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Talk of the Town


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Talk of the Town


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What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

What’s On

September 12, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 
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The Killers Live in Hong Kong

What? The Killers, who embarked on a sonic spree with their debut album in 2004, were last spotted in Hong Kong in 2013 – when they killed it. The US rockers return to play tunes from their latest album Wonderful Wonderful as well as earlier hits like Somebody Told Me, When You Were Young, Human, and the more recent The Man and Run for Cover. The band have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and notched up multiple Brit Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and more. With five acclaimed albums under their belts, the Nevada-formed combo are now one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

Where? Arena, AsiaWorld-Expo, Lantau

When?  September 19

(hkticketing.com)


 
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Hong Kong Cool

What? Organised by the Hong Kong Ballet, this series of premieres is based on the simple idea of creating seven dance shows by seven Hong Kong-based choreographers, each paired with a local creative talent working in a different medium. Produced in partnership with the West Kowloon Cultural District and the Hong Kong Arts Centre, the shows promise a deep delve into Hong Kong creativity – dance makers teamed with painters, sculptors, video artists, fashion designers, composers and more – to craft something unique through the fusion of artistic visions.

Where? Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

When? September 13–16

(hkballet.com)


 
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Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Parade

What? Those who haven’t explored Hong Kong’s traditional offerings are missing out on a vital part of the city’s cultural spectrum. One of the highlights of Mid-Autumn Festival, Tai Hang’s pyrotechnic parades ignited in the 19th century when the villagers began performing a dragon dance to ward off a run of bad luck that featured a typhoon, a plague and even a hungry python. Even in the radically different Hong Kong of today, with the Tai Hang area now serving as a suburban adjunct to Causeway Bay, this traditional parade has a proud place on China’s national list of intangible cultural heritage. As befits the full moon, you can get a little crazy and join the parade for the up-close thrill of experiencing the 67-metre fire dragon (whose head alone weighs 48 kilogrammes) stalking through the evocative streets, flanked by more than 300 performers, drummers and a whole lot of incense sticks and firecrackers.

Where? Tai Hang, Causeway Bay

When? September 23–25

(taihangfiredragon.hk)


 
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Fine Art Asia

What? This international fair showcases a broad range of fine art: Asian and Western antiques; jewellery; antique silver and timepieces; impressionist, modern and contemporary art; design; and photography. The antiques section includes rare Buddhist and Hindu paintings, sculptures and ritual objects from China, India and the Himalayas; Chinese porcelain and ink paintings; Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Islamic arts; and rare European antiques such as fine chess sets and Louis Vuitton luggage. In the art section will be fine European and British impressionist and modern paintings; post-war modern British and contemporary art; and modern and contemporary Japanese art. In addition, Ink Asia, the world’s first fair dedicated to ink art, will be staged alongside Fine Art Asia.

Where? Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

When? September 29–October 2

(fineartasia.com)

Images: © Hong Kong Ballet, dancer: Lauma Berga, creative: Design Army, photography: Dean Alexander (Hong Kong Cool); Leisure and Cultural Services Department (Tai Hang); Instagram: @fineartasia (Fine Art Asia)

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Wet Works


It’s pool party time at the W Hong Kong. Cool off, chill out and close the summer in style

Wet Works


It’s pool party time at the W Hong Kong. Cool off, chill out and close the summer in style

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Wet Works

August 29, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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The W Hong Kong – part of the luxury hotel chain owned by Marriott International that’s geared toward a younger, hipper crowd – marks its tenth anniversary this year, and has been hosting a series of events and collaborations to celebrate. The hotel invites you to head to the W for “the Summer Crush heat with X”. But what is X, you might ask? If you speak W-ese, you’d know that X is the symbolic nomenclature the hotel has applied to its “summer activations”. Anyway, now that that’s clear, you need to know that this is your last chance to quite literally “soak in the X vibe”. To do this, get thee to the last 2018 X Summer Crush Pool Party at the trendy hotel’s outdoor rooftop pool, WET, where there’ll be champagne and cocktails to get you in the mood for some of the city’s best DJs and live performances. They’ll heat things up to ensure the poolside dancing gets as frothy as a 1960s movie. Meanwhile, luminous projections and a fun augmented-reality photo booth add a space-age flavour. This year, there’s also the option of a pre-dinner poolside barbecue so you can fuel up pre-party. It’s nearly the end of summer, so why not splash out and live it up? 

What:W Hong Kong X Summer Crush Pool Party

Where: WET Pool, W Hong Kong Hotel, Austin Road West (at Kowloon Station)

When: September 1

(w-hongkong.com/summer-crush)

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What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

What’s On

August 29, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 
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Puccini’s La Bohème 

What? Presented by the Metropolitan Opera in a live transmission from New York as part of the Met Opera: Live in HD 2017–18 season, one of the world’s most popular tales returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production. Angel Blue, Anita Hartig and Sonya Yoncheva share the role of the fragile Mimì; Dmytro Popov, Russell Thomas and Michael Fabiano alternate as the poet Rodolfo; and Alexander Soddy and Marco Armiliato share conducting duties. The four-act opera was composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henri Murger, and had its world premiere in Turin in 1896. Since then, La Bohème has become one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. 

Where? Béthanie Theatre, HKAPA Béthanie Campus, Pok Fu Lam

When? September 1

(themetinhongkong.info)


 
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Beyond the Barricade

What? Returning to Hong Kong, this two-hour musical-theatre extravaganza has delighted audiences in the UK, Europe and Australia for 16 years. Presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, purveyors of fine musicals including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, it features hit songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Wicked, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Chicago, Hamilton, Mamma Mia and many others, climaxing with a finale spun from Les Misérables. Musical-theatre stars of London’s West End including Andy Reiss, David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Poppy Tierney will be belting out the showstoppers; they’re joined by an ensemble of talented musicians in creating an authentic live experience that captures the passions and orchestrations of the original shows.

Where? Drama Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai

When? September 4–9

(beyondthebarricade.com.hk


 
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Macao International Fireworks Display Contest

What? Just a ferry ride away, the Las Vegas of Asia hosts a series of mesmerising fireworks displays, with the world’s best pyrotechnic crews battling it out in a competition that encompasses stunning lights and sounds; two teams participate under a different theme each evening. Over its 29 years, more than 100 teams (representing Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and more) have participated in this world-class shoot-out. It’s a great time of year to visit, as the spectacular displays in the night sky can be enjoyed from numerous vantage points on the peninsula and Taipa.

Where? Macau Tower Shorefront

When? September 1, 8, 15, 24 and October 1

(fireworks.macaotourism.gov.mo)

Images: ©2018 MGTO (Macao International Fireworks Display Contest); ©2018 BEYOND THE BARRICADE; ©2018 The Metropolitan Opera (Puccini’s La Bohème)

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What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

What’s On

August 15, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 
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The Eyes of Orson Welles 

What? By his mid-20s, Orson Welles was renowned as a film director (for the groundbreaking Citizen Kane), a radio pioneer, a visionary stage director and a world-class Shakespearean actor. One of his earliest hobbies was painting and drawing, which he continued avidly throughout his rollercoaster life. This documentary by film historian Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey) explores Welles as a visual artist through interviews with those who knew him, including his daughter Beatrice, and his artworks – many of them never before seen. His directing career was frequently stalled by money troubles and a reputation for being difficult so art was an important creative outlet. True to the man, the range is impressive. Using charcoal, pencil or paint, Welles created set designs and storyboards, expressionist sketches, caricatures, and self-portraits revealing the turmoil beneath the suave exterior. Explore the colossal imagination of a thespian titan.  

Where? Cinemas worldwide; iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and other digital platforms (in September)

When? From August 17

(theeyesoforsonwelles.com)


 
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Alice (in Wonderland)

What? The HK Ballet transforms Lewis Carroll’s classic tale into a beguiling production of prancing phantasmagoria. With an original score composed and conducted by Matthew Pierce, the show features flamboyant costumes, audacious sets, hypnotic lighting and even puppets. Brimming with surreal fantasy, the show is aimed at a wide audience. Ballet aficionados will appreciate the traditional-meets-contemporary choreography of Septime Webre, who debuted at HK Ballet last year with Don Quixote and devised Alice in 2012 for the Washington Ballet. The cast includes ballerinas Chen Zhiyao as Alice and Jin Yao as the Queen of Hearts, both alumni of the Beijing Dance Academy.

Where? Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

When? August 17–19

(hkballet.com)


 
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Bastille

What? British band Bastille, who have developed a special relationship with Hong Kong since they first visited in 2012 for the Clockenflap festival, return for a solo show. They took off at home in 2013 with hit album Bad Blood, the UK’s best-selling digital album that year, then nabbed the Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act in 2014, and celebrated with a return to Hong Kong for a sold-out show in 2015. Bastille’s success continued with 2016’s Wild World. They play indie-pop peppered with anthems to keep the crowds happy; expect hits such as Pompeii and Things We Lost in the Fire, plus the odd Green Day cover.

