The Wheel and Axle


Aurelio Postscript: Mabuhay ang Tanghalan!

by on Sep.17, 2017, under Literature, Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

Because I enjoyed it so much, I watched Aurelio Sedisyo: A Rock Sarswela again. I basically book-ended the experience, having first seen it during opening night and now capping it with the closing show. And while opening night was great, the production has definitely found its footing and is even more polished.

I’ve spoken previously of the wonderful performance of the cast members, but this time I was able to watch Baron Geisler as Tikbalang. Just like the rest of the cast, he is excellent onstage. Despite the occasional difficulty of being heard (it might have been his mic), Baron has a powerful presence, perhaps more so than his alternate, that truly helps embody the personification of American Imperialism. His is an imposing antagonist, one that is disturbing, hilarious, and frightening all at the same time – a portrayal deserving of the character.

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Legendary Len

by on Sep.12, 2017, under Geeky, Literature

Photo credit: Twitter @DCComics

Len Wein was a comic book legend.

I mean, he only co-created Swamp Thing and this little-known character called Wolverine.

He was an accomplished comic creator, both as writer and editor, and won multiple awards. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008.

Over at Marvel, Len was instrumental in reviving the X-Men in the early 70s with artist Dave Cockrum, co-creating Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. Without their work, the later Claremont run would have been nothing. The X-Men, as we know it now, would have never come to pass without Len. He also wrote for Daredevil, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, and Marvel Team-Up.

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Jessica’s Stories

by on Sep.09, 2017, under Literature

So Jessica Zafra’s The Stories So Far has been nominated for a National Book Award. Having gotten this fresh off print a few years back when it was published under The Library of Babel (of which I am the, ahem, Minister of Propaganda), I can guarantee it’s deserving of the nomination. Here’s hoping it wins!

If you haven’t read it, well, what are you waiting for? She still has signed hard copies available! Don’t miss it and the essay collection Geeks Vs. Jocks: each only at a great price of Php199.00 only. Email her at to order these awesome volumes from the legendary dominatrix behind the Twisted series.

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Deliciously Seditious, Part 2

by on Sep.04, 2017, under Literature, Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

Continued From:

Deliciously Seditious, Part 1

Aurelio Sedisyoso: A Rock Sarswela, beyond sedition and subversion, is also a grand zarzuela. It is a beautifully-boisterous production reminiscent of those colorful stagings of old, where drama and comedy were fused with music and choreography and, in some cases, cheeky but pointed social criticism. Simultaneously operatic and punk and everything in between, it seamlessly incorporates classic zarzuela accoutrements and traditional Tagalog song and dance with modern trappings such as rap battles, rock riffs, and hip-hop.

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Deliciously Seditious, Part 1

by on Sep.03, 2017, under Literature, Music & Theater, Society, Travel & Culture

I never thought the children’s song I Have Two Hands could ever be disturbing, but Aurelio Sedisyo: A Rock Sarswela – the latest musical from Tanghalang Pilipino – proved me wrong.

It tells the tale of playwright Aurelio Tolentino, who at the turn of the 20th century opposed the American regime in the Philippines through the mighty pen. He staged symbolic plays that condemned the colonizers as a way to continue the revolution after Emilio Aguinaldo’s capture. Together with Macario Sakay and Dominador Gomez, Tolentino was part of a triumvirate of resistance from different fronts: soldiers (Sakay), laborers (Gomez), and artists (Tolentino). Along the way, he befriends Manuel Quezon, an aspiring lawyer who believes freedom will come through political maneuvering into government, an idea that appalls Tolentino. Interspersed with the story of his cause is the story of his family, of how familial loyalties and love are tested in the midst of trials and tribulation.

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Danielewski, Japanese Coffee, and Trashy Soaps

by on Aug.27, 2017, under Literature, My Life

Yesterday, I and fellow Library Undergrounders Deo and Roni (now also christened “Bibliophibians” by Jessica Z.) went to the 2017 Philippine Readers and Writers Festival in Raffles, Makati. Originally, my plan for the weekend had been to go to the 2017 Asia Pop Comicon; however, given that my interest in that event plummeted due to a tepid guest list that I wasn’t really eager to see, it was an easy choice to switch to the literature festival instead.

Jessica had invited us to attend the Q&A session she was hosting for award-winning author Mark Z. Danielewski, who wrote such best-sellers as House of Leaves, Only Revolutions, The Fifty Year Sword, and the (planned) 27-book series The Familiar, four of which have been released and the fifth coming out this October.

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by on Jul.31, 2017, under Geeky, Literature

Today is the 52nd birthday of the Goddess of the Potterverse and Queen of Twitter, she who regularly puts the likes of Orange Hitler and Piers Morgan in their proper place with zingers so sharp they’ll bleed until the year 3243.

But of course, J.K. Rowling’s talents go way beyond decimating man-child trolls. She has earned her place in pop culture as well as literature with, who else, Harry Potter and his magical world. She is one awesome and tough lady, deserving of a lot of respectful roars in honorable salute!

Happy birthday, J.K.!

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Jessica’s got another writing boot camp.

by on Jul.11, 2017, under Literature, My Life

Sometimes, I can’t believe it’s been over three years since that first writing workshop by Jessica Zafra. I was lucky to be part of that first batch, and not only did I learn a lot (and finish the first draft of my first novel), but I made lots of new friends that I still keep in touch with. We still occasionally hang out for coffee, conversations about books and more, or just catch up. Some of us formed and still run The Library Underground; although the site is dead (personally, I think a revival is in order), the social media accounts are still alive.

If you think all that’s great and want to see what it’s like to learn from a master slash the dominatrix of the universe, well, you’re in luck! Jessica has run several successful workshops after our batch, and she has another one this July!

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by on Jun.02, 2017, under Literature, My Life

365 days of consistent blogging.

I actually did it!

I’d been blogging since my Friendster days (thereby aging myself), and I set up my personal domain years ago. However, for some time during those years, I blogged inconsistently.

Finally last year, I gave myself a goal: blog daily, consistently, for at least a year. After all, a writer… writes, as several mentors have told me. I needed to constantly write to keep my skills honed – especially since I’m still procrastinating on the sequel to the novel I wrote (which will soon be done).

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Are You Ready For It?

by on Apr.08, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky, Literature

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Since June 2016