Friday, January 31, 2014

Tiger & Bunny: The Rising at Hollywood Theater, March 15 and 16.



Today the Hollywood Theater in Dormont (map) announced a screening of the upcoming Japanese animated film Tiger & Bunny: The Rising on March 15 and March 16. Tickets are $15 and are available online for both shows (15th and 16th) from 1:00 pm on January 31.

Chinaman's festal period.



The Mansfield Daily Shield out of Mansfield, PA, profiled the Lunar New Year in 1902. The language and the tone are about what one would expect, though the piece does tell us how many Chinese women lived in Pittsburgh at the time:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ahead of the Lunar New Year on January 31, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at "how to shop at Pittsburgh's Asian markets" and profiles several of the region's largest East Asian grocery stores.
Here in Pittsburgh, four markets are big draws for the city's Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese communities. Lotus Food Co. at 1649 Penn Ave. is perhaps the most well-known. With its prime location in the heart of the Strip, and the allure of house-made tofu, Lotus attracts a diverse clientele. On a typical Saturday morning, customers stand shoulder to shoulder in checkout lines.

Wang Fat Hong, just up the block at 2227 Penn Ave., is another stalwart. Open since 1995, it caters to both restaurant and retail customers. Further down the Strip, shoppers are being courted by the newest Asian store, Many More Market, which is looking to appeal to students. And up on McKnight Road, three-year-old Oriental Market caters to suburban customers.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Japanese animated short film Possessions at Regent Square Theater, from January 31.



On January 31, the Regent Square Theater (map) will present the five pieces nominated for an Oscar in the Short Films (Animated) category for 2014, one of which is the Japanese short Possessions. Toonzone provides a summary:
[A] wanderer in Japan is caught in a storm and seeks shelter in a seemingly abandoned house. However, he soon finds that perhaps he should have taken his chances in the storm, as he is confronted with a succession of bizarre household objects come to life, threatening this intruder on their domain.

To some degree, “Posssessions” is a “how are we getting there?” story. The short exploits enough visual tricks and hints early on that we’re not that surprised when something leaps out at the unnamed traveler and goes, “Boo!” What is surprising is the form that these spooks take, and the traveler’s reaction to them. The burly traveler is coarse and unrefined, reminding me of Toshiro Mifune’s performance as Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai, but he is also quite resourceful and surprisingly unflappable. Much of the fun of “Possessions” comes from waiting for the form of whatever strange household item is about to turn up; much of the rest comes from seeing how the traveler’s initial shock turns to adapting and enduring.
The program of five films begins on Friday, January 31, at 7:00 pm. Additional times for the first week available via the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Documentaries on Vietnam, Cambodia in 2014 Asia Unreeled Film Series.



Winchester Thurston School recently announced its lineup for the 2014 Asia Unreeled Film Series, and this February's installment will feature documentaries on Vietnam and Cambodia. On February 8, As the Call, So the Echo:
Director Keir Moreano’s record of his father’s experience as a volunteer doctor in Vietnam in 2003 as a journey of a professional who has come to question the difference he makes in the lives of his patients in the U.S., and finds renewed passion in his calling spending several weeks conducting surgeries and training staff in a hard-pressed hospital in Hue.
And on February 23, A River Changes Course:
Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize Documentary at Sundance, A River Changes Course tells the story of three families living in contemporary Cambodia as they face hard choices forced by rapid development and struggle to maintain their traditional ways of life as the modern world closes in around them.
Both films are free and open to the public, and will play at Shadyside's Winchester Thurston School (map) at 2:00 pm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Korean BBQ is not long for Pittsburgh.


Via Google Maps.

I often drove by the Korean-language 영빈관 sign on the door of Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar and only recently learned it closed. A 2006 Pittsburgh City-Paper review called it "a jewel box of authentic Korean and Japanese cuisine", and a July 2004 Post-Gazette review lists a few other places in the city that offered Korean barbeque:
Unfortunately, few joints offer Korean barbecue in Pittsburgh; Sushi Kim, Jimmy's Korean Grill at Jimmy Tsang's and Ginza are the noble few.
Three of the four, including Young Bin Kwan, are now closed, and the fourth has sushi in the name. Bad news for the local Redditor looking for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ places last week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chinese New Year Celebration at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, February 1.


Via Steel Dragon Kung Fu and Lion Dance.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (map) will host a Chinese New Year Celebration from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on February 1.
Celebrate the Chinese year 4712, the year of the Horse, with Silk Screen Asian Arts and Culture Organization. Make art, enjoy live music, and join the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team for a parade through the Museum for the finale!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lecture "The Foundations of Korean Wave (Hallyu)" at Pitt, February 10.

The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Music will host Dr. Keith Howard and his lecture "The Foundations of Korean Wave (Hallyu)" on February 10. An early summary:
The beginnings of Korean Wave are typically linked to the term 'hallyu', denoting South Korean cultural exports to China and Taiwan. The ability of South Korea's cultural producers to seize these export opportunities was facilitated by early 1990s changes in domestic consumption and production, which soon made South Korea's recorded music industry the second largest in Asia, despite the Asian financial crisis that followed. Today, the South Korean music industry has shifted from a fan-oriented service business to business servicing, and to a model in which music is made freely available to consumers – as 'Gangnam Style' demonstrated. However, theories explaining the Wave struggle to catch up with reality. Accounts of Korean Wave typically situate it within frames of post-colonialism, nationalism and neoliberalism, and there is an increasing divergence between foreign and local commentaries. My presentation looks back to K-pop in the early 1990s, and charts through two decades to Psy's 'Gangnam Style'.
The free lecture runs from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in room 4130 Posvar Hall (map). Dr. Howard is a professor in the University of London's Department of Music. He gave a similar presentation in October 2013 at the First World Congress on Hallyu, where he was the keynote speaker. His article "The Foundations Of Hallyu– K-Pop’s Coming Of Age" is available online.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Magnifico at Pitt, January 28.



The University of Pittsburgh Global Ties group and Filipino Student Association will present the Filipino film Magnifico on January 28. The Tribeca Film Festival summarizes:
In a poor village outside of Manila, nine-year-old Magnifico does his best to bring joy to his family despite difficult circumstances. His sister is handicapped, his brother just dropped out of college, his parents struggle to make ends meet, and his grandmother thinks the end is near. But Magnifico remains optimistic. He secretly prepares for his grandmother's death by tailoring a dress for her and building and painting a beautiful coffin. He takes his sister to a street festival, which pleases her so much that she actually speaks for the first time. Time and again, Magnifico's kindly actions help his loved ones rise above the squalid conditions in which they live -- until an unexpected tragedy changes everything.
The movie will start at 6:30 pm in room 501 of the William Pitt Union. Admission is free.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru (生きる) at Melwood Screening Room, January 29.



The 1952 Japanese film Ikiru (生きる) will play at Oakland's Melwood Screening Room on January 29 as part of the occasional Essential Film Series.
Ikiru presents [Akira Kurosawa] at his most compassionate -- affirming life through an exploration of a man's death. Takashi Shimura portrays an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer forced to strip the veneer off his existence and find meaning in his final days. Told through a series of flashbacks, it looks at a life through a prism of perspectives.
The movie begins at 8:00 pm and tickets are $2. The theater is located at 477 Melwood Ave. (map).