Cultural Affairs Bureau axes ‘drag queen’ gig but says remains ‘very supportive of diversity’

2024-01-26 03:26     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:1

One of the numerous events of the 22nd Macao City Fringe Festival – entitled “Made by Beauty” – has been cancelled, but Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Leong Wai Man insisted yesterday that the bureau remained “very supportive of performance diversity”, hoping that the local performance industry would continue to flourish.

Leong said: “After watching the rehearsal of the relevant performance [“Made by Beauty”], we found that its content did not match the proposal which the group submitted at the time of selection,” adding that the bureau had “communicated and coordinated” with the performance group, but the latter still failed to adjust the contents of its show.

Consequently, the group’s shows were cancelled by the bureau, Leong indicated.

Leong emphasised: “According to our festival charter, the bureau has the right of final interpretation and decision,” saying that the cancellation of the shows was a pity. She did not reveal the name of the group, nor the name of its performance.

The “Miss Bondy’s Utopia” group announced the cancellation of its “Made by Beauty” show on Wednesday. On its Facebook page the group did not say why the shows, which prior to the cancellation had been slated to be staged at the headquarters of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) on Wednesday night and last night, were abruptly cancelled, merely saying “sorry, sorry”.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) said on its website that the “Made by Beauty” shows were “cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances,” saying that the 120-pataca tickets would be refunded until February 29.

Reportedly, the first of the group’s three shows took place on Tuesday before the bureau’s cancellation took effect on Wednesday.

Local media reports such as by public broadcaster TDM described “Made by Beauty” as a performance by “drag queens”. According to social media, three scantily dressed “drag queen” performers held an “outreach” show on a hired bus in Macau earlier this week. A video of the show has been widely circulating on social media.

According to the IC website last night, “Red lips, V-back top, mini skirt, black stockings, high heels… do these really speak of aesthetic values? Made by Beauty invites the audience to explore universal concepts of physical attractiveness.”

The website also pointed out that as “this performance contains nudity and foul language that might be offensive for some viewers,” admittance to the 1-hour, 15-minute show in Cantonese and Putonghua was to be restricted to those aged at least 18.

Meanwhile, Leong stressed that all the performances for the Macao City Fringe Festival needed to follow the event’s regulations, selection criteria and application conditions, adding that not heeding the festival rules would be unfair to other selected and losing candidates.

Leong made the remarks during yesterday’s press conference about the first plenary meeting of the government-appointed Cultural Development Advisory Committee this year.

Artistic & cultural activities aim to promote Macau as diverse city

In the about 2-hour closed meeting at the Macau Cultural Centre in Nape, the committee members, according to Leong, reviewed the applications by groups that wish to be officially recognised as belonging to the cultural sector. The committee members were also briefed on artistic and cultural activities to be held by the bureau in the first quarter of this year, including a raft of Chinese New Year (CNY) activities, the 1st Macao International Shorts Film Festival and Fado nights, among others.

The bureau encourages the entertainment sector to make good use of Macau’s unique cultural resources via a range of supportive measures, Leong said, adding that “the artistic and cultural activities are aimed at encouraging the development of the cultural market and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), better leveraging the advantages of Macau as ‘One Base’ and promoting Macau as a diverse city, with its characteristics and dynamics in the area of cultural industries and creative”.

Ieng Weng Fat, a committee member, quoted his fellow members as expressing their expectations on converting some streets into bar streets, thus boosting Macau’s nighttime economy.

Leong said she expected the Rua da Felicidade (“Street of Bliss”) pedestrianised area to promote nighttime consumption, creating conditions for SMEs to establish relevant consumption patterns to provide residents and tourists alike with different life experiences.

The government’s “One Centre, One Platform and One Base” policy refers to its determination to further develop Macau’s role as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure and an economic and trade cooperation platform for China and Portuguese-speaking countries as well as a cultural exchange and cooperation base.

Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Leong Wai Man (right) and Cultural Development Advisory Committee member Ieng Weng Fat look on during yesterday’s press conference after the government-appointed committee’s first plenary meeting this year, at the Macau Cultural Centre in Nape. – Photo: Yuki Lei

This photo originally promoting “Made by Beauty” was released by the Macau Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) last month.

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