In 2011, Chinese folk singer Gong Linna's lyric-less song, Tan Te, or Perturbed, was one of the most controversial and talked-about songs on the internet.
Gong Linna's performance of the song The Lord in the Clouds at the Bang on a Can in New York concert wins rave reviews. The 41-year-old, who has also performed songs like Fa Hai, You Don't Understand Love and Golden Stick, is popular because she has a powerful voice, a wide vocal range and produces dramatic facial expressions when she sings. Her popularity has also helped her husband, 48-year-old German composer Robert Zollitsch, who Gong calls Lao Luo, share the limelight. Zollitsch, who plays the guqin (Chinese zither) and has been researching and writing Chinese folk songs for the past 20 years, is credited with writing her "unconventional" songs.
The couple will stage a concert in Beijing over May 20-22, which will give audiences a different perspective of their music. Titled Five Elements of Love, the concert, directed by Zollitsch, uses the wu xing theory, which contains five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal and water - to symbolize the energy expressed through the music. Since last year, the duo has been working on turning Tang (AD 618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties' poems into modern songs. Gong will perform songs adapted from works by such ancient poets as Li Bai and Du Fu in her upcoming concert.
Last June, she was part of a marathon concert called Bang on a Can in New York, a music project launched by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe in 1987, which aims to break barriers that separate music communities.
Her performance of the song, The Lord in the Clouds, composed by Zollitsch and the founders of Bang on a Can won rave reviews globally. The New York Times said that "whether belting, keening or murmuring, insinuating or girlish, Ms Gong is a star".
The song is also a part of Zollitsch's latest work, which is inspired by famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan's Chu Ci Anthology.
Speaking of her husband's work, Gong, who met Zollitsch in Beijing in 2002, says: "As a foreigner, he reads more Chinese books than I do. A versatile singer since childhood, Gong, who studied folk music at the Chinese Conservatory of Music in Beijing, held her first solo concert in 1999 with the China Central Nationalities Orchestra, China's most prestigious traditional music orchestra. Recalling an embarrassing moment onstage, she says: "Once, when I was performing at a gala in my beautiful gown and heels, I suddenly forgot the lyrics. Now based in Beijing with her family, Gong says that she spends two hours every morning harnessing qi to maintain her breath. The musical was first performed in Shanghai from April 29 to May 5, and will tour other cities, including Xiamen of Fujian province, Zhuhai and Guangzhou of Guangdong province, Chengdu of Sichuan province, Chongqing and Beijing, where it will be staged from June 9 to 19.
The eight performances of the show in Shanghai, which drew more than 10,000 people, impressed the audiences with its energetic cast, sets and timeless music. The Broadway musical My Fair Lady is touring the mainland as a celebration of its 60th anniversary. Speaking of the audience response, Moss, who has been to China with smaller productions, says: "They have been so captivated by the show that they have been laughing and applauding all the way through. The show, which first opened on March 15, 1956, at Broadway's Mark Hellinger Theater, is based on George Bernard Shaw's 1921 play, Pygmalion.
The musical, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, tells the story of Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who was transformed into an upper-class lady by linguistics professor Henry Higgins.
After its success onstage, My Fair Lady was adapted into a film, starring Audrey Hepburn as Doolittle, which won eight Oscars awards in 1965.
Moss says that although the musical is 60 years old, it presents new challenges each time it is produced. Songs written by the lyricist Lerner and composer Loewe in the musical, including The Rain in Spain, Wouldn't It Be Lovely and Get Me to the Church on Time, are clever, witty and very specific to each moment. In the latest version of the musical, Sarah Cetrulo makes her international debut by starring as Doolittle. The director believes that the musical's longevity also lies in its story, which could happen in real life, especially today, as more and more women, like Doolittle, look to improve themselves and move to better places in their lives. The Pena National Palace mixes styles of the neo-gothic, neo-manueline, neo-Moorish and neo-Renaissance architecture (left), and its interior is sophisticatedly decorated (top right). Lonely Planet recommends it as the "perfect Valentine's date", in no small part because the legacy of Europe's second-oldest capital is shaped by the antiquated structures that straddle cobblestone lanes, engendering a vintage vitality.
The edifices that conjure this charm hike up the hills that hug the Tagus River that tickles the city's south. But perhaps the most striking feature of Lisbon's landscape is that its edifices are sheathed with miles of tiles that radiate colorful geometric patterns flamboyant enough to make a peacock blush. Indeed, the passion Portugal's capital constructs isn't limited to buildings designed during the period when the romantic movement was most adored in the country. It's a polyamory of neo-gothic, neo-Moorish, neo-baroque, neo-classical, art-deco, art-nouveau and generically medieval structures. Melody is underwritten by melancholy fado, a haunting folk genre performed by caped musicians that floats through ancient alleyways, bouncing off buildings like the anthems of gloomy ghosts. Another cheek-kiss for kissy-face romantics - this charming miscellanea of buildings breaks against an ocean shore like the waves that, in the other direction, explode into aerosol against coastline cliffs. The Castle of the Moors indeed defends its position among Lisbon's most ancient and esoteric constructions. Ironically, it was abandoned after Christians conquered the settlement in 1147, having punctured the state security apparatus from elsewhere.
