Mighty Life List
Nov 17 2009

Mighty Girl in Kirtsy Takes a Bow

kirtsybook

My dear friend and fellow Broad Summit founder Laura Mayes just finished editing her first book, Kirtsy Takes a Bow: A Celebration of Women’s Online Favorites. I’m so excited for her, and also honored to be a contributor. Pick up a copy, wont you?

Aug 17 2009

Top Ten Best Tap Numbers in Film

I’m sure all of you remember my tap instructor John Kloss?

Yeah, I bet you do.

If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, you must attend his Bay Area Tap Festival, which features Friday and Saturday night performances by professional tap dancers from Broadway and film.

To celebrate the culmination of a whole lot of work putting the festival together, I asked Mr. Kloss if he’d share his top ten favorite tap performances on film. (Shockingly, mine did not make the list, but I’m climbing the charts with a bullet, you guys.)

Here they are, counting down to his favorite. Take it away, Mr. Kloss…

10. Savion Glover “Time After Time [Cadenza and Finale sections]“

“There is much Savion Glover material on film, and many clips, such as ‘Ribbon in the Sky’ with Stevie Wonder, could easily compete with this one. But I’ve been watching Savion’s performances — from backstage, from in the audience, on my TV, and on the big screen — since around 1995, and to me, this performance best crystallizes his technical wizardry, unquenchable passion, razor-sharp wit, and superb showmanship.”

9. Peg Leg Bates

“Peg Leg Bates could make it on this list for any number of clips of his work — a compilation of some of his work on film appears here.”

8. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers “Pick Yourself Up” from the film “Swing Time”

“Though Ginger’s taps routinely were later dubbed in by Astaire choreographer/collaborator Hermes Pan, she and Fred both are undeniably “in the pocket” in this righteously tasty morsel of their on-screen work. See 1:20-1:30 and 2:00-2:07 for examples of how Fred and Ginger were ‘serving up the funk’ long before that expression meant what it does today.”

7. Various Dancers, “Lullaby of Broadway” from the film Gold Diggers of 1935

“A huge cast, innovative camera angles, striking lighting effects, reverse motion film, remarkable sets, Broadway presentation, and raw hoofin’ all come together in this tour de force of choreography and cinematography courtesy of Busby Berkeley.”

6. Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, et. al. “Challenge” Scene from the film TAP!

“HD footage of some of the greatest in Tap laying it down — opening dialogue provides essential narrative context, but dancing starts at about 1:57.”

5. Bill Robinson Stair Dance from Harlem is Heaven

“An ultimate classic — the stunning simplicity of rhythm tap, incredibly sophisticated compositional quality, and the unmatched clarity and precision of Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson.”

4. Gregory Hines with Sammy Davis Jr. from “Sammy Davis Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration”

“Not quite film, but an absolutely spectacular capture of the essence of Gregory Hines in a touching televised tribute to Sammy shortly after Sammy’s cancer diagnosis.”

3. Gene Kelly Singin’ in the Rain

“Of course, a classic. Close runners up for Gene Kelly entries to the list include the “Alter Ego Dance from Cover Girl (Cinematic Achievement); Live Action Gene Kelly with animated Jerry Mouse in Invitation to the Dance (Cinematic Achievement) (ed note: This video unfortunately also shows a Family Guy version on the right); and also “I Got Rhythm” from An American in Paris, which is pure fun.

2. Jimmy Slyde “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)” from the Tap Documentary About Tap

“A quintessential recording of my favorite tap dancer of all time and an inspiration to so many other tap dancers at the top of his game.”

1. Nicholas Brothers “Jumpin’ Jive” from the film Stormy Weather

“Here we are at number one. Fred Astaire called it the greatest tap number on film — I have to agree.”

Well, if that last one didn’t put you in a good mood, you can’t be helped. Again, many thanks, to John Kloss of Stepology. If you want to get in on the action this weekend, tickets for the Bay Area Tap Festival are available here.

Jul 24 2009

Ack.

If I’m on my period and have a genuine chocolate craving, it makes me feel a little stupid, like my life has been reduced to a Cathy cartoon. Also, I’m typing this in a swimsuit while I stand in front of a department store mirror with a plate of spaghetti in one hand and a bottle of Hershey’s syrup in the other.

Jun 26 2009

My teeth? Fair Trade

My body is attacking my teeth.

My teeth were just minding their own business, masticating, ripping open plastic packaging. Then my teeth glanced over at my immune system, and my immune system was all, “What are you staring at?” My teeth were like, “Nothing, man.” And BAM! My life is a Stephen King novella where I angered some mystic and now I’m paying in teeth.

It’s called dental resorption, and it’s pretty awesome, because it could strike me again at any time. The act of flossing has become a scene from some artsy Julianne Moore movie. Teeth are so terrifyingly symbolic.

Anyway, my outlook on this new development is surprisingly sunny, which seems slightly insane until you understand the context. So much good stuff is happening in my life right now that “immune system attacks teeth” is falling into the category of You Can’t Have Everything.

I can’t wait to tell you what’s been going on behind the curtain over here, you won’t be able to scrape your jaw off the floor. BUT! I’m not allowed to yet. Please check back next week. I have news.

Jun 24 2009

When Chatting Becomes Cheating

The topic for this Momversation is “Are you having an emotional affair?” I’ll tell you what Internet, if I were, the very first place I would reveal it is in a webisode. Let’s watch!

Feb 23 2009

Hot Phone-Crush Action

The Mom 2.0 Summit was a very good time.

At the conference party I ran into a group of startlingly fashionable guys:

-Are you from Argentina?
-No.
-Europe?
-No.
-Musicians?
-No.
-Wait. Does Houston have a gay scene?
-YES!

Ahhhh. Texas shorts my gaydar.

Anyway, my new friends (who do work with the Osito Foundation), told us where we could find some good dancing in town, which is how Lisa, Gwen, and I ended up at a gay bar.

I set my coat on a bench, and the bench eventually became a “stage,” which is how a dancing transvestite accidentally crushed my phone. I’m pretty sure there’s a fetish site for this somewhere, so I expect my stats to reflect that shortly.

The phone still works, so props to Apple, because those were some seriously menacing platforms. Still, I prefer it when my iPhone isn’t shedding glass shards into my ear. Le sigh.

In other news, Gwen was wearing Wonder Woman panties, and so it turns out that like her very much.


(Photo from Gillat)

Feb 18 2009

Also, My Jaw Can Walk Through Walls Now

Filling out the paperwork for my oral surgery, I noticed I was signing a consent form for bone grafting. I had some questions for the person at the desk.

-Uh. Are you taking some of my jaw and putting it somewhere else in my jaw?
-Excuse me?
-Where do you get the bone for the bone grafting?
-Oh, it’s a pre-treated crushed bone. Sort of like sand we use to fill the space.
-Is it human bone?
-It’s cadaver.
-So, human.
-No, it’s cadaver. It’s animal bone.
-… Doesn’t cadaver mean “dead human body?”
-No, I’m pretty sure cadaver is a kind of animal.
-…

In the end, she asked the doctor, who confirmed that it was dead-person sand they were packing in my jaw. This made me feel uncomfortable, and then deeply grateful. Signing that donor card is such an act of grace. I never anticipated needing anything quite so personal from a stranger, but here I am. Since the surgery, I’m carrying something sacred around with me — a little thimbleful of someone else.

Also, my jaw is now certifiably haunted. So if I say something insulting the next time I see you, you can’t necessarily prove it was me. Stupid.