Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reeling In The Memories

Today my brother, his wife and two kids passed by our place for lunch. It’s been months since we last saw them, so our after-meal chat was more animated than usual. Our talked turned to the movies and TV shows we saw when we were growing up.

Back in the 70s my older brother, younger sister and I would spend our summer vacations watching old Filipino black-and-white movies on television. We had no choice; this was way before the Internet, PSPs and other video games, cellphones and even malls; plus we were too young to just go out of the house on our own. But those movies entertained us again and again (they would replay those movies after some time). Recalling them 30 years later had us in stitches. Even my nephew and niece, who are 15 and 12 years old respectively, were laughing out loud as we tried to remember movie details.

So for those who are old enough to remember the following, just give a shout-out:

[1] Dr. Kagaw. We don’t really remember the actual title of this Dolphy-and-Panchito movie (thanks to Randy for pointing out that the title is Kalabog and Bosyo, but I cannot verify that at the moment), but we remember most the character “Dr. Kagaw”. He was a mad scientist who wanted revenge against—uhm, gee I forget. But he created a potion and kept saying, “Revenge! Revenge!” in a mad-scientist kind of delivery. Back then the King of Comedy looked like Epy Quizon. Our most memorable scene there is this extended, dialogue-less slapstick sequence: Dolphy and Panchito attempt to create an antidote to Dr. Kagaw’s potion, but they mistook a cookbook for the instructions and ended up creating a cake batter. While stirring, one of them accidentally splatters the other with some of the batter. The other, thinking it was deliberate, splatters back. This escalates into them deliberately scooping batter and smacking it on the other’s face. Finally, Dolphy grabs the pan and puts it on Panchito’s head, gleefully spinning it around and around. Classic slapstick stuff.

[2] Baboy Kural. I’m not sure if Dolphy’s in this, but I think Chiquito was. Anyway, it’s a Pinoy western complete with cowboys and horses (cowboys in the Philippines?!) but with pigs instead of cattle. There seems to be a battle for the ownership of the pigs, and this particular baboy kural is under siege. I remember the was a theme song that went, “Baboy kural… (baboy kural)…” with matching echo (echo… echo…). And though we’ve seen this movie more than once, every time we got to the scene wehre someone falls facedown into the mud with the pigs (I remember someone being catapulted into the kural), we laughed. Every single time.

[3] Dance-O-Rama. “Marleeeen, my dar-leeeng! You ar da dance-u-ruma queen op mai layp!” Do the Watusi. Do the Baby Elephant Walk. “Keso, tinapay at hamon… hamon…. Hamon? Nasaan na ang hamon?” This was pre-Dance Fever and So You Think You Can Dance? Teenagers (of course played by actors way passed that age) compete in the Dance-O-Rama contest. Rivals are trounced, love blooms and the female bida (Susan Roces) is crowned Dance-O-Rama Queen.

[4] Magic bakya. I don’t know if this starred Nida Blanca. All I remember is this pair of magic footwear that allowed the female bida to walk on water (she was trying to cross a river). It also saved her from an oncoming car by magically lifting her several feet off the ground to avoid the vehicle. And in the face of enemies, these wooden clogs would fly by themselves and hit the bad guys on their heads.

[5] All these countless war movies where the villains are the Japanese. Noticed how one explosion of a grenade thrown by the bida can instantly kill a horde of Japanese soldiers, even those who are 10-plus feet away or behind a wall? Or that one short sweeping burst of machine gun fire from the bida can mow down a battalion of Japs? And yet it’ll take a gazillion bullets to finally kill the bida (and even then, he’ll be able to take out a hundred or so enemies while in the process of dying ever so slowly). Those were the physics of battle in Pinoy war movies.

[6] Fight, Batman, Fight. Yes, our very own Victor Wood starred as the Pinoy Bruce Wayne—singing sensation by day, caped crusader by night. A very young, very precocious (and very un-effeminate) Roderick Paulate co-starred as his sidekick Robin (why a crime fighter would bring a kid along when battling criminals is beyond me, though at that time it never occurred for me to question it). Whenever the police commissioner needed Batman’s help, a small red button on Victor Wood’s guitar would flash and beep—I guess a Bat-signal wouldn’t work in a tropic country where mist, fog and low-lying clouds rarely occur. Besides, Batman was needed during the day—and in the middle of a gig! So Victor Wood hastily left the stage, leaving a comedian co-star (German Moreno, I think, in his pre-That’s Entertainment days) to entertain the crowd by engaging them in a sing-along of “May pulis sa ilalim ng tulay”. The Batmobile was a top-down convertible and Robin would ride beside Batman seated on top of the backrest of the front seat! I guess when you’re a superhero child safety and seat belts are irrelevant.

