I saw Great Comet on July 11th! And sat in Row D of the Center Front Mezz right on the aisle.
There was one more row behind me before the aisle between the Rear and Front mezz.
Things that happened at this seat:
- There was an ensemble member up on the balcony and throwing perogies to everyone and my friend and I caught his eye so we caught a perogie! They were really good and amazing.
- A lot happens in the Mezz, especially the Front Mezz aisles
- there are ensemble members playing their instruments and dancing, really fun to smile at them and get a smile back
- Cathryn Wake was playing the accordion by me, a lot of this and others moving around during the Prologue and Pierre
- During The Opera, the ensemble was lined up wearing black cloaks and, from what I remember, just standing creepily.
- OH THE DUEL WAS MY FAVORITE
- IT’S BASICALLY A RUSSIAN PUNK POP CLUB SO THERES STROBE LIGHTS AND DENIM AND LEATHER AND NEON
- Anyway, more ensemble members were dancing on this aisle, rather suggestively. So That was fun and surprising lol
- Pierre, in his drunk stupor, climbs up and crosses the Mezz so it was really cool to be close to him, though no immediate interaction
-During Dust And Ashes, the entire cast who Isn’t Pierre, lines up on that space between the Front and Rear Mezz and sings the chorus. Lucas Steele was right in line with my seat so I kinda just stared at him?? The whole time. He caught me, I felt bad, but yes he is very beautiful and I could only hear his notes during the chorus and I cried
- During the Ball, you can see two same sex couples dancing on both sides of the mezz!
- Also, during the Ball, when Anatole forcefully kisses Natasha, the ensemble is all around the room, in aisles and stuff- and they sit down and ring their glasses. That happened right next to me too.
- It is possible to get a letter! While I did not personally receive one, a couple ensemble members passed a few out to rows in front of me.
- There’s not a lot of other interaction except a beautiful place to watch the entire stage (except for like the very edge. Not a lot happens there anyway and if it was something, easy neck crane to do so)
- OH BOY PREPARATIONS THROUGH THE ABDUCTION
- This was my favorite sequence in the entire show. There is SO much going on, everywhere. Especially on the Mezz so I will try and go in order.
- During Balaga, an ensemble member came up to me with a basket of Egg Shakers and told me to grab one and pass it on. I noticed how there was no real system because not every row had one, and it was not the same pattern in the section beside me
- those Egg Shakers are a Lot of fun
- Balaga is Everywhere. He will come up on the Mezz and grin at everyone. Heath Saunders was Balaga when I saw and Boy, I love him
- The Abduction was SO much fun.
- When Anatole sings “Everyone, raise a glass!” my friend and I looked at each other and held up our drinks that we got during intermission. And Reed saw us, came over and said “Cheers, guys!! Thanks for playing along!” And clinked his little shot glass with us and we all took a sip. (Note: I did put down my drink after that so I could focus on egg-shaking but my friend held theirs up again during Pierre’s bit, and another ensemble member came over to clink with them too).
- During this part of the song, the audience IS truly a part of the musical. And It’s So Much fun.
- More ensemble members on the aisle with their instruments.
- There is that Dance Off that happens between two members. The one on the Mezz is standing on two tables in the Rear Mezz while the other guy is on stage.
- When the Chaos, kinda stops, the ensemble member that was besides me, just kinda fell down and laid down for a good rest of the song until the end of Pierre and Anatole.
- The Ensemble is still all scattered during The Great Comet of 1812, the line too. Which just echoes through the whole theatre and shakes you to your core.
- Then they all gathered for Bows on stage, I believe.
AND THAT, is pretty much all that I can remember of specifics when I sat there. I highly recommend an aisle sit if you can, there is so much movement by you and so much eye contact that you can make. Really does make it feel like we’re connected to the show.
Last day of my Seven Days of Patterns is Appa! He was really a tough one, but I’m extremely proud of the result. You really don’t think about how many toes a flying bison has until you have to crochet 18 of them.
For the 11th year in a row, Central American mothers march north to Mexico in search of their disappeared children:
Las madres iniciaron la caravana en el puerto fronterizo El Ceibo, ubicado entre los poblados de Flores (Tikal, Guatemala) y Tenosique (Tabasco, México). En 19 días la caravana recorrió siete estados: Tabasco, Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Ciudad de México, Oaxaca y Chiapas.
