Monday, March 30, 2015

B.P. Valenzuela: A Bright Light in a Dark Time: The Neon Hour AlbumLaunch

Don't be fooled - people go all the way back - just couldn't see it in the photo :P

Driving along Katipunan on a Saturday night we arrived at CS Place Katipunan with Neon Lights on top of the building lighting up the dark night sky. I really didn't think too much of what I saw for a couple of seconds but I didn't think that I would look back at it now as I am writing this.

You see a 19 year old B.P Valenzuela is that bright neon light, shining bright and strong against the dark night which is everything that is working against her. The darker the night the more she shines bright in her own palette of neon colors.

Arriving at the venue of her album launch, we were early and had good seats or spots since well there were no chairs in the venue which was on top of the CS Place Katipunan Building, it was an open space which allowed the cold air to kiss the guests. There was an an enclosed area for the performances and this is where the audience gathered. I loved that the food and drinks were affordable, God bless B.P.'s mom who suggested to have food served and it must be said that it was affordable and delicious food. Pizza, quesadilla and sandwiches for only P80.00! Beer was for P50.00 and juice was served for P20.00! God bless you B.P.'s mom indeed! I thought we had to starve or would have to cross to McDonalds' for an affordable meal. :) It must be said that Paul was very happy with the affordable beer.

A young fan looks on as local artists make magic through their music. 

It was a pretty good crowd, it seems that the 400+ people who said that they were going on the Facebook event page for the event, actually went - if not more! It was the kind of crowd turn out where in you'd loose your spot if you went out- thank you to Francine for saving our seats so we could stuff our face with pizza and quesadillas outside. :)

Fresh from a show in Cebu, B.P says: "I wanted to make an album before I was 20 and it's happening now, it's so surreal." With a sweet smile underneath a cap, sans make up and wearing as shirt, shorts and a jacket around her waist, she is simple, unassuming and repeatedly thanked her parents through the night. Before the launch of her music video 'Steady' she tells the crowd -"there's a scene in the video where I have a cigarette in my hand, Mom if you see that don't get mad." I mean how adorable is that?! I wouldn't mind my younger siblings or pamangkins looking up to her. She still goes to school and works part time as a barista at Satchmi while making music in between.

"It's an electronic pop album which deals with a sh*t ton of grey areas." B.P. says of her album The Neon Hour. It took her over a year to come up with the 11 track album (album review on the blog soon-review on her EP be/ep here) and now everyone at the venue will be able to bring home a copy of her music and for someone who listens to music a lot I can tell you that you will be awed and amazed at to what this 19 year old can come up with. Her music should be on airwaves (she actually has a single on Jam 88.3-but we need more!) her music videos should be on TV. You should see her perform and I'm telling you, you too will see the light that I see, the light that all the people who came to that event has seen, heard and felt. Ladies and Gentlemen- The Neon Hour has come and missing it would be such a shame.


Insurgent Book Review

I haven't done a book review in a long time because I haven't finished a book in a long time too and I think that's because I've made the mistake of reading "book turned movies" after seeing the movie. I say that it was a mistake because after seeing the movie and knowing what will happen next, it was hard for me to turn on the next page since I already knew what was going to happen. Case in point Mazerunner and The Book Thief. Although I had no trouble finishing Nicholas Sparks' A Walk To Remember,bebenta if it was a watch-movie-read-book-afterward arrangement. I guess there's an exception for every rule but one thing is definitely for certain: As much as possible, if you really can; read the book first. Which is why I really made it a point to finish the book before watching Insurgent and I have to say that it was a wise decision indeed. 

While reading the book, I thought that it was more exciting and interesting than it's predecessor Divergent and this made me anticipate watching the movie. I still had about 150 pages left to read in the book when I saw the movie. I'm not the type who goes crazy over tiny details being changed from book to movie. I always look at them as two different works; from a writer and a script writer's perspective I understand that not all that is written on paper can be translated on to the screen. 

