Wednesday, May 31, 2006

BURN Like That

Here are a couple of links to things that have nothing directly to do with BURN the magazine, but which remind me of it anyway, because of the titles and the music connection and various other less easily explained reasons. Go here and download Rainer Maria's "Burn," an excellent song. Then go here and read "Desire to Burn," a short essay about poetry, Kurt Cobain, and "the true lesson of creativity".

She believes if she could only overtake
The riding rhythm of things,
Of her own electrons,
Then she would be at rest
If she could forget school,
Climb the tree,
Be the tree,
Burn like that.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Shaolin Robots Attack!

Look! Chinese superheroes! They're called The Great Ten, but considering that one of them is "Mother of Champions, who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days" and another is called "The Seven Deadly Brothers" and is "a martial arts expert who can divide into many," it seems to me that there are a whole lot more than just ten of them. You would think that since Marvel already has a crappy Chinese superhero called The Collective Man -- who "can call on the collective strength of all of the people of China," which should make him one of the most powerful comics characters of all time, but instead just makes him utterly sucktastic -- DC would steer well away from these similarly 'collective' concepts.

I don't know. These character designs and names remind me strongly of those idiotic multicultural Superfriends that no one liked. Remember Apache Chief, El Dorado and Samurai? (Click on the links, lots of funny stuff there.) I mean -- "Accomplished Perfect Physician"? "Socialist Red Guardsman"?! Jesus. But apparently mad genius Grant Morrison is behind all this, so... benefit of the doubt.

Luckily, we'll probably be spared the ordeal of outsiders imagining Filipino superheroes based on mistaken assumptions and cliches -- not just because outsiders don't freaking care, but because even if they did want to, they'd be too ashamed, considering Arnold Arre has already successfully created contemporary Pinoy superheroes that are fresh, exciting, and draw on Pinoy mythology and pop culture -- in other words, totally kick ass. Yes, that was a plug for Andong Agimat, which I finally read last weekend, and which I liked a lot.

Just had a thought: I post about comics so much that I'm thinking about starting another blog altogether and just posting about music here. Because, of course, the world really needs another comics blog.

Isha Plays

Will be in Ortigas this Wednesday, May 31, to catch a performance by Isha (a.k.a. Peach Abubakar-Quebral) at Kenny, the jazz bar near Pier 1 along Julia Vargas. The set starts at 9:30 PM; Peach will be playing covers of beloved jazz and new wave songs, as well as her originals, in her inimitable Tori Amos-influenced style.

To find the place -- which is walking distance from Antel Global, where our old office PULP is -- Peach says "Just go to Home Depot, sa gilid may strip na puro bar at resto, nandun yung Kenny." She describes Kenny thus: "There's a baby grand, low lights, the works! Perfect for smooching away." Heh heh. Cover charge is a mere Php50.

Good news is, she'll be playing there every Wednesday night from now on -- "My first regular puesto, yehey!" So people who can't make it on the 31st will have at least one chance a week to experience Isha's stuff. See you there!

PS. Happy Birthday to my Mom, belated Happy Birthdays to Avel and Kidlat, and an advanced Happy Birthday to Emon!

PPS. Go here to download TV themes galore, from the A-Team to the X-Men. :) Just grabbed Duck Tales and the surprisingly regga-ish Care Bears theme.

Friday, May 26, 2006

BURN at SaGuijo's 2nd Anniversary

Okay, back to music-related stuff! Denise informs me that BURN Magazine is one of the media partners for SaGuijo's 2nd Anniversary gigs, and I couldn't be happier. I mean, check out these lineups:

May 26: Friday
(That's tonight!): SaGuijo 2nd Anniversary, Part 1

Ciudad, Pedicab, ChicoSci, Soapdish, Blast Ople, Boldstar, Sleepyheads, Monkey Spank, The Bitter Pill, If Disco Is A Crime, Sandwich, Sugar Free, Imago, and Angulo

(That's at least seven bands I really enjoy watching, and seven bands I'm okay with, or curious about.)

May 27: Saturday: SaGuijo 2nd Anniversary, Part 2

Up dharma Down, The Christmas Lights, Daydream Cycle, Bagetsafonik, Makopa, Sino Sikat?, Sound, Sun Valley Crew, Chillitees, Nyko Maca, Kompressor, Sheila and the Insects, and Severo

(Another excellent lineup. Yay for UdD ddc Bagetsa SS? Sound SVC Chillitees Nyko Maca etcetera!)

Looks like two nights of lots and lots of great music. Congratulations to SaGuijo! We'll be selling BURN magazines at the venue, for those of you who (shame, SHAME) haven't picked up copies yet. And our second issue should be on the stands very, very soon.

