In the Show – 27th May 2008

The musical “We Will Rock You” is built around the songs of the rock group Queen, the title is that of one of their hit singles. The show is running at the Hong Kong Academy for Perfoming Arts until the middle of June. The story and dialogue are by British writer and comedian Ben Elton, in collaboration with the band ’ s drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May. We talk to Elton, Taylor, and members of the cast.

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas premiered the latest Indiana Jones movie at the Cannes Film Festival just last week, and it’s already on show in Hong Kong. But was it worth the 19 year wait since the last one? Gary Pollard tells us more.

For a generation of Chinese, iconic photographs of Mao helped to immortalise the leader nicknamed “The Great Helmsman”. One of the men who created them was Lu Houmin. Lu was an official Mao photographer for 12 years. We spoke to him last week.

Andy Warhol also created iconic images of Chairman Mao, but Warhol certainly was not approaching it from a political point of view. He chose Mao because he was fascinated by celebrity, fascinated by mass-consumer culture, and saw the repetition of Mao as something similar to how celebrities were reproduced in fanzines and magazines. Currently, many of Warhol’s Mao prints and paintings are on display in Hong Kong.

On Sunday, many of Hong Kong’s independent rock bands and their fans gathered at the Fringe Club to raise money to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake. All proceeds from the concert and the sale of drinks went to charities operating in the region. The Works went down to take a look, and we end this week with highlights of the concert.

Want to take a look at the show? Click here to go straight to a streaming video.

In the Show – 20th May 2008

Last week, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre was home to Art HK 08, the largest international art fair ever to take place here. The artworks on display were worth, in total, more than HK$500 million. Work by around 850 artists, many known around the world, was exhibited. Over 19,000 people attended. But while this first Hong Kong Art Fair was a success, many felt that more work needs to be done if it wants to position itself as one of the best in Asia.

Music’s always been big in the movies of Martin Scorsese, and some of his work has been specifically about music. He was an assistant director on “Woodstock”, he filmed The Band doing their final concert in “The Last Waltz”, he’s produced documentaries on Eric Clapton and on the Blues. Three years ago he looked back over Bob Dylan’s career in “No Direction Home”. Scorsese’s long been using the Rolling Stones music in his movies too. “Mean Streets” had “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, and “Gimme Shelter” turned up in “Goodfellas”, “Casino” and “The Departed”. Now he’s made “Shine A Light” a whole movie about the Stones themselves. Reviewer Gary Pollard loved every minute.

Over the weekend, one of the world’s pre-eminent flautists was performing Carl Nielsen’s Flute Concerto at the Cultural Centre with the Hong Kong Philarmonic. He’s Emmanuel Pahud. He spoke to The Works before the show.

Finally this week we’re joined in the studio by Aurelien Franckel, Ibrahima Sissoko and Modi Niakate of the French dance group Etha Dam. They are doing performances in Hong Kong over the next two nights. As Aurelien explains, the group mixes hip hop with capoeira, African dance, and theatrical dance in their show “Aduna, Land of Adventure”. Dancers Ibrahima and Modi perform an excerpt.

Want to take a look at the show? Click here to go straight to a streaming video.

In the Show – 13th May 2008

An event, a film, and an exhibition, “The Screening” is a 24-minute long artwork by French artist, Ariane Michel. The project was first presented at last year’s Basel Art Fair. There, more than a hundred people signed up to watch a screening in the middle of the woods at night. The video on display showed allowed them to experience themselves, and “The Screening” from the point of view of the wood’s creatures. At the Agnes b. Librairie Galerie in Wan Chai until 9th August, there’s a chance to experience a recreation of that event.

Hong Kong has been one of the busiest container ports in the world for many years, and was in fact the busiest for some of those years. Containers from here are shipped all around the globe. One local project, aims to ship a little taste of Hong Kong ’ s art with them, as 38 artists created their own facades for the containers.

“What Happens in Vegas”, the movie, is that two New Yorkers, very unalike in character, decide to vacation there and drown their sorrows. Jack Fuller (played by Ashton Kutcher) is a slacker. Cameron Diaz is Joy McNally, a somewhat driven stock trader, who flies there to recover after her fiancé breaks up with her. The two meet, get drunk, get married, and wake up in the morning realising their mistake. You might think that would be easy enough to fix. Get an annulment. And that’s what they plan to do, but then fate – or chance – steps in. Gary Pollard tells us more.

From the beginning of May, a choir has been touring Hong Kong, appearing in many schools and churches. They left Hong Kong today for Seoul in Korea and will still be touring the region until September. The group is the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda, which is not only bringing the world its songs but also raising money for the Watoto orphanage, which cares for children left orphaned by HIV/AIDS, like the children in the choir themselves.

Want to take a look at the show? Click here to go straight to a streaming video.

In the Show – 6th May 2008

Tonight’s show is of particular interest to piano lovers. We have not one, but two pianists in the studio performing for us. One of them is Chen Weiyin, who is in Hong Kong this week to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Still in her early twenties, Chen is already making a big name for herself.

And we also talk to, and hear a contemporary piece from, teacher and pianist Dr Gloria Chuang.

Video artist duo Sylvie Boisseau and Frank Westermeyer found a link between China and Europe in a Chinese language school. Germans study Putonghua there, as do German-Chinese trying to reconnect with China. The couple use non-actors and unscripted dialogue for their videos, which they film and edit themselves. Their debut solo exhibition in Asia includes two videos, centering on the themes of migration and language.

In our film review, in the wake of Batman, Superman, and Spiderman another forty-year-old comic book has been adapted for our cinema screens. It’s time for “Iron Man” to make his mark. Reviewer Gary Pollard tells us more.

At Lumenvisum, in the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Sham Shui Po, is a photography exhibition called, in English, “Nocturne”. It features a new series of black and white photographs by local photographer Alfred Ko Chi-keung. The Chinese title of the exhibition literally means “Ritual of the Night”. The two titles are designed to capture the ambiguity of the works – does the silence of the night heal, or does it reveal how impossible it is for rituals to resolve mental or social conflict?