Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Graduation

BodyMagic remains in-country for a few days after the body painting festival. I help him find a smallish motel close to downtown. This is the same place I crashed for a few months back in February when I needed a place to stay. My stay there was comfortable; the ajumma was always nice to me. She offered me food on several occasions, kept my place clean, and was generally a gentle hand. The room I stayed in was not much, but it had a comfortable bed and it was mine. Aside from the neon-green lighting I couldn't complain about too much while I was there.

I take BodyMagic in and she is overjoyed to see me again. She comes out and gives me a hug and a kiss. I explain that my friend needs a room for a few nights and we haggle it down to around twenty a night. She is pleased and grabs a key.

On the way up the stairs her husband comes out and grabs the keys and throws something else at her. BodyMagic looks at me and I explain it is the key for a nicer room, he has been given an upgrade. The room is on the third floor. It has an element of postmodern abstract amusement. The walls are covered with sky-blue wallpaper that is decorated all over with clouds. It’s like something out of a children’s bedroom, fascinating to see. Other than that it is on the smallish side, it’s clean, and it has free fresh water.

“If this is an upgrade…”

“Yeah, I know,” I respond, “but it’s cheap!”

“There is that.”

He settles in and I walk him down to the Lonely Hearts. Sadly I cannot stay out too late on the night in question, but I leave him in good and capable hands. A few days later I get a message from him asking me about the Daegu Beauty College graduation. I recall that roughly around this time last year I had stumbled upon the graduation ceremony quite by accident. It had included, as I remember, some body painting in it as well. Apparently on the way through the park BodyMagic had stumbled upon the rehearsal and met a few of the teachers from the school who recalled and appreciated his work from the body painting festival in Daegu. He was invited to join for the official ceremony on Monday and asked if I could make it.

I moved some things around to make it more doable so I could come out. When I arrived he was already well along in discussion with the president of the school and several other professors. We smile politely and we talk quietly amongst ourselves after being seated with the president and others. As the ceremony nears the professor who recognized BodyMagic asks for my business card. I ask why, not meaning to be rude, but not wanting to be confused with an actual artist. She assured me that it was just for information, which I’m happy to share. I passed on my card to her.

We were whisked away and asked to sit dead center of the stage, roughly behind the president. Tea and snacks were brought around to our seats in the park. I was very amused. There was a small pre-show magic show that was not bad, but when you are friends with the Irish magician it is hard to be super impressed.

When the announcements began several of the professors were pointed out. The spotlight came down on the president, on professors left and right. Then suddenly there was a short and introduction and the name of BodyMagic said with an almost reverence. When he stood and the spotlight landed on him the crowd near exploded in oohs and ahhs. His presence was the bit of celebrity that the show had hoped for. The students were very familiar with his work as both a painter and judge from the festival, and overall the crowd was impressed that the college had scored such a celebrity to observe the final performance.

Immediately afterwards another introduction was presented and I heard my name being called, the spotlight shining on me and BodyMagic telling me to stand and enjoy it.

“But I’m not an artist!”

“You painted a few faces.”

I stand, smile, and quickly sit down feeling as if I must have turned the same color read as the blouse I had pulled on for the evening event. The announcements continued and then it was on with the show. The students did good work. Body painting was only a small portion of what was overall presented by the students. The show also included fashion design, massage, dance, and choreography. Overall it was fascinating to watch. The stone-and-shell synchronized massage was especially interesting.

“This could be a fascinating Olympic sport.” I commented to BodyMagic, who smiled.

We were both amused at some of the titles of the final student performances. Things like Sex, Blood, Magic, and Dance with a Vampire. The titles made less sense when you saw the shows they represented. At one point both BodyMagic and I were a bit shocked by what was happening behind the screen. In front of the principal, all the teachers, probably some parents, and definitely students, was some slightly harder-than-softcore porn. Him being a body painter and me a perv you’d think we wouldn’t mind, but both of us were a little put off, and quite amused.

I stayed until after the high-school dance routine, which may or may not have also been a fashion display. The night was warm enough, and I had work in the morning, but it was a pleasant way to spend a last evening with the Magic before he fled the country.

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