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Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet. PETR SVAB/EPOCH TIMES

Sukhishvili Georgian

National Ballet to Invigorate Lincoln Center Again By Milene Fernandez | Epoch Times Staff

NEW YORK—Elegant and soft-spoken, Nino Sukhishvili’s beautiful face was glowing as she described the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet, during a two-day visit to New York. The worldrenowned dance company will perform again in the city on Oct. 4 at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, as well as in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington—celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Nino Sukhishvili, executive producer of the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet, in New York on Aug. 30.

It seems to be filling a universal need for the joy of a rich tradition that the dances communicate.

Her grandparents, Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili founded the company in 1945 just at the end of World War II, and when Georgia was ruled by the red terror of Stalin’s Soviet Union. Once a dancer in the company, Sukhishvili decided to dedicate her whole life to running the company. She is the executive producer while her brother, Ilia Sukhishvili, who also danced in the company, is the artistic director. “You have to love it more than yourself, and then it will work,” Sukhishvili said, recalling her grandmother’s advice.

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September 18–24, 2015 TheEpochTimes.com/EpochArts PETR SVAB/EPOCH TIMES

Sukhishvili Georgian

National Ballet to Invigorate Lincoln Center Again Ballet continued from C1 Stronghold of Culture At the crossroads of Asia and Europe, from the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia extends west to the Black Sea, sandwiched between Turkey and Russia. Despite being subjected to Persian, Arab, Turkish, Mongol, and Russian domination over centuries, Georgia has protected its ancient and rich cultural heritage up to today. “I don’t know any other country in the world where folk dance is so popular as it is in my country,� Sukhishvili said noting the wide influence her company has had on Georgians of all ages in the past 70 years. “It is very important for us because our dance company is a treasure for the country,� Sukhishvili said. CHRISTIAN MILES STOMSVIK/CMS PHOTOS

A lot very good energy comes from the dancers to the audience and the audience feels it. You just have to see it to experience it. Nino Sukhishvili

Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet.

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Nino Sukhishvili, executive producer of the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet, in New York on Aug. 30. Dynamic Dance Style Mostly based on traditional Georgian folk dance, the choreography combines classical ballet and modern dance elements, introducing incremental changes over time, which Sukhishvili attributes to part of their success. “It’s more rapid now, the movements are more diďŹƒcult and complicated, and the skilllevel of the technique is very high,â€? Sukhishvili said. For the past 70 years, the dance troupe of more than 50 dancers has toured around the world over 300 times, performing in 100 countries in top venues for more than 60 million people. The dancers create and transform harmonious patterns on stage, spiraling with a kind of symmetry and timing reminiscent of how you could imagine the formation of stars and galaxies. They gallop, jump, spin, and spar each other with swords and daggers, full of mesmerizing energy to mostly percussive, folk music played by an ensemble of about 15 musicians on stage. The male dancers are incredibly strong and masculine, so much so that they even jump onto and spin on their knees and scurry on their toes wearing very thin, soft leather boots—a unique attribute of Georgian dance. The female dancers also have incredible endurance, but their demeanor shows a dignified femininity. They glide on the stage, sailing in tempo, while gracefully gesturing with their arms and hands, as if weaving a tale. “All of Georgian history is reflected in the dances,â€? Sukhishvili said. “You can imagine what kind of people have lived in Georgia, what kind of country it is, how ancient it is. You can feel it,â€? she added. Although Georgia is a small country, its various regions have distinct characteristics—the mountain dance, the shepherd’s dance, the hunter’s dance, the seashore dance, and the urban dance—are all dierent. Watching their repertoire transports audiences to each region. The company’s worldwide success indicates how it doesn’t only appeal to Georgians. It seems to be filling a universal need for the joy of a rich tradition that the dances communicate. Sukhishvili recalled meeting a couple back stage after a performance at the Chicago Opera House in 2007. They showed her a program from 1960 that both of her grandparents had autographed. She said they told her, “When we heard that you were coming, we thought, is it the same company that we couldn’t forget?â€? Sukhishvily has met people who have seen the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet perform 20, 30, and even over 40 times. “So its not only me who can watch our show for endless hours,â€? Sukhishvili said smiling. She and her brother watch every performance standing in the wings of theater stages, supporting the dancers and looking for what can be changed or improved. Although the dances are predominantly based on Georgian folk dance and folk dance is communal, the style of the national company derives from its founders. Legendary Couple Sukhishvili’s described her grandmother, a classical ballet dancer, as elegant and charming, and her folk dancer grandfather

