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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 Frances Arnold

Nov 19, 2010

Frances Arnold classes up the SmartShanghai organization, writing about arts and things for SmartShanghai, as well as handling the re-launch of our sister website, As such, much like Fischer last week, she was forced to do this.

Tonight, I'm joining Dutch design agency 5 Spices in celebrating their fifth birthday. Many happy returns! To honour the occasion, they've brought together the cream of Shanghainese and Dutch creativity for a special birthday showcase. I've been at CreativeHunt for two whole weeks now, which most certainly calls for a celebration of my own -- my esteemed colleague Justin has been raving about The Alchemist at Sinan Mansions and I can't wait to try it with friends, post-party.

Saturday mornings are sacred. They start with enough coffee to fuel a small army, followed by a jaunt to my local wet market. It's ridiculous, I feel racked with guilt if I don't at least say hello to all my ladies (that is, mushroom lady, egg lady, potato lady... you get the picture). They sure do know their customers -- give me enough highly flattering but decidedly untrue compliments about my Chinese, outfit, or whatever and I'll feel compelled to buy. As a consequence, my fridge is perpetually full of wilting coriander, eggs of an indeterminable vintage and goodness knows what else. My diet, though, is at least somewhat healthy.

Saturday night generally involves an art gallery or two and this weekend will be no different. I love the James Cohen Gallery on Yueyang Lu -- housed in a gorgeous art deco building with a wonderful garden to match, I often find myself fantasizing about living there in Shanghai's glory days... They have two shows opening on Saturday: a group show of paintings by artists from the US, Japan and China; and an intriguing-sounding exhibition that will pay tribute to the late and great Alexander McQueen.

Staying in the historic part of town, I'll pop by the source in Xinle Lu. They'll be showing art from some of Insight's award-winning campaigns devised by artist and Creative Director Steve Garrow. I met Steve last week and chatted about all sorts of things from The Beatles to Kate Moss, so I'm excited to see how his show looks.

Next stop on my evening o' culture is Trash A Go Go with Dead Elvis Vs Goggle-A at Yuyintang. I've heard great things about the show and am excited and intrigued in equal measures...

After having staggered in at some ungodly hour the night before, Sunday morning will be a decidedly low-key affair. Depending on just how ropey I'm feeling it'll either be brunch at Element Fresh, or else something cooked chez moi (thank you, egg lady!)

The afternoons are generally set aside for the three Cs -- catch-up, coffee and cake, usually with girlfriends and always somewhere deliciously decadent. It's been a good couple of weeks since I've had HoF's Orange Chocolate Mud Cake with caramel and sea salt, and yet it’s rarely far from my thoughts. Time, methinks, to reacquaint myself with its gooey goodness.

After that I plan on checking out Contrasts Gallery’s new show, and since I'm in the area, perhaps a stroll along the Bund to walk off some of the afternoon's indulgences.

Next stop: home, sofa, DVD and bed, ready for whatever challenges week three has in store.