Month: April 2015

Book of Mormons Can Never Be Imported In Pinas

There have been lots of popular musicals that have been imported and graced my beloved homeland.  There were even lots of these musicals in which the West End or Broadway casts were featured.  And there were some musicals in which the company of actors were equally talented local Filipino artists trying their very best to sound and enunciate the American and/or English accent.

agree!
agree!
a nightly long queue at the theater...
a nightly long queue at the theater…

But after seeing The Book of Mormons, I can conclude that this show, though dubbed in America as the “best musical of the century” will never be imported and shown in conservative Philippines.  It is because this musical can be stunningly foul-mouthed, incredibly vulgar and breathtakingly offensive.

It pushes the boundaries of a comedic story by talking/singing about child rape, the clitoris, people with AIDS, female circumcision and even the male scrotum (with maggots).  There was even a vulgar song entitled “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which features a litany of despair and anguish that culminates in the rousing chorus stating that Hasa Diga Eebowai means “F@ck you god”.

A lot of scenes and dialogues were mockeries of true human stories that transpired and continuously happen in society. There was a song in which the continent of Africa was described as definitely not a “Lion King” of a site that one can behold.  And that an Ugandan town (which can represent a lot of places in the planet) is being oppressed and harassed by its leader whose name in the story is General Butt-Fucking Naked.

There was the mockery of innocent people in society which were made to seriously believe on stories that involved putting together snippets of events from the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.  And that these people were so innocent, they believe that the true paradise is located in Salt Lake City (the song’s sweet rendition actually made me teary-eyed).  There was even a line in one song saying that the Garden of Eden is located in Jackson County, Missouri!

where the hilarious yet smart crudeness happens...
where the hilarious yet smart crudeness happens…
aylavet!!!
aylavet!!!
winner!!!
winner!!!

But what is so amazing about this musical is that these jokes were so smart, refreshing and extremely funny without really sacrificing the kernels of life’s reality that the viewers can ponder about.  And maybe the reason why these jokes and mockeries were so effective is because these were uttered and put across by the sweetest characters that a musical could ever have.

Underneath all these jokes and mockeries, The Book of Mormon is a very moral musical. If truly assessed it has a surprisingly tender core.  It tackles about loyalty to friendship.  It tackles the hope of discovering utopia.  It tackles the beauty of innocence as well as the dangers that comes along with it.  It tackles about finding love and happiness.  It tackles about experiencing victory in the strangest of situations.  And ironic as it may seem, it is about the pureness of the heart.

It is therefore not surprising that this musical won 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2011 and continuous to draw big crowds daily.  Too bad, Philippines won’t be able to see, hear and experience the pureness of the heart contained in The Book of Mormon.

Ito ang myusikal kung saan ang huling linyang sinabi kung Tatagalugin ay … “Ang Betlog Ko Pa Rin Ay May Uod!??

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The Book of Mormon: An Expensive Item in My Bucket List

Four years ago, when I saw the stunning rendition of “I Believe” by Andrew Ranells from the musical Book of Mormon during the 65th Tony Awards, I promised myself that when I reached New York in the future I would definitely see this musical extravaganza.  This personal promise was reaffirmed a year after when I saw the opening number of the 66th Tony Awards which featured the song “Hello”.  Seeing the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards then was like listing The Book of Mormon among my life’s bucket list.

[youtube:https://youtu.be/GVJgmp2Tc2s&w=350%5D

 

[youtube:https://youtu.be/OKkLV1zE8M0&w=350%5D

Four years later, such personal promise came true.  One item in my long, arduous and complicated bucket list was accomplished.  I saw, I heard and I enjoyed The Book of Mormon!

