Eriq Henri Madsen: born in the USA, citizen of the world, and a true Khmer soul. His signature greeting for everyone he met, a warm “Hello, Dear”, still rings in our ears. He died on April 24, 2023, and his talent, service, and deep kindness will be missed by the countless people who were his friends, students, fellow artists, and advocates. His family in the US has requested that Tribe Art Cambodia and his friends offer the remaining pieces of artwork for sale – all of his last collection will be on show and available for purchase. His distinctive work is playful and imaginative – he tells the story of each of us. Please join us and consider taking a piece of Eriq’s life and imagination home with you; it will greet you each day with “Hello, Dear”. Saturday and Sunday at Pi-Pet-Pi Gallery (next to Enso Cafe), 10 am – 6 pm.
Drop Cloth … a few things you might not know about…
Ian Harvey Stone – visiting British comedian, actor, hypnotist and mentalist with an impressive resume who will perform in Phnom Penh at Speakeasy Theatre on Saturday night, presented by Comedy In Cambodia. Here he is on YouTube.
An artist or an aspect of the arts that you think is overrated:
Comedy during the pandemic. Bo Burnham was the only one to do anything productive. All the rest of us were performing to empty Zoom rooms or drive-in car parks in LA where people sat in their cars tuning their radio to the mic frequency and flicking their headlights on and off to signify laughter. Like a bad cheese fever dream directed by Wes Anderson. Zoom comedy, for me, was the third circle of Hell. Dying on stage is hard enough without dying simultaneously in forty rooms filled with semi-dressed, depressed and overly-medicated Millennials unsuccessfully trying to find the mute button.
An artist of an aspect of the arts that you think is underrated:
Crowd work. Great comedians who aren’t so well known such as Ian Bagg in the US, Irish guy Wes Dalton and Brit Jon Pearson who have the ability to literally stand there and incorporate audience input. I love the idea of comedy as a conversation – albeit a mostly one-sided conversation. My favourite comedians always make me feel like they are talking to me and make the event feel like a one-off. Another aspect of comedy I love is the ability to ruffle feathers – especially of authority. I recently went to Hong Kong and the secret police were in checking on what was being said. I like that ability that comedy has, to paraphrase George Carlin, ‘to make people laugh and whilst their mouths are open, pop an idea in’.
An early memory of comedy:
Coming into a smoky living room at my grandparents’ house while Billy Connolly was on the telly. People were literally weeping with laughter. My family are Irish so laughed a lot anyway and jokes and humour were a big part of my life growing up, but long shaggy dog stories from Billy Connolly or Dave Allen are strong nostalgia moments for me.
I was young when my Nan died. Because we’re Catholic, they kept her in the front room prior to her burial. Someone came around to read the electricity meter and my Grandad absent-mindedly said “oh, it’s in the front room, next to my wife”. Poor guy came out white as a sheet and we all howled with laughter. Good times.
The last thing you had to eat:
Ginger-infused peanut butter on sourdough toast! What a tosser! But yesterday I ate pad krapow, the classic Thai street dish of minced pork or chicken with holy basil and chilli. I eat a lot and food is very important to me. What should I not miss in Phnom-nom Penh?
Where did you do your start in comedy?
I trained originally as an actor in a big London drama school and have a Master’s Degree in performing arts and actor training. I was lucky to be trained by some great clowns and comedy actors. I moved from acting to cabaret about ten years ago and I do a mix of comedy and cabaret mind reading. I was fortunate to be mentored in mentalism by the son of Houdini’s prop maker and I enjoy creating shows. The Edinburgh Fringe was a great teacher of experience and I suppose I started comedy seriously there. Pre-pandemic, I lived in LA and worked hard there to get better.
When did you first come to Cambodia?
2011 is the only other time I’ve been to Cambodia. I visited Siem Reap. Never been to Phnom Penh and I’m excited to be coming back to Cambodia and visiting somewhere new. The last time I was here, I was very taken by how kind everyone was.
A book or movie you keep going back to:
I love books, especially fantasy and sci-fi. Iain M. Banks’ Culture series, Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Stone Junction by Jim Dodge and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson are all favourite re-reads. Also anything by Dan Abnett. I always re-visit Shakespeare too.
Movies: Withnail and I, Labyrinthine, The Italian Job and Le Bossu.
What languages do you speak?
