Once again, Silk Screen will be celebrating the Chinese New Year at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! Join us Sunday, February 7 to celebrate the Year of the Monkey! Silk Screen favorite Mimi Jong will be there with some of her talented musical friends to perform traditional instruments and engage the children in lively discussions about music, as will our buddies from the talented Steel Dragon Lion Dance team. Children in attendance are invited to join the dance team as they parade through the museum! While you’re at the museum, remember to take a beat to check out the stellar Voyage to Vietnam exhibit, which Silk Screen interns Lillie and Yahui memorably profiled in November!
Wendelin Grey Essay Contest
Silk Screen friend and author Wendelin Grey is directing a book club-like reading guide for the Literati Corner selection The Tale of Genji, a doorstop of a novel by Murasaki Shikibu. She’s divided the book into sections that she’ll review as people read along. Following the conclusion of the story, Grey is holding an essay contest on themes explored in the book. The contest is open to everyone and the winner will be published on Grey’s blog. In addition, the winner will receive a signed copy of her horror novel The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak and a set of the Four Treasures, a significant milestone in Chinese culture. Entries should be no longer than 25 pages and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31.
Check out the information and guidelines here.
Silk Screen Recommendations
BOOK: Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion by Madhu Bazaz Wangu
From Amazon: “In this eloquent collection of stories, twelve different people from different walks of life discover how one chance meeting with a stranger can change a person forever. Drawing from her own Indian-American heritage, Madhu Bazaz Wangu examines the lives of ordinary people facing challenging circumstances—cruelty, prejudiced minds, twisted family relationships, unhappy marriages—and demonstrates how these situations transcend ethnicity and background as interactions with strangers force each character to look deep within themselves, often acknowledging painful truths and long-held secrets, in order to seize control of their own destinies and forge their own paths to independence and happiness.”
Available from Amazon.
FILM: Theeb directed by Naji Abu Nowar (Jordan/Qatar/UAE)
If you’re familiar with the title, that’s because Theeb was the opening film of the 2015 Silk Screen Festival. But we’re celebrating it again now because it was just nominated for an Academy Award! Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced January 14 and Theeb snagged a nom for Best Foreign Language Film, making history as the first ever Jordanian Oscar nomination!
For a quick refresher, here’s the description from our 2015 Program Book: “Theeb and his older brother Hussein are members of a Bedouin tribe in the Arabian Desert. It is 1916 and the world around them is in drastic upheaval. For the Bedouins though, life remains largely unchanged. That is until they encounter a British soldier in need of guides to lead him to a strategic destination. Bedouin customs inform Hussein’s decision to help the soldier and Theeb decides to tag along for an adventure. During their voyage, Theeb and fellow travelers face much peril, both natural and man-made. For Theeb, what begins as an adventure quickly turns into a lesson in survival. He is forced to grow up quickly or be at the mercy of the Arabian Desert. This classic adventure tale is at once inventive and engaging. Director Naji Abu Nowar’s multi-award winner evokes both the terrifying elegance of the desert and the slow-growing menace brought about as worlds inevitably collide.”
Available from Amazon.
MUSIC: Heartbeat by G.E.M.
Throwing a curve ball here, you should check out Hong Kong singer-songwriter G.E.M’s fifth studio album, Heartbeat. The 24-year-old, born Gloria Tang Tsz-kei, is part Taylor Swift, part Katy Perry, part her own unique blend of Asian pop frothiness. The music isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a fun listen—upbeat and full of passionate lyrics. The title track melody borrows slightly from modern EDM and boasts an interesting east-west pop fusion. G.E.M. is an acronym for “Everybody Get Moving,” and who can argue with that?
Available for purchase from Amazon and streaming on iTunes.
Travel Spotlight: Tower Running, Taipei 101
Have you conquered the art of marathon running, scaled K2, completed an open water swim, and now you’re looking for a new challenge? Or are you just a bit of a fitness lunatic who will try most anything? Then the sport of Tower Running is for you! Perhaps its not as much of an extreme sport as I’ve just assumed, but it seems like something that I would view more as punishment and less as fun. To each his own though. If you’re looking for an Asian vacation with a grueling interlude, then carry on my friend.
Tower Running is as simple as it sounds: Competitors literally run up the internal staircases of some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Prizes are pretty lucrative, usually several thousand dollars and there’s even a “World Cup” event for the best competitors. Taipei 101 in Taiwan, is the world’s most difficult tower running challenge with an ascent of 91 stories, a vertical height of 390 meters and a total of 2046 steps. Current record holders for the race up the Taipei 101 are Paul Crake of Australia with a time of 10 minutes, 29 seconds, and Andrea Mayr of Austria with a time of 12 minutes, 38 seconds. Time to start training if you think you’ve got the grit and quad strength to beat them!