Hey Chasters! It’s well into the wee hours of the night here in L.A., but I am wide awake and in really good spirits! Why? Because I just got back from the first annual L.A. Chasters Christmas Party, which this year, was hosted by our wonderful L.A. Chasters CLR4LFE, his wife Grace and daughter Diana! As is always the case when the L.A. Chasters get together, tonight was no exception with the high-energy and fun-filled activities throughout the day/evening. The party was truly a beautiful way to celebrate the end of Charice’s magical year in 2010, after turning 18 and shouting ‘hello world’ with her first international debut album in May, followed by the crazy string of radio shows all summer/fall, the sold-out DFF shows in Vegas and Asia, and of course, her momentous and critically acclaimed appearance on the first episode of Glee Season 2!
A Truly Special Year for All Chasters
As amazing as this year was for Charice, we can also look back on this year and realize how special it was for all of us Chasters as well. For some, it was the first time they discovered Charice after her debut launch, maybe the first time some heard her sing live in-person at a concert, the first time we saw Charice on a major international t.v. show, and for the truly lucky ones, the first time we got to meet Charice in person! Charice made herself so available in the midst of all the madness and the heightened security around her this year, and those of us who experienced even the briefest of encounters at the meet and greet opportunities this year saw a girl who was genuinely thankful and appreciative of her loyal and devoted fans. And for some like myself, this year also marked our discovery of this special place called “charicemania.com”, where Chasters from all over the globe come together to chat, share stories, debate at times contentious issues, and forge genuine friendships through this vibrant community. So let me share a bit from the special time in L.A. tonight where we all gathered because of Charice, and because of our bond as Chasters.
A Beautiful Chaster Night in L.A.
I read a lot of comments from the invitation article and other threads from Chasters in different cities all wishing they could take part in a Chaster Christmas Party. Well, the first thing that’s required is a small group of dedicated Chasters who are willing to take the initiative to organize a time and place for a get-together. And that’s what happened here in L.A., as the standard-bearers of the L.A. Chaster community joined together and decided to have an end of the year Christmas Party to celebrate this magical year together. CLR4LFE and his family were gracious enough to offer their home as the location for the party, and it was the perfect place, not only because of the large “party-room” set up in house, but also because of the state-of the art Chaster Karaoke system in the home! CLR4LFE provided the main dish for the dinner feast, a HUGE whole roast pig, from head to toe. Not being Filipino, I had never seen a whole roast pig at a meal before, but I was told it is similar to having a ‘turkey’ at an American celebratory dinner feast. The whole pig was a sight to behold, and CLR4LFE displayed some expert butcher-skills in chopping away at the meat and providing juicy and tender cuts of pork that would have probably fed at least 50 people! And yes, the crispy skin was absolutely delicious!
As I’m sure many here in the CM community know of fun-loving Jay, aka UCLA_UST who is often found in the chatroom, I’ve given him the title of “Social Chair” for the L.A. Chasters because he is one of the key driving-forces behind all the social events. We were concerned that Jay would not be able to make this party because of work obligations, and I remarked to Christinedl, ‘how can this party go on without our Social Chair Jay?’ Yet had Jay not been able to make it, the fun activities were still in good hands, elaborately planned by our own Christinedl and Jazzy. The party was set for around 2 p.m., and when I finally got to the party, I was greeted by CLR4LFE and his family, along with Jazzy, Kathy, Mr. and Mrs. Nodoubt, Weny, Michelle and Alex and his wife. Charice’s debut CD was booming on the speakers sounding as if Charice was giving a live solo concert in the living room, and the spread was fully decked out with enough food to feed a small army! Then, within the next hour or so, we were also joined by our fellow Chasters, Sideburnersol, Ed(S2), Christinedl and her family, Vernon, OC Fan, and finally, Jay who flew in from out of town and had come straight from the airport for the party! We were now all set to have a Chasterific time!
A Trip Down Chaster Memory Lane
As we began to feast on the roast pig and the array of delectable dishes, we started the night’s entertainment by having the first DFF Vegas show playing on the big screen. We decided to start it from the beginning, as if we were all there in person witnessing that historic event first-hand, anticipating Charice’s introduction onto that grand stage. We watched, listened, ate, chatted together, until David Foster came on and began to introduce “this little girl from the Philippines” who would perform the storied songs of Whitney Houston for the audience, an audacious task that few in the industry would ever dare to attempt, let alone during a live performance with the the likes of Andrei Bocelli and Celine Dion sharing that same stage, which would be recorded forever, for all to critique with a fine-toothed comb. And of course, we all know what happened that night in 2008, when David Foster exclaimed, “A Star is Born Tonight!” Even though all of us had seen that performance countless times before, afterwards, we all just applauded fervently as if seeing Charice’s performance for the first time! There’s something to be said about watching Charice perform while in the company of other Chasters, even if just on a t.v. from a DVD.
