Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ANNA ON ANNIE ] The editor on her favorite photographer's most personal body of work


"...when I leafed through Pilgrimage, I was astounded. There is an intimacy and quietness and reflectiveness that she hadn't revealed before, and one senses that this is an artist who was working through a challenging period in her life; her partner, Susan Sontag, had passed away, there was highly public and critical coverage of her financial woes, and all the while she was faced with raising her three daughters alone. For a notorious workaholic, Annie perhaps unsurprisingly looked for solace in her photography, choosing to focus on the natural world, traveling here and abroad to shoot landscapes and still lifes that are by turns epic, desolate, and arid, turning them into a balm to heal her feelings. I don't think she will mind my saying this, but for a woman whom I've never thought of as particularly peaceful, Pilgrimage suggests Annie has achieved a much-needed state of grace."-- Anna Wintour, Letter from the editor, Vogue, November 2011

Some of the photographs here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

THE FRAMES HAVE IT ] A cute new angle to your dark-rimmed specs

_MG_4224A piece of eyewear from As In. Of shopping for merchandise, Shireen says, "I love going to new places and looking for local crafts and products. I got the jewelry from all over the country -- Negros, Cebu, Baguio, and Mindoro -- and the other goods from Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan. Since I can only bring back what fits in my suitcase, everything is limited in stock."

Most fashionably dressed young men in the city these days pair their slim outfits with black-rimmed glasses. Shireen Seno, who likes to shop for quirky things and slightly odd tchotchkes, suggests maybe its time to step out a little from that, ugh, frame of mind.

Let's begin with the glasses. Shireen's loot of black-rimmed eyewear, available from her online store As In and soon in her own shop of the same name in Mahabagin Street, offers new angles in your choice of specs. A filmmaker and mixed-media artist raised in Japan, Shireen, who sports an oddly-shaped bob, likes to wear a piece from her collection herself. "I got myself a pair a year ago when I was in Bangkok, shooting a documentary on Elvis impersonators and their kids. I'm a sucker for wood, so naturally that's what caught my eye."

_MG_4283A circular way of seeing things. Of the decision to open an online store, Shireen says, "It came naturally, before we were able to set up the actual shop. I like taking photos, and I have a basic background in making websites. Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr helps get the word around."

What catches her eye most often, when shopping for personal effects, is a certain "youthfulness and timelessness. Simple designs with quirks that set them apart. Particular colors, shapes and proportions. Fine materials and construction. Ridiculous attention to detail. I think it has a lot to do with growing up in Japan, where most things are done with the utmost care and precision." She's planning to expand the range of the eyewear she carries by adding pieces in bamboo and horn. In As In, she also has shirts and jackets.

_MG_4440These jackets at As In, according to Shireen, are "100% cotton and unlined, which make them light enough for our climate. I don't have any sewing and needlework skills. Sad! But I like to think I make up for it with an eye for good design and a feel for materials and craftsmanship."

And accessories, a sample of which is one that is made of different kinds of plastic and wire. "The other necklaces are made out of wood, reed, shell, and other natural materials. I also have some made out of recycled newspapers and magazines. Others are cast in clay and painted." Shireen has added a new accessory herself to her personal everyday wardrobe of indie filmmaker chic--a marquise-cut diamond solitaire ring given to her by the filmmaker John Torres in an engagement party (complete with kundiman singers serenading) two weeks ago. "Oh wait, he actually gave me a different ring to begin with, and then two more to choose from! The marquise was an afterthought for him, but for me it was the one. I almost wish he had chosen it, as if it were a test and he guessed correctly.. but that's just me being a spoiled hopeless romantic. He amazed me just by giving me a choice."

Which is exactly what Shireen is giving the curious stylistas she wants to attract via As In. (A choice we mean, not an engagement ring.)

Visit As In Shop here. Or soon at the store located at 59 Mahabagin Street just off Maginhawa in Teacher's Village, Quezon City.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SENIOR MOMENT ] Senior Year director Jerrold Tarog on his own 4th year high--and lows

Daniel Medrana, Ramon BautistaDaniel Medrana and Ramon Bautista in a scene from Senior Year.

