Saturday, December 01, 2007


Today was a work day for Sunshine. Since she was doing something particularly interesting, I tagged along. As part of a multi-national cultural exchange, Sunshine's employers, along with several local venues, have financed a leg of the Dana Leong Band's1 Southeast Asian tour. The band hails from New York City, the musicians are super nice, and they've been playing in places like Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Tonight they played the Municipal Theater in Sài Gòn District, Ho Chi Minh City. I went for both reasons: one, tonight was the very last day that the theater, commonly called the Saigon Opera House,2 will be open before major renovations; and two, I was interested in how Dana Leong's jazzy love-in hip-hop thing was going to sit with the Vietnamese audience. Of the former: damn, Saigon's opera house is beautiful: a light yellow French Colonial masterpiece of angles and curves and all the ornate doodads that one expects in French stuff. This theater was built as an opera house by the French shortly after colonization, then survived the French war to house part of the Southern Vietnamese government until after the American war when it was turned into a city theater under the unified Socialist Republic government. Since then the building's façade has been restored once, in the nineties. The opera house was due to close yesterday for an extensive internal overhaul put off at the last minute to accommodate Dana Leong. The band was great; the Vietnamese audience got up and danced. I'm not so proficient as to follow the occasional moody aimlessness of jazz; but I loved the hip-hop and was amazed by the deep-seated band proficiency displayed. The sound-check was fascinating: the one-hundred-ten year old stone and plaster chamber being a bit warmer than most rave scenes. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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