Saturday, October 31, 2009

Epiphanic Street Dancing = Pure Unadulterated Bliss

Holy cow, guys. I normally don't post so often, but in light of the fact that my last was mostly just a big whine-fest about my current workload, I figured I owed you something good. Also, I'm bursting with things to say about this movie I watched last night. Now, I have seen this movie probably 30 or more times, and listened to its soundtrack, and practiced the dance moves therein, but I just watched it again for the first time since I had this blog on which to wax eloquent, so I had to throw down.
Dude. Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984). That biz is hands down a frikkin' laugh riot from start to finish. Movies simply aren't this entertaining by a long shot anymore. I mean, the festival of optical excitement alone, what with costuming and break dancing and break dancing with special effects, is some top notch stuff. Then you have your actors, and the plot, and bitter social commentary, and this movie becomes the stuff of legend. I tell you they could re-release Breakin 2: E.B. in its original format, completely unedited, and it would be an instant smash hit. I am not kidding. Especially since, in spite of all possible taste, kids today are actually resurrecting the fashions (some of them, not all, thank goodness) that are featured in the film. Well, you might wonder why I am doing the sequel and not Breakin' itself. I'll just say that it took the second movie for them to distill the essence of perfection from the material that Breakin' 2: E.B. represents. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, it goes like this: Ozone and Turbo (played by Adolfo "Shabba Doo" Quinones and Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, which are two of the best names EVER) are street dancers who live together and work at a community center in a sort of East L.A-ish neighborhood. They dance in a team with Kelly, or "Special K," who is a rich white girl who has been classically trained but loves to break dance, and joined them in Breakin', which tells the story of how they met. Breakin' 2: E.B. opens with the two boys enjoying their volunteer work, but worried that the community center won't be able to raise funds to keep open, and Kelly finding it tough to get inspired by hoofing it in the chorus line as a professional dancer. She heads down to the slums to meet up with her homies and they introduce her to their neighborhood pals, at which point they all DANCE on over to the community center: Miracles. She gets to see all the super stuff they are doing there to keep kids off the streets and teach them how to do giant synchronized dance numbers involving popping and locking. Miracles is a wonderful place; painted with vibrant graffiti from floor to ceiling, inside and out, with hundreds of creative youths practicing dance moves, acting, miming, gymnastics, boxing, and looking cool. Kelly decides while she's in between jobs, she'd like to help out, and becomes aware of their troubles with money. Meantime, a big developer decides that he wants the building for a supermarket, and begins legal proceedings to take the place over, since Miracles owes back taxes and isn't up to code. The kids decide to have a benefit, with break dancing, naturally, to raise the money they need to keep Miracles open. Kelly asks her dad if he can give them any advice, but he doesn't approve of her hanging out with the riff-raff and accuses her of trying to get money. Meanwhile, the Miracles crew has a DANCE RUMBLE under a bridge with their rivals, ElectroRock, who are clearly bad guys because their outfits consist entirely of red and black, with studs. They get served by Ozone and Kelly and Turbo, who are on the side of the righteous, so they are obviously better dancers. Later, Ozone realizes that ElectroRock needs to be on their side, because they are all from the same neighborhood and need to band together against White Developer Man. He goes over to the dance club where they hang out and pleads his case. I mention this because the club has a stage and on that stage is ICE T, performing in football shoulder pads covered in metal studs, studded belts, armguards, and fingerless gloves, plus sunglasses and a hat. It is...fantastic. There are animal tails on Ozone's hat, and pants. There are too many things about the way things look in this movie for me to give them all the comment they deserve, but MY GOD it is a sight to see. Right down to the final number, which features all the Miracles kids, and ElectroRock, and our protagonists, dancing in FLUORESCENT OUTFITS right up until the credits roll.
The thing I have to tell you is, after all this time, I finally realized that the funny little sequences where Turbo dances on the ceiling and Ozone floats through the air are not just for entertaining special effect. And the name Miracles doesn't just refer to the wonderful work they do at the community center. It refers directly to the MIRACLES that can be wrought when a group of young people learn to break dance, in unison and solo, for the forces of good. I don't know why I didn't make this connection before, but I now know. And I am better for it.
And because there are truly no words to describe how fantastic this movie is, I am going to attach my first ever clip of streaming video, so as to testify. FEAST YO EYES!

And if you are interested in learning more about the history of the dance forms featured in the movie, this website has a pretty good background for you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Non-Swine Illness, Self Publishing, and Mexico!

