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Cappuccino with Jules

Lifestyle. Music. Film. TV. Freshly brewed.

Pop Con 2017: Photographic Highlights

New comics. Cosplays. Westero-inspired artworks. Anime merchandises. Fantastical delights. Here are pictures from Jakarta’s two-day Pop Con event at the Jakarta Convention Center that featured notable guests like Power Rangers star Walter Jones to groundbreaking stunt actors. As a ‘prelude’ to the upcoming Comic Con in October, Pop Con attracted a large number of visitors in fantasy fans and cosplay lovers from all over the city that it was a surefire success.

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The official Pop Con banner.

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“Children of Westeros” is a fanzine created for all die-hard “Game of Thrones” addicts. It sold out really fast.

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A cosplayer showed off his costume as a Transformer. He was a crowd favorite.

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This whimsical”La La Land” greeting card was a best seller. Glad I bought it before it sold out.

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Presenting a brand new medieval game called “Celestian Tales”. I purchased the soundtrack and character art to get inside the world of the story.

The Selection Stories: Here’s to America Singer!

It’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Week according to Goodreads. So allow me to recommend one of the most whimsically bold fantasy reads I’ve ever had the privilege of enjoying in the world of YA fantasy… Kiera Cass’s The Selection, a trilogy that later expands into a five-book series, beginning with the adventures of one-of-a-kind heroine America Singer – a Five in an eight-caste system and, you guessed it, a singer – as she reluctantly enters a nationwide competition for the heart of Maxon Schreave – a One given his Royalty status – along with the other ladies of Illéa.

Of course, America would rather be with her soulmate Aspen Leger, but she joins the Selection anyway to save money for a married life with Aspen. What follows later is her unforgettable journey at court that makes all the novels worth savoring like a delectable chocolate cake.

At a glance, the glossy, enchanted covers make The Selection look like just another bland fantasy, despite their elegance. That was actually my initial opinion, but thankfully my BFF Cindy found it refreshing and encouraged me to give the series a shot. And she was right. I was so charmed that I ended up sticking with the series all the way to Eadlyn’s reign – featuring an all-male Selection full of smart, desirable guys and the first of its kind.

The Selection explores a variety of topics such as friendship, intelligent romance, female independence, Illéan history and family relationships. The whole explanation of the caste system gives the story a dystopian touch. You’ll meet a cast of characters that are varying in personalities, from the kind-hearted Prince Maxon to the determined Aspen but also complex ones like Celeste, who fits into the role of a mean girl really well but as the plot progresses, a deeper layer within her is revealed. Marlee as Miss Perfect who becomes fast friends with America also has a hidden life. Plus King Clarkson and Queen Amberly’s story are worth following, as are America’s three maids Anne, Lucy and Mary with their own subplots. Separate novellas are available as companions, providing us with the POVs of most of the cast (Maxon and Aspen in The Selection Stories and almost all integral characters in Happily Ever After that’s also filled with grand-looking sketches).

The delicious world of The Selection isn’t complete without America herself, who’s very much like Katniss Everdeen in the way she approaches everything. Even though she looks like a carbon copy of Katniss herself, I do enjoy the fire and drive in her character, and she never backs down from throwing a punch in defense of her friends and loved ones. Now that’s honorable!

Collect all of The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir and The Crown along with The Selection Stories and Happily Ever After and treat yourself to a royal feast. Here’s to America Singer!

Fun fact: The Selection was adapted into a pilot for the CW Network, but the show failed to get green-lighted. Hopefully it’ll see better days in the near future. It’s much too great and queenly not to make it on the silver (or big) screen.

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Marcella Purnama’s Debut Novel: “What I Wish I Had Known & Other Lessons You Learned in Your 20’s”

Are you a part of the 20-Something Club like I am? A high school senior who are looking forward to college? Or do you simply crave a nostalgic trip to that fast life in your 20’s? Then What I Wish I Had Known is the one non-fiction book you should pick up by debut author Marcella Purnama, who happens to be a friend of mine and fellow writer.

With a raw, simplistic style of writing that’s easily digestible like delicious croissants in the morning, Marcella offers a glimpse into her life as a University of Melbourne student, a writing intern and later a working professional before returning to Australia to pursue a Masters in writing and editing. All the chapters presented in the book highlight the major experiences in her academic adventures and career, from her first day of classes and exploration of a new city all the way to her blogging life (what a superstar!) and the offer she got to publish this gem of a novel. Slices of her relationship with her family and friends are also included with her dad providing most of the encouragement – and her mom being patient and hopeful despite all her doubts – as she set out on her own path towards her dream career that’s pretty much the opposite of her older sisters’ choices.

