The great escape to Urbanscapes.

Event: Urbanscapes 2009
Date: June 27, 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: KLPAC, Sentul

What better way to celebrate my 24th by heading over to KLUE’s Urbanscapes last Saturday. It was like one big party for me, and I did not even have to do the planning. Everyone you did not know would just show up anyway. Heh. I could set up a booth saying, ‘It’s my birthday today, come kiss me’, but I did not want to go too far. I bet it’s something you would find at Urbanscapes anyway, though. Heh.

But on to a more serious note, it was my first Urbanscapes experience. And I thought it was quite a nice festival to spend a Saturday at. There was so much going on that I did not know where to start and what to do, that I ended up not really checking out everything at all. Which kind of sucked. Meh.

For those who does not know what an Urbanscapes is, it is a creative arts festival with a very indie theme hanging in the air. There is a marketplace selling very indie fashion clothes. There are performance stages where indie kind of groups go up and do their thing. There is an exhibition hall where all the indie and artsy fartsy, uh, arts are displayed. So, it is quite a niche festival, which is pretty much to my liking.

This year, Urbanscapes had a total of 10 segments going on.

There was a Street Performances area, out in the open under a big tree. Which I thought was a very busking kind of surrounding. It catered to skits and stand up comedies from performing arts institutions, like T4YP, AIIA, EMP, RPT, The ComeBackKings and The Oral Stage.

We checked out some of the stand up comedians, which were just alright. Not like ROTFLMAOwtfbbq kind of funny, but just a ha-ha kind of funny. Which was OK. I was not looking to be blown away anyway.

But the one skit that impressed me was probably AIIA (Artifically Intelligent: Improvholics Anonymous), I think. They had a few people dressed up in costumes – The Joker, Little Red Riding Hood, a mechanic, a sexy secretary, Chun Li, a Japanese dude and a photographer, and they had the crowd shout out scenes of any kind so the actors can improvise freeze motions in 3, 2, 1. The actions they came up with at such a short time were priceless. I liked it.

It was also a showground for busking buskers like KL Stompers and Tugu Drum Circle.

I last saw the Tugu Drum Circle people at Sunburst and once again, there they were, rounding up passers by to provide a tim to the tom, and a bang to the drum.

They drew a much bigger crowd compared to Sunburst. People were voluntarily going up to grab their desired instrument and joining in the improv performance. And I liked that spirit going around in that circle. A pretty good chance for someone to bang their frustrations out.

A crowd grabber was The X Marketplace. As the name suggested, a bunch of indie designer brands came together and brought the crowd wardrobe full of clothes one could go on a spree at.

There were brands by Badgers, Pop! Collective, JouJou & Shugi Toy Art Mart (with designer toys imported from the US), Lah’ Lah’ Land, the Threads Zoo and many many more.

I thought these were cute. Pixelated accessories.

No creative arts festival would be right without a spot for the Lomo lovers.

In fact, you could spot people with lomo cameras and DSLRs walking around and positioning themselves in weird angles, just to take that one creative shot. Makes me feel all demotivated with my “sample” camera. So, forgive me if my shots here are a little out of angle. I was not myself.

There was also a Barsonic booth, blasting the most LapSap music. I thought they were a little out of place, but yet at the same time not so much because when the indie people want to party, Barsonic is where they go to. So, I guess it was alright. But just do not break into a dance in the middle of the day. Or do. Heh.

There were more shopping tents up at the TiC Zone, by the fashion spawn child of Freeform, Tongue in Chic.

Look at the ladies going at it!

At least there were not catfights over a bracelet. Heh.

I did not have the urge to go through the racks and look for something I like. Mainly because I should not. God knows I am not going to stop if I start. Also, I do not like street markets under the hot sun. First half of Urbanscapes was sweltering like a pig.

There was also the Makan Boulevard, because no one in their right mind would organise a 12 hour festival without food. Or maybe there is, but I do not want to name names.

Plenty of food to go around. Hotdogs from Palate Palette, kebabs, rice sets, ice blended bubble teas (which was always trailed with a long queue), loklok and much more.

For music lovers, there was The X Lawn. The line up was not bad as well, with usual suspects like 40 Winks, Yuna, Pesawat, Gerhanda Ska Cinta, Pure Vibracion and Killeur Calculateur.

I only managed to catch 40 Winks and they were quite alright. Very reggae and big band-ish with their brass going on. I liked it that at the front of the stage the fans were not moshing, but dancing – reggae style thingamajig – along to the music. Ah, where is the love, you ask? Here it is. Heh. (Corny, I know – it comes with the age, unfortunately).

Exhibition is where the artsy farts would go.

You can even tapau-a-monster there. It was so darn cute! I almost wanna tapau one home. But I had to restrain myself from the doggypack. I havebought enough of these self-sewn soft toys in weird fabrics and designs that now they are all sitting in a box neatly stacked in the upside cupboard in Penang. So, I should NOT tapau another monster home. Heh.

But still, it would be nice to get myself a little souvenir to commemorate Urbanscapes. What can I say, I am a sap. I would have bought an official Urbanscapes T-shirt but they ran out of my size. Boo. So, I guess it is OK to buy myself a little handmade badge by Oh & Ah. Cuties, aren’t they?

KARYA stuck a few colourful blocks in between wires, and voila, a metaphoric metropolis.

There were even little fish ponds made out of newspaper and basins.

Other segments at Urbanscapes were Indicine, the Cinescape Stage, The Box and the Sunset Disco.

However, it was a shame I did not take enough time to check out everything. So much was happening at the same time, I forgot my to-do list. I did wanted to go see Sepet at The Cinescape Stage, but of course that escaped my mind. Also, I had to leave early too because I needed a ride back. So, I had to miss out on Twilight ActionGirl at the Sunset Disco, and some fire twirling action going on after sundown.

But all in all, it was a fun day out with friends. Bumped into some people I know and met a few new friends on the way – hi, Reta. Even the staffs were generally nice folks. There were no shoving or pushing around; a very nice place to chill out indeed. Maybe next year I will stay on the full 12-hour. Well done, KLUE. It was an awesome birthday party festival. Heh.

ETA: Words have been going around on Twitter that someone who was infected with H1N1 was at Urbanscapes that day. Read KLUE’s official announcement regarding the incident here. If you are feeling unwell, or you are worried you might be infected, do go for a checkup. Be safe, kids.


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