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)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Pesos (And More)

Want to have a picture worthy of your Facebook profile, Twitter account and your numerous other accounts in your different social media sites? (This may also include your accounts in Planet Romeo, Manjam, Grindr and the like, although after finishing reading this post, you may decide it inappropriate for those site. Or maybe not, hehehe.)

Thanks to ubiquitous cameras, whether the point-and-shoots or in-phones, camera whoring has turned us into nano-narcissists. But what if that selfish act is used for a selfless cause?

Then consider joining the Love Yourself Charity Photoshoot on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 10am to 10pm. For a Php1,000 donation, you get (1) one Love Yourself t-shirt; (2) grooming services for the shoot; and (3) one digital photo layout, in the style of “Love Yourself.”

Do something for yourself as well as for others. How’s that for dual motives?

For more information and to register, click the link here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pioneers And Inspirations, Now On YouTube

Because lately I’ve been fooling around more with iMovie, I decided to place on YouTube our Fabcast sessions with Dan & Rye. Wala lang. Because I can.

A Backlash Against The Baklas!

I read with interest Michael Davis C. Tan’s article “An open letter to the people behind Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington” in Outrage Magazine. Read it first here before proceeding.

So, is Zombadings a comedic exercise in self-hatred? Is it a satirical, self-aware attempt to poke fun at gay issues? Or is it a reprehensible, irresponsible movie that pushes the gay agenda seven (or more) years back?

What I find interesting in Mr. Tan’s point-by-point analysis of the movie is how careful, how serious, how politically correct each point is. Which is expected of an advocate, I agree (he doesn’t hide his pink advocacy colors anyway).

But this film is a comedy. And if there’s one thing I realized, advocates and comedians will often be at odds with how comedy works. Comedians are serious about not taking things seriously; advocates are serious about taking their causes seriously. For comics, making fun of things is acceptable; nothing is sacred. For advocates, making fun of a sacred cause is, well, a mockery; worse, they fear such mockery can easily be misinterpreted by the audience, making it all the more dangerous.

You know, for the longest time now I’ve not found anything funny with this whole political correctness thing, especially when it’s quite rigid and demanding. And I suppose that’s where the road really diverges, eh? “Being gay is not a sumpa.” But of course! It is obvious that the filmmakers know this to be true. And herein lies the difference: while the filmmakers are fairly confident that no one who watches their film will afterwards drag their gay son to an arbularyo and expect macho dancers to appear during a seance, Mr. Tan seems to fear that there will be those in the audience who will take the whole sumpa thing seriously (“Eh sabi kasi sa pelikula!”). Movies and their audiences do not exist in a vacuum; if someone does take the movie too literally, there will always be another person who will end up whacking him on the head. My mom always has a favorite phrase to put us children in place whenever we got carried away by a movie: “Hay naku mga anak, it’s just a movie!” And that, dear folks, is a healthy sense of perspective. That Mr. Tan believes that “this film believes homosexuality is curable is ignorant” is, well, silly. And, as the cliché goes, silliness has to be excused.

Mr. Tan also makes an interesting case of acceptance versus tolerance: “LGBT advocates do not exist because we want to be tolerated – we actually already are. We exist to push for acceptance.” That I understand; someone must fight the good fight.

But maybe therein lies the rub. Maybe seven years later, despite what we see in the news, there are now gays and gay-friendly people who can actually make fun of themselves and the gay situation. What advocates see as self-hatred, others see as having a sense of perspective and (dare I say it?) maturity. And maybe in their militant push for the kind of acceptance they want, these advocates fail to realize that, in certain cases, what they deem as mere tolerance is actually another form of acceptance by society.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneers And Inspirations

Gibbs so aptly put it. Back in 2007 there was a Pinoy pink podcast that captured the ears (and hearts and funny bones) of Pinoy bekis both here in the country and abroad. The podcast was The Dan & Rye Show, featuring two of the pioneering Pinoy cast members of the (then) newly-opened Disneyland Hong Kong. Their hilarious chit-chats, recorded without editing, revealed a friendship and a chemistry that was engaging, endearing and highly entertaining. They tackled anything and everything they felt like tackling, from silly in-house blind-item chismis to gay rights to the lives of OFWs.

