Ed's note: Portrait of a Beijinger is an original video series for the Anthill by Tom Fearon and Abel Blanco. Each month, Tom and Abel will profile an ordinary Beijinger with an extraordinary story. The first episode in the series, along with Tom’s description of meeting its protagonist Liu Xinran, is republished with permission from the Anthill.
Captain Beijing is a "comical strip" produced by the People's Committee of Panel-Based Cartoon Cultural Enrichment for the purposes of modest entertainment. It is famous and popular at home and abroad, and was solemnly declared "Most Charming and Splendid China Cartoon Art." It will appear on this website every Monday, or the cartoonist will be punished.
In the short film Rahime, the Uyghur ethnomusicologist and filmmaker Mukaddas Mijit portrays a moment in the life of her grandmother. When she was coming up with the theme for the short film, Mukaddas was feeling dismayed by the many events happening in the world around her. Since she herself was born in an Islamic culture, she felt it her obligation to frame that world in a way to give voice to the humanity and wisdom of that world. She felt that her 88 year-old grandmother could do this by drawing out the richness of her knowledge of Sufi mysticism.
On March 21 as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival, Mark Natkin (founder and managing director of Marbridge Consulting), Kaiser Kuo (director of international relations at Baidu), and Josh Gartner (senior director of international relations at JD.com) sat down with Eric Jou for a panel discussion called Tech in China. They spoke on artificial intelligence, O2O, censorship, the market, and woolly mammoths -- all of which you can listen to in this week's episode.
JUE | Music + Art is an annual labor of love, a privately run, basically not-for-profit gathering of creatives in Beijing and Shanghai, with live performances, workshops, exhibitions, and talks. Founded in 2009 as a protest against "the big, homogenous mega-festivals emerging in China at that time," JUE Festival has just concluded its 7th program, featuring acts from around the world.
Don't look now, but a basketball dynasty is blossoming in Beijing, and the only man who was brash enough to dream it -- to, indeed, articulate that dream -- was the pride of Coney Island, Stephon Marbury.
One of the driving forces in the Uyghur film scene is a filmmaker and poet named Tahir Hamut. A graduate of Beijing’s National Minorities University, Tahir began his academic career as one of the premier Uyghur critics of Western Modernist literature. Throughout the 1990s he, along with Perhat Tursun and others, were the leaders of a Uyghur avant garde poetry movement. Then in 1998 he turned his attention to filmmaking. Now Tahir serves as one of the principle instructors in the Film Department of the Xinjiang Arts Institute in Ürümchi.
On February 5, 1989, at the opening of the China Avant-Garde Exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, a young performance artist by the name of Xiao Lu fired two gunshots at her work, two telephone booths with figures engaged in conversation inside. Her act -- part of the performance piece titled "Dialogue" -- became synonymous with the exhibition, caused the entire show to be temporarily shut down, and contributed to her and her boyfriend's arrest.
The consumption power of Chinese travelers once again grabbed headlines during the Spring Festival holiday. But instead of luxury watches or baby formulas, it’s Japanese toilet seats that have tourists going wild.
This Sunday at 2 pm at the Bookworm, as part of the 9th annual Bookworm Literary Festival, seven community poets will join two visiting writers/performers for Poetry Beijing, a celebration of verse and the power of the spoken word. But more importantly, it'll be a spotlight for this community's regular literary events and the people who run them. For example...
Lately I’ve been thinking about a particular aspect of Beijing history that doesn’t get written about much: bootlegging. VHS never caught on in China as it did in the West. It was only when CDs, VCDs, and DVDs landed that things shifted dramatically from state-sponsored TV and film to virtually anything that could be dubbed to disc. Suddenly the French New Wave, Chuck Norris, and Buster Keaton -- even whole historical collections from foreign national archives -- were available to anyone who had a few kuai to rub together.
The 9th annual Bookworm Literary Festival kicks off on Friday, March 13, and this year's lineup looks to be one of the most interesting ever. The guests on this week's Creamcast certainly think so -- they're festival coordinators, after all -- but don't let their bias stop you from checking it out yourself.
Tickets to the Bookworm Literary Festival went on sale on Saturday. This year's program is impressive for both its diversity of content — two journalism panels, stand-up comedy, art, environment, tech, trivia – and the strength of the visiting authors -- Chang-rae Lee, Yasmina Khadra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Willis Barnstone, Victoria Hislop, Michael Meyer. Many events will probably go overlooked. They shouldn't be.
Welcome to the reboot of The Creamcast! From the studio of Popup Chinese, RFH and I welcomed Andray Abrahamian, Executive Director at Choson Exchange, and Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, to talk about all things North Korea -- spying, journalism, coffee, reunification, and whether animals cry (this was really a predominant theme).
One of the emerging trends among young Uyghur film directors is a new attention to documentary filmmaking. This approach has long been a part of Uyghur cinema, but previously it was often part of a larger public relations presentation sponsored by the Chinese Culture Ministry. These new documentary short films are independently produced on limited budgets by young filmmakers who have an intimate knowledge of their subjects.
Hello, poets of Beijing. The Bookworm Literary Festival -- one of the largest bilingual cultural events in China -- has renewed our community poetry event for this year's program, which means it's time to get writing, reading, and workshopping. Last year's event, Poetry Night in Beijing, attracted a standing-room only crowd, and we can only hope to again get that kind of support. Consider this an open call. If you're interested, read on.
Here's another view of the fireworks on Chinese New Year’s Eve last Wednesday night, taken by someone on a plane landing over Beijing. In my previous post I wrote, "During no other time, living on the ground here, do I feel like zooming out to become an all-seeing observer." I guess it'd look something like this.