Monday, July 31, 2006

burned out...

Match lighting match
Originally uploaded by photoyed.

k'zillas w/ stomach flu +

k'zillas w/ cold (after stomach flu) +

no sleep (because of kids having stomach flu & cold) +

brutal heat wave +

overwhelming feelings of depression, paranoia and fear due to horrible racism and prejudice in city/neighborhood

...equals one burned out mamazilla. apologies for blogging hiatus.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

maligayang kaarawan to my comare, monkeysteez!

mia and me
Originally uploaded by mamazilla1972.
feliz cumpleanos, mamacita mia!

around this time, last year, i was lucky enough to run into monkeysteez at ACA. since then, i feel like i have to keep up with the "DE" crew.

i learned a lot from my experience at ACA. from you, i learned

1) some new ways to make up names for fictional characters
2) i should drive with the car headlights ON (if i ever learn to drive)
3) NOT to tell you a secret
4) that i will never attempt to write a screenplay
5) i have to stay up really late and get up painfully early to keep up with your generation

mia, your youth inspires me to be more youthful. your talent inspires me to continue writing, observing and learning. all in all, you inspire me to be a better human being. mahal kita!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

fashion victim...

image from

in the ten years i worked in the garment industry, i would have to say the only people i ever saw who wore the wares we manufactured and peddled (and didn't work for the company) were the models who came in for the fittings. which is not to say that we didn't have our fair share of fashionistas running thru the halls, in every department but, they were stylish people, trendsetters - not fashion victims.

and really, that's the thing - whatever you do - DON'T be a victim to fashion, in any way, shape or form. the very first thing i was taught in my humble fashion design program many moons ago, "fashion isn't an art form, it's a business." and that just about shattered my naive little designer dreams. and the longer i worked in "the business", the more that lesson rang true.

so, i'm trying to formulate a cohesive thought about these articles/posts that were mentioned in the blogs - She's Like A Rainbow, miu miu's Fall Winter 06/07 advertising campaign, Bubbles & Bling) that have contributed to all this conversation about race, racism, diversity and fashion at mixedmediawatch (a blog that "tracks media representations of mixed people") and almost girl (a fashionista meets basically everything blog, "where plato and prada meet")

maybe i should start with the original post "Why the fashion industry desperately needs some diversity" at mixed media watch... hopefully, a cohesive thought will evolve... (advance mea culpas - i'm a mom of two, who doesn't get enough sleep.)

first of all, i can only speak from my own experience in the fashion industry in chicago and san francisco that the rag trade looks pretty diverse to me. granted, there were fewer POC in upper management, but the design, marketing, sourcing, sales, technical, production, even shipping departments were all "balanced". but, like the greater melting pot that is our country, examples of ambiguous racism and nebulous prejudice were more than abundant.

i still can't believe that i was a part of the industry sometimes that i didn't just up and walk out. well, actually i did once - it was my very first job in SF too - that shoulda clued me in i suppose.
the "us v. them" conflict was as tangible and slender as the fabric we were all cutting and sewing together in seamless harmony - it was the american born v. the foreign born, or the filipinos v. the chinese, thailand v. turkey v. guatemala v. mexico or white people v. the... well, everybody else. it was f*cking world cup meets ab fab meets poorly produced after school special about prejudice.

i remember how excited i was to see so many asian faces in SF and thinking, "no one here will ever ask me if filipinos really eat dogs." and then, i think i was there a whole week before another asian person (the first of many people POC and otherwise) actually asked me if i was a filipino and if i'd ever eaten a dog.

so, anyway, imho - i don't know if hiring a diverse staff can necessarily prevent a company from looking spectacularly stupid - look at the advertising campaigns for american apparel, the stupid racist t-shirts that abercrombie and fitch used to sell (in 2002, even after "they asked their asian staff if it was ok to sell it in the first place"), and when are we EVER going to free the gwenihana four 'cause they're not looking remotely interested in walking out on their own!

