Madam Margaret Thatcher, The King and I, and BFD

The Iron Lady and the Hopeless-Romantic Me  =)

Euro-cultural immersion – done!  I was homebound, aboard a CX for a good 13-hr flight.  I said good for I had plenty of time to catch up on some interesting films, including The Iron Lady, a Margaret Thatcher biopic.

There’s one scene from The Iron Lady, that I wished to experience in this lifetime (I tried to be specific with the timeline).  I never want to become a Prime Minister; the scene I’m referring to is Denis’ and Margaret’s date in a theatre – they were enjoying a lively scene from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I.  That idea of a date is both classic and classy.  I’ve always loved the theatre…I used to act / write / and direct plays back in school, and I (then secretly) wished – that I’d end up with someone who would also appreciate the theater…oh, and a date in a theatre production of any Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classics.

I was aboard CX, 30th April 2012…and five months later, 30th September 2012…I was at the Newport Performing Arts Theater enjoying that same lively scene – the King of Siam and Mrs. Anna – singing, dancing, and what would appear – falling in-love…Shall We Dance?  BFD reached for my hand…exactly what Mr. Denis Thatcher did, as depicted in the biopic, The Iron Lady.  =)

Shall We Dance? =)

The King and I at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre, Resorts World Manila

The King and I is a stage musical based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens.  Anna became the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. Anna was hired to support the King’s drive to modernize Siam.  The story depicts cultural conflict with some political undertone, and a love that neither the King nor Anna was able to express.  (source:  Wikipedia).

Photo grabbed from the King and I Resorts World Manila’s official website.
http://www.rwmanila.com/the-king-and-i/

What made Newport Theater production extra-special is that it’s all-Filipino!  The production showcases world-class Filipino talent, top-billed by Leo Tavarro Valdez (King) and Monique Wilson (Anna), directed by Mr. Freddie Santos, with performances by the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Ballet Theater.  Oh, and I just have to mention the lovely gowns designed by Rajo Laurel for Monique Wilson! =)

We’ve got Resorts World Manila to thank for producing the show. It is indeed a very ambitious project, but the all the effort that went into is every bit perfect for bringing out a truly stellar stage production.  The Newport Performing Arts Theater is as modern as its name implies – acoustic and lighting are superb.

As of press time, the play runs every Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 2PM and 7PM, and Sunday at 2PM.  Ticket price starts at P1000.00.  For more details, you may visit Newport Theater’s official website:  http://www.rwmanila.com/entertainment-at-resorts-world-manila/newport-performing-arts-theater.

Photo grabbed from the King and I Resorts World Manila’s official website.
http://www.rwmanila.com/the-king-and-i/

Think, Listen, Chill

Think…random thoughts. 

My mind was adrift. I needed more caffeine or alcohol.  I turned to my laptop. I wanted to write.

I can write about yesterday.  I knew yesterday.  I’m never returning.  I’m staying in the present

It’s twice as wonderful to be living in the present, embracing reality for what it really is.  I’m loving the present.  Can you read my future?

As for the future, I don’t want know what it holds…it’s enough for me to know Who holds it.  It’s a good thing. I raise a glass.

A half-filled or half empty glass? It’s always filled with liquid (er, wine?) that takes the shape of the glass which holds it. I hold the glass quite firmly, never wanting to break it into fragments.

I used to hold fragments. Now put together, the fragments became part of a whole.  I prefer whole numbers over fraction. Fraction makes for a complex math which could steal some good night-worth of sleep.

Sleep is a commodity, though lately, it’s becoming quite elusive.  I count sheep in my head – one after another.  Every sheep jumps over the fence to be counted…even bah-bah black sheep gets to jump over the fence. 

I don’t want to jump to conclusion, is a sweet gesture considered as an important piece in a puzzle?  I’m not trying to be cheesy. I just wanna ask the universe. 

Chill!
my tired, but happy feet + my favorite pair of socks

Oh, and please don’t ask me what this lovestruck music is all about.  Smile and listen.

