On a crisp September 1st morning in Beijing, I stood before a locked iron door. On the other side was a hutong that led to the streets and eventually my university dorm. On my side was a scruffy courtyard home, a room with no couch and only one big bed – on which slept my Chinese boyfriend. It was dawn, and the hutong roofs were limned by a light morning mist, releasing the heat of the night into a new day. Inside, I was trapped, faced with an undesirable decision: to take a hammer to the door, or to return to the bed and have sex with a person I no longer respected.
The fourth Beijing International Film Festival opened on Wednesday, and it looks like it's already less boring than last year's. For that we have the Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone to thank, who on Thursday in a panel discussion spoke provocatively on Mao Zedong and urged the Chinese to confront their history. As The Hollywood Reporter reports:
Beginning today, we'll be posting, piecemeal, the entirety of our March 16 event Poetry Night in Beijing, co-hosted by Pathlight Magazine for the Bookworm Literary Festival. (A big shout-out to Patrick Lozada for filming.) Up first was physics teacher / poet Stephen Nashef, introduced by Pathlight poetry editor Canaan Morse.
DC rappers Pacman and Peso, who made waves in January after releasing a music video filmed in Pyongyang, North Korea (a trip that their friend and colleague, Ramsey Aburdene, documented for this site), are back with another video, this one set in Beijing. There's a lot to love about this, including:
First published in November 2008 on the old Danwei under the headline "RMB 3 million foreign douche bag in Shanghai" -- aged mp3 link newly restored! -- this tape is a genuine recording from Sherpa’s from a freewheeling customer who really likes comped hamburgers and isn’t afraid to show it. At one point the brutal laowai -- use of the term here meant as pejoratively as possible -- tells the Sherpa's operator, who gives her name as Sunny, that she doesn't have a "sunny disposition" and chastises her on lacking a "sunny attitude."
The 11th Adult Care Expo, i.e. Shanghai Sexpo, ended on Sunday, and if you weren't there for any of the three-day extravaganza of awkward gazing/touching/posing and shameless mobile recording inside the Shanghai International Exhibition Center, we'll fill you in: there were a lot of sex toys and aphrodisiacs, a lot of phalluses, a few AV stars but way more scantily clad girls -- sometimes dancing, sometimes doing something... we don't know -- and a lot of QPR codes, often on skin, because sexpos have gone digital, baby.
You've probably heard the rumors of 4corners's demise, but are they premature? "Forced renovations" is how owners Tavey Lin and Jun Trinh describe their popular bar/restaurant/livehouse's impending (temporary?) closure. What this means for the rest of us is two huge parties, today and tomorrow. To get a preview, I sat down with Tavey and Jun on Wednesday. In addition to looking ahead, they couldn't help reminiscing a bit about everything, from parties to concerts to bathroom sex.
In an earlier version of her “Wild Pigeon” project the award-winning National Geographic photographer Carolyn Drake dedicated one category of her images to dreams and what Uyghur viewers of her images said about them. One viewer told her:
“Good dreams, you tell your good friends. If you do, maybe the dream will come true. If someone says ‘I was in a forest, I faced a tiger, and the tiger attacked me,’ some people will say, ‘don’t speak about it.’ If someone speaks bad words, they will come true.”
The Xinjiang Flying Tigers may have lost the CBA championship to the Beijing Ducks, but Xinjiangers around the world came away from the games with a powerful meme. It came at the end of Game 5, after the Tigers rallied and pulled off an improbable win in front of a hostile Beijing crowd of 18,000. Shiralijan, the star Uyghur point guard for the Tigers who had been tasked with defending Stephan Marbury -- the star of the Ducks (and best player in the league, according to Anthony Tao!) --threw the ball in the air and raised a twirling, emphatic fist:
Spring switches us from latent to active, and spring being the season of festivals in Beijing, it's one more reason to get up and busy (and stop marathoning shows on Sohu). Beginning next Tuesday, April 8, the six-day Beijing Improv Festival returns with shows and workshops featuring greater China's finest improv crews. Knowing almost nothing about the art, I spent time with the local bilingual group Plus One during one of their weekly Sunday rehearsals to get the scoop.
The bawdy and good folk of That's Shanghai have published the three winning entries from its erotic fiction competition held earlier this month at Glamour Bar as part of the Capital M Literary Festival. (You might remember Jacob Dreyer's review of the event for this site, which was heavy on Bai Ling.) As That's editor Ned Kelly so delicately summarizes:
The Beijing Ducks won the CBA championship last night in Xinjiang, beating the Flying Tigers 98-88 in Game 6. Here are some photos and a video of the celebration. The top image, by the way, is now Stephon Marbury's profile pic on Sina Weibo:
Blogging China was a March 18 Bookworm Literary Festival panel discussion moderated by Anthony Tao and featuring Jeremy Goldkorn (Danwei), Alec Ash (the Anthill), Mia Li (Sinosphere), and Tao Stein (WeChat: 石涛讲故事 / shitaojianggushi). In front of a full house, we talked about the characteristics of bloggers (journalists without credentials? writers without agents? mavens without business plans?), the purpose of blogs, particularly in relation with traditional media, censorship, curation / aggregation, Sina Weibo, and whether WeChat is the future of blogging -- among many other topics.
People still remember where they were the day Exmetjan died. It was Thursday, June 13, 1991. He was only 22 years old.
As is common with the death of an icon, many people refused to believe he was gone. Instead, rumors spread that thugs from a rival disco had knifed him in a back alley or that he had faked his death and gone abroad to marry a princess.
When it comes to toadying up to authority, you can’t beat foreign business. While smog comes and goes like a dissident in the night, its legacy lives on -- for example, in the missive below from Savills, the London-based real estate agency, which wins our coveted Beijing Cream Corporate Whore of the Month Award with “Twelve tricks to protect you from haze.”
As the US and EU prepare to levy economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Russia's leaders may be growing desperate to find support wherever they can. On Tuesday at 12:14 pm, the official Sina Weibo microblog of the Russian Embassy posted a message that, in no uncertain terms, sought Chinese empathy. There was one big problem: the post contained a remarkably tone deaf reference to the "Tiananmen Incident," i.e. the 1989 student protests in Beijing that resulted in a violent government crackdown, i.e. the one event that no one here is supposed to talk about.
In a televised statement on Monday at Lido Hotel in Beijing, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which has now been missing for 18 days, likely "ended in the southern Indian Ocean." After his statement, family and friends of MH370 passengers were reportedly notified by text that "none of those on board have survived."