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Stuck in Shanghai this weekend?

Staying in town this weekend? Here are a few ideas for how to kill the time, and that overwhelming sensation of inertia.

Friday, April 30

Friday Spice
If the traveling madness of the May holiday has left you stuck in Shanghai, a visit to Barbarossa could make you feel like you've left the city. Their five-year anniversary bash this Friday will showcase their new Mediterranean terrace as well as live belly dancers. And who doesn't love free shots?

231 Nanjing Xi Lu. Tel: 6318 0220. Web:

DJ Solo @ Guandii

If you're not planning to make it to the actual World Cup in June, maybe at least party to the beats soccer stars like David Beckham like. DJ Solo, an American DJ who has spun records around the world will be at Guandi on Friday.
2 Gaolan Lu. Tel: 3308 0726. Web:

Saturday, May 1

DJ Valentin Huebo @ OBAMA CLUB

The OBAMA Club, the largest deluxe entertainment club in Shanghai to date, opened it's doors last Monday 26 April. But don't worry if you missed the opening party. This Saturday you and pretty much everyone else in Shanghai will be able to fit in the 6,000 sqm club while enjoying the beats of DJ Valentin Huebo from Spanish party island Ibiza.
2088 Yan'an Xi Lu, at the Garden Plaza,

Vandalism @ M1NT
Fans of leather, neon and heavy beats should head to M1NT on Saturday. The club is going back to it's house roots with a performance by Australian music group Vandalism.

2F, 333 Tongren Lu, near Beijing Lu,

Art Happenings: Bund 18, Weihai 696

There is a moose, white with trepidation, standing on a disintegrating ice floe high up in the Bund 18 atrium. Lu Jiawei’s “Warmed Ice” installation suggests fragility and impermanence in a site that protests its durability in marble and diamonds.

The work had to be installed after-hours so as not to interfere with the trade of the building’s luxury boutiques. That meant Lu Jiawei and his team were pulling all nighters last weekend, trying not to be distracted by people staging their stumbling retreats from nights out at Bar Rouge and Lounge 18.

“Warmed Ice” was curated by Biljana Ciric and is presented in collaboration with 18 Gallery. That moose will be giving people the chills until June 10.

Up in 18 Gallery proper, Yang Yongliang, master dodger, master burner, has a solo show called “Artificial Wonderland.” He mostly continues and develops his practice of using nontraditional means to make pictures that resemble traditional Chinese ink landscapes: combining images of skyscrapers, cranes and power pylons using graphic manipulation software. It’s work that still impresses. There’s a VIP opening for the show tonight, 6-9pm, so if you’re very important (and you are; I just know it) then go check it out. The show runs until June 8.

Bund 18 Gallery, 4F, Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu. Tel: 6323 8099.


The artists at Weihai 696 are throwing open their studio doors again this May 8-9 for International Artists' Day. It’s a great chance to check out dozens of artists and designers’ studios, and see the colourful, graffiti-ish canvases of Chris Gill (and usually a neat pyramid of tonic cans somewhere) and Ma Liang’s amazing props playroom. Chris has some more information about the event on his blog, Shanghaieye: “Various things planned such as a performance by a Spanish sound artist in the Office 339 space from 4pm. Audience and artists encouraged to wear pajamas.” Hells yeah they are.

696 Weihai Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu.


Avanti: Furry Fashion

They say fashion recycles every 20 years and it looks like fur is crawling back into the limelight, this time at Xintiandi.

For those who don’t mind wearing dead animal pelts, Greece-based fashion house Avanti certainly has an impressive offering of mink, chinchilla, fox and sable furs. What is a sable exactly? Who knows, but now you know where to get one.

Avanti's Xintiandi showroom is the company’s first boutique in China, with a second one planned to open in Beijing soon. The Kranias brothers, owners of the family business, say that they see Avanti becoming very popular here thanks to China’s luxe-loving population. And there's barely any animal rights movement to contend with!

If the coats aren’t exactly your thing, no need to fret. How about buying a rug pieced from 25 fox furs? Avanti has even made one with over 80, the Kranias brothers said. All the animals killed to produce the Avanti products are farmed and the company donates to endangered-species foundations, they said — perhaps to snuff that flickering flame of guilt in the back of your mind as you try on that oh-so-soft chinchilla shawl.

The boutique itself is elegant, but overheated for trying on fur coats. The two-level flagship store feels lavish, yet personal — like a glamorous, MTV Cribs-worthy celebrity closet.

With past clients such as Cindy Crawford and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, perhaps celebrity status is only a fur coat away. Either that or a mass animal uprising.

