Saturday, November 13, 2010

Perfect Is Subjective

photo credit: Francis Tan

The sun is out, the skies are clear, the humidity level is way above satisfactory, and the air is warm enough to be enjoyed with a light shirt, and cool enough to pair a light scarf with that cool shirt. A fine day, indeed. A perfect day to just lay on the beach and sip sangria and enjoy the HK sands just before the days get dry and punishingly cold.

But instead, I am sitting in front of the computer, writing this entry and having a quick lunch so I can prepare for the 5 hours of dance classes I am teaching in the afternoon.

I could be bitter.

Or I could see that, despite my not being able to enjoy the beach, life is perfect in a way that today's earnings will be enough to pay for this month's rent.

I choose the latter.

Perfect is subjective.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

trabajo

Kalabaw man ay napapagod din.
Tao pa kayang di naman ipinanganak para
mag-araro maghapon ng bukurin?

-----
para sa aking wife, at sa akin,
at sa mga naghahangad ng serbisyo.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Conflict Of Interest

This morning, I went down on my knees, stretched out my arms open, looked to the sky and danced to the words--

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

Tonight, I will don my fishnets and 6-inch boots and bustier and strut to the words--

I'm not much of a man by the light of day
But by night I'm one hell of a lover.
I'm just a sweet transvestite
From Transexual, Transylvania.


Godspell
Showing in Guam and HK, mid-October.
Direction: Allan Nazareno
Choreography: Rye Bautista

photo credit: Jai Ignacio

The Rocky Horror Show
27-31 October 2010
Shouson Theatre, HK Arts Centre
Direction: Adam West
Choreography: Rye Bautista

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Win An All-Expense-Paid Trip To HK!

Believe it or not, it is NOT Spam! And this is for you, my beloved Blogger friends!

Yesterday, I (and James) received a very special email from a friend, Social Media expert, Doug White, which read:

Rye and James,

I thought of you guys when this opportunity came about. I have a client that is offering an all expense paid trip to HK. We are looking to get from 10 countries including Philippines. The catch is that this person needs to have a blog and be good at it. The offer is great. No strings, just a full on pampered weekend in Hong Kong. If you know someone that fits the bill, will you pass the details on and I will fill them in on the offer.

Thanks in advance,

Doug


--
Douglas White
Founder/ CEO
PRDA
Total Social Media Solution Provider

In the spirit of fair play and to avoid being accused of nepotism, I thought I'd post it here on my blog as an entry instead of actually referring people.

Doug thought it was a good idea. Hence, this post. And this invitation to participate. All you have to do is enter your name, email address and the link to your blog at the comments page of this post, and hope and pray that you get contacted by Doug. Oh, and just for fun, include a short definition of love and the answer to the question, "Who let the dogs out?"

And if you think the free plane fare is still not enough to get you excited, here's what else is in the package:

The 4 day 3 night weekend includes:

  • Round trip airfare to Hong Kong
  • Hotel accommodations provided by Novotel
  • VIP pass to the Hong Kong Food and Wine Festival Opening Night
  • VIP pass to Ocean Park's 10th anniversary Halloween Bash
  • Passes to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
  • Lavish dinner hosted by Novotel Hotels
  • Michellin Star experience hosted by Hong Kong Tourism Board
  • Spa treatments
  • Halloween night in Lan Kwai Fong

---and a chance to party with me! Come on, kids! Bloggers, attack!

Deadline is on the 16th of September.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Said It Once.


And I will never get tired of saying it again and again.

Thank you for loving me
despite, with all, and because of
my imperfections.

You're everything to me.
I AUMULU to bits.

Thank you, Providence, for this wonderful man. You made the world miles closer to perfect when you sent him my way.


Happy birthday, my T!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bigger, Better. It Is, Trust Me.

Now on its second year, Man Asia Productions shakes up the community yet again with bigger ideas, a wider reach, a more global perspective, an even more Hongkonger set of core values, and more detractors to prove wrong.

Who will Mr. Gay HK 2010 be? The quest has begun.

http://mrgayhongkong.com

Have you got the charm, the willingness and the heart to be the
ambassador of Hong Kong's gay community?

BE Mr. Gay Hong Kong 2010!

Established in 2009 by MAN Asia Productions, the Mr. Gay Hong Kong pageant is much more than a beauty contest. While physical beauty is part of the consideration, it is a young man's character and personality that make a difference in the selection. The winner or Mr. Gay Hong Kong assumes ambassadorship of the local gay community for one year, and the privilege of representing Hong Kong in the prestigious Mr. Gay World Pageant in Manila, the Philippines.

Download the Application form here:
http://mrgayhongkong.com/be_mrgayhk.html

There’s More Than One Way To Be A Man ®


Thursday, July 22, 2010

T3


"The rain has stopped,
the storm has passed.
Look at all the colours,
Now the sun's here at last."

Yesterday, T3 arrived bringing strong winds, thunder and rain. A few hours later, a different kind of T-- my T-- braved the forces of nature, and traveled to where I was, bringing joy and that certain sense of calmness that I had been longing for, for days.

No, the remnants of last night's Typhoon haven't stopped from falling from the skies. Outside, it is still gloomy, and the world still looks grey. But in my world, the rainbow has come out and my spirit has started to bask in the promise of a brand new day.

Thank you, T. I love you.


Say Goodbye.

An email received today---


Dear Rye,

According to our statistics, your podcast at http://thedanandryeshow.mypodcast.com has not been updated for at least a month and has a small number of downloads. Due to limitations on our current hosting setup we can no longer host inactive podcasts, and unless you begin posting new episodes we will be forced to remove your podcast from the MyPodcast system.

