Saturday, July 10, 2021

1998 Hong Sang-soo film The Power of Kangwon Province (강원도의 힘) online via Row House Cinema, through July 17.


Row House Cinema presents the 1998 Hong Sang-soo film The Power of Kangwon Province (강원도의 힘) online through July 17.
Presented in a beautiful restoration and newly translated, Hong Sangsoo’s breakthrough second feature, THE POWER OF KANGWON PROVINCE, is an early masterwork from the prolific filmmaker. Playing with structure, perspective and time – elements that would become hallmarks of his later work – the film follows a young woman, Jisook, who, fresh off her relationship with a married man, joins two girlfriends for a vacation in the mountainous Kangwon region and quickly makes the same mistakes, tumbling into bed with a married policeman. The film then shifts to her ex, Sangwon, who happens to be visiting the same region at the same time, and threatens to cross Jisook’s path.
Rental is $12 with some proceeds benefiting the single-screen theater in Lawrenceville.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Mongolian heavy metal band The Hu in Pittsburgh, September 17.


Mongolian heavy metal band The Hu will play the Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead on September 17.
In 2019, an NPR story put a spotlight on “a band from Mongolia that blends the screaming guitars of heavy metal and traditional Mongolian guttural singing,” accurately highlighting the cultural importance and unique musical identity of The HU. Founded in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, The HU, comprised of producer Dashka along with members Gala, Jaya, Temka, and Enkush, are a modern rock group rooted in the tradition of their homeland. The band’s name translates to the Mongolian root word for human being, and their unique approach blends instruments like the Morin Khuur (horsehead fiddle), Tovshuur (Mongolian guitar), Tumur Khuur (jaw harp) and throat singing with contemporary sounds, creating a unique sonic profile that they call “Hunnu Rock.”
Tickets for the 8:00 pm show are available online from $32 (plus fees). The Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead is located at 510 E. 10th Ave. in Munhall (map).

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Documentary The Witches of the Orient, on Japanese women's volleyball team in the 50s and 60s, online via Row House Cinema from July 30.


The Row House Cinema will present the 2021 documentary The Witches of the Orient online from July 30.
How does a Japanese women’s volleyball team from the late 1950s become an international sensation, feminist role models, the subject of a wildly popular comic book and a still-influential anime?

This stranger-than-fiction story is dynamically told by Julien Faraut (JOHN McENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION), with an ironic twist on the original demeaning moniker, Oriental Witches. A group of Osaka textile workers are transformed into a fiercely competitive volleyball team by their astonishingly ruthless coach whose unconventional techniques emphasize speed and aggression. A record-setting winning streak and a dramatic 1964 Tokyo Olympics triumph follow. Wonderful archival footage of the women in training and on the court, animated versions of their championship games, and moving interviews with the women today are set to a pulsating electronic score.
It will be available to rent and view online from the 30th, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the single-screen theater in Lawrenceville.

Japanese guitarist MIYAVI at Thunderbird Cafe, October 22.


Japanese guitarist MIYAVI will play the Thunderbird Cafe on October 22.
Takamasa Ishihara (石原 崇雅), better known by his stage name Miyavi (雅), is a Japanese singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer and actor. He is known for his finger-slapping style of playing a guitar. He has been active since 1999, first as guitarist for the now defunct visual kei rock band Dué le Quartz and then as a solo artist starting in 2002. In 2007, he became a member of the rock supergroup Skin and in 2009 founded his own company, J-Glam. He toured worldwide several times, with over 250 shows in 30 countries as of 2015.
Tickets for the 18+ show are available online from $30 (plus the multitude of fees); doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 8 pm. The Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall is located at 4023 Butler St. in Lawrenceville (map).

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Sushi Kim 2 opening soon downtown.


