Here are some pictures from my dad’s last exhibit, Soler’s Static Nature, the (sudden) egress of which has prompted me to finally post. Both of us thought it would be up until September 1, but alas, it was taken down on August 27. Let me show you photos from the exhibit anyway.
Not to toot the familial horn, but I’m a huge fan of my dad’s. From when he started mounting exhibits in the late 80s, dropping out of school to pursue a career in art, he never seemed to be stuck inside a single idea or way of doing things. That’s not even considering the other variations of his work, outside of the things he chooses to show the world. Even without a show scheduled, he kept on working and trying out new things. His sketchbooks always piqued my curiosity, even though they were mostly rough sketches and plans for bigger pieces. It was fun to see the little box drawings come to life.
My fear in this pursuit of art is to be boxed into one particular thing. My dad has been a big motivator for me to try new things, even if they don’t seem to work out too well at the start. He somehow understands the constant flux in the business of making things, and he embraces it. Instead of being afraid of it, he uses it to his favor. Which is both intimidating (because, LOL, how can I ever come up with something like this?) and encouraging.
Though more known for his paintings, Soler created a stunning study of material and space with this three-piece series. Along with a (kinda meta) snapshot of the work, he created a clean divide of emptiness and fullness, using natural materials, and retaining the grid from his paintings. This is one of my favorite series.
This series is something more familiar to people who are already familiar with my dad’s work, although I find that the composition and Richter-esque “deconstruction” create an interesting semi-departure from his other, earlier work. Moving to abstraction from realism, and then sort of back again, he has managed to strike a great balance between the two.
This is, once again, something new. I don’t think he’s ever done small paintings of isolated objects before. The pieces were curated by Nilo Ilarde, spread out on a single wall, which was a great way to showcase them.
Unintentional matching with my pre-blonde sister. New-ish favorite green pants.
And now a barrage of pictures of Iniko’s face. Sold!
My first encounter with black-and-white was not during this love affair, but was, in fact, about a year and a half ago. I used a disposable Rollei Retro400. It was a decent set, with a stunning contact print I used for this piece, but I did not feel this kind of awe and wonder—the kind that I feel for the Ilford XP2 Super 400!
I bought a roll in HK to try out, but I used a roll that I forgot Tim gave me to try out, since I expressed interest in black-and-white. It’s processed with C-41 chemicals, so it’s easier to find labs that will develop your rolls. Anyway, I love it in the night-time. Look how awesome that street shot is. I was on the MRT Quezon Ave. station bridge.
Whenever I thread in a new roll of film, my sister is usually the test shot. :)
Route 196. Agh, it’s so amazing and moody. I just used a Lomography LC-A+ on these shots. Surprising result for a truly dark and lightless environment.
Selena of Slow Hello.
My brother in his room. Such a great mood, I love it.
Babysitting totem pole with Isabel and Iniko.
First shot, and last shot! For some reason, I love how the negative looks like crinkled. Now my problem is—WHERE DO I GET MORE ROLLS?
A few weeks ago, I met up with Leloy so we could meet up with two people who were part of The Manila Review team. To quote from the website, The Manila Review is a biannual online publication that aims to map the ideas that shape public discussion in the Philippines. Which basically means that something exciting is afoot.
The people in question are Sheila Coronel and Vicente Rafael, two amazing beings, both of whom are currently teaching in the United States. Vince was home for a series of talks. He’s been away for decades and Sheila, six years. I don’t remember the exact phrasing of the conversation, but Sheila mentioned something about somehow being out of touch with the Philippines since the move. She talked about how, when talking to her old friends, she doesn’t really “get it” sometimes anymore, the way that you “get it” when people are talking about something that’s familiar to you, I suppose. Sheila then asked Vince if he ever felt displaced, since he’s been away for longer than she has, and she asked what he does about that feeling.
“The trick is to make that displacement meaningful,” he might have said. It could have also been “productive,” but it doesn’t matter because the idea—at least, the one I got—is to make something good or useful out of whatever situation you are in. I’ve often talked about feeling stuck here, but I have also often neglected to at least do something while I am in this state of stuck-ness.