[7] Dama De Noche. A very young Vilma Santos plays twins—a goody-two shoes and a manic meanie. They fall for the same guy—if I’m not mistaken, a slim Edgar Mortiz. The good twin sings pretty songs, looks morose most of the time, and is often helpless; the bad twin is active, take-charge, and flashes her eyes at the camera a lot. In the end she burns the house down; unfortunately she traps herself in it. Good Vi and Bot escape, and watch the house go down in flames while holding on to each other beside a dama de noche shrub (or at least I assume it’s one). And yes, there is a theme song that goes, “Daaaama de noche… daaaaaaaaamaaaaa de nocheeeeee….” (P.S. Vilma Santos won best Actress in the 1972 Famas Awards for her role/s in the movie.)

That’s it for now. There are more movies, but I’m afraid my mental film vault has decided to shut down for now. How about you? What are your own “movies I grew up with” memories?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Basic Ally

The photo you see above is of former Basic Advertising employees. Three are now executive creative directors in their respective agencies. Two are presidents of agencies. One is now a TV commercial director and screenwriter.

Back in college, despite having a semester of advertising, I was never interested in making commercials. They promote lies and seduce subliminally, I thought. But after two and a half years working at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and almost a year at Radyo Veritas, I was invited to join Basic Advertising by the chairman and CEO himself, the late Antonio R. Mercado. And the rest, as they say, is history.

To this day I never really looked at advertising like it was the one thing that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I find brainstorming and generating ideas fun. I like playing with words. And shoots always come with lots and lots of food. But I also keep a healthy detachment from it—I never really got into all these posturing of “Hey, I’m creative!” by dressing up the part (usually black is the default outfit), and awards, while great to receive, were never really a personal priority.

What still amazes me even up to now is how “unplanned” my life has been. But despite the seeming lack of direction, I’ve been blessed with people and experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly—they all helped shape me into who I am today. And looking at the photo above (taken during the last Ad Congress; more than six years have passed since we worked under one company), I realized how people can come and go in your life but they’ll always leave a mark on you. And the really important ones, the ones who matter, even if they do go away, will never really leave you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tagged Na Me

THE RULES

1. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
2. Bloggers tagged need to write on their on blog about their ten things and post the rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to choose ten people you’re going to tag and list their names.
4. Do not forget to comment on their site that they are tagged.

McVIE:

1. I hate text-language of the “d2 na me, where na u?” kind. So I am extremely irritated by the new Smart “Me Na Me” campaign.

2. If two or more viands are on my plate, I don’t want their sauces mixing with each other.
3. When I’ve scratched someone off my list, they stay off my list.
4. I love driving, regardless of manual or automatic. I often volunteer to drive someone else’s car so that I get a chance to drive a different vehicle.

5. At 42, I’ve become a creature of certain habits. I like my grilled chicken with cheese, red onions and hot sauce on pita wrap to be extra-toasted just right. I like going to the bathhouse on certain days of the week. I stick to a regular route going to the office, but going home I tend to vary depending on the traffic situation. And unless I think you’re cute, don’t bug me while I’m dancing on the ledge in Bed (clue: if I respond back, then you’re cute).
6. Apparently I snore. I’m so used to sleeping alone (while growing up I used to share a room with my older brother until he got married) that I get shocked when people tell me I snore. “But not that loud,” they’re quick to add. I’m not sure if they’re telling the truth or are just being polite.
7. Mangoes are my most favorite fruit. They are proof that there is a God.

8. Stephen Chow is one of my favorite comedians of all time.
9. I’m in my sticky-rice phase. I prefer only Asians. I lost my sexual interest in most Caucasians, Latinos and other races for some weird reason. I think it started when I discovered all these Chinese, Korean and Japanese stations on cable.
10. I don’t like tagging others. This stops here. =)

Watch Closely

This commercial isn’t new. But I wish we had a client that will approve something like this.



(P.S. – Make sure the video is fully loaded before watching. Viewing should be uninterrupted.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Conversations With McAbunda

I met M in Bed more than a year ago; sometime after that he added me in his ***** social networking site.

Recently I bumped into him at the gym. “Hey, so you’ve met my ex already,” he greeted me, with a smile that insinuated that I knew that fact all along.

Dude, I don’t read minds, I wanted to tell him (yes, he talks and sounds like he uses “dude” all the time even if he never uttered it once during our conversation). Instead I asked him who his ex was.

“Si E,” he replied.

“Oh!” I said. “You mean the current boyfriend of P?”

He nodded. “That’s E. I saw him in your ***** account. The can’t-stay-faithful E.”

Ooooooh! Chizmaxx itu! I feigned ignorance even though I was truly ignorant. “Oh wow. I don’t think P knows about that side of E!”

M shrugged and said, “Well, I hope that P makes an honest man out of E.”

