Here Comes the Fire Rooster: lion dance at the Heathrow

Here Comes the Fire Rooster: lion dance at the Heathrow

Art, Live
Happy New year! 恭喜发财! The Lunar New Year, aka Chinese New Year, took place on the 28th of January. This year marks the year of the Fire Rooster. Lion dancing is a traditional form of celebration, which usually happens for the New Year, and special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. This year I got to participate in a lion dance, as a percussionist, at the Heathrow Airport. The Lions There are two types of lions: Northern lions and Southern lions, originated from the North and South of China respectively.  The Northern lion resembles the Chinese dog Pekingese, which is more shaggy looking. The head of the lion was traditionally made of bamboo painted in gold. The whole lion tends to be yellow, orange and red in colour to signify…
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Watching Jingju Behind the Stage Curtains

Watching Jingju Behind the Stage Curtains

Art, Live, London, Travel
I am huge fan of Jingju, commonly known as the Beijing Opera, a type of performance art combining singing, dancing, martial art, visual art and literature. It first originated from North of China, then became popular all over the country. My motherland Tianjin, is the hometown of this art. I grew up with Jingju theatre right next to my door step. Watching Jingju with my granddad was one of the most memorable events of my life. Jingju was everywhere during my childhood. People would sing Jingju to the music of an Erhu (Chinese zither) in parks. Everyone in Tianjin knew something of Jingju and almost everyone can hum a little tune. This year China National Jingju Company came to Peacock Theatre, bringing the well-known The White Snake and The General…
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The Peony Pavilion: love in life and death

The Peony Pavilion: love in life and death

Art, Live, London
"It's so beautiful, I am gonna cry." Quoting from my friend, whom I went with to Kunqu opera, the Peony Pavilion. What she said pretty much summed it up. It was simply stunning. This is the second time The Peony Pavilion-Young lover's edition took place in London, this time in the Troxy. It is an adaption of Tanxianzu's (a great Chinese playwright of the 16th century) opera, by the Taiwanese writer Bai Xianyong. 55 scenes  distilled into 9 hours, spreading over three nights. It was a modern take of the traditional opera, divided into three books: Love in Dream, Love in Death and Love on Earth. Synopsis: Du Liniang, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Nan'an governor was lured by the beautiful spring, so took a stroll in the garden with her…
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Handmade at Kew

Handmade at Kew

Art, Travel
Quoting from Confucius, ‘isn’t it joyful having a friend coming from afar'. It has been such a long time, since I caught up with my high school friend. We used to do so many things together back then as a group of four, now facing the harsh reality, we all reside in different cities. So it was such a pleasure seeing Laura again. We decided to pay Kew gardens a little visit, whilst the craft fair-- Handmade at Kew was taking place. This is the London chapter of a series of craft exhibitions organised by Handmade in Britain. We were impressed by the beautifully crafted items, whilst joking about how the fair is a heaven for 'hipsters', and how we ‘fit right in’. As far as I am concerned, we…
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Kat Von D: a makeup brand with attitude

Kat Von D: a makeup brand with attitude

Art, Live, London
It would not be overrating to hail her as the Queen of Tattoo. As I write this post now, I hesitate whether to tagline the post as 'embrace your inner Goth', but then decided not to. If I only state Kat Von D as a iconic symbol of Goth, I couldn't be more wrong. She is more than that, her artistic endeavours showed attitude and determination. Katherine Von Drachenberg (Kat Von D) is one of the most famous tattoo artists in America, and left her marks on numerous celebrities such Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Saying that she inked half of Hollywood wouldn't be an exaggeration. Going from tattoo to makeup artistry is an obvious route, as they share so many similarities artistically. After eight years, finally, Kat has launched her line of products in the UK,…
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A Shakespearean Handan Dream: when the East meets the West

A Shakespearean Handan Dream: when the East meets the West

Art, Travel
This year is rather special for the literature world, as it marks the 400 years of anniversary for the deaths of two great playwrights. One lived in the Elizabethan England as the national poet who shaped our modern English, the other from the far east who was a government official but used his plays to reflect the corrupt and bureaucratic society. They are William Shakespeare of England and Tang Xianzu of China. Where one had the masterpiece Romeo and Juliet known by every household, the other had The Peony Pavillion that would bring anyone to tears. It would have been impossible for them to meet in those days, but who knew their legacy met on stage 400 years after their death in the heart of London: St Paul’s Church Covent…
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