Kickstart Your Eco Life In Taiwan – Filmmakers

To celebrate Earth Day, Red Room hosted a gathering at the Red Room Rendezvous on April 24th. Filmmakers Tim Gorski, Lin You-xue, Nick Vaky and Francesca Chang presented their films and projects while answering questions and discussing ideas from the audience.

Do you love elephants? Who doesn’t! Animal-rights activist Tim Gorski presented an adventure-filled and emotionally-touching behind-the-scenes of his project “Bonding With Giants”. He and four Chinese students embarked on a journey to Kenya to come face-to-face with majestic elephants and the people that protect them. He and his team infiltrated the violent and dangerous world of poaching to spread the awareness of the horrific impact the ivory trade was having on elephants. It was heart-wrenching to see the team challenged with having to capture intense and shocking moments where elephants were brutally murdered. “Behind-the-scenes” captures the deeply emotional and vulnerable moments the cast experienced, connecting the audience with the endangered elephants. Gorski also presented his project on captive elephants in Thailand, which brought the audience to tears. I imagined my classmates watching this film, and gasping at treatment of these intelligent, emotional and sensitive animals. Gorski’s films reach young people on a deep and emotional level, causing them to contemplate their actions, whether it’s riding elephants or eating meat, or motivating them to take actions to eliminate the ivory trade and circus industries.

Have you ever been astounded by the number of discarded cigarette buds on the ground? Nick Vacky, a writer, director, and editor was, and decided to do something about it. He made an engaging film capturing the ways these cigarette buds live with us. He traveled to many different countries, documenting the unpleasant and everlasting buds he encountered almost everywhere he went; no matter if it was the ocean-facing cliffs, famous tourist destinations or secluded alleyways in Europe… The film stimulated debate and discussion of biodegrable cigarette buds, and the cigarette industry generally, and its harmful impact on health and the environment. Another reason to refrain from taking up smoking!

Do you know how hard it is to get a beach photo, without rubbish? Lin You-xue’s film, “Landscape of Rubbish”, tells the story of how trash would always appear in his scenic photos even though he tried his best to avoid them. Lin began as a photographer with the desire of capturing the beauty of Taiwan’s coasts. But eventually, he realized that trash was an unavoidable reality and started to incorporate it into his art, to show the impact our trash was having on the coastal environment. “Landscape of Rubbish” also features Liina Klauss, a German artist who reimagines beautiful artworks from beach rubbish. You-xue’s film takes the audience through a journey of appreciation for the objects we would consider “disgusting” or “gross” and allows us to find a new appreciation for them. Watching this film through a teenager’s lens, I immediately thought of Instagram. The bright colors, eye-catching and mesmerizing arrangement of the trash are all the perfect ingredients for an “aesthetic instagram” recipe: teens showing the world they are conscious of littering or climate change while still making their feed picture-perfect and “aesthetic”. This could trend!

Do you wonder what happens to discarded food waste? Francesca Chang, a retired lawyer, introduced an alternative way of decomposing organic waste like leftover food. She presented a detailed article and vlog-style video of an ecological farm in Chiayi that raises black soldier flies on organic waste. She brought us a close look at the hydroponics and aquaponics, while telling the story of how a Taiwanese farmer discovered the fly. The audience was intrigued by this local story, and we discussed composting and potential invasiveness of this fly species. When I attended a Taiwanese high school, lunch leftovers were dumped into a bucket. We all presumed “it’s for the pigs”. But Chang’s presentation provided a more complex story: even though diverting food waste to pig feed may seem efficient, it can also harm the pigs. The soldier fly seems like a good alternative, and I was glad to see Chang spreading awareness.

I hope to see more young people at the next Earth Day Event at the Red Room. I come from a generation of social media addicts, where “performative activism” too often substitutes for the real thing. Too many aspiring influencers post something related to climate change or animal conservation because it looks pretty or demonstrates how much they “care: It is good to see films and debates with the directors that offer a real impact, and incentivize young people to find genuine ways to create a better planet and society.

Kate Osman

Formosa Tales 寶島話匣子 at the Cloud Forest

Formosa Tales 寶島話匣子 at the Cloud Forest

Yes. It was as dreamy as it sounds.

It was cloudy, it was verdant, there were many women (and men!), and artists, amazing food, environmentally-conscious people & practices, and some snazzy latin music.

Let it be known that Red Room knows how to put on a fantastic cultural event.

Nestled in the hills under Yangmingshan, the Cloud Forest Collective has set up a shared art space/gallery next to their pottery studio. It’s a beautiful location, far away from the smelly scooters and honking Hondas.

