Friday, July 25, 2008

Swinging a vote with Kevin Costner

Last night, Kevin Costner and friends took try at voting on the red carpet with the world premiere of "Swing Vote" happening at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. For event photographers, this premiere was definitely a hard one to shoot as we were squeezed into the photo pen like a pack of sardines. It was so bad to a point that we event had a third row of photographers. However, Disney came to the rescue after realizing how tight the squeeze was by opening up a space for a few photographers after the video crew line.

It didn't help much as security had to put the separating metal barrier in place between photographers and video crews. Of course, being from video, this one video crew member "Access Hollywood" had high disregard for photographers as he told the security that the barrier should be at least two feet towards the photographers area, which wasn't true. This fool tells one photographer who is at the end of the line, that it's the yahoos (photographers) in the second row that are making a big deal about the barrier's location. Duh, Mr. video guy, you're the one who took it upon yourself to have the barrier encroach more on the photographers side. Opps, sorry readers, I think I got a bit carried away.

Anyways, being in second row myself, I was only able to get half shots and head shots of celebrities. One event photographer mentioned to me half way through the premiere that we're definitely working harder than usual to get these celebrities to look at our cameras. Even movie star lead, Kevin Costner, was a bit difficult to shoot especially being second row. Mr. Costner didn't have much eye contact.

Kevin Costner with his wife.

Nathan Lane was a bit easier as was George Lopez. Last night we definitely know who George Lopez is supporting for president with the t-shirt he wore to the premiere.

Nathan Lane hanging out on the carpet.

George Lopez sports his Obama shirt.

Closing out the carpet was a surprise appearance by Paula Abdul. What a pleasure it was to shoot her as she was cooperative with photographers especially with eye contact and doing over the Shoulder shots.

Until next time, "Over The Shoulder!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Backstage with JC Chasez

Chasez Challenges the Dance Crews with his judging skills.
By Peter Gonzaga

Many of you know of JC Chasez from the group 'N Sync, the popular boy band that produced the superstar Justin Timberlake along with paparazzi chased Lance Bass. In 2004, Chasez released a solo album, Schizophrenic, and has gone on to write and produce for music acts such as Girls Aloud, Basement Jaxx, and the Backstreet Boys.

JC Chasez with backstage correspondent Layla Kayleigh.

His new project that Chasez is currently working on is the popular MTV show "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" in which he's a judge along with choreographer Shane Sparks and rap diva Lil Mama. Since the show's inception, he's been a judge that is particular with execution and choreography that sometimes leads to audience members booing him whenever he has a solid critique of any of the popular b-boy/dance crews. Don't call him a Simon Cowell because he understands the hardship the groups go through.

JC took a few minutes out of his time before the show taping last Tuesday, July 15, 2008, backstage to wow me with his judging sensibilities.

Peter G: You're in your second season as a judge on "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" and it seems like you've been a bit harder on the b-boy/breakdancing crews, why is that?
JC: I'm not necessarily harder on the b-boy crews but you know, I will point out things that should be worked on. Here's the thing. I respect all these crews. I respect the athleticism of these b-boy crews because they are doing things that take a lot of agility and a lot of strength, a lot of concentration. I'm going to tell you right now that a lot of those flips on my best days is not happening. I have the utmost respect for these guys but at the end of the day, in order to entertain for a long period of time, there has to be more. You have to so range. If all you do is back flips for an hour, it becomes less impressive 45 minutes in. The first back flip is wowing, the second one is wowing, and the twentieth one has lost its edge. I'm looking for range and execution.

B-Boy crew Super Cr3w.

Peter G: Talking about range, do you see that with Fanny Pak? Personally, I thought of them as the underdog but then now they have some contention to get to the top.
JC: They are definitely an underdog. In my opinion of what they have over all the groups, they have a creative element. They are a bit more visionary when it comes to the overall entertainment level. They don't do a thousand back flips and yet you're excited to see them, as you are an acrobatic group. There is something to be said of that. But I think at times some of the groups have given us that. It's just a matter of everybody living up to their fullest potential.

