Thursday, July 31, 2008

Notes On Project Roadkill

Designers of Project Runway Philippines should all gang up and bitchslap the bejeesus out of the goshdarn producers. I am not necessarily Stephen Gan, Isabella Blow or Suzy Menkes in fashion cognition but from a production and art direction's point of view the contestants should file class action suit. Sure, there is palpable promise of talent among the contenders; Given the limitations and the frenzy surrounding time constraints and pressure to deliver I must say the show is off to a decent start. So I smack all the blame to the production and editing for a lackluster pilot.

I was not a follower of Project Runway until recently. I was however a rabid follower of Project Catwalk, something I stumbled upon reading Mich Dulce's blog a couple of years ago and got instantly hooked. (I cheered Jasper Garvida right from the start - I only knew he was Pinoy was when I saw his family during the season finale. I thought he was Chinese or Cambodian or Thai!)

None of the production values of Runway and Catwalk is visible in Runway Philippines. Sitting through the entire pilot episode just intensified my urge to sue for damages. I get the feeling that the filming and the whole production was done by interns on a deadline for the graduation thesis.

Lighting is garish. Sometimes dark. Then garish again. I thought I tuned in to a badly-filmed murder thriller. Or a documentary involving cocaine dealing bust. Colors and fabric details are washed out and large pores and pimples are gaudily highlighted.

Buko instead of Moët et Chandon for the season toast? Good thing I wasn't eating polvoron while watching it. I am all for injecting Filipino-ness to the franchise but it was a scream watching everyone raise coconuts in the air and awkwardly sipping from the straw like it's a radioactive cocktail. A handful of contestants visibly winced. The fantastic back draft of Manila's Central Post Office dissolved into a close up of striped table cloth that would sit well in either Red Ribbon or Lydia's Lechon.

Someone should tell Rajo Laurel that a bow tie looked cute on Alber Elbaz and wearing one in powder blue made him (Rajo not Alber) look like a bearded schoolboy en route to a first communion in McDonald's.

Sound editing was horrendous. Teresa Herrera came off like she inhaled helium and Jojie Lloren registered like a steel wool being dragged across the hood of a Nissan FX.

The hosts dialogs were unblushingly recycled and they deliver them like they are reading the nutritional contents of a creal box.

If you get past the tackiness of low production values and nerve-grating sound editing, it is worthwhile to mention that the choices of outdoor location showcases Manila's cosmopolitan side.

The kids however are brimming with talent, panache and guts. The kind of competitive hunger, optimism and determination that is worth applauding.

The frumpy design of the most senior competing designer was ultimately eliminated.

My vote for elimination, however, goes to the mediocre execution of the whole show.

P.S. I'm waiting for misterhubs' take on the Project Roadkill pilot episode. I am so sure it's going to be a riot. Hehe.

Read More......

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Raw, As It Should Be

Chancing upon the poetry of Angelo Suarez was a favorable byproduct of an unpleasant accident. I was loitering in Powerbooks waiting for a perpetually tardy pseudofriend. Instead of hyperventilating like a maniac I wandered aimlessly among the shelves and asked the store clerk for a copy of a book on Alexey Brodovitch. I was speaking to her mid-sentence when a snooty society matron, towing her colegiala daughter like a sulking shitzu, interrupted our conversation with a loud inquiry: “MISS! ASAN ANG MGA LIBRO NI BOB ONG?!!” (Miss! Where can I find Bob Ong's books?!)

Before the clerk could reply I deadpanned:“There. Good Manners and Right Conduct section.”

The daughter and the clerk blushed. Ivana Tramp shot me dagger looks. Lucky her I was in combative, annoyed mood. I stared back vacantly at her.

She harrumphed, made a sharp about face, bumped the high case of neatly stacked books and jolted Angelo Suarez' Else It Was Purely Girls from the shelf, sending it flying, hitting my shoulder and landing on the floor in front of me. I picked it up, leafed through it while speed reading like a cannibal after weeks of tofu and bean sprouts.

The compact book of poetry instantly reeled me in. I forgot about the crass old hag, my Late Beyond Endurance friend and the book I was asking for. I sat at a nearby couch and finished it in one sitting. Yes, I bought the book and asked for a copy of The Nymph of MTV. Only to be told of its unavailability.

I dashed to National Bookstore and got a copy, and pleasantly surprised to discover along with it the new book Dissonant Umbrellas, a collaboration with equally-ingenious minds including Constantino Zicarelli and Mark Salvatus. (I have been to Mark Salvatus' art exhibit in Cubao Expo before and I loved what I saw.)

Reading through Dissonant Umbrellas gave me the feeling of leaping out of a Gulfsteam, free falling blindfolded and colliding on a tent in a jungle clearing where Gary Larson, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Miró, Allen Ginsberg and Michel Gondry were camped out, inhaling weed.

I will not synthesise Suarez' poetry as I am unimpeachably convinced that my best attempt at critiquing the imperious streams of incitive wordplay will come off fumbling, sophomoric and will - beyond question - embarrass me to no end. This is one of those instances when I would discard shamelessness and own up to the painful fact that the author is giving me multiple-yet-to-be-identified deep insecurity complexes. Yes, Suarez' poetic manipulations are very contemporary, inventive, provocative, witty and compelling and let's leave it at that. I will refuse to rhapsodize them with foamy adjectives because you and I know that he is a gung-ho creative renegade who deserve proper critiques from legitimate, enlightened persons of letters.

