Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Me and My Hamster

Hello from me and Burroughs! Posted some pix on the Hamsters LJ Community. For more hamster hijinks click here. (Those who are rodent-averse need not apply.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rogue Party

Yvette and I will be going to the Rogue party later. Rogue is a class act: a magazine with great visuals and great writing that just keeps getting better (and yeah, I'd honestly say that even if Yvette and I weren't fairly regular contributors). :) The current issue -- dated December 2007/January 2008, with Jasmine Maierhofer on the cover -- has a brand new story I wrote, in collaboration with the amazing artist Yvonne Quisumbing-Romulo. More on that in a future blog post. Right now I needs some breakfast.

Aoki on the Decks

I got to meet and interview DJ Steve Aoki yesterday and it was the most fun I've had with an interview in a while. The man has such an appetite and enthusiasm for music -- it's really inspiring. Nothing less than I would expect from the founder of Dim Mak records, who broke Bloc Party, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and tons of other acts. We talked about the Manila crowd (this is his second time here), the changes in the global music industry, the first record he ever bought... Then I broke out the showbiz fanboy questions and asked him about Uffie (oh man, Uffie!), Lindsay Lohan, and of course his actress/ model sister, Devon. We talked about Chromeo and Kid Sister and Cat Stevens and all these other artists. At one point he got so excited talking about music he was waving his arms wildly, conducting an imaginary electronic orchestra. It was great. Applause for Styles, for bringing him here again!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Everything Must Go

Hello all! As you know, I'm going to be moving out of my home of some eleven years this December, to a new apartment. As much as I'd like to keep all of my stuff, I really do need to lose some of it. (Also, every little bit helps when it comes to making money for rent.) So: GARAGE SALE! Woo hoo! I'll be selling books, magazines, CDs, comics and some other stuff, really cheap (everything's going to be Php 5. up, with an upper limit of about Php 50). Hope you all can drop by! It'll be on:

This SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, from 10 AM to 10 PM,

The place is in a compound with a green gate, right on the corner of Maginhawa and V. Luna Extension. Easy to find. You can contact me at 0920 678 8358 or 927 1854 (landline) for details/ directions. You can also email me at luiskatigbak at yahoo dot com.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Luis Listens

There’s this word I learned from Q magazine—“chuffed.” I gather that it means delighted, glad, pleased as punch. If so, then I am chuffed to inform alla youse that today marks the first installment of my brand new column in the Manila Bulletin: Luis Listens. Check it out, it’s on page G-4, in the spiffy i section. Here’s the blurb at the bottom: “LUIS LISTENS is a new column devoted to music. Luis was a staffer on PULP and MTV Ink, the first Editor-in-Chief of the online music magazine Pulse.ph, and is the co-founder of BURN Magazine.”

In this first installment, I react to last week’s NU 107 Rock Awards: "Last November 30, I attended the 14th installment of the annual NU 107 Rock Awards, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. I always enjoy going to the Rock Awards—at the very least, there are always a few great performances, some laughs, lots of eye candy, and if the audience is lucky, one or two unscripted surprises, like the time Rosanna Roces flashed her mammarian assets while presenting an award, or the time the audience almost lynched Diether Ocampo for calling them jologs. At last year’s awards, there was an air of excitement, of near-giddiness—not just because NU had the good sense to make me one of the judges, but because bands were still riding high on the resurgence of rock, labels were still making good money on CD sales, and fans were enjoying releases by well-known favorites like Sandwich as well as fantastic new acts like Up dharma Down. [...] So, did this year’s awards ceremony measure up?"

I also plug Rock the Riles, and the launch of The Purplechickens’ second album, next week. Oh, and I crack some cheap jokes and threaten people with violence, but that goes without saying.

The BURN Year-Ender, Revisited

You know, I always loved those Vanity Fair issues that would focus on music or the movies and showcase the most prominent and/or interesting players in each field with great photo shoots, usually displayed in two-page spreads, often teaming up people you wouldn’t expect to see gathered in the same room together. So what I’m trying to say is, I’m really proud to be part of the November-December 2007 issue of BURN.

I know I’ve blogged about our year-ender issue before, but Denise just posted some pix of the pictorials, and you should go look:


Of course, to get the full effect, you really must get a copy (available now! For the insanely low price of Php70!).

I did the short write-ups for “We Are the Champions” (Kamikazee + Kjwan), “Don’t Call Them Divas” (Sitti + Skarlet + Bituin Escalante), “Video Visionaries” (Pancho Esguerra, Marie Jamora, Avid Liongoren, and Quark Henares) and—my favorite—“Hip-Hop and They Won’t Stop” (Nimbus9, The Out of Body Special, Sinag, and Corporate Lo-Fi). A close contender for my favorite shoot of the bunch is “Soft is the New Loud,” pictured here, which features Sino Sikat, Julianne, and Up dharma Down. [Insert exclamation of rabid enthusiasm here.]

There you go: 17 pages of pix of the best musicians of 2007! Again, I applaud Denise and Conch for actually pulling this off, and am very happy to have played a small part in it. :) The immensely talented photographers involved were Tom Epperson, Carina Altomonte and Aldwin Aspillera.

