Friday, November 30, 2007

The Muppet Show


Yes, it was a great show indeed, the attempted power- grab headlined by aspiring action- drama star Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and his sidekick cashiered Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in the Philippines’ Financial district last Thursday morning.

It began as a promising day of film shoot in a very nice location for them, complete with a script that will give Hollywood movies a run for their money; From the synchronized court room walkout to their dramatic march under the rain towards their objective in Makati , ably backed by a supporting cast of personalities from the Left, Right, Clergy, Civil Society and even the Senior Citizenry.

Their fans applauded on the sidelines as every thing seems to be working according to plan and the show is destined to be a box office hit with no less than a glorious romp in the mecca of make believe that is Malacanang as a fitting award.

The supporting casts were no pushovers either. They were the crème de la crème of the political fantasy world--

--Characters like JV Bautista, Argee Guevara, Ex- VP Teofisto Guingona, Bibeth Orteza, Linggoy Alcuaz, Former UP President Dodong Nemenzo, Herman Tiu Laurel, Day Olaguer- Montayre, Eillen Tordesillas, Fr. Robert Reyes and Bishop Julio Labayen just to name a few who once upon a time were from the opposite ends of the political spectrum and normally do not see eye-to- eye with each other but have now joined forces and have put their great minds together in this epic production for a shot at full stardom and the ultimate prize of being on top of the Filipino pecking order.

Yes Sirs and Mesdames, way up there over the heads of ordinary Filipinos like you and me who they deemed were not bright enough and enlightened enough to know and understand the real state of the nation.

You see, these sorts of characters and clowns who fashioned themselves as worthy alternative to the tenant of that big house by the Pasig River were themselves a bunch of shameless shams. They are forever part of the so- called elite circle of patriotic Flips planning and producing one telenovela after another from the time the real McCoy was flown into Hawaii, USA instead of Paoay in Ilocandia by the US Navy Pilots who misheard (he-he) the former for the latter to the present height (oops, no pun intended) of the Gloria administration.

And mind you, knowing the extent of the knowledge of geography by the Americans where about 4 in 5 of its citizens can't even find their great nation on a map, I am not surprised at all on why the late strongman in his moment of weakness in '86 was spirited out of the country to do the Hula instead of being brought to the waiting arms of his Genuine Ilocanos up north to sing his favorite Pamulinawen.

By the way, these elite circle members whose track records can speak volumes about their nature and true colors will not stop until the day they die of trying to achieve their long cherished dream of subjugating the beautiful people of the 7, 107 islands nation to their corrupted version of the gospel.

Well, Get Rich or Die Tryin' eh? Rapper 50- cent proved that it can be done in the HipHopDom, so the logic goes that it can also be done in FlipDom- Not!

I am not a fan of PGMA but I would rather have her at the helm of the nation than these cretins and the shadowy group that they represent. That old Maoist doctrine that power comes from the barrel of the gun doesn’t hold water to me as well as to the millions of Filipinos time and again.

Otherwise those who have attempted and tried the same tactics in the past would have succeeded by now. I say, you can say anything and everything about our failures and shortcomings as a race but Filipinos don’t tolerate Utak- Pulburas in our midst.

These political junkies masquerading as saviors of the unenlightened Filipinos have once again done a great disservice to our country by resorting to this kind of blind adventurism obviously without thinking of the consequences of their actions to the lives of the long suffering population who are already burdened by their daily struggle to eke a living. They once again have done things that will cause havoc to our already stagnant economy just to advance their own naked interests.

Anyway, nobody else could have written a better script fit for the silver screen that could have earned a huge payback in the end. What with a young disgruntled ex- soldier that was catapulted to the Senate by virtue of the 11 million votes he got from the “intelligent” Pinoy voters in the lead role and a "charismatic" West Point graduate and a former Commanding General of the elite Scout Rangers as his sidekick, they can do no wrong or so it seems.

It was a surefire formula for a blockbuster that was supposed to break all the existing records of Philippines Cinema if you ask me. But the beautiful script received an “X” rating from the hands of the board of censors to the horrors of the writers, actors and producers alike.

And so the action- thriller was hastily re-written by the local enforcers that contributed to the unexpected ending that turned a promising action- thriller into a trashy comedy that will put Enteng Kabisote and his minions to shame.

