Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ideas for Fest 2010

This is where you come in . . .
Tell us what you would like us to feature for the Fest in 2010.

It will help us shape our plans which have begun to roll.

Here is what is on on board.

1. To create a performance space at another venue, not far from the 16 pillar mantap and host shows in the open air there.  Visitors said that they would like to have alternate events.
Having events indoors is not the best if we have space options.

2. To create Sound and Light Show No.2.  The focus will be on Mylapore but it could be thematic. What theme would you like us to handle? It should be engaging, have to be told thro' narration, sound effects, lights and small acts and be about 40.30 minutes! Tell us. . .

3. To produce 2 shows with children. One will be led by a therukoothu artiste, another by a theatre artiste. Both have expressed interest. What kind of themes would you like children to present? The productions will star a few seasoned artistes and the children will rock the rest!
But those who are selected with need to work hard on 4 weekends in August. Look out for audition dates! We may have 10/12 children in classes 6 to 9.

4. To produce a cinema based stage show. Film clips, narration, talk. What is your fav theme? N. S. Krishnan? Early films of K. Balachander? The song and dance era? Tell us now.

5. To produce a docu on Mylapore. Not a linear docu but with a perspective. What do you think it should highlight? The temples and religious traditions? The evolution of a seaside fishing village into a heritage zone? 

Ideas wanted, and welcome. Tell us if there is a person / family / institution that is celebrating a landmark and how we at the Fest can focus on that.

By the way, one event which has received much and positive feedback is the 'Discover Mylapore' one. Look out for the 2010 edition - it will rock you all. It will be tough, engaging, crazy and fun. Thanks Karnik and co. who walked most of the way and gave us some insight from this experience. . 

P. S. : A visitor asked - why don't we use the tank space?

Check out this blog now and then. It doesn't look like it will be frozen today and come alive only in January 2010.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thank you, Sorry and Good-bye

Time spins you.
It is two days since the curtains came down on the Fest and there is still so much work left to do to wind up.
This the time to say Thank You to everybody who made the Fest what it was. To 'Sundaram Finance' led by T T Srinivasaraghavan, an active partner, to all the artistes who performed at the Fest, to the backstage teams who set the stage for the shows/events, to the state agencies that helped us stage the Fest, to the volunteers and to our small team. 

Special thanks to my colleague Revathi R. who joined us many years ago and has made a huge contribution to the Fest these past years.

It is also time to say 'Sorry' to those who strongly felt that some things had to be done but weren't, to those who experienced our slips and to those who felt they deserved better.

We say good-bye now.
And set the ball rolling for 2010.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank you, volunteers!

Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival has the tradition of having volunteers at different venues of the festival who happily come forward to manage the events. Many are young, a few in their middle ages, some studying, some working, some home makers . . .
It is the community spirit that brings all these people together.
It is time to say thanks to all of them!

Krishna, Ramesh, Suresh, Varsha, Anusha and Sindhiya was the team at the Nageswara Rao park who managed 200 kids (and their parents!) during the art contests, workshops and evening shows.

The dances inside the temple, including the one on Pradosham day which had to be started as late as 8 pm and went on till 9 pm were taken care by Vasini and Malathy.

The Tamil literary events at the Hotel Karpagam Hall, a little away from the main show area was under the charge of Srividhya and Karpaga Lakshmi. The team that joined the Pallankuzhi contests there on the weekends had Ganesh, Shyam, Devi and Kalavathy.

Keeping an eye on the happenings at the Arts Street where the students of a few women's colleges displayed their art materials was Balaji.

The food court was managed by a larger group headed by Srinivasan. Vijayakumar, Navaneetha krishnan, Chidambaram, Ramachandran, Jayachandran, Thiruvengadam, Rajeswari, Vijetha, Mythili, Gayathri, Giridharan, Gopi, Ramya, Bhargavi, Sridevi and Varsha. A few of them volunteered only during the weekend though.

At the festival office, seniors Jayaraman and Prabhakaran interacted with the visitors along with Ragini. Venkatesh updated the events and contest results and was giving away the information on the LCD screen on the spot.

