Chaos and poetry: #ArtFairPH, musicals and art as lifeblood

The general chaos of work has led me to impulsive shopping choices, more frequent spa massages, and indulgent food trips. It has also led me back to art.

A few days before the start of the year, I came across these words from the journals of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. It was sweet, and romantic, and recklessly optimistic. (Exactly what I needed to survive the sweaty, unglamorous and humbling trials ahead of me.)

Read: One must not imagine Sisyphus happy, and other thoughts while rotating in Internal Medicine

I memorized this like a mantra. It’s still my phone wallpaper today.

I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry;
poetry and love and again, complete chaos.
Pain, disorder, occasional clarity;

and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry.

Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation.
It all comes with love.

Anna Akhmatova, 1889-1966

Tears of frustration or despair, the disappointment of life, the highs of successes, the whiplash of living in the Philippines, the texture of paint, the sound of ambition, the delight of great films —what are these but poetry wrapped around us, brought to life?

Art Fair Philippines #ArtFairPH

A 30-hour weekend duty couldn’t keep me away from Art Fair Philippines. I’ve been coming to this event since 2015. I wasn’t about to miss it. (I even have a blog tag for it.)

My tastes this year were simpler. I liked looking at cute things; I had little energy for thought-provoking pieces. And I stayed away from works that didn’t spark joy or curiosity or piece.

I’ve also been very into sculptures lately, especially small to medium “collectibles”. Am I entering my hypebeast era?

Yeo Kaa. 121 paintings, drawings from my Kyeo Bible, 2011-2023.
It’s pretty. And her sculptures done in the same style also scream “collect me”. Then this wall gets even better with a closer look.
Link to IG: @Yeo_Kaa
My eagle-eyed sister caught these funny and relatable and morbid and depressing captions.

Thank you to my mom and sister for this Sunday afternoon treat. It’s nice to see the fair back in The Link.

ASP Outdoor Art Fair

Art Show Philippines, in partnership with Puesto Manila, held their first ever outdoor art fair in Luneta Park.

I only had less than an hour to view it. (Curse duty schedules and short weekends!). But it was enough to enjoy some chill music, buy a couple of postcards and stickers, and simmer enviously at the visitors who could stay long enough for a caricature or portrait.

Plus this Rizal lookalike.

Thank you Paige for giving me a heads up about this event! It was only there for like two days, so I was lucky. Or maybe it was less luck, and more the rewards of power-walking from PGH to T.M. Kalaw.

The Gallery at 2L, Samsung Performing Arts Theater

It was my first time in Samsung Performing Arts Theater (see why below), and also my first time in Circuit Makati (I think).

Celebrating Art through Diversity: Masters and Emerging Artists“, as curated by Elba Cruz. This kind of private art collection doesn’t necessarily excite, narratively-speaking. But the pieces are topnotch.

Lydia Velasco. Nude, 2016. Watercolor.
This sort of sensual style with broad strokes and evocation instead of harsh delineation –is effortlessly compelling.
Kubali Millan. Vendor, 2019. Acrylic.
I mean kudos for the texture, the way I stared for a few minutes too long to decipher basic geometry, and that signature.
Joseph Albao. Diwali1, 2021. Oil.
Maybe I’m a woman of simple tastes. Yellow, woman, Filipiniana fan aesthetic. Sold.
The view from the elevator landing. We can do with more spaces with free art. More spaces with nature, too.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

This was one of the most last-minute relatively-expensive experiences I’ve had in awhile. It’s great. I only have a very vague memory of watching this musical at Resorts World Manila in 2011 (?). I’ve never sat through the full movie.

But boy can I sing along (apparently).

Full of Thai food, not-entirely-effective iced coffee, and tired from duty, but we still enjoyed the musical. The beginning of the second act dragged a bit, but the suspense in the last few minutes made up for it.

Moral of the story: Landi can save your life?

Thanks Kenneth for the invite! One last hurrah before we lost you (temporarily) to GenMed.

And if this hurrah found us a bit lost on the way to Samsung Performing Arts Theater, well… That’s just Friday night traffic in Manila.

Everything Everywhere All At Once, Again

I first watched this movie with Marianne in her condo, a lifetime and several months ago. It was a toss between EEAAO and a local romcom; I’m glad we chose to go through this mind-boggling, sci-fi / action / family drama / thriller / philosophy film together.

Back in March (?), M and I caught up over brunch, coffee, and a long walk through Manila. One of our side trips brought us to Cinematheque, where EEAAO was showing once again, fresh from its Oscars win.

TARA SA CINEMATHEQUE MANILA. A friend of mine had been inviting me to watch a movie in Cinematheque for centuries, but our schedules never matched. So this last-minute visit with M was my first time to the centre. I didn’t know what to expect —certainly not this cute little red carpet for photo opportunities.

Cinematheque Centre Manila is an alternative and accessible theatre and venue for Filipino and foreign cinema, housed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Aside from the intimately-sized theatre, there were also exhibitions and archives related to film. The place is located in Kalaw Ave, a few minutes’ walk from everywhere else.

Thanks M for the walk and the movie and the food. Etc, always.

I think meeting art is great all on your own; bringing your heart and presence of mind is the bare minimum. (Otherwise how can you be changed? If art displays itself in a forest with no one to see it, is it still art?)

But sometimes there really is an appeal to holding someone else’s hand and peering through their eyes instead.

Here’s to more moments of art and chaos and love this 2023.

Until next time! ❤️

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