Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Show Must Go On: Eko Nugroho

Jak Art Ahh!
Youthful heart pleasing exhibit at the National Gallery

Inspired by Yogyakarta art after my explosive experience there, I checked out this exhibit while in Jakarta. As one reader commented in the last post, there is indeed a cool scene in Jakarta to be discovered. While looking up Eko Nugroho shows, a Yogya artists known for drawing cute alien cartoons and also doing the graphics for Potato Head, a posh/funky bar in Jakarta,  I found out this rad little exhibit was going down not far from where I work. It's called, "The Show Must Go On," and was curated by Enin Supriyanto. 

After three nights of partying (American Thanksgiving + Blackout Party + Blowfish) I am a bit exhausted and hungover so please excuse the short post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Indie Guide to Shopping: Best Vintage in Jakarta and Your Life

Vintage Shopping Mecca in Jakarta + There's a Goat in My Alley?

I have not been able to stop yipping about how legendary Pasar Senen is. If you have only one day to shop, in Jakarta, DO NOT WASTE IT IN THE BILLION MALLS HERE. Period. If you take anything away from this blog on vintage and indie shopping, please choose the path to greatness and visit this one market.

Imagine all your favourite vintage stores, now group them into one giant building, add intense, sweating Asian style chaos and you have Pasar Senen. This is everything a poor intern/student's heart could wish for; great clothes from Japan and Korea, cheap prices, authentic experience, not many tourists (known as Bulé). In my last post about Travel Junkie Graduate Settling in Jakarta, I only had shopped at malls and had spent way too much, blast. Check out SOME of the stuff you can get for the price of a metro ticket here.

This will def not be the last post on this place. Here is some stuff I bought plus an update to what's going on in my cute alley, poor intern set up in Jakarta aka RAT ALLEY by night.

 Yup. Appropriate name for a shades store

If you've been keeping up on Twitter and Facebook, you saw that I was going Gaga for some Indonesian Police Boots. At Pasar Senen, not only is there vintage, but where these bros get their uniforms.  They had little babeh versions too...

...which I somehow fit into. These guys wanted over 140K RP (14 Euros) for it, I said hellll naw and threw down. Not really, but I did just walk away to see how cheap I could get it for, using my uber useful bargaining techniques.  Note: Flower Vest I bought for 1.50 euros, ho putain! guys saw my alley, right? All cute and green and pretty yet scary by night with Jurassic Rats and roaches. Well as if that noize wasn't enough, look who the hell moved into the neighbourhood.

A cussin' GOAT bromie. It all started a week ago when I woke up for my internship one sunny morning and heard the most wretched screaming outside my door.

I thought someone with severe illness was being wrestled to the ground and having pencils shoved up their nose. But seriously guys, apparently I live in the heart of Nigerian drug land, so if sounded like a human was writhing in pain, I wouldn't dismiss it as ludachristmas.

Showdown. Cautiously, I walked around the corner and peered down an even smaller alley sliver, feeling scared to look. Instead I encounter this dude. Actually, there were several of them, just mad chillin'.

Somehow I wasn't that shocked. I mean, I do live in Central Jakarta and a mall across the street, so yes to see a goat chillin' in your hood is not normal..but overall: whateves. However, there is actually a reason they moved into town. There is a Muslim holiday coming up where they slaughter goats, called Idul Ad-ha. Everyone collects these goats, and on Wednesday morning (this week!) they kill them at the Mosque.

We used to be friends, attack. I'm not going to lie, I've gotten pretty used to their calls, their scent, their cuteness in my alley before and after I come home from the office. I'm going to be sad to see them go..  Maybe I'll attend the slaughter on Wednesday morning in my badass new boots.

The boots I ended up buying for 100K (10 Euros). My wings and guns I got separate and added them on. I love cheap shopping, you can do whatever you want with impunity. 

Flower leggings: 1.20 euros (12K Rp)
Jeans Shirt: 1 euro (10 rp)
Flower headpiece: Somewhere in Finland (borrowed off Anna, thx)

Can even find vintage clothing at Pasar Senen for the Office!
High wasted Green Skirt: 1.50 Euros (15K Rp)
Shoes: Top Shop Kuala Lumpur
Jacket: Pasar Baru

Lastly, the marinière I have in every picture, I got at Pasar Senen for, wait for it... ONE EURO. It fits well and it is easily one of the most key things. Kickin' it with Kiki, who runs awesome Blackout Parties 

Tuque: Some French thing..

