Tuesday, May 27, 2008

film, friends and fun - updated

Nikki, Vin and I had a great time last night at Mogwai. The film adaptation of my play was the main event, but seeing old friends and sharing food and wine added to my enjoyment of the evening. Direk Rico Gutierrez immediately plied us with baked tahong and red wine and we ordered variations on rumaki (while my companions blissed out on Molten Chocolate Cake). I was happy to see Francis and Andoy and Augie (nasaan ka Earl?), as well as other friends old and new. In particular, I was happy to meet Eon who came with a couple of my books.

The film is called "Room 180" because of Direk Rico's decision to deploy proscenium stage techniques, permitting the camera only a 180 degree angle, which was quite effective. The actors peformed very well, and for the first time in a long time, I felt bad for Danny at the end. This got me to thinking about the difference between theater and film. Staged, the play is supposed to feel more "real". But Direk Rico's treatment, complete with Chekovian pause and extreme close up, affected me more. I don't know if this is because I watch more films now than plays; or because of the ability of film to bring me so close to the actors (the limitation in plays is that you can only see from where you're sitting and can easily miss delicate nuances of facial expression depending on blocking). I discussed these things with Wanggo and Paulo after the show as I tried to articulate this oddness. In a way, I feel disassociated with my text. Of course it's familiar, I did write it after all (and much kudos to the excellent screenplay of Augie!), but that was way back in 1990. I was talking to Nikki and Vin as to why this play retains the interest of various people because I couldn't understand why (because, perhaps, I know it inside out). But interestingly enough, I was riveted by the film treatment, because it was so... different and more intimate.

Mogwai's upstairs theater was also a welcome surprise. We were asked to remove our shoes before entering the intimate carpeted viewing room strewn with cushions and pillows of various sizes - which made for quite the organic "sit-in" feeling.

Thanks again to Rico, Augie, Francis, Andoy and Earl for a lovely film and a wonderful evening.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

litcritters open session

Everyone is invited to the LitCritters Open Session this Saturday, May 24th at 2PM over at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center.

Here are the stories we'll be talking about:

Among the Bissayans of Zvbv by Carlos Cortes
The Fantasy Writer's Assistant by Jeffrey Ford
Every Angel is Terrifying by John Kessel

Come on over and join the discussion.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

movie at mogwai

One of my most staged plays is "Short Time", which won the Palanca way back in 1991. It's come to life as a film - "Room 180", translated by the incredible Augie Rivera and directed by the intrepid Rico Gutierrez, and stars Earl Ignacio, Andoy Ranay and Francis Makil.

Come on over to Mogwai Cafe (#62 & 63 Cubao Expo in what was formerly the Marikina Shoe Expo - much has changed and it is like an artist enclave now) near Ali Mall, Cubao on May 26, 7PM and watch it with me (it'll be my first viewing as well).

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Nikki Alfar's story, "Bound", appears in the latest issue (May) of Rogue Magazine. It's cool and disturbing.

Yes, she trumps me at fantastic erotica, dammit.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

green blood

Manila Prints Sydney and Manila releases 'Green Blood and Other Stories', a collection of short stories by a talented new author Erwin Cabucos.

Fifteen short stories exploring a range of themes, including intercultural marriage, racism, social justice, bullying, religious beliefs and growing up Filipino are packed in this new literary feast.

Many of the characters are children, observing and challenging stereotypes and ideological positions that have been normalised in our society.

"Why is God white?" asks a character in one of the stories. The priest is left with no adequate answer.

"It is a book that you can relate to as a Filipino and as an Australian. The stories have been woven into a world of two cultures which may be a very good tool for Literacy, SOSE, Anthropology teaching and learning in Australia," says Myrla Prianes, a Brisbane-based teacher and a community leader.

Casting a racist slur over our immigrant neighbour's smelly food is represented in one of the stories, laying bare themes of racial snobbery, prejudice and persecution of those are different or who dare to be different.

Cabucos is a teacher of secondary English in Brisbane and when not teaching, he writes short fiction which find their ways in various anthologies and publications including 'The Philippine Graphic Magazine and the Philippines Free Press. One of Cabucos’ stories ‘The Bleached Hills of Cotabato" appears this month at a newly released anthology ‘Salu-Salo: In Conversation with Filipino-Australian Writers’ which will be launched on 25 May at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.

'Green Blood and Other Stories', ISBN 978-0-9804827-0-6, is now available in the Philippines through Manila Prints.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

litcritters open

Everyone is invited this Saturday for the LitCritter Open Session! The venue is the air-conditioned comfort of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf along Emerald Avenue (Ortigas Center, Pasig City). We begin at 2PM and will discuss the following stories:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Ship of Silk on the Calmest Sea by Daniel Ausema
Firooz and his Brother by Alex Jeffers

You can download reading copies of these stories over at the LitCritters Google Group.

Previous discussions:

Paladin of the Lost Hour by Harlan Ellison
We Can Get Them for You Wholesale by Neil Gaiman
Little Red and the Big Bad by Will Shetterly
His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle
Thousand Year Eve by Sarge Lacuesta
A Godmother's Gift by January Mortimer
A Princess of the Earth by Mike Resnick

Critique (reading and learning from texts) belongs to the us, the common readers. It should live and breathe outside the halls of academe and be accessible, understandable and useful for those who, like us, aim to to tell better stories.


chris barzak

Good buddy Christopher Barzak, one of my favorite authors ("One for Sorrow"), is up for MTV LOGO's NewNowNext Awards: "Brink of Fame: Author".
It's an online thing, so go and vote for him.


Monday, May 05, 2008

recent publications

The complete version of "Sunboy" appears in this week's issue of the Philippines Free Press. It's spec fic in only the most general possible sense of the term (okay, it's domestic realism, but try it out).

"In the Dim Plane" appears in the latest issue of the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories.

I'm wrapping up around a few more stories, slated for publication in a number of anthos year.

I know I keep yapping about the heat, but really, it has been quite a feat to even find the will to write during the daytime. The humidity is also quite a bitch, and I find myself needing to rehydrate every do often. I find my mind drifting away, hijacked by thoughts of cooler climes.

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