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I had been absent from the blogosphere for sometime now. I chose to break free albeit temporarily from my self-imposed exile in order to say I was able to watch and enjoy the delightful musical, CATS at the CCP last weekend.

Though I am undergoing circumstances wherein it is not really possible to gift myself such a luxurious treat (I did miss out on Ms. Saigon and Les Miserables when they were shown years before in Manila, and I thought I’d miss out on this one, too. But….), I was nevertheless able to fulfill my wish to see this show with the help of some kind friends.   Gracias, mi amigas!!!

CATS CCP MANILA 2010

I haz teh tickets: Yay! CATS at last… here we go!

CATS was fantabulous… I really enjoyed myself watching a world-class musical, with all the costumes and sets.  I did hear negative comments about the show, saying that it was boring and can make you sleep (I’m guessing because it’s ‘too English’ for them).  I also think that majority of Pinoys are not really used to hearing such musicals wherein there are no regular dialogues and that the characters were mostly reciting poetry (kasi naman it WAS based on TS Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems about cats *rollseyes*).  And yes, the musical had been around since the early 80’s and I did feel that parts of it have become outdated and has lost its ‘wow’ factor (with today’s generation of audiences, shows have to find new ways to keep up with their tastes by coming up with creative gimmicks, ingenious effects and hi-tech sets).

Cats, CCP, Manila 2010

Souvenir programs cost Php500

With the musical’s run ending this Sunday, I’d like to offer tips for those who are still going to see the remaining shows:

  • Read about the musical first.  And if it’s possible, get a hold of a copy of TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and read some of the poems so you come prepared.
  • CCP security does not allow cameras inside the premises.  But they do allow cellphone cameras inside the theatre – just don’t use flash if your phone has one. It could distract the performers.
  • Some of the characters in their feline costumes pass along the aisles in the audience and even up the balconies during the show and during the intermission.  Get ready with your cell cam (set it to ‘night-mode’) when they do so you can have great souvenir shots.
  • If you’re seated far from the stage (in the balconies and boxes), better bring a pair of binoculars or you can buy one (for Php50 only) from the CCP staff.
  • If you want to live, please do not sing-along with Lea when she sings “Memory.” Someone might clunk you on the head if you do.
  • We all know Lea Salonga plays “Grizabella” which was a short role, does not dance much and gets to sing only 2 songs. But what many people do NOT know is – she is also a part of the opening scene wherein all the performers come out to dance and sing “Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats.” One can’t easily recognize her because of her make-up and costume.  You got to have a good set of eyes (and ears) to spot her and her voice among the equally talented cast of Australian and UK-based performers.
  • Lastly, ARRIVE EARLY. 30 minutes early if possible. It’s common theatre etiquette that should be strictly followed regardless who you are. They won’t let you in once the show starts and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

CATS CCP 2010 Manila

Anak ng Pusa… ang galeng: Thanks to the organizers for bringing CATS here (and for the super-discounted prices which we happily availed)…  it was absolutely puurrrfect! ‘Til the next musical…

I have passed the Quezon City Memorial Circle probably a hundred times but never had a chance to stop by and to have a look around. So today, I was glad to have a chance to finally visit it since Lev’s martial arts tournament was being held there.

Crossing is a cinch: In order for a commuter (like me) to reach the Circle, he or she can cross the road using the new and improved underpass (above) near Philippine Coconut Authority.

What’s in the Circle? Joggers and exercise buffs make the Circle their fitness venue.  There were families who come for picnics or stroll around.  I saw pet owners walking their dogs. Students or barkadas converge to practice their dance routines or play basketball, volleyball and badminton.

The Quezon City Memorial: Took decades to build, it was finished in 1978. It was based on a design by architect, Federico Ilustre.

Some of the bas reliefs adorning the Memorial. I was happy to see they were all intact -so far- for I have heard of stories that bas reliefs here have been stolen (along with the imported Carrara marble and memorial funds) through the years.  Nakakahiya at nakakalungkot talaga.

The entrance to the museum. You can make any monetary donation if you want to see the inside.

On display at the museum: Quezon’s presidential memorabilia and some of his and his family’s personal items.

