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MyM47_Cover_The Forest Pandorica London Toy Fair

Interview: FestivalAsia organiser Li Li

On 15-17 May 2015, FestivalAsia will offer visitors the chance to experience the diverse culture of all Asian countries under one roof. Taking place indoors at London’s Tobacco Dock, the event will feature music and dance performances on the main stage, martial arts demonstrations, a ‘Culture Room’ where companies and ambassadors can present on topics such as business and travel, a ‘Spiritual Room’, workshops and many other exiting activities for the whole family to enjoy.

A multitude of exhibitors will also offer all kinds of goods for sale – such as handicrafts, jewellery and clothes – while a food court will serve up delicious mouth-watering Asian grub to satisfy the palette.

MyM’s Spencer Lloyd Peet caught up with FestivalAsia co-founder and organiser, Li Li, a professional soprano singer born in China but now living in the UK, to tell us more about this unique three-day cultural extravaganza.

Li Li - FestivalAsia organiser

MyM: For those readers who don’t know you, please share a little about your background in China, when and why you became interested in music and why you decided to come to England in 2008.
Li Li: I became interested in music during my teenage years and almost by chance I found out I actually had a good voice! But after I started working on it, I got seriously hooked and have decided to take it all the way. So I moved to Birmingham to attend the Birmingham Conservatoire.

You are also the founder of Lilisan Ltd. What was your reason for setting up this company and what are its main objectives?
I have been thinking for a while about organising FestivalAsia and other possible events to widen the perception of Asia and satisfy the growing interest towards this continent. So I teamed up with World Concert Artists Ltd, which is an established entertainment agency and also manages me as a singer, to start this adventure. Lilisan Ltd is owned by World Concert Artists and myself.

What is FestivalAsia and how did the idea first come about? And how will it differ from other Asia-related events taking place in the UK?
It is about the whole of Asia! We want to encompass as much of all cultures as possible from the intriguing Asian continent. Asia is so vast, and although there are already brilliant events about Asia taking place in London, they are based only on one country or one area. Never before has London seen an event showcasing the whole Asian continent.

Korean musician Ji Eun Jung from music duo Kaya

Amongst the activities for families, will there be a play area and workshops for the kids?
There is literally everything in FestivalAsia: culture, spirituality, martial arts, live performances, products, travel, business and indeed activities for children. Imagine a child trying their hand at calligraphy, or colouring dragons, or learning the beautiful table game Go; and maybe even attempting to learn martial arts. It’s going to be fun.

What acts and performers can visitors look forward to seeing live?
Acts performing on the main stage include Japanese Enka singer Akari Moziguchi and master Shamisen player Hibiki Ichikawa, the Indonesian traditional dance troupe Lila Bhawa and Fleur Estelle Dance School. We will also have Bollywood dancers, taiko drummers, belly dancers and performers from Japan, Korea, China, Philippines, Malaysia and much more. We will host a different performance every 15 minutes, for the whole three days. Can you imagine? There’ll be almost 100 performances.

Being a professional soprano singer, will you also be performing?
I will indeed. Besides the famous aria Nessun Dorma, which is one of my opera favourites, I will also sing famous traditional Chinese songs.

Are there any special guests attending you can tell us about?
We have a few very cool names, but that’s still a secret. Besides the still confidential VIPs, we have institutional VIPs that we are honoured to have with us. These include the ambassadors of Afghanistan and Indonesia, the second secretary of the Korean Embassy as well as several other embassy representatives, including the Chinese Embassy.

Traditional dancer of Lila Bhawa Indonesian dance troupe  who will be performing at FestivalAsia

Why did you choose Tobacco Dock as the venue?
It’s very beautiful and original; it has its own character. Although the ExCel or Olympia are popular venues, they lack the spirit and difference we wanted for FestivalAsia. Inside it is 150,000 square feet with outdoor spaces we can also use, full of light in places but also with a vault area for the intimate moments or exhibitors. It is ideal.

The festival takes place over three days and is split into sessions, so could you explain how the ticket system work?
It’s very simple. Friday 15 May we open at 2pm until 10pm. Saturday we have two sessions: a 10am to 3.30pm first session; then a 4.30pm to 10pm second session. It’s the most popular day of the week for festivals, so we want to give more people the opportunity to enjoy FestivalAsia without experiencing a too busy venue. Then Sunday is from 10am to 7pm.

FestivalAsia runs from 15-17 May 2015 and visitors can buy tickets directly from the official website, as well as on Chillitickets.com, Seetickets.com and Ticketmaster.co.uk. Those interested in becoming an exhibitor/vendor can email exhibitor@festivalasia.co.uk or call 020 3475 8675 find out more or to book space.

Festival Asia

Image copyright: Spencer Lloyd Peet

Eastern promise for FestivalAsia

Claiming to be London’s largest indoor Asian festival, FestivalAsia will see more than 150 exhibitors gather at Tobacco Dock. Visitors over the three days can expect a mix of eastern music, dance, food, fashion, martial arts and more, as the event embraces all Asian Cultures.

“With all this taking place under just one roof, visitors will be enlightened, moved and entertained and leave having savoured experiences from some of the 29 countries that constitute this fascinating continent,” a FestivalAsia spokesman said.

Dozens of artists will champion a variety of traditional and modern Asian performance styles on the main stage, while the Martial Arts Stage will show demonstrations and the varied Food Court will offer the opportunity to taste the whole of Asia in one go.

FestivalAsia will also invite representatives of different spiritualities to talk about their experiences, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taosim, Jainism, Skikhism, Zoroastranism, Zen and Yoga.

