In the Show – 30th November 2010

Photographs by People with Disabilities

Time to say cheese. Or at least to smile, as we’re focusing on photography in tonight’s show, and two exhibitions from the first Hong Kong Photo Festival.

We begin with an exhibition that reveals how the camera can become a particularly useful form of expression for people with disabilities.

First Photographs of Hong Kong

The camera is a time machine. Not just because it captures a moment, or moments, in time. But also because it can take us back days, weeks, months … or even a hundred or more years. One of the exhibitions in the Hong Kong Photo Festival allows us to travel back in time to the Hong Kong of 150 years ago.

Painter Chu Hing-wah

Chu Hing-Wah is now a full time artist, but before he retired from his other career he spent 28 years of his working life helping the mentally ill, and creating art in his spare time. His career as a psychiatric nurse had a strong influence on his work, some of which is currently on show.

Movie Review – “Fair Game”

Doug Liman gave new life to the spy movie as the director of “The Bourne Identity” and ”The Bourne Ultimatum”. Now, with “Fair Game”, which stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, he’s taking it into another more realistic, and more directly political dimension. If you keep up with international news, you may remember the story from the newspapers. It’s about CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson. When Joe Wilson annoyed the Bush White House, the administration leaked the identity and occupation of his wife, endangering many of the people with whom she had been working. Gary Pollard reviews it.

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In the Show – 23rd November 2010

The Cao Yu Drama Festival

We begin our show this week with the story of a man who has been called, “China’s Shakespeare”. He’s playwright Cao Yu, who – heavily influenced by Western theatrical forms – was one of the best known early practitioners of Chinese spoken drama or “huàjù”. Cao Yu’s early trilogy “Thunderstorm”, “Sunrise” and “The Wilderness” are all highly significant works in 20th century Chinese theatre, popular both before and after the creation of the People’s Republic of Chiina. But his relationship with the ideology and practice of Communism was not always a comfortable one. September 24th marked the 100th anniversary of his birth. Locally it’s being celebrated by the Cao Yu Drama Festival, in which theatre groups from Hong Kong and the mainland are adapting his works.

Movie Review – “The Social Network”

David Fincher’s “The Social Network” is a movie about the creation of Facebook, and as such it’s about computer nerds and civil lawsuits. Neither of those usually makes for interesting films. Apart from that it’s director David Fincher usually likes to take on extreme or unusual material, and who loves experimenting with special effects. Think of “Seven”, “Alien 3”, “Fight Club”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. For him to make a film like “The Social Network” seems like a bit of an odd fit. But our reviewer Gary Pollard thought it worked better than most would have imagined.

Street Music Series of Concerts

Think about how we listen to live music. Maybe it’s a pop concert where fans are carrying lights or lighters, signs, dancing, screaming and applauding like crazy. Or maybe we go to a classical music concert where we sit more sedately in our chairs and clap politely at the end. Or you could listen to tango, that might be played in a dance hall in South America. Or Cantonese opera, performed in a bamboo shed at some village festival.We hear different kinds of music in different kinds of venues and atmospheres. But Hong Kong composer and musician Kung Chi-Shing wants to bring a wide variety of music to the street.

In the Show: 16th November 2010

Transforming Zhang Zeduan’s “Riverside Scene”

In tonight’s show we’re travelling 900 years into the past as we celebrate an ancient Qingming Festival. One of the biggest art events in town at the moment is “River of Wisdom” the animated version of Zhang Zeduan’s classic painting “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival”. If you haven’t bought tickets already, well it’s too late. It’s sold out. But there may still be plenty of other opportunities to find your way into that scene. We look at different adaptations of the painting, in ballet and animation, even a McDull movie

Ma Shi Po – Hear the earth breathe”

We also travel into Hong Kong’s own countryside, to Ma Shi Po in Fan Ling to be precise. Last Sunday, dozens of nature lovers went to Ma Shi Po to make the point that we need to stay close to the earth. And some of them made that point … with music.

The Flaming Lips in Hong Kong

And we travel into the bizarre but happy world of the American pop group “The Flaming Lips”. Q Magazine says they are one of the “50 Bands You Need to See Before You Die”. Wayne Coyne, their frontman, describes them as a “weird party-freaky-rock ensemble” from Oklahoma. Others call Wayne himself the Willy Wonka of music. Concerts by The Flaming Lips are a spectacle, an experience, and a party.

In the Show – November 9th 2010

Hong Kong Dance Festival 2010

This year’s Hong Kong Dance Festival will run until 18th December and is all about celebrating the diversity of the local and international dance scene. It includes stage productions, competitions, workshops, talks, an international dance symposium, and the biennial “Jumping Frames Dance Video Festival. This year, the fourth Hong Kong-based “Jumping Frames” is bigger than ever, and will be held simultaneously in Macau and Guangzhou.

Movie Review – “Red”

The movie “Red” is about a group of CIA Black Ops agents, considered “Retired, Extremely Dangerous” who find themselves forced out of retirement when they are put on a hit list. The movie’s based on a “graphic novel” by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and takes the rather downbeat mood of the original and turns it into an action comedy. It stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich as the not so over-the-hill agents. Gary Pollard reviews it.

In the studio – local band Merriweather Deer

For many, how you earn and spend is the strongest measure of your success.Our consumption of products defines us: elegant, sophisticated, a member of the elite. Or perhaps not. Shopping can be fierce and bloody. Just visit a sale..Currently on show at Tang Contemporary Art “Shopping” is an installation by the Beijing art group UNMASK.It examines the relationship between shopping and life.

Finally in our studio, the local Indie band Merriweather Deer is opening for The Flaming Lips in Hong Kong on Saturday. They play for us one of their own original songs “Cities”

In the Show – November 2nd 2010

SCAD HK

The North Kowloon Magistracy in Sham Shui Po was built in the 1960s. In January 2005, when Hong Kong reduced the number of its magistracies, the court closed. In his Policy Address two years later, Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced the “Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme”, to adapt and reuse government-owned historic buildings. The North Kowloon Magistracy was one of seven in the first batch. Now, fewer than two years later, the formerly abandoned building has been given a facelift and houses an art and design school. SCAD Hong Kong is the first university in Asia to be set up by United States’ based Savannah College of Art and Design.

Movie Review “The Concert

There’s a long tradition of satirising political evils in movies. It includes Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”, Ernst Lubitsch’s “To Be or Not to Be” and Wolfgang Becker’s “Goodbye Lenin”. Now comes “The Concert”, a Russian-French co-production directed by Romanian Radu Mihaileanu. It’s the story of a Russian orchestra banned from playing during an anti-Semitic purge by the Brezhnev government 30 years ago. They get a chance to perform again by impersonating the Bolshoi Orchestra for a concert in Paris. Gary Pollard reviews it.

Exhibition “Runscape”

Parkour or freerunning is a recreational activity that some would even consider a philosophy. It involves, to put it technically, “traversing elements in both urban and rural settings.” Now two French artists have created an exhibition that they say maps the city from the perspective of the freerunner. Runscape is an installation by locally-based French artists Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix. It features a 24-minute video featuring two runners: their son Gaspar, and a friend Yannick Ben.

Pianist Xue Xiaoqiu plays in the studio

From fast feet to fast fingers. In our studio performance pianist Xue Xiaoqiu plays for us and introduces the “Magic Fingers” of his debut album.