More Than Just Another Music Festival

By James Lochhead Two years ago, I wrote a gushing review of the 2nd Penang Island Jazz Festival (PIJF). Sitting under the stars at Batu Ferringhi while listening to some great music for two wonderful evenings was such a treat. At the same time, the seriousness of the festival was very apparent in the way […]

More Than a Festival

By Antares It gets harder and harder to review the Rainforest World Music Festival without sounding like someone who’s had a lobotomy and can’t stop grinning like an imbecile – especially when this was the 10th anniversary reunion well-worn partiers like me have been anticipating since the end of last year’s bash. So I’ll start […]

The Gospel of Rock

By Azmyl Yunor It was interesting to see if the Street Roar Independent Music Festival 2006 could be translated effectively from its Petaling Street origins to the idyllic lake-side setting of KLPac. The context of the event, being held a week to day of the dumbfounding raid at Paul’s Place on New Year’s Eve, was […]

Teater Saat Akhir

By Zulkifli Mohamad Saya menjadi Lipas Kudung selama 5 hari kerana nak menonton Teater Melayu. Apa tidaknya, ada tiga festival yang berlangsung dalam minggu yang sama: Festival Teater Wilayah Persekutuan 2005 di Taman Budaya Kuala Lumpur pada 17-21 Disember Empat Drama di Stor Teater DBP pada 19-22 Disember Minggu Teater ASK yang menampilkan empat monolog […]

Beaches Brew

By James Lochhead Lying on the grass, staring up at the crescent moon, the sea breeze gently rustling, and then to hear the cool soprano saxophone sound of Japanese jazz band Jaja thrilling the air – the melodic piano at the back, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the hendrix-like guitar, lifting the sound and […]

Ready To Reincarnate?

By Lee Jia Ping At the “Party With 12 Local Theatre Directors” which closed the PingStage Theatre Carnival (3 Sep – 3 Oct, 2005), lots of wine and insufficient finger food were served, perhaps to enable partygoers to appreciate what it feels like to be an artist: starving and delirious. All around the room in […]

Too Many Apples, Not Enough Oranges

By Benjamin McKay The head of jury for the 50th Asia Pacific Film Festival, Datuk Johan Jaaffar of Malaysia, in his remarks at the Closing Awards Night, likened the mammoth task of sifting through the 27 films submitted for competition as having “too many apples to compare with oranges.” Indeed the films submitted at this […]

Wanted: Higher Voltage

By Sharon Chin & Lydia Chai There is no denying the esprit de corps that arose during the five-day-long notthatbalai art fest (17 – 21 Aug 2005). Arts groups and collectives that do not normally get together, as well as members of the public (and a few tourists), celebrated this event. You couldn’t get a […]

Six Players in Search of a Piano

By Lisa Ho Statistics prove that there are more pianos in Malaysian households than there are OSIM massage-chairs. More people take piano lessons than violin lessons, although this balance might change soon. However, statistics still cannot disprove the fact that there has been a decline in the number of amateur pianists and people with enough […]

Why did the Chicken stay in the Middle of the Road?

By Caroline Marshall “Is it a hen?? Or is it a rooster??” What would YOU do if you find a strange looking chicken amongst your own brood? Especially one that looks like a hen AND a rooster? Well, two children did, and they decided to take the problem to the learned, bijak-pandai members in their […]

I Can’t Dance

By Zedeck Siew “Ai, careful,” Mdm Surianty Liu says as I topple over. It is 11 on Sunday morning. She is getting slightly impatient with my bungling. “I already covered these steps yesterday,” she says, in a Hong Kong inflection of Bahasa Indonesia. “But we try, yes?” The Malaysian Dance Festival 2005 ran from the […]

Musique Anda

By Chan Siew Lian There is a certain coolness in being a female guitarist. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good, or even if you’re wearing the instrument the wrong way. People will gladly entertain you if you come in strings and heels. This excuse for sub-par playing, however, was shattered when I heard that […]

Vagabonds in Their Own Land

By Sonia Randhawa The first day of the Rainforest World Music Festival began with three choices for me. Attending the press conference for the media invited to cover the festival, attending the opening ceremonies of a Bidayuh Gawai (the traditional harvest festival – nothing to do with RWMF) or attending a landmark court case on […]

Too Many Awards, Not Enough Movies

By Kakiseni Paparazzi Talk about efficiency. For the entire first half of the 18th Malaysian Film Festival 2005 (FFM18) awards ceremony on Sun 17, July 2005, winners were ushered off the stage as soon as their awards were firmly in hand. We were thus thankfully spared of boring acceptance speeches. But truth be told, we […]

Not About Winning Competitions!

By Lisa Ho There used to be a time when any intelligent discussion on choral singing would result in covert thuggery and uncouth fisticuffs. These days, incidents of uncouth fisticuffs are mainly confined to the realm of opera (also: vegetable-throwing and spitting) while intelligent discussions on choral singing find a suitably peaceful platform at the […]

They’ve Theatres, We’ve Monuments

By Anne James At the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards 2003 last year, sitting next to Ghafir Akbar, a fellow nominee for the Best Solo Performer, I was preparing myself to, basically, not win. So when my name was announced, I didn’t hear it at first. I only realised it when my husband Siva turned towards […]

Hidup Rakyat!

