Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Project 52 (48/52): Back For Good - Take That

.:Project 52 (48/52): Back For Good - Take That:.

Oh, Robbie Williams. Why so grumnpy?

So last night, I ended up doing videoke again with Paolo, Erin, Christina, Ren, and Chanty. Yeah, we kinda forgot to take pictures, but that's like a pseudo-Geekfight team right there, which was doubly amusing, considering the fact that the previous night, I was scoring for Geekfight classic since none of my non-Paolo teams showed up.

We were trying to out-corny each other, so yes, this is one of the songs that inevitably came up.

I don't really know why, but I have a soft spot for Take That. Most people like only Robbie Williams, but I just absolutely loved this song of theirs, albeit in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

That being said, this song definitely hit the spot that night, and after belting out some Gary Valenciano, it was very kind on my vocal chords to pick this song.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: The 1thcyworm5!

.:Just Another Magic Monday: The 1thcyworm5!:.

Yes! Yes! This pleases me greatly.

I decided to write and do my JAMM's whenever I feel like it, but yeah, don't expect a religious weekly update from yours truly for now.

Anyways, last Friday, the Itchyworms celebrated their 15th anniversary, and I was invited to be a part of it. To say I was honored would be the understatement of the year.

I've been a huge fan of the Itchyworms ever since their first album came out. Whether it was "Happy Birthday" or "Antipara", I was immediately captivated by their music, seeing as they were a great alternative to the kupaw rockers of their era.

The scene of the crime was in Metro Bar. Jampacked to the rafters with fans, friends, and everyone in between, the Itchyworms went in to play fifteen of their songs, and everyone was just hype the whole night! Special guests abounded, including...

... Marcus Adoro, alumnus of the Eraserheads.

And even...

... the man you least expect standing beside the Straight Edge Comedy Magician, Mr. Pepe Smith himself!

I also ran into Ebe Dancel, Ronnie Dizon, Francis Brew, and Chris of "Ako Si Chris" fame. It was star-studded, and every single person out there definitely raised the sheer energy for the night. Conspicuously missing was Lourd De Veyra, though. We were hoping we'd find him doing the spoken word part of "Freak Out Baby" for old time's sake.

Lemme share my moment onstage, though, as they asked me to perform during their rendition of "Antipara"...

I'm blind! Blind as a bat! How blind is a bat?

The challenge was simple: I was going to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded, but the time limit was the song. If I couldn't solve the cube by the time the song ended, I was going to have to get hit upside the head with one of their guitars, and that put a spring in my step, or fingers, if you will.

It was hilarious, because thanks to my sheer terror, I actually finished the cube a full minute before the song ended. I was so nervous that I was solving the cube significantly faster than I expected to, and I misheard the cue for the song, as I mistook the bridge for the ending, which made me finish well before the final chorus of the song actually played.

Nonetheless, I managed to pull it off just fine, and finally, I got to enjoy the rest of the show. It was, without a doubt, one of the best nights to be a Philippine magician with friends in the music industry. You just never know what crazy stuff you could end up collaborating on.

In this picture: two Kels!

It was a great night, and capping it off with some Mr. Kebab immediately afterwards was just icing on the cake, albeit I was very annoyed they didn't have Ox Brain again.

Here's hoping to find myself performing with the bad boys of Pogi rock again in the near future! Congratulations, Jugs, Jazz, Kelvin, and Chino! You guys are just the best!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

.:The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same:.

So. A year after we heard him welcome us to the "daang matuwid,M" three years after his American counterpart promised his own countrymen that there will be "hope and change," things haven't really changed that much, have they?

Back in Gloria's time, we had a greedy president and a lazy vice president. Now, in P Noy's time, we have a lazy president and a greedy vice president. I fail to see the improvement, really, and no amount of tongue-in-cheek satire could ease the pain of having to see your country continue to be stuck in this quagmire. And then you get hit with the soul-crushing realization that it didn't matter who was in charge at this point: we would still continue to be screwed if we keep on believing that one man or woman can turn everything around for us.

We kept on hearing about P Noy's integrity and how he would do everything he can to undo the failings of the previous administration, yet here we are, faced with potential foreign affairs fiasco. With China, no less. The only other country in this world who could probably drown this nation if their entire population collectively spat upon us.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. GMA ignored the rule of law when she was installed to power in 2001 and when she allegedly cheated her way into the 2004 elections. When she ended up being stopped at the airport last week, P Noy ignored the rule of law all the same. The Aquino's and Cojuangco's apparent resistance to the Hacienda Luisita ruling by the Supreme Court is more of the same.

I have next to no sympathy for GMA, really. How she is being treated right now in no way makes me feel bad for her. However, how she is being treated right now gives me cause for alarm that if you are not in P Noy's good graces, the exact same thing could very well happen to you.

The culture of impunity we have been railing about during GMA's time has not ceased with the new administration. We're a little too distracted at how the tables have turned for Arroyo, delighting in Schadenfreude as she makes obvious lies upon obvious lies to escape imprisonment (Unless her life-threatening illness that required urgent care in Singapore suddenly becoming an outpatient matter is nothing short of a miracle. Or Coat Saver.). We feel like she deserves everything coming to her without seeing how it sets a nasty precedent of ignoring the rule of law when it's convenient to do so. Of an outright denial of democracy and civil liberties just because.

