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Entertainment News (09/12/23)

Sneak previews for Concrete Utopia

South Korean disaster thriller Concrete Utopia, starring Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-jun, and Park Bo-young, has arrived in Philippine theaters early thanks to sneak previews, including one today, Sept. 12, nationwide. Its regular release in the country starts on Sept. 20. Loosely based on the second part of the hit webtoon Joyful Outcast by Kim Sung-nyung, Concrete Utopia follows survivors who gather in an apartment which is the last remaining building in Seoul in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Like with so many contemporary global events, the characters gradually descend into ruthless tribalism. Directed by Um Tae-hwa, the film stars an ensemble which includes Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-jun, Park Bo-young, Park Ji-hu, Kim Do-yoon and Kim Sun-young. In Korea, it was hailed as a sobering parable and picked by the Korean Film Council to represent South Korea in the selection for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards. Concrete Utopia is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures.

Nicole Laurel Asensio releasing new single

Singer Nicole Laurel Asensio will release her new single, “Kiss Me Now,” on Sept. 15. The slow, soulful song was written and recorded almost entirely impromptu, with the gliding, powerful vocals backed by textures of gospel influences in the instrumental chord choices and deep tones. The lyrics describe the urgency of finally giving in for a first kiss. “I hopped on a 3 a.m. bus alone to Baguio and booked myself an afternoon session in Openheaven recording studios for the first time,” explained Ms. Asensio in a statement on the song’s creation. “Producer Gabe Dandan was tapering off a Baguio series of gigs and met me at the studio to join in the collaboration. Award-winning producer Shadiel Chan welcomed us into his studio and introduced me to his band.” The track was then sent to Krina Cayabyab who arranged backup vocals performed by jazz group Baihana, with additional vocals from Iwi Laurel, and then to Michael Guevarra who contributed to a synchronized guitar-sax solo from home. The track was finally mastered by recording engineer Angee Rozul and Abbey Road UK by Alex Gordon. “Kiss Me Now” will be available on all digital platforms on Sept. 15.

Award-winning moving images screened at MCAD

A collection of 20 critically acclaimed moving images that answer fundamental questions on existence and history will be screened on Sept. 14, 15, and 16 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. The “Worlds We Are” selection showcases hybrid documentaries, video essays and diaries, narrative experiments, filmed performances, and archival audio visions that circle around places in or connected to Southeast Asia. The selected works were curated by film scholar, educator, programmer and critic Patrick F. Campos, and will be divided into three sections: SELVES, on subject formation, memory, sense of belonging, and inescapable attachment to home; WORLDS, on the self as simultaneously one and many formed amid communities and catastrophes; and HISTORIES, on the narrative of selves in a long set of motion and recent pasts against violent silencing and erasures. The third day will include a dialogue with Mr. Campos; a talk by cultural worker, writer, and independent curator Lisa Ito-Tapang; and a panel discussion with filmmakers Sari Dalena and Drestel Galang with curator Lara Acuin. The three-day program will be held at MCAD at the Benilde Design + Arts Campus along Dominga St. in Malate, Manila. Slots are available for P300 for all three days of screening. Interested participants may register through

Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion work on new single

American rap stars Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have released “Bongos,” a new song to close out the summer, via Atlantic Records. The accompanying music video , featuring an assortment of dancers surrounding the iconic duo, is directed by Tanu Muino. Also available is a limited-edition CD for the single, arriving alongside the announcement of Cardi B’s historic 12 nominations at this year’s upcoming BET Hip-Hop Awards including Best Hip Hop Video, Best Collaboration, Song of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, and Hip Hop Artist of the Year. Prior to “Bongos,” the pair released the viral sensation “WAP (Feat. Megan Thee Stallion),” which affirmed Cardi B as one of Apple Music’s most popular artists, earning the platform’s highest-ever debut by a female artist. “Bongos” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide.

September Fever festival to include music talks

On Sept. 22 and 23, the two-day festival September Fever will host a Music Talks and Showcase Festival for its 6th year, shifting its programming towards a more grassroots-leaning, pro-independent music approach. This year’s program will provide an opportunity for budding musicians to learn the ropes of the industry from key resource speakers in the music business. It will be held at From Here and Draft Punk in Cebu City, starting with a forum curated by The Rest Is Noise PH. It will cover music marketing and branding, public relations and media pitching, an artist’s perspective of touring local, and music production. It will include a roundtable discussion on industry-related topics. This will be followed by a mixer with various music industry professionals, with Cebu-based artists Lolita Grey and Franciskoe performing, followed by a DJ set by the Baihaus spinners. The festival’s second day will feature a lineup of Cebuano acts Coloura, Kali Hoods, Tomorrow For Sure, Renzo Sy, Sansette, and Wonggoys. They will be joined by guest acts from all over the Philippines: Aira Casti, KRNA, Loner, One Click Straight, Oh, Flamingo!, The Itchyworms, and DJ Love. For updates, follow September Fever Music Festival on Instagram and Facebook. Visit to secure tickets for the event.

HK Disneyland opens World of Frozen

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ films Frozen and Frozen 2 are getting their own dedicated themed land, World of Frozen, which will open in Hong Kong Disneyland on Nov. 20. The Frozen franchise is among the biggest animated films of all time. The theme park will present it as an immersive travel destination with stories, familiar characters, culture, stunning landscapes, music, and cutting-edge technology. It allows guests to celebrate Summer Snow Day and enjoy attractions like Frozen Ever After and Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs.

VEDO releases music video for single ‘Split’

R&B singer-songwriter VEDO has released a music video for his new single, “Split.” Offering a glimpse into a breakup-to-makeup kind of love, the visuals accompany an emotionally charged performance. It was directed by AM Visuals, a frequent collaborator of VEDO, produced by Cubeatz and Keyz, and co-written by R.City. “We’ve all at one point thought that it was sexy when your significant other got mad at you, even if they are overreacting. That’s just them letting you know ‘don’t play with me,’ and that’s how we know they actually care,” said VEDO. The release date for his new album will be revealed soon. For now, the single “Split” is available on all digital music platforms.

James Arthur announces new album

British singer-songwriter James Arthur has announced that his fifth studio album, Bitter Sweet Love, will be released on Jan. 26, 2024via Columbia Records. Aside from two recently released singles, “Blindside” and “A Year Ago,” the album will have 13 other songs. According to Mr. Arthur, it was a sold-out crowd at a concert singing along to his hits with emotion that inspired the album. The tracks are produced by Steve Solomon, who flew over to Miloco Studios in South London from his home in LA to help produce the album. Mr. Arthur has previously scored four Top 10 albums, with 2016’s Back From The Edge hitting the No. 1 spot. He has 38 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, with “Say You Won’t Let Go” being his breakthrough hit in the US and officially the UK’s most streamed song in 2016.

Derick Lauchengco signs management contract

Newbie actor and longtime model Derick Lauchengco has signed a management contract with film producer and director Chris Cahilig as part of a fresh “restart” in showbiz. Mr. Lauchengco had previously worked with Mr. Cahilig as a cast member of the popular TikTok series 52 Weeks. He has been on the modeling circuit for a few years, and was named Mister Model Worldwide 2022, a title that led to appearances in film and TV projects as well as commercials. These include supporting roles in the anthology drama series Regal Studios Presents and in the movies Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune and Kurdapya. Mr. Cahilig has managed the careers of the P-Pop boy band 1:43, actor Bekimon, radio DJs Nicole Hyala and Christsuper, as well as boyband trio JBK.

Joseph Emmanuel Garcia

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