Quezon’s tomb is located at the base of the monument.

Other parts of the Circle that is of interest was the colorful Peace Wall…

…and the World Peace Bell.

To be continued in Part 2

Note: This is a continuation of Part 1:

Even if I was born in Quezon City this was my first time to visit the the city’s Memorial Circle

The Circle also has a rappelling wall for the adventurous types.  It is located near the covered court.

Food Tripping at the Circle: The Circle has stores and several small restaurant and cafes.  The newly built facility (above) leads to a courtyard that features established restaurants for the finicky eaters.

Fresh buko (coconut) – pandan juice to help squelch the heat for only Php10.

Lunch at Sunglasses Café: Teriyaki Pork Rice at Php 88 with bottomless melon juice at Php20. Rating: (+_-)

Dessert at Coconut House: ube-banana turon (fritters) in coconut-caramel sauce, topped with nangka at Php55 and hot cocoa-nut drink (chocolate with a bit of coconut milk) also at Php55. Rating: (-_^) d

And the reason why I came to the Circle in the first place was to watch Lev (in blue armor) win his taekwondo matches – 3 in a row! Woo-hoo! Congratulations, Lev!

Lev and his gold medal (right). Way to go, buddy!

Parting Shot: All in all, the park seemed a good alternative place for families and barkadas to hang out in than the usual malls.  I hope they plant more trees for there seems to be a lack of shade for them to seek shelter from the heat of the sun. I suggest the QC government (if they could still possibly guard them) put up more public sculptures that could be modern and functional (for example, decorative artistic benches, gazebos, and slides). People get a big kick out of that and would usually pose and take souvenir pictures.  Still, kudos for its upkeep – for the people of QC, you should be proud and continue to take care of it for not all of us have city parks (mine included) that is even a tiny fraction of what you have.

QC Circle info source: wikipedia

Aside from blogging, I also spent part of my leisure time FaceBooking… I like posting links to interesting videos and features especially about art and creative works so I could share them with friends and family.  I just think it would be a waste if I don’t share them as well here.

I found these stop-motion animation videos.  There were a lot of them out there but these were the 3 most interesting works that I found so far. Hope you enjoy them!

3) Run, Little Pink Pig, Run!

This fascinating animation is a bit too long but the fact it was mainly done by only one person using hundreds of pix is admirable enough. Bravo!

2) Pixelized Post-its: Deadline

A group project from some art students using post-its as pixels. Nifty!

1)  Graffiti Animation: MUTO

I like Italian graffiti artist BLU (not as much as Banksy though). But this animation video must have been a lot of hard work for him, considering that he had to work outdoors and under the sun. I know I wouldn’t last that long.

More art finds to come!

lrtart1Passing through LRT2 Cubao Gateway Station…

I chanced upon this art exhibit/competiton results.  It’s called ‘Art along the Riles’ from the recently concluded LRT ART 2009.  The theme of the competition was “LRT at ang Buhay Pinoy” (LRT and the Filipino Life).  This is the first art event from LRT and would probably be held annually. Being a commuter for generally all my life (and a Fine Arts grad in case you belittle my ability to comment on the entries), my interest was piqued.  But I am more of an MRT commuter than LRT’s. Either way, it’s still the same.

It has been some time since I’ve seen an art exhibit and decided to look stuff 3076around and take pix.

The venue is in the station itself which serves to be too dark and gloomy to be a proper place for an exhibit.  The lighting fixtures don’t help either. However, it does make the passers-by and LRT commuters stop and look and dawdle for awhile.

Here are some of the winners and non-winners. You can click on the pix for closer look:

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Finalist “Via Caballeria” by Vincent Paolo De Pio (acrylic on canvas) on the left. Pinoy cosplay in the LRT?  Guess it means old meets new. On the right is a Juror’s Choice, “Sa Bisig ng Panatag” by Alexander Roxas (oil on canvas).  A guy (looking like a cross between Rizal and Cesar Montano) symbolizing LRT while cradling a child (let me guess–that’s us?) and words describing LRT in the background (like dependable and environment-friendly) can sure kiss the jurors’ asses but hey–it worked.

