A smart person once told me that the feeling she gets when certain people enter the room is the same feeling she gets when she encounters the dank scent of mildew on damp, bath towels. It’s a livable smell, that palpable acrid taste in the air, but for her it also brings with it a constant grating and discomfort. Even worse, people who project this feeling on others with condescending smiles and cheerful helping hands are often “true believers” with the very best of intentions. They move and talk as though under an ideological spell. Their hope is that when they enter the atmosphere of a situation the positive vibes, the affect, or “wisdom of the body,” they emit will radiate like an emotional contagion.
Think you're the fastest beer-chugger in Beijing? Prove it. Sign up for the inaugural Beijing Cream Chug-off for Charity on Saturday, August 24 at 2 pm at the new Great Leap Brewing (between Sun City and Chunxiu Lu). All proceeds will go to Magic Hospital, a local charity that "strives to help in the healing of sick, abused, neglected and orphaned children by restoring an element of fun in their day." It's absolutely a good cause, which we'll tell you more about in the coming days. Great Leap is very generously donating all the beer that will be used at the event.
"Mr. Kim Jong Un! Channel 4 News, UK!” yelled the journalist at the back of Kim Jong Un’s head.
The Great Marshall stopped. He slowly turned and smiled, his visage a million shining suns. The room, which had been full of raucous cheers, came to a hush. In perfect English he replied, “Yes? How may I help you?”
Just kidding. That last part didn’t happen.
Welcome to Three Shots with Beijing Cream, where local personalities may or may not get drunk on camera, depending on their alcohol tolerance. Produced and directed by Gabriel Clermont and Anthony Tao.
Vicky Mohieddeen arrived in China halfway by accident with no long-term plans, but in an opportunity-rich place like Beijing, it didn't take long for her to find a calling. Or several, as it were.
Please give a hearty Beijing Cream welcome to Beige Wind, an anthropology doctoral student who studies urban living, popular culture and the arts in the cities of Northwest China. He runs the website The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, and will swing by these parts periodically to enlighten us with stories from Xinjiang.
This is the third post in a multi-part series on Abdulla Abdurehim.
As a lover of home-made water crafts, I recently set out to build my own Beijing boat. The blueprint is simple, the supplies are all within striking distance, and the finished product unlocks a lot of free fun in parks, canals and places like Houhai.
The largest factory I ever visited was an automobile tire-manufacturing complex with more than 10,000 workers. At the time, I was working with a professor on a project to calculate the environmental impact of tire recycling. My colleague – let’s call her Kate – and I were dispatched to take a tour of the complex and see tire manufacturing firsthand. That was the ostensible reason, anyway. The real reason we were there was to schmooze with the plant managers in the hopes of obtaining one of their environmental audit reports.
Boarding an airplane can put you through the rawest five minutes of judgement you'll ever face, especially if you're a foreigner. Like a slow, awkward fashion show, you amble down the aisle in fits and starts while everyone already seated simply stare.
On my recent Guilin-bound Chengdu plane, I was generally spared of any finger-pointing or comments before I slid into my middle seat, wedged between A and C.
But then the 20-year-old boys came.
Candice Lee is leaving China, and that doesn't seem fair for those of us who can't imagine a Beijing without her -- including the bowling league, the annual kickball tournament, those random nights at 4corners or Great Leap Brewing when she would be merrily blitzed from a boozy dinner and talk about things no one would remember the day after.
Occasionally in showbusiness or sports, the odds against a performer's success are so stacked that the audience chooses, out of the goodness of human compassion, to root against probability. It's why we pull for Celtic FC when they face Barcelona, or Susan Boyle. I hadn't planned to cheer for the pageant contestants of Miss World China on Sunday at Galaxy SOHO -- hadn't not planned to cheer, as planning these things one way or another would be odd -- but a realization dawned upon me sometime between the rain and the fake applause piped in through the sound system: these girls are all underdogs in their own spotlight. They deserve better.
The biggest building in the world recently opened in Chengdu, China. The New Century Global Center's colossal undulating roof, which I'd been eyeing from my apartment window these past few months, is visible from any high point in the city. I hadn't known what it was until last week, when relatives informed me through a flurry of news articles that it was part of a 1.7 million square-meter complex that is nearly the size of Monaco, and has an artificial sun.
