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)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Talk Talk

He turned to me, his face all serious, and asked: “Don’t you get lonely?”

I sighed silently. Not another one in this venue. Why do they come here in the first place? Can’t they just acknowledge the fake romance played out in the dark corners and on sweat-stained bedcovers? Or are they really that—gasp!—hopeful that they’ll find true love here? I mean, c’mon. Possible, yes; improbable, most likely. Better try your luck in the Lotto instead of in the bathhouse.

All that flashed like split-second deja vu before I answered him: “Nope.”

“Never?” his voice was full of incredulity and suspicion.

“I didn’t say never,” I said. Patience is a virtue, I decided. “But for years now I’ve perfected the art of stopping Loneliness in his tracks, way before he can hook his claws on me and transform himself into Despair.”

(Okay, my actual sentence wasn’t as polished as in the previous paragraph, but hey, this is The McVie Show, hm’kay? But the content remains fairly accurate.)

“Wow! You really are a copywriter,” he marveled.

(See? Told ya’h.)

He continued. “So how do you do it? How do you stop yourself from feeling lonely when you don’t have anyone?”

Here we go again with my monologue. “I may be single, but I’m not lonely. I see my family and friends everyday. I have friends in the office. I’ve online friends. And while I may be alone blah blah blah, yada yada yada, I’m not lonely nu ni nu ni nu, yakity yak yak yak, but years ago I was lucky enough to discover a constant companion who continues to entertain and intrigue me every day.” Then I turned to him and looked him in the eye. “Can you guess who?”

He hesitated. “G-God?” he asked, almost embarrassed.

It took everything I had to not fill the second floor of the bathhouse with scandalous laughter. Instead I let off a giggle and some sputtering, all the while turning my head away from him so he won’t see me roll my eyes several times over. Then I faced him again, smiled sweetly and said, “Well, yeah. Him also, if you’re so inclined. God, Mama Mary, His angels… sure, go ahead, talk to Them, have Them beside you always, why not?”

He knew he got it wrong. I decided to end his suffering. “My constant companion is myself,” I said.

“Aaaaaaah,” he said, the vowel stretched with doubt.

Why do I even bother, I asked myself and kissed him on the lips to shut him up. For the rest of the evening I let body language do the talking.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shoe My Shoe-pport

Okay, enough with the pun-y shoes.

Gibbs Cadiz asked me to promote the Cinderella contest by the LeaSalongaFansClub. It’s easy. Just watch Cinderella at the CCP Main Theater (now showing). Then blog about it. Out of the top three entries, THE Ms. Lea Salonga herself will choose the best entry.

The first prize? US$100, plus the Cinderella soundtrack and original DVDs. Shet, one hundred US dollars!

Kaya bilis, shoe-mali na. (Oops, couldn’t help myself. Sawree!)

More details here in Gibbs’ blog.

Stop Advertising!

Anyone who’s ever worked in an advertising agency—watch this and weep. Those who want to go into advertising—watch this and learn. Those on client side—yes, there are those of you guys who are really like that, more than you think.

Singularity

When you’ve been single since birth, you learn certain things. Loneliness actually does not kill; it’s despair you should watch out for. Adjust. Happiness is both a state and an active pursuit, but to make it a goal unto itself is selfish. The importance of the Many often—but not always, and not automatically—outweigh the importance of the One. The value of your family and friends becomes more apparent. And your best friend is also your most benevolent worst enemy because you actually mean well to yourself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

This morning at the gym, I was peacefully dressing up after showering when a guy came in the locker area. His assigned locker was just across mine. I still had my towel around my waist, drying off my feet. On the gym PA system the song “Wonderwall” by Oasis was playing.

I said maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me?


The guy was around my height, with a lean frame. He had a wicked tattoo on his right shoulder snaking all the way down his biceps and triceps. And he was singing along to the song.

And after all
You’re my wonderwall


“Haaay, ang aga naman ng Singing Bee ha!” I thought to myself.

He raised his voice. Either he was trying to out-wail Liam Gallagher, or he heard my thought.

“I said maaahy-beeeeeeee…”

He yowled and stretched his vowels. I cringed as I applied foot powder.

“Yah gonna be d’won tha’ say-ves mheeeeeee…?”

“Lord, save me!” I prayed silently.

“An’ aftaaaaah aaaaaaaaaaaaaw…”

I should have known what was coming.

“Yer mah wonder-wooow!”

I pause mid-application of foot powder. “My wonder wow?” I asked myself. “Wonder wow?! Anuvahyun?!”

By this time he had already stripped to his underwear. He wore a low-rise pair of briefs that looked one size too big for him. His package created a floppy bulge in his crotch area. And in fairness, he had six-pack abs!

“Now that’s a wonder wow!” I said to myself, as other naughty thoughts flashed through my mind.

He wrapped his towel around his waist, stripped off his underwear and proceeded to the showers. He glanced my way as he walked past. Our eyes met for a nano-second. Then he turned the corner.

And I hummed to myself: “I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me…” as I placed the foot powder back into my bag, tightened the towel around my waist and followed.

Yes, Virginia. There is karaoke in the sauna.

Two Worlds Collide, Part 2

When I don’t regularly post episodes, it’s usually because I’m busy with two things: work or editing a podcast.

Here’s the Q&A portion of the podcast. Questions are asked, answers are given, and if you read between the lines (or rather, listen between the laughter and the jokes), a not-so-secret status will be revealed. Clue: just listen to a lot of what Gibbs insinuates; you can say they were dead Gibbs-aways.

Mash-up credits:
“Sayin’ Somethin’ Toxic” by Dunproofin’
“Promiscuous With You” by Party Ben
“Like I Love Your Generation” by Pheugoo
“Freak No. 5” by Missy Elliot vs. Lou Bega
“Yeah In The Shadows” by Go Home Productions
“Twelve String Milkshake” by Glen Campbell vs. Kelis

Again, the link is under “The McVie Show In Stereo” on the left. Plus you know the drill.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two Worlds Collide, Part 1

The Fabcasters meet the Closet Badets in one historic podcast!

Part one features mash-ups by:
[1] Clock A Minute by Pheugoo (Coldplay vs. Pussycat Dolls)
[2] Humps Up by Pheugoo (Madonna vs. Black Eyed Peas)
[3] Work It Close by Free Music / Mash-Up (Beyonce vs. The Cure)

The link is under “The McVie Show In Stereo” on the left. You know the drill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When My Mind’s Made Up

(Good lord, so this is what happens when I watch “Love Of Siam” a second and third time!)

* * * * *

I had the biggest crush on him the first time I saw him in college. But he had a girlfriend and a male best friend with him. But registration was on my side; we ended up as first-year homeroom classmates, while his girlfriend and best friend were placed elsewhere. And we just clicked. We were the only two people we knew who loved ELO. Since we shared the same course and class schedules, I eventually replace his best friend as his constant school companion. But he was straight, and I was still very much in the closet.

Whenever he confided in me his problems with his girlfriend, I was secretly elated. But I would always help him patch things up with her, even if every bone in my body cried otherwise. He let me into his life, his room, his heart. Still I never let him in on my secret.

Expectedly we were thesis mates during fourth year. Faced with all those late nights and long meetings—and the inevitable graduation—finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told him.

He said he couldn’t love me the way I wanted him to. “But nothing will change between us,” he promised.

I pulled back a bit; part of me wanted to put him to the test. At first he was the one reaching out. But pretty soon he too pulled back. And I took that against him.

We almost didn’t graduate because we weren’t able to submit our thesis paper in time. But in the end we marched as scheduled.

I thought that was it. But less than a year after graduation, we worked together in the same office. A couple of years after, we both moved to another company. It took me more than three years to get over him—after he got married and moved to the US. These days we rarely communicate.

I fell (hard) several more times afterwards with straight guys; always unrequited, each episode shorter than the one before, and not all with dramatic endings. Some just simply ended. And then I said: Never again.

So, if you want something
And you call, call
Then I’ll come running
To fight, and I’ll be at your door
When there’s something worth running for

When your mind’s made up
There’s no point trying to change it
When your mind’s made up
There’s no point trying to stop it

You see, you’re just like everyone
When the shit falls all you want to do is run, away
And hide all by yourself
When you’re far from me, there’s nothing else

When your mind’s made up
There’s no point trying to change it
When your mind’s made up
There’s no point trying to stop it


(by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
from the OST of the movie Once)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Abbaccination

Last weekend I gave Mamma Mia! The Movie another chance. And my reaction remains the same: given the flimsiest of a plot, it behooves the filmmakers to make the rest of the elements of the movie exceptional so as to make the whole film fly. Unfortunately, stage and screen have different languages, and something was lost in the translation.

There is an unbridled joy in the performances, and the songs are really what fuel the whole movie—they add so much zip and energy, people are just Abbamboozled by the songs. Given that these songs are so familiar and indestructible, the movie experience works for most viewers.

I, however, am immune to the songs of Abba. Not because I’m a non-fan; on the contrary, it is precisely because I’m so familiar with 95% of their songs, including the non-hits (I know the second-voice lyrics to “Knowing Me, Knowing You”). Thus, while everyone’s going gaga over them, I can let them enter one ear and exit the other, and look at everything else. And what I saw didn’t tickle, much less impress, me much.

I remember after watching it the first time with my family, my sister—who is rarely critically sophisticated in her reactions to movies—simply said, “Ang ganda ng lugar!” and left it at that. ‘Nuff said.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Misterhubs and McVie’s Judicial Gangbang feat. Mario Maurer

(SMS exchange between me and Misterhubs this morning.)

Misterhubs (MH): Nagkasala ako kaninang umaga dahil sa Mario Maurer na yan. Hehe.

McVie (MV): Hahaha! I downloaded the whole movie but I can’t open the file. Watch the whole movie on YouTube na lang! =)

MH: I’ve watched a few clips na. He’s so molestable. Hehe.

MV: I KNOW! I wanna be a molester! I’ll just ask you to defend me in court na lang, ha? =)

MH: Hehe. I’ll be your co-accused.

MV: Ay, even better. I know you’ll do a great job because your neck is also on the line, hahaha!

MH: Wag lang siya magtestify ‘cause I might not be able to stop myself from blowing him on the witness stand. Hehe.

MV: You’ll do a great job there as well. Naku, witness for the prosecution bigla ang judge.

MH: Malay natin. He might join in the fun. =)

MV: And drop all the charges! After we drop his pants, of course. =)

MH: Exactly. Court room gang bang!

