Friday, April 30, 2010

Project 365 (122/365): Criss Angel

.:122/365: Criss Angel:.

I would always give my props to a magician, especially a successful one.

Criss Angel is a different story because he may be successful, but he sure as hell ain’t a magician.

The favourite target of the notorious “Trickbusters” on YouTube, Angel’s performances have been rife with criticisms for years and years, none ever directly confirmed, but irreparably damaging the perception of television magic as a legitimate avenue for performers.

As this is the last day of comedy magic month, let me just say that as far as I’m concerned, Criss Angel has turned magic into a joke with the way he has treated it on his television specials. When you can achieve the seemingly impossible only because of camera tricks, editing, and paid actors, you’re no longer doing any magic at all: you’re just turning it into a special effects extravaganza.

In short, if this is your idea of magic, what’s the point?

Why would we allow Criss Angel to tear down the institution of magic on television that has been established for decades upon decades of hard work and legitimate skill? Why would we praise him for achieving feats in magic no magician could possibly achieve in front of a live audience? It’s deplorable, to say the least.

I have a lot of respect for magic. This is precisely why among all the magicians out there, the only one I would have nothing good to say about would have to be Criss Angel, because for all intents and purposes, this guy is not a magician. If a live show exposes the man as disappointing (and that’s being charitable), then it certainly means that he simply does not deserve to be considered a magician, when he needs those “little advantages” any magician worth their salt should never even touch with a ten-foot pole. His treatment of Perez Hilton is also deplorable and unprofessional. Leave the Hilton-bashing to the Will.I.Am’s of the world.

Did Criss Angel take magic in a new direction? I empathically say “no”. The only thing he had over David Blaine was that he had more TV shows because he produced a weekly one, and not a TV special ala Blaine.

Did Criss Angel revolutionize magic? Definitely not. Nobody is doing routines and saying this is “as popularized by Criss Angel”. Blaine was levitating before Angel did. Copperfield was doing it even before that, and doing it better and onstage. Anything “special” Angel came up with, was something nobody could legitimately approximate, much less duplicate, because it required special effects and paid actors in the audience.

Did Criss Angel get people talking about magic? Yes. Unfortunately, he emphasized how “fake” magic can be more than even the Trickbusters have, thanks to his machinations. It’s also very hypocritical of him to act like everything he does is real then expose Jim Callahan in a heartbeat (Although that whole thing seemed pretty scripted to me.). That the magical community has become so apathetic of him speaks volumes about him as well.

With all this in consideration, how can I possibly give any praise to Criss Angel? He has set the entire industry back by destroying the legitimacy of television magic, and all for the sake of feeding his own checkbook and his own ego. That is selfishness at its worst, and it is arguably even worse than what Valentino has done to the art because of “Exposed”.

So with all due apologies, I have zero respect for Criss Angel as a magician. He aptly caps off comedy month for April because quite frankly, he's a joke. A sick, twisted joke and a slap to the face of the magic industry.

30 Days Of Music (24/30), And Thoughts Before The Weekend...

.:Day 24: A Song That You Want To Play At Your Funeral:.

Whenever I think of a song that is not necessarily a sad song but certainly rings sentimental, this is the first song that really comes to mind for me...

I love the lyrics. As a guy who really lives his life through songs, it would be nice to be able to say that I will grow old and pass on, but I will leave you all with a song, and for a time, we were together. It’s a very heartwarming sentiment, to say the least.

Here’s another song that really sums things up for me, though...

“Although I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life, you are the song. You are the melody to me.” Aiza Seguerra managed to combine two awesome songs harmoniously and come up with this masterpiece. When I pass on, I do hope these are two of the songs they’d play at my funeral.

.:Another Article!:.

After my recent guesting on “The Sweet Life”, here’s my new article on The POC: today, I talk about how GMA Moves In Mysterious Ways. Yes, she does.

.:Drained But Managing:.

This week has been rather draining for me, but last night’s comedy night at Votre bar proved to be very reinvigorating as I met Koji’s brother, who mentioned how spot-on my John Hendrix jokes happened to be. It’s good to know that I’m doing justice to John by giving him an affectionate tribute with my jokes, and it sure doesn’t hurt at all that I had a pretty good couple of magic routines to strengthen my set that night as well.

As usual, Alex headlined that night, and he tried out a few new jokes, and brought the house down as he consistently does. It’s been a great week for comedy, so overall, I’m fairly pleased about these developments.

Catch the Comedy Cartel again this Monday night at Spicy Fingers, around 8PM. It’s bound to be fun.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Project 365 (121/365): Magician Zero

.:121/365: Magician Zero:.

Let’s take a break from all the American performers for now and head on to Japan, where an affectionate parody of the famous Japanese magician Cyril Takayama, exists.

Played by actor Takuya Kimura, magician Zero seems to be a bumbling but well-meaning magician who not only looks suspiciously like Cyril, but even has the same mannerisms as Cyril does, which results in a lot of hilarity from time to time. There seems to be a running storyline where Zero is following a single mom in hopes of winning her over by doing his unique brand of magic, which, contrary to most magic parodies, isn’t actually overplayed (Like the Blaine parodies.) or repeatedly screwed up (Like Tommy Cooper’s style.). Zero’s magic is actually effective and well-done, and this affectionate parody was something Cyril liked so much, they eventually had an inevitable showdown on television.

What I like about Zero is that he is really good at doing an impression of Cyril. Whenever he looks at the screen and says “surprise,” I sometimes forget I’m watching a parody and not the real thing. The fact that he does legitimately good magic while he’s at it doesn’t hurt at all, either.

Look for this guy’s videos all over the net. And if you’re so inclined, look for his crossover with Cyril himself, as that was an epic meeting, to say the least.

30 Days Of Music (23/30)

.:Day 23: A Song That You Want To Play At Your Wedding:.

I think this should be a very obvious choice for a Rick Astley fan such as myself...

I’m pretty sure that’s gonna be my wedding song right there. Those guys in that wedding who danced to “Forever”? Well, this song one-ups them. Heh. Together na, Forever pa!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brief Thoughts On Guestings And Transactional Friendships

.:Guesting Again!:.

Just reminding everyone that my guesting will be on Thursday, April 29, on QTV 11’s “The Sweet Life”. It’s happening around 5:00 PM or so, and I really hope you catch it. I’ll be performing for the cast of “I Laugh You Sabado”, which includes the lovely Ms. Speedy G!

Please do catch it!

.:Wine And Song:.

Has been a while since I hung out with friends, so it was good to finally run into Doc Tess and Jester again after months of not having seen them. This time, though, I was with a newfound friend of mine, Arline, and we collectively decided to drown our sorrows in wine and song at I.Bagnet, then Chicago for some videoke.

It was great spending time with them, really. We managed to thresh issues out of the way and have our catharsis, and we managed to realize that true friends really are awesome to come by in trying times like these. It’s a bit sad thinking about how some people liken friendships to transactions, but I guess it just takes a bit of realization that this isn’t how it should be and we certainly deserve better.