The stronghold was built by boring holes into rock that cleaved when wet wood was inserted and swelled. King Ferdinand II, who reigned from 1837 to 1853, later built a second layer of walls to protect villagers who moved near the castle for safety.
Again, the romantic movement was rooted in nature's spontaneity, childlike curiosity, adventure's adulation, unbridled imagination, and amorousness for its own toe-curling and hair-twirling sake.
The fortification - which, as a stone bulwark, resembles small sections of China's Great Wall - had an escape channel for if defeat was imminent. A blade caressing a captured absconder's throat could turn a soldier more concerned with flight than fight into a stoolpigeon. An equally explosive yet less dire reality of the design of the nearby Pena National Palace is that lunch was announced with an actual bang.
A balcony sundial not only homed rays to tell time but also concentrated beams through a magnifying glass to ignite gunpowder to declare chowtime.
The compound Ferdinand II reconstructed on the ruins of a medieval monastery is ultimately a sanctuary of romanticism. He not only drew the merman likeness of the Greek sea god Triton's statue above a main gateway but also rendered the complex into a shrine adulating romantic philosophy. The palace is packed with the movement's major motifs - nature, kids and an amalgam of architecture that would otherwise make no sense.
Pillars and arches painted on the walls make the Arabic Room appear like a huge Middle Eastern complex - an embrace the muddling of styles, of exotic destinations and of illusion, since the modestly sized room appears to be a vast compound.
Indeed, the palace proves romantic beyond its architecture, as it's still a popular wedding venue. The president of the Mediterranean nation's tourism authority, Luis Araujo, visited China this spring to promote his homeland as a destination. China Daily sat down with him for a Q&A about the country's plans to woo Chinese visitors. It's a safe and stable country, where tradition and modernity blend together in perfect harmony. Portugal's diversity is reflected in seven famous regions with distinct experiences to offer.
Lisbon enjoys an exquisite mixture of trendy modern life, long history and cultural treasures.
The Azores Islands are well known for lush green volcanoes with lakes and amazing ocean resources.
The number of Chinese travelers to Portugal broke all records in 2015, with 155,000 Chinese tourists, an increase by 36 percent as compared to 113,177 Chinese travelers in 2014. Portuguese authorities will soon open new visa-application centers in six cities in China, namely in Shenyang, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The visa-application centers will receive applications for Schengen visas (short-term visas with a maximum validity of 90 days per half-year) for standard passport holders. Tourism Portugal will continue to promote Portugal as a destination in China's market, to implement campaigns with local tour operators, to host workshops in China in order to create more awareness about Portugal as a tourism destination in this market.
The founder of the Jakarta-based Lippo Group was in Beijing to release his autobiography and witness the opening ceremony of Mochtar Riady Library, his philanthropic project in the university. Chinese-Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady shares with readers his life's journey and wisdom in his autobiography.
He built a conglomerate from scratch and made friends with world leaders, including former US president Bill Clinton.
But he remains a generous giver who supports education not only in his home country, but also in China, where his family roots lie. When still young, Riady was fascinated by a building in Malang, Indonesia, where he saw no commercial goods and the staff dressed smartly. He talks of leaving his sons alone to cope with failures and to learn from their mistakes just as eagles teach their babies to fly. He has tried to share with the reader his life's journey and wisdom, so as to inspire them to achieve more than what he achieved in business and society, the daughter says. She says it was difficult for a Chinese descendant like her father to achieve remarkable success in Indonesia. But Mochtar Riady says that hard work and prudence, plus the idea that "I know I do not know", are the reasons behind his many achievements. Born and raised in the Indonesian cities of Batu and Malang in a family from East China's Fujian province, he received his higher education at Nanjing's former National Central University in the 1940s.
He established the Lippo Group in the 1980s, making it an international company in the following decades. In a chapter on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he says China will devote its time toward a shared prosperous future with other countries.
Wang Qiaozhen, editor of the Chinese version, hopes the book not only works as a case study for management students, but also appeals to general readers.
Wechsler's multilayered plot realistically touches on legal ethics, political intrigue and construction double-dealings with aplomb and plenty of twists. Abby says she wants to handle gangbanger Orlando Jones' trial when fellow prosecutor Tim Mooney is murdered the night before he is to deliver his opening statement. Abby blames Orlando for the death of her best friend 17 years before; she and Tim had a long-running affair that continued after his marriage. Abby is sure Orlando ordered Tim's execution-style murder, but she begins to doubt her colleague's decisions. Abby begins to wonder how far corruption has infiltrated the district attorney's office, and who can she trust.
