Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I love tip number 5: Start as close to the end as possible.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sadly, this is nothing new in the Philppines. The southern region, in particular, has been devasted by violence. The disappearance of a protagonist's father, a journalist in the Philippines, is what incites the action in my novel Letters to Montgomery Clift. Volumes can be written about how writers are targeted in the Philippines.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Within the first ten minutes, I knew that this movie would be a fine homage to the novel written by Saphire. Lee Daniels said he stalked the author for eight years, trying to get rights to do the movie. His determination paid off. The movie is the novel, yet it's not. It is two fine, creative mediums telling the same story.
I've seen Precious twice now and would highly recommend it.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
More and more, authors are being asked to be more innovative. There's the movie trailer where you sit in a dark theatre and get glimpses of movies to come. Well, now there is the book trailer. This is where modern technology meets writing and authors are asked to put together a clip explaining a book.
Above is a trailer for Tod Davies. She's an author and publisher talking about her work. It's probably a little more sophisticated than other trailers. Her husband is director Alex Carson. You can see me laugh (early in the trailer, 'round .32).
When my next book comes out, I'll probably do one of these.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Features D. Travers Scott, Myriam Gurba,
Ian MacKinnon, and Michelle Sewell
The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established authors and introduce the next generation of LGBT writers.
“Recently thousands of queer people marched in Washington,” said Series Curator Noël Alumit. “Clearly, we’re doing all we can to be seen and heard. I like to think this reading series is a part of a movement: we MUST be recognized. ”
The next reading will be held on Friday, November 20th 2009 at 7:30pm.
Friday, October 23, 2009
As you know, I am surrounded by books. Yes, I write, but I also host events at Skylight Books. Author events are nothing new to me. A book and author must be pretty amazing for me to schlepp somewhere to stand in line and get a book signed. Last night was such a case.
I'd been a fan of Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, for quite some time. He's a photographer and writer. I became familiar with his work from reading the pages of GQ. I follow him on twitter and regularly visit his blog. Click here.
I don't consider myself a fashionista, but I dig his work. He photographs everyday people and shows off an individual's personal flare. The people he photographs aren't models, actors, or designers. They're just folks on the street who express themselves through clothes.
When I view his work, I see an artist photographing artists, people who wear a coat, fling a scarf, or wear a hat as a means of personal expression. Last night, on the rooftop of the Beverly Center, I stood in line to shake the hand of a man who makes ordinary Joes and Janes supermodels.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here's an article sent to me from the Utne Reader on selling short stories. Click here. Thanks, Mark, for sending this link along.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I've had the pleasure of introducing him several times now and he never fails to entertain. He's boisterous and rude and you can't pull your eyes and ears away from him!
He has some interesting writing tips that I might try.
1. He outlines the sh*t out of a book before he writes a word! Hundreds of pages of notes before he writes a novel. He figures it out waaaaaay before hand.
2. He said imagination trumps research. I research the heck out of a project. I interview people, read tons of books to get a feel of a period. He said research does not necessarily make a good book. Imagination makes a good book.
3. He cuts himself away from the world. He doesn't watch TV, see movies, read papers. All of his writing is prior to 1972. He doesn't want to be in the current state of the world today. (I'm partially there. I don't have a TV.)
4. Writers grow. This may sound obvious, but I'm a writer with two books under his belt. James has seventeen! He may be famous for The Black Dahlia, but he said he's done with writing about murdered women. I wonder about writing about other things, other communities. I'm curious what my future books will be, then again, I'm curious about the future person I will become who will write those future books.
This quote is currently taped to my bathroom mirror:
"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." Joseph Campbell
To see me nervously interview James Ellroy, click here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm still hoping to get a book to him this year. For a collection, ten stories is a good number. I have six of the ten. I'm steadfastly working on the seventh. I have the remaining three, but they're in pieces. If I'm focused, I can get my agent a completed manuscript sometime in December.
