Category Archives: Events and announcements

Workshops, exhibits, concerts, etc. Anything I do that involves inviting other people.

Mon David: Coming true in LA

Mon David: Coming true in LA
HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated October 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Mon David is on a roll these days. He recently released a jazz album in the US titled “Coming True” and is starting to really get noticed.

We scheduled our flight to Los Angeles to make sure that we would catch a concert and album launch at the Catalina Bar in Hollywood on Oct. 4 where our good friend Mon David was to perform. In spite of the two-hour delay leaving Manila, I was happy that we made it.

Mon David is on a roll these days. He recently released a jazz album in the US titled “Coming True” and is starting to really get noticed. He is starting to be played on radio stations across America and critics have raved about his recordings and live shows.

Danny, Boboy and I have witnessed the evolution of Mon David from band singer, drummer, vocal coach and arranger, to recording artist and soloist, and into the compleat musician that he has become. It was Mon David who trained the APO and taught us a great deal of what we know about singing.

His struggles were the same as what all serious musicians worth their salt anywhere in the world go through. In this business, everyone pays his or her dues, and the truth is, the dues are never completely paid. You start off as an unknown, and until the end, whether you make it or not, you will always be proving who you are, even if only to yourself. You put your reputation on the line and earn the respect of your audience with every performance. And no matter how solid your career seems to be, it can go crazy if you don’t develop the right character and mindset to keep you grounded.

We have toured, recorded, performed and rehearsed with Mon many, many times. Our relationship spans decades. As a drummer, he was cool and steady, studious and reliable. He always worked well with the team even if I knew that, although he played our music with gusto, he was swinging to the beat of a different tune.

In truth, Mon simply loves jazz. And he has worked hard to be a jazz artist. Even as he immersed himself in all musical styles and genres, his heart was beating to the syncopated charm of the jazz music he was intoxicated with. I remember him during APO tours hanging around jazz clubs where he would spend his hard-earned money to watch his favorite artists perform.

In 2006, we all wished him well when he joined a worldwide jazz singing contest held in Britain. To everyone’s great joy, Mon won the top prize against some of the best performers in the world, people he listened to and learned from while cutting his teeth in the genre. He beat some of his own mentors and idols.

Soon after, he moved to the US with his family and tried his luck there. It has been a tough three years, singing in tiny clubs and Filipino community functions, audiences who hardly care about jazz. But slowly and surely, he has created a niche for himself. And soon he began to get the recognition that he deserves, not only from Pinoys but from the jazz audience.

There is something romantically artistic about what Mon has done. His is a redemption story that a lot of people, especially artists, can relate to. At over 50, he moves to America and goes for his dream. Three years later, he is beginning to taste success. And the best thing is, he continues to be as curious and creative as ever. It is no surprise that he is growing and blooming in his artistry.

That night at the Catalina bar, Mon David showered his audience with fine, elegant, eclectic and playful jazz. His scatting has always been amazing and that night was no exception. He sang classic pieces in the unique style he has developed through the years — marinated in classic American jazz as delivered by the likes of Kurt Ellig and Tony Bennett with a generous dose of Joe Henderson et al.

He also threw in a lot of Pinoy pride, generously mixing his songs with Tagalog and Kapampangan words amid the doo-wops and the skidadidababebweyas. As comfortable as he was doing an edgy Moonlight Serenade, he just as easily whipped off a Charlie Parker piece with Tagalog lyrics and sang it like it was originally written that way. Mon is simply, as they say in the jazz club world, “The Dopeness”!

The audience sighed, clapped, whistled and shouted “Bravo!” His musicians — Tateng Katindig, bassist Dominic Thiroux and Abe Lagrimas on the drums — were fabulously brilliant. His numbers with Bituin Escalante, Charmaine Clamor and Columbian saxophonist Justo Almario were so magical, the audience cheered loudly.

Watching Mon David weave his music that night, I remembered the moments we had spent together doing APO’s music, and all the times I have watched him sing solo doing his own stuff. He is the artist I have long admired, the artist I want to be, for his dedication, perseverance and great artistry.

That night, Mon showed everyone the mark of a great artist, and that is fearlessness. He was bold and daring, taking off with every song into unknown adlib territory and marvelously landing it all back on terra firma.

The best thing about Mon is that he has not changed. He is still the same guy I’ve know and worked with all these years. While he emanates a constant passion for excellence and high standards in performance, he is never one to belittle or show impatience towards anyone who does not deliver at the same level that he does.

