Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

For a TV show that ran in the 1970s with just 12 episodes, Fawlty Towers was impressionable enough to be named the best British TV series of all time. #becauseJohnCleese

So profound its legacy that a theatre company produces shows around the world so you can relive your favourite Fawlty Towers moments!

Faulty Towers, The Dining Experience at Frontera
Yes, the misspelling is intentional.

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience sees Basil, Sybil and Manuel back together to charm and serve restaurant diners, i.e. you. Throughout the 3-course dinner and 2-hour interactive show, be prepared for familiar characters and gags, and whatever surprises that come your way!

Confession: I’d not seen any of Fawlty Towers’ episodes. In my defense, I was (am) a Monty Python fan! … and then there were newer shows on telly.

No biggie, just take a crash course by skimping through a collection of Fawlty Towers funny moments. It helps to know the characters and their nuances before the dining show.

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Jaya One
Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is held at Frontera Sol of Mexico in Jaya One

I don’t want to spoil the show for you; though if you’re a Fawlty Towers fan, you’d know what to expect. Familiar gags include Manuel’s incomprehension of English, the rat, the racing horse bet, the German…

As an interactive show, your participation as bewildered guests at a poorly run eatery is encouraged. Why are there two forks and a spoon on your table setting? Demand for a knife! Don’t like the soup? Tell Basil!

๐Ÿ˜€

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Manuel
Manuel, portrayed here by Andy Foreman. Amazing job!

Feel sorry for poor Manuel, always bullied by his rude, intimidating boss Basil. Save his arse, his rat!

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Basil
Ron Kelly as manager Basil

But bear in mind that there’s a clear line between audience participation and being plain rude, going nauseatingly way off script. Unless you’re okay with being the b- that other diners wish they could vote off the show.

๐Ÿ˜€

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Sybil
Sybil, by Suzanna Hughes. Terrific outbursts of rage!

Dinner is (luckily) prepared by Frontera’s chef. I liked my chicken – tender, juicy, beautifully grilled and drizzled with a spicy ranchero sauce.

Vegetarians enjoy a Veggie Burrito served with cilantro, lime & black beans rice, and re-fried rice.

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - starter
Starter: chipotle mushroom soup with herbed coutons

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - main course
Main: chicken in ranchero sauce, served with vegetables & roast potatoes

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - dessert
Dessert (dinner shows only): creamy cheese cake

I really enjoyed myself! Had a great time with the food, the comedy, the gags… But if you’re not familiar with British humour, you may not be as amused as I was. Of if you’re generally not amused in life. Fair warning!

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Manuel on table
Manuel taming the bull.

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience runs from now until April 27th at Frontera, Jaya One. Ticket price includes your meal, available at RM128+ for lunch, and RM188+ for dinner. Discounted prices for groups: RM888 for 6 pax (dinner Sun-Thu) and RM388 for 4 pax (lunch).

I highly recommend that you experience this interactive dining show, at least once in your life! Get your tickets here: *click*

Faulty Towers @ Frontera - Ramesh and Suanie
With Ramesh of Frontera, man behind Meals For All

Also, more audience who are familiar with British humour is appreciated, just for the betterment of general humankind. Spread the word!

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

Olympus OMD E-M10 – shooting in Automatic

After my old Panasonic Lumix (with the unbeatable 10x optical zoom) died, I borrowed a Canon G10 from Horng, then a first edition Sony Nex-5N from KY. They come with free photography tips and advice, can’t get better than that!

The loaned cameras, while free and fantastic are older technologies. They could not produce the photos I think I can take. My next camera need to accommodate my severe limitations and requirements, which are:

  • I unabashedly shoot mostly in ‘Auto’ mode. Go right ahead, laugh at me, I don’t mind. I will learn manual settings in my own time, but meanwhile I still need to take the photos.
  • I want to be able to shoot people and food. Maybe some action shots.

That’s it. So I just want to point and shoot, right? Why dump a few thousand ringgit on a bridge camera just to shoot using one button all the way, when a compact digital camera is sufficient?

Simple. If the base technology is good, it can help me to take the photos I want to take. If you shoot simply with a bridge camera, the photos WILL turn out better than if you shoot simply with a compact digicam.

Plus knowing that I CAN take decent photos on auto mode will inspire me to learn the manual settings and hopefully take BETTER photographs.

I told all these to Jason, who hooked me up with Robin. Yeap, THE Robin Wong who has a REALLY fantastic story of how he, a geotechnical engineer ended up working with Olympus. Go ask him if you want, tl;dr passion pays.

After listening to what I wanted to achieve, Robin generously loaned me a Olympus OMD E-M10 with a separate Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime lens.

Chris-Gampat-The-Phoblographer-Olympus-OMD-EM10
Photo credit: The Phoblographer’s review of the OMD EM10

The new Olympus OMD E-M10 is a 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds with 3″ tilting touchscreen LCD. The touchscreen ended up SUPER useful for noobs like me, who sometimes fumbles and cannot focus in time.

The camera records full HD 1080p video. It has image stabilisation and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. There’s more, but you can read the full specs elsewehere. This post is all about photos taken using the Automatic mode.

I think it’s a FANTASTIC camera: brilliant JPEG colours, fast focusing, fast shooting speed, fast everything! Depending on lighting, some photos ended up with over-the-top yellow tones. The camera built is slightly clanky for me, less sleek than other cameras that I’ve used. But it’s a matter of getting used to.

It is a bit expensive. The current retail price for the camera with standard kit lens is slightly below RM3,000. The fixed Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens is maybe… RM 1,500? As Ringo said, “That’s the price of a return flight to Japan… for two!”

Here, have a look at some photos that I took with the Olympus OMD E-M10, all but two using the Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens. The last two were taken with the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 lens, which possibly costs more than my monthly salary.

All these were taken in Automatic, JPEG. Post-processing was only cropping (if necessary) and exporting to smaller size. No other touching up was used.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 01
Two peas in a pod.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 02
My grandfather at his favourite breakfast place.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 03
My grandfather didn’t say it, but he was like, “Yo why you keep taking photos of me..

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 04
But my grandfather is cool. He gives no two f-s.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 05
A casually shot photo with friggin’ sharp details.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 06
Super fast focusing and speed. Great for shots involving people moving about.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 07
I swear this photo is better than those taken by some amateur ‘photographers’ snobs. F- them.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 08
Back to my cool grandfather. My sister and cousin dancing in the background. But he gives no care.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 09
Portrait shot of my cousin. She’s hot, smart and successful. Introduction fee applies.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 10
Portrait shot of my cousin. He has since grown out his funky hair.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 11
I don’t want to blow my own horn. But I think this is nice /blows horn

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 12
If you can take this in auto/JPEG, imagine the wonders you could produce with manual shooting in RAW!

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 13
I want to bokeh everything!

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 14
Bootcampers running up hills in the morning.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 15
I could tell them to get a hobby, but I have a nagging suspicion that this is it.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 16
Robin lent me the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 lens for this. It was possibly the most impressive tool I’ve held in my hands.

Olympus OMD E-M10 - 17
I was going to nick the camera and the lenses, but Robin knows where I live.

Not bad, eh? If I could take these with ZERO effort, imagine what you could do with full on manual control!

Buy. Now.

Play: The Nature of Monsters

If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, a thought-provoking option is catching The Nature of Monsters at Kakiseniโ€™s Freespace in SS2 Mall.

Written and directed by Jude James, it tells the story of Will, a pedophile who has been in love with 14-year old Julia since she was 10. He plans on declaring his love for Julia on the celebration of his 30th birthday. How will his girlfriend Nani and his best friend, Milo react to his decision?

Play_Jude James_The Nature of Monsters 01

The topic poses interesting questions. What boggles the mind is seeing ourselves being acted out, right there on stage. How often are we witnesses and willing accomplices to injustice just because that someone is our friend? Or because he is someone that we know, he could not be so bad, I refuse to believe it… How many times have we stood by and allow wrongdoings to happen in front of us?

Play_Jude James_The Nature of Monsters 02

Certainly much food for thought, and it is Jude James’ purpose to have these uncomfortable questions confronted. The play is supported by amateur (I think?) actors and for me, indie director Ismail Jamaludin stood out as puppy-like Milo.

Play_Jude James_The Nature of Monsters 03

There are 3 remaining shows for The Nature of Monsters at Kakiseni Freespace:
13 June 2014 (Fri): 8.30pm || 14 June 2014 (Sat): 8.30pm || 15 June 2014 (Sun): 3.00pm

Tickets are priced at RM33 for adults, and RM23 for students and senior citizens. You can purchase ticket on-line *click* or at the door. For more, check out their website: *click*

Take Me To Dinner by Gavin Yap

Take Me To Dinner - Movie Poster

Iโ€™ve always thought Gavin Yap to be rather mad.

Brilliant, creative, articulate, dark, ADD, unexpected, well-read, a closet optimist and totally off his rockers.

There was no question that we (me + AhFa) *had* to watch Take Me To Dinner, a film written and directed by Yap starring Patrick Teoh, Susan Lankester, Thor Kah Hong, Ben Tan, U-En Ng, Michael Chen among others.

Yeap, most of the same people from Yap’s wicked retelling of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming at KLPac in 2006.

Eight years later, Yap’s strange sense of humour seems visibly intact. Unfortunately that means it will go right over a lot of people’s heads.

Cannot brain, you know?

Take Me To Dinner tells the story of Edward (Patrick Teoh), a hitman in the autumn of his life falling in love with his hit target, Jennifer (Susan Lankester). This breaks a hitman code of sorts, so Edward asks his fellow hitmen “friends” – Manny (Thor), Teddy (Ben), Hamm (U-En) and Elijah (Michael Chen) to ‘take him to dinner’, which I suppose is his last supper.

There were plenty of clever lines, which is where Yap shines. Where the leads are concerned, they brought his words to life. For some, it felt like watching a reading. Maybe it’s the way the sentences were structured – Yap’s style may be difficult to translate. Could be. Who knows.

As much as I enjoyed the witty monologues and conversations, there were parts where banter was dry and perhaps unnecessary. Also I couldn’t help but to think how absolutely brilliant this would be if presented on stage.

That said, I enjoyed the movie which I thought was fresh and intellectually-fulfilling. Take Me To Dinner is in selected GSC cinemas for a limited period of time. Check them out on their Facebook and Tumblr.

Here, watch the teaser before watching it in the cinema:

Keep your beer cool with Huggaz coolers!

I’m excited about this one!

Huggaz makes awesome drink koozies, which is perfect for our hot sweltering weather where cold drinks go warm too fast. And you know there’s nothing more off-putting than having to drink warm beer!

Now you can just put your can or bottle in a Huggaz, and your drink will remain cold till the last sip!

huggaz cooler - bomb series
Huggaz for bottles

Huggaz is made from neoprene, the same stuff used to make dive-suits. Unlike regular soft foam coolers, neoprene has better insulation-efficiency and is more durable. Translated, your drink stays colder, longer.

Tried and tested, it works beautifully!

huggaz cooler - for bottles

Currently Huggaz is available in a few designs for cans, bottles and wine. You can also custom-design your Huggaz, perfect for special events and occasions.

Huggaz cooler - Road series for cans
Huggaz road series, RM10 each

We put Huggaz to the test. The drinks in these photos came out from the fridge straight into their Huggaz, stayed cold even after one hour in the open. Lovely!

Huggaz cooler - wino series for wine
Huggaz wino series

Huggaz cooler - wino for wine bottles
Huggaz is handy!

Get your Huggaz on-line: facebook.com/huggaz

SEJOLI – made for each other

I scored an invite to the gala premiere of SEJOLI: Misi Cantas Cinta thanks to Grand Brilliance. But before that, here’s a picture of Bront Palarae.

Bront Palarae

Here’s the many faces of Bront Palarae.

Bront Palarae - many faces

*drool*… Now you know the type of men that I like. With that out of the way…

Sejoli Misi Cantas Cinta - poster

Sejoli, which translates to ‘perfect match’ or ‘made for each other’ is a story of love, sabotage, regret, redemption and forgiveness.

Gina (Maya Karin) and Joe (Bront Palarae) were dumped by their respective partners, Hardy (Remy Ishak) and Nita (Izara Aishah) who then got together. In grief, Gina and Joe went to Phuket where they met by chance. There they decided to join forces to sabotage Hardy and Nita’s upcoming marriage and reclaim their partners.

Action plans were put in motion, quite hilarious they are. But before long, Gina and Joe start to realise that their real true loves could be right before their eyes…

This comedy of errors is a story that you’ve seen before in different transformations; Meg Ryan’s Addicted To Love comes to mind. How does Osman Ali’s interpretation hold up?

Sejoli - Suanie and Tengku Iesta Tiptra
With Tengku Iesta of Grand Brilliance, wahey!

Quite well, actually. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how far Malaysian studio movies have come and judging from this one, how far it can go! Without distractions of kaku read-like-it’s-a-script performances, lighting and audio flaws (unfortunately very prevalent in many local movies I’ve watched), I was able to enjoy the story like I should.

I thought SEJOLI was light-hearted, funny feel-good and very enjoyable. Some stellar performances from the cast; notably beginner Izara whom I thought shined in her role. I also enjoyed Azad Jasmin who plays Tompy, Joe’s comical sidekick.

Here’s a preview, which I think portrays the movie better than the official trailer ๐Ÿ˜›

So in answer to Tengku Iesta’s hidden question of whether SEJOLI is a movie that all Malaysians (who understand Bahasa Malaysia) can enjoy, I’d say definitely yes.

SEJOLI is screening in cinemas nationwide. I have a feeling that it will do very well ๐Ÿ™‚

CUAK the movie, made in Malaysia

Cuak movie poster

Two things I learned after watching CUAK:
1) For the 18320th time, stop. falling. for. trailers. ; and
2) The same actors, under different directors, can made me go “wow that was good, nice, not bad…” and “I can’t believe they’re still doing this in the year 2014…”

CUAK, which means nervous or anxiety is a story about a couple, who are about to be married, who have reservations or second thoughts. Their love journey and wedding jitters are told via 5 directors in 5 different storytelling mode.

I enjoyed Khairil M Bahar’s Relationship Status and was looking forward to his wit in this one. There were some, but having to share the spotlight with others, were not enough for me.

So I take it as what it is; an indie film with limited budget (which shows: lighting was really, really poor) with cameo appearances by some people that I like. It attempts to be something different which I respect. I think the story needs to be more polished. For the actors, I feel that some of the unnecessary elaborated speech and gestures would work well on stage, not in film.

Highlights: Bernie Chan. And the lead actors, Ghafir Akbar and Dawn Cheong… under 2 directors ๐Ÿ˜›

That said, all I did was buy the ticket on-line (didn’t even bother to queue in line for it), get myself to the cinema, buy popcorn, endure some cheesy cinema ads, watch movie, drive myself home then type this on my blog while eating a severely overpriced chocolate chip cookie.

I didn’t make anything monumental, like a movie. The CUAK did.

Much respect.