Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Pop Stop

By Max Woodworth and Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A-mei showed how big her heart is at a charity event last night.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

The Gungliao Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival last weekend should give Taiwan's music industry big-wigs a shot in the arm with the sight of well over 100,000 (some say up to 200,000) people crowding the beach at Fulung over three days to listen to some of Taiwan's up-and-coming bands.

Taiwan's girl folk-pop singer Jasmine (假死貓小便) took the Taiwan Indie Music Award and the NT$200,000 check that came with it. If anything, the festival showed that Taiwan's sometimes brooding and whiny underground music scene ("nobody loves us, aren't we cool?") is beginning to get some major recognition as it melds with the mainstream.

At this year's event, Golden Melody Award winner A-Di-a (阿弟仔) boosted his street cred among the local rocking crowd with an expletive-filled show aired on live TV that inspired extravagant bursts of swear words by rapper Dog-G, punk rockers LTK and Chang Chen-yue (張震嶽).

Cursing from A-yue (阿嶽) is par for the course, despite his cuddly Mando-pop persona, but lately he's had a few gripes that seem legitimate and that could justify his foul language. He was on-line last week mouthing off against Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) comment that Taiwan's Aborigines should emigrate to Central America. A-yue, who is of Amei tribe origin and who once told Pop Stop that he has no special love for Han Chinese who call themselves native Taiwanese, had one nasty expletive for Lu and in China Times Weekly (時報週刊) was shown giving the sign-language translation of the term.

More constructively, diva A-mei (阿妹) last night hosted a charity concert at Taipei's nightclub Stage in Warner Village. Tickets ran at NT$1,000, the proceeds of which were to go to victims of the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Mindulle, which hit earlier this month.

In film news, Singapore's The Strait Times reported this week that the city state's government banned the release of the Taiwanese movie Formula 17 (17歲的天空), presumably for inappropriate content. The movie is based on a gay love story and features only one mildly steamy bed scene. But that was enough for Singapore's famously straight-laced authorities to pull the plug on the flick. Formula 17 was the highest-grossing domestic Taiwanese movie of the past six years.

Prominent director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) looks to be changing his role from art-house filmmaker to politician. On Sunday, at the establishment of the Taiwan Democratic School (TDS, 台灣民主學校), he announced that he was not only one of the founders of the political group, but will also take the lead as the "principal" of the school, which aims to foster good politicians to "prevent Taiwan's democracy from sinking." Hou is also likely to run for a legislative seat at the end of the year. Maybe it's not such a bad idea, but we can't help wondering if he can't even get his own films off the ground, how's he going to survive in politics? Last month he canceled a press conference at the last minute for his long-awaited film The Best of Times (最好的時光) and has rejected interviews and hasn't made a statement about the shooting of the movie, which the original press conference was intended to announce.

Finally, House of Flying Daggers (十面埋伏) grossed less than expected in the first weekend, taking NT$18 million, much less than Hero (英雄), director Zhang Yi-mou's (張藝謀) first martial-arts movie, which took NT$25 million in its first weekend last year. In Hong Kong and China, the movie grossed NT$30 million and NT$65 million, respectively. And China, the movie brought in less than half of Troy's first-week take.

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