MV: At kung cute din ang judge, I’ll bang his gravel too!

MH: Sige. Meanwhile I’ll fist the fiscal. Hehe.

MV: Naku, this text exchange is turning into a worthy blog entry, hahaha! =)

MH: Ang title: Misterhubs and McVie’s Judicial Gangbang featuring Mario Maurer. Hehe. =)

(Repeat by reading from the top, beginning with the title.)

Cinemalaya Congrats

I only watched two movies in Cinemalaya, Jay and 100. Both were produced, written and directed by people I personally know (which was why I could not miss watching them on pain of death). And both of them were the big winners in the awards night yesterday.

Congratulations to Francis Pasion, Marlon Rivera and Chris Martinez! (Sa susunod na pelikula, pa-join naman, o!)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Trekkies And Treckers, Unite!


STAR TREK
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana
Directed by J.J. Abrams
(in theaters 08 May 2009)

2 Reasons To Go Pedo

Good lord, my pedophilic side is in a tizzy these days! Stumbled upon this Thai movie The Love of Siam, and got me all silly over the lead actors:


Witwisit Hiranyawongkul (of Chinese-Thai descent) as Mew

and


Mario Maurer (of German-Chinese-Thai descent) as Tong

What’s more, these teenage actors (18 and 19 respectively) have a fairly lengthy kissing scene!



If you see me these days with my head up high, it’s just me trying to keep my nosebleed from dribbling down my face.

Friday, July 18, 2008

“You Can Never Can Tell”

The two entered the elevator right behind me, and the doors closed. The guy was in a collared shirt, khaki pants; he looked every inch the typical Makati yuppie, including neat haircut and leather shoes. The girl was a little dressed down, in jeans and t-shirt. But from her bearing and the way she addressed the guy, it was clear she held the higher rank. They were talking about office equipment.

“…at hindi na nila pinalitan yung laptop,” he said.
“Wala bang We-Roam yung laptop na yun?” she asked.
“Ay, meron na, Ma’am. Isa yun sa mga unang kinabitan,” he replied.

She was short, pudgy and fidgety the whole time, as if ready to pounce on something or someone. Her hair was cut short, and her thick glasses further emphasized her stern-looking eyes. She spoke in short, clipped bursts; his voice, on the other hand, was low-pitched, his speech measured and careful. I thought he was merely choosing his words cautiously, afraid he might let slip a detail or two that may set off his boss. That is, until I heard her next question.

“Eh may upuan ka na ba, sister?” she asked.
“Ay meron na ho!” he replied almost immediately, as if to drown out with his voice her last word.

Ding! The doors opened at our floor, and I stepped off the elevator with a silly grin on my face.

OMG!

As in, OMFG! “The world will look up and shout, ‘Save us!’ And I’ll whisper, no.”

video

Shet, sa March 2009 pa?! (At least that gives me a lot of time to re-read the graphic novel again.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Q-&-A To “Out And About”

In the previous McVie episode “Out And About”, viewer Jedd asked the following phone-in questions:

“Do you think coming out to them would do something good for your relationships? Or would it be really awkward lang? Do you think they'd rather you not tell them? Maybe that's why they haven't brought up the guts to ask you about it. Or baka naman they're just being respectful.

Do you think you'd ever come out to them in your lifetime? You've stated your policy. Do you want them to ask you anyway so you can tell them? Or mas okay na sa yo that way?”


First, a short preamble. The way I value my family is different compared to my friends; friends I can choose, family I cannot. Also, I fell in love with my family all over again back in the early 2000s, and so far I’ve not fallen out of love yet. One more: we’re not the touchy-feely kind of family, nor do we talk openly about our feelings to one another. At the dinner table, talk is often punctuated by jokes and hiritan. We don’t talk about our crushes, love life (or lack of it) with one another. We often show our love and concern through action.

Do I think coming out will do well for our relationships? I can’t say. I cannot read their minds or foresee the future. With my siblings, my best guess (or hope?) is that they wouldn’t mind it much. They may say, “So long as you don’t dress up in drag and wear make-up!” My brothers who have kids may find it a little difficult to have to explain to their kids what it means that their uncle is gay, but it’s up to them to find a creative way.

With my mother it’s a little more iffy. As I said, she may have a problem with the whole gay thing. Just to illustrate my point: I have a female cousin who’s now rebelling against her born-again parents by running away with her friends. When my mom was telling us about it, she interjected, “Eh kasi naman yang pinsan ninyo, may mga kasama siyang mga lesbians!” I wanted to ask her what being a lesbian had to do with running away from home, but decided not to since I was already late going to the bathhouse.

So in weighing between what is and what could be, I subscribe to the clichés of “Ignorance is bliss” and “Some things are better left unsaid.”

And here’s why I’m comfortable with those clichés: I believe that, in very simplified terms, sexual preference boils down to “who you prefer to have sex with”. And when it comes to that and other sexual habits and practices, I don’t need to tell anyone in my family, especially my mom, who I like to boink, much less how I like to boink them! I mean, do you really want to know if your parents 69 each other? Or your mom gives your dad head only because he insists? Or that your dad loves it when your mom sticks her finger up his ass just as he’s about to cum?