I am happy to know that in his gigs in the US, his Kapampangan and Tagalog songs sometimes get more applause for their uniqueness and freshness than the more recognizable jazz standards. To an idiom as American as apple pie, Mon has managed to inject his own heritage and make it seem so natural. He is an artist who knows how to flow, and that is, after all, what jazz music is all about.

As his album title says so well, Mon David is “coming true.” And the world is listening and applauding.

Mabuhay ka Mon!

Hey Sydney, it’s gonna happen SOON….

Last April, Sydney Pinoys enjoyed the inimitable Jon Santos and his performance which left everyone very entertained and we all talked about it for weeks and weeks. Well, our second production is happening soon.

Mark the date this early. November 14, 2009 is a red letter day for Pinoys in Sydney Read and know why.

Mega-Rhythm Productions, Jim Paredes and WESTERN UNION

are proudly co-presenting the beautiful hit-making chanteuse

Ms Joey Albert– Live in Sydney


She will have extremely funnyman Norman Mitchel from Manila as special guest and Sydney-siders Brian Browne, Claudette Punsalan, Ian and John Manaloto.

It will be a night of nostalgia, and great standard songs which Ms. Joey Albert has immortalised. It will be a moment of romance and loads of laughter which (again) I promise you will not forget for a long time..

When: November 14, 2009

Venue: The Lyceum at Castle Hill RSL

Time: 8PM

Tickets: 55 AUD (GOLD) and 65 AUD (VIP)

Please call 0410 618 299 (CONRAD YSIP) or 98363494 (Ala or Mio Paredes) for reservations, inquiries, etc. Get your tickets early. As of now, without the formal announcement, we are already getting reservations. Don’t say I didn’t warn you guys!

Other sponsors are Bernie Biz, Ezyhomeloans, AVG Pest Control, Le Colonial, Highlights, Glocomm.

Official posters and flyers out soon.

Comedy, art and music

Here are three events I’ve been meaning to write about.

Watched Dyords Javier at the Teatrino in Greenhills last Thursday and had a blast! Dyords, who has always been funny and entertaining was on full-throttle. Together with a 12 piece band, he sang, danced, told crazy stories, played instruments, joked, and just totally charmed, and floored his audience. It’s one of those nights that brings a smile to your face when you remember it.

The great thing about entertainers like Dyords Javier is that they are NOT into TV culture, and the insultingly low standard of comedy that it believes to be funny and entertaining. No obvious, predictable, stock-character personas. No degrading, embarrassing attempts that fail to hit the mark that get more pathetic because of canned laughter. Dyords is live, FUNNY in a creative, original, seminal way and the audience reaction shows it. His concepts are unique, and especially so because of the immense contributions of Ernie Baladjay, his musical director and co-creator of his musical gags and elaborate works. John Lesaca, his guest, not only performed superbly but also gamely got into Dyords’ antics.
I won’t get into details about his material. I want you to discover it for yourself. Catch him on Thursdays, 8PM at Teatrino. You’l be happy you did. And yes, you can bring your high school son or daughter. No obscene material that will make you squirm. Just stuff that will make you laugh out loud or shake your head in delight! And btw, the music playing (and at times, even Dyords’ singing) is excellent!

* * *

Two Saturdays ago, a good friend in the art world Noli Romero invited me to photograph a nude painting session by some famous painters at the NBC tent. This was part of the big art exhibit and sale that went on during that weekend where many gallery owners displayed their collections much to the delight of the people who went.


The model was alternative cinema actress Mercedes Cabral, the ‘most beautiful actress’ in the last Cannes festival. It was interesting to watch blank canvases come to life with a few masterful strokes by the hands of good painters.

* * *

Last June 20, I invited a few friends in Sydney to my house to watch a young Phil-Aussie guitarist perform. About twenty people were agog watching Bryan Browne, 15 years of age play music with his guitar like a master many times his age. His audience of first-timers clapped, cheered, and even gave him a few ovations during his one and a half hour performance. He played guitar pieces that showcased his unbelievable dexterity and masterful grasp of the instrument. At such a young age, he plays with such impeccable precision and soulful feeling.
No wonder he has been invited a few times to play in Nashville, and for the Chet Atkins Society, a group of guitarists who keep alive the glory of one of the world’s greatest guitarist who Bryan idolizes. One of my favorite stories of his which I enjoy telling people is how he met and layed with guitar legend Les Paul. Maybe he should be the one to tell the story. Ask him when you meet him.

Bryan is still in high school. It is quite ironic and funny that even when he is able to tour the world , meet, play and hang around with great guitarists, alas, becausee of his age, he can’t even have a few beers with them!



