The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mahilig Ka Ba sa Likhang Sining? (part 2)

(On Some Contemporary Artists/Painters)
 by aLfie vera mella 

When asked about painters, many people automatically cite the likes of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet. They rarely acknowledge contemporary artists and their equally respectable and distinctive works. Being an enthusiast of art, I occasionally check out works by contemporary artists by attending art exhibits or, at the least, searching the Internet for images of new artworks by contemporary artists.

Dan May and some of his art works
Here are two contemporary American artists whom I discovered only recently: Dan May, who is originally from New York; and Jason Limon, from Texas. Both artists specialize in Fantasy Art. Much of their works have been described as examples of the contemporary art style dubbed as ‘suggestivism’ – “an art concerned with a vision of the ideal” and a “style of poetic mysticism and psychological intensity.” 

May’s works include Moon Walk, The Night Watch, Stay Off the Grass, Sting of the Season, Totem, and Portrait of a Gentle Man. I regard his furry creatures as improved and more-detailed versions of the monsters of Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are, 1963). 

Jason Limon and some of his art works
Works by Limon include Foliage, Fragment no. 58, Mr. Winter, Red Spiraled Panda, Transfigured Bloodline, and Wakening. The style of many of May's and Limon's works hark to the surrealist style of the German painter Max Ernst (1891–1976) and the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí (1904–1989). Ernst’s popular works include The Fireside Angel (1937) and ‘Ubu Imperator’ (1923); Dalí’s are Apparatus and Hand (1927) and The Persistence of Memory (1931).

In 2010 May and Limon collaborated with each other and came up with a painting entitled In the Still of Uncertain Streams.
The works of May and Limon hark to the surrealist style of the painters Max Ernst (The Fireside Angel and 'Ubu Imperator') and Salvador Dalí (Apparatus and Hand and The Persistence of Memory)
Sa Madaling Salita
Bawat panahon ay kakikitaan ng mga henyo sa iba’t ibang larangan ng sining. Tulungan nating mapalaganap at makilala ang likhang sining ng hindi lamang mga lumang pintor kundi pati na rin ng mga baguhan at makabagong manlilikha.

Or, in Simple Words
Every era has its share of great works of arts. Everything old used to be new. And, everything new will be old someday. Don’t wait for time to pass by before you appreciate certain works of arts. The more you appreciate new works of art, the more you contribute to the proliferation of such legacies in this world.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The First 12 Albums that I Ever Bought

I first saw the music video of "In Between Days" in 1986, a year after the album containing it, 'The Head on the Door,' was released. The album was one of the first albums in cassette tape format that I ever bought with money saved from my school allowance.

Here are the first 12 albums (in cassette tapes) that I bought in 1986.

1) 'No Sense of Sin' (1984) by The Lotus Eaters 
2) 'Crush' (1985) by O.M.D.
3) 'Working with Fire and Steel' (1983) by China Crisis
4) 'Throw the Warped Wheel Out' (1984) by Fiction Factory
5) 'The Church' (1981) by The Church
6) 'The Head on the Door' (1985) by The Cure
7) 'How to Be a...Zillionaire' (1985) by ABC
8) 'Hunting High and Low' (1985) by a-ha
9) 'Love Not Money' (1985) by Everything but the Girl
10) 'Songs from the Big Chair' (1985) by Tears for Fears
11) Parade (1984) by Spandau Ballet
12) Some Great Reward (1984) by Depeche Mode

I never stopped listening to all these albums, to all these bands, and to New Wave music itself--so there is no reason to return to New Wave for me, simply because I never turned my back on it. They will always be a part of the soundtrack of my early teenage years. New Wave will always be with me. Forever and ever...New Wave.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Once a Poet...


I started writing poetry in high school but only in my university days (in 1989) when I started to take it seriously and regularly. I had already in my collection three full books of poetry collected from that period in my life.

I stopped writing poetry for a while beginning in the late '90s only because I became a book writer/editor; meaning, my writing expression turned to prose and more technical than literary writing.

In late 2004, having immigrated to Canada and got no job and away from loved ones, I turned heavily to reading and writing. I also imposed upon myself to write at least one poem a day; I was able to accomplish this for more than a year, resulting to hundreds of poems collected for my future books of poetry to be published in the near future. But that was a period when I was practically just home in Canada, taking care of my aging maternal grandfather, so I practically had more time in my hands. I stop again from writing poetry when my literary passion turned to maintaining my columns in the newspaper.

In November last year, I thought of imposing again on myself to be able to write at least one poem a day. I was unable to do this because I realized that I have so many activities now--including my fulltime job, writing for the newspaper, my own family, and making music and performing with my band. Nevertheless, for two months, I was able to write 21 poems (mostly sonnets). Not bad, considering the other activities in my life.

Here's the last poem I wrote last year, 2013.

