The Journey On Madonna Concert Ticket

I grew up listening to her music.  I grew up liking her ever changing image.  I grew up idolizing this woman who ignited an entire generation to express themselves.

photo from madonna.com

photo from madonna.com

Seeing a Madonna Concert is the only thing that is lacking of my being a die-hard fan.  Click this LINK for you to know how big a fan I am of Madonna: http://neillangit.com/2008/08/17/a-fan-of-a-golden-girl/

To fulfil my self-imposed requirement, I seriously considered travelling to Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012 to watch the Sticky and Sweet World Tour.  I chose Tel Aviv because that seem to be the nearest country where I can watch that concert.  Also, being a Filipino I need not apply for a tourist visa in that country.  But due to budget constraints I obviously was not able to go.

Then just about two weeks ago, my super friend Jesse who’s based in Sydney messaged me and invited me to see the Rebel Heart show in Australia.  He sent me the link on how the purchase should go.  This is despite the fact that Madonna performing in Manila is already becoming a big buzz.   I was so close to buying the ticket!  But for some weird reason, obviously I did not.

Until two days after chatting with Aussie Jesse, the big news was announced that Madonna for the first time will perform in Manila.  I did not believe it still, until I personally checked the official Madonna website.  And when I saw for myself that Madonna is indeed coming, I was like feeling so moved!!!  I know I’m not religious, but I felt so moved, it made me wanna pray!!!

the only one in asia!!!

the only one in asia!!!

Then, 4 days prior to the official selling of tickets to public, I received a text message from Citibank informing me that I got the opportunity to buy Madonna tickets because of their pre-sale program. I of course did not let this chance go! I moved my ass and bought 2 ticket seats.

I need someone to accompany me during the concert so I bought 2 tickets.  One for my dear sister Gaying.  My sister during the event has been assigned to pinch my nose and slap me in the face to remind me that what I am about to see and experience is not a dream.

finally!

finally!

Now that I got myself her concert ticket, one of my life’s bucket list will finally become a realization.  See you there…

Parating na ang sugo. Bili na ng tiket!

Japanese Broadway Musical: My New Yearning

This blog is a living proof that I absolutely without any doubt love anything about Japan.  From its food, to its beautiful weather, to its magnificent sites, up to its exquisite culture and gentle people.

This blog also is a testament to the startling fact that I love Broadway musicals.  From its ingenious production designs, to its mind blowing choreographies, to its incredible story plots up to marvellous musical tunes and talents.

Amazingly, the recent Youtube video which I stumbled upon is a surprising mix of both.  This video gives me a reason to again visit Japan and see their unique version and remarkable rendition of western musicals.

wow!

wow!

What is so delightful in watching this video is that I don’t have to have the lyrics translated in a language that I understand.  I already know the story, the uttered lines as well as the music.  The only thing that I got to do is to witness the stunning visuals, hear the pleasing musical tunes and savour the delightful experience.

This is so beautiful…

Now I wonder how my favourite nemesis Ursula is interpreted by this Japanese musical company.

Kakaiba ‘di ba?

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!??

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 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?

Kinky Boots: A High-Heeled Surprise of My New York Adventure

surprise! surprise!

surprise! surprise!

According to Dalai Lama, “the purpose of our lives is to be happy”.  And this is exactly what I thought o after I watched the amazing Kinky Boots, the third Broadway musical show I saw in New York.

Prior to watching this Broadway musical, the only thing I know about the show is that it is a Tony award-winning musical.  I don’t know what the story is about, I haven’t heard about the music and neither do I know anything about the cast.  Blame this to my being an inhabitant living a simple life at the other end of the world.

saw kinky boots with super friend ron, a new yorker and broadway musical enthusiast!

saw kinky boots with super friend Ron, a new yorker and broadway musical enthusiast!

my ticket and my playbill

my ticket and my playbill

 

the view from my seat...

the view from my seat…

Kinky Boots is not a popular Broadway musical in Manila, unlike the classic Les Miz, Phantom, Miss Saigon or even Wicked.  But after seeing the show it actually became one of my favorites.  The story is simple and uncomplicated yet it opened a whole new perspective about prejudice, intolerance and acceptance.