You can definitely get a sense of Marcella’s passion and natural talent for writing. She is blessed with a gift of storytelling and weaves her writing in a way that captivates the readers, inviting them to her wonderful world and sharing with them aspects of her life as a 20-something career woman. With the inclusion of quotes and references to pop culture like her association with Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games (how she wants to always be herself despite all the successes that will follow), the chapters hold a massive amount of intrigue. One of my favorite parts revolved around her presentation on how customers would flock towards online stores that sell the cheapest books, but a fellow student in that lecture room who worked at an independent bookstore got very vocal about people still wanting to grab the priciest copies if excellent service is offered. That was both entertaining and informative (personally, I’d still go with the cheapest price available).

As a Communication major, I find What I Wish I Had Known super relatable, even though my experiences in Melbourne have been different with an easier immersion into the local scene. However, you don’t need to be in Communication to be able to enjoy it. If you’re in senior high, then this book can serve as a window to your future, filled with insights that can help you plan ahead so you can make the most of your college and internship experiences. But if you’re no longer in your 20’s, there’s still something nostalgic out of it that makes you want to reminisce the good times. The truth is it’s always positive to approach life with a 20-something mind, as we don’t stop learning even if we’ve reached adulthood.

Make sure to pick up a copy of Marcella’s work at your nearest bookstore (or at Gramedia Online) and be inspired to reach your fullest potential. Visit Marcella on her official site and come say hi.

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Signed, sealed, delivered! My personalized copy of What I Wish I Had Known from Marcella herself.

Donald Duck’s Birthday!

Disney ducks always kick butt and go on the most exciting adventures, but my ultimate favorite is the one and only Donald. So it’s only fitting that a special dedication to him is made in honor of his birthday (and years of service in the Navy).

If you’ve been following the Carl Barks comics and TV shows like the original DuckTales and House of Mouse, it’s very clear that Donald is way more than just that quacky guy with an uncontrollable temper. He comes across as genuine and is very much a team player, especially in stories where he, Mickey and Goofy are a trio. It’s also shown in the comics that he’d go out of his way to make his darling Daisy happy while being a cool uncle for the triplets at the same time. And that performance he gave in The Three Musketeers film? Astounding, heartfelt and daring! From the original voice actor Clarence Nash to the current successor Tony Anselmo who Nash personally mentored, Donald’s character continues to evolve and in a positive direction.

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In The Three Musketeers.

Here’s to more Donald in the new DuckTales that’s set to premiere this summer on Disney XD! To celebrate his birthday, the team behind DuckTales presents a brand new short with Donald, Huey, Louie, Dewey, Webby and of course, the great Uncle Scrooge!

Hey, it’s all fun in this duck family, right? Happy Birthday, Don!

Me and My “West Side Story” Broadway Debut

Boy, boy, crazy boy, stay cool boy…
Got a rocket in your pocket…
Keep coolly cool, boy!

If you told me many moons ago that I was going to be part of a Broadway production, I would’ve laughed at that humor. Never in a million years have I dreamed of seeing my name and picture inside a Playbill. But then West Side Story came along.

Having been a fan of both the Broadway show and Academy Award-winning film, it was a privilege to be able to join the Jakarta Performing Arts Community on its West Side Story adventure (its 8th AND biggest production to date after the success of their previous shows like Burlesque, Fame and The Nightmare Before Christmas). With a global message about acceptance and tolerance, the timing couldn’t have been more right for this timeless musical to be introduced (and reintroduced) to different generations. And so we all made our debut on May 12th at one of Jakarta’s oldest theaters Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), followed by 4 more shows until closing night on Sunday the 14th.

My time as one of the vocal coaches for the West Side Story cast has impacted my life and opened up a unique path in my music career to always strive to tell stories for the betterment of society through music and lyrics. Thanks Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents for being the ones to start it all and to all the cast and crews who I was honored to embark on this journey with.

For my international friends who didn’t get to see this, I have copies of the exclusive West Side Story program book for the first 3 names who contacted me to request one. 🙂 Shoot me an e-mail or tweet me to get yours. Or simply comment below. You might be one of the lucky ones. “Could be… Who knows…” 😉

E-mail: julesalveria@gmail.com
TWITTER: @JulesOfficial_

To learn more about JPAC, go check out http://www.jpacwestsidestory.com!

Jazz… Hot and Cool!

“Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, jazz is jazz.” – Louis Armstrong

Jazz. A relaxing night and day soundtrack. Soothing like syrup and honey. Fresh for the ears. Unlike La La Land‘s Mia, I heart jazz. My friends call me Jazzy Jules, as I happen to be the only jazz admirer in my circle. All my online usernames are jazz-inspired, from jazzy.avenue to jazzontherocks. In fact, an all-jazz CD from the Lazy Sunday Box compilation series that I picked up at a little record shop in Melbourne, Australia is keeping me company as I’m working on this dedication to jazz in the spirit of International Jazz Month.

