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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for August, 2014

Lav Diaz’s Norte opens in cinemas Sept 10-16. Help us spread the word.

August 30, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Movies 2 Comments →

Hailed as a masterpiece by the world’s critics in the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Telegraph, Total Film, The Independent, Film Comment, Grantland, The A.V. Club, Sight and Sound and many others, winner of the Gawad Urian for Best Picture, Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan finally gets a theatrical run in its own country.

September 10-16, 2014
Whole-day screenings at Glorietta in Ayala Center, Makati, and Trinoma in Quezon City.
Nightly screenings from 7pm to 11:10pm at Robinson’s Galleria and Robinson’s East.

We will post the complete schedules and other confirmed venues as soon as we can.

Norte is the perfect gateway to the work of the Filipino filmmaker long known among cinephiles as a master. An epic reimagining of Crime and Punishment, it is Lav Diaz’s most accessible work, and while the running time of 4 hours, 10 minutes may seem daunting, it earns every long take. Look at this.

The stunning cinematography is by Larry Manda. Norte features towering performances from Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani, Archie Alemania and an excellent supporting cast. The screenplay is by one of our foremost playwrights Rody Vera, and Lav Diaz. Norte is produced by Moira Lang, with line producers Kristine Kintana and Maya Quirino, and executive producers Kaiyan and Jessica Zafra.

Yes, that’s us. As the instigator of world domination theory, we have a stake in making sure that Norte is seen by everyone who cares not only about Filipino cinema or international prestige, but about The Big Questions: Life, Death, Truth, Justice, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Beauty and Ugliness. The first time we saw this movie, before we became officially involved with it, we remembered this line from Ernest Renan: “O God, if there is a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.”

Apologies for bringing ourself into the discussion, but our culture demands the personal approach. Norte is an independent film without the massive resources with which to bombard the public with advertising and TV promotions. But we have something the movie factories don’t have, we have You, the Thinking Reader.

We are asking You to help us promote the Norte screenings from September 10-16 by reposting this announcement on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. We invite those who have seen Norte in our special screenings at Ayala Cinemas to post their thoughts on the movie or links to their blogs in Comments. And we will see you at the cinema from September 10 to 16 for the theatrical run of Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan.

Here’s the scene we keep quoting from.

And the really uncomfortable support group scene.

Coloring books for clever kids or adults who need therapy

August 29, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books, Childhood, Sponsored 2 Comments →

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Crayons, 96 colors, Php409 at National Bookstores

Your crayon coloring technique says a lot about you. As a kid we would press the crayon heavily onto the page, leaving a thick layer of color, and then we would scrape off the layers so the color would look light. Why didn’t we just color lightly, then? We don’t know.

We went through several boxes of crayons that way. You know those 48-color sets that came in a box with a built-in sharpener? We kept sharpening the crayons till nothing was left.

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Why didn’t we have these coloring books when we were kids?

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Coloring books, Php295 at National Bookstores

Doggy Drama: The mystery of the smelly hallway

August 28, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 4 Comments →

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Anton and Kiko on the couch, from which they have been barred as they have been exiled to the kitchen.

Our friend Edd has two pampered Shih Tzus, Anton and Kiko, both eight years old. We kid him that they are high-maintenance because they have a full-time yaya to clean up after them, they have a bath twice a week, and they get sent to the vet every month for grooming and to have their butts vacuumed. (“Dogs have their butts vacuumed?” laugh our cats, all ex-pusakal.) In short, they have better hygiene and grooming than most people.

Three years ago, Edd and his dogs moved into a unit in the Greenbelt Chancellor, a Megaworld building in Legaspi Village, Makati. Things were fine until August 3 of this year, when Edd got a call from the receptionist saying there had been a complaint from his neighbor about the “foul smell of dogs”. The neighbor who made the complaint was not identified.

Edd did not detect any bad smells emanating from the dogs. Like us, he has sinusitis and is especially sensitive to odors. But he took the neighbor’s complaint seriously, and the very next day he send the two dogs to the vet to have them shaved for easier grooming. He had his condominium unit cleaned and scrubbed thoroughly. He installed aromatherapy whatnots so his house smells like a spa. He had the dogs bathed every other day, and restricted them to the kitchen.

Last August 22, the building administration sent him a strongly-worded letter citing “numerous and repeated complaints from the other residents…about the foul smell of your dogs.” None of the neighbors had said anything to Edd. The letter went on to say “(his) attention was called about the matter on several occasions by the security personnel but (he) ignored and continue to ignore the problem.” None of the security or maintenance staff had said anything to Edd.

Now here is the part that caused our hackles to rise. “House Rules 9.7 gives the Board…the discretion to prohibit the retention in any unit of any pet which is found to be a nuisance to other residents or kept in inhumane conditions. Therefore we hereby request you to…clean your dogs properly and immediately, otherwise…(the building association) will report the matter to the animal welfare authorities without further warnings.”

Are they suggesting that our friend is maltreating his dogs by keeping them in filth? (Thus implying that we would have anything to do with someone who is abusive towards animals.) How dare they threaten to notify “animal welfare authorities” when Edd takes excellent care of his canine companions.

