Monday, September 28, 2009

DESIGN OF THE TIMES ] Graphic designers for Project Ondoy

ondoy

Yesterday, Team Manila's Jowee Alviar sent a shoutout to graphic designers on Facebook to create a poster that will inspire people to do their share in reaching out to the victims of the storm Ondoy. Here, just some of the posters that creatively cried for help. From top left: Ali Molloy, Inidoro Graphic Design Lab, Tof Zapanta, AJ Dimarucot and Karrots Nazareno.

tof-zapanta

ondoy2


karrots-nazareno

Friday, September 25, 2009

HITBACK! HITBACK! ] A Chabet and co. show invite from 1974



Piece unearthed. For a show in Lahi, Cubao. Image courtesy of Angel Flores, Jr.


(Kaya mo 'yung pun sa 'Peace on earth?')



THE WEEKEND IDEA ] Lena Cobangbang on our increasingly sticky situation

sticker1A work labeled elmer-jj_lo and, right, by Yvonne Quisumbing.

Stickers, tapes, adhesives, decals--you are holding something like it right now. You see these normally affixed to flat, smooth surfaces such as walls, folders, envelopes, mirrors, windshields, car bumpers,refrigerator doors, ...dresser doors, locker doors, flip flops, luggage, airplane tickets, fruit crates, shiny red apples, boxes, bottles, report cards, tin cans, washing machines, license plates, ID cards,registration papers, traffic citations, postal notes, price lists, electrical posts, metal gates, guitar cases, fenders, Gibson guitars, skateboards, surfboards, school bags, notebooks, laptops – everything it seems that need to be ascertained of its identity as a product, name, ownership, authorizing agent, point of origin, ideology, allegiance, nationality, degree of importance, expediting instruction, washing instruction, use instruction, content, material, etc., etc., etc. Its function as a branding tool and as necessitated by free market capitalism build up to a hypertextual landscape of meaning, desires, systems and neuroses. Contemporary life seems stuck from this surfeit of surface treatment that walls scream dread of horror vacui, holes howl of vapid voids. Peeling through these layers would only reveal the lacerated skins of this dread and the incessant need to patch up this dread.

Gallery walls that act as transitory tabula rasas now willfully submit to this anarchic decoupage. Not because street art has become in fashion and is fully accepted with its auspicious marketing potential, (well, partly it is) but it has been its intrinsic task as an institution to tag or be tagged for the surfaces with which it chooses to please its target viewers or clientele. It is an industry, after all, or another wall to be filled in and stared at. However, blank stares equal an anesthetized engagement.

sticker2Clockwise from topmost left: Cubao Expo 017, Mariano Ching + wewilldoodle, Phone, and Theresia Irma Aryani.

This show will hopefully bomb this white out on SEPTEMBER 26, 2009 at Mo_space.(Notice that we were very careful not to be too sentimental as to coincide this with 911. This is an isolated event and not in any way connected to anything of that sort.)

Post-its, grocery lists, stamps, sticker books, duct tape notes, bumper stickers, warranty stickers, star stickers, red dot stickers, character stickers, stickers of your own design, stickers with your name on it, layers of decollaged stickers, stamps, decals, manufacturing labels, programming manuals, campaign stickers, stickers on your niece’s sticker book, stickers that come free with your favorite cereal or chips, stickers that indicate your clothes or shoe size, band aids, striped band aids, seals of approval, seals of validity--anything that adheres to any flat surface or anything that has evolved from R. Stanton Avery’s invention of self-adhering labels is acceptable for this show.




Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NOW PUT ON A SCARF ] The inspirational book you don't have to read

sartThe girl on the cover is Julie, one of Schuman's favorite subjects. "She is very chic but she is far from perfect, physically at least. Julie has one leg slightly shorter than the other, has very slim arms and walks with a very slight limp. However, she has never let her physical challenges...diminish her presence."

It’s not about fashion, but self-expression. People introducing themselves by way of clothing. By way of gestures, little nuances. As in a pocket square that, at closer inspection, reveals itself to be not just one square of fabric, but three layers—white and two shades of light blue—handstitched on top of the other, with three embroidered dots near the edge of a corner. It’s a woven friendship band on the ankle of a distinguished-looking man wearing a grey suit with abbreviated pants. A little flower pin on the peak of a suit jacket’s lapel. A fan. A hat. A glove. Or the utter simplicity of a white shirt and a navy skirt (put on a pair of pearls and you have the impeccable simplicity of Carolina Herrera). Forget the writing, it was never the author’s strength. He always sounded a little silly to me (this one obviously went through the eyes of an editor). The photographs are beautiful and inspiring. Nice to have during those days when there’s absolutely nothing to wear. It’s not about trends. It’s not Vogue. It’s more real and yet more uplifting. It’s about the man on the street being comfortable in his or her own fabulousness. Jerome Gomez

You can buy the book (a thousand bucks at National), or just click this.


BACK TO HER ROOTS ] Christina Dy on how to paint hair

Untitled-1Jonathan, 2009

CD started hair drawings four years ago as abstracted portraits. Drawn in a subtractive process, CD shades the entire field in charcoal black and simultaneously draws with an eraser and fills in details with graphite. The tangible and tactile becoming more so evident as the highlights are erased in. She starts with photographing her sitter's hair, then scaling up the images and abstracting them completely. They are anonymous, but present very intimate clues as to the identity of the subjects. How the curls fall or the waves turn, the angles of a widow's peak, or the twists of a crown puyo- these are individual and unique landscape markers of our crowns. Hair is our expression of identity, a carrier of our DNA, an organic marker of every person's individuality. One of the commissioned pieces is her self-portrait. The artist offers new possibilities of portraiture.

Nagkukulot kaya si CD?

rezWe love Rez Cortez's hair here and this photograph, too. We just want to share it.

Christina Dy will be showing Roots, new commissioned portraits of her signature charcoal hair series, at SLab's 20Square Gallery from Wednesday, 23 September to Saturday, 17 October, 2009 from 6-9PM. CD is one of this year's CCP 13 Artists awardees.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

THE 'NEW PORN' ] And other matters (un)saintly according to Peewee Roldan

Untitled-1"We have nothing that is ours except time and memory," 2009, assemblage with found objects, 6 x 6 feet diptych; and "Memory Box," 2009, assemblage with found objects, 9 x 10 inches.

"What is sacred? What is profane?" asks Norberto Roldan in his latest works. "It is unsettling how these terms can sometimes signify the same thing. Two words which suggest dichotomy, could either be one or the other at the same time." The mixed-media pieces were exhibited in a Philippine preview at the Mos Space last week, and will be flying to Kuala Lumpur to be shown at the Galerie Taksu on October 22. The title of Roldan's show is Everything Is Sacred. "What is porn? What is born? Graft and corruption is the new porn. And we all can be born-again pagans. Things take on their meanings regardless of captions. Profane is the new sacred."

