Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Fine Evening in Hell

From top: Across the River Styx; Constantino 'Cos' Zicarelli

I REALLY wasn't invited to an event last night called Hell, which I thought was an art exhibit opening. (It was and it wasn't.) The night prior, at the opening of Geraldine Javier's sold-out exhibit, The Swank Style editor Jerome Gomez introduced me to artist Constantino Zicarelli. (By the way, we all know who bought the Javier worth P1.2 million. Tangina, ang laki pala ng sweldo.)Mr. Gomez told me that Mr. Zicarelli was opening his own show the following night.

At around 7pm yesterday, I was going crazy in the office. I texted Mr. Gomez if he was going to Mr. Zicarelli's opening, and, even though I am normally very punctilious about invitations, if I could go with him. Mr. Gomez replied in the affirmative. Although I had made a deliberate attempt to delay, I arrived at the event well before Mr. Gomez.

The venue turned out to be Mr. Zicarelli's own residence in Quezon City, a townhouse in a quiet neighborhood. The gate of the home was left open onto the street for the occasion. On the facade, in bold all-caps a backlit sign read: HELL, not the most neighhborly of welcomes, to be sure, although cheerily colored.

"Naku," Mr. Zicarelli greeted me. "Hindi ko alam na dadating ka. Nakakahiya!" The truth of the matter is it was I that should have been hiya for making the intrusion. Mr. Zicarelli explained that it wasn't really an opening but a marking of his birthdate a few days before, and that"HELL" was supposed to have been included in an exhibit at Mo Space but somehow failed to.

It might as well have been an opening because in attendance were many artists, collectors, writers, among them Jayson Oliveira, Poklong Anading and MM Yu, and the potter Pablo Capati.

On the front door was tacked a statement about the show by the artist's friend, Angelo Suarez:

Daddy, I have cum home

The religious who subscribe to the hegemony of heterosexuality maintain that gayness--especially upon the consummation of the "homosexual act"--can lead one to hell. Homophobics who find their way here, to Constantino Zicarelli's exhibition wherein the declaration that this is hell conceptually transforms his home into hell, should thus beware: It is likely they are standing next to a faggot.

I was so glad I came.

Mr. Zacarelli's Isabela-based Italian father, Mr. Zacarelli pere, happened to be visiting. I do not know if Mr. Zacarelli fils had the title formulated for the occasion, but I do know that he is not, as they sometimes say in the vernacular, "a gay." Mr. Zacarelli fils was once romantically paired with a beautiful artist, female. Together they made one of the most handsome couples in artlandia. That is not the evidence of course, but basta, as they say in Italian and Filipino, hindi siya bading.

Charming, solicitous, self-effacing and--above all--interesting, Mr. Zacarelli fils inhabits a Filipino heterosexual masculinity that can only be found in the world of art. The argument of course is based on the theory that there are a multiplicity of masculinities, ranged according to a hegemony.

Mr. Capati, whom I had the good fortune to fall into conversation with that evening, is another case in point. On one occasion, the potter who grew up in Japan served a tempura lunch for Mr. Gomez and me, in an orchard, on vessels he had made himself, with ground plum and Japanese pepper. Hitsura ni Martha Stewart.

I was glad I came, because apart from Mr. Gomez, what other faggot would everyone else be standing next to?


  1. pare, u never know. and mr. gomez came out on facebook, turned around and declared "pare, hindi ako bakla". i mean it's facebook, it's serious, sacred.


  2. Love et. Btw, its Mr Costantino. And Mr Capati.

  3. Dear Mr. Voltes5,
    Aba, ako di rin ako bakla. Pero yan si Jerome, super sward yon.

  4. Dear Mr. Gomez:
    Thanks for the half correction. It has been applied.

  5. HAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHHA.....havent heard, or read the word sward in a long time. :) more power!