The Elusive Chanteuse Show Diaries

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Oct 4, Tokyo

Mariah is now in Asia and my excitement is impossible to contain. Tokyo is the first stop of the Elusive Chanteuse Show and all I could think of is how lucky the Japanese are in this moment and in life, in general.

But as it turns out, the opening night audience wasn’t very lucky. She didn’t sound very, very good based on several clips that surfaced. I have to be honest about how I feel upon hearing the botched Vision of Love and We Belong Together because where would I be if I don’t display honesty always? Those 15-second clips, posted by a ‘fan’, were difficult to watch.

Because Mariah has always been the object of sharp critical analysis mostly aimed at the legitimacy of her talent and sometimes, boobs, certain avenues of expression such as Twitter were set ablaze with fiery and foolish commentaries. Even people who don’t care about divas or concerts, or music felt compelled to comment on the imperfection in her vocals. But actually, these people are sort of blameless because really, criticizing great artists has always been fun and it’s extra-fun when certain admirers of these artists look visibly upset. Ours is a world where it’s fun to make fun of people who falter. It is maybe not human beings’s fault that they find hilarity, unexplainable glee when a popular, multimillionaire woman is battered and beaten and called a has-been, hag or ho. It’s a heart-stopping sport for most especially where divas and their fans are concerned. It’s the kind of sport that unites people of all race and religion.

As for myself, I surprisingly wasn’t as disturbed as some obviously were. I loved Mariah when I was 12 or 13 years old. Something I loved when I was 12 is something I love for the rest of my life, or something. I didn’t like her because in the 90s, she was liked by every living human being and I wanted to join the club. When you’re young, you don’t care very much about what you like. In fact, I’d like to have my taste in films and music back. My taste in things has been smeared with impurities and my innocence about what is enjoyable and what is shit has long been shattered. Maybe it was my copies of Entertainment Weekly that poisoned my critical sensibilities with their movie rankings and reviews and things that told me what piece of entertainment deserves an A+ or F.

More articles surfaced about the less-than-stellar performance. More social media personalities thought to bring out their inner music critic and all-around genius, in order to point out that something went wrong with the singing. It hurts to be on social media at a time like this. You can’t not take some of it personally especially when people do it stupidly which is most of the time.

When you liked Mariah at an early age, the sort of supposed devastating faltering is not something you could have prepared for. If you are now a 13 year old boy who thinks Beyonce is going to be the shit 15 years from now, you better be prepared for when she can no longer register interest in the hearts of many. That day arrived for Michael Jackson, Whitney and Madonna and it will come for her, you best believe it.

If I had known at 13 that this is what I’m setting myself up for, that this is what it means to worship Mariah, I might have thought twice. But the Butterfly era was just such a glorious period so I think there was nothing I really could have done.

For the first time, I will see her live and I don’t think I will care that much if she screws up We Belong Together or Vision of Love although I hope she does not. I think what I bought the ticket for is for the chance to be contained in a same room with her, to get the once in a lifetime opportunity to breathe the same oxygen in the same room at the same time.

Oct 6, Yokohama

The singing for the second show was still far form perfect but still none of other people’s faves could come close to Mariah Carey’s ‘imperfect voice’ and so the throne for greatest living vocalist alive still wasn’t relinquished and all is right in the world. The sport just got boring for people who played it so classily during the first show. They are waiting to retweet the first 15-second clip of Mariah singing Always Be My Baby shittily that they could get their hands on, because the second show was not going to give it to them. The moment never came and mean social media bores are still crazy.

Finally someone had the sense to record respectable clips of when she sang so gloriously. It’s so great to know some lambs are still capable of good, sensible deeds such as this because really, sometimes, it’s just so hard to fathom why some ‘fans’ would post unflattering clips. Maybe these are the lambs who are also fans of basic starlets? It can only be surmised.

Sometimes I don’t agree with some of the lambs. Sometimes, fellow fans can be stupid and needlessly shady, like as if it makes it okay for them to say nasty things about her because they’re fans, calling Me I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (fantastic album) a flop flop flop. It’s irritating but if that’s how they deal with their grief, I’m left with no choice but to temporarily ignore their existence.

Much as I loathe some of the crazy, annoying fans, when our girl gets it right, we get to hold each others’ hands, sing praises for whatever she has done right in our own little ways, and heave a collective sigh of relief.

From now until the 30th, when she makes her last show in Asia, I will be very pre-occupied with thoughts of her. I will rhapsodize and romanticize fervidly and incessantly. I will relive the splendour of she and I because it’s not as if I have a choice.

Mariah’s Thing

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‘My thing is that I have to be myself and if that means that in that moment I don’t hear you, I don’t see you and you don’t exist to me at this moment, then that’s what it is.’

Mariah Carey, best person singer in the world, may have accidentally articulated how we (or just I) should feel about peoples and things that need rebuking off of our aura, when the quarrelings with Nicki Minaj led to things such as this quote which she eloquently and generously elucidated in an ET interview.

My interpretation of this is: Be yourself. If within yourself something doesn’t exist in your specific moment which can be totally whatever, don’t exhaust any of your senses by hearing, seeing or smelling something that is not existing in your moment. And then let it be.

A practical application of this is: instead of making a ‘Whateveeeeeeer!’ comment in any of your social networks “‘friends’s” posts, which you have to admit the internal struggle to not do can sometimes seem so insurmountable, you just nonchalantly block everything off because, hello, you have just been guided by Mariah’s non-existent beings moment management. Learn.

