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)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ay-yay-eye Candy!

The traffic along EDSA Guadalupe going south is not from the buses crowding in front of Loyola. The traffic is caused by motorists such as myself slowing down to savor what is undoubtedly one of the more pleasant road hazards I’ve seen in recent months.

I’m talking about the Folded & Hung billboard. Nah, not the Angel Locsin one! I really don’t get all the brouhaha over her going topless on a billboard, but hey, at least the Moral Minority is not going gaga over the other topless model of F&H.

Yes, I’m talking about the one with Joem Bascon.

To advertisers like F&H, Joem is Papa P. without the prohibitive price tag. To mere mortals like me, Joem is a wet dream come true in tarpaulin. For weeks I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get a picture of his billboard, but those damn buses always ruin my shot (besides, the MMDA traffic enforcers might flag me down for driving and shooting while drooling). So imagine my delight when I saw his poster up in the F&H store. I had to take stolen shots.

And here is another picture of him. Haaay, panalo!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Death And PR

While I wasn’t particularly close to Duff—you know you’re from TA if you call him that—his death struck a chord. It’s the idea that the death of one diminishes us all in some way. In which case, we should all feel so miniscule these days given the death toll of Typhoon Frank, more so with the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars.

However, it seems that the owners of Sulpicio Lines and their hired attorneys do not feel little at all. In fact, they even feel big enough to blame everyone else for the sinking of the ship. First they pointed the blame to “an act of God”. Since they began with the Almighty, why stop there? They next blamed PAGASA and threatened to sue for negligence. Now Del Monte Corporation has alerted the authorities that there is a huge cargo of their pesticides in the cargo hull of the ship; the reaction of Sulpicio to this news has been typical of their responses for the past few days: “D’uh, gee, we didn’t know that!”

My god.

Let us for a moment set aside decent human reaction in the face of great tragedy. Let us even forget about the moral thing to do. From a corporate public relations point-of-view, the statements coming from Sulpicio show that these folks are woefully insensitive to the situation. Let’s toss in “stupid,” “dim-witted” and “dense” into the list of apt descriptions as well.

Shouldn’t their lawyers know some basic PR? Do they teach that in law school? And shouldn’t they advise their clients to just shut their traps? It seems that ever statement, every action or non-action (what with their reported hesitation to allow the floating of the ship because doing that will mean getting a smaller amount in insurance claims) from them is an act of god-awful PR. It’s a desperate kind of business self-preservation that will eventually sink them. But while that strikes me as ironic justice, I think someone should just tell them that the most prudent course of action is also the correct one: Do the right thing.

Hey, maybe all those deaths have diminished them after all. Unfortunately all the diminishing happened in their brains.


Because I was sooo busy the past two weeks (and I got sick last week, the inevitable breakdown of the body after several days of lack of sleep), I decided to do a back-to-back indie-fest today.


* * * * *

Who Got Hugot?

If anybody out there got what the film Hugot was about, please explain it to the filmmakers. They need your help pronto.

I do not consider myself the sharpest critical mind when it comes to films—I often get to hear someone else’s more discerning views on a movie. But Hugot made me feel like an idiot. I guess I really am, given the following which is my take on the movie.

It starts with a guy typing something on a laptop (or I think that’s how I remember the first scene). Then the movie jumps to the story of two student activists passing by a yuppie on a pedestrian overpass at night—and then one of the students collapse in exhaustion. And then comes one of the most surreal sequences I’ve ever seen. In several badly cast, badly acted, badly directed, badly edited and badly paced sequences, two guys parade around in their white briefs for no reason at all. They both have this air of “we’re doing something arty and important” mixed with a whiff of “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing” in their performances. They show off a fair amount of atrocious acting and bilbil-ous bodies. One of them even displays his lack of shame and dance skills in a pashmina-accessoried performance. It is creepy to behold.

Then the movie shifts to a young hooligan whose brother was hospitalized after an accident. In need of money, he first turns to--drinking with his buddies. Then he whacks a gay beauty contest winner on the head with the trophy so that he can steal the prize money. Finally he has beer and videoke in a gay cop’s house; later on it’s the gay cop’s turn to use hooligan’s “microphone”.

The movie ping-pongs back and forth to the apartment of the yuppie; there he also happens to have Anna Capri as his overacting, “I’m-just-lending-my-name-to-this-project” friend. Together they entice the student activists into a game of strip Q-&-A. Then the yuppie’s poor maid gets dragged into the game, eventually stripping down into her panties and showing massive double-breast exposure. Then much later on the two students are making out with her! Why? I have no idea. Did that really happened, or was that just a hallucination? Heck, at this point I’m wondering if, as a viewer, I hallucinated that scene!