Some things are better left unsaid. And if my family knows nothing about my sex life, I’m fine with it. Another way of stating my policy: I will not force it down their throats, but if they want to know the truth from me, I’ll tell them just that.

The irony here is obvious: my so-called sex life is spelled out in graphic detail all over The McVie Show; if any of my siblings stumble upon my blog, they’ll have instant confirmation that their brother is gay and that he gives good head. Which is a good segue to the following set of questions.

“Do you think you’d ever come out to them in your lifetime?” Again, I’m no seer so I cannot answer that. “Do you want them to ask you anyway so you can tell them?” I actually prefer that they ask me instead of me volunteering. If they get the nerve to ask me to my face, then it means: [1] they want me to tell them the truth; [2] they deserve an honest answer from me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out And About

A friend asked me what my thoughts are on coming out, especially on how it impacts the family of the one coming out. Here they are:

Coming out is an individual choice. Individual circumstances differ from one another, making each case intrinsically unique. If the person isn’t ready, he should not be pressured to come out, nor should he be outed without his consent.

However, Philippine society is not an individualistic one (compared to, say, the US). A larger circle of family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, etc. surrounds each Filipino. Thus, coming out impacts not just the individual but his immediate relations as well. Depending on the relative (pun intended) relevance of his relationship with them, a person’s coming out will definitely have an effect on the people around him. Every action has consequences.

I personally prefer to balance my needs with, in my best guess, the needs of the people closest to me—my immediate family.

My dad’s dead so that leaves my mom. She’s quite intelligent but her religious beliefs fall well within the more conservative range. I remember how distraught she was with my sister when we found out she had a miscarriage before she got married to her boyfriend (they got hitched less than a year after she came back from the hospital—wedding expenses fully paid for by the bride’s parents). And while she successfully hid her disappointment and sadness from her daughter, the rest of us know how our mom really felt (up to now my sister has no idea). The expression on my mom’s face would drop, and while she would utter a throwaway line like, “Hay, alam mo naman yang kapatid ninyo!”, her tone of voice belied her flippant remark.

As far as I can tell, my brothers and sisters are generally an intelligent bunch, well educated and exposed to a varied set of people. They seem broad-minded enough so that I don’t think I’ll have a problem coming out to them. But I’ve refrained simply because I want to spare them a potentially awkward situation: if my mom asks them, “Did you know about it all along?” they can answer truthfully, “Nope.”

So my standing policy with my family is: If you don’t ask, I won’t volunteer; but if you ask, I won’t lie.

My family is also the reason why, despite my being so out here in the blogsphere (with matching face pic), I never use my real family name. I want my coming out to be focused just on me, even if only on a symbolic sense.

As for my friends, I had no problem telling them. Most of the people who knew me before as straight (friends from school) are fairly reasonable and wise; if any of them had any problems with me, it is very easy for me to cut them out of my life (believe me, I can be that clinical and decisive at times). The rest I got to know when I was already out.

Intriguing Trailer (2)

video

Intriguing Trailer (1)

video

Here’s To Death

When he was still a copywriter, Chris Martinez would let me read his plays and ask me my opinion of them. Even then I could see he had an ear for sharp, funny and real dialogue; I can identify lines in his plays that were actually uttered by his friends during our dinners and gimmicks out. Eventually he graduated from writing plays to directing them, and from plays to screenplays. (He fabulously adapted and directed for the stage the camp classic movie Temptation Island, and adapted for the stage the camp modern classic comic ZsaZsa Zaturnnah.) A few years back he started directing television commercials; last night was the premiere of the first full-length movie he wrote, co-produced and directed, the Cinemalaya entry 100.

100 is basically “100 things to do before you die.” Mylene Dizon plays the cancer-stricken woman, with Eugene Domingo as her confidante and Tessie Tomas as her mother. Given the subject, one would expect that this is a straightforward drama, and in many ways it is. But Chris has perfected the tightrope act of balancing drama and comedy within the same scene, often even within the same paragraph. Throughout the movie, just as you are about to cry your eyes out, something happens and you laugh your head off. Or you’re laughing your head of with a lump in your throat. Not too many writers or directors possess this skill; as writer and director, Chris has this in spades.

Everyone in the cast with the exception of the actor who played Mylene’s boss (let’s not name names, okay?) gave wonderful to stellar performances. But I must say this right here: I move to declare Eugene Domingo a national treasure. Pramis. Sure, she sometimes just telegraphs her performance (especially with underwritten parts in hurriedly done television series), but even at her laziest or most over-the-top, she still can run circles around most of the lead actresses she has to prop up. Her timing and delivery are impeccable.

Death has been tackled so many times before. There are no new insights to be gleaned, no new lesson to be learned here in 100 (the filmmakers wisely avoid making statements and lessons, anyway). Here’s a glimpse of the last legs of a life lived in pretty, post-it notes and scenes, neatly arranged and sequenced, bookmarked with a neat opening and ending. With 100, Death is a laugh-out-loud, for crying-out-loud dramedy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Viva, Jay!

Viva La Vida, Coldplay

These days it’s rare that I gush over a whole album. Well, now I’m gushing like a geyser.

Past bands have been proclaimed as the worthy successor to U2, but Oasis dried up faster than Liam Gallagher could sober up. Early on the successor mantle was transferred to Coldplay. With this album they not only embraced the moniker, they take a stab at something more.

