Sunday, 2 December 2012

First concert review - "80-an, Cing!"by Infinito Singers

So I went to a concert by Infinito Singers last week, courtesy of an invitation from my good friend Fenina Faine, one of their pianists. It wasn't like her to notify me about her concerts, but this time - being the ever observant friend that she was - she did because the concert was 1980's themed. And if you've been following this blog religiously, you know that I'm into the bygone era that was the '80s. The concert was held on November 24.

Anyway, before the concert the audience was greeted with a song from the gymnastics that were mandatory at schools in 1984. Let me give you a little bit of background on this one. Starting 1984, the New Order regime mandated schools to apply gymnastics for PE class, known as Senam Kesegaran Jasmani (roughly means "Gymnastics for Health", abbreaviated as "SKJ"). Every four years until 1992, a new SKJ was released with a new accompanying song.

Since I've lost the program, I can't recall the list of songs on their repertoire for the concert. However, I can recall being heavily impressed with their performance of Toto's "Africa", in which the singers made sound effects of rain, wind and thunder merely with their hands and legs. Mad props for conductor Irzam Dastriansyah.

Overall, it was an amazing concert. Some of the audience, especially the past middle age ones in the VVIP rows who clearly remembered the '80s, even gave a standing ovation and screamed for more. At this, the singers, percussionist and two pianists (including Fenina) performed Irene Cara's "Fame" one more time ("Fame" was their last song). This is where a blunder occurred. The singers performed some "Fame" (the TV series)-inspired dance moves for the song, and only the girls in the front were sure of what they were doing. The guys looked unsure of what to do. All in all the choreography was out sync.

The second blunder was the costume. While I liked how they captured the fashion loudness of the '80s, one female main singer in particular caught my attention - and not in a good way. She was wearing what seemed to be a pink spandex catsuit with a black tulle skirt. It wouldn't have been so wrong if (a) she had been slim and (b) she hadn't been wearing a hijab. Clearly the concept of hijab-wearing here had been misunderstood and Infinito should prevent this from happening again at their future concerts.

After the concert, the song for SKJ 1988 was played, and I applauded whoever that emerged with the idea of using SKJ 1984 and 1988 songs to greet and farewell concert-goers. Before I forgot, the concert was actually opened by a medley of theme songs from famous 1980's TV shows, which was another smart move. As a whole, the concert was a tribute to a dynamic era in which youth in Indonesia found freedom in extravagant fashion, good quality local music that far exceeded music of previous decades and national economic boost. A life never to be experienced again in the coming eras.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

When K-pop does '80s...

Wussup guys! It's been forever since my last post. My GPA is 3.44, which is below the perfect 4.0 I aimed at. Hahahah. But considering how messy the process of my thesis and my defense were, things could've been worse, not just my GPA. So can't really complain there.

I'm currently crazy about Nine Muses, yet another Korean girlband. Not a ridiculous, over the top one this time. Debuting in 2010, its oldest member at the time, Kim Ra Na, was 27 years old, which was probably like 100 years old in Korean girlband age. Now that Ra Na has left, the oldest member now is Moon Hyun Ah, who'll turn 26 in January. Yes, Nine Muses have always been marketed as a mature girlband with real women as members, and these ladies indeed have a modelling background as they're all over 170 cm tall.

Anyway, check out this single.

Overall this single, which was out last year, have won favorable reviews from many K-pop fans out there, but one review particularly has bugged me and eventually inspired this post (I won't post the link of the review out of respect to the website owner). The review actually puts "Figaro" under the same light as Dal Shabet's "Bling Bling" and T-ara's "Roly Poly", just because all three singles are styled in the 1980's fashion. "Roly Poly" and "Bling Bling" sound playful and the videos don't look as sophisticated as "Figaro", so the two formers are definitely aimed at a younger audience. You just can't compare "Roly Poly" and "Bling Bling" to "Figaro" or even put them in the same sentence since '80s pop has a lot of subgenres, just like music of any decade.

And speaking of Nine Muses' mini album "Sweet Rendezvous", which was out earlier this year, the album features four songs that have 1980's sound. This album too has won good reviews, with many concluding that Nine Muses have finally found a niche. Looks like that niche is an older audience with a taste for 1980's music (most likely because they remember the period), and with the ladies' comeback which is rumored to be in December, I wonder how they will do 1980's sound next if they decide to stick to it...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

What grabbed attention and what is overlooked...

