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 25, 2012

Oh Brother

I received the following message on Facebook from an 18-year old who follows The McVie Show. At first I started composing my reply also on FB, but as my answer got lengthier, I decided I’d just blog about it. Let’s call him Eighteen, and here’s his message:

hello sir mcvie. Sorry to bother you but i just want ask for some advice. Recently, i just told my brother that i have a boyfriend. As much as possible kasi i want to be open to my brother (and i think he’s a bi because he had a bf too before but now he’s dating women again) i was expecting that he would be supportive of me, that he would be fine with my current relationship. But my expectations weren’t met. He wants me to stop seeing my bf. He wants me to be “normal” and that disappointed me. Sobra. i even cried in front of him.

I’m young and i don’t know if this kind of road is what i want. But what i know is that i love my boyfriend. Yung support ng brother ko lang naman yung gusto ko. and it’s depressing na he would react like that..

* * * * *

Dear Eighteen,

First of all, thanks for reaching out to me. As you know, I’m not a counselor nor am I trained to be one. I can only dispense advise according to what I know, and in the manner that I am familiar with. Given that, please consider me as just one point of view. Feel free to ask others (and I sincerely hope you do have others you can talk to). If you want, seek out counselors also.

Now here’s what I think.

Just because they love you doesn’t mean they will always agree with you. Do not expect that the ones closest to you will automatically be supportive. Different people have different reasons, different points of view, and different values. Let us assume that your brother is bisexual. Just because you and he share the same interest in guys doesn’t mean that he also thinks like you. He may have his reasons why he doesn’t want you to follow in his footsteps. Let’s speculate for a moment here. He may have found it difficult living a gay or bisexual life in our society, and therefore he may want to spare you the pain of going through the same ordeal. Perhaps he’s “forcing” you to be straight out of love and concern for you. (If that is the case, while I don’t agree with his actions, I’m touched by his concern.)

But regardless of whether your brother’s motives are born out of love or out of more selfish reasons (for example, ayaw niyang mapahiya ang pangalan niya at ng inyong pamilya), YOUR LIFE IS YOUR LIFE. And the first thing you need to ask yourself is this: kaya mo bang panindigan ang buhay na pipiliin mo? Now, if you’re still not sure if “this kind of road is what (you) want,” then you are free to try and explore other paths.

At eighteen years old, you may be unsure yet of which path you really want to take. That’s okay, it’s quite normal. In fact, I think at your age it’s pretty normal to experiment. Go out with girls and guys. Have safe, protected sex with girls and guys. This is the time to get to know yourself more, and as they say, experience is the best teacher.

But never ever forget to always listen to your inner self. What is your inner self saying to you? Are you happy with a particular choice you made? Does it feel right to you? Be honest with yourself.

Don’t be worried if things aren’t instantly clear. Sometimes learning takes a while. Be patient with yourself as well as with other people. And though you may want to be open to your loved ones, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. I myself have not come out to my family, specifically my mom (since my dad’s dead already) and my siblings. I wasn’t sure if they would understand me. In an ideal world I would like all my loved ones to know that I am 100% gay. But I know that there is no ideal world, so I live with what I have, and I take full responsibility for my choices.

Perhaps one day in the future my brother will tell me, “You know, I’ve known you were gay for a long time now, and I found that out from other people. Why didn’t you tell us? We would have accepted you for who you are.” I will answer him with, “I didn’t want to risk that. Besides, my sexual preference is just one part of who I am.” Luckily, I am now at an age wherein if they ask me about my sexual preference, I won’t lie. But if they don’t ask, I don’t feel the need to volunteer either.

Your brother still loves you. And your brother may still support you in the other areas of your life. But when it comes to your love/sex life, find your support elsewhere, from those who understand and accept you for who you are. Don’t force your brother to accept you. Let him come to that decision himself. But if he doesn’t, well, that’s sad, but what can you do? A loved one’s approval may be wonderful, but it’s also ultimately unnecessary for you to live your life.

* * * * *

Dear Viewers of The McVie Show: Feel free to share your thoughts to Eighteen, if you are so inclined.  Perhaps he can also benefit from your ideas, points of view, and even suggestions. As I said, I am but one point of view.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sex And Safety

Let me take this opportunity to invite you guys to an ending and a beginning.

First, for those of you who visit and frequent bathhouses (despite the threat of raids), a landmark bathhouse in Pasay City will be closing its doors. This is sad news for the pink community, and I don’t mean just for bathhouse goers. Whether you agree with the whole idea of a bathhouse or not, they are some of the safe places that gays can be who we are, without fear of being looked down upon because of our sexual preference. We are slowly losing our safe places. (Or perhaps, maybe this is a sign that our safe places are moving away from the dark and discreet to the more open and unassuming? I leave it up to social scientists to ponder on that one.)