The kolam competition on two days had Preetha (she has also been registering more than 300 participants' name over phone), Sundar and Mathangi as volunteers.

Rahul Joined the team for shuttling between the foodcourt and the volunteers at different venues on the weekend.

On the backstage, Meenakshi presented the events on the stage. Other team members were Shreya, Sharanya, Bhargavi, Rajeswari and Ram.

Thank you volunteers for all the help and the spirit you kept up all the four days, before and beyond the festival too!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

100 participants on Day 1 of Pallankuzhi contest!

The Pallankuzhi contest introduced last year (2008) as part of the festival is becoming more popular. About 50 teams - 100 participants - took part on the first day at Hotel Karpagam hall.
The senior citizens seemed happy just in playing the game.
Unlike the kids and youngsters, they are not keen on winning a prize. Playing the game which they did in their childhood was fun for them.
The rules for the contest was different from the format they used to play. Still they caught up with the rules quickly.
The kids enjoyed marking the games they won against their 'senior' partners.
The second day contest will be on at 2 pm today.
A quiz follows.
All the prizes - treasure hunt, kids kolam contest, quiz contest will be distributed after the Mylapore quiz at Karpagam Hall.
A docu on writer Su.Raa. will be screened at 6.30 pm

The Story so far . . .

10.45 pm. 
Part Three of the Mahabharatam act of Dakshinamurthy's therukoothu play comes to a close on the main on Day 4 of the Fest.
There are at least 250 people in the audience and that makes us all fell good.
There is still a goodly crowd for such shows.
And we hope we can continue hosting them.

Well trained students of our schools have made a good impression at the Fest. They may not have glitz but they perform well. Sivaswami Kalalaya and students of Radha Ramji set an example, of the groups I saw on stage.
They need to perk up their presentation though. . 

The food stalls ran out of food by 10 p.m.
There were many people who were disappointed.
We seem to run out of food even if we increase the inputs many fold every day!
If you did eat out here, please file your comments and give us ideas!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good start, smooth progress!

This blog can't keep pace with the Fest!
Admission One.

The Fest just cannot meet the demand of hungry guests!
Admission Two.

We had a smooth launch on Jan 22. 
And we had people in numbers we didn't expect on an opening evening.
Indicator - the food stalls sold out by 9 p.m.

The crowds swelled after 7 p.m. on Day Two.
Packing in for the Sound and Light show.
It got better on Friday.

The weekend should be a blast.
I gotta have lunch and refresh and take charge of the Kolam Contest.
Will look forward to all your comments on the Fest this week and our posts will be only next week. So will be all the photos of the Fest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kolam-poti thaaney?!

Whenever we walk the Mada veedhis and bylanes in the run up to the Fest, the people who recognise us are the vegetable vendors, the 'mallipoo' sellers, the fruit hawkers and households around this place.
'Kolam-poti aa?', a 'poo' hawker asks me.
I share the Fest dates.
She passes it on to her fellow-hawkers. 
Late in the night, the kulfi hawkers cycle in. 
A five rupee kulfi tastes heavenly after a hard day's work. 
I tell the kulfi-wallah to land up on the Fest evenings with lots of kulfi and his fellowmen.
He promises to be there.
Check them out. 
The Sundaram Finance Mylapore Fest is all about live and let live too!

If you come across toymakers and treats your parents enjoyed, share your stories here.  .  

Trial on Stage

On Wednesday night, when the quadrangle had emptied and the main stage was set, the final rehearsal of the Mylapore Sound and Light show was held.

There were some hiccups. Naturally. Lighting. Floor movement. Dance steps. And the projection folks arrived late. Traffic jam, they said.

When it ended, the effort was worth it.
The track sounds good. Now the act must fall in place.

We want you there so you can then mail us feedback.