as humorous yet sophisticated. They met in the 1920s becoming partners on stage and in life. Together they decided to fulfill a dream of establishing a unique Georgian national dance company that would combine diverse folk dance traditions with their own artistry. They had false starts in the ‘30s trying to find a way through diďŹƒcult times, living under a communist totalitarian regime. “At that time there were not many Georgian dancers, so my grandparents would find people on the street and actually try to teach them how to dance,â€? Sukhishvili said. The couple emphasized folk dance as the basis of the company, avoiding any “bourgeois tendencies,â€? and at that time they strategically called the company, “The Georgian State Folk Dance Company.â€? The Soviet Union allowed the company to perform and it was even the first to travel abroad on tour. “The period of Stalin was just an awful time for the country. Georgians have always tried to fight for independence ‌ to keep their soul, protect their language, culture, and land, which was very hard back then,â€? Sukhishvili said. Sukhishvili’s grandparents were close friends of George Balanchine from the time when Balanchine was living in the Soviet Union. Balanchine asked Iliko Sukhishvili to go with him to the United States. Sukhishvili recounted what her grandfather told Balanchine that he could only create a Georgian dance company in his country. When the Sukhishvili company performed in the United States in 1959 and the couple met Balanchine again after so many years, Balanchine told the couple that they did the right thing because they had created a unique and great dance company, Sukhishvili recounted smiling. Then Balanchine had told her grandparents, “But I also did my best creating the New York City Ballet.â€? Later the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet would perform at George Balanchine’s centennial anniversary in New York City in 2004. The last time it performed in New York was five years ago, now it is back to tell its story in a way that cannot be described in words. “A lot of very good energy comes from the dancers to the audience and the audience feels it. You just have to see it to experience it,â€? Sukhishvili said glowing.

Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet 70th Jubilee Anniversary Performances Philadelphia Lower Moreland Auditorium Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. New York Avery Fisher Hall Oct. 4, at 5:30 p.m. Baltimore Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. Washington, D.C. Lisner Hall Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. CHRISTIAN MILES STOMSVIK/CMS PHOTOS

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‘The Martian’ A MacGyver -in-Space Ode to Those Who Can Geek By Matthew Little | Epoch Times Staff TORONTO—“The Martian” is a man-versusMars adventure that pays tribute to those who can geek, with Matt Damon playing Mark Watney, an astronaut-botanist forced to become a kind of space MacGyver after he is stranded on the Red Planet. Watney is left behind after a storm forces his crew to evacuate Mars, believing him dead. He survives the storm, but he has no way to communicate with his crew or Earth and only a few months’ worth of food to last him the four years that will elapse before the next ship arrives. Whereas “Gravity,” the Toronto International Film Festival’s blockbuster space movie last year, was a 90-minute scramble for survival—an almost overdose of plot without much else—“The Martian” gives us time to breathe in a landscape where Damon’s character makes the impossible workable by solving one science problem after another. The adventure works, all the more so with plenty of humor. It would be too easy for a story about being stranded on Mars to veer toward the grim—left alone in a hostile world, abandoned. But that isn’t the case thanks to the dedication of “The Martian” to its source material, a book by the same name that even provided the film’s unusual disco soundtrack. Self-published by Andy Weir in 2011, “The Martian” earned rave reviews and was later picked up by Crown Publishing, a subsidiary

(L–R) Kate Mara, Matt Damon, and Jessica Chastain, cast of “The Martian,” at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11.

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, a botanist stranded on Mars in “The Martian.”

of Random House, with the film rights picked up by Twentieth Century Fox in 2013. When Weir finally got to see a cut of the film he could barely hold back the tears, he told a press conference hours before the movie’s premiere at TIFF on Sept. 11. “For the first five minutes of the movie I was choked up, just trying not to cry because this is the kind of thing you fantasize about as a writer, something like this happening, but you don’t really believe it will ever actually happen. It’s like when you’re a kid in little league and you’re like, ‘I’m going to be in the World Series,” he said. For the film’s acclaimed director, Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Gladiator”), the screenplay was all the reason he needed to do the film—welcome words to screenwriter Drew Goddard, who said Scott was his favorite director. Goddard, recounted Damon, described “The Martian” as a love letter to science. “The Martian” plays at times like a Western, and Scott told reporters of his love for that genre, how he had dreamed of being a cowboy until he was 18, raising concerns from his parents. “I was brought up on Westerns,” he said. Scott said he has taken basic themes of Westerns—man against nature or man against the odds—with him in every film he has done. But Damon is not a lone pioneer for the entire film. After connecting his character once again with his friends at NASA back on Earth, “The Martian” reveals the interdependency that

Like the book, the film is wellsteeped in real science, giving it a realism that respects intelligent viewers.

humans require but movies rarely acknowledge. Like the book, the film is well-steeped in real science, giving it a realism that respects intelligent viewers. Damon lands Watney’s often dry humor with aplomb and holds the screen well, given that much of the film is him talking to himself, or recording video journals. But there are plenty of scenes with the rest of the capable cast, including the NASA crew that includes Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Damon’s crewmates Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, and Michael Peña. Sebastian Stan of “Captain America” fame plays a crew member and said he was excited by the realism of the film and the vision it offered. “This is a very real film, in my opinion. I mean Mars, and going to Mars is definitely going to happen, I think, in our lifetime,” he said, adding that he was a big fan of NASA and the idea of going to Mars. “I just love being part of a movie that took place on Earth and then Mars but was also very real and grounded.” Damon said he felt good about being part of a film like “The Martian.” It’s a movie that expects the best from people, a belief that might be lacking in the world but is sorely needed, he said. “It’s a really optimistic and hopeful movie, and sometimes that’s our job to put something like that out in the middle of really tough times.”

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Josh Brolin stars as Matt Graver, a “Defense Department contractor,” in “Sicario.”

