An author’s signature increases the value of a book. Signed first editions, especially by famous authors, can cost an arm and a leg (the Holy Grail of the moment is a signed first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, at £8,000 to £10,000), and while there are no hard and fast rules in book valuation, a signed copy is more valuable than an identical unsigned one.

For me though, the potential value of the book is secondary; the biggest thrill from getting a signed copy is being able to come into contact with the author (or illustrator) of the book, whether directly (through the rare book signings that happen in this part of the world) or indirectly (e.g. rummaging through the bargain bins and hitting paydirt!).

Continue reading “Signed!”

ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal (2nd time around)

Yesterday, I watched Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal with my best friend, my sister, and fellow Flippers Czar, Marie, MayD, and Ihop (with Mr. Ihop and friend) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

ZZZ 2009 poster (from

Because I have readers outside of the Philippines, I need to explain: Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah is a campy, original Filipino graphic novel by Carlo Vergara. It’s about a gay parlorista (hairdresser/ beauty specialist) whose alter ego is the busty, bodacious FEMALE superhero Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.

The graphic novel

Last July, the Flippers had a Zsa Zsa book discussion and we were lucky enough to have Carlo Vergara on hand to listen to our discussion and answer our questions about the book (and sign autographs too!). With him was Tuxqs Rutaquio, who plays the lead, Ada, in the musical.

CarVer and Tuxqs at the FFP discussion

Flippers take on ZsaZsa!

Yesterday was actually the second time I watched the musical, as I watched it on its second run at the PETA theater nearly three years ago, before I even read the book, and I have to say it was one of the best things I’ve ever watched onstage. The theater was small and the stage was in the center, and I really enjoyed watching it up close.

So I didn’t mind watching it a second time, although turned out to be a different experience for me.

A few boos: we had reserved P600 seats, only to find out when we claimed the tickets that our reserved seats had been sold to some other people (they refunded P100) and we had seats at the far end of the theater, along the side, and the most annoying of them all: right next to the exit door so all the latecomers had to pass in front of us. Granted, it was a night of horrendous traffic (Eheads concert at MOA), but theater policy should limit late entrance to the intermission, or else they need to devise a way to let the people in without disturbing any of the seated audience who came on time to watch the show.

And my beef: the theater’s audio was really bad. There were times when it was too loud (the earsplitting scene when Ada and Didi were screaming, thinking the house was getting attacked by stone-throwers) and times when the mics were crackly or picked up feedback. But most of the time, especially for the songs layered with background music and solos performed upstage — we couldn’t make out the solos. The play is a musical, they should have made sure everyone could hear it properly — isn’t that a theater rule, to make sure “the deaf old lady in the back row” could hear everything clearly?

The show was still enjoyable despite the aforementioned logistical and technical flaws, if only because of the show’s entertainment value. The camaraderie between Ada and Didi (played by Tuxqs Rutaquio and Joey Paras) was as fascinating as I remembered it, and Eula Valdez as Zsa Zsa was quite possibly even more stellar this time around. I also love that they updated the script and it was still laugh-out-loud funny (at least for what dialogue made it to our far end of the theater), but I really missed the overall WOW experience I had first time I watched it.

Oh, and I should have brought my copy of the book for a third autograph!

My copy: paperback (books I & II combined), bought at PETA run, autographed twice by CarVer (first at the PETA run, second at the FFP reading)

My rating: book 5/5 stars; musical – PETA run 5/5 stars; 2009 run 3.5/5 stars