What's On in Beijing: May 2017

By That's Beijing, May 2, 2017

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May 5: Soulja Boy


Soulja Boy exploded into the US charts in 2007 with ‘Crank That (Soulja Boy),’ an irritatingly catchy tune that spent seven weeks at number one. Record sales dropped sharply after his 2008 hit ‘Kiss Me Thru The Phone.’ He’s failed to chart since 2010, and while Soulja threatened to return to the limelight by collaborating with Nicki Minaj on her third album The Pinkprint, their song ‘Yasss Bish’ didn’t make the final album cut. A perfect time for a China tour, then. He’ll be cashing in at Club Mix, where the star will be met with a raucous reception from people who aren’t entirely sure who he is.

Fri May 5; RMB260 (advance), RMB350 (door); Club Mix, see event listing.

May 5: The Grey Life and Relationship  

Mamonahi Theatre Company presents two immersive plays over the course of one evening: The Grey Life and Relationship. The former is labeled as “a walk on the particles…” while the latter is about “way[s] to grow up and find your world.” Take what you will from that. Described as an improv and immersive theater-dance group, Mamonahi includes Martina Morrocchi, an actor and director who graduated from the International Academy of Theatre in Rome, and professional musicians Alberto Cuéllar, Shawn Moore and Xu Peng. 

Fri May 5, 9pm; RMB150 (door), RMB100 (advance); Yugong Yishan, see event listing

May 6: The Meantraitors  

We’ll give you a free copy of That’s Beijing if you can name a Russian psychobilly band. Got one? (Psyche – That’s Beijing is free). If you didn’t get one, then let us introduce you to The Meantraitors, a St Petersburg band that have been mixing punk and rockabilly since the late 1980s. The trio return for their second China tour, and you can expect raw punk energy from the School Bar stage.

Sat May 6; RMB100; School Bar, see event listing.

May 6: Twinkle Star

Beijing emo-punks Twinkle Star play a homecoming show at Yugong Yishan following a nationwide tour to promote their new album, Full of Hope. The band mixes youthful energy (new drummer Gao Wei is just 21) with bona fide music scene credentials (vocalist Zhao Meng is also one-third of legendary pop-punk band New Pants), resulting in a sound that is lively and eminently melodic. Once a festival favorite at Strawberry and Midi festivals, the four-piece have been plugging away since 2008. Their new album marks a coming of age, and an evolution in their sound since their 2012 debut, The End of the Beginning. Support comes from Tookoo, Alt Senior and others.

Sat May 6, 8.30pm; RMB80 (advance), RMB100 (door); Yugong Yishan, see event listing.

May 6: Burbex - Atlas Obscura Scavenger Hunt  

Following the success of 2016’s Olympic Village Scavenger Hunt, Beijing urban exploration group ‘Burbex’ presents its Atlas Obscura Scavenger Hunt 2017. This year, Burbex invites urban explorers to take part in a double scavenger hunt. Scavengers will explore two sites: the first an abandoned Peoples’ Liberation Army Hospital, and the second an old Catholic School. Both are purportedly haunted, so it should be a frighteningly good (or scary, whatever) time.

If you’re wondering what to expect, organizers suggest attendees be reasonably fit, able to climb a small fence and run around. Scavengers need to bring a fully charged smart phone (3G/4G) and wear durable dark clothing. If you are a pro and have a camera, feel free to bring that as well. There are only eight spots available, although more spaces may open up depending on demand, so sign up quick.

Sat May 6, 10.30am-1.30pm; USD35; meet at Anheqiao subway station 在安河桥北地铁见 (advance ticket sales only via www.atlasobscura.com/event; for more information email taotao.holmes@atlasobscura.com) 

May 6: LMT Connection

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Canadian funk band LMT Connection will be performing exclusively for the students of the Beijing Guang Ai School, an an orphanage founded in 2004. But don't worry, if you're feeling left out you can check out the band at Xian at 10pm. That performance is open to the general public. They're promising fans a “funktastic” night. In-house band, Unity, will get things started at 9pm. 

Sat May 6, 10pm. Xian (EAST Hotel), see event listing.

May 6-14: Indian Delicacy    

The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing is partnering with The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore to showcase authentic Indian cuisine at Aroma this May. Chef Altamash Iqbal will be flying over from India to bring signature dishes – think curry lamb, Parata, tandoor roasted chicken and more – to Beijing. Chef Iqbal will also lead demonstrations on how to brew the perfect masala tea during Aroma’s weekend brunch. 

