The Phenomenal
WASSUP of 2013: A Recap

  It’s Decemburrr… ‘tis the season… it’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you, “be of good cheer,” like how the song goes, the holiday excitement fills the air. This is also the time of the year when we all have to take a pause and reflect for what we have contributed to make 2013 a remarkable one and looking forward for what’s in store in the coming year. This is also one of my favorite times of the year where I’m able to do a recap of my Wassup?! column for the year. It has been a stellar year, so to speak! 

    January 2013, we had a share of the Global Pinoy 2012 sponsored by ABS-CBN and DZMM in partnership with ANCOP USA held in Woodridge, Virginia. Chicago’s very own- Nina Mae Vidal, Divine Aleonar and Apollo Apilan shared their singing prowess and represented Illinois in the national competition. There were two outstanding Filipina American singers who bagged the coveted title of USA Global Pinoy Idol Champions, Leslie Ann Picazo of California, and the exciting news of all, one of them is from Illinois- Divine Aleonar. They both flew to Manila, Philippines and competed at the World Caravan with contenders from around the globe. 

    February 2013, Afrobeat resounded in Chicago as the most critically-acclaimed musical of a couple seasons ago, FELA! was on a World Tour and returned to our city. Musical legends Nas, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Ziggy Marley, Sting, Smokey Robinson, Beyonce and a number of notable celebrities like Charlize Theron, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller and First Lady Michelle Obama and countless others have already led standing ovations at this musical, one that has thrilled audiences across the country. Back by popular demand, producers Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will & Jada Smith, along with Ruth & Stephen Hendel brought the Broadway experience back for a limited engagement of six astounding performances on February 19-23 at the Arie Crown Theater.  In addition to members of the original Broadway Cast, the 2013 tour features celebrated actor and rapper, Tego Calderon and Grammy-award winning and former member of Destiny’s child and Chicago Native, Michelle Williams. It was a huge hit in Chitown!

     Chicago concert scene was busy in March 2013 when great musicians and performing artists from the Philippines staged a concert in Chicago. Parokya ni Edgar, the so-called “Pambansang Banda Ng Pilipinas” along with the award-winning Filipino Rapper, Gloc-9 and the famous Filipina actress and singer/songwriter, Aiza Seguerra rocked the Copernicus Theater. Local bands and artists joined these headliners, the likes of Abakus, Abandon Roscoe, Mer Abante and Fr. Joel Lopez. It was a blast concert.

    After 6 years, Side A, one of the hottest and most-sought-after bands from the Philippines, staged a successful concert in Chicago, with KZ Tandingan, X-Factor Philippines 1st Grand Winner. This most-awaited concert was held in April 2013 at the Copernicus Theater. The now defunct Pure Voice Divas, the first all premier Pinoy women voice talents in Chicago, as well as Mr. Ariel Dayanghirang, were the featured artists in the pre-show! They proved to all the pinoys in Chicago that they never stop reinventing themselves and worked hard to give their very best in both recordings and live performances. Ashley-Lauren Elrod was launched as well as Chicago’s Rising Superstar to watch in this month.
    May 2013, Wassup?! went mainstream again. Every year, huge fans of electronic dance music, house, trance, electro and progressive DJs from all over the world trooped to Miami to party at Ultra Music Festival. For the first time ever after 15 years of making Miami as Electronic Dance Music party destination, Ultra Music Festival had extended its event to two weekends this year. More than 330,000 party people from 80 countries packed Miami’s Bayfront Park setting a new record of attendance this year. This music festival is considered as one of the biggest in the world with its famous full-light show and electronic display. This year, an impressive line-ups of Grammy-award winning and famous DJs spun which include Fedde Le Grand. 

    June 2013 was the month when International Filipino Pop Singing Sensation, Charice came out of the closet as a lesbian. Charice, the former “Glee” star and international pop singing sensation finally came out to fans during an emotional television interview with Mr. Boy Abunda of “The Buzz” in the Philippines. It was a tough time for her but eventually a time when she had a great taste of being true to herself and enjoy her freedom.

