Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some Music and Dance Stuff for a Thursday

It's hot in Massachusetts! Perfect for staying inside and writing a blog post. Especially a lazy one where instead of doing my own work, I point you to the work of others. :o)

So, not having HBO, I don't watch Game of Thrones, but a friend who does shared the spectacular opening credits with me:

(Oh, BTW, this reminds me. If you get my posts as emails, sometimes the videos are attached to the emails and sometimes they aren't. If you ever get an email and I seem to be referring to something that doesn't seem to be there, try going to my Blog Actual, where videos are embedded where they're meant to be and everything is nice and organized.)

Spectacular opening credits for Game of Thrones:



And, if you like that theme music (composed by Ramin Djawadi), here's a beautiful acoustic and electric violin cover of it, arranged and performed by Jason Yang. I love it! (Thanks, JD, for both videos.)



AND, completely unrelated but also recommended to me by a friend (thanks Aimee!), here's a youtube video I've been watching/listening to a lot lately: The Raconteurs performing their song "Old Enough," with special guests Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe. (When you click the link, an annoying ad will start up that you can skip pretty quickly. Thanks, The Raconteurs, for making this video available!) Love this song and love watching them perform it. Is it just me, or is Jack White looking a bit Clockwork Orange?

Finally, there's something about this season of So You Think You Can Dance that I've been trying to get a handle on. It has to do with girls beating up boys, or otherwise being in charge and in control... there have been a LOT of dances with that sort of storyline or theme this season. At first, I enjoyed it, because it was a much-needed tip of the balance (and a blessed relief) after a couple seasons with hardly any dances like this at all and WAY too many dances where the girl played the role of either weak partner, victim, or the boy's personal sex object. Add to that the constant woman-hating comments from choreographer and judge Mia Michaels in the past few seasons (and please note that many of the "Women Are Weak" dances were choreographed by her, too) and my head was just about to explode. It has been SO NICE this season to see that the show is open to moving away from that a bit! But? Too many dances about women kicking the asses of all the men isn't exactly the ticket either! Could we have some balance? Or could we maybe stop killing each other through dance quite so regularly?

Please note that I'm not complaining about any particular dance. In fact, some of these dances have been my absolute favorites (which I'll get to in a moment). I'm only complaining about the impression that starts to build in one's mind when it happens over and over. Just like all those dances of "women are pathetic and men are destructive and evil" started to send a message, "men are pathetic and women are destructive and evil" is starting to send a message. Find the balance, SYTYCD! (Although, to be fair, it didn't happen on last night's (fabulous) show (with refreshingly honest guest judge Neil Patrick Harris), so maybe I can back off.)

Tui and were watching SYTYCD together last week and actually talked a little bit about the weird "girls beating up on boys" theme this season. The dance that got us talking was my absolute favorite dance of the July 13 episode and one I'll link to below. It was funny, because the dance started, and we were like, "OMG, girl kills boy again!?" And then the dance went in a different direction, and Tui was like, "But I'm not sure that's okay, either!" Watch the (gorgeous and disturbing) dance yourself and see what we mean. It's Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang performing a dance choreographed by Travis Wall, about a man being stalked by a vulture. My apologies for the annoying ad, and also to those of you outside the USA (and Canada? Can Canada see it?) who can't watch the video. Fox, wouldn't you consider putting these vids up on youtube? It'd be good for business, and then fewer people would need to go to youtube and type in "SYTYCD Tadd Jordan Travis contemporary HD" (for example) to see an upload of the dance!

*ahem*

Anyway. Loved this dance, partly because it's the first time I've really watched Jordan closely (no fault of Jordan's that her partner, Tadd, has "it"; Tadd is distracting; whenever Tadd is dancing, my eyes tend to go to him) and I think she's GREAT as the vulture. Also partly because the choreographer worked some fun breakdancing into a contemporary routine for Tadd (who is a b-boy). Partly just because the conflict between the two dancers is so palpable and real. I just love it! If it were last season or the season before, I would hate that I loved it, because it would be Another Dance About the Woman Losing. But it's not, it's this season, and this season can bear a dance like that. It also helps that the choreographer (Travis Wall) has no longstanding record of woman-hating- (or man-hating-) choreography -- his dances are about a refreshing range of things -- so I feel safe with a dance of his.

I'm not trying to say anything profound here; really, I'm just blathering out some words about the things SYTYCD gets me thinking about and talking about. While also sharing a dance with y'all that encapsulates some of the stuff I'm trying to work out. Enjoy.