Sunday, April 29, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days- Week 9

It's official! We failed! We have two days left and too many resteraunts to complete by the time our challenge deadline is here. We were close but no dice. We are going to continue our journey around the world and finish it but we know we are not going to make the deadline. Money and time simply doesn't allow it. We would like to thank everyone who was reading and eating along with us for their time. We're sorry we couldn't complete the journey! We also would like to thank our team mates for the time  they spent researching resteraunts and the money they spent going out of their way to try new and interesting cuisuine. Too often we go to the same old places over and over again. We went on this journey to expand our cultural palettes and horizons. Oh and we totally called Peruvian food coming to Hong Kong. (Boom!)

This week we tried to be as adventurous as we could with our end of the month pennies. You know you eat out less at the end of the month because the cobwebs start appearing in your wallets! We had more European food this week with Swedish at Ikea (A total cheat we know!) A complete bargan at 7 dollars for coffee with unlimited refills and food for 15-30 dollars! You can't do better than that! The chocolate truffle cake was yummy AND nut free! Shatin Ikea was practically empty on a Tuesday afternoon and we totally took advantage and spent some time divulging into some Swedish treats at bargain prices!

Norwegian was a surprise at FILLES in TST. Pricey at dinner but a bargain at lunch for a 120 you get two courses of free range, organic food from the Scandanavian land of Trolls and ugly ass sweaters. Try the smoked salmon salad with poached eggs. Super yummy! Veggie options and Pescatarian options are plenty on the menu!

Matthew and Steven took on Seafood Buffet at a all you can eat Japanese buffet on Kowloon side. Their only complaint was they both ended up with massive headaches from the meal. MSG, anyone? Migraine suffererers beware! They also went to Olympic city and dined on Chinese cuisine. Cheap and yummy it was a pleasurable experience for both!

Mongolian was scratched off the list at Bayi. Off the beaten path in Sai Ying Pun. Bayi specializes in one thing: Camel. If you want to eat a dromedary this is the place. I had camel pancakes with peking style sauces. Kind of like eating camel soft tacos. It came with veggies to add and was a little spicy. Definately an adventurous meal and healthy! Camel is apparently very low in fat!

Portugese was taken off the list with a lunch at Cafe Liason in LKF. I never could afford this place at dinner but I knocked it off the list at lunch time. It was about 150HKD for a three course lunch with dessert and coffee. Still have not found a replacement for Cuban. Working on it.
Two days left... Will make another post on Tuesday about any progress made.

Color Coding System
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Love Bad Movies

I love a good bad movie! I wait with baited breath every year to see what is nominated for a Razzie award and then I watch them with abandon. My favorite movie of all time will forever be Showgirls! I love good theatre but I adore a good bad movie... I think a crappy movie that makes you laugh is the perfect escape from an artistic existence. When you spend 90% of your days working on theatre and trying to create good theatre it's just fun to come home and watch Mommie Dearest!

Movies that are camp and unapologetic about how bad they are, are great because they make you laugh and you don't have to think. Movies that are supposed to be "great" films according to their creators and are HORRIBLE in a good way are even better ala Troll 2 or Showgirls. I love to watch the trailers for films that are horrible but people thought were going to be great like the recent bomb John Carter or Norbit. (That movie really sunk Eddie Murphy's chance at a Oscar didn't it?)

Why am I write about my love of bad films?
Just yesterday at the opening night of HK players Yellow Face I was introduced to Ivy Lam who is going to help bring Bad Movies to their place of glory in Hong Kong.

