Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Falun Gong Show Returns

One of the markers of the New Year around the neighborhood is the annual return of the Shen Yun spectacular at the San Francisco Opera House.

Direct from engagements in Fresno and San Jose, the touring show is literally parked at the San Francisco Opera from January 1st to 7th.

Elderly volunteers act as security guards for the Shen Yun vehicles along Franklin Street, and when I took these photos this afternoon, they rushed to give me an advertising flyer.

Ten years ago Sid Chen and I reviewed this show when it was new and being billed as a Chinese New Years Spectacular. We had no idea going in that it was a mixture of spangled kitsch and Falun Gong anti-Peoples Republic of China propaganda. I assume most people currently attending the show similarly have no idea what of what they are going to see, which is a strange bit of bait and switch marketing.

For the delirious review from a decade ago (Sid can be very funny), click here.


Rachel said...

Oh, Michael. My brother and I have a weird obsession with Shen Yun (though we've never seen it). I can't figure out if I'm glad you've seen it, or if the magic is now somehow ruined. I'll think on it.
Happy New Year, and can I say, I miss The Visitors so much already!

Michael Strickland said...

Now I want to hear about you and your brother's weird obsession with Shen Yun. On my Facebook page linking to this post there was a very funny discussion which I'm reprinting for you:

Sonia Gariaeff: (Side note, I may indulge in ironic interpretive dance with a scarf every time that TV commercial comes on)

Michael Strickland: You need to get a friend to film that and put it on YouTube. I'd link to it in a second.

Sonia Gariaeff: chubby and theatrical lady flings knit scarf around, leaping with an expression of bland joy. Yes, I'd totally watch that myself.

Maggie Lou Perkes: That’s a cult I might be convinced to join. I also have scarves and enjoy leaping.

Sonia Gariaeff: "Loook! I'm Shen Yuuun! I have a scaaarf! I'm super graaaaaceful!" (Leaps over pile of music, cat attacks knit scarf)

Maggie Lou Perkes: *gasp!* There’s cats too?! Take my money! I’m in.

Sonia Gariaeff: screw it, I'm starting my own Shen Yun cult for snarky, middle aged women

Rachel said...

Thanks, Michael!
Yes, I think our obsession is more with the way the man in the TV commercials says Shen Yun? And of course the fact that we can never escape them. They perform EVERYWHERE and I think even at Thanksgiving when we were on the east coast, they were there.
Thanks for this funny tidbit!