The Spirit of Chorva! Drag queen releases fun, “subversive” stationery line for Pride Month

The Chorva! stationery line, which marzipan flambé and A&S collaborated on. Photo by Cedrick Ungab,

The Chorva! stationery line, which marzipan flambé and A&S collaborated on. Photo by Cedrick Ungab,

LGBTQ Pride Month began with the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. In mid-June, 49 people were killed in a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, causing worldwide outrage and grief.

In the Philippines, one drag queen is trying to inject some positivity despite the gloom, teaming up with a publisher to assert what the world saw after the tragedy: the community will not back down in their fight for equality.

​marzipan flambé (all letters in lowercase, like poet e e cummings) photographed and designed “Chorva”, a special stationery line produced by A&S (All & Sundry) Gifts and Stationery for Pride Month.

These include Chorva! Ang Muni-Muni Pad (Php75), where one is instructed to “Jot down your fantasies, gurl!” as he or she gazes as marzipan’s pensive expression.

The Chorva Dikit Pads (Php150) are sticky notes categorized into “Push mo!”, “Peg mo!”, “Kebs!”, and “Jikit mo everywhere!”, which shows marzipan licking his lips, all come-hither.

Random musings—eklavoo here and chines there—can also be penned down on the Chorvita Pads (Php34 for a single pad, Php136 for a set of 4).

And to make scheduling fun, the Chorva Dakota Planner (Php195) promises “Linggo-linggong ligaya!” Sunday is for “Borlog na naman”, Tuesday is for “Push mo ‘yan teh!”, and Friday is for “Ay! Bet na bet ko fez ko, gandara ever!”

According to A&S managing editor Frances Ong, marzipan broached the idea to them four years ago.

“She thought it would be a riot to release a set of 6 stationery pads featuring memorable gayspeak: Kairita Avila, Windangkomanechi, Dedmadela, Keribelles, Chos, and Gora na!,” she told in an e-mail interview. “We thought it would be a fun project so we went for it.”

These “cheeky and irreverent” items are available in Fully Booked, National Bookstore, Philippine Expressions, and Quirks.

Chorva stationery creator marzipan flambé! Photo courtesy of marzipan flambé.

Chorva stationery creator marzipan flambé! Photo courtesy of marzipan flambé.

marzipan talks about the spirit of Chorva in the interview below. Please tell us about yourself. What kind of work did you do for Chorva?
marzipan flambé: I am ​marzipan flambé (lowercase please, if addressing the full name, like k.d. lang and e e cummings). You may address me as marzie pants, Miss Pants, Marzie, Lady Marzipan, m flambé, or Miss Flambé. If you are confused with these titles, “Diyosa” will suffice. I am a drag queen, a chanteuse (I never lip-synch), a stage persona, beauty titlist, a radical faerie, a photographer, a writer, and a graphic designer.

Chorva came about when I was designing a different line of stationery. I thought it would be funny to do memo pads with beki speak, so I proposed doing that for (A&S). I wrote, designed, and photographed the line. It wasn’t until the folks over at (A&S) saw the drafts of the Chorva pads (and laughed) that we knew the awesome possibilities of Chorva.

How did you come up with the designs? Why these formats? What was your inspiration?

marzipan flambé: ​Originally, I designed the stationery line as one-worded beki speak. The publisher then said that there’s something lacking, and asked me to put my face on them. At first, I resisted the idea. I didn’t think Marzipan was for public consumption (she is a very demure lady). But I’m sitting on a ton of images that I can use, and saw this as an opportunity to be outrageous and subversive at the same time.

So I put on my face on the pads, gave it a modern vintage feel (because at that time, I was going through an old Hollywood phase), and the rest is history. I had a lot fun doing the pads — even laughing at the salacious ones that I come up with, and the buying public were laughing as well when they pick up the stationery. ​​The formats​, however,​ were determined by the stationery supplier, so I really didn’t have a say in that​.

What do you hope to achieve through this line of stationery? What do you want those who purchase them to think?
marzipan flambé: ​Chorva is meant to be a subversive voice in the current heteronormative, male-dominated Catholic society. I’d like to think this is a sneaky way to push the LGBTQ culture into the general public and make it mainstream. And what better way to spread the rainbow to the unsuspecting masses than making them laugh? I want the people buying Chorva to think it’s okay to use beki speak and have fun with it, and it’s okay to be different.

What message would you like to voice out this Pride Month for the LGBT community?
marzipan flambé: ​To the beautiful community that nurtured me and helped me become the benign goddess that I am now, I implore you to keep strong and vigilant in the face of the hate and violence against us. There is no better time to be PROUD of who you are, and proud of who you choose to love​. Together, we are strong. Love ALWAYS wins.

For the public, in general?
marzipan flambé: To the general public, the LGBTQ are here to stay, and ​you should get over any hang-ups you have on us and move on. There is nothing anyone can do to make us go away. I am not asking for tolerance. I am asking for equality: we should be able to live, laugh, and love freely as who we are—just as you would—and not as what is dictated by religion, beliefs, and social biases.

And THAT, my darling, is the spirit of Chorva!