|"Trial By Water" Ma-Yi Theater
by Luis Pedron of Fanclubx.com
"Trial By Water"
Written by: Qui Nguyen
Directed by: John Gould Rubin
Ma-Yi Theater Company
Jorge Ortoll, Executive Director
Ralph B Pena, Artistic Director
in Association with Queens Theater in the Park
Starring: Arthur Acuna, Genevieve DeVeyra,
Dinh Q Doan, Jojo Gonzalez, Karen Tsen Lee, Timothy McCown Reynolds and Jessica
March 14 - April 9, 2006
The Culture Project
45 Bleecker Street (at Lafayette St) NYC 10012
"Trial By Water" climaxes with a gut wrenching
ending.... left me on the edge of my seat...
I know Ma-Yi always comes up with superb
theatrical treats. But I was suprised with the ante that was set by this
play. High energy, very visceral and contemporary. In spite of the play set
in circa 1988, the play plays to the now to us who experience our journey
enroute to our immigrant life here in our "paradise" which is America.
A lot of us had to deal with the hardships
of the past to live in the now. But the characters in "Trial by Water" had
to face the inhumanity of what haunted them in the ship that supposedly was
their salvation. It became a sea of silent death eating into their flesh,
into their soul.
Brothers Hung (Dinh Q Doan) who was 15 and
Huy, horny at 13 (was intriguingly played by actress Genevieve DeVeyra) were
sent on this voyage by their parents to live a better life in America. (Both
actors deserve their nominations for an Obie. Mark my word.) The stage set
was rows and rows of wooden planks resembling the bottom of the ship. Like
the gut of a whale they are stuck there to live in the safety of the crowd.
Not to be noticed - to blend in. Reminded by their parents to ration their
food and not to talk to strangers. That was their golden rule to surive the
supposed one week trip. The one week became weeks and weeks and weeks...
they were hungry, tired and Huy horny and tired... Hung, the only practicing
Buddhist in the family, to survive recourses to drinking and eating his own
excrement. The food they brought is depleted. Now they need to deal. A certain
element surrounds them like a shark. Tien (Arthur Acuna), an adult who confesses
to know their father acts as their guardian angel/devil. He saves Hung a
couple of times from attackers. Inspite of that his intentions are questionable,
intriguingly at time he seems sincere. Hung still would not eat anything.
Tien offers raw fish (?) for their nourishment... the brothers decline.
Amidst all of this the spirit of the memory
of the brothers' parents would visit them. Eerily played by Jojo Gonzalez
(Father - Khue) and Karen Tsen Lee (Mother - Pham), they remind the siblings
to ration their food, not to talk to strangers. The mother tells them to
be patient... things will happen bit by bit... it will take time...
The brothers are a contrast in virtue: older
brother Hung is negative but patient, younger brother Huy is optimistic but
impatient. They were each other's yin and yang up to a point. They would
lose each other's trust and faith. They would succumb to temptation and to
the sheep like devil of man called Tien. Stuck in a ship of wolves, it was
Noah's ark without Noah. It was zoolike without a zoo keeper. The animals
were left to fend for themselves. Sadly, surivival of the fittest.
The acting brought me emotions... feelings
I did not expect to reach. I was mesmerized by the depth of their understanding
of this piece. An immigration experience ficticious as this was written,
I hoped no one will ever experience, but it did happen.
The lighting dim as it may be, spotlit the
actors at significant times in the play.
Sound design highlighted by screeching sound
of whales, waves contrasting with the motors running sounding like the bowels
of hell. The costume design simple but symbolic. The use of puppetry was
intriguing and essential. Kudos to writer Qui Nguyen and director John Gould
Rubin who in cooperation with the Ma - Yi Theater Company brought such a
high caliber presentation, I highly recommend to everyone. It's a must
"Trial By Water" is visceral, intriguing and
hypnotic. The play climaxes with such a high note of a gut wrenching experience
that you will talk about for years. It left me literally breathless for awhile,
speechless.......... but oh so satisfied...
Luis Pedron is an actor and an award winning
filmmaker based in NYC. He is the publisher of the website: Fanclubx.com
which supports the community, entertainment and empowerment. Email:
AEGIS, they came and they conquered
and it was worth the money
By Marisse Panlilio of MPE
Yes, they came and they conquered. Who would
have thought. I must admit I was introduced to this group only twice via
TFC, not familiar with any of their songs/hits, I hesistantly obliged to
spend my Saturday evening with 16 of my friends. What a pleasant surprise.
Boy did they deliver.
What's in a name? A lot! The name Aegis is
synonymous to the masses - madlang people - colloquial term. Their songs
are heartwarming, social conscious songs that reach the depths of the Pinoys
The audience sang along, laughed with them
and was 200% attentive from start to finish. Their repertoire was as diverse
as the members themselves. Juliet and Mercy, if you don't already know are
sisters from Cagayan De Oro, keyboard player Stella is from Misamis Occidental,
drummer Vilma hails from Manila, Weng - bass player is my kababayan from
Pampanga and lead guitar player and the only rose among the thorns, Rey is
In spite of their hectic schedule, the energy
and stamina Juliet/Bunso exhibited was unbelievable. Hats off to Juliet.
I am sure everybody was mesmerized as I was. The show became extemporaneous
when members of the audience put in their special requests after the siblings'
Another side of Juliet and Mercy is the gift
of comedy. For a small price- in dollars of course (wink) they obliged and
sang special requests and at one point Juliet dragged Rey's guitar case
center/front of stage for a safe place for their Benjamin's ($'s).
From the roster of songs, the tightness of
the band and the versatility of Juliet and Mercy - Halik ng Aegis is one
for the books. Walang ere, walang quieme-ieme.
Too bad to those who turned down my invitation.
I thought too of our fellow Jerseyites and New Yorkers who in one way
or the other did not support this group. "Bakya naman", "Baduy naman", "Pang
masa" were some of the comments. In music there is no baduy, no bakya. Music
is food for the soul, race, religion, economic status is irrelevant. Music
The evening turned out to be superbly
entertaining- one worth remembering with the Grim Bottle, Ciello's Rhythm,
Camile Velasco of American Idol fame as guest performers and the stars of
the evening, AEGIS this concert was one worth remembering.