If we were to run this Show with just sound and light, how best can be adapt this first show?
Ideas welcome. Practical and genuine. . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coffee Mug design for Mylapore

As part of this year's festival, we had earlier held a contest for kids to create a coffee mug design for the festival.
About 50 kids participated in the contest. Artist V. V. Ramani judged the design coloured by K. Muthukumaraswamy as the best.
Muthu had come all the way from George Town to take part in the contest.
He was present at the Press Con held on Jan. 19 at the Nageswara Rao Park and gladly showed the design to the people and the Press.

The coffee mug is getting ready. A few will be available for the souvenir collectors for sale. At the Festival office near the ther (Opp. Rasi store).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watch Mylapore Geetham

Did you listen to the Mylapore Anthem we have put up on the website -
If not so far, do so now! The bonus now is the visuals that Venkatesh has created for the anthem.
Venkatesh, a Mylaporean has been volunteering at the Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival for three years now. When he listened to the geetham on the Net, he came up with an idea of putting the pictures and lyrics alongwith the song.
The result is the YouTube video clip we have for you now.

Have any vintage Mylapore photos?

We have dug up a few pictures of Mylapore life.
I suspect some of them were exhibited at a previous Fest.

But we don't mind putting them up all over again.

Photographer Saravanan brought us a series of pictures of Kamadhenu Theatre which has been turned into a wedding hall now. Thank god, the facade will remain. That Art Deco style that theatres like Casino and Odeon sported.

We will post the Kamadhenu pictures. Maybe one of the Kapali Theatre on its last legs.
The show should be on near the 'ther' shed, opposite Rasi store.

Now if you want to give us a copy of a vintage Mylapore picture, even if its torn a bit, please do so. Time for nostalgia folks. . .

35 dancers on stage, wow!

One is just ten maybe. Another is out of ten. And there are a few teens too.

Dance guru Sujatha Mohan stars 30 plus dancers at the Mylapore Sound and Light show, to be staged daily. Runs for 40mins only.

Dance is part of the package. 

Imagine the crowd backstage then. Wonder how Sujatha manages these kutties!

We want lots of feedback on this show. So be there and mail your comments.

P S - Violinist Kanyakumari is putting 50 violinists on stage at IIT'M's Saarang - to commemorate IIT's golden jubilee. I will have to give Saarang a miss though we had a hand in helping put up the Madras/Chennai Express section . . .

Dance-team of Sound and Light Show

The team of dancers of the Mylapore Sound and Light show:

Samyuktha Sathyanarayanan
Gayatri Devi
Deepthi Shiva
Sadhvi Venkatraman
Anantha Lakshmi.M.K
Abhinaya Varadarajan
Reshma Bhanukumar
Shruthi Rangarajan
Varsha Srinivasan
Akshara Reddy.T
Shreya Balakrishnan
Pooja Lakshmi
Vaishali Jayaraman
Aashika Samir
Shilpa Samir
Mythili Sivakumar
Lakshmi Sivakumar
Sharanya Sampath
Barbara Dejung
Hansjoerg Dejung
Peter Horisberger
Livia Sauter
Guru Sujatha Mohan

Bring your Cams along . . .

Don't forget to bring your camcorders and Handycams or whatever you need to shoot events at the Fest. Make a short film out of the footage.

Post them on YouTube and send us a link.
Hundreds of people are bound to watch it.

We have just shot 3 little videos on the pre-events and hope to post them soon.
Our team will be shooting at the venues - if you see one pop up and add your comment live.

We hope to screen some shorts on the screen above the Fest Office near the ther.
Keep your eyes wide open.

Mayil is in! We invite our kids to give life to it.

Finally, we will have the mayil take its place near the ther.
And we invite kids to bring along cardboard / cloth pieces / paper and used CDs and any such materials which can help build this peacock.

Artist V V Ramani will be at hand daily, from 6 pm to about 8 pm to guide the kids.

Once it is ready on Sunday evening we may pull it along the East Mada Street!

Where should we install it? Its an art installation. . 

Your suggestions welcome. . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Should Mada Streets be made 'one way' only?

Cast your vote please.

This is an issue I kick up at the Fest.
Not because we want to take over all the Mada Streets. But because some organised and well planned strategies like 'one way' and 'walk only' for this zone will help us all - shops, hawkers, devotees, tourists, window shoppers and genuine shoppers and residents . .
I want your opinion. . .

