Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are Class Observations Becoming Less Useful for my Research?

November 21st, 2010
I had the option of doing many traditional things for the day, but I was exhausted. Karjam and I went to 인사동 Insadong to pick up some things, that was it.

November 22nd, 2010
I managed a huge amount of productive editing in Starbucks. So worth the price of the coffee. After dinner I rushed to 붕산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class. I wasn’t very energetic, few people were there (it was so cold outside), and we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. My ear started bleeding this evening during class. Nice. As if the splitting pain (gone for days now), gunk from in the ear in shades of yellow and the reduced hearing wasn’t bad enough. I want to schedule a bunch more interviews but it’s embarrassing when I can’t properly hear the responses (don’t worry, I audio record).

November 23rd, 2010
I spent most of the morning working on videos, all of which I have now uploaded to YouTube and I’ve also linked them on my videos page (see above). They include the entire performance in 남원 Namwon. Did I mention that 송파산대놀이 Songpa Sandae Noli has my name printed in the programs when they perform? I love being a full member, not just someone who pays for classes.

I expected my classes to be useful for observations until at least the late spring, but I am already running out of things to say. I need exercise, and I need excuses to be part of conversations and to meet performers, but I may have to start observing other classes in other places in order to continue to get new observations. For example, 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum has a class only for the regular performers that I could attend (but only as an observer), one of the 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae performers teaches a class at an arts university and I could go observe that, probably. At any rate today was the second day in a row when I’ve felt there was not much to report from my class. I was one of four students at 상모 sangmo class today, I made no break-through in my ability, neither did anyone else. 이종휘 Yi Jonghui was absent, so we were taught by 변태원 Byeon Taewon.

Class consisted of: 30 minutes before official start of screwing around, sitting on the floor and talking about the violence from the North or spinning in a less than urgent manner. Then promptly at 8 we rotated (no spin) for 15 minutes (Jonghui would have kept us at it longer) then spun counter-clockwise for twenty-five, took a “five minute break” (ten? thirteen?) then spun counter-clockwise ten more minutes with stepping forward and back, then switched to clockwise, which two of us (me and another guy) can’t do more than a few of in a row, and a different student is still struggling with, we did that for thirty minutes (I managed 10 consecutive spins!) then switched to side-side-side-side where we spin 1.75 in one direction then switch directions. I managed to start out way too tight (trying to drum the 소고 sogo while spinning) but relaxed by the end of the thirty minutes. We quit a little early, but no one complained.

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