Monday, January 30, 2012

A New Gay Haven

Image from here.

A colleague of mine - Santi (first and previous appearance here) - just recently came back from an off-season sortie to Puerto Galera, that ertswhile gayest of gay ports in these 7,100++ islands. I say "erstwhile" because what was supposed to be his 3 days of much-needed R&R turned out to be 3 Days of Darkness instead.

Far from being relaxed and recharged, Santi was livid with indignation as he huffed and puffed about the rude awakening he received in Galé - foremost the ordinance that forbade the playing of loud music at the bars from midnight onwards.

Having heard tales of homo horror from last year's Puerto Galera pilgrimages (the tanods' tenacity in flushing out the nocturnal hunting bekis from the batcave, among other things), I've come to the conclusion that the good local government of Puerto Galera is slowly but surely making it clear that they don't want our kind tainting their good name. 

Cinematic depiction of the Great Beki Batcave Banishments.

As a matter of fact, according to Santi, one local councilwoman actually intimated just that:

Santi : But what about the party people? We're the ones who've helped 
Galera become the tourist attraction it is today.

Councilwoman : Well, we'd rather prefer it wasn't so.

Ruffled feather boas aside, though, I shan't pass judgment upon Galé. Every town has the right to formulate and enforce its local ordinances as it sees fit, and if the town fathers have decided to remove the Gay from Gaylera, the Mhin from Mhindoro, say No to Homo and reinvent itself as a family-friendly holiday spot, well, then so be it. 

We'll just have to take the vaunted Pink Peso somewhere else. Someplace that actually wants it.

At least we'll still have each other - until I catch you in the batcave, that is.

Thus, my drinking bekis and I have decided to take the ongoing "It's more fun in the Philippines!" meme to a more local and niche-particular level: that of the search for the next Island of Lost Souls.

Here then, ladies and gentlemen, are just some of our proposed taglines for potential candidates vying for the fabled Pink Peso. With this year's Semana Santa landing on the first week of April, there's still plenty of time for us to scout around for the next local hotspot to have the honor of Gayskull being the next Gay Summer Capital of the Philippines. 

Kung may Puerto, may Prinsesa. (Proposed come-on: Unspoiled beaches, lush forests, and the world's longest underground gay grotto.)

Kalibo. Libo-libong Kalibugan. (Proposed come-on: the Kati-Katihan Festival. Hala Hada !)

Agi, A-Gogo Sa Agoo! (Proposed come-on: Gay Marriage aka La Union de Maricon.)

Bawal Daot, Bayot, Oo: Dao. (Proposed come-on: Military surplus/PX goods, and a brother that's not a pig !)

Makibeki Sa Macabebe! (Proposed come-on: Cabalen Aljur Abrenica giving you a taste of Pampanga's Best. Nanung burat mo, pohtang beki?)

Gen xXx Sa GenSan (Proposed come-on: The annual "Kalinlangan" festival, plus the opportunity to go way, way down south on Gerald Anderson as Poster Boy for his hometown.)

Bienvenue à Gay Aparri! (Proposed come-on: The new "Iba Ang Ibanag" festival trumps Lovapalooza with its year-round French-kissing competition.)

Sa Piling Ng Makiling Ang Mapiling Maria. (Proposed come-on: the first-ever Miss Gay Mutya ng Makiling. The winner gets to climb to the summit in heels and dethrone the incumbent diwata, who has held the crown for hundreds of years.)

Mas Mahalay sa Malaybalay. (I think this is pretty self-explanatory.)

And so far, my favorite:

I Want. 
You Want. 
We All Want...Dakak.

Feel free to add your candidates - and taglines - in the Comments.

And so long, Sodom and Galera.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Orbits of Obliteration

I recently made some time to sit down and watch two films that curiously echo each other. Both utilize the plot device of another planet meeting the earth, around which the characters' lives spin in smaller and smaller circles. But where the two stories diverge is the vast space between hope and despair.

I started with Lars Von Trier's Melancholia - a somber contemplation of existence on the cusp of nothingness, revolving around the lives of two sisters (Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg) as a massive rogue planet emerges from hiding behind the sun and threatens to collide with the earth.

