Reviews.

Posted in Personal on September 29th, 2010 by byronkho

Been a busy couple weeks! Well, yes, because I’m working on a crazy show…. but I’ve been to see a lot of stuff in concert that I’ve been real happy with. Of the stuff I didn’t post about at some point earlier:

1. Next to Normal: Generally impressive. Liked the music, but found it hard to remember any of the tunes later. Jason and Marin were great together, but I felt she didn’t do as great a performance as she could have. One song sounded like she was either singing on a cold, or singing just a little too low. Particularly impressed by Meghann Fahy as Natalie. Funny how so many aspiring B’way actors and actresses start in soaps. Dramatically, very arresting – though knowing about a dead child as a major plot point (don’t worry, not really a spoiler at all) already does half the emotional tone-setting before the show even starts.

2. Electric Zoo: Even better than last year (though I missed some of the great performers from last year…). I’ll have to try and get pics, I didn’t take any myself. Though I was next to some really hot chick hanging out on her lonesome during Erol Alkan and the photogs kept walking by and taking pictures. Obviously of her, but I’m background, like a potted plant. Haha. So who’d I see? Joachim Garraud, Erol Alkan, Afrojack, ATB, Pete Tong, Dirty South, Chuckie, Major Lazer, Kaskade, Benny Benassi… it was a good night. I heard from others that Claude VonStroke was supposed to be really good. I wanted to see Axwell and the end of Benny’s set, but no dice. And Sunday, I missed Fedde le Grand, Armin van Buuren, Boys Noize, XXXChange, Diplo, A-Trak, Aeroplane… why? I had to come back for a run of that Kerrigan & Lowdermilk show (wanted to call it Buttermilk for a second). Crazy electro dancing moshing secondhand smoking… the hoop chick from last year wasn’t in her full glory but the butterflies were, in her place. Lots of excessive color, some great costumes, and the usual ass in the spandex. This year, it was green.

3. Andrew Belle, Paula Valstein, Joey Ryan, Amber Rubarth. Technically, Jay Nash was also playing, but missed his set. Not impressed by Amber Rubarth, but never liked her to begin with. Paula Valstein actually started off the show. Hadn’t heard of her previous to that night, but learned a) she was from Israel and could speak fluent Hebrew and b) sang amazingly well in English and Hebrew. I wanted her Hebrew song but it wasn’t on her LP and I couldn’t understand the lyrics to look up later. Also, she didn’t come out after her set and mingle, so opportunity lost. I was with somebody anyways, so not that I was gonna traipse around looking. Her songs were mostly in the same stylistic area, so too much of it and it all blends into one another. That doesn’t mean they’re bad at all; it’s just they have to be taken in small doses to be appreciated more. Andrew Belle and Joey Ryan were both great, and both did the songs I wanted them to. Joey brought along a friend, Kenneth something, whose “Charlie” was such a heartbreaker. So was Joey’s song Queen Jane. I would have stayed for Jay Nash but was off to a birthday party.

4. Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love: Live from the parking lot of DiBruno Bros. in the Italian Market… great show. The Elixir of Love was done by 5 amazing opera singers and a scratchy electric keyboard. Dunno how they made it. The sun was hot (I got burned) and they were somehow energetic the entire way through (whereas I was tired, again from the sun, and all I did was sit). Some funny performances, and some beautiful solos.

5. Gabriela Martinez with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia: I knew of her through a friend of mine. Stupid story, and I did something douchy. Anyways. She was talented and beautiful, in that order. She did the Chopin No. 2 and it was well-played and well-felt. She did mess up, as far as I could tell, in 2 spots. Very tiny mistakes though. Hearing it in the Mann Center with the crickets joining in… was… magical. Some girl in the audience was like, how old is she? JL said 26, and the girl was like… only one year older… damn. Implying that she’s accomplished so much more than me, etc etc. I told JL that I’m glad I didn’t dive into the pro pianist pool and compete with her, this kind of competition would have been pulverizing. The orchestra itself was well-conducted (well, well) and sounded great. I never liked Mozart all that much, so I didn’t appreciate the Jupiter as much as I should have. However, the overture to the Marriage of Figaro was awesome. I felt chills. I didn’t know what to expect from Brosse (the director) in regards to his compositional work but the Fanfare for Philadelphia turned out to be wonderful. Seemed more like something the Pops would play, as it was almost like incidental music from a movie. Regardless, it was complex and showy. Would love to hear it again. And then crazy fireworks at the end! Standing ovation for those as well.

Not from our show, but her doing the Rach 3. Drool. The Rach 3, I mean.

Paramore: They were on Glee this week. Haven’t watched the episode (not too keen on getting back into that show for some reason…) but was pleased they chose My Only Exception.

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Crowded House.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29th, 2010 by byronkho

I didn’t really post at all about the show I finished in early September for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, but thought I should now. I was hired on by a local Philadelphia composer, Michael Dutka, to rehearse with and accompany a production of his children’s opera The Crowded House. Libretto mostly by him, but includes a couple contributions by 19th century poets and a friend of his, I think. The cast included previous cast members Colin Dahms and Elizabeth Zell, from a workshop-type production by a local suburban Philadelphia company last year, and ‘newcomers’ Jessica Lennick, Julie May and Gabor Kari. The music director was Florrie Marks, a woman I’ve worked with several times on various productions.

Our show was held at the upper stage in St. Stephen’s Theater, behind the church of the same name. Beside the 8 person chorus and six-member orchestra, we were joined by a whole ballet company. The dancers, ranging from 5-year old kids to university students, were all extraordinarily good and definitely added a lot to the production. Definitely worthwhile production – made a lot of good friends from the show, worked with some wonderful musicians and made my Fringe Festival premiere.

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Blast from the past.

Posted in Personal on September 29th, 2010 by byronkho

Little Byron doing the whole sports jock thing back in 1990. What up pimps!

Ha.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9th, 2010 by byronkho

From Becsters: Someone from the Gyno Colleges called, they said the Pabst beer was normal.