30 May, 2008

martin cabrera's "CONDO" [and the hour and a half that i'll never get back]

during my one of my usual trips to quiapo to exercise my patronage of the underground economy of pirated dvds, my supplier handed me a few titles with my copy of 'ang lihim ni antonio' -which should be the contents of this particular post, but if you know me, i wouldn't pass off an opportunity to criticize something if it didn't equate to being such a waste of time. And that waste of time, is martin cabrera's CONDO.

With the advent of digital cinema and the accessibility of it to young filmakers, one cannot help to look at the situation as a tragedy for the art that is cinema as there are bound to be a few horrible self-indulgent outputs such as CONDO.

To spare you some 90 minutes which you'll never be able to get back, indulge my summary. CONDO is some failed attempt at intelligent cinematic storytelling about a security guard who eventually 'finds himself' in the midst of the usual grind of daily work in a condominium that is as expected, full of familiar yet distant characters identified by the door numbers they occupy. Actually, this well-worded summary is undeserved by such a lousy movie so here's what it deserves: "it's a pointless story of a security guard who realizes that he needs an opthalmologist and eyeglasses."

There, i have just spared you some wasted minutes...[insert evil laugh here]

I will, for my respect of his talent applaud Arnold Reyes for doing what he can with whatever crappy script he was handed. His interpretation of the character was consistent and of note. Coco Martin has shown some improvement, but what can he do with a bag of barf, right?

In the end, it tries to be something that it's not layered over by all that cinematic pretense and i'm glad that i only got myself a pirated copy. That's the only blow i could deal these amateurs for wasting my time.

Oh yeah, i forgot to mention, i actually know these people...and they are paving the way for the tragic future of philippine cinema...a sign of bad things to come.

Lea Salonga My Life...On Stage

there are a few performers in my book that 'can do no wrong'...and so, when presented with the opportunity to watch 'the lea salonga' live, i immediately counted myself in...who knows when i'll be able to see her perform live again, right? Watched the philippine run of Miss Saigon like 3 times, and nearly sellin' my soul just to make sure i get to watch at least what we used to call at the time a 'Lea Show' ~and my goodness, did i watch two!!! That done, with only one day of absence from my FOH Head duties during tanghalang ateneo's run of saint joan of the stockyards...but, i'm getting so far off my review now.

First, i would like to thank mr. michael williams for providing us with the tickets...and what i consider an "inspiration reboot" from what i consider to be quite a draining summer...i have dealt with so much orientalia and have seen every shade and pattern on chinese silk that even if someone paid for my ticket to china with 5 star hotel accomodations, i would -without batting ang eyelash- say no [sans the tragic earthquakes]...but of course, My Reflection still took a few bars at the overture and was sung by Lea -her version, ten years now, seems unchanged. [and the Mulan Production Design Panic Clock ticked on at the back of my head...]

Back to the show...
I guess it doesn't take much for the world to agree with me that Lea Salonga still has it: that beautiful voice, the stage presence, that expected degree of high calibre showmanship...[supported by a surprising chorus of sorts comprised of acclaimed musical theatre talents like Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and of course, Michael Williams...i'm not making 'sipsip' to the boss, okay...]

I love the way they deconstructed the Chorus Line song 'Nothing' into a storytelling of her journey from awkward pop talent to being a miss saigon auditonee. The script of the narratives were well thought of -not like your usual revolting sentimentality as that of regine velasquez's 'saving face' tribute at that lousy afternoon show. And that Menudo song wasn't like 'ewww, the 80s!' but more like 'i wanna sing to that'. i was really at the edge of my seat when she sang Defying Gravity. Plus, i had more than my expected fill of musical theatre songs [the lack of which for a long time, have been filled by dvd performances i've played over and over]. Aga Muhlach's cameo was amusing...i could sense the kilig factor which makes me wonder if star cinema would offer them another movie...

The production design was okay, it had that rotating contraption that reminded me of the set of her araneta coliseum show a few years back with that red floor and christmas tree...and then i saw Mio Infante, so enough said about recycling designs. And Rajo Laurel really made up with bling what he lacked in daresay 'originality'? [but lea pulled it off, even if micko -seatmate- wanted to rip off that dust-ruffle cape she was wearing...which makes me wonder if rajo's inspiration was a disco ball for i spent more time dodging bling hurtling towards mine eyes...or... or...or the theme could have been 'my reflection in sequins and swarovski components'?]

Ria Ortega and i were confirming titles of songs and from which musical they were taken from. Micko and Pammu played advocatus diabolique to my comments. My cousin Aurelia sat quietly beside me...

And in the end, i went home with that 'an evening at the theatre' feeling: entertained, elated, enjoyed the company of friends, took a stab at being a critic, and a bit inspired...

ten things i learned from my carroza challenge...

10. always bring an emergency tool kit with the essentials at all times...
-you don't know when you'll be needing screwdrivers, pliers, and electric tapes etcetera

9. test the generator and have it maintained at least 3 days before
-this is to save one the panic of having to deal with generator malfunction merely hours before the procession as what happened to me on holy thursday!!! my gulay, walang ilaw!!!

