Tuesday, December 31, 2013

zaijian 2013

Santé and Ganbei to 2013 my friends, here's to more music in 2014 x

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Online Movie Streaming - Review of Providers for East Asian cinema

I've been doing a little research on who has the best selection of east Asian films available for streaming online and after having signed up to:

  • Netflix
  • Love Film
  • Mubi

I can reveal that I no longer subscribe to Netflix or Love Film.  Netflix is like a crummy video shop from the late 1980s that only has a very limited selection of films and a lot of B-movies you have never heard of.  It does carry some Cine Asia titles as well as Shaolin Soccer but I found it lacking for my East Asian movie fix needs.  Worth signing up for a free trial month and watching all the good stuff then cancelling though.  If you do that please watch the TV series 15 Storeys High with Sean Lock and Benedict Wong as it is extremely funny and many was sadly slept on when it aired on BBC.  Also it is shot just round the corner from where I grew up in South London (although maybe that's just cool to me!).

Love Film appears to have a lot of titles but when you get down to the nitty gritty most of the East Asian films are DVD rental only and not available for online streaming.  Disappointing.

Mubi has a different approach - only 30 films are available to watch at any time and they add a new title every day and remove one.  Therefore if you see a movie you are interested in has been added you have 30 days to watch it.  OK so the choice is limited but the selection is excellent.  It's like having a world cinema / art house / old movie geek select films for you (like a proper video shop used to be).  The East Asian selection has been pretty great with Johnny To movies like PTA, Sparrow and Mad Detective (currently available) being on the Mubi rotating movie shelf.  Mubi is the only site I've kept a subscription to (and you get a bloody good deal if you sign up for a year, about £30 I think).  I've watched obscure Thai art house film Hi-So as well as Hong Kong classic The Internal Affairs Trilogy and Park Chan Wook's I'm a Cyborg But That's OK (currently available).  It also shows old Amercian noir movies from time to time which you cannot seem to get anywhere else (crazy, I'd love to see more old movies available and not just on youtube - by the way all the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies are on youtube, fantastic watching!)

Now if only there was a site that streamed high quality Shaw Brothers movies! Mubi does lack a good martial arts selection but on the whole it is the best provider for streaming East Asian cinema.  A Lucky Cat recommendation.

(Picture show here is fan art created by Jerry Johnson, see: http://mubi.com/topics/mubi-fan-art-logo-competition)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anna Chen on Resonance FM

The fabulous Anna Chen has a new radio programme on Resonance FM; Madam Miaow's Culture Lounge.
The show airs live every Tuesday at 5.30pm on Resonance 104.4FM in London or via the web site resonancefm.com worldwide.
Each week Anna is joined by guests and musicians for lively discussion, music and poetry.  If you missed the first episode then you can listen online here:

For more info see: http://www.annachen.co.uk/resonance-launch/

I should be back on the radio for Lucky Cat Series 8 sometime in 2014 on Resonance FM.  Details to follow as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

SEA Arts Fest 2013

SEA Arts Fest is a brand new festival celebrating the work of the artists of South East Asia and those inspired by South East Asia. 
The festival presents a range of work including film, theatre, music, traditional dance, outdoor performances, participatory workshops more.
SEA Arts Fest takes place for the first time in London across multiple sites from 1st October – 10th November 2013.
For all the details see: http://seaartsfest.org/

Check out this FREE Indonesian arts event at SOAS on 19th October: 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lucky Cat Podcast - Aowen Jin Interview Sept 2013

If you missed last Friday's special edition here's the podcast.  I had a wonderful time talking to the passionate and knowledgeable artists Aowen Jin.  I do hope you enjoy listening.

Factory Girls opens next week at the Brick Lane Gallery.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lucky Cat Special Edition: Zoë Meets Artist Aowen Kitaika Jin

I am pleased to announce that I will return to the ariwaves for a special edition of Lucky Cat on Friday 6th September 8-9pm on
Resonance 104.4FM.

