Fri, Mar 15, 2002 - Page 7 News List

Clowning around on St Paddy's Day

Despite the fact that most people in Taiwan haven't a clue who St Patrick was, at least one venue is planning a party that's sure to turn others grean with envy


St. Patrick's Day has a way of distinguishing itself from other religious holidays. Neither Easter nor Hanukkah nor Ramadan has the revelry to match March 17. Of course, the day has become more of a secular event than a sacred one -- a time when everyone is Irish, otherwise embarrassing green clothes come into fashion and all the familiar icons of the day make their annual appearances: leprechauns, shamrocks and rainbows with pots of gold.

For local party-goers, Shawn McClelland and the folks at Funky Chicken Productions have added go-go girls and fire spinning to that list. Starting tomorrow night at 9:30pm, the dance floor at 2nd Floor will be transformed into a venue for live bands, a VJ showcase and DJs spinning for dancers past sunrise.

Bilingual foreign ska band The Wall Tigers will get the evening going, followed by Air Dolphin (海豚), who have shifted from mainstream rock to a synthesis of DJs and live music. Headlining the evening, Sticky Rice (糯米糰) will shake the house with a funk all too rarely heard in Taiwan.

Following the bands, DJs Dark, Joe Ho, K Fancy and others will maintain the groove on two separate dance floors. Accompanying them above the main floor will be a series of VJs lighting up four screens.

"We're calling it `The Carnival,'" McClelland said. Funky Chicken, who have developed a reputation for their party-planning savoir faire, have thrown in elements of another holiday with Catholic roots, Mardi Gras -- though, to be sure, this is no church-sanctioned event.

"We wanted to give folks something other than the regular `come in, throw your money down and go home' night out," McClelland said. "There'll be a trapeze artist, fire spinners, shooter girls, and Irish bungee jumping."


What: The Carnival

When: Doors open at 9:30pm tomorrow. The Wall Tigers go on stage at 10pm, Air Dolphin at 11pm and Sticky Rice at midnight. DJs and VJs start at 1am

Where: 2nd Floor, 15 Hoping West Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei (北市和平西路一段15號)

Tickets: NT$700 at the door, NT$600 with a flier. A limited number of fliers will be available at the door. NT$500 advance tickets can be purchased at the venue

Irish bungee jumping?

"One end of the bungee cord is tied around your waist, the other end to the wall," McClelland explained. "There's a beer on the opposite side of the room for incentive."

Saint who?

Sounds fun, but what does any of this have to do with a religious holiday? Pressed to provide an answer, most Taipei denizens can't tell you much about the man or what he did -- at least not much that's correct.

"He played a flute and drove all the snakes out of Ireland," said Lin Chie-san (林繼善), a student at Chinese Culture University. His friend Ricky Chang agreed. "The snakes had eaten all the potatoes," he explained.

Others provide what, at face value, are perfectly logical answers. "That's when everything is green. It's like environmental protection day," said another university student too embarrassed to give her name.

Seven-year-old Rebecca Chen was the first in her English bushiban class with an answer during a recent lesson on the holiday. "Him!" she said, pointing to a poster of a leprechaun adorning her classroom wall.

In truth -- or at least what's known of it -- Ireland's patron saint was neither a leprechaun nor even Irish, but a Welshman named Maewyn born sometime around 385AD. Sold into slavery in Ireland by a group of brutish Celts who pillaged his village, he escaped six years later and made his way to England and then France. There, having grown closer to God during his captivity, he began studying at a monastery and took the Christian name Patrick.

Following 12 years of study, Patrick asked his superiors' permission to return to Ireland so that he might dedicate himself to converting the island's pagans and Druids to Christianity. One rejection and two years later, his wish was granted and he was appointed second bishop of Ireland.

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