Thursday, September 25, 2008


Well, you know I sing with this choir called UCT Choir for Africa. They are an alternative choir to the UCT Choir that sings Western music (I think they mean European or “classical”). It reminds me of an exact African version of my university gospel choir in the States. This is because they do gospel music (this means TRADITIONAL African music that sings about God) and then try to do some classical style music (this means someone who wrote a song in the classical style but still used Xhosa/Zulu/Ndebele/Sepedi, etc. words). The funny thing is that most people don’t read. So if you are musician it can be painful to sit in a room while people learn by rote when you are used to having your music learned BEFORE coming to rehearsal because rehearsal is not for learning music. I almost left my college gospel choir when I first joined because of this. You could fall asleep. I learned to bring a book while they worked on other parts. I even remember Tatiana Ali (Ashley on Fresh Prince) falling asleep while waiting and never coming back after 3 or so rehearsals. It’s hard. People don’t come on time; they don’t respond to e-mails, they don’t bring uniforms, etc. There is one cute Afrikaans girl who tries soooo hard; she is the de facto secretary. She gets frustrated sometimes. I tried to tell her it’s a different culture and not to worry about the time and stuff. But someone just brought up on Monday (a Black African) whether rehearsal starts at 6:30 or 7.

Well, we were invited to a choir festival organized by the Catholic Association (Kolby House). Little did we know that only 3 choirs were invited, one singing 1 song, another singing 2, and us singing 3. So it was over VERY quickly. Our choir bolted after we were done. I stayed along with a few others including the frustrated girl. It was fun because they opened it up for people to sing and a few girls from one choir came and did three more songs. And one choir did another. It was still done pretty early, but it just reminded me why I like music so much. I really miss singing and music and choirs. And so I’m glad I joined this one in stead of waiting for my church to make up its mind about when/how the choir will start there.

Right after the choir festival I went to the national-class theatre on campus, the Baxter Theatre, to watch a Dance Festival. Each performance is a medley of different small performance in the genres of modern, jazz, and African dance. It was especially nice for me because these styles can be especially moving to me coming from a perspective of seeing similar styles in the US. I have even had the opportunity to do some music-dance collaborations where I am singing and people are dancing. And when it’s done to spirituals and the dancer(s) can dance with authority, presence, passion, and soul, it’s powerful! This was somewhat more of the same. It wasn’t mind-blowing but perhaps that’s because I slept through most of it. It was dark and late. But what I saw was good. African dance doesn’t seem that African but I haven’t seen most of it.

I’m trying to get an agent for acting work but no luck so far. We’ll see what turns up if anyone will take a temporary foreigner. Maybe, maybe not.

And I was super excited about writing. Every time I am at university again, I try to do something else new. Someone (actually many have) said that I like to busy. That is furthest from the truth. If you look at my activities (even where my money goes) it’s all aligned with certain things—passions, loves, burdens, etc. I don’t blindly, haphazardly, or flippantly stay busy. I’m pursuing something. Anyway, I’ve wanted to write and the UCT paper, Varsity, is not so great.

As you can see, they don’t even have a proper website. Well, either they do and I didn’t find it, or they only have a blog. But I found a publication that I wanted to be a part. It’s called the UCT Globalist. It’s world affairs/societal issues magazine that only comes out semesterly (so semi-annually). I happened upon a meeting for it and the guys encouraged me to send in a proposal. I did and they thought I wrote eloquently (my proposal was actually a mess and I didn’t think much of it). But they just had one question in their response (e-mail) before they chose which options I should (though they liked all): “Are you an undergraduate or honours student?” No, I’m a postgraduate student. “Sorry, we can only have undergraduates and honours students write.” Bummer.

I just came back (Thursday August 28, 2008) from a friend’s performance in Café Sofia, a café in the town of the University. It was really great to see him (drummer) and his band (new bass player, lead singer/guitarist, keyboardist/wife of guitarist) do their thing. They are still growing and getting better but still courageously performing at their current level. It was great. They had something to say and they said it. I appreciated them. And I miss seeing performers more and performing. It made me happy. I also watched the guitarist’s fingers.

Here are some books related to the section on South Africa:
Selling Sex in Cape Town by Chandre Gould and Nicole Fick
Sugar Girls and Seamen by Henry Trotter

And Music you should check out:
Dr. Victor and the Rasta Rebels
Favorite songs: “If You Want to Be Happy For the Rest of Your Life” (. . .Never Make a Beautiful Woman Your Wife) [I tried to explain this concept to my Ghana kids team and chaperones but all the girls and women through vegetables at me]

“Women Smarter” (women are smarter than men)

When I did a kids camp back in March I think it was I was unsure as to why my cabin called me Dr. Victor. I honestly thought they could see something prestigious in me or something. What a laugh. I didn’t know that “SA’s #1 reggae group” was Dr. Victor and the Rasta Rebels. Everyone calls me Doc V now.

Here’s a note from a friend who has a new movie out. If you will, go out and support it.

Dear Friends and Family,

We are extremely thrilled to write to you about the upcoming release of our movie PING PONG PLAYA beginning September 5th! It's an exciting time--but here's where we need your help. We'll let the movie speak for itself (if the reactions of people who have seen the movie is any indication, we firmly believe you won't be disappointed), but we need your help to spread the word about the release of the movie. Independent movies don't have the marketing budget to compete against the mammoth studio movies, but what we do have is intense, strong word-of-mouth (just check out any of a number of our reviews--from outlets large and small, from critics, bloggers, and chat room posters alike).

Please help us continue to spread the word and come check out the movie opening weekend (Sept 5--LA/SF/NY; Sept 12--Seattle/Houston).

Our website:

And if you know of any friends w/ websites or blogs that want to support the film by putting up our banner ads, please download here:

See you at the theaters soon,

Jimmy Tsai
Writer/Co-Producer/2nd Assistant Production Accountant

Jessica Yu

Joan Huang

Anne Clements

Jeffrey Gou
Executive Producer

No comments: