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Film, "Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case": Return of the Trickster

"Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case": Return of the Trickster

Andreas Johnsen's documentary Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case takes place shortly after Beijing conceptual artist Ai Weiwei was kidnapped and held in secret for 81 days by the Chinese authorities. He returns home under house arrest, during which time Johnsen's…
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News, Sucka Free City Game of Clones:  Game-Makers Are Trying to Score Off Each Other

Game of Clones: Game-Makers Are Trying to Score Off Each Other

Two big players in a burgeoning market for time-sucking puzzle games will move their game pieces to San Francisco court instead of Beijing, a judge ruled last week. S.F.-based King.com, the maker of obnoxiously addictive Facebook app Candy Crush Saga,…
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Calendar, Night&Day Eagle Experiment

Eagle Experiment

In 1896 Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi opened and closed on the same night amid thunderous derision: Experimental theater was born. Today, Cutting Ball's production of Ubu Roi is so popular, the run was extended, forcing the avant-garde theater to…
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Calendar, Night&Day Art in Revolt

Art in Revolt

At the turn of the 20th century, a Chinese fighting society believing itself insusceptible to alien weaponry waged war on foreign influences in Beijing. The Boxers, as they were known, eventually gained the support of the Empress Dowager and,…
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Culture, Art Winter Arts: The Internet Comes to the Page and Other Winter Books

Winter Arts: The Internet Comes to the Page and Other Winter Books

Drugs, sex and crime parade through exotic lands in the latest outfits, taking selfies with various degrees of detachment. Poetry and prose collide, as do humor and profundity, and language steps up its game. All this and more in the…
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Film, "Elemental": Three Visions for Saving the World

"Elemental": Three Visions for Saving the World

Locally based director-producers Gayatri Roshan and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee structure their environmental documentary as a triptych of profiles in courage: In India, one water conservationist labors alone to clean up the lethally polluted Ganges River Basin; in Canada, one young Athabasca…
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Calendar, Night&Day Private Dancer

Private Dancer

Shen Wei is known as the principle choreographer behind the opening ceremony of Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics, but by then he was already a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Macarthur Foundation "Genius" Award, and widely celebrated as one…
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Dining, Eat Beijing's FishEye Café Serves Ritual Roasters Coffee

Beijing's FishEye Café Serves Ritual Roasters Coffee

Headed to Beijing? Contemplating ways to pack your favorite coffeehouse in your luggage? Save the luggage fee, because Ritual Coffee Roasters is already there. FishEye Café, located in the middle of Sanlitun, Beijing's hot expat neighborhood, sources its beans once…
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Calendar, Night&Day A Hole in the Iron Curtain

A Hole in the Iron Curtain

To most of us, North Korean cinema, like North Korea itself, is a blank wall. We assume it’s pure propaganda, generated by a strange clique that portrays itself as gods to its hapless populace. Centre Forward, directed by Pak Chong-song,…
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Dining, Eat Dong Bei Mama: Chinese Charcuterie and a Trip Through Manchuria

Dong Bei Mama: Chinese Charcuterie and a Trip Through Manchuria

If you've grown up thinking of Chinese charcuterie as waxed gizzards and Chinese sausage, you should begin your visit to Dong Bei Mama like I did: with a trip up to the counter, where the owners have laid out a…
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Calendar, Night&Day To Preserve and Protect

To Preserve and Protect

We have a soft spot for artists who obsessively collect — we like our artists slightly mad. To us, the heroine of this movement, or perhaps affliction, is Sophie Calle. In her landmark "Birthday Ceremony," she exhibited birthday gifts she…
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Dining, Eat Beijing Restaurant: A taste of Northern China in San Francisco

Beijing Restaurant: A taste of Northern China in San Francisco

Around the northern crown of the globe, there is a reassuring sameness to January food — the international solace of potatoes, the ubiquity of pickled cabbage. Dishes like choucroute, shchi, bigos, and kimchi jjigae still carry the echoes of a…
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Calendar, Night&Day An Immigrant's Point of View

An Immigrant's Point of View

Yiyun Li is a Chinese immigrant who has won national recognition for her writing. Li was raised in Beijing and landed in the United States in 1996. Her first novel, The Vagrants, depicts the execution of a young woman who…
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Calendar, Night&Day Ballet, Class

Ballet, Class

Good films about ballet can be numbered on one hand. And about Chinese dissidents? I've still got enough fingers to type this review. Based on the memoirs of Li Cunxin, Mao's Last Dancer means well, but it stumbles between genres.…
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Calendar, Night&Day Surf's Not Up

Surf's Not Up

"We don't think that being American is a cultural value. We think that's all economically based." Look at the mouth on Duy Nguyen! The director of Beijing, California has 'tude, maybe because his life has been extremely dramatic: He was…
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Dining, Eat Beijing Restaurant, Yao Ming's favorite S.F. spot, offers unusual delights

Beijing Restaurant, Yao Ming's favorite S.F. spot, offers unusual delights

The little building at the corner of Alemany Boulevard and Ocean Avenue has housed a number of restaurants over the years, none of them a destination for anyone outside the immediate neighborhood. But at the beginning of this year, fresh…
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Calendar, Night&Day You're Two Tents

You're Two Tents

It can be frustrating to explain who you are. "Who are you? Who are you?" Anthony Michael Hall famously asks in the 1980s teen film classic The Breakfast Club. The question, asked by an uninterested authority figure, inspires Hall's character…
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Culture, Books Oakland author Yiyun Li's novel examines China's dark places

Oakland author Yiyun Li's novel examines China's dark places

Oakland author Yiyun Li's debut novel, The Vagrants, begins with a man and his wife lying awake on the morning of their daughter's public execution, which also happens to be the first day of spring. As the woman quietly sobs…
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Dining, Eat Turning Japanese

Turning Japanese

I've never been a big fan of eating contests. The sight of mass gluttony, especially in rapid beat-the-clock fashion, is rather revolting, in both visual and philosophical terms. It vitiates everything I hold dear about the art of eating, which,…
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News, Sucka Free City Olympic ticket scam sites could have been shut down sooner

Olympic ticket scam sites could have been shut down sooner

World-class athletes aren't the only ones going for the gold this summer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. So are online ticket scammers. International media reports estimate sports fans have lost $50 million through unauthorized Web sites like www.beijingticketing.com.…
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