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.