(P.S. - Stella, next time you guys are in
town, Cosette and I will take you outlet shopping. You will love it.)
Love Ko si Koy!
Contact: Grethel Bolandrina
Perlas ng Silangan Hosts Media Lunch To
Introduce Camile Velasco
Woodside, New York: Nel Castellvi of the Perlas
ng Silangan Restaurant and Terry Badiola of CarouselPinoy Entertainment,
hosted a media lunch on Sunday, January 29, 2006 to introduce Camile Velasco
who's a special guest at the 1st US concert tour of the AEGIS band, triple
platinum record awardees from the Philippines.
Halik ng ... AEGIS First US Concert Tour
Camile Velasco: Born in Makati, Philippines
in 1985, raised in Hawaii. As American Idol (Season 3) Finalist, performed
live for a record 25 million people week-after-week. She has performed on
numerous US television shows (Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood),
as well as at NASCAR, the NFL Pro Bowl Weekend and other live events.
Participated in the 48-city American Idol tour. Was special guest at Martin
Nievera's "All You Need is Love (A Brass Kicking Christmas Concert)" at the
Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) at
the CCP Complex in Pasay City, Philippines.
AEGIS Band composed of Juliet and Mercy Sunot
(vocals), Stella Galindo (keyboard), Rey Abenoja (guitar), Rowena Pinpin
(bass) and Vilma Goloviogo (drums). Aegis has released seven albums since
2000. They have consistently made the Gold and Platinum marks beginning with
Halik, Mahal na Mahal Kita, Awit at Pag-Ibig, Paskong-Pasko and Ating Balikan.
They also released a remix collection of Aegis' hits entitled Ating
The Fil-Am Idol: Double mint lady
Wouldn't everything be better if we could
just all "love life, seek knowledge and not squander our time?" It's a Pollyanna-
way of thinking, I'll grant you that, but if you happen to be Camile Velasco,
American Idol (AI) Season Finalist, you might just come up with the same
message, too. Consider this, Velasco, 20, is not your typical American, Filipino
or Filipino-American girl next door. Though proud of her Filipino heritage
she is quick to quip, "Im also part Irish, part Spanish." She left
High School at 16 and got her GED. She first realized she could sing at age
10 with her younger sister of three years. But it was no revelation. She
actually thought that it wasnt a big deal, believing that everybody
could sing, since everybody in her family did. She was never encouraged,
was never a part of a choir, no piano lessons much less voice lessons. "I
learned to play by ear."
And is it quite possible that in this laid
back environment in
which practically everyone
sings a star awaits to shine brightly? How about maybe differently? Sharing
lunch with Velasco had me thinking differently. How differently? Let me first
describe how she came in, on time, in fact a bit earlier than the scheduled
press con at Perlas ng Silangan. No manager, no publicist not even a friend
(American style girl power or Pinoy style to act as alalay). Looking almost
out of an 80s movie set, sort of Molly Ringwald back from an Island
vacation. The curly hair, silver jewelry, black top with the
falling-off-the-shoulder effect but her short nails were painted green, of
the Rastafarian origin. The not so tight, hugging jeans are of this day and
age, low rise and it becomes her. She describes herself as a normal 20 year
old: "Im just like everybody else." Life before AI was an IHOP restaurant
in Maui Mall, which her family owns. With an infectious grin she adds, "everybody
is crazy in his or her own right, were all put in the world to make
the best of it." Admittedly she claims she shops at Vintage clothing shops.
Nothing big or fancy, just little things. No wardrobe consultant either.
As I struggle to take down notes, the rhythm of her communication continues,
not just words but with gestures, eye contact, kindness, a little bit of
awe, cheery excitement. Shes an animated conversationalist, a pinoy
trait? In her childhood at Haiku, Hawaii, something about her family dotingly
calling her "Kengkoy." In parts keng and the koy
but the koy stuck. Fans in Manila were quick to adopt this. I
saw a black camera bag with the signature red, green, gold strap and matching
love ko si Koy proclamation. She says, "I love it!" and giggles.
Apparently the same Manila-based fans all welcomed her at the airport sporting
uniform Rastafarian bracelets. The significance? "To me it represents peace
and love." Velasco loves Reggae music but describes her music as urban jazz.
Billie Holiday and other artists whose names she rattles off influence her
art and music. She stresses shes "still deciding what to be." She makes
us aware of the fact that it takes a good fifty plus songs to get a good
12-song album. "One doesnt come up with something right away." Asked
for a song that shes most connected to, after much pondering she came
up with "Love of my life" by Queen.
"You will remember when this is blown over,
And everything's all by the way, When I grow older, I will be there at your
side, To remind how I still love you I still love you I still love you"
Why Queen, why this song? "My mother loves
the song, the voice, lyrics, short and awesome." Mom is the best. Mom is
Rennie West originally from Cagayan de Oro whose entertainment background
stems from being a screenwriter for Viva Films at some point. Camile excuses
herself every now and then to answer her phone, only to murmur a quick "can
I call you back? Im in a meeting." Or to pose for photos with fans,
play along with a kid and even join a group "happy birthday" singing for
other restaurant patrons. But Velasco's upbeat way of thinking about life
has produced an equally upbeat result that doubles her chances for success.
How has the generation of the music video
affected this rising star? Set aside the images of fur and pearls, the concept
of life as a big party. Velasco saw music videos in a positive light. "Portraying
a song in a visual avenue, its like portraying oneself as an artist,
putting a message."
The result? A very likeable, down-to-earth
performer. She did not complain, not even once about being interrupted multiple
times for photos and autographs while having lunch. Lunch the Filipino way,
I noted that she ate her sinigang with rice unlike my US-born hubby who ate
his like regular soup.
