Tuesday, June 02, 2009


The flyers have been printed (above) and the billboard has been hauled out onto the street (below). Time to get the stage set for the show. We only have a little bit more than 24 hours till Friday and Opening Night so allow me to introduce you to the guys who helped me out.

I am constantly in awe of the work ethic of Filipinos who live abroad. Any employer who claims that Filipinos are lazy and incapable of thinking out of the box is obviously an employer who was not capable of bringing out the best in them. Throw a Filipino into a level playing field and provide job satisfaction and you will be amazed about what a disciplined and creative workforce can be had. And that is all that I have been seeing from the good folks at Kapisanan.

But first of all, allow me to introduce you to the artists who collaborated with me in getting it all done properly and on time. Above, collaborators Jan Avendano (above) April Aliermo, and her boyfriend Daniel "DingDong" Lee (middle) hard at work on the collaged "U.S. Imperialist Dog/Monster" for Act II. Jeff Garcia (pictured scowling with me in the bottom photo) would provide the installation/art work for the finale of the show. Jan and Jeff are part of the Halohalo collective (www,halohalo.ca). Read more about their crazycool work by clicking on previous link.

Preparing the set for Rajah Soliman/Spanish Colonial Period segment of the tour (Act I). Note the brilliant Nipa hut on the left side of photo (done through scrap paper and bamboo sticks. I brought the flag and the large photos from Manila. The place would also be sprayed with Sampaguita scent to complete the multi sensory effect of being in The Philippines.

Technical check for video projections on the wall. This element, which I put together myself, would be integral in providing the show's "suspension of disbelief". Instead of using "real" architecture, I would use snapshots of Intramuros, complemented by historical photographs and illustrations to move the story along.

Technical check up on the flyes/garage door that would hoist the image of the Filipina Circus Girl in order to reveal the collaged background behind it. This would be the transition from Act II (American Colonial Period) into Act III (World War II). Once again, this would be April and Daniel's work.

Incredible detail of the "U.S. Imperialist Dog/Monster" for Act II (above). April and Daniel would xerox American Pop culture images and cut them out and paste them together. It would take them hours to do this. They slept at eight am just to finish the job. As I said. I have never seen people work harder. Note: I didn't come up with the monster idea. It was theirs. As Canadians, I'm sure they have their own issues about their southern neighbor.

Technical check up on the light cues (above and below).

Note the enlarged collaged backdrop. This was achieved by April and Daniel by blowing up a vintage photo of a bombed out Manila, having them broken up into grids, printed out through Adobe Illustrator on multiple pieces of bond paper, and pasting them in order on the wall. Oh my god. These guys are brilliant. So much better than my original idea of having a montage of 1940's photos and portraits. Nevertheless, I think they humored me and we had the photos stuck onto the wall behind the Nipa Hut (below). Nobody really saw it but it did make the space look fuller. The stage would have seemed a bit empty without it.

Above, Jeff Garcia's piece from the Kilusan Show. I would use it as a backdrop for the Halo-Halo Segment of the show (Act IV). The head on the top of the installation lights up and it really adds a circus effect to the finale of the show. We would also serve halo-halos and drop confetti on folks as we do curtain call. Actually, I wanted to use Tiffany Naval's cue cards and Ilona Fiddy's Quiapo candle installation as part of the show, but unfortunately, it was removed abruptly during our ingress. Perhaps they thought I needed more space for my own stuff. Oh well. I guess I should have spoken up in time.

So once again, let's do a checklist. PR has been sent out (check). Flyers have been printed (check). Stage has been set (check).

I guess we're now all ready for opening night.

Next: Opening Night.