Sunday, April 22, 2012

Piccadilly Revisited

Started the day on an Egg - a speech at an awards ceremony at the National Centre for Performing Arts - then off to school to help Liz out with the annual jumble sale. Clothes, books, toys, the usual interesting ephemera. I teamed up with Jon Baines (though I insisted on calling him Tony, possibly because he had a name-badge that said Ben Banise) and together we manned the book & DVD stall. We spent much of the time leafing through a mighty encyclopedia, but sold a lot of stuff. In all, we raised just shy of 10,000RMB (about £1,000) for charity.
In the evening we headed to Broadway MOMA for yet another UK Now event: Piccadilly Revisited, an interpretation of the 1929 British silent movie, Piccadilly, starring Anna May Wong, Hollywood's first Chinese film star. It's very different from the usual silent-movies-with-live-music, of which I've seen plenty. The original film is only the starting point. Sometimes it gives way to newly commissioned short videos depicting Wong in weird contemporary settings), there are split screen elements, a modern narration etc. And then there's the live music by Ruth Chan (British of Hong Kong descent) and Suki Mok (Taiwanese, currently based in London) plus three other musicians. What confused things even more was the fact that Ruth Chan is the spitting image of Wong (or at least the character she plays in the film) and also I assumed she was the actress playing her in the short videos, but she wasn't. So, a complex, interesting event. I'm not sure the contemporary videos were entirely successful, or even necessary, but the concept was good.

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