A fun-filled week, which started Tuesday night when I got an e-mail from Dino, the drummer for Wu Bai & China Blue, telling me that he, Da Mao (keyboard player), and Xiao Zhu (bass player), along with Bobby Chen's guitarist, Xiao Wang, had formed a pub band called ABS and would be playing Wednesday evening. Wah, talk about excitement! I quickly spread the word and plans were made to attend. Photos of the band are posted at http://www.pbase.com/500fan/abs
Wednesday evening a small group of fans (Natari, Charlene, PJ, Ah Ju, Xiao Yu, and me) made our appearance at New York New York Live to have a scrumptious dinner and then wait for the show. We'd made a reservation requesting the tables right at the front of the stage, so it was cool. When we arrived, we noticed the guys were there having dinner, too, and it just made me feel warm and happy all over to see that Da Mao was wearing the Sierra Nevada T-shirt I'd given him (I had given matching shirts to all the guys, sent back with Betty when she came to the US to work with HP). He changed shirts before the gig, so I didn't get a photo of him in it, but I did tell him it made me happy when he stopped by our table to chat before the show.
Dino was looking mighty handsome that night, and we could tell he was pretty happy about the band. He was so sweet, giving all the girls a kiss on the cheek and a handshake for PJ (but I'll bet PJ would have taken a kiss, too). Now I can't ever wash that side of my face again!
The band started up a little late, but that's so normal for Taiwan. They launched their set with "Mary Had a Little Lamb" - I can't remember who originally did the song, maybe Wilson Pickett? Dino had already told us that he'd be doing the singing. We've heard Dino sing just a little bit on China Blue CDs, but never got to experience the full range of his voice until this show. He belted out tunes from ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival, all the while making those drums shake, rattle, and roll. Takes talent to sing and drum, I'll tell ya.
During the break Dino came and sat with us a bit, clowning around with Xiao Yu's glasses, really cute. He had loads of friends in the restaurant, so he didn't stay long, but we were happy for the few minutes we got. During the second set some other Taiwan artists joined them on stage, but sadly I don't know their names. I had met the guy with the long hair (Dino dubbed him Taiwan's Oldest Hippie) once before at The Wall, but it was a quick intro and I immediately forgot his name. The audience obviously knew who he was, and they enthusiastically joined in the singing.
After the show, my darling English student, Guoxi, made a special trip to pick me up and take me home, because the MRT stops running at midnight, and I would have had to leave early and miss some of the show. He insisted that I stay, as he's always up late. Also, he had a chance to chat with his musician buddies, and that gave me the opportunity to chat a little myself, with Xiao Zhu. This was the first time I'd ever had a conversation with him. I'd always figured him for the quiet type, but he's actually fairly talkative! The chat was cut short by Natari coming in to tell me that she and Charlene had to leave and could no longer watch Guoxi's car for him (he's left it running, parked in a red zone). So, I did car-sitting duty until he was done, and then he took me home. What a doll, huh? I didn't get to bed until 2:00 a.m., and I was so beat Thursday morning, argh. Tried to go to bed early that night, but of course the little shits upstairs were running back and forth without stopping, so no way to sleep.
Last night I went with Nat and Hiyoshi to see the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre troupe performing Cursive III at the National Theater. This contemporary dance company was formed in 1973 and has gone on extensive tours throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America. The dance which was performed utilizes paper as its only set. Streams of white rice paper cascade to the floor, and black ink pours from hidden pipes above, seeping onto the paper slowly, almost invisibly. What begins as a white piece of paper with a small black spot at the top gradually changes to a work of abstract art. Since one's attention is on the dancers, one doesn't notice the transformation right away, it's almost like magic.
I don't think I can truly describe the dancers' movements in a way you can visualize. They used subtle slow motions along with martial-arts type movements. Most of the time there was no music, just the sounds of the dancers breathing, their bare feet slapping the floor, their clothes swishing through the air (they all wore very wide-legged black pants, no shirts for the guys and leotard tops for the girls), and an occasional sharp martial arts cry, accompanied by natural sounds, such as ocean waves breaking on the short, insects at night, rain falling, typhoon-like winds blowing, with a little bit of traditional Chinese instrumentals thrown in. It was as if the dancers were dancing the wind and the rain, the night and sunlight, life itself. The program called it a "constantly shifting feast for the eyes" and it surely was. I think the audience applauded for a good ten minutes at the end of the show!
Final excitement of the week was getting my new bed delivered today! Yes, I'm a big girl now, with a big girl bed (hey, no wisecracks about my weight). I got tired of trying to share that small single bed with a restless DZ, and the mattress was just one of those thick foam pads, not really super comfortable, so I went back to IKEA and got a double bed with a real box-spring mattress. Yeah! I also bought a chair for the living room, because the small couch I have will only seat three, and there's a Christmas party being planned, along with a spaghetti dinner, and I need room for folks to plant their butts. Funny, I looked at the US prices in the IKEA catalog online, and most of the furniture that I bought is cheaper here. But, the drapes that I was going to get are almost twice as much here! Very odd. I spent $350 for the bed, chair, delivery, and assembly. Not bad at all. Well, it would be better if I had a job and a steady salary, but it's still a good deal, ha.
Didn't do much else during the week. Met twice with Guoxi to practice English, had a Tuesday and Thursday night English class, spent lots of time doing homework. Still loving the new teacher and feeling as if I'm getting better every day. On Monday Hiyoshi leaves for Japan for 10 days, so I think I'll try to do even more studying and writing, since I won't have him to distract me. Darn. I like being distracted.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot.......I kinda missed having Thanksgiving dinner. But I made up for it by having a pizza blowout with Hiyoshi, at Pizza Hut's all-you-can-eat buffet. I was at about the same level of stuffed as I would have been if I'd eaten a turkey dinner, so it was OK ;) Hope all of you had a lovely time being off work and feasting with your families.