an activity involving skill in making things by hand • (crafts) work or objects made by hand • a skilled activity or profession ORIGIN Old English cræft [strength, skill,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kratch, German Kraft, and Swedish kraft ‘strength’ (the change of sense to [skill] occuring only in English).
STACHE a magazine for and by the creative youth
JARED CARL MILLAN E DITOR IN C H IE F
CINDY HERNANDEZ ASS OC IAT E E DITOR
NINA PINEDA ASS ISTANT E DITOR
NESSA SANTOS T RAV E L E DITOR
ECKS ABITONA FAS H ION E DITOR
ELLIE CENTENO MU S IC E DITOR
MAINE MANALANSAN MARK E T ING DIRE C TOR
COCO MACEREN MARK E T ING ASS OC IAT E
M A R Y N Y R I E N E S I LV E S T R E WE B DE V E LOP E R
I L L U S T R AT O R S
Mica Agregado, Mika Bacani, James Bernabe, Alyssa de Asis, Tzaddi Esguerra, Ches Gatpayat, Daniela Go, Trisha Katipunan, Patricia Mapili, Vince Puerto WRITERS
Marty Arnaldo, Bea Astudillo, Alfonso Bassig, Regine Cabato, Belle Mapa, Tonie Moreno, Pia Posadas, Paolo Sumayao, Vernise Tantuco PHOTOGRAPHERS
Christienne Berona, Ian Guevarra, Jash Manuel
CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2014
C OV E R S T OR Y The Girl + The Bull W R I T T E N BY BE L L E M A PA
PHOTOGR APHED BY CHRISTIENNE BERONA ILLUSTR ATIONS BY MIK A BACA NI
OPINIONS P. 17
The Analogue in Digital BY VERNISE TANTUCO
To infinity and Beyond BY PI A POSA DA S
The Artful Dodgers of Metro Manila BY REGINE CABATO
T R AV E L P. 31
Finland BY POLLY BA LITRO
Where the Grass is Always Green BY NESSA SANTOS
The Golden State BY REBECCA LADER
FA SHION P. 5 7
Reflections: Izziyana Suhaimi BY NINA PINEDA
Practicality BY JASH MANUEL
Leaving La Vida Louis BY PAOL O SU M AYAO
CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2014
MU S IC : ON S A MP L ING “When you take it out of context and put it into something different entirely, it means something new altogether.” W R I T T E N BY: BE L L E M A PA PHOTOS BY: T HU R E E S OBE NZ A
MUSIC P. 7 5
A Hundred Ways to Skin a Record BY ALFONSO BASSIG
Nowhere To Go But Everywhere BY ELLIE CENTENO
On Music Sanpling BY BE L L E M A PA
C U LT U R E P.9 5
Literary Video Games BY CINDY HER NA NDEZ
Branching Out BY TONIE MORENO
Ode to Philip Seymour Hoffman BY MARTY ARNALDO
The Daily Grind BY BEA ASTUDILLO
The Girl + The Bull BY BE L L E M A PA
CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2014
T R AV E L : C HIN AT O W N R OOF -T OP P ING PHOTOS BY JORGE QUINTEROS
ART P. 1 3 5
Chinatown Roof-Topping BY JORGE QUINTEROS
Words of a Mentor BY A LYSSA DE A SIS
A Tribute BY CHRISTIENNE BERONA
Drawn & Eaten BY TONIE MORENO
FebFest 2014 BY A N TON S A LVA D OR & C A R S PA S C UA L
P. 16 5
Phoenix Live in Manila BY ECKS ABITONA
CONTRIBUTORS JANUARY 2014 - FEBRUARY 2014
Marty Arnaldo is a writer who’s worked various odd jobs such as cleaning rooms and working the cash register at Wendy’s.
Belle Mapa is a Creative Writing major who constantly questions the purpose of genres. One day, the sharpness of her eyeliner wings will parallel that of her mind and tongue.
Rebecca Lader is a 21-year-old New York based photographer currently studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Unable to sate her wanderlust, Lader is always planning her next adventure.
Angelo Polangcos he taught himself to paint digitally in 2008 when he saw an artwork of Martah Dahlig. His inspirations ranges from movies to video games and comic books.
Polly Balitro is an Italian photographic artist currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Inspired by the natural environment, she works with different format of analogue cameras and ﬁlms, which, when black and white, she likes to process in her darkroom.
Eilyn Yatco is a fine arts student from UP Diliman. She loves to create portraits, capture a lot of photos and time-lapse videos of sunsets,clouds and silhouettes
These days, Bea thrives best hermit-style. She once organized a Department of Tourism-sponsored arts and music festival dedicated to local culture and travel. She has suffered from Bitchy Resting Face syndrome since childhood.
Pia Posadas is 20 years old but rarely feels like it. She enjoys trashy reality TV, hot fudge sundaes and long walks on the beach.
Jericho Moral is a knight errant in search of glory and fame through a world of windmills. But he hopes, alas! He hopes and meanders, with his bunny slung over his shoulders.
Googly Gooeys is a blog that pokes fun at Tippy & Anthony Go’s daily mishaps. They share their random musings through their cartoony alter egos–Tipsy (the pink goo) & Ponggo (the blue goo). You can read their adventures at googlygooeys.com
Vernise Tantuco is a 20-something currently trying to fake it ‘til she makes it. She loves food, dogs, cacti, and pop culture.
Al Estrella is a public school teacher and a part-time illustrator. He is a member of Ang Ink and a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes. His online comics can be found at http:// motsmots.blogspot.com.
Jorge is an advid photographer from Brooklyn He obtained a Bachelors in Graphic Design, worked with a small design firm in Long Island for 4 years while being employed with a major retail company and now pursue the former.
CR AFT? Editor’s Letter January 2014 - February 2014
or this issue the team decided to step out of its comfort zone and do something we haven’t yet done. In fact I was hesitant to dedicate a whole issue to “craft” for that very reason. Stache is not Frankie Magazine and nor do we want it to be. But actually meeting the challenge head on was at once terrifying and liberating, and we could not have done it if it weren’t for the team’s enthusiasm to make things happen. Gracing our cover this month are Stache’s old friends Thea de Rivera and Gab Bustos, also known as The Girl + The Bull. We talked to them about food and relationships and the craft aspect of their business, among other things. We also interviewed artisans Benjie Torrado Cabrera, Anna Gorman, and Miguel Santiago of The Barista Box. There is an article about Marc Jacobs leaving Louis Vuitton, an article about the art of music sampling, and an article about the mixed mediums of embroidery and traditional art. We also paid tribute to the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. There are many more in the following pages of this magazine, and I’ll let you explore them on your own. We didn’t create this issue because we wanted to show everyone we know a great deal about the subject; we do not, and that I suppose is the reason the magazine turned out the way it did: an experimental endeavour. Which is not to say it turned out a failure. It didn’t, at least we don’t see it that way. o JARED CARL MILLAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
OPINIONS EDITED BY JARED CARL MILLAN
T H E A NA LOGU E I N DIGI TA L If anything, learning how to do things the old-fashioned way leads to a higher appreciation of the art. BY VERNISE TANTUCO
TO I NF I N I T Y A ND BE YOND The more advanced technology became, the more outdated and irrelevant craft seemed to me: Why bother with knitting and crocheting when we have Flappy Bird to keep us occupied? BY PI A POSA DA S
T H E A RT F U L DODGE R S OF M E T RO M A N I L A Their kind is forced to live on the edge of a gaping gorge between the rich and the poor. Dangerous living calls for adaptation.. BY REGINE CABATO
THE A NA LOGUE IN DIGITA L
Remnants of traditional skill are still present in a world of computers and automatic machines—more so than one would think. S TORY BY V E R N ISE TA N T UC O, I L LUS T R AT ION BY C H E S G AT PAYAT
t’s a common belief among Steve Jobs’ critics that his only real contribution to the world of computing is multiple typefaces for word processors. In 1972, after Jobs dropped out of college the same year he started, he took up a calligraphy class at Reed College while sleeping on the floor of his friends’ rooms. This infamous calligraphy class is what fuelled Jobs’ conviction that the world needed evenly spaced fonts—as it turns out, he was right. Today, there are so many different kinds of fonts that people are no longer satisfied with the default ones that MS Word or Mac’s Pages so conveniently provide. Many even go so far as to download new ones off of the Internet instead. But while Jobs has opened up our lives to prettier presentations and a world of options, his contribution to today’s keyboard-and-screen society has brought about the typeface endgame. When we’ve moved on to making words at the push of a button, where does the mess of ink and nibs fit in? My fascination with calligraphy and hand lettering is fairly new founded. It all started with those fast-forwarded gifs of words being written with nibs and ink on Tumblr. If you’ve seen them, you’ll know that those gifs are beautiful to say the least, and hopelessly hypnotizing—I’ve definitely caught myself staring for a full minute more than once. There’s something about the apparent ease and rhythm of the pen, and the steadily flowing ink, that demands attention. All of that aside, it was the combination of words and visual art that got me—I had to learn how to do it. Not long after, I managed to convince my friends to attend a “Crafternoon” Workshop on calligraphy and hand lettering with me. Crafternoons are regular workshops held
by blogger Alessa Lanot, on watercolor, rubber-stamp making, and other handsy activities that spark Lanot’s creative fancy. Unsurprisingly, calligraphy wasn’t easy. The romance of writing with new tools disappeared almost as soon as my nib hit the paper. Tumblr lied to me: There were ink splotches, nib tines getting caught on paper, and a general inability to get the right widths on the upstroke and down stroke. Basically, it was a mess. But regardless of the outcome, the experience was there. I spent an afternoon trying to create something beautiful—and for the first time in a long time, my mind was quiet. It’s no surprise then, that arts and crafts have become known to be something exclusively for hobbyists and artists. After all, mastering a craft requires concentration, patience, and time, both of which are scarce today. Still, people like Lanot and Jobs have managed to benefit from the seemingly outdated methods that they took the time to learn. They aren’t the only ones who have taken a chance and ended up making lucrative businesses out of skills that are supposed to be approaching disuse. Craft Coffee Workshop for instance, is a coffee shop in New Manila that offers a new coffee experience by slow-roasting beans for a mild flavored brew—a stark contrast to the bitter and overly sweetened products of commercialized coffee shops. The store also offers regular workshops on the art of making coffee without the help of your automatic coffee maker. On the other hand, craft beer is taking over, both locally and in the West, what with America’s 2,360 craft breweries as of March 2013. A bit closer to home, Katipunan Craft Ales, offers their homemade Indio Pale Ale at select areas and events. The appeal of relearning these methods, and of doing things by hand rather than computers and machines, reveals a desire to return to our roots. And while it appears that
If anything, learning how to do things the old-fashioned way leads to a higher appreciation of the art. these business-owners have commoditized this need, it stands to reason that having avenues for relearning outmoded practices isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, learning how to do things the old-fashioned way leads to a higher appreciation of the art. However, not all traditional skills are readily available for relearning. In the mountains of Kalinga province, it’s tradition for locals to get tattoos with the use of a thorn, a stick for driving the thorn through the skin, and ink from the soot of charred pots. The method sounds painful and crude—probably the reason why the particular tribe that practices it is down to its last tattoo artist. According to an article on Kamusta Magazine published last June 2013, the art of pambabatok almost died with the last woman to practice it. Fortunately, she decided to break tradition and perform pambabatok on people outside her tribe. Today, with the increased interest in the method, her grandniece is learning the craft. Pambabatok is the perfect example of a dying art; tattoo instruments have long been refined. But the loss of knowledge of the skill is devastating just the same. Perhaps this is where traditional meets modern, where roots meet fruit: Like calligraphers and coffee artisans, the tattoo artists of Kalinga have also sat down and made beautiful things that will withstand the test of time. The work of these artists is everywhere: It’s in what we drink every morning, it’s in the pain we withstand to put art on our bodies—it’s even in the evenly spaced letters we type out on our keyboards. o
TO INFINIT Y A ND BEYOND
Of all the adjectives to call the conniving Dodger, Charles Dickens uses ‘Artful.’ How artful are our own local criminals, who—contrary to the saying—find that crime does pay?” S TORY BY PI A PO S A DA S , I L LUS T R AT ION BY PAT R IC I A M A PI L I
rowing up in a private all-girls Catholic school, it was only natural that I was expected to master the ins and outs of being a proper lady. For as long as I can remember, our math, science and social studies classes were always complemented by activities like penmanship, beading, sewing, crocheting, knitting and embroidery. (Although we were also introduced to the art of jam and atchara making, those lessons didn’t last for very long.) Whoever assumed that I would enjoy (and perhaps even excel at) these things by virtue of my gender was sorely mistaken. During penmanship class, I didn’t care if my handwriting looked like glorified chicken scratch; my seatmates and I were too busy racing against one another to finish the assigned pages as quickly as possible. I had no desire to get in touch with my inner domestic goddess—despite our sewing teacher’s stern reminders to finish our sewing projects on our own, I would hand over whatever skirt or blouse I had to make to my household help as soon as I got home. Maybe I would have been more interested if everything I made didn’t look like I had my hands tied behind my back the entire time. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t my forte; working with my hands always made me restless. The more advanced technology became, the more outdated and irrelevant craft seemed to me: Why bother with knitting and crocheting when we have Flappy Bird to keep us occupied? As you can probably guess, it’s taken me a while to let go of this particular bias. Only recently have I realized that it is unfair of me to dismiss craft as something that has no place in the modern world, especially considering that a whole new breed of artists, designers and engineers are working tirelessly to bring it into the twenty-first century. For instance, artisan food aficionados will be fascinated by the flourishing field of digital gastronomy, which takes the traditional practice of making one’s own wine and cheese
to a completely different level. Although the term reminds me of the spaceage contraptions I used to see on The Jetsons, the incredible accuracy with which we will be able to customize our food may soon be a part of our notso-distant future. According to Wired, IBM researchers are busy constructing an algorithm that automatically generates billions of recipes within certain constraints, such as cuisine type, dietary restrictions and course. Mass-produced meals may also become a thing of the past thanks to 3D printing, the process of transforming digital models into three-dimensional objects. Philips Design, the design arm of the international Dutch electronics corporation, and Nico Kläber, a finalist of the 2009 Electrolux Design Lab Challenge, have come up with their own versions of food printers that will manipulate the form and substance of various ingredients based on a prescribed recipe. Meanwhile, designers Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran are out to exponentially increase the potential for new flavors and textures with Cornucopia: Digital Gastronomy, a concept design that combines traditional cooking techniques with the layering process of 3D printing. Surprisingly, 3D printing isn’t exactly brand new technology. Although engineers have been using it to create prototypes since the 1980s, lately it has also been developed for more practical, everyday purposes. Now that the cheapest 3D printer — the Peachy Printer — is priced at $100, your imagination is the only thing that limits what you can design and produce. While you probably won’t need your own 3D medical models, hydroelectric generators or jet engines any time soon, customized lamps, clocks, kitchenware, action figures and iPhone cases are fair game. Provo Craft’s Cricut personal paper cutter is every crafter’s dream come true, seamlessly cutting flat materials like fabric, fondant, acrylic and paper into patterns for quilts, cake decorations, stencils and scrapbooks. 3D printing is also quickly becoming the next must-have in the fashion industry. Early last year, Nike caused quite a stir when it unveiled its Vapor Laser Talon American football boots, the first boots to have 3D-printed cleats. A few months later, model Lindsay Ellingson strut down the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway wearing Swarovski-encrusted 3D wings. Bikinis, shoes, dresses and accessories are just some of the items that 3D printing firm Shapeways sells online; the website enables designers to upload their designs,
