Taipei’s oldest rock club, Underworld, closed its rusty metal gate for the last time last Sunday just after midnight to avoid steep government fines. Several hundred people lingered outside in the nearby park for hours longer as part-owner Ho Tung-hung (何東洪) thanked the staff, DJs and others who had helped keep the club running for 16 years. Ho, a professor at Fujen Catholic University, has now expanded the club’s fight towards the creation of a bulletproof legal status for live houses in all of Taiwan. In press conferences and editorials, Ho and other supporters have made repeated calls for Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) to orchestrate a legal solution. So far, she has responded only through short press releases, expressing vague sympathies but promising no action. So Underworld supporters continue to organize, hold meetings and make creative Facebook posts. There are currently no plans to relocate or re-open.
Meanwhile, a protest concert is brewing in Taitung over a different controversy. The Fudafudak Concert — named after an expletive in the Amis language — will pit a group of Taiwan’s best singers, aboriginal rights activists and environmentalists against the local government and a hideous hotel construction scheme. Alas, it seems Live Wire is becoming a column about musicians against corrupt property developers. Well, here are the details.
Fudafudak will be held on Shanyuan Beach (杉原沙灘) next Saturday, July 28, though all are invited to come camp on the beach from July 21 to 29. In addition to being on one of the area’s prettiest, yellow-sand beaches, the event also draws from Taiwan’s most concentrated pool of aboriginal musicians, several of whom are famous recording artists who live in the area. The female singer Ilid Kaolo (以莉．高露), who used to perform under the name Hsiao Mei (小美), was awarded the Best New Singer in the most recent Golden Melody Awards. And just to be clear, her award was not for Best Aboriginal Singer (though she won that too), it was for best new singer, period. She’ll join a lineup of aboriginal-folk all-stars that includes Panai (巴奈), Kimbo Hu (胡德夫), Takanow (達卡鬧) and Long Ge (龍哥) as well as some very fun Taipei bands like Relax One (輕鬆玩) and the polymath, multicultural rap group Kao Chou Ching (拷秋勤). There will be about 20 acts in all. This will also be an extremely unique chance to see aboriginal musicians playing outdoors, in front of a sizable home crowd and on ground that they consider sacred. Last year’s first Fudafudak drew around 1,000 people, according to the organizer’s estimates. Given the huge aboriginal population in the area, this concert could achieve ritual-type dimensions. And no one would be surprised if singing broke out among the setup crew every night of the week. Best of all, it’s completely free, though donations are requested. It’s a very good cause.
Photo courtesy of Huang Fu-kwei
The concert’s goal is to keep the beach free and open to the public. That means ridding it of a sputtering construction project that has blocked the beach entrance since 2005. The construction of the Miramar Resort Village (美麗灣渡假村) was first approved by local authorities in 2004, and within two years, developers managed to build a five-storey, 250-meter-long hotel complex before ever bothering to apply for an environmental impact assessment. Activists consider the construction to be illegal and say it should be torn down. Aboriginal groups claim the beach to be sacred ground. Their actions have stalled the project, and the High Court has ordered construction to stop on several occasions, most recently in January. In June, however, the Taitung County Government gave developers a new permit to continue building, saying the problems were only “procedural.” Taiwan proper only has about a dozen beaches that are good for tourism. It has already built nuclear power plants on two of them (Fulong and Nanwan), and ten years ago it essentially sold a gorgeous beach inside a national park (Dawan in Kenting) to a sorry excuse for a luxury hotel owned by a steel company (The Chateau). Every person in Taiwan with a shred of conscience is against this Miramar Resort. When will the government figure this crap out?
Shanyuan Beach is located about 6km north of Taitung City on the coastal highway. For concert information, search “Taidong Protest Concert” on Facebook or check: www.gigguide.tw/event-5543.
The Blues Society on Taiwan will host its first ever Blues Cruise next Saturday, and the event features dinner, bands and drinks on a Mississippi-style riverboat on the Tamsui River .
Photo: Chen Hui-ling, Taipei Times
Now, if you get really drunk and try to say “booze cruise,” it may very well come out as “blues cruise.” As in, “I drank fishteen martinis on the blooze cruise, and boy was it aweshome.” We’re pretty sure this is exactly how they intended it, and it’s probably how they came up with the name too.
The performers are the Muddy Basin Ramblers, BoPoMoFo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ), Blues Vibrations, Shun Kikuta, Mike Mudd, Nick Brown and B.B. Cooky. The four-hour excursion includes a Cajun dinner by Capone’s head chef, W. Hunter DiLeo, and one drink. Tickets were $1,500, but the event is already sold out, begging the question, why are we teasing you with it? Sorry, we’ll try to let you know earlier next time, as this sounds like fun. They even want to people to dress like James T. West, Artemis Gordon and the various femme fatales of The Wild Wild West.
BSoT Blues Cruise, Saturday, July 28 from 5-9pm, at Guandu Wharf (關渡碼頭). Reservations: (02) 2858-5966, or through Capone’s or the Tavern.
Last week the Transitional Justice Commission proposed taking down the statue of Chang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in central Taipei. It depicted the move as part of a plan for excising markers of authoritarianism from the park. The most important task, the commission said, would be removing the hall’s “axis of worship,” the 6.3m-tall bronze statue of Chiang. Let us hope that if and when that obscenity is finally removed from the memorial, it is placed in the famed Cihu Memorial Sculpture Garden in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪), where it can be properly mocked for all eternity. CHIANG,
The pandemic seems to be far from over, but the Post Pandemic Renaissance Theater (PPRT) is getting a head start by putting on its first event last Friday: the first round of the Taiwan Monologue Slam. Ten contestants delivered passionate and nuanced pieces on stage, and the audience voted with their phones for two winners who will advance to the local finals in November. There will be four finals in the next year, and each winner is automatically entered into the World Monologue Games regional finals, bypassing the preliminaries. The goal is to eventually get a Taiwan team to next summer’s games,
In an industrial unit on the outskirts of Taipei chefs are plating meals that will never be served in a restaurant: welcome to the world of “ghost kitchens.” Even before the pandemic sent an earthquake through the global restaurant trade, the “Amazonification” of commercial kitchens was well underway, but coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions have fueled explosive growth in Asia. The recent boom in food delivery apps meant customers were already used to having restaurant quality meals quickly delivered to their homes. To meet that demand a growing number of restaurants set up delivery only kitchens — also known as “cloud kitchens”
Worried his appearance would detract from opportunities in China’s competitive society, Xia Shurong decided to go under the surgeon’s knife to reshape his nose — one of millions of young men in the country turning to cosmetic surgery. The 27-year-old researcher wanted medical procedures to transform his look from “engineering geek” to something he thinks will boost his life chances. Beauty standards in China can be exacting, from pressure over skin tone, eye and nose shape to the controversial “little fresh meat” look — a buzzword used to describe handsome young men with delicate features. “I feel I should be ‘fresh meat’