Three things 2 – 6 February 2012 edition

As one of my favorite essays of all time–soon to be reposted on this blog–is about Vinyl on Vinyl, I have decided to begin with a plug for them. This Wednesday is their second anniversary, and Tara McPherson is coming to town. I hope to see you all on Wednesday, the 8th, at 2000 hrs.

The three things series, I realize, also owes part of its genetic heritage from an acquaintance I have not met in a very long time. So thanks to Rita, whom I hope is not giving up on the “t-word.”

And after I get the preliminaries out of the way, here is today’s entry:

1. It is actually easier to do things more than we fear them to be–if that’s one thing I learned whilst taking a visitor on a very short gallery hop. For reasons of time, jetlag, and health, a film critic I knew from last year’s .MOV festival got to see two Pasong Tamo-area galleries, Manila Contemporary and DAGC. The latter is hosting Curro Gonzales’s prints show, featuring his “theme park of art” series which was part of his contribution to a seminal group show curated by Manuel Ocampo at the former gallery in June. This was where Ocampo made explicit, at the artist’s talk for the show, his view that the local art scene could benefit from having more exposure to overseas artists. DAGC is turning out to be his contribution to the project, but other similar projects, especially the Nothing to Declare group show, shows how fruitful the cross-cultural project could become–and with, in my view, more interesting results.

2. Perhaps we may have to look at alternative arts festivals and venues to offer the path forward for transnational collaboration in the arts. This brings me to a fundraiser organized by the Fete de la WSK. It was for the benefit of Lirio Salvador, an artist who was the victim of a hit-and-run incident late last year near his gallery. Having been unable to arrive early enough owing to a consultation with two good friends from the music/arts field, I was not able to see whether they had learned some things from my little critique from last year. I think they were able to figure out that what they were good at was putting on the kind of gig that did not require a strict timetable. I enjoyed my brief time there, though I agreed with Cris Garcimo of Gentle Universe that the synth ensemble they put together that night, a redux of a similar exercise during the Fete itself, lacked a melodic element. Then again, the two keyboard players who are really good at this were at Hobbit House, performing with their band.

3. This brings me to last night, where I finally got to see my old high school music teacher, one of only two practicing sitar players in town, perform with an Indian music ensemble at Bollywood Greenbelt. He had the brothers Wasu playing tabla and harmonium, and one-half of the aforementioned keyboard duo playing on electronic keyboard. It was a very interesting set, with old Bollywood tunes played alongside pop music covers. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga got played twice, the encore performance a request. They also made your correspondent very happy by playing two qawwali¬†classics, “Allah Hoo Allah Hoo” and “Mast Mast.” Both are connected of course to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was responsible for bringing this Sufi style of singing from Pakistan to the wider world.

Next time, I just might have something on the Vinyl anniversary.

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