Cover design Neil Agonoy
"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” sabi ni George Orwell nu'ng 1949 sa librong 1984. “A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain.” Obviously, hindi na-imagine ni Orwell na ipapalabas ng Viva Films ang Bagets ng taong ‘yun.
In this, the second issue of TheSwankStyle, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of 1984. Those days before another Marcos-for-President campaign went full throttle, isang taon pa bago mag Edsa Revolution at mayanig ang mundo. Anong ginagawa mo no’n? Ako, sumayaw sa field demo ng “Always Something There To Remind Me” nakasuot ng canary yellow shorts, nandaya sa school spelling bee (at nanalo!), at nanood ng pelikula. Ng maraming pelikula. Sakay ng Kawasaking motor, dinala kami ng tatay ko sa Maristel Theater sa Valenzuela para manood ng Bagets. “Say something!” inis na sabi ni Rosemarie Gil sa anak niyang si Raymond Lauchenco, na forever deadma sa kanya. Sagot ni Raymond: “Something.” Hindi na pa-tweetums si Sharon Cuneta sa Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? “Kung saan, kelan at papano ang labanan, magpasabi ka lang, hindi kita uurungan,” hamon niya kay Chanda Romero. Nag-liplock at nag-brush moustaches sina Ronaldo Valdez at Mark Gil sa Apoy sa Iyong Kandungan. Ominous ang car accident sequence sa Sinner or Saint sa buhay--at pagkamatay--ni Claudia Zobel. May carinderia sila Tito, Vic and Joey sa Goodah! Hindi pa pinaghihinalaang bading ang mga thirtysomething na lalaking walang asawa nang gampanan ni Jay Ilagan ang geeky bachelor sa Soltero. Hindi makagat-kagat ni Eddie Garcia and mala-labanos sa puting si Lyka Ugarte dahil nakabantay si Gloria Diaz sa May Lamok sa Loob ng Kulambo. Laging naka-wet kamison ang mga softdrink beauties--Pepsi Paloma at Sarsi Emanuelle at Coca Nicolas--sa Naked Island. Pa’no naman kasi, naligaw si Al Tantay searching for the meaning of life.
“Hindi mo na ‘ko ikakahiya ngayon,” sabi ni Gina Pareno kay Raul Leuterio (Tommy Abuel) sa Working Girls, “I’m a Makati girl now. I can speak English already. Ansafaflu, ansafafla!” “Sabeeeel! This must be love!” pahayag naman ni Carmi Martin. Matapos mag-brief lang sa swimming pool ni Baby Delgado sa Bagets, walang pagod namang nag-layer si Aga Muhlach complete with MJ gloves sa Campus Beat. “Ayoko ng masikip,” sabi ni Maricel Soriano sa Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit, “Ayoko ng mainit. Ayoko ng putik,” habang naka-finger comb with gel ang kanyang hair from the sides to the back. “Pinapangako ko inay,” sabi ni Sharon Cuneta habang naka-daster at nakatingin sa langit, “Bukas luluhod ang mga tala.”
That year alone, we made 142 movies. 53 action. 35 na drama. 25 na bold. Anim na youth-oriented. 22 comedies. At isang horror. Pili ka lang kung anong gusto mo. “Kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?” sabi ni Vilma Santos sa Sister Stella L. Hindi ako natulog sa image ni Julie Vegang possessed sa taas ng aparador sa Lovingly Yours. Nakakatakot din in a different way si Ace Vergel sa Basag Na Pula. Larawan si Lenny Thantoth at PJ Abellana ng misunderstood youth sa klasikong coming-of-age film, The Punks. “Hindi mo kami maiintindihan, Ma. Punks kami.” "I'm standing on the shadow of time," sabi ni Raymond Lauchenco sa Hotshots. Ang hebigat nila Cookie at Albert, Maricel at Yam sa Teenage Marriage. Tinupad ni Vivian Velez ang pantasya ng sangkabaklaan nang maligaw siya sa isang island with ten robust young men all vying for her attention sa Sampung Ahas ni Eba. Nanggagaya lang ng designer patterns noon si Gretchen Barretto sa 14 Going Steady. How kawawa naman the kids in Mga Batang Yagit. Hindi pa natatapos ang taon, may sequel na ang Bagets. “So this is how it feels to be in love, I feel like I’m floating in the skies above,” kanta ni Ramon Christopher kay Claudette Khan, anak ni Odette. “Do you feel the same way, too, when you hold my hand? You don’t have to say a word, I understand.” Quiet lang si Ate Guy sa ‘Merika. May special wedding footages sa The Best of Sharon and Gabby. Nag-boxing match si Maricel at Snooky sa Anak ni Biday vs. Anak ni Waray. Lumabas tuloy hindi talaga marunong mag-Waray si Nida Blanca.
Naka China-chop si Ate Vi sa Alyas Baby Tsina. Nakapangingilabot si Gloria Romero sa Condemned. Kung Harot si Anna Marie Guttierez early in the year, Charot naman si Roderick Paulate. The beginning of the end of the Gabby-Sharon sizzle ang Sa Hirap at Ginhawa. Puwedeng pang On The Lot ang pitch ni Abbo dela Cruz para sa Misteryo sa Tuwa: Anong gagawin mo pag nasa gubat ka’t may nag-crash na eroplanong punong-puno ng pera? Assuming hindi sa'yo nag-crash 'yung eroplano. Pero walang nanood. Is it the title kaya? At nagtapos ang taon with a Regal shocker: the first of a franchise that haunts us hanggang ngayon: Shake, Rattle and Roll. The original, sabi nga ni Ate Luds, is always the best. Biruin mo, a deranged William Martinez getting off on watching Janice de Belen getting it off with a possessed refrigerator? Why not naman? There was something for everyone noong 1984.
I recently saw Bagets again sa relatively big screen ng Mogwai. And to see it again, at 35, hindi ko na inexpect that I will still like it. Pero tumawa pa rin ako, na-charm, goosebumps ng konti. Ang saya-saya ng pelikulang 'to. Siguro sila Maryo J, Bernal, Zialcita, Brocka, Gallaga etc. they made so many good things then dahil naisip nila that we won't be doing quite as good in the decades that will follow. So that in the '90s and the 2000s, wala na tayong gagawin kundi mag-revive at mag-tribute at mag-retrospective. They gave us the most fun, well-made films so that we can just keep looking back. Obviously, pag dating sa prediction-prediction, mas magaling sila kay Orwell.
Photograph from the personal collection of Cesar Hernando.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
1 What was the song playing in the swimming pool scene?
2 Celia Rodriguez, Adi’s mom, and Baby Delgado were long lost friends in the movie---pa’no sila nagkakilala?
3 Quote ni Celia Rodriguez (please read with proper Celia diction): “Hindi kaya I’m to blame for what’s happening to Adi kasi I read yesterday. (beat) In a book by Sylvia Mackinson, Parenting in the 21st Century, Macro Hill Company. Quote: Cheeldren of broken mah-rriages will fully misbeheyv as a way of showing their resentment and rebellion towards their parents.” Ano ang trabaho ni Celia?
