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“My Tribe”

“My Tribe”

What can I say about you
that hasn’t been expressed
by other clear voices?
You were unexpected brilliance,
making my life a little richer.
You entered my life
like a welcome explosion
of words, art, senses, heart,
hands, abundance,
friendship and purpose.
Your hearts are big,
your words are true.
You found room for me
and let me in.
I entered a stranger,
but left a friend.
No, more than that.
You made me family.

I walked through a door
that was the warmest embrace.
You gave me a gift
where it was okay for me
to explore and be myself.
You’ve made me
a little richer,
a little kinder,
a little happier to be me.

I’m not always a loud voice
but you welcomed what I am.
You were there
as I battled pain and anxiety,
and you never turned me away.
Because of you,
my writing erupted
from my pen in inky loops of joy,
my voice soared beyond
performance, but to reach out
and make a difference.
We are family beyond blood,
connected by the colorful
joyful
painful mosaic of
human experience.
I will carry you in my heart
and share your gift with the world.

You are my tribe.

–by Whitney Zahar

Greetings and Salutations, May 2017

We have to say goodbye to one of the members of the core Red Room Team, as she and her family embark on another chapter in their life’s adventure story.
Whitney Zahar –

Came on the Red Room scene at the Fifth Anniversary celebration at Huashan Creative Park where she and her family enjoyed all there was to enjoy. “SWEET!” And since then, they just kept coming back for more. “COOLNESS!” Whitney has done so much more than simply attending Stage Time and Wine, Juice, ASIDE & R4. She’s been an active participant. Moreover, she has established a library in the Red Room space at TAF and she’s been the editor of this eNewsletter. “AWESOME!”

Caring, sharing and caring some more, Whitney Zahar, powered by positive thinking, seems willing to help wherever she can. That’s Whitney: awesome, sweet coolness. She will be missed by everyone on the Red Room team.

Thank you Whitney!

Greetings and Salutations, dear Readers,
Ruth Giordano, here, doing what I can to keep the monthly e-newsletter publishing.

As this is the first e-news I have edited in many years, I suppose it’s appropriate to introduce myself to those who do not know me. Briefly and as relates to Red Room:

I’m the Director of the Red Room Radio Redux, (R4) dedicated to bringing literature to life in the theatre of your imagination. Modelled after the radio drama of the ‘30s and ‘40s, performing artists collectively read aloud selections from great literature which have been adapted for radio drama: music and sound effects enhance the listeners’ experience. Over the past 5+ years, we have collected recordings as well as live show dates performing such classics as Macbeth, Treasure Island, Dracula, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and more.

If you have not heard our work, go to www.icrt.com.tw/on_demand

Stage Time and Wine 85

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

Scribe’s Musings, February 2017

Scribe’s Musings

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.”

Seven Years and Counting…

Seven Years and Counting… A Reflection of Red Room’s 7th Anniversary

I remember walking into Red Room’s 7th Anniversary not knowing what to expect. Having sat in the planning meetings, it was hard to visualize when Manav was saying something about a tent, and vendors, and graffiti art, and how it would all come together in a big, beautiful ball of awesomeness.

My words, not his, by the way.

How was this going to work?

I have the answer to that question now. Have faith, because when you love something as much as we love Red Room, all things are possible.

There are so many memories from that night on November 19, and shortly afterwards. There were the incredible graffiti art that greeted all who entered the festivities, created by the amazing PowWow Taiwan artists and others. My son Preston in particular loved the one with the panther. There was the way everything came together for Stage Time and Juice and the magical “Jack and the Beanstalk” collaboration with R4. It was so great to see the young performers throw themselves into the story and the sound effects, and even better, the audience could feel the enthusiasm. I have a feeling there will be more collaborations in the future. Maybe someone in the audience will go from sitting out there, and onto the stage.

My son Preston was especially enthralled by the magicians.