To avoid deletion, please publish a new episode within the next 30 days. Regular podcast updates are the key to your podcast’s popularity among subscribers. We plan to perform such account deletions on a regular basis in order to free up room on our system for new podcasts, so please update your podcast regularly in order to keep your account active.

If you are having trouble uploading or recording your podcast please refer to our FAQ and Help sections. We thank you for your continued support of MyPodcast, and hope to have you as an
active member of our community for a long time to come.

--
Regards, MyPodcast Team.
http://www.mypodcast.com

Say goodbye, kasuys. It is time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Recharge


5-mile walk.
Big waves.
Sergio Mendes & Brasil.
San Miguel.
Sangria.
Sun.
Sea.
Sand.
And a phonecall to Rems.

I don't need it everyday,
just once in a while is enough to make me happy.



Thank you for this day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back To Basics


Today I rekindled a long-standing, but almost-forgotten love affair.

Five years ago, I fell in love at first sight, and right then and there, I decided to hold on and never let go. I haven't. I managed to keep my promise through all these years, but growing old by the day and having to cope with the demands of the life I try to live, and the dreams I try to chase, have seemingly reduced my adoration for her. Seemingly, but not actually.

Her beauty hasn't stopped touching me. Her spirit hasn't stopped inspiring me.

Tung Chung. The Eastern Stream.

Never have green and blue looked so good side by side.

The road to another world.

Our quaint, provincial village.

The backdrop against which our cradle is set.

On a clear day, a view of HK's doorway-- HK International Airport.

So for tonight's dinner, a basic dish--- made just a little bit more interesting. Baked medley adobo-- comforting, basic, familiar, and just a tad fancy. Much like my beloved Tung Chung.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Loving Kind

I have, by default, a strange kind of fondness with people born under the sign of Cancer. They are motherly, nurturing, and loving. But can also be overly sensitive, highly emotional and dramatic. But I know how to deal with that. In fact, I love that about them.

I grew up in a home where there were two of them, and everyday, I would find myself learning something new about their psyche. There was drama at any given time, and most of the time it drove me nuts.

Today, the three of us are living in different parts of the world (the fourth of us is in heaven), but that's not enough reason for their flare for drama to wane. It no longer drives me nuts. It makes me smile and say, "I wouldn't want it any other way." Funny as it may be, that is the kind of love that transcends time and miles and miles of distance and gives me comfort and joy at any given time I may want it, or need it.

And these two---

are love, personified.

Happy Birthday to the most beautiful Cancers on the face of the earth!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Put It In A Box For Me



HK Singers' 2010 Production of "Oliver!"


Whenever someone who had seen the show came up to me and said, "You did a wonderful job. You must be proud of yourself," there was always a split second where my mind debated as to whether to answer it with false modesty, or to take the compliment graciously and be thankful about it. And everytime I found myself in that situation since we moved into the theatre, even before we opened, I always answered--- with pride, conviction, and gratitude--- "I am, indeed, very, very proud."

HK Singers' Oliver has been the most challenging choreographic project I have ever taken on, by far. We had 65 performers in the chorus, 40 of whom were kids; 10 principals, 2 of whom--- Oliver and Dodger--- were kids; 22 musical numbers; and barely three months to stage the entire musical at only three times a week. The biggest challenge of them all: the movement style requirement was NOT my style.
Photo by Tim Bowman


But, with Phil Whelan's string and clear artistic vision & direction; Jodi Gilchrist's invaluable guidance; the trust they both bestowed upon me to take the liberty to explore artistically and to make directorial choices; my ever-reliable dance captain, Chow; Jacqueline Gourlay Grant's patience despite the many times my dance rehearsals had to eat up her vocal rehearsal time; and the vote of confidence that the cast showed me throughout the entire process, I delivered what was asked of me. And, modesty aside, I did it brilliantly. I wouldn't have, though, if not for these wonderfully talented and inspiringly daring people. Oh, I need to mention, some of them are sometimes hard-headed as well. That was an even bigger challenge.

The success of Oliver is particularly special to me because beyond the choreography, I jumped on-board the team with a mission in my heart. Over the past nine months that I have been totally immersed with the "Community Theatre" scene in HK, I have grown to dislike the term "community theatre". I have seen so many people use the term as an excuse for mediocrity, and I found that awfully disheartening. I think that while "community theatre" means that we do not have enough money to pay our actors, artistic team, production team, stage crew and orchestra the professional fee that they deserve, it should not mean that "this is all" we are capable of. Lack of training is forgivable. It is easy to remedy. But complacency, especially because this is just "community theatre" anyway, is not.
Photo by Tim Bowman
________
Oliver and Mrs. Bedwin looked out of the window, and they saw a lady walking with a basket full of roses. She was selling them for two blooms for a penny. The milkmaid followed, and then the lady that sold ripe strawberries. After a beat, the knife grinder walked on asking out loud who had knives he could sharpen.

Sitting in the dark, I was an outsider looking into their world where the sky was clear, the sun shone brightly, the roses were lush and red, the strawberries were ripe, sweet and juicy, everything was perfect and melodies and harmonies existed-- not worries and troubles. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to float with the soft but poignant music coming from the pit.

"Who will buy this wonderful morning? Such a sky you never did see! Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me? So I can see it at my leisure-- whenever things go wrong, and I would keep it as a treasure-- to last my whole life long," Oliver sang in the background.

A tear fell. It was our closing show, and I wish I knew who could tie it up in a ribbon and put it in a box for me.

Rye Bautista
Choreographer

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Milestone



"It's funny how you hold on for something for so long, and then you wake up one morning and you just don't need it anymore."