Roldan2"Sacred devotions(details)," 2009, assemblage with found objects, 3 x 4 feet



Monday, September 21, 2009

BEST PLACE TO WRITE #2* ] Where to stalk Jessica Zafra

P1000706

We ask Jessica Zafra which, for her, is the best place to write. The author of the famed Twisted series, who is in the thick of doing revisions for her first ever novel, says she likes noisy restaurants. "I am forced to concentrate." Asked to name a particular one that she frequents: "Wild Ginger in Rockwell."

*House not included.


TARUSH! ] Social realism is just a "look." Or so says Manuel Ocampo

manuel_workBackground: 'Forward to the Sweet Tranquility of the Status Quo.' Foreground: Detail of 'Agent of Good + Bad Criticism: In Need of Plumbing,' 2009, mixed media, dimensions variable. From ongoing exhibit at Pablo Gallery.

Philippine Star:Who are currently your favorite Filipino artists?
Manuel Ocampo: If the world would consider Dan Flavin as a Filipino artist, since he uses the florescent tube (which was invented by a Filipino,) then he would be it. But jokes aside, at present among the post-painters I would mention Argie Bandoy and Jayson Oliveria. I like the way they’re rescuing abstract painting from the dregs of interior-decorator kitsch, corny spirituality, and high seriousness into something dangerous and tasteless, as well as obscene, funny, clumsy, and full of bad design and glaring missteps. If there is such a thing as abstract-jologs then their work would be it. I like Gerry Tan’s work in the way he reflects on paintings methods of anticipating and redefining its relationship to digital reproduction. He’s introducing new aspects and parameters into how we can use painting to question the digital barrage that is infiltrating our consciousness.

Robert Langenegger’s and Romeo Lee’s works are undoubtedly nihilistic yet there is an insane cheerfulness to their approach since their paintings are fantastically made-up jokes. It is astonishing, for example, how much the series of motifs employed by these artists overlap with those found in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel. In the works, we encounter a humor of the immediately physical, and references to the topics of nourishment, digestion, sexuality, misery and death.

'How many depictions of farmers, workers, raised fists, chains, fat cats, evil businessmen and corrupt politicians can we take?'

I would also like to include the video works of Poklong (Anading). And the photos of MM Yu and Lena “D’hyena” Cobangbang.

Philippine Star:Who are the Filipino artists whose works you find abhorrent?
Manuel Ocampo: There are really no Filipino artists whose works I find abhorrent. I’m just puzzled by the hype surrounding the so-called “realists” — the type of works that are predominant at art auctions nowadays. I find their stuff retrograde and unimaginative. I’m also turned off by Social Realist paintings. I find the politics behind it naive and at times hypocritical. The way they are painted and the content, too, doesn’t appeal to me. How many depictions of farmers, workers, raised fists, chains, fat cats, evil businessmen and corrupt politicians can we take?

Social Realism is just a “look.”

From Igan D Bayan's interview with the artist Manuel Ocampo, published today in The Philippine Star. The entire story here. Manuel's Monuments to the Institutional Critique of Myself is on view up to the 26th of September at Pablo Gallery, Unit C-11 South of Market Condominium, The Fort.



BEST PLACE TO WRITE#1 ] We begin, of course, with mine

Untitled-1

Adarna Food and Culture along Kalayaan near Matalino Street in QC. Been here a couple of times before. Not particularly delighted with the food, but the place is gorgeous (I let other people order). I like staying outside, in the non-airconditioned area. You can smoke. There's free wi-fi. I just order coffee, and maybe the fried lumpia so, you know, it's not naman nakakahiya. The barako was scary at first but I had no trouble sleeping that night (but then I also had five can of San Mig Light at an art opening, so). I went around 2pm, and its cool and quiet even if its close to the street. After 5pm, it seems political hangers-on make it their next place to hang. They talk about their new manoks and their latest moves. But I found out Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary died from eavesdropping on their conversation.

Photograph from the Adarna Facebook account.



POST 100 ] Starting anew

IMG_2148My working desk at home--on a good day.

Written for my last issue at Metro Home & Entertaining.

It took a long time coming but last July, at 35, I finally moved out of my sister’s house into a place of my own. She has just given birth, you see, and suddenly the house has been taken over by cribs and toys and feeding bottles, and this being the first grandchild in the family, my parents have been visiting the house more frequently than usual and sleeping over. Suddenly, there was no place to write and be quiet, and drinking at home just got less fun when sober people are looking. So I moved. A couple of blocks away. Baby steps.

My new space is a one bedroom flat in a lowrise condominium unit in Quezon City. Nothing fancy. Comfortable size. Far from the shoeboxes I found around the area which seemed just enough for one bed and a chair. I planned to have a waking life in my new home, not just sleep and eat Lucky Me Supreme. I planned to cook, have space to do my exercises, walk around, dance. I planned to invite friends over for dinner and drinks. But then you learn that starting a new life can take awhile. Acquiring even the most basic things can cost you, from the fridge to new locks and keys. Introducing another piece of furniture, no matter how small, eats another fraction of your much-valued space. Lessons that only really hit you once you put down work for this magazine and start building a home of your own.

I learned that you can’t just go on ahead and paint your floors in black enamel and not have it look like you spilled grease on it the night before. I learned that it only takes one fag to screw on a lightbulb. And that the one kitchen item you need to introduce to the house first is not salt or uncooked rice—because your parents said it’s for good luck--but a bottle opener. And everytime I walk up the two flights of stairs to my unit, and get a peek of my neighbors’ homes through their windows, I am constantly reminded of the simplest decorating adage: “Edit, edit, edit.” I realize that what’s keeping a lot of ordinary homes from being the nice, relaxing, visually pleasant coccoons they’re supposed to be is their owners’ mindless acquisition of things, things and more things.

'And the one kitchen item you need to introduce to the house first is not salt or uncooked rice—because your parents said it’s for good luck--but a bottle opener.'

Creating a lovely home sometimes doesn’t have anything to do with taste or the number of interior design magazines you’ve read. It’s about listening to ourselves, looking at our space, and deciding what we really need. Most people, me included, do not have money to hire designers and are left on our own to furnish our spaces. I look at my white space now and think I know that I need a few things but they would hardly amount to ten. “Ang kailangan lang naman natin kama at internet,” an artist-friend told me yesterday. He exaggerates, of course, but he has a point. I still need a small round table and maybe four dining chairs. I need a small steel table with racks to put my one-burner stove on. I think I can dispense with having a coffeetable but an accent chair beside my two-seater couch could accomodate another guest.

For the moment, however, those can wait for the next paycheck. For the moment, I’m good with what I have. A beige sofa bought many years back from a second hand store. A 5x4 painting of a doll submerged in a swimming pool by Keiye Miranda Tuason, the color of water matching the kitchen sink tiles across. There is a floor lamp covered in a white paper material, a moving-in (or moving-out?) gift from my sister. An old school sound system under a glass window that frames the sky. Piles of my old Vogues are now a sort of a low holding table for a Venetian mirror from the Kamuning vintage shops. A few pieces of art lean on the wall next to it. All other walls are empty, and I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with an empty white wall (because really there isn’t). In the morning, since I have yet to put on curtains, the light from outside is a good waker-upper. In the evening, in yellow light, even my crudely painted black floor works, and the place looks, dare I say it, hip yet elegant, like a small-time art space.

