Three Things I Know to Be True

Last February 11, I participated in a Poetry Open Mic night.

Here’s the video from my friend’s phone.

I need practice, but I hope you’d like the poem. 😉

Happy Heart’s Day, Everyone!

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La La Land

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La La Land | © Summit Entertainment

This musical about a passionate jazz musician and an aspiring actress chronicled in the events of the year they meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, at a time when they are chasing the dreams they have been struggling to reach. The film won seven staggering awards at the Golden Globes, and was marked as one of the most notable films in 2016.

STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, John Legend
DIRECTED BY: Damien Chazelle
WRITTEN BY: Damien Chazelle
MUSIC BY: Justin Hurwitz
RELEASED BY: Summit Entertainment

PLOT: 4/5 face value, 2.5/5 if my inner nerd kicks in

Aspiring actress and jazz musician meet and fall in love in a nostalgic version of LA, complete with stories of struggle, and charming musical numbers.

Face value, it was a great movie. It made me cry, mostly because I have my own version of knowing how it feels to not be able to end up with my soulmate. (Part of the reason I was crying during the movie was the fact that I just knew so-so would have loved to watch it too). It’s sad, it’s nostalgic, it’s endearing. It made you hope, it made you wish, it made you believe in a better world with considerably less traffic and less talk of kale.

Mostly, it appeals to the people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and who look at the world through-rose colored glasses.

BUT

It is also a white-washed version of Hollywood with amazing lack of diversity. Considering how jazz originated from Blacks, it is sad to note that the only black person in the cast was a washed-up musician who sold out.

Also, LA is one of the most expensive cities to live, there is no way an aspiring actress who is a barista by day could afford that amazing apartment at the beginning of the film AND a Prius. Seriously.

CAST: 3.5/5

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling look good together. They are beautifully awkward and endearing, and despite not being actual singers, they made it work in a musical (just, you know, don’t expect five-octave ranges or anything of that sort). However, lost points due to previously mentioned lack of diversity. LA is one hell of a melting pot and it didn’t show. Also, it needed more JK Simmons.

SOUNDTRACK: 3

I grew up listening to jazz on Sunday mornings and on road trips (hi, dad!) so I pretty much got an ear for it, although I’m not one to research on the names of musicians and song titles (believe me I can’t name the albums and song titles and musicians in my favorite bands!). While I love the jazzy parts of it, my biggest disappointment is the fact that Sebastian’s (Gosling) song is…well, not actually jazz as he defined and fought for in the movie.

Still great for easy listening, though.

*CINEMATOGRAPHY: 4.5/5
*COSTUMES: 4/5

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER:

*I don’t usually add them in the reviews, but cinematography is brilliant and costumes are lovely in their brightness and essence: they had been remarkable for this film, so kudos to that, too.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1

I binged-watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” this weekend, because obviously.

Hold up. First and Foremost, ASOUE is on my top three list of favorite book series of all-time, coming in second only to Harry Potter. Unfortunately, I know fewer ASOUE fans than Harry Potter fans, because well, most people really assume the series to be for kids — although it is actually a very fun read even for adults. Its dark story line, I think also discourages parents to buy them for their children, I mean, they generally don’t think titles like “The Bad Beginning,” “The Miserable Mill” or “The Vile Village” are apt titles for kids.

However, I love the literary references, the many alliterations, and the lyrical prose of the cynical series, which is why I got really excited that Netflix is bringing it to the small screen. I was very disappointed that producers never followed up on the movie in 2004, so it’s like I’m going back to my childhood.

About this take on ASOUE:

  1. They are expanding each book to two episodes instead of compressing three books in one movie. This means the first season, which covers “The Bad Beginning” to “The Miserable Mill” covers eight episodes. This move alone is a great improvement to the treatment of the story. Author Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler) noted that they are already at work for Season 2, so if this two-episodes-per-book treatment continues, fans will have three glorious seasons of the series. Which is perfect. More than that and they will have to move past the canon series.
  2. Neil Patrick Harris is always awesome. Playing the vile, villainous Count Olaf playing different people and NPH is in his element. However, as a fan of the actor, I saw some hints of Barney Stinson and Hedwig (Robinson), which is not necessarily a bad thing, but that’s just me.
  3. Expect a lot of deadpan jokes. The series is known for making lighter very real issues of abuse and neglect, so expect a few rather dark, deadpan jokes that could make you burst out laughing during some rather inappropriate times.Or sometimes, they just have random throwaways that reference pop culture or literature, which are also funny.
  4. They have beautiful aesthetics. Think “Sweeney Todd” meets “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Gloomingly dull one moment, glaringly bright the next. I dunno you guys, I really found this really endearing, and definitely apt for the series — it’s like they give you hope only to take it away, because obviously, there is no ray of sunshine for the orphans.
  5. There is a new side story and new characters! They make sensible additions though, so it should not be much of a problem. Besides, we know this is in good faith to the books, as Daniel Handler himself is executive producer of the series, and they definitely have his blessings to these additions.