The third feature film from the director Jerrold Tarog, Senior Year, is out on SM cinemas today, and our friends who have seen it has called the work “superb” (Raymond Lee), “touching and funny” (Mario Cornejo), and “a heartfelt portrait of our inevitable ordinariness in the midst of a world that is far bigger than any high school campus” (Oggs Cruz). In this youth-oriented flick about the last colorful months of high school, Tarog leaves behind the serious motifs of his first two films—Confessional, the mock documentary about a videographer whose camera becomes witness to a wayward politician’s confessions, and Mangatyanan, about a photographer escaping the reality of her lensman father’s sexual abuse—to tell the interwoven tales of young love, self-exploration and peer pressure among a bunch of senior students from the fictitious St. Frederick’s High School.

We spoke to Jerrold, writer, director, musical scorer and editor of Senior Year, to try and spark a little confessional about teachers, that high school souvenir and, of course, high school love.

Saan ka nag-high school?
UP Rural High School in Los BaƱos, Laguna. I was a batch younger than Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree.

May favorite subject ka ba?
I loved the extracurriculars and nothing else. We had a music club back then and I was part of a band. Everything was cool and fun and dramatic. Loved it.

Favorite teacher?
I didn't have one favorite teacher in particular because I found all of them interesting in their own little ways. Yung mga weird teachers, mga inapi namin (yes, kami yung nang-aapi), teachers who did their best to inspire, teachers who inspired us to sleep.

Ano’ng pinaka hindi mo malilimutan sa panahong ‘yon?
Hmm...that I hated CAT with a passion? That I didn't know what to do with girls who had crushes on me and that I had so many awkward moments with them?

Jerrold Tarog declined to share his own photograph from high school, but here he is as he appeared on this

Any souvenirs?
A small stuffed toy in the form of a cute devil. He was named Bogart for some reason. It was what led me to my first girlfriend.

In which character can we find you in Senior Year?
I have a soft spot for Henry (the valedictorian) and Bunda (the tall, quiet girl). Of course, I was miles away from being the valedictorian. It's just that I could relate to his nerdiness. Bunda, for her internal strife and composure.

Nalungkot ka ba no’ng graduation?
I don't remember anymore. I might've been relieved because all the drama was finally over (but, of course, college had even worse drama). I was probably scared and excited too because I didn't know what I was going to do in college. This was before I shifted to Music in UP.

Tell us about your high school love, how it began and how it ended.
Met my first girlfriend in 3rd year high school, I think. We lasted around three years or maybe four, basta well into college. I was playing the drums for the cheering squad during 3rd year Intrams when she walked over and picked up Bogart (who was sitting on top of the bass drum). I said something, she said something, at doon nagsimula. It ended when she fell in love with a guy who was so opposite of who I was in college. Buti na lang because they're good together and they're obviously happy. In fact, they ended up marrying each other. I wish them all the best. As for me...I'm still looking. Or to be more exact, I'm still waiting.

Itals on "waiting," Jerrold's own. Here, a note from Jerrold the night before the film's commercial run.

Senior Year is showing at SM City Fairview Cinema 11, SM City Manila 7, SM City North Edsa Cinema 9, SM City Sta. Mesa Cinema 8, SM Mall of Asia Cinema 6, SM Megamall Cinema 7, SM Southmall Cinema 2.

Friday, July 23, 2010

NANA'S NOTE ] Because she forgot to bring her statement on opening night


They're not here but the photographs in Working Class: A Reportage by Nana Buxani are moving, depressing, heartbreaking. We were there last Friday to give her a hug. Go see them at Manila Collective in Cubao X--so you can also read what she wrote.

The photographer will have a talk on Wednesday, July 28, 8pm in the same venue.

OBSESSED MUCH? ] Think you already live and breathe cinema? Here, meet SOFIA


In 1993, a group of professionals who were engaged in some form of archiving organized the Society of Film Archivists, the original name of SOFIA. Without funds, much less its own office and archiving facilities, the group members were fueled simply by their passion for film and their resolve to preserve the film heritage of the country.

