Always Forever by Ansh Das

Saw an old friend at an event recently and we briefly discussed this book, Always Forever. I have long wanted to buy it but have been putting it off until I have the time to sit down and read it. I did, however, read the preview at Amazon and already I felt like I was reliving the most private thoughts of the author.

With mostly friends and familiar people playing major characters in the story, I almost felt guilty, like I was peeking at someone’s diary. The book’s author, Ansh Das though is hardly a stranger. We started communicating through Facebook not long after the time when the story in the book started. As a fellow supporter of gay rights, Ad and I had discussed about writing for a website called globalgam.com then known as sfgam.com.

The book’s subject, Mikee, was a constant companion when I used to cover for the Mr Gay World competition here in the Philippines. Mikee died in 2011. He was only 24.

More than a personal tribute, this is a story about love and loss. It is a story about soulmates and a promise that is kept, Always Forever.

Penshoppe’s hot acquisition – Joyce Ramirez

After years of playing second fiddle to Bench, Penshoppe got a hot new acquisition that is putting them right back at the top of the game. No, I am not talking about Ed Westwick, Mario Maurer or even superstar Zac Efron. I am talking about Penshoppe’s muse, Joyce A. Ramirez of PR Asia Worldwide Communications Inc.

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I still recall when Penshoppe seemed insignificant and whatever they did (and whoever endorsed them) just seemed dull compared to Bench’s plethora of hot endorsers and events. Then last year, as quickly as those Bench Volcano billboards were taken down in EDSA (and Bench’s decision to make endorsers out of people like Willie Revillame), Joyce Ramirez announced that Ed Westwick from the popular teen show Gossip Girl would be endorsing Penshoppe.My twitter timeline went ku-ray-zee with the news and Penshoppe was in the center of the limelight once again. And this wasn’t about to become a one-hit-wonder that is bound to be forgotten as fast as these clothing brands change styles per season. In just a few months, Joyce once again announced an even hotter new model – Asian Superstar, Mario Maurer.

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Review: Bare, A Pop Opera

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Bare is a production of the Ateneo Blue Repertory. That is perhaps the most significant piece of information needed to fully appreciate the magnitude of impact that this play has on a range of issues including, but not limited to, homosexuality, gay relationships and the conflicting stand of society on the subject.

Unlike the recently staged Next Fall, which appeared mostly neutral on the morality debate of same-sex relationships/union, this college production from a Jesuit-run University, did not play it safe. It presented a reality that is familiar to most of us, a reality often ignored and left undiscussed. It left no room for gray areas.   It boldly showed how people often cling to their faith in times of uncertainty but this faith can be misdirected to a mere messenger that could very well get the message wrong.

Much of the credit goes to the material itself. Bare: A Pop Opera received the 2001 Ovation Award, Backstage Garland Award, LA Drama Critics Circle and LA Weekly Awards for Best Original Score and Best Musical. Damon Intrabartolo that wrote the book and music has done film orchestration in movies like Dreamgirls, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects and a lot more. Josh Hartmere co-author of the book and lyricist has written screenplays for Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street.

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On Jamey Rodemeyer and the state of being gay in the Philippines

In May 2011, Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo New York posted an optimistic video for the “It Gets Better” project that tells gay people to endure bullying and bigotry because things do get better as you eventually meet open minded people that know that being gay is not a disease nor a conscious choice that you can opt out of. 

On September 18 of the same year, he took his own life due to incessant taunting and bullying. “People would just keep sending me hate, telling me that gay people go to hell,” he said in the recording, which was posted to YouTube.

In Formspring where comments can be left anonymously, abusive messages were left whenever he would post about his unhappiness. “Jamie is stupid, fat, gay and ugly. He must die!,” one post said. Another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it. It would make everyone WAY more happier!”

In a previous post I mentioned that in our own country, the word bakla (gay) is used as an expletive along with tarantado (jerk) and putang ina mo (son of a bitch) even among very young children. In the media, local actors who are rumored to be gay get judged for not coming out of the closet but as encouragement to come out, they are being ridiculed. Celebrities that have had the courage to admit who they are like Aiza Seguerra has been labeled immoral and has been subject to verbal lynching, not only by devout followers of the church, but by co-celebrities that are being looked up to by the masses like Willie Revillame.

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Review: Milk

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“I am 40 years old and I haven’t done a thing that I’m proud of.” So says Harvey Milk on the eve of his 40th birthday when he and his then-lover decided to move to San Francisco to start a new life together. It is a move inspired by a need to be able to get away from the ‘hate’ that is all too familiar even at present when we, as a society, have supposedly progressed.

Milk tells the story of one of America’s first openly gay public officials who embattled oppression and inspired thousands of gay men and women all across the US to recognize their value and self-worth. This is a story of a man who remained unfazed against all the moralist judgment flung by people who disguise bigotry as an act of God. It is a masterful presentation of a man and a movement – in a city where police brutality is described as an imposition of God’s laws and how one person who stood up for the rights of those that are like him risked his own life to get his message across.

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Review: The Thank You Girls

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As part of our guild meet-up last Saturday, we checked out Charliebebs Gohetia’s ‘The Thank You Girls.’

Synopsis:

Tired of losing in all the beauty competitions in Davao City, six dysfunctional gay beauty pageant veterans decide to travel north to Cagayan de Oro City, in the island of Mindanao, with a mission to conquer the grandest competition of beauty, personality and brains in the province. They believe that being city dwellers, gays in the province will never stand a chance against them.

Passing through the breathtaking landscapes and cultural vignettes of the Mindanao provinces, each queer needs not only struggle to win a single title but also battles against his individual internal demon rearing its ugly head behind their pink masks.

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Can’t Win ’em All

“In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.” – MSNBC’s Keith Olberman

I supported two things strongly this November. Barack Obama and the NO vote on Proposition 8 that intends to ban gay marriages in California.

While the entire globe celebrated the history-making victory of Obama, proponents of equal rights in California took to the streets to protest the passing of Prop 8 which effectively overturned the SC ruling and banning gay marriages throughout the state.

This is a direct result of the misinformation spewed out by church organizations that promote divisiveness instead of love which is their primal doctrine. Atheists are not banned from getting married. Why then are gay people, who only want a chance to be in a legitimate relationship, be denied this right?

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