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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RIP Carrie Fisher: The Writer

Carrie Fisher died today and she plays an interesting part in my life because when I was in college, she released this novel, Postcards from the Edge, and although it was fiction, the lead character, mirrored Carrie's own personal struggles.
I told myself then, that if I do write my memoir in the far future (I think I was only 19 then), I wanted it to be as brutally frank as this one - thus the need for it to be fictionalized.
Maybe her death is a sign that I should start writing the first forty years of my crazy life.
Anyhow, the movie version was released in 1990 and I'm sure Carrie was so over the moon because the greatest actress of this generation, Meryl Streep, played the lead role. That was Meryl's 9th Oscar nomination. It was like Meryl Streep playing her!!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Reminiscing Miss Universe 2005 in Lieu of Miss Universe 2017 in Manila

Watching the Miss Universe live is, I'm sure, one of the top five things one can find in any gay man's bucket list - aminin!
Anyhow, I was still in college when they held the 1994 Miss Universe here and although Vic wanted to get tickets to watch the 2017 edition here in MOA, I wasn't too enthusiastic because the ticket prices were too steep - pandagdag na rin yun sa tuition ng mga bata.
Luckily for me, the Miss Universe did travel to Bangkok, Thailand in 2005, and as soon as I heard about it, I immediately bought tickets to watch it. Ewan ko ba, pag-MOA ang venue, napakamahal talaga ng tickets, and I don't remember spending an arm and a leg just to watch that year's show.
At that time, it was already easy to buy tickets through Thaiticketmaster and I was already familiar with the venue, having watched many concerts there - ang Impact Arena kasi ang parang Araneta Coliseum ng Bangkok.
Yun lang, malayo sya sa center of the city, so everytime we watch there, we have to hire car service kasi di ko alam umuwi na magcocommute - and well, Mama and I were dressed to the nines.
I learned then that there were many pageant watchers locally pala - the only famous one I know was Mr. Ben Chan, and as always it was easy to get a picture with him, but he's not talkative.
Yun lang, I cannot find our pictures from the event anymore. These are the only ones I can find. Na-Ondoy na siguro ang iba huhu
As for the show, the atmosphere was electrifying - sya nga ang Olympics ng mga bekis - grabe ang flag-waving! I also remember that the winner, Miss Canada's Natalie Glebova was already a big favorite among the audience because the crowd will always shout with approval everytime she came out.
So my theory was, you'd already know who the winner would be just by judging how the crowd reacts, especially when they are just down to the top 10 and so on and so forth. Let's see if that happens here in MOA.
I flew into Bangkok just a day before the event so I had no idea who the Thai crowd was rooting for and I did not know who the candidates were. I remember cutting some clippings from the local papers the days before and after the event.
The show was at 9AM to coincide with the primetime viewing of Americans kaya I remember 7AM pa lang bihis na ako kasi the venue was an hour's drive from our hotel and I remember , marami kang toll booth na dadaanan with big voluminous hair!
After the show, Mama was so brave to go near the stage for photo ops, and we did get some pics as some of the candidates were sweet enough to pose for the audience. What I remember was that they were all incredibly tall! Parang mga higanteng Barbies!
Actually, maraming events ang for sale, the Pre-Pageant presentation, the National costume show, etc., but I decided to buy lang the main event kasi one whole month ang events and I don't live there naman. Kaya dito, I was surprised why they are not selling tickets to the pre-pageant judging events, etc. - sa main event lang.
So sinong manunuod sa pre-pageant presentation event where the top 15 finalists will be chosen? By invitation lang? Andaya naman. Yun actually ang mas importante na show e kasi dun nakasalalay ang fate ni Maxine natin if she is going to rampa sa main event.

Chinito Cutie: Jerome Tan

I just watched 'How To Be Yours' in Cinema One and one actor I noticed was Jerome Tan, a tall, handsome chinito guy who was friends in the movie with the characters of Janus del Prado and Gerald Anderson. 

He photographs well onscreen but may need more acting lessons so that he can come of more 'natural' in his dialogue and movements, especially that he had veterans Janus and Gerald in many of his scenes.

But I like him, he's cute!

Miriam College Lower School Fair Pictures - Enjoying the Rides

Me Sleeping During Miriam College's Lower School Fair

The best ang school fair ng Miriam! They have a room called Resting Room and it's airconditioned, carpeted and they placed big and small pillows which parents, students and yayas can use when they want to rest and sleep.
Ayun, while Laura and Dylan were busy going around the fair, I decided to take a nap!
Yun lang, Laura's friends were snickering because I snore so LOUD daw! Buti na lang walang tulo laway!

Me Playing Santa Claus for the First Time!

Santa selfies muna while waiting for my cue to meet the kids. 
Grabe pala effect ni Santa lalo na sa young kids. Talagang hug, embrace, pure joy ang reaction, at yun, maraming nagpapapicture. Naharang na ako ng Pre-school and Primary kids before I went up to the Secondary show in the gym. Ang saya lang!

Wish List #1 for 2017

That the school would offer French and Spanish next schoolyear and that they'd offer me to teach it (ambisyosa ang peg!)
Two of the IB English teachers discovered that I could read and write French and Spanish when I helped them translate some book reports on Isabel Allende's novels.
Apparently, their Pre-Univ group has been mulling about teaching those for sometime. Good thing is, one of those IB teachers will head that department next year and she's seen how I work!
Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Excited to see how this pans out!

Restaurant Review: Cozy Ambiance and Good Service at Open Table Restaurant

For my barkada's Christmas party this year, I decided to bring them to a cozy restaurant called Open Table located at #2 Dr. Lazcano St., Barangay Paligsahan in Quezon City.  It's very near the Capitol Medical Center.