I spent a good deal of my time inside the Red Room space acting as a bit of a “gatekeeper,” if you will. Since the space was open, someone should be up there to answer questions, provide company for anyone that needed a break from the heat and the fun stuff outdoors, and to keep an eye on things. I walked around and gazed at the pictures of Red Room’s past. I’m only a drop in the bucket of Red Room’s history, only two years, but I hope I’ve made my mark here. So many people have in the most magical and unexpected ways.

In light of the swirl of negative energy that is engulfing our world from many places, I started a Wall of Love within the Red Room space. I got this idea from an article I read about a man in New York City who set out a table with Post-It notes and pens. He invited people to write notes of love, encouragement, and positive energy to anyone they wished and post the notes up on the walls of the New York subway system.

So, I set out markers, paper, and pens, and invited people to pen their own messages of love and hope, in any language and in any form they wished. I was happy to see a few people do that and add it to the exhibit within the Red Room space.

I think what I can take away from the Red Room 7th Anniversary is that over the last seven years, Red Room is more than just a space. It’s a home. It’s a work of art and heart. It’s the people that have come and go through the years. It’s the energy that courses through the people and space with every art installation, every piece of music played, every piece of literature read, and every smile on someone’s face. It’s the hugs. It’s the support.

It’s the love that crosses language, culture, and that affects us in ways that suffuse our whole being.

That is Red Room, for the past 7 years. And no matter how much it grows, I hope that’s one thing that never changes.

Browse photos here and here.
stw-collage

By Whitney Zahar
Editor and Librarian

Scribe’s Musings

Season’s Greetings, Red Roomers, old and new!

November and December have flown by in the most beautiful, colorful blur of fellowship and festivity. That’s why this edition of the e-news is our GLORIOUS, SUPER-SIZED Edition!

We close out 2016 with an impressive 7th anniversary event in November that spanned 3 days. It’s amazing to see how much Red Room has grown in seven years; imagine what we can do as time goes by. For a word on that, here’s something from our Keeper, Roma Mehta:

2016 evolved to become a landmark year for Red Room.
2017 will crystalize all that we learned.
2018 is where we should be looking.
Let’s plant an orchard.
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, indeed! We have to have hope and to have faith, and Red Room is a place, a people, a movement that can foster that.

November’s Visual Dialogues was a carefully curated selection of photographs from Red Room’s history and events, perfectly balancing out our anniversary celebration. We’re looking forward to seeing old and new faces grace those images for years to come. Yours truly is also thinking of ideas to make those photographs seen more often by the public in the form of small exhibits and a photo archives.

December’s Visual Dialogues is dominated by a beautiful turtle in our front hall. Can you believe it’s made entirely from recycled plastic? Artists T.K. and Anne Hsiao-Wen bring their sculptural visions of how human consumption affects the world around us.

Stage Time and Wine 84, held on December 17, was a merry evening filled with poetry (including a little SCIENCE from Trevor Tormatosi), dance, music, and joy for the old, while ringing in the new.

Red Room can be a whirlwind. It can spin you around, sometimes overwhelming, always something unique. This year was a hard year for many people around the world. But I think Red Room has grown in its mission to use the arts as a platform to reach out, expand hearts and minds, and welcome people to our door. Here, you will find a place that’s truly special. Here, you will always find “friends you have not met yet.” There is a place for you here. That much, I promise.

We have many new events heading your way, which our Keeper Roma will share with all. But we are always looking for volunteers for our events and contributors to the e-newsletter.

For information about writing with me, email me at [email protected].

by Whitney Zahar

Beats For Breakfast, October 2016

Beats for Breakfast event is held once a month. It’s where people do yoga, dance, and eat mindfully all day at the Red Room. The most recent one was held on Sunday, October 30. It was a lively morning and afternoon of music, color, dancing, and companionship.

While I wasn’t there for the yoga session, me and my sidekick (also known as my son, Preston), arrived in time to join Rose Goossen’s dance workshop. Well, I joined in. My son was more interested in lounging in the newly-created Reading Nook and watching. But having him absorb the atmosphere of loving your body and yourself, open dance, and open hearts was enough.