Avanti Furs, 178 Ma Dang Road, Xintiandi. Tel: 6386 6308

Shanghai Gets a Taste of Spain

With the World Expo only days away, Spain certainly is not missing out on the chance to showcase their cuisine in the international spotlight - and perhaps debunk a few misunderstandings about Spanish cuisine to Chinese gastronomes.

Renowned Chef from Spain, Pedro Larumbe, demonstrated a few Spanish favorites from the new bilingual - Spanish and Chinese - version of “Cooking in Spanish” at Miguel de Cervantes Library yesterday.

Larumbe, who was chosen as ambassador for Spanish Cuisine at the 2010 Expo, whipped up paella - rice simmered with seafood and infused with saffron and olive oil, and Tortilla de Patatas , a Spanish potato omelette of sorts, in front of members of the restaurant industry, media and food connoisseurs.

The audience ooh-ed and ahh-ed at Larumbe’s culinary finesse, even in the makeshift kitchen. However, others were more skeptical about China's reception of Spanish cuisine in general: Would diners who are used to Chinese cuisine accept this non-traditional preparation of rice and other foods? The question, however, was quickly answered, as guests later sampled Larumbe’s dishes with much content while sipping on Sangria and Spanish wines.

Larumbe, along with a staff of 150, is heading the Spanish Pavilion Tapas Bar during his stay in Shanghai. He also one of 45 Michelin chefs as a part of a cultural extension program sponsored by the Spanish Pavilion to cook at the Gran Melia in Pudong throughout the six months of the Expo.


Interview: Reptile and Retard

Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen and Esben Valloe are the Danish lads behind Reptile and Retard. Their mix of electro-punk energy and gospel-soul singing has made them a hit in Shanghai, which was their adopted home during a study abroad adventure in 2009. They are returning to the city to support Peaches at Mao Livehouse on Friday night and are touring China throughout May, including a date at the World Expo’s Denmark Pavilion on 5 May.

How did you come up with the names 'Reptile' and 'Retard'?

Reptile and Retard are two dear characters of ours. Reptile is a hunter. Whenever he feels threatened, which is often, his ‘reptile brain’ takes over. This means that he often ends up paralysed and detached from the situation. Retard is a hillbilly. He is blissfully ignorant to the world beyond his comfort zone but also to the repetitive mistakes of his own. Often unknowingly he ends up being controlled by the outside world. Any resemblance with Mads and Esben is a coincidence.

What have you been up to since your last shows in Shanghai?

New songs! And working on new live visuals to go with the show. We have been working our asses off.

People can expect a new and even better show from us this year. We are for instance bringing the VJ Birk Marcus Hansen on the tour. He has earlier made visuals for names like Trentemöller and The Knife. Furthermore Michael Roloff and Lærke Marie Valum, two skilled fashion designers from Denmark, have made new outfits for the tour. We will look meaner than ever. Finally we promise to dance wilder and play harder than anyone you know.

Supporting Peaches must be a bit of a thrill?

She is a symbol of great integrity and she has the ability of keeping it real while enjoying success. In many ways she makes us feel inferior especially because Esben can't grow a full beard.

You originally came to China as part of a study abroad experience and used your music as a way of studying networking. What did you learn from the experience?

The main objective for our last trip to China was studying. You could say our curriculum changed as we went. We learned to take chances and take advantage of our networks. Reptile and Retard was a coincidence. Not a mistake but an entity with high levels of random – I think that's why we enjoyed it so much. But also there was a lot of time spent waiting for new gigs, this time it's a little more packed.

Is there much difference between your shows here and in Europe?

It's more of a challenge to connect with an audience that speaks a different language, but we can do it, it makes it more fun!

You're playing a show at the Denmark Pavilion in May. How did that come about?

Last year we met Martin Røen, the guru of music exchanges between Denmark and China. At that time he was organising a tour for Danish punk phenomenon Clean Boys. Later, he was hired by Expo to put together the official music program for the Danish Pavilion. Martin invited us, as one of the youngest bands, to officially represent Danish Culture at the World Expo.

What kind of crowd do you expect at your Expo show?

We've heard that the Danish ambassador blows a great trumpet and we've invited him to pop by and bring his friends. Although it might turn out less dirty than the Peaches show (except for the Little Mermaid), we encourage surprises and we're very much looking forward to that show as well.

You describe your music as appealing to the “little idiot” in people. What do you mean by that?

You got it deep inside you, now set it free!

