The vibrant watercolor shows a gaming table with three playing cards, each depicting a different portrait of the same man. Small figures kneel at the corners pleading, "Papa, can you help me not be frightened?" and "Papa, don't you know I have no choice?"
As any would-be American Idol knows, taking on a song by Whitney Houston or Celine Dion can be the kiss of death. The songs are so demanding that contestants often find themselves in the judges' firing line for attempting one.
Painstakingly sewing shards of broken pottery recovered from ancient archeological digs, Li Xiaofeng creates "porcelain clothing" few would ever wear. Until now. Some of these works caught the attention of John Storey, the worldwide director of public relations for Lacoste, when he saw them displayed last November at the hip Beijing hotel The Opposite House. Storey recognized a great marketing opportunity, and commissioned the up-and-coming Chinese artist to create two iconic artworks.
"The Legend of the White Snake" is one of the most famous Chinese tales. The story of a young scholar bewitched by a beautiful woman who is really a powerful white-snake demon has given rise to countless Chinese opera productions, films, and TV series. It is now also a Western-style opera performed in English that is set to tour China.
Five years ago, Hong Kong film director and producer Peter Chan got an intriguing call from Warner Brothers: would he be interested in remaking The Bridges of Madison County with Chow Yun-Fat reprising Clint Eastwood's role and Chinese actress Gong Li stepping in for Meryl Streep? Chan thought transposing the action to China would work, but he couldn't spend the time on development, so nothing happened.
During the mid-2000s, Chinese contemporary art rose to world attention, with political pop and cynical realist works by artists like Yue Minjun and Zhang Xiaogang regularly breaking records at auction.
For the ultimate in exclusive shopping, men are increasingly turning to bespoke couturiers for custom-fit suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. A sampling of our favorites: Rubinacci, Naples Renowned for light tailoring with minimum padding at the shoulders, suits from this Neapolitan tailor are characterized by their soft silhouettes.
The contemporary-art market is not much more robust in Asia than it is anywhere else. But in other genres, Asian buyers are showing some surprising muscle, snatching up pieces that Western buyers have shunned and creating a lone bright spot in an otherwise bleak market.
As a sport, yachting may be all about harnessing the power of the wind, but for most superyachts, that's where ecofriendliness ends. Typically, these 45-meter-plus boats guzzle huge amounts of fuel while their owners host lavish parties that require high-powered amenities like air conditioning and fancy sound systems.
Until recently, the way Chinese artists got famous was to talk politics. The generation that grew up during the Cultural Revolution and the difficult years that followed was highly politicized and gained global recognition for its tongue-in-cheek images of Mao Zedong and Tiananmen Square, often rendered in eye-popping color.
Even guests who never eat breakfast when they're home have trouble resisting a well-appointed breakfast buffet on the road. A recent survey of business and leisure travelers in Asia by Le Méridien hotel group showed that 60 percent of leisure travelers and 40 percent of business ones eat more than usual when traveling, and more than 80 percent favor the buffet breakfast.
The luxury-watch industry has gotten the message: pare it down. Small, slim, unadorned timepieces capture the mood of the moment. In his very first watch collection, Ralph Lauren has unveiled a series of delicate classic watches that exude luxury without bling; the Stirrup Collection features an equestrian silhouette, with Roman numerals and a "railroad track" minute marker.
Gambling is out. Few have the stomach anymore to risk their assets on the stock market, real estate or even a work of art, let alone the blackjack table. Casinos from Las Vegas to Macau are suffering as tourists tighten their belts and corporations under scrutiny choose less glitzy locations to hold events.
The most common criticism leveled at restaurants in Asia is that they offer a disappointing selection of desserts. But things are changing. In the past two years a number of dedicated dessert bars have opened in major cities around the region.