Speaking of watching her performances on a t.v., after we watched Charice’s segment from that first DFF show a ‘few’ more times, we then put on a DVD compilation of every major t.v. appearance and performance by Charice from Starking all the way to the “Note to God” performance on Oprah which was put together by our fellow Chaster Vernon. It was awesome watching these performances on a big screen with stereo sound as I had only seen most of them on a small laptop screen and tiny speakers. Watching all those unforgettable performances, from Starking, Paul O’Grady show, Oprah, GMA, etc. was another trip down memory lane, witnessing that little tiny girl in that pink outfit on Starking blossom into the beautiful young woman she is today. My favorite highlight from tonight was watching “the duet” with Celine from MSG. I vividly recalled how after watching the Oprah episode where Celine invited Charice to sing with her at MSG the following week, I had seriously considered booking a plane ticket from L.A. to N.Y. to be there in person for that performance. Not going forward with those intentions remains one of my biggest regrets as a Chaster because as we all know, that duet will go down in Chaster history as one of THE special performances of all-time.
Chaster Fun and Games and the Big White Elephant
By the end of the unforgettable “Note to God” performance, all our bellies were stuffed, and it was time for Chaster Karaoke. It would not be a stretch to say that there are some seriously talented singers among the L.A. Chasters! Every Chaster was encouraged to pick up the mike and sing a tune, and it was like a mini-concert going on in the party-room! After the first-round of Chaster Karaoke, it was time for group games, beginning with ‘name that tune’, where teams had to guess the name of a Charice song after first only hearing a few lyrics from the song, then a few seconds of the audio clip. It was a close game, but the winning team sealed the deal after answering correctly after hearing a few bars from Charice’s latest collaboration with Unique Zayas, “Wherever You Are”. After several more fun team games including Chaster bowling, which involved knocking down plastic cups with a candy-cane tied to one’s waist! :), it was finally time for the Chaster White Elephant gift-exchange! With each new gift that was opened, the excitement in the room grew as Chasters strategized about whether to ‘steal’ an already opened gift from another Chaster or take one’s chances with a new unopened gift. Several gifts were ‘exchanged’ between Chasters, as OC Fan had his gifts stolen three times during the exchange, but all in all, everyone ended up with a special gift from a fellow Chaster and many laughs along the way.
All of this transpired without me ever looking down at my watch to find out what time it was… and when I finally looked at my wrist, I was shocked to see it was already 11:30 p.m.! As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun, and it was truly a fun-filled day/night for everyone at the party. Another round of Chaster karaoke followed, and as the clock struck midnight and beyond, it was finally time to bring the party to a close. We truly missed our fellow Chasters who could not join us for the festivities, and we all felt very blessed to have the opportunity to share in this special fellowship we have as Chasters: former strangers brought together because of Charice and her love for her Chasters.
The ‘Secret’ Formula for Developing a Chaster Community
As I said earlier, I can sense a desire amongst all Chasters to have the opportunity to share in this kind of special experience of communing with fellow Chasters in their respective cities. I just want to encourage Chasters everywhere, to duplicate what we’ve realized here in L.A., that all it takes is for a small group of devoted Chasters, to get-together and plan for a time together over a meal or other activity, to share stories of how Charice came into their lives, and begin to forge a bond that develops into a beautiful community. During the middle of this memorable night, I leaned over to Sideburnersol and whispered in his ear, “Isn’t it amazing how this group of people didn’t even know each other a few months ago, but we’re all here together having an amazing time because of Charice?” And the same thing is possible for all Chasters, wherever you are. All it takes is two or three Chasters to begin a community. And for those who find themselves still alone on their own Chaster island, well, you’ll always have this vibrant community here at CM to accompany you on your own respective Chaster journeys.
2011, The Year of Charice
Well, it’s truly been an amazing year, not just for Charice, but for all her Chasters. And the only thing that could top what we experienced in 2010 will be what await us all in 2011, with Charice’s upcoming appearances on Glee early next year which many believe will be THE catalyst for the next major step in Charice’s career, along with her already confirmed solo shows in Japan and the release of her next single and possibly her second international album. So many questions remain unanswered for us in the coming year: who if any artist has Charice collaborated with for her next dance single; will she will launch a full solo tour in the U.S. and which city will hold the honor of holding her first solo concert in North America; which talk-shows will she appear on next; will she finally make another appearance on Ellen; is a role in a movie in the works; and will the songs that Warner kept off her set-list from the 2010 concerts (Nobody’s Singing to Me, In Love So Deep, Nothing) finally make their way into a live performance, and maybe even be released as singles or on a movie soundtrack?
All questions that will surely keep us Chasters glued to CM on a daily (and for some, minute to minute) basis to keep up with the latest news about Charice and her next steps. Unless something completely crazy pops up in the next week or so, this will also be my final ‘report’ for this year, as we Chasters begin to put some ‘closure’ on this truly AHNNBEELEEBAABBBLEE year. I could have never imagined when I wrote my first ‘report’ after the parking lot photo ‘ambush’ of Charice (and those Grammy security guards) after the Grammy Block Party that I would have joined my fellow L.A. Chasters in seeing Charice live five more times since July of this year, and writing up my ‘brief’ recap reports after each of the shows. Yet knowing how so many Chasters have yet to see Charice even once in person, it’s been our joy as L.A. Chasters to bring all of you into the experience with us as much as we could with the reports and videos from her shows, and we look forward to a whole new year of Chasterific events in 2011! Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year Chasters!
And Charice, all of this is because of you, your story, your character, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being who you are to us, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing behind you every step of the way, cheering you on, all the way to the Top of the Pyramid! Labyo Charice, and Labyo Chasters, from all of us in L.A.!
by LAfan, Charicemania.com