Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Roundup

With only 10 days of the year left before the arrival of 2014, I look back on the past 12 months with a big smile.
Not because it was perfect - it wasn't the least bit so - but rather, because it was by far, one of the most memorable of late, despite the lack of any personal encounters with famous people ( the fleeting M&G with Peter Cetera doesn't count ).

Concerts and theatre

I literally lost count of the number of shows I caught this year. In March alone, I saw 5, while in November, there were 4.
There were musicals ( The Phantom Of The Opera, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray, Next To Normal ), gigs ( Adam Lambert, Peter Cetera ) and plays ( Venus In Fur, Rabbit Hole ), not to mention a couple of truly excellent comedies ( One Man LOTR, Broadway Beng )!

Despite the large number of choices, 2 easily stand out:

The Exchange - this 5-member a cappella group from America, featuring alumni from The Sing-Off, paid a low-key first visit to Singapore in March, performing at a tiny venue to an audience of only 70 people.
However, not even the most luscious musical production can eclipse these guys! Their 90-minute set left me breathless, and no-one deserves a showcase at the Esplanade Concert Hall more than they do. Let's hope my feedback to the right people will finally bear fruit. Please come back soon!

Lang Lang In Recital - After missing his previous performance in the not too distant past, I was again oblivious about his November gala concert with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, as well as his intimate recital of Mozart and Chopin pieces. Thankfully, gallery seats were released at the last minute, and I managed to snag two that offered incredible views of all the action.

I was in heaven for 100 minutes, spellbound by what I heard and saw. Nothing I write will do him justice, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

Before that evening, Jason Mraz's acoustic gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall ranked #1 on my list of all-time favourite musical performances.
Now, we have a tie. :)

TV shows

2013 also featured an unprecedented number of amazing television series, both new and old.

House Of Cards - starring my idol, Kevin Spacey - made my head spin. ( And thank God for the Internet because we don't get Netflix in Singapore. )

I finally started binge-watching Breaking Bad at my friends' recommendations - also via online sources, because it's banned on local cable. ( Pleeease, do you really think we're that pathetic? )

Lots of exciting new shows caught my attention - in particular, Hannibal, The Following, Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD and Dracula - while returning favourites like Justified, Elementary, The Good Wife, The Newsroom and Major Crimes continued to delight.

Dexter, which has stayed so close to my heart for 8 years, sadly ended on an anti-climactic note.

My top choices for the year:

Masters Of Sex - a no-holds-barred dramatization of Dr. William Masters and Mrs. Virginia Johnson's pioneering efforts in human sexuality research. Aside from the top-notch cast ( which includes Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan ), it also boasts some of the finest writing in existence.

The Paradise - Granted, season 1 hit local cable only a fortnight ago ( season 2 ended its run in the UK in mid-December ), but I absolutely must mention it because it's positively intoxicating. Everyone keeps raving about Downton Abbey but have they seen The Paradise, which is 10 times more interesting?
I have my eye on lead actor, Emun Elliott, a half-Scottish half-Persian 30-year-old whose charisma and intensity belie his youth.


The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. That's all I have to say on this topic. :)

Looking forward

I only took 2 short trips this year, with the primary aim of catching certain people in concert ( Josh Groban in Sydney; Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Lea Salonga in Tokyo ).

In 2014, I will embark on a 4-week journey through the US ( a country I love very much ), this time visiting Hawaii, Washington, DC and New York.

Very excited, of course, but especially so about NYC, because through some unbelievable stroke of good luck, I will be able to catch highly acclaimed actors such as Bryan Cranston, Tony Shalhoub, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Alan Cumming, James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in what promise to be electrifying plays.

Let's not forget Broadway legends Sutton Foster, Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale, as well as West End star, Ramin Karimloo, in Violet, The Bridges Of Madison County and an updated revival of Les Miserables, respectively.

I've already earmarked 8 shows in total, to be squeezed into 6 short days. In fact, I had to cross Denzel Washington off the list to make room for everyone else. Sorry!

Work-wise, I hope I'll be able to cope with the demands of a part-time ultrasound course I'm taking. And there's a conference trip to Hong Kong to boot, for an international emergency medicine convention.

What else is left? My personal life - or the lack of it, haha. :)

Once and for all, let me make it clear to anyone who gives a crap ( why should you anyway? I'm nobody. ) - I enjoy being single, and fully intend to stay this way unless something unexpected happens. Please don't try to set me up with a guy, and don't dish relationship advice. I gave it a shot once and hated it, I bounced back, and have zero desire to have my life turned upside down ever again. I'm a solitary, independent creature and there's nothing wrong with that.

On this happy note, may you have a blessed Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year! I don't know how often I'll be able to blog from now on ( with the course and other commitments piling up non-stop ), but I promise to keep this site going. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you again soon. :)

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