The Shanghai Writing Workshop is actually a family of biweekly events, including a Fiction Workshop, Nonfiction Workshop, Poetry Workshop, Book Club, and more. Each event has its own vibe, usually taking on the personality of the person running them. In their own words, they’re a "group of qualified writers who believe in free, quality literature and writing education." Their poetry nights are ultra-structured and regimented; poems must be submitted in advance, with each poem being read twice aloud by different people before a precisely 10-minute long critique and rebuttal. Definitely for serious appreciators of the form. At the end of the month each workshop comes together like Voltron to collect participants’ best work into a collaborative zine (or anthology, if you’re fancy.) The launch party for the March issue is tonight, starts at 7 p.m., and the zine is free to all who attend.
If you want to participate, all workshops meet in the tartan-paneled walls of 105 Whisky Lounge. The next Fiction Workshop is at 7:00 p.m. on April 9th, the next Nonfiction Workshop meets on March 30th at 7 p.m., and the Poetry Workshop next meets at 6:30 p.m. on March 31st. The Book Club is held at Garden Books, 7 p.m., April 5th. There are no cover fees.
Also tonight is the inaugural FREQS. event. It’s an ambitious concept: all performances are collaborations consisting of 2-4 people and numbering 15 total, ranging from dancers to musicians to filmmakers. It’s all taking place at TRI, a brand new venue/art space inside Blackstone Apartments that only started hosting events last month and run by the programmer for the Shanghai Philharmonic. The venue is part of the greater TRI Society, a government-funded cultural arts initiative to focus on music, poetry, and dance. FREQS is meant to promote a bilingual hybrid of high and low art, with everything from grand pianos to ping pong balls in fish tanks. Especially cool is how artist-forward they’re striving to be, with artists actually getting paid for their performances. What a notion! Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime at 8:00. There is a 50RMB cover that goes to support the performers.
Tuesday Losers Club boasts the most “open” of open mics in town. People are reading poetry, playing music, doing performance art; if you want to show off the Tuvan throat singing you just started learning yesterday, this is the place where you’re likely to find a supportive audience. Anyone brave enough to get on the mic gets a free drink, but they don’t like to tell you that. Every week comes with a new fixed menu from the bar, but if you ask the bartender nicely they might make you a drink from a larger cocktail menu that’s amazingly pretentious and equally delicious.
Hosted by local color Dee at the bar inside Yongfoo Elite (go in through the gate and follow the path of the courtyard), things usually start around 8:30 p.m. and go until the mic’s dead. No cover.
Running out of Upstairs Bar in Jing’an, Collettivo Cinema is exactly the kind of accessibly intellectual movie night you’d expect from a group of hip Italian film buffs. The movies shown are grouped by theme, with three films per theme. They kicked off a new thematic series “Me and the Other” with Fight Club last week. The next film in the series for now is Vertigo. There’s a critical discussion after the showing, the length and intensity of which is always going to vary depending on the movie. The space in the bar set aside for viewing is on the small side; make sure to get there early to grab a spot on the couch so you don’t end up on a bar stool for the duration. Still, 30RMB Vedett does soften the blow. Upstairs Bar’s doors open at 7:30 p.m., the movie starts at 8:00. No cover.
The perennially jamming Magpie Band has an especially jammy Jam Night on Fridays. Followers of the Magpie WeChat group can suggest songs for the night, promoting a little more of a participatory, community feel than your usual open mic. All manners of instruments will be present, and deeply positive vibes have been promised.
Jam Night is held at Delimuses, the music starts at 9:00 p.m. No cover.