If anyone’s rights are being violated, it is the Shih Tzus. Their movements are now restricted to a small space, and they get bathed more often than they need, which would dry their skin. It really ticks us off when “animal welfare” is invoked when clearly, the building doesn’t care about the state of the animals. No one has even looked in on them! They just assume the stink is their fault!

Incidentally, Edd has done pro-bono advocacy work for animal welfare, such as the Homeless, Not Worthless campaign which we covered extensively here.

As for this “foul smell” the Greenbelt Chancellor administration keeps alluding to, we went to the building to sniff it out, literally, and found nothing that can be blamed on the dogs and their devoted owner. We did notice a residual odor in the hallway that we recognize from having lived in apartment buildings for many years. It is the smell of a space with no ventilation, where the residents put their garbage out in the hallway. There are no garbage chutes.

Just three weeks ago, residents had received a memo from the building administration reminding them not to put their garbage out in the hallways. Apparently, when the building was new, residents put their trash out every morning for the maintenance staff to collect. The garbage collection policy has been changed since then, but some residents still put their trash out when the janitors don’t knock on their doors to pick it up. And you know what happens when garbage is left in a space with no ventilation.

The appalling thing is that the humans concerned have not had an actual conversation, the building administration just blames the dogs automatically. Will someone use their head and inspect the dogs before they assume that they’re the cause of the stink?

Reminder: We called dibs on Cary Joji Fukunaga.

August 27, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Television 7 Comments →

While everyone is gushing over Cary Joji Fukunaga at the Emmys, here is proof that we saw him first, before True Detective, just before Jane Eyre. True, it was while we were googling Michael Fassbender, but the point is, dibs dibs dibs.

We know someone who went to school with him, but she did not call dibs because that would’ve been embarrassing.

Of course this means about as much as our friend declaring that he saw Jason Momoa first, during the Baywatch Hawaii era, thus admitting that he watched Baywatch Hawaii.


Thanks to avignon for the alert.

Geraldine Javier made us a pair of earrings.

August 27, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Clothing, Design 3 Comments →

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Nyahahahaa!!! Assortment of unattractive gloating noises!

You can’t buy them in galleries. You can’t buy them at auction. You can buy a Geraldine Javier artwork for a million bucks but these earrings are priceless.

We don’t have space in our apartment for artworks (Unlike our friend the BLB who rents apartments for his collections), so we ask artists to make earrings for us. So far we’ve got a Leo Abaya, some James Reyeses, and now this Geraldine Javier. Which reminds us of her pieces from a couple of years ago.

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Girls and Advertorials

August 26, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Television 6 Comments →

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Lena Dunham in Girls

Girls grew on us. When we started watching Lena Dunham’s HBO series a couple of years ago we found it irritating—all those self-obsessed, privileged, whiny 22-year-olds—and alarming. By the third episode we were hooked and by the fourth we were quoting it like Whit Stillman movies (“I’m not on Facebook.” “You’re so fucking classy.”). We like it because the characters can be awful and gross, make stupid choices, embarrass themselves, but manage to go on living. Also, the show is funny and sometimes moving, it messes with audience expectations by making the chubby Hannah (Lena Dunham) get naked the most, and the conventionally pretty Marnie (Allison Williams) is the most messed-up character. Yeah, let the beautiful one suffer. The breakout star of Girls is Adam Driver, who plays Adam, who started out weird and repulsive but turns out to be a man of integrity; he seems to be in every movie being made, including the next Star Wars.

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Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Allison Williams

In the third season, Hannah finally gets a proper job writing for GQ. Except that she’s not in the Editorial section of that literary institution but in Advertorial—the section where you get tricked into reading articles only to find that they’re ads for the sponsors. She’s making real money and getting many freebies, but there is the very real possibility that she’ll wake up years in the future and realize that she hasn’t written the things she wanted to write because she was getting paid so well writing about department stores and mineral supplements and so on. Aha! We know exactly what that’s like.

We’ve done lots of advertorials, and they pay many times what we get paid for writing the things that we love. Wait, a hundred times zero is still zero—well, we got paid enough to pay the rent and utilities, while the best stuff we’ve ever written makes bupkis. We didn’t hate what we were writing advertorials about, but we didn’t love them, either. We loved being able to pay the rent and utilities and buy cat food. Fine, we also liked flying business class to Melbourne and drinking champagne in the sponsor’s lounge and watching the Australian Open finals from the front row. It’s one of those galling compromises grown-ups have to make. Write what you need to write to pay the bills; find a way to write what you love. And don’t fool yourself about the true nature of the work.

The real question is, What isn’t an advertorial these days?

So here’s this blog’s policy on advertorials. We get invited to a lot of events, and some of our friends are publicists. We write up the event if we found it interesting; other times we find we have nothing to say so we don’t write it up. Usually we mention if we were invited by the publicist or the sponsor. If we get paid to promote a product, we’ll indicate that the post was sponsored. In case anyone’s wondering.