Migs, Gibbs and I stumbled upon their podcast online. After hearing their podcasts, Migs said, “Hey, we can do a podcast too!” Thus was born the Troikasters; after several episodes, the original three expanded to become the Fabcasters.

After a few years the contracts of Dan and Rye weren’t renewed by Disney, and they both went their separate lives. And we never heard of the two together in a podcast again.

Until now.

Pardon the delay in posting, our day jobs have been quite busier than usual of late. Still, hearing the two once again in a podcast is a joy, especially for this particular fanboy. Their laughter is infectious, and they’re my sure-shot mood-lifters. I’ve always believed in their tandem; heck, I even fantasized one time that they have their own television show. That may just remain a fantasy; but at least for now we have the chance to hear them once again.

So to the fans of The Dan & Rye Show, as well as fans of gay podcasts in general, this one’s for you!

Part 1:
Download Part 1 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson / “Yesterday” by The Beatles / “Only Yesterday” by The Carpenters / “Turn Back Time” by Aqua
“All The Lovers” by Kylie Minogue
“Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue

Part 2:
Download Part 2 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Don’t You Remember” by Adele / “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” by The Bee Gees / “Get Back” by The Beatles
“Run The World (Girls) by Beyonce
“Miss Claire Remembers” by Enya
“October Wedding” by Montreux
“Sa Aking Pag-iisa” by Cinderella Feat. Yolly Samson
“One” by The Bee Gees
“Baby Elephant” by Rene Touzet
“Frenesi-Twist? by Les Elgart & His Orchestra
“Careless Whispers” by Wham!
“If I Loved You” by Barbra Streisand
“Wannabe” by The Spice Girls
“Shadowlands” by George Fenton

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Love Yourself Project

If you have any questions about HIV but were afraid to ask, then here’s the answer. The Love Yourself Project: HIV discreet and confidential HIV counseling for the youth and MSMs. You can now contact them.

The Love Yourself Project is also now seeking volunteers to help out in their advocacy. If you’re interested, check out their blog site here. You can also get in touch with them there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Threes

My mom and aunt flew home to Bohol last May to celebrate our hometown’s fiesta. While there my aunt suffered several mild strokes; the last one landed her at the community hospital in Tagbilaran. My mom extended her stay in Bohol to take care of her older sister. My younger brother Andrew eventually followed to Bohol to help my mom.

A couple of weeks ago my brother texted me, saying they were flying back to Manila on Friday the 15th. He said my mom misses the city life; besides, taking care of my aunt was slowly taking a toll on her too. Then his last SMS was a bit cryptic: “Ay Kuya, may ikukuwento pala ako sa inyo ni Ate pag-uwi namin. Parang pang-Supernatural!”

* * * * *

A few days before my brother was to fly to Bohol, my aunt was discharged from the hospital. She and my mom moved in to my another aunt’s house in Bilar (if they stayed in our house they’d be the only two ones there). My mom shared a bed with my aunt so she can always be ready to help her during the night.

One evening my mom woke up with a start. At the foot, on my aunt’s side of the bed, stood four hooded figures. (When we asked her for more details, my mom said one held something like a sickle, while another had something like a pitchfork.)

My mom is not the type who believed in supernatural stuff. I got my skepticism from her; but unlike my preference for a logical and scientific explanation, hers is a belief that “ghosts and supernatural beings” are the products of a weak faith in the Lord. So what she did next was classic of her: she made the sign of the cross at them. When they refused to go away, she said to herself, “That’s it! Might as well approach them and see who they really are.” So she turned around to get up from her side of the bed, her back towards the hooded figures. When she stood up and turned around to face them, they were gone.

She didn’t bother to tell my aunt about them the next morning. And by the time my brother arrived in Bohol, she completely dismissed it.

* * * * *

One evening my brother and my mom stood at the doorway to my aunt’s bedroom, discussing their plans for the next day. My aunt was already in bed, still awake. The light in the bedroom was already switched off; the only light source was coming from the small bulb lighting the hallway outside.