For now, let’s chill.  =) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Badw9e_4BLQ&feature=fvwrel

 

Drum Tao: The Art of Drum Tour is in Manila

Their headquarter is in the mountains of Southern Japan.  Their day starts at 4:30AM, with a 12-KM run.  I suppose, it’s mostly uphill runs since they are in a mountainous terrain. The run is to be followed by an hour of nonstop drumming.  They prefer to train outdoors.  Now, try to sharpen the picture in your imagination…then, the ‘zen-like’ feeling that goes with it, transcending from the harmony of nature, music, and martial arts…

…and watching this group perform live is a totally different cultural immersion!  It really is the DRUM TAO – The Art of Drum Tour

High energy. Highly cultural. Highly engaging.
The natural high that is drum tao!
Photo by: A. Sales

This is the first time that I’m posting two ‘full-length’ articles in a day (in my blog).  I can’t help it.  I feel inclined to promote Drum Tao.  I watched their show at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre in Resorts World Manila (RWM) last Sunday, July 15.  They are to run 10 shows at RWM, with their closing show slated, July 22. 

I only have good words to describe my Drum Tao experience – I was transported back to epic Japan.  Their extraordinary performance showcased about 50 different drums.  Adding more harmony to several acts, they also played the flute and the shamisen (a native Japanese guitar, expertly played using a bachi or plectrum – beautiful combination of strings and a little percussion).  One can ‘see’ the rigorous training of the performers, not only in the way they perform and blend, but also in their strong physique. Admirable talent and discipline.

Action photos – from Drum Tao’s tarpaulin display
Collated by: A. Sales

I never had a dull moment as the show ran for 2 hours.  It was highly engaging. As audience, we did participate in some of the skits, filling the theater with lively claps and stomps – fun atmosphere in the light of a highly cultural performance. 

‘Meowth’ rating:  ALL PAWS UP!  =)

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Catch Drum Tao at RWM.  Buy your tickets now!  =)

Schedule and ticket details
(a section of the brochure)

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Video ad, as posted at youtube.com: 

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhqiQY7PFJs0&v=hqiQY7PFJs0&gl=PH

When music becomes (more) personal…

Part of my room – converted to a music nook
In this photo: Mateo, my Takamine acoustic guitar…and a shot of Martini  =)

I’m not trying to make sense of all the melodies, but what I know of it is that –  collectively, it soothes my soul.

If only I could make every string speak…well, somehow it does, though it is not as sophisticated as the strums of a virtuoso…the strings of my guitar speak of raw emotions – my emotions.  It’s personal and almost transcendental.   

I’d like to think that my Takamine and I have this special connection.  When I hold it in solitude, music fills my room…I’m holding something I love.  Thus, it makes music more personal – music is so out there, but for a moment, it belongs only to me.  Probably, this is the reason why I’m not keen about playing the guitar and singing in front of an audience, unless we’re talking about my favorite bunch. 

Strum 1 – 2 – 3
Simplified chords of Glen Hansard’s ‘Falling Slowly’

 Here’s a link to a Youtube video of one of my favorite guitar pieces.  Considered as a ‘modern-day’ classic, here’s to share – Glen Hansard’s Oscar-winning piece, ‘Falling Slowly’, 2007 Best Original Song from the movie Once.

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=PH#/watch?v=yzQ9VrnNQLQ

Emo = The Fray + Geek-like Math

“Emo (i-mow),  is a style of rock music characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics…Emo has been associated with stereotype that includes being particularly emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden.” – Wikipedia

I haven’t made any deliberate decision to totally immerse myself in the fascinating world of the emo subculture. Tonight, emo music hits me as if it’s some sort of drug; effect is strong, but temporary.  I’m particularly feeling some backlash from a set of songs I’ve been listening to in the last 3 hours.  The songs are beautiful, melodic…to the point that they are well interpreted through music videos…perfect, heartbreaking, beautiful.   Every song speaks to the heart, a message effective enough to make you wish that you’re in love at some point.  When the song ends, the bubbles burst.  You’re left with your mind telling you that you’re not exactly in love.  Emo!

The mood is so not making me fall sleep that I decided to write something mundane, but re-affirming of one’s dilemma when confronted by love versus reality.

What would you do if love and reality exist in two separate planes, running in parallel?  The planes are presented in a more linear form called lines.  Parallel lines never meet.  Maturity teaches you that love is never enough, but the coldness of the world makes you realize that reality is empty without love.  Would you choose love and forget about the world – that world grounded by reality?  Would you rather choose reality, continue running the course and hope that another love comes – that love which would co-exist with your perceived reality?  Is this the reason why there are parallel lines in Math (Geometry) – as it correlates to the reality that there are people who are not intended to be together at all? Never, forever. 

(Math/Geometry) : Lines that will never intersect.