I've never tried to publish a collection of short stories, but I'm not stupid about it. A collection of shorts is one of the hardest things to get published. I know atleast three amazing writers who didn't get their collections published. And those were during better economic times.
I'm guesstimating that my agent will give me notes by early 2010, I'll do revisions, and have something ready to sell by Summer, 2010.
Friday, October 09, 2009
In other news, I'd been worried about people in the Philippines. They'd seen some real bad weather lately. Now, I'm particularly stressed because there are reports of mudslides in the Mountain Provinces of the Philippines, where my family is from. An area that was particularly hard hit was La Trinidad, Benquet Province--where my father's family is from! I e-mailed family members wondering about their safety. No word yet.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Acting was my first love. I began pursuing it professionally when I was a teenager, getting my first agent at sixteen. I went to college majoring in Theatre. I thought I'd be doing it for the rest of my life. Then I discovered writing, a blind date that turned into a full on love affair. I found myself juggling two lovers.
About five years ago, around the time my father died, I sort of abandoned my first love. I felt the need to be alone, something writing allowed. I experienced a kind of transition when dad left, I truly felt like my childhood had passed away. My first love was a part of that. I'd heard that a son doesn't truly become a man until his father dies. I understood that.
Earlier this year, I began thinking about my old lover. In rekindling an old relationship, I talked about it with friends who encouraged me to go about it. I called up my agent, a very patient man, and asked him if he'd be willing to represent me again. He was kind enough to say, yes. I made sure my union cards were all in order and started auditioning again.
The fine theatre artist Michael Kearns asked me to be a part of his Queer Renegades at the Weho Bookfest. I took it as a positive sign. I went about memorizing lines again and rehearsing. It felt strange yet familiar.
I think that's why I decided to remove the "Literary" from my posts this year. My creative life will encompass more from now on.
Ironically, I started a short story about an actor. I do think I have a Hollywood book in me. If my return to acting will facilitate more stories, what a wonderful result that will be.
For a tour of the Weho Bookfair, click Here. Thanks to Karen Ocamb for sharing this link.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I donated money to the Red Cross and I plan to drop by an organization that is collecting food and clothes for the victims this week. I can't help but feel helpless over this. I'm e-mailing friends there hoping for their safety.
I'm sure they'll pull through. Filipinos know endurance, baby. Know it well.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I'd been working on two books, a collection of short stories and a novel. I'd been flip-flopping between them for two years. Out of the blue my agent called and asked me how I was doing. He wanted to know when he would see my next book. I sort of panicked. I told him that I'd get pages to him...soon.
It's not that I'm afraid of my agent. I just really respect him and his agency. Within a week, I prepared part of a manuscript and shipped it off to him. Now, I'm waiting for notes.
In the last week, I've readied the first 50 pages of my novel for him to read as well. It's amazing how a little pressure does wonders.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
From the organizers:
On Sat. Sept. 26 there will be a series of four Mobile Media Guides to Los Angeles' Historic Filipinotown. This is the culmination of Public Matters' first year of Pdub Productions, our collaboration with The Pilipino Workers Center, HyperCities, Remap L.A, USC, local youth and community members. And we have quite the event to wrap it up.
There are free walking tours btwn. 1-6 and then a big Barrio Fiesta fundraising party that evening at the Pilipino Workers Center, 153 Glendale Blvd.
Tour-goers will use GPS-enabled Nokia tablets to access audio, photos and maps that bring to life immigrant perspectives and time periods. Each guide features one central figure of the period but is augmented by many other personal stories of life in Historic Filipinotown or Los Angeles during the time period: a Filipino “Fountain Pen Boy” (1898-1945), a Filipino Farm Worker (1945-1965), a Latina Teen (1965- 2002), and a Filipina Caregiver (2002-present).
