Conchitina Cruz and Adam David at BLTX6
by Jojo Soria de Veyra
LAST January 24 at 2-ish pm, diskurso took a peek at this so-called small-press expo titled BLTX6: Once More with Feelings!!! at Uno Morato, ready to be surprised or bored.
“BLTX” in this case is not the blarina toxin that carries the same acronym, but refers to "Better Living Through Xeroxography," the longer name for that small-press expo at that seven-month old pub and bookstore dedicated to indie books, by indie writers and comics artists, where the “expo” was to be witnessed. Established by writer-couple Adam David and Conchitina Cruz, Uno Morato is a hole in the wall located at the garden area or basement zone of GYY Building at the corner of E. Rodriquez and Tomas Morato avenues in Quezon City.
Well, guess what, the place charmed us enough for us to stay on till the end of the 4:30 pm launch of several indie books.
We picked up a few chapbooks, chapbooks using classy paper or otherwise laser-printed popular prints being the common formats at the expo, although perfect-bound books were also in abundance on the wall-mounted shelves that weren’t part of the expo. Cruz said the expo would henceforth be a twice-a-year event at Uno Morato. And later this year, she said, BLTX6 would bring some of its books to Davao City.
And what sort of literature did we discover at BLTX6?
"And there were of course the chapbooks by the bookstore owners themselves."
Well, okay. There was this zine, for instance, titled In Search of Desire run by a collective of five writing buddies called Charging Station. The zine contained the sort of gems that you may not find published by the mainstream magazines that publish literary works, the sort of gems that sound like “Over Coffee” (by Jessica Santiago) or “How They Met” (by Rose Tangco Sagun), probably our favorites from the collection. Our favorites, how? Okay: “Over Coffee” is charming for not telling us what the tale is about in the closing sentence, the dramatization of a mood of mutual "torpe"-ness having essayed enough about the character lovers’ state of mind. “How They Met,” meanwhile, is a sad love story reminisced by the central character (whose thoughts are narrated in the third person) within a sci-fi-esque period duration that amply reminded us of the setup for the disaster films Deep Impact, Armageddon (1998), and 2012.
And there were of course the chapbooks by the bookshop owners themselves.
Repaso, co-written by Adam David and a fictional author named Mona Lisa P. Cajucom, is a metafiction masterpiece that likely debuted at this expo. If so, Congress must legislate to have it disseminated throughout the metropolis for everyone to taste (and we don't mean to be peacockish with that praise).
Then there was David’s significant other’s new December 2014 edition of her 2012 oeuvre titled A catalogue of clothes for sale from the closet of Christine Abella—perpetual student, ukay fan, and compulsive traveler. This Conchitina Cruz jewel of a work is almost a tribute to the chapbook format itself qua easy format for both literature of ephemera (the likely-fictional fashion and garage-sale subject) and quasi-serious poetry (the lyrical prose meditation below the clothes items). The photography (almost low-res) could allude to both the pamphlet and the popular print.
[Pop culture fans might also like to know that the clothes featured in the photos were by David’s mom, the famed rock-music FM-radio deejay Delilah (Aguilar), who did the photos' descriptive captions herself. And, oh, Delilah is married to that other rock-music FM-radio aural icon Howlin’ Dave, which makes him David’s dad, doesn't it?].
And not to forget the fact that Uno Morato actually started out as an outlet for the distribution of indie comic chapbooks, there were also the works of indie comics artists selling their products from bags instead of from one of the the tables set up at the mini-expo. We scored a copy of Oko Francisco’s Apoy 3 and sampler Apoy 3 Catch-Up, both laser-printed comic-chapbooks featuring Francisco’s forays into his own humorous, absurdist, sometimes postmodernist imagination with one-page (or more) comic strips that would allude to (or mock) other comic book and animation film characters.
As we said, the basement place charmed us. We wish we had more money to spare for some more chapbooks, but the Persian Kebab menu on the building’s ground floor above us needed our help too, and so we could only promise Adam and Conchitina to be back, hopefully to get them, and perhaps some other indie publishers present then, engaged in one of our Languid Powwows. [ d ]
A THREE-PHOTO GALLERY (PHOTOS BY MARCEL ANTONIO):
Adam David (standing third from left) listens as one of the indie authors from the Charging Station collective speaks.
Jojo Soria de Veyra of diskurso.com (left) reads titles on a table as Conchitina Cruz (right) gets ready to finish her beer.
The hoard of diskurso.com's Marcel Antonio
Jojo Soria de Veyra is also a poet and fiction writer wpo has self-published online. He is the editor of diskurso.com.
© copyright 2015 Vicente Ignacio S. de Veyra III. All rights reserved.
© 2014-2016 diskurso art magazine online. all rights reserved.
diskurso is an independent, Philippines-based online magazine on art aiming to veer away from a present mental landscape replete with the customary peacock and weasel words that continue to service the art industry.