I speak passable Spanish and can make myself understood in Portuguese by speaking Spanish with a Sean Connery accent. I know a smattering of Norwegian swear words and how to tell someone I love them, and I am slowly picking up Thai.
A country that you would like to visit:
It seems a bit trite but I am a serial traveller. I am always happiest when visiting somewhere new, so in that respect, the next country is the country I’d like to visit! But if you want a different response then Iceland. It seems like a mystical place full of angry geysers.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I placed third at the World Yoga Championships. The winner won by a long stretch.
A question from last week’s participant – what ambitions to you have for your particular artform, individually or collectively?
I am interested in helping to build the scene in Asia for local comics. There aren’t enough opportunities to perform and you need stage time to get better at comedy. I’m part of a group hoping to bring a full fringe festival to Chiang Mai. Purely personally, I want to be able to make enough money in comedy to keep my goat in the manner he’s become accustomed to and to be able to bail or bribe my way out of jail.
Opening today, Tuesday 30, but with a special event on Thursday 1, a pop up exhibition by Sra’Art and Let Us Create Futures featuring Delphine Vaudiau, Joshua Chiang, Olga Shklyar, Roberto Crucitti, Ryssa and Lolli. The Thursday night special event from 7 pm will include a silent auction and a musical performance by blues band The Blue Souls.
From Tuesday to Sunday this week, Meta House presents Pride Film Fest with screenings nightly at 6 pm.
Opening tomorrow and running through to Sunday is the 12thCambodia International Film Festival – an extensive schedule of screenings at venues all over the city. Download the programme here. Media: CambodgeMag (FR)
Opening on Wednesday 31, a group art exhibition Mixed Media MayII at Shophouse Studio. Theme is Reconnecting to Nature – interaction between people and nature, the importance of nature, and architectural buildings and nature. From 6 pm.
Musica Felice choir is holding auditions this week on Wednesday 31 and Saturday 3.
Through the coming weekend at Boeung Trobek High School, International Board on Books for Young People celebrate International Children’s Book Day. 8 am – 8 pm daily.
Saturday 3 from 7 am to 10 am and then 4 pm to 7 pm, Phnom Penh Photography Collective and Hiroshima House present a Phnom Penh creative walk – Samaki in Cambodia.
Saturday 3 the Phnom Penh Symphony Orchestra presents a special concert, Mozart Abend, at the Phnom Penh International Institute for the Arts Concert Hall. 5 pm. Free entry.
Saturday 3 at The Art Bar in Kep, the closing night for Serendipitous by Nature: a long view of an artist’s work, an exhibition by Emily Marques. From 6 pm.
Saturday 3 at Speak Easy Theater – Comedy In Cambodia presents Ian Harvey Stone – see Drop Cloth above, from 7.30 pm. $10 tickets in advance.
Saturday 3 and 4 Sunday at Pi-Pet-Pi Gallery – artworks of Eriq Henri Madsen for sale.
The Trap of Life – a new exhibition by Sou Sophy, opens at Meta House on Tuesday 6 June. “Trap of Life consists of 24 pieces made out of plywood, recycled paper and glue with a strong environmental message. The works focus on how humans impact the physical environment in many ways, such as pollution, burning fossil fuels, deforestation and poaching.” From 6 pm.
Myth in Motion, a video art exhibition by featuring five international women artists – Martha Atienza (Philippines), Ana María Millán (Colombia), Thao Nguyen Phan (Vietnam), Ana Vaz (Brazil) and Connie Zheng (US), opens at Sa Sa Art Projects on Wednesday 7 June. 6 – 8 pm.
8 – 10 June at Singapore Cambodia International Academy, Phnom Penh Players present Alice In Wonderland: The Musical.
On 9 June Meta House will host the Asia South East-Short Film Festival 2023. “A seasonal film festival that gives international audiences from Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere who are living or traveling in the southeast of Asia, a chance to see a wide variety of great short films that are being produced from around the world. It is curated by the same team that produces the London Seasonal Short Film Festival and the London Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival.” Followed on 10 June by the World Student Film Festival!
Coming on 10 June to Hotel Old Cinema in Kampot is Kaleidoscope, an exhibition of prints by Tamara Venn celebrating Cambodian wildlife.
