Monday, June 20, 2005

Hutong Pizza - Stefano & AngelaA former Italian coworker of ours from Osaka, Stefano, arrived Saturday morning. Here's a picture of Angela and him at Hutong Pizza here in Beijing (notice the beautiful ceiling and wood in the background) on Saturday afternoon. Stefano has been traveling around China and Southeast Asia for the past two months or so. He's on his way home to Italy and he's going to make the trip by train. He departed for Mongolia this morning after a brief two-day respite with us. Although it was short, it's always nice to have visitors when living so far away from family and friends.

We all attended a great event on Saturday evening: the Rencontres Trans Musicales festival from France, held in Chaoyang Park, which focused on techno music. It was a two-day festival featuring musical acts from about 3PM to 10:30PM each day. Most of the acts were DJs, which I generally don't pay to go watch perform unless it's up in a club, but the ones we saw were quite entertaining and I wasn't disappointed. Digicay, in particular, added flourish to his set by strapping on an electric guitar and jamming over his mix.

Gotan Project, which headlined the day's lineup, performed their brand of techno and tango to the delight of everyone. I have really never seen anything like it in a live show. Opening behind a giant translucent video screen showing images of a woman's face and dancers, among other things, it was not difficult to see the backlit band mysteriously playing behind the haunting images. After perhaps five songs, the last of which showcased a dancing couple in front of the giant screen, it dropped to the stage and they played the rest of their set unmasked.

Aside from sneaking our beer, masquerading as bottled water to avoid metal detectors, inside, we had a fantastic time. Our only regret was not purchasing a ticket good for both days of the event.

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