The believable plot of Mission Hill excels, complemented by the intrepid Abby, who guards her many secrets and emotional baggage and is constantly at war with her wealthy family over her choice of career. While Wechsler loads the Harvard-educated Abby with a myriad back story, the character is convincing as a prosecutor who loves her job and believes that justice trumps winning.
But Abby's refusal to pay the monthly maintenance on her apartment - a running side plot - comes off as silly. Wechsler's strong storytelling fits well into the legal thriller genre and should attract fans of Linda Fairstein, Alafair Burke and Lisa Scottoline.
For Chinese art lovers, the Academy of Fine Arts of France is as familiar as the distinguished National School of Fine Arts in Paris where many leading Chinese artists studied. Abstract painter Chu Teh-chun (1920-2014), who was born in East China's Anhui province and became a French citizen in 1980, was the first ethnic Chinese to be elected a member of the French academy in 1997. Five years later, Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013), Chu's schoolmate at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, who emigrated to Paris in 1948, also joined the French academy. Both Chu and Zao are internationally acclaimed for integrating Chinese and Western artistic approaches in their abstract works.
An exhibition now on at Beijing's National Art Museum of China brings the French academy closer to viewers here. The French academy, which has 45 members now, is one of five academies under the national learned society Institute of France based in Paris. A triptych oil painting by Chu Teh-chun, titled Green Energy, an in-house exhibit, is also on show in a bid to create a dialog with the other artworks displayed at the show. The ongoing exhibition is titled Inheritance of Immortality as members of the French academy are often referred to as the "immortals" in that country, says Wu Weishan, the director of NAMOC. Speaking about the French academy, Didier Bernheim, the curator of the exhibition and one of its "correspondent" members, or people who assist it with their knowledge and talent, says that the academy is an open institution that has no intention of imposing on viewers one or more of the artistic styles on show. The evolution of modern Chinese art has been enormously influenced by Western art, especially French art.
Many Chinese art masters of the 20th century once studied at the prestigious National School of Fine Arts in Paris. He even co-exhibited his works with Claude Abeille, a sculptor and academy member, at a two-person show there titled Dialog of Soul in Paris in 2014.
The current exhibition also allows artists like Philippe Garel, who was elected to the French academy last year, to get to know more about home-grown Chinese art and exchange notes with local artists.
Garel, who first visited China in 2000, says this is his second trip to the country, and adds that he is amazed by the country's changing architecture.
The painter says he is interested in the history of Chinese painting, and is inspired by the concept of liu bai, or blankness, in classical Chinese ink-and-wash painting. The festival at the China Millennium Monument in Beijing comprises three parts: the magic and reality of contemporary art, the inheritance and development of culture and the sharing the beauty that includes works from both China, Latin America and the Caribbean. Artists from 16 countries including Argentina, Grenada, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Costa Rica display about 280 paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and photos at the show.
The painting is part of an ongoing exhibition of Caribbean and Latin American art in Beijing. One of the displays includes Ecuadorian painter Ramon Piaguaje in a blue costume leading visitors on a walk through the Amazonian rainforest, using his art pieces. Piaguaje's Rainforest series of oil paintings comprises rivers, trees and colorful plants, portraying the Amazon as full of vigor and color.
And whenever they encountered a river mouth, he was always urged by his parents to drink water from the river in the hope that he would become familiar with the creatures living there. An installation showing a suspended cow next to Piaguaje's paintings draws plenty of visitors keen on taking pictures. The couple were excited about their impending journey to see the mountain after the show's opening ceremony on Thursday. Half of the 24 artists taking part in the magic and reality of contemporary art section will be invited to visit art studios and address artists in Hunan. In the segment inheritance and development of culture, there are plenty of photos that record people's daily lives, traditions and the natural beauty of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The exhibition is part of the yearlong celebrations to mark China's cultural exchanges with Latin America and the Caribbean. A quirky art installation featuring 650,000 plastic balls is breathing new life into a dingy and long-forgotten former underground trolley station in the heart of the US capital.


Through June 1, the expanse below Washington's bustling Dupont Circle is being transformed into a hands-on show where visitors young and old can get creative. The installation uses white translucent balls from a popular previous one at Washington's National Building Museum. The Dupont Underground, a nonprofit, launched a competition to transform the venue into "an unexpected experience".
Some 153 candidates from 19 countries took part, with New York architecture and design studio Hou de Sousa submitting the winning proposal. With the tracks exposed as a reminder of years past, Hou de Sousa assembled the bricks in a semi-circle and in huge columns. The creations - a large face mounted on a wall, a princely palace, an arch - are immortalized on smartphones before being destroyed by their creators or other visitors. The installation - put on in partnership with the nearby Phillips Collection modern art museum among others - conjures up the Minecraft video game and life-size Legos. The installation isn't widely publicized, with no address or hours online and the entrance of Dupont Circle resembling a subway station.
The organization, in envisioning a future for the space, points to New York's High Line, elevated tracks in the Big Apple that have been transformed into a popular outdoor destination, as an example of the type of urban revitalization it espouses.
