By Oliver Carnay
"Songbird and Songwriter": First Sold-Out
2004 U.S. Concert Sizzles!
Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid's "The Songbird
Songwriter" back-to-back concert last Saturday (March
20, 2004) at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in L.A., the kick-off concert of
a six-city U.S. tour, not only proved they are (still) two of the most forceful
Philippine artists, but can retain enough clout to attract a sold-out market,
finding well-versed forms in new taste and creativeness, as fiercely as they
Regine Velasquez, a constant box-office
money-maker and crowd-drawer on the U.S. concert scene was brave enough to
try a more risky costume for their surprise ("Darna" and "Captain Barbell")
number. Multi-talented (singer/songwriter/comedy actor) Ogie Alcasid ingeniously
walked a tightrope camaraderie with masterful interactions with his audience.
The "Ocho-ocho", "Bulaklak" and "Spaghetti" acts were some of the highlights
(with dancers in tow, clad in transgender attire), conveying production values
which never suffered from start to finish, maintaining a momentum of applause
and delight from the cheering crowd, one act after another.
The comical act never faltered for a second, an easy task for two
dynamic performers who have always been at ease on stage and television.
The classic medleys and movie themes, alternate solos and duets, imbedded
with video presentations from past films, Regine with leading men, Ogie's
new soap opera "Hanggang Kailan" clips, and the funny re-enactment of their
parents' love stories/ reconciliation, were a hit with the Fil-Ams, as well
as with the several foreigners in the crowd. Although, the two artists stick-out
more novelty songs, a few romantic English selections were perfectly considered.
Regine's vocal range (and at times comical ingenuity) was quite charismatic.
Ogie's funny outbursts complement Regine's innocent but witty attitude.
Reminiscent of last year's Martin & Pops' successful concert at UCLA,
a common rapport hardly beaten, "Songbird" Regine & "Songwriter" Ogie
says a lot in delivering strong impressions.
As expected, the sold-out 5,000 capacity venue
from one Filipino retro-pop song after
another, giving an edge to what could be the concert of the year, another
feat from Ana Co-Puno, President of (newly formed) Star Media Entertainment
and Vic Perez of V Entertainment Groups' team, doing a well-presented and
well-loved concert. The production team, with Regine & Ogie, conceptualized
a rhythm-paced theme song intended for selected sponsors of the show.
Catch the tour's next stops: San Francisco
- Nobhill Masonic Center (March 27); Las Vegas - The Orleans Arena (March
28); Atlantic City - The Trump Taj Majal Casino (April 2); Washington D.C.
- The Showplace Arena (April 4); and Chicago - Oriental Theatre (April 17).
(More pics from the L.A. concert at
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for
Billy Crawford Excluded
at "The Exorcist IV: The Beginning"; New Album Soon to be Released in
Europe's current hottest singing sensation
Billy Crawford, who was cast to play the possessed kid in Warner Bros.' "The
Exorcist IV: The Beginning" (the prequel to "The Exorcist" 1973, starring
Linda Blair) has been dropped off the list. His scenes will be deleted in
the (fourth "Exorcist") new film, which tells the tale of Father Merrin's
journey and subsequent encounter with demonic forces as as a young missionary
priest during post World War II in Africa.
The movie has been plagued by revisions and
since it started in 2002. Alterations have
been made in the original cast: Liam Neeson has been replaced by Stellan
Skarsgaard (as Father Merrin); Gabriel Mann, replaced by James D'Arcy (as
Father William Francis); Isabella Scorupco was replaced under a new script,
whose character, Rachel, has been completely written out. Original director
Tom McLoughlin (Friday, the 13th Part IV: Jason Lives; Sometimes They Come
Back) was dropped and was replaced by director John Frankenheimer (Ronin,
The Manchurian Candidate), who picked Crawford to play the part.
