Monthly Archives: June 2011
A Chinese invasion of sorts took place on Saturday in Lincoln, where Thunder Valley Casino hosted a Chinese concert series starring some of the biggest names in Chinese entertainment.
The stars of the show were Dragon Li, Michelle Kim and Niki Chow. All were well received by the mostly “” scratch that “” all Asian crowd. That was a good thing since the concert was mostly in Chinese, with only a couple of songs with English interspersed.
At one point I could swear they were talking about me. I usually only get paranoid after taking illicit drugs or riding in an elevator with people talking in a language I don’t understand. Oh well, next time I’ll have to bring a Chinese-to-English translator. Wait, isn’t there an app for that?
The audience loved the show, which was a combination of singing and chatting with the audience. Both Chow and Li started up conversations with audience members while keeping their fans laughing. Several fans ended up on stage dancing and singing. No translator required.
Although I don’t speak Chinese it was easy to follow what was happening both onstage and off. While the stars of the show were speaking in Chinese it was obvious to me when they were telling a joke versus telling a story, or setting up a song. Their body language spoke volumes and once a song began you couldn’t help but sit back and enjoy the music.
It was obvious from the start that Dragon Li was the seasoned veteran. He bantered back and forth with the audience in between songs and was quite comfortable onstage as were both Yim and Chow. He seemed to enjoy the audience participation more than his fellow artists.
Dragon Li performing at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Li, an actor and singer, got his start in Hong Kong in the late 1980s when he entered a singing contest, Sing Bao Ji Yei. There he was discovered by a talent manager and later signed with EMI Records. He recorded a number of television and movie theme songs, including “Superstar (Gui Sing),” “Brave (Nan Ji Han)” and “Confused (Ching Mi).” Li also starred in the television series “Journey to the West (Si You Gei).”
Michelle Yim performing at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Michelle Yim, also known by her Chinese stage name Mai Suet, is a Hong Kong actress. In 1975, Yim joined Commercial Television, and in 1976, Yim acted in “Legend of the Condor Heroes,” a Wuxia TV series adaptation of Louis Cha’s novel of the same title. In 1978, Yim started working with Television Broadcasts (TVB) and guest-starred in one of the period dramas, “The Twins,” which later became one of her best works. Her most recent work won her the award for best drama performance by an actress for her role in “Moonlight Resonance” at the Asian Television Awards.
Niki Chow performs at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Niki Chow is a Hong Kong actress and Cantopop (Hong Kong popular music) singer. Until recently she was under contract with BMA Records, but she terminated the contract to pursue a new contract with TVB. She has appeared in several movies and television series, including “Hard Fate” and “The Gentle Crackdown.” She won the most improved actress award at the TVB Anniversary Awards in 2005 for her performance in “The Gentle Crackdown.” She has also authored several books and is scheduled to begin filming an “Ancient Series” for TVB beginning in July.
The summer concert series at Thunder Valley Casino has just started and tickets are selling fast. The complete entertainment schedule is available on their website.
Fifty individuals, male and female, competed for various categories including Mr. and Ms. California, bodybuilding, fitness and bikini. All competitors had to undergo a polygraph the night before the event to ensure there had been no drug use over the past seven years. Both the NGA and Fitness in Mind’s Johnny “The Motivator” Carrero are dedicated to ensuring this event remains drug-free and all-natural. Proceeds from the event benefit local educational programs teaching young athletes the harmful side-effects of anabolic steroids.
This was my first bodybuilding event, and I have to say the amount of effort the competitors put into this competition is amazing. It’s like a musician preparing for a concert. Not only are these people hitting the gym for hours a day, but they are religious about what they put into and on their bodies. Yes, on their bodies. They lather on coloring to give them either a dark or light tan and, in some cases, a golden hue. Paul Alberts was a real golden color. Alberts’ wife shouted words of encouragement during the morning show, much to the audience’s amusement.
Paul Alberts posing at the NGA Mr/Ms California bodybuilding competition in Folsom, CA (Image by: Randy Miramontez)
I overheard one competitor talking about being flat and how he needed to eat some protein bars with more sodium and drink a gallon of water before the evening show. He was still going to eat his bioplex whey and add another coat or two of color. And these people strive for all-natural?
All-natural aside, these folks are ripped. I was going to say these kids, but there were several groups referred to as masters, aka seniors. The age groups for the masters are Masters (40-49), Grand Masters (50-59) and Ultra Masters (60 and up). Mohammed Daunish was the only competitor in the Ultra Masters, at the young age of 73!
Mohammed Daunish posing at the NGA Mr/Ms California bodybuilding competition in Folsom, CA (Image by: Randy Miramontez)
The big prize for the evening was pro status for the Men’s and Women’s Open, earning the right to compete at the professional level. The winner of the Men’s Open received a very cool sword, while the winner under the womens category received a trophy and flowers. Below are all the winners for the evening’s events. They were all rock stars in their own right, deserving their own concert.
Men’s Ultra Masters: Mohammed Daunish
Men’s Grand Masters: Dave Blumgold
Men’s Masters: Paul Alberts
Men’s Overall: Dave Blumgold
Women’s Masters (40+): Debbie Lockwood
Masters Figure Short: Kelly Lombardi
Masters Figure Tall: Jennifer Burger
Women’s Overall: Jennifer Burger
Bikini: Meredith Murdock
Women’s Open: Debbie Lockwood
Men’s Light Weight: James Simmons
Men’s Middle Weight: Daniel Korman
Men’s Light Heavy Weight: Erik Holm
Men’s Heavy Weight: Dave Blumgold
Open Figure Short: Jennifer Flores
Open Figure Medium: Jennifer Burger
Open Figure Tall: Teo Schoer
Ms. California (pro qualifier): Jennifer Burger
Jennifer Burger wins the Ms. California title at the NGA Mr/Ms California bodybuilding competition in Folsom, CA (Image by: Randy Miramontez)
Mr. California (pro qualifier): Erik Holm
Erik Holm wins Mr. California at the NGA Mr/Ms California bodybuilding competition in Folsom, CA (Image by: Randy Miramontez)