As I write this, I am also preparing to start anew in my career. This is my last issue at Metro Home and Entertaining. When I started in this magazine, I was coming from the highly stressful world of showbiz reportage, and Metro Home was a magazine that welcomed my resolve to slow down a bit. I learned a lot along the way: from the designers and stylists we worked with, the homeowners whose fabulous homes we featured, and from Carlo, my boss, whose exacting standards and superb taste is something that I believe is unique to this magazine. He is a relatively new homeowner as well. When I started working with him, he has just moved in to a house he built. From the very first dinner we had there in May of 2007 to the last get-together in July, very little in the house, simple and white all over, has changed. Each dinner, it seems, we are greeted only by a new addition, either a coffeetable decor from a friend, a custom-made piece from a furniture shop in Pampanga or Kamias, or a framed work bought from one of those kitschy art stores in Ermita. Each from a special provenance, each precious-looking in its own way. The house hardly ever looks complete, but it never seemed lacking.

Creating a new life is a lot like like creating a new home. Change eventually happens and when it does we wait some more to fit into it, to make it our own. And while we wait, we live and think and discover things we’d like to take in, bring home, little by little. Nothing special was ever made in a rush. Baby steps. Why hurry? Rat races are for the ordinary.

TOO COOL ] The Brothers De Guia do decor and accessories

Untitled-3

Or something like it. The photographer At Maculangan snapped these images during his recent visit to the De Guia home in Tuding, Benguet. Above, photocopied image on acetate of Kidlat's brood: Kidlat, Kabunyan and Kawayan. Below: the works at New York's Subversive by Justin Giunta (or this at the Spring 2010 show of Peter Som) do not have a chance against Kabunyan's earthy, beautifully abundant DIY neckpiece.

Cool runs in the blood.

Untitled-2

Photographs by At Maculangan.

DISCO IMPYERNO ] Cos Zicarelli's cool birthday in Hell

hell

The show was those four letters on top. It was supposed to have been at Green Papaya but Cos decided to just do it at home. "Sa hell pala punta mo eh," the taxi driver told me. I guess it worked.

"The religious who subscribe to the hegemony of heterosexuality maintain that gayness--especially upon the consummation of the "homosexual act"--can lead one to hell. Homophobics who find their way here, to Constantino Zicarelli's exhibition wherein the declaration that this is hell conceptually transforms his home into hell, should thus beware: It is likely they are standing next to a faggot." ---Text posted on the entrance door, by Angelo Suarez on Cos Zicarelli's "Hell"

Carlo Tadiar writes about the evening here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

THE FIND ] Dex Fernandez's writings on the wall poster

dexDie, Die, My Darling and Naivete by Dex Fernandez

I first met Dex Fernandez at the Manila Art 09 last July or August, my memory of those times are a bit hazy (as it should be). Anyway, enough about me. Dexter Fernandez. He was introduced to me by Osie Tiangco and Yo Garcia of Pablo Gallery when I asked them who did the wonderful glass-encased images on their booth. It was, I thought, one of only two fresh ideas among the sea of same old-same olds in that gathering of the country's top galleries. Dex happened to be there that Sunday having a chat with the Pablo girls. He was shy and courteous and said very little. When will he have an exhibition, I asked the girls. Soon, they said, soon. Maybe next year. Well, we can't wait. And then we found this.

His main medium are vintage posters that he sources from thrift shops in Manila. Some are from his personal collection. He paints on them, draws on them, makes intricate tattoos, writes profane, perverse, ghastly statements on these rather saintly, if a bit eerie, idealized portraits of people. "It gives me a nostalgic feeling," he says. "And I'm happy giving them a new story through the juxtaposition of images and icons." His writings and drawings never overwhelm the original image; they only provide a layer of subversion much like street graffitis, a strong influence in this young artist's works.

dexyFernandez opposite Epjay Pacheco's spray-painted image of Dionisia Pacquiao at Pablo.

Dex, now 25, grew up in Caloocan and studied art and advertising at the TUP Manila. His influences are tattoo art, street art, and even Art Brut/Outsider art, originally coined for artworks done by asylum inmates but have eventually included works by anyone who have no contacts with mainstream art or art institutions.

"For me, the essence of beauty can be seen through alteration
of real and unreal
of good and evil
of magnificence and unsightly
of light and darkness
of pure and complex.
That in the end we create a new story.
And the more we complicate it, even more stories come out."

We like.


Photographs courtesy of the artist.



THE TWITTER REVIEW ] James Ong on the glamour and Grace of The September Issue

sept

We've been wanting to see this for months since it premiered in Sundance early this year. We've been asking Chona at Metrowalk for months and it's still the same answer: "La pa po ser. One Year gusto niyo?" I don't know who's sponsoring the Philippine premiere of The September Issue but we'd love to be invited. Our friend James Ong was at the Singapore premiere last Wednesday. We asked him to tell us about the documentary in five tweets. He gave us nine. In twitter fashion, read from the bottom, of course.

jamesperezong...fashion.
15 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong...magazines. It's the story of Anna and Grace (who both started work at Vogue on the same day) and how these two women have influenced..
16 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong "I know when to stop pushing her, she doesn't know when to stop pushing me," says Grace. The movie is not about the glamor of fashion...
18 minutes ago from Echofon

28issue_600Nicolas Ghesquiere gives a preview of his Balenciaga Fall 2007 collection to Anna and her court: Grace Coddington and, slightly hidden by his bangs, Hamish Bowles.

jamesperezong...decadent Galliano story because it was too much ("They just threw away $30k with that"). Grace keeps producing, Anna keeps editing...
21 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong...issue yet of Vogue. Anna is adamant about including a "texture" and a "color block" story. Grace is upset that Anna killed a spread in...
23 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong...but while Wintour holds forth in the meeting, her magazine ally, stylist Grace Coddington, is busy finishing shoots for the "biggest...
25 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong...surpassing their supply. The CEO is asking Wintour because she is the single most important figure in the fashion industry...
27 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong...imploring the US Vogue editor to tell designers that they need to work and deliver faster because the demand for their goods is fast
28 minutes ago from Echofon

jamesperezong In "The September Issue," Anna Wintour smiles. Laughs. Rubs her lovely comforting hand on a department store CEO's arms. The CEO was...
29 minutes ago from echofon



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE WISH LIST ] If we're rich next year, we're buying designer

SHOES

From men.style.com's report on the best shoes from the spring 2009 runways, our favorites (clockwise from top left): Clarks Wallabees festooned with rusty staples (not to be tried in real life unless you will have shoes lined) for Patrik Ervell's show; woven leather mocs from First by Jeffrey Campbell for Loden Dager's collection that had a Latin American vibe; Steven Cox and Daniel Silver's collaboration with Florsheim for the Duckie show resulted in these suede bucks in neon-bright cerulean blue and citron yellow; Simon Spurr's Grenson suede oxford and espadrilles in an off-season appearance.


