Friday, December 30, 2016

1995's Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊) at Southside Works, February 7 and 8.

The 1995 Japanese animated movie Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊) will play in Pittsburgh on February 7 and 8, 2017. A 2014 Telegraph review provides a summary:
Oshii’s film, which was adapted from a manga series by Masamune Shirow, saw everything coming. In its near-future world, countries are like corporations under siege, whose protective walls are slowly being washed away by an ocean of communal data. Hackers are treated like terrorists, while programmers’ movements are restricted as part of a global arms embargo.

Helping to keep the uneasy peace is Section 9, a team of government agents who include Motoko Kusanagi: a cyborg who can plug herself into the data-sea via four jack ports in the nape of her neck.
. . .
We follow Kusanagi on her hunt for The Puppet Master, a hacker who can access the ‘ghosts’, or souls, of ordinary citizens and carry out cyber-crimes by proxy. Now entirely synthetic, her original human body replaced and improved on piece by piece, Kusanagi is unsure whether her ghost still lingers in her man-made form[.]
Tickets are currently available online. Southside Works Cinema is located at 425 Cinema Drive in the Southside, one block from the Hot Metal Bridge (map).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall (长城) in Pittsburgh from February 17.

The 2016 Zhang Yimou film The Great Wall (长城) will open in Pittsburgh, and throughout the United States, on February 17. Starring Matt Damon, Jing Ting, and Andy Lau, among others, it was the highest-grossing movie in China the week it was released.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Korean designs at Pittsburgh Mills.

TJ Asian Buffet, one of the few remaining dining options at the dying Pittsburgh Mills northeast of the city, has a distinctly Korean look to its exterior. The entrances both inside and outside the mall are framed by a wooden doorway and a wall enclosing its outdoor seating area is built to resemble mud and tile construction seen in traditional Korean architecture. The tiles throughout the restaurant are from Dongyang Tile (동양기와) in Chongju.

It's interesting to note that TJ Buffet was the former home of Sinobi, a Korean-owned Japanese restaurant that had a location near Indiana University of Pennsylvania that also displayed a piece of traditional Korean design: a wooden totem (장송) ubiquitous in Korean folk villages and festivals.

It's also interesting to note that TJ Asian Buffet is opening a second location to replace Tokyo Buffet on McKnight Road in the North Hills.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

1993 movie Sailor Moon R: The Movie (劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンR) at Hollywood Theater in January, part of US theatrical premiere.

The 1993 movie Sailor Moon R: The Movie (劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンR) will play in US theaters for the first time in January 2017, and will be in Pittsburgh on January 21, 22, and 24 at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont. The distributor provides a plot summary:
Long before Mamoru found his destiny with Usagi, he gave a single rose in thanks to a lonely boy who helped him recover from the crash that claimed his parents. This long-forgotten friend, Fiore, has been searching the galaxy for a flower worthy of that sweet gesture long ago. The mysterious flower he finds is beautiful, but has a dark side- it has the power to take over planets. To make matters worse, the strange plant is tied to an ominous new asteroid near Earth! Faced with an enemy blooming out of control, It’s up to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians to band together, stop the impending destruction and save Mamoru!
The theatrical premiere will also include the short "Make Up! Sailor Guardians", and giveaways are available on a first-come first-served basis.

Tickets are currently available online. 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, December 19, 2016

Sneak preview of Ocean Waves (海がきこえる), January 17 at Row House Cinema.

The 1993 Studio Ghibli movie Ocean Waves (海がきこえる) will make its US premiere later this month, and will play at the Row House Cinema from January 20 through 26. The theater has planned a sneak preview on January 17; tickets go on sale to the general public on December 22. The distributor provides a summary of the film premiering in New York City on the 28th and nationwide in January:
Rarely seen outside of Japan, Ocean Waves is a subtle, poignant and wonderfully detailed story of adolescence and teenage isolation. Taku and his best friend Yutaka are headed back to school for what looks like another uneventful year. But they soon find their friendship tested by the arrival of Rikako, a beautiful new transfer student from Tokyo whose attitude vacillates wildly from flirty and flippant to melancholic. When Taku joins Rikako on a trip to Tokyo, the school erupts with rumors, and the three friends are forced to come to terms with their changing relationships.

