Wednesday, May 24, 2006

UPDATE (05.24.06)—Summer Homebody, Indie/Buffalo Regroup, Immigration Reality TV

IT IS A MOSTLY sunny 80s Wednesday afternoon temp. Notwithstanding isolated/scattered thunderstorms and cloudiness in some days, it’s still basically at a high of 80s to lows of 58s/60s in the next few days. So summer is here. The spirit is on a more subdued sun/rain-drenched chill time, the “madness” is on a much-needed respite. What about you?
What’s going on with The Indie, Wander, Blue Sky Asheville, other Loved by the Buffalo projects, the Traveling Bonfires, Vagrant Wind road journeys...
I am taking things easy, reassessing/regrouping -- until the special 4th-year anniversary of The Indie in Asheville in July. We will definitely come out next month (I am not pressuring myself this much for now) and that issue shall cover the 4th-year birthday of the madness.
The Indie was reborn in Asheville NC in July of 2002, almost simultaneous with the Traveling Bonfires’ mountain coming -- from Manila, then New York City. The first Bonfires show was Oct 17 02 at Malaprops. I founded it in the mountains of the turbulent Cordilleras in the north of the Philippines in the summer of 1984, while covering the government’s anti-Communist insurgency program, eg war. When I “crashlanded” in Weaverville NC in the winter of 1999, I thought I was in the Cordilleras—it reminded me of that beautiful, fog-embraced, flower-bedecked province of my childhood.

THIS WOULD mean that the “anniversary issue” shall have more than the usual 28 pages. I am planning on 36 pages. But please take note that this issue will cover the entirety of July (+ last or two weeks of June). The next Indie, after that, should come out on the first week of August.
From now till the “birthday” issue comes out, I should have more time (to continue) to restudy options, reevaluate financial variables, redraw another 5-year entrepreneurial blueprint/plan, among many other concerns.
The quiet/peaceful aura that 61 Dunwell Avenue (aka The Bonfires Abode) offers me exactly that time/space to look within. More than five years in North Carolina... there are a lot of things to think about and meditate with. Apart from simply relaxing, that’s one reason why I’ve been inviting friends to come over and enjoy some chats, conversations/discussions, and dinner/barbecue in the house, help us make this also as your “spare abode,” or something. Bring your kids and pets (but, yes pls, no anacondas and pterodactyls).
There are so many, many things in this house that remind me of the many friends and supporters who helped me and Marta survive the “madness” all through the years. These beautiful things were all donated or loaned or given or sold/traded to me by the community.
So come over, bring some food to cook, maybe wine, ideas to discuss, or just watch a movie or do internet work (the house/periphery is wired). You can also hold one or two sessions of your writers workshop here or organizational meetings. I am always through with the backyard/garden landscaping and the porch is looking good.

AS I PREVIOUSLY indicated, distribution of our publications shall be handed to the Community Publishers Group, LLC—hopefully, starting the upcoming anniversary issue. CPG aims “to maintain a cooperative approach among independent publishers and manage joint paper boxes. The basic idea is a strength-in-numbers approach, which develops a long term presence” at choice and strategic spots in the community.
We have no choice but to go back to Iwanna Printing. Maybe or probably it’s true that being an immigrant or “outsider” in this town/city makes it hard to “trust” me. I can’t always say that 3/4th of my blood is native American Indian, even them are called “outsiders,” that is why, I guess, they confine themselves within the Reservation.
But I know that I have been leading a mysterious “outsider’s life” in Asheville, a predominantly white community. Business thinks I will just “hit and run” – oh well, five years of business/residency in this town won’t satisfy/reassure many. So we will simply take it easy – cash on delivery in the next printing, and henceforth. I am fine with paying up the one-issue each back accounts at Iwanna – and get the next issue out.