Thanks Denise! :D

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Couches Are Exactly 34 Awesome

Time travel, dinosaurs, claustrophobic pirates vs. hyperchondriac ninjas, and why your boyfriend hates Christmas -- all these are addressed here: 50 Answers. Never forget: Your lost socks become babies because you are so pretty.

(Thanks to Beaucoup Kevin for the link.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rock for Real: The NU107 Rock Awards

Went to the NU107 Rock Awards last night with Yvette. Wrote about it for Pulse.ph. Who won? Who lost? Who made me go "WTF"? Results and reactions here!An excerpt: "2007 marked the 20th year of the radio station’s existence, and the 14th installment of the awards show. We missed the pre-show, which featured a performance by Marcus Highway, but we got there just in time for the show proper, and to have our senses assaulted by a sex-themed intro video starring Asia Agcaoili, Ramon Bautista, and various cylindrical fruits and vegetables. Our main hosts for the evening were Asia, who, true to form, seemed to be wearing less and less clothing as the evening progressed (although who can blame her, considering how sweltery it got in the hall), and Zach Lucero, who looked rather dapper in a red sweatshirt that in the wrong context would have gotten him confused with a doomed Star Trek extra."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The BURN Year-Ender

Wow, three blog posts in a row! One would think I didn't have a full-time job any more... oh wait, I don't. ;p Actually, these posts have been sitting in my hard drive in half-finished form for quite some time; it’s just that I realized that most of them are about publications that came out in November, and November's almost over. So: November spawned a blogger. (Those of you who got the reference, feel free to scream and throw rocks.)

ANYWAY! If you are at all interested in music -- particularly the local scene -- and you haven't grabbed a copy of the new BURN yet, then... then... I'll come up with some amusing metaphor for how wrong that is, later. The year-ender issue is out now (I love year-ender issues), and as you can see, we pulled out all the stops. On that front cover alone, we've got Nimbus9, Kat of Sino Sikat, and Julianne in the front row, and Nyko Maca, Marc Abaya, Aia of Imago, and Jay Kamikazee in the back row. Big hand of applause to Denise and Conch for pulling off the logistically nightmarish shoots (and for much else, besides)! And there's lots, lots more inside, a whole parade of fantastic musical artists who made their mark in 2007. And of course, there's our Best Albums of 2007 feature. This time around, partcipating reviewers were: Cris Ramos Jr., Denise Mallabo, Dodo Dayao, Erwin Romulo, Kristine Lim, Lester Hallig, Thor Balanon, Yvette Tan and myself. Thanks, people!

This picture was taken during the first time I interviewed Sitti, over a year ago. That’s her on the far left, with me and Yvette on the far right. (Yes, I still had hair then.) The guy in the middle is photographer and clothing designer extraordinaire Che Katigbak, who also happens to be my Kuya.

Speaking of music, check out the i section of the Manila Bulletin today (Wednesday, November 28). In this week’s installment of my column, “The King of Nothing to Do,” I have an interview with the lovely bossa nova sensation Sitti.

LUIS: If you could talk to the younger you—the one who was working her way through college, singing in hotel bars—what would you say?

I would say two things: one, all your efforts will pay off, just hang in there and work hard, and second, ironically, treasure your lounge act memories, where you are freer and there is no pressure at all from anyone. [smiles]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Imagine That

You may have seen this new magazine on the stands: it's massive, colorful and attention-grabbing, and it's called Imagine. Congratulations to Yonina Chan and company on the first issue! :)

Imagine is very visually-oriented, so in its pages you'll find spread after spread of fashion concepts and other forms of eye candy. There's lots of good stuff to read as well, of course. I'm one of the Contributing Editors, and for this first issue I wrote two short short stories ("Emily Around the World" and "Zo Invents"), as well as a short feature on award-winning comics creator Arnold Arre and his upcoming projects. An excerpt:
“I'm in the process of developing two stories,” Arnold tells us. The first is Martial Law Babies, “a coming-of-age story about a group of 30-somethings. We follow the lives of the characters, from their childhood memories to a present-day setting. It's a very personal story, and it came to me during one of those conversations with college friends over coffee. I also wanted to tackle some issues like where have our peers gone, what did they become? Why are we losing more and more talented people to first world countries? What role do we play in society? And aren't the younger generations getting better breaks in terms of work since they're adept in technology and from our perspective, more pampered? So I guess in a way another take on the title is that of us being trapped, we're under Martial Law so to speak. It's nearing completion, so hopefully we’ll get to see it in printed form sometime soon.”

The second project in the works is “another fantasy story, a different take on Filipino myths. The story is geared towards a younger audience, which I find to be a challenge since it's very new to me. In a nutshell, there is a worldwide organizing body of magic and myth holding friendly competitions for all creatures, gods, folklore beings and characters. Imagine an Olympics for the world of magic. Our delegates are a hodgepodge of troubled characters trying to band together as one team-a problematic tikbalang, a rebellious kapre, and several others being led by the team captain, a mambabarang who tends to be misguided in her decision making.”

Both projects are definitely something to look forward to -- not just for fans of local comics, but for people who appreciate stories in general.


