Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Vamos a Milonga!

Picture Arnold Schwarzenegger dancing the tango with Tia Carrera in the 1994 action-comedy True Lies. Well that music has been playing in my head since I started taking tango lessons. Yep, not just tango but Argentine Tango. Jing T pulled Pinky (right photo) and I to join her a few months back to learn. We are now in the gold level, that's the third level before we can consider ourselves true tangueras.

Mind you, tango is not an easy dance to learn. There are so many combination of steps to remember plus the dangerous gancho (hook), confusing boleos (throw), careful caricias (caresses), and the tripping sacadas. It is essentially cat-walking with a partner with the foot close to the floor all the time, and the ankles and legs brushing together as one leg passes the other. Imagine stepping on a piece of paper, sliding all the time while dancing, with legs stretched out, body squared with the partner's and eyes focused on the shoulders or torso. Whew! I'm as stiff as a board still.

The first Milonga night was held recently at Mia's along Jupiter in Makati and it was well attended by who's who in dancing in Manila like E. Ledesma and Mary Ong alias Rosebud (left photo with Fe Z). Our tango teacher, who frequents Argentina and was certified there, Jun Borja is the current president of the association. He said that Milonga refers to "a gathering of tangueros, a place to dance tango." I guess we can look forward to more Milongas after finishing the gold level! Hmmm...

Watch dance exhibition here:
Jun Borja:
E. Ledesma:

Monday, 16 March 2009

Yehey to law against Videoke!

All i can say is, its about time! Thank god to peace and quiet. Well... I'm not sure when though. As i'm writing this, i can hear a male voice trying to be an Arnel Pineda, shrieking so loudly his version of "Open Arms". I'm at the fifth floor of an apartment building and he's singing somewhere below, in one of the houses behind my building. I am tempted to call the police again to complain... Yes, i did call last December 2008 and the barangay police said to wait until midnight since "its the season to be jolly."
Oh, I just placed a place a call to Patrol 117 at 11:53pm. Compared to my last experience, the call was quite fast. I told the lady that I'm complaining about a videoke noise. She just asked for the address. Lets see how long it will take for them to dispatch a police... She said that the ordinance is now 10pm onwards.
I know we pinoys are known worldwide for our singing prowess but man please do it during the day or keep that volume down. The craze has already reached the hinterlands even in the mystical mountain of Banahaw where everything is supposedly sacred and where I was to enjoy my weekend of peace and solitude a month ago.
I'm definitely in favor of Congress passing a law against noise pollution specified as "an act providing for aviation noise management and reduction in residential areas" this means banning excessive videoke, radio and TV-volume noise. The penalty for this offence is by imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month or a fine not exceeding P200.
Congress should emulate Davao City Maor Rodrigo Duterte where he ordered the banning of videoke machines as early as September 2008 inside residential areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It's 12:22am and no sign of police since the same man is still singing. I'm going to wear ear plugs and go to sleep! Good night!

Lilo Gutierrez's Ethereal Vision

Lilo (center) with Cid Reyes and the late Dr. Rod Paras-Perez
Kudos Lilo to your first solo exhibit! One year in the making, 29 artworks.

Lilo has always been interested in embroidery. When she was 9 years old, she was already making her own Barbie dresses; she started knitting in college and then ventured into quilts when she got married. She said that "I hand quilted my daughters quilt coz the ones in the market were no good." This must have prompted her to design and manufacture high quality quilts which were sold locally under the brand "Dreams" and exported abroad as "Quiltex".

A fine arts and interior design graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Lilo trained in water color painting under Dr. Rod Paras-Perez. I guess she did the conventional thing - this is to get married right after college and poured out her artistic skills in her quilt business. Because it was only years after, in 2004, when she came out as an artist and participated in the exhibit called Ode to Pasig. The exhibit showcased 56 artworks, representing various visions of the river by 30 Filipino artists and seven architects.

Lilo produced three artworks for the show; her Serena sa Pasig or Mermaid in Pasig (left) was inspired from the tale of a mermaid at the foot of the Pasig River. When I saw her work, I was impressed by her detailed and painstaking handiwork. Imagine the work involved from painting on fabric as delicate as silk, the patchworks, and embroidery with tiny tiny tiny beads.

Singer Christine Carlos described Lilo's work as follows "Through the tactile process of quilting, Annatha patches together her imaginative visions. Her choice of soft, muted, opalescent colors such as lavander, amethyst purple, old rose, pink, aquamarine, sea green, sky blue, periwinkle and moss green lends a mysterious and magical touch to her paintings. Her imaginative figures, the soothing, tasteful colors together with her delicate brush strokes and the gentle, watery application of her paint all come together in creating her succulent dream world of Ethereal Visions."

Artist and art critic Cid Reyes said during the exhibit opening "Without having met the artist... immediately concluded that a very feminine touch is at work.. There is a sensual feeling of pleasure one feels about the elegance of the work. First the innovativeness possibly of the ingenuity of a medium that is not the usual watercolor or oil paint and it is really very charming. And of course the art of embroidery which is traditionally ascribed to women...The woman's touch is very much present and there is a masterful handling of embroidery as a medium. I like the fact that the images are transporting to some kind of a magical, fairytale land..... congratulations to your first show and certainly this should not be the last. We look forward to more works from Lilo."

