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

Mulinung‧Taliladang 杜涵儀, August 2015

是生活  是生命  是文化 是傳承


喚起 家 的樣貌

image05Mulinung‧Taliladang 杜涵儀 (Tu,Han-Yi)/Paiwan & Rukai






擁有適合居住在石板屋 嬌小玲瓏的魯凱族人身高







演出連結: story_fbid=10205682421433009&id=1028964277

(c) Copyright 2015 Red Room.  Material on this site is the property of contributing members of the Red Room Community. Please do not copy any part of this publication. Thank you.

Review: Stage Time and Wine 70

這篇中文翻譯請點 For Chinese translation please go to this link 


Confidence is Shared

20712196915_7bf352601a_zWe are taught that confidence is an innate characteristic. It is something you must achieve on your own, without the help of others.  During the 70th Red Room Stage Time & Wine the Red Roomers proved this oft taught lesson false. On the contrary, confidence is shared and built through community.

Daniel Black approached the stage with a grin and a flimsy dinner menu in hand. “Hopefully you like it,” he said, grin firmly in place. “If not, that’s ok. I like it anyway”. His confidence in his work and performance brought the audience to admiration and awe. Daniel taught us his confidence from a menu with his words all over it. He showed us how you can take an everyday object and make it your own.

20091236553_5c7df7fb05_zNot every performer had the same panache, or  hid their stage fright. Anya Chau, wh oheld her guitar close as she approached the stage, admitted she was “worried about messing up”. Confidence is not the absence of nerves, it is not a constant grin or swagger. Confidence can come from a friend reaching out and reminding you that nervousness is allowed; that, even if you miss every note, at least you kept the beat. At the end of the song, Manav approached the microphone with a suggestion for the audience: “Can we please have [her] sing one more song?” The resounding answer came through a rumble of claps and a chorus of whooping: Yes. Of course. How could we not? She is amazing.

Red Room is a place to try new things, to present that which you’re not quite yet confident enough to share everywhere and to know that we’re happy to help you experiment. Even if you’ve never played the song before or it’s the first draft of your novel or if your performance is nothing like what you practiced or you simply decide to improvise, we’ll embrace it, applaud it and dream with it when the night ends.

20091208483_60f771d8d5_kWe’ll do all these things because we know that confidence is gained through communities, and through the kinship developed within them. Tina Ma introduced a group of performers from different aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. She called upon us to listen closely to their performance and consider the importance of tradition and kinship. Mulinung, Kui, Huage (Paiwan tribe), Saidu (Bunan tribe) and Ician (Pangcah tribe)  all held hands at the front, introduced themselves and shared a joyful song and a story of traveling to the Philippines for a culture exchange with indigenous tribes there. It was evident throughout their performance that their confidence and pride came from sharing stories from their culture and their lives. They have found kinship in the Taiwanese community and in the new connections they made in the Philippines.

Most of all, communities offer what anyone hoping to grow more confident seeks: safety. Lizzie took to the stage and encouraged audience members to share their positivity. “I feel we are this room to be connected to each other.” So, under Lizzie’s guidance, we “shared [our] positive energy” with the people next to us. We shook hands, hugged, and introduced ourselves. Then we all sat down, feeling a little more at home.

At the Red Room, we are always happy to share. Everyone gives a little; no one is alone. So if you ever need a little confidence, feel free to come to the Red Room’s new location at the Taipei Airbase, share your creativity and know the Red Room will always support you.

by Leah List

這篇中文翻譯請點 For Chinese translation please go to this link 


(c) Copyright 2015 Red Room.  Material on this site is the property of contributing members of the Red Room Community. Please do not copy any part of this publication. Thank you.

max power, august 2015

20702906792_b167c84170_kbrass tacks

When I was a teenager, writing started like having some spiny, lionfish-looking thing stuck in my throat that needed to be expelled.  At the time it was mostly frenetic noise, but before I knew what was going on I had a little readership.  These days I think there are better things to write about (although some days I’m still hazy on what constitutes ‘better’).

Therein lies my personal thorn — the hardest part of my own practice has been sustaining a sense of purpose, followed closely by remembering to sit myself down and put in the time.  I make an idea of what should be there, and I write (or paint, because it’s this way across arts) without thinking about it too much.  In my experience, it produces more living results.  If I’m sitting there actively trying to make decisions instead of flowing, the results will be more like a bird’s nest than a tapestry.

In bringing a long project to conclusion, one is gifted to remember that it will change over the course of its creation.  This must be so with any thing in human affairs.  Forgetting this will make things stale and stagnant.  This is why people say, “Kill your darlings.”