Ritchie Siong of Ladera Ranch, California
had never been to Perlas ng Silangan before. He was visiting a cousin in
New York and happened to come by for lunch. He did the double mint
look when he caught a glimpse of Velasco. "What a pleasant surprise,"
he exclaimed. "Ive seen her on TV, we even voted for her." American
Idol not only opened doors for Velasco, it also opened her eyes to the reality
of the business. Showing her techniques. Seeing the rough, superficial,
"dog-eat-dog" world. But she cant complain. It has also given her more
confidence. (Prior to auditioning she had only been on stage three times!)
Life after AI is awesome. She foresees about 3 to 5 years on tour, "I would
love to be on the road traveling." Put her anywhere, on stage, behind the
scenes, writing. She enjoys performing with live bands. Appreciates the essence,
rawness of it. Shes very comfortable jamming.
Call her the double mint lady, not after the
ads for the gum of the same name (you know: the singing twins. "Double your
pleasure/Double your fun. . . . ") But because she is mint for (both) Filipinos
and Americans plus you would have to give her a double look when you can,
anyhow. Is she Pinay? Is she AI? She obviously enjoys the best of both worlds,
but this is more than a grab for whats easy to identify with. It's
also doing what youre good at. No matter how you see her, Velasco will
always have a second card to play. She has an advantage. The music of her
heart and mind. Staying grounded and connected to the world. Continue with
her type of music that touches the soul and creates memories and maybe build
a bridge through cultures. And if that works, why stop there? Yesterday American
Idol, today, the Fil-Am communities of Jersey City. Tomorrow the whole world.
here for more pics!
Tell Me, about Joey
by Grethel Bolandrina
No doubt about it, Joey Albert has a beautiful
voice. So do her backup singers Tina and Maya. Oftentimes during the show,
though set at an intimate function room at the prestigious Johnson and Wales
Inn in Seekonk, Massachusetts, I felt like I was back at the ULTRA (circa
1980s minus the signature 80s fashion), with the audience, SRO.
The same exact audience whos ever-so eager to applaud, coddle, and
encourage Joey onstage for her courage, effort and awe-inspiring performance.
Truly, this cancer-survivor, full time Mom and Gawad Kalinga supporter seems
too good to be true. Even her most humble choice of introduction, a one-liner,
ladies and gentlemen, Miss Joey Albert.
Alls fine and well including the $50
or $60 ticket price, which even included a
full course dinner by the international culinary
students of Johnson and Wales University. For those who don't own a Joey
Albert compact disc, (she was the first in the Philippines to record on CD!)
do all you can to obtain at the very least, the Best of Joey Albert and savor
the magic in your own home or car, at your own listening pleasure, the hits
that made marks in Manilas airwaves.
If youre into contemporary pop infused
with just enough touches of jazz, blues, country, mellow, OPM and the calendar
girl good looks this is the show for you. Joey leads us to find a place in
our hearts. Theres nothing tame or subdued with her music. She did
an especially dedicated number, Sandalwood, with the message of sweet perfume;
love is born of a broken heart. Theres some truth to life without pain,
lift your face up to the rain.
Early in the performance, Joey announced to
an excited audience her choice to cover her Manila hits. She did Jose Mari
Chans I Remember the Boy, her self-written Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin,
and dedicated Iisa Pa Lamang to producers Rommel and Elizabeth Arca. There
were no vocal nor emotional restraints on her renditions, her songs didn't
simply fly, they soared. Joey seemed content to impress the audience with
the fact that after all these years, she still has it. Joeys stage
banter with the audience was endearing and never repetitive. "I hope you
enjoy this song." "Sing along with me if you know the words to this one.
And sing along, the audience did! Dream song classics, world dance medley,
Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, Love Sweet Love, Dancing Queen, and Last
Tina and Maya added some more elegant harmonizing.
Towards the show's conclusion, Joey rose to greater heights as she sang Tell
Me. By singing Tell Me, she did not disappoint my expectations for the evening.
Alas, Im a college lass once more, smiling and humming to myself, but
my hubbys hand in mine quickly brought me back to the here and now.
The authentic and not canned, vision, voice and heart of the Miss Joey Albert
forever playing in my memory as performed on the living stage. Sweet!
here for more pics!
Get Intimate: PJ
by Grethel Bolandrina
Patricia Javier wants you to think she's a
low IQ performer, someone who couldnt even pronounce Massachusetts
but she enjoys what she does. And most of the time, this well endowed beauty
gets hearty laughs at her jokes, all done in the dumb-blonde effect, except
that PJ is neither dumb nor blond. She comes with a loaded CV, 16 TV commercial
credits, 25 TV credits, 6 TV shows and 10 major movie credits. She is a
professional model and a VIVA contract artist. Her first venture into the
concert scene was in 2001 for her first solo concert at the Dish Rockwell
Power Plant in the Philippines. Shes tagged as The Sexy Diva
of Philippine Cinema.
PJs music is essentially not the background
type music for a sunny
Sunday morning, reading the paper and sipping your
cup of coffee or tea with your slippers on. Even with her born-again
proclamation, PJ on the spotlit dance floor and on closer inspection reveals
that soothing and precious means intricate and fascinating and a bit naughty.
Her US debut CD, simply titled Genesis aka
Patricia Javier, is an intimate-bordering-on-religiously-unnerving album.
PJ is an angel in disguise or a fallen angel or something to that effect.
After her set opening of Genie in a Bottle (complete with sequined
bra!), it was clear that her sex appeal remains. That PJ seemed a bit shy,
a bit nervous, and wanted so badly to do a good job, is endearing. She is
so much prettier in person than in photos. Photos do not do justice to her
beauty that exudes an inner shine. She is humble and is very adept with her
Tagalog-English jokes. She even commented on how cold New England is (in
July?). With men being pulled on stage to dance with PJ, the applause grew
somewhat rowdy, but PJs smile, not to be mistaken for sheepish glee
was impossible not to notice.
