Friday Fun Song: Reflejo de Luna - Alacran

We used Reflejo de Luna as a cool-down, with tango moves, in Zumba today.  Most of the videos for this song have stills of tango dancers - lovely, but not actually dancing.  I did find three videos that I, sort of, liked in motion.  In the first two, the movements go well enough with the song, but the dance and the song are pasted together.  The third isn't dance, but the choreography is actually to the song:


Reflejo de luna - Alacran by oselia

The dance is from the movie, Take the Lead.




Random Acts of Culture

The Knight Arts Foundation is helping to produce 1,000 Random Acts of Culture - unexpected artistic performances out in the community.  They're all documented at the Knight Arts website.  I found out about them today when WCPE had a Facebook link to the Hallelujah Chorus:

The Opera Company of Philadelphia led 650 singers from 28 performing groups in this unexpected performance at Macy's in downtown Philadelphia. 

Two of my other favorite performances from their website are the Tango in the Charlotte, NC Airport, and Opera at the Charlotte Belks (I particularly like the second opera performance which starts at 2:40).

I wish they did these in the Triangle!

Saturday Fun Song: "El Tango De Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge (and a late Friday 10)

The Police's Roxanne was used to excellent effect in El Tango De Roxanne in Moulin Rouge:

I seem to like tango videos.

This week's (late) Friday 10:

  • I Want to Be Your Girlfriend - Mary-Chapin Carpenter (she started as a country singer, her last two albums have been more folk-y, but this song is more pop-ish)
  • Forget About the Boy - Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie Broadway Soundtrack)
  • Never Will Give Up - Alison Kraus and the Carter Family (gospel)
  • Maneater - Hall and Oates (pop)
  • Come Take a Trip in My Airship - Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt (folk)
  • Love of Mine - Tish Hinojosa - (sort of Tex-Mex folk)
  • Love at the Five and Dime - Nanci Griffith (folk)
  • Music is a Woman - Gregory Hines (Sophisticated Ladies Broadway Soundtrack)
  • Feel So Bad - Ray Charles (jazz, from the album, Charles Sings, Basie Swings)
  • Anyone Can Whistle - Mandy Patinkin (Broadway)




Oh, Hai... AND "Tango Maureen" from "Rent"

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals 

 Oh hai...

...miss me?

Things got rather busy last week so, on Tuesday when it snowed, I set up a number of automatic posts for my blog.  Dear husband was gone for four days, and I was getting back to normal, activity-wise, which still wears me out much more than usual.  Daughter had a great time at her FL dance workshop and told us all about it.  Also, last week, older son was extremely busy getting his portfolio ready for his admissions portfolio review at the NC State School of Design on Saturday.   After the review,  we went to my mother's house to celebrate younger son's and dear husband's birthdays.

On Sunday, we had fun seeing everyone at a late Christmas celebration with dear husband's side of the family.  He left again yesterday morning for SC and just got back a few minutes ago.  I had a setback this weekend - Sunday evening I had sharp pains every time I put any weight on my right leg.  I was back on crutches again (and very upset).  Ice and elevation helped, and, although I'm not driving again, I'm back off the crutches and the knee feels much better.  At my appointment today, the doctor said that about one out of every ten patients has a setback like this.  Just my luck...

Oh, and, on Thursday evening, daughter and I went to see "Rent" at the Durham Performing Arts Center (Click here for a picture of the theater.  Notice how high it is, how many stairs it daunting if you've had knee surgery).

A week full of good things, but still overdoing it.

Now, life calms down a bit - at least until older son's and daughter's birthdays in...two and a half weeks!!!


I was going to do a separate review of "Rent," but I don't think I'll get to it.  If you have a chance to see this touring production, with two of the original Broadway stars, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, you should.  The whole cast is excellent, particularly the singing.  Mimi is a stand out - the actress sings gospel and it shows!  The actor playing Angel wasn't as girlish as the one we saw a few years ago, but his dancing was very energetic and very precise - every turn and kick.  Maureen was a petite blond which is very different from both the other stage performance and the movie performance, but she also had a great voice. 

The performance I enjoyed the most, though, was Anthony Rapp's as Mark.  He was very good in the movie, but, onstage, he throws his whole body into his acting.  We often talk about dancers who dance all the way to their fingertips.  He acts all the way to his fingertips.  Here's the "Tango Maureen," from the Tenth Anniversary production, with Anthony Rapp and Fredi Walker (not the same Joanne we saw).  The one we saw had even more flourish than this. I don't think that this isn't a professional recording, but it gives you a feel for the production. 