Film Review

Idealistic FBI Agent Becomes Pawn in Jaded CIA–Mexican Drug War By Mark Jackson | Epoch Times Staff ISIS beheadings, Mexican cartel beheadings—it’s pretty much the same deal. Parallels between the two evil institutions abound. Well, as the cartels down there maintain, the drug trade is just supply for the demand up here; we’ve got unprecedented levels of rural and small-town heroin addiction. New England is riddled with it. There’s an enormous market for pills and powders and herbs that make our great American spiritual depression cease and desist for a short while. Hence the cartel feeding frenzy. Drug War “Sicario” is a well-told tale of one attempt to stem the tide of drugs and violence pouring in here from down there. Ultimately, complete drug-flow stoppage won’t happen via CIA, FBI, and paramilitary teams, but through 12-step addiction programs and personal and spiritual cultivation. But that’s a different movie. Still, it’s interesting to pick up the drug war rock and see what’s crawling around under it. That’s exactly what “Sicario” does. “Sicario” is Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” on steroids. It’s got some disturbing imagery you won’t be able to unsee; it’s full of very bad hombres. And the

“good guys,” well, the cynicism level of the CIA is like hydrochloric acid. But it’s a dude film; dudes will appreciate it. And the cast is killer. And That British Chick Is Pretty Great Emily Blunt, that is. As door-kicker No. 1 on an FBI bust, agent Kate Macer (Blunt) roll-ducks a shotgun blast and puts the shooter down, whereupon her partner (Daniel Kaluuya) discovers a plastic bag peeking through the shotgunned hole in the drywall behind her. Guess what’s hiding in there? It’s a stunningly high body-count drywall morgue in a suburban Arizona house. The octopus-like arms of the cartels have grown long. Macer’s a no-nonsense, by-the-book, morally upright FBI field agent whose ringing idealism puts her squarely in the function of stand-in for the audience. Emily Blunt got this role because of her immensely believable, perfect-Americanaccented macho warrior work with Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow,” where her soulful blue eyes, power jawline and cleft chin, and the fact that she was heretofore a Shakespearean kind of girly-girl, gave her a magnetic je ne sais quoi.

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It is absurd in the 21st century for classical musicians of color to be a novelty! Chi-chi Nwanoku

Chineke!

Members of the Chineke! professional orchestra with founder Chi-chi Nwanoku (3rd R).

Aims to Broaden Your Mind About Classical Music By Kremena Krumova | Epoch Times Staff

T

The musicians come from a myriad of nationalities: African, Caribbean, Sri Lankan, Mauritian, Iranian, Bangladeshi, Indian, and others.

Chi-chi Nwanoku.

COURTESY OF CHI-CHI NWANOKU

he Chineke! Foundation “could deepen and enrich classical music in the United Kingdom for generations,” said the illustrious British conductor Sir Simon Rattle. The project is backed by key cultural organizations such as the British Council and Conservatoires U.K., and its brainchild, Europe’s first professional black and minority ethnic orchestra, debuted in London on Sept. 13. Chineke! was founded earlier this year by the England-born prominent bassist, educator, and activist Chi-chi Nwanoku, who received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for contributions to music in 2001. She aims to change the common perceptions about who can have access to, play, understand, and enjoy classical music. Everything started a decade ago when Nwanoku, whose roots come from southeast Nigeria and southern Ireland, discovered Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The latter was a son of a Senegalese slave on a plantation in Guadeloupe, and his father was a French aristocrat. Chevalier de Saint-Georges went to France when he was a child, was educated in an aristocratic environment, and later became one of Europe’s finest violinists, composers, and fencers. He gained the nickname “the black Mozart.” Nwanoku was shocked to know that someone like her had lived in the 18th century, and she started mulling over questions she had never “given any oxygen” to before, in her words. “I felt as though I [was] living in a bubble … I had accepted that I was raised in a very white and Western environment without ever questioning it,” said Nwanoku over the phone from London. Later, meeting with the British culture minister Ed Vaizey MP triggered even deeper thoughts. He invited her to a discussion on the underrepresentation of people of color in the classical music profession and asked her, “‘Chi-chi, why do I only ever see you walking onto the stage? Where are all the other ethnicities?’” And then, last year, the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, performed at the Southbank Center in London. “I saw people staring at the orchestra with a look of surprise and incredulity: How could there be such a thing—a big gathering