But on July 6, 2002, after Frankenheimer's
untimely death, the job went to Director Paul Schrader (Cat People, 1982
remake). As the film got closer to release (March, then moved to July 18th,
2003), Warner Bros. decided to relieve Schrader. Apparently, Warner Bros.
was not happy about his directorial style (WB wanted to retain the "spinning
heads and slimy vomiting" genre, pinning on a more scarier pic). Everything
had to be scrapped, re-shot (with an additional $8 million dollar budget)
with the final hired director, Renny Harlin. Warner Bros. is now aiming for
an August 2004 release.
This writer spoke with Crawford's management
on March 15, 2004. Although Billy's scenes (which he shot for three months
last year) are going to be deleted in the final cuts, he was still paid in
Still, things are looking up for Billy. He
is currently the toast of the tabloids in Europe for allegedly marrying one
of Europe's famous pop stars, which his management has dismissed as merely
What Billy is excited about, his management company revealed, is
the fact that he will be releasing his new single next month under V2 Records
(Europe). His new album entitled "Big City" will be released in August this
year. "He is expected to be very busy promoting all over the key cities in
Europe," said Victoria of Cuzzins Management, Crawford's manager. "We have
pulled out Billy from V2 Records (USA), Billy Crawford's United States album
distributing company, and we are currently scouting for a more aggressive
distribution company in the United States. V2 Records (Europe) still handles
the distribution all over Europe and outside, except in Australia, Japan,
and U.S.A.," she added.
Billy Crawford, who has been a major recording
star in the U.K., France, Japan, and Germany after singing the theme song
"Pokemon, The First Movie" in 1999, won best male international artist (beating,
among others, Robbie Williams) at the NRJ music awards in Cannes, France,
last year, on January 18, 2003. The talented Filipino artist who has made
a name in Europe is currently the toast of pin-up teen cover magazines as
well as a favorite subject in music record magazines Spin and Billboard in
Billy Crawford started his career in the
Philippines on a local popular television show, GMA's "That's Entertainment",
under the tutelage of Master Showman German Moreno. He did ten movies as
a child actor, earning a Best Child Actor Performance in the movie "Pahiram
Ng Isang Umaga" (1989, starring Vilma Santos and Eric Quizon) until he migrated
to the United States to join his father in Texas at age 12. Fate led him
to be rediscovered by a New York talent agency, singing "I'll be There" in
a Dallas talent contest. V2 Records signed him and released two hit albums
"Urgently In Love" and "Trackin'." Billy Crawford, who is not only a singer
and songwriter, is also an excellent dancer. He has previously joined major
stars onstage, such as N'Sync, Michael Jackson (1995 MTV Music Awards), Brandy,
LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, and other major European artists.
OLIVER CARNAY regularly writes for BALITA MEDIA, INC. ("Balita USA", "Weekend
Balita" and "Go4Women Magazine", available online at
PEOPLE'S JOURNAL (circulated in northern and southern part of California),
Philippine and other Asian Headline newspaper circulated in
Sacramento, San Francisco and its vicinities) also published in northern
and southern parts of California. In San Diego, he writes for FAME
Magazine and PHILIPPINES TODAY. In New York, he writes for PLANET
PHILIPPINES, with an online version at
He is a also contributor for BUZZINE Magazine
(www.buzzine.com), AUDREY Magazine
occasional correspondent for
www.siklab.com, PARA TODOS Magazine,
and other L.A. based publications. He is the Los Angeles correspondent of
Global Pinoy Entertainment Corporation (GPEC) which publishes S Magazine
(circulated in Manila, all over the United States and other parts of the
world) and PINOY GAZETTE (published in Hong Kong, Japan, and its
vicinities). He is an active member of the National Press Photography
Association (N.P.P.A.), Press Photography Association of Greater Los
www.ppagla.org for member listings),
and is under the directory list of the Motion Picture Association of
America (M.P.A.A.) covering movie Premieres and other Hollywood events.
More recent news and Photo Galleries of Hollywood and local Fil-Am events
recently covered can be seen at his new web site
Besides being busy maintaining his web site and writing for domestic and
international publications, Oliver Carnay manages Talents, is also a Publicist
and an event organizer. Email him at
email@example.com or at