Hip Hop in Jinan

Never in a million years would I expect to go to a hip-hop concert with songs in French in China. Friday I did. My friend got free tickets from Alliance Française de Jinan. The concert was at a new bar down a street that you’d never expect to find a bar. It was a ramshackle street with old concrete apartments and the occasional dilapidated mom and pop general store. We were certain the cab driver was “taking us for a ride.” But he had the right place.

There was a big dance floor and stage with lots of lights and a fog machine. The crowd was much different than what I’d think you’d find in the US. Some families with kids, some college students, dressed very conservatively, a few French people and about two Chinese hip hop fans in tilted baseball caps and jackets with lots of “bling.” Even they didn’t go as far as the droopy jeans that show the world your underwear.

There were quite a few police in riot gear to keep this very placid crowd under control. They checked everyone for weapons with their hand held metal detectors. As this was probably the most family-friendly hip-hop audience ever this police work was unnecessary. (The tickets were free so I think people, like us, got them just as a cultural experience.)

The first act was from Africa and they were okay, nothing great. Who am I to judge, though?

Since all the songs were mainly in French I had no idea whether they were swearing or what.

The headliner, Webster, was from Canada. Evidently he’s famous. How would I know? He’s got a Facebook page and website, but doesn’t everyone? His music did have a good beat and he was very good at interacting with the crowd. He’s a historian as well as a hip-hop star so he wore an Oxford shirt as well as baggy pants. Very non-threatening.

What’s something you did outside your comfort zone?

What’s something you’ve recently done for free?

Silent Sunday

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Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

freshly baked

freshly baked

fresh duck for sale

fresh duck for sale

Fresh veggies in Cambodia

Fresh veggies in Cambodia

Fresh coffee

Fresh coffee at the Blue Pumpkin, Phnom Penh

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Chronicle of a Summer

chronicle-of-a-summer

I’d heard the term “cinema verite” and like many wrongly thought that referred to a film that’s extremely realistic. It turns out that’s not exactly right. For my classic movie resolution, I watched Chronicle of a Summer by the inventors of cinema verite, two French sociologists. Cinema verite is a sociological film that forces people to come to the truth. Released in 1961, captured on black and white film, which adds a filter of reality that color couldn’t strangely enough, Chronicle of a Summer sets out to prompt real people to come in contact with truth through interviews and discussions that begin with the simple question: Are you happy? The directors behind the film are Jean Rouch, an engineer turned ethnological filmmaker who mainly worked in Africa and Edgar Morin, a sociologist based in Paris.

With two directors, the film does have two distinct moods. Viewers can feel when the somber, analytical Morin is in charge or when the more playful Rouch has the reins. The film begins with a woman agreeing to interview people on the street asking subjects whether they’re happy. It turns out that in Paris in 1960 few were. Still the film gets under your skin. Though neither director has gone to film school, the creative shots grabbed me and did feel very real. At times the film just shows people, working in a factory, eating lunch, walking down a street. They’re shown in their individualism in a way that’s compelling and fresh. I liked some of the subjects more than others. For the most part, the subjects came off as sincere and they presented a snapshot of life in 1960. I found the ending simple and powerful. Rouch and Morin gather their subjects for a screening of the film followed by a discussion. We hear their reactions whether they thought some people were exhibitionists or authentic, whether the whole endeavor was true to life or indecent. People were honest and through this scene were elevated beyond just being “performers” or “subjects” to being co-creators. Chronicle of a Summer is a Criterion Collection film and as usual features some worthwhile bonuses. The best was an insightful interview with Faye Ginsberg, who worked with Jean Rouch after he made this film.

I’ve Said This Before: Ugh!

I’ve tried numerous times today and yesterday, but I haven’t been able to log on to my VPN (Virtual Personal Network) that allows me to blog easily (including posting photos), to access Facebook, newspapers and libraries. It’s quite frustrating. I can’t reach customer service for Strong vpn as their site’s blocked.

Often I can get someone via Skype, but my usual contact hasn’t been online. Strong vpn had been good but the government’s cracked down on them. It seems foolish to continue with them so I’ve requested a refund. I’d go back if things changed, i.e. they found a reliable way to provide service. I do hope they promptly give me a pro rata refund.

For a while, I’ll just have to blog without photos. Perhaps I’ll sign up with another service.

#rant #exasperation #expat life

Poem of the Week

A Coat

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.

Silent Sunday

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 10.48.38 PM

DSC_0154

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

By a temple wall, Kathmandu, Nepal

By a temple wall, Kathmandu, Nepal

Mural by Black Tiger Springs, Jinan, China

Mural by Black Tiger Springs, Jinan, China

Mural, Jinan, China

Mural, Jinan, China

By school, Jinan, China

By school, Jinan, China

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Sepia Saturday

sepia3142015

This week’s prompt led me to scour Flickr Commons for photos with pets. Here’s a few from Florida, Wales and Australia.

Source: Flickr Florida Memories

Source: Flickr Florida Memories

Source: National Library of Wales

Source: National Library of Wales

Source: National Library of Australia

Source: National Library of Australia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

DSCN4976

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

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Disclaimer

Dear Fellows, The State Department has requested that any Fellows who maintain their own blog or website please post the following disclaimer on your site: "This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellows' own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State." We appreciate your cooperation. Site Meter
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