4 What was the name of Adi’s real dad?
5 And what, according to Celia, was he busy with?
6 How many years have Tonton spent as fourth year senior?
7 What was Gilbert holding when they got off the car in front of Raymond’s Baguio mansion?
8 Saang scene una pinatugtog ang Just Got Lucky?
9 What cartoon character was in Aga’s cut-off hanging tee in the beach excursion scene?
10 What did William find out about Herbert when he went underwater?
11 Sino tumuli kay Gilbert?
12 Evelyn Vargas (clinic assistant): “Wala na daw pong chicken sandwich, doktora, hotdog na lang. Ano pong gusto niyo, regular o jumbo?” Ano’ng sagot ng doctor while looking at Herbert’s ari?
13 Habang tinutuli si Gilbert, bumibili si William at Raymond ng buko kay Bembol Roco. Sabay sa pag-tapyas ng buko, sumigaw si Herbert from the clinic. What did William say?
14 Ano ang brand ng softdrinks sa pad ni Adi where the guys poured ketchup on Herbert’s nangangamatis na ari?
15 What was the real name of the school the movie was shot?
16 What brand of those footlong ballpens were the guys toying with in class?
17 What was the name of the gay teacher-in-charge?
18 Who was the bold actress who played the Spanish teacher?
19 What did Baby Delgado prepare for Adi for their merienda by the pool?
20 And what did Baby ask Aga when she noticed he was looking at the pool (after she caught him looking at her crotch)?
21 Who played the sex education teacher?
22 Who played William’s “ander da saya” dad?
23 What was the name of Liza Lorena’s boyfriend in the movie?
24 Early in the film, Tita Nena mispronounced Topee’s (JC) name. What did she say?
25 Who played the school principal?
1 "Baby, I Lied." Siguro kasi si Baby Delgado. 2 Sorority sisters. It was mentioned twice in the film. 3 Writer 4 Rusty 5 Mushrooms and his cheap Australian model. 6 Apat 7 Rubic's cube 8 The guys skateboarding in John Hay, Baguio. 9 Smurf. 10 Supot pa siya. 11 Si Dexter Doria. 12 "Vienna sausage." 13 "Pare, ayos, nabuksan na rin ang payong." 14 Fanta 15 Jose Abad Santos Memorial High School. 16 Scribbler. 17 Raul Dimaano 18 Irma Alegre 19 Pancakes. 20 "You wanna take a dip?" 21 Zorayda Sanchez 22 Rodolfo "Boy" Garcia 23 Rocky 24 Tappie 25 Flora Gasser.
Collage by JR Agra
I have done other films with Maryo J. De los Reyes before Bagets. I was kind of part of his team. We worked on the concept of Bagets together with the writer Jake Tordesillas and the producer William Leary. We never knew of course that what we were working on was going to be phenomenal. All we wanted to do was to make a really good youth film.
The look of Bagets was not influenced by any local or foreign film before it, nor was it influenced by what was going on in the fashion scene here or abroad. I was inspired by a Beatles poster done by the famous graphic artist Peter Max. He was very popular in the ‘60s, and I wanted that type of coloring. I wanted lots and lots of colors, different color pants for a different color shirt layered on another colored shirt. The kids will love it, I thought.
Apart from the Beatles poster, I spent time walking around the university belt, downtown Manila, and watched the kids, what they were wearing, what they were doing with their clothes. I took note of the little nuances: the open shirts, the sneakers, the way they tied their scarves. I adapted all of these but rehashed them by splashing it with lots of color. It was the early ‘80s, and people seemed to have tired from the color explosion of the past decade. So when I was looking around the department stores, from SM and Plaza Fair, all they had were beige and brown. Beige and brown! And the rest was just drab maroon.
So together with my brothers who were part of my production team, we bought a lot of shirts and dyed them. We bought those roundneck Crispa shirts—they were the ones that were really nice--bought our own stencils and printed away. We put pockets where there were none. We spray-painted fabrics. We made our own trinkets and accessories, put safety pins together, etc. We had a budget of P150,000 for the production design and costume. That was a lot of money during that time but clearly not enough for what I wanted to do. I wanted almost every scene to be big. Maglilipat lang ng bahay si Liza Lorena, people had to be playing with fireworks in the background. Mag-eexcursion lang sa beach kailangan may jeep driving through the shore.
The money was certainly not enough to dress up five boys, their girlfriends, their classmates and their mothers. We couldn’t just have people wear their own clothes because the look we were going for, in the clothes and in the sets, were mostly non-existent during that time. We were creating our own world, and we were dressing up its characters the way no one else was dressing up in real life. We had to resort to rehashing old clothes, or going to the department stores. We wanted the look to be different but not alienating to the young audience. I told Maryo that the look has to be reachable and affordable so that the kids will accept it.
Our guinea pigs, of course, were the five boys. They all somehow had similar outfits but you could see that some were a little bit nerdier than the others. At the start of the filming, I had already warned them: ‘Boys, paglalaruan ko kayo, paglalaruan natin ang mga damit niyo.’ Can you imagine any other young gym buff then wearing what JC was wearing: all those colorful shorts and yellow wristbands made of terry cloth? Making Aga Muhlach wear orange shoes was a big fight. And then there was that bowtie in the dance sequence. After awhile, they had began to accept that idea that we were doing something new. They would volunteer their own clothes but we would still rehash them, make them wear a different color undershirt, and then roll the sleeves with the undershirt peeking. That was a signature Bagets look.
They were wearing all these colourful outfits in a very colourful world. Because that was how I thought the kids saw their world, parang ‘70s, like some wonderful acid trip.
Bagets is really my claim to fame. Nobody here can claim that they made a film that changed the way people dressed up. I was nominated in the award-giving bodies the following year, but I never won. I don't even remember anymore who won, or for which movie. But, apparently, everybody seems to remember Bagets.As told to Jerome Gomez
Butch Garcia is the production designer for Bagets. His last film was the underrated Star Cinema project First Day High which tried to recreate a colorful youth world in the mold of Bagets.
1 What was the number of William’s masseur in the casa scene?
2 What was JC’s favourite expression everytime he gets pissed with his mom Liza Lorena?
3 Saan na-meet ni JC si Chanda?
4 And what was the song playing?
5 Anong trabaho ng character ni Chanda?
6 At ano pangalan ng boyfriend niya?
7 What was Raymond’s favourite film that he recommended to Janice (Eula)?
8 What was the thing perched on Eula’s hairdo the first time she met Raymond?
9 Why was Celia so surprised when Aga told her he’s going swimming with Baby?
10 What were the neighbours playing the first time Raymond went to Eula’s apartment?
11 What was the Michael Jackson song Aga danced to?
12 And what was the name of the disco?
13 What was the name of the PE teacher who was teaching maglalatik?
14 What Peanuts character was the cover of Herbert’s huge Valentine card for Jobelle?
15 In the Valentine “So It’s You” montage, where was Raymond singing?
16 What was the Irene Cara song played in the JS prom?
17 Brokenhearted for the prom, where did Herbert and Aga go to drink?
18 And what was Aga’s memorable line?
19 What kind of music was Yayo’s family into?
20 And how did she die?
21 How did JC pay for the expensive dinner with Chanda?
22 What were Chanda’s last words to Topee after she told him she’s getting married?
23 What was a crying Celia Rodriguez looking for when Aga approached her by her typewriter?
24 What was Baby Delgado's favorite house chore?
25 The guys were graduating from high school. What careers were they considering (William had none)?
1 69. 2 "Baw si Mommy giud o!" 3 Telephone booth. 4 "You and I" ni Kenny Rogers 5 Flight stewardess 6 Rocky 7 Casablanca 8 Wooden parrot. 9 "Swimming? Waterfalls in December?" 10 Mahjong 11 Wanna Be Starting Something 12 Music Machine Disco 13 Tita Ursula (played by comedia Louella Albornoz) 14 Lucy 15 Luneta Grandstand 16 "Why Me?" 17 Shakey's. 18 "Isang lasing na lang bote na 'ko." 19 Jazz 20 Car crash after drag race with William. 21 Chanda handed him extra cash under the table while waiter tried to look elsewhere. 22 “Cmon Topee, I made you a man remember? So act like a man.” 23 "Emotional catharsis." 24 Watering plants. 25 Raymond: Mass Comm. JC: Martial Arts. Herbert: Metro Aide. Aga: Magtatayo ng disco, ang tugtog puro Michael Jackson.
Screengrab montage from Sari-saringsinengpinoy.blogspot.com
Photograph from Senedy Que
Several script revisions later, In My Life, Star Cinema's Big Vilma Project after Dekada '70, is now shooting in New York--and the writing and revising continues. Its two scriptwriters say they are having the best time working on the screenplay amidst the cold spring of the Big Apple. We like to believe them. "It's been a steady stream of endless days of writing shooting waiting traveling in cars waiting shooting writing and at times, sleeping. Loving it," says Raymond. Its a story about a mom (Vilma) who has to deal with her really sick son (Luis) and his lover (John Lloyd) in a strange country--well, at least that's what I think it's about.
Photographs Bernice Tenchavez
"The weather has been quite interesting," reports Sen. "The first two NY shoots, it was very cold, especially at night. Nanginginig sina Vilma at John Lloyd, but professionals as they are, they went on with the scheduled sequences in Brooklyn and Times Square! Blessing in disguise na rin coz wala masydong tao sa Times Square that night and we were able to shoot without the crowd. When Luis arrived, the weather suddently became sunny for the next two days. He brings sunshine and smiles to everyone on the set. But he's very nervous to be acting opposite his mom for the very first time and pit acting chops with John Lloyd. The pressure is on him to deliver a performance that is at par, or least half as impressive as his co-stars. John Lloyd eats and hangs out with the rest of the staff. For one scene, he had to shed tears quietly, then Luis will step closer to wipe them off. Sweet."
Photographs from Senedy Que
If you have to attend a filmmaking/writing/acting workshop this summer, is there any other group to put your trust in? They're the most awarded bunch of young filmmakers, and they have decided to drop everything for a bit to share their brilliance with you this summer in The First UFO Summer Filmmaking Workshops. Raymond Lee (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Milan, Anak, etc) and Emman dela Cruz (Sarong Banggi, Kailangan Kita) will teach writing the film story, and Jade Castro (Endo) film directing. Oh, and Michiko Yamamoto (Magnifico, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) will have a scriptwriting clinic if she decides to say yes, and you have to be invited to her gig. But the rest, you have the money, you get a slot. For more information on schedules and everything else, go here.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Kung tunay na lalake ka, Erap, bakit ka naka-headband?
Called "Ang Blog ng Mga Tunay na Lalake," Hay! Men! reminds me of an Esquire story from several posts ago defining the modern man. This blog does the same except its credo is stripped of bullshit, and its samplings of men, and whether they are tunay or not, can be totally hilarious. Is John Lloyd "tunay na lalake?" Yes, despite the fact that he's pa-cute, "nagtatrabaho siya para sa trabaho." Is Pops Fernandez tunay na lalake? She's under consideration. "Na-link siya kay Jomari, naging asawa ni Martin, pero kayod-kabayo hanggang ngayon at hindi nagfa-falsetto masyado--itinatapat lang sa audience ang mikropono pag mataas na ang tono ng kanta at sumisigaw ng "O, kayo namaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" Clearly produced by someone from the literary/music circle whose Tom Cruises are Lourd de Veyra, Norman Wilwayco and Khavn dela Cruz (Lourd and Khavn are "tunay," Norman has yet to be tried), it's an irreverent look at the Filipino man and can often be bitingly true. Although it can't seem to say why Piolo and Tim are not "tunay," it may be implied in the phrase "kung ano-anong shet." Is the blogger not man enough to say it? Oh, let's not get too Esquire-y about it.
Here, the "Manifesto ng Tunay na Lalake":
1 Ang tunay na lalake ay di natutulog.
2 Ang tunay na lalake ay di nagte-text-back, maliban na lang kung papasahan ng load. Gayunpaman, laging malabo ang kanyang mga sagot.
3 Ang tunay na lalake ay laging may extra rice.
4 Ang tunay na lalake ay hindi vegetarian.
5 Ang tunay na lalake ay walang abs.
6 Ang tunay na lalake ay hindi sumasayaw.
7 Ang tunay na lalake ay umaamin ng pagkakamali sa kapwa tunay na lalake.
8 Ang tunay na lalake ay laging may tae sa brief.
9 Ang tunay na lalake ay di naghuhugas ng pinagkainan o nagliligpit ng kanyang mga gamit dahil may babaeng gagawa noon para sa kanya. Mas lalong nagiging tunay ang pagkalalake kung di niya kilala o di niya maalala ang pangalan ng babae.
10 Ang tunay na lalake ay di nagsisimba.
Marne Kilates' snapshot of his MacBook from which was born his last Palanca-winning poetry collection.
Palanca season is upon us. Every year, the pa-serious writer from every barangay gears up for the annual ritual of joining a literary contest sponsored by the country's leading manufacturer of rum.
It has long been the literary contest of choice for those who want to announce their entry into the literary space or those who, after winning a string of awards, merely wish to re-assert their literary superiority. The number of entries keep increasing each year.