Rose Goossen believes that dance has three hypotheses: it’s a physical activity; it’s a spiritual activity, and it’s a social activity. I would say all three were proven as we all felt our bodies uplifted and in harmony with movement and music. As the beats kicked in, provided by DJ Leo, the room just erupted with movement. We let our bodies do the talking as we danced and cavorted on the dance floor.

I left feeling energized and better about myself. It was also great to reconnect with people. As we left, Preston received a green POWER bracelet from the lovely Tiffany Lin and Remindme Values. I love seeing that Preston is claiming his power. At a young age, he doesn’t quite know what it is yet. But he knows it’s there. And I think by coming to Beats for Breakfast, we all got a huge taste of the power within all of us.

Granola House, one of our partners, was also on hand with tasty and healthy treats. Christine, the founder, is passionate about reaching the people who really pay attention to what they consume.
www.granola-house.com

by Whitney Zahar

The WORD from R4, October 2016

photo-of-ruth

First up was October’s ReadAloud – Spirits Abound. It was an intimate evening for sharing stories and poetry. There were the beautiful lyrics of classic poets such as Christina Rossetti and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as original poetry. There were tales of ghostly encounters; real or imagined, we leave to your interpretation. The gathering was also treated to a complex 21st century re-working of traditional folklore. Poe yet again made another appearance with a reading of his tale of jealousy, revenge and being buried alive: The Cask of Amontillado.

If anyone is curious, Poets.org has a wonderful database of Halloween poetry and more. Check it out at https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/halloween-poems

Once summoned by prose and poetry, the spirit Edgar Allan Poe was not ready to depart from the earthly realm yet! Next up was Three by Poe – an evening of two stories and a narrative poem by the master of mystery and the macabre. First, the evening opened with a lively game of Murder. Participants wore red stickers to show they were playing and given mysterious instructions. One at the gathering was the Murderer. With a wink, he or she would kill until they were caught and accused.

It was just a game, by the way. No one really died.

r4-poe-2016-001s-12Then, the lights were dimmed and the audience crept onto the carpet and pillows as invited by Thomas Bellmore and the Three by Poe commenced with Paul Batt reading The Black Cat, a tale of murder, alcoholism, rage, and abuse. Mr. Batt’s deep voice throbbed around the room, drawing in the audience under the spell of the dreadful tale. Sarah Brooks provided a chilling accompaniment to the story with believable cat’s meows and other sound effects.

r4-poe-2016-001s-23After a brief intermission, Thomas Bellmore took the mike and delivered his beautiful rendition of “The Raven.” Bearing more than a slight resemblance to Poe himself, Mr. Bellmore’s hypnotic rendition of lost love and grief stirred the audience to the point that there was no need for sound effects. He took everyone along for the dark, exquisite ride.

r4-poe-2016-001s-32Finally, Whitney Zahar was up with The Tell-tale Heart. Together with Sarah Brooks on sound, Ms. Zahar spun the classic tale of murder, madness, and guilty conscience. The two ladies held the audience in a terrifying grip from beginning to the chilling end.

r4-poe-2016-001s-6Throughout the whole evening, master artist Charles Haines maintained a silent, but compelling presence on the stage. Donning a mask and with an easel propped before him, Mr. Haines created a beautiful, surreal canvas which featured all three of Poe’s works while the readers performed.

In a word, Three By Poe can be summed up as—spellbinding.

By Ruth Giordano and Whitney Zahar

View the full album here
R4 Three by Poe

Scribe’s Musings, November 2016

For this month’s special anniversary issue, I’m going to turn the Scribe’s Musings over to Manav Mehta, who almost seven years ago, penned this exquisite poem that may prove slightly prophetic.
Happy 7th Anniversary, Red Room!

