Tag Archives: current events

WICKED: A New Musical

6 Aug

I just came back from seeing WICKED: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz at Place des Arts and omg… I want to see it again!

I don’t quite remember how I first learned about this Broadway musical but given that it’s been referenced in two television shows I watch (Ugly Betty — I don’t remember which season this is in but they showed glimpses of a few scenes when Betty was watching it; Glee — I love Chris Colfer & Lea Michele’s cover of “Defying Gravity”) along with its outstanding reviews from critics, my interest was piqued.  I confess, I wasn’t too impressed with The Wizard of Oz when I saw it as a child (it might be a combination of not understanding the plot and dialogue since my schooling was done in French at the time) but I do remember liking the songs.

Last year, I finally got my hands on the book Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, just to see what the big deal is.  The first segment was quite tedious to get through since it’s about Elphaba’s birth and toddler days — way before she became known as The Wicked Witch of the West.  It’s not that children are uninteresting but it was difficult to see what the point of it all is and where the story is going.  Things start to pick up when she attends Shiz University but it’s everything that occurs afterwards that truly define who she is.  It’s amazing how all the details, conspiracy, politics, and characters  all come together in the end.  You can’t help but gain a whole new appreciation and understanding to characters in The Wizard of Oz because Maguire’s prequel gives them such depth and complexity — far beyond what the film portrays, which is so biased and shallow to begin with.  To my delight, the book exceeded my expectations in nearly every regard.

Book Versus Broadway

Like all adaptations, there are differences but in this case I actually prefer the Broadway version to the book.  The tweaks give the ending a whole different tone.  I’ll stop here since I don’t want to ruin it for anyone interested in reading/seeing Wicked, but I will say this: the show really does live up to all its hype.  It’s funny, dazzling, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, passionate and inspirational.  The cast is incredibly charismatic (Christine Dwyer & Jeanna de Waal are amazing); the sets are fantastic (I love how they change scenes); the costumes are so colorful and detailed; the choreography and songs are captivating; the singing is phenomenal… oh the list goes on!

You don’t have to read the book to appreciate the Broadway show but there will be minor details that you’ll miss out on such as the structure of the stage:

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You can’t really see it but there are cogs and spools all along the sides, framing the stage behind the dragon (very steampunk-ish, lol).  And yes, the dragon does move.

It’s a reference to “The Clock of the Time Dragon” in the first part of the book (which the musical omitted) when the origins of evil is discussed.  It’s interesting because the “clock”‘s arrival sets certain vital events in motion that will ultimately change the fate of prominent characters.   In the musical the origin of evil is introduced much more concisely since we jump right into it.

Is It Worth Seeing?

If the staggering standing ovation is anything to go by, then its a big YES!  I don’t know if this is the norm but people were clapping and cheering enthusiastically after every song and dance number; quite a number of us got teary-eyed near the end as well.  The troupe is currently on tour so if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities where they’re performing, I highly recommend you  go see it.  It’s worth every penny.  Even my friend who normally doesn’t like musicals became enraptured by it.

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[edit] I must apologize for the lack of posts lately.  We’re doing a bunch of renovations at home right now so it’s really inconvenient for me do to anything on my laptop.  There’s so much stuff piled up in my room that I feel like I’m one of those people on TLC Hoarders.  >___<

SMTown World Tour Live in New York — My Experience

28 Oct

The concert was off the hook!!

It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Omg, there were so many spectacular bits about the concert; where do I even begin??

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Before the Concert

First off, the amount of people standing outside Madison Square Garden was insane.  There was so much going on — cameras flashing and recording everywhere, reporters and camera crew running all round,  fans chanting/shrieking enthusiastically, banners and glow-sticks waving all around, and crazy fan girls/fan boys jumping in at any mention of their favorite group/artist.