Given that I would have to say that it is in my opinion that Insurgent is one of those books that is better as a movie. Why is that? Well it's because of the many action scenes and sequences in the story. Just like in a manga where big fights can be more appreciated (well at least in my opinion) as an animated episode rather than reading it. The same goes for Insurgent's gun blazing, punches flying, action filled scenes. You'd be disappointed  if you're looking for prose in Insurgent since it is written in a straight forward perspective of a 16 year old in a dystopian  future. It lacks and and all beautiful words that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It is straight, concise and to the point. 

Unlike Divergent which only gives the reader a look into the Abegnation and Dauntless factions, Insurgent gives us a sneak peak into the other factions Amity, Candor and even a benign look at Erudite. Yes, not all Erudite are calculating and cold blooded like Jennine. This is something that they failed to portray in the movie though. 

I believe that the movie was able to conveniently cut out scenes and put everything together in a fast paced adventure. Admittedly the ending was a big different from the book, which leaves you hanging and you just know that when you pick up book 3 - Allegiant you would know that it picks right up on the action which left you in a big cliff hanger in Insurgent. 

One thing that the movie failed to show though was why the movie/book was called Insurgent in the first place - this was beautifully explained in the book though. 

You're not really missing much if you don't read Insurgent, it's not exactly a literal masterpiece that will be discussed in English Class in future generations but if you're a book worm/movie buff like me then you wouldn't be too disappointed with it. The action scenes and complications will keep you gripping on the book to the next page. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno DVD Feature

When I got my copy of the first Rurouni Kenshin movie on DVD, I  have yet to start officially collecting DVDs which explains the non existence of a DVD Feature on the first movie. 

Now that I am looking up at my humble yet growing DVD collection it was really a no-brainer that I would be getting a copy of Kyoto Inferno (the second installment in the trilogy of Rurouni Kenshin movies, based on the manga and anime series by Nobuhiro Watsuki) I did a lot of writing when the movies came out (movie review on Kyoto Inferno here) just because the movie was the realization of my childhood. Which probably explains why I'm still writing about it months after the movie posters have been taken down in he cinemas and now the DVDs of the movie are up on record bar shelves and thus this DVD feature :) 

You probably have heard about the DVD launch which happened last Saturday at Astroplus in the Podium. You can read all about it here. Actually the DVD has already been out for some time now but fans of Takeru Sato who plays the role of the wandering Samurai celebrated the DVD along with the actor's 26th birthday. You can read all about the event here

Right after the DVD Launch Paul and I immediately popped the DVD in the player and watched the movie (and here my review begins) since Kyoto Inferno is the first part in a two-part movie which culminates in The Legend Ends. Because of this and since the two movies were released within a month of each other it was like one whole movie instead of two. Which is why watching the DVD got me remembering which scene happened in what movie. Watching it all over again I got to relive all those feelings and emotions I felt when I first watched it on the big screen. 

A definite DVD to buy, whether you are fan of the anime/manga series or a fan of Takeru Sato Kyoto Inferno has it all - jaw dropping fight scenes, bad ass villains and heart breaking life lessons learned. The only thing lacking in the DVD though ? Special Features because there was none - none at all which was a big dissapointment really since the first one had special features they weren't that good but still there were features and as someone who collects DVDs the special features is the icing in the cake, the filling in the donut. Without it it's a movie that can be downloaded or streamed online. I guess this is a call to Warner Bros. I hope that the last movie in the trilogy - The Legend Ends - will have special features. Pretty please? 

Despite it lacking special features I'm still very happy with it (^^x Makes a great part of my DVD Collection! (^^x Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno is now available at Astroplus and Odyssey Stores! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Project 365: August 2014

In the quest for improvement in the art of photography, the journey continues on and the days keep going.  Project 365 requires me to shoot each day and post one photo each and every day of 2014.  I may not have posted on the day that I shot them, but I make it a point to keep going even if I'm literally back-logged for months. So far I've posted 212 images on the blog, 265 in facebook, flickr, G+ and instagram. 