--Marshall, Broken Hearts Club

It's funny how I needed it for 18 years-- to soothe my pains, to heighten my joys, to socialize, to rejoice with, to help me digest my meals, to write with, to think with, to drink with, to be alone with, to be part of me in every milestone or every quiet moment of my life--- and then I woke up on the morning of June 19, 2009, and not need it anymore.

It's been a year.

The last.

The first.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chiquitta Goes To Callbacks

I'm disappointed, but I'm not bitter. And I mean it, really. What people don't realize is that it would be tremendously stupid for me to be bitter about it.

The project is meant for people between 15 and 25 years old. I am 5 years past the age limit. And if they decided to not play by the rules and allowed me to get the part, then they'd be doing me a favor that I have to be super grateful for. If they decided otherwise, they'd be playing fair and square.

It had nothing to do with talent, as my friend Heidi puts it. I know that for sure. Hell, yeah, I do. But why am I disappointed? Because I was so close to playing one of my dream roles. SO close. I don't mind being disappointed. And I'm not shy to be honest about it. I find that disappointment is healthy for me because it makes me examine the situation in many different angles, and I am able to learn from it very well.

I, as a performer, have two dream roles: Kim in Miss Saigon, and Angel in Rent. The former is quite far-fetched, to say the least, while the latter, is so easy to achieve. Hey, I almost did. I may not be the strongest bari-tenor that one could ever find, but I knew deep in my heart that I can bring it. The heels, the wig, the dancing, the pizzazz, the character, the backstory--- I knew so well I could work all of it. I just didn't know I could work it all so damn well. Modesty aside, that is the biggest learning in this experience. Realizing that the limitations that I had set for myself in the past are not my real limitations. That there is so much more that I am capable of.

My Angel dream doesn't end here. In fact, this is the beginning. This experience gives birth to a performer that is a world closer to Angel.

So why am I writing this down and publishing online for all the world to see? Four reasons:

1) to pacify my friends who are worried that I might be depressed that I didn't get the role, because that's the effect that my Facebook status update sent out;

2) to serve as a reminder for me when I start to second-guess myself;

3) to thank Scott and Lindsey for the wonderful callback experience, and for objectively explaining to us the real situation (I look forward to working with you both in the future, and I wish you all the best for Rent. I'll be watching the opening!); and

3) to send out feelers for producers who might be interested in producing it in the future. Call me. Oh, I meant, "for producers who might be interested in producing the adult version of it in the future. But not in the near, near, near future. Way after the YAF production." Call me.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

5.


Five years today.
Wow!
Happy anniversary, friends!
Happy FIFTH anniversary!

Ceasefire.


This photo was taken on the eve of Day 1 of our low carb, low salt, low sugar, high protein, high fiber diet programme which was supposed to run for 2 weeks.
April 22, 2010.

This was what we had.
Pinaupong manok, pritong isda, binagoongan leftover, munggo guisado with tuna and
crumbled smoked bacon, steamed white rice.
(Scolded [for lack of a better term] chicken, fried fish, pork in shrimp paste sauce leftover,
sauteed lentils with tuna and topped with crumbled smoked bacon, white rice)

After that night, our diet consisted of "healthy" protein like this one.
Baked catfish fillet.

Also fruits and greens. Fruits would be our breakfast and snack. And we're big on greens!
All kinds of them, from organic iceberg lettuce, to rocket, to choi sum. Raw or steamed.

Once, we felt the need for rice because we were having baked chicken marinated in rendang sauce.
So to have the feel and look of rice without the unwanted carbs, we paired it with mashed cauliflower.

What was planned to run for two weeks showed results that we loved! And so we decided
to keep following the same diet regimen, just tweaked a little bit so that we no longer lost
any more weight since we have achieved our desired weight anyway.

It's been more than a month. But tonight, we decided to go for a break. Just tonight.
We didn't have rice, or anything as sinful as that. We had something... a little bit more sinful.

The photo disgracefully failed to do Vanessa's chocolate mousse justice. But it was divine! We had a big slice each,
and we're not guilty. Tomorrow's another day. And we have some more left for tomorrow.

Thanks, Vanessa!

Friday, May 28, 2010

And Alanis Said It Right

New shower curtains.
Immaculately white floor tiles.
Spotless bathroom floor.
Re-designed lace curtains.
New floor mats.
Polished toilet bowl.
Dust-free and reorganized console table.
Freshly-made couch.

Filipino-style pork spring rolls.
Fish fried with minimal salt,
topped with chopped tomatoes with calamansi juice.
Bean sprouts with tofu sauteed in garlic, onions, tomatoes and fish sauce.

12-piece Bobbi Brown brush set.

That's what the Universe decided to send my way after a day of having to deal with the effects of misaligned stars and cosmic retrogrades. Not a bad deal, I must say.

The dishes have been done; and the layer of sticky, saline dust that my evaporated hardworking sweat has left has been rinsed off. It's time to open that bottle of Merlot.

Thank you, Providence. Thank you for the redemption. Thank you for today's lessons. Thank you for my flatmates, Gil & Razel, whom you made instruments to give this day a happy ending. Thank you for this wine.

And thank you for my first Saturday off in 2010.


"Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face"

Alanis Morisette, Ironic

The HK Beckies (Heart) E


Hi all!


The event turned out a lot more well-attended than we had hoped it would be, and it's all because of your love and generous support.

We have been able to raise HK$8000.00 in cash and a few more in pledges! This may not be enough to pay for Enan's entire hospital bill, but it will surely go a long, long way.

