Tracing the entangled genealogies of spaces of media spectatorship, modes of visual perception, and practices of capitalist consumption, this article explores how the shift in Manila's main commercial street from Calle Escolta in the 1930s to Avenida Rizal in the 1960s reveals changes in the imagination and experience of capitalism and modernity. Previously embodied in the infrastructure, architecture, and technology of the cityscape, which only government and business were perceived as having the capacity to produce, modernity became reconfigured as a dynamic force that ordinary residents came to believe they could harness. The article comparatively analyzes variations and dissonances in the print and audiovisual media of the two periods, particularly in the contrasting representations of awkward vaudeville comedians and youthful movie antiheroes. Instead of treating consumer and media culture as a source of docility and atomization, it sees the collective spectatorship of mass entertainment as generating the potential for self-transcendence and revolution.

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