Showing posts from January, 2016

Dance in a constellation of possibilities

Last year a widely admired celebrity passed away and someone equally famous and respected said something along the lines of, “In a parallel universe, he is alive and smiling.” It was the least consoling sentence I heard about death.

The multiverse theory, however, has its share of believers, if not “considerers.” Those with big imaginations (fictionists) lap it up. It is easy to divine its appeal: This life sucks. I regret doing that. If only I could turn… If there is another reality in which life isn’t so bad and I make the right decisions, then maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up.

But reality — this time-bound, linear one, save for the vivid dreams and occasional déja vu, where we burn our skin when we play with fire and it hurts like hell — has a way of imposing itself. For now, as ordinary human beings, this universe is all we can care about.

A recent and so far successful (based on its glowing reviews) piece of literature that explores the nature of a multiverse is Nick Payne’s dram…

Sherlocked yet again

Before Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. became THE Sherlock Holmes portrayers for TV and film, respectively, there was William Gillette, who took on the role of the consulting detective on film, stage, and radio in the early 1900s.

In Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, Gillette becomes the main character of a crime story and gets to “play Sherlock” in two ways: first, as an actor who has recently starred as Sherlock Holmes in a Broadway production; and second, as a gunshot victim off to discover who the perpetrator is and their motive.

The show opens with the final scene of Gillette’s theatrical performance, where he is shot in the shoulder just as he’s about to take a bow. Later on he’s back to his Connecticut house, where he recovers, spending Christmas with his mother, co-actors, and a theater critic. As it can’t be avoided, instead of the usual holiday conversation, they talk about Gillette’s shooting and how it may be connected to recent mysterious deaths.

Repertory Philipp…

Artisan voyeur

Inside each of us lies a voyeur, furtively glancing at a stranger, wondering what’s underneath, if not imagining stories of their life from the little details available to us. Someone stands out in a crowd — because of his expression, because of her hat, because he reminds us of an old friend, because she acts like a character from a book.

Not many of us manage to get closer and so we remain a curious observer; yet some, who are ingenious enough, cut the distance. Self-described “artisan voyeur” Luc Fournol rubbed elbows with the greatest people of his — and to some extent our — time: Louis Armstrong, Pablo Picasso, Yves Saint Laurent, Ernest Hemingway, Sophia Lauren. As a photographer he captured images of these artists outside of a studio and in their own workshops and homes. “It is the subject who interests me. The technique is secondary,” he said.

Fournol had taken black-and-white portraits of icons of the 20th century but died before he could gather them for an exhibit. Now his f…

Dwarfed by the islands of giants

We laid the pebbles and seashells on the bamboo table for a final inspection. My friend had what seemed like a semi-precious stone — a jade — though, too translucent, it might only be a shard of glass. “That’s a shard of glass,” said island caretaker Maruja. “But it’s not jagged, it’s smooth,” I protested, as if I knew what I was talking about. Maruja, without calling me out for my ignorance, explained that it was sea glass, “It’s a piece of broken glass polished by the waves.”

It wasn’t the first order of business to comb the shoreline for mementos to take back to Manila, but the island’s calm, iridescent waters beckoned us to look under and claim whatever we could carry with our two hands. A day’s worth of island-hopping had us looking under, above and beyond until we found things we could no longer tuck in our backpacks — larger rocks, limestone formations, a long stretch of sandbar, a green lagoon. Until we were struck by a splendour we couldn’t wrap our heads around.

Islas de Gig…

Death on Twitter

Elsewhere, a mourning contest.

Death as an aside.

Thin line between eulogy and clickbait.

Thoughts on the abominable bride

If you think about it, retellings and adaptations are fanfics written by professional writers. And no two Sherlock fanboys are better at tickling the fandom’s imagination than BBC One’s Sherlock co-creators and writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

You can tell that Gatiss and Moffat are the ones giving themselves a holiday treat in the series’ special, The Abominable Bride, aired on New Year’s day — after two years of no Sherlock. The tandem previously expressed their desire to see Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) in the milieu that Arthur Conan Doyle had placed them in.

They’d been itching to do it. We’ve seen how they managed to make their modern-day iPhone-carrying Sherlock wear a deerstalker hat before. Now, in The Abominable Bride, they’ve gone full-on Victorian, with Sherlock carrying a pocket watch, smoking pipe, and uttering the classic lines “The game is afoot” and “Elementary, My dear Watson.”

Not only did the show runners got to …