Link Feast: December 12, 2009

Technically, you're already a cyborg. If you keep your cell phone with you most of the time, especially if the earpiece is in place, I think we can call that arrangement an exobrain. Don't protest that your cellphone isn't part of your body just because you can leave it in your other pants. If a cyborg can remove its digital eye and leave it on a shelf as a surveillance device, and I think we all agree that it can, then your cellphone qualifies as part of your body. In fact, one of the benefits of being a cyborg is that you can remove and upgrade parts easily. So don't give me that "It's not attached to me" argument. You're already a cyborg. Deal with it... [Hat tip to The Daily Dish]

SOUND OF MUSIC: The family that sings together gets chased by Nazis through the Alps.

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT:  Slavery, imprisonment, despair, harems, divination and goat slaughter. FOR KIDS!

SWEENEY TODD: Musical about murdering people & then eating their corpses...but it's Sondheim, so at least the music's good.
  • The Leagion of Extraordinary Dancers on So You Think You Can Dance (they're breakdancing to classical music!):

  • More on SYTYCD:
  • There have been lots of recent dances that I've really enjoyed.  One of my favorites was the Viennese Waltz with Mollee and Jakob (It was sad that she had to leave after two of her best performances):

  • I loved the group number to Billy Joel's It's Still Rock and Roll to Me.  Unfortunately, I can't find it online.

So You Think You Can Dance top 12, and Mark Kanemura (from season 4) with a bit more "Bohemian Rhapsody"

I thought last night's show had some of the best dancing of any of the shows this far in season six.  I loved the Lindy Hop with Ryan and Ellenore.  I appreciated their Broadway routine to "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago, but her mechanical doll part was too strange for me to really enjoy it.  I also loved the jazz dance by Kathryn and Legacy, Ashleigh and Jakob's lyrical jazz routine and their cha cha, and also Russell and Noelle's contemporary piece.  I enjoyed most of the rest of the dances, except for the two hip hop dances which weren't quite together. 

As much as I've enjoyed Karen's dancing, she's really the one to go home at this point - not because she's not a good dancer, but she doesn't seem quite as outstanding as the rest.   I'd rather have Nathan go home than Victor, but that's just a personal preference. 

My favorite dancers?  So far, Legacy and Jakob are my favorites among the guys, but I also really like Ryan and Russell.  Among the ladies, I find it difficult to choose.  I didn't care for Ashleigh at the beginning, but she's definitely grown on me.  I enjoy Kathryn and Noelle each in their own way, but I think Ellenore is a little bit ahead of the others.  I hope she changes her solos because, as quirky and as technically perfect as they are, they don't blow people away like some of the other solos, and that's going to become quite important in the top 10.  Mollee's dancing is fantastic, but her emotional range is smaller.

We've been wondering what has happened to some of our favorite dancers from previous seasons.  In season 4, one of the top 6 dancers, Mark Kanemura, auditioned with an interesting and quirky solo to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."  Here's his original solo, done on tour (unfortunately not a good video).  He also danced another solo to more of "Bohemian Rhapsody" later in the season.  You'll have to click here to view it because I couldn't find a good version of it on any websites in the Western Hemisphere(and I can't read the website to find out how to embed the video!).

When I went to find this video, I also found that he has been a backup dancer for Lady Gaga.  He appears to her right for the first part of the video, and he's briefly prominent (at 2:48) in this video of Paparazzi from the MTV Video Music Awards. [Note:  The video ends disturbingly so you may want to stop at the piano part.]  He was also in one of my favorite dances from season 4, "Bleeding Love:"


Friday Fun Song: "I Gotcha" - Liza Minnelli, from "Liza with a 'Z'"

LizaZ In 1973, Bob Fosse won the director's triple crown:  An Academy award for directing Cabaret, a Tony award for directing (and also one for choreographing) Pippin, and an Emmy award for directing (also ones for producing, and choreographing) Liza with a Z, a concert film of Liza Minnelli.