“Er, I think so,” I guessed. “I see in P’s ***** account that they’re often together in out of town trips.”

M’s eyebrows raised. “E is always out of town, or out of the country. And whenever he’s out, he goes to, erm, certain places.”

I just nodded, mulling over the info.

M shifted his tone. “As I’ve said, I hope P makes an honest man out of E.”

My turn to twist the intrigue level up a notch; I asked, “Why? What makes you think P’s been honest so far, hmmm?”

M’s eyes gleamed. “Ooooooh?! Really?” he practically squealed.

Dude, I have no idea and frankly I don’t care. Instead I backpedaled and said, “I really don’t know.”

But honestly, a part of me wonders.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Last Sunday I had a laughter-filled talk with JM (gay), RC (straight) and XS (straight, but some people wonder—good thing he’s dedma about that). At one point our conversation turned to sex.

RC: “I disagree with those who say that just because you have sex with a gay guy, then you automatically turn gay.”

JM: “Yes, I also don’t agree with that.”

McV: “Wait, I’m curious, RC—why do you say that?”

RC: “Well, for example let’s take a blow job—it doesn’t matter to me if that’s a guy or a girl; a mouth is a mouth. And who cares? I can just think, ‘Oh, it’s Maui Taylor blowing me.’ It’s up to my imagination, really.”

McV: “Unless the guy has a beard and moustache. Then you’re rudely reminded that it’s not Maui Taylor but James Taylor. At least, you got a friend.”

RC: “Actually it doesn’t matter if I feel facial hair. I’d just ignore it.”

JM: “Or think she’s the Moustache Lady.”

RC: “You know how we guys are—we accidentally brush our crotch at, say, the edge of a table and boom! We suddenly have an erection.”

McV: “I guess it’s really how you view sex. If you can separate the physical activity from the emotional need, then I think you’ll be more open-minded and experimental.”

RC: “But it really won’t make you gay.”

McV: “Haaay naku, RC! If there were more straight guys who thought like you, this world would be a happier place to live in.”

And XS continued to quietly listen to us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Please Press The Amount You Want

“What do you think about him?”
“Do I continue seeing him?”
“What will I do?”
“I can never attract those who I find attractive.”
“I can’t seem to move on.”
“Do I continue seeing him even if he’s so wrong for me?”
“Do I continue seeing him even if I already have someone else?”
“How can I trust him when he cheated on me?”
“What can I do? He won’t listen to me!”
“How will I make this last?”
“Why won’t he answer my call?”
“Do you think he finds me attractive?”
“He now sends me SMS every night. What does that mean?”
“But he’s happy! Isn’t that enough?”
“But I’m happy! Isn’t that enough?”
“I still can’t get over him.”
“Honestly, do you think he and I stand a chance?”


Yes folks, I’m an ATM—an advice-telling machine.

Diz Iz Ith!

(The McVie Show has been on temporary hiatus due to WORK [that’s right, it should be all caps]. I’ve been sleeping less than 5 hours a day for 7 days and counting. So in the meantime, makitili with me.)

Zaturnnah sa Maynila: Pages 1 to 6. Bilis, click ka na!

Here’s a glimpse (grabeh, I can already "see" and "hear" Tuxqs and Vincent reciting the opening monologue!):

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Wizard From Oz

video

Ever since Strictly Ballroom I’ve been a fan of Baz Luhrmann. In each of his subsequent films (William Shakespeare’s Romeo+Juliet, Moulin Rouge), he seemed to raise the bar higher and higher on himself. Consequently as a viewer I got giddier with each successive film.

And now Baz goes Gone With The Wind and Out Of Africa! Sweeping visuals, lush score, and two of the most beautiful and talented Aussie thespians in what looks like a sprawling epic; this is one movie I have to see on the big screen, not via pirated DVD.

(Thanks to Ricky for pointing out the trailer!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Life's A Pitch, Then You Die

Excuse me while The McVie Show takes a temporary break. Will resume as soon as possible.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Before The Screening

She sat in the row in front of me. She looked like in her late-30s, with unruly curly hair that stood up on end and went all over the place. She wore frumpy clothes, the kind that, if you add a colorful shawl, she’d look like a seer; add a broom and she’d look like a witch.

But instead of a wand, she whipped out a modern-looking cellphone and started checking her messages while waiting for the movie to start. From the looks of the interface it could be one of the latest Nokia models. I looked away, embarrassed to be reading over her shoulder. But curiosity got the better of me.

I was shocked to see that the font size she used for her messages was HUGE. So huge in fact that I saw this snatch of a message:

“d pleasure of knwng dat ur goin thru hell ryt nw, abusada k ksi eh”

But before I could read any further she seemed to sense my prying eyes, because she closed that message and started playing a brick game on her phone.

