First Book for 2019: E. Aguilar Cruz the Writer as Painter

I am getting worried because it is already the month of May and I have yet to read and finish one book this year.  I have always considered that people who do not read books are of a lesser type of human beings.  For me, people’s justification that they are too busy and do not have the time to read a book are living a less meaningful life. 

The whole purpose of reading, for me, is not about having to learn more. It is to get in touch with that deep quiet part of myself.  My inner temple so to speak.  And for me, books don’t only inform or inspire, it is also my form of deep reflection and relaxation.

Thank goodness I received a book yesterday, as gifted to me by my boss.  And what is so awesome about it is that it was personally signed by the author himself.  And since I am “re-starting” what is further remarkable about it is that it is a one-seating kind of a hardcover.

got mine signed 🙂

thumbs up X 10

Let me then formally announce that the first book I have read this year is by a prolific writer, Ambeth Ocampo.  It is his latest and is entitled E. Aguilar Cruz: The Writer as Painter.  The book impressively examines how the artistic style of E. Aguilar Cruz has evolved.

The book has thankfully brought me to a different realm for it tackles creative virtuosity, visual exquisity and inherent passion towards one’s art.  Ocampo’s writing, contemplations and analyses can effectively aid the reader on understanding the realist, impressionist and expressionist works of Aguilar Cruz.  He convincingly conveyed that E. Aguilar Cruz is an artist that is a league of his own.  And because of the humongous amount of featured photos of E. Aguilar Cruz’s paintings and sketches, the book is actually like a compact and mobile mini-art gallery!

a great read…

Thanks to this super worthy book, my worry has finally ceased.  And I can finally reconsider myself again as a more worthy and well-meaning human being.  Next book please….

Kung ayaw mo pa ring mag-basa ng libro, itong blog ko na lang basahin mo. Hihihi!

Perfect Strangers at 72nd Street Subway Station

Every subway station in New York City seem to depict and tell their distinct story.  Each station appears to have their own unique and notable personality.  One striking subway station that I stumbled upon which I was truly impressed with was the Second Avenue subway station at 72nd Street.

And out of curiosity, I tried reading articles about the remarkable design and artwork of the station.  I then found out that the numerous glass mosaic images on the walls of the station were done my artist and photographer Vic Muniz and he appropriately named these works of art as Perfect Strangers.

Perfect Strangers being a public art display can easily be perceived as a celebration of diversity of the people who live and work in any NYC neighborhood.  It is also a powerful message to all commuters about the normalcy of life in New York.  These mosaics can simply be distinguished as the microcosm of the city which reminds everyone of us that life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

working hard

young at heart

super friends

father figure

love wins

And it looks like this station has been earning some popularity and a amiaable reputation from people who loves taking photos.  It is because I noticed that it was not only me who was there taking photos of those Perfect Strangers on the walls! I’m pretty sure the live breathing strangers would post their photos in their respective Instagram account.  My photos however don’t seem to do justice!

Enough with the rumination! Let me just announce that I am so loving this station!  The price of the subway fare would be so worth it even if your purpose is to see and check-out the Perfect Strangers!

perfect strangers

the world has so much to offer

Galing!

OY/YO a Symbol of NYC Multi-Lingualism

I fulfilled my personal promise that I would go around Brooklyn in case I would return to New York.  Brooklyn was the dynamic and remarkable borough I failed to visit the first time I toured NYC.

One goal out of this fulfilment was to check on the chic and chichi Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest and oldest museums in the United States.  But prior to entering the fine-looking museum, one would have to inescapably notice two giant letters.  It is unavoidably apparent because the figure is about 8 feet in height, 17 feet wide and it is flamboyantly bright yellow in color.

Entitled “OY/YO” by artist Deborah Kass is a giant pop-art sculpture that is part of the public art display of the Brooklyn Museum.  And everybody who got to step into the Brooklyn Museum for the first time, for sure, has a photo with this iconic sculpture.  I of course had mine!

Let me then relay my rumination about this piece of art.  OY/YO for me presents the onlooker with an abundance of meaning.  This seemingly simple yet humongous sculpture can resonate in different languages.  It can speak to onlookers may they have differing cultural, linguistic, social and ethnic background. 