And then it ends. A little kid turns out to be—hmmm, now I’m not so sure—the blogger at the start of the movie. Why? And more importantly, what for? Truly, Hugot is an assault on the senses and sensibilities. It took all my willpower not to throw my bottle of mineral water at the screen.

Serbis Is Serviceable

To be fair, I did not feel like tossing a bottle at the screen for this one. Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s Serbis received mixed reviews in Cannes. After watching it, I’m not surprised. The acting over-all is top-notch, and the cinematography is excellent. But if you ask me what the movie is about, this is my answer: It’s a pointless movie about a bunch of nobodies going nowhere.

And it’s also a great excuse to expose twice Coco Martin’s asstonishingly beautiful behind. The make-up on his ass should be cited for Best Performance By A Bronzer. Unfortunately Mendoza wasn’t contented to go loco over Coco.

He also managed to make veteran actress Gina Pareño agree to a bathing scene. For her nude scene she was shot from behind, so that the viewers were treated to a full view of her back’s folds and flab. A courageous act on Pareño’s part, but was it necessary? That scene showed her character being naked and vulnerable, but in almost every scene she was in, her nakedness and vulnerability showed, even when fully clothed. (Maybe it has something to do with her line about wishing life were as simple as picking clothes off the line—some are dry, some are wet, some are still damp. So what happens when you have nothing to pick? You end up crying while taking a bath with a tabo and having the international audience of Cannes see all the folds in your back so that they can murmur to one another, “What a courageous actress!”)

To be fair, Pareño’s acting here was far better than her performance in Ploning—there, her scenery-devouring histrionics was capable of sinking the MV Princess of the Stars had it ventured near the shores of Palawan. Maybe Mendoza wanted to give Pareño her Meryl-Streep-stripping-in-Bridges-Of-Madison-County moment.

Sound design and sound engineering were terrible. No wonder several reviews cited the “noise level” of the movie. Too bad, given that visually the movie was quite a feast for the eyes.

Ultimately I had a hard time figuring out what the filmmaker wanted to say in this film. Maybe he wants the movie to be as aimless as the characters in the film. No wait! In the end Coco Martin’s character takes flight, going against the flow of a religious precession to go… where? Oh I know! He’s going to Manila to be a sex-servicing male masseur. Good lord, this is the prequel to Masahista.

* * * * *

That makes two inscrutable indie films in one day. Is that what an indie film is, inscrutable? Indie-maintindihan?

Haaay naku, indie ko na gusto ‘to, ha!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Death And Birthday


Body of missing mountaineer found in Zambales

By Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:48pm (Mla time) 06/25/2008

MARIVELES, Bataan, Philippines -- The body of one of three mountaineers swept by a strong current in San Antonio, Zambales, on Sunday was found at past 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Policemen found the body of Thaddeus Reantaso at the shoreline of the Hermana Mayor Island in Sta. Cruz town, more than 100 kilometers from the creek where he and two others were swept in the village of Pundaquit, San Antonio town, according to Senior Superintendent Rolando Felix, Zambales police chief.

Felix, in a telephone interview, said the decomposing body of Reantaso was found on his 32nd birthday.

Reantaso's fellow climbers, Joseph Felarca and Jhoana Pimentel, were found dead on Sunday and Monday, respectively, by policemen and Philippine Navy frogmen. Nine of their colleagues were rescued on Sunday.

Village officials in Pundaquit said the group went to the Annawangin beach south of the village but they encountered swollen creeks on their way back to the town proper on Sunday afternoon.

Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) was crossing Zambales at that time, carrying strong rains and winds.

The late Thaddeus Reantaso, flanked by Peter Pezaris (president and founder of Multiply) and David Hersh (Multiply's Vice President of Business Development).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Series Of Unfortunate Exchanges

The following series of email exchanges in our theater company’s egroup started Monday, 23 June 2008. The email at the end was received at 6:25pm today, 25 June 2008.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Andrew de Castro <*********> wrote:

Hi guys
I read some disturbing news about mountaineers in trouble in Zambales. It said one of the missing is a Thadeaus Reandazo. I am hoping it is not our very own Duff Reantaso. At any rate we should pray for his safety!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Joseph dela Cruz <*********> wrote:

Nabasa ko ito sa inquirer. Sana nga hindi si Duff natin. Kung siya man ito, sana ligtas naman siya.

http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/inquirerhead lines/regions/ view/20080624-144392/Frank-leaves-2-mountaineers-dead-in-Zambales

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Andrew de Castro <*********@> wrote:

This is in Pundaquit, Zambales, Anawangin Cove to be precise. That area can only be reached by hiking or by boat. No roads, so rescue will be tedious.

