Thursday, May 29, 2008

What was on my Ipod on the way home from work

Living Proof by Cat Power
Lover's Spit by Broken Social Scene
R.O.C.K. in the USA by John Mellencamp
Heaven or Las Vegas by Cocteau Twins
Kissing Families by The Silversun Pickups
Blue Light by Bloc Party
99 Red Balloons by Goldfinger
Astro by Radioactive Sago Project
People Are Strange by The Doors
Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
This is War by Ill Nino
Daylight by Asia
Get Enough by Ivy

Some shots at the Cubao Expo

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunday morning at UP

Back in my grade school days, there were a couple of clubs I wanted to join -- Hobbycraft and the Photography Club. I didn't because they were rather expensive to join. I always wanted to build scale models of fighter airplanes and tanks but well... I didn't have any of them.

My love for photography never waned. I've always admired work from friends like Aaron Vicencio, Philip Sison, Joseph Nocos, Nono Felipe, Jo Avila, and a pair of dudes who I've had the privilege of doing an exhibit with Bien Bautista and Ryan Agoncillo.

To date, the work I did for the San Miguel Remember the Titans photo exhibit is perhaps my great achievement in terms of photography. I wish I had the equipment to really get into photography full time, so I make do with my simple digital camera.

But nevertheless, I try to take shots whenever I can. Mai also has a great eye for shots and it's something we both love. We hope you like the shots we post here in the11-25pages.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh, you look so beautiful....

Several friends wondered why I wasn't at the IMAX Theater at the Mall of Asia for the first screening of U23D. Man, they sure remember me in high school for carrying a torch for this band when Boy first came out. But we saved the best for the last screening and the verdict is this film certainly is the best rock concert film ever (shot during their Latin American Tour in support of How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)and will change the way bands do their live productions from now on. It's as if you Bono's about to baptize in the name of Jesus and rock 'n roll. And Edge really is given prominence (as if he isn't already) with all these cameras trained on the band and the crowd. Oh yeah, great great crowd from Buenos Aires (if you're into band concerts you should check out the Cure's Paris concert/album. That frakkin makes my hair stand up especially on "Play for Today").

When Rattle & Hum first came out, the only way I or any other U2 fan not living outside this country could view the film was by going to Quiapo to buy the betamax copy for a then princely 100 bucks. The tape has since oxidized but I did pick up the DVD years later when it came out. Phil Joanou directed this film which was shot almost entirely in black and white. In case you all want to know Joanou's most recent film it was The Gridiron Gang starring the Rock about Sean Porter who successfully puts up a prison football team that helps rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

Rattle & Hum remains a fave and I have almost every U2 concert DVD including my now former all-time fave -- Live from Milan concert during the Vertigo World Tour. That DVD preps me for U23D since it finds the band superbly in form with Bono's voice strong and rich (unlike the Elevation 2001 Live from Boston film where the frontman's voice is scruffy and weak).

The band's music is the touchstone soundtrack for those weaned on 80's music and who are all grown up today. If you can't afford the expensive tickets to a regular U2 concert, U23D is your all access pass.

Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington do a great job of directing this film and bringing the U2 experience to those who haven't seen the band live. There are more than a dozen cameras trained on the band, the stage, and the audience and the 3D format literally bring you to the thick of things. Great use of effects and also with those messages that play a prominent role in their live shows. Unlike during the Pop Mart Tour which was a monument to excess, U2 makes use of a simpler stage design but with creative use of lights and visuals. Whoever dreamed this up ought to be paid fab.

If you're one to stay to read the credits (as I always am), then you will have seen the band perform a stripped down version of "Yahweh" (from the Vertigo album). A novel way of ending their series of concert films and every bit as comparable to the way U2 ended Under A Blood Red Sky with "40" and Live at Milan with "With or Without You." In their Vertigo Live from Chicago DVD, they also end "40" where the Edge towards the end trades his guitar for a bass duet with Adam Clayton. If you haven't seen these scenes then get a move on, dammit!

First the conquered the world through their music. Now they try to heal it. As I told Mai, there are only two artists who have attempted to do this with their music -- Bob Marley and the Wailers and U2. And these four lads from Dublin, Ireland are worthy caretakers and torchbearers of what Marley helped start.

And U23D is definitely a great viewing experience where they hope their message leaves a lasting impression on you aside from the visceral light and sound.


The U218 Deluxe Limited Edition contained a bonus DVD of Live from Milan.

U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky was top of mind for many a U2 afficionado when it came to concerts. U23D just eclipsed that.

My U2 Mix-tape (my all-time fave songs and not in order):
- Angel of Harlem
- New Year's Day
- In God's Country
- 11 O'clock Tick Tock
- An Cat Dubh/Out of Control
- Another Time Another Place
- I Will Follow
- Two Hearts Beat As One
- 40
- Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Three Sunrises
- Bad
- With or Without You
- The Sweetest Thing
- Stay (Faraway, So Close)
- All I Want Is You
- Beautiful Day
- Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
- Elevation
- Even Better Than the Real Thing
- Zoo Station
- One
- A Sort of Homecoming
- Drowning Man
- City of Blinding Lights
- Vertigo
- Silver and Gold
- Ms. Sarajevo
- Tomorrow
- Electric Co.
- Gloria

Regarding "Three Sunrises" which came from the EP Wideawake in America, I wonder why they hardly perform this song when it's every bit a high energy song. I liken it to Oasis' "Acquiese." A B-side song that should have been a single.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hoo! Hooters! Do you give a hoot?

