanese rock group ONE OK ROCK will play at Mr. Smalls on April 16 as part of the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Imperial-Time-Order: The 'People' and the 'Empire' in Historical Plays in Mao's China", April 15 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will hold another "Talking About Asia" event on April 15, with Kun Qian and her "Imperial-Time-Order: The 'People' and the 'Empire' in Historical Plays in Mao's China" talk.

"American Chinese Medicine: Orientalized Biopower" at Pitt, April 13.



The Chinese-language University of Pittsburgh Facebook page 匹茲堡大學 shares news of a "American Chinese Medicine: Orientalized Biopower" talk on Wednesday, April 13. The Department of Religious Studies is presenting the event, and summarizes:
This talk is based on an ethnographic study of Chinese medicine in the United States. Informed by interviews with key practitioners and fieldwork at educational institutions, it demonstrates how Caucasians shape the way Chinese medicine is practiced, viewed, and sanctioned in the United States, often marginalizing those who brought the medicine to the this country.

Tyler Phan is completing a dissertation on "American Chinese Medicine." He has an M.A. in Religions (SOAS), M.Ac. in Acupuncture (Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine), and B.A. in Religious Studies (University of Pittsburgh).
The talk begins at 12:00 pm in 602 Cathedral of Learning (map) and is free and open to the public.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Japanese cat cafe culture in Pitt Magazine.



The latest Pitt Magazine, a publication of the University of Pittsburgh, profiles PhD student Amanda Robinson and her study of Japanese cat cafes.

Talking About Asia: Charles Exley and "Sato Haruo and Modern Japanese Literature" at Pitt, April 13.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the next "Talking About Asia" installment on Wednesday, April 13, which will feature Dr. Charles Exley on the topic of "Sato Haruo and Modern Japanese Literature".

Thursday, April 7, 2016

OCA Youth Performance Ensemble Showcase 2016 (匹兹堡美华协会青少年舞蹈团公演预告), April 23.



The Pittsburgh chapter of the Organization for Chinese Americans will host its Youth Performance Ensemble Showcase (匹兹堡美华协会青少年舞蹈团公演预告】) on April 23 at Carson Middle School in the North Hills.
Featuring Traditional Chinese Dance, Martial arts and Chinese YoYo by OCA, Qi Wu Dance Team, Tzu Chi Academy, and Win-Win Kung Fu
. . .
春暖花开的四月,一树桃花怒放在匹城。这是一支由匹兹堡美华协会青少年舞蹈团,旗.舞-中国风,慈济匹兹堡人文学校,双赢武术功夫文化中心组成的集古典舞,民族舞,武术,扯铃等拥有众多精彩节目的队伍,他们;将要在这春草碧绿繁花似锦的季节为您带来一场视觉和听觉的盛宴。精彩瞬间不容错过
Tickets are available online and cost $10 for general admission and $7 for OCA Pittsburgh members; children 12 and under accompanied by adult are free. Carson Middle School is located in McCandless Township (map), roughly 11 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"5th Annual Tomodachi Festival : A Celebration of Japanese Culture" at Carnegie Library in Oakland, April 16.


The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania shares word of the 5th Annual Tomodachi Festival coming to the Carnegie Library in Oakland on April 16.
Tomodachi is a Japanese word meaning "friends." Help us celebrate the spirit of friendship through activities, art and treats that showcase Japan, its people and its rich history.

Activities include origami, kamishibai theater storytelling, music and dancing, chopsticks practice and kimono try-on.
The event runs from 2 to 4:30 pm in the Children's Library at the Oakland branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (map; enter the library and turn right), and is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Chongqing Hot Pot (火锅英雄) in Pittsburgh, from April 8.



The 2016 Chinese movie Chongqing Hot Pot (火锅英雄) will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater from April 8. A March 31 Los Angeles Times review summarizes:
Chen Kun, Qin Hao and Yu Entai play lifelong chums whose friendship fractures due to an ill-advised investment in an underground eatery they call "Cave Hot Pot." An attempt to save the business via a DIY expansion has an unexpected result when the wall-busting leads the trio into an adjacent bank vault.

Bai Baihe plays an old acquaintance of the struggling restaurateurs, who's also a disgruntled employee of the bank they've breached. She comes up with a plan for them all to get rich, but before they can see it through to completion another band of thieves attempts a heist of their own
A Washington Post review calls it "Tarantino-esque" and warns of "bloody violence".

The movie opened in the US on April 1 and premiered at the Hong Kong Film Festival on March 21.

Tickets and showtimes are available at the AMC Loews Waterfront website. The theater is located at 300 West Waterfront Dr. in the Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead (map), across the Monongahela River from Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, and the rest of Pittsburgh.

"aKDPhi Spicy Rice Cake Culture Event" at CMU, April 7.

Carnegie Mellon University's chapter of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an "international Asian-interest sorority", will host a Spicy Rice Cake Culture Event on April 7. Referring to tteokbokki, the spicy Korean rice cake dish, the Facebook event says:
We will be selling cups of spicy rice cakes. In addition to selling irresistible rice cakes, we will be taking pictures and asking people to share why Asian American Awareness matters to them. Come out to support our organization and this important day of recognizing Asian Americans.
The event runs from 12 to 4 pm at University Center.

"The Visual Traditions of Japan" class at Carnegie Museum of Art, Wednesdays in April.

The Carnegie Museum of Art will host "Art History Class: The Visual Traditions of Japan" on Wednesdays and Saturdays in April.
The history of Japanese art is marked by the constant interplay between indigenous and imported art forms. This engaging class examines these two sides of Japanese art from the prehistoric period to the 20th century. Our discussions examine how Japanese artists took foreign artistic elements, adapted them, and mixed them with indigenous elements to create uniquely Japanese visual traditions. After surveying the art and architecture of Japan up to the Edo period, we’ll focus on Edo-period and modern Japanese prints, of which CMOA has stellar collections.
The Wednesday class begins tomorrow, April 6, and runs through April 27. A Saturday class begin April 2. Each class runs from 10:15 am to 12:15 pm and costs $50 for students, $64 for museum members, and $80 for the general public.

Monday, April 4, 2016

"Hands-On Workshop Series—Calligraphy with Xiaoxu", May 3 in Oakland.

Advance notice for a free "Hands-On Workshop Series—Calligraphy with Xiaoxu" event at the Carnegie Library in Oakland on May 3.
Join us for HOW, a series of hands-on workshops for adults and teens. Learn from skilled craftspeople. Dig in and try things out in a creative, supportive environment. Join us for one or all of these free programs. Materials provided.

Chinese calligraphy is a traditional art form of writing characters using a brush and ink, which has developed over many centuries. You will learn step-by-step how to apply ink with the special brush, write Chinese characters, and take a piece of art home with you.

No registration is necessary for these sessions. Seating for all workshops is available to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. You'll want to come early to be sure you MAKE it on time!
The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. (map), accessible by over a dozen different buses that service Oakland.