Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

It's a little difficult to describe Vegas. You just have to be there to soak it all in.

Perhaps the words "decadent" and "opulent" are most appropriate. Call it "opulent decadence" or "decadent opulence". Each has a slightly different meaning, but captures the city's vibrant spirit accurately.

The Strip is completely different by day and by night. I can't really decide which version I prefer, but the temperature in the evening is definitely a lot more tolerable. They don't call it a desert for nothing!
[ There's something wonky about the Blogger software, so the pictures aren't aligned properly. Anyway, click on images for more details, and hope this doesn't make you cross-eyed. I've given up trying to fix this. ]

The Strip By Day

Well, first of all, it isn't as long as I thought it would be. If you're used to walking substantial distances in hot weather ( something I do frequently in Singapore ), this should be a cinch.

You can actually see parts of the Strip all the way from the airport ( which has its own stock of slot machines, wow! ), mainly because the hotels are huge and super-flashy.

This is merely a tiny sample of what I'm talking about.
We stayed at Caesars Palace, which is right smack in probably the best-looking stretch of the Strip.

Photo 1 depicts the gorgeous Eiffel Tower replica ( only half the original's height and already a sight! ) which sits adjacent to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

Photo 2 shows the Bellagio on the left and Caesars Palace on the right, with the turqoise blue waters of the famous artificial lake ( modelled after Italy's Lake Como, where George Clooney has a villa ) adding a cool, classy touch to the

And I literally mean "cool". This "lake" actually generates a refreshing breeze every minute of the day. I don't remember my basic science in detail, but it's got something to do with the way the cold and hot air moves, right? ( I'm so ashamed, haha. :))

This is also home to the beautiful Bellagio Fountain, which gives a musical performance every 15-30 minutes. They play different pieces as often as possible to minimize the monotony.
Songs range from American country to Italian opera. A big hit with the tourists. :)

Photo 3 gives you a broader perspective, again with Caesars Palace in the background. This thing's HUGE.

The Strip By Night

Ahh, see how the Eiffel
Tower's little sister glows! Absolutely breath-taking from afar, even more fabulous if you stand near the foot of the structure and snap a picture like this one.

This fountain ( also at the Paris Las Vegas hotel )
is gorgeous once the sun goes down and the stars come out.

The Strip was packed with people when I shot this, but luckily, I managed to find a short moment when the entire flock of pedestrians filtered to one side. It's all about patience and good timing. :)

This is actually one of my favourite pictures. Totally impromptu, taken at an interesting angle as my parents and I headed back to the hotel after an evening show ( i.e. the topless revue Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana -- really really well done; something for my dad, heh heh! ).
Caesars is monstrously big, and I'm not exaggerating here. It took us about 10 minutes to walk from our room to the main lobby ( at a fast pace some more ).
This is just one of the many towers it houses ( about 3-4 in total ).
I just enjoy the grandeur this picture oozes, with the bright spotlights framing the building. Get a load of those massive pillars!

Here's the splendid main lobby, which made my jaw drop the first time I laid eyes on it. Lots of lush carpeting, marble floors and statues, fountains, chandeliers and... slot machines! There're tonnes of them everywhere, but I purposely omitted them from the shot so you wouldn't be distracted.

Lots of tourists come here to take pictures ( even those who don't stay at Caesars ). I love it.

A fuller shot of the lobby.
We struck gold with a handsome young man who checked us in at the front desk, eventually getting a room upgrade -- for free!

He did it 'cos he likes my mom ( I'm serious! ). She comes in handy once in a while. :D

Poker Heaven
This is just a tiny section of the whole spread. The tables are scattered throughout the 1st floor, and at certain parts, pole dancers entertain the gamblers ( near the Pussycat Doll Lounge ).

They dance ON THE TABLES right in front of your face. If this doesn't make you want to buy a ticket to Vegas, I don't know what will. :)

Last but not least, the wonderful slot machines!
There aren't the ones I played though. I just thought
I'd snap something as I strolled past the Colosseum, which is situated next to this patch.
Their one-armed bandits are pretty high-tech compared to our garden variety insert-coin-and-pull contraptions. In Vegas, you use credit vouchers which are read digitally. You also use these to exchange for money at ATM-like dispensers when you're done for the day.