I remember seeing the broadcast on TV, although the song I remember best was the title song (at 6:40).  The controversially short skirts didn't particularly strike me - they weren't any different than the dresses Goldie Hawn wore on Laugh In.  It turns out that the producers didn't let the sponsors see the rehearsals for fear that the show would lose their sponsorship.  I was only eleven so many things went over my head. 

Until clips from the concert started showing up on YouTube, I didn't ever see it again after the original broadcast.  It turns out that it was only rebroadcast on TV twice, and it was thought to be lost.  In 1999, Liza Minnelli and Michael Arick tracked down some copies and got it restored and released. 

I Gotcha:

This Friday Fun Song is dedicated to The Awkward Blogger, who is a Liza Minnelli fan.  If you love Michael Jackson's work, you should check out The Awkward Blogger's series on Michael Jackson - with all the things you know, and some lesser-known gems like the Jackson Five's appearances on the Carol Burnett show.

A Second Riff on Breakfast with Pandora: On blogs, Facebook, reality shows, and aerobics

P7040032 There are a number of blog posts that have been floating around in my head lately, but they hadn't coalesced until I read Facebook and the Greek Heroization of America at Breakfast with Pandora. Now, they've all come together in one long post. 

Now, as I wrote in A Riff on Breakfast with Pandora OR The Purpose of Blog-Reading AND "You're Not There" by Pierce Pettis, BwP and I seem to have very different approaches to online interactions (and he's far better at writing brief titles). Although I differ with BwP, I'm not criticizing (even though this is a lengthy post). 

In his very thoughtful post, which you should go read in its entirety, BwP discusses how recent innovations have changed the previous anonymity of everyday life:

...But now, with the reality show culture, video blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, potentially all of us are now in a global competition for eyeballs, as we consider the most ordinary details of our everyday lives worthy of being published to at least our larger set of friends and acquaintances.

We are becoming the poets of our own myths, in 140 character plus segments.

We are becoming micromythologists...

I can see his point, and it makes lots of sense.

But it is so foreign to me. 

P7040039 Not that I don't like having people read my blog.  I definitely enjoy it when more people read (and comment), but that's not my major goal, and it certainly wasn't the goal I started with* (although, if you want to make me happier, you could go check out our new blog, (grin)). 

In many ways, it's similar to teaching aerobics.  Some aerobics instructors have huge classes, others don't, and I've usually been somewhere in the middle.  The huge classes are definitely an adrenalin rush to teach, but a small class of enthusiastic participants really makes me just as happy. 

If only one person shows up?  I try to throw myself into teaching that one person just as much as I would throw myself into teaching a large class.  That's part of professionalism. 

Earlier this week, I came up with a fun Broadway/aerobic routine to Greased Lightning, and I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to share it with the class I've taught for six years at the club that closed two weeks ago.  I know that they really would have gotten a kick out of it.

Two weeks ago, I went back to visit the class, which I still couldn't take, knee-wise, in order to say "Hello again/goodbye" before the club closed.  The class was only a shadow of its former self, number-wise.  The club was fairly deserted, and the lights even seemed dimmer, but I was glad to see people again.  I've enjoyed interacting with them for six years, and they've been an inspiration to me as far as choreographing routines.  They pretty much  have been able to do whatever I've thrown at them, though some did it high-impact and others low. And they loved the Broadway routines. 

I'm really going to miss them. 

P7030014 There's the intellectual side to choreographing the routines, which includes making sure that all the muscle groups are used and the moves are varied enough.  There's the more artistic side, making sure the moves go with the music and that it all flows well.  I can do all of those making up moves at home.  But it's the interaction and enthusiasm (mine and theirs) that make it all come alive in a class. 

It's the same with blogging.  I can enjoy putting the ideas together.  Actually, I hate proofreading and editing.  I do them because then the ideas come across better and a connection may happen. 

Would I rather write something that a thousand people read but don't necessarily understand, or would I rather write something that five people understand and connect with? 


Do I consider "the most ordinary details of our everyday lives worthy of being published" (emphasis mine) to be the point of blogging (or Facebook updating) about myself and my everyday concerns? 

