Thursday, December 2, 2021

Pittsburgh Opera presents world premiere of In A Grove, based on short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, from February 19.

Pittsburgh Opera will present In A Grove, based on short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, from February 19.
Music by Christopher Cerrone, libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann, based on the short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

A silent, expectant grove. A violent encounter between a man, a woman, and a notorious brigand.

Seven testimonies, each proposing a different perspective on the crime. Akutagawa’s classic short story “In a Grove,” which inspired the plot of Kurosawa’s renowned film Rashomon, offers a searing investigation into the impossibility and elusiveness of truth.

Epic and intimate, timeless and devastatingly timely, the story’s structure lends itself powerfully to music’s ability to conjure—via repetition and variation—how human perception, memory, and desire are fallible, imprecise, and subject to interference.

Join us for this unique world-premiere experience in a place where the ground shifts beneath your feet—a space of ambiguity and clarity, of beauty and menace, and of fragility and strength.
Performances are on February 19, 22, 25, and 27, and March 1 and 3, 2022. Tickets are now available. The theater is located at 2425 Liberty Ave. in the Strip District (map).

"The Chinese Laundrymen of Squirrel Hill" presentation by Squirrel Hill Historical Society, February 8.

Tom Yee Laundry in Homestead, circa 1925.

The Squirrel Hill Historical Society will present Tammy Hepps and her discussion on "The Chinese Laundrymen of Squirrel Hill" on February 8.
Homestead Jewish historian Tammy Hepps,, will discuss the traumatic dispersion of Chinese laborers after the transcontinental railroad was built, examining their lives as laundrymen in context the microcosm of Squirrel Hill and Homestead.
For much more information on early Chinese residents in the area, and the context, see this well-researched article from the Homestead Hebrews website, whence the photograph of Tom Yee Laundry in Homestead comes.

The talk begins at 7:30 pm and is tentatively planned for the Church of the Redeemer at 5700 Forbes Ave. (map), though recent discussions have just been held over Zoom.

Concert film Monsta X: The Dreaming in Pittsburgh, December 9 and 11.

The concert film Monsta X: The Dreaming will play in Pittsburgh on December 9 and 11.
Is it the knowingIs it the seeingOr Is It The DreamingBest known for their powerful, iconic, and superb performances, K-pop and pop band MONSTA X is loved by -and devoted to -their countless fans around the world.As a gift to their fandom, this brand-new film gives an intimate look at their rigorous journey over the past six years including exclusive one-on-one interviews with each individual member, personal stories from their time in America, and a special concert clip exclusively for MONBEBE. This unmissable cinema event also includes high-energy musical performances of their chart-topping hits along with an exclusive first-look at their upcoming album. Challenge, evolve, and dream. Celebrate the magnificent achievements and the stunning tomorrow of MONSTA X.
It plays locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront and the Cinemark theaters in Monroeville and Robinson, and tickets are avaiable online.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

1988 film My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) in Pittsburgh, December 5, 6, 9.

The 1988 Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) will play in Pittsburgh on December 5, 6, and 9, as part of Ghibli Fest 2021. From the distributor:
From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo, and Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family.

When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece featuring the voices of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, in early roles.
It plays locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront and the Cinemark theaters in Monroeville, North Hills, and Robinson. Tickets are available online, but please note that the December 5 and 9 shows are in English while the December 6 show is in Japanese with English subtitles.

Chinese, Korean, Japanese language kits available for check-out at Hampton Community Library.

Hampton Community Library has unveiled media and language kits for families, with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean packs among those offered.
Kits are designed to spark engagement between children & families. Use your library card to investigate, create, sing, dance, listen, speak & read!

