San Francisco Social Diary: Spring in the City

The Asian Art Museum (AAM) of San Francisco presented the exhibition China’s Terra Cotta Warriors, one of the greatest archaeological finds of our time.


Through the end of May, the Asian Art Museum (AAM) of San Francisco is exhibiting terra cotta warrior statues from the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (259-206 BCE), who unified the country in 221 BCE.

The exhibit explores the emperor’s reign and influence. Qin leaders, much like the Egyptian Pharaohs, were buried with their wealth so they could carry it into the afterlife.

Discovered in 1974 in Xi’an in northern China by farmers digging a well, Emperor Qin’s riches-filled tomb is guarded by more than 7,000 life-size terra cotta warriors, horses, chariots, and more than 10,000 weapons, with more excavation continuing today.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Visits China – Part II

The second half of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s art tour of China featured stops at stunning historical sites, including the Summer Palace, where colorful dragon boats ferry tourists around a pagoda-dotted lake.


BEIJING—I was thrilled be part of the first trip to China with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s (MCASD) Collectors Circle. The trip introduced members to the burgeoning art scenes in Beijing and Shanghai.

Having already written extensively about the Shanghai art scene, I reported on the Beijing leg of the tour for New York Social Diary. I have already filed a report on Part I of the ten-day trip. Part II was equally spectacular.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Shanghai Fine Jewellery & Art Fair

Shanghai Fine Jewellery & Art Fair (SFJAF) 2012 will take place in November. The fair has attracted elite international galleries thanks to China’s booming economy and newfound interest in luxury goods and Western art.


Mark your calendars: the Shanghai Fine Jewellery and Art Fair (SFJAF) will be held here a third time this November (3-11) at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

As a premier fine art and jewelry fair in China, the SFJAF has attracted some of the world’s most elite art galleries who will display antiques, Old Master paintings, contemporary art, and fine jewelry in a gorgeous, historical venue.

Aptly, the Shanghai Fine Jewellery & Art Fair logo combines the modern and the traditional: it’s a stylized version of a dragon, a symbol that has been used in Chinese art since the Neolithic era.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Qi Bao, the Ancient Water Town

By Jeanne Lawrence

SHANGHAI — The dozens of idyllic water towns near Shanghai are among China’s most unusual attractions. These towns, sometimes referred to as the Venices of the East because of their canals and bridges, are a perfect escape from the big-city bustle.

If you have just a few hours, you can easily make a trip to the closest one, Qi Bao Ancient City. Qi Bao has a 1,000-year-old history and is ten miles and 15 minutes by taxi and accessible by subway also.

When I read that the Shanghai Community Center (a wonderful resource that offers more than 100 classes and tours) had a guided tour, I signed up and I was so glad I did!

Continue reading

Paris Social Diary: A Paris Visit

To commemorate New York’s Twin Towers, Jean-Pierre Heim erected two ten-story-high towers with the names of 9/11 victim inscribed on them.

Before I returned to Shanghai after the summer, I was in Paris with my daughter Stephanie, who is studying there. Who knew that so many friends from Shanghai would be in Paris as well?

One of them, French architect Jean-Pierre Heim, invited us to a 9/11 commemoration arranged by “The French Will Never Forget,” an organization that he co-founded.

Place du Trocadéro was ideal for the ceremony, located as it is between the twin buildings of the Palais de Chaillot, across from the Eiffel Tower.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Old Town, Yu Yuan Garden & Bazaar, Kee Club

A garden view of the stunning contrast between ancient and modern architecture, a juxtaposition of old and new that is common in Shanghai. (The Grand Hyatt and Shanghai World Financial Center, both located in Pudong, the financial district.)

When friends come to Shanghai, I always take them to the Old City and the Yu Yuan Gardens and Bazaar. Even though the area is a bit touristy, the mix of original, historic buildings among the reconstructed ones gives you a feeling for Shanghai’s past; and it’s an enjoyable place to spend time. One of my other favorite spots is the Kee Club, where friends and I hosted a party before everyone left town for the holidays.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Shopping in Shanghai

You can still observe the traditional ways of life in Shanghai, in these lane houses, but perhaps not for long.

Come to Shanghai in fall or spring, I warn my friends, but not in the summer! The heat and humidity make Shanghai summers a special misery. You can’t wait to go home and take a refreshing shower. One day this August, the temperature soared to 104 F with 91 percent humidity.

After having spent the last two summers sweltering, I have learned my lesson. I’m heading to San Francisco for the summer, after attending the World Cup finals in South Africa.

I’m not the only one who’ll be getting out of town. Most of the expat community leave town once the schools let out, and even the locals try to schedule their vacations during this time.

Continue reading

Shanghai Social Diary: Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai at dusk.

After living in Shanghai for almost a year and exploring the city daily, I thought I’d found all the unique places. But personal shopping guide Francine Martin, whose company is called East of the Sun, led me to some delightful new discoveries.

New York public relations guru Susan Magrino recommended Martin. And after reading about her in Shanghai Daily, China Daily, and The New YorkerPatty Mark covered her in “Off the Avenue,” in June 2008—I made plans to spend a day with her. Although I’m not a shopper, I’m always on the lookout for something special, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Shopping on the Bund, the famous waterfront of Shanghai.

The Bund is undergoing complete reconstruction.

Continue reading

San Francisco Social Diary: Barney’s New York Opens in San Francisco

The famous red awnings mark the spot.


Taste! Luxury! Humor! The black rubber bracelets handed out at the fabulous, by invitation only, opening of Barney’s New York in San Francisco, said it all.

Couture-loving author Danielle Steel and her daughter Beatrix Lazard Seidenberg hosted the fete, along with her other children, Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, Maxx, and Zara Traina.

All the proceeds benefited the Nick Traina Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping those with mental health problems. It was founded by Steel in 1998 in memory of her son. His sister Beatrix remarked, “It is the 10th anniversary of his death, and we miss him more than ever. Not many events would have inspired me to get dressed up in my very pregnant state.” Since then she has welcomed a new baby daughter. Congratulations!

Continue reading