User profile: dtedheshi

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Dear Foreign Musicians

David from the Great Apes here...Why in the world is free form jamming the only hallmark of a good music scene? I like a variety of musical expressions that include open jams, open mics, and themed jams (jazz, blues, reggae, etc.). My personal opinion is that I wish more bands got their shit together and practiced more often. Personally, my opinion is that the scene would greatly benefit from more original compositions and a lot more attention to detail in their live performances. Other cities' scenes have a broader base of musicians so the vocabulary at jams is at a higher level, therefore its a lot more interesting to play in and listen to. Here, unfortunately for now, the level of "strap on an instrument and just play" musicianship is a bit narrow in scope and low in ability (DEFINITELY including myself here :)). (I think) Scenes greatly benefit from ass-kicking outfits like the Rednecks and Funk Assembly who pay attention to what they are doing. Why is this regressive, part of a regime, or pandering to some hypothetical undesirable musical environment?
Many inquisitive and competent Chinese musicians in this town are in contract bands that play 7 nights a week and are not available to play for nothing. Countless Chinese players have cycled through the open jam circuit over the years that I wish I had a chance to play with more often, but they made a decision to play for a living...which means sign their lives away to musical slavery at some local steampunk themed drunk tank.

My wife (then I, after we got hitched) and a friend ran a pretty damn awesome open mic at the Movie Bar and it was just amazing how people from ALL cultures could find a way to play together. We "gave back" to the community by selling cheaper beer to musicians and their friends and basically ostracizing our more wealthy customers, for a night because my wife and I just loved to see it all happen.

Last night the Great Apes invited Lost Dream, an excellent post-rock instrumental Chinese band, to open for us and it was really great. THAT is what I've been wanting to do for a long time, but it just took a while to get it organized. I think mixed bills is a great way to "give back" (whatever the hell that means).

My gigs are precious. My band works very hard to express ourselves and I don't think we hurt anyone or anything in the process, so, Mark, I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I'm damn confident in stating that we put our hearts and souls out there on stage. We play for cheap and, frankly, only hope that the sound man knows what the hell he's doing and that a few people will get into what we love to do.
Frankly, I don't have any idea why a thread like this could get so aggressive or negative. The way to make a music scene is to play music.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Dear Foreign Musicians

Until some form of psychic unity arrives from the heavens and plants the notion into the brains of every laowai who picks up a guitar or tambourine in this fair city, a union will not work. Like Roberto said, there will always be a student or itinerant backpacker who will play for less. I think the two issues in this thread are mutually exclusive: forming a music scene that respects music more and monkey shows. They're two different animals and as a vet of playing in KM for 5 years, I've always treated them that way. However, I've also seen my fair share of musicians in this town who really enjoy both types of performances and get more than just money out of the monkey shows...just like geosax stated. Why such seriousness to this issue? Music is music. I grew to hate the monkey show circuit for many of the reasons listed above but there is no reason to impose some high and mighty moral code on newbies or oldies who use the circuit as a parallel revenue stream or as a way to connect with others. Are we going to get together and issue official cabaret licenses next? The way KM is developing, I'm certain that a government crackdown on entertainers is coming, much like GuangZhou, anyway.

I was a drummer/beginning guitar player when I first came to KM and I used the circuit to get better in a performance setting. Thankfully there were open mics around that let me develop as well. There have been a lot of ebbs and flows to this music scene, but I think its pretty damn healthy, although, definitely in need of a better venue.

Marc0746, there is no way that more gigs will be created for Chinese musicians if each and every one of us boycotted. Why do locals stare at us? Because we're different and many local people have led culturally/ethnically homogenous lives since birth. A foreign face is something that draws bodies to an event out of deep-seated curiosity. This is what our employers are counting on so they can bait and switch prospective customers into considering buying their product. "Just another Chinese band" won't draw. I hate this, but I think it does no harm to Chinese musicians...the gig wouldn't have been there for them anyway! Some of us have seen how difficult it is to be accepted at a monkey show with even ONE band member who is Chinese!
In a more productive vein, I think it would be awesome to somehow get our hands on a sweet loft-style venue and have it completely controlled by investing local musicians. Any and all welcome. Nicely tuned sound system. Adjoining practice spaces. Video and audio recording available. Cheap beer. All for music. Breaking even, not amassing profits as the goal.

