" Madam Miaow Says: May 2009

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Anna May Wong Must Die! rap video from the Roxy



Anna Chen performs Anna May Wong Must Die! rap at the Roxy Bar & Screen, London, 26th May 2009, from an extract of her show as part of an Anna May Wong themed evening which included a screening of Piccadilly.

Anna May Wong Must Die! is a multimedia personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend, a development of Anna Chen's recent programme for BBC Radio 4, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, broadcast 13th January 2009.

UPDATE: Well, that was loads of fun. The Roxy is an amazing little venue tucked away in south London, all velvet plush, mismatched chairs and extremely comfy leather sofas, reminiscent of old jazz clubs and torch singers. Everything worked. Not one lost sound file or missing image. The audience was perfect; warm and friendly and they laughed at all my gags. We all found Anna May Wong to be a fascinating subject. It's a mystery how she could have disappeared all these years.

Next job is to line up a string of gigs. Unfortunately, I've missed the big festivals this year but I'll be doing one-offs and 2010 looks promising.

Music and lyrics by Anna Chen

Thanks to Jasper Sharp, Michelle Thomas and Charles Shaar Murray.

Special thanks to the Anna May Wong Society for use of their images.

Harpy's been quick off the mark and has reviewed it here

Anna May Wong Must Die! rap video from the Roxy



Anna Chen performs Anna May Wong Must Die! rap at the Roxy Bar & Screen, London, 26th May 2009, from an extract of her show as part of an Anna May Wong themed evening which included a screening of Piccadilly.

Anna May Wong Must Die! is a multimedia personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend, a development of Anna Chen's recent programme for BBC Radio 4, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, broadcast 13th January 2009.

UPDATE: Well, that was loads of fun. The Roxy is an amazing little venue tucked away in south London, all velvet plush, mismatched chairs and extremely comfy leather sofas, reminiscent of old jazz clubs and torch singers. Everything worked. Not one lost sound file or missing image. The audience was perfect; warm and friendly and they laughed at all my gags. We all found Anna May Wong to be a fascinating subject. It's a mystery how she could have disappeared all these years.

Next job is to line up a string of gigs. Unfortunately, I've missed the big festivals this year but I'll be doing one-offs and 2010 looks promising.

Music and lyrics by Anna Chen

Thanks to Jasper Sharp, Michelle Thomas and Charles Shaar Murray.

Special thanks to the Anna May Wong Society for use of their images.

Harpy's been quick off the mark and has reviewed it here

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Anna May Wong Must Die at The Roxy on Tuesday


Glamour, sex, beauty, fame – Hollywood legend Anna May Wong had it all. She was the most famous Chinese woman in the world during the 1920s and 30s, and yet she struggled to get decent parts while white actors played the juiciest Chinese roles in “yellowface”.

No difference there, then.

Film critic Jasper Sharp, of the website Midnight Eye, introduces a screening of Piccadilly (1929), her best known British film, as part of an Anna May Wong themed night at the Roxy.

Writer and performer Anna Chen presents an extract from Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend and a multimedia illustrated reorientation of Anna May Wong. Extending her recent BBC Radio 4 profile of the actress, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, Anna reveals how Wong and the Chinese were depicted in films and what they were up against during Yellow Peril fever in this personal appreciation of the world’s first Chinese movie star.

Shanghai sounds from Resonance FM Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter

Drinks provided by the Akashi Sake Brewery.

Entry £4, cash on the door only.
There are table reservations for dinner however, so if anyone wants to reserve a table they can via bookings@roxybarandscreen.com or 020 7407 4057.

26 May 2009 at 19:00
The Roxy Bar & Screen
128-132 Borough High Street
London SE1 1LB,
United Kingdom

Thanks to the Anna May Wong Society for their brilliant work and allowing me to use their images.

Anna May Wong Must Die at The Roxy on Tuesday


Glamour, sex, beauty, fame – Hollywood legend Anna May Wong had it all. She was the most famous Chinese woman in the world during the 1920s and 30s, and yet she struggled to get decent parts while white actors played the juiciest Chinese roles in “yellowface”.

No difference there, then.

