Charming Beijing Scored a Touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday.
by Michael Douglas Carlin
Many would have advised against going head to head with Super Bowl Sunday, the most popular game in America. But the Chinese were not convinced. They picked the 2000 seat historic Saban Theater to open their event, “Happy Chinese New Year, Charming Beijing.” Many would have scoffed that they would fill the theater but there wasn’t an empty seat during what will go down in history as one of the most memorable Super Bowls and one of the most successful cultural exchanges between Beijing and Beverly Hills.
The evening event was filled with dignitaries from all walks of life in Los Angeles and China as a cultural exchange to kick-off Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The lobby of the theater was filled with food, drink, and the “Charming Beijing, Passionate Winter Olympics Photo Exhibition” and the Beijing Intangible Cultural Heritage Exchange Exhibition as well as a broadcasting exhibition of promotional films of Beijing demonstrating the vision of Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
At 8 p.m. patrons of the arts gathered inside the theater to witness over 40 high-level performers who delighted the Mayor of Beverly Hills, the Consul General of China, and all of the invited guests to celebrate the Chinese New Year and Beijing Culture. The event was hosted by the China International Culture Association, The Beijing Association of Cultural Exchanges, and the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau. Among the high level performers were representatives of Beijing’s Opera, musicians, dance, and acrobatics all arranged by the Beijing Performance and Arts Group.
Amongst them are such programs and performances as Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai(Butterfly Lovers) by famous erhu performer Song Fei and violinist Lv Siqing, and the Ambush from Ten Sides, pipa solo by famous musician Zhou Hui. The China National Acrobatic Troupe will put on their internationally acclaimed performances, such as the Pagoda of Bowls (Golden Clown Award winner at the 28th Monte Carlo International Circus Festival in 2004), the Gorgeous Girls: Diabolo (Golden Clown Award winner at the 37th Monte Carlo International Circus Festival in 2013), the Contortionists with Glasses (Crystal Award winner at the 12th International Circus Festival of Massy in France), and the Lighting Dance Ballet and Hand to Hand Balancing (President Award winner at the 12th Italy Latina International Circus Festival).
“Charming Beijing, Passionate Winter Olympics” Photo Exhibition was held in the elegant lobby of the Saban Theatre, and exhibited 60 beautiful pieces captured in Beijing from world-renowned photographers.
The photo exhibition takes “Charming Beijing” and “Passionate Winter Olympics” as the two main themes. “Charming Beijing” has three parts: “Imperial City” capturing the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and world cultural heritage and scenic spots to show the extent of Beijing as a cultural city. “Urban Development” uses the pictures of the city’s environment, the lives of the public, artistic performances, transport facilities and international conferences to show Beijing’s new international appearance. The “Fashion and Landmarks” photo section are all photos from American Joe McNally. Fashionable models wearing Chinese clothes, taking Beijing’s landmarks as a background, bringing a perceptive banquet of the beauty of fashion and history to the audience.
“Passionate Winter Olympics” primarily exhibited photos on China’s road to the Olympiad in association with Los Angeles. In 1932, Liu Changchun (1909–1983), China’s first Olympian participated in the 10th Los Angeles Olympic Games. In 1984, China sent the first large delegation to attend the 23rd Los Angeles Olympics. In January, 2008, a Chinese float themed the “One World, One Dream” passed through Colorado Boulevard during the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena, marking the upcoming 29th Beijing Olympics. At the same time it showed the deep-rooted Olympic spirit in the hearts of Beijing’s residents, residents getting enjoyment from snow and ice during winter in Beijing, and explaining the ideas and practices to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
At the event, inheritors of intangible cultural heritage from Beijing brought clay Tu’er Ye figurines, Maohou, Yu-Family Kites and cloth paste paintings. These intangible cultural heritage items from Beijing were displayed, and opened exchange with local residents.
Founded in May 2009, Beijing Performance & Arts Group (BPA) is a large state-owned enterprise directly supervised by Beijing Municipal Government. Since its establishment, the Group has been stepping toward a leading and influential cultural enterprise in Beijing. Currently, the Group consists of 17 member enterprises.
BPA successfully planned and hosted the gala “Tian’anmen” at the National Indoor Stadium, opera “Turandot” in Bird’s Nest (National Stadium), Andrea Bocelli Concert, “China’s Three Tenors” global tour, stage play “Four Generations under One Roof,” “Wonderful Harmony” Ding Yi and Hayley World Tour Concert, “Chinese Story—Lights from Himalaya” Ye Xiaogang Concert, 5D musical “The Feast of the Princess” and APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting Variety Show, INTOSAI night, Sarah Brightman Solo Concer, Leehom music-man Solo Concert, Korean superstar Lee Minho Solo Concert. The member enterprises also produced original, exquisite art works, including acrobatic show and “Dream of Golden Clown,” dance drama “Nuwa” (a goddess in Chinese mythology), real-life children’s drama “A Flying Dream,” animated puppet drama “Monkey King’s Adventures in the East Sea.” These works have won awards both at home and abroad, including “Five ‘One’ Project Award” by the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the CPC, “The National Drama Wenhua Award” by Ministry of Culture, “Top 10 Dramas of National Stage Art Quality Project,” “The Special Jury Prize” of China Gold Record Award, “The President’s Award” at Tomorrow International Acrobatics Festival in France and “Golden Clown Awards” at International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo.
The Group has been awarded “Top 30 Cultural Enterprises of China” for three times, “Top 10 Influential (life & economy) Enterprises of Beijing”, “Top 10 Art Performance Institution”, and “Top 3 Art Performance Group in China,” “Top 500 Asian Brands,” “Top 500 China’s Brand Enterprise,” etc. It has won high praise from all sectors of society at home and abroad.
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