Sunday, December 18, 2011

12 images from 6 presentations from PitchYrCulture Mix#2 11/11/11

The theme for Pitch Your Culture number two was: Into-It-All, which was supposed to concern itself with the adolescent or early adult years, when we consumers pick a band, or a style, to partially define an emerging identity.

In the Pop milieu this has always been part of the game, a niche almost subsidized by Rock and Roll, “the youth market”. Yet the parameters of the market do allow for some genuine decisions, and paradoxically, given our short history, an established tradition among those who have dispensed (or break) with tradition is to “find your own music”.

This was made clear in PitchYrCulture Mix#2, a program that included different generations from different parts of the world who all had this musical trait in common. Music (or: a song) in all cases created an opening, or a point of recognition, a mirror that was held at the correct angle. These moments are not easily forgotten.

The order of this program was simply alphabetical (based on the letter of the presenter’s first name) but made for a provocative flow, supporting the idea that the individual will search for that signal in a variety of ways that are sometimes random, sometimes deliberate, but always significant.


Arnault grew up in rural town in France. It was a provincial town and access to popular music was limited. That condition changed with the introduction of the cassette portable music player, the “boom box”. Now Arnault could more easily consume popular music. He got into to the market through generic hit compilation cassettes that were produced in France. And then things got “bad”, i.e. overly generic pop music produced in France and Europe! Then his friends introduced him to the American “indie” label, 4AD, but Arnault confesses that he got into the wrong 4AD! Not the trendy post-punk bands like Throwing Muses or The Pixies, but a band that is described on Wikipedia as “folk rock, dream pop, indie rock, sadcore”: The Red House Painters. What these bands did have in common is that they all were from the USA.  In the context of the Into-It-All PyC theme, Arnault described this as his “quiet revolution”.

Ellen Pau presents 

Ellen's choice of song matched Arnault in the way Hong Kong might be characterized as a provincial city, one where the economy takes precedence over culture. In other words. social values are skewed when it comes to presenting or formulating “alternative lifestyles” or ways of being. It has been well recognized that while pop means popular (“the big hit”), there are pop stars that present a wholesome enough façade to the “general public”, but for the discerning, are able to indicate something else, a inkling of subversion, below the polished surface - though sometimes it is right in your face! These pop stars, while being sucked into the horrors of the manufactured economy (the ways their record label decides to market that individual or group), are at least trying to stay true to some part of their freaky identity. This is what Ellen recognized and identified with in the person of Cher, certainly a mainstream star, but one with definite sympathies that encouraged Ellen’s own inclinations.

Georgio BIANCOROSSO presents
by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

The Mothers of Invention, one of the most unlikely of pop phenomenon, albeit one with a deficit of “hits”.  In fact, Frank Zappa was working within the mainstream in a well-informed and decidedly avant-garde manner. Georgio found “Theme from Burnt Weenie Sandwich” on his own (not subject to and outside the pressures and confines of his peer group), and as with all the PitchYrCulture examples, he heard something in it that spoke of wider, more varied possibilities. Part of the frame of mind that has influenced Georgio is his abiding nostalgia for other times and eras (including, for him, the products of fashion, design, and music). This sensibility influenced his decision to buy the Zappa album (as it was released “before his time”). The song itself is quite simple (structurally speaking), and bears an interesting relation to the future “jam band” style, songs that endlessly riff on one or two chords. Georgio also referred to the now practically obsolete cassette tape format, as in the interest of maintaining an archive of personal musical fetishes, he would dutifully tape his vinyl records and listen to that in order to preserve the pristine quality of the 33 1/3 album. Georgio then displayed, for the audience’s delectation, the actual cassette recording of “Theme from Burnt Weenie Sandwich” that he continues to maintain.

Kacey Wong presents

Kacey picked the above title as an example of a style that continues to influence and affect him (including his haircut!). As might be expected of a boy growing up in Hong Kong, this style came to him through a variety of mediated (“Western”) influences - these included James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause”, Rockabilly (as a predecessor and parallel to early Rock and Roll), the Japanese rock n’ rollers styling in the streets of Harajuku, and further to John Travolta in “Grease”. All this amounting to the stereotyped “Greaser”, the “cool” guys in the leather jackets with their hair radically slicked back in an untouchable doo. Kacey saw the image (though he confessed that he had to mature before he fully understood “Rebel Without a Cause”) and wanted to be like that: “cool”.  In the most personal of touches, Kacey picked some key images from his personal scrapbook, which showed him as a kid with his neighborhood crew on their BMX bicycles on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, beside his mother in full James Dean pose, and finally to his stint of schooling in Long Island, New York City, where he and his friends held a “Greaser’s Party”. 