EIGHT QUESTIONS ] Lyra Garcellano's people falling gracefully

lyraScenes from the September 9 opening.

Lyra Garcellano presented her latest works recently at the Finale Art Gallery: eight paintings, two drawings, and one installation piece. But everything was about the idea of falling and climbing, and a beautiful, kind of quietly glamorous, surrender. TheSwankStyle spoke to the artist about how she works, what makes her happy and that nasty thing called Old Pain.

What inspired these new works?Finale Art File’s Tall Gallery was inspiring enough. It’s a huge space and I wanted to work with the space. Likewise, I got ideas from dealing with my personal issues.

How long did you work on the exhibit?I did the actual production work for the paintings and drawings for only 4 months. But I worked on the concept for the show for about 8 months.

lyra2Collector Rina Ortiz and the gallery's Evita Sarenas meet halfway.

What's the idea behind the ladder, if you don't mind me asking.
The ladder alludes to the perception of the difficult climb that one faces when one is in an emotional rut. If you look closely at the ladder you’ll see the first four rungs are broken. But the “cast” shadow is done differently. It is complete and “unbroken”. Plus the distance from each rung to the next gets further apart.
I wanted to imply that despite all the difficulties one can eventually “lift” oneself up but every step is going to be a challenge. What is ironic though is once you’ve reached the top, you ask yourself “what’s next?” The bottom again?

Can you give us an idea of how you work?
I work within 2-3 hours after I wake up. I like to putter around the house first before doing “real” work and I call it a day by sundown. I don’t have great lighting in the room where I work so I rely on natural light. It’s awful when it rains because that means I don’t get to work that much since it gets dark in the room. Summer’s a great time to work given the longer days and shorter nights so I get to paint more hours. Nope, I’m not really a “mood” worker. If I relied on my moods, I’ll hardly work. Although, there are days I have intense food cravings. Some days I have the “need” to eat mac & cheese while I work. Other days I “need” my favorite chocolate cream beverage to rev me up. That’s all carbs and sugar. No wonder I’m fat now. I often listen to the same music for months at a time. And the past year the one I love most in my CD rack is Flight of the Conchords’ Season 1 songs.

What did you want to explore with this new batch of paintings?
I was in a funk for a long time. So I needed to process that feeling and that experience brought me to thematically deal with the idea of falling, losing control and eventually getting out of it.

What is your current state of mind?
I’m in a neutral state of mind right now. Which, I suppose, is better than usual. Better than being upset or feeling dis-orbited. Neutral is a good place for me. I take neutral anytime.

How would you describe your studio/workplace?
Very small and very cramped. It’s not really a studio. It’s a room in the house that’s not really being used so I paint there. The thing is everybody’s junk is in that room.

What makes you happy lately? Watching Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited again made me happy recently. Looking forward to an eat-all-you-can pasta buffet makes me happy too.

Photos courtesy of the artist. Old Pain is ongoing up to September 30 at Finale Art File Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound (Gate 1), 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati City (across Philippine School for Interior Design).
Makati City



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

IMAGINE THE LOVE ] CD and Quark on what remains of the brokenhearted

timmy2Timmy Eigenmann in Dotdashot.

For tonight's The Spoils of Love, an Imagine Magazine exhibition featuring nine installations from nine artistic collaborations, Christina Dy and Quark Henares made two videos:Dotdashdot and Chess.

"Contemplating that fragile, meditative silence that exists in moments of absolute concentration, independent director Quark Henares and newly minted Thirteen Artists Awardee Christina Dy create a video installation that touch on two vastly different and yet ultimately related human activities in an attempt to examine the single-mindedness that allows us to rise above ourselves into a state of emotional and intellectual transcendence."

Whew. CD's email is a lot kinder.

"Both videos consist of 2 videos to be projected across each other."

"Dotdashdot shows videos of a guy and a girl, running towards each other. But of course, they will never reach other. This doomed romance may be a practice in futility, but isn't it like most things that we do anyway? The point is that we try."

chess1A scene from Chess.

"Chess shows two men playing, whatelse, chess. One in white against a black background, another in black against white. Who plays the white pieces? Who plays the black? We're not sure.

"I won't overexplain na...just come and see it!"

Starts tonight at Greenbelt 5 and 3. For more of the works and details on the show, the exhibition site is here.


Monday, September 14, 2009

THE MUST-SEE ] Geraldine Javier's butterflies and spiders and embroidered blue birds

rollercoaster

In Butterfly’s Tongue, flora and fauna are seen in a new light, as Javier incorporates into her paintings different influences, from the classics to her trips abroad. Like a butterfly stopping by to smell the flowers, Javier pauses to interpret her subjects in a manner that they begin to come to life again.

Her works fill the entire West Gallery beginning the 17th of September. Ronald Achacoso writes about the works in Geraldine's fancy new website.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

THE SHIRT TALE ] Rhett Eala on why yellow is the new black

rhett2Eala and (right) his biggest hit.

The simplest ideas are often the biggest hits. Put the country’s map on a shirt and get ready for the cash registers to ring non-stop. Whowouldathought? Well, Rhett Eala did. His collared cotton pique shirts with an embroidered Philippine map on the chest for Collezione C2 is turning out to be this year’s sartorial staple. No small thanks to the Aquino grandkids who made it almost a uniform during the length of the wake of their much beloved grandmother in August. And thanks to the elder Aquino, the Senator Noynoy, who wore one when he announced his presidential bid last week. A week before that, it was Mar Roxas, declaring he was stepping down from the presidential race to make way for Noy, in a blue number. From its fansite at Facebook, it looks like it’s not only the Aquinos who are sporting the shirt: it is increasingly becoming the uniform for people doing something good for the country. And now that Noy is leading in the presidential race survey, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of Rhett’s hit up to election season next year. Here, TheSwankStyle talks to the guy who put the shirt with the map, well, on the map.

How do you start your day?
I usually wake up around 6am. I go to the gym for about an hour then I'm in the office around 8:30

A moment/time/activity in the day you look forward to?
I really enjoy going to the stores and checking on whats moving and talking to clients and getting their feedback.

Describe your work station?
My desk is piled with swatches, color charts, pantone books and colored markers. I also have my laptop in front of me most of the day.

How do you work? Is there a certain time of day where you feel you are more inspired? Do you need music?
I work best alone if I'm working on some ideas. No particular time in designing. I always have a sketch pad when I travel. I usually have music on, mostly Coldplay sometimes Kanye West. I walk a lot when I'm abroad, in Manila I don't walk much.

What inspires you?
Anything can inspire me, a piece of art, music, a gesture, an old picture or something I've read.

Your favorite source of inspiration.
Books about fashion designers on how they work and develop their ideas. Right now I'm reading about Martin Margiela. Before that it was Cristobal Balenciaga.