Where? Star Hall, Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (KITEC), 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay

When? August 22

(hkticketing.com)

Images: Dancer: Li Jiabo as the Mad Hatter, Creative: Design Army, Photography: Dean Alexander (Alice (in Wonderland))

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A Message to You


Get ready for some proper Jamaican riddims at the annual Hong Kong International Reggae Ska Festival

A Message to You


Get ready for some proper Jamaican riddims at the annual Hong Kong International Reggae Ska Festival

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

A Message to You

August 15, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 

Jamaica’s popular music has been charming the world since the late 1950s and today rivals that of many other countries in its global reach. Our often-frantic city, it’s a relief to note, is also highly susceptible to the myriad stress-relieving qualities of Jamaican tunes. 

The annual Hong Kong International Reggae Ska Festival, aka Endless Summer, makes a welcome return on August 25 at PMQ. The day-long extravaganza features a host of bands and “selectors” – DJs, but way cooler. From the catchy, upbeat sounds of ska to the soulful grooves of its more chilled brother reggae, it’s joyful, happy music – and thus the best kind to base a festival around. 

Topping the 18-strong bill of bands are The Skatalites, a heritage group with top talent and great energy. While none of the mid-’60s founders are around anymore, you can rest assured that the current line-up will keep the ska grooves fresh and bouncy. And Jamaican-born Neville Staple, who music fans will remember from British two-tone group The Specials (especially for his bewigged character Judge Roughneck), will also be meting out some reggae justice. 

Japan makes a strong showing at the festival, too, from the high-energy horn-drenched Beat Bahnhof to the all-female ska outfit Oreskaband and the female-fronted Bagdad Cafe The Trench Town. Korea is almost as prodigious in the genre, and festivalgoers can catch NST & The Soul Sauce as well as a band that’s sure to be a highlight, the nine-piece Kingston Rudieska, who bring a tropical blend of old-school ska, calypso and mento. From Taiwan, there’s the cheekily named covers band Skaraoke, while acts from all over China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore round out the line-up.

Aside from the bands, a couple of sound systems will keep the monster tunes coming courtesy of selectors such as The Groove Thief and Dub Fugitives. It’s set to be a great day of music, positive vibes and heavy, heavy bass – could this summer be endless, please?  

Where: PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central

When: 5.30pm–11pm, August 25

(hkirsf.com)

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What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

What’s On

August 1, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 
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Mike Shinoda: Post Traumatic Tour 

What? The tragic suicide of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington last July inevitably cast a shadow over the subsequent work of the singer’s bandmates. Mike Shinoda, the driving force of the Californian rap-rock combo, deals with his grief head-on in personal songs on his recent solo album Post Traumatic and in this, his first solo performance in Hong Kong. The album and tour are the fruits of a bout of writing, recording and painting that Shinoda embarked on after Bennington’s death. The music departs from Linkin Park’s signature sound into electronica and lo-fi dirges. Allaying the sombre mood, Shinoda’s lyrics also address healing as well as grief. The Japanese-American guitarist, songwriter, keyboardist, producer and vocalist sees the tour as a cathartic return to the natural rhythms of his life.

Where? Star Hall, Kowloonbay International Trade
& Exhibition Centre (KITEC), 1 Trademart Drive,
Kowloon Bay

When? August 7

(hkticketing.com)


 
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Mulan

What? After the Chinese emperor orders every family to offer up at least one conscript following an invasion by the Hun, a young Chinese woman decides to disguise herself as a man to take the place of her ageing father in the army. Thus begins the epic journey of Mulan. This state-of-the-art show by the Shanghai Puppet Theatre merges shadow puppetry and screen animation to create a thrilling and eerie spectacle. The drama runs the gamut from heart-stopping battle scenes to subtle characterisation, with tender scenes between Mulan, her family and her animal cohorts that are guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. The immersive production, which won the Best Ensemble Acting Award at the 18th International Puppet Festival in Serbia, employs multimedia and ink-wash animation on a giant backdrop; the effect is like watching a big-screen epic created in real time. 

Where? Auditorium, North District Town Hall, 2 Lung Wan Street, Sheung Shui

When? August 12

(hkiac.gov.hk)


 
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Sounds Great! Classical Music in Movies

What? Quentin Tarantino says matching a movie scene with the perfect piece of music is “the most cinematic thing” a director does, and filmmakers often turn to classical music instead of commissioning an original score. This concert by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta explores the classics in movies. The show opens with Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, from the 1968 sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film’s director, Stanley Kubrick, was the chief innovator of this grab-and-go scoring method and others followed suit. Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries was a blast in Apocalypse Now (1979), and is also featured in this show. It’s time for some musical movie magic.

Where? Concert Hall, City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central

When? August 3–5

(hksl.org)

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Domestic Duties


Time-strapped in Hong Kong? A new service is available so that you can come home to cleanliness and peace

Domestic Duties


Time-strapped in Hong Kong? A new service is available so that you can come home to cleanliness and peace

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Domestic Duties

August 1, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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You’re working flat out, forever rushing to meetings, fighting through crowds, strap-hanging and longing to get home so you can put your feet up. There’s only one problem – well, okay, a few: Your flat looks like a bomb hit it, you’re out of groceries and even worse, you’ve got nothing to wear tomorrow. Business travellers can at least count on a clean and kitted-out room at the end of a hectic workday. For the harried Hong Kong professional unable to accommodate a live-in domestic helper, however, there’s no such luck.

Until now, that is. Start-up company Butler invites you to “come home happy” thanks to its bespoke household-related services. The company’s offerings span cleaning, organising, laundry, shopping, cooking and more. It’ll sort out your repairs, take care of your pets, send flowers for you and even pack your suitcase – pretty much any domestic task you can think of is covered. 

Most of this is done while you’re out, and communication happens through Butler’s app or any other means you prefer. Butler helpers are trained professionals, legally employed with background checks, contracts signed and insurance covered. The founders are a trio of smart Hong Kong entrepreneurs who grew up together, went out into the professional workforce and encountered the problem of not having enough hours in the day to do their household chores – two, on average – so they seem to have all the angles covered. Now your apartment can feel like a suite at the Four Seasons. (butlerasia.info

Images: Provided to China Daily by Butler

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What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

What’s On


Whether it’s music, art, stage, screen, restaurant and bar deals, or the great outdoors – there’s always something interesting going on in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

What’s On

July 18, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 
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Lan Kwai Fong Beer & Music Fest 

What? This institution mixes beer and live music for a two-day bacchanal. Promising more than 70 booths filled with games, food and of course drink – more than 200 brews from around the world, apparently – there’s sure to be dancing in the cobbled streets as the drink and the music flow. The Lan Kwai Fong Amphitheatre and a host of bars will feature lively indie, electro and blues shows, and there’s sure to be one or two impromptu performances from those who’ve had a few too many drinks. 

Where? Lan Kwai Fong, Central
When? July 21–22

(lankwaifong.com)


 
  © 2018 ANI-COM

© 2018 ANI-COM

 

Ani-Com & Games

What? Back for the 20th time, the Ani-Com & Games fair is our city’s rendition of Comic-Con in San Diego. It features a host of video and arcade games to try out, especially of the sit-down-and-race variety, along with the chance to win gaming hardware. Mingle with the cute cosplayers as you check out model spacecraft and action figures (some life-sized), or try to win some stuffed toys at the old-fashioned funfair stalls. And of course there’s plenty of comics and anime at the shops, which are largely stocked with manga from Japan and China; there’s even a creative section for musicians and artists to hawk their wares. 

Where? Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
When? July 27–31

(ani-com.hk)


 
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Bob Dylan & His Band

What? From his beginnings as a counterculture legend in the 1960s to his rise as a globetrotting musician, Bob Dylan has sold more than 125 million records – along with his soul, he once alarmingly confessed. He returns to Hong Kong after seven years for what promises to be a memorable one-off show. Dylan has been enjoying a renaissance over the past decade, with sell-out shows and critically acclaimed albums such as 2009’s Together Through Life, his first to debut at number one in both the US and the UK. He also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Gone are the days when he might shamble on stage, turn his back to the audience and play an obscure set at breakneck speed; these days, Dylan is the consummate showman, blending original tunes with folk and American standards, delivered in a voice that’s richer and deeper than the days of yore.

Where? Hall 5BC, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
When? August 4

(hkticketing.com)

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Hong Kong Happenings #4


Hong Kong Happenings #4


Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Hong Kong Happenings #4

July 4, 2018 / by Úna Belle

 
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Floating Français

Last week, I went rogue and ditched dinner in Central for something magnifique at Le Bon Gout – or to those in the know, Alexandra’s Floating Kitchen, as this French family food experience all takes place on a private boat in the Aberdeen Marina. We chowed on slow-cooked lamb shank and a scrumptious oozing chocolate cake, all served outdoors on deck. The wines are great, too, and made for a fun journey back avec sampan – sacré bleu! Book well in advance for this floating foodie fun. 


 
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A Good Cause

Causeway Bay regularly gives me a headache and hell must be IKEA on a Sunday, but things are looking up for this chock-a-block shopping mecca. Reel yourself into Pololi’s flagship that’s now open in the revamped Fashion Walk, serving its premium poké – to avoid social humiliation, pronounce it “po-kay”, okay? – and May Chow and her Little Bao band will open a new concept in September. It’s also no secret that Victoria and her pantaloons are on their way before summer is out and Charlotte Tilbury’s world domination continues with a new opening at Lane Crawford in Times Square later in the year. 


