Started two years ago under the auspices of the Taipei City Government, the biennial International Poetry Festival is back to provide deep thoughts on life, the universe and everything else. \nWhile it is sometimes a little hard for the hoi polloi to take the idea that it is poetry that is at life's cutting edge, rather than food, accommodation and education, the encouragement given to poetry by such events is an important part of creating a fully formed local literary culture. \nBut of course, no Taiwan arts festival would be complete without a fully integrated "multimedia element," and this year's Second International Poetry Festival is no exception. "Poems on electronic paper" will be a major part of the enterprise, which also offers the advantage for the overly sensitive to stay at home and still get the benefit of the audio-visual poems that have been uploaded to the Internet and which can be found at http://dcc.ndhu.edu.tw/poem/2003. \nIn case poetry itself is not enough -- and some heavy-hitters from overseas have been brought in to enliven the event -- there will also be events featuring performance artists in various mediums from Luo Man-fei (羅曼菲) and Cloud Gate II to Leon Dai (戴立忍) and Labor Exchange (交工樂團). \nWhile this is being done in the name of broadening the horizons of poetry, it looks more like a case of anxiety on the part of organizers that mere poets will never bring in the crowds. \nWhile many of the events will be taking place at Chungshan Hall, approximately 30 percent will be distributed to other venues including Eslite Bookstore's Tunhua South Road branch, Taipei Artists' Village, Tamkang University Campus and so on, to give the event citywide relevance. \nTomorrow and Sunday, the event will start off with a major show of multimedia poetry at Chungshan Hall, which will include poetry recitals, singing, dancing and theatrical performances. Next week on Saturday, Sept. 20, there will be a "night of poets," bringing together major local and foreign poets to talk about their art. Among the biggest names will be Jean-Pierrre Simon, Wolfgang Kubin and Christian Bok. \nTheme events will also feature as part of the festival, with sessions devoted to women's poetry, Aboriginal poetry, poetry celebrating rural Taiwan and, of course, Internet poetry. \nAll these events and much more will be taking place starting tomorrow, through Sept. 26. Details for events can be found at poetry.culture.gov.tw.
African-American entertainer Dooley appeared on local television show Super Entourage (小明星大跟班) a few weeks ago and was told by the crew that they wanted to do a skit in blackface. Dooley, whose real name is Matthew Candler, tells the Taipei Times that Super Entourage wanted to perform a rendition of the wildly popular “Ghana Coffin Dance,” a meme that has taken the world by storm. Instead, he showed them videos about the racist origins of blackface and slavery in America, and they agreed to drop the makeup. “[I told them] about the history [behind blackface] and [said] you decide
June 1 to June 7 In February 1988, Robert Wu (吳清友) set aside NT$17.5 million to purchase two Henry Moore sculptures from London’s Marlborough Gallery. He never bought the pieces. Feeling slighted that the gallery manager initially looked down on him as a Taiwanese, he decided that night to use the money to open his own art space back home. “Without selling any art, that money could support the gallery for four years. If I feature one artist per month, that provides a stage for at least 100 artists,” Wu said in the book Eslite Time (誠品時光) by Lin Ching-yi (林靜宜).
With listicles of local attractions including Costco and numerous children’s playgrounds, I was not expecting much. Opened on Jan. 31, the Taipei MRT’s Circular Line, or Yellow Line, made life in the nation’s capital even more convenient. But judging from Internet search results, it hasn’t opened up many new tourism opportunities, unsurprising as the route mostly crosses densely populated areas and industrial parks. Places like a sports stadium with rainbow colored bleachers perfect for Instagram selfies wouldn’t do it for me either, and it’s pointless to list attractions at the connecting stops that have existed for years. As a history nerd, there
Captain Wynn Gale — a fifth-generation Georgia shrimper — is on the side of the road on an April morning, selling shrimp at the same street corner where his dad sold shrimp. “How’s the pandemic treating you?” I ask. “Sales have dropped off by about two-thirds. No out-of-towners coming through on the I-95. No local traffic.” He sighs. “I’m going to tough it out. I can survive with what I’m selling. But that’s all I’m doing. Most shrimpers don’t have 401k retirement plans, you know?” Gale would rather be out on his boat, a 1953 trawler he had for nine years but recently