Thursday, June 29, 2006

Disco In-Fairness

Met the Village People yesterday. It was an interesting experience. As a little grade schooler, I’ve had ample exposure to their songs, as well as to Abba’s, because my parents liked them during the time and played their tapes in the car whenever possible. My siblings and I were pretty bombarded with that, and frequent spins of Beatles and Elvis records back then were almost always within earshot. So it’s kinda strange but a welcome opportunity that I was among those who were sent to cover the press lunch for the VP's Manila concert and talk to them. Not that I'm a fan or anything, but, well, they're the Village People.

It’s weird but cool how people’s paths and lives cross sometimes, when you directly meet or talk to someone or some people who entertained you or shared a fragment of themselves through their works. I don’t really think about it too much, as it’s work and I don’t get too sentimental about it, but I can still appreciate that I get to meet people with some importance to some of my relatives, or friends. They must think it’s cool that I get to interact with them, however briefly.

And it is, I must admit. While it’s first and foremost a job, it’s one that I love, my attitude about celebrity and fame notwithstanding. And, stepping back and looking at it from the outside, I get to talk and write about different interesting people, which may ultimately look good in my resume.

Was able to interview the “Construction Worker” and the “G.I.”. They were in full costume, but they obviously don’t look the way they used to, of course. It's great that they’re still performing for their fans after almost three decades. Talking to those two original members of the iconic disco group yesterday was fun and a little eye-opening; you just learn about people’s metamorphoses and their contributions to pop culture when you least expect it. Mr. Construction Worker, by the way, wore a button, pinned on his denim jacket. It had a picture of George Dubya, and the caption, “A village in Texas has lost its idiot”. I laughed and told him that I love it, and he replied, “Thank you!”

I was given a pair of tickets to the show, and gave them to those who were most excited about it, which turned out to be one of the sibs.

Update: I noticed that parts of the article I wrote were cut off, unfortunately, due to space constraints. It exceeded the character count, apparently. Will just post some of the q & a's that were removed here.
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How has the group changed, musically?

David Hodo: We pretty much do the same thing we’ve always done. It’s a recipe that continues to work for us. We haven’t been required to change a lot because we’re so unusual anyway. We do new music, but we stay up with dance music, which is our passion.

Alex Briley: It hasn’t changed a lot. We did a lot of clubs and stuff but now we’ve gotten into the fair circuit in the States. The only thing that’s different is, children of the fans from the ‘70s are coming to see us now.

How does it feel to be gay icons?

DH: It’s fabulous! We’re not only gay icons, we’re icons for a decade. People know us. We’ve been a punchline in every movie, in every sitcom.

AB: Everyone has decided that there’s something to say about Village People. If it’s a joke or something funny, people say, “Oh yes, I know who they are!”

DH: You can see us from ten miles away and know who it is.

You went through a “Bowie-esque” phase back in the ‘80s.

AB: We did a “renaissance” album, with different costumes and facial makeup. It’s a completely different look and sound. It did well in pockets around the world. It was fun.

DH: I think that album has some of our best music, but it also has some of our worst!

Have you gotten used to touring after all these years?

DH: We’re always touring. After this, the group goes to Texas to do a show, and we’ll be in Belgium next week. I remember being out for eight weeks once. And I was so homesick, I’d cry! But now we’re able to judge it for ourselves and say, “Okay, this is long enough!” So we come home and take time off. That’s one good thing about running our own business. I don’t think we’re ever gone long enough to miss our families.

What’s the most important thing to remember about the music industry?

DH: You gotta have good lawyers. And you gotta have lawyers on top of lawyers.

Describe the Village People’s legacy, in a nutshell.

DH: I think “YMCA” will probably be around forever. It’s possibly the most famous pop song in history, and people will say it’s from this crazy group who dressed up like cowboys and Indians. I think it’s a great legacy to leave behind. We represented fun.

AB: We basically represented fun and energy. It’s like Halloween everyday!

DH: In fact, it’s funny, we’ve always got a big show for Halloween, and to us, we never get to wear any costumes for Halloween. It’s always our work clothes!

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According to the "Grandmaster" entry in All-New Marvel Universe # 6:

“As the game unfolded, Earth-616’s Avengers (unwittingly representing the scholar) and a league of heroes from the divergent cosmos (unwittingly representing Grandmaster) were manipulated into fighting over some of the most powerful objects in their respective universes.”

