Tag: new york

For Forever by Ben Platt

The songs and music of Dear Evan Hansen (the musical) is giving me reasons to want to fly and spend another beautiful adventure in the city of New York.  And while I try to find a window on y very busy schedules on the possibility of flying to NYC, I let myself be satisfied on playing and replaying the musical’s soundtracks in my Spotify account.

And when I saw this performance in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it further my wanting to fly to NYC.  This I guess is the best performance that this song can possibly be sang!  From the faultless singing to infectious involuntary facial twitches and from the impeccable lyrics to the seamless exhibited raw emotion, his rendition in this video can simply be spelled as P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

I will really be upset in case Ben Platt, nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, will not be awarded the Tony this year!

Kaiyak… Perpek!


Wicked (the musical) In Manila: A Wickedly High-End Run

This will most probably be one of the last write-ups of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz musical as it ends its latest run here in Manila.  Me, my sisters and Nengkoy (of course) had the awesome opportunity to catch and watch the last performance night here in Manila.

We were of course bedazzled and captivated by the sheer magnificence if the costumes, the colors and the music of Wicked.  But I will not write anything about the musical for there has been millions of it in the web.  Instead, let me deliberate on the venue and the people on the night we watched the show here in Manila.

Unlike my sisters and Nengkoy, it was my first time seeing a musical show in Solaire Theatre.  I have seen a couple of shows in Broadway, New York but never was I been so stunned and dumbfounded by the high-endedness (is that a word?) of Solaire.  The theater was so modish and dashing there were moments when I doubted being in poverty-stricken Manila.  While waiting for the ushers to allow us inside the actual theater, the well-lighted foyer area was played with chic jazz music.  I never noticed or heard stylish jazz or muzak being played at the measly lobby and waiting areas of New York theaters. In some New York shows, we the audience actually have to queue at the cold and dusty side street.

nengkoy & my wicked sister with her high-end bag! bag lang nya ang high-end sa amin nung gabing yon. hahaha!
pictures muna
me & my sister… defying gravity…

And what further dumbfounded me were the rest of the audience.  Everyone was well-dressed for the night.  Well-dressed, I mean well-dressed.  Gentlemen were in their crisp long sleeve shirts with matching coat and necktie while the ladies were dressed to the nines.  Some ladies were even donning in elegant gown and seem to have been to some pricey beauty saloon prior to the show just to watch Wicked, The Musical.

I was actually so shocked, wearing just a polo shirt and my old dungarees, I could not control my utterances about the theater and the people.  I told my sisters that I have seen a couple of Broadway shows in New York but the atmosphere was never this chic, high-end and elegant.

Buti na lang di ako nag-tsinelas.  Taray… Walang ganyan sa Nyu York!

Meeting the First King of the Philippines in New York

Filipinos nowadays have developed the extreme love and proud-ness towards the Philippines.  It is so extreme, some would already categorize it as being conceited.  Some of the Filipinos are even fed up and would even go nuts when they would see “Proud To Be Pinoy” comments in a social media post that depicts success and triumph of a “kababayan” (fellow Filipino citizen)

But have you ever wondered how does the man whom the Philippines was named after looked like?  We proud Pinoys, I guess, never had the interest and curiosity on how King Philip II of Spain looked like.

In the whole duration of my student life – that honed my nationalistic stance – never was there a chance that a teacher, an instructor or a professor showed me the photo of the man whom my country was named after.  Considering that the academic world would be the most likely place where to see the image of this man, this regrettably never happened.  I never saw a single photo of the guy whom I consider to be the first king of my country.

And while I am on my post-student life, I actually am not familiar about the life of this king and much less I actually have zero idea on how King Phillip II looked like.  If he looked like a weakling chap, a skinny dude, a hunky fellow or a lumbersexual guy?  I have no idea at all.

patio from the castle of velez blanco
patio from the castle of velez blanco inside the met

That is why when I saw the bust sculpture of a man at the Patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco inside the Metropolitan Museum in New York City I did not right away recognize it.  When I read the label, indicating that it is the bust sculpture of King Philip II of Spain that was the only time I thought that this could be the same man whom my country was named after.