She's helping run a screening of Troll 2 and the documentary and the Best Worst Movie Documentary at the HK Arts Center in Wanchai on May 5th! I think we should totally go support her for this effort because we artists are often too serious about our craft and could use a dose of "Good Bad" Cinema to lighten our moods! Get your "Troll On" with me and many others on May 5th! Press Release Below and You can find the more info at the facebook group:!/events/293575404052033/

What's your favorite "good bad" movie?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review- Yellow Face- Hong Kong Players

Tonight I braved the rain and hopped down to Sheung Wan to see Hong Kong Players opening night of Yellow Face by Asian American playwright, David Henry Hwang. Yellow Face talks about race and identity issues of what it is like to be an Asian American. It talks about the act of a white performers pretending to be Asian for a role ala Rex Harrison in The King and I or Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. One of the pivotal jumping points of the script is the Miss Saigon casting scandal in the 1990's. All American theatre students are subjected to hearing long tedious lectures in college about this scandal. Hwang took both real life experience and fictionalized characters and blended them together into the world of Yellow Face. It is not a "ha ha" comedy but an intellectual one. You will have to sit in the theatre and think for two and half hours. This might not be the best show to come to rip roaring drunk. It's not that kind of show, and it is LONG, eat before hand!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days- Week 8

 Color Coding System
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
This week we got quite a bit accomplished! We know we are in the final crunch of the challenge! We have only one more week left and several countries left. We also had some firsts this week! I had my first Szechuan and my first Argentinian meals. I loved my Argentinian lunch at Tango Steakhouse on Wellington. Chef Martin was a delight and it is now my NEW favorite place to eat. Seriously, check this place out! I can't afford it at their dinner price but lunch was around 100 and I had some seriously LARGE portions with some delish ingredients. The best empanada!

Szechuan on the other hand was a seriously painful experience. It hurt! My mouth went numb and I don't think I have ever eaten anything that hot before. My gay said that it was good Szechuan and if your mouth goes numb then it's cooked correctly.... WAH?! I had to go home and change my shirt after the meal!
Louise was a big help to us and knocked out Japanese noodles and hand pulled noodles! She had pleasurable experiences at both places and highly recommends both! They both have open kitchens which give you a view into the kitchen and how your food is prepared!

I also had an all chocolate experience at Awfully Chocolate in Central. I had a salted butterscotch brownie that cost me 60HKD. I know, right? Expensive ass brownie! I shared it with my friend Sarah because it was a big ass brownie and there was no way we could finish it. Share the love and the cost with a friend when you go! Super Yummy!

I also had a healthy treat with Gluten free food at O Green Cafe in Sheung Wan. I left a bit hungry but everything tasted super fresh. The staff was super nice and seemed generally concerned about all food allergies I had. (Unlike some places where they roll their eyes at you when you ask them to clean the knives between preps. You know who you are...)

We have 8 days left and 17 places left. We don't know if we'll meet the deadline or not. But we're going to sure as heck try! Cuban will have to removed from the list as we have found out that the only Cuban place in town shut down. We'll let you know what it has been replaced with once we find a viable option.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review- The Truth About Lying- HK Art Festival

I was really excited to this show. It was the winner for Best Script, Best Performance and Leading Actress of 2010. This was also the winner of a lot of awards at the 2011 Hong Kong Drama Awards. Playwright, Wong Wing-sze was the recipient of one of the largest arts grants in Hong Kong to help produce this piece. I wanted to see what the board was awarding the money to and what all the buzz was about. Expectations were set high for this show; I paid close to 400HKD to see it and I wanted to see a good show. People were really talking it up as one of the best things to come along in local Hong Kong drama in the past few years. My local "Canto gay" and I went to see it; in case I didn't understand some of the jokes I thought it best to have an interpreter.

Presented by Hong Kong Arts Festival in partnership with author/director Wong Wing-sze it was supposed to be a dramatic look at relationships both work/romantic from the view of the protagonist, Emily who is working at a high power law firm. I can understand the plight of the working woman in HK as an interesting concept for a piece but the story line seemed predictable at best.

Design wise it was beautiful. I though the set design was good and I thought the lighting design was well conceived. I think the use of working lights hanging above the actors as part of the set was rather ingenious as it seemed to put a feng shui feel onto the entirety of the set. Costumes were chic and simple. Yours basic HK business wear, suits, heels and ties. People looked expensive, people looked like those fancy people you see walking around IFC at 11am on a Thursday. All the great design in the world couldn't save it in my mind...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vlog #3- Money Honey!!!

