Jan 12, 2011

[Blogosphere] My Brain's Backyard

It's always fun to feature fellow bloggers here at the Geeky Guide - with so many good sites out there, it's a wonder we don't do this more often. If I were to craft New Year's resolutions specific for the Geeky Guide, then the top of this list would definitely be writing more about other blogs and notable websites out there.

My Brain's Backyard

My Brain's Backyard is a new blog created by my good friend, Mahar Mangahas. While this isn't the first time Mahar's ventured into blogging, it is his first professional blog dedicated to his in the local theater industry. Mahar directed the Asian premiere of Pasek and Paul's Edges: A Song Cycle, which was a wonderful production as I mentioned in the linked review. The site is a clean and elegant Wordpress creation that hosts his various scripts, personal thoughts and other wonderful musical theater tidbits that any fan of Broadway or the arts is sure to enjoy.

Being a friend, I was able to pester Mahar for a quick Q&A about his new blogging venture.

Why My Brain's Backyard?
I think everyone puts something in the back of his head to percolate. Or grow. Or stew, or rest. The point is, I think we put ideas aside from our conscious thinking side so we could get back to them later. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget where we put these ideas. It's My Brain's Backyard so that I have a place to put my ideas and let them grow where I can remember them.

What made you decide to create a blog for your work?
I created this the day after my birthday. I was thinking about the work I'd done and the creative work I'd want to do. Then I realized, I was forgetting what I'd done and forgetting what I want to do! Crazy. Comes with age, I suppose. So with the help of some friends, I paid for a domain. I could have done it with a basic Wordpress blog, admittedly. But because I wanted the pressure to maximize the opportunity, I bought a domain. Nothing pressures you like the feeling of money going to waste.

What are your goals for the blog?
Well, right now it's an archive of work. Eventually I want all my work up there---well, all the work I want others to test, so that they can use it for free. Eventually, I'm adding pages for other interested friends in theater so that they can have an online portfolio. I guess that's what you can say the eventual goal is---an online portfolio for a theatrical community.

At some point I also want to post and learn how other artists abroad approach their work. There's a lot to learn, a lot of approaches out there. Admittedly, that can also come from my preference for musical theater and well, a lot more musical theater is created abroad rather than here.

Who do you consider to be your primary inspirations?
NEW YORK - MARCH 19:  Actor/composer/writer Li...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeOkay, this is going to sound like a list of Who's That? But there are a lot of great young artists there making some phenomenal work in theater --- Scott Alan, Joe Iconis. Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's song I've featured somewhat on the site. Jonathan Reid Gealt's new album is amazing. Justin Paul and Benj Pasek's work is also very inspiring. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey...the list goes on and on. They're all YouTube sensations, Tony winners for a reason.

I guess you can call them Next Generation Broadway. And another common thread is the work they create is very sincere. It's risky, and it's heartfelt. These people have worked years on their work, and they're still very young compared to other Broadway writers and composers. They're the type who are willing to spend 7 years (like Miranda did on "In The Heights") chasing after every opportunity to develop their work. I'd like to do that too, and developing work means subjecting it to criticism, letting others in on it, letting some works get culled. The site is as much a way to act on inspiration as it is a potential site for flagellation. But that's how it works in a collaborative process where everyone risks a lot to make it right.

What one celebrity do you wish would notice your blog?
Good Lord. I don't know, really. Everyone I've mentioned above is awesome. AWESOME. Any one of them knowing about the blog would be great. But you know I have a fondness for Lea Salonga. That woman made me want to be in theater. Heck, she made me want to wear a Vietnamese equivalent to a cheong sam. But during the very, very rare instances that I'm within her physical range, I freeze and spaz. Just too much of a fan boy.

MAHAR ABRERA MANGAHAS is a director and writer of plays and musicals. He has many works in progress, some of which that have seen the light of day, including the plays Singkit, Me and My Thinspiration, The Best Friend Project and Slurs and Ramblings. He has directed the Asian premieres of Edges (Benj Pasek, Justin Paul) and The Summer of 42 (David Kirshenbaum, Hunter Foster), as well as designed the costumes for the premiere of High School Musical. He is also the co-founder of the first international chapter of Scott Alan’s Monday Nights New Voices. He is currently the Office Administrator of the Philippines’ Atlantis Productions.

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