Reflections on Aside 15, May 2017

Challenges, Failures, Success… Is it possible to ever have one without the other? What do these words mean to different people? There are thousands of quotes on the internet from Sages, Scholars and other well-known people about this very thing.

Aside15 April 29 2017

When we see famous or successful people, we may think, “They’re so smart” or “They’re so lucky” or “Their life is so easy”. We don’t spend much time thinking about embarrassing flops, setbacks or changes of direction they might have experienced getting to where they are.

The theme of our last Aside 15 was Nightmare Challenges. Each of our 3 speakers had different areas of expertise, interests and life experiences. They shared with us their vulnerabilities, challenges and how they moved forward despite of them.

Starting the night off was Jet Wu 吳彥杰. In 2012, he started WeTogetherStudio 共玩創作, the first Stop-Motion Animation Company in Taiwan for TV and Advertisement. His team’s soon work won recognition and awards in many domestic and international film festivals. But life isn’t always so smooth. Jet talked about how changes in the economy/industry forced him to make difficult business decisions that did not align with ideals of his team. He shared the pain of how they left one by one and also how he got so badly conned by a businessman in Hong Kong. It was at one of his lowest points when he realized letting go of his ego was crucial to moving forward in providing for his family. His idea to incorporate education into his work is now finally reaping rewards. His company provides workshops for amateurs, children and retirees. He also distributes animation production software & curriculum to Taiwan’s educational institutions.

Faye Angevine, successful businesswoman and purveyor of fine antiques, was our next speaker. In fact, the lovely antiques that grace Red Room space are from her Bai Wen Collections. Having lived in Taiwan for more than 40 years, she’s had more than her share of ups and downs especially while doing business in China. Faye spoke about challenges related to 2 of her passions – antiques and animals. She shared a light hearted version of the nightmarish tour she had during an antique sourcing trip with the “Housewife Sallys”. Taking a group of western women into less civilized areas of China was wrought with incidents – which prompted a promise to herself never to do it again. Due to her love of animals, Faye has generously adopted and rescued many, many dogs over the years. Trying to create more awareness and compassion toward animals, getting Government regulations changed and raising funds to support animal welfare continues to be an uphill battle.

Everyone took a short break and got to sample Chef Zoe’s amazing offerings of fresh vegetarian bites. Citrus Herbs & Greens, Pumpkin Kaddo Bourani and Roasted Sweet Chili with Chocolate were both artistic and delicious.

Stephen Rong 榮忠豪 was the last speaker and rounded out our night. Starting with a serious health challenge during his teens to overcoming his mom’s objections about his decision to move to Taiwan and pursue a singing career in 2009, Stephen really impressed on me his motto of “Never give up”. Even when he was told he couldn’t sing, he wasn’t good looking enough and he’d never make it, Stephen continued to pursue his dream. At one point, he had only NT$500 left in his pocket after some he trusted stole all his money. He failed in winning singing competitions in Taiwan and Hong Kong; as a travel host, he was once abandoned in Malaysia with only $10 for food and there were many other nightmare examples in his life. After all these pitfalls, he picked himself back up, learned from his experiences and worked hard at improving himself in every way that he could. Stephen is finally living his dream. He has been in several commercials, film and stage productions; hosted TV shows and recently held his own concert.

As was shared during the evening, life is not always easy, it comes with twists and turns and bumps on the road. It’s wise to remember is that each challenge is a learning experience. Life can be quite amazing if you believe in yourself and persevere. It has certainly made me think about my life!

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” ~馬雲 Jack Ma

by Sharon Landon on ASIDE 15

Aside 14: A Merry Evening – August 2016

Aside 14 August 13 2016

The Summer of 2016 ended with Aside 14 beating the heat with a cool night of fun & laughter. Whether it was a slight giggle, a huge belly laugh or anything in between, laughter can bring people together and establish amazing connections. In an instant, laughter can change the atmosphere of a room from chilly to one of warmth. That was what several of Taipei’s talented performers did while rocking the Red Room with their banter and wit. From Comedy to Improv to Insults and Toasts, laughs were definitely contagious this evening.

Starting the evening off, stand-up comedian Charlie Storrar shared his passion for the craft with famed British sense of humor and well-timed quips.Aside14Laughter

Aside14LaughterNext came the hilarious videos of the dynamic duo, Kevin Lee & Michael Wong from the 什麼東西 LK Show. Their original comedy web series poking fun at daily life situations has accumulated millions of views.

Aside14LaughterTo round out the first half of the show, Meg Anderson and her Sweet Danger Improv troupe (Matthew Long, Colin Norman, and William Openshaw) created on-the-spot comedic vignettes using input from their captive audience.

Aside14Laughter Aside14LaughterAfter a short break of feasting on delicious raw vegan treats by CoCo, stand-up comedian Eric Chang started off the second half with a bang. His routine focused on hysterical cross-cultural behaviors and situations, which we can all identify with in our own lives.

Then came the very first and much anticipated Roasts of Red Room! Co-founder Ping Chu and our own RR curator Manav Mehta were the first to feel the heat. Friends and foes alike gathered for battle under the capable direction Roastmasters A-Fong and the now infamous Charlie Storrar.

Aside14Laughter Aside14LaughterFirst up in the hot seat – Ping Chu. For many of us who have not known Ping for long, it was enlightening and amusing to hear roasters, Tina Ma, Brendon Chen and Brook Hall share stories about his past, quirks and foibles.

Last but not least, Manav Mehta stepped up to take his due. Long-time friends, David Gentile, Sam Dulaney, Addison Eng and surprise roaster Goober all took turns spilling some of Manav’s secrets. Most likely Roma learned one or two new things about her son during this process. As the saying goes, “with friends like that, who needs enemies?” Of course, Manav did not take things lying down. He came back with a few pokes and jabs of his own. But as all of us present were aware, everything said that evening was in the spirit of fun and camaraderie.

As E E Cummings said, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter”. Well, it was great knowing that none of us present wasted our day.

By Sharon Landon

Reflections, Aside 13, April 30 2016

Aside 13 April 30 2016

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Aside 13 at the Red Room was a three hour journey along the paths of 5 individual and group performers- each with their own story of adventure and wonder to share. The evening opened with words from Red Room’s co-founder, Ping Chu. Ping encouraged the audience to reflect on the importance of the people we meet throughout or travels. “At Red Room,” he said, “it takes only a minute to meet someone, but a lifetime to forget them.” While the day-to-day interactions we have with our friends and colleagues may seem trivial in the moment, Ping reminds us that life is a collection of a multitude of moments, each shaping our experiences, like stones lying in the middle of a narrow stream.

The evening flowed onward to the first performer, Tina Ma. Tina spun a tale of blazing one’s own future and identity through facing different challenges. Her story-song used the personification of animals to symbolize the the wise lessons we can learn from nature. She urged the audience to meditate on the importance of emotion and kindness in our actions, asking “When we act, do we use all four chambers of our heart?” Tina’s question made us wonder: are we full hearted in our interactions and experiences, or do we simply give half of ourselves? Her performance asserted that in order to learn, love, and give to the world, we have to use all four chambers of the heart and feel love flowing through all aspects of our being.

As if mirroring the heart beat pumping blood and life throughout us all, Mia Hsieh used her steel drum to play a song that strikingly embodied the light-hearted nature of travel. In contrast, her vocal tones expressed a yearning for something lost along the way. After all, while Emerson emphasized the whimsy of weaving one’s own trail, he also posited that ” Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Mia’s song led the listener to believe that perhaps the singing traveller had neglected to hold fast to “the beautiful,” mistakenly confusing the painful lessons of growth with regret and flaw- forgetting that experiences mould us and therefore beautify the paths on which we walk.

Sue de Simone candidly told the audience about walking her own beautiful journey through growth. She began with a rock song based on the adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” telling the audience of how a benign brain tumor lead to a series of addictions from cigarettes to alcohol, from alcohol to cigarettes and from cigarettes to chocolate. While the story was harrowing, Sue used humor to draw attention to her current reality- a successful performer, healthy and full of life.

Rocking us back to the past, Ruth Giordano and the Red Room Radio Redux crew shared an excerpt from their upcoming show, “Treasure Island.” The connection to the evening’s theme is clear- a journey across the sea to find an elusive prize. Although “Treasure Island” may be a classic, the excerpt left the audience wondering how the story would end.

As if on cue, the night came to a hopeful close with Scott Prairie and Mia Hsieh’s collaboration on a series of songs. The final song in their set reminded the audience that, “it’s going to be ok.” With this upbeat and energetic close, the audience rose back to life, bustling hurriedly to catch old friends before heading home and to embrace new friends will a full heart.

Kristin S. is new to Taipei and is excited to volunteer at the Red Room as a rookie. In her free time she enjoys reading psychological thrillers, exploring new cities, and yoga.

30 April 2016, Aside 13

Red Room Aside 13 invite

The Red Room invites you to the
13th Aside@the Red Room, on April 30, 2016.
6:30pm – 10:30pm



Read more on the performers at this link. Download invitation pdf here.

Reservations required. Your Patronage $500NTD. Please register here to reserve your seat. Beverages and light refreshments will be provided. Floor seating so please dress comfortably.

Red Room International Village, TAF 空軍總部 「圖書館」2F LIBRARY
No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd (Intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd.)

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.“

Joseph Campbell

“The Road Less Traveled” is the theme for this Aside. What are attributes that make a person feel fulfilled? What does it mean to constantly seek new visions, to extend beyond normal boundaries and to step boldly down that ‘road less traveled’. Unbounded passion is the driving force behind their actions and growth as artists and human beings.

Please join Red Room International Village on April 30, 2016 as each of these artists share their individual journeys encompassing words, sounds and music. Let us support their quest for inspired vision and new means of expression.

About Aside:
Aside derives its name from the theatrical term of “taking an aside,” where characters break the fourth wall to address the audience directly with their insight, secret aspirations, and original perspectives.

The presenters at Aside are individuals who have found inspiration in their craft and in turn have shared their inspiration with us. They utilize their discipline to communicate with creativity and breach the gap between artist and audience.

第十三回「旁白在紅房」 (2016年4月30日)
6:30pm – 10:30pm
Red Room International Village 紅房國際村, TAF 空軍總部 「圖書館」2F LIBRARY
No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd (Intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd.)


“當你遵循你內心的喜悅 宇宙將會在牆壁上幫你當開一扇門.“
約瑟夫 • 坎貝爾

Aside 這次的主題是:”少有人走的路”。到底是哪些特質能讓一個人感到滿足?能持續尋覓新的願景並跨出正常邊界踏上 “少有人走的路” 意謂著什麼? 熱無限情能為人類及藝術家帶來無限的成長與發展。


「旁白在紅房」得名於 “taking an aside” 之戲劇術語,表示表演者為了以較直接的方式表達他們的真知灼見和獨特的觀點而打破隔離觀眾與舞台的隱形屏障。


Browse photos from past Asides


How to find us:
Taiwan Air force Base (TAF) 空軍總部 「圖書館」LIBRARY
No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd (Intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd.)
Our entrance is located on the intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd. (TAF side entrance). After passing the gate, keep marching forward and you’ll see a white building to your left called Library. Make your way to the second floor via the outer staircase on the side.
Travel by MRT[Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station Exit 6]Walk straight along XinSheng S. Road, then turn left on Jinan Road Sec.2 , continue down and you’ll spot the entrance!