of people of African heritage playing classical music together—and successfully? “And as I left that concert, I knew I had a job to do: mostly to change the perception of what people of color are perceived to do or not to do. It is absurd in the 21st century for classical musicians of color to be a novelty!” Giving Children the Chance to Learn Classical Music In order to fulfill her mission, Nwanoku decided to start with children’s education and give children the chance that she herself had in her school days. She admits to having been lucky because during her school career, public schools (known in the United Kingdom as state schools) offered a music curriculum, which Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher removed when she came to office in the 1980s. As a result, now the majority of workingclass children in the country no longer have the chance to be exposed to classical music or an option to learn it. Their parents must invest in private lessons or their school teachers must support their efforts. And the working class is exactly where you will find more people of color and minorities, explained Nwanoku. So she took up the mission to work with the government to bring back music education into every single public school in the country—both primary and secondary. “Children who have the fortune to study music do so well in other subjects and in all the other aspects of life. … [Researchers] have proven so many times the beneficial quality of learning an instrument and classical music.” The first step in achieving the mission of Chineke! came soon after. The name is an exclamation that comes from the language of the Igbo ethnicity in Nigeria and means “Wonderful!” In 2015, Nwanoku established two Chineke! orchestras: a professional orchestra with 60 musicians and a junior orchestra with 30 members. Among them are some of the best European classical musicians of violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, and harp. The musicians come from a myriad of nationalities: African, Caribbean, Sri Lankan, Mauritian, Iranian, Bangladeshi, Indian, and others. The Chineke! professional orchestra played for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 13, in London’s Southbank Center, as part of the Africa Utopia Festival. Among other selections, the program included Beethoven’s Sym-

phony No.7, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade for orchestra, Op.33, and Philip Herbert’s “Elegy: In Memoriam–Stephen Lawrence.” The next step for Chineke! is to create a junior academy for intensive study programs. Already planned are one-week residential courses next summer for composers, conductors, artistic directors, orchestra librarians, and chief executives of orchestras, along with competitions, scholarships, and mentoring programs. All of these activities are planned while keeping in close contact with neighborhoods having high proportions of Bangladeshi, Somali, and Ethiopian families. “We have been offered various projects in such areas and are invited to be role models in these communities. It is fantastic!” Nwanoku said. Prejudice and Fears As with any change, Nwanoku faced difficulties while convincing people of the importance of the Chineke! project, especially in fundraising and during the selection of the orchestras’ musicians. Three or four musicians were concerned about possible backlashes, explained the project’s founder. Because these musicians already had a successful career in Europe, they feared a reprisal from their white colleagues for their association with the project. Some of these musicians have low esteem because of their skin color, she said. “We at Chineke! have to take the responsibility to help people who have not had such a successful time because of the color of their skin, and not because of their lack of ability … They need help to break down these problems.” The challenges are not only about color. Nwanoku expects that many in the audience of the launch concert might have never been to a classical concert before. Likely they think “Oh, it is not for people like me” and feel it is too high-brow for them or that they are not qualified to understand classical music. There might also be people in the audience who wanted to come because it is safe to come, because people of ethnicity are playing, whereas others might not want to come because they think “The people on the stage don’t look like me,” so they might not feel welcome. “I think this concert is already going to start changing perceptions for people on both sides,” she said. To follow on Twitter: @Chineke4Change


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September 18–24, 2015 TheEpochTimes.com/EpochArts ERIC RICHMOND

Film Review

Goddess Mother of the World Decides Who Lives and Who Dies By Mark Jackson | Epoch Times Staff Mount McKinley just got its real name back. Denali. Meaning “The Great One.” Mount Everest’s real (Tibetan) name is Chomolungma, meaning “Goddess Mother of the World.” That’s a sight more poetic than the British surveyor it was secondarily named after. Too bad Obama can’t go over there and shake things up. Mount Everest is a microcosm of the troubles of the world—respect for the divine mountain goddess went missing, and the highest mountain on the planet is now littered with trash, dead climbers, empty oxygen tanks, and human feces. The last straw was the commercialization of Everest with guided, bucket-list tours to the top. At least in the past you had to be a hard man of great grit to get up there. Now you pay your $65,000.00, and up you go. Who’s to blame? No one, really. Fly-fishing guides, white-water rafting guides, Everest guides; it was only a matter of time. Now we’ve wrecked Chomolungma’s fragile ecosystem—it’s not that far a step from needing to stand on top of Everest, to being the notorious Michigan dentist who poached that magnificent African lion. A microcosm of the world’s current problems. And now for the actual movie. Based on a True Story There are three kinds of stories: Man versus Man, Man versus Himself, and Man versus Nature. Actually “Everest” is a mix of all three. “Everest” tells the tale of two teams made up of amateur climbers, professional guides, and sherpas, who got caught in a violent storm on the day of their summit bid, in May, 1996. Eight people died. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), owner of New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants took leave of Jan, his pregnant wife (Keira Knightley), to team up with a mailman from Seattle, Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), and wealthy, tough guy Texan Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), among others.

The roller coaster-level, stomachlurching 3-D will put you right over the black, bottomless crevasses on a shaky metal ladder.

‘Everest’ Director Baltasar Kormakur Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright, Vanessa Kirby,  Ang Phula Sherpa Running Time 2 hour, 1 minute Release Date Sept. 18 Rated PG-13

