Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kurosawa 100

Monday, March 1, 2010

I wanna be your sushi ba!

I caught Shonen Knife's one-night-only show last Saturday at the Mall of Asia grounds as part of the Japan Foundation's Nihonggo Week. For those of you who are not familiar with the band, or who thought their debut was that Powerpuff Girls song, Shonen Knife of Osaka, Japan have been around since 1982 (you HAVE to listen to their lo-fi debut Minna Tanoshiku. It's a classic!). They are considered icons of indie rock, and have made instant fans out of bands like Sonic Youth and Nirvana in the late '80s. What I love about Shonen Knife is, like the Ramones, they never changed their sound: this burst of punk, pop, grunge, ska -- and since they're Japanese -- an almost dangerous level of unbridled joy and cuteness. Only lead singer/guitarist Naoko Yamano remains of the original lineup (she of that chirpy voice shouting "Sushi ba!" and "toppof the worl" and "banana cheeps!" in some of their legendary singles). It's been almost 30 years since 1982, and like the Rolling Stones before them, I'm pretty sure they'll have generations shouting back "Konnichiwa" at them for as long as they live.

See photos from the concert HERE.

Videos I took:

No accreditation needed to be good citizens

I have not been able to blog as much as I want to, not just because of Facebook, but more importantly, because I actually have work to do. I'm back with the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) since October, and yes, despite the election commission's refusal to grant us an accreditation on their own terms, NAMFREL is going ahead to participate in the coming Philippine presidential election, automated or not, accreditation or not.

Read another statement HERE.

One thing. I take offense with the Comelec calling two of NAMFREL's leaders as "partisan," simply because they allegedly spoke out against two Philippine presidents, well before this election period when they're both running as candidates. What is partisanship anyway? I think one is partisan when he/she publicly favors a certain candidate in words and action. However, to speak out against elected government officials who are not doing a good job and who at the same time are consuming our tax money, I think that's not partisanship. To seek accountability from elected leaders is not partisanship. That is good citizenship.

Become a NAMFREL volunteer. Sign up HERE.

The collectors

Finally got to watch the absorbing documentary "Herb and Dorothy," about the Vogels, a now-senior charming Manhattan couple who, despite living a modest life (she a former librarian, he a high school dropout) have amassed one of the most important collection of modern art in America. Since the '60s, they would visit artists' homes and handpick works that catch their eyes, and usually pay in installment (but in cash), sometimes in kind (like when they paid for an artwork by babysitting the artists' cat). The couple would then bring the artworks back to their tiny apartment, put them up on their walls, ceiling, bathroom, under the bed -- every nook and cranny taken up by art -- in boxes, folders, cloth, etc. The Vogels pick art based on what they see as beautiful, the kind of people who would declare a piece of rope stapled on a wall as "art." Time seems to agree with the Vogels as many of the artists they have befriended and collected went on to become famous. The art that they have collected is now worth millions of dollars, but the wonderful thing is they have no intention to sell a single piece, and instead, they are having their collection exhibited by museums in all fifty states for free, their way of bringing art back to regular people like them, but who have chosen to live modestly for art. At heart, the documentary, as well as the Vogel's lives, is not just about love for art -- which for the Vogels is well above any cash to be made from their possessions -- but about collecting, to have what takes their fancy, even at the expense of comfort or convenience. Almost like religion.

Which reminds me, jeez, I have a lot of STUFF and I certainly need a bigger space, like a warehouse to allow my stuff to breathe (this still doesn't include the stuff I have in the province). I can't help but think, if anybody would want to curate the junk that I have amassed all these years, perhaps he or she could come up with a traveling exhibition of:

a. my spending habits - I have kept about 90% of all receipts I ever got since college, for what reason, I still don't know
b. an alternate history of the Arlegui section of Quiapo - no explanation needed
c. a decent overview of quasi-cultural events of Manila with stress on film festivals - since I don't throw away leaflets and handouts of events
d. the trinketization of traditional culture - lots of kitschy souvenirs from all over, with a serious amount of wayangs from Indonesia; some of them are still in their wrappers
e. second-hand or new books (never read) acquired because "they're there and I might not see them again EVER if I don't buy them now"

I need professional help, or more shelves.