Has your life been on hold for sometime? Can’t move on to the next stage? Can’t get going on the new career, relationship, calling? Can’t let go of the past?

You need to create space for the real you to start living the life you were meant to have.

I am happy to announce the 47th run of Tapping the Creative Universe Workshop (TCU), an experience of creative joyful awakening. Unblock yourself and let the sunshine in.

This will run on
WHEN: August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and10
TIME: from 7 to 9 PM
WHERE: at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC.
COST: P5,000.

Please call 4265375 or 0916 855 4304 and ask for Ollie, or write me at for questions or reservations. You can also visit for the syllabus, FAQ and testimonials from people who have taken it.

For those who have taken this course, you can take it again for free if it has been more than a year since you attended. Please feel free to pass this on.

See you soon.


After a successful first run, it’s time again for my Basic Photography course in Sydney.

I will be giving a workshop on Basic Photography on June 20, 2009 at my house in Glenwood. This will be a hands-on experiential approach which will cover basic knowledge of the SLR camera and its functions, techniques on lighting for outdoors, indoors and including studio lighting, composition, the use of different lenses, portraiture and landscape techniques, motion or action photography, and many others.

This is a one day workshop only from 1 to 7PM and so we will proceed immediately to shooting pictures as we discuss the theories. I will work with a limited number of students only.

Requirements are, you must have an SLR digital camera capable of manual settings.

PLACE: 4 Harcourt Grove, Glenwood

Please call 98363494 or email me at for questions and reservations.


I’ve met a few people who have asked me when I would give this workshop. The answer is below.

I will be giving a workshop on general photography on April 18, 2008 at my house in Glenwood. This will be a hands-on experiential approach which will cover basic techniques, lighting for outdoors, indoors and including studio lighting, composition, the use of different lenses, portraiture techniques, motion or action photography, etc..

This is a one day workshop from 1 to 7PM and so we will proceed immediately to actually shooting pictures as we discuss the theories. I will work with a limited number of students only.

Requirements are, you must have an SLR digital camera capable of manual settings.

PLACE: 4 Harcourt Grove, Glenwood

Please call 98363494 or email me at for questions and reservations.

To Sydney Pinoys–A persnal invitation from DA MAN

Jon Santos makes a personal invitation to everyone to catch his show at RSL Burwood, Sydney on April 4. It will be a GAS!

It’s full steam ahead! Jon Santos: Live and in PersonS tickets are out! It’s at a great price at 49 AUD for April 4 at the RSL Club in Burwoood, 7:00 PM.

Score the tickets now!

Tickets can be purchased online at:, & selected outlets (see below)

Chow King Oriental @Westfield Parramatta (PH 98060048), Bayanihan Asian Grocery @ Granville (PH 98971850), J & M Mini Mart @ Pennant Hills (PH 94843374); Highlights Hair & Make-up @Blacktown (PH 98311240). Check out your local Pinoy stores.

OR CALL Conrad Isip at 0410-618-299 and 98363494 and ask for LYDIA.

Mar 4, ’09 10:39 PM

Thanks to Edd Aragon, Sydney’s premier caricaturist who allowed me to reprint his interview and his caricature of Jon Santos.

Caricature of Jon (above) where I used a ballpoint pen, scanned and brought to PhotoShop.

Apo Jim Paredes, friend and neighbour excitedly broke the news.

-Hey Edd, I’m bringing Jon Santos to Sydney! He’s good! Really good!

-Good on yer Jim, that’s awesome!

Being such a good neighbour like Jim, we’ll help spread the word to welcome to Sydney impersonator-comedian Jon Santos, who, I confess, I’m not too familiar with. But I trust Jim…and his daughter Ala who saw Jon live in Manila and really loved it. They need not convince me for I trust the taste of creative people… : )

For us who haven’t seen Jon live on stage, aren’t we jealous yet, fellow Pinoy Sydneysiders? This time Jim’s Handog is specifically for our Fil-Aus community. Point is, good entertainment for homesick Pinoys is a rare gift, quality of which enhanced by rare and gifted entertainers who come to Sydney. I’ve spent half of my life in Australia and I can’t help but be cynical when the little imp in me murmurs “It’s about time our mutilated, Van Gogh-eared community is weaned away from professional “karaokists” (it’s just mic abuse:-) and beat up themes of a stand-up faux pax pugilist. And don’t you poke your wang at me nor laugh if I define ai-ai as a pair of three-toed sloths. There were times I couldn’t escape from a fine-woven straitjacket of mediocrity if I had to watch another Pinoy comedian do a clinical, chocolate-covered, nightsoil humour.