You can have your pick of themes ranging from the generic 777 / Bar / cherry versions, to those featuring spaceships, marine creatures, Native American motifs ( I won my dough at one of those -- the free spins are key! ), unicorns, mermaids, card games, etc.
I rarely stayed past 10pm ( we toured most days anyhow ), but learned not to estimate my parents, who returned to the room at 2am one evening, long after I'd gone to bed.
The gambling's fun, but it isn't what I enjoy about Vegas. The next time I visit, I'm seeing more of their shows ( including a return trip to the Chippendales, which may have changed some of its cast members by then :)).
And... let's not forget the bit of celebrity-spotting: Nicolas Cage at the back lot of Caesars ( where the shuttles and tour buses pick up and drop off passengers ).
He arrived in a chauffeured Rolls Royce one evening at around 7pm, and got out to retrieve something from the boot.
My mom and I were oblivious until a fellow tourist came to grab us from our seats ( an American chap travelling with his family ).
"It's Nicolas Cage!" he whispered, pointing frantically. And there he was -- as tall and slender as he appears on-screen, hair slightly longer than usual, fringe combed all the way back. He was dressed in a simple white dress shirt and black suit. No wife or son in tow.
He didn't show any interest in the small group of people gawking nearby, and re-entered the car within minutes, before I could ready my camera.
Here's a guy I've watched since primary school -- in Moonstruck, Raising Arizona ( his personal best ), The Rock, Con Air, National Treasure, Matchstick Men, Face/Off, Lord Of War, and many many others.
One word: AWESOME. :)
Next entry: the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something For The Girls :)

Finally, I'm done with the proposal and raring to blog. :D

Note to readers: Do not proceed any further if you're not interested in the Chippendales. Nasty comments will not be entertained.

You know the ol' adage: What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas?

You have no idea how true it is, haha.

But in my case, SOME of it stays in Vegas.

I'm just writing about the more decent bits. :)

That said, I'd just like to add that VEGAS ROCKS! Had an absolute blast -- 5 days of whilrwind touring, gambling and fabulous shows. Wish we could've stayed longer but hey, it's on my list of return-trip destinations ( like Manhattan, Japan and New Zealand ), so there's more to come in the years ahead. ;)

Here's their official website.

Here's the photo gallery.

I can't download the pictures onto my computer ( need a membership account for that ), so I'll just recommend the following:

Juan DeAngelo

Steve Kim

The latter has a personal site. He seemed to be the most popular of the lot despite being a Korean-Caucasian mix.

Anyway, believe it or not, I have Celine Dion to thank for making it possible for me and my mom to catch the Chippendales.

We had tickets to her October 5th concert, but she came down with gastroenteritis and had to cancel 2 shows.

We were initially quite upset about it ( we'd opted to stay at Caesars Palace because she performs at the Colosseum ), but I decided to make the most of the free evening and dragged my mom to the Rio Hotel to see these guys. ( She's quite the trooper, heh heh! )

I don't remember when I first heard of the Chippendales, but think I was probably in my teens ( don't even ask me how I knew about them to begin with ). But I've always wanted to catch a show of theirs, though our tour schedule was too jam-packed at first. So very honestly speaking, if Celine Dion hadn't gotten sick, I would've missed the opportunity completely.

I'm sure a lot of men out there think the Chippendales are lame and cheesy. Well, that's how I feel about swimsuit models, so we're even. :D

I had some idea of what to expect, but these chaps exceeded all of them. A good thing, I assure you.

Yes, they dance. Yes, they're buff. And of course yes, they're bloody gorgeous.

The performance lasted about 90 minutes, with no intermission. The place was at least 90% full, comprising the usual brides-to-be having their bachelorette parties, loads of single young women ranging from high-schoolers ( age limit's 17 ) to those in their 20s and 30s, a smattering of men ( old and rather spaced out ) and surprisingly, A LOT of grandmother types ( gray- or white-haired, bespectacled, dressed very conservatively, some with walking sticks ).