My New Yorker friend Jhong knows that months prior to my visiting New York, the one I specifically would like to do was to see this musical.  We never talked about the sites to see (except for the 66 Perry Street), the rides to take, the food to taste or the people to meet.  We simply talked about the musicals that I want to see.  And The Book of Mormons was right there on the top of our conversations.

my view and my playbill
my view and my playbill

Jhong somewhat discouraged me because The Book of Mormons right now is considered the “King of Broadway”.  Their ticket seats are ranked among the most in demand and the most expensive musical in Broadway now.  You can actually buy 2 good seats of a different musical in Broadway for the price of one mezzanine seat of The Book of Mormons.  It is so in demand, viewers cannot purchase tickets on the day they want to see the show.  Tickets must be purchased online days before they would like to see it.

When Jhong and my new friend Lee purchased the ticket for me and told me how expensive a mezzanine seat was, I told them to go ahead.  I simply said yes, closed my eyes and changed the topic for I don’t want to ponder and go nuts on how my New York travel budget has gone bloated.

it was all worth it!
it was all worth it!

And right after seeing the show, while I was standing up, clapping my hands and was shouting “Bravo!” I knew that my purchase of such expensive ticket was well vindicated.   This 4-year old item in my bucket list was one hell of a wickedly funny musical show!!!

Kahit mahal, mapapa-mura ka sa galing!

The Complete Elements of Junior New System

What do you call the dance when you put all the elements of modern dancing?  Answer: Junior New System!

My goodness!  These kids can rock the dancefloor!  All dance elements are so present it is considered “unique”.  If you love to dance, you should watch their performances.  And if you didn’t liked it, then there must be something very wrong with you…

What I love about their choreography and concept is that their dancing could be uniquely genderless.  These guys can perform moves from the wide spectrum of gender-role dancing.    Their moves can cross over from the rough jagged power motions of a bloke, to the electrifying dancing grace of a dame, to the attitude and flair of the androgynous.

the high heeled shoes that paved the way for them to reach the grand finals (photo taken from jns' fb page)
the high heeled shoes that paved the way for them to reach the grand finals (photo taken from jns’ fb page)

I hope these guys win the first edition of Asia’s Got Talent competition.  Because if not, then there must be really really be something wrong with Asia.

Na mis ko bigla ang aldeger sisters at wea twins.

A Leisurely Walk at Strawberry Fields, Central Park

In my short stay in New York, I can confirm the rich diversity of people and culture that exists in that place.  No need to go to a restaurant or the high–end 5th Avenue or even Broadway to feel this.  By riding the subway you easily could witness the various race, color and ethnicities present in New York.

Because of this assortment and thick individual differences, there is no one common look for a New Yorker.  Everybody looks, sounds and smells different, which is actually refreshing.  The only common character that I observed among all New Yorkers is their “walk”.  New Yorkers walk fast!  Their gait is wide.  Their stomp is strong.  Their pace is fast.  It is so fast I wonder if New Yorkers know the concept of strolling.

bow bridge at central park, a popular and common film setting
bow bridge at central park, a popular and common film setting (i love my shot! LOL)

But there is a spot in New York where leisurely walkers exist.  These walkers – which includes me – however are not New Yorkers but instead the mesmerized bunch of tourists of the state.  This is at the Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Considered as Central Park’s “quiet zone” Strawberry Fields is a 2.5 hectares living memorial to singer, songwriter and Beatles member, John Lennon.  The name obviously was derived from the popular Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever”.  Also, the spot was chosen because of its proximity to Lennon’s home, the Dakota Apartments (where he was shot and died), which was just across the west side of Central Park.

garden of piece...
quiet!!!
happy to know that my country endorses strawberry fields as a garden of piece
happy to know that my country endorses strawberry fields as a garden of peace
lucky neil
lucky neil

One focal point of Strawberry Fields is of course the “Imagine” mosaic, which is another tribute to the legend John Lennon.  My slow paced walking in the park even becomes more relaxing, peaceful and meditative when I saw and heard a musician seated on a bench, playing a guitar and was singing a Beatles song “Let It Be”.

I was just but happy to have leisurely walked the grounds of Strawberry Fields.  That part of the park indeed has “nothing to get hung about”.  It was peaceful and very relaxing.  It was one short diversion from the fast paced walking and full packed happenings I was having in New York.

