Freespace Fest in Pictures

16 12 2012
Freespace Fest!

Freespace Fest!

I’ve been told that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

I concur. 

But free space? There’s lots of it – and at Freespace Fest, it’s all being put to great use. 

Live music. Dancing. Performances. Art. Boutique stalls. The open sky. Friends. Food. Grass. 

Bliss. 

Hong Kong’s creative potential. Right here. 

And now, a taste of it in photos…enjoy.  *Click on the photos to enlarge. 

The sun sets on Freespace Fest - but the music, dancing, food and life continues!

The sun sets on Freespace Fest – but the music, dancing, food and life continues!

Plenty of beer to go around, too.

Plenty of beer to go around, too.

People. Grass. Open sky. Music. Happiness.

People. Grass. Open sky. Music. Happiness.

Eat your greens!

Eat your greens!

DSC_0385

A super acrobatic dance performance. They were hardcore - literally.

A super acrobatic dance performance. They were hardcore – literally.

Dancing on exercise equipment? You bet!

Dancing on exercise equipment? You bet!

A lovely, innovative bamboo structure.

A lovely, innovative bamboo structure by the water. 

Sit and chill under this bamboo structure by the sea side.

Sit and chill…come to think of it, this would be a big hit with pandas! 

DIY eco-friendly organic detergent made only of orange peel, sugar and water, fermented all together in an airtight bottle for 3+ months. You end up with a sweet and refreshing Dettol-like liquid, but without all the chemicals! Great for dishes, the floor...cleaning in general. You've got to keep the Earth clean while you're cleaning, too.

DIY eco-friendly organic detergent made only of orange peel, sugar and water, fermented all together in an airtight bottle for 3+ months. You end up with a sweet and refreshing Dettol-like liquid, but without all the chemicals! Great for dishes, the floor…cleaning in general. You’ve got to keep the Earth clean while you’re cleaning, too.

An gory organ vending machine...

An gory organ vending machine…

Flags: pick one, add you own design, plant it.

Flags: pick one, paint on it your own design, plant it in the ground. 

Spread your wings and fly away...

Spread your wings and fly away… (Sadly, when I visited again on the second day, the pole had toppled over and the bird had fallen down. An accident or a creative intention? A veiled reference to the bird flu epidemic? An implicit allusion to the trampling of freedom? 

Another stall featuring works by a local artist.

Another stall featuring works by a local artist.

Lots of stalls featuring products by local designers and artists.

Lots of stalls featuring products by local designers and artists. Here, handmade cloth bags 西拐角. 

The ICC in the background.

The ICC in the background.

A clay workshop, open to all.

A clay workshop, open to all.

Freespace. Lots of free space. Relish in a wave of creativity.

Freespace. Lots of free space. Relish in a wave of creativity.

An intricate web made entirely of rubber bands.

An intricate web made entirely of rubber bands.

Take the stage.

Take the stage.

 

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The Search for Music

18 02 2012

XXX Gallery - venue of 'PitchYrCulture', a Social Media Week HK event.

It’s a Friday night and I’m walking down a quiet street in Sheung Wan. Most of the shops are closed now. I’m looking for the XXX Gallery, supposedly on 212 Wing Lok Street, but I don’t see anything half resembling a gallery. I’m pretty convinced that I’m lost.

I spot a metal door, tucked discreetly away on the side of the pavement. XXX, the door cries in bold black letters  emblazoned across a slick white background. Here? I look around and, luckily, see the big ‘Social Media Week HK’ standup sign. So this is it. I push open the door. I walk down the stairs. I push open another door, into some kind of basement. A funky ambience greets me. Aha. I’ve finally found the place.

The PitchYrCulture Crowd. Funky, energetic and lovable.

This is PitchYrCulture, an event presenting various speakers who will tell their personal stories under the theme of ‘Social Media and the Search for Music’ and then share a song for our collective indulgence. As I sit there listening to the speakers, live-tweeting, and enjoying the music, I begin to grasp the importance and significance of music to our world.

