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Next Top Model to feature circus performance on final night

The best three candidates of Vietnam’s Next Top Model, Tra My, Hoang Thi Thuy and Le Thi Thuy, will give a circus-style flying performance on the final night of the competition on January 8, said the programme’s organizing board.

They were sent to the Ho Chi Minh City Circus to prepare for the show and were introduced by Phi Vu, a veteran performer there.

The three had done a photo shoot in the air before, when they were lifted up by a crane, but they could only change their styles in a fixed position.

Therefore, they felt very excited that this time they were able to make as many movements as they wished while they were flying. They all hoped to contribute to an impressive performance for the audience.

They were extremely happy to hear that they will have the chance to meet international supermodel Tyra Banks, the founder and host of the reality television show ‘America's Next Top Model’, on the final night.

Banks will join the jury board with Vietnamese model Xuan Lan, photographer Pham Hoai Nam, designer Do Manh Cuong and makeup artist Nam Trung.

Tet gathering for Overseas Vietnamese in Hanoi

A “Xuan Que Huong 2012” (Homeland Spring) programme for overseas Vietnamese returning home to welcome the traditional Lunar New Year festival (Tet) will be held at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh square in Hanoi on January 15.

The get together programme, held by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will include a wide range of traditional cultural and festival activities, bringing a warm and exciting atmosphere to the celebrations of the new spring and the country’s new development period.

Overseas Vietnamese people can contact the closest Vietnamese representative agencies to register to join the programme.

Those staying in Vietnam can bring their passports or other personal papers to the COVA headquarters at 32 Ba Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, to register for the gathering.

S.Korean star sends greeting to Vietnam before trip

Well-known South Korean actor Song Seung Hun has just sent a greeting through a one-minute-31-second clip to Vietnamese fans before his trip to the country with actress Kim Tae Hee today.

According to the plan, the two artists will arrive in Hanoi this afternoon and will have a press conference at the Daewoo Hotel from 4pm to 6pm to promote their movie, titled “My Princess,” which will be broadcast on TV in Vietnam.

On the next day, they will also have a meeting with local fans at Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower before attending a charity auction at The National Conference Center to sell several props they used in the film to raise funds for the Vietnam Children's Fund.

In the clip, Song Seung Hun said he is glad and honored to visit Vietnam.

“This may be the first time I’ve sent a greeting to my Vietnamese fans. I know Vietnam is a country with many beautiful landscapes and incredible food, as well as friendly people,” the 32-year-old actor said.

“I’ve been looking for a chance to visit your country,” he added.

Song also gave a short introduction about the romantic-comedy “My Princess,” which premiered in South Korea in May. It is a love story between an ordinary college student named Lee Seol (Kim Tae Hee) who suddenly discovers she's a princess, and Park Hae Young (Song Seung Hun), who is put in charge of educating Seol on proper etiquette.

Song Seung Hun was born in 1976. He started his career as a model in 1995 and began acting in sitcoms and TV dramas in 1996.

Song is known for his roles in Korean dramas like “East of Eden,” “Autumn in My Heart,” and “Summer Scent.”

Born in 1980, Kim Tae Hee is known as Korea's ideal woman for her well-educated background and natural beauty.

She graduated from Seoul National University with a major in Fashion Design.

After starting her career in entertainment as a model and an actress in television commercials, she rose to fame for her role as Han Yoori in the drama series “Stairway to Heaven.”

Water puppet troupe performs in France

Artists of the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre have wound up a performance tour in eight big cities of France, within a cultural exchange project between the theatre and the Bordeaux Grand Theatre (France).

With 30 performances, including five specifically for children, the tour attracted some 20,000 spectators.

The performances were directed by Dominique Pitoiset, Director of the Bordeaux Grand Theatre (France). They were given by nine Vietnamese artists with People’s Artist Thanh Hoai singing.

The French side built a tank containing 20,000 liters of water for the performances. French viewers not only learned more about Vietnamese water puppetry, but also saw aspects of daily life in Vietnam through documentaries.

To stage this special event, in October 2010, French experts made a fact-finding tour of Vietnam and developed the idea.

From January 15 to March 21, 2012, the Vietnamese artists will continue on a new tour of 10 cities in France.

Local artist to present calligraphy at Equatorial

A calligraphy display by Truong Chanh Trung, a master in calligraphy, will take place at the lobby of the Hotel Equatorial in HCMC’s District 5 from Friday until March 5.