Forums > Living in Kunming > This site is ridiculous

David from Lost Garden here. I just want to say I appreciate the open forum for discussion of local restaurants and the chance to review them as a guideline for others to use when choosing where to eat. "Kunming food sucks" might be one of the more asinine comments someone could make, but it assists my choice when it comes to listening/reading someone's comments. We're an advertiser on GK and they've been more than helpful to us. We appreciate when they delete flamers' comments when anonymous posters write things like, "they must use second hand oil" and "the bosses are obviously not on site" because its utter libel. If opinions are couched as opinions, then fire away. But if you're a liar and present opinions as facts (e.g. "Kunming food sucks"), then go make your own website, elect yourself administrator and good luck finding people to read it.


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Excellent update, Chris.

All of these issues are wide-ranging and far-reaching in scope. The transformation of the city over the last few years has been staggering to my eyes, which are accustomed to the slow crawl of change over time witnessed in the U.S.

The greatest, "on the ground" issue is whether public transportation will actually be successfully sold to the car-crazed citizens of Kunming. Will light rail actually "lead to local car owners leaving the car at home more often."? Owning a shiny new vehicle and driving it around for no reason seems to be the endgame of working long hours for 6 days a week for the average Chinese breadwinner. Sitting in your living room away from home in congested traffic with your wife and child in tow with climate control and surround sound stereo is the new daily diversion.

Will the rail system be able to accommodate the kind of volume that might hit the system if such a large percentage of KM'ers have their jobs moved to Chenggong? A longer commute might be just the justification for people to use that car more often.

If folks really do use their new cars mostly for functional purposes and if they actually do decide to leave the new love of their life at home, where are they going to "leave" these cars? Sidewalks are the new parking zones. 2-lane roads are now parking lots lining narrow one-way alleys through which cars, e-bikes, bicycles and pedestrians all need to navigate. Let's hope these are just symptoms and growing pains associated with "development". The government is good at implementing sweeping changes with the wave of a hand, as evidenced by the rate of construction and destruction all over town. I say, tax the hell out of gas and new car purchases and turn some of the high rise development projects into parking garages, sold for a premium to the "shadow rich".

I agree with Roberto regarding the semantic issue of "best" versus "favorite", but who cares. We often make the linguistic gloss among friends that "This is the BEST..." when we mean its our favorite. Again, who cares. Its a website rating system of people's preferences. I'll tell you what, I make the best coffee in the world. I drink it everyday. Noone can tell me different...not Roberto...not GoKunming. My coffee wins "The Best of dtedheshi 2011". Noone can take that away from me! Noone!!! hahahaha!

Hey, the Great Apes want to thank Hugh for all the pix and video of the festival. We had a blast! Hopefully there will be more and more of these things in KM. Now if anyone sees a black Epiphone frankentsein Les Paul with Gibson P-94 pickups floating around the scene... Let us know!



This tiny little shop hidden in the little streets adjacent to Kundu has the best MiGan (米干) if not the only MiGan in Kunming. Its basically a Dai style fetuccini-width rice noodle that is either fried or served in a soup. I highly recommend it to those who turn their noses up (like me!) at MiXian. The owners are super friendly and one plate of the delicious fried version holds me over most of the day.


Thought I'd chime in on this one after having an extensive relationship with this hospital.

Fall of 2008, I manifested symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis. I knew what it was because my dad had had it and told me all about what symptoms to look for. I knew exactly how to find the problem and told the physicians at Kunming Hospital #1 to do the tests. They did not find the problem, even though I told them how and where to look. Distraught, I went to Richland where they promptly found the problem, showed me the results, and insisted on immediate treatment. Throughout the procedure, I got the feeling that I was their first case of DVT and that they were checking medical journals every step of the way. Treatment was successful. The private room I stayed in was super clean and I was treated with courtesy, if not curiosity. The entirety of my in-hospital stay cost me 20,000 yuan. For my father, who had similar treatment in the U.S., the cost was 25,000 dollars.

In an emergency situation, there is no way I would recommend this hospital in that it seems to be run by a lethargic monolingual skeleton crew that takes weekends off. If you know what you have and you want a clean place to be treated, I think its a good spot. One final "however" this article just as a reminder that you're in Kunming, where healthcare has LONG way to go.

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