Still cerebral here.  That’s about it! =)

Here’s to share one of The Fray’s most heartfelt songs – Never Say Never. 

(Music video, as posted @ The Fray Vevo channel, http://www.youtube.com)

Music School – Chapter 1 – Natupad din ang isa sa mga pangarap ko =)

I chose music school over law school.  It’s a statement that instantly puts a big smile on my face, my heart, gut and liver.  I made the right decision. I couldn’t be happier.

I had it back when I was a kid – MUSIC…but I never pursued it as a talent.  I did not bother to nurture it as a gift, not until four months ago when I first entered music school as a student who was trying to learn the rudiments of a classic guitar.   

I’m grateful to have JAPE as my mentor.  He introduced me to the more profound side of music – alternative music and its soul.  He is a diligent young artist who is dedicated to his craft, and the things he taught me will stay with me forever. He is also passionate about teaching.  Hindi ko din akalain that I could play songs na sa tingin ko mahirap for a beginner – Jape simplified the chords of my favorite songs so that I would be able to play and sing to my heart’s content.  I remembered thanking God that very first day in school for the abundance of gift in this planet – musicians, artists and their craftsmanship.  They’re all geniuses.

Music school is all about happy moments. It’s not only about playing the guitar, but more importantly, it’s how music touches my soul – being able to communicate the things I’d rather not say.  It’s about aspirations and emotions.  It is art, and I’m in love with it.   MUSIC touched my life – it provided an interesting dimension to my profession, which has always been governed by parameters and numbers. 

Today, I have completed Level 0 – Beginner.  In January 2012, I’ll be back in school for Level 1. 

I will always remember that scene when I was just about to enroll…

            Admin:  Ano age po ng mag-eenrol?

            Me:  Ako yung enrollee…

            Admin: (napatingin sa akin ng matagal)

            Me:  Sa tingin mo ba matututo pa ko?

           Admin: (tumingin ulit sa akin ng matagal) Siguro naman, ma’am. One-on-one ang  method of teaching namin dito…(sabay abot ng enrolment form)…

           At masaya ako lumabas ng school ng araw na yon…As in nakangiti ako. Wala akong  pakialam kung mukha akong timang…Isa ‘to sa gusto ko talaga gawin, and this time, I don’t have to worry about making my family disappointed.

Meet MATEO - my electro-acoustic guitar

Practice 1 - 2 - 3

Running and Nostalgia

I was in my element as my feet were pounding the pavement going for KM 25.  Music and blessings occupied my mind, and my system was oblivious of sinusitis.  The next track was Beyonce’s – Best Thing I Never Had. 

The thought suddenly hit me – how it was a year ago, or may be over a year ago, back in the day when I was desperately trying to call the right shots from outcome of bad choices.

Nostalgia began to play some stark words, but the emotions became blurry. I was again thankful for the enlightenment that I can look back to see how awful the experience was, and still appreciate where it brought me.  I made some bad decisions, but I never lose sight of what rightfully belongs to me – respect.

Letting go and being at peace with it is more liberating. Somehow, I made wise decisions, too <– and I stand firm.  It’s never easy, but as a good friend puts it, “isa lang ang buhay bakit hindi pa ayusin.”  (Yes, Ruckus – that made me buy another precious arm candy as a ‘congratulatory’ gift for myself.)

Liberation brings me closer to that borderline-miraculous element – if I write now that the element is self-actualization, people who really know me will say it’s BS.  So, I’m sparing my friends P1.00 by preventing them from sending me text messages saying – “Ann writes crap”. No lame (love) story hereafter.  =)

Here’s the music video of that ‘atta-girl’ song by Beyonce.  Happy listening!

Running and rhapsody, music and madness

I can sing again! =)   The day has finally come when I can sing again! Follow rhapsody along the line of this somewhat-shameless blogging. For sometime, I refrained from singing. I felt that my voice won’t fit in any song from any genre…until recently.

Music has been helping me cope, if not survive horrendous traffic jams, plus some significant amount of stress from life’s daily conundrum. If there’s anyone who would miss my voice blending with music – it’s gotta be my ears, my car, the shower, and ‘mi-concerto-de-videoke’ (bonggang-bonggang) amigos en amigas con tequila en gambas. =)

I love singing. Though I never had a powerful voice that could reach multiple octaves, I sing from the heart.