Let mi teyk yu dawn, kos aym gowing tu… Dakota Harrison!

Don’t Let Fashion Go To Waste by H&M

go h&m!
go h&m!

I adore H&M.  A big chunk of my wardrobe are H&M.  The throw pillow cases I gifted Nengkoy last Christmas were actually from H&M. And never did my family missed going to an H&M store every time we are in Japan.

Though I suffer from separation anxiety disorder every time I need to have some breathing space in my closet or needs to get rid of old clothes, let me publish one fab and cause-worthy project by H&M.

Visit http://www.hm.com/ph/longlivefashion for further details.

Super nays Eych En Em!

Times Square: The Center of the World

the center of the world!
the center of the world!

It uplifts my spirit when I am surrounded by happy folks.  And this is exactly what I felt on the numerous times I was at Times Square in New York City.   Times Square is one big party place! The breathtaking place is “full” in all aspects that you could think of.  It is one place that will struck you with invigorating assault in all your senses.

wow
wow
the red ladder at the center of the world
the red ladder at the center of the world

The minute I stepped in to this crowded place and saw the throngs of people walking by, it felt like I was right at the center of the world. The feeling was something so wonderful, it is hard to find words to match.  Something that makes your heart beat faster or melts your heart.  It is like something that tops everything else.

For being such a vibrant happy place, Times Square for me is like the Disneyland of the adult world.  It is a happy place on earth without the entrance fee and the thrilling rides.  Walking the colorful and glowing streets of Times Square is already a pulsating thrill by itself.

i heart times square...
i heart times square…
some bubbly strangers at times square!
some bubbly strangers at times square!
infectious energy!
infectious energy!

Hands down, my most favorite place in New York would be Times Square.  For what I personally experienced, Times Square is a very friendly place and is very open to all cultures of the world.  It looks like it is where all fun, cool, vibrant and vivacious peoples of the world converge.  They are the people who simply would like to see people and be with people.

Akalain mong makatapak ako dun?! 

The Uncultured Me and the Sophisticated Phantom of the Opera

The first Broadway show ever that I have seen in New York (as I have written in the past few days) was Les Miserables.  After being so moved by this spectacular musical, I knew for a fact that it would be very difficult and challenging for the succeeding Broadway musical that I would watch for me to get so impressed.  Les Miserables would be a tough act to follow.

This is exactly what I felt about Phantom of the Opera.  Though it has been considered one of the longest running musicals in Broadway, I find it a little dreary.  Or maybe it’s the operatic musical genre that Phantom of the Opera has that made me feel bleak.  Except for the song “Think of Me”, which I prefer to be sang in a pop and non-operatic way, I am not that impressed with the line-up of songs.

think of me...
think of me…

 

best thing about this experience was watching it and catching up with former colleague hanah, the world traveler
best thing about this gig was watching it and catching up with former colleague hannah, the world traveler

Blame it to Martin Nievera, an old and aging pop-star in the Philippines who keeps on singing the songs from Phantom of the Opera in the TV variety shows that he would appear at.  Nievera’s obsolete rendition made me feel so fatigued about the songs of this musical.

Or maybe, the swanky and high-class music of Phantom of the Opera is so high-end and so classy and it’s just that I am the uncultured swine who fails to appreciate the elegance and chicness of its tunes.  No thanks to my underdeveloped right brain because I have yet to find the right tools so as to appreciate such musical genre.

the orchestra!
the orchestra! the people with sophisticated musical taste…
phantom of the opera will not be complete without the iconic chandelier
phantom of the opera will not be complete without the iconic chandelier

But what struck me most about Phantom is the great production design.  My goodness! The spectacular drop of the majestic chandelier right over the heads of the audience at the end of the first act was breathtaking.  Also, the colors of the masquerade ball number was truly outstanding.  Those costumes were undeniably crazy!  I was indeed transported into a different world!

Kelan ba kasi magre-retire si Martin Nievera?