Monday, July 17, 2006

Rocking Beijing.

Someday, when someone asks me what I did in grad school, I will look them in the eye, smile, and reply: "I rode a bike through the Forbidden City." Seriously, how cool is that?

The number of fascinating people we've met on this trip is just staggering. Victor and Eddi and David and, well, pretty much everyone we've met so far - you guys rock. Today the long list of interesting people shot up again after we visited the Beijing Film Academy and their animation division.

These guys showed us around the school, screened a little bit of their work, and welcomed us into their studio. We met a group of about a dozen young Chinese animators-in-training who are hard at work on a feature film for release in China late in 2007, and I can't wait to see it. These guys really know their stuff, and just like most of the conversations we've had here so far, our visit ended way too soon. We sat around a big table for an hour, talking about what it's like to be an animator in China, about inspirations and aspirations (Miyazaki, Pixar and video games came up repeatedly) and about being a young artist in general. According to these guys, their parents are all very supportive - something that I'm sure many young American artists can only dream about.

After that, our troupe caught a cab down to the offices of the Chinese versions of Esquire, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic Explorer, FHM, Bazaar, and a stack of others, where we sat down for coffee and conversation with the editor of China's Esquire. We talked about Chinese fashion and what it's like to be a young Chinese man re-evaluating what exactly a young Chinese man is supposed to do and be. We talked about publishing and international trends and cultures, and about how Chinese style is taking shape.

Not from Esquire, but a fashion tip nevertheless: check out the cool East-meets-West lines of Shanghai Tang, which may be the first real China clothing design label making serious inroads into America...

Man, so much else to report. I'll check in again tomorrow - stay tuned!

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