Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2006

For years i used to obsess about 'party like its 1999'.

Now i feel like im obsessed with 2006.

I suddenly miss everything about my life in those days.  I miss my store. I Miss my band.  I miss my friends. I miss LJ. I miss my interns, my old workroom. My being so into everything that was going on in Manila and how I just couldnt bear to miss a gig. Student Disco, Fluxxe, Saguijo.

I guess I miss youth.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How I Befriended The Most Hated Artist in the Netherlands


Originally published on The Philippine Star. Click for the full article with photos.

The night I met Katinka Simonse was the same night I was dealing with a lot of hate tweets from Charice Pempengco’s fans.  Early that week I had tweeted that her stylist ‘should be shot or at least kept away from any other public person’, after I had watched an episode of X Factor Philippines which featured her in crimped hair 80s style and a black hooded bomber vest over a white t-shirt.  Following classic Filipino fan twitter behavior, I was bombarded with defensive messages from her fans, the top 4 tweets being:

1.     “Charice was paid to sing, not to dress up like a slut in hats and corsets”
2.      “What right do you have to pick on Charice, you are just a fashion designer, not a fashion critic”
3.     “Filipinos are outdated and stuck in the 3rd world. You don’t know anything about international fashion. Charice is a trendsetter”

and finally a number of tweets that were similar to this last one:

       4.  “Well at least Charice is not obese. Whats your BMI? #piggypiggyoinkoink”

At our dinner that evening, I was ranting about my ‘haters’ to our group that included Cecile Zamora and Carlos Celdran, both no strangers to twitter hate. Thing with me is, twitter hate amuses me to no end. I don’t get affected by anything that is said about me or at me, but I must admit that before I lost weight, the tweets that would really get to me were those that called me fat or attacked me for being overweight.  I was so pleased when Katinka said shared that same feeling, that once they attack you for your weight, it really gets offensive.

Now if anyone at that dinner was an expert at dealing with hate it would be my new friend Katinka,  a Dutch artist also known as Tinkebell .  Seriously, the petty insults thrown my way don't even qualify next to the hate she gets, so bad and so plenty that she even turned her hate mail into a book.  She has a reputation that precedes her, even in the Philippines as evidenced by my friend Ramon who saw my photos with her on facebook, and quickly sent me a message.

“Why are you hanging out with Katinka Simonse?”

“Why not? She’s nice, she likes pink like me.”

“Uhm, because she’s a world famous animal abuser??????”

I guess its hard not to jump to that conclusion if the first thing you read online is that Tinkebell killed her pet cat and skinned it and turned it into a bag. Or when you hear about her putting 100 hamsters in those hamster balls and leaving them in a gallery.  The Change.org petition to give her a harsh sentence for animal abuse (it now has nearly 75,000 signatures) obviously does not mention that her cat was sick and that she chose to kill her cat herself instead of getting it euthanized at the vet because her cat was scared of the vet. It doesn’t mention how Katinka does not wear anything leather, or that she is pesco-vegetarian.  Instead it says that she shreds day old chicks and has remote controlled guinea pigs. Don’t know about you, but quite frankly it sounds too ludicrous to be true, so I never bothered to ask her about it. Maybe I should have.  

I personally didn’t judge, having fallen in love with a piece of hers called Cupcake – a lifesize My Little Pony (yes, the 80s toys) on roller skates made out of a real taxidermy horse, made as part of a series called the Baby Bunny Project that aimed to show how far consumer attitudes to pets can go.  As far as I’m concerned, it is honestly the cutest thing in the world and I dream to have it in the middle of my house.  Then again I am also someone who did a DIY taxidermy class in London out of curiosity and stuffed and sewed up a lamb.  Anyway, she was cute and nice and so she became my friend.

Katinka was here in Manila for 3 weeks working on her ‘Save the Girls’ project, which was part of her ‘Save The World’ series where she travels the world and saves the world according to Dutch views.  In Gambia she saved a stray dog and brought him to a Dutch dog asylum. In Peru she brightened up a village with pink paint.  She saved turtles in Shanghai and IKEA-fied a home in Guinea-Bissau.      Here she wanted to save 2 young Filipina prostitutes by prostituting herself by making a nude calendar of herself and giving the proceeds of her calendar to the girls.  Smitten by her pony and her pinkness, I volunteered to help her and recruited Ryan and Garovs of Everywhere We Shoot to help as well.  It was fun, from our trip to Burgos playing billiards with a very cute lady boy, to the actual shoot and Katinka rolling around my bed and posing in her sexy pink outfits.  