23 April, supporting Peaches. RMB 200 (presale), RMB 260 (at door). Mao Livehouse, 570 Huaihai Xi Lu, near Hongqiao Lu. Tel: 6227 7332. Web:

Stage Review: Aida

My father once told me the proudest and most humbling moment of a father’s life is when his son outperforms him in some way. I always try hard not to over-think this comment as it suggests I may have peaked too early – I was “out-sporting” my father from about the age of seven. What I think he meant was that there is joy and admiration in seeing the subsequent generation excel – it’s a sort of evolutionary commendation.

And evolution is working rather effectively at Concordia International School.

Aida is the second Concordia performance I have now seen after Macbeth last October and I must admit I’m an avid fan. It’s hard to imagine a greater leap from The Bard’s play to this Elton John / Tim Rice collaboration. While the former is all furrowed brows, deceit and a distinct lack of gaiety, the latter is a torrent of colour and sound, emotion and, well … Elton John. As many of the young performers were returning cast members, I was keen to see how they would cope with this great leap forwards.

If they impressed me with their mastery of Shakespeare, they left me breathless with this high-octane production. It was a tumult of acrobatic dance, powerful solos and genuine feeling. A huge nod here must go to the innovation of new dance choreographer Andrea Go, who had channeled the hip and hop inside each of the cast members. Nowhere was this better exhibited than in the far too cool for school ‘Like Father, Like Son’: a dance-off featuring Richard Wang’s Radames and Hans Kim’s Zoser. I’ve got no idea who won, but it took filial disobedience to a very elaborate new level. Think Footloose in ancient Egypt.

Indeed it was the collaborative aspects of this production that stood out for me above anything else. All singing, all dancing Aida could not have been created without a dedicated team behind it. Wardrobe, makeup, lighting, set design, stage management, voice coaches (outstanding work by Amy Camp), orchestra … the input of each and every one of these was evident throughout and that’s a credit to all, especially the coordination of director Chad Doering. But what really resonated was the obvious affection the cast had for each other and their recognition and appreciation of the backstage crew.

It feels hollow to single out any particular performers, but I’m sure the cast won’t begrudge me making special mention of Aida herself, Emily Parkinson. If there were a girl more born to be on the stage, I would be astounded. Emily’s effort was brilliant. Her lines were delivered with an ease and articulation that belied her age and she clearly stole her voice from a trained opera singer about three times her size. She also has a commendable talent in reacting. As Joey Tribbiani tells us, this is not acting again: it’s the gift of contributing, without speaking, and Emily glossed Aida throughout with this gift.

Two other standouts were Wang as the Egyptian Captain Radames and Nathalia Tavares as Amneris, daughter of the Pharaoh. Wang, part Korean pop star, part strapping lead, provided the macho posturing required and also displayed an evolved man kind of sensitivity. It’s no wonder the four girls sitting near me in the audience clung to his every word and every thrust of his sword.

Tavares brought some comic levity to Aida. Another with a voice that defied convention, she drew plenty of attention from the audience, despite playing second fiddle to the two leads. She owned the best lines of the musical and certainly didn’t disappoint in delivering them, even when “buck-naked princess” became “bucket-naked princess”.

Elsewhere, the young Don Zhang has a Sinatra-esque voice that could make a wolverine purr and Hans Kim (tyrannical) and Nora Kusaka (selfless) both impressed in their respective roles.

When the cast talk of their passion for this musical and the demanding rehearsal time that was involved, it’s easy to forget that these are high school students with mountains of course work, a wide swath of extra curricular activities and, let’s hope, social lives.

A truly excellent all-round performance and another feather in the hat of the Concordia Arts Department.

Cast Confessions

Robin “loves guyliner” Huang – a perennial first in, last out kind of approach to makeup

Richard Wang – heart throb. Currently dating … (always changing). Shares an ever-lasting romance with the audience.

Emily Parkinson (Aida) – “I wish I could have gotten a bigger role”

Arthur Yeung – has never been afraid to use stage props in unprovoked attacks.

Sarah Bienik – Legendary amongst cast for her keen perception, evidenced by question to the first-time-arrival magazine journalist on the second night: “Can you tell me what that picture is? I’m not sure.” (The picture in question is the most prominent set piece, is the spark for the entire story from the opening scene and features the title character. In her defence, there’s no way she could have known.)

Don Zhang – known for underplaying death scenes.

Director Doering – does a fantastic side line in matchmaking.

Vocal Director / Conductor Amy Camp –

Should: be the new judge on American Idol.

Should not: perform comedy.


Up Suzhou Creek Without a Guidebook

Suzhou Creek is an area often left unexplored by tourists and expats in Shanghai. Mr Chong’s Tour, run by Yana Adventures, invites people to wander through the neighbourhoods around the creek so they can see it through the eyes of long-term resident, Mr Chong.