That said, I will not spoil anything, but unlike Lemony Snicket, I will not dissuade anyone from watching. In fact, I would recommend it, especially if you like watching television shows about incredibly unfortunate orphans.

Series Score: 4/5 Stars

Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye Live in Cebu!

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Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye: Love Has Arrived in Cebu!

So spoken-word poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye came to Cebu, and I almost peed my pants when I found out. Good thing the organizer included me in the list of people to get first tidbits over the event and I got to go.

I was so excited like you wouldn’t believe.

When the day finally came, I timed-in early for work so that I could get to the venue on time, and it’s a great thing my boss is super nice.

They performed my favorite bits (I cried when they did, because all the feels!) and the energy was wonderful. I mean, I loved watching them perform on YouTube, but it is a hundred times better seeing them onstage in person.

Also, I always had this notion that both Sarah and Phil are on the short side, but they were actually really tall! And Phil’s fluff is really fluffier. (John Green would be put to shame.)

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Photo time! Sarah is super nice and Phil is cuter and has fluffier hair in person!

I’m a fan girl, sue me.

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I like literati autographs. 😉

I’ll watch them again next year if they come. Fingers crossed!

Creativity, Inspiration, and Not Another Happy Ending

My work as a writer convinced me that writer’s block should be a thing in the past. I simply cannot afford that given that I’m paid to write, which is a good thing: I love writing, and I love it even when I get assigned fluff news pieces.

Creative writing, on the other hand, is another thing altogether: you simply cannot force creative juices to flow when they’re not there.

988943_10203623005350876_2344933637101940309_nThis year, I have exactly four notebooks for my creative writing. The first notebook, to finally organize the story I’ve been working on for three years so that I can finally stitch it together. I know, it’s kind of weird that I’m using a notebook for it, but I prefer writing with ink. I also have magnificently neat handwriting, so that’s a thing.

The second notebook is for this thing that I wish could change someone’s life, but maybe that’s too long a shot. I am exactly three pages in, and I still have no idea what I want to do with it despite the fact that I’ve done a lot of research on the topic that I have been writing about.

The third one is for a murder thingie that I started because I had a lot of anger for awhile, but that feeling eventually burned out and now I’m stuck. I am waiting for the next time I get really angry to finally have progress on that.

The fourth, for beat poetry that I really suck at but am determined to do because I have to branch out. I mean, sure, I am a very flexible writer (so much so I have branched out to writing about the Gaming Industry instead of sticking to Politics and Entertainment and Health) but poetry is a vastly different thing, and I want to try getting better at it.

I have all these notebooks and a ton of pens (in various colors), and even a slinky to help me, but I am just not creatively inspired enough.

Because I am happy-ish.

Well, as happy as happy me could be. The last time I was able to write while happy was about three or four years ago (and that was when I was feeding off on someone else’s negative emotions). Then I got depressed, which is a really great thing for my writing, but not great for my health. Now that I feel somewhat a lot better… I am stuck.

Which is very similar to what Karen Gillan had to go through in “Not Another Happy Ending” except that she actually published a book, while I publicized my navel-gazing on national newspaper.

And I haven’t published anything that’s not work-related ever since. Unless you count self-publishing on this blog, where I’m usually ranting. Like now.

It’s the sad part of being the moody creative, and I can’t push it.

I need inspiration.

I’ve been perspiring 90 percent of the time, I need that 10 percent. And no, Thomas Edison, I don’t care that you say Genius is 99 percent perspiration, you are more of a scientist than a creative, and if I shall follow the words of a genius, I shall follow the words of Ernest Hemmingway, which means that I need mojitos right now, but which I don’t have the ingredients to make, so I’ll settle for wine. I can drown myself in mojitos next time.