Highlights of the day include:
* High-tech meets history: Free Mobile Hi Fi Immigrant Guides Walking Tours from 1-6 pm
* A jeepney returns to the U.S.: The world premiere of the Pilipino Workers Center Jeepney. It will be our largest piece of "mobile media" and actually will be tricked out to play the guides.
* Celebrity Jeepney Tour: led by L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti at 1 pm.
* A Barrio Fiesta fundraiser: from 6:30-9:30 including food, performances, music, an outdoor screening of the youth videos from the project, a raffle, and more.
* Illustrations of jeepney parts by Emmy-winning animator and Simpsons Assistant Director Jess Espanola. Proceeds will keep the jeepney running!
* Jeepney T-Shirts
* Pdub Productions Youth Media Screening: at the Barrio Fiesta
To make reservations and purchase tickets and for the most complete and up-to-date event into, visit our event blog: www.hypercities.com/pdub.
Even if you can't make it, please consider making a donation, buying a ticket for someone else, or simply passing on the info.
And...if that's not enough, for those of you who crave yummy reasonably priced food (who doesn't?), The Good Girl Dinette is donating all of their tips next Wed. Sept. 23 to the project. They were recently named as one of "L.A.'s 99 Essential Restaurants" by Jonathon Gold. 110 N. Ave. 56 in Highland Park. http://www.goodgirlfoods.com/. Dine, tip often, and tip well!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
CALIFORNIA, United States—Seeing the massive show of love and support for Cory Aquino, Imelda Marcos reportedly expressed hope that someday her late husband also would be honored in the same way, perhaps at a state funeral. Having grown up during, and survived, the Marcos regime, Imelda’s wackiness no longer surprises me. But her wish left me with a jaw-dropping realization: They haven’t buried that dictator!?!
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’s death. He died in exile in Hawaii in September 1989, three years after being chased out of Malacanang. But the dictator’s remains are still lying in a refrigerated crypt somewhere up north. Someone should tell the dictator’s handlers that what he said was, “I do not intend to die,” not “I do not intend to be buried.” Still, in the spirit of reconciliation, and since we have just relived the glorious days of the People Power Revolution, bid farewell to Cory Aquino, and commemorated the martyrdom of Ninoy, it’s perhaps time to also focus on the positive side of the late strongman.Besides, it is also Marcos’s 92nd birthday (September 11) and the 37th anniversary of the imposition of Martial law (September 21). What can I say—September has really been an unlucky month for us.So allow me to present my list—and, believe me, I tried real hard to come up with these—of the 10 nice things one can say about Marcos.
1. Marcos taught us to disdain bullies. Ferdinand Marcos was not the first, or the last, president to abuse his power. But, certainly, he set a seemingly unbreakable record. The nightmare of his 21 years in power still haunts us today, a powerful, constant reminder of a chapter in our history that must never be repeated.
2. Marcos taught us to disdain leaders who flaunt their wealth. Marcos and Imelda did not invent wealth-flaunting. The elites have been doing that for generations well before he came to power, and it’s still happening today, of course. But the Marcoses certainly took the brazen display of extreme affluence, in the face of extreme poverty, to a new low. I mean how can how one justify owning 3,000 pairs of shoes?
3. Marcos taught us to be suspicious of leaders who acquire wealth. The current president just ran into this problem, of course. And the last one too. Yes, politics is still widely-considered as an easy road to easy money, but too much greed is now generally accepted as dangerous to one’s political career. And we have to give credit to Marcos for this, for making Filipinos extremely suspicious of political leaders who suddenly get rich.
4. Marcos taught us to disdain politicians who brazenly cheat in elections. Now, I said “brazenly.” For yes, election Philippine-style is still dirty. But given our experience with Marcos, there’s a line, especially in national races, that I suspect candidates will not cross for fear of sparking a severe backlash. (Or maybe not.)
