Monday, 1 April 2019

The Avenue of Stars 2019

Well, it's been 3 long years since the Avenue of Stars closed to allow New World Development to build their new harbourside carbuncle, Victoria Dockside/K11 Atelier. The New World Centre and its adjoining serviced apartments are now consigned to history and in their place we have another Kowloon skyscraper.

Whilst all this was going on, some of the exhibitions from the former version of the Avenue were moved to a podium garden above TST East MTR Station and languished there for a while but was moved back a few months ago in preparation for the grand reopening.

Anyway, you may or may not recall many years ago I wrote a rather long piece for the (then) in-print Time Out magazine, and then followed it up here with a blow-by-blow guide to each personality featured on the Avenue. As a bit of a restart to this blog (because I have been lazy and not posted anything for nearly a year, although I have a bunch of stuff that is still in progress) I though it would be nice to revisit this old haunt and see if and how it has been improved.

What I will say is that some of the old criticisms of the AoS seem to have been taken to heart and gone are the nasty multi-coloured plastic effigies that served as tacky photo ops as well as the poorly spelt information boards. Instead, some new stylish curved 'arbours' have been erected, the cement hand prints have been taken away from the floor and instead replaced by some rather not-so realistic looking brass (or some similar metal) plaques that have been moved to the railing. I think this is a good idea because 1. it stops people falling over each other on the floor and 2. provides a better backdrop for all those hand-print related photo ops (smog permitting).

Now, although my old posts are slightly out of date (there are four in all detailing the 100 or so personalities - hereherehere and here), they are still useful for reading up about the people featured. It appears that it is all the same personalities that were here before with one single addition...McDull!

What has changed is the order that they are displayed. Previously the Art Museum end of the AoS started with the older entrants e.g Lai Man Wai and the new additions were at the opposite end past the old New World Centre. Now the newer additions (Louis Koo, Nicholas Tse etc) are at the Art Museum end and vice versa.

Nicholas Tse at one end...
...and McDull at the other

For those plaques that don't have hand impressions, there is a small, neat head shot created from assorted star shapes and there is now some information as to who these people are/were. Here I think the AoS have certainly listened to the criticism because this was one of the reasons I did those old posts in the first place - to provide background information for those not totally familiar with the Chinese and Hong Kong cinema scene (me included).

Gong Li...still no f*#@!^g hand prints!

I am happy for Patsy Kar Ling because they have finally put the correct spelling of her name on the plaque. She had the unfortunate fate of being called "Pasty" on the last incarnation of the Avenue. Just as a reminder, here is the old plaque compared with her new one.  A vast improvement I think you'll agree.

Ol' Pasty
New Patsy

Anyway, I think the experience is vastly improved. It sounds like the New World management actually decided to listen to the old criticisms of the place and have genuinely tried to address them.


...I still have a couple of criticisms with the new arrangement. The first is that this was a great opportunity to add a few more deserving people (see my old article for suggestions). McDull just doesn't quite cut it for me, sorry.

Also, I'm a bit annoyed by the placement of the Anita Mui and Bruce Lee statues. They've been moved over to their own spots next to the Starbucks and Wildfire restaurants. Obviously, a fair amount of money has been spent on nicely chiseled calligraphy and plaques giving more detail about the two famous people, but in moving them away from the AoS they now have to share the space with patrons of both those eateries. Bruce hasn't got it quite so bad - apart from looking like a big supporter of Starbucks coffee, but anyone wanting a picture of Anita has to fight their way around the outside tables belonging to Wildfire. It's really not the best arrangement.

Some nicely etched calligraphy that includes Anita's Chinese name

Also, I should point out that despite being open only a few months, the English transcript on the Bruce Lee plaque is already missing a bunch of letters (fallen off, stolen?). Anyway, all in all a vast improvement and it's certainly nice to see the promenade opened up again for all and sundry.

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless,

Put coffee into a cup, it becomes the cup
Put coffee into a pot, it becomes the pot
Coffee can flow, or creep, or drip or crash
be coffee my friend.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Phil, thanks for the updated photos and info.
    On the last day of a recent visit to HK I was up at the crack of dawn on a quest to get some nice shots of the AOS statues. I did have a coffee too, as it was quite nearby...