Red Room Reflections, March 2018

Celebrating Women's Day 2018

A few words from the Editor –

Dear Readers,

This month we welcome three first-time contributors to our Red Room enewsletter: Anjoli Guha, Jing and Lizzie King.

Jing is on our team of valued interns and has written about our monthly social music event: Kind of Red. Her contribution can be found below.
Anjoli also wrote about Kind of Red, including reflections on Red Room in general. She sang with the band, that night and talks about it here.

Kind of Red 紅酒爵士夜 The last Friday of each month, Red Room welcomes you to engage in pairing wines, finger foods & social music.

Lizzie King sent in her impressions of the latest Stage Time & Wine, which, in March, is transformed into Stage Time and Whisky for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Read her contribution below.

STAGE TIME & WINE (STW) is a monthly event hosted by the Red Room on the third Saturday of each month. We gather to share anything we feel the need to: words of our own, the words of others, a sound, a song, a style, an experience, a gesture, a dance, silence. We meet to respectfully listen deeply to one another. We also meet to be heard.

We offer you three entries on Stage Time and Juice this month, which was also a St. Patrick’s Day affair. (without the whisky)
One of the young participants took the challenge to write about his experience. His name is Nicholas Nevitski (age 10) and you can read his reflections below.
A second contribution focused on the Kids Read Aloud portion of the afternoon. You can read about that below.
The third entry came from the Coordinator of STJ, Carol Yao. I think she has a lot of fun dreaming up these events. Read her St. Patrick’s Day limerick below.

A little bit about “Juice

An adapted version of Stage Time and Wine, STJ is an exciting event collaborating with Taipei City Playgroup focused on encouraging children of all ages to discover and express themselves creatively in a performance/audience venue.
家庭聆聽分享會是類似於紅緣寄詩酒的活動,我們與Taipei City Playgroup合作,主要注重、鼓勵各年齡的小朋友們在作為表演者/欣賞者時,能用創意的方式發現和表達自己。

And last, but far from least, you can read Jessie King’s article and captioned pictures of International Women’s Day. Enjoy her reflections here. Jessie is also a new intern, working hard to keep Red Room really real.

…scroll down!

by Ruth Giordano, Editor

The Wonders of Women

by Jessie

CWT 0318 S27

International Women’s Day is the day women’s voices resonate across the planet. When we think of Women’s Day the first images that come to mind are often women marching and holding banners with powerful slogans or influential feminist figures delivering speeches. We equate Women’s Day to the ongoing fight for gender equality, equal pay, and combating sexual discrimination and harassment. These current issues are affecting women across the globe. Until we have shattered stereotypes and obtained equal rights for each and every sex, shouldn’t we be shouting about these issues from the roof-tops every day? Shouldn’t every day be chance to make our voices flood society like a tsunami?
If we challenge discrimination and fight for equality each day, then what is the significance of International Women’s Day? Like any festival it is, of course, a celebration. A day to celebrate what we have achieved and what we can create. A day for women to explore themselves, their minds, and their bodies. Explore what is means to be female.

On 11th March we gathered in Red Room to celebrate the wonders of women. We explored our bodies and minds through artwork, yoga, meditation, music and dance. We fed our bodies with culinary delights (and a cocktail or two).

The workshops and interactions that took place in Red Room on that Sunday gave me a chance to dig a little deeper into what makes us female. Here is just a small selection of my observations:

Women are creators

To state the obvious and the most fundamental, women create life. However, women’s creative abilities stretch far beyond this. The artworks exhibited in Red Room, many of which were produced by female artists, attest to our originality, creativity, and fearlessness to experiment and convey a strong message. For example, Selina’s piece ‘Emergency’ uses the image of a nipple to scream out about the discrimination lurking in our society, not just men discriminating against women but also woman to woman discrimination.

Elsewhere in Red Room female vendors and entrepreneurs exhibited their own artistic creations from hand-made jewellery, vegan-skincare products and clothes, to spice-mixes, tortillas and delectable baked goods.

Women emanate positive energy

One of the most hilarious moments of the day was the Laughter Yoga Workshop with Lydia Chang. As Lydia explained to us, laughing triggers a rush of feel-good endorphins into the body. From practicing Laughter Yoga, we can release endorphins, reduce stress hormones and nurture an overall sense of well-being. Best of all, our body does not recognise the difference between fake laughter and real laughter; we get the same feel-good effect. To get our hit of endorphins we practiced various laughter exercises and ‘faked it until we made it’. We laughed when we introduced ourselves, we ran around laughing madly, we high-fived each other and laughed until our tummy muscles ached. For the final exercise we sat cross-legged and laughed continuously for five minutes. Everyone gave 100% positive energy, laughing so hard we were dizzy with endorphins.

Women are meditative

Possibly the most mystic activity of the day was the Singing Bowl Meditation Workshop run by Anne and Kevin. Anne uses her ‘singing bowls to create sounds which invoke deep relaxation and stimulate the senses. We lay on our backs with our eyes closed and let the vibrations overwhelm us. It is very difficult to put this ethereal experience in words; I lost all perception of time and have almost no recollection of where my mind wandered during the meditation. My only vague memory is the sensation of being naked on a mountain (although I was wearing clothes, I promise!) and a light, floating feeling.

