Monday, December 22, 2008


A Chinese New Year Spectacular is coming back to the Opera House in January.

Two years ago sfmike at Civic Center blog did an amusing post about the connection between a show at the Opera House and the Chinese movement called Falun Gong. We've heard about Falun Gong mostly because of the Chinese government's reported efforts to suppress it.

Included in Mike's post is one of the funniest photographs I've ever seen:


Strangely, the producers of the upcoming show are still not mentioning the connection.

Their two sites make no mention of Falun, neither Gong nor Dafa.

I think this comes from the contention that Falun Gong is a cultural/religious movement and has nothing to do with politics.

To this western eye, the whole exercise seems laughable.

From Divine Performances site:

The masterful choreography ranges from grand imperial processions to legions of thunderous drums, with gorgeously costumed dancers moving in stunning synchronized patterns.

From their site:

This culture renaissance centering on classical themes and Chinese traditions that define "beauty" and "compassion", is to restore the essence of authentic Chinese traditional "virtue" and "value" and bring its true spirit to magnificent life, free of any distortions from the Communist Party.

Most strangely, the sfshow site boasts about the show's increasing popularity... with a BAR CHART!


Any doubt regarding the connection between Falun Gong and the upcoming show can be dispelled by a visit to the snippet below is from the top left of their home page.


Call me culturally insensitive, but this all cracks me up.

sfmike did another excellent post in October about this (somewhat) stealthy propaganda operation.

----- o -----


golf said...

Untrue that there is no mention of the connection between Falun Gong and the show. I believe everywhere the show travels the promotional material says "Sponsored by the [location] Falun Dafa Association" somewhere.

See here for example:

sfwillie said...

Dear Golf, I am holding a glossy Frenchfold brochure regarding the San Francisco/Cupertino shows upcoming--there is zero mention of falun, or gong, or dafa.

The brochure contains two websites, both linked in my post,and those two websites contain zero mention of falun or gong or dafa.

This is San Francisco, not San Diego.

golf said...

Hey dude. I apologise if I wrongly accused you, then. I don't know why it is not on the San Fran information. In every place I've seen it's on the flyers and stuff. I was just giving San Diego as an example (did you see the website?). I think the Falun Gong connection is a bit of a beatup anyway. Falun Gong is from China, and it is only a couple of acts which depict the persecution. From one perspective, why wouldn't a Chinese cultural show that taps into modern themes not made by the communists not depict such things?

Is it any consolation that the (I think) the promoter listed in San Fran is NTDTV, and on their site they say they were founded by practitioners?

The main thing is that Falun Gong isn't a movement, entity, or organisation. It's a practice. Imagine we are talking about swimming here (they are comparable in that both are practices. Swimming has no spiritual component though, as far as I know.) Saying that the local Falun Gong Association is putting the show on is okay. But you can't say "Falun Gong" is putting the show on, that would be like saying the show is organised by swimming. It wouldn't make sense. Maybe think about it that way. "Falun Gong" can't do anything like this, only individuals who practice it; like "swimming" can't put on a show, only individual swimmers who get together and do what they please.

btw, I just visited the divine performing arts website and was blown away by the positive feedback from the arts community they have listed there:

Check this out: “There are no words to say how much I enjoyed it… I’ve never seen a dance company like it. I’ve seen the National Ballet, I’ve seen the New York City Ballet, and they dance from technique. But these people dance from the heart, from the soul… I will come to every performance they ever have… I think everybody should see this. These performances are phenomenal.”
– Kory Tylor, former ballerina and owner, Dance Arts Centre

There are dozens like it. I was quite impressed by this, to be honest.

BTW, just realised about full disclosure: I've practiced Falun Gong for about 4 years. It's a wonderful practice.

Peace to you.

sfmike said...

Dear Willie: Watch out stepping your toes into these weird waters. I've decided the Falun Gong are as strange and clueless and programmed as the Moonies (and of course true believing Catholics and Mormons too, just for instance).

sfwillie said...

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your original articles, and for, like, actually attending the show.

I'm not anti-Falun Gong. Any group that opposes a totalitarian regime deserves much benefit of the doubt.

I've only been commenting on the strangeness of the show.

It's obviously not aimed at a European-American audience. Or if it is, then it's incredibly inept, not evil. Like Kennedy in front of the Berlin Wall declaring "I am a jelly donut."

Not nearly as scary as, say, Rose Pak and her crew. Or, for instance, S****tology.

Does FG want to kill gay people?

Anyway, have a great Christmas.

sfwillie said...

Dear Golf,

Sorry if my reply seemed prickly. I tend to tense up when a comment on a post of mine begins with the word Untrue.

I truly wish your group good luck in dealing with the communist regime.

Merry Christmas.

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