Por undécimo año consecutivo, madres procedentes de El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala y Nicaragua atravesaron México para preguntar por el paradero de sus hijos. Ellas buscan a los migrantes centroamericanos que se perdieron en un camino de más de 5 mil kilómetros hacia los Estados Unidos. Este año la caravana estuvo conformada por 38 mujeres y dos hombres. De nuevo se reunieron con funcionarios, visitaron morgues y cementerios y pasearon por la ruta del migrante cargando las fotografías de sus desaparecidos. Se estima que cada año, por México pasan 250,000 indocumentados buscando la frontera norte. Aunque la caravana es un acto simbólico contra la impunidad y una protesta contra la falta de respuestas y apoyos del estado mexicano, a través del apoyo de organziaciones no gubernamentales ya han logrado reencuentros. En esta ocasión, cuatro madres se reencontraron con sus familiares, y una más se topó con su pariente de manera fortuita.
Fantasy On Ice in Kobe 2015- the first 3 ice shows of my life
My very first ice shows, first time seeing Yuzu with my own
eyes, watching him skate in front of me, hearing his voice for real…. how does one put all those
overwhelming feelings into words? I have no words that would do justice
to the experience. But I want to record it all down… so I will try.
(Note: It is very long. The keywords are in bold so you can skip if you don’t want to read too much details.)
Saturday 4th July 1pm show:
10.45am, I met dear friend Asuka at Shinmin Hiroba station and it was a very short
walk to World Hall. There was already a long line for FaOI goods!
Sales started at 11am and the line moved quickly. (That is one thing I
love about Japan. Most things are well-organised and orderly.) Soon we
got our pamphlets and T-shirts, but the towel was sold out.
noon, the doors opened to let us in. We found our seats, 11th row and
near the centre of one of the long sides. It was good! Near enough to
see everything very well. I was so excited my heart was going to
Now a trip to the toilet before the show starts. There were
lines for toilets but it wasn’t so bad. Asuka pointed out to me that
they had made most of the male toilets into female toilets for this
event! Haha! That’s clever! I think I only saw one guy there at the
1pm, the show started.
was dark with some special lighting. Sarah Alainn came out and started
singing a slow and beautiful song that, with the lights, made the whole
place seem magical. The supporting cast skated out first to dance and
then the main skaters came out singly or in pairs. All these skaters
that I have seen and read about on my laptop screen for the past one
year, they are now skating right in front of me! Yuzu was last to come
out, after Plushenko. He was in a white shirt. OMG, I am really seeing Yuzu
for real!!!! He made a beautiful jump (triple axel, I heard later. I
was too excited to notice!) Then he joined the group and danced with lots of energy and joy. You can tell he loves dancing and was really
enjoying himself. It was awesome! Then they all went back in through
the two doorways on each side next to the stage. Yuzu was last to go in and
he turned around and bowed to the audience just before he went in. (I think he was the only one who did that.)
Wow….. his famous good manners were evident so quickly!
For the opening, besides Yuzu, I liked Johnny’s one best. He hydrobladed while waving happily to the audience. It was so cute! (For the finale, I also liked Johnny’s best. He did it as a pair; the other skater threw him and he did a graceful jump, like a lady. Heehee.)
Individual performances. I enjoyed every one of them. Especially the Japanese ladies,
Nobunari Oda, Johnny Weir and Plushenko. I will list the performances in order of appearance and say something about them.
(Note: I don’t know much about figure skating. I just love music and dancing and Yuzu. And
sorry I can’t remember some names and some music/songs.)
Yuna Aoki - beautiful costume, music and performance. Very graceful and just lovely to watch.
- quite handsome. And funny too. When he finished his performance and
walked back towards the stage, the next performer was there on the ice
in her starting pose, like a mannequin. He did some push-ups on the ice to try to “attract” her, haha! She didn’t move at all. Then he
moved her arms to make her “hug” him. Then he gave up and went off.
Lady skater with hoops - amazing and entertaining.
Johnny Weir - BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful and charismatic. Now I know why Yuzu looks up to him and loves his skating so much.