SaGuijo is at 7612 Guijo St., San Antonio Village, Makati City, Tel. (02) 8978629

PS. Some of the BURN core staff is going to be interviewed on NU 107 later, at 3 PM. Tune in!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #3

from The Uncanny X-Men #153, one of my absolute favorite issues

The X-Men as Pirates. Yes, Pirates.

The Dark Phoenix saga, retold as a fairy tale of sorts involving pirates, wizards, and bamfs. "Who DARES?!" "Who else, babe?" "Talk is cheap, star mama!" Should be read to be believed.

PS. For those of you who are wondering what a bamf is, please click here.

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #2

from The Uncanny X-Men #183

Colossus Dumps Kitty Pryde

Aaarrgh! Stop breaking her heart, you big stupid fucker! STOP IT!!

Scenes You Won't See in X-Men: The Last Stand #1

from The Uncanny X-Men #169

Callisto Kidnaps Angel

Talk about kinky. Not only does Callisto have Angel bound and helpless, she slapped some diapers on him too. Come to mommy Callisto! *shudders*

Ten Things About X-Men: The Last Stand

Holy crap, Brett Ratner pulled it off.

Yvette and I watched X-Men: The Last Stand at the Podium last night. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. I mean, X-Men was pretty good and the sequel was even better, but everyone knows that Bryan Singer, the director of those two flicks, decided to run off and do Superman Returns instead of a second X-sequel. That left someone whose main claim to fame was the Rush Hour movies, starring Jackie Chan and whatsisface, to chronicle the next -- and quite literally most explosive -- chapter in the Marvel mutant saga.

And yeah, Ratner pulled it off. It's not award-winning artsy stuff, obviously, but it is a hell of a ride. Since the first two movies established all the rules, this one hits the ground running. And now here are Ten Things About X-Men: The Last Stand:

1. Yes, Stan Lee has a cameo (it comes early in the flick).

2. And yes, fellow comics geeks, there is a fastball special.

3. Also, there's a scene where Rebecca Romijn is nake-- *sound of readers stampeding to movie theaters* Hello? Hello? Is anyone still out there? Oh well. I guess I'll go ahead and do the rest of the list anyway.

4. I am so glad that they got Kitty Pryde right. Growing up, reading writer Chris Claremont's run on X-Men (and yes, regarding his artistic collaborators, I prefer the Cockrum/Smith/Romita Jr. era to the Byrne stuff, and of course to the 90s stuff as well), despite the fact that to my knowledge I was never a teenaged girl genius with phasing powers, I was totally, totally into Kitty's story: the ups and downs, her triumphs and heartaches. (The issue where Colossus dumps her because he had fallen in love with some dead alien woman -- oh, man.) She was the soul of the X-Men, for me. And she may not have gotten much screen time here, but what little moments she did have were great -- particularly the one where, in time-honored X-Men comics fashion, she defeats a foe she should have absolutely no friggin' chance against. Plus, Ellen Page is such a cutie. I would have felt slightly creepy about typing that last sentence, but a quick IMDB check confirms that she is, in fact, of legal age.

5. Storm does have much more to do here: aside from gaining a few cool new tricks in battle, she's portrayed as more essential to the team and the school. In fact, in one scene, Prof X tells her that she is the one he envisions taking over the school in the event of his passing on. It brought back nice comics memories of when Storm became the X-Men's field leader after Cyclops/Scott Summers left. Made for many many good stories by Chris Claremont, way back. However, the movies will never, ever get her hair right, ever. It may be that it's not humanly possible to get that mane of white hair right outside of the comics. Funny, because I would have thought it would be Wolverine's hair that would be impossible to portray onscreen.

6. And speaking of Wolverine -- of course he gets the best lines and the key scenes. The movie audience has spoken, and they likes 'em some Jackman (why that sounds vaguely dirty, I don't know). Even in the comics, he's by far the most popular, so there may very well be something inherent in the character that appeals to people. However, like most fans who have been reading comics since the 80s, I'm pretty sick of him getting the spotlight all the time -- but the interesting thing is, Wolverine-as-pivotal-character does work better in the movies, probably because Jackman-as-Wolverine is funnier, less angsty, and yes, more domesticated than the comics version. Also, he was established in the first movie as being the audience's POV character: the one with the irreverence to remark to the Prof, "So, she's Storm... he's Cyclops... who are you, Wheels?" Having said all that, I am amazed at how many people they depict him eviscerating onscreen. Total disregard of the usual "only kill when there is no other option" comics rule. So in a weird way, movie-Wolvie is both more candy-ass and more bad-ass.