I think the only thing missing out there was a flash-mob and we saw one of those in K-Town on our way to the concert venue.  Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think it was a flash-mob; it was a group of people wearing yellow shirts and dancing to either Super Junior’s new song “Mr. Simple”.  Sadly, they kept getting interrupted due to all the traffic and random pedestrians walking into the shot (there were dancing in front of a parking lot entrance for one thing, and they had to wait for breaks in traffic because the cameraman was filming from across the street (u___u;;).

Anyways, the line up for the the concert merchandise just went on, and on, and on but luckily the line moved extremely quickly — I think they were letting people in by the dozens so we actually weren’t standing for too long.  It was only when we got pass security check that it got really chaotic.  The “line-up” (I’m using the term loosely here because there was no line, everyone just crowded up) in front of the merchandise tables was like a mosh-pit.

People were pushing and shoving; those in front of the line kept freaking everyone out by screaming at random intervals — we had no idea whether it was from a celebrity sighting or a shortage of merchandise.  My friend had to latch onto my arm the entire time and we immediately darted in when there’s a gap from people leaving.  We finally realized what all the commotion was about once we got closer to the front of the line —  it was either because:

  1.  There were no more fans with the face of a specific SNSD or Super Junior member printed on them,
  2. People thought they ran out of t-shirts when in fact there were still boxes and boxes of them under the tables,
  3. Seller’s were screaming at everyone to chillout and move back by pushing the counter forwards and squishing everyone in the front by doing so since people could not back up fast enough (it was so crowded that you can’t even see your own torso, much less your feet),
  4. People were trying to leave this insanity once they’ve bought what they wanted,
  5. Or lastly… all of the above.
Despite the craziness of it all, people were still very polite and civilized; nobody got hurt or trampled  on.  It’s a shame, this didn’t get recorded but we all felt so victorious when we finally left the booth with our goods in the air (I bought a SMTown World Tour Mug and T-shirt); it felt as though we just won a battle so we had a mini celebratory dance and immediate donned our prize before heading into the stadium.

SMTown Concert

As I’ve mentioned before, the concert was off the hook!!  It had absolutely EVERYTHING(!!!) — fire, steam, streamers, confetti, lazers, fireworks (yes, that’s right; real fireworks inside the stadium), and even flying!!

Our seats were AMAZING!!  Not only did we have the perfect view of the stage and the three jumbo screens, but we were close enough to see everyone’s faces while they were performing.  Oh, and the best part of all… we were literally 6 feet away from Eunhyuk and Shindong of Super Junior when they marched in from our staircase/exit — had we sat a few seats over, we could have shaken their hands as they made their way to the stage singing a cover cover in Jinusean’s anthem “A-Yo”.  It was absolutely epic; there’s just no other word to describe it:

Some of the most memorable moments of the night include:
  • SHINee’s performance of “Lucifer” — OMG… everyone went crazy; even more so when all of them flew above the stadium with these awesome Wolverine claws/gloves that shot lazer beams at the audience.
  • Jessica (SNSD) and Krystal (f(x))’s cover of Ke$ha’s “Tick Tock” — that was one of the opening songs for the night and they rocked it.  It set the tone for the night and got everyone singing along with them.
  • Onew (SHINee)’s opera number “Nessu Dorma” —  I don’t think there was anyone there who wasn’t awestruck by that performance.  I didn’t even know that he can sing like that!!  Granted, I may not be the best judge of his Italian pronounciation but it doesn’t take a musical genius to realize his voice is absolutely stunning — so powerful and so full of emotion.
  • Super Junior (Kyuhyn, Ryeowook, and Yesung)’s “Sorry Sorry Answer — So smooth!  It’s so amazing to hear it live.  It also makes me wonder why the heck have I never noticed Yesung before;  he has one the sexiest smirks I have ever seen.  I must’ve been blinded by Siwon’s manly abs and now that he’s on hiatus to pursue acting, I’m free from distraction to notice the other guys of the group.  =P
  • Super Junior’s “Don’t Don” — I didn’t intend to record this since I’m not too crazy about the song but that that performance was quite easily one of the best of the night: steam blasting from the side of the stage, a giant drum set rising from the middle of the stage with Henry rocking it out on his violin and Zhou Mi rapping up a storm, fireworks going off in the background, and oh yes… there was flying.
  • Girl’s Generation’s performance of “The Boys” for the first time ever.
  • f(x)’ “Hot Summer” — pretty much shrieks all around whenever Amber rapped regardless of the song.
  • BoA’s spectacular dancing and her performance of “Did It For Love” with Key.
  • I almost forgot about TVXQ since they didn’t perform until maybe about two-thirds of the way into the concert but man, do they know how to make an entrance.  I almost felt bad for BoA because they were setting everything up as she was performing; everyone in the crowd got distracted, wondering who was getting air-born next since it was too dark to see anything.  Of course, those with floor tickets caught a glimpse of everything before it happened.