Film critic Jasper Sharp, of the website Midnight Eye, introduces a screening of Piccadilly (1929), her best known British film, as part of an Anna May Wong themed night at the Roxy.

Writer and performer Anna Chen presents an extract from Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend and a multimedia illustrated reorientation of Anna May Wong. Extending her recent BBC Radio 4 profile of the actress, Celestial Star of Piccadilly, Anna reveals how Wong and the Chinese were depicted in films and what they were up against during Yellow Peril fever in this personal appreciation of the world’s first Chinese movie star.

Shanghai sounds from Resonance FM Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter

Drinks provided by the Akashi Sake Brewery.

Entry £4, cash on the door only.
There are table reservations for dinner however, so if anyone wants to reserve a table they can via bookings@roxybarandscreen.com or 020 7407 4057.

26 May 2009 at 19:00
The Roxy Bar & Screen
128-132 Borough High Street
London SE1 1LB,
United Kingdom

Thanks to the Anna May Wong Society for their brilliant work and allowing me to use their images.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Yellowface back from the grave: the state of UK theatre - More Light


Wow! Yellowface is alive and thriving in deepest Dalston with More Light at the Arcola Theatre, written by Bryony Lavery and directed by Catrina Lear.

Imagine, if you will, a return to ye olden days of the almost complete absence of actors of colour from TV, when white entertainers blacked up and sang songs about their dear old mammy and grinning piccaninnies chowed down on watermelon. The Arcola (the c is hard, not soft, in case you wondered) gives us a sort of menstrual minstrel show for 21st century theatregoers getting to grips with sexual politics, while race issues pass right over someone's head.

Here we are, rendered invisible yet again in a story about, ha!, get this, the burial of Chinese women.

Set in the fabulous tomb of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who has just died, seven concubines have been sealed in to continue their duties in the afterlife, but contrive to survive in what's left of this one.

Foot-binding, beastly emperors who bury their womenfolk alive, and cannibalism are all delivered by a troupe of white gals in Japanese kimonos (presumably for added authenticity), yet not one single, solitary Asian actress is to be found in what looks like as anachronistic a piece of orientalism as you can find. What an all-white cast is doing yellowing up in multicultural E8 is beyond me. Not one black woman, no south Asian, no east Asian, no-one reflecting the mixed make-up of the area ... are the theatre producers and commentators completely out of touch with the rest of us? Or couldn't they find any ethnics who'd want to be in it?

Are minorities supposed to gaze in awe at white actors (mis)interpreting us and our history? Or aren't we expected to participate in British cultural life?

I guess now that the Chinese are set to be the new superpower and a juicy new market presents itself, we're going to be inundated by a tsunami of this sort of sensationalist titillation. Not for nothing did the Terracotta Warriors provide a whole new cultural seam to plunder.

The reviewers seem none the wiser.

The Guardian, which has masqueraded as enlightened and liberal for far too long, gives it four out of five stars and witters on about it being, "a meditation on different kinds of meat, a celebration of sisterhood and an examination of how art is valued in a dominant male culture."

Not to this sister, it ain't.

Times online's lurid review reads: "Lavery’s response to this macabre tale imagines the fate of seven concubines and stirs the politics of sex and art into a rich stew whose shiver-inducing main ingredient is human flesh — the meat on which the women survive, first with revulsion, then with greedy enjoyment. It’s both mouth-watering and repellent."

Ooh, I must go and see it, then.

The Times tries to adopt the lexicon of the oppressed but hilariously misses the big picture big time "... they are the victims of a highly refined form of objectification."

Oh really. Join the bleedin' club.

UPDATE: Sorry to spend any more time on this miserable throwback, but Time Out describes the actors as mincing around "on tippy toes like Barbie dolls", I assume, to approximate bound feet. Hmm. Shame that footbinding only existed between the 10th and 20th centuries, over a millennium away from the 210 BCE date of the First Emperor's death. But don't let this fact put off the producers and whatever fantasy they have about Chinese and the lazy way they are determined to portray us here. Oh, I bet they relished the idea of a show that incorporated exotic sex and death and cannibalism, a right load of barbarian Other for a bunch of nice white girls to play.

How much contempt must you have for a people in order to get this so very wrong?