Our latest vlog talks about money issues as a theatre artist. A lot of people have had complaints about the financial struggles of being an artist in Hong Kong. How do you make a profit? How do you pay the bills? How do you pay off the student loans for that Masters Degree hanging on your wall?

If you have any money saving tips for productions or a great tale of how you made it in the black leave it in the comments! We want to know about your successes!

Do you have any ideas about how to solve issues we're facing with ticket prices, venue prices or cost of designs? We love an open dialogue between the community. Enjoy our vlog. Many thanks to Giles Burton of HK Microfest who was gracious enough to sit down with us and to the people at the opening night of ACT's "The Dining Room" who answered our questions!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review- The Dining Room- ACT Hong Kong

"We don't have dining rooms in Hong Kong so I think I'm missing some of the jokes."- Sam
"I liked the kid's birthday party best."- Michelle
"I don't particularly care for the script."- Clara
"I liked the last ten minutes of Act 1"- Jeremy (Who was VERY late to Act One) *burn*
"Very sweet."- Natalie
"Sara is great!"- Matthew

The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney is like indulging in a fancy 12 course meal. There are little plates, big plates, intermessos and sweet treats. There is a palette cleanser or two. There is sure to be great company to help pass the time and a lot of booze (hopefully). Sure, there are some courses that are better than others but overall the meal is made up by a great cast of characters who weave great stories together over the hours. I enjoyed my evening with ACT as they took on Gurney's award winning play. Of course, there are things that can always be improved upon but overall it was money well spent as you could tell that the production crew spent a hell of lot of time (and money) on that set and props list. Only the Saturday matinee has tickets left! So if you're available Saturday at 3pm I highly recommend you get your butts down to box office and pick them up! It's worth the money as it is a very high quality show production wise.

Let's talk production...

The Ruthless Machine

I am a ruthless promotional machine. I will go to all ends of the earth to make sure you come see my next show! I don't care if you are completely sick of hearing me talk about my work. I want you to be so annoyed by my talking that you give in and finally buy a ticket. WHY? Because I live and breathe for my work... I care so passionately for my work that I believe that I can enrich your lives by having you see my next production.

Yes, it's silly and a little sad, I'll completely admit it. My mother was an excellent nag. She would nag me to clean my room, to do my homework, to not fight with my sisters, to turn the tv off etc. etc. etc. If there is anything she taught me well by example: it is "to nag". You can thank her for that because I'm now able to nag people via the internet, facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkedon, etc: about how fabulous my next production is and why they should go see it!
My next show! GO SEE IT!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

80 Days Around the World- Week 7

Due to a glorious suggestion from a reader named Spike! (Thank you Spike!) We have altered our color coding system so that you can see the week to week progress more easily.
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine         

We knocked off Seven places this week! We are very proud of ourselves for finally getting a lot done!

A lot more was accomplished this week both good and bad things were discovered. I think we found a new candidate for worst resteraunt in Hong Kong. This honor belongs to So Bali Bali in Soho. One of the worst dining experiences of my life. I gave them an F- and frankly I would have gone lower if possible. I was the ONLY customer in the place and they still fucked up my order. They didn't even feel bad about it. And then they still charged me 20HKD for a bowl of rice. (Read that again) Yes, 20 HKD for a bowl of fucking rice. That is highway robbery and frankly it wasn't even that good. It was expensive, the chefs and the staff OBVIOUSLY didn't give a shit. It was my first taste of Balinese cuisine and frankly I could care less if I ever had it again. It was disgusting.
(Rant officially over)

Matthew found a treasure in Indonesian but has yet to give up the details... *tsk tsk* We're waiting...

Our team mate Louise also had a VERY BAD dining experience on Lamma at the Banyan. 2 hours for an order to be completed. When they still did not bring person's food they got really angry. The owner kicked them out and said he didn't need their business. Fine, we don't need their business either. It's called the hospitality industry for a reason. No one deserves to be yelled at for wanting their food done correctly when they are a paying customer. All Lamma people should avoid The Bayan for the way they treated our team mate. If we continue to give rude people our money, they will continue being rude.