I was just casually reading the news because it involved a place where I surf, then was shocked to read Duff's name as missing. Lets all pray that he made it to safety

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

faye rojas <*********> wrote:

I got a text message today (but not from Judith... it came from a number that wasn't listed in my contacts) asking for prayers for Duff's safety... that "he's been missing since yesterday. Got separated from his mountaineering group in pundaquit, zambales." i'll confirm the news with our other friends...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

imo_quibilan <*********> wrote:

Kakalungkot naman ito. I hope he's alright.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

donato karingal <*********> wrote:

oo nga
advanced happy b-day duff
(thanks for the info drew)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

joelmcvie <*********> wrote:

As of yesterday's news (PDI), Duff is still missing. But the news article was silent as to how he went missing. The two who died in their group were swept away while trying to cross a swollen creek.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ricardo G. Abad <*********> wrote:

Maybe you can get in touch with Judith or Duff's family. I don't have their numbers. I may go to TP Fine Atrts and see if they have some info there. Duff was once head of a frat there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

faye rojas <*********> wrote:


Woke up this morning with a text message from Judith. Sad news. Please pray for Duff's soul as his body was found in an island far away from San Antonio. Interment will follow. Judith's cell number is 0917*******.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Postscript: Duff is the third death in TA (which goes to show you just how young the company is). The first was RJ Leyran several years ago, followed by Jouel Aquino earlier this year.

I also received this SMS from our moderator Ricky Abad just this evening: "At nagparamdam sa akin, Joel. For the past three or so days, the program of Marisol which he designed kept showing up on my desk at home."

What A Relief

(I promised myself I won’t talk about work-related stuff here on The McVie Show, but….)

After days of near desperation and despair at work, feeling that you and your team can’t crack that elusive Big Idea that will propel your campaign, you finally arrive at something that feels right. And so you run with it, still unsure if it will impress the clients. But you do it anyway because—dammit!—the presentation’s this Wednesday! And finally the fateful day comes, and you wear what you think will look well in front of the bigwigs, and you even get to rehearse twice what you’ll be presenting—and still end up stammering during the second run. You face the clients—surprise, it’s an all-boys club!—and you realize, “Oh no! I have to play butch for this one.” So you do, and despite the last-minute jitters you breeze through your presentation, and when all of you are done you realize: My god, that went almost pitch-perfect!

And after that you and the whole team celebrate a job well done by treating yourselves to a hearty lunch. And suddenly every difficulty, every moment of insanity, every “Why did I ever get into this industry in the first place?” instance just melts away. And you look to your teammates and you feel the urge to say, “I love you, guys!”

Except you don’t and stuff your mouth with bawang crispy pata instead.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nakatikim Ka Na Ba Ng Virgin?

Gibbs Cadiz is inviting you to watch plays, plays and more plays at the 2008 Virgin Labfest at the CCP. What’s more, here’s an offer from him that you mustn’t refuse: he’s giving five (5) bloggers a chance to WATCH ONE PLAY FOR FREE!

Now why should you want that? Well, there are 3 gay-themed plays in this year’s Labfest, to begin with. And the others in the line-up are pretty impressive and/or intriguing in terms of cast, playwrights and directors.

Interested? Want to know the complete line-up and schedule of plays, as well as their cast and artistic staff? Click HERE NOW!

Why the urgency? The Festival starts tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25. So, again: click HERE NOW! As in, now na!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Corpus Christi

(WARNING: Those who are easily offended by jokes on anything religious should skip the following. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Have you ever wondered what if Christ was fat?

One evening I met up with several bloggers for an after dinner chitchat at Greenbelt 3. We were bouncing from topic to topic, with much giggling and guffawing, when out of the blue I mentioned that, as a kid, I noticed how certain depictions of Christ on the cross portray Him as a well-toned, muscular hunk (ignore the blood stains and the piercing, of course). In furnezz, hunkalicious si Lord!

The jokes came fast and furious.

“Naku, kahit anong klaseng scourging sa kanya, walang epekto—balat kalabaw kasi! Hahaha!”

