Wednesday, August 3, 2011

5 Minutes With Shien Lee

The creation of Shien Lee, Dances of Vice is a New York nightlife sensation which attracts a decadent menagerie of dandies, aesthetes, and dreamers who gather in shared enthusiasm for the music, fashion, culture, and beauty of times forgotten.

Dances of Vice incorporates a myriad of anachronistic and New Romantic influences in Dadaistic celebration of the liberating effects of beauty, fantasy and surrealism.

Q1. What was the first record that you bought and how did it change your life?

The first record I bought was "How We Quit the Forest" by Rasputina, an all-girl cello rock band with a dark Victorian aesthetic. I was a 13 year old goth kid and the music contained so many elements I loved then and continue to love today: surrealism, fairy-tale storytelling, creepy cello sonatas, absurdity, Victoriana. I was such a big fan of theirs growing up. I couldn't have imagined that, 10 years later, I'd be booking them to perform at my own event, Dances of Vice.

8/20: ENCHANTMENT UNDER THE SEA at Morningside Castle

Q2. What drew you to New York City?

I came to NYC to continue my graduate studies at TC Columbia University, but I was mostly eager to live in the city deemed the
culture capital of the world. There's a sort of sordid glamour to the city and its inhabitants, and I've had the good fortune to be inspired by a great many since my arrival 4 years ago. Many brilliant people come to New York to create and achieve with such urgency and ambition. I thrive on this energy - it's very stimulating and inspiring.

Q3. Dances of Vice is 'a New York nightlife sensation which attracts a decadent menagerie of dandies, aesthetes, and dreamers'. What inspired you to create Dances Of Vice?

The idea to create Dances of Vice began before I moved to NYC. I wanted to create a venue where lovers of anachronism, surrealism and aestheticism could meet other like minds in an environment that celebrates creative expression, rebellion, beauty, and communitas. If you visit the video/photo gallery on my website, I think you'll get a taste of what we're about.

Q4. Tell me a little about the Shien Lee Creative Group.

Shien Lee Creative Group was created to extend my event and PR services to the special events industry for corporate and private clients. I develop event concepts, branding strategies, and manage different levels of production. Since Dances of Vice took off, I've received requests to produce custom events for special occasions, so I draw on my experience in nightlife, PR and entertainment to produce one of a kind themed events for other organizations.

Q5. How do you think the internet and online and information exchange is influencing artistic expression?

They call our digital culture a "convergence culture" where ideas merge together and become homogenized. The internet is a great resource that presents a wealth of information at our fingertips, but it still requires an intelligent mind to search effectively, research deeply, and synthesize one's own creative ideas. Those who don't simply follow a trend by imitating what's been done - often poorly, at that. It's like any other source of information.. television, books, parents, teacher.. don't let it think for you. However, to state the obvious, the internet speeds up communication and productivity, disseminates information quickly, builds creative communities, keeps you up to date on latest news and innovations - it's very empowering for artists, and like any tool, its up to the user to use effectively.

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