Monday, December 25, 2006

In The Raven, Port Huron, MI

I was enjoying a gigantic cup of hot chocolate and a bread bowl filled with black bean soup with Alex and my high school friend Jennifer at a place called The Raven, which is in the town where I grew up, Port Huron, MI. The Raven is a two-floor coffeehouse. The building housing it is of the Civil War era - one of the oldest in Port Huron - which, after an eight-year process, has been restored with many details authentic to the period. It is a really cool place; so cool in fact, I felt the need to tell Alex that there was nothing like it when I grew up, lest he think I'm lying about how boring my childhood home was.

Everything about the place made it completely unlike the Port Huron I knew. From the fine coffees to the gigantic couches where people were expected to sit and hang out for awhile to the twenty- to thirtysomething single crowd to the vegetarian options on the menu were totally at odds with the drably practical, remote, family-centered carnivorous farmers that surrounded me as a teenager. Part of me was pleased to see that things do change, but another part was fiercely jealous of every twelve- to eighteen-year-old queer person of color growing up in Port Huron now.

We sat there after enjoying our meal chatting and just generally goofing around, when a rough-looking man and two younger guys sat down on a couch situated diagonally from ours. I overheard them for a moment say "meeting" and "sponsor" and from the rest of their highly-charged, awkward conversation could only assume that it was an AA or NA gathering. All three were white and had probably never left Port Huron or at least Michigan in their lives. They ordered a gigantic urn of coffee and between themselves sucked the caffeine down rapidly, as those in recovery tend to do.

At some point, they were all laughing. It was that kind of conspiratorial, I'm-ribbing-you-but-we're-MEN-that-can-take-it-so-I-can-do-that, straight guy laugh. That laugh has always made me uncomfortable, because I assume that something frightening is about to be lobbed my way. At the very least, I assume that something about me - my queerness, for example - is inspiring the laughter. I ended up subtly glancing over to prepare myself for the homophobic barbs that would soon be hurled at us just in time for the older, rough-looking ringleader to catch my eye and then glance at my lap. I thought for a moment about what attracted his gaze: me and Alex holding hands.

A tense moment, and then...
ROUGH-LOOKING ONE: Hey. What do you think of my friend? Do you think he's attractive?

Here it is, here it is, here it is. What do I say? Alex has turned away from them and frozen. I look at his friend who, in all honesty, looks awkward and covers his face behind a weird hat and his body behind ill-fitting clothes. He is not, however, unattractive, so I muster up as much butchness and...

ME: You look fine. (and then to the rough-looking man) Yes, he's attractive.

ROUGH-LOOKING ONE: What about you?

He's looking now at my friend Jenny. What could that mean?

JENNY: Very attractive. You could do something about that sideways basebell cap, though.

The rough-looking one smiles. I can't help but to interpret it as sinister as his gaze turns back to me.

ROUGH-LOOKING ONE: Thank you both. Just taking a little survey. (turning to his friend) See, you'll be able to get girls if you just go up to them and talk to them. You just have to talk to them. You look good.

And that was it. He proceeded to ask all the waitresses the same question; they went back to their conversation, and we went back to ours. Although I had trouble concentrating on talking for a moment as my brain processed the fact that the rough-looking man noticed I was queer and his only thought about it was that it would be a good means of boosting his buddy's self-esteem.

And my fierce jealousy toward all those twelve- to fifteen-year-old queer people of color growing up in Port Huron now pleasantly intensified.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Don't Let Yourself Be Hurt This Time


I am trying not to be excited, because I was really excited in September 2004, May 2005, August 2005, April 2006, and again November 2006, but this artwork looks really real, doesn't it? Click the link for the latest rumors:

Will it be 1 set,[sic] or 2? Artwork Added

Rosie "Ching Chong" O'Donnell

I promise I'm not becoming one of those blogs that just re-posts a bunch of YouTube junk, but I love this clip and have been watching it over and over and over again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Miracle of Birth

There's a weird skip in the middle, but you'll still get it. All that Orwell British-ness reminded me of the other British thing I like.

Four Great Motives...

...for being a writer, as set down by George Orwell. As in my recent post, this is from Why I Write.

Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

1. Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen -- in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all -- and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

2. Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

3. Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

4. Political purpose -- using the word "political" in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples' idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

It can be seen how these various impulses must war against one another, and how they must fluctuate from person to person and from time to time.

So where do we all find ourselves in this? If I were to break myself up into percentages, I'd say I am 20% egoism, 35% aesthetic enthusiasm, 10% historical impulse, and 35% political purpose. These, of course, fluctuate as Mr. Orwell says. Historicism grew and squelched ego for Unstick the Woman, whereas egoism stole some ground from aesthetic enthusiasm for Beautiful Day.

Come on writer friends, weigh in: Fastlad? Cake? Mendi? Belledame? Boyfriend? How do you usually break down? Are you more one motive than another? No need to treat this as a tag meriting a whole post on your own blog (unless you want to). Just comment here.

As a side note, am I the only one who has read The Clergyman's Daughter by the same Mr. Orwell? I really think it's a highly underrated book (Orwell himself hated it), and something that I wish would happen to one of the Bush twins or Paris Hilton. If you have read it, please share your thoughts on that, too.

Prime Deal Inn


Get more bang for your buck when you stay at the Prime Deal Inn and watch Inland Empire...!!! In addition to the movie in the movie in the movie, for die-hard Lynch fans it's like 11 full-length features in one!

I know I keep promising to really write something about this movie, but it's a difficult thing to do. There's so much to say. I did manage to find a review that encapsulated a lot of what I think, however, on Indiewire:

Into the Woods: David Lynch's "Inland Empire" by Michael Koresky


There's also a great review (but one decidedly for film buffs - er, cinephiles... I know I just offended someone) at Slant:

Film Review: Inland Empire


Of course, there's plenty I'd like to say, but for now I might have to leave it to the experts.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One Way or Another or Another or Another

Here's an interesting chain of events...

I spent a few minutes going back and starting to label old posts way back from the beginning of my blog. I added labels to this post about DEVIANT and writing and academia and republished it, and then Mendi O. over at SWEAT gave it a read. I guess she must be using one of those new-fangled blog readers that tells you when there's new content on your favored sites, and the reader assumed th newly labeled site was actually new content.

Anyway, she left this comment in response to my post:
"'But on the other hand, what have you done more recently: seen a play or read an article of cultural criticism? Which ultimately is the reason I turned away from academia. What good is a good thought if no one ever hears it?'

lol. I have totally read an article of cultural criticism since I've seen a play. I've read a gazillion articles of cultural criticism since I've seen a play. Ok. so I'm an academic and therefore maybe not your audience (though I love your writing), but I'm an artist, too, and I think there are way better reasons to be a playwright than some idea that people don't read cultural criticism -- like what plays do (or can)!"

The funny thing about this is that I've been thinking about going for a second master's degree or for a Ph.D. the past month or two. Probably cultural or visual studies - something equal parts sociology, art history, and new media studies, but without the preponderence of statistics, stuffiness, or overabundance of technobabble in each of those fields. What's even funnier is that I see this return to academia as a direct outgrowth from my life as a playwright/artist. The truth is that as much as I like writing plays, the relentless pounding at it in order to build the momentum of a commercial career doesn't thrill me as much. The ideas behind the plays still do, however, so it's not like I want to stop writing. I would, however, like to write something other than plays sometimes, and to have my work informed by larger ideas sometimes than what's entertaining or politically current or who's paying me a little $$$ to write for them.

So clearly I'm not in the position to argue with Mendi, even though I apparently was in that place a little more than a year ago.

HA!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Know Thyself

"...[T]he more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity."

- George Orwell, Why I Write

Wheee... Wii!!!

Holy crap. We spent the afternoon at our friends' home playing Tennis and Boxing on the new Nintendo Wii (or Bimtendo Wee-wee, as Maya Rudolph on SNL says). I got all tired and sweaty, and it was AWESOME. How great is this console. I swear to god Nintendo isn't paying me.

It was 4 -6 of us just playing games, but we were really talking and interacting with each other, and we were really working ourselves out. I'm pretty amazed that a video game system can be this interactive and social. Not crazy tunnel vision, I'm playing - who are you, real world person?

Whew - I'm kind of exhausted. It's a total cardio workout.

