26 September, 2008

divisoria, quiapo, and the right amount of gratitude...

i was at quiapo church yesterday [actually, i haven't been there as much as i used to this past month with rapunzel and all...] after doing my usual walk around plaza miranda, i came into the church just in time to catch the angelus. And it was raining outside; has been since i was in divisoria earlier that afternoon.

Sitting there, i realized what i havent done in a while; and that was to be grateful. Funny, because as i passed by the side gallery where the image of the nuestra señora de la paz y buen viaje was, i remembered that not long ago, i was at that same spot with an earphone stuck at my ear, i suddenly heard "Mama Will Provide" playing on the mp3 player... and i laughed at myself. Indeed she has!!!

A little later, i went out to take my chances with hailing a cab -insane thought during rush hour on a rainy evening- but i wanted to get home early...and the rain got worse! But i didn't care much as i do love the rain and as everyone was rushin for shelter, i was the only one on the street...AND A CAB STOPS IN FRONT OF ME! well, thank you mama mary!

So as i write this, indulge me to be grateful for this. My dear friend Sandro Lopa sent me this:
"I doubt that, Niki. Flattery and kidding aside, if there is anything undeniable about you, it is your talent and your ability to create. I know things get hard, and inspiration is very hard to come by, but that doesn't change the fact that you have the ability to be great! If you need time to think, that's fine, but don't go around thinking that you aren't good enough. Because that, my dear, is a whole lot of crock. Ok?"

Thanks, sandro...that message was like a month ago or so, i haven't been able to thank you for it.

24 September, 2008

memories of the TOWER!!!

this blog is dedicated to that ubiquitous, long, and hard member of our Rapunzel set, the TOWER [ikaw ha, what were you thinking about?]

-for being a stage engineering nightmare, taking me 3 days of hit-and-miss with the 'secret climbing mechanism'. Charing![charing, hmmmm, that's sooo last century...]

-for keeping the 6 pieces of the plyboard floor down [by its own weight], miraculously held together by heavy duty staples and without being hammered to the floor...and to think the theory behind pivots is that the floor should be fixed

-for forcing the actors to give the 'most death defying performance' of their lives...with concealed stairs that if missed by an inch would guarantee a trip to Asian...

-for reminding us to not shove something that big without lubrication, thus introducing us to WD4O...hehehe

-for reminding us that you shouldn't enter a moving door as the tower is revolving...

-for giving me 'many-mini-heart-attacks' hoping that rapunzel lets down the right 'secret weapon hair'

-for the storytellers who always forget they shouldn't turn it all the way around but only 18O!!! Grrr...

-and what about sir mike climbing the tower during egress, and I MISSED IT!!!

Oi, Rapunzel and TDS peeps, any more to add?

dance, oh gods, dance!!!

"If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the sky like the splendour of the mighty one, I am become death, the shatterer of worlds."
~the Mahabharata (pronounced without the 'a' at the end)

This passage was made infamous when the guy who invented the atom bomb saw the very first blinding explosion and uttered these very words... I wonder if at that moment, he realized what that blinding light would cost, how it would turn the tables of the second world war, and what it would give way to?

I think it's too early in the day to be quite profound...yet it's the first thing that came to mind...

On other sabaw matters, here's an old one:

Question: what did snow white sing when she came out of the photo developing store?
Answer: someday my PRINTS will come...

23 September, 2008

sampu, pulo, diez, dïs...[the latest version]

Been havin some interesting dreams lately, started keeping track of them when i do wake up -making a list- and boy have i been processing some weird ones...

And here's a bit of it: in this dream i'm about six or seven years old again, staring at the old mirror of my mom's antique dresser -which we already got rid of- and behind me, reflected are shadows whose shapes i can't seem to make out...and it didn't scare me one bit.

Another a few hours later: i know i'm somewhere fancy for i was dressed up, everything is lit in orange and lavender...i know i'm dancing, with someone, i know i'm being held quite tightly -and that's about it.

It's day four, and i'm still sick. This diarrhea feels like that time when i had too much oysters in ilo-ilo last december. Having been in bed two days now, I'm gona miss this mattress, the day of replacement looms...thanks, forty winks!

I'd better get my halloween display started...my tikbalang sculpture awaits to take form. I think i'm gonna need someone who looks like one to model...sylveth, you know someone?

"Never speak ill of society, Algernon. Only those who can't get into it do that."
~lady bracknell, 'the importance of being earnest' (bato-bato sa langit...hahahaha!)