It was a laughable act indeed by Trillanes, Lim and company from the political point of view but the damage to the economy and our already bad reputation abroad as a people was no laughing matter.

And there lies the rub.



It’s a good thing though that the authorities were determined to end the comedy of errors the shortest possible time and handled the situation quite well, the Media’s whining and grumbling notwithstanding.

Actually, the straight shooters in the PNP have done us a great service by sparing us, kibitzers, the agony of having to sit down in front of the idiot box for hours and hours of non- action while trying to laugh at the stale one- liners that these comedians spit from their mouths from time to time.

Long the butt of jokes by the citizenry for being Pulis- Patolas, they should be commended this time for sparing us from that frequent trips to the toilet or for preventing us from having horrible hemorrhoidal eruptions or even experiencing nasty cases of flatulence in the end.

I just hope that these comedians should be taken to task for their misadventures. We don’t need these loonies roaming around town. They should be taken back to the Looney House where they could sing their Looney Tunes till kingdom come without bothering anyone. And throw the keys away for good measure. I’m sure the Philippines will be better off without them.

Oops, please excuse me while I go to the loo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come Fly With Me

The Wisdom of Jonathan Livingston Seagull according to Richard Bach--

"How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!"

“Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see the way to fly.”



So, Come Fly With Me...




n.b.
The Oracle Challenger Bi-plane piloted by Sean D. Tucker was one of the attractions in this year's edition of Thunder Over Michigan. I took this video with my Sony Handy Cam DVD and just learned the other day how to convert them for uploading by using Roxio. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The End of Innocence



Look into the picture and tell me what you see?

This painting entitled Innocence is the work of Fil-Am painter Fred DeAsis currently on exhibit at the Arlington Heights Heritage Museum until January 2008 in Arlington Heights, Chicago, Illinois.

The artist and the museum are now embroiled in controversy after so-called “members of religious- rightist group” asked the museum to shut down the exhibit because they are against the said art work and its message.

The artist said that Innocence is “supposed to describe the pain and isolation of child and spousal abuse”and I can’t understand for the life of me the logic behind the uproar with some people going to the extent of calling the painting, “totally disgusting and shameful.”

As for me it is just the product of the artist’s perception and imagery of the subject and nothing more. It is not even a great painting if we follow the usual standard but it is in no way near the description that some people have hurled at the art work.

From the way I see it and by looking at the demographics of Arlington Heights, it is just a sorry and malicious attempt to discredit the artist perpetrated by some uneducated people, bigots actually whose beliefs are tainted by the biases that they harbor for other races even in this day and age.

Yes, people like these are still quite prevalent in many backwater villages in Uncle Sam‘s America.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Arlington Heights, your behavior in this case is not only revolting but “TOTALLY DISGUSTING AND SHAMEFUL” as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brush Stokes


Awkward landscapes and distant crooked buildings
Bathing nudes and aquamarine rivers
Calloused eyes and women of style
Deadly venomous asps and orange fruitcakes…

Eager brushes by the pale trembling hands
Pained strokes on moldy canvasses
Propped on broken easels in a grey-wallpapered studio
Showcasing the best works that I can do…



Blue trees on emerald forests
Overlooking the impressive blotchy- paintings
Inside the soft iodine-colored show room
Waiting for the chance for the final slap on the chin!



Resplendent smiles from the eyes of a mad man
Standing up against the world in soiled ragged clothes
Trying to savor the taste of yellowed moments
In hushed phantasmagoric silence…




I dreamed of Cézanne
But the colors and stars are far from anything,
And the people are not themselves
So, I wept in throbbing shame and heartfelt sorrow...

note: 1st published in Two Moon Quarterly c.2002
Voices.Net Anthology c. 2002

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rock Report


Today is the 10th Anniversary of the “mysterious” death of the flamboyant front man, Michael Hutchence of the Aussie band INXS.

Although they were not that “big” in the Philippines during that time as they were more famous Down Under and Europe, I was familiar with some of their songs like Original Sin, Disappear and The Stairs just to name a few because I’ve read about them in those small Php 5.00 “Song Hits“ (Yes, fellow music freak, Jingle and Moptop were long dead in the late 80s and early 90s) and of course, with the help of that FM radio from far away Naga City.