It’s a space to find peace among artsy individuals and mindful friends. And perhaps make a bowl or two, if it suits you.

The event that took place on March 7th was the opening exhibition of Women Beyond Borders (WBB) Taiwan Chapter, titled Formosa Tales 寶島話匣子. Red Room collaborated with WBB to feature the personal stories of women from a variety of cultural backgrounds, though the physical medium of a box.

WBB is a non-profit, cross-cultural exhibition of women connecting women from all walks of life within and beyond their communities across the globe via a small, wooden box. Women from internationally known artists to women with no prior artistic experience, everywhere from Argentina to Zambia, have transformed these wooden boxes into a repository that contains a story from the artist.

Lorraine Serena is the brains behind WBB, holding the belief that,

“In light of the world situation, we move forward with even greater conviction that women’s voices and visions are a healing force in the world. The arts are a universal and essential language allowing us to look beyond ourselves in order to create a new model of relatedness.”

The women who participated could really do whatever they liked with the box…

… Changing its shape, orientation, color, or texture just to start. What emerged from the boxes were incredible stories of growth, change, heartbreak, tragedy, evolution, power, and more. It was amazing to see how the boundaries of a box could be pushed and stretched.

This is La Benida Hui’s box, broken into balance pieces to create “Her Story, Her Life and Her Lesson”

La Benida Hui

As with all the Red Room events, I have some sense of “coming home”. Growing up in a hippie household in Vancouver primed me for the things that maybe some others would find surprising about this community in Taiwan.

The sharing circles, jam sessions, and long hugs are indicative of the open-heartedness that is fostered between each person. It’s welcoming to people of any shape, size, color, identity, or other definer us humans can come up with. It’s a community that has grown around the arts.

When I walked into the courtyard entryway of Cloud Forest my ears were greeted by the hand pan and laughter echoing through the open gallery space. I was immediately in love with the set up.

The gallery is set in an old heritage building with a bright, open layout with boxes dotting all the surfaces.

A low-lying stone building to the right was where we found the live music, by the band Ambiente Latino, and an AMAZING spread of vegetarian food, drinks, and dessert. I’ve never been so impressed by the catering at a free event. The food was served on Rose’s plant-based plates and bowls (check out her brand Conscious Good Eats on Facebook).

At the beginning there was a brief talk about the project and some reflections on the planning and execution of such an event. It ain’t easy to pull off this level of awesome.

The women behind the project were Christine Wu, Rose Huang, La Benida Hui, and Roma Mehta, who spent months planning the opening and collecting art projects, setting up and organizing every last detail. And it doesn’t end there.

Formosa Tales 寶島話匣子 is a traveling exhibition that will be moving around the island and showcasing the boxes and stories. Taipei was the first stop on its tour. If you’re interested, keep an eye on Red Room’s page to find out when/where the next exhibition will pop up.

People milled about chatting, laughing and enjoying the space. It was a chill and easy-going atmosphere, which is standard for a Red Room event. My friend Christiaan and I were admiring all the interesting people that passed through, with their feathers and frills and colorful braids.

One thing I love about trying new things is discovering all the different kinds of people that exist outside of your bubble.

Often it feels as though we live inside an echo chamber – hanging out with people who dress like us, think similar things, and hold relatively similar opinions. It’s rare that we go outside and talk to someone who is completely different from ourselves.

I want to make this point because it comes up around the topic of gender and other sensitivities, like race, class, sexual orientation, and so on.

Around the time of women’s day, I attended a few other events and the discussion around gender seemed very “othering”. And by that I mean men were often alienated from the conversation or alternative ideas were shut down.

I think there’s a lack of skill in our society when it comes to having conversations with people you disagree with. It’s incredibly difficult not to get emotions tangled into the narrative, which usually ends up with someone feeling hurt or maybe even an argument.

WBB at Cloud Forest was by far the most relaxing women’s day event I attended this year.

… And maybe we can chalk it up to the lack of a contentious topic being debated. Or maybe there wasn’t any trigger for it.

Or maybe it’s something else. The medium of art and self expression didn’t overtly start pointing any fingers at anyone about this topic. Rather it was an opportunity for everyone to read and understand some personal struggles or stories.

The boxes didn’t confront anyone with statistics or blame or “call for reform now”. They just sat there wide open for anyone to take a look and take in what they said.

It was an invitation to empathize and relate.

Maybe an invitation is what is needed to initiate change. An invitation to listen. To comfort. To stand in someone else’s shoes for a moment.

There are many people out here pushing the borders towards uncharted territory, and they’re doing it without creating more hurt, harm, or suffering in the world. We sure as heck don’t need any more of that.