Man, I can't believe November's almost over! Been fairly busy on the freelancing front lately. I wrote the cover story for the November issue of the recently-launched Homestyle magazine. ("Redefining the Filipino home," goes the tagline.) If you're the kind of person who loves poring over magazines like Dwell and Vogue Living, and daydreaming about interiors and unusual designs, you should check it out. Much to my relief, my architect cousin Miguel, who is a partner in an Ortigas-based firm and whose taste I trust, has expressed his approval of Homestyle. (And he's very picky about his magazines.) Here's an excerpt from the feature:
"Like his home, Mikko Sison seems fairly normal at first. When I meet him, he is wearing a smart pair of glasses, a neat white shirt, pants with a subtle checkered pattern, dark brown suede shoes and an easy smile: the overall impression is that of a friendly, casually stylish intellectual. He’s pleasant and a little upscale, just like the brick-and-concrete façade of the two-story row house he is renting in Ecology Village, Makati City. And just like its inhabitant, the house may look perfectly respectable on the outside, but it harbors strangeness within."

Yvette = Winner!

L to R: Jaime Daez of Fully Booked ("Hellooo, ladies"), the lovely and overjoyed Yvette, and some English bloke

Great big CONGRATULATIONS to Yvette for her Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards win! *mwah mwah* :D Sponsored by Neil Gaiman and Fully Booked, this is the only competition in the country that focuses on speculative fiction, and due to a number of reasons -- Gaiman's involvement, the amount of prize money -- it's become perhaps the most anticipated and strived-for writing award in the land. Gaiman himself established it when he visited the country a couple of years ago: he noted that the Philippines has "a very strong tradition of realism" in its fiction, and he wanted to encourage "Philippine unrealism."

Yvette won 2nd place in the Prose category (there's a Comics category as well) for her wonderful short story, "The Bridge." Set during the time of a certain dictatorship, it's about a little girl in a small town with psychic abilities who encounters the First Lady. During the awarding ceremony, Neil praised it effusively, calling it "very, very creepy and really nicely done."

L to R: Half of Lyle Sacris' head, wild-maned Ramon, boyishly beaming Elbert, the amazing Arnold, gorgeous genius Yvette, and myself.

The awarding was held last Sunday, November 25, just outside the giant Fully Booked branch at The Fort. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to catch up with everyone. Arnold and Cynthia, Erwin, Ramon, Quark, Charles, Elbert, Ian, everyone. Dear friends Waya and Lala -- last year's grand prize winners for the Comics category, for "The Mad, Sad, Incredible but True Adventures of Hika Girl" -- were there too, with family and support crew (Fran, Elaine, Krissy etc.). Waya and I had gone on a day trip to Subic just the Thursday before, for Neil Gaiman's lecture on the imagination and its importance. (We got to talk to him briefly afterwards; will probably write about that too, eventually.)

After the event, the winners and some stray significant others like myself had dinner with all the judges and Mr. Gaiman. A very memorable end to a very memorable day.

Waya to the right of him, Lala to the left of him: Neil Gaiman flanked by the insanely talented Gallardo sisters.

These photos were taken from Cynthia's Multiply page. Thanks to the ever-masipag Charles for all the transcripts and updates. Neil Gaiman blogged about his visit here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diablo Cody Strikes

Is it wrong for me to adore Diablo Cody before I’ve read her book or any of her scripts? A couple of interviews, plus this picture, taken from her blog, tell me no. Such admiration is in all likelihood not misplaced.

Read more about the former stripper turned book author turned hot young scriptwriter at New York mag’s Vulture, at Entertainment Weekly (“Ex-Stripper Turned A-Lister”), and at Esquire, in the -- where else? -- Women We Love section. The EW piece is particularly informative and entertaining. Lots of stuff about Juno, the movie she wrote “sitting in Target in suburban Minnesota”:
When Jason Reitman, who'd made a name for himself with 2006's Thank You for Smoking, read the script for Juno, he scrapped plans to direct his own project to work with Cody instead. ''When I think of the response to Diablo and her screenplay,'' he says, ''the only person I can equate it to in recent history is Tarantino, that kind of overwhelming excitement about a fresh new voice.'' But the movie would have imploded fast without the right actress in the title role. Enter the impressive Hard Candy actress Ellen Page, who, Cody believes, beautifully embodies her wry, tough-talking, secretly tender main character. ''It would have been really heartbreaking to meet Ellen if she was like, 'Oh, hey, wassup?' while talking on a rhinestone-encrusted cell phone,'' says Cody. ''But she's so cool, she scares the s--- out of me. She is Juno.''

Ellen Page! I loved her in Hard Candy, even if I didn’t love Hard Candy itself. And I thought she made a great Kitty Pryde too. Lots of great buzz about Juno -- I can’t wait to see it. Funny though, this is probably the first time I’ve ever seen a film’s scriptwriter get as much, if not more than, buzz than the film itself. Not that that’s a bad thing, in my book.

