Betwixt the Books: Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2016 Wrap Up

When Michaela said she needed a 2 minute video of us dancing, I should have said no. I’m glad I didn’t though, because this is one of the funniest videos that we’ve made in a while that Michaela put SO MUCH WORK INTO. Speaking of, from Michaela:

The song is Destroying the World by Algar… just some happy 8-bit music to dance to.

I apologize for this being a tad late. I’m the one that wanted to do something schmancy. I think it was fun to do … even if it took literal hours for me to edit… I PUT EFFORT IN GOD DAMMIT … and we got to be a bit silly and relaxed.

Some of you might note that we did not complete all 40 challenges, and we didn’t even really finish a couple, but we are halfway through them and we do plan to continue on… so you can’t fault us that much for saying they are WIP. If you want to hear why we are okay with not reaching the goal and why we are still willing to do another challenge despite failing the first time around we did a lovely discussion of it. Check that out if you so desire.

As far as everything else goes,

we wish you luck in the new year, whether you will be challenging yourself or not. With this or one of the many other challenges there are out there. I have been ruminating on making a couple of challenges for myself personally to try and complete, based on my own aspirations.

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR … shall it be fruitful, gossamer, and ebullient…. everything that the past year has not been for me. New beginnings and all that.

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Perusing Poetics: What Happens When I Break (Dance)

Alright, so here’s the thing, folks. I’m not having the best brain week. It’s Wednesday and I’m already shot to all hell. So this is what happens when I break down/dance.

Let me back up here. For class this week we read an article by Susan Stewart about “Graffiti as Crime and Art” and also this fabulous documentary called Style Wars. (You can watch it on YouTube here.) These are both fabulous–especially Style Wars–and deserve more than I’m going to give them, but hey. I haven’t collapsed once this semester (unlike last spring) and I’d like to keep it that way. Anyways. Here’s the quote from Steward that interested me for this blog post:

“…we should note that the function of individuation, stylization, and uniqueness would also seem to be served by the appropriation of the metaphor of the robot in both graffiti and it’s sister art, break dancing.”

Stewart here makes reference to the “freeze-frame stopping found in break dancing” and the “mixture of body movement and the imitation of mechanical action.”

The former dancer that I am, I departed entirely from the focus on graffiti (whoops) to the mentions of break dancing in both the article and the documentary. When I presented on this homework in class (for forty five effing minutes, why did no one stop me) I may or may not have used videos from the Step Up movie franchise to illustrate the relationship of body movement and machinery, as well as the commercialization of hip hop culture. In particular, I used this dance from Step Up All In:

I also, however, showed the final dance from the original Step Up movie in comparison, and was shocked at the stark contrast between the way that the two of them looked. I began to look at other dances from throughout the five movies, and realized that the more commercial the movies got, the more obvious the connection to machinery and robotics. More fascinatingly, a lot of this connection ceased to show up specifically in the dancing. Like a lot of other representations of hip hop cultures in the movies, the connection was bastardized and linked to something other than body movement–something Aristotle would call “spectacle.” It really strikes me sometimes, in the later movies, the emphasis really isn’t on dancing in these so-called dance movies at all.

Want to see what I’m talking about? WAIT NO MORE.

1. When the most technical thing in the movie was the fact that the music was supplied by a pit orchestra AND synthesizers and people actually danced: Step Up

2. Look! They used technology to record DANCING: Step Up 2: The Streets

3. THE MOVIE IN WHICH TECHNOLOGY F*CKED UP EVERYTHING (by which I mean they made this one in 3D and everything is 3D vision fodder but specifically check out those suits at 8:45): Step Up 3D

4. The movie that did this awesome thing by using robotic dance styles to characterize the corporate world but also like totally copped out in its finale dance by using cheap contraptions with trampolines and harnesses for wow effect: Step Up 4 Revolution

5. The movie that had earlier dances as non-dancy as the first one I showed and yet also had this steam-punk themed ending with some dancing but also crazy effects, fire and other nonsense: Step Up 5 All In

Personally, in movie quality, I felt like it’s all downhill from 1-3 and then 4 and 5 make an attempt to be better. It directly correlates to what I’ve just laid out about the dances. Coincidence? Perhaps. But only if you believe in such a thing.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post brain break. I did!

Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me

You see me as the girl
High above you in the sky
Dancing on the clouds
Laughing
With my face turned ever towards the sunlight
Well
Let me tell you a secret

That girl isn’t real
She’s a ghost
Only half of herself
But yes
She’s me
See
Let me tell you a story

I fell from the clouds
Long ago
No one reached out a hand
And its fine
I wouldn’t have taken it anyway
Here
Let me tell you what happened

I shattered on the stony ground
Losing myself in a million pieces
I laid there under the pouring rain
Until somehow I found away
To pick up what was left
Well
Let me tell you a secret

I didn’t get them all
I left bits to dull in the dirt
Now I can’t fly as high because the sun hurts my eyes
It’s a cycle now
The flying, the falling, the failing

And every time I lose a little bit more