Fanny Pak.

Peter G: It's coming down to the wire with only five groups left as of today (Tuesday, July 22, 2008), it's harder for you as a judge to send someone home?
JC: It's definitely tough to be a judge right now because basically I'd say four out of the five groups; we're like it's going to be impossible to send home.

Peter G: Do you feel like there's going to be a surprise upset where you say, "Oh My Gosh, we have to send one of these groups home."
JC: Here's the thing. On any given day, these groups can have their best day and they can have their worst day when the pressure is on that day.

Peter G: For you seeing these groups perform, does that give you the bug to get back out there and dance?
JC: I enjoy it and I enjoy watching these groups. I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I have a front row seat to a great show. To be it's like a dancing concert to me while I'm kind of taking notes along the way. I'm a fan of all these groups. I know how hard they work and they put their time, their thought and energy into it and I appreciate it. I know I'm judging but I'm enjoying it. When I see them working at it, it's inspiring and makes you want to go to work.

Peter G: I asked Shane Sparks about this, what group or what particular moves from a group has blown you away this season?
JC: Any in particular move, ah, maybe the air flairs. I just love the lines that I see with Fanny Pak. The lines they use are so unique. They are not going with generic lines when they are putting their legs or arms out. They are giving me something that is angular and eccentric. I've haven't been overexposed to it, so I feel like I'm watching something new all the time. I also love the cleanliness of SoReal. They're great. When it comes to execution, they are unbelievable. I would say those two are the greatest.

SoReal before the opening performance of the show.

Peter G: Once the show wraps up, what's in the pipeline for you?
JC: I'm doing this show. I'm also going to shoot a small part in a film. Also, I'm always in the studio writing whether on my stuff or other people's stuff.

Peter G: Any plans for an album?
JC: That's always in the pipeline.

(As of this writing, there are five crews left. They include Fanny Pak, SoReal, SuperCr3w, Boogie Bots and Supreme Soul. The show airs on MTV every Thursdays at 10:00 pm et/pt. with reruns through out the week.)

All photos by ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SuperCr3w and SoReal Showing Their Strength on Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew

After a successful first season of MTV'S "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" with the Jabbawockeez taking the title of "America's Best Dance Crew," the second season of the show premiered Thursday, June 19, 2008. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. Starting off with 10 dance crews, three have been eliminated and one more will fall tonight. The current crews that are still in the running as of this afternoon are: ASIID, BOOGIE BOTS, FANNY PAK, PHRESH SELECT, SOREAL, SUPERCR3W and SUPREME SOUL. ASIID. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. Boogie Bots. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. Phresh Select. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. SoReal. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. Super Cr3w. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. Supreme Soul. ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press. The current underdog or suprise crew of the season has to be Fanny Pak. It looks as if they may be able to just survive the next few rounds of eliminations. This crew's unique style include their strength with their unique interpretations of the songs they choose. Their style consists more of dance, artistry and less hip-hop, b-boy and breakdancing moves. As for the major favorites of this season's show include SuperCr3w of Las Vegas and SoReal of Houston, TX looks like they may be battling each other at the very end but things can change week to week. An interesting element of the majority of the crews is that there is at least one crew member that is of Asian descent. After interviewing the crews during last Tuesday's taping of the show for tonight's airing, I was able to gauge the group's pride in who they are and where they come from. One interesting fact from Lor "Blao" Song of Phresh Select hailing from the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia), he's proud that his participation in the show is breaking down stereotypes of Asian just being computer geeks, nurses or accountants. Without realizing it, "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew" has become a subconscious soapbox for Asian American Pride. I will be covering the rest of the upcoming episodes and will post my behind the scene experiences of the show. Maybe I'll get the groups to do an "Over The Shoulder" pose All photos are copyright of Pacific Rim Photo Press - ©Sthanlee B. Mirador/Pacific Rim Photo Press.