Dear Red Roomers

By Nicholas Chen

Dear Red Roomers:

I am in year 30 in Taiwan. There are many many evenings that can claim to be memorable over the decades. In Taiwan there are many ..and many are with other RR gatherings….I am sure we each have them

Tonight’s RR100 is a night I will remember for the rest of my days. It was so outstanding. The MAGIC and spirit and family feeling… indescribable.

The poetry, the words, the music, the energy, the power of the dance reminded me of native festivals at Teotihuacan, Simon & Garfinkel in Central Park and other antiwar/peace/social justice gatherings from previous journeys around the sun.

Listening to the soul stirring songs of the aborigines touched down to the cells which have ancestral memories. To me, one of the most wonderful/uplifting surprises was discovering that our Vicky Sun is an amazing singer, guitarist and composer; I was blown away. I apologize for living under a rock and not fully appreciating how amazing you all are. Vicky I am a fan smile!!!!!!

Thanks to each and every one of you. I love you all.

Today, I KNOW that tomorrow the world is a different world; RR has made me see/hear and feel again.

What an amazing magical Red Room

Nicholas V. Chen – 陳文俊

Happy Anniversary

by Ayesha Mehta

Dear Red Room, Happy Anniversary!

I never assumed that a scattered thought, left carelessly, could be so nourished. Maybe it’s a reflection too, this ability to let something go, or leave it in the soil beside the park bench.

And this thought grew and went to flower and dropped seeds, and these seeds grew and flowered and so I came looking for the bench and found a forest. Dense and lush and full of mysteries, and surprises, and stories, and dangers.

We are like that. Full of stories, dangers and surprises.

But nothing grows alone. I may not have been there, but the sun was there… The rains came and went, rinsing the air, leaving behind that damp cool smell, wetting the wood and inspiring the sprout. The wind was there, sculpting, dancing, playing, beating… Doing all the heavy lifting.

What an extraordinary thing you have made. What an extraordinary, powerful, loving space you continue to attend to, create, nourish.

I was sitting through this concert with Ping over 8yrs ago, and though I can’t remember what it was called, it was a 3 hour classical Chinese drama performance and I could not understand a single thing.

Except for the movement, and the sounds. And so I listened, with my body and my skin, and learned so much I can’t name. The length of sound.

I learned this again recently at a concert of 16 Kotos and a butoh dancer. I learned it when I was 17 yrs old, at a French dance performance of Chopin’s 24 preludes.

Listening is muscular. Listening is the rolling of joints, the smoke of breath through a body, singing out a mouth. Listening is the bearing of blood, and the seeing of feeling.

Listening is the same as touch. It can make love, be live, centre and land a soul. Listening is transport, reminds you space and time are malleable, multi dimensional, formless, dancing.

Thank you sun, wind, rain and soil. Thank you for reminding me to never be so careless, and to have faith. Thank you for listening. Congratulations on being here, for the love you have made.

Love to you, red room.
Ayesha Mehta, Co-founder Red Room

What more is there to say about Stage Time?

What more is there to say about Stage Time? It’s exciting, it’s heartwarming, it’s relaxing, it’s cringeworthy, it’s inspiring. It’s the new mixed with the old, the fresh mixed with the tired. It’s everything that comes with the territory of encouragement and self-actualization, hoisted up with a good dose of showmanship and stage fright. It sure is great though, isn’t it? After all, if dried scallops can go with hummus, anything can go with art.

Vicky Sun, Musician, Logistician at Red Room

Dear Gabby

Dear Gabby,

You asked me about home.

Do you remember when we met?
Both of us had braces, budding breasts, and a deep, abiding fear of not belonging.
We were never good at simple answers.
We didn’t speak our own people’s languages,
and when we did it was in quiet voices,
like we were afraid somebody would point at us and yell
As if this not belonging was as visible as the colour of our skins.
Sometimes I still feel that way,
at dinner parties with people who have all their answers,
that feeling of wanting to run –
not running away from, or running to something –
just to run and to never stop running.

You and I met through friends.
Just acquaintances at first,
but we became close slowly,
the way tectonic plates merge to make mountains.
We witnessed each other’s formation.
I watched your love of beauty,
of music and film and art,
and of the stars,
grow out of you,
the trunk of your body rooted only in radiant love.
You, and a few others, became the landmarks I followed –
a route I could follow anywhere.

I don’t know how much you know,
over the years,
the extent to which I lost my sense of direction,
lost my confidence the way a dog loses her tail.
How much I drank to forget,
drank to remember how to forget,
drank myself into bars and clubs,
into rivers,
poured myself into rocking sleep.
I hoped that somebody
would fill me up enough that this empty parking lot of my heart
wouldn’t feel so fucking melancholy.

I buttoned up my chest like a long brown trench coat,
sweat my secrets under the Singapore sun,
called my first love fleeting,
and the second I called home.
For a while, it was true.
She would smile at me,
and I undid my coat,
flashing my insides like it didn’t hurt.
She would point to her breastbone,
say you live right here.
I pictured myself in her ribcage,
falling asleep to the thud-thudding of her red heart.
I broke both of our hearts when I left,
but I haven’t been trying to button myself back up,
and my organs litter the streets of Boston.

You asked me about home.

I am starting to arrange my bones like a frame,
the skeleton of a house I am still learning how to live in.
You and I never did simple answers very well,
but I am beginning to leave the “hometown” section blank with possibility,
letting this unicycle heart of mine dream of tandem bikes.

If you ask me where I’m from,
I will point to my mother, to myself, to you,
to these feet which will lead me to safety.
I am starting to find home only in radiant love.

I miss you. Write me back when you can.

Sending you all my love,
Your old friend.

Ashmita Malkani
Read at Stage Time & Wine 100

Vanessa Wang

It’s funny how universe works. I was uploading some of my poems to youtube, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never quite had the courage to do so. While I was doing that, I received an invitation from Manav, to Red Room’s 100th Stage Time And Wine.

7/18.2015, that was the day I first read my poem in public, and exactly at Stage Time And Wine. I have never stopped reading my poems since, in different places, to different people, for different occasions. The point is, I never stopped expressing myself through poetry, and it all originated back to that first time at Stage Time And Wine three years ago. And the hug Julia gave me after my poem about depression, also the first time “coming out” as majorly depressed.

I have been writing poetry for 4 years, performing spoken word poetry for 3 years, and it all started with Red Room 紅坊國際村. What can I say, in some ways, Red Room saved me, just like my poetry.

EVERY ONE, if you can make it, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE mark down 6/16 (Saturday) on your calendar. Stage Time And Wine, where true magic happens.

also, if you have time, here are just a few of my poems from the past 4 years, I’ll keep uploading and keep writing.…