No.  I don't consider them worthy.  That's part of why I'm a quiet person.  I don't push myself forward or expect people to listen to me.  I'm amazed at those who do put themselves forward.

However, I blog, or Facebook, because I know someone out there is concerned or interested, whether they are family, friends, readers, or casual, internet passersby.  On Facebook, it would be nice if the  notices could be more specific.  Not everyone that I have as a Facebook friend wants to know my results for the "What musical are you?" quiz (Phantom of the Opera).  The same is true with blogging.  Some people may read the musicals posts and skip the homeschooling ones, or vice versa.  I don't expect everything I write to be equally interesting to all readers.  

Back to BwP:

...Maybe we will get tired of hearing each other's stories, and loading up on those microbursts of pleasure and satisfaction from hearing about someone's trip to the DMV with Junior ("They grow up so fast!") or that someone else had papaya for breakfast (I read it, Beth. Brava!)...

I've had my DMV story (What I Didn't Say/"The One Who Knows" - Dar Williams).   It's actually one of the posts I was the most pleased with - complete with book references, a Star Wars quote, and a beautiful Dar Williams song.  I like the way it flowed from beginning to end. 

And, although it's a familiar story and old hat to many, some people will connect with it (I can name a few (grin)). 

P7020010b As far as reading is concerned, the subject of a story also matters.  If a story says something about the person, I'll find that more interesting than a story that just seems to be recounting details.  The latter I find harder to focus on. 

Maybe this emphasis is because I'm at such a busy stage of my life.  I can write and be interested in analytical posts.  But the only ones I usually carve out time to write are the ones where my emotions are more involved.

The same is true for reading.  Because of our busy summer, I haven't had much time for blog reading.  I keep up with (online and offline) friends' blogs and with a few informational blogs.  Besides those, however, the blogs I'm most likely to read right now are ones where I feel something in common with the blogger - often personal blogs and momblogs.  They may write about very common experiences, but they're writing well, and, in general, without a need to show off or condemn others (in other words, I'm not spending much time on political blogs). 

I don't have an opinion on Twitter or video blogs because I don't know much about either, and I don't understand the appeal of Twitter.  I would have agreed about the reality shows.  After all, why would someone join one, and risk embarrassment and failure on prime time TV, if they didn't want fame and lots of people looking at them?

P7040033 However,  my daughter pointed out, recently, you get a different view if you look at the interviews with the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance.  Although many dancers do mention the fame first, and I'm sure all would like it, many of them emphasize the opportunity to dance many different styles, from ballroom to Bollywood, choreographed by excellent artists, as their primary incentive to join the competition.

The first Riff on Breakfast with Pandora was about reading blogs; this second one is more about writing them. For me, blogging is about expression, and creativity (and proofreading), but also about connection.  I'm happy that I still occasionally get comments on my Christian themes in Rent post from people who can relate to it in some way and who like what I expressed. 

Does every post bring a connection?  I don't know, but I always hope, and I've gotten to enjoy the writing also.  Not as much as I enjoy taking photographs or choreographing, but, being not a very verbal person,** I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it at all.  Being a very quiet person, I was even more amazed to find an audience.

Thank you. 


*  Actually, the reason I started my blog was to give myself a reason to practice writing.  I'm really amazed (and quite happy) that you guys read it (grin).

** Remember, it's not polite to mention the length of my posts when I say that! 

[It's lily and delphinium time in the gardens.  Older son took the photo of the gladiolas in the vase.]

[Hey, look:  One of my favorite aerobics instructor/trainers just accepted my Facebook friend request!]

Linksnack: May 18, 2009

P5080373 We had a fun, and very busy, weekend - a Mother's Day trip to my favorite place in the mountains on Friday, gardening and a party for a wonderful neighbor's graduation on Saturday, church and our choir concert on Sunday.  In my spare time, I researched aspects of our new blog, which isn't ready because we haven't come up with a name I really like (older son isn't as picky about the name).  We had the first, singing rehearsal today for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which I will shorten in the future because I'm not going to type it out every time. 

I wasn't necessarily going to blog today, but I had to mention the first link, and then I added more links that I've wanted to mention, and then I have to add some flowers...