“Imagine mo, after ipinako Siya sa krus, when the Roman soldiers were about to lift Him and the cross to a vertical position—hindi nila kinerri! Kaya sabi nila, ‘Horizontal na lang!’ Hahaha!”

“If Christ was fat, then our sign of the cross would be very, very wide! Hahaha!”

“During communion, when the priest says, ‘Body of Christ’, you say, ‘Heavy!’ Hahaha!”

A fat Christ would mean changing the term to read: “Only bigatin Son”.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fabcast Part 3!

The third and last part! Here the Fabcasters turn the rowdiness down a notch and reveal more about themselves as well as those who were not present during the recording—Migs (or MGG) and AJ—on a topic that everyone can relate to: being in a love relationship. But fear not! They couldn’t keep a straight face for long.

You know what to do! Click here or go to or click on “The McVie Show In Stereo!” link on the left.

Music credits:
“I Need To Be In Love” by The Carpenters
“Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado
“Boys Do Fall In Love” by Robin Gibb
“Love Is For Singing” by the Apo Hiking Society
“You Can’t Hurry Love” by Diana Ross and The Supremes

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seeing Stars Side-By-Side

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d witness Judy Ann Santos and Claudine Barretto side-by-side in rubbing-elbows proximity. Even ABS-CBN never dared to put the two together in their numerous station IDs. So it was a bit of a shock for me to see the two—together with the controversial Ruffa Gutierrez and the even more notorious Gretchen Barretto—in a cover of a magazine and eventually on a billboard along EDSA. Of course by that time it was revealed that the apocalyptical gathering of the four horse(wo)men was for Pantene Hair Fall Control Shampoo.

Trust commercial money to make the impossible possible.

Aside from their four Most Beautiful Women, Pantene also launched the Pantene Council of Stylists—hair stylists extraordinaire from different salons: Jude Hipolito and Rose Velasco (Univers Phyto Salon by Kaizen); Jing Monis (Propaganda); Celeste Tuviera (Symmetria); Victor Ortega (Emphasis); Louise Kee (Razzle Dazzle); and Henri Calayag (Henry Calayag Salon).

And there’s a contest launched this June. For those interested, the “Dare To Be Most Beautiful” contest challenges people to imitate the poses of Pantene’s Most Beautiful, or create their own interpretations. Imagine posing ala-Juday while looking ala-Judiel… ngyek! But take note: First prize winner gets a Boracay Trip Package for four; second prize winners gets a Wakeboarding Package in Lago de Oro, Calatagan, Batangas for four; and third prize winner gets a Spa Package for four. So don’t be surprised if even Tom, Dick and Harry might join this contest! Besides, there’s always the Pantene Most Beautiful Women of 2009 to look forward to.

For those interested, check out now.

Fabcast, Part 2!

Here we talk about g0ys, boys and toys (especially Gibbs’ rosary beads).

You know the drill! Click here or go to or click on “The McVie Show In Stereo!” link on the left.

Part three, coming soon.

Music credits:
[1] “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings
[2] “Give It To Me” by Madonna
[3] “New Pollution” by Beck
[4] “How Gee” by Black Machine

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fabcast At Last!

And now here’s part one of the Fabcasters’ latest Fabcast. Because it has been quite some time that we have recorded one, we start off with some kamustahan and a lot of kantyawan. So sit back, relax and listen in on the fun.

Click here or go to or click on “The McVie Show In Stereo!” link on the left. Three ways, three reasons not to miss this Fabcast.

Part two, coming soon.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Baang! Baang! Shoot! Shoot!

This is what happens when they rely on a change of font to differentiate their new menu offerings from one another. Either that, or Baang Cafe in Tomas Morato has a highly experimental chef; unfortunately, her milkshake will not bring all the boys to the yard.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carrie OK

I’m not a huge Sex And The City fan. I liked the few episodes I was able to watch from beginning to end: I found all four characters engaging, and the funny parts were genuine laugh-out-loud moments. But there were other episodes that I couldn’t stay until the end (for one reason or another), and I found it easy to just walk away from the television screen. In contrast, when I get hooked on an episode of Entourage (HBO’s male-bonding replacement to Carrie and company), it takes supreme force of will for me to leave prior to the end credits. It’s not a reflection of the quality of the writing, acting and direction of SATC—I’m just more interested in Hollywood dirty laundry than New York fashion, footwear and female fetishes.

Still I wanted to watch SATC The Movie. I did connect with the show’s scrutiny of the single girl—especially when it comes to relationships and sex—and I was curious to see how the girls, 40-ish and fabulous, have transitioned from single to taken.