This literary competition holds a special place in every Pinoy writers’ heart for four reasons. First, it offers the most number of categories to join. Also, the come-one-come-all tenor of the competition is irresistible and works as magnet for all types—from the talent-less to the talented. (More on that below.) Second, the annual event, which was started in 1951, is the longest-running literary competition in the Philippines. Every year’s top prize winners are afforded a respectable status akin to wearing a literary halo for a year until the next set of winners are announced).
Third, the winners of the competition—-like the Bar Topnotchers in recent years—-has sprung many surprises. The contest has been seen as the Tawag ng Tanghalan of the literary world; a democratic venue where the throng are given a chance to compete with the acknowledged. Ask anyone who has judged in any category and they will confirm that the quality of each year’s entries are as uneven as the steps of the rice terraces.
Finally, the chance to be invited to a grand reception at the awards ceremonies is an enticing proposition too good to be missed.
Preparing for the Palanca is, thus, one of the most revered annual activities of writers here. When people start making excuses for not being able to go to the mall with you during this month, they’re probably secretly preparing their entries to the Palanca.
Following are some tips to soften the stress of beating the Palanca deadline. I’ll be the first to admit that these strategies will not ensure one the top prize, but it will definitely make you less frazzled as you type away, what you think is, the winning entry.
1.Finish your entry earlier than the midnight deadline. Pace yourself way in advance so you need not be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because you have no ending to your short story on the 11th hour. Don’t rely on inspiration. Often, the muse, like true love, escapes us. Be a boy scout and set your deadline way in advance of the Palanca’s real deadline.
2.Follow the rules. Read them on the website or the announcements. Use the font and the margins suggested by the organizers of the competition. Comply with the minimum number of pages for a category. Don’t think that the judges will bend the rules because you think your work is fabulous. I’ve known judges who threw away entries that didn’t comply with the margin requirements, without even reading the first line. What I’m saying is don’t risk losing on technical grounds.
3.Be honest. Don’t submit an entry that you didn’t write; or claim as your own a work one that was co-written with another. Nah-ah. If it wins, the truth will out and your prize will be withdrawn. Don’t place yourself in a major embarrassment.
4.Choose a really cool pseudonym. Something hip, cool, lucky-sounding and original. Choose something that has a pop appeal and which you think will amuse the judges even if only for 5 seconds. It may not make you win on that basis alone. But at least, it will give you and your friends something to hoot about if you lose. Which brings me to…
5.If you win, be glamorous when you attend the awards night. Every year, the invite to the winners implore everyone to come in formal attire. Still, some winners attend dressed up like they came straight from 12-hours of soccer practice. Come on, people. Give the respect that the ceremonies deserve. And don’t think that we don’t know that you're excited to attend the ceremonies. Besides, you're a starving artist. You need to eat. The buffet is pretty good.
6.Take pics. Submitting to the Palanca is part of the writer’s summer ritual. It’s like going to the beach or flying to an exotic place. So relax, take a pic of yourself submitting your entry and post it in Facebook—-after the announcemnt that you’ve won. (See number 8 below.)
7.Give yourself a treat after submitting your entry. Go straight to the nearest bar and get yourself the coolest beer in the house. You deserve it.
8.Keep it a secret. Your victory will soon be news come announcemnt-of-the- winners time. Till then, mum is the word because you don’t want everyone to know that you joined, if in September you are not invited to the ball.
9.Wait patiently. Don’t sniff for the names of the judges in your category and spend sleepless nights figuring out whether or not they will like your work well enough to fight for it in case there are differences of opinion among the judges. Praying your favorite novena might be a better alternative. And finally…
10.Don’t take the Palanca thing too seriously. It’s a game. It’s the Bingo socials of the literary world. It should be fun and wholesome. Winning is an honor. Losing is not the end of the world; nor does it reflect your true worth as a writer. So get over it. Move on. Join again next year.
Nicolas Pichay can say these now because he is already a Hall-of-Famer (in 2007)--which means he's won five Palanca awards and therefore will not be qualified to join anymore. He is, of course, welcome to attend the yearly drinking binge at the Pen. Nick is a lawyer. He wrote this list exclusively for TheSwankStyle.com
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Growing up is hard to do. Sometimes you need a movie to speed it up. We asked five of our favorite filmmakers what their favorite coming-of-age films are.
Raymond Lee, producer/writer, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros
Oro, Plata, Mata The story, the dialogue, the art direction, the direction, Maya Valdez, the sex, the boy who played Angie Ferro's son, Joel Torre, Joel Torre's character's character arc. E.T. Favorite ko yan nu'ng bata ako. The Mighty Because I love a good tearjerker. Phorpa (The Cup) Quietly devastating.
Jade Castro, director/writer, Endo
Rushmore It's so childish, and then it grows up before our very eyes. Nu'ng pinanood ko sa sine first time, hindi ako tumayo sa upuan ko tapos pinanood ko uli kaagad yung kasunod na screening. Na-high ako. Kaka-end lang ng pagiging teenager ko noon. Hanggang ngayon di pa ko sawa. All About Lily Chou Chou. 'Yung alienation at heartbreak at sense of chaos. I think the mood is perfect. When I think about how much I love this film, I realize my kind of "coming of age" is different now from those films I loved as a kid. I feel the painful process of growing up when i watch it. The coming-of-age films i first loved in my adolescence: Stand By Me, Empire of the Sun, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The coming of age films I first loved around my late teens: Welcome to the Dollhouse, Billy Elliot, Beautiful Thing, The Sweet Hereafter.
Quark Henares, director, Keka
So many of my favorite films are coming-of-age. Off the top of my head, though, I love The 400 Blows, Almost Famous and Ghost World. All About Lily Chou Chou is super good too, and The Ice Storm has some really great coming-of-age moments. And Thumbsucker. Shet andami.
Michiko Yamamoto, writer, Magnifico, Ang Pagdadalaga...
Siguro About A Boy. 'Yun una kong naisip e. Kasi it's hip, funny, tapos double coming-of-age story pa. I also love the soundtrack.
Coreen Jimenez, writer, Big Time
Reality Bites Kasi nga I'm a late bloomer, so for me it works. Ma Vie En Rose It's just so irrepressibly inspiring. Bagets It's hard to find a Tagalog movie that's so whimsical and so funny and still so heartfelt.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I woke up to this news on the Yahoo! homepage: "Petition to ban most hated font." Or something to that effect. The font in question is Comic Sans which, while I have no emotional attachments to fonts, once made me want to bang my head on the wall when one of my staff, possibly fifteen years older than me in the writing profession, submitted her article using said font. This morning's article is, like the Comic Sans, is a little silly, but a fun read. First, because they used the more pleasing Arial to tell the story. Second, I like this joke: "Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, 'We don't serve your type.'" Like I said, I have no emotional attachment to font types unlike, I guess, Neil, who has been itching to replace the Swank masthead since Day 1 (he finally did) because it looked a little too close to a local men's title. His dream job is to sit somewhere the whole day and design typography, like the old geezers that make up the cast of Helvetica which we saw several months back, and which will be shown tonight, April 21, 8pm at Mogwai Cinematheque in Cubao Expo.