One need not be a sociologist to acknowledge that a community’s evolution relies on the community’s perceived intelligence, hence it’s a two-way affair. It would have been funnier if we were still in the days of Charlie Chaplin when we could slap the stick on ourselves and roar out laughing (and they called it the Silent Movies!).

I love impersonators. Don’t we? Why is that? Well I think our brains were trained early to identify familiar people (along with objects; e.g. props) and if our grey matter are able to polarize all the information presented to us by the mimic aka impersonator and then we’re taken hook, line and sinker; then we think it’s funny. We laugh at ourselves as we vicariously connect and adore the performer who has perfected his craft, a fine art of fleeting camouflage. Reality takes a beating from clever people! It’s like a magic performance; the miracle of transformation that catches our attention; and like a trompe l’oeil (trick-of-the-eye) painting, it’s the seeming realism of the illusion that gives us joy.

Since the seventies Filipinos had a few, good impersonators. Well there’s good, ol’ Willie Nepumoceno who had performed in Australia a number of times, and Gary Bautista who for me is just a blur owing to my exodus to Australia, where impersonators like Sir Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage) are endemic. Comedy as social phenomenon is universal..err..more of global, but it could only effectively serve well local humor for culture and language vary.

Wonder how hard it is to be an impersonator and be funny. Have you tried impersonating your teacher in high school? Did you get a good score from your schoolmates? I tried in my younger days but I didn’t think I had the courage to stand up on stage and make people laugh as a mimic. ..and that’s why I chose to do comic strips for newspapers instead. So how hard is the process of impersonation and trying to make people laugh? What if they don’t buy your joke? What if they throw their shoes at me? Unimaginable! So let’s just leave it to the professionals and ask Jon about it before he lands in Sydney this April.

EA: 19 years you’ve been making people laugh! Is it hard?

JS: Anyone who has attempted to do professional comedy will tell you it is harder than drama, action, horror, or any other entertainment expression. Woody Allen called comedy ‘tragedy plus time’. An Italian saying claimed, people laughed ‘so they wouldn’t have to cry’. The paradox is that comedy is almost always about pain. On the physical side, one immediately notices 19 years worth of ‘stress lines’ on my face, as this particular ‘branch’ of comedy is dependent on so much make-up and sometimes prosthetics. Next to them, though, are ‘laugh lines” . The work is intensely rewarding as it is tough.

EA: I learned you worked with Willie Nepomuceno before (this author’s friend and colleague in the student movement against the Marcos dictatorship). How was it?
JS: Willie Nepomuceno is a legend in a way that I can only dream. I was lucky to belong to the last post-Marcos socio-political stand-up generation spawned by Willie and Tessie Tomas. After us came the Comedy Club batch. And the local comedy generations continue in ever-changing ways.

EA: Do Filipinos mock or love Filipino stereotyped personalities you might be prone to lampoon?

JS: As oxygen is to combustion, comedy can never happen without love. It is simply impossible to make people laugh on the basis of pure bile. Even in the darkest of Marcos underground comedy, it was never about condemning them as much as it was about exposing their folly to the light, to diminish its power. Nowadays, comedy club ad-libs seem to focus on deriving punch lines from the audience, but it serves its live audience well. Imagine, after a whole workday of political correctness, and sucking-it-all-in, at least everyone gets to laugh, at themselves, and with each other, without restraint.

EA: What type of audience challenges you? (e.g. insular or insolent?:)

JS: All audiences are equally, if not unpredictably, challenging. Sometimes I can have worse jitters tickling salesmen than presidents. The insolent customer is just as dissatisfied as the insular customer, and the challenge to the performer is to think quickly, and, with everything he’s got, work on restoring that connection.

EA: Stand-up comedy is quite a fearsome career. I admire your courage. Were you born or made?

JS: The unthreatening face with genes of expressiveness, the good memory, verbal speed – definitely born with it. But the rest: The childhood pains that drove one to compensate through laughter, the effort to sponge up all comic devices and styles by working with the best mentors– definitely made. But the fact that one survives, one does not faint or crumble in front of a grim crowd, the laughter and applause – miracle, pure miracle.

EA: How can humour contribute to society’s ills?