Your favorite smell.
I love the smell of coffee in the morning

ninoyLike father, like son. Ninoy wearing Collezione (a screencap from docu The Last Journey of Ninoy) and Noynoy at the Club Filipino Wednesday last week. Noy photo by Patrick Uy.

What is your favorite yellow object/memory?
I saw a Coldplay concert earlier this year and when they sang "Yellow" they threw out about 50 giant yellow balloons to the audience and they were tossed around the concert hall until some of them burst then out came yellow confetti.

When you thought of putting the Philippine map on a shirt, what were the other thoughts that accompanied it?
I was thinking how I would feel wearing a the map on my chest.

Would you say the Pilipinas shirt is your biggest hit?
Yes I think so.

Has the orders/demand increased? Are there special orders coming from the Aquino camp?
We have been growing ever since we launched the map series last year. We have a hard time keeping the map shirts in stock but we manage. We do get orders from them.

Where are you taking the Philippine map stamp of Collezione? What’s in store in the coming months?
We are expanding the line to accessories and working on a bespoke line. We just opened two Makati stores in Greeenbelt 5 and Glorietta 3. We are opening a concept store in Rockwell on Oct. 8.

What are you doing this weekend?
Probably just watch the US open championship on TV.

THE 505 ] The editor reunites with an old pal

jeans2

Whether it was Alexander McQueen’s revolutionary bum trousers that inspired it or what then was a new obsession among gym-going men to expose their pelvic bones, I don’t remember anymore. But when the first few years of the 2000s came in, I started to wear the low-waist. Didn’t matter that I had no bum whatsoever to flatter, nor that bone to expose. Most of the fashionable friends began wearing them. They’re all you see on TV, on billboards, on the racks. Suddenly, the waistline has moved from, well, the waist down to somewhere near the hip. Suddenly, just when my normal-waist formerly dark 505s have aged into a covetable fadedness, when they’ve just achieved that rock star cool, they needed to be pushed back in the closet to make way for the new and exciting low-rise.

Being a short man with slim hips, the new waist should logically be an unattractive choice for me since it needed a wider hip—not to mention a considerably plumper bum—to hold on to. But I wore them anyway. I was young and very easily swayed by the next fashionista. Never mind that the lower waist made my torso look just about as long as my short legs. Its cut sort of jived with the slim silhouette I’ve always insisted on since becoming aware of which clothes look good for my built. It made my legs look leaner. And since I usually have to get a pair from the women’s section because of my smaller proportions, and because of the low rise’s considerably abbreviated crotch, the pants also made me feel like a girl. Apparently, the worst have yet to come: the low-rise skinny pants.

'I bought it during that momentous jeans explosion of 1998, when Tom Ford declared it was cool again to wear jeans anywhere and be boheme.'

Throughout its eight-year respite at the far end of the closet, I would always catch a glimpse of my pair of Levi’s 505s, and always thought how cool it would be to be able to wear them again. Early this year, I thought of finally ending its reclusion. It was, after all, turning a decade old. I bought it during that momentous jeans explosion of 1998, when Tom Ford declared it was cool again to wear jeans anywhere and be boheme.

I brought the pair to one of those tailoring shops in Recto (beside the Isetann underpass) and had it adjusted to my now 32 waist. Like friends who never saw each other for years, we took a little time getting the hang of each other. More importantly, what seemed a little awkward at first was getting reintroduced to its high waist. Disconcerting more like. Did I really use to wear it this high? For the first few times I would casually pull it down to my hips but it would stubbornly inch its way back up, as if asserting its own person. Why do I suddenly want it to be who it isn’t? We were natural buddies from the moment I first wore it. We had such good times together, too many wine and caeperinha and Blue Ice, seen too many nights out in Insomnia and Giraffe and ABGs.

So I gave in. So yeah you can say we’re back together. It helps, of course, that I just recently noticed that most of my grown-up guy friends have always worn their waistlines where it should be. That the return of the wide-legged trousers last season had made the normal waist essential again matters little. I seem to have arrived at an age where I barely care about trends anymore when it comes to my wardrobe. Now at 34 (age, not waistline), and at the risk of sounding like Oprah, here’s what I know for sure: the higher waist makes my short legs look longer. While that alone is enough for me, they also allow for a wider, longer crotch, hence the boys have more room to move around. And yes, the considerably longer crotch actually makes it look like I have a more considerable bulge. I no longer feel like a girl. In fact, I think I’ve become a man.

Appeared originally in Metro hiM 2008.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

THE STYLE ADVISORY ] J.Lee Cu-unjieng on the return of the plaid flannel

Untitled-1From left: The 'Heads in grunge; slacker dude now hard of hearing; and a look from Michael Bastian Fall 2009.

I always thought there was something wrong about Pinoy men wearing plaid flannels. It's like sporting emo hair with your pimply, oily face in the midst of humid Manila. It's emo alright, as in seeing you is me dying a little.

So when I saw a couple of supposed-to-be-hip brands (JT's eponymous label and Burkman Bros)showcasing the prints in their racks from last night's Fashion's Night Out in NYC , an effort of Mademoiselle Wintour to encourage people to shop and help the economy, it was quite alarming (in my still-in-bed-alarmed kind of way). Especially after I hopped on to men.style.com. There it is, one of their top three looks for fall: The Wanderer, a euphemism, really, for The Slacker. Even Marc by Marc Jacobs has little plaid patterns peeking out of from its knits. So bothered was I that I immediately asked the eminent stylist J.Cu-unjieng this morning what his take is on the return of grungy plaid.

"I'm not a big fan of these grunge/lumberjack plaids, especially if they're flannel...ugh! However, if the color combinations are interesting and new, I could probably be swayed--not to wear them, but to put them on a very manly man.

'That look is like 90's grunge, so without their knowing it, it's sort of retro and not terribly original.'


"I do understand that they're big in the skateboard culture, but that look is like 90's grunge, so without their knowing it, it's sort of retro and not terribly original. I don't particularly care for it in this country: it looks very heavy and dark, so it's not a look I would suggest."

Thank heavens.

"The only plaid I will wear," J continues, "is a gingham, but again, it should be in an interesting color, not the usual red or blue that looks like an Italian restaurant's tablecloth. I recently purchased a yellow one, which is nice and light."

I will never do grunge. Never have, never will. I have a blue Italian restaurant tablecloth, though. And I wear it as often as I can. JG



Friday, September 11, 2009

STEAMING HOT ] Chris Martinez, the writer of Kimmy Dora, on what success tastes like

chris

The surprise hit of the year is still pulling surprises at the cinemas. Kimmy Dora, with very little TV spots for its trailers and largely depending on word of mouth for promotion (and the shameless Facebook plugs that became increasingly irritating as the film came closer to opening day. OO NA MANONOOD NA KAMI!), is happily making a killing at the box-office, even convincing a few theaters to have midnight screenings just to accomodate persistent audiences. There are no final figures yet but everyone is talking about it (at least everyone we know in the office and half our Facebook friends). And they should be: it's the funniest film since, well, Joyce Bernal did funny for the movies.