My brother and mom were whispering so as to allow my aunt to fall asleep. So they were both startled when my aunt exclaimed in a loud voice, “Kinsa man na?!”

My mom was already tired from a long day, so she just snapped, “It’s just Andrew.”

My brother went back to his room. (Later on he would tell us, “There really was panic in auntie’s voice.”) My mom went over to my aunt’s side. “Why were you asking who I was talking to? It’s just Andrew.”

“Hindi!” my aunt insisted. “There were three of you at the doorway!” She insisted it was another man, but she couldn’t tell who because his face was in shadows.

And that’s when my mom remembered the four hooded figures.

* * * * *

“They say that Death comes in threes.” That’s what the old folks in our quiet town of Bilar, Bohol believe.

My mom and aunt have three cousins who lived a few streets away. (We used to call their house pikas ba’y or “the other house.”) They were sisters who never married; they were fondly called “Tres Marias” (“Three Marys”).

While my mom and aunt were in Bohol, one of the Marias died because of Alzheimer’s disease. A second Maria was rushed to the hospital the same day my aunt was hospitalized. She is also expected to follow her other sister soon.

Upon hearing from my mom about the third shadow in the doorway and the four hooded figures, my brother concluded, “Let’s get Auntie out of here. I think Someone’s trying to pick her up.”

* * * * *

Now at home in Marikina, my aunt stays in my room because it is the one beside my mom’s bedroom (although she still sleeps with my aunt at night). My aunt sleeps with the door always ajar, but with the light in the hallway switched off (she finds it too bright). Only an angel-shaped night lamp provides light inside the room.

So far my brother, mom or sister have not reported any strange happenings or sightings in the house.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HIV Is Not A Death Sentence

As Tony observed about our fellow Fabcasters Migs and Corporate Closet (click here to read it), these two intelligent, wise and driven guys postponed having themselves tested for HIV for a simple reason: fear. It was the fear of finding out that maybe they are positive. It was the fear of knowing that a past mistake of theirs will haunt them until they die. Yes, the illogical trumps the logical, the emotional triumphs over the intellectual.

But fear was also responsible for them taking the test. When people close to them tested positive, and when guys they personally, actually knew started dying one by one (usually due to “complications arising from pneumonia”), the losses hit too close to home. Suddenly this issue couldn’t be ignored anymore, and testing became all the more urgent.

It actually makes sense then, to ratchet up this fear. Fight emotion with emotion, so to speak. The numbers are alarming. And what people aren’t officially saying, unofficially what you don’t know can actually kill you. Our MSM community is in danger. You are in danger. 

But is there a better way of going about things? What if there’s a way to help alleviate one’s fears? What if you find out that nowadays HIV is not a death sentence like it once was (provided it is detected early)? And what if you know there are people like us who care and are there for you?

Fear is born out of ignorance and the feeling of being alone. More than just arming MSMs with information, the Love Yourself Project (click here to check out their blog) aims to provide highly discreet and strictly confidential HIV counseling for MSMs, specifically the legally-mandated pre- and post-test counseling sessions.

But HIV counseling is just the start. The Love Yourself Project will eventually accommodate MSMs who have questions on HIV and STDs outside of the testing set-up. Ultimately the group seeks to promote “wellness through education, prevention, cure and rehabilitation in response to venereal infections (STD and HIV) and sexuality concerns.”

And maybe by then we won’t need to use fear to fight fear.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Good lord, it’s been one year since our book launch. The Threesome books (“Chronicles of E,” “Dear Migs: Letters To MGG” and “The Wetbook: Stories From The Bathouse”) were launched last year at The Room in Panay Avenue, QC. 

So what has happened since that launch?

Whenever I pass by National Book Store in Greenbelt 1, I still see copies of all three scattered in the bookshelves. When I say scattered, I mean the three books aren’t placed side by side with one another. And I noticed that they keep moving; one day I’ll find them here, the next visit I have to actively look for them since they;re not in the same place I last saw them. Is that an NBS policy? Maybe they think moving things around will help move book sales.