Spanish speakers for one may read it as “I am” since YO is the Spanish word for I am.  But people from Portugal and Brazil may perceive it as saying “Hi” since OY is the Portuguese word for “hi”.  While Americans (especially African Americans) may see it differently because YO has evolved as a common and informal salutation among these people.  Yes, yes, Yo!

i admit, filipinos can sometimes be so american…

i prefer this one… because it got angst in the filipino tongue

In Somali OY is a word meaning vote!  Lithuanians and Yiddish speaking folks on the other hand may regard it as OY since Oy is the word they use for expressing disappointment and annoyance.  OY in Armenian, Uzbek and Azerbaijani according to Google translate is the English word for month. 

But for me, as a Filipino, OY/YO the sculpture would speak in both ways.  It is acceptable in both forms, as Oy and as Yo.  Similar to the American salutation, Filipino folks especially the hip-hop and rapper class would also use YO as an informal salutation.  It is like saying “Hey” in a friendly manner.

But once upset, irritated and wants to confront someone, Filipinos (may they belong to hip-hop, pop, disco, techno or other freaking genre) would address that someone as OY.  Oy is also like saying “Hey” but in an ill-mannered cheeky tone. And once Oy is uttered to you several times by a Filipino in a crude and threatening tone like Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! This would mean you must have been caught from some kind of trouble and needs to pay for the repercussions that you seem to have done.

So it is just but fitting for OY/YO to actually be placed and exhibited in NYC, Brooklyn Museum in particular.  It is because NYC is considered the cultural melting pot of the planet.  Everybody in NYC seem to know and speak a second language. And OY/YO the sculpture can symbolize the multi-linguistic representation of everyone in NYC.  I am so fortunate to have bumped into such a vivacious kind of a sculpture.

And if OY/YO would have the opportunity to visit Manila, this sculpture would definitely be a big talk of the town because it has meanings and can definitely resonate something to a Filipino like me.

Yes, yes, yo! Oy, oy, oy!

The Blind Whino

If I live in Washington D.C. I would have the quadriceps of steel.  After just 48 hours in the city, my shapeless flabby thighs were beginning to show signs of muscular definition from all the walking.  My friend Jhong who is based in New York was correct when he warned me that being a tourist in Washington D.C. requires tons of walking.

But aside from the corporeal benefit of touring D.C., tourists like me would get to encounter cool contemporary spots that are often snubbed and not featured in typical tour destinations of the state.

One particular dapper of a spot in D.C. is the psychedelic-looking structure called the Blind Whino.

The structure was originally a Baptist Church that served and provided the religious needs of the local community.  But a developer bought it out from the Catholic Church and sat for over 2 decades before an artist was commissioned to beautify it and call it the Blind Whino.  The former church then was transformed into a superb venue for art performances, exhibits and even social functions.

It was actually some considerable walk from the nearest train station before you can get to the Blind Whino.  But all the troubles and pains of walking were all ignored and neglected when I started to marvel at the dazzling colorful structure.  Funny because when I tried to enter the main door of the building, I stopped myself from doing/gesturing the sign of the cross when I realized that, yeah, it is no longer a Catholic Church.

try locating this piece at the facade of the building

vibrant collection! 

lucky to see how young artist, shawn michelle perkins does his job

And what added up to the already awesome experience was the exhibit that was running during the time of my visit when I entered the Blind Whino.  A number of sassy and vibrant painting works by artist Shawn Michelle Perkins were beautifully hanged on the walls. 

It was definitely awesome to have discovered the Blind Whino.  This type of cool spots definitely makes walking the streets of Washington D.C. all worth it.

Muntik na ko mag-sayn op da kros. Kaloka!

Stupendous Artechouse

When I was in Washington D.C. I tried searching for the quintessential place, piece or circumstance that I can share in my social media account (particularly in my unpopular Instagram) that would ultimately launch and make it in-style, so-prevalent and too-widespread.

I then found Artechouse.  It is some sort of like a seasonal museum and an art pop-up project with huge multiple projectors all over the wall.   On the time of my visit, the exhibit’s theme was fittingly about Cherry Blossoms since it is cherry blossoms season in D.C.  Artechouse named it “In Peak Bloom”

Here’s what I got and hope you click and check it out!

Artechouse’s stupendous #inpeakbloom exhibit brought something that is difficult to describe.  It is some sort of a contemporary art that seem to have been mixed with theater, music, film and technology that is interactive in nature.

Unluckily and as usual, this post only garnered few likes in my Instagram and it didn’t made me popular.  Though my Instagram remained unpopular and bleakly received I realize that this failure didn’t made me less of a person.  But In Peak Bloom exhibit, I guess brought in me some colorful peace with bundles and bundles of joy and gladness. I was stupendously pleased to have seen and experienced it! 

Ang hindi mag-click ng Instagram post ko na yan, Panget! Hahaha!

Funky Watermelon House

Seeing and taking photos of the White House is a tourist’s travel destination and activity when in Washington D.C.  It is the must-see house when visiting the state capital of the United States.  I did just that as I posted in my previous post.

Also, while being in Washington D.C. I can’t help but marvel over the beautiful residential houses lined on the streets of this state.  Its design and architecture seem to represent an all-American type of living.

 

But there is one funky house that really struck me the most while visiting D.C.  It is not painted white like the official resident of the US President but instead drawn into the colors and design of a watermelon.

Though boxed-type of a structure and not the typical house seen along the streets of Washington D.C., the Watermelon House was indeed something unique.  Kudos to the artist who planned and made this because he was able to successfully capture on drawing attention of passersby and onlookers on such a funky art.

 

I could not contain myself from not taking photos of the Watermelon House when I saw it!  I nevertheless did not dare knock on the door so as to enter and check how the interior looks like.  I left the residents alone of course.  But I definitely wondered if living inside is as refreshing as that of the refreshing watermelon.

Mukha namang Hown Swit Hown infernes…

Giant Blue Cock

Except for chicken in a form of cooked food, I never imagined that I would be able to feature a chicken in this blog on a different form.

Welcome then to a giant blue cock sculpture by artist Katharina Fritsch entitled Hahn/Cock.  I happen to have found this completely cobalt blue of an art piece on the rooftop terrace of the east building of National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

I honestly don’t know the significance, the logic and the wisdom for this piece of art.  But if its point is to simply let its onlookers to marvel and take photos of it so that it can be posted by every viewer’s personal Instagram account, then the artist I suppose has been very successful on its intention.

Hahn/Cock the artwork truly is something… some say it is something feminist in nature while others say that it is a symbol of strength and awakening.  For me, it is simply one giant blue cock that is kinky in context and biological in perspective.

Ano kayang lasa nyan kapag in-afritada.

Red-Faced by the Thomas Jefferson Building

Upon my arrival in Washington D.C. I was super glad to find out that my Bed & Breakfast accommodation is just near the U.S. Capitol Building.  It was only a five minute walk.  That is why after checking-in, dropping my luggage and having no time to waste, I immediately headed to this imposing building.

It was barely 30 minutes before the U.S Capitol visitor center closes that is why I opted not to enter and instead roam the grounds and marvel myself from the beauty and grandeur of the said building.

My carnal body and itchy feet however led me to a gorgeous building just across the U.S. Capitol.  It was too beautiful that I totally forgot how excited I was on seeing and taking shots of the U.S. Capitol.  The fine-looking building I am talking about is the Thomas Jefferson Building formerly known as the Library of Congress Building.

Accepting visitors too for this building was about cease for the day but I opted to enter thinking that I’d rather spend my afternoon’s remaining time inside this less-known building instead of my much preferred U.S. Capitol.  

  The stupidity in me was so high that afternoon that I was actually clueless and was not expecting anything to marvel about inside this building.  But upon entry my jaw simply dropped!  I never imagined that this building’s interior would elaborately be so decorated.  I was astonished to see each of the sections of the building which of course exhibits the richness of the American history and culture.

I thought that the highlight of all highlights was the splendor, opulence and grandness of the main hall.  But when my curiosity attacked, I led myself to a small stairs which looks like it accommodates long queues of people on ordinary days because of the signs posted (but none that afternoon was around since the building was already closing). I discovered an even grander magnificence of this extra-ordinarily beautiful building.  The unimposing stairs led me to the Main Reading Room of the building! And if dropped jaws can further plunge, I guess that was what pretty happened to me during that time!

And when I was done doing the tour of the building, I felt “pahiya” (guilty and embarrassed) because I underestimated the beauty and grandness of the Thomas Jefferson Building which I later found out to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the United States. 

I was at a wow stated when I left Thomas Jefferson Building.  It then dawned in me that my Washington D.C. adventure would be something colorful and spectacular!

clueless

Wow! Hindi ko akalain, gradioso pala sa loob!

The Oculus in Lower Manhattan

When I was in NY four years ago, there was one structure at the Lower Manhattan that was still being built.  It was a bummer of a sight then because it was construction noisy, construction dusty and construction ugly.

But now that I am back in NYC, I have nothing but special words for the new architectural landmark in Lower Manhattan on the very site that I am taking about.  It is called the Oculus and it is such a cool place to visit!  It is completely unique and is definitely different from the other buildings around the area.

Its beauty though comes with such a hefty price because according to google, it costs 3.9 billion US dollars to make!  That is just a massive amount of money!

Oculus, aside from being shopping center is also a transportation hub.  It is I suppose now the main train station in Lower Manhattan.  I know that Grand Central station is really classic, beautiful and un-comparable but I really really like this station.

The distinctive design of the building obviously seem to imply a bird’s wings that is ready to take off! The Oculus I guess is a symbolism of being like a Phoenix that has risen from the death and destruction in that area.

this blog post will not be complete without my proof of being there. striking a pose!

It is an awe-inspiring representation of giving hope and confidence to the whole New York that it is time to take off again after the sad events of 9/11 whose actual site of the tragedy is actually a few steps away.   But what I really love about this building is how it looks from the inside!  It’s matchless!

The Oculus is definitely one gorgeous structure!

Ganda! Grabeh!

Dear Evan Hansen: My New Musical Favorite

I don’t remember how I got to know Dear Evan Hansen, the musical.  Maybe it is because I so love songs from various musicals and I adore Broadway musicals that is why my algorithm just simply popped Dear Evan Hansen on my internet searches in the past.

And since I live half-way around the world away from New York City, I just have to satisfy myself from listening to the beautiful soundtrack of this musical and watch snippets on YouTube of Ben Platt singing the musical’s songs on American TV shows.

where majority of the letters were written…

stole a shot at the end of the show

the cast…

One of my workmates can attest that I am a fan of this musical because when he (Chef Juan Carlos Lima) travelled New York for a short holiday 2 years ago, I actually asked him to buy me a souvenir shirt of Dear Evan Hansen. Chef Juan Carlos when I was showing him the photo of the Dear Evan Hansen shirt looked so puzzled and so funny because he does not have any idea on what I was talking about.

But now that I am in New York, I promised myself that no matter what, I will have to watch this award-winning musical.  And I did not fail myself because last Wednesday I got to actually see it at the Music Box Theatre!

Its an Experience!  Only the stone-hearted will not be moved by this musical.

where it’s running…

Dear Evan Hansen though profoundly contemporary will definitely struck everyone’s inner chord.  Everyone can actually relate to the story and there seem to be like an Evan Hansen in all of us!  And I agree to the popular reviews in past that it will instantly pierce the viewers’ heart and will burrow it through to their consciousness.  I for one was crying.  As in like C.R.Y.I.N.G!  I was like having waterfalls on my freaking face! And I was not the only one who was crying because I can actually see and hear people in the audience sniveling, sobbing and clearing their snot!

May you be a young or an old person, a parent, a person with or without a parent, a student, a worker, a friend, a person with insecurities (which everybody got), a person who feels being like an outsider (who hasn’t?), Dear Evan Hansen definitely is one of the most relatable musicals I have ever seen! Even on the first song, you will already be so hooked because it is way too relatable!  It is as if the musical knows us so much and was written about each and every one of us.

I thought I already saw my favorite musical when I was here in New York four years ago.  Well, I guess that has changed.  And I think it would take a very beautiful masterpiece of a musical to topple Dear Evan Hansen as my favorite.  Dear Evan Hansen is clearly an EXPERIENCE!

my playbill… love it!

#youwillbefound

I only have one wish now that I have seen Dear Evan Hansen.  And that is someday, this great musical arrive the shores of Manila because like what the musical says…‘no one deserves to be forgotten’.  And when it arrives in Manila, I will be one of the first persons to watch it again.

Ang galing! Peyborit!