[BLOG] More music! “North Wind Blows” and “Liuyang River”

After my last post about Liang Zhu, there was some interest in the sheet music. I realized that it’s actually quite an advanced piece, I would say it requires at least 5 years of pretty serious piano study to attempt this piece. So I went back through my music and found two more pieces that I loved playing, one that is much easier (I think I learned this after 2-3 years of piano), and one that is slightly easier but considerably shorter.

I will be uploading all MP3’s and sheet music to this dropbox folder! Liang Zhu is in there, as are the two songs I am discussing in this post. Disclaimer: copyright, I don’t own any of the sheet music or the MP3’s, yada yada…  Apologies also for my poor scanning quality!

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[BLOG] Godfrey Gao Cast in City of Bones

I have some really exciting news about my husband (shh, he doesn’t know yet) Godfrey Gao. He has been cast as Magnus Bane in the upcoming blockbuster movie adaption of the best-selling book “City of Bones,” first in the “Mortal Instruments” series – a very popular children/YA book series, maybe some CAPS kids read these?

Check out the official announcement here, it’s quite funny.

There are so many reasons I am excited for this. First and foremost – duh, I love Godfrey Gao. I mean, just look at him! A quick introduction: he’s 27, Taiwanese, raised in Canada, and hailed as the “first Asian male supermodel” following a lucrative deal with Louis Vuitton. He has dabbled in acting, with various parts in Taiwanese dramas.

The second reason I am so happy about this – and this is something you would THINK we could take for granted, but no – secondly, I’m really excited that they cast an Asian actor. News just broke that the blond, blue-eyed Liam Hemsworth (of Hunger Games fame) has been cast as Middle-Eastern legend Ali Baba in Arabian Nights. Really?! Reminds me of Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia. The character of Magnus Bane is only briefly mentioned as having Asian features (and being half Indonesian), so it would have been easy for the casting directors to just cast someone Caucasian and call it a day. That they cast a full Asian is impressive.

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[BLOG] Visiting China: Shanghai

I was born in New York, but my family is from Shanghai, so I’ve spent a lot of summers there. The last time I went is 2010 so my information may be ever so slightly out of date, but I will be sharing many pointers for those looking to visit Shanghai, and China in general!  Continue reading

[BLOG] Film: The Flowers of War

Christian Bale (of Dark Knight fame) plays the starring role in China’s top-grossing film of 2011, also the most expensive Chinese film ever made, Zhang Yimou’s epic The Flowers of War. See Christian Bale talk about it here.

The film is set in 1937, Nanjing, China, during the “Rape of Nanjing“, at the time of the Second Sino-Japanese War. This is a period that is glossed over in American history classes but was a truly terrible time for China, and is the reason why many Chinese citizens still bear a serious grudge against the Japanese (my mother included).

In the film, Christian Bale plays a mortician who pretends to be a priest to protect Chinese Catholic schoolgirls against imminent rape by Japanese soldiers; he also helps shelter a group of Chinese prostitutes, who ultimately decide to sacrifice themselves in place of the schoolgirls when the Japanese army requests their presence. I haven’t personally seen it yet but CSA is hoping to organize a screening of it at Princeton. It looks really good! Check out the American (English) trailer here. Get your Kleenex ready…  Continue reading

[BLOG] Music: Jay Chou “Mr. Magic”

For everyone who watched the Triple Eight show this weekend: did you like the music?

Most of the contemporary pieces featured Korean pop music (known as “Kpop”), which is very popular among Asian-Americans, including Chinese-Americans like myself. Actually, I listen to more Kpop than Cpop (Chinese pop music).

However, if any of you remember the circus-themed final number, that piece was set to a Chinese pop song by one of the most famous modern Chinese musical artists, Jay Chou.

I absolutely adore Jay Chou, and I will write a far more thorough post about him in the future, but for now – if anyone is interested in that song, here it is! “魔术先生” or “Mr. Magic”
Not one of my favorite Jay Chou songs but it was very fitting to the choreo and the show, and I thought it was a phenomenal closer!

I will be posting plenty more Cpop in the future, especially by Jay Chou; but if anyone would like some more info on the Kpop, that won’t be going on the blog, so you can email me for more info/recommendations ecai@princeton.edu