“How blue is Blue with Aside @ The Red Room?”

Aside 12 January 30 2016

Photos from Aside 12

When you think of the color blue, what do you see? A blue sky? Maybe a rolling sea or perhaps even a sea of tear drops?

When you think of the color blue, what do you feel? Do you feel sad or heart broken, contemplative or calm? Do you think of the most melodious of blue jays or of the  frighteningly dark voids of space? Do you imagine the crooning of a blues singer or the comforting warmth of your favorite blue sweater?

Truthfully, the color blue gets a bad reputation; people see or hear it’s name and they immediately sigh with the weight of the color’s expectations.  It is against this background of Blue and all of its associations, that Red Room’s “Aside” presented moving performances, which illustrated, amplified, and challenged participants’ interpretations of Blue in relation to our senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing & sight.

Rose Naiji surrounds Aside goers with different sensatiosn

Rose Najia surrounds Aside goers with different sensations

Rose Najia and her students began the evening with the sense of touch – introducing sensory playground where the audience was encouraged to feel the vibrations emanating from a performer’s cello, basque in the feeling of soft fabric gliding across their skin, and awaken their senses through active listening and vocalization.  With that, the mood was set- all preconceptions that blue was somehow a color of depression and reclusion faded as the senses woke to the many possibilities of Blue.

Spencer Huang invites Aside goers to stimulate their sense of smell with various infusions.

Skin, voices, and ears alive, the program  progressed to stimulate taste  buds through the creation of a variety of aroma cocktails. Spencer Huang inspired participants to stretch their minds and build their own cocktail experience through atomized infusions paired with bases like tonic water, juice and Stevia. It was an interactive means of understanding flavors and layers in the food/drinks we consume.

Alina Lin relays the memories the smells and tastes cooking evokes before bidding Aside goers to try what she’s prepared.

We continued with the sense of smell local Taiwanese gourmet chef, Alina Lin, shared how her personal experiences and culinary journey intertwined with fond memories from her past.  Warm weather and clear blue skies were inspirations for her Ratatouille – a homage to fresh seasonal vegetables and aromatic herbs & spices.

Tina Ma mesmerizes Aside goers with her illuminating story-song

Tina Ma mesmerizes Aside goers with her illuminating story-song

After the break with bellies and ears full, the evening continued with a story-song of warning and self actualization.  Tina Ma urged the audience to question whether meeting social expectations is worth sacrificing personal growth and identity.

At this point, Blue had proven itself a chameleon, morphing with the emotional backdrop of each performance.  The program steamed along with powerful illustrations of Blue through music and movement.


Vicky Sun and Eric Shen transport Aside goers to another place through music.

Singer/poet Vicky Sun and Blues guitarist Eric Shen transported the audience to spaces of love and longing carefully constructed in the mind’s eye by their skillful melodies. Their individual offerings as well as their collaborative pieces “I’m going to find another you” and “Route 66” truly delighted their captive listeners. (Admittedly, the author too was lost in memories and futures during this musical portion of the program.)

Billy Chang playfully glides along the floor, splashing another dancer with blue paint.

Billy Chang playfully glides around another dancer with blue paint.

Nudging us back to the present and tantalizing our sight, blue frolicked and danced in a spring-like movement and painting piece that evoked both the subtle sensuality and lively tempo of the evening. Billy Chang‘s closing performance of the evening was enchanting and heartwarming.  Audience members left with bright dots of blue paint on their faces – happily applied when the dancers made their way through the crowd.

As the evening flowed to a finish, audience members gathered to meet old friends and new, each person exhilarated from their shared experience. Red Room’s “Aside” created a space for common performance and appreciation of a spectrum of human emotions unified by theme of Blue. Each artist’s craft illuminated a unique interpretation of the theme, and left participants empowered to contemplate their own lives through this artistic lens.

Written by Kristin S.

Kristin S. is new to Taipei and is excited to volunteer at the Red Room as a rookie. In her free time she enjoys reading psychological thrillers, exploring new cities, and yoga.

Reflections on Aside 11, 31 October 2015

Reflections on Aside 11 @ the Red Room

Aside 11 31 October 2015

I remember watching my dad meditate when I was young. I tried to imitate him, but I just couldn’t keep myself from fidgeting, my mind from racing. As I grew older, meditation, as well as the spiritual benefits it offers remained beyond my reach. I struggled to understand spirituality. What does connecting with the world on a “spiritual level” entail? How can anyone know if they are on “their spiritual path”? I couldn’t tell. Attending the eleventh Aside @ the Red Room, allowed me to explore those questions and provided possible answers to the questions I’d wrestled with.

tinama-aside12Tina Ma opened the night by welcoming Red Roomers and newcomers to the space with sage and blessing words. As sage smoke drifted through the air, Ma posed a question to us “What is our purpose?” she asked. This question has caused many people some stress and uncertainty, but Tina Ma uttered her answer with serenity. “Find your power and share your story…so we can learn, laugh and love together.” Finding a purpose doesn’t have to be a large or complicated endeavor, just as sharing your story doesn’t require a large audience or polished compositions. Tina Ma found purpose in many things from spending time with her elders, to learning about new cultures, to collecting feathers for a headpiece she wore that night. Pulling each feather from the hat, she told the story of how she found them. As she pulled the last feather from her headpiece, she told us that though it was dilapidated and lacked aesthetic beauty, it still had a purpose. It had a story to tell, and so do all of us. Our purpose is as simple as telling our own stories and being respectful of others’, whether they are human, animal, or plant, stories. We don’t need to do anything greater than that.

neo-young-aside-12Neo Young expanded on Tina Ma’s question and assured listeners that finding their spiritual path doesn’t require ceremony or pomp. In fact, assessing whether we are on ‘our spiritual path’ can be accomplished by asking four basic questions when encountering problems or opportunities. The first question seeks to aid us in self-growth. “Are you expanding or being limited?” Neo asked the audience before urging them to “get rid of self-limitations” and pursuing our dreams. Second, we should reflect on our choices to learn if addressing all possible opportunities and solutions by asking if our choices are “inclusive” or “exclusive.”  Next, we should ensure our actions are ethical by asking if we are “choosing our highest choice.” Finally, he instructed listeners to apply their knowledge and their own unique experiences to whatever they face.

When an audience member asked him how they might move beyond their fears of failure he advised them to forgive themselves for past failures then to “fully choose and let go [of doubt]”, telling them that [they are] stronger than whatever [they] think is hard.” Growth or success need not be immediately apparent or tremendous. If you are expanding, including all opportunities, following your “light” and applying what you know then you can “master your own consciousness” and move forward with your goals.

stefano-aside-12Stefano Lodola provided evidence of the joy one can find when following their spiritual path through sharing his own story. He confessed he “was never meant” to find his path, but managed to stumble onto it while working as an engineer in Japan. After years of dedicating himself to the pursuits society encouraged him to follow, he abruptly ended his career in engineering and began following his own path. He studied music, opera specifically. The stories and richness in opera engendered in him both passion and contentment. He felt liberated and empowered to explore that which had been denied to him by societal norms. He cast off much of his material possessions and began traveling, sharing his story and his music wherever he went.



Charles Haines and Thomas Bellmore revealed the value in sharing another’s story during their live performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’. While Thomas provided a stirring reading, skillfully balancing anger and despair, Charles’s skilled brush revealed the objects of Poe’s longing and his torment, his lost love Lenore. Both performers accentuated the story through their interpretation and revealed how a story can be shared through different mediums and still be impactful.

anny-lee-aside-12At the end of the night An-ny Lee masterfully wove both stories and listeners together through dance and meditation.  All of us, through participating in the experience, learned to embrace all aspects of ourselves. It is through embracing ourselves and loving ourselves that we feel full enough to love others, to share that love. We can find joy through a connection to ourselves in meditation and through sharing that connection and wisdom with others through dance. Listeners spent the end of the night leaping around the room, hooting and laughing. They pulled faces at one another, grinned, and reeled all under An-ny’s guidance. After a short, but delightful, time blessing one another, An-ny called us back to re-center and look inwards. While we all breathed and chanted together she guided us to find our own wisdom, and to observe and sustain self-love.

I left that night feeling refreshed and less uncertain about my purpose or my ‘path’. Sometimes spirituality means pursuing what you love, in spite of what society might tell you. Other times it means re-centering through meditation or reflection. Still other times it means sharing joy and knowledge with others. Our spiritual path is never set, or certain. We forge our own path through the choices we make every day and through the stories we choose to tell.

By Leah List
Editor for the Red Room News

Leah List is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s Political Science and International Studies program. She is an aspiring writer, researcher, human rights advocate and a believer in the importance of storytelling. She currently resides in Zhongli, where she teaches English. In her free time, she can be found at the Red Room where she volunteers.

Fire, Aromas, and Comfort: Aside 10, 29 August 2015

The food trays were lined with banana leaves and Red Room volunteers poured the wine as guests rolled in for a very different evening at the Red Room. The kitchen became the stage for Aside 10, Red Rooms’ last event at the Learning Kitchen, our home for more than five years.

Aside 10 was in full heat as the chefs dazzled the audience with food, fire, and comfort inspired recipes.

26sThe audience was seated in front of the kitchen, huddled around the crackling of oil, browning of pans and savory aromas. Andrew Chau the master of ceremonies introduced Ping Chu, who gave us inspiration and encouragement to take on the world with our visions. Pierre Loisel, a French Canadian who owns an organic farm in Toucheng, spoke about the benefits of composting from kitchen waste while handing out fresh green leafy vegetables from his farm for everyone to try. Pierre is also known as the ‘master of waste composting’ in Taiwan.

more photos can be viewed here

8sIvy Chen, a Taiwanese chef, lit the wok and began frying up one of her favorite dishes: three cups chicken, while she spoke about her choice of comfort food. Our staff passed around bite-sized crackers topped with Ivy’s signature dish and a chili for garnish. Smiles were contagious as everyone licked their fingers, eager for one more bite. For the vegetarians in the audience, Ivy fried up three cups mushroom. Ivy provides cooking classes for anyone interested in learning how to create scrumptious Chinese and Taiwanese dishes from scratch. 超級美味!

35sOur next chef Mayur Srivastava, originally from New Delhi, owns four Indian restaurants in Taipei. Mayur’s mother taught him everything she knew and his love for good food began at a very early age. First he served up an Indian snack, golgappas, crisp hollow pockets of wheat flour, filled with Indian condiments and topped with spiced tamarind water, fresh coriander chutney and yoghurt. Just pop them in your mouth and experience an explosion of taste! Mayur then demonstrated his version of vegetable Biryani, a rice pilaf prepared with many aromatic spices and vegetables or meat. This was served on fresh, green banana leaves, with natural yoghurt on the side. Plates clanked and smiles took over the kitchen as everyone enjoyed the complex flavours of this traditional Indian dish. Masha’Allah!

54sJustin Robinette, our final chef, fired up the oven and began preparing his comfort food: French toast topped with caramelized apples and whipped cream. The audience crowded around the kitchen as Justin whipped cream and flipped syrupy apples. Mayur and Ivy hopped into the kitchen and became Justin’s impromptu sous chefs while the audience awed at the flames and golden aromas filling the kitchen. Justin served up the French toast doused in hand-made chocolate sauce and sprinkled with apples and powered sugar. Finger-licking good!

The audience cheered on as all three chefs cooked together in the kitchen and concluded another successful night of laughter and sharing. With the kitchen as the stage, Aside 10 challenged how we view and interact with art forms as all three chefs came together to create lasting memories and comforting meals.

Many thanks to our partners whose support helped this evening happen. Canmeng Aveda, Nonzero, Gourmet’s Partner and Granola House.

By Alex Gilliam

Reflections on Aside 8


Impressions from Aside 8 – Sound

For me, it was all about sound. The hum of conversation between old and new friends amongst the mutterings of setting up and technical concerns. The pluck of a moon lute. The clearing of a throat before plunging into the poetic landscape of someone’s mind. The laughter and music of a tea party that is by turns joyful and mad. Strums of a guitar and the thrum of electronica, painting a soundscape of story and voice. With all of those sounds, I felt us all come together at Aside 8.

Music is a unifying force, and we all resonated with our feelings and experiences that certain music brings. One of Tina Ma’s songs reminded me of my young son, a lullaby-like melody that brought tears to my eyes. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, almost meditative, during Sophie’s song in Sanskrit and Chinese. There was the sense of camaraderie that I built with my companions in R4, and there were the stories of a journey through the body, the mind, and the soul from our wonderful musicians.

At a time in my life, where I just wanted to touch and come together, where I needed something more than ever to feed my soul, the night at Aside 8 was a godsend. It was a place where sound became touch, became nourishing food for the soul. It gave me a moment where I wasn’t alone.

Whiney Zahar


andrew chau rr45Aside
There was a hum as bodies began entering the room. Slowly the odd voice or two on the carpets became an eager patience standing in all corners, each one awaiting the questions from new faces before them and cheekily answering to familiar eyes. I saw the cheeks of the room become rosy again, and it was not just the wine warming us that evening.

Performers took us into their little nooks of secrets and stories, and swung us into their world with an unparalleled trust. The audience trusted them back. There were tears that night, particularly as Tina Ma recounted her experience with and her blessing from her mentor. It was a story of the tradition of Tradition, really. I learned to embrace the new with a reverence of the old. A lesson that will not allow me to waste the wisdom of our elders.

It’s impressive what the power of the voice, voices, vibrating strings, and a room full of warm bodies can do to a person. I left that evening tired but not spent, I slept very calmly, and I am pretty sure we all did that night, having spent a night around a metaphorical campfire, sharing the warmth that radiated from our souls as we saw each other not in the light of what we try to be, but what we really are.

Andrew Chau

For a full list of performers at Aside 8 and their respective bios with contact details, please go to this link.

12 April 2015, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

A Red Room Radio Redux*** event in two-parts:

A round-table read-aloud where guests will be welcome to read from a collection of poems and short prose on food. Everyone is encouraged to bring short pieces of poetry or prose, original or otherwise, on the theme of food. A variety of recorded music will accompany the readings.
We will be joined by special guest readers from the performing arts community of Taipei and environs.

Works by DH. Lawrence, Mark Strand, William Carlos Williams, Maya Angelou, MFK Fisher, Roald Dahl, Tennessee Williams and others.

A MAD TEA-PARTY faithfully adapted for radio drama by Red Room Radio Redux* from Lewis Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Cast of MAD TEA PARTY in alphabetical order:
Sarah Brooks will narrate the story
Taili Huang as the Dormouse
Emmanuel Felix Lespron as the Cheshire Cat
Alton Thompson as the March Hare
Pat Woods as the Hatter
Whitney Zahar as Alice

Produced and directed by Ruth Giordano
***Red Room Radio Redux is part of the Red Room Community  “dedicated to listening”. The Red Room is an ever-expanding community, exploring and extending the boundaries between audience and performer; a not-for-profit platform for events developing a culture of learning to listen to each other, what is around us and our selves.
Our sponsor is the Ripplemaker Foundation, enabling people to realize their dreams by supporting entrepreneurial, social, cultural and environmental projects. Ripples change lives.

Sunday, April 12 2015
from 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Tickets: NT500
Ticket price includes a selection of raw canapes and wine.
Naked Food
1F, No. 22-1, Lane 160, Xinsheng South Road, Section 1, Zhongzheng District Taipei

Proceeds to Christian Salvation Service (CSS)

Performers at Aside @ the Red Room 8

Saturday, March 14th, 2014 Time: 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Red Room’s eighth exclusive event, where these artists share their most imaginative, courageous and inspiring performances.
You can register online ( or email us at to confirm your attendance.





Born in Oxford in 1983 and brought up in York for the next twenty years. For Christmas and birthday’s I didn’t get presents, but musical instruments – that’s how it is when you come from a large Irish family. I tried the piano, the trumpet, the violin, the harp, several other instruments and eventually at 16 I took up the guitar – I have now been playing for fifteen years. I have travelled around the world playing venues in Chicago, Havana, Paris, Prague, London, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and now Taiwan.

