Archive for February, 2011
Posted by Admin in Uncategorized on February 28, 2011
READING, Pa. — For many in Berks County, where they purchase their clothes is one of the most important decisions.
And it appears that Hip-Hop culture has a big influence, and could spell major economic development for some businesses in Reading, like Villa on Penn Street in downtown Reading.
Different artists will wear certain things in video and that has a direct influence, said Andrew Lutz, Villa store manager. A lot of these guys are kids heros, trend setters,
And those trends are costly.
At Villa, Penny Hardaway Nikes retail for $199, and theyre a top seller.
Some of the stores workers also say the hip-hop artists also influence what they wear.
Like Kanye West, hes another one who started like the slim fit look, said Markus Buchanon who say he now wears fitted jeans.
Thursday, Nate Norment, PhD, is the chair of African-American Studies Department at Temple University visited Albright College in Reading, and explained the influence of African Americans on modern culture.
Historically our culture was viewed as primitive, a subculture, and one big thing I think is once you can market it and it become a commodity, I think it becomes popular, said Dr. Norment, Thats the nature of capitalism. Whether its fair or not, it does effect change.
Hip-hop culture is also big business for Villa. At at time when many companies are struggling to make ends meet, Villa is planning on opening up six stores, this year alone.
Footwear and fashion starts in the neighborhoods, you know and moves outward, and its even more so today in the inner cities and the African American communities and minority communities than it ever was before, said Lutz.
Posted by Admin in Uncategorized on February 27, 2011
Experts: Soft power should be used to promote modern Chinese
BEIJING – China should strive to gain more cultural soft power by discussing
its current culture rather than lingering over its traditional culture, said one
of the countrys top think tanks on Friday.
We have emphasized our traditional culture to an extreme extent in the past
decade, but we dont have a strong voice in international dialogues, Yi
Junqing, director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, said during
a press conference for the release of the Annual Report on Chinas Cultural Soft
Power Research (2010).
In general, a countrys soft power refers to its ability to get other
countries to share its goals and values through the use of attraction, rather
than of coercion or payments. Yi said he thinks China can reap great benefits
from wielding soft power, but so far has failed to do so.
Some Westerners take China to be purely an economic animal, since we have
been unable to explain and show our modern culture to the outside world in an
effective and proper way, he said.
The bureaus report includes explorations of the fundamental theory
research and strategic research that has been conducted into Chinas cultural
soft power, said Zhang Guozuo, chief editor of the document and director of the
Research Center for the Soft Power of Chinese Culture.
It also contains a general survey of research on the soft power present
within traditional Chinese culture, he said.
Minister of Education Yuan Guiren told China Daily in a previous interview
that the global expansion of the Confucius Institutes was a good way to promote
soft power and appeal to more students abroad.
By the end of 2009, some 282 Confucius Institutes and 272 Confucius
classrooms, both of which offer instruction in Chinese language and culture, had
been established in 88 countries. They had received more than 260,000 students
in 2009, almost doubled the number in 2008, according to the institutes
Experts conceded it will be a long time before China can become a strong
country by promoting its cultural soft power. But steps are already being taken
along that path.
A statue of the ancient sage Confucius was recently erected beside Tiananmen
Square. The 9.5-meter-tall bronze figure outside the National Museum of China is
the latest evidence of the countrys efforts to promote the great philosopher as
a symbol of traditional Chinese culture.
For similar reasons, a promotional video featuring some of the nations most
famous faces were showed in Times Square in New York from Jan 17 to Feb 14. The
display, which opened a day before President Hu Jintaos arrival for a four-day
state visit to the United States, is part of a major campaign to promote Chinas
image among Americans.
Posted by Admin in Uncategorized on February 26, 2011
The ARCO international exhibition of modern art has closed up shop in Madrid. Russia was represented as an honourable guest there. This high status of the Russian participants was due to the special relations between Russia and Spain in the current year. This year has been announced a cultural exchange year for both countries, so the ARCO exhibition in Madrid was the precursor of the official opening ceremony of the Russian-Spanish Cultural Year held on the 25th of February.
Russia was not a novice at the Madrid exhibition which was held for the 30th time. Anyway, it was the first time for Russia to have such a wide-front representation of over 20 people. Irina Gorlova from the State Russian Centre of Modern Art explained this to The Voice of Russia.
ARCO has a very serious reputation in the world of arts. It is not only one of the largest European fairs, it implies an extensive parallel programme: round table discussions, symposia and other gatherings in several places in Madrid. This year, for the first time in the history of ARCO, the programme included the participation of Russian galleries and large Russian institutions dealing with modern art: state, public and private ones. It is clear that galleries first of all hoped to attract international attention, to promote their artists and to obtain financial profit. As for the other participants in the project, such as museums and centres of modern art and modern culture, they focused their efforts on presenting their activities on stands. We, for example, demonstrated the activities of our Centre as a network organization. Our stand was designed as an interactive map which could be expanded to large pictures showing the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and its branches in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Kaliningrad. This way of demonstration was determined not only by our predilections but also by the ARCO Organizing Committees requirements of no original works of art at presentations of institutions.
