Annie Leibovitz – Women: New Portraits @ Kennedy Town – 31 May, 2016

Annie Leibovitz in Hong Kong to open her 'WOMEN: New Portraits' global exhibition

Opening this week in Kennedy Town is a ‘pop-up’ exhibition of Annie Leibovitz’s photos entitled WOMEN: New Portraits. Leibovitz’s emphasis in the title… Except they’re not really new portraits most have appeared in the media over the last couple of years.

The pop-up exhibition space is the whole floor of an un-renovated industrial building in Kennedy Town, yet the mostly A3 size photos (printed on an office printer) are crammed together in four tight rows. The bottom less than a foot off the floor, making reflective study and appreciation of the photos hard. Far more interesting are the original Women’s photos from 1999 exhibited as a slideshow on three big screens.

Leibovitz’s is in Hong Kong for three days courtesy of the exhibition’s Swiss bank sponsor and in person she’s engaging and has anecdotes about each photo. It was sad though to hear her talk of considering her legacy and how people and history will view her photography as her current reference frame as to which photos she’ll exhibit and who/what she’ll shoot.

As someone who claims each photo tells a story, the tale the exhibition tells is of Leibovitz in need of a pay-cheque. There’s nothing wrong with that, but few of the ‘new’ photos would merit a second look without Leibovitz’s name and the well known status of the subjects. Further exemplified with her newly released photos of the Queen in Vanity Fair. That said the exhibition’s free and the original Women’s series is worth enjoying again.

Annie Leibovitz – WOMEN: New Portraits
Date: 10am-6pm, 3-26 June, 2016
Venue: 3/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town
Tickets: Free

Photography: Jayne Russell

Annie Leibovitz in Hong Kong to open her 'WOMEN: New Portraits' global exhibition

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Kowloon Cantons and Warriors Joint Winners of Inaugural T20 Blitz

t20 blitz 2016

The inaugural DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz has ended with heavy overnight rain causing the abandonment of all three of Sunday’s matches including the final. Although Sunday was sunny, the pitch was waterlogged and unfit for play.

The rain had affected the opening two days of the tournament, but Saturday’s sold out and enthusiastic crowd showed both the players and the HK Cricket Association that the tournament has an exciting future.

T20-Blitz-points-table

The Warriors and Kowloon Cantons who were joint top of the points table at the end of day Two with a win and a no-result were declared joint winners of 2016’s T20 Blitz.

“The standard of cricket in the tournament was excellent, Cantons captain Scott McKechnie said. “The Warriors in particular were playing some very good cricket and I’m sure if we had a final today it would have been a very good game to watch. I think this weekend we’ve really put Hong Kong Cricket on the map, and it’s got great exposure for all the right reasons.”

Despite the disappointment of not playing the final, Warriors captain Jamie Atkinson echoed the thoughts of McKechnie in seeing the tournament’s bigger picture. “It was a great experience to get this tournament going anyway and get the best players in Hong Kong and the overseas talent to come in. At least we got some matches in at a good standard, hopefully next year it will be bigger and better.”

“It’s obviously a major disappointment to have today washed out but we need to look at the positives at what this event has achieved as a whole,” Hong Kong Cricket Association Tournament Chief Max Abbott said. “I need to thank the ground staff and volunteers for their help to do everything possible to get the ground ready for play. We’ll be back bigger and better next year – hopefully with a venue that is improved.”

T20 Blitz leading run scorer was Ryan Campbell (Kowloon Cantons) with 88 runs.
T20 Blitz leading wicket taker was Nadeem Ahmed (Island Warriors) with 4 wickets.

For all the tournament stats and results see here

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T20 Blitz @ Mission Road – 28 May, 2016

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The inaugural T20 Blitz got underway in-front of an enthusiastic crowd. Four teams (Kowloon Cantons, Lantau Galaxy Riders, Island Warriors, Hung Hom Jaguars) are competing for the trophy and the cricket was fiercely competitive under grey skies. The rain gods held off for one and a half matches which saw some glorious shot-making and tight bowling. A sharp heavy shower curtailed the second match, but hard work and some sunshine saw the ground drained and ready for the day’s third game.