Ice repair + Chopin
- It was supposed to be the next performance. Pianist Fukuma-san
introduced himself on the lighted stage while the rink was
dark and Akko-chan skated around to warm up a bit. She noticed something on the ice and skated
to the rink side and talked to the staff. When Fukuma-san finished his
self-introduction, someone went on stage and spoke to him. Then there
was an announcement that the ice needs to be repaired and there will be a
short break in the show. Men came in carrying little buckets of stuff and tools
and started to work on the ice. Fukuma-san and Akko-chan waited a
while and then went backstage.
There were two spots on the
ice that they worked on. We waited and waited and waited. Are the
holes that big??? Asuka and I were getting worried. Everyone was
getting restless. Then Fukuma-san came on stage and said he would play
something for us while we waited. He said it’s Chopin Ballade no.1 which
was used by Yuzu last season. WOW!!! What a great guy he is! We all
clapped loudly. He started playing and it was beautiful. Some parts
were different from the version that Yuzu used and it was so interesting
to hear his version. Immediately, the wait was no longer tedious. Soon the repair work was done and Fukuma-san finished his piece and the show
could continue. Hurray! (super thankful to Fukuma-san because this led to the collaboration in the 3rd show.)
Akiko Suzuki (with pianist Kotaro Fukuma) - VERY BEAUTIFUL
Brian Joubert - enjoyable
- SUPERB. I always saw Nobu as a joker because of what he does off-ice
but when I watched him skate live, I kept thinking, かっこいい！！
(handsome+cool) “Kakkoii~ ! He is so kakkoii !!” His 1st performance
was a serious one. His skating and expression was superb and he landed
all his jumps so lightly and so beautifully. Now I know why they gave him
that T-shirt that said a cat’s feet landing on ice. It was very evident
in his skating today. I was so impressed. But the joker in him
couldn’t be hidden. Even though it was a serious piece, he gave a funny
smile at one part towards the end and everyone burst out laughing!
Miki Ando (with pianist Kotaro Fukuma) - BEAUTIFUL AND ELEGANT
Javier Fernandez -very cute and fun
Philippe Candeloro - entertaining
Stephane Lambiel - very nice to watch, especially his spins, long and beautiful spins.
When he came out onto the dark rink, I could recognise his silhouette
right away. SEIMEI!!! While the announcer was saying his name and some
details, he skated around the dark rink to warm up and he did a jump
with his hands extended out, like a helicopter. (He did this for all 3
shows.) Then he went to the middle of the rink and took up his starting
pose. It’s the same starting pose as what we’ve seen, 2 fingers below
the lips. The music started as the lights came on. He was facing me
and seeing his serious face, my heart almost stopped. The music was awesome and he was one with
the music. His SEIMEI was so powerful, I felt like my soul was being
sucked up by his aura. He was truly breathtaking. His costume is even
more beautiful than onscreen; it’s very white and it sparkles
all over. Yuzu Seimei really dazzled! In the 3rd show, where I sat
much nearer the rink, his face was half-turned up as he hydro-bladed and
he happened to face me. His expression was so fierce and so manly!
Omg…… (I don’t think I’ll ever get my soul back….)
Ice dance pair
- nice but I wanted to just close my eyes and relive SEIMEI in my mind
all over again. But I felt it was too rude to these 2 skaters so I
didn’t do that.
Plushenko (with violinist playing in the middle of the rink) -He
is truly a legend and a great showman. In all 3 shows, both his
performances, he landed all his jumps beautifully and with so much
confidence. And he was so charismatic. RESPECT.
Intermission (I heard toilet lines were bad here. I went before the show started, so I didn’t need to go at all until after the show.)The little zambonis came out to smoothen the ice while some guys walked around the rink carrying big red signs that say NO PHOTO NOR VIDEO TAKING.
Shoma - nice. Like a little green elf.
Akiko - VERY BEAUTIFUL AGAIN. I love Akko-chan.
- no announcement. He just came into the rink with a black cloak and
holding something which later lighted up to be a red light sabre. The
music was a medley and it began with Darth Vader’s breathing sound and Star Wars music. It was a funny,
light-hearted performance and Nobu was GREAT! His skating and all his
jumps were SUPERB. I really loved watching him! Even his ending bows
to the audience were funny! After each bow, he pretended to be pushing
some force towards us and he did that for all 4 sides of the rink.