Razel, the unsung hero for the night, was our all-around girl:
SM, PM, Talent Coordinator, Spinner, Accountant, P.A.


Enan and Steve are both overwhelmed by the amount of good vibes than even "friends they've never met" have been sending their way. They are tremendously grateful. Let us continue praying for Enan's swift recovery (he continues to fight, and is winning the battle impressively), and for resilience for not just for him but also for Steve, and every single person that lends them faith and hope.

Our CWL gurls, Sis. Nelsie Cola and Naemahhh Cyprus (not shown in pic)
do their rounds after the Homily.


Also, if someone still wishes to send in their monetary help, please feel free to message Rye, Miro or any of the Beckies, who can coordinate fund transfers and remittances with Steve.


Again, in behalf of Enan and Steve, we, the Beckies here in HK, Manila, Davao, Dubai, London, SG and everywhere in the world, give our sincerest, warmest thanks to everyone who supported that great Becky undertaking, whether by coming, performing, donating or just plain sending us good vibes. Enan will come out bright and shiny from this episode and it will be glory not just for him, but for all of us--- his loving friends.


Kisses & glitters,
The HK Beckies


Friday, May 21, 2010

Repost: On Loving and Forgiving

*from almost 2 years ago. A lot of things have changed, but the effect of this one scene on me hasn't. Marah & Steve, you remember this? *wink*

-----------------------------------

Their counsellor strictly instructed them after their last session to not see, or speak to each other for two weeks. After that, they were to see each other at a place and time they both agreed on, if they both decided it was worth forgetting their bitter past and throwing away all the anger and vile, and move on from there.

On that day that would dictate their future (whether as individuals or as a couple starting anew), she threw away all logic that ruled her life in all ways, for always. She was scared that maybe the two weeks they were given to think things over would not turn out to her favor. But she faced her fears. Dauntlessly, she stripped herself bare of all her defenses. She was vulnerable. But her willingness to give it another shot, her willingness to take a chance at a possibly lovelier "second time around" empowered her.

She started to well up --- out of overwhelming hope that he'd show up too, and fear that he might not. In the midst of a plethora of strangers, her eyes caught a familiar face whose hope and fear were also written all over. And in one fleeting, but poignant moment, they kissed. Words were unnecessary. That kiss, that embrace, that meaningful stare --- were all they needed to seal the seven years of mistakes and assure that this time they would try to make it work. Those were all they needed for either of them to know that they'd both been forgiven. Those were all they needed to validate their love --- one so true, it was well worth the risk they both were taking.

On that poetic Brooklyn Bridge, Miranda Hobbes and Steve Brady signified their forgiveness and love for each other. And reaffirmed their vow of etenity.

At that very moment, the person on the next row of the moviehouse decided to try to figure out which of the two was giving out a more sissy sob --- Marah or I. Steve later said he was positive it was I.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You Lose Some, You Win Some

After 20 minutes of walking around Wan Chai looking for the Morrison Hill Public Pool, I decided to give up and go to the one on Harbour Road instead. It was gonna be a long walk from where I was, but at least I knew for sure where Harbour Road was. All I needed to do was walk on the road, and I was certain I would eventually find it. And boy, was I right!

Sweaty and smelling like an 8-year old who's been playing in the heat of the sun for hours, I faced the receptionist-- a middle-aged local lady---, took off my sunnies, smiled and asked politely, "Where do I pay to use the pool?"

She smiled back, reached for something under the desk and held it out in front of me. It was a printed sign in English that said something like "This Public Swimming Pool is only used for group training." Great.

I said bye. But before I left, I ran to the loo and did a #2. If they won't let me swim, at least make that pitstop useful for my excretory system.

I went back to Hennesy Road to take the tram, but I was in the middle of two stops which were far apart from one another. In my efforts to find a cab, I walked to the side streets and lo and behold! I was on Oi Kwan Road. I just needed to walk up further and I'd find #7--- exactly what I had been roaming around for all morning. Morrison Hill Public Pool was so close, I could smell the chlorine. Imagine the thrill I felt when I saw a red arrow that said "Entrance to the Public Swimming Pool" I followed it, and as soon as I saw the ENTRANCE sign, my phone beeped. I opened the message while I continued walking.

"You got the job. We'll email you the details." It was from Emma, the choreographer I had auditioned to about an hour back. I smiled, and looked up expecting to be greeted by the receptionist. Instead, a notice greeted me saying the pool was closed for renovation from May 1 to June 30 2010.

Off to Causeway Bay I go. The Victoria Park Public Pool. After a relaxed tram ride and a stroll across the park that was probably as big as the Araneta Center, I found the entrance, ran to the turnstile and prepared to dood my Octopus. But I was stopped by a friendly middle-aged man. It was 11:50. The morning session was about to end at 12, and they wouldn't admit anyone until 1.

I bought my green juice and sat under the trees for a while. Facebooked, Facebooked, Facebooked and then I called T, and my friends Verna, and James. James suggested the Public Library, which I thought was a bright idea. It was quite a walk from where I was, but I went anyway. I got there only to find out that they, too, didn't admit anyone between 12 and 1. I looked at their clock. 12:50. Nevermind. It was time to go back to the pool anyway.

At 1:05, I was in my trunks, finally diving into the pool. Fi-nal-ly!

I headed off, an hour and a half later to Central for lunch: Mix's Liquid Sunshine Smoothie. It was an hour and some to my chiropractor appointment, so I thought of taking a walk, and people-watching. Humidity today was tolerable. Such a waste to spend the afternoon indoors and air-conditioned. And... Just before I opened the door, the rain poured down heavily. Goodbye, walk! Goodbye, people-watch! It's alright--- I'll start writing a blog entry.