Lynette CHIU presents

An exciting and unexpected thing happened with PitchYrCulture Mix#2: two people, unaware of each other’s decision, picked the same song! Demographically speaking this makes sense, given the theme and that Lynette Chiu and Vickie Chan are around the same age and are involved in, more or less, the same cultural pursuits (though they did not previously know each other). Yet there is an endless amount of potential music to exemplify the theme “Into-It-All”, which goes to show that the random and unplanned for can sometimes cast as big an influence on a creative outcome as the deliberate or well-structured concept. Lynette’s presentation put the song in the correct context of adolescence (when you get “into it”), when youths position each member of their favorite band according talent, looks, and desirability. In tandem with this examination, Lynette shared her evolution as a (kind-of-a) punk rocker (which at this point, as a genre, was in its second or third incarnation), focusing on the legendary Northern California club “The Gilman”, a club that she frequented in those days. These kinds of details, putting the personal into the popular (or the hopefully marginal, as in the case of “The Gilman”), are what PyC wants to evoke. These narrative memorials become, in effect, a reinterpretation of the song, and when Lynette shows us photographs of the venue and the donut shop that she frequented in her early youth, these also represent the kind of paraphernalia that music lovers seek out and archive in their obsessive collections.

VICKIE CHAN presents

And now for round two of The Descendents. Perhaps there can be a PyC where six people talk about the same song, because surely six individuals will have something different to say about any given song – that - the personal - is the filter, the effect that any PyC presentation is played through! Vickie (who is on the PyC planning committee) fully comprehended the possibilities (and examples) of the presentation medium – rapid firing through 34 slides in the allotted time (more or less!), starting with her early musical interests, to the crew she hung out with in Britain (driving around in cars, blasting the tunes), to the male name she mistakenly gave to her female cat (“Milo”, lead singer of The Descendants, changed to June Carter Cat), and finally ending up with the infamous show in Leeds, where Milo’s iconic eye glasses were stolen. And what better way to end this story with Vickie actually meeting her subject matter – Milo, lead singer of The Descendants – at another music festival, who remembered and commented on the show where his glasses were stolen.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Full line-up for November 11 PyC Mix2

Here it is! The complete schedule, presenters and special events for PitchYrCulture Mix#2 at Videotage on November 11 at 8pm. You can also note that we have San Miguel as a beer sponsor to make it a proper Friday night event.

This event is free and open to the public!

The theme for the November event is: Into-It-All
Once you knew it all and you’d worked through a few different styles, you went your own way – you rebelled! Your musical choices made a conscious statement about who you were and who you wanted to be posted to your parents, teachers, friends and peers, your statement was subtly or overtly against the world!
全情投入 -- 多次涉獵各種迥異的音樂風格之後,你走上了自己的道路你開始反抗你的音樂選擇正是你對你是誰,你想要成為誰的清醒聲明。你向你的父母和老師聲明,向你的朋友和夥伴聲明,你向整個世界婉轉但也激昂聲明!

Scheduled presenters for PitchYrCulture Mix #2:

Arnault Castel was born in France, moved to Hong Kong in 1996 in part because he was fascinated with Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express. He started the multi-faceted store Kapok in 2006 in order to showcase young talented designers as he was bored by the mega-brands that define the Hong Kong retail scene (Kapok also stocks music CDs).

Ellen Pau is a video and new media artist and  the co-founder and artistic director for the media art organization, Videotage, and a member and curator of the organizing committee for the Microwave International Media Art Festival.

Giorgio Biancorosso is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Music. He studied music history and film studies at the University of Rome and King's College, London, before moving to Princeton University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in musicology in 2002. He is currently working on the book,  Musical Aesthetics Through Cinema.

Kacey Wong is one of Hong Kong’s best-known artists/sculptors/curators who has exhibited extensively, including at the Venice (Italy) Architectural Biennale in 2008 and at the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture in 2010. He is also an Assistant Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Lynette Chiu works primarily as a creative copywriter and web content strategist while also reporting and blogging about music, art and design. She was raised in San Francisco and moved to Hong Kong after a long stint in New York. Inbetween planning (and sometimes executing) her own writing projects, she champions the offbeat and schedules vacations around her favorite bands' tour dates.