We had some good things happen also! A lovely surprise at a tiny hole in the wall in Jordan where we ordered the house special "Hanan chicken rice". Super yummy and cheap. Chicken, plus rice, plus a side and a drink were 32HKD. Can't get much better than that! It didn't have an english name so just know it's the one with the green awning of Austin rd with the chickens hanging in the window. Can't miss it!

French was provided to us via a groupon at Babylon. (Am I the only person that thinks of Queer as Folk when I hear something named this?) French bistros seem to have popped up all over the place but we got a 5 course meal with wine and frois gras for less than 200HKD thanks to our groupon. The service was rude, the frois gras was not cleaned properly and the prices without the groupon were ridiculous. (600 HKD for a steak?! WTF?)

Veganism was handled by the people at Life Cafe in Soho. Now, I think the place is a little pricey. I also have a little difficulty eating any of the bread products because they LOVE to put nuts in everything they have. (It makes sense for veggies to get their protein in other sources but it would be nice to have one bread that is nut free!) I had the "fake burger with fake bacon and fake cheese". Flavors were all good but the textures were what was off. It was too chewy if that makes any sense. I also felt that the caesar salad was one of the worst things I've eaten. It had a slimey texture to it and because it was dairy free it had a funky aftertaste. Not a dish that would convert me over to the green side. We had the option of making almost anything on the menu vegan which was nice for the sake of the challenge.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nomination Form

HK_Arts Nomination Form

You may nominate 5 shows or persons in each category. Do not put your name on the form. Email the form back to for privacy. Or PM to the Hk_Arts Facebook account.

Nomination Period: June 2011- May 2012
Nomination Form Due back: May 1st- May 20th.
Nominations announced END OF MAY!
(Professional Local Companies may be included; tours with international actors are not permitted. This is an award show to promote local artists!)

Nominations to be announced at the end of May. (You can nominate a show that performs in May as nomination sheets are due by May 20th.)
Award show in late June, Venue and date TBA.

1.     Best Show (Non Musical)
2.     Best Show (Musical)
3.     Best Actor (please include show name)
4.     Best Actress (please include show name)
5.     Best Director (please include show name)
6.     Best Designer (please include show name and type of design)
7.     Best New Comer (MUST BE NEW TO THE SCENE! June 2011-May 2012)
8.     Best Producer/Best Company
9.     Best Stage Manager (please include show name)
10.  Best Supporting Actor (please include show name)
11.  Best Supporting Actress (please include show name)
12.  Best Bit Role (Must be 10 minutes or less of stage time)
13.  Best Charity Production (Where 50% or more of proceeds was given to charity. Please include Show name and charity.)
14.  Best Cantonese Production
15.  Best Theatre for Youth Production
16. Best Original Work (Must be newly produced, can be musical or non.)
17. Best Dance Show
18. Best re-occurring audience member
19. Best Local Band
20. Best Local Visual Artist

*Cantonese Performers may be included in the Actor category

List of All Shows for Awards Form (Updated)

This is a updated working, complete listing of EVERY local theatre/dance/musical/cabaret production in Hong Kong from June 2011- May 2012. Tours are not listed here because our awards are for local artists and companies. 
Nominations will start being accepted May 1st!
*A color coding system has been added. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

80 Days Around the World- Week 6

I am a bad, bad challenger. I went on vacation and didn't keep up with the list before I left. I got super lazy and it shows! None of the food I ate on my holiday counts because the challenge must be met inside Hong Kong or Macau. So, we only have twenty days left and over thirty places to still hit!

I think part of the slump is that it's expensive to eat out this much and the other part is that the vacation made everyone deter from the mission. We need to get back on track peeps! I removed Peruvian from the list because turns out this style of food hasn't come to HK yet. (Wait a year and we'll have one. Peruvian is all the rage right now in NYC.)

Hopefully we'll meet our goal! Only 20 days left! We gotta get our butts in gear team mates!

