Sleeping Mountains

Reflections on life, literature, and culture.

Category: Contemporary Art

Taro Bove

(Images of Taro Bove’s performance of Kakitsubata in 2010. This is not the performance I saw, but the style, stage, and his costume were similar. The photo is from Bove.)

On Thursday for the first time, I was at KAAT, the brand new performing arts center in Yokohama that has just opened. It is a beautiful, very large space, and I hope to see more of it soon.

I arrived just in time to attend a performance by Taro Bove in the lobby of the building. A white, square stage and two black felt-covered platforms were set up. As I arrived, noh instrumental music (hayashi) played quietly. Eventually, three professional noh instrumentalists entered and took their places on one of the platforms, and then a single professional noh actor (and singer) came and took his place on the other platform.

The four noh performers began to play and chant music to “Izutsu.” In the play the ghost of the wife of famous Nara period philanderer and poet Ariwara no Narihira appears. She recounts her story as the wife of Narihira. Left behind during one of his visits to another woman, she expresses her loneliness and her faithful love for her husband through poetry. In the culmination of the piece, she dances in her husband’s robes and then looks into a well they played at as children. In her reflection in the water, she sees her husband. . .

As if appearing out of nowhere through the audience, Bove slowly entered. Read the rest of this entry »

Sasameyuki

(Homage to Wilson A. Bentley #4. 2005 – 2006.)

I recently stumbled across this snow photography by Yuji Ogawa, and by the next day had this image installed as my current desktop. Ogawa developed a technique to photograph snow crystals as they fall from the sky. I find it hard to imagine how small these flakes must be, and yet they have so much fine structure.

To go with it, a fitting waka that I first learned as a part of the kuse dance for the noh play Yuki. I quote it here in the original from the “Ukifune” chapter of The Tale of Genji.

峰の雪汀の氷踏み分けて君にぞ惑ふ道にまどはず

Mine no yuki migiwa no kōri fumiwakete kimi ni zo madō michi ni madowazu

Snow on the peaks, breaking the ice along the shore with each footstep, you confound me, but the road does not

Read the rest of this entry »

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