I grew up with jazz, and it provided the first bits of inspiration for my adventures in music and songwriting. My experience began with the ultimate jazz queens like Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and my all-time favorite Ella Fitzgerald, whose records I still play these days. I would also put on some Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole plus modern jazz greats like Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble and Renee Olstead. All jazz-inspired and Woody Allen films I enjoy, such as Midnight in Paris, When Harry Met Sally, Down with Love and Cafe Society. It was this appreciation for jazz that led me into taking Jazz Lab and Ensemble during my training at the California College of Music in Pasadena, CA (I was incredibly lucky to be mentored by one of jazz’s greats Dee Dee McNeil as well as SWITCH member and astounding soul artist Phillip Ingram who I’m still in touch with). And I’m now left thinking about my singer-songwriter career. In case it never takes off, I just want to be a jazz musician.

With the comeback of all things retro and a swinging band like Postmodern Jukebox that gives jazz a whole new spin, the future of jazz looks brighter than ever. In my opinion, jazz is much more vibrant than the classical genre. It’s adaptable, it’s built on improvisation, and it fosters collaboration and creativity within the players. Everybody is welcome to contribute to it and reinterpret a standard the way they want to. To quote Miles Davis, “Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there.” This is definitely the polar opposite of classical music and even musical theatre, where you’re supposed to stick to what’s written on the music sheet.

In jazz, every note is allowed to be sung or played differently, creating a new flavor along the way. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about creating your own vibe in your performance. You can even mix it with other styles to create acid jazz, jazz-soul, acoustic pop-jazz, smooth jazz, French jazz, and so on. In Bill Evans’s own words, “You can’t explain jazz to anyone without losing the experience because it’s feeling, not words.”

And that, my dear friends and readers, is why I find jazz to be both hot and cool. Enjoy this international jazz month, everyone!

Here’s a list of delightful jazz tunes I keep returning to:

  • It Had to Be You
  • As Time Goes By
  • Mona Lisa
  • C’est Si Bon
  • Deed I Do
  • It’s Only a Paper Moon
  • Moanin’
  • Peel Me a Grape
  • Bluesette
  • God Bless the Child
  • Walking My Baby Back Home
  • Cruella DeVil
  • The Nearness of You
  • Sunday Kind of Love
  • Moonglow
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • If I Only Had a Brain
  • ‘Round Midnight
  • I Love Paris
  • Easy Living
  • I Wish You Love
  • Old Devil Moon
  • The Very Thought of You
  • Moon River
  • Witchcraft
  • Orange Colored Sky

Kartini Day

All females shall rejoice, for April 21st marks the celebration of Raden Adjeng Kartini’s birth. Kartini became one of Indonesia’s very first heroines and fought for women’s rights and education at a time when women still didn’t have a voice. In honor of her legacy, a brand new film depicting her life has been released starring notable actress Dian Sastro. Watch it now at a cinema near you! Happy Kartini Day, everyone!

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“La La Land” DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook Art

Here’s to the fools who dream! Get ready for another day of sun and a lovely night, all La La Land lovers! The city of stars are shining bright for us, as the (almost) Academy Award-winning film and recipient of 7 Golden Globes will finally be available to bring home on April 25th.

Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)’s charming little adventures around LA in pursuit of their individual dreams – acting for Mia and jazz for Seb – are worth reliving, and the nostalgic references to Old Hollywood adds a degree of timelessness to this Damien Chazelle musical masterpiece.

Not only is La La Land going to be on standard DVD, 4K Ultra HD and the popular DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo format. A collector’s edition steelbook will also be released on May 15th. Even Target, Walmart and Best Buy offer their own versions with varying covers.

With delightful special features that include Designing La La Land, Ryan and Emma: Third Time’s the Charm (I’m personally glad this one makes the list, as I enjoyed their previous works in Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad), John Legend’s Acting Debut and La La Land‘s Great Party, this brand new classic is definitely a must-own, no matter which version you decide to pick!

Here are the many different cover artworks for La La Land

La La Land DVD
Image Source: Amazon

La La Land Bluray
Image Source: Amazon

La La Land Target
Image Source: Target

La La Land Best Buy
Image Source: Best Buy

La La Land Back
Image Source: Zavvi

La La Land Walmart
Image Source: Walmart

#MuslimWomensDay

March 27 marked the very first Muslim Women’s Day, and I couldn’t be more excited for my Muslim friends, relatives and all the Muslim females in every corner of the world.

Acceptance, tolerance and love are immensely needed, and through this celebration, it’s my hope that Muslims get to be properly and positively represented on the media as well as in today’s society with the freedom to speak up and display their pride.

MuslimGirl.com has partnered up with popular media brands like MTV, Refinery 29 and Teen Vogue to give all Muslim girls the voice and bravery to tell their powerful, humane stories. Support female solidarity!

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