WTF?! The first thing I thought was: Was it a message for her or from her?

And I was left with a mystery more intriguing and more cinematic than anything that was shown in the indie movie.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

“Speed” Bumps

I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed watching Speed Racer. Sure it was uneven in parts, but for me the movie was actually moving in two ways: emotionally with Susan Sarandon and John Goodman, and kinetically with the race sequences.

It’s ironic that the adult actors playing Speed’s parents ran circles around Emile Hirsch’s disappointingly bland performance. Even Christina Ricci, in an uncharacteristically bubbly portrayal, had more spark and sizzle on screen, as well as the preening villainy of Roger Allam as the Evil Business Tycoon.

But hey, this movie isn’t a character study; it’s a cartoon! From the opening credits with the Warner Bros. logo to the solid-colored live sets and even more saturated CGI visuals, this movie out-cartoons Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1999). And with this cartoon, it is all about the race.

But oh, what race sequences! While I’d like to think it’s my love of cars that propelled me into the race sequences, truth is it’s the Wachowski brothers’ impressive skills of kinetic cinema that was in full throttle here. Given the unrealistic tracks, the physics-defying car maneuvers and the dizzying camera work I was still able to follow almost all of the action frame by frame (the only exception was the final action sequence just before crossing the finishing line—the events just came in too fast, too furious).

The Wachowskis’ attempt to remain faithful to all the elements of the cartoon series finished with mixed results. Speed Racer may be a champ on the track, but as a movie it was a bumpy but still fun ride.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Inquiring Minds Wanna Know

I see cranes like this on top of buildings under construction every day. And as the buildings go up, so do these cranes. For the longest time I’ve been wondering: So how do they raise the crane as the building rises? Do those cranes have hydraulics? Do they use another crane to raise them while they add more height? Or do the workers hurriedly dismantle and reassemble them while everyone’s asleep? I’ve asked officemates, friends, even acquaintances, and so far no one knows.

Is any there any engineer here who can answer this inquiry?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Electric Company Makes A Comeback

Hey, you guyyyyyyys! Nope, this is not about Meralco; I’ve not turned Manuel L. Quezon III on you just yet. Instead, this episode is about a television show that I grew up with. It was a groovier, more grown-up version of Sesame Street sans puppets.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Electric Company!

* * * * *

The Electric Company Makes A Comeback
by Dorothy Snarker


Hey you guyyyyyyys! The Electric Company is turning on the power again. That’s right, the classic ‘70s children’s program is back with a new series set to premiere in January. PBS producers have said that the new The Electric Company will be a literacy show for the 21st century. (Aww, does that mean they are going to get rid of the groovy logo?)

The original series ran from 1971 to 1977 (with repeats playing until 1985) and taught reading through a series of skits, cartoons and songs. It also helped introduce the world to Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby and Irene Cara.

Electric version 2.0 will be more plot and character-driven than the original. Linda Simensky, senior director of programming for PBS Kids, described the show this way: “It’s the old one mixed with
High School Musical and a Dr. Pepper commercial.”

(from AfterEllen.com – read full article here)

* * * * *

I’m curious what this new version will be like. If the mandate is to increase literacy, then I wonder how this new show will teach reading to a generation tht tlks 2 @ther lke ds.

Still, nothing beats the original. Thank god for YouTube; I can relive some of those songs and skits online. For those of you who have made it to this point (like Corporate Closet, I’m sure LOL!), you must be in your early 40s already. So go ahead, click on the videos below and relive your childhood. Go!


This is the opening credits (or OBB for “opening billboard”) that I remember most. Apparently it was the OBB for season 3 already.


Years before he drove Miss Daisy, Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman drove us crazy with this silly ditty that suspiciously sounds like an American version of “May pulis sa ilalim ng tulay”.


The great actress and singer Rita Moreno (West Side Story) also became a household name, thanks to the show. This song is what I remember her most, more than “America” from the abovementioned musical.

More clips on YouTube.com

Famous Last Words

Remember P? He’s the 23-yr old who’s seeing a 38-yr old guy (who has a son in first-year college). To refresh your memory, click here.

The following is an update.