On her last night here, I asked Katinka if she did everything she needed to do here, and she said proudly, “Yes. Everything.”  I think she got more than the average Filipino tourist.  She lived in Santa Cruz, shopped at 168, waded through the floods and even managed to do an artist talk at Carlos Celdran’s Living Room, which I heard was packed and quite animated – people grilled her and those who disagreed with her art walked out.

Walking out. If only people in the twitterverse would just do that instead of choosing to be internet trolls. (I believe that the online equivalent would just be to simply click the Unfollow button.) By the way, before I get bombarded again, for the record, I don’t hate Charice. I just hate what she wears.   

Visit Tinkebell’s website at www.looovetinkebell.com, and for more on her Save The Girls project, visit www.facebook.com/savethegirlsinmanila

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tales From The Silkscreen Master's Mother


I distinctly remember the first time Ava Paguyo made her mark in my mind.  I used to take units in Clothing Technology at UP and Ava (then still known as Aura) was in my pattern making class.  I don’t know how it happened, but I believe there must have been some kind of conversation in class that revolved around 80s artistas: Tina Paner, Sheryl Cruz, Herbert Bautista.  My personal favorite was Lotlot De Leon.  As a child, my mother’s seamstress was a full on Noranian so I grew up on ‘Lotlot and Friends’ and have an image of her dancing to “Walk Like An Egyptian” engraved permanently in my mind.  I then had the great idea of telling everyone that we should all dress up as our favorite 80s Pinoy artista.  We laughed and brought up shoulder pads, LA Gear, baston jeans and leggings and all made a pact to wear it the next class.  Obviously I got dibs on Lotlot. 

The next day, everyone completely forgot about it.  Except Ava who showed up in all her batwing topped, one shoulder exposed, denim mini skirted Tina Paner glory.  I officially loved her since that day.

It is a well known fact that I choose my interns based on outfit cuteness (this was back when my dress sense revolved around Japanese magazines like Cutie and Fruits so I wore a minimum of 5 colors a day) so Ava and her BFF / partner in crime Kitty Caragay were a shoo-in and became my interns the summer that followed. I like to remember those days as the intern ‘glory days’ as it was when I was younger and still had the energy to go out, so my interns were not just interns, they were my posse and my children, following the footsteps left by my original intern dynamic duo, Hannah Cruz and Goldie Poblador.  I took them everywhere I went.  Ava and Kitty were intern pair # 3, and we have a running joke in the studio that we have a Mich Dulce School of Passion curse: that interns start in pairs but only one really survives, and only Ava and Kitty have broken that curse – to this day, when I see one of them, I immediately think of the other.

If there was an intern survivor contest in my studio, Ava would probably have won, as evidenced by her being my only intern who goes to my house on her own to hang out with my mother when I am out of the country.  After she graduated, she became my right hand girl and helped me survive my first solo show.  She ran my company while I was in the Big Brother house and when I had first started leaving the country to try sell my line globally.  She mastered my ‘Grr days’ and my temper tantrums, and the craft of dealing with my terribly flaky seamstress Aling Nene.   But most of all, she mastered the art of silkscreening, which I am proud to say that I taught her.

Today, weather permitting, Ava Paguyo launches Stockholm St., her second collaboration with Heima Home and Lifestyle.  Following her first collection, called Mash-Up 2008,  Ava once again shows us her screen printing prowess with her trademark hand printed neon graphics on scarves and pillows.  Each piece is handmade with love by Ava herself, in her home studio on Stockholm Street, each with a print that is distinctly her own.

As someone who has seen Ava literally from the start of her career, through to her days on the first season of Project Runway Philippines, to building her textile design image, not to mention her dabble in the wellness industry, I am proud to see another achievement under Ava’s belt before she moves into another chapter of her life.  It’s funny because she’s said a number of times that she was giving up her fashion career, but it seems even in her next endeavor, she’s still doing what she stopped her pre Clothing Technology life for.  Looks like she’s in it for life, and I for one am glad, as I think our lives would probably be quite bleak without Ava’s neon colored touch.


Stockholm St. by Ava Paguyo launches at Heima Makati tonight, August 10, 2012, from 7 – 11pm with DJ Sets by Uncledaddy, Kill Your Boyfriend, Only Revolution and Mich Dulce. Heima is at Unit 229 LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia Street, Brgy. Bel-Air II.  


