On January 26, 2013, I attended Mimi Wada’s sumi-e live art performance titled “Paris in Saturday’s Afternoon”. During the performance, she painted a sketch of Parise in Sumi-e style while Sanshiro Hashimoto sang chansons with a live band composed of Shinichiro Kanda on piano, Jun Kawasaki on bass and Hitoshi on the bandoneón. While this is not the first time I’ve seen live painting done simultaneously during another performance, this is the first that I’ve seen that was coordinated around a theme. The entire event was meant to transport the audience to Paris and was held in a night club called “Le Baron de Paris” located in Omotesando, Tokyo. The nightclub itself is modeled after a Parisian-style salon, but done with darker undertones than a typical Parisian salon. The night club lighting unfortunately was not the best. The stage was too dimly lit and did not flatter the performers. The artists themselves also noted this circumstance. Still, this hindrance did not stop both individuals from creating a whimsical afternoon of a Japanese fantasy of long ago Paris. In perhaps unintentional post-modern fashion, both Ms. Wada and Mr. Hashimoto conjure up a form of nostalgia for a Paris that may have never quite existed in the world. In doing so, they offer an imaginary Paris for the audience to participate in. Inverting France’s colonial obsession with the orient and “les Japonaises,” these two young Japanese artists combine both traditional Japanese culture with traditional Parisian images and songs.
In the summer of 2010, I left the USA to move to Okinawa, Japan. I thought I would only be here for a year, but it’s going on 3 years now. I’ve been on a performance hiatus since I moved to Japan, though I guess that’s not really true. I just haven’t documented it at all. I left this little site of mine in a dark corner of the internet, but I’m resurrecting it.
I was in Tokyo the last weekend of January for a friend’s performance at Le Baron de Paris in Omotesando. A review will soon be up. In addition, I’m restarting New News, the literary and performance series I organized in Florida in 2010, and will be hosting it at Cotonoha Art Space + Cafe in Ginowan, Okinawa. And, hopefully!, I’ll soon see the formation of a theater company here in Okinawa. These are all just on the horizon now, but I’m taking steps to make them happen soon. It’ll happen soon.