I miss the bibingka soufflé at C2!!! It's been months...oh me, oh my...

I haven't seen my newly commissioned Saint Joseph and Reina de las Flores rebultos since their first painting phase...i do hope i can take them home soon.

Another campus shooting in finland takes the lives of nine people, and the shooter following suit. Notice that it only happens to caucasians? My heart and prayers go to them. As i have insisted for years, never give toy guns to kids...

Hoy, blue eagles! Huwag kayo mag-uuwi ng kahihiyan! The Gesú and Bellarmine field is due for one hell of party and you better not disappoint. Hahahaha!

20 September, 2008

'a tale told by a fool, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing' [and that's not me]

my better judgement as a jesuit educated theater artist kind of held me back from reacting to the Philstage slash Tililing Fiasco; that is by no simple terms a Pandora's Box of sorts in this little circle of theater practitioners and lovers alike. however, i am compelled to speak but a few truths as i was taught not to offend people with style but rather offend them with substance.

there is such a thing as integrity in writing. you may be at a loss with grammar and sentence construction but if you do have a grasp of what you are saying, you will be understood by any simpleton or any intellectual for that matter. the first taking it as authoritative or truthful while the latter forgiving you for your handicap. yet the tragedy of the simpleton is that he can often take some things as truth and the intellectual need not be bothered.

plead me your rights to free speech and i shall remind you of your responsibiltiy to your writing. [this is for you, mister tililing] having read your review, i could not make heads or tails of it. a beloved mentor of mine who saw it fit to point out its lack of worth saying thus, "what a horribly written review! with one eye on wikipedia and another on his crotch. don't waste your time with this..." -i need not drop the name for i am sure of the sick pleasure some people have when it comes to doing so.

for one, sit down before you hang yourself. if indeed you are knowledgeable of the craft, you make your comparisons as that of a tangled chain; the links of which though deceptively connected never really is. i won't wax on what shakespeare and the greeks have to do with children's theater for i see no point in it. to use knowledge in borrowed gloss to prove a point -obviously irrelevant- yet coming out incoherent is a mark of ignorance.

and in your review you ask: “Isn’t that theater is a shared artistry? How come we did not experience it?” -at first, i tried to get over the fact that the question in itself is flawed. but let me explain what theater people are guilty of: and that is, watching another's production and looking for the mistakes and whatever bad thing is there to critique and laugh at. my displeasure ensues with reading this diss-list of the worst theater productions of the year in which you show such delight in collating, making assumptions on one musical theater you are yet to see, of for that matter your blindness to all the valid points you obviously have read as a reaction to what has transpired [but i fear, you never understood]

notice that no one picked a direct fight with you? because there is a bigger picture here, and i think most of those who have read the blogs left and right fail to realize that. what does scare me is that we fight an "educated fight" -i could not say enlightened for that is a state of being that in my years i'm not yet entitled to being-

going through the proper channels, consulting certain colleagues in the industry, making sure that our point was valid was the path we took. we got over the fact that we are "might be the victims here" or that we run the risk of losing future audiences at the expense of this review.

but as we have learned, taking the high road is not enough, some people fight the -pardon the word- "palengkera fight" which in plain terms goes, "bakit ka defensive? uy, guilty..."

and so i must go through these, and i quote you:

-tell me, how many so-called Philstage Jurors have come to some other production dragging what the FOH people in my day call "pets" without philstage IDs and were given free tickets? as is the case, if this happened to us in our little corner of the south, how much more the accessible productions in the metro? and reading the context to the tickets once again, did that not have a valid point?

"In fairness, ilan sa mga kasali sa musical na WEST SIDE STORY na aking kakilala ay hindi pa nag-iimbita. Ano kaya ang nakapaloob dito sa produksiyong ito? Ito kaya ang tanghaling WORST THEATER PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR? naku...aabangan ko na..."
-now, tell me, who in this particular situation looked cheap?

-we know that, but nonetheless every production has fiscal obligations to the many aspects of a production and obligations to the company. an empty seat at value is much better than an occupied seat which we will earn none from -and in this case...oh, i had better stop myself here...hay que barbaridad...

-please don't insult my intelligence...we did not require you to watch, not to be jury to our work. if you begrudge us for your commute, then please send me your bank account and i will gladly reimburse your cost. and perhaps we may treat you to lunch -how many teaspoons of arsenic do you want in your stew?

