December is the Month for Supporting Artists

So, November angst is over, and there is much to rejoice about, young turks and turkeys.

But before any rejoicing begins, let me expound on one of the core tenets of my personality.

Benildean art

I am of the firm belief that as a teacher and educator, one shares what one knows and what one is to one’s students, but even after that, one must also show support for the students’ efforts. Which is why I tell my students I am always free to answer questions even after our classes are through. I promise tech support as long as I am able. Because the job doesn’t end at the sound of the bell.

Which is also why when exhibit time in College of Saint Benilde rolls around, I try to mark it out on my calendar as early as possible so I can ensure I attend the exhibits of the people who passed through the doors of my classroom. Take note: I am not always successful in doing so, but I DO try.


1. MOA for the EXHIBIT

with Students at the exhibitWhich is how I ended up in Mall Of Asia yesterday, Saturday, December 2, 2006. To have lunch with co-teacher Elvert and then head on over to the “Creative Zone” exhibit of some of my former students, including Andie Tesorero, April Garcia, Sheila Chi, and Jaja Angaco. Good thing, Andie and Jaja were there when we dropped by to see the works in a circular formation, hanging without identification tags (they came later daw?). At least the stuff was organized by type of output. Some interesting graphic output that’s for sure. But no matter what, it still makes me feel proud to have been part of their formation, even if I’m sure some of them hated my Sound Design class, hehehe.

The Graphika Manila Multimedia Conference was happening at the same time, a few meters away in the Premiere movie theater. But I never really planned on attending, which is why I didn’t ask for tickets. And didn’t take any even if co-teacher Vanny was saying there were extra tickets for faculty. Instead, Elvert and I ended up being paparazzi photogs at the corridors around the conference. Until we grew tired of that and ended up telling stories over coffee, eventually, ending up watching some Jiu Jitsu competition in the central area (trust me, I wasn’t the one interested in the competition, hehehe).



dec-blunotes.jpgLater that afternoon I went to Edsa Shrine to attend my weekly Saturday 7PM anticipated mass. Since it was the first Sunday of advent, we had to quickly review last year’s Advent repertoire and prepare it for that night’s mass. A bunch of people were late, which irritated me no end. And then, those who were present were not singing to their full ability, which made me crankier than usual. And you can ask my co-teachers exactly HOW CRANKY I can get hehehe. Still, we did sing okay. Just not at peak performance. Confidence level was lacking. And truly, how can one be confident if one misses the practice or is late?

Anyway, next week, they have to review the Christmas carol arrangements with our other choir conductor. Why not me? They already know me well enough to know that Christmas carols depress the hell out of me, and having to teach these songs only serves to bring my crankiness up TWO WHOLE NOTCHES in the scale of irritability, especially if they don’t get the notes right away. I’m more forgiving during the other times of the year, but Xmas carols? Dude, I don’t want to have to keep repeating sugar-coated lyrics of happiness and joy when I can’t feel it myself. Wait, I’m ranting. Hehehe. Enough na!


Evo Evolver at workAfter mass, I went to Timog to the Center for Arts venue — which is a misnomer if ever there was one. If they wanted a more truthful name for the venue they should have named it: “Crappy Outhole of a Place Where Gigs are Held” but then that would be too mean and cranky of me wouldn’t it? Oh wait. I said that aloud. (No I didn’t, I wrote it.) Hahaha. If I ever end up playing there, I will probably have to eat this blog entry for breakfast.

What brought me to this dive? Once again, support for an artist. The gig was entitled UNDYING SYMPHONIES II, and was a who’s who of the goth and doom rock world in Metro Manila.

One of my fellow electronic music practitioners, Myke Madriaga a.k.a. Evo Evolver, was opening for the show, and his band Project Spurious was playing after him. Also Nono a.k.a. Names Are For Tombstones was slated to play some angsty goth rock.

with Kurlie and TynaPresent to show artist moral support were the entire crew who came to watch me at my recent Cubao X goth gig… hence my turn to return the favor. Roll call: Kurlie, Tyna, myself and even writer /editor Karl De Mesa, who is as funny and cranky as myself, which was enjoyable, hahahaha!

The band Scarlet Tears was complete this time, and I finally got to see them strut their full stuff onstage. Precise and powerful are adjectives that come to mind. Napakahusay.

Nono’s gig was somber as always. But his last song “Swan Song (Farewell)” was a joy to behold live, especially after having repeated his mp3s ad infinitum for the past few weeks.

Myke’s opening salvo as Evo Evolver was fine. Although his laptop was jumping from time to time, chugging along on only 256 MB of RAM.

Names Are For TombstonesUnfortunately Myke’s gig WITH his band was riddled with technical difficulties which seemed to flatten his enthusiasm. He seemed really depressed by the mistakes. I simply told him: “Learning experience lang yan. Use it to your advantage. So what if your bandmates blame you? Shrug it off and keep going. It’s the only way to grow. Just remember: PUNKS NOT DIE.”

4. Homily For Struggling Artists Everywhere

Of course, I know exactly how it feels to mess up a gig. But if an artist lets one mistake dampen his output and make him stop creating art, he isn’t an artist anymore but an ex-artist. A weakling. A giver-upper. And there are graveyards out there for ex-artists, weaklings and giver-upper artists. You know what the graveyards are called? The corporate world. So, hey, if you wanna hang up your coveralls and your paint-spattered dungarees and say art hurts too much, then go ahead. Because it is YOUR LOSS.

more Benildean artHarsh words? Probably.
True words? Definitely.

In the end, director Khavn De La Cruz’s words of advice ring in my ears like an anthem to all artists and creators everywhere: “Art lang nang art!”


Speak, thy writer is listening.

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