Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book Launch Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton by Grant Hayter-Menzies

Saturday October 12th 2:00-4:00pm FREE event
Please RSVP by Oct. 11th 5:00pm 604-658-8880,
Address: Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC

The author will display eight antique shadow figures from the collection of the late Beijing shadow master Cui Yongping.

The Canadian Society for Asian Arts and the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver are excited to co-sponsor the launch of Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton by author Grant Hayter-Menzies. A reception will ensue following the launch.

Kansas-born Pauline Benton (1898-1974) was encouraged by her father, one of America's earliest feminist male educators, to reach for the stars. Instead, she reached for the shadows. In 1920s Beijing, she discovered shadow theatre (piyingxi), a performance art where translucent painted puppets are manipulated by highly trained masters to cast coloured shadows against an illuminated screen. Finding that this thousand-year-old forerunner of motion pictures was declining in China, Benton believed she could save the tradition by taking it to America.

In his new book, Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton (McGill-Queen’s University Press, October 2013), author Grant Hayter-Menzies tells for the first time the story of how Benton mastered the male-dominated art form in China
, and with her Red Gate Shadow Players troupe, enchanted a Depression-era audience that became eager to see this exotic show.

During the Vancouver launch of Shadow Woman, Hayter-Menzies will discuss Benton’s life and career and her efforts to preserve shadow theatre as a global cultural treasure. Along with a slide show of never-before-published photographs of Benton in performance, Hayter-Menzies will screen a rare 10 minute film shot in New York City in 1947, showing Benton performing scenes from her favorite shadow play: The White Snake; and play a brief excerpt of the sole surviving rehearsal tape from Benton’s career recorded in Carmel, California in 1971, when she partnered with renowned composer and musician Lou Harrison for what would be Benton’s final performances of this same play.

Guest blog on MQUP website:

大溫哥華中華文化中心【皮影戲女士Pauline Benton的精彩一生】新書發佈會

中國皮影戲藝術被聯合國教科文組織定為世界文化遺產。20131012日下午二時至四時,加拿大亞洲藝術協會(Canadian Society for Asian Arts)與大溫哥華中華文化中心聯合舉辦新書發布會, 推介作家 Grant Hayter-Menzies英文新書: Pauline Benton的皮影戲藝術生涯》(Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton)。作家介紹了此書主要內容並向觀眾解釋中國皮影戲藝術的基本知識。除此之外,作家從已故中國皮影戲藝術大師崔永平的收藏品中選出八件精美絕倫的皮影戲人偶展示給觀眾。發布會亦展出了一些珍貴的表演圖片和短視頻,包括一段珍貴的Pauline Benton排演皮影戲的片段。