  • Don't go hungover. The place is a labyrinth of identical looking stalls. If you want to find the exit quickly because you need some air you'll find yourself in a bad situation. 
  • Wear clothes that you are prepared to sweat in. It gets busy and it's hot. This is not the time to be king hipster.
Don't Pay More Than...
You can get shirts and skirts from 5-15k RP. They will tell you 40 or 50 but I didn't spend more than 15 for anything. If you want blazers and jeans it may be more expensive. Bargain hard and be ready to walk away. They'll come after you and ask your price. No matter what, don't look too interested!

The stuff in the piles you can usually get for cheaper.

Getting to Pasar Senen:
You can take the Trans Jakarta (the busway) to the stop called Senen. Or take a taxi and ask for either Pasar Senen or Atrium. 

Hours of Operation, Best time to go
Open all week till about 6 pm
Best time to go is on Saturday. They get new shipments in that day
Sundays it is open but a lot of the stores are closed.

Ooh la, I'm falling asleep. Long day at work ahead of me. Trying to convince Indonesians that protecting maids is a good thing for them.. sorry for mistakes..will fix later..

See Also

Coup de Coeur: MUSIC
This may be a ladies sort of song..or something you may want to make amour to. Slow, sexy, mysterious and POLISH. Honestly, you just want to wear a black long sexy dress with gloves and dance around in candle light (and there's red suede furniture around too).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yogyakarta: 4 Ways I Found Art Beneath the Ash

The 4 Places I Found Culture While Mount Merapi went Gila

In the last post you saw us run for our lives from the deadly volcano Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The reactions since I've been back in Jakarta have been pretty hilarious. My mom called Journo friend Aubs, a 'jackass' despite me telling her it was my choice to go, to which she replied, "He should know how you are, he shouldn't have even told you," and my boss expressing her clear disapproval with a 20 min explanation of how it is to die from pyroclastic flows (brain and blood boils, if heated enough your skull explodes), to which I  turned positively pale (in a brown way). Nonetheless, I did not regret a damn thing.  This was one cool weekend, despite our natural disaster reality bullet.

The thing you need to understand is that Jakarta has the power to starve you of underground and artsy goodness. People here are either extremely rich or hella poor, and being a poor intern in a city with no student or bohemian culture can make you feel like you're in bourgeois quarantine from everything you knew in the last five years at uni. Yogya (pronounced Jogja), in contrast was a cup of hot fair trade coffee, revitalizing the soul.

Unfortunately, I only had a couple of non-death defying days there so my checkin' out of the city was more of an injection of culture than a slow sip.

Here's 4 things that will get you silly after douching around JKT too long (like I said, those Blackout Parties are only once in a while!).

 1. Cruise the Midnight Art Gallery
 There are a whole bunch of art schools in Yogya. Grafiti here is not some compulsion to say f*ck authority, scribble some graphic down and then run away from the popo. Here, they are elaborate, imaginative and bad ass designs that I hope these talented kids are making some serious dollars off of.

Becak-ing into a the zone.

 Funky art gallery in the dark alleys of Yogya. This is one of my fav's. Around Ossington in Toronto it was similar, but too much wasted space and less edgy.

Whoah, I just woke up in a comic book. Just looking at it makes me excited!  For realz, where can I buy this/ please design a logo for me?

Creepy Donnie Darko like rabbit eying the peeing guy+ fallen over God head

Reminded of Spirited Away. Note the painting in the bottom left corner. 

 Creepy Doggy Long Legs. Of them all, this is my fav. Couldn't capture it though, moving too fast on motor bike. 

I'm looking forward to volcanic art to come from this episode. 

2. Check out the Student Artist Collective

I came here, hoping for some grafitti art but no, it was more traditional. I did however find a love child of traditional Batik style with modern techniques. If you're all artistic and into art creation, below is a video of how it was done.

I bought this. I couldn't resist after seeing how it was made.  I wanted something that represented  Indonesian culture, but was not the sometimes gaudy traditional work. This was a compromise. I liked the style of Vika and the Becak really gave me the flavour of the city.

Imam Gallery
Ngadinegaran MJ 2/126

How this Painting was Made: New Batik Style

 3.  See Hindu Stories: Ramayana
Great costumes, cool histoire, fight sequences not that great, but overall intriguing to watch. It is live instrumentals and dance which always gets me excited. A bit pricey though (140 000 RP) at the  "Puri Wisata" which translates literally into "Tourist Building." I know, not very Indie cool kid blogger of me and it's definitely not the best one to see in town (apparently at the Prambanan Hindu Temples there's a much better show), but yea if you have one last night on a Sunday and the temples are closed because of volcanic ash, this may be worth your time. Just saying. 


4. Get Lost in Ruined Ancient Palace
Do you ever have those time/space machine moments?  Walking through the Water Palace, the former grounds of the sultan, at 6 pm, everything covered in eerie white ash and the Islamic prayer filling the empty twilight air gave me that a fantasy genre high. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Can't wait to go back. I barely scratched the dusty surface. As an "emerging" adult, stuck between loving and not quite being ready for the high roller life of Jakarta, this place provided the perfect interlude.

