Those who have made New Year’s resolutions aimed towards a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle may find themselves a bit lost this first weekend of 2009. If you are used to partying until late on Friday night and sleeping in most of the next day, what do you do when you wake up bright-eyed on Sunday morning?
For ideas on wholesome and fun activities, one need look no further than 10-year Taiwan resident, Brian “Funshine” Alexander. Best known as a children’s performer, Alexander — whose business cards carry his moniker Brian Funshine — is expanding his social network. “When I do non-children’s stuff I’m getting tired of being called ‘Funshine,’” he says of the recent decision to go by his real surname.
He produces and performs original children’s music, does birthday parties, kids’ shows, educational workshops and teacher training across the country, is a vocalist and lyricist, plays guitar and double bass, and is also involved with the Rainbow Gathering, a hippy festival group that has recently formed a Taiwan chapter. “I was turned on by the Rainbow Gathering people and the Rainbow family had potlucks in America, so I started my own potluck in my house,” Alexander said.
Now he’s organizing a vegetarian potluck and music/drum jam in Taipei’s Da-an Forest Park (大安森林公園) on the first Sunday of every month. “It’s vegetarian, not to preach, but because it’s convenient,” he said. “It means everyone can eat.” People are encouraged to bring cooked dishes but “if you don’t have time or energy to cook then go to 7-Eleven and buy a bag of chips, some drinks or snacks — you can still come!”
He is looking to build a sense of community. “The concept of people of all ages getting together. It’s about food and music. We’d like a drum circle, a singing circle, and don’t feel if you can’t speak English you’re not welcome — we want people from all over to come.”
Everyone meets on Sunday from 2pm to 6pm in the southeast portion of the park, at two covered pavilions along the Jianguo South Road (建國南路) side. If it rains the event will be postponed until the next weekend. There are bathrooms nearby, and plenty of room for kids, musicians, jugglers and drummers. “Bring your creative talents and creative energy,” Alexander said.
Despite his peace and love leanings, Alexander is no Luddite. He uses a Facebook group (Taipei Potluck & Music Circle) to inform members of cancellations or rescheduling. “I’m a
neo-hippy,” he said, “someone who accepts technology and [what is] modern. I accept this is our world but relinquish the need to dress fashionably, wear the right labels, or have a regular full-time job.”
— Alita Rickards