In the Show – 29th July 2008

Late in the morning on 24th August, A.D. 79 Mount Vesuvius erupted. Within hours it had blanketed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash, stones, and pumice. Few could escape. Beneath the ash, much of the area was preserved for centuries, as were grotesque memories of the dead. Other, less well-known settlements, like the nearby villas at Stabiae were also affected by that eruption. At the Museum of Art, the exhibition “Otium Ludens, Leisure and Play Ancient Relics of the Roman Empire”, features 170 artefacts from several seaside villas in Stabiae.

About 700 years from now, the human race has polluted the Earth so badly and created so much rubbish that it’s no longer a fit place to live. Its people have taken to the stars in a kind of outer space cruise liner, leaving a group of trash-compacting robots to clean up the Earth. They robots have all fallen into disrepair, except one, “Wall-E”, who continues his work, accompanied only by a friendly cockroach. He’s the hero of the latest computer-animated movie from Disney and Pixar. Gary Pollard reviews it.

Last year, armed with bags of his own little red book, “Quotations From Comrade Navin”, and a cardboard sign saying, “Who is Navin?”, Indian-Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul introduced people on the streets of Beijing to the “Navin Party”. He has also investigated his own Hindu-Punjab ancestral roots in the Bollywood-style video “Navins of Bollywood”. The projects are created under the umbrella of the “Navin Party”, an artistic entity he created two years ago.

Finally, in our studio Samson Young and Olivia de Prato perform a piece, composed by Sampson, for violin, video, and electronics.

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


In the Show – 22nd July 2008

In our studio this week clay sculptor Zhang Rongda gives us a demonstration of his art as he creates a clay head of presenter Ben Tse throughout the show.

With the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games less than three weeks away, and as Hong Kong is playing host to the equestrian events, two of our local museums are currently presenting exhibitions related to the horse in Chinese art and culture. We look at the exhibitions and trace the development of the relationship between man and horse in China, over the ages.

In our film review, Gary Pollard talks us about the new Batman movie: “The Dark Knight” and tells us that even for fans of director Christopher Nolan’s previous Batman film, this one takes the genre to new heights.

Britain’s Royal Ballet Company has been described as one of the world’s three greatest ballet companies. Originally founded as the Vic-Wells Ballet, it became the Royal Ballet in 1956 after receiving a royal charter. Critics are saying the company, which was performing in Hong Kong over the weekend, is in its best shape for decades. We talk to members of the company about their show here and about the challenges of making ends meet with a declining government subsidy and an aging audience.

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

In the Show – 15th July 2008

As Hong Kong’s manufacturing industries have moved to the mainland, many of the old factory buildings have been left empty. Now one has been given a new lease of life as a centre for artists and craftspeople from a wide range of disciplines. For a start-up cost of $69.4 million dollars provided by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the 108,000 square foot site now houses 122 studios, three communal workshops, a black box theatre, three exhibition spaces, and communal areas for other artistic activities.

Will Smith’s latest movie “Hancock” is about John Hancock, a super hero with an attitude problem. He discovered his superpowers after waking from a coma in Miami years before with a bad case of amnesia, and doesn’t really want them. He’d rather drink and sleep on a wooden bench than save the world, and when he does have to do something heroic he’s more than a little slapdash about how he does it. Reviewer Gary Pollard tells us more.

The aim of AEROS is to turn a sport into an art. Over the weekend, the production, which combines gymnastics and dance, held its Asian Premiere in Hong Kong as the opening presentation of this year’s International Arts Carnival.

Finally, with us in the studio tonight we have Mo Yiu-shan on yangqing, and Mo Ai-chi on erhu. They’re giving a concert at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall this coming weekend. Tonight, they play us out with “Meeting of the Butterfly Lovers.”

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

In the Show – 8th July 2008

Think of a well known trumpet player, and you may be more likely to think of a jazz musician than a classical one – Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Chris Botti, or Wynton Marsalis. Most are men. In the classical music scene too, the world of brass is dominated by male players. Only a handful of trumpet players have made careers as soloists. One soloist who performed in Hong Kong last weekend is making a name in classical music though. And – more unusually – she’s female. She’s Alison Balsom.

Drama, so they say, is conflict, and there aren’t many more visible expressions of conflict than out and out violence. In cinema, violence is sometimes trivialised as in James Bond movies, at other times shown more brutally. Even if you’re used to the artifice of Hollywood violence though, you could find the movies of Austrian director Michael Haneke quite hard to take. The Broadway Cinematheque and Palace IFC cinemas are showing a retrospective of his movies until the 20th of the month. Film reviewer Gary Pollard tells us more.

“A wounded swordsman arrives at the home of a mysterious woman who lives like a hermit deep in the woods”. That’s the starting point for the latest production by Theatre du Pif, “Hanako’s Pillow”. Directed by award-wining Australian director Robert Draffin, it’s both a love story and a ghost story, about a witch and a warrior.

Fresh from a leading role in the Miss Saigon show that has just finished touring Australia, Rick Lau has previously created a series of sell-out one-man extravaganzas. Coming up is a three-part cabaret series at the Fringe Club. He’s in our studio tonight to introduce his one-man show, and to sing “Fly Me to The Moon”.

If you want to take a look at the show, click here to see a streaming video.

In the Show – 1st July 2008

For two shows last weekend, one of the world’s most respected violinists, Midori, was in Hong Kong to perform the Brahms violin concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s a much-loved work. It’s also considered one of the most technically demanding pieces in the repertoire.

Timur Bekmambetov is the creator of the most successful Russian film franchise in history, the Night Watch series. They are horror action movies with a touch of science-fiction thrown in. Bekmambetov is known for his visual style. There’s a new film by him, “Wanted”, showing at local cinemas right now. Like the others, it’s based on a graphic novel. It’s also highly visual, highly kinetic, and it stars Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Gary Pollard’s been to see it.

All over the world, museums are in transition. Curators and organisers are asking themselves just how to best strike the balance between collecting, conserving, studying, interpreting, and exhibiting, for the modern age. Hoping to encourage a fresh perspective on such institutions, the Asia Art Archive recently organised a Dream Museum Project. The project included workshops by leading professionals, and invited artists and members of the public to depict their dream museum.

“Clementine is My Sunshine” is the stage name of singer songwriter John Wu, who is still a high school student. He describes his sound as being like “Bob Dylan, before he got “The Band’.” In our studio he performs “Have You Heard?”, a song specially written to raise money for north Korean refugees.

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