        July 2013, we had the opportunity to interview the Fil-Am Rovolution Sensation, Ro Shon Fegan. He’s a multi-talented young man who created a niche for himself for being an actor, rapper, singer-songwriter, freestyle dancer, and producer. He is best known and adored by millions through his starring role as Ty Blue on the hit, Disney Channel Original series, “Shake It Up” and for his role as Sander Loyer in the Disney Channel movie franchise “Camp Rock” with the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato. He also performed songs on the Camp Rock soundtrack as well as the DVD bonus track “Camp Rock”.

    August 2013, celebrating its seventh year anniversary, Latino Fashion Week made history by bringing LFW to Los Angeles for the first time. Established in Chicago, co-founders Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon brought LFW to Avalon Hollywood in LA last June. The Red Carpet Premiere was a star-studded event, which served as a platform for the local Latino designers based in LA to showcase their collections as they break into the United States’ competitive fashion industry with lines reinforcing their talent and identity.     September 2013 was tagged as the “September Fever: the birth of Wassup?! Jovie Calma LIVE!”. It’s the month where we unveiled my new and syndicated TV show being aired at Chicago Philippine Reports TV 25 and my column at VIA Times.  

    In October 2013, 2,000+ party people from all over the globe, 72 hours of non-stop dance music, featuring more than 40 world-renowned DJs and artists, 9 uniquely themed-party experiences, 2 private islands beach parties, a massive cruise ship, you got yourself, “The Groove Cruise.” If you haven’t heard about it, “The Groove Cruise” is dubbed as the world’s largest floating dance music festival. Managed by Whet Travel, it’s a 3-day floating music party that has voyages departing from both LA and Miami. “Wassup?! Jovie Calma LIVE!” had its debut on this 3-day party of a lifetime all aboard!

    In November 2013, the Regional Global Pinoy Singing Idol 2014 was a success with Jing Quitain Wenghofer as the Champion for the North Central Region.

    How time flies now that the end of 2013 is upon our doorstep. It has been a roller-coaster experience and some are ready to get off the ride. For many of us, the holiday season is a time that is anticipated with both joy and anxiety. Sure, we love the celebrations, the family traditions, and we cherish the memories of holidays gone by; but along with them, we add the stresses of preparation, expectations and the fear of letdowns, or family squabbles that we have experienced in the past. And, this year, the stress and anxiety level is likely to be amplified. With this in mind, we have to know what’s the true meaning of Christmas. It is the celebration of love, generosity, benevolence, kindness, brotherhood, and familial bonding, and the celebration of the joy, peace, and security that those things promote.        

The true meaning of Christmas- according to this way of thinking- is a kind of Hallmark sentimentality about a world where there is no strife, no anger, no hatred, and no criticism; a world in which there is no warfare in any of its forms. It is indeed a preparation.     Preparing for Christmas means preparing for LOVE…to love more…more powerful…powerful enough to forgive all and to fully absorb forgiveness from all as well.

    On a side note, special birthday wishes to Tita Alice Monk (Dec. 1), Tito Aris Topacio (Dec.1), Tita Haidee Angeles (Dec. 4), James DC (Dec. 13), Michelle Ola (Dec. 20), and to my Dad Ricky Calma (Dec. 28). I love you, Dad!        

Congratulations to all the most deserving awardees of the 19th Annual Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame, most especially to a dear friend of mine, Nick Vera Perez, Hall of Famer in Excellence in Entertainment and to a fellow VT columnist, Tita Vicky Smith. Major love to all the volunteers at the Hall of Fame special mention to my assistant coordinator, Ryan Tejero!

    To all VIA Times Readers and CPRTV viewers, thank you for your continued support. Until the next issue of Wassup?! Jovie Calma LIVE! Have a Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous 2014! God Bless Us All!

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