That means that the 2003 crossover JLA-Avengers really happened in continuity. The unnamed “scholar” is Krona, while “a league of heroes” is the JLA, and “divergent cosmos” refers to the DC Universe. Nice. The "Galactus" entry from last year’s MU-Fantastic Four handbook also briefly mentioned the crossover and its effects without naming the other company’s characters, as did the sadly lackluster Crime Syndicate story arc (it had the incubating Krona Egg). It’s nice that the two mainstream companies are sharing some history and recognizing that this event took place. Some of their titles are blatantly disregarding important ones, although parts that don’t work anymore are thankfully forgotten. Time really is a stretchy thing in comic books, and elements that don’t make sense anymore are conveniently shoved away (like specific eras that point out a character’s age, etc.). I wonder, though, if DC and Marvel’s co-owned dorky character, Access, will make a re-appearance. Since he didn’t show up in JLA-Avengers, it’s safe to assume that he’s been forgotten, at least for now.

Creecher Feecher

John’s Creech figure, by McFarlane. Uninteresting character, but awesomely sculpted figure, like most of the McFarlane toys.

Monday, June 26, 2006

And the Word Was Made Super-Flesh

Went to Greenbelt Saturday afternoon to watch Superman Returns with John and Benedict. We all enjoyed it, although we have some minor nitpicks. Spoilerish stuff, right about now: For me, it’s a mite long, and I wasn't too pleased with a few loose ends (that'll presumably spill over to the eventual sequel, maybe). It mostly focused on Superman re-establishing himself as a hero, after many years in space. He’s unaware that Lois is raising a Super-bastard (hey, I’m not judging), among other things. Yeah, Supermans 3 and 4 were retconned out of existence, but don’t bother making sense of the leaps in technological advancements between movies, or the dates shown. Anyway, it’s well-written and occasionally funny and goosebump-y. It pinned down the core concept and elements that made the character tick, and moved him (and his supporting cast) into newer, previously untouched territory. That’s done well here, and it makes the mythology fresh and interesting.

Messiah-offspring allegories, an anti-smoking message, Singer in top form, Routh, Spacey, Bosworth, Posey… this one’s got it all. Except, maybe, a really big, epic fight scene. But that’s what sequels are for. We see him mostly saving people from disasters and such all over the world here for most of the film (yeah, Manila was even mentioned), so we need to see him fight a big super-villain next time. Enough of Lex and his Kryptonite. Doomsday, maybe? That would just kick major ass.


We went to Druid’s Keep after that and finally got new comics. Ran into nice guy-fellow comics and toy collector Tenzil/Allan at the parking lot. He just got his stash from the shop, and was heading home. That guy is all-smiles every time we see him (even in his blog and Friendster pics), and he seems to be one of the most cordial people from Comic Brook.

I got All-Star Superman # 4 (funny, big stuff from the same hot creative team), Astonishing X-Men (Hellfire attacks, cool cliffhanger!), New Avengers (okay issue, but the Magneto angle was confusing and the art was muddled), Marvel Westerns Outlaw Files (neat layout, but the dull sepia look doesn’t work), and Civil War: Front Line # 1 (great, character-driven stories that complement the big Civil War title). The popes and I just read, ate fast food and talked about all kinds of stuff after. Kinda weird but really worthwhile weekend, especially for me.

Titans Together Forever

I’ve read about twenty issues of Young Justice, so far. I like it; Peter David’s always been witty and unpredictable, but I’m just not into the art. The book is less serious than what I’ve seen of other, contemporary titles about sidekick heroes like Young Avengers, New X-Men:Academy X and even the current Teen Titans book. Oh, speaking of young heroes, in the Robin title (One Year Later), I’m not happy with what they’re doing with a former Bat-family member. Ugh. What a waste of a good character. Hope they retcon that one of these days.

Toy pic break! The Titans boxed set had four figures (Changeling, Cyborg, Starfire and Raven), which went on sale months back at Druid’s. Also more affordable are the Contemporary Teen Titans figures, sold at half-price since early this month (thanks for the tip, Nyek of Comic Brook!). The Kid Flash and Wonder Girl figs really look nice. I was also able to get a Deathstroke the Terminator (do they still call him that?). It’s nicely sculpted, but the limited articulation still makes him look stiff and lacking in oomph. Fellow toy fan Ian Orendain calls figures like that “walang libog”. How true.

