Mahjong in the Rain

The raucous clatter of tiles was unmistakable as I approached the corner of Zhijiang Lu (芷江路) and Xizhang Bei Lu (西藏北路) in Shanghai’s Zhabei district. In a public playground, groups of middle-aged to old people were lazily gathered for an afternoon of mass mahjong and card games. A large group of spectators followed like moths […]

Outdoor Billiards in Shenzhen

In Baishizhou, five yuan will get you an hour of pool and a big bottle of strong beer. This is one of Shenzhen’s largest and liveliest urban villages. Pool is one of its favourite pasttimes. The village is hard to navigate, with aimless roads and dark, foreboding alleyways, but I’ve come across a few outdoor […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Outdoor Billiards in Shenzhen , , , ,

The City Gets Pixelated

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS_LyL9hiPs[/youtube] True, Patrick Jean’s 8-bit 80s arcade game-inspired New York invasion video, “PIXELS”, will soon be featured on nearly every blog on the internet. But it struck me as so in keeping to some of the other work featured here — from Jan Vormann’s Lego brick street art to this Berlin housing block game of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Society and Culture, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on The City Gets Pixelated , , ,

The Lying Down Game

Photos by Neath at Walking Turcot Yards It’s easy to read a lot into the Lying Down Game (otherwise known as planking), in which people lie face down in odd places. You could see it as relational art that challenges our preconceptions of how to behave in public space. You could see it as a […]

In Hong Kong, Mahjong Endures

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoPdUiyKXI4[/youtube] No matter where you stand in Hong Kong, there’s a game of mahjong being played nearby, in someone’s living room, in a mahjong parlour or in the back room of a shop. (Every weekend, without fail, the owners of a flower shop around the corner from me invite some friends over to play mahjong […]

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City of Open Secrets

Mah-jong followed me wherever I went in Hong Kong. Walking down a quiet alley in the neighbourhood of Wan Chai, the distinct sound of tiles being shuffled tumbled down from a second-floor window. Passing by a row of shops in Shek Kip Mei, I spotted a group of middle-aged men and women sitting at the […]

Chess, Mahjong and Pi

My friends always swore by Café Pi. I never really shared their opinion (its food isn’t great and neither is its coffee) but I could at least appreciate it, since Pi’s customers are an odd mix of students and chess players, all of whom pack into the café’s jarring red-and-black confines until they are kicked […]

Posted in: Canada by Christopher DeWolf 2 Comments , , ,

City Golf

[youtube]Ph6PyGZnkOo[/youtube] Before there were flashmobs… there was Wayne and Shuster. In this segment from the CBC’s Wayne and Shuster show, which aired on September 19, 1971, the two comedians—Johnny Wayne (né Louis Weingarten) and Frank Shuster—play a game of golf in the streets of downtown Toronto. What better way to bring such a quintessentially suburban […]

Posted in: Canada, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on City Golf ,

Politicians, Slippery in More Ways than One

Quebeckers head to the polls today in a provincial election that might produce the first minority government in more than a century. Most of the snow has melted, but for most of February and March, the election provided for more than just news-hour entertainment: it made for great impromptu tobogganing for people who don’t have […]