I have entered various competitions around the UK. I enjoy writing original material about lost love and life’s little quirks and mishaps as well as interpreting others’ songs in my own view. I love music and I believe it’s all about the soul and passion you put into it – that’s what makes it so real.

I’m currently living in Taipei – after I finished travelling the world playing in various bars, restaurants, music venues I relocated to London, but unfortunately couldn’t live with the novelties of being barged into and the noisy silence. I still love to visit and playing gigs there. It is one of the most challenging places to play. I am not competitive, I do it all for fun. That way I get to do whatever this is that makes me happy.

In the future I hope to earn a career from music – be it writing or performing. I’m happy staying away from the limelight so I do dream that I’ll survive on being a teacher and performing music. I have played in a few bands – my rhythm is in my own timing so drummers and bass players don’t like playing with me. The only unique style I change the song each time I play it. It’s all about how you feel in the moment..

I have played the same guitar my whole life – it’s customised to how I play and although a little pretentious I do believe because of the abuse I have subjected to my guitar it’s got my soul inside it. I believe real art comes from pain and if you read, everything will become so much easier.


I will be playing songs that have shaped who I am.
They’re all mine and were written over the last fifteen years. Some have been written in 3 minutes, some have taken years to write.
The songs will be about all of my personalities; The Good, The Bad and the Mischievous.

I hope you enjoy the songs, please feel free to ask questions. If you
like, there is a radio show where I perform live and talk about my songs.
The link to that is here:




David Gentile came to Taiwan years ago to study Chinese and Kung Fu, then ended up graduating from the Chinese Dept. at NTNU this past Summer. He traveled throughout the US before coming to Taiwan, and has always enjoyed coming up with little one-two line rhymes about the strange, beautiful, or troubling people, places, and things he encountered along the way.

“The poems started to become a way for me to impermanently document my experiences and even influenced the way I saw the world. Places became references to epic lines with names like “The Dog-Rocket House” or “The Dust Palace” that echoed the feeling of the abandoned hotel in the Lost Boys. People around me started to have nicknames so colorful and fitting that they sounded like the cast of Dick Tracy villains, and even the simplest of tasks were a mix between everyone’s own unique dog commands and rhyming slang. Basically, we got in there like swimwear, and now I have a whole new time zone…”



As part of the Red Room community “dedicated to listening”, the mission at Red Room Radio Redux (R4) is to bring selections from the canon of Western literature to wide audience using simple techniques of readers’ theater and radio drama. We seek to re-kindle an appreciation for Western literary tradition and to find common purpose through a shared, re-imagined experience of these great works. R4 performs in English, in adaptations that draw extensively on the original language of the story or poem. Participants are auditioned and cast on the basis of their vocal abilities and willingness to contribute to an ensemble theatre production. Carefully chosen background music and live sound effects enhance the listening experience as we recreate the story in the minds of the audience.

In addition to live public performances, R4 also records voice dramas for broadcast in partnership with ICRT-FM100. We have also been in contact with educational institutions in Taipei and look forward to sharing our passion for the spoken word and Western literature with their students. Our repertoire includes: Macbeth, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The War of the Worlds, Treasure Island and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A not-for-profit organization, R4 is always grateful for support in any form. We welcome fresh talent, technical assistance off & onstage online and off, gifts in kind and, of course, sponsorship. Our progress as art-makers would not be possible without the generous support of Red Room Volunteers, ICRT-FM100 and The Ripplemaker Foundation.


The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the story of a young girl who finds herself in a world where nothing is as it seems. It was quite revolutionary for its time, in that it was written for enjoyment, rather than for educational and character-building purposes. It also helped to make the fantasy genre a popular and reputable way to tell a story for children, as well as adults. It is full of poems, songs, and verses that don’t make sense and fantastic and slightly disturbing characters, all seen through the eyes of a intelligent child who is full of curiosity.

Our Radio Redux presentation MAD TEA was extracted from Chapter 7: “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” with faithful attention to the original text.

Along with Alice, you’ll meet several of the most fun, and yes, craziest characters in literature: the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse. This is your invitation to come to a tea party where you discover that “we’re all mad here,” in the best way.