5. Marcos taught us to be suspicious of leaders who warn the nation that because of some unspeakable danger to the country they simply must have more power. “Emergency powers” and “martial law” are two phrases any Philippine president must use with extreme caution nowadays. If not, you run the risk of facing ordinary Filipinos asking: “What was that again Mr./Madame President? You say the communists, the rightists, the terrorists are about to attack? Oh, and the Martians too, perhaps? And that’s why you need to throw all these people in jail, shut down all these newspapers and TV stations and kill those who say you’re a corrupt liar? Sir/Madame, I think we’ve seen this movie before. Napanood na ho ata naming ‘tong sineng ito.”
6. Marcos taught us that there is a big difference between discipline and fear. “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan (For our nation to develop, we need discipline).” That was the regime’s slogan for Marcos’s New Society. It worked for a time, mainly because people knew that by discipline, the dictator meant, “Shut up and submit, or else.” It got so bad that one US official observed that the Philippines in the 70s and 80s had turned into a country of “40 million cowards and one SOB.” Well, Filipinos were willing to let that be the case only for so long.
7. Marcos showed that friendship with powerful world leaders is no guarantee that one can hold on to power indefinitely. Oh, Marcos and Imelda look so happy and proud in photographs with Ronald and Nancy Reagan. They were friends after all. Reagan even sent his Vice President George H.W. Bush to Manila to praise Marcos’ “adherence to democratic principles.” Well, a few years later, the dictator was gone after the Reagan White House finally realized he had turned into a liability.
8. Marcos taught us to be wary of leaders who try to glorify themselves in songs, slogans, or big, ugly monuments. I was actually thrilled when Marcos imposed Martial Law in 1972. I was eight years old when it happened, and for a few weeks I didn’t have to go to school and there was nothing on TV but cartoons. But then, once back in school, my schoolmates and I had to learn these new weird songs about the new order and how everything was great about the regime.
And then there’s that gigantic bust up north. I’m glad nobody blew it up as some groups reportedly planned to do. For it stands as a powerful reminder of the twisted mind that once ruled our country.
9. Marcos taught us to be creative—in fighting back. Only in the Philippines could yellow confetti become a symbol of protest. And nuns praying the rosary in front of tanks—you just won’t find such an act of defiance in other places. But even before the People Power Revolt, during the darkest days of dictatorship, Filipinos were already coming up with creative ways to defy the regime. Students at the University of the Philippines used to launch lightning rallies, in which they march from one floor of Palma Hall to another, while yelling slogans and waving banners, and then quickly putting the banners away and dispersing before the cops showed up.
Even the artists dared try new things. Take my old boss and drinking buddy, the poet Pete Lacaba, who wrote a seemingly harmless, apolitical poem titled “Prometheus Unbound.” When read vertically, the first letter of every line said, “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta”—the famous anti-dictatorship slogan, “Marcos, Hitler, Dictator, Puppet.”
10. Marcos made us laugh and helped demonstrate that, even during dark times, Filipinos can still maintain a healthy sense of humor. Marcos and his crazy war medals. Imelda and her theory of a hole in the sky about the Philippines through which cosmic rays pass to protect the country from disaster. Admit it, Marcos and Imelda made us laugh. If it weren’t for all the people who died and suffered during the regime, we could look back to that time as funny and fun years.
Marcos and Imelda jokes kept us entertained even as we endured tyranny. And we didn’t even have cell phones back then for speedy mass distribution. I distinctly remember a classic during one of the rallies after Ninoy’s assassination and Marcos’s face often looked swollen as he reportedly battled lupus. The protest poster read: “Mamaga sana ang mukha ng nagpapatay kay Ninoy. (I hope whoever had Ninoy killed gets a swollen face).” Well, it’s funnier in Tagalog.And without Marcos, what would have happened to Willie Nepomuceno, one of the most talented Filipino humorists ever? He was so good with his Marcos impersonation, that during the critical hours of the 1986 People Power Revolt, when the dictator appeared on TV to prove he was still in charge, there were those who believed it was a ploy—with the popular comedian in the starring role.
