In the Show – 28th June 2011

PictureIn town last week, performing two shows at Grappa’s in Central, was a legend of the jazz world: saxophonist Ernie Watts. The two-time Grammy award winner has played with some of the greatest names in jazz and pop history, with orchestras, and with big bands. He’s played for TV shows, and movie soundtracks, and on more than 500 records. His diverse career spans more than 40 years.




PictureAt the New Gallery on Old Bailey until 16th July you can see an exhibition by Sim Chan, or Chan Wing-Leung. The show’s called “[Kōng]2” and in it Chan meditates on the many meanings of the word “空” and shows us our city from a worm’s eye perspective.






PictureThe Ken Bruen novel “London Boulevard” is a reworking of Billy Wilder’s classic “Sunset Boulevard”. “Sunset Boulevard” is about an out of work screenwriter who becomes a handyman and gigolo for a much older and retired female movie star. “London Boulevard” is about an ex-con, Mitchell, played by Colin Farrell. His mates want him back in the underworld. He gets a job minding a retired movie star. But this time she’s not so much older. She’s Charlotte, played by Keira Knightley. Gary Pollard reviews it.

“Torre pendente di Pisa “is an experimental project by local artists and activists “Museum Minus”. Inspired by what they call the growing “Real Estate Hegemony”, they have turned their 150 square feet office in an industrial building in Prince Edward into a duplex show flat. Before visiting the “show flat”, visitors are required to take part in a role-play briefing. They will be potential buyers dealing with a “property agent” played by an actor.

PictureThe Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, held every year in July in the town of Kuhmo, is Finland’s largest chamber music festival. It’s become an annual meeting ground of world-renowned music-makers. On Thursday, musicians from that festival are performing in Hong Kong, along with locally born cellist Trey Lee. They are in our studio.


In the Show – 21st June 2011

PictureThe Chinese Documentary Film Festival is now in its fourth year. Films selected for the festival are on show at the Hong Kong Arts Centre until 9th July. Maybe you think you see enough documentaries on TV, but these are likely to be something quite different. Among the subjects covered are pollution, high-heeled shoes, life as a monk, and surviving sandstorms. 



PictureIf you pay much attention to the Asian pop charts, you’ll know just how influential J-pop and K-pop, from Japan and Korea respectively, are. But Korea and Japan also have musicians, and listeners, who like a smoother, more mature kind of music that isn’t all about rehearsed dance movies and trendy matching costumes. One such group of musicians is Winterplay, a pop jazz trio from Korea that features producer, songwriter and trumpet player Juhan Lee, vocalist Haewon Moon, guitarist Saza-Woojoon Choi, and contra-bassist Eunkyu So.Recently in Hong Kong for the Summer Jazz Festival, the band initially topped the Korean Jazz charts with its first album ‘Choco Snowball, but then gained even more exposure through a TV commercial. They were in Hong Kong recently. 


PictureIn “Something Borrowed” lawyer Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) has sex with the fiancé of her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson). The wedding is due in just a few weeks. After that encounter Rachel and Dex (played by Colin Egglesfield) , also a lawyer are trying to decide what to do next. What they mostly do, for the next hour and a half is vacillate. These don’t seem like very nice people. But this is a romantic comedy, so you’re not supposed to think about that kind of thing. 




PictureCyprien Chabert is a three-dimensional sculptor and has been called one of the most significant French artists of his generation. In his exhibition “Dogs Meow”, showing at the agnes b. librairie galerie until August, he invites us to visit an unusual place.



PictureComing up in November at the Academy for Performing Arts is the Cirque Mechanics “Birdhouse Factory”. Its creators describe it as a circus unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It mixes inspirations from Charlie Chaplin, Mexican mural artist Diego Rivera, and cartoonist Rube Goldberg. According to one reviewer: “You’ve Never Seen a circus quite like Birdhouse”. Members of the company are in Hong Kong to give us a preview of what we can expect from that show. Two of them, creator Chris Lashua and contortionist Ganchimeg Oyunchimeg are with us in the studio to end this week‘s show. 