After entertaining the crowd with a couple of big shots in his second innings in Hong Kong Australia’s former captain Michael Clarke watched as Ryan Campbell launched the biggest 6 of the day out of the ground, over the softball pitch to be caught somewhere over Victoria Harbour by Yu Shi. Upset to be told that gods didn’t qualify for a free DTC mobile phone for a catch in the crowd, the heavens opened and heavy rain ended the day’s play.
Click on any photo for the full gallery.

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Japan 30-3 Hong Kong @ Tokyo – 28 May, 2016

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A pretty poor Japan easily contained Hong Kong’s women who lost 30-3 in the second and final match of the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship (ARWC) in Tokyo today. The win ensured Japan comfortably clinched the ARWC title, which was this year fought out between only two sides due to the withdrawal of Kazakhstan.

Hong Kong coach Jo Hull’s post match interview was full of positive cliches and comments (see below) about character and positivity but especially in the first half Japan were poor and yet Hong Kong failed to turn field position and possession into points. Hong Kong’s play was slow and painfully predictable and despite spending considerable time close to the Japan try line in the first quarter they never looked like scoring a try.

Ignoring the many handling and set piece errors the team were a step too slow mentally and physically. Rather than assessing what they saw infront of them, it was like ‘we’re here, we must do this’ which is all well and good but easily defended. When Hong Kong did penetrate it was instinctive and that faster speed of thought created the openings…. Patterns and structure are good, but the continually improving quality of the women’s game means that when an opponents structure has a weak point a player must instinctively attack it, taking a second to realise it’s there means it’s gone before you can take advantage.

“The character was there today,” Hull said, “We went out with a real belief that we could win and we showed some positive signs. In the second half, our defensive structure was there but they started to generate momentum in attack and some really poor decisions put us under pressure.

“We had a good 50 minutes but that’s not good enough. Whilst we did improve, which is what I asked the team to do, it still wasn’t a good enough performance at this level,” Hull added.

Japan were again the more switched on in the opening minutes of the game and easily scored the first try of the game, with prop Saki Minami driving over the line. Hong Kong responded well to the early set back and dictated play for a period, finding itself within metres of the line on a couple of occasions.

After spending some time off the ground in the first half for a concussion test after a heavy hit, Rose Fong Siu-lan returned to the field and provided a spark. Hong Kong’s relentless attacking earned it a penalty, with Aggie Poon Pak-yan opening the scoring for the visitors 16 minutes in.

When not in control of the ball in the first half, Hong Kong defended resolutely with scrum-half Colleen Tjosvold and centre Natasha Olson-Thorne leading from the front.

Japan, with Mizuki Homma and Yuki Ito to the fore punished Hong Kong in the lead up to the break and a try to winger Homma ensured the home side a 10-3 half-time lead.

A determined and persistent Hong Kong again matched Japan in the opening stages of the second half, but a try to Miki Terauchi after 56 minutes of play ended the away side’s hopes and the Sakura struck again nine minutes later, with Yuki Sue crossing after a sustained attacking effort from Japan. This opened the floodgates and turned what had been a tightly fought contest into another blow out, with tries to Riho Kurogi and Ai Hyugaji in the final 10 minutes stretching the margin out to 27 points.

“Their skills under pressure are better than ours. It really is as simple as that and that has to be our key focus going forward. You can have the best game plan in the world but you have to be able to execute under pressure,” Hull said.

Hong Kong showed some improvement in the scrum but was again let down by its lineout work, especially early.

“Our accuracy and decision making were issues, we lost our first three lineouts and at this level you can’t do that,” Hull said. “That was disappointing because that was a huge improvement area in Singapore.”

Fullback Adrienne Garvey and prop Lau Nga-wun also gave good accounts of themselves for Hong Kong as Hull now looks ahead to the Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifying period in December.