I will be talking to UK based Chinese artist Aowen Kitaika Jin about her upcoming art exhibition Made in China: Factory Girls, which opens at the Brick Lane gallery on 18th September.

The programme will repeated on Monday 9th September at 9am and I will podcast soon after.

Made In China: Factory Girls Exhibition
Brick Lane Gallery, Brick Lane, London, E1 6SA
18/09/2013 to 24/09/2013.

The Factory Girls exhibition uncovers the goals, dreams and ambitions of China's factory girls.

BIG thanks to Josue from Fresh Brewed Illustration for the beautiful artwork pictured here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Indigogo Fund Raiser for Lucy Sheen's Plays

Please help raise funds for writer, director and actor Lucy Sheen to bring her plays to the London stage.
Lucy was a guest on Lucky Cat back in 2011 just before she appeared in the three woman solo show produced by True Heart Theatre, IN THE MIRROR: Three women, three stories from Chinese diaspora.I was fortunate enought to see the production and was very impressed with Lucy's autobiographical story of trying to assimilate into white suburban UK life after being adopted from Hong Kong as a baby.  Lucy is a fabulous actress and clearly a talented writer to boot.  I would love to see this story along with new work ICU, on the London stage and reaching a wide audience.  Fund raising sites seem to be the way to go these days to get interesting independent art out to the hungry audiences fed up of homogenised clap trap!  Please give a little (or a lot)...

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Lucy Kirkwood's play Chimerica has transferred from the Almeida Theatre to London's West End.  The play, which tells the story of an unknown hero in 1989's Tiananmen Square, is on at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 19th October.

The unknown hero aka Tank Man, who squared up to government troops, unarmed, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 was captured on film by American photojournalist Joe (played by Stephen Campbell Moore).  Almost 20 years later Joe sees a cryptic message in a Beijing newspaper and becomes obsessed with finding Tank Man to discover the story behind the iconic image.
Joe is helped by Zhang Lin (played by Benedict Wong, pictured left) and together they try to unravel the past.  The play has underlying themes of China’s uneasy relationship with the West and current socioeconomic issues.  

The play has received rave reviews and I hope to catch it myself....  There are 100 £10 tickets for every performance available from the box office on the day from 10am.

Have you seen the play?  Please share your thoughts with Lucky Cat readers in the comments below.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

DJing for Duchamp Festival in Herne Bay

Tonight I will be DJing in Herne Bay for the Marcel Duchamp Festival.  I will be on at 7.30pm in Wimereaux Gardens, playing after the band Coco and the Butterfields.
The festival started on 1st August and I DJ'd at the Beach Creative Private View, trying to adhere to a 1913 playlist (tricky!).  Check out the festival Facebook page or web site for more info.

Tonight expect some killah dillah tunage, all vinyl, naturally.  Sugarpie De Santo is at the front of my record box and ready to go...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Soon Come

Can't get this song out of my head!  The sound of Summer 2013.  Brilliant video that makes you want to jump on a plane to JA! Liam Bailey's lovely voice is reminiscent of Finley Quaye with lilting twang.  Shy FX takes it back to proper Big People's Music!
Sadly not currently available on vinyl...

More about Shy FX and the forthcoming Cornerstone album here.

Lucky Cat on Resonance FM - exciting news soon come!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review of HK Cop Corruption Movie Cold War

Cold War Hair-Off between Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung Ka-Fei
I realise it’s been an absolute age now since the Terracotta Far East Film Festival and I have neglected to review the movies I saw – apologies.

