House Call
It wasn’t long ago that we were downing Champagne at the launch of glam bar The Mansion, so imagine our surprise when it was recently turned into PVT Cocktail and Champagne Bar (PVT is short for “Provocateur”). It’s basically the same bar, but under a different guise, with its period decor intact. It’s now managed by the folks behind Mink, with boutique liquors its main focus. If the parties at Mink are anything to go by, expect some pretty wild ones to take place. Log on to their Facebook page for updates.

Ring My Bell
On the subject of liquors, famed US bartender Jeff Bell from cool East Village joint PDT (Please Don’t Tell) will be heading to town sometime next month (rumoured to be February 13 or 14) for a guest bartending night. Expect Bell to whip up some mean cocktails at a location to be confirmed.

Love Makes the World Go Round
Two major stage productions based on the classic love story Romeo & Juliet will be put out just in time for V-Day. First up, Toy Factory’s lush retelling of the tale through period costumes and sets  and Singapore Dance Theatre’s dance interpretation. Not sure how to impress a date? Start with one of these.

Trick or Treat
Art is big in the city right now with Singapore Art Week taking place on January 13-19. Even more can be expected when the Trickeye Museum, the first in Southeast Asia, opens at Resorts World Sentosa later this year, which will feature fun, interactive 3D artworks. While not quite as high brow as regular museum pieces, they’re a fun and engaging way to view art. Stay tuned for updates.


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One of Singapore’s most interesting artists, 33-year-old Ang Song-Ming experiments with painting and videos inspired by pop music and musicology. His upcoming show Logical Progressions for Singapore Art Week is a smart two-channel video of the artist performing on a harpsichord to the tune of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. He talks to us about art, music and mimicry. 

The last time I was inspired I… made another artwork. My life is quite boring in that way. Most of my time is spent developing ideas and executing them, turning them into art.
Music is… something I love a lot. It taught me how to listen.
Mimicry is… quite underrated, I think. It has an important function in evolution.
The most perplexing thing about the universe is… probably how it came about.
There’s a fine line between… enough and too much.
Art is… probably something we shouldn't take too seriously.
Find out more about Song-Ming's work at his exhibition, Logical Progressions.



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2014 looks set to be another bumper year for the movies. Here are six great upcoming films not-to-be-missed.

American Hustle

Director David O. Russell continues his exploration of underground Americana with this entertaining romp through the ‘70s (cue some seriously cool retro tunes and outlandish costumes and hairdos) about con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale after putting on a massive amount of weight for the film) and his tumultuous relationships with partner-in-crime Sydney (Amy Adams) and wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence in yet another sure-fire Oscar-winning turn). Continuing

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen Brothers return with an equally nostalgic trip back to the ‘60s. Oscar Isaac plays the titular role of a struggling musician trying to get his work heard and played in Greenwich Village. Co-stars Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake. Opens Jan 16

Mood Indigo

When you mix Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Audrey Tautou (Amelie), you can only expect magic. Tautou plays the whimsical Chloe, who develops a rare disease (a water lily grows in her lungs) and begins a surreal adventure with husband Colin (Romain Duris). Opens Jan 23

I’m So Excited

This much delayed comedy (it was originally scheduled for release in August last year) features director Pedro Almodovar at his most playful. A group of travelers on board a plane to Mexico City get entertained and life checked by a bunch of gay flight attendants when their journey takess a life-threatening turn. Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz are equally infectious in their supporting roles. Opens Feb 13

Charlie Countryman

Before his gritty turn (in the buff) in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, Shia Lebouf plays troubled traveller Charlie who falls for a mysterious Romanian beauty (Evan Rachel Wood). Expect sizzling chemistry between the two. Opens Mar 27

A Most Wanted

Man Director Anton Corbijn (Control) returns to the big screen with this intense war on terror morality tale set in Hamburg about Chechen Muslim migrants. Stars Rachel McAdams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Opens May 29


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Sky High
The folks at 1-Altitude has something good up their sleeves. They are turning their current 282M and City Golf space—an interactive sports bar concept—into a sleek, futuristic lounge. To be launched in February next year, the stylish, minimalistic white-washed concept will boast VIP bottle services as well as a downtempo music playlist—making it one of the potentially cooler joint to chill out in after work around the CBD.

Art Beat
Good news for art fans. There will be lots to look forward to next year during Singapore Art Week taking place Jan 13-19. Apart from the mammoth Art Stage Singapore featuring more than 100 galleries exhibition, other highlights include ART IN MOTION, a bespoke art tour that will bring you to 13 participating galleries including Chan Hampe Galleries, Art-2 and Art Plural (with brunches and cocktail receptions thrown in for good measure), and Aliwal Urban Art Festival (Jan 18, 5pm), a vibrant one-night music-meets-street art fest featuring an energetic lineup of live bands, DJs, street art and dance performances by some of the city’s most talented artists including Masia One, Fungkimunkees, Darker Than Wax, +65 Drum & Bass, O$P$ and the RSCLS.