7. Famke Janssen really throws herself into the role of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix. Her acting's almost too much, at times; but then, hey, this is super-powered soap opera we're talking about. The story calls for her to be -- by turns -- vulnerable, savage, detached, ambivalent, and fucking scary, and she does it all convincingly. There's a certain scene where you won't know whether to be turned on, or horrified, or, God help you, both.

8. Magneto will fuck your shit up. You will believe that a man pushing 70 can tear apart a city with the power of his mind (and some fancy shmancy hand gestures).

9. As you may have already gathered, there are a lot of characters here; literally dozens of them, mostly based on the comics, though you wouldn't know it to glance at them. Recognition usually comes when a character calls another character out by name ("That's Arclight?!"), or in some cases, when the end credits are rolling ("Where the heck were Psylocke and Jubilee?"). Certain characters that had major roles in the first two movies have either had their roles reduced or are completely absent this time around. Nightcrawler is nowhere to be seen; presumably he rejoined the circus. And, this may be a bit of a spoiler, but Rogue doesn't have much to do here either. Comics fans will realize that she played such an active role in the Claremont and post-Claremont stories because she had already permanently leeched off Carol Danvers' powers of flight, super-strength and near-invulnerability by the time she joined the X-Men, and thus was much more handy in a fight; that hasn't happened -- and most likely never will happen -- in the movies. Still, despite the huge cast, many members are given a chance to shine.

10. The story, despite weaving together no less than three major plotlines/themes from the comics and a whole bunch of other subplots and sub-themes, is remarkably simple and easy to follow. Motivations dovetail nicely; setpieces spring out naturally. The people who put together this movie knew what to use and what to leave out: it is, after all, possible to do the Dark Phoenix concept without involving the Shi'ar (and thank God, because Lilandra's hair is more impossible than either Storm's or Wolverine's. And can you imagine the giggles that Gladiator's space mohawk would have garnered?) There are some relationships that originated in the comics but are handled slightly differently in the movie (like the enmity between Storm and Callisto), and some that for the most part belong to the movie alone (the Iceman/Pyro rivalry); as noted, these guys knew what to leave and take and what to invent. In terms of juggling, many balls are tossed into the air, and it's amazing how many of them are caught once again by movie's end, though there are one or two that end up falling to the ground.

And that's all for now. So, is X-Men: The Last Stand worth seeing? Let's ask Kitty:

X-Men: The Last Stand -- a film about prejudice, equality, power, responsibility, and hair.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Two in One

From Cynthia's blog:
"These four albums from SonyBMG are just the first batch of a series of 2-in-1 cds that feature the music of 90s bands like Yano, Sugar Hiccup, Sandwich and Color it Red. Don’t mistake them for greatest hits collections though -- they’re actually a repackaging of two original albums per artist that came out in the last decade. So buying one cd will actually give you two albums for the price of one, neat-o!... The cds go for P285 each, and please stay tuned because there are six more coming."

Very nice work! Am definitely getting the Sandwich set. I only ever had a cassette copy of grip stand throw (and even that is missing now). Will have to think about Sugar Hiccup though, since I do have a CD copy of Womb. Then again, I think P285 is actually less than the first CD originally cost. :)

Am wondering what the "six more" that are slated for release are...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dan's Top 10

Calling Colin Farrell a "Boyzone reject," naming Sex Lives Of The Potato Men as one of his favorite films, and oh yeah, writing over a hundred excellent short stories -- gotta love Dan Rhodes. I'd like him even if he didn't marry one of my favorite friends from college. Go here for his "Literary Top 10" in the May 2006 issue of No... not that Pulp.

And speaking of matters literary, today's the deadline for The Bridport Prize and I'm going to miss it! Just like I missed the Palanca deadline last month. *slashes wrists* Sometimes I really just want to drop all this other writing crap that I do -- well, maybe not my column -- and just try to seriously get back into writing short stories again. Oh well.

Waya, this Wednesday

Waya quietly sips tea just before ROCKING YOUR BLOCK OFF

Waya Gallardo is probably the best singer I have ever seen perform live, and that's not something I say lightly, and it's not something I say just because she's my friend. I still remember watching her do a Led Zeppelin cover at Mayric's -- she was on her knees by song's end, singing her guts out, sending electricity up everyone's spines, bringing smiles to the faces of whatever Rock Gods may exist. She's equally adept at doing soulful renditions of songs by such masters as Al Green and Marvin Gaye, and let me tell you, you have to be really good to even attempt to do stuff that those two have already done.