There are lots of heartfelt wisdom that can be extracted from the show.  It tackles about the struggles of trying to fit in.  It is about the blossoming of life as soon as acceptance has kicked in.  It even tackled the life’s various phases: childhood, adulthood, friendship, career, life’s ambition, secret admiration and even death.  The story seem to have something for everyone.  This is without eliminating the basics of a fun, fab and highly entertaining musical: excellent music, spectacular production, gifted singing talent and hip dance moves.

Kinky Boots got a big heart!  That is why it has become one of my favorites.  And I would not mind watching it again in case I visit New York again.  If not, Kinky Boots I hope would reach the shores of Manila.  This musical would definitely be something to watch.  Charlie, Lola (the main characters) and the rest of the cast are of course welcome to perform in my city.

I’m pretty sure in case the Dalai Lama would have the opportunity to watch this musical, he himself would say “watching Kinky Boots is a must so as to live a happy life”.

Ispektakyular!

Las Vegas Highlights: Part 1 (Le Reve/The Dream)

the dream and the nightmare... LOL!

the dream poster and the nightmare… LOL!

Never in my wildest desire or fantasy that I would be spending a holiday in Las Vegas.  Maybe it’s because I dream small and simple.  And besides I no longer dream for humongous miracles because at this point in my life I learn to make my own.  That is why when awesome blessings come along like my tremendous trip to Vegas, I am just but thankful and overwhelmed.

What is so ironic is that the theme of the magical theatre experience me and my friends had was about “dreams”.  It is entitled Le Reve (English translation: The Dream) shown at the fabulous Wynn Hotel & Casino.  The spectacular show that mixed the elements of water, air and fire as well as intermingled elements of strength and beauty was indeed a feast for the senses. Performers literally were swimming on air and dancing on water.

dream-like

a feast for the senses…

I was blown away from the moment we walked into the round theatre.  Yeah, the stage is in the middle – ala coliseum – that is why there is no bad seat in the house.

Bizarre air-suspension stunts, crazy high-dives and water ballet, incredible contortionists and acrobatics, fanciful synchronized swimming, a tenderly romantic yet passionate story… all wrapped into a dreamy set.  I was lost in thought because it felt like I was in an actual dream!  I was totally mesmerized!

spectacular!

spectacular!

hair-raising!

hair-raising stunts!

As much as I would not want to correlate the show’s theme and title to that of my travel in Las Vegas, I guess it is inevitable.   This show for me does not signify a dream being fulfilled but instead an immense sign and symbol that a lovely dreamy-like life is ahead.

Ispektakyular!

Abandoning My Propriety at Boiling Crab

boiling crab at koreatown los angeles

boiling crab at koreatown, los angeles

Every time I am out of the Philippines, I always make it a point to be a good representation of my country. I’m behaved and I always bring with me tons of manners.  I follow the rules, I smile a lot, I am a little friendlier and I am more cultured than the usual.  Dining etiquette and favourable table manners are always taken into great consideration.

But I totally transgressed from all of these when I and my travel buddies Karen, Joesel & Denton dined at Boiling Crab located at Koreatown along Wilshire Boulevard in L.A., USA. I guess having to wait for available seats for close to two hours would make any sane, well-educated and refined person reasonably unsophisticated when it comes to table manners.

True enough, when the waitress tied a disposable bib around my neck, I knew that we are on for some messy type of meal.  No plates were served but instead wax paper that covers the whole table was placed in front of us.  And when the food was served contained in transparent plastic bags, I was ready to embrace the mess, abandon my propriety and satisfy my glutinous depravity.

boiling crab 3 (1500x1125)

the whirlwind of digging, squeezing, cracking and twisting is about to begin…

boiling crab 5

ready for some messy yet heavenly type of meal…

Realizing that I can abandon the basic dining manners for that moment, I simply ditched the plastic spoon and fork that was handed to me and instead dug on the food with my bare hands.  The plastic bags placed on our table contained the most sumptuous and legendary buttered shrimps cooked in chopped garlic that I have tasted in a long while.  The zingy spicy sauce was the best when it is poured over a hot mountain of rice and juicy buttered corn on cob.

