Hi, I’m Phong, RCW’s new social media intern. Recently, I took part in Alameda’s 4th of July parade with Rhythmix for the first time. It was exciting and fun to be able to experience and be a part of this enormous outpouring of energy and creativity.
It was a sunny day in Alameda and gears were set in motion as the marimbas and taiko drums harmonized with each other. Belly dancers and the capoeira group bedazzled the crowds with their demonstrations. Bikers and rollerbladers showed their pride in Rhythmix and America; donning their beautiful, artistic costumes and strolling on their decorated bikes. This was how we paraded down the streets of Alameda on Fourth of July. The result, Rhythmix’s float won first place and was awarded the Mayor’s trophy for Best of Parade.
Prior to the parade, Rhythmix invited a gathering of bikers for a Bike Art Jam on a Wednesday evening. Paint, paper gears, and various craft supplies were made available for anyone who wanted to decorate their bikes. The Bike Art Jam was open to all ages and Joan from Upcycle came to help everyone make flashy T-shirt streamers. If you want to participate in the parade next year and have a bike, this is a great event to express your creativity and make your bike beautiful for the entire year.
This year, the float was made up of four sets of large moving gears on both sides of the platform – in colors of yellow, red, orange, brown, and black. The spacious, 50-foot platform on the float, allowed lots of people to ride on it which included friends and family members, artists, musicians, drummers, marimba players, taiko drummers, belly dancers, capoeiristas, volunteers, board of directors and RCW supporters. With a myriad of creativity in costumes and props, the float was very colorful and diverse in expression.
As the float paraded through Alameda, people were dancing and cheering to the music. Photos were taken of our fabulous presentation and of those who were a part of it. Check out the photos here and let us know what you think. Maybe we will see you in next year’s parade and you can join us in the celebration with this vibrant community.
Travelling beyond your home base can be rejuvenating and eye-opening for many reasons. My recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia made me realize that attracting audiences for cultural arts performances is a universal problem for artists and presenters. My first night in Hanoi, I stumbled upon a performance of Ca tru music, an art form that was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding by UNESCO. The artists explained to a small audience comprised mostly of westerners, that many people in Vietnam are not familiar with this style of music and they are struggling to keep the art form alive with weekly concerts to raise awareness and interest. In Cambodia, I saw a beautiful performance of traditional Khmer folk dance and music with more than 20 performers but only 4 people in the audience to appreciate their show. Entrancing music performed by stalwart landmine victims greeted visitors to the temples of Angkor Wat, yet most people didn’t even stop for a moment to acknowledge the musicians or enjoy the music for longer than the time it took to walk by. Immediately upon my return, our Island Arts celebration of Philippine Independence Day in collaboration with the American Center for Philippine Arts took place, featuring a range of delightful dance, music and calligraphy. Although there was a respectable turnout, almost half the seats were unoccupied. As I reflect on the notion that preserving and presenting cultural arts is truly a global dilemma, I am inspired by the dedication of artists all over the world that continue to share their cultural heritage and artistic practices in spite of the challenges of finding an audience. Although I am extremely proud to promote world music and support local artists in the presentation of their work here at Rhythmix, I still wonder, was the theater half-full or half-empty?
Our new tagline at Rhythmix is "Bringing the World to You" since we feature music and dance from around the world here on the island of Alameda. One thing about producing so many shows is that I don't have the opportunity to go out and hear as much music as I'd like in other venues. How to solve this dilemma? I'm heading off to Vietnam and Cambodia tomorrow where I'm sure many magical music and spicy culinary adventures await...You may be hearing from our operations manager and intrepid traveller, Julianne Quimby while I'm away. Hẹn gặp lại sau!
Getting ready for tonight's opening of the Unexpected Landscapes Exhibit featuring the work of two amazing local artists, Ginny Parsons and Jan Watten. Since Jan has to be at her own Gray Loft gallery exhibit opening for 2nd Fridays in Jingletown, we’re opening the Unexpected Landscapes exhibit tonight from 6-9pm. Come on by and check out this beautiful show. As Jan says: “These unexpected landscapes just pop up in her travels and surprise her with their simplicity and beauty".
Most of us who spend a lot of time online get barraged with all kinds of offers --- the other day I got an offer to become an expert in Google AdWords. If you’re trying to market your non-profit in new and creative ways in DIY mode, who doesn’t need help with google adwords? We do, especially since Rhythmix got a Google Non-Profit grant for adwords but its limited to words that cost $1 or less.Challenging to say the least, since most words related to the arts cost much more than that. So, after reading all the raving testimonials, I signed up for my “free” disk full of information that only required $9.99 for shipping. Guess what? I just got a notice for postage due…
But you’re probably wondering if someone really threw a prosthetic leg at Will Durst and why... According to Will, it happened at Jacks or Better in Milwaukee, around 1978. Apparently, he said "you're pulling my leg" to someone in the front row while doing some crowd control (his exact words were “babysitting”) and the guy at the next table said, "well, here, you can have mine" and threw his leg on stage. Although it wasn't the perfect segue, his timing was impeccable. The image of Will holding it up so the audience could see while looking dumbfounded- was indelible. Needless to say -- much hilarity ensued. For a belly full of laughter, join us next Saturday night, May 3rd for Will’s new show: Midterm Madness. We promise it will tickle your funny bone and help us pay for that extra shipping too!
Welcome to the RCW Behind-the-Scenes blog!
Have you ever wondered what its like behind the scenes at a non-profit? Are you intrigued by the glamour, the glory, the grantwriting? Maybe you’d like to hear about producing events, reaching out to the community or working with local artists to launch an exhibit. If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be sharing some of the behind the scenes work that goes into building a thriving cultural arts community in the Bay Area and let you know what some of the triumphs and challenges are that we face along the way. Please feel free to let us know what your burning questions are and we’ll do our best to answer them.
If you haven’t been to Rhythmix yet and would like to know more about what we do, please visit our website for upcoming events at www.rhythmix.org or drop in for a tour of our beautiful facility at 2513 Blanding Avenue in Alameda. Check in again soon to find out why someone threw a prosthetic leg at Will Durst!