However I will rattle on the presentation of this fantastic book. Dissonant Umbrellas casually flirts with illegibility and consciously composed chaos innovated early on by David Carson in Beach Culture, Raygun and Blue (the travel+adventure title and NOT the gay) magazines. Texts, lines, sentences and paragraphs are fractured, randomly tossed out of grid and order, and oftentimes aimlessly mixed and scrawled that makes me recall the low-fi anti-designs of Tibor Kalman, Stefan Sagmeister and the raw typographic jungle of the now deceased Emigre Magazine.

The mix of helter-skelter graphics, low-fi production techniques and the compellingly raw words of Suarez elicits an urgent, almost confrontational nature to the collaboration, thereby catapulting poetry presentation into a hip, attractive dynamic that will sit well with kids weaned on MTv and prevalent attention deficit disorders. If this is a radical wave to lag the absolute demise of the love for words, then hell be frozen for all I care, I'll sign up for a megaphone-wielding volunteer brigade for its assertion and rampant use.

If you love vivid words, buy Dissonant Umbrellas. If you are a fan of maximalistic design and art direction, you should own this book. If you love both words and design, leave me your mobile number let's have coffee. Kidding. Don't.

But if you are like the snooty old hag in search of pastel, peachy Hallmark sap, buy a lifetime membership to Readers From Hell.

Also known as The Book Club of Oprah and Dr. Phil.


Recently, blogfriend Misterhubs facilitated the existence of a new blog that bills itself The Chronicles of E - a searing, raw confessional streaming on drug abuse, wanton sex, guilty musings, angry outbursts, mindless debauchery, and lucid, tender intervals. I am reminded of Jim Caroll's The Basketball Diaries, Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho/Glamorama/The Rules Of Attraction, James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, JT Leroy's The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City and Patricia Highsmith's sociapathic antihero if he were on Ketamines and hormone overload.

Absolutely not for wimps.

Read More......

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homecoming Grinch Walk This Way

Barely able to breath a lungful of polluted Manila air I was instantly assaulted by two frantic calls. One coming from a friend wishing to discharge some domestic woes and my other friend who wanted to drag me to a horrendous event. All the enervating fresh air I inhaled instantaneously vanished. Welcome home to Stress Street. Speed limit Full throttle Ahead. Oh, Drat. I'm back. Dreadfully back.

Read More......

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Prudence Is Not A Middle Name

Intrepid Kitty Go dispensed sensible caveats: If you don't want unwanted attention, “why live your life flagrantly? If you don't want anything written about you? STAY HOME!” (Or Behave.) Obviously these cautionary truths would just slip like uncooked pasta when hurled across the amphetamined skulls of notorious society page pseudo-royalettes who have been publicly pilloried in Brian Gorrel's sensational blog. I have avoided writing gossips, second-hand information or slanderous rumors because of its denigrative nature. True, first-hand accounts however are a different banana.

Last night, at Tabu, I saw three members of the ill-famed Gucci Gang defiantly carousing around like it's still the heyday of their supposed social circuit supremacy.

Nicodemus, Mapplethorpe, Nicodemus' cute intern and myself decided to go to Tabu after all. We were busily swapping pleasantries with various acquaintances including Sorrenti (the young glamour and advertising photographer) Junya (the designer of avant-garde frocks), two advertising art directors and a handful of mdels we worked with in various projects in the past.

Then the GG retinue swooped in. The plump architect , the ex of the spoiled anorexic and the married realty heir and executive who is alleged to be also batting for the same team if you get my drift. They were summarily ignored by most of the revelers and it somehow felt odd that they are now the subject of ostracism of plebeians. The Universe was a sordid sense of irony.

“Can we get that table”” Realty Heir asked the busboy. He was wearing a dull-colored shirt one size smaller. His nipples threatened to rip through the body hugging shirt.

The busboy stammered something because the table pointed at has an acrylic tabletop tent that said “reserved.” Obviously not for them.

This made me feel sorry for these dethroned circuit self-anointed supremes. They can't command for a nice spot nowadays so why still insist on putting a brave face in public? Eventually they got the table and settled and got showered by dense, wordless resentment, snide shrugs and rolling eyeballs from commoners. So much about the fantasy of leading glamorous lives.

As I have always said, your common sense and self-restraint is inversely proportional to the amount of intoxicant you gargle. This is proven true once more because a lot later into the morning hours, lubricated by alcohol, The Heir began chatting up decent looking men who approached their table. The manner with which the conversations are carried out reminds me of this Warhol painting:

Then much later, he hit the dance floor and grinds with a chic skank. His crotch almost swapping epidermal layers with her ass.

Does the first lady know? Should we let her know?

Way much later he went out of the bar and stood at the street corner. His driver pulled a BMW just a little off the front entrance of the bar. He went in the passenger seat. Then Sacred Pink Cow!

A thin and short, pimp-looking twink sidled inside the car with another skank.

They slammed the door and I can't conclude whether it's the contraband or the alcohol that made them do the most heedless act: while they were probably negotiating, they pressed their phones and the bright glow made them visible through the tinted car window. Something was exchanged. The twink guy exited the car and The Heir and the skank drove off.

“Yehey!” I cheered in my head. “He's hetero after all!”

Hetero, possibly. Monogamous, well, anyone can launch a debate. I just witnessed that very open, public display of lack of discretion. So did a lot of onlookers outside the bar.