Oh, almost forgot to include my favorite quote from the Entertainment Weekly article on D.C. Here it is:
"I'm f---ing sick of actors!" declares Cody, stabbing the lime in her third vodka soda. "They look airbrushed in reality. I swear Jennifer Garner has to be bathing in the blood of virgins because she has the most beautiful skin that I've ever seen on a human being. The boys too! I met Brandon Routh from Superman last year. He looks like a special effect. He's too beautiful to live. And actors are all tiny people. Why is that? I'm a hulk compared to them! If you look at pictures of me with actors, I look like I ate them all."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Making Magazines with Conch and Joey

Uploaded a new article on Pulse.ph: it's an interview with Clarissa "Conch" Concio and Joey Dizon, on their experiences as editors-in-chief of two major local music magazines, BURN and PULP. They gave pretty interesting answers.

Special thanks to Mari Arquiza for the great picture of Conch in performance. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Adventures of Jobless Bunny, Revisited

So after over a year of working at a 9 to 5 job in Makati, I’ve gone freelance again. (Please don’t cry, Mom.) To commemorate my joblessness, I’m posting links to my old Jobless Bunny comics.

See, one night, two and a half years ago -- after I had left PULP magazine and before I started working at the Supreme Court -- I stumbled across a create-your-own-comics site called gnomz.com and quickly dashed off three installments of the adventures of an unemployed lagomorph (yes, I learned that word from Sam & Max). Never wrote any further episodes after that night, but I still look back on these three with some affection and amusement. But then of course I would, wouldn’t I?

Read part one of The Adventures of Jobless Bunny!

If you have even more time to waste, please peruse part two.

And finally here's part three. Yay!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stop DJ Worship

Freaking hilarious. You must read: The Trancecracker. Now.

"But... we... glowsticks..." "How else do you think I lost my eye?" HAHAHAHAHA. Jack Chick tracts make the perfect template for making fun of so many things.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Balut Rules; or, We're Number 1! We're Number 1!

Read: The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World. I'm going to spoil the suspense for you right now: in a list that includes maggot-infested cheese ("This cheese is a delicacy in Sardinia, where it is illegal. That's right. It is illegal in the only place where people actually want to eat it,") and wine with dead baby mice in it ("Do you wince at the thought of swallowing a tequila worm? Imagine how you'd feel during a session on this bastard,") the NUMBER ONE MOST TERRIFYING FOOD IN THE WORLD is none other than balut.

I'm actually really happy that we ranked number one, if only because it makes us look like culinary badasses. ("[Balut is] enjoyed in Cambodia, Philippines and the fifth and seventh levels of hell. They are typically sold by street vendors at night, out of buckets of warm sand. You can spot the vendors because of their glowing red eyes, and the faint, otherworldly sound of children screaming.") And what's great is that even though this article is on a humor site that should ostensibly have little concern for being P.C., the writing is funny about the food described without actually implying that the people who enjoy it are idiots. Cracked.com is without a doubt one of my favorite humor sites right now.

Also, I find it interesting that we're so used to the idea of balut that I find every single other item on the list more terrifying. (Except for the "buttery and slightly nutty" escamoles, which I would totally try.)

"Live without fear. After all, you've already eaten a goddamned duck fetus."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Picked by Preview

Yvette and I are very happy indeed to be featured in the October 2007 issue of Preview magazine, on this year's "Creative 'It' List." :) According to the feature's intro, the list "rounds up a list of 26 bona fide talents that have earned distinction in their respective fields, and helped set the standards for artistic excellence." Woo hoo! We're especially delighted to be in the company of many people we genuinely admire, such as dynamic duo Marcushiro and Bru (a.k.a. Electrolychee), musical genius Malek Lopez, director Marie Jamora, production outfit Furball, singer Sitti, and some long-haired filmmaker named Kidlat de Guia, among many others. Thanks to Preview and to everyone involved!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Welcome to Dystopia

There's a a fun list up on At the Movies now: The Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time. I've only seen about half of these, so I guess it's time for another trip to Makati Cinema Square. In case the ranking makes you scratch your head, please note that it's based on averaged-out IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores as opposed to, say, the workings of a single rational mind. Hence I Robot ranks higher than Logan's Run or Strange Days or Idiocracy. Still, great list, though. And I can't argue with A Clockwork Orange, Brazil and Blade Runner coming out on top.

And speaking of Blade Runner! There's a great Ridley Scott interview up on Wired, about Blade Runner: The Final Cut, which I really really hope they will show in some nice theatre here when it comes out.

Finally, on a related note, there's this interview with Cory Doctorow about his short story "Scroogled," which depicts a frightening and all-too-possible scenario involving the misuse of the world's most popular search engine (read the short excerpt in the sidebar; it will ensure that you pause and think for a moment before punching in your next search query). Doctorow recounted:
I had a really interesting meeting a couple of years ago with some of the [chief information officers] of Danish ministries. We sat down to talk about data interoperability and document retention. Document retention's a really thorny one, because hard drives are cheap, and governments don't really understand why they shouldn't just save everything. Who knows when it will be useful? I started to talk to them about this, and a gentleman put his hand up and said you know, you may need to talk to people in other countries about this, but you don't need to talk to the Danes about this.

Because after the Nazis occupied Copenhagen, they went down to the police station and got from the files all the addresses of the people they wanted to round up and stick in boxcars, and they took them away. We don't retain anything here. As soon as we're done with it, we throw it away because we understand that you can't always predict how information will be used, and the only way to ensure it's not misused is to get rid of it when you're done with it.

