Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 03 2011

Show stopping

My photo exhibit at 127 Dihua Street wrapped up yesterday. Chenbl and I met some friends of ours there around noon and took them to Bolero, the original Western restaurant in Taipei, where we had some delicious steak in the place’s 60’s-era atmosphere. Seriously, if Xiao Guo hadn’t been playing with his iPhone, the illusion that it was still 1965 would have been complete.

After lunch we walked back to the gallery, where the other members of the Muddy Basin Ramblers were assembling for some practice before our 4pm show. We had an audience out back in the courtyard, so it was kind of a show in itself, though we kept stopping and correcting things, and played some songs for the first time ever. It was good to be playing again with the old crowd, though Conor’s back in Blighty at the mo. In his absence, we had a couple of musicians filling in; I taught one of them how to play the washtub bass for the horn songs.

I’d been wondering what to do with the photos after the exhibition ended, and the owner of the café behind the gallery provided me with an answer; he said he wanted to display them on the walls there. Neat.

A lot of people came for the last day. I have to say that the whole experience has been extremely gratifying, especially being able to observe people’s reactions to and discussion of the photos, rather than just reading the occasional “Nice capture!” on Flickr. The large prints really let the details of the photos come across, and the combination of being able to see such details at the same time as the entire composition impressed me with its impact relative to viewing on a computer monitor. A professor from the Arts University in Guandu even asked me last night if I would like to give a photography lecture for the students there, and some publishers have talked to me about books.

But even when nobody was there, say on cold, rainy weekdays, I found it immensely comforting to just sit in the gallery on my lunch break and listen to the music and sounds of the surroundings. It’s just a great space in a fascinating old area, and we also hope to practice and play there more in the future.

We decided to move out to the street front for our 4pm show, and the response was tremendous. We attracted a large crowd immediately, and there were literally people dancing in the street. We invited the dancers to dance in front of us to avoid an accident. Our CDs sold out halfway through the show. It was truly a rip-roaring good time, something I really needed to help knock me out of the cold rift in which I was stuck.

We ended up at Yipin on Minsheng West Road for a dinner of beef rolls and yummy fried rice, and then it was back to 127 for a party in the upstairs gallery to celebrate the success of the exhibit. All of the artists involved were there, and we gave each other gifts and talked about the experiences. David, Slim and some of the other musicians started playing some tunes, and I joined in on bass while the other listened and talked.

I was loath to leave as things wound down that evening. I waved goodbye to David, Slim and the others as they hauled their instruments up Dihua Street towards the subway, and the others were busy pulling things down. I took a last stroll around the downstairs galleries, sitting in the giant onion for a spell. I was exhausted but happy. It’s been a great experience with a great group of people, and I hope we can do more together in the future.

posted by Poagao at 12:23 pm  


  1. Sounds Awesome ! Bet you had some great pics there !

    Comment by tommy525 — January 3, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  2. Hi TC,

    Congratulations on your show! I’m sorry to have missed it, but I’ve been laying low from the Internet, except for checking on running injuries. I ran the Tokyo Marathon a couple of weeks ago. Now that I can barely walk I’m back to street-shooting again.

    It’s interesting you found being in the gallery comforting. Perhaps the photographers you saw in the galleries here were also feeling the same.

    So which photos did you use, how many, how big, etc.? Did the whole process sharpen the way you see your photos?

    Comment by persimmonous — March 10, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  3. Well, Louis (or is it Luis now?), the photos are temporarily on display in the area at a local cafe, and I’m waiting for another art space up the street that should be open in a couple of months, so if you’re in town, let me know.

    You’re right about the experience changing my view of the galleries I saw in Tokyo.

    I printed 20 shots, A2? or A3, I forget. Pretty large anyway. They all looked great, and I think when I edit my images now I think more in terms of gallery-worth prints rather than will someone on Flickr like it.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Comment by Poagao — March 10, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

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