Or was it deliberately staged? To tell everyone, hey! I prefer oysters than salami!

Later, much to my surprise, when I came back inside the bar, The Heir IS already inside! Dancing, drinking beer!

Whoa! That was a quick ride around the block!

And I will not entertain malicious thoughts that if it wasn't shooting a quickie, then it was a fix me a snortie.

Whichever the case, either way, in the name of democracy take it from Andy:

Or not!

Read More......

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hues Instead Of Words

Colors, perhaps, can convey my current mood better. Words have failed me; hues are suitable substitutes for silence.

Read More......

Filler Numero Cinco

[for mica]

how distant
the moon.
much like
your eyes,
your barbed


Read More......

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stockpile Of Saturday Obscenities

Initially, we were scheming to massacre a few vodka tonics at Tabu. I like Tabu because it has the same vibe as (the now deceased) RockCandy. Recently, Tabu has deteriorated its below-the-radar charm and has increasingly become conventional, what with the proliferation of them model imports that flock its dimmed corners like exotic-cracking parrots.

So we flicked off the idea of hanging out in Tabu like lint. My glamorous friend Nicodemus bullied our artist friend Mapplethorpe and myself into thinking that the next best thing to come near the fun quotient of a mind-blowing orgasm is to kick off the barhopping bender at Barcino. Barcino is this incredibly low-key but exasperatingly chic watering hole frequented by cliques of well heeled yuppies. This breed congregates on Saturday night complete with requisite twangs, logo-ed garbs and devastatingly beautiful faces. (Interesting side note: I glanced over a feature article of the owners of Barcino in a local rag and one of the guys behind the trendy joint is fondling my bisexual genes into hyperdrive. Yes, he’s THAT hot, in a roguish way.)

The upper section where we barged in was crammed with sweet-smelling, luxuriously accessorized crowd. Amidst the loud flashes of brands, swirling mishmash of laughter, and indiscernible loud conversations were the plush bags of the sophisticates sipping intoxicants. The combined price tag of the bags alone can cover the annual salaries of nine assistants in our office. If that isn’t obscene then I’m a bad-tempered prick for thinking so. The atmosphere was so hip my inner slob gasped for air. No, not really. Thankfully I wore garments that made me resemble something like a passable human being.

Nicodemus’ other set of friends arrived and created quite a stir: a couple of well-primped, handsome guys of indeterminate sexual leanings and a couple of head turning girls whose cleavages require a snorkel, curves that oblige a caution sign and two sets of legs that won’t quit. Introductions were traded and in my semi-drunk state I managed to strike hysterical conversations with the girls.

I was thick in conversation with Girl A (hereinafter referred to as Inverna) when a Johnny Walker-marinated yuppie squeezed in our conversation. Now I don’t mind getting into random banters with random drunks but this guy was awfully boring my spleen wanted to slide into coma. It was obvious that he was planning to hit on Inverna, who was giving him polite nods and socially de rigueur half-smiles. The way she’s enduring the unwanted conversation with him is switching into the attention span of a dead fly.

It was then that I noticed another guy two tables from us giving us an amused look. He was squinting the way you would flirt openly and I pretended not to notice just in case he was giving the doe-eye to another person standing behind me. I stared at my drink to avoid the flirty looks (that is now approaching a laser-like intensity). He’s probably locking his hormonal torpedoes on Primavera who was unaware and nodding like an inebriated woodpecker towards the equally hormone-crazed boring-beyond-belief yuppie who kept on latching her onto aimless talk.

“Let’s go to Members!” Primavera’s high-cheekboned guy friend brightly announced. Members being the notorious Members Only Section of the infamous Embassy Super Club.

“Isn’t Embassy padlocked?” I piped in.

“Members is open with liquor restriction up to two a.m.” Nicodemus helpfully informed my Embarrassingly-Out-Of-The-Loop tipsy self.

Nicodemus buzzed both cheeks of the snooty door girl and our gang filed in the bar section. Music was thumping but no one was dancing (or squirming like a worm after a downpour, a common move among the Makati Clubbing Set). The ambiance was tense, as if everyone was expecting a raid. The stunted atmosphere of faux fun strikes me almost…obscene. We finished a couple of drinks and split.

Next stop: Ascend. It was quite relaxed despite reeling from the same liquor ban past two a.m. as Embassy. The crowd was howling in glee when we came in and minimalist house music thumps with the tremor enough to send your heart to impale itself in your ribcage.

Since the bar was no longer selling drinks past the prescribed hour, which is a bummer, we got beers and margaritas for the girls on the sly. It felt like gargling contraband which costs way, way cheaper and unrestricted in my neighborhood convenient store.

The liquor ban isn’t obscene. The beer price is.

Read More......


Pranks, I love. Not that I advocate or dispense them upon hapless folks (unless you’re a true-blue, real life friend, then watch out), but there’s this wicked glee to be derived from pranks. So long as you are not the unsuspecting recipient of the practical joke.

A warped blogfriend fired off a text message towards a mobile number which was presumed to be mine. His gag went along the line of soliciting for a textmate and that the number was found scrawled in bathroom stalls.

The true owner of the number freaked and immediately accused another real-life friend of perpetrating the malicious mischief.

Sensing the prolonged, awkward silence blogfriend followed up with a message asking if he indeed reached my number and if not, thereby extending an apology for the mis-targeted gag.

