Last Saturday I was able to attend two events: the Levi's launch of their Type 1 Jeans at Visual Workshop, and the SugarFree album launch at Freedom Bar. The SugarFree launch was fun, even if I didn't get to see the band perform at all. The reason was we came late, so when we got there the place was already so full it was impossible to get in. At the door were people standing, packed like hamsters c/o SBC. So we hung out outside where we got to see so many friends, some we haven't seen in a while. Jeline, who's got a hapon man now (half-Japanese boyfriend). Her sister Jenny, on vacation from Japan. The Itchyworms!. Ciudad and Quark. Echo and Akon. Ruby Ang. My Comm blockmate Genie Ranada, who did the beautiful art for the album, called Sa Wakas, and who happens to be lead singer Ebe's significant other. Cog's Yagi and Eric Perlas (also a blockmate). Katrice and Le Sexy Mark Lavin from the Flip Sweatshop. Alia. Doranne. Joey and Jason of Twisted Halo. Ciudad-monger Kathy, who gave me two cool buttons (danke ulit! :). Carlo Eustaquio of the defunct blog. Sigh Maano from Heights. The Fatal Posporos girls, and Earnest and Buddy, who showed off pictures of their baby girl Veda, who's grown but is still adorable. Two grade school classmates, Rody and Carlito. Dicta License and fellow C-man Kelley Mangahas, with another high school classmate and ex-Dicta drummer Bryan Makasiar. Also met Lala and (who I assume to be her) husband John, red as a beet from Boracay. I must be forgetting some people, I'm sorry. So it was a great big catching-up. And you go home with a great album, to boot. Caught up on some chismis, too.
As for the Levi's launch, well… it was apparently the first in a series of launch parties for the Type 1, each party serving a particular niche. In this case, Artists. The next one is for Stylists/Fashionistas, which Mich has been invited to also, and we speculate the next two are for Yuppie Fucks and the Boring Rest. Either that or Trekkies. Maybe People Good At Trigonometry? The party scheduled for 6 began slowly at around 9-ish, kicking off with Lyle Sacris's thesis short film. So we were treated to 3 screens playing simultaneously, beginning with a man masturbating to a mineral water bottle and culminating in a 20-foot close-up of a singing vagina and Lyle biting down on a razorblade, blood coming out his mouth while the camera circles him. Groans from some of the audience. The party took place in an empty studio, with artwork hanging on one side. I have to admit that some of them were pretty interesting, and Mich wanted to buy one but the price given her was, to me, extreme. I'm sure people like Carlo can do much better. Across the artwork was the stage, and betwixt the two, pillows and tables for people to sit and eat free food from Cibo and free alcoholic beverages from who knows. Honestly, who cares? Free anything always tastes good, as us C-Men always say. The crowd was mostly pretentious faux-artiste types, the comfortably rich, unemployed stoners who think procrastination is an art form, or something to be lauded. Not everyone was like that, though. There were some honest, sincere types. Just outnumbered. Occupying the table beside us was Mylene Dizon and Ryan Eigenman. It amused me to be near stars of Agimat and Lastikman.
I left to go to the SugarFree thing but when I came back Epy Quizon had joined his Lastikman buddy. Strider was in the house! So was John Sobrepena, who I wanted to catch but his set was too late for me. Quark's poppa Atom was there, and Hannah had joined Goldie and Mich. Oh, the things we do when we're drunk. By the time I got back Mich was hammered. Goldie had already done her pass out bit but had already woken up and actually seemed sober. Usually the interns are noisier than Mich but this time it was the other way around. Mich was so drunk she didn't realize she was screaming. Even before I got back I was receiving text messages saying "Kami na ni Epy!" and when I got there she'd tell me again and again as if it was late-breaking news. Actually, screamed is more appropriate. And then five minutes later: "I love him!" Two minutes more: "He's cheating on me!" and I look and he's sitting with a girl me and Mich both know. While they're within earshot she shouts "He's only using [name] for sex!" For once Hannah and Goldie are the docile ones, sitting on the floor watching the bands. Later, yet another spectacle: Mich takes 4 pictures of her crushboy. Back to back to back to back. And there's also a verbal exchange that is too precious, I think I'll let her blog about it instead. On Monday I quizzed her about what happened; she only got about 70% right.
Saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind recently, and loved it. Watch it. Surprisingly, George Clooney's is the best directorial debut of the year. The script by Charlie Kaufman is pitch perfect, though actually this kind of film I would have expected more from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose forte is biopic scripts (Ed Wood, Man on the Moon, The People Vs. Larry Flynt). Actors were all terrific, cinematography and colors were amazing, style is suited to the material, just a brilliant piece of cinema that came without too much expectation and blew me away. Awash in the post-viewing buzz, there is no better high than experiencing art that takes you by surprise, takes your breath away, sows seeds of thought and idea and concept that keep you up until the wee hours.
Two important film people died recently. Kinji Fukasaku, director of Battle Royale, The Green Slime, and co-director of Tora! Tora! Tora!, died of prostate cancer on January 12 at the age of 72 while in the midst of prepping Battle Royale 2 (you can find a 15-second teaser here), and now the project is in the hands of his son (who wrote the screenplay for both films, and was I think 19 at the time of the first). Hope he does good by it. Fukasaku is a pretty old director, but he has 61 films to his credit, and is cited as an influence by people like John Woo and Quentin Tarantino. However, it was only with the Kubrickian Battle Royale that he became known all over the globe. At the same press conference where he announced he'd be pushing through with a sequel to Battle Royale, he revealed that his cancer, which had been in remission, had returned. He said, however, that he wanted to use his remaining time left continuing to make movies.
"I hope to be able to continue to find wonderful projects with great directors and go on forever." - Conrad L. Hall
Which he had in common with cinematographer extraordinaire Conrad L. Hall. A legend in his own lifetime, Hall also succumbed to cancer, dying last January 4. He lensed 35 films. Some of his more famous films include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, and In Cold Blood. Myself, I only really came to know him from his Oscar-winning work on American Beauty, but his best work in my opinion is his last: Road to Perdition. You could take every shot from that film and hang it on your wall. His son's also a cinematographer; he shot Panic Room with Darius Khondji. Of all people, Tom Cruise recommended him to Sam Mendes, who hired him for Beauty and didn't let him go for Road. I wonder who he'll get now that Connie's passed on. One of the great things about Hall is that he's just a nice guy. He enjoyed working with young and first-time directors, and kept abreast of new technology (though mostly eschewing effects-heavy stuff) and people in his field, particularly giving props to women cinematographers.
Raise a glass for both men.