We booked for a Sunday party at 5PM and the place was already ready by that time.  We reserved two tables at the second floor and throughout the night, we had the whole floor to ourselves, which was perfect!

The food is reasonably priced and it tastes good.  I think our bill just reached up to 5K and we were a group of 10 persons.  The ambiance is good and the service was very helpful.    I will definitely go back here just to treat a friend.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Received an Actual Paper Christmas Card Today!

This friend of mine works for one of the most fashion-forward haute couture brands in the world yet he has steadfastly remained old-fashioned in some areas in his life.
Without missing a beat, I received my nth Christmas card along with a written letter from him - sadly, the only one I received this Christmas - as everybody else has migrated to social media.
He's one of my friends whose life has remained interestingly paradoxical!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cute Kuya at Open Table Restaurant

Merry Christmas kuya! This was taken after all the hard work he did!
He almost singlehandedly served us tonight, as we had the cozy second floor of the restaurant all to ourselves!

Our Christmas Tree is Ready!

Finally had time to 'clean' our living room and put some lights to the Christmas tree.....nakahabol din

New Haircuts for Christmas!

We got our haircuts together today. Methinks, Cooper needs some grooming as well......

Book Review: Anna Karenina - A Fitting Book to Read During Christmas

"I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there
are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts." Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

A proper 'hugot' line if there was one, yun lang, this one was written more than 150 years ago, yet it still sounds appropriate now as it did during that time - especially that many young people have embraced all kinds of love - not only that between a man and a woman.

Anyhow, one thing I failed to notice when I read Anna Karenina in college was that the book is actually a good read during the Christmas season!

Well, there is that adultery story of the book's namesake, but there is an equally powerful story of the other co-protagonist in the novel, Konstantin Levin.

This is not a book for atheists as Levin's character realizes in the end that all his actions were guided by his faith in God - and it's a beautiful message that one can learn once again, especially during Christmas - especially from this novel which delves very deeply on how the aristocracy treated the peasants, the hypocrisy of high society and the double standard between men and women.

The lessons one can learn here I have learned a long time ago - to live your life the way you want it and not as society dictates you to; that even if people tell you that you are living in sin, that you live your life with integrity and honesty; and to treat everyone you meet in life, with respect, regardless of their social status.

Tolstoy's writing prowess is definitely in display here - and the part that I liked is also the most tragic. I love the way he wrote the part where Anna Karenina's characters was slowly going into self-destruction.

It begins very subtly, and then it gains steam and ends up like a powerful landslide, smothering the heroine, quickly. The change in mood was very frightening to read, and if one was not familiar with the story, her suicide would have come as a shock - considering how out-of-character it is from the Anna that we first meet in the first part of the book.

I will go for a more frivolous fiction book after this. My imagination has traveled through time and has been enriched greatly by the clarity of the vision of Tolstoy's characters.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Albert Nobbs: Happiness and Sexual Politics

How much happiness can you possibly achieve in your life when you cannot even live it they way you were supposed to live it?
Albert Nobbs was actually a woman who decided to cross-dress as a man after she was gang-raped at 14 by five men in 19th century Dublin. After that harrowing experience, the poor orphan decided to present herself as a man so as not to experience unwanted sexual advances and to be able to work to support herself.
The movie Albert Nobbs was a passion project by six-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close, and when it was released in 2011, it snagged three Oscar nominations.
The title character was not really based on just one person but was a composite of different ordinary people trying to survive during that time.
Although the premise of the movie is a bit tragic - and the movie ends tragically as well for Albert, there are several glimpses of hope and happiness - seen from the lives of the other characters - who chose to assert themselves and not fear what other people would say about them.
Janet McTeer's character was also a cross-dresser, choosing to live as a man, after years of abuse from her husband, whom she eventually left. She was able to build a life for herself as a house painter and she gets married - to a real woman - and her life is the complete opposite to Albert.
The two will eventually meet.
Well, there are many things I liked in this movie. Seeing Aaron Taylor Johnson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers undress is one of them! God, these guys are so lean and hot - and they can act! Mia Wasikowska is also radiant and beautiful and their young characters have an important part in Albert Nobbs story.
An interesting thing I learned about the movie is how to save, funny, because Albert's character was such a penny-pincher. There are several scenes in the movie that show how meticulous Albert was with money. And she had big dreams, that's why she saved a lot!
I thought the movie would have a happy ending but even up to the end, Albert Nobb's life is filled with tragedy although in a strange twist of fate, the lives of Albert, Mr. Page (Janet McTeer) and Mia's character will be intertwined.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Miguel Faustmann Plays Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

One of the grand masters of contemporary Philippine theater, Miguel Faustmann, plays the unforgettable Christmas character of Scrooge, in the picture here with the adorable boy actor who plays Tiny Tim. It seems that in this picture, he looks straight at me taking his photo!
He, along with a big cast and a guest choir, is performing A Christmas Carol at the BGC Amphitheatre this Christmas season.
He has already played a gamut of roles including one in the gay play, Next Fall, which he did for the Repertory, a few years ago.

Celebrating Christmas with a Charles Dickens' Classic

The Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol is always a good way to celebrate the Christmas season - it being a timeless tale of forgiveness, generosity and togetherness.
The Philippine theater season normally ends before Christmas, but one of my favorite local theater companies, 9 Works Theatrical, pushes the envelope this year by staging a Christmas play in the normally busy shopping season!
This time, they are staging the play in an outdoor format, in the BGC Amphitheater, so that families can easily segue their Christmas shopping or pasyalan with watching the musical.
It is a musical and the revered Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) provided the music for it.
It is probably the grandest production 9 Works Theatrical has ever did and the sets, the production design, and the costumes all combine to make it a wonderful theater experience!
There's a surprise in the ending where you'd wished you were seated near the stage (we were!) and I took many photographs of it and it was quite a magical experience!