Carmen Craps

Oh, before I forget… in Scary Movie 4, the most disturbing scene (yeah, well) for me was Carmen Electra taking a dump at the town hall. She played a blind woman (a parody of the lead character from The Village), who accidentally entered the hall during a quiet moment of a big meeting. She stripped down to her sexy lingerie, sat there at the wooden toilet seat that was strangely placed at the back of the room, and let it all go, complete with loud pooping and farting sound effects. So effing surreal.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Love Your Body 'Til the Morning Light

I'm playing that old Amy Stewart-Mike Francis song. My post title is a line from their '80s hit "Friends". Yep, love that song... reminds me of high school dance music, heheh... and I've been identifying with the words more, now.

Busy, busy. Just took a break from work to post and relax a bit.

Hair Today

I’ve gotten a few nice freebie caps from movie publicists in the past few years. I rarely wear them, as I only really did briefly back when I wanted to conceal the early stage of my receding hair. That was way back in the ‘90s. I don’t feel insecure about hair loss anymore; oh man, I’m at the “acceptance” stage for years already. I’ve always assumed that it's hereditary. It could be that, or I’ve testosterone overabundance, which is one of the reasons for baldness, according to some studies. It may be a combination of the two. I’m the only one experiencing it among my siblings, so I dunno for sure. One day, I’ll probably shave it a la that balding Eigenmann kid.

Back to the caps. I’ve gotten really cool-looking ones over the years, official giveaways with logos of “The Last Samurai”, “Batman Begins”, “Matrix Revolutions” and so on. There are odd ones for similarly strange films, like the “Exorcist: The Beginning” fisherman’s hat, and the hip, brown “Hills Have Eyes” cap, which has “The Lucky Ones Die First” catchphrase embroidered at the back. Scary. And, of course, there’s the white “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” one, which I’m wearing in this pic.

Hmm, I forgot to wear my old earring, now that I think about it. Anyway, my thanks for all the hats and shirts, dear, generous publicists-who-check-out-my-blog. As you can see, one such freebie looks… ummm… okay on me. Unlike the free shirts, I wouldn’t normally wear the caps, but hey, I can pretend to in my own bloggy. :)


Was able to skip the horridly long line of people waiting to get in the Toycon at the Megatrade Hall last Saturday afternoon, thanks to Gumby. Benedict, who arrived earlier, was able to spot him and Sheila, and they helped get me in. We were able to go around and look for stuff we fancied, although we would’ve spent more if we had money to burn, of course. Got a cheaper-than-usual Marvel Legends Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) and Man-Thing (yeah, for those who don’t read comics, that’s actually a character, a swamp monster). There were several loose figures that were really cheap, as well as ridiculously priced, unopened Marvel Legends two-packs and Wal-Mart figures. I really hope that Playkit (the regular distributor) gets the wave and sells them at regular prices here. I’m hoping that happens soon. Collectors will just eat them up.

Agent of S-Shield

The S-Shield, or Superman’s chest symbol, can be found on his belt too in the new movie version, and some people have reacted negatively to it. For me, it’s not that big a change. But there's something that weirded me out about his shoes. The huge standee that’s been displayed at the malls and the Toycon, it has Superman levitating with Lois. If you see that again one of these days, look at Superman’s exposed sole closely: It has four S-Shields! Four!!!! Now that’s just too much. I doubt they’ll show the bottom of his feet in close up shots, but well, they better not. Bleh.

And There Came a Day Unlike Any Other

“Let these space-spawned scum know ‘tis the Avengers they have attacked with impunity! The Avengers!
--Thor, Avengers # 301

One of the pics that Benedict took last week. I put Storm in there because she’s a member in the all-ages Marvel Adventures-Avengers title, and she’s gonna be Black Panther’s wife, so it would make sense for her and T’Challa to eventually join the team during special missions. Also, there are multiple Iron Men because that’s inspired by a recent storyline where Tony Stark activated a number of armors during a fight. And the Ultimate Captain America figure, I’m pretending that’s US Agent, whose Invaders costume kind of resembles that design. I cut out two tiny white blank tape stickers to give him temple-“wings”. The gun he’s holding is Punisher’s rifle. And Mary Jane is there because she's been hanging a lot with them lately at Avengers Tower.

