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Skinema: The People's Republic of Chinatown

The People's Republic of Chinatown is a short doco about the creation of - let's face it - the institution that is Gosney and Kallman's Chinatown.

It's a bold piece that peels off the pasties of propriety and politesse, asking members of the troupe about their checkered (and striped, and spat-wearing) pasts. How did Chinatown Charlie get from the army to prison to China, for instance, and how real is Norman Gosney and "Miss Amelia" Kallman's relationship?

Most of all though, it's bloody funny.

The film premiered in February, playing to a full house on two screens, one upstairs, one down. It's playing again on Wednesday night at Chinatown. You can see the trailer here.

The People's Republic of Chinatown, RMB 50 (presale). 8.30pm, Wednesday 31 March. Gosney and Kallman's Chinatown, 471 Zhapu Lu, near Haining Lu. Tel: 6307 7607. For reservations, email: [email protected].

 NB: The imaginary date on the flier, Thursday 31 March, is an error. It's Wednesday, for real.

Art Talk: Substance and Illusion

The latest exhibition at Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center showcases pieces from sculptor Shiau Jon Jen and photographer Lu Jun.

Born in Hubei Province, Lu Jun uses digital photography to layer pictures of ink in water. The images offer a sense of weightlessness as flowing colours intertwine and overlap, suggesting traditional Chinese ink landscapes.

Taiwanese-born artist Shiau Jon Jen has helped create scupture parks in Guilin and Sheshan. His sculptures are sneaky. Both the curvy, polished marble and rough, chainsaw-cut camphor wood works belie the materials they're made from.

At the launch of the Substance and Illusion exhibition, Talk asked Shiau Jon Jen about his sculptures.

What inspires your work?

Everybody expects marble, rock and stone to be hard and rigid but I like the idea of playing with the materials to alter what we expect to feel. I enjoy making marble appear different, as if it is mobile and flexible.

Tell us about your process.

Each sculpture takes around three weeks to work on. For the marble pieces I carve using a diamond disk and then I polish.

What do you aim to convey with each piece?

They work together as a group more than individually to represent the feeling of movement at one time. I want people see speed in my marble sculptures, as if something like wind has passed through the stone very quickly and changed its shape.

How do you hope people respond?

I want to evoke surprise, to change the view that wood and marble can only be carved in a certain way. I want people to be impressed with the way a material can change and transform. To everyone stone is always heavy and strong. I make it appear light and soft.

Aren't you worried that people might think your wooden sculptures resemble furniture?

No, that does not worry me. Wooden furniture has a common use or function, whereas my work is to look at and to feel.

Substance and Illusion. Until 25 April. Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center, 299 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Huashan Lu. Tel: 6466 7428

Doubtless: Gwen Stefani Tour Dates Fake

Looks like Shanghai's been had again. Tickets for a Gwen Stefani show at Shanghai Grand Stage on 5 May have been advertised for a while (ie. this link here) but as it turns out, the tour date is fake. Surprise, surprise...

No Doubt holla'd back with this statement on their website:

"Gwen Stefani will not be touring in May. There was an announcement made recently that she'd be performing in Shanghai at the Shanghai Grand Stage on May 5th but that is not the case. Gwen and the guys are in the studio working on the upcoming No Doubt album and have no touring plans at this time."

Lights Out: Earth Hour

The lights go out on the Bund this Saturday night from 8.30pm until 9.30pm. Ostensibly it's for Earth Hour, an event organised by the World Wildlife Fund to draw attention to the overconsumption of energy by greedy pandas or something.

While you're supposed to turn the lights off, the rules don't prevent you from leaving on your stereo and playing some slow jamz - maybe turn the lights down low or lights out - for your best girl.

The event started in Australia in 2007, and last year hundreds of millions of people took part in more than 4,000 cities in 88 countries. To get into the spirit of things, you can create a virtual lantern here, which is probably marginally less environmentally harmful than creating a real lantern.

The best view of the nothing will be from Hyatt on the Bund's Vue Bar, where they'll be serving "Earth-themed Cocktails". The Vue Restaurant is serving up an organic set menu too.

Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Lu, near Wuchang Lu. Tel: 6393 1234

Shanghai in Numbers

962727 – The digits Shanghai residents should dial if they suspect that their lovely bowl of chao mian was cooked in nasty cancer-causing drainage oil. It was revealed last week that up to one-tenth of oil used for cooking in China could contain aflatoxins, which are among the most carcinogenic substances known to man. 

30 – The number of people who were left stranded 20 metres above the ground when the biggest roller-coaster at Shanghai’s Happy Valley amusement park stalled again on Sunday. Happy Valley’s developers explained that “some glitches are to be expected”.