my impression is that since fashion is a business, fashion companies will hire people who emulate/represent/mimic their business (to grow/expand) principles not necessarily their design philosophy or target customer. and they have the opportunity to hire a rainbow of people, especially in SF. so, is it possible that it's less about hiring diverse races of people and more about hiring diverse races of people with a conscience and who are aware of the global consumer. (...btw - all i know about the NY businesses is that they all slammed their doors in my face when i pounded manhattan pavement in '93.)

re: the NYT article about kimora lee. that reporter was an *sshat & totally pulled a "whitneymcnally" (i have previously never had a reason to use that phrase - so, wow). but, that's the NYT, a newsaper, not a garment design/manufacturing company. and well, i don't know squat about publishing...

re: miu miu and their advertising campaign.... the last time i checked, miu miu is a division of prada. and i believe that prada is an italian company. the last time i was in italy, i was the most "exotic" thing in town, the chinese food in the chinatown (in florence) SUCKED MAJOR *SS (and they didn't even HAVE chopsticks at the place we ate), and the single italian straight men that i met in italy were still living with their moms (not that there's anything wrong with that!). i guess i'm just saying that i'm not surprised that their advertising campaign is well... what it is. i'm not saying it's right. i guess i'm just saying it's italian. we have enough ignorance to deal with in america - are we really going to try to battle it out all the way over in italy too? not that we shouldn't or can't but... at least they're hiring asians to represent their company - do a google image search for american fashion houses like DKNY, CK, RL, american Vogue, etc... - you won't see a POC anywhere except for the sweatshop boycotts.

the only POC supermodel (who doesn't fit "the mold") that comes to my mind who has crossed that boundary with american designers is alec wek (who i think is absolutely stunning). but, i always wonder was alec wek chosen because of her beauty or because she's sorta the anti-tyra, iman, and naomi - and "tokenized" as such.

and another thing - re: magazine layouts. at one of my old jobs, a few times people from marketing would come by production looking for samples to send out because such and such magazine was shooting a layout and wanted something... i dunno... "pink". and so, we'd hand over whatever it was they were looking for. they'd stick it in an overnight envelope and be done with it. it seemed like that was usually the extent of our involvement. it's a shame that designers/design companies aren't more interested in how their stuff is photographed in magazines. it's too bad for them that it has to get to the printed/published stage to actually get noticed as good or bad publicity. so, in some cases it's not active racism, just it's counterpart - lazy ignorant ambivalence, "what? racism still exists? oh, you mean, OUTSIDE of san francisco, right?"

finally, there are the comments made by louis roderer's managing director, frederic rouzaud, in the economist's article "bubbles & bling" about the relationship between "the bling lifestyle" and cristal - here's how the comment originally appeared in the article under their editorial header "Unwelcome Attention", "In fact, the attitude of the house of Roederer to the unexpected popularity of Cristal among rappers is considerably more circumspect. Frédéric Rouzaud, who took over from his father as managing-director of the winery in January, says that Roederer has observed its association with rap with “curiosity and serenity”. But he does not seem entirely serene. Asked if an association between Cristal and the bling lifestyle could actually hurt the brand, he replies: 'That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.'"

the way i'm reading it - the reporter's painting the comment and the company in a bad light. it really sounds to me as if the managing director is saying they are delighted to have the business as would Krug or Dom Perignon. again, wine makers and newspapers and magazines are not fashion houses. the dude is FRENCH - i know i'm making a HUGE generalization here but when a french friend of mine speaks to me - i ALWAYS think she's condescending to me 'cause she just sounds like she is in her "outRAGEous frAnch AKsant" and lastly, hey, is it hot in here or is that another race riot in France?

but then again, i am a sleepless mom of two... i'm not the brightest light in the harbor either which doesnt bode well for my children's genetic makeup.

