What comes to your head when you hear the words 3rd Line Butterfly? Most likely, you’ll think something associated with elegance and beauty. You’re correct, but if you are unfamiliar with them, 3rd Line Butterfly is more than just a pretty name—they’re a band that packs a punch and leaves you in its trance.
The South Korean rock quartet—consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Nahm Sang-ah, guitarist Sung Kiwan, bassist Kim Nam-Yoon, and drummer Seo Hyun-jung—has been an indie music mainstay since their debut in 2000. They formed the year before when friends and musical collaborators Nahm and Sung were dismissed from their former bands and Sung called up Nahm to make some new music. Since then, 3rd Line Butterfly has released four full-length studio albums, an English-language album, and one EP and has toured North America as part of the Seoulsonic tour, which included performances at SXSW.
In support of their latest studio album Dreamtalk, which was released in October and won multiple 2013 Korean Music Awards including Album of the Year, 3rd Line Butterfly performed in front of international audiences, including the second night of San Francisco Music Matters Asia where we caught up with them.
Many indie musicians have already gathered at the world-famous SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, but before heading to the Lone Star State, some of these artists and a few others took their show to the City by the Bay for two nights of unforgettable music mayhem. From sentimental soul and slinky blues to pulsating electronic beats and fist-pumping dance-rock, the East met the West in a duo of shows, delivering something special for every music lover.
As a special preview to the newly branded CAAMFest (Formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival), the inaugural San Francisco Music Matters Asia showcase brought together some of the hottest musical acts from Korea, China, and Taiwan at Broadway Studios on March 7 and 8. This Bay Area stop served as an extension of Music Matters, Asia’s yearly premier music event in Singapore. Partnered with local music promoters from the bands’ countries (DFSB Collective of Korea, Maybe Mars of China, and The Wall of Taiwan), SF Music Matters Asia was not only a rare opportunity for fans to see so many critically-acclaimed Asian artists together, but opened doors for these artists to share their music with a wider international audience.
Back in July, Audrey told you all about Plate by Plate in Los Angeles and in August, we previewed the annual tasting benefit in San Francisco. The time has come and passed, and this year’s event by the Bay fulfilled its promise of bringing together a terrific crowd to enjoy the company of each other, support the community, and of course, devour plenty of delicious tiny dishes!
The 3rd Annual Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit organized by the San Francisco chapter of Project by Project took place on September 22 at the spacious and gorgeous Bently Reserve near the Embarcadero Center. The evening attracted some hundred of finely dressed attendees to socialize and enjoy three rooms of food samples, desserts, and liquor. Actual Rafiq, Redstickman, Speakeasy Ray, and Big Sloppy of The Ambient Mafia provided the sounds for the event, and a silent auction for some fun items was also in place.
Last weekend in San Francisco was a busy one with Outside Lands, baseball, and preseason football going on, but there was one other big event that brought more hustle and bustle to the city: The 19th Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens was also the only event where you could hear good music and watch a live sport at the same time, plus find the rare entertainment in watching people eat ice cream and duck eggs. Pistahan—which ran for two days on August 11th and 12th—is the largest street celebration of Filipino culture in San Francisco, and this year’s event broke some new ground as well as kept up with beloved traditions.
It was a classy and crowded evening of mingling, networking, and tasty cocktails by the pool at Chambers in San Francisco on August 1st, and for a great cause: Project by Project hosted a special preview event—a Happy Hour—for the San Francisco chapter’s 3rd Annual Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit on September 22nd at The Bently Reserve.
Rakenrol. Say it out loud and all it is is the Filipino spelling of the music that continues to influence generations. For the protagonists in Quark Henares’ film of that title, it’s their reason for living, loving, and dreaming. And yes, anti-fairy tales of bands coming together, struggling, and inevitably breaking up seem to be an easy way out in coming up with a hip and youthful plot for a movie or TV show. But you have yet to see such a sentimental ode to Filipino rock music over the years in a film, until you’ve seen Rakenrol. Filled with an eccentric mix of characters, celebrity appearances, all types of humor, love stories, and of course, an awesome soundtrack, Rakenrol is a different kind of modern musical dramedy.
You can likely play Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon, but can you play Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay? Probably not, because you are likely unfamiliar with the name Lilia Cuntapay, as are the interviewees in the opening of Antoinette Jadaone’s mockumentary. However, you may recognize her if you see her face—one that is toothless and fright-inducing—or if someone named off a Filipino horror movie and which small role she played in it, which is usually a witch or some variation of “old woman.” The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ (YBCA) New Filipino Cinema program presented the U.S. premiere of Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay to a delighted audience on June 9th, where program co-curator Philbert Ortiz Dy introduced the film as one where “fiction invades truth.” Though it may be difficult for the casual viewer to separate the facts from the faux facts in this highly comedic but bittersweet film, it can be agreed upon that Six Degrees is a fascinating exploration of celebrity status and its pitfalls.
Of all the ways to spend a hot Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, the Indie-Pino Underground Music Festival was the number one outdoor spot to enjoy fresh live tunes from some seriously scorching acts and some tantalizing Filipino dishes and desserts too! The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) hosted the free event in their Sculpture Court on June 9th to coincide with their New Filipino Cinema program, and many folks came, went, and stayed to take in the music and food along with the nice weather.
Filmmaking is emerging as a dominant form of art and expression in the Philippines, and Bay Area audiences will soon have a first-hand opportunity to see for themselves just how strong and diverse it is. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents New Filipino Cinema, from June 7-10 and June 17. The comprehensive showcase will feature 29 films—narratives, documentaries, and experiential shorts—many of them as U.S. premieres.
“There’s an incredible resurgence of talent and energy in independent cinema in the Philippines right now that is not really known internationally,” said Joel Shepard, YBCA’s Film/Video Curator. Shepard co-curated the program with Philbert Ortiz Dy, the film critic for Clickthecity.com and writer-at-large for Esquire Philippines. “It’s an amazing renaissance that I really wanted to celebrate and bring to the U.S.” Shepard took four trips to the country in the past two years to meet with filmmakers, critics, and production staff and watched over a hundred films in preparation for this program before narrowing it down to the final titles.
Musicians, dancers, performance artists, storytellers, stand-up comedians, and film narrators: Whichever type of performer is your favorite, you were able to find them with the other ones under one roof for one night, for a show celebrating art and the generations of Asian Pacific Americans creating it. Kearny Street Workshop, the nation’s oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization, celebrated their 40th year with a performance showcase entitled “Hand-Me Down: Three Generations of KSW Performance” at San Francisco’s Bindlestiff Studio on May 22nd. The program brought together artists of various disciplines and from three different generations, reflecting not only the diversity in art, but also the stories that can be told and hold true no matter how much time passes by.