Come to think of it, the FM stations from Naga have a better and stronger reception in Tiwi to this day than the radio stations from Legaspi for Tiwi is actually located in the “other” Albay- Camarines Sur Provincial Boundary wherein the farthest barangay, Mayong is just separated by a bridge from the Partido area which comprises the towns of Sangay, Goa, Tigaon, San Jose, etc. and also the home of the Fuentebella political clan of Camarines Sur. Hey, that's Bicol Trivia for you folks.

Anyway, INXS (IN Excess) was formed in Australia in 1977 and attained global success in the 1980s with some of their songs landing in the Billboard's Charts.

The surviving members are still around though and making “new” music with JD Fortune who became the lead singer after winning the title in the Rockstar: INXS contest a couple of years ago over runner- up Marty Casey (Where are you now?) and Pinoy Migs Ayesa, among others in a popularity contest determined by the band members themselves and television viewers.

But they will never come close to the Michael Hutchence Era as far as the die-hard and faithful INXS fans are concerned.



By the way, my lovely girlfriend at that time, gave me a cassette tape of their album, X when she came back from Australia shortly after winning the Miss Philippines- Australia Pageant (Oops, sorry about that ****). The album includes one of my favorite songs from the band, By My Side.






R.I.P. and Rock On in Rock & Roll Heaven, Michael!


n.b.

You can visit the INXS’ website and read their tribute to Michael Hutchence,here

Or you can visit the online guest book and profess your undying love for him and his music, here

Visit Unchanged Melodies
and Rhapsody in Black for more of their music.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Like Serendipity for Chocolate

Serendipity 3, that high- end restaurant in the Upper East Side of Manhattan famous (?) for its extravagant and expensive desserts that could make even the most impatient New Yorker to toe the line, I mean to queue for hours for the chance to have a seat in its luxurious chairs and a chance to taste its world- famous desserts was ordered closed by the health authorities until they can literally clean up their act and place to satisfy its stringent guidelines.


Yes folks, this is the same restaurant that offers a $1,000 sundae named Golden Opulence that requires a 48- hour advance notice from patrons and also the world record holder in Dessert-land as far as the people in Guinness (yup, not the beer) are concerned with its $25, 000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate that has edible gold, top- grade cocoa and shavings of a luxury truffle among its “secret” ingredients.

But it seems that the secret is out with regards to the restaurant’s mouth-watering chocolate desserts. Some of the tightly guarded “secret ingredients” are not so secret anymore if the New York City Health Inspectors are to be believed.

Here‘s why from USA Today on its November 15th issue...


Officials closed the restaurant Wednesday night after it failed its second inspection in a month. An inspector spotted a live mouse and mouse droppings, fruit flies, house flies and more than 100 live cockroaches.

"Both inspections revealed rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement," the department said.



So, this news makes sense to me now why their concoctions were so expensive, after all, not every restaurant can boast of this one-of-a-kind dining experience.

I could only imagine…

Chocolates anyone?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Send in the Clowns

The past days, I’ve been following the news on the Batasan bombing which killed several people including somebody I know from the past and injuring many others but I couldn’t help but notice something---

ISN’T IT FUNNY OR IRONIC that whenever a tragedy or any cataclysmic event occurs, our government officials and politicians alike are scrambling on their heels in a mad dash to have their nonsensical piece of the issue and a shot at the so- called 15 minutes of fame?

Add the Police, Religious Leaders and every Juan & Juana de la Cruzes to the list too.

Here are just some of the examples of how these people can concoct theories that would put Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to oblivion…

GABRIELA ME A BREAK

The Gabriela women’s party Thursday said its representative, Luzviminda Ilagan, could have been the real target of the Tuesday night explosion at the House of Representatives, and not Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar, as the Philippine National Police had theorized.

In a statement, Gabriela pointed out that the PNP sketch of the blast site showed Ilagan’s van as “closer to the blast” than Akbar’s vehicle. It said “this should logically make” Ilagan and its other representative, Liza Maza, the “plausible targets,” especially because the latter’s vehicle was “almost identical” to Ilagan’s.


THE HOUSE CLOWN

He said investigators should consider the likelihood that the explosion that killed four persons including Akbar and wounded 11 others (not 13, as earlier reported), including Ilagan and Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves, might actually have targeted the House as an institution.

