Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Myth of the Human Body (A Bare Bones Exhibit)

see how too much msg in your food
really causes dehydration?
For those of you with a tinge of Necrophilia (not the sexual kind), and have always wondered what doctors, medical students and undertakers see on a semi-day-to-day basis, hop on over to the Neobabylon Building along Bayani Road in Taguig and catch "The Myth of the Human Body," the exhibit which has been extended until the end of this year 2011.

Okay, so that's my dutiful piece of plugging out of the way... Let's get to the real story...

The exhibit itself isn't bad. It's certainly a notch higher than me sneaking into the med labs in UST for kicks way back when i was a student. The fucked up part is "Myth" riding on Gunther von Hagens' groundbreaking "Bodyworlds" exhibit, when the exhibits were admittedly hand-me-down units bought out by some Korean investor. I also found the "myth" approach very corny, as it was merely done to shoehorn the visual concept of the exhibit hall itself into the show.

Brings a whole new meaning to the
term "wish i was dead."
But no, this isn't "Myth," this
is the real McCoy. There's the
oddball von Hagens to the right
of the corpses who are in heaven,
figuratively, as well as probably
I chanced upon some "Body Worlds" photos online aways back and found myself oddly fascinated with the idea of seeing human bodies peeled open and put in cool action poses. So when i chanced upon a poster for "Myth" which mentioned "Body Worlds" rather prominently, too promenently in fact, i totally flipped and bugged the wifey to go there with me. We eventually did, and i found myself just a wee bit disappointed. I pretty much got what i wanted, which was a bunch of corpses peeled up and shown. But they were far from the lovely, pink-muscled, bodies doing funky things like playing poker, riding horses, and even having sex. There were a few "standard" pieces like the skinned man, the high-fiving half man, and such... But these poorly preserved pieces made with Chinese cadavers were obviously not from von Hagens' collection... Most of the exhibit space was filled up with illustrative boards, and separated body parts. I suspect that these plastinated organs are merely salvaged from deteriorated full-body pieces. Hardly the witty, well-preserved exhibit known as Body Worlds. One other observation I made was that most Chinese farmers and/or dissidents/ victims of Communist human rights violations who were thrown into this exhibit mostly needed orthodontists. They also pretty much justified the stereotypical drawing of buck-toothed Chinese.

The supposed highlight of the exhibit was "The Red Man," which was the well-preserved plastic tracing of the entire human artery system using some red resin. It had the requisite glass enclosure with halogen spotlight, and must have been quite a sight when it was first completed. But... either due to poor shipping and handling, or the fact that such things were meant to happen anyways, so spare units/pieces were probably required... there were so many little pieces of intricate blood-vessel/nervous system lattices that were strewn on the floor of the glass casing. Quite depressing to see.

Cheers to the med student/usher who seemed like he did his best to make the show as interesting as he could, but the slight disarray and sometimes poor state of the exhibit pieces couldn't be covered up by enthusiastic talk.

'catch you later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CD Review: "The Hands of Time" (Gino Padilla), A Gem Buried in the Quagmire Known as Contemporary Philippine Music

Prepare for a dragging build up here, people...

Ages ago, it was on one of the very few instances when i joined the wifey in her late-night channel-surfing habits, when we stumbled upon a mestizo-looking singer who looked sort of like Gino Padilla on one of Sharon Cuneta's shows (I forget which one...).

Lo and behold, it WAS Gino Padilla.

The song he sang was "Keeping the Memories Alive," a fresh new track from his then brand new record called "Hands of Time." I was intrigued as the song had a good hook on it, and Gino Padilla's singing had always been flawless.  But hey, it was late-night TV, and like most late-show fare, one forgets stuff when one wakes up the following day to the sound of either the cellphone set as a loud alarm clock, or the wifey yelling repeatedly that you are already embarrassingly late for work.  Too bad for her i don't embarrass easily...

Fast forward to January, 2010... I was recovering from a life-changing chapter in my then sad excuse for a life, wandered into a record bar (one day, our children will wonder what a record bar is) and found "Let Me Be The One," a new album by Gino Padilla. That late-show performance from way back echoed back into my brain, and I quickly scanned the back for the song. No luck. But I picked up the album and have enjoyed all that music non-stop ever since. Read the review here. "Hands of Time" seemed to no longer be in stock, much less in print.

Through the fan/stalker's ultimate tool known as the internet, I managed to strike up a line of communication with Gino, and he generously sent me what i suspect is one of his personal copies of "Hands of Time." Endless spins on the CD player, and a year and a half later, here's the CD review...

Still there, reader? Good. Now let's talk about music... Good music.

* * * * * * * *

There's a reason "Keeping the Memories Alive," flooded back into my head over two years after the only time I heard it. It was simply a damn good song. Of course, it sounded and felt a bit like it was 1987 again. But hey, those were good times for OPM (Original Pilipino Music).

