March in the northern hemisphere can be the worst month of the year: it’s 31 days, winter hasn’t ended and spring hasn’t really begun. But in Beijing we’re lucky, as two of the best multi-day events of the year take place during the month: the annual JUE Music + Art Festival, and The Bookworm International Literary Festival, for a few doses of world-class culture.
For this issue though, we thought we’d tip off with a different kind of superstar. Thanks in part to being a basketball dynamo who has led the Beijing Ducks to two China Basketball Association (CBA) championships (as of time of writing), and in part to being an all-around nice guy who genuinely loves Beijing, Stephon Marbury may well be our city’s most famous foreigner. Our sports guy Patrick Li visited him at his home in Wangfujing to talk about life in Beijing, basketball, and what it’s like to be Stephon Marbury for a day.
Now for all that festival goodness. Wizard Tang has captured the chromium-plated, boiling soul of Beijing’s metal scene for years, and many of those images will be exhibited at Yugong Yishan during JUE Music + Art Festival. On the other side of the globe, Awesome Tapes From Africa Founder Brian Shimkovitz will be bringing many of those recordings to Beijing, also as part of JUE. When was the last time you saw somebody DJ with cassettes? Do you even know what a cassette is? Check it out, it should be … awesome.
The Bookworm International Literary Festival falls in the middle of the month, which should give you time to read books by Pulitzer Prize nominee Chang-Rae Lee, whose latest work (and next one, apparently) focuses on China. Our Kyle Mullin talked to him about the muse that is modern Chinese society. Mullin also interviewed Faramerz Dabhoiwala about his book The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution, an academic look at changing views on everyone’s favorite subject. Both are coming to our fair city for the Bookworm’s event, so do your reading, and then go see them at the festival.
In the rest of the issue, we look at new places and extensions of brands in Beijing’s expanding craft beer scene. And there are the usual restaurants, bars, new venues, and even travel tips to get you through the month.