Friday, August 28, 2015

Row House Cinema adds Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブルー) to September's anime film series.

The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville recently added a fourth film, 1997's Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブルー) to a September anime film series that also includes Akira (アキラ), Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊), and When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー). A 1999 Village Voice review summarizes:
This storyboard-come-to-life animation tells a contemporary tale of a pop star who is the target of a stalker. Her life becomes a nightmare of multiple personalities and blurred media realities. She even has a home page that tracks her every move.

This is a knowing, adult view of what seems to be a young-teenage paradise, a cool world of ponytails, backpacks, laptops and videocams. These are the adulatory fans of pop star Mima, lead singer in a girl group, who announces she's giving it all up to go into acting.

"The pop idol image is suffocating me," she tells her mom in all seriousness.
Showtimes and ticket information will follow on the theater's website.

KBox gets liquor license, offers 20% off through September 27.

KBox emailed yesterday to say they recently received a liquor license and added drink specials to the menu. They are also offering a back-to-school special of 20% off room rates through September 27. Finally, they are also planning to add wireless microphones and LED tables to all rooms.

KBox is Pittsburgh's first Asian-style karaoke / ktv / 노래방---and only one, until the new Squirrel Hill one opens---that opened in September 2012 at 214 S. Craig St. in Oakland (map). More information, and song lists, are available at its website.

The difference between Asian-style places and carry okee night at the bar on Thursdays is that at an Asian place, in Asia, you rent a small room with your friends and sing privately, as opposed to singing to the whole dining room whether it wants to listen to you or not.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saturday's Squirrel Hill Night Market draws inspiration from Asia.

Squirrel Hill will be holding its first Night Market on Saturday, August 29. Its inspiration from East Asia, organizer Alec Rieger of NextGen:Pgh tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The idea of a nighttime open bazaar was inspired by the night market scene in Asia. Mr. Rieger had his first taste of it in Thailand. “An entire street was transformed into a wonderful, wonderful night market where you could find jewelry, art, food,” he said. “The next morning it was all gone, and it went back to being a regular street.”
NextGen:Pgh also plans a Chinese New Year parade through Squirrel Hill in February 2016. The Night Market will be held from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, on a strip of Murray Ave. between Forbes Ave. and Bartlett St. that will be closed to vehicular traffic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Korean Heritage Room at Pitt shaping up.

Via the Pitt News.

The Pitt News, the student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh, has an article on the progress of the Korean Heritage Room, set to open in the Cathedral of Learning on November 15.
Minah Lee, the Architect-of-Record and designer of the room, said she and the other designers wanted the construction of the room to revolve around Korean pride, or “jajonsim.” She, Myounghee Song, Kim Bong-ryol, and Sang C. Park, the other designers of the facility, worked through the summer on the room, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 15.

The room will feature an 82-inch interactive Samsung LCD to display lessons. The inclusion of such technology is the first for any of the Nationality Rooms.
The decision to include technology was made to commemorate South Korea and its role in the electronic industry.

“We are so proud to have the LCD in the room,” Park said, adding that chalkboards and the like could be very messy and time consuming.
And as Pennsylvasia wrote in 2012:
That duality is a common theme in Korean national brand marketing, and this room will reflect both a traditional image of Korea (at least a traditional image of old Korean universities) and a modern one, given South Korea is an industry-leader in electronics (like the touchscreen monitors made by Samsung and LG, for instance).
Fundraising began in 2008, one year after room 304 on the third floor of the Cathedral was earmarked for the Korean room, and construction began in June.
Korean Heritage Room Pitt
One design by Arumjigi (아름지기)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) at Row House Cinema, August 28 - September 3.

The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will show the 2000 Japanese movie Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) from Here's how imdb summarizes it:
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.
And an excerpt of the Wikipedia summary of controversies:
The film was labeled "crude and tasteless" by members of Japanese parliament and other government officials after the film was screened for them before its general release. The film created a debate over government action on media violence. At one point, director Kinji Fukasaku allegedly gave a press statement directed at the age group of the film's characters, saying "you can sneak in, and I encourage you to do so." Many conservative politicians used the film to blame popular culture for a youth crime wave. Ilya Garger of TIME magazine said that Battle Royale received "free publicity" and received "box-office success usually reserved for cartoons and TV-drama spin-offs." The Japanese reaction to the film in the early 2000s has been compared to the British outrage over A Clockwork Orange in the early 1970s. Critics note the relation of Battle Royale to the increasingly extreme trend in Asian cinema and its similarity to reality television.