60,000 – The number of acrylic rods that will cover the ‘Seed Cathedral’, the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Expo. This and several other remarkable Expo scenes were shown in a Boston Globe photograph series published last week.

50 to 60 – The appropriate indoor humidity level during a dust storm, like the ones that have been plaguing us and the whole eastern seaboard recently. A face mask, hand-cream and fruit are also good ideas. 

- Compiled by Alex Taggart


Record Review: Jane Zhang's 'Believe in Jane'

A year after releasing her cleverly titled album Jane@Music, Jane Zhang is back again with a new 12-track album, Believe in Jane.

2009 was a busy year for the Chengdu poppet: she established her own record label, Show City Times, signed with Universal Music and even made her American TV singing debut on the Oprah Winfrey Show last May. The third place winner of 120,000 hopefuls in the 2005 season of Super Girl sure has come a long way.

Believe in Jane will continue to propel Zhang’s fast track success in the Mandopop world. The album is filled with catchy tunes, and is fabulously produced by acclaimed Taiwanese musician Adia. ‘I DO’ is one of those sweet, syrupy songs with a sing-along chorus that’s sure to capture the hearts and minds of Chinese teenyboppers everywhere. But even more striking is Zhang’s voice and range in her strongest ballad, ‘If This is Love’.

In China, Zhang has been compared to Mariah Carey and nicknamed ‘Dolphin Princess’. And if there was ever a doubt that she deserves it, listen to ‘됴繕 (Mellow High)’. There are no lyrics, just one minute and 36 seconds of “a-la-la-la, oh oh” to show off Zhang’s dolphin-whistle register abilities.

We get it, your voice can do things that normal mortals' cannot – but is this instrumental track with incomprehensible ooh’s and aah’s really necessary?


TALK & Big Bamboo to Host Jinqiao 8K After Party

The Jinqiao 8K run takes place this Sunday 21 March, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate and replenish your body after the race than with TALK and Big Bamboo. 

The TALK and Big Bamboo running team will head to the Bamboo's new Jinqiao digs post-race, and we want everyone to join us! Celebrate your successful run with the Big Bamboo's excellent food and drink deal (RMB 75 includes one free draft beer or soft drink, and choice of pizza, burger, chicken caesar wrap or tuna melt).  

The after party takes place at Big Bamboo Jinqiao in Pudong, located at 381 Hongfeng Lu from 10am to 4pm. Don't miss this post-race party! It will blow your mind...

For more info email [email protected]




Anonymous's picture


I went to the after-race party on sunday. it was alot of fun. you guys should do more things like it.


p.s. great magazine

Anonymous's picture


you gonna post ure times?

Anonymous's picture


come on what were the times? where did you come in race? was it really that bad?


Paula Zhang

Sneak Preview: La Vie Launches Lingerie

What is Shanghainese fashion designer Jenny Ji pulling out of her sleeve this month? Read about her new wedding collection, and how this fashion 'it girl' is launching La Vie lingerie and baby apparel this spring in our latest issue of TALK. 

And as an exclusive treat for TALK readers, Ji has provided us with a few mock-ups of her foray into lingerie. Check out our sneak peek here.

LTJ Bukem Returns to Shanghai

This weekend music lovers are in for a real treat when DnB royalty comes to town in the form of LTJ Bukem, and his long time collaborator, MC Conrad. TALK caught up with the mercurial DJ to chat about his career and what he has planned for Saturday night.

As one of the prime innovators in the development of jungle music how have you seen the genre change since its conception?

I’m into music that can be played in 10 years’ time. To me dnb is as fresh as it was 15 years ago. I listen to stuff that is 30 years old, and knowing that DnB is becoming like that is wicked. I’ve been doing plenty of touring, seems like I’ve been on a life long tour for the last ten years. Loving the DJing as always. Still on my decks when I can, busting mixes, calling Conrad to tell him ‘Check this mix!!’ like it was 15 years ago. Enjoying the music, all the new artists coming through, the guys at Hospital as well as the old heads like Renegade and all that.

How does your lofty position in the DnB scene influence the music you release? Do you feel any pressure?

There’s no pressure at all. I’m making music out of love and the enjoyment of making music. I can’t sit there and go 'Will this track be better than the last one?’ I make stuff because I enjoy making it, you now?

What got you into the music business to begin with and why DJing?

First of all, I made a track called “Logical Progression” in 1989 but didn’t know what to do with it. Then a friend of mine told me he has a record label called “Vinyl Mania” and he would put it out for me. I agreed and two months later he gave me 2,000 pounds and I was like: 'This is good, man. I want to make more music!' Most important was that I wanted to find out how I made that money. I wanted to find out how the record was made and distributed, what shops sold it and whey did they sell it.

