Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Announcements’

Art in the Park on Sunday

March 18, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Art 1 Comment →


One down, three more Writing Workshops to go.

February 06, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Workshops No Comments →


We just finished our Short Story Writing Workshop at Ayala Museum last night. The workshop took place over three night sessions and consisted of lectures, with participants reading what they’d written so far. The goal was to finish a short story by the end of the workshop, and nearly everyone completed their drafts. (The rest will be laughed at not be taken seriously until they cough up finished product.)

The Story Writing Workshop went well, so we’re going to do three more for the rest of the year. The schedule (to be confirmed):

July 9, 16, and 23: Personal Essay Writing Workshop. Lectures, discussions, homework. For people who are working on memoirs, travel essays, and other autobiographical pieces.

September 3, 10, and 17: Creative Writing Workshop. Participants do 3 or 4 writing exercises per session. It’s like mental parkour.

October 15, 22, and 29: Advanced Story Writing. Readings, discussions, exercises. At the start participants should already have a draft, which will be taken apart in the sessions.

Sessions are held at the Ayala Museum from 630 to 830pm.

For more information, visit the Ayala Museum Facebook page or join their mailing list,

Another year, another writing workshop at Ayala Museum on Jan 22, 29, and Feb 5

January 13, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements No Comments →


A Writing Workshop
January 22, 29 and February 5, 2015
6 – 8 pm

Anyone can write, but can they write well? Whether you’re working on your college entrance essay or The Great Filipino Novel, a comic book or the screenplay of a future Cannes winner, the standards of good writing apply. Before you can experiment with the craft, you have to know the craft.

The facilitator will conduct a practical writing workshop for aspiring writers, weekend writers, and writers struggling with the dreaded block. The workshop consists of two intensive two-hour session on two Thursday evenings. At the end of the workshop, participants will have finished writing a short story.

The Facilitator

Jessica Zafra is a writer based in Manila. She has written two collections of short stories, The Stories So Far and Manananggal Terrorizes Manila, as well as a dozen collections of essays on film, literature, travel, rock music, popular culture and politics. Many of these pieces appeared previously in her highly influential column Twisted, which appeared in the newspaper Today (1994-2004).

Jessica’s essays have been published in the New Yorker, Newsweek, the Hong Kong Standard, and The National. She was editor-in-chief of Flip: The Official Guide to World Domination, and the annual literary journal Manila Envelope. At present she is a columnist at and at BusinessWorld.

Outside of publishing, Jessica has hosted talk shows on the FM stations NU-107 and K-Lite and the TV show Points of View, and managed a band. She is an executive producer on Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan (Norte, The End of History, Lav Diaz, 2014) and screenwriter of Esoterika: Manila (Elwood Perez, 2014).


The workshop fee is P 7,000.00 inclusive of handouts, materials, snacks, certificate, free admission to the museum and one day free access to the library. Payments can be made in cash, check, or through credit card.

For inquiries, call Marj Villaflores at 759-8288 local 25 or email or visit

The Binge, our column on TV, starts tomorrow

December 04, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Television No Comments →

Cats watching TV

This year we realized we watch at least as much television (though not on television) as film, so we figured we’d write about it. The Binge appears every Friday at BusinessWorld.

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I watch a lot of television, but I haven’t always respected the medium. Even if it taught me English (Sesame Street) and science (reruns of old Star Trek episodes) and gave me a world-view (Woody Allen movies at 10 am on RPN-9), I regarded it as the poor, déclassé cousin of Film. Film aspired to Art and should be taken seriously; TV was the babysitter and the background noise at lunch.

Something changed in the last decade or so: television became great. I am referring to American cable television, although free TV has lately showed signs of ambition. Cable is subscription-based, unlike free TV which depends on advertising to survive. This means cable is comparatively free of the burden of generating high ratings. Its creator-producers—“showrunners”—can worry less about pleasing their target demographics and focus more on executing their vision for their project. They can be Auteurs.

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Read our column at BusinessWorld.

Historian Resil Mojares lectures on Class, the Santo Niño, Headhunters and Noir at Ateneo

December 02, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Books, History No Comments →


Aargh, we missed Resil Mojares’s lecture on Andres Bonifacio yesterday. He’s giving a series of lectures at the Ateneo de Manila as part of the Master Teacher Visiting Program of the School of the Humanities.

Professor Mojares is the author of Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel (1983), The War against the Americans (1999), Waiting for Maria Makiling (2002), Brains of the Nation (2006), and Isabelo’s Archive (2013), among other books on Philippine history, culture, and literature.

Here are the scheduled lectures for 2015, which we intend to attend. Seats are limited. RSVP 426-6001, loc. 5340.

January 12 (Monday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

The lecture demonstrates the value in analyzing “symbolic action” (enactments on a symbolic plane of social desires and fantasies) in large masses of Philippine literary texts, as a way of understanding Filipino popular mentality. It takes as its example an analysis of Cebuano short stories built around the “poor boy-rich girl/poor girl-rich boy” (gugmang kabus) plot formula, and the meanings that can be drawn from this body of texts about the realities of class division in Philippine society.

January 20 (Tuesday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

This lecture traces the history of Cebu’s Santo Nino devotion (including the sinulog dance), from its introduction in the sixteenth century to the present. Exploring the tensions between church and state, official and popular practices, and the competing communities (and their divine patrons) in Cebu’s weakly aggregated urban zone, the lecture discusses the claims and counterclaims in the shaping of a popular devotion that has become a symbol of the Cebuano community.

January 26 (Monday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

The lecture revisits the mostly forgotten story of Pascual Racuyal, the quixotic “nobody” who ran for Philippine president in elections from 1935 to 1986, challenging incumbents from Quezon to Marcos. Commonly cited as the iconic “nuisance” candidate, Racuyal (the lecture argues) deserves more respectful remembrance, as the sad clown who appears on stage to show up the idiocy and farce that characterize much of Philippine politics itself.

February 3 (Tuesday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

What does beauty have to do with headhunting? Drawing from the ethnographic studies of Renato Rosaldo and Michelle Z. Rosaldo on the Ilongots of Northern Luzon–in particular, headhunting and its rituals–the lecture teases out an indigenous conception of beauty that has important implications for aesthetics, politics, and social life in the contemporary

February 9 (Monday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

The recent publication of Manila Noir (edited by Jessica Hagedorn) by New York’s Akashic Press, as part of a successful series of noir stories about cities in the world, raises the question: Is there a Philippine noir in fiction? And what is distinctive and local about its stance and style in representing noir’s associated notions of crime, violence, law, morals and urban society?

February 16 (Monday), 4:30-6:00 pm, Faura AVR

From his 1880 “El Consejo de los Dioses” to his unfinished “third novel” of 1891-92, Jose Rizal wrestled with the idea of a “national literature,” and sketched the conditions needed for its creation. The lecture shows how the discourse on a national literature has been carried forward, elaborated, contested, and enacted in the decades after Rizal.

Win 2 tickets to CinemaJam 2014 in our raffle

November 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Contest 6 Comments →

CinemaJam Pedicab
Pedicab will perform at CinemaJam 2014.

You and a friend can watch the movies Now You See Me and Letters to Juliet in the afternoon, and performances by Pedicab, Itchyworms, Urbandub, Bamboo and other bands at night.

Mark the date: Saturday, 29 November, from 10am to the wee hours at the Greenfield District in Mandaluyong.

To join our raffle, just post your names in Comments. The winner will be announced at midnight.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision.

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The winner of two tickets to CinemaJam is Lanilyn Besa. Congratulations! Please email to claim your prize.

The next raffle will be held on Friday.