Art and Entertainment

FILM REVIEW: ‘A Bread Factory’ Gears Up for Urban Nomad Premiere

Patrick Wang’s epic two-parter ‘A Bread Factory’ has its Taiwan premiere at 2019 Urban Nomad Film Festival and is a compelling story for our times.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/05/16
By: Cat Thomas

Credit: In the Family LLC

Back in 2011 a review of Patrick Wang’s first film “In the Family” in the New York Times closed with the tip: This is a career to keep an eye on. Fast forward to late 2018 and his latest offering – which has its Taiwan premiere(s) this weekend at The Urban Nomad Film Festival – was included in over forty Best of 2018 lists with critics from RogerEbert.com, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue among those championing the film and the New York Times coming full-circle by declaring “A Bread Factory” “a major work by a singular American artist.”

With the project split into two complementary films running at close to two hours apiece, prospective viewers might be concerned that Wang has overdone it, stretching out a story, however the two parts, while both following events in the fictional town of Checkford, are markedly different and the time taken to deeply explore the multiple themes is well spent and brilliantly performed by a cast which includes Tyne Daly (“Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Cagney & Lacy”) as arts educator Dorothea, and James Marsters (“Hawaii Five-O,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as a celebrity actor, as well as Taiwan media darling Janet Hsieh (former host of Taiwan Fun) and her husband George Young as two upstart China-funded performance artists, May and Ray.

Through the lens of a small New York State town, Wang manages to dive deep into the issues, habits and behaviors that many of us engage in perhaps unwittingly, and raises many questions about the choices we make and the long-term effects on our society with a particular reference to, but not limited to, arts education and social media.
[FULL  STORY]

Taiwan pavilion opens at Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition

Taiwan News  
Date: 2019/05/14
By: Taiwan Today,Agencies

A performer (right) watches a film with an exhibitiongoer during the opening of the Taiwan pavilion “3x3x6” at the 58th International Art Exhibition o

The Taiwan pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale opened May 11, showcasing works by local talent Cheang Shu-lea that explore such themes as gender, sexuality and surveillance.

Organized by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Taiwan event is running at the 17th-century Palazzo delle Prigioni prison through Nov. 24. It is titled “3x3x6” in reference to a 9-square-meter prison cell monitored by six cameras and comprises multimedia creations by Cheang, the first female artist selected as a solo exhibitor in the nation’s pavilion.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Deputy Minister of Culture Ting Hsiao-ching said that Cheang’s works offer sharp insights into often-neglected issues impacting modern society. Through prompting reflection on timely topics like technological surveillance, the show demonstrates the vibrancy and openness of Taiwan’s art scene, she added.

Created by Cheang in collaboration with Spanish curator Paul B. Preciado, the centerpiece of the pavilion is a multiscreen video installation displaying footage of 10 characters based on people who were imprisoned or ostracized for their gender, race or sexuality. Among the real-life figures used as inspiration for the piece are French philosopher Michel Foucault and writer Marquis de Sade.    [FULL  STORY]

President Tsai attends Star Wars event in Taipei

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/05/04
By: Joseph Yeh 

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday made a surprise appearance at a “May the Fourth be With You” event to celebrate international Star Wars Day, where she took a group photo with fans of the movie franchise in front of the Taipei 101 building.

Attendees had been told to expect a surprise guest earlier and Tsai arrived at the event, held on top of the ATT for Fun building in Xinyi District, at about 2 p.m. She also posed for a group photo with fans against the backdrop of Taipei 101, formerly the tallest building in the world.

Holding a lightsaber, the main weapon in the Star Wars universe consisting of a metal hilt and a plasma blade, Tsai and 100-plus fans, dressed up as popular characters from the movies, such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia, shouted the most famous slogan from the franchise, “May the force be with you.”

President Tsai stayed at the gathering for about five minutes before wrapping up her surprise appearance.    [FULL  STORY]

National Theater and Concert Hall forges ties with European partners

Taiwan Today
Date: April 23, 2019

Liu Yi-ruu (center), executive and artistic director of NTCH, is all smiles along with CNTD Director Didier Deschamps (left) and MDLFD Director Angels Margarit (right) during a news conference April 19 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of National Theater and Concert Hall)

Taiwan’s National Theater and Concert Hall agreed April 19 to collaborate on artistic exchanges with France’s Chaillot—National Theater of Dance and Spain’s Mercat De Les Flors Dancehouse.

Under the three-year commitment, the three sides will work together in fostering a more globalized approach to performance design and delivery. This is to be achieved largely through arranging and supporting artist residency exchanges.

Liu Yi-ruu, executive and artistic director of NTCH, said the skills and talents of Taiwan’s performing artists are renowned worldwide. This explains why European partners like CNTD and MDLFD are interested in tie-ups aimed at creating mutually beneficial opportunities, she added.

Echoing Liu’s remarks, CNTD Director Didier Deschamps said the collaboration is a blue-ribbon opportunity to strengthen the bonds of creativity between artists in Taiwan and France.    [FULL  STORY]

2019 Urban Nomad Freakout Music Fest kicks off at Taipei’s Tiger Mountain

An array of performers take to the stage late into Saturday night

Taiwan News 
Date: 2019/04/13
By: Ryan Drillsma, Taiwan News, Staff Reporter

Go Go Rise 美好前程 (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 2019 Urban Nomad Freakout Music Fest kicked off today (Saturday, April 13) with a multitude of performances across two music stages and a special circus arena.

