Archive for April, 2011

Dancing With The Mac N Cheese

Watched Dancing with the Stars last night for the 1st time because New Kids on the Block was scheduled to perform with the Backstreet Boys. They performed their new collaborative single, ‘Don’t Turn Out The Lights.” I hadn’t heard this song all the way through until I watched their performance last night. I thought it was pretty catchy, very in tune with the typical “boyband” sound if there exists one. They had great choreography that was done by Kevin Maher, who has been choreographing NKOTB’s moves since the 2008 reunion of NKOTB. For matured men, they’ve got some pretty nice moves. I wouldn’t mind having a husband who could move like that. :0)

Subsequently, the groups divided up and performed their own exclusive hit with Backstreet Boys singing “I Want It That Way” and NKOTB singing “Step By Step.” I’m very proud to be a New Kids fan, always have been, always will. At the end of Step By Step, Joey McIntyre & Donnie Wahlberg (affectionately known as Mac n Cheese) stepped out onto the dance floor and broke out in some salsa moves with 2 of the professional female dancers. That floored me. Seeing Donnie dance like that immediately brought me to the flashbacks of my favorite movie he’s in, Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School. He had some sweet moves from that film, which he obviously put away in his pocket and pulled them out last night! Wish they would give salsa lessons on the cruise!

Man, this brings me back to 2008 when I used to have to defend the NKOTB Reunion on multiple articles, over and over and over again. Today, they don’t need defense, they’re holding their own. I know people put down the whole “40 somethings dancing around in a boy band” thing but the way I see it, if I was a woman married to a man like that or vice versa and we cut up the floor at a party, who’s going to complain then? And if he brought his friends and they brought their wives and we all did a number, is it really all that bad? For the last time, shut the fuck up, haters. The Backstreet Boys did a good job on their performance too, but I think they should have chosen a more upbeat song. It would have gotten people on their feet, y’know? Either way, seeing the performances last night got me excited all over again for the cruise & tour.

Check out the show!

“Don’t Turn Out The Lights” by NKOTBSB

“I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys, “Step By Step” by NKOTB

Both groups are going on tour together in the summer. Get your tickets!

Love(d) Letters

I used to write letters to celebrities I admired as a child. Paula Abdul & Joe McIntyre were two that I recall writing to. Who doesn’t do that? Remember those teen magazines like BOP or Tiger Beat? They used to have a page in the back where you could send fan letters to your “fave.” I’m not sure if I ever sent them as I found a few lying around in my old storage. Although, I have been known to be quite sentimental so I might have just written two copies of the letter and kept one for myself to read whenever I came across it.

I was inspired by Tracy Clark-Flory, who wrote a blog titled “Share Your Childhood Crush,” to go seeking for a love letter I might have written to Will Friedle as a kid. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. I did find one I had written to Joey McIntyre though. It was pretty lame reading through it. I had written simplistic sentences such as “I really want to meet you because you are so cute.” or “The New Kids on the Block are so great!” or “I hope I will get to see you someday in person because I really love you a lot.” What was I thinking? That he will come knocking on my door and profess his requited love to me? That he will be so moved by my letter that he will leave the tour and come looking for me, his soulmate? That my true & undying love will bring him into my life through fate? (Well, that last assumption came true as I followed his career and met my beloved in person in 2002.)

Stuff like that reminds of the innocence I once had and how it kept me untainted and why I cherish childhood memories so much. It’s like they’re sacred, cannot be touched nor tainted by modern adjustments. So, while I can’t send Will Friedle a love letter I wrote to him as a teenager, I’ll just blog him a letter I’m writing as an adult, just for kicks. And since I’ve heard from his peers that he is not up to par with modern technology, he will never see it anyway so I think I’ll just roll with it and have fun. Here goes…

Dear Will,

Hello there. How are you? I’m fine, thank you. (Why we always answer that question on our own I’ll never know.) I have met just a handful of celebrities in my life but enough to calm me down when I see one. Never getting overexcited, no longer starstruck anymore, and not at all overreacting that I am breathing the same air quality with one. So it would be so humble of you whenever we meet if you didn’t get overfensive that I wasn’t titilated to be in your presence. To be honest, I don’t even really see you as a celebrity. You’re just a regular guy to me so if you touch my breast prematurely, I will slap you…unless I’m turned on. Which, in that case, carry on.