Number owner exhaled in relief and forwarded me the number and messages of blogfriend.

I howled in laughter when I found out of the whole naughty mess.

So I felt obliged to boomerang the joke.

“Pare, pwede maki-sexmate? Errr, textmate.” I thumbed on the message.

He wasn’t amused.

Sore snot.

~ ~ ~

So I’m back. Tired as hell. Gearing for another trip come next weekend.

Also, I have multiple long-overdue blog entries to post.

It isn’t slacking. It’s time deficiency.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Ok, it’s slacking.

Deal with it.

Read More......

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Slice Of Gay Lite

Do not be deceived into thinking that Kambyo is another one of those shallow, pretentious digital dreck that serves no sensible purpose except to gratify the director and the public's insatiable lust for a gay fuckfest and gratuitous nudity. Yes, there is nudity in Kambyo, yes there are torrid sex scenes, yes there are gay issues, and surprisingly, yes, there is a lot of heart in this movie.

Kambyo is the current cinematic oblation of Joselito Altarejos and Lex Bonife, the director-writer tandem that helmed the bittersweet, lyrical, identity-searching Ang Lalaki Sa Parola and the sympathetic view on a crude coming of age in Ang Lihim Ni Antonio. Both previous films pushed the boundaries of what's permissible in local gay-oriented film making—a very discouraging landscape riddled by hawk-like vigilance of all-purpose Catholic guilt, scissor-happy censors and the public's thickening disinterest in local movies.

Altajeros and Bonife braved these challenging elements and emerged as consummate Quixote-Pancha cinematic anti-heroes that delivered works that are provocative, resonant, compelling and achingly honest. Whereas the two previous flicks treaded the frail, darker and ponderous nature of sexuality, it is refreshing that in Kambyo they made a crisp twist into the lighter side of alternative lifestyle.

The movie follows the summer road trip of cousins Macky (Rayan Dulay, Bathhouse) and Manuel (Kenjie Garcia, Ang Lihim ni Antonio), their joie de vivre-bursting friend Xavier (Harold Macasero) and an unacquainted trick named Aldo (Gabz del Rosario). Macky initially impressed on everyone that the trip is all about experiencing the surfing rage in La Union but (it was eventually revealed that) what he really harbors in his heart is the pursuit to reunite with his long-lost college buddy Philip (Johnron Tanada). They ambled on in a ramshackled mint green van and as they inch out of the metropolis to the bumpy roads of the provinces unspoken fondness, nursed secrets and latent desires explode into an almost-casual, sometimes solemn-sometimes funny send up to the pristine rural landscapes.

I must admit that the movie crawled on a torpid start. Following the bedraggled van onscreen from Quezon City to Tarlac made me recall The Death March. A mild migraine threatened to clench in, which was thankfully dispersed by the crisp zingers tossed by Xavier.

I will not reveal much of the story as I highly suggest you go out and watch this movie. It is an earnest love letter for anyone burdened with a search for closure, identity, an exploration of friendship, love, and desire all delivered in brisk openhearted sincerity. The movie is agreeably stripped of superficialities and puffiness which makes you concentrates on every story each character tells. This is where the potent persuasiveness of Altajeros and Bonife lie: the facility to tell plausible plots, believable dialogues and scenes that are not too contrived but fall smoothly into a cohesive narrative. The whole movie is speckled with many gentle, almost-placid moments without boring the audience to tears. In fact the writer and director understand the subtleties of when to crack a comical dribble and when to hush up the crowd with the most tender line, all orchestrated with unassuming deftness.

Another great thing I have observed in the works of Altajeros and Bonife is how they can pen characters and treat scenes and actors with sympathetic dignity that makes you root for their well-being and happiness. True, their characters are clumsy, awkward, confused, pining, hurt and flawed, but the way they were conveyed makes you feel like you are standing in front of a huge mirror and you witness your very own thoughts and emotions tossed out with non-glossy candidness.

Also notable is the growing confidence of the director-writer in the technicalities of film making. Essentialistic and sometimes tipping towards minimalistic production design and art direction is made up for by the clever, poignant script, compact framing in cinematography and the gorgeous lighting (especially in the steamy scenes) that seems obsessed to reproduce the masterful chiaroscuros of Caravaggio, Rembrandt or Van Eyck.

It also helps that casting is almost pitch perfect. Ryan Dulay navigates the confusion and yearning of his character with quiet desperation and suspended optimism that attests to his confidence as an actor. Kenji Garcia is the epitome of restraint and self-assured talent, that his lines, if uttered by lesser mortals would come off hysterical or melodramatic but he tosses his lines with naked authority that makes him a talent to watch.

Harold Macasero crackles with precision with punchlines that hit the pinpointed mark. His heartrending scenes were equally-delivered, proof of his versatility (no pun intended). Gabz del Rosario carries his end with disarming naiveté and unsettling frankness that in his disclosures you behold his bare struggles without milking for saccharine sentimentality. Then there's the smoldering Johnron Tanada who made the confrontation scene simmer with elegant truthfulness, which got lost among overeager horny fags who strain their necks to see past his pubic region

Kambyo is a refreshing cinematic cocktail of friendship and love—heartwarming without being cloying. It is veracious minus the moralistic sanctimoniousness. It is Gay Lite with weighty resonance. You laugh along its antics, you ponder along its confusions, you sigh with its instances of newfound tenderness, and you get out of the theater buoyant, your faith in humanity and independent films restored.

