Concentrated Nonsense (cinema edition)


101st Anniversary Issue of Philippines Free Press
August 20, 2009, 3:18 am
Filed under: magazines

On newsstands this Monday…

Plug, via Erwin Romulo:
A special tribute to Cory Aquino featuring new writing by Teodoro Locsin Jr., Fr. Catalino Arevalo, Oliver X.A. Reyes.

As it is our
101 Year Anniversary, this special collectors issue also has articles from the Free Press archives (edited and curated by Ricky S. Torre). Featuring articles by Gregorio Brillantes, Wilfrido Nolledo, Kerima Polotan, Jose Quirino, Jose Lacaba and Quijano de Manila.

Continue reading



The New Philippines Free Press / Bontoc Eulogy at Fully Booked
December 8, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: magazines, Philippine Chronicle, philippine cinema

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The Philippines Free Press, the oldest weekly in the country (first going to print in 1908), is receiving a facelift. Erwin Romulo, mentioned here earlier for the interesting things he did with Rogue magazine (before his departure at the end of its first year), has come on board, teaming with, among others, copy editor Ricky Torre and literary editor Sarge Lacuesta to create an impressive nucleus. In just two issues he has brought in a fresh roster of contributors that includes  Lourd De Veyra, Tad Ermitano, Luis Katigback,  Yvette Tan, Armi Millare (of Up Dharma Down), Gang Badoy, Philbert Dy and myself; a base that will surely expand with each new week.

The above issue is his second as Associate Editor, the second one I’ve written for, and features a newly revamped cover design courtesy of photographer Juan Caguicla. It hits stands today (try National Bookstore, Filbars and Mag:net shops), and costs only 50 pesos. Pick up this issue. If you like what you read, keep in mind that there’s a new one every Monday.

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Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes, 8pm Thursday @ Dec 11 at Fully Booked Fort Bonifacio

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Bontoc Eulogy / Marlon Fuentes / 1995 / 57:00 / 16mm, archival footage / screening from DVD

With a mixture of anger and tenderness, Bontoc Eulogy narrates the fate of Markod, one among over a thousand ‘Filipino savages’ exhibited in the St. Louis World Fair of 1904. A feat of borrowing and appropriation (Edison films, Burton Holmes travel footage), a sincere and moving faux documentary, and a meditation on the nature of images, memory, identity, and cinema. Easily one of the best and most intelligent Filipino films in the last 20 years.

* Screening with permission from the director.

The first in a series of films I’ll be programming and presenting in Fully Booked Fort Bonifacio’s U-View Cinema, Thursday nights at 8pm. Do come. Admission is free.

Related reading:
1904 World’s Fair: The Filipino Experience (Jose D. Fermin, UP Press, 2004)

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Bonus: so alone, all bound together
Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao defeated Oscar De la Hoya with ease yesterday. A few months ago Maggie Costello wrote an entry on the song Pancho Villa by Sun Kill Moon, which speaks of three great boxers who met tragic, abrupt ends: Salvador Sanchez (died in a car accident), Pancho Villa (died of blood poisoning after a tooth extraction), and Benny Paret (put into a coma in a fight with Emile Griffith, died a few days after). Pancho Villa was the ring pseudonym of another great Filipino fighter, Francisco Guilledo. Recommended reading.



Documenta 12 and Southeast Asia
September 25, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: magazines, quotes | Tags:

“The documenta is regarded as the most important exhibition of contemporary art, drawing attention from all over the world. It was initiated in 1955 by the artist and art educator, Arnold Bode, in Kassel. After the period of Nazi dictatorship, it was intended to reconcile German public life with international modernity and also confront it with its own failed Enlightenment.” (link)


The 12th edition of the infamous Documenta Exhibition was staged this year, and one significant part of it was a magazine exhibition:

“Nearly 100 publications with different formats, different orientations and focuses from around the world were invited to think together about the motifs and themes of documenta 12. This process has generated over 300 articles, essays, interviews, commentaries and illustrated essays.” (link)

Sounds enticingly interesting, I imagine what that process yielded must be a joy to read (Documenta produces a handsome publication at the end of their exhibition, often available in Manila, at a handsome price, at Fully Booked Bookstores). Though it turns out the proceedings did raise eyebrows with the cost of putting the exhibition together, and what the struggling Magazines themselves got out of participating, being put to question.

An interesting article brings to light some issues that came up in discussions between Editors of Southeast Asian Arts publications, small publications that, generally, just scrape by. An excerpt from the article by Kean Wong:

“And then there is the faint whiff of a neo-colonial gesture in play, where these publications of Documenta12’s defined ‘peripheries’ are feeding a much richer metropole of the magazines project’s headquarters in Vienna, feeding it with ideas, text and images mostly for free, and transferring even more of such ‘wealth’ towards an exhibition budgetted at EUR19 million planned over five years?

Would a redistribution of priorities and funds produce a better outcome for struggling Asian (or Latin American, or African, etc) publications, where savings made from fewer international conferences of editorial elites are instead spent sponsoring, say, several editions of Indonesia’s KUNCI [4] or Malaysia’s SentAp! [5] journals? Such sustenance would in turn help develop some critical mass for arts activism and seed more cultural debates, agreed the usually polite editor of SentAp!, Nur Hanim Khairuddin. And it would certainly have helped save the superb South-east Asian arts journal based in Singapore, FOCAS, from closing prematurely – ironically, the last issue of FOCAS was launched on the eve of the week-long ‘Asia Speaking Up!’ meetings mentioned above.

Even as most of these Asian publications struggle to survive – like SentAp!, going from edition to edition in a daze of unpaid articles and frantic fund-raising while avoiding too many compromises with both commercial market and government demands – the space for the free and open discussion about art, society and pointed debates about state-sponsored utopias continues to shrink as media and consumption habits change.” (link)




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