Red room Radio Redux:
Facebook: R4radioredux




Like most artists, in younger days Tina was a Taiwanese hippy, rebelling against anything that interfered with her free will. She loved playing the guitar and learned American music while participating in all the social movements when Taiwan was seeking its identity in the early 80s.

After 30 years, she knows that the voice and sound must come from her own ground and soil now.

Having explored different art forms, she has finally chosen telling Taiwanese stories through songs from the ancient Chinese to current days, and to follow her bliss…

She likes to see herself as someone who uses this ancient musical instrument – moon guitar, to share shamanic spirits from nature and folklore of the mother earth. The instrument is two stringed, but says a lot in a simple ways, as most of life’s wisdom does.
Facebook: Tina Ma




Rose Goossen is the inventor of the Gypsy Jukebox and the Turkish Kanadiano. She was born in the Great White North, but quickly left for warmer climes and rhapsodic adventures. She makes the sound of music with her lovely wife, Madame Le Guitare. Together they have recorded four live albums of original songs and multilingual covers.

Synopsis: She will play original songs that were born of necessity while traveling the world and tell the top-secret stories behind the music.





Sophie Chen, our mystery guest for Red Room Aside, brought a moving musical performance of strong vocals with fun live electronica to the evening. We loved the fresh experimental vibe.
Currently signed to Full Entertainment Marketing Company, based in Taipei, Taiwan.

Born December 26, 1992, in Montreal Canada, CHEN, or Sophie Chen, is singer-songwriter-producer that is fluent in French, Mandarin and English.

She has been performing since the age of 6, starting in her hometown, and later doing performances in big cities such as Toronto, Beijing, Shenzhen, Xiangtan. Invited by tv channels such as Shenzhen TV and Hunan TV, she often travels to China.

In 2010, Sophie  sang the official theme song of the Chinese blockbuster ‘Flirting Scholar 2’ and for another independent movie for whom she has written the theme song. Songwriting is also one of her passions, and she writes in French, English, and Mandarin.

Performers at Aside 7

Saturday, November 29th, 2014 Time: 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Red Room’s seventh exclusive event, where these artists share their most imaginative, courageous and inspiring performances.
You can register online ( or email us at to confirm your attendance.


Coming from Indianapolis, U.SA.

Apelles Johnson is a poet of simplicity. His poems vary in subject matter and mood, but he tries to maintain a style of speaking clearly and giving a message easily understood.

He is proud to have performed in Taipei as it shows an appreciation for his style of universal poetry. He has also hosted a poetry workshop here through the organization ‘Becoming’ as well as written and performed short plays with the Taipei Players. He loves listening to live music and works as an English teacher at Tamkang High School.


Like most artists, in younger days Tina was a Taiwanese hippy, rebelling against anything that interfered with her free will. She loved playing the guitar and learned American music while participating in all the social movements when Taiwan was seeking its identity in the early 80s.

After 30 years, she knows that the voice and sound must come from her own ground and soil now.

Having explored different art forms, she has finally chosen telling Taiwanese stories through songs from the ancient Chinese to current days, and to follow her bliss…

She likes to see herself as someone who uses this ancient musical instrument – moon guitar, to share shamanic spirits from nature and folklore of the mother earth. The instrument is two stringed, but says a lot in a simple ways, as most of life’s wisdom does.



Conor Murphy’s compelling Irish voice carries any crowd, and when pulling back to circle around a more delicate turn in a song, audiences instinctively lean in to hear where he’s going next, lost in the narrative.

One remembers his work long after listening not only for its uniqueness, but his uncanny and marvelous ability to transmit the richness of human experience into word and song.

The subtle, enveloping, and sometimes explosive presence Murphy wields onstage combines remarkably with his lyrics, which carry all of the raw and the marvelous of life. His work inspires a nostalgia for the present, like all great art.

Performance statement: With every song comes the tale of its creation. No one person will be left unengaged, of this you are assured.







Daniel was born and raised in NYC. His first foray into storytelling was with taking  photos in Lower East Side. From there he graduated to film.  Ever since then he has been trying his best to translate the visuals he sees in his own mind to the public. A good portion of his stories are drawn from real experiences, either his own or others.