Vega Wang’s Hutong Hideaway

Vega Wang’s Hutong Hideaway

Vega Zaichi Wang is one of China’s brightest fashion designers on the rise. Her dramatic, instantly-recognizable collections (women’s only, for now) echo military fashion and menswear, and are informed by Vega’s own experiences. Be it growing up as a tomboy, studying abroad, unexpected inspiration (off-camera, she told us about a former employee who once inspired an entire line), or her fascination [...]

March 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm 0 comments

Destination, Beijing’s Premier Gay Club

Destination, Beijing’s Premier Gay Club

Destination is Beijing’s premier gay club that’s been around for over 8 years. It’s more than just a club though – this imposing building in the Chaoyang District is a multi-story cultural center, with themed party rooms and bars on the first floor giving way to art galleries above, followed by community areas and a free HIV-testing clinic at the [...]

February 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm 0 comments

Wonderland: Beijing’s Forgotten Industrial Playground

Wonderland: Beijing’s Forgotten Industrial Playground

Warm September afternoon, just twenty miles outside of Beijing. A soft breeze rustles sprawling corn fields, rolls over unfinished cement turrets and whistles through rusted, skeletal beginnings (or are they remains?) of an enchanted fortress. Pigeons echo through the damp gloom of massive, unfinished brick edifices. A group of farmers takes a smoke break nearby, while a bustling film crew [...]

February 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm 2 comments

You Are Here – a Launch Tour

You Are Here – a Launch Tour

Welcome, world travelers, adventurers and intrepid internet explorers! The site for The Secret Guide to Alternative Beijing is now officially live. As some of you know, we leaked a few shorts before the holidays, but now it’s time to get your faces ready for our first burst of content – not unlike the burst of a juicy soup dumpling. Did [...]

January 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm 5 comments

DongHuaMen – Beijing’s Culinary Gauntlet

DongHuaMen – Beijing’s Culinary Gauntlet

Donghuamen is a night market specializing in exotic, unusual snacks, catering primarily to out-of-towners. Taking up several blocks near the busy Wangfujing pedestrian mall, this culinary gauntlet offers everything from bull testicles and octopus tentacles to more innocuous fare like coconut juice and dessert jellies. Skewered silkworms, starfish, baby sharks and sea horses share counters with chicken kebab, steamed buns, [...]

January 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm 6 comments

Accountable Beauty With Chen Man

Accountable Beauty With Chen Man

Chen Man has been bending rules and augmenting reality at the forefront of Chinese fashion photography for over a decade. Her seductive, dreamy images in Vision magazine back in the early 2000s propelled her to fame and soon led to gigs with MAC Cosmetics, Elle, Vogue and Bazaar. In 2012, Chen worked with i-D magazine to create twelve covers for [...]

January 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm 4 comments

Studio Visit with Zhang Qiang

Studio Visit with Zhang Qiang

Those interested in veering even further off the beaten path during their visit to the Caochangdi Art Village will love IOWA Collective: a complex of greenhouses just outside of the Caochangdi perimeters, converted into artist live-and-work spaces, with corn growing all around. IOWA residents often take part in sweeping collaborative projects and agree to a semi-communal lifestyle, with their doors [...]

January 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm 3 comments

Moonglow Burlesque

Moonglow Burlesque

The word “Burlesque” means “to lampoon”, or “to subvert”. Today, this word is most often associated with the art of rollicking striptease. First popularized in mid-1800s England, this phenomenon has been enjoying a rampant Western revival since the nineties, but (save for Shanghai’s decadent 1930s) is relatively new to China. When this was written, Moonglow Burlesque was Beijing’s only burlesque [...]

January 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm 1 comment

Monica’s Home Cafe

The owner of Monica's, Di Wu.

Sometimes even the most adventurous travelers need a touch of home. If you find yourself craving a bit of Western culture, but don’t want to punish your body (and soul) by giving in to fast food chains, there is a quirky hangout that just might sate your needs. Welcome to Monica’s Home – a social space modeled after the famous [...]

January 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm 2 comments

Pekin Fine Arts at Caochangdi Art Village

Pekin Fine Arts at Caochangdi Art Village

Caochangdi is a haven for artists and other creative-minded folk about an hour from Beijing’s city-center. A maze of elegant minimal brick buildings, this art district is filling up with galleries, co-ops and artists lofts, and hails as the alternative to the commercial glitz of the 798 Art Zone. Meg Maggio, owner-director of Pekin Fine Arts and long-time Caochangdi resident, [...]

January 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm 0 comments