Thursday, May 24, 2007

Le(a)s Miz Takes

I took these footage clips of Lea Salonga signing autographs after her Les Miserables performance outside the Broadhurst Theater.

It was way, way past 11 in the evening and yet a lot of her fans waited for her to emerge from the backstage door just to catch a glimpse of her, have her autograph and have their pictures taken with her to cap their wonderful evening and complete their Lea’s Miz Memories.

There were a lot of Filipinos in the audience and Lea was mobbed by the crowd wherein majority of them were Pinay nurses.

Cameron Mackintosh should thank Lea Salonga for helping the show draw more crowds from the Filipino community who usually come in droves night in and night out.

This was taken on April 10, 2007 the night where I watched the show.

Talasan n’yo ang mga mata n’yo at baka may kilala kayo sa mga “magugulong” Pilipino sa Broadway!

The next two flicks were taken on Friday the 13th after watching the Mel Brooks musical, The Producers at the St. James Theater which is just across the Broadhurst, I noticed the familiar black Cadillac Escalade that Lea boarded on her way home three nights earlier was still parked on its usual parking space just across the theater so I decided to wait a little bit longer and after a few minutes Lea emerged from the backstage door and thus my hunch was right all along and so I was able to get these clips.


Read Meredith Vieira's Blog on Lea Salonga

  • Tin Ear

  • *For those of you who haven't seen Miss Saigon yet, click the link below that will take you to YouTube where there's a bootleg copy of the Original Broadway Musical starring Lea, Will Chase, Norm Lewis etc.

  • Miss Saigon

  • .

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    In Memoriam

    Yoyoy Villame (1938- 2007)

    His music was part of my youth when childhood friends in the province would sing his songs over bottles and bottles of the Philippine National Drink, the stainless Ginebra San Miguel in endless drinking sessions that would last until the wee hours of the morning.

    His Philippine Geography, Magellan, Hayop na Combo, Butsekik and many others once ruled the cold and dreary nights of Tiwi, Albay wherein intoxicated young men would play his music on their heavily- bandaged Lumanog guitars under the streetlight by the dusty roadside that would always elicit good- natured laughter from the usual kibitzers and passers- by.

    Although I never really learned the entire lyrics of his songs but during those times it was fun and a necessary break from our usual stuff of slow rock and new wave music.

    Let’s give Yoyoy another round of applause and let him entertain us one more time.


  • Unchanged Melodies
  • for more of Yoyoy's Pinoy Music

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Poetry in Motion

    Since I am still on the recovery mode “mojo-wise” I’ll just post here some old published poems that I have written in the past while I am laboring for my latest post for this blog that I have been neglecting lately.

    Actually I’ve been working on some stuffs that I have set aside for a long time. Just some old crazy stories from way back. I’ll let you take a peek of some of them here in the near future. But for now bear with me and my 'makata' side.

    I have written these poems nearly after more than a decade of self- imposed hiatus which lasted from 1991 to 2002 when I finally emerged from my funk and got my groove again and began submitting poems for publication. Come to think of it, I lost more than a decade writing- wise, beat that!

    Now, I thank the geeks and the Mighty One up above for the internet and computers for without them, I will not be able to write again ‘coz every time I try to put my thoughts on paper, my mind is running so fast that my hand can’t keep up with all the stuffs that I want to say and I always end up trying to decipher everything afterwards what with my “ugly” handwriting that will put even Enigma, that vaunted WWII machine that broke the Nazis' code, to shame. Ha-ha-ha.

    Anyway, the defunct Poetic Voices was one of the first to accept my poems and Sanctuary was included in its May 2003 issue. I was subsequently chosen as the first Featured Poet for August 2003 for my poems Hiroshima, Nuclear Winter, Divine Wind and Historical Amnesia by its Poetry Editor, Ursula T. Gibson, a well respected and accomplished Poet Laureate from California.

    What’s really funny was the fact that all the subsequent Featured Poets for the next three years were all “published” poets including the prolific Canadian Aurora Antonovic, one of my favorite “modern“ poets around. They all have their chapbooks and poetry books with their names in it as authors. I was the only one without one but if you really know me I don’t really care. I would rather hibernate in my nutshell. Ha-ha.

    Now almost four years later I’m back to square one. I have stopped submitting my works since the summer of ‘06. I am now so used to these rollercoaster rides that it never bothers me at all. I’ll never stop writing poetry for sure for it is a good emotional enema for one’s constipated soul. But I’ll write when I feel like it though, when the manna from deep within finds me.