The creator of the twins Kimmy and Dora is Chris Martinez, scriptwriter of 100, the film that won him Cinemalaya Best Director last year, and Jeffrey Jeturian's Bridal Shower and Bikini Open. He also penned the plays Intelstar (a one-woman show about a call center trainor which starred Kimmy Dora's lead actress Eugene Domingo) and the Palanca-winning Last Order Sa Penguin. He just released his new book, another Palanca winning play (2007), Our Lady of Arlegui, about a Muslim woman selling pirated DVDs in Quiapo's Arlegui Street. TheSwankStyle sent Chris a few questions and here he gladly responds.

What/who inspired Kimmy Dora? Are they based on real people?
Eugene Domingo is the only inspiration since the inception of the project. It was really written for her. It's not based on real people but more on my motivation to showcase her enormous talent. What better way to stretch her limits by giving her dual roles. It all started with my pitch: what if you have an evil twin?

There is always a glimmer of drama/heartbreaking truth in your comedy. Is this a conscious resolve?
I try to keep my characters as real as possible. They get hurt. They commit mistakes. They have desires, insecurities, despair, etc. I treat them as human beings. They are never perfect.

Was Kimmy Dora born from brainstorming with other people, or its just your own?
Over dinner at Taste of L.A. same time last year, Eugene, Joyce and I spent a whole evening brainstorming on what is the best launching vehicle for Uge. We came up with three pitch lines. Tig-wa-one sentence lang. Then Joyce called Piolo. Then Piolo arrived. Then we pitched to him. Then he approved Kimmy Dora. Then go na! Ganun lang ka-bilis at ka-simple. Smooth na smooth. I wrote the storyline when I was in Pusan where 100 competed and won. I wrote the sequence treatment in Marrakech where 100 was also competing. The script--sa bahay lang during Christmas time.

How do you write?
Very, very, very slowly! hahaha Sobrang bagal ako. Everytime someone asks me to write, I always tell them upfront -- I am the slowest writer I know!

Is there a certain time of the day?
Before I go to bed and right after I wake up.

Does this require a certain mood? Music?
Nope. Kailangan quiet. Quiet na quiet.

You walk a lot, talk to yourself?
Talk to myself, yes, a lot, a whole lot. So I can hear the rhythm.

The place you're most comfortable writing in? Unless comfort is not an issue and you can write anywhere.
Sa bahay lang. Dining room table. Or kahit saan. Di ako maarte, mabagal lang.

DSC_4373AKimmy and Dora in a scene from Kimmy Dora

What is your dayjob? Do you hate it?
I direct TV commercials. AND I LOVE IT!

How do you start your day?
Kape't yosi lang.

What do you look forward to in an ordinary day?
A good movie. An episode of Project Runway (US, ha?) and/or Top Chef. Good food!

What inspires you?
Hearing the audience's reaction -- laughter, sniffles, applause. It inspires me that I am able to move them.

Your favorite source of inspiration?
I always go back to the classics. For instance, Shakespeare. May kuwento pa ba na hindi niya nagawa? He's done practically everything. Mas contemporary naman, I also get inspired by Woody Allen's films -- lalo na the old ones.

Writer's block. What's the first thing you do?
Watch cable. Eat. FACEBOOK!

Your favorite scent?
Hermes Terre.

Your favorite thing to see?
My cats.

Your favorite sound?
OST.

Your favorite writer.
Woody Allen.

What are you doing this weekend?
A sequence treatment for a Chito Rono film.

What does success taste like?
Chicken! Everything tastes like chicken!



Thursday, September 10, 2009

FRESHLY INKED ] Raya Martin is walking wounded

raya

Why get a new tattoo?
tattoos are landmarks to my life. and i'm just overwhelmed right now.

What is the image? Why this?
it's from an amorsolo illustration of a boy who doesn't want to take a bath. i could relate to him, his look, his stance. charlie brown calls it "the depressed stance".

Who did it? Where?
award winning joe saliendra who also did my first one. he has a shop in bf homes pque. website http://www.tattooatjoe.com/

Describe your surroundings, the weather.
dark was the night

How long did it take?
probably just 30 minutes but it felt like forever because the neck area is extra sensitive.

You already have a tattoo on your arm. What is it and how old?

i got my first tattoo last year after cannes. it was my first time to show a film there. end of june just before my birthday. it's a woodcut design of the eye of god that i tore off the airline magazine. it's my personal agimat.

Are you marking an important moment with this new one?
alexis died. he was my bestfriend in cinema and more importantly in life.

What were your directions/specifications to the tattoo artist?i trust joe's taste so much i let him do this thing. i just wanted lines, nothing more nothing less.

Raya Martin is a filmmaker whose works include Maicling Pelicula Nang Ysang Indio Nacional, Autohystoria, Now Showing and, most recently Independencia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

THE DECENT GOODBYE ] Carlo Tadiar on how to write a eulogy. Or why bother

9-0Bea Camacho, Portrait Series, 2007, Artist Book. Photo from Magnet Galleries

The all time worst eulogy I have had the misfortune to endure was Kit Tatad’s for Larry Cruz. What made it egregious was not its excruciating length (Claude Tayag had to cut his charming eulogy short for Mr. Tatad), banalit√© of thought and expression, and the pompous dirge of its delivery, but the fact that it had nothing to do with the deceased. It was an exegesis on the movie Babette’s Feast. A crappy exegesis.

Hoping to make Mr. Tatad come to a stop (as well as to pass the time), I texted my pew-mate Alya Honasan, who was sincerely bereaved by the death of Mr. Cruz, if she knew the eulogist’s number. She texted back: “1-800-BORE”. And yet still more about Babette and her feast. On and on and on.

As soon as the eulogies came to an end, I jolted out of my pew for a cigarette. Who should walk out from the other end of the chapel but the bore himself. I felt like I ought to go up to him to tell him that that was the crappiest eulogy I’d ever heard in my entire life. But I thought the better of it and had a cigarette nalang. I’m told he wields powers over fire and brimstone.

One of the best eulogies I’ve read is by Teddy Boy Locsin for the recently departed and much beloved Corazon Aquino. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch its delivery as I was engaged in one of the countless quotidian senselessnesses I must endure para buhayin ang sarili ko, those things that fritter away at life so that you might make a livelihood.

Mr. Locsin enunciates his love for his President and describes how she had changed him. Of all her advisers, Mr. Locsin says, he likes to think of himself as “the one who loved her most.” And the desire for vengeance on the few so many suffered under went away even as her victory put him in a position to seek it.

“It never again occurred to me that I had scores to settle,” he remembers. “And not until today, that I had passed up every chance to get even…

“I certainly never noticed that I had left my anger behind. I don’t know how it happened. Except that Cory Aquino ennobled everyone who came near her.”

As a conscientious speaker, Mr. Locsin is reflexive. Tragedy is so easy to exploit.

If you saw me as I felt myself to be, anyone would fall in love with me.
I saw myself in that hospital room, a knight at the bedside of his dying sovereign,
on the eve of a new Crusade, oblivious to the weight of the armor on his shoulders
for the weight of the grief in his heart.