but then another thing caught my eye in the article, "Both Dom Pérignon and Krug have had their share of unwelcome attention, too...." it's the magazine that's calling it "unwelcome attention" - not the wine makers. puts a whole new "spin" on "spin the bottle", don't it? :P

anyhoo.... i think that's all my little pea brain can regurgitate. i have some thoughts about almost girl's reply, but i have to pretend to get some sleep.... but one thing that TOTALLY sticks out like a sore thumb - almost girl is a "former chicago south sider".... please PLEASE PLEEEEEASE, let her NOT be from beverly. puh-leeeeze!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"..a multicultural france..." or why i'm crushin' on boateng.

the boatengs as pictured in the telegraph

it was like love at first sight with ozwald boateng - well, his suits really. seriously, for someone like me - i get immensely geeked out about bound buttonholes and hong kong seams.

but i really like him - i mean the dude, not just the suit - even more now. ok, i may even have a slight crush on him. too bad i'd have to put another mortgage on the house to buy popzilla a boateng $uit.

i remember when boateng was tapped to design givenchy's menswear line in 2003. it was the first time that a black designer was tapped to head a french fashion house (not just ANY house, mind you, imho). however, in 2003, i was completely disillusioned and embittered by my ten dutiful & admittedly prosperous years in the fashion industry. but, i was done. i knew it was time for me to make a clean break, get closure and move on. but after hearing that news and reading his mini bios, i remembered what it was like to be youthful, energized and passionate about fashion design, and the daydreaming of a life that boateng was living - freakishly talented technically/creatively and "discovered" at 16, selling to major retailers at 18, multinational fashion icon by his 20s . needless to say, his story really resonated with me. i was actually happy for a fashion designer and honestly impressed, instead of jaded and cynical.

so, last night i was channel surfing and there he was on the sundance channel! i had NO idea he had his own reality show - House of Boateng - yeah, i don't just LIVE under a rock, two children actually sit on the rock that i live under. i quickly prayed to the reality tv gods,"please please, PLEASE tv gods, don't let him be vapid, crass and narcissistic!" and YAY! he wasn't! (but, let's face it, one show does not a series make & one reality series is not necessarily the reality of its star...)

anyway, i think i missed the beginning of last night's show and i don't think the episode i saw last night was the first of the series. but when i tuned in, boateng was discussing casting for an upcoming fashion show. he's perusing model headshots and polaroids and he's saying, "yes, i've seen him all over paris." or "no, he's just not right." and then he says (and i'm sort of paraphrasing because i was just shocked when he said it) "france is multicultural and the show has to represent that. what we really need is more asians. they're the missing key to the show." after my initial shock, i laughed 'cause c'mon, can "multicultural france" AFFORD to buy anything boateng?! ha. doubt it. but i digress...

BOATENG NEEDS ASIANS!!!!??? and you shoulda seen the SUPAH FIIIINE asian hotties he found! so, immediately, boateng scores umpteen additional brownie points with mamazilla.

then, THEN! his speechlessly beautiful russian wife, gyunel, brings their totally cute fashion forward toddlers over for what i call the "really, i was just in the neighborhood" visit. (that breezy visit you make to your SO's workplace with some random ulterior motive - you need an emergency break to avoid infanticide, the quick babysit while you shop for bras, a hump day change of scenery, potty break, need mad money, or you suspect an affair.)

so, during and following the visit, boateng takes what seems like an indulgent amount of time (even for a reality show) to talk about how much he loves his kids, his family, how important they are and how special they are, etc....he carries his kids upside down, hugs and cuddles them, he talks to them about "the boys" and the clothes and shares his work world with them. ACK!!! TOO CUTE!!!



dude, show me the mamazilla who doesn't crush on happy-go-lucky, obnoxiously-PDAing-on-their-kids popzillas?!

and then the rest of the episode is a colorful blur of fashion journalists, stylists, celebrities, clothing, accessories, models, hair, makeup, paparazzi and music, yada, yada, yada... you know, your recommended daily allowance of french luxury fashion.

yeah, it's official, i think i'm crushin' on boateng.

check out the show - thursdays on the sundance channel. :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

and they loaded up their bikes and they raced thru Beverly... Hills that is...

