Fans of Rex Navarrete as well as the plain curious won’t have to be disappointed that tickets to the Filipino-American standup comedian’s show on Nov. 21 at Teatrino have sold out. The good news is that he has agreed to extend his act one more night, on Nov. 25, at the same venue.
Teatrino, located on the ground floor of the Promenade Mall (across Music Museum) in the Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, is a cozy 200-seater club whose stage is at eye-level distance—perfect for intimate gigs such as Navarrete’s.
Here’s an excerpt from a Q&A he did recently with Teatrino management:
On what gets him “high” while performing: “When I look into the crowd and see someone that hasn’t had a good laugh in almost years, and I’m bringing them to the ground with laughter … that’s the best view ever, to see that I’ve connected with another person. Sometimes it’s too much to look at and I tend to look away.”
For Navarrete, “Filipino humor is totally geared to standup comedy. It’s a craft of defiance, individualism and unity.”
As to what makes him “roll on the floor with laughter,” he quipped: “Seriously? Fart sounds of any kind and of any duration. Those always get me. They are the universal joke.”
Chad Borja shines
We’ve been to Teatrino a few times, most recently last week, unexpectedly catching the New Minstrels Divos in a special benefit show produced by the University of Sto. Tomas High School Batch 1978 for the Elderlies of the Missionary of Charity of Mother Teresa.
The New Minstrels Divos, composed of two original members (Ding Mercado, Eugene Villaluz) and succeeding generation personnel (Chad Borja, Rene Puno) of the defunct pop group, took the audience on a nostalgic trip to the ’60s and ’70s, including Motown, Barry Manilow and even Julio Iglesias.
Spotted among the crowd were “Eat Bulaga” producer Tony Tuviera and TV5 chief operating officer Bobby Barreiro.
What was most significant about the performance is the quality of Borja’s voice, which has been miraculously preserved, unscathed from his bout with throat cancer.
Good friend and former jazz club owner Serafin Pua tells us that Vivian Velez loves Bob Marley—a little-known fact that we confirmed just last week after visiting Frazz, a newly opened Caribbean restaurant/reggae club (Metrowalk Complex, Pasig) which Velez, once dubbed “Miss Body Beautiful” of Philippine show biz, runs with business partners.
The restaurant is on the ground floor while the club is upstairs. During our visit, the DJ was playing dancehall—reggae with a faster tempo and hip-hop elements, the DJ himself rapping spontaneously (“toasting”).
That night, a Nigerian student at the University of the Philippines who moonlights as DJ Linx was doing the toasting.
In the Philippines, there has been no club that specializes in reggae, and hopefully Velez succeeds in her venture. We strongly suggest that she makes a few improvements, specifically by refurbishing Frazz’s sound system, or at least asking an audio expert to fix the room’s acoustics.
There’s got to be a way in which listening to reggae and carrying on a conversation with companions don’t clash.
Tampopo, literally “dandelion” in Japanese, is also the name of a restaurant in Singapore, whose Philippine franchise has opened in Promenade Greenhills. Basketball star Chris Tiu owns the franchise with a number of business partners.
Recently we sampled one of its specialties, Miso Deluxe Hokkaido Ramen (P440), along with Chicken Katsu (P340/set) and Sui Gyoza (P150/6 pieces), washed down with Asahi Beer (P180).
The miso ramen was unforgettably tasty, its spicy-tangy-salty blend so perfect that we slurped the soup and noodles in a jiffy.
While we were initially attracted to the “no fat” tag on the chicken katsu, we made a mental note to try the “Top Grade Black Pig Tonkatsu” next time.
So, the prospect of a good night out in the Ortigas area is tantalizing enough: early dinner at Tampopo (tel. 0917-8547440), show at Teatrino (7224532, 7228310 local 116), and after-show drinks at Frazz (0917-8881202).