'Nothing can be said. This is especially true of violent, sudden, senseless deaths.'


I always cry at funerals. I will not shed a tear at a wake, but once final rites are underway, I cannot stop the tears. It embarrasses me. In part, it is the rapacious finality of death, its terrifying material sunder, that grieves me so. But it is in greater part the commonality of humanity so often quoted from the articulation of John Donne that makes me weep. The verses have been so often quoted that I cannot bring myself to even point to them.

“Grief too sad for song.” Who was it that coined that verse and in which poem? There is an aspect of death which cannot be addressed in any kind of notes. Nothing can be said. This is especially true of violent, sudden, senseless deaths. I live in terror of those words, of pain which cannot be assuaged by any human intervention. Only madness follows.

WH Auden wrote:

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Even that death, cataclysmic as it was for the author, had the grace to be put into song. They used it (the song, the poem) in a movie.

The one who grapples with words in the face of death grapples with the difference between truth and art. Which is which, what is what? If I had the answers I would charge you for it.


Written exclusively for TheSwankStyle.com. Carlo Tadiar is the editor of Metro Home & Entertaining.

Monday, September 7, 2009

THE EXCERPT ] Carmen Guerrero Nakpil encounters Gina Lollobrigida

cgn

In her new book, a kind of sequel to the autobiography Myself, Elsewhere, the writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil continues to fascinate with her amazing memory and vivid stories of postwar Manila. Here, an excerpt courtesy of her daughter Lizza Nakpil.

"In 1975, as a member of the amen battalion, I was assigned to write the text for two, big pictorial books (one on the Philippines and the other on Manila) by Gina Lollobrigida... The world at that time was unaware that, to her many accomplishments, Miss Lollo had added that of professional photography. She had been able wangle a whale of a contract, befitting her status as "sexiest woman alive" of the last decade.. The stage was set, from the very beginning, for cultural battle.

"I spent a few days as houseguest of Miss L. in her fabulous villa on the Via Antica and met her German boyfriend, about the age of my sons. I was thence transported to a hotel in glorious Florence, queen of the Italian Quattrocento, a city of marvels. I went daily to the printing press, where the staff knew little English, to read the proofs and approve page designs.

'Who are you calling a pygmy,' I said looking down my nose. I knew it had all come from Lollobrigida's photos of the Tasaday.

"In one of the photos, I recognized a classmate of my oldest son. He was scantily clad, exhibiting a lot of musculature. I said, "I think I know that boy. He goes to school with my son." It must have been the only remark that pleased G.L. because she quickly turned sweet and trembly and asked if I could get on the phone to Manila to call him. I refused, of course. That service entailed a profession I had not signed up for.

"The Italian pressmen at the printers also suffered from culture shock. The first day I was there, they took turns coming up to my desk to ask questions about my nationality. When I told them I was Filipino, they pressed:'But your father must be Spanish." Following my reply, that I was full-blooded Filipino, they insisted, "But you surely had a Spanish grandfather." I lost my patience. "I know what's bothering you: that I am whiter and taller than you." And I was. They were swarthy, crusty, little men about half my size. "But it was in our schoolbooks, that you are descended from pygmies." I stood up and drew myself up to my full height of five-eight, dwarfing them noticeably."Who are you calling a pygmy," I said looking down my nose. I knew it had all come from Lollobrigida's photos of the Tasaday. If she'd had her way, all the European readers of her books would have thought of Filipinos as stone-age pygmies. When I think of the rank racism in that print shop in Florence in the 1970s, I dread what our Overseas Filipino Workers must go through among the alien corn."

More about the book here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

GREY SKIES, HITCHCOCK BIRDS ] Cecile Van Straten on her new shirt line

Untitled-1Ino Caluza (inside dressing area) and Michael Salientes (right photo) both wear the white shirt with extended shoulders.

Why Heather Miss Grey?
I wanted to call it Heather Grey, but I googled and there’s a band apparently, so I added “Miss” so that if I google, I know they’re talking about the brand.

What inspired the initial designs?
The designs were inspired by the time I was trying to lose weight and camouflage my problem areas, and also when I’m too lazy to think of what to wear. I was thinking “comfy chic.”

Why the somber colors?

I love somber colors. By experience I knew that grey is a very hard to sell in Manila, but I love it. To me it’s like navy or black, a basic color, but very informal. I love heather grey, black, white.

Who helped you with the illustrations? And will there be menswear?

I gave Cristine Villamiel a direction and she came up wit the very Hitchcock prints.
Menswear yes. I have to develop more cause Michael (Salientes) gets mad kung walang choice!

Heather Miss Grey is available at Bleach Catastrophe, Greenbelt 5 and Trinoma. Left photo from here; right from Chuvaness.com.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

IN MEMORY OF ALEXIS ] And his wishes for Philippine Cinema

alexisPhotograph by Nika Bohinc, Italy, November 2007

I wish that the Film Development Council of the Philippines would understand the value of the money they’re given and consider going to Paris and spending P5 million of their P25 million allotment for a showcase given by a young festival an investment, and not just a vacation.

They support filmmakers with finished films to go abroad to festivals for the pride they bring their country—I wish instead they would support their films locally, and help them get seen by a larger Filipino audience.

I cry for the loss of Manuel Conde’s Juan Tamad films.

I cry for a country that can’t convince that one Filipino-American who owns the only known print of Conde’s Genghis Khan in its original language to return (i.e. sell) the film back to his mother country.

I cry for the generations of Filipinos, myself included, that can no longer see Gerry De Leon’s Daigdig ng Mga Api, and instead have scans of movie ads to admire on the internet (with sincere thanks to Simon Santos and James De la Rosa).

I mourn a heritage that has allowed through neglect the prints of Mario O’Hara’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and Peque Gallaga’s Oro, Plata, Mata to turn flush sepia.

I cry for a Union Bank and University of the Philippines that conspire in apathy to let the master negatives of treasures produced by Bancom Audiovision rot in rooms only air-conditioned half the day and in cans untouched for years and years.

I pray for a city government or even enterprising and concerned theater owners to consider setting aside 50 centavos or a peso of a ticket for the preservation of our national audiovisual heritage. There have been flood taxes siphoned from movie tickets for crying out loud—this should be easy!

I wish Cinemalaya, which, thanks to the media and the government’s press mileage behind it, has a great festive excitement, would actually put their efforts in the service of Philippine cinema, and not their own self-involved attempt to start a micro-industry.

I wish filmmakers would stop listening to Robbie Tan.

I wish Cinema One, which takes more risks, gives more money and often produces better films than Cinemalaya, would actually give filmmakers some rights to their work and stop swindling them.

I wish Cinemanila, which has introduced to the country more great films than any other institution, doesn’t stop showing them on 35mm.

I wish Cinemanila would publish their full schedule in advance: it’s difficult to plot what films to watch when you don’t know which ones will show again.

I wish the Goethe- initiated Silent Film Festival, with live scores by Filipino musicians, would continue annually, and that one year they get to show a Chaplin, a Griffith, a Dreyer, and maybe a Vertov or Medvedkin.

