Sunday, March 4, 2012

Livin' La Vida Imelda x Bed

The poster of Livin' La Vida Imelda, which I suspect JP Cuison made

This Friday, Nikko and I went to SLab for Carlos Celdran's Livin' La Vida Imelda, the theatrical version of his famed walk at the CCP. The show is an in-depth tour of Imelda Marcos's rise and fall as an icon of beauty, fashion, power, and political and cultural influence, all told in Celdran's inimitable wit and style.

A wonderfully created version of the CCP, painted on the wall of SLab (photo from here)

Normally set in the CCP, Imelda's career is told through the buildings in the complex, from the Theater of Performing Arts, Folk Arts Theater, Coconut Palace, the PICC, and the Manila Film Center. Given its change of location, Celdran is brilliantly aided by minimalist versions of the buildings along the four walls of SLab, making the production almost as interactive as the actual walk.

Carlos Celdran with "Imelda" (photo from here)

Celdran uses pictures, videos, music, and performers to help him in his monologue, but the most fascinating is the story itself and the perspective he shares with everyone. He both idealizes and mocks Imelda, balancing his criticism of the Marcos era with funny anecdotes of the former First Couple. Celdran seems to have mastered two of Imelda's mannerisms: her imperial way of speaking and waving a white handkerchief as she charms her way through global politics.

Much of the stories I already heard, being a fan of Imelda myself. I have two unauthorized biographies, both banned by Imelda herself, and I have a canvas bag with Imelda's face, which I must admit garnered a lot of attention that night. But seeing it performed live, or at least caricatured, was given a fresh dimension that I appreciated.

The highlight of the night (at least for me), were some of Celdran's thoughts on the Marcos era. These were things I was forced to re-think during dramatic pauses in the monologue: Did Marcos really Aquino? For someone who is as intelligent as Ferdinand, would he really kill Noynoy Aquino at 2PM in the middle of the airport in front of so many journalists? Apparently, Marcos had no idea of the plot because when he heard about it, he threw an ashtray at Imelda, knowing the effect it would have on his presidency. And the more important question: is democracy really for everyone?

All in all, the show was very provocative. Celdran pulls out all the stops and name drops like there's no tomorrow, unabashedly sharing his thoughts without censoring himself. It is a crash course on an important part of Filipino life, told in a way that will make you listen (all history lessons should be told this way, complete with song and dance numbers). The portrayal is honest, raw, and emotional, and leaves a very important afterthought: Maybe Imelda did a lot of good, too.

A shirt of the program

I even got a shirt! I got to talk to Carlos after the show and he was a nice guy. We compared notes on the books Imelda banned, The Rise and Fall of Imelda Marcos and The Untold Story of Imelda Marcos, both written by Carmen Navarro Pedrosa. I promised him I'd go to the actual tour.

The production has a few more dates, make sure to check this page out. I heard it has two extra shows. The show is held at Silverlens Lab, 2/F YMC BLDG 2, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City, Philippines. You may call them at (+632) 816.00.44 / (+63905) 2650873 for more details. Tickets are priced at P800 and P400 for students.

Dinner was at CBD, Ayala Triangle, then we went to Bed, Manila. I got my checks from The Philippine Star that afternoon so I was in the mood for dancing.

MV Logos Hope x Toribox x Holly's Coffee

The MV Logos Hope

Last Tuesday, Nikko and I went to the MV Logos Hope, the world's largest floating book fair docked at the South Harbor. The MV Logos Hope is a travelling book store and library that carries 5,000 books covering a wide range of topics from art, medicine, self-help, sports, travel, fiction, and many more.

The countries the MV Logos Hope has traveled to

 It is run by 408 members from 45 different countries, all volunteering without pay to "bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world." Eight of them are Filipinos. Aside from selling books (which are incredibly affordable), the ship aims to help communities around the world by providing aid and relief.

The ship has visited several regions, including countries in Northern Europe, the Caribbean, West Africa, the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia.

The books

The selection wasn't as staggering as I thought. I expected a whole shipload of books, but the selections only took half a deck and it was very small. But what was impressive was that they were dirt-cheap. If the fair had more fiction, I probably would have cleaned out the shelves, or at least my wallet. Art books can be bought for P200-P500, while three textbooks are sold for P500, with a free bag.

The ship is run by a Christian organization so there were a lot of Bibles, inspirational books and Christian music both playing in the intercom and being sold on the rack. 

Essential Modern Art, P500

Gardening, P200 

 Art Deco, P400

I got myself a copy of Essential Modern Art, a timeline of the best pieces with a brief background of the artist. It's very informative and a must-have for a beginner. It has entries on Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock, among many others. I also got a book on gardening, which I'm planning to use to build my very own garden.

For my birthday, Nikko got me a copy of Art Deco: The Golden Age of Graphic Art and Illustration, a history of the movement, which I admire for its flirty lines and the sexy use of shapes and colors.

The three books cost P1,100, a low price considering the Art Deco and modern art books are large and hardbound.

The International Cafe

After our extensive shopping (Nikko got around six books), we hung out for a bit at the International Cafe, which isn't as impressive as it sounds. But it's run by a friendly Russian and they had good products you can't find here, like Fanta. The staff were all friendly, and I got to chat with a Chinese girl about my trip to Shanghai last summer.

The ship will be in the South Harbor until March 13, 2012. The South Harbor is located near Manila Hotel. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 10AM to 9.30PM and Sundays at 1PM to 9.30PM.

For dinner, we wanted to go to CBD at the Ayala Triangle, but the traffic caused by the INC prayer rally was so intense that we changed our mind. The trip going to the ship was just as bad and we wound our way throughout Manila, even going through Intramuros. There were so many people that it was hard to navigate around the city. We decided to have dinner instead at Toribox near DLSU. It's a Japanese place that sells really good karaage pops for less than P100. The servings are also enormous so we enjoyed our meal.

For dessert we went to Holly's Coffee, this upscale-looking coffee shop along Taft. The interiors are warm and cozy, and the staff were especially accommodating. The waffles were divine.
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