Charles Haines, Master of Cups, Artist and dedicated Red Roomer, shares his memory of the Red Room’s creation:
Being part of the first days of Red Room was pretty amazing. It started sitting around a table at Roma’s house. Ayesha, who is the co-founder of Red Room, presented us with her idea for the Red Room platform [at that table]. She had traveled to Taidung and she had met Ping Chu there. They got talking about what she wanted to do, which was create a listening space, and a sharing space. Ping just happened to have a place where we could do this. This partnership, which started during that meeting, led to the creation of the Red Room.
She talked with us about it after that first meeting with Ping. We started throwing around ideas about what we were going to do, and who we were going to invite, and the name of the event. We had the name Red Room, but we wanted a subtitle to give a better- nobody [knew] what Red Room [was], so we needed something to explain [it]. Manav came out of his room and said “Why don’t you call it Stage Time & Wine?” and that was it. He walked back into his room and we didn’t hear from him again. I think he was, like, eighteen at the time. His involvement with the Red Room grew progressively and he used to open each Stage Time & Wine with a poem he wrote.
I wasn’t really very much involved with the organizing of any of the events at that time. I sat in and talked about things, but it was very kind of organic that first one. We were just asking friends to come and play music. At the very first Stage Time & Wine, I worked with Manav at the bar. We had a great time together. I think it was that night that we bonded. I did not know then how much a part of my life he would become and I am so grateful that we worked together at the first Red Room bar.
Since we didn’t know whether it was going to be a onetime thing—one Stagetime & Wine– or six months, or whatever, we didn’t really plan for Red Room to be what it’s become. It’s grown every year. We definitely didn’t know when we were sitting around the table what Red Room would become.
I think, after that first one, a lot of people that were involved were so excited about it. It was their enthusiasm that encouraged Ayesha, and all of us, to do it as a once-a-month event for as long as there was an interest. Ayesha left a few months later and Roma and Manav have run with it and made it what Red Room is today.
14 March 2016
Image: The earliest invitation to Stage Time & Wine, art by Charles Haines.
Red Room, by now, has made a name for itself as an open, enlivening environment that is verdant with the arts. It’s a venue that, through its events and activities, bends over backwards both for the artists and for patrons who will go to great lengths just to have the presence of the arts dappling their lives. The cup of inspiration is passed around freely, that everyone present might drink deep of it, and numerous people are in the wings volunteering their time, energy and miscellaneous forms of artistic mojo to create this platform that people can come stand upon.
When people do make an outing to Red Room’s ‘Stage Time and Wine’ they will bring a multitude of things with them as the vehicle for their practice — instruments for music, paper for stories or poems, their own twisting, shifting frames for dance. It’s rare that an evening at Stage and Wine passes without something unexpected, rare and robust taking the stage, though skilled exercises of more traditional and time-honored disciplines are inevitably present as well. It is framed as a sharing and listening environment, though I personally suspect that a lot of people appear at Red Room events for the scene and the unique character of its actors. Red Room’s events are also a branching-off point to involvement in various other art scenes and events in Taipei.
Red Room’s Stage Time and Wine forms the foundations of a constantly changing and contorting chalice that serves as an axis for the city’s arts. Since constantly-available venue has arrived to serve as the organization’s sanctuary (Red Room regulars will remember the hard times, when all we had was Stage Time and Wine once a month), a variety of gallery showings, concerts and other savory happenings have blossomed in this newly-available fertile soil. Incidents at the Red Room are always worth a look.
Max Power is a Taipei local artist who writes and illustrates bittersweet dreamland fairy tales and histories of far-off worlds. his illustrations can be seen at facebook.com/seenerie .
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
— Henry David Thoreau
And different drummers we heard indeed. Many different drummers. And people of all shapes and sizes with shakers and tambourines and wooden frogs and other things that I don’t even know the name of, moving to the rhythm of the same beat. Afterward, Sue said, “(It) made me realize that I really miss doing music with kids, since I feel about 5 most of the time!”