Here are her posts on Blithe Spirit, including her review of the opening night and a video of Angela Lansbury on The View.

Reactions to Susan Boyle's Performance AND "My Life" by Iris DeMent

I already posted a link to Susan Boyle's wonderful performance on YouTube.  I've continued to read blog posts and articles about her and people's reactions to her performance. 

I'll start with my own reaction.  Yes, I could tell that she was not what the crowd would consider "star material."  To me, however, she looked like a fun person to know.  She was confident, joked about herself, did a little hip swirl - she seemed quite real, quite there.  She wasn't putting on some facade and trying to impress.  She seemed the sort of person I would like to talk to. 

SusanBoyle Then she sang "I Dreamed a Dream," and I got teary.  Why (besides the fact that that song makes me teary anyway)?  Because she confounded the expectations and because she was living her own dream. 

I had to go back to think about exactly what my reactions were because of this comment from my friend, Emily:

Does this "story" teach that we shouldn't judge a person's potential for talent based on appearance or does it actually reinforce the notion that someone who looks frumpy couldn't possibly have a star-quality singing voice? In other words, if it wasn't a big deal that she could maybe sing, then why is it such a big deal that she can sing? Am I missing something? Or is the story just about the viewer feeling superior to the live audience? Or is that just the video's editor playing up audience reactions for effect?

Some people in the audience were sneering.  For instance, consider the teenager rolling her eyes for all of Britain (and now all the world) to see?  I would think that, at this point, her parents would want to crawl under a rock.  However, I don't really want to believe that the whole audience was against her because I don't want to believe that that many people could be so shallow!

Older son and I were talking about the audience reaction the other evening.  If she went out with a violin and said she wanted to be the next Jascha Heifetz, most people wouldn't have the same reaction.  She'd be considered an "instrumental geek," who was too tied up in her art to worry about appearances.  Singing seems to be different, however.  There, all of a sudden, you have to be conventionally beautiful.   

Continue reading "Reactions to Susan Boyle's Performance AND "My Life" by Iris DeMent" »

Would You Be Tempted to Join In?

I would!

This makes me smile every time I watch it.  Did you see them doing the Macarena at about 2:50?

My father-in-law sent this to me last week.  Since then, it's been popping up all over on the internet, including on the CNN site this morning.  It turns out that it was a promotion for a Dutch reality show, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, which will cast  the lead in a Dutch production of The Sound of Music

Posting will be sporadic for the next week.  Holy Week, choir, etc. will make things much busier than usual.  It all depends on whether I'm in a mood to post something when I do get a free moment (rather than, say, take quizzes on Facebook, which is what I did when I was tired last night). 

[Of local interest, CNN also has a time lapse video of the NCAA victory celebration on Franklin St in Chapel Hill.]

Linkfeast - February 10, 2009

A very long linkfeast for gloomy winter days (which is when I put it together, though this week is nice).  I've been gathering links of varying sorts - serious, musical, filmish, snarky, bawdy... Read at your own risk.

I wish I could write like that:  

Did anyone else take one look at all those people freezing their butts off out there on the mall and think of March of the Penguins?...
6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? The Menahmehna song(from the Muppets or Sesame Street, I can't remember which one it's from) second favorite is the vibrate mode...need I explain that?

If I had answered that meme, I would just boringly answer that I don't have a cell phone.  And, in The Alphabet Game, she mentions ten things she loves that begin with N (Not safe for work or around small children): 

3. Nudity..DUH! Do I really need to explain WHY I love to be naked? Or why I love for other people to be naked? I can't speak for others but I like letting it all hang out although sometimes it's hanging in places I'm not impressed with, but what can you do? (Remember the depressed boobies?)

The depressed boobies post is very funny too.

Continue reading "Linkfeast - February 10, 2009" »

Linkfeast, September 13, 2008

Some recent interesting finds:

  • Self-Styled Siren writes about a ballet movie (from a Hans Christian Andersen story) that I haven't seen in a while, but that we probably should watch, The Red Shoes.