Friday, September 22, 2006

UPDATE (09.17.06)—Website at Last, CUP/Westgate Store, Toksa Ake!

TODAY's (Sunday) weather temp is on the 80s—so there you go... A great reason to go out and escape from the obligatory monthly-bills funk and consecutive days of rain. Come over to West Asheville—and pore over The Bonfires Sunday Yard Sale. Apart from the Philippine crafts & products that we’ve started selling last weekend, we have new “found treasures” to dig through – from 50 cents to $7 (all items, negotiable). Check it out—we have an awesome collection of 70s LP records... and more.

I WOULD like to make special mention of my friend (artist/painter) Daniel Stuelpnagel of Baltimore who had a successful exhibition in Hawaii. Danny’s one of the most avid followers of The Bonfires in Baltimore and Washington, DC. Since summer last year, the dude has been unstoppable. He launched one exhibit to the other. Part of his email, “... looking forward to hopefully relaxing a bit along with work for the show in Maui. Your energy has inspired me a lot since we met; keep up the good work! Aloha and love, Danny.”
It always feels good to know that my pushiness, persistence and stubbornness kind of inspire and motivate other people. I am very proud of that strange, weird attitude of mine. I am never adversely affected or frustrated by criticisms, detractors, or skeptics. Because of that, I don’t see defeat or failure – it’s hard to fail when you simply get up and do it again each time you fall. More than anything else, I LOVE what I am doing and I am having fun doing these things. Those who tried to shoot the madness down or downplay the Yoda-kicked energy, most of them, are gone... But we are still here.

YES, IT’S FINAL. We now have a small (10x10) space or display store at the Center for Unlimited Possibilities (CUP) in Westgate Mall (West Asheville). CUP occupies the huge space that a religious “bargain/thrift” store used to have. [Monthly rent for the space is $180 + I think $75 for annual CUP membership.) The store officially opens on the first week of October.
Apart from the few crafts&things from the Philippines (and Indie/Wander/Blue Sky copies), we don’t have a lot to display or sell at this point in time. So if you have anything to sell or display, you are invited to share the small space with the Traveling Bonfires. (So far, it’s only artist Jen Bowen who signified interest in displaying/showing her paintings there.) Put your own price, we’ll maybe add $2 that go to The Bonfires—CUP gets 20% from all merchandise that get sold. They will have two check-out counters. But you are also invited to sit there and be the volunteer salesperson. Me and/or Marta will visit the space at least once a day.
CUP will have regular, ongoing activities—so we expect a minimum of 200 people getting in and out of the center on a daily basis. I also submitted a proposal to hold regular (possibly weekly) filmshowings there. As ever, we will focus on multicultural cinema.

[ ] Finally, our long-overdue website – for Traveling Bonfires and Loved by the Buffalo Publications (publisher of The Indie, Wander and Blue Sky Asheville), combined – is now under construction. Local artist Jen Bowen is doing the design, development and some more. We expect to have it viewable in a month’s time. [Thanks to Matt Mulder for the design of the Loved by the Buffalo logo.]
[ ] As I have already announced – please mark Sept 30 (10:06am to 11am) on your calendar. I will be interviewed by Virato (VIRATO LIVE!) at Revolution Radio on that day, 10:05 Sept 30. Details (time, pod/webcast, radio broadcast etc), go to--
[ ] Ingles will be donating candies and pastries to kids in the event of our “Bonfires for Vampires: Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” on Oct 20, 4pm to 10pm. Touch Samadhi DJs will be back. It will be an all-costume Halloween gathering. We will hand our surprise gift/s to The Most Weirdly Awesome Costume.
[ ] We repeat, our Ford 1984 Super Wagon is for sale. Cost is negotiable, get in touch with Marta The Nicer. The van is currently parked at Ingles parking lot in Merrimon Avenue—where Marta works from 6am to 3pm.

THANKS DEPARTMENT: To Tom & Debi Athos, and their staff, for Organicfest (Sept 9), and Kitty Love and her staff & volunteers for Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival (Sept 10). For their donations (for The Bonfires yard sale): Mike Hopping, Cheryl (of Ingles-Merrimon)... for some significant work and implements (Rena Wright, Kevin Innes, Matt Mulder, Karen Helman, Janis Rose, Dale & Loretta Hoffman).

This is a relatively shorter Update, but I guess, that is good. Now, I gotta go back to my movie (“Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia”). As ever – live good, love good, and eat good food!

Toksa Ake!
Asheville NC.
12:56midnight. Sunday.