* * * * *

14 May 2008 / via IM

2:16:59 PM mcvie: kamusta na may-december affair mo? ;-)
2:17:13 PM p: magdi-dinner kami tonight
2:17:35 PM mcvie: any progress? or it's just more of the status quo?
2:18:14 PM p: gusto ko na siyang kausapin
2:18:29 PM mcvie: and the talk will be about what? :-)
2:19:27 PM p: kung may patutunguhan ba itong relasyon na ito bluntly put
2:19:35 PM mcvie: i see. pero siyempre hindi ganyan ka-blunt ang pag-bring up mo, sana naman :-D
2:20:26 PM p: hindi naman...as we speak, i am thinking of what to say
2:32:39 PM p: im gonna start with asking if he still has issues
2:33:27 PM mcvie: eh kung sabihin niyang wala na?
2:34:05 PM p: i'll ask him if wala na talaga or he's just being cautious?
2:34:09 PM mcvie: tanong kita: maniniwala ka ba sa sagot na yun?
2:34:15 PM p: hindi
2:34:53 PM mcvie: well, you can ask him na bakit feeling mo hindi pa kayo tulad ng dati
2:35:08 PM p: exactly what im thinking
2:35:28 PM p: hindi naman siguro niya ikagagalit yun diba?
2:35:39 PM mcvie: puwede siyang magalit or mainis at least
2:35:44 PM mcvie: puwede ring hindi
2:35:54 PM mcvie: it's really a chance you take eh
2:36:25 PM mcvie: kung ayaw mo mag-take ng chance, eh di wag ka na magtanong, hehehe
2:36:35 PM mcvie: but i bet you're dying to ask him
2:36:40 PM p: i am
2:36:53 PM p: if it’s the last thing i do

15 May 2008 / via SMS

12:30 AM P: We didn’t talk about it. But we had sex. ;-)

* * * * *

I couldn’t answer the text because I left my phone in the car. But had I the chance, I would have said: “Oh, so you had your words for dinner pala. :-)” With matching smiley face.

Seriously now. Friend P, of course everything I’ve said about your situation is just me second-guessing. I only hear your story; I’ve never even seen him personally, much less observed how you two interact together. In the end, it’s up to you; you are whom he interacts with. It’s just unfortunate that the person who’s in the best position to “judge” his actions and motivations is also the most unqualified, since you have vested interest in him.

Just keep your eyes open.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Pop Of Goodbye

(McVie adds: For those who’ve already seen the following episode of the show, I’ve added a couple of songs in the end. Of course they only occurred to me afterwards while driving home [it’s amazing the thoughts that just pop into my head while behind the wheel and listening to Sarah Brightman and Andrei Bocelli’s “Time To Say Goodbye” on repeat]. So check out this episode again. As for those viewing this for the first time, I say: Hello, goodbye.)

* * * * *

Saying goodbye has always been problematic for a lot of people. For years I too had to grapple with the idea of letting go. It didn’t make things easier that most of my education on the subject came from pop songs. I grew up thinking that goodbyes were a bad thing: I don’t want to lose you now. I just can’t let you go. Please don’t go. If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me.

One of the earliest goodbye songs I liked was “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka. There he laments, albeit in a disorienting chirpy-cheep-cheep cheerful manner, that saying goodbye meant doom despite all the dabba-dabba-dum-doo-bee-doo-dum-dum in the world:
Don’t take your love away from me.
Don’t you leave my heart in misery.
If you go then I’ll be blue,
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do.


Often the cause of a break-up is incompatibility, as The Beatles so succinctly and repeatedly sing in the appropriately titled “Hello Goodbye”:
You say yes, I say no;
You say stop and I say go, go, go.
Oh, no!
You say goodbye, and I say hello.


Fast-forward to the Eighties and one of my biggest songs during that period was Chicago’s “Hard Habit To Break”, a song whose lyrics I took very much to heart:
Living without you
Is all a big mistake.
Instead of getting easier,
It’s the hardest thing to take.
I’m addicted to you, babe
You’re a hard habit to break.


But growing up I got to hear other goodbye songs, and not all of them were simplistic in message. Strangely enough, one of the songs to which I’d attribute my current “complicated” attitude towards goodbyes is by Barry Manilow, an artist whose name is more synonymous with schmaltz rather than complex emotions.

When I first heard his song “Somewhere Down The Road” I was quite leery of its rather blatant message, that sometimes goodbyes are not forever and that somewhere down the road, I know that heart of yours will come to see that you belong with me. I was never comfortable with the idea that someone belonged to another person—isn’t freedom something we all long for? But then comes the kicker of an interlude:
Letting go is just another way to say
I’ll always love you so.


At first I assumed that this attitude of letting go was a temporary thing, that there’s still the hope of a future reunion. But then I realized there was a more complex implication behind the lines when it occurred to me to ask: What if the goodbye was permanent? What if loving that person meant letting go of him?

My nail-on-the-coffin moment arrived when Madonna released her seminal split-up song:
Your heart is not open, so I must go.
The spell has been broken; I loved you so.
You were my lesson I had to learn…
There’s no greater power
Than the power of good-bye.


“The Power Of Goodbye” opened my mind to the idea that goodbyes can be a choice, a conscious decision to do something that may not necessarily make you feel good at first but is something that will do you good eventually.

