Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Recently, I have had the opportunity to view gay-themed indie movies and it all started with getting an invite from Lex Bonife for Little Boy, Big Boy. Since then, I have watched both Pipo and Bayaw (which I will both review in the next weeks).
Just this week, I was able to attend a special screening of the latest film from Jay Altarejos, Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan, at Mogwai Cafe in Cubao. It is not a usual venue for premieres and screenings but the ambiance of the screening room was very intimate. For an indie film, it allows the filmmakers to have a closer interaction with their audience.
Not being picky, I was a bit confused with Juan traveling from his rented room to where he was working as a performer. He stopped over in Manila to buy a can of biscuits. Normally, these biscuits are purchased on the bus station itself prior to boarding the bus especially since it is a bit cumbersome to carry around the city. I did found the song that accompanied Juan while contemplated by the bridge in Manila truly appropriate. Lex Bonife is credited for that song.
The story had revolved around Juan who had decided to return to Masbate after struggling in Manila for three years only to have ended up as a masseur / sex performer for lack of an easy way to earn money. It shows how the lead character interacts with his neighbors and partner as he says his goodbyes. Then leads to his trip to what is supposedly his last day of work as a performer in a private gay club.
For me, it was not a struggle of deciding whether to push through with returning home to his province or not. It was acceptance of his decision and pushing through with it. You know he is struggling however his life in Manila brought him a lot of friends including a partner. His decision is rooted on the family he left behind. Ironically in the end, the situation he allowed himself to be in takes the decision out of his hands. A reflection of life, sometimes we plan too much only to have the decision made by others or by circumstances.
Jay Altajeros definitely is not your run of the mill director. He uses long one-camera shots that is difficult to orchestrate and works well with the narrative. He does not rest on his laurels and experiments on how to bring their story to the screen. Considering financial limitations, he makes sure that each of his films feel like it's something new, not a rehash of his previous films.
Angeli Bayani (2008 Cinemanila’s Asian Best Actress), for me stole the show with her performance. Unforgettable is the scene when the rice she bought using the money she borrowed from Juan spilled onto the wet sidewalk. For me, it depicts the Filipino's resilience. Down to our last resources, we will use them to the last drop. It also superimposed how pushed to the wall her character was which leads to her her fateful decision at the end of the movie.
Nico Antonio, of the singing group VOIZboys, is the partner of the lead character. He struggled with letting Juan go and pursuading him to stay. I am unfamiliar with his acting credentials, but he does the character justice for what limited time he is given on screen.
The lead character, Juan, is played by indie veteran, Ray-An Dulay. He made an impact on his first film, Bathhouse, and has a Altarejos movie under his belt, Kambyo. Onscreen he appears a bit lanky but in person, he makes an impression on you that he is Juan. It did not create that illusion on film. Then again, maybe I am prejudiced on what I look for in a guy. BUT. He, however, does a good turn as Juan. I got to meet a lot of the people who lent their talents to the completion of this movie including Ace Ricafort and Tony Lapeña who were daring in their roles as the Tupada Boys. May-I Fabros and Fabillar, who had short roles in the film, were truly accomodating and truly friendly.
Take the time and add this film to be one of the films you are watching this week. Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan will be shown in selected Robinsons cinemas starting, tomorrow, October 21.
Monday, October 5, 2009
A lot has happened since I last made an entry which I blame as the reason why I failed to update this blog of mine. My relationship ended and now, my house is flooded. Life has its ups and downs but sometimes it just feels like when you are down, it kicks you in the groin just to make you felt worse than you already do.
I thought that my relationship has been set on stone. We were 5 years. We seemed to have weathered a lot of problems and it seemed to be smooth sailing.
I thought that the area that I lived in was safe. In the 3 years that I lived there, I was far from any calamity or crime. It seemed to be a suitable haven from the pressures at work, a place I can retreat to so I can recharge and relax.
When life makes changes for you sometimes you are never prepared but one should always be prepared for the worse. One should always have something ready to catch him when the unexpected comes.
When these trials come, it may freeze you to inaction or it may fuel your drive. When I broke up with my partner, it made me a zombie. Each day passes and goes but all I do seem just to fill up time - in order not to think about him or our relationship. I was stagnating and it did not matter to me. When the flood struck my home, it forced me into action. Partly out of necessity, but mostly it pushed me and gave me a direction.
I haven't spoken to my ex ever since the break up. I did not know how I really felt - if I would welcome him back or if I had closed the door one last time. My life was on hold and there was no clear path to where I would be heading.
The flood brought to the surface what allowed to settle under water - other people in my life. I was needed by others and I needed others. The desire to be creative and to express myself surfaced. Hence, the return to my blog.
When my relationship ended, a part of me died. It took a flood for me to reclaim my life and feel alive again. Thank you Ondoy. Thank you people who man the dams and do not give proper notice that they would be releasing water.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
The movie is Little Boy, Big Boy. It revolves around the character, Raymund (played by Paolo Rivero), as he deals with his nephew, Zack (played by Renz Valerio) and a new partner, Tim (played by Douglas Robinson). In their pursuit for happiness, each individual finds each other and in the short time together, gains appreciation of what they have. It is a simple thoughtful film that despite it being gay-centered, each viewer may take from it something to think about - be it about family, love, acceptance or respect.
The production itself has improved especially the sound. In many scenes, it helped bring the emotion being presented but there were a few scenes where it was too loud that it overpowers the visuals. The orgy scene was a little too long and parts were unnecessary to the story. The plot was straightforward and allows the audience to relate with the use of Facebook as part of how they deliver the story. The actors were effective in their roles as they brought to life the characters they portray. Rivero is not new to acting and he performs well, allowing the audience to feel what his character is feeling and carrying the movie through the ups and downs of being a gay man. Valerio, does a good job particularly towards the end of the movie but at the start, it only felt like he was merely playing along with the scenes. A revelation is Robinson who showed a variety of emotions throughout the film and is able to relay it to the audience. Truthfully, it is the first time I have heard and seen him on film or TV. I may have been able to watch him then, but he makes an impact here in this movie. Using his natural accent allowed his acting to be more realistic.
Was it a simple story? Yes, but the simplicity is what made it make an impact because we were not sidetracked by unnecessary backstory or twists. For me the story was simple but solid. Were they able to impart a message? Yes. Even the little conversations about being out or accepting what we cannot change give the bigger picture color. Is it worth watching? Definitely. Production-wise, one would feel that every one in the production had their heart into their work. FYI. It is presented in High Definition. Beat that.
My favorite line: "Thank you for making me stay in your house." Why? I am going through something difficult, which I can relate to what transpired in the film sans the character of the nephew. The night before the screening, I had a similar scene happening in my own house. My favorite scene: The shot at Timezone where the camera zooms out to include the typical family playing at the back. Why? For me it delivers the message that what constitutes a family is no longer just the typical father, mother and children and that it may include the set up of the characters in the film. I apologize for being nitpicky but I also have a favorite boo-boo: When Zack is dropped off, Raymund had to send away an SEB who was scheduled to arrive that night. He closes the door upon shooing the SEB. After he lies to his sister who it was at the door, the camera pans back to the living room showing a very open door.
Regrettably, I was not able to mingle with Lex or Jay or his partner Mark or with any other blogger who was present. I recognized the blogger of the The Crazy Life of TL. Having no picture of myself here helps keep anonymity for the moment especially since I am not really out. My inate shyness lends to a laid back dispostion. I went to the screening alone. Didn't know anyone except of course those I know by face. There was a meet and greet prior to the actual screening and not much posters were available. I wasn't able to get one. Once the screening was on it's way, the long wait paid off.
August 5 is the start of the regular run of Little boy, Big Boy in Robonson's Movieworld Galleria, Malate and Metro East. Mark it in your calendars. If you enjoyed the previous collaborations of screenwriter Lex Bonife and director Jay Altarejos, then this movie won't disappoint you. It stars Paolo Rivero (Live Show, Daybreak, M2M 3: Versus, Bayaw), Douglas Robinson (Bridal Shower, So... Happy Together) and child actor, Renz Valerio (My Bestfriend's Girlfriend).
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Usual story, boy meets boy. Boy likes boy. Boy has sex with boy. Boy finds out other boy is already commited. Not something new to many. Not even heterosexuals. (In their case, kindly replace one of the "boy"s with girl.)
Why bother with committment then, if we are all going to fall under the trap? For now, I will focus on being the person we call the third wheel.
For us gay men, I am sure at one time or another we have been attracted to, have fallen in love with, or have had sex with committed men - whether commited to a woman or another man. We've heard people say "How come all the good men are taken?" Are they? If they really are good men, then why do they cheat? If you know they are married or committed, why hook up with them?
To allow ourselves to get in that position where we knowingly hook up with peopel who are in relationships themselves shows we have issues. We probably are desperate for affection that whoever comes, we take the opportunity. We may have a phobia with commitment that a hook up will do. We could have a thing for objects we shouldn't have or objects we want that others have. For others, it just fell into their laps and they are just enjoying the situation.
I, myself, fell into that trap. I didn't know he was married. We met and things progressed to the point where we were sharing the same bed. He was married with children. Like my fellow blogger, I was into the thinking I was merely having fun. He didn't promise anything. He was interested in me. I guess I was flattered that someone was pursuing me, nevermind if he was married. In the long run I felt guilty, since we were meeting on the second floor of their business. It came to a point that I was offering my place to stay every time he had problems with his wife. Our situation neccesitates that I don't text him unless he texts first or else the wife may know of our situation. We meet either after hours or when he has a valid excuse to be out of the house. In the end, he went abroad and we lost touch. Thinking about it now, most likely the reason why my other partners were lying cheaters because of what I did back then. I am tasting the same medicine I was giving out then.
Face it. We lose our minds when we are in love, and even in lust. Common sense and our good values are thrown out the window. We live for the moment. We don't see or we refuse to see how it effects others or how would we feel if we were the person our partner is currently commited to. I am not saying that I won't make the same mistake again. I guess with age, or with restrospect, I realize things I could have handled better. Hopefully in the future, I would have a level head when faced with a similar situation.
Karma. I am sure you have, at one point in your life, have been backstabbed or cheated on. You know how it feels when your partner strays. You know the feeling is so great you would want to feel it again and again. Not! My rule for myself is if I don't want it to happen to me, then I should not do it to others. I believe I just rephrased the golden rule - Do not do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you. I know it is better said than done. We are too used to thinking of what gives us pleasure, what satisfies us but rarely do we consider consequences. We may fall at one time or another, but what makes the journey worth it is learning from mistakes and avoid doing them again. If we keep falling for the same mistakes then it only means we are not learning.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
The cruisiest place for us is usually the comfort room. Straight guys fear being in the nearby urinal thinking gay guys live to take a peek (or more) at their genitals. Gay men thrive on having the opportunity to gauge their fellow men.
I remember a few cruisiest comfort rooms in my day - not that my day is over, mind you. To name a few - Greenbelt, Metropolis, SM North Edsa, Megamall, Shangri La Edsa. Thinking about it, any mall probably.
As I mentioned in my previous entry, my first experience really was in a theater but it happened in the theater's comfort room. Someone followed me and while peeing he made the moves. Being naive and he being older, I let him lead the way.
My other memories of hook ups in the rest room include one who became a steady partner. We wouldn't be classified as partners in the real sense but we meet, we do the deed nut remain unattached. He entered the seminary and that was the end of it. When we hooked up at the mall's CR, we had transferred to the roof a nearby parking facility. It was the middle of the day, no one was parked on that level, however, if someone was checked in at a nearby hotel, all they had to do was look out and see a couple making out.