It’s always a good time to take a moment to pause, reflect, and share with others. See how you can support the peaceful revolution here.

Kaya Lemaire

Stage time and wine at the Red Room Rendezvous

When stepping into the warm, inviting street-level bar at the new Red Room Rendezvous I found myself wondering what would be in store for the evening. My expectations only reached so far as some entertainment, and a delicious cup of soup to go with it.

Leading your life expecting something to happen, blow you away, surprise, shock, or enamor you, always leads to some moments of feeling let down. So when you encounter a beautiful moment, that pulls on your heart and breaks it open, well, that’s something to cherish.

Stage Time and Wine has the feeling of an unexpectedly sweet surprise in an unassuming gift box. Open mics have been done time and time again, but not like this. As we all know, living in the digital age has its perks, but when is the last time you sat down in a room full of regular people and just listened to one. With all of your attention.

If you’re like the average Joe these days, it’s probably been a minute since you stared into someone’s soul as they bared it in front of 50 strangers in the form of a poem, song, story, or joke. When’s the last time you bared your soul? Have you ever?

For me it’s been few and far between occasions that I’ve spoken in front of a group. So I was caught like a deer in headlights when Jimbo (the host) looked around the room, locked eyes with me, and said: Whoever hasn’t gone up yet, now is your chance. Being a little Bambi that evening, I didn’t work up the courage to volunteer my soul for the stage and the onlookers. But many brave people did – including my mum!

We heard an eclectic mix of self-expressions, ranging from cover songs, originals, poetry, lots of comedy, stories, rap and beat-boxing. All of it was unique and imbued with the essence of the person putting themselves out there.

At Red Room they don’t ask for a goat sacrifice, or your “best” material, or anything really. Heck if you wanna just stand at the front and scream into the mic, there’s no judgment. All that’s required is 100% of your attention. Your ears and eyes, for once, unoccupied by the screen. We’re here to break the 4th wall.

The Culture of Listening and Stone Soup are the foundational elements of Stage Time and Wine at the Red Room. This culture of listening I’ve already mentioned, so let’s dive into the soup.
The Stone Soup is an old European folk tale. When a villager was trying to make soup, he only had a stone. His neighbors asked what he was doing, and when he explained, they showed up with a little food to add to his soup. When the whole village had contributed their bits and pieces to the pot, they made a delicious soup that fed everyone in the village.

The concept of sharing to create something fulfilling for all is the essence of Stage Time and Wine. Each person brings a little bit of themselves to the space and contributes what they can. The result is a tasty mix of different views, expressions, and emotions, that feeds the souls of everyone who comes.
This is only made possible with the mutual understanding of 100% attention and listening without judgment in place. Standing in front of a group of strangers and baring your soul is terrifying. No matter how many times you’ve spoken to the public, or cracked a joke with new friends, being vulnerable is hard. And that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Everyone wants to be loved, accepted, and feel accomplished; we all share similar fears and emotions, especially when we show our authentic selves.
Being able to push ourselves and take that little step over the edge of safety, into the depths of our self and others, might be exactly what we need in this day n’ age. Too often we hide behind the screen. Too often we hide behind fear.

And hide behind fear I did.

I didn’t prepare anything, I thought, I don’t have anything “good” to show them. The idea that expression has to be “the best” version before showing others is so deeply ingrained in my world view. We are constantly bombarded with refined, perfect versions of things, never allowing for mistakes.
In reality, humans are awkward, bumbling around, often without a clear idea of what we’re actually doing. But how often do you see that in media?

I’m tired of refining myself for others, and then judging myself after for not being perfect in everything. It’s exhausting living with the judgment in our own minds! So what if you just turned it off for an evening.

What if you just let things be exactly as they are, and tell it to the world. Inject some authenticity into your life. Take a chance. Express yourself with reckless abandon.
There’s time yet for me to bare my soul. And for you to bare yours, however you like.
See you on the third Saturday of every month, where we’ll be sharing soup, made with raw authenticity, a dash of courage, and slurped down without judgment.

Kaya Lemaire

Taipei Shorts 2020

Taipei Shorts 2020

9/11(Fri. 五)8pm ~10pm
9/12(Sat. 六)7pm ~ 9pm
9/13(Sun. 日)2pm~4pm / 7pm~9pm

Download the full pdf program here

Read online

Tickets available now!
For tickets / 購買票請到

We invite you to TAIPEI SHORTS at the CFL Theatre, Xinzhuang. We have five original short plays written and performed by expats and Taiwanese. There are live surtitles in English or Mandarin, so you won’t miss a second of the action. We hope to see you there supporting English theatre in Taiwan.
TAIPEI SHORTS is a collaboration of local talent with the purpose of keeping English theatre alive in Taiwan.
TAIPEI SHORTS aims to create a platform for both new and experienced artists to showcase their work, skills, and abilities. We welcome expats and Taiwanese to get involved with directing, writing, composing, lighting, and/or performing. As a grassroots theatre, we strive to give opportunities to others and enrich the ever growing English theatre community in Taiwan.

