Saturday, November 29, 2008

Top Ten Something

It has been a while since I have posted something worthy for a leisure reading, something which is not too serious as would involve the discussion of life, death and all the metaphysical shits in between. So, as an ode perhaps to Chico and Delamar's Top 10 something everyday, I am here posting a Top 10 of my somethings.

Necessarily, this list has no common theme that threads one entry to the next. They are just random thoughts that came to my mind, keeping only one thing in perspective: they are something I fancy as of the moment. Well, perhaps there's the organic thought that binds the list together. Hehe.

Top Ten Something

10. I have always been a big fan of magical realism.

That is perhaps why I was so hooked with the Harry Potter series (aside from the fact that it is well-written and the myth surrounding Harry's story is so whole, so full that it is a universe in itself). But recently, I have encountered shows in C/S, yes that channel regarding crimes and suspense,which I am now following (not so religiously I'm afraid, but nonetheless I watch when I get the chance). The Dresden Files is one, though I only seldom get to watch it. The other one is Moonlight, about a daywalker who seems to have a fascination with earning back his mortality. While this is not an altogether new conflict, still the treatment of the same is quite well done (I cannot say extraordinary because the show itself is not that extraordinary), or perhaps I am just fascinated with beautiful people, and vampires seem to have that goth beauty that seems irresistible. Hehe.

On that note, I am quite interested in reading the Twilight trilogy (about daywalkers as well). Though, I am quite apprehensive of patronizing it for two reasons: first, one of my critic friends told me not to read them since they suck, I mean that the three installments were not well-written. Perhaps, only the fantasy holds the story together. But since I do not base my opinion on others', I will have to read them myself. Second, the book was written by a Mormon. Yes, you read that right. A mormon. Through their tithe system, buying a book means that you contribute 10% of its proceeds to the Mormon Church -- a staunch supporter of Prop 8, which limits the California Constitution to marriages between male and female only. I have always believed in equal rights to equal people. So, while I decided to read Twilight I will only do so by borrowing a copy from a friend. Hehe. Or better yet, by just downloading an ebook at torrent sites. Hehe.

9. Chico and Delamar's Top 10 Podcast.

Listening to Top 10 discussions of Chico and Delamar is so fucking hilarious and entertaining. It's one of those things that make my day, in fact, start my day. I admit that I was hooked to their discussion just recently. But who would not? They have the best diction on the airwaves (unlike those poseur radio jockeys who cannot even seem to use S-V agreement properly), and their wit is just so infectious. In fact, I even put on my shout out "Chico, why are you manhandling your grapes?!" Haha.

But before you believe your dirty little mind, let me tell you that Chico was in fact referring to grapes -- the fruit. Though, when he was talking about mandhandled grapes, it was during the discussion on the topic "Signs that you are or you are not a conservative." So perhaps, there was really double meaning on that. Haha. But I do have to agree with him that texture is quite addictive. Chico said (this is a paraphrase) that "it's different when you touch the grapes with your fingers and when you put the whole bunch in your mouth. The tongue has different sensors, after all." Well, yeah! Haha. Isn't he right.

Well, that's just one of his quips. Their topic ranges from sexist quotes to things you've said in anger, and even nasty habits and how one will complete the sentence "ano, gust mong anuhin ko ang ano mo?" Haha. 'Nuff said.

Just listen to them at their podcast site by clicking on Chico & Delamar or by just clicking on play on the right tab. Enjoy!

(Today is 29 November 2008. Tomorrow we will proceed to Number 8 in the countdown.)

So, I am back. And we go on with the countdown while listening to the song "Good Morning, Baltimore" sang by Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. Or at least, that's what I am hearing right now since the movie currently showing on HBO is, well, what else but Hairspray. On that note, my Number 8 is --

8. Musicals and rainy days.

I was never really a big fan of musicals before. Although I have to concede that I really like Disney films, and well they are kinda like musicals too. So perhaps, I was really quite in like with musicals even when I was a kid. Haha.

But this fascination became a full-blown obsession when I went to Ateneo Loyola where I was exposed to theater, and, after a while, musical theater. My roommates also were members of Blue Repertory so I got hooked with the songs they were singing when they were rehearsing for auditions and, what else, rehearsals. My first encounter was Once In an Island. Soon, I was singing for the roles of Agwe and Papa Ge (not with Blue Repertory - since I was also then an editor of Heights, which will perhaps require another blog entry altogether - but only when my roommates were rehearsing for their roles).