Now a senior citizen, Mr Chong has lived in Shanghai since his thirties. He boasts a long list of past occupations, including factory work, farming and driving for a taxi firm. Although his work has often taken him out of Shanghai, his love for the city has meant he has always returned.

Mr Chong and his translator greet guests at Xinzha Lu metro station. The first stop on this endearing adventure is a dancehall, where you can catch a glimpse of how retired locals spend their mornings. Couples circle the dance floor, haphazardly waltzing and fox-trotting between one another, taking breaks to sip tea at the surrounding tables. There’s even a chance to dance with the veteran dancer and ultimate charmer himself, Mr Chong.

After the dancehall, Mr Chong takes the group to two of his favourite markets, the first a flea market, featuring an odd mix of hardware, electronics and general junk which would only seem at home in an attic or a bin bag. At a wet market nearby, locals purchase groceries. Although the whole idea of buying live poultry to eat seems a little gross, locals gather everyday to stock up on fresh food supplies.

Mr Chong’s translator talks about how the Shanghainese live in the area around Suzhou Creek, explaining how the close-knit community share one public toilet and how they cook together in communal kitchens. As the group meanders through the lanes, gazing into the houses of inhabitants, Mr Chong invites the tour into his own home and talks of his time in the city. The tour ends at the Waibaidu Bridge, which sits adjacent to the Bund, where Suzhou Creek meets the Huangpu. Depending on the day, guests may get the opportunity to explore the rooftop gallery and museum at a nearby post office.

Mr Chong’s tour is an informal occasion to educate yourself about a local’s life in Shanghai, to take sightseeing to a part of the city that you may know less about. The best thing about the trip is the friendly tour guides who are happy to talk as much or as little about this modest part of town. You come away from the trip feeling enlightened and that Shanghai, no matter how long you have been here, is still a city full of surprises.

Adults, RMB 250; children aged 5-17, RMB 150; and under 5s, free.. Yana Adventures, Building 12, 1025, West Nanjing Road, Shanghai.Tel: 5169 2240. Web:

On the Catwalk: Sweden

Apparently, there's more to Swedish fashion and design than all that's humble and functional at H&M and IKEA. 

A new exhibition 'Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity' is showcasing the talents of 13 Swedish fashion designers at Shanghai's River South Art Center. Organized by the Swedish Institute and the Swedish Consulate-General in Shanghai, the show features exquisite examples of Swedish designers' creativity and guts.

''This exhibition and the work of these designers can be a real impulse for the Chinese youth to be more creative,'' said Shanghai-based dance artist Jin Xing, at a press conference launching the exhibition last Friday.

Volume, especially around the sleeves and the bust, is an eye-catching feature seen in most of the Swedish designs. The exhibition also features video displays made by high profile Swedish filmmakers, in which visitors can find out more about the designers' sources of inspiration.

9 April to 23 May, 'Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity.' River South Art Center, 1247 Nan Suzhou Lu. Tel: 6359 8989.

Fashion Week's Hair Raising Designs

Strutting down the catwalk followed by what seemed like a cloud of hairspray, Toni & Guy's models at Shanghai Fashion Week paraded in front of a packed audience on Sunday, showing off some gravity-defying hairstyles that could be described as nothing less than out-of-this world.

Toni & Guy, the official hair care sponsor for SFW, showcased some truly innovative creations of volcanic red and orange manes complemented by metallic, spacesuit-esque costumes.



Shanghai Fashion Week Kicks Off

With 24 days to go, it looks like Shanghai Fashion Week is hopping on the Expo bandwagon as well.

At today’s press conference to launch SFW, organizers and members of the fashion industry announced that the 8-13 April fashion event would be an Expo-themed week. Its tagline, “Creative China, Fashionable Expo” rings clear with what people can expect for the upcoming days: a celebration and showcase of artists, haute couture and the World Expo -- and a green one at that.

The burgeoning, yet still quite young fashion industry in Shanghai has nonetheless brought on international attention, with participants ranging from the Swedish Consulate to Chinese supermodel Mo Wandan – SFW’s official image ambassador.

The 2010 autumn/winter Shanghai Fashion Week runs for six days with more than 20 fashion shows. Tomorrow’s opening show showcases Expo fashions by Qinyi, in addition to Hungarian designer Katti Zoob. 



Anonymous's picture


Baby Boutique


Well this is realy very interesting and impressive news for me. I am very much crazy about the fashion and i like to be very fashionable. This fashion show can be a insperation for most of the young fashion designers. Anyways keep it up and keep continue with your valuable thoughts.




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