Monday, November 29, 2021

“The Unmaking of the Chinese Working Class: A Brief History of Inequality in the PRC," December 6 at Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present Teemu Ruskola and his talk “The Unmaking of the Chinese Working Class: A Brief History of Inequality in the PRC" on December 6.
China’s ongoing economic reforms have produced new types of legal, political, economic, social, and familial subjects. The revolutionary political subject of Maoism—“the People”—has been atomized into independent economic subjects responsible for their own welfare outside of work. This has been marked by the abolition of the so-called “iron rice bowl,” or a system of cradle to grave welfare for privileged urban workers, in contrast to exploited rural citizenry who have historically subsidized China’s urban industry. With the contractualization of all labor, even urban workers no longer enjoy a guaranteed share of the benefits of economic development. An earlier politically enforced inequality between city and country is increasingly eclipsed by a society-wide gulf between the rich and the poor, without any necessary geographical correlate. Collectively, China’s rural and urban reforms have resulted in tectonic shifts in the boundaries among the state, the market, and the family. For example, the state has been turning increasingly to the family to re-assume its traditional welfare functions, even as the very reforms that motivate this turn undermine the traditional family itself.
It runs from 4:30 to 5:45 pm in 211 Lawrence Hall or on Zoom; registration is required.

Friday, November 26, 2021

New Japanese animated movie Sword Art Online the Movie Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (劇場版 ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 星なき夜のアリア) in Pittsburgh, from December 3.

The 2021 Japanese animated movie apanese animated movie Sword Art Online the Movie Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (劇場版 ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 星なき夜のアリア) will play in Pittsburgh from December 3 through 9. A synopsis of the film that, based on a manga series:
Return to the death game where it all began—Sword Art Online. In this new Aincrad Arc by original creator Reki Kawahara, the story is seen through Asuna’s eyes. What at first seems like a dream come true quickly becomes a nightmare when newbie gamer Asuna Yuuki learns the only way to escape the virtual world of Aincrad is to beat all 100 levels—but “Game Over” means you die in the real world.
It will play locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront, the AMC Classic Westmoreland, and the Cinemark theater in McCandless, and tickets are available online. Shows on December 3, 4, and 9 are in Japanese with English subtitles, while shows on December 7 and 8 are dubbed in English.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates to re-sign Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to one-year contract.

via the Associated Press.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly set to re-sign Yoshotimo Tsutsugo (筒香 嘉智) to a one-year contract valued at $4 million. Tsutsugo was signed in August and appeared in 43 games for Pittsburgh, hitting 8 home runs and being one of the bright, though inconsistent, spots late in the season. He is a native of Wakayama, Japan, and is the fourth Japanese player in Pittsburgh Pirates history, after pitcher Masumi Kuwata in 2007, infielder Akinori Iwamura in 2010, and pitcher Hisanori Takahashi for nine games in 2012.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Pittsburgh Sichuan Cuisine Week gets started.

via Harry Funk of the Observer-Reporter

The first ever Pittsburgh Sichuan Cuisine Week started last week with some fanfare but no information: it was mentioned in passing in the local papers that the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office was collaborating with the Pittsburgh Chinese Restaurant Association and local Sichuan restaurants on some type of dining celebration. The Pittsburgh City-Paper writes:
The Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office also presented PCRA with gifts valued at $10,000 to be given to guests who dine during the week.
More background comes today via Washington county's Observer-Reporter, which traces the recent exchanges between Pittsburgh and its Chinese Sister City:
Shortly after a performance group from Chengdu, China, returned home from the Pittsburgh area in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic went full throttle.

Then during the summer, an earthquake struck Sichuan Province, of which Chengdu is the capital, causing three deaths and damaging thousands of homes.

In Western Pennsylvania, the problems did not go unnoticed.

“The Chinese community here mobilized and donated 20,000 masks to the city of Chengdu,” Kwun Kwong Kai reported.

With Sherry Kai, his daughter, serving as translator, he welcomed guests to a dinner at Sichuan Gourmet in Squirrel Hill. Representing the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office, Kwun expressed gratitude by hosting the event and presenting gifts to those in attendance.
Several restaurants are participating in Pittsburgh Sichuan Cuisine Week, which runs from November 19 through the 28th: Sichuan Gourmet, Chengdu Gourmet, Jade Grille, Szechuan Spice, and Little Asia. Diners are to receive gifts of thanks via the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office.

New Chinese film Railway Heroes (铁道英雄) in Pittsburgh, from November 24.

The new Chinese film Railway Heroes (铁道英雄) will play in Pittsburgh from November 24 through November 30.
In the winter of 1939, when the Japanese takeover the Jin-Pu Railway in Shandong during World War II, an underground resistance group forms to combat them. Based on a true story.
It will play locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront, and tickets are available online. 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.