I’m sure by now, Arline realizes this. She’s an awesome person, and it’s terribly disappointing to be looked down upon and judged just because. I believe that if you choose to befriend someone, you need to realize they are not your property and you cannot mold them the way you see fit. Friendship doesn’t work that way.

Anyways, with all the songs, silly dancing, and liquor, it was a good time had by everybody, to say the least.

Project 365 (118/365): Brad Manuel

.:118/365: Brad Manuel:.

I’m sure the man has plenty of fans and is very well-known in the industry, but I am rather unfortunate in admitting that I have no idea who he is, although I wish I did, because he is extremely funny and his “instant magician” bit is made of sheer genius.

If Mr. Manuel is reading this, I humbly apologize for not knowing you as well as I should, but just know that I have nothing but sheer respect for your craft. You’re very funny and you’re very good.

Project 365 Backlog (117/365): The Amazing Jonathan

.:117/365: The Amazing Jonathan:.

The man known to others as John Edward Szeles, the Amazing Jonathan, is arguably the most successful solo comedy magic act of all time. Yes, that includes having a more profitable career than stellar acts like Michael Finney and Tommy Cooper.

The Amazing Jonathan’s schtick is fairly interesting in that he is really more in the realm of comedy, much like Michael Finney, who actually has a pretty good pure standup comedy set himself. Jonathan is also a member of the all-star group, “The Madmen of Comedy and Magic,” finding himself in the same league as Michael Finney in that particular group.

With a gimmick that appears to owe a lot to Tommy Cooper’s distinct look plus bumbling style, the Amazing Jonathan appears to be a very interesting spin on that established archetype, since unlike Cooper, he had Las Vegas as a venue to ply his trade in. While Tommy Cooper’s long TV career may have brought him a lot of fame over the years, not only is Jonathan finding that Vegas is arguably more rewarding for him, he also has far less personal demons to contend with than Tommy cooper had to.

This man has made his mark in comedy and magic, and his really brazen style of performance is something I admire and am very impressed with. For any budding new aspiring magicians, I hope these small features on various people has you taking notes and considering people who could inspire you to become even better than you already are.

30 Days Of Music (22/30)

.:Day 22: A Song That You Listen To When You’re Sad:.

Ever heard this song? It’s about someone pretending to be okay when deep down they’re not.

I really, really like this song.

“And so I go around and just pretend love is not for me. I play the circus clown around my friends, make ‘em laugh and they won’t see. That you never let them see you sweat, don’t want them to think the pain runs deep. Lord knows it’s killing me.” Powerful stuff.

But what if I wanted to cheer myself up instead of wallowing about being sad? Well, this song seems to be a nice and hopeful song, and yet again, it’s from the Itchyworms.

I’m a bit sad the official video is no longer available on YouTube, though. That’s crazy.

30 Days Of Music (21/30)

.:Day 21: A Song That You Listen To When You’re Happy:.

This is very interesting, really. Whenever I’m happy, I seem to pick really crazy songs. Let me give you one of them, as I think it’s just really the beat of the song that picks me right up.

I actually like Paramore. So sue me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Project 365 (116/365): Bull$4!7

.:116/365: Penn And Teller: Bull$4!7:.

Okay, I’ll level with you that this isn’t really comedy per se on Penn and Teller’s part. Still, I wanted to discuss this since this television show is one of the most thought-provoking programs you will ever find on television.

Is the show so obviously slanted towards a particular agenda? Yes.

Is the show so obviously biased? Yes.

Is the show based upon flimsy rhetoric and strawman arguments? Yes.

Does this invalidate the questions the show raises? Absolutely not.

This show is one of those shows that makes you squirm at the sheer brazenness of their ideas and their conviction as they say it. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, and definitely makes for an intimidating proposition as almost all belief systems have already been challenged, and even atheists will find things to dispute when Penn and Teller tackle their pet scientific study. Some might say Penn and Teller do this to get a rise from people in general, but I’m more inclined to think that they want people to simply be more critical-minded and not simply open to anything and everything.

No matter what these guys do, they definitely challenge our sensibilities. And thank God for that. Even if Penn and Teller don’t think He exists.

Project 365 Backlog (115/365): Whatta Fez

.:115/365: Whatta Fez:.

30 Days Of Music (20/30)

.:Day 20: A Song That You Listen To When You’re Angry:.

I tend to like hip-hop when I feel angry, so it seems. This is odd considering how before I really gave this any thought, I was under the impression I’d be giving a whole bunch of rock songs.

Eminem’s one of my favourite hip-hop artists of all time, and this song is really one of the best out there. When I want to be passive-aggressive, though, I turn to Jay-Z for this particular song instead...

’Cause if you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but the bitch ain’t one.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

30 Days Of Music (19/30)

.:Day 19: A Song From Your Favorite Album:.

I try to think what my favourite album happens to be, and I’m actually stumped. But I guess I’ll have to say that “Self-Titled” would easily be one of my favourite albums of all time, so I guess you will catch another Itchyworms song from me today...

Extra points for the cameo by Lourd of Radioactive Sago Project. That just really makes this video even more awesome.

Speaking of Lourd, here’s a song from the album with my favourite title of all time: T*ngina mo, andaming nagugutom sa mundo, fashionista ka pa rin?

Here’s one more song, though. A song from the last album I’ve purchased. I have to really like an album for me to want to buy it, after all...

Jess Santiago is made of win. This song is one of my favorite songs ever.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stuff On The POC...

.:More Stuff Published!:.

I wasn’t able to promote it properly due to stuff I had to do, but do catch my latest article, All According To Plan. There, I talk about the foibles of the Comelec, but remind people that we shouldn’t be too hard on them. They’re just doing their job, guys.

.:Fabucelles Is Back, Too?:.

Who is this guy? But damn, that latest Eh Ano Ngayon is pretty biting in its commentary, to say the least.

30 Days Of Music (18/30)

.:Day 18/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That You Wish You Heard On The Radio:.

I really wish I heard this song more often on the radio. I can’t seem to catch it often enough, despite the fact that it’s on the playlist of most stations taxi drivers listen to...

I like K-Pop because of all the silly dancing. Heh. On the other hand, here’s a song in particular that I don’t seem to catch on the radio, and only during live gigs from Sugarfree...

Who says Ebe can’t sing in English? :P

Project 365 (114/365): Blast Off!

Before I keep up to pace and wrap up my backblogging, let me just say “thank you” to the great Jasper Blakeley, aka Kockov, who took the time to respond to my entry about him. It feels good to know that my personal heroes in magic and mentalism notice the meagre efforts of one of their most avid followers and practitioners.

.:114/365: Blast Off!:.

This is my dream routine. Something I really wish I had the resources to assemble and perform. It’s just awesome because it has everything I’d ever want in a comedy magic routine: visual gags, room for witty commentary after the first half of the trick, and of course, silly dancing! What more can you ask for, really?