The documentary was released in 2007 in time for the font's 50th anniversary. It's a hip, lovely, inspiring film filled with men obsessed with little things and the spaces that hold, no, embrace these little things. "Helvetica has almost like a perfect balance of push and pull in its letters," Leslie Savan says in the film. "And that perfect balance sort of is saying to us--well it's not sort of, it is saying to us: 'Don't worry, any of the problems that you're having, or the problems in the world, or problems getting through the subway, or finding a bathroom... all those problems aren't going to spill over. They'll be contained. And in fact, maybe they don't exist." And still, the absolutely adorable Massimo Vignelli has a suggestion: "You can say, 'I love you,' in Helvetica. And you can say it with Helvetica Extra Light if you want to be really fancy. Or you can say it with the Extra Bold if it's really intensive and passionate, you know, and it might work." Because imagine saying it with Comic Sans.
In the 2005 film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, he was the wayward brother who had to wash off the blood from the incriminating shirt. In 2009, Neil's shirts come stain-free but splashed with funky prints that have attracted much attention from his friends in the teleserye and theater circuit. Last we were at Taumbayan, this place in Kamuning where all the PETA people hang out, he had a whole bag stuffed with merchandise, and before we could actually check if he has our sizes, he had already sold everything. He doesn't actually make them (he buys them from Bangkok) but at P250 a pop, why should he?
For more information on how to get your hands on these, visit Neil's site. He's having a sale.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tom Chiarella muses on what is a man in the current issue of Esquire, one of our fave reads here at TheSwankStyle. It's a pretty tall order, if you want to subscribe to his definitions. I mean how many men do you know who even comes close? But it's a good read. Just pick your own truths. Here, excerpts.
"A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. His job. It doesn't matter what his job is, because if a man doesn't like his job, he gets a new one.
"A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, from your posture. A man infers.
"A man owns up. That's why Mark McGwire is not a man. A man grasps his mistakes. He lays claim to who he is, and what he was, whether he likes them or not.
"Some mistakes, though, he lets pass if no one notices. Like dropping the steak in the dirt.
"A man doesn't point out that he did the dishes.
"A man knows how to bust balls.
"A man has had liquor enough in his life that he can order a drink without sounding breathless, clueless, or obtuse. When he doesn't want to think, he orders bourbon or something on tap.
"Never the sauvignon blanc.
"A man welcomes the coming of age. It frees him. It allows him to assume the upper hand and teaches him when to step aside.
"Maybe he never has, and maybe he never will, but a man figures he can knock someone, somewhere, on his ass.
"A man gets the door. Without thinking.
"He stops traffic when he must.
"A man knows his tools and how to use them — just the ones he needs. Knows which saw is for what, how to find the stud, when to use galvanized nails.
"A man knows how to lose an afternoon. Drinking, playing Grand Theft Auto, driving aimlessly, shooting pool.
"He knows how to lose a month, also.
"A man listens, and that's how he argues. He crafts opinions. He can pound the table, take the floor. It's not that he must. It's that he can.
"A man is comfortable being alone. Loves being alone, actually. He sleeps.
"Or he stands watch. He interrupts trouble. This is the state policeman. This is the poet. Men, both of them.
"A man loves driving alone most of all.
"Style — a man has that. No matter how eccentric that style is, it is uncontrived. It's a set of rules.
"A man does not know everything. He doesn't try. He likes what other men know.
"A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to. He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it's just to put an end to the bickering.
"No one taught him this — to be quiet, to cipher, to watch. In this way, in these moments, the man is like a zoo animal: both captive and free. You cannot take your eyes off a man when he is like that. You shouldn't. The hell if you know what he is thinking, who he is, or what he will do next."
The entire essay here.
"For decades, Mark Gil has been biting into apples threateningly, letting audiences know that our heroes will only fade against his gaze. In recent years, he’s become the face of quiet dignity in our films, playing men whose histories have driven them to retreat from the world, carrying their burdens in silence.
"And now, he’s going to be cooking your dinner.
"On Friday, April 24, legendary actor Mark Gil will be cooking a special menu that he designed at Mogwai Cinematheque. Gil, a well-known foodie and gastronomist, will be in the kitchen, preparing the dishes himself, based on his own favorite recipes. He will also be on hand that night for a special Q&A session follow a screening of Mike de Leon’s immortal Alpha Kappa Omega: Batch ’81.
"Leading up to the event, Mogwai will be screening two of Gil’s latest films. On Wednesday, April 22, Mogwai will play host to the original Cinemalaya cut of Rotonda, where Gil plays a disillusioned tabloid reporter who’s planning to commit suicide. On Thursday, come and see Alon, the Cinema One Original where Gil plays Fiel, a lonely man living in a remote seaside village who forms a relationship with a vacationing seventeen year-old girl.
"You’ve seen his films, now taste his food.
Screenings begin at 8pm. Mogwai Cinematheque is at Cubao Expo.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
He won't be teaching you muro-ami but you may be allowed to ask for swimming lessons once you've broken down those imaginary walls. For sure, however, tomorrow, as Pen takes on the acting guru cap for his "ReINTRODUCTION: A Different Approach To Film And TV Acting," he will help you, uhm, dive into the deeper recesses of human emotions. "Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly," he quotes Rosalind Russell. The 59-year old actor will be teaching acting for auditions, subtext, acting truth, building a character, relaxation and improvisation. Existing film scripts, written by his son Ping, will be used as acting exercises. The exercises will be shot to produce a short film for the students to take home at the end of the program. Pen's friends Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro and Willie Nepomuceno will drop by for additional acting insights.
Here, the schedules:
16 yrs old & above:
MON-WED-FRI (1pm - 6pm) April 20 - May 22
SAT-SUN (9am - 4pm) April 18 - May 24
* Fee: P8,000. (full, installment or deferred payment)
8-15 yrs old:
T-TH (1pm - 6pm) April 21 - May 21
* Fee: P6,000
Maximum of ten (10) students per class.
Venue: Nuevo Mundo Innovative Learning Center (Katipunan-Xavierville area). For inquiries, please call 996-1907 or 0917-5347464.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It almost looks like paper in the photograph but it's really cool on the skin and very comfortable. I grew up surrounded by Singer sewing machines, and while I didn't learn how to make a dress, I learned how to make shorts. It's the simplest thing. I was designing my own shorts since high school, and would ask my mother to cut them for me, and she would ask one of her mananahis to sew them. One summer, without nothing exciting to do, I made my first pair. Cut it myself, and put the pieces together. It was cotton fabric and was of a green and black print. It was a simple gartered pambahay shorts without pockets.