Originally published in The Philippine Star. View the online article with pictures here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Abg's Daze

My first column piece came out in the Philippine Star today, and you can view it with photos here.
Thanks to EBE for letting me borrow his mega epic pictures from back in the day!
I'm going to cross post everything here in it's unedited format.


I’m a sucker for nostalgia but the days I always reminisce about the most are the late 90’s, when we danced, as Eddie Boy Escudero and Karen Kunawicz called it. So when Rik Rasos tweeted me about Last Days, a warehouse party organized by some of our friends from back in the day, I excitedly dug out my Kokur clothes, my legwarmers and my platform shoes, knowing that I would be the only one dressed in clothes from that era, but not willing to miss out on possibly the only opportunity I would get to wear these clothes again with the people I once wore them with.

I was a latecomer in the whole 90’s rave scene, or “Abg’s days” as my friends and I like to call it.  My mom was strict and I had a 12 am curfew until I turned 18 so  I couldn’t really go out, and therefore missed out on a lot of Groove Nation’s early Consortiums.  My first rave was all because of a television show I used to host, alongside DJ Schwahn, who was the cousin (or was it nephew?) of Warp’s Ronald Pasion.  That show became my excuse to go to all the events, from Star City raves to Puerto Galera, visits to Cecile Zamora’s Grocery (ran by a then eyebrowless Melvin Mojica), Ronald and Brando’s then new Warp shop in Sikatuna Village, and the occasional Thrift Thursday at Abg’s.

After I turned 18, I was finally legit and became a regular (though still with a remotely early curfew), lunchbox in hand, tinted glasses, and Hello Kitty bandana on my head.  Ice parties in warehouse freezers, Laureano Compound, Kemistry in Malate, Lucky Strikes and Levi’s, Human Traffic, Ken Iishi, Fashion CafĂ©,  Verve Room, Gatecrasher complete with an actual earthquake, Josh Wink on the night of bomb explosions.  My college partner in crime Crischelle (now a doctor) and I started a cringeworthy clubwear line called Paranoid which consisted of  candy raver aprons, puff sleeved dresses,  and bright colored elephant pants.  Thanks to my friend Ivan, we ended selling at Milkwear alongside other then young designers Paolo Raymundo,  Ge Madriaga (now Mapa), Kushti (Leah Castaneda and Roman Roxas), Teresa Eastwood, Noni Diza, Mimi Sanson, Gian Romano and more.  I didn’t know it then as I just wanted to make cute clothes that I could wear when I went out to dance, but that was what got me started on the fashion track, and led me into what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

I don’t remember how those days ended, really.  Abg’s closed and I guess we didn’t have a base to gather at anymore, and most of the people left the country.   Or maybe we just got old. I’m still friends with pretty much everyone I met back in the day, some more than others, and a handful of people I can’t bear to imagine my life without.  Whenever a small group of us got together, wherever in the world, we would always bring up our antics when we were young, tease each other about our old flames within the circle, and compared notes on what we miraculously remembered from back then.  No matter what it was, those days were always great.

Last Saturday before we went to the warehouse, I met up with my new friend Tiffany and excitedly told her and her friends about my evening to come.  They were amused enough, then one of her friends said to me, “Isn’t it too early for an Abg’s reunion? Parang medyo baduy.”  “It might be for you, but for us who were there, it’s way overdue.”  Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to get over there, there was no other place I would have rather been at, as evidence by me and Debrah screaming all the way from the Fort to Pasong Tamo.  We hugged our old friends , took photos while we still could, and loved it when we saw Kayen at the door saying to the bouncers, “Ay kuya, eto, old school to.”  It wasn’t really a reunion, nor was it really a rave, but just doing something that felt familiar to what we used to do was good enough for us. Old habits die hard: we opened our windows to listen for beats to find the place, screamed in the car and wished the conyos would go away, did fancy footworks and a lot of our usual tricks.  Then when 5 am hit, we were the last ones standing, still waiting for the night to go on, but it didn’t, and we parted ways and trekked home even before the sun came up.  That would have never happened in 1999, nor did next day responsibilities like moving house or children’s parties or work deadlines. Reality check: we aren’t 17 anymore, but it was fun for one night pretending to be. 



xx
m

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Meh

I woke up this morning feeling so emotional about everything I am doing. I went out on the balcony and just started to cry while having my coffee.
I've been working on my millinery project for 2 years now and I am still waiting on a dream.
Some people know when to give up and accept defeat, I guess I am not one of those people, but sometimes it takes its toll.  I'm very tired and my body is weak, and on days like these its hard to stay positive.