(Take note that I never watched the final episodes of the series. And I only saw the last scene—the “significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself” final monologue and the Big revelation of his name—on YouTube.)

I found the movie engaging without alienating the non-viewers who may not be familiar with the show. And while the movie at times felt a little long (it’s like the filmmakers went on some detours—engaging, but detours nonetheless—just to prolong the Big resolution), it is a tribute to Sarah Jessica Parker and company that they make you care for them. And while the writer-ly tricks and strings sometimes show, I just let them slide because the girls are just having too much fun.

SATC is mostly a lesson on labels. In relationships as well as in wedding gowns, labels up the ante. They can lead to joy, contentment and a spread in Vogue magazine; they can also lead to victims of fashion and love. For some, labels are a comfortable coat; to others they’re a straightjacket. In the end what matters is if the shoe fits; what matters is essentially between two people. And it’s the essentials that never go out of style.

What I also found interesting was the resolution of Samantha’s story arch. She of the man-eater kind got cancer and a shaved-headed boyfriend—and left New York for L.A. and monogamy. But then her insecurities come out and in the end she has to choose between the life she once led and the life she has now. I found it interesting that the oldest of the girls is the one who is also most insecure about whom she has become. Yet she is also quite honest with herself and willing to take a chance for her happiness. It seems to me that the final words of Carrie in the TV show now belonged more appropriately to Samantha in the movie:

The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.

That she had the balls to walk away from what most people would insist is a “good thing” is a testament to the complexity of “being a Samantha”. Love, like life, is not about how long it lasts but how good it was. And sometimes, letting go is actually a gesture of love.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Advice Squad (Part 2)

Thanks to Fried-Neurons (Hey doodz! You disappeared from the blogsphere for so long, I thought you’d never return; glad to see you’re back. And I agree, her address kicks ass!) for pointing out the following to me.

* * * * *

To Coy, Joe and other fresh grads (and anybody else interested, for that matter):

Trust your Lola J.K. Rowling to deliver a whiz-bang Commencement Address. Her “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” address given at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association is a wonderful—I’m tempted to say magical, oops, there I said it—call to live a life of courage and empathy.

I love how she is able to be witty and heartfelt, tackling serious subjects yet never taking herself too seriously. And I especially love the following: “(S)ome failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”

Listen to her wonderful speech below or download from here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mister Boom-Boom

I remember back in the 80s there was this television show entitled Here’s Boomer (1980-1982). Boomer was a cute stray dog of mixed breeding that wandered around the country getting involved with people and their problems. After helping them out, Boomer moves on. It was David Carradine’s Kung Fu gone to the dogs.

Last week it occurred to me. I’m good at helping couples fix things; the trade-off is that I stay single. My friend Miguel insists I’m just rationalizing and I say yes I am because I’m a rational being. I’m destined to help gay folks in their relationships then I move on. I am Boomer for gays.

Don’t worry. I just bark; I don’t bite. Arf! Arf!

Flagged As “Confusing”

This is what happens when unfortunate choice of copy and art direction meets bad timing. The first time I saw this Independence Day ad, I honestly thought mahal meant “expensive” given the recent increase in gas prices and other costs. And it doesn’t help that they highlighted the word “mahal” in the layout.

Bathhouse Debate

One evening in the bathhouse, this guy made the mistake of engaging me—right after our one-on-one engagement—in a discussion that quickly turned into a one-sided debate. And all because he insisted on impressing on me the importance of “having a special someone in your life.”

Groan. Of all topics, of all places!

It started out simple enough. He asked me why I was still single by choice. And I told him that sometimes there is no choice. It takes two to tango but while there’s no one who wants to dance with me, then I dance alone—or join a dance group.

The initial friction started when I told him I was open to the possibility that after 10 or 15 years with one partner, if it becomes clear to both of us that we’ve grown our separate ways, I am willing for us to break up and remain friends rather than stay in the confines of couplehood.

Whaaat?!” he practically screeched, despite a valiant effort to keep his voice down. “Why are you so negative?”

“Huh?” For a moment I was flummoxed. “Negative?”

“Yes!” This time he didn’t make an effort to lower his voice, for emphasis I guess. “Bakit mo pinangungunahan ng break-up?! Hindi pa nga kayo, bini-break up mo na. Bakit ang negative mo naman?”

Ting! Something in my brain clicked and went into overdrive. Negative ba kamo, ha?!