In 1999, inspired by the return of the boxy swimwear, led by Gucci's buckled pieces, I made my first swim trunks, from leftover teflon fabric (it was the era of Helmut Lang and the techno material, and I had already made tapered pants out of them) in beige. It was the perfect fabric, I thought. It stretches and its waterproof. I had my mom cut it, but I knew it was pretty easy. Four pieces of squares, lay them on top of each other and cut a J-shape on one corner for the crotch. Connect everything together, take a one-inch-thick garter in your measurement and put it inside the waistband. Since I didn't have a silver buckle, I used a snap one usually finds in the straps of knapsacks.
I thought the idea was still in tune with that time's athletic influences (Prada, Michael Kors, etc). It was short enough for my short legs, and understated enough not to catch too much attention. Although, of course, it did. It was the chicest thing on the beach (years before chic became a regular in my vocabulary), especially when worn with a gleaming tan, next to a sweaty glass of Tanqueray tonic, under a striped canvas umbrella stand.
"What do you do with several years’ worth of music written for films that have been screened, distributed and released around the world? You create a netlabel for the stuff and re-release it to a whole new audience, and then you invite other people to contribute to the effort, and then you create a community of like-minded individuals who believe in the output. And suddenly, KamiasRoad. To be perfectly honest, the name has been used for a domain and another website, but now it is also a netlabel which will release free audio products on the web for your amusement and sonic bliss.
"KamiasRoad will primarily focus on music classifiable as avant-pop, experimental pop, plop, genre-defying pop, and umbilicuspop, (which we just made up for fun to see if people start using the term at all).
"KamiasRoad is the netlabel arm of the Khavn digital media empire, and is the brainchild of umbilicuspop star, director, poet and artist Khavn.
"Goodbye multimillion dollar record industry. Long live netlabels!"
Above, the first three albums from KamiasRoad. For a truly pop Khavn, the umbilicuspop star, listen to Jolina Magdangal's Gusto.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
An opening is customarily cocktails celebrating the mounting of an art exhibit to run over a period of time, usually a couple of weeks. Whereas museum exhibit openings are at least semi formal, gallery openings are almost always casual. Even if the art on the walls might be going for six figures apiece and there are billionaire heirs or heiresses in the room, the mood is patently anti-establishment at these festivities. Most of the artists in attendance will be in T-shirts. This does not mean they will ostracize anyone in leather shoes (especially if they collect), but it does mean you oughtn’t to overdress.
The first thing you should do is look at the art. You may get a drink while you do so, but don’t hobnob without looking at the whole point of the occasion. If art is unfamiliar to you, just ask yourself how the images, colors, shapes make you feel. Reading the titles may help.
The art world is a bit hermetic—-and if you don’t know the crowd, you may feel awkward upon arrival—-but it is not a snobbish one. Congratulate the exhibiting artist and introduce yourself. Never ask for any kind of explanations of meaning—except perhaps for the origin of the title if it’s cryptic. Never ask an artist who his favorite artists are. You may ask the artist how long it took him or her to come up with the collection. You may ask him or her to introduce you to the gallery owner or curator. Congratulate the latter as well. Again, avoid trite questions. Carlo Tadiar
One Man Show by Elmer Borlongan, triptych, 2008, from the private collection of Paulino Que exhibited at the Finale Art Gallery last March. Story reprinted from the December 2008 issue of Metro hiM
Prepare to strain your eyes and cause major damage to your liver: this week is a busy one for the galleries and the art aficionado. Just last night, Nunelencio Alvarado's new works opened at the Blanc space in H.V.Dela Costa. Tonight, a huddle of groupies will part like the Red Sea when Roberto Chabet arrives for his 10,000 Paintings I Must Paint Before I Die at Magnet Gallery in Katipunan. Tomorrow at Silverlens, it's Neal Oshima's photograms on handcoated paper that will be the toast of the chic and artsy fashion crowd. On Friday, Robert Langenegger fills up the walls of the Tall Gallery at Finale Art File. The week ends with a double bill: Ling Quisumbing Ramilo's sharpened pencils will ever so gently puncture you at Manila Contemporary, and the collective Surrounded by Water (Geraldine, Wire, Yasmin, Mariano et al) presents their first ever group show in years at the sprawling, spa-like surroundings of Blanc in Shaw Boulevard. Crisis, you say? What crisis?
And if it so happens the art makes you want to yawn, oh, get over yourself and get a drink. Here, a couple of silver-lining notes from the artist Lena Cobangbang, part of an essay/list called The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 2008-2009 (one of the stories from a zine-in-progress called Pollution).
a) The availability of cheap but good-enough wines, found in Rustan’s, Shopwise and Marks and Spencer. P260+ to 300 buck wine will already quench your thirst for more enlightened booze without the vinegary after-taste. Beer nowadays in openings are like fruit punches, ubiquitous and the last resort to inebriated art viewership. But this requires the contemporary artist to be some sort of amateur sommelier. If the show isn’t so spectacular, at least the wine was good enough.
b) The steadily increasing mobility of artists whether through social network sites on the net or through cheaper airfares. Artists can now exhibit everywhere. But of course their passable knowledge of wine or any alcohol for that matter would help them go through all the language and culture barrier for artists everywhere really just want to get wasted, a valid but aberrant excuse to postpone work.
So pop that Liveraid. For tonight, we look at clipboards.
Images from Roberto Chabet: 10,000 Paintings Before I Die, acrylic on canvas on clipboard, 9x15 Inches.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Image from SUPERSTARstruck: The Nora Aunor Fanatics Blog
We're guessing, of course, but La Aunor sounds at her most sober when she recorded the collection of songs in the three-disc compilation called Nora Aunor Superstar from Vicor. Her troubled, tragic days still ahead of her, there is none of the heavy, torchy boulders that weigh her '80s performances down. Consisting of covers and originals from three to five albums that included Lady Guy (which she produced) and Nora and Christopher In Love, Super G effortlessly allows her distinct vocals to carry the tunes and, well, the power of love to lift her up. Because that's how she registers, floating in the clouds, with only a man called Boyet as her upper of choice. Originally recorded around 1974 and 1975, the songs indeed sound born from a gentler, sweeter era. Our favorites: "Who Broke Your Heart and Made You Write that Song?" "Take Away The Sunshine" and one must pause and shut the rest of the world to hear her sing "I Got Caught Dancing Again." The occassional faulty deekshen is part of its loveliness. "I feel a sheever run up my spine," she sings in "Laughter in the Rain;" and in "Sweet Memories," "My world is like a reever, as dark as it is deep." The song choices on the first disc are topnotch, but on disc 2, it's an entirely different trip altogether: the Atsay star plays kolehiyala and sings Taglish. She worries about the "sermon ng mommy ko sa'kin" in a song called "Puppy Love," and in the Sunny Ilacad-Spanky Rigor composition "High School Ring," she sings about a gift, a "symbol ng pag-ibig ko." The P350 we coughed up for this thoroughly trippy compilation is the symbol of ours.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
You know, that awfully ridiculous film that starred Kris Aquino and Eric Quizon. Okay, the director Joel Lamangan had a lot to do with it but still, if you're Ricky Lee, a screenwriter who did Moral, Karnal, Brutal, Jaguar in the Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema, its better to educate a new generation of audiences that you're capable of a Himala. And remind those who were so deeply insulted by his first "novel" Para Kay B (like this writer) that once upon a time he was capable of carefully nuanced, deeply moving fiction. Hence, we welcome the reissue of Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon, a collection of Lee's works--from his first published story at Free Press to the full screenplay of Himala--that display his mastery of translating contemporary Filipino language to biting, riveting, important works of fiction and journalism that was ahead of its time.