Tomas Verner (with Sarah Alainn) - very nice.
(with Sarah Alainn) - ‘You Raise Me Up’. This was SO BEAUTIFUL. She
played the violin at the beginning and then she sang the first verse and
then Johnny skated out. She played and sang beautifully and Johnny was
simply divine. His limbs and his body seemed to be made for producing
graceful and beautiful fluid movements on the ice. It was mesmerising.
Jeff Buttle - ‘Uptown Funk’; it was fun! And during the 3rd show, Yuzu stood at one side of the stage and danced to the song! It was so cute! It was very dark and I thought that silhouette and the movements really looked like him. So I watched. Later a fan on FB confirmed it cos she was watching with binoculars! She said he was doing all the same dance movements as Jeff! haha!
Ice dance pair - nice
Javi - He was a matador, and the performance was funny and very enjoyable. Javi is really cute and lovable!
Miki Ando (with soprano Tomotaka Okamoto) - ‘Amazing Grace’; Miki’s skating is very beautiful and elegant. I loved watching her.
Brian Joubert (with Sarah and Okamoto in a duet) - ‘Time To Say Goodbye’; Very nice.
Acrobatic skating pair - skated and did acrobatics with long white sashes hung from the ceiling. It was AWESOME.
Lambiel (with Okamoto)- very nice.
Plushenko - Another great performance. Same feeling as 1st one above. I feel so lucky to have watched a skating legend.
Requiem; it was so intense and emotional that my heart broke. I felt
his anguish and pain and tears came to my eyes. Yuzu is really so
expressive, I was totally drawn in by his whole being. About his
costume, I thought it was beautiful. You don’t see all the minute details you see in the pictures. Once he started skating, the
costume was just a whirl of sparkly mint green and the colour was clean,
gentle and easy on the eye. Beautiful for a requiem, I felt.
- With Okamoto singing, all the skaters came out and Yuzu came out
last, in that black shirt with some sparkles. Yuzu did some spins in
the middle while the rest skated in 2 concentric circles around him.
Then they all formed a line, joined hands and ran to each side of the rink to bow to
the audience. Then the quad battle. Yuzu went back in and came out with a towel to dry himself, and he also had a bottle of water. I cannot remember who did what but
Yuzu landed the quad loop and he was so happy! Then they all skated
around the rink and waved to the audience. And it was time to go. All
the skaters went towards the stage to exit the rink but Yuzu suddenly
skated towards the opposite end. He went near the people manning the
sound system and spoke to them. I was wondering, what is he doing?? Oh he was asking for a mic! They gave him a mic and he went to the centre of the rink and greeted the audience and started to apologise for the ice problem
earlier on. I was so thrilled to hear his voice!!! He sounds exactly
the same as what I’ve been hearing through my earphones! I was so happy
I wanted to scream. I think all of us were very grateful for the ice
problem after that! He basically said sorry there was a disruption but there was nothing he could do about that, and
that everyone has worked very hard and thanked us for the support. I
love his voice! What a great way to end the show. I was so overwhelmed
I had tears in my eyes and really wanted to cry.
was no time to cry! It was almost 4.30! The next show starts at 6pm
and the doors open again at 5! We quickly went back to the hotel to
take a toilet break and have some food. (Everywhere was crowded. I am so glad
I stayed at Portopia Hotel near the rink so we could rest and eat in my
room and we had already bought food in advance, anticipating the crowds.)
2ND SHOW, 4th July 6pm - I sat really far away but it was nice to watch it from a different angle. The show was the same as the 1st show except:
During intermission, Brian and Tomas came out in 2 little zambonis and while the machines smoothened out the ice, they shot a few presents at the audience. ^^
The quad battle.