Vickie Chan was born and raised in the UK before fleeing to warmer weather and an entirely different music scene. As an artist, she’s influenced by music, often quoting song lyrics in her paintings or referencing album covers to make her own artistic point. In Hong Kong, she is also known for singing and playing keys in Six Pack of Wolves.

Extra Special Events for PitchYrCulture Mix#2:

A performance by Choi Sai Ho, an electronic musician and audio-visual artist. Selected as the Hong Kong's Top 20 Musicians in 2008, the Best of Hong Kong Indie 2009 Number One by Hong Kong Time Out Magazine for the title track "Weird Mind" from S.T. his first audio-visual album.

A solo set by Yanyan Pang, a presenter at PitchYrCulture first event and a local indie musician who formed the all girl experimental band Hard Candy in 2002. She is currently performing in a singer-songwriter project named Tyger Feb and playing bass for the psychedelic trio Logo. 

 A solo set by Heather Lowe, an acoustic female singer, who has been a strong supporter of the Hong Kong music scene for a number of years. Heather plays guitar and writes her own original music which has a folk/pop sound.

A table of products and paraphernalia from the legendary Paul’s Records (Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Rd., Sham Shui Po. Telephone 9841-7136) featuring Paul himself with an eclectic selection of used vinyl records including (but not limited to) vintage HK Rock/Pop.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Special Performance at PitchYrCulture Mix #2


On November 11 2001 at Videotage we are very excited to present Choi Sai Ho, electronic musician and audio-visual artist, who will give an special live performance before our six presenters explain, critique and/or enthuse about their chosen song. Choi Sai Ho has also been selected to perform at this year's Clockenflap music festival.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PitchYrCulture wants your mix tape on 11/11

Please make and bring a CD mixtape  
of your favorite music to PitchYrCulture Mix 2
November 11 at 8pm at Videotage. 

請自備一張雜錦CD, 載有你喜歡的音樂1111日晚上8時攜帶到Videotage PitchYrCulture Mix 2與我們碰面.

The first ten people to bring a CD mixtape 
will receive free  MC Andrew Guthrie’s
Broken Records: 1960-1969

a text and image account of the decade,
compiling ten 45rpms,
one for each year.

10位攜帶雜錦樂曲CD的人士將會免費獲得 PitchYrCulture 主持 Andrew Guthrie Broken Records: 1960-1969 

During the event we will give away your CD mixtape
to any audience member that holds their hand up high!

Once somebody has filled their music-loving hands (and ears) with your mixtape, they will be invited to submit a review to be posted on the PitchYrCulture’s blog
如果有人聽你的CD聽出耳油, 他們將會受邀撰寫一篇樂評發表在PitchYrCulture的網誌

And if they/you do that, they/you will also be invited to present at the next PitchYrCulture event!

 How long does the review have to be? Don’t ask! This isn’t school – but it may be an entertaining education!  而樂評應有幾多長? 無須問! 此處非學堂 -- 、樂評亦可成為趣味教育!

The next PitchYrCulture:
November 11th, 2011 at 8pm, Videotage,
Cattle Depot Artist Village, To Kwa Wan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Next Program on November 11 2011

Thanks to everyone who made PitchYrCulture Mix #1 so successful with Culture Club's large, appreciative audience and fantastic presentations by our 7 presenters. 

And now . . . ! We'd like to announce our next program at Videotage on November 11(with more details to follow),  with (at this time) opening acts and side events including musician Yanyan Pang and a mini-store of vintage vinyl records organized by the legendary Paul of Paul's Records in Sham Shui Po.

Here's how PitchYrCulture works - at each event we have a theme. Of course the presenter is free to interpret the theme as they see fit (we all have our own, highly personalized musical histories). Listed below is the thematic format for the first three PitchYrCultures:

Before-it-All – Friday, September 16, 8pm, at Culture Club
Do you remember the first song that made an impression on you or meant something to you, when you were really young, before you started to care what other people liked, what other people thought of you? Before you needed to be cool or fit in and before you knew where ‘in’ was?

Into-It-All – Friday, November 11, 8pm, at Videotage
After you had worked through a few different styles, you went your own way – you rebelled. Your musical choices made a conscious statement about who you were and who you wanted to be. Posted to your parents, teachers, friends and peers, your statement was subtly or overtly against the world!