I think it's important to note here that what makes Google Google, what makes them such a good target for this stuff, is that they make the best search product on the market. They are so important to all of our lives that it's vital that we start thinking about what they mean and how they work, and what it could mean to have that much power concentrated into just a few hands. And what will happen down the road if the company's culture changes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Fone

I've totally forgotten where I ripped this image off from. If anyone has any copyright conniptions, just email me and I'll take it down right away.

Hello reader-friends. :) As some of you have no doubt realized, my Globe mobile phone number doesn't work any more. Actually, it stopped working MONTHS ago -- around April or May -- and the reason I haven't blogged about it 'til now is that I always harbored the hope that it might someday be restored. But a recent visit to a Globe service center revealed the truth: I've been living in a fool's paradise.

I'm also going to stop using my Smart work number soon, so those of you who have that one should know that it will be useless by next week. Am getting a new prepaid Smart number. If you want to facilitate our keeping in touch, please send your cellphone number to luiskatigbak at yahoo dot com (or post it here) and I'll send you my new number. Thanks! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking for a Place to Live

Hello all! I need your help. Will be leaving our old place on Maginhawa Street soon, and am now looking for a place to rent, preferably still in the UP Diliman area (UP Village, Teachers' Village, Sikatuna Village, Katipunan/Xavierville -- you get the idea). It should have at least 2 bedrooms, and preferably 3 (or more). Rent should be 12K/month or less. Any leads will be greatly appreciated. Please post in the comments section, or, better yet, email me at luiskatigbak at yahoo dot com. Thanks! :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

IM Infatuation

Wow, this is really screwy. "An IM Infatuation Turned to Romance. Then the Truth Came Out." It's about this family man who makes up an 18 year-old alter ego and starts flirting with a teenage girl online. As you probably already suspect, it ends up with him eventually ruining his life -- not to mention the lives of quite a few other people.

Read the whole thing at Wired.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please Hamster Don't Hurt 'Em

Stop. Hamster time!

This is my hamster. His name is Burroughs (he likes to dig). His fur was getting a little long so I gave him a trim. At least it turned out better than the time I tried to cut my own hair. For more cuteness, go here and here. He also has a Hamsterster page. Yay!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Can Has Award?

So it turns out that I'm a finalist for this year's National Book Awards, for The King of Nothing to Do. Thanks to the Manila Critics Circle for the honor! I'm not going to pretend cool indifference; I'm all jazzed up about this. The first time I was nominated was in 2000, for Happy Endings -- I didn't win that year, but considering I was up against Eric Gamalinda, Jun Cruz Reyes and Sarge Lacuesta, among others, I can't feel too bad about it. Of course, this year, I'm up against Butch Dalisay, Rene Villanueva, etc. What the hell. I'm still hoping I win.

Congratulations as well to Astrid Tobias, Dean Alfar and Jerry Gracio on their nominations! I have more than one good reason to cheer for Dean's Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 2, nominated in the Anthology category -- Yvette's one of the contributors. :)

Kjwan and Vina Win the ASEAN Ikon Contest

Congratulations to Kjwan and Vina Morales for defeating the Malaysian and Indonesian representatives and bringing home the prize in both solo singer and band categories! (More here!)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

IKON Philippines Winners

Yep, after over two months of performances and judging and texting, the verdict is in, and the winners of IKON Philippines are: Vina Morales for the Solo Category and Kjwan for the Band Category! CONGRATULATIONS to them all! They'll be flying off to Malaysia next week to represent the country at the ASEAN IKON Finals. Wish 'em luck. And watch out for further updates and photos and interviews on www.pulse.ph!

This photo was taken by Eric Fernandez at the very first IKON Artists' Briefing last May 23. Sheer coincidence that Vina and Kjwan were together. OR... IS IT?! Mwahahaha!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Review Crew

Since I was finally able to upload the photos from my phone to my PC (thanks Jovan!), I'll be putting up those pix here every now and then. This is a shot of some of my Review Crew, the people I go to when I want CDs for BURN or Pulse.ph savaged -- I mean, critically assessed in a fair and balanced fashion. This was taken during a Saturday morning at the Megastrip, when I was distributing CDs for review. (Notice the Katelyn Tarver album on top of Kristine's stack.)

Left to right, that's Kristine Lim, Dodo Dayao, Karlo Samson, Eric Melendez, Cris Ramos Jr, and Erwin Romulo's green right shirtsleeve. Not in shot: Aldus Santos, who was sitting at a table off to the right, and Yvette Tan, who was sitting beside me.

A great bunch of people, and excellent, honest reviewers all. Am very proud to be working with them. Am also relieved to have people to share all the death threats from disgruntled artists with. I kid.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The IKON Semifinals!

Thanks to all those who braved the rain and went to Le Pavilion for The IKON Philippines Semifinals! For those who don't know, IKON is ASEAN's newest, biggest music contest, with some of our country's best acts as participants. The Philippine finals winners -- one solo star and one band -- will go on to represent our country in the Grand Finals in Malaysia.

