Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Archive for the ‘thericeshow’ Category

RSC: OATP

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Our first day here with the show open has been great with lots of interested visitors and positive comments. We are here for three months but intend to keep the show moving and dynamic throughout. Whilst using many statistics that we include in other versions of the show we are also here responding to themes addressed in productions running during the RSC season and to the times in which Shakespeare lived. This has thrown up interesting combinations, including a run of statistics looking at the growth of the slave trade from the Elizabethan era, via Francis Drake through to Martin Luther King speaking in Washington.

Craig

Memphis Rice

Monday, March 5th, 2012

News in of the largest scale emulation of Of All The People In All The World. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Cordova. Having seen the show in Washington D.C. they took on their own version. For those who know the show seeing these photos will be a bit eerie, don’t say you haven’t been warned. Stan’s Cafe gets a good acknowledgement within the story.

Washington Despatch

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

washingtonrice

The Stan team took some time out from the first day of the get-in here in Washington to show our faces at the British Ambassador’s official residence, a swanky reception was held for visiting artists and the great and the good from the Kennedy Center and British council. A be-kilted piper played as we were let in through the gates and although there was a disappointing absence of Ferrero Rocher the Ambassador did spoil us with delicious butler-served canapés and aperitifs. With the speeches over we raced back to the venue to finish the get-in and were stopped in our tracks by how the work we had already done looked. Now that it was dark outside the lighting installed by the Kennedy Center technicians added an extraordinary glow to the rice which was reflected in the polished marble walls and floors of the Hall of Nations and was complimented, both aesthetically and thematically, by the permanently lit flags of the world that adorn the length of the space. Even if we say so ourselves it was beautiful.

- some time later -

We’re now entering the final 48 hours of our stay and the show is being well received. It’s seems that it is not what the regular Kennedy crowd is used to but we’re attracting quite a buzz. The crowd swells substantially between 6pm and 8pm when we get the folks that happen upon the show on their way to see other things in the eight or so formal and informal spaces around the center.

Washington, being the political centre of the ‘free world’, is highly sensitized, some punters are finding it hard not to be suspicious about whether we’re trying to push political agenda through the show. It’s not surprising though when you consider, one way or another, around 300,000 people in this city (over half its population) work in the government and that the word ‘Lobbyist’ has etymological claims to being coined here by President Ulysses S. Grant when he would be pestered by activists while he was trying to enjoy his nightly drink and cigar in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. Some people are more satisfied than others by our assurances that our primary motivation is to simply tell stories – stories of no intentional political partiality. Either way the conversations we have had have thoroughly and engagingly explored the very nature of statistics and the standards and scrutiny we who make the show, as well as those who see the show, apply to the statistical information we all consume every day.

Meanwhile Jake got himself on the radio. You can listen here to him talking about all things rice and the Edinburgh Fringe with Faith Liddell, Director of Festivals for Edinburgh.

Jack

Always ‘On’.

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

choshi3

This may look like another set of photographs of us in a fantastic restaurant. That is true, but it’s also a set of photographs of us at work. In fact we are researching the Japanese fishing industry with particular reference to the port of Choshi. The owner of this excellent place on the back streets of Setagaya tries to buy all his fish directly from the boats in his home City and much of his other stock is sourced from his friends and relatives. The team are all fired up for fishing research tomorrow. They are true professionals – always ‘on’.

I’m not, I’m off tomorrow. Craig and I are due to pass in Narita Airport. I received a very touching send off from our excellent hosts, they have been wonderful. I am sad to be leaving and will be very happy to be home.

Opening In Setagaya

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

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I had forgotten how fun this show is to do. For non-rice obsessives all you need know is that the show opened in good shape, the press turned up, there were pleasant speeches from representatives of The City of Setagaya (confusingly it’s part of Tokyo), Setagaya Public Theatre, The British Council and Stan’s Cafe. Beer was drunk, sushi eaten Etc.