I'm amazed the Arts Council funded this crap when they are supposed to be promoting diversity.

UPDATE 2: There's a bit of a ruckus going on at the Guardian over this.
What Wikipedia has to say about the phenomenon of Yellowface.

Thanks to Gladys Ong for the hat-tip.

Yellowface back from the grave: the state of UK theatre - More Light


Wow! Yellowface is alive and thriving in deepest Dalston with More Light at the Arcola Theatre, written by Bryony Lavery and directed by Catrina Lear.

Imagine, if you will, a return to ye olden days of the almost complete absence of actors of colour from TV, when white entertainers blacked up and sang songs about their dear old mammy and grinning piccaninnies chowed down on watermelon. The Arcola (the c is hard, not soft, in case you wondered) gives us a sort of menstrual minstrel show for 21st century theatregoers getting to grips with sexual politics, while race issues pass right over someone's head.

Here we are, rendered invisible yet again in a story about, ha!, get this, the burial of Chinese women.

Set in the fabulous tomb of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who has just died, seven concubines have been sealed in to continue their duties in the afterlife, but contrive to survive in what's left of this one.

Foot-binding, beastly emperors who bury their womenfolk alive, and cannibalism are all delivered by a troupe of white gals in Japanese kimonos (presumably for added authenticity), yet not one single, solitary Asian actress is to be found in what looks like as anachronistic a piece of orientalism as you can find. What an all-white cast is doing yellowing up in multicultural E8 is beyond me. Not one black woman, no south Asian, no east Asian, no-one reflecting the mixed make-up of the area ... are the theatre producers and commentators completely out of touch with the rest of us? Or couldn't they find any ethnics who'd want to be in it?

Are minorities supposed to gaze in awe at white actors (mis)interpreting us and our history? Or aren't we expected to participate in British cultural life?

I guess now that the Chinese are set to be the new superpower and a juicy new market presents itself, we're going to be inundated by a tsunami of this sort of sensationalist titillation. Not for nothing did the Terracotta Warriors provide a whole new cultural seam to plunder.

The reviewers seem none the wiser.

The Guardian, which has masqueraded as enlightened and liberal for far too long, gives it four out of five stars and witters on about it being, "a meditation on different kinds of meat, a celebration of sisterhood and an examination of how art is valued in a dominant male culture."

Not to this sister, it ain't.

Times online's lurid review reads: "Lavery’s response to this macabre tale imagines the fate of seven concubines and stirs the politics of sex and art into a rich stew whose shiver-inducing main ingredient is human flesh — the meat on which the women survive, first with revulsion, then with greedy enjoyment. It’s both mouth-watering and repellent."

Ooh, I must go and see it, then.

The Times tries to adopt the lexicon of the oppressed but hilariously misses the big picture big time "... they are the victims of a highly refined form of objectification."

Oh really. Join the bleedin' club.

UPDATE: Sorry to spend any more time on this miserable throwback, but Time Out describes the actors as mincing around "on tippy toes like Barbie dolls", I assume, to approximate bound feet. Hmm. Shame that footbinding only existed between the 10th and 20th centuries, over a millennium away from the 210 BCE date of the First Emperor's death. But don't let this fact put off the producers and whatever fantasy they have about Chinese and the lazy way they are determined to portray us here. Oh, I bet they relished the idea of a show that incorporated exotic sex and death and cannibalism, a right load of barbarian Other for a bunch of nice white girls to play.

How much contempt must you have for a people in order to get this so very wrong?

I'm amazed the Arts Council funded this crap when they are supposed to be promoting diversity.

UPDATE 2: There's a bit of a ruckus going on at the Guardian over this.
What Wikipedia has to say about the phenomenon of Yellowface.

Thanks to Gladys Ong for the hat-tip.

Pensioner sorts out suicide bid


This cheery video says so much about the human condition.

Police in Guangzhou spend hours trying to talk a suicidal man off a bridge before a pensioner breaks through and does what Plod fails to achieve. He even cuddles him. What happens next is a lesson to anyone dependent on the kindness of strangers. Inspired by the Harry Enfield/Paul Whitehouse school of compassion.

From East South West North via Blood and Treasure.

