Among the female Mando-pop stars, there's a fairly clear division between the girls and the women, and it's not simply an issue of age.
\nIn the girl camp, Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) epitomizes the lasting appeal of the girl next door, with the barely concealed, budding sexuality that she flaunted at a concert last weekend in Taipei.
\nMeanwhile, on the women's side, Faye Wong (王菲) reigns supreme for her grace and captivating unattainability, a type of regal aloofness nurtured over 15 years as a vaguely mysterious superstar whose audiences with the public are carefully staggered and always preceded by much fanfare and excitement. Her concert tomorrow at Taipei's Municipal Stadium is no exception.
\nAs of press time, the only tickets remaining are for the "rock and roll" section of the stadium, which is the standing area on the field starting from about 50m from the stage. These are going for NT$1,500 a piece, but before anyone chokes on their tea, those are the medium-priced tickets. All the prime tickets in the NT$3,000 to NT$2,500 range were sold out weeks ago, along with the NT$800 and NT$1,000 tickets. The sales so far ensure a crowd of about 40,000.
\nWong generates such massive following by being, first and foremost, one of the most gifted singers in Mando-pop, a talent handed down, she says, by her mother who was a revolutionary opera singer in China. It no doubt also helped that she inherited a 175cm frame and a model's good looks.
\nHer first album was her self-titled debut when she performed under the name Shirley Wong, released in 1989, less than two years after migrating from her native Beijing to Hong Kong's greener pastures. Since then, she's transformed herself multiple times, first ditching her original stage name in favor of her current one after taking a break in the US between 1991 and 1992, and later taking the path of most Hong Kong pop stars to experiment with movie roles, notably in Wang Kar Wai's (王家衛) Chunking Express (重慶森林) and most recently 2046.
\nWong also had a brief fascination for the ethereal music of the Cocteau Twins in the mid-1990s, which manifested itself in three covers of the Scottish band's songs on Wondering Music (胡思亂想, 1994) and collaborations with the band on Impatience (浮躁, 1996), and Faye Wong (快樂不快樂, 1997). The collaborations seemed tailor-made, as Wong shares the same distant-sounding, high-pitched siren voice of the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser, and the gauzy aesthetic of the Twins' album covers even made its way onto Wong's album cover art.
\nThe overwhelming Cocteau Twins influence began to wane, though, with the release of Sing and Play (唱游, 1998) and Only Love Strangers (只愛陌生人, 1999), when Wong set off in a more blatantly pop direction. She still retained some of the edge that continued her flirtation with anti-pop status, but the sound became more accessible, and, dare one say it, KTV-friendly. Her most recent album, To Love (將愛, 2003), is a mosh of her two recent artistic tendencies: saccharine pop and daring avant-garde.
\nBy juggling these two styles, Wong's status has only risen over the years. So much so that, even without releasing any new material, she can drop into town and pack a stadium, as she's sure to do tomorrow.
\nWhat: No Faye, No Live
\nWhen: Tomorrow, 7pm
\nWhere: Taipei Municipal Stadium, 46 Bade Rd, Sec 1, Taipei (
PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVER FISH
PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVER FISH
This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), which opened on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 29, is focused on music. Under the theme “Joy of Music,” a nod to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the program features performances by seven symphony orchestras as well as several Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) student and faculty shows, in addition to the annual film and animation festivals. However, there is still room for other performing arts, and two productions this weekend and next at the university in the hills of Taipei’s Guandu area (關渡) feature students from the
The prognosis for biodiversity on Earth is grim. According to a sobering report released by the UN last year, 1 million land and marine species across the globe are threatened with extinction — more than at any other period in human history. According to a recent study, about 20 percent of the countries in the world risk ecosystem collapse due to the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, a result of human activity in tandem with a warming climate. The US is the ninth most at risk. Despite this desperate outlook, the Trump administration, as part of its aggressive rollback of regulations designed
A disconsolate mother dressed in white wanders through Mexico City’s floating gardens looking for her children killed by COVID-19, in a pandemic-era adaptation of a legend rooted in Aztec mythology. The traditional play La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) returns to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xochimilco ahead of the Day of the Dead with a poignant tribute to the victims of COVID-19. The ghost with flowing black hair, who according to legend reappears every year searching for her downed children, has spread throughout Latin America. “It’s dedicated to the memory of all the people who left without saying goodbye to their loved