Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
A bit of typical work for me and how it transpired in famously-fast-New-York-souped-up-City in the age of high-speed broadband connectivity, circa early 21st century. Eh.

All correspondence by email over the course of TWO weeks! Here's how it went:

On 11/18/03 5:50 PM, B wrote:

I missed your hootenanny... sorry. It has been a needy mommy week... sick kid, and all of that... you never can plan, you know... anyway, HOW WAS IT? Are you going to appear on Nov 25, at our think tank at Steven's place? 7 pm? Let me know. I will try to call you. Just got off the phone with J, who says he is going to M in December... he has never seen the tape, you know. Maybe he should

S: Oh dear. I have to go to see Movin' Out with my friends from Tokyo that evening. But I haven't heard a final word so if I don't go I will make it. The square dance was great! I took H who loves to square dance and what with Tommy Bledsoe and Rich Kirby doing the fiddling, banjoing and calling, it was wonderful. Never realized how interesting it is - one on one, then changes, then a group... Very flexible. I must have displayed enthusiasm matched only by a need for lessons as someone came up and handed me a card for their dance group.... Wanna go sometime? H wants to! J. Hmm. Want to ask him if he wants to see the tape? I don't know him really. Also let's talk/meet soon and catch up.

B: Well, Somi, Joe should see the tape, really it would be best if he could see it before he goes to Manipur to see Rathan (spelling?). Send him a CD or whatever. I think it would be good for him to know what exists outside of Rathan. He plans to bring him to BAM again in 2005... even though he cannot do the court theater; he needs to know about it. I heard from him that Rachel and LB are going to Manipur. do you know about it? Seems it will be in December. Are they consulting you at all? And yes, I do want to dance with you. Fun. P.S. sorry if you miss us on Nov. 25.

S: Want to give him a call? I don't want to impose on him if he is not interested.

B: I have known Joe for many years, and we consider each other good friends... I spoke to him today, and I asked him if he saw the tape, he said no. I described it, and I think he would definitely be interested, since he is going to Manipur for the first time in his life.... I will tell him you will send it. And I will tell him to view it. Don’t worry. He is not able to produce it; I can assure you that he cannot do it mostly because of space. Actually, but I think it would be good for him to see it, since so many of his colleagues have seen it, and it will give him more background when he travels. For research purposes... I told him that maybe you were going to do a film at this point, but that the theater was very good, and that Schechner really loved the tape. etc. He would be pleased to see it. He is like that; he will view it. I assure you. When you send it, tell me and I will call him.

S: OK thanks!

B: Yes, good night? Good day? Is there a tape of your China trip that I could see, maybe?

S: How DID you guess? Ah you know me too well. I have two - one in China and one in Kentucky. The second is made by the Chinese filmmaker and is really funny. I got to get NTSCs and then well have a screening... with pea soup (I made my first one tonight!). I can come Tuesday!

B: Great. Bring a small contribution in the way of a snack or drink item... bottle of whatever you like, water, wine, Manipurian vodka, etc.

B: Hi oeJ, it is early, or is it late? Anyway, Somi will send you a copy of the tape I was telling you about from Manipur, of the courtyard theater company. I hope you can see it before you go to Manipur, to know a bit more about what is there, and this form, and this particular work, which we would love to hear your feedback about.

B: At some point, we should meet together with Joe, so that you can speak more easily to him directly. At this time, he has asked me to check with you about what to expect in M in December. Here are the questions he has asked:

What to expect in Imphal, Manipur in December-- Weather? Is there something culturally that he should be aware of prior to arriving? Should he bring his own bottled water, toilet paper, food ??? He has no clue what to expect when he arrives... so any information will be sincerely appreciated.

He is departing on December 25th evening. I might ask him to meet us for lunch at some point, if he has time. And if you do, let me know.

S: Sure - great idea. You can give him my email, or number as what he is asking for is kinda large and diverse area to cover...

S: Hi Erin, would you be so kind as to send the WTC tape to Joe with a note to return to me? He needs to see it soon. Thanks! You coming here for hols? Maybe we can get together and look at stuff.

E: Will put it in the mail today. No problem. I am best reached these days at my S address: Cheers,

B: Thanks, Somi. J suggests we all three meet for coffee early in the morning somewhere near his place, which is in the East Village... we usually meet at Dean and Deluca, near Union Square. Does this make sense to you? I think it is on University Place and about 12th street. Let me know which is your best day, and I will arrange it for all of us to meet. I prefer 9 am Mon, Wed or Fri; week after x-giving is best. Or next week on Tuesday is ok for me. Nov. 25 at 9 am?