Trung, who is also painter and sculptor, practices in watercolor on rice paper and silk, oil paint and acrylic.

He has won several public art competitions, and displayed his sculptures in parks and public places in Quebec, Canada. He has had some solo exhibitions, including The Sound of The Mourning in Cannes, France; the Souvenirs, Atelier de l’artiste, Quebec City and the Memories of Vietnam in Quebec.

Pontie’s lacquer paintings touch on Yin and Yang

Artist Michelle Pontie will present about 20 of her lacquer paintings that show abstractions about gentle moves of living beings in the universe based on Yin and Yang philosophy.

The “Melody at the end of autumn” exhibition will be opened this Saturday at Tu Do Gallery in HCMC’s District 1.

Pontie makes contrasts by the black color of paint and the white color of egg shells as background while other colors like gold, silver and red in the center create transitional effects from bright to dark in yin and yang theory.

Lines and cubes in her paintings look tottering as if they were swimming in the endless space. “To me, reaching back to the oriental thought, as closely as possible, is an imperious necessity and the coexistence of opposite grounds on Yin and Yang philosophy,” she said. Her works are based on, boosted by and revealed through a seeking poise between conscious reality and unconscious freedom, body and spirit, matter and energy.

She was born in HCMC’s District 5, but has grown up and been working in France. In 1997, she had a solo exhibition also at Tu Do Gallery and since then she has put on many solo and group exhibitions in Vietnam, France and Canada.

The show runs till January 20 at the gallery, 53 Ho Tung Mau Street.

HCM City book and calendar festival opens

This year’s book and calendar festival opened at the HCMC Exhibition Center on Wednesday, introducing an array of latest books and calendars.

Visitors to the festival will have the opportunity to enjoy discounts of 20% to 80% on the books and calendars on display. They will be given a Dai Nam calendar for each bill worth over VND200,000.

The event is organized by Dong A Culture, Phuong Bac Culture, Huy Hoang Bookstore and Lien Viet Media and Culture.

The event runs until January 15 at 92 Le Thanh Ton Street in HCMC’s District 1.

Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong allow apricot, cherry blossoms on board

Two Vietnamese airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong, have announced charges for transporting hoa mai (apricot) and hoa dao (cherry blossoms) in the lead up to the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.

The budget carrier Jetstar Pacific charges VND250,000 (less than US$12) for an apricot branch on its flights between HCMC and the central coastal city of Danang and VND350,000 (some US$16.6) for the flights from HCMC to Hanoi, Haiphong and Vinh and vice versa.

The private carrier Air Mekong will collect VND350,000 for a 120cm x 40cm branch of cherry blossoms on board its flights from Hanoi to the southern resort island of Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s commercial hub HCMC, and the Central Highlands cities of Dalat, Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot until February 10.

Jetstar Pacific said it would accept branches of apricot and cherry blossoms measuring not more than 120 centimeters in length and 50 centimeters in width on its domestic flights until February 7.

Jetstar Pacific transports a maximum of 30 branches of apricot and cherry blossoms on each flight while Air Mekong allows no more than 10 branches on its aircraft.

The two carriers said passengers had to have their apricot and cherry branches covered with bags or carton and transported as their check-in luggage. They have to pay charges for their apricot and cherry branches at ticketing offices before departure.

Traditionally, Vietnamese families decorate apricot or cherry branches or plants in their houses during Tet, which falls on January 23. Tet is the biggest and longest public holiday in Vietnam.

Quyen Van Minh’s jazz concert at Hanoi Opera House

A jazz concert by meritorious artist Quyen Van Minh and his guests will take place at 8p.m. on January 10 at the Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien Street.

The concert will feature world-renowned classical and local romantic pieces, including Misty, Can’t make you love me, Cry me a river, Ha Noi nhung cong trinh (Hanoi’s works), Thanh pho dau xuan (The city early in the New Year) and Bon mua yeu thuong (Four seasons of love).

Local popular guest artists Quang Tho, Tung Duong and Dieu Thuy will perform at the concert. Also joining the event will be Song Hong Big Band, the only trumpet band in the country that has been in place since 2000 with four trumpeters, four saxophonists, four trombonists and Nhu Quynh singer among others.

As one of the first jazz artists and teachers in the country, Minh has joined multiple professional performances in a bid to promote jazz in the combination with the local traditional music among the public.

Tickets are priced at VND700,000 each and are available at the Hanoi Opera House and Binh Minh Jazz Club at 65 Quan Su Street in Hanoi.

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