Making the Cut
Lots of developments in our local movie scene. Following the success of Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen wins at overseas awards, local short filmmakers will be shown some love at the next edition of the Singapore Short Film Awards, organized by The Substation and Objectifs. The award ceremony will be held at The Substation some time in February, with filmmakers vying for prizes in categories such as Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Director. Stay tuned for more info.


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One of the city's most prolific visual artists, former graphic designer Kumari Nahappan is most well-known for her sculptures and installations drawn from nature. Her upcoming series "Revisiting Nature" at Art Stage Singapore comprise a myraid of quirky sculptures shaped like chillies, coupled with Angsana seeds. She takes five with us.

What's the meaning of art?
Art is a methodology of communication and expression that is based on emotion.

How is art different from design?
Design fulfills a set criterion or function and is confined to certain perimeters. Art is infinity, an adventure of the mind without boundaries.

What's your fascination with chilli and plants?
I wanted to explore the metaphor of energy in taste. Chillies have the most amount of energy and they are also connected to our culture. Once you delve into this concept, it just grows bigger and bigger.

What fascinates you most?
Nature. Space. Cosmos.

Famous last words.
Nine steps forward, three steps backwards.

See Kumari Nahappan's "Revisiting Nature" showcase at Art Stage Singapore.


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The award season is approaching, so hit the cinemas for some quality flicks. Here are our top picks of next year’s Oscar frontrunners, showing now or opening soon.

Although this remake by Spike Lee of Korean Park Chan-Wook’s cult classic Oldboy (2003) is less twisted or original—there’s still a lot to root for. Josh Brolin is excellent as Joe Doucette; the womanizing, heavy-drinking ad exec and absentee father, who gets imprisoned for 20 years in a motel room, with food passed through a metal door by an anonymous attendant and a TV as his only window to the outside world. After he escapes, Doucette attempts to make amends, with his long-lost daughter, but the mystery deepens after encounters with social worker Mary (Elizabeth Olsen), who he is attracted to, and tormenter Adrian (Sharlto Copley), who he attempts to kill. Revealing more will spoil the fun, but look out for Samuel L. Jackson as Chaney, who runs the prison joint, and a single-take three-minute fighting sequence that apparently took six weeks to rehearse.
Showing now


12 Years a Slave
If Steve McQueen’s critically-acclaimed slave drama does not bag a single award at the upcoming Oscars, we’ll shoot ourselves. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a black man from New York who is abducted and sold into slavery, during pre-Civil War America. The ever reliable Michael Fassbender plays his sadistic owner, while Brad Pitt, a Canadian abolitionist, alters Northup’s course in life. A supporting powerhouse cast, including Paul Pano, Paul Giamatti and Alfre Woodard, increase its chances of an Oscar. The period costumes don’t look too shabby either.
Opens December 19


Even if reviews for the film have not been kind, Naomi Watt’s much talked-about performance should score an Oscar nomination. Downfall’s Oliver Hirschbiegel focuses on the love story between Diana and her doctor Hasnat Khan, and Watt’s performance is one of her best yet (never mind the naysayers).
Showing now


The Wolf of Wall Street
Is this Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest shot at the Oscars? He and frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese’s return to the big screen, after 2010’s Shutter Island, looks like a fun, breezy examination into the life of the controversial Jordan Belfort, the millionaire stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive security scheme in the ‘90s. With Scorsese at the helm, the cat’s in the bag.
Opens January 9


Last Vegas
It’s not exactly typical award-season material, but with previous Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Kevin Kline headlining this comedy, about four old friends rekindling their friendship in Las Vegas through a series of high-staked adventures, you never know.
Showing now



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The legendary filmmaker and founder of America’s first indie film studio Troma (Tromeo & Juliet, The Toxic Avenger) is in town this month to conduct a two-day masterclass. He talks to us about cult status and guilty pleasures.

What are the necessary elements in making a good movie?
I do not know what makes a “good movie” but I do believe one very important thing is to follow the Shakespearean mantra “To thine own self be true.”

How do you define cult?
Cult is when you have sold-out retrospectives of your work one day, but get kicked out of line for a screening at Cannes for not wearing a suit another day. Cult is receiving art work and fan letters requesting autographs from around the world, but having to explain your career to extended members of your family another day. Cult is taking the subway as an unrecognized ordinary person, while having legions of fans show up at conventions to show off their Troma body art.

What's the secret to your success or longevity?
Success? Longevity? I think you have me mistaken for Andy Kaufman, who is still alive even after dying from lung cancer. Now that is longevity. No but really, Troma’s greatest success is our loyal and supportive fan base. We’ve always been very interactive with our fans and they have stuck with us over the years.

What is your own personal guilty pleasure or vice?
My own personal guilty pleasure is chewing gum and spitting it on the sidewalk (I hope this gets me frisked at the airport)!

What do you have to say to art-house film buffs?
I respect art-house film buffs for supporting independent art and not fueling the media conglomerates. They understand that art is very important to the human spirit, and is a reflection of society, which is why it is important for us to nurture new and unique voices and support independent art instead of supporting big budget remakes that offer no reflection of the human psyche.