‘Kill your darlings’ is just one part of being able to get beyond our ‘self’, which is necessary to create works to which others can relate.  Our works have to have relevance, like teeth for the gears of narrative.  If nobody can relate to it — as a boy, a girl, a teenager, a parent, whatever — nobody’s reading it.

Writing down notes on thoughts, sparks or fragments of anything throughout the day in a journal, and maintaining it with any regularity whatsoever, is just about sure to produce seeds.  In art school, one learns to do at least ten thumbnails (one-inch sketches) before starting any project.  Deliberately making lots of versions of an idea makes picking a path much more leisurely.

In beginning, often the hardest part is simply starting.  We’re so used to hearing it that it sounds drowned, but there really isn’t a wrong place to begin.  It’s effective to keep a major defining idea for major projects, and use it as a yardstick while one works along.  When it becomes

necessary to trim down, this is where the thesis of the work can be used as a yardstick.

Every writer is going to have some thing that causes them to halt — beginning, editing, cutting, finalizing — and so every writer is going to have to make their approach for getting around their particular creative vice.  Technique is infinite, and any style can produce admirable results.  It’s very easy to say “don’t do this,” or “don’t do that,” but sooner or later each of us will run into someone who does the opposite of what we do, who can rock us out of our chair.

Pretty much all of us have the time to be a writer, but feel that we lack some other piece of the puzzle.  Whatever challenge one is dealing with now in one’s artistic progression, there will always be another, because the rabbit hole of craft is deep, spiraling and without end.  ‘Perfection’ is never going to make itself clear.

The most useful and practical advice I ever got about writing was to write 1000 words a day (and it’s the same for drawing or any other discipline, if you can break it down into a number that’s just uncomfortable enough to be correct).  Any other advice may be useful, but even the best advice is still just talk.  Results come from time spent.


Max Power is a Taipei local artist who writes and illustrates bittersweet dreamland fairy tales and histories of far-off worlds. his illustrations can be seen at .

(c) Copyright 2015 Red Room.  Material on this site is the property of contributing members of the Red Room Community. Please do not copy any part of this publication. Thank you.

Jeffrey Lee, August 2015

這次的Red Room Aside真的非常成功


何況是最後一次在Learning Kitchen舉辦活動


















(c) Copyright 2015 Red Room.  Material on this site is the property of contributing members of the Red Room Community. Please do not copy any part of this publication. Thank you.

Rose Goossen, August 2015

20524135050_1671c61a7b_kTheft, Convention, and Selective Memory: Songwriting in the Age of Repetition

Anyone who has turned on a radio or visited a shopping center in the last twenty years has probably, on at least one occasion, lamented the fate of the song. “How, oh, how,” we cry, “did we ever progress from Bing Crosby to Justin Bieber? How from ‘The Wall’ to the ‘Wrecking Ball’?”

I’ve done it, I admit. When faced with particularly stale examples of the latest chart-topper, I have mourned the state of affairs. This is the golden age of repetition; life is saturated in imagery, slogans, products and content, most of it aimed to stimulate the lower reflex centers and stir up either controversy or a blizzard of dollar bills. Creative people, when presenting new ideas, constantly face the question, “Are you sure that hasn’t been done before?” The quest for originality in such a sea of same-old often seems daunting and fruitless.

While paying my rent in the tower of song, I have done my best to battle conformity with ingenuity. For years, I militantly rejected clichés and conventions, choosing to construct songs that never repeated themselves and bore no resemblance to what was on the radio or the charts. I was always satisfied to know that what I produced was undeniably my own work. However, in recent studies of language and music, I have been surprised to learn that, more often than not, the ear responds best to what has been heard before.

It was Willie Nelson who said that the basic requirements of a good song are three chords and the truth. There is one kind of song known among musicians as a three chord trick, because it uses only the first, fourth and fifth degrees of the scale. This formula has been used, and used effectively, in pop music frequently enough to merit the special nickname. Examples include ‘Wild Thing’ (originally by The Troggs, but covered by everyone) ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (Lynyrd Skynyrd), and Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’. Every one of them is considered a classic, even though their structure is the musical equivalent of a paint-by-numbers. If we expand to our view to include four-chord songs, we can talk about at least fifty percent of everything currently charting on the Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of popular songs both past and present are also stuffed with things we’ve heard before. Take the tagline from the best-selling single of all time, Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’:

“May your days be merry and bright,

And may all your Christmases be white.”

I count that as one standard salutation, probably written by millions of well-wishers on real life Christmas cards and since adopted by Hallmark for mass dissemination, plus one repetition mixed with the title of the song to create a simple rhyming couplet.

Or this one, from a recent summer smash hit:

“It’s been a long day without you, my friend,

And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.

