Category Archives: Up-and-coming…

Velvet Moon: Live Music & Dance @ Urbanguild, Kyoto; March 25th 2015

amals

amallsのskcaj are Andy Couzens & Sseeaann Rrooee performing an improvised tribute of video and sound to the memory of Mr. Michael Jackson

I’m very happy to report that our old friend Sean Roe will be returning to Urbanguild on March 25th as one half of the sound and video improvisation unit amallsのskcaj!

VELVET MOON Vol. 115
DATE: Wednesday March 25th

DOORS OPEN: 19:00 / SHOW STARTS: 19:30

ADVANCE TICKETS: 2000 yen with 1 drink / TICKETS ON THE DOOR: 2300 yen with 1 drink

Here is the full line up for a night of Velvet Moon!

amallsのskcaj (Sseeaann Rrooee and Andy Couzens)

amalls

amalls の skcaj

みすず(dance) + 山崎昭典(guitar)

misuzu

misuzu

Originally a ballerina but influenced by Butoh since her university days, みすず has performed with various musicians and many styles of music. A regular at Urbanguild, every shapeshifting performance tells a unique story of its own.

Cozy

Colin Garvey + Yozy = Cozy

Colin Garvey + Yozy (dance)

Colin Garvey is a self-taught Canadian indie/folk singer and songwriter who blends the strumming and singing of catchy tunes with live beats produced on the spot by the looping of beat-boxing and the pounding and battering of one of the world’s ugliest guitars. Each song is based on a story or feeling acquired from the life of a troubadour; as he travels the globe taking in any and all experiences that present themselves. It all comes together to produce a lively, quirky and entertaining atmosphere that can be summed up as, ‘enjoyable’. He will be accompanied by Chinese dancer, Yozy.

Mangrove Kipling
ukiyo
Mangrove Kipling (Laurent Lavol?) is a french experimental musician living and working in Berlin, Germany. Exploring new regions of sounds and always expanding his range of action, he has worked internationally with artists of all categories, mainly dancers, video artists and numerous other musicians. For the first time in Japan, he developed an augmented guitar that allows him to play his wide range of tunes through a portable device.
www.mangrovekipling.com

Top image by Andy Couzens. Text and other images courtesy of the artists and Urbanguild.

Directions: To get to Urbanguild from Sanjo Dori, go down Kiyamachi Dori (This is the narrow street running alongside the Takase stream). Urbanguild is on the east side (the left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) about 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a map.

KYOTOGRAPHIE 2015

With thanks to Christie Petrakopoulou, here are some details of this year’s Kyotographie festival of photography (with a little bit of jazz thrown in for good measure)…

KYOTOGRAPHIE is a high-end photographic event that runs annually in Kyoto (Japan), for over three weeks during the height of the spring tourist season. With a unique approach in Asia to traditional exhibition, KYOTOGRAPHIE presents world-class photography with original scenography in Kyoto City’s unique traditional and contemporary architecture.

KYOTOGRAPHIE 2015 – 3rd EDITION, April 18th – May 10th, 2015. Exhibiting widely recognized and celebrated Japanese and international photography from 9 countries in 14 iconic venues.

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Focusing on ‘TRIBE,’ the 3rd Edition of KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival presents another fascinating array of exhibitions and events in Kyoto.
Dates: 2015. 4.18 Sat – 5.10 Sun
Exhibitions: 14 Exhibitions. Artists from 9 countries 15 venues

TRIBE – What’s Your Story?
The tribe is a source of fascination in a world where globalization and population displacement pose crucial questions concerning roots and belonging. Since inclusion is vital to our happiness, the tribe naturally attracts. Now, as in times past,the tribe provides ways of connecting and sharing important information and ideologies. Through shared heritage, collective conscience, or common values the tribe embraces us and becomes a significant identifying factor in our social fabric. Crossing the globe in search of places where people meet, engage and form special relationships, KYOTOGRAPHIE’s 2015 exhibitions look back at the past to explore indigenous cultures and history, and investigate contemporary popular culture and the fringes of society. TRIBE seeks to question what it means to belong, both by choice and as a matter of circumstance.

Highlights

Marc Riboud, Alaska, 1958 / © Marc Riboud

Marc Riboud, Alaska, 1958 / © Marc Riboud

●Marc Riboud’s exhibition “Alaska” presented by CHANEL NEXUS HALL goes on tour. Touring from CHANEL NEXUS HALL, this exhibition features unpublished and unseen works shot in Alaska in 1958 by Marc Riboud, one of the 20th century’s leading photographers.