Von Trier's film is suffused with a lingering air of anomie. It opens with surreal, slow-motion vignettes of his main characters: a bride tethered by wizened branches rising menacingly from the ground. A mother clutching her child as her feet sink in a marshy bog. A close-up of a woman's impassive face as birds fall lifeless from the sky behind her. The movie then segues into the first of its two chapters, each named after the two sisters. Chapter 1 brings us the beautiful Justine (Dunst) arriving late at her lavish wedding reception. Weddings and their ensuing receptions are traditionally joyous occasions yet Justine seems bent on destroying hers. She stares distractedly into space while guests seem desperately determined to enjoy themselves. She disappears at key moments in the carefully-planned event, leaving everyone perplexed and embarrassed. She breaks out into crying fits then alternates with giddiness, driving her sister Claire (Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland) into angry exasperation. 

Justine's maddening behavior is made clearer in Chapter 2, which focuses on sensible sister Claire's steady descent into a mental breakdown. Claire's agitation is fueled by her dread of the strange, fearsome heavenly body bearing ever closer down on earth, while her husband John - an amateur astronomist - is giddy with excitement, and Justine, hobbled by depression, is distant and detached. 

With the exception of the terrified Claire, the characters make little mention of the incoming planet - the titular Melancholia - looming bigger and bigger in the sky, so caught up are they in the desperate minutiae of their lives. Or perhaps, the focus on seemingly trivial matters - the stubborn insistence of the main characters in steadfastly maintaining the daily, mundane pace of their earthy existence - is a defensive stance against the growing backdrop of possible annihilation from the heavens.

It makes some sense, I suppose, that the best way to defy death is to simply continue living.

The second film, Another Earth, is an independent effort (directed by first-time feature film director Mike Cahill) that won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance film festival. Here, the filmmakers explore the questions of possibilities and variances in our lives, as a duplicate Earth - along with a duplicate you, living, perhaps, a duplicate life - appears in the skies.

The mood and tone in Another Earth is bleak and dreary, reflecting the psyche of its main character, Rhoda (played by co-producer and writer Brit Marling), as she tries to return to a normal life after serving time for killing a composer's family in a car accident. Rhoda - who had won acceptance in MIT's astrophysics program just before her life-changing accident - chooses to literally live a life of drudgery, cleaning urinals in her old high school. Perhaps she hopes that with enough bleach and scrubbing she can erase her sin. Her need for atonement leads her to a chance encounter with the composer whose family she killed, now living in squalor as a drunken recluse. She misrepresents herself as an employee of a cleaning service, and proceeds to literally and figuratively clean up the composer's life. As they inevitably grow closer - much like the twin earths - Rhoda agonizes how to reveal the role she played leading to his current existence. 

All the while, the other earth hangs tantalizingly in the sky, an enigma whose mysteries start to be revealed 3/4ths of the way through, bearing the possibility that there might be another Rhoda who didn't suffer the consequences of an unfortunate series of events - and by extension, the possibility that somewhere on that other earth, the composer is living a happier life with his family intact and alive.

Another Earth is about another chance to set things right in our lives. 

Melancholia is about diminishing chances left in them.

Which makes me ask you these questions:

If you were to meet a duplicate you living another life, do you think he would be living a life better than yours ?

And, more pressingly for this banner year, what would you do if there was a great possibility that the end of all life was coming closer and closer ?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rattle and Hum

This being 2012 and this being my first post for this banner year, let's kick it off with some End of the World shit.

Last week, all across Costa Rica a strange sound could be heard that scientists could not ascribe to atmospheric or meteorological phenomena.

A low, booming hum that has, so far, defied a clear and single explanation.

As a matter of fact, this strange sound has increasingly been heard all over the world, particularly during the period from August to September 2011. Knock yourselves out:





Florida, USA

The one above, from the Ukraine, sounds almost...sentient. Like some nasty, humongous, angry monster awakening:

Listen to the monster's bellows. Sounds familiar.

Or aliens.

The Tripods' horns sound awfully familiar - and menacing - as well.

Always the frickin' aliens.

Raise the roof.

Conspiracy theorists and religious nutjobs have ascribed the mysterious hum, respectively, to anything from HAARP to the strumpets trumpets of Judgment Day. 

No, no. The other Judgment Day, Gov.

Others have proposed that it is literally the Call of Cthulhu.

"You called? I was in the shower."

Yet others have posited that it might be the Behemoth and his bff, the Leviathan, come to destroy us once and for all.

B&H, just chillin', y'all.

Bah. If Ghostbusters was to be believed, I thought the Destructor would be a little more...cute and cuddly.

Have I been lied to all this time, Mr. Stay-Puft?

But really - what is this pulsating, rumbling, ominous sound?

It sure ain't Justin Bieber singing "U Smile" 800% slower while the world burns.

Damn you, you Canadian lesbian! Damn you to hell!

On second thought, I take that back.

I have heard the sound of our doom, and its name is Bieber.