#30DayWritingChallenge: The stories behind my profile pictures.

30-Day Writing Challenge

Early last month, I came across this 30-Day Writing Challenge graphic. Apparently, it was a piece of paper that was handed out during the recent Philippine Literary Festival (which I missed, huhuhu).

I’ve meant to try this challenge sooner. But I kept procrastinating until I thought, “Fuck this. I’ll start in October.”

So, hey. It’s October now. And here we go.

Saturday night at the Silverlens Galleries: Opera by Gabriel Barredo.

From Opera (Gabriel Barredo)

Sandy sure knows how to cheer me up. She invited me to the opening of Gabriel Barredo’s “Opera” at the Silverlens Galleries after finding out that I parted ways with my (now ex-)boyfriend and that an exhibit of nightmare-inducing sculpture and installation art is what I needed.


Sandy is also a fangirl of Gabriel Barredo and it’s not hard to see why.

At first, I thought the title “Opera” referred to the performance. In hindsight, there was a lot of theatricality and drama in the exhibit, what with the gloomy lighting, the often haunting music, and the wonderful performance that was included in the opening. But “Opera” also refers to the Tagalog (by way of Spanish) word for “surgery”.

From Opera (Gabriel Barredo)

The installations featured numerous human figures, many of them cut open, with parts removed and transferred to incorrect places. Lines of almost life-sized fetus hang in semi-transparent mesh run along the space. Syringes, lens, dental chairs, and other medical equipment are used in many works. Prints of Medieval anatomical drawings are joined by modern x-rays and CAT scans. Looking at the (real) scans can make someone (who is not in the medical field) uncomfortable peeking into a person’s most private aspects and has the effect of dehumanizing a person.

This dehumanization was reinforced by many of the works including gears and machine parts. Shoulders connect to long pieces of metal to replace the biceps, before rejoining the rest of the arm. Some moving installations had flesh-colored rods flex like rhythmically undulating tentacles, yet you can see the machine powering the movements. The exhibit highlight includes several machine-mounted bamboo rods that flail incessantly, which reminded me of angry, moving plants in some horror movies.

When stripped out of life and personality, the human body is no different from a person-less machine, complex yet generic.

From Opera (Gabriel Barredo)

What seemed more disturbing is the curious lack of gore. Blood is rendered like narrow streams of fluid or faint red mist that remained in stretched mesh that looked like the amniotic sac. As I told Sandy while we were talking about the exhibits, it was as somebody wiped the nearly all blood out. And very carefully, too. There is no sense of chaos in the grotesque images, like it was a product of sanity and obsessive attention.

At first I thought the sound of a man singing was part of the background sounds, but when I looked around, it was coming from an actor. He was dressed and made up like the Phantom of the Opera (aha) and singing wordlessly, while struggling inside a flesh-colored mesh. He pulls out a knife and slowly starts slashing his way out of the mesh. Ugh. I haven’t really been creeped out until that point.

Sandy introduced me to her friends, Fran, Karl and Carlo, and we talked of our reactions to the exhibit. Carlo also told us of an exhibit of art from immediately after the Second World War, particularly from Japanese artists, and how the war affected the nation’s collective psyche. Art isn’t always about what is beautiful; grief, horror, and shame can inspire powerful work. Sandy wondered aloud where Mr Barredo got his inspiration for his exhibit.

More photos from Gabriel Barredo’s “Opera”.

The Venus Transit at Kanto, June 6.

The Venus Transit

Marius Black First Solo Show at Kanto Artist Run Space
June 6- 16, 2012

Reception will be on June 6, 6pm.
Kanto Artist Run Space, 7274 The Collective, Malugay St,
Makati City.

The passage of Venus in front of the sun is among the rarest of astronomical events, rarer even than the return of Halley’s Comet every 76 years. Only six transits of Venus are known to have been observed by humans before: in 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, and 1882 and, most recently, in 2004.

Explorations were set out for further observation whenever this rare alignment occurs ensuing the progress of explorations in the 19th century and these explorations gave birth to other explorations. The transits of Venus have further helped us have a better grasp to determine the size of our solar system. The planet Venus is rich in archetypal symbolism. It is often known as the Morning Star, the Bringer of Light. It is related to love, human unity, beauty, and oneness.

The planets are once again aligning on June 5-6th 2012; this will be the last Venus transit we humans will observe in our lifetime. With that rare of an astronomical event, Marius Black offers his first solo show to the transit of Venus.