Of course, Nepomuceno’s career faced a crisis when Marcos was kicked out of the country, and later died. But he quickly bounced back, doing other politicos, including former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada. Fortunately, like the late tyrant, Willie Nepomuceno did not intend to die.
Not much of a list, but can you blame me? It’s tough to say anything nice about a dictator in a freezer.
In any case, to Marcos supporters, let me say this: There may never be a grand funeral for the late dictator, with big adoring crowds, a military honor guard, 24/7 TV coverage, and flattering commentary in media.
But don’t worry. We will never forget Marcos and what he did to our country. Ever.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Features Ama Birch, Richard Villegas, Kim Savo
And NPR/BBC Journalist Cash Peters
“I think Americans are really interested in what we have to say,” said Series Curator Noël Alumit. “From marriage to the military, our lives have become important topics of conversation. We should let people know what we think and feel!”
The next reading will be held on Friday, September 25th 2009 at 7:30pm.
The reading will feature:
Cash Peters is an author and broadcaster based in Los Angeles, California. He can currently be heard on Marketplace on American public radio, and every week live on BBC Radio 5 Live. Cash has written seven books altogether, including his latest, Naked in Dangerous Places. http://cashpeters.com/
Ama Birch has had a wide variety of jobs: barista, prep chef, personal assistant to a mortician, stagehand on rock concerts, carpenter, amanuensis, educator, day camp counselor, and Christmas ornament shop clerk. Ama has written three full-length pieces for the theatre, and she has self published two chapbooks of poetry. Currently, she is living wherever she is working and looking forward to the publishing of her first full-length book of poetry Sonnet BOOM
Richard Villegas graduated from the University of Southern California’s Masters in Professional Writing program in the spring of 2008. He has published an essay and poetry in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Latino Arts Anthology 1998-2000, respectively. He currently teaches small people in LA Unified as he revises and revises and revises his novel, A Genealogy of Cannibals.
Kim Savo serves as a deputy federal public defender in Los Angeles, defending poor people accused of federal crimes. She writes to stay connected to her own humanity and to make visible the humanity of her clients. Before becoming a lawyer, she taught literature and composition at East Los Angeles Community College and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Echo Park with her partner of 13 years.
The Promising Series will take place on Friday, September 25 at 7:30pm. Skylight Bookstore, 1818 North Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 660-1175.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
As I made my way through the trees of Griffith Park, the first sentence came to me. I had other parts rolling around in my head, but couldn't get started. I NEEDED that first sentence to get me going. Finally, it came:
They always make me ugly--that's what men do to women they're afraid of.
I know it's a draft and will be reworked, but for now, I'm quite proud of it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
That's me on the left. I was put up front because of the sorry lot that went on this trip, I was one of the more athletic ones. That's not saying much about the other folks. Anyway, most of the river was really scenic. I found it meditative.
Of course, this was river rafting and there were several rapids we had to overcome. There was one point where we got stuck on a rock and our raft filled with water. Thanks to the quick thinking of our guide, we freed ourselves. Atleast two of my teammates were thrown over and had to be rescued.
Here's a picture of me up to my neck in water. The rapids were overwhelming. It was definately a highlight of my year.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
She's a tiny woman, no taller than 5 feet. I joined in the photo taking. Fans were huddling around her and pushing me aside. I almost wanted to push back, then I realised the ones doing the pushing were other tiny Filipinas trying to get a glimpse of her.
Later that evening, I ran into some Filipino guys and told them that I saw Nora Aunor. They reminded me that poor Nora got in trouble with the law in Los Angeles a few years ago. She was alledgedly packing meth in her purse. Dirty details here. This only confirmed her superstar status. A star turns to drugs and tries to turn her life around? You only hear about that in the movies.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
I was stunned to hear of the passing of Corazon Aquino, the house wife who liberated the Philippines from the Marcos dictatorship. The torture and mayhem that came from the Marcos regime spurred the plot of my first book, Letters to Montgomery Clift. Ms. Aquino's heroic acts was a plot point in the novel.
