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)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Call Us Immoral, We’ll Call You Illegal

The recent raid at the Queeriosity bathhouse in Pasay (read more about it in Discreet Manila’s blog here, here and from the bathhouse owner himself here) last Sept. 24 hits closer to home now because of two things: [1] Tony’s a friend and fellow Fabcaster; and [2] I just had a book on my bathhouse experiences published.

Reading the comments in those entries just made me sadder. We still have a long way to go to lift the prejudices against homosexuals, both from straight community and, ironically, even from our very own pink peeps.

It is very clear that the police used the raid as a means to extort money. I guess the police feel that it’s easier to target a sector of society that they feel they have some power over; and what’s an easier target to hit than a sector that’s already “marginalized” by society?

What’s sadder is the reaction from other gay guys who frown on such practices as going to bathhouses. Such sentiments like, “yan napapala ng mga malilibog. bakit kasi hindi na lang kayo mg hotel o sige motel na lang. buti nga sa inyo, puro kasi kalaswaan nasa isip niyo. CHE” and “ayan, malalandi kasi kayo, buti nga!” point to a deep divide within the gay community regarding the existence of bathhouses, and our different attitudes and values towards sex.

The issue here is not a moral one; no matter what your stand is on sex, the bathhouses have legitimate licenses to operate, and the sex is consensual between two adults. The issue here is legal; the raid was not lawful and the charges, non-existent. The raid is a clear case of police harassment and extortion. They who swore to uphold the law are the very ones who break the law. And for what? Don’t be fooled by their “What you’re doing is immoral” crap. They are doing it for money and power.

Certain members of the police force on Pasay and Quezon City are brazen enough to continue raiding such gay establishments because they think our community, like in past cases, will just slink back into the shadows after coughing up cash for them. That we will just shut up. That we will just bend over and take it up our collective arse.

Well. It’s time for change.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh, Relax

I’ve been trying to figure out what is it about you that irritates me, and more importantly, why.

I realize it’s not you; it’s your trying too hard.

You are not alone in being lonely; I get that. We all do. (Boy, do we all.) But most of us suffer in quiet desperation, or we quietly go about trying to lift ourselves out of our respective funks. When your tweets and status updates are composed mostly of aggressive self-help quotes, one wonders if, indeed, the lady doth protest too much.

So why is it irritating?

Part of it is the stench of desperation when trying hard. Flop sweat is never a wonderful sight.

Also, it’s the very public effort. I have a knee-jerk reaction to all things self-aggrandizement, but your efforts seem to go beyond convincing yourself; it’s almost as if you’re also trying to convince us that you are convinced. What for? We don’t need convincing. Push us some more and we end up not caring at all.

Such public displays of “I’m-okay-you’re-okay” is like online PDA; the amount of online cheese and mush is directly proportional to the size of the train wreck that follows.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I've Been Held Host-Stieg

My sincerest apologies, but I have reached page 485, which is the start of part 4 (or chapter 24) of Stieg Larsson's bestseller, the first book of the trilogy. This is where things get hairy, and it has become impossible for me to put the book down. I take it with me everywhere I go, sneaking in a page or two or more if I can during the day.

So excuse me if The McVie Show goes on short hiatus mid-season.

The show will be back soon. Pramis.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ELO, Powh!

I watched with a bit of trepidation the stage musical Xanadu. Why the hesitation, despite knowing that the stage musical was nominated for several Tony Awards, including best musical and best book? It’s something personal, really.

You see, for the longest time, I’ve been a fan of the British rock group, Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO. This Beatles-influenced group, headed by lead singer and chief songwriter Jeff Lynne, used classical instruments (sometimes a full orchestra) in a pop song. I knew only of one other guy who was heavily into ELO, and we became best friends partly due to the unique bonding we had over the group’s music.

I bought the long-playing vinyl record of the Xanadu movie soundtrack featuring songs by Olivia Newton-John and ELO back when the movie first opened in the early 80s. While I was also a fan of ONJ and liked the songs “Magic” and “Suddenly,” I played side B more often because that was where all the ELO songs were. And I loved all of their songs.

I remember watching the movie and hating it, despite the presence of the ELO songs. I remember thinking that the ELO songs sounded like they were just haphazardly patched into the movie.

So how did the stage musical fare?

It’s fun and frothy, with just the right amount of self-aware winking at the audience to make it campy without being too over-the-top. However, because it’s set in the 80s, I felt that some of the reflexive jokes would be lost to a younger audience. Xanadu: The Musical seems tailor-made to those who grew up with Debbie Gibson, Spraynet and shoulder pads. The book also poked fun at its origin, the movie that derailed Olivia Newton-John’s movie career, nominated for a Razzie as the Worst Movie for 1980 and won a Razzie for Worst Director. Sadly though, the self-referential jokes also were lost among many in the crowd, not just the youngsters. Why? Because only a few Pinoys were familiar with the original movie; even I got to see it only once on Betamax.