The more advanced technology became, the more outdated and irrelevant craft seemed to me: Why bother with knitting and crocheting when we have Flappy Bird to keep us occupied? which customers can then download, customize and print in their own homes. Even computers have received the DIY treatment. Designed as a tool to introduce computer science to grade school students in the United Kingdom, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that you can literally carry in your pocket. Aside from word-processing and games, this nifty little gadget is also capable of playing high-definition video—not bad for a computer that costs $25. An extraordinarily versatile piece of equipment, the Raspberry Pi is so easy to program that there are countless online tutorials on how to build it from scratch and how to turn it into other kinds of devices. From touchscreen tablets and gaming consoles to baby monitors and home alarm systems, the possibilities are endless. It has become so immensely popular that Kano, a LEGO-inspired and Raspberry Pi-powered DIY computer and coding kit for all ages, even raked in an impressive $1.5 million in Kickstarter funds. If this is the future of craft, our children and grandchildren certainly have a lot to look forward to. One might argue that these innovations no longer qualify as crafts since they don’t involve physically working with one’s hands. This is a valid point but in my opinion, the tools, materials and techniques we use don’t define craft so much as the attitude that shapes our practice of it. Just as technology is changing the way we communicate and interact with one another, it is also transforming our means of self-expression. While embroidery and 3D printing may appear to be light years apart, the mindset that fuels them remains the same: the desire to create something that has never existed before. o
THE A RTFUL DODGERS OF METRO M A NIL A
Of all the adjectives to call the conniving Dodger, Charles Dickens uses ‘Artful.’ How artful are our own local criminals, who—contrary to the saying—find that crime does pay? STORY BY R EGINE CA BATO, PHOTOS BY TR ISH A K ATIPUNA N
nce a villain, you’re a villain to the end,” grins Jawk Dawkins, or the Artful Dodger, in the 1968 musical Oliver! based on the Charles Dickens classic. The story follows Oliver, an orphan who finds himself in London and in the wrong crowd—a gang of young thieves. The exodus of country folk to the city is not too different from the Philippines’ provincial residents making their way to Metro Manila in the hopes of finding fortune. With a population of around 12 million according to Philippine Statistics Authority digits, the 600 square kilometer National Capital Region is congested area. All the disorganization paves the wall for small-time organized crime. Based on Philippine National Police (PNP) statistics, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s research team reported a 75 percent crime rate “for every population of 100 000” in February 2013. Admittedly, the methods of operation of the criminals of Quiapo and Divisoria require an approximate craft. Here are some of the Metro Manila crime scene’s modi operandi. Fast and furious. Watch out for men in motorcycles. An early 2014 report from the Inquirer said 3 000 crimes in 2013 were committed by men riding in tandem. To police’s knowledge, these aren’t orchestrated by an organized criminal establishment. The raw material: a speedy bike, helmets for masks, and quick hands. After the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) proposed a ban on riding in tandem, as well as lowering the speed limit, mandatory helmet registration, and wearing a vest with the plate number. Motorcyclists responded with a protest, preparing a counterproposal with police training, checkpoints, and CCTV investment.
The hammer. The Martilyo Gang struck last December 2013 at SM North EDSA. Their plan of action involves buying hammers or crowbars within the mall, then breaking jewelry display cases. A similar crime was committed in Megamall in January of that year. Malls have since been advised to tighten security measures, and the government arranged to review possible procedures for mall robberies with the PNP and business owners. Drivers in disguise. In the first week of this February, a string of carnapping incidents took place. Quezon City Police District (QCPD) tracked the crimes to a couple of carnapping rings. The plan was to apply as drivers for families, and make off with the vehicles after they were hired. Although the police has succeeded in recovering some cars, QCPD advised families to take caution in hiring help. Prank call. The notorious Dugo-dugo Gang in one of the staples in the blotter book, making 15 million from a single robbery in April last year. Their modus operandi involves a prank call, timed when someone in the household—usually a domestic helper—is home alone. The gang usually tells them that someone in the family has been caught in an accident, and they must produce the money to cover emergency expenses. They arrange to meet the recipients of the call, who then turn in the valuables. Apart from reporting the calls, Spot PH suggested informing everyone in the household of such operations. Knockout gas. Last year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) got wind of a new modus operandi inside cabs, where taxi drivers would use spray gas or stick something near the air conditioner to spread chemical toxins that cause dizzying. Usually targeting women, the passengers are robbed and even molested once they pass out. A good defense is to keep alert while taking the cab, and to take note of the vehicle’s plate number. The Artful Dodger, however shrewd, referred to himself as a “victim of society.” Their kind is forced to live on the edge of a gaping gorge between the rich and the poor. Dangerous living calls for adaptation. In 2012, the PNP attributed the rise in crime rate to “smarter” criminals. “It means that they also shift or adjust the way they execute their plans,” Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. told Inquirer. “Those criminals are not actually brazen, but they have found a way to exploit lapses in security.” Crime organized with intention, in some ways, is a notorious craft. From the Budol-budol Gang’s alleged hypnotizing scheme and the Zesto Gang’s ripping bus passengers off money in exchange for juice, the uncovering of new modi operandi will keep going. William Shakespeare once called the world a stage. In the worldview of the Artful Dodgers of Metro Manila, everyone is playing victim. o
This piece represents me as an artist. Working as a freelance artist is never easy. Alone in my room, I spend countless hours perfecting my artworks. Every details and brush strokes counts. The only companion I have is coffee and my art books for reference and tutorials. I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y ANGELO POLANGCOS
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T R AV E L EDITED BY NESSA SANTOS
FINLAND Gradually, my photographs have abandoned their ﬁctional and staged aspects in favour of a more spontaneous and direct approach, which values “things as they are.” BY POLLY BA LITRO
W H E R E T H E G R A S S I S A LW A Y S GREEN A perpetual blanket of tranquillity was draped all over the whole town as it woke up, far from the miserable chaos of early mornings in the city. BY NESSA SANTOS
G O L D E N S TAT E It’s been said that San Diego’s many beaches have specific vibes, and it isn’t too hard to find the one that suits you best. BY REBECCA LADER
F INL A ND A visual diary of new beginnings and new surroundings. WOR DS & PHOTOGR A PH YS BY POLLY BA LITRO
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his selection of photographs represents what I would like to remember about the ﬁrst few year of my life in Finland. All of them taken between 2010 and 2013, they are memories of various places that I have visited and found revealing, a collection of certain moments and details that I have encountered - you could think of them as a sort of visual diary. After moving to Finland, my approach towards photography has changed radically: ﬁnding myself in a new environment, in close contact with nature, I started to look at my surroundings in a different way, giving more importance to them in my work as well. Gradually, my photographs have abandoned their ﬁctional and staged aspects in favour of a more spontaneous and direct approach, which values “things as they are.” The landscape is so signiﬁcant in a place like Finland, that it becomes part of your everyday life, inﬂuencing you deeply. Especially inspired by the natural environment, I let the changing of the seasons - the absence of colours and light in the winter and the brightness of summer - be the unintentional subject of my work. There is simply no reason for me to go and search for a different subject, it is all here in front of my eyes. o
W H E R E T H E G R A S S I S A LWA Y S G R E E N
Batanes is an amalgamation of lush greeneries, calm seas, welcoming people, and lots and lots of cows WORDS & PHOTOGR APHS BY NESSA SANTOS
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t has been 26 hours since I got some shuteye. My body was giving up; despite the freezing cold and the 50,000 feet altitude, all it wanted was to be one of the clouds, serenely floating in the sea of blue sky. The sun, with its rising glory on the horizon, was telling me that it wouldn’t take long now. Soon I will be discovering the mysterious appeal that Batanes can offer. A perpetual blanket of tranquillity was draped all over the whole town as it woke up, far from the miserable chaos of early mornings in the city. Easily seen is a timid smile here and there, a lady watering plants in biscuit tin pot, children sleepily marching on the streets. Luckily, taho is a breakfast staple even in the northernmost tip of the country. For a spectator like me, it all looked like a flower slowly blooming into life, or like the moon sneakily revealing itself at dusk where there’s an absolute lack of need for grand gestures and confetti. That was Batanes essentially – serene but not terrifyingly quiet, simple but not dull. The rolling hills, the soft crashing of waves in the ocean, and picturesque lighthouses might give you the impression that you’re no longer in the Philippines; however the warm people who are always ready to offer a smile, or their old-fashioned restroom, even a ride in their pick-up truck to the next town will make you feel otherwise. The iconic stone houses won’t take you back in time; talking to Ivatan people will make you feel like you’re stuck in the glory days when you left your doors open all day and it was easy to trust anyone. It was traditional without being backwards. After almost a week in the island, I finally figured out what where the fascinating charm of Batanes is coming from: the easiness of life. It’s where lovers worried about which part of the island to go without being seen by anybody they know, which might be impossible for a population of 7,000. It’s where people are perplexed on which landscape is the best for goat and cow herding. It’s where locals do not fret about storms anymore, but imagine how much driftwood can they accumulate afterwards. It’s a where a young girl finds delight in a cheap sparkling bag that she found in the sack of trash. I hope that in the years to come, as the province slowly keeps up with modernisation, life in Batanes would remain uncomplicated. o
GOL DE N S TAT E par t ONE A photo essay about the golden state of California. WORDS AND PHOTOGR APHS BY R EBECCA LADER
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n March of 2013, I ventured out to the west coast with Christina, my #1 travel buddy. We flew into San Diego, eager to begin our week of exploring a city we had never set foot in before. My long-time friend, Annalee, who was attending her second semester at the University of San Diego, generously invited us to stay with her before the three of us would embark on a road trip up to Los Angeles. It’s been said that San Diego’s many beaches have specific vibes, and it isn’t too hard to find the one that suits you best. Ocean Beach, our first stop, was really laid back and relatively tranquil compared to our next stop, La Jolla. This beachside town is accurately known for it’s scenic beauty and thriving seal population, whose barks we heard from the beaches below us at the foot of the steep cliffs. En route to Orange County via Pacific Coast Highway, we pulled off of exits to explore picturesque places such as Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, and finally, a random set of train tracks in Del Mar that we walked along to find a perfect spot to watch the sun set. The next day we woke up in Laguna, and made our way to Thousand Steps Beach. Only slightly true to its name, we climbed over 200 steps to explore the beach’s cave during low tide. Our SoCal adventure concluded in Los Angeles. We tested our endurance at Runyon Canyon, a gradual two-mile hike that rewarded us with a glorious view of the Hollywood Hills. After making our way through the Santa Monica Pier and the Venice Beach boardwalk, we said our goodbyes to California – for the time being. o
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FA S H I O N
FASHION EDITED BY ECKS ABITONA
REFLECTION: IZZIYANA SUHAIMI The details are intricate, and her art’s overall aesthetic appeal is unique, something only someone with a deft hand could create. BY NINA PINEDA
L E AV I N G L A V I D A L O U I S To him, it was also a difficult feat to bring Balenciaga’s sculptural shapes that spelled only of languid glamour into the haute street-cool vibe it has gained over the years under his directorship. BY PAOL O SU M AYAO
PRACTICALITY A fashion editorial. BY JASH MANUEL
R EFLECTIONS: IZZIYA NA SUH A IMI
Our associate editor, Nina Pineda, reflects on the mixed media artist Izziyana Suhaimi. STORY BY NINA PINEDA, ILLUSTR ATIONS BY IZZI YA NA SUH A IMI
FA S H I O N
mbroidered art has been gaining a lot more attention in recent years, with people of all ages experimenting with the craft. Gone are the days of embroidery being known as a craft reserved mainly for little old ladies, as made evident by Singaporean artist, Izziyana Suhaimi, who dwells in the heart of this mixed media approach. When I first came across Izziyana’s work, I was stunned by how skillfully she had incorporated such ornate embroidery art into her illustrations, with the occasional watercolors here and there. The embroidered embellishments add a bright pop of color to the pieces, and it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The details are intricate, and her art’s overall aesthetic appeal is unique, something only someone with a deft hand could create. I can only dream of being as talented as she is one day. In one interview, Izziyana cites that it’s hard for her to pick a personal favorite work of hers. All pieces represent a journey, helping her remember how life was like for her at the time of its creation. She says they’ve become like diary entries in a way. Embroidery is such a time-consuming craft that requires dexterity, but for Izziyana, it is what attracted her to it in the first place. She enjoys the joys of craftsmanship and the long hours that go along with it, as opposed to the instant gratification of digital art. Personally, I love how she manages to push— or shove, rather—the boundaries of traditional art, meshing it with more recent, popular culture. She proves that traditional art is not dead; the possibilities are still as endless as ever, should one just learn to think straight out of the box. Her works have been exhibited in Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. o
