Friday, December 08, 2006

Indie Scene Cafe

A feature in today by Michael Cheang about Jasmine Low, Nikki Yeo and the exciting venue for words they have set up, Indie Scene Café at Picolo Galleria, between KL Plaza and Lot 10 in Kuala Lumpur. It's not your typical "cafe" though, but a temporary new home for a whole range of independent arts events.

Jasmine (on the right) and Nikki, who also organise events as Doppelganger KL (and I've written about them before as part of the team that organised the Troubagangers events in conjunction with the British Council) were offered the use of shop lot free of charge for the month of December and plan to use it as a space for performance, art, music "or anything else". They will also be selling indie music CDs, chapbooks, handmade jewellery and much more.

So what's cooking at the cafe?

Well one event close to my heart and here follows an ad for it.

Vietnamese-American poet Mong Lan will be reading on the December 17th at 5 p.m.

I met Mong Lan at the Ubud Readers' and Writers' festival a couple of months back when I moderated a session featuring two poets who are also artists. (Fate must have chucked me into it, because I am fascinated by the connection between words and art.)

The first poet was Amol Titus, who introduced his poetry and wonderful art project, Darkness at Bamiyan, and the second was Mong Lan who showed slides of her very impressive paintings which have been exhibited at major galleries in the US, and then read some of her poetry. I particularly loved a series of sensual love poems ... for food. You can get a good taste of all the things she does at her website, so please do go and explore.

But not only can Mong Lan deliver words on the page, it turns out she's a pretty mean performer of her work.

At the Ubud festival there was a poetry slam with some pretty big name poets from across the region and across the world. Mong Lan wowed the crowd and won the crown. Sadly, I missed the event but I did catch her performance the next night at Jazz Cafe where she read over the strains of a guitar. And then she stepped out in style with husband Joseph to show us what the Argentine tango is made of!

I told Mong Lan that if she ever found herself in KL, she should do a reading for us because we are trying to grow a culture of poetry in performance.

A week or two later (so fast!) I got an email saying she was coming to KL and asking if I could arrange a venue. Thanks to Jasmine and her Indie cafe we can.

(Click and click to enlarge, and then put on your reading glasses.)

Another event to watch out for is a poetry workshop for kids, lead by Sharanya:
for 7 to 12 year olds
conducted by Sharanya Manivannan


DECEMBER 27th-28th 2006 (Wednesday, Thursday)
2.00 pm - 6.00 pm
with a small presentation on
DECEMBER 28th 2006 at 7.00 pm

Indie Scene Café,
Piccolo Galleria, Bukit Bintang
(between Lot 10 and KL Plaza)

Deadline for application: December 25th 2006
Places are limited so don’t disappoint your child, apply early!
More information is available on Sharanya's blog.

And then there's the famous Doppelganger KL Open Mike session every Friday where everyone is welcome to strut their stuff.

Check the Doppelganger website for news of what's going on when.

It should be an exciting month ... and hopefully the beginning of something ongoing.


lil ms d said...

id love to come! both for mong lan nd sharanya's dos!

Doppelganger Open Mic KL said...

tx for the plug, sharon! i've updated me doppelganger blog to include links to writers/poets. see u all on the 17th! btw, i'm reading at borders times square kl on the 16th at the klue words + tunes event 3pm. am readin while the other jasemaine gan plays her wonderful tunes!