Friday, February 20, 2004

I was surprisingly busy this week, too, and not because of work. I got called for Thursday but had to turn it down because I had a pitch of sorts. Anyway, let's try to do this in order:

Neva gave me a bottle of Bailey's for Valentine's. I may not be a beer drinker, but I do likes me Irish Cream. :) It was a kind of gift set that came with two glasses and a shot glass. She has a new template now, by the way. Check it out. And a new website for when she's bored at work. :)

Last Saturday's Ciudad Album Launch was not just the best Ciudad gig I have ever seen (a fact that the members themselves admit to), it became one of the Top 5 Gigs I Have Ever Been To, which includes Pearl Jam, Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney (2nd night), and Yo La Tengo. It was amazing! The opening bands were Narda, Wild Mood Swings and 7 Foot Jr, who all turned in great performances as well. I wasn't familiar with Wild Mood Swings but they were pretty damn good, and their drummer is Mitch's younger sister. Finally Ciudad came onstage and they played I think 16 songs, including ones I'd never seen them perform before ("That Guy From Nirvana Is Now With The Foo Fighters," "The Telephone & The Radio"), and changed the arrangement in a number of songs so that they were surprising and exciting. Number One Fan Kathy Gener got to sing along to Radio Guy and won the nifty lunchbox, beating out Genie and I think Jovan in the process. There were some cool buttons for sale, too. And RA Rivera's video for "Make It Slow" was great, hilarious fun. More than once it occurred to me while watching them perform that the first time I saw them play, we were all in high school. Which means I've been watching them play, have been listening to their songs, for about 7 years (shit). But the night really reminded me why they're my favorite Pinoy band. Just sheer good vibes throughout, capped off by a meal at Mr. Kabab. I pity those who didn't go. But if you would like to redeem your damned souls, grab the chance to catch the second Album Launch at Milenia, Kamuning on the 27th. Your eternal rest hangs in the balance.

The next night was the Fatal Posporos Farewell gig, which was also fantastic, albeit tinged with a bittersweet tone as it was, after all, the last time Annette Ortiz would be playing with her band of several years. They pretty much went through their entire repertoire, and it was sad to think that this may be the last time I hear these songs live. Hopefully their second album, which is due soon, will help salve that situation. The emotional high point for me was when they got Annette to sing "Inay Pinay" while someone else played drums, and it was a treat seeing them all shouting and jumping and just playing their hearts out; you didn't want it to stop, and suspected they didn't either. They were taking requests since they didn't have a formal set list, and friends and guests took turns going onstage and performing/singing with them, including Quark who sang along to Juliana Hatfield's "Spin the Bottle," and Jazz from the Itchyworms and Edsel and more (belting out some Bon Jovi and G'nR tunes). I was also thinking of the first time I saw them perform, which would've been freshman college, and now they have a 4th member (Aia from Imago), and two of the original 3 members were now married (Kris Gorra-now-Dancel and Donna Macalino-now-Diez). The scene is a little less interesting now for their departure. Still, here's to Annette and the best of luck to her over in the US.

Mich got back on Tuesday from her 2-month holiday vacation/jaunt, and she got us some sweet swag: a signed copy of Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve # 9. Yeaaaahhh. There was also a bookmark. She made sure to mention that she missed a Modest Mouse gig to get us the gifts, and we made sure to mention that the signature looks nothing like Adrian Tomine, just some indeterminate scrawl that was probably Mich herself. I keed, Dulce, I keed. She showed us her Nick Zinner photos and the ones at the Tomine signing as well. Also some orgies she neglected to mention on her blog. She met Peter Kuper and thought he was "baduy." She also got me my Ultimate Quad Cam, which I haven't yet had time to play around with (or read the instructions of). Yeaaaahhh.