Lloyd Kaufman’s 2-Day Filmmaking Masterclass is on Dec 14-15, 9am-5pm. LaSalle College of the Arts. $495 from


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Half a dozen new art galleries, a slew of cool exhibitions happening right now, and even more to look forward to in January’s Art Week—the local visual arts scene is heating up, says Terry Ong

Cool art exhibitions are opening every week in this Little Red Dot of ours. Not only that—next year’s Singapore Art Week will feature more than 60 independent exhibitions, alongside mammoth art fair Art Stage. Perhaps most excitingly of all, five new independent galleries have just opened with more on the way (Pearl Lam brings her Shanghainese style to Gillman Barracks from January). Here we take a look at these new arrivals and peek ahead at what’s to come.

28th Fevrier

What: Run by former photographer Dominic Khoo, the 8,000 sq. ft. art gallery is luxury and artistry personified. It was just a couple of months after Khoo decided to close down his former space at Jalan Kilang Barat (which in November held the Super O Season pop-up parties) that he reopened at this picturesque spot. “I still wanted to push the idea of art and I wanted a space where viewers can see the works through a more realistic setting, where the pieces are placed at home,” says Khoo.

Who: Never mind that it boasts a rather chi-chi setting  (customers get to rest on the luxury sofas and sip on tea or coffee while they browse), the art pieces here are an infectious mix of street art influenced works and charming one-offs, including rare early works by Samantha Lo a.k.a. SKLO and Parisian Kongo ($20,000 upwards). Images from Khoo’s photography collection, of celebrities like Maggie Cheung and Lindsay Lohan, are also on sale ($6,888 upwards), as are one-off furniture piece by Italian brand Manoteca ($11,888 upwards).

Why: The friendly atmosphere and warm ambiance makes you want to come back again and again.

Where: 6 Kay Siang Rd., 6366-4642.

When: Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 1-6pm.

Barnadas Huang

What: The latest gallery to open in Dempsey is the sister gallery of Spain’s Barnadas Huang, a 1,500 sq. ft. space that offers some of the best in European art. “We brought the gallery to Singapore because we thought there was a gap in the market when it came to contemporary European art,” says partner Abigail Wong.

Who: A staple of both veterans and emerging European artists, including names like Fernando Adam, Jesus Curia, Marc Jesus, Joan Longas and Gabriel Schmitz. Currently on show is The Real Barcelona. Works are priced from $500 upwards.

Why: Apart from one-off shows, there has never been such a huge and diverse collection of European artists under one roof in Singapore.

Where: 22 Dempsey Rd., 6635-4707,

When: Open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm.

Editions by Collectors Contemporary

What: The second outpost by gallerist and collector Gary Sng—of Collectors Contemporary fame—which opened three weeks ago (official opening in January), is located inside an apartment building off Orchard Road, boasting an urban, industrial setting. “We have been discussing opening another space for a long time,” says Sng. “The place has a very relaxed environment. It makes me feel like I’m back in Los Angeles. This is a casual space so it feels more welcoming for novice art collectors, while our original gallery space at Jalan Kilang Barat will continue to offer original works in the secondary market.”

Who: As its name suggests, the gallery mainly carries prints, silk-screened pieces and art-related merchandize from great art names like Gilbert & George, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami, just to name a few ($58 upwards). “Our other space feels like a museum, while this one feels like a museum shop, to put it simply,” says Sng.

Why: For those who can’t afford to buy the real thing, these editioned pieces are as good as they get. It’s like the Affordable Art Fair, all year round.

Where: #01-21 Park House, 21 Orchard Blvd., 6235-2110.

When: Open Tue-Sun 11am-7pm.

Gramercy Art

What: A three-week-old, two-story, 3,000 sq. ft. contemporary art space currently hosting a solo show by revered Spanish-American Neo-Expressionist artist Domingo Zapata. Located in River Valley, it will continue to stage shows by both established and new local artists over the next few months, as well as host art residencies. CEO Malini Murjani says, “We are not only looking to function as a space for artists to get their works out but are working towards becoming the platform that connects Singapore’s art scene to the US’s where Gramercy’s main outpost is currently located.”

Who: Keen art enthusiasts will be thrilled to see Zapata’s works for the first time here—all 40 pieces of it—featuring his signature mixed-media, collage and graffiti-infused figurative paintings ($13,000 upwards).

Why: Finally, a noteworthy art gallery around one of our favourite hoods to complete the shopping experience.

Where: 81 Kim Yan Rd.

When: Daily 10am-8pm.

Fat Gallery

What: Set up by veteran gallerist Jennifer Soen in October, this contemporary art space is a breath of fresh air, at the newly revamped Suntec City Mall, with its wide open layout and calming, whitewashed ambiance.

Who: The gallery currently carries pieces by a wide array of local and Asian artists including China’s Liu Feng Hua, Taiwan’s Yang Tze Yun, Japan’s Masato Shigemori and Singapore’s Sonny Liew ($55 upwards).

Why: The diverse styles and mediums featured here will make you want to come back for more.

Where: #02-381/382 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Blvd., 6336-3972.  

When: Open daily 10:30am-9:30pm.

Don't miss these five ongoing visual arts exhibitions and check out our list of not-to-be-missed marquee art events for Singapore Art Week 2014!



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