Sunday, October 5, 2008

Andong Maskdance Festival

I have been to two festivals in Korea thus far. The first one was held last March. It was a Seafood Festival. Jason and I (and a large group of foreigners) were lured there by the promise of a free crab dinner. The organizers were offering the free dinner to foreigners only...and we naively forgot to question why.

Once we arrived at the festival, we (and all the other foreigners) weren't allowed to mill around the festival, check out different booths, or participate in any of the different activities that were being offered. When we complained that we just wanted to enjoy the festival and not be made a spectacle of, they said, "But you are our honored guests. It would be disrespectful if you don't go along with the program". Apparently by not sitting quietly and observing the action on the stage we were insulting our hosts.

So instead of enjoying ourselves as "honored guests", we were paraded through the festival and then coralled into a roped off section of seats in front of a stage. We were forced to witness some very disturbing things...namely a lady in fishnets with a large plumage sprouting from her behind play some rockin' violin numbers, two Miami Vice guys who played the sax ala Kenny G, and of course endless speeches by numerous politicians.

After about an hour of being treated as an "honored guest", I assumed we'd be marched off a plank into a pot of boiling soup before the night was over. Thankfully they let us free after being the backdrop to some publicity photos for the politicians - which I think was the whole purpose of us being (held hostage) there.

It took six months before Jason and I braved another festival. This one was the Andong Maskdance Festival. I'm happy to report that it exceeded our expectations and we had a great time.

There were a number of stage areas scattered around the festival grounds that showcased everything from Indonesian mask dancers to little kids showing off their Taekwando skills.

Nathan and Kat dressed up in hanbok and had a traditional wedding photo taken.

I know this looks like Nathan and Kat suddenly aged ten years, but these are different people I swear. Kellee and Dale also dressed up in the traditional garb. Jason, of course, refused to participate so I didn't get any bright red lipstick or cheek stickers. Damn him!

There was a small parade of different mask dancers accompanied by some loud music and confetti cannons that was really cool to watch.

This is my favorite pic of the trip. Obviously I didn't take it as my photos usually come out blurry and crooked.

This is the Andong style mask of a Confucian scholar.

Confetti canon fodder.

I'm the one in the blue mask chasing the Korean guy!

The Chinese people were hams...they took at least a dozen pictures with us.

Rock on!

I bought a marionette like these but I'm not sure why. Am I going to take up puppeteering again? Probably not. I was an impulse buy - like gum in the checkout line.

I couldn't figure this out...look at the lady in blue. She has four incense-type things burning on the back of her hand. I assume it has something to do with health....

I love the way the old men dress in Korea - it reminds me of my grandfathers except they didn't wear hats...that I can remember anyway.

Peace out.


Kat-tron! said...

The lady with the incense on her hands... my acupuncturist did that to me once too. I still have no clue what it is for.

karmaking said...

I love the pic of the guy getting chased down. I think I was chased down a few times also at the festival (maybe it was just the soju).