UNRESERVED Recommends: Your September Entertainment Diary

So much to see, so much to do. Don’t know where to start? Here’s your veritable guide to September’s best offerings.
Wednesday 29 August 2018
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1979 and is Singapore’s flagship orchestra. Photo: Lertkiat Chongjirajitra


Project: World
When: 30 September
Where: Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore

Conceptualised by Singapore Symphony Orchestra percussionist Mark Suter, ‘Project: World’ is drawn from his experience as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Silk Road Ensemble. Exploratory by nature, the first half features Suter and his friends in specially commissioned energetic and inspiring pieces involving a wide range of percussion. End the evening with Suter and his jazz piano trio in a fascinating discovery of jazz. This musical project is for the experimental at heart; the sounds may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s worth trying something new.

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Under the Persian Musical Sky
When: 15 September
Where: Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur

Western classical music may have long reigned over other musical styles but there is a whole new world of music waiting to be explored – Persian classical. PUSAKA and Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia have brought in Grammy Award-winning master of the kamancheh (Iranian spiked fiddle), Kayhan Kalhor, alongside Kiya and Ziya Tabassian of the acclaimed Constantinople Ensemble from Montreal. ‘Under the Persian Musical Sky’ is the inaugural concert of PUSAKA’s Music of the Islamic World series, in collaboration with Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.

Kalhor’s music gets under your skin, as the clear sound of the kamancheh resounds throughout the room. It is reminiscent of the Spanish guitar combined with the erhu (Chinese violin). If you are so inclined, there is a public talk on the Music of the Islamic World earlier in the day, and a workshop with the musicians the next day.

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Sarah Heng introduces audiences to the hauntingly melodic sounds of the guzheng. Photo: Damansara Performing Arts Centre

When: 6 to 9 September
Where: Damansara Performing Arts Centre, Petaling Jaya,

Damansara Performing Arts Centre is bringing back ‘Spectrum’, an Asian and Western symphonic music feast. Four performances across four days by well-known Malaysian performers, each with a different message in their music. The first night begins with the Julian Chan Jazz Orchestra (JCJO), a newly formed community jazz orchestra by Malaysian saxophonist Julian Chan. The second night brings the soothing music of Yuan Leow Yunn with Layang-Layang. On the third night, experience the sounds of Getaran Alam (vibrations of nature) by internationally renowned flute player Muhardiman Ismail and his partner, rebana player Ramli Hamid. On the fourth night, Sara Heng brings us the alluring sounds of the guzheng, an ancient Chinese string instrument with a history that spans over 2,500 years. All four nights promise to be an exquisite auditory experience, each evoking different emotions within a person.


Mozart: The Final Symphonies
When: 22 and 23 September
Where: Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, KLCC

It’s all about Mozart this September. The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating one of the most well-known prodigal composers of classical music – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Though famous for his works, ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ and ‘Requiem: Lacrimosa’, the MPO has decided to celebrate the composer’s final works instead. These three symphonies were created in quick succession in the summer of 1788. Mozart’s ‘Symphony No. 39’ opens on a majestic note, followed by the instantly recognisable ‘Symphony No 40’. Finishing off the trio is the magnificent ‘Symphony No. 41’ which is rumoured to have been nicknamed ‘Jupiter’ by impresario Johann Peter Salomon. Join maestro Naohisa Furusawa and the MPO on a journey to Mozart’s world.


One Passion, Many Destinations
When: 25 September
Where: Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore

The University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra led by world-renowned conductor Associate Professor Richard Davis is here to treat classical music lovers to the glorious sounds of their music. Opening the night with Alice Humphries’ ‘Tides’, the orchestra will take you on an ocean voyage, followed by quintessentially English composer Edward Elgar’s mystical five sea poems entitled ‘Sea Pictures’. Further into the night, composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s powerful ‘Symphony No. 5’ will tug at your heartstrings.