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Finalist: “Korona Po ng Pagyabong” by Jerry Morada (oil on canvas). Great technique but a head scratcher. I get the crown of lrt tracks but what does it mean? Should we recycle foil?  Sometimes the baffling can be eye-catching and intriguing though.

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Both Juror’s Choices: At left, “Sakto” by Johann Padiemos (oil on canvas); and at right, “Buhay Pinoy” by David de Vera (acrylic on canvas).  I am in favor of “Sakto” being one of the winners. It speaks volumes of how LRT can be a useful and convenient way of traveling for us Pinoys.  That could be me– holding the wallet but with prettier hands though. “Buhay Pinoy” shows how integrated lrt is (along with the classic jeepney) in our everyday lives.

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Finalist: “Samu’t – Saring Pinoy sa LRT” by Malyn Bonayog (acrylic on canvas).  This could be even better as a series than as a single piece. Great job!

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Finalist: “Pananaw” by Proceso Gelladuga II (oil on canvas).  Good composition.  Epitomizes the young urban Pinoy as a cool lrt commuter.

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Grand Prize: “Sakay Na Rin Po Kayo” by Mario Panis (oil on canvas).  A disappointing and lousy choice.  It’s naive, too safe and unimaginative. But I have to remind myself that this is really not an art competition.  More like a commercial and business one (you join this competition to win, not to express yourself).  So jurors value technique (and a kiss-ass message) more than concept and style.

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“Welcome to Republika ng Pilipinas” by Joannalyn Wong (oil on canvas). I like this one though it did not receive any commendation. It’s honest and beautiful in all its chaotic splendor! Looks better in person…er, in object. Kudos, you’re a winner in my book!

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“Makulay na Buhay” by Eduardo Chiomico (acrylic on canvas).  Did not win, too. Why? Give you two words: PLDT Directory. Too bad, I kinda liked it, maybe it was because of the hard work and effort obviously put in by the artist. Plus it exemplifies what makes Asian art unique–the intricacy and delicateness, and (sometimes) the spiritual fervor put into the workmanship.  But compositions like these have been done by so many others that, alas,  some are already too numbed by it. But still, I like it.

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I also like this one–another non-winner. Sorry! So dumb of me not to get the name of this piece.  I like simplicity, intelligence and sophistication in an art work because incorporating all three qualities in one piece or design can be challenging and tricky– it could be the hardest thing an artist could do as well. The only letdown here is the bottom part that cuts off the metal door which ruins the over-all composition. I know it is a blurry shot but if you could look closely, there are faces reflected on the metal door and on its glass. Nice!

The exhibit by the way runs until July 31.

I decided to take an afternoon stroll in UP Diliman this 111th anniversary of the Declaration of our Independence.  Not much going on over there.  Just a few joggers and fitness buffs spending a quiet day.

But I was drawn to UP because of a unique exhibit that I heard about.

It was the “Looking for Juan” Banner Exhibit located at UP’s Academic Oval.  It displays artworks from various artists which shows their interpretation of what it means to be a Filipino reprinted on tarpaulin canvas.

This exhibit runs until July 11.  I took pictures of the colorful and interesting banners.  The light was fading fast and these were all I managed to shoot:

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“How Philippines” by Farley del Rosario (above left) and “Juan Line” by Dansoy Coquila (above right).

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“Brown Heritage” by Elmer Borlongan at the Sunken Garden.

When the exhibit ends, the banners will be made into tote bags and sold as original works of functional art. Proceeds from the sale will go to PADYAK (a UP Mountaineers) and other projects to promote Philippine art, culture and the environment. For more information on Looking for Juan, click here.

Peace, Unity, and Independence…. Saludo, Pilipinas! ∠(^_^)_尸★★★☼

I can’t get to comment on my public art blog.  As its manager, I have to be unbiased and have to post examples of public art whether I like them or not–whether they’re deserving or not, I shouldn’t have a say about it.  The point of the blog is to feature both known and not so well-known artworks (and artists) in order to be fair for everyone.

But it doesn’t mean I can’t get to comment about some of them HERE in my personal blog.  Hehe.

