Kung Hei Fat Choy 2012

The entire company of Zaia wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choy!

I had my noodles at the local Chinese restaurant and let off bottle rockets into the water of Macau. Happy to report no rockets hit me this year.

Venetian Macau Changes It’s Tune

The Venetian Macau has changed it’s tune as of around Spring 2011. I don’t mean this in a symbolic sense, it’s literal. And maybe I’m the only one who has noticed or cares – it’s quite possible.

When I first started working at the Venetian Macau in April of 2011, all the background music piped through the hallways and upper shopping canals was Vivaldi. I’m pretty sure it was all Vivaldi all the time; specifically the Four Seasons. At the time I commented how much I loved it. The recordings were great with fine string performances. A friend said “Just wait, after six months you’ll be sick of it and never want to hear it again.” But I didn’t find that was true. I loved the music when I first heard it and still loved it three years later.

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Definition of Bull Market and Bear Market from local Chinese

So I’m talking with a friend here in Macau, China about stocks and I asked them if they knew about the terms Bull Market and Bear Market. They said yes. The Bear Market is when stocks go down. They said the phrase comes from the old West in America. The cowboys would sit around and got very bored so they decided to bring in a bear to fight with a cow. The bear lost to the cow. So a Bear Market means the stock is losing.

Oh c’mon, that’s just so darn cute. I asked them for clarification, “The bear lost to the cow?” and they said most certainly, “Yes!”

2011 Chinese New Year – Kong Hei Fat Choi!

Kong Hei Fat Choi from Macau, China! 2011 is the year of the rabbit so that should be fun for all of us. Above is video and photos I shot in Macau on Chinese New Year’s Eve (February 2, 2011). Pictures of Senado Square, Macau Tower fireworks and my personal adventures purchasing rockets and explosives on the Macau waterfront. Good times.

And here is a very fun video from Mr. Kong Macau News. This was my third Chinese New Year living in Macau and this one was the best ever! I gave out my lucky red pocket lai cee cards to all the security guards and even received on myself at work.

Usher in Macau

Usher performed in Macau at the Venetian Casino on July 13, 2010. Rumor has it he came over to our ZAIA theater to record some audio tracks for a project he’s working on.

I didn’t get to meet him and security was tight. So I posted a video with some Usher music you might enjoy. Assuming that Usher has a good sense of humor and won’t kick my butt. Did you know that many consider Usher to be the one to take the torch from Michael Jackson’s legacy? Read on for more info.

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Macau Dragonboat Festival – 端午節 – Duānwǔ Jié – Tuen Ng Jit

Wednesday June 16 is the 2010 Macau Dragonboat Festival. Macau is already starting to see lots of tourists coming in from Mainland China. At the Venetian Casino (where I currently work) we noticed a lot of activity Monday night. The official holiday is Wednesday but the entire week is a holiday period (does this qualify as a “golden week”, hmmm…..not sure about that.)

I’ve lived in Macau over two years now and I still haven’t seen the Dragonboat races! Because I work in entertainment, we’re always doing extra shows during the holiday periods so we don’t get to partake as much as we’d like.

The Dragonboat holiday, or Duanwu, is a very old one in China but was denied official recognition under the People’s Republic of China established in 1949. The Chinese government has re-adopted the holiday and it was officially recognized again starting in 2008.

The short story: a famous poet drowned in the water so people throw food to the fish so the fish will be fed and not eat the poet’s body. That’s the story I’ve heard from local Macanese. More details posted below.

Here’s more info on the Dragonboat festival and water races:

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Kelly Clarkson in Macau

Kelly Clarkson in Macau

I had the chance to see Kelly Clarkson perform in Macau, China at the Cotai Arena inside the Venetian casino on May 8, 2010. What an absolutely fantastic performer! I guess you could say I’m one of her fans now.