And lastly, can we please talk about this photo:

Now I didn’t see this particular moment, but I did notice a Nemo being tossed back and forth from the stage.  I think what happened was a fan threw a stuffed Nemo on the stage as a gift for Super Junior.  One of the guys (can’t remember who) picked up Nemo and posed a bit with it for fans and then tossed it back to the person who threw it, only to have it thrown back on stage again (that fan was very persistent).  I don’t know if Super Junior ended up keeping Nemo since I got too distracted by their show to notice its fate. xD

General Thoughts

In short, I think I speak for everyone present that coming out of the concert, we were all deaf and our throats were hoarse from screaming / singing / cheering / gushing so energetically.  Oh, and did I mention that by the end of it, all the artists were throwing things to the audience?  Yeah, it was a madhouse… especially when it came to towels…  Quite a few members of Super Junior even took fans’ camera to take pictures of themselves with the fan before giving it back to them — that’s the advantage of having floor “seats”.

Overall, I think the best performers of the night were SHINee, Super Junior, f(x), BoA, SNSD, followed by TVXQ and Kangta.  Not only did SHINee walk all over the stage but they really gave it their all (they defied all rules of gravity).  Meanwhile, Super Junior wins the award for having the most diversity in their acts, and the girls get points for making me sing my voice away.  It’s not that TVXQ and Kangta were bad; it’s just that I like the other groups a lot more in comparison.  Kangta’s songs are quite lovely, but I tend to enjoy dance-pop/electric-pop/R&B more than I do ballads.  The only criticism I have for the entire concert is that the microphones were a bit off; everyone sounded a bit more chipmunk-ish than they normally do (it was especially apparent when BoA was speaking) but watching the clips now, I realize was done intentionally since voices do record a bit lower on video (maybe it’s the echo).

Briefly put, there is simply no words to describe this entire experience.  We had our photo taken by the press, we got interviewed for our reaction at the end of the concert (I should have asked the reporter to repeat what paper/media he was working for, though I suspect he felt somewhat intimidated by us since we were most likely screaming our enthusiasm at him from being slightly deaf at that point) and according do my friends, we got recorded by some news station when they did a sweep of the line before the show.

Despite my initial doubts, I have no regrets for this trip because this concert truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Everything worked out beautifully, with the exception of finding the infamous “Chinatown Ice Cream Factory” (we found it eventually after realizing the hard way that we cannot be trusted with a map in a strange city).   Moreover, I ended up spending a lot less than I expected and we got to do everything we wanted, so that’s a definite plus. ;)

The only regret I have is not seeing SHINee and Super Junior in Central Park because as it turns out, they were also there on the same day we were, LOL!

Oktoberfest 2011

8 Oct

Pumpkins, flowers, and free beer… oh my!

I spent the day sampling beer and cheese at Atwater Market’s Oktoberfest.

Frankly, I’m not much of a beer drinker since I generally don’t like the taste of alcohol (cocktails and ice wine ftw!), but I did manage to find two that I like.  One of them was blueberry flavored (?) and I can’t remember what the brand of the other one is but it’s made in Quebec.

Even if you don’t like beer, there’s plenty to see.  For one, you can get an early start at conceptualizing how you can decorate your Halloween pumpkins.

Urgh!!  Twilight!!  It’s everywhere!! xD

(more pics here)

Montreal Comic Con 2011

30 Sep

More photos here. =)

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Similar Posts:
Comic Con Haul 2011

Tall Ships on the Quays 2011

27 Sep


I’ve finally gotten around to organizing my photos.  It’s probably a good thing that I blog, otherwise these gorgeous pics would still be trapped in my camera… at least until I run out of space in my memory card; in which case, they’d wind up in one giant folder on my computer until who knows when.

We lucked out because it was a gorgeous day and the lineups to get on board the ships were minimal to none.  It was only until we got to the last two ships that we actually had to wait a bit since the line was for two ships, as oppose to one.


(More photos here.)

Out of all six ships, the Niagara is the biggest and most impressive one, visually speaking — giant canons, huge sails, a roomy lower deck, and plenty of little details that look fantastic both in-person and on-camera; the St.Lawrence II has the most flags, if I remember correctly; the Pathfinder has the cutest little lifeboat and the most regal looking donation box; the Pride of Baltimore II is the most educational of them all since they had signs explaining the history of the ship and charts explaining what each part of the ship is called, and I think it has the biggest helm of them all; the Challenge is the most modern-looking one, and the only ship that didn’t have a stamp for our “passport”; and lastly, the Lynx may not have been the biggest ship at the event but has, inarguably, the coziest lower deck of the six — not only does it have a library and a fireplace, but it also has a few cozy little nooks where you can read and relax.

For those who didn’t pay for boarding the ships, there were plenty of on-going festivities and events in the area.

We missed all of them unfortunately, since our weekend was full but we did catch the end of the concert.  A lot of people who attended the event dressed up as pirates; in fact, we kept running into the same group while we were touring the ships — we even took a few pictures with them.  Needless to say, they were very popular that day.

Maybe we should dress up next year…

Comic Con Haul 2011

19 Sep

Back from Comic Con and I am exhausted.  So much walking and standing in these last two days but it was all worth it!  Too tired to sort out all photos now, but here’s what I came home with…

First item on the list: the Spiderman shirt.  My brother has been eyeing the Tokidoki x Marvel items for a while so I got him a T-shirt.  Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to specify that I wanted a large for male sizes.  Oh well, looks like I’m keeping it now! =P

^ My brother’s early birthday gift for this year.
Yes, that is Stan Lee‘s actual autograph. =D

Surprisingly, the lineup wasn’t that long.  Then again… I arrived at the convention almost an hour earlier and immediately asked the first staff person I saw where the autograph area is.  He was kindly enough to escort me there so I was one of the first ones there!  Funny thing is, I think I was the only person in line without a comic book in hand.

^ ReBoot!!! Biggest surprise of the day. Totally did not expect them to have a ReBoot kiosk, much less one of its animators there.  Jim Su, was so nice; he was every bit as excited to see us as we were to see him!

^ Had a bit of a fan-girl moment.  My friends were gushing over Josh Adams — the Dr.Who comic artist — so naturally, as someone who has never watched Dr.Who, I was completely bored out of my mind.  My eyes started wandering around, and lo-and-behold, who do I see to my right but Stan Sakai — creator of Usagi Yojimbo!  Such a lovely man. =)

My friend’s Josh Adam‘s autograph.  He even drew a little sketch of Dr.Who for her.  Poor guy… The only parts of the convention he has seen is whatever’s on the way from his kiosk to the washroom. =s

And lastly, my Claddagh ring.  I confess, my reason for getting this is largely influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer but I really  do love the significance behind it.

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And that’s it for today.  More pics coming up later this week.

Oh… and one more thing…

James Marsters is so charming <333

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Similar Posts:
Montreal Comic Con 2011 

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