Pensioner sorts out suicide bid


This cheery video says so much about the human condition.

Police in Guangzhou spend hours trying to talk a suicidal man off a bridge before a pensioner breaks through and does what Plod fails to achieve. He even cuddles him. What happens next is a lesson to anyone dependent on the kindness of strangers. Inspired by the Harry Enfield/Paul Whitehouse school of compassion.

From East South West North via Blood and Treasure.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Apple tech hell: please standardise the kit, Steve Jobs!


I am currently in the Circle of Hell reserved for Powerpoint greenhorns trying to get presentations up and running for the first time.

With a performance of Anna May Wong Must Die! promised for next Tuesday, and with time running out, I discover that I am encountering every technical glitch it is possible to meet. It is as if some malign Screenwriter in the Sky has been on Robert McKee's Story course and is now chucking every obstacle at me he can think of in the hope that it will build my character/gimme a catharsis/make me a better person/teach me a Big Secret of Life, or somesuch. Actually, all it's doing is turning me homicidal but he knows that coz he's omniscient and omnipotent. Charlie Kaufman has taken over my universe and is having a right laugh.

I thought my problems at the St Ives preview were due purely to lack of cable connection from my Mac iBook to the projector. So I dutifully trot along to the Brent Cross Apple Store and ask for one.

Such a simple request. Who'd have known the horrors about to be unleashed ...

"Ooh no," says the handsome six-foot hunk in the orange T-shirt. "We can't do that. Too antiquated." But he kindly looks it up, writes down what I need for an iBook — a mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor — and tells me to find it on eBay or maybe purchase it from the Apple Store on the net if I'm lucky, coz they stock no such outmoded equipment up Hendon way. (My laptop is only a couple of weeks past its third birthday, btw.)

Next up, I show him the Apple remote that's been mouldering in a drawer and ask him if it's a remote for my iBook or the iPod. He confirms it's for the computer. So why isn't it working with my computer? Do I need a new battery? He flashes it at one of their machines which miraculously switches screen. He assures me it's working but that maybe if I get the battery changed at Timpson's up the other end of the Mall, it'll work on mine.

The man at Timpson's tests the battery. It's on full charge. Not surprising as it's never been used. So why, I whimper back at the Apple Store, won't it work with my flashy new Mac iBook Powerpoint 2008 programme (£80 online)? Maybe, opines The Hunk, it's not compatible with Powerpoint 2008, only with Apple's own Keynote application, part of the iWorks package. Desperate to look as slick as a beach once Exxon has got through with it, I buy iWorks at £85 for the family pack.

I return home and order the mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor (£17.50 including postage) for the iBook. Ain't no way I'm gonna get caught out again by tech gremlins

Next, I decide to kit up Loved One's MacBook which requires, I discover through much Googling, a VGA-to-DVI adaptor in order to work with an external projector. I order one toot sweet. Another £17.50 goes south.

Then, being a sensible sort of a gal, I book an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar. The heroic Marc (blue T-shirt) breaks the bad news that they had the mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor in store all along (£15). And I learn that the stray remote must belong to the MacBook, not my iBook.

So the Hunk in the orange T-shirt hadn't worked out it wasn't working because the iBook doesn't work with remote control?

And it's quite unlikely that I'll find the USB Infra Red Receiver I need to turn my laptop into the cool state of the art wizardry my beloved project deserves. Indeed, Apple sells no such thing. Neither does Amazon UK. For one giddy moment it looks like Amazon US has one for fifty bucks, but it's an illusion — they're out of stock, no doubt due to the technology being wreathed in cobwebs.

And so I leave another £15 lighter and no closer to operating my show from all corners of the stage like a Powerpoint Nijinsky. But Marc does replace the two missing rubber feet off the bottom of my laptop so it will no longer slip all over the glass coffee table, much as I'd envisaged me tripping lightly over the venue, clicking away, making magic happen on the screen above me.

Instead, I will be nailed to the spot, moving through the slides, music and films with as deft a press of the space-bar as I can muster. But it will look fab and I look forward to seeing some of my lovely readers at the Roxy Anna May Wong Must Die! extravaganza on Tuesday for theatre, film, food and Akashi Sake cocktails.

Facebook details here.