AS OF THIS WRITING, I still am not sure whether we’ll do a twice-a-month Indie (by Aug or start of 5th year), or combine Wander with The Indie, then Blue Sky with another “economically-viable” publication. I will announce later what’d be the final configuration, but for now, all magazines will come out in June.
I have submitted at least the past two years documentation (whatever that we retrieved) of these projects to the family lawyer/accountant for review—with the purpose of them giving me suggestions how to handle the future of this “madness” in this town. Apart from that, I have been rereading and rethinking advices and suggestions from you, those who have been here with us, in the last four years.
My lawyer/legal consult also has something to do with the current immigration debate vis-a-vis my own business/entrepreneurial plans vis-a-vis my so-called anti-war/anti US foreign policy stance (is it called activism?) In other words, my family’s advice, “Take it easy, relax, take care of your new house, and be extra-careful about your future in America.” Tonight or tomorrow or this week, I expect a call from my lawyer—after/when Senate’s decision reconciles with Congress. (I still don’t know if I’d apply for citizenship, the “practical/smarter” move – or maintain permanent residency.) My parents and my brother and almost all of my relatives in the West Coast and NY/NJ/CT are American (naturalized and/born in the USA) citizens.
No matter what happens, I do believe—family is family – irrelevant of the distance and space in between. This time, I will listen to their suggestions/advice.

THE TRAVELING BONFIRES’ projects this summer, at least, is all confined to “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park.” (The next is June 10 from 1pm to 10pm – of dancing with Touch Samadhi DJs). We are not booking any club or indoor events/gigs/concerts/poetry readings, for the time being. (We can read poems and sing songs in the house though.)
I have many (as ever) ideas and brainstorms but all these will have to wait until I get the publications on more stable and consistent character/stance/standing. One thing is sure—there will be no random/spur-of-the-moment bookings and collaborative relationships, anymore. Although I have reopened the possibility of discussing investments/partnerships with a few people, this time—my decisions shall come after/while lawyer’s advice is present.
Yes, I am open to partnership/investment talks and explorations – not only in terms of the publishing projects, but other entrepreneurial pursuits. These days we are on the negotiating table in regards the cafe/coffeeshop business, a catering venture (with a Filipino and American chef in town), and crafts/antiques imports project (from Asia). I might send Marta The Nicer to the Philippines within the year or early next year to help oversee the latter.

MEANTIME, I am fine in The Bonfires Abode – housework, NBA playoffs, sketching/prelim sculpture work, re-touching my 7-year old novel (“Waiting for Winter”), watching more movies. I am still not very excited with traversing through downtown (except occasional 30min visits to Pack Library, Malaprop’s and, of course, the supervision of the Pritchard Park events). Whenever I think of Lex Av, I still feel the wound – this downtown that once had me at hello has gone to sweet-talkin’ marauders who mouth the words of wisdom under ivory masks of entrepreneurial opportunism (subtle word in place of “corporate/profit-induced brinkmanship”).
By the way, in case you have any ideas, leads or suggestions – we are trading our van for a smaller vehicle that Marta The Nicer could maneuver easily and conveniently.
Okay, that’s it, for now. I hope y’all are slowly but surely sliding out of The Mercury Retrograde funk-by-the-mountain vibe. As ever – live good, love good, and eat good food!

GRACIAS! Saluti! Toksa Ake!

Monday, May 15, 2006

BONFIRES UPDATE (05.15.06): Late Mother's Day Notes, West Ashe Takin' It Easy

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Yes. I am either a day advance or a day late. But to all the Mothers of Life – there are no you and me, without them. There is no way to return or repay that gift of life but to love and cherish and treasure life itself. Don’t waste it – feel good, live good, love good, and eat good food.
It’s the first Mother’s Day since my own Mom passed away (Aug last year)... I know she’s happy somewhere. She “watched over” a member of the family who has just gone through surgery in Manila. The operation happened two nights ago – three days earlier than scheduled but she’s safe now, recuperating.
I still am, sort of, reeling for not being able to get the May Indie out—due to this barrage of obstacles/problems that struck me almost all at the same time this month. But maybe, as in the usual case in my life, things like these happen to force me to rest, take it easy, regroup.
Rain has the ability to stop my relentless madness, I mean—rain sends me a message, as ever. Two years ago, rain stopped a “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” to let me know that my Mom slipped into a coma; again, last year—on a Bonfires event at the park—rain made me stop the show, but the message was devastating. My Mom passed away that same August night.

