Dough it yourself.

There was a time I was into food literature: non-fiction about the food we eat, why we enjoy some food, and the history of the food we consume. Learning about the hidden intricacies of mundane things is always delightful; and food, even the fancy kinds, are some of the most mundane things we partake everyday.

There was this book that I enjoyed reading, Gastronaut: Adventures in Food for the Romantic, the Foolhardy, and the Brave, where Stefan Gates narrates his various food adventures. In one essay, he decided to try incorporating various stuff from his body into his food: fingernail clippings, semen, urine. The only body stuff he didn’t use are hair (they can’t be digested and can cause problems with one’s intestines) and feces (it’s toxic). It was an interesting exercise in overcoming disgust due to body-related food taboos.

Read more: I was reminded of that essay while reading a viral story today about a woman who used her vaginal yeast to create bread.

Nuked longganisa.

My mother, in her usual tone of absent-minded concern, asked if the frozen longganisa will be adequately cooked when placed in the microwave.

“Sure,” I said.

Of course, she didn’t believe me, commenting how it’s unsafe to eat undercooked meat. I told her how microwave cooks food from the inside out, so it doesn’t matter if the food was frozen.

I overcooked the sausage. My mother was amazed to see what was a fat tube of meat shriveled to half its size.

So in the end, it was no longer longganisa. The meat was dry and too deep-fried, it was a sausage-shaped chicharon that sprung out of my plate when I cut it with a spoon.

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The first Malate Food Festival.

It’s been a while since I uploaded photos.

Since I finally have a camera that takes decent photos, here are some photos from last night’s Malate Food Festival.

Many thanks to Jerick of Secret Society for the wonderful Ilonggo dinner; the KBL (kadyos, baboy, langka) and batchoy were particularly good. Too bad I didn’t remember to take photos of it until after our dinner.

More food! More food!

Notes from a really long weekend: Friday at Cinema is Incomplete.

Edit: It was a Friday night when we screened at Cinema is Incomplete, not Saturday.

It has been several days since we ended the Sine Bahaghari project and it was a relief to finally finally stop thinking about inviting people, talking to the screening venues and filmmakers, and worrying about the program. The festival turnout was very satisfying, mind you, and the experience was very fulfilling. But my immediate feeling after the last two screening dates was “I’m tired, I need to rest for a few days.”

Cinema is Incomplete

Tri Mona and Cinema is Incomplete

Prior to the screenings, PJ and I met Tonee in a rather charming restaurant near Cinema is Incomplete. The place is called “Tri Mona” which I thought was a pun on the well-known mall in North Avenue, while PJ and Tonee both thought it was a pun on “try mo na” (Tagalog for “try it now”). In front of the restaurant is a more attention-grabbing establishment called the Zombie Lounge.

Puns aside, the restaurant specializes in organic and healthy dining, serving seafood and some vegetarian dishes. The pancit we ordered used malunggay-enhanced noodles and while advertised as a “solo”-sized serving, could actually feed three people. Another dish I ordered was a plate of pita bread with tasty a daing na labahita and tomato dip. The restaurant was very homey with a New Age-y vibe, having several windchimes, charms and pendants on display.

Cinema is Incomplete is actually a large living room of an apartment in Sikatuna Village which was converted to a videotheque. One has to take off one’s shoes before entering the viewing room and sit on the carpeted floor where several low Japanese tables were arranged. One could get nachos and beer from the nearby kitchen while watching movies, and before the night was over, Juna, Lanchie and I finished several bottles.

Lovebirds

Lovebirds: Mario and AlexisThe first movie we watched was Roni Bertubin’s “Lovebirds”. A young man introduced his Spanish chatmate to his parents in the midst of the mother’s grand welcoming party. Said chatmate’s arrival shocked the parents and guests because Alexis turned out to be a guy.

I was worried that the movie would turn off the audience but it was actually well-received. “Lovebirds” came from an older school of camp and hammy acting, with Boots Anson-Roa wonderfully overacting as the overbearing mother. Not that she’s the only one: Tommy Abuel, Adrian Ramirez, and Aleth de la Cruz were just as game, the movie looked like a Filipino Christmas dinner table.

