Thursday, February 05, 2004

Urbanscapes 2004

(or rather, the half that I went to)

[click here for the Urbanscapes 2004 official site]

Urbanscapes 2004 was touted as KL’s premier creative arts festival, being “The City’s All-Day Creative Arts Festival”. Organized by the hip urban-lifestyle-and-entertainment magazine, KLue, it went live on the 31st January from 3 p.m. till midnight at an open-space area near the KL Sentral Station. Initially the festival was planned to go on until 'late' i.e. 3 a.m., so I suppose there were intervention from the powers-that-be. It must’ve been a rather tight situation for the organizers, to have to push forward the events so that it would end according to the new schedule. Even the break for Maghrib prayers was shortened by half an hour (from 7.00 - 8.00 p.m. to 7.20 – 7.50 p.m.). Most patrons were only made aware of these changes via the copies of new schedule pasted at the entrance and on various eye-level spots all over the festival area.

Despite the door-opening time being advertised as 2 p.m, the crowd was only granted their entrance at 3 p.m, where you had to produce some ID to determine whether you are a blue-tag (under-18) or a green-tag (above-18). Media reps got red tags (regardless of age I assume). The wrist-tags were similar to the kind you usually have at theme parks (waterproof-paper material, if you want to take it off it’ll tear apart so must refrain from doing so until you leave the place).

Once firmly-tagged (“Not too tight ya…nanti tak jalan pulak darah I..”), made my way straight to the Cinema tent, the main reason that RM30 ticket was paid for (bought three days earlier at a ticket rep, it would’ve cost RM40 at the entrance). Was one of the first inside, and took a place at one of the viewing stations at the TV Screen area. Each viewing station (there were 6 of them if I’m not mistaken) consisted of a TV and VCD player set plus a headphone connected to the TV. You sit on a high stool in front of the TV, and make your selection of animation shorts or music videos via the player. I viewed only a couple of the animations before moving to the Big Screen area – the first rotation of the Shorts was already starting without me (realized this due to the sudden rise in decibels of the surrounding). I was lucky enough to get a good viewing spot on the uppermost-level of the nearly maxed-out seating area. It looked like some sort of a three-level giant step, and was wide enough for sitting cross-legged on, with some room to spare. Those who came later either sat huddled on the cement floor or had to stand at the sides. Spotted and waved towards a familiar face among the audience.

The session was followed by the first feature of the day, Amir Muhammad’s 6horts, a 60-minute collection of six ‘featurettes’ or short features, hence the catchy title. I watched only the first one, Lost, before leaving my choice spot at the Cinema tent for other seatless souls to grab as I wanted to catch OAG’s performance at another area (plus I’ve seen 6horts before anyway).

Groove Zone Stage – OAG
It was my first live experience of the very-very famous ’Sampah Automatik Lama’, and although it was just a forty-minutes stint, I wasn’t disappointed. Only managed to elbow my way to a spot at the left side of the stage (good view anyway), near the speakers (the front was already crowded by screaming and jumping overexcited fans). Among the numbers performed were 60’s T.V., Biru, Slumber and Nowwhy2. An enjoyable gig, you can feeeeel the exciting vibes in the air and the rapport between Radhi and the fans was endearing- he kicked off the performance with an ”Assalamualaikum! Selamat Hari Raya!”(that tickles me somehow) and ended it with an impromptu Superman-in-the-air antic, typical Radhi-o style I guess. The sound system was okay and I could see the stage lights going in-sync with the performance (though I’d say it was rather unnecessary as you couldn’t really see the effect – it was outside in broad daylight after all).

Roamed around the Marketplace area a little bit afterwards. Lots of stalls selling food and drinks and other things. Wanted to try the kuay teow goreng at one of the stalls but the seller's attitude irked me (I saw her scooping the kuay teow into an already oily container! Ada ka patut?), so ended up with a brown baggie of fried calamari and chips (RM 5) from the next stall. The calamari rings were covered in crunchy flour coating, nicely thick and big; and the portion generous, which made up for the slightly rubbery texture of the sotong. There was a stall selling ‘Imported Coke’, i.e. Coke in small bottles with Thai-looking characters – I presume they were from Thailand. Decided against trying one – not feeling that adventurous. Next was the henna-tattooing people, looks nice, too bad not enough time. Lingered around the 8TV stall (they were having on-spot auditions for presenters) as well as the Women’s Aid Organisation and the SPCA stalls (touching, informative posters re: women and animal abuse respectively). There were also several people from either the Malaysian AIDS Foundation or the Malaysian AIDS Council (maybe both) wearing placards of AIDS-awareness stuff with captions like “I have AIDS, will you give me a hug?” (I gave her a big one – teacher once told me you cannot catch AIDS by hugging so o.k la) and “I’m still friends with my friends who have AIDS, are you?” (the guy was kinda cute so if even he has AIDS, would certainly stay frens with him, miahaha).

Panggilan Pulang
Then Dad called. Heh. The next day was Hari Raya Haji (if it wasn’t, most probably would’ve stayed for Nam Ron’s Gedebe and Ng Tian Hann’s First Take, Final Cut), so as the good daughter that I am, went straight home lah! Still it was a well-spent four hours, no regrets there. A big hand to KLue for organizing the successful event, and well done for the clever choice of venue - bigger place, better-suited in terms of overall atmosphere and more accessible than last year’s (according to a few people who went for both).

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