One of my top three gigs of all time has to be the one where Waya and Beng Calma jammed with Squid 9 in Big Sky Mind, over two years ago. Waya and Beng improvised impeccably, weaving lyrics and melodies over the stylish sinuous sounds of Raimund Marasigan and Company, with Rann Golamco on riff-slinging duties and Raimund himself freestyle rapping. It was impressive as hell, and loads of fun.

And now, after a too-long hiatus, Waya's doing gigs again. She's got a gig on May 17 -- that's this Wednesday -- at 10 PM, on the third floor of Bite Club, Katipunan ("Sa tapat ng Blue Ridge"). She'll be doing covers of David Bowie, Scissor Sisters, Duran Duran, and other stuff. See y'all there.

PS. Non music-related plug! Aside from rocking people's blocks off, Waya also bakes great desserts. (I especially enjoyed her "dessert dream list" post.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Songs from Sesame Street

Oscar the Grouch and Johnny Cash performing "Nasty Dan"! Grover and Madeline Kahn singing "Sing After Me"! Bert doin' the pigeon (get your minds out of the gutter)! AND The Pinball Number Count and The Ladybugs' Picnic! Get 'em here. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


In answer to Kristine L.'s comment on the post below -- " I don't know how they can french when Spidey has his mask on"-- well, I just had to show y'all this:

From Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man #75 (February 1983) -- incidentally, one of the biggest influences on my young, developing mind. (To this day, I only kiss people while wearing a mask that covers half my face. Aside from the kink factor, it makes it tougher for people to press charges.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Brokeback Superheroes

From the DC/Marvel team-up Batman and Spider-man by DeMatteis and Nolan

And where was that, exactly? Wait. Maybe I don't want to know.

Don'cha Wish Your Girlfriend Would Seethe Like Me

Some of the best mash-ups marry the undeniable fun of disposable pop with qualities more substantial or classic from other songs, and transform something that may have originally been unlistenable into something that might have you setting your player on "repeat." For example, this insanely enjoyable mash-up of the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" with AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." Or this surprisingly kick-ass number -- a mash-up of the Pussycat Dolls with Veruca Salt. Many more marvelous mash-ups on Party Ben and DJ Mei-Lwun's sites -- as Fergie would say, check it owwt!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Truth Be Told

Call it the miracle of MTV: while watching the video for "Truth" by Bamboo for the third time, I realized something -- I like this video. This was followed by a couple more realizations in quick succession: I like the song too, and -- most surprising of all, to me -- I like the band. Sure, the Chungking Express feel of the Chinese restaurant scenes in the video may have something to do with it, but I wouldn't have enjoyed the experience so much if the song -- or band -- sucked.

My feelings for the band Bamboo have shifted several times over the past years, actually: from almost-total indifference, to mild irritation (when their "Hoy! Pinoy ako" anthem was at the height of its overplayed popularity), to grudging respect (they are very good at what they do), to... well, nowadays, I just plain like their stuff. I don't love it, not yet, but who knows what the next album may bring.

I admit that seeing some of their ads -- especially the ones where lead singer Bamboo is pulling that rawkk!! face of his -- got in the way of my appreciating their music a little bit, but I understand that people have to make a living, and after all, many a band has emerged from endorsing products with integrity mostly intact. Hey, if I can still like The Dawn after hearing the beer commercial version of "Salamat" played 500 times while we were waiting for their All Hallow's Eve concert to start (yes, I am old), I can live with some Pony-shilling.

So props to Bamboo. "Hallelujah" may not have been as big a hit as "Noypi", but it was a better song, and "Much Has Been Said" has its own easy, laid-back charm (though I didn't much care for "F.U."). Bamboo, as a band, just seems to be improving with each album. And you know, Nathan looks so much more decent now with his new haircut.

My fearless forecast: Bamboo will bring home a shitload of honors at this year's Awit Awards.

Badly Named But Successful

See, this is why I love The A.V. Club. They do articles like this: 10 Successful Music Artists With Terrible Names. An excerpt:
1. Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam was briefly known as "Mookie Blaylock," and it even toured under that name until someone sensibly pointed out that it might be confusing for a Seattle rock band to share a name with the number 12 pick in the 1989 NBA draft. The solution: Change the name to Pearl Jam. Why? Vocalist-guitarist Eddie Vedder once suggested that it had something to do with his grandmother's recipe for peyote jelly, but the most plausible explanation is much more prosaic. It couldn't have anything to do with semen, could it? Remember: When you name your band, you're stuck with your pick.
. . .

5. Metallica

Would anyone buy a hip-hop group called the "The Rappers"? If Metallica hadn't set the gold standard for metal, the name would make them a joke.