Incidentally, there were no restrictions of this kind for gallery owners: they brought their own works and practically all of them were a success. Out of 8 Russian galleries, the St. Petersburg Gallery of Marina Gisich seems to have benefited most of all. European collectors readily bought works by artist Marina Alexeyeva shown by that gallery: dolls houses with painstakingly made mini-interiors. Monitor eye-glasses also went to a foreign collection. They are a technological artistic novelty from the Moscow Electroboutiquegroup and XL gallery.The Moscow Gallery of Marat Gelman, in all likelihood, promoted the largest number of artists and also made a profit. For example, a queue formed at the fair forworks by Dmitry Gutov iron structures based on drawings by Rembrandt. Meanwhile, Yulia Gelman, the co-owner of the Gallery, said that before ARCO many of them were in a pessimistic mood. The world economy remains in the grip of a crisis, so we did not expect high purchasing activity by collectors. But in spite of that, Yulia Gelman said to The Voice of Russia, Spanish collectors became interested in our artists and it was a real pleasure to meet them.
For example, take a collector, advanced in years, who specializes in Russian art of the first half of the 20th century. He used to buy socialist realism but then decided to replenish his collection with modern works. It is clear that his interest is deep and professional, it is not just because of a trend. In general, it turned out that Russian culture is interesting to Spaniards, which probably has historical roots. At ARCO we could feel a great liking for Russian galleries and other institutions.
The forthcoming Russian-Spanish cultural year gives hope for numerous opportunities for showing this sympathy between the two countries. The programme for the year consists of over 700 events and the larger part of it is dedicated to cultural cooperation.
The Academy Awards air Sunday, and among the popular and widely seen nominated films lies the obscure gem, The Illusionist, which is up for an award in the Best Animation category. Other entries in this category include Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon.
The story, set in 1950s Scotland, follows an old, traveling illusionist on his journey across Europe, looking for stages to perform his dated act. On one of the stops, he encounters a teenage girl, Alice, who becomes fascinated with his acts, believing in their magic. Alice joins him on his travels, and the two develop a father-daughter relationship. What follows is an interesting reflection on how newer generations are less inclined to find beauty or fascination in simplicity, instead favoring glitzy, loud and commercial entertainment. This is reflective of the film itself, as some raised in todays fast-paced culture will not be able to connect with this slow, contemplative film.
In the film, the illusionist and his fellow performers, a clown and a puppeteer, become less wanted. A pop rock band, Billy Boy and the Britoons, is shown performing to a wild and excited young crowd as they perform silly and over-the-top antics such as rolling around on the floor as they sing, while the crowd eggs them on to several encores. All of this occurs as the illusionist watches, waiting to perform his simple act, having to prepare himself several times, as the band plays well into his scheduled time. He eventually performs to a lone grandmother and child.
Throughout the film, the cultural value of the illusionist and his fellow performers declines as the clown toys with suicide and the puppeteer is later shown as a beggar on the street. The puppeteers mannequin is shown in a pawn shop interspersed throughout a few scenes, first labeled at a low price, and eventually advertised as freesymbolic of these simple characters and their traditional crafts becoming obsolete in their advancing society.
The father-daughter dynamic between the illusionist and Alice emphasizes the loss of appreciation for simple beauty. Enraptured with the illusionists magic, Alice becomes attached to him on his journey, but when she gets to the big city, she is exposed to the greater culture and commercialism. Soon, she desires the latest fashion trends and begins to spend most of her time in the city and the big-name stores, searching for the next thing to purchase. This ultimately creates a rift between the two, as the illusionist rejects this culture, even refusing a job in the commercial industry that hoped to use his talents as a gimmick to sell products. The animation on this film is beautiful. The depictions of the landscapes shown in the illusionists travels are stunning. There was a large team of animators dedicated to the animation, and the emphasis on getting it right clearly paid off. It is no large leap to tie the stylistic choice of using this traditional animation to the films greater defiance of modern culture and its need of elaborate and gimmicky methods to fascinate.
There is little dialogue in the film, but the score did a beautiful job of bringing out the emotion of the story. It embodies the magical feeling and the charm with which the loving illusionist performs his acts. The music succeeds in communicating the emotions of these characters in lieu of dialogue, supplementing their actions and the greater environments in which they act, to create beautiful and emotionally striking scenes.
The Illusionist truly embodies the French idea of the filmmaker as an artist. Sylvain Chomet is the director, the scriptwriter (adaptation), the editor and the composer of the films score. This kind of creative involvement in all facets of the filmmaking process is rather uncommon in filmmaking, past and present, particularly in Hollywood. Chomet, through his extensive work, has made a piece that is entirely his own. He previously received critical acclaim for his film The Triplets of Belleville, which was nominated for Best Animation in 2003, and with The Illusionist has created another valuable piece of art, one that is rightly receiving acclaim. With an Academy Award nomination, perhaps it will receive more audience attention as well.
Although this film lacks the fast-paced nature of common modern films, it is a film worth seeing, if only to reflect on a beauty in this world that might have been lost.
