A NIGHT OF BUTOH, POETRY AND ART- BOKA GALLERY
By Antonio Pineda
Boaz Zippor greets me at the entrance to Boka Gallery in the Saphan-Kwai area of Bangkok. He lights up a cigarette, as he greets his guests and discourses at length on painting and photography.
“My photographic art in this exhibition is as raw as you can get, this is why i love Butoh. it is lean and mean and shows every human sentiment in its most naked form,” he explains. He escorts me to the lower level of his home, which houses his extensive collection of photographs and art.
“It might look like a dark art, but if you look closely at all the photos, it is always the light that is guiding you through the image, hence it is actualy the ‘dance of darkness’ as Butoh is known, that brings light into our life.” says Zippor.
His wife Toto, a famous artist by her own merit, is tending bar. She is also an accomplished painter whose work, through the years has matured to what can only be called neo-Thai style, with influences from all over Asia but a strong Thai base and traditional cultural roots. His Excellency the Argentine Ambassador, Felipe Frydman, has donated a dozen bottles of Argentine Malbac, for the occasion , an augury from the gods.
A coven of literati and cogniscenti lig at the bar. Painters, authors, poets and beaucoup des cineastes. Marcelo Von Schwartz, director of the film , Dark Bridge, arrives with his camera to shoot the poetry reading I will be performing. The Argentine-Iberian film maker shares a glass of Malbac with Don Felipe. Marcelo is a denizen of Barcelona, but he now resides in Bangkok although he grew up in Argentina. He is in the final edit of his debut feature film entitled, DARK BRIDGE.
Boaz Zippor, our gracious host is in his element, as he shows guests about the photography on the walls of the bottom floor of the gallery. Tom Waller, an award winning local film director chats with me about his latest film. Kaprice Kea, producer-director and bon vivant shares his views on cinema.
The Butoh performance is full on. The dancers emerge from the house in whiteface, dressed in white with red sashes. The men are bare-chested. Two women and two male players enact a ritualistic mimodrama. The performance takes place in the outside jardin. The music is hypnotic and the actors dance with strong centers, interacting with one another, the concept is alluring and mysterious. A translucent moon beams down on the players, the audience drinks wine and smoke. The audience bursts into applause as the performance comes to an end. The dancers come back after they take their bows to lig and discuss the performance with the audience.
Dean Kelly and his lovely lady Nikki make the scene. He is one of the organizers of Bed Supper Club and graciously invites us s his guests to Bed . We roll upstairs to the upper gallery where the poetry reading is about to take place . Marcelo Von Schwartz sets up the camera on a tripod to film the reading. Dark Bridge will be on the film festival circuit in 2011. He and I have also collaborated on a book, entitled Dark Cabaret, which is an exposition of the shooting of the film. Dark Cabaret is comprised of Von Schwartz stills from the movie accompanied by my text. It is in the tradition of the Nouvelle Vague, and will be available via Amazon in 2011.
I take my place behind the bar upstairs. Von Schwartz signals for ACTION. The celebration of this reading is in the Beat tradition. San Francisco has just celebrated Litquake, and Bangkok continues the tradition of On The Road that Jack Kerouac inspired so many years ago. The Beats in California still inspire reverence and admiration. Lawrence Ferlinghetti recently was honored in San Francisco on his 93rd birthday. The International Fall Poetry Festival organized by The King OF Poetry, Philip Hackett, invited me to perform a reading ther September last.
Von Schwarz shoots on, oblivious to the extraneous distractions. I read from my new work, a section entitled, Bangkok Blues. After a dozen poems I conclude with a poem dedicated to Dr. Albert Hoffman, the legendary scientist who pioneered the discovery of LSD, entitled Waiting For The Revolution. The reading goes down a storm.
The art of Tauromaqia in Spain is famous for a tradition called Espontaneos. This takes place in the bull ring when people leap the barriers to assume the matadors gig until they are escorted from the arena. An Espontaneo jumps to the forum. He is a young film actor named Lucas. He rips off a poem to the delight of the onlookers. Another bearded bloke jumps in as Lucas exits and wails with a hip hop cadenced poem or two. The place is jumpin. Mark Johnson, Bangkok film actor, plays his guitar throughout the entire scenario, giving the performances Beat entenderes.
Von Schwartz takes me aside and confirms he has shot an hour of film. We repair to le jardin where the hip hop poet continues to regale the guests with his poetry.
The Malbac continues to flow. Legendary cineaste David Winters rings me to cue me up re my next assignment. I had the pleasure and privilege to gig a 2 day shoot with David and his son John in Pattaya. The director of the title, Teddy Bear, is a young Dane, Mads Mathieson. He is a film director you will hear much about in the future. David was one of the co-stars, and John did a cameo as his son in the flick while I swanned about in the shots. My next scheduled public appearance will be at the wrap party for the motion picture, Teddy Bear. It was shot on location in Bangkok, Pattaya and Denmark. The gig will be celebrated at Brown Sugar, one of the hippest and oldest venues in Bangkok. But that mes cher amis is another story for another day.