manav-2010
Stage time and wine
I thank you all for coming tonight, on behalf of the community and i
Moments where we analyze what to do, and what not to do..
Well, screw explaining that I’m up here so that’s what I’m going to do.
I want to tell you all whats been going on in my mind..
Crunching new grooves with a 19 year old grind..
It gives me headaches, awkwardly personal “proud moment” smiles..
An unorganized database, receiving an endless number of untitled files..
You gel up your hair, your hat cries out “STYLE”
Your body type comes with a variable list of numbers to dial..
I’m working on mine! Jogging mile to mile..
A combined effort at a developing mentality, with assorted perspectives-
Stage time and wine, is a place of…
Well wine-
Something that makes it special..special is what you’ll find..
The word artist holds no boundaries, its not marked by a mustache or a hat…
Those who have both are simply gifted, and well..i didn’t get it so screw THAT!
According to me here, once you’ve entered the red room..planet earth is flat..
The ultimate symbol indicating that we’re all equal ..were all artists here- how about that?
It’s a time for us to share! BYOB should change to BYOSOMETHING TO SAY
Everyone has something to share, its usually the ones who are shy..who sit back and compare..
C’mon guys, that simply isn’t fair- but don’t go as far as saying “I CAN say anything..its not like they care”
WE’RE here to listen, to enjoy, to emotionally react the way you do biting into a sweet chocolate eclair..

I wake up with theories, which are completely genius..
But as the day ticks along, it deteriorates to something meaningless..
This random rambling is an example of that- but I love the act of performing..(AND YES THIS IS CONSIDERED A PERFORMANCE..).
That’s a fact

Art comes in all different shapes and forms..the ones labeled eccentric or exotic-
Are just ones there are no real words for..
Ever notice the lack of vocabulary we hold to describe certain things of wonder..
Beauty..stimulating and depressing – sigh..
We use our bodies, the tone of voice, our facial expressions-
I was gifted with the control of my eyebrow muscles..and so..tonight I will take the role of goofy.
Stage time and wine..
Time for all of us to shine..
Hence the much brighter lighting –to symbolize the divine..
Bring out the person inside of you tonight- do so through the love for the spoken word..
Mimes are allowed as well..
Like I said artist holds no boundaries or lines..
There are beverages in the back, grapey wine with some chai-ey chai.
Let us all enjoy the night-
In hopes for more random ramblings in sight.

by Manav Mehta

When I Couldn’t Go to Stage Time and Wine 82…

The title was meant to be a fill-in-the-blank activity. If anyone wants to send me a brief thought about what they did when they couldn’t go to Red Room’s Stage Time and Wine, send me an email at [email protected] For now, I will share what I did.

The day before, Friday September 16, was a beautiful day. The kind of day where temperatures were comfortable and the skies were a fresh-scrubbed blue with stunning cloud displays. I took my 6-year-old son to the Taiwan Puppet Theatre Museum near Dadaocheng Wharf and watched him be enthralled by the magic of the puppets on display. I sat down, smiling as he played with the demo puppets and made up stories about 19th-century puppets and masks.

Later that evening, I joined Ruth Giordano and an intimate crowd of new friends for an evening of R4 ReadAloud. We were settling in for an evening of wonderful words, ready to donate to the Playing For Change Foundation. It was setting up to be an evening of collaboration, conversation, and conviviality, when suddenly, a TAF security guard crossed the threshold. He asked for us to pack up and leave the venue because of the coming of Typhoon Malakas. It warmed my heart to see his concern for our safety.

Even though Typhoon Malakas ended up being fairly gentle, at least by my standards (I hail from east coast US, no stranger to hurricanes/typhoons), Stage Time and Wine was cancelled, perhaps for the first time in its 7 years. However, there was merriment in the Zahar household. My son took me on forays into his imagination, and I realized how much of a world-builder he is. My son has been creating his own animals, showing me bits and pieces through his drawings and answers to my questions. He showed me his prodigious memory by quoting to me lines from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder one, of course!). He sang to me, we read together, and colored in our coloring books.
stj-sept-16-1

So, in a way, I did have my own version of Stage Time and Wine, courtesy of my beautiful son. I even had a glass of wine to celebrate! I celebrated my son’s imagination and his boundless love and my return to my creative roots. I emerged from Typhoon Malakas feeling rejuvenated and ready to jump into creative work once again!

By Whitney Zahar
Red Room Scribe