Art and Entertainment

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]

Once Drab Taiwan Villages Add Images of Rainbows, Giant Dogs, Fish [VIDEO]

Voice of America
Date: January 26, 2019
By: Ralph Jennings

In Taiwan, many villages are nearly forgotten. Young people have left for work in the cities and local trades such as fishing have declined. But more than 90 of these villages got a makeover in the past decade. Artists have painted giant, colorful murals on the walls of old buildings or streets. Two villages are especially popular and attract tourists. Instead of gray houses, they’re taking in rainbow-colored art, sharks and a poodle that licks people’s hands. Ralph Jennings has this report.    [FULL  STORY]

FILM REVIEW: ‘Penguin Highway’ Is a Psychedelic Sci-fi Bildungsroman

Cute penguins and the scientific method underlie a surprisingly complex story.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/22
By: CJ Sheu

Credit: YouTube Screenshot

Honestly, I came for the simply adorable penguins, which are indeed lovingly animated. But it turns out that “Penguin Highway” (Pengin Haiwei / ペンギン・ハイウェイ) has a lot more on its mind.

Based on the award-winning 2010 novel by Tomihiko Morimi, the film follows young boy Aoyama (Kana Kita) as penguins suddenly appear in his small Japanese town. Aoyama is a budding scientist who is eager to apply the scientific method to all sorts of conundrums in his daily life, and his father (Hidetoshi Nishijima) guides him and encourages his efforts with gifts of chocolate. Aoyama’s brainy personality, almost to the point of resembling a young Sherlock, is counterbalanced by his best friend, the klutzy and hapless Uchida (Rie Kugimiya), who serves as the frequent butt of slapstick jokes. Their research project is later merged with some mysterious research conducted by classmate Hamamoto (Megumi Han), a girl with Aoyama’s brains, and actual social skills to boot. And then there’s the unnamed 20-something dental assistant (called the Lady, voiced by Yū Aoi) who chaperones Aoyama after school, teaches him chess, and with whom he is madly in love; she’s a mystery, too.

The part of this premise that’s perhaps hardest to digest is Aoyama’s unreal braininess – he even uses words to try to defend himself against class bully Suzuki (Miki Fukui) – so it’s smart of writer Makoto Ueda to use this as the jumping off point, allowing us to accept it immediately. But something he probably should have changed is Aoyama’s obsession with female breasts, the Lady’s in particular. After the year of #MeToo, this running gag just seems creepy, especially when first-time director Hiroyasu Ishida gives us more than one voyeuristic POV shot. Not something we should be teaching our kids, I think.
[FULL  STORY]

Teresa Teng tribute restaurant opens in China’s capital

The multi-storey building hosts tribute performances and serves food inspired by the artist’s songs

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/01/22
By: Ryan Drillsma, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Teresa Teng (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A museum-cum-restaurant in Beijing has become a permanent tribute to Taiwan’s premiere pop star Teresa Teng.

The New York Times reports the shrine is a multi-storey building located in a western Beijing neighborhood among other bars and restaurants, but easily stands out due to the enormous portrait of Teng smiling and holding a white rose that adorns its facade.

Each night, The Times writes, performers in bedazzled gowns take to the stage to reel off some of her most famous hits, including songs like “The Moon Represents My Heart” to an adoring crowd.

Catchy melodies and simple yet sincere lyrics have made the singer a karaoke staple within the Chinese-speaking world and among new Mandarin learners, but her music seems to have a much deeper resonance with many in the Chinese capital.
[FULL  STORY]

REVIEW: ‘Looking for Kafka’ Marks a Shaky Film Debut for Novelist Jade Y. Chen

The film’s confident style is kneecapped by an underdeveloped and unfocused story.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/09
By: CJ Sheu

Credit: Youtube Screenshot

On IMDB, ‘Looking for Kafka’ (Aishang Kafuka / 愛上卡夫卡) is listed as ‘Kafka’s Lovers.’ Despite the evident technical competence on display, this ambivalence is manifested in the film’s self-identity as well. From first-time writer-director Jade Y. Chen (陳玉慧), a novelist from Taiwan, ‘Kafka’ oscillates between two different films, never deciding on one, thereby truncating necessary story details.

