The 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival will take place at September 23 Park in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.
According to the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the event is part of the city’s 2012 Tourism Festival, scheduled for April 12-15, including a tourism trade fair and cuisine activities.
Since it was first held in Hanoi in April 2009, the Japanese cherry blossom festival has become an annual event in Vietnam.
Vietnamese painter shows off new imaginative style
Nguyen Van Tam, an 80-year-old overseas Vietnamese painter in France is displaying 40 paintings in his self-invented style called galbism at an exhibition in Paris from February 25-March 14.
The exhibition is jointly held by the Vietnamese Cultural Centre and the Vietnamese Embassy in France.
Tam created the style in 1997, painting on a curved canvas framework so that when hanged upon a wall, the paintings offer a living effect which seems to be propelled off the wall.
Vietnamese beauty shines in France
The Vietnamese Students’ Association in Montpellier, France, has launched a beauty contest on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8).
The “Miss Photo Montpellier 2012” pageant, which lasts from February 2 to March 2, 2012, has attracted hundreds of entries from Vietnamese students living in the French city.
It aims to honour the beauty of Vietnamese women and help international friends understand more about the S-shaped nation.
HCM City kicks off ‘Earth Hour 2012’ program
The program ‘Earth Hour 2012’ was launched on February 26, at the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Cultural House, by Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, the City Department of Industry and Trade, and Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The event attracted more than 1,000 young people and volunteers and as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, Pham Duc Hien said, this year’s program will be a community campaign.
Thousands of volunteers will mobilise people to cope with climate change in the future and participate in activities like turning off lights for one hour each day, and take art programs including A liter of sun, Source of future light, Schools travel with the 2012 Earth Hour, Green café, 20 seconds for the Earth, Using environmental-friendly products.
The event aims to raise public awareness in reducing global warming. To date, the programme has drawn about 8,900 volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City.
The program has been on throughout other parts of the country since February 15 and will last till March 31, focusing on energy problems, sustainable materials, and reduction of carbon emissions.
This year’s program will promote use of solar energy, and recycling of various bio-degradable materials such as bamboo.
Book fetes former PM
The Vietnam News Agency Publishing House has launched a photo book of former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet on the 90th anniversary of his birth this year.
The book includes about 340 photos of Kiet who was Prime Minister of Viet Nam from 1991-97 and helped the country open its doors to the world.
Viewers are presented with information ranging from the late Prime Minister's early years and his revolutionary activities to his governmental work.
As Prime Minister, Kiet made a large contribution to the country's development.
Photos are accompanied by short writings in both Vietnamese and English.
Goethe Institute spotlights short films
Short filmmakers will have the chance to learn more about the process of filmmaking at the capital's Goethe Institute on February 27.
Shot film screenings will be held alongside a lecture by Heinz Hermanns, director of Interfilm Berlin, one of the most renowned short film festivals worldwide.
From animation to experimental, the director will present the newest and most interesting films shown at recent short film festivals. He will also give an overview of the history and development of the industry.
He is the director and co-founder of the super short film festival Going Underground, which is held in the trains of the Berlin subway, and since 2011 also in the subway of Seoul, the Republic of Korea.
He is additionally the co-founder and curator of the Zebra Poetry Short Film Festival, a bi-annual event presenting short films inspired by poetry since 2002.
Commemorative area to honor Poet Nguyen Du
The Nguyen Du cultural and tourist area will be built in the central province of Ha Tinh, according to the Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the province.
The cultural and tourist area will cover an area of 38 hectares in Tien Dien Commune of Nghi Xuan District, and will be built at a total cost of VND800 billion (US$36 million).
The site will include a commemorative area; a Nguyen Du square; an area to display the masterpiece Truyen Kieu (tale of Kieu), by Vietnam’s great poet Nguyen Du; a display of the culture of the Tien Dien Commune, a literary and statue garden, and the tomb of poet Nguyen Du.
HCM City TV polls viewers
HCM City Television (HTV) will conduct a public poll beginning next Monday and closing on April 14 to choose the winners of this year's HTV Awards.
The awards will be given to performers who make contributions to HTV and to social activities in the city.
The audience will vote for the winner from a group of five or six people nominated by the HTV and a panel of journalists in nine categories, including music, theatre performance arts and TV series.
Five-minute video clips and 60-minute films of the nominees and audiences will be shown on HTV 7 every day and every Saturday until April 14 to help viewers choose their favourites.
The winner of each category will receive the HTV Cup and VND20 million (US$1,000) in prize money.
The awards ceremony, which will be held at the HTV Theatre on April 14, will be broadcast live on HTV7.
Communist classics translated into Laotian
A ceremony was held in Vientiane on February 24 to highlight the publication of a collection of works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh in the Laotian language.