But there was at least one grandma who's still pretty hot -- we met her at the ticket counter, where she proudly proclaimed her status and gave us a cheeky wink. She was dressed in a slinky, short, black sequined dress, high heels, and had a figure that could carry the whole ensemble off.

And for the record, security insisted on checking my ID. Woohoo! :)

So what's the show like, you ask?

Well, I can't reveal too much ( let your imagination run wild :)), but I will say that it was tastefully done, very entertaining, and features a couple of gymnasts who do the most unbelievable routines on the ropes.

I found the costumes the most enjoyable. Men have their things about women dressed up as nurses / chambermaids / dominatrixes, etc, so likewise, women have their fantasies about men in uniform ( there was a Navy-pilot-themed item ), in doctors' white coats ( it was hilarious! ), and as cowboys ( really steamy ).

The bachelorettes got up close and personal with the fellas in a few skits ( the doctor-patient relationship redefined, haha ), but one of the ladies is rather, err, large, and poor Steve Kim had some trouble moving around her, so he didn't try too hard.

At one point, that hot grandma we met earlier walked up to one of the guys as he stood at the foot of the stage, stuffing some money into his pants. He responded by pulling the bills out and gently returning them to her, but with a thank-you and a smile, of course. The Chippendales are famous for their good manners.

There was a bouncer hovering nearby the entire time ( although I'm certain the guys could easily defend themselves if the need arose ), so if some over-zealous female tried to be funny, he'd stroll up to her and gently lead her back to her seat. He was quite cute, actually. Just a tad short.

During the finale, about 4 or 5 of the Chippendales came down to greet audience members, which is where our strategic seats made a big difference -- I have the Caesars Palace concierge to thank for that! ( Blonde lady in her late 30s or early 40s, who seemed more excited than I was when I asked her to book the tickets. :))

We saw other women giving the men hugs, so my mom and I followed suit when it was our turn. The guys were very proper and didn't get fresh. It was quite an experience getting this close to a hot bod. I loved it. :D

Lucky for us, Steve Kim also came by. He's sinfully handsome, and equally naughty. He did something to my mom which I shall not mention on my blog. But rest assured that she LOVED it, still talks about it every other day, and will never forget it for the rest of her life. :P

After the show, there was an opportunity to pose for pictures with 3 of the Chippendales ( for a small fee, naturally ), namely Steve, Juan, and John Rivera.

They were all very warm and friendly. I stuffed my mom next to Steve ( 'cos he's her favourite ), and went to stand between John and Juan.

Here's where it got a little interesting. I thought we'd just pose quickly and get it over with. But Juan started chatting with me. He took my hand, said hello, asked where we're from, how we're enjoying Vegas, all the while staring at me with those big brown eyes, smiling continuously.

I've met good-looking men before. Heck, I've even gone out with a number of them, including giant flirts. Juan wasn't flirting overtly, but I felt myself starting to flush. Let me put it this way, that look he gave me made me feel like a dish, or more specifically, dessert. Yeah, like an ice-cream cone. I'm not kidding.

I think we would've talked more if I'd stayed behind after the photo shoot ( they allow more interaction in the lounge, alcohol included ), but my mom wanted to get back to the casino, so we left. Damn.

As we strolled to the exit, I told her I was actually glad Celine Dion cancelled, 'cos I probably wouldn't have enjoyed her concert as much as I did the Chippendales.

Guess what? My mom said the exact same thing.

I'd recommend this to any woman travelling to Vegas. Heck, even Laura Bush went to see them -- they played a few TV clips of interviews she gave during the show's intro. ( She had a great time, by the way. )

Lame and cheesy? No freaking way.

If any of my reader-friends out there would like to see the picture my mom and I took with the guys, drop me an email and I'll send it over. It's currently my desktop wallpaper. :)

And speaking of Vegas, did anyone catch the CNN telecast of the Democratic Presidential candidates' debate last Friday? 2 hours of pure adrenaline, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama taking centrestage ( though John Edwards wasn't too far behind ).

Clinton's got my vote as the likeliest winner for the Democratic side this election.

When quizzed regarding her feelings about being the sole female within the "boys' club", she quipped, "They're not attacking me because I'm a woman -- they're attacking me because I'm ahead!"