“That should be looked into,” De Venecia said when asked in an interview if the bomb attack could have been directed at the House. “If there was a political message that was delivered, that should be looked.


FOOLISH CHARACTER

"If you would think, why [a] remote controlled bomb and not [a] timed device? If I were the one [behind the blast], ibig sabihin may target ka [this means you have a target], you would explode the bomb when target is near," said Barias, noting that Akbar could have been the nearest to the motorcycle where the bomb was attached.

"We will also look into that possibility," said Barias when asked about members of the Magdalo as suspects.


THE LEFT IS RIGHT

"It is obvious that national security is getting worse and we have many reasons to believe that the government is making it so, as a premise for another crackdown against the critics of the regime, amend the anti-terror law and declare a state of emergency," KMP chair Rafael Mariano said.

According to Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap, the group was not discounting the possibility that "agents of the state" were behind the blast.


SENILE SENSATIONS

Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Pimentel echoed Villar's reaction and said that the administration should “identify, arrest, and prosecute” those responsible so that the people's confidence on the state would be restored.

“[President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] must be warned against doing a Musharaf, else more problems ahead,” Pimentel said in a text message.

Senator Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal called for “an independent commission to be formed to investigate this incident to avoid any cover-up or whitewash.”

“What is obvious is that this attack is part of a grand scheme. Is this part of the plot to divert attention on tomorrow's [Wednesday’s] impeachment hearing, the Senate investigation on the payola scandal tomorrow as well, and the ZTE hearings? We are not anymore safe. My sentiments go to the innocent victims and their families. Desperate moves indeed,” she said.


THE GAS THEORY ak.a. THE GLORIETTA EFFECT

a. Methane is produced by rotting garbage. The Batasan is full of dirt and trash.
b. Methane is produced by shit, and members of the Batasan are full of shit.
c. Methane is produced in a septic tank. The Batasan is one big septic tank.



These only shows the inherent Kulang Sa Pansin (KSP) attitude, know-it-all character and inborn gossip in everyone of us, Filipinos not to mention our wicked sense of humor.

As a race we love to talk and talk and talk. And we love to speculate on everything and spin the rumor mill to kingdom come...



The tasteless attempts of politicians to ride on this tragedy to suit their agenda makes my blood boil and wished that the bombers should have planted the bombs to the two halls of Congress instead to erase these good-for-nothing bastards from the face of the earth.

It will be the day for rejoicing, imagine the Philippines without these shameless politicians hugging the limelight and pilfering our nation’s coffers dry for their selfish gains. Good riddance, huh?

We can dream, can’t we?

But this is just wishful thinking for it will never happen, not in my lifetime nor in yours folks since based on my experiences alone in dealing with these crocodiles and the Filipino people in all walks of life and I’m sure many of you have the same feelings about this thing, WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THEM.

Why?

Because We have a symbiotic relationship with them, and that‘s the painful TRUTH..

CHANGE will never happen as long as we continue to be indifferent to where our country is heading to and as long as we cannot put our money to where our mouth is, we will be at their mercy.

As long as we continue to be a nation of “talkers’ and not “doers” and a race of “Sobra sa Dada, Kulang sa Gawa“, they’re here to stay.

As a people, We are only good in words but not in deeds. We are only good in criticizing everything in our surroundings but in reality when given the chance, we will just go on with our business quietly and try not to meddle in the issues confronting our day to day lives. We have these notion inside ourselves, “Mahirap makialam, madamay pa ako.” And this is one reason why "real justice" will forever be elusive in the Philippines.

But if we really want something to change, we do need a REVOLUTION but not the kind that we have seen, experience and doing so far--

--A hollow Call for a change in leadership and system is not the answer nor joining the decades-old armed struggle can solve the rut that we are in as a nation and as a people.

The TRUE REVOLUTION begins INSIDE US,

…But it is always easier said than done.

So expect the world to continue to call our country as the sickest man of Asia and frowned upon as a race.

We just need to live with it and "enjoy" it in the process.

That’s life.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lea Salonga in Tarrytown, New York

Despite having to run almost two miles from the other end of the Terminal to catch the Northwest Airline Flight from Detroit- Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to La Guardia having missed our original morning flight earlier, we were still in a very good mood.