We can go to the movies together, but I hope you won’t expect me to walk on any red carpets with you because that’s not really my thing. I’d rather get lost in the crowd than be the center of attention. I really want to go watch a romantic comedy an action movie with you. But just so you know, I might go into panic fright mode if I see any limbs being chopped off or eyeballs being drilled into. At that point, I’ll watch the movie with my hands in front of my face and constantly annoy you with questions regarding what is happening on the screen in loud, unfiltered whispers.

Another thing we could do is go to shows. I’m not sure what kind of shows you like to go to but me, I’m attracted to comedy, music and food. Do you eat? Because I sure do. It’s my favorite thing to do. Are there shows that involve food? I’m not really sure–oh wait, yes. Yes there is. My friends sometimes do a show called “Eat Now, Laugh Later” where they combine a dinner with a standup comedy show. It’s quite entertaining as you eat a nice fattening meal, and then since laughing burns calories, you laugh it off later. BAM. And that’s how we come full circle. Have you ever seen Liam Sullivan perform? He’s so funny, especially as Kelly. She’s…he’s…no, wait, she’s…umm…Liam/Kelly’s just great.

As for food, well, I confess. I have this fantasy where I get to take you to a Burmese restaurant, I order everything for us, we eat it, then you like it, and then you pay. Sigh…that’s such an ultimate fantasy of mine as Burmese food is just so darn expensive sometimes.

On a daily basis, I like to think about you at least once, because I don’t want you to get upset. I use an alarm so no worries there. I have a theme song when I think of you. It’s “London Bridge” by Fergie. Nuff said. That and “21 Guns” by Green Day, because it’s fuckin Green Day!

While most fans have sexual fantasies of sex, mine is more like wrestling, watching you voice act, and introducing you to ice cream with french fries. Not all three at the same time though. Otherwise, you may be overwhelmed with my energy. Hey, that reminds me. I started an “Ode to Will.” I mean, an ode to you. There’s no title and it’s unfinished. It goes,

In another time, in another place
You hold my hand, caress my face
In another world, in another life
I’d still say yes, I’d be your wife
In good times, in bad, we’d make it through
When I’m feeling sad, I’d still run to you

And then I thought that was too cheesy so I started a rap.

I roll stronger, harder, farther, are there
ways I can drive fast, fly fast, say hi that’s
cool. No complaints, No goin’ insane with the distance
400 miles gave me the chance to miss us
I flex my fingers when I text my words
So that next time I think of you, I’ll get nothing hurt
And when I realize you’re not next to me
I start turning my reality to fantasy

Ok, I’ve written an essay and it’s time to turn it in. After all, I still have homework to do for my screenwriting class. One day, I’m going to write one of the greatest stories I’ve ever told. Not one of the greatest stories ever told, just what I’ve told. I can’t say that because that would make me arrogant and I’m not one to stroke anyone’s ego, let alone have my own. Also, I’m falling asleep and it’s only the afternoon.

Nap time is my favorite because we could spoon.
Hey, that rhymed by accident.


P.S. I found an old YM magazine survey I completed but never sent. And there it is.

Fighting Back

*As I type this, the words in my head are in a British accent as I watched Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging last night. I guess it stuck just a little.

My aunt called me last night and invited me to dinner. I was excited to be able to have a nice meal with some family. It’s a bit of of a return to normalcy as some might say. I haven’t had that since Chinese New Year where my favorite cousin came into town to have lunch with all of us. It was quite an awkward experience considering I wasn’t speaking to my mum nor my grandmum.

We decided to go to ABC Cafe out in San Mateo. I ordered Curry Beef Brisket Chow Fun, something I had never heard of. I just love trying new foods. It was allright, but it wasn’t something I would try again, that’s for sure. Didn’t impress me much really. I would much have preferred a simple ham & egg sandwich over this dish actually.

Anyway, as we waited for our food, my aunt ambushed me. It felt like a trap! She wanted me to get together with my brothers and have a bit of an intervention with my mum over the shower incident. She said that her business partner and her are in an unhealthy relationship where he is constantly abusing my mother both emotionally & verbally. He tells everyone that he is the one earning the money when it’s my mum’s money that he is using; her social security, mind you. And when he runs out of cash, he yells at her for spending all of his money when he doesn’t have any in the first place! He’s basically treating her like an ATM! I can’t stand to hear news like this. As angry as I am with her, it doesn’t supercede the love I still have for her. She’s my mother, and I have to be there to help her even if she did choose that wretched, conniving sorry excuse for a man over me.