Penn and Teller start it off like a traditional illusion: a slick performance that boggles the mind as Teller is apparently cut in three pieces while his three pieces eerily show signs of life despite being far from each other. It’s an amazing illusion, and looks very convincing if you’re not the sceptical type.

But this is Penn and Teller. They can’t just do something like that and leave it at that. They had to do it again, only this time, in full view of everyone how it was actually done. That’s right: they exposed yet another magic secret.

The fact that the song is sooo catchy doesn’t hurt, either.

Project 365 Backlog (113/365): Teller Gets Run Over By A Truck

.:113/365: Teller Gets Run Over By A Truck:.

The grand finale of the show entitled “Don’t Try This At Home”, This routine gave Penn and Teller their amazing notoriety because they performed the stunt so well, yet at the end of the whole thing, they actually revealed how they did it.

In all honesty, I was overwhelmed by the logistics of this routine because if I were Penn, I’d still be scared silly of the possibility of the truck still murdering me as its tires go over my chest. It doesn’t really matter how well-conceptualized the routine was, it still boggled my mind how it’d work out, and I’d have wanted them to test it on something else before I willingly put myself under a truck for the sake of entertainment.

Throughout the show, Penn made it a point to highlight the fact that this was going to be how they would end the show. It was a crazy idea: can you run a man over with a truck and have him survive it? How is that even possible? Penn and Teller achieve the seemingly impossible, and they do it with irreverent style that amazed and annoyed other magicians at the same time.

As you will continue to notice with Penn and Teller, it’s a very recurring pattern for them to expose magic secrets whenever they see fit. Whether it be their film or certain tricks they perform where they actually talk about taboo terms like “palming” and the like, you just know that Penn and Teller are loose cannons who give plenty of magicians fits as they go through their performances. This is part of their appeal, certainly, but this also means they have burned quite a few bridges in the magic community thanks to their antics. Penn and Teller couldn’t care less.

As my favourite comedy magicians, though, there’ll be even more instances where I’ll be citing their performances as inspiration for me. Up next, I’ll end up discussing a particular routine that I truly dream to perform in the near future.

Project 365 Backlog (112/365): Penn And Teller Get Killed

.:112/365: Penn And Teller Get Killed:.

This black comedy is a feature-length film starring Penn and Teller that really caught people by surprise. It was a film filled with twists and turns, and really made for a bizarre but thoroughly interesting film to watch, to say the least.

When I watched this movie the first time, I didn’t quite know what to expect. It was a film that I was definitely curious about, but I had no idea what it was going to be about, and what they were going to do. It didn’t take long though for me to realize that the film was a wild ride from start to finish. Penn and Teller prank each other, and the one-upmanship gets to a point where it spirals lethally out of control.

It’s a very interesting premise for a movie, in all honesty. It’s something that people may not find very funny, but only because it focuses on dark humor to get its laughs. It’s one of those typical “black comedies” that were in vogue during the late 80’s and early 90’s, and while it may seem formulaic, Penn and Teller as lead stars in this film are stellar.

Give this film a watch if you ever find the chance. It feels odd watching people smoke in airports and do similar shenanigans you’d never expect post 9/11, but it’s all good.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Project 365 Backlog (111/365): Gregory Wilson

.:111/365: Gregory Wilson:.

Someone requested that I discuss the merits of this man, and I was all too happy to oblige. Gregory Wilson is funny and has an amazing character to boot, which really works excellently for him, as he can base his whole show around his zany but likable character.

As a brilliant entertainer with excellent sleight of hand and a slick mouth befitting a con artist, Gregory’s stage show is fast-paced, hilarious, and relies a lot on the fact that his con-man persona will carry him through an assortment of well-connected routines that tend to flow into each other excellently. As he continually gyps people throughout his show, establishing himself as quite a smooth operator, Gregory disarms his audience with the realization that his magic is not only excellent, but it tells a continuous narrative: here’s a con-man. He will probably rob you blind before the end of the show, but you will love every single minute of it.

I think what really sets Gregory Wilson apart as a comedy magician is the fact that his character is not only consistent, it’s not over the top, either. Kockov’s character is consistent because it’s so brazenly rambunctious, it’s hard to break the pattern you sort of expect from that kind of a wild personality already. Penn and Teller are consistent, but nobody would say that their act constitutes a genuine pair of characters insomuch as it’s just simply Penn and Teller doing their thing. Gregory Wilson plays his role very naturally and everything just falls right into place from the moment you lay eyes on the man.

I can see how many magicians of our age could grow to idolize or at the very least respect Mr. Wilson’s contributions to the magic community. He is funny, he is witty, but ultimately, he is such a cad. It’s hard to not like the guy and how arresting his personality really can be.

If you ever have the chance to get to know the man, be sure to shake his hand and keep an eye out for him. He’s going places, and he’s going to keep getting more and more popular as time goes by and his honed act becomes more and more well-known.

And while you keep an eye out for him, keep an eye out for your wallet, too. You never know with this guy, really.

Project 365 Backlog (110/365): Funny IS Sexy

.:110/365: Funny IS Sexy!:.

Yes. Take it from Kring.

30 Days Of Music (17/30)

.:Day 17/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That You Hear Often On The Radio:.

For some reason, I keep catching the latest cover of this song on the radio whenever I’m in the cab...

The song’s growing on me, though...

30 Days Of Music (16/30)

.:Day 16/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song You Used To Love But Now Hate:.

I used to love this song like anything, but the memories I’ve associated with this song have pretty much turned sour...

I don’t really know what else to say, to be honest. I wish I could continue liking this song, but noooo...

30 Days Of Music (16/30)

.:Day 15/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Describes You:.

I already used “Unwell” in a previous entry, which is too bad, because it really does apply to me. Failing that, at this point, I guess this song really describes me on the outside, what with the tempests going on as of late...

But on the inside, the title for this song really says it all.

Dammit, I can’t think of any happy songs at the moment. I hope that changes soon.

30 Days Of Music (14/30)

.:Day 14/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song Nobody Would Expect You To Love:.

I was never a big fan of the emo genre, so nobody would’ve expected me to like this song. However, I actually do like it...

Chicosci may not be my favourite band, but I do like hearing some of their songs...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Taumbayan Stint!

.:Tagayan Sa Taumbayan: The Repeat!:.

Because last Friday’s show at Taumbayan was a roaring success, yours truly, standup comedian Stanley Chi, and the premiere ventriloquist of the Philippines, Ony Carcamo, will be back yet again for a night of laughs and gasps!

Free entrance, and the show starts at 9PM. What more can you ask for? This is definitely going to be a show for the books, and you can be sure that this is just the start of even more exciting nights for this unlikely but uproarious trio.

.:Still Gobsmacked:

The past week was quite a whirlwind as I performed for my personal heroes. Last Friday, I opened for Ony Carcamo’s show in Taumbayan by doing some comedy magic, and then last Saturday, I actually hosted Mike Unson’s comedy show in Conspiracy.