For eleven years, the film was never officially released in the United States or Canada, except for screenings at various film festivals. The film was screened to a test audience in the U.S. during the early 2000s, not long after the Columbine High School massacre, resulting in a negative reaction to the film's content.
The movie, released in 2000, didn't make it to Pittsburgh until April 2012. Showtimes and ticket information are available on the Row House Cinema website. The theater is located at 4115 Butler St. (map).

Taiwanese movie Rebels of the Neon God (青少年哪吒) at Harris Theater, from August 28.

The 1992 Taiwanese movie Rebels of the Neon God (青少年哪吒) will play at the Harris Theater from August 28. The movie was released in the United States in April, 23 years after it premiered in Taiwan. A summary, from a July Philadelphia Inquirer review:
There's no better way to dive into [filmmaker Ming-liang] Tsai's world than with his stunning debut, Rebels of the Neon God (1992), which finally is getting its first theatrical release in America.

A breathtaking, disturbing look at urban angst and the emptiness of youth culture, the film introduces us to a character who haunts so many of Tsai's Taipei films: Hsiao-kang (played by the director's longtime collaborator, Lee Kang-sheng), a somber, surly, silent, often petulant youth who doesn't seem to feel at ease anywhere he goes.

When we first see him, Hsiao-kang seems an earnest, if frustrated, college student who works hard into the night. He shares a tidy flat with his taxi-driver father, who makes no attempt to understand - or even like - the youth. His overprotective mother seems never to tire of consulting augers and priests about her son's future.

Appearances can be deceptive. Hsiao-kang doesn't think he fits in at school, and early in the film, he drops out, pocketing a large tuition refund without telling his parents. He spends hours wandering the streets on foot or on his moped and seems incapable or unwilling to connect with others.
Showtimes have not yet been released. The Harris Theater is located at 809 Liberty Ave. in the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District (map).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Japanese film series at Maridon Museum this fall.

The Maridon Museum announced the details today of its Japanese film series this fall, a collection originally forecast in its summer newsletter. The films are: 1983's The Makioka Sisters (細雪) on September 25, 1975's Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again (a.k.a., Tora-san's Rise and Fall, 男はつらいよ 寅次郎相合い傘) on October 1, 1964's Kwaidan (怪談) on October 23, and 2004's Nobody Knows (誰も知らない) on November 5. Showtimes and summaries to follow in future posts.

The Maridon, an Asian art museum, is located at 322 North McKean St. in downtown Butler (map), roughly 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Filipino movie The Love Affair at AMC Loews Waterfront from August 21.

The 2015 Filipino movie The Love Affair will play at AMC Loews Waterfront from Friday, August 21. A press release summarizes the film, which was released in the Philippines on August 12:
[T]he movie tells the story of Vince ([Richard] Gomez) and Tricia ([Dawn] Zulueta), a married couple undergoing problems after she seems to have cheated on her husband.

It becomes more complicated when Vince crosses paths with Adie ([Bea] Alonzo), a lawyer he meets while seeking to have his marriage with Tricia annulled.
Showtime and ticket information is available from the theater's website.

Anime series at Row House Cinema in September.

akira攻殻機動隊When Marnie Was There

The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville recently announced an anime series that will run from September 25 to October 1. The lineup includes: Akira (アキラ), Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊), and When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー), with a fourth film to be determined. Showtimes will be available at the theater's website later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A few Korean flavors at Hines Ward's new restaurant.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler receiver Hines Ward is opening a new restaurant in Seven Fields, and the menu at Table 86 will feature a few Korean flavors: Mae Oon Shrimp, Korean barbecue wings, a pulled pork sandwich with Korean barbecue sauce, and Korean BBQ ribs. (Mae Oon / 매운 is an adjective that means spicy in Korean). Ward's mother is Korean, and Hines became especially well-known in South Korea after being named Super Bowl MVP in 2006. He told the Tribune-Review yesterday:
There are some nods to his mother's cooking, too.

“Asian-style, Korean barbecue things my mom has taught me over the years,” Ward said. “I love the Korean ribs.”