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THE NO. 1 SHOW in the world? March 21, 2018

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I received an advertising flyer at my office a few days back.  This is nothing unusual, I get stuff like that all the time – restaurant menus, computer sale flyers, postcards from one particularly pushy dental office.  But this time I got something different – a large ten-page full-color glossy brochure on heavy paper, advertising one theater production:

 Holy cow.  Everything about this ad is over the top with “this is the most wonderful show you will ever see in your whole life ever”.  It’s full of lush photos in brilliant color of dancers in front of vivid Chinese backgrounds.  Like this:

Testimonial after testimonial after gushing review from random celebrities and officials.  They are trying really hard, and have certainly sunk a lot of money into this ad campaign.  So what’s up with this?  Who are these people really?

The answer was in the return address: Falun Dafa.  Otherwise known as Falun Gong, a group that originates in China, but the Chinese Government considers it a cult and has outlawed it.

So I went looking to see what regular people had actually said about this performance, to see if it was overtly a push for their religious cult or was actually a nice cultural event.  When I first googled “Shen Yun” all that came up were ads for it and gushing articles raving about how wonderful it was.  Likewise, a search on YouTube comes up with trailers and other videos that are either direct advertisements or full of glowing praise for them.  So, in addition to the slick glossy brochures, this group has obviously put a lot of effort into doctoring their internet presence, and removing anything negative from the first few pages of search results.

But then I tried looking specifically for Yelp reviews.  Oh, boy, was that ever a different perspective!  I found some reviews from people who liked it, but others were so disappointed that they had walked out of the show in the middle of it.  They wrote that it was pretty, but not nearly as impressive as the advertising had let on, that many of the dances were overt pushes for their cult beliefs, that the singing performances were religious propaganda songs with lyrics like “The heresy of evolution now eclipses the Divine word.”  It wasn’t a spectacular cultural event, it was mediocre evangelizing.

How, then are they funding all this?  The brochure I got was just addressed to “postal customer” so it’s a sure bet that they mailed out massive numbers of these ads.  And the effort required to make sure that every google search returns only positive things about the group for the first few pages can’t be cheap either.  Where’s the money coming from?  Here’s one answer:Even the nosebleed seats on a weeknight will set you back $80, and the good seats are $250!  (For comparison on seat prices, the New York City Ballet is at the Kennedy Center in this same hall this weekend, and the best seats can be had for $99.00.  I didn’t find any nearly comparable prices for seats in this hall until I looked at the prices for Hamilton.  And I’m pretty sure that the audience for Hamilton won’t be disappointed by bait-and-switch preaching.)

I’ve scanned the entire brochure to a .pdf file, so if you’d like, you can get a look at all of the hype in its full glory:

Shen Yun Flyer – click here



1. Quixie - March 21, 2018

I mean… if the show is as incredible as they it is would they need to pour so much into the advertising? I think not! Ha

Liked by 3 people

treeoftalking - March 21, 2018

Ugh. The wife and I ended up going to one of those several years back here in Little Rock. Nothing else that weekend, and why not go see a troupe of traveling Chinese dancers? Most disappointing night out ever. The dance scenes were not impressive enough to offset the annoying propaganda put up every five minutes. All the subtlety of a Jehovah’s Witless conference.

Liked by 2 people

Quixie - March 24, 2018

The whole thing screams “cult” to me – I would have been too scared to go! Did they do any creepy stuff to try to convert you? Regardless, I’m sorry you wasted your money!

Liked by 1 person

2. danicanallen - March 21, 2018

Wow! I’m so glad you that, true to your motto, you questioned this with boldness and shared your findings. I have received many of these flyers and my daughter and I have been wishing we could afford to go. It never would have crossed my mind that this was religious propaganda. Best money I never spent! I’ll also be more discerning with ads. This is the week all the shiny flyers will come pouring in from the local churches. You’d think I’d be privy to this “flashy ad” scam by now, haha!

Liked by 3 people

3. jim- - March 22, 2018

This sounds really familiar “Li Hongzhi claims to have miraculous powers. He claims that he is the savior of humanity, who has come to the earth to “rectify” the way and prevent “true” spiritual teachings from being lost. “. Just like every other kook that started a church. He’s the one!

Liked by 1 person

Daniel Digby - March 24, 2018

There’s hope for me after all. At least now I know how I can be rectified, and it will be by the ONE.

Liked by 2 people

4. makagutu - March 22, 2018

Here is where I say you have done the hard work for us. I trust your review and so will not have to suffer the pain of reading the ads

Liked by 2 people

Arkenaten - March 22, 2018



5. Anderson Connors - March 23, 2018

Oh wow! I got one of these a couple of years ago, for an event in Austin (I think). I honestly considered going, simply because I don’t get out of the house enough. The only reason I didn’t go was the high price (I think it was less then — maybe $50 for the “cheap” seats). But I had ALMOST convinced myself that I needed a bit more culturing. Nothing on the brochure I received indicated that it would be a religious event, but from your description and my memory, I think it was the same organization.

Liked by 1 person


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