Friday, November 26, 2010


After a thousand years and a several abortions Khavn De la Cruz's film of Normwan Wilwayco's novel will now hit the big screen. Spoiler: mawawasak kayo!


MFMF! Mondomanila Filmfest MotherFuckers!

Wednesday, December 1 at 4:00pm - December 4 at 10:00pm

Cine Adarna, UP Film Institute
University of the Philippines, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines

Screening Times:
December 1-4. 7pm.
December 2-3. 5pm.

Kamias Road presents

Mondomanila Filmfest MotherFuckers!

December 1-4, 2010
Cine Adarna, UP Film Institute
University of the Philippines, Diliman, QC
Mondomanila, Philippines

National Premiere: MONDOMANILA
This is not a film by Khavn De La Cruz

Tickets: P50 only

For inquiries, contact Kristine +63.916.292.9870
or email

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One of the best documentaries I've seen for a long while. And it's just 10 minutes long! Awesomely told stories like this that are full of woe and informed by the culture of resistance make me go a big, wet one. And not in the way you think, pervert.

Watch and get yer heart strings pulled.

From the Wired article:

Skateistan Examines Struggles of Young Afghan Skateboarders

by Erik Malinowski

Sports, in its most profound sense, can be cathartic in ways beyond our comprehension. In times of turmoil and anguish, sports’ therapeutic abilities can lead us out of the darkness and toward a better place — if not tangibly, then in the recesses of our minds.

Sometimes, all it takes is a skateboard.

In the war-ravaged streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, that’s what a group of youngsters is experiencing today, thanks to Skateistan, which hosts more than 300 boys and girls from the community every week in classes that focus on skateboarding and education in general. This nongovernmental organization is also the focus of a fascinating, emotional new documentary called Skateistan: To Live and Skate in Kabul. This raw look at young Afghan ‘boarders illustrates the daily struggle to survive in one of the most-violent and poorest places on Earth, and how skateboarding is helping them rise above it all.

Murza, a 17-year-old from the Khayr Khana neighborhood of Kabul, once had to support his family by bringing in extra cash as a car washer, but now he works at Skateistan, cleaning up the facility as well as training other would-be skaters. For him, the violence has become part of his daily routine — “It’s been happening throughout my life, and it will continue into the future” — but Skateistan’s mere existence has given him hope that better days are ahead.

Sharna Nolan, an Australian expat now living in Afghanistan, co-founded Skateistan back in 2007, and has witnessed first-hand how the hobby has changed the lives of those who walk through her doors. “Skateboarding’s a fantastic way to communicate with each other and build relationships with each other,” she says in the film. “There’s nothing like watching an Afghan woman roll down the ramp for the first time and she’s achieved something that she never thought she would.”

Read the whole thing HERE

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Thanks to Atty Pao Chikiamco of RocketKapre for the exposure! Punta kayow mga peeps. may Karen ka na, may Manix at KMFDM ka pa : )


Here's the map to the place. It's at Kamagong cor Bagtikan sts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Gonzo Army is proud to be part of the glorious post-music and sonic bricolage (and all that fancy noise jazz terminology). We play with the rest of our INC (Innovative Noise Collective) friends at the NOV 28/Sunday gig @Victoria Court. See you there!

Dig the fantastically twisted poster!

France's TUJIKO NORIKO and Thailand's  KIJJAZ are just some of the big international artists who are participating.

Find out more about the participating artists HERE.
More about the event details HERE.

Monday, November 15, 2010


They really just get on my nerves sometimes. Salamat sa review, though, at sa pagbili ng libro. I like "Bright Midnight," too sir/ma'am.

Bit of a tip to blog reviewers, it'd help if you actually substantiate your opinions with supporting evidence instead of ranty non-sequturs, digs? "why couldn’t there have been more to the story?" is reaaaly not a complete, self-contained or apt turn of phrase in any publishing universe. Nor is it a substitutes for astute commentary (or attempted witticism).

Props for italicizing the book titles though. Still, read on. I've posted the whole thing verbatim below. The actual post is HERE.


from what i can understand, NEWS OF THE SHAMAN is a collection of four stories all happening in the same universe. heck, the bulk of the story happens in the same town in quezon city: novaliches. and there are four separate stories happening in this universe.

the first one, ANGELORIO, sets up the premise of the story. of how the supernatural has already found acceptance in our world of science and technology. they are effectively married, and their magical properties are already being abused.

ANGELORIO also sets up two characters who will play a major part in two separate stories later on.

