Fun Around Town
By Courtney Donovan Smith Translated by Ann Lee
Here at Taiwan Fun we were sad to hear that Scott Moses, the author of Fun Around Town since this series began, has taken up a job offer in New York. We wish him the best in his new life.
From this issue, the format will change a little, and it will be a bit more coordinated with my weekly ICRT radio segment on the Stevie G show at around 4:30 every Thursday. Note the inclusion of activities from around the island.
Kicking off the month on Friday, July 3rd is something that sure gets the curiosity going: Balkan Folk Gypsy Anthems night at Bliss (10 pm, NT$300, www.bliss-taipei.com) in Taipei. Balkan music was influenced by the Ottoman Empire. Doesn't sound like much of a fun party night to you? Think again. Starting and finishing the evening is DJ Damier, who mixes Balkan music with house, dance and funk beats. The middle of this Balkan beat sandwich is Aashti MK, who "are a band from the Balkans that play a mix of traditional Serbian folk, rock and rhythmic melodies". Also that night is LLP's Xclusive 4th of July blowout @ Primo (www.club-primo.com) in Taipei, with the mixed messages of 'dress stylish' and wear red, white and blue. These guys are doing parties every Friday night at Primo.
Saturday, July 4 has a whole lot of celebrating the USA. The biggest bash is the Taichung Amcham America Day bash down in Taichung near the Costco (www.amchamtaichung.org). Starting at noon, eight bands including MoneyShot Horns, Skaraoke, The Dolittles, Militant Hippi, 3 Day Bender, .22, The Stackers and ‘round midnight will keep the day hopping. There's also plenty of food from local pubs and restaurants, and the admission is free. The Oasis Pool Party is back (1 pm, www.liquid-lifestyle.com) with a 4th of July theme, DJs, barbeque, hot dog eating contest, beer bongs and bikinis at, naturally, the Taipei Country Club. This is tempting just to be able to say 'I did beer bongs at a country club'.
On Saturday night is what is being billed as the 'history's largest aboriginal party' (10 pm, NT$600 advance, NT$900 door, http://www.wretch.cc/blog/justchaoz/15693094). This looks like a whole load of fun as they've got 12 bands performing until 6 am. Curiously, at the same location, the HuaShan Culture Park, is another party that night--the PR is my Playground party celebrating five years of Partyroom with a gaggle of DJs (9 pm, NT$600 advance, NT$900 door, www.partyroom.com.tw). Never thought I'd say this, but apparently this July 4th the party place to be in Taipei is the HuaShan Culture Park.
Valen Hsu is doing a 'mini-concert' at the Wall in Taipei. Down in Zhongli THC (Taipei Hip Hop Crew) is filming a music video at the Hen House (aka the Jungle) and want you to show up in all your hip hop finery. The Kaohsiung Improv finals and Pan-Africana are at the Join Us Pub (9 pm, NT$300, www.khhlive.com).
Sunday, July 5 brings us the Taipei Potluck & Music Circle #8 (2 pm) at DaAn Park--bring along vegetarion food and acoustic instruments. Taichung's PJ's Cafe may celebrating American Independence Day a day late (5 pm), but with free food, NT$50 burgers and brotwurst and an open mic it's going to be a good evening out.
The weekend of July 10 through 12 is this year's 10th annual Ho-Hai-Yan Gung-Liau Rock Festival, but for awhile it seemed it was only a rumour. Apparently there are new organisers, and after much hassle I finally found the new site (www.hohaiyan.tw), which lists this year's schedule (Chinese only). I've only heard of a few of the bands. Considering the distinct lack of buzz I doubt it will be much of a big deal this year.
On Friday, July 10 is an event of extreme annoyance. The Rising Hedons, one of Taiwan's best bands, is celebrating their CD release and launching their new music video at 89K in Taichung along with friends Dr Reniculous Lipz & Skallyunz, The Stackers and Oliver Benjamin Thayer--and then breaking up. Come on guys, that's not fair--new CD, new video...'bye we're out of here'. Worse, I won't even be in town.
However, we have some good news as Taipei’s 'first reggae bar' has their Roxy Roots grand opening party (Neo 19 building near Taipei 101, www.roxy.com.tw). They apparently will be open 24 hours, have free entry, Caribbean cocktails, and reggae, ska, 2 tone, and roots rock, with live bands and DJs. I'm very curious to see how this place goes, there has been a rapidly growing reggae scene here in Taiwan recently.
