Sunday, March 8, 2009

Last day in Tokyo


Ended the last night in Tokyo drinking too much and watching my performing arts colleague Fiume Suzuki and her dance partner (see both above) perform in the difficult-to-find and members-only Sound Bar+ in Roppongi, an unmarked red door just down a small street. We met at TPAM, attracted to each other's similar hairdos, i.e., our current baldness:

Once there, I was able to compare corsets with a friend of hers, whose bound waist was as thick as a normal thigh, and who showed me some lovely photos on her cell phone of corset/kimono hybrids.

But first thing, Lynne and I went to see Shun-kin at the Setagaya Public Theater and it was everything I hoped it would be from the glimpse I caught through the tech booth window. The story was clear even without the English surtitles that were provided at the Barbican, and not understanding the details of the language allowed me to get lost in the beauty of the production. Birds represented by flapping paper, mixed with projections of birds, sometimes moving in sync with kimono catching those projections. The aging of the two main characters was handled in two appealing ways: a series of cast changes for the man and the morphing of a puppet to a real actress for Shun-kin herself, a blind shamisen player who takes her servant as a lover, a sadomasochistic relationship that is resolved only when the servant blinds himself. Ah, Japanese stories seem to always veer toward the heavily fucked up, at least those that make an impact in the west, but that is something that I too find very attractive.

In between, and quite a long train ride away, we went to see Akira Ishigura at the enormous GEISAI art show. He has some craft in his oil paintings of anime crossed with the old masters.

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