We know laowai song-and-dance videos are passe -- thanks, Jesse Appel, et al. -- but the effort in this latest one is simply too rich to ignore. Matt Sheehan -- who you recognize around these parts as the China Eastern airport rumble writer -- teamed up with his friend Matt Allen to write, direct, shoot, and produce "We Livin in Xi'an," and the result is a perfectly outlandlish little paean to the capital of Shaanxi province, and perhaps the foreigner experience in China.
For the first time ever, Art Basel opened in Hong Kong on Thursday, where it'll remain a showcase for Asian art, artists and galleries until tomorrow. For a glimpse, you'll want to check out Stephy Chung's latest video for Crane.tv, above, featuring scenes from this international event.
Does Hong Kong deserve Art Basel? That's debatable. "Even a few local boosters will admit that the paucity of Hong Kong galleries is largely a reflection of the weakness of the local art scene," reports the New York Times.
You've likely not seen this because fun and original content has a way of getting buried over at China Radio International -- CRI has a lot of money and heart, just not enough marketing -- but C4, which is probably the only English-language "comedy news quiz show" in China, deserves your attention. Produced, directed, and hosted by Rob Hemsley and Stuart Wiggin, C4 (China News, China Chat, China Fun, China Four) is quirky, unique, satirical, funny -- all of those things at the same time, when it's at its best. (At its worst it's probably a medium-sized animal's droppings, but lucky for us, there's entertainment value there, too.)
Hey, I'm Morgan, I ran out of funny things to say for this bit.
Oh hai guys, happy Friday, good to see you all, and I hope you're all already having sweet, awesome weekends. Super sweet, awesome weekends.
Welp, for this week's Friday Outro, our man The Tao specifically requested some content relating to this weekend's INTRO Festival because BeijingCream has to stay relevant with the kids.
Ai Weiwei's 81 days in detention in 2011 is the inspiration for his latest work, "Dumbass," a song he wrote with music by rocker/artist Zuoxiao Zuzhou. The accompanying video was released minutes ago, in which he recreates scenes from his imprisonment. "He also portrays fantasies he imagines flitting through the guards’ minds," reports the NY Times. The cinematography is by Christopher Doyle, who has worked with the likes of Wong Kar-wai.
The problem with gringo lit about the gringo experience in China is it inevitably and unsubtlety reinforces the foreigner's sense of Otherness while feeding his inflated sense of importance. In doses this is not necessarily bad – it can be therapeutic to read, even for lesser voyeurs – but in bulk it becomes obnoxious, not least of which because it is both disingenuous and vapid to pretend that foreigners don't relish, if not secretly rejoice at, their entitled status as Other.
“From the moment we step foot in the Middle Kingdom,” editor Tom Carter writes in his introduction on the opening page of Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China, “foreigners are subjected to an extraordinary range of alien experiences, ranging from appalling to exquisite.” The use of passive voice – are subjected to – places the emphasis strictly on “foreigners,” who are subjects protraying themselves as objects, assailed. The next sentence begins – emphasis mine – “We contend with seething masses of humanity,” and it becomes abundantly clear who are the looked-upon They.
One of our favorite Chinese directors just released a new film, and by all indications, it's excellent. Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin, starring his wife Zhao Tao, is a Palme d'Or contender at Cannes, where it premiered on Thursday. The 133-minute film has alternatively been described as "a corrosive depiction of Chinese society" (LA Times) and "a scathing portrait of China's economic boom" (Globe and Mail).
Jonathan Alpart, who legitimately cares about Chinese music for Chinese music's sake, is the one-man driving force behind The Sound Stage, a bilingual show that spotlights local bands you might also care about. This week, he profiles Second Hand Rose, a musical favorite that's been around for 13 years and counting. "No other group blends Chinese elements and sounds with rock and roll music so seamlessly," Alpart writes.