Pacman, Peso, and I recently returned from a 16-day Asia trip that included a five-day stay in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (as in America, the N-word is taboo in DPRK). This journey started in August when our record label, Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group, launched a Kickstarter seeking $6,000 to fund the trip and a music video called "Escape to North Korea." With the help of a five-page feature in the Washington Post Style section and a generous $5,100 donation from James Passin (aka "The American Who Bought Mongolia”), we were able to raise $10,400 and get a lot of attention in the process. People actually cared, for some reason.
Here's a laowai who loves his hometown of Cleveland so much that he raps about its charms to a Chinese audience. Cleveland, the city whose football team has had more staph infection lawsuits than playoff appearances since 1999, the city with a sulphuric I-71 cutting through it, the city consistently ranked one of the worst in the US, the city...
Ylvis's hit "The Fox" (What Does the Fox Say?) was the surprise viral song of the late summer. We can't believe it's taken all of nearly two months, but here, finally, is a parody of that video set in China, featuring that other wonderfully mysterious creature of the woods, by which we mean -- of course -- the giant panda.
We don't have a lot of information about this video just yet, but it was sent to us recently by YouTube user Scott AH, whose e-signature suggests he's with Comedy Club China. It's a good one, if only for this scene at the 19-second mark:
The wonderfully idiotic adults behind Rebecca Black's "Friday" have done it again, kidnapping what appears to be a sweet teenage girl and forcing her in front of the camera to perform the world's worst song. Ark Music Factory, led by producer Patrice Wilson (he's the dude in the panda costume; what panda costume, you ask? hang on), has topped itself with "Chinese Food," simply a glop of bewilderment and suburban American camp.
How many deep-rooted Asian stereotypes can you cram into a five-minute music video? Dozens if you’re the American boy band Day Above Ground, the Los Angelenos who galvanized the Asian American community on Tuesday afternoon after blogger and cultural critic Angry Asian Man blasted the video for their song “Asian Girlz” in a scathing post.
While we’d love to offer a frame-by-frame analysis of everything questionable about the most racist music video we’ve ever seen, doing so would give us ebola. Our shortlist, however, includes:
The feel-good show Voice of China, which admittedly can be over-the-top and schmaltzy, has produced another made-for-TV moment. The most buzzed-about performance from last week is by Zhang Xin from Chongqing. Check out his rendition of Alicia Keys's Fallin', followed by the judges' reactions when they find out that the singer hitting those high notes is a 26-year-old man.
The hottest ticket in town will be the one to see Dr. Dre and LeBron James at Spark this Saturday. How do you get tickets? No idea. They're probably not going to be publicly available. (Maybe. Who knows.) But there are giveaways and such on the table, beginning with the one advertised by That's Beijing, who's got itself quite the bona fide expat-mag scoop...
The talk of the day has been Mark Griffith and Andrew Dougherty's brilliant music video Beijing State of Mind, a tribute to this city of ours, set to the beat of Jay-Z's famous homage to New York. The Brooklyn native's Empire State of Mind has, of course, inspired countless spin-offs, about Chinese cities other than Beijing, too.
Drop what you're doing and watch this, Beijingers. Mark Griffith, a photographer and videographer who used to live in Beijing, has just released the fruit of 15 months of work, "Beijing State of Mind," set to Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind. The project was the brainchild of Andrew Dougherty, an expat who'd lived off and on here for five years. Rapping alongside Princess Fortier (in the role of Alicia Keys), the duo take us on a trip from the Forbidden City to the hutongs to the Great Wall to The Place, and so many other places in between that make our Beijing experience what it is.
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?
Ai Weiwei Studios has just released the music video to a second single, Laoma Tihua, which you can watch above. It's off Ai's forthcoming album, The Divine Comedy (music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou), which will be released on Saturday morning.
This is first-class: on a plane stuck on the Beijing airport tarmac for three hours yesterday, a quartet of musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestras took out their instruments, gathered in the aisle, and serenaded passengers. The music starts at the 1:11 mark in the above.
You may have already heard, but after several false starts -- years of teasing -- Metallica is finally, actually coming to China. As the band announced yesterday on its website:
It is so rare for us to be able to say that we are visiting a country for the very first time, so this is an extra special announcement for us. After over 31 years of traveling to almost all corners of the world for so many amazing, wild and thrilling adventures, we will finally be heading to China!! We’ll be hitting the stage in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on August 13.
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.
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
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.