B: Tuesday at 9 am at Dean and Deluca is ok with Joe, how about you?

J: I just penciled it into my calendar and I only await your confirmation. I hope it works for Somi. Best, J

S: Tues morning is not good for me, alas. Kohei Andoh (remember him Bonnie, the guy who worked with Terayama?) is here and I am working on a shoot for him till that morning. If Tuesday, I am free, as I mentioned, to come to S's that evening at 7 since I am not going to the B'way show with the Japanese crew. One possibility is therefore meet a little earlier in W. Village and then we can head up together? When is your departure, Joe? I am good generally afternoons and evenings. Boy, it’s like herding cats.

J: S and B - I am in my office now, Cloud Gate is giving their final performance tonight. I do not have my calendar here with me so on Monday; I shall have SP, executive assistant, contact you with some options. I do not depart for Manipur until the evening of December 25th. Best, J

B: Hi, I am leaving for Japan from Dec. 3-12, so I hope we can all get together before or after that time. Anyway, before Dec. 24 is best for J. thanks to all.

J: We have to meet before you depart for Japan.

B: OK, S, J - How about Monday morning, Dec 1 9 am coffee? Or Tuesday, Dec. 2? I am fine with both of those days. Keep me posted.

J: B and S - I am flying back from Cannes, France on Monday, December 1st and do not arrive until the evening. I have a standing BAM executive staff meeting every Tuesday at 10a.m so I cannot do the morning of December 2nd. I do have a lunch meeting in Manhattan and could meet you both for coffee at Dean and Deluca/University Place and 11th Street at 3:00pm. Can you both do it then? Best, J

B: Hi guys. I am fine with 3 pm on December 2, at Dean/Deluca.

J: Now we wait to hear from Somi....

S: Me too.

SP: Hi there, can you meet Joe for coffee at Dean & Deluca at 3pm on December 2nd? Thanks

S: Yes that will work for me.

SP: Somi has confirmed with me that it was OK too. It's a date! Tuesday, December 2nd at 3 PM at Dean & Deluca


S: Yes indeed.

J: Thank you all and see you there

SP: Dear Somi and Bonnie - would you mind coming to BAM at 3 PM? Joe cannot make it to the city. Please let me know. Thanks

S: OK with me.

SP: Thanks Somi, I just spoke to Bonnie who was going to call you. I will let her know. See you later and thank you

S: No prob. Talked to Bonnie. See you at 3.

J: thank you for being so kind to venture to my office

S: Hi Erin - You back at Swarthmore? Hope you had a good TG - thought of time spent with you and your mom last year... Just met with Joe and he hadn't received the tape. Did you send it on or is the postal nightmare for Xmas already upon us? His address once again if you couldn't get to it during your final thesis dash... He leaves soon for Manipur so kinda urgent. I am trying to get my dubbing station corrected in the meantime. 3 VCRS and still no-go here! Do let me know one way or another ASAP.

S: Dear Tamo: How are you? I just met with Joe and he's very excited about coming to Manipur to see your plays. Imagine, he hadn't known about getting special permission until today from L and he is getting that done today! I sure hope it can be swung in time for I know you will be able to get it for him.

Tamo, I told J about Tamo Birjit's sumaang lila WTC and he is interested in seeing it if there is time. I would like to see if it can be invited to NYC. I ventured my opinion that while RS thought very highly of it from the footage I had compiled for it, I was not sure if it was quite for BNW. But that since he would be able to get a take of it as a theater and performance expert, I would like his opinion. He thought it might be good for the NPN here - the network that specializes in small production tours but since I am the only one here who has seen the entire play, it would be terrific if he could take a look. His word will count for much.

I recounted what you told me about the time you presented Tamo Birjit's sumaang lila at the national theater festival in Delhi a couple of years ago, your innovations in lighting it and so on, and how the critics there did not know how to respond to it. I also told Joe that since he as only two days there and his main purpose was to see your play I did not want to divert him from that. Since he considers you like a brother as he said to me, I am confident that he will be OK if he misses it owing to his tight schedule.

I have taken the liberty of saying that he can contact you and work it out, rehearsals and everything being what they are there I am sure. He has requested me to send information about it so he may email you regarding setting up a performance. I will send him a tape here so he will get a synoptic gist of it before he leaves.

If my article about the play for Schechner's next issue of TDR comes out before he leaves, I will send a copy with him or Rachel. My mother also has a tape of my footage (NTSC, 30min) that I will ask her to send over to you. It is subtitled so Joe will get a synopsis of the play before he leaves.