NEWS OF THE SHAMAN is the second story from the book; and it’s the one i found hardest to follow. it’s a collection of transcripts from different forms of the mass media: you have a radio show, newspaper clippings, and news broadcasts. the second story tells of cruez, an influential man seeped in the supernatural–and he is being tried for a murder he may or may not have committed.

i must say that i was a little disappointed of NEWS OF THE SHAMAN the story. i thought it was an idea worth exploring, but the “clippings” approach felt very much like a cop-out. at the same time, i think the “clippings” approach made it harder for me to follow, since i don’t belong in that universe. sure, the court proceedings described in the story is very similar to how a trial would be held for a celebrity here in real world philippines. but we’re talking about supernatural people here. why couldn’t there have been more to the story?

to be clear, i’m not saying i want a clear-cut explanation of what’s going on. i’m also not saying that everything needs to be spelled out. what i want to say is that maybe the author could’ve just picked one character and followed the story from his (or her) point of view.

the third story, FAITH IN POISON, goes down memory lane with one of the characters from ANGELORIO. since the events of, or maybe even before the events of ANGELORIO, the protagonist seems to have already been steeped in the world of recreational drugs.

i found myself not liking the third story mainly because of a bias. i’m not a fan of stories where recreational drugs are used by characters without, it seems, any repercussions for their actions. yes, we get one character who reflects on how the drugs are affecting him, but that’s pretty much it.

by this story, NEWS OF THE SHAMAN the book was starting to read not like a horror novel, but a bleak outlook into the lives of filipinos. so much for the blurb “enough of boring epiphanies, quiet middle-class household conflicts…” that lourd de veyra gave the book.

reading the book became a bit of a chore by the time i finished FAITH IN POISON. and then we get BRIGHT MIDNIGHT. it saved the book, in my opinion.

in BRIGHT MIDNIGHT, we go into the life of a tertiary character in the first story (ANGELORIO) and follow the lives he had affected when he was alive, and after he had died. it tells the story in four perspectives, four threads, that weave one amazing story–and then it takes you back to the events of the first story.

i’d recommend for people to buy this book if only for BRIGHT MIDNIGHT. the rest of the stories found in NEWS OF THE SHAMAN, i think would only attract the more academically-inclined people, those who will probably find deeper meanings in the words the author had written.


The MF is glad to be part of. . .
Am speaking as part of a panel on genre fiction on NOV 19 (FRI) 10AM at the Hotel Intercon Makati's Bel-Air and North Forbes Rooms. I know it's an unholy hour of the morning for print peeps but I hope you can check it out.

Some of the big dogs included in this three day gig are:

Andy Mulligan (UK)
Acclaimed authorof young adult novels Ribblestrop and Trash

David Parker (Hong Kong)
Chairman ofthe Man Asian Literary Prize

Vikas Swarup (India)
Bestsellingauthor of the Academy award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire and Six Suspects
Jose Wendell Capili (Manila)
Literary Criticism

Michael Coroza (Manila)

Isagani Cruz (Manila)
Literary Criticism

Jose Y. Dalisay (Manila)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Found this on Manila Bulletin on-line by Ronald S. Lim. It's one of those short survey thingies about Hallowe'en when our Feast of the Dead season arrives.I talk about Clive and Joe Hill in it. Read the whole article HERE.

The one that made them shiver…


October 29, 2010, 5:04pmThrough the years, writers have been able to make chills run down our spines with tales of tell-tale hearts and voices in the dark. But even the hardiest of authors will readily admit that even they have read or heard one particular story that has made them quiver with fear.

With Halloween upon us, the Students and Campuses Bulletin sought out several writers and asked them this: What’s the scariest story that you’ve ever read or heard?

BUDJETTE TAN, writer of the graphic novel ‘Trese.’ – “When I was growing up my dad would tell me stories about aswangs, and our maids would tell of scary creatures from their province. But the scariest story I’ve heard happened to my mother and me.

I was just a five month-old baby and we supposedly moved into a haunted house in Merville. Strange things were seen by my relatives, the maids, and the driver. They talked about lights being switched on and off, about hearing angry voices being in the hallways at three in the morning, and slippers moving on the floor on their own. One time, as the driver was backing the car out of the driveway, he looked in the rearview mirror and saw a young lady seated in the backseat. When he turned around to look, there was nobody there. My mom and dad didn’t believe in all these so-called ghost stories.

