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SUNDAY MORNING

Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Shaolin Temple’s majestic warrior monks (right) will be displaying their high-flying artistry at the Venetian Sands in Macau this week. Founded in AD495, the Chan Buddhist monastery, located on Mount Song, one of China’s five great mountains, is said to be the birthplace of Zen. A 1983 martial-arts film, Shaolin & Wu-Tang, was the inspiration for American hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan ...

 

The New York rap ensemble, from the Staten Island housing projects, changed the face of hip hop with the release of their debut album Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993. The group’s de facto leader, RZA, responsible for the album’s vision and pioneering production, is a self-proclaimed “devout student of knowledge”. His large catalogue of work, which now transcends hip hop, features references to Eastern philosophy, the Five-Percent Nation and his love of chess. In 1999, he scored the soundtrack to the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch …

 

One of the unruly haired independent filmmaker’s Hollywood heroes is iconic American actor Lee Marvin. Jarmusch’s adoration for the gravelly voiced thespian, whose brooding looks he shares, led him to establish humorous “secret society” the Sons of Lee Marvin. The club, which includes singer Tom Waits and actor Josh Brolin, has only one entry requirement: “If you look like you could be a son of Lee Marvin, then you are instantly thought of by the Sons of Lee Marvin to be a Son of Lee Marvin”. As director, Jarmusch took his Marvin looks onto the set of Broken Flowers, starring comedian Bill Murray …

 

The lackadaisical actor and master of the happy-go-lucky hero role can be quite elusive. Murray does not have an agent or manager and, unlike most movie stars, he travels without an entourage. He asks that offers for scripts and film roles be made by telephone and his infrequent monitoring of his answer machine messages has led him to miss out on roles he had auditioned for, most notably Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The song Bill Murray was recorded by the virtual band Gorillaz, the creation of Damon Albarn …

 

The lead singer of the recently reformed and disbanded Blur and unofficially the hardest working man in pop, Albarn is vociferously anti-war, a conviction that runs in his family. His father refused to be drafted and his grandfather was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the second world war. Albarn recently dipped his toe into opera, with the stage production of Journey to the West, the Chinese folk story that was the basis for a 2008 film adaptation that united martial artists Jackie Chan and Jet Li Lianjie …

 

Beijing-born Li founded the One Foundation, which supports disasterrelief efforts and promotes philanthropic causes across Asia, after he and his two young daughters narrowly survived the 2004 tsunami. In 2010, the former wushu champion was honoured to be appointed the first goodwill ambassador in the history of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. A 1982 film starring Li is believed to have sparked a post- Cultural Revolution surge in interest in the movie’s namesake: Shaolin Temple.

 

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