“Fast Five” : Mean and Sleek

Summer = movies with furious car chase scenes and lots of bang-bang, lots of muscled heros and bodacious babes, and as much popcorn as one can stand to ingest in one sitting.

So here’s the first summer action movie of 2011 (even though it is not even May:  Hollywood and self are always anticipating):  “Fast and Furious Five”

You have to hand it to Vin Diesel: He knows his fan base, and he rarely deviates from a successful formula. There he is, making a grand entrance in the midst of a car heist that is taking place on a moving train — you could almost hear the entire audience at the Redwood City Century 20 (quite a few of whom were middle-aged, if not older) give one long collective AAAAAH.

He doesn’t attempt to grow hair, thank God. And his arms look like Read the rest of this entry »

Zack Reunion: Manilatown Heritage Center, Kearney Street, San Francisco

Tea at House of Nanking on Jackson St. While Waiting for Niece (Those Are Tiny Rosebuds Floating in the Tea!)

Two of Self's Favorite People (Self Loved Niece's Jacket! And Zack's Barong)

Edwin Lozada, Zack, Self (Blurred, But What the Hey)

The Sweetest Little Babe in the Whole Wide World: Liza Erpelo's Precious Aubrey

Proud Moment: Zack & the Barong, Liza & Aubrey, Jeremy (Proud Papa)

One of the best nights ever.  Zack + Wilma Consul + Joel Tan and his Tattoos = Stellar.

Audience participation via cue cards (held up periodically by Joel Tan) = Inspired.

Barb and her questions for Zack = Extremely Nourishing Brain Food (1)

Liza Erpelo, briefly sans baby, talking to self about the extremely untimely demise of Phoebe Snow = Extrememly Nourishing Brain Food (2)

Zack’s Leche = Instant Classic

Karen Tei Yamashita sitting unobtrusively directly behind self = Excitement

Joel Tan saying he could accompany self to Bacolod next time she goes = Priceless.

Link: “War, Literature & the Arts, An International Journal of the Humanities”

Was very moved by this post on the WLA (War, Literature & the Arts) blog:

Every morning at the Army hospital in Germany where I attend physical therapy, the buses arrive, filled with wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq.  I see them, the scarred, empty faces of men without arms and legs, freshly bandaged wounds, and missing hands and fingers —  clear reminders of the severity of wounds from these wars.  And those are the wounds I can see  —  the external ones which demand our immediate attention.  Inside the walls, soldiers are treated and stabilized at the trauma center before being sent home to start new lives.  Drawn from across our nation, often from poor and underprivileged segments of society, I wonder if they will disappear into the vast American mosaic of patchwork towns and cities, cared for by wives or parents, or will they end up on the streets, in the homeless shelters or Veteran’s hospitals across our country.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Golden Gate Park Today, Last Tuesday of April (2011)

The day was gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

Self saw the most a-MA-zing exhibit, the Olmec Exhibit at the de Young (Ends soon! Go!). The very first thing you see as you enter the exhibit is a colossal, stone Olmec head. The thing about Olmec art is, so much of it was anthropomorphic. So the culture seems, somehow, accessible.

The stone sculptures are massive and imposing.  The ones that interested self the most were the ones that depicted human figures in the throes of transformation: being transformed into jaguars, mostly (Self wonders how much the sculptures weigh:  a ton, probably.  Just imagine how many men were needed to get those things on a ship, then unloaded, then transported to the museum: it simply boggles the mind!).  Among the interesting things self learned from the audio tour:  the scrolls running along the bottom of a few of the carved panels are supposed to represent waves; jade was of more value to the Olmecs than gold;  and the wearing of pleated ear ornaments signified Read the rest of this entry »

Rogue Magazine’s Bacolod Issue, April 2009

Thanks much, Charles Tan, for FED-EXING the issue to self, two years ago. It must have cost you — what, $70? A huge amount, especially for someone who’s not that far out of college.

Self has seen this particular issue of Rogue in the home of a few Bacolod relatives.  Here’s what Jose Marie Ugarte wrote in The Editor’s Letter, titled “Negros Made Them” :

Ah, it’s summer again, the season of non-stop sweating in this sweltering tropic rot that drives everybody insane and out of the city — to the mountains or the beaches or some cooler continent on the other side of the world. Last summer we spent an unnatural amount of time on the island of Boracay, effortlessly adapting to the lifestyle and uncovering some inconvenient truths about the place that will one day rise to the surface. This year, we continued our summer coverage of the Visayas by setting up the Rogue desk at room 428 of the Planta hotel in Bacolod City — an ice-plant-turned-three-or-four-star hotel in the heart of Bacolod.

The chance to infiltrate Negros Occidental began as nothing more than a curious whim, but snowballed into a personal obssession in no time. Although my mother grew up in Victorias, I had never lived there but had visited several times, and I was always enamored with the rural haciendero lifestyle — the horses, the sugarcane fields, the plantation houses — it was Scarlett O’Hara’s Georgia or J. R. Ewing’s Dallas in the tropics, but more importantly it was who we were as Filipinos: Farmers.