National Photographic Collections of MNAA– Guimet, Apollinaire Le Bas, Japanese Warrior, 1864, albumen print / © Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts

National Photographic Collections of MNAA– Guimet, Apollinaire Le Bas, Japanese Warrior, 1864, albumen print / © Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts

●“Last Samurai” images from the photographic collections of the Guimet National M useum of Asian Arts World premiere! KYOTOGRAPHIE begins a collaboration with the Guimet museum (France), presenting never before seen
albums and images. This first exhibition will provide an in-depth and valuable look into samurai culture. It will include rare portraits of Japan’s warrior class from the height of the samurai era and photographs that were produced for foreign consumption in the Meiji period.

Francis Wolff, BLUE TRAIN

Francis Wolff, BLUE TRAIN (Album of John Coltrane) , 1577 / © Francis Wolff/Mosaic Images

●Francis Wolff, a vision of jazz Japan premiere! This special Blue Note Records exhibition features Francis Wolff and other important archived works from Reid Miles. It traces the legacy of jazz and explores the intimate moments Wolff captured in his lengthy career.

Roger Ballen, Mimicry, 2005 / © Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen, Mimicry, 2005 / © Roger Ballen

●Roger Ballen first solo exhibition in Japan
Roger Ballen is a South Africa-based artist who brings a unique perspective to themes of racial discrimination and poverty. His fascinating work has gained enormous global attention. This much-awaited exhibition will take place
at Horikawa Oike Gallery, where a retrospective supported by COMME des GARÇONS will provide insight into his photographic career. Roger Ballen’s new movie Outland will also be shown at COMME des GARÇONS Kyoto store.
In addition, KYOTOGRAPHIE will launch a new edition of his controversial photobook Outland complete with 45 new images. Outland is the culmination of Ballen’s twenty years of work and is one of the most extraordinary photographic
documents of the late 20th century.

●Evening Events
To coincide with the Blue Note Records exhibition, KYOTOGRAPHIE will present a series of special musical events. They will take place throughout the festival calendar and offer entertainment for all ages, tastes and interests (Jazz dinner, Jazz lounge, live performances, etc…) The festival will feature Shuya Okino, who formed “KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE” as a DJ unit (they recently celebrated their 20th anniversary). Okino is arguably Japan’s leading export in the crossover Jazz scene with a successful career as a composer, international performer and chart-topping artist. As a DJ, Shuya Okino regularly tours Japan and worldwide.

Text and images courtesy of Kyotographie. To learn more about KYOTOGRAPHIE 2015 visit the official website here: http://www.kyotographie.jp

Or check out some of the other photographers they have lined up on their crowdfunding page: https://motion-gallery.net/projects/KYOTOGRAPHIE2015

RELATED: Kyotographie 2015 Crowdfunding Campaign Now Open!

Fire Ceremony & Kyōgen Performance at Seiryō-ji on March 15th

Seiryō-ji temple grounds with festival stalls & giant torches ready to be lit!

Seiryō-ji temple grounds with festival stalls & giant torches ready to be lit!

Many temples hold special ceremonies on March 15th to commemorate the Buddha’s death, or passing into Nirvana (Nehan 涅槃 in Japanese). One of the more spectacular and eventful commemorations is at Seiryō-ji temple in Saga. There are a number of reasons why you might want to attend this particular event.

  • On this day only, entry to the temple interior is free.
  • It has a real local festival feel with food stalls set up all about the temple grounds.
  • Traditional Kyōgen comedy performances are held throughout the day.
  • There is a huge fire festival in the evening.

Mewby and I visited Seiryō-ji for last year’s Nehan-e (涅槃会), so here are some pictures from our visit.

Seiryō-ji Temple

Naturally we took advantage of the free entry to the temple interior and gardens. Normally this would cost us 400 yen each, but on this day alone there is no charge!

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Many Buddhist artworks of incredible detail are on display inside the temple. In contrast the gardens provide space for peaceful reverie.

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Take a look around yourself!

Click on this image for a 360 degree rotational view.

Click on this image for a 360 degree rotational view.

Kyōgen Comedies

Two monks carry in a "living" statue of the Buddha.

Actors portray two monks carrying in a “living” statue of the Buddha.

Saga Kyōgen is a form of medieval mummer’s play, performed completely without words and so very easy to understand, even for non-Japanese. Accompanied by drum and gong, the masked performers, use exaggerated miming to convey very simple plots. The play we saw, concerned a visit to Seiryō-ji temple by a beautiful mother and her less than beautiful daughter.

The "homely" daughter is on the left and the mother on the right.

The “homely” daughter is on the left and the mother on the right.

So beautiful is the mother that monks become overly excited in her presence and welcome her warmly. Naturally, the plainer daughter gets a colder reception. Not very subtle I know, but the play does contain some religious satire. Seiryō-ji is famous for its rarely displayed sandalwood statue of the Buddha. This statue is held to be so sacred it is termed a “living Buddha”. In the Kyōgen comedy, the Buddha literally comes to life, turning away from the plain-faced daughter, and actually running off with her mother instead!