And flying all the way from Michigan 2 days before the event and then “hitching” a ride from the Bronx to Tarrytown, New York on the day of the concert with old friends in tow in exchange for the promised prime concert seats, we were in cruise control.

The uneventful 30- minute trip on the slow, lazy road to this little picturesque village on the eastern shore of the Hudson river did not dampen our enthusiasm a bit. We arrived at historic Tarrytown at quarter past seven of a cool and chilly evening of November 2. We were in high spirits in anticipation of a wonderful evening of music at the Tarrytown Music Hall.

Yes, we traveled far for the much- awaited concert of Broadway Star and Tony- Award Winner Lea Salonga in this side of Westchester County, New York.

As we walked from the parking lot, braving the wind chill that was gnawing at our bodies and numbing our skin, I couldn’t help but notice that Tarrytown is really quite old, small and dark compared to the other places that I‘ve been to.

Tarrytown has that distinctive air of the old world with clusters of Victorian and Gothic revival houses built in the late 1800s and early 1900s lining its narrow streets . And what with Sleepy Hollow just a stone’s throw away only added to its allure and mystique, at least for a history buff like me.

In fact, pictures of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman suddenly materializing out of nowhere circled in my mind as I turned the uphill corner towards the venue. But tonight, Washington Irving’s character from his classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will take a back seat to the Lady of the Night.

As we neared the Music Hall, we suddenly realized that Tarrytown has turned up into a Pinoy Town. In every street and corner, bar and cafe, store and restaurant, one could see and hear the unmistakable sound and presence of the Filipinos who came in full force.

This I can say, Filipinos really know how to party and could be counted upon to support a very talented kababayan as she tries to wield her magic again in Uncle Sam’s America. There were a lot of American fans too who flew in from as far back as Texas and California. Some even drove for hours from Canada and various places in the east Coast. Majority of them of course came from New York and neighboring New Jersey.

They all came with one purpose and one purpose only-- to hear once again this song bird who have captured the ears of the world since she was 17 when after a global search she was chosen to essay the role of Kim in the hit musical Miss Saigon to which she never looked back.

The Music Hall on Main Street was built in 1885 and is one of the oldest theaters in Westchester County where various luminaries from US Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft & Woodrow Wilson) to Legendary Musicians (Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, etc.) among others have once graced its hallowed grounds.

THE CONCERT

The concert did not start on time although the musicians were on stage before the 8pm call time but since a lot of people are still pouring in and a lot of people were also queueing for the restrooms, the musicians bid their time until Bjorn Olsson the Executive Director of the Music Hall appeared on stage to welcome everybody with a crisp and effortless “Mabuhay!” which he confessed he learned a few minutes before he went up the stage.

He proceeded to his short and concise speech and finally called on Lea Salonga who casually sauntered on the stage in a simple but elegant black pantsuit, went for the microphone and that old familiar lines from Stephen Sondheim’s SOMETHING'S COMING came out flowing like a cool breeze into the warm night air.

Could be, who knows?
…If I can wait, something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it’s gonna be great…

It was a very appropriate opening number for Lea and surely an omen of things to come for the mesmerized audience who erupted into thunderous applause at the end of the song from West Side Story.

After greeting her Kababayans in the audience, she shared to us that it was the first time for her to hear somebody who is not a native speaker who pronounced “Mabuhay” correctly and opined that as a Filipino she doesn’t want to hear Mabuhay being butchered to the delight of the large Filipino crowd.

She then told us that for our listening pleasure she had put together songs “that I personally enjoy, songs that has in one way or another have been associated with me.”

And this being her first concert in many, many months she wanted it to be special and added to the audience‘s amusement “you have no idea how it feels to sing without having to cry! All of you who have seen Les Miz over the last 7 months know what I mean” in obvious reference to her role as the tragic Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables where she brought back to life the character that Daphne Rubin- Vega killed.

People just can’t get enough of her as the cameras kept on flashing without let- up prompting her to ask the concertgoers to go “easy on the cameras” and revealed that her “eyesight must have graded more, from the ‘strobing’” and she might “have an epileptic attack” in the process although she quickly added that she doesn’t have epilepsy but she doesn’t want to “start that right now, seriously” and politely asked us to just “relax, sit back and enjoy the show.”