Amy Daml of Coon Creek, Minnesota has had a productive first year in China, braving TCM, Chinese grannies, and sex scenes in movies (alas, just as a voice actress, with her sexy, sexy voice). Listen to her charm the pants off our hosts, John Artman and The Good Doctor, in the latest episode of The Creamcast.
You can also catch Daml (pronounced Dam-ol) on China Radio International's Easy Cafe (time tbd).
I spent my last 30 minutes at the 2nd annual Beijing Craft Beer Festival sitting behind a desk under the LGBT Resource Center tent handing out fliers and chatting with curious Chinese onlookers and expats happy to see the table. (How drunk was I? You decide.) Ni hao, women shi Beijing TongZhi ZhongXin, we announced to a curious child and his semi-interested mother. Her eyes snapped to a rainbow-patterned poster, then to the two smiling foreigners sitting in front of her. With the speed and grace of a defensive tackle scooping up a fumble, lady disappeared with child.
Not a minute later, a separate young mother had her two daughters each put 10 kuai into the donations box. Scurrying and donating -- it was like that all evening, and the organizers were just fine with that.
Ai Weiwei has managed to upset and alienate many groups during his reign as China’s national gadfly, particularly within the past five years, a period in which the 55-year-old's public profile has swelled to supernova proportions. A respondent brought up the "Ai Weiwei Effect" in last month’s roundup of critical reactions to Ai Weiwei and Zuoxiao Zuzhou’s song “Dumbass,” and on the eve of the release of The Divine Comedy -- the six-song album on which Dumbass appears -- it's worth asking again: how do we perform aesthetic analysis of the outspoken artist-cum-activist's work when our perceptions are so colored by sentiment?
Sam Goodman is a Beijing oldie, having first moved here in 1995. In 1997 he was among the first foreigners to open a shop in the food-and-beverage industry, the sandwich chain Sammie's. He has since written a book, Where East Eats West, and gone on to start an assortment of projects, which you can read about here.
Global Times chose June 4 to publish two editorials about how the Internet and media need to be brutally censored. One editorial is by Shan Renping -- the party’s stupidest editorial lapdog -- and the other is from the rat-infested oozing pile of vomit and bile shat through the vagina of a dead yet zombified tapeworm screaming at the top of its intestines, Hu Xijin.
Let’s start with Hu: “Web regulation in public's best interest”
Liao Yiwu was a fledging poet without a formal education, a hot-tempered philanderer prone to fights, a dreamer who actively despised politics -- until the early hours of June 4, 1989, when, from the living room of his home in the river town of Fuling, he listened with Canadian Michael Day to shortwave radio reports of Chinese troops opening fire on students around Tiananmen Square. "The bloody crackdown in Beijing was a turning point in history and also in my own life," he writes in his prison memoir For a Song and a Hundred Songs, the book that won him the German Book Trade’s Peace Prize last October, for which an English translation was made available today by New Harvest. "For once in my life, I decided to head down a heroic path, one on which I advanced with great fear, scampering at times like a rat with no place to hide."
Welcome to Three Shots with Beijing Cream, where local personalities show off their drinking prowess at bars you should patronize. Produced and directed by Gabriel Clermont and Anthony Tao.
You've likely bumped into him at one of the city's bars, if you're the bar-going kind. Otherwise, you might know his work from The Atlantic, the New York Times, TIME, CNN, Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications. Our guest this week is Mitch Moxley, former China Daily copy editor, author of the forthcoming Apologies to My Censor about being a white man in China.
By now, you’re probably familiar with Ai Weiwei’s “Dumbass," the Beijing-born artist-cum-activist’s widely-publicized collaborative heavy metal music video with Zuoxiao Zuzhou that was unveiled last week to promote the pair’s upcoming full-length effort, The Divine Comedy.
Directed by well-known Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle -- you may recognize his work with Zhang Yimou and Wong Kar-Wai -- the highly-polished video offers a surrealistic interpretation of the 81 days that Ai, 55, reportedly spent in detention in mid-2011 for tax evasion