Hey guys! I'm done with my thesis defence, so now I'm officially an M.Sc...which honestly I'm not too excited about. I'm not too happy about my thesis (which is on IRA), as I think it's just skin-deep and could've been deeper. But oh well. My final cumulative GPA isn't out yet. Will let you know you once it's out, whether or not you want to know...

Hokay, it goes without saying that it's not what I wanna talk about. I'm currently crazy about yet another Korean girlband - not a crazy, over-the-top one, mind. They're called Chocolat (funny how the members sometimes refer to themselves as "THE Chocolat" instead of "LE Chocolat"), they've been around since August 2011, but so far they've lost a member (Jae Yoon, the main singer, is reportedly taking a leave because of some health issues) and only released two singles.

It's funny also how they're billed as "South Korea's first multinational girlband" just because three out of four the members are American citizens...Aren't there many Korean bands whose members were born and raised in The US (mostly) and are therefore US citizens? Not to mention Miss A and f(x) that have Chinese members. Oh wait, these three girls are Eurasians. Yes, long-time readers, that's one of the things that drew me to them in the first place.

Now, on to the big (notorious now) name behind Chocolat. I guess by now you've all heard of Jenny Hyun, the writer of Chocolat's recent hit "One More Day" (Hyun once uploaded this song on her MySpace under the title "The Same Thing to Her"), and her major racist tirade on Twitter against black people, triggered by boxer Floyd Mayweather's racsim-laden twits against Jeremy Lin and Manny Pacquiao (read Hyun's rant in detail here). While I know this is nothing compared to the songwriter's (Hyun has also written songs for Girls' Generation) racist rampage, I find something noteworthy in Chocolat's music videos for "Syndrome" and "One More Day." Take a look.

Tia Cuevas (Korean-Puerto Rican) and Melanie Aurora Lee (Korean-German-Italian) get more camera time than the other girls.

Tia gets more camera time than the rest of the girls!

Mild racism, anyone?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Oblivion to befall a Eurovision winner?

Hey guys! I'm really supposed to be working on my defense slides, but I feel like taking a break at the moment. Some of my friends have already got their defense schedule, some have even survived their defense and are officially Masters of Science in Terrorism Studies, but I haven't got my schedule...Here's hoping it's gonna be the last defense day (July 2)!

Anyway, I feel sorry for Lena-Meyer Landrut, winner of the 2010 Eurovision. The gorgeous German hasn't got one single catchy song since "Satelite", which earned her Eurovision win. Two years on and her singles have been boring ones, as follows...

This one is actually not bad, love the old-school Bond feel.

Not bad either, just far less memorable than "Satelite"...

Just can't stand listening until the end!

Lena just needs songs that will do justice to her outstanding vocal. Ones that will catapult her to international fame. Many Eurovision winners, with the exception of those who had already been famous pre-Eurovision, just fell into oblivion after winning. Does that sound familiar?

Monday, 4 June 2012

NKOTBSB, concert and Old Navy...

I went to a NKOTBSB concert here in Jakarta on Friday, June 1. The concert was awesome, the kids and boys (ahem, men) are amazingly talented. It was good to re-live a fond part of my childhood, as I came to see NKOTB live in concert also in Jakarta in February 1992. By the time Backstreet Boys came on the scene, I was over boyband music, but I had a good time singing BSB songs on top of my lungs at the concert - something I'd never be caught doing during the band's heyday. The best part of the concert was the reunion with cousins and old friends. I came with a friend and my sister-in-law, before the concert I met another friend and some girls I went to school with. After the concert I met many of my cousins and a friend I went to diploma studies with.

The NKOTBSB concert was the first I came to in eleven years. The last concert I saw was The Corrs'. I have to be kind of fanatical about a musician before I go to his/her concert. That being said, the next concert I'll go to is most likely Debbie Gibson's, if she ever comes to Jakarta or wherever I'll be in the future.

Anyway. That's not what I really wanna talk about in this post, if you know me. Still in the light of the NKOTBSB world tour, I bet at least some of you have noticed that Jordan Knight is in the latest Old Navy commercial.

Taurus pride! Hahahahaha.

While I think Jordan looks great in the super cute commercial, a random search on Twitter makes one wonder if his appearance in said commercial is a sign of "how the mighty has fallen." One twit from a Twitter user I'd undisclose is particularly telling to me...