And maybe, perhaps, not to think so lowly of this space that I have found myself in. That I’m probably in this weird for a reason. Maybe it’s part of the progression. Maybe it’s here so I can open my eyes to something else that I hadn’t been seeing. Who really knows?
We spent a few hours in Café Adriatico in Manila, and though I don’t quite remember everything that we talked about, I absorbed some things and these things have stayed with me. I’m glad part of the discourse was caught on tape (thanks to Sarie and Jason C.), because of a DVD we will be producing as a thank-you for some of our ArtisteConnect backers. Such an interesting afternoon.
I can’t wait to get a copy of the video, because in those few short hours, I was so glad I got to meet such intelligent people who weren’t arrogant about their intelligence. People who were genuinely curious and interested in what you had to say, even though they just met you and even though you had nothing brilliant or amazing to say. It’s refreshing, to say the least, even moreso considering how esteemed they are.
The meeting just made me more excited about The Manila Review’s first issue, which you can support by clicking on this link. (It’s similar to Kickstarter.) It made me really want this to work, so please help us out if you want to see it succeed, too.
My dad’s show is opening on Saturday at Finale, which reminded me of my backlog from July 11, which was when the shows of Nona Garcia, Pow Martinez, and Pipo Alido collectively opened at the same venue. Sorry I’m posting these at a time when you can no longer see them up, but here I go anyway.
Because it was my brother’s birthday, my sister came along with us to see the shows, after we all had dinner together. This is an unnatural thing. Here she is, playing Pocket Planes:
And again, from afar:
I have realized that I have to be a little bit more adventurous when it comes to making stuff—writing, making art, designing, everything. Sometimes, it just all becomes a little repetitive and a bit redundant. I have a very good feeling that I won’t have much to lose when I try something new. Even if it doesn’t quite work out, I would taken away a lesson from that—which is basically, don’t do this wrong thing again!
I think I also need to be more adventurous with clothes, as I am almost always in stripes, navy, and grey.
And I need to remember to keep my eyes peeled for beautiful things like the texture of this floor…
Or this private moment…
Or this quiet place.
I shot a few photographs when I was at the shoot for Chalk Magazine’s August feature, Bright Young Manila! Weirdly enough, it has taken me this long before dipping my toes into my black-and-white film, not counting my disposable Rollei. Anyway, it was a positively gloomy day, but I like my pictures more dour than sunny, so it was pretty much perfect.
Joseph, our awesome photographer! Toff said he was part of last year’s list, and I completely get it. I’ve been a long-time fan of Joseph’s. Check out his blog, which is filled with so many beautiful things.
Me! I showed him how my LC-A+ worked. He got the focus right on the first try, plus managed to create a lovely vignetting. Because he is amazing.
We were (unsuccessfully) playing with multiple exposures, though. I can never remember which to take a photo of first—the pattern or the subject?—so this is what happened.
Hannah and Steph, filling out these questionnaires the Chalk team made for us. You can read them at the Chalk tumblr, but they’re uploading them in trickles over the duration of August.
The hairstylist wore mismatched sneakers! Obviously, I have a sucky sense of focus, but I think it’s still a pretty good picture.
All of us, plus the team, hanging around Arturo Luz’ paper clip. :) Except, I guess, I’m not in the frame.
I am Bright Young Manila! Hehe. The issue is in stands now, so get a copy if you can :D
I don’t do a lot of TV recaps, because like the heathen that I am, I tend to watch the new episodes in a lovely bundle, at my own convenience. I also do not normally posses the elusive “writing bug,” but it has bitten me now, and I am grateful.
Despite all of its flaws, and there are many of them, I can’t hate The Newsroom because I realize that it’s much more than its sense of self-importance, or the intellectual hockey, or how he uses girls for the LOL effect.¹ And though it tends to make its characters unrealistically stupid or out-of-touch for the sake of comedy, it does hit the nail on the head sometimes. Which is to say, it pinpoints focuses our attention on important issues, even though they are from the past, and shows us how great news—the real, gritty kind—can be. Also, some of the characters are quite intriguing and enjoyable to watch.
