Thursday, February 21, 2013

Asia Society Presents!

One of Houston's cultural jewels is the new Asia Society Texas Center on 1370 Southmore Blvd. in the museum district, which was designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. It opened in fall 2011. As you walk into the expansive lobby, you are greeted with a public exhibit of Kip Fulbeck's The Hapa Project.
Upstairs is a beautiful terrace space that overlooks the Elkins Foundation Water Garden. The skyline of downtown Houston is visible in the distance.
Tonight I went to rare performance of master puppeteer Michika Iida performing Manjushaka (Equinox Flower).
From the Asia Society website: "Born in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, Michika Iida is considered one of the leading lights in contemporary puppetry. Her use of life-sized puppets as well as masks to tell sophisticated stories has been called nothing short of mesmerizing. Iida makes a rare U.S. appearance to perform Manjushaka, or Equinox Flower, which links the ephemeral and piteous life of a prostitute to that of a equinox flower. Through stylized movements and dance, her self-made puppets beautifully convey the universal longing for happiness and fulfillment."
The faces of the puppets were quite eerie, and the resemblance of the puppets to Ms. Iida was even more striking. One audience member even asked about this and the Q&A session afterwards but Ms. Iida insisted that it was just a coincidence.

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