-why sir, question you our goodwill? if what i have seen thus far from you is any indication of your education and the education you share, then i pity those students you claimed to have touched for they may have been touched in the inappropriate places and their exposure to the theater gone awry.

-oh good god, typical of the "palengkera fight" to assert that which is less of thy personage and to begrudge those who are born into a different life...on the other hand, Matapobre, where did you get that? that is beside the point, this is not an argument of social class here...typical...kasalanan ba namin ang nakagisnan naming buhay?

i shall spare the readers the rest...

what is also tragic here is that people who pick "palengkera fights", no matter how you fight back with reason and substance will only be affected if you fight them in their own style...too bad...

18 September, 2008

"hindi ito ang ikabubuhay mo; ito ang ikaliligaya ng kaluluwa mo!"

that's what i said... [if you're being a bit daft today, i meant the quote as this blog's title]

I spent most of the past day in thought. Well, what's new? One of the perks of being me, i do over-think things [the cause of many-an-insane episodes of the imaginary tv series 'niki as we know him'] over and over again -redundant, is that you?

I must say, after like 16 hours or so of work the day before, and getting home at 2:00am; I was dead tired.

But beyond the physical and mental exhaustion I felt, it was the apparent distaste I had with the situation I was witness to that wore down my spirit.

All my life, i have not known a world outside the theatre. A beloved friend of mine, sandro lopa, once said something like, "a part of you dies once the show finally ends." -and there are some shows you do that make you die a little inside because deep inside there's so much at stake.

That's why, when I look at the Theater Down South family and see the many things we have to work our way around, to make do, and sacrifice so that our obligation to the craft is not compromised; i'm grateful ten times over.

But on the other hand, there are those who are doing a disservice to the craft by distancing themselves from the bigger picture of getting a show to curtain rather than giving up a few comforts for the sake of it.

And boy did it happen before my eyes...

Now, most of you know how vicious i can get so this blog won't be any different.

I don't know what school of theatre some people are coming from but if you're more concerned about pay rather than improving on your performance 3 days into first curtain, then you shouldn't be on stage.

When you sit there, whispering and complaining rather than helping find ways to help solve the current problem and be part of a team, then there's no room here for you.

If you're here because you want to be a star -yet obviously you lack some skills- then you had better collapse into a black hole.

And if it's not good enough, why should we risk opening the house to let people in? That would be a waste of their time.

It's one thing to risk it blindly with your whole heart in it and take falling down with the humility it entails. It is another to do something complacently thinking you're good enough and you might get away with it. [clearly some people are just gluttons for self humiliation...hahaha!]

I really don't know how to end this blog...i had said what i wanted to, so i should leave it...and im already sleepy...

15 September, 2008

before i go...mario maurer, what have you done to me!?! whaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

hahahahaha...i knew it!!! it would only take days before you consume my sanity...buti na lang, cute ka!!!
[insert image of niki contemplating on going to thailand...with an indescribable grin on his face]

manang, hindi ka ba naman sobrang dikit sa kanya, ha?

well, at least manang pinky's having a great time...mang-inggit ba?

13 September, 2008

one interesting saturday...without leaving home

how does one fuel one's mind? how does one take something primordial and end up with something inspired? how does one -ah, forget it! I know the formula of questions works well in threes but i don't have a third one.

today, i didn't feel like doing anything else but be counter-productive...so, i took out my dvd of 'the slipper and the rose' [another musical version of the cinderella tale] starring richard chamberlain as the prince and gemma craven as cinderella. When the movie was done, i took out my dvds of two versions of 'the importance of being earnest', the older version had Dame Edith Evans playing lady Bracknell while the other had Dame Judi Dench. I went through the scenes that i found most hilarious just for the heck of it. And i took out other titles like 'farinelli', 'a man for all seasons', 'medea', 'opera vox' and 'mad love' to go through the scenes that i really loved. I had what one would call an audio-visual overload of an afternoon.

And then i found my copy of 'el puente de san luis rey' [the bridge of san luis rey] which i decided to watch in its entirety. Watching it again, i found a new appreciation for it. And i quote:

"Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers. That even in the most perfect love, one person loves less profoundly than the other. There may never be two people that love one another equally well."


By the time the movie was over, it was late into the evening. I needed that audio-visual overload...stimulated the creative juices enough that i took out a notebook and scribbled down whatever came to mind... like 20 or so whatevers. Hahaha!!!