P R A C T IC A L I T Y “When life is too short to be spent mired up on the roads. What do you turn to?” PHOTOGR APHS BY JASH MANUEL, MODELLED BY LANCE MANUEL
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L E AV I N G L A V I DA L O U I S
What happens to a brand when its creative mastermind leaves? Paolo Sumayao examines the fashion megahouse that is Louis Vuitton. S TORY BY PAOL O SU M AYAO, I L LUS T R AT ION BY T Z A DDI E SGU E R R A
t was a part-macabre, part festive, enterrement du monde. Like any other funerals it had the befitting gothique sensibilities of the colour black and that glum longing for what has transpired years before that quiet day at the Louvre. It’s as if the theatricalities of its venue—housing art history’s greatest—has been magnified by a working carousel, an antique elevator, matte-black escalators, a bubbling fountain, a luxurious hotel room flooring, and a lit clock from a railway station. Marc Jacobs has packed his trunk of showgirls and is leaving. Spanning sixteen years of creative power and literally directing the house’s transfiguration into a fashion force, Jacobs made the world peek under the skirts of the travelling Louis Vuitton woman, unpack her luggage, and pay attention not to her destination but a journey no one else would dare tread. Until today. THE WOMAN IN THE BAG, THE BAG IN THE WOMAN, AND MARC JACOBS IN BETWEEN
Pre-Jacobs, it was an impossible feat. They had their eyes fixated on the bags and luggage she carried around and the little trinkets that came with them. They saw the chic functionalities of the Papillons and the NeverFulls and the status symbols of these monogrammed pieces. They held firmly to the belief that a luxury brand of historical significance to the twenty-first century will survive daunting decades of fleeting fashion. They were right, but in the late nineties the brand needed to be more relevant, less reclusive, a play-shifting powerhouse that’s accessible to everyone on the streets, not to counterfeiters. It was after the mid-nineties that the brand forayed into ready-to-wear, but unlike Dior, Givenchy or Chanel, Jacobs as the maison’s creative spine didn’t have the luxury of archival information to get inspirations from, let alone get inside the head of the Louis Vuitton woman. We’re sure she has Damiers and Epis and Almas with her but what does she do? Where is she going? Jacobs asked these questions but essentially he concluded: why settle on the past when the Vuitton woman today is free to go anywhere, in cult-classic looks that will forever be in everyone’s
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travel journals? It was he who made everyone remember the Disheveled Mistresses stepping out of a hotel room (F/W13), the Mod Mavericks (S/S13), the pouty Train Porters (F/ W12), the sugary Carousel Creatures(S/S12), the Military Milieu (F/W11), the Shanghai Sirens (S/S11), the Afro Frou Frou (S/S10), the Bona Fide Bunnies (F/W09), the Disco Razzmatazz (S/S09), the Clinic-Chic Nurses (S/S08), the Flemish Femme Fatale (F/W07) and the Icy Floras (S/S07) who clutched, lifted, gripped, held, clasped and carried them. Their sheer theatricality only doubled the effect: a carousel, a full-scale model train, hotel corridors—but it was their stories that made us note where in the world the Louis Vuitton woman is heading next. Somehow, the world didn’t smell only of handcrafted leather goods but of the scent of a woman. It was new, but it was strangely familiar. Where he sparked the idea of who the Bag’s bearer was, he reinterpreted it through pop-culture lens. In the likes of artists Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince, and recently Yayoi Kusama, Jacobs repurposed the bags and accessories not as heritage pieces worthy of classic gestures but as pseudonyms of the changing times. It was a Warholian nod to what’s happening, statutory, and relevant. It was instant, memorable: Sprouse’s graffiti monograms, Prince’s stencil-spray-painted pieces, Murakami’s cherries, and Kusama’s dots had a certain ‘now-ness’ to them but will forever be relevant in the context of pop culture. Jacobs knew his customers and the figures they bring very well—he knows that for a brand to stay socially germane it has to have its eyes set on the past, present, and the future. Monsieur Vuitton was Louis Vuitton’s past, Jacobs was its present, and Ghesquiere its future. ‘BALENCIA-GHESQUIERE’
As if in a Gemini formation—Ghesquiere did to Balenciaga what Jacobs did to Louis Vuitton. Also a house furtively clutching to its past in the mid-nineties, it needed to have more appeal not only to its original clientele, but to their children’s (and grandchildren’s) growing populace. With Dior at once calling Cristobal Balenciaga ‘the master of us all’, Ghesquiere had to fill in a role more exaggerated than the eponymous designer’s signature silhouettes. Then, in early 2000, after gaining access to the house’s archives—a luxury for designers being tapped by established couture house—and eventually create iconic looks of today’s Balenciaga woman, the brand grew to thrice its revenues in his first few years of reign. To him, it was also a difficult feat to bring Balenciaga’s sculptural shapes that spelled only of languid glamour into the haute street-cool vibe it has gained over the years under his directorship. Construction, architectural elements, structure, minimalism and clean lines took over the house while the rest of the world still embraced the obsession over embellishments and outré silhouettes. Departing an archive full of crinolines, gazar, pillbox hats, baby-doll dresses, flamenco ruffles, toreador jackets, and oversized shapes, Ghesquiere reinterpreted the story but not entirely leaving its essence behind. He introduced us to an elevated world of industrial proportions: the Corporate Cubicle Crew (F/ W12) the Techno-Geek Chic (S/S12), the Painterly Structuralists (F/W11), the Asphalt Punks (S/S11 and S/S 10), the Sweet Minimalists (F/W09 – S/S09), the Armored Florals (S/S08), and the gold C3PO leggings of the Robotiques(S/S07). His modern, pre-futuristic take on the unlimited technological possibilities of fabric manipulation well employed by Monsieur Balenciaga himself during his era made perfect sense. Though rooted in the master’s theories of innovations, Ghesquiere spawned unique libations of accessories: the monastic hoodies, his Lego Sportilettos (F/W07) and
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knee-high lace-ups (S/S08) among other fierce footwear and the revival of the Balenciaga’s First, City, and Lariat bags made it clear that the house is up for an era driven by accessories set to become classics. He presented the Balenciaga woman with little or no theatricality at all. He knew that focus has to be made on the clothes—how the fabrics were controlled to look as if they were made by schooled industrial machines, how the construction looked so elaborate yet easy and relaxed, showing it fell on shoulders, cinched on waists and draped but it obscured its ‘how’—and he lived by the rules of innovation set by the Master himself. He has set foot at an even older house--Louis Vuitton—but a house that is ironically used to and true to the rules of revolution. Only this time, they won’t see carousels nor antique elevator shafts on the runway. G H E S Q U I E R E AT L O U I S V U I T T O N ’ S H E L M
Come March this year, the Ghesquiere woman will walk the runway for the first time with a Louis Vuitton bag as her accessory, and the world is on its toes to see what she looks like, where she’s going, or more intrepidly asking—will he be surpassing what his predecessor has accomplished say, a decade and a half from today? Sure—all of Jacob’s Galliano-at-par thespian staging may forever be muted in lieu of this new leadership, but is there more? The Fashion’s Forces have placed their bets already: the new Louis Vuitton woman is young, fresh, dynamic. With Ghesquiere she will walk the streets more instead of being chauffeured around the city. She will sky-dive, ride camels across desserts, para-glide, and take sunset hot-air balloon rides in ensembles constructed with the diligence of an architect, the space technology of a robotics engineer and the insane, artisanal craft of a classic-schooled artist. She’ll travel across the globe and into unknown territories with a trunk full of bags and accessories from artistic collaborations furthered under Ghesquiere’s directions. The nouveau Louis Vuitton woman won’t stop at her tracks. o
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MUSIC EDITED BY ELLIE CENTENO
H U N D R E D WAY S T O S K I N A RECORD In this age wherein the recording industry has progressed to the convenience of digital downloads, many are questioning the validity of album packaging. BY ALFONSO BASSIG
N OW H E R E TO G O BUT EVERY WHERE An interview with Young Readers and Afterhours Sessions. BY ELLIE CENTENO
M I S A P P RO P R I AT I O N You record at different speeds. You play it backwards. You add it to itself over and over again. You adjust filters, echoes, acoustic qualities BY BE L L E M A PA
A H U N DR E D WA Y S T O S K I N A R E C OR D
A list of the most elaborate and innovative physical album packaging we’ve seen through the years. WORDS BY ALFONSO BASSIG, ILLUSTR ATION BY JA MES BERNABE
t is one thing for an artist to create an album’s worth of music, and it is another to package this material for public consumption. In this age wherein the recording industry has progressed to the convenience of digital downloads, many are questioning the validity of album packaging. More than a marketing tactic, physical albums serve as tangible investments for listeners who want an experience that is not in any way downloadable. Before EP’s and LP’s hit record store shelves, it is usually up to the label’s creative departments to cast their magic on the unfinished albums—and much to the artist’s advantage; there are moments in which these people outdo themselves. Here are some records that pushed the boundaries of creative album packaging: T H E B E AT L E S ( 1 9 6 8 )
The Beatles At the peak of their global breakthrough, legendary English rock band The Beatles released their self-titled effort in 1968—characterized to be one of the most diverse records in pop history. Commonly known as the “The White Album” as it had no cover graphics whatsoever but the band’s embossed name and a stamped serial number on a plain white sleeve, it played a great contrast against its studio album predecessor Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club whose cover art was a psychedelically vivid collage of a 60’s pop culture explosion. The earliest releases were each stamped with a unique 7-digit serial number up until 1970 when they discontinued printing covers of its kind (with 3116706 allegedly being the last.) A good play of irony and minimalist conceptual art, these three million or so “numbered” editions of the Beatles’ record have become a treasure for Beatles connoisseurs worldwide—the lower the number, the higher it’s worth! MOOI BESOEDELING (2009)
Zinkplaat From South Africa hails Zinkplaat, an Afrikaans pop-rock-blues-fusion band. With the group’s name translating to “corrugated metal” and their fourth album’s title an equivalent to “Beautiful Pollution,” designers at Fanakalo created a design that would represent these ideas through the album’s packaging. A layer of metal-
lic scratch-off ink covers the casing front and back—as if it’s “polluted”—and the beauty comes in once you see what’s beneath the grey. When scraped off with the guitar pick (that comes with the album,) it will reveal an exquisite cosmic-inspired collage artwork—visually displaying Mooi Besoedeling in its full elegance. BACK TR ACKS (2009)
AC/DC Sometimes boxed set designs are just simply overdone, producing packaging that are creative but rather impractical, especially if you’re just in it for the music. For example, there’s a Ray Charles 1952-1959 8-CD collection packaged inside a vintage turntable and Graf Orlock’s Doombox EP was enclosed in a huge fold-up boombox—both were crafted with only plastic and cardboard. This isn’t the case, however, for Australian rock legends AC/DC and their Backtracks collector’s edition amplifier boxed set. Inside the 12”x12”x4” exterior are AC/DC rarities that include a 164-page booklet, old promotional tour posters and other original memorabilia—covered on top by a one-watt guitar amplifier that actually works! TA K E C A R E , TA K E C A R E , TA K E C A R E ( 2 0 1 1 )
Explosions in the Sky In 2011, American instrumental post-rock band Explosions in the Sky released their sixth studio album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care whose quadruple gatefold cover can be folded into a four-cornered house. You can choose from three color variations, but they all have the same easter egg—when viewed from the inside, the view from the door of the house is overlooking a tornado from afar. P I N K TA P E ( 2 0 1 3 )
f(x) Remember those old VHS tapes of vacation trips you and your parents would watch on the television as a kid? Last year, one of South Korea’s most experimental-sounding girl groups, f(x), released their highly anticipated second full-length album Pink Tape and put back the VHS on record stores. SM Entertainment releasing an art film as a teaser two weeks before the comeback was definitely a hint that the aptly-named album will be a visually appealing one. Of course it doesn’t work like how normal analogue recording cassettes would, but nevertheless the throwback design emphasizes what the record wants to give out—a nostalgic ex-
perience of eerie movie-like romance with electronic pangs of teenage eccentricity. Other Korean pop albums with out-of-the-box packaging include: PSY’s Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1 EP and its fishbowl-like container; G-Dragon’s Heartbreaker whose metal box has the singer’s iconic whiteface embossed on the cover, and EXO’s XOXO with its high school yearbook concept. AT T H E Z O O W I T H 5 7 F R I E N D S ( 1 9 6 9 )
Metronome Quintet While the thought of jazz and metronomes would imply something traditional and standard, this release seems to have scatted on a different pace. In 1969, The Metronome Quintet –a Swiss jazz band comprising of Bruno Spoerri (saxophone), Ueli Staub (vibraphone), Martin Hugelshofer (piano), Felix Rogner (bass), and Rolf Bänniger (drums)—put out their At the Zoo LP, a record known for its quirky (and probably expensive) packaging. On the cover is a cut-out face of a cat which initially gives reason to the album title. But once you open the gatefold jacket, say hello to the pop-up wildlife and be amazed at how they really stayed true to the whole “at the zoo” concept. SHALIMAR OST (1978)
Various Artists Shalimar (known as Raiders of the Sacred Stone on the English version) is a 1978 Indo-American action film written, produced, and directed by Krishna Shah. The original soundtrack features different artists, one of which is the legendary composer Rahul Dev Burman—a prominent Bollywood figure for his revolutionary approach in musicality and for scoring over 300 films during his time. Shalimar’s soundtrack garnered different awards and was even featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. With great justification for RDB’s unorthodox touch and the eclectic blend of Bengali folk and jazz fusion; everything is nested in an intricate fold-out album casing which blooms like a flower from the octagonal center, branching out to stills from the film itself. Although Shalimar didn’t commercially prosper during the period of its release, this original soundtrack—in its musical and visual greatness—remains to be a gem. o