Fifteen minutes before my scheduled appointment, the rain stopped. It was time to walk down Wyndham Street.

It's early in the evening, and there are more wins to count-- a 60-min full body massage, home-cooked dinner for T, and the Shu Uemura Tokyo Lash Bar 2010 Show (Thanks to Noelito for the pass.). There is now a bit of a delay in the schedule, because the rain has held T stuck somewhere in Causeway Bay. I could throw a tantrum. Or I could finish this entry and count it as an additional win.

What's the score so far?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Aba, Enan!

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,
Oh!

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

It's overwhelmingly heartwarming to see how much love and support people are sending your way. I wish there was a way to turn them into something physical-- something tangible-- so that we can box them and send them to you. That way you could see them at face value.

But knowing you, you will just laugh at all these. You will smile like a kid, say "Thanks!" in a funny manner, and then tease us about it. Because that's just how you are. You never take part in our episodes of mushiness. And if you ever do, you just do so in jest. To annoy us, even.

I can't wait to see how you will poke fun at us when all this is over. But I'm not intimidated. Steve and I have already planned our resbak. Bring it on, Enan!

So now, I'm gonna say this one last time, because I know that the more people convince you, the more you play hard to get. Please get well pronto and come back here to HK real soon, because we have a lot of threads, sms'es, emails, PM's to chuckle about. We're almost there, friend. Just keep holding on, come what may. We've been through the worst of times-- it only gets better from here. I have faith. You should, too.

I love you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Improvisation 2.5

I find it funny how, after months and months of wanting to do serious improvisation again, whether as a dance or as an acting exercise but being very scared of the idea, I was led to yesterday, Sunday, where I faced serious improvisation in three different (each of them very, very interesting) incarnations of it.


IMPROVISATION #1
Contact Improv Jam

Back in December, Marah gave me the link of the Contact Improv Jam in Hong Kong that happens twice every month. Since then, I have been receiving their invites and every single time, I RSVP'ed "Might Attend". Interested, but non-committal. I had rehearsals every Sunday, and then my mom came to visit, and then finally I got back my Sundays off, which I haven't had since June of last year, and... Well, the list could go on and on. There was always an excuse not to go. But really, the bottom line was that I was scared to do it. It had been 4 years since my last contact improv, and I was gonna do it dancers I was meeting for the first time. That was scary! But anyway, I am not a fan of disclaimers, so I decided I'd rather not go until I can go with conviction than go half-heartedly with a pocket-full of excuses and apologies. Until a week ago, Marah & I agreed to go yesterday, with another friend of ours, CatV.

"This is a jam, not a class," said David, yesterday's facilitator, as we welcomed us, the virgins, to the group. It was something I was supposed to know already. But hearing him say that reassured me that I was in a safe place. In a place were I can explore, make mistakes, find my own resting point, dwell in it if I want to, and not be judged for it. "My own happy place," is how one of my biggest dance influences, Enrico Labayen, fondly refers to it.

Since I had already found peace knowing that the rate by which I would progress in the jam would be on my own terms, I strategically positioned myself in such a way that the first contact I would do was with the person I was most familiar with in the room: Marah. And right on cue, just as my head touched Marah's nape, David said, "Pay attention. You may already know this person for a long, long time, but today is a new contact." Those words, like heavy iron gates, shut close and isolated us from the rest of the world. I was in the here and the now. After a few minutes, I felt an unfamiliar human body touched mine, and immediately, I was faced with a choice to make: Should I let go of Marah and start a new contact? Or should I treat that contact as incidental, retract from it and focus back on Marah? Before I could even begin to think about it, Maru, the unfamiliar body, picked me up, and I surrendered. It was that slight action of Maru's that bridged me to the rest of the group. It was that which said, "We are open. We are ready to give, and ready to receive from you."

About half an hour later, I gently maneuvered Maru to a different person. And slowly, slithered away and took a break. I could feel a distinct buzz in my head. My happy headache. It's the kind of headache I never try to remedy, because it's the kind of headache that only comes when I'm extremely happy, or after a big show that I'm proud to have performed, or during great parties that I do not want to end, or when I'm about to finish a herculean choreographic assignment. I was feeling it, and was loving it. And was utterly grateful for it.

After one more exercise (the more exciting one), the jam ended. Looking back, I could now vaguely remember what had happened. The mental notes that I made about my movement dissipated into nothingness as soon as I stepped out of the studio. My mind seems devoid of new learnings, but by body feels, even now, more intelligent than ever.


IMPROVISATION #2
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Back in my uni days, whenever we needed to present a report in any class in a manner of a show, my classmates would always turn to me to lead them. It was because I was a member of the college theater guild, and, from this guild, I learned the technique of propelling an improvisational skit, which, somehow, always worked. It concealed the fact that I didn't do as much research as any of my classmates did, and that I knew the least, out of everyone, about the report. It saved my ass, put a smile on our professor's face, and gave my classmates good grades. It made everyone happy.

But that was in uni. If our gimmick didn't click, the worst that could happen was a failing mark, and that could be made up for, by doing a re-report. Or a makeup project. Or doing better than average in the final exam. If you were a group of professional actors, the expectations are high. Now, if you were a group of professional actors who would travel to Hong Kong from London for a week of shows, the expectations are higher. Oh, and when you charge $500 and flash the five stars and glowing reviews you have received, even more so. Even more.

"Showstopper! the improvised musical" has probably been the most intriguing show that's been stage in HK since I got here in 2005. For me, at least. They promised to show "a full-length brand-new musical every night!" Well, that's expected since it is an improvised show. But how do you improvise a full-length musical?