There was much tension earlier, as it was only announced just before the show which of the 18 initial contestants would go on to the semis. In other words, a handful of bands and solo stars had to trudge home, without getting another chance to compete onstage. This must not have been easy, as all the participants are well established artists, but some mildly bruised egos were inevitable with the stakes this high. And while the whole idea of competition between these acts might have displeased some, I gotta say, it made for some really impressive performances.

Backstage before the show was fun, with the press people having no less than 18 artists to choose from to photograph or interview. It was like speed dating, but without the potential emotional damage.

The lovely Yvette interviews the lovely Sitti, and apparently asks something amusing.

Cris Ramos talks to Grace Nono, while Yvette and Vina Morales trade secrets.

Skarlet wonders if the food will be served soon.

Julianne, no doubt plotting something dastardly.

Sitti again, posing in front of a buncha logos.

Our host Asia Agcaoili, wearing an outfit I never thought I would see outside of 90s Image comics. If you see the bottom half, you'll know what I'm talking about. (Watch the IKON show tonight, on RPN 9, at 7 PM).

I should probably take a moment to explain here that there were lots of acts present at the presscon -- The Dawn, Chicosci, Kapatid, Sponge Cola, Noel Cabangon, Kjwan, etc. Just because all my pictures are of the female artists doesn't mean that there weren't any guys there.

After the show, Yvette and I had shrimp puffs and veggie rice:

Excuse the blurry picture. I'm practicing to become a food blogger. Because apparently, it's the food bloggers who get invited to cool events and stuff, not us whatever-bloggers. ;p

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Favorite Bad Albums

This is fun: Blender features "Our Favorite Musicians' Favorite Bad Albums"!

"Many of us will go to bat for that highly uncool and/or critically slammed record adorning our otherwise impeccable collection, and musicians are no different. We recently caught up with some of our favorite bands, producers and DJs to find out what awesomely bad albums make their hearts go tick and their feet go tap."

Oh man, A-ha's first two albums! I loved those. I might even still have the cassettes somewhere. "Manhattan Skyline," what a great song. And dear God, Animalympics! I can't believe anyone else even remembers that movie, and those songs. I was absolutely crazy about those songs as a kid. I managed to track down one or two through file-sharing -- I included one as a 'hidden track' on my October mix last year -- but I am a long way from assembling all the songs. If anyone has a copy of this, please let me know. :)

My favorite 'highly uncool' album? That's tough. I think half my CD collection is highly uncool. I own almost everything the Pet Shop Boys ever made, after all.

Happy Birthday to Me

Guess what I got in the mail today? Those of you who read, or used to read, British music magazines may recognize the logo on the right. Yes, I got the July issue of Q magazine, sent straight from London. Thank you thank you thank you, Indira! :D Yay!

This issue features the "Ten Most Exciting Bands in the World Right Now" (a list open to much debate, but whatever), interviews with the Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, and Muse, a tribute to Sgt. Pepper (incidentally, have you heard the BBC-organized cover versions of songs off the album? I rather like the Razorlight one, to be honest. And I didn't like the Magic Numbers' number as much as I thought I would), and the usual assload of reviews. Best of all, this being the summer issue, there's a free CD stuck to the cover! This one features live tracks recorded at Glastonbury (which I didn't get to go to this year, but what the hell).

Thanks to all of you who greeted me happy birthday yesterday (whoops, it's almost 4AM -- I mean, the other day), and those sent belated greetings as well. I had a great birthday, because of Yvette of course. :D But special thanks also to Erwin, Yvonne, Isha, Juan, Malek and everyone else at the Preview shoot. Yay!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My hamster says "Hello"

"Hello," he says. "I am reporting you for purchasing pirated DVDs."

Monday, July 23, 2007

High School Life

Watched Pisay: The Movie last Saturday, with, appropriately enough, my high school barkada, and our respective spouses/ girlfriends/ boyfriends. We had a blast. I didn't suffer nostalgia attacks as badly as I thought I would, and I think I can say with sufficient critical objectivity that it is a very good film indeed. Of course we convened in a nearby restaurant afterwards to talk about our Pisay days.

Got the soundtrack CD in the CCP Main Theatre lobby after the screening last Saturday. :) Here's the track listing:

01. Pisay Intro Theme/Act One: Rom and Wena's Theme
02. Lingunin Mo Sana Ako - Squid9
03. Poor Li'l Rich Girl Grown Up - Mcoy Fundales
04. Act Two: Mat's Theme
05. Egis, Er'p! - Lourd de Veyra and Raimund Marasigan
06. Love is in My Hair - Imago
07. Act Three: Andy and Liway's Theme
08. Ang Puso Kong Musmos - Ebe Dancel
09. Act Four: Halley's Comet
10. Pisay Graduation Theme/PSHS Hymn
11. Treasured Memories - Isha

Just started listening to it now. So far my favorite tracks are "Egis, Er'p," "Love is in My Hair," "Ang Puso Kong Musmos" and the little instrumental bits.

I never thought I would willingly pay money for a CD with the PSHS Hymn on it, by the way. ;p

Ran a search for blog entries on the movie and this came up. (How perfect is it that her blog's name is "If I Were a Subatomic Particle"? Ah, Pisay people.)

