Young Star

Things to be grateful for

THE OUTSIDER - Erwin T. Romulo - The Philippine Star

Let’s get on with the Yuletide then.

Despite everything (and ourselves) there’s a lot to be grateful for in 2012.

Idon’t mind the end-times. It’s Christmas that I’m worried about. After all, it all ending in fire-and-brimstone would be a lot preferable to tears. And it will — what with everyone and everything cajoling us to be merry and gay in the spirit of the season, you’re sure to be not enough of either. Also, the traffic surely won’t be as bad (where is there to go to?), you’re not expected to give anyone gifts (what is there to give?), and the parties are sure to be a helluva lot more fun (hooking up would be a lot easier, I imagine. Regretting it wouldn’t be a problem either). It actually almost makes you sad to know that the End won’t likely be forthcoming, no matter how telling the portents.

Let’s get on with the Yuletide then. Despite everything (and ourselves) there’s a lot to be grateful for in 2012. This is by no means a full account, but only the ones we’d like to highlight in case the unlikely happens. We’ll see you here next week for more (if the fates allow).


Just when you thought it was dead, there are a slew of releases and “happenings” that offer not only proof of life but of robust health. As usual the underground and truly independent of the spectrum make the best case for local music being alive and well, from new albums by punk outfit Bad Omen, dub merchants Goodleaf (their Ruff N’ Tuff compilation being a fine collection of artists from the dub community), and the all-conquering Up Dharma Down to regular nights out at B-Side during the Subflex series put together by premiere hip-hop head Caliph8 to showcase the best in electronica, noise, and every other genre that scares them hipsters to bits. If the world is ending, then this lot has made sure it does so with a bang and not a whimper.


Though arguably not the best year for movies, there are a number that made sure that 2012 did not sink without a trace in cinema history. For this space, we’ll cite two. The successful commercial run and DVD release of the documentary Give Up Tomorrow is a cause for celebration even if just for the fact that it’s proven that well-made non-fiction filmmaking has an audience here, one that’s capable of intelligent discussion about its subject. On the other hand, our choice for this year’s best film was only shown to a select audience and attracted almost no notice from the press whatsoever. Whammy Alcazaren’s Colossal is an outstanding work of cinema. And unlike most “indies” in vogue these days, Alcazaren’s film is ambitious, weaving a personal history of loss with a panoramic retelling of the country’s own. If that sounds like it’s challenging, well it is. Both are welcome signs that not only are the films but rather the audiences are evolving. 


It’s harder to make anything special anymore these days, most especially art. There’s just so much of it going around that you’d think we’d had enough. The AX(iS) Art Project though has made the scene a lot more interesting if not engaging for both artist and audience. Initiated by artists from Baguio, the festival’s guiding ethos is one of access, that of breaking barriers not just by simply taking the art out of the galleries but rather by creating settings and situations for it to happen in often startling ways. This year entailed getting a bus and taking it on a trip, stopping at various spots along the way to stage various exhibits and performances that did more than take place in a certain community but involved them. “I’m sure it all looks like a mess,” says organizer Kawayan de Guia, “but if you dig a little deeper you’re gonna hit some gold.” Taking place as it does in the mountain province, one gets the impression that he’s right.









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