In the Show – 14th June 2011

Art HK 11

PictureThis year’s Art HK 11 featured 260 galleries from 38 countries, up from 155 galleries the previous year. Over 1,000 artists’ works were on display and more than 63,500 people visited, a 37.7% increase. News had come early in May that the Swiss MCH Group, organisers of the world’s two leading art fairs, Art Basel and Art Basel Miami had bought a 60% stake in the fair for an undisclosed price.

The fair’s new majority stakeholders announced that they wanted to move next year’s event to early February to avoid being too close to Art Basel, which is held in June. After concerns were raised that it would then clash with the Chinese New Year holiday, the organiser changed the dates back to the middle of May. However the long-term plan remains to move the fair to early spring. But is the fair going to retain its identity?

“Laughing with a Mouth Full of Blood”

Picture“Laughing With A Mouth Full Of Blood” is the human condition, which is however life it is, it will come to an end. That’s the truth of it. So you are laughing but you are dying at the same time.” That’s the philosophy behind the new painting exhibition by Simon Birch at Hong Kong’s Museum of Medical Sciences.

PictureLalan Exhibition

We also look at an exhibition at the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery by dancer, musician, poet, and painter Lalan, who moved to Paris with her husband Zao Wou-ki but then went on to forge her own path as an artist.

Movie Review – “Super 8”

PictureIn our film review, Gary Pollard tells us what happens when J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg collaborate on the movie “Super 8” It’s the story of a group of teenagers making a Super 8 movie, who encounter a creature from outer space.

In the Studio – Guqin player Zhao Jiazhen

PictureOn Friday and Saturday this week, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is letting us hear “A Dialogue Between a Guqin and a Gragnani”, what happens when an 18th century Gragnani violin meets a Song Dynasty guqin . The concert features violinist Lu Siqing and guqin virtuoso Zhao Jiazhen. Zhao Jiazhen is in our studio to give us a preview.

In the Show – 7th June 2011

“Love the Future” Exhibition; Wang Keping and Huang Rui in Hong Kong; Movie Review – “X-Men: First Class”; Laura Fygi

PictureOutside of the mainland authorities, no one knows the current whereabouts, of artist Ai Weiwei. The question “Where is Ai Weiwei?” was very much in evidence at the recent Art HK 11. Mainland censors have tried to stop even his name being mentioned on the internet and in web forums. Web users have been getting around that by using the Chinese phrase for “Love the Future”, which sounds considerably like his name. In the “Love the Future” exhibition. 50 local visual artists and poets express their views on the detention of Ai Weiwei, and what it might mean for Hong Kong’s future freedom of expression.

PicturePictureAi Weiwei was a founder member of the Stars art group. We talk to two other founder members of the group, Wang Keping and Huang Rui, who were recently in Hong Kong. Wang Keping and Huang Rui exhibited with Ai Weiwei as part of the Stars Group. From the beginning, the members of the group fought against censorship and too much emphasis on old forms of art.

Picture“X-Men: First Class” is what’s called, in the lexicography of comic book fans, an “origins” movie. In other words, it tells us how our super-heroes, got – or at least realised they had – their superpowers. Directed by Matthew Vaughan, it gives us an insight into the motivations of such heroes and anti-heroes as Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, Emma Frost, Beat, and more. Gary Pollard reviews it.

PictureDutch singer Laura Fygi’s new CD is called “The Best is Yet to Come”, and on it she performs jazz standards with a big band. She’s been on a tour of China singing songs from the album, and last Tuesday she performed at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. On the new CD, and in the concert, she sang the 1940 Mandarin pop song “Rose Rose I Love You”. While she was here she was delighted to meet not only its earlier singers Yao Lee and Rebecca Pan, but also the son of the original music composer.