Sunday, 23 November 2008

Concerto




Just when I thought I was about to give up on local indie films they came out with Concerto. No, I have nothing against indie films per se, it's just that in recent months the indie films they have been churning out are either sooo bad they have to include the gratuitous sex scene to entice the public to go and see it, revolve around gay characters or the most common formula which invariably includes a gay full frontal, lots of sweaty action and the token sexy girl who gets screwed by some closeted or bisexual character on the side. It was seriously getting exasperating.

Then Concerto.

I must say, the direction is fabulous. A low-budget period film has all the precondition for a poorly executed movie, but Concerto somehow managed to avoid that. I've never heard of the director/writer Paul Alexander Morales before, but if this is any indication of where his career is going then he'll be fine. I can't wait for him to do another film.

I just don't get why such a beautiful film like this only got seven (yes, seven. I counted) people to watch it at Robinson's Galleria on a Saturday night. Sayang talaga. Go and see it if you can. If anything, it's a great date film because the cinema's virtually empty you can neck each other to death.

Screening schedules here:

Gorietta 4, Cinema 4
12:50 PM
3:15 PM
5:40 PM
8:05 PM
10:30 PM LMF
Price: 130

Indie Sine, Robinson's Galleria, Cinema 8
1:00 PM
3:30 PM
6:00 PM
8:30 PM LMF
Admission Price: P141

The movie trailer is available here or here.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Pre-Christmas Bazaar

This opened today at the World Trade Center and will be running until Sunday, the 23rd of November. So I thought I'd abandon studying for the day and go there for some cheap and cheerful gift items for the kids. We're only giving cheap and cheerful presents to the kids this Christmas. The savings from this decision shall finance our Ilocos roadtrip in lieu of a holiday celebration, my parents being away in Chicago anyway.

Sat through a couple of hours from QC to the World Trade Center in Pasay and I got there before they opened. At 9,45 am I was bursting for a pee, so I barged in past security and long queues of busloads of students apparently on a fieldtrip. They overcrowded the venue and bought nothing. They left after an hour.

It wasn't really worth it. I ended up buying a piece of malunggay donut and a styro of amadeo coffee. That was breakfast. After a good look around, I left.

Don't go unless you really want to for these reasons:

1. They charge PhP 30 for parking and PhP 50 to get into the bazaar;

2. It's rather like greenhills, only worse laid out;

3. It's too far and the traffic is sooo not helping;

4. Prices are exactly the same elsewhere; and

5. Nothing you can't find in any regular bazaar like Greenhills, Tiendesitas or St. Francis Square.

Having said that, the bazaar does have its moments. Sheryn Regis's booth has her used clothes a self-respecting GRO would not be caught dead in. Boy Abunda's booth has lots of unwanted loud shirts--his trademark. It's a mini educational tour on tacky celebs, something we common people can recreate at a fracion of the cost!

Seriously, this blows.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Got Pie?


If you like dessert, there is no way in hell that you haven't heard of banapple. For the last three years I've been driving to and from UP Diliman via Katipunan and I've been noticing this restaurant for months before I finally mustered the courage (and the patience to find parking space) to step in and have a look at their menu. Well, the first time I went there I don't remember seeing a menu, but I do remember looking through their cake display chiller and thinking that my passport to irreparable obesity is staring me in the eye.

Everything in the cafe is great. Pies, cheesecakes, muffins, drinks. Oh and I must add that their coffee is by far better (and cheaper: PhP 50 per cup) than those anonymous coffee chains which invariably taste burnt. I don't want to discuss each cheesecake and pie, but what I particularly like about this place is that it tastes homemade. I hate those pastry shops which sell cakes outsourced from bakers in Pasig. And I don't understand why their cakes are soooo expensive when they all taste the same anyway.

Since my first visit there I've seen their menu expanded to include rice, pasta and sandwiches. Haven't tried them all but I'm working on it. My friend Ricky's favourite is the Tapsilog, and we were pleasantly surprised that a plate of pasta fed three women. Great value.

Oh, they also have savoury pies: chicken, tuna and cheese. They're good for PhP 50 pesos each, or PhP 100 if you want it served with chunky potato salad. One thing I must say is that they probably use pate sucre instead of pate brisse for the savoury pies so it tastes sweeter than it should.

A word of warning, though. Don't even go anywhere near that place during lunch and dinner if you're starving. The place is tiny and parking is a nightmare so expect ages before you get served. But if you can get over that, this is the place for you.

The girls working there are super friendly, by the way. Always smiling, always attentive, always ready with their pitchers of ice cold water.

They're open from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm everyday so unless your craving hits you past midnight, you're covered.

I had brunch there this morning and there was a sign up saying that their Tomas Morato branch is open. At least Ricky doesn't have to traverse EDSA to get his pie!

wltrrbls

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Fire!

I had a little scare yesterday morning. I took Kristel to St. Paul at around 5:15 am for her little school field trip to Bulacan and on my way back I saw thin smoke coming from inside our village. As I got closer to our house the smoke looked denser, and I was scared shitless that our house was on fire. Turns out the house beside the one in front of us was burning, and there were fire trucks and several kibitzers around in their jogging gear, pure-bred doggies in tow, brandishing their newest professional hobby cameras.


I must say I was relieved to find out that our house was safe, but feel sorry for the people in the burnt house. I also thought it was Yuki's friend Chester's house, but apparently it was the one next door. While I was driving yesterday evening they mentioned the fire on the radio and they found out that it started in the maids' room at the basement. It didn't last very long but it sure was scary.