This sexy actress turned recording artist
turned concert singer was determined to nail every note hard. She danced
and roamed all over the function room. Her hips swayed side to side, she
gyrated, keeping time with her music, her rhythm like the world's sexiest-ever
concert singer. She changed into a tight pair of denim pants and very lacy
black top. She did justice to Norah Jones Dont Know Why,
did a duet with Producer Rommel Arca (Bakit Ngayon ka Lang)
Though the majority of songs sounded a tad
too similar to the original singers to make them memorable, PJs deep
tone renditions and charming presence made La, La, La, Wind Beneath my Wings
and Hiram enjoyable. Even the DJs (DJ Flipnoy of New Haven, CT) like a bunch
of seasoned studio musicians were spellbound. They too, hustled with the
crowd for an after concert photo op. There was nothing rookie about PJ, even
when she opened CDs to sign and pose with a milieu of fans. When she sang,
she bared her teeth and went for the jugular. Breathy "Ah-ahs and
scintillating moves etched in the crowds mind, male or female, shes
extended her appeal that literally left fans breathless.
"I cant believe Im performing
in the States," she said half to herself and half to the crowd. Picture her
as a child in Antipolo, as she recollected, just content climbing guava trees.
"I became closer to God in the States," she mused. People applauded, but
not too much.
PJ need not feel herself out as a performer;
she has found a comfortable balance. Though she didnt receive a standing
ovation, she did get loud calls for an encore. You could feel her sincere
here for more pictures!
Re-learning OPM with Hajji and Rachel
by Grethel Bolandrina
At Bostons John Hancock Hall, I truly
learned what OPM is all about. It's hanging out with Pinoys from all over
New England, mostly bundled up in winter gear faux fur included, in a crowded
standing-room-only entry for a half an hour, waiting for the doors to open
and then for the show to start.
Okay, show starts with Newport, Rhode Islands
Abby Heredia and her band. Bunch of fellows, college-look start playing several
hip-hop numbers. It's Abby and her bands debut performance. The music
is good but I havent managed to sleaze my way into a seat yet, I'm
still helping out with CD sales at the lobby. Next thing you know, Dance
Philippines takes the stage. Damn, if they don't warm your heart within seconds.
Theyre big in a cultural sense; theyre garbed beautifully and
the dances they performed really make one proud to be Pinoy. There really
is so much culture and heritage in our 7,000 plus islands. Okay, theyre
not the main show, but no less bold and entertaining. I'm not surprised
theyre very popular in the New England area.
Joseph Bolandrina, the evenings MC does
a few intros and gives a plug for Gawad Kalinga. He is decidedly loud and
clear but pretty heavy on the Boston accent as he pronounces Maligayang
Pasko. Hes Fil-Am. Hes not a professional announcer but
might as well be one. He's definitely ballsy, and he's got that certain something
that makes you feel good all over. A charm.
A video/audio of Hajji and Rachel through
the years opens up the show, a trip down memory lane with their song hits.
They start with 2 duets May Minamahal and Cuando Cuando.
Hajji woos the crowd with his boyish charm, Rachel on the other hand, is
a vision in the bluest of blue Marilyn Monroe inspired outfit. Revealing
yet classy. Ripped right out of the pages of Vogue! Hajji exits, and Rachel
does her revised hits medley, Home and The Nearness of You. She asks for
bottled water and comments on how dry the air in Boston is! Claimed she was
walking down Newbury Street earlier for some shopping (giggles from the crowd)
and was protective of her throat, was actually worried about what the cold
air would do to her voice. Hajji returns and they do a duet of Our
Love is Here to Stay. From the audience, a few still could not believe
that they are watching a father-daughter team! I hear numerous, they
could be husband/wife/lovers! Rachel exits. Hajji tells a few good-hearted
jokes, plays with the audience and sings Ang Lahat ng Ito ay Para
sa'yo, and The Way You Look Tonight. He reminisces how
in his heyday in Manila, at the first note of his songs, the audience would
all go crazy and asked the Boston crowd to emulate the same. It worked and
everyone also had a good laugh. His titles changed from Kilabot
ng mga Kolehiyala to Kilabot nga mga Nanay ng Kolehiyala.
Rachel returns in a regal Filipiniana kimono. The stage backdrop changes
into a burst of colorful capiz parols. They sing a duet of Tagalog Christmas
medley. Sending everyone into nostalgia, the pasko kind (Philippine Christmas).
And the crowd sings along. Hajji exits once again and off comes Rachels
kimono to reveal a very body hugging, sexy, low back one-piece glittery black
gown. I wondered if the audience would remember what she sang or how gorgeous
she looked. In any case, she did justice to not only the outfit but to the
songs Who Would Imagine a King and All I Want for
Christmas. Hajji joins and both give everyone goose bumps on their
take of The Prayer. Rachel exits for another outfit change, Hajji
engages the audience in an obligatory sing-a-long, then rips into "Panakip
Butas" and massive hit "Tag-araw." Suddenly all the kolehiyalas
were re-born. They were shrieking their heads off, never mind that they are
now well into their 50s? All is well with the world and the Pinoys in Boston
for that matter.
Rachel returns in what is to be her final
outfit for the evening, tight black pants with an ever so faint lilac top
that makes her bronze skin glow. Its semi-off shoulder and cut real
deep in front. Needless to say, all eyes were on her! She sang, she danced
she did her father proud (and her mom and siblings who traveled all the way
from Maryland). The girl can dance! Both acknowledge the shows sponsors
and then did a 10-minute retro dance medley. The intro was most fascinating,
showing a very young Hajji and a much, much younger Rachel doing tap dances.
What a nice way to top off the evening. But the audience wanted more, and
father-daughter obliged with an encore of Isang Awit, Nakapagtataka and Kay
Ganda ng Ating Musika! In the Philippines, oldies strongly believe the
apple doesnt fall far from the tree, and this talented father
daughter team proves that. Hajjis been in the Philippine music scene
for over 25 years and Rachels made her own mark. A musical evening
with Hajji and Rachel Alejandro in Boston was a very memorable pre-Christmas
gift from Filipino Talent, LLC. An officially, certifiably, successful maiden
venture. Musical direction is by Patty L. Yusah. From this point of view,
life is so sweet and sometimes, it gets sweeter, (with concerts like this)
just like honey from a bee and just like apples from a tree.
here for more pics!