8. don't trust the local bading mananahi when it comes to proper silhouette
-nagpahabol ka na nga ng damit para sa jueves santo, binigyan mo na nga ng eksaktong gayahan, mali pa!!! grrrrrrrrr....

7. for the illumination of the rebulto, minimum spotlight yield should be 120 watts per spotlight bulb

6. i would like to acknowledge the inventors of the staple gun for their conrtibution to "making things easier" for the panic-stricken

5. be fashionably late for the line-up
-have a feel of when most of the rebultos and their carrozas have already lined up by the church courtyard, then make your entrance...trust me, you're going to enjoy it.

4. mag-ingat: naglipana ang mga bading at ang kanilang mga mapang-husgang mga titig
-just like your local beauty pageants, the semana santa processions is no stranger to the members of the federation who can be indiscreet about the way the whisper their comments or contort their faces as they view your santa...just say to yourself: "kahit kailan hindi ka magiging kasing-ganda ng santa ko!!!"

3. nothing beats fresh flowers
-we haven't even gone past the holy door of the church at the end of the good friday processions, when the people started going after the flowers...it seemed absurd at the time, but a bit touching later...

2. when all else fails, be sure to have swarovski crystal components on hand

1. i would like to acknowledge the ensaimada of red ribbon which i placed at the foot of the santa, that by some degree of superstition on my part, absorbed all the things that could possibly go wrong during the procession...

on an easter sunday dawn [that's about four days late]

re-posted from a march 27, 2008 blog

easter sunday at 3:30am, my cousin aurelia woke me up to more than the usual panic i have been feeling the past few days since i came home to antique for semana santa...but unlike the reaction one should have after waking up in that state, i just laid there and let the minutes pass by -this considering that all the santo owners should have their carrozas lined up by the church courtyard at 4:00am- ah, the procrastinator in me...

needless to say, some time later, i sprung out of bed, groomed and dressed myself against the grind of the space-time continuum only to realize that I was the one to open the roll-up doors of the ancestral house, waking up the old mute man [a tanod whom we hired] who was sleeping by the carroza which was made ready with the santa already dressed the night before. of course, can we forget my ever animated mother who was already mouthing out instructions in the background, and my cousin benjamin [my partner in crime and as we call it in kinaray-a "imaw sa kabiga-an" -crudely translated 'kasama sa kalandiang ito'] and his wife were just waking up...

so it came to pass that we really had to pull out of the house or else we would be embarrassingly late for the salubong...i ended up pulling the carroza from it's makeshift canopy with my mother hanging on to the side of it as the mute old guy was trailing behind with tri-bike that carried the generator -oh yes, i felt like hercules... [and thank the heavens for the ingenious welding skills of the wheel mechanism maker, it was easy to maneouver and felt lightweight]

when we got to the church courtyard, the choir of kiddie angels were already a-singing the hossanas and some of the female saints were already in-line behind the image of the blessed mother as the male saints were on the other side behind the image of the risen christ. and we were not the last to arrive...

the salubong was very simple and went on without much ceremony except for moving the carrozas to follow the images of the risen christ and the holy mother. as i learned on the spot, the carrozas and their respective rebultos were obligated to stay for first sunday mass at dawn as was tradition...well, who am i to argue with tradition aber?

and so, as we watched first light creep up from behind the carrozas, i got to speak with the other santo owners -being the new kid on the block so to speak- i was glad to know that some of them were blood relations i have met before, others new friends i have made in the run of the holy thursday and good friday processions, and one asking for help to find a proper restorer and encarnador for her century old santa...it's like an entire social dynamic unto itself.

from there, i realized that this was it...this was the way i'm going to be spending my holy week from now until my breath leaves me.

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered [lyrics i really have to post...give it a chance]

just watched The History Boys for what i think is the millionth time...here's a song from the soundtrack...

The lyrics to "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" are originally by Lorenz Hart, with music by Richard Rodgers. The song debuted in 1940's theatrical production of Pal Joey

Bewithced, Bothered, and Bewildered

He's a fool and don't I know it
But a fool can have his charms
I'm in love, and don't I show it?
Like a babe in arms

Love's the same old sad sensation
Lately I've not slept a wink
Since this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink

I'm wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

I'll sing to him, each spring to him
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

Couldn't sleep and wouldn't sleep
When love came and told me, I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

Lost my heart, but what of it
He is cold, I agree
He can laugh, but I love it
Although the laugh's on me

I'll sing to him, each spring to him
And long for the day when I'll cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

After one whole quart of brandy
Like a daisy, I'm awake
With no Bromo-Seltzer handy
I don't even shake

Men are not a new sensation
I've done pretty well I think
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink

I've sinned a lot, I'm mean a lot
But I'm like sweet seventeen a lot
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

I'll sing to him, each spring to him
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

When he talks, he is seeking
Words to get off his chest
Horizontally speaking, he's at his very best

Vexed again, perplexed again
Thank God, I can be oversexed again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I

truly enchanted...if only for a moment [and a screaming diva for an intro]

re-posted from March 2, 2008:

sunday afternoon...