NOW HER E TO GO BUT EV ERY W HER E
We interviewed Afterhours Sessions and Young Readers about their intimate relationship with music and travel. WOR DS BY E L L I E C E N T E NO , PHOTOS BY M A L L IS A M AY, JA N E T K A NG A N D BENJAMIN HANDLER
n this issue of STACHE Magazine, we brought together Oklahoma-bred singer/ songwriter Jordan Herrera of Young Readers and Benjamin Handler of Iowabased group of musical creatives Afterhours Sessions to tell us about their respective crafts and their shared love of incorporating travelling across America with their passion for music. First featured in the STACHE ‘21 Artists You Should Be Watching Out For’ article released in the September 2013 mini-issue, Young Readers is Jordan Herrera’s one-man indie/folk project that started in 2012 in the woods of Jackson County, Oklahoma. After dropping out of college and spending two weeks locked in his bedroom recording the Family Trees EP, Jordan went on tour for three weeks the day it was released in March of 2013. “Not much has changed [since then], except now I spend more time on the road and don’t have a bedroom anymore,” he says. Music having played a major role in his life as he grew up, he started playing the violin at the age of three and have been playing in bands as early as in his middle school years. One thing that I loved about his six-track EP, other than how his songs gave me a home-away-from-home feeling, was how it was packaged. He said he heard about a band selling their first CD wrapped in pages from children’s books and thought that would be a great, inexpensive way to release his first EP but with pages from a coloring book. Following that, he came up with the idea of printing the album on construction paper and including a word search on the back. “It’s really hard to turn down a free CD, especially one that comes with crayons. It’s been a great way for me to connect with my audience. I’ve been blown away by all the different versions I’ve seen of the album and even held a coloring contest last year to have the winner’s artwork featured on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify,” states Jordan. Sometime last year, he sent me a package containing his EP, a box of crayons and little memorabilia he picked up while on tour and my admiration for him as an artist and as a person grew by a mile because with it, I came to understand how his dedication to his music translates in everything that he does. Jordan eventually introduced me to Afterhours Sessions, an Iowa Citybased group of filmmakers, photographers and social media mavens brought together in April of last year by their love for music and all that comes with it. “We take artists out of the spotlight and into the streetlight; filming intimate, unrehearsed 1-take music videos across the United States. Afterhours began as a little side-project between myself and girlfriend-at-the-time Janet Kang. I filmed while she ran the boom microphone and took photos. We’d find bands we liked passing through town and ask them to do a session and surprisingly, most said yes. Since then, our crew has shifted a bit—our road trip, the Afterhours tour, was with myself and Jordan—but our commitment to our craft has remained consistent,” Ben says when asked about Afterhours Sessions. The idea of Afterhours Sessions was birthed from Ben’s experience with unsatisfying concerts, “No matter the band, the shows were virtually interchangeable: The venues were crowded, the shows expensive and the acoustics were always subpar. The band would play some songs. The crowd would nod along. The shows were sterile; there was no real participation between the band and the fans aside from the occasional canned, impersonal crowd banter between songs. I wanted to be more than just a bystander in a crowd—I wanted to experience the music on a more personal level. So, after a show for a local band
No Coast, I asked the bass player if they might film a song with me. We found an alleyway near the venue and filmed a few tracks with the band.” The name ‘Afterhours Sessions’ came to them naturally so they decided to just go with it and since then, they’ve filmed 49 bands and over 100 sessions. I asked Ben if they have discovered such a thing as a unique American sound in their travels, and he answered, “When we first started to plan our Afterhours Goes South road-trip, I had this fear in the back of my mind that American music was heavily region-specific: that the south was going to be 100% red-blooded country, folk and Americana music and that’s just the way it was. I was pleasantly surprised; every genre is everywhere. The world is so inter-connected now that your location has an ever-shrinking role in the art you can create. What’s more telling is a band’s influences. For every musician from Tulsa, Oklahoma that was subjugated to local legend Garth
Brooks as a kid, there’s ten others that were listening to David Bowie, Radiohead or St. Vincent. American music is as diverse as the music that Americans listen to.” With their travels across America fuelled by their passion for music and reminiscent of a modernday mixture of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I sat down with Ben of Afterhours Sessions and Jordan of Young Readers to ask them about life, music and their best moments on the road. B R I N G I N G A LO N G T H E C O N C E P T O F T R AV E L I N S E A R C H O F G O O D M U S I C , W H AT O B S TAC L E S DID YOU E NCOU NTE R ON TH E ROAD?
Afterhours Sessions: Up until the Afterhours Goes South tour, Janet and I were only weekend warriors. The tour required a level of organization and planning that I could barely fathom—booking bands months in
advance, planning places to stay in parts of the country I’d never even dreamed of visiting—Thankfully, Jordan was part of my team. He’s been doing the touring artist gig for several years now and was absolutely instrumental in the tour being successful. I probably wouldn’t have gotten much past Missouri without him. Young Readers: My latest crisis happened after departing from Ben Handler and Afterhours Sessions in St. Louis, MO. We just made it back from being on the road for two weeks filming bands and I forgot that my car had a slight radiator leak. Ben dropped me off at my car, we said our goodbyes and then I hopped on the highway back to Oklahoma. I made it an hour down the road before a giant cloud of smoke enveloped my entire car. I broke down in Springfield, MO, spent five days waiting for my car to get fixed and had to pawn my fiddle and some recording gear to pay for the repairs.
It was a huge defeat, and it has taken me almost three months to save up enough to buy back everything out of pawn. CAN YOU TE LL US ABOUT YOU R TOU R /S?
Afterhours Sessions: Our tour took us to 12 cities across the southern United States. It was winter, so the south seemed the obvious choice. We filmed 21 bands in total, sometimes filming 3 bands in a day before driving 5 hours to our next destination. It was an intense experience, but really rewarding. The tour was interesting for me because I was so far out of my established element the entire time. We asked each band to scout locations for us because we didn’t know the cities well (most I had never been to). We would roll into a new town and, within 15 minutes of parking, have our gear set up and rolling. It was a whirlwind. We filmed on a fog-covered beach, inside an abandoned warehouse and along-side a line of youngsters waiting for an Arctic Monkeys show,
to name just a few spots. Young Readers: Touring is single-handedly my all-time favorite type of adventuring. I love seeing new places and meeting new people, and when it’s in the budget, eating the best food found around the globe. I always feel like I can’t get away with saying this, but I love getting the chance to play festivals and be on the same poster as some of the best bands around. Last year I shared festival bills with Dr. Dog, Earl Sweatshirt, The National and Big Boi were supposed to play at NXNE, too, but Ludacris made for a great runner-up. S O FA R , W H AT H A S B E E N YO U R FAVO U R I T E M O M E N T O N -T H E - G O?
Afterhours Sessions: On our way out of the abandoned warehouse in Gulfport in Mississippi (filming with ukelele artist Ian Phillips), we were greeted by 3 police officers. We had slipped past a gate to get in—we’re all pretty skinny dudes—but they weren’t able to do so. The warehouse was covered in graffiti and they assumed we were the culprits. We told them we were just shooting a music video. They didn’t believe it, so they asked Ian if he could play the Ukulele that he was holding. He ended up playing an entire song. The construction workers across the road were nodding and dancing along and we were all trying our hardest not to laugh. The police officers were pretty bewildered with the whole situation. One of the officers said this was the strangest call he’d ever attended to. They let us go and told us, rather reluctantly, that we probably shouldn’t go into any more abandoned buildings anymore. That really made me like Gulfport, and made me appreciate the small, less travelled destinations we visited on our trip. Young Readers: I love the moments that you could never see coming. While Ben and I were filming bands in Nashville, we met a homeless guy that offered to show us his skill on the cup trumpet, which essentially was just him making trumpet noises with his mouth through a cup with the bottom ripped out. T H I S I S S U E O F S TAC H E F O C U S E S O N P E O P L E A N D T H E I R C R A F T. W H AT D R I V E S YO U T O D O A L L T H I S , K N O W I N G T H AT YO U F U N D YO U R PROJ EC TS OUT OF YOU R OWN POCKE TS?
Afterhours Sessions: For me it’s quite simple. I always wanted to play music, but never was disciplined enough—I never put the time or effort in. My craft is camerawork, but my passion is discovering and listening to music. Afterhours seamlessly combines these two while allowing me create something substantial and meaningful for others to experience. And, just as the musician must perform for our sessions, so must our crew. I treat the filming process as a skill to be honed, and the more work we put in the better we get—and the better the videos we produce are. Finding a way to monetize afterhours—or simply not lose money—would be ideal, but we’ll take it one step at a time. In the meantime, we’ll be filming more sessions! Young Readers: I tour because there is nothing else in the world like it. Even after being back home for a few weeks I always start to get an itch to get back on the road. I do this out of pure heart. I haven’t made any money yet, and I don’t really plan to. I’m sure eventually touring might pay for itself, but I’m not looking to make any house payments with my music or really even aspire to own a house. I rather see the world until there isn’t any more world to see. Music is just a good excuse to travel. W H AT E L S E I S I N S T O R E F O R A F T E R H O U R S SE SSIONS AN D YOU NG RE ADE RS IN TH E N E AR FUTURE?
Afterhours Sessions: Jordan and I have big plans! There’s a big annual music festival that happens in Iowa City in April called Mission Creek. The line-up is stellar, and Afterhours is going to be doing a bunch of sessions with some big bands! Jordan is in the process of securing a spot in the fest line-up and, if all goes well, we’ll be working together again come April. There’s also rumor of another road trip possibly taking place this summer… stay tuned! Young Readers: Starting in March I will have a tour exclusive EP, t-shirts and a tour supporting Epilogues from New Jersey. After that, I’m touring to California supporting John Calvin on his way to record a new album in San Francisco and will start recording a fulllength album of my own in the fall. o
Follow Young Readers at @youngreaders on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/YoungReadersMusic Follow Afterhours Sessions at @afterhourssessions on Instagram and Tumblr and on Facebook at facebook.com/AfterhoursSessions
mis•appropriation: THE A RT OF MUSIC SA MPLING
Said the interviewer to the artist: ‘In his manifesto, Reality Hunger, David Shields discusses the artist as a master robber.’ Said the artist to the interviewer: ‘I don’t know if it’s theft…everything is derivative, I feel.’ W R I T T E N B Y B E L L E M A PA , M U S I C B Y B . P. VA L E N Z U E L A , PHOTOS BY THUR EES OBENZA
Let’s say all the things we never said, says Russell Hammond to Penny Lane. “Have you watched Almost Famous?” the artist asks me. I reply with an apologetic “No, I haven’t.” “You should!” the artist says. “For reference, it’s where Russell Hammond is on a phone call with Penny Lane.” She’s talking about a sample she used in one of her tracks. “That was just like, wow,” she gushes. “It’s one of my favorite songs—lines of dialogue. Even if I didn’t necessarily agree with the character.” I read a quote from Peter Mountford’s unpublished manuscript, Alistair Wright, that went something like: What’s appropriation art? It’s when you steal but make a point of stealing, because by changing the context you change the connotation. The artist B.P. says pretty much the same thing about her sampled dialogue. “When you take it out of context and put it into something different entirely, it means something new altogether.” I’m sitting down at a deli with the budding singer-songwriter-producer-composer B.P. Valenzuela—cropped hair, glasses, huge headphones around her neck, and all. We’re having a little chat about her craft as a musical artist and sound sampler. She talks about real life sounds. Dial tones. Busy tones. The shutter of a camera. Static—a sound she recreated through crumpling paper. “The samples are actually incidental,” she says. “When I write a song, I write about an experience. For example, my track Building. There are samples that aren’t necessarily melodic.” I nod and check if my recording of this interview is working as she phrases her thoughts. “I think they’re for evoking a kind of experience in the song that, you know,” she pauses. “I mean, to further excite the imagination when it came to the whole scheme of the song and to frame the experience, I sampled a lot of daily life elements.” It all makes for a more imaginative experience, she adds. Pablo Picasso is noted to have said Art is theft.
“I feel like all of art is derivative,” B.P. makes sense of a quote I mention. “It’s not imitation but a synthesis of a lot of different things—literature, even design. I’m inspired by a lot of design—industrial design. Everything is derivative, I feel.” I quote T.S. Eliot’s revision of Picasso’s statement. “Good poets borrow; great poets steal.” “Well, I’m currently working on this paper,” she looks at an open Word file on her laptop. “About the cyclical theory of history—where history repeats itself—Mark Twain has a quotation: ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.’” She’s thrilled to talk about Kanye’s genius at having quoted the same line in A Million Dollar Bills. “He really says that, like literally taking from Mark Twain!” In ODESZA’s Intro, the opening track to the album Summer’s Gone, static loops as a male voice speaks, You take a sound. Any sound. Record it… I recall a conversation we had before about her work. She mentioned the other day that she takes from films. “For this one song,” she says. “I got a snippet of dialogue from Almost Famous. I try to sample other songs, but very rarely. I’m not the remixing kind of person.” There’s a kind of enhancement dialogue gives to a track that doesn’t quite level with sung lyrics. It defies its accompanying score, not quite fitting into the melody but functioning just as well. B.P. says, on an emotional level, it helps frame a particular feeling she wishes to evoke in a song. “Have you watched Almost Famous?” she asks. I reply with an apologetic “No, I haven’t.” You record at different speeds. You play it backwards. You add it to itself over and over again. You adjust filters, echoes, acoustic qualities. You combine segments of magnetic tape… so continues ODESZA’s Intro. I voice out a current curiosity. “What operations on samples do you use most? What do you like most about changing the sound of a sample?” “When I take dialogue, sometimes there’s scoring. It’s a tricky process. I have to adjust the polarity…” It takes B.P. a while to explain past technicalities.