Read More......

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Galadriel In Briefs

Hugot is a cinematic Pièce de résistance. It is a superlative pièce de résistance but for the sake of your sanity I suggest you resist your hormone-induced urge to rent or buy the DVD now that the theater run is over.

[side note to foreigners reading this: The title, Hugot (pronounced hoo-goot), taken on a sexual context is the act of pulling out the penis, and two hours worth of rickety pixels later, the only hugot you'll ever experience is carried out in your mind as you pull out rusty forks from the eyeballs of the producer and director.]

Needless to say I love Hugot because it is a rich digital ore for ridiculousness. It seems to be bidding Salvador Dali for a surrealistic duel with the characters on stern, mandatory obligation to exhibit every possible cellulite in their body.

Take for instance the opening sequence in which the narrator types into a laptop. His expression glaringly suggests complete incomprehension as to what he is doing in this movie. He randomly jumps the narration of the gnarled episodes and switches the stories like an omniscient epileptic with a multitalentless cast, a microscopic budget and a screening deadline. And to visually remind the audience of the fact that this IS an indie flick, the scenes' transitions hiccups along like a slide show projected by a malfunctioning Kodak Carousel operated by an overcaffeinated assistant with terminal arthritis. It is as if instead of linear editing softwares the producers used Powerpoint being assaulted by the Melissa Virus. What can I say: Pure visual smörgåsbord!

Don't attempt to decipher the stories unless you are the anal kind who haven't suffered enough. I am sure there IS a story wedged somewhere in the movie but the scenes and narrative reminded me of how my alcoholic uncle would recount his World War II exploits. Add to this convoluted digital mash a very awful sound editing: throughout the movie your nerves are shredded by dialogs that seemed to be passing through a drum being banged by Incas on marijuana high.

Everyone is hysterical. And campy.

There's this episode where a guy walks around in his underwear in some sort of perpetual trance. He is preceded by his stomach flab. He continues his trek like a sedated salamander, descending a mossy path until he is confronted by a flaming clothesline. (Moses will be pissed.) I remembered that Lothlorien scene in LOTR. So I call him Galadriel In Briefs.

Gladriel In Briefs (from hereinafter refered to as GIB), is tormented by some horrendous memory and the dang flaming clothesline is a reminder of this nightmare. The Flaming Clothesline is like a jilted fag you declined as friend in Guys4Men: Hell-bent for vengeance and wont let you be. To avoid the clothesline he alternates standin
g in the middle of an indeterminate living room, with another guy nagging him to death, who also happens to be in his briefs. They both speak Oration Style they can rival Phaedra in Hippolytus if Phaedra gargled Botox prior to speaking.

Then there's this classic scene where GIB is trying to write on a yellow pad paper and the screen splits and the Eternal Nagger Guy rattles off a litany of guilt-mongering odes while furiously jerking off.

I was stunned. I wasn't equipped with words to describe it. High Prince of Camp Joey Gosengfiao has finally found his torch bearer in Jonison Fontanos.

In another episode, a queen of a policeman strips to his pants and swirls around singing “May pulis may pulis sa ilalim ng tulay!” with such abandon that will make my tranny neighbor's blood curdle in embarrassment.

Then there's the super chic flaming gay character whose skull got smashed by the Miss Gay trophy he just won. He was so chic he wore a tie dye shawl without giggling.

Not to be out-staged there's another hysterical vignette where two nursing student slash political activists play a psychotic question and answer game with a yuppie who freakishly lacked facial pores. The yuppie reminds me of society matrons who abuse face lifts their eyes migrate to the sides and finally looked like a fish. In this rip off of a strip poker game, failure to correctly answer the question meant they have to shed a piece of their clothing. The questions being asked are beyond absurd. It begs for an alternate universe by itself.

Hugot is an inspired masterpiece. It is so inspired that there is nothing I wish more than the auteur be stricken of irreversible creative block.

That or permanent residency in Alcatraz for all our sakes.


Joven Tan's Paupahan is another masterpiece in the School Of High Camp. I'll write about it if boredom doesn't bitchslap me into lethargy.

Read More......

The Last Schmaltz

Hypothetical scenarios are fun because it's a chance to warp realities into your very own ideals. This supposed scenarios took a bizarre shape during an animated dinner with a bunch of people I am genuinely fond of. Streams of conversation finally tipped towards hypotheticals and as yet another manifestation of how the universe has a sick sense of humor Ms. Syrup popped this hair-splitting question:

“How do you imagine a perfect date?”

I clenched my jaws, knotted my tongue and feigned short-term deafness.

Not because I am an apathetic bastard. But because deep down my misanthropic hide I am the mortifying opposite. A fact I am keen on camouflaging as long as I can. No amount of bubbly or familiarity can ever make me spill my maudlin streaks in a spirited repartee among inebriated folks with sharp memories. The same is true with almost any personal details - things that I willfully obscure during boozy moments. While many of drunken friends regurgitate the most drippy confessions about love and such I shut up and cackle in glee in my head. A moment like this is a goldmine for blackmail.

But the question bugged me all the way home.

How, indeed!