I also want to write to the Traffic Chief and the Police Commissioner. To debate this idea and take it forward if it is doable.

Write in!

Work begins on the streets

Pandu is the man who provides the infrastructure.
This year, he has taken off on top of the week and that is good.
We need the stage for a rehearsal on Wednesday night - please don't land up here and get a peek into this main show. See the real one!

Pandu is at the core of this Fest.
He provides platforms, stages and leg rests to all sorts of political parties. So you can't mess around with him.
Actually, he is a fun person and seems to enjoy working for the Fest.
On Monday he made the mayil project happen when he got us the right person to create it.

So all you kids out there are invite to head to a spot near the 'ther' shed opposite Rasi store after 6 pm - bring cardboard or paper or cloth or metal pieces and give live to this mayil.

Artist V V Ramani promises to help you along . . .he is at the arts workshop at the Park on Jan 22.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kutty kolams

Kutty kolams and Kutties' kolams!
Yes, these are kolam design made by young girls and boys!
When it comes to joining the dots and making a kolam, kids are not less creative than their mothers!
The art of dispensing the kolam powder through the fingers and making designs on the ground starts from a design drawn on a sheet of paper. That is the reason we thought of a kolam drawing competition on a paper for kids.
A set pattern of dots were given to the kids and they were asked to create a design of their own.
Butterflies, conches, roses, stars, flags, elephants are all that they made out of the dots!
Among many young girls were four boys who drew their bright and colourful kolams.

Teams discover Mylapore

About 65 teams of 200 people went around the roads and lanes of Mylapore this morning.
The 'Discover Mylapore' event flagged off at the Chess Square in the Nageswara Rao Park took the teams to the east and south ends of Mylapore.

The strategies were worked out by the teams after they received the briefing and the clue-sheet from Vincent D'Souza.

School kids, college students, office goers and retired senior citizens teams up for this event.
Some went on by foot, a few bicycled, some more biked and a few had smart drivers in their cars!
It wasn't a race. But there was a time limit to drop the answer sheets at the start point.
The teams started arriving with the answers from 8.45 am. Discussed clues, exchanged the experiences of the trip over a cup of hot coffee.

If you have taken part in this event, do share us your experience here.
Did you really visit all the places given in the clue sheet?
And any place you visited for the first time?
Do tell us!

Pallankuzhi attracts the young and the old!

The ancient Indian game of 14 kuzhis (pits) is still popular.
The Pallankuzhi workshop held on the evening of Jan. 17 at the P. S. Higher Sec School hall attracted about 75 people.

Three generations were seen together at the workshop.
As Dr. balambal, the resource person for Pallankuzhi puts it, this is a game that develops mind-eye-hand co-ordination and involves a lot of mental math.
The kids got the rules right and the seniors reminisced their childhood days.
While the terms 'pasu', 'kaasi' and 'peechai' used in the game brought smiles on the young faces, the older generation enjoyed recalling the forgotten words!
Preetha, who volunteers for registration of kolam and Pallankuzhi contests tells us that there are more than 100 people registered for each day's contest.

If you love playing Pallankuzhi and haven't yet registered, do so now. Call Preetha at 94443 81298.
If you just like to watch 100 enthusiastic people playing the game, drop by on Jan. 24 (5 pm ) and Jan, 25 (2 pm) at Hotel Karpagam Hall.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Should we have a peacock installation?

Just an idea.
Should we plan a art installation of a 'mayil'?
And start with a frame and get people, especially kids to give it life and then install it at some public space in the area?
I'd love to have your suggestions!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mylapore Anthem Team

The Team which helped to create the 'Mylapore Anthem'.

K S R Anirudha - lyrics, music, voice, percussion, co-ordination
S R Mytreyi - vocalist
Aditya Venkatesh - vocalist
R. Priyamvadaa - violinist
Anish Mohan - keyboard
Pooja Sivakumar, G. Janani and K. Maanasa - chorus singers
Baba Prasad - sound engineer

Mylapore Anthem is Live!