Ocean Waves was the first Studio Ghibli film directed by someone other than studio founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, as director Tomomi Mochizuki led a talented staff of younger employees in an adaptation of Saeko Himuro’s best-selling novel. Full of shots bathed in a palette of pleasingly soft pastel colors and rich in the unexpected visual details typical of Studio Ghibli’s most revered works, Ocean Waves is an accomplished teenage drama and a true discovery.
The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

First Night Pittsburgh is last night for Ryoki Ikeda's DATA.MATRIX.

via artist's official site.

Ryoji Ikeda's DATA.MATRIX, an installation at the Wood Street Galleries downtown since September 23, will close on December 31. The Galleries will be open from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm as part of First Night Pittsburgh. Ikeda's official site explains the installation:
matrix is a series of sound installations employing pure sine waves and white noises as a sculptural material. The installations are designed in response to specific gallery spaces or public sites selected by Ikeda. Sine wave are one of the purest forms of sound, white noise contains the full frequency spectrum randomly. As visitors pass through the sound field, subtle oscillation patterns occur around their ears, caused by their own movements interfering with the sounds. It is a very personal experience, and only through the visitors' physical engagement in the sound space can the real character of the work be perceived.
And the Pittsburgh City-Paper calls this fall's installation:
by turns stimulating, calming, absorbing and challenging. While brief in duration and seemingly visually simple, it carries a heavyweight punch its bantam stature belies.
The Wood Street Galleries is located at 601 Wood St. (map).

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Upcoming Jackie Chan movie Railroad Tigers (铁道飞虎) in Pittsburgh, from January 6.

The upcoming movie Railroad Tigers (铁道飞虎), set to release in China on December 23, will play in Pittsburgh from January 6. The distributor provides a summary:
In this action-comedy caper harkening back to Jackie Chan’s classic Hong Kong films, a railroad worker (Chan) and his ragtag group of freedom fighters find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks when they decide to ambush a heavily armed military train filled with desperately needed provisions. Unarmed and outnumbered, they must fight back against an entire army using only their wits, in a series of a dazzling set pieces and action scenes rivaling anything seen on the big screen.
It is scheduled to play at AMC Loews Waterfront and the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, though ticket and showtime information is not yet available.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Filipino Marathon Film Series begins with Amigo at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, December 16.

The 2010 Filipino-American movie Amigo will play at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland on December 16. the first installment in the Filipino Marathon Film Series by the Filipino American Association of Pitsburgh. A 2011 A.V. Club review provides a summary:
Amigo, the latest from writer-director John Sayles (Lone Star, Matewan), takes place in 1900 during the American occupation of the Philippines, and it could almost be mistaken for a straight historical feature, if not for Sayles’ established political bent and the hard-bitten colonel played by Sayles favorite Chris Cooper. When Cooper puts a detachment of Americans in charge of a small Filipino baryo, he grumbles about his focus on “winning hearts and minds.” When he thinks a local has information he isn’t sharing, he subjects him to a waterboarding-like torture—then cheerfully proclaims it isn’t torture, since it doesn’t leave physical scars. Ultimately, Amigo is as much about Iraq and Afghanistan as it is about a century-old chapter of history—and it’s as much about human nature as it is about either era.
The event starts at 6:00 pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland (map). Single tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit the Philippine Nationality Room fund.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai at Parkway Theater, from December 16.