Looking ahead to the fall, Cook hopes to bring smaller music and cinematography installations to the venue. Frankie Zou is pouring one of his housemade vermouths, this one infused with chamomile, into a gleaming crystal glass. Frankie Zou uses herbal bitters - and occasionally smoke - to give cocktail drinkers a distinctive experience. He froths the carefully measured ingredients with a hand blender, to make the mixture airy and creamy, then pours it into a cocktail shaker and rhythmically pumps it up and down.
Zou's showmanship at Botany goes far beyond the shake-rattle-and-roll of bartenders in film, but his style is far too sleek for gimmicks like flipping peanuts into customers' mouths. Instead he uses things like smoke - to add a touch of wonder to his creations but also to add flavor.
Cocktails like the Amortentia he's just finishing, for example, arrive in a smoky haze that could be produced with dry ice if the effect was just for show. His signature cocktails include two that are particularly spicy and herbal: the Amortentia and the Black Truffle Martini. Zou summons smoke for two other popular drinks - his smoked negroni and a silky old-fashioned.
On first hearing about Botany, it would be easy to dismiss it as yet another speakeasy - how many does Beijing have now? The bartending duo, Zou and JC, welcome guests with the easy familiarity of house-party hosts.
They are served with freshly made snacks such as foie-gras crackers, dainty pancakes with minced pork and chives, and Spanish ham tarte flambe.
And while Zou has polish from years in Singapore and running bars at Maison Boulud, TRB and Domus in Beijing, the Hubei native's natural good cheer seems to blossom in his own space and place, where he can deliver something quite special.
Jarrod Verbiak's porchetta, succulent inside with crispy crackling outside, is a work of culinary art.
The body of the year-old piglet is gutted, deboned and arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat and skin. Porchetta is traditionally heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel or other herbs, often gathered wild in the French countryside. If you've grilled some pork yourself, you may wonder what takes even a fancy French chef like Verbiak so long.
A more modest version has become popular in North America, a skin-on pork belly that's just long and wide enough to wrap around a trimmed, center-cut pork loin for slow-roasting. Verbiak, however, isn't cutting any corners, and the result is sublime pork and crispy crackling, cooked to perfection along with two sumptuous side dishes. As a unit of CJ Group, the largest food company in South Korea, Bibigo offers diners fresh and healthy Korean specialties. The delicacies follow traditional recipes but also combine with modern tastes and local palates, according to Ye Xiaohui, a marketing executive with the company. For example, fried rice cakes in South Korea usually are cooked with chili paste and kimchi, and are very spicy. The menu offers 25 dishes, which are all signature delicacies of South Korea, such as bibimbap, soybean-paste stew, kimchi tofu and fried rice cakes. A must-have is Korean ginseng chicken soup, a national specialty of South Korea, which is made with jujube, Korean ginseng, chestnut and a whole young chicken filled with rice, garlic and other spices. South Korean people believe that, in spring and summer, it is wise to have hot food instead of cold dishes, because cold food is likely to discomfort the digestive track and harm people's health. Additionally, when the weather is hot, people sweat profusely, and thus need more energy from food. The soup I tried had a pleasant, mouthwatering aroma from the ingredients that have been simmered for a long time, and tasted smooth and refreshingly savory. Unlike the traditional version, the soup in Bibigo uses abalone to elevate its nutrition value. I also liked the fried rice cake, which had a bite and was very delicious, having a sweet and spicy taste. Another must-try is the japchae, a traditional Korean stir-fried dish of sweet potato noodles, bulgogi, pepper, mushroom, garlic, onion and burdock.
A letter that a famed scholar wrote about 1,000 years ago will be auctioned in Beijing on Sunday.
Zeng, a Song Dynasty (960-1127) politician and literati, had been assigned to different local administrations over a 12-year period.
Less than a month after the letter was posted, Zeng was called to the royal capital of Kaifeng, in today's Henan province, where Emperor Shenzong promoted him to an imperial post. Zeng is regarded by later scholars as one of the "eight masters of prose of the Tang (AD 618-907) and Song dynasties", a designation that also includes his contemporaries, Ouyang Xiu and Wang Anshi.
The letter, titled Jushi Tie, which translates as "a letter on happenings", is written in kaishu, the regular calligraphic script. The letter was once part of the collection of the Belgian couple Guy and Myriam Ullens, who sold it in 2009 for 108.64 million yuan ($17 million) at a Poly Auction sale in Beijing.
Guo Tong, who heads the company's Chinese paintings and calligraphy department, says it is "an old customer", and they hope the letter will boost the sluggish Chinese paintings market. However, he collected and studied calligraphic inscriptions on ancient bronze ware and stone tablets - it is said he had more than 500 pieces - which nourished his writing technique. The letter is important to understanding the official's life because it expresses deep personal feelings, says Yin Guanghua a Beijing-based painter and connoisseur of Chinese painting. The few lines convey his disappointment with how high-ranking officials were running the country and his deep sorrow about lacking the opportunity to realize his political ideas.
Yin says the letter also shows that, although Zeng had earned a good reputation as a local administrator, he felt a need - as a responsible statesman and intellectual - to change the country.
The letter boasts a sound provenance that is proven by the seals of several important collectors it bears.
China Guardian will auction 44 other Chinese paintings and calligraphy pieces dating to the Qing Dynasty and earlier in one of its two Grand View night sales. Another two ancient works expected to see competitive bidding include a calligraphy album in caoshu (running script) by Ming calligrapher Song Ke and an album of calligraphic Buddhist sutras, poems and paintings by Tang-era and later literati. The ancient Chinese painting and calligraphy market posted a stable performance last year, when the modern Chinese painting bubble burst.
Xu Cuiyun, a researcher of the Beijing-based Art Market Monitor of Artron, says that while the volume of ancient Chinese paintings sold decreased 14 percent last year, they grossed a 10 percent increase in turnover.
Xu says that last year's grand Shi Qu Bao Ji Catalog art exhibition at the Palace Museum ignited interest in classical paintings. With this in mind, the museum announced its recent major academic achievements in Beijing last week.
It recently released a 20-volume compendium of furniture from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties that included 2,000 articles housed in the museum.
Its research institute has published more than 100 scholarly books on a vast array of subjects since it was founded in October 2013. The institute has also completed an 11-volume series on ancient porcelain kilns based on 50,000 porcelain pieces it has collected. The Forbidden City will host the world's largest academic research space in a museum when its 13,000-square-meter scientific research and cultural relics-protection center opens in October, Shan says.
But the institution doesn't plan to stand as an ivory tower that closes its doors to contemporary society, Shan says. The research body opened a calligraphy department last week to initiate in-depth studies of its vast collection of works. The institute will also work to expand international cooperation to raise the international profile of Chinese archaeology. The museum's archaeology institution director Li Ji says it launched two major projects in India in the past two years.
The Visakhapatnam and Kollam ports of the southern Indian state of Kerala were the Palace Museum's archaeological team's first destinations abroad. Li also tells China Daily the team is planning another project with Germany's archaeological authorities on the early Holy Roman Empire's palace relics. Christie's Bound to Fail themed sale kicked off the weeklong New York auctions of modern, postwar and contemporary art at Christie's and Sotheby's.
Him, Cattelan's controversial sculpture of Hitler, appears as a small child kneeling in prayer when approached from the rear. The 2001 work, made with human hair, wax and polyester resin, is the artist's proof from an edition of three. One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank is a 1985 sculpture by Koons that depicts a basketball suspended inside a vitrine of distilled water. The Bound to Fail auction features 39 works curated by Loic Gouzer, Christie's deputy chairman of postwar and contemporary art. The concept originated with a work by Bruce Nauman titled Henry Moore Bound to Fail, a cast of Nauman's own hands bound behind his back. The themed auction "shines a spotlight on works that have purposefully pushed the envelope of what the art market would be willing to call 'successful' in the pursuit of creating something new and groundbreaking," says Gouzer.
Other works in the sale include a silk-screen by Glenn Ligon of Malcolm X with rouged cheeks and pink lips, which fetched $1 million.
Andre Derain's Red Sails is on show during the spring auction preview at Sotheby's in New York.
For decades, Pang Xiaowei has been shooting black-and-white portraits for thousands of celebrities in China. The 60-year-old photographer has captured the likenesses of all the Olympic gold medal holders in China up to 2012 and more than 1,000 celebrities, from singers to film-industry figures, including famed directors, performers and producers. He started to snap celebrities in the film industry in 2002 to honor the 100th anniversary of China's film industry. The difficulty of photographing an actor or actress is that they don't know how to be themselves in front of a camera when they don't have to play a role, says Pang. Pang understands it well because he had been a theater actor for 10 years before taking up photography at age 30. After the film celebrity series, Pang was touched by Beijing's excitement to hold the Olympic Games in 2008, and he began his Chinese Olympic champion series, which included 186 Chinese gold medal winners. That seemed like an impossible task, because many champions then lived in various countries and out of the public eye.
For his latest show, which just closed on Tuesday at the National Art Museum, he aimed his lens at craftsmen, local residents and even the boys of a visiting chorus from Saxony in Germany, a cultural project initiated by A.
Fan Di'an, head of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, says Pang's photos represent a process of using film to reveal a person's inner self.
Pang is now working on a Peking Opera series, and for the first time in his life, he will create portraits of the well-known performers in color - but he will also produce a black-and-white edition of the series.
He adds that Spanish tenor Placido Domingo loved the Peking Opera photos Pang gave him as a gift when the two met in Beijing last year. Her country-and-western covers album Detour, which was out on Friday, brings another unexpected twist to a career that has included music, theater, television, movies and wrestling. A musical chameleon, she's won two Grammys, an Emmy and a Tony, but despite all the success, she says she's not as savvy at the art of business. Her meandering path took her from Broadway where she wrote music for Kinky Boots, which won six Tony Awards, to Music City where the pink-haired 62-year-old singer recorded her latest album with guest vocals from Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris.