Jacob Nielsen takes a corner
Originally uploaded by Luke.
we're finally going to be in town to witness a race in beverly tomorrow. i've heard it's pretty cool to watch - the whole neighborhood decks itself out in all its finery and they party all night long.... so, i figure we prolly won't be getting afternoon naps or a restful evenings sleep. if ya can't beat 'em join 'em... when in rome, yada yada yada...

"More than 125 world-class cyclists will compete in the third annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic on July 7. The 100K criterium is the first leg of the International Cycling Classic Superweek Pro Tour. Starting/finishing at 107th Street and Longwood Drive, riders will speed around a one-mile race circuit, traveling 62 miles in about two hours through Chicago's beautiful and bike friendly neighborhoods, Beverly Hills and Morgan Park. For applications to the Tour de Beverly and Longwood 100, and for information about the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, call Beverly Area Planning Association at (773) 233-3100."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

doe, ray, meme....

photo taken from

so, i was just checking out rice daddies and kimchi mamas and some of them completed the following APA parenting meme that i now feel strangely compelled to complete also... i know, i'm such a lemming... but, here goes:

1. I am:
a filipina, born & raised in a northwest side chi-town ghetto. *insert old school house music here*

2. My kids are:
i think they break down this way - 50% filipino, 12.5% irish, 12.5% puerto rican and 25% a colorful goulash of misc. european schtoof.

3. I first realized I was APA when:
i was the only one who used rice to substitute for glue on craft projects in art class. and where did i get the rice? it was, of course, what little rice was left over from my lunch (of rice, smoked fish and banana chips) that i had brought to school that day.

4. People think my name is:
unique. but people also think my first name is jerillee or geruhldee or geraldine - um, *BUZZ* no. and they also think my last name is "united" or pronouced similarly - which it's not and it's not pronounced that way either. and believe it or not, i actually got schooled by an irish friend of mine for pronouncing my husband's irish last name incorrectly. i just cannot win!!!!

what a lot of people also don't know is that each letter in my first name corresponds to someone in my family. and speaking from experience, it's common for filipino parents to whip out their artistic licenses when it comes to naming the fruits o' yer loins. for example, let's say your last name is "Dy". your parents probably thought it would be so TOTALLY cool to name you "John Kenny". seriously, dude... John Kenny Dy. get it? yeah, don't get me started on my childhood girlfriends - Jingle, Joy, Jade and Jen Jen....

5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
i can't choose just one - family is your #1 priority, respect your elders (especially YO MOMMA!), always be proactive & volunteer to help, always be thankful for what you have, eat family meals together and ear piercing.

6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
passive aggressive behavior especially guilt tripping, showcasing children like *bling*, observing ridiculous superstitions, and random ignorance like - homophobia, racism and how to cure acne.

7. My child's first word in English was:
DADA! (assuming that's really english and she meant my husband...)

8. My child's first non-English word was:
LOLA! (that's "grandma or granny or gran" for some filipinos - other filipinos say "nanay")

9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
'SusMariJosep! (which doesn't really count since filipinos can't corner the market on jesus, mary and joseph.) so, i guess "Maarte!" (which loosely translated means "omigodquitbeingsuchadramaqueen!!!")

10. One thing I love about being an APA parent is:
i love being filipino so, i get to share what that all means/encompasses with my children and i also get to re-live the best parts of my childhood (as a filipina, a chicagoan and an american) with them.

11. One thing I hate about being an APA parent is:
getting mistaken for the foreign live in nanny...

12. The best thing about being part of an APA family is:
realizing how similar we are to non-APA families, and embracing our differences - a) the food is WAAY mo' bettah and b) my family is hella proud we're from the ghetto.

13. The worst thing about being part of an APA family is:
many of us (not all) don't realize that we're like all the other families and tend to self-segregate instead of reaching out to find where we do relate.

14. To me, being Asian Pacific American means:
i am a person of color which comes with so many gifts and a huge responsibility - to always be the best person (filipino, chicagoan, american, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, artist) i can be, to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with others, and care for my family - the family i know and the family i have yet to meet.


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