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My Weekender is a weekly column written by changing authors selected from the Shanghai community. According to the various tastes, interests and backgrounds of its authors, My Weekender serves as a window into what residents in the city are doing with their time off.

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[My Weekender] with Brian Yang

Jul 3, 2009

Brian Yang is the host of the reality show "Shanghai Rush" on ICS Sunday nights at 8pm. The show is down to its final three episodes! Brian is also an actor (he was in "Saving Face" with Joan Chen) and producer who hails from the US. His production company is called 408 Film. He spends his time between the Big Apple and Shanghai.

I come from New York and quite honestly, my Shanghai weekends have started putting my New York weekends to shame. I hear it all the time, and now I believe it: Shanghai is New York City on speed. Dare I say it? My weekends, and this weekend is no exception, feel like a Shanghai Rush.

Friday:

Well, this week, my weekend started off on Wednesday with Matsume (we started off at Fat Olive and then tore up Brown Sugar where this cover band played my favorite song of all time "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" by Hall & Oates -- just awesome) and Thursday was Just Grapes on DaGu Lu (world class), followed by Rack's for some pool, and then Laris on the Bund, but we're not talking about the week. We're talking weekend. Stay focused, B!

Friday, it's dinner to start at SoBe, a delightful South Beach restaurant and bar tucked away on Xing Ye Road near Xintiandi. The staff there is great and if you want to start a poker game there while sipping champagne, just ask. After dinner, it's off to Cantina Agave. Kelley Lee has done an amazing job there in recreating a true Latin atmosphere and tonight, it's Havana Club Latino night. That means salsa dancing. Anyone want to learn with me? I've got two left feet, but I've always wanted to learn.

Saturday:

Seriously, Shanghai can often feel like one big party. I work as an actor/host/producer and the other week when the Shanghai International Film Festival was going on, it was 9 days of non-stop action. Business during the day, party non-stop at night. When you get the time to rest, you gotta take advantage. At the same time, I'm an active guy and I hate sitting around doing nothing. If I'm not working on something at my computer (and that includes reading everyone's status update on Facebook), I'm out and about, usually doing something sporty. No matter how late a night it's going to be on Friday, I'll be up and at 'em running on Saturday morning. I love to run and if I'm not at Physical on a treadmill, I'm running outdoors (if it's not too hot and humid) down Nanjing Dong Lu to the The Bund. At 11:00, I'll be running in my ASAS basketball game and then since it's July 4th today -- American Independence Day! -- my US friends and I will be having a good ole-fashioned American barbeque with hot dogs, burgers, beers, and spam musubi to boot! (I'm making the musubis thank you very much.) I wonder, will we get fireworks anywhere? Or am I going to have to create my own fireworks later on at M1NT, Bling, or the Muse? Yep, I'm a regular at those places when I'm in Shanghai and I will not apologize. I dig local stuff, but I don't like the dice games. To me, it just means you need that to be social. Stop being a wallflower and enjoy the music, drinks, and flow! Dice is for board games on a ski-trip in February or craps at Vegas, not in the middle of a hot, loud club. Duh.

Sunday:

More basketball. Told you I like this sport. At noon, my regular pick-up game is on at Lakeview. After, it's either Ding Tai Fone or Bellagio for Taiwanese grub. I just went down to Taipei and sorry mainland, they got you beat for food. Or maybe I'll go to Oyama, Closed Door, or Aniseed? The afternoon will laze away I'm sure as that's the stretch to recover from the previous two days of events. Maybe mosey over to the fabric market to see Joyce & Rita Sunjoys Tailored to get some clothes made or maybe drop by Shanghai Blush to watch some women pole dance. Ha! My college friend Lisa Bean is behind that place and it'll be a good excuse for me to go see her. As the evening sets in, I'm tuning in at 8pm to ICS. Hey, I may be the host, but I'm also a fan of Shanghai Rush. When I watch it now, it's way more exciting after it's all been edited. When it's really happening, you don't get all the dramatic music and stuff. After that, I'm off to Factory for the perfect Sunday night meal. That chef there, Sean? That man can cook the hell out of food. The other week, when I was there when Quincy Jones was in the house, he made watermelon tartar. Who thinks of that??? Who cares? It was delicious, and when it comes to food, that's all that matters. Period.