There were poets being celebrated as well. Kai introduced us to a melancholy American poet, Robinson Jeffers, who, in 1925, mourned the demise of America. I recited a poem written by Shel Silverstein that complained about being inseparably joined together. Nicole read a poem by Kenn Nesbitt elaborating the shortcomings of her smartphone. Perhaps the Juicers will now have the impression that poetry is only for complaining.
Maggie asked us some riddles, most of which we were able to guess. Later, Michael accompanied her on the conga drums as she sang “Dream Keeper.”
The fiery redheaded 5-year-old puppet, Mimi, told us about her boyfriend who is so overwhelmed with emotion for her that he is unable to actually be with her. She also talked a little with Jennifer Joy about what a bummer it is to be so cute that everyone wants to touch her.
The envoy, Peter, from the British Ministry of Silly Walks, explained that one could have a fine career developing silly walks. The audience was then encouraged to try their best. Five exceptionally silly individuals were awarded presents from the two lollipop girls, Charlotte and Bea, who happen to make all-natural, home made lip balms, surprise soaps, and epsom bath salts. (For those of you who were not silly enough to get some, you can always order your own from Mila Earth Body Care.
A young newcomer sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Charlotte ended the show on a serious note by asking us some tough questions about what we would rather be.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
Born in Guatemala, Ale Bara, a self-described nomad with “itchy feet”, has lived and created art in countries across Europe and North America, and chose to come to Taiwan after leaving Kenya. Formally trained in industrial design, Bara paints not for financial success, but because she likes it. Since her childhood, she has filled sketchbooks with comics and today she paints not only to communicate to the world but also to escape to another one. One she hopes will make her audience smile, just as the people who crossed her path have.
Her first foray into creating art outside of her sketchbooks happened in 2004 when Under Dusken, a Norwegian magazine, hired her to create comic accompaniments for their articles. Today, many of her pieces depict funny characters she’s adapted from real life and depicted in a whimsical, colorful way.
Since then Bara has exhibited her art the world over, her itchy feet leading her to discover new techniques, people and lifestyles in each new place which she has integrated. Often her illustrations reflect something idiosyncratic about the country she resides, the comic exhibited at the Red Room depicting a foreign character trying stinky tofu and navigating Taiwan’s motorcycle filled traffic is one example of this.
The umbrellas that continue to adorn the Red Room are another example of her creative incorporation. Initially created for the Chinese New Year, put together these umbrellas create a giant goat which cares for everyone from its vantage point in the heavens. Perhaps most inspiring to her about Taiwan is the dedication to artisanship and handcrafts. “Everything in Taiwan is so well done,” she said. “I would love for my work to be like that.” Since coming to Taiwan she has increasingly experimented with different materials from rice baskets to bamboo to giant canvases.
In the interview below, Bara speaks a little bit more about her personal art style and how she became involved with the Red Room.
You developed this world full of these characters that are inspired by the people you see in everyday life. How has your style evolved over the years?
Well I have moved a lot, so I think it depends on the people who have crossed my path. They make my style different.
I started doing the noses on the characters I have now when I was in Kenya, because I just saw big noses everywhere. The bald heads also are influenced by Kenya because a lot of people shaved their heads there.
[Every time I travel I see] the people, the features, the color– everything is different– so I think I just start grabbing things from every culture. [I look at] the way people are, the way people dress and react and I think that’s what changes my style, just traveling.
Do you think switching from digital to a hand drawn method has made you think more carefully about what you choose to include?
Well I think digital work is much easier. Everything is possible. So with painting by hand you have to know how to do a lot of stuff so it takes a while for you to get there. I’m trying to paint by hand, but I don’t have technique, so it’s just lots of color and very, very simple. I hope someday I will develop a technique.
At the beginning I did think more carefully because when I draw in my sketchbooks I really like them really neat. I started drawing with pencil and erasing and drawing and erasing. Then I thought, well, mistakes can be a beautiful thing, so now I only draw with pen. If I make a mistake I try to think of how to fix it and how to make it part of my piece.
