Category Archives: Arts and Culture

Words, Art and Meaning: Han Meilin 韩美林

Han Meilin (韩美林), in addition to being the artist behind the mascots for the Beijing Olympics, is noteworthy for his freestyle approach to Chinese calligraphy. He often morphs between somewhat identifiable characters and brush strokes resembling people or animals. To me it’s a reflection on … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Culture | Leave a comment

Utopian Futurism

On the northwest edge of Beijing is an exhibition center sitting on the site of what will be the Changping District Technology Innovation City. Inside is a scale model of a new development where buses run on special paths, gleaming … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Culture, Social Phenomena | Leave a comment

90s Punk Rock: He Yong (何勇)

There’s a minor punk and hardcore metal scene in China, mostly centered in Beijing and Shanghai. It seems only fitting that just about the only alternative to sing-songy ballads and western-imitation pop is music that often rejoices in being inaccessible … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Culture, Social Phenomena | Leave a comment

The Banyan Tree: China Writes Fiction

In China, like anywhere else, young people often stare or poke at their cell phones. A little different is that what they’re looking at is quite likely fiction—short, written for cell phone, internet-downloaded fiction. What’s awesome about this is not … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Culture, Media and Journalism | Leave a comment

A Good Book About China’s Environment

Today I finished reading Jonathan Watts’ When a Billion Chinese Jump, a book about China’s environment, and it’s problems. It’s good. It points to China’s place at the center of a lot of global environmental problems and the challenges of … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and Culture, Environment | Leave a comment

Red Songs and Exceptionalism

One of the jarring things about modern China is the persistence of Communist self-aggrandizing pageantry. July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party and the commemoration is already in full swing. Newspapers are running special … Continue reading

Posted in Armchair Theorizing, Arts and Culture, Social Phenomena | Leave a comment

Epcot Center

Almost every Chinese city has one: a mock-ancient village that is part tourist attraction, part shopping mall, and part culture exhibition center. Yesterday, I went to Tianjin’s version, Ancient Culture Street. The place is meticulously planned. At it’s entrance stands … Continue reading

Posted in Armchair Theorizing, Arts and Culture, Social Phenomena, Urbanization | Leave a comment