Saturday, December 30, 2006
I'm in Bangkok right now, but I got an SMS from Jason Wee this morning. It was about our book, SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century.
"We're the ST best non-fiction book of the yr! We beat out cholera, 9-11, big macs and the entire subcontinent of india."
Woohoo! Many thanks to whoever at the Straits Times did the picking. If someone's got a transcript of the article, please do send me a copy! Won't be back till next Wednesday. :) Btw, if you're having trouble finding a copy, I believe they're still out in force at Kinokuniya, though Borders has been bled more or less dry by Christmas sales.
Now, let me just home and scan in that article...
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Life! says that if I'm gonna continue as a theatre reviewer for them, I'll have to stop writing commentaries for Today. Despite the differing subject matters (I've written exclusively on individual theatre pieces for Life! and on visual arts festivals for Today), it's just not SPH policy to have freelancers write for competitors. Tch.
Terry and Don, two of my bestest JC friends, have invited me to go with them to Thailand! I'll be there from the night of Wed 27 Dec to Wed 3 Jan. It's my first time in Bangkok as an adult. I have been told it's inspiring.
My friends will be flying back on Jan 1, but I couldn't get an AirAsia flight back any earlier; shoulda taken the bus and train; I mean, two days alone in Bangkok, what am I gonna do????? ;)
Seriously though, I could do with advice. E.g. I wanna write a Fridae article while I'm there but I don't speak Thai... how to be edgy news reporter like dat?
Oh yeah - here's an article I wrote for ST that ran in Life!, Tuesday 19 December, 2006, p7. Not the greatest article in the world, and it required some amendments from Deputy Editor Tan Hsueh Yun. But for the record, here it is.
Will be on hiatus for a while... getting out of town. See above. ;D
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Well, today's my third and possibly final review in front of the Singapore Musical Theatre Society (MTS) for my new musical about the life of Singapore pioneer artist Georgette Chen (her self-portrait's on the side).
The score's written by the very talented (and alarmingly young) composer Clement Yang, who's leaving the pharmaceuticals business to become a full-time guitarist. The review is sung by a bunch of volunteers, including myself (we're very very low on penises among the volunteer cast).
The musical's being incubated as part of Five-Foot Broadway, an initiative of MTS to develop new musical writing talents. If all goes well, we could have a show at the Esplanade during the next Arts Fest.
(God knows I've chosen a thoroughly commercial topic. I'll do my transgender bisexual Cyrano de Bergerac operetta when I've got more of a name for myself. Yes Rizal, go ahead and call me a sellout.)
Update: My god. Island-wide flooding caused immense logistical problems. I ended up having to read for about 3 different roles myself. The critics who did make it gave way too much musical feedback for me to relay to the composer. I burnt out at the end. Generally positive feedback on the text, though.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Here's my latest commentary in Today newspaper. I took on the National Museum this time - sigh, I really do like what they're doing, and I didn't give it such an inflammatory title myself (I called it "Payback at the Museum", like some John Woo movie). But I have to admit, this current headline makes you jump a little more.
If I hadn't had to edit for space, I'd have mentioned that Museum Director Lee Chor Lin has demonstrated support for the arts consistently in the past - she commissioned Royston to film "The Old Man and the River", for example.
In fact, the Museum is publishing a response tomorrow. Probably putting forward the statement that they have to present as objective a view of history as possible, etc, etc. They have their point. Akan Datang!!!
P.S. Of course this ends any chance I have of staging "David Marshall: The Klezmer Musical Extravaganza!" within their premises. (Sob).
Update: Ooh, here's Dr Lee's reply:
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Sweet! They're finally featuring my site on Farm.sg! Which means it's a perfect opportunity to advertise my next gig.
I'm promoting my poetry book last boy at Earshot Cafe at the Arts House next Thursday evening. It's a special combination of the Poetry Slams and the Writers Connect events organised by Chris Mooney-Singh.
If you can't turn up, well, you can go for my National Book Development Council event that I've choped in May, or you can buy the book from Kino, Borders, Earshot, Books Actually or directly by mail from Firstfruits publications - this works internationally.
Anyway, in case you're still up for my slam performance, it'll be on
Thursday December 14th
between 7 to 9pm.
Urg. That was the headline given to my review of Agni Kootthu's O$P$ in yesterday's Life! I'm getting paid for it (thanks for the lobang Xinyi!), so I can't complain, but I figure I might as well post the review as I originally wrote it - without the introduction cut out.
(In case it wasn't apparent in the review, I thought Max Ling from certain angles was pretty hot. Or maybe I just wanna fuck a samseng)
This is a dangerous play to watch. I came to O$P$ (OweMoneyPayMoney) expecting a documentary of social victimhood in the world of illegal money-lending. What I encountered was something greater; a powerful tale of a tragic hero, all the more empathetic for his psychotic cruelty.
Yet sadly, he conveys little variation in voices, thus confusing several characters in one's mind. And while initially gripping, Elangovan's scenes eventually become formulaic, almost inevitably ending with Zelo's brutal outbursts. Thankfully, the play climaxed before this cycle became wearisome.
In terms of stagecraft, Agni Kootthu triumphs through cunning use of a spartan selection of props. In the final scene, mere smears of ultraviolet paint and two flashlights enable Ling to transform into a luminous skeleton, bones daubed on his body, plucking circles of light from the air to feed his hungry mouth.
In a time of sophisticated theatre, the pared-down, minimalist violence of O$P$ delivers a jolt of raw, cathartic energy to the jaded viewer. One can't help but love Zelo - as an outlaw, he wreaks chaos not for just the moneylender, but on our behalf.