12 September, 2008

connecting the dots in the sky [part one]

you guys can relate to this, right? when you know what you're looking for exactly and remember where you placed it last but can't find it? welk, that's one for Saint Anthony to find...

so, there i was, trying to get this blog started when i had to stop because the very centerpiece of it was nowhere to be found. Not long ago, i took out a ringbound script and placed it on my desk. back then, i think, i was being sentimental.

Earlier tonight, looking for it, i nearly gutted-out my room with the mess i made. And when i gave up, i found it under my bed. Grrrr!!!

This ringbound script with an emerald green card stock cover was the first movie script i ever wrote.

It nearly didn't see the light of the photocopier when i tripped, fell, and had my laptop bag swing 180 degrees to literally crash in front of me a meter or so away.

Luckily, bleeding knees and all, i was able to power-up my old IBM thinkpad at the cafeteria. I guess it was by some guardian angel's whisper that i shoved a diskette and saved it there and then [hahaha! those flashdisks weren't that popular yet at the time]. Good thing i did, for when i got home and tried to power-up my thinkpad like 6 hours later, it wouldn't go past this prompt that said system error or something. Oh my frickin' crock of schist, right!?!

But luckily, that micro-floppy disk was the last thread of life the script clung to. And what's left it now is that ringbound set of papers and some memories.

And here's what i want to share:

Sebastian: "When I was a kid, I tried to create pictures out of the stars by drawing imaginary lines and connecting them. But as I got older, it became a lost cause for I learned that the stars are constantly together. Constellations and star systems, they were called. They were already pictures in the sky and we can't rearrange them. They say our lives are written in the stars. At the exact time of our birth, the stars create a pattern that makes up your entire life. A constant reminder that things are meant to be, destined to be... What I would give to rearrange my stars."

[from 'Leave Your Sky']

Only two people have read this script entirely...only two copies exist...but one, i think, has forgotten...and the other copy may have already been bookworm chow. Oh well...

And i don't write like that anymore...funny how things change.

11 September, 2008

random ramblings on a rainy day

I have a very clear memory of watching the rain from the window of the ancestral house [add to that, 8 year old me, pushing a capiz window too far, it fell off...hahaha!]

Have you ever felt like someone or something was watching you in this state of sleep when you're consciousness tells you to wake up but your eyes wont open no matter how you try?

Sleeping through a rainy day... Kind of feels like high school all over again, when you've just learned classes are cancelled.

The History Channel in my cable is back! Oh, how i missed you...i'm getting tired with discovery and nat geo...and boy did the three channels over-saturate the airwaves with stuff all about china in the weeks leading up to and during the beijing olympics.

Yesterday, i had a dream that it was already holy thursday, and my processional image of Mary of Bethany went into procession looking all shabby and her carroza unrecognizabe. The rebulto resides at the ancestral house in panay, when my cousin checked up on her, apparently she's been a bit neglected due to dust and dirt; and she needs a new wig and robe change...wheeewww, i thought it was termites!

Whatever happened to my He-Man action figures? I remember having like 30 of them...

The unwatched dvd pile, the newly purchased unread books, the long bought unread books, my writing drafts gathering dust, the comic book experiment, and that list of things to do/achieve for the year a fourth of the way unchecked; pretty much sums up the past 8 months for me.

I can't seem to figure out the title of this mid-80s sitcom where a witch with magic powers comes to live with a typical american family. Kind of like 'the nanny' but she has magic powers -this was where 'okay ka fairy ko' was copied from.

I want a penguin for a pet!

The songs i keep on singing lately, first "Wish for you on falling star, wonderin where you are. Do i ever cross your mind in the warm sunshine..."
And "starting now i'm travelling fast, on this journey to the past..."

Speaking of which, I just saw 'Anastasia' again after a long time, and i just realized why i love the way they animated the movie. In the scene where bernadette peters sings 'Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart', was done in the pointilism style of George Seurat. [can you draw the coincidence from there? Ten pieces of silver if you can...]

As a dear friend once told me, when you look at a picture again, it's never the same picture anymore...i think that applies to the impressionists...

Oh well...