By Fahmi Fadzil “Selamat datang tuan-tuan dan puan-puan! Selamat datang ke Pertandingan Permainan Tradisional, anjuran Kementerian Kesenian, Kebudayaan dan Warisan!” Saya dah lama sangat tak datang ke Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, KL. Dulu saya datang dengan keluarga, memang best kita orang main semua benda-benda yang ada. Saya pun ingat ada tempat yang ada jalan-jalan dan isyarat […]

Bombs and Books

By Lucy Friedland The program for the first Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from October 11-17 seemed overly ambitious. The web site was touting Australian-Balinese healing for the first day, ‘How to Write a Novel in 20 Minutes’ for the second day, and activist strategies for Indonesia’s AIDS epidemic by Day 7. In between, the […]

Five for Fighting

By Lim How Ngean The week-long national Malay Language theatre festival that filled the auditorium at Malaysian Tourism Centre last month to the brim has had a long history that dates back to the 70s. Organised by the then Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the event was formerly known as Pesta Tarian dan Drama […]

Alice in Videoland

By Zedeck Siew On the 17th of September I was at Budaba for the Malaysian Video Awards. Having finally found a spot to stand where I wasn’t either moving aside or blocking someone’s view of podium and award recipient, I sat on a rail and finished a glass of melting ice with traces of gin. […]

You Talkin’ To Me?

By Pang Khee Teik Toh Hai Leong, a Singaporean film critic, is highly annoying, and not just because he is Singaporean. If you inadvertently acknowledge him, he will talk incessantly at you, not with you. Once, thinking he wouldn’t notice, I turned my back. He immediately ranted, “You young ones, don’t be so big shot. […]

Tumpang Glamour

By Fiona Lee It was with mixed feelings of pride and nostalgia that I attended three Malaysian film screenings at the 27th Asian-American International Film Festival in New York City. From July 16 to 24, New Yorkers had the opportunity to view a sampling of works by Malaysian independent filmmakers, which were showcased alongside other […]

A Poem in Its Becoming…

By Goenawan Mohamad Goenawan Mohamad’s opening speech at the World Poetry Festival, Kuala Lumpur, 17 August 2004 **** I would like to thank you for having me here, in this extraordinary gathering of poets, and for giving me the honour to begin our conversation. However, I must confess my nervousness; I know that each time […]

Disco at the End of the World

By Pang Khee Teik Primal Jam Everybody was rushing to the Iban longhouse. It’s not the real thing, but a mock-up version here at the Sarawak Cultural Village. The audience who were already seated for the previous session, led by the Doghouse Skiffle group, remained fixed to the bamboo floor. Fanning ourselves in vain attempts […]

Singaporean Couplings

By Pang Khee Teik On a makeshift tent by the Singapore River, Stella Kon took her place behind the microphone. The 60-year-old playwright, looking as matriarchal as her creation, Emily of Emerald Hill, was about to do some serious poetry slam. Her theme this evening was inspired by the People’s Action Party’s early campaign speeches […]

Follow The Cute Young Punks

By Sonia Randhawa Where to begin with Urbanscapes? Even before reaching the venue, a vibe could be felt from within KL Sentral station. An unusual number of cute young punks. Lots of guitars, lots of black. And a wall of music, emanating from God-only-knows where. Follow the cute young punks, crossing two thankfully deserted roads, […]

Forces to be Reckoned With

By Anne James I consider the Second MyDance Festival as one of the highlights for dance in the year 2003. It showcased 23 dance pieces from all over Malaysia over 3 nights; warts and all. It checks the “temperature” of dance in Malaysia. Any choreographer or dancer worth his/her salt would not want to miss […]

Where’s the Jazz??

By Jerome Kugan The late jazz trumpeter Miles Davis said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Indeed, music (or any art form for that matter) continues to elude even its wittiest commentators. Even those who write music can only speak credibly of the experience of composing (or playing) music, while the music […]

Buddha and Other Jet Setters

By Pang Khee Teik Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen is often accused of being wanky. As the founder of Theatreworks, one of the bigger companies in Singapore (meaning they get good funding from the government), he is known internationally for his cross-disciplinary works. In the recent Search Hamlet, staged in a castle in Denmark no […]

The Edinburgh Arts Festival According to Toby Gough: A Mud-Wrestling Fight

By Cheryl Lim A group of local arts practitioners gathered at the Actors Studio Bangsar on October 9, 2003 for a two-hour workshop organised by Kakiseni in collaboration with Genting City of Entertainment, and conducted by Toby Gough, the man behind Lady Salsa as the artistic director, and a participant in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, […]

Secangkir latte bersama Dr Mohd Anis Md Nor

By Adam Tuan Mukriz Adakah anda berpuas hati dengan sambutan orang awam terhadap MyDance Festival 2003? Jika berbicara dari segi matlamat, [sambutan terhadap] MyDance Festival adalah lebih dari memuaskan. Memang pada awalnya kami tidak terfikir untuk menjadikan festival ini sebagai satu upacara yang besar memandangkan tenaga kerja yang ada [kurang mencukupi]. Namun saya bangga kerana […]