Side A Rocked New Jersey!!!
Side A rocked the house last Friday night,
December 2nd, at the Landmark Loews Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey, proving,
once again, that it deserves the right to be called the Philippines' premier
Side A performed before a jam-packed,
standing-room-only, multi-cultural audience, showing that theirs is, clearly,
a global sound. The crowd crooned, screamed, swayed and danced to the band's
popular hits such as "Hold On", "Di Pa Huli", "Eva Marie",
and "Tuloy Pa Rin Ako". Their rendition of international hits including
"All I Need", "The Queen Medley - featuring We Will Rock You, We
Are The Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody" and Depeche Mode's "I Just Can't
Get Enough", electrified the already enthusiastic audience.
The crowd could not get enough of Side A's
5 members: Naldy Gonzalez (keyboards, vocals, musical director and arranger),
Joey Generoso (lead vocals / acoustic guitar), Joey Benin (bass guitar /
vocals), Ernie Severino (drums / vocals), and newest member Leevon Cailao
(lead guitar / vocals). Each member had a following of their own, evidenced
by the outcry from different groups in the crowd. Little blue lights appeared
everywhere, in lieu of the traditional lighters or candles, from a slew of
camera phones and digital cameras as the audience tried to capture every
moment of the band's performance.
The night started with well-received performances
by 3 talented young local Filipinos: Joanne Javier, John P. and Patricia
Javier. The evening's excitement continued with a generous raffle drawing:
an Apple IPOD Nano from Kwik Mortgage Corp., gift certificates worth $250
and $150 from Diamond Hut International, 2 Magic Mic karaoke units from Top
Notch Electronics, and an overnight stay at the Doubletree Club Suites in
The night ended with Side A's encore performance
of "Forevermore", It was one spectacular, rockin' evening!!!
Side A came to Jersey City as part of its
10-city U.S. and Canadian winter tour, promoting their newest album "Side
. All Hits Live!".
"Side A .... Live in Concert" was brought
to you by concert producer TIMES 3 INTERNATIONAL (Arlene Isidro, Ely Parico
and Sol Canlas), in cooperation with APOAANJ and Three M's A Crowd. Special
thanks to our sponsors Kwik Mortgage, Diamond Hut International, Top Notch
Electronics, Doubletree Club Suites in Jersey City, Perlas ng Silangan restaurant
in Woodside, Queens, Club Roxas Boulevard in Staten Island, Port Jersey,
United Home Care and Plaza Travel.
TIMES 3 INTERNATIONAL is a concert producer
and event planner. Watch out for our next exciting concerts and events!!!
Sol Canlas / Arlene Isidro / Eli Francisco
Times 3 International, Union, NJ
Phone: 201.779.8060; 908.265.1717; 908.265.1293
here for more pics!
By Lalaine Estella, Bayanihan staff
Guam Pacific Daily News, Nov. 19, 2005
Photos by Ray Calma
Philippine entertainers last weekend brought
a packed field house to its feet with free hats and good music.
April Boy Regino, known for his signature
baseball cap and crossed-arms
pose, brought his popular dance hits and
ballads to a Guam stage at the University of Guam field house. He got the
crowd really excited when he threw out his trademark baseball caps into the
The Aegis band, led by sisters Juliet and
Mercy Sunot, rocked the house, then brought it back down with their powerful
songs, most OPM ballads.
The Guam concert was held to benefit Erica's
House, in partnership with ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.'s Bantay Bata 163 and
the Educational TV Media's Adopt-a-Hometown School Project. The project involves
overseas Filipinos assisting in the improvement and quality of education
among students in their communities of origin in the Philippines, according
to a press release from the foundation.
To get the project off the ground on Guam,
Zen Dimalanta of ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. spent a few days on Guam speaking
with local groups about the project.
For a donation of $1,200, a complete media
package will be delivered to
your hometown school, or a school of your
choosing. The package includes a TV, DVD player, DVDs of educational TV shows
produced by ABS-CBN Foundation, and a teacher training video.
"There are 38,000 public schools throughout
the country," Dimalanta said earlier this week. "We have covered 7,000 already,
but we still have a long way to go."
The hometown project is just under four years
old, Dimalanta says, and was just introduced on Guam. She especially encourages
businesses, and social and civic groups to participate.
|Juliet Sunot of Aegis. The
group got the crowd going wild with their high notes.
|Singer Mercy Sunot of Aegis
sang a lineup of slow Pinoy rock tunes.
PINOY CLASSIC ROCKERS ROCKED THE KISS
BY: NIKI DOMINGO - Bits N' Pieces Band
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, Sept. 17, 2005, Saturday
at the KISS CLUB, was again a Night to remember, to say the least.
Let me start by saying that my "hat's off"
to all the sleepless night and efforts contributed into this Vegas
Jamming-Reunion by the organizers comprised of Jess Dungan, Poldy Aranzamendez,
Tony Aranzamendez and Dan Bornilla. These bunch of guys, fellow Pinoy classic
rockers, from Las Vegas prepared for that event about 3 months in advance
and in one night, it's all over. But it goes without saying that it was very
rewarding and was a Total Success!! Nides Aranzamendez, Manny Tagalog, Ben
Yanto, Jay Husfelt, Jun Caberte, Raymond Ungson and Jun Montemayor, are just
few of our PCR eGroup members that made this event a REALITY. This event
is supposed to be a Jungle Cats-Bits N Pieces Reunion but it turned out to
be a full-blown PCR Reunion-Jam instead because other musicians also attended
and performed. The Vegas Jam organizers, the PinoyClassicRock.com website,
all the performers as well as guests who attended this event and more
importantly, to the owners of KISS CLUB, Glenn and Nina Alberto for accommodating
such an event EN GRATIS, we would like to extend our sincere thanks.