On Saturday, July 11 brings yet another pool party at the Taipei Country Club, the Havana Pool Party (11 am, Women NT$250, Men NT$350, www.froginasock.com.tw). For much of this summer Havana and Oasis are swapping pool party weekends at the Taipei Country Club, with Havana replacing Thai massages for Oasis' beer bongs. If you prefer your swimming done to reggae, head down to the Reggae Saturday at Walilei (5 pm, QianShui Beach, get directions: 0936 952 034 or Islandjam08@gmail.com). They've got food, DJs and Jamaican cocktails. Special to this Saturday is DJ Katzu from Japan. They'll be doing these twice a month through October.
Now that the southern Taiwan air guitar champion has been crowned, it is now time to crown the northern champion and then battle them off to declare the Taiwanese air guitar champion who will represent us in the world championships in Finland this year. If you know how to rock the oxygen, then sign up now to participate (www.airguitar.com.tw) or to watch the show drop by Carnegies for what promises to be a great party (6 pm, NT$300). The MoneyShot Horns will also be there.
If you didn't get enough of wearing the red, white and blue last weekend, there is another chance to challange good taste at the Bastille Day Party (6:30 pm, HuaShan Culture Center, NT$400). Wailin' Soul will be performing, and there will be DJs, cheap drinks and even a magician. In Taipei this evening is Lena Fujii from Japan is at Luxy (NT$1000/door) and Bliss is holding a 'Soul, Sweat and Swank Swow' party (10 pm, free entry). Swow apparently being a word popular in the northern soul scene in Britain in the 1960's. At the Underworld is The Deadly Vibes record release party (9:30 pm). Yes, that's right--an actual vinyl record. Happily each record also comes with links to get your hands on the MP3 songs. Joining them are the Blue Trucks.
The big weekend action in Taichung is the LuvStock Gathering 2009 at the Refuge (2 pm, for details on how to get there: MilitantHippi@hotmail.com, tell them Donovan sent you). There are 15 bands/DJs confirmed so far, including Militant Hippi Revolution, Dr. Reniculous lips and the Skallyunz, .22, The Stackers, City of Earth and many more. There are options for spending the night in this mountainous paradise.
Also in Taichung is the Urban Bodies art exhibition at Stock 20 (6:30 pm, www.scallart.com) and the theme is humans in an urban environment. Artists are both foreign and local.
In Kaohsiung is the Heaven Trip Party at Join Us (NT$350), featuring five DJs.
Sunday, July 12 brings us the Adeaters party (2 pm-10 pm, SYS Memorial, NT$800-1000/door, www.infine-art.com/adeaters/) which showcases the most interesting and creative ads from around the world. Acrobats and DJs also feature.
After two very active weekends, and with another one coming up, to my surprise not much is crossing my desk for the weekend of Saturday, July 18. All I've got so far worth mentioning is the 'Wet Hip Hop Bikini Contest' at the Heritage Bar in Tainan with an NT$5000 prize for the best dancer (NT$250, women in bikinis free) and another Oasis Pool Party in Taipei. Listen in to my segment on the Stevie G show on ICRT on Thursday, July 16 at around 4:30--hopefully something more will come up by then.
On Tuesday, July 21 The Inspector Cluzo from France plays at the Wall (8 pm, NT$400/door).
You will no choice but to laugh at the Comedy Hypnosis Show (10 pm, Live Comedy Club, www.comedy.com.tw, NT$300) on Friday, July 24.
Its 'REPRESENT :: DnB vs. HIP-HOP' night at Bliss (10 pm, NT$200) on Saturday, July 25, featuring various DJs & MCs battling it out and celebrating ELEMENCE's birthday. At the Taipei World Trade Center Hall 2 is the White Party, featuring three DJs from Europe: Cosmic Gate, Three Drives and Stress (NT$1000 if wearing white on top, NT$1500 otherwise, www.luxy-taipei.com). Both the Havana Pool Party and Reggae Saturday at Walilei (QianShui Beach) return this weekend (see details above).
For those aching to get up into the cool mountains, check out the Sun Moon Lake Splash II on July 25 and 26. There are DJs and 'splash parties'--but also limited availability. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Finally this month is the One Dance Party at the Lumi Dance School (6 pm, NT$500, lumi-dance-school.com) on Tuesday, July 28. I'm guessing if you don't know how to dance you'll probably feel a mite uncomfortable at this one.