Now it doesn’t really make me think more, it makes my piece become something different than what I thought at the beginning.
I noticed on your website that you did an exhibition and the materials were rescued from the recycling bin. What motivated you to do that and how do you feel using those materials, rather than something purchased for the store, changed your art or improved it?
I think it’s because I’m all about recycling and not spending money if I don’t have to. When I was living in New York I started seeing all these things that people threw out. In New York they just put it on the sidewalk so someone else can take it. You would just be walking and find amazing things that you could paint on.
It has worked very well and I think it looks really nice. It gives live to something that for someone was dead before.
What is your favorite thing that you resurrected or transformed? Is there anything that stands out?
I have painted so many things. I didn’t find it in the street, but I found some bamboo spoons that I really like. So I think I like painting on bamboo—the texture is really cool and the color of the bamboo is really nice.
How did you start developing your characters in 2004?
When you are an illustrator you have to start developing a style because they hire you based on your style, but I do have different styles like you can see in the exhibition.
Like the zodiac collection, I had never drawn animals before. I didn’t quite like the result, but that’s what turned out. I just keep experimenting and seeing what I can do.
How do you deal with and move from art which your unsatisfied? What was your response to the zodiac collection?
I have the ability to move on quickly and to just let go. It didn’t turn out how I wanted “okay, let’s exhibit and see what people think of it”. Some people liked it even though I didn’t; they bought most of the collection.
I just put it out and some people like it and some people don’t. You must find a home for whatever you have.
You mentioned there are moments when you don’t like the end result, but are there moments where you’re uncertain throughout the process but love the results?
Yeah, most of the time. I think I have a problem because I don’t like doing the same things.
Everything I do is just an experiment. When I started trying to sell my art some people told me “you know you should just do this style and stick to it because that’s what people like”, but that doesn’t really make me happy. Sometimes you like red and sometimes you like blue, so why always stick with red just to satisfy people?
Now I don’t care about people that much, unless it’s a commission. Sometimes it’s really hard to do commissions because sometimes you just don’t want to draw, or you just see something that inspires you and you want to draw exactly that.
Are there ever moments during a commission where you feel you’ve discovered a part of you that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered because you were forced to think in another way?
Sometimes, but very few times, like right now I have a commission with zodiac animals. I really didn’t want to do them because I didn’t really like the other ones so I really cracked my head and thought about it and sketched. The [end] result was awesome! I really liked it.
Ultimately the clients have to trust me. I always tell them I have to do my own stuff. I’ve lost clients because they’ve told me to do something else and I’ve refused. I refuse to do something I’m not passionate about.
What do you hope your art communicates? Does it change with each piece of art you complete or is there a general feeling you hope to evoke in people?
I just paint because it makes me feel really good. When I’m angry or sad, I paint and everything just goes away. For me, drawing has been an escape from this kind of weird world; that’s why I draw. That’s the way I communicate. I’m very introverted, so I can make a drawing for you if you want me to say something.
I describe my art as funny and quirky. I just want to make people smile when they see because they make me smile. That’s it . Very simple.
How were you approached for Visual Dialogues?
I’m always willing to participate and give a hand, so Red Room always calls me to see if I’m free to do stuff and I’m always free to do stuff.
Originally, I wasn’t going to take part in Visual Dialogues because I thought I didn’t have something to share. Then Charles wrote me and asked me to participate. He said I’d be perfect for the last one. It’s mutual participation. They call me and I’m eager to just be there and paint.
How do you think the Red Room community has affected your art at all? Has being in the community beyond painting changed anything for you?
Yeah, actually, I had to paint on a big canvas for Artists Break the Mold and Artists Break the Flood.
I’d only painted on small things because they take less time and I’m impatient. I thought final piece on the big canvas was awesome. I really like how my characters looked. Even though I’d done murals, it was different on the canvas.
