in battle formation.
Click on image to enlarge
The warrior challenges his friend:
sticks for swords, young bodies swoop and lunge.
Play boots stomp on a pink Oriental rug.
Boys in workout gear,
black beards hooked over their ears
posture, eyebrows furrowed.
Teenaged girls are frivolous females,
fingers pointing, eyes dancing, white sheets
Buoyant and tumbling, the loyal monkey
arranges himself on a lacquered stool,
his face clown white.
Fierce eyes, quick gestures,
gongs, drums and clappers
of hardwood and bamboo;
two men somersault,
a fight in the night.
Small as the stage is,
a few steps bring you far
San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. Celebration in honor of the Lunar New Year has been going on for over a week. As the San Franciscans go about their business, there are intermittent firecracker pops in the air. We are surprised by a dragon dancing on a corner somewhere in the city. After the Climate Change Rally last Sunday my friend and I walked home winding our way through Chinatown. Hearing music we ducked into an alley. A group had gathered around two small dragons. There were two dancers in each costume. We watched as the leader knocked on each door. The occupant would open the door and give the leader a small red envelope which contained crisp new dollar bills. The lions danced, the cymbals clanged. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. It’s scary. It’s fun. Firecrackers are thrown. One hit my leg as the dancing dragons moved on to the next neighboring door.
The first photograph in the above series was taken through a storefront window where the main dragon is on display until Saturday, the day of the Chinese New Year Parade. The Golden Dragon is over 201 feet long and is always featured at the end of the parade as the grand finale and will be accompanied by over 600,000 firecrackers! The Golden Dragon was made in Foshan, a small town in China. The Foshan dragonmasters formerly made all the costumes for the Cantonese opera, and the Golden Dragon bears many operatic touches, such as the rainbow colored pompoms on its 6 foot-long head. It is festooned from nose to tail with colored lights, decorated with silver rivets on both scaly sides and trimmed in white rabbit fur. The dragon, made on a skeleton of bamboo and rattan, is in 29 segments. It takes a team of 100 men and women to carry the Golden Dragon. This is also considered an honor to be chosen for the grand finale.
Click on images to see detail. See the red wax in the guy’s ear? The guy has drums and cymbals on a cart with wheels.
(click on image to see the coins glisten)
After trimming about 50 images and putting together the beginnings of a book I realized I’m not following the rules. I’m supposed to be making a sketchbook, not an Artists Book of photographs.
(click on image to enlarge)
Chairs or sitting seems to be the subject matter. I could draw one hundred chairs. I’ve got a lot of drawing to do. Maybe I take out the photoraphs and intermingle new chair drawings with past sketches. That wayI could go around the world while sitting in my chair at home.
Yesterday I did pick up a brush, but it was for polyurethane varnish. I went over to a friend’s studio where I met her daughter, a blogger I had been following. http://thegirlinthehat.wordpress.com/ While we kept our hands busy making something, we quizzed each other about wordpress and blogging. It was great fun – fun to see each other’s faces and to have a conversation in person.
Seeking suggestions on what to add to the Bhutan scrolls I had made earlier, I brought them with me. Along with the scrolls, I brought prayer paper from Thimpu. When I was visiting Thimpu, I spent an afternoon at the saturday art school; we looked at each other’s work and painted together. After school, one of the students took me to a store where I bought some prayer books. Actually, the books were separate pieces of printed handmade paper. Yesterday, I felt close to Bhutan. My wet varnish stained hands were covered with Bhutanese ink from the prayer paper. What will become of the box? Maybe it will become part of an Artist’s book about that part of the world at the base of Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest is so high; the white mountain was above the clouds on a clear day as we were flying towards the Paro airport. As usual, click on the images to see them bigger.