Brian Letwin

in Travel

The Quiet Calm of Hiding From the Heat Under Phan Rang's Grapevines

The punishing mid-day sun dictates the pace of life in the corridor between Phan Rang and Cam Ranh, where locals escape to their living rooms or hammocks, and tourists seek the cooling breeze of the beach, seafood restaurants or resort pools. Perhaps one of the most underrated ways to take refuge from the heat is to duck into one of the nearby grape vineyards where winding vines create a natural oasis.

Paul Christiansen

in Travel

The Curious Case of Quy Hoà Leprosy Colony's Park of Busts

A delightfully bizarre place, Quy Nhơn’s Quy Hoà leprosy colony deserves exploration in full , but clustered in a grove of...

in Music & Arts

A Visit to Vụn Art, Where Disabled Artisans Turn Fabric Scraps Into Artworks

Fabric scraps, often considered industrial waste, are “revived” by members of Vụn Art cooperative by turning them into intricate silk artworks.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'Longings' Brings 22 Stories by Vietnamese Female Writers to the World

Where are all the female writers?

in Film & TV

Monotonous Viet-Dubbed K-Dramas Were the Soundtrack of My Childhood

When I was growing up, my family owned a broken TV whose screen would unexpectedly go black while the audio continued to play. Turning it off and on again a couple of times would fix the problem, but it was such a hassle that sometimes we just let it be. It was stationed in our dining room, and my parents loved putting on Korean dramas when we were eating. So whenever I reminisce about my childhood, the sound of dubbed K-dramas always plays the background.

in Film & TV

On Returning to K-Drama, the Glue Bringing My Mom and Me Close Together

Before Squid Game became an international phenomenon and put K-dramas on the world map, audiences in Asian countries including Vietnam were enthralled by Boys Over Flowers, The Medical Brothers, Terms of Endearment, Dae Jang Geum — all of which are classics that we still look upon with nostalgic affection.

Khôi Phạm

in Rewind

For a Horror Film About an Ageless Portrait, 'Mười' Hasn't Aged Well

It’s undeniable that Mười: The Legend of a Portrait has left a lasting impression in the minds of a generation of Vietnamese, as the first collaboration between Vietnam and South Korea’s cinema industries. Watching this contemporary classic in 2024, however, made me realize that Mười has not aged well.

Back Arts & Culture

in Film & TV

'Tro Tàn Rực Rỡ' Wins Top Prize at Film Festival in France

Recently, Tro Tàn Rực Rỡ (Glorious Ashes), a Vietnamese film directed by Bùi Thạc Chuyên, was awarded the highest honor at the Nantes Festival of Three Continents.

Khôi Phạm

in Music & Arts

Two Decades of Women's Vintage Fashion in Saigon, as Illustrated by a Young Hanoian

In conversations surrounding Vietnam’s fashion history, it’s impossible not to discuss áo dài and its many iterations across the eras as symbols of Vietnamese femininity, but it would be amiss to leav...

in Quãng 8

Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective's Only Rule in Music Is Having No Rule

To write any music interview, my formula is quite simple: start with the story of how they got into music, followed by their critical opinions on the field. There will always be a narrative that the m...

in Music & Arts

Vintage Music Compilation 'Saigon Supersound' Releases 3rd and Final Volume

Since Saigon Supersound presented its first volume back in 2017, the anthology of vintage Vietnamese music has become a household name for fans, both in and out of Vietnam, with a penchant for tunes f...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

The Fraught Human-Earth Dynamics in 'Revenge of Gaia,' a Collection of Vietnamese Eco-Fiction

Stories focusing on the natural world and humanity’s relationships with the environment existed before the term eco-literature became popular in the west in the 1970s, but since its coinage, writers a...

in Music & Arts

How Young Artists Are Bringing Mural Arts to Schools in Rural Vietnam

On their fifth journey off the beaten paths, Tô Đậm is heading to the highland of Ma Bó, Lâm Đồng Province for a new season of lessons, stories, and adventures previously unfolded.

in Film & TV

HBO Adaptation of 'The Sympathizer' Casts Kiều Chinh, MC Kỳ Duyên, Sandra Oh

Hollywood stars Sandra Oh and Robert Downey Jr. are joined by a number of diasporic Vietnamese actors for the anticipated HBO adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sy...

in In Plain Sight

Hanoi's Literature Museum Is Not Neglected, but It's Not Thriving Either

From the side road of Âu Cơ Street, I turned into ngõ 275.

Khôi Phạm

in Quãng 8

Hồ Trâm Anh Writes Music for Those Who Walk City Streets Yearning for the Open Sky

When I begin my interview with Hồ Trâm Anh, a light shower starts sprinkling over Saigon’s overcast maudlin sky. I apologize if any errant pitter-patter might distract our call, but Trâm Anh brushes i...

in Music & Arts

Q&A: Nguyễn Quí Đức on Tadioto, Zone 9, and How He Fell for Hanoi's Charms

Countless are the number of hours Hanoi creatives have spent sipping whisky and contemplating the world at the famous drinking hole that is Tadioto.

in Culture

In Ninh Thuận's Chăm Community, a Joyous Celebration of Katê, the Year's Most Important Festival

The Katê festival is the oldest and most unique festival of the Chăm ethnic minority and has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage by Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tou...

in Quãng 8

From Rapper to Singer-Songwriter: Minh Đinh and the Trials to Find Himself

Minh Đinh's journey of self-discovery is one that represents the effort of the multi-talented artists in the Vietnamese indie community.

in Music & Arts

The Hanoian Artisan Carving Intricate Reliefs From Leather to Make Book Covers

The enduring pages in our history deserve book covers that match their significance.

Paul Christiansen

in Culture

Need a Sign From the Universe? Lương Hữu Khánh Street Has Every Color, Shape, and Size.

Saigon is filled with addresses you aren’t looking for, announcements not aimed at you and signs for businesses you have no plans to frequent. Sign street demands delving into the oft-ignored.

in Music & Arts

A Brief History of Paris by Night, the Anchor of Vietnamese Culture Abroad

If home cuisine could satiate exilic tongues that resist strange flavors, art might condole with nostalgic hearts. Paris by Night is one such therapeutic art, or the hallmark of performing arts for Vi...

Paul Christiansen

in Culture

In Đà Nẵng, a Vintage Money Aficionado Forgoes Professorship for Life in the Night Market

What gives one’s life meaning? For some, it’s faith, family or art. For Trần Văn Nam, it’s money, but not in the way you probably imagine.

in Music & Arts

'Đông Nam Bộ' Project Invites 14 Young Artists to Draw the History of Their Hometowns

“Đông Nam Bộ” is a collection of illustrations reflecting the culture, history and local charms of provinces in the Southeast Region of Vietnam. The artworks were all created by artists who live or gr...

in Culture

Meet Chú Hai Bạc, Saigon's Veteran Vespa and Lambretta 'Doctor'

Even in his 70s, Phan Văn Bạc — better known among friends and fans as chú Hai Bạc — is still getting his hands dirty every day working with engines, screws and bolts to take care of vintage Vespas an...

in Culture

Vietnam's Cultural Diversity via 3 Versions of Sọ Dừa in Kinh, Chăm, Raglai Folklore

On Sọ Dừa’s birth certificate, how should one fill in the “ethnic group” field?

in In Plain Sight

How a Plane Carcass Became a Museum and Community Hangout in Hanoi

The massive chunk of metal greeted me as soon as I stepped through the gate.