HOW MANY friends tried in vain to convince me to take it easy, I am running so fast again. The seven-magazine madness, the all-weekend shows... Two years ago, the monthly Vagrant Wind up-north road journeys. The weekly club gigs.
I didn’t listen. I always fail to listen. In 1995, in Manila, I collapsed because of sheer burn-out; in 2000, in New York, I again almost lost breathing after I sunk myself in relentless, maddening work pace. I eventually had a surgery—which later, brought me to Weaverville, North Carolina to rest.

I AM NOT whining anymore and be angry that Iwanna refused to print The Indie – though I only owe them one issue’s worth of back account. The other community paper that we love to read owes them $5000. That’s okay. I should have looked for an alternative printer a long time ago. My fault.
At this moment, it’s either I pay up upfront (as in cash-on-delivery) or print somewhere. I will be talking with The Blotter’s John Pence today to see if their printer’s (based in Athens GA) work specs and printing cost fit ours. If it doesn’t, I will have to bring the work back to Iwanna. (I also emailed Mountain Xpress’ production/distribution people for some advice.)I will update one and all this week.

THIS BRIEF RESPITE makes me regroup and reassess The Indie and the other publications (under Loved by the Buffalo) and Traveling Bonfires projects. This new house gives me that peace and quiet to pore deeper and calm down. For sure, I don’t really feel good about going downtown these days. Apart from the “Bonfires for Peace” at the park, I don’t see reason why I’d go there these days... (The next Bonfires is on June 10, featuring the Touch Samadhi family of trance goa DJs, from 1pm to 10pm.)
I again feel semi-reclusive. I am satisfied walking from Dunwell Av (the house) to Haywood Rd here in West Asheville – to have coffee at West End Bakery or Ideal Market Cafe, grab a Highland Ale at Westville Pub on Tuesday blues/rock night, get a few DVDs at Orbit, buy house implements and garden tools at Dollar General and all the thrift shops on the block.
Meantime, distribution of all our publications will/shall be handled by the Community Publishers Group, LLC, headed by Sammy Cox of Mountain Xpress. I will have a meeting with him and his partner Jessie around May 24. I am intent on handing distribution of The Indie etc to this professional/organized community group—me and Marta are apparently tired (as well as gasoline cost-exasperated).
Currently, I am doing a lot of replanning/pencil-pushing.

I’D LIKE TO free myself up of pressing administrative/marketing chores—so I could concentrate more on editorial and project planning/redrawing. This house gives me more breathing room. I am making my basement as a workshop/backup library/art studio. I have started landscaping the backyard/garden – and turn it into a “meditation spot,” chill area/meeting area, greens and flower/orchids garden. I will have a small pit for a bonfire. The patio/porch is also good for writers groups meetings and chat area. The fenced frontyard will be a playground for your kids and pets.We will have the entire house and immediate periphery/yard wired (wireless) via MAIN, effective first week of June. So when you come over for dinner, barbecue, yard sale visit, or meeting, you can simply check your emails from any part of the house.
You are all welcome. Bring some food that I could cook, or you can cook also. Bring drinks, as well. Our recent NJ/NY visitors, I reckon, loved my chicken adobo...

ME AND MARTA THE NICER don’t plan to book club gigs for now. Traveling Bonfires will only be focused with the Pritchard Park events. I may organize special ballroom gathering for my fellow Pinoys here (at Fortune Bldg) or maybe a singles dance party—but I don’t know when. Jonah G (owner of the building) is temporarily closing the area for couple of months, he said. It’ll be back soon though.
We will start the Bonfires Yard Sale on May 21. In case you want to donate stuff to sell, or you want to sell your merchandise/old things, as well—feel free to come over and join us. (We can pick your donations up in your house...)

I AM EXCITEDLY awaiting our new housemate, Karen P. She will be here around June 3 to 8, from Massachusetts. I decided to get just one other housemate – so there’ll only be three people in the house. But those who may want to paint, sculpt, make potteries etc with me in the basement/garage, feel free to come over and work with me.
I chose Karen from five other applicants to the room—I feel I can find some parallel vibes with her. She’s into cooking (she’s a chef), poetry, single, no pets, my age, and we have been talking in the last four or five days, everyday.
By the way, if you have friends who are visiting Asheville from this week to last week of May, looking for cheaper room, pls recommend ours. I only charge $200 for two weeks...

