Be Original

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FELA! The Best Musical Evah!

This is THE musical to catch when you're on Broadway. Fela Kuti is brought back to life in such an explosive manner and his music is reverently performed, never contrived. Fela! was an off-Broadway favourite but nearly ended its run prematurely if not for The Roots' ?uestlove who was blown away after watching it and the producing efforts of one Shawn Carter, a certain Mr. Will Smith and his wife, who lobbied for it to go on Broadway. It got a whopping 11 Tony nominations last year with 3 wins. Brooklyn afrobeats group Antibalas arranged and performs the music which explains why this musical has real heart and soul. Sahr Ngaujah who plays Fela is magnetic. Patti LaBelle (!!!) performs as Fela's mother until January next year, so you'd do well to book your tickets now! 

The night I went was spectacularly star-studded. We'd all expected Ms. LaBelle onstage of course, but the gay couple next to me ("You Go, Patti! You Go, Girl! We Love YOU!") and myself included, were stunned when we saw Reverend Al Sharpton take his seat two rows away from us. After which came Patti's ex husband and son (this I got from the aforementioned LaBelle fans). Then, just when we were about to settle down, cheers came from the balcony:-

Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the opera box, yo! We were practically hugging ourselves thinking it couldn't get any better than that when towards the end of the show, no less than SPIKE LEE got up to leave (he had probably gotten in halfway). That totally clinched it. Too bad this pic wasn't clear enough--it was taken on the sly and in fact, I got told off by one of the ushers. Will and Jada were really gracious though, smiling and waving like the Hollywood royalty they are.

Here's a taste of the musical when it showed off Broadway. The New York Times' review was right--you come out of the show wondering why nobody is dancing in the streets--its that infectious. We gave the show a standing ovation that night. 

p/s I smell a movie on the way--with Will and Jada in it and Spike Lee directing; JayZ to provide end theme song :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

23:22, LES

You know The Man has won when the Lower East Side gets abbreviated to LES, 
has a couple of swanky rooftop bars and CBGB becomes a Varvatos store. 
Not quite what Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Debbie Harry, Tom Verlaine 
would have imagined for it.

Note my friend's polished Midtown manner juxtaposed against the dive pita joint 
(probably one of the few bastions of grunge left in this now-gentrified neighbourhood) 
with the unholy trinity of Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock (Brooklynites) keeping watch. 
Love it. 

Taken last week before we headed out to Sutra.


After The Sterility of Milan...

...Parma. A small town with big surprises. 

Case in point, the Duomo with a rock star artist as its main feature.

The ceiling of the Duomo in Parma. Awesome just doesn't cut it.
Took this without flash. Opened the aperture something awful.

Correggio, what's a masterpiece like yours doing in a small town like this?
It may not draw as many a crowd as the Sistine Chapel but to me, it far surpasses it.
Edgier, wittier... sexier. Correggio got into trouble with the church because of it.
Any guesses why?
Also taken without flash. My camera is divine.

Kids finding respite outside the Duomo.

A former nunnery in Parma with a beautiful tree-lined path.

Love these medieval carvings all around the Duomo. This is probably the most Christian of all friezes.
The rest are pretty pagan--heady stuff with monsters and dragons.