Life Drawing Phnom Penh – starting 11 June, for beginners and the experienced, every Sunday after for six weeks at Planete Enfanrs & Developpement’s Rooftop.
At the end of July 2023, dance company Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA will host two nights of performances featuring original choreography from Chakra, Chamreoun, Chay, Sopharoth, and Venghour. They have launched a crowdsourcing campaign to support the project. Support their fundraising campaign here.
Chhan Dina Gallery
An on-going display of the work of Chhan Dina work from throughout her career is augmented, on a rolling schedule, with works of contemporary masters and up-and-coming painters. For appointment to view call 012 968 582.
Erick Gonzalez Gallery/L’Atelier d’Erick Gonzalez
Exhibition by Tytaart (Cambodia) and Nicolas GUYOT (France). “A bridge that takes us from the visible to the imaginary, from the concrete to the conceptual, and finally from the personal to the universal.” Until 22 May.
Media: Cambodge Mag (FR)
A continuously rolling collection of works by mostly Cambodian artists. Currently showing is works by Chhan Dina, Nak Noy, Stan, Chhim Sothy, DinArt and Thun Dina.
Opening Wednesday 17 to mark International Day Against Homo- and Transphobia, an exhibition entitled The Art of Drag – “Five thoughtfully curated photo sequences capturing the essence of drag performance.”
Small studio gallery in Lanka Lane, off St 51 in BKK1 featuring the work of Ny Vannak.
Visit the gallery by appointment – WhatsApp/ Telegram 099 509 412 / 0978572328
Romchiek 5 Art Space
Battambang contemporary art studio. Rolling exhibitions.
Sa Sa Art Projects
Myth in Motion, a video art exhibition by featuring five international women artists opens at Sa Sa Art Projects on Wednesday 7 June.
Tribe Cambodia presents the opening of Elements of the Lotus by Ponleu. Until end of June.
Media: Cambodge Mag (FR) Sovrin Magazine (KH) CGB Media (KH)
Space Four Zero
Prints, paintings, vintage posters, pop art, CDs and vinyl. Open daily.
Pop up exhibition by Sra’Art and Let Us Create Futures featuring Delphine Vaudiau, Joshua Chiang, Olga Shklyar, Roberto Crucitti, Ryssa and Lolli. Special Thursday night event from 7 pm will include a silent auction and a performance by The Blue Souls.
Regular events, classes, sessions:
Drink & Draw every Monday at Cloud, 6.30 pm.
Tuesdays, 4 – 4.45 pm at Giving Tree International School, after school art lessons by Mirasol Aguila.
Every Wednesday Comedy in Cambodia present Stand Up Social at Speak Easy Theater. 7.30 pm.
Wednesdays to Sundays at K’Atelier – art classes for all levels of experience. Coming soon: 10 June, Sip & Paint; 11 June, Introduction to Surrealism
Kids Art Club, Saturdays at Botanico, presented by Sra’Art, 10 am and 11 am.
N o w h e r e Art Studio
A range of arts and crafts workshops at different times. Sunday 11 June is Block-printing on fabric, 1 pm.
A weekly class in life drawing for kids with Anastasia at Pteah Chas Community.
Khmer Architecture Tours conducts Sunday architecture tours in Phnom Penh to promote the understanding of modern architecture in Cambodia, focusing on buildings erected after independence in 1953, described as ‘New Khmer Architecture’, while setting these in the historical context of Phnom Penh. Here is the schedule for May.
Kumnooh was originally established in May 2013 as a sister publication to LengPleng.com, the online music magazine for Cambodia, to provide basically a gig guide for the wider arts, covering art galleries, literature, dance, cinema, photography and now comedy.
You may be interested in becoming a Friend of Kumnooh, where we ask venues, artists and individuals to show their support by making a small monetary contribution to keep the lights on. In return for a boost in promotion, including a non-Facebook web page on our site for direct contact with the dedicated arts audience. Check out our first example – Chhan Dina Gallery. Queries by return email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a more rock’n’roll view of Phnom Penh and the wider Cambodian music scene, please check out our sister publication lengpleng.com, the long running live music gig guide.
Send a ‘subscribe’ email to email@example.com to receive Kumnooh in your inbox every Tuesday lunchtime.
Are we missing something? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you about…
Out and about – you may have missed
Kosal Kiev performs at the Poetica event at Meta House on Friday 26 May 2023