Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 22 2007

Dream Parade and Bliss show

The Muddy Basin Ramblers on a parade float, photo by ThumperSaturday was a full day. I was late again meeting Sandman down at the 7-Eleven, but we eventually caught a cab to the corner of Renai and Jianguo, where the annual Dream Community Parade was forming. Traffic was blocked up, and the street was lined with floats. We found David, Slim, Conor and Thumper gathered around a large pig-shaped float that was supposed to be ours, but it turned out to be a mix-up. The pig was for BoPoMoFo. Ours was actually more of a “court jester” themed float, and much smaller. Two banners with the indecipherable “Planet Alasida” written on them flanked the small truck, and a little painted guy wearing only a blue loincloth was fussing around on top the cab, which had a railing. He seemed pretty well-endowed, and we stood at a distance, wondering if he had added anything down there. It was at this point that we should have realized what he was planning.

We walked up and down the line of floats a bit. Kids on stilts wobbled up and down the road. Two guys dressed in upside-down clothing staggered around pretending like they were walking on their hands. David and I did an impromptu guitar-and-bass piece; I shredded the colorful pencil I’d been using as a pick, so I prowled the offices of the elementary school looking for something to replace it. Hopefully nobody will notice the absence of a blue pen from their table.

Back outside, Thumper was letting some kids play his washboard, but suddenly the parade was starting up and we all jumped up on the truck just as it started off. The painted guy stood on the cab dancing and waving a flag. We moved slowly along Renai Road, following a group of Jedi knights, while a large goldfish followed behind. Periodically bubbles and smoke would emit from the goldfish, which made us wonder if there were some kind of party going on inside.

The weather cleared up as we played. I was standing against the ladder on the cab, facing the back of the truck. At one point I looked up to see David, Slim and Sandman staring aghast at something behind me, and I turned around to see that the painted guy had taken off his loincloth and was dancing, buck naked except for his “extension”, to our music. We kept playing, however. There seemed nothing else to do at that point. The people standing by the side of the road watching us giggled into their hands in embarrasment, or pointed and stared, for once not at us. We drove by a group of policemen who seemed to wonder if they should do something, but didn’t. This being Taiwan, we didn’t encounter any Puritan-style Outrage or shocked hands over children’s faces.

We continued down Renai, past a plethora of brand new luxury high-rises. We played “Reefer Man” but substituting “Naked Man” for the title character. “Have you ever seen that funny naked man?” David would sing, and we would all answer “Naked man!” while pointing at the oblivious subject of our commentary waving his flag on the top of the truck.

Eventually another man, who was painted purple from head to toe and sported angel wings and a fig leaf like some giant heaven-sent grape, ran up and had a conversation with the naked guy, who then put his loincloth back on. I’m guessing the police had words with the grape guy and sent a message through him. Afterwards, people began to look more at us than the painted guy, and we were finally able to concentrate on making music without distractions. A couple of times we passed a woman on the side announcing what each float was. “And the next float is….Planet Alasida! They use….uh, what the….kitchen implements! Let’s give them a hand!”

IMAG0033The sun went down as we approached the presidential palace, where a large stage had been set up. We continued to play even after the truck had stopped, as there was an audience of people listening to us. I was tired after a couple of hours balancing on one foot on a moving truck, though, and was glad when we finally stopped. We gathered up our stuff and got down to look at the other groups. Thumper went backstage and got himself a picture of himself with Mayor Hau, while Sandman went to gawk at the Brazilian dance groups. He came back with a small flower for his hat.

We decided to go to California Grill for hamburgers before adjourning to Da-an Park to watch the gypsy show, but although Slim and I ended up there, the others gave us the slip and went to the Italian Job instead. Later, Thumper joined us at the park, but we didn’t go watch the gypsies; instead we laid on the grass and chatted while looking at the stars.

At around 10pm we caught a cab over to Bliss, where we were playing a farewell show for our friend Chris. We got two free drinks, and the rum cokes perked me up a bit after a long day. A very blonde woman named Karen was taking money at the stairwell, but there weren’t that many people, which wasn’t too bad as Bliss can become very uncomfortable with too many people. Occasionally the whole building would sway a bit, a feeling Thumper and I attributed to the nearby subway construction.

The show went well, though it was difficult at times to make ourselves heard over Karen’s fascinating stories concerning her textbooks. We played two sets and called it a day. Charles borrowed my euphonium for a bit, but Sandman wanted to go home. I was bushed as well, so we packed up and caught a cab back to Bitan.

posted by Poagao at 12:50 pm  


  1. Hey, Poagao! Great post, really great post. How did you get into making movies in Taiwan? How do you get the funding. How do you get your films exhibited? These, and many other questions have lingered in my mind for a long time. You are a foreigner in Taiwan, after all. Even though you do speak perfect, Chinese. (You would have to, considering you are a full citizen without having married into that status, like I might end up doing at some point when Sharon and I officially tied the knot, and your having been in the Taiwanese army to boot.

    Didn’t Michael Turton at some point say that you are perversely pro-pan-blue or something? (Maybe I am misremembering, or he was being ironic in his post? But I was surprised at the time, because it seemed incompatible with what I’ve read by you and about you). So on that score, I am surprised that Gordon Tsai, who is such a freewheeling artist/free-everything would attract KMT types like Mayor Hau. Unless, like the Gay Pride Parades out here in the West (that’s another thing, Poagao, considering your post four items or so ago, how can you be BOTH gay, AND pro-blue? It doesn’t make sense to me! It is like being vegetarian, an animal rights activist, AND the CEO of KFC!).
    Anyway, I am sorry for all the questions and all the brackets. I am just deeply, deeply curious. You seem like such an, uh, what’s the word, an extreme iconoclast, and there’s a lost of things I gotta know. Anyway, I am jealous. I wish I got to be part of that parade.
    By chance, you aren’t one of the lucky ones who ones an apartment bought from Tsai in the Dream Community, are you?

    You don’t have to answer. But really, I would love to know. But the questions are going to dig deeper into my mind, and probably a few others’ minds as well. I hope you keep having fun (even though I am pro-pan-Green, haha!)

    Comment by Thoth Harris — October 22, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

  2. Damn, that’s a lot of questions. This is a comments thing so I’ll keep it short:

    I’ve been making movies since junior high school; I just kept doing it after I came to Taiwan. Funding is out of our pockets. The films are on Youtube and have been at a few festivals. Technically, I’m not a foreigner. Michael Turton sees everyone not as green as he is as pro-blue. I’m more anti-green than pro-blue. The greens have done very little for gay rights in Taiwan, and the blues have done the same, so I don’t see your analogy. I don’t have an apartment in the Dream Community, nor would I want one as I already live someplace better.

    Comment by Poagao — October 22, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  3. You’re right, of course. You are not a foreigner, since you are a Taiwanese citizen!
    Very interesting answers, although awfully terse. Hmm. Anyway, keep up the good work! And the good fight!

    Comment by Thoth Harris — October 23, 2007 @ 12:24 am

  4. Ha.

    Comment by Thumper — October 23, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  5. Thoth,

    what in the world are you talking about? What does being gay have to do with being pro-blue?

    Does the KMT have a history, like the US GOP party, of having gay members who consistently support legislation that is harmful to gays?

    I admit I know little about the gay movement or their issues in Taiwan.

    Comment by Prince Roy — October 29, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  6. […] One from a band that went. http://poagao.org/2007/dream-parade-and-bliss-show/ […]

    Pingback by Artist Residency at the Dream Community in Taiwan | desperatepuppets.com — May 8, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

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