The show starts off and works around a basic premise. We find the MD/Keyboardist and the "Writer" onstage in the beginning. The 7th libretto that the writer has produced for the week has been trashed, yet again, by the producer. He is given this one last chance to create another musical. Running low on ideas, he then enlists the help of the audience to come up with the theme, the setting, and the musical motif for his new work, which, as he writes, is acted out, sung and danced by his characters onstage--- complete with scene changes, lighting effects and keyboard accompaniment.

Apparently, in one of the shows during the week, the audience suggested "Barbie" as the theme. And since they couldn't agree on whether they wanted Barbie the doll or Barbie, as in Barbecue, Aussie-style, that night, their musical was about Barbie's journey to Oz for a barbecue. On our night, we saw "Euraka" (spelled that way because that's how the writer, he justifies, wants to write it)--- the eccentric travels of eccentric characters, or something like that. It turned out to be loads of fun, with interesting twists, the most eccentric pool of characters, a touching end-of-Act-1 song, featuring borne-out-of-love evil plots and an underlying love triangle, and a redemptive resolve with themes (brilliantly) borrowed from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and James Bond. Sure, it's nothing close to a hit Hollywood flick or Tony- or Olivier-worthy Broadway or West End show. But for a improvised musical, it is polished, tight and way too entertaining.

All throughout the show, half of my brain was just engaged in their antics, while one quarter was trying so hard to predict what was gonna happen next. 9 times out of 10, I failed. The other quarter, just kept thinking--- How in the world are they able to do that? They launch into a song of powerful lyrics that rhyme beautifully and are completely sensible and apt for the scene, after hearing only two bars of the music they're supposed to sing to. They change accents and shift their train of thought at the Writer's every whim. And their stage composition was always clean and uncluttered. How in the world are they able to do that? I guess I will never know. What I do know, is that they exceeded, by miles the expectations I, and most people I know in the audience had set for them.

They are now stuck in HK because of the volcanic ash. I could only wish that we had one philanthropist in HK who had the money and the heart to buy say, 3 more of their shows and have them shown in areas where the general public had free access to. I wish all of my friends, whether or not in show business and all the performers and musicians that I know could see it. Because the Showstopper gang had definitely raised the bar in Improvisation, and besides the raucous laughter they bring, this is a very, very precious learning experience for our generation-- a possible artistic landmark of our times.


IMPROVISATION #.5
Wan Chai. 7pm.

I was running late for my pre-showstopper dinner with T, and was trying to walk as briskly as I could. There was a pair of Filipino girls walking towards my direction. And although I could see them, I didn't pay them any more attention than that. I was, while trying to get to Cafe O as quickly as I could, trying to replay the contact improv jam I just had an hour ago.

All of a sudden, one of the Filipino girls yelled, in a very loud and irritating voice, "Hoy!", as they inched closer to me. I looked at them and they were looking at me and smiling in a sly manner. I stared at them both with my right eyebrow as high up as it can go as they walked past me. Then the other girl, in a condescending manner said, "Ay, bakla!" (Oh! A gay guy!) They both broke into a boisterous laughter.

I turned around and approached them, looked at them from head to foot, and in a calm but firm tone, I said, "Kaya cheap ang tingin ng ibang lahi sa Pinoy, dahil sa mga taong kagaya nyo na para walang pinag-aralan kung makaarte. Wag nyo kaming idamay sa kalokohan nyo, dahil hindi lahat ng Pinoy cheap kagaya nyo."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, may not have been the quickest of all the improvs I had done and seen yesterday, but it was the one that I think was most powerful of them all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Walking Parallel

This is the first Sunday in a long, long time that T & I did not spend together. It has sort of become a habit already--- I, staying over at his place on Sundays (among other days) or he, at mine. Wherever, we have always been together on Sundays over the past, maybe, 8 or 9 months.

But not today.

No movie plot-like reason or big mind-blowing discussions behind it. It was just easier for us to stay in our own respective islands today. He had a yoga studio opening to attend last night, while I had a party to host at my place. He had some cleaning up to do in his flat today, and so did I. Late this afternoon, he went to the gym and I, to the market.

Tonight, he made an important life-altering decision for his career, and tonight, too, I set an important goal for mine.

Tomorrow, we'll see each other again-- each of us with a more positive disposition and with something bigger to look forward to: both for our own selves, and for the other. It's been a day apart well-spent. I look back now, and I see two sets of footprints that, no matter how far their individual realizations have taken them, remained close, walking parallel to each other.

Friday, April 09, 2010

At The End Of The Day

11-hour working day.
5 destinations.
4 meetings.
3 classes.
2 frustrating news.
1 bad knee.

Bad day.

No, not really.

Came home to Razel & Gil's Pork Steak and Ginisang Ampalaya.
Bonded with my birthday boy anak.
Miro & Enan came by with Apple & Blueberry Galette Ala Mode.

Absolut Apeach.

Not a bad day after all.

Thanks, friends!


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Panganay Means Eldest

I have a plethora of things I wanna tell you.
But I have found a way to say it all succinctly.

I love you, 'nak.


So before the lines get busy,
let me be the first to greet you.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Not Another "Reflection"

So, again...

What is so good about Good Friday?

Why Good Friday?
Why not Good Thursday or Good Saturday?
Why not Friday of Crucifixion or Friday of Temporary Death?

Why Good?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Kind Of Rebirth

If the reason that I decided to quit smoking was that I was pregnant,
I would already have given birth a few days ago.
It's been 9 months.


Happy rebirth, lungs!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

...That Ends Well

Merlot.