 
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Fresh Cuts

Finding a good salon in Hong Kong isn’t cut and dried, so here are my favourite places to tame the mane. In a pretty shophouse on Wellington Street, Love Hair does just what it says by using only natural products. The team are the biz, the salon is environmentally conscious and it has a great repertoire of UK magazines – all-round win! Nelson Wong’s Allure on School Street is adorned with vintage mirrors, beautiful trinkets, books and a grand piano. Stay long enough and the wine comes out, and before you know it, you’ll be belting out Les Mis in your salon gown with some of the regulars. Get involved in these two and I can guarantee no more stresses with the tresses!


 
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Tasty Tuesdays

For those who enjoyed the Taste festival – and for those that ran a mile at the thought of eating gourmet grub off a paper plate, you know who you are! – there’s a new option from these culinary cool folk. Classy tableware aside, the Taste guys come from good stock and are foodie fantastic when it comes to chef collaborations, so get ready to be served every second Tuesday of the month. First to plate up is chef Agustin Balbi of Haku in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is worth a try any day of the week. On July 10, this Hong Kong hotspot will serve up a summer menu of six dishes with some cocktails to boot. I promise that this new food experience in the city will have us all scrambling for a ticket.

Design: China Daily; Images: Facebook: @frenchcookingwinetasting; @allurehairhk; Instagram: @pololihk; @hakuhongkong

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Hong Kong Happenings #3


Hong Kong Happenings #3


Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Hong Kong Happenings #3

June 20, 2018 / by Úna Belle

 
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House Proud

The local whispers about Soho House – the worldwide members’ club for eating, drinking, House Proud relaxing and just being totes cool in general – have been rife for years now. Believe the hype; the ultimate private posse is indeed hightailing it to Hong Kong next year. Eagle eyes and club connoisseurs can spot a location around Sai Ying Pun that just may be home to the acclaimed house. It’ll be one of the biggest openings of 2019 – and I’m dying to know when I can move in!


 
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Leatherback Lounging

The new Tai Kwun spot is the talk of the town, but there’s a hidden gem just outside its gates. Tucked away on Chancery Lane is the quaint Lok Man Rare Books. I simply love burrowing into a book (careful, now!) that hasn’t been opened since 1902 – think one-of-a-kind Beatrix Potter so delicate that The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle has a specially made box and a first-edition Hemingway that will set you back at least one month’s rent. All of these treasures are enveloped in the most beautiful library, perfect for sliding into a leatherback chair and leafing through a masterpiece. 


 
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Irish Eyes are Flying

If you haven’t guessed from my nom de plume, I’m originally from the Emerald Isle, and though it hasn’t been home for many years, Ireland is a great spot that can offer more than just Guinness and craic! Thanks to Cathay Pacific’s new direct flights this month, some chic Dublin spots are now easier to check out. Sophie’s in The Dean hotel has 360-degree terrace views, The Marker does a great brunch and House is a hotspot for summer garden drinks right in the heart of the Fair City – with nary a leprechaun or tacky green hat in sight.


 
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Bastille Day with a Bang

Party brunches are one of my ultimate ways to while away a weekend… I’m still recovering from Uma Nota’s Carnaval do Rio party – those caprioskas! Next up for me is La Vache’s Le Disco Brunch, a very special Bastille Day boomer in the Tsim Sha Tsui restaurant. Not for the faint-hearted, these brunches are wild and have free-flow of all things great: steak, fries, and lots of red wine and other tipples. Try the La Guillotine, which is La Vache’s take on the Bloody Mary. Hold onto your berets – dancing on chairs and tables is advised. Bonne chance!

Design: China Daily; Images: ©Soho House (White City House roof); Lok Man Rare Books; Facebook: @lavachehk

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Hong Kong Happenings #2


Hong Kong Happenings #2


Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Hong Kong Happenings #2

June 6, 2018 / by Úna Belle

 
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App Happy 

I love Coravin. It’s a stressful Monday evening’s best friend: a bottle opener that allows me to pour a glass (or two) without popping the cork. Now the company is set to launch an app that goes along with a new gadget: the Model 11. The app will allow you to pair and remember experiences with your favourite wines – a shiraz with a Stranger Things Netflix binge, perhaps? Until the launch later this year, try out the rose gold or piano black Coravin models for some stylish sipping.


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Watch This Space

Are you well over Daniel Wellington? Have no clue about Cluse? If you’re in a timepiece predicament, check out Swedish brand Triwa. Founded by four dapper gents who aim to take the focus on tradition and the stuffiness out of wearing a watch, these Scandinavian designs are affordable and really cool. Pre-order is now available on a new ethical watch called Humanium Metal, made from decommissioned firearms. There’s a store in Diamond Hill and a new pop-up at Mira Place in Tsim Sha Tsui. Tick-tock – don’t let time run out before the pop-up packs up in October. 


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Beach Babes

Ain’t no party like a beachside party. But if, like me, you feel empty inside now that Pui O’s Mavericks is closed and don’t know where to polish off your Pimm’s, you still have options, my friends. Cheung Sha gem Bathers serves up surf and sunsets, and Shek O beachside dining spot Cococabana is breezy on a hot day for rosé, quaffing with the best of them. And for those heading to Deep Water Bay, the view from Coconuts is sensational over Thai food and cocktails. Of course, I still harbour hopes that dear old Mav’s will rise again… like a majestic phoenix on a surfboard!


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Patisserie Pleasures

Blink and you might miss this teeny addition to Tai Hang. Plumcot is small, like the fruit it’s named for, but size doesn’t matter with these guys. Think fresh lemonade while you wait and straight-from-the-oven almond croissants – both have me hooked. There are also some great gluten-free, made-to-order macaron offerings. And speaking of that, a special shout-out to Komune in Wong Chuk Hang’s Ovolo. This hidden-treasure rooftop restaurant looks out over a beautiful green backdrop, and serves tasty gluten-free options and to-die-for iced lemon tea.

Design: China Daily; Images: © 2012 Toptables (Cococabana); © 2018 Coravin, Inc; Instagram: @komunehk; Triwa AB; www.plumcot.co

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Play Time


Acclaimed artist Florentijn Hofman brings his inimitable brand of fun to Hong Kong

Play Time


Acclaimed artist Florentijn Hofman brings his inimitable brand of fun to Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Play Time

June 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Image above: The giant 25-metre Moon Rabbit reclines in the sun

The Hong Kong outlet of Whitestone Gallery at H Queen’s (80 Queen’s Road Central) presents Play Around the World, a gallery exhibition of globally renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. Best known for his large-scale urban installations including Rubber Duck and Hippopothames, this is Hofman’s first solo presentation in an Asian gallery space. The artist debuts a new series of works inspired by Line (his line drawings series) and rescaled ceramic sculptures from his much-loved public installations. Bringing international projects such as Rubber Duck and Fat Monkey into a gallery space is the key idea; Hofman specifically chose to use ceramic for the small-scale sculptures because it evokes the clean and pure shapes of the original works with a sophisticated sheen. The exhibition runs until July 1. (whitestone-gallery.com) 

  The famed Rubber Duck floats into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

The famed Rubber Duck floats into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

Images: ©Studio Florentijn Hofman

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Hong Kong Happenings #1


Think you know your Black Sheep from your Blue Butcher, and your Charlotte Tilbury from your Charlotte Olympia? If you don’t, fret not! In this new column, I aim to keep you up to speed with what’s popular, hot and set to be trending – all curated into digestible and tantalising tasters

Hong Kong Happenings #1


Think you know your Black Sheep from your Blue Butcher, and your Charlotte Tilbury from your Charlotte Olympia? If you don’t, fret not! In this new column, I aim to keep you up to speed with what’s popular, hot and set to be trending – all curated into digestible and tantalising tasters

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Hong Kong Happenings #1

May 23, 2018 / by Úna Belle

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Pour Me More 

If you’re on the lookout for a proper pour that’s personable, then take a seat at the Aqua Spirit bar – but only after you’ve answered some probing questions first. These clever cocktail folk have created a digital experience that unlocks a cocktail to match your personality in a completely new take on the off-menu trend. (I did the online test and my tipple is the Realist – but of course!) Visit Aqua’s Facebook page to discover what cocktail character perfectly suits you.


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Coffee Table at the Ready

Taschen is set to launch its first store in Asia, helping us all to up our coffee table game. These publishers take cool very seriously, with effortlessly stylish books covering topics from Degas to dachshunds – and they don’t skip the other 25 letters of the alphabet, either. I’ve heard whispers that they’re set to open in what will be the new culture hub: the restored Central Police Station. As well as restaurants and stores, this space will also have a main art gallery and a series of art-related showstoppers alongside an auditorium for outdoor performances. It’s opening at the end of May and will definitely be the new haven for the city’s trendy set.


Know Your Neighbourhood

Sometimes we get too caught up in all the flash-in-the-pan openings, but what about those dining hotspots that do end up with staying power? With its Middle Eastern street food, Francis in Wan Chai has been causing quite a stir – namely because it’s tricky to get a table. Why not drink some Lebanese wine on the steps while you wait? It’s worth it. In the Tai Hang hood is the Sydney flair of Elementary (dear Watson). The dishes are small and tasty; I say order the Elementary Fried Cauliflower – it’s EFC-ing good! And if you haven’t been to Alvy’s in K-Town, then where have you been? This firm fave cooks up NYC hipster vibes alongside some of the best pizzas in town. 