INFORMATION
Venue: Tobacco Dock, London E1
Nearest transport: Tower Hill, Wapping, Shadwell

Friday 15 May 2015: 2pm – 10pm
Saturday 16 May 2015: 10am – 3.30pm
Saturday 16 May 2015: 4.30pm – 10pm
Sunday 17 May 2015: 10am – 7pm

Tickets
Adult: £12.50 in advance, £15 on the door
Children: £8 in advance, £10 on the door (up to 10 years old, accompanied by a paying adult)

Naruto’s Maile Flanagan fights her way to Manchester and Glasgow

Iconic anime hero Naruto, in the form of voice actress Maile Flanagan, is coming to the MCM Manchester and MCM Scotland Comic Cons… Continue reading

E2046’s GK Contest 2015 now open

Registration is now open for E2046’s GK Contest 2015, with up to $2,500 in prizes up for grabs across three categories. This marks the thirteenth year the Hong Kong-based retailer has run the competition. As a media partner, MyM has been invited to join the judging panel, with editor Matt Chapman casting his eye over the high-quality entries.

The three categories in the GK Contest 2015 are: Figure; Robot; and Diorama. The champion in each category will receive a trophy and a $500 cash coupon, while the first runner up will receive a certificate and a $200 cash coupon, with the second runner up taking home a certificate and a $100 cash coupon.

GK_prizes_e

E2046 does offer an exclusive line-up of pre-painted resin figures, called The Gathering. However, the judges’ task will be to look at those figures which were purchased blank and expertly painted by their new owners. The Diorama section of the competition will also judge the hand-crafted backgrounds and environments the figures have been placed in.

If you’d like to enter your own E2046 figure or diorama into the competition, check out the GK Contest 2015 promotional video below to see the standards you’ll be up against. Registration closes on 31 May 2015 – visit the E2046 website for more information and to enter. Are you the next champion?

 

MCM Greets Podcast Partner Skip to the End

Movie podcast joins forces with MCM Comic Con.

Say hello to the sound of your next con, as the team behind Skip to the End has signed on as MCM Comic Con’s new podcast partner. Rather than spend ages telling you all about them, we thought it would be wise to let the people who talk professionally take over the chatter…

Skip To The End podcast team

“Skip to the End is a movie podcast hosted by Mark, Ben and Adam. The three of us have been friends for years and spend much of our free time discussing films and pop culture. Last August we decided to try putting our conversations on tape, and the Skip to the End podcast was born. In under six months we’ve been able to build a successful podcast, with each episode being downloaded by tens of thousands of listeners.

“The three of us are movie, TV, comics and gaming fanatics, so the MCM Comic Cons are like heaven to us. Part of our success can undoubtedly be credited to our relationship with MCM. Back in October we were lucky enough to be invited to the MCM London Comic Con, where we were able to soak up the atmosphere of the Con, attend some great panels and secure some fantastic interviews with the cast of Under The Dome and the cast and crew of the upcoming sci-fi film Monsters: Dark Continent.

“After the success of our London Comic Con podcast we were invited to attend the MCM Birmingham Comic Con in November. We had a superb time, getting to meet and interview some great people, including RJ Mitte – best known as Walter Jr. from Breaking Bad. The Birmingham Comic Con special we released has been our biggest yet, receiving almost a quarter of a million plays. Thanks to the success of our Comic Con podcast specials we are now the official podcast of the MCM Comic Con.

“We will be putting out podcasts from all of the major MCM Comic Cons around the UK and Ireland, and we’re already very excited for the flagship London Comic Con in May. We can’t wait to speak to geek goddess Felicia Day and we’re eager to see which other big names are announced for London and beyond. We’ve no doubt that the partnership between MCM and Skip to the End will only go from strength to strength in 2015. See you at the Cons!”

You can follow the team on Twitter and find all of the podcasts and regular pop culture features at the Skip to the End website.

Bristol Old Vic strokes its Gigantic Evil Beard

The award-winning Bristol Old Vic Young Company is bringing Stephen Collins’ best-selling graphic novel The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil to the stage.  Continue reading

Spyair compilation album Best hits Europe in January

Japanese pop-rock squad Spyair (AKA Ike on vocals; Momiken on bass; Uz on guitar and programming; and Kenta on drums) will release their compilation album ‘Best’ on CD and digital formats in the UK and Europe from 12 January 2015. Continue reading

Brighton Festival names author Ali Smith as 2015 guest director

Goldsmiths Prize and Whitbread Award-winning novelist Ali Smith (The Accidental, How To Be Both) has been announced as the guest director for the Brighton Festival in 2015.

First taking place in 1967, Brighton Festival prides itself on being the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England, with a rich history of pushing boundaries.

In its inaugural year the programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of concrete poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Lawrence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin.

Brighton Festival 2014 Opus number 7

Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works. That seems set to continue with Smith’s appointment.

“Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird. Migrating birds are born naturally equipped with maps that even new-born birds know how to follow, maps of landscapes with no borders. Birds with nothing but the urge to flock together, get there, be here now,” she said. “Imagine the borders between the artforms. Imagine them opened, crossed, melted, made invisible, so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world.

“I’m a fan of the unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms, the place where they meet, open to each other and fuse into something more. The word festival comes from the place where the word for feast crosses into the word for joyful, happy, honouring, celebratory. The word Brighton, in the month of May: that means festival.”

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2-24 May 2015. Full programme details will be available at the official launch on Wednesday 18 February 2015 and ticket information can be found at the official website or by calling 01273 709709.

Smith is the seventh guest director of Brighton Festival, following visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) and choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014).