I was seated at the dining table busy with work when she blurted this gem of a quote. I pumped my fist in the air and went "Whoa! Good one, Hillary!"

Don't miss the Republican debate in Florida next Thursday, November 29th, at 9am Singapore time.

Next entry: photos of beautiful Las Vegas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fare Thee Well

I've been following John Lloyd Young's blog regularly since catching him on Jersey Boys, and am quite saddened to read that his last ( though unofficial ) performance as Frankie Valli was on November 9th, instead of the 21st as originally planned, due to the stagehand strike.

He expresses his thoughts and feelings on this unforeseen turn of events, in what I would describe as a very moving entry.

Having had the opportunity to scroll through many of his previous posts ( dating back 1-2 years, including one about his Brown University buddy, Masi Oka from the TV show Heroes :)), it's clear that JLY's love for his fans and his work hasn't abated one iota since he first burst onto the scene in this groundbreaking role.

He mentions his meet-and-greet experiences often and with great affection. He supports fellow friends in show business by publicizing their various projects. He helps raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He never tires of belting Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs.

I've been to many performances in my lifetime, seen the good ( Michael Buble, Sting, Jason Mraz ) and the bad ( Elaine Paige not in her element, David Copperfield being more robotic than usual ). Jersey Boys ranks right up there with the best of them, and JLY gets my vote for being one of the warmest, most appreciative and incredibly sincere celebrities ( though he wouldn't like that label! ) around.

That said, I also enjoy his blog because he's a terrific writer. Wouldn't bother reading it otherwise. :)
I have no doubt his star will continue to rise in the years to come. Here's wishing him a stellar career ahead, and I can't wait to watch him again the next time I visit New York. :D

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Photos Part 2

I know I promised to write about the Chippendales, but alas, I have no time -- again. ( See a recurring pattern here? Argh. )

Perhaps things will get better next weekend, after I finish a hefty proposal application.

In the meantime, enjoy. :)

More from New York

I'm deeply saddened by the stagehand strike on Broadway. A friend of mine who stays near the area describes how dark the streets are now that most theatres have shut down, including Jersey Boys.

She had tickets for November 14th, but the show got cancelled. Worst part is, John Lloyd Young's last day with JB is November 21st, and all tickets are sold out till then. I feel for you, L. But like your friend said, the understudy's pretty good, so just go see it!

The next time I visit, I'll see JB again for sure. :)

[ click on the images to enlarge ]

Check out the Naked Cowboy, a regular fixture at Times Square, dressed only in his white Stetson and tight briefs. A tour guide claims he makes US$65,000 a year just by standing there and posing for pictures! Makes you wonder why any of us bother going to school, haha.

This isn't the best picture I have of Times Square, but I like the fact that there's a dude dressed up as the Statue of Liberty standing in the middle there.

There're usually loads of other costumed characters hanging around, especially at the Virgin Megastore ( which I really enjoyed! ). I met Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street, and Jason from Friday the 13th, just to name a few. They love to invite the tourists over for photos, which I find amusing ( you know, having a horror film icon beckon to you -- kinda creepy, haha ).

Here's one of the very lovely Central Park.

This is Bethesda Fountain Terrace, which isn't the easiest to find since the Park has almost no signage ( unlike our Botanical Gardens with all their arrows every few metres ).

This is a pretty famous spot and has been featured many times in various films, with the most recent one being The Producers ( Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane run around the terrace in an early scene ).

We visited on a beautiful Sunday morning, so there were lots of people taking walks, jogging, picnicking, busking ( a saxophonist played jazz ).

Ahhh.... :)

And as promised, a shot of Jennifer Garner,

I took this outside the stage door after the play. Didn't get there fast enough to be in the front row, and the people standing in front of me were really tall, so I basically raised my arm and clicked at random. Guess it's pure luck that I got this pretty decent picture. :)

She hung around for about 10 minutes, signing a lot of playbills ( my arm wasn't long enough so I didn't get her autograph, darn ), talking to some hard-core Alias fans who shouted "Rambaldi!" a few times ( she loved that! ), even hugging one young man for a cheek-to-cheek photo op.