I wish Lav Diaz would have larger budgets to maneuver and shoot with. And would work with the ace production designer Cesar Hernando once again.

I wish more people saw Lav Diaz’s films rather than just respecting his stance, and using him as a symbol.

I wish Raymond Red would get to make Makapili and/or return to making fantastic shorts in the experimental mode.

I wish Raymond Red would still get to shoot on celluloid.

I wish John Torres would sacrifice the image quality of his HDV camera for the special intimacy and spontaneity he is able to achieve with his 1ccd camera. Or get a smaller HDV camera.

I wish Mike De Leon would make another movie… please.

I wish Roxlee would get enough money to buy the time necessary to make an animated feature.

I wish everyone would buy a copy of Nicanor Tiongson and Cesar Hernando’s richly illustrated The Cinema of Manuel Conde.

I wish there were more books on Philippine cinema.

I wish a book series was started that published classic screenplays.

I hope Noel Vera gets to write his book on Mario O’Hara.

I wish a close study of the entire oeuvre of Ishmael Bernal were made.

I wish older commentators would understand: Lino Brocka is dead.

I wish younger filmmakers would understand: Lino Brocka compromised when he had to because he had to, and perhaps even, at times, too much. You are living in a different time. The excuse that Brocka made more than 60 films therefore you can afford your own mediocre ones does not hold water.

I wish we had less tourist cinema.

I wish we had less formula cinema—“real-time” anyone?

I wish Cinefilipino had put out Maalaala Mo Kaya with the reels in the proper order.

I wish Cinefilipino would have put our their Brocka titles with just a little bit of care and affection, providing some writing on the film or special features to contextualize them rather than just throw them out their bare to earn.

I wish Nestor Torre would open his eyes…

I wish the Manunuri books on Philippine cinema in the’70s and’80s would go back in print.

I wish the Manunuri actually cared about Philippine cinema today.

I wish more of the Manunuri actually reviewed films instead of just giving out awards.

I wish the Young Critics Circle were actually young.

I wish the Young Critics Circle were actually critics.

I wish Francis ‘Oggs’ Cruz, Richard Bolisay, and Dodo Dayao would get space in the broadsheets, because they’re far more interesting than anyone writing there regularly.

I wish we didn’t have a cinema of the press (more on this soon).

I wish Noel Vera would move back.

I wish Hammy Sotto were still alive.

I wish Hammy Sotto’s manuscripts would get published.

I wish film preservation activist Jo Atienza was still in Manila.

I wish we had a fully supported Film Museum.

I wish we had a Cinematheque.

I wish the UP Film Center had better seats, and more important, showed better films.

I wish more non-filmmakers from the Philippines would get to travel to festivals.

I wish film were taught in high schools.

I wish we had more film lovers and less bureaucrats in important positions in the field of cinema.

I wish Teddy Co would get the recognition that he deserves for his selfless work.

I wish Teddy Co would write more as his ideas deserve to be recorded.

I wish co-ops would co-operate.

I wish Khavn De La Cruz would get to make his musical EDSA XXX.

I wish the Max Santiago feature would get made, and that shorts would finally come to my hands on DVD (Hi Marla!).

I hope Tad Ermitano never stops writing and playing in his cave.

I wish Lourd De Veyra would continue writing on actors and cinema.

I wish Raymond Lee’s UFO success.

I wish Albert Banzon would get more credit.

I wish we had more regional feature films, and more support for regional filmmakers.

I wish everyone would watch When Timawa Meets Delgado.

I wish someone would lower MTRCB rates for screening fees, especially for festivals.

I wish someone, anyone, would make a good, thought-provoking film about the Philippine upper class.

I wish Ketchup Eusebio would get more leading roles.

I wish Elijah Castillo would appear in a lot more films. Soon.

I wish Cesar Hernando would get to make a video transfer of his experimental short Botika, Bituka.

I wish filmmakers had some integrity and told Viva to screw themselves when offered another exploitation film.

I wish more people could see the film Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes.

I wish Vic Del Rosario wasn’t presidential adviser on Entertainment, given the shlock they produce, and yes, that includes the films that starred First-Son Mikey Arroyo.

I wish Star Cinema would stop—just stop.

I wish there was a film library that people could go to in order to read books on cinema.

I wish the MMFF were not in the hands of the same people who install public urinals (admittedly useful).

I wish the MMDA didn’t call those circles and boxes Art.

I wish that MMDA Art wasn’t so much better than every MMFF film.

I wish a certain festival in December didn’t consider box office as a criteria for its main prize (which comes with rewards). We don’t give cultural awards to Wowowee, do we? Well, not yet…

I wish I could see how “commercial viability” was computed.

I wish Mother Lily didn’t have a monopoly on the Metro Manila Film Festival.

I wish Mother Lily took better care, or rather took care at all, of the good films she unwittingly produced in the past.

I wish Mother Lily would get to see Raya’s Long Live Philippine Cinema! …or maybe not.

I wish the Hammy Sotto-led Philippine Cinema in the ’90s book, with excellent interviews and a complete filmography of the decade, and which has been completed for several years, would finally get printed.

I wish all the old Mowelfund shorts—including the works of Regiben Romana, the Alcazaren Brothers, Louie Quirino and Donna Sales, Raymond Red and Noel Lim—would come out on DVD.

I wish a book would be written about all the Mowelfund shorts.

I wish a book on Philippine poster art would be released.

I always look forward to the rest of Nick Deocampo’s projected four-to-five volume history on Philippine cinema—at least someone is writing it.

I wish there were a pure film studies course available in the Philippines.

I wish that venues that are censorship (and therefore MTRCB fee) exempt would understand the vital role they play and take more responsibility.

I wish we had a regular film journal. Why don’t we? We have enough critics groups and awarding bodies.

I wish more film teachers were approaching cinema from cinema.

I wish R.A. Rivera would get to make his first feature soon.

I wish Quark Henares refrains from selling out again, because if he doesn’t, he has the potential to be one of the important ones.

I wish more people would get to see In Da Red Korner. It deserves to be reconsidered.

I wish Rogue Magazine would cut down their featuring of foreign films in the gallery section when there is so much to write about locally that doesn’t get covered in other media beyond sloppy journalism.

I wish the government would sponsor DVD releases of the surviving films of Lamberto Avellana, Gerardo De Leon and all other classics that still exist.

I wish FPJ Productions would again screen the footage of Gerry De Leon’s unfinished Juan de la Cruz (the icon, by the way, that was invented by this magazine).

I wish less filmmakers compromised.

I wish more filmmakers admitted when they did.

I wish we focused our attention more on audience education, development and literacy, than on dumbing down films to pander to them.

I wish Philippine cinema all the success in the world. . .


---Alexis Tioseco, Wishful Thinking for Philippine Cinema

From Alexis' Criticine. Shorter version originally published as an addendum to an article in Rogue Magazine, extended final version (above) published in Philippines Free Press week of December 13, 2008.

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