But then, I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know.

It isn't all gloom and doom, though. It's just a sobering reminder to us that it's less about who's in power right now than it is about the people under that person. The Philippines rising above the muck of mediocrity cannot rely on one man alone. That much should have been obvious, but we are nothing if not forgetful of this fact.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Project 52 (47/52): Separated - Usher

.:Project 52 (47/52): Separated - Usher:.

No explanations necessary.

Really, I don't think I need to explain why.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not A Just Another Magic Monday, But...

.:The Return Of The Comeback:.

So I ended up hosting The Story Circle's annual close-up magic competition last Saturday, and it was a load of fun.

Meeting a lot of the TSC members of old definitely made my day, and seeing Patrick finally take home the big one with his choreographed Chop Cup routine really was awesome, and defending champion Tenkai wasn't too shabby, either.

Judged by sir Rael, doc Ronnie, Ronny Mariano, and Alakim, TSC's competition was a very entertaining affair from top to bottom. I amused myself by sneaking in some of my standup material in between performers, and it looks like jokes about GMA are very well-received.

In any case, after the whole thing, I sat down and talked shop with the guys, and I must say, it was good to be back in the thick of things if only once. Sir Rael paid me the biggest compliment of the night when he told me that my hosting was "elegant." I was beaming proudly.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

HillaRex Reloaded!

.:Hilariously Hillary:.

                                                                                   Unedited picture from Pinoy Weekly.

I have nothing to do with this man.

So I'm not really a big fan of Hillary Clinton, but I don't have much
against her, either.

That being said, Wednesday was a pretty larger-than-life experience for me as I found myself in the National Museum to take part in "A Conversation With Hillary Clinton," which, while quite a softball affair, definitely called attention to the many things we take for granted about US-Philippine relations.

Indeed, in the middle of beauty pageant questions about the contents of her iPod and her smartphone of choice, I must say that I was mildly disappointed nobody tried to ask not-necessarily hardball questions about, say, the Occupy Wall Street movement, or her opinions regarding reproductive health. All in all, the questions asked were very trite, predictable, and downright patronizing, to the point that when the activist, Marjohora Tucay, stood up to deliver his protests against the Mutual Defense Treaty and the VFA, I actually thought it was part of a script by GMA-7 to spice up the afternoon or something to that effect.

Regardless, I still inched away from him mainly because while I am sympathetic to his cause, I certainly am not sympathetic to his methods. It's good that he managed to conduct an interview after the fact to explicate his side, because he only ended up looking pretty silly when he was in the forum.

After all of that, one can't help but see that Hillary Clinton's eloquence and charm undoubtedly allows her a far wider berth than many other political figures from her country, especially if they're Republican. Do I still have misgivings about the lopsided terms of the MDT and the VFA, particularly when it comes to extradition? Well, yes. But I wouldn't posit it in a venue where my message would be drowned out by people who are unabashedly her fans.

In any case, I didn't have any compunctions about having my Patriotic Filipino® photo opp, courtesy of The Philippine Beat and momblogger.

                                                     The Philippine Beat

Feel the Filipino-ness!

.:Rex Reloaded!:.

I completely neglected to have a picture taken with Rex this time out. LOL.

So I hosted Rex Reloaded in the NBC Tent after the whole Hillary thing, and I must say, I did a pretty cut-up job getting the whole crowd hyped throughout the night. While some of my friends were asking me why I didn't do any magic that night, I mentioned to them that I specifically asked to be the host because during the first Rex show, Noel Gascon had to pull double duty as both the voice over and the performer, which looked very awkward, to say the least. Let's face it: JB Dela Cruz is an awesome magician, but he himself would tell you hosting isn't in his skillset, so I had to do the honors.

And an honor, it truly was. Rex was very gregarious throughout the whole thing, and he really hit his stride well with the crowd. JB's magic and Mike's comedy definitely set the stage for a very raucous night of laughter and amazement, and Rex delivered the goods, no question about it.

On top of that, he even won an ALIW Award for his previous show! How's that for a crowning moment of awesome for him?

All in all, everyone was pretty happy about the night. Everyone was in stitches during his bit about the joke of jokes, and even the appetizer jokes were just as hilarious. Rex is a master of his craft, and it really shows.

It was a supremely humbling and memorable experience, one that I still haven't quite recovered from.

Here's hoping to more awesomeness for Rex in the near future!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Project 52 (46/52): I Want To Break Free - Queen

.:Project 52 (46/52): I Want To Break Free - Queen:.

I'd like to dedicate this song to Gloria.

In light of yesterday's airport drama, this song pretty much has me covered, to say the least. I like Queen, really. Not a huge fan like Ranulf, but I like their music, and this is one of their songs that I feel is notoriously underappreciated.