Monday, September 04, 2006

UPDATE (08.31.06)—“American Adobo,” Crafts Business, 61 Dunwell Av is Liberated!

FIRST OFF—Benefit showing of the American-Filipino feature film, “American Adobo.” Tomorrow, Aug 31 (Thurs, 5:30pm), at the Lord Auditorium of the Pack Library in downtown Asheville. Suggested donation is $2. Check out Ken Hanke’s brief review in this week’s issue of Mountain Xpress.
Fancy (or surreal, that is) that, I’ve been sort of lovingly/compromisingly/offensively embroiled with “cross-cultural” heat/miscues lately. What do I mean? Probably, the word is “misunderstood/over-understood” about being “different” (read, culture-related)... I had a number of encounters with friends/acquaintances/new hook-ups where my “weird views” about/from sexuality, relationships, marriage to pet maintenance and animal care to US paranoia (“homeland” security, “ailments,” fear of people) came into the fore. This movie sort of (I hope) explains some of my “weirdness” ... although I find some or most of the characters (in the movie) stereotypical and “shallow,” I believe the movie articulated some of the “cultural truths” that I repeatedly, painstakingly, desperately try to articulate in this dominantly white American community. It feels so good though to know that I never had significant problem with “scrimmaging” with my friends in smaller North Carolina towns (Candler, Oteen, Weaverville, Hickory, Spruce Pine, Cherokee etc), born- and bred Southern Americans. It’s amazing that despite knowing only bits and pieces of the country and culture where I came from, they could easily understand and accept my sensitivities and sensibilities...
Fascinating but not really. Back home, I was happier hanging out in the barrios and countrysides than in big cities – that is why I maintained and sustained life and living in a bustling city (where I worked and built a professional career) and small town, at the same time. (Check out my column piece in the new issue of The Indie – I explored that subject deeper.)
Anyhow, please come and watch “American Adobo” at the downtown library.By the way, chicken-pork adobo is the dish that I usually offer/cook to friends who visit my house. What about “dinakdakan”? It’s actually pressure-cooker “steamed” pig ears sautéed on black peppers, onions and red wine – and smothered with mayonnaise. (Traditionally—the way we did it back home—we use pig brain, yuck, instead of mayonnaise.) So wanna check that out? (I have more Pinoy/Filipino movies in my house, in case you wanna watch some of them—we have a new 32” flatscreen TV, my new toy.)

MEANTIME, this Sunday (Sept 3, 11am—5pm), we will resume our yard sale/fundraiser in our frontyard (61 Dunwell Avenue, West Asheville). Tomorrow morning, another friend (who requested anonymity) is donating us a three-storage-full of things and stuff for us to sell. Our basement will be very busy... We actually have pretty good stuff, you might be interested.We will also resume our Bonfires Homeys Cookout on that day. So you wanna try my “dinakdakan”? It’s also cool with red wine... in case, you wanna stay over for the night. I just bought a bartender’s book. I’d like to do some of those margaritas and martinis and stuff. Time to chill, huh... Check out my new DVD collection, as well. (Chris Malz and Matt Mulder and family have expressed interest in coming back again...)

SO WHY am I inviting people to my house?
It’s because, effective Sept 2, WOOHOOO! We don’t have a summer roomie anymore!!! Well, the summer financial quicksand has sort of dried up considerably (although money issues will never go away, for sure)... so we are basically fine these days. I still do some work in Hickory and Morganton (from tending a farm to film editing to foot massage gigs) and Marta The Nicer is still accepting yard work, housecleaning and babysitting jobs (she still works 6am—2pm at Ingles). But it’s still a lot more peaceful and comfortable not to have roomies...
Our summer roomies were all very cool. So don’t mistake that – it’s just that I am the eccentric earthling here. I’d like to play my “House of the Holy” (Led Zep) LP record (or Abba #1 Hits), medium-full volume at 3am and paint my face at 4:17am, build a small bonfire on my backyard at 12:30midnight, or dance to “Stayin’ Alive” or Paul Mauriat’s “El Bimbo” when no one is watching... well, Marta The Nicer is okay. She doesn’t mind.
Seriously, I realize that I am EXTREMELY allergic to cats. My breathing has been very bad lately, and my eyes swell and I sneeze crazily like some “Tales from the Crypt” creature on a bad Friday night gig. Ahhh, I just don’t understand why we treat cats (or pets) more than we love and care for our dear hubbies and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends? I am NOT kidding, why? I don’t think cats or birds enjoy being a proclaimed “inside cat” for life, or caged thing with wings. Do we, human beings, relish doing a life sentence (in the slammer or maximum security) for just being human beings? What have these “pets” done to be treated that way? Can’t birds fly up the serene sky, cats roam the neighborhood trees, and fishes swim in the deep, blue sea.
Enough of that...

