Monday, November 30, 2015
Design consultants Arumjigi (아름지기) have published photos of the new Korean Heritage Classroom in the University of Pittsburgh that opened in the Cathedral of Learning on November 15. Arumjigi selected the architects who transformed room 304 from an ordinary classroom to one with an appearance inspired by a 15th-century Korean university lecture hall. The Pitt Chronicle had a lengthy write-up of the room prior to the unveiling earlier in the month.
The Japan America Society of Pennsylvania will host its next "Japanese-English Reading Circle" in Shadyside on December 5. An overview, from the event's Facebook page:
The downtown branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will host a Japanese Tea Ceremony with Yuko Eguchi Wright on Saturday, December 12:
Tea ceremony, or Chado (The Way of Tea), is a traditional Japanese art involving ritualistic preparation of tea. Influenced by Zen Buddhism philosophy, the core teaching of chado is to attain a spiritual state of selflessness and peacefulness through making and sharing one bowl of tea.The library is located at 612 Smithfield St. (map). The event runs from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, and is free and open to the public.
Learn the history and philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony while tasting Japanese tea and sweets.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Chen in Pittsburgh, from a 2013 Sampsonia Way article.
The City of Asylum---which "provide[s] sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced---will host an evening with Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) on December 1.
Chen Guangcheng, known to many as “the barefoot lawyer,” was born in 1971 in the village of Dongshigu, China. Blind since infancy, illiterate until his late teens, he nonetheless taught himself law and became a fiery advocate for tens of thousands of Chinese who had no voice. His escape from inhuman house arrest in China made international headlines, as did his flight to the American embassy in Beijing. In 2012 he became a student at New York University Law School; since 2013 he has been a senior research fellow at Catholic University, the Witherspoon Institute, and the Lantos Foundation. He now lives with his wife and two children in the Washington, D.C., area.The event runs from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP is required and can be done online. The City of Asylum is located at 330 Sampsonia Way on Pittsburgh's Northside (map).
Friday, November 27, 2015
The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will show two classic Hong Kong films in a "France vs Hong Kong New Wave" series from December 4th through 10th. The series will include The Killer (喋血雙雄) and Fallen Angels (墮落天使), in addition to two French films.
A 1991 New York Times review provides a summary of the 1989 John Woo film The Killer:
Set in contemporary Hong Kong, "The Killer" tells the story of Jeff Chow, a hired gun with a heart of gold who falls in love with a nightclub singer named Jennie, whom he has accidentally blinded during a shoot out. Determined to make enough money to give up his violent ways and pay for the cornea transplants that could restore Jennie's sight, Jeff accepts one final deadly assignment. Having completed the assassination, he speeds off from the scene of a crime in a spectacular motorboat chase with the police.And a 1998 Roger Ebert review says of the 1995 Wong Kar-Wai film Fallen Angels:
The chase is the first move in an extended game of cat and mouse with his pursuer, Inspector Lee, who eventually becomes his ally when the two of them face down the entire Hong Kong underworld in an apocalyptic shootout.
To describe the plot is to miss the point. "Fallen Angels" takes the materials of the plot--the characters and what they do--and assembles them like a photo montage. At the end, you have impressions, not conclusions. His influences aren't other filmmakers, but still photographers and video artists--the kinds of artists who do to images what rap artists are doing to music when they move the vinyl back and forth under the needle.
The people in his films are not characters but ingredients, or subjects. They include a hit man and his female "manager," who share separate dayparts in a hotel room that seems only precariously separate from the train tracks outside. (She scrubs the place down before her shift, kneeling on the floor in her leather minidress and mesh stockings.) There is also a man who stopped speaking after eating a can of outdated pineapple slices (pineapple sell-by dates were also a theme in "Chungking Express"). He makes a living by "reopening" stores that are closed for the night, and has an uncertain relationship with a young woman who acts out her emotions theatrically. There is another woman wandering about in a blond wig, for no better purpose, I suspect, than that "Chungking Express" also contained such a character.
Show times and ticket information is now available at the Row House Cinema website. The theater is located at 4115 Butler Street (map).
The University of Pittsburgh School of Education will host the third and final session in its three-part Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language Workshop on Friday, December 4. Titled "TCFL and Technology", it is presented by Visiting Scholar in the School of Education Fang Lu and runs from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in 1500 Posvar Hall (map).
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Signage went up recently at 6316 Forbes Ave. (map) for Hi Sound KTV, an Asian-style karaoke/noraebang/ktv coming soon to Squirrel Hill. We first wrote about it in July 2015, when construction started on what was then called C & Z Ktv.
The area's first Asian-style karaoke place, K-Box, opened on South Craig St. in Oakland in September 2012. A few Korean restaurants in the area have karaoke, but do not offer the small, private rooms ubiquitous throughout East Asia.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The next BUBBLEPOP dance party will be on Black Friday, November 27, at Cattivo in Lawrenceville.
Playing pop from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Euro and 'Merica:As the group's Facebook page says,
DJ QueenBee (welcome her back from Taiwan!)
...and special guest Tommy Yoo!
As always, DRESS UP if that's your thing! Take us to kawaii outer space ㅇㅅㅇ
BUBBLEPOP is a dance party for K-Pop, J-Pop, Mando-pop and everything else fun and cuteCattivo is located at 116 44th Street in Lawrenceville (map). The event starts at 10:00 pm and is free.
The 2015 film The Assassin (刺客聶隱娘) will play at the Harris Theater from November 27. The Taiwan-China-Hong Kong co-production by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien stars Chinese actress Shu Qi and is Taiwan's entry for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2016 Academy Awards; a summary, from an October A.V. Club review:
Enigmatic and often mesmerizing, super-saturated with color, drawn like a still plain ripped by brief, unexpected gusts of wind—The Assassin is one of the most flat-out beautiful movies of the last decade, and also one of the most puzzling. Returning to features after a prolonged absence, Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien has made a martial-arts period piece like none other, keeping to the classic principles and conventions of wuxia—the storied Chinese genre of wandering warriors and codes of honor—while casting them in a mysterious light. Bold takes on popular genres generally set out to de-mystify, but Hou has accomplished the opposite. Washing away centuries of film and fiction, he envisions a tale from the Tang dynasty—about a deadly martial artist who must kill the man to whom she was once betrothed—as a window into the haunted otherworld of the mythic past.Showtimes are now available online, with Friday's showings set for 5:45 pm and 8:00 pm. The Harris Theater is located at 809 Liberty Ave. in the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District (map).
Perhaps the most confounding thing about The Assassin is how much of a straightforward wuxia movie it is, at least in retrospect. Raised since girlhood to be a remorseless killer of corrupt lords and court officials, Nie Yinniang (Hou regular Shu Qi) spares a target on account of his young son, and is punished with an assignment that’s meant to wipe away whatever speck of compassion she has left: to kill Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen), the cousin to whom she was promised in marriage as a child, and who is now the governor of Weibo. It’s a given that Yinniang—largely silent and nearly invisible, despite her stomping gait—can strike at any moment; the question that shadows every scene is why she doesn’t. She is there behind every curtain in Tian’s palace and on every rafter, listening, hanging like smoke, materializing only to disappear again—the passive hero as threat.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
The student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh had a lengthy cover story on Friday about the many Asian restaurants in Oakland, including several new ones that purport to offer more authentic fare.