Dear voyeur, If you are looking for blanket of stars, sex in the beach and the likes now is your last chance to make a sharp U-Turn and search for universal truths in Hollywood or the nearby Hallmark stand. I have none of that breed to offer especially now that I have realized that my idea of a perfect date is remotely swoon-worthy. In fact my ideas are so mundane it's not a spit away from serving a roomful of cannibals with boiled tofu.

Doomed (potential) Loudcloud dates can look forward to the following 'perfect date' scenarios. (Perfect is used arbitrarily here because the author is of unshakeable impression that perfection is a scary concept that do not exist yet insisted upon.)

Scene 03. (Preferably) A good-humored disagreement. Over dinner. You can get a glimpse of a person's character and strong convictions if you can get him/her to passionately disagree with you. Passion outlasts the temporary flickers of romance. This will also filter out echo chambers.

Scene 02. Show Me Yours I'll Show You Mine. Go over your date's flat (or vice versa) and plot a challenge: S/he pick his/her best five DVDs for you to watch and you do the same. You'll be surprised with two things: Potential Compatibility and your threshold of tolerance. (If s/he insist on repeated viewing of Yentl, Titanic and The Notebook dash for the woods screaming). Porn is not an option.

Topping the above is my schmaltzy streak:

01. Breakfast. I believe the metric of a great date is the lack of awkwardness the morning after. I'm no stranger to Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am episodes but allowing someone to stay and wake up next to the following morning says heaps about that tiny glint of ache that this encounter can be stretched far beyond momentary, wild, detached sex. This is where my mawkish fantasy would get on hyperdrive: Me, attempting to counterfeit Cafe Bola's Caramelized Spam for breakfast; The Date, surprising me with a new twist in brewing coffee. Both in tousled hair, underwear and creased white shirts. Laughing like lunatics. Thoughts freewheeling, hoping for ten million breakfasts like this to befall each other.

With each other. Permanently.

Read More......

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

RPG In The Demographic Key Of C/D/E Minor

Hewhoisnottobenamed is back with a hilarious hijink.

loud cloud: whats happening lately
loud cloud: i'm out of the loop
loud cloud: have you been to the wasteland?
hewhoisnottobenamed: which wasteland are you asking about?
hewhoisnottobenamed: ah
hewhoisnottobenamed: the wasteland
hewhoisnottobenamed: yes i always make it a point to check the wasteland
loud cloud: kwento
hewhoisnottobenamed: there is treasure in them refuse
hewhoisnottobenamed: hahahah
hewhoisnottobenamed: hahhaaha
loud cloud: lalalalala
hewhoisnottobenamed: there are the usuals
hewhoisnottobenamed: i found someone who does cybersex
hewhoisnottobenamed: the long search is over
hewhoisnottobenamed: and some who do sop
hewhoisnottobenamed: but these people are 'karakters'
hewhoisnottobenamed: some bore you with their moaning
loud cloud: LOL
hewhoisnottobenamed: some sound funny they're distracting
hewhoisnottobenamed: hahaha
loud cloud: karakters
loud cloud: do tell of these karakters
loud cloud: new breed?
hewhoisnottobenamed: i got a call early early this morning
hewhoisnottobenamed: from someone with whom i've apparently had sop with before
loud cloud: *listens*
hewhoisnottobenamed: so he starts out
hewhoisnottobenamed: and narrates
hewhoisnottobenamed: and tells me what to do
hewhoisnottobenamed: and then all of a sudden
hewhoisnottobenamed: he says
hewhoisnottobenamed: ikaw si piolo
hewhoisnottobenamed: at ako si sam
hewhoisnottobenamed: ngek
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
hewhoisnottobenamed: hahahahah
hewhoisnottobenamed: hahahha
hewhoisnottobenamed: how pedestrian
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
loud cloud: you gotta be kidding me!
loud cloud: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahaha
hewhoisnottobenamed: unless my dream was that vivid hahaha
hewhoisnottobenamed: i gotta stop talking to these people who don't switch channels beyond studio 23

Read More......

Debunking Dirhams

Benefiting from intoxicating delights of beer and fond company of friends is one of my favored pleasures. So over chilled beer and garlic mushrooms (the rest ordered an odd-tasting Sisig which revolted me, and I love Sisig) I have had high hopes of playing catch up with a friend (an advertising art director) currently based in a continent where the simmering sand dunes pile up aplenty. We were pretty much enjoying the insanely hilarious nostalgic spree then without preamble it crept in. It happened so swift and much more alarming than the fashion pack threatening a bell-bottom comeback: this friend began talking about money. No let’s put it this way: he launches into an eloquent glossolalia in the double key of Dirham and Riyals. On how it’s pouring out there like the Nile, and can be easily had if you are cunning. The abundance of income, as I gathered from the pissing-higher-than-your-grandfather competition that ensued, undoubtedly made the Manna incident look like a mere Relief Operation of the UNICEF to Sudan. This is when I became aware that my toenails lost all sensations and my brains (and my common sense) ticked the deceased box.

Talking about money bores me. There’s always an excess or lack of it and to elevate that kind of conversation into the high grounds of “Why Are You Refusing Fortune By Remaining Here In The Third World Cesspit?” makes me adopt the emotional quotient of Norman Bates.

I am not one to get jealous or get bitter about the great fortune of others. I have no ambitions to be the threat to Warren Buffet; I only have the demented ambition AND requisite ego bloated enough to take on the gods of KesselsKramer, Wieden+Kennedy AND Mother to a Pitch Off. THAT or outselling Grisham, Clancy and Crichton with a monumental opus that would make Kazuo Ishiguro and Milan Kundera mope. Kidding.