In hitting an early creative peak with their first major label release Source Tags and Codes in 2002, â?¦And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead emerged as a distinctive voice in alternative music, combining creative dynamism and pure volume with critiques of modern culture. An inevitable trough in over-produced and comparatively unsuccessful albums followed, leaving disillusionment in their wake. Forsaken but not forgotten, they announced a return to form in 2009 with the independent release of The Century of Self and havenâ??t looked back since.
Stripped back, away from the overdubs and click-tracks, inflated line-ups and superfluous noise of a major label budget, Trail of Dead retreat to where it all began with their latest independent release TAO of the Dead. As a tribute to their progressive rock roots, the album offers a nod to the 70s with a two-part epic. The track listing includes 11 songs within a unified concept on Part I: Letâ??s Experiment and another pompous 16-minute tribute to classical composition in Part II: Strange News From Another Planet. There are the obvious comparisons with Pink Floydâ??s Dark Side of the Moon in the cosmic clichÃs of Spiral Jetty, as well as the rhythmic continuity of Kraftwerkâ??s Autobahn â??especially through the seamless segues between tracks. There are shades of the prog-rock forebears Yes and Rush, which Keely no doubt grew up on, while his vocal outbursts of philosophical speculation sometimes sits uncomfortably in the realms of nu-metal megalomania. Restraining the rage that made them the post-hardcore icons, it is the progressive rock princes and not the noise-metal paupers that fan the flames of this less violent but no less aggressive piece. The slow-burning amble of the album opener is broken by Keely announcing, â??Ok, letâ??s experiment thenâ? â?? as if thatâ??s something the band had forgotten about â?? before breaking into another roiling build-up and grandiose guitar-riffage.
Whether a reaction to the stultifying effects of having had a record label more concerned with turnover than creativity, or a response to the limitations of self-finance, TAO of the Dead results in even more cut-backs than that mid-career Phoenix The Century of Self,. Recording the album in 10 days with an original four-piece model, this album goes some way in explaining what happened during those Interscope wilderness years. In Pure Radio Cosplay Keely roars, â??now weâ??ve lost our way/ itâ??s killed our sense of real timeâ? before conceding â??â??just need another album to save my soulâ?. Itâ??s here, thatâ?¦And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead presents their thesis on why the band â?? and progressive rock â?? isnâ??t over. They might just have us convinced.
Posted by Admin in Uncategorized on February 24, 2011
Wen Wei Dance, in collaboration with the Beijing Modern Dance Company, present Under the Skin, as part of the Brian Webb Dance Company season
When: Friday and Saturday at 8 pm
Where: Timms Centre for the Arts (112th Street and 87th Avenue)
Tickets: $30 adults, $20 students and seniors
Made in China. You see the words stamped on everyday objects all around you.
Dance artist Wen Wei Wang was made in China -born and trained there -his world view shaped in the 1970s at the National Dance School run by the Peoples Liberation Army.
Now a Vancouver-based choreographer we can proudly call one of Canadas most inventive artistic exports, Wen Wei often draws on his Chinese heritage and cultural practices in his work and gives them a made-in-Canada contemporary twist.
For instance, in his 2006 piece Unbound, Wang put three male dancers in the Chinese Operas costume version of the foot-binding lotus shoes to stylishly interrogate our ideals of beauty, power and gender.
For his Cock-Pit in 2009, Wen Wei was inspired by another Beijing Opera theatrical symbol, the ling, a fivefoot-tall feather traditionally used as a hair adornment to indicate warlords. He put these feathers into his contemporary dance piece as both a costume piece and a prop -an extraordinary extension of the dancers bodies that resulted in some of the most imaginative and animalistic movement vocabulary ever seen.
This weekend, the Wen Wei Dance Company takes dance audiences on another Canadian-Chinese cultural exchange, this time presenting Under the Skin, collaborating with the Beijing Modern Dance Company to commemorate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
This is dance made in China and Canada.
After almost 20 years of living in Canada, I feel the time is right to bring something back to my homeland, says Wen Wei. China has really changed so much the last couple of years and the whole world is really focused on what is happening in China and Asia, so its a good time for a cultural exchange.
He explains that modern dance first made its way past the Great Wall into China in the 1980s, after the Cultural Revolution.
I remember the first modern dance company to perform in China was Anna Wyman, from Vancouver. The basis of modern and contemporary dance in China comes from the influences of Martha Graham and the United States, but after 10 or 15 years, the Chinese dance artists have been trying to find their own voice -you cant just follow people. Of course Chinas society has become a modern culture, too.
The Beijing moder n dancers are all trained in Chinese clas-sic dance, Beijing Opera, and martial arts like tai chi. Working with the Beijing dancers, I found it very easy because we have very similar training.
People tell me they all move like you, he adds, with a laugh.
Even with their common dance ground, it has taken a couple of years to co-ordinate the project with Wen Wei first travelling back to China in 2008 to meet and work with the Beijing dancers. Two pieces were created: Wen Weis In Transition and Beijing Modern Dance Company founder Gao Yanjinzis Journey to the East. Both pieces feature a cast of dancers from Vancouver and Beijing and explore personal and cultural identity and the fusion of different groups.