Wii!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gay Evangelicals

I'm not sure where I stand on this. I mean, for the people, of course: more power to them. But I wonder about the rest of their political world view. If you're gay and don't question such oppressive religious philosophy, have you questioned the repressive patriarchy that is part of evangelism? What about the racism that pervades many evangelical sects? Do you really believe that people can be so hateful and still be living their lives through god's love? Check out this article from the New York Times:

Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance

Tiny Moves

In case you missed this, please...ENJOY! This was the Deep House Dish sketch from Saturday Night Live like two weeks ago or something. Why is Maya Rudolph so totally brilliant?

What's in a Name?

For personal reasons, I'm thinking about legally changing my name. Any thoughts?

I often say my name is Adelfo Rey Pamatmat. In the Philippines, however, the mother's maiden name is kept as a middle name, so really my name is Adelfo Rey Montinola Pamatmat. My father and I also have the same first and last name, so really my name is Adelfo Rey Montinola Pamatmat, Jr. Throw in the whole Catholic confirmation thing and my name is Adelfo Rey Vincent Montinola Pamatmat, Jr.

My mother always called me by my middle name (Rey), because everyone called my father Adel. It was a good way of distinguishing me from him. Since I don't really respond to Adelfo or Adel, I'm wondering if it won't just be worth it to legally change my name to Rey. As many of you out there know, as a professional name I use A. Rey Pamatmat anyway, so people who don't know me will still know to call me Rey.

Once again, any thoughts?

The cartoon was created by Jen Sorensen at SlowpokeComics.com.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Search String

Since belledame222 over at Fetch Me My Axe seems to like odd search strings that lead to her blog, here's one I got from yesterday:

"dead baby Port huron michigan thanksgiving mary"

Huh.

Happy Anniversary!

Oh my gosh, I was so blue about the movie that I didn't realize that my 10,000th visitor viewed my blog yesterday. Yes, I know that there are many blogs that get 10,000 visitors in a month or even a day, but since this is just a silly blog about the buh-jillion things that influence my writing and nothing broader than that, I think 10,000 is quite a benchmark!

According to Sitemeter, my 10,000th visitor was someone from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He got to play rey play by searching on altavista for "you've lost that loving feeling," and ended up here.

In celebration, here are some hot brazilians. Including Rodrigo Santoro, whose as pleased about my 10,000th visitor as I am.





ARGH!

Inland Empire was sold out last night. Instead we saw...

For Your Consideration

I mean, it was fine I guess. Since the gestation period seems to be shorter than it was (or maybe that's just my perception of it) and all of the actors involved seem busier with other projects than they used to be, I'm wondering if we just can't expect these movies to be as good anymore. Or maybe we're just too used to seeing the actors themselves and knowing what they do.

At any rate, not as good as Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show, so I think waiting for video (which was my initial instinct) is a good idea. In a pinch, though, it definitely got me through my sadness at missing Inland Empire viewing number two.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm Going to See It Again

Tomorrow. And maybe next weekend, too.

Afterward, I think I'll be able to talk about it more, as I promised I would.

Friday, December 08, 2006

See What I See and The Old Made New, Part 6

In case you haven't guessed, I did finally get the Pentax K100D I'd been lusting after. Yes, that's the 6MP one, not the 10.2MP. Who needs that except for real pros? Not I. I've never even shot in medium format film, so 6MP is perfect for a 35mm guy like me. Maybe one day I'll try for something more, but for now this is doing me just fine.

Taking pictures helps my playwriting. I think that because the characters in my plays tend to be going through very internal changes, I sometimes forget how those changes can be reflected visually. But taking pictures is what made New what it was, for example. It was knowing what a mismatched kitchen chair meant in an apartment that was supposed to be the perfect home. It was knowing how being suspended high above the ground was the perfect way for a woman to escape from her life. It was knowing how it would feel when a car's headlights flared brightly in a dark theatre.

TOD: ...somehow, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
- New, The New Theater 03/03

Needless to say, I've been having a lot of fun with my new camera, as you can see over on Kuh-chik. I've been experimenting lately with night shots, which is something at which I've always been pretty bad. But the flexibility of digital - being able to select film speed, not having to change film when light changes (and with the variety of light used outdoors at night - eek!) - has made it much easier and less expensive to try things out. I've shot over 200 pics already, that's at least six rolls of film (at pro film's 36 exposures) assuming I never had to change film when light changed, so it's like more than $100 in developing and printing that I haven't spent.