Apple tech hell: please standardise the kit, Steve Jobs!


I am currently in the Circle of Hell reserved for Powerpoint greenhorns trying to get presentations up and running for the first time.

With a performance of Anna May Wong Must Die! promised for next Tuesday, and with time running out, I discover that I am encountering every technical glitch it is possible to meet. It is as if some malign Screenwriter in the Sky has been on Robert McKee's Story course and is now chucking every obstacle at me he can think of in the hope that it will build my character/gimme a catharsis/make me a better person/teach me a Big Secret of Life, or somesuch. Actually, all it's doing is turning me homicidal but he knows that coz he's omniscient and omnipotent. Charlie Kaufman has taken over my universe and is having a right laugh.

I thought my problems at the St Ives preview were due purely to lack of cable connection from my Mac iBook to the projector. So I dutifully trot along to the Brent Cross Apple Store and ask for one.

Such a simple request. Who'd have known the horrors about to be unleashed ...

"Ooh no," says the handsome six-foot hunk in the orange T-shirt. "We can't do that. Too antiquated." But he kindly looks it up, writes down what I need for an iBook — a mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor — and tells me to find it on eBay or maybe purchase it from the Apple Store on the net if I'm lucky, coz they stock no such outmoded equipment up Hendon way. (My laptop is only a couple of weeks past its third birthday, btw.)

Next up, I show him the Apple remote that's been mouldering in a drawer and ask him if it's a remote for my iBook or the iPod. He confirms it's for the computer. So why isn't it working with my computer? Do I need a new battery? He flashes it at one of their machines which miraculously switches screen. He assures me it's working but that maybe if I get the battery changed at Timpson's up the other end of the Mall, it'll work on mine.

The man at Timpson's tests the battery. It's on full charge. Not surprising as it's never been used. So why, I whimper back at the Apple Store, won't it work with my flashy new Mac iBook Powerpoint 2008 programme (£80 online)? Maybe, opines The Hunk, it's not compatible with Powerpoint 2008, only with Apple's own Keynote application, part of the iWorks package. Desperate to look as slick as a beach once Exxon has got through with it, I buy iWorks at £85 for the family pack.

I return home and order the mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor (£17.50 including postage) for the iBook. Ain't no way I'm gonna get caught out again by tech gremlins

Next, I decide to kit up Loved One's MacBook which requires, I discover through much Googling, a VGA-to-DVI adaptor in order to work with an external projector. I order one toot sweet. Another £17.50 goes south.

Then, being a sensible sort of a gal, I book an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar. The heroic Marc (blue T-shirt) breaks the bad news that they had the mini-VGA-to-VGA adaptor in store all along (£15). And I learn that the stray remote must belong to the MacBook, not my iBook.

So the Hunk in the orange T-shirt hadn't worked out it wasn't working because the iBook doesn't work with remote control?

And it's quite unlikely that I'll find the USB Infra Red Receiver I need to turn my laptop into the cool state of the art wizardry my beloved project deserves. Indeed, Apple sells no such thing. Neither does Amazon UK. For one giddy moment it looks like Amazon US has one for fifty bucks, but it's an illusion — they're out of stock, no doubt due to the technology being wreathed in cobwebs.

And so I leave another £15 lighter and no closer to operating my show from all corners of the stage like a Powerpoint Nijinsky. But Marc does replace the two missing rubber feet off the bottom of my laptop so it will no longer slip all over the glass coffee table, much as I'd envisaged me tripping lightly over the venue, clicking away, making magic happen on the screen above me.

Instead, I will be nailed to the spot, moving through the slides, music and films with as deft a press of the space-bar as I can muster. But it will look fab and I look forward to seeing some of my lovely readers at the Roxy Anna May Wong Must Die! extravaganza on Tuesday for theatre, film, food and Akashi Sake cocktails.

Facebook details here.

Monday, 18 May 2009

China builds world's first sex theme park


WTF??? Loveland Park in Chongqing, China, will be the world's first sex theme park. When did that happen?

Prolefeed and objectification is alive and well in the People's Republic. My poor late father must be spinning.

UPDATE: Thanks to Oliver for the news that it's been cancelled.