One afternoon, after my mom gave me a bath, she noticed that the right side of my face wrinkled up like that of an old man. My right eye stared at her. Angry. Defiant.

She slapped my right cheek and commanded the spirit to leave me. Even though she slapped me hard, I did not cry but just stared back at her. She ended up praying the entire rosary before my face returned to normal.
A séance was held in the house and the medium discovered there were two spirits, a father and a daughter, who died and still believed the house belonged to them. The medium explained that they were already dead and that they needed to move on. The father got angry and didn’t want to leave the house. He took over the body of one of the psychics and tried to make everyone leave. After the struggle, he and his daughter were convinced about their state and were asked to finally depart. Supposedly, after the séance, the weirdness stopped.’’

G. M. CORONEL, author of “Tragic Theater’’ – “It was the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” since exorcism is the subject of my book. What made it scary was the fact that the victim was possessed by not just one but several demons all at the same time.’’

KARL DE MESA, author of “News of the Shaman’’ – “Right now it’s a toss-up between the old Clive Barker short “In The Hills, The Cities” and Joe Hill’s novel “Heart-Shaped Box”.

For “In the Hills. . .” it’s mostly because I know exactly how people in the hinterlands, especially in the mountain boondocks like the Czech location depicted in the story, get up to some very bizarre things that somehow make perfect sense in the context of frontier life, but also since this is the only story I know that has capsulated for me perfectly the horror creature metaphor of what a body politic truly is.

“Heart-Shaped Box” is a crystal clear evocation of a modern haunting that is also a critique of our vicious, media-saturated consumer culture. Somehow it both frees and enslaves us; and yet with all our gadgets and fancy attempts at a global community we still seem to be none the wiser or compassionate for it. Spooky sh*t right there. ’’

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Ms. Gel Galang included News of the Shaman in a list of must-reads that included big heads like Chuck Syjuco's Man Asia winner Ilustrado and sir Butch Dalisay's Soledad's Sister. NOTS clocked in at number eight. Ayuz.

Btw Ms. Galang, Joaquin is the guitarist of fictional band Shadowland; the vocalist's name is Miguel. Digs? : )
Read the whole post HERE

8. NEWS OF THE SHAMAN by Karl de Mesa

Why you should read it
If you think you’ve seen the dirtiest, most fetid and putrid parts of our beloved city, these four novelas will take you for a ride with fading rock stars, druggie photographers, puppeteer politicians, and otherworldly creatures to a different Manila.

The Bida
Lucas the tripped-up photographer in “Faith in Poison” and “Angelorio.”

The Badass
Joaquin, the vocalist of Shadowland who committed suicide in “Bright Midnight.” Before you say “Kurt Cobain,” make sure to take in the unusual trips, the talking cars, and personal demons that come his way.


Because you need to know your alternatives when the zombie apocalypse finally comes. This is a real contest for undead shelters where you can vote for a winner HERE. Below are two of the contest entries.

I think the SS Huckleberry is the best option for an island nation like ours. Not that borders would be applicable in the post-human world. 



Monday, November 8, 2010


Thanks to Bong Sta. Maria and the editors of FHM Philippines.

This is inside the Ehra and Michelle Madrigal cover. Grab your copy now! Whoohoo!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


My awareness of street art first got deeper when STATUS MAGAZINE assigned me to interview the eloquent and articulate Brooklyn tag artist Caledonia “Callie” Curry, better known as SWOON, about her magnificent work.

With amazing, nail-on-the-head insight that transcended the usual Q and A stuff I did for profiles one of the things that Swoon said that stuck in my head was her motive and manifesto for doing street art.

She said "{Grafiti is} A way to change your city with your bare hands. A way to change someone’s day on their way to and from a routine. A way to participate. A beautiful collage. A massively vulnerable act, masked as aggression." Wow.

The danger, passion, risk and sheer effort it took to pull off their acts of beauty (that was, in its very nature, an art form that would likely disappear next week or when the wall owner decided to repaint) stunned me.

 The entirety of that piece can be read in the Status archive here.

Recently my co-editor recommended I watch the Banksy docu on the history on the movement and so I downloaded that shit (thank you, Lord, for the gift of peer to peer file exchange -- or perhaps more aptly, thank you, Sean Parker, for the seed) right away.

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP isn't just a documentary on the history, gestation and current state of the street art movement and the outlaw curation of urban spaces, it's also a cautionary tale about creative shortcuts and how art can at once be so misunderstood and appropriated by the people closest to it and those with the best intentions.