The 2016 documentary on actor Toshiro Mifune, Mifune: The Last Samurai, will play at the Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks from December 16. From a November New York Times review:
“Mifune: The Last Samurai” is a celebration of the originality and influence of the Japanese star Toshiro Mifune (1920-1997), shown as a rare actor capable of the subtlest stoicism and the wildest bravado. It’s a brisk and energetic primer for those who don’t know his movies or are ready to watch them again. And it doubles as a history of the chanbara (sword fighting) genre, providing an opportunity to sample clips from seldom-seen or partially lost silent films.
There will be two screenings on the 16th---7:00 pm and 9:00 pm---and four more on the 17th (4:00 pm), 18th (6:15 pm), 27th (7:30 pm), and 28th (7:30 pm). The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map), a few miles west of the North Side.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reception and Artist Talk with Xyza Cruz Bacani, December 14 at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.

Photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani will be at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on December 14 to discuss her exhibit Modern Slavery, which has been at the MCG since October 17.
Xyza Cruz Bacani was born in The Philippines, and like many Filipinos, she left her home country in search of economic opportunity. As a domestic worker in Hong Kong, Xyza (pronounced “sigh zah”) began taking photographs in her spare time. Her hobby quickly became a passion, both for the therapeutic effect it had on her, and because it awakened an innate drive for self expression.

Through social media, Xyza’s work began to catch the eye of the international photography community. Not only were her photos visually striking, and her story compelling, her subject matter was evocative. Her photos depicted the gritty beauty of city life, but from a viewpoint that encouraged sensitivity, not sensationalism.

Though her employer was notably kindhearted—she lent Xyza the money for her first camera—many foreign domestic workers suffer countless abuses. Xyza’s work documents and exposes these conditions, and as she has grown as a photographer, so has her work. In addition to Hong Kong, she has recently photo-documented human trafficking in New York City and Abu Dhabi.

Her current exhibit, Modern Slavery, focuses on the struggles of foreign domestic workers, and the abuses they often suffer.
The event runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and is free and open to the public. The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild is located at at 1815 Metropolitan St. (map) on the North Side.

Poets of the Piano - The Music of Quentin Kim, December 12 at CMU.

Korean composer and pianist Quentin Kim will perform at Carnegie Mellon University on December 12. From the website of Nathan Carterette, a pianist performing alongside Kim:
Quentin Kim returns to Pittsburgh for a concert of his chamber music, presented by Poets of the Piano at Carnegie-Mellon University. Also featured on this concert are Joshua Huang, violin and Cecilia Caughman, cello.

Variations on an Olden Korean Tune, for cello and piano (Cecilia Caughman, cello; Quentin Kim, piano)
Trio in c# minor (Joshua Huang, violin; Cecilia Caughman, cello; Nathan Carterette, piano)
Piano Sonata in g# minor (Nathan Carterette, piano)
Dreamscape, for violin and piano (Joshua Huang, violin; Nathan Carterette, piano)
The event is free and open to the public, and runs from 7:30 to 8:30 pm in Kresge Hall (map).

Bubblepop for the GLCC, December 16.

The next Bubblepop event is scheduled for December 16 at Brillobox in Lawrenceville. Bubblepop, explains its Facebook page,
is a dance party for K-Pop, J-Pop, Mando-pop and everything else fun and cute.
A $5 donation is requested for December 16 and will benefit the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh (GLCC). It starts at 10:00 pm, and the venue is at 4104 Penn Ave. (map).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

K-pop Dance Class at Yanlai Dance Academy from January.

The Yanlai Dance Academy in the North Hills will host a weekly K-pop Dance Class on Saturdays from January 7 through March 25. Classes run from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and are $13 for drop-ins or $10 per session for the whole term. The school is located at 2260 Babcock Blvd (map).

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hayao Miyazaki film series at Row House Cinema, December 9 - 15.

Lawrenceville's Row House Cinema will run a Hayao Miyazaki film series to run from December 9 through 15. The four movies---Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ), Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便), Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城), and Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ)---haven't played in Pittsburgh theaters since their original releases. Row House ran a MIyazaki series last December with four different movies.