The afternoon started with the Bits N' Pieces
Band from Los Angeles, California, playing some disco music like Earth Wind
and Fire, VST & Company, to break the ice, so to speak. Led by Jay Husfelt,
Jun Caberte, Niki Domingo, William Peñaloza, Ed Samson, Babes Gutierrez
and Marifel Husfelt.
It was followed by the reunification of
former-members of Jungle Cats band, who played the last time together over
3 decades ago, led by the ever-energetic Raymond Ungson providing the vocals,
Danny Bornilla on keyboards, Poldy Aranzamendes on lead guitar, Tony Aranzamendez
on bass and Nides Aranzamendez on drums. They played an almost perfect rendition
of "PURPLE HAZE" for a start.
Then followed by the BARKADOWS Band from the
SF Bay Area, led by Celso Singh, Cesar Llorente, Nelson Guiab and Manny Tagalog.
The band played classic music by the Shadows, such songs like Apache, Kon-Tiki,
Perfidia, Foot Tapper, Blue Star, Shadoogie, and a Cliff Richard's song called
the "Young Ones". It was a great time to remember our good old days in
The Wonderfools, also from the Bay area, followed.
Led by Jun Montemayor on lead, Vince Ungson on keyboards and second lead,
Raymond Ungson on bass, and Walter Pennington on drums. They played some
great Bee Gees tunes and a few Beatles rendition. At this point, Raymond
had to step down, feeling exhausted. He was truly in the groove and sang
his heart out. For once, I thought he was a teenager again. He truly rocked!
When Raymond sat down, Sonny Santos-keyboard
and Titoy-Bass of the San Fernando band as well as Lucci Salvane jammed-in
and performed a popular R&B "Mustang Sally" tune with Ben Yanto and Jess
Dungan alternating on vocals. As the jamming gets hotter, Nides Aranzamendez
then was substituted by Ewett Bonifacio on the drums when Nides decided to
play conga and timbales for a "Soul Sacrifice" popular classic tune by Santana.
They were followed by a Make-Shift Band, made
up of different band members. They also played instrumental music by Shadows
& Ventures led by Lolo Boy on lead, Art Fajardo on drums, Tony Aranzamendez
on bass and Jun Montemayor on rhythm. Later on, Vit Villavicencio, formerly
of the Howlers Band, replaced Sonny Santos on keyboard and Randy Avellar
of the famous "Society of Seven" sang "Just Once" to the delight of the crowd.
Then, Nides Aranzamendez did his incomparable drum-style rendition of Brian
Bennett's "LITTLE B", Jess Dungan capped-off their performance to the tune
of "Play That Funky Music".
The night was getting heated-up, so the BeatJacks
Band also from Vegas played next. This band was represented and led by Jess
Dungan on vocals, Tony Aranzamendez on bass, Lucci Salvame on sax/trumpet,
Winnie Negoza on keyboards, Bobot Guererro on drums, Esther Dungan as female
vocals and Jojo Monroy on lead guitar. This is an upcoming band to watch
in Vegas. Actually only a few days, one day jamming, one day of practice,
one day of rehearsal and then the BeatJacks started playing at the Kiss Club
the Sunday, Monday and Friday before the 17th Jam. They were also joined
by Pepito Alcova (IN10CT band) played trumpet & fugel horn. They will
be performing at the Ramada Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, a few weeks
Next, was the Bits N' Pieces Band for a second
round of Cha-cha, Rhumba, Swing and Solo performances which again lasted
for 20 minutes.
Then came Jess Maniquiz and his Pira-piraso
Band, which was composed of Rene Molina-bass, Jay Husfelt-drums, Niki
Domingo-vocals, Danny Mack-lead and Vit Villavicencio-keyboard. This bands
forte was the 60's Beatles and Dave Clark 5 songs. Later joined on percussion
by Vaughn Velasco.
Although the time was not enough to accommodate
all the rockers present that night it was a night of reminiscing and plain
getting together. Majority of all those who were present enjoyed the company
of friends and former band mates, some of whom, the last time they saw were
from 20 to 30 years ago.
All our members who are now with our Creator,
who contributed a great deal in the Pinoy Classic Rock distinct kind of music,
were given tribute as the night passed away such as Rey Sanchez, Boy Adan,
Eddie Nicolas, Bob McCoy, to name a few.
Jun De Guzman, all the way from Sydney, Australia,
who sang "Come Fly with ME" with the Bits N' Pieces Band. Great patience
on the directions I gave you going to The KISS CLUB that night. Thanks for
coming - until next time.
Jun Roque, formerly of Bad Habits band and
who's from Vancouver Canada, called via cell phone, exchanged pleasantries
and send congratulations to all the performers that night. Also Roger Jereza
from Guam also phoned-in to say send his best wishes to the PCR Vegas Jammers.
Glenn Velasco, Rebby V of the IN10CT Band,
Randy Avellar of the Society of Seven fame and a big number of guest performers,
that I cannot take account, thank you all for coming into this wonderful
event, until our next PCR Jamming-Reunion.
Also in attendance were Benny Hufano
(Thunderbirds, Originals), Danny Yuson (Jovials) and many more. Their presence
at the event truly promulgate of what the Pinoy classic rockers are all about.
The event was also highlighted as a PCR Fundraiser
and spearheaded by Ben Yanto (PCR webcreator), selling the leftover souvenirs
from our 1st PCR Reunion in Nov. 2003 at Southern California as well as
auctioning the one & only Juan dela Cruz (JDLC) Pagkalas Reunion Concert's
t-shirt that was held in Manila last June 11. The PCR raised a total of $150
to be donated to the American Red Cross towards the Hurricane Katrina Relief
After packing all the equipments, some of
the band members who were at the jamming-reunion concert went to Sun Coast
Casino to watch the "Elements Band" where Danny Bornilla is the Keyboard
and Musical Director. Some went to Barbary Coast to watch the San Fernando
Band, where Titoy plays bass and Sonny a keyboard player & musical director,
and others went to see the IN10CT band at Orleans club.
