Friday, July 17, 2020

A Bit of Obon Taiko

7/11/20 San Jose Taiko on Facebook Live

Many Buddhist communities honor their deceased ancestors during a summer Obon festival. When I was a kid, I participated by joining the folk dancing that took place in the closed-off street outside the temple where my family attended services. And of course, we all enjoyed the shaved ice, noodles, barbecued chicken on skewers and other treats that were sold in the food booths. I stopped dancing as an adult, but Greg and I always went to watch the dancing and especially to enjoy taiko drum performances by Seattle Buddhist Betsuin’s own taiko group (whom sketcher Cathy McAuliffe and I had fun sketching a few years ago).

This year, of course, Obon has been cancelled everywhere, but some communities are taking their Obon online. In San Jose, the Buddhist Betsuin festivities included performances by San Jose Taiko, my niece Alix’s group (whom I sketched live a few years ago when they were in town). The Facebook Live event included real-time video as well as a recording from a previous Obon.

The multi-camera views of the live performances made for a more sophisticated viewing experience – but not for sketching! As soon as I started to sketch a drummer, the video would switch to another camera! All that motion and energy are hard enough to capture from one view, let alone many. The stick figure gestures I managed to capture above were done during a pre-recorded segment that had been made with one video camera, so the angle didn’t change. Whew!

 The festivities of the temple that I attended will be online tomorrow. The experience wont be nearly as fun as strolling through the street, chomping on shaved ice, feeling the rhythm of drumming, smelling chicken barbecuing, seeing the bright kimono colors on children. But I guess it will have to do.

1 comment:

  1. Having it online doesn't treat all the senses. it is hard to sketch when they keep switching cameras.


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