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Pop-Up Party

Word on the street is that Carnaval do Rio is coming to Soho. The Brazilian-cool crowd at Uma Nota have drummed up the great idea of hosting a musical street party and foodie market once a month. Think live batucada beats – what’s that, you ask? It’s samba, but cooler, natch – street-food tasters, and guests playing Brazilian drums between courses and cocktails. Maravilhoso!

Design: China Daily; Images: Facebook: @aquahk; Facebook: @taikwuncontemporary; Instagram: @francishongkong; Flickr: Nicolas de Camaret/Creative Commons (Carnaval 2014 - Rio de Janeiro)

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Different Strokes


Why so serious? Putt your way around a round of “crazy golf”

Different Strokes


Why so serious? Putt your way around a round of “crazy golf”

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Different Strokes

April 6, 2018 / by Jon Braun

With loop-the-loops, intricate tunnels and ball jumps galore, let’s face it – this isn’t your grandfather’s beautiful game. Boasting 9,000 square feet, Strokes opened in Causeway Bay earlier this year. With “crazy golf” for your amusement, as well as a bar and restaurant, it brings a welcome concept to a stressed-out city that’s strapped for space. 

Also called minigolf or putt-putt, the game of crazy golf is entirely putting-based, with each hole focused on an amusing obstacle – think tunnels, bridges, windmills and more. At Strokes, you can unwind with the fun nine-hole challenge on your choice of two courses. Palm Springs and Coachella Valley offer the quintessential American throwback experience, complete with gaudy 1980s-style pastels and pink flamingos. 

On the food menu, retro-American cuisine with a “healthy” twist reigns supreme – low-carb, high-protein dishes including salad bowls, teriyaki ribs, cauliflower beef burgers (in which the vegetable replaces the bun) and fish tacos – while on the bar side, intricate cocktails such as the gin-based “The Gentleman Waiting for the Lady” take pride of place alongside craft beer from local brewery Moonzen.

Bookings for private parties and corporate functions are also available. With this much fun on the agenda, Strokes will have you shouting “More!” 


Where? G2-3, 1/F, Fashion Walk, 9 Kingston Street, Causeway Bay
Hours: 11.30am-1am (Mon-Thu), 11.30am-3am (Fri-Sat), 11.30am-11pm (Sun)
(strokeshk.com)

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I’ll Fly Away


The majestic fantasy of flight is revealed through the act of birdwatching – and Hong Kong is a hotbed of activity for more than 500 winged species. All you need is your eyes

I’ll Fly Away


The majestic fantasy of flight is revealed through the act of birdwatching – and Hong Kong is a hotbed of activity for more than 500 winged species. All you need is your eyes

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

I’ll Fly Away

March 2, 2018 / by Jon Braun

Image above: Fork-tailed sunbird

  Common koel

Common koel

Though you might guess otherwise, that raucous call of “come to the Peak, ha-ha!” isn’t one you’d hear coming out of the mouth of an unscrupulous tour guide – it emanates from the beak of the Chinese francolin. Want to know what to look for? Get into the Hong Kong birdwatching scene.

Initial interest in the hobby began during the Victorian era, though most “birdwatchers” of the day shot and collected the specimens, particularly for their eggs and feathers. But with a rising call for bird protection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, combined with an advance in optic technology, people began watching and cataloguing birds. Today, the hobby holds a particular appeal to those who appreciate the beauty of nature – the payoff comes in that endorphin rush upon discovering a new species you haven’t seen before, as you contemplate the vastness of our planet and the cycles of life. 

One of the greatest things about birdwatching in Hong Kong is that it’s generally a year-round activity, though the hot and humid summer months from June to August are a bit quieter. Sightings are classified into a few broad categories: resident birds (which stay here for their entire lives), occasional visitors, and migrating birds and passage migrants – for which Hong Kong is a frequent stopover site, particularly as we’re midway along the East-Asian Australasian Flyway route. They’re also subcategorised into wetland and woodland types.

Among the city’s primary birdwatching sites are Mai Po (near Yuen Long), Tai Po Kau, Long Valley (in Sheung Shui) and Po Toi Island, as well as Hong Kong Park and Kowloon Park. The Mai Po nature reserve is particularly popular, as it hosts 50,000-plus waterfowl annually, comprising some 300 species including globally endangered ones such as the black-faced spoonbill, the spoon-billed sandpiper and Nordmann’s greenshank. 

Though there are no known endemic species to Hong Kong, we get an astounding number of birds due to migration patterns. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department: “Hong Kong has more than 530 bird species, representing one-third of the total species recorded in the whole of China. This diversity is mainly attributable to our geographical location… blessed with a subtropical monsoon climate, which nurtures a host of natural habitats like wetlands, woodlands, shrublands and coastal areas.” 

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  White-bellied sea eagle

White-bellied sea eagle

At the annual Bird Watching Festival (which ends April 9) at the Hong Kong Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai, there are guided tours for even the most novice of birdwatchers. Another organisation to check out is the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS), which focuses on conservation efforts, arranges group outings and has active discussion forums on its website. 

But you can also get started in your own neighbourhood. There are plenty of birds in urban areas – such as crested bulbuls, tree sparrows, black kites and spotted doves – and it’s a great way to learn how to identify them in the wild. 

Many birdwatchers keep a “life list”, which is a diary of all the species they’ve seen in their lifetime, including details of the date and location. (And you bet there’s an app for that – hundreds, in fact!) And you really don’t need much to enjoy birdwatching beyond a pair of eyes. The basic equipment to enhance your experience includes optics (binoculars or a scope) and identification material (a field guide or an app). If you want to document your rare sightings, you’ll need a solid DSLR camera with a telephoto lens – your smartphone simply won’t have the zoom power to do it justice. 

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A few tips: Wear subdued clothing and avoid colourful garments. Walk lightly, use your ears and keep your distance. Never disturb natural habitats or nests, and certainly don’t try to capture birds or pick up their eggs. Overall, relax and enjoy the great outdoors – and we hope you’ll be able to add to your own “life list” every time you head outside.

Images: John & Jemi Holmes/HKBWS (Fork-tailed sunbird); Pippen Ho/HKBWS (Common koel); Felix Ng/HKBWS (White-bellied sea eagle)

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Creative Drive


The Great Festival of Innovation brings the best of Britain to Hong Kong

Creative Drive


The Great Festival of Innovation brings the best of Britain to Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Creative Drive

March 2, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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World-leading innovators from the UK and Asia will take part in the Great Festival of Innovation from March 21 to 24 in Hong Kong. The festival is a platform that aims to connect the cutting-edge businesses and brilliant thinkers who will drive trade partnerships of the future, while highlighting the UK’s position as a global centre for innovation. Great is the British government’s most ambitious global promotional campaign to date, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth – and it’s already secured confirmed economic returns of £3.1 billion for the UK. 

To be held at the Asia Society’s Hong Kong centre, the festival will showcase more than 100 speakers across 60 sessions, panel discussions and interactive workshops that explore how innovation and technology is set to change the way we work, live, play and learn. 

Leading the discussions will be an impressive array of some of the world’s brightest minds, business pioneers, innovators and policymakers. Among the esteemed speakers are Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of London; Paul Priestman, chairman of PriestmanGoode, the company that has been commissioned by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to design the system’s passenger-bearing capsules, which will hover in a reduced-pressure tube, thereby facilitating speeds that approach the supersonic; Richard Deverell, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London; Tea Uglow, creative director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney; and Eiji Uda, the chief technology and innovation officer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

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The agenda is as bold as the luminaries attending the festival. Topics include sustainable energy, cybersecurity, fintech, workplaces of the future, artificial intelligence, autonomous transport, smart cities, sustainable farming and alternative energy sources. Paul Thompson, vice-chancellor of the Royal College of Art; Elaine Ng, artist and founder of Hong Kong’s The Fabrick Lab; Jack Oclee-Brown, head of acoustics at KEF Audio; and Shinya Kukita, chief engineer of NEC’s global business unit, are all set to partake in the discussions. 

Speakers will also reimagine how we play, discussing how innovation, technology and creative thinking will alter the future of fashion, luxury, art and sport in a climate in which the consumers are becoming the curators. Among those leading the talks are Chester King, founder and CEO of the British eSports Association; Tom Aikens, the renowned chef; Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A Museum; and Duncan Pescod, the West Kowloon Cultural District’s director. 

The festival concludes on the fourth day with insights into the future of education and learning. Through talks and hands-on events led by educators and students alike, audience members will see how various sectors are engaging with learning institutions to link higher education, research and business in helping to create tomorrow. André Fu, the architect, designer and founder of André Fu Living, will be among the speakers. Fu was commissioned by The Berkeley hotel in London to design its fourth-floor Opus Suite, which at 3,250sqft is the largest of its kind in the capital. Fu believes that the synergies between the two cities are strong. “It’s very bold of London to invite a Hong Kong designer such as myself to incorporate my design thinking into such a British structure,” he explains. “It says a lot about our creative synergies.”