* * * * *

And now, an invite to begin a healthy habit (if you’ve not started already) or to continue one. HIV is still on the rise. There is only one way to know if you’re safe from the virus or not: HAVE YOURSELF TESTED. Taking the test is still the better option, regardless of the outcome. If you’re negative, you can now take steps to ensure you stay negative. If you’re positive, the earlier you know, the better your chances of living a quality life despite your positive status. So do yourself a favor and take the test.

(This is especially good for those living in the Malate area. The venue is discreet.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard

If that were true, then Dolphy’s hard days may be over. On Twitter as I type this, the hashtag #PrayForDolphy is already doing the rounds. On television, news shows are scrambling to cover Dolphy’s condition in Makati Med.

My readers may be livid that I’m writing like this. The man’s not yet dead, and yet you seem to wish him so! I can almost hear their rants. No, I am not wishing him dead.

Yes, Dolphy may still pull out of this one. Yes, he may still be able to recover and live several years more. But let’s face facts. Given his age and the state of his health, the longer and more often Dolphy is hospitalized, the more unlikely that a full recovery will happen. It’s about getting real. It’s about being open to all the possibilities, even the unpleasant ones. It’s not about losing hope, but tempering hope with a reality check.

So let’s hope for the best for Dolphy, but be ready for the worst. There’s a difference between wishing someone ill versus facing the grimmest scenario with some sense of grace. Dolphy has done more in his life than most of us could ever hope for with ours. If it’s his time to rest, then let us also have the humility to accept that.

Ultimately it’s about how we view Death. Most of us have a problem with the Grim Reaper; He is, after all, the ultimate manifestation of Loss. And let’s face it, many of us are still like children, holding on to things and people as if we own them. It takes a while before we realize that the ownership was never ever really with us. And one of the ultimate lessons of Life is that we all need to let go eventually, even of ourselves.

We are all on the road to our deaths, dear sirs; some of us are just way ahead of the others.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus Revisited

WARNING: For those who have yet to see Prometheus and don’t want their viewing experience spoiled, STAY AWAY. This isn’t an invitation, but a warning.

* * * * *

Prometheus was a demanding film, right? Leaves more questions than it gives answers, right? Well, I believe that was Ridley Scott’s intention.

I know that there are those who believe than a viewer’s interpretation, so long as it makes sense and is consistent, is enough. I, however, am inclined to do a more scholarly approach, which is to try and understand the filmmaker’s original intentions. When it comes to dead creators like Homer, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, and their ilk, one gets clues wherever one can. But when Ridley Scott’s alive and well, well, one checks out his interviews. So after reading several of his interviews and some bloggers’ theories online, I’ve decided that the following is an acceptable interpretation of the movie. Of course, I may be off in some things, so if you spot any discrepancies, do tell.

* * * * *

Years ago there was an alien race called the Engineers, although my friend Marlon has a better term for them: Gluta-Borta. One of them stayed behind primordial Earth and overdosed on the dark liquid as part of a ritual to seed their DNA on the planet. (That dark liquid can turn a worm or a human into a monster-slash-penis whose sole duty is to impregnate--whether via vagina or via mouth--a host, from which will burst forth the Killer Alien which we all know and love. Overdosing on it, though, just disintegrates the Gluta-Borta’s body.)

From Gluta-Borta’s DNA came forth the human race. Several times the Gluta-Bortas visited their creations and left signs as to where they came from. That is, until around 2000 years ago, when they stopped coming. Why?

Cut to the ship Prometheus coming to their planet on Christmas Eve. And they discover a decapitated Gluta-Borta that was killed around 2000 years ago. What’s the significance of 2000 years ago?

Here’s the theory. The Gluta-Bortas would send an emissary to monitor the  humans, maybe even introduce upgrades to our physical and mental facilities. Unfortunately 2000 years ago the humans turned on their emissary and crucified him on the cross, even piercing his side (an echo of the burst chests of the bodies in the alien ship). Angered that their creation has turned against them, the Gluta-Bortas created weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the form of the dark liquid and the worms. The liquid and worms were to be release on Earth. Unfortunately, the biological weapons they created turned against them, killing all but one of them (who remained in the stasis pod).

The depiction of a Killer Alien in the chamber (in a crucified position, no less; again, echoes of ritualistic deaths that are seen all throughout the movie) indicates that the Gluta-Bortas know of the said species, and that this killer species may be around for some time now. Perhaps this is the first time the Gluta-Bortas decided to use them as WMDs, but unfortunately their gamble failed.