It’s been an exciting time, really, and I couldn’t be happier to have done all these things in the span of a couple of days, and with the repeat show coming up and Mike’s next Conspiracy night happening on May 15, things are definitely going pretty well.

Last Monday, things have turned even more interesting, though, as I guested for the third time for The Sweet Life, and this time, I found myself performing for Speedy Gee, whom I heard so much about over the past weekend. It was pretty funny how we flirted like crazy for fun, and that added to the impact of my mind-reading routine, to say the least.

This episode will be airing on QTV-11 around 5PM on April 29, by the way. Hope you can catch it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brief Blogging Hiatus...

Will take a brief hiatus from blogging for a very important thing I need to address first.

Rest assured that I'll be back in no time at all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

30 Days Of Music (13/30)

.:Day 13/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Is A Guilty Pleasure:.

I don’t think this is really a guilty pleasure, but I do feel an inordinate amount of glee whenever I hear this song, and I’m sure anyone who listens to it would, too.

No further explanation needed.

Project 365 (109/365): Slo-Mo Duck

.:109/365: Slo-Mo Duck:.

David Copperfield is also quite capable of comedy himself, and this homage to the great Tommy Cooper is definitely living proof of that.

The Slo-Mo duck is a combination of two classic illusions then redone and packaged into one awesome little number. Copperfield was the first guy to piece the two together and come up with something as entertaining and as clever as this bit, and it was one of the acts I paid tribute to during last year’s “Bound and Gagged” show. Of course, I danced to “Nobody” that night instead of the song that Copperfield used, but “Chariots of Fire” for the second half is a given.

The reason this routine is very popular is because most laymen believe that a magician moves so fast that the eye can’t detect how things are being done. In repeating the act in slow motion and thereby “exposing” the secret, we do get a lot of laughs from the audience when the disembodied heckler convinces the magician to repeat the act (A no-no: as a general rule, magicians are not supposed to repeat their tricks to the same audience.), then insists that it be done in slow motion. That Copperfield obliges, makes the audience laugh, but still pulls out a head-scratching swerve at the end of the routine just simply makes it even better.

Personally, I feel that the best comedy routines are those that still have a "figure *that* out" kicker at the end of it. Copperfield’s version of “Over the Head” was exactly like that: everyone knew how the eggs were vanishing, of course (except for the assistant), but he absolutely slew everyone by producing a chicken from his bare hands at the end of the whole bit.

This is what makes Copperfield one of the best stage performers of all time: he has the gravitas to fluctuate from serious to humorous, and that’s also why Lance Burton is at a very similarly esteemed level as David happens to be. You would do well to take after these guys if you ever wanted to go old school with magic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

30 Days Of Music (12/30)

.:Day 12/30 of 30 Days Of Music: A Song From A Band You Hate:.

Okay, this is very interesting, because when I rack my brain, trying to figure out which band I particularly dislike, only one immediately comes to mind: CUESHE. I affectionately refer to them as “Cues4!7” though.

So I don’t have anything to say about this song, since I don’t particularly like it...

Project 365 (108/365): Kockov

.:108/365: Kockov:.

Vladimir Dimitri Kockov of the Soviet Republic of Monrokvia is the alter ego of British comedian and mentalist Jasper Blakeley. As a wildly sexualized but daring character, Kockov manages to combine comedy, mentalism, and a genuine character wildly different from the real Jasper Blakeley and put it all onstage as a wonderful package.

Unlike a Boris Pocus who is merely an extension of Jay Sankey’s zany self, Kockov is an exercise of contrast with his alter ego. He is very quick-witted, a bit of a rascal, and ultimately knows how to make light of even the gravest situation. While Kockov is funny, he is anything but a bumbling magician. His performances are flawless, skilfully executed, and his finale is downright dangerous as he does an actual four-gun Russian Roulette. Amid the laughter, people do know that the routine is genuinely life-threatening, but Kockov’s character, while definitely more than willing to call upon himself, does not take away from this fact.

The Plunge of Death is his version of the spike/knife roulette. It’s the version I am fond of because not only are the materials easy to acquire, it also lends itself to a lot of excellent byplay when contrasted with the other forms of this act.

Kockov is a relatively new performer in the mentalism circles, but he certainly has gotten around, travelling all over the world and impressing and amusing them at the same time. His mentalism work is top-notch, as they are, like any mentalist worth his salt, excellent and fresh new takes on classics in the art form. His unique character, being maintained religiously throughout his show, is something that makes his performances memorable, as it allows Blakeley to break out of the shell his very clean-cut looks force him in and allow him to be the whirling dervish that Kockov is known to be.

Recalling the film “The Prestige”, I am strongly reminded of how a performer elicits a different kind of reaction by religiously portraying a character without breaking it all throughout. Kockov as a character is very interesting and colourful, and really is an exercise in packaging. Anyone can do mentalism, but only few can really bring mentalism to a level where in spite of a full show of nothing but mentalism, the audience doesn’t end up bored to tears.

Essentially, that sets Kockov apart from a lot of other performers: he is thoroughly devoted to a character and sees it through in his performance. It can only be helpful to a performer to have that kind of consistency.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

30 Days Of Music (11/30), And Friday's Awesomeness

.:Day 1 Of I-Blog:.

... it was a ton of fun! I'm sure there's more where that came from, though.

.:Tagayan Sa Taumbayan...:.

... will have a repeat show next Friday! Still in Taumbayan, T. Gener corner K-1st in the Kamuning area, in front of Goodfellas. Entrance is free, and you get to catch my comedy and magic, Stanley Chi's standup, and of course, the headliner, Ony Carcamo's ventriloquism!

.:Day 11/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song From Your Favorite Band:.

Well, since my favourite bands are APO, Itchyworms, Matchbox Twenty, Cake, Sugarfree, and Radioactive Sago Project, let’s give you one song from each band, then.

Lourd’s telltale voice and his unique spoken word performance style has always been an object of curiosity for most people, but this song is one of those songs where he actually does sing. There’s a nice musicality to RSP’s songs that just really gets you going, and the fact that they have very socially relevant messages doesn’t hurt at all, either.

“Minsan di mo na mapigil mapansin na talagang wala nang naiiwan na pagmamahal...” One of the saddest songs ever, this is a killer by the APO Hiking Society. They’re disbanding this year, so it’s a bit sad for me to be reminiscing about this amazing group that has captivated the hearts of the Filipino people for decades.

“I’m not crazy I’m just little unwell, I know, right now you can’t tell, but stay a while and maybe then you’d see a different side of me...” This is an amazing arrangement for my favourite Matchbox Twenty song of all time.

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified...” the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor were given a lovely breath of fresh air by the band known as Cake, and ever since, I’ve been a fan of this group, especially since they use some brass in their songs, which I find very appealing in the middle of all the percussions and electric guitars of the modern music world.

“Nasanay lang sigurong nand’yan ka, ‘di ko inakalang pwede kang mawala...” Sugarfree is the king of sad songs in contemporary OPM, as far as I’m concerned. This is, to me one of their three best songs when it comes to that sentiment. I actually got very misty-eyed when I heard this song playing during the Dekada concert.