The Buddha statue running off with a beautiful lady as a temple monk tries to stop him.

The Buddha statue running off with a beautiful lady as a temple monk tries to stop him.

Naturally, both the daughter and the monks are very upset by this, but not to worry. There is a Japanese expression, 蓼食う虫も好き好き, or “some prefer nettles”, which means that beauty is very much in the eye of each beholder – and so the homely daughter also finds true love in the end!

All's well that ends well for the homely daughter...

All’s well that ends well for the homely daughter…

The Fire Ceremony

Saga no hashira taimatsu, (嵯峨の柱松明) is part of a religious ceremony commemorating Buddha’s passing from this world into Nirvana. The ceremony begins around 8pm and the two giant torches are set alight at 8.30. You need to get there early though, if you want a decent view.

The pine torches quickly catch fire...

The pine torches quickly catch fire…

I’ve read that the condition of the fire can be used to divine the fortunes of the coming year.

Fire fighters are on hand to prevent the fire from getting out of hand...

Fire fighters are on hand to prevent the fire from getting out of hand…

As the fires blaze, monks from the temple parade around bearing lanterns and chanting sutras.

A blazing inferno!

The fires really do reach quite high and send their sparks up to the heavens.

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A blazing inferno!

My pictures don’t really do the experience justice, so take a look for yourself!

Click on this image for 360 degree rotational view.

Click on this image for 360 degree rotational view.

Details and directions:

Kyōgen performances are held in the afternoon at 15.30, 17.00 and 18.30. The temple interior and gardens are open from 9:00 until 16:00. The fires are lit between 20.00 and 20.30. To get there, take Kyoto Bus #71, or #72, and get off at Saga Shakado-mae. The temple can also be reached by taking a 15 minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyam Station. Here is a MAP.

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Kyoto’s Annual Anti-Nuclear Rally at Maruyama Park, This Saturday, March 7th 2015!

名称未設定 1

From Aileen Mioko Smith,

I realize this is late notice! Here is the information on the big
annual no nukes rally to be held this Saturday, March 7th at Maruyama Park. The demonstration will leave the park and end at Kyoto City Hall.

The rally starts at 1:30pm. Booths are open from noon, right outside
the venue.

Everyone welcome.

Thank you, Aileen! Details, in Japanese, are on the flyer below.

バイバイ原発3・7きょうとチラシ うら

Kyoto Conference on Contemplation, 27-29 March 2015

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Many thanks to Peter Cheyne for sending me the following information on an upcoming conference on contemplation at Kyoto Notre Dame University.

flyer-coleridge-and-contemplation-page-0011
Peter writes,

While the title is ‘Coleridge and Contemplation’, not all talks are specifically about Coleridge, although all will discuss aspects of meditation and contemplation.

Each of the three days is loosely themed as follows:

Friday 27th: Literary/ Philosophical

Saturday: Philosophy, and some Religious perspectives

Sunday: Walking, Mystery, Nature, Environment, and some Buddhism

There will be free tea, coffee, juice, drinking water and light snacks during the breaks.

Summaries of each talk can be found on the webpage for each speaker: http://kyotocontemplation.org/plenary-speakers/

Guest Chairs from around Japan will help with some of the sessions, including Kyoto’s own John Dougill (Ryukoku), David Chandler (Doshisha), Rob Kritzer (Kyoto Notre Dame), and Elizabeth Kenney (Kansai Gaidai): http://kyotocontemplation.org/guest-chairs/

Though this is an academic conference, it is open to the public and free of charge.

Please visit the official website to learn more about the schedule and speakers: http://kyotocontemplation.org/

Parasophia: A Major Festival of Art & Culture in Kyoto Starts this Week!

parasophia

Well, this looks interesting, doesn’t it?

Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015
March 7–May 10, 2015

Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015 is the first large-scale international exhibition of contemporary art to be held in Kyoto.  Approximately 40 artists from around the world will participate in the two-month exhibition at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, the Museum of Kyoto, and other locations. Many of these artists will also have taken part in the 700 days before the exhibition, making extended visits to Kyoto for site visits, collaborations, and other research for new works that will be presented at the first exhibition in 2015.

To find out more about the schedule and location of events and exhibitions please visit the official Parasophia site.