The last time I was at a Hooters it was in New Jersey. In Atlantic City to be precise (and there was one in Mercer County as well). Yeah I know what you’re thinking. Beer, girls, and gambling. Truthfully, I was there because a friend arranged a date with this Puerto Rican who looked a bit like Salma Hayek. Really! Except that she was taller.

That was kind of a tough situation because she’s the type of girl who will hold you by the balls and own you. I was looking for a date not a dominatrix! Bwahahaha. So obviously she’s not the sort to work at Hooters and wear them tight shirts!

Anyways, enough about Salma Hayek look-alikes. Hooters is now here in the Philippines at San Miguel by the Bay at the Mall of Asia. It has always been one of Mai’s favorite restaurants (hahaha, she loves it for the chicken wings or so she says) so it was a matter of time before we went. Look at that sweet moment between her and her first drumette.

So we had 10-pieces of chicken wings, fries, celery and blue cheese, and Pepsi Max. And Mai has to have her rice. The chicken wings were as I remember they tasted -- great! The fries were on the bland side and the celery sticks were well, sticks. The caramel cheesecake (with the chocolate-y crust) was one of the best we tasted in a while. Kinda fattening so we really have to go back into active sports. Man, I really put on weight with all that eating.

I've always loved the playful signage at Hooters. Check out the signs at their bathroom for women and men (as well as ex-men).

It has been said that Hooters has this college frat image (American not the Philippine kind where all they do is pick fights in the name of brotherhood. Dweebs!). Maybe so but how about them Hooter girls!

But you gotta be careful because there’s an imitation Hooters along Macapagal Avenue. They even have the signage and girls in similar tight shirts and Bermuda shorts. You’ll know it’s fake when you see the menu that has Hooters Sisig, Hooters Bulalo and Hooters Laing. Nah, we didn’t go. But many others have gone and paid the price (literally) for this confusion. Bwahahaha. You’ve been warned.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands

I remember watching the video on "Change" on the then nascent MTV as its videos were shown illegally on Rhythm of the City, 99.5 RT's show on television. Even before that I was already a fan of Tears For Fears.

Their music was different from the gloom and introspection of Joy Division and similar bands. I always thought that British bands had a grander sense of music and its potential for lush landscapes owing to Europe's classical bent and TFF was every bit one. Even their second album, Songs From the Big Chair even if it rocked harder than any other effort, it maintained a different feel to the execution.

It seems that every band has its version of Sgt. Pepper's and TFF had their own with The Seeds of Love arguably their finest effort.

Even as Curt Smith went solo (I did look him up in Greenwich Village in New York), I remained a fan getting their succeeding efforts Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain. It was in Elemental that I found one of my favorite TFF's songs that may not be on the scale of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" or "Mad World." That one is "Goodnight Song," the last track on the album that has references to Smith's departure. And when I saw the video, I thought it was one of the coolest in spite of its simplicity.

Here is it, as I found it youtube. Hope you all like it too.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

That long lost relic of my youth

Remember how in the movie Almost Famous where Patrick Fugit talks about writing for Creem magazine before Rolling Stone?

Well, Creem, the self-styled America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine, was like seeing girls in bikinis for the first time. Creem was alternative before alternative became hip.

If Rolling Stone was Playboy, Creem was Hustler. The writing is something I've never seen anywhere since. It was just different. At times I wondered if the writers were all taking drugs just to be able to craft stories like they regularly churned out.

As an impressionable kid, I wondered if half of what I read was true. And even Rush's Geddy Lee agreed: "I don't believe anything I read in Creem; the writers say what they want to."

When I put up my first band in class while in grade seven, Creem was my idiot's-guide-to. And later on while in college, I told myself that I couldn't be a rock star coz I didn't have that Creem attitude. So I did away with those dreams for a life of corporate sterility (although anyone who knows me would say that my life in the corporate world is one for the soaps).

There were pictures of then rock godesses Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde, and Pat Benatar that I would tear off and tape on my wall. I discovered the Clash, Iggy and the Stooges, the Damned, X, and other bands that opened my eyes, mind, and heart to a different culture.

In my mind, I wanted to be like Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Richard Meltzer who seemed like to be the coolest people on earth next to the rock stars whose music I clandestinely listened to against my mother's wishes. I do recall seeing Cameron Crowe's stuff but he wasn't yet gifted with Kwan!

It wasn't always that I saw Creem on the racks and truth to tell, I purchased more back issues in the PX goods stores in Dau.

This coffeetable book brings back one of the last remaining links of my youth (the other would be DVDs of those old Herculoids, Gigantor, and Marvel Super Heroes cartoons). Reading it is like re-discovering a childhood friend.

Hey, something under the bed is drooling!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

You've been slammed!

Slammer Burgers are bite-sized or mini-burgers. I first discovered them while working in the Upper East Side in Manhattan and at White Castle in New Jersey.

My friends would hold a contest every time out to see who could eat the most number of these small burgers. I used to eat a lot but, dude, it's real filing so I'm full to bursting after one of these. Go look them up, hommes!

Well, here a variant here -- Slammer Burgers located in Robinson's Galleria next to the Old Mania restaurant and Filbar's. That's two bite-sized cheeseburgers for 60 bucks and small fries for another 60. You can choose from an array of dips. The burger patties use 100% beef so there are no aftertastes.

It's not that great but it's not bad. The fries are good though.