It’s Still A Party: How Futurist Has Recalibrated Its Purpose In The Pandemic

The Future lives on, Futurists.

Months after the untimely closing of Today x Future, its sister, Futurist, carries on the legacy with a repurposed thrust as it navigates the reality of the pandemic.

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When Today x Future announced that they were closing officially, my boyfriend and I were in a state of shock. Though we were privy to the news beforehand, the actual announcement still took a toll on us. Clearly, all the abrupt changes that happened earlier this year was catching up to us by then, and we weren’t exactly coping as well as we thought.

It wasn’t because we didn’t believe that there would be no Future in the future anymore. It was more on the fact that it felt like a huge part of us was forced to end unceremoniously. Now, we are not only chalking it to the pandemic, but because of poor governance as well. (Don’t let me get started with that one.)

Needless to say, Future, as well as all other small businesses and places we call our second homes, were, are, and will still be f*cked if there’s nothing done and soon. However, if there’s one thing about Future and especially the people behind them that makes them, well, amazing, it’s their passion and drive to continue being a platform for every living person out there that seeks a place to call home, refuge or simply a place where they could freely express themselves whether through arts, music or even just by dancing. That is why they continue amidst everything that has happened and is thinking of ways to keep the fire burning. Starting—or continuing—with Future’s sibling, Futurist (stylized as Futur:st) in Población, Makati.

Setting aside its nightlife element (for now), Futurist has slowly and safely re-opened its doors for both Future alums and new guests, with earlier operating hours and proper COVID-19 safety measures. It even saw an interior makeover with its now airier space, white walls, and brighter lighting, which is a stark contrast if you’ve been inside pre-pandemic. 

Between the new walls and new hours, its program, however, remained just the same as it was. “Futurist was always meant to be an iteration of Today x Future—from art shows to retail pop-ups and DJ sets. Perhaps it’s just more highlighted now since the nightlife element had to take a step back,” said Futurist’s power couple, Samantha Nicole and Leah Castañeda.

Indeed, the DJ sets were put in the backseat for now, but there are still plenty of upcoming events you can look forward to and reserve a slot for. 

I recently asked Sam, who’s also the Music and Program Director for Futur;st, if she can disclose a couple of things and to which she shared: “Plenty more collaborations, kitchen takeovers, and shows. We have an upcoming group show on the 27th of November, a joint exhibit by Jeona Zelota and Willar Mateo (Salad Day) on the 11th of December, another dinner service—this time by Fat Michael’s (Jude Mancuyas with Darryl Recina) come mid-December. For the rest of December, we’re looking to have a Christmas market upstairs, and we’re exploring opening from Thursday to Sunday. Early next year, we’ll have exhibits by Mags Ocampo, Jer Dee, and Micaela Benedicto, to name a few.” But for those who are still pretty wary of going out, Sam adds that they also have a website, futurist.ph, where you can view and buy art from their previous shows online.

“As long as it makes sense for us financially, which is a big part of us operating, we intend to continue what we’re doing,” Leah, co-founder, and Director of Operations, answered when asked about continuing these kinds of events even post-pandemic. “The overwhelming support has been great. We hope we get to open more days in a week so we can do more.” (Currently, they are only open during the weekends Fridays to Sundays from 2 PM to 10 PM.)

Now, I’ve been back to Futurist a few times since it re-opened. Despite it being socially weird at first, having no physical interactions with people except my boyfriend and housemate for months, the feeling of coming home and belongingness was adamant and immediately felt—which is certainly what Futurist (and Future) are best known for, and the reason why many of us felt so heartbroken when Future closed down. 

Future, Futurist, and places like it became our second homes, and its people, our chosen families. So, it’s only fitting for us to continue supporting them especially during this time when they need us the most. Guys, let’s not wait for another one to close down, we chide each other.

So, when asked about the future, Sam and Leah answered, “We wish for a much safer and healthier new year for everyone for starters. Of course, for Futurist to still be there when we welcome 2021. And for the community to continue supporting us, and us to still be a vessel for more creatives.” 

Sam added, “Also, if anything, for our sector to be better subsidized and for small businesses or independent spaces like ours to be recognized as an essential part of our culture.” Because really, they are integral in our lives no matter what people say—mind, body, and soul. 

Our beloved Today x Future may be closed for now, but it’s not entirely gone. It lives on with its sister, Futurist, while it gets its much-needed beauty rest and disco nap to be ready for that post-COVID afterparty we’re all waiting for. 

Its second group show, In Praise of Grace, featuring Ev Yu, Luis Santos, Kiko Escora, Bree Jonson, Tof Zapanta, and Everywhere We Shoot opens today, November 27. DM Futurist on Instagram for viewing reservations.

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