Sat May 6-Sun May 14; RMB368 per person for lunch, RMB448 for dinner, RMB618 for brunch; Aroma, The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, see event listing

May 8: No Lights No Lycra  

A community dedicated to free-form dance, No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) began in Melbourne, Australia in 2009. It has since spread to dozens of international cities, including Beijing. The rules are: no lights, no lycra, no teacher, no steps or technique. NLNL is essentially a safe space for people to let go and shake it off without fear of judgment. All proceeds go to Pojie Arts, an organization that provides free arts education workshops to people with disabilities in China.

Mon May 8 and Mon May 22, 7-8.15pm; RMB50; Modernsky Lab, see event listing.

May 10-18: Australian Writers Week  

The 10th anniversary edition of Australian Writers Week in China brings together a host of leading Australian authors to participate in a week of literary events around the country. The lineup includes Man Booker Prize winner Tom Keneally (see our interview, page 38), Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, celebrated young adult fiction author John Marsden (of the Tomorrow series), and acclaimed indigenous children’s author and illustrator Bronwyn Bancroft. Events include workshops, readings, talks and more, while the tour covers various cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Hohhot and Harbin. The annual Writers Weeks aims to raise awareness of the diversity of Australian literature – a must for book-lovers.

Wed May 10-Thu May 18; various locations; for up-to-date information visit www.china.embassy.gov.au

May 11: DJ Marky  

Drum ‘n’ bass may have originated in the UK, but Brazilian producers have made a real mark on the scene. A leading figure among them, DJ Marky has spent the last 25 years fusing energetic beats with the feel-good sounds of his home country. His tune ‘LK’ remains a undisputed genre classic. And in keeping with the Latin flavor, support comes from DJ Dubatonik who’ll play an all-vinyl Mexican funk set.

Thu May 11; Price TBD; Dada, see event listing.

May 11-13: Art  

Yasmina Reza’s Art is a play about three best friends who find their friendship on shaky ground after one of them spends 100,000 euros on a painting that resembles little more than a blank white canvas. The comedy raises questions of friendship and art as the friends fight over the painting and relationships.

Thu May 11-Sat May 13, 7.30-9pm, Sun May 14, 2.30-4pm; RMB100 (RMB70 students); Penghao Theater, 35 Dongmianhua Hutong, Dongcheng东城区东棉花胡同35号 (for ticket information email carlosottery@hotmail.com)

May 13: An Art Show Vol. 9 

An Art Show Vol. 9 focuses on music, digital art and animation with artists including A.Borealis (AKA founder Shannon Lethbridge); Tendai Msimang, a digital graphic designer from South Africa; and Yahkehbu, a composer and performer who specializes in playing the guqin, an ancient seven-stringed Chinese instrument. A platform for music and art, An Art Show was created over a year ago by Lethbridge. Vol. 9 is Lethbridge’s final show.

Sat May 13, 7.30pm; RMB50; Fruityspace, see event listing.

May 13: Conquer the Wall   

Take your running to the next level, literally, by entering the annual Conquer the Wall marathon. The self-declared “first and longest-running international marathon on the Great Wall of China” includes a selection of runs including a full marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km distances. The racecourse covers 20,518 countable steps over varied terrain and travels through secluded and off-the-beaten-track sections of the Great Wall. The once-in-a-lifetime experience is no walk in the park but, while challenging, also provides runners with plenty of bomb photo opportunities. Note: Participants must be physically fit. If you are not and you are reading this in May, it is probably too late for you, sorry.

Sat May 13, from 6am; USD295 (adult), USD150 (child); Great Wall (www.conquerthewallmarathon.com)

May 14: Mother’s Day @ Chapter         

Celebrate moms (or yourself, if you are a mom) with a delicious, family-friendly brunch at Chapter. Conrad Beijing’s beautiful library will play host to an abundance of high-quality seafood, including sushi and sashimi. This, alongside the starters, grilled selections and Chocolate Boutique make for the perfect treat. 

Sun May 14, noon-2.30pm; RMB318 per person plus 15-percent service charge; Add RMB148 plus 15-percent service charge for free-flow Perrier Jouët Champagne; Chapter, see event listing

May 17: Dagadana 

A portmanteau of the names Daga and Dana (the band’s founders), Dagadana drop Ukrainian and Polish influences in a melting pot of folk, jazz and electronica. With Daga on electronics and Dana on keyboards, the pair regularly tour Europe and Asia. For a taste, check out the 2010 album Maleńka, which earned the band a Fryderyk Award (a Polish Grammy, essentially).

Wed May 17, 9pm; RMB80 (advance), RMB100 (door); Yugong Yishan.

May 19: Stray 

Having long been associated with drum ‘n’ bass, Stray has been spreading his wings of late. Whether the hip-hop influences on Paradise or the footwork sensibilities of Matchsticks, his recent output has been refreshingly varied. It is a fitting booking for Beijing promoter The Syndicate, which has diversified its musical palate beyond the drum ‘n’ bass parties it was once known for. The show marks the Beijing leg of this year’s Outlook Festival launch tour. Support comes from The Syndicate’s resident DJs and turntablist DJ Fu.

