Frank Gehry Exhibit through End of November

Posted on 31 October 2010 | No responses

30441by rudenoon
A pleasant surprise was to find the Frank Gehry Exhibit at N8, San Li Tun Village North. This stunning exhibit space of 4 floors and a ground level floor with a cafe and bookshop invites for a pleasant viewing experience. The exhibit includes models, mock ups, and photos of twelve different Gehry buildings: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997), Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London (2008), Novartis Campus Gehry Building, Basel (2009), Walt Disney concert Hall, Los angeles (2003), IAC Building, New York (2007), Der Neu Zolhof, Dusseldorf (1999). Nationale-Nederlanden Building, Prague (1996), Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas (2010), Hotel at Amrques de Riscal Winery, Elciego (2007), 53 Stubbs Road Residential Development, Hong Kong (2012), Vila Olimpica Fish Sculpture, Barcelona (1992), Hong Kong Museum Complex (2004),
The space is owned by Swire properties and it is their intention to provide an opportunity to share their passion and engage the community in the pursuit of creativity and innovation.
Mockups of chair designs are also on display. A wonderful opportunity for design technology classes, but overall just a lovely space where to spend the afternoon.

Press release.

Katrina

Posted on 16 October 2010 | No responses

Our reading group is currently reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.

Zeitoun

Amazon provides stellar reviews from hundreds of readers.

In addition, to enrich the reading of the book The Zeitoun Foundation provides resources on information about the Zeitouns and the foundation. It also includes a description of the book, interviews, book excerpt, book reviews, and more…

In the interview with Eggers, he states,

I’m a little bit obsessive about research, so I spent three years gathering as much information as I could.

Treme, the HBO television program from David Simon adds another perspective and dimension to the book. Treme picks up three months after the hurricane. Nancy Franklin reviews the television series in her article, “After the Flood.”

Good, an online resource for people who want to live well and do good, is featuring the topic New Orleans in the current issue. It’s a tribute to all who have been involved in the rebuilding of this incredible city. Don’t miss the link on how to talk like a local. The Lee Crum feature also leads to his homepage with photographs of the faces of New Orleans from the past thirty years.

The Newseum exhibit in Washington DC features online highlights of video clips and interactive maps of the Katrina disaster.

Looking East

Posted on 24 November 2009 | 5 responses

Looking East out our window

Looking East out our window

Recently a friend asked me about some recommended readings on China which coincided with an annual review for our school’s recommended list of books and film for new employees. There is no lack of books about China. Most of my reading on China has been nonfiction focusing on the Ming to the present. I was just revisiting Jonathan Spence’s The Chan’s Great Continent. He has some good recommendations and he discusses them in the last chapter, “Genius at Play” –

“The three most aesthetically most perfect fictions about China–Kafka’s “the Great Wall,” Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths,” and Calvino’s Invisible Cities–were all written in the twentieth century…. Each was a prolific, hardworking, and supremely gifted writer who played with China briefly in his works, though knowing little about the country or its people. Each of the three chose an aspect of China that was of genuine importance in Chinese history: Kafka the question of authority, Borges the question of origins, and Calvino the question of the observed observer. Each wrote of China without pretension, yet with precision and economy, eschewing the erotic and the sensationalist, creating a purely fabricated whole of astonishing verisimilitude that can sustain endless rereadings.” (226)

Guy Davenport who is known for an assemblage style would also be a nice addition, in particular, “The Richard Nixon Freischütz Rag” from Da Vinci’s Bicycle. I enjoyed trying to figure out how the pieces are linked. How does Da Vinci, Salai Jacopo, Nixon, Kissinger, Mao, G. Stein and A. Toklas relate to each other? Not only that but it’s the rich cultural and political images that are also included–Freischütz, ragtime, Assissi, Cathay, Columbus, McKinley, Sassetta, Metternich….

Despite that these authors never visited China, they offer a westerner’s perspective. For the many other authors who have visited or lived extensively in China, they offer a variety of conflicting impressions. A must read, or listen, especially since Tianjin is mentioned is Grace Paley’s “Somewhere Else,” from The New Yorker, October 23, 1978, p. 34. This is based on a visit she made to China after they re-opened their doors.

My overall favorite China author is Spence who has a prolific collection of writings.  The classic textbook history survey is The Search for Modern China, which covers the period of the Qing dynasty up until the 1990. Many of his others are also good reads: Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K’ang-Hsi (1974), The Death of Woman Wang (1978), To Change China: Western Advisers in China, 1620-1960 (1980), The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution 1895-1980 (1982), The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci (1984), The Question of Hu (1987), Chinese Roundabout: Essays on History and Culture (1993), The Chan’s Great Continent: China in Western Minds (1999), God’s Chinese Son (1996), Treason by the Book (2002), Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man (2008) . He also has several readable articles fouond in the  NYReview of Books. Also noteworthy is Spence’s wife, Annping Chin, who has written Four Sisters of Hofei (2002), which is an academic treatment of the lives of these sisters.