That being said, yesterday must have been quite a thing at NAIA, huh? What really struck me about it was how annoyed the other passengers of the plane must have felt when they ended up being detained for hours because of their co-passenger.

Last night, Cleo and I were joking about it, thinking how some poor tourists must feel now after giving the Philippines a chance despite all the travel advisories, only to end up in the worst flight from NAIA that night, no doubt. Murphy's Law at work, perhaps?

I think this song really encapsulates what happened last night, eh?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Quiet But Steady Month

.:Monthsary? Whee!:.

It's really hard to speak about relationships without some measure of skepticism or paranoia after what yours truly has been through, but I'm surprised to find myself here right now.

At the moment, I'm really just glad. Chanty has been just wonderful, and I can't quite explain how good we have been for each other. One month in, and it feels every bit as sweet and as surreal as it has since day one.

It's a great time for us right now, and I'm all smiles.

Ultimately, there isn't any reason to look back on what was and what came before this. All that matters is that what was, what is, and what will be all melt in the face of the truth.

And the truth is, she has been wonderful. And she has made a positive difference in my life. Is there anything else one can ask for, really?

Happy monthsary to us, Pancakes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: On Hold Until Further Notice

Welp, I had to do it sometime, I guess. I've been so busy lately, and to be honest, with everything I've been doing, it's just getting more increasingly difficult

Nonetheless, let me take this time to plug the fact that I will be hosting this Wednesday's Rex Reloaded at the NBC Tent!

JB Dela Cruz. Mike Unson. Rex Freaking Navarette.

It's a must-see, y'all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Project 52 (45/52): Only You - Mark Hamill

.:Project 52 (45/52): Only You - Mark Hamill:.

Yin and yang never seemed more appropriate an analogy.

So. I was playing Batman: Arkham City for the last couple of weeks, even though it had to compete for playing time with NBA 2K12.

In a word, the game was beautiful. The mood, the story, the twists and turns, and the game's ability to take the characters in very chilling directions that you don't expect them to do in the comic book medium really makes for a very gripping game overall.

I won't spoil you when it comes to the game, nor will I even do a game review, for that matter, but the game is great, and I felt an immense sense of satisfaction when I completed the game last night.

Then, during the end credits, a voice message from the Joker came up, and I started to hear him sing this song. It was creepy and sublime, all at the same time.

So sue me, I grew up on Mark Hamill as the Joker and appreciated his genius far more than Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger combined. Mark Hamill, in my book, is the Joker, and it's only his voice I ever hear when I read comics with the Joker in it.

This was a perfect sendoff for Hamill, who pretty much retired the role of the Clown Prince Of Crime for himself after Arkham City, as he has explicitly stated that he would only come back for an animated adaptation of "The Killing Joke" but nothing more.

I've had this song on loop for quite a while already, while writing this. Let's just say that this version of the song is haunting, in every sense of the word.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday: As Seen On Manila Bulletin!

.:Just Another Magic Monday: As Seen On Manila Bulletin!:.

Thank you, Ms. Giselle Sanchez!

I've seen myself in newspapers several times in the past before, but it never gets old. I find it arguably more exciting to be in the papers than to be on TV or radio, even if I don't really know why, but as a magician in the Philippines just trying to establish himself some in the industry, this is definitely something I'm happy about, what with yours truly being in a feature with Alakim himself, a contemporary I have a lot of respect for.

Having said that, I've had quite a whole slew of shows the past couple of weeks, and that's the kind of problem I'm happy to have.

Here's a bigger view of my bit in the article, by the way...

Ahh, this picture. So 30 pounds ago.

While I still maintain that media exposure shouldn't be an end in and by itself for a professional performer, there is absolutely no question that it is a means to the end of being well-booked and well-known by potential clients. It's only a hindrance if you allow being seen on TV, heard on radio, or read in print as a stopping point for yourself, much in the same way some people have. Considering how magic and mentalism in the Philippines is still largely a carnie affair, that may make you famous, but certainly not rich.

Just some food for thought to any aspiring magicians who think that getting on TV means you've made it big already. That's only the first step, really. The next logical step is to capitalize on it. Or at least, save it for your portfolio.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Today Has Been A Good Day...

... Yes. It Totally Has:.

I don't have much to say, except for the fact that today has indeed been an awesome day. I know, it's been a year (thereabouts) since the demise of NU 107, but OPM has still managed to get by even without its radio patron, and it's not like the people behind NU are going to just not do anything at all, are they? I'm sure they're online at least, like on Dig Radio or something. Heh.

That being said, today has been a great day, indeed, and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the week has to offer. Needless to say, I am definitely looking forward to going to 99.5 RT in a bit, seeing as they're doing their on-air stuff in The Fort today.

Optimism. It's awesome, except for the quality of my blogging. Heh.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Project 52 (44/52): Thriller - Michael Jackson

.:Project 52 (44/52): Thriller - Michael Jackson:.

It's just a thriller night.

It was a looong weekend, it was Halloween, I was so busy doing gigs left and right I couldn't even do this Monday's Just Another Magic Monday, Michael Jackson rules, and this song was one of his best.

Do I even need to explain anything else about choosing this song? :D