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Rico’s Blog : UWRF 2009, Day 2

9 October 2009

Today was a day of audio oddities. In retrospect, I can tell you EXACTLY when it began: I was sitting in Casa Luna, leeching their Wifi (thank you thank you!!), when I noticed that the gamelan music in the background was in fact a Balinese rendition of that horrid theme from The Titanic. (I’m all in favor of cross-cultural pollination, but that’s just wrong…) Little did I know that this mundane event would be the first of a series of aural treats & tribulations.

But I’m getting ahead of myself — let’s backtrack a bit. Most of the day was brilliant.

I spent majority of the day downing coffee and pastries and being “social media man.” That part was OK. Also spent two hours in Jungle Run’s video suite editing down yesterday’s highlight reels. That part was OK, too. (Thanks Jungle Run!)

In between lots of Twitter and Facebook posts, I managed to catch some interesting events. Lawrence Blair’s film, Dream Warriors of Borneo, was screened at Casa Luna. Prior to running the film he chatted with the crowd and spoke of some of the oddities one can find in Indonesia, like vampire moths and poisonous birds (perhaps that should have been my first hint that this could be a weird day). After, I walked downstairs to enjoy the Suka Duka-themed art exhibition. The exhibit is small but there are some lovely pieces on display. The expo runs throughout the Festival, so drop by if you get the chance.

In the afternoon I stopped briefly by the Chocolate Lands session at Rumah Rio. This was a sold out event, so I quietly snapped some photos then slipped out. Later in the day Jo regaled me with tales of fabulous chocolate goodies, including some incredible ice cream.

jammingI think my favorite event was the Stories in Cloth, held at Threads of Life. There was a presentation on textiles and a musical performance that was both haunting and lovely. The singer was accompanied by a traditional musician playing an instrument I have never seen before. (The photo on the left show him in action.) The sounds were distinctly primitive, but pure and simple. An audio oddity to be treasured.

I closed my day with a jaunt over to Tutmak to catch Cat Wheeler’s book launch. Ibu Cat is an old Bali hand and I wanted to show her some support. Turns out my presence was superfluous; her supporters turned out in droves. Cocktails and canapes backed by a reading made a really pleasant transition into evening. Then it got ugly…

As Tutmak was not serving food due to the book launch, I headed over the Ubud’s token burrito bar for a bite. Being from South Texas I had serious reservations but like a moth to a flame, I was drawn in. The place is small. A couple was in the middle of a heated discussion, giving the entire joint an air of tension. Meanwhile Steeler’s Wheel droned on in the background: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” Oh yeah.

After several margaritas that would peel the paint off a ’64 Fairlane, I head back to the hotel. I go to the bar for my internet fix — like the digital junkie I am. I get there and they have singer with an acoustic guitar — and a lisp — singing “thumb-where ooooo-ver thhha raaaaain-bow.” You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

I fire up the headphones, light up a Paratagas P, order heavy alcohol and retreat to my own space – determined to control for at least a while my audio stimulation.

The punctuation for the day was added by Sam Cutler — unbeknownst to him. At the Writers Rock Hard event tonight, someone in the audience asked him “Is Rock ‘N Roll dead?” to which Sam replied “Well, I’m not”.

Yep. Can’t vouch for the rest of the ya, but I’m not dead yet. So there.

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