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In the early hours of the twenty-first, we stood across the street mumbling drowsy greetings and admiring the banner adorning the entrance of the TAF compound. Even from a distance its vibrant colors and characters captured our attention. Ten minutes later we gathered under the festival tents, decidedly more lively after consuming coffee and dan bing, and watched the sky drop its first tentative drops of the day. “Oh dear,” one dismayed volunteer murmured. Another volunteer quickly replied that “[it’d] be good luck.”. “Don’t you know rain on a festival day is good luck?” she asked us with a grin.Rain has become something of a traditional part of Red Room’s anniversaries; in fact, not a single Red Room anniversary has been without it. Though rain can be a nuisance, it is perhaps a fitting symbol of Red Room’s rebirth.
Red Roomers watch an outside performance under umbrellas.
In a traditional sense, rain has always symbolized revival; rain transforms the land through nourishing the soil. Similarly, Red Room has transformed through finding new soil. Since moving to the TAF, Red Room has introduced a myriad of events and activities for the community. In short, Red Room’s rebirth has ushered a new era, enabling Red Roomers to attain new heights in expressing creativity. This idea of rebirth was well captured during Red Room’s anniversary, which proudly presented some of the community’s new initiatives including a first glimpse at plays written and performed by members of the Red Room community. When Red Roomers weren’t enjoying performances, they were able to peruse the walls which were adorned with featured art by J.J. Chen and Ted Pigott from Red Room’s second Visual Dialogues.
Yet, Red Room’s expansion and rebirth has not drastically eroded the traditions Red Roomers value most. The return of rain on November 21st also reminded many Red Roomers of the aspects they love most about the community. For as the sky drizzled, community members gathered, laughed and shared. During Stage Time & Juice, the rain did not hinder the imaginations of Juicers as they fought agents of destruction, or dazzled audiences with magic. Indeed, it did not prevent them from embarking on great adventures on the grounds, imaginary sword and cape in hand. As the day cooled, Red Roomers could again gather inside to listen to rich stories by performers from Red Room Radio Redux’s Read Aloud.
Juicers unleash their imagination during Stage Time & Juice
Outside, Red Roomers were treated to a mix of sounds from musicians whose sound ranged from classic rock, to blues, to traditional aboriginal. Crowds gathered in front of the colorful stage, hands cupping a warm cup of 臺Walla, Red Room Chai from R & D Lab, or a beer from Bloch Brewing Company. They browsed artisan booths holding a sandwich from Sprout or Belgian fries from Belga, and watched new and old Red Room musicians perform.
Red Roomers collect in front of the stage for a late night performance
To memorialize the day, artists sketched Red Roomers, photographers snapped candids and, for the braver Red Roomers, artists offered free slow poke tattoos. Red Roomers could also transform themselves with anything from haircuts and metallic body art to the opportunity to learn about and dedicate themselves to important social issues. Of course there were plenty of opportunities to make less tangible memories. Red Room offered countless opportunities to get involved. Upstairs and downstairs, Red Roomers could participate in art whether through painting on a scroll, leaving their handprint on a canvas or speaking on community and compassion.
A Red Roomer prepares to add his hand print to the canvas.
As the day drew to an end, and the sky exchanged the sun for the stars, performers exchanged the stage for the Red Roomfloor. The members of Mafana and Faloco gathered beneath the stairs to continue celebrating. Sitting in a circle, they sang with ebullient enthusiasm, swaying and grinning; strumming and beating. Their joy was so irresistible that other Red Roomers soon joined in. Meanwhile, other performers moved inside to avoid the rain, exchanging a public performance for a more intimate one. Lights reflected warmly off the gathered crowd who watched transfixed as Valentin Le Chat and La Gitanita seamlessly merged different styles of physical art.
La Gitanita balances two of Valentin Le Chat’s juggling balls
The crowds did not dissipate, even as the night cooled. Instead, Red Roomers did what they do best. They provided a platform for artists and community members to express themselves creatively. They reveled in each other’s triumphs and talents and embraced each other’s goals and initiatives. The Renaissance Festival offered Red Roomers the opportunity to connect with six years of memories and renew their keenness to contribute to communities through art and volunteerism. Red Room is sustained by its community members’ passion and compassion and the anniversary was a wonderful continuation and expansion of those virtues.
Red Room volunteers gather at the end of a fulfilling day
Editor, Red Room News