Sunday, August 23, 2009

Right-On Jecheon!

What a fantastic summer it's been so far, I've been really blessed playing one amazing gig after another--

beginning with the Holland Festival in Amsterdam where I performed with the restored "J'Accuse", the Malaga Film Festival in Spain and the Sao Paulo Fantasy Film Festival Brazil with "The Golem", recording sessions in Bogota Colombia with legendary Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham and solo gigs there with Colombian pop star Juan Galeano--

and now, having returned from lovely Jecheon South Korea and the 5th Jecheon International Music and Film Festival (and the theme of this festival, how music and film can relate, was right up my alley), what can I say, my cup runneth over...

Gary right before performing "The Golem" at the 5th Jecheon International Music and Film Festival 8/14/09

Gary outside the Dujku Buddhist temple, Jecheon South Korea 8/16/09 | photo by Christie Jun

Gary outside the Dukju Buddhist shrine, Jecheon South Korea 8/16/09

Gary introduces "The Golem" on the mainstage at the Jecheon Festival, South Korea 8/14/09

Backstage before playing "The Golem", l to r: programmer Jin Soo Jun, my translator for the festival Christie Eunhwa Jun, GL, and festival coordinator May Lee

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it was my first time ever playing in South Korea, I'd passed through the airport a couple times on the way to Japan and Taiwan...but never have had the pleasure before to perform there before...and now that I am back from a week spent in that fair country all I can say is--WOW!!

What a fabulous place, such wonderfully friendly and gracious people I encountered throughout the week, the festival was one of the best organized and tightest run operations I've observed and participated in...

And they really took care of me and the other invited guests, from the opening ceremonies where we were all introduced onstage in the Grand Ballroom of the Cheongpung Lake Hotel (an elegant 4 star with breathtaking views of the lake abutting it to die for out my window) and throughout the rest of the week...

the invited foreign luminaries there included brilliant Madrid filmmaker Juan Laguna, whose documentary "Princess of Africa", about a white Spanish dancer who marries into a Senegalese drum master's family to become his third wife, was one of the most compelling new docs I've seen in ages, Juan has such a marvelous visual flair, and the music was superb throughout)...also legendary vivacious Annette Kleinbard, the original singer for The Teddy Bears ("To Know Him is to Love Him") and also a hit songwriter (The Rip Chords "Hey Little Cobra", one of the first singles I ever bought--as well as the theme from "Rocky")...also debonair UK expat Sebastian Doggart, my Greenwich Village neighbor and director of "Courting Condi", for which Annette had written a song, and for whose latest documentary "American Faust" I am currently composing music for...also Mumbai's super talented Manish Achyra, who was there with the droll Bollywood send-up "Loins of Punjab"... also hot Madrid film actor Fernando Tielve, who looks like a young Syd Barrett, and who stars in the great, quirky new dramatic film "Unmade Beds" by Argentinean director Alexis Dos Santos which was one of he best films I caught last week...also lovely Australian director Emma Franz, who was at the festival with her cool documentary about the interaction between a Korean drum master and an Australian jazz drummer in "Intangible Asset No. 82"...really sweet and sensitive artists all of was a pure pleasure to hang with them in turn throughout the week, I felt so privileged to view such splendid creative efforts...

Gary performs a solo concert on Cheongpung Lake stage, Jecheon International Festival 8/15/09

Gary with 2 fans after his "Golem" Q and A, Jecheon Festival, South Korea 8/14/09

Gary and legendary Teddy Bears singer (and "Rocky" theme songwriter) Annette Kleinbard, Jecheon Festival, South Korea 8/14/09

Gary and his friend Hyun-Jung Shim, who composed the music for the fantastic film "Oldboy" (d. Chan-wook Park, 2003) at the "Golem" afterparty, Jecheon South Korea 8/14/09

Gary savors bibambap at a fantastic Korean restaurant in Jecheon South Korea with his friend Gilsang Ahn 8/16/09 | photo by Christie Jun

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Special mention should be made of the festival staff--programmers extraordinaire Chung Woochung, Jin Soo Jung, and May Lee, gracious hospitality director Hena Yang, skillful translators Christie Jun, Miji Jeong, indefatigable volunteers (the Orange Brigade) Saerom Seong, Gilsang Ahn, Sora Ahn, the list goes ahn...they were all super lovely folks, and all so very helpful during the entire festival for what must have been a very stressed-out time for them, they worked so efficiently round the clock to keep the whole thing running smoothly, screening literally hundreds of international music-related films in the town of Jecheon at a multiplex cinema a bus ride away, and on the awesome mainstage contiguous to Cheongpung Lake and the hotel, and on a smaller stage set on a jetty in the middle of the lake reachable only over a footbridge...what a romantic setting, I have to tell you, the whole thing was so magical and mysterious working in this idealized setting

I played "The Golem" the second night I was there before a couple thousand folks (young people, families, critics, fellow artists) in what was my 1001st performance (or thereabouts) since debuting the work in 1989 at the Museum of the Moving Image here, and it was possibly my greatest gig with it ever, the media coverage had been really good in the run-up to the performance and I gave my all to the film, storming through the score in the humid tropical night as if my life depended on it, the film (a black and white print) looming over me on the massive-sized screen--and received a prolonged ad heartfelt ovation at the end...the Q and A afterwards was a lot of fun, one little girl (the daughter of Korean film music composer Joanne Seo) came up to the stage to ask me if I was tired after playing non-stop for 89 minutes, you can see a clip here from a fan's blog where you can see how excited and psyched I was with the audience's response after performing...