Fri May 19, Price TBD. Dada

May 20: Food Revolution Day  

Farm to Neighbors is teaming up with The Hutong for an educational yet fun day centered around sustainable food. Stop by for a farmers market, DIY tea workshop, home gardening workshop, plus extra food and drink vendors on The Hutong’s rooftop. And as a bonus, you can also learn how to make Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver’s healthy Vietnamese spring rolls.  

Sat May 20, 11am-5pm; The Hutong, see event listing.

May 26: Beijing Broads  

Beijing Broads (BB) is China’s “first all-female improv and sketch comedy group.” By focusing on female-driven comedy, BB provides a platform for women to get involved in the city’s comedy scene, without compromising their ideals or sense of humor. Made up of members from six different countries, the group has been performing for two years. All proceeds go to charity organization Educating Girls in Rural China.

Fri May 26, 8pm; RMB50; 4Corners; for more information visit www.beijingbroads.com.

Throughout May

Yoga in the Park Meditation 

Yoga in the Park is back, courtesy of Moka Bros and Yoga Yard, and just in time for the warm weather. The group activity is a relaxed session of yoga and meditation, guided by professional instructors, followed by brunch (optional) at Moka Bros Solana, where participants receive a 15 percent discount. Yoga in the Park is suitable for all levels and no sign-up is required – just show up with your yoga mat and friends. The event is cancelled if the AQI is above 200 or if it is raining.

Sundays, 9.30-11am; RMB30 per class; Chaoyang Park North Gate, Chaoyang 朝阳区朝阳公园北门(8950 8065)

NUO Dessert Bar Dining 

NUO has unveiled a new dessert bar. And like everything at NUO, it’s beautiful, over-the-top and, most importantly, delicious. Stop by the lobby lounge for world-class desserts by NUO’s chefs, including a traditional tarte tatin, liquid nitrogen tiramisu and a gorgeous mille-feuille made with homemade vanilla custard. Plus, of course, much more.  

Thursdays and Fridays, 2-6pm; Lobby Lounge of NUO Hotel.

Migas Mercado

Migas’ Sanlitun location opened in 2010. Since then, we’ve made a lot of memories there – whether dancing late into the night, watching the sunset on the gorgeous roof or enjoying a beautiful Spanish meal. But now, there’s a new Migas in town – and we couldn’t be more excited. Occupying a prime spot of the new China World Mall’s top floor, Migas Mercado is bringing Migas’ fun-loving Mediterranean vibes to the CBD. The space is inspired by the famous markets of Barcelona (‘mercado’ is Spanish for ‘market,’ FYI), and is set to feature Migas’ award-winning Spanish gastronomy and mouth-watering cocktails alongside a picture-perfect view of Beijing’s iconic CCTV Headquarters. So whether you’re stopping by for a quick lunch or long, riotous Friday night, grab a drink and enjoy. 

Daily, 11am-late; Migas Mercado.

Through May 28: Tranquility  

Artist Zhang Jian’s latest solo exhibition – the artist’s first in China in 10 years – presents work from his ‘Daily Scenery’ series. Using different techniques, the works take on a more abstract form than Zhang’s previous work. By using wild brush strokes and vivid colors, Zhang focuses more on conveying mood, rather than detail. Rural and urban scenes form the subjects of his work, yet they are simply drawn and illustrated in a notably impressionist style.

Through May 28, Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm; PIFO Gallery.

May 27-Sep 24: Art Garden  

The Art Garden Festival is a four-month event devoted to gardens, art, photography, wellbeing, nature and children. From May until mid-September, the festival will showcase eight events. One event theme is a ‘garden art market,’ a crafts market selling jewelry, furniture, cosmetics and clothes. The second event is an organic picnic market. Here, visitors can whet their appetites by browsing and buying a range of gardening products, condiments, wine, and organic brunches. 

The festival takes place in a renovated former factory, transformed into three ephemeral 200sqm gardens by architects and landscapers. The gardens encompass a garden kitchen, playground and an art garden hosting seven international artists. Meanwhile, a photo exhibition is displayed outside. A family-friendly event, the festival also offers children’s workshops such as kite-making. The festival aims to raise public awareness about human relationships with nature and sustainability.

Sat May 27-Sun Sep 24; C&C Park, see event listing. (For more information contact aurelle@artgardenfestival.com)


Have an event to list? Head here to list your upcoming event. We’ll choose the best new additions to feature on next week’s edition of ‘What's On in Beijing.' Not sure where to start? Here's a full guide on how to list your upcoming events on our website.

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