I need Warbird, Sentry, Ant-Man and Giant-Man from the Wal-Mart Wave, and Wasp, Luke Cage, Falcon, and the other Iron Men from the later sets. And the Young Avengers. I need money.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Brink of Deliverance

Okay, some highlights and mentionables from the past two weeks.

United They Stood

Only had about three and a half hours sleep. Went to Makati early this morning to watch United 93, a powerful film based on the hijacking of one of several airplanes during 9/11. This was the flight whose passengers fought back against their captors, after discovering the New York and Pentagon attacks. It was painful to watch the re-enactment, and it was heart-rending to see several of those doomed passengers prevent their aircraft from demolishing another American landmark. I felt queasy near the end, when all hell was breaking loose. After the movie, I just felt awful. It was way depressing.

Attack of the Baby Mallrats

Nah, this isn’t about the mice I’ve seen sneaking around in respectable establishments at huge-ass malls (I saw one in a pizza place, another in a classy theater). When I bought some figs at Toy Kingdom Makati, John was waiting near the exit, at a section displaying four-feet-tall inflatables. He enjoyed hitting down an egg-shaped one repeatedly with both palms, because it’s designed to keep getting back up right after you hit ‘em. What happened next was a blur: a toddler, aged 3 or so, ran to John and strongly slapped his thigh. The kid looked distressed and quickly ran back to his mother, who apologized for the boy’s weird behavior. We just laughed about it because we didn’t know why the kid attacked. Did he have ADD, or did he feel that it was his duty to protect the balloon, because it had a cute Mickey Mouse print on it? We’ll never know.

Anyway, been to some commercial centers the past weekends, and there seems to be a rugrat attack each time. There’s a baby in every corner. Some are tiny infants, the really young mitten-and-booties kind, inhaling polluted mall air already. Some are really cute and cuddly little critters, the ones that can’t walk yet.

Hmmm… I wanna be a parent some day.

Obsession, Addiction, Drug

Song intermission courtesy of Ann and Nancy Wilson. Just woke up days ago and it kept playing in my head. There are days when I’m just devoid of emotion, like most of my waking hours are devoted to work and building stuff. But there are times when I’m just gooey mush. Oh well. Here’s the song. Lyrics from sing365.

Will You Be There in the Morning?


I’m lying beside you, just thinking about us. Too tired to go to sleep and too much in love. I know I’m crazy but I can’t close my eyes. I’m scared you won’t be there in the morning when I rise. Will you be there?

Now, who do you dream about? Are you alone in your sleep? To who do you reach out? Oh let it be me.

Now baby, you’re my obsession, my addiction, my drug. Don’t wanna be without you when I wake up.

Will you be there in the morning? Will you be there when I want you? Will you be there when I wake up? I need you to be there in the morning.

Well, you’re so close to me, but I feel so alone. The more I touch you, the more that I want. Don’t know what to do about me loving you, but I pray to God that you feel it too.

Now baby, you’re my obsession, my addiction, my drug. So let the candle grow into a great fire of love.

Will you be there in the morning? Will you be there when I want you? Will you be there when I wake up? I need you to be there in the morning.

I wanna love you forever. Don’t want a love that’s now or never. Can’t you see you got me down on the floor? I want more, more!

Will you be there in the morning? Will you be there when I want you? Will you be there when I wake up? I need you to be there in the morning.

Life on Uranus

Last Saturday evening, Benedict dropped by to watch the DVD he borrowed, Bad Education, starring Gael Garcia Bernal (a dead ringer for Julia Roberts when he’s in drag, sometimes). He took pics of my toys again, lent me a boxful of Young Justice and Teen Titans comics, tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube, and later crashed in my bed. Will post more pics of the toys we posed when I’ve shrunk them. Here's one, for now.

These old Mulder and Scully figures are by McFarlane toys. They have very little articulation, but the likenesses are good. Bought these two years ago at a toy sale; they’re based on the X-Files movie, so they came with those discomfiting alien hybrid creatures in stasis tanks (I think). I wish they had guns, though. Mulder only has a flashlight, and Scully, a cellphone.

I miss Gillian Anderson. I hope she does something big soon.

