The Agenda takes a sweeping look at the next month in Shanghai and selects the big events in the respective categories of dining, music, art, and more, more, more. Here’s your socio-culture calendar for the next month in Shanghai.
Split Works has a busy few weeks, with Nite Jewel playing 390 on October 11 (minimalist dance pop with releases on Italians Do It Better and Gloriette Records) and a tour from Australian misanthropic rock act Witch Hats on November 1, also at 390. But the real effort’s going into a three-day festival they’re putting on at QSW from November 1-3. Okay, it’s not in October but we’re late with the Agenda this month and if we wait until next month to mention it, it’s going to be too late.
This is the first hook up between Split Works and Guinness, who are sponsoring the festival in an effort to nurture Chinese music and bask in reflected kudos. To give Guinness some credit, going with Split Works on this will ensure that the event has a good mix of credible, up-and-coming Chinese folk and rock. The line-up looks like this:
November 1, 6.30-10.30pm, Yunggiema (China Idol finalist from from the Menba people who does minority folk music) and Shugo Tokumara (Japanese multi-instrumentalist folk dude).
November 2, 2-10.30pm, World's End Girlfriend (Japanese post rock) Buyi, Xiban, Dustin Wong (US), Sandi Thom (US), Low Wormwood, Proximity Butterfly, Witch Hats and a bunch of others.
November 3, 2-10.30pm, Sainkho Namtchylak (Tuvan throat singing dudette), Hanggai (boozy Chinese folk with a sense of humor), Wan Xiaoli, Cold Fairyland, Neemah, Song Yuzhe, Soundscape and a bunch of others.
The event will spill over all three stages at QSW. Nice venue, and since they’ve got the whole place, it might actually feel like a festival. Expect distractions for kids, dancing sessions, so forth. Here’s a video teaser about the whole thing.
A one-day pass is 120rmb (Friday, Saturday or Sunday), two days for 200rmb（Saturday and Sunday）or all three for 300 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). That’s in advance (SmartTicket), or get them each day on the door for 160. All tickets come with a free Guinness.
And also… The JZ Festival continues this month with their set of sit-down shows at Shanghai Centre. They used to do this right after the outdoor festival, but this year they’ve split it up. The highlight is drumming legend Jack Dejohnette, who will be bringing his band. He’s a Grammy-award winner who’s work runs from hard bob to R&B and world music.
Also on the bill are Texan classical and jazz pianist Helen Sung, French / Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, and John Schofield, one of the "big three" current jazz guitarists, with his Uberjam Band.
All that goes down from October 15-18 at Shanghai Centre. Tickets start at 280rmb each for all the shows and can be bought here.
And also, also… More booze-branded noise at On Stage with Andy Summers and his band Circa Zero. Summers was the guitarist from The Police. This time it’s Heineken bringing him over for two shows, one later this week, on October 10. The band will also be headlining the Shanghai Rolex Masters after party on Sunday, October 13 at the Qizhong Tennis Center, immediately after the men’s singles final. Go see the tennis for that one, or get into On Stage on Thursday for 150rmb. More info here.
Some of the people who run Shiva are organizing a 24-hour festival about an hour out of Shanghai, near Zhujiajiao. It's called Shalanaya, which is Sanskrit for "attaining a state of inner peace and harmony by tripping off one's balls". It's not really. But that's what lucky participants can look forward to. If you ever went to one of those Step Into Bass parties, you'll know the location. It's on secluded, private land, covered by trees with a couple large grassy areas They're planning on two sound systems, one pumping out trance, tribal, psy-trance, tech-house and anything you're used to hearing at Shiva, the other playing ambient and chill-out tunes.
On top of that, there will be UV painting, light installations, fire dancers, a huge bonfire, 10 barbecue pits grilling vegetarian food, tents and sleeping bags for those who want them, or you can bring your own tent to snooze in. Drum circles? No word on the drum circles but we'd be willing to lay our name on the line that there will be some sort of communal percussion opportunity. We knew this guy who once worked for McKinsey, and he said that at their Christmas party one year all the senior partners got up on stage and tied their ties around their foreheads and took part in a huge, frenzied drum circle. Part of some freaky capitalist bonding ritual, he said. True story.
Shalanaya promises to be a far more friendly and all-embracing event. It will run for 24 hours and throughout there will be running buses from Shiva to the site for some minimal charge (probably every hour for 10rmb each way). The line-up isn't out yet, but expect it to be a roster of Shiva regulars and divey Shanghai DJs.
Due to take place on the afternoon of October 19-20. Hey, and it's a full moon, too… Trippy. Find details here and buy tickets here.
And also… Shelter is ramping up its spend this month, with guests from the UK (Jon Kennedy for Antidote on the 18th), the US (Beau Wanzer for Stockholm Syndrome on the 26th) and a Resident Advisor night coming up November 1. But pick of the month might be DJ Shortkut on October 12, because
And also, also… DingDongDisco stage a triumphant return to Shanghai's scene this month, booking TieDye in from Sweden. DDD haven't been seen since the closure of their lovely but rather short-lived club, KTV, in the summer. But they're back to doing what they always did best: renting a random venue and cramming it full of disco. This one will be at Lost Heaven on the Bund. Lovely place, never really been used for any interesting parties. Let's see how it moves to TieDye's "Modern Balearic trucker hymns” (that's how DDD describe his music). Support from Razor and Lucy. 100rmb (includes a drink) pre-sales from Lost Heaven, or it's 150rmb for two tickets (cost includes drinks). More here.