“We are now very aware of what we need to work on and we’ve got a committed group to do that. The responsibility has to be on us as coaches and the players to improve our skills and that’s through working harder and making sure we prioritise that over the summer, along with our fitness,” Hull added.

Hong Kong have the talent within the squad to compete and beat Japan, but realistically need to play more challenging games against players they don’t see every week and whose strengths and weaknesses they know. Perhaps the Premiership sides should have games against the top Japanese and Chinese clubs or a women’s professional squad similar to the men’s could make tours of Europe. Yes it costs money, which the HKRU has lots of, and commitment from the players but you sense that given the opportunity many would take it. And for now as the women’s game grows and with the talent we have the chance exists, can the HKRU stop their blinkered focus on the men’s game long enough to take advantage in away that the team couldn’t on the pitch today. We HongKongers can only hope so.

Additional reporting and image: HKRU

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Rum Fest @ Mahalo Tiki Lounge – 27 May, 2016

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Lots of fun, fine rum and good food (courtesy of Pololi) at the 4th HK Rum Fest. The first day highlights were an entertaining presentation by Georgi Radev (Mahiki London) on Tiki Culture and a wonderful demonstration about flair and the art of bartending by Nicolas Saint Jean (Flair Motion). The second and final day starts at noon at the Mahalo Tiki Lounge, full details of the days schedule here.

WARNING: Mahalo bar staff have a nasty habit of taking your unfinished drink while your chatting with friends, dancing or grabbing a smoke. And then giving you that blank I don’t know what you’re talking about look before asking you to buy another.

Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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Megabites: La Bo La

Restaurant launch La Bo La

Tucked away in the corner of the faux Disneyesque street that is the new Lee Tung Avenue in Wanchai it’s easy to walk past La Bo La a French Vietnamese tapas bar, where owner and wine lover Ian Ip pairs his love of wine with a range of Vietnamese tapas. The dark paneled interior is relaxing and offers a range of seating including a private room, screened by a thick rope curtain, and several outside tables are available.

The tapas and main menu are available in the evening, while at lunch there’s a set menu offering a range of pho and Thai noodles featuring Vietnamese ham ($62), US raw beef ($68), shrimp, crab and tomato ($68) with a range of additional toppings and side dishes. The pho is nicely balanced, full of flavour and comes with plenty of noodles and some crisp raw onion to add a bit of texture – a tasty and filling lunch.

Restaurant launch La Bo La

On the main menu the fried boneless chicken bites ($88) served with Tamarind sauce are lovely when prepared well but sometimes come out overly oily. The hand-shaped minced chicken skewers ($108) served on lemon grass stems have an engaging texture and flavour. The signature ox tongue on rice ($128) and the braised oxtail ($208) are both strong rich full flavoured and filling dishes but might not be to everyone’s taste.

La Bo La gets a lot of things right and it’s a nice place to go for a drink, to relax and grab a bite. It’s just not quite a must visit place yet, but with a little more attention to consistency of food quality it certainly could be.

La Bo La
Shops G02-03, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai
Tel: 2871 1711
www.facebook.com/labolahk

Restaurant launch La Bo La

Photos: Jayne Russell
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International Dragon Boat Races:10-12 June @ Victoria Harbour

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Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races relocate to the Central Harbourfront. Over 4,000 paddlers from 14 countries will compete as dragon boat racing returns to Victoria Harbour for the first time in years.

There’ll also be extensive onshore entertainment for all ages.

Dragon Boat Carnival
Date:10-12 June, 2016
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: Free
More info:
10 June – 12pm to 5:30pm
11-12 June – 8:30am to 5:30pm

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Vinexpo

vinexpo 2016

Over 1300 wine producers and distributors from across the globe are exhibiting and showcasing their wines at this year’s Vinexpo. There’s something for everyone to enjoy and taste from the casual wine drinker to the connoisseur. As well as two floors of wine to explore, there’s seminars and curated tastings to enjoy.

Vinexpo
Date: 9:30am-6:30pm, 24-26 May 2016
Venue: HKCEC
Tickets: $600 (free with invitation)

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