Sunday, February 17, 2008

News round-up

Cambodian Living Arts have teamed up with TVK television station in Phnom Penh to show a performance of their When Elephants Weep contemporary rock-opera, that debuted in America last year. The hour-long special tv programme will be shown on the eve of National Culture Day on 2nd March. Auditions are now taking place for a premiere of the opera in Phnom Penh, slated for November this year. More here. CLA and their partner Amrita Performing Arts will also be taking part in the forthcoming event, Spotlight - An Asian festival of Inclusive Arts, where for the first time ever, disabled and able-bodied artists from across Asia will join together in Cambodia to present an arts festival featuring performance, film, music and visual arts with a focus on the abilities of all people. Click here for full details. If you are in Siem Reap, look out for the Giant Puppet Parade on 23 February, the same night as the Spotlight Festival opens in Phnom Penh.

Greg Mellen of Long Beach's Press Telegram newspaper has been back in Cambodia. His story about the Khmer Arts Academy founded by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and her husband in Takhmau, just outside Phnom Penh, is the focus of his latest article. Read it here.

Rick Stein, the celebrity chef from the UK, has been in Cambodia recording his latest series of tv cooking specials from around Asia. Whilst in Phnom Penh, Stein hooked up with Vann Nath, the painter-survivor of Tuol Sleng, who happens to run a restaurant in the city. Also in town soon will be Tim Sorel who's putting together a documentary, 30 years after Pol Pot, and Vann Nath is also on his life of interviewees, as is the dancer, Em Theay, known to many as the Tenth Dancer. In preparation for the visit, I met Theay's daugher Thong Kim Ann yesterday, who also happens to be deputy head of the classical dance section of the department of performing arts and one of Cambodia's best classical dancers. Theay is a living embodiment of Cambodia's cultural past and in my view a national treasure. All of her children and her children's children have become performers, to carry on the example set by this incredible woman.

The next Khmer Rouge Legacy panel discussion and debate from Meta House will take place tomorrow (Monday 18th Feb) at Pannasastra International School on Street 370 from 7pm. This week's subject is UNTAC - The UN and Cambodia, with Raymond Leos moderating a panel of speakers. Also at Meta House this week, at their Street 264 HQ, will the Cambodian Living Arts' student classical music performance on Wednesday 20th, and on Saturday 23rd a screening of Rithy Panh's much-acclaimed film, S-21 - The Killing Machine.

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