Here they employed producer Brian Eno, best known for helping develop U2’s atmospheric sonic signature in The Unforgettable Fire and perfected in The Joshua Tree. True enough, the first track “Life In Technicolor” sounds like the opening of “Where The Streets Have No Name”. And they still employ the slow-start-building-up-to-a-crescendo structure, popularized by classic U2 and used by Coldplay to highlight Chris Martin’s falsetto.

But while U2-esque hooks abound, the band also sounds like they’ve been released from the confines of their previous sound. There’s a new skip to their playing; and when the tempo shifts, there’s a new energy propelling the band. Handclaps abound in “Lost”, while there’s an unbridled joy in the first half of “Lovers In Japan/Reign Of Love”. New soundscapes abound too: “42” opens with a plaintive piano-and-voice reminiscent of John Lennon, while “Yes” has Mediterranean/Indian hooks. Coldplay evokes western rock with “Violent Hill”, and the titular track employs gorgeous orchestration.

I can’t find any track that’s a throwaway in the whole album. Coldplay has always come up with pretty music before, but this time they leap into a musical territory that is both breathtaking and elegant.

Jay, written, produced and directed by Francis X. Pasion

This is the first and only full-length entry for the 2008 Cinemalaya I’ve watched so far (I’m watching the premiere of 100 later).

This movie is infuriatingly good.

It starts of with the shot of a television in limbo—much like the opening of Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Then we are drawn into what looks like a TV documentary on the death of a gay teacher, murdered in his bed after being serviced by a home-service male masseur. It goes on lengthily, drawing you into the sad end of the titular character. Then the title appears, and seemingly the real movie starts.

What follows is not another gay-themed indie movie, despite the fact that the titular character and the character that lead actor (and executive producer) Baron Geisler plays are both gay. What follows is a hilarious and cringe-inducing expose on how much a lot of TV news documentary footage are actually “staged” to make for better television.

Baron is utterly consistent in his portrayal of Jay (yes, he also sports the same name as the victim), the gay TV producer who would do anything and everything just to get his story. In fact, I completely forgot that he was slapped with an “acts of lasciviousness” case by William Martinez’ daughter. Coco Martin IS Coco Martin, and he was just sooo pinch-worthy in that movie, dedma na sa akting niya. He was just utterly gorgeous, gorgeous, and—oh, did I mention gorgeous?

The defining moment was at the last scene, where a “twist” is shown. At first I was so thrown off by the ending; it felt like an unnecessary directorial trick that threatened to negate everything before it. And discussing it with friends who also saw the movie, we all agreed that everyone felt bothered by the ending. Until we realized that perhaps that really was the intention of the director. And I grudgingly realized that the ending effectively echoed the theme of the movie, that everything seen on screen has been filtered, clipped and cropped by someone else. It’s an infuriating and brilliant (exclamation) point made by a Pasion-ate filmmaker with a vision of his own.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Abba!

The direction is all wrong, the pacing is jumpy and suffers from too much cutting and unnecessary slow-mo’s, and the camera goes all over the place, as if the cinematographer realized that the location is better than the whole movie. Yes, I’m talking about Mamma Mia The Movie.

Even the magnificent Meryl Streep, who seems like she can pull off almost everything except a snuff film (though I can imagine she’ll kill herself over such a project), suffers. But not from her singing (she can carry a tune at least, and she knows how to put the right emotion into them) though; despite all her huffing, puffing and singing, she couldn’t show us a full character. And how could she? How could anyone? The characters are secondary to the songs and the excuse-of-a-plot that strings them all together. Which is something I can easily wrap my mind around, and the movie would have worked had the filmmakers playfully parodied the conventions of a movie musical. But they do not: in fact, they go to town (or rather, all over the island) with the conventions—breaking into song, big-cast dance numbers—with nary a wink at the audience (by the time Streep addresses the audience at the end credits, it’s already too little, too late).

Still, she (and the rest of the cast) delivers a spirited performance. She actually makes “Slipping Through My Fingers” a touching tribute to mothers everywhere, and turns the schmaltz-ready “The Winner Takes It All” into a tour de force of what a great actor can pull off even when singing a song that’s just a couple of notes shy of self-parody (her performance works because she chose to play it earnestly, like the original). In fact, that momentous number is indicative of what’s wrong with the movie. While Streep is blasting us all away with her talent, the director turns the number into a tour de force of their Steadicam operator’s skills. Meanwhile, the cinematographer can’t seem to make up his mind: should we be bowled over by Streep’s breath-taking performance or by the breathtaking location? (It is to Streep’s credit that the gasp-inducing scenery never upstages her.)

Normally in a musical the songs deliver an emotional power that either propels the plot forward or deepens the emotion of the moment. It is precisely this convention that allows the songs (and not the sight of big-named Hollywood stars wearing Lycra) to ride roughshod over the filmmakers’ lack of technical skills. Unfortunately I’ve always been a big fan of Abba, and not just in a “post-modern ironic” way. So I can thank them for the music and look at the bigger picture instead, and say: “Pretty to look at shot per shot, but badly strung together.” (Which can also apply to the music as well: great Abba songs do not a great musical make. But that’s another review altogether.)

