We started out the night getting one of those haircuts that looks atrocious and sends you rummaging through your closet for a good hat. It took us forever to get a cab too, and we might have lost the one we did catch if the cop that yelled at us for almost jaywalking — “过马路不看灯呀？” “Don’t you look at the lights when you cross the road?” … we pretended to not understand — had decided to fine us. Getting our pictures shown in public would have been bad, especially since this was near Julu Lu — could we ever have lived that down?
All this just so we could make it to the first Shanghai Pecha-Kucha night over on 50 Moganshan Lu. According to Gridskipper these events were first started by two architects in Tokyo (though not Japanese) as a forum where architects and designers could throw out new ideas in a format of 20 images, no more than 20 seconds each, making for 400 seconds or 6 minutes and 40 seconds for each presenter. And guess what, the event started at 20:20 and cost 20 yuan at the door. Honestly, we think it was worth it — and not because we really dug the presentations, some of which were well done, and others which were like standup comedy sessions for European existentialist comics who would muse on the meaningless of the 6:40 seconds and the absurdities of their lives in Shanghai. Although there was fashion and design thrown in there, it was still fairly architecture heavy, and while we know nothing of that field, it was an interesting experience if only because we were unaware just how many people are into this kind of thing. You can our pictures of it here.
We then headed out to Tang Hui, which officially opens today but had a bit of pre-opening Friday night — and, of all the things we could say about this place, both good and bad, we’ll just start with a plain fact: If they keep up this kind of energy, atmosphere and buzz, the competition is f*cked like Jake Gyllenhaal on the floor of a tent on the side of a mountain. We saw some of the familiar acts from the old place — local band Crystal Butterfly was on the stage when we got there, followed by the guitarists from Xinjiang (forgive us, but we don’t know their names) and some other acts. It was a reunion of local musicians and the beautiful people that loved them and everyone seemed “in” on this vibe.
Certainly, no one is going to mistake this place for a dive bar, which an informal survey of our friends revealed was part of the appeal of the old place. Nonetheless, the new Tang Hui’s decor isn’t fancy or plush, which is all right with us. No one comes here for the upscale stuff anyway. Whether or not it will never ever again be chill is another question, but certainly no one is going to care if they lose the business of a few purists. Take a look for yourselves and then write us — we’d love to hear what others think! You can see some of our pictures from last night here.
Also on Shanghaiist:
A sneak peak at the new Tang Hui
Photo from Monkeyking’s Flickr page.