Lea Salonga’s voice is so pure that when she sang I’VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE BEFORE from the Musical Guys and Dolls; it’s like hearing the confession of a young and innocent girl where one can really feel the simple yet heartfelt message of the song.

Then she reminisced about her early years as a performer wherein she shared that she used to sing on top of the table to the delight of her mother and can still vividly remember her first standing ovation at age 8 in a “blue dress and white cardigan and suffering from allergy attack” on the day of her audition and landing the lead role for Repertory Philippines’ production of Annie The Musical that eventually paved the way to her pursuing a career in show business.

She sang TOMORROW in an up-tempo manner and got away with it. She sang it in a way that one couldn’t help but think that the song was and still magical in Lea’s capable hands after all these years. It was well- applauded and I’m sure many in the audience were having flashbacks of that cute little girl singing this very familiar tune on black and white TV many, many years ago and half a world away.

The star of the night admitted that even after years of being in the business, “there’s still quite a few roles I’d like to play. Hopefully, one day I’ll get the opportunity” as she rendered a haunting and beautiful rendition of I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and made a very good case for herself for the role of Mary Magdalene. If only Andrew Lloyd Webber was in the audience…

Ms. Salonga paid homage to Mr. Lloyd Webber by declaring that she found the very talented songwriter to be “incredibly prolific” and confessed on a role she covets most of her life as well as showed her wit in the process to the delight of everyone--

“A role that I always had my eye on from when I was quite young but even at my age now…Fine, I’m 36! But I still look darn hot!”

And added feeling intimidated by the role despite coveting it badly.

“Even though I’m older than the person upon whom the show was based when she passed away. It’s still a part of musical theater canon for female singers, it intimidates me incredibly and I am not yet brave enough to tackle her on” but swiftly added that when the right time comes, she’ll be able to handle them like the rest.

YOU MUST LOVE ME from Evita the Movie came next and it’s not even fair to Madonna to merit a discussion here of the vocal discrepancies between her and Lea.

Lea Salonga’s voice can melt the heart of any strong man and she surely is capable of capturing the hearts of a thousand Perons, too. Evita is one role that she can do without question, if you ask me. I am sure the people who heard her sing live tonight and the ones who have heard her before will surely agree with me.

And she shared to us a funny little secret about a role that,

“I’ve wanted sooooo bad that while I was in Miss Saigon I kept dropping hints & not very subtle ones either“... to Cameron Mackintosh, perhaps?

“Yeah, I’d like to play Eponine in Les Miserables.”

And her ploy was amply rewarded when--

“I was very fortunate to be asked not too long after I left Miss Saigon to be a part of the big production “ and sang the most applauded song of the night that merited a standing ovation from the crowd.

It was her audition song for Miss Saigon, ON MY OWN.

Then she sang the Tagalog song, HAHANAPIN KO that was composed by Jose Mari Chan and popularized by Anthony Castelo in the 1980s and dedicated the song to “all the Filipinos that have left the country and still love our Motherland.”

Buckets of tears flowed from the Pinoy concertgoers as her smooth and soulful rendition of the ballad touched the hearts of so many of us, Filipinos who have not been back in the old country in years. The song and the tears became a form of catharsis for many of us because not only does it link us to our past, it also reminded us of Home…

Her solemn version of SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME from the musical Oh, Kay! by the prolific duo, George and Ira Gershwin have added another dimension to the concert with only a guitar accompanying her, the song became even more personal and meaningful…

“Although he may not be the man some
Girls think of as handsome
To my heart he carries the key…”

Suddenly somebody from the audience sneezed loudly and like the trooper that she is, she blurted out “Bless You!“ in between the song lyrics and went on to sing the song in its entirety without missing a beat even when the audience was now laughing their heart’s out. The sneezing bandit was never identified but surely, nobody would like to be in her/his shoes that night. Ha-ha.

Lea Salonga is an artist who knows how to interact with her audience and she can really play with the crowd.

We all know that she became a Disney Princess not only once, but twice but she explained to us good-naturedly her apprehensions about it--

“My daughter would probably not believe that Mommy got to do that and probably looking at me rolling her eyes!”