In 1990 I made the track “Demon’s Theme” and decided to release it through my own label. In that time a guy called Phil started a distribution company called “Vinyl” and I had Good Looking Records. So, we came together and he helped me to get my music out to the people, showed me how everything was working and this is how Good Looking basically started.

Back then I didn’t really care about success. I didn’t give a sh*t. I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to make good music. I wanted to have a channel to put my music out there. Many people saw this, they liked it and started joining me and writing music for the label. That’s how the early Photek stuff came out, PFM as well… All these guys came together and decided to make the same style of music. Four years had passed before I even thought it was successful.

This isn’t your first trip to Shanghai, and from what I’ve heard your last set was pretty insane. How do you plan to top it?

I’m coming in with no expectations and hope the crowd will like it as much as last time.

Your shows always bring a mixed bag of people. Why?

I think it’s because the music I represent spreads far and wide into music lovers consciousness, if that makes any sense. I always notice there are house people, there are jazz and soul people there, there are hip-hop guys there, there are techno guys there. The music I play, I think, it brings out a lot of aspects in music that involves those people so they are interested in hearing their moment, their feeling of music that they are into through what I am doing DnB-wise. I think that’s why it brings out all kinds of people, young and old.

I know you have been in Japan a lot. From your experience how do the crowds in China differ from the ones in Japan?

I love Japan, Japanese people. They're a very fanatical race of music heads - do you know whatta I mean? When the Japanese go with something they like, they love it beyond reason. So, yeah I love Japan - the place, the people. We're gonna try and come here more often, maybe every couple of months or something to try and promote the sound better -- they need it.

What’s your take on Chinese music, and what acts do you like in Asia?

I can’t say I’ve heard much of Chinese music.

What attracted to you the Shelter for your one gig in China?

Last time we came to play for Jane (Phreaktion) and had a great time. We’ve been wanting to come back to play for her ever since but timing was never on our side. This year everything worked out so we are looking forward to our show.

What plans do you have for your music in the future?

For me, it’s definitely hard running a label doing all the things that I do, being A&R and everything. It’s so hard getting in the studio. I want to get the label to a certain point so I can take a few months off and work on this album that I have been wanting to do. And with the label, we’re doing two releases a month and we’re re-releasing the old catalogue. We have a DVD with me playing for 30,000 people. I also have a new mix series called Mellow Yellow which is going to come out in January of next year. I also started the sub-labels as well and they are going to feature music from new artists so we can up their profiles before moving them onto Good Looking. So much stuff!

If some of our readers haven’t heard any of your music before, what album should they listen to before they come on Saturday?

The classics include the Logical Progression session series. On a recent one, check out the Fabric live mix I did. With the mix I really wanted to highlight what I’m doing as a DJ. I could’ve sat there with a computer and done what a lot of people do: a computer mix, which is great fun as you can do what you can’t do live. But for me personally, I wanted it to be exactly what I do on a Friday night, strictly dubplates and records. I also wanted to represent people on the mix that I am working with on Good Looking, who I have a strong belief will have some longevity in what they are doing, and are going to be prolific artists in their own right. For me, it doesn’t matter who the artist is, it’s just about good music. That’s been my ethos since day one.

RMB 80. 10pm, 13 March. The Shelter, 5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Lu.



Anonymous's picture

Happy Camper

I flat out cannot wait for this sat. i saw him in 2006 and he was amazing. see you there TALK.

Shanghai in Numbers

30 – The number of years since Shanghai’s economy was larger than Hong Kong’s. Not anymore, though: according to figures from Bloomberg this week, our fair city is US $17.6 billion richer than the southern powerhouse. But as Confucius said, mo’ money, mo’ problems… 

3.54 million – The total number of yuan taken in bribes by disgraced former Putuo district director Cai Zhiqiang and his lackey Yin Kunneng, as revealed in their court cases this week. Cai will serve 14 years, and Yin’s sentence is as yet undecided, although prosecutors are pushing for a minimum of 10 years. The pair obviously failed to read the rules on being corrupt. 

0 – The number of clues that Yao Ming has provided foro where he and his wife plan to have their baby girl, who is due in July. Netizens have been speculating that baby Yao will be born in America, and be ineligible to play basketball for China… a fate that appears to be a foregone conclusion should she be born here.   

-5 – The number of degrees Celsius that we luckless Shanghai folk had to endure for a period this week, along with a brief snowfall. Fear not, frozen friends, a high of 19 degrees is predicted for Friday.  

2000 (and growing fast) –  The membership of the Jing’an Elite Union, a new VIP club for white collar workers that's been particularly popular among migrant workers. The club offers all sorts of fun perks, including shopping discounts, a book club and… free psychological counselling.

- Compiled by Alex Taggart




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