On Love and Erotica and ScenePH’s Picks of the Month
Ah – the month of love: the perfect time to be unapologetically up in everyone’s faces about professing and expressing their love for another… or the exact opposite of that – the sudden influx of almost-bitter sana all posts.
However you feel about this month, February always brings a good reason to put a spotlight on love. And this month, we’re doing exactly that and a little bit more: exploring intimacy in books and poetry; making 100 human beings on The Sims 4 (exclusively on our new Twitch channel @sceneph_); and finding love in the pre-loved.
To start off, we wanted to share our recommendations for the hopeful romantics, and close with a wish that there may always be a lot of love in your life – especially in the month of February – whether it’s from your significant other, family, online community, or even your furbabies:
Ansis’s Pick: Online Workshops
I know a lot of us are waiting for this pandemic to end so we can finally attend that acting or musical theater workshop we’ve been eyeing. But let’s be real, this lockdown won’t end anytime soon (you know who to blame). Good thing companies such as PETA, Repertory Philippines, and Third World Improv are conducting online workshops! You might think you won’t get the full experience with Zoom workshops. As a teaching assistant for an improv online class, let me tell you, it’s a totally different experience that is absolutely worth taking! The connections you build with your classmates through Zoom are also on a different level.
Bianca’s Pick: Razia’s Shadow
Razia’s Shadow is an album that was created by Forgive Durden back in 2008, but was never actually staged. It features the amazing voices of Thomas Dutton of Forgive Durden, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Greta Salpeter of The Hush Sound, and a ton of other amazing artists. The story of the musical revolves around the idea of purpose, passion and most of all love, and how these three things can conquer hatred and division.
It’s been nearly thirteen years since the album has been released, and it never gets old-there are always new lessons to be learned, lyrics to further process and get a better understanding of over time. Razia’s Shadow is also a reminder as to why I love theater in the first place, because I get to picture how I would personally want to stage it, and I am so sure that everyone’s got a different interpretation of how’d they want to see it onstage.
Lara’s Pick: Hadestown
How far does one go for love? To the underworld – and that’s pretty much Hadestown in the nutshell. Orpheus and Eurydice’s story is probably one of my favorite Greek Mythology love stories of all time, but as all Greek stories go, it doesn’t end well. Best believe that I died a little when I first heard Hadestown; and cried a whole lot more when I saw the show and realized that the final overture of the song opens exactly where it begins, the last bit of hope dangling with that perfect finish: It’s an old song, it’s a sad song / and we’re going to sing it again. (And that maybe, it’ll work out this time)
Film & TV
Ansis’s Pick: The 600 seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race that are currently airing (lol jk there are only 2)
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” RPDR has always been about diversity, equality, acceptance, and love packaged in a crazy stupid reality competition. Featuring the first trans contestant, RPDR is now more diverse than ever!
Kitkat’s Pick: The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)
Nostalgia meets the 2020s. Having read the original books by Ann M. Martin about a group of teenagers who put up their own baby-sitting club, I was equally curious and cautious about what the 2020 adaptation might be like. I’m happy to say it was refreshing! The show stayed true to the original narratives and characters, but dared to face the social climate of the (pre-pandemic) 2020s, taking a bold but very gentle approach to such heavy and relevant topics as divorce, self-acceptance, and coming into your own — just the kind of topics we need to remind ourselves that we aren’t alone, and that we can all do with a little more love and understanding, no matter how different or similar we are.
Nikki’s Pick: First Dates (UK and Spain)
First Dates is a reality TV show from the UK. The premise is that random people willingly go on blind dates on live television. You can already imagine the laughs, I suppose. I love watching this because it never fails to brighten up my mood, especially when I’m feeling extra ridiculous about myself. Believe me, there are worse things that could happen. Just watch this show and find out.
Bianca’s Pick: This Is Us
Why do I recommend This Is Us? *CRIES*
This Is Us tackles so many different issues, most especially complicated and unique family dynamics, in a very intimate perspective.
I’m sure we’ve all wondered how or why we got into the situations we’re all in, and what makes This Is Us such an insightful TV show is that it basically does a deep dive into the questions: “How did I get here? Why am I here?”. It also makes you think about the impact you make in the lives of others, and how vulnerability, openness, and love can change everything.
This Is Us is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Lara’s Pick: The Good Place (Seasons 1-4 now on Netflix.ph)
The Good Place is probably not the first show that you would think of when you think about love. On the surface, it’s a show that focuses heavily on philosophy, ethics, morality – what it is and what it means to be human, what it means to be good. At the end of the day, we find that the not-so-simple answer to that not-so-simple-question is something we’ve already known along: it’s love. The answer is love.
Kitkat’s Pick: A Hiccup in Your Happiness by The Lucksmiths
Once upon a time, a friend sent this to me to soothe a broken heart, and I think there’s no better time than February to pay it forward and spread the love. “A Hiccup in Your Happiness” is by far the most realistic heartbreak song I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, describing the pain accurately (we’re not alone!) and assuring us that healing and self-love does come—slowly but surely. “And it hurts even more than you thought / And it feels like forever just now / But one day you’ll look back on this / As a hiccup in your happiness…”
“I just want to love you, to love you, to love you well / I just want to learn how to be loved myself”
Written and performed by Sleeping At Last, Two aptly depicts what it’s like to be a person who is an Enneagram Type 2 – the helper – the one who genuinely loves to care about other people; the one whose biggest fear is being unworthy of love.
Arts & Culture
Ansis’s Pick: 808 Studio
Working out has never been this fun! 808 is a dance fitness studio that is currently offering classes online due to the pandemic. I’ve been living my ASAP backup dancer fantasy from home! Featuring songs from Dua Lipa, JLo, BTS, and more, there’s surely something for everyone!
Kitkat’s Pick: Facebook Group: Really Really Free Market Manila
Throughout the quarantine, we’ve realized just how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years; a big reminder that it’s time to declutter all this excess — and yes, acknowledge that there’s a whole lot we actually don’t need. Enter: “Really Really Free Market Manila,” a Facebook community that revolves around the concept of the gift economy, encouraging people to give (not sell) what they no longer need, so that those who do need your items can use them. Less consumption. Better sustainability. More love to share.
Jem’s Pick: I Hate and I Love by Catullus from The Little Black Classics
I was debating on which little poetry book to choose from and I ultimately decided on the sweet pining words of Catullus. He talks of his undying love for Lesbia from start to finish. It’s the romantic drama of ancient times.
Nikki’s Pick: 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
Reason: Call me basic, but this collection is still my favorite, both in English and Spanish. Penguin has a side-by-side edition if you want to see both versions. February always seems to make me feel a little bit more jaded than usual, which is why I whip out this volume when the month rolls in. I’d like for my jaded self to be proven wrong and that love is still something we can be optimistic about. This short collection helps a bit.
Jem’s Pick: Final Fantasy IX (PS1)
It’s been a long time since I picked up a classic FF game, and I decided that this month would be the perfect time to dive into the story of the many heroes in FFIX. The growing subplot growing between the two protagonists has huge dashes of adorable whimsy. More importantly, it’s a game that’s also about self-discovery and understanding your self-worth in the midst of chaos.
Lara’s Pick: The Last Guardian
Easily one of my favorite games on the Playstation 4, The Last Guardian is a story about companionship, trust, friendship, survival and love. I played this game once years ago when it first came out and to this day, I’ve yet to pick up another game that made me (as a player) fall so deeply in love with its characters: the cat-dog-bird like companion that I had to train and take care of, and the lost boy that I needed to protect. During the course of the fourteen-hour game, the relationship and bond that you build with the characters is as organic as the relationship they build with each other. Through them, you learn to trust blindly. And you learn that sometimes when you jump, there will be a giant cat-dog-bird-like creature to catch you.