I remember my parents telling me this story several years after it had happened that when we were living in Mandaluyong (I was probably in grade school) there was a fire in our street in the middle of the night. Everyone rushed out to watch. Some of our neighbors even started carrying their stuff out in case the fire reaches their apartments. My parents stoically watched, and after a couple of hours the fire department declared fire out. While they were walking back to our house, they realised I was missing. Turns out they forgot to wake me up. I fumed when they told me this.

That fire made me realize a few things:

1. Our fire hydrants have water. I'm pretty sure most hydrants outside White Plains don't.

2. A lot of our neighbours are cute.

3. News reporters get it wrong. The news report on the radio said it started at 4 am. I drove past that house at 5:15 and there was nothing so the fire must have happened at around 5:30 to 5:45 am.

4. Our firemen aren't hot. I went out with this fireman from New Jersey several years ago and he looked like an action figure. Our local ones look like they moonlight as grocery bagger boys.















I had a friend from our old counselling group called Albert who was notorious for his spoonerism. One time our friend Daddy JR was telling us how he had a heart attack and had to cough up a ton of money for the operation after their house burnt down and his parents were kind of manic and going crazy. After a pause Albert empathically said, "Naku Daddy, I hope your problems will be over... and over again." Isumpa raw!

wltrrbls

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Hairspray in Manila


Get your Hairspray tickets now if you haven't got them yet. My friend Mike is selling tickets for Friday, November 21, at 8 pm. It's on at Star Theater (behind Star City and NOT Aliw Theatre) in the CCP Complex.

Mike
0917 538 6688
Ticket Prices are PhP 600, 800, 1000 and 1200
For pickup at North Greenhills, UST and Essensa at The Fort

All other schedules, please go to www.ticketworld.com.ph or at any of their counters in the bigger National Bookstore branches.

See you there!

wltrrbls

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

McCain and Gromit

I thought he reminded me of someone....

Thanks, Private Eye!

wltrrbls

Guys and Dolls

There's a guy in Japan who is petitioning the government to allow him to marry a comic book character. I thought that was creepy until I saw this video:


video


Whatever happened to us? Have we really gotten this lazy?

wltrrbls

Monday, 10 November 2008

Live AIDS is 25




UP is 100, and Live AIDS is 25! Since I first attended UP in 1996 (yes, yes, we're old!) I've always wanted to see Live AIDS but for some reason I never did. Either they were sold out or I'd hear about it about a month after they've staged it. I'm going this year!

It'll be on from 28 to 30 November 2008 at the UP Theatre. Guest artists include RS Franciso, Tuesday Vargas, Giselle Sanchez, etc.

Get your tickets from TicketNet (9115555) in all SM department stores and sa Araneta Coliseum. Or from your friendly SAMASKOM friends.

wltrrbls

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Vienna Operetta Orchestra


Peter and I bought tickets to this year's Toyota Classics at the CCP on the first day the ads came out in the papers over a month ago, thinking that because they usually have really special performers in the last 20 years, the tickets would be sold out in pretty quickly. Of course we were wrong. There were rows and rows of empty seats, which is good if you want space for your grocery bags but not great if you're one of the beneficiaries of the fundraiser. During the intermission they handed out three oversized checques to the Environmental Studies Institute of MIriam College, Mariano Marcos State University and the Philippine National Red Cross but I can't remember if it was a million each or between the three.

The concert was excellent. I've never seen an operetta before, and it's not quite a mini opera at all. The orchestra sounded great, and they give the impression that they've been doing it for decades. The soprano was a true diva, the tenor sounded like he got lost once or twice during the arias. Mind you, they were very good overall, but during one of the pieces I started wishing that they'd disappear. The orchestra would be excellent on its own. Oh well.

The best part was the program. Luckily it was free, because it's really an ad for Toyota with a few messages from their executives (and their corresponding grim pictures) and a couple of hilarious lines, and I quote:

"HOW TO ENJOY CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERTS

Curtain Calls and Encores

At the end of the program, the conductor and soloist usually return to the stage several times, while the audience continues to show their appreciation by applauding. If the audience applauds very enthusiastically, the orchestra may give a brief encore performance."

Translation: Don't show the Austrians your ignorance of classical music by hooting or not applauding.

Hmmm.

Then Julia Duncan came on. Double hmmm. I read her brief write up in the program which I must admit raised a little overgrown eyebrow. Observe: "As a bright new star in the musical firmament, Julia is delighted that people are at last seeing past the fashion-model glamour of her sultry beauty, and her discovering the deep reserves of musical talent in her voice and heart." Tsk tsk. Are people allowed to say things like that? You can almost see her sending her eyeballs into orbit and gesticulating in relief: "I told you I'm not just beautiful, I'm also very talented!"

Well, she didn't belong there, poor thing. It was a waste of a perfectly good orchestra, as one concert goer put it. She sang two songs, the second one being Anita Baker's Sweet Love. Her style, Latin Chill (her words), left us cold. And a few people from our section walked out in the middle of her song. It just wasn't good enough. Sorry, I'm sure she's a perfectly nice, gorgeous person. We just didn't get it. I'm not sure if there was a problem with the sound system, or we were sitting at an awkward angle from the stage and the sound wasn't getting to us properly, but she sounded like she was auditioning for Pinoy Idol, and even if I didn't watch that stupid show I'm pretty sure she won't make the cut with that voice.

I left while she was getting her desultory applause. I thought, well, why ruin a perfectly good performance from the orchestra. As I was heading towards the lobby, I heard the orchestra from the PA give a lively, waltzy encore which got the remaining audience members' interest back. That took care of the funny aftertaste we almost left with.

wltrrbls