    Here are three different poems from the past…

    The Journey's End

    In the sala of the Spanish house
    In Santa Mesa, puffing the last stick
    Of rolled tobacco from Ilocandia
    Staring at the glimmer of light in the
    Dark, the only glow that can be seen
    In the empty halls of the house

    Sitting on my father's Narra high chair
    Reminiscing and feeling like a real king
    It could have been better if not for the
    Choking smoke that bounces off from the
    Cold cemented walls of my room.

    Darkness, darkness, darkness
    All around me is nothing but darkness
    Darkness, darkness, darkness
    My soul is at ease in your presence.

    I again wept in the dark
    For reasons that is oblivious even to
    My old mangy dog
    For in a time like this
    When the city is fast asleep
    I have found my sanctuary in

    I woke up to the sound of the radio
    Ringing in my ears
    DZMM at 5 a.m. is really not a
    Bad thing except for its bad timing --
    I am nursing a nasty headache.

    The sun is up
    The birds are chirping
    The pain is still the same
    Paracetamol and coffee has no effect
    On the damn thing!
    I popped another tablet and went
    Back to sleep.

    So real and unreal
    A lady in the comforts of my arms
    Soft white skin against my own leathery tan
    A study in contrast hushed by the beautiful
    Melody of the Spanish lullabies.

    Demons staring in my eyes
    Angels in disguise
    In hopeless despair.

    Darkness, darkness, darkness
    All around me is nothing but darkness
    Darkness, darkness, darkness
    My soul is at ease in your presence.

    Scalding incandescent lights
    Hurting my blood-shot eyes
    Burning my heart inside

    Big city lights
    Glowing orbs in the dark
    Beaconing me
    Leaping and jumping into a
    Crazy pantomime.

    Deathly, hushed, muted silence
    Tongue-tied for the first time in my life
    An unexplained stillness descended into my being.

    Thunderous booming laughter
    Silhouette of the grim reaper in my midst
    An unwelcome presence that is dreaded
    Floating on air, walking on lazy waters
    Death in the early evening.

    Darkness, darkness, darkness
    Please carry me into your safe haven
    Speak of my fate to anyone who cares to listen
    Tell them, my restless soul is
    Now at peace in your company.
    -Spotlight Poem of the Day/ November 10, 2003/
    -The Sunday Times Magazine/ October 26, 2003
    - a.k.a. Midnight Blues/ Philippine Daily Inquirer-YOU/ October 2003

    Stained Nike and Intoxicated Hearts

    Here I am grumbling on my breath,
    On my feet lies-
    Old scraps, plastic-strapped boards and
    Chipped shoes, scratching and sketching
    Battlegrounds of rattling, pumping,
    foot- stumping mean machine on a pile
    of red-dirt bricks.

    Steamed hydraulic bearings,
    Compressed irons that grates on opening,
    Rusts that stained the sole of my red Nike Air.
    These heaps of garbage of
    Yesterday’s bags and fruits
    Almost made me puke.

    Black Concrete walls,
    Trucks madly rushing for the stacked
    Of used oils and parts and thrash,
    Sighing and braking to a desperate stopped
    But still crashed into the garbage bins.

    Just like the unrequited love
    That plunged and plummeted
    Into the colored cardboard world
    Of endless dark hole, buoyed by the shouts
    Of the perfumed crowd, sprayed and
    Splashed to cover the stench of dead
    Hearts murdered by the spirits
    of the soul-less Cognac-drinking mob.

    # Autumn/ Winter 2003 Issue


    Meaningless words
    and empty feelings
    -Forbidden emotions.

    Four-sided walls
    and padded cushions
    -Nightmarish solutions.

    Anemic bloodsuckers
    and anorexic nutcrackers
    -Purveyors of hallucinations.

    Muffled silence,
    Demented perception
    in the world
    of straight-jacket

    Baseless views
    Fearless lies
    Invalid reasons
    Triumphed in the minds
    of the absurd…

    # Poetic Voices May 2003

    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    Juan Tamad

    Spring is here…

    And the trees are turning evergreen and the flowers are all in bloom.

    Yet for the past four days, I can’t will myself to spring into action.

    I am just too lazy these days…

    Too lazy to cook--

    For four straight days now, I’ve been on a very unhealthy diet--

    I've been gorging on McDo McGriddles or Burger King Angus meal for Breakfast, the $5 Chinese Buffet for lunch and Applebees New York Strip for dinner.