Liam Fox, the UK’s international trade secretary, says the festival showcases the country as a prime location for investment opportunities, while Paul McComb, director general of the UK’s department for international trade in Hong Kong, adds: “Taking place at a historic moment for UK and Asian economies, the event highlights that the UK is open for business and committed to Asian trade partners. The festival will serve as a platform for creating lifelong partnerships, strengthening relationships between British and Asian business leaders and investors that will drive a future of free trade and prosperity.” 

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Smooth Smoke


The Egyptians call it shisha, the Turkish and Lebanese say nargile and in India and Pakistan it’s hookah – whatever your pleasure, this time-honoured waterpipe tradition has become a global phenomenon. Here are three places to try it in Hong Kong

Smooth Smoke


The Egyptians call it shisha, the Turkish and Lebanese say nargile and in India and Pakistan it’s hookah – whatever your pleasure, this time-honoured waterpipe tradition has become a global phenomenon. Here are three places to try it in Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Smooth Smoke

December 1, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 

Sumac

This Lebanese lounge also has excellent nargile, which is an important part of culture in the restaurant’s country of origin. A quiet, cosy venue in the bustling Central district, Sumac has custom-made hookah pipes designed and crafted in an authentic, exotic style.

9 Glenealy, Central
(sumac.com.hk)

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Boba Bear

Originating from Los Angeles’ Koreatown, where Boba Bear got its start in 2010, the Hong Kong outlet was the brand’s first international venture. Boba means bubble tea; the bar uses California-imported coconut charcoal, served in three different styles of pipes. A creative variety of 40 flavours is available, including red gummy bear, strawberry margarita and spiced chai. 

30/F, 38 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay
(bobabear.com)

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Lilya

With a classy, mystical ambience in this Moroccan restaurant, shisha can be a truly indulgent experience. Fruit-based flavours such as apple, grape and blueberry are available; cappuccino is also a signature. Order directly from the waiter if you don’t see it on the menu.

2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central
(fb.com/Lilya.Moroccan)

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Electric Power to the People


Faster, furiouser and gaining global traction through cutting-edge technology, Formula E charges into Hong Kong for the launch of the motorsport’s fourth season 

Electric Power to the People


Faster, furiouser and gaining global traction through cutting-edge technology, Formula E charges into Hong Kong for the launch of the motorsport’s fourth season 

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Electric Power to the People

October 27, 2017 / by Ben Berg

It’s back and bigger than ever – the ground-breaking FIA Formula E Hong Kong E-Prix returns to the city, heralding the launch of the fourth season of the global Formula E Championship with a double-header race weekend on December 2 and 3. Hong Kong holds the distinction of hosting the only Formula E race event held in Asia this 2017/18 season.

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Much of Hong Kong welcomed the high-voltage spectacle with open arms last year. The inaugural E-Prix in 2016 sold out, with more than 20,000 fans in attendance. With expanded e-villages and three grandstands this year, total capacity for this year’s race is expected to exceed 41,000 over the weekend. “With a confirmed double-header and an immersive entertainment experience in the e-villages, this year’s super-charged Hong Kong E-Prix will electrify the city’s sports and entertainment scene,” says Alan Fang, the CEO of Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong. 

Ali Russell, the chief marketing officer of Formula E Holdings, thinks Hong Kong’s contribution to electric racing has been supercharged. “Hong Kong has been imperative to the company’s growth and awareness across the world over the past 12 months,” he says. “The inaugural HKT 2016 Hong Kong E-Prix opened the world’s eyes to the electric street-racing series and the support we have received in Asia has made it a key market for us.” 

The Central Harbourfront, located on Lung Wo Road and at Tamar Park, brings visitors closer to the heart of the urban action than most other spots. “There is no better location to open the fourth season than with the 20 all-electric Formula E cars racing in the heart of Hong Kong, around the Victoria Harbourfront against this stunning backdrop,” says Russell. 

Formula E is the world’s first fully electric racing series. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a framework for research and development into the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. The first season began in Beijing in September 2014 and completed in London in June 2015, racing in 10 major cities (across 11 races) around the world. 

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The championship sees nine teams, each with two drivers, going head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans. Season two got underway in Beijing with the series becoming an “open championship”, allowing approved manufacturers to develop new power-train solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further, driving manufacturers to focus on improving battery technology. 

Formula E is a young sport. Unlike its high-octane, internal-combustion F1 counterpart, electric car races can take place in cities much less disruptively. The engines don’t make as much noise (and thus not ruining life for miles around) and the street circuits can be laid out and taken down with comparative efficiency. The tracks tend to be small, winding circuits to favour the performance and strength of electric cars, which operate well in relatively confined spaces. Formula E even secured an historic event this year in New York City, a place where, due to their noise, Formula One and NASCAR races wouldn’t be given the time of day. 

Just as the technology keeps changing along with the Formula E drivers, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile continues to appraise cities that suit electric cars best, so Santiago, São Paulo and Rome have also been included in the fourth season. TAG Heuer is a founding partner of Formula E, continuing to serve as the official timekeeper of the event and as its official watch. 

China has shown rising interest in the E-Prix series, with two teams on the Formula E circuit: NextEV NIO and Techeetah, which include drivers Oliver Turvey and Jean-Éric Vergne, respectively; the latter driver won the third season’s final race in Montreal. This year, Shanghai-born driver Ma Qinghua is racing for Techeetah. Ma was a test driver in Formula 1 and also drove for Caterham at the Macau Grand Prix, but his greatest international success came in 2014. Driving for Citroën that year, he won race two of the World Touring Car Championship in Russia, making him the first-ever Chinese driver to win an FIA World Championship event.

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The Formula E field features four previous winners of the Macau Grand Prix. Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist, who holds the Formula E Hong Kong lap record from last year, won back-to-back at the Macau Grand Prix in 2014 and 2015; British driver Alex Lynn, who races for DS Virgin, won in 2013; Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa of MS Amlin-Andretti won in 2012; and Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi won in 2005. 

Alejandro Agag, the big boss of Formula E, believes the sport has been gaining respectability fast despite booking a financial loss in the previous season.“I think Formula E has become the preferred destination for manufacturers and there are a few reasons for that,” he told Reuters in July. “Obviously, one is that it is electric and manufacturers are more and more focusing on electric cars… and we are the only platform really to help them promote that technology and those types of cars. And second, because of the cost. The cost of the team in Formula E is very moderate.” Compare Formula One, where teams can spend US$300 million per year, to successful Formula E teams that spend between US$10–US$15 million. 

It’s growing in popularity among the major marques, too – Panasonic Jaguar only entered the competition last season, Audi announced last year that it was leaving the World Endurance Championship to shift resources to Formula E, BMW committed to the 2018/19 season in a partnership with Andretti Autosport and Mercedes-Benz announced in July that it would be leaving the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to get into Formula E for the 2019/20 season.

These are heady times for Formula E racing and the future starts in earnest with the fourth season in Hong Kong. Gentlemen, charge your batteries… 

HONG KONG TRACK GUIDE

Number of turns 10

Track length 1.86km

2016 winner Sébastien Buemi

Qualifying record 1:03.099 (Nelson Piquet Jr)

Lap record 1:02.947


(Felix Rosenqvist)

Images: FIA; Formula E Hong Kong

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Music to My Ears


With the recent demise of leading indie venues, it’s become harder to find live music in Hong Kong that isn’t part of a weekend festival or an AsiaWorld-Expo mega-concert. But don’t fret – there are still several cool places to catch live vibes in an intimate setting

Music to My Ears


With the recent demise of leading indie venues, it’s become harder to find live music in Hong Kong that isn’t part of a weekend festival or an AsiaWorld-Expo mega-concert. But don’t fret – there are still several cool places to catch live vibes in an intimate setting

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Music to My Ears

September 29, 2017 / by Jon Braun

Image above: The Iron Fairies & Co

 

1563 at the East

  MOM Livehouse

MOM Livehouse

Named for a pop chord progression, 1563 has great acoustics. With a particular focus on live vocal jazz and soul most nights of the week, local luminaries such as Eugene Pao and Jun Kung frequently make an appearance. It also doubles as a cute little bistro and bar. 

6/F, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai (1563.com.hk)

 

Focal Fair

This practice space and recording studio also hosts a slew of shows by bands from around the region, tending towards indie rock, hardcore, metal and experimental electronics. Like many Hong Kong venues, it’s pretty cramped and hot, which usually makes for great energy in an intimate space.

28/F, Park Avenue Tower, 5 Moreton Terrace, Causeway Bay (fb.com/focalfair)

 

The Iron Fairies & Co

With its decorative blend that’s equal parts iron foundry and fantasy realm, Ashley Sutton’s acclaimed restaurant and bar also plays host to a rotating selection of excellent jazz, blues, pop and R&B bands every weeknight.

LG/F, 1–13 Hollywood Road, Central (diningconcepts.com)

 

MOM Livehouse

One of the newest Hong Kong venues to crop up, this BYOB basement spot has hosted loads of local talent and some huge names from the global indie scene, recently including Evan Dando of the Lemonheads, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Splashh. 

B/F, B39, Seven Seas Shopping Centre, 113–121 King’s Road, North Point (momlivehouse.com.hk)

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  Ned Kelly’s Last Stand

Ned Kelly’s Last Stand

The Music Room at Potato Head
The city’s first dedicated audiophile-friendly listening room, Potato Head’s vinyl library is nothing short of impressive. It also brings in loads of local and international DJs and “curators” for themed nights – perfect for chilling and contemplating with a whisky in hand.

