Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for August, 2008

Eraserheads, Delirium and Anticlimax

August 31, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music 15 Comments →

Sunday, 0120. I can tell you this: it was intense. From the moment it was announced, the Eraserheads reunion concert was attended by high drama. The original sponsor of the concert, a cigarette manufacturer, required registration on its website for free tickets. The cigarette company was found to have violated the ban on tobacco advertising, and the show was cancelled on August 23. The show was back on the following day; a different promoter had stepped in, and tickets would be sold via Ticketworld. On August 28, Eheads frontman Ely Buendia’s mom died following an illness. It had been raining all week, and the concert was to be held in a field at Fort Bonifacio. Would the reunion concert go on as scheduled?

It did, and it didn’t. I’ve never seen so many people at Fort Bonifacio. Thousands of people—do we have crowd estimates?—descended on the field on the one clear, rainless day of the week to see the biggest, most important Filipino band of the 90s. As far as I know there were no TV or newspaper ads for the gig, just radio stations playing Eheads songs and fans blogging, texting, emailing the news to each other. It was one of those things that You Just Knew. The band took the stage at 2020 to a delirious ovation. They had not played together in many years, but by their mere presence they reversed time. They could’ve just stood there, and it wouldn’t have mattered: the audience was singing their songs to them. From the opening strains of Alapaap, it was 1995 all over again.

Fourteen songs* later, at around half-past nine, there was a 20-minute intermission. It felt longer. Then Raimund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro, and Buddy Zabala returned to the stage with Ely’s sister, Lally. She read a statement thanking the audience for their support, then breaking the news that Ely had to be rushed to the hospital. The gig was off. Ten years ago, that news would’ve been greeted with boos, mineral water bottles would’ve been launched (they were not allowed into the venue), and good luck getting out of there. But the news was received with a shocked silence: it is widely known that Ely had a heart attack last year and underwent angioplasty. There was a minute of silence for his speedy recovery. Then the thousands quietly filed out of the venue. It was eerie, walking out of there in near-silence when your systems were still adrenalized.

Ely is now in stable condition. According to family members, he had passed out from fatigue, stress, and lack of sleep following his mom’s death. He is resting and will be fine. Meanwhile we’re going to have to deal with our own Ang Huling El Bimbo/Magasin/Pare Ko deprivation.

It just started raining.

*1. Alapaap 2. Ligaya 3. Sembreak 4. Hey Jay 5. Harana 6. Fruitcake 7. Toyang 8. Kama Supra 9. Kailan 10. Wag Kang Matakot 11. Kaliwete 12. With A Smile 13. Shake Yer Head 14. Huwag Mo Nang Itanong Sa Akin   

David Lynch interpretation kit

August 30, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 1 Comment →

I know a David Lynch fan who watched Inland Empire last year. He enjoyed it, and though he was boggled—not unusual after seeing a David Lynch movie—he felt that he was just about to get it. Any moment, it would all become clear to him. It was like those tip-of-the-tongue experiences, where you’re trying to summon up a word or a name, and you know that you know it, but it won’t occur to you just then. Then when you stop thinking of it, it pops into your head.

This friend of mine, who does think too much, went to sleep after watching Inland Empire and dreamed that he was watching Inland Empire. Clearly he had stepped into some Lynchian universe. In his dream, he was just about to get the meaning of Inland Empire…and then he woke up. But he couldn’t go back to sleep, so he couldn’t get to the end of the dream. Then he developed hellish insomnia and had to get a prescription for tranquilizers. Coincidence, or the Lynchian multiplication of his interior worlds?

When you watch Inland Empire, this may help. Reading Inland Empire: A Mental Toolbox for Interpreting a Lynch film, by Adam C. Walter in Metaphilm.

Ely Buendia is alive and well and playing tomorrow.

August 29, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Music 3 Comments →

Telephone call, 1:33 am.
Me: Are you dead?
Ely: No.
Me: There’s a text message going around that Saksi reported you kicking the bucket.
Ely: Some asshole started it.
Me: Okay, just checking.
Ely: Thanks. I’m not dead.

So unless cellphones work in the afterlife, I can assure you that Ely Buendia is alive and singing at the Eraserheads one-night-only reunion concert on Saturday August 30 at Fort Bonifacio. You can now buy tickets from Ticketnet. Death rumors may be rock n’ roll but they’re still alarming.  

Ely’s mother, Lisette Buendia, died on Thursday morning. Our condolences to the Buendia family. It’s likely someone heard the news of her passing, and the facts got mixed up in the transmission.

Teach your cat who’s boss

August 29, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 1 Comment →

Cats don’t have packs, being downright neurotic about their individuality. Except for lions of course, and no one’s about to insult a lion for always hanging out with the pride. However, I thought it might be useful to remind my three cats that I am the alpha cat, i.e. the boss in our household. I am sure the mere idea was hilarious to them, but they had to remain cool and ironic throughout the experiment. Coolness is very important to cats. Speaking in Cat, in Emotional Weather Report, Saturday in the Pets section of the Star.

Feta Cheese-Off

August 29, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 5 Comments →

KC Concepcion is pretty.
Richard Gutierrez is pretty.
Greece is pretty.
The Richard Prince bag is pretty. 

Then the movie has a nervous breakdown, and everything goes to hell. The light romantic comedy suddenly turns into heavy melodrama. Richard makes corny speeches about love that would make greeting cards kill themselves for shame. KC weeps and weeps as if she’s just realized what sort of movie she’s in. Whatever charm the movie had is drowned in mush. The theme song blares incessantly to remind you to buy the ringtone. Philip Salvador is kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a ham and cheese sandwich. 

Like the last six or seven Star Cinema flicks, For The First Time tells us that the ultimate Filipino romantic fantasy is the embarrassing declaration of passion. It’s not enough that the lover profess eternal love, she or he must do it in a highly public manner. With lots of witnesses and in the most humiliating way possible. Truth, depth, and loyalty are beside the point; what matters is that Everybody Knows It. The logic is, If everybody knows it, then it must be real! It’s an obsession with what other people think, a need for the  approval of strangers. As if everyone were running for office. Apparently the most important thing in Philippine society is the palabas.


August 28, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: World Domination Update 2 Comments →

According to Wikipedia, there are about 11 million Filipinos overseas. This number includes people of Filipino ancestry who are citizens of other countries, and overseas foreign workers. Estimates are based on general statistics from the Philippine government and the host countries. The United States has the largest Filipino population with 4 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with 2 million and Malaysia with 636,000. 

It would seem that our no-longer-secret campaign for world domination is proceeding nicely. However, there are serious stumbling blocks. First, the lack of organization. Our people are notoriously fractious in groups, given to forming splinter factions when elections (or beauty contests) do not go their way. This behavior was not invented by 20th century politicians. Our national hero Jose Rizal got seriously pikon when he lost in the election of a Filipino association in Paris, and let’s not forget the election which led to Emilio Aguinaldo ordering the execution of Andres Bonifacio. There are social, cultural, historical factors at work which must be looked into.

Second, it would appear that overseas Filipinos are too preoccupied with basic survival, sending money home, and later security and status, to even think of world domination. (I just heard from Ige who is in despair because every Pinoy he’s met in Europe on this trip has asked him the following questions: What’s your status here—citizen? resident? undocumented worker? How much money do you make? Do you have TFC? Can I pop over to watch Wowowee?)

Third, we need a rallying cry besides Wowowee. 

More on this later. I’m off to watch the KC Concepcion-Richard Gutierrez movie. Nobody say yiiiiiiii. I happen to like watching Tagalog movies. They’re an excellent meter of the zeitgeist.