Here, excerpts from our five favorite journalistic pieces:
"May mga artistang kapag kinausap sasagot nang magalang pero ang isip ay nasa susunod nang appointment, kausap ka pa ng katawan pero iniwan ka na ng isipan. Hindi ganito si Yvonne. Nakabuhos sa'yo ang buong atensyon, walang tigil ang daldal, mag-iisip siya at magsasalita at saka titigil sa pagmumuwestra, ilalapit ang maliit na mukha at magtatanong, Anything else, mahal?"--Tiririt ng Yvonne (Metro Magazine, 1977)
"Pinalitan ang hairdo niya limang beses isang araw--tatlong beses kinulot at dalawang beses itinuwid. Pinagbitbit siya ng lumang-lumang maleta, may nakalitaw palang alambre, nagkasugat-sugat tuloy ang binti niya. Pinagreport siya sa dubbing ng alas-9 pero alas-4 na ng umaga naisalang. Ang mga artista nati'y ipinanganak sa reklamo: bakit walang kubeta, bakit malamok, bakit may bad breath and leading man. Pero si Jaclyn daw ang artistang walang reklamo.
"Siya din ang artistang hindi kilala."--May Bold Ba Sa Langit? (Malaya Midday, 1986)
"Sino na nga ang manunulat na nagsabing araw-araw ay nagdaraan ang buong nasyon sa harap ng Quiapo? Nagdaraan at umaalis, nag-iiwan ng lahat nitong dumi, ingay, gulo, kawalang-pag-asa at sakit. Saka kinabukasan ay parang agos ng ilog na muling babalik, susulak, hihingi ng gamot at payo at suwerte at pag-asa kina Aling Fely at Mang Ben at George at iba pang mga taga-Quiapong higit na nangangailangan ng suwerte at pag-asa kaysa sa iyo o sa akin. Mamamaypay uli ang mga nagdarasal sa loob ng simbahan. Iba namang salita ng Diyos ang babasahin. Dito ka pupunta kapag may problema ka. Ito ang simbahan ng pawis, masa, sikmura. Pero wala muna ngayon. Bukas uli."--Isang Araw sa Buhay ng Maliliit na Tao sa Labas ng Lansangan (Metro Magazine, 1977)
"Edad lang ni Lilibeth ang katorse sa kanya. Ang iba--itsura niya, pananalita niya, tingin niya sa buhay--ay tumanda na."--Mga Batang Lansangan 2 (Midweek, 1985)
"Anong papasok sa isip mo kapag pumitik ako't sinabi kong 1976?
"It does not take any talent to undress, sabi ni Celia Rodriguez. Anything, mula naman sa mga bold stars, so long as it's done artistically. Si Manoy, ani Eddie Garcia. Hinakot ng Maynila Sa Kuko Ng Liwanag halos lahat ng awards sa FAMAS at nagpunta si Lino Brocka sa Olongapo. Di na ako mambibitin, pangako ni Elizabeth Oropesa, at bago natapos ang taon, lumabas na siya bilang asawa ni Marlon Brando sa Apocalypse Now at naibitin na niya ang sariling produksyon ng Hagkan Mo Ang Dugo sa Kamay ni Venus. Careful, careful, sabi ni Inday Badiday. But she's a starlet, isn't she, tukoy bi Gloria Diaz sa Nothing But The Truth kay Celia Rodriguez, na ayon sa Time ay starlet."--1976, Isang Taon ng Kadaldalan at Kabuluhan (Mr. & Ms., 1977)
Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon will be available this April at all National Bookstore outlets and selected bookshops. Discounted bulk orders and autographed advance copies can be pre-ordered through the Writers Studio. Contact Jerry at 0921-7849363 / 0917-5331948 / 9289557 or e-mail inquiries to the writers.studio12@ gmail.com.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Lego1, Neal Oshima
"The theme of this show, Play, came in large part from watching my 10-year old son grow up, realizing how essential this activity is in human development. I am amazed how play has changed in the digital age but also how much it is has stayed the same. Although the toys that are used have evolved greatly children still use junkenpo to determine who goes first. The need to explore has remained central but much of the exploration takes place internally in a cybernetic space rather than outside in the physical world, virtually rather than concretely.
"The idea of exploring the activities of children using one of the most archaic photographic processes, the photogram on hand coated paper, seemed entirely appropriate, as it was devised in the very infancy of the medium. The characteristically shadowy nature of the photogram illuminates the bare outlines of an idea without the deceptive details. The process of mixing and coating light-sensitive emulsions onto artisanal papers recalled my own initiation to the photographic medium in a day before pixels replaced grain as the atoms of the image.
"What have I discovered from this inquiry? Among other things I have learned that although Digimon came after Pokemon, the latter are still valid while the former are obsolete...that the opposable thumb that has served us well in our descent from the trees has evolved into an instrument of texting and game-playing and is hard-wired to a different part of our brain in a younger generation of Homo sapiens...that manga: comicbooks as anime: cartoons...that we may never know if the graphic novel is an extended comic book or a narrative fiction with cartoons...that the impetus to play and explore remains the fundamental reason that I continue to make photographs."--Neal Oshima
Neal Oshima is an independent commercial and fine art photographer who has worked extensively with traditional silver-based print techniques and his prints have been auctioned and collected by major corporate and private collections in Europe, Asia and the US. Play by Neal Oshima opens at 6pm on April 15, Wednesday and runs until May 16, 2009 at Silverlens Gallery.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Heart by Ling Quisumbing Ramilo
While watching the TV coverage of that band's Final Set, I am also looking at the little metropolis of eraserheads assembled by artist Ling Quisumbing Ramilo (which sort of echoes the sea of people at the SMX concert venue when the camera gives a quick sweeping view from the top). Ling is known to have a fascination for blocks of scrap wood and other everyday things, materials that dominate her most recent exhibitions. "I have been working on a series, pencilworks. Isang katutak na pencils," she tells TheSwankStyle. "Siguro mga 30,000 pencils na or more. Since late last year. Kasama sa show sa Manila Contemporary sa April 18. Nagsimula yung series from a piece I did for my Green Papaya show, Domestic Bliss. Drawing board sya na pag binuksan mo, puno ng isang katutak na pencils. Natuwa ako, na-addict. Meditative kasi ang pagtasa. I'm fascinated by everyday objects kasi dami ng possibilities, sa pencil pa lang."