Life Salad.

Home-cooked Beef baltic curry by T.

The mere sight of him.

...All's well
--- even a grueling 2.5-hour staging of "Consider Yourself"
from Oliver with a cast of 4 dozens---
that ends like this.

Thank you, T, for being the light at the end of my tunnel;
the bearer of comfort food at the end of my rehearsal;
the spooner at the end of a long, tiring day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Body Of Evidence

On Friday, a few minutes just before midnight, my flatmates and I were roused from our peace and quiet upon hearing a loud banging of the steel gate of our building and the frantic running of several people in our hallway. Gil and Razel looked out from the balcony and I hurried to the peephole and looked through it. Cops. They were there to raid our neighbor.

After more than 2 hours, my neighbors-- 20 of them-- were loaded onto a van and taken away. The press, along with the police, left as well.

Before they did, I had already updated my Facebook status to:

Rye Bautista 's building is being watched by cops, photographers and nosy neighbors and he has no idea why.

Friends posted comments, but none of them really showed that they were alarmed. The running joke was, they were looking for a drag queen: my sister, La Chiquitta. It was funny. But then I got to thinking, if that evening, the legislators of the HK government changed their minds and decided that homosexuality was a crime after all and the cops came to my flat to arrest me, there was no way I could deny the allegations. They won't even need a witness, just a few photos.

Would they buy it if I said, this was a religious altar...

...and that this was MY god?

That this was the angel that watched over our door so that evil would never come in?

And what about the 6-inch boots and the other 15 pairs of high heels (not all Chiquitta's by the way)? Sacred footwear that lead us to eternal bliss, perhaps?

Oh, and we haven't even reached the bedroom. Death sentence!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kainan Na (Naman)!

We are seldom complete in our flat, and so when we are, we make sure we have a nice dinner. Not necessarily swanky or traditional. Just nice enough to make us guilty and at the same time, gratified and smile and say, "Oh god! I overate!"

And also, whenever this happens, I try to document it and blog about it to make some people envious. Like Julius, for example, whose regular diet contains only three vowels: "fish and chips".

So for tonight...

Tinolang tulya (clams)-- cooked the traditional way (simmered with garlic, ginger, long green peppers and fish sauce) and flavored even more with chives and basil.

Tita Mike's Pinatisang Manok-- chicken wings cooked the way Tita Mike makes her Pinatisang manok (simmer in tamarind broth then drizzle with fish sauce and then fry) but smothered with ground garlic, rosemary and siling labuyo.

Steamed choi sum with spicy shrimp paste and green mango

Piping hot white rice

This house needs a food stylist.

On Monday morning, March 8, we are complete again. And it coincides with the Oscars. Does anyone wanna join us for Oscar's breakfast? We'll provide the hotdogs, fried rice and eggs. And maybe some homemade tapa (beef jerky). Hit us up!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The (Week)End

Like every movie, book or song, every week deserves a good ending. I realized that today. No, not realized-- I decided that today.

I haven't had a Sunday off since July of last year, until today. To celebrate that, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time: to walk around and window shop without being pressured by time constraints. I ended up fulfilling my duties as Chiquitta's personal shopper. And it felt great! I got for her a black corset, a choker, two lip liners (Miro and Jeth, no need to get her those. I already did.), four brushes ("one brush for white eyeshadow, one for black, one for color," according to my makeup teacher, Ricci Chan. Plus a smudging brush, for the pasmado in me.) and a few MAC things. (Vivian of MAC, Lane Crawford, I hope you come across this entry someday. You are a star! Thanks for being my guardian angel!) I also got to shortlist the three gown designs for La Chiq to choose from, for the "Finals Night". (Prodyu, ready ka na ba? Wendell, flash?)

After three hours of walking, examining, trying on, and swiping, I called T and asked whether I should go back home, or meet up with him for dinner. He suggested the latter. I am glad he did. For there couldn't have been a better way to close the week than by sharing with T, the simple, yet sumptuous pleasures that the Three-Sixty organic food court bring.


Here's to the many endings in the future!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do


It's been great knowing you. You have been loyal.
You witnessed everything that has happened in this home for more than four years--
every person, every occasion, every heartache, every joke, every dish
and every liquid that evaporated through your power.
Mamu. Ben. Dan. Me. Gil. Razel.

The time has come for you to go.

Goodbye, microwave!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Even Now


After all these years, he still brings a certain kind of tears to my eyes. Seth. Seth Table. The angel who gave up his black coat, jumped, fell, and embraced all the pain and hunger that came with the promise of romantic love.

"I'd rather have one breath of her hair,
one kiss of her mouth,
one touch of her hand,
than an eternity without it."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Working Lunch

*inspired by Tita Mike's Facebook status
---

Oh and add "Sunday" to that too.
Sunday working lunch.

Friday, January 29, 2010

(Around) This Time, Last Year

Sunday, January 25, 2009
About A Boy Crossing The Border
-------
For the first time in his current journey, the road seemed bleak and uncertain.

For the first time, he felt his arrogance -- the arrogance that he always depended on to conceal his weak, vulnerable, human self -- abandon him as the rest of his defenses melt away and disappear in a heartbeat.

For the first time in his current journey, he wasn't too proud to admit what he was feeling. He wasn't scared or ashamed to say, "Please forgive me. Give me one more chance. And the only reason that I need that one more chance is that I love you."

The boy was, for the first time in so long, at that point where something ends and something bigger begins. He knew what lay ahead beyond that point. And with much hope and faith, he decided to do what felt right for him. What felt good for him.