Day 213 - Sweet endings
Day 214 - Pick up on aisle 2
Day 215 - The eyes
Day 216 - Duck face
Day 217 - Looking for the middle
Day 218 - Konichiwa
Day 219 - Lightning charger
Day 220 - Salad mode
Day 221 - Bibimbap
I ended the previous post with a negative note, my wife said. But I guess I'm impulsive when it comes to writing the said post. Moving forward, I still kept shooting, no matter how lazy or out-of-it, I felt. I just kept going. 

Day 222 - Wife's prize 
Day 223 - Funny looks
Day 224 - My shift begins
Day 225 - Bargaining with light
Day 226 - Sunrise on the road
Day 227 - Lazy
Day 228 - In an alley
Day 229 - Game on
Day 230 - French toast sunrise

I'm just lucky that I have my wife that kept encouraging me to keep shooting, she gave me projects, had me shooting stuff and brought me from one place or events after another.  

Although there were still lazy and lousy shots that I did, there are still some days where somethings just came naturally, for example when I think of capturing something I wait and see if the light is right, is the composition right? In hindsight I think as I move in closer to the 4th quarter of 2014, I think I'm getting used to a few things. It's like having an automated flow chart in my brain(so-to-speak). 

Day  231 - Hard drive chip
Day 232 - Afternoon scene
Day 233 - Visions of home coming
Day 234 - Myself again
Day 234 - Kitchen utensils
Day 235 - Practicing with Jonas
Day 236 -  In another place
Day 237 - Bane
Day 238 - Trooper shirt

As for the last month of Q3 of 2014, I think I've made the most of  the strobes of flashes that I borrowed from my brother in law. Setting up 2 lights in a small space is quite a challenge but I made it work. Working alone is quite tiring, when setting up and shooting but I guess this is how we learn right?

Day 239 - Last coffee for the day
Day 240 - Macro mating
Day 241 - With a little rain...
Day 242 - Visions of homecoming
So far 242 of 365 images , 8 out of 12 months but I kept the ball rolling and the camera keeps clicking, and hopefully, I'll be able to finish all the project 365 blog posts before summer 2015(tropical region) ends. 

It's weird that I'm living in 2015 but in the back of my head I'm still stuck in Q4 of 2014. Weird!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno DVD Launch

Fandoms represent! Fans of Rurouni Kenshin, Takeru Satoh and One Ok Rock gather for the DVD Launch of Ruruoni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno 

We were fortunate enough to have been able to cover the DVD launch of the first Rurouni Kenshin movie back in March of 2013. Now two years later and following a successful screening and box office earnings of the last two installments in the trilogy; we once again find ourselves celebrating the DVD launch of Kyoto Inferno -the second movie in the trilogy. You might want to read my movie review here.

And as if there was a high supply of nostalgia, fans at the launch once again celebrated lead actor Takeru Sato's birthday-just as they did in 2013. I already mentioned this in the blog post in 2013 but I think it's worth mentioning again that I really admire the dedication of the fans from Amusehilippines, Sato Takeru Philippines and One Ok Rock Philippines who work hard in order to gather fellow fans and have fun during events like this DVD launch.

This cutie pie stole the show and she's happy with her Kyoto Inferno DVD. Jin approves :) 

Looking across the fans gathered you can see that they all come from different ages and belong to different demographics, there were fans of the Rurouni Kenshin manga/ anime series (we belong to that category), fans of the actor Sato Takeru and fans of the Japanese Rock band One Ok Rock. It's amusing to see mom's and tita's answer trivia questions during the games. Truly Rurouni Kenshin has transcended generations and is enjoyed by dads, your elder brothers and the younger generation are getting to know him too because of the movies. (^^x 

The DVD launch was like getting to see old friends and making new ones. There was music, games and cake! Yes even cake! As local cosplayer and special guest Jin Joson had the honor of blowing out the candles and cutting the cake :) While fans sang Happy Birthday Takeru. Jin and other local Cosplayers made headlines last year when director Keishi Otomo and the stars of the movie came to Manila for the premiere. It was just right that she also be present during the DVD launch which delighted fans :)

Local Japanese Cover Band Asterysk performed songs from One Ok Rock 

Japanese Rock cover band Astersyk performed songs from One Ok Rock including all songs in the movies and fans sang along to their impressive covers. In case you guys didn't know there have been a couple of One Ok Rock tribute nights where fans gather for a night of One Ok Rock songs from local bands. We were at the last tribute night you can check out the blog post here --> be sure to keep an eye out for the next tribute night :p 

Fans present had fun with the games prepared by Amuse PH, awesome Rurouni Kenshin merchandise such as theatrical posters (drools) and super cool Katana Umbrellas were given away as prizes! Manga and DVDs were also raffled out. 