What is mildly annoying about the sordid money brandishing binge was how it was rubbed in the faces of other friends who no doubt are secretly dwarfed by the PaySlip Face-Off Bonanza. I caught the eyes of two other people in the table and we swapped incredulous looks.

I’d blame the beer. Inebriation can bring a fungus out decent human beings. In the name of friendship I’d like to take a skeptical stand: this friend probably hadn’t intended to brag; that waving about his acquisitions before the eyes of friends (especially those struggling for a hard-worked promotion) is nothing but a friendly banter gone awry.

At least three of us steered the conversation into more pleasant direction but no, Dirk Dirham, went on, exhorting us to be just like him: to pack our suits, potted plants and relocate our cactuses to where the Riyals Run High.

I was so tempted to test his financial claims by asking for a really huge loan, so huge Credit Suisse will blush, but decided against it in the bizarre urge to remain courteous.

“Millions!” he vocalizes in drunken sing song. “You’ll rake in millions in less than a year! And the best creatives are all going to the Middle East!”

I forked in another batch of garlicky mushrooms.

“Manila recently snagged golds and silvers and citations in Clio, Cannes, New York, London and Asia.” I finally butted in. “I’ll jump into the exodus wagon when YOU win Dubai/Qatar/UAE its first D&AD Black pencil AND its first CannesLions Titanium.”


“Fuck you.” Came the response.

Hearty roars of laughter erupted all around. Something thick wads of Dinar can’t slap a price tag on.

Read More......

Streaming Rolls Of Flaming Feces

Movies are cheaper than therapy. But what if movies like Hugot and Paupahan encourage you to file class action suit and demand for therapy bills reimbursement? I am still thinking twice about writing an overdue review for both flicks because I cannot go into a nerve-grating exercise of recalling the scenes without hammering tacks into my eyeballs. I probably will later, when dead planetary rocks collide and a perverse streak hits my skull. Meanwhile I'll be very kind and give both films a capsule review:

Both cinematic opus mentioned bring out powerful imagination from comatose viewers: That of barrels of boiling turd.


Thank you RTM for the YM message! And for digressing in here :-)

Read More......

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Deliberate or otherwise, your reckless stunt bruised me. It punctured deeper than I'd care to admit. But I am conceited and is not given to admitting defeat without first entertaining an amicable alternative to resolve all tangled thoughts and foolish acts. I ruled out judgment; I anticipated simple gestures of courtesy. Is it too much to expect? I don't think so. So I held my breath. Waiting led to minutes that dissolved into hours and hours bloomed into days and days drifted into tongueless limbos and only the elongated silence that amplify these aches can prove that you once existed. A belated apology surfaced and I somehow debated the merit of the expressed sincerity, hoping for both our sakes that it was just an inevitable human lapse during an excited rush and a moment of weakness. If one should insist on accounting for all the hurt reaped from the easy episodes (and that barbed beginning) then we have a blurry ledger to audit. Is it too late? Slowly it's dawning upon me: We both have cowardice to tame, and you toss unnecessary apologies to mend your embarrassment. Eventually all this will float into forgotten corners and we will both resume breathing freely in different compartments of our individual lives. Until then, the key you tossed under the door will lie quietly on top of my desk. Its contours glowing softly, much like the mellow timbres of your first hello.

Read More......

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goatzilla In Cannes

Unanimously, the panel of juries composed of myself and my multiple personalities, hereby bestow the Hernia d’Or to Brillante Mendoza’s Serbis.

Serbis is that rare gem that once in a while sneaks itself through and outmaneuvers the high standards of the Cannes Film Festival and instantly makes Serious Critics’ garters all knotted up. Not us, the very fine-tuned Panel of Absurdity who have just the combustible appetite for Films From Hell. And Mendoza is our shining beacon of hope, the kind of hope who profoundly understands the crucial need to out-squalor India and Somalia in the determined dash for Cinematic Sordidness.

Serbis is brandished as a story of arbitrary morality. It follows a mishmash of activities of a family operating a seedy porn movie house and the hormone-crazed habitués populating it. Or so it hopes to be received.

As a warped, rabid consumer of local indie flicks it hits me this way: it’s not a movie about the human condition—it’s a bleak Third World aerobics video disguised as an artsy movie/celluloid provocateur! It’s actually a herniating two-hour voyeurism; an exhausting trailing of the characters in lieu of spectator workout: you lose five pounds just sitting through the entire movie what with too much going up and down the dingy stairs like a grimly-lighted exercise cassette. At one point I was half expecting Jane Fonda, in matching Rainbow Brite head/wrist/leg bands, to pop up into the screen and cheerfully exhorting everyone. “Ok! Great! Now! Two More Flights Up The Grimy Stairwell, Folks! A-One! A-Two! A-Three!”

In the opening sequence a young woman, newly-bathed, purr at herself in the mirror. She croaks “I Love You…” in breathy repetition while the camera languidly spans the slopes downhill from her cocoa-tinted nipples to her bushy black-pubed crotch. A poster of Jesus and several iterations of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary looked on with beatific smiles while she goes on a narcissistic spree. Classic! This scene got slammed for “gratuitous nudity” by certain critics at Cannes. Being a passionate Absurditst I indignantly disagree! How can they not see it? It’s Mendoza’s love letter to self right there. You can almost picture him contemplating his own nakedness in front of the mirror, as he tweaks his own nipples in self-congratulations and breathes “You are a fabulous auteur! I love you…”

However this has a reverse, ironic effect on majority of the gay audiences that I presume to be the core audience of Mendoza’s Cinéma-vérité.