“Bakit ang negative mo?” I immediately countered before he could add anything more. “Bakit iniisip mo na ang break-up ay automatically negative? Sometimes breaking up is the best course for both parties.”

Slap! Yan, i-negative mo mukha mo.

Then the next throw-down happened when we went into the whole singe vs. couple issue.

“Man was not meant to be alone,” he said.

“Well, I’m not alone,” I said. “I’ve family, friends, officemates, casual acquaintances….”

He threw me an exasperated look. “It’s different when you wake up and your partner has prepared breakfast for you.”

“And I love how my mom prepares breakfast for me,” I said.

“She’s a mom,” he said.

“Not all moms do that,” I said. “You know what? Your problem is two-fold. First, you assume that everyone in the whole wide world values couplehood the same way you do—not everyone does. Second, comparing singlehood versus couplehood is comparing apples and oranges. You can’t say one is better than the other. It’s not that simple. Some people may thrive on being single and unattached to one person. Besides, you speak of single life as if it’s something bad; it’s not.”

“Okay,” he interrupted. “I will challenge you on that.”

I paused, looked him in the eye and said, “Good! While you’re at it, why don’t you also challenge the late Mother Teresa? Or the late Pope John Paul II? Or how about Jesus Himself? Don’t tell me they lived lesser lives because they had no partner in life!”

“But that’s different,” he said. “They’re religious.”

“And I’m not?” I shot back. “I could actually be a cult leader—you just didn’t know. But seriously, I could actually end up with a particular vocation, you know? Like counseling gay couples.”

“But wouldn’t you want to grow old with someone?” he asked. “Wouldn’t it be great to wake up every morning and see a face beside you in bed?”

“At least I avoid morning breath,” I said. And I know one face I wouldn’t want to see beside me when I wake up.

Slap! Slap!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Commercial Muna!

Tanghalang Ateneo Goes Absurd with “?” Two by Ionesco

Tanghalang Ateneo jumpstarts its 30th Season, Echoes, this July with two modern classics by Eugène Ionesco—Ang Sopranong Kalbo (translated by Rolando S. Tinio) and The Lesson. The double bill of absurd plays, wildly funny on the surface but sinister in its implications, comes together under the name “?” Two by Ionesco.

Ang Sopranong Kalbo introduces “non-characters” who engage in silly banter, storytelling and poetry recitation in attempts to relate with one another. The Lesson is a frustrating attempt by a seemingly harmless professor to teach mathematics and philology to a bright, young girl, an effort that results in violence. Common to both plays is the horror of miscommunication.

“?” showcases the talents of an all-student ensemble. Kalbo has Exzell Macomb and Peanuts Valerio play Mr. and Mrs. Santos while Gelo Brillantes and Ia Solis play the Martins. Regina de Vera portrays the maid, Marie, alongside Mel Pante who portrays the fireman. The Lesson features Mikey Panopio as the Professor, Bea Gulinao as the Pupil and Mon Querubin as the Maid.

Ricardo Abad and BJ Crisostomo co-direct the plays. Set design is by Monica Sebial with Peanuts Valerio and Sam Quizon handling the costume design.

“?” Two by Ionesco runs from July 2 to 5 and 9 to 12 at 7pm, with additional 3pm shows on July 5 and 12 at the Communication Studio of the Ateneo de Manila University. For inquiries, contact Ia Solis at 0916-5415165. For interested teachers, the plays are excellent material for classes in the humanities and the social sciences.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Advice Squad

One morning I got a text message from Gibbs Cadiz. Two of our blogger-friends, Coy (CokskiBlue) and Joe (JoeBreaker), just recently graduated and Gibbs was planning a surprise blog entry for them. It’s an “Advice for the recent graduates” type of entry, and Gibbs wondered if I could contribute something. I immediately said yes, but asked if I can submit mine in the evening since my workload was pretty toxic that day. End day, I quickly typed my piece and immediately emailed it to Gibbs.

And then I checked out Gibb’s blog.

OMG! Gibbs had already posted an entry for Coy and Joe, featuring a speech delivered by the great Alan Alda. After reading it, I SMS’ed Gibbs: “Are you nuts? Alan Alda’s speech as an opening act? How the hell can we top that?!”

In fairness to Gibbs, he actually asked several of his friends to give their two-cents worth. And I loved the way he collated and put into context the various voices of his friends (not to mention his adroit editing of my piece). So while we may not have topped Alda, at least we gave our own Pinoy take on life after graduation (click here to read part 2 of Gibb’s series). It was generous of Gibbs to come up with those blog entries for Coy, Joe and other fresh graduates. And I enjoyed writing for it as much as I enjoyed reading the entries.