Which was just as well because the lead actors needed a good supporting cast. Joseph Izon as Mario was adorable as a lost puppy and was quite good in some touching moments, but he didn’t command attention as he should for a lead actor. Andrés Alexis, on the other hand, was probably more of a ham than the rest of the cast combined, and bordered too close to cloying. For a Spanish guy who supposedly spoke only a little English, he was actually very fluent, had little accent, and said “shit” a lot. Perhaps the second most disappointing aspect of the movie was the lack of chemistry between the two lead actors.

These were very minor complaints, however, compared to Johnron Tañada. We thought the guy didn’t have a speaking role; when he did speak, we wished he didn’t have a speaking role. And then he had another scene where he spoke, argh. We could have been spared of that, really.

But it was Boots Anson-Roa’s movie, really. The bossy, overbearing mom repeatedly admonishes “not in my house” and caused the rest of her kids to flee the family home because, the father admitted, they couldn’t stand their mother. Her disapproval of her son’s internet boyfriend might have been played for laughs, but her behaviour was not uncommon among Filipino parents. It was her character development and eventual change of heart which drove the movie, and I applaud Direk Roni for convincing her to play the role of Amelia.

Tommy Abuel’s unassuming portrayal of Celing, on the other hand, was surprising: while the mother was in denial of her son’s homosexuality, the father very easily accepted it and was even supportive of the foreign boyfriend. And he did it without any grandstanding, gently reminding his wife the roles parents should play in their children’s lives especially once the kids were all grown up.

In the end, “Lovebirds” was not so much a movie aimed at gay sons (and maybe daughters), but more to their parents. The old-fashioned production and the old-fashioned acting speaks to an older generation and asks for love and understanding from the parents towards their children.

Sine Bahaghari at Cinema is Incomplete and Kanto. Tarot Monkey at The Collective Art Fair. The Forsaken House at UP.

I was telling Philip Paraan of Kanto earlier this afternoon that the next time we mount an LGBT film screening for Sine Bahaghari, it won’t be on February. There are too many things going on for the National Arts Month and mounting a film festival bars one from attending other art-related events around the metropolis.

From tonight until Sunday, I don’t expect I will be getting enough sleep.

Tomorrow evening, Sine Bahaghari will screen two love stories at Cinema is Incomplete: the romantic comedy “Lovebirds” and the gorgeous-looking drama “Muli”.

In “Lovebirds”, a young man introduces his Spanish chatmate to his conservative mother; said chatmate turned out to be another young man, to the mom’s disbelief. “Muli” is the story of the affair of a lawyer and an activist innkeeper in Baguio, spanning several years. The two films offer two facets of gay relationships and it would be interesting to see contrasts between the two films.

The Collective Art Fair 2012

On Saturday, Sine Bahaghari will also participate in the first The Collective Art Fair. Several artists and entrepreneurs will gather at The Collective for a day filled with art, music, books, clothes, movies, and food.

At Kanto, Sine Bahaghari will be screening two short films by Sigrid Bernardo: “Little”, an internationally-acclaimed film which was only shown once in the Philippines, and “Babae”, a favorite among LGBT film screenings. They will be followed by the noir-ish “Señorita” by Vincent Sandoval.

For the fair, Sine Bahaghari will be selling the soundtrack of “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”, DVDs of “Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe” signed by Irma Adlawan, and Sine Bahaghari shirts and bags. The fair will also have tarot readers available, courtesy of the Tarot Monkey, SP Lovecraft Productions, and Yam Lacaba.

Speaking of Irma Adlawan, by Sunday morning, the boyfriend and I will be watching her perform in The Forsaken House from Dulaang UP. We were supposed to watch the afternoon staging instead of morning so we could have some rest after the art fair, but Ms Irma will not be playing during the afternoon. Why should one miss catching Irma Adlawan on stage if one has the chance to do so? You just don’t.