In the Show: 14th July 2009

It wasn’t so long ago that Hong Kong was regularly described as a cultural desert.

As The Works shows, week after week, there’s plenty going on here, if you only know where to look. To help keep the public up to date with the latest issues and events on the local arts scene, one group of artists has also taken to the internet with their own television channel: the HKADC.

In our studio performance we’ll be going “From Genesis to Broadway” in music, in the company of pianist/composer Warren Wills, and singers Joyce Wong and Heidi Mak.


It’s Warren’s latest show, it features Jewish and other Middle-Eastern musical traditions,  and it takes us from the Biblical Adam’s first words up to Harold Arlen and the Jewish songwriters of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway.

We devote all of part two of tonight’s show to a tribute to dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, who died on the 30th June. For many fans of modern dance and theatre for whom her work revealed new worlds , it’s an irreplaceable loss.

Bausch studied and worked with José Limon, Antony Tudor, and Paul Taylor among others, in the United States, before returning to Germany in 1962. In 1973, she took over a dance company in the German industrial town of Wuppertal. It became “Tanztheater Wuppertal”.

Ironically, although many in the town did not welcome her new approach at first, her dances placed it firmly on the international cultural map. Her work has been a strong influence on artists worldwide, including many in Hong Kong.

We speak to some of them, including dancer Mui Cheuk-yin, who worked with her, and remember the woman whose work could leave audiences profoundly moved.


In the Show – 7th July 2009

Fancy a good whinge? Want to moan about how bad the world is treating you? Perhaps you could sing about it instead, as one group of local citizens are doing. They have joined Hong Kong’s “Complaints Choir”. The idea was originated by two artists in Finland, but it was in May 2005, in Birmingham, England, that the world’s first Complaints Choir was formed. As singing ability is not a necessity, and as members can join freely to voice their dissatisfactions, the concept of a Complaints Choir has spread across the globe. People in Germany, Russia, the United States, Canada, Hungary, Israel, and Singapore have all formed their own Complaints Choirs, singing out their daily annoyances, and their social and political demands, in chorus.

The first “Ice Age” movie introduced us, in computer-animated form to Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger, and – of course – Scrat the squirrel and the acorn that is his heart’s desire. Well, there was a second “Ice Age” movie, and now there ’ s a third: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”, and it’s in 3D. Gary Pollard is in our studio to tell us more.

When most people think of street dance in recent years, the most likely one to come to mind is break dance. But there are other pop-oriented street dance forms, and two of them, popping and locking, are becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong. They both emerged from the funk movement during the 1970s in California. The emphasis is on technique, and dancers sometimes gather together in “battles” to see who has the best moves.

In our studio, Rick Lau talks to us about his cabaret show “My Queer Valentine”, a show dedicated to songs by gay songwriters.

In the Show: 30th June 2009

On this week’s show

From the middle of May until the middle of June, Singapore was holding its annual Arts festival. Featuring more than 600 performances and activities, the festival might have been taking place during an economic downturn but was a success all the same, having sold 92% of tickets. Over the three decades since it began, Singapore’s arts scene has come of age. A decade ago, the city had 6,000 cultural events a year. Now there are 27,000. Over that same decade, the participation rate has also increased, from one in ten Singaporeans attending at least one arts activity a year then, to one in three now. The number of arts groups has doubled, from 400 to 800. But performing artists still face the spectre of censorship.

The Transformer toys were released into the hands of eager children in 1984. The manufacturer, Hasbro, hired two writers to come up with a backstory for its creations. The Transformers come from the planet Cybertron. They are split into good guys and bad guys: the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron. They became the subject of comics, animated TV series, and an animated movie. Two years ago, there was a first live-action movie, directed by Michael Bay. Now he’s back with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”. Gary Pollard reviews it.

Henry and Roger Chung are two brothers who are just about to release their first CD. Henry is known in Hong Kong as an accomplished blues harmonica player. Their first album is music with a Christian flavour, but it features many of Hong Kong’s best musicians, and a variety of musical styles.

To see a streaming video of the show, please click here