China builds world's first sex theme park


WTF??? Loveland Park in Chongqing, China, will be the world's first sex theme park. When did that happen?

Prolefeed and objectification is alive and well in the People's Republic. My poor late father must be spinning.

UPDATE: Thanks to Oliver for the news that it's been cancelled.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

It was only a wafer-thin mint: politicians pig out on public funds


It's all very well excoriating our politicians for having their snouts in the trough, but this is to ignore the elephant in the room that is former Prime Minister Tony Blair who is swanning around (elephantly and porcinely, if I am not to mash my animal metaphors) picking up millions on the lecture circuit off the back of his illegal war in Iraq.

Not only this, but Blair is collecting megabucks from JP Morgan, the bank that made more than any other in its capacity as central banking body co-ordinating the looting of Iraq, as well as being paid seven-figure sums by Israel and Kuwait.


And now we learn from Private Eye (1236, 15 May 2009) that Alan Milburn (above) is yet another former minister receiving payment from companies who profited from legislation they pushed through. Reporting on the failing New Labour independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs), it transpires that the man who once ran the "Haze of Dope" bookshop now collects £30,000 a year from" the private equity firm Bridgepoint that owns the ISTCs through Alliance Medical." And yet:

"The £5bn ISTC programme was pushed through by the Department of Health's commercial directorate, set up in 2003 by the then health secretary Alan Milburn ..."


The government hands over our public funds to the banks, protects the rich while bringing in draconian penalties for the weak, frail and poor, and cheats the public purse. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary who has pursued the poor with a demented vigour, should have the full weight of his own laws thrown at him for claiming expenses on a flat partly owned by his girlfriend. He made over £10K. How's that for benefit scrounging?

The current revelations are only symptomatic of a greater moral, ethical, philosophical, and even spiritual breakdown in our political system in a world where the notion of public service has gone to the porkers and brute power is the objective.

It was only a wafer-thin mint: politicians pig out on public funds


It's all very well excoriating our politicians for having their snouts in the trough, but this is to ignore the elephant in the room that is former Prime Minister Tony Blair who is swanning around (elephantly and porcinely, if I am not to mash my animal metaphors) picking up millions on the lecture circuit off the back of his illegal war in Iraq.

Not only this, but Blair is collecting megabucks from JP Morgan, the bank that made more than any other in its capacity as central banking body co-ordinating the looting of Iraq, as well as being paid seven-figure sums by Israel and Kuwait.


And now we learn from Private Eye (1236, 15 May 2009) that Alan Milburn (above) is yet another former minister receiving payment from companies who profited from legislation they pushed through. Reporting on the failing New Labour independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs), it transpires that the man who once ran the "Haze of Dope" bookshop now collects £30,000 a year from" the private equity firm Bridgepoint that owns the ISTCs through Alliance Medical." And yet:

"The £5bn ISTC programme was pushed through by the Department of Health's commercial directorate, set up in 2003 by the then health secretary Alan Milburn ..."


The government hands over our public funds to the banks, protects the rich while bringing in draconian penalties for the weak, frail and poor, and cheats the public purse. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary who has pursued the poor with a demented vigour, should have the full weight of his own laws thrown at him for claiming expenses on a flat partly owned by his girlfriend. He made over £10K. How's that for benefit scrounging?

The current revelations are only symptomatic of a greater moral, ethical, philosophical, and even spiritual breakdown in our political system in a world where the notion of public service has gone to the porkers and brute power is the objective.

Monday, 11 May 2009

St Ives Literary Festival party photos

Porthmeor Beach at sunset

Here're a few pix from Saturday's end-of-festival party at Bob Devereux's Salthouse Gallery after a great week in horrible weather.

Dorcas celebrates her first wages from the bistro

Anna and Dorcas

Phil, Bob, Paul Healy, Keir, Bob's publisher friend, Martyn Barker, Rod Bullimore

St Ives Literary Festival party photos

Porthmeor Beach at sunset

Here're a few pix from Saturday's end-of-festival party at Bob Devereux's Salthouse Gallery after a great week in horrible weather.

