Sunday, April 26, 2009

Heading South

I guess I am an odd sort of peregrine creature, heading south for the summer months and spending the colder winter months in colder climates than I actually like. Well, so goes life for me. (Perhaps I don't have very good instincts.)

I'll be heading south this week, back to my equatorial home. I'll spend most of the summer in Singapore. I've got lots of friends coming in for the summer (some having arrived before me!), and am looking forward to lots of great activities. I've already got tickets for a good number of shows, so you can be sure that you'll see lots of reviews of those things here.

I do hope to do some traveling with my friends this summer too. Malaysia is our most likely destination, but a few of us have kicked around the idea of Vietnam too. I might also be meeting some family members during the late months of summer somewhere. We'll see how that all shapes up as it draws nearer.

We're also still making our plans for the mini-triathlon in July. With all these things on the schedule, it's promising to be a busy (and fun!) summer. If you don't see me around here for a couple of days, it's just because I'm in the midst of travels and getting settled back in. But I won't be gone for long (and hope not to miss any time at all, really).

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll

It's time for Tom Stoppard at the Alley Theater!

Tonight's preview of Rock 'n' Roll at the Alley Theater in Houston should be lots of fun! (Isn't Stoppard always fun?)

The show will be directed by Gregory Boyd, and held at the Neuhaus Stage. It will run Apr 29 - May 24.

It is a London Critic's Circle choice for Best New Play, and it looks like a lot of fun! It is an expansive tale, spanning 3 generations and two countries.

Don't miss the show if you have the chance to see it. It should be a grand time at the theatre.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Paper

I got to attend a really nice amateur performance this past Saturday (and plan to do a follow up visit this weekend). I'm translating the title (《谈纸》) as "On Paper," though I don't know if someone has given it a better title.

The piece was remarkably meaningful, and a very pleasant surprise for the setting in which I viewed it — a performance geared more for the "grassroots" on a Saturday afternoon, rather than in some highbrow arts center. It was very profound, and performed very well too.

You can read a more detailed set of reflections over at my Tai Shan blog.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Xin Fu 131

Xin Fu 131 is one of the hotspots in the Shanghai dining scene at the moment. It is "hot" in two ways, actually. First, everyone is talking about it. Everyone is going to try it out. And everyone is loving it.

But it is also "hot" in that the food is pretty spicy. You can get good Sichuan cuisine there, and it is quite authentic. And hot. And really, really good.

Two of my favorite dishes so far were probably the bullfrog and the shrimp. They are both especially spicy, and quite tasty. Nearly everyone I've eaten with says the same. My #1 favorite, though, is probably the BBQ fish. The chili gets down into the bones, and when you chew on them for a while, it is really hot.

Xin Fu 131 is located at 237 Wan Ping Lu, across from Xu Jia Hui Park.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TNT's Romeo and Juliet

I was at TNT's opening night performance of Romeo & Juliet last night in Shanghai. It was a typical TNT performance, which is to say... fantastic stuff! I really love watching this troupe perform. They do outstanding work all of the time.

I'll be viewing this same show again in Singapore when I return there at the end of the month. I don't think I've done this before, attending the same play in two different cities within a very short time span. I am looking forward to it, as I think the audience reaction will be quite different in Singapore than it was last night here in Shanghai. I am planning to make some observations on that aspect and see if it bears out.

I am excited about seeing the performance in Jubilee Hall in Singapore. It's a place I'm quite familiar with, having been involved with a staging there some years back. I couldn't help last night, at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, but notice some things that I think will be quite different at Jubilee Hall.
Anyway... we shall see! I'll have an update after the next show.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fellini Gallery

An acquaintance at the weekly Open Mic session told me about the Fellini Gallery in Shanghai, at 339 Changle Lu. It happens to be around the corner from the Friend's Cafe, where we hold the Open Mic, and since I was a little early, I dropped in at Fellini to have a look.

The exhibition on display now through the 17th is Feng Fangyu's photo collection entitled May Rain. It is an excellent mix of traditional Chinese dress and setting, using flames in each photo. I was very impressed with the whole collection. In addition, there were more paintings and several unique installments by various artists upstairs.

The gallery looks deceptively small on the outside, but has a fair bit of space inside for displaying a wide range of work. I am far from an informed critic, but I really liked the work displayed there.

If you get a chance, do pop in to visit. And, there is a new exhibit scheduled next week.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

And it just keeps getting better....

I was very thrilled, as I said in my previous post, to find a seller of secondhand English books. I was talking to a friend about this find, and she mentioned that there is another shop that sells cheap secondhand English books, this one in Puxi. (And I have a direct bus from home too!!)

I popped in yesterday afternoon, and found a fairly good selection of English books. Interestingly, the shop carries secondhand books in a great variety of languages. That was quite impressive to see. I picked up about 10 titles for under 150RMB. (And it would have been a fair bit cheaper if I had left out the textbook, which was the costliest of the lot.)

The shop has been around for a long time, though there was apparently one stretch of time in which it was closed down. (That's why no one had mentioned it to me before — they thought it was closed permanently.) It is located at 36 Shanxi Lu, just near Fuzhou Lu. If you are much of a bibliophile, plan to while away a good bit of time there.


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Sunday, April 05, 2009

What a Find!

I came across something here in Shanghai that makes me really happy — a bookstore for second-hand English books!! I think I am in heaven!

I went to the new shop the other day, only to find they had not yet finished moving in. They expect to be done by the end of this week — and of course, I'll make another visit then.

There were a good number of books there, even though they were still in the process of moving. They let me browse about, digging through the boxes and stacks of books lining the floors. I found about 10 volumes that I bought and brought home, all for less than 200RMB. Not a terrible price, even if it is not quite like what I could get in my hometown in the US at the library book sale. Still, it is the best price your going to find in Shanghai on English books at a shop that has such a wide selection.

There are lots of kids' books, as well as books for adults. If you stop by the shop, you'll probably want to look around the shopping center too, and maybe have a nice meal there before heading home. There are plenty of options, including both Western and Chinese fare.

No.199 fangdian rd,new pudong district,shanghai.
(Da Mu Zhi Square second floor room 216)

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Singapore Skyline

Singapore's skyline has grown prettier over the years that I lived there, especially down near the marina. When I first moved to Singapore 16 years ago, there was only one little shopping mall down in the area, Marina Square. Some years later, Suntec City grew up, and made the area much brighter. Now the marina's skyline is dominated by the Singapore Flyer.

A couple of months ago (during Chinese New Year), we stopped in at the Marina Barrage late one night, and I took these shots back across of the skyline. It was a very pretty sight.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Long Spring

It seems like this has been a long spring. That mostly stems, I guess, from the extended Spring Training we've seen in Major League Baseball this year as a result of the World Baseball Classic. With a 6-week-long Spring Training, instead of the usual 4 weeks, it has really stretched out the wait for Opening Day. While it is good to have live baseball, it is also not the same, what with the less competitive atmosphere you'll see in Florida and Arizona during this time. None of this has been made more bearable for me, when you consider the Astros (my team) have had such a poor showing during the exhibition season.

But the meaningless games come to an end soon. In a matter of days, all the teams start again, in a 30-way tie for first place. The games played each day will be waited with significance, each win and each loss counting in the standings. We'll be well on our way into summer with its dog days, and before you know it, we'll all be speculating about October baseball.

I'll be glad that next year's Spring Training isn't of the extended variety. For now, I am just looking forward to Opening Day later this week.

Play Ball!

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