Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for December, 2011

2012 is the Year of the Dickens

December 31, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 12 Comments →

On February 7, 2012 readers and filmgoers celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. We thought of doing a LitWit Challenge or Reading Group, but then we got a better idea.

Let’s translate Dickens into Tagalog. We suggest one of his finest, most loved novels, Great Expectations. (First question: How do you render the title in Tagalog?)

First, we get volunteers. Then we assign them (through a raffle) chapters to translate (and worry about differences in style and tone later). We have no use for 10 Tagalog versions of Chapter 1 (unless our topic is not Dickens but the art of translation) so wait till you get your assignment.

To join the translation pool, sign up in Comments. At the end of the project the Great Expectations Translation Pool will have a Dickens-themed dinner (You hold out an empty bowl and say, “May I have some more?” Naah, with food).

Read Great Expectations here.

The winner of the Weekly LitWit Challenge 8.0: And now a word from the villain

December 30, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 1 Comment →

The nominees are:

larghetto for the rewrite of the Smiley trilogy by John LeCarre
Ligayaparaiso for retelling Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag by Edgardo Reyes
mothproof for the villain’s version of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Read their entries here.

The envelope, please. Rip, rip. The winner is Ligayaparaiso!

Congratulations, Ligayaparaiso! You may claim your very heavy Mythology book any day starting Monday, 2 January 2011 2012 at the Customer Service Counter of National Bookstore in Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati.

The Weekly LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstore.

Auntie Janey’s Old-Fashioned Agony Column # 40: 25 official dates, 150…dates, still haven’t found 1.

December 30, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships 8 Comments →

Dear Auntie Janey,

I’ve been going out on dates since I was 21 years old, but none of them worked out. I’m 31 so that’s a decade of dating. I only had one boyfriend, which only lasted for about five months. I don’t really have a list of the number of men I officially dated but if I’m going to give a rough estimate, it’ll be around 25. I did not include the men whom I tried to pursue but nothing happened, those who pursued me but I did not return the favor, and men I had sex with, so if I include all of them in the count, I encountered around 150 men when I started dating more than 10 years ago.

I am tired of the trial and error. I saw this French movie, Les poupées russes (Russian Dolls), and felt that I am Xavier (Romain Duris) when he said that “if I think about all the girls I’ve known or slept with or just desired, they’re like a bunch of Russian dolls. We spend our lives playing the game dying to know who’ll be the last, the teeny-tiny one hidden inside all the others. You can’t just get to her right away. You have to follow the progression. You have to open them one by one wondering, “Is she the last one?”

In my case, it’s always a failure. I’m always meeting the wrong men. Is it because I’m looking in all the wrong places? Why am I attracting jerks, co-dependents, men with excess baggage and issues, men that are sick in the head? Is it because I’m desperately looking for love wherever I go? I must admit that I have my flaws too, but I believe that I’m a good person and giving my all to become the best person that I can be. I believe I deserve a good man as well.

I think it’s but normal to want something. I want a partner because I want to love that person, support his dreams, and share my life with him. I want it bilateral. I am willing to work things hand in hand without sacrificing love, trust, and respect for myself. Is it because being a discreet gay man in the Philippines is difficult? I’m a butch-type gay man but I don’t see that as a problem because I’m meeting a lot of men despite being discreet. I go out a lot, not really in parties, but in activities that I enjoy like volunteer works and advocacies, running, swimming, dinner and gathering with friends and coworkers, art exhibits, film festivals, etc. I can’t be blamed for not being out there. The last straw was when a former coworker introduced a gay who is nice and decent but isn’t my type. I am now officially exhausted.

I hope you do not get me wrong. I believe that my standards for a boyfriend are realistic: if I am attracted to him physically (he doesn’t have to be really good looking), we can talk and connect (we have chemistry), we share the same values and principles, and if he’s a good person, then I’m okay with that. We need not share the same interest. If he’s from a different field, that’s better. My background is arts and culture so it will be better if I meet someone from a different field. But it really doesn’t matter. As long as we connect and are into each other, I’m okay with that. This year alone, I met around a dozen guys. But it’s either he’s my type but he only wants to have sex with me or I’m his type but he bores me to death.

Kenny Loggins sang “Wait a little while” and the lyrics somehow gave me hope: Wait a little while to welcome what you’re after/ Give it the time to find its way to you/ And soon as you no longer try, you’ll turn and find it standing by your side/ Come and get it, when you let it, it’ll come to you But I do not want to heavily rely on a song lyrics so I’m giving myself a deadline: I will let go of finding love beginning December 1 this year and focus on myself and my goals instead. I mean if I don’t meet “the one,” at least I have my vocation, advocacy, hopes, dreams, friends and family. I’ll be happy and complete. A man may or may not come, but I am content nonetheless. What do you think?

Thank you,

Dear Wonderboy,

One hundred fifty huh. Wow, my sex life IS dull.

After conferring with my Guiding Spirits of Gayness, I declare that you are not attracting “jerks, co-dependents, men with excess baggage and issues, men that are sick in the head”. It’s just they comprise a large part of the population. It’s not only you who is having a hard time sifting through the debris. I think in the gay world, finding a good man is like panning for gold in a very muddy river whose banks are overcrowded with fortune hunters. There is abundance of inferior ores but the nuggets of precious gold are too few and elusive.

The movie Under the Tuscan Sun (based on a novel with the same title) adequately explained the proper technique for catching ladybugs (Yes I changed metaphors. So what?). Catherine explained “Listen,when I was a little girl, I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs.