100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun (fb.com/potatoheadhkmusic)

 

Ned Kelly’s Last Stand

One of Hong Kong’s oldest pubs, this vintage jazz bar celebrates 45 years in business this year. The tiny spot has long been renowned for its laid-back atmosphere and the fun Dixieland-style house band – it’s a true classic.

11A Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

 

Oma

Since opening in the former Yumla and Midnight & Co space, Oma brings in the best of the best in underground club DJs, primarily representing deep house, techno and jazzy hip-hop. Things never seem to really kick off until 2am or 3am, so get ready for a late night out. 

LB/F, 79 Wyndham Street (entrance off Pottinger Street), Central (fb.com/omahongkong)

 

Peel Fresco

Since 2007, Peel Fresco has been a live music lover’s dream – and a great place to catch local talent, both established and up-and-coming. After across-the-street sister bar Joyce is Not Here closed down, it’s picked up the slack with even more shows and jam sessions than usual. 

49 Peel Street, Central (peel-fresco.com)

 

  Peel Fresco

Peel Fresco

Studio

Featuring live jazz every night of the week (with Latin jazz percussion on Wednesday nights), Studio is a perfect chill spot for cocktails and tunes. For night owls, the lounge also has DJs serving up deep house, disco, soul and funk for the “late” session. 

1/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central (studioclub.asia)

 

VS Music Studio

With a focus on showcasing Asia’s regional acts, particularly the ones here at home and in Taiwan, VS has quietly been supporting indie music through its event space as well as its record label and broader entertainment arm, VS Media.

Unit A&C, 7/F, First Group Centre, 14 Wang Tai Road, Kowloon Bay (fb.com/vsmusichk)

 

  The Music Room at Potato Head

The Music Room at Potato Head

The Wanch

Unpretentiously doing its own thing since 1987, The Wanch has long been a mainstay of Hong Kong’s live music scene, hosting a variety of bands playing classic rock, blues, metal, punk, ska and much more – in a tiny gem of a bar just off Wan Chai’s notorious red-curtained strip.

54 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai (thewanch.hk)



XXX Gallery

Originally housed in a sweaty Sheung Wan basement, then in Kennedy Town before moving across the harbour to its current digs, XXX has long been at the forefront of Hong Kong’s underground DJ culture, particularly in the arenas of bass music, footwork, juke, experimental electronics and drum ’n’ bass. 

89–91 Larch Street, Tai Kok Tsui (fb.com/3xgallery)

Images: Jon Braun (MOM Livehouse, Ned Kelly’s Last Stand); PTT Family/JIA Group (Potato Head Hong Kong); The Iron Fairies & Co; Peel Fresco

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Green, Green Grass


Want that picnic vibe at a cafe? Head to Grassman in Tsim Sha Tsui

Green, Green Grass


Want that picnic vibe at a cafe? Head to Grassman in Tsim Sha Tsui

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Green, Green Grass

August 25, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 

When you want to recharge and refuel after frantically running around Tsim Sha Tsui, there are a plethora of nice cafes from which to choose. But want to feel like you’re having a picnic on the lawn – without actually making your way to a crowded park? Head to the utterly unique Grassman, which opened in February in The Lamma Tower.

Once you’ve secured a table, it’s time to take off your shoes and wiggle your toes on the decorative turf. As you sit under the wooden “house” structure, you can imagine you’ve been transported to a greener place – if you don’t look out the window, that is. How relaxing is that?

And let’s not forget the food. The menu was designed by a local pastry chef, who was formerly an owner of the now-closed Dessert Gallery in Yuen Long. Grassman’s signature dessert is a chocolate dome with green tea crumble at the bottom, accompanied by a wooden mallet to break the hard chocolate surface – it’s no wonder the name of the dish is “Tender Violence”. All told, Grassman is a cute, Instagrammable spot that’s ideal for a day out with friends.

Where: 9/F, The Lamma Tower, 12 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hours: 12–10.30pm; closed Mondays
(fb.com/grassmanhk)

Images: Instagram: @grassmanhk

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Take My Money


The No Face from acclaimed Japanese anime film Spirited Away is ready to eat your coins

Take My Money


The No Face from acclaimed Japanese anime film Spirited Away is ready to eat your coins

Culture > Talk of the Town


Take My Money 

June 30, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

If you’re a fan of Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, you probably remember the No Face character in the 2001 film Spirited Away – the lonely shadow wears a mask on his face, is always mute and devours all the gold in his path. The No Face Munching Piggy Bank can swallow coins once they reach the default weight of 30 grams – you’ll see the little ghost expose its hidden mouth and teeth while the bank plays music from the film. (He also burps every time he finishes a “meal”.) The piggy bank is now being sold at the Donguri Republic stores at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui – its first branch outside Japan – and at Times Square in Causeway Bay. A wonderland for Studio Ghibli goodies and gifts, the shops are easily recognisable by their oversized Totoro, from 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, who welcomes you at the door. (donguri.hk)

Images: Studio Ghibli Inc; Donguri Republic

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Urban Explorers


Children can unlock their innate sense of adventure through the Ritz Kids Night Safari

Urban Explorers


Children can unlock their innate sense of adventure through the Ritz Kids Night Safari

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Urban Explorers

May 26, 2017

As if staying at the world’s highest hotel wasn’t enough excitement for urban explorers, there could be no greater thrill for the little ones than turning the suite into a tented safari camp.

With The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong’s all-new Ritz Kids Night Safari, the kids can check into the hotel themselves. Then, let those young pioneers-in-the-making bring the great outdoors inside as they quite literally set up camp in your room. They’ll get torches, LED lanterns and a tent swaddled in Ritz-Carlton bed linens.

This fun programme, suitable for ages three to 11, was designed by renowned oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau and Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for The Ritz-Carlton in 2013. It engages your children to interact with their surroundings in a fresh and original way, while introducing them to the four pillars of Ritz Kids discovery: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture.

Of course, discovery isn’t just for the young – while the kids get to channel their inner David Attenborough, you’ll get to indulge in an epicurean adventure of a Michelin-starred variety at Tosca, helmed by chef Pino Lavarra. Try chef Pino’s beef carpaccio as an appetiser, followed by the seabass with lemon, chicken and sautéed seafood, and wrapping things up with a warm caramel apple and vanilla cake for the crescendo; all three courses are HK$498.

The days and nights of being wild don’t get any more memorable than this.

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The Gateway to the Mind


Renowned Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez brings his eye-popping kinetic and op-art visuals to Hong Kong

The Gateway to the Mind


Renowned Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez brings his eye-popping kinetic and op-art visuals to Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

The Gateway to the Mind

March 31, 2017

Until May 25, Puerta Roja is hosting its first Hong Kong solo exhibition for the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. He’s long been known as a driving force of the kinetic and op-art movements, which address motion and perceptual effects. Active since the 1950s, Cruz-Diez’s inimitable style is immediately apparent. Throughout his career, he has consistently limited his focus to colours, lines and the transformation of perception. In Mastering Colour, this show of recent works, discover the mental and physical power of Cruz-Diez’s seemingly simple creations from all angles.

Puerta Roja, 1/F, Soho 189 Art Lane, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan
(puerta-roja.com)

Image: Carlos Cruz-Diez, Induction Chromatique Série Gabo 30B, chromography on aluminium, 90x90cm, Ed. 8, Panama 2011(© Puerta Roja )

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Stage Frites


Hong Kong’s inaugural Belgium Week puts the country’s top exports in the spotlight

Stage Frites


Hong Kong’s inaugural Belgium Week puts the country’s top exports in the spotlight

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Stage Frites

October 28, 2016

 

Make room, Le French May –for the first time in the city, Belgium becomes the focus of a week-long festival that celebrates the country’s rich history of gastronomy, art, design, music and more. A wide variety of events is set to be held from November 12 to 19.

Many of these will be happening at Kee Club, including a gourmet menu by Loic Villers of the Michelin-starred Le Monde est Petit restaurant in Brussels; a performance by Brussels-born DJ and producer The Magician; and an exhibition of Belgian artists showing for the first time in Hong Kong. As well as a business seminar, other gatherings around town showcase Belgian photography, music and comics.

Michèle Deneffe, the consul-general of Belgium in Hong Kong, which is helping to support Belgium Week, says: “We are truly delighted to support this initiative to promote awareness of Belgium and the many wonderful things that it has to offer – to the visitor, as well as to those wanting to do business or further their studies or career in this important European hub.”

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Electric Dreams


It’s motorsport, but not as we traditionally know it – this month, Hong Kong stages the opening race of the new Formula E season for electric cars

Electric Dreams


It’s motorsport, but not as we traditionally know it – this month, Hong Kong stages the opening race of the new Formula E season for electric cars

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Electric Dreams

September 30, 2016 / by Charles Oliver

Using only electric cars, Formula E is a groundbreaking FIA championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. The third season of Formula E racing includes 14 races staged in 12 of the world’s leading cities. Its inaugural 2016/17 race, ePrix, takes place in Hong Kong on October 9. 

