[Pulse.ph] An Open Letter to Old Friends

From http://thisandthat-online.com/
From http://thisandthat-online.com/

Paul Catiang writes about Tears For Fears and misheard lyrics.

But the nostalgia took a break at that point, and we heard something new—from our perspective, at least. As far as I can recall, the last two singles we heard from you were “Break it down Again” in 1993 and “Closest Thing to Heaven” in 2004. “Call me Mellow” came as a surprise; on first blush, we’d never heard you sound that happy before. Upon further listening, I found a wistful portrait of middle age—something absent in your previous songs.

With that, “Seven Sundays”, “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending”, “Quiet Ones”, and “Floating down a River”, the concert turned into a reunion with a childhood friend who, however dear to us, had been away for over a decade and we hadn’t heard from outside of a letter or two. After the initial frenzy of reminiscence, it was as if we all sat down, grimaced, and asked, “So … what have you been up to these past 15 or so years?” Well perhaps it wasn’t that awkward or unfamiliar. “Raoul and the Kings of Spain” still echoes with portentous overtones I usually associate with “Shout”, and in any case most of us were glad to catch up. We had missed the aftermath of your decade-long split, your reunion a few years ago, and what you had done during that time.

This was originally published on Pulse.ph in May 2010.

[Fully Booked Zine] The Other World: William Gibson

Image from Amazon
Image from Amazon

Originally published in the Fully Booked Zine in March 2013, Paul Catiang writes about one of his favorite science fiction authors. Here’s an excerpt:

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” This is the sky above Chiba City in the post-World War III dystopia of William Gibson’s the Sprawl trilogy. It is a world described by metaphors derived from the scorched earth, ubiquitous technology, and mercenary cutthroats that comprise its denizens’ preconscious memories.

The Sprawl trilogy tells stories located in the vast divide between the upper and lower classes, with the middle class all but obliterated, forced into drone-like consumerism and poverty. For those who can escape the previous generation’s post-industrial entrenchment, they can swim in the waters of the emergent, innovative class of mercenary professionals. Here, professionals pit competence, discretion, contacts, and savvy to stay relevant to the black-market world of biz—one misstep and they’re dead.

Gibson likewise takes punk’s in-your-face anger, discontent, hairstyles, and internecine gang wars, and overlays it all onto the matrix of cyberspace and dystopian wastelands. Where business and government respond to this digital void by imposing orderly data lattices, console cowboys introduce chaos through socially engineered mass hysteria, chemical warfare, and cybernetic implants—a madness that conceals their precise methods.

[GMA News Online] In completely different forms, the Bard thrives in Asia

Image from GMA News Online
Prof. Yoshibara presenting her paper, with scans of Ozamu Tezuka’s manga series “Robio and Robietto.” Image from GMA News Online.

Mary Ann Marchadesch writes about the many ways Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted, reworked, translated, performed and updated, in the Philippines and around Asia.

The earliest theatrical performances of the plays were in schools, with the opening of “As You Like It” in the Philippine Normal School and “The Merchant of Venice” in Ateneo de Manila, both in 1910, and the performance of “Julius Caesar” in Silliman Institute (now University) in 1911, all performed with a “ridiculous fidelity,” Dr Ick notes—rote productions with no room for alternative interpretations.

These performances were not solely limited to the elite learning institutions of the time. Provincial high schools also got in on the action, with Batangas High School mounting “The Merchant of Venice” in 1916.

However, of all of Shakepeare’s dramas, none holds more sway over Filipino sensibility and sentimentality than the tragedy of star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet.” The melodrama of forbidden young love struck—and still strikes—a chord in the Filipino masses, and “Romeo and Juliet” has racked up more adaptations and performances in the Philippines than any other play—from Soto’s Kapampangan adaptation to the awit, “Ang Sintang Dalisay” (1901); the 1917 novel “Bulag and Pagibig” by Pascual de Leon, and Salvador Magno’s “Romeo Kag Julieta” in Cebuano (1932).

Read the full article here.

[GMA News Online] Art review: Elmer Borlongan and the art of the daily grind

Image from GMA News Online
Image from GMA News Online

Patricia Calzo Vega writes about the local art scene for GMA News Online.

Many of these vignettes were witnessed in transit, as he went about his daily routine: freelancing as an illustrator for publications, conducting painting workshops for street children and prison inmates, making the rounds of exhibits and art events.

Despite the summary nature of his observations, Borlongan’s paintings tease out the hidden emotional depths of his subjects: the fear and determination propelling a female office worker home, after pulling a late-night shift; the anxious optimism of bettors in line for lottery tickets, the blessed sleep of a carinderia owner after an honest day’s toil.

Precise shades of human expression rendered in the slightly distorted forms that is his trademark: the more disconcerting the distortions, the more resonant the emotions portrayed. Experts laud this as a prime example of the neo-figurative movement in Philippine art, a revival of formalism succeeding a period of abstract expressionism, but with a touch of social realism.

Read the full article here.

[8List] 8 Side Effects of Adapting ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ into a Movie

Image from 8list
Image from 8List

Film adaptations of bestselling books are great for discussions of popular culture. For 8List, Patricia Calzo Vega wrote about The Fault in Our Stars:

So it comes as no surprise that TFIOS is one of the most anticipated movies of 2014. Like teen movies before it, it’s about becoming the best person you can be, experiencing love for the first time, and dealing with the curveballs life throws at you. Unlike previous teen blockbusters, there’s nothing magical, supernatural, or herculean about its characters. They’re just a bunch of crazy kids who just happen to have “a touch of cancer.”

Book-to-film adaptations are notoriously difficult to navigate: staying true to the book may mean missing out on the added depth and dimension that an expanded movie universe can bring, while too many deviations from the story may alienate its original audience.  Case in point: the movie tagline, “One sick love story,” was removed in later posters after Nerdfighters complained that it did not capture the essence of the story.

Read the full article here.

[Homegrown] Let’s Lead Girls Across The Stars

hands-typing-4In March 2014, Homegrown.ph launched a micro-site called Pinay Power, a special project for Women’s Month. Regina Layug Rosero wrote an essay discussing about young girls and their lack of interest in the sciences. Are they not interested or are we assuming they’re not interested? 

Here’s an excerpt:

Where are the women?

Of all the female artists, writers and dancers in the world, who knows how many of them could also have been brilliant mathematicians or expert app developers? Why is it that girls are encouraged to pursue the arts, but we don’t think they might be interested in the sciences? We see so many girls taking music or art lessons, but why aren’t there more girls in those robotics competitions or game dev events? Where are the computer clubs or woodworking classes in girls’ schools? Why aren’t we telling our girls that they can also be programmers, electrical engineers or architects? Why is it normal for guys to be engineers or scientists, but female engineers are still a novelty?