Steve Aoki’s prop rider includes six white cakes, an inflatable boat and an inflatable mattress. Nguyen Viet Anh, one of the founders of SouthEast Entertainment, the promoters bringing Aoki to Vietnam, reads on: “Inflatable swimming pool, minimum of five people — very important. Capitalised.”
Despite the lack of landscapes, the enthusiasm of Saigon photographers isn’t decreasing. From construction sites to bridges like Thu Thiem in District 2 or Anh Sao in District 7, from shopping malls like Parkson or The Crescent to alley cafés — to a nylon-made cherry blossom tree displayed at Vincom during Tet — any random backdrop can be an attraction. They come with iPhones and iPads, but few have the gear to get the most out of these weird scenes. And we were some of the few.
If 2013 was your first year in Vietnam, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this country is some kind of live music mecca. The year has seen both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City enjoy performances from techno-piano virtuoso Francesco Tristano, electronic composer Sun Glitters and death jazz mentalists Soil N “Pimp” Sessions, as well as Japandroids, with The Cribs due in Saigon in November. With more events on the way including Hanoi's very own CAMA Festival 7 and the French-organised electronic music festival, Les Siestes Electroniques, the illusion may seem complete.
Seventeen pairs of bare feet are poised on stage, staggered in equally numbered lines facing each other, knuckles tensed and heels lifted.
As we arrive at Dong Ho Village on the southern bank of Duong River, the gentle rain is cooling the heat of a late summer’s day. The streets are quiet, few people are out walking and only the occasional motorbike, loaded with plastic bags of colourful paper products, passes us by.
Walk around Hanoi’s Old Quarter, especially Hang Gai, and it won’t be long before you’re enticed to enter a shop to peruse the cheap silk products on offer. From table runners to elegant dressing gowns and ao dai, as well as a multitude of scarves of varying quality, there’s something to suit every taste and price point.
Seven thousand kilometres over four months through four countries. Countless adventures had and many stories to tell, this was the itinerary for Charles Carman, a photography student from Colorado who came to Asia looking to ditch the tourist trail for the thrill of riding a Minsk bike through some relatively unexplored countryside.
It was a time when conflicting ideologies came face to face. East versus West. At the height of the Cold War, British diplomat John Ramsden, who had earlier worked in Senegal and at the East-West disarmament talks in Vienna, was posted to Hanoi. It was 1980.
“Do not just be a hipster festival.” This is the command Les Siestes Electroniques founder and curator Samuel Aubert has given himself. Sure, there will be a non-stop parade of beautiful people, sporting ultra-trendy looks. Sure, the music is the cream of the Pitchfork-vetted crop (actually, even a bit more select). Sure, the occasional hipster will trickle in.