I want her leave him. I’ve always wanted her to leave his arse. He doesn’t deserve to have someone like my mother in his life. Unfortunately, my mother is such a weak soul. I am much stronger than she’ll ever be. I think the only way to get through to her is to empower her. My aunt thinks the only way to get through to her is to gang up on her and force her to leave him. What kind of strategy is that? This isn’t a sport, my dear auntie. This is real life. I just think we have to approach things a bit more delicately, a bit more tactful.

Just talking about it last night made my blood boil. All these violent thoughts roamed my mind and I wanted to commit a heinous crime against him, not that I really will. I’m angry but I’m not insane. I just don’t like anyone taking advantage of my family like that and I certainly won’t be allowing it to continue any longer. Something has to be done and it begins with me.

By the way, I had asked my aunt about the eviction and her reply was that I needn’t worry about it because that’s just procedure, and that my uncle is taking care of it…I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Brink of Collapse

When my world is collapsing, I turn to Will for laughing. He makes me happiest.

Just found out I’m probably going to be evicted after all. My aunt had told me 2 months ago that we didn’t have to move anymore, that we could stay because my uncle took care of everything when he returned from Hong Kong. When I came home today, a Notice of Trustee’s Sale was taped to the front door with my mother’s name on it saying that our place will be auctioned off on the 28th.

I’m not a stranger to eviction, not at all. But I really liked living here. Now I have to find another place to live and figure out how I’m going to pay my bills. I hate to say it but I wish I never spent so much money on NKOTB travel. That money could have saved me. I wouldn’t be stressing if I didn’t go to all those shows a couple of years ago. I’m not saying that I regret the experiences but I definitely regret not paying off the bills right away like I intended. I feel like I fucked myself over. Now I’m stuck. Luckily, I made a little bit of money on some stocks I had sitting in Vertex. Not much but it should suffice in case I need it. I sold it anyway so now, the money is just sitting there, waiting for me to need it desperately.

I guess we’ll see what happens to me in the next few weeks. A wedding to attend in a few days & nothing to wear; the eviction in less than 2 weeks & nowhere to move to; the cruise in 3 weeks & can’t buy new clothes; and a bachelorette trip in 6 weeks & I might not even have a home to return to. I’m going to have to get creative in making some money or cutting corners.

Fundraiser – Done

I don’t remember when I got so busy. My schedule used to consist of weekends where I could just chillax with my friends in front of a television with absolutely nothing to do. Now, I find my weekends to be filled with meetings, workshops and travel. I guess I brought it on myself, constantly signing up for things that unknowingly would take up most of my time. However, I must say, I actually do enjoy having a schedule to adhere to, makes me feel…necessary.

The fundraiser was a hit! We filled every seat and had a lot of people standing in the back. It was my first time hosting anything so I was pretty nervous. I figured if I couldn’t think of anything to say, I’d just be myself and let words roll off my tongue naturally. I was sketchy at first but after getting a few tips along the way, everything worked out. I was told I was “charming & engaging” and the next time I volunteer at Bindlestiff, I’d be the House manager! What an honor! So glad I was able to pull it off. Of course there were things I could have done differently but I’m learning as I go.

Our show had a nice variety of music, standup comedy & skits. Ann sang a song that Maggie wrote & Brandon composed, Toni sang songs she wrote and one cover, and she had a mini band with her friends, Danielle & Cheryl, Aivy, Richgail & Andrea did standup comedy, and we had a bunch of skits performed by Ann, Aureen, Andrea, Toni, Julie, Rose, and Maggie.

I’m so very lucky to be working with these girls. I wish we had recorded it but we were too busy trying to take care of other things. Here are a few pics from the fundraiser.

Photos by Augustus Tagaro

Our next fundraiser might possibly a fashion show, similar to the Chocolate Milk fashion show that Bindlestiff held a few years ago. That was my first time volunteering. I sold beer and lots of it!! Maybe I’ll host it this time. It would be so much fun because our ladies are gorgeous in both hyper & nonhyper-sexualized sort of way, which is what PMSTA is trying to be about…I think?

PMSTA Kick Off Fundraiser

I’m hosting a fundraiser tonight for Pinays Maintaining Sisterhood Through Arts(PMSTA), a women’s theatre group made of ladies from Bindlestiff Studio. A bit nervous but at least I don’t have to memorize any lines. There will be stand up comedy, some music, some original works that will be premiering at our show in October, and of course, some gorgeous ladies, as always.

I’ll post some pics tomorrow if I get any.

Back to School?

A friend of mine recently told me about wanting to get her MFA and that idea came into my head. What would I do with an MFA? What could it do for me? Besides, there’s probably no MFA in what I want to do, which is screenwriting.

Last night, a student raised his hand in my screenwriting class and asked about how to get into the business of writing for television. One method my teacher mentioned was to get an MFA in Screenwriting, which is offered at CSU Northridge.

Hmm. Kismet.

So I got to thinking, is this something I want to pursue? Isn’t it a bit late in life to be changing my mind? What a dream it would be to have a Master’s Degree under my belt. I’ve always believed in higher education. I did some research today on the cost to get this degree if I attended 2 classes per semester. It takes a total of 30 units to get this degree and if I took 6 units per semester & the cost of tuition remained at $2,254 at max 6 units, that means I would be spending a total of $11,270 plus housing, food, entertainment, necessities, & gas. Not to mention any bills I have to pay. Geez. The price tag is a bit high for someone like me. So I started looking into alternatives.

My teacher also mentions script festivals, contests, fellowships, etc. but none of them really gave me the satisfaction of knowing I’ll have tangible proof of some sort of achievement that a Master’s Degree will. Plus, it would be nice to see what it’s like to live in Southern California for awhile. I’ve always enjoyed those Venice Beach bike rides. My favorite SoCal activity by far. Yeah, I’m pretty boring, and yet I want to tell stories on film.

Anyway, here are just a few resources I came across. Maybe I’ll use them one day.

On The Page
Writing Contests
LA Film & Script Fest
CSU Northridge MFA in Screenwriting

Sonoma Film Festival 2011

Just got back from the Sonoma International Film Festival. It was worth every dollar today and I’m extremely glad I was able to go. I had to change around the schedule of 10 people just to be able to go but since we had moved it, an old friend of mine was able to make it so it worked out. I got an all day pass because since I wasn’t familiar with this festival, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get a ticket to just see the program I wanted to see. How devastating that’d be if I drove all the way up there only to be told it was sold out. I’ve only really had experience with the Asian American Film Festival just prior to this one and their short programs are always sold out. I was not willing to take any chances on missing The Dungeon Master.

My best friend came with me and we enjoyed an overabundance of Sonoma food. Together, we enjoyed quiche, spaghetti, ice cream, milkshakes, Bellinis, juice, steak, bread & butter, olives, soup, croque monsieur and salad. Yes, gluttonous sinners, aren’t we? We went thrift store shopping for rich people’s stuff but found nothing we really wanted to take home. (Maybe I just prefer the ghetto lyfe?)

Anyway, all in all, we saw about 20 short films today so we are pooped out on short films. My top favorites were The Dungeon Master(no bias intended), Sexting, Touch, Fishing with Supermodels, Run, Tapeworm, The Doctor, and The Reshoots. I wanted to mention that for Sexting, Julia Stiles did the longest monologue I’ve ever heard and I applaud her for that one. She was so great in it!

My favorite part of the day was dinner at The Girl & The Fig, and meeting The Strong brothers, Rider & Shiloh. Like I said before, I am so conditioned to be comfortable around celebrities now by NKOTB members like Donnie Wahlberg and countless other celebs, that I didn’t even get those heart palpitations that I used to get. It’s a little tragic but still a win-win. I know exactly when I can approach them & when I cannot, much unlike my Will Friedle dream. One thing I regret saying to them was, “It was so much better than I thought it would be!!” Ava, why the hell did you word it like that? As if you thought it would be crap? No. I thought it would be amazing & awesome, but I didn’t know it was going to kick ass and floor me. THAT’S what I actually meant.That’s what happens when I get excited about speaking my mind. My words just go all kinds of wrong. I hope they knew what I meant. When I was talking to Rider, I almost wanted to reveal to him how much I love his buddy, Will Friedle…but I didn’t. I didn’t want this kat to think I was trying to pass along a message or anything. It just would have been funny to bring it up but I didn’t want to act like a fool. Who knows what people really think of you after you’ve met them, right? Two sides to every face, yo.

Seriously though, I could have chopped it up with him all day, him AND his brother. They’re good folks. I’d just like to pick their brain for at least an hour, to learn more about the filmmaker world, the artist world, the creative world through their eyes. As for my take on The Dungeon Master, they killed it. You could tell they put a lot of thought into every aspect of the film. Dialogue was so real, premise left you wanting more, actors were on the ball, makeup & special effects were aligned with their vision, loved every single moment of it. I just wish I could see the rest of it because I felt like when the power goes out at the climax of the movie! I need resolution! I wanted to scream at the end of it, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Haha! They also won for Best Comedic Short film, big surprise. I’m so so proud of them, never even had a doubt that they would win something for it, it was so good.

During the Q & A, they mentioned their next project was going to be “Searching for Jake Ryan.” Without even knowing what it’s about, I already fell in love with it. What 80’s movies lover doesn’t know Jake Ryan? Granted that Sixteen Candles is a chick flick but I’m sure even guys have watched this movie. I strongly believe that even if it meant they watched it alone in their room, wearing nothing but underwear, eating popcorn with jalepenos & nacho cheese with bottomless cups of Coke, then denying they had ever even heard of the film upon mention. Rider told me I was their biggest supporter of The Dungeon Master. That threw me for a loop but I’m glad he knows I’m being supportive. I only support it if I believe in it. I hope they will be able to shoot their feature up in NorCal, at least parts of it anyway. If they decide to hold any auditions, I would definitely send all my friends their way and they’d even do it for free.

Hearing that they did this film on a zero budget and pulling favors from friends reminded me a lot of how my friends & I do things at Bindlestiff Studio. It inspired me to keep going. Just grow a crew and make art. That’s all there is to it. I fuckin LOVE this life. LOVE it with a passion. Glad I wore my lucky nail color today. :0)

Me with Rider Strong

Me with Rider & Shiloh Strong
Oh god, I need to lose some weight before I see NKOTB next month!

Food, Film & Fab

Well this weekend will be filled with food for me so diet is temporarily going out the window. Last night, I went to Station Cafe, and this weekend, I will be making pot stickers, lumpia, and chow fun with friends, going to The Boiling Crab, and also checkin’ out The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma. Food, food & more food! Oh geezus.

However, what I’m really excited about is going to the Sonoma International Film Festival where I’ll finally get to see The Dungeon Master, a short film made by Shiloh & Rider Strong! I love the geek-friendly premise of the film and I’m excited to see them in person. What I love most about the premise is that they delve into an area of adulthood that is often considered an embarrassment or immature. I read that Rider was quite the expert on Dungeons & Dragons in his youth. It must be so nostalgic for him to revisit & intensify a childhood game like this; coming full circle. I can’t wait to do the same with my own short film; with a different theme, of course. My obsessions are so ridiculous, they’ll have to get expressed one way or another. It might as well be in film, shown to the public! I’ll bet there are others out there with the same obsessions and it’s up to me to find them. Thanks for inspiring my journey, guys. This is going to be a fabulous weekend.

My First Taste of Video Editing

Got my first real taste of video editing on Final Cut Pro last night . Matt Abaya of I Don’t Care Films was nice enough to give me one-on-one lessons using the footage from our photoshoot. I have to admit, it reinforced my eagerness & drive to learn and move forward with pursuing more skills in filmmaking, both pre-production & post-production side of things. Hearing all about Blender, mapping dots, Adobe Premiere, rendering, b-rolls, DVCPro-HD format & much more, I realized I have a long & hard road ahead of me. However, I am willing to forge through it and get my own skills to where I want them to be.

Just like how I learned how to surf the web, all I have to do is just dive in and play with it. Using Final Cut Pro reminded me of the time I learned how to use Windows Moviemaker. Of course, Final Cut Pro is just 10 times more advanced than Moviemaker. Matt showed me how to transfer footage to the computer, change its format, and begin to edit footage. While he cooked his dinner, I was left to dive in and cut the footage for our PMSTA promo. I learned how to cut the video and insert them over audio from other footage. It was such a basic move but I was completely fascinated by it!! Of course that led me to ask a million more questions and want to learn even more!

In the end, we completed only about maybe 30 seconds of footage or less, but it made me realized how much work it can be if you don’t know what you’re doing. Learning Moviemaker took countless hours of trying to figure out what functions work, how and what they do, and what the program is capable of doing & not doing. I feel like Final Cut Pro is a program that probably doesn’t have limits within my imagination, as if whatever I need it to do, somehow, it probably can do it. Or perhaps Adobe Premiere is the way to go since I’m more of a PC than a Mac person. Will they ever merge to become one & the same? I doubt that. Ah well, in the meantime, we will just have to double our skills, become ambidextrous in trying to be “Pac” rather than just PC or just Mac. I love artistry. :0)

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