Whew! Finally I get a chance to report on the BG benefit that was held on 7/13. Damn good time, was great to see yet another fusion of great performers:

Annie Lin Band
Carla Ching
Julie Dulani
Mango Tribe: Marian and San
Michelle Myers
Anname Phann
Cliff Rivera
Thad Rutkowski
Kevin So
Omar Telan

Visual Art was by Sherry Mata San Miguel, who came in from MD to show her works, a Pinay-themed one made specifically for the benefit!

Film Shorts by Romeo Candido, Filipino-Canadian filmmaker of “Lolo’s Child,” featured Kuttin Kandi reading her poetry while in her hotel room, and was his first ever film. Followed by "Meditations for the Restless", a kind of music video filmed at 5am.

Vaimoana Litia Makakaufaki Niumeitolu of performance group, Mahina Movement, painted a very personalized backdrop that I was blessed to have, it was gigantic, colorful, and a celebration of women of color. For this backdrop in particular, special attention was paid to API women.

Sponsors were:
All Night Riot Records
Utne Reader
YELL - Oh Girls!
Mahina Movement
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

Thanks too to Jessica Chen Drammeh for filming the evening, and Corky Lee who was kind enough to take pictures throughout.

Come check out Sumisibol's event:

SUMISIBOL invites you to . . .

MyStory to History
an oral history project

a book launching

Thursday, August 1st

Jersey City Museum
350 Montgomery Street
between Varick & Monmouth streets
in downtown Jersey City
201 413 0303

the event will feature youth & narrators who have made history
in jersey city by documenting the filipino american community in jersey city.

please rsvp by monday, july 29th. (i'm sure you can still call in) call 201 433 0226/ 201 451 1413 or email sumisibol@yahoo.com

. . . take the PATH train to grove street.
go up the stairs WITHOUT the escalator to street level.
across the street will be hard grove cafe. make a left on grove street.
walk 3 blocks. make a right on montgomergy street. walk up 3-4 blocks.
the jc museum will be on your right.

*** exhibited at the Museum until the end of August is the Lakbay Mural Project by Sumisibol youth with artists -- Emmanuel Juan, Paolo Mendoza, Katrina Taningco, and Julman Tolentino.

Sponsored by Sumisibol 'planting the seeds of development' in partnership with The Jersey City Museum, The Jersey City Free Public Library, The Jersey City Historical Project, the Office of Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, and the Philippine American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM-CDC) which supports 'youth choosing positive alternatives to violence and substance use, youth choosing their communities'

Asian American Film Festival

I wish I was able to check out more of the films that were there, but tickets were expensive, and the overall pass was way out of my range! But I was able to catch the programs "Scattered Memories," which included the Pilipino documentary on the true U.S. intervention/presence in the Philippines during WWII, but also throughout the Philippines history. Greatly informative, but some parts were not streamlined enough, making the film a bit choppy. But I followed it. The white folks in the audience seemed a bit fidgety and somewhat uncomfortable. Praising the U.S. presence the film was not! Very refreshing. General MacArthur actually announced at one point that they needed, and were, 'fortunately for the Filipino peoples', on a campaign to civilize the Filipinos. We were not in need in 'saving'! In fact, Filipino history was already rich and full of self-sustaining peoples, some of whom were quite happy being what Gen. MacArthur 'uncivilized.' What's uncivilized is the goal of wiping out a peoples' sovreignity!

Then I saw "Batang West Side," which I initially thought, in my school exhausted stupor, was a regular length of 1 1/2 hours or so. It was fucking 300 minutes! About 5 hours. At first, the story and acting was slow, but it soon picked up and became engaging. It was kinda funny, because many in the tristate New York Filipino community were involved in its production, so there were tons of people in the audience laughing either at themselves or their friends.

Then on Saturday I saw "Bagong Buwan." I have to say this made such an impact on me, and is definitely one of my favorite Filipino films. I had no idea that there were some genuine non-soap-opera-like films out there. Marilou Diaz-Abaya's submersion of studying Islam for 2 years (though she is devoutly Roman Catholic), along with living on location in Mindanao for some time, gave her a perspective on how life has been in the ongoing 30-years or so war in the Muslim community - soldiers, innocent Muslims, rebels, and others caught in the crossfire. Though in this film, a yearning for peace was pretty evident among the characters, which was an uplifting thing to see amidst the major bombings, constant gunfire and death of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and datus (chieftans in the Muslim communities who are held in high respect and hold tradition and pride as foremost). The death of datus in this film was especially heartbreaking, showing the immediate wiping out of long-standing barangay royalty, with montages of datus before him who also wore the traditional garb, and died fighting colonizers, soldiers, and others who disrespected their villages. Everyone, including myself, were constantly emotional, since you became so involved with the characters, and death was all over the place. It shed light on the ongoing plight of the Muslim strife going on in Mindanao, and really hits it home that the last thing Filipinos need is U.S. intervention, which has already proven to dramatically increase sex worker business, unexplained and random deaths that were not instigated by townspeople, and that many innocents are constantly terrorized. Made me wanna go to Mindanao! And when Joey Ayala's song "Walang Hanggang Paalam" came on (one of my favorite songs), I lost it! Amy Austria is such a good actress.