But even if you’re the one being dumped you can still be proactive about it, as Andrew Lloyd Webber points out in “Tell Me On A Sunday”:
Let me down easy,
No big song and dance.
No long faces, no long looks,
No deep conversation….
I’d like to choose how I hear the news.


Breaking up need not be a sad thing. In fact it can be most liberating, as Scissors Sisters attest:
Kiss you off these lips of mine.
Kiss you off for a custom shine.
Pissed yours truly off this time;
It’s why I ain’t just kissin’ you—
I’m kissin’ you off!


See how goodbyes, while they can be complicated, can be simplified? It’s all up to you. And now it’s time for me to say goodbye, and I leave you with this question: What are your goodbye songs?

Wanna Break-Up With Someone?

If only people were as direct as the following short film. It’s the breakdown of a break-up.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Watch A Makulit

Thanks to YouTube, I’m now trawling the Net for gay short films. Here’s a funny one with an added bonus—the same short film but used in another funny way. So you get two funnies for the price of one.

Another Reason To Make Tili!

V is for Vhonggah! And for Vhaklush.

And if you want a ZsaZsa Zaturnnah wallpaper, click here. And do check out the rest of Carlo Vergara’s site.

And Now The Full 30-Seconder

video

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Photo Me

Yesterday we had a photoshoot with the Dave Fabros (he’s my friend, so the article preceding his name is a must, hahaha). Here are some of my favorite potshots at me:

My “Did I not iron my shirt?” look.

Obviously, since I’m using it as my primary photo here on the show.

This was me goofing off and Dave took a shot. I love happy accidents. This is my “Wingardium leviosa!” shot (and the shirt flies off).

Gasp! After months of going to the gym, I have cheekbones again!

Dave insists I should go chin-down in my pics, but I actually like this frontal angle also. I call this my “frontal nudity” shot.

Want to have fab photos too? Visit Dave’s site here and get in touch with him. Do check out his site and see his other works.

Friday, May 09, 2008

8 Minutes Of Disquiet

Did you like the short film “Summer”? Here’s something different, again from Downelink.

Much Ado About Ploning

Last Sunday I watched Ploning, a Panoramanila Pictures Co. production starring Judy Ann Santos and directed by Dante Garcia. In the interest of full disclosure let me state that I personally know the producers, writers and director of the film. I was also personally invited to attend the premiere (I couldn’t, I had work that time). I must admit that given the people in front and behind the camera, I had fairly high expectations for this film.

Cuyo, Palawan is the setting for the movie. It is one of those ideal, postcard-pretty provinces where everywhere you aim a camera is picture-perfect. It is also an idyllic location, where Time itself slows down. Pity that the pace of the movie mimicked the pace of Cuyo life. It also didn’t help that the ping-ponging back and forth of the movie only chopped the movie into a staccato “plodding—curious—plodding—slowly picking-up—plodding—where is this movie going?—plodding” pace. Chop off an hour and you’d still have a movie.

Although it’s an indie film, its cast is impressive even by commercial movie standards. Young and old heavy weight performers appear in and out of every scene. But why is it that two of the most crucial roles went to amateurs? Cedric Amit (Digo) is a child actor whose onscreen presence is natural and sadly dull for most parts. And that is echoed in the flat facial expression of Bodjong Fernandez (Muo Sei). Is it because their characters are linked in more ways than one?

I found it difficult to connect with the movie. It was stunning to look at, like the scenery, but there was no resonance. It didn’t help that the titular character (Judy Ann Santos in one of her most restrained and subtle performances) is, well, flat. With her lies the central mystery of the movie (that which also propels Muo Sei’s character) but her main “conflict”, just like her man, remained distant, even from the audience.

For me the Filipino subtitles were a difficulty that added another layer to the movie being distant.

Only two moments pierced through and affected me. One was when Ploning overheard her father’s (played by Tony Mabesa) words of forgiveness. The other was a stunning wordless performance by Ronnie Lazaro; his screen appearance was less than three minutes, but he managed to convey all the pain and guilt and love of a brother who thought he lost his sibling. Give the guy the Judi-Dench-in-“Shakespeare-In-Love” award!

In the end when the mysteries unfold one by one, the pay-off is muted. Which I guess is as it should be. Given the locale and the characters, it’s clear that these people have no huge dramatic arches in their lives, no earth-shattering conflicts, no Shakespearean tragedy. Simple lives lead to simple conflicts and simple resolutions. Had the movie been simpler (without all the huffing and puffing back-and-forth through time) then its scale would match its theme. As it is, it’s much ado about not-much-thing.

* * * * *

But having said that, I would still recommend that you guys rush to the nearest SM Cinema where Ploning is showing. Why? Because despite of everything I said, the movie is still beautiful to behold. What’s even more beautiful is the sight of filmmakers putting their necks out for a passion project. We need more risk-takers.

