Midori dishes details on ‘Seduction’ party tonight at the Asian Art Museum!
“The centerpiece is this most amazing 17th century scroll,” Midori tells BrokeAssStuart.com. (This scroll is freakin’ 58 feet in length!) “Think of this like a visual FAQ of what to expect in the pleasure quarters of old Tokyo, back then known as ‘Edo’. The artist himself was married to a courtesan in the pleasure quarters, so he had a bit of insight behind the scenes to what the life was like.”
Back then there was no stigma to marrying a courtesan or frequenting pleasure quarters. ”When I say ‘pleasure quarters’, in the west we think of that as being brothels,” Midori says. “Think in a broader capacity of entertainment — think Las Vegas, think in terms of exquisite food, song, comedians, beautiful dancing, fine clothing, and excellent cooks and chefs. All of which occupied the pleasure quarter.”
“We are creating a parallel of the Yoshiwara,” Midori says, referring to a Japanese red light district of the 17th century. “There are these characters — the courtesan, the cook, the customer, the servant, the dancers, the actors. For all these characters, we have the corollary in San Francisco. So instead of the high-level courtesan… glamorous drag queen! Instead of the beautiful dancer and geisha, we have the ingenue burlesque women. Instead of the actors and the elaborately painted faces, you have rockstars like Ziggy Stardust types doing wild things.”
Meaning, you don’t have to come dressed as a traditional Japanese hooker. But it will probably be a popular costume choice!
Additional craziness includes love letter courtesans, roving performers and erotic haiku (not to be confused with Broke-Ass Haiku). Visuals were coordinated by Mark Jacques (a.k.a. Sister Flora Goodthyme) and Wicked Grounds‘ own Ryan Galiotto. But that’s not all.
“Theatre of Yugen is gracing us with several performances, including a recreation of geisha house drinking games,” Midori tells us. “People think of traditional Japanese as being all calm and zen and precise and pristine. Traditional Japanese also involves dirty drinking games.”
Sure, its all fun and dirty drinking games until someone offers a stirring analogy. “There’s a direct parallel between San Francisco in 2015 and Edo of its brilliant, brilliant economic boom,” Midori explains. “Both are port towns. Both are cities with a booming new moneyed class and a old patron class that pre-existed. And then there are the denizens of the shadow world and people that work in the service industry and the hospitality industry.”
“In San Francisco, we have a new, booming moneyed class,” she continues. “What do they want? They want the good life of the old moneyed class, and they want the spark of life and the mystery and adventures that the people of what I call ‘the shadow world’. We’re talking about the entertainers and the stars, the equivalent would be the leather bars, the gay bars, the drag queens, the sex clubs and the private societies, all those things that are purported to happen in South of Market — nudge nudge wink wink. They want the grace and the elegance of the upper crust and they want the sizzle and thrills of the forbidden world.”
“In both cases, the new moneyed class also displaces the very people that are entertaining them.”
So forget all your problems of today by celebrating an allegory for your problems of today at Courtesans, Cooks, Samurai and Servants, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. tonight! Tickets will be available at the door, though buying advance tickets will reduce your wait time.
Seduction: Japan’s Floating World remains on exhibit at the Asian Art Museum from February 20 – May 10, 2015.