nothing to do...

i have a firm resolve that local television programs on a sunday are not worth the time they waste.
especially when it has come to my attention [because my beloved mother can't stop talking about it over the 2:00pm lunch we had] that the all-scream-through-the-song diva regine velasquez just made an utter fool of herself when she made this business of moving to another station quite public but in the end, the deal didn't push through.

and was it not only last week when she went out to say goodbye via a scream-song singing final performance at her GMA-7 show? And just this afternoon, TO SAVE FACE after that big hullabaloo she made of the embarrassment she put herself through, a group of singers were singing away her songs, in tribute, as if her staying was the best thing that ever happened to filipino television. And of course, Regine's tears were on cue. Regine hija, you have just defined 'biting your surgically enhanced nose to spite your face' [why don't you also throw away your sagging bosoms?].

I for one wouldn't be able to live with myself after that faux pas...but fear not Regine, for just like Snow White and the seven dwarfs, you have a dwarf waiting for you [ogie alcasid] and note, not prince charming, just a dwarf [ i believe, still married to someone else ]...it would make for a bad dirty movie if you had 6 more...Ha!!!
Now, what i did spend time on was this dvd i had of Disney's Enchanted. Actually, it was among a pile of 20 something that i would watch... sometime... soon... when i can... if the gods allow...

Enchanted had the best of the disney fairy tale formulas stuffed into a delightful cinematic treat. The distinct voice of julie andrews doing the narration, the animation done in a distinct disney style, the songs that make it such a disney movie, the formulaic yet imaginative storytelling, the grand scale live action musical numbers, and stellar performances by the ensemble [and let us not forget the digital chipmunk].

In short, i loved it...i couldn't find anything to say against it.
And then, it hit me further...by the time Giselle attends the costume ball and realizes that the true love she envisioned to 'happily ever after' in Prince Edward's arms couldnt be more unreal in the real world of new york than the love she now discovers for Robert as she dances with him.

Throughout this John McLoughlin sings the song 'So Close' and by the time the lyrics come to
"We're so close to reaching that famous happy ending
Almost believing this one's not pretend.
Now you're beside me and look how far we've come.

So far
We are
So Close"

And i catch myself in tears...and it was quite overwhelming, that moment. But as the movie did it's obligatory 'happily ever afters', as any disney film would, the enchantment leaves.

Oh to be foolish for but a short time and to believe in fairy tales, i attest, isn't healthy...it sets you up and then takes it back.

Perhaps, i say this now since that part of me that believes in all those cliché storybook endings has long gone...and the irony is, i'm actually tasked to craft the illusion of telling two of such tales for the stage. How does one tell a tale of a world one does not believe in anymore?

With a straightjacket,perhaps?

to file under the "What the F" Category

if you're a homophobic bigot, beware...
i shall find you, and cut your heart out with a plastic spoon.
if i can strip an entire fried chicken using only a plastic spoon and fork without touching it, i can definitely do that...

27 May, 2008

Ten Things and a-lotta-zhu-zhu

i have been quite busy these past few weeks...errr months... i'm supposed to have done this ten things blog ages ago...the summers at multiply have been flooded by these pass-it-on blogs and it's already july...so here goes...

1. I have a another name and identity which is listed/registered legally within the confines of government documentation...tells you something about it ano?

2. At the risk of me unintentionally hitting someone again, let me declare: that my back is actually the most sensitive part of my body...not so long ago, someone special jokingly poked me from behind and suddenly, BAM!!! let me tell you, there was drama three blocks down.

3. I used to -wait- I still do... when i work on art stuff on the floor, i often place my scissors, paitbrush, pencils, x-acto knife etcetera in-between the toes of my feet...and i still end up looking for them midway!!!

4. I once wore a kilt to school as a college freshman in the Ateneo... enough said!!!

5. In the not so distant past when someone asked me about my father, i would always answer, "oh, he's dead." -this was to avoid the trouble of explaining where he was. the thing is, before he even died, i already killed him...so the secret here is: "I'm a MURDERER!"

sidebar: was it not Picasso who uttered, "every artist must kill his father." -or something of the sort

6. My first childhood crush in kindergarten was this girl named Lindsay. she was this little caucasian girl with dirty blonde hair...and gentleman that i was, i actually kissed her hand which i copied off from some episode of "fairy tale theater"

-but at the same time, i loved hanging out with this boy named Doyle... hehehehe

7. Speaking of kindergarten, my first die-cast metal Bioman action figure was PINK FIVE!!!

-hello mother! cinematic foreshadowing is that you?

8. In the process of getting dressed, i struggle more with what underwear to wear than the very clothes that people do see...

[we must be in our intimate best...we must...]

9. I once got soooo wasted with "happy brownies" that i couldn't remember about 8 hours of my life that day.

10. I have a crush on Peter O'Toole -he seemed to have looked quite old even when he was young

thus, i tag:

Brian Maestro
Sylveth Ong-iko
Lance Navarrete
Paolo Del Rosario
Robert Chua
Remus Villanueva
Jam Fournier
Ricky Abad
PQ Gallaga
Michael Maguigad