I love it I love it I love it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kuh-chik!

I've started a photoblog! Check it out here.

I'm only promising a new picture every week. I've got a few saved up for the first few days, though, so check in everyday to see what I've been seeing.

Please leave comments of any sort and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Know You've Been Waiting For It...

...I've been waiting to write about it, but I was at a friend's b-day party Monday night and missed watching the last Heroes episode of the year on TV.

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***
DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN
THE 12.04 EPISODE OF HEROES
OR THE FIRST 6 EPISODES
OF LOST SEASON 3

How many times and how many ways can I say that this show totally rocks? I actually don't know what to write except that, this is how you should end a mid-season. Not like the stupid shit that LOST Season 3 served up. There is really no reason to watch LOST anymore. Heroes does what they do times ten.

I also think that if the creators stay as involved with the show as they have been, they'll never run out of good stories. It's like Twin Peaks, with a cast this big you can always shift focus. Throw people in, slowly (or quickly in the case of Eden) pull people out. AWESOME!

So, of course, the big question: did Eden kill herself so Sylar wouldn't get her power? Or did Sylar kill her and get her power? I mean, it certainly seems like she shot herself in the head (to destroy her brain and the source of her "persuasion power" - or as I'm sure other comic book geeks out there will call it, "The Word"). Also, what up with the Haitian! What does he have against HRG? I can't wait to see how all that works out, especially since Clare has now seen the less scrupulous side of her Daddy, dearest.

AHHHHH! It was so good I don't know what else to say! I hate that they now have to save Power-sucker Peter, though. I want him to blow up, and to take his brother with him! And is he retaining everyone's powers now? How did he get that flash of the future?

Okay, okay...any other fans out there have some thoughts?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Super Mario Super Faggot Show

Um... does this idiotic 13-year-old realize that he's probably gay? Listen to the whole thing, really. It gets more and more revealing as it goes. He's really thought out some interesting kink deep inside his little closet.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Other Boyfriend

I'm totally re-obsessed with Chris Isaak again (this happens every couple of years - although, this is nearly twice in one year). Check out this song...


It's off his 1998 album Speak of the Devil (which also features this song I love called Talkin' 'Bout a Home).

He's so dreamy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Heh Heh

Photo by Terry Richardson.

A little homoerotic Batman and Robin never hurts, especially since everyone seems to be so into slash these days (click here and here).

Re-learning re-writing

Before Mabou Mines and Beautiful Day, I was working on this other play. Kind of a Pericles, Prince of Tyre adaptation with homeless queer teens of color, kind of my take on reviving the theatrical genre of romance (in the Winter's Tale, Cymbeline kind of way), mostly as an excuse to do preposterous things onstage and blame it all on MAGIC!

I think one of the hardest things about writing a play is that as you're doing it, you have to learn how to do it. How do I write this specific play? What is the structure that will make this one work? Why do I have to create a new machine, different from all the machines I've already built? And usually you learn, and once you've learned you've finished a draft, and then you start with the tinkering and re-writing and making the play itself match the thing you've learned how to do in your head.

The problem with this play, though (which is currently but not decidedly named Undulating Movements on the Surface), is that after learning how to write it, I had to abandon it and start something new for Mabou Mines. And now, one year later, I'm trying to get back into Undulating Movements... and it's pretty damn tough.

I read it and I cringe, thinking, "God, I could do this so much better now if I just throw it away and write an entirely different play." But that seems like a lot of wasted time. So instead I've been trying to re-learn how to write the play that exists, which is an odd thing for me, because when I abandon a play, I'm usually totally done with it. I just don't think that I can recreate a place I was in in life and write from there again. Perhaps that's too weirdly metaphysical, but there it is.

Anyway, after trying to do this re-learning for nearly three months, I've finally started to change things. I'm almost done with a complete overhaul of the first act, which only took me three days to do. That either means I've gotten back in the groove or I'm totally fucking the play up. We'll see.