Hidden near the base of Taipei’s Tiger Mountain, the grounds of an old Taoist temple hold host to an eclectic mix of art, rock, acrobatics and circus tricks.

Local swing band The Flat Fives opened the event, crooning to classic rhythm and blues numbers from the 40s, 50s and 60s on the main stage. First to perform in the intimate temple arena was Canadian-born multi instrumentalist and solo artist Radio Rose, who delivered a charismatic and sincere piano and vocal performance.    [FULL  STORY]

Ghost Mask Museum

One man’s hand-sculpted collection of colorful masks representing a host of gruesome spirits. 

nicholasabateman

Jiufen Old Street, nestled in the mountains northeast of Taipei City, is often claimed to be the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpiece, “Spirited Away.” While that may not be entirely correct, there are plenty of spirits housed in one building in this warren-like complex of charming lanes and staircases.

Tucked away up Shuqi Road (really just a staircase leading from the bustling Jishan Street alley), surrounded by restaurants and lanterns, you’ll find a creepy but colorful collection of masks hanging around a doorway. The door leads to sculptor Wu Jyh Chyang’s museum of over 1,500 self-made ghost masks, chillingly titled the “Painful Life Mask Exhibition.”

The masks depict a wide variety of disfigured creatures, seemingly attempting to warn us of the indulgences that have led to their gruesome deaths.     [FULL  STORY]

‘Motherland’ post draws criticism

OUYANG NANA: A commenter on PTT said that despite being ethnically Chinese, they were Malaysian first, as where they were born and grew up is more important

Taipei Times
Date: Mar 25, 2019
By: Yang Hsin-han, Shih Hsiao-kuang and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Musician and actress Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) yesterday reignited public criticism for

Musician and actress Ouyang Nana poses for a photograph at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei on June 16 last year.  Photo: Chen Yi-chuan, Taipei Times

writing on a Chinese microblogging account: “Let our motherland be proud of us” after a post on Thursday that said: “I am proud to be Chinese.”

Ouyang reposted yesterday’s comment on Facebook, prompting more than 75,000 mostly critical comments and 4,000 shares.

The Chinese-language China Times on Friday published a story quoting Ouyang in an interview in China as encouraging Taiwanese to “bravely express themselves, unite and let the “motherland” be proud of us.”

The newspaper quoted her as saying that whether she were from Hong Kong, Beijing, Taiwan or anywhere else, she would still be “Chinese,” and this was her true feeling and came from the bottom of her heart.    [FULL  STORY]

Artist, former national policy advisor dies aged 81

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/23
By: Hung Chien-Lun and Chi Jo-yao

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) A former national policy advisor to Taiwan’s president, who was also the winner of Taiwan’s prestigious National Award for Arts, died on Friday, according to his family.

Artist Lee Shi-chi (李錫奇), 81, died after he was sent to a hospital due to a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday, his family said.

Born in Taiwan’s outlying island of Kinmen in 1938, Lee’s works are known for their variety of art forms, such as prints, ink arts, abstract calligraphies, lacquer paintings, mixed media and installations, according to Liang Gallery, which has collected Lee’s pieces.

With his various artistic styles and the incorporation of Oriental traditions in Western modern philosophies, Lee earned the nickname of the “Bird of Artistic Variations,” Liang Gallery said on its website’s introduction of the artist.    [FULL STORY]

Exhibition featuring Banksy’s ‘Girl With Balloon’ opens in Taipei

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/03/16
By: Sabine Cheng and Chi Jo-yao 

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) A free exhibition featuring “Girl With Balloon” and other art pieces by the anonymous England-based street artist known as Banksy opened on Saturday in Taipei and will run until March 24.

The art display, titled “Banksy: The Authentic Rebel,” is the first of its kind for Taiwan and showcases 25 signature Banksy pieces presented by international auction house Phillips at the art gallery space at Bellavita Taipei, according to the exhibition’s Facebook event page.

Phillips’ International Specialist in 20th Century & Contemporary Art Lee Mei-ling (李美玲) said on Friday that the exhibition featured a screen-print of “Girl With Balloon,” one of Banksy’s most famous works, on woven paper.

Created as a stencil street art piece in 2002, the image of a young girl with her hand stretched toward a heart-shaped red balloon has become a symbol of political protests — such as during the Syrian civil war in 2014.   [FULL  STORY]

Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung to promote street artists and cultural activities

Radio Taiwan International 
Date: 04 March, 2019
By: Natalie Tso

Licensed street artists will be able to perform in Taipei and New Taipei City (Picture from Taipei’s Dept of Culture)

Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung are working together to promote street artist performances and other cultural activities in their cities. The three cities are neighbors in northern Taiwan.

Director General of Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs Tsai Tsung-Hsiung said they want to their cities to offer many tasteful and diverse cultural activities.  As many people live and work between the three cities, he said the three cities will work together to promote city services and artistic programs.

The cities are working on 6 areas of cooperation. This includes enabling artists to perform in Taipei and New Taipei City once they receive their license and providing a one-stop window to help those who want to film in their cities. They will also work together to promote their children’s art festivals, artists-in-residence program exchanges and cultural publications.     [FULL  STORY]