09 September, 2008

those who don't get it, don't really matter [the vampire blog]

this being the fourth attempt to post this blog, i reckon it had better post or else there will be blood...i haven't don the blog thin in quite a while, so this is going to be quite a long one. i was watching the film "Peaceful Warrior" a few nights ago, and a character named Socrates said something about 'trash' -and i take it, that 'trash' is that stuff that clogs up our minds and distracts us from our dreams, from working on our goals, and from moving on with our lives.

but 'trash' does not just come into existence in our noggins and just bounce around in there; the VAMPIRES conjure them into existence. Now, taking a page from the musical "Title of Show" -a VAMPIRE is any person or thought that stands between you and your creative self expression; and they can assume many seductive forms.


-this sub-species of vampire is the most common of them all. their primary purpose in their sorry existence is to shoot you and your efforts down even when you know you have done your best work. this comes from their own inadequacies and personal insecurities of not being able to produce work that even remotely resembles yours. their first reaction to talent is hostility because deep down inside, they know that when Idianale will picks a team, they won't be in it.

not more than a few weeks ago, a vampire uttered thus, "I don't think you have a grasp of fabric." -brothers and sisters, this very vampire was the one who copied off the set design of a sondheim musical from the broadway staging and passed it off as an original and added Big Ben right smack in the middle of it -and claimed it to be "more English"- failing to realize that the famous clock tower was not yet finished during the time the musical was set in. now, don't you think that is rather -oh, the word escapes me- ah there it is: dumb?

i mean, i have had more than my usual share of these things from other people as well. Like people telling me what sword i should have designed when i know very well which dynasty and what sword to use?

or when the aesthetics of the color templates from the time of classical drama dictates that your lead must never wear black during the first appearance not unless you are going for stereotypes -for even an Elphaba first wears grey and Lucifer was once bathed in white light. but nooooo...somehow, a black outfit makes its way into my lead's wardrobe and it's said to be for the first appearance! and so, on-follow-spot-and-follow-the-lead-that-disappears-in-the- black-backdrop-while-running-from-stage-left-to-exit-at-stage-right...ahay, dios mio!

and of course we must not forget those insufferable posers that clim to know what they're talking about but if you read their laocquacious pretense, you would come to realize that they have one eye on wikipedia and another on their crotch as they write their so called views on what a theater production should be. armchair experts like joey tililing have really nothing intelligent to say but they do wax their words for the sake of "kabaklaan".


-this second sub-species of vampire is a remnant of the Dominican-led Inquisition...and the painful part of this equation is that they are often the ones who are close to you or people you look up to. these conservative-one-track-mind-vampires will discourage you from thinking out-of-the-box, from taking risks, or from growing into your potential. i tell you, when they see a rose, they will nip it in the bud! [i think i have used up my idioms at this point...or was that figurative language? moving on...]

they go like:
"maybe it's not meant for you"
"you're going to present THAT!?!"
"what makes you think you can make it?"
"i don't think you should take law"

there's always one in everywhere you go; like the embittered academician who has been left behind, or the envious aunt who has a drug addict for a son the same age as you, or the nouveau riche [oh yes, another blog that mentions the nouveau riche] b*tch with the "mabaho family name...hahahaha!!!

-ironic, i used the term air freshener but i never alluded to it in the last few paragraphs...oh well...


-the third sub-species of vampire is quite the cunning one. their game is deception and there are daggers in their smiles. they can make you look like villains and them, the victims. they know how to cling to power and know how to keep a "hood over the heads" of those who are in power. and when the shit hits the fan, they know how to cover their asses.

the maya carriedos of this world can go as far as calling you and say, "when they ask, you tell them it's your fault, ha...para hindi na humaba ang usapan [at mabuko ako]"

-beware these two-faced vampires for without you knowing, they may have just pulled the rug from under your feet like someone we shall hide under the name Rio Kerras, whom we once took in to be part of the project but come the work break on good friday, he alreadywormed his way into the minds of the producers and managed to take us out of the job and put himself in prime position.


-this final sub-species of vampire is the most dangerous of all. for you yourself create it; consciously or unconsciously.

when you begin to doubt your own abilities, when you begin to lose the fire of creativity, when you think you're undeserving, this vampire takes shape and the dark night of the soul begins...

"who do you think you're kidding?"
"you've been very mediocre, lately..."
"your best years are way behind you."
"you'll never make a living out of that."
"you'll never be able to live your dream..."

you listen to these taunts in their many variations because you know the voice of reason agrees with the vampire...



this blog is dedicated to the Van Helsings who have come to my aid...

and to my beloved friend, Alan, whom the vampires have come to visit...