Friday, July 24, 2015

Welcome Picnic for students from Nihon Fukushi Daigaku High School, August 8.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will host a Welcome Picnic for 12 students visiting from Nihon Fukushi Daigaku High School on August 8. From the JASP newsletter:
Twelve students will be coming to Pittsburgh from Mihama, Aichi Prefecture, to practice taiko drumming with Pittsburgh Taiko and students from CAPA and Allderdice High Schools for the TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko program.
The Welcome Picnic will be held at Prospect Shelter in Schenley Park (map) on August 8 at 12:00 pm. Online RSVP is requested by July 31. A concert and farewell reception will be held on August 15 at the Pittsburgh CAPA School downtown (map).

"Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 70 Years Later" at Dormont Public Library, August 8.

The Dormont Public Library will host "Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 70 Years Later" on August 8.
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we proudly present a tribute to Japanese history and culture. This special event, offered in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, is a reflection of this significant period in history and will highlight the many unique aspects of Japanese culture.

This program is recommended for individuals in 3rd grade and up and will feature an interactive demonstration of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, performance of the beautiful koto musical instrument, and unveiling of a special project completed by members of the library staff and volunteers from the public and the Origami Club of Pittsburgh over the course of several months.
Registration is requested and can be done through the Facebook page or by calling 412.531.8754. The library is located at 2950 W. Liberty Ave. (map), and a five-minute walk south of Potomac Station on the T.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pittsburgh Taiko and Rashomon at Row House Cinema, July 25.


Pittsburgh Taiko, a local Japanese drumming group, will perform at the Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville on July 25 before the evening's showing of the 1950 Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon. The performance begins at 7:15 pm. Tickets are $9, and more information is available at the event's Facebook page.

A synopsis of the film, from a 2002 Roger Ebert review:
The film opens in torrential rain, and five shots move from long shot to closeup to reveal two men sitting in the shelter of Kyoto's Rashomon Gate. The rain will be a useful device, unmistakably setting apart the present from the past. The two men are a priest and a woodcutter, and when a commoner runs in out of the rain and engages them in conversation, he learns that a samurai has been murdered and his wife raped and a local bandit is suspected. In the course of telling the commoner what they know, the woodcutter and the priest will introduce flashbacks in which the bandit, the wife and the woodcutter say what they saw, or think they saw--and then a medium turns up to channel the ghost of the dead samurai. Although the stories are in radical disagreement, it is unlike any of the original participants are lying for their own advantage, since each claims to be the murderer.
And a 1951 New York Times review writes:
Much of the power of the picture—and it unquestionably has hypnotic power—derives from the brilliance with which the camera of director Akira Kurosawa has been used. The photography is excellent and the flow of images is expressive beyond words. Likewise the use of music and of incidental sounds is superb, and the acting of all the performers is aptly provocative.
Row House Cinema is showing four classic Akira Kurosawa films from July 24 through July 30 in a film series dedicated to the director. 1961's Yojimbo (用心棒), 1949's Stray Dog (野良犬), 1958's The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人), and Rashomon (羅生門). A schedule and ticket information are available on the theater's website. The theater is located at 4115 Butler St. (map).

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Studio Ghibli film Porco Rosso (紅の豚) at Row House Cinema through July 23.

The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville (map) is showing the 1992 Studio Ghibli film Porco Rosso (紅の豚) through July 23 as part of its "Airplanes" series. A synopsis, from a 2011 New York Times review:
Set during the political volatility of between-the-wars Italy, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated 1992 adventure “Porco Rosso” introduces an unlikely hero: a portly, chauvinistic seaplane pilot with the head of a pig and the heart of Rhett Butler.

The snout grew courtesy of a mysterious curse, but the heart, like Rhett’s, beats for only one woman: a sexy chanteuse who runs a popular resort on the Adriatic — a floating Rick’s Café. Once an ace fighter pilot, Porco has deserted from the Italian military (“I’d rather be a pig than a fascist,” he explains) and now works as a freelance bounty hunter and scourge of aerial pirates.
Ticket and showtime information is available on the theater's website. The Thursday screening is a "Kids Will Be Kids" show:
A family movie where where kids are allowed to run around and be kids. A little lower on the volume as well. Please note this will be distracting to the quiet movie watcher.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kung Fu Killer (一個人的武林) at Parkway Theater, July 21.

July's installment of "Asian Movie Madness" at the Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks is Kung Fu Killer (一個人的武林). Wikipedia provides a summary of the 2015 movie, which is now commonly known as Kung Fu Jungle in English:
Hahou Mo, a martial arts expert and police self-defense instructor (Donnie Yen) is incarcerated for involuntary manslaughter during a fight with an opponent. Three years later, a vicious killer (Wang Baoqiang) emerges and starts killing retired martial arts masters that Hahou knows. With his own personal agenda, Hahou reveals he knows the killer's next intended victims and offers to aid Inspector Luk Yuen-Sum (Charlie Young) in capturing the killer with his martial arts skills and knowledge in exchange for his freedom.
The movie starts at 7:00 pm and is free, as are all Asian Movie Madness films, which are held on the third Thursday of the month. The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map), a few miles west of the North Side.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chinese man pedaling rickshaw around the world stops in Washington, PA.

The Observer-Reporter writes about Chen Guan Ming, the 61-year-old Chinese man pedaling a rickshaw around the world again ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. He stopped in Washington, PA on the 14th.
From their vantage point at Campbell Street and Avella Road, the employees of the Avella Uni-Mart are witness to the happenings of the small town.

They can watch the trucks from the volunteer fire department speed by and funeral processions inch along the brick road.

Tuesday, they spotted a white-haired Chinese man pushing a rickshaw up to their front door.

Chen Guan Ming, a farmer from Eastern China, stopped by the convenience store for a quick bite on his way to Pittsburgh.

“I bought him two slices of pizza,” said employee John Runyon. “We offered him water, but he wanted ice, so we filled up his thermos. Then he used the bathroom.”
So that's the news out of Independence Township. His schedule isn't posted online, but you can follow where he is on his Facebook page. A reader says he was spotted in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Cambodian film The Last Reel (ដុំហ្វីលចុងក្រោយ) in Oakland, July 18.

The Lost Reel

The Cambodian film The Last Reel (ដុំហ្វីលចុងក្រោយ), which first played in Pittsburgh on July 13, will have a second screening at the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival on Saturday, July 18, the last day of the festival. A synopsis, via the official site:
A lost film buried beneath the Killing Fields reveals different versions of the truth.

Sophoun discovers an old film starring her mother and this offers her the chance to dictate her own destiny, but at the cost of uncovering some dark secrets about her mother and father during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Phnom Penh, present day. Sophoun, the rebellious daughter of a hard-line army colonel, lives life for the moment, hanging out with a local gang. But when her father returns home with another marriage proposal, Sophoun flees her imploding home and seeks refuge in a derelict cinema. There, she is shocked to discover an incomplete 1970s melodrama from pre-Khmer Rouge times, a film which starred her now desperately ill mother as a glamorous young woman. A story from a different world, a different time.

With the help of the cinema’s elderly projectionist, Sophoun re-makes the missing last reel of the film, reprising her mother’s role. By premiering the completed film forty years later, she hopes to remind her mother of a life she’d once lived and to mend the psychological scars that still haunt her.

The old film, however, poses more questions than it answers. The promise of the Cambodian film industry and its newest star was cut short in 1975 by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime which specifically targeted actors and filmmakers as enemies of the people. Remaking the last reel offers Sophoun an opportunity to dictate her own destiny but at the cost of uncovering some painful truths about her family and their past.

The movie plays at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland (map) and starts at 8:30 pm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

강정호의 "해적"티셔츠.

Commonwealth Press has designed Jung-ho Kang t-shirts with "Pirates" in Korean, 해적, across the front.

In Korean, the singular Pirate is the same as the plural. The unisex shirt is $15.

Pittsburgh City-Paper profiles author and University of Pittsburgh professor Robert Yune.

The Pittsburgh City-Paper published a profile in today's edition of author and University of Pittsburgh professor Robert Yune, whose first novel, Eighty Days of Sunlight, was published in June. An excerpt:
The book is especially notable for its particularized and distinctive portrait of Asian Americans. Yune never wanted to write about racism, racial identity or the immigrant experience, because, well, that's been done. But at the least, Eighty Days of Sunlight (titled for Pittsburgh's supposed annual solar exposure) is an unusual take on those matters. Yune notes, for instance, that working-class Asian-American life is usually referenced only as backstory — not depicted in the firsthand way of Jason's often stupefied workaholic father, or of Jason finding a strange pride in taking his father's place in a hot, grimy, noisy factory. Nor, in a national literature replete with immigrants "making it," do we see often such strivers fail.

Likewise atypical are Jason and Tommy, contentious young screw-ups who'd fit no one's typed ideas of Asian Americans. "When I got to know the characters, they didn't seem to be ... the model minority," says Yune. "A lot of times when we see people who don't fit the stereotypes, we forget about them."
More about the author on his official website.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Four Akira Kurosawa films at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, July 24 - 30.


The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville (map) will show four Akira Kurosawa films in a film series dedicated to the director. 1961's Yojimbo (用心棒), 1949's Stray Dog (野良犬), 1958's The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人), and 1950's Rashomon (羅生門) will run from July 24 to 30. A schedule and ticket information are available on the theater's website.