The best things to do in Shanghai this March

Yayoi Kusama, Captain Marvel, Tom Odell and more

Photograph: teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery
We're into March and spring has sprung. And it's not just the plants that are in bloom in Shanghai, as a whole heap of great events will be taking place across the city. Yayoi Kusama's magical new exhibition is at Fosun Foundation, the latest Marvel blockbuster is in cinemas, there's the return of Shanghai International Literary Festival and there's the usual helpings of international stand-up comedy. Read on for our picks for the month ahead.

Food & Drink

China Restaurant Week Spring 2019

Critics' pick

DiningCity's biannual feeding frenzy China Restaurant Week kicks off again this Thursday (Mar 14) its spring 2019 edition with 11 days of dining deals from March 14-24. Hundreds of Shanghai restaurants, from casual everyday eateries to super fancy fine dining joints, will be dropping their prices to offer set-menus starting from 78RMB per person. For more information or to book, visit its official website.

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TBA 14-24 Mar

Music & Nightlife

JMSN Velvet China Tour 2019

There's no clear-cut path to obtaining a career in the music industry, especially in today's record business climate. But if you do truly belong, you'll find a way to make it work. 26-year-old Christian Berishaj is a living example of that.

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Tropical China

This musical doubles match aims to establish new correspondences between Brazilian and Chinese artists and record labels. The showcase will feature noise/experimental musicians 33EMYBW and GOOOOOSE of China, and post-Tropicalia artists Ava Rocha and Negro Leo of Brazil.

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Modern Sky Lab , 188 Ruihong Lu, near Tianhong Lu 30 Mar

Things to Do

GoEast Open Chinese Classes

GoEast invites you to try out their group classes for free through March every Monday from 7-8pm and Wednesday from 11am-12pm. Open classes will also be held at their Shanghai Library campus every Sunday from 3-4pm and every Thursday from 11am-12pm. Visit goeastmandarin.com/open-classes to register.

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GoEast Language Center , 194-196 Zhengmin Lu 4-28 Mar

Shanghai International Literary Festival

M on the Bund’s annual Shanghai International Literary Festival returns to town this March. For nearly two decades the two-week event has hosted hundreds of emerging and acclaimed international and local writers, journalists, historians and more for panel discussions and workshops.

Tickets are sold exclusively through M Restaurant Group, so search ‘monthebundsh’ or click here to book.

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M on the Bund , 20 Guangdong Lu 14-27 Mar

Mamahuhu pres. Friday Night with Friends

Mamahuhu Productions presents a night of cross-cultural stand-up comedy featuring writers and actors from the popular video series, including Norah Yang and Adam Hamilton, followed by a preview of a new episode.

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DKNSTRKT Drag Makeup Workshop: Wigs + Eyelashes

Learn how to wear, style and maintain lace front wigs and the secrets to drag eyelashes with drag queens Wuwu Yan and Mandala at this DKNSTRKT workshop. You'll need to bring your own wigs, eyelashes and mirror (full list of requirements available upon sign up). The workshop is open to anyone, click here to sign up.

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The Pearl , 471 Zhapu Lu 24 Mar Free

Dancelife

Critics' pick

A dance class of sorts, but not the kind you’re thinking of, at Dancelife the lights are off, the tunes are loud and you’re free to dance however the music moves you – whether that’s the Lindy Hop, the lawnmower or swaying to a beat that’s all your own. Dancelife is a new series of monthly, hour-long, unchoreographed dance sessions. 

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Z&B Fitness , 1219 Changle Lu 24 Mar

Unravel: Is This It

Unravel's second storytelling show of 2019, this time with the theme 'Is This It.' See storytellers from all walks of Shanghai life share their unique and original stories at a location to be revealed nearer the time of the show (tickets available from Mar 15).

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TBA 28 Mar Buy tickets

YCW: Cyber Policy in China

At this Young China Watchers talk, Control Risks’ Carly Ramsey delves into the complex topic of company data protection and management in a digitised world.

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Kartel , 1 Xiangyang Bei Lu 28 Mar

Film

Green Book

Critics' pick

Recently winning the Best Picture award at this year's Oscars, Green Book gets a Mainland China release. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are masterful in this rousing period piece, alternating belly laughs with an unflinching view of a nation at war with itself. Call this actors’ duet sentimental and simplistic at your own peril. Green Book may well move you, possibly to tears, at the thought of real social change and kindness (at a time when we need it badly).

