I, Too: A Reflection of Stage Time and Wine 86
Stomach churning, I put my name on the performers’ list of Stage Time & Wine (STW) LXXXVI. Although it would be my second time to read at STW, I had reasons to dread. Located near the top of the list, I thought my trial would soon come and be over. As time went by, however, I realized that the host had shuffled the performances to give the show a better flow. That unexpected unpredictability only worsened my stage fright.
Finally my name was called, and I dragged myself up front. My nervousness was transparent. I prefaced my reading with Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too” as my backhanded apology. In this poem, the African American poet pays tribute to an earlier literary giant, Walt Whitman, and his poem “I Hear America Singing.” This “darker brother” stresses that in addition to the people of different genders and occupations whom Whitman praises for forming the multi-faceted American identity, African Americans, “too, sing America.” He laughs at the discrimination he suffers from and asserts that one day, people will see how “beautiful” he is. Just as the two poets reflected and celebrated the American-ness from their view points, so I wanted to maintain that “I, too, am America.” Despite being neither black nor white, or even American, having neither the English language as my mother tongue nor the Anglo-American literature as my inheritance, I’ve written a thesis which surfaces the little-noticed positive sides in one of the gloomier poets, Philip Larkin, and I wish to ascend from academic writing to poetry or prose, writings that may one day be included in the literary canon.
It was with this ambition I attended STW that evening—to test the waters as a writer for the first time. Like Hughes, I resorted to an earlier American writer, Raymond Carver, for inspiration and based my narration on his short story “Popular Mechanics,” a story about a couple fighting over their child. Beginning by borrowing elements from a famous writer and retelling his story from a different character’s perspective, I hope that one day I, too, an outsider of this language and this culture, will have unique tales to offer.
Ever so nervously, I started my reading. My whole body was tense, my legs trembling. So was my voice, I believe. A couple of times I paused, to catch my breath and for dramatic effect. During those moments, I found myself embraced by an attentive silence. I peeked over the edge of my script. No one was checking their phone or checking out the bar. Instead, I was greeted by faces with eager anticipation. Feeling encouraged, in a steadier voice I read on. After I finished reading, the audience’ warm applause thawed my stiff muscles, enabling me to bow and resume my seat.
Earlier that evening, I joked with friends that with Red Room’s renowned supportive crowd, “I wouldn’t know how badly I suck.” I was wrong. The audience’s feedback was genuine. They shared with me how they were moved (“I knew the cameraman was taking my pictures and I looked stupid, but I was jaw-dropped and couldn’t control my face”), and which parts of my story resonated with them (“I’m a mother, so I know what the woman in the story chooses to do at the end”). That night, I left STW, eyes brimming with tears, heart full of joy. Like many others, I, too, look forward to returning to STW, where several successful artists have been cradled. Uplifted by the warm air current at Red Room, a fledgling writer is gathering up momentum, ready to fly.
By Li-Chieh Lily Yen
Stage Time and Wine 85
There is always so much energy at Stage Time and Wine. Crowds of people gather on the carpets and fill the chairs. Sometimes, the crowd fills the entire room. The energy is tremendous and exciting.
However, Stage Time and Wine 85 was an intimate affair, with at least 20 people in attendance. I prefer the quiet times, where people just relax and enjoy the quiet conversation more. We had a few new faces take the stage, who seemed more comfortable with sharing in front of a smaller gathering.
The mulled wine warmed everyone’s spirits. Addison Eng was our “host with the most,” giving our audience positive energy and welcoming everyone at a slower pace than usual. Even the five-minute rule seemed a bit more relaxed because of number present.
We had new people take the stage, sharing experiences, poetry, and music. Red Room veterans also took the stage with new pieces to share.
Finally, we had words from our spirited mural provider, Iris, through the voice of our Keeper, Roma. Words of love, wisdom, and whimsy filled our souls, reminding us to look deep into ourselves because there, we will find Red Room!
For me, after a busy day at Stage Time and Juice, Stage Time and Wine gave me the chance to unwind and really sink into good conversations with new Red Roomers, old friends, and those passing through. I left STW 85 with a big smile on my face and a warm glow in my heart.
By Whitney Zahar
By the Red Room: Shift
For those of you at the narrow center of the Venn diagram that is Red Room regular and parenthood, you probably know me. I’ve been emceeing/hosting the bimonthly Stage Time & Juice event for the past 6 or 7 years. For the rest of you, you might recognize me as that one guy who rambled on about his book way too long in that Stage Time & Wine last November.