Check out Lilo's "Ethereal Vision" a collection of Silk paintings, quilted and beaded, inspired by the celestial, outworldly, air, light and the delicate. The exhibit is ongoing at Riccio Renzo Gallery at LRI Bldg., 210 Nicanor Garcia (formerly Reposo), Makati until April 8, 2009.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Remembering Gig Robles

"Appreciation represents the 'A' in the word HAPPY" according to Bishop Honesto Ongtioco who officated the mass this morning for the first death anniversary of Gig Robles who passed away exactly a year ago at age 17.
Bishop Ongtioco started his sermon with a quote from Gig's poem [that appeared in Mandy Navasero's column last Saturday]:

Thank you, Lord
For my home
For the Philippines
It's a wonderful country.
This life
I hope I live it properly.
Thank you for this earth,
This uninverse, this dimension.
For the air I breathe, the water I drink,
For the people around me,
And for the rest of the world.
Thank you, Lord
For the Pope and the Dalai Lama,
And all those who advocate peace.

I met Gig and his mom Marissa last year at Mandy's Batanes Photo Safari. He struck me as one of those renaissance man, well-traveled, well-mannered, has good grades and involved in music, poetry and sports. The poem which appears in the book Read to Bridge Oceans shows his sensitivity at a tender age of 17. I'm trying to recall what I was up to at that age... Nope, I was more like frivolous and selfish definitely not concerned about peace or thanking God. We do take things for granted - even today, who would think of appreciating the minutest of everday existence like the air we breathe and the water we drink? And to go beyond planet earth and 'this dimension'?
Even Kabalist Yehuda Berg advises to "begin the day with gratitude and realize life itself is a miracle. Recognize the precision and wonder of nature." A 17-year old recognized this. I guess today is a wake up call for me to be mindful and thankful each day for everything life has to offer and I'd like to start by being thankful for giving me the opportunity to meet Gig at this lifetime.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Plet's new project: Earth Tales

Bravo Plet! Another feather in your cap. I've known Plet since 1985 in Ixelles. We were both taking our masters and serendipitously next door neighbors on Avenue Derache. She was a preppy IT student then garbed in bright colored cardigans, checkered skirts and knee-high argyles and when she left 2-years after, she turned punk! That should've been my sign of her constantly evolving nature. She started out in IT (yes, computer programming), then to law school and finally, found her calling in Art.
Plet has always been bursting with energy and ideas. If she's not working on her canvas, she'll be doing some craft - anything from mosaic tiles (mural at the entrance of CASA), knitting, architecture (she already built two homes and two studios) and now gardening.
She is one of the three artists in Earth Tales, a collection of three environmental stories for children. The book, published by the Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (Canvas) was launched today. Plet did mixed media art for the japanese fable “The Hummingbird,” London-based Ivee Olivares-Mellor rendered Paul Aird’s “The King and the Royal Trees,” and Liza Flores illustrated “The Star Thrower.” The works of the three artists are exhibited at 1/of Gallery in Serendra Boni High St. this March. (Shown in photo: at the launch with David, Non, Rica, Plet and hubby Elmer).

Monday, 2 March 2009

Follow me on twitter..

Its really a very wide world web out there and I"m getting entangled in it. I joined twitter this morning. Shonali from D.C. wrote in her email "did you check out my blog yet? The link is in my e-signature. Would love to have you read/comment."
I scrolled down to her e-signature and got intrigued with 'follow me on twitter'.. so I did and the only way to follow her is to sign up. Lo and behold, I'm surprised that a number of people I know in the Philippines are already hooked up! And a number of celebs are famous twits!
Lifestlye guru Martha Stewart who signed up two weeks ago (Feb 19) had 20,000 followers this morning and now, after 9 hours, jumped up to 21,241. She's only following six twits - that's, Barack Obama (who has 348,172 followers), rapper-Snoop Dog, pet dog lover Cute Overload, gardener-Maragaretroach, late night host Jimmy Fallon and gossip blogger-perezhilton. Her latest twit is "I made a nice lunch for some visitors at my house this weekend and ends with a link to her blog. With a 140-character space limit I guess all you can do is link to a blog for more info.
Aside from friends, I've decided to follow D.C. correspondent George Stephanopoulous (note: I've been intrigued since Primary Colors) and some news twits like CNN and IHT (which i may take down due to information overload) and The Moment.
Twitter is a free social networking utility developed in 2006 by Evan Williams to connect 'real time' with family and friends. He's another genius like 24-year old Mark Zuckerberg who developed Facebook in 2004. As of today, there are 90 million active Facebook-users vs one-million twits.
Now that I'm a twit plus a blogger and also connected to facebook, youtube, flicker, ASW and yes, multiply... how on earth will i find time to enjoy the real wide world out there???? I must be a nitwit to fall for all these...