In 1902, Sadakichi Hartmann, an American poet and critic of German and Japanese descent, dreamed of transporting New York audiences to Japan via scent and sound in a concert he called “A Trip to Japan in 16 Minutes.”
He failed miserably. The concert was performed only once, at a burlesque and musical comedy venue accustomed to bawdier, not quite as intellectual fare, and Hartmann was summarily booed off the stage by an angry crowd before the trip reached its conclusion in Japan. That exit left Hartmann’s auditory and olfactive work a strange, sort-of-sad footnote in a life full of strange, sort-of-sad episodes that ultimately wound through Hollywood and into Banning, Calif., a desiccated town on the outskirts of Los Angeles and Palm Springs where Hartmann spent his old age in a shack.
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