Also, please support our indie film makers. I believe that our film industry’s hope lies with them. Let us encourage more indie films by watching indie films.

The Reason Why I’ve Been Busy

Presenting the 5-seconder teaser:



Full TVC coming soon.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Handy Capped

The following episode is rated CI, for Cringe-Inducing. Averting the eyes is recommended for the faint-of-humor.

* * * * *

“Hire the handicapped. They’re fun to watch.” – from the Book of Tasteless Jokes

* * * * *

This happened a couple of years ago.

I was roaming around the bathhouse when I chanced upon a room with its door slightly ajar. I peered inside. The guy was seated on the bed, his towel modestly covering his crotch and legs. A cap covered his eyes. Infurnezz, his upper body is well-developed, I said to myself. Why not?!

He motioned for me to enter. When I locked the door, he didn’t budge from where he was seated. So I started putting the moves on him and he responded. I gently pushed him onto the bed. Slowly I removed his towel, anticipating that I will finally admire his stiff, throbbing—

—polio legs. His legs were deformed; one was shorter and thinner than the other.

My mind immediately kicked into high gear: Survival mode, activate!
“No wonder his torso is well-developed.
Maybe he doesn’t look that bad with the cap off.
Oh no, I locked the door already!
The polio affected only his legs, not what’s between them.”

The thoughts came fast and furious. But one thought overrode everything else: Go through with it, dammit!

So I did. At first I had to ignore the lower half of his body. I mean, gimme a break here! What would you do if you found yourself in that situation? I had a few seconds to wrap my head around the idea of having sex with a handicapped person—I was a virgin in that area. But theater taught me to focus, dammit! Soon he was moaning and groaning. My lips and tongue explored every part of his, ah, upper body. My hands tag-teamed with my mouth, sliding up and down his chest, his back, down to—

—I touched his shorter leg. Eep! In panic, my mind kicked into theater mode again: “Focus! Focus! FOCUS!” But wait! A new thought hit me: So what if he’s handicapped? What if I used his polio legs to—pardon the pun—kick up the kink-ante?

Scientists, trainers and problem-solvers call this “reframing”. Reframe the situation, and see things in a different way.

I quickly got past the initial shock. In the end we both got—again, beep! beep!—a kick out of the experience.

* * * * *

This happened a few weeks ago.

I was standing in a corner of the bathhouse, watching prospects, unreachables, never-minds and ano-ka-sinusuwerte?s walk by. He looked my way, paused then stood beside me. He peered closely at my face (it was fairly dark where I was standing). Apparently I passed his standards; his hands started groping. My turn to peer into his face—hmmm, not bad, ha. He was an earlier rough draft of John Loyd Cruz; years earlier Mother Nature hadn’t perfected the look of Lloyd yet. Not exactly in the best of shape (he obviously doesn’t go to the gym and has the start of a beer belly), but hey! Variety is the spice of life, di ba?

So with “Colors of the world, spice up your life!” playing in my mind, I proceeded to slam it to the left, shake it to the right with him on the hallway. He was frisky! Pretty soon we were attracting attention, so I turned to him and whispered, “Do you have a room?” At first he didn’t pay any attention, so I put my mouth close to his ears and asked again. When he noticed me leaning over, he stopped me, and made several gestures, one towards his ears and another towards his mouth.

Oh! He’s a deaf-mute.

It wasn’t my first time to do it with the hearing-impaired, but at least the previous one could still make moaning sounds. This guy seems incapable of making any sound from his mouth (except slurping sounds when he… uhm, nevermind). So again, my theater skills helped me communicate with him. Using mime, I invited him over to my room. And there, using body language we tackled deep, penetrating subjects. It was a silent film complete with jerky movements.

Afterwards we made an attempt at small talk. We spelled out our names on the bed sheet. We held up fingers to give our ages. Afterwards we were silent. (D’uh.)

But the “forced” silence changed the atmosphere in the room. I had the urge to be physically demonstrative to him. I kept throwing kissing at him. He cuddled nearer to me and placed his head on my chest. We looked affectionately into each other’s eyes; no words said, but his eyes spoke volumes.

Later when he was walking out the door, I said, “Ingat!” intending it as a private joke for me (a reference to John Lloyd’s paracetamol ad). Then I realized he didn’t hear it at all and the joke was on me.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meanwhile

I’m working on a possible controversial episode, but (real) work’s been getting in the way. So for the meantime enjoy this short film that’s featured in Downelink (which for me is fast becoming a more interesting gay site than G4M because of their video portion).