Kaloka!” squeals an offended fag, and by the tone it was uttered, he’s plotting class action suit for psychological trauma.

Come on! Is it really difficult to love the Mendoza's School Of Filmmaking and it’s underlying genius in Techniques In Making The Rounds Of The Awards Circuit? Forget craft in storytelling! Forget character depth! More Nudity! Sex! Raw Living Conditions!

Capitalize on the exoticism of squalor! Show clogged bathroom pipes! Extend protracted shots of grimy drainage hosting three thousandth generation of Escherichia coli!

And while you're at it, pass the Xanax! AND the Maalox!

This technique will appeal and will come off very provocative for the likes of say, Paris Hilton or the entire population of Sweden or Switzerland (where poverty is unheard of) who will involuntarily bronze Brillantes as a visceral visionary.

However, show this movie to the populace of the innards of Quiapo and you’ll get a big “SO?”

Despite all these purported foulness, I laud the movie for its abundance of absurdity.

Take for instance the character of Coco Martin, who plays billboard painter slash reel delivery boy. Just when I was almost convince that he has the acting intensity, a convincing tortured look and a believable limp, it was finally revealed that it wasn’t really his talent: it was a humongous boil at its ripe, terminal stage throbbing on his butt cheek! The awful boil (which deserves its own billing) in a brilliant exhibition of third world DIY surgery, was popped out of commission with the help of a long-necked whiskey bottle. While collective chorus of disgust floated from the audience at the sight of pus and blood oozing from the quashed carbuncle, I wanted to leap out of my seat and do a manic ovation in behalf of all Nip Tuck fans everywhere! Coco Martin is a poster boy for courage!

This is not to say that the film is lacking in talent: Gina Pareño as the grand matriarch bristles like a blue blooded thespian in her scenes that command your respect and attention. Then there’s Julio Diaz, whose gravitas is felt despite all the 'quiet' acting and the jarring premises and scenes that threaten to eclipse him. Then there’s THE Jacklyn Jose, who can convey three thousand emotions just by slowly pursing her lips. Jacklyn rises above all the ludicrousness and she solidifies my respect for her prodigious talent. Here she once again proves she’s an actress of the highest order by delivering the line “Inang, May Nakapasok Na Kambing!” ("Mother, a stray goat got inside the theater!”) without bursting into giggles. Another thing about her that begets my respect: she carries her scenes with solemn composure and unwavering dignity despite her botchy, caked faux tan slowly melting like she’s an animated Madame Taussaud's exhibit delivering the lines from Medea next to an incinerator. Meryl Streep, you got competition.

Serbis is crude, and visceral; It is a daring celluloid umbrella of great actors (even the very minor actors toss their lines with convincing faculty) which is diluted by the film's pretentious over eagerness to be taken seriously. The cinematography is incredible, the art direction spot on, but this film suffers the advance stage of Auteur Syndrome: the inability to film with a steady camera. It is like saying: If the camera movements aren’t shaky enough, then it’s not indie enough!

Listen: we get it! It’s supposed to be raw, but would nausea be necessary? Isn't floors flooded with urine and other excrement head-spinning enough? It is as if Serbis' (or any other current indie movie) main purpose is to induce vertigo or tourette and if the audience don’t launch their previous meals into projectile vomiting then the movie is a failure!

Nevertheless Serbis has its moments of pure glee. For an anal retentive dork like me, pay attention to the graffiti and vandalisms all over the theater walls in the movie. What would one make out of “Dodong Charing” for instance? I snickered like hell. Then there are those ST movie posters with equally-hilarious titles and subtitles: “Tampisaw: Hindi Lahat Ng Laro Ay Sa Apoy!” Indeed!

Then just as I am about to get that sinking, let-down feeling the most brilliant moment happened.

In (one of the) film's orgasmic scene, where the screen is flashing hardcore sex and the characters are busy doing unprintable filthy fun with each other inside that squalid theater, a goat - yes, a goat - appeared in front of the screen bleating like an amused character who jumped out of Salvador Dali’s cranium right smack into Mendoza's cinematic opus. I can’t quite gnaw the metaphor there but it was a very rich moment in Philippine Cinema.

Will we ever unravel the monumental mystery on how on Mendoza's colossally-gifted imagination did the fantastical goat climb several flights of stairs in a very dense commercial district, elude detection by prostitutes of every gender loitering the hallways of the raunchy theater, and steal the scene and do a riotous coitus interruptus for the orgasm-determined characters in the throes of smutty theater sex? I guess we'll never know.

Serbis is supposed to be a bold essay of austerity but slides into the centerfold of conceit and absurdity. It is like a wry joke trying its luck to pass off itself as drama. All things considered no one should deny Brillante Menoza much-needed encouragement or credit (at least) for all the chutzpah. But gunning for an award? Sure. Hand out an award.

Give it to the goat for making sure we got a good laugh for the door price.


You haven't heard the end of absurdica yet. Next to be celebrated in this blog: Hugot.

Not recommended for anyone with IQ over 20 and have no warped sense of proportions.

Read More......