'X-Factor' finalist to produce SF Chinese New Year parade opening act

Posted Feb 20 2018 11:15PM PST

Video Posted Feb 20 2018 11:09PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The countdown to the annual Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco has started.
Organizers took KTVU behind the scenes to give our viewers a preview of the new attractions.

It will showcase traditional and nontraditional performances.

Inside the Cathay Post building on Powell Street in Chinatown, Tuesday night marked the final rehearsal for the opening act of the parade, which will be a flash mob of dancers.

"It's going to be very festive. It's going to be a chaotic dancing scene," said Kevin Lu, co-producer of the opening act. 

This is the first time Lu is producing the opening act. He says he watched the parade as a boy, standing on the streets of Chinatown in the rain. 

Growing up in the Bay Area, he says it was a natural to come up with the theme: a celebration of diversity and unity. 

Soloist Jason Brock sings "Reach Out and Touch" to accompany the dancers. 

The 2012 "X-Factor Show" finalist says the organizers invitation for him to perform reflects the theme. 

"I just love being in the Chinese community. Getting to be a part of it, rather than being a spectator, rather than being outside. I get to be on the inside," says Brock. 

A musician playing a Chinese string instrument will complement the flash mob performance. 

At a warehouse along the waterfront, artists are putting the finishing touches on the floats, lots of glitter and gallons of paint to create a visual experience. 

"I want people to say wow. I really want people to walk away and go, 'Oh my god, that one was gorgeous. I've never seen one like that before. That was really new,'" says Stephanie Mufson, master float builder. 

One group flew in from Beijing to participate in the parade for the first time.

They are preparing their float and they showed us video of shadow puppet performances that will demonstrate Chinese folklore that spectators will see on their float.

"To show and express Beijing culture, China, the traditional culture," Sheila Wang, a folklore artist from Beijing. 

As for the opening act, people performing different types of dance will come together to demonstrate unity.

"We're basically at the finish line now, last rehearsal tonight. No more chance to tweak details or anything. It's show," says Lu. 
Show time is Saturday at 6 p.m. It's not supposed to rain. Organizers advise spectators to take public transit and arrive early.

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