Archive for August, 2010

Matsuri Aces Workshop #1

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Developing and Refining Movement Phrases
by dancer and choreographer, Rachel Cohen

Rachel Cohen has prepared a workshop at my request for the Matsuri Aces crew entitled Developing and Refining Movement Phrases, to be held next Tuesday, August 24. Although spaces for participation are full, if you would like to observe, you are welcome to join us. Send me an email and I’ll give the details!

About Rachel Cohen

Rachel’s strong proclivity for the arts led her to a career as a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator, earning two degrees from UCLA, and performing and choreographing professionally. She has taught dance at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, and El Camino College. Seeing a necessity to create national visibility for local dance companies, Rachel founded Cadence Arts Network, Inc., in 1989, which now includes an international roster of artists in dance, music, and theater. She frequently lectures in universities, and serves as a consultant, mentor, and mediator for a variety of performing artists.

Mainland Shave Ice that doesn’t suck

Friday, August 20th, 2010


Okay so usually I would NOT turn into an advertisement for anything but I feel compelled to let you all know know that I found something I thought I would never find: mainland shave ice that doesn’t suck!  For years and years I’ve been wondering why it’s so hard to make shave ice like Hawaii’s famous Matsumotos or my personal favorite Waiola’s.

When I lived in Hawai’i going to Waiola’s was a religious experience.  Inspired by chado I sought perfection in the ritual of my own shave ice ceremony.  To arrive fully with all of your senses in a single moment to enjoy the pleasure of a lychee shave ice is to attain some kind of modern day enlightenment.  (more…)

Photo session with Brent Pantell

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Brent’s work graces frequently. He is the modern renaissance man; graphic designer, screen printer, photographer, videographer, DJ, and all-around great person.

Brent is taking a college course called Environmental Portraiture and asked me to play model for an evening. I have reservations about portrait shots… staring into the camera requires a force of personality I don’t seem to have. But Brent made it fun. He came to my practice space in the underground parking garage at GVJCI and started shooting. Thank you, Brent!

Long-term taiko project: Matsuri Aces

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

For a few years now, I’ve been feeling like On Ensemble’s performances would benefit from the addition of a movement-focused taiko piece. The problem is, I don’t have the choreographic vocabulary to utilize convincing movement in my pieces. So I’ve started a long-term project to improve my movement and choreographic skills. I’m developing a series of bon-taiko-inspired movement phrases, a methodology for practicing and teaching them, and games and exercises for arranging phrases in convincing ways. If all the parts miraculously come together, the end result will be a deck of 52 playing cards, each featuring a movement phrase, along with a guidebook of games and practice challenges. The project is called Matsuri Aces!

I’ve arranged a performance at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute Carnival on June 27 2011, as a way-point for the project. The goal is to develop a series of movement phrases and try working them into an actual performance piece. I’m arranging a series of workshops with non-taiko artists with the hope that taiko can benefit from different perspectives. I have a small group of great taiko players joining me to explore the possibilities and I’ll be blogging about our findings here!

Yamasong at Dragon*Con Film Festival

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

We’ve just got news that Yamasong will be shown at the upcoming Dragon*Con Film Festival!  With an attendence of over 30,000 Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!  Maybe On Ensemble should write some songs in Quenya and try to perform at Dragon*Con.  Or better yet Klingon…  I bet Klingons play taiko.

The Yes Men Fix the World Avail for Download

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Hiro and I just enjoyed watching a fun movie, The Yes Men Fix the World. You can download it for free here!

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