Meanwhile, I’m reposting here what I wrote for Coy and Joe.

* * * * *


I’m no Baz Luhrmann, so pardon the crude facsimile.

To those entering the workforce, if there’s one advice I can offer you, it is this: Moisturize.

Make lots of mistakes when you’re young. You can still make mistakes when you’re older, but they’ll be more costly. But always make sure you learn from your mistakes.

Scratch your itches—as much as you can, as early as possible. When responsibilities are fewer and your movements freer, go and pursue as many different pursuits that interest you. If you have a lot, start earlier. If you’ve zoomed in on just several or a few, then you’ll have your whole life to pursue them longer. Or you’ll have the time and energy to discover new pursuits.

While you still have no idea of your monetary worth, choose that which interests you rather than what pays you more. When you’re older and you need the money more, then you will have the right to price yourself.

Learn to allot some me-time for yourself during the day. You can spend part of lunchtime reading a book, or taking a walk, or eating your lunch in the park. 15 to 20 minutes is enough—you’re not yet entitled to hour-long lunches.

Prove yourself always. Employers will only value you if you value yourself and you value your work. Prove to yourself what you are capable of; and then you prove to others that they need you.

No one is indispensable. That’s why proving oneself is a lifelong task, even if only to yourself.

Never ask anyone how much his salary is, and never tell anyone how much you’re getting. (Although starting salaries are usually standard, when a fellow new hire asks you how much you’re getting, just say, “Starting salary.”)

Have fun. The job will take up most of your waking hours. If you’re not having fun, then where’s the fun in that?

This too shall pass. There are good days; there are bad days. There will be days when you’re crowned king of the world. Be humble; this too shall pass. There will be days when you just want the earth to open up and swallow you whole. Chin up; this too shall pass.

Never stop learning.

Learn how to shrug your shoulders. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. There are more important things in life; they’re the ones you leave behind in the morning and go home to at night during weekdays (and some weekends). Unless you join a call center and they put you in the graveyard shift. In either case—day job or night shift—the ravages of age will take its toll on your skin. So always moisturize.

* * * * *

Inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”

Monday, June 02, 2008

Don’t Cha Wish…

…these girl friends were replaced by hot hunks?

Saturday evening in Bed: it was a night sponsored by some alcho-pop brand. Because it has several flavor variants, they decided to introduce the variants via a dance number featuring performances by individuals representing each variant. Unfortunately these individuals were all girls—as in, anatomically correct females since birth. And they each performed sexy dances in front of a crowd of gay men. So while there were cheers and whistles (one girl did impressive splits and shook her tush with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale), I for one had a bemused and slightly shocked expression on my face. Why real girls? Why not hire impersonators? Better yet, why didn’t they hire sexy men? What was the brand manager thinking? Was he on drugs? Was he drunk on his own product?

Towards the end of their act, the girls brought out chairs and lined them up onstage. Then they proceeded to bump and grind and shoot supposedly seductive looks into the audience. At one point they were all seated, looking like they were in a classroom. Sorry girls, but this class is dismissed.

A Puzzle

Imagine you have a crush on this guy. You’re attracted to him physically and—perhaps at that time—emotionally. After going out with him several times (coffee and movie only, no hanky-panky), you tell him you’re interested in him. But he turns you down, saying the immortal line: Let’s just be friends.

Excuse me. I have more than enough friends already. And they are great people so I don’t see any need to replace any one of them.

How can you be friends at that point? Hellerrrrrrr?! So you tell him, sorry but you can’t be friends until you get over him. As in, the sight of him doesn’t make you wish you and he are together. As in, you don’t get jealous when he tells you about his gym crushes who stare back at him while working out. As in, over and done with, period, no erase, pass your papers. And only after then, maybe, just maybe, when there are no more ulterior motives on your part, you may meet up with him and maybe, just maybe, the two of you may hit it off—as just friends. But that is one big maybe.

So when after several weeks he starts YM-ing you, asking “Are we friends again?”, part of you gets really suspicious. What’s the hurry? Can’t wait? Can’t find anybody else to be your friend? Part of you wants to tell him: If you really want us to be friends, you’d just let me be. Because friendship cannot be forced—it happens or it doesn’t.

And so you wonder, what’s his motivation for wanting to be friends ASAP? And you start to consider different reasons: Genuine feelings on his part? Desperately lacking friends? User-friendly ulterior motives? But since you’re no mind-reader, you end up just that—wondering.