SOFIA identified specific needs for the retrieval and restoration of endangered films. It also organized short-term training workshops in preservation and collection management, and offered to advice various institutions in their archiving programs. With the assistance coming from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts, SOFIA was able to program the restoration of some landmark films, including the first film produced by LVN in 1938-1939 and some key films by major filmmakers like Gerardo de Leon, Lamberto Avellana, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal.

Philippine cinema is almost a hundred years young. In Asia, Filipino filmmakers were among the pioneers, its film industry among the largest in the world in terms of output for a good number of decades.

Of the roughly 8,000 plus full-length films produced in the first century of local cinema, many have been irretrievably lost, rendering moot anyone's judgment as to their artistic merits. Just as bad are the forgotten status of numerous talented filmmakers from way back, whose best works and once promising careers have fallen off the radar film history.


This film series, called Overlooked, Underrated, aims to re-assess certain films and filmmakers, by taking a second look at their unjustly neglected bodies of work, and even restore a few reputations in the process. This will help to expand the repertoire of Philippine cinema, by going beyond the programming of the usual auteurs and masterpiece titles. There will be much to discover, and rediscover, by rounding up not the usual suspects.

For now, the initial batch of films/filmmakers will be limited to six. As more "lost" and neglected films come to the surface from here and other parts of the world, this film series will continue to run, without an expiry date. Happy re-viewing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BERLIN BOUND ] Artworks to be raffled off in fundraising to help send artists to Freies


On August 10, 6pm at Blanc in Shaw Boulevard. 30 artworks from Argie Bandoy, Poklong Anading, Bea Camacho, Lena Cobangbang, Maria Cruz, Pow Martinez, Robert Langenegger, David Griggs, Romeo Lee, Jayson Oliveria, Jucar Raquepo, Gaston Damag, Gerry Tan, MM Yu and Manuel ocampo will be raffled off.

To buy or reserve raffle tickets email or This is to raise funds in support of the participating artists who will show at the Freies Museum is Berlin in October.

CLOTHES ENCOUNTER ] Robert Alejandro sketches from The Sartorialist


"I never heard of the website "The Sartorialist" - not until I saw the book at a bookstore. I didn't want to buy the book - I already made purchases and my bag was extremely heavy. But then, I loved the photographs, I loved how the people looked in the photographs and I thought it would be such a joy to draw them. Here are the sketches I've made and sure enough, it is a joy to draw and sketch these wonderful people photographed by Scott Schuman.

"If you get the chance, do take a look at this book, "The Sartorialist". The fashion sense of some people are AMAZING! I love it when someone isn't afraid of color, texture, being noticed or stared at!

"I think I'm SO fashion backward. My closet is full of black, brown, gray and more gray. I wonder whether I'll ever get over the fear of people noticing me.

"I don't dress well and I know it (my mom used to complain about it but she has given up on me). In one word, I dress sloppy. But this book, the Sartorialist has made me think, that I should do better. I should take better care of myself. I should dress better. I especially like the photographs of mature men who make an extra effort in looking real sharp and real cool. I think, I'd love to grow old this way."

"Have I made an effort? Sometimes I wear a hat - and that is already a big thing for me."

For more of Robert's sketches of people from The Sartorialist, click here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BRING YOUR ERMATS ] Or just bring a drink. The Living Room screens Tisoy


Nonoy Marcelo by Ishmael Bernal produced by Nora Aunor. Enough said.*

Tomorrow, July 15, Thursday at 8:30pm, The Living Room will be screening Tisoy. Bring a bottle or something to munch on. The Living Room is Unit 24, North Syquia Apartments, 1991 MH del Pilar, Malate, Manila.

*But if you want to read more about Nonoy Marcelo, and a little about Tisoy the comic strip, Joan Orendain wrote this piece on him following his death in 2002.

THIS WEEKEND AT NOVA ] William Gaudinez on his explorations on Philippine folk traditions


"Folk Art in the Philippines represents diversity on various materials such as Philippine hardwood, capiz, mother of pearl, carabao bone, carabao horn, etc. Folk artisans re-create church retablos, pillars, furniture, and vestments that even if they lack formal art training, have never ceased to amaze me. As a neo-folk artist, I am fascinated with the works of these unknown artisans, that has encouraged me to find experimental, innovative ways to make my own interpretations while focusing on the traditional methods such as woodcarving, inlaying, incising, and paintings which I have adapted as my personal quest for identity and aesthetic direction through researching the works of the folk artisans of Bohol, and the indigenous works of the Bukidnons, Tausugs, Maranaos, and of the North such as the Ifugaos and Kalingas.


