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 …

Aaargh!

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.

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