It was past midnight. Just a few minutes before that, he was on a cab racing against time, crossing the tunnel that connected Lantau and Hong Kong Islands. Then without him noticing, in just a few minutes, half the world transitioned from Jan. 22 to Jan. 23 --- from Thursday to Friday. At about the same time, he crossed another border: that where fascination ends and love begins.

It was the beginning of a new journey.
------

AUMULU, t!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not A Whore

Katy: Where have you been?

Rye: Audition.

Katy: Oh Rye! You are the ultimate theatre whore! You just don't stop, do you? (laughs)

Rye: (laughs) Hahahaha! Yes. Yes, I am a whore.

---

And just this morning, I woke up and realized that i am NOT a whore, because I don't even do it for the money. Slut. I am a slut.

And it's not a bad thing.


Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Not Another Manic Monday

Dear readers, please help spread the word! The more, the many-er. ;-)

----
Today can't be manic. The week ahead is gonna be very, very hectic, and I need to pace myself so that I may be able to sustain this whole stretch, and still live to see my next day off, which, hopefully, will happen before April starts.


Tuesday & Thursday, Saturday & Sunday--
Auditions: Oliver!, for HK Singers
(will be performed in June 2010 at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre)


Audition dates:

Childrens Workshop - Saturday 23rd January and Sunday 24th January - (3 sessions each day at 3:15pm, 4:15pm, and 5:15pm)

Adults Audition - Tuesday 26th January and Thursday 28th of January - 7:00pm - 10pm

Visit our website for more information about roles, dates, and to sign up!

http://www.hksingers.com/


Thursday, Friday & Saturday--
Auditions: Six Characters In Search Of An Author


A Play By Luigi Pirandello
(Adapted by Rupert Goold and Ben Power in 2008)

Directed by: Ahmed El-Alfy

Produced by: The Italian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) - HK

Auditions Venue: TBA

Audition Dates:

Thursday, January 28th (7:00- 10pm)
Friday, January 29th (7:00-10pm)
Callbacks - Saturday, Jan 30th (6:00 - 10pm)

Performance dates: June 22 - 26, 2010

Performance Venue: McAulay Studio Theatre - Hong Kong Arts Center

For more information, and copies of the audition pieces/Character Description, please don't hesitate to contact Alfy at (+852-9197-5028) or send an email to ahmed.elalfy@gmail.com, Subject "Six Characters Auditions".


Friday & Saturday--
Auditions: Sir Topham Hatt

Thomas and Friends is a timeless television series that follows the adventures of Thomas, a cheeky little Tank Engine, and his engine friends.

Be a part of a much beloved adventure by playing Sir Topham Hatt in various live events throughout Asia. HIT ENTERTAINMENT HONG KONG are holding auditions for Sir Topham Hatt – The Fat Controller, for various live events throughout Asia, with both singing and non-singing artists required.

Looking for English speaking Caucasian males. Singing Artists need to prepare one Music Theatre piece plus another of their choice.(Please provide sheet music in the correct key.) Non-Singing artists need to show strong character skills and acting ability. All Artists will be asked to read a small section of dialogue provided at the audition.

Auditions will be held at the KATTERWALL Rehearsal Studio, Room 806 Arion Commercial Centre, 2-12 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong on the 30th & 31st of January 2010 (Sat & Sun. All artists are required to pre-register to obtain an allocated audition time. Successful candidates may be required for further auditioning from 2pm – 5pm.Please send details including CV with previous performance experience and recent photo to auditions@xsystem.com.au

For enquiries, please contact James Gannaban at 97725792 or email James.Gannaban@xsystem.com.au


Saturday---
Party: The DS 7th Anniversary Party
Oh yes DS Magazine has reached the wonderful age of 7 years old and with all the efforts of all involved we thought we should throw a party to celebrate in style and what better place than the newly opened KOLOURS on Arbuthnot road in Central. So come and join in the fun and games with a nod to the King of Queers of 2009 – Adam Lambert – as Sony music have kindly sponsored our event with plenty of giveaways! Plus some great prizes for the best ‘glam rock’ costume, lots more prizes, show and surprises during the evening.

Plus special guests La Chiquitta, Fabiola Asustadiza and DJ Angus Wong.

* Free entrance and one complimentary drink with glam rock outfit, make up or in drag. The best outfit wins $1000 cash + $1000 drink coupon from Kolours. Many more prizes.

----
It does look (and feel) overwhelming. Thank God for a person called, Mai, who happened to be my brother, my Monday started bright and happy. On my Facebook page, he wrote:

Things I miss doin with you:
1. Pigging out
2. Singing na lagi mo ako kino-coach
3. Arguing
4. You opening up to me
5. Mga 1-liner mong statements after a long litany of my emotions
6. Pag palit mo ng password sa pc pag nauubos ko yung isp bonanza mo
7. Pagsama mo sa akin with you whom I adore so much
8. Pagiging makalat mo. Dedma sa clutter
9. Pag kinokontra mo pagkain ko ng kanin
10. Dedma ka lang pag nahuhuli mo akong may booking
11. Pag di mo kinakausap for a month kapag kumukupit ako pera sa wallet mo
12. Pag n-neutralize mo sa amin ni mama
13. Pag a-assert mo magluto whenever I feel like cooking something
14. Pag away mo kay jonas
15. You smoking inside the house.
16. Pag nakikita ko yung kadiri mong diet na fresh egg whites atop youe steamed rice
17. Your ex na super love ko, ni rems, and tutit
18. Your performances with BP and souvenir programs
19. Pagtulog mo na parang never ka ng gigising.
20. Pagkwento mo sa friends mo na masama ugali ko.