“Formula E will tackle a schedule that takes it to some of the most beautiful cities on no fewer than five continents, starting in Hong Kong and finishing in New York,” says FIA president Jean Todt, who initiated the concept as a means to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility. “It’s been less than two years since Formula E made its debut in Beijing and it is one of the most innovative championships on the current motorsport scene at the global level, which was not something that could have been taken for granted when it first began. It is also an amazing platform for the promotion of a new model for sustainable mobility, bringing a new form of motorsport to the heart of cities.” 

The first Formula E season began in Beijing in September 2014 and completed in London in June 2015, racing in ten major cities (across 11 races) around the world. The championship sees ten teams, each with two drivers, going head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series that’s designed to appeal to a new generation of avid motorsport fans.

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To get this ambitious project off the ground required an enormous amount of effort. But by working with world-leading partners in the motorsport industry including Williams, McLaren and Dallara, and by inspiring global blue-chip brands such as Michelin (which provides all tyres for the sport), DHL, Qualcomm and TAG Heuer to back the project,
Formula E transformed from a dream into reality in less than two years.

When 20 all-electric racing cars lined up on the grid for the inaugural Beijing ePrix in 2014, the cynics and the sceptics were put to rest. With big names like Senna, Prost and Piquet behind the wheel, teams such as Andretti, Audi Sport ABT, Renault and Virgin Racing, and owners including Leonardo DiCaprio, the championship attained a level of credibility to rival the best in the world. With partners such as Fox Sports, ITV and TV Asahi, Formula E proved to be a big hit with fans, too. More than 190 million tuned in to watch the inaugural season in more than 100 countries.

This reach was augmented by the championship’s social media accounts. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the series aspires to be the world’s leading digital sport. Central to this is FanBoost, the unique fan-interaction
concept that allows fans to vote for their favourite driver, who then receives an additional power boost in the race. 

Season two got underway last October in Beijing with the series becoming an open championship, allowing approved manufacturers to develop new powertrain solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further, allowing
manufacturers to focus on improving battery technology. 

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag took Todt’s idea and created a global entertainment brand with motor racing at its heart. “The Hong Kong ePrix has the potential to be one of Formula E’s premier events,” he says. “The circuit is located right in the heart of the city, winding its way around some of the most iconic landmarks. We are looking forward to welcoming a passionate and enthusiastic crowd to witness the inaugural running of Formula E in Hong Kong, none of which would have been possible without the tremendous help and support of the government and city authorities.” 

Gregory So, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, agrees. “The government fully supports the introduction of the FIA Formula E Championship to Hong Kong this year. Not only will this world-class novel car race become a Hong Kong people’s event, it will showcase our splendid skyline and harbour view to the world, hence enriching the tourism appeal of Hong Kong and reinforcing our position as an events capital of Asia. We are delighted to learn that the organiser and the tourism trade have developed a number of tourist packages for our visitors to enjoy the race, which will give an impetus to our tourism development.” 

Indeed, grandstands along the pit straight on Lung Wo Road, Tamar Park and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel will offer unrivalled views of the track and the city’s spectacular skyline. The two-kilometre circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225km/h. 

“Formula E is shaping the future of sports events, where entertainment and motorsport meet to curate the ultimate event experience,” says Alan Fang, the CEO of Formula Electric Racing in Hong Kong. “To share the unique occasion of the inaugural Formula E race with all of Hong Kong, we have priced tickets to ensure that people from all walks of life will be able to experience this pioneering event and to rally the public behind our #DriveTheFuture campaign.”

As a result, weekend tickets are priced at HK$2,380, with concession prices for children (aged 12 and under) and senior citizens (aged 65 and over) from HK$1,190. Grandstand tickets include admission to the eVillage fan zones located around the circuit. Access to the eVillage by itself costs HK$300 for a two-day pass, while senior citizen’s and children’s tickets are HK$150 – though eVillage entry does not include access to grandstand seating or guarantee a view of the track. 

However, it does give Formula E fans a chance to meet the drivers at autograph sessions and witness the raw emotion of the podium ceremony, breaking down the barrier between drivers and fans that exists in traditional motorsport. The eVillage is also a place where Formula E partners have created interactive experiences that are not only engaging, but also raise awareness of sustainability and how we can all address the challenges of the future.

“It’s fantastic to be able to bring Formula E to new markets, but more importantly to new fans,” says Agag. “It will be great to start the third season in Hong Kong and finish in New York, pending the approval of all the relevant stakeholders. The growth and interest in the sport has been on an upward trend since the very beginning, and I’m sure that the third season of the FIA Formula E Championship will once again prove to be a thrilling spectacle.”

Ladies and gentlemen, charge your engines…

Images: Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong

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Golden Moments


Golden Moments


Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Golden Moments

September 29, 2016 / by Mike Clark

  Gold Coast

Gold Coast

Think of the streets of Hong Kong and visions of its iconic trams and ubiquitous red taxis immediately spring to mind.

But the city also has a long-standing love affair with luxury cars, dating back to the British colonial days when it boasted the highest number of Rolls-Royces per head in the world.

Fashions in car ownership may have changed, but the love affair is still as passionate as ever. On any given day, the city’s traffic jams are dotted with the sensual, lovingly sculpted curves of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens as they burble along behind packed minibuses and family SUVs. 

Although the crowded city streets offer little pleasure to drivers and access to open roads is limited, Hong Kong is home to some of the greatest private collections of exotic cars in the world. The rarest and most valuable of them spend their time cosseted in air-conditioned garages and are almost never seen in public, but a new motor festival is providing a rare glimpse of Hong Kong’s hidden trove of automobile exotica.

  Mclaren F1 - Dream Supercars

Mclaren F1 - Dream Supercars

  Mercedes 300 SL

Mercedes 300 SL

On October 1 and 2, Sino Group, one of the city’s biggest property developers, is presenting the Gold Coast Motor Festival, which is being held at the Hong Kong Gold Coast hotel and marina complex – a 30-minute drive from the gleaming towers of the financial district.

The show features an array of more than 60 of the rarest, fastest and most beautiful cars ever produced. They are mainly drawn from private collections in Hong Kong, with a handful being shipped in especially for the event.

The line-up of Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, McLarens, Aston Martins, Paganis, Jaguars and American muscle cars is enough to make any car aficionado drool in anticipation. It includes two of the ultimate hybrid dream cars – Ferrari’s LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, both of which can reach speeds of 340 km/h (220 mph).

Another standout exhibit is a red Mercedes-Benz 300SL that was based on the marque’s 1952 Le Mans winning car. It became an instant classic on its launch thanks to its unique upward-opening gullwing doors and blistering top speed (for the time) of 220 km/h (160 mph). And for a taste of a long-lost era, the festival also features an open-wheeled Bugatti Pur Sang – an exact replica of the 1929 Bugatti Type 35, built by a specialist manufacturer in Argentina.

  Bugatti Pur Sang 35B

Bugatti Pur Sang 35B

The Hong Kong Gold Coast’s general manager Rob Kaiwai says that the event has been in the planning for a year. “The organisers reached out to the network of collectors in Hong Kong and people have been incredibly generous to hand over their cars for the festival,” he says. “Many of the cars are being brought in on transporters designed for high-end vehicles because they cannot be driven on Hong Kong roads. We have also laid on extra security because of the high value of the cars that are on show.”

 A centrepiece is a display of 17 Aston Martins, ranging from a 1950s DB2 through to the company’s contemporary models. 

It includes four versions featured in James Bond movies: the DB5 that, complete with ejector seat, first appeared in Goldfinger; a DBS; a V8 Vantage; and the Vanquish, which became invisible in Die Another Day. The suave, so essentially British spirit of James Bond certainly pervades the marque and sets it apart from Ferrari, Porsche and other top-end sports cars.

The head of the Hong Kong branch of the Aston Martin owners’ club, James Ogilvy-Stuart, explains that owners have “an admiration for the tradition of bespoke, very much British design and engineering.”

Of the city’s love affair with cars, he adds “when it comes to car collections, Hong Kong is right up there with other major centres in the US and in Europe.

“For a city of 7.3 million people, there is a large number of active motoring and car enthusiasts; some of them have collections of upwards of 40 to 50 cars.”

The casual observer would never know it, though. “The people with larger collections tend to keep them under wraps and they are relatively discreet,” explains Ogilvy-Stuart. “So the car scene is a lot bigger and a lot more vibrant than most people in general realise.”

The organisers of this year’s event hope it will become a fixture on the international motoring calendar, taking its place alongside the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. (www.goldcoastmotorfestival.com)

  James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, used in the film Goldfinger

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, used in the film Goldfinger

Courtesy of Sino Group/Getty Images

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Pulling the Mountain


The Xiqu Centre grooms rising Cantonese opera talent

Pulling the Mountain


The Xiqu Centre grooms rising Cantonese opera talent

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Pulling the Mountains

June 24, 2016

Chinese opera (xiqu) has long been a part of the region’s arts and history. The local version, Cantonese opera, has been around for centuries – but it really took off in Hong Kong in the 1950s. With its vibrant mix of music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics and acting, it’s long been a popular attraction for visitors as well. Recent years are seeing an injection of new blood into the art form – a burst of innovation embodied by the Rising Stars of Cantonese Opera company. 

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) is making Chinese opera one of the key elements of its sprawling arts hub with the Xiqu Centre. Louis Yu, the WKCDA’s executive director of performing arts, says, “It takes time to groom young talent into brilliant xiqu stars – and we are building something much more than a performance venue.”