Last night, I picked up the guitar with Verve Pipe playing in the background. I guess, it’s time to go back to music school. I’d love to strum those wonderful chords again. I’ve gained some more inspiration from a wider genre, ranging from the music of acoustic sensation Johnoy Danao, to the walk-down-the-aisle renditions by Hiraya Men’s Choir, to the depth-and-ebb that could only be metal magic by GNR/Metallica/Queen/JBJ. Life experiences are rich, and so is the music inspired by it.

I also did a revamp in my iPod on my running play list. I removed the heavy and trash metal stuff, at least, for now. I’ll be on training again for a full marathon starting September, and there’s a better set of songs waiting to accompany me in my next marathon training.

The-who-and-or-the-what, as in what gives? I need not analyze. It’s right here all along; mine for the taking. =)

Narrative by a not-so-drunken woman

Beautiful Friday night and my eyes were smiling as I skimmed the liquor list of Astoria.  I was giddy as a teenager, so excited to order her first shot.  Oh, how I wish I was in Vicar St., Dublin, Ireland(think, the Script).  Instead, I was in a place somewhere between the heavens and the deep blue sea…in a paradise known to many as Boracay.

A friend once told me about Boracay as the best place to get drunk.  I could not wait to get into the plane, off to the island to get myself a good alcohol fix.  No need to drive home for the one of the hippest bars at Station 1 is located at Astoria’s beach front (yes!!!). I was not into booze for ages, and may be I need a few shots and some cover songs to finally seal another chapter in my breakup diary.  I was a-okay, but living healthy and somewhat sane also requires ample justification before splurging on Tequila and Vodka.

Mental notes:

  1.  Just like a lovely, drunken heroine in a romantic comedy movie (ehem, blog ko ‘to okay), I tried to dig for some deep-seated emotions that made me purposely break my heart a little, or may be cracked it a little bit.  It was weird to go through a heart-breaking experience without having to cry…not yabang though, it is just weird for I used to be a cry baby.  Back in Manila, I tried making myself cry while driving (for months!), it did not work…I tried to cry myself to sleep, but the floods of dopamine won’t let me…until the  healing process was completed.  I tried to cry in solitude, concealed by the sacred walls of my sanctuary.  It did not work, too.  Weird ba ko or tough?
  2. I was trying to internalize the drama in the music video “Nothing” by the Script – the drinking version.  There’s no way I can match the drama in that video…I so love the song + video pa naman.  Screw all the tears!  It won’t come out whatever I do.  Again…weird ba ko or matigas na ko ngayon or maturity na tawag dito?
  3. I was on Tequila glass #5, and I can still think clearly.  I was waiting for my hands to get a little numb, but it was not happening…so I drank some more.  Love it!  =)  Ian scored some funky, groovy music, and people started to rock the dance floor…and I was one with the beautiful crowd.  There was no reckless abandon that happened.  For one, I had my good friend Charlaine to watch over me…and besides, I tried to drink as many, but the alcohol can’t get the better of me.  Ganito na ba ko naging ‘addict sa life’ pati alcohol hindi na tumama?  Hindi na nga ako iyakin, hindi pa din ako malasing…growing up ba ang tawag dito, or weird lang talaga ako, o baka sobrang dense?
  4. I met some interesting people, too.  The golden ‘girls’ of Norway sure know how to party. Sabi nga naming ni Charlaine, we could see our future selves right in front of us.  I stopped asking myself why I was not crying or moved to tears…nag-enjoy na lang ako…hehehe…life is short.  =)  It was good to feel some effects of the alcohol and at the same time, I was still in control of myself – all clean fun…perfect concoction – people, music, ambiance, and the ever hot-hot Tequila.

astoria at night. i fell in love with the place.

Morning after, hotel phone was ringing and it was a call from a guy I met at the bar.  Sadly, he is not Irish…sobrang malayo kay Danny O’Donoghue of  The Script. I even recited the caller’s   and his friends’ names and their ‘pamatay’ na lines in sequence, just to prove that I was not drunk the night before.  O kita mo na, pare, sabi sa’yo at 2AM, hindi pa din ako lasing. Suko ata sila, at 2AM bumabangka pa kami ni Charlaine sa kwento.

I intended to drink again that Saturday night…but while the Saturday morning sun was up, Charlaine and I joined the bee-line to what would be an adventure in paradise – Parasailing!  =)

Now, here’s the video of the song, which I can’t seem to get enough of.