Yes. it is LIVE. 
On the home page of the Fest web site, right top corner.
Play it. Listen to it.
Share it with everyone around the world.
Not just Mylaporeans.
And tell us what you feel about it.
It is an effort of about 15 people.

And this is the story behind it.

The anthem, if one may call it, is not a stand-alone.
It is part of the 40min Mylapore Sound and Light show that will be presented at the Sundaram Finance MYLAPORE FESTIVAL 2009 event. Every evening.

We wanted the show to open and close with a rousing song and dance piece.
So K S R Anirudha began to play with words and lines.
He bounced them on his dance and music colleagues.
They had a lot to add to it.

That done, Ani began to put down the music and had a scratch track prepared.
We then went into Baba Prasad's studios in Adyar. . .

We had with us many Mylaporeans, all young, brimming and creative musicians and singers who had volunteered to be part of the Sound and Light show.
They recorded at Baba's warm place.
Late last Saturday, the anthem was born!

On Pongal morning, Revathi posted it on the Fest web site so the world could listen to it.
By the weekend, we should have a video of it! On YouTube.
Another talented Mylaporean is working on it. . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tayakattam Trials!

Pallankuzhi Contests are filling up.
And this year we felt we should also bring in Tayakattam.

There wont be contests but some friendlies shall we say - play for fun at the hotel venue, before the Pallankuzhi games begin.

Please buy some nice Tayakattam boards, or better, create one yourself and land up.

If you imagine these games are for the oldies. Sorry!
Half the contestants at last year's show were teenagers and kids.
This is serious stuff.
If you can't play, drop by to watch the games.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is it Sangamam or Mylapore Fest?

Ha ha ha ha!
When people began to mill into Nageswara Rao Park in Luz and joined in the cul events that were on here, there were a few whispers.
O! So this is the Chennai Sangamam!

Yes it is. CS is across many venues across the city. NPP is one.
The Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival will be on here from Jan.22.
And the best way to start a fest is with a mikeless, peaceful concert at 6.30 a.m. in the chill!

Walk across to the Mada veedhis and our well wishers ask us - shouldn't the Mylapore Festival be on now?
It used to be on Pongal eve.
Now, it is after Pongal.
The Sangamam needs to have its days.
Then, it will be ours.

Hands Up! We need 5 more volunteers!

We have 20 of them.
But we still need 5 more.
Young men would be the best because we need 2 great people to co ordinate the Hospitality Desk. To ensure food is got ready for all artistes and that they are fed.
The base is Hotel Karpagam.
Work time - 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm on all 4 days of the Fest.
Call Revathi at 98405 44629 now.

Come for the Walks! All 4 morns

Dr. Chithra Madhavan's walk is bound to be a sell out.
At least a dozen people wanted to sign up for it. You don't need to. Just land up and walk with Chithra! It is free.

We are having 90min walks of Mylapore on all four mornings. And we want school groups, women's groups and others who haven't been on such walks to join us.

K. J. Suriyanarayan will lead the walks. Vincent D' Souza will join him on some of them.
Start at Luz Church and end at Sri Kapali Temple area.
The route may be familiar but there are loads of stories we want to share and we want you to share too!
A nice filter coffee in Pitchupillai St is welcome - lets pool in! Thats the spirit of the Fest!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mylapore geetham

A part of the surprise is here. . .

Do you too feel all these are part of Mylapore?
Keep reciting this until we come up with more on this 'geetham'.
Come back to this blog; you will 'see' the geetham soon!

While Team Festival is busy putting the shows and events together, the Sound and Light show team is all geared up to present 'namma Mylapore' in visuals and stories and music and dance and more. . .

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Mylapore Show; Getting There

A Mylapore Sound and Light Show is the idea.
It has taken shape for the 2009 Fest.
And it will go on stage on all four evenings. 90 minutes.

I am in Baba Prasad's Digi Sound Studio in Adyar as we score, record, mix and do all we need to produce the tracks for this show. Artiste K S R Anirudha is in charge of the music. And we have a surprise from him too - let me not share this now. Early days.