She stops there. “For other samples, like real life samples, I reduce the hum. To make it more realistic, I do this thing called binaural panning.” My reaction gives away the fact that I have absolutely no idea what that is. “So this is the head,” she accompanies her explanation with animated hand gestures. “And this is the area surrounding your head,” her hands make circles over her head, disheveling her hair in the process. “So it’s not just left-right…it’s from the top-bottom…the back…” It’s the space taken up by the sound that she attempts to portray. Each movement represents where sound comes and goes. We relate the procedure to a panoramic picture. But for sound. The sound can be elevated or placed at ear level. It’s about creating the illusion that space can be heard. She talks about manipulating samples, motioning to her right where the sound of a shutter could come from. At the mention of using a dial tone, she makes a telephone out of her hand and places it against her ear. It’s about focusing the sound to only one side, to make only one ear hear it. “There’s this sample from my song All That You Are,” she goes on. “Where a plane makes its way— it takes off.” The song transports the listener into an airplane. Surrounding sounds from inside the cabin play in the background. Then the noise of the plane taking off comes into perspective. “On a binaural map, it’s like this—” B.P. moves her hand in a diagonal line above her head, accompanied by an onomatopoeic pshew. “Well, that’s just me,” she finishes her spiel. “Some of my other friends really do sample from other songs. Sometimes, I sample me reciting poetry to also frame the song in a narrative way.” In passing, she drops the name of e.e. cummings, having used his poetry as inspiration and content in her tracks. For another song unreleased, she says, she sampled a passage from Steinbeck’s East of Eden. “Sometimes I have these immersive experiences akin to staying in a sauna or in a tub,” she says. “Then suddenly after like three hours straight of listening to something, you wanna make something. It’s not derivative. It’s just like, woah, I want to make some-
thing. I feel like making something. I appreciate things that are made, and now I want to make something.” She recounts how she got into making music. “It was in grade 7, or 1st year high school… I’ve been [screwing] around with things for a really long time.” By these means and many others you can create sounds which no one has ever heard before… End: Intro by ODESZA. A half hour spent setting up equipment leads to a day spent recording sounds. Crumpled paper rests next to her. She tests her track. A set of iPod earphones connects to her laptop. She’s gauging the sound, should someone listen to it on a regular set of earphones in the future. She switches back to her signature headphones. Layers upon layers of sound build up. It’s overwhelming. Maybe her ears are just tired. B.P. lies down awhile. Her almost finished track incubates as she naps. “Tell me about that kind of intimacy with your work?” the world of sampling intrigues the outsider in me. “Like the sound design of everything,” she speaks in fragmented images. “From the lyrics to the layers of sounds. Everything from the monologue at the start to the samples. Just everything, if something doesn’t feel right I scrap the whole thing. Since I produce it, I write it, I mix it, it’s an enormous amount of creative control that’s sometimes overwhelming.” I mention artist’s intuition. Gut feel. Possible pegs. B.P. tells me she tries not to sound a certain way. She says in all honesty she doesn’t know who or what she sounds like. I’m thinking of the translation and transliteration of emotion into sound, of sound into writing. I’m thinking: loads of recording equipment. A mic stand here, a keyboard there, headphones over my ears, and cutting up parts pre-existing—the way you would collect items and supplies for a new scrapbook. I’m thinking about appropriation and misappropriation. How it is to lift sounds from other places, to stack them up, to build or rebuild a whole new experience. “I write lyrics first,” she says. “Then everything else comes after.” o
Hear more of B.P. by visiting her SoundCloud account: http://soundcloud.com/bpvalenzuela
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C U LT U R E EDITED BY CINDY HERNANDEZ
LITERARY VIDEO GAMES The game scene now even boasts a new hunger amongst players for games based on literary classics. BY CINDY HER NA NDEZ
OF MONSTERS AND MEN His performances are a spectacle in itself, sometimes you find yourself watching his films not for interesting plots or underlying social commentary, but simply because he’s in it. BY MARTY ARNALDO
T H E D A I LY G R I N D Supposedly, the kind of coffee you drink says a lot about you— and no, this is not just some musing uttered over the coffee table. BY BEA ASTUDILLO
POETRY ’S GLOV E
The Catcher In the Rye follows a divided boy trying to feel himself out, experimenting with possibilities and going about life trying to figure out what he wants out of it R EV IEW BY CINDY HER NA NDEZ , ILLUSTR ATION BY MIC A AGR EG A DO
he world first caught sight of Holden Caulfield nearly seventy years ago when J.D. Salinger published a short story featuring him in an issue of The New Yorker. I first became acquainted with Caulfield over a decade ago, as a freshman in my high school English class. At the age of fifteen, I thought Holden had it right: there’s no need to associate with phonies, living out in the woods in a cabin is ideal, Mercutio is the best character in Romeo and Juliet, and of course, smoking is kind of really cool, despite lung cancer and other horrible ways of dying due to tobacco. After a decade of forgetting how much I idolized Holden to a certain degree in my teenage years, I still can’t deny that Salinger’s depiction of a fickle, seventeen-year-old boy’s misadventures brings to mind fond memories of studying a book whose content was so taboo that it was banned in certain parts of the States. The novel begins with Holden sitting in a therapist’s office—on my first read I didn’t realize this—and telling the therapist his account of that weekend he left Pencey in the middle of the night. From then on, we follow a sixteen-year-old Holden telling us why he got kicked out of the fourth school in the last couple of years, why he’s a pacifist—although he tends to create conflict—and why he ultimately doesn’t want to live the life of an upper class New York City citizen. Holden’s ultimate naivety sends him through a series of events no one can truly relate to. He comes from a world where the remnants of World War II are still vivid, where segregation still exists, where you can walk in the middle of the night through Central Park and not get mugged, and where almost no one asks for identification when buying alcohol. Despite these differences, there’s something about Salinger’s ability to describe a confused kid’s thoughts and actions that make you sympathize with this confused soul, if only to smack him and tell him to wake up and grow up. The Catcher In the Rye follows a divided boy trying to feel himself out, experimenting with possibilities and going about life trying to figure out what he wants out of it. Although not many of us like to confide and admit to being lost, I’m pretty sure anyone reading this novel can relate to Caulfield on some level. If you haven’t read it, expect to get some amazing laughs out of it, expect falling in love with Salinger’s depiction of Phoebe—Holden’s younger sister—and don’t expect to come to a realization of what makes Holden, Holden. It wasn’t till this second read as an adult for me to see where he’s coming from, and why he wants to be the catcher in the rye. o
ONE K IND OF FOLKS
In the end, we learn that even with the best of intentions, some people are bound to win, even if it isn’t fair. R EV IEW BY CINDY HER NA NDEZ , ILLUSTR ATION BY MIC A AGR EG A DO
et in the mid-1930s in Maycomb County (made-up county), Alabama, To Kill A Mockingbird sees the passing of two years through the eyes of “almost sixyears old” Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout. Harper Lee’s novel about the Deep South depicts how Americans struggled with race and class on a daily basis. The novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize was published in 1960, and is a modern American classic. Harper Lee reels us into the story of a southern tomboy who follows her older brother’s footsteps into adventures only kids their ages can stumble upon. We see how Scout’s relationship with her brother, Jem, changes from rough housing with him towards the beginning of the story, to her realizing that Jem has grown and she can no longer take him on, not because she’s a girl, but because he’s gotten bigger than her. Apart from these sibling disputes, we see how the neighborhood in which they live help form their views of the world. During those two years of Scout’s life, she learns how roles are assigned to individual people merely due to an individual’s race, sex and/or class. For Scout, being the descendent of Simon Finch—the first Finch in Alabama who established the homestead known as Finch’s Landing—it means she has to act like a noble lady, able to befriend only people of her same stature or so her Aunt Alexandra tells her. Apart from the antiquated lessons taught to her by her aunt, Scout learns through her father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer, that the world in which they live is filled with injustices, and that even though this is the case, one must always fight for what is right, even if the status quo thinks otherwise. Scout comes to the realization that one’s race, sex or social status doesn’t affect how one should be treated. Eventually, after seeing how her town reacts to her father when he is assigned to represent Tom Robinson in an upcoming trial, she concludes that “there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” The novel revolves around this trial, depicting the quaint, peaceful town of Maycomb before and after the event. Had the case not featured a white man, Atticus, defending a black man, Robinson, who is being blamed for raping a white woman, the novel wouldn’t be as highly regarded as it is. In the end, we learn that even with the best of intentions, some people are bound to win, even if it isn’t fair. Lee’s depiction of southern life is bittersweet, allowing us to see a side of the world we’re more than glad is part of the past. o
DIGITA L LOV E
A “Her” film review R EV IEW BY M A RT Y A R NA LDO, ILLUSTR ATION BY TZ A DDI ESGUER R A
et in the near future, in a dystopian version of L.A.— that looks like you’ve stepped into a 70’s Apple Ad— Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) finds love. The fact that he’s found it in the form of a smart and witty operating system forms the main dilemma of one of this quirky sci-fi romcom. Theodore—a sad eyed, puppy dog of a man— is a letter writer. A spinner of heart felt and beautifully written deeply personal letters— think personalized conversational hallmark cards—who after the disintegration of his marriage, falls for the husky voiced of Samantha (Scarlett Johannsson), who simply oozes with sensuality and that you can’t possibly blame anyone for falling in love, corporeal form be damned. In one could probably be one of the more likely and realistic meet cute than most of your run of the mill rom coms as he boots and is greeted by his OS for the first time. It’s love at first click. This budding romance is set against Theodore’s impending divorce and the various women he meets. From his ice queen of an ex-wife (Rooney Mara) to his supportive neighbor and confidant (Amy Adams) and the host of others that you can’t help but compare to the sharp and vibrant Samantha who just so happens to laugh at all your jokes— sometimes life isn’t fair. Theodore’s Letters echoes his relationship with Samantha and the artificial beauty of conversations simulated for aesthetics sake. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that leaves you wondering what it truly means to be a in love and human. Despite its rather strange set-up it’s more than just a love story between man and technology, at the heart of this film is a modern love story that really gets us thinking about the nature of love, intimacy and the human condition. It’s really all about the loneliness and isolation we feel and finding that level of intimacy with someone other than ourselves. It’s a visual stunning film; a clean and sanitized minimalist setting that furthers accentuates the distance and isolation felt by our lonely protagonist. A stand out score further sets the tone for the film, as the collaboration between Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet providing for an excellent moody and melancholy accompaniment to this sweet and soulful slow burn of a film. And with the dreamy and goose bump inducing loveliness of Karen O’s Moon Song it will leave you emotionally spent and heart-broken but in a good way. This boy meets AI love story is one of the best romantic creations of the decade. They’re flawed yet supremely lovable and its in these relationships of these endearing array of characters that truly make your heart stir. Equal parts heartbreaking, as it is whimsical this high concept sci-fi love story, a quirky and endearing commentary on human relationships that come to celluloid life with wit and vigor. A film that would probably go down as Spike Jonze’s most mature and visceral film to date. o
THE LITTLE TR A IN TH AT COULDN’T
A “Snowpiercer” film review R EV IEW BY M A RT Y A R NA LDO, ILLUSTR ATION BY TZ A DDI ESGUER R A
irected by South Korean film auteur Bong Joon-ho this film adaptation of the French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige by y Jacques Lob & Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, is set two decades after the second ice age as the last remnants of mankind take refuge in a perpetually moving train the Snowpiercer. This flawed yet ambitious film tries its best to meld big budget Hollywood stylistics with a the more art house form that Joon-ho is much more used to with mixed results. To make sense of it is to suspend your belief in logic and just let the films absurdity wash over you, which isn’t always an easy task. It’s a tonal mess of a film, with its Asian sensibility and absurdist humor unable translate and transition well into a more western format. Playing out like action-adventure game each train compartment seems like your transitioning to the next stage of a video game, fending off hordes of generic minions and mini bosses along the way. The detail in these set design are quite the sight though, with each cart providing a different feel and ambiance to the proceeding delivering the bulk of the momentum as you move from the squalid rear to the regal front. An overtly animated wasteland though takes away from the general sense of dread that you’re suppose to feel as the train takes you around what is suppose to be the icy terrors of what used to be earth. The underlying social commentary is one of the few truly interesting aspects of this grand dystopian future, despite this thought provoking portrayal of social stratification, it’s in the execution where in the story falters. And with all its ambition and its dizzying amount of shocking revelations it comes out as rather awkward than impressive. Chris Evans flounders as the reluctant hero, the brooding Curtis Everett. His lacks the presence or weight needed for the lead role. Instead, he treats us with a bevy of awkward grunts and furrowed eyebrows to portray his supposed tortured soul. His flat and uninspiring performance takes away from the rather impressive cast and some fine turns from the likes of John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer and most of all Tilda Swilton— who delivers as the deliciously dastardly fascist figurehead Mason. It’s Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung, as the crazy cantankerous drug addicted security expert Namgoong Minsu (Kang Ho) and his clairvoyant and equally drug happy daughter (Ah-Sung) that truly shine throughout the film. Driving to the film forward to its insipid bombast of an ending. It’s a thinking mans sci-fi films that leaves you perplexed at what just happened and not in a good way. Despite some fun and impressive scenes and all its posturing and genuine pursuit of artistic bravado, this grand sci-fi epic it falls short of lofty goals. o
LITER A RY V IDEO GAMES
The game scene now even boasts a new hunger amongst players for games based on literary classics. STORY BY CINDY HER NA NDEZ ILLUSTR ATION BY V INCE PUERTO
ecades ago, video games were denounced by critics as bad for the collective youth. They would particularly focus on how video games made players lazy, obese and violent. These days, critics still have qualms about how video games affect children, but as game developers have branched out from solely making first-person-shooter games and introduced more educational ones; critics have eased their bad mouthing tendencies. The game scene now even boasts a new hunger amongst players for games based on literary classics. This trend of literature influencing a video game isnâ€™t anything new. In 1989, Nintendo released
“Adventures of Tom Sawyer” for the N.E.S. Three years ago, a couple of developers (Charlie Hoey and Peter Malamud Smith) gave life to “The Great Gatsby,” an 8-bit game inspired by a 1990s game cartridge, “Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari” (they found the game at a yard sale). Although the previous titles have barely been recognized by the masses in recent years, there has been a game that was embraced by the mainstream; and there have been three others that are currently in production. In 2010, Electronic Arts—one of the world’s largest gaming company—published Dante’s Inferno, an
action-adventure video game based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The game’s storyline follows a young crusader journeying through the nine circles of hell to find his fiancée’s soul, which is being tortured by Lucifer. The game is developed to have players go through a maze and finally save the “princess” at the end, which is possibly the most derivative interpretation of Dante’s epic poem about a poet being led by Virgil through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. But what can one expect when a game is developed for profit and not necessarily for the love of the material being used? Not all video-game renditions of classic litera-
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ture can religiously portray a novel’s plot, but in the case of the forthcoming game, “Walden, a game,” this tendency might come to an end. The game, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, is based on Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Its lead game designer, University of Southern California Associate Professor, Tracy Fullerton has described the game as having a first-person view of the woods as Thoreau did during his two-year stint in the mid-1840s living off the land in Concord, Mass. A date of release has yet to be announced, but it is obvious that it will allow the player to experience a world unbeknownst to many of us. While anything related to Jane Austen might only be interesting to a specific group of people, this is not the case in the gaming world. The Kickstarter-funded, “Ever Jane,” proves this. The game’s release date is set two years from now, but supporters seem not to mind, especially since they will be able to take on the role of an actual character in Austen’s England, in this role playing game. Words or rather gossip, will be the weapons that will allow you to advance to other levels. As every Austen aficionado knows, balls and dinner parties are vital in the stories, and these along with mini-games (based on various pastimes influenced by the novels) will grant the player bonus points, which will no doubt help anyone move onto better story lines. Whilst Dante’s epic poem depicted as a game might seem unusual, knowing that since fall of 2012, Russian developer Denis Galanin has been collecting Franz Kafka’s stories to make them into a game is far more bizarre. Not much is known about the forthcoming game, other than it will be released for iOS, PC, Mac, Android and Linux some day this year. Galanin released a teaser trailer of “The Franz Kafka Videogame” early December, and describes the game as “a classic adventure game.” We’ll only know which stories he uses once we start playing this game, although Galanin has teased with words such as: “absurdity,” “surrealism,” and “puzzles.” o
CONFESSIONA L POTTERY POE T RY BY BE L L E M A PA
t begins with sand. Substance enters
shells under heavy waters. The pearl grows attachedâ€”
The wheel spins beyond speed. Dislodged
from its center the bowl of its own volition
disfigures. Soiled hands crumple
and scrap the clay still malleable.