Until next time, To everyone who in someway
contributed for this event, THANKS FOR A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, IT WAS WORTH
THE TRAVEL!! GOD BLESS.
here for pic! More pics at
Diva 2 Diva at Harrah's Lake Tahoe
- a certified hit!
By Elton Lugay
LAKE TAHOE - For the first time since "The
Champions" concert in San Francisco last
June, a full-packed South Shore Room at Harrah's
Lake Tahoe has rendered "Diva 2 Diva: Up Close," a certified Filipino concert
At 7 p.m. on Sept. 17th, the legendary showroom
where the likes of Bill Cosby, Liza Minelli had performed was filled up by
roughly 800 concertgoers, most of whom just got there from a long and winding
drive via CA Highway 50. Though restless, the crowd was full of energy and
very kind with their applause to opening acts Sunday Groove and Raymond Ritchie.
A newly-formed band composed of Greg Lorenzana,
Carlen Ocampo, Rolazar Aberin, PJ Lopez, Derrick Cagaanan, and Reinee Lingad,
Sunday Groove had impressed the audience with their world-class performance
- singing familiar '80s and '90s tunes. Lead vocalists Greg and Carlen brought
the house down with their powerful duet of Maroon 5's, "This Love."
Raymond Ritchie, award-winning singer and
Bay Area homegrown talent, reached the high notes without a miss. Singing
a medley of Broadway songs and that of Jekyll and Hyde's "This is the Moment,"
he delighted the crowd with his best. Some members of the audience gave him
a rare standing ovation.
Then the divas' showdown
began after a 20-minute intermission. Complete with excellent lighting, superb
sound system and Victorian-inspired ball-gown costumes, Kuh Ledesma and ZsaZsa
Padilla, two of Philippines unsurpassed artists of their time, enthralled
the audience with their opening salvo, a soulful rendition of Madonna's "Vogue."
ZsaZsa would crack jokes about her life with
Dolphy from time to time, and the audience just loved her spontaneity in
delivering it. Kuh was subdued with her comments on ZsaZsa's stories and
had implied respect and love for husbands stressing that "women should be
submissive to their men."
The most applauded portions of the show included
the Kuh and Zsa-Zsa duet of Mandy Moore's "Only Hope," Zsa-Zsa's debut immortal
hit "Hiram" composed by George Canseco and Kuh's "Ako Ay Pilipino." Worth
mentioning too are the dazzling costumes and elaborate accessories the divas
had worn during the show.
"Diva 2 Diva" has been staged in different
venues throughout the Philippines and U.S. for over two years now. Each
performance may have, shared the same repertoire and other production
arrangements, but the divas always infuse something that would make the concept
unique and appealing no matter how many times they would execute it.
Its outstanding production values couldn't
have been accomplished without Harrah's Lake Tahoe's support and hands-on
assistance. Their belief in Pinoy artists made Pia Pena's (Prime Media Unlimited)
work easier. She offered the opportunity to them and they welcome it without
a doubt. Pena line produced this concert with Harrah's Lake Tahoe as the
executive producer. "This is the first major concert of all-Filipino music
stars ever on stage at Lake Tahoe and we are looking forward to a special
night of entertainment," said John Koster, president of Harrah's Northern
An Evening with
by Patrick P. Villavert
Richmond Hill, NEW YORK --- Asia's Divette,
Dessa's divine voice serenaded the crowd Friday night September 2 at the
full-packed Philippine Fiesta Village owned by Fred and Betty Olitan. Special
guest comedian Bobby Solis hilariously gratified the crowd by his gayish
international acclaim and recognition as Asia's divette when she won the
1993 Federation International Def Organisation de Festival (FIDOF) held in
Russia. In addition to winning the 1998 Saga Yoshinogary Festa held in Japan,
Dessa continued on making waves when she won an award in the 1999 Asia Song
Festival in Malaysia.
There is no question that this pretty petite
divette delivered a very satisfying performance to the evening's high-end
New York crowd. This evening with Dessa is certainly out of the ordinary.
The attendees were composed of energetic young Fil-Ams driving Benzs and
Beamers along with socialites with their own four hundred dollar a night
Oh, yes -- it was high rollers night. Spotted
that evening were John Ynayan, Publisher of Newstar Philippines; Nanding
Mendez of Philippine Fiesta, Inc.; Nel & Cherry Castellvi of Perlas Ng
Silangan; Santos Sambajon Jr., Billiard's number two in the world; local
singers Ariel Arboleda and Bessie Alejandro, Adora & Bruce Penn of BAP
Media; Mr & Mrs.Ed Sunico producers of the upcoming shows of APO Hiking
Society and Myla Baylon of The Greatest Hitmakers.
The hilarious Bobby Solis almost stole the
show with his cabaret-style performance.
In the middle of his Drag-Queen performance, Solis
dragged producer Bruce Penn to the stage to act as his lover. Penn was a
real sport and contributed a great deal to Solis' gay comedy act. The act
was so funny that my jaws hurt.
The next day Dessa and Bobby performed at
The Gallery in downtown Jersey City, to a well attended audience. This time,
the Who's Who in the New Jersey Business Circle were spotted: John de los
Santos and wife Shirley, of Citizens Mortgage; Elma Santander of Philippine
Bread House; Gene Atendido of Little Quiapo; Ding Andres of Ding's Auto Repair
Shop; Elizabeth Motyka Arca of Rhode Island; and last but not the least,
the dynamic duo of Group Ole Productions, Drs. Ramon and Ching Legarda and
Odie and Dina Maningas of Odina, Inc.
Dessa's repertoire, from light classics, pop,
to OPM, and her outstanding performance just proved that she was a master
of her craft! Her voice range and versatility confirms her title as Asia's
divette! One would wonder where that voice comes from- This petite diva showed
immense talent and remarkable showmanship which wooed the audience to the
Bobby Solis brought the roof down and rocked
the place with his total performance- singer, dancer, comedian- What a Class
Act he delivered! Johnny de los Santos was his "Bruce Penn" and like Bruce,
Johnny was a total sport and participated and "gave in" to Bobby's whim!!