We’ve come a long way from where we began

And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”

An abundance of clichés! “It’s been a long day” and “we’ve come a long way” are the stuff of text messages and quarterly reviews. They’re the things we say when we’re too zonked to lucidly enunciate our thoughts and feelings. Extra bonus points go to the songwriters (Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth, Andrew Cedar and DJ Frank E) for rhyming “again” with “again”. It’s like a hall of mirrors inside this chorus, and yet it spent twelve weeks at Number One.

In his book, ‘Help! For Writers’, Roy Peter Clark reminds us that, “Since everything that is not eternal must begin at some specific time and place, it is logical to assume that clichés were once fresh and original, a quality that led to their being imitated.” With centuries upon centuries of language conventions stacked up in our libraries and our collective memory, it becomes truly difficult to avoid even accidental imitation. New clichés-to-be are being generated and imitated all the time; ever since the popularization of the new phrasal verb “to go viral”, it’s easier than ever for a trend to spread.

Songwriters often make use of clichés because they are memorable and easy to understand. By using a very common language pattern like “It’s been a long day”, an artist can take a shortcut past a listener’s cerebral processes and enter directly into the more sentimental inner chambers of the mind. The phrase has been used so many times before that it has a special express route through consciousness, straight to the memory. Similarly, if a song is composed in a conventional verse-chorus-verse structure, which is itself a kind of musical cliché, the listener will easily retain the pattern and anticipate the changes when it comes time for the big singalong.

An artist casting a eye toward global domination will find that it is necessary to simplify for the sake of the singalong. The singalong is the bread and butter of popular music. We’ve all seen it before: with a mischievous glance that is projected across the arena from at least two large live-feed screens, the performer thrusts his or her microphone out toward the audience, grins and skips around delightedly as the masses scream the lyrics back toward the stage. Now, riddle me this: if a song contains a decorative word from outside everyday English vernacular, such as “synecdoche” or “mellifluous”, do you think they will be singing along in Tokyo? In Milan? In Rio de Janeiro? It’s unlikely. The big machine rarely accommodates artists who take such liberties in their lyrics.

I have been fascinated by the idea of the accessible song for months, and I set a goal for myself to write at least one song that fits the well-worn mold. For my most recent composition, which I performed for the first time at the August edition of Stage Time and Wine, I relied heavily on other songwriters and frankly stole a large amount of content. I used four chords and a standard pop format. I did not cloak the key sentiments in silky vocabulary, but rather spelled them out in standard English. The result? The most appealing song I’ve ever written. It feels like getting away with something nefarious – and I like it.

So, by way of conclusion, I say to all those who would strive to create: take heart, and thieve away. Fret not about the well-placed cliché, for your audience will understand it, even if English is not their first language. It may be true that there is nothing new under the sun, but our recycling technology is better than ever; by turning and turning, we’ll come round right, and sing together for eternity whichever power chorus is stuck on repeat in the heavenly skies.

Bonus feature : Can you find the stolen goods in my lyrics? I robbed Johnny Cash (at least twice), Australian country singer Geoff Mack (who was robbed of a particularly great song by both Lucky Starr and the aforementioned Man In Black), Jane Siberry via k.d. Lang, 19th century poet William Cowper via U2, thriller movie “The Sixth Sense”, Scottish rock group Wet Wet Wet via ‘Love Actually’, local musician Moshe Foster’s ‘Cotton Threads’ and yes, my own mother.

I Fell In 

Love has many faces, they change from day to day.

Love is always moving in mysterious ways.

I see love in kitchens and in carpeted halls.

I learned it from my mama, she says love conquers all.


You can run far, you can run fast

But love is gonna chase you down.

Whether it lasts or whether it fades

Love is gonna make the change.

You can’t be surprised when you wake up and find

That love is all around

So if you want to get out, you’ll have to fall in.

I have seen the world from below and from above.

I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been everywhere but love.

Some girls like to ramble, some girls just have to roam.

This girl’s been around, love, now will you take her home?

Repeat Chorus

I fell in and love surrounded me.

I fell in so deep I couldn’t breathe.

I fell in and while my face turned blue

My heart was red, and beating for you.

I know love’s not a question of how much or how long

For if love could be answered we wouldn’t need so many songs.

Somewhere beyond our anger, sometime after our grief.

Somewhere in between the lines, that’s where love will be.

I fell into that burning ring.

I fell in and love was everything.

I fell in and my plans fell through.

When I lost my way, I found you.

So you can run far and you can run fast

by Rose Goossen, 2015

(c) Copyright 2015 Red Room.  Material on this site is the property of contributing members of the Red Room Community. Please do not copy any part of this publication. Thank you.