I honor her for her bravery, but I am most taken with her path. Nothing in her upbringing would ever suggest that she would lead a revolution and preside over the country that she was born in. Girls of her generation in a country like the Philippines were not raised to become presidents. They certainly weren't raised to become revolutionaries.
This is what I found most interesting about this woman, who has become a symbol for many in the world. Those of us who ever dreamed of rising above our circumstances, becoming greater than what we could have ever imagined could look to this woman for inspiration.
Rest in all encompassing peace.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
We were different writers. I wanted to write deep, thoughtful work exploring the human condition, while Mr. Harris wrote fun, dashy, soap operetic novels that could be digested in one sitting. Regardless, we relied on the same medium to tell stories.
What made me respect him even more was his gumption. This was a man who couldn't get his first novel published. So, he self-published it and sold copies ouf of the back of his trunk. Amazing.
I regret not meeting him. However, I firmly believe that one leaves this earth when all the work one needed to do is done. Mr. Harris, thank you for your work. You did a great job!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Of course, I kick myself, thinking: why didn't I just keep the way it was. I wonder: I just wasted two months on something. Or I beat myself up: why didn't you think of a better solutions a long time ago.
Well, this is just the writing life and what I go through. Revisions, revisions.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It's mine. I see the world in a particular way. I think it my Voice that has gotten me published thus far. It's what has gotten me any kind of attention. I'm grateful for it and want to cultivate it more. Unfortunately, it doesn't yield a lot of money. I do have those debates of Voice versus Commerce. I used to date someone who said that if I want commercial success, I need to write something for the masses. We're no longer dating.
It's something I wonder about as I get older. Then, I remember why I started writing. I promised myself that I would not be a whore if I ever got published. You see, I was this actor that seemed to cave when it came to making money. Can you please audition for a demeaning stereotype to get work? Sure. I felt like such a cheap whore.
When I wrote, I swore to keep it pure. I'm still trying to hold onto that. At times, my grip seems to be slipping. Well, grip tighter, I guess.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington)
Kiran Sharma is a twelve year old doll-playing-ballet-dancing American boy of Indian descent. From the very first page, Kiran will charm the pants off of you. He says, “I’m surprised that my mother still doesn’t know. Surely she must notice her cosmetics diminishing every day. Surely she has noticed that the ends of her lipsticks are rounded, their pointy tips dulled by frequent application to my tiny but full mouth.” And young Kiran wants to be a God, the Hindu deity Krishna. His divine path makes for a memorable journey.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
(Los Angeles) The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established authors and introduce the next generation of writers who will explore the GLBT experience.
“The Queer Voice is more important than ever,” said Series Curator Noël Alumit. “In America, gay rights has become a polarizing issue. In other parts of the world, you have gay men who are being executed in the Middle East and lesbians being raped in South Africa. Those of us who can speak, should.”
With the unfortunate closing of A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood, The Promising Reading series has moved to Skylight Books in Los Feliz. “A Different Light Bookstore gave a lot of queer writers a launching pad,” said Noël Alumit. “I was saddened with its closure. However, Skylight has always been supportive of queer writers and was kind enough to host the series and support its goals.”
The next reading will be held on Friday, June 5th 2009 at 7:30pm.
The reading will feature:
Cheryl Klein’s first book, The Commuters, won City Works Press’ Ben Reitman Award and was published in 2006. Her novel Lilac Mines was published by Manic D Press in 2009. For more of her writing and blogging, visit http://www.cheryl-klein.com/.
