In The Show – February 8th 2011

For those of you who get confused by having two Bens presenting the show, Ben Pelletier’s off on his travels. Instead we have Billy Lee, the regular presenter of our Chinese version of The Works  藝坊星期天.

We begin by heading to the steppes of Inner Mongolia. That’s where Tenggeer and his band Blue Wolf come from. They recently visited Hong Kong to give local music lovers a chance to hear their brand of folk music with a modern twist.

In “Rapunzel”, a poor man with an ailing pregnant wife steals a vegetable called rampion from the garden of an enchantress to restore his wife’s health. When the enchantress catches him, he agrees to give her the child, a daughter called “Rapunzel” (the German word for “rampion”), whom she then locks up in a high tower with no door. It’s taken Disney a long time to get the story of Rapunzel to the screen, which they now have in the form of “Tangled”. They first considered adapting it in the 1940s shortly after releasing “Snow White”. To fit in with more modern sensibilities, the new Disney version doesn’t want Rapunzel’s original parents to be poor people who steal other people’s vegetables. Nor does it want its male character to be a ready-made prince. Gary Pollard reviews it.

As most Chinese school children know, “Journey to the West” is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. When it was published in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, its author kept his name secret.. He’s now believed to be Wu Cheng’en. There aren’t many Chinese people who don’t know the story of Monkey, Pig, the Monk, and the journey to the West. It’s so popular it’s been turned into films, plays, traditional opera, ballets, comics, cartoons, and now … a rock musical “Monkey King”, on show in Hong Kong just two weeks ago.

We still have new legends in the modern world, although they are more likely to be pop stars, actors, and other celebrities.What makes a legend a legend in the modern age? And what’s its connection to mortality or death? That’s the subject of “This Mortal Coil”, the new exhibition by Hong Kong painter Wilson Shieh. It’s showing at the Osage Gallery in Soho until the 27th February.

If you can hit it, slap it, scratch it, or rub things against it, you can make music with it. Percussionist Arai Soichiro is in our studio with his “Singing Hands” to show us how .

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