The final song was "The Prayer" popularized
by Andrea Bocelli- Dessa and Bobby rendered that beautiful song with so much
emotion that it brought chills in my spine. What an appropriate song to end
the evening, where we really need to pray for peace and be as one in these
Thanks and kudos to Terry Badiola of Carousel
Pinoy Entertainment and Planet Philippines, NY edition for bringing Dessa
and Bobby and for his vision of bringing pure entertainment and talents to
us Pinoys here in the East Coast! Did we hear an encore for the duo? This
is the kind of show not to be missed!
Patrick Villavert is the Nightlife &
Entertainment columnist of PinoyOnBoard.com.
VEGAS COMES TO STRATHMORE: Misalucha
& The Society of Seven
A review by Remé Grefalda
I broke my Saturday routine for this one Show
Person, a performer who never left my mind: Lani Misalucha. I had been to
her concert in DC some two or three years back (at Lisner, was it?). I thought
I caught a glimpse of her name on a poster a few weeks ago. You know how
it is when you say to yourself, "Gotta catch that show!" And in the same
thought pattern, you know you can't (Gotta get a MimaSitter) nor do you have
the luxury to step out for a repeat performance that took your breath away
the first time around.
As I am probably one of God's favorite pariahs,
posh seats dropped on my scuzzy lap from a friend (now considered "best")
who couldn't make it to the performance. Three days before the date, she
emailed to say, here, go claim my tickets. I had expected seats on a 2nd
balcony where I would need binoculars to watch the dots onstage. Instead
(bigtime surprise!), I had the best seats that the theatre offered its VIPs.
When God ransacks the universe to get you your heart's tentative desire,
he does so with aplomb! Thank you God! Thank you Friend, And Thank you, Robert
Dizon of Onstage Productions & Marlon Panlilio DeAusen of Re/Max Pros!
At the Strathmore Music Center in Rockville,
Maryland last July 16, Filipinos from Metro DC and from the burbs of Virginia
and Maryland were treated to a show Vegas style, with rib-tickling comic
routines, imaginative impersonators, lavish costume changes, assorted medley
numbers and a Las Vegas conclusion of a roster of patriotic songs that ended
with a rousing "America the Beautiful."
The show's opening act was not a front act
but introduced to the audience the unbelievable talents of The Society of
Seven, an unexpected treat for those of us who will never get to Las Vegas
in the next 20 years. The Society opened strongly with "Coming to America."
High energy exuded from all seven combined with deft Motown choreography.
Then, the Diva stepped onstage to belt out her signature Whitney Houston
number a cappella. What followed throughout the evening was Lani Misalucha's
soaring renditions and a dazzling feast for the eyes-her changes in gown
after gown. What surprised us throughout the evening were the seven zany
poco-locos who turned on the charm nonstop and heaped our plates with comedy
topped by the group's versatility on an array of instruments (most unique,
a Kenny G wafting among the audience with his silky sax rendition sporting
a wig of matted cornrow, shoulder length! Was this guy "lipsynching" on his
sax or was it the real thing?).
Tony Ruivivar who heads the Society of Seven
introduced a short clip of an Ed Sullivan Show probably during the early
60s where the young original SOS gave a rollicking live performance for
Sullivan's audience. Was this to remind us that even way back when, they
were already celebs? No reminder needed. The new Society of Seven probably
enhanced the old group's repertoire. The rest of the 'seven' is comprised
of Gary Bautista, Roy Guerzo, Randy Abilar, Wayne Wakai, Bert Sagun and Holu
Low. Their exuberance in song, dance and comic routines skyrocketed above
par excellence. Gary Bautista delivered a riotous "Twelve Days of Christmas,"
a visual step-hopping to create space in a lineup to differentiate the 12
separate voices and personas later identified as celebrities from the oldies.
Can one survive the same holiday carol without Gary's show stopping madness
sneaking into the screen of one's mind? (But--but I came to see Lani Misalucha
. . . hold it and stop whining.)
Impersonations punctuated the evening. Elvis
Presley, Celine Dion, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Tina Turner and even Wayne
Newton. But the act that had the audience rolling in the aisles was the arrival
of The Supremes. They sashayed onstage like a trio of debutante sardines,
resplendent in their electric blue gowns with Lani Misalucha as Diana Ross
sandwiched by two others. When "Diana Ross" stepped forward for her solo,
the audience howled at the sight of one elastic-stretched sheath gown hugging
two macho Supremes. (But I came to SEE Lani Misalucha! Okay, okay!)
Misalucha struck awe in the audience with
her operatic aria "Nessun Dorma." Early on in the show, she risked her image
persona when she played the clown during exaggerated impersonations. Her
ability to move from one musical genre to another, from the range of ballads
to screaming rock 'n' roll to Broadway show stoppers, marks her as one of
the few pop artists in our time to possess such an agility of range. My one
pang of regret during the Strathmore show was that she didn't sing a few
more of her songs and a few less of those that were pleasing to a Vegas tourist
crowd. I missed the personal reach of her previous concert where even in
a hidden corner of an auditorium, Lani held out her song directly to you,
The title "Asian Nightingale" doesn't come
close to include her one distinguishing forte: her ability to segue into
an effortless operatic aria as a soprano coloratura. It was during the "Nessun
Dorma" that I stopped trying to pigeonhole this talent into any category
Misalucha is an enigma. Her biography points
to her family as a musical one; her father, an operatic tenor and her mother
a coloratura. What potential, what possibilities in opera did she decide
to forego to reign as Las Vegas' newest Diva? One can only guess but one
suspends reasons when Misalucha dispenses her talents so generously to a
multi-tiered audience. What can one say to explain to a young person who
asks, How come she didn't go for the high end of music with such a formidable
talent? I don't know. But don't we sometimes wish we could trade our current
"must do" careers and break away to follow our bliss?
Without a doubt, Lani Misalucha is following
her bliss. Cheers and bouquets, Lani!
The reviewer is the editor of Our Own Voice,