â€”to its maker. Until the time it is picked away it remains there. Morphed incomplete, not all pearls form to perfection. o
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BR A NCHING OUT
An examination of an artwork in two different mediums, simultaneously. WORDS BY TONIE MORENO
onathan Safran Foer’s book, or sculpture as he likes to call it, Tree Of Codes was constructed by cutting out pieces of text from Foer’s favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Polish author Bruno Schulz. The book is both a remarkable piece of art and of literature. Foer is famed and occasionally ridiculed for the unconventional format and style of his novels. Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close for instance, is peppered with lists of numbers, photographs, confusing syntax and ends with a 14 page flip book of a 9/11 jumper being sucked up into one of the towers. There is plenty of talk regarding the “death/destruction of a novel” borne out of ebooks and other advancements in technology. Tree of Codes gives this debate the middle finger and says ‘Look at what I can do!’ The book in itself is a rework of The Street Of Crocodiles, made by die cutting each page. The title in itself was snipped from The Street of Crocodiles and Foer intricately scissors Schulz’s words into ribbons for the next 134 pages. This is a technique that has long since been used by the like of Tom Phillips in A Humument, a book that Foer admits did it most brilliantly. I held the book in my hands with reverence, like it was a lost Gospel or one of Beyonce’s toenail clippings. It was every book and art lover’s wet dream. Reading it was a process that required the utmost delicacy and patience and it also served to be a remarkable aesthetic experience. Art flourishes under oppression and criticism and all the endless talks on The Death Of A Book prods writers and publishers to re-evaluate not only the form, but also the narrative and over-all purpose of the novel. Tree Of Codes gives the very essence of being ‘in’ a book through the layering of words that allow readers to read further into the novel. In an age where the word is submissive to the image, except maybe in 140-character form, Tree Of Codes weaves word and image into visual writing. Book purists and bibliophiles argue that by cutting out a huge portion of the book, the content is heavily tarnished but the Tree Of Codes helped prove that another interpretation of a same subject can bear results that not only matches the original content but also gives it a new perspective. By shearing off words, Foer has created a sculpture to be admired and a book to be read. Foer’s Tree Of Codes did not botch The Street Of Crocodiles. The novel isn’t dead, it has only been trimmed. o
On Craft I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y E I LY N YAT C O
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OF MONSTERS A ND MEN
An Ode to Philip Seymour Hoffman STORY BY M A RT Y A R NA LDO, ILLUSTR ATION BY JA MES BER NA BE
n Febuary 2, 2014 Philip Seymour Huffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in the bathroom of his West Village, Manhattan office apartment by a friend, playwright and screenwriter David Bar Katz. He was 46. Though death is never a easy— especially considering the circumstances of his death— it is always best to remember the good days and celebrate the life of an actor who is widely thought of as one of the greatest actors of his generation, and considering he’s done this working mostly supporting roles is a testament on just how good he must have had to be in order to gain that sort recognition. Though he was never a looker— a pre-requisite for most of Hollywood— he more than made up for with acting chops and a charismatic magnetism. While most of the younger generation will simply know him as the mercurial Plutarch Heavensbee of the Hunger games series, Hoffman has proven time and time again, that given any role, no matter what that role may be, he’s going to do something amazing with it. His performances are a spectacle in itself, sometimes you find yourself watching his films not for interesting plots or underlying social commentary, but simply because he’s in it. From Comedic turns in run of the mill Hollywood films such as Twister and Along Came Polly, to shouty, angry psychopaths— the best of which is his portrayal of Dean Trumbell in Punch-Drunk Love directed by frequent collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson— his ability to play these varied roles and imbue them with a sense of charisma and charm shows off his otherworldly talent and further drives home the feeling of loss felt for this remarkable actor. He had this amazing ability to play these fringe characters, characters, you would have hated and despised. Characters who you would elicit a knee jerk reaction to punch in the face and he would come up with a way to make them redeemable. From jerkish man-childs, and White-collar criminals to a Pedophilic teacher and cult leader. He plays these reproachable characters that makes your skin crawl and pulls off what can otherwise be considered a cinematic miracle, he makes you feel for them, and some times, even like them. He gives them a human quality that, in a lesser actor’s hands, would have been absent in these roles. By the end of the film he can make you care about these sad sacks or flawed nobodies and the occasional somebodies and elevates them into kinetic and memorable silver screen personas.
My words can not possibly do justice to the talent of the late great actor, I can only hope to share what I know of Philip Seymour Hoffman through the prism of my own experience. From the plethora of highlight reel and youtubeable worthy scene and characters that Hoffman has played throughout the years it’s hard to pick just one. In most cases it all comes down to what touched you at a personal level, which of his many roles spoke to you. My personal favorite is Lester bangs the iconic and enigmatic music writer what might not have been an entirely accurate portrayal of the music legend he makes up for it with sheer bravado contrasted with sensitivity and fragility that is delicately balanced. Those famous words as he opens a vein and enlighten the young and naive William miller to the hidden truths in this world stand out the most. In the span of a few minutes he spews this amazing lines that just hits home to entire generation of teenager at home on a weekend night. Lines like “That’s because we’re uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don’t have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we’re smarter.” To “Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let’s face it, you got a big head start.” And probably the most immortal line of them all “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” With those words delivery with heartbreaking, pulse breaking effectiveness, that made solitary weekends alone an okay thing, something to be proud of even. Though he never possessed the dashing good looks or panty dropping appeal of a Robert Downey Jr, or a Brad Pitt, the loveable quirkiness of a Johnny Depp or the Inextinguishable allure of a Leonardo DiCaprio he still managed to make it to the Mount Rushmore of Generation X acting scene. An actor’s actor if there ever was one. It sad to think of the great many masterful performances us fans have been robbed of experiencing but I guess Doctor Seuss put best when he said— and please pardon the cheese— “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” o
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T H E DA ILY GR I N D
Coffee provides an energy boost that helps many people get through their day. But what does it mean for the person who prepares it? Miguel Santiago of The Barista Box explains. STORY BY BEA ASTUDILLO
owadays, coffee’s cultural implications have gone far beyond its role as a much-abused stimulant. People drink coffee not just for its energizing effects, but also as an accompaniment to social encounters (or an excuse to have one, as anyone who has invited a crush for a coffee would know), to enhance people’s perceptions of them by sipping the latest artisanal hit, or simply, to savor the tastes of the different varieties and blends that can now be prepared. Supposedly, the kind of coffee you drink says a lot about you—and no, this is not just some musing uttered over the coffee table. Research done by British psychologists actually indicates that drinkers of certain types of coffee have similar characteristics. The results show that people who drink black coffee typically have a no-nonsense attitude and prefer simplicity; cappuccino drinkers tend to be perfectionists with high standards; latte lovers can be people-pleasers; consumers of instant coffee are generally laidback procrastinators; and people who take their coffee cold and sweet tend to be trendsetting types who are sometimes reckless. These findings may or may not be surprising, especially if we’re aware of our own coffee-drinking preferences or those of others, but does anyone ever wonder what it means to be the one who actually prepares the much-beloved drink? The Barista Box started out last year as Miguel Santiago’s personal project to bring specialty coffee to people he knew by making and serving it to them for free. A coffee enthusiast since he was 14, his interest in making coffee began when he and his father would experiment with different coffee machines such as French presses and Aeropresses together at home. His fixation with specialty coffee began years later, however. After entering college, he decided to enroll in a class at the Philippine Barista and Coffee Academy (PBCA), the only coffee training institute that is officially affiliated with The American Barista & Coffee School. From there, he went on to train for four months at the CRAFT Coffee Workshop and eventually took part-time jobs at two establishments: the popular Makati coffee shop The Curator, and independent coffee company Yardstick Coffee. Though he had to balance his barista duties and his schoolwork by working twice or thrice a week, the end of his stint saw him filled with inspiration to set up The Barista Box. Today, his interest in coffee has grown in recent years from being a hobby into a fusion of passion and business. “I used to do it for free because all I really wanted was to spread the news about how great specialty coffee was, and I was willing to do anything, even lose money, to do so,”
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he says of the early days when he would prepare coffee out of his equipment box—the namesake of The Barista Box—for his fellow Ateneans. Given the sleep deprivation that is characteristic of many college students, it’s no surprise that The Barista Box quickly developed a following, with people constantly gathering around Miguel to watch him meticulously brew cups of his specialty coffee just for them. “It might seem weird for most people, but coffee is actually very delicate, and paying attention to these things really do contribute to a better cup of coffee,” he explains. Aside from the tools, Miguel shares that one essential trait to making good coffee is a sense of wonder. This inspires the barista to transcend people’s common knowledge and expectations of coffee by making brews that are skillfully and thoughtfully prepared. He adds: “The specialty movement now brings in this whole question of where we can take our coffee, and in turn, where our coffee can take us. For me, it’s that question that really pushes me to strive for more with coffee. Then that’s where patience, perseverance, hard work, and all those other qualities come in.” These qualities may have also helped Miguel overcome some initial difficulties that he encountered when he started The Barista Box—the most challenging of which he says was opening up to random people. Naturally shy, Miguel originally felt compelled to put up “an eccentric front” to people he served coffee to, which he found exhausting. However, with time and continued interaction with the coffee drinkers, being more outgoing became second nature to Miguel. His encounters with others through The Barista Box have also gained him some valuable realizations about people while making coffee for them. “Anybody, no matter how serious they may seem, will open up with a warm smile,” he says. “Coffee is usually the bright spot in a person’s day, so if your personality can match that little spark of happiness that a cup of coffee can bring, then the experience will become just that more significant.” Knowing this, he usually gives people a smile and asks them how their day is going as he prepares their coffee, a gesture that he noted really helps in making the experience of taking coffee all the more pleasant. Having honed his craft as well as his ability to socialize, Miguel is coming closer to achieving his vision for The Barista Box: aside from eventually setting up his own roastery and café, what he really hopes to achieve is for the Barista Box to inspire “a new generation of coffee drinkers,” hence his efforts to target students, whose tastes and habits are still being formed, rather than “older people” who have grown accustomed to the same preferences. So what’s next for The Barista Box? Miguel hints that he and his new business partners are working on something more “mobile,” which will “definitely be the first of its kind once it’s up and running.” In the meantime, they are also marketing BB Zero, their bottled cold brew, and keeping an eye out for catering opportunities. Though he is now profiting from his passion for coffee, Miguel insists that the personal quality that endeared The Barista Box to its early consumers is still there. “The effort that went into bringing the box around campus never went away. I just redirected it at creating a quality product that people wouldn’t feel bad paying for.” Creativity, devotion to craft, and a sincere desire to cheer people up—sounds like the ingredients of a great cup of coffee. o
THE NA ILS IN THE WOOD POETRY BY JORD EARV ING GADINGAN
It might be of some passing wheels. Of traders or craftsmen. Thriving in a busy world. Their whooshes and sales never worn out. The old things seemed untouched. But the nails, the feel, the sunset hue, it must have a story. The woods were just silent. Never shaded the nails. The stories were never tales. The nailsâ€™ the witness who sayeth. But withersoever cometh, nay was the in-haste wheels answers. The nail and the woods. Both live by the earth. Bounded to be dusts. They passeth away, though the story is renewed as fresh as dew in a juniperâ€™s leaves by the stream. Pricking yet satisfying. o
VA N I T I E S POETRY BY JORD EARV ING GADINGAN
Stone houses turned into pebbles, Business took a long break, Cars like matchboxes in a stream, None count worthy. Philosophies were not so as jewels, Jewels were as stones, Even institutions crumbled to rabbles, None count worthy under the sun. Shattered lives cried out. Mercies more than judgment. Love instead of damnation. Not even lives count worthy. Remember now: the Lender of Life, the bright and morning star, the one over the sun. o
M A R BLE WOM A N POETRY BY LEA MARIE DIÑO
First floor of the museum, first door to your right. The room holds sculptures of different people, animals, and things. Ten Jesus Christs, a myriad of angels. Husbands, wives and wolves. Birds and urns. Crafted by the nation’s greatest hands, with the best intentions. Also, a woman, birthed from marble. Cut with genteel affection, proven by her intent gaze and arms, welcoming an embrace. A sight to behold, the sight to behold— But we never ask her; Woman, what have you seen? A boy, in search of his mother; hands, held together; a pair of eyes in amazement; another pair feigning curiosity; a cheap camera resting on fat belly; fingers tapping on rims of eyeglasses. A mighty piece of marble, she, the subject of hundreds of poems, yet could have been a poet too. Gifted every museum day with images worthy of being expressed in enjambments and strophes. Robbed of life, yet surrounded by it. o
HELLO E A RTH, W E MEET AG A IN POETRY BY LEA MARIE DIÑO
“Now this will be a beautiful death I’m jumping out the window, I’m letting everything go.” - Kanye West, “Power” Hello earth, we meet again. And the million shards of glass become the flecks in the eyes halfshut as they meet the wind The chest faces the concrete arms spread wide, ready to embrace the gray earth. Hello earth, we meet again. See this dancer’s last, most graceful form. Bid adieu to the sky, interim friend and greet the solid ground who was never a stranger. Hello earth, we meet again. - Lea Marie Diño. o
THE GIRL + THE BULL This is a story in which the artistâ€™s craft is in paintings palatable. It is a narrative in which art mirrors the artist and his person. WO R DS BY B ELLE M A PA , P H OTOS BY C H R I S TI EN N E B ERO N A , I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y M I K A B A C A N I
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child—the boy Gab—sits struggling, figuring out what next to paint. The television makes for the room’s white noise. A beat. A moment passes. He glances at the show airing on the Food Network. Flavor colors his palette. Textures and tones turn a scene on virtual display into a taste tangible on his tongue. A thought immaterial comes to him: everything I don’t know what to do about painting, I can do with food. A few ways down the road, the boy Gab, now grown, sketches. He turns to the girl Thea. “I’m thinking,” he materializes the thought that returns to him. “About coming up with a restaurant called The Girl and The Bull. For the two of us.” A long drive along the stretch of Aguirre Street ends at a whitewashed building. Glass doors are an eye catcher as well as a sign that reads The Girl + The Bull. The room is flooded by natural light. Photographs clipped on thin ropes line the right wall. On the left a series of hanging paintings portray abstractions. Further inside a blank chalkboard invites drawings by visitors. At the back of the house hangs a portrait of a boy and a bull. Stache sits at a table. A green glass bottle makes for a pitcher of water. The wait for the main exhibit’s opening ends as three plates land before them. Steaming roast garlic soup is poured over a topped crostini. Red cabbage and arugula leaves crown tender slices of meat on a bed of puréed potatoes. The house’s famous buttermilk fried chicken, glistening under a balsamic-maple syrup, rests beside a crisp French toast. The artists— the boy Gab and the girl Thea—join them, and they begin to chat. “What was your peg for the whole thing?” Stache opens the conversation. “What dominant idea led you guys to creating The Girl + The Bull?” “There’s no specific peg, really,” Thea says. Gab follows Thea’s train of thought. “But it was a big chain of events. It happened really fast. I was still painting, I was an artist, and next thing I knew, I got into food. It took a year and a half. That was a learning process, but since then I knew that I’d be in the food industry. When I discovered food, I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.” Thea and Gab look at each other, histories colliding. They think about the time they spent discovering themselves. Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco, and New York come into mind. These are places they traveled, pictures that decorate their Instagram accounts, experiences they attempt to capture in platefuls of food. “The whole restaurant is a reflection of what Gab has learned so far,” Thea verbalizes her partner’s thoughts. Gab finishes, “and of ourselves.”
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An artist’s sketchpad is Gab’s analogy for their menu; sometimes, drawings remain merely as drafts—scrapped, never revisited —others become inspirations. “So it’s really a blend of Thea and me,” he says. “We say that it’s a reflection, an expression of ourselves, what I’ve learned so far. And that’s why our menu changes every time. If I learn something new, I add it to the menu.” “They say that art is a reflection of an artist’s sensibility,” Stache says. “So, what makes you, you?” The duality to the set around them answers the question. Industrial masculinity meets organic femininity. Flower arrangements complement the surrealism canvassed upon the walls. Thea’s accent at the front of the house is a photo wall. Meanwhile, Gab’s nature presents itself in the Beat Generation books set on a shelf. Indie beats are the foundations of the playlist they built to surround the room. Gab shifts the attention to a set of illustrations on the wall. They were gifts from Thea, who knew the artist was his favorite. Gab and Thea recount their San Franciscan experience. They remember the casual dining scene. They recall being able to speak to their servers the way they would with their friends. “It becomes like a family,” Gab talks about their relationship with their staff. “We make sure they treat people how we want to be treated,” Thea adds. Some of the songs in The Girl + The Bull’s playlist are additions from their servers. They tell Stache another story—one about dealing with customers they can see aren’t enjoying as much as they’d like. A com-
plementary dish, their deconstructed rendition of the Twix bar, is foolproof consolation. “Good food can’t make up for bad service,” Gab struggles with the phrase. Thea continues his train of thought, “But good service can make up for bad food.” “This was what it was like during the first week,” Gab says. “I could tell that the food I prepared wasn’t up to par with what I usually do. But I learned. Every day is a learning experience.” Art is a collective experience, Stache voices out this thought. “How do you interact with customers through your food? How does your creative process behind the food as well as the whole of the restaurant go?” “I treat the dishes I make like how I would treat a painting,” Gab says. He retraces his background in the fine arts. He likens an artwork to a dish. Where there’s line, tone, color, and texture in a painting, there are colorful sauces, infused flavors, textures that meet watering mouths. “I don’t want the dishes to be one dimensional,” he adds. “I want you to feel this through the flavors I put in. The same goes with presentation, since it’s the first thing you see when a dish lands on the table.” “And we get that a lot,” Thea reenacts the gasps and wows—reactions from the pleased customers they always appreciate. “Every component on the plate is meant to be eaten,” Gab places his hand on the back of Thea’s seat. “The flavors on the plate are meant to be with each other.”
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Some nights, Gab is restless. Ideas blossoming in his head keep him awake. An ingredient intrigues him. He ponders endlessly on what to do with it. Imagined flavors make for wakeful dreams. Thea is on the phone with him as he gushes over new concepts for future additions to the menu. When they meet the following day, he whips up the dish he concocted before falling into much awaited sleep. The dish pans out and joins the menu, possibly replacing another item as its evolution. “So how often does your menu change?” “Well,” Gab brings out a previous version of their menu. “We had a different one for Valentine’s day.” “There’s no schedule to the changes though,” Thea says. “When Gab feels like changing something, it’s not like ‘okay, this month’s gonna be different.’ Some items change, while others have been there since day one.” An artist’s sketchpad is Gab’s perfect analogy for their menu. He looks back at old drawings thinking, what on earth was I doing?! Sometimes, drawings remain merely as drafts—scrapped, never revisited. Others become inspirations. There are works of art worth evolving. And there are some masterpieces that are good as is, constantly put on display. “Sometimes,” Gab continues. “When I grow out of a dish, I’m not so proud of it any more. So that’s when I start to change things up.” “Any stable items? Is there a particular one that customers come back for?” Stache asks. “The chicken,” they respond in sync. “The chicken and the faux Twix bar,” Gab talks about the dishes ordered by many in advance along with a table reservation. “But that’s how we wanna treat everyone,” Thea beams. The girl and the bull agree on a particular philosophy: all things must be
exciting. “Like there’s always something new to offer everyone.” “Actually, the Valentine’s menu was exciting,” Gab sits up straighter. “It was like a more evolved version of me that I brought out.” The dialogue shifts to the branding of The Girl + The Bull. “I guess it’s very…” Gab trails off. “Hipster?” The two laugh. “People always say hipster!” Gab tries to put into words the vastness of his restaurant’s aesthetic. “There’s always a lot to talk about this place,” Thea says. “It’s not just about the food.” “It’s the whole experience,” Gab puts his arm around Thea. “Even both of us. We’re part of the package. Guests like to talk about us being a couple. But really, the restaurant wouldn’t grow without us. We want it to be very homey as well. And it’s very raw, since I’m self-taught. I didn’t have any formal training. It’s nice when, say a dish isn’t so good at first, come back ‘round after a few weeks when I’ve learned more and it’s gotten better. You see the learning process. This isn’t the usual restaurant where you expect things to be of a certain caliber. It grows and evolves. So it’s very raw and humble.” “And we’re not just doing this for the money,” Thea adds. “It’s Gab’s passion to cook. And it’s nice to share things with each other.” “Kinikilig ako sa inyo.” While Stache already knows the answer to their next question, they voice it out for the record. “So what’s the meaning behind the name The Girl and The Bull?” Thea and Gab laugh between themselves. It’s a perpetually asked question with many evolving answers. They know already the follow-up: so why the bull? The look they
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share says, which one of us is gonna answer this time? “It’s really a reflection of us and our relationship,” Gab sounds as he did before. “I’m like, sige go lang… I’ll go into music. Then Thea’s around for support. Or I’ll go into painting. So in that way, my personality is very bull-like, always charging. I’m hard-headed especially when I feel like I can do this or that. But Thea has always been there, and she’s always supported me. Even up to when I found this, food, and realized that this really was my craft. “The bull is, really,” he looks back at his portrait hanging at the back: a boy and a bull. It’s a painting made by a cousin of his. “If I were to describe myself, that would be perfect. I didn’t tell my cousin how to do the portrait. This is really my personality.” “You’re a Taurus?” Stache asks. Gab nods. “So what’s your sign?” they ask Thea in all playful banter. “Libra.” “Libra and Taurus. That’s a good combination.” Gab laughs. “Well, I wouldn’t know anything about horoscopes…” Stache diverts the conversation a bit. They chitchat with the girl and the bull, laughing about Zodiac couple combinations, and more anecdotes about how they answer the same questions. The narration changes when three tables simultaneously ask for their origin story. Gab entertains one, while Thea receives another. By the third time, Gab retreats back into the kitchen, having been distracted from work by animated story-telling. “So that’s a typical day. I’m the business side, while Gab’s the creative one.” Thea elaborates their daily routine. It’s hard to get up in the morning after yet another eventful day. They bug each other until one rises from bed. Gab proceeds to do a little marketing through social media—Instagram being at its forefront. It takes a while for them to get to the restaurant. There, they find their servers setting up. Service time passes in a blink. Before they know it, they’re closing up the restaurant momentarily for a break. Everyone looks forward to this time. When there are no customers, they pass the time by having a quick meal by whipping up something in the kitchen, or heading out for a bit. Sometimes they have naptime. It’s like kindergarten, they say. Behind the counter, they have a stack of board games or card games to play with while on break hours. Break time ends and they’re back to setting up again. “I’m very obsessive compulsive,” Gab says. “I don’t know if you notice, but I like things to be kept straight.” One of the Stache interviewers dislodges a stack of menus. She slides it
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diagonally until it no longer aligns with the edge of the table. Thea laughs, “Don’t worry, I do that to Gab also.” Gab pushes the menus back in place. “But sometimes,” Gab says. “Service time is really fast, like you don’t even notice it.” “The whole experience is a big accomplishment,” Thea says. “And also for us, with our relationship. Of course, it’s hard.” “It’s hard,” Gab repeats. “We fight a lot.” “We do,” Thea says. She bumps him on the shoulder. “Especially when she steps inside the kitchen,” Gab plays around. “Hey, but you need me sometimes!” Thea reenacts Gab at work. “I nag Gab about a table waiting and he’s like ‘Wait! It’s still cooking!’ But we have a rule…” “What happens in service stays in service,” they say almost simultaneously. There’s a balance to it—Gab being the creative crammer, and Thea the professional force. “As an artist, was there a point in your life where you thought, ‘this is it, I wanna do this for the rest of my life’?” Stache asks a final question. Gab recalls memories of a childhood not too long ago. He thinks about ideas in his head untranslatable through his hand. Of paintings or drawings that aren’t always up to standard with what’s in his head. It isn’t quite the same as his skill with a multitude of ingredients. Gab makes a little side comment, “But really I knew I wanted this for the rest of my life…it started with me thinking…when I become a dad, I wanna be able to cook for my kids.” Meanwhile, Thea remembers the way her father geared her into the corporate world. “Our families are very supportive,” she says. “I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life because every day we’re really tired. And it’s hard to get up in the morning. But with me and Gab, we will never say no. I wouldn’t change this for anything else.” They think about their craving for service time. It’s in those moments that both Gab and Thea think of futures both near and far—of a plan for a second restaurant, of future renovations and redecorations, of evolving menus, and a serious dream of Kathryn Bernardo hopefully one day sitting at a table. “You know, in the middle of work when you’re like, ‘aw man, I can’t wait to lie down tonight,’” Gab feigns exhaustion. “And then later you lie down thinking, ‘I can’t wait to work tomorrow.’” “We grow more working,” says the Bull. “We grow together,” says the Girl. “That’s one of the biggest accomplishments.” o
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ART EDITED BY JARED CARL MILLAN
C H I N ATOW N RO O F - TO P P I N G He photographs the things that catch his eye in the quiet corners of the world with a strong emphasis on portraits and he supplements his work with stories that went into capturing them. BY JORGE QUINTEROS
A TRIBUTE A photo essay. BY CHRISTIENNE BERONA
D R AW N & E AT E N My hope for Drawn & Eaten is that it evokes joy and enthusiasm in my viewers, and encourages them to share food-related anecdotes, memories, and learning experiences with their loved ones. BY TONIE MORENO
C HIN AT O W N R OOF -T OP P ING A photo essay. WORDS & PHOTOS BY JORGE QUINTEROS
lot of photographers share captivating stories of how they got involved with photography and Jorge wishes he had as an appealing backstory to construct one for myself but the truth is that he approached the craft for the sheer love of the art that arose from traveling, venturing routinely around Brooklyn and having worked closely with people in the retail industry. Jorge would describe his photographs as organic and understated although above all else, he hopes his viewers feel a sense of intimacy with the subject matter. o
WOR DS OF A MENTOR
Stories of art and life as told by printmaker, artist and professor Benjie Torrado Cabrera. I N T E RV I E W BY A LY S S A DE A SI S , PHO TO S BY I A N GU E VA R R A
SO WHO IS BENJAMIN “ BENJIE” TORR ADO CABREBR A?
