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Below is a video of another dance from the show Philomena’s Dream. This medley is a collaboration of two dances across three different dance groups in Memphis: IDA, Jasmine’s Jewels, and Mystic River Dance.
The choreographer of the candle dance is Isidora Hart. The song is Pachyderm Picnic by Brent Lewis.
Jasmine (of Dance with Jasmine) choreographed the second dance. The song is Misirlou by Mosava.
The last two weeks of December are deliciously mine, mine, mine. (Well, mostly). To celebrate I decided I wanted to do something crazy and luxurious. I wanted to watch TV. Not Youtube or something on the Internet, but actual TV.
Sounds easy enough…
Here’s the thing: we don’t have cable and our antiquated television is one of those big, bulky contraptions that requires a converter box to receive a signal. It’s not at all user-friendly even though El-D acts like it’s incredibly easy to operate. Despite the many “How to Turn on the TV” tutorials he’s provided over the years, I remain mystified. All I can tell you is that poking the “ON” button on anything on or around the device never works. From my lessons, I have learned that there are least three steps required to get the thing going, yet there are four different remotes with an outrageous array of buttons, none of which do what they claim. Believe me, I have pushed them all to no effect.
Why does one need this many buttons and switches to operate the TV set? I am not trying to fly an airplane here; I just want to watch…well, anything at this point – a rerun of Gilligan’s Island maybe? Or even a good old fashioned hemorrhoid cream commercial. I have a Ph.D., surely I can figure this out? Instead, like a chicken playing the video game Portal, I go flapping around, pecking at things and squawking…and the Portal never opens.
So I sit on the couch staring at the blank screen, longing for the good old days when the world was made of tangible, sensible things…back in the days when there was just one “on” button and it meant business – you had to physically get up and turn a knob to watch Johnny Carson…back when you were part of the reception process and that process involved things like antenna, aluminum foil, and perhaps an old pie tin.
Finally, El-D appears and by the wonders of his modern wizardry, the Miss Universe Pageant lights up the screen. Who even knew this sort of thing (i.e., televised beauty pageants) still happened in the world? I am instantly transported back to those “good old days” when we – Kiki, Roy, mom and I – sat in the old rockers in the den as we judged beautiful women parading around in swimsuits.
And that is how, against incredible odds, I wound up watching the epic mistake Steve Harvey made in crowning the (wrong) winner.
Would you be willing to trade part of your anatomy for the priviledge of going to school?
For Kakenya Ntaiya, this was not a hypothetical question. It was her reality. She tells her astounding story in the Ted talk below.
Just the expressions written on the faces of those children, before and after, tell the story. I replayed that footage again and again.
It made me deeply grateful for the myriad of choices available to me, for the brave women who laid the groundwork for such freedom, and for the presence of strong women in my life — my family, my friends, my professional mentors.
Yesterday was Labor Day. It was a day to reflect on the work we do in this world and the impact it has on others. It was an opportunity to consider how we are supported and sustained by the labor of others.
Today I am thankful to get back to the work.
This post was my submissions for Kozo Hattori’s Monthly Peace Challenge for September: “Let’s inundate the internet with a peace collage of powerful words and images.”
Last night a crowd of crazy cat ladies (and men) descended upon the Memphis Brooks Museum for the Internet Cat Video Festival.
While a DJ blasted tunes like The Siamese Cat Song and The Meow Mix Song, attendees prowled around the lobby in leopard print skirts and cat ear headbands. We purred happily over sparkly feline baubles as we lapped at our “furballs” – a pink concoction involving rum, coconut milk, cranberry juice, and whip cream.
Then came the main attraction: internet cat videos.
Internet cat video aficionados (Yes, aficionados. I get to use my fancy words because we were at a museum) had already viewed many of these videos at home (or at work). But gathering together to watch these videos in a theatre packed with like-minded individuals lended the whole affair a certain je ne sai quoi in terms of public image. It was validating. High brow even!
It took me back to my belly dancing days on a Costa Rican mountain top when we danced to the beat of thunder pounding on the roof of our pagoda. (That is a true story I have always wanted to tell in an affected British accent at a cocktail party. It would make me sound so much more interesting than I actually am. Sadly, I have never been invited to said cocktail party to tell it. But that’s ok because I’m way too busy at home watching fancy internet cat videos to attend your silly cocktail parties anyway.) One day during my Costa Rica adventure, I sat in a room with 60 other belly dancer women and participated in a three minute laughing meditation. If you have never participated in a group laughing meditation, let me tell you, the first time is incredibly weird. You will be instructed to basically fake it ’til you make it. That’s right – just fake laugh nonstop with everyone else until the silliness of it all carries you into complete hysterics. It’s quite a catharsis really.
At any rate, sitting in the dark laughing for 15 minutes nonstop with crazy cat ladies was just like that but weirder and even more wonderful because there was no fake laughing involved. I watched grown men laugh until they cried over cat antics. And then I laughed until I cried. We all laughed and cried and it was this amazingly beautiful communal experience. It was!
And so I will leave you with a few of my favorite videos from the evening. For best results, make them big screen and gather a few friends (or strangers) to watch. Enjoy!
You never know what fascinating sights you’ll see when roadtrippin’ through Arkansas. Both the backroads and interstate hold an array of surprises. From I-40 you’ll spy roadkill, rice paddies, and religious signs reminding you to beat the children with a stick.
In Central Arkansas you can hop off the interstate, do a little wine tasting and stock up on your favorite vintage at the wineries.
Wiederkehr Village (population of 42) has more grapes than residents.
At one point in our journey, an emergency coffee attack required a pitstop to a Love’s Travel Shop. As The Devil was pulling in to a parking spot right beside a fella fiddling with stuff under the hood of his SUV, a 96% naked lady jumped out of the backseat of the fella’s vehicle. I was so astounded by the scene that lay before me that I forgot the camera entirely. You’ll have to settle for the picture I paint in words. The 96% naked lady was wearing a little bitty bikini with a tiny see-through crocheted skirt. Her backside was emblazoned with a tattoo of a bull’s head. Its horns rose menacingly out the top of her bikini bottoms. And, she looked ANGRY! She said a buncha words I didn’t understand partly due to the southern twang that shaped them, partly due to the shock of seeing an angry 96% naked lady unexpectedly jump out of a vehicle, and partly due to the music that was blaring from the speakers of their opened door: “We’re from the country and we like it that way.”
It was all so very much to process.
The man under the hood looked up long enough to glance at her, register us and our agape expressions, and chuckle to himself before returning back to his tinkering. The 96% naked lady walked this way and then that, continuing to make a fuss over something before finally settling back into the backseat and closing the door.
By that time, The Devil had returned and we were on our way.
The backroads and small towns of Arkansas are also great fun. There are interesting places to eat. For example, in Springdale there’s a giant waffle sign in the sky that announces a Waffle Hut. If that doesn’t suit your taste you can try the Mexican-Middle Eastern Restaurant.
Around one bend in the road we spied a natural swimming hole.
Several fireworks stands were set up along the road. One stand had a sign that read “Fireworks. Help Christians Serve.” Another sign said, well, see for yourself…
Good times. I will really miss this state when it’s time to dismantle this particular life.
For more sights and scenes from my Arkansas travels, see: