Jorge Ignacio Cortinas’ BIRD IN THE HAND (review)

Suburbia and adolescence go hand in hand. Both suburban landscapes and teenagers work hard in cultivating surfaces of flatness — architecturally and emotionally — to hide conflicted interiors.

It is precisely these inner worlds that Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ latest play, BIRD IN THE HAND, presents. And, while it is set in the neighborhoods of Miami and greater Florida, the play’s locations and characters — most notably, the flamingos and other birds on display in a nature park owned by its lead character Felix’s family — speak of a darker melancholia that pervades the Sunshine state. Through his deeply poetic language and absurdist sensibilities, Cortiñas has captured the spectacular range of feelings that pervade the (seeming) banality of transitional spaces like high school and summer time and “the closet.” This play perhaps speaks deepest to latchkey kids— the offspring of “absentee” parents whose power was still present in other ways — and the everyday, improvised ways we tried to find a place in this world.

Told in a mode of “looking back,” BIRD IN THE HAND is a road map of those places to which we continually return, knowing that we can never go back. – (Christine)

Fulcrum presents
BIRD IN THE HAND
by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas

August 29-September 23, 2012
Wednesdays-Saturdays (8pm)
Sundays (7pm)

Theater for the New City
155 1st Avenue (btw 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY

Tickets: $20
Call SmartTix at: (212) 868-4444

And for Super Astig’s own soundtrack teaser to this performance, check out the lo-fi music video for the Jacuzzi Boys’ “Island Avenue”:

Sandwich in Los Angeles

After performing at Apl.de.Ap’s Celebration of Global Filipino Music at the Hollywood Bowl, Sandwich played two more shows in the Los Angeles area.

This video captures Sandwich performing their 2006 anthem “Sugod” and the yet to be released “Coming Back for More.”

We also chat with Los Angeles based fans Michael and Elaine, on how they tuned into Manila’s music scene.

See more photos of Sandwich in LA on our facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.497747260239531.128346.215870565093870&type=1

-Gary

Taken by Cars Live at Mr. T’s Bowl in Los Angeles

If you missed Taken by Cars’ Los Angeles performance, here’s a nice 11 minute video of their set. Yes, I shot this and was that guy with the camera, behind the stage, on the floor and standing on the risers. I apologize to anyone at the show I accidently bumped or stepped on.

Taken by Cars performed “Unidentified”,”A Weeknight Memoir” and one of my favorite’s “Uh Oh” seamlessly blending each song into one another.

I was able to capture certain audience members yelling out disco calls with lead singer Sarah and folks taking notice of Bryan’s cowbell work. Major TbC fans indeed.

Taken by Cars Live in Los Angeles

The sound man at Mr. T’s Bowl is always on point. The band sounded great and the audio in the video is nice and clear.

Special thanks to:
Annette and Dennis (aka the Metallicouple) and
Wendy Hsu (super cool musician/scholar) for lending amps.
Soundbite Studios for fulfilling a last minute drum rental request and
Mr. T’s Bowl for taking a chance and allowing us to book a band all the way from Manila.

– Gary

Taken by Cars Live in Los Angeles

Taken by Cars Live in Los Angeles

Related links:
Download “Unidentified” from iTunes

Download “A Weeknight Memoir” from iTunes

Download “Uh Oh” from iTunes

Catching Up with Taken by Cars in San Francisco

Last Saturday, we flew up to San Francisco and watched Taken by Cars’ first state-side performance. Man, they sounded good. I could hear the hours they put into rehearsing their set. I even spotted folks, who have never heard them before, dancing to “December 2 Chapter VII”. Check out video from the show.

After the show we chatted with Sarah Marco lead singer of Taken by Cars for a quick interview.

Super Astig:
Awesome show Sarah. How does it feel to be touring state-side?

Sarah Marco:
Being here…really makes us feel super happy and grateful.

We’ve brought a lot of heart into this tour.

We’re grateful that we did it by our own efforts and it really took a lot out of us, each of us…particularly to be able to sacrifice our time…rehearsing, practicing for San Francisco, South by Southwest and LA…

And it’s a privilege to travel, to be with each other, to appreciate each other’s friendship, to be in another country basically.

We treat this tour like a serious vacation.

NOTE TO READER: Currently Taken by Cars is not signed to any major label. They put out their records independently and they paid their own way to make the tour happen. Peep their fund raising efforts here. Props to them.

Super Astig:
How does it feel to be the first Filipino band to play SXSW?

Sarah Marco:
We’re really, really proud.

It’s a happy blessing. I believe there are no accidents. Everything happens for a purpose.

We emailed our album (to SXSW) not expecting a response. So it’s really a huge thing for us (to play the festival).

We’ll do our best to represent ourselves.

Super Astig:
Anything to say to your fans in LA?

Sarah Marco:
Taken by Cars will be playing at Mr.T’s Bowl in Highland Park. (Friday 3/16 9:30 PM)

Come see our show. We worked hard to put on a good show for you guys.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

-Gary

Purchase pre-sale tickets to Taken by Cars’ Los Angeles performance here:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/233096

Follow Taken by Cars on Twitter as they continue their tour to SXSW.
https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23tbcsxsw

Purchase Taken by Cars’ song – “December 2 Chapter VII” on iTunes.

Coming up:
Review of new movie recently screened at the 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival – “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank

Taken by Cars: Abduction Tour L.A.



Rock n Roll Research

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing a book on popular music is that checking out gigs becomes a form of field research. And while I’ve enjoyed every moment of “research” that’s brought me to the far-flung sides of Makati (Saguijo, B-Side), Kati Ave. (Route 169), and even up the mountains into Baguio (R.I.P. Ayuyang Bar), it’s been even more exciting to be able to help bring a little bit of the Manila indie rock scene’s energy back home to the U.S., to share with stateside friends, musicians, and audiences.

TAKEN BY CARS at SXSW
Next week, the electro-pop quintet Taken by Cars will be the first-ever band from the Philippines to play on the stages of South by Southwest, a festival of incomparable indie gold status. Not since The Eraserheads’ 1999 win of an MTV Moon Man has such an air of pride and prestige swept over the world of Philippine indie rock. Responding to recent declarations that the archipelagic capital city’s indie music scene is “dead,” I tend to differ that perhaps, in growing older, the scene and its bands are also growing out, setting sights on bigger stages, and moving towards an afterlife beyond solely their hometown breeding grounds.

Beyond TFC and Eat Bulaga
Unlike other Asian counterparts such as J-Pop or K-Pop, Pinoy/OPM indie rock has yet to see a surging and successful crossover into U.S. pop culture. You can blame it on a number of factors—American ignorance and amnesia about its former colony, Filipino invisibility and low production value—but, in our many conversations on music & culture during long drives, the husband and I always return to the lack of knowledge (and, therefore, sharing) by Filipino Americans of what’s really going down in modern-day Philippine culture (outside of TFC and “Eat Bulaga”).

TAKEN BY CARS in L.A 3/16
.
Therefore, in its ongoing effort to
a) further a project of “knowing history, knowing self” for Filipinos in the U.S. and

b) share the latest & greatest of Philippine contemporary culture with the world, Super Astig Productions (in conjunction with Party Bear Productions) brings to you the L.A. edition of TAKEN BY CARS.

Join us Friday, March 16th at Mr. T’s Bowl (Highland Park, CA) for a special one-night only event with all proceeds benefiting the band’s costs in traveling to SXSW.

Tickets:
$10 (admission + TbC CD)
$30 (admission + TbC CD and limited edition t-shirt).

On sale now at:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/233096

Taken by Cars “Dualist” CD

Taken by Cars Abduction Tour Limited Edition T-shirt

– Christine

Related links:

Taken by Cars on iTunes

Vex Ruffin

My wife turned me onto this Filipino brother straight out of Chino Hills, CA. His name is Vex Ruffin. I recently checked out a live performance at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.

On stage Vex Ruffin’s band consists of drums, bass, percussion and Vex on guitar. At times during the set, the line-up would switch to Vex singing and the percussionist rocking a sampler. Vex’s music has a post-punk influenced feel with a well crafted lo-fi sound. The music is dope.

Something about the music connects with me. Possibly the simplicity and sincerity of the sound…or the sonic dirtiness…or maybe watching his band play triggers memories of adolescent south Jersey basement jam sessions with my cousins…recording these unpolished three note (not chords) songs about wrestlers, pythons and skateboarding. All captured on a tape cassette boom box. Damn, I just dated myself.

Pick up Vex Ruffin’s ep released on Stonesthrow records.
http://stonesthrow.com/vex

or on iTunes

– Gary

The Excursion Tour Baguio

On September 17th 2011 bands from Manila & Baguio got together and produced The Excursion Tour show at Ayuyang Bar in Baguio City, Philippines.

Fueled with a disregard for the need to earn money or obtain sponsorships to pay for expenses, The Excursion Tour was built upon the desire to simply enjoy the performance of music.

This video captures some of the performances of the night.

Bands that performed that night
Sky Dive Academy
Still
Bagetsafonik
Gaijin
Taken by Cars
Pedicab (with special appearance by Ron Ruiz of Feet Like Fins)
DJ Mon (Team Manila)

Sandwich – Live in Jersey City

Here is a clip of Sandwich performing at the Lamp Post Bar & Grill in beautiful downtown Jersey City.

I’m calling this version of “Sugod” the special “Raimund Gets a Beer at the Bar Remix” Watch the clip and see what I mean.

More footage to come from Sandwich’s US visit…

Related Links:
Sandwich’s Facebook Page
http://www.facebook.com/sandwichmanila

Lamp Post Bar & Grill
http://www.lamppostjc.com/

Joel Torre: Cool na Cool

Not many actors would travel halfway across the world and embark upon a multi-city tour to promote a film that they did not also write or direct. But, then again, Joel Torre is not like most actors. With a career spanning over four decades, “JT” has starred on stage and on the big screen, in mainstream and indie films, and in both Filipino and U.S.-based productions. And his dexterity is not limited to acting (or directing or producing, all jobs he has done in theatre and television). As owner of JT’s Manukan Grille—a chain of roadside restos featuring specialties from his hometown (Bacolod) such as chicken inasal and batchoy, he is also a beloved figure among foodies and bloggers.

(post-film Q&A with Joel Torre & Professor Gold, photo credit: E. Ivan Fructuoso)

This past Saturday, August 20th, JT arrived in San Francisco for the opening weekend of his latest project AMIGO, a film directed by John Sayles (forever the “underdog” proponent) and one of the very few U.S. cinematic attempts to address the oft-forgotten history of the Philippine-American War (1899-1904). A special event to benefit Bindlestiff Studio—a Filipino American performing arts venue in the city’s SoMA neighborhood—the screening took place at UA Stonestown with an after-party at Bindlestiff’s own Rene Acosta’s latest venture, Social Kitchen & Brewery. Unfortunately, already feeling under the weather, JT appeared unprepared for the Daly City fog, forgetting that a “San Francisco summer night” requires (at least) a light jacket or hoodie.

Yet, despite its stops and starts, the evening proved to be a huge success, raising over $1,500 for the upcoming resurrection of Bindlestiff Studio at its original location (185 Sixth Street), thanks to the collective efforts of artists, administrators, and volunteers over this past decade. Bringing together community members and supporters, old and new, from L.A. to the Bay, it also served as an informal reunion for those of us who’ve been involved in the California-based Filipino American arts scene since before the turn of this latest century.

(Bindlestiff Studio managing director Allan Manalo)

(old skool FPAC/Classified Records reunion with Winston Emano, E. Fructuoso, and Ed Mabasa, photo credit: E. Ivan Fructuoso)

For more information on AMIGO, click here.

For an equally epic account of the Philippine-American War and its cultural impact, check out filmmaker Angel Velasco Shaw and writer Luis Francia’s edited collection, VESTIGES OF WAR: THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR AND THE AFTERMATH OF AN IMPERIAL DREAM, 1899-1999.

To find out how you too can help keep the Bindlestiff dream alive, click here.

(JT & E. with Bindlestiff Studio fund director Kat Evasco, photo credit: E. Ivan Fructuoso)

And, if you STILL need another reason to believe that Joel Torre is a cool na cool, Super Astig guy, check out this short webisode from writer Lourd de Veyra’s “Word of the Lourd: Make Your Own Indie Film” series. Featuring a few other Filipino indie celebs our readers might be able to identify and perhaps even “collaborated” with, in the past.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r9inSbRp1o

Photos From RAKENROL Screening NYC

More photos on our Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.273193499361576.85679.215870565093870&type=1