Sake Barrel Opening
and Wearable Performance Party
by Ben Wyrick
Leave it to the
Committee of the 14th Sake Barrel Reception to throw a great party.
With a name like that you know something's up.
attendees took a break from papers and panels to celebrate wearable
art and sake, Japanese style. The social event, now in its 14th
year, filled a ballroom at the Wilshire Grand Hotel Sunday night.
headlined the event, getting things started with a short animation
projected onto a large screen. Kawaguchi's piece was abstract and
surreal, featuring amorphous colored geometry that undulated in
time to an otherworldly soundtrack. Kawaguchi is a professor at
the University of Japan, whose talents also include choreography.
That's where the "wearable" part comes in.
second performance included two female dancers outfitted with small
computers and sensors which they wore on their bodies. As the dancers
moved with the music, the sensors modified computer-generated abstract
art which was being projected onto them. The piece lasted about
ten minutes and was received with generous applause.
Then an announcement
was made. It was time to open the sake barrel.
swarm of people surrounded the center of the room. A countdown commenced:
"Ten ...nine...eight...seven..." -- wooden mallets were
raised -- "six...five...four...three" -- a television
camera was raised above the crowd to try and get a view -- "two...one..."
were distributed to thirsty sake aficionados, which quickly ran
out. More were ordered. Richly colored hand fans were distributed.
The replacement sake glasses arrived. Children roamed the ballroom
and played on the floor. Adults chatted and exchanged business cards.
On a side table, full-color reproduction posters of Kawaguchi's
artwork were given out.
It would have
been impossible to interview everyone at the party, but it 's fair
to say that a good time was had by all.
was sponsored by several Japanese firms, including the Japan Sake
Brewers Association and Hewlett-Packard Japan.
All told, the
evening was a success. Perhaps more could be written about the 14th
Sake Barrel Reception, but I think the sake has gone to this reporter's