ABOUT THE SHORT FILM: If one succeeds in catching a falling leaf in mid flight, then a wish will be granted. Two best friends, Leung and Will, both 16 years old, go to the woods to catch themselves a wish. Through this we see Leung's affection for his friend. We see his anxiety, confusion and excitement hanging out with his friend and wanting to kiss him, but not knowing how to approach it. It's a kiss he has to fight for.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Titili ka rin!



The world is an exciting place again. More in Carlo Vergara’s site. Thanks to Mugen for the heads up.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Bathhouse Rules

Recently a friend of mine commented, “I envy you. Whenever you go to the bathhouse you always get the best guys.”

“Hu-what?!” I practically screamed at him. “Whatever gave you that idea?!”

“Your blog entries,” he said. “You always get lucky whenever you go to the bathhouse.”

“That’s because I only write about the successful ones—and I won’t hesitate to tweak things to make the story more entertaining or more humorous,” I replied. “And not all of the successful ones are ‘gorgeous’ guys, ha. Besides, what you don’t know is that for every successful encounter there are 3 to 5 unsuccessful tries or even outward rejections. There have been nights when I’d go home with zero conquests. I just don’t write about those.”

“Really?” he said, sounding a little unconvinced. So even though I’ve tackled this before in a previous season, I’m updating my list of Things I’ve Learned About Getting Laid In The Bathhouse:

[1] In the Bell Curve of Beauty, 70% of the general population falls within the huge range of “check him out!” to “he looks okay” to “ordinary” to “so-so” to “not my type”. Then 20% is divided into 10% “ugly” and 10% “gorgeous”. The remaining 10% is divided into 5% “heavenly” and 5% “creatures from hell”. Your chances of getting laid are greater if you target the majority rather than the miniscule.

[2] Media focuses largely on 15% “gorgeous” and “heavenly”. It may have unduly warped your standards; don’t be obsessed by what media obsesses over. If you can’t get rid of it, at least be aware of it.

[3] Unless you belong to the 5% “heavenly”, the number of unsuccessful hook-ups will always outnumber the successful ones. Take comfort in knowing that the one who turned you down was also turned down just as many times as, or maybe even more than you.

And let’s face it: of the 5% “heavenly” group, let’s assume 1% is gay; of those, how many will most likely be out, or at least confident enough to enter a bathhouse? Besides if they’re that gorgeous they won’t need to go to a bathhouse to get laid.

[4] In a crowded bathhouse where there is a lot to choose from, the good-looking ones will often feed only on the other good-looking ones; those at the bottom of the food chain often end up with scraps or just content themselves with watching the action from a distance. But when there’s a scarcity of choice, the likelihood of the good-looking ones “settling” for someone “below” his rank increases depending on the outcome of his internal struggle between his pride and his need to get laid. If he’s particularly horny and desperate, others will sense it; that may trigger a possible feeding frenzy (okay, okay, jockeying for position actually).

[5] Sad but true: obviously effeminate men may have a harder time getting the discreet and straight-acting ones—or rather, those who think that they’re discreet and straight-acting even though they have more swish than a windshield wiper during a thunderstorm. There’s a reason why you always read “no effems pls” in sites such as G4M. To date, straight-acting that’s natural is still the most marketable commodity in the game of getting laid. And acting straight will more likely snag a straight-acting gay guy.

[6] But there is cosmic balance in the universe. Outside the bathhouse, the pa-girl effems and parloristas will more likely snag an honest-to-goodness straight guy. Think beauty parlor gay with a neighborhood tricycle driver as his lover. Cliché but hey, it still happens.

[7] Get real. Visual delight is the primary and most important reason—sometimes the only reason—that will attract someone to you. So invest a bit in your visual delight (but don’t be too obsessed either—no one likes an obvious narcissist). If you’re extremely out of shape, then be prepared for a long shot; chubby-chasers are a minority.

[8] In the end, many other factors come into play that will affect your hooking-up batting average. These factors change with every visit. So there is no sure-fire formula for success. Only by repeated trying will you discover tricks and techniques that will increase your chances of success. But in the end there’s always the possibility of rejection. Do not be too affected by rejection. Accept that fact; embrace that idea.

In the bathhouse, success is 10% beauty and 90% tenacity.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Name Those Singers Contest

(makabagbag-damdaming background music)

Bored ka na ba?
Nalolongkot at walang magawa?
At gusto mong manalo ng TWO THOUSAND PESOS WORTH na premyo?!

(shift background music to uptempo)

Then you’re in luck!

Gibbs Cadiz, theater critic extraordinaire, blogger par excellence, and a man whose name is worthy to be in the same sentence as Butch Dalisay, Lea Salonga and Cher (‘ala lang), has a pa-contest!

Drum-roll please.

All you need is a sharp ear, a love of local singers and x-ray vision that can see through superimposed question marks. Just click HERE, as in NOW NA!

Good luck and enjoy. =)