Amazingly the ELO songs, with no major changes in the lyrics, now sound like they make more sense vis-à-vis the story (no wonder it won Best Book). The stage musical borrowed two other ELO songs that were not on the movie soundtrack (“Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic”) and one song from ONJ’s discography (“Have You Never Been Mellow”). The use of these additional songs had its own campy appeal that, again, was lost to those who didn’t know that they were extra add-ons.

All in all, the local production of Xanadu: The Musical was a hearty, happy endeavor that entertained generously. Felix Rivera and Rachel Alejandro deliver solid performances, while Noel Trinidad is a most pleasant surprise.

Xanadu was from the poem “Kubla Khan, or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, inspired by an opium-induced dream but was never completed because Coleridge was interrupted as he was writing it down upon waking up. Similar to its origin, this short, lightweight musical evaporates the moment you step out of the theater.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charm Attack

We were on the plane, we were sleepy and we didn’t have the energy to continue with the conversation.

So now I gave it some more thought.

A person’s charm consists of several factors that come into play. Physical appearance can play a part; cute can certainly charm someone more than one who looks like a piranha. However, ugly pugs can also be charming.

Charm is a quality that the owner cannot assess; it is a quality that radiates from a person and thus is observable by others. What the owner can observe, though, are the effects of his efforts to charm people.

I believe charming people are genuinely interested in other people; it’s that interest that charms. Given that, I also believe that natural-born charming people are a rarity; in fact, I believe charm is mostly learned.

Everybody starts out the same, but some learn at a young age to be interested in others. And if they develop that interest so well, it became second nature to them; thus, we see them as “naturally charming.”

There are those who develop much later on the skill needed to charm others, which is basically showing interest—and maybe even a bit of what CC described as flirting. But really, what is the best flirt if not someone who makes you feel like you’re the most special person at the moment, someone who is most interesting to them?

When people learn how to charm others, they’ll discover that it’s easier to charm those who interest them in the first place; to those who don’t, they don’t even bother. These people appear to be able to turn their charm on and off. But the most charming people are the ones who are interested in everyone; their charm attack is an indiscriminate shooting spree, sparing no one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Online Behavior

A person’s online site is his domain. He can post, blog, tweet or plurk whatever’s on his mind to his heart’s content. The author is free to put out there whatever he wants. That is his right.

Conversely, if the posts, blogs, tweets or plurks of an author are not to our liking, we are free to stop reading, unfollow or unfriend. That is our right.

Facebooking, blogging, tweeting or plurking are like flirting. If your followers/readers decide to unfollow or unfriend you, don’t take it against them. It doesn’t mean they reject you as a person. It may only mean that your posts are irrelevant to him. It does not, in any way, diminish you as a person.

Unless you want to be universally loved by all; in which case, you have a bigger problem.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Snap Shet

The photo below is the second take.

Because here is the first take.
What made it extra hilarious is that the girl, who was walking up the stairs (which you can see on the right side behind us), was clearly visible to the manong guard whom we asked to take our picture. He didn’t even bother to wait ‘til she passed us, or take the photo before she could get in between the camera and us.

Of course, the girl was so engrossed in her texting that she only realized what was happening when the flash went off. She was profusely apologetic; we were all just rolling on the floor with laughter. Thus we had wider smiles on the second take.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Singles Fabcast, Parts 1, 2 & 3

Back in June 06, 2010, the Fabcasters and members of the peanut gallery trooped to a resort in Bulacan to celebrate the end of summer. It was also the first time that each and every Fabcaster was single at that time.

We stayed overnight at that resort. The night was spent drinking and swimming—and of course, a bit of flirting between, uhm, hmmm…! Well, my lips are sealed, hehehe. It was fun times with fun friends.

The next morning after breakfast we trooped inside one room and recorded the following Fabcast on singlehood. As usual we had a hilarious time recording, with lots of hirits, quips and boisterous laughter. Too bad, though, the outtakes are not for public consumption.

That end of summer was also the start of the end of singlehood for some. Well, for one. Hehehe.

Part One
Download this Fabcast (right click and save)
Music credits:
"Single Ladies" by Beyonce
"Alone" by Heart
"Dancing On My Own" by Robyn
"Break Your Heart" by Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris

Part Two
Download this Fabcast (right click and save)
Music credits:
“Material Girl” by Madonna
“Intro” by The XX

Part Three
Download this Fabcast (right click and save)
Music credits:
“Learn To Be Lonely” (live at the Oscars) by Beyonce
“Learn To Be Lonely” (The Phantom Of The Opera Original Soundtrack) by Minnie Driver

Friday, September 03, 2010


The Bakla Review, aka TBR, left the following comment after reading “I’m Mister Lonely” post:

A friend once told me: our tragedy is that we’ve become experts at being alone. You know, that I’ve learned how to be happy by myself. I used to say, “Ha! Good for me!” I still do sometimes. But is that a good thing, really? Or a fatal flaw? Sometimes I think those people who just can’t live without a partner may be on to something. They seem to be embracing (and feeling) a kind of life I’ll never know, probably because I’ve “learned” to. Is it a death of some kind of innocence? Did we kill it?

