Saturday, March 28, 2009

THE WEEKEND IDEA ] Recommendations from the Swank commune

Photograph by MM Yu

First, turn your lights off at 8.30 tonight and leave it that way for an hour as the earth-conscious citizenry of the world does the same. What to do in your hour of darkness? 1 Revisit your childhood and make shadow animals with your hands. 2 Revisit Nick Joaquin’s May Day Eve by lighting a candle. Face full-length mirror. Wait for ghost to appear. 3 My friend Kathie Dee says go to town with this revisiting-your-youth idea by playing hide-and-seek outside. Or tumbang preso. If no one else will play with you, invite ghost from May Day Eve exercise. 4 Take a moment for your friends whose lives have been rendered tragic by the sudden change of the Facebook layout. Pray that they may have other things to worry about. 5 Take a moment for the lady who jumped on the LRT tracks in Tayuman station to commit suicide. Have our train tracks become unfriendly to suicidals? Am I seeing a discrimination issue? Would she have succeeded on the Marikina-Recto LRT? Or the Libertad station? Did you know that in Obama-era Africa they don’t call it “blackout” anymore? They now say “previously lit.”

If you’re planning to go out early, my friend Raymond Lee asks “why not break your routine and approach the sublime for a change” by seeing the ongoing exhibition of the Paulino Que collection of figurative contemporary art at the Finale Art Gallery (Pasong Tamo, Makati City). FROM RAYMOND: “The compulsion to create and to collect works of terrible beauty is on display, powerfully, lovingly, transformatively.” If that doesn't sell it, I don't know what will. All large works and mostly never-before-seen from some of the country’s most brilliant artists including Manuel Ocampo, Geraldine Javier, Alfredo Esquillo, Jose Legaspi and Yasmin Sison. You can see a slide show here but what good would that do you?

Carlo Tadiar, my editor at Metro Home says I should watch the Tony Award-winning musical Spelling Bee, or The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, "a hilarious tale," says the press release, "of overachievers’ angst as it chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime." FROM CARLO: "Although ostensibly played out among kids, Spelling Bee is PG hilarious, wry and wise. The melodies are intricate yet fresh, and each performance a tour de force of vocal artistry and physical dexterity." Runs til next weekend at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza (For tickets, call 8927078, 8401187 or 8919999).

If you’re staying in, the filmmaker Coreen Jimenez, one of the brains behind the engagingly riotous Big Time, is raving about The Best American Short Stories 2007 edited by Stephen King who was apparently so blown away by the amazing collection. Mr. King asks: “I’m getting paid to read this?” Coreen recommends these three “mind-fuck” selections: "Toga Party" by John Barth, "DeBard and Aliette: A Love Story" by Lauren Groff (click here for excerpt) and "St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen Russell.

Of course you have to get your ass out of the house to get a copy of the book, so if you’re sofa-bound today, Coreen's friend, the director Joel Ruiz, says there is this Pulitzer Prize-winning article about Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest violinists, playing street musician at the Washington DC subway station for a social experiment on art and how we appreciate beauty in the midst of our harried lives. It's called "Pearls before breakfast." Reminds me of the time I stopped to listen to this brilliant voice from a blind girl at an MRT station who was singing “Rain.” It was the Donna Cruz “Rain,” not the Madonna.

If you're the Madonna-type, and "Pearls" seems too long for you, one of the guys here at Swank, JR Agra, who designs some of our pages, sent me this most amusing New Yorker story entitled "Intelligent Design" by Paul Rudnick (of that Tom Selleck-starrer In and Out), a designer version of The Story of Creation. I find it a little sacrilegious (and I assume the other page designer would agree), but if, like Madge, you don't mind that at all, it's an engaging, sassy burst of flamboyant imagination.

Click orange notes for links. MM Yu photograph, The Light at The end of the Tunnel Has Been Switched Off, installation by Mawen Ong, curated by Roberto Chabet, February 2009. Courtesy of Green Papaya Art Projects, 41 T. Gener Street corner Kamuning Road, Quezon City.


  1. this is absolutely "swankier" than the 1st original one thatw as posted. i thought the 1dt one was too "bloggish" , this one is way much more more SWANK-y! :)

  2. sorry for the typos. im doing this with all of the lights out.

  3. I forgot to bold your name. There.

  4. this is quite a ginormous project. looks good! congratulations!

  5. Congrats Jerome! i love how swanky this zine feels like. Anyway, just fyi address of Papaya is 41 T.Gener Street cor Kamuning Road. photo by MM Yu. thanks!

  6. that's a good photo. very interesting.