Devotees only need read on…

Information no one really needs to know: Representing an F1 Pit Stop in rice is best done with Long Grain not what we have here. Japanese Emperors can change their name whenever they fancy – which makes writing a label for them more controversial than you would imagine. The Japanese ministry for transport will phone you back to tell you how many driving instructors and examiners there are in the country if you phone up and ask nicely. Reading about ritual suicide in ancient Japan will turn your stomach. The Japanese language, both written and spoken appears to get more not less difficult the more you learn about it. The process of translation is fascinating.

Finally; Nihonjin’s Too Many People is a very bad track to play at a private view – even if they are/were locals and Spiro works out much better.

Eat Rice, Drink Rice, Work Rice: Day 2

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

ricevarious

Breakfast, lunch, dinner to eat, dinner to drink, weighing, counting, pouring – focused!

Tokyo OATP Get In Day 1

Monday, September 13th, 2010

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Everything progresses smoothly and there are some deft Japanese touches. Our computers are all linked without wires to the printer (cue Chimpanzee with furrowed brow prodding printer with index finger). The table cloth is the brightest greenest and best ever. The rice is the bulkiest ever so we’re down to 52 grains per gram and have had to send out for more supplies. The local brushes are beautiful and Jon’s box of tricks has done the trick and we have tannoy announcements. We don’t even have to learn Japanese as local theatre maker and polymath Kakumoto Atsushi is here helping us out.

Festive Thoughts

Monday, December 7th, 2009

With The Just Price Of Flowers completed thoughts now begin to turn to Christmas and whilst reading The Metro newspaper on the bus this morning, I was reminded that although we have yet to stage a pantomime, we do have a number of festive wares in our back catalogue.

There was an article in said paper this morning about a cul de sac of six houses in Burnham On Sea, Somerset which together sport 90,000 fairy lights and raise a significant amount for charity. In 2004 in collaboration with The Public in West Bromwich we created a website called Hohoho to celebrate such domestic festive illuminations. The website contained images and reviews of decorated homes throughout Birmingham, Sandwell and The Black Country.
hohoho
It also featured a number of walking and driving tours to help people find the best displays in a particular area, together with background stories and photographic tips. The site was updated by The Public in 2005 and though now dormant, it can still be viewed HERE. Although clearly alive and bright in Burnham On Sea there don’t seem to have been as many extravagant displays in my neck of the woods over the last couple of years: a combination of the credit crunch, rising energy prices and climate change concern perhaps.

The Metro also had pictures of a number of Santa Claus fun runs which are seemingly growing in popularity around the world. Large gatherings of Santa Clauses are statistics we like to occasionally include in Of All The People In All The World. The
annual Liverpool Santa Dash which happened yesterday, claims to have the largest gathering of Santas in the U.K with a TBC figure of 7,000.

Click on the box on the right to read more about the first Stan’s Cafe touring show, itself a festive treat.

Craig

Haiku

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

They have a problem with keys at the Zilkha Gallery. Not very many people have them and fewer people know the alarm code. Thus far this has only been mildly irritating but this morning we arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled opening time and no one from the gallery is around. We’ve been given a key to the front door and a dressing room, so we call Public Safety – as the security guards are called in these parts – they say they’ll be with us so we get changed. Fifteen minutes later the only people who have shown up are audience members. The others start small talk. I get on the phone. Sylvia our local performer gamely launches into organising games with the kids. Barry turns up, bless him, to ‘see how we’re doing’, he get on the phone. Our box office guy turns up. He’s got not key. He gets on the phone. It turns out a moment after our initial call a fire alarm has gone off Fire trumps Gallery Opening trumps sitting around with a Coffee and the Paper. We’re out trumped. Some audience are leaving, others are arriving. Just as we’re calculating whether Burglar Alarm plus Fire Alarm trump just Fire Alarm ‘Public Safety’ arrives and all is well. No fights break out. The Public is Safe.

After this glitch everything is great and runs smoothly. Lots of people have seen last nights TV and we’re steadily busy with visitors through the day. The response is fantastic. People tell us how much they love the show and ask questions. It’s busy but not so busy that we can’t keep building the show.

I work on statistics for the vitrines that are poised to be placed around campus. Barry and I talk about Darwin as prep for the Science Department display (later he emails saying there are 27 adult Charles Darwins living in the U.S.). Vitrines are a kind of haiku version of the show, you have to boil it all down to 1m square and keep it elegant in both visually and conceptually. It takes far more time than we ever credit it with.

