Things, stuff, and other items of interest

February 6, 2011

Lions, Dragons & Rabbits invade Chinatown

I know that I'm overdue for a post, and believe it or not, there are a few posts in the works but I put those aside today and took the camera out for a spin. Hope you enjoy it.

I've become a bit of a twitter fiend. A low grade addiction is probably an accurate way to describe my fascination with the hundred and forty character cyber-blurbs. I was planning on heading down to Winterlude today, when I saw this tweet from the fine folks at OttawaStartWinterlude will have to wait until next week.

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(Image: DSC_0187, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

Ottawa's Chinatown Business Improvement Association hosted a celebration of the Lunar New Year's, by inviting some Lion Dancers to parade up and down Somerset St. in order to scare off evil spirits, and to bring good fortune.

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(Image: DSC_0192, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

I figured I'd go check out the show, as it's kind of an iconic practice of the Chinese culture that I've never seen in person. Glad I decided to go. It was a beautiful day out, nice walking, and the promise of some interesting stuff to look at through the camera lens.


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(Image: DSC_0372, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

I had some time to kill before the parade was scheduled to start, so I figured I'd walk the couple of blocks and see if I could get an idea how to frame some of the shots I wanted to get. I guess a tall tubby guy walking up and down the same street for forty-five minutes looks a little conspicuous because while I was waiting for the dancers to show up, I got stopped by three or four different people, all of whom asked me the same thing:
"Is there some sort of a parade today? Do you know when it starts? Do you know where?"
It never fails to amaze me peoples reaction to seeing a camera. While I'm flattered they assumed I had a clue as to what was going on, I felt bad I couldn't help them out with any extra information.

I found out later that the dancers would be marching from Preston St, to Bay St, then back again. Fantastic news to my ears as it allowed plenty of opportunity to get lots of shots in. Given my normal ratio of decent to crappy shots, I was happy to hear I had lots of time.

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(Image: DSC_0392, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

It was quite an event. The parade itself was pretty small, but surprisingly interactive with the crowd. People were walking up and snapping pics, posing with the people in the rabbit costumes, and of course everyone jumped when the fire crackers were set off.

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(Image: DSC_0324, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

The shot above was taken just outside the Yangtze Restaurant, shortly before all three dragons accompanied by cymbal smashers and drummers did a left face turn and proceeded into the restaurant where they paraded around the dining room. I'm assuming this is pretty standard fare, because it happened a few times along the procession and everyone seemed to get a kick out of it.

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(Image: DSC_0353, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

The photo above was taken outside of the Mekong Restaurant where the owners were up on the second floor balcony, with a head of lettuce on a jerry-rigged fishing pole. The crowd seemed to get a kick out of the poor bugger in the costume trying to jump and get the lettuce. It took him a few tries, but as evidenced above, his persistence paid off.

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(Image: DSC_0405, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

All in all, quite a neat day. The festivities were a hoot, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The guys in the costumes never seemed to stop smiling from start to finish. Happy Year of the Rabbit folks.

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(Image: DSC_0288, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from my photostream)

[ UPDATE: ]
So it would seem that  some of you folks like the pics as both OttawaStart & SpacingOttawa decided to use my pics on their respective sites. For those that aren't too familiar with the Ottawa blog scene, these are two pretty high traffic sites, which are currently showing my photos. That's pretty cool. Glad I gave the Winterlude stuff a pass today.