The first film is in the vein of recent Taiwanese films of whimsy, starting with ‘Cape No. 7’ (2008) and including ‘Au Revoir Taipei’ (2010) and ’52Hz, I Love You’ (2017). Pineapple (Jian Man-shu, 簡嫚書) designs props for a theater troupe putting on an abstract modern dance performance of Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ starring her ex-boyfriend, Lin Jiasheng (J. C. Lin, 林哲熹). The morning after Jiasheng’s current girlfriend, Julie (Julia Roy), arrives from Paris, he’s kidnapped by some gangsters to get his rich dad to pony up some dough. Pineapple takes Julie to search around for Jiasheng, while he in turn, er, waits for something to happen.

You can tell that the film isn’t going for naturalism because the kidnappers neglect to make a ransom call. Jian’s bubbly and upbeat performance (and creative hair) sets the tone, as Pineapple and Julie rather unhurriedly visit Jiasheng’s old haunts and past girlfriends (one of whom is played by Taiwanese transgender icon Kiwebaby, 張朵). It just so happens that each place they visit is representative of contemporary Taiwanese culture: coffee shop, nightclub, temple, and gazebo on a mountain trail – the unlikely location of Jiasheng’s guqin lessons. In one of the few highlights of the film, a visit to Jiasheng’s mother reveals her to be played by none other than Peking opera legend Wei Haimin (魏海敏), as a brain-addled version of herself forever convinced that she’s putting on a show. The film tries to avoid coming across as a tourism commercial by omitting things like travel routes and establishing shots, but the effect is to make each segment feel abstract and underdeveloped. A similar premise was much better developed in the Taiwanese film ‘The Most Distant Course’ (2007).

Jiasheng’s patience finally pays off as one of the gangsters (Yuki Daki, 大慶) steals him away from the others, and a car chase ensues. The chase is genuinely exciting thanks to Lee Chatametikool’s editing, with gunshots and drifting on mountain roads, but the tension is broken when an old cliché rears its head: The car runs into a roadside fruit stall. The gangster, an indigenous tribe member, takes Jiasheng to his tribal home (Yuki is of the Atayal tribe, and his tribe members play themselves) where, in another cliché, it’s revealed that he himself needs the money for his hemophiliac son (the film performs some plotting gymnastics to get around Taiwan’s universal healthcare). Pineapple and Julie get the money and exchange it for Jiasheng, who returns in time for his Kafka performance.    [FULL  STORY]

Exhibition held by Chinese student captures cross-strait dilemma

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2019/01/08
By: Miao Chung-hen and Yu-chen Chung

Photo courtesy of Wang Jiaxin (汪家欣)

Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) A photo exhibition being held in Taipei by Chinese student Wang Jiaxin (汪家欣) has given her the chance to express her positive view of Taiwan but also the helplessness she feels caught in the middle of sensitive cross-Taiwan Strait ties.

During a tour of the exhibition in an old apartment in Zhongshan District, messages such as “Taipei is my second hometown” and “I dream of going back there” are immediately apparent as are her strong feelings about the problems faced by Chinese students here.

One of her photos shows a woman standing on the beach wrapped in a piece of cloth reading “three limits, six noes” and surrounded by placards saying “it serves you right, why go to (Taiwan)” and “dhebazi degree.”