我們邀請您到新莊理圖劇場觀賞這一次的「台北短劇 TAIPEI SHORTS」。當天將會與大家分享五齣原創劇,由外籍人士與台灣人合作撰寫與演出。現場皆有中英雙語逐字幕,讓您不錯過任何片刻。誠摯歡迎您來現場支持台灣的英文戲劇表演文化。

「台北短劇 TAIPEI SHORTS」是由當地的優秀演員組成,期冀能發揚台灣英語戲劇表演文化。

「台北短劇 TAIPEI SHORTS」希望能提供新朋友和老屁股一個能夠演出、展現他們作品與才能的平台。我們歡迎外籍人士跟台灣人都能一同加入,所觸及領域有包括執導、創作、作曲、燈光或演出。作為一個草根戲劇團體,我們致力提供機會給其他能夠一起豐富這個社群的人,並將英語戲劇在台灣代代傳承下去。

Living in the Tube II
Written and Directed by William Chen

The story continues from Living in the Tube. Jane, a live streaming host, was exposed for having a relationship despite her single online status. She invites her sister Mia to move in to share the rent and household bills. Mia, who is a gamer and live streams her sessions, is interested in joining Jane’s streaming platform to make more money. Signing a contract, Mia soon realises that she is having to promote political agendas that she doesn’t agree with. With an upcoming election Mia has to make a decision, take the money or be true to herself.

Nuclear Family
Written and Directed by Barry Hall

George and Martha were once married—but since their divorce, their lives have taken very different courses. George is well-off, comfortable and happy with his beautiful new wife. Martha has had to cope with years of failure and joblessness, and even questions her own sanity. At the center of their divergent fortunes is their now-adult son—whose rise to fame and power leads to George and Martha being forced to confront long-buried memories and fears.

Written and Directed by Joshua Wallace

Jessica and Jerry appear to be the most perfect, loving couple. But is this seemingly blissful marriage real? Truthfully, both husband and wife have been hiding their own secret from each other for quite some time. And, on this day, circumstances have forced them into a dual dilemma where they both must continually struggle between hiding their secret or being pushed to finally confess. What will be the consequences of their deception? And who is that guy in the closet? And what’s with the bear?
形勢使他們陷入雙重困境,苦苦掙扎中的他們,只有兩種選擇,是要選擇繼續隱藏真相呢? 又或是 將一切的秘密公諸於世?。
他們欺騙的下場又會是什麼呢? 衣櫃裡的那個男人是誰? 那隻熊怎麼了?

Coffee for Muriel
Written by Stephen Douglas Wright
Directed by John Brownlie

Muriel comes home drunk and loud, while her sister applies for jobs, and their mother is dying in the next room.

Return of the Hero
Written and Directed by Shashwati Talukdar

Boze, a venerated figure from Indian history is on a plane to New Delhi. He (played by actor Sarah Brooks) is at the impossible age of 123. He is accompanied by The Monk who is possibly his jailor, or his caretaker, depending on your point of view. The play follows their journey as they discover new truths in an airplane cabin and the airport. ‘Return of the Hero’ is the third in a series of plays about Boze and The Monk.
博茲 (Boze),是印度歷史上受人尊敬的人物。 他正在乘飛機去新德里,他是123歲。 一個和尚和他同行,這個和尚可能是獄卒或是個朋友,目前尚不清楚。 無論如何,這將是一趟多事的旅程。“英雄歸來”是台北短褲在Boze系列中的第三部戲。

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Taipei Shorts 2020 台北短劇
9/11(Fri.)8pm ~10pm
9/12(Sat.)7pm ~ 9pm
9/13(Sun.)2pm~4pm / 7pm~9pm
Location: CFL Theatre
Tickets: Standard NT$400 / Student NT$300
*60 online tickets available per show (30 Standard / 30 Student) to ensure quality.

