Archive for January, 2011

Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal…Vack With A Vengeance

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 13 - 2011

Huzzah! (Or is that, hu-zsa?) It’s always good to hear that the Zsazsa Zaturnnah musical is back (from Feb 18 – March 13), and with a cast that includes Gabe Mercado as Didi. I caught the show way back during its second run, I think, and enjoyed it immensely, so I highly recommend it. Tickets tend to get grabbed up fairly quickly, so buy early if you’re interested. Here’s the official word from the CCP Tumblr:

Tanghalang Pilipino concludes its 24th Season with the power-packed return of its longest running, award-winning original musical comedy. Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal…Vack With A Vengeance – the production’s 7th run – will be staged at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philipines, on February 18 to March 13. The production is bound to wow the audience yet again and all the more with its brilliant, quirky, uninhibited ka-pow! PLUS an astounding new set design by Gino Gonzales, a powerhouse cast featuring Ms. Eula Valdez as Zsa zsa Zaturnnah; Ms Pinky Amador as Zaturnnah’s equally vonggacious nemesis, Queen Femina Suarestalla Baroux; the much anticipated new Dodong, the gorgeously hunky Rocky Salumbides; and more surprise elements incorporated into this year’s staging!

Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah is a powerful and voluptuous superheroine with glorious red hair and brawny physique, reminiscent of the DC Comics character Wonder Woman and the classic Filipino superhero Darna. The distinct difference is the sexuality of her alter ego Ada, who is an effeminate homosexual male. The proprietor of a small town beauty salon, Ada receives a huge spiky stone that, when ingested, physically transforms him into Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah – who will save the world from giant frogs, zombies, and intergalactic Amazons. The fictional comic book superheroine is created by Filipino comic illustrator and graphic designer Carlo Vergara. The character first appeared in the graphic novel, Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsa zsa Zaturnnah (The Spectacular Adventures of Zsazsa Zaturnnah), originally self-published in two parts in December 2002, and won a National Book Award in 2003.

The graphic novel was then adapted into a stage musical by Chris Martinez for Tanghalang Pilipino. With well renowned Vincent de Jesus spearheading lyrics, composition and musical direction; and award-winning director Chris Millado on board, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal never ceases to astonish its growing and diversifying audience from its first staging in 2006. This year, guests can once again expect to be taken another notch higher.

Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal…Vack With A Vengeance opens on February 18 and runs until March 13.

Review: From Darna to Zsazsa Zaturnnah…

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 11 - 2011

Few people are more keenly aware of the rift between “literary/realist” and “popular” than genre authors and komiks creators. For those who would like an overview of that debate within the Philippine context, from an academic perspective that is sympathetic to the possibilities inherent in non-realist forms, I recommend From “Darna to Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Desire and Fantasy” by Soledad S. Reyes. My review of this collection is up on, and I hope it leads more readers to Reyes’ essays–particularly the abovementioned genre authors and komiks creators.

[Image from Goodreads.]

Free Ebook Sampler: Circuit

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 7 - 2011

The thing about using a broad term like “speculative fiction” is that it can be a bit tricky figuring out what does or does not fall under that umbrella (especially with something more poetry than prose)… but I’m pretty sure that a book of blurbs about itself (the book of blurbs) qualifies, especially with contributions from familiar spec fic names such as Dean Alfar, Mia Tijam, Adam David, Andrew Drilon, Josel Nicolas,  Khavn, and Budjette Tan. Curator Angelo Suarez has thrown up a PDF sampler which you can find here, and I’ll let him explain the project in his own words:

This book was assembled in 2009 as something that was titled “The Blurb Project”— admittedly an unimaginatively unimaginative tentative name—intended for release w/in the same year. The procedure: Ask writers to blurb for a book whose content would solely be the blurbs to be collected from them, a critico-creative exercise in closed-circuit self-reference that could function as a collaborative epic poem of modular components. The material gathered was hence largely speculative: the book would talk about itself even before the book was complete, the collaborators either working blindly or else w/ what few blurbs were already available for their use.

Usok 2 Interview: Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 6 - 2011

Whenever an issue of Usok comes out, I conduct a short interview with the authors, to give readers some insight into the creation of the stories, as well as the authors themselves. As we started our interviews for Usok 2 with VN Benedicto, who did the art for “Elsewhere“, we’ll begin the author interviews with the author of “Elsewhere“: Eliza Victoria, one of the country’s most prolific authors of speculative fiction. Don’t believe me? Check out her newly minted author’s page here on the site, and see for yourself.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

It was just a what-if that came out of nowhere: What if there were a natural phenomenon – like lightning, or rain – that could create superheroes, but those superheroes couldn’t choose their powers? I thought it was a scary idea, and a sad one, and I had to write about it.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

There is a secret in the story, and it is always difficult to hide a secret.

What aspect of the story gave you the most joy?

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at using a different structure for the short story. I’d planned to use the structure of a film script, and even studied a handful, but couldn’t find a narrative to sustain the form. Then one day my boyfriend mentioned taking up a comic-writing class in the University of the Philippines, our alma mater, and I insisted on seeing his script. Before I saw his comic script, I already had the idea [for “Elsewhere”] in my head, but as usual couldn’t start it because I couldn’t figure out the right way to tell it to make the story different from all others. Then I saw my boyfriend’s script, and I realized, here it was: a narrative structure based on images, a structure I could use.

Not long after, he lent me several comic books, one of which was a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602. 1602 contains a sample script of the graphic novel. I studied that closely, and had fun writing those portions of the story.

However, I still don’t know if I could write an actual comic book script.

Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping Time by FH Batacan on Pakinggan Pilipinas

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 5 - 2011

Philippine podcast site Pakinggan Pilipinas has its first story out for 2011, namely “Keeping Time” by F.H. Batacan (best known for her crime novel, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”) from Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 3 and the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler. The story is read by spec fic author Alex Osias. Over at Pakinggan Pilipinas’ facebook page, they also have a note from F.H. Batacan regarding the origins of the story.

[Images from Pakinggan Pilipinas.]

Victoria, Eliza

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2011

Eliza Victoria was born in 1986. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications based in the Philippines and abroad, most recently in High Chair, elimae, The Pedestal Magazine, Expanded Horizons, Philippine Speculative Fiction V, and Usok #2. Her children’s book, Jeremy’s Magic Well, is one of the ten winning stories of the Gig Book story-writing contest and is now available from GASFI. She received a Palanca award in 2009 for her poetry collection, “Reportage”. In 2010, her short story, “Reunion“, won the grand prize in the Short Story category of the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards. Visit her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

Locus Magazine: Digital Subscriptions Available

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 3 - 2011

Via Bibliophile Stalker (specifically here), I’ve learned that Locus, the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, will now be available in digital editions beginning this year (and here’s more info). This is a great relief for those of us outside the United States–when I was trying to get a copy of the Locus issue with the reviews of Philippine Speculative Fiction IV and A Time for Dragons, a hard copy was the only option (and a difficult option). Locus is a quality magazine–the site gives you a good indication of what it offers–so if you’re interested in the SFF field, you might want to give those digital subscription options a good long look.



About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.