And since he isn’t even interested in reading your blog, you just blog about it instead.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


(PLUS: An additional reaction to the movie Sa Pagdapo Ng Mariposa at the end.)

* * * * *

Movies, not sex. Sorry to disappoint.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For months I’ve been stoked on the trailer. After all, the last movie was released almost 20 years ago. But I couldn’t watch it on the first day it opened, so I waited for the weekend to watch it with the rest of the family. The absence of buzz around it on its first few days was an ominous sign that the Spielberg/Lucas fan in me conveniently ignored.

The opening sequence re-introducing Indy and introducing new baddie (played by Cate Blanchett) plays out beautifully, at once reminding us of the sheer joys of popcorn movies and the giddy propulsion of a great action sequence pumped up by a master director. And when Indy blasts out of the hangar, a partially-wrecked crate reveals the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, a wonderful nod to the movie that started it all.

After that, unfortunately, is when the movie started to flatline. And this despite a literally atomic scene, the introduction of Mutt (played by It-Boy-of-the-moment Shia LaBeouf), the re-introduction of Marion (welcome back, Karen Allen—where have you been?), lots of nods to former characters now gone, lots of sword-fighting, lots more ants and an extra-terrestrial mystery that I felt should have been more mystery and less extra-terrestrial. Maybe the script spent so much time trying to explain the whos and the whats of the plot. Maybe over-the-top is not as fun when it’s not propelled by sheer kinetic energy that sweeps logic aside. (Really now, Indy in a refrigerator with nary a broken bone? Three times falling off huge waterfalls and no one goes missing or drowning?)

And what do we get in the end? It was X-Files: The Movie all over again. Maybe the joys of the franchise are as old as Harrison Ford. Maybe it’s time for new blood to kick the franchise into high gear again. Indiana Jones by way of Jason Bourne. Maybe that would be something.

Boy Culture. As co-adapted and directed by Q. Allan Brocka based on a novel by Matthew Rettenmund, this movie zips by efficiently and entertainingly. And he knows how to maximize his actors, from their talents to their torsos and tushes. The movie is an interesting take on commitment and taking chances. And it does have interesting insights on the gay culture, especially regarding hook ups and the bar scenes. But as often with these kinds of movies, you get the oh-it’s-so-difficult-to-be-with-him beginning, the complicated dance in the middle, the seemingly sad deal breaker, the last-minute revelation, the wonderful kiss and the fade out in the end. Not all of them are predictable, but you could feel the hand of Fiction in the twists and turns. Nothing about the difficult, boring, messy, tedious every day Reality that happens in between scenes and, more importantly, after the fade-out. I guess that’s why writer/director Broka’s screenplay calls it for what it is: folks, this is just a movie.

Once. On the other hand, this small Academy-award winning movie (for Best Song, “Falling Slowly”) is surprisingly real. The performances (by real musicians and first-time actors) are real. The hand-held camera work feels real (as opposed to jittery-distracting). And the songs are genuinely moving. What’s more, the relationship that develops between the two lead characters feels real. While I was watching their closeness unfold, I was ready to jerk back at any moment, wary of the cliché falling-in-love moments that a million Hollywood movies have done before. But the movie would teeter towards it—and then surprisingly it shifts, like well-placed chord progressions in any one of the magnificent tunes (I gotta get me the soundtrack!) featured in the film. And most importantly, the resolution in the end feels real. Unlike Boy Culture, this movie kept me wondering what will happen next. As unexpected as it is moving, this movie is worth watching, even only once.

And then I watched Sa Pagdapo Ng Mariposa.
The movie was too episodic, but I suppose that helped lull the audience from anticipating and predicting the movie. There were too many peripheral characters, though in fairness the director was able to juggle all of them without confusing the audience much. And there was too much music that a lot of times sounded inappropriate for their scenes and called too much attention to themselves.

But this movie earns major brownie points for going off into unexpected directions and eventually pulling the rug from under my feet. Throughout the movie I was going: So this is a gay film. No, wait; this is not a gay film, this is a seriously-fucked-up-guy film. Hold it—oh, it is a gay film. Wait a minute—it’s a murder mystery?! And then: WTF?!

When the revelation of crying game proportions occurred, my jaw fell on the floor. Suddenly it was, where the fuck is this movie going? And I mean that as a compliment. In one fell swoop this film turns the recent gay-indie mini-trend on its head.