Soon, I also had my dream roles just in case I get cast in a musical. My dream role is Judas Iscariot, yes, of Jesus Christ Superstar and Roger in Rent. Though my favorite musical perhaps is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Rent. I am not really well-versed with all the musicals in the planet, but hell when I encounter one I make sure I learn the songs of that new musical.

Fan fact: did you know that the song This is the Moment is actually the song sang by Dr. Jekyll before he drinks the potion in Jekyll & Hyde?

If I was not in law school (or in my alternative universe, advertising), I would probably be in theater while writing poetry. That's how I saw my life before, but the lack of money has made me prioritize things and give up some things (except poetry). But if I ever get the chance to juggle all of them I would. Wow! And to think I also want to go to Broadway and perform in Rent. Haha. I can already imagine myself singing Seasons of Love, One Song Glory and La Vie Boheme!

In fact, some of the most fun memories I had when I was still living in Serrano Dormitory was during rainy days and typhoon seasons when it was very much acceptable to belt out the songs we know because the torrential downpour drowns the sound and confines the singing (even at very loud voices) just to our dorm and therefore would not distract the neighbors. Hehe. Of course, it was best to practice the songs (especially Bui Doi of Miss Saigon) by the balcony while the rain rages on. I can only imagine our landlady downstairs feeling so helpless with the raucous we were doing then because of too much songs being sung inside the dorm (mind you, they were not limited solely to musicals but also to gospel songs and RnB). Hehe.

7. Films, not movies -- films!

The first time I queued for the films of French Spring in Manila/French Film Festival was in 2003 and the fee then was zilch, the films were shown for free at Shangri-La Mall. I had no work then yet (I was a fresh grad and I just came from a two-week writing workshop in Baguio City sponsored by the UP Institute of Creative Writing), so I had to pinch my coins so tightly since I was already then living on my savings. But I loved watching the films.

It was in June 2003, during French Spring, that I encountered Catherine Deneuve and I fell in love with her. Her performance in
8 Femmes (8 Women) and Est-Ouest (East-West) was just so spectacular! I cannot forget, for my life, her sing-and-dance performance in 8 Femmes. Wow! And that scene in Est-Ouest as they were approaching the embassy was just so riveting everybody in the movie house were holding their breaths and at the end of the scene everybody, collectively, sighed in relief then exploded in this ear-splitting applause! God. The French really know how to make their films.

But the most memorable film in that French Film Festival was the movie Une Affaire de Gout (A Matter of Taste) and which, to date, is my favorite film. The film was character-driven and it was as if the audience is Nicolas
himself, the wine taster, who was befriended by Frederic Delamonte, a wealthy middle-aged businessman. While some critics dismiss the film as simply entertaining and the ending somewhat unacceptable, I had to differ.

Perhaps the critics were simply looking at the wrong direction, but the subtlety by which the director moved the storyline and the dynamics between Nicolas and Monseuer Delamonte was so mesmerizing that the denouement of the film was in fact
necessary and, very well enough, welcomed. I cannot think of any other ending for that film; that scene showing an irresistible temptation was so indispensable in order to show that, even if we do not like to do so, the only way out is another sin. That perhaps is the thing that captivated me.

On that note, I have to add that while I am a big fan of French films, I am also quite interested in the way the Japanese make theirs and the brilliance of Latin-American filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. The films Amores Perros (Love's a Bitch) and Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother, Too) were my first encounter (well, I guess, first and second encounters) with foreign art films. After watching them I was hooked.

Before, I end this entry I have to say that my favorite actors are not from Hollywood but from Mexico and France. The first one is Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros, Y Tu Mama Tambien, El Crimen del Padre Amaro, Dot the i, Babel) who is an overly underrated actor who has been recognized almost everywhere except Hollywood. But what the heck, it is Hollywood's loss anyway. The other one is that ice maiden I have mentioned above, Catherine Deneuve, who is known everywhere because of the aloof and enigmatic personality she has glacially portrayed in such classic films as Polanski's Repulsion and Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, and which I have to say she managed to show (with a little bit of fiery eyes) in her portrayal in Est-Ouest.

So there, that's my number 7 -- foreign films which are so magically well done they stuck on you.

(We will of course proceed to Number 6 and, perhaps, 5 tomorrow. Today is November 30, 2008. Bonifacio Day and my friend and co-intern Vins Padilla's birthday. So, happy birthday Vinina!)