Sushi Kim, which closed its famed Strip District sushi and Korean restaurant in late-2019, has announced a Sushi Kim 2 coming soon to downtown. It will be located at 110 Smithfield St. (map). In 2020 it announced Sushi Kim 2 Go for N. Craig St. in Oakland, but the storefront there remains empty.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

2020 Japanese movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編) remains in Pittsburgh through July 14.


The 2020 Japanese animated movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編), which opened in Pittsburgh on April 22, will remain here through at least July 14. A synopsis of the top-grossing film in Japan last year, from the theaters:
Tanjiro Kamado, joined with Inosuke Hashibira, a boy raised by boars who wears a boar's head, and Zenitsu Agatsuma, a scared boy who reveals his true power when he sleeps, board the Infinity Train on a new mission with the Fire Pillar, Kyojuro Rengoku, to defeat a demon who has been tormenting the people and killing the demon slayers who oppose it!
It will play locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront, and tickets are available online; please note, some shows are in Japanese with subtitles while others are dubbed in English.

Cleveland Zoo suing Pittsburgh Zoo over Asian Lantern Festival.

via @pghzoo

The Cleveland Zoo is suing the Pittsburgh Zoo over the latter's upcoming Asian Lantern Festival, which is alleged to infringe on the longstanding festival in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo went to court Friday in a fight over one of its biggest annual attractions, the Asian Lantern Festival.

The Metroparks filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to stop the Pittsburgh Zoo from using the same name and similar marketing material for an event it is planning later this summer. The filing seeks a temporary restraining order and an injunction.
The Pittsburgh version is scheduled to run from August 14 through October 30. I've written before about how an Asian lantern festival, at least one inspired by the annual festival in Jinju, South Korea, would be an excellent use of the city's rivers.

Monday, July 5, 2021

2020 Japanese animated film Josee, The Tiger and The Fish (ジョゼと虎と魚たち) in Pittsburgh, July 12 and 13.


The 2020 Japanese animated film Josee, The Tiger and The Fish (ジョゼと虎と魚たち) will play in Pittsburgh on July 12 and 13.
In Josee, The Tiger and the Fish, there isn't a magical world to which our protagonist, Kumiko, can escape, aside from her own vibrant imagination. Kumiko prefers to be called Josee, a character from one of her favorite books. Unable to use her legs from birth, Josee, now in her early 20s, is cared for by her loving but controlling grandmother, who forbids her to leave the house except on short walks. It’s on one of these walks that Josee loses control of her wheelchair and careens down a steep hill. Luckily, her fall is stopped by Tsuneo, a university student who lives in the area. The night Tsuneo inadvertently saves Josee, her grandmother offers him a new job with better pay than most: to look after her granddaughter. The two begin to venture from home, to movies, amusement parks, aquariums and even the ocean. Josee begins to emerge from her shell, sharing with Tsuneo her passion for drawing and her ambition to become an artist. Soon Tsuneo begins to understand all the complexities of life without the use of one’s legs, from navigating train lines with a wheelchair to simply cooking a meal at home.
It plays locally at the Cinemark in the North Hills. Tickets are available online; the July 12 screening is in Japanese with English subtitles, and the July 13 screening is dubbed in English.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

1998 Hong Sang-soo film The Power of Kangwon Province (강원도의 힘) online via Row House Cinema.


Row House Cinema will present the 1998 Hong Sang-soo film The Power of Kangwon Province (강원도의 힘) online from July 2.
Presented in a beautiful restoration and newly translated, Hong Sangsoo’s breakthrough second feature, THE POWER OF KANGWON PROVINCE, is an early masterwork from the prolific filmmaker. Playing with structure, perspective and time – elements that would become hallmarks of his later work – the film follows a young woman, Jisook, who, fresh off her relationship with a married man, joins two girlfriends for a vacation in the mountainous Kangwon region and quickly makes the same mistakes, tumbling into bed with a married policeman. The film then shifts to her ex, Sangwon, who happens to be visiting the same region at the same time, and threatens to cross Jisook’s path.
Rental is $12 with some proceeds benefiting the single-screen theater in Lawrenceville.

2019 Makoto Shinkai film Weathering With You (天気の子) in Pittsburgh, July 25 and 27.



The 2019 Makoto Shinkai film Weathering With You (天気の子) will play in Pittsburgh on July 25 and 27. From the distributor:
GKIDS and Fathom Events proudly bring back the critically acclaimed film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed, global smash hit Your Name.

The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky…
It will play locally at the AMC Loews Waterfront and the Cinemarks in McCandless, Monroeville, and Robinson. Tickets are available online; the screening on the 25th is dubbed in English and the screening on the 27th is in Japanese with English subtitles.