Let me remedy that right now with a review of HK cop corruption thriller Cold War directed by Longman Leung and Sunny Luk.  The film stars Chinese Ken doll Aaron Kwok, veteran hard head Tony Leung Ka-Fei and a cameo by Andy Lau appearing as, well, Andy Lau.  I want to say Charlie Yueng features too but she doesn't really, she's just there.
The storyline is pretty weak and a little muddled at times so I won’t bore you with too many of the details, suffice to say Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung KF have different policing methods and a battle of egos ensues.  Meanwhile some master criminal maniac is kidnapping cops and blowing up Hong Kong.  Tony Leung KF provides all the screen magnetism with some superb acting; if the film had been from his POV rather than Kwok’s it would have been more watchable.  Aaron Kwok may have fluttered the hearts of many in the audience but he just isn’t my cup of tea.  I just cannot believe in a character whose hair remains perfectly coiffured after chases, fights and explosions.  When pitted against a veteran HK star such as Tony Leung KF I’m afraid Aaron’s acting just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Like Aaron’s hair the production and art direction of the film are just a little too slick.  Colours are muted and metallic, there are obligatory helicopter shots swooping over HK’s skyline and a totally gratuitous fireworks explosion atop a hotel.  At quite a few points in the film I found myself asking ‘ who is this new character’  and ‘why should I care?’  Not a good sign.

Andy Lau breezes in for a couple of scenes but even his suave charm is not enough to save this movie.  Infernal Affairs it aint.  I would suggest that if you want to see a well-crafted film about police corruption with characters you actually care about then watch the Johnny To movie PTA.  I recently saw this film and loved every moment, there is something to be said for a simple storyline, stripped back action, actors with gravitas such as Simon Yam and Lam Suet (to be fair to Tony Leung KF he is in this bracket too) and of course a brilliant auteur director like Johnny To.

After reading through I feel I have been a bit mean about Aaron Kwok.  I did enjoy him in The Detective, perhaps under different direction he can escape his heart throb Cantopop persona.  I think the blame for this overly coiffured bouffant of a movie can be laid at the doors of Longman Leung and Sunny Luk as they not only directed but wrote the screenplay too.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2013

This year's Terracotta Far East Film Festival will be bigger and better than ever, running from 6th - 15th June across 2 venues (The Prince Charles cinema and the ICA).

This year there are 4 sections:

1. Current Asian Cinema
This includes the Johnny To produced Drug War.

2.Terror Cotta Horror All-nighter
5 horror films shown from 11.30pm - 7am!  Including A classic retrospective presentation of an old Japanese Macbeth-like folk tale; The Ghost Story of Yotsuya

3. In Memory of Leslie Chueng and Anita Mui
I'm very pleased about this selection which includes one of my top 10 favourite films Rouge.

4. Spotlight on: Indonesia 
There's more to Indonesian cinema than The Raid!

For all the info and to buy tickets see: http://terracottafestival.com/festival-info/schedule/

The music for this year's Festival will be fantastic - as I will be programming it!  I will be selecting the songs you hear in the auditorium before each film commences.  Wonder if I can sneak in some Chinese Reggae :)

There are masterclasses, special guests, Q&As and parties too.  I will write more on my festival picks soon......

Only a few days left (closing date 20th May) but this short film competition is amazing too!:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Daniel York's short play Song Of Four Seasons (四季歌) is @ Rich Mix Fri 17th May

Daniel York's short play Song Of Four Seasons (四季歌) has been selected for Tamasha Theatre’s next Scratch Night at Rich Mix this Friday 17th May.  The performance is script in hand but rehearsed and stars Michelle Wen Lee, Jennifer Lim and Jess Woo.

The play concerns identity, displacement and belonging. It was inspired by the singer Chinese singer Zhou Xuan and the song Four Seasons which is a tale of separation, love and small people whose lives are destroyed by big events. 
Zhou Xuan, is one of China’s great movie stars whose life was as dramatic and tragic as any of the characters she portrayed. I discussed her fascinating life and career in my radio programme on The Seven Singing Stars of Shanghai.  Her legacy lives on today and the song Four Seasons featured in the 2007 Ang Lee film Lust, Caution.