Pagbibigay-Pugay sa Bungo

Pahiram nga ng pantasa
Pantasa ng kukote
Ng mga taong pudpod ang utak

Pahiram nga ng pambura
Pambura ng memorya
Ng mga mapait ang kahapon

Pahiram nga ng martilyo
Nang mapukpok ang ulo
Ng mga tulala at tuliro

Pahiram nga ng bibliya
Pangumbinsi ng puso
Ng mga hindi naniniwala

Pero mas mahalaga ba
Ang puso kaysa utak
O ang iyong bungo kaysa tadyang?

Each of the stanza of the baker's sonnet above consists of a triplet of 8-7-10 syllables, following a rhyme pattern of ABC AAD EEE AEA ACF.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Yes to Criticizing, but No to Ridiculing nor Banning

(On the Validity of Whatever Kind of Art)
by aLfie vera mella

Being an avid enthusiasts of arts, music, literature, and films, I have long learned how to simply compartmentalize my appreciation towards these artforms.

First, I have developed the ability to appreciate art without religious regard for the creator. For example, even if Morrissey has recently declared that "meat eaters are like pedophiles" or that "meat is murder," I could still enjoy listening and buying records and books by and about him and The Smiths. I may like his music, but I could just ignore his activism that goes against my own principles.

Second, some movies really suck to me for whatever reason, but I wouldn't call out for the banning or ridiculing of such movies because, after all, there would surely be other people who would be passionate about these films. What I feel for such works of art will not be necessarily what others will feel about them. In the same manner that others should not expect me to share their sentiments concerning certain arts that they either love or hate.

To me, that's the true essence of freedom of expression.

If you didn't or don't like a particular artist (say, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus), then just don't watch their performances or don't buy or listen to their music. If you don't like this and that actor or movie, then just don't watch that movie. You can even write about your dislike for such, but don't assume that your dislike will be universal. People are diverse. We have different tastes and preferences--be it for food, clothes, hairstyles, music, books, films, heck--even religion!

But, let others enjoy what they want to enjoy as long as they are not harming others in the process.

Criticizing an artform is okay, but calling for the ban of such artforms is to me ridiculous, arrogant, and selfish.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Music Never Ends

(On My Recommended Albums, 1960s-2010s)
by aLfie vera mella

I usually write a year-ender article for my music column in Filipino Journal, in which I would feature the significant album releases for the year that is ending. However, inspired by the now trending (among my fellow music enthusiasts on Facebook) List of Top 10 Albums, I instead decided to make a definitive list of my favorite albums from 1960s to the present decade. When I say "favorite," this means that I listen to these albums regularly and on a non-skip manner; and most especially, these albums encapsulate the kind of music that I really like and which largely influences my being also a songwriter.

Listening to these albums never fail to lift my spirits and to inspire my creative mind. And remember, these are just my Top 12 for each of the decades cited. Many equally great bands and albums obviously had to be shortlisted.

The Ventures  - Walk Don't Run (1960)
The Cascades - Rhythm of the Rain (1963)
The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)
The Zombies - Begin Here (1965)
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
The Hollies - For Certain Because (1966)
The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
David Bowie - David Bowie (1967)
The Left Banke - Walk Away Renée / Pretty Ballerina (1967)
Love - Forever Changes (1967)
The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed (1967)
Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)
Bread - Guitar Man (1972)
Roxy Music - Roxy Music (1972)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)
Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)
America - Holiday (1974)
John Denver - Back Home Again (1974)
Camel - The Snow Goose (1975)
Rush - Fly by Night (1975)
Television - Marquee Moon (1977)
The B-52's - The B-52's (1979)

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Kaleidoscope (1980)
Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward (1984)
Fiction Factory - Throw the Warped Wheel Out (1984)
The Lotus Eaters - No Sense of Sin (1984)
Spandau Ballet - Parade (1984)
a-ha - Hunting High and Low (1985)
The Cure - The Head on the Door (1985)
Everything but the Girl - Love Not Money (1985)
Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
Echo & the Bunnymen - Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987)
The Wild Swans - Bringing Home the Ashes (1988)

The Lemonheads - It's a Shame about Ray (1992)
Shelleyan Orphan - Humroot (1992)
Sloan - Smeared (1992)
Spent Poets - Spent Poets (1992)
The Posies - Frosting on the Beater (1993)
Vanilla Trainwreck - Sounding to Try like You (1992)
Barenaked Ladies - Maybe You Should Drive (1994)
Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience (1992)
Toad the Wet Sprocket - fear (1991)
Blur - The Great Escape (1995)
The Boo Radleys - Wake Up! (1995)
Popsicle - Pospicle (1996)

New Order - Get Ready (2001)
Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power (2003)
The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
The Killers - Hot Fuss (2004)
Nightmare of You - Nightmare of You (2005)
The Camerawalls - Pocket Guide to the Otherworld (2008)
Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)
This Final Frame - My Blue Heart ‎(2009)
Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History (2010)
The Wild Swans - The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years (2011)
 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - English Electric (2013)