Inside the comfort room, you can get touched and even have someone perform fellatio to. There were even instances that actual sex occurred. Of course, all this happens behind the back of the roving guards and maintenance people. I guess that adds to the excitement - the thrill of being caught, the immediacy of the situation, the itch that needs to be scratched right away.
Have you had encounters in the rest room? I think for me the time has passed when I get a kick out of these tyrsts. Not that my libido has ebbed through the years, I guess now the fear of being caught gets the best of me.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I would admit, my very first encounter has been in a moviehouse in Quiapo. I was a late bloomer. I was strictly guarded by my parents and I would just be travelling from the house to the school and vice versa. It would not be until I got to college that I got to explore. I have heard of the old moviehouses in Quiapo and after a long period of mere curiousity, I got to experience it myself.
Back then, there were a lot of these moviehouses near Quiapo Church that show "bomba" films. Two were along Quezon Avenue at the same side as the church while another two were on the other side of the street. Three were nearer Isetan, along Recto while there were another two along Rizal Avenue. Many of these have already been closed or demolished but back then in the 80's, you can take your pick.
For the uninitiated, what would expect if you do take the excursion. Guys will normally be in the foyer area or near the comfort rooms. When you enter the cinema proper, it would normally be very dark, with hardly any track lighting so you really have to grope your way when finding a seat. The best seats for me is near the electric fans. The place can get hot and unless you have a spare shirt with you, you can get drenched with sweat.
If encounters in movie houses is not your peice of cake, various motels are located nearby but there is not assurance that they are any less dingy than the moviehouse you came from. Back when I was young and naive, I let others lead the way and take me where they wanted me to be but now older, and maybe wiser, I would rather be in a comfortable place. I have heard some modus operani that people get cornered by their hook ups because the owner of the motel conspire with the conmen.
It is a gamble when meeting people in these kind of places so always be careful. You don't have anything to hold against them - no picture, no identification. It might be safer to chat and start with a date then progress from there. However, if anonymity and the possibility of danger is what brings you thrill, then these encounters will probably give you a boost.
Though there are still moviehouses like those, even in Cubao, many have opted to cruise in more upscale cinemas like SM North Edsa or Megamall where staying in the backrow now would probably yield a hook up.
If you plan for an adventure, take care of your belongings. If possible, don't bring a watch or a cellphone. Don't bring a large amount of money and always be mindful where you drop your clothes because the floors can get sticky. Be happy but safe guys.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Manjam is nearly similar to G4M where you can post one's pictures and provide information including appearance and likes and dislikes. A search function is available to filter out what you desire. One can advertise services, businesses and properties in their website, similar to what PlanetRomeo now has. It has the usual messaging and chat but is limited when one is not a paying member of the site. A friends and favorites list can be set up and one can choose now to share it to people who will be viewing your page.
Downelink is the friendster for gay men and women. It contains options for blogs, bulletins, videos, pictures, messages and chat. Like G4M, it has forums that allows for various discussions on entertainment, arts, sports, health, travel and business. Similar to what yahoo and friendster, even PlanetRomeo, it provides the option to join groups where one can search for others who may have common interests. Unlike most gay social networking websites, this does not center on finding the next lay.
Tagged is one of the more famous sites to meet and hook up. Unlike Manjam and Downelink, Tagged is not exclusively for gay men and women. Similar to friendster, an individual can personalize their profile with music, backgrounds and other widgets. Recently, they have added features that maximize on the networking aspect of the site, infusing games that have been well accepted in Facebook and MySpace.
Whatever website you use, it is with the maximization of the tools for you to get the results you want. The tool only works if you use it properly. The tool is just a tool. If you are looking for a serious relationship, these websites are only a means to be introduced to people of the same interests; it is still up to you make the relationship work.