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore with Kids

I am basically a 5 year old in a 27 year old body. I was blessed to have a trip to Singapore for Easter and I used this trip to explore the city. When I told all my friends in Hong Kong that I was coming to Singapore they said, "You're going to go shopping?" Ew... No. I hate shopping. I'm a broke artist. What can a broke artist do in Singapore when shopping is beyond their means? I think that a broke artist can get down with their inner child and explore the city the way a kid can; with wild abandonment and an open mind for learning.
Merlion Park from the view of the boat tour!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Chat with Jenny*- Problems in Singapore Theatre Scene

*Jenny and I met over twitter back in 2011. She offered to speak with me about the theatre scene in Singapore. She wished that I not use her real name as it could affect the type of work she can get. So you get some background info: Jenny* is a college graduate of theatre, she works professionally for a theatre in Singapore as a box office manager but her real passion is acting and producing. She is a lovely person and I deeply appreciate her answering my questions.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review- Matchbox Concept Hostel- Singapore

I am currently sitting in my hostel typing on a laptop that was given to me to use for free. I am smelling of free designer shampoos, lotions and shower gels that were included in the price of my stay at Matchbox Concept Hostel. I love this hostel, next time I am in Singapore I will stay here again mainly because of the beautiful staff girls! They were a pleasure to hang out with, they went beyond the call of duty to help a customer and they helped you with all your direction needs.
The beanbag loft! It now has swings!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bring Out Your Dead- In Honor of Grave Sweeping Day

Tomorrow is Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong. A lovely little holiday that happens twice a year *correction, grave sweeping happens twice a year, the other holiday is called Chuen Yuen. Thanks Miko!* so that you can sweep the graves of the dead in your family, pay your respects, have a picnic in a graveyard and spend some time talking memories of people who have left our world for a better one. It is in honor of Ching Ming Festival that I make this post. It's not a flashy festival and is often overshadowed by close holidays to it. (Like this year with Easter.) It doesn't have any commercial Hallmark cards with it. (Can you imagine?) Ching Ming literally means "Clear Brightness". It's important to honor what has died in the past so that we can look upon everything that is being born new with clear eyes. Pretty ideas, right?

According to Feng Shui principles the graveyards must be well kept and have certain items. Such as: something red, a water element close to it, better feng shui for the dead is found away from noise, etc. You can find more details about the feng shui principles of grave yards in china online. I learned a lot by just googling it. But if someone tells you that you have a ghost in your vagina, RUN!!!!!

Getting Urban with Art- A Conversation with Gary Yeung

I had the pleasure of talking with Gary Yeung, a local visual artist who calls himself an "urban sketch artist". I discovered his blog via Stumbleupon and really liked his views on our city. He covers the good, the bad, the unique and the mundane. (My personal favorite work of his is the sketch of the beautiful banyan tree in Yuen Long that is covering up an old school building. One of my favorite places in HK and a beautiful piece of artwork.) No stone is unturned, no facet is ignored. You can take a look at his art via his blog:
His sketches would make a unique gift for friends wanting a piece of Hong Kong that is off the beaten path. And art is always a good investment. We never know, Gary could become the next "King of Kowloon"! (If you don't know what this is in reference to, please google it.)

Gary is smart, nice and talented and he does sketches of kittens... What more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Artist of the Month- April- Nicole Garbellini West

This month's Artist of the Month is the undeniably unique Nicole Garbellini West. One of the few Italian Actors in town she brings a different training and a strange blended accent to our fair scene. On top of being beautiful and talented she is also super nice! I have had the pleasure of working with her and she has become more than a co-worker over the years. I love her and respect her as both a person and an artist. 
Recently she has become a power producer of Aurora Theatre putting on plays like Glengarry Glen Ross and Coffee and Cigarettes at the Fringe Club. 
When we first started working together back in the day on Mary Ignatius, Nicole spoke to me about how actors with accents were not really used in the HK scene very often. I think that Hong Kong is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and accents. We should embrace it as part of our talent fabric.  She's one of the most open people in town about wanting new talent. So, if you're new in town and don't know where to get started in the theatre scene she is the lady to contact.  She is super friendly and loves to give advice to newbies in town. She also likes finding new actors to put on stage!