"Hindi ko maintindihan dati kung bakit hindi ko na-feel ang pagkawala ng Pisay. Ngaun alam ko na kung bakit. Hindi ko naramdamang binitawan ko ang Pisay kasi HINDI ko talaga binitawan. Nasakin pa rin ang Pisay. Ako pa rin si Cheska na tumawa, umiyak, nasaktan, natuto, lumaban, at nagtagumpay sa Pisay."

Well put. The rest of the blog entry is very much worth reading too.

Here's the schedule of remaining screenings (got this from The Mighty Dacs page):

24 Jul/Tue 09:00 PM Venue 1 - CCP Main Theatre
25 Jul/Wed 09:00 PM Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre
26 Jul/Thu 06:15 PM Venue 5 - CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute
27 Jul/Fri 10:00 AM Venue 1 - CCP Main Theatre
28 Jul/Sat 03:30 PM Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre

For more info, bug the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and Ticketworld at 891-9999. The navigation of the Cinemalaya page is pretty screwed up, but the Pisay page is here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Prof Rock

Queen guitarist completes PhD thesis

"Over thirty years after he put away his thesis on interplanetary dust clouds in order to become the guitarist for Queen, 59-year-old Brian May has finally completed it, for his PhD in astrophysics. Although May had earned a degree in physics at Imperial College in London, and worked on the thesis from 1971 to 1974, once Queen began to enjoy success there was no time for him to pursue his doctorate." [//more]

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Free Problems

You can get Dog Problems, the second album by The Format, for free! (Yeah, so what? you might say. I can get all sorts of albums for free through the internets. The difference is, this particular download is officially sanctioned and will not send you to jail or hell.)

That's right: just go here and one of the best albums of last year will be yours. I love these songs, particularly "She Doesn't Get It," "Dead End" and of course "Dog Problems." Offer only lasts 'til JULY 16.

Here's an excerpt from the PopMatters review: "Horns abound, sugary Beatlesesque harmonies lace the songs, swelling strings kick in. In other words, it sounds like Disney on crack, and what’s really surprising is that it doesn’t crumble under all that feel-good weight. Ironically, it all sounds radio-ready in the most creative way imaginable."

Go go get it!

The Weekly Nothing to Do

With all the stuff that I've been doing lately, I totally forget to tell you all that "The King of Nothing to Do," my column at the Manila Bulletin, ever since I hit #50, now comes out weekly. Whoop whoop! :D So make sure to pick up a copy every Wednesday, because, you know, I writes good and stuff. Today's column is about my reaction to the news that Pisay, a movie about my old high school, is going to show at the Cinemalaya festival at the end of this month.

Last week's column, about childhood and children's books, is here. The Bulletin doesn't always archive its articles though, so it's still good to pick up the print version. ;)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

"This is what science is supposed to be."

"Its rock-hard surface can take a full-on assault from a baseball bat, yet remains flexible enough to allow you to kick, leap and roll with perfect ease. Crafted from cutting-edge science, its unique molecular structure means that while providing armoured protection against crude concrete and even barbed wire, it remains light enough to allow you to run at high speed.

"It sounds like the stuff of Batman comics -- but the superhero suit is here."

Read on.

Brand New BURN

Sino Sikat, Kitchie Nadal, Up dharma Down, and lots lots more: the July-August 2007 edition of BURN is available now, and you should get one! Features and reviews and fun stuff galore, and all for only Php70. That's right. Less than your latte cost.

Am particularly proud of this issue's Reviews section: totally uncompromising, often funny, sometimes savage stuff. Witness JP Ong fall asleep to Brownman Revival! Watch Kristine Lim eviscerate Join the Club with the help of her little brother! See Bernie Sim bitch-slap Gwen Stefani! Gape as Aldus Santos stops Hinder! And wave your hands in the air as Erwin Romulo stomps on Mig Ayesa!

It's not all negative, of course, and I don't mean to sound like I'm cackling like a cartoon villain while twirling a mustache. As always, it's the genuinely good albums -- and the subsequent sincerely positive reviews -- that are the reason I love my job. JP Ong surprises himself by liking Pernilla Andersson. Kristine Lim finds Regina Spektor quirky and charming. Eric Melendez loves Noel Cabangon's new album about love. Editor-in-Chief Conch Concio grooves to the Cold War Kids. And Nick Azarcon encourages drunk driving while listening to the Kaiser Chiefs. Make sure your insurance is paid up, Nick!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Somewhere between happy, and total fucking wreck"

I don't always agree with Joey Dizon, but I always enjoy reading his blog.

JOEY DIZON HAS A FRIENDLY WARNING: "If you're into rave parties, like talking about scoring with drunk college chicks, only have extreme knowledge about cars, sports, drag racing and stylish shirts with the collars-up, then stay the fuck away from me. Bunch of fucking faggots. Put some meaning into your lives. Again, stay the fuck away from me or I'll kill you."

JOEY DIZON'S FAVORITE VIDEO GAME IS: "Contra. Old school rules. No brains, just shooting everything in sight. I know there are a lot of video games like that these days, but there's a charm to controlling two 2D shirtless mercenaries who look exactly the same and can only be distinguished from another by the color of their head bands and pants."