It's too bad radio (and TV) didn't give too much airtime to the album, as balladeers like Gino don't seem to get much respect lately, and get their share of attention mostly as retro-nostalgia acts. But despite being an album produced in the new millenium, "Hands" comes across more as a delectable slice of 80's OPM seemingly dug out of someone's secret trunk of unheard-but-shouldve-been-hits.

Cuts like the album's title song "Hands of Time," "Find that Child Hiding in You," and a handful of others on the disc all sounded like they belonged in the airwaves when they were ruled by Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Raymond Lauchengco, Louie Heredia, and the Neocolours. If released back then, these would have been hits, and may probably be found nowadays in "Best of" OPM collections being hawked in Quiapo, and subsequently confiscated by the Optical Media Board.

Gino is obviously ecstatic about getting to record again. So ecstatic, that in addition to his personal thank-you song to his benefactor, Miss Sharon Cuneta, "Angel is Disguise," which was well-meaning, inevitably well-sung, but a bit sappy, the entire record sounds too damn happy. So happy in fact, that even the album's supposedly saddest song, "Let This One Go," where he finds the woman screwing around and eventually dumping him, doesn't sound remotely pissed and pained. It still sounded somewhat... happy.

But this record WAS cause for celebration for Gino, who came out of recording limbo with this album, and got to play in the sandbox known as the revival/remakes record market soon enough after this with the wonderful "Let Me be the One." now, people... THAT is still available out there. Do your ears a favor and go grab a copy now.

'catch you later.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Delayed Movie Review: Captain America (Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie... Hellooooo, Avengers...!)

hurry up with the
movie, already...
everyone's waiting for
the trailer where they
can see Bob Downey!
Chris Evans, formerly known as Johnny Storm a.k.a. the “Human Torch” has been refitted with another superhero costume. This time, his all-American beach-blond apple pie-ness gets him dressed up as Captain America. Based on the comics, he pretty much looked the part. And his vanilla good guy-ness seems almost perfect to play vanilla superhero Captain America.

Like most of my reviews, you guys can forget about finding a plot synopsis here. Look here instead… or here even... or perhaps here

Back yet? Good… let’s talk…

Hayley Atwell succeeds in making a military uniform sexy. Probably because of her well-endowed assets, but also probably because of that Brit accent.  Early on, I was half-expecting Hugo Weaving (who plays the Red Skull) to suddenly sneer: “Mr. Anderson…!” But no, he didn’t. Stanley Tucci is always a joy to watch, and him playing off Tommy Lee Jones' standard typecasting as a gruff old veteran works out pretty well.

The thing about "Captain America" that strikes me the most was how they justified the creation of the stoooopid flag-themed cheerleader uniform into something that was part of a sepia-tinged war propaganda without making the character seem queer in his choice of outfit.

Marvel seems to have found an effective standard template for their movies, wherein they choose an era/period, then splice in the superheroes and sci-fi to funky up the genre… then VOILA… interesting superhero flick with a period twist. It worked for X-Men First Class, it will work for Captain America.

News flash: it did.

‘catch you later.

P.S. the best part was the Easter egg trailer… AVENGERS ASSEMBLE…!
i know what i really need now...
it's war time, and i will invent
the push-up, wired bra for e-cuppers
and make a fortune!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pictures from the Other Side of the Valley

A long time ago, i have surrendered to the fact that i do not have the discipline to become a great photographer. My talent is marginal at best, and while i've taken a handful of decent ones in my time, i leave the real shooting to the pros.

But... i discovered a new route recently, after being assigned to cover in the other branch at the valley. And the scene seems so serene and the land seems so young... so i grab my underused camera, and take a few stops to snap the shots below (screened from a few more others)...

Pointless, hardly art, but what the hell...

Many scenes like this, where the clouds literally
touch the mountaintops.

green lushness like this doesn't last in the 21st century
this is a purpulous flowerus
same as the above.
i like purple. 'got a problem with that?
redus mountainside-us flowerus
(translation: it's a red flower growing on
the side of the goddamn mountain.)

the view before the descent into the valley...
the old volkswagen shop. used to be filled with... err... volkswagens.
converted to grayscale for "nostalgic" effect.
okay... so it isn't George Tapan... But hey... the shots weren't perfect, but the places were pretty, huh?

'catch you later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Letters to Marge: Chapter 27 (See you in the future…)

Dearest Margaret,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in here. You’ve learned how to sort of “really” talk for over half a year or so now, so what I might have written here before, I have been saying to you personally.

You should know that as of now, your mother and I classify you as quite noisy, but adorably so.