I just want to write about my three favorite public works of art (click on the pix to link you to the art blog).  When i was making the features on them, I was thrilled about them and found them so fascinating.  These are prime examples of how art moves you…well, at least it moved me… even to the point of tears:

450px-alison_lapper1Alison Lapper Pregnant by Marc Quinn. I was aware of who Alison Lapper is, already in awe of her even before I saw this large, beautiful marble statue of her likeness (when she was pregnant in 1999).   She was one of the parents who were part of Child of Our Time, the ground-breaking BBC docu-series which I often watched on cable.  My heart went out to her as I watched her raise her son, Parys, (alone or with caregivers) especially during moments when he hugs her but of course, she cannot physically reciprocate, having no arms of her own.  The statue was considered controversial, being displayed in Trafalgar Square, not suited to the tastes of those who think that statues should only be about the ideal body–perfect, slender or muscular, and having four limbs.  I think it’s perfect already in itself.  They say statues displayed in Trafalgar Square should only be about heroes.  Well, Lapper, who survived abandonment, cruelty and abuse, and overcoming all odds despite her disability to become a renowned artist and fulfilled mother is definitely a hero and inspiration to me.  And it speaks of OUR time–a modern Venus de Milo with cropped hair, only it is not a goddess–it’s a real human being and she’s looks as equally as beautiful.  And it speaks of what lies beyond–for it shows a hint of the future of art (which should be continually changing–or else it will be so unexciting, dry and boring)–becoming more encompassing and truthful, and setting an example (again and again as shown in the history of art) of what was once rejected is now embraced and celebrated.

♥ ♦  ♥ ♦  ♥ ♦

Cloud Gate by Anish KapoorI just love this one! I don’t need to explain why–just look at it!  Well, ok, I’ll explain.  When i was small, our thermometer broke, and the liquid mercury poured out of it and onto the floor.  I was fascinated with the shiny silvery liquid metal–I remembered looking at it and yearning to pick it up (of course I couldn’t for i was warned that it was poisonous) to give it a closer look and to squish it with my bare fingers.   It was a weird feeling but it didn’t go away–realizing my fascination with such came back when I saw pix of Cloud Gate.  Amazing concept–and thanks to today’s technology–artworks like these are now possible for us to marvel at and enjoy.    If you go to the blog, there is a picture of Cloud Gate taken early morning with no people surrounding it.  It looks almost plain, lonely, and forlorn.  However, when surrounded by people, it changes–seemingly alive and vibrant.  It seems like it’s taking and absorbing energy from the people and the city.  For me, this is a great example of what public art should be especially if it is commissioned by a city–it should be for the people of the city it is meant for and a serves as a celebration of the city itself.  No wonder Chicagoans are proud of it–as they very well should be.

♥ ♦  ♥ ♦  ♥ ♦

Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial (aka The Nameless Library) by Rachel Whiteread. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Whiteread for a long time, so yes, I AM biased on this one.  There is something about her art that speaks to me–her signature art of negative casting allows me to see what is not there but yet I feel it and sense it–and even if she lets me see it, I am not sure whether I welcome it for it is hard to accept and the discomfort of seeing it unnerves me and yet I have to face it because it is real and it IS there… I am talking gibberish here but that’s how I felt everytime I see her art–ghostly, haunting, harsh, and honest.  Her other works especially the negative casting of the inside of a Victorian room (aptly named Ghost) were able to show what it was like–I mean really like, something that historians cannot possibly reveal to us in their books.  Her works allow me to contemplate on the space that we move in, making me realizing that negative space carries much of time that we spent and absorbs the feelings and energies that we give out.  The hollowness then becomes an entity to be reckoned with, and it is not pretty. That is why, just by looking at pictures of her Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, I feel the same sense of this indescribable sadness (and yes this is the one that moves me to the point of tears)–not just due to the theme but everything about it.  As all controversial artworks–this too was not generally embraced and welcomed.  Maybe some refuse to understand and accept its abstractness or appalled by the simplicity of it.  For me, it is in the simple things that I see the the starkest images, hear the loudest voice, and feel the excruciating sensations.  And Whiteread’s Memorial is one example of those simple things. I am looking forward to more of her future works. And as any biased and unabashed fan would say,  I heart Whiteread!

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