You can tell by the way she talk that she’s one proud mother to Nicole as she further confessed that her fears have some basis when she said,

“She’s ignoring me already and she’s only 17 months old!”

She did sing the two Disney songs from Aladdin and Mulan but with just the short Princess Jasmine part of A WHOLE NEW WORLD for the former and a different and more complete version of REFLECTIONS for the latter.

She intimated that she got to record the "long original” version from Mulan but executives at Disney only released the short version for the movie and as a form of “revenge” she always sings the complete version in her concerts.

A parade of beautiful songs highlighted the second part of the show and it was a blast seeing Lea’s expressions change from song to song--

--Her phrasing’s perfect, her diction impeccable and her voice, crystal. Her effortless singing can literally and figuratively take you to a whole new world of musical magic.

She proclaimed that she loved ABBA and one can discern her respect for the immense talent of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus in the song she chose to sing from the musical Chess.

Her poignant SOMEONE ELSE'S STORY can make you cry unabashedly without regard for anybody.

She can make you high and giggle with her sweet and girlish interpretation of the Kristin Chenoweth’s original “TAYLOR, THE LATTE BOY". One of the most applauded numbers of the night.

WHEN OCTOBER GOES, whose lyrics was written by Johnny Mercer just before he died of cancer in 1976, Barry Manilow composed a beautiful albeit melancholic melody in honor of his friend. Lea gushed how Manilow, known more for his cheesy compositions was able to pen such a beautiful song. She fell in love with the song so much that she included it in her latest album “Inspired.”

You can see the smoke in Lea’s eyes when she admitted that she had her own share of heartaches, too. But she did not give up on love and in the end found the man of her dreams.

She opened her heart to us and dedicated the next song, I STILL BELIEVE IN LOVE from the musical They‘re Playing Our Song “to all the singles out there” and asked them to “never give up on love.”

The very emotional I'D GIVE MY LIFE FOR YOU put the music hall in silence and can still induce goose bumps on our skin, 18 years after we first heard her sing that now classic song from Miss Saigon of what every mother would/can do for her offspring.

The night will not be complete without the song that brought her back to Broadway. Her crystalline voice soared anew as she gave life to the Les Miserables' tragic character, Fantine, in I DREAMED A DREAM...

"But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart. As they turn your dreams to shame!"

Lea showed us here her versatility as she shifted from one difficult note to another in an effortless show of vocal prowess not to mention her heartbreaking interpretation of the song. She did it with much aplomb to the delight of the audience.

I have never heard Billy Joel’s homage to the Big Apple sang as beautifully as Lea did. In NEW YORK STATE OF MIND, she bared that she will never get away from New York, that no matter what she will always be coming back to New York. She considers the Big Apple as her home away from home.

The medley of SOMETHING WONDERFUL/BEING ALIVE from the musicals The King and I and Company, respectively, have in a way, sum up the wonderful evening with Lea Salonga. I guess you could safely call it a night of enchantment in the enchanted village called Tarrytown.

Her encore of the Beverly Craven original and carrier single of her album Inspired, PROMISE ME was hauntingly touching and was well- received. I can say that she gave justice to the song and own it in the process.

The concert lived up to its promise and it was a night to remember forever. Lea Salonga came aptly prepared to give her fans their money’s worth and she did not disappoint. Her song selections complimented her voice really well. The venue was suited for a more intimate and personal approach and she exploited them to her advantage.




The years have been kind to her, too and she really has matured as a singer and a performer-- confident, poised, witty, charming and beautiful.

And of course, She’s HOT!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lea Salonga In Concert



From the Tarrytown Music Hall Website:

Celebrated Tony-award winning Star of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Flower Drum Song as well as the singing voice of Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin ("Whole New World")and in Disney's Mulan ("Reflection"), Lea Salonga's smooth, perfectly modulated singing voice has mesmerized audiences worldwide since that famous day when she walked into the auditions for Miss Saigon as an unknown 17 year old, blew the competition out of the water and instantly became one of mega-producer Cameron Mackintosh's favorite performers. She is also considered by many as the best Eponine in Les Mis ever.

We are incredibly excited to be able to offer our patrons this very rare opportunity to experience Ms Salonga in a solo concert. She will be accompanied by a group of her favorite handpicked musicans.


8 p.m.
Tarrytown Music Hall

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