Cantonese opera virtuoso Law Ka-ying has been putting the brightest new talent through their paces for the last two years, resulting in two annual shows. Law says, “I’m grateful to see these younger artists working so diligently to improve themselves. It’s time to nurture younger performers in order to live up to the expectations of the public.” 

This year, seven new performers join those selected last year for the August shows. They’re set to bring a fresh approach with three full-length productions of the classic operas Loyal to Love, The Lady’s Sash and The Immortal Zhang Yuqiao, being staged from August 12 to 17 at the Ko Shan Theatre in Hung Hom. (westkowloon.hk/risingstars2016)

Images: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

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Next Stop: History


Get closer to the city’s roots and take a ride on the Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

Next Stop: History


Get closer to the city’s roots and take a ride on the Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

Culture > Talk of the Town


Next Stop: History

June 24, 2016

Transportation is one of the keys to Hong Kong – and there’s no shortage of modes, including the Star Ferry, the MTR and double-decker buses. But topping the list should be the “Ding Ding” – or, the tram, one of the city’s most important icons, which has now been in operation for 112 years.

The TramOramic Tour, launched by Hong Kong Tramways earlier this year and departing six times daily, is Hong Kong’s first-ever sightseeing tour aboard a 1920s-style heritage tram with an open-top upper deck. As the one-hour journey passes through the city, stories and sites of interest are broadcast (in a choice of eight languages via headphones) to passengers. The tour also features an on-board video that compares past and present Hong Kong, as well as a heritage corner with vintage pictures and tram souvenirs. To continue your exploration of the city, the tour also includes a two-day pass that grants riders unlimited free access on the regular trams.

The Hong Kong tram is the only double-level tram still in existence in the world today. It’s a remarkable bridge between the city’s past and present. Things all began with a fleet of 26 single-level tramcars that were manufactured in the UK, then shipped to Hung Hom and assembled locally in 1904. Due to increasing demand for the cheap and convenient transportation, the first double-level tramcar was introduced in 1912; it was an open-top design with garden-style seats. 

Today, the fleet numbers about 170, covering several routes along Hong Kong Island. Though the tram runs at a leisurely pace compared to other options, many residents take it as their preferred mode of transportation. In a busy, thriving metropolis like Hong Kong, if you want to take a real, in-depth look at the city, what better way could there be than on the Ding Ding? (hktramways.com)

Images: Hong Kong Tramways

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Back in the Saddle: The Longines Masters


The CEO of EEM World, Christophe Ameeuw, has helped put the “show” back in showjumping – which was previously “not too sexy” according to the founder of the Longines Masters. He discusses the unique character of Hong Kong as Asia’s horse capital and how his passion for everything equine led to a world-class event

Back in the Saddle: The Longines Masters


The CEO of EEM World, Christophe Ameeuw, has helped put the “show” back in showjumping – which was previously “not too sexy” according to the founder of the Longines Masters. He discusses the unique character of Hong Kong as Asia’s horse capital and how his passion for everything equine led to a world-class event

Culture > Talk of the Town


Back in the Saddle

December 22, 2015 / by Selena Li

Christophe Ameeuw’s voice still trembles as he recalls the end of the first Masters in Hong Kong a few years ago. “It was very emotional for me,” says the CEO of EEM World, which is the organiser of the Longines Masters, one of world’s premier equestrian competitions. “I would like to see myself as a missionary. When I arrived in Hong Kong in 2013, it was a huge challenge.”

Ameeuw took the bold first step out of Europe, where equestrian sports have long been acknowledged as a form of elite entertainment, to an Eastern metropolis whose citizens’ fondness for horse racing is unrivalled in Asia. As Ameeuw says, “Riders love the public and the atmosphere in Hong Kong.”

Essentially, the challenge has always been to educate those who see showjumping as a mere novelty compared to the thrill of racing. However, in the third year of the Longines Masters’ partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the upcoming fourth incarnation is expected to welcome an audience of more than 25,000. 

World No. 1 Scott Brash and British riding legend John Whitaker have confirmed that they will attend the Masters event in Hong Kong in February. Notably, for the first time the event will feature indoor polo exhibition matches, which once seemed an impossible mission in a giant Asian city – transporting ponies and riders for one game of no more than 90 minutes. But next month, indoor polo officially becomes a part of the Masters.

At the start of his reinvention of the sport, changes in format were essential to widen its appeal to horse lovers. Ameeuw debuted as a show organiser in 2004 when, together with the Pessoa family, he took over and relaunched Jumping de Bruxelles. He followed this up in 2009 by successfully salvaging Jumping de Paris, an event that had been on hold for years. “Traditional horse-jumping is an amateur sport. When I watched all those world-renowned professional competitions, we tried to learn from Formula One or even Las Vegas shows,” Ameeuw says. 

Among the intriguing tweaks, spectators may be surprised to see a podium with three chairs for the front runners. When the top-ranking competitors are beaten, they step down from their seats – an idea drawn from competitive skiing. Also, any rider who wins the Longines Masters Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles in succession is rewarded with a super-bonus of €1 million, which is inspired by the tennis circuit. And then, appealing to all the senses: “We put microphones in the gym so you can even listen to the horses breathing and the sounds of their hooves,” Ameeuw says enthusiastically, tapping the desk and imitating the sounds. 

There was no direct interplay between the luxury goods industry and equestrian sport until Ameeuw brought on board the “noble, lifestyle and glamour” brands of watchmaker Longines, fashion houses Gucci and Hermès, as well as carmaker Mercedes-Benz, for what he calls a “real rendezvous.”

Following on the introduction of Hong Kong to the portfolio, EEM added Los Angeles in 2014. Organisers have worked hard to fill out the celebrity card for the October event; those in attendance in 2014 and 2015 have included Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Bo Derek, Anjelica Huston and Bruce Springsteen. The event transcended a competition and expanded into a whole package of luxury events, with a full range of lifestyle activities where spectators could visit art exhibitions, shop for the latest fashion accessories and talk to chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants while dining at the VIP village.

As more and more people discover this new and unique experience, the beauty of equestrianism is gaining a wider global audience. Ameeuw notes that when compared to its US counterpart, Asia’s horse capital fully understands what the elite lifestyle is all about; he goes on to say that a prestigious and glamorous event is precisely what the chic Hong Kong community needs.

China’s strict quarantine regulations dictate that riders can’t bring their own mounts to the Beijing Masters, so fans from north of the border will have to visit to see the world-famous horses and riders in action. Ameeuw thinks the event is a great draw for wealthy Chinese individuals to visit Hong Kong. However, he doesn’t think it is necessary to launch a version of the series on the mainland yet: “We need to stay in Hong Kong because we only want one level on each continent.”

All images: ©Bret St. Clair

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Go with the Flow: The Park Lane Hong Kong


Rejuvenated amid the shopping madness of Causeway Bay, Ebb & Flow at The Park Lane Hong Kong delivers a laid-back, futuristic vibe with its modern design, teched-up elements, and delectable food and drink

Go with the Flow: The Park Lane Hong Kong


Rejuvenated amid the shopping madness of Causeway Bay, Ebb & Flow at The Park Lane Hong Kong delivers a laid-back, futuristic vibe with its modern design, teched-up elements, and delectable food and drink

Culture > Talk of the Town


Go with the Flow

December 22, 2015 / by Selena Li

If you’ve been to The Park Lane Hong Kong recently, you may have noticed major changes afoot. “When you do something like that, you evoke emotion,” says Luc Bollen, general manager of the hotel. Indeed, it’s been a polarised response – between nostalgia and moving forward – for those who cherish memories of the 40-year-old institution at the heart of Causeway Bay. The Park Lane, which announced its new identity under the Pullman hotel group in 2014, took a bold step by renovating its lobby with an ultra-contemporary bar and lounge, Ebb & Flow, which opened in mid-October. 

The hotel continued to have a 90% occupancy rate while renovations took place – some of the more transformative changes left guests wondering whether they got off the lift on the right floor in the morning. “I found a lot of lobby lounges to be one-dimensional,” says Bollen. “You come in, sit on a luxury sofa, and have a cup of coffee or a cocktail.” 

He stresses the design of a “multi-dimensional experience,” which combines great food and drink with interactive, visual appeal. This manifests in the steampunk-inspired coffee machine at the entrance, the bottles of wine displayed in a glass wall and the digitally connected menus that suggest wine pairings with your choice of food.

Advised by the hotel’s artistic partner, Galerie Jünger, also responsible for much of the decor at the Sofitel in Shanghai, The Park Lane connected with a variety of contemporary artists to bring some excitement to the walls. For one, there’s Austrian photographer Paul Kolp, whose stunning portraits enliven the Ebb & Flow interiors. He also captures the sensuality of food – lime, lobster, octopus and watercress are all given fresh life, reinterpreted through the enigmatic eye of the artist.

The bar was designed to be tech-friendly, too. Along with large screens for those internet addicts who can’t bear the thought of disconnecting, if you want to check your email or charge your phone, wireless chargers are embedded into the long wooden benches.

Says Bollen, “If you don’t have a vision for tomorrow, you put your own business at risk.”

Interior photos: courtesy of The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel; photographic prints: courtesy of the artist and the gallery

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