Music isn’t just a series of notes, a nice tune thrown together with a catchy beat. Each and every piece of music, as the speakers will show, has its own story: not only the musician’s story, but the listener’s story of how they came to discover and fall in love with the song.

Music isn’t linear either. With the exponential growth of Internet technology and social media, it often appears as if the world of music is moving relentlessly in one single direction: forwards and into the future. We download the newest singles, watch the latest music videos, share the freshest albums. But to assume that social media is only pushing us forwards would be a gross misconception. As the speakers told their stories, it occurred to me that as much as it pushes us forward, social media also allows us to reach back into time and savour again the obscure, lost corners of the historic music world. Each piece of music has its story, be it old or new, futuristic or nostalgic.

Such is the complexity, vivacity and profundity of music.

As the event drew to an end, I feel a giddy, happy sensation. For far too long I’ve been frustrated by not knowing where to look for good music. My overly ‘mainstream’ music collection has been a source of endless iritation (and I must admit, a self-conscious embarrassment). I was tired of only listening to songs on the top charts, or songs with the same chords over and over again. But where was I supposed to start looking?

Tonight, I think I’ve found the perfect solution: PitchYrCulture!





There’s something about classical music…

20 07 2011

Brass instruments: the sexiest of them all! (photo from northopsilverband.com)

There’s something about classical music that just makes me happy. It never fails to cheer me up, gives me a boost of energy, or just get me chirpy, jumpy and excited all in one go!

I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes classical music special for me, but I think it has something to do with its somewhat unpredictable nature. Pop songs are catchy and they do pump me up, but I can only listen to so much of pop before I drift into a state of high-degree boredom. (I’ve often put my iPod on shuffle, hoping to dig up some obscure piece of amazing pop lurking in the obscure realms of my library, only to end up forever skipping one song after the next.)

So what is it with classical music? Like I said, it’s their unpredictability. I love that feeling when you think you know the melody, when you think you know which note will come next, but the composer has cheekily slipped in a little tweak and gives you a humongous yet pleasant surprise. It’s just so thrilling when a trumpet comes at the least expected moments (FYI: I maintain that brass instruments are the sexiest instruments of the lot), or when the timpani (which I believe to be the second sexiest instrument, after all the brass ones) comes rolling in from nowhere!

Then there’s the joy of following the music. I’ve been listening to Tchaikovsky’s wonderful violin concerto lately, as well as Beethoven’s piano concertos, and rather than just listening to it, I’ve decided to try to follow the music using the concerto’s complete score. The International Music Scores Library Project is great for this.  All I have to do is type in the name of the piece, download the PDF file, and read the music on my laptop while listening to the concerto on CD. It’s a most relaxing thing to do after dinner – put on the music, flip open the laptop, throw yourself onto the sofa and enjoy!





Marvelous Musical Movement

24 06 2011

Tonight’s movement was a musical one.

Listening to Midori and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s electrifying violin concerto in D Major with what the Financial Times referred to as “spitfire energy” was most invigorating. Her violin playing was deft to say the least, yet not compromised by any sense of timidity, making the entire performance full of energy and excitement. What I loved most was the layering of the main melody throughout, kick-started first by Midori’s violin, then gradually built up with the rest of the string instruments, and finally topped off with the wonderful woodwinds, brass (which I maintain as being the sexiest instruments of the lot), and of course, the ever present, ever important timpani.

The next piece performed by the orchestra was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. I wasn’t familiar with this piece, and its melody wasn’t  quite as evident as the violin concerto. It started slowly, but I particularly enjoyed the way the orchestra came together multiple times to play in unison. All the string instruments would  play simultaneously, making very nice uniform movements with their bows, and then the woodwinds, brass and timpani would all come in to shake the entire performance hall with the music’s vibrancy and vivacity.

I’m all pumped for more movement. What a great night of music!