The buzz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am

It never rains, it pours in Hong Kong when it comes to the arts.

After the famine of cultural events in the weeks leading up to Lunar New Year, we are now treated to a feast as the Arts Festival, International Film Festival and International Literary Festival arrive at the same time as a plethora of smaller film, visual arts and performing arts events.

It seems to be a phenomenon unique to Hong Kong: just as trainers stores vie for customers around Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok and wedding card outlets compete on Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai, our cultural tastemakers go head to head in the battle for bums on seats around the start of the new lunar year.

Hongkongers have a healthy appetite for the arts, despite the regular pronouncements that our city is a cultural desert, so wouldn't it make sense to spread such cultural events over the whole year instead of a few weeks?

So if you're culturally inclined, you have some tough decisions to make on which events to attend and where to spend your money in the coming weeks. Here are some examples of the cultural clashes in the pipeline (and keep in mind that the International Film Festival line-up is not announced until next Thursday):

February 26-27: Ute Lemper and the Piazzolla Sextet at the Cultural Centre and Tree Rhapsody at the Academy for Performing Arts (both Arts Festival); Room 101 by Theatre of the Silence at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre.

March 5: Elvis Costello and A Flower for Pina Bausch at the Cultural Centre (both Arts Festival); Huite Femmes at the Fringe Club.

March 8: Marianne Faithfull at the Cultural Centre (Arts Festival); opening events of International Literary Festival at Kee Club, the Fringe Club and Club Lusitano; final night of Educating Rita at the Arts Centre.

March 9: Jonathan Watts, author of When a Billion Chinese Jump, speaks at Club Lusitano (Literary Festival); Cheek By Jowl - Macbeth at the Academy for Performing Arts (Arts Festival); final night of the European Film Festival at Palace IFC. March 11: English poet Andrew Motion speaks at the Fringe Club; final night of the German Film Forum's unification anniversary programme at the Film Archive.

March 13: writers Arvind Mehrotra, Meira Chand and Amitav Ghosh speak at Hullet House (Literary Festival); An Ordinary Man at the Cultural Centre.

March 16: ArtWalk; the Elias String Quartet at the Academy for Performing Arts (Arts Festival); Sally Rippin at Saffron Cafe, Wena Poon at Uno Mas and Nick Malgieri at the Press Room (all Literary Festival).

After you factor in what is likely to be a fairly high-brow line-up for the International Film Festival starting on March 20, Going Out is going to have to come down from this overdose of artistic endeavours with a few episodes of South Park and a Justin Bieber album. Can we request a little sanity in the scheduling of arts events, please?