The now-famous author Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), who was a relatively unknown journalist at the time, was also along for the ride. He was to write an article about Hall. His 1997 best-selling book about the climb, “Into Thin” Air,” wasn’t the only source “Everest” screenwriters William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy used to craft their script. Making a Molehill Out of a Mountain Looking back, the idea of taking middle-aged tourists, amateurs to death-zone-level mountaineering (the cruising altitude of a 747 airliner we’re told, where the human body starts literally dying), up the world’s most spectacularly gigantic mountain, when some clients were already spitting up blood and exhibiting other signs of major stress prior to the summit portion of the ascent, was more than a little foolhardy. Also, when the Adventure Consultants crew finally pull into Everest base camp, there are altogether a staggering, United Nations-like, 20 different teams milling about, gumming up the works, most of whom want to summit precisely on May 10. It’s highly cliché to say “recipe for disaster” but sometimes the cliché says it best. One friendly rival outfit called Mountain Madness is headed up by Scott Fischer, a classic 1970s hippie-climber throwback, played to perfection by a bushy-bearded, long-haired Jake Gyllenhaal, with the chill attitude of such extreme sports types that belies a fiery inner wildman. Acclimatizing Clearly, you can’t just mosey up Everest. You have to get in shape; a series of shorter ascents to adjust the body to thin air, before attempting the summit. This is where the warning signal of hacking up blood gets started. It must be said (with another cliché) that these vacationing hacks are some tough customers. You have to give them credit. Back in the big tent, Krakauer starts in with UNIVERSAL PICTURES/UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) in the United Nations-like base-camp in “Everest.”

the perennial (cliché) question the public always wants to know: “Why do you climb?” Everyone coyly and conveniently sidesteps the personal inventory invasion by hollering the line made famous by Mallory, “Because it’s there!” Director Baltasar Kormakur doesn’t get that question answered in this movie. If you want to find out why climber’s climb, read my review of “Meru,” a groundbreaking documentary about the Shark’s Fin, a vastly more dangerous Himalayan climb than Everest, featuring exclusively tier-one, world-class hard-men Alpinists, where Krakauer himself narrates, and explains why climbers climb, in great detail. Time to Go for It The roller coaster-level, stomach-lurching 3-D will put you right over the black, bottomless crevasses on a shaky metal ladder, and make you wish, for a few seconds, like some of those climbers that you hadn’t come on this trip. Storms! Subzero! Extreme fatigue! Blurred vision! More blood-puking! The cache of oxygen tanks has gone missing! A bunch of fixed ropes too! And bad decision making into the bargain! Who’s Who? The main problem with the film is that it’s hard to tell who’s who, underneath all that Marmot, Gore-Tex, North Face, and Black Diamond equipment and mountain wear; crampons, ice-axes, jumars, and whatnot. It’s hard to act through all that material, and over all that clanking hardware. The women—Watson, Knightley, and Wright, function as the film’s emotional anchors, since we can see their actual faces, in various quiet settings, perpetually on satellite phones. Watson in particular handles most of the tough reaction shots to bad news coming down from the mountain top—like the pro she is. She makes you feel something. The guys up on the mountain, not so much. Knightley should win an Oscar for least-vanity-impaired scene by a beautiful actress, for come-what-may, gushing-facial-body-fluids scene. In the end though, the real star is definitely Chomolungma herself—all 29,029 feet of her. We’re told early on: “The last word belongs to the mountain.” And so it should. Puny, puking, flailing humans. How dare they attempt to mount the goddess and fling their feces about like the hairless apes they sometimes appear to be? Still. Mountain climbing is a metaphor for the razor’s edge path of spiritual enlightenment, and all those who are drawn to it must be respected for heeding the faint call of their Buddha-nature seeking to emerge, though they climb mostly in ignorance of that fact. R.I.P. and blessings to all those who still lie, frozen, on the great somber face of Chomolungma.


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Film Review

Idealistic FBI Agent Becomes Pawn in Jaded CIA–Mexican Drug War ‘Sicario’

Sicario continued from C3 Kate Auditions Interviews ensue in the wake of the Arizona mayhem. They like Kate’s style. Who does? We’re not sure, but it looks like a fantasy football interagency task force of alpha-dog operators is being cherry-picked to follow up on the drywall morgue situation. Macer’s the best kidnapping specialist. But is that really why they want her on the team? The main auditioner is one Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a rules-and-formalities eschewing, beach-sandals-wearing, gum-snapping bro with perfect hair and a killer smile. He’s a “Defense Department contractor” (sure he is). Talk about your snake and lady-charmer. Brolin was born to play this kind of slick, boyishly charming manly-man. Macer is expertly schmoozed, bamboozled, and flattered into believing she’s needed on this op because she’s so awesome. She’s still naively seeing bad guys versus law enforcement as black-and-white, but Graver is clearly very, very gray. We highly suspect her idealism is in for a rude awakening. Right about now, someone who might be the titular “sicario” shows up. That would be Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). “Sicario” is Spanish slang for hitman. But Alejandro claims to be a “former Mexican prosecutor” (sure he is). Whoever he is, he carries deadly gravitas.

Director Denis Villeneuve Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Garber Running Time 2 hours, 1 minute Release Date Sept. 18 (limited) Oct. 2 (wide) Rated: R

Mexico Eventually, the crack agent team (no pun intended) travels down to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to snare one minor cartel boss (linked to the Arizona incident), in order to smoke out an even bigger one. Juárez—you don’t want to go there. Nightmarish images hang off bridges in those parts. Which brings us to a topnotch set piece: Once they collar the small-fry boss and start heading back across the border (accompanied by a substantial motorcade of Federales), a massive traffic jam sets like cement; the Americans are suddenly sitting ducks. Cars are spotted, inching forward, packed to the gills with face-tattooed bad hombres packing military-grade hardware. Unfortunately for los hombres, the American convoy contains U.S. Army Delta Force operators, tier-one CIA field-spooks, and one tough FBI chick. Which is like putting a feral dog pack up against dogfight-trained pit bulls. The tension winds tight as a steel winch—dudes will enjoy the ensuing spec ops versus cartel henchmen smackdown. Escalation There are tunnels, illegals, and shady deals, with Macer running around trying to figure it all out, and grinning Graver acting like a camp counselor: “Stick around, learn something.”