What I wish I tried:

This is an oldie but goodie. If you know the Chinese Opera, Monkey, this is Damon Albarn's (from the Gorillaz) production of it. The whole album is sick, really. I love his work. Wait for the end for it to really kick in.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How to Survive a Volcano Eruption: Mount Merapi, Indonesia

When Volcano Merapi Gets Serious
Unexpected eruption during my travels around Indonosia

Man cycles around an ash covered Yogyakarta

 November 5th, 2010

Dear Team World,

I may have taken my adventure seeking too far when I decided to visit the city of an active volcano. It all started when Journo Friend Aubz seduced to me with uber cheap flight tickets (my weak spot) + cool culture (weaker spot) + adventuring around with him while he does cool journalistastic stuff about the volcano (weakest spot of them all!!), and against my better judgement I just couldn't say no. Anyways, I was definitely hoping for a bit of adventure, not Dante's Peak or anything but maybe see some MAGMA (Dr. Evil voice) in the distance, instead what we got last night and today ended up being much more than I bargained for and in fact pretty damn serious. (By now you've probably seen all the horrible stuff on the news, so I'm just going to give you this experience through my own humble sensory ducts.)

Around midnight last night after we were about to go to bed, we heard the ominous thundering of Mount Merapi get heck of a lot louder. Imagine an elder T-rex couple having sex or if God were to bury himself in the centre of the earth and break wind excruciatingly slowly,  like a deep rumbling that fills the air around you.  You just knew there was some big force out there but we couldn't see anything from our apartments (inappropriately named Merapi View), because of cloud cover and we had no idea what to expect. As it got louder though, it was followed by ash downfall that, like a prick was trying to pass as rain, but we saw through that act. It was all hot and made a weird noise when it hit the leaves, like it was slapping the foliage rather than dripping. Something solid was falling out of the sky and that's when Beardo Ron Burgundy Journo Will, who we were staying with decided it was time to peace.the.hell.out.

I had no time to even put on my shoes, just stuffed my clothes back into my bag and we jumped into his car to make our great escape. The Dukes of Hazzard would have been put to shame. I really don't know how we didn't die or kill others in the process of just trying to drive South (away from the volcano). There was ash and rain pouring out of the sky and we could barely see out of our windows as it made some sort of paste on the glass, and cars and motor bikes littered the roads. Everyone had the same thought in mind. The evacuation zone that had previously been set at 10 km had now allegedly moved to 15 and then 20. Where we were living was 21 km away. ..

If you're having a hard time imagining what death by volcano is as I was (which helped keep my Johny Cool pants on) it is done by some freakish cloud bazuka filled with deathly gas plus a billion pounds of potential to incinerate you. It sort of rolls down the mountain destroying everything in sight. The Indonesians call this pyroclastic blast, wedhus gembel which translates to dirty sheep skin on the arse or something like that. That's what we were running from, get it?

If you don't get it, here's my attempt to capture what my lil' eyes saw. Sorry for the crap ass edit.

Thankfully we made it safely to a hotel that night. The damage the next day though was absolutely horrid. Not everyone had made it out in time during the eruption last night. 77 people had died in the Wedhus Gembel and turns out it was the biggest eruption yet.

The IDP camps that had been set up outside the old evacuation zone of 10 km had to relocate to this stadium. About 30 000 people were stuck there. It was chaotic and packed and apparently there wasn't anyone coordinating the relief effort but to my humble eye it looked like folks were being taken care of (enough food, medical rooms weren't packed). It was sad though because people were not very comfortably set up, just sitting on mats and sheets on the ground waiting for some news. 

I met this extremely high spirited family that I ended up hanging out with while Journo Aubz did his thang at the camp.  Read some real news on this day, here.

Around Yogyakarta in Pictures

Early morning we had to clean  the ash stuck to our car from the night before, before heading off to the Maguwoharo Stadium, the newest evacuation camp.

Mask is the new black. Impossible to walk around without a mask on in Yogyjakarta. Ash particles containing silica, a chemical compound with tiny glass particles had littered the air. Check out more on how messed up my/your lungs might be, here.

Panic over possible evacuation of the main city causes ridic' lines to fill up their tanks, preparing for a quick exit. 

 Back at the place we had just evacuated it's like a tropical winter wonderland. We gathered the stuff we had forgot in our mad rush last night (like my shoes) and headed off for the rest of our day.

(All photos copyright Felicia Moursalien)

Anyways World bromies,  for the rest of my time here I'm going to try and find culture survival amidst the ash cover. Wish me luck.