Wild in the Streets

While dancers and musicians in New Orleans and Rio are going wild with Carnival color, banging out rhythms, and stomping feet, Bali will have its own outrageous parades around the island on the night of 6 March, the evening before Nyepi. Why go half way around the world to see creepy grinning papier-mache faces or grotesque monsters, if you can gawp at the madness and marvels right here in your own village?

Inquire at the local banjar as to where their meticulously crafted ogoh-ogoh monsters will be paraded, or the locations of the finishing battles and burnings. Try to attend festivities close to where you’re going to spend the night, since traffic can be held up while parades and battles are in progress. Make walking distance and strategic parking your watchwords.

One little-known Nyepi tradition in Karangasem is the fire fight in the village of Jasri (15 mins east of Candidasa). If you can stay March 6 – 8 in that area (Jasri boasts nearly every class of shoreline accommodation), Ter-teran is a bucket-list spectacle for lovers of Bali traditions, performed only every other year. Shirtless young and old men on opposing teams battle each other with fire and drive away evil. Born of Bali Aga tradition, it’s scary, thrilling, dangerous, and all with the blessing of the pedanda (Hindu priest).

At nightfall, all hell breaks loose as opposing teams face each other and raucously hurl burning torches at each other along a couple hundred meters of the main road. Usually there are two battles (four teams total). Bring a camera, don a face mask against the smoke, and pray the evil spirits are truly driven out. As with some other Karangasem rituals, true physical sacrifice is shown by proud acceptance of wounds (and any burns do get a blessing of holy water).

It all happens March 6, 7pm, a little north of the Sarong Girl statue in Jasri, Karangasem.


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February 14 Annika Linden Centre Open Day In support of Bali’s diffabled community and the extraordinary people working within, please visit the charities based in this beautiful space. You may know someone in your community who needs the care offered here. Why not bring them and their family? 9am – 2pm. Ten mins north of Sanur, Jl. Bakung No.19, Kesiman Kertalangu, Denpasar Timur www.annikalindencentre.org

February 15 Indigenous Movie Night at Ubud’s Paradiso: Indian Horse (Canada, dir: Clint Eastwood) 7 – 10pm In support of Yayasan Ranu Welum, feat. 2 excellent guest speakers incl. Randi from Borneo. www.townscript.com/e/indigenous-movie-indian-horse

February 16 – 17 Komunitas Bela Indonesia Chamber of Discussion for youth, with workshops on such topics as personal branding, vlogs, and countering hate speech. Bilingual millennials wishing to improve promotion skills can apply. Media insiders and activists like Saras Dewi will present. Central Jakarta at the Upnormal Coffee Roaster Raden Saleh. Contact Dantria at 089668878910 or Siska at 082110109093

February 16 Larasati Art Auction View offerings in the precedent 2 days & morning of the auction. 2pm, Tebesaya Gallery, Peliatan, Ubud. info@larasati.com

March 1, 2, and 3 We Walk We See We Sketch Indonesia’s most talented sketch artists lead 3 days of innovative drawing and watercolor workshops and plein-air work. Classes are tailored at Basic, Medium and Advanced levels, including one for kids called Let’s Draw a Character. International (English) sessions, in various venues around Denpasar. info@101travelsketch.com or call 080 4178 1945.

More drawing sessions for artists! Here’s a time-honored, Bali arts scene favorite, under one of the island’s finest renaissance men, Pranoto Ahmad Raji:

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am – 1pm Pranoto Gallery Life drawing and painting open sessions, drop-ins welcome. No instruction; bring your own materials. Your fees go towards the model’s time. Jalan Goa Gajah, Ubud. WhatsApp or call 0813 5301 6899

March is Hong Kong Arts Month, culminating in mega art fairs Art Basel and Art Central. www.artnet.com/events/hong-kong and www.artbasel.com/hong-kong

April 26 – 28 Ubud Food Festival Plan now! A delightful weekend of health, recipes, shopping, demonstrations, flavours, music, and culture, centered on Jalan Raya Sanggingan. Theme: Spice Up the World. www.ubudfoodfestival.com

May 10 – 15 Indigenous Film Festival See 34 films from 12 countries in Ubud! Get to know humanity’s longest-surviving cultures, some just beyond Bali’s familiar shores. info@paradisoubud.com

You, the public, have 3 more days to vote in the Bali Music Awards Favorite Song category. I’m pitching for Indonesia, by extraordinary local band Antrabez. See them live and you know how polished and professional they are, with lyrics sincerely from the heart. Stands to reason; as reformed criminals serving time in Kerobokan, they have plenty of time to compose and practice. Go to Anugerah Musik Bali facebook page, find the recent post of LAGU TERFAVORIT nominees, and leave your comment with this format: VOTE ANTRABEZ #AMB2019


By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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