Tickets information and showtimes are available on the Row House Cinema website. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Friday, December 2, 2016

MEPPI Lecture Series - The Japanese Spirit of an American Company, January 19.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will host the next MEPPI Lecture Series event on January 19 with Paul Francis, the Senior Director of Advanced Product Innovation at Nike, who
will present on the Japanese connection that continues to be a part of the culture at NIKE.
The event runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland (map). It is free and open to the public, though registration is required and can be completed online.

Storytime: Chinese and English, December 5 in Squirrel Hill.

The Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will host its next Storytime: Chinese and English on December 5.
Celebrate our city’s diverse culture as we explore new words through songs, action rhymes and stories in both English and Chinese. For children birth – 5 years and their caregivers.
The event runs from 4:15 to 5:00 pm and is free and open to the public. The library is located at 5801 Forbes Ave. (map) and is accessible by buses 61A, 61B, 61C, 61D, 64, and 74.

Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫) in Pittsburgh area for film's 20th anniversary, January 5 and 9.

The 1997 Japanese animated film Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫) by Studio Ghibli will play at several theaters in the Pittsburgh area as part of a limited release for its 20th anniversary. A 1999 Roger Ebert four-star review summarizes:
Hayao Miyazaki is a great animator, and his "Princess Mononoke" is a great film. Do not allow conventional thoughts about animation to prevent you from seeing it. It tells an epic story set in medieval Japan, at the dawn of the Iron Age, when some men still lived in harmony with nature and others were trying to tame and defeat it. It is not a simplistic tale of good and evil, but the story of how humans, forest animals and nature gods all fight for their share of the new emerging order. It is one of the most visually inventive films I have ever seen.
The film will be shown with English subtitles on January 5 and dubbed in English on January 9, and will play at five local Cinemark theaters: Monaca, Monroeville, North Hills, Pittsburgh Mills and Robinson. Tickets are now available online via the Cinemark website (for the January 9 showing, search by theater to purchase tickets).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pirates infielder Kang booked for fleeing scene of DUI in Seoul.

via 중앙일보.

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung-ho Kang was arrested for fleeing the scene of a DUI in Seoul early Friday morning. From the Korea Times:
According to Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul, Kang was booked for fleeing the scene after crashing into a guard rail on his way to his hotel in Samseong-dong at 2:48 a.m.

A person in the passenger seat, whose identity was withheld, reported to police that he or she was the driver of the vehicle. After analyzing the car's black box, police determined that Kang had been behind the wheel and called him in for questioning.

Kang's blood alcohol content level was 0.084 percent, a level subject to the suspension of one's license. The legal limit here is 0.05 percent.

One Piece Film: Gold (ワンピースフィルムゴールド) in Pittsburgh, from January 10.

The 2016 Japanese animated movie One Piece Film: Gold (ワンピースフィルムゴールド) will have a limited theatrical release in the US in January, and will play at the Southside Works Cinemas from January 10 through 17.

2016 Park Chan-wook film The Handmaiden (아가씨) in Pittsburgh, December 9 - 18.

The 2016 Korean movie The Handmaiden (아가씨), directed by Park Chan-wook, will play in Pittsburgh from December 9 through 18. An October 21 four-star review on provides a summary:
Park Chan-Wook’s “The Handmaiden” is a love story, revenge thriller and puzzle film set in Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s. It is voluptuously beautiful, frankly sexual, occasionally perverse and horrifically violent. At times its very existence feels inexplicable. And yet all of its disparate pieces are assembled with such care, and the characters written and acted with such psychological acuity, that you rarely feel as if the writer-director is rubbing the audience’s nose in excess of one kind or another. This is a film made by an artist at the peak of his powers: Park, a South Korean director who started out as a critic, has many great or near-great genre films, including “Oldboy,” “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” “Lady Vengeance” and “Thirst,” but this one is so intricate yet light-footed that it feels like the summation of his career to date.
Tickets and showtimes are not yet available. The theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. in Regent Square (map).

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