My inquisitiveness led me to right away google the words “Spain, King Phillip II, and Philippines” from my mobile phone.  The image I saw in my mobile was the very same image that was in front of me.  When I further read the information indicated in the net, it was the only time I knew how my first king looked like.

king philip ii of spain
king philip ii of spain
a great thanks to this lumbersexual chap!
a great thanks to this lumbersexual chap!

After recognizing, knowing and finally confirming the image, I stood right in front of the bust sculpture, I smiled and simply uttered “Hi!” Before I left the patio square to visit other galleries within The Met. I walked back to the same sculpture I took a photo and say “Thank you dude!”

Syet nakalimutan ko mag-selfie sa Unang Hari ng Pinas.

Good Art at the MET

cultural day at the met
cultural day at the met

I am no authority on classifying what is good art and what is not.  But good art for me is like porn.  You just know it when you see it.  It is the piece from across the room that is full of art pieces yet you’re attention gets sucked by it.

Good art is personal.   It is the piece that commands gaze, shake your brain cells and delivers pleasant feelings even after days has passed.  It is the piece that does not need your convincing by anyone to appreciate it.

These are exactly my thoughts during my “cultural day”, the day of my traditional visit to a museum every time I got the chance to travel out of my country.  And during my stay in New York, my “cultural day” of course ensued at no less than the largest art museum of the United States, the world renowned, MET or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

With the vast selection of superb art pieces featured in the MET, the pieces that commanded my gaze, sucked my attention and shook my brain cells were the following:

pix-cell deer by kohei nawa
pix-cell deer by kohei nawa
dvarapala (doorman with a bow from pakistan)
dvarapala (doorman with a bow from pakistan)
petrus scriverius by frans hals
petrus scriverius by frans hals
chinese mural with some spectators... i love my instagram shot...
chinese mural with some spectators… i love my instagram shot…

Though my New York journey has concluded weeks ago, these are the very art pieces that got stuck in my brain which emits lingering feelings of pleasantness.  So I guess, these are my self-classified “good art” pieces found at the MET.

Grabe! Super hay-end ang Kuchural Dey kong yan!

My Long Island City Photo Treasures

No thanks to social media, we Facebook users are bombarded with photos of our friends’ recent vacation.  Gone are the days when we have to go to a friend’s house before we would be able to sit through his most recent vacation because we would be shown stacks and stacks of photo albums.  But nowadays, we can never totally escape from our friends’ vacations.

water front promenade with the spectacular view of midtown manhattan skyline
water front promenade with the spectacular view of midtown manhattan skyline
this shot garnered lots of fb likes!
this shot garnered lots of fb likes!

According to a researcher on human-computer interaction issues, posting photos of oneself on vacation is like “impression management”.  These people tend to paint an impression of themselves to get the positive reaction they want.  These are the people with narcissistic motivation who tends to provoke envy but in fact and in my personal assessment could actually be very annoying especially when photos posted has gone too excessive.  It can already be considered a bunch of uninteresting excesses of the cyber world.

Well, the person the researcher on human-computer interaction issues is talking about is so me.  That is so me and I freaking don’t care! Hahaha!  Yes I am narcissistic but let me just modify the issue on provoking envy.  I post my photos on the net particularly my blog not because I wish people to envy me.  I post them to chronicle the treasures I had amassed.  It is because I consider my travels and vacations as my treasure.

feeling rich!
feeling rich!
a super nice shot by jo dela rosa...
a super nice shot by jo dela rosa…

I actually don’t care if people hate my photos or do not care at all about what I post.  My photos chronicling my travels may not have some positive cosmological effect in the universe, but these are my treasures that can never be spent away or stolen from me.

And to further prove this adverse and unflattering trait, in this blog post are a bunch of photos of me and with some New York-based friends, whom I consider as another form of treasure.  These “treasures” were taken by my friend Jo Dela Rosa (who surprisingly possesses some excellent photo skills) at Gantry Plaza State Park at Long Island City during my recent NY vacation.

striking a pose with charles, mark and jhong...
striking a pose with charles, mark and jhong…

Oh diba? Ang yaman yaman ko, andami kong foto.

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.

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…

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!??

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.




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!