Marius Black is a cum laude graduate of UST major in painting. His early works were of skinned human figures telling stories of constant pain and suffering in life and in love. These figures were only seen on a dead black background as if the skinless figures were kept in a dungeon highlighting only the bright red meat and muscle.

His transition of painting concepts and styles ranged from horses deconstructed to fictional characters from games and TV co-existing with the female figure in sexual fantasy positions or constrictions.

Continue reading “The Venus Transit at Kanto, June 6.”

Notes from a really long weekend: Saturday at The Collective Art Fair.

It was a Friday night when we screened at Cinema is Incomplete, not Saturday.

PG4M at The CollectiveI could now remove setting up a booth in a fair from my bucket list.

There was a slight mix-up when we signed up for tables at The Collective Art Fair: I told Philip Paraan of Kanto I will be reserving table booths for Sine Bahaghari, 2 tarot readers and for my friend Mich, whom Philip also knew. Philip was able to do that but thought I will be relaying the news to Mich, while I thought Philip will be contacting Mich himself. Of course, with both of us busy with a million things leading to the fair, neither of us were able to tell Mich that she will have a table at the fair. And that’s how Sine Bahaghari ended up with two tables.

So sorry, Mich.

I don’t know how it happened that we were not able to sell any Sine Bahaghari merchandise, though. I guess the fact that none of the Sine Bahaghari organizers had any real experience running a business has something to do with it.

Early in the morning, I also realized I will not be able to do any tarot readings for anyone so I left the tarot reading booth to my friends so I could only focus on my other booth and the film screenings. I ended up forgetting lunch, losing my temper, hardly paying any attention to an even more tired Bern, and heading straight home as soon as we’ve settled all the dues for the booths and tables.

It was a crazy, tiring day; and that is coming from someone who has had his share of crazy, tiring days.

But yes, The Collective Art Fair was fun, too, the way fairs are always fun. I finally got to meet in person a long-time online friend (hello, Gabs). I got to hear Gerry’s royal penis joke. The most fun I had was when I introduced Sigrid Bernardo to my boyfriend, Bern, and my ex-boyfriend, Carlo, with the three of them facing each other.

Ay!” Sigrid exclaimed and mentioned it was one of those awkward “it’s complicated” moments. Except that, as far as complicated moments for me go, it wasn’t that much, yet. I was really enjoying myself at that point.

It would have been more fun though if I had money to actually buy something, but that should be something I ought to remember for next time.

Sine Bahaghari at Cinema is Incomplete and Kanto. Tarot Monkey at The Collective Art Fair. The Forsaken House at UP.

I was telling Philip Paraan of Kanto earlier this afternoon that the next time we mount an LGBT film screening for Sine Bahaghari, it won’t be on February. There are too many things going on for the National Arts Month and mounting a film festival bars one from attending other art-related events around the metropolis.

From tonight until Sunday, I don’t expect I will be getting enough sleep.

Tomorrow evening, Sine Bahaghari will screen two love stories at Cinema is Incomplete: the romantic comedy “Lovebirds” and the gorgeous-looking drama “Muli”.

In “Lovebirds”, a young man introduces his Spanish chatmate to his conservative mother; said chatmate turned out to be another young man, to the mom’s disbelief. “Muli” is the story of the affair of a lawyer and an activist innkeeper in Baguio, spanning several years. The two films offer two facets of gay relationships and it would be interesting to see contrasts between the two films.

The Collective Art Fair 2012

On Saturday, Sine Bahaghari will also participate in the first The Collective Art Fair. Several artists and entrepreneurs will gather at The Collective for a day filled with art, music, books, clothes, movies, and food.

At Kanto, Sine Bahaghari will be screening two short films by Sigrid Bernardo: “Little”, an internationally-acclaimed film which was only shown once in the Philippines, and “Babae”, a favorite among LGBT film screenings. They will be followed by the noir-ish “Señorita” by Vincent Sandoval.

For the fair, Sine Bahaghari will be selling the soundtrack of “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”, DVDs of “Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe” signed by Irma Adlawan, and Sine Bahaghari shirts and bags. The fair will also have tarot readers available, courtesy of the Tarot Monkey, SP Lovecraft Productions, and Yam Lacaba.

Speaking of Irma Adlawan, by Sunday morning, the boyfriend and I will be watching her perform in The Forsaken House from Dulaang UP. We were supposed to watch the afternoon staging instead of morning so we could have some rest after the art fair, but Ms Irma will not be playing during the afternoon. Why should one miss catching Irma Adlawan on stage if one has the chance to do so? You just don’t.