Eventually Graeme and I nail the Haiku (if you’re following the show on Twitter you will already know the poem). We carry everything over to the Science block turning heads as we go. They don’t often see a brown housecoat in these parts, still less two together. No doubt a rumour is sweeping campus about this new, quasi-Mormon sect.

All goes well with the vitrine, the rice is tidy, the paper all very neatly, Darwin is there, H.M.S. Beagle is there, local creationists are laid out beside local evolutionists. All is as it should be. We carefully lift the Perspex hood over the display and gently lower it down. Beautiful. We admire our work. All is good, so casually we pull the protective plastic coatings from the Perspex and bundle it up into balls. We’re all set to go but inside the vitrine things have gone crazy. Grains for rice are rising up, standing on their ends and leaping from the piles. They’re pinging themselves against the Perspex attempting to escape and the paper is curling at its edges attempting to catch them. Momentarily our allegiances in the Creation – Evolution debate swing decisively then the crackle of static electricity breaks out. Now we’re spinning and dancing with delight. It’s fantastic, now this extraordinary show even has its own weird, flea-show style variety act, should a cabaret opening come up. With one sheet of plastic still to be pulled and my camera-phone poised we shoot what, if Craig can give me the appropriate pass-words, should become one of You-tubes more esoteric clips.

Late in the day at the Student Union Chris and I take the precaution of removing the plastic from the Perspex well away from the rice and earth everything carefully before enclosing the second Haiku.

It’s a seven hour day but shift working gives the others a half day. I’m locked into this for now. Yesterday I went for a break only to find myself online in the union digging out numbers for Albinos in Tanzania and the U.S. (more in the former) and a up-to-date number for Guantanamo Bay internees – which is often an elusive one to find.

It’s been a good day 182 visitors added to last night’s opening crowd gives us 400 so far. We have our own key to the gallery and – don’t tell anyone – the alarm has been left off. Midnight party with the Dancing Rice Grains anyone?

James

P.S. Having researched Wesleyan’s Public Safety department for this blog I am now fully aware they are much more than just Security Guards. I also notice they do a neat line in statistics…

Local TV – How To Do It

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Day 3. A monster day is on the cards, but first we must eat “all we wish” for Breakfast. In contrast to the cornucopia of yesterday’s Dinner the offerings are modest and we escape still trim and bustling for action.

Chris sets to tidying the gallery whilst the rest of us charge to the Olin Library on the other side of campus with all our kit. We set up this ‘satellite’ in the foyer with of a Birth of a Nation stats on one side and university based ones on the other. We finish just in time for brief ceremonials with librarians at noon. Then high-tail it back to the gallery and have thing just about ready when Dan Kain from WFSB Eyewitness News turns up with his camera guy. They are a great team, friendly and efficient, they spend about ten minutes with the show, the piece goes out that evening and it’s one of the best we’ve seen done on the show. It throws into sharp relief our home stations’ failure to:

a> pick up on the show.
b> display any verve in their coverage of anything at all (not that I’m childish enough to harbour a grudge as you can tell).

Click on the link to see for your selves.

Before the cameraman has finished shooting his cut-away shots Jack, Graeme and I are off to Middletown’s mid-town Main Street with a huge stack of rice to do a window display. We use a statistic that is so shocking that it keeps me awake at night – but more of that in a future post. Then it’s back to the gallery just in time for a newspaper interview (the Theatre and Visual Art Critics from a local paper have come in tandem which is a great idea for a show people find tough to catagorise). The opening follows seamlessly, with more ceremonials and food, which we miss out on because things are so busy. We also fail to pace ourselves properly. Having neglected to check our schedules carefully and are shocked to realise that though the opening finish at 19.00 we’re due to plough on until 21.00.

Desperately hungry and thirsty I manage to mislead people into ‘the other’ Mexican Restaurant in town, not the one that’s recommended. It’s a bad business. There are casualties. Food is left. We all cling to our beer for safety.

James


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