THINGS TO DO COMMUNITY EVENTS NEW IN MANHATTAN Special Tea Ceremony by Souheki Mori of Tea-Whisk Sept. 19 at 3 p.m.

Globus Chashitsu, KeiSui-an 889 Broadway, PHC Twelve Kimono will be shipped from Kikusuiro, Nara, Japan, that is the oldest Ryokan established in 1891. $40. Tea-Whisk.com

STOP Trafficking of People Fashion Show Fundraiser Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. O’Marche–The Globe Showroom 263 W. 38th St., 11th Floor Under the High Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Francois Delattre

Ambassador of France to the United Nations, Florence & Alizée Klein, fashion designers of Alexia Klein, and with the support of fashion designer Catherine Malandrino and best seller French author Marc Levy. Donation recommended. StopTraffickingofPeople.org Autumn Crafts Festival Oct. 3, 4, 10, 11 Saturdays 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. & Sundays 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Lincoln Center Plaza 64th Street at Columbus Avenue Juried craft displays selected from every region of the United States. Continuous entertainment, craft demonstrations. Free. CraftsAtLincoln.org The Unseen Holocaust: Recent Polish Films Oct. 25 at 2 p.m., Oct. 27–28 at 7 p.m., Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Place The fall of communism ushered in a new era of candid and artistically accomplished Polish filmmaking about the Holocaust. This week-long series presents features, documentaries, and short films rarely seen in the United States. Discussions with experts will follow the screenings. $15 public, $12 members. MJHnyc.org

And as the film throttles up, mystery man Alejandro’s story takes center stage. He’s an independent operative looking for revenge. The CIA benefits from turning him loose, since (to continue the canine metaphors) he’s a bloodhound crossed with a pit bull, looking to settle a score. With whom, we’re not sure, but you can bet it’s someone the CIA wants dead. Always unpredictable and unnerving, Del Toro’s Alejandro is riveting and complex. He shows us the humanity in the predator, the nightmares haunting his sleep, and the tenderness for the vulnerable female agent who reminds him of someone very close, taken away too soon. Wolves, Not Dogs The ominous statement by Alejandro is that the world has become a place where only wolves can survive. The cartels are the wolves; the government operators who used to be sheepdogs are now also often wolves. And the wolves take advantage of the chickens. The quicker the chickens stop pecking at the cartel chicken feed, the quicker the drug war wolves become a non-issue. Just say no. That’ll help (sure it will). But seriously, when it comes to war—Vietnam War, drug war, whatever (war is war)—the last monologue of “Platoon” says it best: “I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. And the enemy was in us.”

Caleb Bingham is best known for his compelling depictions of frontier life along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. $12–$25 suggested. METMuseum.org

in our theater complex in downtown New York. The motto of the festival is “Dream Up: Invent, Concoct.” $12, $15, $18, $20. DreamupFestival.org

Richard Estes: Painting New York City Through Sept. 20 Museum of Arts & Design, 2 Columbus Circle Spanning from the mid1960s to the present “Richard Estes: Painting New York City” presents works by this photorealist photographer. The exhibition presents a range of Estes’s paintings and works on paper, including his photographs, silkscreens and woodcuts and their various proofs, states, and art-making tools. $12–$16. MADMuseum.org

BalletNext Oct. 27–31, Nov. 3–7 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 31 & Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. New York Live Arts 219 W. 19th St. Dance and music play on and off of each other to create a fiercely magical experience. Tickets start at $15. NewYorkLiveArts.org

Hidden Likeness: Photographer Emmet Gowin and the Morgan Through Sept. 20 The Morgan Library & Museum One of the most original and influential photographers of his generation, Emmet Gowin (born 1941) is also among the most attuned to the deep historical life of images. $12–$18. TheMorgan.org

PERFORMING ARTS

NEW ELSEWHERE

NEW IN MANHATTAN

Brooklyn Book Festival Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. Borough Hall Reinforce your totes for this all-day book bash because after passing through dozens of panels, readings and, of course, books, you’ll have enough reading to take home for the next year. This years slate of guests includes Dennis Lehane, Jon Ronson, Tracy K. Smith and Mona Eltahawy. Free. BrooklynBookFestival.org

Anna Bolena Sept. 26–Jan. 9 Metropolitan Opera 30 Lincoln Center Plaza Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky embarks on her quest to vocally conquer all three of Donizetti’s historic Tudor queen operas in the same season, here as a young royal grasping at power and paying a terrible price. From $27. MetOpera.org

VISUAL ARTS ONGOING IN MANHATTAN Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River Through Sept. 20 Metropolitan Museum of Art One of the foremost American genre painters of the 19th century, George