JS: Mitch (a lot of people remember her as Maya) Valdes, a colleague I truly admire, believes that the Pinoy humour saves us from killing ourselves, and each other. The Pinoy comic has also been compared with the boy in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ – the one who says what we all really want to say, but couldn’t, because we, as a people, are very non-confrontational by nature. I have to verify if we really do have low suicide rates, but one thing’s for sure- we are the best looking Asians. Many believe that it’s a double-edged-sword-situation, though. Our propensity for using laughter as relief , as escape, prevents us from acting on our country’s problems.

EA: Gender preference is not an issue, but does it play a significant part in your performance?

JS: Everything that can be an issue plays a part in a comic performance. Laughter is a reaction to the absurd, the uncomfortable, the taboo, the things that may not be spoken. A laughing man is the universal metaphor for subversion.

EA: What makes you happy and at peace?

JS: Whew! At last, a question that I did not have to sweat for. Of course, family, friends, love and what else, laughter!

EA: What do Filipino-Australians like me expect to remember after watching a night of your performance?

JS: You mean, aside from remembering to invite me again? Seriously, rather than remember, I rather you forget. I hope you forget for a while the tough times we are experiencing. Forget for a moment that some of you may be far from home and family. Or that it had been a rough day, week or year. Forget awhile, and laugh. Laugh out loud , but better yet, laugh quietly from the heart. And afterwards, remember that life is beautiful.

EA: Any kind words for (them) us?

JS: In our heart of hearts, we are all Pinoys. Kami ay panauhin ninyo at may utang na loob sa inyo na na- anyaya sa amin. We are honored to be standing in front of you and be accorded the attention. Even greater honor is the fact that we are performing to the modern heroes of our country, keeping our country vibrant with your spirit of enterprise, your hard work and your courage, bringing the Philippines to another spot on the globe, staking your claim for us Filipinos. I can only speak with admiration for you guys.

EA: Salamat Jon. Looking forward to see you in Sydney!

JS: Salamat din. See you all.

More about Jon (from the net)
“Nineteen years ago, Tessie Tomas was invited as guest speaker for Jon’s Junior Marketing Association in UP. He went up for an autograph and upon the cajoling of friends, impersonated the master impersonator herself. Entertained, Tessie invited him to join her group.

He had just accepted a teaching post (Economics. Yikes!), when, again, Tessie urged him to try the comic circuit for a year, and he never stopped. He has since campaigned with Ralph Recto for Ate Vi, exchanged small talk with former president Fidel Ramos over cigars, made Charo Santos realize that having been impersonated by Jon, She Has Arrived. And after doing countless personalities, Jon Santos has been busy more often as himself, setting up a little bed and breakfast on Boracay Island and taking his “characters” along with him for special comedy shows abroad.

In the Philippine scene, nobody is anybody until he or she is done by Jon Santos. Having perfected the art of costume and make-up, Jon becomes the person; a better version in fact, because it’s a much, much funnier version. Even bureaucratic bores who somehow land on the news become hilarious, endearing creatures in the hands of Jon Santos (Actually, in the hands, face, body and voice of Jon). So just think what a riot he creates with the already colourful or absurd……

Jon has been impersonating and imitating people for nineteen (19) years now. His material thrives on who’s hot at the moment, but some of his best-loved characters are the classics: “Ate Vi”, “Basana Roces”, “Armida Sigyon-Makareyna”, “Sherap Espada (& his wife, “Sen. Lhoy”) Shawie”, “Bro. Mike Volare”, “Tita Kory”, “Sen. Juan Flavor”, “Sen. Meeryam”, “Pres. Gloring”, “Krissy Anino”, “Ara”, “Joyce”, “Mawee Tailor-ing” and the latest addition to the repertoire, “Okrah Weenfree”.

But these are samples of Jon on paper – and don’t even capture half the adlibs, the brilliant spur-of-the-moment remarks that add tons to the character that he is at the moment. We don’t see the costume, the make-up nor hear the voice and the delivery that keep audiences laughing for 30 or so minutes non-stop. As they say, everybody in the Philippines is a comedian.”

Eto NA! Bili na!


It’s full steam ahead! Jon Santos: Live and in PersonS tickets are out! It’s at a great price at 49 AUD for April 4 at the RSL Club in Burwoood, 7:00 PM.

Score the tickets now!

Ticket can be purchased online at:, & selected outlets (see below)

Chow King Oriental @Westfield Parramatta (PH 98060048), Bayanihan Asian Grocery @ Granville (PH 98971850), J & M Mini Mart @ Pennant Hills (PH 94843374); Highlights Hair & Make-up @Blacktown (PH 98311240)
(more outlets soon)

Eto NA! Bili na!