Taipei Shorts 2020 台北短劇
9/11(五)8pm ~10pm
9/12(六)7pm ~ 9pm
9/13(日)2pm~4pm / 7pm~9pm
票價:普通票 NT$400 / 學生票 NT$300
*每個場次限量60張票(30張基本票 / 30張學生票)座位有限以保品質。
地點:輔仁大學理圖劇場 (新北市新莊區中正路510號 舒德樓裡圖劇場)

Reserve tickets here:

輔仁大學理圖劇場 地址:新北市新莊區中正路510號 舒德樓理圖劇場 CFL Theater 242, New Taipei City, Xinzhuang District, Zhongzheng Road, 510號, 舒德樓1樓

R.A.R.E. Coral Garden Day Trip

R.A.R.E. Coral Garden Day Trip

Monday we got up at 5:30am, looked out the window, and sighed with relief. The sky looked clear and it seemed like a perfect day for snorkeling at the coral garden.

We arrived at the dive shop by Long Dong five minutes past 10am. The other carpool party already had their swim gear on, we quickly suited up and followed our instructor for a short snorkeling 101 class. We arrived at the retired outdoor abalone pools (successfully farmed 20 years ago until a virus killed them off) with excitement. It is structured like a big swimming pool divided into four cross sections and connected to the ocean through underwater openings. We took a couple of group shots admiring the ocean view against the backdrop of lush green mountains. A few of us nervously stepped down the ladder into the water, a yelp of “It’s cold” filled the comfortable sea air followed by giggles.


Elaine the founder of the coral garden under the name of Taiwan Mountain Ocean Angel Environmental Protection Association (山海天使環境保育協會) has been building her coral dream garden since 2014 as the recipient of an “I have a dream” grant. Six years later the coral she has grown has blossomed into a beautiful garden. This year the coral suffers from high ocean temperatures; and a tent like covering is stretched across the pools to provide some shade. From above we could see the stark white of bleaching coral glistening between the aquamarine blues of the water.

We all took a break and stepped out of the pool to listen and see a demonstration of how the coral was grown. An orange tray with different sized coral pieces were laid out, a 2.5cm thick roll of white nylon string stood at the side. The species of coral Elaine mainly grows is stag horn and stony coral, both branching shaped corals; they are considered fast growing coral that is easiest to “farm” or “plant”. The overall purpose of the program was to restore the neighboring coral reefs in the vicinity. Some scientists liken coral reefs to, “underwater rain forests” that supports over 25% of marine life. They cover less than 1 percent of the oceans, dying at great rates with already half lost in the past few decades. A color coded color card is used to detect the health of the coral. A few in the tray were not so healthy and green algae had already started to take over their faded color.

A traditional method of stringing coral is used here; the nylon cord is “untwisted”, opened up, and the selected coral is inserted in such a way that it securely hangs in place; within six months the corals show sign of growth ready to be planted after a year and a half or two. This year 2020 is the first year over 30 pieces have been planted in selected neighboring areas.

After the educational section of our visit was over we were led back into the water to tour all three sections of the coral garden. The sections were broken up into three stages of growth. The underwater view was breathtaking to see, with many hidden marine creature using the coral garden as their home nursery. From 2cm clown fishes to crabs and sea slugs it was magical.

Our stomachs signaled lunch time. We took a last look at the pool watching the waves crash into the wall sensing a change of weather. I was glad we skipped the open water portion of our visit. We took a few more pictures thanking Elaine and her team for our morning exploration. We hit the showers quickly and moved ourselves to Fulong where we parked ourselves at the Scubar for the afternoon.

During our wait we set up a table outside and tried our hand at coral fabric rubbings with acrylic. We shared how coral is used in science and medicine, how corals are generally identified and where they are located in the world. Just to wrap up the educational portion of the day, we framed our pieces and wrote ocean commitments on the back. We hungrily ate our delicious veggie burger with satisfied smiles and could not resist their homemade ice cream selection which was the cherry topping to our day.

As we headed home on the freeway, the trickle of rain started. By evening it became a downpour, I texted a Thank you message to Elaine who responded, “Glad that everyone enjoyed themselves, amazing timing today, we received a warning late afternoon that there was a big typhoon on the coast, good thing we did not go out of the pool today.”

La Benida Hui

R.A.R.E. merges art, education, and science to convey a message of environmental awareness through a variety of programs and mediums. With our unique team we hope to inspire, create, and encourage youths (and older) to participate and recognize that their individual choices have an impact on this planet, the home we all share.

Whats happening at Red Room April 2020

IMMUNITY BOOST: We have been making this common herbal tea daily, it is super easy to make and it’s a great immunity boost. Ingredients: Garlic with skin 300g, Ginger 300g, Licorice Root 30g. Clean all, slice the ginger, chop the garlic. Boil 5000g of water, add all the ingredients in, simmer for 35 minutes over […]

10 Years of Red Room 紅坊的十年