SO WHENEVER you’d like to hang out and be quiet (you don’t have to talk to me), watch a DVD movie, read, write—come over to our house. (Yes, you can bring your dog or cat—as long as they don’t mutate into anacondas and scorpions when struck by rain.) Bring your kids, too. I babysit Dale and Loretta Hoffman’s young Mikey and Cynda, once in a while.
This morning, Dale will help me do some garden work for an hour. Tomorrow, Janis Rose, Marta’s workmate at Ingles, will help us repaint the living room walls.
Finally, I feel like I am in a house at last, a home.

Buenas dias!

Friday, May 12, 2006

BIG WEEKEND/BONFIRES UPDATE: Bonfires for Peace at P Park, W Asheville Party

WHAT’S GOING ON? Well, a lot of things are going on. Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard are playing at The Civic Center on May 6. So expect a whole lot of Dylan/Haggard after-gig stuff. But with or without these rock/country megastars/legends coming to the mountains, The Bonfires burn this weekend. What else is new...
Nonsensical it may seem to mention it, although I can easily rant that I can’t or won’t afford a Dylan/Haggard tix, this past two or three weeks is my MOST EXPENSIVE MONTH in my life in Asheville, so far. But as ever, The Blue Sky God/dess watches over... this “madness faith” will guide me.
Securing a lease to a house that easily had me at hello is tough—considering my perpetual “ramen noodles” financial situation. Security deposit, a month’s advance, electric power/water/garbage collection initial fees, “little” house repairs (can’t wait for the landlord to fix them).
Then comes the most “expensive/lucrative” Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park event (or weekend) that we ever organized. When I say “lucrative” that is a Bonfires “house” definition – yet that money (almost $600) is actually “coffee money” when we compare it with the usual/ordinary outdoor concert budget. Backline (PA/sound etc) itself costs roughly $1200 to $2000 for just one Bell Chere stage or bar fine/upfront money at New York’s CBGB’s Downstairs Lounge for a summer gig when The Bonfires was based in The Big Apple six years ago. So when I say, “almost $600” – that’s already park rental, PA/sound provision, and other peripherals. The magic of negotiation still works somehow but STILL that is HUGE MONEY for me.

NOTE: I don’t use credit card, I don’t have a credit card—so all these are via cold cash. Where did we get the money? I don’t know – my usual response is, “I survived in Asheville or WNC in the last five years – The Indie survived, the Traveling Bonfires survived, the Vagrant Wind road tour sporadically survived, Marta The Nicer survived. We deserve a house to feel home sometimes, and say proudly with a PBR on hand, DAMN! WE SURVIVED!.” In the summer of 2002, as I published the first Indie in Asheville, I declared, “If I get pass three years here of unmitigated, unflagging, maddening slew of projects and programs—I get pass 100 years.” The Indie and The Bonfires will be four years old in the mountains this July.
One lesson that knocked me cold in the aftermath of the recent Courtyard Gallery/downtown misfortune – “I won’ t allow myself to be misread as a pauper anymore. I am not hungry and I am not homeless. I am just crazy.”

ANYWAYS, let’s have fun, nonetheless. The Blue Sky God/dess assured me that there’ll be great, awesome weather this weekend.

[ ] “BONFIRES FOR PEACE AT PRITCHARD PARK.” Year 3. Event 2. Downtown Asheville. May 6, Saturday, 4:30pm to 10pm.
Featured acts (sequenced as per playing program): <1>MALCOLM ROLLICK [], singer-songwriter, from Brooklyn NY. <2>ADRIENNE NIGHTINGALE [], singer-songwriter, from Brooklyn NY. <3>VANESSA BOYD & THE YES MEN [], <4>BLUE NUMBER NINE [], New Jersey-based 7-piece funk/r&b/rock group. <5>LAURA BLACKLEY & LOVEHANDLES []
Sound by Chris Cates. Food/drinks by Mellow Mushroom.

