Laurel is in Indiana for a nephew’s wedding celebration, so I was on my own yesterday at Salem’s riverfront World Beat Festival. There are lots of things not to like about Salem, but the June World Beat Festival and July Art Fair temporarily liven up this excessively laid back town.
Right away my karma drew me to some Tibetan booths. I soon became the owner of two “Made in Nepal” yin-yang T-shirts, perfect for wearing to my tai-chi class (what I lack in tai chi skills I try to make up for with Taoist attire).
Sustenance in hand, and soon in mouth, I headed to the amphitheatre for the Eugene Taiko Drummers performance. I love the sound of Taiko. It’s deeply moving. Cosmic, like those deep Tibetan horns and droning Buddhist monk chants. The rhythms almost moved me to tears, really.
I decided to take a self-portrait of myself almost moved to tears by Taiko drumming. But by the time I’d figured out the correct camera setting the mood had passed and I just ended up looking like a Waikiki beach wino who had found a Hilo Hattie shirt, Maui Jim sunglasses, and Pacific Whale Foundation cap in a dumpster.
Lars Larson and his fellow right-wing talk show hosts wouldn’t approve of these posters, but I liked them. I recently heard Lars railing on about a proposal that “cultural competency” should be taught in Oregon schools. If that means celebrating diversity, the World Beat Festival theme, I’m all for it.
I watched this rabbit that belonged to a woman weaver for quite a while. It was amazingly calm given all the commotion and patting hands. It hopped onto the woman’s lap for a bit, then went back to looking like a serene bunny Buddha.
It wouldn’t be downtown Salem without a train passing by the industrial chic riverfront at an inconvenient moment. People were trying to get to the festival and people were trying to leave the festival, but this long train was right on track nonetheless. Moodily waiting for it to pass I tried to celebrate diversity. The train still seemed all wrong. Someday Salem will learn how to connect its people with its river without letting boxcars come in-between.