The mammoth task of translating the works from Vietnamese into Laotian was first started in 2007 by the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Administration (HNAPA) in co-operation with the Laos National Academy for Politics and Public Administration.
When addressing the ceremony, Nguyen Dang Thanh, Vice Director of the HNAPA, said that publishing these classic works underlines the professionalism and contributions made by both academies.
These are extremely valuable writings for Party and State managers, particularly those at Laos academy, for their training and scientific research.
Over the past few years, both academies have worked closely to train thousands of middle and senior Lao officials as well as assisting each other in their work.
Kikeo Khaykhampithoune, Director of the Laos academy, said the project is highly significant, helps staff, and also emphasises the special solidarity and friendship between both Parties and peoples.
It also relevant in 2012, as this is the year of Vietnam-Laos solidarity and friendship.
“Buoc nhay hoan vu” season 3 reveals judges
The newest season of “Buoc nhay hoan vu”, the Vietnamese version of “Dancing with the stars” has announced its judges for this year’s competition.
Dance champions Chi Anh and Khanh Thi, once a real-life couple, still remain in their judging seats, while composer Quoc Bao will replace filmmaker Le Hoang as the third judge for this year.
Well-known in the local music industry, Quoc Bao also writes for many newspapers and magazines. His features, reviews and analysis of music, lifestyle, art and photography have been well received for their depth and polished writing style.
The fourth judge, which changes every week according to the changing themes, has also been decided, ranging from Le Hoang, director Viet Tu, Quang Dung to choreographer Tran Ly Ly, dancer Linh Nga.
Actress Thanh Van, the emcee of the show’s first season will return, but her partner has yet to be appointed. Candidates for the position include the veteran emcee Thanh Bach, the young VTV host Phan Anh and Tran Thanh, who was a contestant and runner-up of “Cap doi hoan hao”, the Vietnamese version of British reality singing show “Just the two of us”.
For its third season, “Buoc nhay hoan vu” will be modeled after the American version, instead of British one like in years past. The change means that there will be more dance genres from musical to Broadway, in additional to the classics like rumba, chachacha, samba and waltz.
This year, the reality dance show will see model Anh Thu, Miss Vietnam 2010’s runner-up Hoang My, actress Van Trang, Minh Hang and singer Phuong Thanh show off their dancing skills.
The five male contestants include actor Huynh Dong, Quach Ngoc Ngoan, model Truong Nam Thanh, emcee Tuan Tu and singer Minh Quan.
As usual, paired with these 10 celebrities, will be 10 professional dancers from Bulgaria.
Last year, singer Thu Minh won the show after a close race with singer Thuy Tien in the finale.
The show is also going greener this year, with organizers saying that out of each text message (costing VND 5,000) they receive from viewers, VND 100 will be contributed to an environmental fund to plant 1 million new trees in Vietnam.
Ten episodes of “Buoc nhay hoan vu” season three will be broadcast live on national channel VTV 3 staring on March 18, 2011.
The first night will be held at Quan Ngua Sport Stadium in Hanoi.
Tran Huu Trang Prize awarded for ‘Cai Luong’
The country’s most prestigious and revered award, the Tran Huu Trang Prize, was awarded for ‘Cai Luong’ (a traditional form of opera of South Vietnam) to nine winners, in a ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh City Television theatre on February 25.
Nine Gold medals were awarded to Ngoc Quyen of the Military Zone 9 Art Troupe; Nguyen Hoai Thanh of HCMC University of Stage and Cinema; Phuong Anh of Tay Do-Can Tho Cai Luong Troupe; Vo Minh Lam of Tran Huu Trang Theatre in HCMC; Ngoc Doi of Cao Van Lau Cai Luong Troupe in Bac Lieu Province; Dao Vu Thanh of Tien Giang Province Art Troupe; Hoang Thai Hung of Huong Tram Cai Luong Troupe in Ca Mau Province; Phuong Tran and Le Thanh Thao of Tran Huu Trang Theatre in HCMC.
There were a total 21 entrants from Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta provinces in the final round that took place at the HCMC Television theatre from February 20 to 25.
After a four-year break, the prestigious Tran Huu Trang Prize was jointly organised by the Ho Chi Minh City Stage Association and Ho Chi Minh City Television.
The closing and awards ceremony was attended by Le Thanh Hai, Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC, Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, Chairwoman of the Municipal People's Council, and Le Tien Tho, Chairman of the Vietnam Stage Artists’ Association.
Quite a few big names in ‘Cai Luong’ got their first break after receiving the Tran Huu Trang Prize, among them being Vu Linh, Thanh Thanh Tam, Phuong Hang, Kim Tu Long, Thoai My and Thanh Ngan.
Besides discovering young talent, the competition aims to keep the tradition of ‘Cai Luong’ alive in the community and foster a love for folk opera among young people in the South.