[ ] “A COMMUNITY HANDSHAKE/A Concert Party: The Traveling Bonfires Celebrate Move to West Asheville.” Fortune Building Ballroom, 727 Haywood Road. May 7, starts 7pm. Bring-your-own-drinks, Filipino food will probably be served for minimal cost, $3 donation goes to the visiting TBonfires guest-performers.
Featured acts: Blue Number Nine, Adrienne Nightingale, Malcolm Rollick, with John Staversky. Sound by John Staversky and Marco Accatattis. Thanks to Fortune Bldg owner Jonah Goldwag for the very generous booking/”neighbors” arrangement. The building is located on the same street or cross-street as ours (Dunwell Avenue). (Thanks Rena Wright for hooking me up.)

THE ENTIRE Blue Number Nine band (3 young women, 4 men) will be staying (May 6 after the concert till Monday morning) in what I call now as “The Bonfires Abode” on 61 Dunwell Avenue. The house isn’t fully ornamented/fixed/cleaned/decorated yet – so if you could possibly loan us your spare curtains, futons, blankets, wall decors, folding tables/chairs, grill, extra chinaware (I hate paper plates), we do appreciate it. Feel free to come over. BUT, remember, DON’T bring a baby anaconda or emanticipating alligator with you.


[ ] Okay, let me yell silently, “I DON’T WANT TO BOOK IN ASHEVILLE CLUBS ANYMORE!!!” I guess, you get the drift. As the ringmaster in “Cabaret!” admonishes, “Money, money, money.” For one, our New French Bar gig (on May 4) was bumped off by a jazz/dance act that was a sort of “Best in WNC.” Sure beers, sure profits.
Sad. Look at these bands—they are asked to bring in their PA/sound, they’re not properly promoted by clubs, they don’t get paid. And they get bumped off, just like that. If someone’s gonna tell me that the only way to buck the (club) odds is to join the voodoo dance, nah. I will continue burning my bonfires and I will continue finding venues for those who want to share their music ahead of finding $$$ to score their new iPod. I will continue to find good souls who vibe with this madness... I haven’t explored 1/16th of the world for half of life’s beautiful blessings yet.

[ ] The TOUCH SAMADHI FAMILY of trance goa DJs will be back at the “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” on June 10. They opened the 2006 program last April 15 to a rousing, dance-crazy humanity. We earned $110 (of non-aggressive tips-persuasion) on that event, didn’t I mention that? Well money that you get from people who are pleased and elated by the “madness” makes you really feel good – although the amount is not even half of that day’s event’s total budget. I got home with a full soul, my stomach was fed by Mellow Mushroom’s mozzarella.By the way, Chris Johnson and the DJs will be donating some cash, too, on this event—to make it a whole day public dance trance/party. That is most likely 12noon to 10pm. And we will most likely bring back bellydancers again!

[ ] Lineup for July 1 “Bonfires for Peace” – Lionz (from Athens GA), Chris Cates Band, Hippie Shitzu, Sally Spring Band (from Raleigh NC), and blues finger-picking wiz Patrick Fitzsimons.

[ ] Of course, you know that Blue Sky has already come out. Any comments? Kate O’Haley’s comment: “Oh man, typical Pasckie publication!” I don’t know if that’s good or bad. And, THANK YOU gallery (for lots of blessings in the past few months or weeks) – Dale Hoffman, Linda Brown, Jonah Goldwag, Hannah Seng, Janis Rose, Rachelle Arrowood, Katie Kasben, John Staversky, Rena Wright, Steve Rasmussen, Mark Anderson, Gaither Stewart (for all the fatherly advice), Matt Mulder, Pinoys-in-Asheville Jimmy and Jeff, Graham Hackett (for having me read poems at Asheville Arts Council), and my entire family in Manila, LA, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST... in case you happen to visit us and tries to enter via the front door and no one answers the knockings—pass by the “secret door” (not secret anymore) which is the sidedoor to my office. I stay there like 85% of my time—embroiled in an abyss of work and/or culinary indulgence (the office is adjacent to the kitchen).
It’s 7:25 on a Thursday morning. I will either go back to bed or have Cafe Cubano and finish watching Catherine Breillat’s “Sex is Comedy.”

Buenas dias!

7am. Thursday.