Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Treachery In Death by J.D. Robb

Every J.D. Robb book is an automatic buy for me. This latest installment in the In Death series reinforced my decision in doing so.

This time, Eve deals with a case of corruption inside NYPSD. Eve takes this a little personally, as she hates how the villain of this piece disgraced the job and the badge she proudly wears. With a few select people (including Webster from Internal Affairs) they do solid policework and build a case to bring the guilty party's crimes to light.

I fell in love with Eve and Roarke (mostly Roarke, but what woman could blame me?) the first time I read about them in Naked In Death. Now in the 32nd book (plus a few novellas), they have firmly entrenched themselves in my heart along with the rest of their crew. Whenever a character appeared in the novel, it was like I was welcoming an old friend - from the snarky Summerset, the stalwart Peabody, and the ultra-mag Mavis to name a few. We also get to meet a few new characters, one of which particularly made me laugh with his creative use of the F-word.

Though without the high-profile, flashy murder and the crafty serial killers, this book is one of the best in the series, in my opinion. Robb gives us a picture of Cop Central and the characters inside it and how the system works. I love how she describes it that I could almost see the grimy floor and the hear the buzz in the bullpen. But most of all, you can feel the cops who work with Eve and the dedication each one of them puts on their jobs.

If you've already read the rest of the series, you definitely wouldn't want to miss reading this. And if you haven't heard of J.D. Robb, the In Death series, Eve or Roarke - you should start now and thank me later.

P.S. Roarke beats that Cullen boy any day.


Treachery in Death

Putnam hardcover
February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gyabo! My first orchestra experience


Ever since I've watched the anime Nodame Cantabile, I have been captivated by the idea of an orchestra. Playing a musical instrument is one thing, but the feeling of a group of people working together to produce a rousing number like Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" or Beethoven's "Eroica"... it just produces so much impact that tends to overwhelm the listener.

So it became one of my goals to watch an orchestra live. Easier said than done.

One of my problems is where in the Philippines can I find an orchestra. Admittedly, our country is not a place where classical music is lauded or popular. I can't blame them, because prior to Nodame Cantabile, I could probably care less. The only orchestra and composer I knew was John Williams and that was because I was a fan of Star Wars and his work in other films. And when I found an orchestra and a concert, there was a problem of who I could rope in to go with me. Even if I paid for their ticket, I doubted my friends will join me in what I suppose to them is a really boring concert.

But yesterday, it was like a blessing from heaven when I saw an tarpaulin banner in Art in the Park. It was for a free concert of FILharmoniKA led by Maestro Gerard Salonga the next day in Bel Air, Makati. Imagine my happiness at finally being able to fulfill one of the items in my Bucket List. And for FREE!

Thankfully, my friend was also game and this evening, after a light meal at Razon's, off we went to the Multi-Purpose Hall of Bel Air Village.

Despite the flyers saying that the show will start promptly at 7PM, they were still a few minutes late (well, according to my clock which IMO is the most accurate). It was only a few minutes, though, and then I finally heard my first orchestra number. It was the Philippine National Anthem. LOL

The Set List

Anyway, the orchestra soon officially started with Mikhail Glinka's "Ruslan and Ludmilla". Maybe it was my excitement, but this must have been my favorite of the night followed by John William's theme from "Star Wars". They also played themes from several movies including Schindler's List, Pink Panther, and James Bond. It was a great experience, being a movie lover myself, seeing how those music that shaped those films were created. They also played an orchestra version of "Muntik ng Maabot ang Langit" which was originally by True Faith along with another number from Filipino composer Josefino Cenizal (Hindi Kita Malimot).

It was a really a fun night and I bet those people who just happened to drop by or was dragged there by someone somehow enjoyed it too. The selection showed the variety of what an orchestra can do - that it was not just limited to sleepy classical numbers (though I would have preferred more of this). Having experienced watching an orchestra performance, maybe they are like me who wanted to watch more in the future, given the opportunity.

After all, I haven't heard Beethoven yet.


Suggested shows about orchestra/classical music:
Nodame Cantabile (anime/live action)
Beethoven Virus (Korean drama)
Kiniro no Corda (anime)

For more information about FILharmoniKA:
FILharmoniKA Facebook page

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Art in the Park 2011

WeeWillDoodle... doodling in the park

I've heard about this before, but it's my first time going. Based from what I've seen today, this won't be my last.

My friend and I went to the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati to join hundreds of people in browsing through the wonderful artworks displayed in The Art in the Park - a once in a year event hosted by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines. It aims to provide a relaxed atmosphere for people to explore Filipino artwork and meet the artists. It's a really good idea, actually. I don't know about you, but I sometimes find it so intimidating to go into those galleries with their spartan, minimalistic setting. I always think that those art pieces displayed there are too expensive for me. Well, in Art in the Park, all artworks have a ceiling price of Php 20,000 so you can feel free to find something within your budget.


I especially enjoyed the watercolor paintings displayed by the different art galleries there. Unfortunately, they were still out of my budget. TT__TT There was one particular artwork that made my heart bleed because I wasn't able to get it. It was an artwork by artist named Alfred Galura. Ms. Elain Herbosa of L'Arc en Ciel gallery told us that he already has a following and that the artworks displayed were really bargains. It was supposed to sell for 4ok, but they were selling it at 20k because of the art fair's ceiling price. I must say, it really was a bargain. I envy the woman who was able to buy the painting.

Another thing that caught my fancy were the quirky art displays. There was this particular chair that was painted with dragonflies and I really could see it in my bedroom. I asked and it was selling for Php 5,000. Unfortunately, it was also snapped up by another buyer. (Seeing a pattern here?)

I wonder if the people who bought this would be able to sit on them...

There were also wonderful potteries that I wanted but I couldn't figure out where to put them in my teenie weenie condo unit so I had to let them go. I think I'm regretting it now, though.

I thought that I was going to go home with nothing but on our third tour around, my friend and I came upon this sketch by an FEU student.

So nice, isn't it? Only Php 1,400!

A lady there had it in her hand, but she graciously let us have it. I think she was almost selling it to us! She told us that when you buy an artwork from students or people in general, you have to ask whether he or she has joined and won any contests. That's how you know that the artist may be the next Juan Luna and his artwork is going to be an investment. The one who drew this particular sketch had already joined and won several contests, I think. But I don't really care that much about those things. I just really, really like it. At the end of the day, that's what matters, isn't it?

But taking a cue from the wise lady, we went around talking to the artists and asking them what was their inspiration, how long they took to make that painting, where is that scenery from... It was really fun and the artists, too, I think had the most fun of all. I'm thinking it's such a nice feeling seeing people you don't know compliment your work. Art is to be appreciated, after all.

I also ended up buying some note cards that were inspired by Juan Luna's Espana y Filipinas. I bought it because it's just so pretty and they fit in my girly, flowery mood board.

Sorry for the sucky pic from my phone cam. They're really pretty, though.

All the creativity going on in that place made me just want to pick up a paintbrush already. I wonder if, someday, I will be able to sell something there too. Haha... Well, it doesn't hurt to dream.


Some websites you may want to visit:
Art in the Park Facebook page