Daniel York's short film, Mercutio’s Dreaming: The Killing Of A Chinese Actor, was recently nominated for four awards at the WMIFF festival.
Daniel's full length play, The Fu Manchu Complex, will open the autumn season at Ovalhouse Theatre this October 2013. 

I spoke with Daniel, who is also the Vice Chair, Equity Minority Ethnic Members’ Committee, earlier this year about the RSC Orphan of Zhao casting controversy.  Daniel York is now part of the group British East Asian Artists

I am really pleased that Zhou Xuan's life and work will be brought to a wider audience with this play.  The Pathe 100 compilation of her music is highly recommended (see below).



Thursday, May 09, 2013

Chinese Visual Festival 2013

This year's Chinese Visual Festival will run from May 8th – June 12th @ King’s College London. The festival includes:
  • 4 prominent directors in attendance from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Art exhibition and artist talk, with Chinese artist Wang Yuyang in attendance
  • 29 films screened (all UK premieres and including 1 world premiere)
  • Concert performances from Chinese and British musicians
  • 2 Panel Discussions, 1 round table and 1 public lecture with key industry figures and academics
The festival has expanded this year to cover art and films from Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as Mainland China.

For the full schedule please see the CVF 2013 web site.

  • ART
Objects of Fantasy, the first solo exhibition for Chinese artist Wang Yuyang is now on at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing from (until 12th June).

Wang's BREATHE《呼吸》
  • FILM

Taiwanese film maker Wu Wuna will be in attendance, her films Farewell 1999 about her mother and The Dream Never Sets, about her father, will be screened on 29th May.  The trailer (no subs sorry) for The Dream Never Sets is above and seems to include a Dub Reggae soundtrack - I'm excited!

This year, the festival has selected its first ever animated shorts and fiction film For more information on Film please click here.


Renowned Pipa musician Wang Ting returns to play both a solo concert and a collaborative show with top London jazz pianist Chris Lee.  I was fortunate enough to attend Wang Ting's concert last year and hear her beautiful renditions of classical Chinese music on the pipa.  The collaboration with Chris Lee sounds really interesting, the pipa was used in some of the Shanghai Jazz ensembles of the 1920s-30s.  The concert will take place at 8pm on Monday 27th May, Room SWB21, King's College, Strand.

For all the info on CVF 2013 see: http://chinesevisualfestival.org/

Monday, April 22, 2013

In the Mood for Wong Kar Wai

Here's my latest mix, as promised it's WKW themed. I tried to capture the dreamlike quality of a WKW movie, I hope you enjoy my selection. Qi paos are optional, good quality Chinese tea is essential.

In the Mood for Wong Kar Wai by Luckycatzoe on Mixcloud

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WIN Tickets to Lady Snowblood - Terracotta Film Club 24th April

Next Wednesday 24th April The Terracotta Film Club will screen the classic Japanese vengeance movie Lady Snowblood (修羅雪姫, Shurayukihime).  The 1973 film is directed by Toshiya Fujita and stars Meiko Kaji, based on a manga called Shurayukihime it tells the story of Yuki, a woman who seeks vengeance upon three people who raped her mother and killed her mother's husband and son.  The film is widely known to be the inspiration for Tarantino's Kill Bill movies.  

You lucky, lucky Lucky Cat readers have the chance to WIN 2 TICKETS to next Wednesday's screening in London (8.45pm, Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Sq)!  Thanks to the good people of Terracotta Film you can bask in blood splattered cinematic glory completely gratis!  

TO WIN all you need to do is email me: luckycatzoe@gmail.com and I will pick the winner at random when the competition closes at 7pm on Monday 22nd April.  Good luck!

The Terracotta Film Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever this year and I am super excited about it.  Not least because this year there will be a section dedicated to the films of Leslie Chueng and Anita Mui!  The festival will run for a magnificent 10 days across two venues: The Prince Charles and the ICA. 
I'll be bringing you more festival news soon but for now mark down 6th June on your calendars as that's when it all kicks off (insert martial arts film joke here).