Now. The pitch. Got a call for a meeting on Tuesday night for a meeting the next morning. I show up, get the gist: pitch for a narrative commercial for a beverage. I had a day. Called Chris up so we could collaborate, which we do until midnight, and we have two sets of 3 stories each that we're happy with. Then we pitch yesterday, along with Quark who came up with concepts of his own, and the "agency" like them. Always nice to hear. They ask if we'd like to pitch to the client directly, right now, since he's just across the street. Okay, why not, we say, we're here already anyhow. Client comes in, and he's younger than us. Apparently the child of the owner of the company, who just graduated last year. We pitch. His expression doesn't change. Then he proceeds to shoot each concept down, but with words that don't really make sense to me because it doesn't sound like he heard the pitches properly. Anyway, the point is I was reminded why I didn't want to go into advertising immediately after college. I fully expected the client wouldn't be able to fully articulate what they want; that's almost a given. People in the ad industry seem to be continually surprised when this happens but I'm not; I know lots of people who don't know what they want, but know what they don't want. The problem here was that it didn't seem like the client could fully articulate what he didn't like about the concepts either. Which of course leaves us in a quandary: what the hell do we do? We have to come up with concepts where the beverage, and I think this is what the client wants, saves the soul of the character. We have until tomorrow. La dee da.

At least after that Neva and I met up with Harvey and She, and Harvey and I were able to talk a little bit more about a project we're doing that has me very excited, at the least. I showed him my pathetic piece-of-shit designs, he took them, and five minutes later came back with better ones, including reasons and functions for each part. That excitement, of seeing a great artist drawing stuff you asked him to; I'll never get tired of it.


Why the hell is Gonuts Donuts selling so well? I've tried it, upon Ate Cyn's recommendation, and they're alright-- they still don't hold a candle to Krispy Kreme, but they're probably the closest we've got. However, I get tired of the taste (especially the ones with flavored frosting) after the second. Poor Neva was asked to buy a box for her mother and brother, and waited in line A FULL GODDAMN HOUR. That's insane!

Apple featured Dave McKean recently, and it had a MirrorMask picture I haven't seen anywhere else before:

Another film I can't wait to see. It's almost done, so they say.

Did you know that South Korean scientists have successfully cloned a human embryo?

Books For Less seem to be doing well. I've noticed they have 2 new branches in Makati. How many is that now, 5 or 6 branches? Like Libris, it looks like they get remaindered books from large bookchains in the US and libraries, and sell them at bargain prices. Booktopia seem to be doing the same thing (I was finally able to check them out last month), but the books are priced higher. They do have an interesting selection and focus on science fiction/fantasy novels, though. Worth checking out.

Kevin Smith will write and direct the film adaptation of The Green Hornet. I don't think this is particularly good news.

Do you know Utada Hikaru? Anyway, super-famous J-pop singer, but one of the good ones. I remember a Time article mentioning she was the one who could actually sing, and who had good songs. I wouldn't really know, I've only seen like 3 of her music videos. Anyway, her music videos tend to be good. The first time I encountered her, I was just flipping channels until I came across this image of her, trapped in a kind of human aquarium, singing to herself, or rather another Utada Hikaru, trapped in another human aquarium beside her. Needless to say, I was intrigued. It looked like an Alex Proyas/Tim Burton collaboration. The song wasn't bad, too, even if I didn't understand Japanese. I remembered the artist's name. Utada Hikaru. Not bad. Then I saw another video of hers: "Traveling." Which had her as a kind of conductor on a flying train filled with this colorful cast of characters that looked like they came out of Final Fantasy. Bright day-glo colors. Cool, I note. Then another video a few months later. A single-shot video of her singing a song as she washes dishes. No special-effects, no fancy costumes, no nothing. The chorus comes on whenever she turns on the faucet, and during this section without vocals she goes off-camera and then returns with a washcloth in time to start singing again, this time drying dishes. So now I'm a fan of her videos. She takes risks, and they pay off. They're interesting. So I'm delighted to find out one man produces/directs these videos: Kazuaki Kiriya, whose background is in fashion photography. Not only that, he married Utada when she was 19, despite their 14-year gap. She's now 20 and is still in Columbia studying, I think. Anyway, this long paragraph/introduction is simply to point the way to this link. Where you will find the trailer of Casshern, Kazuaki Kiriya's first feature-length film. It's an adaptation of some sort, and the story could stink, but it looks fabulous. Some shots remind me of Jean-Pierre Jeunet when he was still partnered with Marc Caro. Go watch it. Now. And check out the 3rd pic in the Gallery under Goodies. Magnificently creepy.

UPDATE (Saturday noon, 2/21): The Casshern trailer I linked to above is different from the trailer that's in the official website (also linked above), so if you loved it and want to see more watch both trailers! :)

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