Of course I have heard her name for years and have seen bits of her performing on American Idol; and those many clips on YouTube. But to hear her live was really something. A great set of pipes. I marveled at her constant control between head and chest voice – her effortless floating up in the ether with light dancing turns, swooping down like the Red Baron to a beefy chest voice and back up again for some real gospel style runs up in the stars. Amazing.

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ZAIA Celebrates 500 Shows

ZAIA Cirque 500 Shows Poster

ZAIA Cirque 500 Shows Poster

November 12, 2009 was the celebration for the 500th performance of the ZAIA show by Cirque Du Soleil in Macau, China. Cirque founder Guy Laliberte flew in for the performance and toasted the artists and crew. Family and friends were also invited for the occasion.

Guy Laliberte and Conrad Askland

Conrad Askland and Guy Laliberte

Conrad Askland (ZAIA keyboards and assistant bandleader) and Guy Laliberte.

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Chinese Opera – Macau 2009

Chinese opera from Olimilch on Vimeo.

Chinese Opera filmed May 1, 2009 on Coloane Island, Macau (SAR) China. These performances every year on Taipa Island (Macau, China) also. I’ve stood by the musician pit many times to watch them play and it’s fascinating. I have to admit I cringe a little when the Chinese opera sopranos start singing, but I’m starting to acquire a taste for the male voices.

Bollywood stars descend in Macau for IIFA 2009

Indian movie stars at the “green carpet” outside the ZAIA Cirque Du Soleil Theater in Macau, China at the Sands Venetian June 11, 2009. The Bachchan family, as well as other dazzling stars, are greeted on the green carpet for the 10th Annual IIFA awards in Macau.

In this “part one” video you will also see some photo shots of Cirque Du Soleil “ZAIA” artists.

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“Bollywood Awards” at Venetian Macau June 11-13 2009

Videocon IIFA Awards

The Videocon IIFA 2009 awards will be televised from the Venetian Macau June 11-13, 2009. This award for the Indian film industry is popularly called the “Bollywood Awards”. Artists from Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show will perform during the ceremony. I am told these awards are televised to 300-500 million people worldwide.

Yes, this is a pretty big deal. I don’t know when the ceremonies are aired in the USA but I’ll add info to this post if I find out before the airing. We’ll have extra shows of Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA for attendees of the event – and you can bet that the artists are working VERY hard right now to prepare for this presentation, in addition to their regular show schedule.

And did you know Cirque Du Soleil’s 25th Anniversary is the middle of June 2009? Things are jumping at the Venetian Macau in June!

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Kung Hei Fat Choy 2009 from ZAIA

macau-new-year-2009

Kung Hei Fat Choy 2009 (Happy Chinese New Year) from the cast of ZAIA. 2009 is the Year of the Ox. Macau will be a crazy one week party starting the week of January 26 2009 for the week long Chinese New Year celebrations.

Around 1996 I was in Tokyo for New Years Eve celebrations with monks ringing gigantic bells with wooden rams. But this is my first CHINESE New Years in China. Techs of Cirque’s ZAIA show were here for the 2008 Fat Choy, but this is the first one for artists of Zaia. We’ve been told “Macau will shut down” during the holiday week.

We’ve all been given red envelopes with the ZAIA embossed logo to fill with money and give to locals for good luck; another traditiion of Chinese New Years. Our work week includes 11 shows for the celebrations, along with many special mini performances around the Venetian in Macau. Anyone know where I can buy some fireworks?

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Mass Exodus of Expats from Macau

Macau Expats 11-08

Macau Expats 11-08

Macau Business Magazine has a chilling front page article in their December 2008 issue called “You’re Fired – Expat Exodus” about the mass exodus of Expats working in Macau. You can read the original article at: http://www.macaubusiness.com/index.php?id=1451

Overview from Macau Business Magazine
The wave of lay-offs that has hit the expat community has left a bad taste in the mouth. The whiff of betrayal is in the air and for many, there will be no coming back.

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