Funny thing is, when I first arrived in NY and was waiting for my luggage at JFK International Airport, I experienced this sudden jolt which told me I'd see a few celebrities during the trip. This was before I even knew Cyrano was holding previews. Weird, but cool. :)

Next entry: the Chippendales ( I promise :)).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Short Reprieve

I've just discovered a tiny loophole, hence the unexpected blog entry. To preserve this privilege, I shall say no more. :)

Review of Cyrano de Bergerac, Richard Rodgers Theater, Sunday October 14th, Broadway, NYC

Here's a nice review.

Note that critic Dan Bacalzo uses the term "magnificent" to describe lead actor Kevin Kline. I couldn't agree more -- just after the show, I emailed my friend ( who stays in New York ) and used the exact same word. :)

I shall leave you to read the linked article for the nitty-gritty details. Regular readers will know that I much prefer writing about my feelings, haha.

Before you begin, please learn more about Kline, a man I've admired since my childhood days, and whose films I am extremely familiar with.

It was yet another stroke of good luck that I was even able to catch this performance. Cyrano was slated to begin its official run in early November, but started previewing in mid-October. However, I had no inkling of this ( Internet searches conducted prior to my travels yielded no such information ), and the only reason I found out was that my parents and I happened to stroll right past the theater en route to Times Square. The billboard loudly proclaimed: PREVIEWS COMMENCE OCT 12 -- I couldn't believe my eyes! I immediately walked in and purchased 2 premium tickets for the matinee. ( Having already secured seats for Jersey Boys, my resistance had been worn down somewhat. :))

The main appeal of Cyrano, to be frank, is Kline, and nothing else. Sure, I've watched Jennifer Garner since her cameo days on Felicity, and applaud her work on Alias. But Kline... ahh, he is in an entirely different galaxy.

Films of his that I've seen and loved: A Fish Called Wanda, I Love You To Death ( starring another of my faves, River Phoenix ), Consenting Adults ( with Kevin Spacey! :)), Dave ( his absolute BEST ), French Kiss, The Ice Storm, Silverado, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Emperor's Club, The Pink Panther ( hilarious! ), and De-Lovely.

There're others which aren't listed, but I didn't like those as much. ( e.g. Wild Wild West - a catastrophe )

Like Spacey, John Cusack and John Malkovich, I find Kline's unmistakeable voice mesmerizing. And his diction: kind of a cross between crisp British and upper-class American socialite -- is music to my ears.

I went to the show with no specific expectations, save that of getting my money's worth from Kline, who definitely did not disappoint. I really could care less about the rest of the cast ( though seeing Garner in person was a treat ), the stage or the costumes. I just wanted to see - and hear - Kline.

If you're not familiar with the Cyrano storyline, perhaps you'll recall the romantic comedy, Roxanne, starring Steve Martin ( another actor I never tire of ) and Darryl Hannah ( totally unconvincing as a brainiac, but that's Hollywood for ya ). It's a modern take on the tale, but made enjoyable only because of Martin's brilliant portrayal.

Kline works within the confines of the 1600s era, complete with heavy, flowy costumes, even bigger feathery hats, and a physically demanding opening act which requires him to climb down from the 2nd floor balcony ( just metres from our 4th row left aisle seats, woohoo! ), and swordfight while spewing sarcastic poetry.

When he first appeared, my hair stood on end. He is very tall, yet extremely fit and agile considering his 60 years of age.

No microphones in use, so we were lucky to be seated in front, because the actors' voices faltered at certain parts.

But Kline shone no matter what he did. And that included bits when he was just standing there, staring into space. He exudes star magnetism, with everyone and everything around him fading into the background whenever he walks on-stage. It is amazing.

Like the critic, I too enjoyed the balcony scene most. It combined humour, romance and beautiful poetry adeptly, but of course, Kline stole the show without even trying.

At one juncture, he leaned against a tree ( pretending to be Christian but expressing sentiments that Cyrano himself felt ), whispering, "Roxane...Roxane...Roxane", sighing her name in the smallest whisp of a voice, and I swear to you my heart broke right then and there.

Comparing Cyrano to King Lear ( the RSC's production which came to the Esplanade earlier this year, featuring Sir Ian McKellan ), I would say that the latter is superior in many ways ( script - who can possibly surpass the great Shakespeare?; overall ensemble performance; sets; direction ). But if you're a fan of Kevin Kline, or are keen to see a world-renowned thespian in his element, then Cyrano is worth the time and money.

In passing, Garner is just as pretty in person, with flawlessly fair complexion, and a million-dollar smile. Her attempts at emoting, however, tend to fall flat. Having seen her comedy, 13 Going On 30, her performance as Roxane is merely an extension of that persona. It might work in a fluffy chick flick, but it doesn't here.

Still, her obliging and warm personality are laudable, as she made an appearance outside the stage door post-performance to sign autographs and pose for pictures. I have a really nice photo of her, which I will post later.

Sadly, Kline did not come outside to meet his fans. I'd like to think it's because he's tired, and not because he's being snooty. In any case, my admiration for him is even greater now, and I hope to find an opportunity to see him on-stage again in the future.

In Continuation

Here's part 2 of this blog entry.

I Miss New York

It's true -- I think about NYC almost daily, and would hop on the next plane back if I could.

The place I miss most? Broadway.

Aside from the terrific shows I watched, I'm just awed by the whole area, which is so rich in history and dotted with numerous theaters jostling for audiences on every street.

During the daylight hours, the roads are pretty quiet ( unless there's a matinee on ), with everything looking ordinary and nondescript.

Once the sun sets, however, Broadway comes alive in the most spectacular manner. The neon signs sparkle, the crowds gather, and each little theater ( little, at least, by Singapore standards ) houses its own massive party within, staging grand song-and-dance performances, or hosting famous stars in equally renowned plays.

It doesn't help that I'm currently blasting the Jersey Boys original cast recording soundtrack everywhere I go -- on my iPod, the laptop, the office PC, the car stereo. Certainly, it's great to be able to relive the whole Broadway experience again, but there's no denying the musical genius of the Four Seasons, whose hits still resonate to this day.

I've developed a ritual of belting the lyrics in my car to and from work ( yes, I belt ) -- Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like A Man, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, December 1963 and Cry For Me are huge favourites.

But the best part, I think, is being able to appreciate each song's meaning more profoundly now, since the Broadway musical explains quite a lot of the background story. December 1963, for example, chronicles Four Seasons member / songwriter Bob Gaudio's unforgettable encounter with a social escort ( he mentions a "personal first", from which you can draw your own conclusions, haha ).

I've also developed a big soft spot for Can't Take My Eyes Off You, something I largely attribute to the wonderful Jersey Boys show. What I love most are the lyrics, with a sampling below:

"Pardon the way that I stare / There's nothing else to compare

The sight of you leaves me weak / There are no words left to speak"

These days, I get bombarded with excerpts from this annoying music video featuring w.i.l.l.i.a.m of the Black-Eyed Peas. He chants, "Baby, where you get your body from?" and the women reply, "I got it from my mama!" It keeps repeating over and over again, driving me insane.

It's times like these when I understand why the heck I haven't turned my FM radio on for months ( no such luck with the TV, which I can't live without ), and find solace in the truly great music of yesteryear ( Barry Manilow included, heh heh ).

And of course, John Lloyd Young is a joy to listen to at high volume. The clarity and exquisite tone of his voice will stand him in good stead for many decades. I hope he cuts a pop album someday.

Northern Exposure Reruns!

Just to get this out of the way, I don't know why this is so, but Northern Exposure star Rob Morrow reminds me of John Lloyd Young. It's the whole Jewish vibe, I suppose. Not that I'm clear about Young's lineage. But it's a compliment, 'cos NE is one of my all-time fave TV shows. :)

The reruns began the week I returned from the U.S., so I've been watching every single episode since.

For the uninitiated, check out this website.

I remember watching it during my secondary school / junior college days. How I adored the kooky residents of Cicely, Alaska! A small sleepy town with a population of 839, yet never short of bizarre occurrences ( e.g. the annual breaking of the glaciers, which inexplicably causes some degree of psychosis for an entire week ) and even more bizarre characters ( e.g. Maggie O'Connell, the beautiful pilot whose boyfriends have a habit of dying horrible deaths -- the latest got hit by a satellite fragment while out camping, and became fused to the contraption due to the immense heat generated. Ick! )

Chris, the lone resident radio DJ, is also an ordained priest. He's my personal favourite, delivering the best lines in his smooth DJ voice, waxing lyrical about a wide variety of intelligent subjects, even ( literally ) losing his voice to a gorgeous blonde who stepped into his cubicle one day to ask for directions.

Rob Morrow plays Joel Fleischman, the uptight Jewish doctor from New York, who initially abhors his existence but slowly and predictably warms up to his neighbours in Cicely, participating in a traditional "bull run" ( where all the men sprint naked through the streets in below-zero temperatures ) along the way.

There's a nice little NE novel which I still have on my bookshelf, in which the gang has insomnia for months, and resorts to writing lengthy letters to various relatives and friends in order to pass the time.

Ahhh, such good memories. :)

NE airs every weekday on StarWorld Channel 18 at 10am. No repeats, so record it if you can.

ER Returns!

I think it's the 4th season now, where Carter is an ER resident.

More of the same intense resuscitation scenes and riveting storylines. Daily at 8pm on Hallmark Channel 17.

Josh Groban's Noel

I bought my copy at the Virgin Megastore at Times Square, so I'm not certain whether it's available in Singapore at the moment.

I've always been a big fan of Josh's, so buying this was a no-brainer. He never disappoints, and this is no exception.

It's nice to have a good classical Christmas album for any collection, and David Foster always manages to bring a new spin to an old song, so this CD, despite remaining true to its roots, still has a few surprises up its sleeve.

Of note, 2 duets -- with Brian McKnight on Angels We Have Heard On High, and Faith Hill on The First Noel. The former is very well done, with both delivering controlled yet satisfying vocals and harmonizing beautifully. The latter is o-kay, I guess. Both Josh and Faith are sensational as individuals, but together, something isn't quite right. Maybe Hill's forced shrillness on the higher notes is a contributing factor. I thought Josh did a good job on this one.

Little Drummer Boy has an upbeat, pop-ish feel to it, a pleasant deviation from the usual boring interpretations ( most versions of this song make me push the fast forward button as a reflex ). What Child Is This also deserves special mention for the same reason.

I didn't really enjoy the children's choir segments ( Silent Night being one example ). There was something off with the tone of the whole group, and it came off as very one-dimensional.

Besides, Josh Groban doesn't need a choir. He does just fine on his own.

The verdict: If you're a JG fan, then go ahead and buy it. If not, go to a CD store and sample it first.

Next Entry

Something about The Chippendales. And Juan DeAngelo.

I promise. :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Just A Few Pictures

... until I find some time to post another full-length entry.

Amazing how much work gets backlogged when you go on leave -- and the people you delegated the tasks to just won't do what they're supposed to, sigh.

One: John Lloyd Young ( from Jersey Boys )

Congratulations to JLY on selling out his very first solo concert at the prestigious Lincoln Center! He's going to sing an all '60s musical repertoire, which sounds really wonderful. Here's my favourite headshot, from his official website.

Two: That Perfect Day Along The Hudson River, NYC

Still reminiscing about the unbelievably good weather that day! Think I got sunburnt, but who cares?! :)

One big surprise: how tasty their hotdogs are. Even the roadside vendors sell great stuff. The sausages are exquisitely tender and juicy. My mouth's watering right now, haha.

These were all taken with my trusty Nikon Coolpix camera, which makes the job essentially a no-brainer.

The important thing is to look for the hour-long cruise that takes your AROUND the Statue of Liberty, without dropping you off on the island itself ( that queue lasts for hours ). It's at pier 3 ( if I remember correctly ). Just ask around.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

And, last but not least, something for the female readers out there... :)

Three: Juan DeAngelo from the Chippendales, Las Vegas

Will write more about him another time.
But yes, I did meet him. We talked. He's very tall, very handsome, and very charming.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed Las Vegas so much. :D

Gotta run. More next time.