Wei Gensheng is a professional crane operator. Maybe he should think about changing professions, because these pictures are breathtaking, probably the best we've seen of Shanghai's skyline. Wei won second prize at the Shanghai City Photography Competition with these, which were snapped 2,000 feet (610 meters) above ground on the Shanghai Tower. (The building will be the world's second tallest, behind the Burj Khalifa, when it's completed later this year.)
I've been interested in Chinese rap for a long time, not only because rap's traditional focus on social problems and dirty lyrics seem to clash with Chinese political constraints, but linguistically the Chinese language has so many homonyms and rhymes one would think rapping would have endless variety. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a rapper guest on The Sound Stage... until now.
Our friends at Beijing Today will sporadically swing by to introduce art and culture in the city. This week, a man who paints of and with love.
Sheng Tianhong’s heart is wholly devoted to painting. Born in Zhejiang Province in 1973 and a graduate from the Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts, he moved to Dusseldorf, Germany at the age of 24 to travel and develop his career.
The short film Battle (above, with English subtitles) offers viewers a perspective of Uyghur life in major Chinese cities outside of Xinjiang. Having lived in Northwest China for extended periods, it was striking to see how evocative it is of life for Uyghurs outside of their homeland.
Adil Mijit is not the only Uyghur comedian to incorporate a discussion of hip-hop into his performances. In the recent state-sponsored film Shewket’s Summer, directed by Pan Yu with assistance from Beijing Film Academy students, Abdukerim Abliz joins the Uyghur hip-hop crew Six City as a reticent folk musician. The film, which is both a “coming-of-age” and “parent-trap” melodrama, highlights the way conflicts resolved at the level of the family have larger implications for society.
It’s not every day that a Chinese animated film manages to secure more than 1 million yuan in funding. It’s even rarer that that money comes from the crowd.
But 3,596 backers saw promise in Big Fish & Chinese Flowering Crabapple, a new film by Liang Xuan. Enough promise that they donated 1.58 million yuan over 45 days on Demohour.
It now holds the title of China’s most successful crowd-funded project to date.
The Uyghur-language songs of teen heartthrob Ablajan Awut Ayup run on a loop through the heads of many Uyghur tweens and young urbanites. Taking cues from Justin Bieber, the ever-popular dance moves of the late-Michael Jackson, and the pretty-gangster affect of Korean pop stars, Ablajan is a self-styled chart-climber; he is a self-made song-and-dance man. Whether you love him or hate him, the fact remains that he has cornered the Uyghur children’s music market by tying clever songwriting with catchy beats.
A high-tech research lab is probably the last place you think you'd find a rock 'n' roll genius, but Fuzzy Mood is all the proof you need. Distilling mathematical theories into musical layman's terms, this band will definitely put you into a better mood - with science!
Today on C4: China goes for bronze with a soft moon landing attempt. Plus, this:
Stuart: "Chang'e, by the way, is the goddess of the moon... and the shuttle is her Jade Rabbit."
Rob: "Her Jade Rabbit, I bet she has a lot of fun with that, doesn't she?"
Illustrator Josh Cochran posted the following, a veritable visual crossword highlighting the year in pop culture, two weeks ago on his Tumblr. The artist has generously allowed us to republish the image, on which we'll highlight two China-related elements: Edward Snowden ("there are 10 Edward Snowdens here," Cochran writes; see how many you can find), and the sharks. We really hope it's an allusion to this shark story from Shanghai.
The Silk Road of Pop (2013: 53 min) ends with a young rapper saying he wants the world to know Uyghurs exist. The man, a sculpted crop of hair jutting from his chin, says, “Aside from China, who knows that Uyghurs exist? Zero percent.” As a view from a train window merges into film credits while the Uyghur musician Perhet Xaliq and his wife Pezilet sing an old song of Uyghur youth “sent down” from the city, the pathos of the rapper's plea seems to resonate with the atmosphere of the land, the tight cement block apartments, the frozen sidewalks paved with Shandong tiles.