U.S. embassy in Beijing stages cultural exchange

Filmmaker Joel Coen, thesp Meryl Streep and musician Yo-Yo Ma are among the big names in Beijing for the first U.S.-China Forum on Arts and Culture.

The four-day event starts tonight with a dinner for 240 guests at the U.S. embassy, overseen by organic food guru Alice Waters, proprietor of the Chez Panisse bistro in Berkeley, Calif.

Celebrity guests include artist Eric Fischl, scribes Amy Tan and Mark Danner, and ballet dancer and director Damian Woetzel.

Coen will reportedly meet “City of Life and Death” helmer Lu Chuan during his visit, while Streep will host a screening of the Margaret Thatcher biopic, “The Iron Lady,” in which she stars.

Waters will also attend a screening of “Food Inc.” with helmer Robert Kenner and scribes Corby Kummer and Michael Pollan.

“We hope this is the first of many annual events of this type, alternating between China and the United States,” said the U.S.’s freshly minted ambassador to China, Gary Locke.

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