Make Some Noise, Hong Kong!

Outdoor concert on St. Viateur Street in Montreal — something that could never happen in Hong Kong under the current noise regulations Last month, on a muggy Saturday afternoon, a couple of hundred people gathered in the courtyard of the former Central Married Police Quarters for a taste of something rare in Hong Kong: live […]

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De l’Abitibi à Hong Kong

Franco-Algonquin hip hop is the last thing I expected to encounter in Hong Kong, but that’s exactly what I heard this past weekend at the former Central Married Police Quarters, which has suddenly become the most interesting cultural space in town. Over the past month, the Heritage X Art X Design festival and the Indie […]

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Struggling to Support the Arts in Hong Kong

It was an unexpectedly warm day as Syren Johnstone stood, in shirt-sleeves and a bit of sweat on his brow, over a hole dug in the West Kowloon Reclamation site. He held a shovel in his right hand and stared down at a rusted reinforcing bar poking out of the earth. “This is reclaimed land, […]

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Politics and Pedestrians

On New Year’s Eve, 9pm, Tsim Sha Tsui was packed with revellers. Everyone seemed to be having a good time; even the South Asian touts who are normally aggressive in their pitches for fake watches, tailored suits and Indian restaurants were taking it easy and hanging out in the middle of Nathan Road. Hundreds of […]

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Hong Kong’s Wild West

Last Sunday, Clara Lee and her nine-year-old daughter Hoi-ching were wandering through the craggy grass and gnarly trees that make up the West Kowloon site of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture. “It’s big here!” exclaimed Hoi-ching. “I don’t often go to the countryside.” “Actually,” said her mother, “this is not the […]

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Dreaming of the Sustainable City

When the curators of the 2009 Hong Kong-Shenzhen Biennale began assembling exhibits for the urbanism and architecture showcase, they decided to focus on the theme of sustainability. It turns out that most of the artists, architects and designers who answered their call for submissions had the same idea. “It’s almost a zeitgeist,” says Eric Schuldenfrei, […]

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A Detour in Hong Kong

This might be an odd thing to say about Hong Kong, but the place lacks spontaneity. For all of its hustle and intensity, it’s awfully beholden to routine: every day, the same street markets, the same packed MTR trains, the same carnival of consumerism. Even the political protests, though frequent, are quite orderly, almost choreographed. […]

Asia’s Only Jewish Film Festival

Howard Elias, founder of the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival There aren’t a lot of Jews in Hong Kong, but that hasn’t stopped the city from becoming the centre of Jewish life in Asia, with one of the continent’s oldest synagogues, an active community centre and the only Jewish film festival on this side of […]

LA Art Walk

Los Angeles’s spin on the Art Walk serves more than just the obvious purposes of promoting foot traffic and celebrating art in the flatland of mini malls and gas guzzlers. The monthly spectacle constitutes a larger urban project: the gentrification and “revitalization” of Downtown LA. Since Antonio Villaraigosa’s first term in office, the LA mayor […]

Chengdu’s Odd Christmas Tradition

I was at dinner last night when one of my friends told me about a strange Christmas Eve tradition in her hometown of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. “Every year, people go to the main pedestrian street and start hitting each other with inflatable toys,” she explained. I was perplexed, though far from surprised. Christmas […]

Battleaxe Mount Royal

Most Montrealers know about the tam tams. Hell, the weekly drum circle, market and gathering around the Sir George Étienne Cartier Monument on Mount Royal is even used by Tourism Montreal to promote the city. But what about the fighting that goes on in the woods behind the tam tams? Every Sunday, just a few […]

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A Bit of Brazil on the Edge of Mount Royal

Jean-Michel Labrosse looks like the kind of guy you’d expect to meet at the tam-tams. As he crosses Park Ave. with a big drum in one hand and a saxophone case in the other, you can’t miss his long, grey beard, with two braids dangling from its tip. Maybe that’s why virtually every journalist who […]