When this bonus is ready we will have it on the Net for you. A must for all true-blue Mylaporeans.

More on the eve of the Fest. 
Don't miss this show. And send us feedback too. 
We hope to grow this show in the years to come.

Tell us - would it be great to have a sound and light show in the Rasi Quadrangle every weekend?   

How's the Temple area?

We did our first close round of the Fest area a few days ago.
We looked like real estate promoters looking for space!

The Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival is keen to use spaces here for the arts.
There is good news hopefully - the inner temple streets are being cemented and we hope these will serve us better.
The fine arts students, craftswomen and their friends pitch their tents here.

RASI store's promoter Jayaraman says he can share his garage space and a floor in a new property he has acquired. Wonder if he can lend the space above his crafts store to run a Fest Cafe - it a great location.

We have plans to light up the 16-pillared mantap well - it is a great landmark that acts as the backdrop to the events on the main stage here. And the entire managers at the Kapali Temple have been most encouraging.

Sundareswarar Street where the Food Stalls will come up stinks. 
When will people stop urinating against the wall of a girl's school? We will need three water tankers, lots of disinfectant and phenol and other such things to clean up the pavement. We did it last year, will do it this year too.

There are a few 'nooks' that are there to be taken. 
If we get a group of young artists to join us at the Fest, we should have a street corner art camp!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Temple Heritage Tour is on!

Good news.
The Mylapore Temples Heritage Tour is on.

Archaeologist, author and speaker Dr Chithra Madhavan, a Mylaporean has just confirmed that she will lead the tour.

On Jan 25, 7 am. Entirely on foot. Be prepared for at least 2 hours, 17 mins and 45 secs of touring. To temples on either side of Sri Kapali Temple ( more details on our web site soon)
(If you are not in the best of health, please do not sign up).

This is one heritage tour you cannot miss.
Chithra is passionate, involved and lively.
And if it turns out to be the best event of SF MF 2009, tell Chithra. Tell us too.

(Do you have any other heritage tour ideas for the Fest? Drop a line here!)

Discover Mylapore; Go South

We are hosting the 'Discover Mylapore' event on Jan 18 so that we can facilitate more on Jan 25!
And take the pressure off us!

We have completed the circuit plan no.1.

My tip - go south.
It is an open tip!

Yes, the time limit has been drawn to just 2 hours but you will have to crack lesser clues than last year so you don't have to sacrifice your life on our roads please.

I don't like to write Obits; but they are important to our local newspapers.

If you want to leave a tip on this event - maybe want to tell us how to run it best - leave behind a comment please . .

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Kolam Drawing contest for kids

Nearly 50 kids painted the design for the coffee mug on Dec. 27.
Here is another pre-festival contest for kids. For those kids who love joining dots and make kolam designs.
A simpler one when compared to the Kolam contest to be held for women on Jan. 24 and 25.

A specific pattern of dots will be given to the kids and they need to make a design on their own.
Go to the contest section of to view a sample design done by us and the pattern of dots for kids to practice.

Open to boys and girls studying in class 4 to 7.
On Jan. 18. At 8 a.m. At Nageswara Rao Park - Chess Square.
No registration required. Just land up with your pencils and colours. Have fun!

Start Shooting!

My colleague Revathi has added a new feature to the Fest.
To get all those who have camcorders and digicams to shoot any of the many events of the Fest and post them on YouTube and let us link your work to our site. Look out for more info on the web site.
There will also be a contest for all VisCom students to produce a short docu on the Fest.
You will stand to win a cash prize. Await details.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Posters Arrive!

The posters to promote the Fest have just arrived.
Five different types with a master design running thro' them. They were created by the Ogilvy team.
Over the next ten days we should have the up across the city.
If you think this is indeed a collector's item - it would be if you love collecting posters - drop by at our base at 77, C. P. Ramaswamy Road in Alwarpet - the office - and ask our colleagues to part with one!

The Tees will be with us soon - they are up for sale even before the Fest rolls out. More details soon.