There are a number of basic spoilers here, but I urge you to still watch it because it a beautiful thing to see onscreen.
In this week’s episode, “Bullies,” Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) visits a psychiatrist for some help with insomnia, which he suspects is the cause of his flubbed lines and his calling himself some other person’s name on-air. (A recap detailing all Idiotic Incidents in episode 6, courtesy of SF Weekly.) He gets there with his incredibly witty bodyguard, assigned by the network’s insurance company after he received a death threat, only to find that the shrink he was paying for four years has died two years ago. His practice taken over by his 29-year-old son. Will is reluctant, but relents, as they try to get to the bottom of his lack of sleep.
Whew. There is a flashback of the last few days, and it’s a heartbreaking reveal. Will hates it when people are scared of him, and we find out why. As a victim of child abuse and domestic violence, he is “hard-wired” to hate bullies and in turn, hates to be thought of as one. And yet, his lack of sleep seems to point out that he has been stomping around like a big bully, too.
Without giving too much away, he rails on Sutton Wall, Rick Santorum’s campaign adviser, who is openly gay and black. Will asserts at the irony of this as Santorum is notoriously anti-gay and latches onto Wall like a Rottweiler. Wall is possibly inspired by Robert Traynham, who is an openly gay, black former aide of Santorum, and his brush with Chris Matthews. The fictional Wall thundered:
“I am more than one thing! How dare you reduce me to the color of my skin or my sexual orientation. There are people who look just like me, thousands and thousands who died for the freedom to define their own lives for themselves. How dare you presume to decide what I think is important.
I am not defined by my blackness. I am not defined by my gayness. And if that doesn’t fit your narrow expectation of who I’m supposed to be, I don’t give a damn, because I am not defined by you, either.”
Another stellar subplot involves Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn), whom we have seen just a little of in the past few episodes. In “Bullies,” she shines. Replacing Elliot as the host for his night show, she makes a colossal mistake on-air with a Japanese rep of TEPCO, as she forces him to reveal to the public what he had privately shared with her, off the record, as Will had unwisely advised. She even breaks into Japanese during the broadcast, causing Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski) and Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) to blow their respective gaskets. Sloan’s altercation with Charlie is one of the more thrilling moments of the show, with a distraught Sloan ending it outstandingly with “Don’t call me girl, sir.”
She is suspended with pay, and further upset when she learns that the rep she had spoken to, who was a good friend, had resigned from his post in shame, apologizing to his family and his country, in typical Japanese fashion. Despite being suspended, Sloan feels responsible for her friend’s resignation and asks how she could fix everything.
Charlie finds a way out: Sloan will apologize on air for mixing up the Japanese when she attempted to bypass the translator and speak to the rep directly on air. It is an error that is easy to make for someone with subpar Japanese, but a hard mistake to admit to when your Japanese is fluent and excellent, as Sloan’s is. It’s a moving moment when she realizes that she would have to deny all her achievements—of which she was shown to be most proud, in the earlier episodes—and admit to spreading “incorrect” information to save the TEPCO rep’s job and the network’s reputation.
I look forward to a new episode of The Newsroom every week, because although there are some sentimental moments that are so distracting that they pull you out of the whole situation, I know that Sorkin will deliver stories of the fall and triumphs of the human spirit. I know that he has made these stories out of love and yearning for what America could possibly be.
More of this, please.
¹ For all his brilliance, Sorkin does not know seem to know how to write great women characters, or that he keeps them there for (unnecessary) comic relief. These are Peabody-wielding, PhD-swinging HBICs, and you mean to tell me that they can’t send a private email from a Blackberry without broadcasting it to the whole company. Or that they take “You’re expanding” as a dig at their weight gain? No.
When Maggie (Allison Pill) mistakes Georgia the country for Georgia the state, it’s a little endearing, but thinking that LOL means “lots of love” is a little hard to believe. Sure, she was just an intern mistakenly promoted to Will’s assistant, and then promoted as an assistant producer, but I’d like to think that she’s smarter than that.