Parasophia is also on, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

Support Kai Fusayoshi & the Spirit of Honyarado this Saturday February 28th at Urbanguild!

honyarado

Honyarado as it was…

…the café caught fire in an unknown cause before dawn of 16th January and over 2million frames of black-and-white photographic negative film I’ve saved for more than 40 years, along with tens of thousands of prints, thousands of copies of more than 40 books I wrote, posters, postcards, my favorite cameras, a hundred and several tens of diaries I’ve kept for 43 years, manuscript of “Youth of Honyarado”, my new book on the pleasant early days that was about to be published, valuable guest books conveying the atmosphere of early days vividly, and thousands of books from my library, were mostly burned down and lost.
I am now at a total loss. I don’t know where to begin…

KAI Fusayoshi

the spirit of honyarado

Legendary Kyoto cafe Honyarado, once famed as a center for counter-culture and folk music, was sadly lost to us in a fire on January 16th of this year. Fortunately, Kai Fusayoshi the proprieter, escaped unhurt, but he did lose many of his precious negatives and books. Kai is a well-known black-and-white photographer who has been documenting the lives of ordinary Kyoto citizens (and cats) for many years now, so this is a terrible loss. The good news is that the good people at Urbanguild have organized an event this Saturday to show their support for Kai, and encourage him to start afresh. This is a good opportunity for the local community to come together and show some support for one of our most valued members, and I’m sure it will be a memorable night.

Here are the details:

February 28th Saturday
Doors open: 17:00
Show starts: 18:00
Close: 21:00

Entry: 1000 yen (+ one drink) -> and a donation!

The Performers:
Kevin McHugh
trace elements (max & ryotaro)
草壁カゲロヲ (VOGA)
ゲバゲバ2 [KEi-K (alto sax) + 横田直寿 (ds)]

Location: UrBANGUILD. From Sanjo Dori go down Kiyamachi Dori. This is the narrow street running alongside Takase stream. Urbanguild is on the east side (left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo). Walk approximately 150 metres. Its on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

Apparently some “smoked” photographs will also be on sale & there will be an after-party at Kai’s bar, Hachimonjiya (map here).

Kyotographie 2015 Crowdfunding Campaign Now Open!

kyotographie 2015

The crowdfunding campaign for Kyotographie 2015 has now begun. This has become a major art event in Kyoto over the last two years. Please lend your support if you can! Here’s the link: https://motion-gallery.net/projects/KYOTOGRAPHIE2015

About Kyotographie:
KYOTOGRAPHIE is a high-end photographic event that runs annually in Kyoto (Japan), for over three weeks during the height of the spring tourist season. With a unique approach in Asia to traditional exhibition, KYOTOGRAPHIE presents world-class photography with original scenography in Kyoto City’s unique traditional and contemporary architecture. Recognized as a distinguished photographic event, the festival successfully proved its significance in 2014 with around 40,000 visitors coming from across the country and overseas.

KYOTOGRAPHIE 2015 – 3rd EDITION, April 18th – May 10th, 2015. Exhibiting widely recognized and celebrated Japanese and international photography from 9 countries in 14 iconic venues.

KYOTOGRAPHIE aims to foster an appreciation of photography as a medium and art form. The festival brings together the international arts community and creates opportunities and events that generate quality exchanges for people of all ages and cultures. In addition to the major festival program the festival also fosters opportunities for emerging photographers through its satellite event KG+.

LINK: http://www.kyotographie.jp

Breaking News: Philippe’s Bar – aka Bar F.S.N. #3 is Open!

This picture by John Gorman

This picture by John Gorman

This news from Mr. John Gorman:

Philippe is proud to announce the long awaited opening of F.S.N. the third!

The bar will be open from tonight!

Opening party Saturday February 21st, DJ’s from 22h.

DJ’s boogie Dan, Rei and Raijin.

The new bar is located between Kawaramachi and Nishi-Kiyamachi, on the north side of Rokaku Dori, on the third floor of the Rokaku Terrace Building.

090-5064-0642

Rokkaku Terrace Building 3F
Kawaramachi-Rokkaku Higashi-iru
Kyoto

〒604-8032 京都府京都市中京区河原町通六角東入ル 六角テラスビル3F

https://goo.gl/maps/A3eVJ

Ancient Football at Kamigamo Shrine

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A public domain image of Emperor Jinmu – Stories from “Nihonki” (Chronicles of Japan), by Ginko Adachi.

Tomorrow, 紀元祭 – Kigensai (National Foundation Day), will be celebrated at shrines all over Japan with prayers for peace and prosperity. This is said to be the day when the legendary first emperor of Japan, Jimmu ascended to the throne. If you go to Kamigamo Shrine tomorrow, it is also a good opportunity to see a Heian era game resembling an early form of football called “kemari” (“kickball”). There will also be karate and kendo demonstrations.

The schedule is as follows:

9 – 10:00 am: Kendo
10:00 am: Hoisting of the Hi-no-maru national flag and singing of Kimigayo (the national anthem)
10:15 am: Karate demonstration from local children
11:00 – 11:50 am: 蹴鞠 – Kemari kick-ball. Players dressed in colorful Heian era costumes attempt to keep a deer-skin ball in the air.

Image taken from Kamigamo Shrine website. Click to visit the site.

Image taken from Kamigamo Shrine website. Click to visit the site.

For more details check the link (Japanese only): http://www.kamigamojinja.jp/event/kigensai.html