One of the first books I read as I flew into China and that has shaped some of my travels and explorations is Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk. This nonfiction reads like a fiction, who-done-it, with a wide span of topics covering Chinese politics, geography of the western desert, archeology, the silk route, museum collections, Buddhism, and the Great Game intrigues.

After reading the above, I also found this a fascinating read, High Tartary by Owen Lattimore (brother to translator Richard Lattimore) and Orville Schell which is a recount of Lattimore’s travels as he meets up with his wife Eleanor for their honeymoon overland travels. I particularly was taken with the descriptions of the locals he met on his way and the conditions of travel. Eleanor had written a book called Turkestan Reunion (1934) that I have not read.

Other reads that should be included are Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine by Jasper Becker

The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhi-Sui

Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present by Peter Hessler

The River at the Center of the World, Revised: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time by Simon Winchester. (Some claim his western attitude gets in the way.)

Poetry is also a good consideration and Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei: How a Chinese Poem Is Translated by Eliot Weinberger, Octavio Paz is a nice introduction.

Translations by David Hinton are worth serious consideration.

Chinese fiction is not one of my strengths.  Short stories by Lu Xun are good place to begin, and a more recent author is Ha Jin. Another short read is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.

Pearl Buck should also be mentioned. I favor her novel The Good Earth though I would not recommend the horrible Hollywood film of the same name. Rice by Su Tong tells the story of destruction of a rice merchant family. Last week Su Tong won the Man Asian Literary Prize in Hong Kong for his book The Boat to Redemption concerning a disgraced Communist official. Su’s most famous work is Wives and Concubines, which was later made into Zhang Yimou’s beautiful and frightening film Raise the Red Lantern.

Howard Goldblatt was the translator for Rice and is also the translator for Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, the previous Man Asian Literary Prize winner. Wolf Totem is not an easy read but a good example of ethnic literature. Since I grew up in Wyoming, the Mongolian (in the case of the novel it is Inner Mongolian) landscape has many similarities with the plains; the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone has had a significant impact on the local environment.

Zhang Yi Mou is my first preference when considering Chinese film, especially his early films like Ju Dou, Red Sorghum, Not One Less, The Road Home, To Live, The Story of Qiu Ju. Another highly respected filmmaker whose films should not be missed is Chen Kaige: Farewell My Concubine (Bawang bieji)   (1993) and Life on a String (1991), The Emperor and the Assassin (1999).

The King of Masks (1996) directed by Wu Tianming is stunning.

A couple of more recent films of note are Beijing Bicycle (Shiqisui de danche) by Wang, Xiaoshuai (2001) and the Tibetan influenced Mountain Patrol: Kekexili filmed on location in the starkly and treacherously beautiful wilderness of western Qinghai, which is one of the coldest films I’ve ever watched. I suggest you keep a blanket close while watching.

There are many good documentaries available now though I have an admiration for the works of Carma Hinton. There is an ongoing lawsuit initiated by Ling Chai against the Long Bow group for their film The Gate of Heavenly Peace which is focused on the Tian’anmen Square protests in 1989 – Ling, one of the student leaders on the square, claims that she was slandered ( see Litigious Ling ). Hinton’s LongBow trilogy about the village where Hinton grew up is a heart-felt and must-see view of life in the post-Mao changing countryside.

When I first started reading about China, I began with Steven Haw’s A Traveller’s History of China. He shares the following saying,

“someone who visits China for week will go home and write a book about it, someone who spends a month there will write no more than an article, and someone who remains for a year or more will be unable to write anything (3).”

I have been in China for over a decade and often feel I cannot adequately write about it; this is a ramble of some of the sources I have enjoyed and felt have given me a better understanding of this historically rich and emergent nation.

What books or sources would you recommend?

For a good blog on books on contemporary China see The China Beat: Blogging How the East is Read.

Education about Asia

Posted on 9 May 2009 | No responses

As I gather statistics and prepare the library annual report, I have been considering—What are this year’s highlights?

One of my bigger surprises was the subscription called Education about Asia from the Association of Asian Studies. I only was familiar with their Journal of Asian Studies. Somehow I missed this one, but am I ever delighted to have found it. In fact, I incidentally discovered it from an advertisement. It happened to be an advertisement next to an article I had written on inquiry for Knowledge Quest. This was a savvy move from the Knowledge Quest team since the inquiry article discussed a school in China. Thank you Knowledge Quest team!

I cannot recommend this resource enough for any school that has an Asian studies emphasis. They describe themselves as

“a unique and innovative magazine—a practical teaching resource for secondary school, college, and university instructors, as well as an invaluable source of information for students, scholars, libraries, and those who have an interest in Asia. Teachers and students from a wide range of disciplines—anthropology, Asian studies, business and economics, education, geography, government, history, language and literature, political science, religion, and sociology, among others.”