I have gone to the bathhouse a total of 5 times. So literally, I can count the number of times I’ve visited with one hand. You can safely say that those 5 visits won’t be featured in a book anytime soon. Not that nothing happened; so far, I’ve been lucky with my visits. Well, not really; luck plays a small part only. I’ve learned how to spot potential partners so that if my first choices don’t pan out, then I always have back-up. It’s not settling, it’s maximizing.

Gasp! McVie still visits bathhouses?! Isn’t he taken? Didn’t he and D just celebrate their first year anniversary? Yes, yes and yes. However, early on D gave me permission to continue visiting the bathhouse. “I know you like going there,” he said. Of course I insisted that if I can go, so can he.

But something funny happened. Because we gave each other carte blanche to play around, I now don’t feel the need to visit the bathhouse. Sure, there were days when I was thinking, “I wanna visit the bathhouse tonight,” then something happened during the day, or I got distracted by a movie or a dinner invite, or I suddenly remembered that I still have a Fabcast to edit, and bingo! The bathhouse has taken a backseat to several other items in my agenda.

I guess it is true what they say. Masarap ang bawal. In the musical “The Fantastiks” (which Onofre Pagsanghan translated, or rather, transplanted to a Philippine setting, into the long-running Valentine’s offer of Dulaang Sibol, “Sinta”), the dads of a couple wanted the two to end up married. So what did they do? They pretended they were at war with one another, and forbade their children to see one another. Of course that drove the boy and the girl to continue seeing one another on the sly. Reverse psychology seems to work for me and D too. Sure, I have gone five times, and often it was because I was just curious if I still have it in me, if I can snag a chubby chaser or two (har-har-har).

And because of that, I am not hopeful that there will be a “The Wetter Book” or “More Stories From The Bathhouse.” Been there, done that.

So where do I go from here?

Come to think of it, I have not been blogging as much as I used to. Recently the Fabcasters interviewed Dan & Rye of “The Dan & Rye Show,” and Rye said something that resonated with me. He said that he’s not blogging as much as he used to, because when he was happily settled down with a partner he said he didn’t know what to write about. “Wala na akong angst eh,” he realized. Yeah, angst is a perfectly legit Muse, and for the longest time my being single since birth has fueled many an episode of The McVie Show. It was also the reason why the bathhouse is my go-to place for physical male-to-male contact; if I don’t have someone, then at least I can have someone, any one, for the night.

So where do I go from here?

Nah, don’t worry, I’m not about to shut down my blog. The Show must go on. Besides, I take pride in the fact that I have been blogging for more than 7 years, and the longest respite between blog entries have been a week. I may have stopped exercising for 5 months at the gym, but exercising my writing muscles is something I refuse to let fall by the wayside.

Maybe I won’t end up with another book deal ever. Maybe I will find some other impetus besides angst to make me write. Or maybe, I need to search for some other angst that I still have. Which can be a good enough reason to go from season 11 to season 12.

In the meantime, happy anniversary to our books, Migs and E!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not A Virgin Anymore

Last Sunday was actually the first time I watched any of the Virgin Labfest entries. I dunno, maybe I’m not never really a big fan of the untried and untested. The reason why I trooped to the CCP on a Sunday afternoon was because of the level of Teresa’s excitement in inviting us to watch the play she sound designed, Kafatiran. So I went with D; it was also his first time to watch. It was the last day, and we only bought tickets to Set A.

Since this blog entry comes out after the Virgin Labfest has ended, then there is no need for spoiler alerts. I don’t know if any of these plays will ever see the light of production again, so I’m also going to just say it as I see it.

Juan Ekis’ Requiem was the first of three one-act plays of that set. The play is easily the most tedious of the three. A brother and his sister meet in his bedroom; they had come home for the first time in years because their musician dad is dying. It is a play of cryptic lines at the start, pregnant pauses and awkward silences. It’s about as 70s as Tony Perez and Cubao’s heyday.

