In the Show – June 29th 2010

The qipao was originally a costume of the Manchus in northern China.By the Qing dynasty it had been adopted by many Han Chinese. While Manchu women had worn it as a one-piece long gown, as adopted by the Han Chinese, it evolved into a two-piece item consisting of a bell-shaped top and a skirt. More recently it’s become a slim and elongated one-piece dress. An exhibition “The Evergreen Classic-Transformation of the Qipao”” is showing at the Museum of History in Tsimshatsui until September 13th.

At cinemas this week, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz join up for the first of the summer blockbusters “Knight and Day”. It begins with car enthusiast June Havens twice bumping into FBI agent Roy Miller in an airport while on her way to her sister’s wedding. Their meetings are not an accident though, and she gradually realizes that Roy Miller has got her involved in a conspiracy that will pretty soon have them running half way around the world. Gary Pollard reviews the movie.

Chinese ink painting can be a conservative art form. There’s a long tradition of stylisation which has been handed down, and some painters judge their success primarily by how well they can match that tradition. In recent years though, contemporary artists have brought new approaches and ideas into the medium as a recent exhibition revealed. We talk to three of the Hong Kong artists taking part.

In our studio, local Indie folk singer-songwriter Corey Tam talks to us about his new EP and sings a self-penned song “Champagne Eyes”

In the Show – 22nd June 2010

Hong Kong’s education system is moving to the 3-3-4 model, under which tertiary-level undergraduate programmes will expand to four years. Eight local universities have to change from the current three-year undergraduate curriculum to a four-year one by September 2012. Currently they are planning ahead, working out ways to re-structure, and coming up with new curricula and course designs. Art students and staff at Hong Kong Baptist University and the HK Chinese University are worried about what’s in store.

“The Runaways” is about the formation, success, and break up of one of the first, if not the first, all girl rock and roll bands. It’s produced by guitarist Joan Jett, and based on an autobiography by the band’s singer Cherie Currie. When they appeared, Glam Rock and androgyny were all the rage. This was the time of David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” album. Some of the girls wanted to be rockers, the others weren’t so sure. And, adding to the confusion, their manager and creator Kim Fowley had it in his own mind that what he was marketing most was underage sexuality. Gary Pollard reviews the movie.

Painters and other visual artists tend to stylise and filter. But since the invention of film and photography, we’ve been able to get a relatively unfiltered view of reality, even the reality of times long before we were born and places we’ve never seen. A new exhibition at the Heritage Museum concentrates on this documentary aspect of photography, on how it captures the moment, and – sometimes – the social conditions of which it’s a part.

In our studio, Nepalese saxophonist Kevin Thapa and English clarinettist Rebecca Nicholls play “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

In the Show – 15th June 2010

From “Paris of the East” to now the host city of this year’s World Expo, Shanghai is one of the most Westernised cities in China. As a port city like Hong Kong, Shanghai is opened for foreign trades, mirgration of population and in-coming cultures. But at the same time the city has its unique cultural identity, There is a common saying among locals that people speak English in the inner city center, Putonghua in Central Shanghai and Shanghainese on the outer rim of the city. As in many big cities in China, urbanisation has brought about the demolition of old buildings and dismantling the communities, the cultures and custom that have been there for decades. One such practice which is disappearing, at least for now during the Shanghai Expo period is that of wearing pyjamas in public. Justin Guariglia set out to photograph them for his book “Planet Shanghai”.

“The A-Team” ran for five seasons on the NBC television network in the mid-eighties. It was a highly merchandised TV series about a group of ex-United States Army men who had become soldiers of fortune after being branded as war criminals for a “crime they didn’t commit”. It was, said most critics, short on plot and real character, but long on one-liners, and cartoon-like TV violence. But its mostly young male audiences watched it avidly anyway. Now it’s a movie. Gary Pollard tells us whether it’s just more of the same.

The Art Habitat programme promotes affordable art collection. Artists participating in the ongoing project are students and alumni from the Hong Kong Art School. Currently, borrowers can lease 25 art pieces by 14 artists. They include photographs, paintings and installations.

In the studio, singer Liz Merendino and pianist Warren Wills perform a song from the one-woman stage show “Seasons of Liz”

In the Show – 8th June 2010

The first “Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition” was held in 1975. Its aim is to provide an open platform to show outstanding works by Hong Kong artists.Now, the “Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition” has been renamed ”The Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards”. We talk to the curator and three of the artists taking part in this year’s show, which is currently showing at the Museum of Art.

“The Green Zone” is directed by Paul Greengrass and stars Matt Damon. The two of them last worked together on the Jason Bourne movies, so naturally the film is being referred to in some quarters as Bourne in Baghdad. This time though, Matt Damon is in military uniform as Roy Miller, the leader a Mobile Exploitation Team charged with finding those elusive weapons of mass destruction. Eventually though he comes to realise what many suspected all along – that there are none. So why is the intelligence so faulty? Gary Pollard reviews the movie.

Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming attained fame in Taiwan in the 1970s, and in New York in 1983. As a teenager he was trained as a woodcarver, apprenticed to Lee Chin-chuan. He now works with a range of media, including bronze, styrofoam, ceramics, and stainless steel. His work is currently the focus of three exhibitions in Hong Kong.

“Paganini’s Gut” is the title of an upcoming concert by violinist Andrea Zanchetta and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. It features music played on original lambs’ gut strings similar to those Paganini himself would have used. Andreas is in the studio to play an excerpt, and tell us more about it.

In the Show – 1st June 2010

With the economy in Europe and in the United States still sluggish, the art market’s attention is increasingly turning to Asia. The Hong Kong International Art Fair, now in its third year, has become one of the most important in the region. Gallery owners, art collectors, buyers and the media are already calling Art HK the next Basel. This year, the number of participating galleries increased from 120 to 155. More than 1,000 artists’ works from 29 countries are on show. The four-day fair, which ended on Sunday, drew 46,000 visitors, 65% more than last year.

Movie music composer Simon Boswell had the idea for the Blink project in 2002, while watching a newscast in a hotel room.He takes news footage of people blinking and adds a soundtrack. As a composer of music for films, he wanted to create a synergy between news footage and music.Blink debuted in London’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 2002.The celebrities featured in that first project include Bill Clinton, George Bush, Queen Elizabeth, Victoria Beckham and Osama Bin laden.This year, Hong Kong’s Home Affairs Bureau, invited him to present the latest version of the project as the opening event of this year’s Hong Kong International Art Fair.

And, in our studio, a man who has been playing guitar since he was three, and doing so on national TV in Britain when he was eight. He was also guitarist of the supergroup Asia. Now he spends a lot of his time teaching, and conducting guitar clinics. He’s also been voted Guitarist of the Year by the UK’s Guitarist magazine. He’s Guthrie Govan