Over-It-All – venue/date to be announced
And finally, you’d either seen it all (or you thought you had) and you started to become disillusioned with what was ‘out there’. You might have even dug out some of your old favourites and felt disbelief at your old tastes! Or did that journey through your archives make you embrace the past – over the present – taking you further away from current musical trends?

Hope to see you on November 11 
and feel free to send us feedback, suggestions, fan mail

Friday, September 23, 2011

8 slides from 7 presentions - PyC mix #1

Here are 8 slides from our September 16, 2011 event, 1 slide per presenter until you get to the end.

"1966 Batman TV Theme" song presented by MC Andrew Guthrie

"我係小忌廉"  or "Magical Angel Creamy Mami" presented by Clara Cheung

"Star" by Anita Mui presented by Arthur Wong

"Sesame's Treet" by the Smart E's presented by Oliver Holtaway

"How Much is that Doggie . . ." by Patti Page presented by Alice Chik

"Comin' Through" by The Pastels presented by Mike Middleton

"Trouble" by Shampoo presented by Yanyan Pang

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Please Tune In

On Wednesday, September 14 at 11am, PitchYrCulture’s MC Andrew Guthrie will be a guest on RTHK’s Morning Brew program with Caroline Chan.

Along with promoting PitchYrCulture’s first and second events (on September 16 at Culture Club and November 4 at Videotage), Andrew has been invited to play a few selections from his 45 rpm collection.

If time allows this will include an obscure Kenyan Kikuyu folk song found at the Sham Shui Po New Year street market, along with the classic American folk song “500 Miles” being interpreted by British Duo Peter and Gordon and local entertainer Nancy Sit 薛家燕.

Here's the link to the Radio 3 website to listen live (9.30am-1pm)

Here's the link to the archived show of Morning Brew

Here’s RTHK over the air:
Hong Kong-wide: AM567
Hong Kong-South: AM1584/FM106.8
Happy Valley, Jardine's Lookout, Parkview Corner: FM97.9
Tseung Kwan O, Tin Shui Wai: FM107.8

Friday, August 12, 2011


PitchYrCulture Playlist (Mix #1): Before-It-All
Friday, September 16, 8pm
Culture Club, Lower Elgin St, Central, Hong Kong

Before-it-all: Do you remember the first song that made an impression on you or meant something to you, when you were really young, before you started to care what other people liked, what other people thought of you, before you needed to be cool or fit in, before you cared what was ‘in’?

那時那刻  -  你還否記得, 當你在年少輕狂、 無所顧忌的歲月裏,在你尚未畏懼世俗眼光、我行我素之時,  第一首令你難忘或是別有意義的樂曲?

This program is Free and Open to the Public
This program is mostly in English with some Cantonese

Individuals  presenting  at:
PitchYrCulture Playlist #1: Before-It-All
Friday, September 16, 8pm
Culture Club, Central HK
Alice Chik is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at City U of HK, is currently co-authoring the book, 'English pop, Hong Kong style”.

Andrew Guthrie is founder and organizer of PitchYrCulture Playlist. He is also the creator of the artist edition Broken Records: 1960 -1969, an image and text chronicle of ten 45rpms spanning the 1960s.

Arthur Wong was born in Malaysia and lives in Singapore and Hong Kong. He studied as a Contemporary Dancer and Visual Artist at LaSalle College of the Arts. His artwork is a result of training in both the performing and the visual arts.

Clara Cheung is an artist, educator, curator and co-director of the innovative exhibition space, C&G Artpartment, in Prince Edward, Kowloon

Mike Middleton is a Senior Art Director in advertising and branding, and Head of Propaganda for Songs For Children, an indie-music promotion group based in Hong Kong.

Oliver Holtaway was in the art rock band Awful Sparks in London in the mid-00s before moving to Hong Kong and becoming an indie DJ, playing at IN2IND and Songs For Children under the name of "Perfect Pete".

Yanyan Pang is a local indie musician who formed the all girl experimental band Hard Candy in 2002. She is currently performing in a singer-songwriter project named Tyger Feb and playing bass for the psychedelic trio Logo.

And special opening act: 
85 years young Liu King Yung is a bubbly, smart and sociable grandma who has super good memory of songs from her growing up Liu King Yung. She will sing Wai Tau songs dating back to around the Second World War.