Here's another view of the fireworks on Chinese New Year’s Eve last Wednesday night, taken by someone on a plane landing over Beijing. In my previous post I wrote, "During no other time, living on the ground here, do I feel like zooming out to become an all-seeing observer." I guess it'd look something like this.
For the first time ever, New York City set off fireworks to commemorate Chinese New Year. It happened over the Hudson and was synchronized and jubilant. At one moment it looked like skyscrapers were melting out of the night. Colorful. Impressive. Yet it was still mere facsimile for the real thing. You see, for my money, the most noteworthy -- if not outright best -- New Year’s celebration happens in Beijing.
Hope everyone had a fun and -- more importantly -- safe Chinese New Year on Thursday night. By safe we mean: you didn't break a window, did you? You didn't burn anything down? Because there was both a broken window and a HUGE-ASS FIRE at 4corners, the Gulou bar with the healthy reputation for holding uproarious and unpredictable parties.
Beijingers, if you're looking for something to do over Spring Festival that doesn't involve elbowing fathers and sons inside crowded parks, check out the Crossroads, a non-profit / NGO community center in Gulou, which is screening two independent documentaries every day from now until February 6.
There was a time, years ago, when Chinese New Year's Eve in Beijing was the world's most bombastic celebration of existence, a collective yell held for three straight hours amid concussions of light and racket. Because here we were, we declared, right here. Earth shook heaven. I remember forked lightning, fractals of red, blue, and orange, air rent with the shape of sound. It felt surreal to be centered in this steady beat of a burgeoning and explosive declaration, ours, that we had survived and would survive yet (Do your worst!), and yet it felt right.
In the immediate aftermath of Taiwanese magician Lu Chen’s withering joke during the CCTV Spring Festival Gala — simultaneously seen live by millions, then re-watched over and over in the proceeding days, even after it got censored from subsequent reruns — we were told that all parties involved were cool with it. That might not... Read more »
One of the most talked-about and controversial moments from this year’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala was magician Lu Chen’s “looking for Leehom” joke. His one-liner got the best crowd reaction — a mixture of delight and genuine shock that such a joke could fly — and ensured he’d stay in the public eye for days,... Read more »
It's easy when you have a classically trained soprano. Props to Anhui TV for having the foresight to invite international recording artist, Phantom of the Opera star, and friend of China Sarah Brightman -- who sang at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony -- to perform at its Spring Festival gala on Friday. She's probably done "It's Time to Say Goodbye" a thousand times, but the tune is, as we say, timeless.
Ah, live TV. Did magician Lu Chen give the CCTV Spring Festival Gala -- the most-watched show on Chinese television every year -- its Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" moment?
First, a little background. Top Chinese pianist Li Yundi and Chinese American singer Leehom Wang are best buds who spend so much time together that people openly question the nature of their relationship. (The two have repeatedly said they're not gay lovers.) It's kind of a running joke, the sort that feeds gossip mills and keeps tabloids in business.
Celine Dion performed on Saturday, PSY performed on Sunday, but what about multiplatinum international recording artists BSB?
Indeed, on Friday night, the Backstreet Boys were on stage in Shenyang as part of the Liaoning TV Spring Festival Gala. (Full show here.)
How did a regional gala secure the rights to such a big-name act? It's all part of a trend as viewers continue to search for alternatives to CCTV's national gala, which has fallen into the trap of trying to please too many people.
Celine Dion took the stage Saturday night in front of perhaps the biggest TV audience she's ever faced, at CCTV's annual Spring Festival Gala. Watch as she sings -- in Mandarin (impressively?) -- the classic folk song "Jasmine Flower" with Chinese diva Song Zuying.
Better than PSY's performance? You decide.
HELLO. CAN YOU HEAR ME? SORRY FOR SHOUTING, BUT I JUST WANT TO SAY -- CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK -- SAY THAT AGAIN? SORRY IT'S JUST THAT THE -- POW -- AND -- POW -- MAKING IT HAR -- POW POW POW -- ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS HAP -- KABLOOOOOM -- GODDAMNIT! -- EEEERRRRRRRRNNNNNNN -- YOU KNOW WHAT? -- POPpopPOPpopPOPpopPOPpopPOP -- JUST WATCH THIS VIDEO.
As advertised, South Korean rapper PSY made his first televised appearance in mainland China at the Shanghai Spring Festival TV Gala, which aired on Dragon TV on Sunday. There were indeed dancing robots, as you can see. But much more bizarre was the exchange at the beginning, in which PSY tried to teach Gangnam basics to the hosts, who appeared contractually obligated to play dumb as if there were still people in the world seeing this for the first time.
More than a few people have remarked on the war-zone-like transformation of Chinese cities during lunar New Year: the deafening pops, the concussions in the night sky, the screeching tail of rockets, urban scorched earth. Most of the time, however, nothing actually blows up. Most of the time. Around 11 pm Saturday, amid celebrations in Wenzhou, Zhejiang... Read more »