Dream Up Festival Through Sept. 20 Monday–Friday at 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and Saturdays–Sundays 2 p.m., 5 .m., 8 p.m. Theater for the New City at 155 First Ave. A three week long anthology of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, poetry, music, and dance from performing artists representing theater and performance companies

MUSIC NEW IN MANHATTAN Dine and Dance With Sinatra Sept. 26 at 5 p.m.–11 p.m. ‘21’ Club 21 West 52nd St. Hosted in the sophisticated Puncheon Room and Gallery, crooner Nick Drakides and his band will play for your dining and dancing pleasure. $165. 21club.com TeRra Han, Kayageum Sept. 29, 8 p.m. Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall 57th Street and Seventh Avenue Korean musician TeRra Han plays the kayageum, or 12-string zither. $50. CarnegieHall.org The Big Picture Oct 14 at 7 p.m., Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Place In this cinematic concert, Grammy-nominated clarinetist David Krakauer explores the intersection of music and Jewish identity in iconic movies of the last 50 years. Krakauer adds his contemporary style to beloved songs from films ranging from Funny Girl and Fiddler on the Roof to Sophie’s Choice and The Pianist. $35 general admission, $30 for seniors and students, $25 for members and groups of ten or more. MJHnyc.org

Dear Readers If you have an event to suggest, please send details to NYC_Arts@ EpochTimes.com in the format you see here.


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September 18–24, 2015 TheEpochTimes.com/EpochArts AKISATO RITO/PUBLIC DOMAIN

An 18th-century depiction of kemari, the Japanese version of “Cuju.”

Essence of China

Cuju

2,000 Years of Ancient Chinese Soccer SU HANCHEN/PUBLIC DOMAIN

By Leo Timm | Epoch Times Staff

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ccording to FIFA, the earliest form of soccer was a Chinese invention. Dating back some 2,400 years, the ancient Chinese game of Cuju shares key similarities with the modern sport—no hands or arms are allowed and goals are scored by kicking a ball through two posts. And like contemporary soccer, Cuju enjoyed massive popularity on a professional scale. First mention of the sport appears in the Warring States-era text “Zhan Guo Ce.” It seems to have originated in eastern China’s Qi State. By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.—220 A.D.), the game was called Cuju, best translated as “kick ball.” The balls used were made of leather and filled with fur or hair. Texts from this era credit the game’s creation with the legendary yellow emperor, or, more realistically, soldiers looking to improve their footwork. The game was incredibly popular for many centuries, to the point that it was played professionally among both commoners and in the imperial court. Liu Bang, founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, was a known Cuju enthusiast. This resulted in Cujiu becoming a more highly specialized sport. The imperial palace included a dedicated Cuju court where professional teams of 12 players each would face off. Another Han emperor, the great Wu Di, was so fond of Cuju that he regularly had his attendants pen articles about the sport. A Han Dynasty text established the rules and interpretation of Cuju. The round ball and the square court symbolized the traditional Daoist concepts of yin and yang. In comparison to modern soccer, the goals were small, moonshaped holes and there were six of them at either end of the court. The 24 players and their team captains would elect a referee before the game, who was to mediate based on the regulations and according to the standards of fair sportsmanship. Already in the Han Dynasty, Cuju’s popularity had reached obsessive levels. The “Shiji,” or Records of the Grand Historian, mentions the case of Xiang Chu, who kept playing Cuju despite the advice of his doctor, who had diagnosed him with a hernia. The stubborn fan eventually died of his illness playing his beloved sport. Cuju enjoyed increasing popularity for over a dozen centuries. In China’s final imperial dynasty, the Qing (1644—1911), the game was modified to be played on skating rinks. Peak and Decline By the Tang and Song dynasties, Cuju was enjoyed by both men and women, and nobles

In comparison to modern soccer, the goals were small, moonshaped holes and there were six of them at either end of the court.

Cuju, best translated as ‘kick ball,’ used balls made of leather and filled with fur or hair.

QIAN XUAN/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Song Emperor Taizu plays Cuju with Prime Minister Zhao Pu.

and commoners. One ancient text depicts the splendid scene of a women’s match involving 153 people. The ladies, wearing four colors of embroidered silk clothing and sashes, played for an audience of tens of thousands. In the 10th century, during the Song Dynasty, professional Cuju clubs appeared in many major Chinese cities. Individual players attained fame and fortune. These associations are considered the world’s first sports clubs. The Cuju societies were selective. Nonprofessional players would formally take up study with experts and had to achieve a certain level of mastery before gaining acceptance to a club. Gao Qiu, a government official who served the Song Emperor Huizong, was known for his excellent skills in Cuju. A Cuju league, the Qiyun She, organized annual nationwide championships. Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty was known for his freestyle Cuju, by which he made use of his head, shoulders, back, abdomen, and knees to control the ball, keeping it in the air for extended periods. Cuju also features in one of the Four Great Chinese Novels, the “Outlaws of the Marsh.” The Cuju-playing official Gao Qiu appears as one of the antagonists, and is mentioned as being the Grand Marshall of the sport by decree of the emperor. During the Song period, as in the Han, Cuju was a frequent spectacle enjoyed in the imperial court. Cuju fell into decline during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The game became associated with brothels and decadence. Teams of prostitutes would organize and play Cuju in hopes of attracting more customers; officials and the nobility would neglect their duties of leadership to indulge in Cuju and other forms of entertainment. In an attempt to shape up his administration, Zhu Yuanzhang, founding emperor of the Ming, even banned the sport. As time went on, Cuju suffered from a poor reputation and began to go out of fashion. By modern times, Cuju had become extinct in China. Though Cuju is a thing of the Chinese past, it survives in Japanese shrines, where a stylized version called kemari is performed. Kemari was introduced from continental Asia over 1,400 years ago during Japan’s Asuka period. Unlike Cuju, it is neither competitive nor professional; the object is to keep the ball airborne for as long as possible. Even in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Japan underwent extensive modernization, the sport received backing from the emperor and nobles, who helped preserve this ancient East Asian tradition.

