Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 3: New York

I took the bus into Manhattan with Jay Z in the headphones and vibing off the blue skies and the raw energy that emanates from the hustle of New York City’s streets. Landed at 2pm, and in the Met by 4pm, staying with Mike, an old Taiwan hand on the Upper East Side. Go Chic would play later that night at Arlene’s Grocery, a Lower East Side indie rock joint, and Fire EX and White Eyes would play the next night at a 320-capacity live house inside the New York nightlife institution, Webster Hall.

The Taiwan government’s new indie rock policy has interesting implications, namely that it’s a way of promoting Taiwan’s name in an arena where China can’t do anything about it. China has prevented Taiwan from participating in the United Nations, World Health Organization and other big assemblies of “nations” for more than 30 years. In the Olympics and other sporting events, the Taiwanese team must arrive under the banner “Chinese-Taipei.” The world’s top biennials of contemporary art have been pressured by the Chinese government to disallow Taiwan from calling its exhibition hall the “Taiwan Pavilion.” But indie rock has no large central organization to apply pressure to, and even if it did, I seriously doubt a rock festival would be sympathetic to a bullying, repressive regime that will not offer them any economic benefits in the foreseeable future. Even more interesting – let’s not forget that this is a policy of Ma Ying-jeou’s generally warm-on-China KMT government.


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