The word dhebazi (台巴子) is a discriminatory term in the Shanghai dialect for Taiwanese that means silly or foolish.    [FULL  STORY]

REVIEW: ‘Shadow’ Presents a Wuxia Tale in Staggeringly Beautiful Monochrome

This ink wash painting come to life carries thematic complexity and a veiled political message.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/12/27
By: CJ Sheu

Credit: YouTube Screenshot

Centuries of Chinese literati have lost themselves in appreciative reveries when contemplating ink wash paintings of rivers and mountains. With “Shadow” (Ying / 影) – shooting the black-and-white rain-soaked production design (Horace Ma) in bleached color – director Zhang Yimou and cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding have allowed us the same experience. The staggering beauty of the film, only enhanced by the long takes, harmonious compositions, and subdued zither soundtrack, is impossible to convey in words, but Jessica Kiang at the trade publication Variety comes close:

Black ink drips from the tip of a brush and daggers into clear water, spiraling out like smoke; a Chinese zither sounds a ferocious, twanging note that warps and buckles in its sustain; rain mottles the sky to a heavy watercolor gray, forming pools on paving stones into which warriors bleed; whispery drafts from hidden palace chambers stir tendrils of hair and set the hems of luxuriant, patterned robes fluttering.

All this is impressive enough, but the film goes even further, presenting a plot in the grand wuxiatradition, written by Zhang and Li Wei (and adapted from a Three Kingdoms play by Zhu Sujin but leaving history behind), that is narratively and thematically complex but still flows like running water, thanks in no small part to Zhou Xiaolin’s superb editing. A surprise fourth act will leave you reeling, and then the film reveals its biggest shocker: It ends exactly where it begins.

The small mountainous kingdom of Pei has lost the city of Jingzhou to its more powerful neighbor, but the seemingly dissolute young King (Zheng Kai) prohibits any talk of avenging this national shame for fear of being wiped off the map. Commander Yu (Deng Chao), defying orders, returns from a secret trip to Jingzhou with a pledge from its current ruler, General Yang Cang (Hu Jun), to settle the city’s fate once and for all with a duel; he is immediately discharged from service. Captain Tian Zhan (Wang Qianyuan) is also discharged when he objects to the King’s plan to sue for peace by marrying off his royal sister (Guan Xiaotong) to be the concubine of Yang’s son (Wu Lei).    [FULL  STORY]

Indigenous Sweety & Warrior to present free musicals in Hualien, Taiwan Dec 22 – 23

“We use body expressions to transfer our emotions to the audience”

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/12/20
By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Indigenous Sweety & Warrior rehearses on a local beach for the 2018 annual show (photo from 花蓮縣原住民甜心勇士學院 Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Indigenous Sweety & Warrior, a Hualien-based indigenous performance group, will present their 2018 annual exhibition in musical form at Hualien County Taiwan Indigenous Museum on the nights of the coming weekend, according to a recent news release posted on Hualien Tourist Service Network.

The 2018 annual exhibition titled “The Vow” is “different from other indigenous musicals that you’ve seen before. The script, choreography and soundtrack are all created by our team members,” the group said on its Facebook page.

“We use body expressions to transfer our emotions to the audience. The audience can expect to experience more than just the traditional Amis ceremonies.”

The public are invited to come and enjoy “the brand-new aural and visual delights,” the group added.    [FULL  STORY]

BTS gets involved in a minor car accident after their concert in Taiwan

allkpop News
Date: Dec 10, 2018
By: KayRosa

BTS members have been involved in a minor car accident.

On December 9th, ‘China Times’ reported that a minor collision occurred on an expressway in Taiwan, which involved several vehicles including BTS’ van and a taxi. The accident had occurred right after BTS’ ‘Love Yourself’ concert at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium as the boys were heading back to their hotel.

More details have yet to be verified, but organizers of the tour from ‘Live Nation’ have confirmed that “no one was injured”. The members have safely moved back to the hotel, as other vehicles had been arranged for their speedy return.

Meanwhile, witnesses have yet to confirm whether the accident had any involvement with fans following the cars. As of now, the only remaining statement explains that an initial impulsion from the front had affected the vehicles behind it.

Stay tuned for more information.    [SOURCE]