September ushered in a whirlwind month for me and what a month it’s been!
I’m still shaking the star dust out of my hair and enjoying the afterglow of what was for me, the perfect culminating 10th Anniversary residency for DANCEworks. It celebrated DANCEWork’s decade of devotion to adding to the creation of new modern/contemporary dance in the USA.
The smiles and good will generated by all the performances were powerful. It felt like a perfect antidote to the recent display of nastiness in our culture, that we’ve all become too familiar with. Ah, the power of art to bring people together. I experienced an elusive mystical moment of oneness, when the power of dance displayed the human condition so well, that audience and performers merged together in spirit.
I realized in the process that a large part of the thrill of it all is about being able to share my passion for dance with others. I think that’s what moves he choreographers as well. While sitting in the audience, I feel very much in tune with them, yet somewhat apart. There’s an energy released at the conclusion of each performance,if the audience has been moved by what they’ve experienced, that is elevating. No other way to describe it. Fucking thrilling. The joy on the faces of the dancers at the conclusion of a satisfying performance is no less elevating. ” We’re in this together,” their smiles say to me. ” So thrilled you got it.”
You never can be sure during the planning stage of a big event that you’re getting the details right and that your instincts are correct.There are no guarantees in this world. I guess that’s part of the excitement. Unlike turning on the tv to watch something pre-recorded, you know you’re in an amphitheatre where anything can happen. There are no second takes or opportunities to do over. That is part of the excitement and what gives a successful live performance an added kick.
As the choreographers began to arrive on performance week, I felt an enormous sense of gratitude for their commitment to travel hundreds and often thousands of miles to join our celebration. I said on stage that if I’d died then and there I would have died happy.
That was not an understatement, but it might have ruined the party.
There’s always something wonderful waiting at the end of the drive when you’re lucky enough to join Robert Yellin on a visit to a few potters.
I met Robert many years ago when he helped to guide tour groups to ceramic areas. We’ve remained friends, and each time we visit Kyoto,I look forward to meeting up with Robert. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call him one of the country’s leading authorities on contemporary Japanese ceramics. He runs a wonderful gallery in Kyoto close to the Philosophers Walk. I believe anyone serious about contemporary Japanese ceramics should/must visit. It’s always a showcase for both established and emerging potters. Robert easily shares his passion and seemingly limitless knowledge of ceramics with his visitors.
This visit, he drove us to the ancient pottery area of Tamba. The potters he visits are overjoyed to see him and that is part of the fun. I enjoy seeing the work of each potter in her/his own gallery, as they chose to display it. There are always an abundance of riches to savor, admire (and occasionally purchase!) Continue reading “Traveling with Robert”→
Before I moved to CA where the sun shines most of the time (Neil Diamond circa 1971) and the ground is green for a brief few months a year, I generally thought of rain as a spoiler. I grew up with the children’s refrain “rain rain go away,” and never found a lot to appreciate in a rainy day. Until I moved to CA where the arrival of rain became a reason to celebrate.
How times change. Now in CA the hills are euphemistically called golden, but are in reality a dull brown. So if I travel and encounter rain, the usual nemesis of the tourist, I no longer gripe, but watch it in wonder and with pleasure. I’ve equipped myself with a colorful umbrella and a sturdy pair of waterproof sneakers so that I can easily navigate the puddles and the overflow I encounter. I breathe in deeply enjoying all those reputed negative ions.
The remnants of a typhoon are passing over Kyoto today. The skies are steel grey and a steady rain is falling. Yesterday, I bought autumnal flowers from my favorite flower store for our apartment and happily arranged them in what I determined were artistically satisfying arrangements now gracing our living space. Our interior is warm and pleasant although outdoors it’s a major contrast. Continue reading “rain dance”→
As far as I can tell, Japanese possess a keen sense of humor. It’s even evident in the anthropomorphic paintings by master artists on paneled screens painted hundreds of years ago. A dragon who’s lost his spark or maybe his viagra? A tiger looking sheepish. An ancient scroll reveals frogs and rabbits frolicking, for what I do not know.
My most convincing and subjective criteria for the humorous sensibilities of the Japanese is their ability to unerringly laugh at my husband’s jokes. Many fellow Americans do not find his jokes funny, unless they’re fellow New Yorkers. He enjoys making outrageous statements delivered with a poker face. Most people take him seriously or are just plainly befuddled. I am usually the one who becomes most uncomfortable in this situation . I usually move to untangle the awkward social moment. by injecting, “He’s just kidding.” That’s never been necessary in Japan.
Below, are some random photos of objects of silliness, wit and humor uncovered in daily life in Japan. Unfailingly, they bring a smile to my face, even if it is of childish delight. It seems the Japanese enjoy silliness as well as cuteness. So do I. It’s particularly appreciated in times when the world situation is grim.
Art installation in Naoshima made of plastic buoys.
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer
There are so many kinds of friends we make in a lifetime. Many come and go for many reasons. A special few remain with us for a lifetime.
We have made a most wonderful friend here in Kyoto. Matsuzaki Katsuyoshi is a splendid artist; a sculptor who transforms inanimate stone into spiritual omamori, in this case, he carves small deities whose gentleness, and kindness provides protection for its owner. I have come to think his sculptures radiate his own spirit of kindness. I have several at the entrance to my home who greet me daily as I enter and leave. Now I have one to watch over our apartment in Kyoto.