Children play Cuju in a Song Dynasty painting.

Stoney Creek Cremation & Burial Society 3024 QUENTIN ROAD BROOKLYN, NY 11234

718.339.0700 STONEYCREEKCREMATION.COM STONEYCREEKCREMATION@GMAIL.COM Primarily an online service, serving families conveniently at their own home — through a computer.


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September 18–24, 2015 TheEpochTimes.com/EpochArts

Standout Designers

k r Yo eek w W e N on t a hi s a F By Kati Vereshaka | Epoch Times Staff

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he 2015 New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has come to a close. Here are a few highlights we picked out from the past week:

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Tadashi Shoji in the Mood for a Japanese Spring Summer lingered long enough to suit the mood on the first day of New York Fashion Week when Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji showed his diaphanous collection. Set against a fluorescent wisteria backdrop, tulle dresses of various lengths evoked the romance of a Japanese garden in spring and a trip down memory lane for Shoji. Innovation was not the key, instead, the designer set his sights on crafting and communicating the emotion of his vision through subtle shades of lavender, purple and electric blue. The collection also heralded the “it” color of the season, or lack thereof—white.

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Controlled Elements at Jason Wu Jason Wu told The Associated Press that he was “very, very” inspired for this collection—by themes such as the photographs of John Rawlings, a prominent fashion photographer who worked from the 1930s to the 1960s. Clean tailoring underpinned dresses with a touch of glamour that were shaped by ruffles and fringes, in metallic black, blue-gray, and silver. His color palette also included rust and forest green. In the latter hue was a lovely coat that opened the show. It had layers around the neckline and was vaguely reminiscent of the 1980s. Were it not for the flat chunky sandals and minimalist hairstyles, the collection might have erred on the side of being overly retro.

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Marissa Webb Finds Uniform Beauty Be it army uniforms or fishing jackets, whatever the inspiration for the unusual vests in Marissa Webb’s collection, they worked well to mitigate the pretty floral prints. What stood out was Webb’s mastery of color. Who knew that an indigo floral print dress is so spectacular when paired with turquoise sandals— tassels flying around the ankles in summery nonchalance. The collection had movement and grace. It beckoned to the inhabitants of the urban jungle to embrace beauty for once. In Webb’s jungle color is king.

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Shimmering metallic, hand-cut floral appliqués over sheer fabric in the Lela Rose Spring 2016 collection.

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Altuzarra Should be Proud Fashion designers often try to justify their creative choices by going through their sources of inspiration, weaving their explanations into neat little narratives. Why they feel compelled to do that might belong more to the realm of personal therapy than fashion. In fact, most of the time, this isn’t necessary. Would it help Joseph Altuzarra’s clientele to know that he was touched by “the ease and humility” of materials found in the Basque region? His collection was many things, but humble it was not. The alligator tunic and alligator coat were the epitome of luxe. Perhaps the high-heel espadrilles were meant to imbue the ensemble with some humility. The rest of the collection also veered more toward serious sophistication with dresses and tops embroidered with mother-of-pearl. A sheer black dress covered in white beads was vaguely reminiscent of folk embroidery, but it sure made for an arresting sight. Same with the three white versions—white embellishments on white fabric. This time, the subtle contrasts between the textures of the beads—the mother-of-pearl— and the sheer fabric were scintillating and luxurious. Altuzarra should be proud of this collection and of course proud of his Basque roots—pride would ring truer than humility anyway, especially in the context of New York Fashion Week.

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An Ode to Craft by Tory Burch Tory Burch’s collection drew on handcrafts such as needlepoint and even crochet. A few saffron yellow and blue dresses paid homage to crochet, which of course they weren’t. What they were was almost as light as lace yet graphically as striking as crochet. Caftans and tunics over wide-leg trousers imbued the collection with a holiday feel that did not compromise elegance and catered to both young and old.

1. In Marissa Webb’s urban jungle, color is king. 2. Floral elements were embroidered or appliquéd sparingly and sometimes juxtaposed onto geometric mesh in Tadashi Shoji’s collection. 3. Clean tailoring underpinned dresses with a touch of glamour and retro in Jason Wu’s collection.

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4. Joseph Altuzarra’s luxurious collection touched on the white trend with white mother-of-pearl embellishments on white.


Epoch Arts 9-18-2015