Terracotta Daughters opened a few weeks back at Magda Danysz Gallery over in Hongkou. It’s a trek, but one that’s definitely worth making before the exhibition closes later this month. French artist Prune Nourry’s first China solo features an ‘army’ of 108 clay girls created using traditional techniques to evoke Xi’an’s legendary terracotta soldiers. Based on the features of eight school-aged Chinese girls, each statue incorporates permutations of their hairstyles, faces, hands, legs and torsos to make each one unique.
They’re a formidable sight, but it’s a film documenting the creative process and relationships behind the work that really engages. Not only do we meet the eight giggly girls who lent their likenesses to the Daughters, the short also offers an intriguing glimpse into the studio of 15 craftsmen employed in making replicas of the actual warriors up in Xi’an. That includes massive kilns, earthy slabs of terracotta and lots of plaster.
But it’s the makers themselves that are the most fascinating, their collaboration with Nourry and reflections on their own families—too many boys, says one. That’s the crux of the exhibition, raising questions around sexual discrimination, China’s gender imbalance, and the roles and fate of women and girls in society. More on that right here.
And also… Continuing the French theme, Barbizon through Impressionism is currently wowing crowds at Shanghai Museum. Here’s a listing. Featuring 73 gems from the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute in Massachusetts, it tracks the Barbizon school’s fascination with the natural world, placing the great outdoors center stage as opposed to a mere backdrop for more human-centric goings-on. That paved the way for Impressionism, painting en plein air, and essentially spans much of the 19th century. Roughly divided into two mains sections, "Embracing Light and Color" and "Tradition and Innovation," paintings on show track shifts in French aesthetics and society, beautifully illustrated through key works by Monet, Renoir, Pissaro and Rousseau to name a few. They’re a treat to see, and one that flocks of art lovers aren’t letting pass by. If you're visiting on the weekend, brace yourself for queues…
After a summer hiatus, Shanghai’s expat theater scene is back in full force this month with not one, not two, but three stage side offerings vying for audiences in October. Courtesy of East West Theater and kicking off this week, Masque’rade: Macabre Tales From Poe takes over Anken Green’s rooftop for a five-night run from Wednesday. A medley of some of the master of mystery’s darkest yarns, all presented within a suitably debauched masquerade ball setting, the production fuses story-telling, music, dance and lots of red wine. More on that here.
And also… Right after that, Urban Aphrodite present their take on David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross over at Sasha’s stage from 17 October. The work picked up a Pulitzer and a Tony in its first run back in 1983 before taking to the silver screen with an all-star cast featuring Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey and Alec Baldwin a decade later. The comedy sees four Chicago real estate agents vie for top spot on their company’s sales leader board, prompting all kinds of nastiness from bribery through to burglary… More here.
And also, also… Finally, after an awesome first run back in May, Black is the Color of My Voice returns to the Shanghai stage at the end of October. A one-woman show, it’s written and performed by the very talented Apphia Campbell and is based on the life and times of jazz musician and civil rights activist, Nina Simone. Here’s what we wrote about it last time round, and for details of this month’s performances, click here.
Two brand-spanking new high-end retail properties have opened recently, so expect a fall season flush with openings. We’ve already given you a run-down of what's in store at IAPM Mall. Add Morton's new steak and seafood grill concept to that list, too. It had its grand opening just last night. The new Jing'an Kerry Centre is will also be attracting tenants like Flame, for instance. So keep watching these spots.
In the meantime, how about a brewski? Come October 18, Wharf 1846 hosts the Second Annual International Beer Festival. Yes, there was already a beer festival earlier this year. Yes, this town is big enough for two beer festivals a year. Last year's was quite a success—good live music, loads of food from your favorite Shanghai restaurants, this dude in the lower left corner DJing and, of course, loads of beer. The organizers say they'll be pouring over 100 different labels this year, which doesn't suck. 50rmb gets you in the gates with a beer to start you off. The website says it will be an "international brand." If memory serves, last year that meant San Miguel or something comparable. But hey, it's still beer. To learn more about the festival click here.
And also… Maya Mexican restaurant reaches a milestone five years this month. To celebrate, they're putting Maya chefs past and present all together in one kitchen. Current chef Ken Brumm will be joined by Sean Jorgensen of Boxing Cat and Brad Turley of Goga. The three of them are putting their heads together for a multi-course meal of sharable dishes. In addition, former bartender Veronica Bravo is back behind the bar to mix some premium cocktails. The list of mixers they've given us is pretty impressive: Zacapa rum, Casa Noble tequila and even a coffee liqueur that they've made in collaboration with Sumerian Coffee Roasters. During dinner the margaritas, sangria and Sol beer will flow freely, too. That will set you back 588rmb per person. More details on that right here.
And also, also… It's hairy crab season. The Waldorf-Astoria's Wei Jing Ge has a rather swish set menu. On the other side of the river, Yong Yi Ting in the Mandarin Oriental is also doing some specialty dishes. And pretty much every other Chinese restaurant in between will likely serve this coiffed crustacean. Or, better yet, do it yourself; it's really not that hard. Buy a few live ones from your corner crab vendor—they pop up everywhere this time of year—take them home and steam them until their shells turn orange. Serve with vinegar and ginger. Bam!