Well. I was sick for a while there. Fever, snotty nose, sore ass throat, fever, sweating, bad stummy, etc. Doc said not the flu, but nasty as heck nonetheless. The only good thing about it was that my boyfriend got it too, so we were in the same boat (sorry, B) and I got to catch up on a lot of unwatched reality tv episodes (thank you, Gina, for telling me about!) and I got to play my new Lost game on the XBox. But I swear I wasn't having fun. I was sweaty and feverish, dammit! And very sleepy. But cats therapy and a good amount of cuddly napping, plus a dash of antibiotics, cured me. I'm getting a rep at work for being sickly, which sucks, because I never was in my life until I worked for both the public library and began attending a huge university. I mean, the germs are stacked against me, yo. ANYHOO. I went back to school and found out that even though some groups in my class get to present their project on December 9, and some on December 2, MY group is going to present on November 18th, because of Thanksgiving. So while it counts for my final exam grade, I only have like 2.5 weeks to come up with a 50 minute presentation on what Buddhism and Catholicism think of Abortion, from a religious ethical perspective, read Ethics for the New Millenium by the Dalai Lama, and write an analyzation of Martin Luther King's Letter From A Birmingham Jail. While concurrently composing a 32 page paperback book for my other class, comprised of Photoshop manipulated photographic images of my own design. Oh, did I mention that I'm getting together inventory for a craft show on the 14th of November? Yeah. By getting together, I mean creating from whole cloth, as it were. The craft show, or the Lee-Davis High School Band Boosters Holiday Craft Show, to be more accurate, was my bright idea for making money for my Thanksgiving trip to Tulum, Mexico, commencing on the 21st of November, and concluding on the 1st. At least there's a week-long taco and cocktail siesta at the end of the next couple of weeks, because I reckon I'll be friggin' pooped. POOPED. I swear, I tried to intimate to the doctor that some Xanax or the like would be helpful, but he didn't take the hint. They think you're a junkie or something if you are like "I just feel really stressed out" or "I get so anxious sometimes." Oh well. I suppose if I ate whole grains and slept and exercised regularly, I would handle deadlines and extra work with aplomb. Instead I'll handle it with snappish behavior and beer, like a good American. If Mr. Prez has to come up with a way for everyone to have health care, I can do a little homework, I guess. So, readership. Whoever gets me to 900 peeps (and everyone else, too) wish me luck in the coming weeks. I'm hoping for at least two B's and a couple hundred bucks for my Tulum Getaway. (And if Montezuma could possibly take out his revenge on someone else, I'd be truly grateful. I already left most of my intestines in Peru, 2007, so I've paid my dues to the gods of Latin America.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Heck Yeah Obama! plus Roller Skatin' Fun

Ahh. My favorite President EVER has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which is simply fantastic because my third favorite pres, Jimmy Carter, has one too. My second fave is not likely to get one, but I still think he's cool. And his wife, too. And for those who think he shouldn't have gotten one, I'd like to point out that if a bunch of Norwegians want to endorse our president for their own reasons, then we are already in a better boat than the one we were sinking in last year. ANYWAY, I just had to represent for a sec, because I would seriously walk through fire for Barack Obama. Or skate through it, maybe. Skate? What?

I gotta tell you, I like roller skating. Can I do it well? No. Do I ever go to the rink? No. But I still like it. I did it a lot when I was a kid, because it was the thing to do in the early eighties, and I remember it fondly. Also, the music they play at the roller skating rink (on "old school night" probably) is the music I like best. (Note my new funky slideshow feature at bottom of page.) I had a roller skating birthday party when I was about 9 that I missed most of because right at the beginning I knocked myself out and woke up on a bench with a bag of ice on the back of my dome about an hour later, after all the other kids had eaten cake. Unfortunately, my skills on skates do not match my fervent desire to be a jam skater of highest degree, so I just avoid the rink in general so as not to experience the frustration that is involved with not being able to execute the moves that come naturally to my dancin' feet when wheels are attached to them. So, I devote this post to the fabulous musical skate-fest that is Xanadu. Okay, kids, if you don't know the plot, here goes. Olivia Newton John (ONJ for short) is a Muse (yes, like Greek Mythology) named Kira, who wears those awesome barrettes with ribbons hanging down (I'm bringing 'em back!) and legwarmers and flowy ruffled stuff. She gets sent down to earth to inspire Sonny, a guy who is a great painter and rollerskater but just doesn't know what to do with himself. When she gets there she hooks him up with Gene Kelly, an aging and wealthy bachelor who had his heyday during the big band era. The two fellows decide to buy this great old art deco building and turn it into the most happening roller rink you ever did see, with all kinds of neon and shiny stuff and harem pants and gold lamé. There are many cool, or at least fascinating, music numbers, along with the obligatory 1980-or-thereabouts animated sequence, including roses blooming with drops of sparkling dew and our main characters turning into fishes. HAHA. At this point, if you've seen it, you know of what I speak, and if you haven't, you are like WTF big time. Ah, the fun of describing movies on me blog never gets old. Anyway ONJ falls for Sonny and all she wants to do is stay on earth and build a roller-rink-romance with him, but her parents, Zeus and Hera, are not trying to let her, so she makes a melodic appeal to them in a Tron-like landscape of glowing neon orange and red lines that is supposed to represent the realm of Mount Olympus, I guess, and she gets to come back at the end as a skate chick at the rink, who doesn't know who she was but is certainly down to get busy with Sonny. So all's well. We won't talk about the fact that roller skating rinks were probably not the best long term investment, because it was all about young love, man, and it doesn't matter when you've got a rink designed by a friggin' Greek muse, dude.
Anyway, watch and be blown away by the slice of life in 1980 that you get to witness in this movie, plus the fabulous clothes, hair, and rollerskating prowess of white Southern Californians.
ENJOY, and if you are a braver person than I, go out and learn to skate well enough to put them all to shame.