An Insider's Guide into the Hong Kong Art Scene
By Gili Karev
Imagine taking a wrong turn on one of the side streets of Hollywood Rd. Imagine that, in the darkness, your ears prick at the smooth sounds of subtle jazz notes, floating covertly through the closed shop windows and silent stillness of the deserted night. Imagine turning into an unassuming corner and, if you’re lucky, stumbling upon the most seductive, romantic and down-to-earth jazz and blues house in Hong Kong. Chances are you have arrived at Visage One, a hair salon by day and speakeasy jazz bar by night. Deliberately hidden in the shadows of Soho, Visage One is your reprieve from the rowdy streets of Central; your sanctuary of beautiful, intimate live music and the personality that accompanies it.
By day, Visage One functions as a one-on-one hair salon, as veteran hairdresser, owner, and jazz aficionado Benky Chan works meticulously and purposefully on his dedicated clients. His relationship with hair differs only slightly from his relationship with music, treated as the private and personal interaction it is. Six years ago Chan began hosting live music on Saturday nights as a tribute to his love for jazz and blues. While Visage has retained its unique status, don’t be surprised to see the place spilling with eager jazz lovers come Saturday. The show starts at 8:30 and Chan is true to his word – hustle in at 9 and you’ll be lucky to find a crammed seat on the book-lined staircase.
This tiny venue returns us to what music used to be: a true dialogue between the listener and the performer. Without the separation of space, musicians play as if they are enjoying an intimate evening in their living room – and they might as well be. Chan silences the chattering crowd with a finger to his lips as he prepares himself for the performance. Drinks served behind the bar are simple and no frills as to not to distract him from the soulful notes. The artists play generously, interjecting long, poignant pieces with jokes and quips to the appreciative crowd. With free entrance and almost laughable drink prices, Chan is not in the business of, well, business. The point is to listen. The point is the music.
This Saturday, August 11th, Visage One will be hosting a jazz night. Come early and come to listen. Or don’t come at all.
LG/F, Po Lung Building, 93 Hollywood Rd, Central, tel +852 2523 8988