Onstage the musical might have worked. But onscreen? So long, see you honey! / You can’t buy me with your money / You know it’s not worth trying / So long, so long, so long!

* * * * *

Here’s a hilarious but loving review by Mark Kermode of BBC Radio 5 live:

The Straight-Shooting Fabcast

The Fabcasters (Gibbs, McVie, Migs and Tony) get some straight answers—and attempt to answer straight—in their talk with Rod, Migs’ straight friend. Part One is mostly about Migs coming out to Rod; Part Two is a more free-wheeling discussion on straight guys having gay friends, straights getting hit on by gays, and the question “Can a straight guy turn gay?”

Music credits: (on Part One) “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” by the Chemical Brothers, and “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand; (on Part Two) “Cloudbusting” by Kate Bush, and “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen.

So you know the drill. There are three ways to listen to “The Straight-Shooting Fabcast” (parts 1&2):
[1] Click here;
[2] Copy-and-paste the following URL: http://themcvieshow.mypodcast.com/
[3] Click on “The McVie Show In Stereo” link, found on the left side of this blog.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Online Test Results

McVie: You seem to always be the friend and seldom the lover, but that may be by design. You are a friend to the gay world, but not as active sexually as you’d like to be. An enigma, you possess the sensual skills others strive for, but are not one to brag (and possibly not one to actually use them). You are a great mentor and friend to the sorry masses who get tangled up in emotional trauma and disease. Better to be safe than sticky!

How true.

But how funny though, the title of that online test is: “Are You A Top Or Bottom?” Go figure.

If Only We Can Say Out Loud What We Think

I noticed him at the gym floor before. Maybe in his mid-20s, close-cropped semikal hair, goatee, wicked tattoo on his left bicep, a bulky body that hinted at serious muscle under some flab, and a stand-offish demeanor that meant, “I’m serious with my work out, dudes.” So when he entered the sauna, I was a little surprised to see that he had a belly. Hmmm, a man’s man, I thought; he’d go drinking with his buddies at a drop of a hat and would not bother to watch what he eats. True enough he sat down with his towel firmly wrapped around his waist, his legs close together, and his small towel draped over his crotch for further visual protection.

And yet there was something about his vibe that I picked up. So I decided to explore where this intuition of mine would lead.

Tip: check him out discreetly yet obviously. Discreetly: steal glances at his crotch area a lot, but only a few at his face, just to check once in a while if he’s also looking at you. Obviously: steal a lot of glances; make it obvious to him that you’re glancing at his happy area.

After a while he placed his small towel on his side. I noticed the towel around his waist was tenting. Aha! Time to raise it to the next level. I let my towel slip a little lower, allowing him to catch a glimpse of my pubes. After a while he didn’t bother to hide his erection under his towel.

Then he spoke. “You’re checking me out?”

“Huh?”

He repeated the question. “I have to ask. Are you checking me out?” His English had a twang.

Aha! Call center boy.

“Yeah,” I put on a casual tone.

He shrugged. “Okay, I don’t mind. Go ahead,” he said, and pretended to close his eyes.

Ahhh, so that’s how you want to play this game, huh? I can play it too.

I leaned forward. He opened one eye and looked at me.

My turn to ask: “May I?”

“What?” he asked.

Braid your hair? Pluck your eyebrows? Manicure your nails? Heller?!

“Touch it?” and I indicated his raging erection.

He didn’t hesitate. “So long as we don’t know each other outside of here,” he said, referring to the sauna.

Ay sus! Ano akala mo, BFFs na tayo after this?!

“I’m cool with that,” I said and reached out my hand.

“Take off your towel too,” he said.

Oh I see! You also get visually stimulated at the sight of a fellow guy’s erection. My, my, my.

I took off my towel and proceeded to part his. A throbbing, decently-sized cock greeted me.

Sigh. Choosy pa ba tayo?

I went down on him. Soon my lips and tongue were playing with his man-flesh. I swallowed him whole; in fact, I didn’t have a hard time suppressing my gag reflex for this one. Yes, his size was that decent.

“Oh f—ah! Fff—uck!” he moaned as I took all of him in one gulp. And while his cock was buried in my mouth, I flicked my tongue at his balls.

“Aaaah, shi—ahhh!” he exclaimed. “Tang’na, ang galing mo!”

Letche, pa-accent-accent ka pa jan, magpu-putang ina ka rin lang pala! At anlutong ng Tagalog, ha.

A few more minutes and he said, “Wow, you’re a cocksucker.”

???!!! Do we state the fuckin’ obvious?!

A little bit more and he gripped my head. “I’m close!” he said. “Can I cum in your mouth?!”

Ay, ganoon? At feeling close ka pa?

Afterwards, as he wrapped his towel around his waist, he said, “This never happened.” And he walked out of the sauna.

Sure! I’ll just blog about it though.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

My sister is back from Singapore after almost six months. She decided it would be cheaper to wait here in the Philippines while she’s in between jobs. But since she’s going back to Singapore anyway, she left a lot of her clothes and stuff there with her flatmate (who stayed) so that she won’t have to pay for excess luggage weight on the plane ride home.

Upon her arrival at the condo unit she and her husband share in Taguig, she discovered several of the clothes she had left back here were missing. Her husband insisted he didn’t touch or move anything on her side of their closet. Except for her husband’s daughter (from a previous relationship) who visits her dad now and then and would sometimes sleep over, no one else stayed in the unit during the day when he was at work.