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Mikey’s living room.mix, 2018 by Debbie Ding, remixed from Mikey’s living room by Zsoa Valyi-Nagy in 2014. Photo: Debbie Ding/Ota Fine Arts

When: Until 15 September
Where: Ota Fine Arts, Singapore

This exhibition revolves around the theme of spaces – actual and imaginary spaces – and the reactions of six artists to the spaces and structures in contemporary society. From photography to textile work, each artist has developed their own interpretation of the theme. The six artists from Singapore are Kray Chen, Sheryl Chua, Debbie Ding, Hilmi Johandi, Tristan Lim and Ian Tee. Contemporary society is characterised by highly urbanised environments. Through the re-contextualisation of historical imagery, the works also explore themes of alienation, the social and geographical effects of rapid development, and the politics of spatial and infrastructural forms.


Wu Guanzhong: Expressions of Pen & Palette
When: Through September
Where: National Gallery Singapore

This third in a series of exhibitions at the Wu Guanzhong Gallery of National Gallery Singapore presents different stages of the artist’s work. Previously featured were Wu’s fantastic landscapes that take viewers to China in a single art piece. This exhibition showcases the artist’s innovative experiments in fusing Chinese ink with Western modernism. Explore the relationship between his artistic creations and literary works, and gain a deeper understanding of the mastery and skill of Wu’s art and ink aesthetics.



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Braci is an exclusive Italian hideaway in the heart of bustling Boat Quay overlooking the river in Singapore. Photo: Braci

GastroMonth 2018: Fuel Up Your Appetite
When: 1 to 30 September
Where: Various places around Singapore

Singapore celebrates the restaurants on its Michelin Guide in September. With a month to try out as many restaurants as you can afford, you may just find that one dish you’ve been craving for. At Béni, Chef de Cuisine, Kenji Yamanaka, takes you on an gastronomic journey through a series of courses that feature the best of the four seasons. If Japanese-French fusion doesn’t appeal to you, try award-winning Rang Mahal restaurant for a delightful exploration of Northern, Southern and coastal region Indian cuisine. It’s authentic traditional Indian fare that captures a myriad of flavours in colourful India.



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Mouthwateringly stunning visuals and fascinating human stories. Photo: Netflix

Chef’s Table
When: 28 September

David Gelb’s highly acclaimed Chef’s Table returns with its fifth season at the end of September. Though there has yet to be any announcement of which four chefs will be covered for the season, viewers can expect the same spectacular cinematography. Be ready to be bowled over by the most beautifully shot food porn ever made; you will be hungry after just one episode. Chef’s Table not only excels at making you hungry, it also fills your soul. Watching each chef and how they got to where they are now is both humbling, in Jeong Kwan’s case, and awe-inspiring in the case of Vladimir Mukhin as he shares his mission to elevate the classic cuisine of Russia’s glory days.

While you wait for this devilishly delicious feast for the eyes, drool over Chef’s Table: France – the French need a segment all on their own. You may also want to try Gelb’s earlier work, Jiro Dreams of Sushi; you’ll be craving for sushi after that.


A Simple Favor
When: 2018

From comedy director Paul Feig comes a dark mystery thriller with bold colour schemes and two mysterious female leads. It stars Anna Kendrick as blogger mum Stephanie Ward and Blake Lively as the beautiful but enigmatic Emily Nelson. Stephanie befriends Emily through their sons, though she never really get close enough, until one day Emily disappears leaving behind her son and successful husband, Sean Nelson, played by Henry Golding. Stephanie sets out to uncover the truth behind Emily’s disappearance in this thriller filled with twists. The real poser: Are Stephanie and Emily really who they say they are?

The Predator
When: 13 September

We are in the age of remakes and sequels. Shane Black brings back the universe’s deadliest hunters in a new and improved The Predator, a sequel to the Predator film series. A boy picks up a Predator beacon and accidentally signals a ship down to Earth. The plot is simple: Predators are here again and a bunch of ex-soldiers are Olivia Munn’s only hope. The trailer shows there isn’t just one Predator but two; one is much larger and nastier than the other. Get ready for some extraterrestrial terror. It’s going to be brutal.