We ordered the entire set of back issues. The EAA site also provides a thorough search tool to search Tables of Contents from the entire collection. In addition, the Web Gleanings from each issue is also posted on their website. It gathers significant websites about the main topic of the published issue.

The Humanities department was very excited about this resource, and the head even offered the help of his assistant to input the table of contents data into our catalog for searching. I know this also will be a wonderful resource for the language departments.

This quality and topical resource combined with the enthusiasm of teaching colleagues made this one of our top additions this year.

Earth Day

Posted on 23 April 2009 | No responses

I always enjoy earth day activities. This year the committee organized a variety of activities for students to choose from. Many of the activities were student-generated.

I worked with a team of students who opted to act as the eyes and ears of the festival. Most of the students had little or no experience with the MAC laptop. With a brief lesson on Photobooth and iChat the students were good to go. They shot pictures, interviewed students and teachers, and then compiled their materials into this video for the closing assembly on the same day. The more experienced students were able to use their editing skills to publish the created iMovie. The movie was shown and with a bit more tweaking this is their result:

Earth Day @ IST from beth gourley on Vimeo.

Earth Day and Jean Giono video

Posted on 20 April 2009 | No responses

It’s been a busy week in preparation for EARTH DAY, as well as having carried on with our focus on Poetry Month. We recommended to our parents to watch with their children The man who planted trees by Jean Giono. This lovely story is narrated in French and it has several translated subtitles, German, English, Chinese (traditional), Spanish, Italian, etc. I still remember fondly when we first watched this movie as a family when my daughter was young. At the time, through an interlibrary loan we could order a reel of film and check out a film projector.  The film came alive projected on our wall. Its charm is still there, since Earth Day is in the air— a lovely piece to share.

Poetry in the pockets

Posted on 13 April 2009 | No responses

Poem in Your Pocket posters have been posted around the school. It’s become a task to keep those pockets fed. The elementary students have started collecting the poems as if they are trading cards. There is a great deal of energy and enthusiasm that we don’t want to dampen.

We have a large collection of poetry books, but the process of photocopying a page from each book is time consuming. Instead I have found some excellent online sources. My delicious poetry links are plentiful, but I found I had a shortage of children’s poetry.

Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children has provided a wealth of poems for elementary students. I especially appreciate her careful selections, reviews and citations. Another site, that helped me fill those pockets for children was Elaine Magliaro’s Wild Rose Reader, her posting — “Resources for National Poetry Month 2009″ provides a treasure of sites. In addition to the excellent poetry sources, the listing of NCTE poetry winners is linked to articles about each of the poets. Funny poems are always in great demand; Shel Sylverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Michael Rosen are solid winners. Giggle Poetry provides poems from Bruce Lansky, Kenn Nesbitt, Ted Scheu, Charles Ghigna, Bill Dodds, Robert Pottle, Eric Ode, and others.

The other day I covered for an elementary class, and the big hit was Nick Toczek’s “The Dragon Who Ate Our School” from Join in or Else. I did not appreciate the rhyme and rhythm of that poem until I heard him, several years ago,  read it in front of a group of students. Half way through, students cannot help but chime in with the refrain:

She’s undeniably great.
She’s absolutely cool,
the dragon who ate
the dragon who ate
the dragon who ate our school.

Changing gears from dragons to babies, here’s a poem in celebration of the recent arrival of new babies in our community–

Infant Joy
by William Blake

“I have no name,
I am but two days old.”
“What shall I call thee?”
“I happy am,
Joy is my name.”
“Sweet joy befall thee!”

“Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee;
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while–
Sweet joy befall thee!”

Posters anyone?

Posted on 6 April 2009 | No responses

It’s Poetry Month and we have a variety of poetry activities planned for the month. Below is the flier I made for Poetry Month and Poem in your Pocket.

Playaway poster

Poetry Month poster

In addition, I’ve completed the poster and tickets for this year’s ball and auction.
Experimenting with both Pages and Word. Trying to decide if I prefer one over the other.

PFO

Pulling it together

Posted on 9 March 2009 | No responses

Triggered by a twitter posting from Jeff Plaman, I began to look more closely how we can pull our created resources together in an archival form that can be used by later students.
As we improve our technology with teaching and learning, several classes have been generating their work on a variety of sites. We are collecting classroom and student generated sites. The following is a sampling of some of those sites:

For Student Classroom Use:
Researchstory
Poem-a-day
Geography of a disease
Gr10 Globalization forum
Gr10 Technology-Terrorism
Grade 9—Writing a Proposal wiki
Grade 9- Revolutions
Grade 8M-Van Gogh
IST Exhibition 08
Grade 4 blog
NPK blog

Portals:
YouTube
FaceBook
TWIST
IST Media Ventures
IST Library photostream

Activities:
IST Water Project
ACAMIS Art site
IST Global Issues

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