    Yes, I am gaining some weight and my belly is growing on a daily basis.

    But what can I do?

    I am just a sloth nowadays too crazy to go on a diet, holding on to the false belief that I can get rid of the love handles faster than I could swallow a piece of a hot Burrito.

    Well, maybe I’ll start pumping some iron again and do that Navy SEAL workout that I’ve been planning to do for the longest time and maybe succeed in having rows of "pandesals" in my lousy abs.

    Too lazy to get out of bed--

    The early bird gets the worm?

    Nah, I’d rather snooze more, get some Z’s or read more in bed. So far, I’ve read 4 books of no literary consequence already and I’m on my way to finishing the fifth, Cross by James Patterson of the Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider fame.

    Yes, I’ve put aside my Marquez, Mann, Mishima, Hugo, Ishiguro and even Coelho for the time being and I am feasting on old books by John Sandford, Ludlum, Forsyth and of course Patterson instead. And I am liking the adrenaline- pumping actions even if it is only in the confines of my bedroom. It’s just like having a slam-bang action movie inside your mind.

    Too lazy to write something or update my blogs--

    It’s been more or less five days since I’ve last updated some of them and here I am typing and coming out with uninspired words that are really hard to come by in moments like this.

    And I am sorry that you’re reading this garbage. My apologies from the bottom of my you-know- what? That’s waste management for you. Ha-ha.

    Anyway, all these dull stuffs and inanities in my life will all come to pass and I’ll be back to my old self again in no time.

    Trust me or else…

    Friday, May 04, 2007


    Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro,

    Cinco de Mayo!

    Contrary to popular beliefs, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day rather it is the commemoration of the victory of the Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over a superior French Occupational Forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

    Like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo has crossed cultural boundaries in the United States wherein the celebration is wildly observed not only in areas where there is a large Hispanic population but also in areas where diversity is encouraged.

    Also the fact that in Capitalist America, every entrepreneur or businessman worth his money would do everything to concoct every gimmick and opportunity to lure party-going people into their business establishments for a good time.

    Thus, you can see an Irish Bar advertising a Cinco de Mayo night wherein Guinness and Jameson have been edged by Corona and Cuervo from its traditional place. Or steaks and burgers gave way to Fajitas, Tacos and Burritos in the main menu even just for a day. Or everybody’s idea of fun is striking and breaking a PiƱata.

    Mexico and the Norte Americanos have gone a long way. From fighting a war for territorial gains to the present war against the so- called illegal immigrants jumping over the fence south of the border.

    They have a love- hate relationship but in reality they cannot live without each other. It is a symbiotic relationship actually for without the majority of “illegal immigrants” who are mostly Mexicans, America’s vaunted economic power will suffer.

    On the positive side, Mexico just like the Philippines also gains from the remittances of their people to help keep a corrupt government and bad economy afloat in a way. These are people who risked their lives to seek greener pastures so that their family back home can have decent lives that the government that should give them in the first place is incapable of doing.

    I don’t buy the contention that these “illegal immigrants” actually takes job away from Americans. In reality they take jobs that Americans don’t want to have in the first place plus the fact that they work without health and other form of insurance, on low wages and odd hours, conditions that no pampered citizen of Uncle Sam’s America will take but business people propagates.

    The truth is, some Americans would rather live off their money they get from social security and food stamps and sit in front of the TV munching potato chips than work their asses out.

    Yeah, why work when the government will support you?

    Michigan is just one of the states that has no limitations up to where one can receive social security. One can have it for life if you want to, doing nothing while the rest of the hardworking citizens and legal immigrants of this country pay the right taxes to support the lazy ones. Don’t get me wrong but most Americans are driven and hardworking except for a few.

    Anyway, what will I do on Cinco de Mayo?

    I’ll be chillin’ in my couch with a Dos XX in hand watchin’ Oscar de la Hoya fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for the WBC Jr. Middleweight title on pay-per view to settle once and for all, who is the better fighter between them.

    So who will you pick, the Golden Boy or the Pretty Boy?

    Hmmm, all that glitter’s not gold and beauty is skin deep…

    Mexican Trippin'--

    Here's my late Grand Pa's favorite singers, the Trio Los Panchos

    Mexican Squeeze :)


    mi dulce amor,

    sabras que te quiero...

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    A & A

    Yes, Aaron and Alexander...

    Les Miserables Broadway Revival stars Aaron Lazar who plays the flag- waving revolutionary student leader Enjolras and sings-
    "Red, the blood of angry men.
    Black, the dark of ages past.
    Red, a world about to dawn.
    Black , the night that ends at last."

    in one of the highlights of the magnificent show


    Alexander Gemignani (left, seen here with Norm Lewis a.k.a.Inspector Javert) who portrays Jean Valjean one of the main characters in the Broadway musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo Classic Novel.

    I Caught them on cam while signing Playbill programs at the backstage door of the Broadhurst Theater 4.13.2007.

    Aaron Lazar like Norm Lewis (Javert), Celia Keenan- Bolger (Eponine)and Jenny Galloway (Madame Thenardier) left the show last April 22 and were replaced by Max von Essen, Ben Davis, Mandy Bruno and Ann Harada respectively.

    Watch them perform here:

    Norm Lewis "Stars"

    Celia Keenan- Bolger "On My Own"

    Jenny Galloway with the hilarious Gary Beach "Master of the House"

    Aaron Lazar "Enjolras"

  • Red and Black/ Do You Hear The People Sing

  • Visit Aaron Lazar's blog
  • here

  • ...

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Snow Blind

    Some of my Filipino friends have experienced being “questioned’ in the gym, at the YMCA and other public places by some people who are obviously ignorant and guilty of stereotyping people from other races as one and the same based on the color of their skin, facial features, etc. etc. etc.

    Two of them were Pinoys of Chinese descent and on separate occasions were asked by a group of men in places where they usually go for their daily work out/ exercise.

    And the exchange goes like---

    “Hey, are you Korean?” said one of the man in a group playing basketball to Juan.

    “No, I’m a Filipino,” Juan answered.

    “Oh, you Orientals, you all look the same!” said Sam the obvious leader of the group as the others laugh in unison.

    Juan just kept mum and let the obvious slur passed and continued with his business.

    This is just one of the fall- outs of the tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech just weeks ago. I have told several friends to expect about this kind of things to happen especially when the media first reported that the shooter was of Asian descent.

    Although I sympathize with the family and friends of the victims and their hurt and loss will never be quantified and forgotten, I could not help but wonder why Seung- Hui Cho perpetrated the dastardly act of shooting innocent people in his murderous rampage.

    The tragedy that occurred is not his fault alone though. The media kept on repeating that Cho had a history of mental illness and psychological problems as if to justify his actions and put the burden of guilt entirely on him but we cannot discount the fact that his condition was made worse by the environment he lived in.

    Of course, after a tragedy of this magnitude nobody would admit now that for years Cho had been harassed, bullied and picked on because of his color and by the manner of his speech. There are still a lot people out there who has the notion that they are superior to others because of the color of their skin, if you ask me.

    One interview stood out though, a classmate of Cho admitted that he and some of his classmates have predicted and once labeled Cho as a "future school shooter" behind his back. How they came to that morbid conclusion beats me, though.

    If you’re familiar with the American culture, stories like this is never kept a secret or hushed. Some people are just plain loud and insensitive that they would say some stuffs with nary a care in the world if they offend others.

    What if Cho did get wind of this and due to his mental condition wherein he did not have the capacity to cope with his thought process and could not just brush off the said issue easily like most people do and just "snapped" and then decided to do what they thought of him capable of doing anyway?

    Delusion of persecution is one of the worst thing that could ever happen to one’s mental well- being. There’s no sadder thing than when one feels that he’s alone against the world. It become even more dangerous if you've lost control of your mental faculties. I've encountered cases like these in the past where the "voices" whispering in one's ear have tormented one's head and leads to violent and often deadly end.

    The human mind works in mysterious ways...

    Experts and self- proclaimed experts like you and me have given their opinions, perspectives, hypotheses, theories and conclusions regarding the cause and the final straw that broke Cho’s back but all these are just nothing but empty rhetoric to an audience already saturated with so many “true” reports that no matter what arguments you hear, you already made up your mind which is more often than not biased in favor of or against your pre- conceived notion of this case.

    Still the loss of so many lives in a senseless way is quite disturbing. Your heart could only weep silently for come to think of it we are all victims whenever this kind of tragedy occurs.

    I just hope that no person will ever utter these words again--

    "You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience."

    Let us respect each other as a person and let us always follow the Golden Rule.


    If I find myself in a similar situation like Juan, I will look each of them bullies in the eye and say, “wait here, I’ll be back.” :) Ewan ko lang kung di sila mag- takbuhan pag nagkataon :)

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