"Chicago" - Touring Production

Chicago program cover (2) I'm glad I saw the movie version of "Chicago" before seeing the stage version (which I saw Saturday) because I like the stage version so much better!

Not that there's anything wrong with the movie version, in itself.  However, I see why people who were familiar with the stage version were disappointed by the movie.  The movie smooths out the rough edges of both the story and the characters.  Also, compared to the stage version I saw, Catherine Zeta-Jones is the only one in the movie who can really sing.

The stage version had fantastic singers in all the major roles.  Tom Wopat's Billy Flynn blew Richard Gere's version away in the singing department, although Gere put a sleazy charm in the character which was missing from Wopat's version.  Terra MacLeod, who played Velma, originated the role in Paris, and she danced and sang wonderfully. I never cared for the character of Amos because he just seems pitiful in the movie.  Ben Elledge gave Amos a certain sort of dignity so I finally enjoyed him. 

Bianca Marroquin, who played Roxie, (and who originated the role in Mexico) was the best part of the whole excellent musical.  She could go from being kittenish and sweet to being a selfish ... witch in just the blink of an eye.  She sang expressively, and to the rafters. 

As I mentioned, the movie smooths out the rough edges.  In this stage version, you don't like any of the characters (except Amos and maybe

Continue reading ""Chicago" - Touring Production" »

Friday Fun Song: "In Demand" by Texas (AKA the Alan Rickman Tango Video)

While reading Harry Potter boards last summer, I ran across numerous references to this video.  However, I like the music so I don't watch it with the sound off as some do(!).  Click here to watch if the embedding doesn't work. 

I tried finding out how Alan Rickman ended up doing a video, but the only thing I found was this quote by Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer for Texas, in the Wikipedia:

I thought it had to be someone who would be believable, who would rip your coat off and pull you into the tango, so I thought Alan Rickman!

However, while trying to find that out, I did find lots of other sites about Alan Rickman so, for those who are interested:

Rickman fans should not attempt to cook, drive, or operate heavy machinery, tools or utensils while watching this video.

Persons prone to hormonal surges, fainting, swooning, high blood pressure, or tachycardia should consult their physician prior to watching this video. Using this video in conjunction with some of the audio tapes (particularly with A Little Like Drowning) might exacerbate reactions in susceptible subjects. Patients are advised to have paramedics on stand-by if attempting to combine watching this video with listening to The Voice.

  Here's a fan site for Texas with more music to listen to, and here's their official website

"Take the Lead" - Tango

We watched "Take the Lead" again this week, and daughter and I (who saw it earlier this year) enjoyed it just as much this time.  Older son and husband said they could see why we wanted them to see it. 

For those who think ballroom dance must be boring, watch the tango scene (unfortunately darker than it is in the movie) here.

TtlFrom the "Take the Lead" trivia page on

Originally, Antonio Banderas turned down the part of Pierre when he looked at the script and realized the whole film was about ballroom dancing. The producers begged him for a few minutes for them to explain the story. After hearing this, viewing a documentary on and meeting the real Pierre, Banderas signed on.

It would have been a shame if he hadn't done the movie - he brings such intensity to the part.  What surprises me is that Katya Virshilas, who plays Morgan (in the tango scene above) has a very small high voice.  From her dancing, I would expect it to be more low and sultry.  She's originally from Lithuania, and has been doing ballroom dance since she was 14 (and jazz dance since she was 5).

Christian Themes in Rent


Rent2_1Rent? The PG-13 musical about the people who won’t pay their rent? Who break into the building when they’re locked out? Some of whom are drug-addicted (or formerly drug-addicted)? With all that language? A main character who works as an exotic dancer? And most of the rest of the characters have no obvious gainful employment? Many would also have difficulty with the characters who are gay, lesbian and transvestite. The most dysfunctional couple is the straight one (though the lesbian couple is a close second at times). The musical with lines like: “I didn’t recognize you without the handcuffs,” or “There will always be women in rubber flirting with me!” National Review Online hated it (though I can’t find the link).

It’s definitely a PG-13 musical. I probably wouldn’t even have watched it with my 14 year old daughter a year ago. And there are scenes that make me awkward to watch with my older children (younger son had to play upstairs), along with things we had to explain.

