#30DayWritingChallenge: Memorable strangers.

Day Thirteen: Memorable strangers.

The last time I visited the lolas of the Home for the Golden Gays, they gathered in a small dance studio in Pasay, owned by one of the city councilors.

I enjoy visiting the lolas. They are always full of life when they are together, despite their situation after their former benefactor, Justo Justo, passed away. So as much as I enjoy seeing them, visits to the Golden Gays also give a sad, sorry feeling because I realize how little I can actually help them.

Pasay dance studio.

During this particular visit, there were young kids in the studio, practicing for a dance competition. The studio takes in students from among the lower and lower middle class families living in the area. The kids study various types of dance for free.

It inspiring, watching these kids dance, especially for someone who wasn’t gifted in highly-coordinated motion. They practiced their waltzes and rumbas, gliding easily along the shabby dance floor.

The studio takes in these students to keep them away from vice and bad company. I don’t know how effective the program is in practice; I know from experience that well-meaning projects like these are more optimistic in their aspirations than how things eventually turn out in real life.

Pasay dance studio.

While it is true that one can be taught how to dance, not everyone can dance with seemingly effortless grace. I do hope that many of these kids grow up not forgetting how to dance.

A cockfight where everyone loses.

John, dissatisfied with his boyfriend, called it quits then hooked up with a girl. He decided he still loved his boyfriend, went back to him, while not exactly leaving his girlfriend, either.

This messed-up tangle between three people was the premise of “Cock”, currently staging at the Whitespace.

Love triangles are a staple of fiction. Even queer love triangles are not so uncommon, such as the recent social media-trending local soap, “My Husband’s Lover”. On paper, Cock seemed like it wasn’t showing anything new.

And in many ways, it didn’t — at least from the perspective of this gay man who has had several relationships and is barely over his last one. I had seen this before, I had lived this before, everything looked somewhat familiar.

But what Cock did show was often sadder, more painful, and more emotionally unforgiving than typical love triangle stories. Love hurts and lovers often hurt each other deeply. And this was a comedy.

Cast of Cock
The cast of ‘Cock’: Jenny Jamora, Topper Fabregas, Niccolo Manahan, and Audie Gemora.

John (Topper Fabregas), the adorably awkward man-child, recently discovered he might be bisexual. He loved his boyfriend but, after several years into the relationship, felt emotionally abused. he thought he found solace and satisfaction with a woman he recently met and started dating. He didn’t know who he was or what he liked, and he was trapped in between two lovers who wanted him for themselves.

M (Niccolo Manahan) was the sassy and sophisticated boyfriend. Articulate and condescending, he makes a show of how much he wanted John to go and leave him after discovering John’s affair, and yet he still meticulously prepared to fight for his man. His weapon was a cheesecake.

W (Jenny Jamora) was the gutsy girlfriend, and ballsier than any of the three men. She was assertive and caring, yet clingy to a man she had only known for a short time. It would be interesting to read someone review her character from a feminist perspective.

F (Audie Gemora) was M’s father, an unexpected visitor that further complicated an already tense dinner-slash-ultimate bitch fight between M and W. One of the minor things I didn’t like about the play was Mr Gemora’s Southern drawl that seemed to clash with the occasional reference to London, where the story was set.

The play had no props, no costume changes, and a very spartan set. Stripped of the usual theatrical spectacle, the audience was left with biting dialogue, interesting choreography, and an epic ham-on-ham battle. There was sex but no nudity; how that was played out was one of my favorite parts of the play.

There was one winner in this ultimate bitch fight. But in unraveling the tangle of dysfunctions, you know that in the end everyone lost something. A comedy with no happy ending.

With a play like Cock, you and the people you watch it with will pick which characters you related to best. Most of the friends I saw it with could identify with John.

I identified with M.

“Cock” will run until April 6 at Whitespace, 2314 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati. Tickets are available through TicketWorld (8919999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph) or Red Turnip Theater (redturniptheater@gmail.com or facebook.com/RedTurnipTheater).

The 12th White Party Manila chooses the Home for the Golden Gays as beneficiary.

From the Home for the Golden Gays website:

White Party 2013

All eyes are on Malate, the heart and home of Manila’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightlife as it celebrates the 12th White Party Manila on June 29.

This year, the organizers of the organizers of the 12th White Party Manila choose an LGBT institution to donate some of the proceeds of the event.

“It was unanimous among the members of the 12th White Party Manila when we chose Home for the Golden Gays to bring joy to our lolas who are in need of our love and attention,” according to Raffy Aquino, Secretariat for the 12th White Party Manila.

Internet sensation and well-known Youtube celebrity Sebastian Castro graces the event as the face of White Party Manila. The openly gay model-singer is an advocate of gender equality, widely accepted by the Filipino LGBT community for being proud of his sexuality.

Started in 2001, the White Party is the largest annual gathering of LGBTs and avenue for celebrating equality, unity, and acceptance. Chelu Productions, in coordination with the Malate Business Association, spearheads this year’s White Party celebration alongside several organizations promoting LGBT-related advocacies.

Che’lu Productions donates a portion of the proceeds to the Home for the Golden Gays. A booth for the Golden Gays is also present at the White Party for guests to share their blessing to the lolas of the Golden Gays.

The street party starts at 8PM featuring the latest club music from select DJs, with guest performances and special production numbers. General admission is Php 200 (entrance only) and VIP tickets are at Php 1000 with unlimited drinks.

The 12th White Party Manila chooses the Home for the Golden Gays as beneficiary.

Who’s gonna steal the show? Baby, it’s the Guitar Man.

Nolit Aurillo at Fete de la Musique 2013

This was Nolit Aurillo at the Fete de la Musique main stage. The man won the crowd’s attention with his unassuming air and killer guitar playing.

“I was asked to play a Michael Jackson song. I’m not going to do that,” he told the crowd at the start of his set. “I’m going to play A LOT of Michael Jackson songs!”

And with just his guitar, he went to a medley of A LOT of the King of Pop’s famous songs.

Several times, the crowd was singing along, without prompting: Now THAT is a great musician.

He was asked several times to finish his set early for the next band. While each player was only given a few minutes of stage time, that was still a little rude to the old man who was sharing his passion of music to everyone. And everyone else shared it back at him.

The next band onstage took ages to set up; the setup time was probably half as long as their set. They even had to stop after their first song to adjust their equipment.Wtf.

Kids, this is what a real musician is like. This is what “mind-blowing” is; not some giggly girl who can even bother memorizing song lyrics.

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!