But should it not work out and this imposition is coming at a bad time for you, please don't feel the need to do this. As I mentioned, I made this very clear to J and, though intrigued as a New Yorker, he understands completely.

Hope you will have a great time with R, J and company. Wish I were there with them to see your new work too!

S: Hi Joe - Lovely to sit down and talk. I emailed Erin again to get the 30min tape to you. I sent a note to Ratan as well, deferring the decision to him too; so he will expect your email should you decide to see the play. Thanks for your interest. I hope you will enjoy it. If the new issue of TDR with my article comes out before you leave, may I send a few copies with you? The play is called WTC and it is a sumaang lila or M courtyard theater. The director is Birjit Ngangomba. Though, Manipuri style, he is known just as Birjit. It was 2 hours when I saw it but I think they were shortening it somewhat.

Oh, and the woman who sells some rather nice handwoven and embroidered stuff is called Rani and she lives in a neighborhood known for weaving, called Wangkhei. Well known enough to be known as Wangkhei Rani. She sometimes carries one woven style you might want to check out called Engineer Phee - implying that only engineers' wives can afford it, their husbands known for their monumental corruption. The Manipuri shawls are wide, made by women from there and brought over to Rani's, but they make some for Indian tourists that are narrower. You want to look at the silk not the heavily starched cotton; everyone will know what you are talking about. Maybe $15-20, with about 50 rupees to a dollar? There is one ATM in all the eight states at last count, so take rupees from Bombay or Calcutta airport ATMs. No credit cards, natch. Sana Keithel, the traditional women's market, which I am sure someone will tell you about, and worth seeing, carries somewhat cheaper but still good stuff- but usually from another village called U that W women turn up their noses at. Apparently, a W woman eloped with a guy from U, taking her weaving skills with her. Or so the story goes...

There is a very helpful young man called Ranjit (I am pretty sure his name is Ranjit) in charge at Jet Airways in I should you need anything, like jump the line, put you on the next flight and so on. When you get to the airport let him know you need to make your flight and connections and he can do wonders. I think he will remember me. I am sure R knows him too.

Good luck with all your openings. I am looking forward to Klinghoffer tomorrow. Have a wonderful trip.

S: Thanks Bonnie for setting u the meeting - see you Dec 13! And have a great trip.

B: OK, S. The details make my mouth water! Wish we were all going together... J, I hope the show opened well. And best tomorrow, too. I will pass along greetings to Japan for you. Good to see you. Best,

S: Not as mouthwatering as the meat-pie I just made... LOL

B: Cooking and not inviting me? Argh! You need to make dinner for me, sir. Maybe we can invite Joe too? Stay warm. It is about 20 degrees outside! But about 50 in Tokyo... tee hee. Now, I got to get to the packing... or I will never make it to 7 am

S: Yeah... gloat... dinner when you are both back maybe?

B: Yes.

S: My friends at TBS are Kohei Ando and Aki Yamada. Beate adores Kohei. Aki is the daughter of Yoji Yamada who made all the Tora-san pics. She is also a theater director…

B: Thanks, I will send a note and hope to meet him/ them.

It was fun to hear your description of Manipur. Hope it works that Joe sees the WTC piece. Are they a couple? Aki and Kohei?

S: No, they produce for each other when the other is directing. They are both in the arty section of HiDef Division there. Kohei is very senior but a real artist - told you he was Terayama's Assistant Director? Made some lovely short films that I showed at TAS.

B: It is all coming back to me now... yes, I am sure I met him. I think I have his namecard somewhere! OK. Best,

E: I sent it already. Hmm. I did make a copy for myself, and maybe can send that FedEx tomorrow.

S: Thanks Erin! That's cool about the copy. Hold one to it. I will bring him one today - one I didn't want to show because it has some personal funeral stuff for the guy whose death inspired the play. Oh will 9/11 never go away...

Finally, on 12/3/03 4:07 PM, Joe wrote:

Dear S: I so enjoyed meeting and having our discussion. I am very grateful for your perspective on Manipur and the advice you have provided me for my trip. Thank you again. Looking forward to continuing our dialogue when I return from I. It will have to wait until I return from my holiday to Brazil. It's an annual visit to sit on several of the beaches, in particular, Salvador, Bahia. I am back at BAM mid-January. Hope to see you in the lobby this evening for THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER. With kind regards, J

- posted by Breukelen @ 7:55 AM