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It was something I really wanted to see, but ending up missing it between Casshern Sins and meeting up with old friends.

Did anyone get to go and how was it?

By all accounts, it was awesome. There was certainly a lot of interest in it -- we turned away dozens of people at the door because the room was full. I talked to the performer afterwards and he was ecstatic.

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It was something I really wanted to see, but ending up missing it between Casshern Sins and meeting up with old friends.

Did anyone get to go and how was it?

By all accounts, it was awesome. There was certainly a lot of interest in it -- we turned away dozens of people at the door because the room was full. I talked to the performer afterwards and he was ecstatic.

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The Rakugo Performance was really, really, good, but it was about 15 minutes short from being absolutely great. The format of the performance was a series of short clips about the history and culture of Rakugo in Japan intermixed with a series of short bursts of the performer demonstrating Rakugo. The short clips were amusing and informative, but seemed a little more directed at people younger than me; the style of the clips reminded me of school assemblies we had in middle school.

The performer's English was outstanding and seeing him mixing a Japanese performance style with English was astonishing and very fun; the format works very well. The clips and the short bursts of live performance did a great job of setting up the framework of how Rakugo works, so that the audience started understanding the conventions and were ready for a full-fledged story. All we got was a short amusing story about a poor rickshaw passenger, but sadly, I was left wanting more. I felt that we spent a good amount of time learning how to appreciate and understand a Rakugo performance but didn't get the opportunity to use it at that performance. Perhaps, I'll make the trek out to New York to see him perform again.

I got to the line around 30-40 minutes before the scheduled start of the show. The staff person on duty was extraordinarily helpful in guiding me to the right line (two lines had formed because the first line had gotten way too long). The performance started something like 15-20 minutes late, but ended about 15-20 minutes early.

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If you don't mind sharing some "inside baseball" type of knowledge, how did you swing the Rakugo performer? He was a unique and definitely worthwhile add to the schedule.

We work with the Smithsonian on the Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) each year. We worked through those NCBF connections to reach out to the Japanese Information and Cultural Center -- whose events you'll frequently see promoted on the BBS, and soon on our main website -- and they are tied to the Embassy of Japan.

We basically said "we'd like to partner with you to do more cultural programming at Otakon, and help you promote your offerings". We have the visibility and audience; they have the cultural connections and international prestige. It made sense, but to them we were an unknown quantity. So we've been talking for a while.

They suggested that this rakugo performer would be a good first attempt. I believe we also had Tom Vick from the Freer Gallery discuss some of the Smithsonian's Asian art offerings.

So we contacted the performer and worked things out to bring him, and that's basically how it happened. As a result, we had a great, unique piece of programming which proved a huge draw -- and in turn proved Otakon to the folks at the Embassy and the JICC, which will hopefully lead to more offerings in the future.

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If you don't mind sharing some "inside baseball" type of knowledge, how did you swing the Rakugo performer? He was a unique and definitely worthwhile add to the schedule.

We work with the Smithsonian on the Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF) each year. We worked through those NCBF connections to reach out to the Japanese Information and Cultural Center -- whose events you'll frequently see promoted on the BBS, and soon on our main website -- and they are tied to the Embassy of Japan.

We basically said "we'd like to partner with you to do more cultural programming at Otakon, and help you promote your offerings". We have the visibility and audience; they have the cultural connections and international prestige. It made sense, but to them we were an unknown quantity. So we've been talking for a while.

They suggested that this rakugo performer would be a good first attempt. I believe we also had Tom Vick from the Freer Gallery discuss some of the Smithsonian's Asian art offerings.

So we contacted the performer and worked things out to bring him, and that's basically how it happened. As a result, we had a great, unique piece of programming which proved a huge draw -- and in turn proved Otakon to the folks at the Embassy and the JICC, which will hopefully lead to more offerings in the future.

Edited by Joran
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