Friday, December 28, 2007

bondage made beautiful

This Christmas, I received a most beautiful and interesting gift from a dear friend – a metal handcuff (below, left) from Dolce & Gabbana's Fall 2007 Collection.

I love it tremendously – even if I am not into bondage or S&M. In the creative world of advertising where I exist, edgy accessories are perfectly acceptable, if not expected.

Bondage is a recurring theme in fashion. Remember when Elizabeth Hurley (Hugh Grant's ex) stole the show at the UK premiere of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' in a Versace bondage dress? Way before that, British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood successfully incorporated the bondage concept into punk fashion.

Dolce & Gabbana's latest campaign (below) features sexy young dominatrixes (wearing metallic bondage belts) forcing their half-naked male subjects into submission.

How such a concept can successfully seduce people is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe, we are all secret sadists, masochists – or both. Come to think of it, we all feel pleasure when our enemies endure pain. And each of us will sometimes choose to suffer through a challenge than to be bored by ease.

(Top, right) Bondage Bear: The metallic silver bear which I've tied to a metal post is Series 11's Artist Bearbrick based on Naoki Urasawa's 'Monster', a Japanese anime produced by Studio Nuts. The bloody message on its chest (in German) is a cry for freedom: 'Help! The monster in me will explode!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's holiday season once again! Because I'm too lazy to decorate a tree, I always keep Christmas trimmings to a minimum. Thanks to the Crate and Barrel stuff which I got from NYC years ago, it only takes me ten minutes to spread cheer around the condo.

Since my place has a neutral color palette, the red accents make a huge difference.

Of course, the 2002 Santa & Snowman Bearbricks (top) are on display. These two are my friend Jun's favorite bears. I remember when I was sorting out my collection, I asked him which ones he liked the most. After checking out each of the 440+ pieces, he pointed out the two Christmas Bearbricks you see above. I asked him why. He replied, 'Because for me, they're the happiest Bearbricks of all.'

Merry Christmas, my dear friends
! :-D

Monday, December 17, 2007

ghosts of war

During our recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam, our tour guide took us to two historical places of interest. The first was the War Remnants Museum, an exhibit too painful and disturbing for words. The second was the Reunification Palace (below, left) which housed the President of non-Communist South Vietnam during the war.

Hidden beneath the Palace was the 'War Room', an underground operations / telecommunications center. As I walked through its winding corridors and peeked at rows of deserted rooms filled with rusty teletypewriters (below), radio equipment, topographical maps, desks, etc., I felt claustrophobic. At that point, I realized how poorly I would fare in times of war. Ten minutes in that place and I wanted to run!

After the tour, one of our companions (a clairvoyant of a woman) blurted, 'I saw a ghost down there... sleeping on... remember the small couch?' After a short chilly silence, everyone screamed!

Soldiers practically lived in those rooms for years. In fear. And I believe, in hope. Many of them died before the war ended in 1975. Today, they continue to haunt the halls of the Reunification Palace. In the same way, memories of war will forever haunt those who survived.

The BWWT 2 Military Be@rbrick (top) is by Frank Kozik (right), a famous graphic/toy designer from San Francisco, who created concert posters for bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers. His most popular toys are the Smorkin' Labbits, cigarette-puffing bunnies that have become vinyl toy classics.

Pic of soldiers from the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii Website / Reunification Palace pic from / Teletypewriter room pic by me / Kozik pic from

Thursday, December 6, 2007

monkey business

Two weeks ago, I traveled for three hours to Subic Bay, a beautiful port district north of Manila. I went there for the 20th Philippine Advertising Congress, a four-day biennial event that celebrated and awarded the country's best ads. Our agency, PC&V, won two trophies which made the long, out-of-town trip worthwhile for me. :-)

During one of the breaks in between guest speakers (which included writer Neil Gaiman), I went for a short drive along the bay. Aside from being bound by beaches, the place is known as a wildlife sanctuary of sorts. As a matter of fact, I passed by an area where monkeys roamed freely. Some of them swung on trees and electrical wires while others cavorted by the side of the road.

Then. I. Spotted. Two. Naughty. Ones. Doin the nasty! :-D So I whipped out my Canon Ixus 950IS and stole a shot.

On the way back to Manila, I showed the picture to an award-winning art director-friend. He quipped, "That will make a nice billboard for a motel." Then we both laughed. I took his cue and made a layout. Complete with a headline and the logo of the Philippines' most famous motel chain. Just for fun. ;-) The result is right below.

Do you think it can win an award at the next Philippine Advertising Congress? LOL

The Monkey Be@rbricks at the top are: (left) the Cute Be@rbrick of Series 5 & (right) the Monkey Bearbrick from the Medicom Toy Fan Club.