In short: this is mind-blasting stuff. You should watch it. It is wasak. You don't even need to like street art and graffiti to appreciate it, though I dare say it takes a lot not to be moved by a BANKSY piece.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Ang kawasakan ng Cephalic Carnage video. Bow. Watch and be awed.


Usok2 from Rocketkapre is out. Below is webmaster and editor Pao Chikiamco's love letter to Pinoy genre fans. And isn't the art just sexy sexy?

View the new antho HERE.

Usok 2 is Live

The second issue of Usok is now live! I’ll post my introduction here, but you can also see it on the front page of the new issue itself. I hope you enjoy the stories and the art, and if you do, please comment and encourage the creators, because feedback is sweet ambrosia for writers and artists. For those who are looking for Usok #1, you can get a PDF of the illustrated edition in the Past Issues section of the Usok site.

Introduction: Hidden Selves

Kept you waiting, huh?
It’s been a long journey to get to the second issue of Usok, and while I’ve had to deviate from my original plans for the magazine, I’ve learned a lot about editing, working with creative people, and the speculative fiction scene in the Philippines, during the past year. There were ups and downs, but I have no regrets; sometimes the only way to get any solid data about an endeavor is to try it, to let your plans and dreams drum against the craggy shore of Reality. Usok will continue to evolve from here on out, and I hope you will all continue to support the magazine.

One thing I’ve learned is that it’s easier to find a unifying theme among stories that I’ve already accepted, than it is to assign a theme and wait for the stories to come in. Or maybe it’s just serendipity that all three of our stories in this issue (released days after Halloween) touch upon the theme of hidden selves, the masks we put on for the sake of blending in with “normal” society. It’s a common enough theme in speculative fiction, but it’s one of my favorites, and I hope you’ll find that each of these stories engages it in an intriguing way.

My thanks to the authors, Kate, Elaine, and Eliza, all of whom were very gracious and patient during the editing process. I’d also like to thank Kevin for the wonderful cover and for recruiting our latest batch of excellent digital artists: MJ, VN and Mark.

As with the previous issue, some of the stories contain scenes that may disturb those who have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction – children, the easily offended, etc. – so please keep that in mind. (Kate’s “100% of Me”, however, should be 100% safe for all but those who are allergic to percentages.)
Okay, it’s been way too long since I said this last, so without further ado: Kwentuhan na.

- Paolo Gabriel V. Chikiamco


. . .And we wrap up our feature presentation on the scrunks here. Below are excerpts.


PART THREE: In which we present the “hits” of the emerging scrunk canon and where we inform you that neither the author nor the company is liable for grand mal seizures or similar traumatic reactions to extended listens. You’ve been warned.

Rap rock is back with extra crunk
Listen, these are the members of Hollywood Undead: Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man, J-Dog, Johnny 3 Tears. All of the band members also wear their own unique mask, mostly based on a common hockey design. The use of the mask and the pseudonyms are never explained, though it’s most likely a nod to how rappers take on monikers and how Slipknot made the stage mask cool again.

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, this band is the current poster-boy for the heavy rock side of crunk core. They’re notable for the lack of auto-tune in their vocals. The band originated in 2005, from a song titled “The Kids” that Jorel Decker (J-Dog) and former member Aron Erlichman (Deuce) posted on the band’s MySpace profile to astronomically positive response and click through hits amounting to something in the vicinity of 500,000 in a mere few weeks.

With badly rhyming anthems to youth empowerment, the perils of Californication, and reprazenting LA, this is the way Fred Durst would likely sound if he was 13 and dyslexic and had Papa Roach as his backing band. Still, their debut album Swan Songs (released September 2, 2008 under A&M/Octone Records) reached number 22 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release and sold 21,000 copies.

Their song “Young” is featured as a downloadable for Rock Band 2 and an instrumental version is featured in the trailer for the video game Velvet Assassin and also currently has three remixes and covers by other artists. Another song, “Undead,” is featured in the video games Madden NFL 09 and UFC 2009 Undisputed. An instrumental version of “Undead” is featured in a trailer for GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

The Critics Say: “While rap rock bands like Limp Bizkit mined old-school hip-hop […] screamo-crunk bands like Hollywood Undead look strictly to the new school: get drunk, get silly, wear loud clothes, have fun at all costs.” (Revolver Magazine, May 2009)

Similar Groups: I Set My Friends on Fire, Aiden, Jakewolfe, Outta Play, Scene Kidz, SnapKracklepop