Well, the book’s finished. In fact, thanks to the Taipei Writer’s Group and its publishing imprint, TWG Press, I was able to show it off and get physical copies into people’s hands at this year’s Taipei International Book Exhibition. It was a wonderful experience and the feedback was great. In fact, so far feedback has been good overall, with near-five star ratings on both Amazon and Goodreads. Even more importantly, they are accompanied by (mostly) positive, constructive criticism.
The book itself is a present-day science fiction thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton with a bit of Lovecraftian atmospheric and cosmic horror elements, influence coming specifically from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, From Beyond, and a Star Talk podcast episode.
Here’s the back of the book blurb:
Multiple dimensions exist, and they are flush with resources for the taking.
A USB drive containing an anonymous message and mysterious piece of code is delivered to the New York offices of Wired Magazine. Science reporter Dr. Pei Xiao, driven by the need to justify her decision to stay in the U.S. to her parents, has just gotten the opportunity she’s been waiting for. Photographer Roy Bryant just needs to make this month’s rent. What starts as a simple interview quickly develops into a complex tale of conspiracy, espionage, and otherworldly adventure.
_Shift is available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2kCFLaf. Paperbacks will also be available locally at select TWG Press events and, quite possibly, local independent bookshops. To be alerted to those opportunities and up-to-date on the progress of book two, Backdata, please join the newsletter on my blog: http://shiftspace.info.
By Brian Q. Webb
Stage Time and Juice XXI kicked off 2017 with the theme of storytelling. Various stories, true and fictional, took the Juicers up, down, and around the bend.
Nicole and Carol began the show with a retelling of the acidic encounter between a lemon and a lime. The exchange led one of the fruits to cross the road.
Once the sour mood had cleared the air, high schooler Valen shared her experience as a junior representative of Taiwan. This exchange apparently led her to cross the Atlantic in a pair of 10 cm heels.
Sensing the high spirits, overtone singer Mark van Tongeren led the Juicers on a roller coaster exploration of the musical tones that one hears when one travels up and down the vowel sounds.
Charlotte and Bea described life from the perspective of a book.
Brian then sent us all into the cutting edge of the present with his science fiction novel, Shift, with Whitney reading.
To reground us, cookies and hot cocoa were dispensed during the break by Betsy the Bar.
After the break, Jennifer advised us that if you can’t take the guitar, then learn the ukulele! (Red Roomers apparently will have a chance to do so in March! Shhhhh!) She then sang a sunny song.
Kai played a couple of pensive tunes on the keyboard.
Nicole and Julian encouraged us all to lighten up and dance.
And then, to the delight of the audience, Ruth and the Aesop’s Fables troupe took the stage, presenting us with words of wisdom for the new year. Tales presented: The Tortoise and the Hare, The Little Red Hen, The Fox and the Grapes, Two Travelers and a Bear, and A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. The children played multiple parts with lots of giggles and smiles, and ridiculous props. Jonah’s performance of a tree came across as quite wooden.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
Time to let out crow, fellow Red Roomers! 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. We wish all of you a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. January was an incredible month at Red Room, filled with new faces, beautiful collaborations, and words of wisdom from a member who truly left her mark here (We love you, Iris!).
I’m going to leave this beautiful issue to our wonderful contributors. Want to join us as a contributor? Contact me at [email protected], or leave your email address on sign-up sheets at Stage Time and Wine or Stage Time and Juice.
Do you also want to contribute your stories to a dream project? Alex Houghton wants to create a beautiful book filled with pictures and stories of Taiwan. You can find information about this wonderful project here.
I open this newsletter with a By the Red Room feature from our lovely artist, Iris. Her drawings, the mural she created, her sparkling attitude and personality made Red Room come alive and realize its potential further as a wondrous collaborative space. Please enjoy her lovely words from “It is Alive” and “That Other You.”
Red Room presents the ninth of our Sunday Afternoon Open Studio series!!
Writers, poets, photographers, painters, sculptors, comedians, filmmakers, juggler, musicians, songwriters, dancers, designers. All artists and creatives welcome! Develop and play with ideas, or utilize this opportunity for second opinions on your work in progresses.
If you won’t be working on something and just want to hangout, please feel free! But we would like to remind you to respect those practicing/working on their art form.
This is a free event – for you, by you. Which means that the bar and cash register will be closed – so please bring some beverages and snacks to share. Sharing is caring!
Please inbox us to ask if you are uncertain about how appropriate the art form/materials you’d be bringing would be suitable for the shared space. Of course, power tools are discouraged (safety + noise), and fire is not allowed on the premises (sorry, metal-workers!).
Hope to see you there!