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reggae 45s Mix Online

Well my vintage amp is finally mended and I can record from vinyl to mp3 again. First up I've recorded a mix of Reggae 45s for your listening pleasure. Some of these are Soul/RnB covers which I really love e.g. The Marvels version of The Ronettes' Be My Baby. Next up I think it's time for a Wong Kar Wai inspired mix....Watch this space....

Reggae Music Again! by Luckycatzoe on Mixcloud

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha - Bruce Lee had all the moves!

Check out the rare footage of Bruce Lee dancing the cha cha at this blog:


I knew Bruce was the cha cha champion of Hong Kong in 1958 but I'd not seen all these pics and the video before. Roast Pork Sliced from a Rusty Cleaver blog has some nice early photos of Bruce and some stills from the 2010 film Bruce Lee, My Brother. The still pictured here is from that film.

Another Bruce Lee biopic is in the pipeline: Birth of the Dragon. Find out more here .

On a side note earlier this year I visited the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A museum and saw Uma Thurman's yellow and black jumpsuit from Kill Bill on display. There was no reference to the fact that this was a homage to Bruce Lee's costume, disgraceful! Apart from that gripe the exhibition was wonderful btw.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Connies

Here are my first two attempts at watercolour paintings inspired by my 7" record covers. First Up Connie Chan from The Magic Cat soundtrack record.

Connie no. 2 now, Ms Francis, from a French MGM 7" of Lipstick On Your Collar

Ming Wong

Whilst browsing online for images from the Douglas Sirk movie Imitation of Life I happened across the work of Singaporean artist Ming Wong.
Ming's art is influenced by cinema and he plays with notions of ethnicity, gender and identity. His cinematic work is a little reminiscent of Isaac Julien.

See his In the Mood for Love project here: www.mingwong.org/index.php?/project/in-love-for-the-mood/

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Year of the Snake Mix

Happy New Year y'all.  Hope you had a lovely Spring Festival.  Here is my snake mix, which also contains some lunar new year and spring themed tracks.  Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

2013 Year of the SssssssSnake!

Chinese New Year is nearly here and it will be year of the slithery, sneaky snake!  Still shown is from Tsui Hark movie The Green Snake starring Joey Wang and Maggie Cheung.

Here are a few CNY events happening in London:

China Culture Connect: films @ the BFI:
She, A Chinese  Feb 9th
The Opium War  Feb 10th
Ping Pong Feb 11th (matinee, free for seniors)
For details see:

Family Play at the V&A The Boy Who Sat on the Dragon Throne
During February half-term, celebrate Chinese New year and find out about the boy emperor, Pu Yi and his giant throne.
As usual London Chinatown and Leicester Square will host celebrations, full schedule is here.

I will be uploading a Year of the Snake mix to my mixcloud channel soon.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Happy 2013! January DJ Gig with Chris Menist

Greetings kittens! Hope you had a lovely festive season. Happy 2013 to you all. This one is going to be slippery - it's the year of the sneaky snake starting in February.

I will be back at Mango Landin' on Friday 18th January alongside special guest selector Chris Menist.

Chris and I will be spinning vintage vinyl treats from all over the world for you. Chris has an amazing collection so I am really looking forward to hearing his crate digger's selection!

I recently purchased PB02 and PB03 45s on the Paradise Bangkok record label (little Xmas prezzie to myself!). A must for any collector of East Asian vinyl. Available at Soul Jazz or Boomkat.

Sadly there is a problem with my (admittedly ancient) amp so I cannot record vinyl at the mo'. Therefore no tasty New Year online mix for you, apologies. I hope you won't be too disappointed with an mp3 mix until I can get the amp fixed (or buy one of these)

So - got any new year resolutions? I am considering setting myself the task of watching all of the top 200 Lovehkfilm movies this year. What a great countdown, presume In the Mood For Love will be in the top 5.....

Hope to see some of you on the 18th @ Mango to chase away the January blues!