Peeps Galore

Met a bunch of interesting people recently during paper-related work, like fellow contributing writers Paul Daza and Pepe Diokno, filmmaker Jeffrey Jeturian, and Pixar production designer Nelson Bohol (Google ‘em, folks!). Earlier today, I saw Bulletin writer Jojo Panaligan with some freebie goodie bags at a Greenbelt 3 escalator (he walked fast and was too far away to yell at, but we did wave at each other when he saw me). An hour or so after that, I saw Dean Alfar from afar this time, lighting a cigarette in front of Podium. Wanted to greet him but he was too far away, so I just texted him. Met a number of people during a property-related job today too, and during the screening at Greenbelt. Must organize names and numbers soon.

I need to finish a bunch of things. Once again, I’m super-tired. But I feel good.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tomorrow's People

I think it was in 1986 when teen singer Lilet, who would soon join the legion of “That’s” entertainers, appeared in a popular Coke ad. It began with her singing the lines, “I am the future of the world. I am the hope of my nation. I am tomorrow’s people. I am the new inspiration.” It was very United Colors of Benetton-ish, as she was joined by teens of different nationalities by the song’s chorus, “united” in part by their liking for the popular softdrink brand. In hindsight, that was kinda corny but the relevance of the song rang true. And beyond the appealing visuals of a diverse group of youngsters together and expressing their affinity for the beverage, the message of the song feels both desperate and optimistic.

I did identify with that commercial back then, and the representation of that generation, because as a child, idealism was easy and the real world only consisted of school, and life was mainly confined to the classrooms. Everything looked easy on paper. That’s two decades back, and “tomorrow’s people” are (supposedly) grown-ups now, assimilated into greyer political situations, making tough decisions daily, and teaching the young ones in the ways of the world.

I wonder, sometimes, if our individual efforts matter in the bigger picture, in the grander scheme of things. The thought that each of us is making a difference in this messed-up hell that we call a planet is really appealing. I hope we all are, generations aside. We have different advocacies, but I guess we all want to be comfortable in our own spaces for as long as we can.

“Promise us tomorrow, and we’ll build a better world for you.” That last line of the jingle probably summed up the sentiments of youths all over the world back then. The world was a much different place, although it doesn’t look that much changed now, save for a few technological advancements that create the semblance of unity among different people. That “better world”, well, it’s a work in progress, I guess. Our own lives come first. We enjoy our truces when we can. And maybe, our Coke Lite, too.

Weird ‘Wet’ Dreams

I’ve been having weird dreams lately.

One was just kinda odd. I can remember Neve Campbell, dressed in a black business suit, in ankle-deep water, standing inside a ship. Apparently, she was in the Poseidon movie set, as part of the cast, but she was alone in the scene and that short one was being filmed as an outtake for the DVD. I think she was giggling and asking the director, who wasn’t seen, if it would be okay if she said something in a particular way. I think my reaction to it, as I was just watching the thing in my dream, was, “Oh, they were just improvising lines. They don’t have a script.” And the dream ended there.

Last week, I dreamed of an old, stubby white woman in peasant clothes, with a piece of cloth covering the top and back parts of her head. She was facing the wall. I was an observer in this dream again. I thought it was unusual that she peed while standing up and facing the wall, her hands hidden from view. The setting was quite hazy. But I remember that her pee was hitting the wall. It was quick, and she left. I looked at the wet wall closely, and discovered that it wasn’t urine stuck to the wall. It looked like thick, whitish bodily fluid that oozed down slowly. I was puzzled, because she didn’t have a male organ, and the spot on the wall looked like it was made by one, positioned a couple of inches above her waist level. I think I concluded that she pleasured herself, and it was yucky that she left her “juice” stuck to the wall that way. And that’s when the weirdness stopped.

I don’t even know what they mean.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Real Life Beckons

Very, very busy... I need to finish a bunch of things. So in the meantime, I'm just posting a few images. Maybe I'll write about the new Marvel Select Spider-Woman, the weather, people I met, awesome and awful new comic books, masturbation, germ-y comfort rooms, and other stuff next time. Maybe. For now, I must scrammy scram scram.

"As of this frozen moment, we are every one of us the Justice League."
--Martian Manhunter, Villains United Special

Pic taken last April. Figures have been added to the collection since the January group shot. Bought a Titans set at Druid's and it was really cheap. Kinda looks like the armada-like JLU and Infinite Crisis rosters, this gathering.

Tired and sleepy. But I ain't complaining. Life is good.

Chainsaw Girl. Pencil drawing (and red Paint effect), 1999