I’ve already supplied so many songs from the Itchyworms, but I never run out of songs to like from those guys. This is another one of my favourites, and I have to say that their harmonious blending is something sorely lacking in most of the local bands nowadays. They write great songs, they harmonize, and they are insanely funny. There’s nothing more you can ask from a band of their calibre, really.

And a couple of bonuses from some bands that can be among my favourite bands every now and then...

WARNING: Explicit lyrics! Grin Department is very notorious for their risqué and over-the-top lyrics. I love this band with a passion, but they sure gave me cause to worry when they performed during our charity show last year. I noticed some people walking out during their set, and that definitely made my heart stop.

Awesome, awesome band. Too bad they’ve disbanded. They have a bizarre sense of humor, and this song is their attempt at going commercial and mainstream. Heh.

Project 365 (107/365): Are We Live?

.:107/365: Are We Live?:.

Penn and Teller’s hilarious levitation bit is definitely one for the books. Anyone watching the routine on TV would be utterly mystified by how the routine is happening, what with the promise of no special wires doing any of the work.

“Are We Live” is simply one routine that I would be absolutely happy to do on television someday. It’s visually stunning, impressive, and funny once you get to the reveal that the routine isn’t exactly what it really seems.

The reveal at the end of the routine is arguably the coolest thing about the trick, to be honest. It’s just so well done and so

Watch the routine for you to understand what I mean. It’s definitely sheer genius, and saying anything more would probably spoil things for you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

30 Days Of Music (10/30)

.:Day 10/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Makes You Sleep:.

I think there would only be two songs that fit the bill for that, although one of them probably leads to tears now...

“Try not to get worried, try not to turn onto problems that upset you...” This song from my all-time favourite musical (Avenue Q is tied, though.), Jesus Christ Superstar, is one of the songs I find really relaxing all the way until Judas comes into the song, of course. It really does calm me whenever I hear it.

“Your eyes are the windows to heaven. Your smile could heal a million souls. Your love completes my existence: you’re the other half that makes me whole. You’re the only other half that makes me whole...” I cannot say enough about how talented Jennifer Chung is, but this is one song that someone forgotten once sang to me for me to fall asleep. It felt so real then, and it felt so honest, hearing her voice just pierce through the very depths of my soul. But I guess it was all just a lie, really. Like everything else about her.

Project 365 (106/365): Over The Head

.:106/365: Over The Head:.

This routine is the ultimate demonstration of misdirection, and really requires an intimate familiarity with the subtleties of magic, despite the fact that clearly, the only person who witnesses magic at work is your volunteer.

Slydini does this one masterfully, and really has the spectator in the palm of his hands, as he successfully fools the guy for six minutes straight without him realizing exactly what is going on. It’s a very hilarious routine, and at times would even involve the infamous watch steal, but ultimately, what makes this routine very powerful is the fact that even though the magic’s “secret” is clear for all to see, it’s still a very disarming and expert performance by the great Slydini that you can’t help but marvel at.

This is one of those challenge routines that I would only perform if I were feeling confident. It’s not something I would even attempt on an off day, simply because the routine is better the longer you can keep fooling your spectator into believing the balls are just disappearing magically, while the audience is laughing like crazy over the truth, and not giving your volunteer the slightest clue what is really going on.

It’s amazing how deceptively good this routine is, and it’s one of the best ways to deal with a heckler. If you play it off a certain way, this whole routine can become a very humiliating experience to someone who has been trying to humiliate you, and everyone else gets to have a good laugh at his expense. This routine is a true worker, and is something I would not hesitate to use when pressed to do something impromptu at something like a coffee shop. As I’m not too big on cards, this particular routine certainly holds my attention a whole lot more.

There are a million and one variations to this routine, but the core principle is the ability to misdirect your spectator. It’s not very simple, mind you, because the minute the person sees what you’re doing, the jig is up, and it’s a lot more amazing if you can keep doing your routine indefinitely until you manage to end when you choose to end it, rather than being forced to end it instead.

Needless to say, any magician who successfully performs this routine always has my respect. It’s one of the bigger tests for any performer who wishes to really demonstrate his skills in misdirection.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

30 Days Of Music (9/30)

.:Day 9/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song You Can Dance To:.

You mean other than “Nobody”? Well, let’s see. I don’t really have any dancing (or singing, for that matter) talent, but I still give in to dancing every now and then like a total fool...

I couldn’t find an embeddable version, so I went with Jim Carrey’s parody. Nonetheless, I do know how to do the running man. LOL.

Err.... yeah. Don’t ask.

I really liked Code Red. While I can dance “All I Have To Give” by the Backstreet Boys, I had a very soft spot for “What Good Is A Heart?” by Code Red.

Aren’t you glad you haven’t seen me try dancing anything at all?

Project 365 (105/365): Oh... Wait

.:105/365: Oh... Wait:.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

30 Days Of Music (8/30)

.:Day 8/30 Days Of Music: A Song That You Know The Words To:.

As a guy who loves to sing, I know the words to a whole lot of songs, but lemme give you a few songs whose lyrics I memorized for various reasons in my life...

“It Would Take A Strong, Strong Man” is definitely one of my three favourite Rick Astley songs, along with “Cry For Help” and “Never Gonna Give You Up”. This one is a song that I memorized though in the vain attempts of recording a music video for it. Yes, I was that big a Rick Astley fan. I still am.

I have this guilty pleasure of memorizing rap songs. While I have more decent songs like “I’ll Be Missing You” that I memorized, I figured it’d be worth a laugh to share that yes, I actually know the lyrics of this song from start to finish. LOL.

While I prefer the older versions, this song is still one of my favourite songs of all time, and I can never grow tired of it. Unfortunately, it also means that I can relate to the song a wee bit too much...

Project 365 (104/365): Tommy Cooper

.:104/365: Tommy Cooper:.

When a man can just stand there and do absolutely nothing for ten minutes and elicit uproarious laughter for it, you just know that there is something special about this guy.

Many magicians regard Tommy Cooper as the funniest man alive, and it’s hard to disagree with that evaluation. Throughout his television career, his unbelievable comic timing, his notorious habit for laughing at his own jokes before he even delivers his punchlines, all of these things come together and produce a man who seems to tickle every person’s funny bone with no effort at all.

When you consider his comedic material, Tommy’s jokes aren’t terribly well-written, or even that amazing. But it’s the presence that he emanated whenever he was performing that just sold his act as something better than anyone who would try to take his material and rip it off word for word. It’s a talent he had in spades, and it was something very few people not named Palito (Rest in peace, sir.) were capable of doing. Clearly, Tommy was a rare find, and a consummate entertainer, through and through.

I believe that the greatest magic trick Tommy has ever done is to generate laughter from virtually nothing. Just by standing there, just by looking at his audience, he already gets people laughing and rolling in the aisles, for no discernable reason. The man may have done amazing magic, but he was the greatest magic to behold: I cannot think of another man who can get the reactions he does while doing so little. He is simply at a whole different level.

