Okay, okay, I’ve been dwelling on the dark side of Taoism for too long. Sure, 19 Incredible Taoist Gods was an awesome series of sweet court officer pix, and Terrible Moments from a Taoist Temple was a collection of terrifying dioramas, but what about the lighter, cuter side of the religion? Is there one? OF COURSE!
This Wednesday thru Friday, if you’re in Beijing, you shouldn’t miss the best of the “model operas,” The Red Detachment of Women (红色娘子军). Playing for three nights only at Poly Plaza.
It’s called a model opera, but it’s actually a ballet. The eight model operas were, during the height of the cultural revolution, the only artistic performances allowed. Five operas, two ballets, and a single symphony, all of them micro-controlled by Mao’s psychopathic wife, Jiang Qing. Continue reading “Red Detachment of Awesome”
The long, slow, dusty bus-ride cost 20 cents and took lord knows how long. But eventually it delivered us to the incredible Buddha Park.
You see, 40 or so years ago, some loony Lao was hiking along a remote mountain trace, accidentally tripped, and fell into a hole. A deep hole. It was a lot like Alice in Wonderland. But instead of meeting his quick, bloody end, he… fell into the padded lap of a meditating guru. Nice!
The faller and the padded became quick buddies, and traveled Laos and Thailand together, spreading their unique mystic word.
I’m sorry I can’t be more specific than this, but a large part of their divine message was that the world didn’t have enough outsider art. Hindu-Buddhist outsider art. AWESOME Hindu-Buddhist outsider art. It didn’t matter that neither of them had much artistic experience… they had divine tutelage! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, their inexperienced acolytes started creating hundreds of these bizarre masterworks.
Later, an eavesdropping Lao leaned in to our conversation about the temple, and interjected: “Hey, I was a monk, once. Twelve years! Twelve years no sex, no drugs! You know what I mean? I MEAN NO BOOM BOOM!”