What the...Jordan Knight in an Old Navy commercial?! He couldn't be that hard up for cash...could he?

Hmm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but even during the heyday of NKOTBS the Kids were hardly in any commercial. The good thing about seeing Jordan Knight in an Old Navy commercial is that it shows he's still relevant to today's youth demographic...I think the target market for Old Navy is younger than those who actually grew up listening to NKOTB (again, correct me if I'm wrong.)

You know what I think really signals Jordan's fall from grace (and I thank heaven this is a thing of the past!)? This article, dating back to January 2006, which shows a drunken Mr. Knight amidst attempts to market one of his solo albums, "The Fix", and someone had to hail a taxi for him in the end. It's equally sad that in order to re-establish a successful solo career (he achieved success on his own in 1999), he had to turn to old material after "The Fix" on "Jordan Knight Performs New Kids On The Block" and "Love Songs" before, of course, reuniting with NKOTB in 2008...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

On licking one's own saliva...

Back in early 2008, the daughter of two famous designers in NZ said in a posh life style magazine that you "shouldn't wear cardigans unless you're 150 years old." She had started a "career" as a celebrity stylist, dressing the likes of Mischa Barton, about three years earlier so it looked like she had some credibility to denounce cardigans.

Now that cardigans have come in many variations, no longer restricted to the button-up design (which she probably associated to grannies), I wonder she's stuck to her denunciation...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Marie et Mere

If you grew up in Indonesia in the mid 1990's (or Japan in the 1970's), chances are you remember "Rose of Versailles", Ryoko Ikeda's serialized books on Oscar de Jarjayes, the fictional personal guard of Marie Antoinette. I recently found out that in 1978 it was adapted into the big screen by Kitty Production (a child company of Toho) with an all-European cast, making it a joint production of Europe and Japan. In the lead role is British actress Catriona MacColl. The movie is called "Lady Oscar", just like the anime that was aired in Indonesia in the '90s.

After "Lady Oscar", MacColl has so far starred in indie productions, some of which are slasher horrors. Her latest appearance is in a 2011 slasher "The Theatre Bizarre", where she plays a character called Mere Antoinette. I've done my research and found no evidence that "Mere Antoinette" was named after Marie Antoinette ("The Theatre Bizarre" is indeed inspired by Grand Guignol in Paris). But whether or not "Mere Antoinette" was named after the French queen, it's noteworthy that MacColl played a character alongside "Marie Antoinette" early in her career.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Wish granted from beyond the grave...

Hey guys! Blogging from the office for the first time. I'm waiting for my two presenters Bonny Symons-Brown and Ruth Rosa to finish copy-editing today's news texts, then I can compile and insert the CG. My show is called "The Morning Show" and basically it's an English program with politics, business and entertainment news from Indonesia and beyond. If you have time, tune in to it every Monday to Friday 07:30 AM Western Indonesia time (WIB) on channel six First Media. For those outside Indonesia, the show's available for live-streaming at Berita Satu TV website.

Ads done, now news on yours truly! To keep it short, I submitted my thesis last week and am now awaiting oral defense, which will be sometime in late June. It's been postponed from April 30.

Hokay, now what I really want to blog about. You know my mild obsession with Brandon Lee...I think I've watched all the Brandon Lee videos on YouTube except the fan-made tribute ones. Recently I found this. Wonder what took me so long to search for it on YouTube...

That's Brandon's cameo part from a Swedish indie film "Sex, Lies and Video Violence." The film was shot circa 1993, but for some reasons it wasn't released until 2000. Now if you will, you can look up Brandon's interview with Paula Yates (RIP) on YouTube and see that Brandon says he'd like to "flip flop back and forth" between action, mainstream and indie movies. The interview was filmed circa January 1993, just before Brandon started filming "The Crow", which would be his first and last "mainstream" movie (by that I mean a stretch from his usual action fares.) So he got to flip to the mainstream. Seven years after his untimely death in March 1993, his only indie film was released. So his wish has been granted - appearances in action, mainstream and indie productions.

And that huge earring in the cameo! Look up a clip from his 1991 movie "Showdown in Little Tokyo", where Brandon compliments co-star Dolph Lundgren's character on his endowment ("You have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man.") Furthermore, look up a clip of his interview in Germany where he swears at a journalist for asking about his dad. I wonder how Bruce Lee would have reacted to all this...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hello March!