With humble beginnings in the world of magic, Tommy Cooper has become a household name to many people, especially in Britain. His devilish sense of humor, his childlike impish nature, all of these combined to make for a man who was funny, but extremely talented in the magic arts. Many people tend to think that he was always a bumbling magician, yet nobody realized that it was all part of the act. Tommy Cooper did not make a mistake unless Tommy Cooper wanted to make a mistake. He was very precise and very adept with his moves, his choreography, everything. There wasn’t a wasted moment in his movement and his approach.

It was very unfortunate though that he passed on in 1987. As an esteemed member of the Magic Circle, the man passed away in the only way that seemed fitting of a performer of his calibre: he died onstage, while performing, due to a massive heart attack. His trademark red fez, one that has adorned his head anytime he was seen doing magic ever since he supposedly borrowed a similar hat from a stranger, fell off his head when he slumped onstage and breathed his last. It was almost a symbolic gesture that it was the end of the laughter for a man who, for decades, was the most naturally funny man the world has ever known.

Many people will point to his ill qualities, his vices and his shortcomings, but ultimately, few will deny that despite all these things, Tommy Cooper was an amazing performer, and someone many comedy magicians and even comics aspire to be like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

30 Days Of Music (7/30)

.:Day 7/30 Days Of Music: A Song That Reminds You Of A Certain Event:.

Well, this one is pretty fun to think about, but if I really wanted to cheat, quick! What event does this song remind you of?

In all seriousness, though, I try to think of events in my life other than breakups (If I thought about those, I’d probably include half the APO Hiking Society setlist or something.).

So having said that...

One of the few local concerts I caught this year so far would be the 10th Anniversary concert of Sugarfree. I must say that this is my favourite song from them ever, so whenever I hear this, I’m taken back to that awesome night where they were performing with a full orchestra.

One of the biggest moments of my life was the day I met Mick Foley. Whenever I hear his entrance music, I really am taken back to that time where he was in the booth at Wave 89.1, and I managed to interview him live on the air. It was just something else, and I doubt I’d ever forget that.

One of my favourite musicals of all time is “Avenue Q”, and I watched it the first time they were in town. This song really just means a lot to me, and with good reason.

Project 365 (103/365): Barry And Stuart

.:103/365: Barry And Stuart:.

Barry and Stuart, based on their accents, are Scottish magicians who perform mainly in London. They’ve taken inspiration from Biblical accounts for some of their illusions, and are very well-known for their bizarre, at times crude sense of humor.

If I were to compare them to other magicians of days past, they’d be like an even edgier version of Penn and Teller, as hard as that may be to imagine. What Penn and Teller manage to convey in their own way, Barry and Stuart manage to amplify tenfold, even if in reality, their respective subject matters aren’t that far apart from each other at all.

I think what really makes these two guys tick is the fact that they have taken the duo act into a different level altogether, thanks to the trail laid down by Penn and Teller. I have an inkling Barry and Stuart wouldn’t claim any inspiration from the former two, but even if that were the case, I feel compelled to compare them to P and T since they really are the epitome of a tandem act to me.

Unlike Penn and Teller, Barry and Stuart both talk. When I look at it that way, my tandem with Jay Mata may appear to have more in common with Barry and Stuart, except for the fact that the antagonism Jay experiences when I’m in his company is vintage Penn and Teller all the way. What I like about Barry and Stuart though is that they have a wide variety of routines that go above and beyond traditional magic. For all intents and purposes, no matter how Penn and Teller dress up their routines, nearly all of their routines are still couched in the notions of traditional magic, merely giving them scripts that overcome this fact.

Barry and Stuart’s biblical routines are one thing, but their surreal performance arts also put them in a distinct place, as they manage to capture a different market altogether, not to mention the fact that they can play off of their good looks, which is obviously something that is not readily available in Penn and Teller’s arsenal at all.

I can easily say that I find Barry and Stuart a great duo, but their humor might not exactly tickle everyone’s funny bones. This is weird, considering how they’re not the only ones out there who use black humor to get their point across, but there’s just something that seems very decidedly unhumorous about how they do it sometimes that you tend to take them a wee bit more seriously. It may or may not be good for them in the end, but so far, this unique selling point has reaped dividends for the duo, and for that, they deserve a lot of praise.

Monday, April 12, 2010

30 Days Of Music (6/30), And Shows You MUST Catch This Week...

.:Day 6/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Reminds Me Of Somewhere:.

There are places I remember, all the time... though some have changed. Well, that song in particular doesn’t conjure up actual places for me, really, but I can think of quite a few songs that I’ve eternally associated with places already.

Just because I wanted some K-Pop here, let’s have a song that reminds me of PETA Theater because I infamously danced the steps to this song when we were performing there. I hope you like the rock version of the song, though.

See, now that Alchemy is closing down, and our last ever standup comedy night is happening tomorrow over there at around 10PM, I guess it’d be nice to reminisce about that place by thinking of some of the songs I’ll forever associate with that venue, thanks to Melomanila’s music...

That’s a song that I first ever heard from Melomanila. It’s definitely an instant favourite in my heart.

Now, just because I’m such a mark for the Itchyworms, here’s another song that reminds me of Alchemy because I like singing it there (Aside from S2pid Luv, which I sing everywhere.)...

I hope to see them at Alchemy tomorrow, because it’s gonna be our last night there, and I hope to see you guys, too! Again, it's happening in Alchemy, around 10PM!

.:Friday Night: Tagayan Sa TAuMBAYAN!:.

Well, guys, it’s happening this Friday night, so do drop in on us! It’s absolutely free!!!

Laugh and be astounded as the Philippines' premier ventriloquist Ony Carcamo takes his wooden drunken partner Mr. Parley to the newest artists' tambayan in town--TAuMBAYAN--for "Tagayan sa TAuMBAYAN," a night of spectacular voice-throwing, magic, and stand-up comedy.

With performances by comedy magician Kel Fabie and comic Stanley Chi. Surprise guest (actually hindi na surprise ngayon) is Sampaguita, the most-talented piglet in the world.

Entrance is FREE, but make sure you'll eat and drink inside hanggang maubos pera n'yo--or else hindi kayo palalabasin!

Make your Friday night this week memorable (dahil mapapagastos kayo sa sarap ng tsibog!). Maki-tagay na sa TAuMBAYAN on Apr. 16, 2010, 9pm.

For details, please call 501-2399.

.:Saturday Night: Brothers At Arms With Mike “Dinamita” Unson!:.

I am honoured to be hosting this event, so please do catch it! This show features the man who needs no introduction, Mike Unson; the underrated, unappreciated Stanley Chi; NU 107’s 2008 Rock Awards Guitarist Of The Year LC Reklamo; Uli Oposa, Derf Hebrado, Red Ollero, and Trian Lauang!

It’s going to be at Conspiracy bar this Saturday, so don’t miss out on it! Entrance fee is only 100 bucks!

Project 365 (102/365): Aldo Colombini

.:102/365: Aldo Colombini:.

Quite honestly, I don’t know how best to describe Aldo Colombini as a comedy magician except for one word: underrated.

Colombini is one of those magicians whom you tend to know for one thing, but not for another. As a performer, his execution is smooth. As a lecturer, his teaching style is very effective. But as a comic, his timing is absolutely impeccable, and it’s criminal how many people tend to forget that Colombini is a very hilarious magician, because of his ability to drop relevant one-liners in the middle of his routines, and his penchant for absurd humor at times.

Colombini is obviously an Italian who migrated to America, and has established himself as one of the premiere names in magic not just in Italy and America, but all over the world. What makes him especially effective as a performer though is his ability to establish rapport with his audience the instant he presents himself onstage. He likes telling stories about friends, family, memories. Very simple anecdotes with comedic gems snuck in between excellent magic.

Aldo Colombini is one of the magicians I may not have had as much exposure to, but already is one of my favourites, if only for the few times that I have seen his work. The routines I’ve seen him utilize have been consistently powerful, and as if that weren’t enough, his patter has been top-notch. There’s something about his accent that enhances the way he tells his stories, such that he becomes a pretty good raconteur himself, all the while flawlessly executing his work, which is something that proves to be a testament to the man’s excellent multi-tasking skills.

Watching this video alone, you already get a feel for how hilarious and quick-witted the man can be. With a career spanning decades, it’s hard to imagine Aldo Colombini’s handiwork ever going out of style.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

30 Days Of Music (5/30)

.:Day 5/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Reminds Me Of Someone:.

One thing I always liked about music for me was its ability to trigger memories from the moment the opening riffs of a particular song hits me. I always believed that if I ever joined “Name That Tune”, I’d probably be one of the best contestants ever precisely because of this.

If you ever watched “Slumdog Millionaire”, it was interesting how the lead character’s life seemed to flash right before his eyes with each key question asked. That, to me, was really interesting, because I tend to feel the same way whenever I hear certain songs play. I’m strongly reminded of people, places, events, even scents.

Here’s a song that reminds me of one of my best friends: Clair Ching. I remember that we nudged her to sing this song during the time she and her current boyfriend, JM, weren’t together yet. Needless to say, I think the JGL’s nudging really helped her in a bit, although she’d probably never admit to that. :P

Let me say it out loud: videoke rules, and with this song, there were two less lonely people in the world. Hee.

I think I’ll stick to one song for today, if only for the fact that I realized it’s been ages since I last wrote about Clair. :P

Project 365 (101/365): The Electric Chair

.:101/365: The Electric Chair:.

Paul Daniels makes a name for himself with this routine, which combines hypnosis and linguistic triggers with a very hilarious package only he can bring.

The Electric Chair routine is amazingly simple because contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t require any special chairs or the like. Paul Daniels has a masterful grasp of how to manipulate his volunteers any which way he wants them, and he has been known to bring on the laughs in the middle of amazing magic. This routine is testament to his abilities, and nobody can question the man’s dedication to making something work when nobody else thinks it would.

With a very simple script and the reactions of his volunteers carrying him through the entirety of the routine, Paul Daniels’s Electric Chair is a spectacular feat in audience management, and never ceases to amaze me. He has this very slick approach, a very suave and debonair demeanor about him that never fails to put his volunteers at ease, and then he just shoots for the moon and does what he can to really make the audience laugh at the sheer absurdity of the situation. The distrustful looks on his volunteer’s faces at some point in the routine never fails to amuse me. It just shows how they feel very surprised all of this is happening, and they’re not really sure why they’re still sticking around in their chairs, yet they find it interesting and impressive enough to keep going despite the apparent discomfort they may feel being electrocuted in their seats.

Some people insist this is done with stooges, but it’s really hard to convey the looks these volunteers have on their faces if it were pure stooging, really. They look incredulous, they look surprised, and it’s the subtle tells in their faces that give you that hint. There are no blatant signposts on their parts, but ultimately, they’re having a good time as the routine unfolds right before their eyes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

30 Days Of Music (4/30), And Friday Night's Bikini Open

.:Day 4/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Makes Me Sad:.

Oh, this particular entry touched a nerve, because there are a million and one songs that really makes me sad. And no, I’m not going to make a joke out of it and say that hearing Sitti’s pathetic excuse for “singing” makes me sad.

I think, suffice it to say, every single song that has served as some kind of theme song for me and someone I used to love would fall under this whenever I hear them now: Way Back Into Love, Through The Fire, I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You, Right Here Waiting, Make Me Whole, and Never Let Her Slip Away. Other songs are sort of on the fringe, and my mood could change about them at any given time, like What Might Have Been.

But here are some songs that really, really hit the spot whenever I hear them. Songs that always elicit an emotional response from me because in all honesty, even though I may be an emotional sap, it takes quite a lot from a song to really get me, more than movies. In WAVE 89.1, we had this stinger that put it beautifully: every song tells a story. These songs, are the songs that never fail to really draw an impact from me, and they do make me sad.


“I’m afraid to fly, and I don’t know why...” the immortal piano intro of this song really just gets me, and reminds me how easy it is to fall, and how hard it is to get out of the funk when things just don’t turn out too well for you. It’s one of those songs that really just hits the spot, and it’s a classic. Fallin’ is just one of the best songs. Ever.

“To a broken heart, how does one say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day?’” Trina Belamide’s masterpiece of a song never fails to get me. Listening to it, you just really feel how powerful the lyrics of the song are. It’s definitely one of the saddest songs ever, if you ask me. I strongly suggest you give it a listen when you can. Whenever Feb 14 approaches, this song is the ultimate killer.

“Tatlong Huwebes na ang dumaan, ‘di pa rin nasasakyan, na wala ka na...” Such a sad song, really. The Itchyworms always seem to have a song that always just hits the spot every single time. This is why they’re simply my favourite band.

“I know that I ought to find someone new, but all I find is myself thinking of you.” I don’t think I need to explain any further. This song slays. It really, really does.

“You were my world, you meant everything to me. You’re the air I breathe, the song I sing...” A song I used to play a lot on WAVE 89.1, this not-so-well-known Justin Timberlake song is really my favourite from him. If you haven’t heard it yet, then you should. It’s really special.

“’Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t. I can’t make your heart feel something it won’t...” I saved this song for last, because this really is one of the harshest but truest songs out there. Love is a two-way street, and if I can’t make you love me, then that’s all she wrote.

.:Bikini Open, Open Bikini. What's The Diff?:.'

Went out last night to Alchemy since GB asked me to, and I found myself right in the middle of a bikini party. Amusingly enough, we made a couple of new friends, and they tried to pair me up with this girl who was obviously taken. She's one of the cousins of a contestant that night. Anyways, I'll tell you more about it if I ever find the time. All in all, it was a pretty awesome night, although the Korean magician we met left a lot to be desired, considering he's supposedly "the best" Korea has to offer, which I hope isn't true.