JOEY DIZON ON BLOC PARTY: "Fucking makes me sick.... Dancing should be left in the clubs. Who the fuck forms a band so that people can dance? Guys who play in bands like Bloc Party are the guys who couldn't get into the real rock shows and gigs because they were pussies. That's total loser shit right there. Some excuse to NOT be a good musician... The sad thing is, everybody's calling it rock. I mean, Bloc Party is like fucking... I dunno... Libis music. Effortless, trendy bullshit. It's like music fucking Tommy Hilfiger or Tim Yap listens to."

Even when I don't agree with Joey, I admire his general lack of bullshit. And let's face it, many of us share his opinions about security guards, idiots on elevators, and Kris Aquino. We just don't express those opinions as vividly -- or at all, in some cases.

For those who don't know, Joey is the Editor-in-Chief of PULP, a position he has earned by working his way up from Staff Writer to Head Writer to Managing Editor to the very top. He was Head Writer when I was on the PULP staff four years ago, and it was always fun to talk to him during late nights at the office, when we were cramming our reviews and articles.

Joey also taught me one very important lesson, by example: never be ashamed of the music you love.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There and BECK Again

So I first watched -- and wrote about -- BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad early last year. But Yvette just started watching the second half of the series recently, so it's been on my brain. I've got no time to go on a BECK marathon again, what with everything I have to do, but I have the DVD playing as I work. The awkwardly-delivered English bits (both sung and spoken) are still a problem, but the series is still an absorbing, affecting piece of work, and it's still one of my favorites.

I admit, I'm curious about the Pinoy dubbed version. Hey, Raimund Marasigan as Taira-kun! Has anyone watched this? Is it any good?

And by the way, this... this is just wrong.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Listen to "Listening"

Check out Drip's GarageBand page. Listen to the newly-uploaded song "Listening". Good stuff. Lots of lovely funky sounds going on. And of course, Beng. Just go already. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Letters to Hong Kong

So one of my short stories has been adapted for the stage, and is going to be performed in Hong Kong this June 28 and 29! From the HK Ticketing site:

Letters to Cara: "This one-act production is adapted from a short story by Luis Katigbak, written in the form of letters. It comprises 13 letters to Cara from an unnamed writer, her dear friend. As you hear Cara read the letters, in her mind's voice, you will gradually glean clues about the two characters. Music included."

I wrote this epistolary story over a decade ago, and a version of it appeared in the first issue of Chimera. I didn't include it in my first short story collection because I always wanted to revise it somehow. Maybe it'll be in the second.

Thanks, Mida. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The MTV VJ Hunt 2007

Everybody who can: please go to the Mall of Asia TONIGHT, JUNE 22, for the MTV VJ Hunt Finals! It should start around 7:30 to 8 PM, at the Music Hall, and it's free and open to all. It's going to be a fun show, and not just because I wrote it. There's going to be performances by the ALLSTARS, SINO SIKAT, and KITCHIE NADAL, and a coupla others (okay, okay: DANITA and MIGUEL ESCUETA). Not to mention twelve VJ Hunt finalists trying to win your affections.

Here's this year's batch of female MTV VJ Hunt-ees. They are much much better looking in person, I swear. Kat Alano (fourth from left), in particular, must have pissed off the stylist somehow. She's actually pretty hot in real life, and doesn't really look like an aging Tita who's still trying to look 'hip'. However, my vote goes to Andi (fifth from left), because she's cute. I mean, because she has radio experience, knows what she's doing but isn't jaded by the industry yet, and is a fresh, fun presence. Also, cute.

And here are the boys, for those of you who like looking at boys. Sib (second from left) is the only one who doesn't look like he used to beat up nerds in high school. That alone would get him my vote.

Also, Sarah Meier is hosting. She is always a sheer joy -- not just to look at -- but to work with. (I am still amazed at her ability to intelligently ad lib, AND memorize scripts in an instant.) And the new MTV VJs -- Victor Basa, Anne Curtis, and Maggie Wilson -- will be hosting too. Plenty eye candy for y'all. Those of you who are so inclined can start debates about whose legs are more stunning, Sarah's or Maggie's (hint: Sarah's).

So please go. And afterwards, go to the second leg of the BURN magazine bar tour, at SaGuijo! :) Playing tonight: Markus Highway (yes, that’s ex-Eraserhead Marcus Adoro’s band -- read the excellent feature by Aldus Santos here), Bagetsafonik, Sino Sikat (again!), hip-hop up-and-comer Nimbus 9, Paramita, and Indio I. Yaaayy!

UPDATE 06/24/2007: Event turned out great! My two favorites (Sib and Andi) won, and they decided to hire a third new VJ too (Kat). Tado's interview portion with the finalists killed me. I think he almost made Brent Javier cry. Fun to see band people like "Boy Elroy" Conrad and "Chicosci" Miggy in the crowd, no doubt there to support Sib. The special will air on MTV Philippines on Wednesday, July 18 at 9PM, with replays on July 20 at 3PM, July 22 at 8PM, etc. MTV Philippines is Channel 57 on the company you love to hate, Sky Cable.