Women are explorers

The ancient Greeks explored the human body through sculpture and painting, creating divine angel-like beings. Artist Suzie Chen, however, takes a more realistic approach towards exploring the female body in her painting ‘I’. Suzie portrays her body how she sees it through her own eyes. From a distance, what appears to be a painting of two mountains and a valley with a tree becomes the female body. This version of the female body is not from a male gaze or the gaze of anybody else, but from our own perspective when we observe ourselves.

Photo credit Suzie Chen

Another Women’s Day special exhibit was Delphine Mae’s video installation, which explores the depths of identity and self. Naked male and female bodies covered head to toe in calligraphy represent the internal conflict of Yin and Yang- the male and female persona- within every one of us.

Women are on fire

The evening wrapped up with reggae and Latin tunes. Reggae Heights lifted the mood to a whole new level and brought the audience to their feet. Then, the fiery trio from Last Minute Latin Band set the Red Room alight with Latin spice.

Reggae Heights’ Rolhensha Henry positively oozed power and passion with her stunning voice.

Vicky Sun and her guitar brought this evening of celebrating the wonders of women to a close. Her smoky vocals entranced the audience; we shared a moment to reflect on some final thoughts, a moment to empower.

Stage Time & Whisky

By Lizzy King

Stage Time & Whisky 97

Indeed it was St Paddy’s day,
done in the unique Red Room way.

Patrons gathered from different places,
but upon gaining entry, all had green powdered faces.

Some seasoned Red Room guests, first time for a few;
several poetic veterans, a novice or two.

We savoured green veggie soup,
potato pancakes, and limericks to boot.

Stories of loss, of love and of laughter;
musical performances to come soon after.

To close off the night in the true Irish way,
we sang classic folk songs, and danced it away.

March Stage Time & Juice

The March Stage Time & Juice was a lot of fun! I like it because the Irish Step Dancing was cool and I got to try it. The song with letters from Ireland were a bit sad, but interesting because we learned about the potato famine and how hard it was for the people to survive. This was not like any Stage and Juice I went to before. The green lemonade was very tasty too! I hope they make it again and I hope we have a St. Patrick’s Day celebration again. Thank you!

From Nikolas Levitski, Age 10

At the March Stage Time & Juice, The Kids ReadAloud shared stories about little green friends: Frog and Toad.
In 1970, author Arthur Lobel struck upon a formula for success: Frog + Toad = friends. Lobel published many very short stories of their adventures and misadventures. Each story ended with a reminder that the two of them were loyal friends.
These books are relatively easy readers – only a few words that an early reader might need a little help with. Add that to the fact that most of the stories are formatted to be in dialogue and there’s a match for our Kids Read Aloud at Stage Time & Juice.
For the March Juice,
I had chosen three stories about Spring. The stories each had three characters: Frog, Toad and the Narrator. I was hoping for six kids so that we could have two groups.
Five kids signed up…um…five goes into three…um…Make APPLESAUCE!?!
No. I found two more stories, added sound effects for two and set up a rotation. Each child took turn reading Frog, Toad, the Narrator, make sound effects and help with the sound. The SFX Helper also introduced each story.
I’ve loved Frog and Toad since I read Lobel to my kids when they were 4 and 7. Now I’ve had them read to me, I love them even more!

by Ruth Giordano

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we gave a prize of a treat to anyone who took the mic to share a limerick with the audience.
Mom Carol, and her daughter, Nicole, rattled off a few to warm up the crowd, including this original composition:

There once was a man from Taipei
Who thought he was really okay
But he came to Red Room
And he sang us a tune
And now he’s a star in L.A.!

by Carol Yao

Reflection – Kind of Red

By Jing & Anjoli Guha


By Jing

When you enter the Red Room what strikes you first is the space. Even empty, it emanates a palpable openness and warmth. The room feels separate from the rest of the fast-paced hustle and bustle of Taipei, as if stepping over the threshold puts the clocks on hold until you again exit.

The 16th Kind of Red began as the sun set. People started to trickle in. Guests hugged friends and shook hands with soon-to-be friends, everyone welcoming one another. The room quickly filled with a steady hum of chatter and scattered laughter. At the Red Room there is never any problem finding someone with whom to strike up a conversation – there seems to be an understanding that anyone is a friend.

After everyone had a glass of sangria (or two) and nibbled on some crudités, we gathered round to listen to the band. Vicky Sun’s voice paired with the Kind of Red band beautifully, evoking the smoky atmosphere of a speakeasy. The band’s set spanned genres and decades while the continually growing audience grooved along in their seats. I also had the pleasure of performing a song with the band and I chose to sing Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Normally, I’d have been anxious standing in front of an audience of forty or so, but I knew that the Red Room was a comfortable and non-judgemental space. Although we’d only had the chance for one hasty run-through of the song, the consummate professionals in the Kind of Red band had no trouble giving a smooth performance.

The night wound to a quiet end and we slowly dispersed until the next event brings us together again. Whether you come back for the music, the wine, the atmosphere, or the best hummus in town (thanks mum), there is something for everyone at the Red Room.

By Anjoli Guha

Reflection – Visual Dialogues

By Jing

Visual Dialogues XXV