"In my own small way, I’m striving to present a timeline of certain periods of our ruch cultural heritage, history and lessons based on the pre-Hispanic period up to the time of colonization by Spain and America. I have incorporated bits and pieces of our folk beliefs and customs such as the role of the stars in harvesting, planting, fishing, and the prominence of the phases of the moon and the stars/galaxies in our day to day existence. I’m also keenly interested in presenting contemporary interpretations of the retablos and urnas fused with inlaid materials as vehicles to present these timelines and also show ironies on history’s bitter twists and turns."

William Gaudinez's show Alay Sa Lemuria runs from July 17 to August 4, 2010 at NOVA Gallery, Warehouse 12A, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City. All images by William Gaudinez courtesy of Nova Gallery.

Friday, July 9, 2010

SEVEN ON SIXTH ] The 7 reasons why we're going to Cinemalaya this week

cPhoto from this website.

1 Because we want to see The Cinema of Celso Ad Castillo, a documentary on the director's life by Ron Bryant, the indie director who gave us that underrated and memorable Cinemalaya entry from 2006 called Rotonda (which also starred Castillo). But we're watching, of course, because we are Celso Kid fans. From the bits we saw, big names from local cinema (Ricky Lee, Peque Gallaga, Mel Chionglo et al) discuss his contributions to Philippine film history, take us back to that momentous and controversial Metro Manila Film Festival in 1977 where Da Kid's Burlesk Queen won all, if not most, of the awards. Castillo, who was once touted local cinema's enfant terrible, gave us such unforgettable film images as the wet T-shirt catfights involving Elizabeth Oropesa and several other kamisa-clad women, the unbelievably beautiful young Gloria Diaz riding a horse on the beach, and the gorgeous vision of a shirtless Vic Vargas---and that's just from Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat ng Lupa. Da Kid also gave us the insanely passionate Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, the weird and poetic Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, and, well, Virgin People. Tipiti-pitim-tipitim, anyone?

2 Because Mario O Hara has a film. Its called Ang Paglilitis Kay Andres Bonifacio. We're discouraged by the title, and encouraged to watch only because he gave us Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and that other film with Tatlo and Nora Aunor in it, a personal favorite, Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak.

3 Because they’re screening the good films we’ve missed last year: Engkuwentro, Last Supper #3, Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe, Colorum, and, yes, Here Comes the Bride. How do we know they're good? Because our friends said so--and our friends are the biggest snobs.

4 Because they’re showing all 20 shorts that comprise the ANC pre-election project Ambisyon2010, about 18 of which are surprisingly good. Our favorites: the amazingly cool and exhilarating Ayos Ka by Brillante Mendoza, the heartbreaking Lupang Hinarang by Ditsi Carolino and the charmingly simple Di Ako Makatulog Dahil Wala Ka Sa Tabi Ko by Jade Castro.

31204_1473274596868_1383758317_1279070_6574817_nFrancis Pasion shoots from the top of a sampaguita plantation.

5 Because an insider who's read the scripts have given us the titles to watch out for. From the Directors’ Showcase, Two Funerals (screenplay by Eric Ramos), Sigwa (Boni Ilagan) and Donor (Mark Meily). And from the New Breed category: Limbunan (Gutierrez Mangansakan II), The Leaving (Ian Lorenos), Sampaguita (Francis Xavier Pasion) and Si Techi, Si Technoboy at si JuanaB (Art Katipunan).

6 Because if all else fails, there is the always dependable sweet spaghetti in the CCP cafeteria. So hindi ka pa rin uuwing luhaan.

7 Because this is that one week, well 10 days, in a year where the entire CCP comes alive and it just feels good to be around all that energy from film workers and film fans who are discussing movies and not, thanks heavens, show biz.

For more information on the 6th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition, visit their website and Facebook page.