When my sister was telling me about it through SMS, I could read her panic between the lines. A couple of scenarios entered my suspicious mind (which I’m sure also crossed hers). It’s possible that the daughter was taking her stuff, even though they may not fit her. Was she selling them off? Or worse: what if her husband has another woman? But since there was no proof, and as far as she can tell her husband was just as puzzled as she was annoyed, so she couldn’t do anything about it.

Last weekend the two came to our house for lunch. That’s when another possible explanation came up, a possibility far stranger than what I had imagined.

Her husband told us about the incidents. It first started with their television volume suddenly growing louder or softer while he was watching—with the remote on the couch but away from him. Then there were times when the computer would switch on by itself. Since he was alone in the unit most of the time, he never went to bed without first making sure that the three doors and several windows (except the ones in their bedroom) throughout the unit were locked; one morning he woke up to find all of them unlocked and opened.

During his daughter’s last visit, they were talking at the dining table and she kept glancing over his shoulder, looking towards the stairs that led upstairs. He knew even when she was still very young that she could sense things—it seems she was gifted, or cursed, with a third eye—so he asked her, “What? Do you see something?” She shook her head, but he could tell in her eyes she was holding something back. Only afterwards did he realize she never stayed overnight at their unit after that.

And one evening just last week, my sister was in the bedroom resting while her husband was in the second floor common area, watching YouTube on their computer. After finishing a clip, he stood up and went inside the bedroom to ask my sister about something. Their conversation extended for several minutes. Suddenly they heard noise coming from the common area. When they went there, a different YouTube clip was playing—a clip that my brother-in-law insists he’d never even bother to click to watch (the implication being, one had to navigate away from the page where he left off when he stepped out).

So now we’re thinking someone or something has been playing with my sister’s stuff. Then again, since all the incidents were narrated by my brother-in-law, it has crossed my still suspicious mind that maybe, just maybe, he found a rather creepy alibi to hide his indiscretions.

Things that go bump in the night? Or things that make you go hmmm?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blog It Forward

There are a number of people whose blogs I read because I am in awe of their writing. It’s not always about an excellent command of the language (although these bloggers have a better-than-average grasp of their language of choice, be it English, Filipino, Taglish or all of the above). Rather, it’s their use of the language that gives them their distinct voice. Whether they are technically proficient or achingly affective (often both), their writing makes me want to shrink in one corner and hide in shame.

But don’t take my word for it. Here they are in alphabetical order with matching links. Read ‘em and weep (like me).

* * * * *

Ako Si Aris
http://akosiaris.blogspot.com/

The new blog on the block. Heart-wrenching stories from Malate on a Saturday night, especially in Bed. Whether Aris will stay Bed-ridden or will move on to other venues and themes remains to be seen. But his very personal stories allow a peek into the happy-sad dichotomy of clubbing on a weekend.


Can’t You Read?
http://ryeness.blogspot.com/

As one-half of The Dan & Rye Show, Rye is an all-bubbly Hilarious Clinton. But his blog reveals a deeper, more sensitive side of him. Courageous personal writing that is often uplifting, without any self-aggrandizing fanfare. You know his heart is in the right place, even when partying hard.


Leigh Reyes. My Life As A Verb.
http://www.leighreyes.com/blog/

Disclosure: Leigh’s a close friend; her son is my inaanak. Still, her writing can run circles around most bloggers I know; she can wipe her ass with my blog. At heart she’s a poet; you can hear it in the beats of her evocative and efficient prose. Her blog may be personal in nature but her writing is world-class (hey, she’s a Clio winner).


Misterhubs
http://misterhubs.blogspot.com/

Further proof that comedy requires a sharp mind and a sharper wit. But what makes Misterhubs our favorite legal eagle is not just his obsession with taking a dump and Leandro Okabe, but his recurring bursts of sweetness for his Hubby. Sharp yet sweet—what a deadly combination. No wonder his Hubby flipped over him; you’ll flip too after reading his blog.


Pat Session
http://holdencaulfieldisms.wordpress.com/

I stumbled upon this blog and was immediately hooked. It’s the giddy combination of a smart mind and soul-searching angst wrapped (or is it warped?) in wonderful writing. Angst has never been this compelling.


Pulsar
http://mugenblue.blogspot.com/

A pulsar is a dense star, and Mugen is truly a certified blogger star—many can relate to his stories, and many find him inspiring. His struggles with his weight, his sexual conquests, his financial difficulties—everything is out in the open. It’s his courage to reveal so much of himself—in fact, he’s got two personas! and can switch back and forth from English to Filipino with ease!—that, despite the lack of a face pic, he’s one of the most well-known and well-loved bloggers in the blogsphere.


The Bakla Review
http://thebaklareview.blogspot.com/

When I write about movies and plays, they’re reactions not reviews. Want a more-that-decent review, but with a purposely gay orientation? Then this is the blog for you. If critiquing had a sexual preference, then The Bakla Review (TBR) is decidedly gay. But don’t be thrown off, thinking that the reviews are in Fagalog, or Vhaklush-speak. On the contrary; TBR is one of the better-written blogs around. Insightful and impeccably written, TBR is heaven-sent for all you gay movie fans. And TBR is a lot kinder to gay indie films than me.