* * * * *

I always believed in the idea of moderation and the mid-ground principle.

In as much as a lone wolf sounds like a throwback to the nomad era, having a “people-who-need-people” people can also be grating, especially if it’s the “I can’t live without someone beside me!” Okay, not grating, just pathetic. Extreme independence can be as sad as extreme dependence.

Thus, the wonderful middle ground beckons.

But of course learning to live a life of moderation takes, well, a moderate amount of time. And the road to moderation is fraught with swinging from one extreme to the next. So you ask yourself: Would you rather be someone who can be alone, or someone who has to be with someone? I’d put my bet on the former. I’d rather hook up with someone who chooses to be with me because he just wants to, not because he needs to.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cebuanos, We're Sooo There!


I am not officially out.

Yes, ladies (wait, wait… are there any in the audience?) and gentlemen, The McVie is still officially in the closet. Technically still in the closet. And I’m fine with it.

I can already hear the great groaning of viewers going, “Hu-whaaat?!”

Let me backtrack.

The year was 1987. My boyfriend was still just a mischievous gleam in his parents’ eyes. It was nearly December, and the days were shorter, the nights colder. My classmate and I were on our last semester, trying to finish our thesis. Yes, he’s THE classmate, my big crush. I was running out of time, and I needed to know: Is there a chance that G, my classmate and friend, will also see me as something more than just a friend? I only knew one way to find out, and that was to come out to him.

Well, we all know how that turned out. So much for my very first coming out.

A few months after graduation, I had to tell someone else, so I came out to my second closest friend, a girl. She was slightly shocked, cuz she didn’t expect it. But it took her almost less than a minute to process it, then she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Ah, okay!” And then she proceeded to ask me who among our guy classmates were my crushes.

I slowly and quietly came out to my closest friends first, especially those involved in the theater. But at my first job, I stayed in the closet. I still wasn’t sure if my officemates will like me or not if I admitted I was gay. Looking back, given that I was working at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the bastion of Philippine culture and arts and the home to a hundred happy homosexuals, I realize now that I was probably at my stupidest.

So I vowed to myself that in my next work place, I will make it a point to come out to my officemates. And everyone I worked with knew I was gay.

But I never came out to my family and relatives. Or rather, they’re the only ones I’ve not formally told. Have I dropped hints? Nope. Do I leave clues? Not a bit. My mom subscribes to Catholic Digest; she once reasoned out that a female cousin of mine was “nawala ang landas” because she had lesbian friends. So my policy has always been: If they don’t ask, I don’t volunteer; but if they ask, I won’t lie.

So it’s only my kin who don’t know. Or do they? Manila is such a small town; my siblings’ friends have friends who are friends with my friends. And I am so out to my friends. So I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told someone even by accident. Which actually makes me think that coming out, for me, is really just a formality.

But if I were to dig way back, I think my coming out was really during high school. I knew even when I was in grade school that I was attracted to guys; but it was mostly admiration to those guys with handsome faces and well-built bodies. I was blissfully unaware of gay sex until I started watching movies alone in movie houses in Cubao.

I think it was in Quezon Theater. I don’t even remember what movie I was watching. I only remember the guy sitting next to me even though there were plenty other seats. I remember his right hand brushing my left leg. I remember being scared yet excited. I felt like I was burning in Hell from the inside. Every caress he made sent seismic shivers all the way inside my body. The higher his hand slid up my thigh, the hotter and harder I got. Until, bingo! He cupped my crotch first, then squeezed gently, feeling my burning hardness inside my jeans. When he managed to unzip my pants and bring my throbbing manhood out, I could almost see steam coming out of my pants. And then he went down on me. My mental synapses flipped and overloaded. My body was on fire. And in that instant, I knew, I just knew, that this is precisely what my body wants, that I needed a man’s lips and tongue to please my raging hard-on.

The first time I had sex was in a movie house; it was just oral sex, but it felt like an out-of-body experience. Now that’s coming out.

* * * * *

The collective coming out party here.

The E Fabcast, Parts 1 & 2

The Fabcasters sat down with The Chronicles of E over wine and cheese to chat about living with HIV. We were in the house of Migs’ friend, A.

So let me invite all of you to listen, laugh and learn.

Part 1
Download this fabcast (right click and save)
Music credits:
“Crash (The ’95 Mix)” by The Primitives
“Trouble Is A Friend” by Lenka

Part 2
Download this Fabcast (right click and save)
Music credits:
“Live Forever” by Oasis
“Who Wants To Live Forever” by Queen