Yuzu tried the quad loop 4 or 5 times and kept falling. Each time
after he fell, he made that sheepish shrug of his shoulders with that cute embarrassed smile, put his
hands together to say sorry and looked so apologetic. He was really
cute to watch! I kinda didn’t mind him failing on the 4loop so many
times! And it’s true, he unbuttoned the top button of his black shirt
before the jumps and buttoned it back before going to skate in a circle. He must have felt it was a bit too restrictive for his big jumps. ^^
Somewhere in the middle of the quad battle, they gathered for a group photo. (pic credit: Fantasy On Ice Facebook page)
At the end,all
the skaters were going in towards the doorways at the 2 sides of the
stage. Yuzu was the last to leave the rink. He stood next to the stage, cupped his hands to his mouth
and shouted “arigatougozaimasu” to the audience. The he shouted
some more words and one staff handed him a mic. (So thankful to that
staff!) This was what he said (translated by Sophie Moroi on FB)
Yuzuru’s speech: “Thank you SO MUCH! I am sorry that I used the opportunity to practice my quad loop jumps at the end (laughter). Were you able to enjoy our show? [big applause from the audience].
We the skaters often receive comments from you audience that you were
moved by our performance. In fact, we the skaters are often moved by
you the audience. It’s a bit difficult to feel so in competitions,
though. So, thank you for your tireless support.
I am sorry my speech is always long (laughter), but may I add one thing?
I felt extremely honoured to be able to perform “Requiem of Heaven and
Earth: 3.11” here in Kobe; as you know, the place that managed to
achieve rebirth. The other day when I visited Fukushima, the
reconstruction was obviously in its half-way through, and the local
population were using the term “rebuilding” or “rebirth”, rather than
“reconstruction.” In fact, not only the Tohoku region but also Ibaraki
and Chiba were affected by the disasters. I would like to ask for your
continuous support to such areas, too.
Oh, well, I don’t know
how to end my speech (laughter)… This was not the last show, but there
may be some people among the audience who go home today, while some
others may join the show tomorrow again. Whatever the case, it’s only
this time that every one of us assembles here and makes the show
together. So, I cherish every single day, minute and second. It would
be great if you could also cherish this moment. In the end, I am the luckiest, I feel. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!”
For the last “thank you so much”, he put down his mic and just shouted it as loudly as he could. I was sitting right at the other end of the rink at the very last row on
top. AND I COULD HEAR HIM. With no mic, just his raw voice shouting
“arigatougozaimashita”. Using his own strength to thank all of us, his sincerity touched me so much.
It was such a moving speech. Another great end to the 2nd show! I was in 7th
heaven and on cloud 9. I couldn’t sleep that whole night. Too happy.
I think I finally slept for an hour, 6am to 7am. Had to wake up at 7
because I had to meet Asuka at 8.45am at Mikage station to visit
Yuzuruha Shrine before the 1pm show. (Yuzuruha Jinja will be another
3RD SHOW, Sunday 5th July, 1pm - Before the show, I remembered to drop in my fan letter for Yuzu in the big box outside. There was one box for every skater.
I had the best seat of the 3 shows!So happy! Show was the same except for:
Intermission - Javi
and Philippe came out in the little zambonis to shoot the presents.
Javi danced in the zamboni on the way back in. Very cute!
battle, Yuna went first and then Shoma, Oda, Javi. I saw Yuzu
unbuttoning the top button of his shirt and so I was expecting him to
be next. Instead he took the mic and said he would not do the quad
battle today. Everyone went “Ehhhhh??????” and we thought “Oh no! He’s
not doing it today???” Then Yuzu said, “I will do a collaboration as I
did not do one.” The pianist Fukuma-san started to get ready at the piano.
OMG!!!! I realised he was going to perform Chopin with Fukuma-san
playing for him!!! I was
Chopin- He did the 2nd half of his Chopin program and I was so amazed
watching it live. He was SO FAST!!! His movements were beautiful and
quick as lightning! It ended with the usual Ballade ending pose
and he clenched both fists in the air. WOW!!!!!! Everyone erupted in wild cheers
and applause. (We were already on our feet as we were standing from finale time.)
Yuzu was just unbelievable. I was so overwhelmed that I had to scream
to let it all out. My screams were not out of place amidst other fans’
screams and cheers. (thank goodness!)
Then Yuzu gave a short speech to thank everyone. (pic credit Miki Ando’s instagram) This pic looks like he’s having his own concert! How I wish! ^^
Two more things I need to mention:
Before the quad battle, when the skaters were going around the rink waving,
Yuzu stopped at the stage and gestured for the audience to clap for the 4
artists standing there (the 2 singers, the pianist and the violinist). He knew that all of
us were looking only at the skaters and clapping for the skaters. He
didn’t want the artists to be left out of our appreciation. He stood in
front of the stage at one side clapping for the artists for some
time while the rest skated around. Then he joined back in the skating.