That’s a difficult question as there are different levels of yourself that you project to the audience. This is also different from your innermost thoughts, the impressions of other people to you. But for myself, you see what you get. No masks. I’m just a simple person. In my training, “Now and here” is my personal motto. Reality is now & here. Whatever happens, there are no rationalizations & justifications, be it positive, negative or whatever shade of gray. SO HOW DID YOU G E T INTO TH E ARTS?
It began when my father took me to my older cousin, Salvador Cabrera’s studio in Mabini. This is where he works, where he paints. He’s a Mabini artist who’s show is still ongoing as of the moment, in CCP. That’s where BenCab, Salvador’s brother, also learned how to draw. That’s where I watched him paint as well. But of course, I’ve always had in interest in art; this was just reinforced when I came to his studio. I also had the opportunity to be able meet other well-known artists as they visited in his studio, like Sanso, Joya etc. WHY PRINTMAKING?
Since I always used to stay in his(Salvador Cabrera’s) studio, just helping out, cleaning paintbrushes, stretching canvasses, he decided to bring me to the workshop of the Philippine Association of Printmakers or PAP. This was established in 1968 and he brought me there around 1971, back when I was in 1st year college. He just took me there for a visit and that’s where I saw the artists at work. After college, I just free-lanced and stayed in PAP’s studio. There we’re a lot of walk-in buyers during that time, so I was able to earn enough. I preferred freelancing back then so I could budget my time and so as not to be constrained into one company. Aside from that, I joined exhibits and competitions as well. After a number of different projects, I got used to printmaking and was able to learn the correct process of it, until I eventually became a printmaker and a member of PAP, and is currently the Vice President. A R E T H E R E O T H E R M E D I U M S T H AT YO U ’ V E TA K E N I N T E R E S T IN?
I personally like to paint as well, but this is a frustration of mine. When I’m in front of a canvass, I feel intimidated on the blank, white space. I don’t know what to paint. But when printmaking, I just know what I’m doing. There is no tension. But the bottom-line is, it’s not the medium. It’s as long as you are able to make art and be able to express it. Even as simple as paper & pencil will do, as there are no inferior or superior mediums. Just as long as you are able to create something and do it for yourself because you want to and you like what your doing–that’s what’s important. T E L L U S A B O U T YO U R C R E AT I V E P R O C E S S .
I don’t make any studies or sketches; it’s all direct, no pre-conceived idea. But there’s a lot of reflection during the process. Whatever
comes out though, that’s it. It’s a subconscious, intuitive process. After creating the artwork, that’s where it will be cognitive. It’s usually that way though, you would just feel what lacks and if it’s enough. There is somewhat a personal dialogue on the medium and the creator. S O T E L L U S A B O U T YO U R A R T W O R K S . W H AT D O T H E Y E XPRESS?
Generally, it’s more symbolical. I focus on a more occult/ mystical theme and deals with the consciousness. The visuals depict the continuing process of creation & destruction. Sometimes, I also create a human figure, which is the macrocosm of the universe. They may embody either being cosmic or mundane. There is a play of mind on my artworks. The visuals may have layers of different meanings depending on the viewer as well. I use different tools to challenge the viewer’s mind or their sense of perception. I don’t completely show everything as I like to leave room for imagination. A N Y T H I N G YO U WA N T T O S AY T O O U R R E A D E R S /A S P I R I N G ARTISTS?
99% perspiration, 1% inspiration. Hard work is always important, as there are no overnight artists. Learning is also a lifelong of process. It is not something that just stops during a period of time. And as you grow older, you become wiser, learn more things and have more realizations in life. o
A T R IBU T E A Photo essay. PHOTO S BY C H R IS T I E N N E BE RON A & A RT BY C H E S G AT PAYAT
D R AW N & E A T E N
Anna Gorman talks of her craft and how she honed it into Drawn & Eaten, her avenue for food recipe illustrations. INTERV IEW BY TONIE MORENO
here is a thin line between genius and insanity, and it takes a beautiful person like Anna Gorman to not care about that line when she’s talking to her food. A lover of art and food, she has combined these two into her brainchild, Drawn & Eaten. Drawn & Eaten is a website filled with food illustrations and recipe comics that detail Anna’s exploration with cooking. T E L L U S A B O U T D R AW N & E AT E N . W H AT I S D R AW N & E AT E N , A N D W H O I S ANNA GORMAN?
I’m a young artist living in Chicago, balancing my day job, art practice, and culinary pursuits. Drawn &Eatenis a blog where I post my recipe comics and food illustration, with the intention of inspiring others to cook for themselves and each other. As a lover of food and every manner of making, this project allows me to direct the pursuit of both interests into one endeavor. My hope for Drawn & Eaten is that it evokes joy and enthusiasm in my viewers, and encourages them to share food-related anecdotes, memories, and learning experiences with their loved ones. H O W D I D YO U G E T I N T O C O O K I N G A N D D R AW I N G / I L L U S T R AT I O N S ?
I spent three years of my undergraduate career, working as a Resident Advisor. Through that experience, I came to realize that cooking is not an inherent skill, nor does it interest everyone. I took for granted that I came from a home where my parents cooked practically, but with love, and taught their children to be self-sufficient in the kitchen.Hoping to empower others to learn about cooking, I began making hand drawn recipe cards for the students living in the residence hall. These were inexpensive and nutritious recipes for simple things that I liked to cook. Around the same time, I was developing a newfound interest in making comics and zines. I liked that I could combine text and images to relay ideas efficiently, in an inviting format. It wasn’t until well after I graduated, that I had the idea to merge my interest in comics, with my passion for getting people invested in cooking. I thought that if I could share my culinary findings in an approachable, engaging way, folks who were intimidated by, or disinterested in, preparing their own food, might be moved to get back in the kitchen. I was also excited by how many opportunities there would be to collaborate with other writers, artists and eaters--everyone has a food story to tell.
HOW WOU LD YOU DE SCRIB E YOU R AE STH E TIC AS AN ARTIST AN D AS A CHEF?
People say you should talk to your plants. I say you should talk to your food. I praise my roasting beets for being beautiful, and thank my dried sage for being exactly what my olive oil biscuits needed. Taking a friendly,thoughtfulapproach to my food allows me to enjoy and appreciate it more. It helps me remain attuned to the dishesI cook, from beginning to end, and keeps me motivated to experiment further with new ingredients.I pride myself on being creative and resourceful in the kitchen. Learning to substitute successfully, embracing dietary restrictions, and taking risks, are all things that keep me motivated to keep cooking. In the studio, I take a similar approach to my artwork, by understanding my materials and their capabilities, marrying ideas with the right execution, and knowing when to stop or change direction when something isn’t working. My aesthetic goal is to make work that isaccessible, warm, and inviting. I want to include, inspire, and engage. I am interested in work that boasts of being handmade and personal, much like a wellloved recipe. W H AT I S YO U R C R E AT I V E P R O C E S S L I K E ?
My creative process is an odd creature. At the beginning of a project, things move slowly and tentatively. Mapping out a final piece may consist of a bit of sketching, but in many cases, I’ll just take notes, and think about what I want to do for a long time. From there, I’ll draw a few final elements, and then let them sit for some time, before returning to them, knowing exactly what I want to do. When I get to that point, I’ll work non-stop, to finish the project. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that thinking and stewing over something is just as valuable as the making itself. Physically planning something too specifically, can, in my case, result in losing interest in a project. There is a more pure expression when I just make the thing I want to make. I usually have a handful of projects going on at once, which helps me stay engaged, and keeps me from becoming bored. For the majority of the piecesI make for Drawn & Eaten, I hand draw all of the elements(i.e. text, vignettes, images)separately, and arrange them in Photoshop. I have a long list that I add to, from time to time, of ideas for pieces to make. T E L L U S A B O U T T H E A R T YO U S E N T.
Hot Air Popcornis a collaboration I did with my brother, Aaron. When I started thinking about doing collaborations for Drawn & Eaten, I knew from the get-go, that I wanted to make a comic with him. Not only is he a voracious reader, and lover of comics, but hepossesses some of the most beautiful handwriting I’ve ever seen. He is a man of routine in every regard, and ritualistically makes a huge bowl of popcorn every night. It is consistent in its perfection: hot, fluffy, buttery, salty. I
knew he was the one to consult about popcorn making. Per my request, he hand wrote, on a sheet of copy paper, his step-by-step instructions. I scanned them into my computer, colored and arranged them, and paired them with the corresponding images, which I drew in ink and watercolor. W H AT W O U L D YO U L I K E T O T E L L YO U N G A R T I S T S W H O A R E S T R U G GLING WITH FINDING/HONING THEIR CRAFT?
Make stuff. The best way to find out what you like to make, and how you like to make it, is to make stuff. Make a lot of stuff. Don’t stop. And try new tools and methods whenever you have the opportunity to do so.
Surround yourself with other people who make stuff. Developing your artistic community is essential to success. Having a network of folks to consultwith about everything from critical feedback and professional practice, to information about materials and techniques, is imperative. They will keep you motivated and active.
Create a space that is just yours, specifically for your collecting and making. If you don’t have room for a designated studio space, make one that is portable (i.e. stow your art supplies in a briefcase, use fillable watercolor brushes, invest in a laptop instead of a desktop, etc.). This space doesn’t have to be impressive or attractive to anyone else. It’s just for you, and should function accordingly.
Find time to be in your studio every day, even if you are just sweeping the floor. Being around your materials, in your own space, allows you to more easily reflect on your practice. You may go in not feeling like making anything, and leave with a new painting or a really good idea for an animation. Also, there is always something that can be done, whether you are throwing out old materials, or creating a new filing system.
Collect ideas, objects, and images that inspire you. This collecting can happen in a folder on your computer, filled with images that inspire you, a sketchbook where you amass ideas for projects, or a shoebox loaded up with weird old junk. Having an archive of resources that you’ve created specifically in line with your own interests is the gift that keeps on giving.
Don’t ignore your professional practice. Document your work, even if you think a project is unimportant. Create contracts for commissions. Keep track of your art-related expenses. Think of all of this as preventative maintenance. o
EVENTS EDITED BY NINA PINEDA
FEBFEST 2014 BY A N TON S A LVA D OR & C A R S PA S C UA L
PHOENIX LIVE IN MANILA BY ECKS ABITONA
F E B F E S T 2 014
This two-day festival delighted Manila with post-rock band Mogwai and critical darlings The National. F E BRUA RY 13 PHO TO S BY A N TON S A LVA D OR F E BRUA RY 20 PHOTO S BY C A R S PA SC UA L
This two-day festival delighted Manila with post-rock band Mogwai and critical darlings The National. PHOTOS BY ECKS ABITONA
DE A R L OV E R Valentine’s Day may be a bit cliche, but here’s an excuse to lose yourself to a little romance. We’re all suckers for love songs, anyway. COMPILED BY ELLIE CENTENO PHOTO BY BASHEER TOME
TOOTHPASTE KISSES T h e Ma ca b e e s
5 YEARS TIME No a h a n d t h e W h a l e
WELDED TO MINE B e n Ha r r i s
HOLD YOU IN MY AR MS R a y La Mon t a g n e
YOU AND ME SONG The Wannadies
WE FOUND EACH OTHER IN THE DARK C i t y a n d C ol o u r
THE SOR E FEET SONG A l l y Ke r r
ALL I WANT IS YOU B a r r y Lo u i s P ol i s a r
BABY, YOU’R E MY LIGHT Ri c h a r d Ha w l e y
FAVOUR ITE THING Yu n a
HONEY COME HOME T h e He a d a n d t h e He a r t
YOU AR E IN LOVE S h a n n on W h i t w o r t h
WE ALL KNOW Devendra Banhart
DANCING SHOES Ro ck y Nt i
15. LION’S MANE Ir on & W in e
16. THE MOST J on Tr o a s t
17. SINCER ELY, SEVER ELY Mo r n in g B e l l
18. ALL I NEED Radiohead
You can download the mixtape for free here: http://www.4shared.com/zip/MILPDEyLba/Dear_Lover.html
© 2014 Stache Magazine No part of this magazine or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified, or adapted, in any form or any means, without the prior written consent of the editor-in-chief. All of the works that appear in this issue (artworks, photographs, words, etc.) belong to their respective owners, unless stated otherwise. For copyright complaints, send us an email with the subject “Urgent: Infringement Notification,” at the addresses provided below. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Published in Manila, Philippines Section header photographs by Christine Stephens
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