Project VOICE Live in Manila (aka the night I met the K’s)

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It was an insane, impulsive decision, one I will never EVER regret my entire life.

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Last Sunday, I saw Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye perform in person.

Yes. IN PERSON.

And for those who are unfamiliar with their work and are therefore unsure why this entry has a manic edge to it, they are spoken word poets who have taken the internet by storm. They have since gone on to jointly form Project VOICE where they go to schools and communities performing and teaching poetry.

My friends and I waited in line for over four hours to see their show. Four glorious hours which we spent in spirited discussions, mostly revolving around the work of these two talented people. The wait was well worth it because damn did we get good seats!

IMG_7807I have seen videos of their performances online many times. I am familiar enough with their work that I was able to identify the title of the piece by their description before they performed it. Even with that familiarity, I was not immune to the powerful effect of their live performance.

I am not ashamed to admit that I found myself on the verge of tears several times during the show. The emotions were still so real, so raw even after the many times they have performed. It was a privilege to be in that room with them, to feel the energy and the spirit of their words come to life.

At the end of the show, we got to buy their books from them, got to shake theirIMG_7864hands and generally fangirl at them. (I may have, at some point, screamed at Sarah Kay out of sheer excitement, I am so so sorry about that)

It was a magically surreal evening filled with beautiful words and wonderful conversations. All that thanks to Project VOICE with the tireless efforts of Words Anonymous. Please do check out their sites because these talented, generous people are worth a few minutes of your time.

 

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Manila International Book Fair 2013

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The 34th Manila International Book Fair was held at the SMX Convetion Center September 11-15, 2013. I was loath to miss yet another book event this year so even though I was all by my lonesome, I decided to make my MIBF day a Treat Day for myself.

In order to avoid the weekend crowd, I went to the SMX Convetion Center first thing Saturday morning. Happily, I was able to navigate through the many booths freely for a few hours. Shelves upon shelves of discounted books! I had died and gone to heaven.

So I went on my merry way, going through the outlying booths, working my around the hall. I was saving my favorite book store for last because I was positive that they’d have all the books I’ve been looking for. Sadly, when I got to their booth, I was very disappointed. Not because of the quality of their collection but rather the organization (or lack thereof) of the shelves. Never before have I gotten so lost and disoriented in a book store than when I was trying to find my titles at their booth that day.¬†It wasn’t all in vain though. I managed to score some of my sought after titles (but not from my usual book store).

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People didn’t really start coming in until the afternoon and by then I had seen everything I came for so I went off to grab some lunch. Before heading home, however, I had one last treat for myself because I was still too tired to travel and also because I was feeling more than a little homesick. So I made my way to a little shop called Swensen’s, got myself an American Tower and got started on my reading.

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 Best Treat Day ever.

New life for old books

I love books. They’ve been my best friends all my life. For all the good they’ve done for me, I try to take good care of my books…or well, books in general.¬†A single fold, tear, or mark on a book feels a little like vandalism, like a violation of the book’s integrity.¬†I’ve even been known to tell off people for writing on their books or holding them open so wide a crease forms on the book’s spine. Imagine then my horror at hearing about an artist who uses books as his canvas!

I blame Fully Booked for introducing me to Mike Stilkey, the artist who does indeed paint on books.

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Horses on the Brim (Stilkey 2013)

I heard about Mike Stilkey through the Twitterverse and was genuinely intrigued.¬†What do they mean he paints on books?¬†Curiosity piqued, I did as any sensible child of technology would. I googled him. My initial reservation towards Stilkey’s work was replaced by admiration (which would increase after getting to meet him but more on that later). His style is so expressive and distinctive and oddly reminds me of Lautrec and Munch. His works give an air of whimsy and wonder to the story they tell, breathing a kind of magic into something as mundane as a man in a top hat.

Mike Stilkey is an LA-based artist who uses vintage paper, old record covers and books as his canvass. He works mainly with ink, pencil and paint for his creations. His exhibit here in the Philippines entitled “Discarded Romance” is featured in the Atrium of Fully Booked at Bonifacio Global City.

So one Saturday afternoon, I decided to give myself a break from the two and a half jobs I’ve been working on all week. I headed over to Fully Booked in search of wonderful. I was not disappointed.

The first thing I looked for upon entering the store was of course the two storey-high book sculpture installation. I was half-expecting it to be spectacularly extravagant and over the top. Instead it turned out to be understated, compelling and oddly nostalgic. It struck me that all those books came together to share the narrative of Stilkey’s art. It didn’t seem like vandalism at all, just a different way of telling a story.

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Any remaining qualms I had about this treatment of books vanished completely after having the opportunity to speak with the artist himself. I told him about my change of heart. “You’re giving these books a second life,” I told Mike Stilkey as he patiently drew a cat on my notebook. He expressed his hope that other people see it that way as well, “Especially” he said, “since I go out of my way to use discarded books.”¬†I couldn’t help but respect the man for his work as well as his work ethic.

Overall, it was an afternoon well spent in the company of a fellow cat lover and amazingly unique storyteller. Needless to say, I am now a fan of Mile Stilkey’s book sculptures and paintings. He truly is breathing new life into books that would otherwise be simply thrown away.

xxx

For more information about Mike Stilkey and his exhibits, you can visit the sites below:

http://www.mikestilkey.com/#home

http://www.lebasseprojects.com/

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11th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention Day2

16 June 2012: My ToyCon Experience Day2

ToyCon Day 2 was all about the Cosplayers and the Cosplaying contest. For those unfamiliar with the term (hi, Mom!), Cosplay is short for Costume Play where fans of all ages dress up as their favorite character usually but not exclusively from toys, movies, manga, comic books, video games and anime. It can be anything from a simple mask to an elaborate costume created with papier mache, paint and a whooooole lotta love. All the work put into the creation of the costume is a small price to pay for a chance to be anything you want to be…even for just a day.

In this case, talk is cheap. Let me just show you…

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When I said fans of all ages, I truly meant ALL ages.

Presenting, the BEST (in my opinion and in no particular order) CosPlayers of the day: the KIDS!

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11th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention Day1

15 June 2012: My ToyCon Experience Day1

The first day of the Convention was Merchant’s Day. The entire day was dedicated to the buying and selling of merchandise. There were no events and exhibits. It was all about the toys and collectibles!

I’m not really a collector. In fact, aside from books, my only other collection would be of Magic: The Gathering cards. But after spending the day looking at the awesome collectibles, I found myself pining for an Iron Man collectible. I blame it all on the Marvel Select Iron Man!

They also had a huge display of Batman Collectibles as they were marketing the upcoming final instalment of the Dark Knight franchise.

Below is a sampling of the toys and collectibles I spotted at ToyCon.

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