I think that’s how Red Room has helped. They’ve kind of encouraged me to paint on a big scale. The pieces in Visual Dialouges, the big ones, I wouldn’t have decided to do before because I had never experienced it. I experienced it with Red Room.
[At the Red Room] artists are experiencing mural paintings, big canvas paintings, and other sort of mediums. Red Room is giving them the opportunity to do that which is just pretty cool.
An Apology Letter to My Body
I am sorry
For once hating your small Asian eyes
And your mildly yellow skin color
because everyone around you, was white
I should have been proud of my own heritage
I know that mom taught you beauty
is defined by society
There is a certain way
Of how we, as women, should behave
And to conform is the only way
I am sorry,
that I believed her,
for so many years
I looked at you
And saw nothing but flaws
I am sorry,
that I didn’t know how to nourish you
for starving you on
gave you half an apple a day
I am sorry,
that I put you through
eating disorder for so many years
for feeling guilty to eat
and for being scared not to eat
My mom ate from a plate
that was as small as your palms were
the more she shrank
the prouder she became
so I thought
that’s what a woman should be like
I learned, to see a woman’s
through her eyes
for letting the numbers on the scale
to define your worth
and that I started to lie about your weight
before having your period
I thought a size zero was the only definition
The only way to exist
as a woman
I am sorry,
That I tried to make you look attractive
Before even understanding the reasons why
A short skirt and lip gloss
was the only way to attract boys at age nine
I am Sorry,
That you have been sexualized long before
understanding what being a female really means
You, are a human being
Blood and flesh
You are not born to please
That I compared you
with the models on front page magazines
And blamed you
for not looking like them
You should know
There is not a standard for beauty
You, can just be you
I am sorry,
That I always wanted to change you
didn’t appreciate you
didn’t want to live inside of you
I am sorry, that I unlearned all this too late
that I never thanked you,
for being here for me
all this time
even when I tried to hurt you
You, always took your time
To forgive me
and you never stopped holding me up
You, are my body
Not someone else’s property defined
by the norms of society
you, are my body
You are sacred
You are enough
And from now on
I am going to love you
A note from the poet: I find it very hard to put the story behind the poem into words. But in a way, this is also a letter I wish the teenage me could have grabbed a chance to read, and a letter to all the amazing women out there.
As women, we face the problem of body image all the time. Sexism, the objectification of women’s body and patriarchal norms of society seem to be transparent in our daily life yet sinking deep into our conscious minds.
I wrote the poem simply because I’d like to remind whoever is reading/listening to the poem that it’s okay to be different, awkward or whatever it is that they want to be. Society seems to have a tendency to attach values on all things and all people. I’d just like the ones reading / listening to my poem to know that they are all unique and valuable, no matter what others say.
Vanessa is originally from Chicago, studying Chinese here and tracing her roots, exploring the country her parents speak so highly about. Being in Taiwan has been a bliss. She am grateful for both the eastern and western sides of culture I have in her.
Vanessa has a profound passion for literature and spoken word poetry. It’s a way for her to understand the world and express myself creatively.
And she hope Taiwan continues to bring me more joy and adventures!
A cheeky exploration of our daily interactions through installation and sculpture to illuminate the boundaries we often forget to draw, need to set, and are constantly at odds with. The exhibit hopes to empower viewers to take ownership of their right to filter what enters their lives, and reject what doesn’t sustain them. By doing so, we are better able to create a reality closer to our personal ideals.
| Solo Show |
– Installation – Sculpture – Photography – Collage –
3.20.2016 | 3PM – 7PM |
Tues. Thurs. Sat. Sun | 3PM – 7PM |
@ Red Room
TAF Library 2F No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Road, Taipei
空軍總部 「圖書館」2F 台北市大安區建國南路一段177號
Stage Time and Juice is not exactly an event you can “plan” in the strict sense of the word. There are too many unknowns. One does not know who the audience will be in terms of age group, nor what sort of performers will show up to perform. To coordinate a show that can hold the attention of children who are quite small as well as teenagers is indeed a challenge.
