Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The Falun Gong Show Returns to the SF Opera House
The San Francisco Opera House was surrounded by buses belonging to the Falun Gong sect all last week as a touring company performed their strange "Shen Yun Spectacular" which involves political and religious propaganda enhanced by music, dancing, projections, and lots of sequins and scarves and lasers.
According to Colin Dabkowski writing in The Buffalo News, the formula hasn't changed much since Sidney Chen and I stumbled across the show back in 2007. Dabkowski writes in a 2010 review, "I hesitate to delve too deply into the artistic merits of such an unconscionable misuse of the ancient art of Chinese dance, but in the interest of fairness I will offer this: Imagine what it might be like to watch a synchronized swimming team perform in front of a gigantic Windows 95 screen-saver. That should give you a pretty good idea of where "Shen Yun" ranks on the artistic merit scale."
The oddest detail this year were the hundreds of middle-aged Chinese Americans handing out flyers advertising the show for months beforehand all over the neighborhood, and the Falun Gong security guards standing beside the buses giving passersby paranoid looks while you walked down the sidewalk. Their behavior did not inspire trust.