Notes from a really long weekend: Saturday at The Collective Art Fair.

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

PG4M at The CollectiveI could now remove setting up a booth in a fair from my bucket list.

There was a slight mix-up when we signed up for tables at The Collective Art Fair: I told Philip Paraan of Kanto I will be reserving table booths for Sine Bahaghari, 2 tarot readers and for my friend Mich, whom Philip also knew. Philip was able to do that but thought I will be relaying the news to Mich, while I thought Philip will be contacting Mich himself. Of course, with both of us busy with a million things leading to the fair, neither of us were able to tell Mich that she will have a table at the fair. And that’s how Sine Bahaghari ended up with two tables.

So sorry, Mich.

I don’t know how it happened that we were not able to sell any Sine Bahaghari merchandise, though. I guess the fact that none of the Sine Bahaghari organizers had any real experience running a business has something to do with it.

Early in the morning, I also realized I will not be able to do any tarot readings for anyone so I left the tarot reading booth to my friends so I could only focus on my other booth and the film screenings. I ended up forgetting lunch, losing my temper, hardly paying any attention to an even more tired Bern, and heading straight home as soon as we’ve settled all the dues for the booths and tables.

It was a crazy, tiring day; and that is coming from someone who has had his share of crazy, tiring days.

But yes, The Collective Art Fair was fun, too, the way fairs are always fun. I finally got to meet in person a long-time online friend (hello, Gabs). I got to hear Gerry’s royal penis joke. The most fun I had was when I introduced Sigrid Bernardo to my boyfriend, Bern, and my ex-boyfriend, Carlo, with the three of them facing each other.

Ay!” Sigrid exclaimed and mentioned it was one of those awkward “it’s complicated” moments. Except that, as far as complicated moments for me go, it wasn’t that much, yet. I was really enjoying myself at that point.

It would have been more fun though if I had money to actually buy something, but that should be something I ought to remember for next time.

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.

Free movie weekend: Two Lino Brocka movies tomorrow at the UPFI Videotheque; re-screening of ‘Sayaw’ on Sunday.

From the looks of it, the DVDs of the films we are screening tomorrow are working good, although the audio of Tubog sa Ginto is in rather bad condition. I really hope we won’t encounter the same embarassing technical problem we has last Saturday.

I already wrote three long paragraphs about last Saturday’s DVD failure and how it could have been prevented if I found time to test the disc first, but all that seemed like needless recounting of events I’d rather not remember and seems to be pointless now.

Here are the important things.

Sine Bahaghari will again screen Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa this Sunday at 5pm at Chef’s Bistro in Tomas Morato.

And prior to that are two Lino Brocka movies which we’ll screen tomorrow at the UP FIlm Institute Videotheque: Tubog sa Ginto at 2pm, Ang Nanay Kong Tatay at 5pm.

Lino Brocka is probably the greatest filmmaker this country has produced. And yet, how many of us has seen a Lino Brocka movies? (Sadly, I will raise my hand to that one.) It’s rather tough to drum up people’s interests to the Brocka screenings because these are old films.

But people should try to make some effort to see movies like these precisely because they are old films. Movies encapsulate many of the existing cultural norms from their time. All the more so in these two movies because these were from a director who was keen to present and comment on societal values. Filipinos have a notoriously short collective memory; we could do well learning more about our past and its lessons.

Tubog sa Ginto was said to be one of Eddie Garcia’s favorite films. When I was previewing the DVD, I can’t help but fall a little in love with the almost fragile beauty of the young Jay Ilagan.

Ang Nanay Kong Tatay is considered to have some of the finest acting from Dolphy. A lot of us vaguely remember seeing this film in cable reruns. It’s time we see the movie again in full.

Just like before, these screenings are free admission and are open to everyone. Just show some love to Chef’s Bistro for offering to host the re-screening even before we asked them about it. People like them are hard to come by.

Sine Bahaghari opening features two internationally-acclaimed Filipino LGBT films.

Internationally-acclaimed films from two celebrated Filipino directors open Sine Bahaghari, a festival of Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) themed films. Screening are Raya Martin’s “Next Attraction” and Alvin Yapan’s “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”.

The second part of Raya Martin’s intended Box Office Trilogy, “Next Attraction” follows a film crew shooting a short film which stars Coco Martin, Paolo Rivero and Jaclyn Jose. In the short film, Martin runs away from his mother and meets Rivero who gives him his first sexual encounter. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival.

Alvin Yapan’s “Sayaw” is the story of a well-to-do student who enrolls in dance class to get the attention of his college professor, who sidelines as a dance instructor. He is secretly tutored by the instructor’s apprentice, who is also his classmate in the professor’s class. The film stars Paulo Avelino, Rocco Nacino and Jean Garcia as the dance instructor. The film won Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Original Music at the 2011 Cinemalaya Film Festival and the Bronze Prize at the Bogota International Film Festival.

Sine Bahaghari opens on February 11, 2012 at Chef’s Bistro, Tomas Morato, Quezon City. It is included in the National Commission for Culture & the Arts’ (NCCA) Philippine Arts Festival this February 2012.

For more inquiries, please contact PJ Salendra at (0918) 942-8513 or email prsalenda@gmail.com. You could also visit the Sine Bahaghari website at http://sinebahaghari.pelikula.info.