This type of one-act play doesn’t have much movement; usually it’s just “she sits on bed” or “he sits on chair” and vice versa. Nothing much physically happens; instead, it’s the revelation of information that drives the play. So when the revelations are spoiled by the fact that one can spot them a mile away, the play’s momentum flatlines. The first time the sister asks, “Can I sleep here?” I knew that there was incest involved. And the first time she remarks, “I hate that music” referring to her dad’s recording, I guess correctly that the dad had raped her. The two actors huffed and puffed all they could, but in the end I just wanted to fast-forward to the end.

Even the bit of twist to distinguish the play from the usual dad-rapes-sister-who-has-the-hots-for-brother fails. Apparently she turns out to be adopted; unfortunately, that dilutes the shock value of both incest (they’re not related by blood) and rape (well, rape is still rape, but a father raping his own flesh-and-blood gets additional shock points). It’s not that I’m blase about incest and rape; it’s not shock that will make this play work. Without the surprise of the reveal, the play turns into a Waiting For The End.

Kinaumagahan by Rachelle Rodriguez and Wennielyn Fajilan also features a man and a woman in a room, talking. There is a certain been-there-seen-that quality of the play’s set-up: a couple argues about their relationship and tries to work things out. One can expect escalating arguments sandwiched between tender or funny scenes. He is assigned to the graveyard shift in a call center, she works as a daytime nurse; the only time they have for each other is when they meet at home when one is about to sleep and the other about to leave for work. Can their relationship survive? In this humorous peek at a slice-of-life, no major earthshaking insights are revealed. But thanks to a script that sounds real and tackles a phenomenon so current and relevant, plus the skill and onstage chemistry of the two leads, the play succeeds in engaging the audience.

Thank god they saved the best for last. Kafatiran by Dingdong Novenario is what I’d like to call a mash-up play. Novenario re-imagines the Katipunan through pink-colored glasses. A special section of the Katipunan is composed of men who are of the pink persuasion. A new recruit is to be tested to make sure he really is a “kafatid.”

Novenario liberally takes the gay in-jokes of today and weaves it into Philippine history; the result is a hilarious “what-if” look at two revolutions, one political and one sexual. Nothing is sacred; a Santacruzan becomes a substitute for the Miss Universe pageant, and even the Katipunan’s manifesto is rendered in gay-speak. Subversive? Gay humor has always had a bit of a rebellious streak flashing underneath all that glitter. If revolutions can be won by wit and verve, then Kafatiran should be our battle cry. Mabuhay! Bongga wagi!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Iron Woman

“THAT’S the tone. If we want to strike!” 
A-f**king-mazing. Meryl Streep gives a tour-de-force acting lesson in just one line. First, she shows a mischievous smile and matching glint in her eye. Then her tone shifts, and you see a flash of steel in her eyes as she reveals the iron lady inside her.
Grabe kah, Meryl (Streep, hindi Soriano, okay?!), ikaw na. Oo, ikaw na!
Dear Meryl, after doing the Iron Lady, can you next do the Iron Butterfly herself, the Lady with the Thousand Shoes, Imelda Marcos?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Coming Zoon

A film that I’ve been looking forward to seeing for the longest time now is Zombadings: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington directed by Jade Castro of Origin8 Productions. I happen to personally know several people from Origin8, so even during early shooting stage I already had an idea of the humorous premise. And when I heard of the title, I thought, “Okay, that is a must-see movie for me!”

But then the film encountered some delays. At first I heard that the post-prod really took more time than expected. Then I heard that they were still short of funds for an all-out marketing push. Of course, in the movie industry a delay is a delay is a delay; one can only spin so much. That’s why when I finally heard that it was going to be shown in Cinemalaya, I breathed a sigh of relief. It’s about time, I thought.

I mean, I have two major-major reasons why I wanna watch it:

Martin Escudero, haylabyu na! Kahit hindi pa kita napapanood evur!

Two words: Kuya Dick. Truly, ang nag-iisang Kuya Dick.

The movie looks like a fun romp. Is it more horror or comedy? Is it a sly commentary on homosexuality in society? Will Kuya Dick steal all his scenes?

Calling Origin8 peeps! Let your baby loose na.

Produced by: Origin8media (
Screenplay by: Raymond Lee, Michiko Yamamoto, Jade Castro
Directed by: Jade Castro

Watch the trailer: