Lunar New Year is over! It was a privilege and an honor to perform quite a bit over the last three weekends for various organizations, restaurants, communities, and businesses. As a tail in the lion, I didn’t see most of the people who came out to see us, except for a brief glimpse when we bowed at the end, but that’s fine with me. I heard through the fabric of the tail the level of enthusiasm our audiences expressed for what we were doing, and that was amazing in a way I’ve never really experienced before.
Promoting Chinese culture is part of the mission of our school, and helping with that, being a part of it by getting into the lion going out there in front of people was terrifying, exciting, and awesome. And on a more personal level, I’ve performed before, in choirs and bands and in plays and musicals, but mostly when I was much younger. Readings are a kind of performance, but it’s within my comfort zone. Going in among crowds of people, scooting between tables in restaurants, inhaling gunpowder from fireworks and then going up on enormous stages in front of a thousand or more people, using my body to animate a giant puppet… it was an amazing, unforgettable experience. It was so special, for example, to parade through the kitchen of a restaurant where my school typically eats during the New Year season, and then eat there! How cool is that?
basically my job is to twerk like miley inside of that thing
I think what made the experience so different from my other performance experiences was relying—and depending—on my body in a more intensely physical way than I ever have before. And someone else’s body—lion dance is a partner exercise, after all. Working closely with my head, developing our trust and understanding of one another, keeping our enthusiasm going when we were both tired, was another amazing part of the overall challenge, and something I’ve never experienced before.
While admittedly the drunken lion routine was more about character and story than risky tricks, for me as a relative newcomer to lion dance it was still excitingly demanding work. After the first performance weekend, which included I think 11 performances in 24 hours, I was more tired than after climbing a 14er. But it was exhilarating learning and now knowing my that my body and will can work together like that.
It’s said that lion dance is an expression of one’s overall kung fu, and moving forward into the Year of the Horse as I continue my practice, it’s really exciting knowing I’m becoming more able to make my body do what I want it to. I’ve never been particularly powerful, graceful, fast, or strong, and I continue to struggle with all of those aspects of athleticism each time I practice. But the great thing is… lion and kung fu are a journey. I have no idea where it will take me, but getting there is tremendous fun!
Nick described my story as being about “magical cowboy fights or something,” and while that’s not too far off the mark, it is actually it is about a scheme (see title/anthology theme) to steal the remains of Chinese immigrants who died working on the Transcontinental and, if they arise as jiang shi, use them for underground undead no-holds-barred boxing. There may be other schemes involved.
Jesse’s is about the devil, I think?
Anyways, if you’re into schemes, and who isn’t, consider it.
Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath will be available on Feb. 10th. I… I don’t even know. It contains a reprint of mine, a companion piece to “Ho Pais Kalos,” which if you were one of the five people who managed to figure out how to buy Geek Love you hopefully enjoyed. Anyways, ““All This For the Greater Glory of the 7th and 329th Children of the Black Goat of the Woods” is sort of my ode to Amicus/Hammer/other Brit horror films staring Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing, et al., and is about a sentient dildo.
SO! What else…
I’m blogging all year about trying to read everything Roald Dahl wrote. I’ve read a lot of his stuff, but never tied up those loose ends. The first installment just went up on Pornokitsch, huzzah huzzah, so check it out if you’re interested. This month was all about Dahl’s uncollected shorts, like “The Sword,” “In the Ruins,” and the uplifting “Measles: A Dangerous Illness.”
Oh, and happy new year! Last weekend was the first performance of the season for the lion dance troupe I volunteer for. Some kind mom was good enough to film our drunken routine! So, check it out. I’m in the tail of the red lion, center stage!
Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs/Littleton people! (And others, though less relevantly to this post.) It’s Chinese New Year this weekend, and if you’d like to ring in the Year of the Snake by watching some traditional Chinese lion dance, you’ll have plenty of opportunities. Many different organizations are hosting performances, but Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu will be will be lion dancing and doing kung fu demonstrations at the following locations/times:
Friday, Feb 8th: Boulder Restaurants
China Gourmet: 6:00 PM
Lee Yuan: 6:00 PM
Golden Lotus: 6:30-6:45 PM
Spice China: 7:30 PM
Saturday, Feb 9th: Colorado Springs/Denver
Chinese Cultural Institute CNY at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium: 11:00 AM
Denver Chinese School CNY, Paramount Theater, Denver: 2:00 PM
Chinese Student and Scholar Association CNY at the Glen Miller Ballroom, CU, Boulder: 6:30 PM
Sunday, Feb 10th: Denver/Littleton
Empress Seafood Restaurant, Denver: 11:00 AM
Far East Shopping Center, Denver: 12:00 PM
Shoppes at Columbine Valley, Littleton: 3:00 PM
Red Coral Restaurant, Denver: 5:30 PM
For a full listing of Chinese New Year events, check out our calendar! There are performances all throughout February.