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Teddy Robin Kwan honored/Fulcrum Point New Music Project/Asian Pop-Up Cinema Review-A Spate of Films and Music

By Debra Davy

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Asian Pop-Up Cinema, “Chicago’s Got Cantonese Talent” Winners, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and Teddy Robin Kwan

Jennifer Zhang and Fulcrum Point musicians performing "Til Death Do We Scare"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

Asian Pop-Up Cinema, (APUC) a semi-annual Asian Film Festival, is the brainchild of Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of “Sophia’s Choice”, whose mission is cultivating interest in Asian culture through film, connecting individuals in the film industry for professional and educational exchanges, and promoting Chicago as a premiere destination for Asian filmmakers.

 APUC Season 4 began March 1st and will conclude May 3rd, 2017, having screened 18 contemporary films from Asia of mixed genres including 1 World Premiere, 3 U.S. premieres, and 5 Chicago premieres, featuring 8 Festival guests from Asia in attendance.

 APUC’s Season 4 final film, the Chicago premiere of “Love, Lies”, (South Korea, 2016), will be shown on Wednesday night, May 3rd, 2017, at 7 PM at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street, with Director Park Kim attending.


Poster for "Love, Lies"; photo courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema

“Love Lies”, described as “a tragedy of jealousy and desires”, is a period drama film produced by Park Sun-jin, written by Ha Young-jin, Jeon Yin-su and Song Hye-jin. Starring Han Hyo-joo, Chun Woo-hee and Yoo Yeon-seok, with music by Lee Byung-hoon, it runs 120 minutes.

The action takes which takes place during the imperial Japanese occupation of Korea in 1943. The 2 female leads are best friends and “gisaeng”, or highly trained courtesan/artists, knowledgeable in the arts, who “worked to entertain others”. While they enjoyed modern pop music, they are committed to singing “jeongga”, or classical Korean songs. They both are in love with a pop music producer, and life becomes unmanageable for one as she is consumed with ungovernable jealousy  which ruins her life. The film is notable for it’s all-too-human realistic passion as well as it’s excellent and “meticulous reconstruction of 1940’s Seoul, with period-correct sets, props, costumes and music”.

 Teddy Robin Kwan, better known as Teddy Robin, is a Hong Kong English pop singer-songwriter, actor and director, composer and producer, whose career began in the 1960’s when Hong Kong English pop was at the peak of it’s popularity in Hong Kong; he led a band named “Teddy Robin and the Playboys”.


Teddy Robin Kwan; photo courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema

APUC hosted “Chicago’s Got Cantonese Talent”, (CGCT) a singing contest on Saturday, March 4th, 2017, in honor of Teddy Robin Kwan’s legendary career. The contest featured some of his most popular songs. The winners are:

-Renee Nanzer, an international singer of foreign languages and Chicago-based musician

-Chris Upapong, a classically trained violinist with experience in Chinese instruments

-Fan Yang, a voice performance major at Roosevelt University

-Jennifer Zhang, an award-winning musician, model, actress and the 2015 Miss Friendship Ambassador of Chicago


Musicians performing "Grab It" by Jacob TV at "Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant-Pop"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

Fulcrum Point New Music Project (FPNMP) is a Chicago leader of diverse new present that presents multi-media performances, generates educational programs and commissions/records innovative works. Dedicated to the concepts of diversity, access and inclusion, FPNMP is a global catalyst for extending the boundaries of the musical experience. Always in the vanguard, always in collaboration with excellence, FPNMP has led the way for 19 years, educating audiences of all ages to experience the possibilities and joy of music!


Stephen Burns, Artistic Director, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, introducing "Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant-Pop"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

On April 21st, 2017, the above 4 CPUC winners, who had performed in Cantonese for the first time at CGCT, appeared with FPNMP at the Chicago International Movie and Music Festival’s (CIMMFEST) “Spring Fling”opener, in a concert entitled “Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant Pop”. Musical artists included Stephen Burns, FPNMP Artistic Director, trumpet; David Jackson, trombone; Jennifer Oh Brown, flute; Peter Ferry, percussion; Steve Roberts, guitar; Christian Dillingham, bass; Michael Keefe, keyboard; and Jeremy Ruthrauff, sax.

The program featured 3 works of Amsterdam-based “musical terrorist” Jacob TV: “Close Fight”, “I Was Like, Wow”, and “Grab It”.

Also performed was the Midwest premiere of “Hair Cloth and Thread” by Valerie Coleman.

From "Hair Cloth and Thread", by Valerie Coleman, performed by Jennifer Oh Brown and Peter Ferry at "Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant-Pop"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

Finally, 3 Teddy Robin Kwan songs that stayed at the top of the Cantapop music charts and had a great influence on their time and place,  “City on Fire”, “Cops and Robbers”, and “Till Death Do We Scare” were presented by the CGCT winners.

David Jackson, trombone, performing "I Was Like, Wow", by Jacob TV, presented at "Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant Pop"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

 All of the music featured a video backdrop on a large screen behind the musicians/ singers.  Jacob TV’s works, ever new and enthralling, also consisted of soundtrack. It would be hard to separate the effects of the music in these pieces from the video/commentary. The FPNMP musicians are all virtuoso and perform in immersive manner, whether it be Peter Ferry playing the drums backward, Steve Roberts bopping to the pop, or Jennie Oh entranced and entrancing all as flautist. The Kwan songs were performed with great zest and almost deadpan delivery by a crew that resembled a modern day Village People. The concert was well attended and a lot of fun.

Peter Ferry, percussionist, performing at "Hong Kong Pop Meets Avant-Pop"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer


On April 25th, 2017, 2 of Teddy Robin Kwan’s films, “She Remembers, He Forgets”, 2015, and “Gallants”, 2010, were screened at PianoForte Chicago, 1335 S. Michigan.

 On May 11, 2017, at 5:30 PM, at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, APUC will present Teddy Robin Kwan with a Lifetime Achievement Award. FPNMP will headline the evening with a multi-media musical performance of Kwan’s award-winning scores. The CGCT winners will perform 3 of Kwan’s theme songs.


Fan Yang and Chris Upapong with Fulcrum Point musicians performing "Cops and Robbers"; photo by Anna Munzesheimer

For more information about APUC, go to the asianpopupcinema website


For more information about FPNMP, go to the fulcrmpoint website






Published on Apr 30, 2017

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