Project 365 (100/365): The Coloring Book Repeat

.:100/365: The Coloring Book Repeat:.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have successfully hit day 100. The Coloring Book Repeat routine is an amalgamation of Mel Mellers’s Mass Hypnosis routine and Michael Finney’s touches on his version of the Six Card Repeat. I wanted to combine their two routines because while Mel had the actual routine I wanted to use, it was Finney’s overall delivery of his card routine that I wanted to utilize for my Coloring Book demonstration.

I know this is a particular effect that’s been done to death already, but it’s a very engaging and fast-paced opener that establishes from the get-go what you’re all about as a comedy-magician. It doesn’t matter what people know or don’t know about the routine: the frenetic way I deliver it when I’m onstage, combined with the sheer absurdity of the situation itself, all of it adds up to a marvellous presentation of a very well-known act.

I won’t say much here and just let the video speak for itself. It’s my performance, after all, and it’s coupled with one of my earlier standup comedy sets as well. My, my my. How time flies. It’s been a year ago since I started doing standup comedy, and I realized that while I’m still nowhere near the calibre of a Mike Unson, I’ve improved leaps and bounds from when I started off doing open mic nights at Toyz Cafe in Makati.

Friday, April 09, 2010

30 Days Of Music (3/30)

.:Day 3/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: A Song That Makes Me Happy:.

Well, I noticed that Danes cheated and gave multiple entries, so I’ll do the same thing here...

I have a major fascination with this song as of late. It’s a hilarious piece by Giniling Festival, and you really, really have to give it a listen. It’s just absolutely funny and bizarre all at the same time.

There’s a very simple reason why this song makes me very, very happy: it’s my favourite Itchyworms song, and obviously, the fact that Kim Chiu’s in the music video doesn’t hurt at all, either. Having said that, I’m a huge fan of this group, and most of their non-sad songs do make my day, such as “Freak Out Baby” and “Mrs. Fely Nimfa”.

As a side note, I agree with Carlos: anything from Sitti is a song I automatically hate.

Project 365 (99/365): The Lady And The Rope

.:99/365: The Lady And The Rope:.

Well, it was just a matter of time before I finally showed this routine, as it has been one of my treasured signature acts, courtesy of course, of Michael Finney himself.

The Lady and the Rope is a comedy routine that involves the traditional cut and restored rope trick, with a pointedly funny and risqué twist. I don’t really want to explain the mechanics and I’d rather let the video do the talking, but the thing that really sells this routine is the fact that you are just so smarmy and you just move from phase one to phase two to phase three of the routine without giving much room for the audience to breathe. The more compelling your ability to deliver the jokes and to riff on your audience’s reactions, the better the routine is.

Some magicians find it either scary or exciting that you have to perform a particular series of moves that could only be construed as you getting a tad fresh with your spectator. Those who are excited think it’s awesome that you get to cop a feel, and believe me when I say that the less that’s on your mind, the better. For the most part, I establish that there’s a certain level of decency that I insist on maintaining at all times, and I won’t just go out there and take liberties with my volunteers. They’re supposed to be the star of that bit, after all.

As for those who are afraid, just act naturally, and don’t think too much about the moves. When I started doing this, it was very understandable that I had a few not-so-pleasant run-ins with people who didn’t take too kindly to the routine. Essentially, the less I was conscious and the more I became smarmy but controlled, the less likely the lady would react. In fact, several times, I’ve performed these routines in full view of the lady’s boyfriend, but I have never earned the ire of the boyfriend because they know it’s all part of the show.

This is a keeper of a routine. If some aspiring magician ends up using this routine as part of their repertoire, I’d sincerely appreciate if they let me know about it, though. ;) Not for anything else but a bit of courtesy since the idea, while not originally mine, was inspired by me.

30 Days Of Music (2/30)

.:Day 2/30 Of 30 Days Of Music: My Least Favorite Song:.

Jennifer Lopez wrote only half a song, and if you read the lyrics, you can tell for yourself. Yegads.

Talk About Us
by Jennifer Lopez

I saw you and fell in love
You saw me and fell in love, too
You and me; we fell in love with each other last night
I told you I was concerned
You told me of your concerns, too
Yet and still we both decided
To make love last night
Baby, please tell me

Where do we go from here my love
What are we doing baby
Boy you gotta let me know
Why can't we live the way we want
I want the world to know
I just gotta let it show
What do we stand to lose
If being together
Is what we choose
Oh my love
I think that we should talk
About us

Could this be a crazy dream
And if so then you're dreaming too
'Cause I know for sure that
You feel the same as I do
Could it be that we could be wrong
Even though we're feeling so right
I don't care because I know
That I want you tonight
And I know you want me too


You see all my live I've waited
Waited all my life
Just to be with someone like you


This song is just... blech.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Project 365 (98/365): Michael Finney

.:98/365: Michael Finney:.

Here’s another one of my personal heroes when it comes to comedy magic: Michael Finney.

As a veteran in the industry, Michael Finney is simply one of the most popular performers in his genre, having received numerous awards for his work, including both Comedy Magician of the Year in 2005 and Parlor Magician of the Year in 2006 from the Academy of Magical Arts. Having performed for everyone from Magic Johnson to George Bush, Phoenix, Arizona’s favourite son has been around the block more times than anyone could care to count.

Here is a man who does it all: standup comedy, magic, hosting, and even charity work. As a performer with a heart, I certainly respect his contributions to the industry, more so his philanthropic work, as the founder of the Michael Finney Foundation, which has certainly been an amazing foundation in the service of kids. It’s something that I have tried to do in the past couple of performances I have done for a cause. As performers, we are blessed with so much, and the least we could do is share these blessings in any way we can.

Michael Finney is someone I can’t help but really respect because he is involved in the fields I find myself very much involved in as well. From his humble beginnings to his meteoric but sustained rise as a great performer in the world of magic, Finney’s career is a career that no magician can have shame in if they happened to meet the same fortune.

I will always hold Mr. Finney with the highest regard, knowing that he is the complete package for any comedic entertainer. His ability to pick routines that most other performers have apparently forsaken in favour of others, and then giving said routines a unique twist all his own is one of the most admirable things about the man. Whether it’s his six-card repeat gag, or his simple card to forehead routine, he has never failed to impress people with his rapid-fire comedic timing and panache, all the same.

With a resume like his, he certainly hasn’t done so bad for a guy who makes “a hundred dollars a trick.” Given how his routines aren’t actually so physically demanding for the average performer, it’s actually amazing how he can capture the audience’s attention. He is the kind of magician who has the layman in mind, and not fellow magicians. What would normally be frowned upon by his contemporaries are nuances in his act that the layman appreciates immensely.

If there could be more magicians just like Michael Finney, I’m sure the world would be a better place. We need more people like him: willing to bring on the laughs, thoroughly smooth, well-spoken, and blessed with a heart of gold.