Saturday, July 28, 2007

7th Annual Dragonboat Festival

An unforgettable festival this year; began with its ups and downs, and never before encountered challenges. The previous night, a rainstorm swept through the area, leaving much needed cooler weather (it was still cloudy most of the day), but also a swampy landscape in its wake.

Our first performance involved opening the marketplace, where all the vendors for food and goodies are. Due to a complete rearrangement of the entire festival, our walkaround with the lions to open the market place ended up about 1.5x longer than last year's xP

Shortly after the lion dance, we lined up for the opening ceremonies of the festival, which involves an eye-dotting ceremony for the boats and our dragon. This year nine dignitaries walked down to the dock to awaken the boats (some of which are very interestingly decorated). This included six that the CO Dragonboat fest has rented in the past years, as well as two Hong Kong style boats that were newly purchased this year.
(Hong Kong boats are the ones with the smaller, golden heads....)

Immediately after the conclusion of the eye-dotting, I brandished my "pearl" on a stick (to put it crudely) and brought the dragon to the field for the routine. The heavens were kind enough to leave us with a patch of semi-dry grass, but still slick nonetheless. In retrospect, I now understand those movements that Shifu Rama was making to me on the side to be cringes as I continued to lead all nine players in a steady jog.

The final stretch was in sight at 3pm, with the final 30 min performance of Lion dance and Kung Fu numbers. I enlisted to take up the task of Teaser in the silly yet very stifling Buddha costume. It took about 30 seconds into the performance when i realized: i have no clue what i'm doing. Thankfully, my role was not important, as the apparatus players carried out their routine flawlessly :D
(sorry the stanchions of the lion dance apparatus are barely visible..!)

The Kung Fu demo featured much more weapon forms and paired (choreographed) forms. Maintaining the energy was tough, but the crowd's response meant we were doing at least an acceptable performance.

The final act involved something we had not done in roughly 5 or 6 years. Last time I remember seeing it, i was still a tyke n00b with zero performance experience. Commonly known as the Bed of Nails: two people, bottom person (Shifu) with nails above and below him and another set pointing up for the top person (me) to lie on. 18" square cinder blocks are laid on the abdomen of the top person, then broken with a sledgehammer.

For those of you wondering, I escaped unscathed ;-P The only damage i suffered were some scratches to my steely abs (*coughcough*) when the pieces slid off...
(pardon my pastiness.....I'll remove this pic if there are many complaints out there...)

After trying out a single bed with some massive cinder blocks on, I must say I cannot even imagine how difficult the bottom role must be.

Lastly, it was back to Boulder to help unloading our massive truck, and a shot of medicine for internal injury, just as a precaution. Chinese herbal medicine + vodka = blech!!
All in all, quite the unforgettable day of performing, especially after a year away from home.

I have videos of the entire performance, but I'm not sure how long it'll be till i can sift it down into something shareable. find me sometime, and i can more than likely just show you :P cheers!
somebody's had too much red Gatorade!!


C.F. said...

w0000t! i see i am no longer needed...haha awesome job everyone.

Calvin said...

Congrats John, that a lot of text tho =P
PS: I dont like how your blog knows my name....
im very temtped to use a different one