20140225_115231

re-living the fantastic experience

boiling crab 1 (1125x1500)

our glorious mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if it is just the Filipino in me, but I guess food becomes more splendid, yummy and delectable when eaten using the bare hands.  But then again, the food served in Boiling Crab seem so enchanting we actually returned and queued again for more than two hours after a couple of nights to re-live the same joyous scrumptious experience we had the first time.  The second time we dined definitely did not disappoint us.

Sarap…

“Nuwebe” Inside The Sleep Cave

CCP Little Theater

CCP Little Theater

For me, few of the most sleep-inducing places on earth are the theaters of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).  It has autumn-like indoor temperature that makes you want to hibernate.  It also have super soft comfy seats, an easy-to-the-ear acoustics as well as relaxing lighting facilities which would make you drift off faster.  It is one big sleep cave!!

Therefore, if I watch a show in CCP it needs to be very good, interesting, entertaining and/or thought provoking for me to stay awake.

nuwebe

nuwebe

With this thought, I actually almost fell asleep while I was watching the Cinemalaya 2013 New Breed entry entitled Nuwebe.  It has an interesting plot but the director seemed to have missed on how to impart and expound on the attention-grabbing material.  It was a lame creation.  Some loopholes of the movie were actually being laughed at by the audience.   The only redeeming quality of the movie was the superb acting by the lead character played by Jake Cuenca.

I was about to fall asleep when credits at the end of the film started rolling.  I did not clap my hands and I simply stepped out of the CCP theatre… silently snoring.

Kaantok… Zzzz…

Ate Gay: From Basilica to SM Arena

super funny ate gay

super funny ate gay

The first comedy bar that I have been to was more than 2 decades ago.  It was in (the now defunct) Basilica, an old house turned into a comedy bar located in Malate.  I can clearly recall that one of the night’s hosts during that time was Ate Gay who was wearing Darna costume introducing herself as the Nora Aunor’s version of Darna (though Nora never was a Darna character).

Ate Gay (Gil Morales in real life) was a total riot during that night.  He sings, acts and speaks sounding truly like Nora Aunor. He sang Laura Branigan’s upbeat “Name Game” song in a slow ballad-ic way ala Nora Aunor style. I and my friends so enjoyed that night, it paved the way for us to often visit comedy bars which starts to flourish within the Malate area during that era.

ate gay on mid air

ate gay on mid air

But last night, after more than 2 decades, Ate Gay has moved to a much bigger venue.  I guess ten thousand times bigger than Basilica.  He packed the humongous SM Arena!  And as anticipated, Ate Gay’s repertoires continue to be riotously hilarious.  The gut-busting short film at the start of the show and when she entered the stage harnessed across the end of the venue, I knew the concert would be a blast.

ate gay doing mash-ups with his friends

ate gay doing mash-ups with his friends

His adorable Darna monologue is still there and it remains exceptionally humorous.  His skill at mixing up various tunes and lyrics received hysterical uproars from the audience.  He is one great genius on extemporaneous mash-ups.  His incomparable declamation entitled “The Door” was also featured which when delivered by others would for sure not be as funny as that of Ate Gay.  Of course, his camp impersonation of Philippine showbiz icon, Nora Aunor, has always been a side-splitting classic.

What I like most about Ate Gay is that he does not need to mock and deride other people to make people laugh.  He actually ridicules himself (his wardrobe, his looks, his voice, his English and even his mole) to elicit laughter from the audience.  He is unassuming, self-effacing and was never “boastful”.  Being able to laugh at one self without conceit and pretensions makes Ate Gay an excellent comedian.

Grabe ang sakit sa panga sa katatawa!