Finally, I’d just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me.” Essentially, if you cannot catch what you are chasing, sit still and let it come to you. This is true not only in love but in life as well. Whatever you hold very tightly will squeeze out through your fingers. Do not splash around in the water with your pan, just gently agitate the water to see if you’ve got gold.

I advise you not to be over-eager in your quest for love. When you meet a candidate, do not immediately give him your all. You may end up overwhelming the person. Always remember that whoever you meet had a life before he met you and it takes time for him and you to sync your lives together, if they can be synchronized at all. Just give him a little taste of you every now and then. Don’t shove your whole chunk down his throat in one swift motion. I adore Edam cheese (but not the locally-produced ones) and it is quite tasty when I nibble small slices. But if I gobble even a fourth of the ball, I get nauseated.

Be light and fun. You may talk about your philosophies in life, but do not burden him with your issues and drama all at once. Please resist the urge to be dramatic. Also make yourself interesting and tailor yourself to the niche you wish to attract. Based on my research (homosexuals have interesting networking sites abloom with graphic pictures and contain very specific demands) there are such things as chub chasers, bear lovers, daddy fetish, waif obsession, discreet gays and alleged “bisexuals”. Each niche has its own culture and mentality. Members of each niche generally keep to themselves.

What really interested me were the advertisements/demands of those who are aged 29 and upwards. They are looking for relationships and the information on their profiles list their interests, hobbies and philosophies in life. Most of their friends have similar interests etc. except for the masseurs(yes this was how I spent my Christmas vacation).

My Guiding Spirits of Gayness posit that the best candidates for a serious relationship are from this age bracket. Most of them are oversexed, are tired of the usual fare and are in search of something deeper and meaningful. A Guiding Spirit even said that he would not date somebody who is in his early twenties because it is the age of discovery and the young man does not yet really know what he wants and is more likely to sleep around. I guess homosexuals have a different way of maturing. A gay man must be very hands-on if he is to mature emotionally and sexually.

Panning for gold requires years of hands-on experience. It can be dirty, exhausting and frustrating. It takes time. But those who have patience and skill are the ones who get to go to the goldsmith. Maybe it’s too early for you to impose a deadline. Hope was not put in Pandora’s Box for nothing.

Truly Yours,
Auntie Janey

Want Auntie Janey to meddle in your life? Email

MMFF Day 5: Unshaken, Unrattled, Unrolled. Suddenly we have a new appreciation of Segunda Mano.

December 29, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 3 Comments →

The challenge: to decide which of the three episodes in Regal Entertainment’s Shake, Rattle and Roll XXIII is the worst. It’s a tight contest. The three directors have demonstrated their ability to make cogent, compelling movies—Yanggaw, Confessional, 100.

That just makes it worse.

Read our review on

MMFF Day 3: Could this film festival possibly get worse? (Updated)

December 27, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 11 Comments →

Looks like Dingdong Dantes went to the same acting workshop as Jericho Rosales and graduated salutatorian.

* * * * *

Consider Kris Aquino’s film career. When she started…acting, she was cast in romantic comedies of the “kilig” variety. The grosses were all right but it was in the “Massacre movies” of the 1990s that she became a star. Audiences flocked to her films in which she was tormented, violated, killed, chopped up into small pieces and stuffed into a suitcase.

When the massacre movie craze ended she did melodramas for a bit, and then found her true calling as the “Horror Queen”. Audiences flock to her films in which is tormented, violated, driven absolutely bonkers and sometimes killed by supernatural beings. The latest of these is ABS-CBN’s Segunda Mano, directed by Joyce Bernal and written by Joel Mercado. (WARNING: SPOILERS.)

Read The Haunted It Bag: Segunda Mano in every way, our review in

MMFF Day 1: The return of the cheese-tastic all-star melodrama (Updated)

December 26, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 12 Comments →

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a Regal production written and directed by Jun Lana, starring Maricel Soriano, Gabby Concepcion and many others.

Best line in the movie: When the hot young personal trainer (Dennis Trillo) protests that he didn’t ask for the stuff that the fabulous older woman (Agot Isidro) gives him, she says, “Hindi mo hiningi, pero hindi mo tinanggihan.” You didn’t ask for them, but you didn’t reject them either. Applause!

Verdict: Very entertaining, probably not for the reasons the filmmakers had hoped (They may have thought it was a tearjerker).

We were supposed to open our MMFF binge with the 330pm screening of Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story. When we got to the cineplex Manila Kingpin wasn’t showing at all, and no one could say why. We asked Tikoy Aguiluz, the director who has disavowed the final product, if he’d taken out a restraining order on the film. Aguiluz said the film could be shown IF his name was removed from the credits. Our guess is, the credits were still being revised. Waiting for official explanation.

* * * * *

Day 1: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

1. Regal’s official entry to the MMFF is one of those all-star melodramas about rich people and their romantic crises. In other words it’s Mano Po 25 except that the actors don’t have to pretend to be Chinese.

1.1. The film is divided into sections introduced by the title adverbs followed by Desiderata-type quotations, the kind that are personally cross-stitched onto throw pillows by your aunt after her husband has his name changed to “Divina”. This way you know that writer-director Jun Lana is not going for subtlety.

1.2. The rich family in the movie owns and operates a media network headed by the eldest daughter, a super-bitch who makes life miserable for everyone. It is a work of fiction; any resemblance to characters living or dead etc.

Our review in