Photographs by Ling Quisumbing Ramilo
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Photograph by Steve Tirona
"For better or worse, there are also some renewed stirrings of hype in the contemporary-art market. In June, Koons is having a solo exhibit at London's prestigious Serpentine Gallery, which is expected to draw big crowds. The law of supply and demand being what it is, many will no doubt continue to aspire to own his art (if not his new book). At the Pulse New York art fair a few weeks ago, five large photographs of Imelda Marcos by Filipino artist Steve Tirona drew plenty of attention. The volume of inquiries on the last day prompted gallery owner Isa Lorenzo, a physician, to diagnose herself with a panic attack near closing time. A museum bought a set of five (there are 15 limited-edition sets), European collectors wanted to talk, and passersby stopped to gawk at the images of the former Philippine first lady gamely posing to help her grandson's costume jewelry line. In one image, she sits regally holding her pet dog Venus by a leash, in an opulent room that has seen better days. Photo illustration exaggerates the sparkle of her bling. A picture of her with Saddam Hussein in his heyday adorns a table, a classic painting hangs askew on a silk-covered wall and the mirror in a large gilt frame is cracked. The image is a reminder that like classic art, the best contemporary works make us weigh our icons, our values and what we consider beautiful."--Signs of life in the art market, Alexandra Seno, Newsweek, April 6 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Photo by Dahl Bennett
The CCP's Ed Cabagnot was getting carried away about it on Facebook today (posting links to versions of the Yvonne Elliman classic; did you know Sinead has a version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on youtube?), but I already had my Jesus Christ Superstar fix last night at Taumbayan, this corner eatery/bar/performance place which really looks like a sari-sari store from your cab window. I have been craving for some JCS gig since two weeks ago, and listening to the movie with beer on hand just wasn't cutting it (will somebody lend me a movie soundtrack?). The '70s Bistro in Anonas used to hold a JCS show yearly, putting together a cast that have included Cookie Chua, Noel Cabangon (as JC), Jett Pangan, Indio I and other names from the rock scene. I've been to three and it was always jampacked and so much fun and the performances amazing.
I always thought only rock people could do this musical justice. And so I also came to see Basti Artadi play JC several years ago in the rave-scene-paparazzi-era version by Atlantis Productions. So when my friend Eric Cabahug texted me about the Taumbayan gig fifteen minutes before the performance began, I left my bag of expectations at home (its big and heavy and comes with a stroller) and thought one or two beers could probably turn this one into something mildly fun. The players were showbiz-theater people: Bituin Escalante (Judas), Aiza Seguerra (Mary Magdalene), Agot Isidro (JC), Ricci Chan (Herod). On the organ and singing Pontius Pilate's numbers was Vince de Jesus of Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah fame. Joel Lamangan was in the audience (singing along as if he were part of Norman Jewison's taumbayan), and so were Tony Mabesa, lighting designer Monino Duque, writers Emman dela Cruz, Mario Hernando, and the Medina brood: Pen, Ping and a brother whose attention was exclusively dedicated to his phone. It was PETA here, Dulaang UP there, and Teatro Pilipino everywhere else.
How was the performance? After a couple of Pales, I was happily singing along, and by the time "Simon Zealotes" came in, I was more forgiving of the missed lyrics, and was dancing in my tight little space. Aiza gave a heartbreaking rendition of "I Don't Know How To Love Him," and Bituin is always fabulous except she repeated some of the lines once in a while. That's okay I guess, I'm sure there were no rehearsals involved and eveyrthing seemed last minute (I love it when a group of people come in all white and think that's automatically a chic costume). The real performance of the night, though, was my friend Emman's who stood beside me. When the final song Superstar started, we all got excited and joked around that Nora Aunor might just be coming down from the stairs. Then Emman began singing his own impromptu version of Superstar, this time about Ate Guy's return from the dead. "Ayan na siya! Ang nag-iisa!"
All in all, it wasn't a complete waste of time. My friend bought a shirt from Neil Ryan Sese who brought with him a bag of Bangkok stuff. The black shirt was splattered with numerous rock band names my friend would never listen to, but it looked so cool I almost bought one. What I ended up buying is a bracelet of black wooden beads from a bag sitting on Gino Gonzales's lap. I've never worn something like it in years and it was just a hundred bucks. When one of the owners, Joel Saracho saw all these buying and selling happening, he stopped for a moment to ask: "What did Christ do when the people turned the temple into a marketplace?" As soon as we settled our last bill, we were outtathere.
Hanging by a thread. One of the projects at the UPFA thesis defense for the 2009 graduating batch.
Photographs by Devi Madrid
According to Goldie Poblador, a strong musky scent, perhaps reminiscent of your no-good uncle's Charlie. And what is the scent of squalor? It smells of a three-day-old man's urine. And the scent of government? It smells of, well, shit.
Perfumed nightmares. Glass-blown bottles and strangely familiar scents from Poblador.
It's hard to imagine a perfumery in the milieu of the UP Fine Arts Department but last Saturday a roomful of different scents--from the fragrance of Baguio to the smell of Requiem--contained in fragile-looking glass-blown bottles were on display at the UPFA for the thesis defense of the 2009 graduating class. Goldie's installation was easily the most popular of the 14 or so students defending their art that day. It was a major production: from the glass cubes that held each bottle, the store-ready boxes next to it containing the name of each scent, and even the instructions on how to smell.
The presence/absence of color. From topmost, a tunnel-like installation of plastic tubes filled with colored liquid; Liv Vinluan's large works.
Elsewhere in the compound, from a student named Kathleen, a tunnel-like installation with hundreds of colored plastic tubes perfect for the kids gallivanting on the lawn, from Corpse Corpuz multi-layered images of historical icons, and then there was Liv Vinluan's large-scale paintings of eerie images (i.e., a girl holding another girl's cut-off head). This early Liv is already scheduled for a show at Finale late this year, and most of her previous paintings are already in the homes of collectors. Are we seeing the faces of tomorrow's AAP prizewinners? Are we smelling the scent of early success? Go ask Goldie Poblador. Maybe she's already bottled that one.