Monday, June 29, 2009

Gold-Laced Sake Tea Being Served in the Lower East Side!

Ken Hamazaki is an artist that is especially dear to my heart. I was introduced to him years ago while in Kyoto at my friend's café. As part of their five year anniversary party, they had Ken-chan (who is a old friend of my friend) come and perform the "Red Tea Ceremony" at the party. It was projected real-time onto a huge wall in the café and onto the street. It was a really amazing experience. It was amazing to now be here in NY years later experiencing it all over again. This very traditional and humbling experience, has been displaced from Japan onto the dirty streets of the Lower East Side.

Ken Hamazaki is currently having a solo exhibition at the Kumukumu Gallery on Rivington. It is a show called "Gratefull Red" which is a play on the Grateful Dead's classic American music iconography. It's a series of red on red canvases with very subtle designs that are barely painted on the surface. It was only for this opening reception that Ken-chan was performing his famous "Red Tea Ceremony" on the sidewalk outside the gallery. All were welcome to come and experience this traditional tea ceremony. The one exception, is that his tea, is not tea, it is traditional matcha mixed with nihon-shu (sake) instead of water, so it was crazy strong! It's especially funny watching the Japanese people that don't know it's alcohol get taken aback when they sip the tea! He even threw in a extra special touch this time, a gold flake into each serving. Very posh, must have been really expensive! It was amazing to see all the passerby's stop and observe this unusual and very special moment.

Kumukumu Gallery
42 Rivington (between Forstyth + Eldridge St)
New York, NY

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