Together with producer Tony Brown, she worked with some of the city's best session musicians to craft a live sound that wasn't polished to perfection. The songs are from a different era of country music, as far back as the '40s, when country was heavily influenced by early rock 'n' roll and blues, or as Lauper says her record label head Seymour Stein put it, "before Elvis kicked the door down". She covers songs made famous by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson, George Jones, Dolly Parton and Marty Robbins.
At four hours long (not counting two intermissions), the play does not contain much dramatic conflict.
The hero of the play, Professor Josef Schuster, jumped to his death shortly before the curtain rose. Heroes' Square is one of the foreign productions presented during the Tianjin theater festival. As an alter ego of the playwright Thomas Bernhard, Josef vents his anger and frustration onto Vienna, or the world at large.
When his brother, Robert Schuster, rants on about the state of affairs of the city, they obviously share political inclinations, but we are told Robert is much nicer in disposition. It may be an irony that the more the brothers, or the playwright, take on Vienna as the hotbed of evil, the more sympathy audience members in the Tianjin Grand Theater showed for the Austrian capital.
As for the possible relevance for the audience, I don't think Bernhard or director Krystian Lupa had China in mind when they first broached the topic. The pessimistic streak that underpins his worldview also runs through his relationships with those closest to him, not unlike Hamlet's with Ophelia. The crowd noise from the titular square acts as the oppression of the populace, who are deemed stupid and blind.
Heroes' Square is one of many imported theatrical productions the audacious Tianjin festival is presenting this season.
Others include Richard III directed by Thomas Ostermeier and (A) pollonia by Nowy Teatr of Poland.
Situated on a mountain top and approachable only after more than an hour's drive along zigzagging mountain roads from the nearest town, Muyang village is a favorite destination for visitors. A natural environment, refreshing air, picturesque mountain views and the clear water of its famous Muyang Brook draw people to experience life in this village, which lies near Sandouping town, in Yichang in Central China's Hubei province. Top: A local woman in red rides a covered boat on Longjing Brook in Sandouping town, known for the Three Gorges Dam project and the Tribe of the Three Gorges. The village is home to more than 2,000 people, who live in settlements in the mountainous area, which varies in altitude from 300 to 850 meters. The villagers traditionally depended on farming and silkworm breeding for their livelihoods, according to Liu Ping, the Party secretary of the village.


Ai Shihua, 83, a villager who has spent his entire life in the village, says he has seen big changes in the lives of the villagers in the past decade thanks to tourism. Now living with his son in a home that is equipped with modern appliances like a TV and a refrigerator, Ai helps the family run a farmhouse restaurant that they started in 2009.
During the peak season, which runs from May to October, the family can earn up to 800 yuan a day just by providing food. Ai's son is now building a better-equipped farmhouse inn so they can expand their business to cover both dining and accommodation. Even his grandson is trying to promote the family's business using WeChat, a popular app in China. The family owns less than 0.3 hectare of land, on which they grow corn, potatoes or rapeseed. As more visitors come to their village, products such as rapeseed oil have become popular with tourists and bring them income.
Ai adds that earlier the family used to depend solely on farming and earn about 10,000 yuan per year before they turned to tourism. Meanwhile, according to Liu, many families are now operating farmhouse restaurants, inns and parking lots in the village. He adds that the village also plans to add a mulberry plantation of 67 hectares for fruit picking to its current tourist assets. Separately, the village will introduce more farm crops that can be used to make products which can be sold to tourists. Rural tourism has now become a critical part of the local tourist industry and will be the main focus of the town's tourism promotion in the future, says Wang Hua, the head of the town's government. In 2015, the town's scenic areas and rural tourist destinations welcomed more than 4.73 million people, bringing in 4 billion yuan of consolidated revenue for a town that has a population of 35,000. In recent years, the local tourism industry has also put a large number of local farmers on the road to a better life, she says.
In 2015, the Tribe of the Three Gorges, an area with the highest ranking under China's tourist-attraction rating system - 5A - developed from a previously poverty-stricken village, drew 2.8 million visitors, contributing about 12 million yuan of taxes to the local government.
To encourage rural tourism, the local government also offers training to poor families who are willing to enter the tourism trade. The families are then provided with a "green pass", which simplifies the approval process and provides them with easier access to loans. In recent years, the government has also tried to further integrate its well-known tourist spots, such as the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River and Tribe of the Three Gorges, with its rural tourist destinations nearby by developing more tourist routes. Thanks to the Three Gorges Dam, Sandouping receives about 350,000 Chinese and overseas visitors annually. Situated along the midsection of the Yangtze River, the town boasts two areas with the highest grade under China's tourist attraction rating system.