So far, it has been quite a wonderful year or so since my last e-letter. Your young achievements so far include:
- Finally starting to go to school.
- Going to ballet school
- Talking in fully comprehensible sentences
- Having seen the following movies in a cinema (in no particular order): Rango, Tangled, Mars needs Moms, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, complete with gorging on pop corn.
- You also like taking pictures

Little quirks you have developed so far include:
- Calling all forms of meat on the dining table as “Chicken”
- Learning to discriminate and prefer low-fat milk, because “mommy said…”
- Holding my head and face and turning me to the direction of whatever it is you’re talking about.
- Being an absolute camera-whore

Oh, and you have thus far been able to spell and write your name. Congratulations, baby.

But I am sad to say that this is for now my last letter to you in this series. Because instead of writing to you about things, I am currently able to say them to you face to face. A much better deal, frankly.

So while this letter seems to sound like a long-winded goodbye, it really is my “official” hello to a fully talking you (batteries not included, nor needed).

I love you.

‘catch you later.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hmm... Sa Tingin Ko Po Hindi Po Nagsisinungaling si Po...

"dammit... i should have rigged those
choppers to explode when FG
bought them for the campaign..."
The wife and i recently made acquaintances with a nice lady and her daughter with whom we hope to close a deal in the very near future. We found them to be very nice people. Obviously affluent, but not aloof nor snobbish. They were from an old family of means, and we found out that we shared the same hairdresser, the same dentists, but unfortunately, not the same veterinarian.

They also happened to be the family a former employee of mine married into. Someone who only recently re-found me on Facebook and added me. I had the good fortune of having met with the husband almost a decade ago.

Just today, i found out they were family to Archibald Po. Yes, THAT Archibald Po. The Archibald Po who had in his testimony another piece of the big picture of theft, corruption, and Philippine decay painted by the tag-team from hell known as Mike Arroyo and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

I read up some more about Archibald Po and reaffirmed my already titanium-hard belief that he was a man who had no reason to lie at this point in his successful life. Heaven knows that if there's anything Gloria, Mike and their ilk know better than buying anyone off, is their penchant for revenge, both the political sort, as well as the not so savory toss-you-on-the-side-of-the-road sort. So if i was Archibald Po, i might opt to keep quiet and go about minding my own business and stay out of the thinning crosshairs of the vindictive Arroyos. But i'm not Archibald Po. I'm either a chicken, or dont think my daughter's old enough for me to take these risks.

But Po did. Po is.
"Look, Mike 'oh... akala talaga nila
mahuhuli nila tayo 'noh?"

I wish him the best of luck. If you've read enough through this pathetic blog, you'd see my contempt for she who was president. I've somewhat gotten tired of shooting at Gloria. It sometimes feels like shooting a water gun at a very big, invulnerable cockroach with a mole. But they're going down. Bit by ugly bit... 'can't wait.

'catch you later.

Art... Right...

"But... but i'm a famous artist!
Of COURSE this is art... Look,
the TV news crews are here...!
Dear Mr. Mideo Cruz,

I did not see your exhibit as i am currently out of town. But i did catch a lot news coverage about you and your supposed work that was on display at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). I also scoured the net and discovered that you are quite an established artist, having held exhibits abroad in major cities across the world.

I therefore conclude that you are an artist. A real one. Now that that's out of the way...

But the bits and pieces i've seen of your exhibit at the CCP is sadly, not art. Not in my eyes. And mind you, my eyes are not untrained. I've worked in the advertising industry as a creative professional for over a decade and a half. And while i have not won Araw Awards, Clios, and whatnots, I have had many important people respect and pay decently for my creative work, as well as my creative opinion. So i would like to think that my opinion can be considered a qualified one.

And no, sir. what little i saw is not art.

Just because you are an artist, it does not mean that whatever you produce is "art." Even those celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain (my wife's favorite TV chef/food critic), Jamie Oliver, and even the guy from Wok With Yan, etc. cannot just claim to put anything on our plates and palates just because "they are chefs." In fact, as chefs, i believe they are responsible for helping put together things that will provoke, reawaken, our taste buds, but ultimately help uplift our understanding of food. Just like artists like you. Supposedly.

And what's more, i don't think they were even done artfully. i've seen many provocative pieces in my time, but the ones i call and consider art are the ones that were produced with some heart. Some real passion that a creative person like myself will feel when we see the pieces. But no, you just wanted to try your luck with something like this. And sadly, with your relatively successful international track record, you got away with it. The real culprits here are the idiots at the CCP who did not consider the sensitivities of the citizenry in accepting and putting up such a show.

I am of the Catholic faith. But I do not particularly like to pray before statues, touch them with my handerchief, much less kiss their ceramic bacteria-laden feet. But that's me. These sentiments do not mean I have to stand by the statues at the nearest church and stop people from doing the above if they want to, or believe they have to. That's called respect, dude. Religion is a sensitive subject for many because it helps them get direction with their lives. I don't agree with all of them, but i respect them. Respect, dude. As the famous Rico J. Puno would say in his shows, "Respect, please."

Oh well... Let's all move on from this.

'catch you later.


P.S. congratulations, dude. You got a lot of coverage. Bravo.