austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You look happy to meet me

Last year we meant to go to a local mall's Chinese New Year exhibition, but we thought it was Sunday rather than Saturday and ended up going to the Darwin Days exhibit at the Michigan State museum. This year we were more organized and got the day right, and made it there even though it was snowing pretty much like it's snowed every day this winter. We meant to go in through the bookstore where bunny_hugger occasionally works; the door to the outside had a sign warning that because of the cold, the sidewalk had buckled enough that the door wouldn't open, and please use the mall's door to the side. So we'd had to stop in and tease the staff about having a door that didn't work.

Despite the weather the place was packed and while that bodes well for the event it suggests that maybe they'll need to find another venue for it. The central performance area was standing-room only. The afternoon started with a lion dance parade, which started out near the performance area and then marched down the mall's corridors, out of view. We watched them recede --- I waved goodbye --- and then we decided to walk after and photograph as they went down past the bookstore and turn around through the food court. The lion was lead by a little girl, waving a ribbon, that made me think of how my elder niece would have loved being that person.

The main program for the day was a cultural exhibition, fifteen or so demonstrations of fashion or singing or dancing or musical performances. Many of these were straightforward, such as songs played on Chinese instruments. Several of the singers were impressive, including one, an MSU alumnus now at Northwestern, who looked the part of the perfect radio star and whose voice was perfectly able to make the whole mall resonate. Some of the performances were more difficult to tie into Chinese New Year, such as the duo who performed ``Edelweiss'' and ``The House of the Rising Sun'', competently enough but ... well, huh?

They were having a raffle giveaway, tickets bought by buying cookies, which were listed at something like $3.00 per or five for ten dollars, so, we bought five. It turns out they meant five packages of cookies, each with an assortment of five themselves, so besides a snack during the show --- scheduled for three hours and apparently ready to run long --- we had snacks for the week to come. The raffle tickets were almost a great investment too, as one of the numbers right before our block of tickets won a Target gift certificate, and one of the numbers almost right after our block won a something (they forgot to say what the drawing was for several times). Despite these early-round near-victories, we didn't win anything, much as we liked the idea of the iPad mini or the flat-screen TV.

After the show were tables set up to show off various cultural programs from the college and the community. They were also packed, so we went off to get some coffee and tea and wait the crowds out. By the time we were done there weren't crowds, but also nearly all the tables had packed up and gone home. One that was making fans (using that paper where you scratch off the black cover to reveal rainbow streaks underneath) and other little craft projects was still open, so we made some things there.

Trivia: Ice skating first appeared in the Olympics during the 1908 London Games. (They were held in October, months after the main events of the games.) Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.

Currently Reading: Year Zero, Rob Reid. (Author of Year One, to which this isn't specifically exactly related. But the book is a hoot and I'm loving it so far.)

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