All our ancestors were farmers and our culture and civilization grew out of the soil, just like every stalk of sugarcane that gets harvested out of Negros every year.

And that is why self feels it is so important to understand her family’s place in this scheme of things. Because the land is still there, it will always be there, long long after self isn’t.

Stay tuned.

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s KING LEAR Sold Out

Self is going to be back in the Splendid City for something like four days, in early May.

She’s there to help Penny celebrate a spectacular birthday, and also to see the premiere of Penny’s new play, “Booze in the Boroughs” at Joria Productions on 34th Street.  It opens on Friday, May 13.

Penny recommended “Jerusalem” as another play self has to catch while she’s in New York.  Penny knows how to pick her plays, for the last one she picked, “Red,” with Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko and a young man named Eddie Redmayne playing his assistant, was truly the highlight of last year (not counting, of course, the trips to the Philippines).

Self inquired of her brother-in-law whether he would like to see “Jerusalem,” but he can’t since he has to work and the only time self has free is on weeknights.  “It’s three hours long,” he told self.

He had another play recommendation, Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” According to brother-in-law, it is the best play on Broadway right now.  And brother-in-law knows whereof he speaks:  he absolutely loves plays and watches at every opportunity.  He has brought his kids to see so many plays that they know everything that has been on Broadway in the last 20 years.

But the production self really longs to see is the “King Lear” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  That one stars Derek Jacobi.  Self looked up the BAM Box Office tonight, and was completley dismayed to read:  VERY LIMITED AVAILABILITY.

Under “Ticket Status,” there is this message:

Tickets to King Lear are currently unavailable to the general public due to popular demand.  A limited number of front orchestra seats are available to Friends of BAM at the Benefactor level ($1,000) and above for select performances.  To become a Benefactor, call …


Let’s see, what else happened today?  She went to the Redwood City Library and put a hold on Mark Twain’s Roughing It.  She got a call from Edwin Lozada, who heads PAWAINC (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc)  He reminded self that she had agreed to read with three young poets this Sunday, May 1, at the San Lorenzo Public Library.  Self tried her best to weasel out of it by telling Edwin she was “retired.”  But he said, come on, the editor of the Walang Hiya anthology would do it, but she can’t because she is signing books at the LA Festival of Books this weekend.

Oh, so self is the stand-in?  Self is soooo flattered!

Since it’s been so long since self’s had a reading (in the United States), she is experiencing twinges of anxiety.  Could Edwin please read for her?  She fears she doesn’t really have the necessary joi de vivre!  Or, rather, all the joi de vivre she has is reserved for blogging.

Besides, she has a terrible crick in her neck.  And reading from a story will necessitate self looking down, and that will not be a good thing for anyone with neck or shoulder pain.  Especially for one who is also suffering from anxiety.

Since Edwin is really so nice, he said OK, he would read her story for her.  Self can therefore sit in the audience, disguised in a wig and enormous glasses, sort of like Anna Wintour.  Or like Ruth Reichl, eminent food critic, when she goes to a restaurant and wants to remain incognito.

So all self has to do is pick a story for Edwin to read.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Last Photographs of Chris Hendros, Pulitzer Prize-winning Photojournalist, Dead at 41/ & Something From The Sheila Variations

Here’s a link to The Atlantic, which posted the final photographs of Chris Hendros, 41.  Hendros and his fellow photojournalist Tim Hetherington (who worked with Sebastian Junger on the documentary “Restrepo”), also 41, were killed in Libya a few days ago.

*     *     *     *     *

The Sheila Variations has a very interesting post on the history of the Library of Congress.  Read it, here.

After the Lydia Davis Colloquium in Margaret Jacks Hall

Self had lunch by herself in a quiet courtyard off Cubberley.

In front of her on a little table:  two copies of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, one for niece, the other for self.

Then she walked back to the Oval, where she had parked Read the rest of this entry »

He Was Wise / A Gorgeous Book

What if, by some miracle, this present turned out to be a dream, a hideous nightmare, and we were to awake renewed and cleansed, strong, upright and proud?  Why do we never try to stand again when once we’ve fallen?  When we lose one thing why don’t we search for another?  I want our lives to be holy, sublime and solemn as the vault of heaven.  Let us live!  The thief on the cross had hope even though he had less than an hour left to him, and the sun only rises once a day, so take hold of what’s left of your life and save it.

—   Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, by way of Whiskey River

*     *     *     *

And, here’s a gorgeous-looking book.  Feast your eyes, dear blog readers (Courtesy of one of self’s bookmarked sites:  the Global Volcanism Program.  If you still haven’t caught on by now:  self has a thing about volcanoes.  Why else did she name this blog Kanlaon?)


Party Down: Linmark is Coming to San Francisco!

Great book, great title (Say it like a curse: LECHE! Practice, it takes practice. Or a little of the Linmark verve), great author.

Here’s the flyer for the launch, this Thursday, April 28, 2011, 6:30 pm, at Manilatown Heritage Center.  GO GO GO:


And we are all going to see you there, right?  And we will par-tay to the max!  To celebrate dear Zack’s long-awaited return.

Stay tuned.

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