The TRAVELING BONFIRES’ little crafts/products entrepreneurial sideproject (also called “Traveling Bonfires”) is already underway. We just got the initial sample shipments of goods from Baguio City, Philippines. It’s not much but that’s enough to start things off.
These crafts (women’s jewelries, hand-painted earrings/bangles/pendants, house implements, blankets etc) were made or crafted by tribal villagers in the far northern mountain barrios (or barangays) of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. I actually organized communities there – in regards community media, small and middle entrepreneurship etc. We purchased these stuff&things straight from the villagers so we are doing away with middlemen... Our slotpersons there are my younger bros Alvaro and Sonny.
We are also accepting orders from interested people – woodcarvings, antiques (Spanish-era furniture and furnishings), potteries/handwoven apparels. Me and Marta, have visited some shops and stores, not only in Asheville, but also in Cherokee, Charlotte, Marion, Morganton, Waynesville, Black Mountain – these spots also, automatically, become Indie/Wander/Blue Sky outlets. We have chucked a considerable number of mailings to Baltimore, DC, and NYC and just focused on Western NC. I will be displaying some of these crafts and products in our house in West Asheville, so feel free to drop by and check them out.

MEANWHILE, I am working on websites (finally!)
Eventually, I will design the accessories and house implements, as well as t-shirts and garments. But it’s quite too early to go to that. The Bonfires Cafe (and store) will also be out there, somewhere, sooner or later. Timing matters a lot – not market research or financial climate but “timing” as ushered by the Blue Sky God/dess.

SO OKAY, we will be at the Organicfest (Battery Park) on Sept 9, and Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival on Sept 10. If case you feel like chillin’ with us, please come... you are welcome to hand out personal/organizational flyers and readings, or sell wares to help raise money to pay for cat food, err, no—I mean, the electric bill. The effervescent Virato will be interviewing an Indie/Bonfires staff, wanna try it?
So this is it. Life is always a cool rollercoaster ride, isn’t it so? Have you seen us with that new blue car? You see, it’s “blue”—just like the blue pimp van. Isn’t it cool to be driving all over town with a “real” vehicle now. I am enjoying my work/chill time/writing moments, me and Marta The Nicer also drive up somewhere beyond Asheville once in a while, I have been shooting basketballs lately, eating more chilled oysters than usual, I just beat my August deadlines for the Sept issues of The Indie, Wander, and Blue Sky... and on Friday – I will go fishing for trout, bass, herring and cod in Hickory, with or without Ernesto!

THANK-YOU DEPARTMENT: Thanks to Kevin Innes for the film projection provision, Alphonse Fazio for the Olive Garden dinner, Rena Wright & Karen Helman for the extra yard/house work for Marta, Kitty Love and Debi Athos of Organicfest and LAAFF for the free booths/ tents, Janis Rose for all the generosities, new friend and West Asheville resident Susan Strehler, Katie O’Haley (Brooklyn NY) and Siobhan Clarke (Dublin) for the nice, inspiring words, Edeena Pike & Olive Obina (Manila) for getting in touch, Matt Agent Mulder for agreeing to be my book’s graphic/layout artist, Bo Farson of WNC Jazz Society, ACT, Metabolism Productions (Chall Gray, Devin Walsh) for the free media passes, my eldest sis Tess for all your goodness in keeping the family together (after Mom died), and those—so many (but may not want to be mentioned here)—who donated stuff&things to our yard sale, Maraming Salamat po!

SPECIAL MENTIONS: To my dear friend Katie Kasben (who had a freak fireworks accident lately), please be well soon (I will cook pansit and adobo, whenever you are ready)... To my “bro” Dale Allen Hoffman, Godspeed with your new, brewing acting career... To my other “bro” Chris Malz, I will be there on your so-significant/so-life altering October gig (the biggest gig of your life, brother!) ... to my biological bros Alberto, Alfonso, Allan and Alvaro for wishing me well all the time (keep looking up the sky, `tol! I’ll fall from it into our backyard basketball court, one of these days...) and, finally to the Blue Sky God/dess’s new incarnate – Ty moyo solnyshko!

So, as ever, stay good, love good, live good, and eat good food!
--Pasckie aka Jack Sparrow
12:42 midnight
Asheville NC