Can't believe March is here. By early February, I'd whipped out five entries, which is a breakneck speed by my blogging standard since moving to Blogger in June 2009. Now I seem to be lagging again.

Thesis madness has really come in full swing. I've just passed the proposal oral defense, and the crazy thing is that I've agreed to have my thesis defense in late April, as opposed to the normal late June or early July. Long story, just wish me the best of luck.

Off topic, I think YouTube sensation Sam Tsui and tiger cub Sophia Rubenfeld (daughter of "Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother" author Amy Chua) really should date! They have so much in common. Sam has just graduated from Yale, Sophia is currently attending Harvard. Sam is a talented singer and pianist (don't tell me you haven't checked out his videos!), Sophia is a talented pianist. Last but absolutely not least, they're half Asians. Together they'd create a whole new breed...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Lesson to learn and other things.

Looks like the production has been stopped...because people have stopped paying attention. That's the price you pay for being hostile to those who care. Suck on that, bitches.

On a totally unrelated note, I have to get a new layout since the tenth anniversary of my blogging world existence is so over. But I've been busy like you never know. Plus I have no Adobe Photoshop (do people still rely on this for designing? Update me people!) on my new laptop, which complicates things a little.

Also, starting February 15 I'll leave behind my teaching profession as I've accepted a new job as a translator at Berita Satu TV! Teaching has never really been my cup of tea, to be honest, and finally a job that is in line with my Media Studies background!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Boys and girls...

I forgot that about 18 years ago I couldn't get on a car without a cassette of NKOTB's "Face The Music" playing on the tape. "Face The Music", in case you're either too old or too young to remember early 1994, was a coming-of-age album of New Kids On The Block which has been so criminally underrated. What happened was back in the day grunge ruled the music scene, so it wasn't the guys' fault when the Kids wanted to try their hands on a new image that was kind of a far cry from their lovey dovey pop ballads. Plus they literally weren't "kids" anymore, as the maknae of the group, Joey McIntyre, was 21 at the time.

"Face The Music" was released and it was so good that people began to dance to it until, wrote a famous music reviewer whose name I can't remember, they discovered the voices behind the music. Thus "Face The Music" became the last album before NKOTB bowed out of the music industry - only to reunite in 2008.


Check out "Girls", taken off "Face The Music", below....

So there's the line, "Girls, can't live with them, can't live without them." Does that sound familiar? And check out "Boys" by Britney Spears, taken off her 2001 self-titled album.

Boys. Can't live with them, can't live without them.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Post exams musing...

Hi everyone!

Semester three is finally over. Last semester will be for focusing on the thesis. Not gonna tell you what it's about!

Ive been following The Kardashians lately, though not on their shows. I know, I know. This is so unusual of me, and it's not like I've had nothing to do these days. The past semester was so crazy, as were the last semesters of diploma and undergrad (ok technically the third one wasn't the last...but it was the last with classes!)

If you're a Kardashians fan, you know that Kourtney's eldest son is Mason, whom she has with boyfriend Scott Disick. The two-year-old's middle name is "Dash"....I wonder if "Dash" is actually short for "Kardashian"?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Not a celebrity entry....

DAA and IAA, the things between us - inspired by KN:
Lessons for Life
Nurul Fikri Boarding School
Padepokan Madani
Bakmi Gajah Mada
Plaza Senayan
Plaza Semanggi
Inul Vizta
Senayan City
Gatot Soebroto
Pondok Indah
Oakley Crosshair
Michael Buble
Osh Kosh B'Gosh
The Body Shop
Universitas Indonesia
Universitas Mercu Buana
Curtin University
The University of Auckland

Thursday, 5 January 2012

First entry in 2012...

Happy new year to everyone! Let's hope I can stick to my resolution of posting 45 entries!

This can be another celebrity post, but I shan't mention any name. I just have to post this entry.

There's a thriving online vintage store owned by two models. One is a French lady who grew up in Bali, the other is only a quarter Indonesian despite having an Indonesian last name (I think her father is half Indonesian and half American, her mother is Armenian.) The latter is currently dating a blues musician who's also a quarter Indonesian and three quarter something else. This musician is divorced, has two kids.

What's unique is that she's good friends with her boyfriend's former wife. She even makes her model for the vintage clothes the store sells. That's how you can tell if a marriage ended on good terms, when your girlfriend and your ex wife can get along really well.