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Art and Music

  • The Film and the Reality: Inside Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions

    Beyond the film and the notoriety of Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions is a reality fueled by curry, cell phones, immigrants, backpackers, and, yes, kung fu.

  • The Fall Of The Hong Kong Lunch Singer

    As Hong Kong’s economy rises, many of it’s old traditions are fading away. Lunch singing, a type of lounge act that is performed in eateries, is one such tradition that’s on the verge of disappearing for good.

  • Traditional Chinese Music: Old Songs From Old Times

    I heard the squeaking of a Chinese fiddle and the screeching of a female Chinese voice as I walked through the streets of an old neighborhood in Taizhou. Though people have been living here for millenia, this community just had its hundred year anniversary. The houses were arranged in hutong style and everything was constructed [...]

  • The Traveling Chinese Opera

    I was lured in by the music, by the singing, the thumping of wooden blocks, the plucking of strings, and the striking of gongs. It was the traveling Chinese opera.

  • Traditional Chinese Musical Instruments Used in Religious Ceremonies

    Examples of traditional Chinese instruments that are used during religious ceremonies and celebrations.

  • Russian Magazine Says It’s Going to Publish a “Good” Prophet Muhammad Comic

    A Russian magazine says they’re going to publish a culturally sensitive comic about Muhammad. We’ll see how well this goes over.

  • Meerschaum Pipe Carving: Another Art Fading into History

    Cardboard box sat upon cardboard box in stacks that rose up from the floor to nearly the ceiling of a meerschaum pipe workshop in Eskisehir, Turkey. They had been sitting there for what may as well have been ages, the workshop was nearly devoid of artisans, and I was informed sadly that because of the [...]

  • The Social Implications of Neck Tattoos

    I woke up this morning with the weary perception that life may have changed — or at least the way that I look or am perceived could have. A painful twist of the head confirmed this: I had the remaining facets of my neck tattooed the day before. Three new pieces now covered both sides [...]

  • Working in Art Studio Mishap

    I entered the art studio where I had agreed to help set up for an event that was to take place there the following day, and I was quickly whisked away under the wing of the main organizer. She was a Chilean artist, probably in her mid to late 30s, who seemed to be one [...]

  • Snorri Helgason: Folk Music from Iceland

    “Music chronicles the times: the feeling of the times, the emotion of the times,” spoke Snorri Helgason while sipping from a mug of coffee inside of a Reykjavik cafe. “It just makes people feel good,” he continued as he set down the mug, “that is what music does for me, and I hope my music does to others.”

    In his native Iceland, Snorri Helgason rose to stardom fast as the front man for the pop band Sprengjuhöllin. Their first album spent 27 weeks at #1 on the country’s music charts. This is the story of how Helgason rose from the ashes after obtaining national stardom, and has taken his show on the road to stages all over the world.