Rent-rise victim Backstage Live to go out with a bang

Central performance venue staging at least one event almost every night this month as it prepares to bow out after eight years promoting and nurturing young Hong Kong musicians

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 August, 2015, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 August, 2015, 10:33am

After eight rocking years, respected music venue Backstage Live in Wellington Street, Central, will close its doors at the end of August due to its rent increasing from HK$120,000 to HK$160,000 a month. In fact, it would have been forced to shut this week had music fans not jumped in to help.

Announcing on Facebook that their rent had been increased "out of the blue" on July 26, Backstage Live co-owners Vicky Fung Wing-kei and Pong Nan Yik-pong — both local indie stalwarts — turned to crowdfunding for help with the final month of operation. They asked for HK$50,000 and ended up securing HK$80,000, which will be used to set up the "Stagéjàvu Festival", a month-long series of gigs.

There will be at least one show just about every night this month (August 24, 27 and 29 are the only empty dates), featuring local performers from various genres, including singer-songwriter Jing Wong (August 7), ska rockers The Red Stripes (August 15) and Canto-pop singer Candy Lo Hang-yin (August 16).

Though it succumbed to this city's escalating rents, Backstage Live more than lived up to its promise to promote and nurture young local musicians. Go to Backstage Live's Facebook page for details of the final gigs.

Japanese film gets last-minute trim for Hong Kong

A movie's category rating can mean the difference between a successful theatrical run and a box office flop, and film studios often meddle with the content to ensure it avoids a prohibitive category. Even if the studio doesn't meddle, there's no guarantee it won't happen overseas. That's what's happened with the local release of the Japanese film Attack on Titan, which went from Category III to IIB over the weekend.

Promotional material for the film with the Category III logo had been out on the streets for weeks, and according to hkfilmblog.com, some theatres simply covered the rating with black tape.

Documents from the Film Censorship Ordinance show that 34 seconds have been trimmed from the film sometime in the past two weeks. Local distributor Edko declined to comment on record, but it's done this before. Six years ago, it trimmed a few seconds of gore off the local release of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds in order to obtain a IIB rating.