The two areas with the 5A ratings are the Three Gorges Dam, the largest water project in the world, and the Tribe of the Three Gorges area, a picturesque landscape corridor. Thanks to its unique location, the town is an important stop along the Three Gorges section of the river.
The town's only main street extends along the Yangtze, and we stayed in a guesthouse on the street, which offered a nice view of the river.
In contrast to the turbid water in the lower reaches of the Yangtze, the section here is clear and quiet. After breakfast, we set out for the Tribe of the Three Gorges area, which turned out to be a good place to appreciate the quiet valley and local culture.
Visitors typically take a ferry boat from the opposite bank of the Yangtze River to the valley entrance, which is connected to the river. Trackers toiling along the river while singing work songs were a common sight in the region in the old days. On the brook, a covered boat moves slowly amid soft ripples with a young girl in a striking red traditional costume standing on it holding an umbrella.
For a moment, we feel as if we are in a painting, until we are awakened by a folk song that suddenly starts to resonate in the valley.
We follow the sound and the scenes change as we walk along: A fisherman mends his net on a boat, girls in traditional blue outfits wash clothes along the edge of the brook in front of their wooden houses on stilts, and young couples stand on the mossy stone bridge in the village. Performances though they are, they create an engaging atmosphere by naturally melting into the peaceful environment. Then we hear a noise coming from a crowd of tourists amid the sound of a gong in front of large wooden building. The performers, most of whom are local villagers, interact with the tourists and invite one of them to act the groom. The sightseeing route leads all the way to the mountain top, where the villagers still reside. The giant dam rises 185 meters, creating a reservoir that spans more than 600 kilometers in the middle of Yangtze River. Backed by her husband, German composer Robert Zollitsch, Gong hopes to show the artistic value of the pieces, which she feels is often missed. The audiences enjoy the songs because they are entertained, but the artistic value of the pieces is often missed. But the authors, including Shaw, have provided a great wealth of material to draw from," he says. But I hope, at least, to present the story in an entertaining way, so that the tale of a smart young woman who tries to improve her situation in life can clearly be seen and enjoyed by all," says Moss. Erik Nilsson explores the romanticism conjured by the cityscape that's in turn conjured by romanticism.
The Castle of the Moors (bottom right) defends its position among Lisbon's most ancient and esoteric constructions. These testify to the area's Moorish legacy, although are sometimes tweaked to portray images rather than just configurations of shapes, as realistic depictions were banned under the Islamic empire.
They bestride flagstone streets along which century-old trams rattle, adding percussion to the city's romantic soundtrack. In the spirit of romantic thought, these were never manicured but rather left uncultivated and are today wild woodlands of burgeoning biodiversity. It seized life with more than an inkling of abandon - an ethos that lives on in the city today among its buildings of yore.
Its superb cuisine, fine wines and hospitable people make Portugal a tourist paradise with an enviable quality-to-price ratio.
A combination of different landscapes, several leisure activities and UNESCO-recognized cultural heritage make a trip to Portugal a unique experience for many Chinese tourists. Algarve is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with golden sand beaches, golf and water sports.
The Madeira Islands enjoy picturesque traditions, famous wines and breathtaking mountain and ocean views. Last year, Portugal reinforced the teams responsible for issuing visas both at the embassy of Portugal in Beijing and at the consulate-general of Portugal in Shanghai. But you can reach our country by traveling with Emirates, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Turkish Airlines and British Airways. Riady and his family were ranked the sixth wealthiest in Indonesia on a Forbes list earlier this year, with a net worth of $2.2 billion.
It was his teacher who explained to him that the building was a bank, and it earned money by lending money. Mochtar Riady, has been published by Tsinghua University Press, and talks of his faith in education, strengthened both by families and schools. Besides the accounts of his professional ups and downs, the book has a large section on how he and his wife nurtured their children and grandchildren with the family's core values, handed down by Riady's father and rooted in traditional Chinese wisdom. She's all too aware that her involvement could derail the prosecution and jeopardize her career. An investigation into a construction scandal that targeted Orlando's wealthy builder father, Melvin, was halted. The academy promotes artistic creation in France and abroad through many forms including granting awards and funds. They include painters such as Xu Beihong and Wu Guanzhong and Liu Kaiqu, a pioneer of Chinese sculpture and the first director of China's national art museum from 1963 to 1993.
Many Chinese have studied fine arts in France and one of them who has become well known in Europe is Yan Pei-ming (a Chinese-French painter)," he says. So, the ongoing Latin American and Caribbean Art Festival in Beijing offers them a good opportunity to learn about the regions.
Some of the tiny cows which make up the piece are made using plastic while some are of metal. And their knowledge of China is limited mainly to the mountain in Zhangjiajie in Central China's Hunan province, which was featured in the Hollywood movie Avatar. It has largely been empty since, attracting the homeless in the 1960s and briefly hosting a food court in the mid-1990s. His "tricks", in short, have to be relevant, enhancing the customers' appreciation of what they are drinking.