Sydney Contemporary
When: 13 to 16 September
Where: Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia

Spring is a great time to explore the cities in Australia. Discover the artistic side of Sydney at Sydney Contemporary – a premier international art fair. Be awed and inspired by the diverse collection of artworks. Carriageworks, Sydney’s unique multi-disciplinary arts precinct, is hosting more than 70 participating galleries from around the world. Sydney Contemporary provides collectors, industry professionals and the art-loving public access to cutting-edge art from some of the world’s most respected artists as well as the opportunity to discover new, emerging talent. Even if you aren’t an art aficionado, you are likely to find something awe-inspiring at this fair.


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Contempt, an emotional state displayed through this paper art. Photo: London Design Biennale 2018

London Design Festival
When: 15 to 23 September
Where: Around London

Touted as the design capital of the world, the London Design Festival returns for its 16th year to celebrate this title. The Victoria & Albert museum serves as the official festival hub for the 10th year in a row. London will be transformed this September by landmark projects, innovative installations and exciting events. Discover design and craft at its very best in hundreds of venues scattered across the bustling British capital. Stop by the London Design Biennale in Somerset House. This year’s theme is Emotional States, and it explores questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality. Designjunction 2018 is another crowd-puller at South Bank, the city’s cultural hub. The fair is hosting 200 international brands; there are hundreds of product launches, pop-up shops, outdoor installations, talks and exhibitions.


RIP Charlie Blackman #charlesblackman

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The Evening is the Morning
When: 22 September to 7 October
Where: Harvey House Gallery and Sculpture Park, Seaforth, New South Wales, Australia

‘The Evening is the Morning’ is a tribute to celebrated Australian artist Charles Blackman who passed away on 20 August 2018, a week after his 90th birthday. This is the inaugural exhibition of the Charles Blackman Foundation, run by his daughters Christabel Blackman and Bertie Blackman. Through his painting, prints, drawing, sculpture and tapestry, Blackman explored the female psyche, poetry, music and aesthetic philosophies. ‘The Evening is the Morning’ looks at Blackman’s fascination with cats through bronze maquettes and illustrations from Mark Twain’s A Cat’s Tale. Cats are poetic, cats are mysterious, and these are core themes in Blackman’s work, from schoolgirls and angels to Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

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Camping and Tramping in Malaya provides an insight into 19th century Malaya.


Camping and Tramping in Malaya by Ambrose B. Rathborne

In the olden days – sometime before travel websites and a little after we’d stopped chiselling our exploits on cave walls – trips were documented in books. Read this review of Malaya from the 1880s, because this is essentially what this book is. Rathborne was an Australian entrepreneur who came to our shores looking to start a business, but ended up helping to establish the main trunk roads of the country. Read this to get an insight on how life was in the late 19th century. This book is made up of equal parts of bewilderment, adventure along with a hint of superiority when it comes to dealing with the ‘natives’. The author also details his forest excursions and this makes the book a surprising resource for retracing old trails in our jungles, if that’s your thing. Also fun, the slightly politically incorrect picture captions. You’ll chuckle and immediately regret it. – Eric Ian Chan

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Sci-fi with a twist Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel Sleeping

‘Giants’ isn’t like most science fiction on the shelves. This book is made up of interviews, reports and journal entries – much like Neuvel’s other books, World War Z and The Martian. The first book in a series, the story has a simple beginning. Rose Franklin, aged ten, falls into a hole and discovers a giant metal hand. Years later, Franklin, now a full-fledged physicist, is called to investigate the very thing she found as a child. Then there is the mysterious interviewer who links the story and all the characters; sadly you won’t find out who he is in this book. This is sci-fi no doubt, but instead of space shootouts you read reports, journal entries and interviews. These documents move the plot in an oddly cold but captivating way. If you’re tired of Transformers and Gundam, but still love robot stories, then read this fantastically fresh take on the genre. – Zoe Ibrahim