When you believe in something so bad and feel that you are doing something that can make a difference, I guess its easy to think that once people know about it they will feel the same and want to help.  That you tell your story and people will empathize and share your cause.
But reality is hard. Sometimes you can't even get to the people you would want to reach and maybe you have but then your cause seems so small in a world full of issues.

Its quite disheartening.

A social enterprise is hard work, and has so much more of an emotional investment.  Its not easy training people from zero to something, keep them motivated and try to market it and make it grow at the same time.  Its a difficult process, much more than running a regular business and can be very frustrating. I think if I learned to delegate then my life would be so much easier, but I guess because everything is so close to my heart its very hard for me.

But for now I'm going to keep at keeping on and cross my fingers for a miracle.

xx
m


Chevy thunder, Chevy chevy thunder

Two posts in a row? I must be really depressed.  ;)

I just got home from Camden where I went to see some friends at a gig. Scant Regard (our friend Will) played, and my friends all went to see their friend Sara's band Rooster.


She has the longest legs in the world.  I think my life would be a lot better if I had her legs.

I was meant to go see Spector today as well in Stoke Newington, but I had to leave the Camden gig to go home halfway through Sara's set because I wasn't feeling well. I quite like Spector and I've never seen them live, so I am pretty gutted, but at this point I would just be to dazed to even appreciate it.

Anyway I shall leave you with a Spector song.



Good night.

xx
m

Friday, June 8, 2012

Life Update

Hello everyone,
I know, I've been really rubbish with this whole blog thing.

I had a wonderful time in Cannes for 2 weeks during the Film Festival for my friend Leslie's birthday, and upon arrival in London I went straight into museum/theater/dance mode - a private view of Admiral Nelson's clothes at the National Maritime Museum which I organized for Adam and Rob (when I was told I could do a dig of the NMM gems, I couldn't think of anyone else who would appreciate it more), Kusama and Hirst at the Tate, The Sunshine Boys (a wonderful post birthday treat from my friend Mark), and a night at the Southbank Centre to see a dance performance with music by Reuben's sister Semay.






I love Kusama and will probably get murdered by people for saying this but Damien Hirst just doesn't do it for me. I bought the exhibition catalogue as I wanted to read more about him, maybe if I knew more of what was in his head I would appreciate it more.

As usual I am drawn to my blog because I have been feeling very low this past week. We all have our down days and I was very lonely this past week.  I am lucky though because when I get upset it drives me to work harder, it helps me focus on the things I want to do, to keep me busy.  I guess we need sadness in life to keep us sane, if that makes sense.

It was a long Jubilee weekend and I was really sad because I wanted to go down to Battersea Park for the festivities and to see the boats but I didn't get to book a ticket. My friend Ben was really sweet and sent me to a picnic with his friends on Saturday while he was away for the weekend, and I had such a great time. It was such a magical place with such wonderful people. 


           

Sunday Billie and I went to Apple Cart to see Adam play, where we met up with Karlie and Barnzley. Weather was rubbish and didn't help my mood, I wanted cheesy jubilee fun and it was probably the worst festival I've ever been to.  
                                      

Monday was spent at the George and Dragon, but not after a quick visit to Time For Tea to say hello to Johnny and Maddy.





I haven't been sleeping much as I have just over 2 weeks left in the UK, and yesterday I began a sculpture course.  There are so many things I would like to learn, my mom always says I am addicted to learning and it is true, I don't think I will ever stop wanting to absorb everything around me.

Today I made this, and tomorrow I will make the mould to cast it in.

It was my first time ever to work in clay, and i really enjoyed it.

Anyway I've got to catch up on a thousand emails, but I saw this today on the Active Resistance website and I thought I would share it with you.


If the World Were a Village of 100 People


If we could reduce the world's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:


The village would have 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 12 Europeans, 9 Latin Americans, and 5 from the USA and Canada


50 would be male, 50 would be female


75 would be non-white; 25 white


67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian


80 would live in substandard housing


16 would be unable to read or write


50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation


33 would be without access to a safe water supply


39 would lack access to improved sanitation


24 would not have any electricity (And of the 76 that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)


8 people would have access to the Internet


1 would have a college education


1 would have HIV


2 would be near birth; 1 near death


5 would control 32% of the entire world's wealth; all 5 would be US citizens


48 would live on less than US$ 2 a day


20 would live on less than US$ 1 a day


Goodnight all, hope you all have a brilliant weekend xx

xx
m