The Spy In The Sandwich
http://eatingthesun.blogspot.com/

All of the bloggers I’ve featured are writers, but Ian Rosales Casocot of Dumagete City is a writer writer. As in seriously, he’s a writer! as in, he gets into these national writers’ workshops! As in, his work has been published! As in, Neil Gaiman is a fan! As in! But what I love about his blog is that it is written in a straightforward style that is never intimidating (for some reason, I still have this impression that most writer writers write for other serious writers, not for ordinary folks). Or maybe I should start reading more blogs of writer writers.

* * * * *

The Emancipation of Thadie
http://thadhinunangan.blogspot.com/

And here’s a blog I would also like to include, even though the blogger has decided to take time off from blogging to concentrate on his studies (that’s why it’s separated from the rest of the list). Still, you can read his very engaging past entries. And he even took time off from his time off to post a picture of him receiving flowers from his labidabs!

* * * * *

I’ve refrained from including any of the Fabcasters in this list for obvious reasons. Besides I check out their blogs almost every day.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Only The Most Audacious Can Shine

After watching this, I wonder why I’m in the advertising industry in the first place. LOL!



(Thanks to Harry John for telling me about this. Zalamathz, Harry!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

And Yet Another Commercial

video

This is the reason why we’ve been busy for the past couple of weeks. At last it’s now airing.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

And We Pause For A Commercial

Because I like wearing t-shirts a lot, and because there were some styles that caught my eye, I’m allowing the following advertisement to go on The McVie Show:

* * * * *


Hi!

We have a new online store in town—SparkandStyle. We have the coolest tees available for the fashionable guys out there. Our tees are imported from up and coming fashion tees designers in Bangkok. All unique, all original.

We’d be thrilled if you and your blog readers can visit out website and shop with us. Thanks!


* * * * *

Here are several of their tees:


(Here’s one with a typo: the print on the shirt says: “Bathe together. Do it for the plant.” Er, that should be “planet” instead of “plant”. Duh.)

Go and check out their other tees, they’re quite cool. Visit their website at http://www.sparkandstyle.com now. (O ayan! Wala ba tayong libreng t-shirt diyan? Hahaha! Kidding.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Contrary Me

There must be something in the air these days. Three people I personally know are in a blue funk. Is it the tail-end effect of Typhoon Frank? Is it the unpredictable weather? Is it the non-stop rise in gas prices? Is it the impending showing of My Monster Mom starring Ruffa Gutierrez and Annabel Rama?

Whatever it is, people are feeling blue these days. Which gives me, true to my contrary nature, a good enough reason to swing to the other end. I’m not ecstatic nor in bliss, but I’m glad that I have a loving family, an iBook G4 that still works, my weekly issues of “Entertainment Weekly”, my bathhouse membership and a big can of Chef Tony’s White Cheddar popcorn.

Hey, right now is a gift—that’s why it’s called present, right? So watch Kung Fu Panda and/or Wanted, eat your favorite pizza, stare out into the sunset at Manila Bay (yay, thank god we have that view from our 20th floor windows) and listen to The Ting Tings’ “That’s Not My Name”. Choose life. Choose happiness.

* * * * *

(Great. Now all I need to do is bookmark this episode and go back to it whenever I feel in a funk.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sue-lpicio Lines

Sulpicio Lines sued PAGASA for “gross negligence and incompetence” in predicting the typhoon’s path. Arthur Lim, legal counsel for Sulpicio, said that “PAGASA’s failure to provide proper and updated weather forecasts during the onslaught of typhoon Frank sent the MV Princess of the Stars ‘right into the jaws of death’.”

Sulpicio is demanding “moral and exemplary damages, litigation fees, and attorney’s fees amounting to about P4.45 million.”

They were also reported to blame Del Monte Philippines for allegedly failing to disclose to the shipping firm that the 400 boxes it had wanted shipped to Mindanao contained the highly toxic endosulfan.

PAGASA had denied it was remiss in promptly sending out storm warnings, saying it did so after every six hours.

Read the whole article from Inquirer.net here.

* * * * *

I was never a big fan of PAGASA. It seems that every time they raise signal number 3 over the Metro prompting the suspension of classes on all levels, you can be sure that the sun will shine. But now I’m on their side on this one.

Even CNN’s weather report had predicted Typhoon Frank’s trajectory as skirting the eastern side of the Philippines and threatening the Bicol area. But we don’t need a degree in meteorology to know that typhoons never make up their minds.

So why did Sulpicio allow the ship to sail given the possibility that the typhoon could still change directions anytime? Were they so confident that, even if the typhoon changed course and barreled towards the ship’s path, that it was huge enough to survive the waves? Was it a calculated gamble that failed big time? Was it hubris on Sulpicio’s part that they believed that Mother Nature would behave for them? Isn’t it prudent and even responsible for a shipping company to never second-guess Mother Nature? And did Sulpicio expect PAGASA to know that there were ships sailing towards the general direction of the typhoon?

Meanwhile as Sulpicio is suing others, what are they doing to help in recovering the bodies and alleviating the suffering of the victims’ loved ones? Why did they not allow the floating of the ship earlier—so that they can claim insurance for a total wreck?

Can the families of the victims sue Sulpicio Lines for immoral damages?