Dorcas celebrates her first wages from the bistro

Anna and Dorcas

Phil, Bob, Paul Healy, Keir, Bob's publisher friend, Martyn Barker, Rod Bullimore

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Anna Chen previews Anna May Wong Must Die!



I finally got to preview my multimedia presentation, Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of Anna May Wong, at the Salthouse Gallery on Friday 8th May 2009 as part of the St Ives Literary Festival.

Developing my radio programme, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January, this hour-long educational show gives me the chance to expand on my social criticism and include material which had to be left out due to time constraints.

It had poetry, music, sex and technical glitches galore. There was no cable to link up my Mac to the projector or the big speakers, so Alban saved the day by transferring the entire file onto his PC and I controlled it from there. Dramatic sounds, transitions and fonts were lost, and I was plunged into a crepuscular gloom in the absence of lighting, but it was a laid-back affair and a great time was had by all.

Next outing is an extract at the Roxy Bar & Screen in South London, Tuesday 26th May, introduced by film historian Jasper Sharp. This is a themed night with a screening of Piccadilly (1929) which Anna May Wong made in Britain, re-released by BFI in 2005 with a new musical score to mark the centenary of her birth. Shanghai sounds from Resonance FM Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter.

Radio show, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Mukti Jain Campion for Culture Wise


UPDATE: Anna May Wong Must Die! pages now live

Anna Chen previews Anna May Wong Must Die!



I finally got to preview my multimedia presentation, Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of Anna May Wong, at the Salthouse Gallery on Friday 8th May 2009 as part of the St Ives Literary Festival.

Developing my radio programme, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January, this hour-long educational show gives me the chance to expand on my social criticism and include material which had to be left out due to time constraints.

It had poetry, music, sex and technical glitches galore. There was no cable to link up my Mac to the projector or the big speakers, so Alban saved the day by transferring the entire file onto his PC and I controlled it from there. Dramatic sounds, transitions and fonts were lost, and I was plunged into a crepuscular gloom in the absence of lighting, but it was a laid-back affair and a great time was had by all.

Next outing is an extract at the Roxy Bar & Screen in South London, Tuesday 26th May, introduced by film historian Jasper Sharp. This is a themed night with a screening of Piccadilly (1929) which Anna May Wong made in Britain, re-released by BFI in 2005 with a new musical score to mark the centenary of her birth. Shanghai sounds from Resonance FM Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter.

Radio show, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Mukti Jain Campion for Culture Wise


UPDATE: Anna May Wong Must Die! pages now live

Saturday, 9 May 2009

How To Write A Blues Song: St Ives Literary Festival



What happens when a white man sings the blues? Here's the first of my videos of the St Ives Literary Festival that ends tonight (Saturday).

Rod Bullimore performs How To Write A Blues Song, accompanied by Charles Shaar Murray and Buffalo Bill Smith at the St Ives Arts Club on Thursday.

More about the St Ives Festivals including videos here

How To Write A Blues Song: St Ives Literary Festival



What happens when a white man sings the blues? Here's the first of my videos of the St Ives Literary Festival that ends tonight (Saturday).

Rod Bullimore performs How To Write A Blues Song, accompanied by Charles Shaar Murray and Buffalo Bill Smith at the St Ives Arts Club on Thursday.

More about the St Ives Festivals including videos here

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Anna May Wong Must Die! premieres Friday, St Ives


Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend, has its debut performance at The Salthouse Gallery, St Ives in Cornwall this Friday 8th May at 7pm. £6

I've composed music for it, poetry, everything except fireworks and fully-catered Chinese dinners.

Anna May Wong Must Die! premieres Friday, St Ives


Anna May Wong Must Die!, a personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend, has its debut performance at The Salthouse Gallery, St Ives in Cornwall this Friday 8th May at 7pm. £6

I've composed music for it, poetry, everything except fireworks and fully-catered Chinese dinners.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Happy Birthday To Me, I Live By The Sea ...

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!


Hardy har! Just got this ecard from Babeuf to celebrate my birthday. (Mother tried to time my birth for International Labour Day — don't ask!)

Happy Birthday To Me, I Live By The Sea ...

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Hardy har! Just got this ecard from Babeuf to celebrate my birthday. (Mother tried to time my birth for International Labour Day — don't ask!)

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