Saturday night (8/22) I watched Man Zou at McCaw Hall, and was greatly impressed. Sitting in the SIFF cinema with an almost sold out crowd, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Upstairs, in McCaw Hall, Wagner’s opera- “The Ring” was in session, and one could hear the opera singers belting out their tunes in what is apparently the longest opera ever made. The crowd upstairs was most assuredly different, the feel of the crowd being somewhat more conservative. The men went upstairs in black suits and ties, the women dressed as for a funeral. Maybe “The Ring” is a sad opera?
Anyhow, back to Man Zou. We went for a few reasons. Brendt, the founding director of the BFF in NY called me and let me know that a film maker that had a film in the BFF a few years earlier was to have a premiere of his latest film, and it would be a good place to meet people and talk about the BFF. I was also curious at to what the SIFF Cinema looks like, and how other people’s screenings are received in Seattl
This was taken from the Man Zou site:
Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai is the story of four Americans who, immediately following the Olympics, travel by bicycle between China’s two largest cities to learn more about the Chinese people, their culture and the rapidly changing environment in which they live.
Man Zou is a common phrase in Mandarin that translates literally to “Walk Slow.” Used as a farewell, it is a way of reminding another, ‘Be careful and mindful on your journey, and take the time to see things along the way. Walk slowly and you won’t fall.’ This philosophy guided our journey across China as we traveled slowly by bicycle, without an accompanying support vehicle, and took the time to listen to and learn from those we encountered.
The movie was shot very well, had a light hearted feel, and had a score that added a seriously professional feel. Director Jason Reid is from Seattle, and the others that took part in the film, are Seattle based, so most, if not all that had a part in it were present (excepting Doven, their guide, who seemed very friendly and was indispensable during their entire trip) It seems that any documentary that is done about China can too easily shine poorly on the country as a whole. Sure, the people may be nice, but they are shadowed by a government that keeps their people down and rules with an iron fist.
Whether that is the case or not, the film followed these 5 men as they traveled on bicycle through some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. In the US, I feel like the bicycle is a vehicle for environmental and political change. For the most part in China, this isn’t the case. You ride a bicycle because it makes sense. They are cheap, reliable, and honestly, they take up less space. People didn’t see what they did as a radical form of saying “Fuck you” to the oil companies, it was more of a
“That looks like a pretty strange way to have fun. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take a bus?”
It was though the film was shot through innocent eyes, by people that had not heard anything that had taken place in China prior to their arrival. I liked this. It blew my assumptions of China out of the water, and opened my eyes to the beauty that has been shrouded by the red curtain and cloud of smog. They didn’t get into any political discussions on the road. It was however impossible to ignore the gross levels of pollution contaminating the industrial areas. To breath in air that you can see can not be avoided, especially, if you are taxing your body in the first place. To travel by bike you can not hide from the environment as you can in an air conditioned car. You are the environment. It hurt a little to see the damage that is done in an effort to keep goods cheap for the richer nations, the US included.
The crowd to watch Man Zou was not necessarily what I was expecting. There were 10 bicycles parked out front, none of which were mine, but I was expecting more of a cycling crowd. I didn’t recognize anyone at the screening. Out of 300+ people there, I didn’t know one. It made me feel a little odd; a cycling movie that I didn’t know was screening until someone from NYC emailed me about it. To show up, and not recognize anyone, I wasn’t bummed, but excited. I love meeting new people, and seeing the overlap of folks that enjoy good independent film, as well as bikes. In working with the BFF this year, these are the people that I want to reach out to.
A quick recap- if you get the opportunity, go see Man Zou. Whether you like China, travel, independent film, bikes, or documentaries… it’s good.
And if you like basketball, or the Oklahoma Supersonics, then you can find out a little about their history as Jason Reid releases his next movie this October:
Our man Stevil Kinevil has, like many of us, been in that blender called life as of late. It looks like he’s hit the ground running, and you can read more of his goings on at his new blog
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This is going to be a lot of fun, Karl (partyboys.org partybots.org) supports a lot of races and bike events in Seattle, and is a great artist. This mural that him and Pixel.Tron did is crazy. They have a lot of time and money into this mural, so come out and drink some PBR to show your support (the artists get a portion of PBR sales)
-WHAT: “Squid VS Whale” by Pixel.Tron & Karl Addison
OPENING PARTY: Saturday, August 29th 6 to 10 PM.
-WHERE: The Twilight Exit, 2514 East Cherry, Seattle, WA 98122 – 206.324.7462
-MORE: PBR Drink Specials (PBR Goes To Support The Efforts Of The Mural)
Squid VS. Whale is a mural of epic proportions. The mural depicts a battle between a whale and a giant squid just below the surface of the sea. The story is being illustrated on a mural in Seattle’s Central District. Artist Pixel.Tron & Karl Addison have been working for weeks to perfect the painting and it’s very last detail. The 60 foot wall pulls you into their imagination; it is a must see mural in person.
The mural is being produced by two local artists from Seattle, Mr. Pixel.Tron & Karl Addison. The Central District community has many great murals and their new addition has been openly welcomed by neighbors, business owners, and many of the local residents. The concept came for a need to be challenged artistically by both artist and for a composition that could be enjoyed by all in the local neighborhood. 50 plus cans, over 9 gallons of paint & 60 hours of painting – the concept and mural is a reality for all to enjoy.
Shirts will ship the week of August 24th.
You may have heard from this, or one of the many other blogs that posted about the break in of the U-Haul in Portland during the Rose City Fix event. A ton of stuff was taken from the van, most posted about being Patrick and Jake’s bikes. My loss was small by comparison, but it’s been rough all the same. My messenger bag was stolen, containing 11 Macaframa dvds, which were to be sold for a distribution company I’ve doing work for. In addition to the dvd’s, all 25 of the GO MEANS GO shirts that I printed were taken as well. Not only does it suck to be without a mess bag, what was to be sold for $900, walked off in the night. Also stolen of course were two frames; Jacope’s and Jerry’s. Big bummer.
I’m so into this. It may not be strong, or practical, but it is beautiful. Could be built for a concept bike
As you likely know by now, the Rose City Fix last weekend went well for the participants that came out. The book has been released, and is a beautiful piece of work. Brenton and Aaron have done an amazing job putting it together. The riders are from the Northwest (predominately PDX), and the images were taken in different locations around Portland.
Download it for $10 or buy a hard copy for $35. Full on coffee table worthy: 71 pages, 8.5″ x 8.5″, perfect binding, full-color interior ink. Whether you appreciate fixed gear bikes, good photography, or a bit of all of it, you will enjoy this book. This is bicycle culture, and the people documenting it. Support them. Be a part of your community, locally and globally. Pick it up HERE
You can see some of my favorites below.
You can pick up a copy HERE
This was forwarded to me today. Any info would be appreciated. Don’t forget to lock your bike properly, and keep track of your serial numbers! If your bike is stolen, you can search the interweb with a “Fine Tooth Cog”
My bike was stolen out of my yard in Beacon Hill last night, and I really need it back! This is the info:
Cherry Red Trek 720, stolen on the morning of Aug. 18 fro 1510 S Hill St
Has: mustache handlebars with striped red and black tape and bar end shifters
a small sticker on the rear triangle that says “cycling saved my ass!”
a black rear rack
a cyclometer and white Planet Bike headlight
a scissoring double kickstand
Thank you so much!