The latter attracted plenty of attention from media and connoisseurs during Botany's soft opening this past winter. While smoky presentations make lively moments in the intimate bar, a converted apartment space with a 12th-floor view of the lights of Sanlitun, the center of his attention is an array of elegant, apothecary-style jars on the counter labeled "shiso", "lemongrass", "cardamom" and many more.
Like the best ones, however, Botany is inviting and comfortable, though you might not call it homey unless your postal code is rather posh. Press the doorbell (no sliding bookcase, no password here) and you get drinks that are subtle, layered and uniformly terrific, almost all priced at 85 yuan ($13). Perhaps the quietest of Beijing's highest-flying foreign chefs, Verbiak is happy to invest three full days to prepare a new signature dish for his menu at Bistrot B: Porchetta. Roasting with low heat avoids drying out the pork or filling, so each slice will be succulent after the pig gets a high-heat flash finish to make the outside nice and crisp. If you're quick enough, you'll get one of the pig's ears, which the chef considers a special treat. It will take that long anyway to organize a party for six to 10 of your closest friends or favorite gourmands. Ginseng, chicken and other nutritious ingredients in the soup are good choices to achieve that purpose. The letter, which has 124 characters, is expected to yield hundreds of thousands of yuan, giving it a very high value on a per-character basis.
Zeng also expresses anxiety about not being able to serve in the royal court and fully implement his ideas about governance. The sales, which also see the auctioning of modern Chinese paintings, often generate high prices. The main fields include imperial history, categorizing ancient files, the royal families' fine art collections and Buddhist history.
It'll also guide calligraphy education from primary through high school and serve as a public calligraphy-training center, department director Zhang Zhihe says. For instance, it hosted relic-preservation training in Qatar this year and Tanzania last year, and plans to extend the program to Singapore next year. But from the front, the viewer comes face-to-face with the unmistakable likeness of Hitler. In addition to celebrities, he also focuses on ordinary people, as seen in the works in his latest show (below) in Beijing.
It took him nearly four years to frame more than 1,000 famed faces, including actresses like Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, and directors Zhang Yimou and Jiang Wen. For instance, he took the photo of Zhang Ziyi when she rested while performing the leading role for the film Purple Butterfly in 2003. After visiting a solo show of the late American photographer Ansel Adams, famed for his charming black-and-white photography, Pang felt the power and beauty of the simple colors. The first act, which lasts 90 minutes, has the memorable action of ironing and folding a shirt, as some in the audience joked. He made his only appearance when he was lit from behind a screen at the end of Act I, doing nothing but folding a shirt.
He is the subject of this measured and calculated character study - of a character who is mostly absent from the stage yet increasingly comes into relief as each onstage character reminisces about him. The freedom to express such views, no matter how biased, does not equal artistic ingenuity.
The only sliver of compassion he displayed was for his housekeeper, who seemed to sing his eulogy with clenched teeth.
The way he listed the evils of the world before his suicide is a reminder of "the whips and scorns of time, the oppressors' wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law's delay, the insolence of office", etc, when the prince of Denmark contemplated "making his quietus with a bare bodkin". Within the cloistered space of the stage, the balance is often tipped by actors' movements that are concentrated in one corner. When the historical recording of Hitler's speech and mass cheering shattered the Schusters' window glasses, the message came loud and clear.
But in recent years, the village's well-preserved environment has become its greatest selling point. Now the area has more than 10,000 people who work directly or indirectly in the tourism industry.
On our second morning there, a light haze hung over the river, obscuring the view of buildings on the other bank.
Before entering the valley, we were able to enjoy a show that recreated a scene of boat trackers on the bank pulling a traditional sailboat with ropes. It extends along the Longjing Brook, whose mirror of light-indigo-blue water is half hidden under thick clumps of bamboo. As we walk closer, we see it is the enactment of a traditional wedding ceremony by the local Tu ethnic group.
There, tourists can enjoy a view of the peaks, the rocks and also a spectacular 1,500-meter-long karst cave. Pinball games of seafowl play out in sapphire skies, punctuated with pearly clouds that project flashing apparitions of themselves on the roiling ocean. The flavor of the charred herb is first absorbed by the foam on the drink, then lingers on the palate for the rest of the evening. Housemade Roma bitters, tropical fruit and a spice mix meld with the truffle and dark rum in an intriguing fungal fugue. Each bottle of bitters represents up to six months of hand preparation - processing, cooking, infusing - and reflect his fascination with what can be extracted from plants to make a familiar cocktail something special.
His slow-cooked version boasts a secret-recipe stuffing made with fresh herbs from Provence, bacon, pork belly, spinach, carrot, rice, chilies, eggs and more. From thyme to Yunnan black truffles to the orange peel and cloves that rock the Glen Grant-based Friday Night cocktail, the raw material behind each drink is a bow to the science that inspires the bar's name.



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Comments

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    15.12.2015

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    15.12.2015

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    15.12.2015

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    15.12.2015

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