* * * * *

The movie Prometheus tackles, on several levels, the idea of Creators and their Creations, whether they are cosmically created (Gods and their creations), biologically created (parents and their offspring) or invented (hello, Dave the android). It shows how the creations eventually will take over or destroy or kill their creators.

In a couple of interviews, Ridley Scott said that most of the problems of this world are caused by religions, and this idea seeped into the making of Prometheus. The movie hints at the difference between religion and faith, with Shaw’s devotion symbolized by her cross necklace. The movie seems to imply that gods are best when they remain inscrutable beings that are way out there and are just used as as source of inner strength and faith. But mainly the movie is a cautionary tale, a warning that the more one gets to know their gods, the more disappointed one becomes. Because when you become face to face with your own god, you either end up killing them or being killed by them.

The movie isn’t flawless, by the way. Charlize Theron’s character, while serving a thematic use for the movie, is also one of the most useless characters, and a waste of use of Charlize. Her silly death is, ultimately, silly. (“Let’s just make it roll over her, and be done with her!”) The scientists behaved with a stupidity that fits within a horror film genre. But see, the film is a hybrid of horror and science fiction, and the offspring should also satisfy the science fiction part. There are smarter ways to make the cobra-like creature attack the scientist instead of the “Oooh, what a cute creature! It’s not gonna harm me. Let me just extend my hand and give it a pat” silliness.

But still, Prometheus is a staggering film, and I like how it leaves viewers with something to think about and argue about. It’s the questions and the puzzles that make us want to push the curtain aside and see what’s behind. Then again, it’s that same curiosity of seeking knowledge that drives men to want to meet their gods, to revisit the past in search of answers. Or maybe it’s the drive to make a prequel. And when one seeks to revisit that which one created, it can sometimes bite him back.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sugod, Mga Kafatheeeeeeed!

One of the biggest hits in last year’s Virgin Labfest was Kafatiran by Dingdong Novenario. And now it is one of the main reasons why I’m trooping to the CCP for this year’s Virgin Labfest. It is one play that I think I will not get tired of watching again and again, much like ZsaZsa Zaturrnnah or Caredivas. Fine, baklaan na kung baklaan. But Novenario’s one act play is not only easy to watch (hey, it’s just one act), it also packs more laughs and punches per page that some of the other similarly progressive pink plays.

For those who missed it last year, now’s your chance to watch it. For those who’ve never seen it, don’t miss it! Somewhere a pink fairy will shed some of her glitter should you not watch it.

For my reaction to Kafatiran last year, click HERE.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Me On Me

One of the things I find most difficult to explain to D is my need for “me-time” without making him feel that he is lacking as a person and as a partner.

Me-time is a peculiar thing. I’m not sure if it’s something that developed as my way of dealing with loneliness during my single years. Is it cosmic predisposition (I’m Pisces)? Or perhaps it’s my family circumstances (after years of sharing a room with my older brother, when he married I had the whole room to myself; my mom eventually dubbed it “Joel’s sanctum sanctorium”). Whatever the reason, there are times when I just want to retreat inside my head.

Me-time is not really all that dramatic. I don’t need a special place or ritual accompanying it. And I don’t need to push people away during me-time. In fact, we can be in the same area and time; just don’t freak out if I’m quiet and preoccupied. I am just reconnecting with myself. And that’s basically what it is. Self-awareness means seeking out one’s self once in a while.

I am sure that D also has his quiet times. And I think that the more of Life he experiences, the more he will need his own me-time. One of the things we all need to learn is that we should be our own biggest fans. No matter how much assistance and support I extend to D, he will still need time to embrace and take care of himself.

Gays Under Attack? Fabcast, Part 4

Here is the epic conclusion to our discussion. Epic because it runs for a little more than 30 minutes. As producer I try my best to keep each Fabcast to a running time of about 15-20 minutes for a practical purpose: the smaller the file, the easier to upload and download. But for this last part, with everyone weighing in their opinion on the question, “How would you personally react/what would say to someone who attacks you for being gay?” I thought it best to keep the momentum instead of cutting it up any further.

So here is the fourth and last part of this recording. Listen in, enjoy, and (we hope), get something out of our discussion.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Music credits:

“Timebomb” by Kylie Minogue
“Welcoming” by Michael Manring
“To The One Who Knows” by Yanni
“Gol Na Mban San Àr” by Mary McLaughlin & William Coulter
“After The Harvest” by Angels Of Venice
“Dream Come True” by Jim Brickman
“Titanium” by David Guetta featuring Sia