So if you guys missed out on this super fun event fear not because The Legend Ends will surely be available on DVD soon and while we all wait for that we can sit back and enjoy Kyoto Inferno on DVD. You can grab your copies at Astroplus for only P550.00 :) DVD feature up on the blog soon!

Click HERE for More Photos! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

be/ep EP Review

When I was 19 years old, I was in Second Year College (Nursing), Paul and I had just become a couple. I was engrossed in what any ordinary 19 year old was during my day. School, Family, Boyfriend and friend, we were in the School Publication though so that too. There wasn't even Facebook during those days (Friendster became a thing when I was I my 3rd to 4th year of college.

So just imagine my admiration of B.P. Valenzuela who at 19 years old is taking the Indie scene by storm. Her name has been on the lips of industry giants and greats, she has been featured in a number of magazines and articles, fans gush at her during shows, she recently played for <S>andwich's vinyl album launch and she was also a part of the recent Malasimbo Music and Lights Festival in Puerto Galera. 

I already mentioned in our Satchmi Feels blog post we won a copy of her EP be/ep by guessing her favorite local fruit lansones so thanks to lansones we got to bring home a copy of her EP and thus this review!

B.P Valenzuela during Satchmi's Feels Valentines Event

When Paul and I first played B.P.'s EP we thought that her music had an ambient feel to it. Like a soft and subtle music in the background that's very relaxing to listen to.

Not your conventional radio songs that consist of traditional instruments, your typical singing, stanzas and a chorus. B.P. takes everything to a whole new different level with the use of synthesizers, sound effects and even recorded dialogue. Yet, despite the mix and match of these unlikely ingredients B.P.'s music comes out in unison and harmony and are surprisingly catchy and addictive that we found ourselves wanting more of her music.

As if her EP was a delicious appetizer making our mouths water for the main course (pardon the use of food as comparisson - really hungry as I am writing this :P)

Consisting of 5 tracks, the EP will give you a new sense of hope at the talent of our young musicians. There is also beautiful lyrics in the songs in building she says:

You said 
Time flies, love dies, people walk away 
Memories are ghosts of moments you can't
have again 
Let go of inhibitions keeping you from loving me 
but don't fall in love with me 
please don't fall in love with me 

It is indeed a good thing that our craving for B/P's music will be satisfied (more food similies) with the release of her album The Neon Hour this coming March 28 at the Twelth House in Cubao Expo.
You can click on the event page here for more details :)

The CD sleeves come with beautiful photos, I'm guessing the coffee is also because of B.P.'s love for coffee. She also works part time as a barista in Satchmi :) We used the cereal bowl photo (which is also ingeniously the design on the CD) for the concept around the shoot.

We'll definitely be hearing more from this talented musician! Check back on the blog soon - we'll be dropping by her album launch :) Excited to get my hands on The Neon Hour :) 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Funko-POP Haul!: Fisher Mall Edition

The Haul from (L to R) Raven (Teen Titans Go!) Daryl Nixon (The Walking Dead), Hannibal Lecter (Silence Of The Lambs/Anthony Hopkins), Hannibal Lecter (TV/Mads Mikkelsen), Will Graham (Hannibal TV/Hugh Dancy) 
Remember our Big Boys Toystore Funko Escapade at Fisher Mall? (Blog post here)

Well here is our haul from the event - I say haul but actually only Daryl is really ours, the rest are my sisters' and cousins'. Yes we're one big geeky family :P

Generic photoshoot only using a simple white cartolina backdrop. We have been having fun with our more personalized Funko shoots (Daenerys, Daryl and Hatsune Miku - they're up on the Facebook page) maybe we can revisit some of these and get to experiment more :p