What the plight of the finless porpoise is telling us about our rivers. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Mar. 2012
Zhang Jinzhi has been casting nets upon the Yangtze his whole life. Now the third generation carp fisherman has found himself tangled up in controversy. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has cited overfishing as a primary cause of the finless porpoise becoming endangered in China. Some may assume the water mammals to be victims of poaching, but it’s not that simple. The truth is as murky as the river waters of their dwindling habitat.
READ FULL STORY:
GONE FISHING? (FROM PG. 8)
http://issuu.com/thebeijinger/docs/the_beijinger_march_2012#download (Starting on Pg. 8)
Cult classic auteur talks wine guzzling and floundering film scenes before screening his necrophiliac flick. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Mar. 24 2012
When booze is your muse, it’s hard not to be a rowdy nuisance. But tipsy delinquency was Italian director Michele Senesi’s very intention when he released 2008’s Bumba Atomika, a punch drunk necrophiliac horror flick where wine and blood flow in equal measure – maybe even in quantities large enough to quench Italy’s parched indie film scene.
The Beijing International Movie Center is gulping down Senesi’s spirit of intoxicated debauchery by serving up Bumba on March 25 at the China Museum of Digital Arts (CMoDA) as the first in a series of art house Sunday screenings that will run throughout the spring season. Senesi will be there in person to whet our appetites and field audience questions. Beforehand, he poured out a sample in an interview for TheBeijinger.com – dabbling in everything from which Monty Python alum he’s collaborating with, to why an Italian might call you “bumba” if you’re ill-behaved at the bar.
READ FULL STORY:
Taiwanese songstress mixes music, poems and images onstage. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Mar. 22 2012
It’s not just her music that’s eclectic, but her very inspiration. The JUE Fest’s climactic weekend features Taiwanese ‘musical poet’ Summer Lei, who blends intimate lyrics with gentle backing piano and searing violins on recorded songs like “Homeland.” Her live performances are a hodgepodge of sonnets, melancholy harmonies, and flickering slide shows. Below, Summer Lei details the value of her shows’ assorted components and her music’s mixed muses – drawing on everything from simple changes in weather to the political tensions between China and Japan, Israel and Palestine.
READ FULL STORY:
Harbin songstress Qu Wanting defies her mom, inspires screenwriter. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Mar. 17 2012
Café background music is supposed to help us unwind, not write blockbuster movie scripts. But when Beijing bistro Navena Cafe blared a throbbing ballad called “Drenched” one afternoon last year, Hong Kong rom-com auteur Pang Ho-Cheung started writing a new screenplay then and there as his coffee order percolated. Eventually, he found the song’s source: a Myspace page belonging to Vancouver-based, Harbin-born songstress Qu Wanting.
“Fans from all over China somehow ripped the song from Myspace. That must be how the coffee shop got it,” says Wanting of the tune that inspired Pang and was eventually featured in the film itself, a recent hit Mandarin date flick dubbed Love in the Buff. “At first I didn’t think it was right – it was only a demo for fans, for feedback. But having it in the movie was a huge opportunity.”
From pirated demos to tiger-mom meddling, Wanting tells us more about the happy surprises of her songwriting career.
READ FULL STORY:
The Stooges’ saxophonist Steve Mackay- a literally rewired punk . By Kyle Mulling for The Beijinger Mar. 14, 2012
He fell from punk stardom to trade labor. Then the world literally left him for dead. Saxophonist Steve Mackay will hit the Hot Cat Club on March 16 to promote his latest solo album, Sometimes Like This I Talk. But he’s best known for playing on The Stooges’ seminal 1970 release Fun House. His sweltering horn blasts were a sonic mimicry of front man Iggy Pop’s infamous swagger.
He followed that breakthrough with decades of downfall. Below, Mackay describes quitting touring to become an electrician, hearing rumors about his own death, and inhaling a lethal “rotten egg smell” that nearly turned those rumors into reality.
Why did you forgo rock & roll to tinker with fuse boxes?
Giving up touring was a condition of my former marriage. I stayed local, but I wasn’t getting enough money playing gigs in San Francisco, and you’ll find many artists working in the building trades there to make ends meet.
READ FULL STORY:
The indie troupe’s sonic mastermind, Chris Walla (on the left of the picture), touches on the criss-crossed philosophies that will inform the band’s Shanghai gig. By Kyle Mullin for The Shanghaiist, Mar. 7 2012
He’s mastered piano riffs, guitar chords, synth codes and keys. Up next— calligraphy.
Maybe not quite, but Chris Walla has always drawn on China for inspiration. That Mandarin fixation sets itself far apart from any of his other endeavours—playing and producing for indie super troupe Death Cab For Cutie, or hopping behind the studio mixing boards for countless other all star songwriters like The Decemberists and Tegan and Sara.
To tap into that Chinese muse, he needed nothing more than his father’s briefcase and business plans.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
Former Barenaked Ladies frontman sobers up, talks politics. By Kyle Mullin for Victoria’s Monday Mag, Mar. 7 2012
As the nation mourned an icon, Steven Page granted a dying wish.
The former Barenaked Ladies frontman stood before a tearful crowd and sang ‘Halleluiah,’ just the way Jack Layton wanted it, bringing all in attendance to a roaring ovation with a uniquely gentle, almost spoken word rendition. The New Democratic leader’s state funeral, held at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall between August 25 and 27, 2011, drew a devastated throng bigger than any audience Page had ever imagined – but he was only fixated on a few of its members.
Singer-songwriter City and Colour never minces words, even for swan songs. By Kyle Mullin for Newfoundland’s The Telegram, Feb. 24 2012
When Dallas Green dies, the last thing he’ll want is some stranger like you trying to help lay him to rest.
“Everybody comes out of the woodwork all of the sudden, when someone’s dead, to remember them. Most funerals are filled with people you haven’t seen for 15, 20 years,” the songwriter known as City and Colour, who is slated for two performances this weekend at The Mile One Centre, tells The Telegram of the literally morbid fascination, or perhaps morbid aversion, that inspired one of his most underrated tunes.
“Body In a Box,” was by no means the biggest hit from Green’s sophomore album, 2008’s “Bring Me Your Love.” But the tune has become a fan favourite, and not only for featuring the typically tender melodies he’s become adored for. The real draw has always been his lyrical frankness, groping to weigh down his gentle strumming. And this particular tune was no exception, especially with lines like “We celebrate the lives of the dead, it’s like a man’s best party, only happens when he dies.”
CITY AND COLOUR
From Smoke on the Water to waking nightmares, bassist Roger Glover details metal pioneers’ hazy inspirations. By Kyle Mullin for Newfoundland’s The Telegram, Winter 2012
While dreaming up “Smoke on the Water,” Roger Glover wasn’t so much inspired as terrified.
“I just woke up saying it to an empty room, with my eyes still closed. Then I kind of opened my eyes and the words were somehow hanging in the air, and I thought, ‘did I say something out loud?’” the bassist for British heavy rockers Deep Purple says of the drowsy utterance that would define his career.
Frontman Ian Gillan turned Glover’s brief, nightmarish mantra into a lyric and song title which, along with Ritchie Blackmore’s throbbing, instantly recognizable riff, became the most smouldering tune of the 1970s.
Today, Deep Purple’s biggest hit is seen as one of hard rock’s signature early songs. But the destruction that birthed it threatened the very lives of some of pop music’s biggest names.
READ FULL STORY: