‘Dance Of The Steel Bars:’ A film about being free

The movie "Dance Of The Steel Bars" is about coming out (with what you have) and being free, according to the director, GMA-7 newsman Cesar Apolinario. And this is why the film, produced by Portfolio Films International and GMA Films, and which opened exclusively at SM Cinemas yesterday, was appropriately intended to kick-start Philippine Independence Day.

Starring Dingdong Dantes ("Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles," "One More Try," "Kimmy Dora") and Hollywood actor Patrick Bergin ("Sleeping with the Enemy," "Patriot Games," "Robin Hood"), it was filmed against the backdrop of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).

"It's a simple story, about Mando (Dingdong) who is in jail - nakapatay siya ng bading - who become friends with another inmate, Allona (Joey Paras). Tungkol ito sa pagmamahal or passion for the arts, in Mando's case, the art of dancing. But, takot siyang ipakita ang galing niya sa pagsasayaw kasi ayaw niyang isipin nila na bading siya."

Ironically, Allona is a transsexual who tries to contribute to prison reforms by teaching his fellow inmates dance exercises. They get involved in a tricky struggle between the positive changes initiated by the new warden (Ricky Davao) and the corrupt system that weighs down the inmates' chance to become better individuals. Frank Parish (Bergin), who plays a retired US fireman and philanthropist, but who is wrongly accused of murder and jailed in the Philippines, finds himself caught in the web of lies and must choose between concealing what he knows and helping his fellow inmates by revealing the truth.

Also in the cast are Mon Confiado as Gudo; Kathleen Hermosa as Lulu; Thou Reyes as Dong Mata; Gabe Mercado as Deputy Warden Diaz; Renee Salud as Charity, and Governor Gwen Garcia as herself. Marnie Manicad co-directs the film with Cesar Apolinario, with Cris Lim writing the screenplay.

Cesar recalled that it was while filming his debut film "Banal" that he wrote the story of "Dance of the Steel Bars" and even then, he had in mind Dingdong Dantes for the lead role. "I'm so glad na tinanggap ni Perry Lansigan (Dingdong's manager) ang project na ito. Tuwang-tuwa ako sa pag-portray ni Dong sa character niya. Para sa kanya talaga ang role. Ang galing niya! Wala akong naging problema sa kanya. He was very professional!"

About the film, Cesar said "it's a very inspiring film, makabagbag damdamin. Ang pelikulang ito ay para sa ating lahat. Watch the movie and you'll really be proud of being Pinoy!"

Inspiring was also how Stuart Cameron, producer and chairman of Portfolio Productions, described the story of "Dance of the Steel Bars." He said "Wringing with the combined raw talent of both cast and crew, 'Dance of the Steel Bars' brings audiences into an inspiring story that celebrates the flawed human spirit's journey in search of redemption and truth."

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Girls' Hot Night Out With The Chippendales

Here for a series of performances is a nine-member group of the Chippendales' touring production. They performed June 11 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, and will perform today, June 13, and tomorrow at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre at Resorts World Manila. For their last show, the group will be at Hotel Stotsenberg, Angeles City on June 15.

Laser Tech Pacific Productions brought over the legendary group from Las Vegas for a show billed as "The Ultimate Girls Night Out!" In a press conference held at the Manila Marriott Hotel at the Resorts World Manila, the majorly revamped Chippendales (only two of them, Kevin and Cris, have been with the group for 12 and 10 years respectively, while the others just joined about two and nine months ago) expressed their delight to be in Manila, as they love travelling and performing in different countries. They said they look forward to food adventure and sightseeing.

One of them, Bryan, confessed to being a fan of Charice and that he was surprised to learn the international star has come out in the open about her sexuality. But still, "I hope she could come to our show."

Known for their trademark bow tie, muscles and that Hollywood smile, the Chippendales has been named the Most Wanted Men in Vegas! by ETC's "The Insider" for projecting "a balance of sex appeal and tasteful teasing." The group is the annual winner of the Las Vegas Review Journal's prestigious Best of Las Vegas Award. The Chippendales production of a high energy, fully choreographed interactive show, has also received Five Stars from Las Vegas Weekly and has been named one of the Top 10 Girl Getaways by MSNBC.

The Chippendales has been featured on numerous TV shows, including the Emmy Award-winning CBC series "The Amazing Race," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and "The Real Housewives."

For tickets, visit ticketworld.com.ph/chippendaleslive.

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Tidbits: Happy b-day greetings today, June 13, go to awarded singer-composer Anthony Castelo, former singer Luis Antonio de Garchitorena, Anton Cruz, Tony dela Luna, Vicky S. Falconitin, Merle Derige of San Diego, CA; Mario C. Medina, Atty. Ma. Anthonette Velasco-Allones, executive director of Career Executive Service Board, Irene Patricia T. Mateo, Julius Bacero, model-actor Tony Boy dela Rea, Myra N. Martinez of Asingan, Pangasinan, CPA-lawyer Antonio A. Ligon and Katrina Michelle "Hopia" Legaspi of Star Magic...