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Cinemas around Shanghai 01 Mar - 01 Apr

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Critics' pick

Berk villager Hiccup and his dragon Toothless reunite for a finale nearly a decade on from the first film – cue teary goodbyes and a nostalgic look back at friendships made and foes flambéed. The Hidden World, we learn, is the utopia to which Hiccup, the settlement’s newly established chief, must lead his clan when an infamous dragon hunter appears on the scene.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 01 Mar - 01 Apr

Captain Marvel

Set in 1995, this highly anticipated film follows the story of Carol Danvers – also known as the titular Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) – as she finds herself caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 08 Mar - 05 Apr

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will be getting air time in China this March, supposedly being released on Fri 22, once more proving that no one really knows what is considered too risqué for the Chinese government.

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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Five years and two spin-off movies later, writer-producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller return to Bricksburg for a bigger, louder and brasher second Lego instalment. But while it maintains the same level of playfulness, it doesn’t quite capture the novelty or fizz of the original.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 22 Mar - 22 Apr

Dumbo

In a string of Disney live action remakes, the world’s favourite big-eared flying elephant is back, this time in a movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Colin Farrell.

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Cinemas around Shanghai 29 Mar - 29 Apr

Art

Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol

Modern Art Museum Shanghai (Yicang), in cooperation with London Fashion and Textile Museum, brings an exhibition that celebrates the connection between fashion and art. Tracing 20th-century art history and post-war cultural and societal development through the lens of fashion the exhibition includes big names such as Dali, Picasso and Warhol.

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Modern Art Museum Shanghai (Yicang) , 4700 Binjiang Avenue Every day except Monday

Parallel: Erwin Olaf

Critics' pick

With a career that spans 40 years, Erwin Olaf is one of the most sought-after commercial and fashion photographers. His introductory exhibition in China, Parallel: Erwin Olaf, sees things get a bit more personal however dealing with themes like vulnerability, distance between people and awkward interactions. Parallel is full of the Dutch photographer's signature highly stylised and theatrical shots including a few works from his series titled ‘Shanghai’, shot here a couple years back. 

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Shanghai Center of Photography , 2555 Longteng Dadao Every day except Monday

Yayoi Kusama: All About Love Speaks Forever

Yayoi Kusama: All About Love Speaks Forever features more than 40 works, the artist's her iconic polka dots, pumpkin sculptures and a mirror room, as well as her latest painting series, 'My Eternal Soul'. The 89-year-old artist has also tailor-made a piece specifically for the Shanghai exhibition that extends outside of the Fosun Foundation building.

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teamLab: Universe of Water Particles in the Tank

teamLab comes to the iconic TANK Shanghai museum to hold the immense inaugural exhibition which turns a massive former oil tank into an interactive, ever-changing installation. Featured works include an enormous waterfall cascades, huge screens of forever-changing flower patterns, waves triggered by human movements and more.

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Tank Shanghai , 2350 Longteng Avenue Every day except Monday Buy tickets

Through the Maze: Navigating One Artist's Path

Lee Shang Hwa's first solo exhibition Through the Maze: Navigating One Artist's Path, sets out to showcase a full spectrum of the artist's creative expressions at an early stage of his career. The exhibition invites you to take a walk 'Through the Maze' to navigate through Lee's artistic universe that is intricately dissected by expansively branching pathways of thoughts and ideas.

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Art+ Shanghai Gallery , 191 South Suzhou Road Every day except Monday

Prada presents What Was I?

Critics' pick

Prada Rong Zhai is getting a futuristic makeover this spring as it welcomes exhibition What Was I? created by Warsaw-born artist Goshka Macuga. An eerie look into what the world is like after the collapse of humankind, watch an android, conceived by Macuga and first presented in 2016 in Milan, who appears to be the only inhabitant of the historic villa, recite and rehearse a monologue full of excerpts of seminal speeches, claiming himself to be a repository of human knowledge. Accompanying the bot, find 26 other works from the Prada Collection.

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Prada Rong Zhai , No. 186 Shaanxi Bei Lu 23 Mar - 02 Jun

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