WE'REÂ glad to hear from The Jazz Society of the Philippines, USA that a Filipi no-American, Jon Irabagon, has just won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Jon, said to be the first Filipino to win this competition that is ranked no. 1 in the world in terms of prestige, won a $20,000 scholarship and a record cont ract with Concord Music Group, one of the leading jazz labels in the US. Raised in Chicago, Jon has been playing the saxophone since he was eight years old. He cinched his historic victory at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. We can ât wait to watch the new FilAm pride -- he will perform at the 4th Annual Filip ino-American Jazz Festival at the Catalina Bar & Grill, also in Hollywood, on December 27.
October 2008 Archives
By Ruben Nepales OUR interviews over the years with Fil-Am actor Alec Mapa, whether by e-mail or in person, have always been laugh riots. At the pre-show reception of the rece nt Filipino American Libraryâs âJazzmopolitan: A Celebration of Musicâ at the A ratani Theatre in LAâs Little Tokyo, we were just shooting the breeze with the star of âUgly Betty,â many TV shows, films and stage productions when our colle ague, Peter Gonzaga, turned on his video camera and mike. The resulting video c lip is just a sample of the sassy wit of Alec, whom my wife Janet and I admired since we first saw him in his acclaimed monologue, âI Remember Mapa.â Watch Alec Mapa with Ruben & Janet Nepales in Entertainmen t Videos |Â Â View More Free Videos Online a t Veoh.com Alec came on time to the event which raised funds for the laudable Filipino Ame rican Library (FAL), which is located in the historic Filipinotown of LA. The a ctor, who is committed to various charities and foundations, was going to be aw arded FALâs Role Model Award. Well, many hours and several glasses of wine later, and after terrific performa nces by Becca Godinez, Mon David, Charmaine Clamor, Three of a Kind, Tateng Kat indig, Michael and Rene Paulo, Alec finally got to go onstage and accept his aw ard. Alecâs hair has gone askew and despite having the tough task of delivering an acceptance speech after those excellent musical numbers, he still managed t o entertain the crowd and keep the momentum. Toward the end, he invoked his fav orite anecdote about how his mother, now deceased, motivated him when he was ju st starting in show business and was not making headway. âWhatâs stopping you? â Alecâs mother asked him. That made him pause. Nothing has stopped Alec since then.
By Ruben Nepales ON my drive away from the Greek Theatre where my wife and I just watched our ka babayan Arnel Pineda and his Journey bandmates stage the first of two very succ essful shows in LA, I stopped by a gas station. As I pumped gas into our car, a young white woman approached me and asked if I just came from the concert. When I said yes, the woman said she watched the sho w too. Then she peppered me with questions, the gist of which boiled to one thi ng: she wondered if the many Filipinos who trooped to the Greek Theatre that Su nday evening knew the songs of Journey. Although the lady said she knew that Neal Schon first saw Arnel when the former came across a video clip of Arnel singing a Journey hit on YouTube (back when he was doing Journey tribute songs in the Philippines), she appeared baffled th at people in the Philippines know Journey. I told her that I was familiar with those Journey anthems in the 1980s. She asked me if I was born in the US or in the Philippines. I said I was born and raised in the Philippines and I was back home when I first heard those Journey tunes. (Editor's note: Here's one of the video clips on YouTube that perhaps got Journ ey's attention.)