Okay, I am back at it. This time I am really going to try to be consistent about posting things pretty close to when they happen. It has been since October of last year that I've posted. Many things have happened since then. Most good, one however, definitely not so good. It will be a few posts down the line when I get to relating that experience. And that is how it will go - I'll start with what just went on, and in subsequent posts I will bring you up to date on past occurrences. In all likelihood the "bring up to date," part won't be in any particular order, but I'll try to get it all in never the less.
I am just back from returning the rental car. I drove up to the Bay Area to collaborate with lead artist Melody Takata in "Boxes," a work loosely based on Kobo Abe's novel, "The Box Man." "Boxes," is a multidisciplinary work combining composed and improvised music, video and extemporaneous spoken word. Francis Wong acted as music director, Tatsu Aoki created the videos in which Melody performed. The complete cast was: Melody Takata (Bay Area) - lead artist, conceptualizer, large Burmese gong, Taiko; Francis Wong (Bay Area) - music director, tenor and soprano saxophones; Tatsu Aoki (Chicago) - video artist, shamisen; Kioto Aoki (Chicago) - Taiko; Chizuru Kineya (Tokyo) - shamisen; William Roper (Los Angeles) - tuba, extemporaneous spoken word. Yes, a very international cast.
We did three performances over two days (Saturday and Sunday). I always prefer multiple performances. Pieces have a chance to settle into themselves. As well as documenting the last performance on video, we recorded the music and spoken word on Monday. I think that ultimately there will be a CD and DVD released. During the recording session, I took it upon myself to do short video interviews of all of the participants. It turns out that Tatsu knew the triumvirate of Kobo Abe, Hiroshi Teshigahara and Toru Takemitsu in his youth. He had a job that involved his coming into contact with them, particularly Abe. It is quite a story. Perhaps someday the interviews will be made public and you'll get to hear the story. It is pretty interesting.
Okay. So, here we go with the photos. I'll start with a couple of performance photos, then the trip photos which are mostly of meals. The Bay Area is a good place for eating, as I am sure you know.
First five photos are:
1. Hanging out with poet Genevieve Lim, before the performance.
2. The stage setup.
3. Dealing with the Travel Tuba.
4. On our way to the line-up for the group photo.
5. The group photo. Left to right: Kioto Aoki, Tatsu Aoki, Melody Takata, Chizuru Kineya, William Roper, Francis Wong.
The first night I stayed in Half Moon Bay and had a rockin' burger and very good mac & cheese at Jersey Joe's Oceanside.
Some shots from one of the rehearsals, lunch at Mifune Don, then later at one of several discoveries for me, dinner at Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae. I have been given on good authority that Shanghai restaurants are coming into their own in the Bay Area.
Tatsu found that huge gong for under $200.00! The script is notation for Taiko music.
And now food from Shanghai
We had an early call time on Sunday. The Fillmore Jazz Festival was happening, so Francis and I went in real early to get good street parking. We had breakfast at Mums. I had a hip take on an Okinawan favorite. Between the tech and the performance, Francis and I took a walk the jazz festival/ street fair happenings. We ran across Chizuru, who seemed to be having a grand time. Later we stopped in on a Taiko workshop led by Kioto Aoki. The final shot is of Melody getting her big drum on stage.
I had Sunday off. I had a meeting in town in the morning. After that I headed south for a goat soup for lunch at the Chavez Supermarket in San Mateo, took a much longer walk than I should have at Seal Point Park. For dinner I had the Pig's Blood and Tripe soup at Sichuan Chong Qing Cuisine, in San Mateo. Very tasty.
On Monday we recorded the music and spoken word at Decibelle Recording in San Francisco. For the opening of "Boxes," Francis chose to use Glenn Horiuchi's "Dew Drop." Afterwards Melody, Francis and I, headed to South San Francisco for a final meal at Xiao Long Bao Kitchen. Lenora Lee drove Chizuru in from the city to join us.