I guess it has taken me a little while before going back to this entry. Nonetheless I am back, so we continue with Number 6 of this top ten whatever, thus:

6. British Comedies, great TV series and really hilarious talk shows

Necessarily, if I have favorite films and film actors, the boob tube and everything shown in it are not too far behind. So, I am now introducing to you my favorite comedy shows, which are, well, British comedies. Just that.

While I love F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Will and Grace, British comedies like Coupling and According to Bex are just way different from these US shows. While the group of Ross and Rachel and the gay quad antics are entertaining, and sometimes heartwarming, the no-nonsense to hell-nonsense take of British comedies on certain topics raise the bar to a new level. Surely, hilarious becomes insufficient to describe the wit of British comedies -- after all, aside from the brilliant and smart script, physical comedy when added to the picture (and British actors are more than experts on this, especially Jessica Stevenson as Bex in, well, According to Bex) blow everything away. Simply, British comedies are brilliant.

In fact, there were instances (actually I think on weekends when Coupling and According to Bex were shown back-to-back on Star World), when my roommates in the Makati apartment where I stayed before were so pissed by my raucous laughter that they would shout at me to stop laughing, but wit that invades the heart cannot be stoppered and laughter just explodes. Haha.

While British comedies score when compared to their American counterpart, the latter nonetheless proves that when it comes to TV drama series, they are the expert. There are two shows I highly recommend right now and which I will defend to the very end (hehe): Brothers & Sisters and Dexter.

In my Friendster account, I wrote a review of Brothers & Sisters pilot episode:

"One of the more compelling, well-written series on TV today. Have watched only the first three episodes of the first season and already obsessed with it - got hooked after the brilliantly-written pilot episode. Aside from a powerhouse cast which provides moving scenes one after another, the writers of the show continue to outdo themselves with witty lines in every scene of every episode. Great show."

Dexter on the other hand is another matter altogether. Forget all those other crime shows, this is the to-die for series to watch and follow (its third season is now on the works). Dexter is a forensic investigator specializing in blood splatter analysis. But this fascination for blood and blood spatters do not end with his work; for he has a more exciting job at night -- he hunts for serial killers who manage to escape from the clutches of the law. And that is where adventure begins.

But what really made me stay with Dexter is the writers' effort (and if I may say so, quite successfully) to delve into the psyche of Dexter and how he interacts with the world, despite the obviously dysfunctional setup he is in. This is what is extraordinary with this show, the humanity that appears to leak, like blood, out of Dexter which tends to create a characterization so original it stick to you.

And of course, I cannot say enough regarding Chelsea Lately; a very hilarious late-night show hosted by witty, intelligent and beautiful Chelsea Handler. Her wit makes her so adept in handling, pun intended, current events. And the spin that her comedian guests do to stories and news is so greatly amusing, entertaining and enlightening it is as if you are watching Confucius as a comic (though perhaps I am exaggerating this.)

So there, that is my number 6. And I am so effing tired, I have to retire. See you soon as we proceed with the last half of this countdown.

Wow! It took me quite a long time before coming back to this post. It is already December 7, and I am officially fascinated with Google Earth. But that is not my top 5. I only downloaded the Google Earth program because I was trying to find out if there is a typhoon approaching this calamity-frequented land. I am not sure though if it is a cause for rejoicing, but there is only a low pressure area somewhere in the Pacific, and whether or not it will become a full-blown typhoon or stay mild-mannered remains to be seen.

Anyway, my top 5 (and quite appropriately so in this time of cold and wet weather), is

[Entry number 5 deleted. I will soon come back to this. Perhaps before the holiday break. See you then.]

5. Well I guess the number had to come after the holiday break. In fact, after valentine's day. But that is neither here nor there. Nonetheless, my number five are books -- be they novels, poetry or literary criticisms.

I am a big fan of the written word, and I have devoted my life to enjoying reading them and contributing to their perpetuation be it through writing my own literature or doing critique of others'.

The first novel that captivated me was La Casa del Espiritus (The House of the Spirits) by Isabel Allende. Until now I still remember how the story opened - with letters. Wow! And the flowing green hair of the sister who was considered a mermaid. I could not rest my mind on any other imagery when I recall that novel. The words woven by Allende were like silk on tongue.

(I am sorry. I have to take a break here. My head is spinning and I need to sleep.)

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