Raquel Gutierrez is a community based performance writer and cultural activist. She is a co-founding member of the queer performance art ensemble, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan, and has written their first play currently in production called The Barber of East L.A., commissioned by a humanities initiative at USC that enabled the troupe to work with Luis Alfaro. http://www.raquefella.com/
Scott Turner Schofield’s first book Two Truths and a Lie (Homofactus Press) was a finalist for two 2008 Lambda Literary Awards, and made the 2009 American Library Association's Rainbow List. His latest performance, “Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps,” plays at Highways in Santa Monica June 12-13. http://www.undergroundtransit.com/
Orlando Ashley is an actor and comedian embarking on a literary career in Los Angeles.
The Promising Series will take place on Friday, June 5 at 7:30pm. Skylight Bookstore, 1818 North Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 660-1175
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I wanted to write this post to acknowledge the death of an important Asian American academic, Ronald Takaki. Read more here. I read his book "Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans." It was mind blowing.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
There were some books that I really enjoyed, but I wondered if they were "Summer" reading. I don't want to insult readers, assuming they just want fluffy beach books. I'm hoping to have a spectrum of books available. But just ten?
I e-mailed the editors and hoped they would consider more book features because something I've witnessed: there are a lot of great queer books coming out!
If anything, I hope to feature them on this blog. Oy!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
I saw him read at a conference at UCLA years ago. He was known as Manong, loosely translated as Uncle. Read more about him here.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
There was something personally uplifting about this for me. I read the spectrum: from John Irving to Toni Morrison. Seeing young people making an effort to read about other cultures other than their own was really inspiring. And isn't that the way it should be?
All of the students, probably born in the late 1980's, had never heard of Montgomery Clift or the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. In that way, I'm glad my novel had educated them.
Here's a pic of the dignified author (in tan jacket) with a melee of students. Maria, the woman in front of me, teaches the class. They were really great.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Come one, come all. I am honored to serve as host for another Dead Poetry Slam produced by Smartgals. It's this Sunday night, April 26th. It really is one of those events you must experience. It's a hoot seeing professionals artists interpreting the work of poets no longer with us. Read more here.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Waterboarding is not torture, says a person for truth, justice, and the American way. I don't know. Simulating drowning sounds like torture to me. Reading about the American doctors and psychologists who helped torture people sound like the same medical personnel in Nazi Germany who experimented on Jews. Those people stained the profession and shouldn't be called doctors.
I thought this from Fox News Shepard Smith said it all:
We don't fxxking torture!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The writer's life is hard. It's filled with insecurity and fear. However, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Somewhere in this life is the satisfaction of creativity and the belief that I'm doing something to help the world somehow.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I'd been toying with making a drastic change to the protagonist's profile. It would layer the character, but it scares me. It would open a whole a new, uncharted door.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Yeah, I spend years researching stories about love, war, injustice but what I'm really writing is smut! Read more here.
Amazon is calling the deranking of gay books a glitch. Does anyone hear the sound of back pedaling?
Friday, April 10, 2009
I grew up in the area (John Marshall High School, class of 1986--woohoo!). After college, I moved back because it was an AFFORDABLE place to live. It had a true artist's community. It was diverse in every way and as a gay Filipino man I'd never felt more comfortable.
Then the neighborhood changed. The rents got higher and when I looked for another apartment in my neighborhood, I got depressed. I was priced out of a neighborhood that I, as an artist, helped define. How can I forget those snooty documentary filmmakers who moved in along the way. The ones the LA Times did an article on for remodeling a Silverlake home, the home that had the same person living in it for a million years. "Remodeling" was another word for gentrifying.
I was looking in Glendale for a place to live. I had to drive through Silverlake to get there. By chance, I drove by a reasonably priced apartment that just opened up. I snatched it. Trust me when I say, seeing a For Rent sign was odd.
What was even more astounding was seeing a nearby Hollywood apartment being advertised at The Coffee Table, a local cafe. The apartment was less than a thousand dollars. I nearly choked! Is this downturn actually driving the rents down? It might actually be affordable again.