But, the more I thought about the musical, the more I saw. And, as I mentioned in my previous post about Rent, when I get a new musical, I become totally absorbed in it. I’ve had the music going through my head for weeks now.

[Note: Usual spoiler alert. I’ll be writing about the plot so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it given away, don’t read any further]

Rent is not an easy musical. Characters waste away and die of AIDS (which is almost a character in itself). Most of the major characters have AIDS. Mimi goes through withdrawal and, later, almost dies. Mark and Roger seem as if they’ll never achieve what they aim for in their art. Roger is bitterTangomaureen_2 and closed up. His former lover committed suicide after they both were diagnosed with AIDS, and he’s just finished rehab himself. Collins loses Angel. Joanne, in many ways the most “normal” of the group, is in love with Maureen (a self-absorbed, performance artist diva). This situation is so difficult that Joanne and Mark sing a song, “The Tango Maureen” (to the right), about being in love with Maureen (“As she leaves you dangling, Your heart she is mangling”). And there’s always the rent they can’t pay, and the money they don’t have.

But, what money they do have, they share – like the first Christians in the Book of Acts. When someone gets money (okay, legally or illegally), they buy dinner for the others, pay rent, and help the others out. That’s part of their anger at Benny, the owner of the building. Not did he betray their group by demanding back rent when he had said, a year ago, that they could live there rent-free, but also because he (a former roommate and member of their group) wants to make money off of them. He has money now, and, rather than help the others, like they all do, he just considers them a source of income. He’s betrayed them – betrayed their community.

The characters in Rent live from day to day, both in that they have little money to rely on and in that most of them have AIDS so they know that their days are limited. A recurring song in the movie is “No Day But Today”:

There is no future.   There is no past.
Thank God this Moment's not the last.
There's only us.  There's only this.
Forget regret or life is yours to miss.
No other road. No other way.
No day but today.
There's only now.  There's only here.
Give in to love or live in fear.
No other path.  No other way.
No day like today.

“Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:28-29, 34) Because of their situation, they must live day to day, thinking not of tomorrow.

“Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7) Roger is bitter and angry and doesn’t want to get into a relationship with anyone, especially someone who, like Mimi, is a drug addict. Mimi has fallen in love with him, however, and keeps trying to start, and keep, a relationship with him. When he sings that he’s got baggage, she replies, “I’ve got baggage too, I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine.” He is not easy to love, but she keeps on trying.

In the song, "Rent," Roger sings, “Your own blood cells betray” which is the case for Mimi, Roger, Collins, and Angel who have AIDS. Collins and Angel go to an AIDS support group, which sings:

Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare

The second time they sing it, some of the characters gradually vanish from the scene.

“I was sick, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25: 36) In the second half of the movie, Angel is in the hospital dying of AIDS, and her friends come to help and comfort her. They lovingly paint her nails when she’s lying in the hospital hooked up to machines. They are trying, as much as they can, to help her keep her dignity.

Although she is a recent addition to their community, Angel, in many ways, helps to keep that community together, and the going gets rocky after she dies. Her introduction is reminiscent of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where the Samaritan helps the man beaten by robbers after others pass him by. At the beginning of the movie, Collins is beaten up and robbed. Angel comes upon him in an alley, bruised and sick, and cares for him and cleans him up. It would be easy for Angel to pass him by, especially since helping him meant going into the dark and possibly dangerous alley.

At the end, their community has fractured and then come back again. Maureen and Joanne have reunited, and Roger has moved back from Santa Fe, but they are unable to find Mimi. They put up notices and persistently search the city (like the woman in the parable who, having lost a coin, does not rest until she finds it) – in Mark’s words, “Being an us instead of a them…La Vie Boheme” When they do find her, near death, they pull together to take care of her.

At the beginning of the musical, in the song, "Rent," Roger and Mark sing:

How can you connect in an age
Where strangers, landlords, lovers
Your own blood cells betray
What binds the fabric together Rent4
When the raging, shifting winds of change
Keep ripping away


What binds them together, and takes care of all of them throughout the musical, is their community. Their friendship. The way they work together, care and share. It’s what they had at the beginning, and what they have left at the end.

I googled “Rent” “Musical” and “Christian” just to see what I came up with. Most of the objections that some Christians had to Rent are included in the first paragraph, but there was one further objection that I found - that the good parts of Rent would seduce people into accepting alternate lifestyles. My lifestyle is pretty unchanging.

I find a different danger for myself – that, despite my recent experiences with churches, Rent may seduce me into believing in community again.