MASA & Tari, class visits

I have to say, I was a little bit blown away by the performance…I can’t say I’ve ever seen something remotely similar.

Until Tari-san and Masa explained a little bit about the motivation for the performance and how it is actually supposed to be interactive, I almost felt uncomfortable. However, being a part of the experience of the performance lightened the mood enough that I didn’t feel like I had to intently stare at this giant breast sliding across the floor in front of me.

I think my favorite part of the whole experience was when Masa explained how her life is music, and not words. As a musician and a psychology student, I found it amazing that some people are still able to connect music with things most people wouldn’t deem musical. As youngsters, our brains are so interconnected that it is sometimes possible to “see” music; and I feel that people like Masa are still able to do that. I found it intriguing how she described Tari as her music–as if Tari’s motions were notes drawn on a page of lined paper. The constant interaction between the two was almost energizing.

As a piece of feminist and lesbian performance art, I think the idea of freeing the tit from the “closet” was also unique. It corresponds perfectly with Tari’s description of coming out. I find it exceedingly cute, too, that Tari admitted she has a bit of a latex fetish.

Even though we got to ask a few questions after the actual performance, it was nice to talk more in an intimate setting.

The documentary we watched about Tari really surprised me. I don’t know if it was because it was a bit more physically graphic, or because of the information the documentary revealed. Regardless, it was really interesting to see how Tari prepares for her performances…and how they really are a form of expression for her. It’s not like normal stage theater where you have a script to memorize and blocking to follow–Tari does what she feels.

With regard to MASA and jazz, it was nice to finally talk a little about the relationship between gender and jazz (and not just about race). It didn’t surprise me too much that older male members of jazz ensembles tend to take over. It’s a typical patriarchal thing, I guess – men are the head of the “family.” However, I think that empowered women like Tari and MASA are paving the way for more women in places like Japan to branch out and really make themselves power figures in such situations. I’m not really a steadfast feminist, but I do like to see women in power and women breaching “ingrained” gender roles.

On the whole, meeting with Tari and MASA was refreshing and unique. I am looking forward to our next visitors!

– Jorie


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