In many cases, things do not go as planned. In fact, we might even say that in most cases, things do not go as planned.
Nicole and I opened the show by returning to our tradition of performing a comic dialogue. We usually try to play with the theme, which this month was about the leap year, but if we can, we also work in an explanation of why the chicken crossed the road. We never get tired of explaining that one. Julian went up next, making a repeat performance of the parody “Dramatic Song.” Vicky, a Stage Time and Wine favorite, popped in by chance, and was coaxed into singing “Blackbird” while playing her guitar.
Musician Ying-Ho then took the stage with a pile of strange implements: seeds, a tin lid, a plastic bag, a paper tube, a pine cone. With these instruments, he created a sound massage for several volunteers. These sounds induced the volunteers to experience extreme sleepiness in a very short while. One volunteer wondered whether his wallet might perhaps have been missing afterward?
During the break, Karen and Patrick of KP Kitchen presented their delicious muffins, brownies, and frosted cakes. Surprisingly, even though they specialize in preparing muffin mixes, neither of them were familiar with The Muffin Man song.
After the break, Jennifer Joy led the kids in a dancing session on the big red carpet. We then did our First Attempt at Staging a Drama during Juice. In honor of the Year of the Monkey, we chose to interpret Esphyr Slobodkina’s classic story “Caps For Sale.” We were lucky to have a surplus of talent this time around: Whitney narrated while Sue played the peddler. The most difficult job of Sue’s was to walk around with 10 caps placed on her head. Monkeys were solicited from the audience. As you can guess, we had no shortage of those!
Whitney then taught the kids some light saber fighting techniques. As often happens, the protegee will end up destroying the master. Her final impalement on the terrazzo floor of the Red Room was regrettable, but inevitable.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
by Carol Yao
This event has been rescheduled. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Spirits of the Night 9 ~ Gong Meditation
Wednesday March 30th 2016.. 7:30PM – 9PM
Your patronage: 300NT
Doors Open 入場: 7:15PM
Performance 表演開始: 7:30 -9:00 PM
The gong is an ancient shamanic instrument of healing, rejuvenation and transformation, containing the sacred seed sound of OM (Aum) that affects the third eye and the pituitary and pineal glands, increasing our intuition, connecting us to divine wisdom and universal love. Physically, the gong takes us to a state of deep relaxation releasing energetic blocks, vibrating the cells, as it balances the glandular and nervous systems, increases prana (vital life force energy) and improves circulation. The gong also works deeply on the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.
Before the gong meditation, you will do some yoga and breathing exercises, it will let you more relax and comfortable for sound healing. Vibrate the cosmos and the cosmos shall clear the path. On a spiritual level, the gong helps us to clear our path of obstacles so that we may live life from our hearts and our truth, and not from fear or our limiting negative beliefs. Final, we will sing two mantras to assists in allowing for a clearer path to hearing our heart’s truth and our intuition.
Note: Please wear or bring warm loose clothing to the session, and prepare a jacket to cover your body.
時間：2016年3月30日(三) 19:30~21:00 (入場: 7:15PM)
地點：Red Room 紅房國際村 (台北市大安區建國南路一段177號-濟南路與建國南路交叉口)
聲波共振 (Acoustic Resonance)
裘莉 (Julie Chiu) (https://www.facebook.com/julie.chiu.33?fref=ts)
接受Don Conreaux國際銅鑼師、喜馬拉雅頌缽音療師等訓練，舉辦2015年銅鑼台灣巡演，全省5場銅鑼浴，1場銅鑼音樂會，推動國內聲波療癒之風潮，自2014年11月建立《聲波共振 Acoustic Resonance》臉書社團，目前已經近1000多位以上會員，經常舉辦各種聲波活動，並介紹國外各種聲波療癒的影片與知識。
陳緯翔 (Wei Shiang Chen) (https://www.facebook.com/Bachitartw)
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!