Archive for March, 2011 website redesign – phase 1 done!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Whew! After months of work, Taiko Conference registration is open! Assuming the fancy new website doesn’t melt into a messy mass of meta-data, I think the last-minute decision to redesign the site is paying off. We had 62 orders on the first day and everything seems to be holding together. The issues that popped up have been manageable — a minor miracle considering this was Ron and my first time setting up an online store with SSL and such.

Ron Golan is the main developer on the project and he’s been a dream to work with. The new site is based on Drupal and it seems like Ron can do just about anything. Ron is also Hiro and my architect for our mobile and modular house designs. The man bakes bread. He makes his own miso. He’s amazing, and Taiko Conference is lucky to have him. Thanks, Ron!

I’m sure there are bugs still lurking at the site, so if you find any problems or have suggestions, please let me know. Hope you like it!

Hope and memorial service at the JACCC

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will hold a hope and memorial service on Thursday, March 17, for victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The interfaith service and community gathering will begin at 6:30pm at the JACCC Plaza at 244 South San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles. The service will be open to the public and there will be representatives from Japan disaster relief funds for individuals who wish to make a contribution.

Yamasong screening at Hive Gallery

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Graphation Film Festival No. 1 Trailers from Graphation on Vimeo.

Yamasong is screening at the Graphation Film Festival at 8:00pm on Thursday March 16th at the Hive Gallery! There will be a Q/A panel with myself and Sam after the screen then a showing of one of the Jim Henson masterpieces that inspired Yamasong, The Dark Crystal!

Graphation @ the Hive
Thursday, March 17th, 8:00pm
The Hive Gallery and Studios
729 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA

Cerritos was a grand success!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


Taiko 2.0 at Cerritos went really well! We felt like the music made great strides forward, the audience was enthusiastic about the new music, and the “Burn Your Own” system actually worked!

More on each of these in the coming days. After weeks of frenzied days preparing for Cerritos, I’m now in the middle of a week of frenzied nights trying to finish the redesign of More soon!

Our best show ever… please come!

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

The whole cast (four On Ensemble members plus five collaborators and 4 technical staff!) are in town and busily preparing for Taiko 2.0 at Cerritos Center. I’m confident this is going to be our best concert ever. And there are still lots of tickets left. If you’ve been on the fence, please, please come! We’re really proud of this music and know this is going to be a great show!

TAIKO 2.0 Guest Artist Profile: Kaoru Watanabe

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Kaoru Watanabe

TAIKO 2.0 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts is coming this Saturday March 12th!  Today we are highlighting Brooklyn based flute and taiko player Kaoru Watanabe.  Kaoru was born into a musical family, both of his parents play with the St. Louis Symphony.  He’s a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy  and the Manhattan School of Music.  He got his start playing taiko in St. Louis then later with the New York based group Soh Daiko.  In 1998 Kaoru moved to Sado Island to become an apprentice with Kodo.  He became the first American to become a performing member of Kodo and spent six years touring around the world with the ensemble.  In 2005 he become Artistic Director of Earth Celebration, Kodo’s annual world music festival held in Sado every summer.  In 2006 Kaoru left Kodo for New York City and has quickly become one of the most sought after fue and taiko players in North America.

Presenter wrap-up: On Ensemble Performance in Spearfish, January 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I have been remiss in singing the praises of the “On Ensemble”. In January this group performed at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish South Dakota and what a treat! The concert is still being talked about. The quality and professionalism of this group well exceeded even the University Faculty who attended. Given an opportunity I would not hesitate to have this group perform in our venue again. While this type of entertainment may be new to Spearfish I have been involved in the presenting business for well over a decade and this group was not only pleasing to the audience but a true group of unassuming gentlemen who went out of their way to provide an outstanding concert. All I can say is “Thank you”!

Paradise Lost in Chicago!

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Kris and I are at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago rehearsing for Eric Whitacre’s Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings! We’re performing tomorrow at Roosevelt University and are totally excited as always to be part of this production. We got in yesterday and spent the evening having a lesson and having fun with our host, John Yost. Thanks John and family for hosting us and letting us borrow your drums!

For those of you who don’t know, Paradise Lost is a production we did in Pasadena in 2007 that ran for about three months. It combines operatic singing (with seven leads), a choir (over 200 singers!), acting, choreographed fighting, electronica, cello, a DJ, and taiko (us, of course). The story is about children of angels who were locked in their angel city when their parents left to battle. The parents never came back and the children are forced to govern themselves. This results in internal conflict.

Last year, Shoji and I performed at Carnegie Hall in New York which was a blast! This year, we’re here in Chicago and are at Disney Hall in Los Angeles on June 25. Check it out!

Here is a picture of today’s rehearsal.  You can see Kris and the taiko all the way on the left side.

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