July and August are always the “silly season” – loads of parties and events. It’s hard to escape the social dragnet, but there are some fun occasions too. Peter Ditmar and Ronald Wigmans joint exhibition at Tony Raka’s gallery last Saturday was worth the visit. I must commend Gung “Tony” Raka for his gallery in Mas – it is by far the most happening gallery in Ubud, if not in Bali. Great spaces, and he doesn’t flinch much. For this one he had museum owner and fellow gallerista Agung Rai officiate, here seen with Peter in front of Peter’s latest style….and of course Agung Rai’s wife and their lovely daughter were there in show of support. But if this blog is turning into a little “social column” then it wouldn’t be complete without the expat bash of the month, Linda Garland’s 60th birthday party at her bamboo estate in Nyuhkuning, Ubud. It was astounding how many older term expats came out of the woodwork, (quite a few pre Kudeta era old timers from down south!) and some of their younger offspring who are no longer that young, now that they have offspring of their own – here the late John de Coney’s impish granddaughter….The party has several Balinese performances going at the same time, complete madcap and in somehow it all works, reminiscent of a big ceremony at a Puri or Pura. Ibu Agung Ari Mas, whose late husband was cremated in the huge cremation a couple of weeks ago, even made a quick detour from the Maligya ceremony to come by with her sister-in-law Siti to say happy birthday to Linda, and Pak Gede the trek meister from Kintamani made it down too as well as many other old Bali friends. It was truly a celebration of Linda’s 30 odd years here in Bali. The late afternoon Legong under the Bamboo was a little hors d’oeuvre to be followed by Kecak, Gambuh, and Joget. Bravo to Linda, and Happy Birthday again. What a bash. But I must admit that I felt saddened watching the Gambuh so soon after Cristina’s death. I hadn’t realised how much I associate it with her. Her first Gambuh teacher Jimad performs the vocals, seated amongst the long eerie Gambuh flutes. It kind of gets to me and I have to go home, unfortunately without catching up with Linda’s son Karim – though his brother Arief was everywhere to be seen. Anyway, enough partying for today. The rest of the week is crammed full. back to work!
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