Then at the end, he went up to the stage to clap for them again,
bringing Nobu along with him. His heart is so full of love
and consideration for everyone. (And after each of his own performance, when he bowed to the audience, he bowed so low that I thought his fringe was going to touch the ice! He showed so much appreciation to us, the audience too.)
My seat was 7th row from the
rink and it was near enough to see all the expressions clearly. Yuzu
was directly in front of me (7 rows away) during the finale bow near the
rink side and his happy, beautiful, bright smiling face is pure joy to see and
will be etched in my memory forever.
After the last show, all the T-shirts were sold out. I am so happy to have one as a memento.
All 3 shows were spectacular, all the performances were so enjoyable. But Yuzu was the one who made each show really, really special and a bit different from each other. I feel so incredibly lucky to have watched all 3 of them. Yuzu is really the best of the best, in both skating and character, and I am so proud to be his fan.
A stadium full of Christmas carols: An FC Union Berlin Tradition
Some go to church on Christmas Eve, but more than 20,000 FC Union Berlin fans pack their stadium, candles in hand, to sing “Oh Christmas Tree”. It was the 11th year in a row that supporters gathered for what has become a brilliantly unique Christmas tradition known as Weihnachtssingen, which is easy to celebrate given the club’s red and white colours.
It may be unconventional, but the city of Berlin celebrates an unconventional, hard-working group of athletes. FC Union Berlin was formed by iron workers more than a century ago, and during the Cold War it became a symbol of resistance against the East German government. Today, FC Union remain beloved by tens or thousands of Berliners.
I AM PROUD TO PRESENT TO YOU: 1989 TOUR COSTUME #2! I am the Haters Gonna Hate Light Up Rainbow Unicorn!!! I created this costume first off because I am in love with unicorns, and second because I adored this shirt taylorswift performed in at the Billboard Music awards 2 years ago!! And also Of course because these are the lyrics in SHAKE IT OFF!!! ✨
Dear Taylor, I hope this light up rainbow display of love for you catches your eye in the crowd and I can hopefully get to meet you!! I will be at the June 13th Philly show B stage Pit, July 10th MetLife NJ F3 row 5 seat 10 and also July 11th section 124 row 15 !! Not sure which costume I will be wearing yet each day either this or the Starbucks lovers one, but please look out for me! I love you so much!! I hope you follow me soon so I have a chance of meeting you!! Thank you I love you!!!
Okay so basically here’s my experience at slfl. So as you know cause I complain a lot, I am broke and for this tour I had to pay by myself so I was saving money for a long time and I ended up getting soundcheck tickets. I was in the 11th row on Michal’s side during the concert itself and it was amazing I went crazy cause I was there alone and didn’t have to work about anyone I knew seeing me fangirl. And during JBH we made Michael cry because of how load we were screaming for him and then I started to cry cause he was crying and he started singing the song twice before he could actually get past the first two words because he was so emotional. That was one of my highlights, the other ironically included me having a ashma attack.
So if you follow my writing you know from my a/n that I’ve been really sick. And when I get sick or exercise a lot it triggers a ashma attack. Anyway I haven’t got on sick in two years and haven’t taken a sports class for the same amount of time so my inhaler is expired so I didn’t have it on me. Any way during End Up Here, I started coughing and couldn’t stop, I couldn’t get a breath in so I got out of my row and stood off to the side where no one was. And during Permanent Vacation Luke came over to Michael side of the stage. And he was standing at the very edge of the stage, looking around at the crowd and then he saw me and got confused, then concerned cause you know I was casually dying from lack of air.
HE GOT CONCERNED AND LEANED FORWARD (off the stage, he almost fell) TO GET A BETTER LOOK AT ME, AND RAISED HIS EYEBROWS AND MOUTHED ARE YOU OKAY.
As I was dying I couldn’t really answer so he sent a security guard over to where I was to ask if I was okay. Later the security guard handed me a guitar pick. Basically the point of this post is for me to say that
LUKE HEMMINGS IS THE SWEETEST PERSON TO EVER EXIST AND WE SHOULD DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO MAKE HIM SMILE