Love, Red Room
－ 繪畫塗色 （材料提供）
這是一個免費的活動 。酒吧和收銀機將被關閉 – 所以，請帶些飲料和小吃分享。共享是關懷！
How to find us @ the Red Room
Taiwan Air force Base (TAF) 空軍創新基地 「圖書館」LIBRARY
No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd (Intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd.)
Our entrance is located on the intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd. (TAF side entrance). After passing the gate, keep marching forward and you’ll see a white building to your left called Library. Make your way to the second floor via the outer staircase on the side.
Travel by MRT:［Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station Exit 6］Walk straight along XinSheng S. Road , then turn left on Jinan Road Sec. 2 , continue down and you’ll spot the entrance.
Red Room 紅坊國際村
0933762077 : Roma , Keeper of the Faith / 總監
0910947307 : Manav, Red Room Reeves / 策展人
Dear Red Roomers,
I am reaching out to you because I have some dreams that are not finished and related to Taiwan. I recently returned to Australia but before I left Taiwan I did a 3,500KM scooter ride over 5 weeks camping on beaches, temples, basketball courts and where ever seemed fit. I have a wealth of images and I have put half online but I want to create a book. I want to create an bilingual book showing the beauty of Taiwan visually and also thru writing.
A few photos from Alex’s Taiwan collection:
I want to reach out to everyone with the idea of making a book filled with my images but with stories from different people all related to Taiwan. I will fund it, design it, publish it and give credit and a copy to everyone who helped make this idea a reality.
I was wondering if you would like to be apart of this project and share your story with the world. They have to be related to a Taiwan experience and celebrate Taiwanese culture. I will get the stories translated so the book will be bilingual as well.
If anyone has a story already or wants more information please contact me and I can share more thoughts and hopefully we can start collaborating together.
Contact Alex and share in his vision: [email protected]
Please join us at Stage Time & Wine on the 18th of February 2017. Red Room will be hosting the 86th Stage Time and Wine and the first in the year of the rooster!
We welcome everyone to share the space as we revisit some familiar performances and be wowed by the new. Performers may sign up on the day of the event (open mic format).
6:30pm: Doors Open
7:30pm-8:45pm: 1st Half
9:00pm- 10:30pm: 2nd Half
Your Patronage 開支攤提費: 300 NTD
提示 Our usual reminders:
Performers have 5 minutes to share (unless you have made a request for a special performance beforehand)
The Red Room promotes the culture of listening. We ask you to honour performers by actively listening and remaining quiet and respectful while they are on stage.
Red Room is a community space and we welcome sharing.
Stage Time & Wine is a performance-centric event and announcements are not encouraged. If you have an announcement to make, you may inform the MC and you are also welcome to leave your promotional material at the door.
Credits & Sponsors 特別感謝與贊助
Tremendous gratitude to all our volunteers. Thank you to all who transform the space of the venue into the Red Room, prepare the food and drinks, greet everyone at the door, fill all who thirst till their cups near runneth over…and especially to all who help clean up. Stage Time & Wine would not be possible without your support and the beautiful spirit in which it is given!
Co-Founder | Ping Chu 朱平
Co-Founder | Ayesha Mehta
Reeves & Curator | Manav Mehta
Keeper of the Faith | Roma Mehta
ST&J Coordinators | Carol Yao & Jennifer Chau
ST&J Host | Brian Quentin Webb
R4 Director | Ruth Giordano
Visual Arts Director | Constance Woods
Operations | Sharon Landon
MoC | Charles Haines
Editor | Whitney Zahar
Sound | Addison
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.
“Colorful Universe” showcases vibrant and mesmerizing visual pieces from Christiana Chien, in her debut art exhibition. Joining her is veteran artist Odd Hackwelder, also known as Hack who has had over 20 art exhibitions. Hack is known for being extremely prolific and for creating diverse series of work with the common bond of strong color and theme.
What brings them together is a mutual passion for creation, adventure, colors, perspectives, and a deep, true love for the universe.
Creation is never just solely a result from the artist’s own mind, but a true choreography and collaboration between the artist’s mind and all the elements under the laws and forces of the universe (light, gravity, velocity, reflection).
We hope that through our work, you’ll be able to see, think, and feel those elements at dance.
「彩色宇宙」展現了Christiana Chien（簡國珍）色彩斑斕絢麗的視覺作品。這也是她的初展。與她一同展出的是已有20場以上展出經驗的老手藝術家Odd Hackwelder（別名Hack）。Hack以旺盛的創造力名聞畫壇；連結其不同系列作品的重要關鍵為其鮮明的色彩和強烈的主題性。
Visual Dialogues 藝術對畫
between people, spaces and ideas
Two artists from different cultures with be featured in a monthly art show at the Red Room International Village, opening on the first Sunday of each month.