Gary plays "The Golem", Jecheon Festival mainstage, South Korea 8/14/09

Gary does a double-take, Cheonpung Lake solo concert, Jecheon Festival, South Korea 8/15/09

Gary with translator Hena Yang at his 1am solo concert at the Jecheon Festival, South Korea 8/15/09

Gary at the Dukju Buddhist Temple, Jecheon South Korea 8/17/09

Gary and Madrid film star Fernando Tielve ("Unmade Beds") eating Korean dumplings, Jecheon South Korea 8/18/09

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Following the film I hung at the Korean BBQ after-party with the Mayor of Jecheon, various glamorous Korean film stars, the Festival organizers, invited foreign guests, and cool Korean artists such as the lovely Hyun-Jung Shim, composer of the score for one of my favorite films, Chan-wook Park's "Oldboy", whose outrageous new film "Thirst" I caught at the Sunshine Cinema here shortly before heading off to South Korea...Korean films are definitely in the vanguard of world cinema, and not only horror films (I've written extensively about Bong Joon-Ho's fantastic 2006 sea monster-on-wheels flick "The Host" in a previous blog--featuring a walk-on by my pal, superstar Paul Lazar)...

Absolutely the best film I managed to catch at the festival (including festival winner "This is Anvil", and the James Brown-driven Ali/Foreman rumble in the jungle opus "Soul Power") was the dramatic film "Go Go 70's" by Korean director Choi Ho, which concerned the autocratic repression of authentic roots rock expression in South Korea in the 1970's...borrowing a page (and songs) from "The Commitments", it concerned a band of young Korean musicians, US army base brats/hangers-on, who form a band known as The Devils to play American r&b Korean-stylee and who unleash the wrath of the conservative central government with their decadent demon-driven rock 'n roll which results in beatings, haircuts, and eventually lands their asses in jail-- the story had eerie parallels with my friends The Plastic People's plight in the Soviet-dominated Czech 70's (the PP played a couple of gigs in NYC while I was in South Korea, which I trust went well) and exemplified the major thema (and one of my pet theories) of Tom Stoppard's "Rock 'n Roll"; namely, rock as Dionysiac evolutionary/political/cultural catalyst...a fantastic film!! I do hope this film gets a release in the West, it was really quiite stirring...

Gary at the Jecheon Festival South Korea 8/18/09

Gary and his translator Christie Jun, Jecheon Festival South Korea 8/18/09

The view out my hotel window, Cheongpung Lake Hotel Jecheon South Korea 8/14/09

Noodles, scallion pancakes, and kimchee, Jecheon South Korea 8/14/09 | photo by Christie Jun

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What else? Food was amazing as usual, I feasted on my favorite Korean dish bibimbap with bulgoki and kimchee several times...had several magnificent country outings courtesy of the Festival, my favorite being a trip to the Dukju Buddhist shrine, to hear a solitary monk intoning prayers in front of the altar in an aching soulful voice was the purest blues...

I am enthralled by the sights and sounds of South Korea (and tastes, I took Caroline and Cineaste editor Richard Porton to 13th Street Korean eatery DoSirak Fri. after a screening of "Inglourious Basterds"--very enjoyable flick btw--on Friday night for more bibimbap, to keep the flavor alive!, I made many new friends and fans there (every time I went to the town cinema during the week I was stopped for autographs and photos by folks who had seen me play "The Golem", and who had also attended my Saturday 1am cinema music concert "One Summer Night" on the stage set in the middle of the lake, where I performed music by Nino Rota, Popol Vuh, George Gershwin, Henry Mancini, and many other of my favorite film composers)....I was really sad to leave South Korea, and hope to return soon--it was an absolutely brilliant and unforgettable experience!!

Gary with the mayor of Jecheon, Annette Kleinbard, Hyung-Jung Shim, Sebastian Doggart and Emma Franz 8/18/09

Gary with filmmakers Emma Frantz, Sebastian Doggart, songwriter Annette Kleinbard, and filmmaker Manish Achyra, Jecheon Festival

Saerom Seong, Gary and Fernando Tielve outside the Dukju Buddhist Shrine, Jecheon South Korea 8/17/09

3 Volunteers including my translator Christie Jun, GL, Teddy Bears singer Annette Kleinbard, Madrid director Juan Laguna, and Madrid actor Fernando Tielve, Jecheon South Korea 8/16/09

Gary plays "The Golem" at the Jecheon Festival South Korea 8/09 | photo by Sebastian Doggart

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Home for a couple more days r&r with Caroline and Lulu (who we are loving so much, though she is running us ragged!)...

Gary in front of Chuck Close's portrait of Lucas Samaras, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/09 | photo by Mike Edison

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and then off again Tuesday night to France to play the Rochefort-En-Accords Festival, sharing stages over 3 days and nights there with my old friends Piers Faccini and Jean-Francois Pauvros and other folks I am eager to play with (Natalia King, Nick Harper, Ken Stringfellow, BJ Cole and others)...

I am performing solo on Friday night at 10:40pm on the mainstage...

and hope to see you there!!




Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are definitely some holes there not covered by the DLC yet, including the song Help and Hey Jude. I'm optimistic that they'll eventually get the full catalog out there for purchase.

Posted by Janice to Gary Lucas at 7/13/2010 1:40 PM

7/13/2010 3:02 PM  

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