Turn away if you don’t care to read about Mariah Carey

I’ve been lamenting the absence of Quality, Serious, Oscar-whoring films in Manila for such a long time when what I should have been doing was scouring through Makati Cinema Square’s valuable trove of (technically) stolen DVDs, because where else could I find soon-to-be but probably never going to be released underground Mariah Carey movies such as Tennessee and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire? I haven’t really found either of these two but I’ve seen the Oscar-whoringer movie, Precious because of my precious.

The film is as good and as ‘dark’ as it’s hyped but you’ve seen grittier and obscener Social Relevance Movies because no country does poverty movies quite like the Philippines. Aside from gay indies, Star Cinema rom-coms and Bong Revilla Best Actor-snatching fantasies, we churn as much poverty-themed movies as much as we do cornies. I’ve seen grittier films but none that would have Mariah in them so Precious trumps everything else.

Precious is perceived as ‘dark’ but it makes up for its dark subject, an obese, illiterate and HIV-infected teenage girl, by having elaborate and cute fantasy sequences. It makes you feel a little morose, even more so as the film progresses because the tragedies, in perhaps the same pace as Precious’ pounds, just keep coming at her. It tries to be optimistic but the joys are only fleeting. But despite the outrageous number of tragedies that you could swear is the most that ever befell a teenage girl, something about it rings true, such as having an abusive mother. It’s a little too obvious to say but the thing that makes it work is the acting. It is director Lee Daniels’ genius instinct to obsess over the actors’ faces over anything else because he knew (just as I knew) that his best instrument is an actor’s performance. Wow.

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that Mariah just might be the new Cher who could win an Oscar, but I hope she does! I’m obviously not the most reliable person to judge her performance based on its actual merits and I’m probably the least reliable, but I’ve thought this over and hard. Mariah’s performance is a big deal because she’s probably the most dubious singer-turned actor to be cast in this type of movie, and it doesn’t help that she’s a big celebrity in a small, prestige movie, which is why it’s hard for some to appreciate the performance, which is the most uncharacteristic she’s ever been as an actress and a diva. In the last scene with Mo’nique (Mary) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Mariah (Ms. Weiss), all in under 15 minutes, did what she can with the little that she has to say, with only that rumble-y, worn out voice, ugly costume, and a veneer of toughness that’s the perfect buffer for Mo’nique’s intense monologue.

Depending on which part of the movie-anticipating part of the world you’re from, wanting to see a movie as hyped as Precious is like wanting to listen to depressing music and expecting to feel something beautiful. Lame analogy, okay, but anyway. We in the third world treat the coming of world cinema as if it’s the second coming because film distribution in our world is slow. I don’t mind very much but it’s annoying anyway. It makes me want to frying pan film distributors’ heads, Mary Jones-style.

Weiss Girl Mariah

Since Precious, the Mariah Carey movie that I’m dying to see is not going to be shown in Manila theaters anytime soon, and which might be shown mid-2010, by which time I would have already died from anticipation, I re-watched Wise Girls, a small movie that would have showcased the acting talent of the greatest diva of our time. Wise Girls tells the story of a certain New York-based, mob-run Italian restaurant that serves more than just pasta. Mira Sorvino, Melora Walters and Mariah Carey, who is not bad, play the waitresses. And if you really want to know what it’s about, go to IMDB because what I aim to examine and expound on is how Mariah is not at all a terrible actress as Glitter would have you believe.

Mostly I’m more interested in the experience of seeing a movie than the movie itself and I could say without reservation that Mariah would have been spared the breakdown had this movie been shown ahead of Glitter. If something as reputedly bad as Glitter can be shown in a third world, THX-equipped cinema, months after Rotten Tomatoes and just about every web traffic-hogging blogger had already proclaimed it to be bad, then an indieish movie such as Wise Girls can too, not because we have truly progressed as an above average appreciators of superior films nor because our local distributors never cared much for profit, but because and only because in the year that it was shown, 2002, Mariah was as popular as ever, and any movie that has at least one recognizable name in it will be shown, no matter how marginal the movie’s following is in the States or wherever. And so Wise Girls, the would/should-be launching vehicle of Mariah’s film career was shown here but in stinky SM Manila cinema, a telling sign that we were not going to see her in anything anymore.

I’m more concerned about critics’ assessment of movies so when I watch a movie that has her in it, and there aren’t many, I Google them and forget for a minute that I’m supposed to be doing other things in my life and I make searing commentaries such as this. And rewatching Wise Girls made me conclude, wow, that she isn’t so bad an actress after all. Even though I’m moved to mention her real life capacity for comedy, I could say with only the slightest bit of prejudice that she has put to great advantage her great comedic timing which she is supposed to have in real life. And even without having to say everything I’ve just said, I could never see her as anything but a wonderful human or actress.

I’ve seen this movie in the exact number of times that the average Mariah fan is supposed to watch it, which is to say, countless times, and the scene where she walks in the middle of the restaurant, gets her ass grabbed, and delivers what could have been THE career-shifting dialogue of her acting career, never fails to elicit a fawning, admiring gasp that can only come from someone who has had the nerve to bring his girlfriend to see Glitter and not be ashamed of his skin after pretty much giving away his real nature. And speaking of Glitter, is it really so awful? I think what paved the way for the tomato-throwage was that one corny scene where they were in a club and Max Beesley hands her a mic, done in a hazy, corny, slow motion sequence and she starts to spontaneously sing to the random beat being played. Apart from that scene, what else was so bad I just couldn’t see. Someone remove the blinders from eyes!